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Up, Table, Up

by Vern Zielke

They were just kids. Thoroughly rural, not sophisticated, and, by some standards, maybe even naïve. So it happened that someone brought to their attention the possibility of levitation. Not that they used the word, and if someone would have said it, they would not have known its meaning.

They knew nothing of the occult and had done no studies on the power of the mind over matter. But it was said that if they tried hard enough it would certainly be possible to persuade a table to rise from its secure resting-place and be suspended in space. No one knew how high it might rise or how long it would agree to stay there. The informant had apparently been introduced to the process by some now unknown individual who said that he himself had once been a party to this suspension of the laws of nature.

In those days a group of boys, all students at Sunrise School, would often gather during the noon recess in the boys' cloakroom. The game of "Up, Table, Up" became the rage for a short period of time, supplementing the usual recess games, such as "King Base" or "Pump, Pump, Pull-away." The procedure was simple. All that was needed was a table and a group of eager believers to sit around it. The instructions were to place the fingers lightly on the table and to chant "Up, Table, Up!" with ever increasing velocity. When enough energy was transferred from hands to table, it was said that the table would surely rise.

It is important here to stay a moment and to visualize this scene. Here was a group of boys, seven or eight in number. They had come together in the fervent belief that a miracle could occur. The prophets of Bail had nothing over on them except perhaps greater numbers. The chant began and the decibel level rose gradually until the walls of the small room trembled. Expectations were high at the outset and various ones admonished the group to keep the chant alive. The exercise continued for many minutes and after a short recess, again was resumed. At first there was a sense of great expectation in the room. The chant was up beat, with a rhythmic cadence that suggested certain victory.  As time passed a tone of desperation could be detected in the chorus of voices and there was a subtle modulation to a minor mode.

In retrospect, what can be said? First and foremost, it can be stated unequivocally that the table never even made an effort to rise. One would think that there would have been some small vibratory sign of life and that at least one leg of the table might have lifted just a wee inch. But alas, just as in the case of the false prophets' pleas for fire from heaven, the table always seemed to be asleep or maybe away on a journey. Maybe it was made of the wrong kind of wood, maybe it was too heavy, or perhaps its coat of varnish repelled the energy. Maybe the effort should have been made at the stroke of midnight with bats flying overhead. That there was energy there is no doubt, but apparently for it to find release in such an intriguing cause all the stars would have had to be perfectly aligned.

Questions remain. What would have been the consequences of a successful rising? One can only speculate, but what project would a group of young Mennonite lads have undertaken next? They might have wanted to try their hand at moving mountains or walking on water. They might have spread abroad their marvelous feats and had the deacons and the pastor at their doors.

Could it be that in spite of the fervor there might have been a skeptic present? Would even one skeptic diminish the possibility of success?  There is reason to believe that at least one participant was at heart a bit of a skeptic and felt just a bit sheepish as the tension in the room reached fever pitch.  In fact, it seems that he still tends towards skepticism, and maybe this explains….But no! Let's not carry this too far! Aren't we all safer and better served if all tables stay firmly rooted to the floor? Think about it.


(copyright Vern Zielke)

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