The Extraordinary Works of David Duguid, the Glasgow Trance-Painting Medium

Assisted by his artistic spirit guides, Scottish medium David Duguid painted his pictures in complete darkness, allowing Spirit to do all the work.

By: The College of Psychic Studies.   Posted

David Duguid (1832-1907) was known as the Glasgow Trance-Painting Medium. He was a very capable medium who produced many landscapes, two of which (dated around 1885) are in the The College of Psychic Studies' collection. Looking at them, you would never guess that he'd painted them in complete darkness, or that he'd had no artistic training. He did, however, have some very special spirit guides...

Newspaper clipping of David Duguid Dumfermline Medium

Artistic spirit guides

The Glasgow Trance-Painting Medium's spirit guides included Dutch painters Jacob van Ruisdael and Jan Steen. Duguid discovered marvellous results could be obtained when the spirit artists worked directly with the blank paper or canvas, instead of by the hand of the medium. The one condition necessary for such direct work was complete darkness. 

In order to facilitate this process, the medium remained entranced and sat back in his chair. To ensure that his hands had no part in the production of the picture, they were sometimes held, otherwise they were tied together. Although some fair-sized pictures were painted by direct spirit action, most of them were done on small cards, 3½ by 2½ inches - photographer's blank cartes-de-visite.

Glasgow Medium David Duguid's painting of a landscape

David Duguid's automatic painting process

Duguid used to carry some of these cards in his pocket so that they might become magnetised. At a séance, when entranced, he would take one of them, hold it between his hands and breathe on it. Then he would tear off a corner and present it to one of the sitters for identification purposes. He would then throw this card on the table in preparation for the séance. Sometimes the sitters even initialled the blank cards. With the card prepared in this way, and having selected some suitable colours for his palette and chosen some small clean brushes, the light would be extinguished for 10 to thirty seconds. On relighting, a tiny oil painting would be found in the middle of the card.

Several small paintings of varying artistic merit were done at each séance. They were usually given to the sitter. The total number distributed in this way must have been very large. Two originals from around 1885 are in the College's collection.

A carpenter by trade

Despite his obvious skill in mediumship, the Glasgow Trance-Painting Medium was a cabinet maker by trade. He reserved his mediumship only for leisure, mainly practising trance speaking, automatic painting and drawing, and psychic photography

Duguid had a devoted circle of friends in Glasgow. Once a week, at least, for about 40 years, they met together, usually at David Duguid's house. All the best manifestations occurred here, the environment being well saturated with the medium's magnetism. Now wouldn't it have been wonderful to have been a fly on THAT wall!

Images © The College of Psychic Studies. 

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