The first test of this new technique involved a person directing their thoughts of a cat towards a plate. When the plate was processed, the image of a cat was visible. However, not all was as it seemed...
Ultimate Cat Reality
A man named Cameron Lee had demonstrated Sympsychography through experiments, where he burned the image of a cat onto a photographic plate, using his mind.
On April 1st the Astral Camera Club of Alcalde decided to take Sympsychography a little further. Seven members of the club focussed their minds towards a plate, while all thinking of a cat. The resulting picture showed not one but rather several cats superimposed one upon the other.
This was stated to be an "impression of ultimate cat reality".
Had Cameron Lee, along with the Astral Camera Club of Alcalde, developed and experimented with a new type of photography; a form of thoughtography?
Well, knowing that you are reading an article about fakes, frauds and hoaxes will probably help you answer that question! No, Sympsychography was a purely made up story, but what is interesting is that it was not made up to fool anyone. It was written in jest with the hope that the (assumed) level headed readers of 'Popular Science Monthly' would recognise it as a joke.
Unfortunately, this was not the case and David Starr Jordan received several letters from people who believed the article, including one from a clergyman who had prepared six sermons on the subject!