Effie Moss

The Mediumship of Effie Moss

By Dr John King

The reader, while perusing the narration of the facts herein recorded, will have his or her own theory or hypothesis to account for the phenomena in individual cases. Whatever hypothesis may be adopted, it would seem that it must be one, which, while impervious to the shafts of criticism, will account for the existence of some natural law, not fully comprehended, though possibly conjectured. The phenomena continue to present here and there, and intelligent inquiring minds will continue to desire to solve the problem, which will account for them, and lay bare the truth.

After all who wished to do so had examined the window, ceiling, floor, walls, and curtains constituting the improvised cabinet without contents, except one plain wooden chair for the medium, they assumed a position in the horseshoe circle, as already explained in detail.

The medium, who was dressed in a plain dark dress, without anything superfluous on the outside, next raised from a seat in the circle, adjoining the cabinet space, where she had been constantly under the close scrutiny of every sitter from the first opportunity she gave them, until she stepped inside the cabinet which I have described in detail, and took her seat on the plain wooden chair, at the north end of the cabinet space.
All being seated, the conductor pulled down the curtains, and took his seat in the circle. Those present then joined in singing familiar hymns, and shortly after the manifestations began. It is not my purpose to refer to all the manifestations, but to such only as made a marked impression on my mind.
A few apparently human forms appeared, one at a time at the opening of the curtains, and were presently recognized by one or another of the sitters, as purporting to be that of near relatives or friends; and would engage in conversation in some instances in a whisper, in others audible to all present. Some of these advanced either alone, or by the hand of someone from the circle, out in the room and up to individual sitters, myself among the number.

(1) In one instance what appeared to be a brisk young girl, who came out of the cabinet, called one of the little girl sitters from the circle, and standing adjacent to where I sat, asked me to examine the little girl’s hair and face, which I did. The former (the girl from the cabinet) then asked me to take her own hand, in mine, which I likewise did, after which she placed my hand upon her head and asked me to examine the hair, which I found to be long, black, coarse in fibre and the quantity abundant.

This apparition, materialized form, or actual human girl, whichever she was, claimed to be the spirit of an Indian girl. She next permitted me to feel her feet, which were encased in a pair of moccasins; and while I was observing her stature, features, eyes and mouth, she chatted pleasantly; and gave all present an evidence of her agility, by running and jumping upon the floor, finishing by asking me if I thought the big medium could make herself up like a little Indian girl, with small hands and feet like those I felt. I had to admit my disbelief in the possibility of the large and heavy medium diminishing her size and weight in that manner, or to such a degree. This form disappeared by way of the cabinet.

(2) Another manifestation or apparition was that of a little girl dressed in white, at the opening of the curtains, who wanted to know if the sitters thought she was the medium, when almost immediately the medium appeared at her side, having the same appearance she had when first entering the cabinet, and the two stood side by side before the curtains, the medium being apparently in a trance state. This little girl in white retired into the cabinet, as did the medium also. We were informed that the medium claimed that this was Lily, one of her band of spirits that helped to build up the so-called materialized forms.

This same little cabinet spirit Lily, pretty as a Christmas doll, said to me in the presence and hearing of all the sitters in that séance: ‘Dr. King, when Mrs. Moss passes over to spirit side of life, then I’ll come and join your band.’

(3)Another manifestation of peculiar interest was the appearance of a form, which was recognized by sitters as a perfect duplication in physique and manner of speech, of a well-known citizen, who had passed out of the body after having been for some time an editor of a farmers’ paper published in the same city of London, Ontario.
I was invited to approach the cabinet, but I did not recognize the form or features, for I had never seen or known the said editor in the physical life; and consequently would not recognize this materialized representation of him; but he claimed brotherhood and designated my status in the brotherhood. I had not made myself known fraternally to any one present, nor had I any insignia or symbols, or anything about me to indicate that I was a fraternity man or brother.

In response to his invitation I entered with him into the cabinet, and to my astonishment he did certainly prove himself a brother. I may add that while this testing and proving was in process in the cabinet with curtains closed, I could see the medium seated on the chair, her eyes closed, and apparently in a deep trance state, as was her usual condition during a séance. The form, which proved itself to be a brother, was surrounded by a certain degree of illumination, which made the cabinet as well as the form of the medium, distinctly visible to me. Coming to the outside of the cabinet again with me, this form’s grip was strong, substantial, and real, yet seemed to melt away while still I held it, and after first taking three irregular steps from the cabinet, gradually dissolved from view as white or greyish smoke or vapour, entering the carpet at that point.

(4) Another manifestation alleged to be that of a minister, having a portly and easily recognized form, was claimed by several of those who knew him in the physical form, to be a preacher who formerly preached in South London Methodist church. The form appeared in the black clothing, as was the custom of the minister in the physical form, and addressed those present in a manner familiar to those who had listened to his pulpit utterances; but added that had he known what he now knew he would have been enabled to teach and preach with a much clearer knowledge of the truth. I was privileged to take the ghost’s hand and look well into his countenance, and witness the movement of his lips and of his eyes, and hear the breath movements of his speech. He disappeared by way of the cabinet from which he came.

(5) Another of the many manifestations at this séance was that of an alleged actress, suitably clad in garments of a creamy white colour, who claimed to have passed out of the physical form in Brooklyn one hour after completing her part in an act or play at the theatre. Her stature was taller than that of the medium and much more spare. Her voice was strong and sweet. She addressed those present for several minutes, exhorting them to a proper life and good deeds for humanity.

After concluding her address she favoured the company by singing in a magnificent manner a song that would have required great natural capability, and much culture for so fine a rendition, on the part of a human singer. Had the window been open, the singing could have been heard easily a block away. I was also permitted to approach this manifestation, and shake hands with it, and saw its features most distinctly. This form disappeared into the cabinet from which it had made its first appearance.

(6) During one portion of the séance, when all was quiet, the room hitherto dimly lit suddenly became darker. Almost immediately after, within the circle of the sitters, and about one yard from my chair, I noticed a light upon the carpet, phosphorescent in appearance, about the size of a 25-cent piece or English shilling, which soon became more extensive, and apparently rose as a vapour from which evolved curling flame like white and purple light, until suddenly it took on tangible form, and developed what all the sitters agreed upon, as being beyond doubt a beautiful young woman, clad in draperies of creamy white, bearing supported or suspended above her head a purple ball of light, which, however, seemed physically separate from any connection with the head; and which illumined the entire room, and simultaneously the air was impregnated with door of a most delicate and agreeable perfume, resembling nothing I had ever before inhaled. All over the draperies and coverings of this apparition were small star-spangles as if they were most brilliant electric starlights. This manifestation differed in appearance from the others preceding, inasmuch as they had a substantial, everyday, solid, lifelike physical body and raiment, such as we are accustomed to look upon in our everyday experience; while this female materialization, perfect in physical form, seemed attired in vestures and draperies most unusual, but in themselves beautiful and well adapted in their application, giving an angelic cast to the entire figure.

She took my hand as if for salutation, held it firmly as if for support, for perhaps half a minute, and apparently until fully materialized, and explained that she had the power to appropriate material from the medium, and from my own and other sitters’ composition, to form a body to occupy; and by aid of other spirits likewise formed the vestures, and draperies worn, of thought creation from particles of matter in textures in the room, and also from the air. The hand appeared natural to the sight, and the touch or grip revealed feeling, solidity, and motion. Her stay was brief, and her departure was as if she had dissolved into mist or white smoke, and was drawn downwards and absorbed into the carpet. This particular form, materialization, or apparition neither entered nor approached the cabinet. Some of the more experienced sitters explained that this form was that of an advanced spirit, and one long since passed to spirit life; but none there were who claimed to have ever seen her before; nor did she give any indication at this sitting as to her human personality or her angelic home. (This was Egyptia, my alleged guardian spirit, as I subsequently learned from her.)

I may here remark that I shook hands and conversed with the majority of the forms appearing at this séance, listened to the messages conveyed to individual friends in the room, or to the more general exhortations and advice regarding the real objects and purposes of life. All this to me was passing strange, and unaccountable on ordinary or natural lines of investigation, as I shall attempt to show in discussing the various hypotheses.



(7) The event in this séance and in a subsequent one, of the deepest personal interest to me, as affording not only more support, but in my judgment the strongest evidential support of the spiritual hypothesis, as contrasted with any other hypothesis that I have considered or that can be offered, I shall now describe. I have said this case engaged my deepest interest; but I may add that the most conclusively convincing tests possible were presented to my judgment, as I shall presently show.

Among the forms to appear at the parting of the curtains of the improvised cabinet, was that of an apparently old lady, above medium height, build and weight, slightly bent forward, whose hair was silvery white, whose face was directed towards myself, to whom she seemed to beckon, but in no single particular resembling the medium. Several remarked to me, ‘You are wanted, Doctor’, and I arose and advanced close to the form, my face being within a few inches of the face presented, which appeared illuminated so clearly and distinctly that I could see individual hairs hanging across the temple.

I beheld the form and features, the perfect physical resemblance, and physiognomy of my own mother, who passed out of the physical life, as the result of an accident in my own and her own home, some nine years previously. So natural, so human and life-like was the apparition that it formed a perfect duplicate of my mother—as perfect a view as her mirrored reflection in life, while it possessed tangibility, solidity, weight, moved the eyes as if looking into mine, grasped my hand as really as ever it was grasped, and used the mouth to speak and I heard her breathe. I stood a few moments to test myself, as to whether I was awake or dreaming, or in a hypnotized state.

Up to this point, though I had recognized what I have stated, I had said nothing. I then spoke aloud in the hearing of all present and said ‘Who is this?’ The form then stepped forward from the cabinet and in a similar characteristic and affectionate manner to that of my mother when in my home said, so that all present could hear what she said, ‘My dear boy, do you recognize me?’ I replied by asking, ‘Is this the one I am thinking of?’

The apparition before me said: ‘Yes, I am still alive, and am pleased to see you here, and I bring you proof of my existence.’ The form patted me on my cheek, kissed me, and said, ‘Your Pa is here with me. He only recently came to me out of the body, and was extremely weak.’

The form then explained that he, the father, was not yet able to gather the forces necessary to manifest himself, but would do so at another séance if I would remain. All this was heard by the others present, as all assented when asked if they heard distinctly.

I, at this point, explained to the sitters in this séance, that my mother passed out of the physical between eight and nine years previously, while my father had only passed out about two months anterior to this occasion; and as I was a stranger to them all, as well as to the medium, with the single exception of the gentleman in whose house we were meeting—that of Mr MacRoberts (and I had only twice before met him, many miles from my home)—and, therefore, all were ignorant of the dates of death of my mother and father, and of any other data concerning them.

The materialized manifestation claiming to be that of my mother, also spoke to me in a whisper, and the utterances were those peculiarly characteristic of my mother, and such as no other human being could imitate or know and use them. She took my hand, stepped out into the circle, and was seen and heard by all therein, and spoken with by several. As one or two among the many evidential tests of personal physical identity, or duplication thereof, I give the following:

My mother had for many years carried the evidence of rheumatic arthritis in the lower two rows of the joints of her fingers on both hands, they being, as she used to term them, hickory-nut joints, and her habit was, when not specially using her hands, or when she had company or went out, to wear thin silk gloves or mitts over them, a size or two larger than would otherwise be necessary, on account of large joints, to prevent their being noticeable by others. My mother was also accustomed to wear about the shoulders a light comforter or shawl of old-fashioned pattern and size, to prevent chills from the draughts, she claimed.

On this occasion, exact duplications of the old-fashioned silk gloves and shawl were worn by this manifestation, apparently as real as I had ever seen them, and further, and even yet more conclusively convincing, myself and others looked for the hickory-nut jointed fingers, and sure enough the evidence was convincing, tested by sight and touch of more than one-half of the sitters present. Corroborative inspection likewise demonstrated the existence in the eye of a brown spot on the white of the globe of the left eye; and a cluster or cord of silvery hair hanging over the left temple to the left ear, from the upper part of the forehead of the demonstrating apparition, which stood before us and talked with us. Both of these latter features were distinctly noticeable, and had in my mother’s life-time been examined and commented upon, by those who knew her, and to myself they were in this instance a perfect duplication or reflection in the animated apparition which I am now describing.

As the manifestation was about to go it gave me a parting kiss, and said ‘Goodbye’ in a precisely similar manner to that which my mother always adopted, when we parted with each other during her physical existence.

Keith Milton Rhinehart

The mediumship of Keith Milton Rhinehart

Keith Milton Rhinehart was born April 1, 1936, in Nunn, Colorado, and probably became one of the youngest practicing mediums in the history of mediumship. The first indication of his future powers occurred he was about five years and his parents were divorced: Although little note was taken of them at the time, except wonderment and curiosity, poltergeist manifestations occurred in his home then. An occasional picture fell from the wall and rappings were heard here and there when no-one was around.

When Keith was ten years old and living with his mother, Mrs Val Rhinehart, in Cheyenne, Wyoming, she took a trip to San Francisco without him. There she happened to meet a woman named Lillian Laneville, who was planning to attend a meeting, at Florence Becker’s Spiritualist Church. Keith’s mother was asked to accompany her, and she did on the spur of the moment. When her time came for a message, Mrs. Becker began to sing, ‘Why, oh why, oh why-o, did I ever leave Wyoming?’ Then she told Mrs Rhinehart that she had a young son at home who would, one day, become a famous medium. This story, incidentally, has been confirmed independently by Lillian Laneville.

When Mrs. Rhinehart returned home she did not mention the prophecy to her son, but she told him how the medium had identified her as coming from Wyoming. The boy scoffed. You must have written your address down somewhere there and forgotten it. He was already interested in the subject of psychical research and had read a good bit about it, but he was highly critical of any of the phenomena about which he had read. In junior high school he wrote an article on the subject for his school paper, of which he was an editor.

When Keith was twelve he began delivering a morning newspaper, and he well remembers the days when he had to traverse his route in twenty below zero weather. It was his habit each morning before starting out with his papers to glance at the personal column. Once he found an announcement there that a medium wanted a group of people to start a development class with her.

I had read about this subject since I was just a little boy, Rhinehart says. It always fascinated me. I went to this class just to see if what I’d heard about such phenomena was really true. His interest captured by the activities of the group, he attended every week after that.

When Keith Rhinehart was fourteen years old, a visiting medium came to Cheyenne and gave billet readings without charge. The boy attended, and being so critical, he was the one who offered to put the tape over the medium’s eyes. On his billet, he says, he merely asked for a message, and signed the initials K.M.R. When his turn came for a reading, he heard the words, Keith Milton Rhinehart, you are not going into science or radio as you plan but will end up a medium and will be world famous.

I stood right up in the meeting and denied that, Rhinehart recalls. I told him he was definitely wrong about me. But the message continued: Your main spirit guide will be Dr. Robert John Kensington, and you will go into trance within a year.

Although he did not believe this, Keith continued meeting with the development class, and one night he became so bored that he fell asleep. When he awoke later in the evening, he says, I was told that I had been in trance and that objects in the room had moved about in the air and deceased relatives of people present had spoken through me. After this initial experience, he went into trance every week, and his development proceeded at a fast pace.

Toward the end of that year a Spiritualist minister from Tacoma, Washington, visited in Cheyenne. Impressed with the potentialities of the young boy who was developing mediumship, she invited him to come to visit her when he could. And so he did, during the summer between his junior and senior years of high school. He held some séances there which were so successful that he was ordained as a minister at that time. Naturally, when he returned home, he kept his new status from his school friends for fear of their scorn, but he remembered the State of Washington most favourably because the hay fever from which he usually suffered did not bother him there.

When Keith graduated from high school, he had the opportunity for scholarships to four colleges, but he passed them up in favour of the University of Washington because of its climate. By the end of his first year in college, however, his mediumship had developed so strongly that his guides insisted he start a church of his own. Because he was only nineteen, others formed a corporation for him, and the Aquarian Foundation was established.

Susy Smith personally spent some three months in Seattle in the fall of 1965 attending meetings, church services, and development classes at the Aquarian Foundation. “For a time I was allowed during séances to put the medium under test conditions, and in the strictest sense of the word and limiting myself only to those meetings that were carefully controlled, I must say that I observed several phenomena that I cannot account for by normal means.

“Because physical mediumship is the most difficult of all to investigate, for so much of it is alleged to require darkness, one begins to feel that the importance of human character should enter into his evaluation of a medium and his associates. That is why I was glad of the opportunity to spend time at the Aquarian Foundation and get to know not only Keith Rhinehart but the people closely involved with him. I liked these people, and learned that many of them were still highly critical in their observations, while at the same time loving and wanting to protect their medium.

“I felt in Keith Rhinehart a sense of integrity and pride in his mediumship; I watched members of his development groups grow in their own mediumistic powers, and saw their joy in their achievements and the pleasure their friends took in their accomplishments. I began to be aware that in order to account by normal means for some of the phenomena which occurred in the dark there, one would have to presuppose the collaboration of certain members of the foundation. But as I got to know these members it was difficult to believe them capable of any kind of fraudulent collusion with a medium.

Still, in order to maintain the strictest objectivity, I can only report, as in any way conclusive to me, a few incidents that occurred in the light under strictly controlled conditions. The Sunday morning billet services give the best evidence I encountered of something paranormal, however it be explained. At these Keith goes into trance and then Dr. Kensington purports to speak through him. He asks that a stranger or skeptic in the audience come up to blindfold the medium. First the eyes are carefully wiped so that one can be sure there is no oil or grease on them that might allow the bandage to slip so that a peep hole could be devised. Then wide adhesive tape is applied flat across the eyes and temples, usually so tightly pressed down that it removes some of the medium’s eyelashes when it is peeled off afterward. In fact, among my souvenirs of my visit to Seattle I have a few strips of adhesive tape with the medium’s eyelashes on them, retrieved after message services for any evidence of oil on them. Incidentally, I have also taped my own eyes with the adhesive from Keith’s roll, and I know that it is impossible to see out when the tape is applied as it is done at the Aquarian Foundation. After the eyes are taped, with the adhesive carefully flattened and pushed down all around the eyes, a large white bandage is tied around the head. Then a box is placed in front of the medium, containing the billets that have been written and signed by members of the audience.

Dr. Kensington frequently begins giving a message even before reaching for a billet from the box. Then, as he talks, the blindfolded figure fumbles around in the box and pulls out a card. He usually twists this in his hands as he talks, and when his message is finished he passes it to a monitor, who returns it to the person who signed the billet. It is invariably the correct card for the person!—even when, as I once observed, the message was written with a mechanical pencil that contained no lead, and that had barely made a few indentations on the card. Week after week, cards are returned to visitors, strangers, and regular members of the congregation alike, and little gasps can be heard as they identify their own come back to them.

One Sunday Dr. Kensington called for a certain person, who answered from the audience. He gave her several names and messages which she identified. Then he asked her if she had ever been to a service in that church before, and she admitted that she was a complete stranger. Then, and only then, he reached into the billet box and pulled out a card which was handed to her and she identified as her own.

One Sunday a man who admitted that it was only his second Sunday at the services was asked to stand up. He was then told that Anna, his wife, was asking for Steve and, that she loved him. She was reported to say that a candle must be lighted for her at the table on Christmas, because she would be there. Then Dr. Kensington began to describe a dress, with red flowers and green leaves and dashes of yellow in it. The man by this time was standing there shedding tears, for he was told that he had very recently had this dress out because it was a favorite of his wife’s, and that he had been sitting and holding it and crying. After the service I asked this man what his message had been, wondering just how much he had given away by his question. He showed me the card that had been returned to him. It read, To Anna, please talk to me, I love you. It was signed merely, Steve. He told me that his wife had died just a few weeks earlier, and that the night before he had taken out his favorite dress of hers (which answered the medium’s description) and had sat and held it and cried over it. Needless to say, he had not told anyone of this.

When I was in Seattle, most of Keith Rhinehart’s physical phenomena were direct voices, apports, and things of that nature. An apport is an object which appears after having ostensibly been dematerialized from somewhere else and then rematerialized in the séance room. They are said to come from sunken ships, old ruins, large factories with such vast quantities of small, inexpensive objects that a few would never be missed, or somewhere of like nature. The alleged spirits seem to be very careful to do nothing really dishonest in the securing of apports. This is why, it is said, that the amounts of green folding money a medium would appreciate having apported to him never appear. The first apport séance I attended at the Aquarian Foundation was exciting and strange. I enjoyed it, but gave it no evidential value, as it was held in abysmal darkness. Although two dozen white carnations dropped neatly into my arms where I was sitting in the third row, and red rosebuds were handed to me inside a trumpet, I could not give them too much significance. I had not examined the stage beforehand to see if anything was hidden there, and I did not know whether or not a confederate in the audience might have brought them in. I found the experience highly entertaining, but not conclusive in any way.

The next apport séance that was scheduled was therefore planned to give me the maximum of assurance. Keith himself suggested that the lights be left on. This is not often done because it is said to be extremely hard on this medium to produce ectoplasm in the light-even though he is inside of his cabinet at the time. After the séance, he was reported to have been ill for several days, and a few members of his congregation were furious at me for trying to kill their beloved medium. I don’t take this too lightly because, frankly, I have never been a physical medium and I don’t know what bodily conditions are involved. I do know better than to scoff completely; far too many investigators more critical and more scientifically oriented than I have observed physical phenomena they couldn’t account for.

However, as I said, the suggestion that this session be held in the light was made by Rhinehart himself, and I cannot but give him credit for it. Before the meeting I was given the opportunity to examine the entire room, particularly the stage area, to make sure that no objects were hidden there. There was no basement under that part of the building, as I knew from personal inspection. The floor was covered with wall-to-wall carpeting, which was fastened tight to the stripping along the wall, and the chair in which the medium sat would have to be moved in order to pull it back. The walls were of plaster, with no recesses or indentations where anything could be hidden. I almost took the medium’s chair apart, but found no trick arms that would come loose, no false bottom of any kind, no hollow legs or arms.

The medium’s cabinet was in the outside corner of the room, which was at the outside corner of the building, almost against the street. Keith’s cabinet was composed of two purple velvet curtains that were pulled out on a rack from the wall to make a square in the corner of the room. The top is about two feet down from the ceiling.

After my examination of the room, I asked two men from the audience to come up and search Keith. One was Clyde Beck, who has been a member of the American Society for Psychical Research for some years. The other was a man who had never attended a séance before and did not believe any mediums were genuine. They stripped him of all his clothing and examined him carefully. (Of course, there was no way to give him an internal examination to make sure that he had nothing hidden within his body, but the nature of the apports themselves would seem to preclude that.)

Keith then resumed his shorts and shirt, and I entered the cabinet and tied him securely to his chair with a heavy cord that frayed if one were to attempt to loosen it. His wrists and bare feet were tied so tightly that afterward there were deep red grooves in them.

Now, in order that his audience will not think that he is practicing ventriloquism when the voices are heard, Rhinehart always has his mouth filled with water and then taped shut before going into trance. After the séance is over he spits out the water to indicate that he has held it in his mouth all the time. On this occasion I gave him milk instead of water, which he still retained when the session was over. I placed a wide strip of adhesive tape across his mouth and made marks on it extending out onto his skin so that if the tape were removed it would be evident. This is also part of his usual procedure.

I have learned from experimenting, however, that it is possible to loosen the center of the tape and talk without disturbing the correlation of the markings; I also know that one can do a little talking with water or milk in his mouth, and that it is possible for some persons to swallow a fluid which they later can regurgitate. I am not sure whether it would be possible under these conditions for a variety of voices to be produced, ranging from very deep, sonorous tones, to children’s prattle, to a beautiful tenor voice singing, when the medium’s natural voice is a mediocre baritone. I don’t know either whether conversation can be sustained for hours on end under these conditions, as I have heard it at the Seattle séances.

The room itself on this afternoon was illuminated by several ceiling lights and visibility was excellent. I sat in the second row of the audience, the front row of seats being vacant, and watched everything that occurred. What did occur, in the light, with the medium bound and gagged, were apports. Susan, the cabinet guide—the little spirit entity who acts as master of ceremonies—called out the name of each person in the audience in turn. Then she passed each person’s apport under the cabinet curtain for him, talking as she did so about where it had come from, what it was, or why it was particularly appropriate for that individual. I observed each object land outside of the cabinet before it was picked up.

On that Sunday afternoon, in the light, with the medium gagged and tied up, some fifty apports were dropped out of the cabinet, varying in size from tiny plastic disks and inexpensive items of jewelry and scarabs, to a Mayan or Aztec relic of stone about two inches high, a plain oval rock almost two inches long, a jagged-edged arrowhead three inches long, and several smaller arrowheads. My particular present was a bronze Roman coin from about the second century A.D.

My own testimony about Keith Rhinehart’s apports is enhanced, it seems to me, by a color movie taken in the brightly lighted church one Sunday before I arrived in Seattle. In it the medium is seen spewing from his mouth quantities of small objects as he did in the Japanese séance. The most curious thing about this film, however, is that apports are seen in his ears. I have talked to men, whose powers of observation seem perfectly reliable, who were standing right beside the medium at the time. They saw that he was not by any kind of sleight of hand sticking those black stones in his ears, but that the stones seemed to arrive as bulges in his neck, which then inwardly popped up into his ears one by one and were removed as they appeared.

This movie was made by amateurs and is not too good. By itself it is not conclusive evidence. Neither is the testimony of witnesses, when taken alone. But taking everything in aggregate, and with the testimony of the Japanese scientists to back up other statements, it seems to me that we have here one of the best possible cases for honest physical mediumship.

Although it is usually thought that good physical mediums are things of the past Keith Milton Rhinehart of Seattle, Washington has produced phenomena under controlled conditions which deeply impressed scientists in Japan. Physicists and chemists from faculties of the universities of Tokyo and Osaka and from electro-technical laboratories publicly expressed their surprise in films that have been televised in Japan and the United States.

Rhinehart’s manifestations in Japan occurred during a time when he was securely locked in a specially constructed chair, so designed that if the occupant so much as moved an inch it would be recorded. Before being placed into the chair Rhinehart had been stripped and thoroughly examined, then given a simple dark kimona to wear. He was also carefully weighed, and measured, his blood pressure taken, his urine analyzed and many other tests made. (These tests were repeated after the séance, and the results have been published; indicating that amazing physiological changes occur during mediumship.) Rhinehart was then placed into the chair and tied securely. Both of his arms lay in wooden enclosures from which he could not move them without having his motions recorded. The chair arms were studded with small buttons connected to red lights, and if his arms were raised off the buttons, the red lights would flash on. There was also an automatic weighing device fitted into the chair, which had been especially constructed by scientists for the visit of this prominent American medium. The weighing device was wired to an electrical graph-chart that recorded any of his movements.

Under these test conditions many physical phenomena showing ectoplasm in various forms were produced under white light and photographed with still and movie cameras. Ectoplasm, a substance that comes from the body of a medium during trance, is quite often invisible. When it can be seen it looks like a milky-white substance of nebulous form and consistency. It has been analyzed in a laboratory and has been found to contain human cells as well as another substance that has not yet been identified. During the Japanese tests ectoplasm flowed from Rhinehart’s nose, ears, throat, and solar plexus, levitating trumpets and producing partial materializations. Some of the phenomena were photographed on infrared motion picture film, later televised in Japan.

One sequence revealed an ectoplasmic-mass flowing from the entranced medium downward, then up over the edge of a nearby table. In the picture it appeared to be a long, thick swan’s neck. The end of the mass, looking like the swan’s beak, actually, consisted of two finger-like protuberances, known as pseudopods, which grasped a pencil and drew with it on a sheet of paper. The drawing afterwards found to be a face, recognized by Mr. Mikami, the leader of a religious group, attending the séance, as the alleged face of his spirit guide. In a second picture, taken a short time after the first, so much ectoplasm had come out that it had covered the entire body of the medium.

At other séances, arranged under controlled conditions in Tokyo and Kyoto during the medium’s visit to Japan in 1958, materialized spirits appeared: One was recognized as the deceased father of Professor Iki Goto, D.E., of Tokyo University an investigator at the séance. The spirit walked out of the cabinet down the room, turned around, and walked slowly back into the cabinet. A cabinet, of course is the dark, enclosed area in which the medium frequently sits in order, it is claimed to build power and to allow the ectoplasm a controlled area in which to form.

Some fifteen minutes later, the spirit appeared again. This time he had his sleeves rolled up and showed a scar he had received while in his earth life. This phenomenon, illuminated by white light was witnessed by some three hundred sitters who marveled and wondered, according to the widow of the late Wasaburo Asano, founder of modern psychical research in Japan and first president the Japanese Psychic Science Association.

Just before the end of the séance, Mrs. Asana reports, the guide requested that a basin be put near the medium, ready for him, when he was taken from the trance state. As soon as this was done the medium tore off the adhesive plaster that bound his mouth spat out hundreds of polished agates in rapid succession. After this more agates came from the trumpet that was poked through the cabinet curtain. There were a total of 720 pieces of agate which were later examined by Kenichi Ikeda, a jeweler who valued them at more than five hundred yen apiece.

Keith Milton Rhinehart’s trip around the world was his second world tour, and had been given to the young medium by his church, the Aquarian Foundation, as a coming-of-age present.

Rhinehart in Egypt

By Dr Aly Rady

After I returned to Egypt from England in 1957, Mr. Abu Alkeir, who was at that time the leading Spiritualist in Egypt, asked me to go to Alexandria to meet an American medium, the Reverend Keith Milton Rhinehart.  A sitting was arranged with him there, at the home of a Spiritualist of Greek origin, Mr. George Kitroff, and was to be held on the evening of 23rd November, 1957.
Blindfolded, the medium asked the sitters to put in front of him their questions to their spirit friends, written on small pieces of paper, and so I wrote two words on my piece of paper, these being my own name, and that of my mother.

When he began to demonstrate, you could see one of the pieces of paper jumping by itself to his finger-tips. And then he began to answer the questions, either by writing, or by speaking. This went on for some time, but suddenly, heard a click, like an electrical discharge, behind my ear, and about six feet high. Immediately after this, the medium wrote on a piece of paper, and threw it onto the floor.
A young chap picked it up, exclaiming “It is written in Arabic. Knowing that all the other sitters were Greek, I asked him if I could see it. When he handed it to me, I realised that it was addressed to me: ‘My son, Aly Rady , and the signature was Amouna Rady’. I was quite astonished. The handwriting was very similar to hers! Add to this the fact that the medium had never been to Egypt before, and does not himself know a single word of Arabic. He was only 21 years old at that time! After this, he began to give me a long, oral message from my mother, describing all my troubles, just as if she were living with me at home!

Following this, he proceeded to demonstrate Direct Voice. The three-piece trumpet was raised in the air in full light! Then spirit personalities started to talk to their relatives, who were really, and obviously excited at the conversations they were holding.

On the second evening, Rhinehart was in Cairo, where we arranged for him a big meeting at the Medical Doctors Association. Amongst the people who were invited by Abu Alkeir were ministers, ex-pashas, doctors and judges, etc. I was asked to introduce the medium to the audience and to act as interpreter. He demonstrated exactly the same things as on the previous night, as well as materialisation!

The medium sat behind a small black curtain as usual, and the trumpet rose above it in the full light. Before he entered the cabinet, Rhinehart filled his mouth with water, and the mouth was then sealed with gummed tape. I was one of those who shared in this operation, and then put my signature on his cheek.

When the trumpet rose up into the air without any seen force, Susan, the medium’s doorkeeper, began to speak through it. First of all, she asked somebody at the back of the hall to stop waving his hand from side to side. I looked back, and noticed a man waving his newspaper in front of his face because of the hot weather. Nobody could possibly imagine how the medium, fixed into his chair behind the black curtain, might have seen through the curtain, and through the audience to have known about that. He certainly couldn’t have heard any movement at the back of such a big hall!
According to Susan, Sir William Crookes was telling her that this night would be a milestone in the history of Spiritualism in Egypt.

Katie King then said that she would materialise. Soon, light ectoplasm began to form on the top of the curtain, behind which the medium could be partially seen. And we soon saw her shoulders and her head, covered with a white shawl, similar to the traditional picture, which was taken of her, arm in arm with Sir William Crookes, in 1874, through the mediumship of Florence Cook. I saw her very clearly as she moved from side to side right next to me, in the dim light.

After that materialisation was dissolved away, the guide, Susan came again. “Gabriel is here”, she said. “Who is Gabriel”, I asked, and was stunned by the reply – “Gabriel, who brought the Koran to Muhamed, and he blesses this meeting”. Obviously she meant the Archangel Gabriel, who was God’s messenger to all the prophets. I would like to testify here that I never saw another materialisation, or heard about the presence of an Angel in any other sitting, before or after that day.

Messages were now given loudly through the trumpet, in different languages, including German, Swedish, Arabic and English. At the time, I wrote notes down of all the messages, and afterwards, when I made enquiries, I found them all to be 100 per cent correct!

As the trumpet was pointing to a lady sitting nearby, she was being addressed affectionately in German by the voice of another lady in spirit. On hearing the message, the recipient had tears in her eyes as she answered the communicator. After the sitting, I discovered that she was a German lady, married to an Egyptian, and the spirit speaking to her was her mother.
Another message came for a friend of mine, Mr. H. A., who had to be present. The spirit communicator who came for him was his son, who correctly gave his name. He sent his father an encouraging message, and told him to take care of himself. He stated that he was now part of a group of spirits whose aim was to prevent accidents. After the sitting, this friend told me that his son was killed as a youngster when a slab of wood fell on his head in the street.

The omen that this spirit predicted for his father came true after some years, when he was given promotion in his office, and his financial difficulties were removed. Also, I knew that the father had trouble with his intestines at that time. Afterwards he developed cancer and was sick for some years until he died 12 years after this message.

Whilst blindfolded, the medium gave written messages to many members of the audience, and I collected some of them. They were similar to the one I received in Arabic, the last evening in Alexandria, and testimonies from the recipients later showed them all to be correct.

After the Rhinehart sittings in Egypt in 1957, I wrote a book, in Arabic, called ‘A Miracle in Egypt’, which recorded Rhinehart’s work during that visit. Some years later, at the request of Mr. Rhinehart himself, it was translated into English.

The glorious work of the Rev. Keith Milton Rhinehart, and his superb demonstrations of physical phenomena, affected me very deeply. It gave me the motive to begin a new campaign to spread this wonderful truth in Egypt. I began to establish the Pyramids Spiritual Association (PSA for short), which was opened on the 5th April, 1958 – just four months after Rhinehart’s visit to Egypt.

He visited forty countries and held séances under test conditions in many of them, including England, India, and the Union of South Africa.

One of the most extraordinary séances of all time took place in Johannesburg, South Africa.

It was a joint séance at which two powerful physical mediums, Alec Harris and Keith Rhinehart, were linked by a broad stream of ectoplasm, and ten figures materialised.

The séance was given by Harris in return for one of Rhinehart’s he attended in company with nearly 50 others, which went on for four hours!

Here he heard pure, fluent Zulu spoken to a native servant of the house by his “dead” father, through Rhinehart’s direct-voice mediumship.

Nearly every sitter received a personal message.

The messages to Mr and Mrs Alec Harris included one from her mother, who gave both her Christian and surnames.

At the Harris séance, possibly unique of its kind, Rhinehart, the American medium who is on a round-the-world tour, sat with a dozen others and watched several figures materialise, including a spirit guide of his whom he recognised and conversed with.

This amazing figure had a spirit light glowing inside his ectoplasmic head, and shining through the eye sockets!

Then a tall materialised spirit figure, known as the “scientist”, appeared bathed in a strong bluish light, put his hands on Rhinehart’s solar plexus and drew forth a long stream of ectoplasm.

This he stretched and broadened as he walked backwards to Harris, to whose body he joined it.

He next took a section of the ectoplasm to a sitter and told him he was going to give him healing.

Mrs V. Carleton Jones, who was present, says that the “scientist” fed the ectoplasm into the patient’s solar plexus drawing it as he did so from Rhinehart, via Harris.

It was a living force seen by all present, and it broadened and moved in a most amazing way.

Then, in a flash, it was gone!

A further magnificent materialisation occurred when a leading guide of the Harris circle appeared with his whole torso transparent and showing a glowing light within.

His arms were solid and his ectoplasmic draperies hid his lower limbs, but his body was just a shell, with a pulsating light coming and going in a fantastic manner.

Everything that took place was clearly seen in the light of three red bulbs.

Mrs Carleton-Jones said that this séance seemed to dispel the theory that two physical mediums cannot sit in the same circle without cancelling each other’s power.

“To me, this was among the most wonderful experiences I have ever been privileged to witness.”

She has attended scores of voice and materialisation séances.

Mrs Carleton Jones describes Rhinehart’s public sittings in Johannesburg as a highlight in the psychic history of that city.

At his voice séance, half a dozen sitters received apports in the form of small hand-painted cards, each with a different subject.

Each came one at a time, through the floating trumpet.

Recipients were asked to feel inside the trumpet and announced that it was empty.

A rattling sound was next heard.

The sitter then said that a card had materialised inside the trumpet.


When I visited the Japan Psychic Science Association in 1995 I was shown the film of Rhinehart’s séances. It is kept under secure conditions together with many valuable and out-of-print Spiritualist books in English and Japanese.

I am aware of the articles and claims written about Rhinehart nevertheless he was an outstanding physical medium at the age of twenty-one when he went on his world tour.

I was in South Africa when he visited that country.

He came to Cape Town and gave a brilliant demonstration of clairvoyance.

In the audience were Mona van der Watt and her husband, Eben.
Rhinehart singled her out and, amongst other good evidence, gave her the names of some of her guides which were all correct.
She had no doubt that he had a genuine gift.
His joint demonstration with Alec Harris is certainly one of the most astonishing demonstrations of physical mediumship ever seen.
I know that Barbanell organised meetings in London for Rhinehart and also wrote very favourably about him.
It is not beyond the realms of possibility, as a young man surrounded by sycophants constantly praising his abilities, that he started to believe the stories about him.

He visited 40 countries and lectured and held séances in over half of them.
He was the first visiting medium to demonstrate psychic phenomena in Turkey.
After his first séance there which was printed on the front page of an Istanbul newspaper over 600 Moslems arrived for the second séance.
Spirit communicators managed to speak in their native tongues and give their native names.
After leaving South Africa he visited India then went on to Japan.
In March 1958 he returned to America after visiting Honolulu.

Keith Milton Rhinehart died April 30, 1999.

An Interview with Leslie Flint, Independent Direct Voice Medium

by George Cranley

This interview was videoed by Bram Rogers who preceded Leslie to the Spirit World soon after the interview.

George states that “I first sat with Leslie in 1971 and thereafter over ten years with a small group of friends, eight in number, once a month and more often if circumstances permitted. All the seances were tape recorded. Not only did he receive convincing evidence of the continuity of life, but Leslie was conscious throughout and often joined in the conversations. It all seemed so normal and natural. Since Leslie’s passing, I have had the pleasure of talking to him and Bram through the mediumship of Colin Fry who gave sittings to Leslie prior to his transition.Their voices were quite distinctive and their personalities unchanged, which is how it should be”.

Leslie may I start by asking you, when did you first sit for development?

Well, I started in the Spiritualist movement when I was 18 or 19; I sat for just on seven years with a very, very dedicated group of people. Previous to that I sat in a small group which broke up, but these things happen. People sit for a few months, nothing much happens, and they get a bit browned-off. Mrs. So-and-so is not very happy about Mrs. So-and-so. Is she in a trance or isn’t she? – you get an undercurrent. Eventually, I did get to sit with a group of very dedicated people. They had no axes to grind at all. They were quite prepared to sit for however long in the hope of receiving something. We sat for months where nothing, or hardly anything, of any consequence happened.

How many were in the circle?

Well eventually there were seven, but finding the right circle is very difficult because you get a lot of people who on the surface seem to be very keen, and they hope they may achieve or develop something. It was in this group of seven, a husband and wife and some friends who, I use this expression, had no axe to grind. They were prepared to give of themselves, and even if nothing happened, their attitude was well, look, what does it amount to? We sit together in love and harmony at peace. We shut the world out, as best we can, in the hope we may receive inspiration. If nothing of an extraordinary nature happens, we are quite happy and content to be as we are. There had been some indications, such as they were, that something was happening around me. I didn’t go into trance or anything like that in those very early days. I used to sit with the rest of them and think it was nice. I had a very poverty-stricken background. We didn’t and couldn’t afford what we then thought of as luxuries such as iced cakes. These people were in a reasonably good financial condition and everything was above my experience – their home, their way of speech and their attitude. To me they were people of a much higher stature socially. In a way, I enjoyed going there for the social side quite apart from the séances. If nothing had ever happened, the fact was that I was going to sit with these people once a week in a much better class area than that of which I was living. I lived in the worst possible poverty-stricken area in the town [St. Albans in Hertfordshire]. Anyway to cut a long winded story short, I was very, very, deeply interested in the subject.

Were they sitting for you or were you just sitting as a group?

It developed from the point of view of sitting together in love and harmony for whatever, if anything came. They began to realize, although I didn’t, that it was me that had whatever that was needed. They felt that they could develop and bring it out in some way. Eventually we did get some very strange happenings, noises which you couldn’t account for and a sort of hissing sound, I think that’s how I can put it, a sort of ‘sssssss’ sound. Then I started to go off into a trance.

How did you feel when you first went into trance? What sort of experiences did you have?

Well, I was annoyed. I mean quite frankly, they were saying to me, ‘you’ve been off’. I knew I had been off somewhere. We’d been getting this hissing sound, a sibilant sound, obviously someone trying to speak or say something.

Was this through the trumpet?

In the beginning we didn’t have a trumpet. I don’t know why we didn’t. After they had been getting this sound business, I was annoyed that they were hearing voices and I wasn’t hearing anything, so they said ‘We’ll get a trumpet made’. Eventually a trumpet was made although I don’t know what it was made of, cardboard or something. Later we got an aluminium one.

Quite a long time after that, it started to move and whizzed around the room a bit- I was scared. Actually, I was half here and half away at that period. I wasn’t too happy about it. The sitters were getting thrilled and excited about it. ‘Oh, thank you’ and ‘bless you’. Eventually after the trumpet having moved around a bit on several occasions, we got this voice, if you call it a voice. It was recognizable to a point, but it was unnatural. It didn’t sound like a real voice, but the circle was thrilled and happy and something was happening, and I thought, ‘Well, I do enjoy coming here for the tea and sandwiches!’

I realize now that you cannot command or demand anything psychic. You sit with the best of intentions hoping something may transpire. A lot of circles break up, as they did in my early time when nothing happens. I stuck it out and I was quite happy being with them. They were thrilled and I was happy, fascinated, and at the same time a bit nervous. We got eventually, the voices and Mickey came.

How long before the voices came – months or years?

It must have been just on seven years. Mickey and other people came. Of course, you know my interest was Valentino. It was through him and my interest in him, that I started to go into Spiritualism at all. His wife wrote a book, after his passing in 1926, in which she gave half of the book to messages she had received from him since his passing. I didn’t know, but it came to light, that Valentino had been deeply involved in psychics and Spiritualism, and used to attend séances when he was able. In particular he used to sit with a medium in New York.

I thought if someone like that, and his wife who was obviously a very brilliant woman, could be convinced of psychics and life after death and communication, I’d like to know more about it. I started getting messages in the direct voice purporting, and I use the word ‘Purporting’, to be Valentino. I accepted, but was not sure about it. Previous to that I’d had a letter from Germany, I’d never been outside of England and I didn’t know anyone in Germany. I got this letter when I came home from work one day, and my Grandmother, with whom I was living in this terrible area said. “Ere, there’s a letter for you up on the mantelpiece”. I said, “A letter for me?” I’d never received a letter in my life!

It was from some woman in Germany giving her name and everything and saying she held a regular weekly séance in Munich. A message had been received from Valentino asking her to write to me because I had a work to do for humanity. Well, I read this, and was absolutely overwhelmed. How could this woman, whom I had never known or heard of in my life, living in Germany, get my address and write to me telling me she had been in touch with Valentino? That was really the beginning of it all. That really got me moving.

Leslie, did you believe it was Valentino communicating?

I couldn’t believe it was Valentino. It was marvellous really, but I thought, “Why Me?” I had never met the man although I had admired him like millions of people did, they adored the man. I couldn’t take it in. I was overwhelmed by it. Anyway, I continued sitting with these people. A medium who was living in Watford, near St. Albans, with whom I’d had some sittings, also said that I had work to do, etc., and I thought, ‘well yes, I keep hearing this’. Eventually, the medium moved away from the area but by then I had developed clairvoyance to some extent and also got to know people who went to a little Spiritualist Church. When he left the church they asked me if I would take over the running of it.

The responsibility of taking over a church, such as it was, which seated about a hundred-odd people frightened me but nevertheless, I took it over. By this time I was beginning to develop. The circle said ‘Leslie, why don’t you give some séances’. I said “Well, I don’t know that one can do that in a public way.” With direct voice or physical mediumship you never know whether it is going to happen or not. It only needs one person who doesn’t understand the subject to do something stupid and it could endanger my health. They said “You must have more faith!”

When did you first meet Noah Zerdin?

I started to do occasional public direct voice séances or physical circles and they went very well, much to my amazement. Sometimes it was staggering! That was how I first met Noah Zerdin. He came over to Watford and joined a séance. I had never heard of him as this was long before his work or his name was well known. His wife, who unknown to me, had been tragically killed in a fire, came through. From that moment on he was totally overwhelmed and he got to the point where he wanted to attend regularly with me. I remember him especially because of the extraordinary nature of his sittings in those early days.

One day who should come to a séance but Maurice Barbanell, whom I had never met. It was about a year after he had started doing the “Psychic News”. Noah Zerdin had talked him into coming to Watford unannounced to sit with me. I can’t remember if he had a communication.

What led you to give public direct voice demonstrations?

Noah Zerdin said he wanted me to go and spend weekends at his family home and try experimental séances. He had this bee in his bonnet about shutting me in a cupboard. I thought %*^%$ that! Sitting in a strange house with people you’ve only just got to know who want to shut you up in a box-like arrangement was something else.

The whole idea was that if one could get the voices that way then on a stage you could have a covered-in part of where the medium could sit and the whole of the theatre could be in full light. He wanted to bring physical mediumship and direct voice to the public in an open theatre of about 1000 or so people. Everybody could then hear everything that took place unlike a private séance where only half a dozen or so could hear.

I played along with him on that. It would be interesting I thought. The understanding was that under no circumstances were we to have microphones in the cabinet because people would think that something had been rigged. I demonstrated in this way in the years that followed, at the Scala Theatre, the Kingsway Hall, and in Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester. We never allowed microphones in the cabinet. The Tannoy people installed everything. They stood in front of the audiences and assured them that there were no microphones hidden in the cabinet. The extraordinary thing was the voices were clear even though the microphones were up to two feet away from the cabinet.

Did Noah Zerdin always go with you to these public meetings?

In the early years, yes. There were occasions when other organizations asked me if I would do a demonstration. These were separate from Noah’s Link of Home Circles. In those days everything that was done was organized by reputable Spiritualist societies to try to give conviction of life after death to suffering humanity. Not like today which is now big business where people are more concerned about their name in the paper and making as much money as they can. The people I worked with, thank God, were genuine, sincere, deeply involved and anxious to help comfort humanity.

All those meeting that we did – I know prices are different today – but when you think that they would hire the Kingsway Hall or the Scala Theatre, they had to advertise of course, they also had an organist and yet they did it for almost nothing. There was no money made. I didn’t get any fees. I was never paid a fee. We did it because we wanted to help and comfort and uplift mankind. The financial side had to be assured, obviously there were some people who made a donation towards the expenses but I never, ever, received a fee.

I was asked by different Spiritualist organizations if I would help the Societies because things were difficult financially. Not like today. You read in the “Psychic News”, for an evening of clairvoyance at the local church, they charge #2 – #3 – #5. We didn’t look at it, we didn’t think of it, in that way. Finance was not the vitally important thing it is today. Today it is big business. I am ashamed to be a Spiritualist today, to some extent, when I’m lumped together with some of these people. To me, they are not presenting Spiritualism in a way which commands respect.

What do you think of the Spiritualist movement today?

 I think the movement has gone downhill. I was brought up with people who hadn’t got two ha’pennies to rub together; they didn’t really make any money. They had to give few private sittings to help out, that’s true enough, but today it’s different. I have to admit perhaps I am prejudiced by all those people I knew, people no one had ever heard of, who worked in their local churches and were sometimes quite excellent. They weren’t seeking a name or a lot of credit or a write-up in the “Psychic News”. Today they’re like pop stars. This is the way I feel about it. I think they are letting the movement down.”

In the old days Maurice Barbanell didn’t just print anything in the “Psychic News”. He was a bit of a task master. He would make sure what he was printing was fact. He wasn’t always happy about me but that didn’t worry me because I respected him. He wouldn’t just publish something in the “Psychic News” because a medium wrote in and said what a wonderful demonstration they had given. He’d want to know, he would want to be there and witness it himself. Now mediums write books, some being sheer rubbish and imagination.

Do you think that the hectic pace of life today is putting pressure on mediums to perform?

In the old days if you couldn’t produce it, you didn’t do it. I remember Estelle Roberts opening a church, which was an important time for that little organization. She volunteered to give a demonstration of clairvoyance free of charge to help them out.

She couldn’t get anything. She had to admit it and said “I’m awfully sorry friends, I’d love to help you, that’s why I’m here, but I’m not getting anything”. That’s what mediums should do and not give a substandard performance by fabricating messages or padding them out.

I have seen the great days where ordinary working-class people did wonderful work. I have also seen people like Lord Dowding and Shaw Desmond and a lot of the well known personalities take a theatre for an evening. They would give a short talk beforehand about the movement and to try and explain and help people to realize the greater purpose behind the séance which I gave.

Now, nobody bothers about spirituality and what is behind it. Not only the personal messages which are wonderful to get and what we need – you’ve got to have conviction and evidence – but the spiritual side. We used to get some wonderful communications through trance mediums such as Horace Hambling. It was a joy and a pleasure to go. You were being spiritually uplifted.

Leslie, what is your answer to people who say physical mediumship is a low form of mediumship?

I can understand, in a way, why they say that. The point is, if you want real conviction of life after death, physical mediumship is the answer. I am not saying you won’t get it through mental mediumship. A lot of wonderful things have been achieved through clairvoyance and trance mediums. All the different aspects of the subject are vital to the cause.

In a physical circle, if you are fortunate to sit in one where it is obvious that everyone is genuine and sincere and they are not doing it to make money or get publicity, you may get that direct communication from someone you have known and loved. You might get a message from a certain person giving information and you haven’t a clue what it’s all about. Later, you may be able to find out that the person did exist and that what they said was correct.

Evidence is always a personal thing. In the majority of cases, the best evidence is from someone you have known and loved. You may have made some pact with them. I’ve known of cases where a person said ‘If I can ever get through, if there is any truth in all this, I will say so-and-so’. I have known that to happen. Then again you will get critics who will say ‘Well of course you knew all that. You had it in your mind. Maybe they were able to pick up your thoughts’. All communication is a mental process whatever form it takes.

Evidence is something of such a personal nature that you can’t lay down hard and fast rules. You asked me about direct voice or physical mediumship. Of course it is the most evidential and striking because it’s much more likely to be of a nature which you can’t fake. There have been fake mediums. Let’s face it.

Surely if they are fakes then they can’t be mediums?

William Roy, who I think, in the beginning did have a genuine mediumship, realized he couldn’t always produce phenomena and started faking it. Some of the things he got in the early stages were obviously genuine.

The tragedy of physical, indeed all, mediumship is you can’t guarantee anything. No medium can guarantee anything. No medium can guarantee anything and no two séances are the same. Many a genuine, sincere person has gone to a Spiritualist Church in the hope that maybe there’s something in it and that may be helped, uplifted and encouraged. They’ve gone once and they’ve never put their foot in a Spiritualist Church again because the programme has been so awful.

When one talks about this whole subject, one has to realize that possibly it was never intended to be demonstrated in a public way. The whole thing is so personal, fundamentally. The person who is searching for truth and hoping for comfort and upliftment is very unlikely to get it in the theatre or cinema or in a public place. Mediumship, by its very nature, is a very personal thing. That’s why a group of people-dedicated, sincere, searching for truth, sitting together regularly over a period of time – will eventually achieve something of value. You have got to realize there’s no guarantee that it will work or will happen.

I once took a very big meeting at the Kingsway Hall and I had done quite a lot of meetings up to that point. They had all been successful, some more so than others. On this occasion I collapsed in the cabinet. Fortunately, Joseph Benjamin who was in the audience, took over and gave a demonstration of clairvoyance while I was carried out.

Did you feel any different giving large public demonstrations as opposed to small groups?

There is always a certain amount of apprehension at any time when you hold a séance. The onus is on you, not that you can do anything about it. I was a little apprehensive at times, especially when going to Manchester or some other big hall where the conditions were unknown. I suppose it varied according to how one was feeling at that particular time, but I had in my innermost self, tremendous faith in the ‘Other Side’. I knew they couldn’t work miracles, although they seemed like miracles to some, and there would be times where they couldn’t achieve what they wanted.

Psychism, spiritualism, mediumship is not necessarily something one should assume should happen when you think it should happen. The best séances are those that happen spontaneously or without any sort of realization that it’s going to be. You cannot command or demand. It may, sometimes, happen with great success, and at other times – nothing. There have been moments when I have thought so-and-so is coming up to me for a sitting, perhaps a very famous person who I would like to meet anyway. I would pray within myself that it would be a great success and it turned out to be a flop. You never know what is going to happen. These people who produce things on demand, like rabbits out of hats, I’ve no time for.

Leslie what is your view on the resurgence of physical mediumship today?

There should be, and there is, a great deal of general interest in the physical side of psychic phenomena. It is the most convincing form of phenomena, under the right conditions.

Did you ever have any form of physical manifestation in your séances?

They started that with me halfway through my development. We were having wonderful success with the voices. All manner and kinds of communication took place for all sorts of people from all walks of life, and that was fabulous.

Then, they started to experiment with ectoplasm forms. I can’t say they were complete forms because they were not. There were obviously attempts being made to build up and it scared the living daylights out of me. I didn’t like it, I didn’t want it, I resisted it. Not only did I respond in that way, but one or two of the sitters weren’t too happy about it either. I suppose, in a kind of way, I got to the point where I accepted the voices, and everybody else accepted them. They were uplifting, they were comforting, they were helpful and they were doing wonderful work. When you see something happening that is, well, not exactly frightening but…

I remember we were sitting there one night and we saw this hand materialize. I didn’t want it to come near me, that was my reaction to it, so I killed it in a way. I was happy with the voices, to me, that was intelligent. It was something that proved and gave comfort. With this other business [manifestations] it was…I don’t know… there was an awful smell.

When the voices began were you in trance?

Well, I used to go in and out of trace for a time. I used to get irritated sometimes when people would say [we had no recordings in those days] ‘Oh, we got so-and-so today’. I thought,’ That’s all very well for you’. There were times when I was out and times when I wasn’t, it varied. In the early stages, I’d drift off but I could sometimes hear slightly. It’s when you are not fully out, it’s when you’re halfway there, that you get a bit edgy. It got very irritating when people said, ‘you know we had this that and the other’. I thought well I got *%$@ all.

Have you ever had any information yourself through Direct Voice for your own personal use of development?

Yes, but I never had a great deal of personal things. Many years ago, an American came over from San Francisco. He contacted me, saying that he would like to have a séance with me, having heard about me through some American friends. His wife communicated. He had a number of séances with me and stayed on in England because of the séances.

After my wife died, he wanted me to give up everything and go and live in San Francisco. He was a multimillionaire. He wanted to build a church and hold séances and meetings there. He said he would finance everything and when he died he would leave everything for me, because I had given him new heart, new hope and he knew all was well with his wife, etc.

Were you tempted?

It was a great temptation. I had my regular weekly circle at that time and I asked whether I should accept an offer that had been made to me- I didn’t say what it was. Anyway, we got a message saying ‘under no circumstances was I to go to America, that my work was here in England, and not to worry’ or words to that effect.

I thought it was a marvellous opportunity to go and live in America and to have everything I needed. No headaches, no worries about finance or old age. I was furious because I had obviously turned down what was a wonderful opportunity. It was quite genuine. I thought ‘well they said no, I had better not go’. I stayed on and got up in all the various things that have happened over the years, good, bad, and indifferent, but I have no cause for complaint.

The Other Side have been marvellous. I’m not saying they had to do, or did do everything. Of course they didn’t. They did what they had to do as best they could. I remember Mickey [the guide] saying once – it must be at least 30 years ago- you play ball with me, mate, I’ll play ball with you’. How true that has been! You play ball with them, to the best of their ability, and they will do everything to help you. The medium is merely the vehicle, and the less the medium is involved the better it will be and more likely it is that the mediumship will open up and expand.

Leslie what role does the conscious mind play in physical mediumship?

That will vary.

Depending on what?

Depending on all sorts of factors.

Do you think that if you, for example, were desperate to help somebody, that it would influence the communication?

Only in as much as you are anxious from within your innermost self they will be successful. You know very well that there is nothing you can do about it. The less you know your sitter the better it is. I’ve learned from other mediums, although they don’t like admitting it, that they pick up things from the answers a member of the audience gives and then they add to it and extend it.

Being a good sitter is an art in itself. You should be able to sit with an open mind and an open heart, willing to receive whatever it is that may be of value or help, but not to suggest things to the medium and not to put things in their way from which they can build. I think a lot of mediums, unconsciously maybe, do build up and add to a message. A medium is a sensitized person and will pick up from all manner of conditions and sources. In a circle, you just sit there and say ‘Here I am for the next hour or whatever. If I can be of any help or service, okay’. It isn’t what you can do, but what the Other Side can do through you. You’ve got to be like a sponge, you’ve got to absorb. I remember Mickey saying once to me, in answer to that question, that if you had been in trance they would have preferred it, rather than you had been conscious. It made it more difficult for them.

You have to see it from different angles. I think being in trance, knowing nothing, is much the best thing in more ways than one. The point is, that if you’re conscious of what is going on, you could, unconsciously perhaps, infiltrate or in some way affect the communication. If you accept the premise that all communication is a mental process and the medium is aware and conscious, he could infiltrate the message.

A lot of mediums get messages which fundamentally are marvellous but by putting their own interpretation on what they receive and perhaps getting a sentence wrong they could transform the meaning intended by a communicator. I agree that being in trance is probably the best thing, but again, from the sitters’ point of view, if the medium is conscious and a voice is talking and the medium is talking from time to time and sometimes butts in on what is being said, they say it couldn’t have been ventriloquism.

[I can recall a number of occasions when a voice was speaking yet Leslie could be heard coughing or sneezing or sucking a sweet. Also ventriloquism cannot work in the dark! – George Cranley]

We have to realize that we had a great responsibility placed on our shoulders. We have to treat mediumship with respect and we have to do it in the best possible way we can, to give people that realization we are genuinely, sincerely anxious to uplift and comfort them. I believe we must present this in a way that will command respect.

One final question – You’ve spent a great portion of your life literally in the dark, how do you feel about it now?

There is only one answer, and that is my life, which has been given to help humanity, to give comfort from the point of view that death is not the end, that the person they’ve known and loved still exists and at times is able to come near them, and that one day they will meet again on the Other Side of life, then all the sitting in the dark is unimportant.



William Cartheuser


by George Cranley

One of the most remarkable experimental direct voice séances ever conducted took place in 1933 and was recorded on nine long-playing records. The medium was William Cartheuser who had a severe speech defect, caused by a harelip and a cleft palate yet the spirit voices that spoke at his séances were free of impediment. His sittings remain for many some of the greatest Spiritualism has ever seen.

One of the most fantastic direct voice séances ever held took place at the studios of the World Broadcasting Company (later to become Decca Records) on April 23 1933, and was recorded on nine long-playing records.

The medium for this two-and-a-quarter hour séance was William Cartheuser, a New England shoe plant worker, who had a severe speech defect, caused by a hare lip and a cleft palate.

Although he was difficult to understand during normal conversation, the spirit voices which spoke at his séances were free of impediments.

The story was written by J. Gay Stevens, a member of the American Society for Psychical Research’s investigative team.

Together with his colleagues, Dr Hereward Carrington, a lifelong psychic researcher, Helen T. Bigelow, the society’s secretary, Chester Grady, Louis Anspacher and the organizer, Dr Frank Black, the group met at the studios situated at 50 West 57th Street, new York.

The séance was instigated by Dr Black, a leading musical show producer and part owner of the WBC.

He suggested to the ASPR that it should supervise the recording of a voice séance in his studios and the resultant recordings would be donated to the society for reference and study.

The sound engineers, who were extremely skeptical, took care of the test conditions intent on unmasking the voice makers.

To a man they were certain there was no such thing as a spirit voice and regarded this as a heaven-sent opportunity to prove it in their own studio under their own recording conditions.

At this time the Western Electric Company was, installing some of the latest sound equipment into the World studios.

Hearing of the séance project they joined their World colleagues, making probably “the most formidable array of sound engineering talent ever organized to debunk a spirit voice.”

The studio itself was a large 40-foot long, windowless room.

It was soundproof and two storey’s high. Seats for the sitters were arranged around the stand microphone – ‘mike one’.

Two additional microphones, two and three, hung close to the ceiling in diagonally opposite corners.

All voices spoken in the circle would be recorded on mike one.

The ceiling equipment had such a short range of sensitivity that it would not record voices from the studio floor.

Pointing to the control room, curtained off to keep out the light, a technician indicated a recessed loudspeaker through which the engineers could communicate with those in the studio.

A man was stationed at the only exit door to see that no one entered or left during the séance.

Stevens comments: “We had no way of knowing that the engineers, after a week or so of conferring, had hit on a very simple plan that covered all possibilities.

‘‘They concluded that, no matter what tricks he ‘voice-maker used, he had to work on the floor.

“If the sounds were authentic spirit voices then they need have no such limitation in space.”

The ceiling mikes were 20 feet from the sitters and 20 feet in the air.

All extra furniture had been moved out of the studio to prevent anyone standing on it in an attempt to speak into the mikes.

In order for either mikes two or three to pick up a voice the speaker had to be within 12 inches.

Both were highly directional — they had to be spoken into head-on and not from an angle.

To make things more difficult, the engineers had turned the microphones at right angles to the circle of sitters.

Each mike had its own line of communication with the control room.

The technicians knew which mike was bringing in each voice by listening to the three independent loudspeakers and watching the dial connected to each line.

The sitters were unaware what the engineers had planned and proceeded with a normal direct voice séance.

Eventually a trumpet, ringed with luminous paint, lifted into the air.

It circled the sitters and tapped each one lightly on the head in greeting.

Soon voices built up through the trumpet. Communicators identified themselves – and were recognized – as the sitters’ “dead” relatives and friends.

Occasionally they asked the spirit voices to speak into mike one, but says Stevens, it never occurred to them to suggest they talk into the other microphones.

The séance was interrupted by a voice over the control room loudspeaker. “Are these what you call spirit voices?” asked a cynical engineer.

The trumpet fell to the floor. Several minutes of oppressive silence followed.

Suddenly a man’s resonant voice “seemed to pop out of space in front of us, directly above mike one.” writes Stevens.

They could still see the phosphorescent ring of the trumpet on the floor. This was independent voice.

In a brisk business-like manner, the spirit communicator expressed interest in the experiment.

The sitters asked what he meant. He said he was referring to the engineers’ conditions.

“We think they have worked out a very interesting testing procedure for us on their equipment.”

A voice from the control room asked who was speaking.

The communicator moved in close to mike one and said he was an engineer in the spirit ‘world.

Together with a couple of colleagues, he told the earthly technicians he would like to collaborate in making the important recording.

He added: “We have a definite plan in mind for your tests. We are perfectly willing to meet any conditions you set up, or make any demonstration you have in mind … if it is within our power. Just let us know what you would like to have me do.”

The control room voice asked: “Do you think you could speak to us over one of those microphones located up at the ceiling?”

Immediately, the engineer heard the communicator say, “How’s this?” It came from mike two on the ceiling!

The spirit engineer added, “Does it any difference to you which microphone I use up here?”

The shocked control room operators listened in amazed silence.

“Is this all right?” asked the eager communicator once more.

“Yes … yes, that’s fine”, the engineer replied. “Would you mind lowering your voice a little? We have no volume control on that line.” The spirit voice apologized at a normal level.

The control room asked if he could now speak from mike three on the other side of the room.

Before the request was even completed, the communicator’s voice came over on the other ceiling microphone.

As before, it was answering from within inches of the mike. It had travelled across the room in a matter of a second.

The puzzled sitters listened to this in silence. Then one asked the engineers if they were ready with their experiment.

“It’s all over as far as we’re concerned”, came the control room reply.

They began to talk among themselves, but the spirit voice interrupted them. It was speaking at mike one, on the floor.

The communicator politely suggested to the technicians that if they had finished their tests, “We have a demonstration or two we would like to show you.”

Without waiting for an answer the voice explained he would make a complete circuit of the three microphones while speaking a short, simple sentence.

 An engineer yelled, “Go!” Speaking at normal conversational pace the voice said, “I am now making a complete circuit of all three microphones and am now back at number one.”

The technicians followed the voice as it progressed around the loudspeakers.

“As revealed later,” says Stevens, “that voice had moved at such incredible speed between mikes it sounded as if it had been recorded on one mike.”

The communicator then introduced a colleague, a “one-time research engineer in the science of sound.”

This new spirit speaker said evidence had been given that the communicators were not earthly but that they were “surviving personalities speaking to you from another dimension.”

He continued with an offer to show that spirit voices could give a sound performance beyond earthly scope.

He explained that he was talking at the normal level for a male human being, around 300 cycles.

Then he asked the engineers to listen as he moved his voice slowly up the scale of sound frequencies in an unbroken flow.

Stevens likened the achievement to the “glissando of a musical instrument, from a resonant baritone to a bright tenor, to a soprano.” Through it all the spirit voice never stopped speaking.

The communicator announced that his voice was now the 1,100 cycle level, which was about the highest point the human voice can articulate.

He then increased the cycle frequency until it was beyond the range of earthly hearing.

As the pitch soared he gave the levels 3,000 and 5,000, with relevant remarks, until the only audible sound was similar to the twittering of a bird, though the words could still be understood.

Eventually his commentary became a thread of sound like “an incredibly distant radio signal.”

The control room loudspeaker interrupted the silence.

“We know that none of you could have done that”, said an engineer.

Repeating the test the communicator descended through the frequency cycles.

His voice deepened to “a bass-profundo and on down to the lowest reaches of an orchestral string bass.”

He paused to explain that he was 100 cycles below where the human vocal chords can enunciate recognisable words.

Continuing to speak clearly his voice slid further down the scale until it sounded like a “giant mumbling at the bottom of a well.”

It faded into a swishing sound, “like the lowest note on the longest pipe in a giant organ.” Then it vanished.

The silence was interrupted by the original spirit engineer’s voice.

He thanked the medium, sitters and recording staff for collaborating in the experiment and offered to co-operate in future tests. The historic séance was over.

A few days later Dr Frank Black delivered the records to the ASPR as promised.

But Stevens ends with this comment: “This séance and its records made little impression in official circles.

“Only the engineers in the control room were in a position to testify to the reality of the discarnate voices.

“But they, like so many others, were not about to go on record officially.

“So one of the technically best test cases for the reality of spirit voice phenomena went officially unconfirmed.”

Although this séance took place over 75 years ago it has never been equalled or bettered.

In spite of his critics the name of William Cartheuser will rank alongside the great physical mediums of the past.

Etta Wriedt

Fortunately, there are ample records detailing the extraordinary mediumship of Etta Wriedt from Detroit, Michigan. Admiral Usborne Moore’s summary is undoubtedly apt: ‘This American woman has a mysterious gift which enables those who sit in the same room with her to learn of the continued existence of those whose physical bodies have perished. The possession of this strange power is acquired by no virtue of her own; she was born with it’.

Etta, who, as Fodor notes, charged just ‘a nominal fee of one dollar for a successful seance’, travelled to England on five occasions between 1911 (when she was aged 51) and 1919.

He too gives a brief, but adequate description of Etta’s mediumship: in addition to voices heard in the daylight, he reports how, ‘there were other features to her seances as well: luminous forms, etherealisations gliding about the room in darkness.

Sometimes dogs materialised and barked….Flowers were taken from vases and placed in the hands of sitters…invisible fingers touched the sitters and rapped by the trumpet to urge a hesitating person to answer promptly when spoken to, luminous discs…were seen to move round…The sitters were often sprinkled with water, wafts of cool air were felt’.

In addition to these phenomena, while Etta spoke only English, the communicators spoke in other languages and indeed, ‘the voices know no linguistic limitation’.

M. Chedo Miyatovich, a Romanian diplomat, recorded his first-hand experience of Etta’s mediumship when he saw her on May 16, 1912.

Although Etta is usually known as being a direct voice medium, her mediumship did in fact facilitate some degree of materialization on occasions and Miyatovich’s sitting included one such instance.

Etta began the seance by stating whom the communicator was and Miyatovich’s friend saw an ‘illuminated fog’ in the room.

Etta made mention that the communicator gave her name as ‘Adela or Ada Mayell’. Miyatovich’s reaction to this was immediate: ‘I was astounded. Only three weeks ago died Miss Ada Mayell, a very dear friend of mine’.

Following this, a light appeared in the room and began to move about and Miyatovich recognized the materialized form of W. T. Stead who had died earlier that year; on a later occasion the trumpet moved towards Miyatovich and he heard Stead speaking to him, saying: ‘I myself came here expressly to give you a fresh proof that there is life after death’.

 Following this, further communications took place, and one included a communicator who spoke with Miyatovich’s friend, a Croatian, in the Croatian tongue. Other communications in foreign languages also took place during the seance.

In Moore’s own account of his sittings with Etta, he describes how, after a seance had begun, ‘generally, within five minutes voices could be heard, and conversation would last for periods of between thirty and fifty minutes’. In addition to this, ‘on many occasions phantasmal forms, faintly visible, moved about between the psychic and myself’.

Moreover, lights were sometimes seen. In Moore’s own experiences, he reports that ‘several of my relatives came to talk to me through the trumpet’, although the most frequent communicator was Moore’s own guide whom he saw in the seance room.

Moore also recalls how both his relatives and guide often referred to personal matters in his life and offered advice about these; however, he wisely commented: ‘We are not intended while on this plane to regulate our lives by advice from people in the next state’, i.e. he viewed their communications as general advice and opinion only. This viewpoint actually raised an interesting feature, i.e. Moore sometimes disagreed with communicators’ statements, and as he observes, this ‘blows to atoms the over-stretched theory that our subliminal self is responsible for the information we receive in many ways through mediums’, noting that in respect of one particular subject area, the communicator’s opinions were in stark contrast to what he believed.

Moore also recounted the events that took place in a special circle that was held on Wednesdays when Etta was present as the medium.

On 6 May, 1912, one of the sitters was Stead’s daughter; during the seance of seventy-five minutes, ‘at least forty minutes were taken up by Stead talking to his daughter’.  When the circle met the following week, the phenomena began almost immediately.

 During this time, at least fifteen different communicators spoke to the circle and identified themselves to their friends. The seance was particularly lively as throughout the time, Moore was slapped on his back with the trumpet together with noises occurring some ten feet away from the circle. Humour was further introduced when Stead communicated and asked which of the sitters wanted the circle to continue meeting.

 Although the seance room was in absolute darkness, Stead pointed out that Moore had not raised his hand as the others present had done. Moore continues: ‘To humour him I then raised my hand; my head was struck twice with a trumpet’. An important point is made by Moore when referring to the communications of Stead; of these he observed: ‘Stead’s talk on every occasion that he came was characteristic of him’.

A short time later, at another seance, Stead’s daughter was again present and her eldest brother, William Stead Jr., who had died in December 1907, communicated and spoke with her. The quality of his communication followed the same style as his father’s, i.e. as Moore notes, ‘I have often talked with him: the voice and manner of talking are always precisely the same’.

A seance held on 30 May, 1912, was particularly interesting as a clergyman who attended this noted that those who communicated were those about whom he ‘had not given a thought’, and yet those he attempted to ‘will’ to communicate, did not do so. This of course is relevant to the charge that communicators are merely a construction of the sitter’s own mind.

The sitter’s uncle communicated with him and answered his questions correctly: this was followed by a Dutch sitter being able to speak with her husband, uncle and child – in her native tongue.

When Colonel E. R. Johnson attended a number of Etta’s seances in mid-1912, these were surely quite spectacular.

He refers to how the communicators ‘were very numerous’ and ‘many of the sitters were addressed by their own friends and relatives’. In his own case, those who communicated with him ‘were identified with certainty’ and the conversations sometimes lasted as long as half an hour; furthermore, the contents ‘related to incidents and events which could not have been known to the medium’.

He also records how he ‘was also barked at by three of my dogs which had died more than twenty years ago, their barks being suited in tone and power to their respective sizes and breeds’.

Although Moore admitted that he did not find the barking to be of any real evidential quality, he notes that the barking and Etta’s speaking occurred at the same time, and from different locations.

In addition to all the different types of phenomena mentioned above, the sitters also experienced the materialization of hands during the seances. While holding the hand of the sitter either side, one sitter recalls how she would feel a materialized hand upon her head even though her back was to the wall.

She also notes how, ‘My hand was often firmly grasped by a hand of warm flesh and blood, which I am convinced was my son’. Her son had died as a nineteen-year old three years earlier. She recounts, how, on one occasion, she ‘mentally said: “If you are my boy, give three grips”. Immediately the hand gave three grips’.

She also had the opportunity to see the early stages of the materialization of her son, i.e. witnessing a ‘pillar of faint cloud’ and from this, a hand would emerge that she said began ‘caressing my face’.

One of the more amusing episodes was when she felt fatigued, and stretched up her hands, these were grasped by two hands ‘coming, as it were, from the ceiling’. At this, the hands then pulled her up until ‘I stood on tiptoe’.

One clergyman who demonstrated a keen open-mindedness towards the subject of mediumistic communications was the Revd Charles L. Tweedale. Throwing scorn on the accusation that the voices were merely Etta speaking through the trumpet, he wrote that he had ‘examined the trumpets, and so have my friends, some of them expert S.P.R. investigators, and found nothing that could in any wise account for the phenomena’.

He had attended a seance with Etta on four different occasions and describes how he had sat on one side of the medium, and an experienced investigator sat on the other.

After the seance began, the trumpets would rise and move around the circle in a manner that would be ‘quite impossible’ if Etta was handling them. He observed that the voices appeared to be coming from both ends of the trumpet; and in one instance he ensured that while a communicator was speaking through the trumpet, in this case somewhat loudly, on the other side of the circle, Etta had no connection with the apparatus at all.

Tweedale makes the salient point that it was the evidential quality of Etta’s mediumship that was the convincing feature. He relates how: ‘Details of the most private nature and of events, which took place forty years ago in my own family, and which even my wife, who was present, did not know, were given, and private matters occurring seventeen years ago in my wife’s life, which I did not know, were related, with correct names and details’.

Another sitter who attended some of the seances given by Etta Wriedt was Sir William Barrett, an investigator with a keen and analytical mind.

He records how after he had carefully examined the seance room, and with only himself, Etta and a Mrs Ramsden present, a voice whispering to Mrs Ramsden was heard: this was while Barrett engaged Etta in conversation. Of this, he says: ‘I can testify that I watched the medium and saw nothing suspicious’.

Mrs Ramsden stated that the communicator identified himself as a relative and advised her that she would be visited by someone whom he named. Mrs Ramsden added, ‘This was fulfilled on the following Monday’.

After the light was extinguished, Barrett said that he felt ‘something rather cold gently stroking my face’, and a rose was then placed in his hand. Aware of the challenges that could be made about these phenomena, i.e., taking place in darkness, he adds that ‘I can assert…that it seemed to me impossible for Mrs Wriedt to have produced them by trickery’.

The significant observation was that the voices were ‘sometimes very loud…were often heard simultaneously when Mrs Wriedt was speaking’.

Another sitter, H. Denis Taylor, a member of the S.P.R, attended seances with Etta and noted that ‘two voices talking at once’ were heard together with Etta also making ‘interjecting remarks’. He added that the voices arose from different locations and that ‘we had several little incidents proving that the entities manifesting could see perfectly well what we were doing in pitch darkness’.

Barrett also detailed how a friend, the secretary of the Irish branch of the S.P.R, attended one of Etta’s seances without notice, and was unknown to any of the sitters other than Moore.

 Despite this, a communicator spoke to Barrett’s friend and ‘gave him the name, a very unusual one, of an Irish friend of his who had lately lost his wife…and told my friend correctly the exact address of a place in London where she had been staying’.

Moreover, ‘he also saw a luminous figure of a lady in front of him’. After writing this, Barrett stated that Etta was: ‘A genuine and remarkable medium, and has given abundant proof to others besides myself that the voices and the contents of the messages given are wholly beyond the range of trickery or collusion’.

One example of how impressive Etta’s seances were is surely demonstrated by the distance travelled by some sitters so that they could attend. One sitter, a mining engineer travelled nearly six hundred miles in a day in order that he might be present to witness Etta’s mediumship.

In his record, he remarks that in his work, he had trained his hearing to be able to trace noises in complete darkness and was ‘more at home’ in darkness than others would be.

 In the seance attended on 25 May, 1912, after carefully noting the features of the seance room, the seance began and within a short time one of the sitters felt that she was being touched and a male sitter had a flower dropped at his feet.

The engineer felt something, fragrant and with dew, touch his forehead and upon taking hold of this, discovered that it was part of a rose: he also noted: ‘it showed no disposition to fall down while I was taking hold, nor did I feel anything supporting it’.

 After one of Etta’s guides spoke, the sitter details how several voices spoke through the trumpet to various sitters, and in two cases, the communicator was recognized. After a further communication, the sitters noticed ‘ovals of light floating about above the cabinet’, that some present identified as faces.

Subsequently, the sitter spoke with his uncle and brother, and in the case of the latter, there was a ‘long conversation over the manner of his death’.

At a later seance on 18 June, he witnessed ‘discs of red light’ floating in the room that approached him; after this, he reports that his brother spoke with him again and gave further details about his death and ‘gave names of people and places only known to myself’.

 This was followed by the sitter feeling something touch his foot and one of Etta’s controls advised him that it was his dog who had died some years earlier and ‘described it well’.

Etta’s mediumship was no less remarkable in a lighted environment. On 29 May, 1912, ‘the electric light was on full’, and the blossom on a flower bush in the room was seen to move. On a request for the whole plant to move, it duly did, and then the chair on which it stood ‘was twisted from right angles to a position of forty- five degrees’. After the movement had finished, the sitters ‘all felt the floor, walls and windows vibrating’ and one said that it resembled an earthquake.

The amount of light present was reduced, although some remained, whereupon ‘three violent shocks caused the windows to rattle; the crockery clattered and the walls and floor were shaken…This movement was accompanied by the sound of heavy footfalls, as of someone stamping round the room’.

When Edwin Bowers wrote about Etta, he described her as ‘one of the oldest and most honored among all mediums of this decade’.

 He went on to describe a seance given jointly by her and Frank Decker; in this, Etta, not needing to go into trance, kept up ‘a running fire of conversation with the spirits, identifying them to their friends, and helping them to clarify their messages’.

 He also referred to the rare nature of her mediumship at this particular seance when sitters witnessed ‘entities emerge from behind a flimsy curtain in fair and adequate ruby light, fully formed’.

Another sitter present at Etta’s seances was Mrs P. Champion De Crespigny, who admitted being ‘full of prejudice’ against mediums.

At a seance when she was the only sitter, she reports that only a short time after beginning, ‘I heard a voice…it was a physical voice…there was no question of imagination or telepathy; it was an objective voice’.

The ‘objectivity’ was demonstrated by the amusing fact that Mrs De Crespigny had to ask Etta to stop speaking so that she could hear the words being spoken as both communicator and Etta were speaking simultaneously.

However, after speaking with several communicators, Mrs De Crespigny, while having no doubts about the genuineness of the phenomena, left the seance having doubts about the identities of the different communicators. She therefore carefully ‘went over the evidence carefully bit by bit, weighing the pros and cons’.

Her interest in the phenomena facilitated by Etta led to many sittings with the medium.

 Indeed, as Mrs De Crespigny admits, ‘during the years Mrs Wriedt was in England, the number of my sittings with her must have run certainly into three figures’.

 After considerable examination of the data that had been forthcoming, she stated: ‘The evidence for survival of personality bearing the hallmarks of characteristics, memory, temperament and so on was given me in such abundance through the channel of Etta Wriedt’s mediumship that it is impossible to record more than a mere fraction’.

Returning to the valuable contribution and record left by Moore, one narrative that he included was that of a sitter who possessed ‘a scientific business training’.

He attended a seance with Etta, accompanied by his wife and two adult daughters and described how, after the seance had begun, ‘luminosities appeared floating in the air, visible to all the party’.

Although the sitter admitted there was difficulty in identifying the communicators and verifying their identity, he reports that in one case the test of identity ‘was so convincing and evidential’.

This seance was followed by another, and in this, the communicators included relatives who had died, including his aunt and brother. The result of witnessing Etta’s mediumship resulted in him saying that he was ‘convinced that this woman is a powerful medium.

 I credit her with honesty, and assert that she has provided us with positive evidence of the survival of the human personality after death and the possibility of communication with the deceased’.

Undoubtedly, the best description of Etta and her mediumship is surely provided by Mrs De Crespigny: ‘Her kind- heartedness toward those who mourned was never-failing; she would use her gift for them freely and with a generosity that often left her tired and spent. On the rare occasions when there were no results she refused to take a fee, saying that “if you pay for a pair of boots you have the right to expect to get the boots!” and that if she gave nothing she would take nothing’.

In view of Stead’s involvement in Etta’s mediumship, it is worthwhile noting something of his background.

Stead, an editor and convinced Spiritualist, wrote a fictional story in 1893 concerning the collision of a liner with an iceberg in the Atlantic (In fact the subject of disasters at sea often occurred in his writings).

One can therefore only ponder on the fact that, he along with 1600 other people died on the fated Titanic when it sank in the Atlantic on 14 April 1912. His journey to New York on that fated trip was to give a talk in New York and bring Etta back with him to England.

Fodor continues the account by saying: ‘Two nights later, Dr. Sharp, Mrs Wriedt’s control, gave full details of the Titanic disaster, assured them of the passing of Stead and gave the names of many prominent people who went down with the ship.

The following night, three days after his passing, Stead himself spoke. He was weak in articulation at first, but was understood’. This is only one example of many that could be provided to illustrate the ability of Etta Wriedt.

Etta represented, and continues to represent something of what is so honourable in physical mediumship: the reassurance offered to those seeking evidence that human – and indeed animal – life survives physical death.

Recommended Reading:

“The Voices” by Vice-Admiral W. Usborne Moore.

“This World – and Beyond” by Mrs P. Champion De Crespigny

Helen Duncan – Maurice Barbanell

(by Maurice Barbanell)

I shall always contend that my friend, Helen Duncan, the materialisation medium, was the victim of a gross miscarriage of justice. When, during the war, she was charged at the Old Bailey under the archaic Witchcraft Act of 1735, some newspapers called it “The trial of the century.” Obviously an Act which became law more than a century before Spiritualism began was not intended to apply to modern mediums.

Her conviction, and subsequent imprisonment, led Spiritualists to campaign, successfully, for the repeal of this Act, which, by being resurrected, implied that all séances were illegal, and thus jeopardised our religious freedom. In his war memoirs, Sir Winston Churchill has recorded that he sent a note to the Home Secretary complaining of the fact that in a time of urgency and peril so much time and money should be wasted on a “witchcraft” trial.

Counsel’s defence that Mrs Duncan was a genuine medium, and his offer to demonstrate her powers of materialisation within the precincts of the court, were not regarded as legally admissible. The “offence” under the Witchcraft Act was pretending that she could conjure up spirits. Whether she was genuine or not was beside the point so far as this Act was concerned. Counsel for the defence was satisfied of her ability to demonstrate her materialisation powers at the trial, for she gave us evidence just before it opened that she was capable of doing so. Despite the strain of her ordeal, she willingly offered us an experimental séance which was remarkable in its results. Yards and yards of ectoplasm streamed from her, and billowed and flowed in swirling masses until even experienced Spiritualists like myself gazed with astonishment at the spectacle.

With Helen Duncan I have been privileged to see the growth of a materialisation inside the cabinet. Outside, I have observed the ectoplasmic forms as they gradually dwindled in size until they resembled small globes of light, and then finally disappeared as if sinking through the floor.

Inside the cabinet, I have watched ectoplasm exude from the medium’s nostrils, mouth and ears in waving billows of luminosity that gradually solidified into the six-foot figure of her guide.

Harry Price, a researcher who thrived on publicity, propounded the extraordinary theory that, instead of being a genuine materialisation medium, Helen Duncan swallowed yards of cheesecloth which she later regurgitated. To show how nonsensical this theory was, Mrs Duncan gladly submitted herself to X-ray examination. Price’s “explanation” was that she had a secondary stomach, like a cow.

The X-ray examination proved that both her stomach and her oesophagus were normal.

Counsel for the defence at the Old Bailey tried to introduce the X-ray photographs as evidence, but these too were legally inadmissible.

More than once at Helen Duncan’s séances, I was invited to handle some of the ectoplasm immediately after it had been produced. It was always bone-dry, and had a curious stiff “feel”, proving that it could not have been regurgitated.

I conducted an experiment that was conclusive in its result. At my suggestion, Helen Duncan, and every sitter at one séance, swallowed tablets of methylene blue. These had the effect of dyeing into a bluish colour the contents of all our stomachs. Yet when the materialisations appeared, they were their usual white colour.

Having given these examples of materialisation, I should like, in contrast, to furnish one that is exactly opposite – dematerialisation.

Helen Duncan had a psychic gift which enabled her to read written questions placed in sealed envelopes, and to supply the answers. I tested this ability many times.

Once I wrote a question concerning a woman with a most unusual hyphenated name, Bayley-Worthington. Naturally, I made sure that the medium did not see what I wrote, but she was able to repeat my question, including this uncommon name, and to give me a reply.

I happened to mention this phenomenon to Estelle Roberts, who, never having seen it demonstrated, expressed the desire to participate in such a séance. I arranged a meeting between the two mediums. I handed Estelle Roberts a sheet of paper on which she wrote a question which nobody else could see. She folded the paper and placed it in an envelope. This was sealed by her and handed to Helen Duncan.

Before attempting to “read” the question, Mrs Duncan followed her usual procedure. Slowly she rubbed the sealed envelope on her temple, and then at the base of her spine. She said it was always necessary to do that before she could repeat the wording on the folded paper. Then slowly she exclaimed: “When—will—I—hear—from—my—…

Here, a puzzled expression came over Mrs Duncan’s face. “It’s gone!” she announced.

Estelle Roberts commented: “That is very good.

You have read my question, all except the last two words.” Still looking puzzled, Helen Duncan repeated: “It’s gone!”

Estelle Roberts assured Mrs Duncan that she was accurate as far as she had gone and, to confirm her statement, opened the envelope with the intention of showing the question she had written. Then we were all surprised, for the paper was gone! The envelope was empty. And the paper has never reappeared.

Estelle Roberts told me that she understood the significance of this strange happening. She had asked a question concerning someone who had passed on, and recalled that Red Cloud had said she should not seek information concerning this individual until a certain time had elapsed, and that had not yet occurred.

Mrs Duncan’s power of materialisation had another curious facet, in which a slate pencil would write without any seeming visible means of support. This was a phenomenon she never took seriously, and always had to be cajoled into demonstrating it.

The requirements were two slates, such as school children use, and a pencil. First I washed the slates clean and wrote a question with a pencil, making sure that the medium could not see what I was doing. Then I put the pencil horizontally between the two slates and tied them round with string.
Helen Duncan placed them beneath a table. She held one hand below the slates to keep them wedged and to prevent them falling.

I heard the pencil make its usual scratching sound as an answer to my question was written. When the reply was completed, three distinct taps were heard coming from beneath the table. This was the signal for Mrs Duncan to produce the slates. When I opened them, there was a spirit answer written below my question.

Daniel Dunglas Home

D.D.Home, is often regarded as the greatest physical medium in the history of Spiritualism.

Daniel Home’s mother, Elizabeth Home (née McNeill) was known as a seer in Scotland, as were many of her predecessors, like her great uncle, Colin Urquhart, and her uncle Mr McKenzie.

The gift of second sight was often seen as a curse, as it foretold instances of tragedy and death.

Home’s father, William Home, was the illegitimate son of Alexander, the 10th Earl of Home.

Daniel Home was Elizabeth’s third child, and was born on 20th March 1833. The one-year-old Home was deemed a delicate child, having a “nervous temperament”, and was passed to Elizabeth’s childless sister, Mary Cook. She lived with her husband in the coastal town of Portobello, 3 miles (4.8 km) east of Edinburgh.

“My aunt and others have told me that when I was a baby my cradle was frequently rocked, as if some kind guardian spirit was tending me in my slumbers.

“My aunt has also told me that when I was about four years old, I had a vision of the circumstances attending the passing from earth of a little cousin, I being at Portobello, near Edinburgh, and she at Linlithgow, all which proved to be entirely correct.”

He was taken to the United States at the age of nine, growing up in Greeneville, Connecticut, and Troy, New York.

It was noticed that he had keen powers of observation and a prodigious memory. He saw his first vision at age 13.

A schoolfellow, Edwin, died in Greeneville and appeared to him in a bright cloud at night in Troy, thus keeping a childish promise with which they had bound themselves that he who died first would appear to the other.

From that time on his thoughts turned more and more to the life beyond.

Home’s second vision came four years later. It announced the death of his mother to the hour.

The first scientist to investigate Home’s phenomena was George Bush, a distinguished theologian and Oriental scholar from New York.

The celebrated American poet William Cullen Bryant and a Professor Wells of Harvard University testified in a written statement to the reality of the phenomena. Professors Robert Hare and James Mapes, both famous chemists, and John Worth Edmonds of the United States Supreme Court owed much of their conversion to Spiritualism to Home.

Home’s first levitation occurred in the South Manchester house of Ward Cheney, an eminent American manufacturer. Strains of music were heard when no instrument was near.

Nobody understood at that time the part the physical organism plays in the production of the phenomena. The demands made on Home were very heavy and the drain of nervous energy excessive.

His intended medical studies had to be broken off because of illness; a trip to Europe being advised, Home went to England in April 1855.

He first stayed at Cox’s Hotel in Jermyn Street, London, and was later the guest of J. S. Rymer, an Ealing solicitor.

The conversion of many of the later leaders of the Spiritualist movement in England was attributed to Home’s phenomena.

When these phenomena attracted public attention Home found himself in the midst of a press war. Among the first who asked Home to attend a séance was Lord Brougham, who came to the sitting with Sir David Brewster.

Home was proud of the impression he made upon these two distinguished men and wrote about it to a friend in the United States.

The letter was published in the United States and found its way to the London press, whereupon Brewster at once disclaimed all belief in Spiritualism and set down the phenomena to imposture.

At the same time his statements in private supported Home, and they too found their way into the newspapers.

Home’s name was originally Daniel Home, but by the time he arrived in Europe he had lengthened it to Daniel Dunglas Home, in reference to the Scottish house of Home, of which his father claimed to be a part.

In London Home found a believer in Spiritualism, William Cox, who owned a large hotel at 53, 54 and 55 Jermyn Street, London. As Cox was so enamoured of Home’s abilities, he let Home stay at the hotel without payment.

Robert Owen, an 83-year-old social reformer, was also staying at the hotel, and introduced Home to many of his friends in London society.

At the time Home described as tall and thin, with blue eyes and auburn hair, fastidiously dressed but seriously ill with consumption.

Nevertheless, he held sittings for notable people in full daylight, moving objects that were some distance away.

Some early guests at Home’s sittings included the scientist Sir David Brewster, the novelists Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton and Thomas Adolphus Trollope, and the Swedenborgian James John Garth Wilkinson.

Home converted most sceptics, but Robert Browning, the poet, proved more difficult. After attending a séance of Home’s Browning gave his impression of Home in the unflattering poem, “Sludge the Medium” (1864).

His wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, was convinced that the phenomena she witnessed were genuine and their discussions about Home were a constant source of disagreement.

Home’s fame grew, fuelled by his feats of levitation. William Crookes claimed to know of more than 50 occasions in which Home levitated “in good light” (gas light) at least five to seven feet above the floor.

Homes’ feats were recorded by Frank Podmore: “We all saw him rise from the ground slowly to a height of about six inches, remain there for about ten seconds, and then slowly descend.”

In the following years Home travelled across continental Europe, and always as a guest of wealthy patrons.

In Paris, he was summoned to the Tuileries to perform a séance for Napoleon III.The story of Home’s séance with Napoleon was not made public. The curiosity of the press was aroused, however, when the first séance was followed by many others.

An account of the first séance in Home’s autobiography, Incidents in My Life, tells how Napoleon followed every manifestation with keen and sceptical attention and satisfied himself by the closest scrutiny that neither deception nor delusion was possible.

His and the empress’s unspoken thoughts were replied to, and the empress was touched by a materialized hand that, from a defect in one of the fingers, she recognized to be the hand of her late father.

The second séance was more forceful. The room was shaken; heavy tables were lifted and then held down to the floor by an alteration of their weight.

At the third séance a phantom hand appeared above the table, lifted a pencil, and wrote the single word Napoleon in the handwriting of Napoleon I.

Prince Murat later related to Home that the Duke de Morny told Napoleon III that he felt it a duty to contradict the report that the emperor believed in Spiritualism.

The emperor replied, “Quite right, but you may add when you speak on the subject again that there is a difference between believing a thing and having proof of it, and that I am certain of what I have seen.”

Earlier, in Italy, Home had been introduced to the king of Naples.

The German Emperor and the Queen of Holland soon joined the ranks of the curious who were besieging Home with requests for séances.

Queen Sophia of the Netherlands, wrote: “I saw him four times…I felt a hand tipping my finger; I saw a heavy golden bell moving alone from one person to another; I saw my handkerchief move alone and return to me with a knot… He himself is a pale, sickly, rather handsome young man but without a look or anything which would either fascinate or frighten you. It is wonderful. I am so glad I have seen it…”

In Rome during the spring of 1858 Home was introduced to Count Koucheleff-Besborodka and his wife.

Soon after he became engaged to Alexandrina de Kroll, the count’s sister-in-law.

The wedding took place in St. Petersburg.

It was a great society affair. Count Alexis Tolstoy, the poet, and Count Bobrinsky, a chamberlain to the emperor, acted as groomsmen.

Alexandre Dumas, a guest of Count Koucheleff-Besborodka, was one of the witnesses.

From Home’s marriage to Alexandrina de Kroll a son was born.

Shortly after Home returned to England, friends tried to bring about a meeting between him and Michael Faraday, the famous scientist and proponent of the involuntary muscular action theory to explain table movement.

As the Morning Star reported, Faraday was not satisfied with demanding an open and complete examination, but wished Home to acknowledge that the phenomena, however produced, were ridiculous and contemptible. Thereafter, the idea of giving him a sitting was abandoned.

Home derived more satisfaction from his experiences with Dr. Ashburner, a royal physician, and John Elliotson, sometime president of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society of London, a character study of whom, as “Dr. Goodenough,” was drawn by Thackeray in Pendennis, and to whom the work was dedicated.

When Ashburner became a believer in Spiritualism, Elliotson, who was one of the hardest materialists, became estranged from him and publicly attacked him for his folly.

A few years later, however, Home and Elliotson met in Dieppe. The result was a séance, a strict investigation, and the conversion of Elliotson.

On his return to London he hastened to seek reconciliation with Ashburner and publicly declared that he was satisfied of the reality of the phenomena and that they were tending to revolutionize his thoughts and feelings.

Home’s phenomena also radically changed Robert Chambers, co-author, with Leitch Ritchie, of the anonymous Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844), which startled the public by its outspoken scepticism.

Chambers attended the séance Robert Bell wrote about in Cornhill Magazine.

He was too afraid of losing his reputation to make a public statement, although he allegedly received startling evidence of continued personal identity from his deceased father and daughter.

Nevertheless, Chambers anonymously wrote the preface to Home’s autobiography in 1862.

Eight years later, during the Lyon-Home trial, he abandoned his attitude of reserve and gave an affidavit in Home’s favour.

In 1866, Mrs Lyon, a wealthy widow, adopted Home as her son, giving him £60,000 in an attempt to gain introduction into high society.

Finding that the adoption did not change her social situation, Lyon changed her mind, and brought a suit for the return of her money from Home on the grounds that it had been obtained by spiritual influence.

Under British law, the defendant bears the burden of proof in such a case, and proof was impossible since there was no physical evidence.

The case was decided against Home, Mrs Lyon’s money was returned, and the press pilloried Home’s reputation.

Home’s high society acquaintances thought that he behaved like a complete gentleman throughout the ordeal, and he did not lose a single important friend.

Home met one of his future closest friends in 1867; the young Lord Adare (later the 4th Earl of Dunraven).

Adare was fascinated by Home, and began documenting the séances they held.

One of Home’s levitations occurred the following year, and in front of three witnesses (Adare, Captain Wynne, and Lord Lindsay) Home was said to have levitated out of the third storey window of one room, and back in through the window of the adjoining room.

In October 1871, Home married for the second, and last time, to Julie de Gloumeline, a wealthy Russian, whom he met in St Petersburg.

In the process, he converted to the Greek Orthodox faith.

At the age of 38, Home retired, as his health was bad – the tuberculosis, from which he had suffered for most of his life, was advancing – and his powers, he claimed, were failing. He died on the 21 June 1886, and was buried in the St. Germain-en-Laye cemetery.


Experiences in Spiritualism with D.D.Home

By Viscount Adare

Home here threw himself back in his chair, rubbed his hands together as if very much pleased, and said, “Now, if you wish to ask any questions I am ready to answer them.”

Question (Henry Jencken): How do you make us see spirit forms?

Answer:  At times we make passes over the individual to cause him to see us, sometimes we make the actual resemblance of our former clothing, and of what we were, so that we appear exactly as we were known to you on earth; sometimes we project an image that you see, sometimes we cause it to be produced upon your brain, sometimes you see us as we are, with a cloudlike aura of light around us.

Question (H.J.): Do you use actual garments?

Answer:  Purity is our clothing. We have no need of garments; but are enveloped in a sort of aura, or cloud of light. Other spirits, more impure and gross, dwelling nearer earth, have need of garments.

Question (H. J.):  How do we appear to you?

Answer:  Mostly in pure light.

Question:  Can you see our light?

Answer:  We can see all lights; sunlight, and every colour that it is composed of. We see the most beautiful combinations of light. Everything has its light. We see the progress either of growth or decay that is taking place in everything. The table that you are sitting at was once growing.  We could see every particle expanding and increasing; now it is decaying; and though it is so gradual that to you it is not apparent, yet we can see the change taking place in every particle of it.

Question:  In moving among us, do we present an obstacle to you? Do you avoid us?

Answer: We do, and must avoid you. For your ether bodies and the atmosphere that surrounds you are, in many cases, as solid and impenetrable to us as granite is to you. We can see both the light of your spiritual bodies and of your material bodies.

Question:  Are not the sun’s rays composed of something more than light?

Answer:  Of light only, and an elastic wave of electricity that precedes the light.

Question: I suppose it is not possible for you to visit the sun?

Answer: Most certainly we can. Why should we not?

Question: Does it take time for you to travel?

Answer: Yes.

Question: I suppose you move in the same ratio as light?

Answer: We can travel faster than light.

Question: What is the appearance of your form or body?

Answer: Exactly like your material body, only slightly smaller in every respect.

Question: How do you produce material forms?

Answer: You produce them with and through us.

Question: But have you no field for action?

Answer: You cannot understand us; the material is to us, as it were, spiritual. Suppose I want a fruit, I cannot create it by thinking of it; I must go and fetch it from where it is: so if I want an idea I must travel into higher spheres, and seek and find it as an actual created thing. Many things are more real than you suppose; thoughts, are they not almost realities? Try and think of a house you knew long ago; you will invariably enter it by the door; you go in by the door in your imagination, were you to enter by the windows or the walls, you would not understand or recognize it. That will tell you that there is something of material reality in the idea of a house in your mind.

Question: Are then your flowers and fruits as actual and real to you as those growing upon earth are to us?

Answer: They are as real to us as an apple or pomegranate is to you.

Question: Have you animals in your spheres?

Answer: There are animals that give pleasure such as horses and dogs; nearer earth are baser animals, and those that cause pain; some saints and holy men, being in an ecstatic state have at times caught glimpses of what is going on near them, animals and men, strange and curious forms all mixed up together.

The only way I can at all describe it to you is to look at a drop of muddy water under the microscope, and observe the strange forms; you will see the tail of one protruding from another, and so on, hence the old ideas of satyrs and creatures half man, half beast, hence the notion of devils with horns and tails, and of a material hell. Other men have seen higher and brighter spheres.  All this is but the imperfect imagining of those who see visions: as in Dante’s Frozen Hell, he saw the frozen zone and spiritual forms moving about, and mixed them up all together. Bodily suffering produces mental suffering; and mental suffering afflicts the body; need you be told this? Instance, a case where fright may produce paralysis; or where pain, insensibility.

In answer to a question:

The spirit is always sane; the body makes insane. We can see the spirit like – what shall I say – well – like, to use a very homely simile, a jack-in-the-box;we see the empty, useless casket, and the spirit hovering above it, the spirit bounds forth as soon as liberated by death – by sleep.

In answer to a question:

Some spirits are removed to other planets, in the course of formation, not necessarily as a punishment, but that by trial they may develop and return again at some future time purified. Spirits very often go voluntarily to other planets, until they can fit themselves to be of use to those on earth, or to dwell with other spirits in higher spheres; tell this to Dan when he awakes, as he has often wondered why some of his friends have not returned to visit, him?

In answer to a question:

Actual substances are thrown off from the earth and get entirely beyond its attraction; and actual substances are brought from the sun to the earth by means of the rays of light, substances that can be weighed – aye, and that will be weighed some day.

In answer to a question as to punishments:

Why and how are you punished? You punish yourselves if you have broken a law of nature; for no natural law can be broken without amends being made for its violation. Cut a vein and the blood flows, because you have violated a natural law.

Question: Do you like making manifestations?

Answer: It pleases us to come to you, and to make manifestations. We get so charged by remaining any time in the earth’s atmosphere, that it is a positive relief to make sounds.

There is a spirit now come into the room; he is what we call naturally charged. (Quantities of raps heard on the table.) Now he cannot help doing that, and it is a positive pleasure to him.

(Speaking to me) Elliotson did not want to frighten you the other evening at your house; he does not know yet how to manage manifestations, hence the noise he made the other night. He wanted to see Daniel and you too, but he did not intend to frighten either of you.

Question (H.J.): As to a law of predestination?

Answer: Yes, there is a law of predestination, which is quite true, only you could not understand it.

Question: Infinite possibility gives freedom of action?

Answer: Yes, infinite possibility, harmonizing with predestination is the law. Oh, I wish so much some spirits from other planets could come to you, but that is very rarely allowed.

When Malle (Mrs Jencken’s servant) passed away, a spirit from another planet passed by the open window, that was all, and yet the room was filled with perfume for days; if you had thought of it, and had gone out into the garden, you would have found the perfume stronger there than in the room.

“Henry, your father was inspired when he wrote his works, remember this (grasping H.Jencken’s hand). Act! Do something!

It is so very glorious to assist in the search for truth. There are so many stubborn men to be convinced. It is your duty to say that which you know to be true, to utter it. (taking my hand)

Oh, my lord, do something! Act! Aid the many beings yet in darkness. There is the truth, it is only hid, it is there nevertheless shining forth in all its splendour.”

Elizabeth Blake

The Mediumship of Elizabeth Blake    

Direct Voice in the Light

The account as published in the Omaha World-Herald of recent date is true with the exception of a few newspaper alterations that do not affect the substance of it. The man who wrote it (David Abbott) is an expert investigator and well acquainted with me. His statement of facts is conservative and careful. I witnessed many of them, and you can rely on the article as representing the facts correctly. – PROFESSOR JAMES H. HYSLOP

The editor speaks of this same David Abbott as a magician who has a wide reputation in psychic circles, and as one who has made a life study of the tricks of the professional medium.

[N.B. Two expert conjurers, David P. Abbott of the ASPR and E. A. Parsons, investigated Blake in 1906 and became convinced of the identity of the spirit communicators. Blake used a 2-foot long double trumpet; putting the small end to her ear and the larger one at that of the sitter, it appeared as if the voices came from her ear. If she covered the small end with her palm, the result was the same. The voices grew from whispers to such loudness that occasionally they were heard at a distance of 100 feet.]

The endorsement by David P. Abbott is of particular importance, since he created a wonderful trick in which voices appeared to come from a teapot when the spout was held to an ear; the teapot also answered questions. With his expert experience of such illusions, Abbott would have been expected to discover any similar tricks by Spiritualist mediums.

Mr. Abbott describes the medium as the wife of a humble farmer, a woman who has been the devoted mother of fifteen children, and has never been twenty miles from her home more than once or twice in her life. She lives in an obscure little village called Bradrick, Ohio — a spot very far removed from the beaten track; the only mode of access is by a little ferry across from Huntington, W. Va.

Elizabeth Blake was born at Proctorville, Ohio in 1847, and at the age of 2 years, she moved with her family to Cabel County, West Virginia, where she remained until the year 1879, when she married Zachary Blake. They lived in Bradrick.

Elizabeth took her transition to the higher life at Coryville, passing from pneumonia in the early winter of 1920 aged 73 years.

Elizabeth truly was an outstanding direct voice medium. A humble, unassuming lady, she dedicated 60 years of her life to spirit. An estimated 200,000 people attended her direct voice séances.

Mr. Abbott writes:
I determined to make an investigation on such lines as would entirely remove the possibility of any kind of trickery being employed. I will say, for such readers as may not know, that I am a performer of the tricks used by the hundreds of spirit mediums that travel over the land.

I am thoroughly familiar with the various ‘systems’ by which they gain the information that they give their subjects, and I determined to entirely remove the possibility of anything of that kind being used in this case. I was known to no one in that part of the country with the exception of Mr. ‘X.’ who merely knew my name and residence.

He knew nothing of any of my relatives, nor of the towns where they resided. I was entirely satisfied that this gentleman was of too high a character to attempt to learn anything of my private history and reveal it to this woman. Besides I found that gathering information about persons at a distance of a thousand miles is a very up-hill business. Nevertheless, to make assurance doubly sure I determined to take a gentleman with me, entirely unknown to any one in that region and to take him under an assumed name.

The gentleman I selected was Mr. George W. Clawson of Kansas City, Mo., who, like myself, is a member of the American Society for Psychical Research. I did not reveal to him where he was to go (with the exception that it was within one hundred miles of Cincinnati) until two days before starting.

 I then merely wrote him that we would go to Huntington, but gave no names. I did not tell him the lady’s name or town until we arrived in Huntington and had started for her village. Just before leaving Omaha I wired Professor Hyslop in New York when we were to meet in Huntington. I went by way of Kansas City where Mr. Clawson was. I asked him to choose a name to travel under, and he did so—the name was C. E. Wilson.

Mr. Clawson registered at the Florentine Hotel under the name of C. E. Wilson, and I introduced him to Mr. X. under that name. It was the first time that I had met Mr. X. and as he had only known me since April I was certain that even he was in the dark as to my history. I had carefully instructed Mr. Clawson in the method of asking questions so as to reveal no information between lines.

As he was an attorney he proved an apt pupil and I was soon certain I need have no fears on that score. I was present at all of the sittings and heard every word, so that any information the voices gave I knew must be obtained by some means outside of the ordinary channels.

Mr. Abbott then proceeds to give a long account of several sittings that he and his friend Mr. Clawson and later Dr. Hyslop had with this woman. He says, ‘We found the woman sitting by her window in a willow rocker with her crutches by her side.’ She hesitated at first to give Mr. Abbott and his friend sittings because of her feeble condition, having just recovered from a six weeks’ illness. The first three sittings were held in Mrs. Blake’s home and the last one was given across the river at the office of Mr. X. where we had taken Mrs. Blake to have a photograph taken. He says that in the sittings Mrs. Blake used a trumpet, one end of which he himself or Mr. Clawson would put to his ear, and the other end Mrs. Blake would hold sometimes in her hand, or sometimes to her own ear. These sittings were in the light. Sometimes the voices were so loud that they could be heard frequently at the distance of one hundred feet. The information received was most marvelous. We received in all nineteen correct names, while we received none that were wrong. There was evidence that satisfied Mr. Abbott and his friend Mr. Clawson that the intelligences talking did not receive the information through fraudulent means. Mr. Clawson’s correct name was given; Mr. David Abbott’s name was given, by what claimed to be spirit friends.

The following indicates the kind of conversation carried on:

I took the trumpet, but as the words sounded weak, I surrendered it to Mr. Clawson. Instantly the voice began loud and strong, so that I could easily distinguish the words where I sat.

Mr. Clawson said, ‘Who is this?’

The voice replied, ‘Grandma Daily.’

Mr. Clawson then said, ‘How do you do, grandma? I used to know you, didn’t I?’

The voice replied, ‘How do you do, George? I want to talk to Davie.’

I spoke from the outside of the trumpet and said, ‘I can hear you, grandma.’

I then said to Mr. Clawson, ‘Keep your position. I can hear from the outside.’ . . . After the voice of my grandmother gave a daughter’s name, it continued with these words: ‘Davie, I want you to be good and pray, and meet me over here. With the exception of the words, ‘over here,’ in place of the word ‘heaven,’ these were the identical words which my grandmother spoke to me the last time I ever heard her voice.

Mr. Clawson now continued, ‘Grandma, tell me the name of Davie’s mother.’

The voice replied ‘Sarah.’

He said, ‘Yes, but she has another name. What is it?’

The voice said, ‘How do you do?’

Mr. Clawson said, ‘ That is not what I mean.’

The voice then said, ‘Abbott.’

‘This is all right,’ continued Mr. Clawson, ‘but I call her by another name when I speak of her. What is it?’

The voice then plainly said, ‘Aunt Fannie.’ This was correct.

At this instant the loud voice of a man broke into the conversation. It was low in pitch, was a vocal tone, and had a weird effect.

The voice said, ‘How do you do?’

Mr. Clawson said, ‘How do you do, sir; who are you?’

The voice replied, ‘Grandpa Abbott,’ then repeated hurriedly a name that sounded like ‘David Abbott,’ and then the voice expired with a sound as of some choking or strangling and went off dimly and vanished. My grandfather’s name was ‘David Abbott.’

After this Mrs. Blake asked to rest a few moments and turned in her chair so as to use the other ear. While resting I decided to offer a suggestion to Mrs. Blake indirectly and to note the result. Turning to Mr. Clawson, I said, ‘It is strange that those we desire to talk to so strongly do not come. Now your daughter, whom you would rather talk to than anyone, seems to identify herself, but it seems strange to me that she did not give her name correctly.’ I did this intending to convey to Mrs. Blake the idea that the name which on the first evening was understood to be ‘Edna’ was not correct.

When Mr. Clawson next took the trumpet the voice of a girl spoke and said, ‘Daddie, I am here.’

He said, ‘Who are you?’

The voice replied, ‘Georgia,’ which was correct.

Mr. Clawson then said, ‘Georgia, is this you?’

‘Yes, daddie,’ she replied, ‘ don’t you think I know my own name? ‘

He then said, ‘I thought you did, Georgia, and could not understand why you would not tell me. Where do we live, Georgia?’

The voice replied, ‘In Kansas City,’ which was correct.

The voice then continued, ‘Daddie, I am so glad to talk to you, and so glad you came here to see me. I wish you could see my beautiful home. We have flowers and music every day.’

Mr. Clawson then said, ‘Georgia, tell me the name of the young man you were engaged to.’

The name pronounced was indistinct, so he asked the voice to spell it. The letters A-R-C were spelled out and then pronounced ‘Ark,’ which was correct. The gentleman’s first name was ‘Archimedes,’ and he was called ‘Ark.’ After this the voice spelled the complete name.

Mr. Clawson then said, ‘Georgia, where is Ark?’

The reply could not be understood. Mr. Clawson then asked, ‘Is he in Denver?’

A loud ‘No! No!’ almost vocal was heard, and then the words, ‘He is in New York.’

I was informed afterward that this was correct.

The voice then said, ‘Daddie, I want to tell you something. Ark is going to marry another girl.’

Mr. Clawson said, ‘You say he is going to be married?’

The voice said, ‘Yes, Daddie, but it’s all right. I do not care now. Besides, he does not love her as he did me.’

I will mention the fact that since our return from West Virginia, Mr. Clawson has received a letter from the gentleman in question, announcing his approaching marriage.

Mr. Clawson then asked the voice what grandmothers were there, and she replied that Grandmother Daily and Grandmother Abbott were with her.

He then said, ‘Are these all?’

The voice said, ‘Do you mean my own grandmother, my mother’s mother?’

Mr. Clawson replied, ‘Yes.’

The voice then said, ‘Grandma Marcus is here.’

This was correct. Mrs. Marquis had died shortly before this, and her grandchildren always pronounced her name as if it were spelled ‘Marcus.’

The reader will please to remember that Mr. Clawson’s name had so far been given to no one in that section of the country. That, as no one knew he was to be there, he could not have been looked up, and as he did not himself know where he was going, trickery could absolutely play no part in the names given him. I was present at all sittings, and there was no chance of any error. Yet these names came just as readily for him, and as correctly as they did for me whose name had previously been known to one resident of Huntington.

At this point the loud voice of a man spoke up and said, ‘I am here. I want to talk to Davie.’

I took the trumpet and the voice said, ‘Davie, do you know me?’

I said, ‘No, who are you?’

The voice replied, ‘Grandpa Daily.’

The voice then said, ‘Tell your mother I talked to you, and tell your father, too.’

Mr. Clawson took the trumpet quickly from me, and said, ‘Hello, Grandpa, I used to know you, didn’t I?’

The voice replied, ‘Of course you did.’

Mr. Clawson (whose name had so far never been given), said, ‘Tell me who I am?’

The voice replied out loud, distinct, and very quickly, ‘ I know you well ; you are George Clawson.’

Mr. Abbott had many more experiences of this kind. He winds up his description with the following comment:

Those who would give a theory that will explain these phenomena must advance one that will explain the facts. The theory that it is trickery may apply to some of the facts given to me, since one person in that country knew that a person of my name lived in Omaha, but it is very improbable that trickery was resorted to. This theory does not explain Mr. Clawson’s case.

People living a thousand miles from me could not know that I intended to take an unknown person with me; then they could not go and look up his name and history minutely. That it is guess-work on the part of the medium, or chance, is simply a silly statement. How many readers could have guessed that George’s second name was Clawson, how many could have guessed and given correctly nineteen names while giving none that were wrong? The information given by the voices was always correct.

Do I believe in what is known as Spiritualism and is exploited by the hundreds of spirit-mediums over the country? Emphatically no! I am too familiar with the methods of trickery with which they produce their illusions, for that I produce most of their feats for purposes of amusement myself.

Do I believe in Mrs. Blake? That is another question. The information which her voices furnished is entirely beyond the possibilities of any system of trickery. There can be no question as to this. That she possesses some power not possessed by ordinary mortals must be conceded.

Is it really spirits, or is it merely some freak power of the mind? Each must judge for himself. The lady solemnly assures me that it is the voices of our dead. I said, ‘Mrs. Blake, do you really believe it to be the dead talking?’ She replied, ‘I do not believe, I know. Belief is one thing, but knowledge is another.’

What is my opinion? It does not matter. It is not my place to express an opinion; it is only my place to relate the facts with sacred accuracy. Each reader must form his own opinion of the meaning of the facts. I most solemnly assure the reader that I have given them accurately. There is no need of explanation in this case, for the truth is sufficient without any additions or exaggerations.

It seems like a fairy story, yet it is a true story, I myself have seen these wonders.

I only know that far away, hundreds of miles over the hills on the banks of the Ohio River, there sits an elderly and frail woman in a chair, and kings could well afford to trade their power for hers.

Recommended reading:   “The Psychic Riddle” by Dr Isaac K. Funk



Albert Best

Albert Best, a medium who came from Northern Ireland, was born in Belfast on the 2nd December 1917.

On leaving school when he was 14, he started in a rope factory. About this time Albert was going on long walks in the countryside to be alone with the spirit voices and was being guided by them in their two-way conversations. They always brought him comfort and reassurance.

One of his sisters moved over to Scotland into the picturesque town of Irvine, so Albert decide he would like to go and see her and stayed for a quite a while.

On returning to Northern Ireland he attended a Belfast Spiritualist Church where he was told by the platform medium he had an energy around him in the form of lights which she saw and she told of his guide who was giving him guidance. He was invited to join their regular development circle in which a lot of sitters saw and confirmed the presence of the wonderful coloured lights around him.

One evening he had gone to the cinema and standing in the queue he saw a girl he liked and started chatting to her. They sat together. He found out she was a Catholic and him being a Protestant [at that time both religions did not get on in Northern Ireland and there were many fights, even killings on both sides], they did not care as they had fallen in love, so in a few weeks of meeting they went to St Anne’s Cathedral Church in Belfast to see the priest and just a few weeks after that Albert and Rose were married very quietly with only bystanders from the street as their witnesses, but no relatives.

When World War II started, Albert was 22 so he decided to join the Enniskillen Fusiliers.

Rose stayed in Northern Ireland with her family in the Belfast area of New Lodge.

Albert ended up in Algiers in 1940.

He was among the troops who had the task of clearing the Goubellet plain of gun emplacements just beyond no-man’s land and at the time the Germans were holding the ridge to the south of Tunis, the allies were on a ridge to the north. When Albert heard the name of Goubellet he remembered something his other grandma said to him the one and only time he ever met her when he was about 14. She had told him, “You will be a widower by the age of 24, I have not seen you all my life but I will be there with you in Goubellet.”

During the battle Albert was wounded the Germans left him for dead next to eight of his platoon who had perished, a voice came to him and said “get up”.

Later he was captured and ended up in a Prisoner-of-War camp. He would never speak about the terrible times he endured at the hands of his captors.

When he was in Africa, Rose was at home in Belfast with their three children.

When he was released Albert got sent home. Sadly he was told, on his arrival, that Rose, her family and his children had perished in a massive bombing raid on Belfast when 1000’s of innocent victims died. Albert grieved for his loved ones, Rose and the children, for the rest of his life but rarely speaking of it to others.

In 1943, Albert was medically discharged from the army when he was 25. He then went back to Ayrshire, Scotland in 1944.

On arrival in Irvine, Albert took on the job as the local postman and later became friendly with a Spiritualist family.

Albert was invited into a Circle for development with the Kilmarnock Church and he was remembered as being a shy lad, who never shared or spoke of his former life in Belfast.

He sat with this Circle for sometime into the mid 50’s before being introduced to Maurice Barbanell, the editor of Psychic News, who helped him to work further afield.

Albert Best was well known for his wonderful accurate mediumistic evidence during demonstrations. Having worked previously as a postman it seemed natural that the Spirit World would prove survival by giving details such as names and addresses along with other private details.

Albert left no doubt in the recipient minds, and proved time and time again a person’s spirit survives the death of the physical body.

He was an extremely hard working medium and admired and loved by many. Albert maintained he was no speaker and preferred someone more qualified to give the address during services, but still they loved to listen to his anecdotes about all the other wonderful mediums he had known. As well as demonstrating mediumship he gave spiritual healing to many during his life.

Albert’s work took him to many places, even Africa and India, where he gave healing whilst there. It is reported that he visited a Witch Doctor and during a ritual Albert’s wife Rose materialised before him and looked as alive as you or I, then dematerialised again. For Albert this was proof of the spirit existing beyond death of the physical body, this gave him great comfort throughout the rest of his life.

Note by Zerdini: “I witnessed many of Albert’s public demonstrations and also had private sittings with him. I was in South Africa attending a funeral in Johannesburg when I decided on a whim to fly down to Cape Town to visit some old friends. Walking along the beachfront at Muizenberg I bumped into none other than Albert Best!

‘What are you doing here?’ he said. We chatted and he told me he was due to give a demonstration of mediumship that evening and invited me along. It was up to his usual standard except that some of the Afrikaans-speaking members of the audience were baffled by his accent.”

Albert Best last visited the Belfast Spiritualist Church in the 1980’s and is still loved and remembered fondly. In 1994, the chairman of Psychic Press, Mr Roy Stemman, on stage of the Lewisham Theatre, London, made a presentation to Albert Best and named him the 1994 Spiritualist Of The Year. Albert often helped young mediums with their development and encouraged those, such as Gordon Smith and Colin Fry.

Albert Best embraced his materialised wife and three children

by a PN reporter in 1972

I heard last week the fascinating psychic story of a medium who has held his fully-materialised “dead” wife and children in his arms and shaken hands with his guides.

He is the well-known non-professional Glasgow medium, Albert Best who, for 28 of his 53 years, has served Spiritualism with dedicated devotion.

The result is a well-deserved splendid reputation for his versatile mediumship.

Ever since his London debut at Acacia House, Acton, in 1968, I have tried without success to interview him for a profile article.

I finally tied down this most diffident medium to a lunch-hour appointment during his visit last week to the College of Psychic Studies.

Albert became aware of his psychic gifts at the age of nine. Several times he “saw” an elderly man’s spirit form around the house.

He told his grandmother, who reared Albert, that this strange visitor scared him. Now he realised she, too, must have been clairvoyant and recognised the

During one “appearance” he heard her say: “Go away, father. You are frightening the boy.” So it was his great grandfather young Albert saw!

A psychic window-cleaner introduced the teenage potential medium to his local Spiritualist church.

He sat in a developing circle for five years, constantly fighting what was obviously impending trance. “It felt as though I had been chloroformed, but I always resisted losing consciousness.”

When he finally succumbed he was told his guide had spoken through him for over an hour.

Belfast-born, brought up a Protestant, Albert married a Roman Catholic local girl when he was19. Their three children included twins.

While he was serving abroad tragedy struck. His wife Rose and the children were killed in the second German air raid on Belfast.

Albert told me he went on a ‘mammoth bender” trying to forget his shattering bereavement. He could not face returning to his native Belfast.

As he had many friends there, Albert decided to settle in Glasgow. The double-Celt psychic, who reminds me of a benign gnome, has spent more time there than in his native Ireland. “I would not choose to live anywhere else,” he said.

In Ayr and Glasgow he experienced memorable physical phenomena at private home circles. The first was with Alec Martin of Ayr, who passed on several years ago.

Albert had the joy of holding in his arms the fully-materialised forms of Rose and his three children.

I thought it strange he has never contacted them through his own mediumship. “I don’t wish to,” said Albert.

His spirit guides have also materialised and shaken hands with him.

Albert showed me bullet scars in his neck and left arm resulting from an injury for which he has a small army disability pension. He also draws a Civil Service pension.

After watching Albert demonstrate first-class clairvoyance at Acacia House last Saturday, I deplore his reticence. He regards this gift as secondary to his healing for which he holds three weekly sessions in Glasgow.

One outstanding message was for Jim Webster of Goldsmith Avenue, Acton. It was the first time he had seen Albert. The medium asked if he knew a Wilson, giving a 72 Grange Road address.

Webster became emotional when Albert said this communicator always wore a flower in his buttonhole.

He told me later that his “dead” brother Wilson had lived at the address given and was never without a rose in his buttonhole.

Albert said correctly that the man sitting next to Webster was his son.

Geoffrey Webster, 27, told me it was his first visit to a Spiritualist meeting. He was deeply impressed by Albert’s clairvoyance.

The medium next got a connection with Holborn, and asked Webster if he was a boxer. “Who is Rafferty?” asked Albert. “Did he break your nose?  “Webster accepted this message as accurate.

He later showed me his broken nose, not immediately apparent, received in a boxing bout with Johnnie Rafferty at a Holhorn boxing match.

Quote by Albert: “I go through tortures before every demonstration. But once on the platform I become icy cool. I am not afraid of the ‘dead’ — only of Spiritualists!”

Albert Best was a postman and a world famous Spiritualist Medium. He was also the uncle of footballer George Best.

Albert Best was taken into hospital on the 2nd April 1996, soon after he slipped into a coma and never regained consciousness until the evening of Thursday 11th April when three mediums went to visit him one being Gordon Smith, the others being Ann Docherty and Jim McManus, both healers.

They all stood in silence looking at Albert.

Gordon became aware of a presence at the foot of the bed, he turned but no one was there physically but as they looked at Albert he began to stir. In that moment Albert opened his eyes turned his head to Jim and smiled, then he looked at Gordon and finally he looked up at Anne and tried to speak. No-one could make out what he had tried to say.

But again he repeated the statement and this time they heard him say “my wife is here and the children” his eyes turned to face the foot of the bed and his eyes opened wide, he smiled and lifted his head. His smile became bright; Gordon reports that in his mind’s eye he could visualize a young lady standing there, slim built with long auburn hair.

Albert was transfixed. Albert’s gaze went around all three of them, and then he spoke his last words. “They’ve come. You will have to let me go”. Anne replied, “We were never holding you Albert”.

He gave one last smile then lowered his head gently to the pillow and closed his eyes.

Albert remained in a coma until he passed to the Spirit World the following evening Friday 12 April 1996.

Further reading: Best of Both Worlds by Rosalind Cattanach

Isa Northage

The Mediumship of Isa Northage (1898 – 1985)

A Path Prepared: The Story of Isa Northage, with Accounts of Her Mediumship Including Healing and Materialisation by Allan Macdonald

This is a long-awaited reprint of the story of Isa A. Northage’s astounding physical and mental mediumship with a particular emphasis on the wonderful healing work which was carried out through her by the dedicated Spirit Team, including surgery by materialised spirit doctors, mainly at the Pinewoods Healing Sanctuary and Church, which were built in the grounds of Newstead Abbey, Nottingham.

The book, first published around 1960, was written and compiled by Allan Macdonald MSF, who says in his introduction: “It is indeed very difficult to try and comply with so many requests from all walks of life for a story covering the varied and outstanding life of such a personality as Isa A. Northage, whose mediumistic abilities, in every phase of phenomena to which her life has been devoted, have also been given to helping those less fortunate souls who were in need of help.

“Her manifold gifts of clairaudience, clairvoyance, direct voice, telekinesis, materialisation, apports, etc., are now carried on in church and sanctuary, both of which she built to give her time to those in need.”

Born in the North-east of England in 1898, Isa heard voices from an early age. A wise local Canon, in whom she confided, told her, “You are another Samuel. Treasure your gifts from God, my child. Some day you will make good use of them.”

And so it came about. One chapter is given over to reports sent into the Two Worlds  magazine between 1938 and 1941, with other reports throughout the 1950s.

Materialisations were seen in red, blue and some in white light; parents were able to talk to and play with their young children who had gone to spirit, giving great joy to those in both worlds.

It is hoped that this evidential account of what can happen, when ‘the gifts of the spirit’ are applied for the good of mankind, will inspire others to work at developing their gifts.

After a foreword by the subject’s daughter there follows an Introduction concerning Mrs Northage’s childhood in Seaton Delaval, Northumberland by the author and a short description of her early mediumistic development by Mrs Northage herself.

Maurice Barbanell (former editor of Psychic News and Two Worlds) writing on psychic surgery states that it is being demonstrated by Mrs. Isa Northage of Nottingham.

“Her spirit doctor materialises and publicly performs these bloodless operations.

 “In front of me as I write is the testimony of one cured patient and the eighteen signatures of some of the witnesses to this psychic surgery. Moreover, I have photographs which were taken of the growths after they were removed from this patient. Even this does not complete the testimony, for I have a tape-recording made at the Sunday evening service at the Spiritualist church where over 100 people witnessed the cancerous growths being removed.

“I should explain that when these operations are performed by the spirit entity known as Dr. Reynolds no anaesthetic is used, no pain is felt by the patient, there is never a break in the skin, a scar or any adverse after-effects. A date is never made in advance for these public demonstrations. A few hours beforehand, Mrs. Northage says that psychically she feels Dr. Reynolds is very close. That is the usual indication.

“Always, though, there is prepared a trolley with antiseptic, swabs, linen cloths, towels, forceps, water and a glass container with surgical spirit to receive anything the doctor may remove from patients. The operations are performed in the church’s full lighting, in front of its altar.

“Let me describe the scene for an operation which was witnessed by the more than 100 congregation. At a signal from the medium before she is entranced, the trolley is placed in position and next to it a chair for the patient. Two helpers stand beside the medium— one on her right and the other on her left.

“Now comes Dr. Reynold’s request for the antiseptic and water, into which he dips the medium’s hands, and asks for a towel to dry them. Next one helper is asked to bring to the medium a member of the congregation who has been attending the church for a year. She is Mrs. Sylvia Hudstone, who lives near Sheffield. The guide asks her to be seated and inquires, ‘Are you nervous?’ She replies, ‘Not at all.’

“The spirit doctor dips a towel into the water with the antiseptic and then cleans the inside of her mouth. She is asked to relax while he places the medium’s fingers inside the patient’s mouth. A few seconds later he withdraws them, holding a growth which he drops into the container with the surgical spirit.

“Once again the fingers enter the mouth and the operation is repeated. Another growth is removed and placed in the container. ‘Did you feel any pain?’ asks the doctor. ‘None,’ is her reply. At the end of the psychic surgery, which lasted about four minutes, the overjoyed patient resumes her seat in the church.

“The growths, which Dr. Reynolds said were malignant, are pink in colour, about 1 inch long, covered by a fine, fibre-like mass, resembling a spider’s web, which appear to be the roots. At the bottom of the container are several small seed-like objects which he says are potential growths.

“The doctor invites any members of the congregation to inspect all the matter he has removed. One of the helpers is then told that he can photograph these growths, which was later done, and examined by a leading analytical chemist. The doctor insisted, however, that the growths were to be burnt as soon as possible.

“Mrs. Hudstone signed a statement declaring that the spirit operation ended years of suffering caused by pain in her jaw. Prolonged medical treatment had produced no relief. Since the operation was performed, the jaw had resumed its normal shape for the first time since her trouble started. All she could feel was a space as if two teeth had been extracted.

“I should explain that many members of the congregation regularly attend what is a normal Spiritualist church service every Sunday, hoping that they will be fortunate enough to witness one of these spirit operations.

 “The signed document describes the psychic surgery performed on a ‘blue baby’, 16-months-old Sylvia Hunt, who sat on her mother’s lap. This was the third time the mother had attended the church.
Mrs. Hunt was asked to bring her baby in front of the altar and place the child in the chair. One helper held Sylvia while she sat. The spirit doctor removed Sylvia’s coat and placed the medium’s hands, one in front and the other on the back, of Sylvia’s body. The congregation was told by him that little Sylvia had almost died that week and had never sat upright since birth.

“He asked the helper to raise the child gently until she reached a sitting position. It was patently visible that her breathing had become almost normal. It did not take very long for Sylvia, obviously improved by the healing, to be restored to her mother.

“Evidence of the success achieved by Dr. Reynolds came a fortnight later, when Mrs. E. Hunt, who lives in a village near Sheffield, wrote to express the gratitude of her husband and herself for Sylvia’s continued progress. Her letter is one of the most moving documents I have read.

“When the baby was born, she said, they were not allowed to see her. They were told that little Sylvia had a slight protrusion on the back of her neck and head. This was caused by her brain being enlarged and breaking through the scalp. The protrusion was removed in an operation during the first 24 hours of Sylvia’s life.

“This operation, however, must have disturbed a nerve at the base of the head, for it paralysed the larynx and the left side of her face. The result was that Sylvia never cried aloud like a normal child. The parents were told that she was a ‘blue baby’. With each attack caused by this complaint, she was placed in an oxygen tent, with the chances of her survival diminishing.

“There were other complications. During the first month of her life, the gap in her head left by the operation kept swelling, causing a blockage which trapped fluid that normally should flow in the body. This fluid constantly had to be drained away. Finally the doctors placed a valve in her head behind one ear. This was connected to the jugular vein and the heart, enabling the fluid to by-pass the blockage. This type of operation was so recent, the parents were told, that success could not be guaranteed.

“At the age of six weeks, the Hunts were allowed to bring Sylvia home, with the advice that they must live from day to day. There was trouble with feeding, which was managed only after hours of determination. If rusks were added to the feed, Sylvia would refuse to accept the bottle. Sometimes it took two or three days to coax her into accepting an ordinary feed of milk. All day long she would lie in her pram, gazing vacantly into space, seemingly never attracted by anything happening in her vicinity.

“‘I have felt so very low,’ says the mother, ‘that I prayed God would take her into His care rather than her suffer in this life.’ A friend lent her a book which described some of the results achieved through Mrs. Northage. After reading it, Mrs. Hunt changed her prayer to a request that somehow God would allow Dr. Reynolds to heal her sick child.

“‘I never thought that my prayers would be answered so soon,’ she says. Ever since the operation, she reports, there has been no trouble with Sylvia’s feeding. At first, they helped Sylvia to sit up, but later she managed this alone. She adds that Sylvia’s little face ‘seems to be more knowing and she smiles more’. Then follow these touching words, ‘At last she seems to know that we are her Mummy and Daddy.’ She ends on a note of rejoicing for this ‘miracle’ and with the hope that Isa Northage will long continue to ‘carry on God’s work’.

“This book not only describes the spirit operations but gives examples of the medium’s versatile gifts, which include materialisation, trance, clairvoyance, direct voice and the production of apports. It narrates how, as a child, Isa Northage saw visions and heard voices. Fortunately, instead of being told, as is often the case, that she suffered from a too vivid imagination, she had wise advice from a canon familiar with psychic facts.

“After listening to a recital of her experiences, he said: ‘You are another Samuel. Treasure your gifts from God. Some day you will make good use of them.’ The result is this remarkable mediumship which for many years has been witnessed in its rich variety in a specially built church in the grounds of an abbey in Nottinghamshire. It is noteworthy to record that patients, cured of all manner of ‘incurable’ diseases, helped to fell trees and with picks and shovels levelled and cleared the ground on which the church was built.

“The medium’s psychic story is one of constant guidance since 1917 by a voice which later she learned was that of her doctor- guide. It was not until 1937 that her physical mediumship became apparent. After that, there was a progressive development, which was controlled by Dr. Reynolds, who says he practised on earth about 150 years ago. He states that in his healing activities he is helped by other former members of the medical profession who had expressed the desire to utilise their combined earthly experience and spirit knowledge to help the suffering.

“Though I have many accounts of these bloodless, painless and successful spirit operations, it would become wearisome to describe them in detail. Ernest Thompson, a former occupant of my editorial chair in the Two Worlds office, has recorded in detail an operation he witnessed; He was allowed to take away with him one of the ulcers which had been removed from a patient. He had this analysed under a microscope in a laboratory by a medical expert. The analyst later reported that it was an acute duodenal ulcer, its condition showing that it was about to penetrate the intestine and would have proved fatal at an early date.

“One of Isa Northage’s most recent operations, in August 1967, was reported in a leading Scottish newspaper. It concerned the removal of a stomach ulcer from a bus driver, Tommy Hanlon. What made the account even more dramatic was the testimony of the patient’s aunt, who is a state registered nurse. ‘In my work as a nurse,’ she said, ‘I witnessed many operations, but never anything like the one performed on Tommy.’
Nurse Margaret Sim reported that Tommy lay on the operating table, fully conscious during the treatment. The entranced medium massaged his abdomen. Then his stomach wall ‘opened like a rose’ and the ulcer was plucked out in two pieces with forceps. The spirit doctor then closed the wound. ‘There wasn’t even the faintest trace of a scar,’ said Miss Sim.
Tommy confessed that previously he had been sceptical. ‘Before the operation almost anything I ate gave me pain,’ he told a reporter. ‘An hour after I was able to eat a five-course meal. I haven’t had a twinge since.’

“My publication of this account in Psychic News brought me a reader’s letter from Mrs. K. Ventress of Woodbury Salterton, near Exeter, Devon. She was interested because with her husband she had attended a materialisation séance with Mrs. Northage four years earlier. She was delighted to receive a brief spirit communication from her son. Presently their daughter materialised, looking radiant. Like any young girl she proudly asked, ‘Isn’t my dress lovely?’ This was a reference to her ectoplasmic robing.  Said Mrs. Ventress, ‘It was exquisite.’

“On January 16th, 1953, we attended Mrs Northage’s Christmas tree séance. A tall tree, lovingly decorated, was covered with presents; there were extra gifts for the children, unknown to the Parents, who invariably pop in. Whistles, squeakers, drums, tambourines and mouth organs were heaped at the base of the tree, for spirit children are as merry as any, and love making a noise as they would if still on earth. The Sanctuary was lit by dim red lamps and scattered about were wooden, luminous plaques and torches. As each child materialised it picked up a plaque and held it up to illuminate the features.

“Soon all was activity, with numerous spirit children searching for and unwrapping their parcels, talking and laughing with their parents and loudly blowing their squeakers, etc. The gentle Ellen Dawes was helping the smaller children to find and unwrap their gifts. We saw her beautiful materialised form near the top of the tree, and never had we felt so close to the angelic spheres as on this night. Naturally our attention was centred on the coming of our own children.

“Nils came first. He was then about five years old we had put a little clockwork tractor on the tree for him. First we heard him saying: “Where is my present? I can’t find it,” with rising agitation. Then he found and unwrapped it and coming over to us held his plaque, luminous side up, and ran his tractor up and down its flat surface. He then handed the tractor and key to my husband and said: “Wind it up, Daddy, please.” When this was done we watched him follow it across the floor on hands and knees in great excitement. He then returned with the tractor and handed it to his daddy saying: “Hold it for me, please, I come back.” Almost at once we heard Zoe saying: “I want my Mummy and Daddy.” “We are over here, darling,” I said. “I know, I can see you,” she replied, and coming to stand before us she said “I thank you for my book and my bag,” and then said she would like them given to the little daughter of a sitter present. I kissed her on the cheek and she moved in front of me saying: “I want to kiss my Daddy,” and after kissing him she dematerialised.

“Soon after Abudulai Gurunshi greeted us joyfully and snatching up a tambourine, proceeded to whisk it within a hairsbreadth of our noses, playing one of the drum rhythms of West Africa. Later, when the lights were turned up we were astonished to find Zoe’s parcel unopened on the tree, yet she had known and mentioned its contents. We can never be grateful enough that the thin veil separating us from our loved ones has been drawn aside, giving us the certainty that all is well with them.

“This reader also witnessed a curious happening. Dr. Reynolds said he was treating a patient critically ill in a Surrey hospital. To help, he urgently required a blood transfusion. Mrs. Ventress and her husband watched as from the medium’s arm he extracted some blood and put it into a small phial. Then he vanished. When he reappeared he said that he had been privileged to help save a life that night.”


G.H. Wilkinson writes

One of my friends heard me talk about Mrs. Isa Northage. My wife and I were friends of hers for several years, and in 1950 I stayed with her and her husband Jack for 7 weeks at their home in Newstead Abbey Park, near Nottingham, whilst I was house-hunting.

During this time I saw several materialisations at their séances, and I witnessed the materialised form of Dr. Reynolds, as he did two operations — one for a stomach ulcer, and the other for a blockage of bone in the nose of a patient. In both cases, luminous plaques were used for lighting.

I was recommended to Mrs. Northage and Dr. Reynolds because of a persistent skin complaint, which my own G.P. and medical specialists could not cure.

Dr. Reynolds prescribed a herbal medicine, made up by a chemist in Northampton, and also a skin lotion. Both were effective, and as a permanent cure, the Doctor gave me a spiritual blood transfusion from Mrs. Northage.

Isa Northage gave a séance at our home in Ashington, Northumberland, in 1916, during which materialised Spirits gave us apports, which we still possess. Mine consist of a flint arrowhead, and a ring which I wear, whilst my wife received a Nun’s Cross and chain.

Before 1950, we visited the Northage home in Bulwell about 3 times, and in séances there my Grandmother materialised, as well as my Father, who was killed in 1916.

In addition, I watched my two half-sisters materialise as fully grown young women. The elder one, Mary, died after only two hours of life, and the other one, Margaret, was stillborn. She was perturbed that she did not have an earthly name, so we were able to give her the name her mother had intended for her,


As the youngest child of Isa Northage, growing up I participated in some of the experiments in this book, A Path Prepared. It seemed perfectly natural in our home to see objects move, to see the table we ate at rise and we would say, “Put the table down, Sambo, we know you are with us.” The information in the séances and experiments are all true. I was a witness to the apports arriving and the Christmas tree with the spirit children materializing to share the gifts their parents put on the tree.

As a schoolgirl I helped mother to take the bread to the sanctuary to go to our military prisoners captured by the enemy in World War II. Sometimes, if we were late, as soon as the Sanctuary door closed the bread would dematerialize from our arms. Other times we would leave it and it would be gone when we went back.
From the beginning, through experiments with ectoplasm from which materializations built, I was there.

Before I close I would like to mention my brother’s son John Northage. He passed into spirit January 29, 2012. John was the one in our family who inherited my mother’s gifts. As a healer John was gifted and amazing like his grandmother. John was clairaudient, clairvoyant but very humble about his gifts.

I would like to thank Ann Harrison for the reprinting of this book for future generations as a continuing story of my mother’s work.

Hannah A.Carlin (nee Nina Northage)
March 18, 2012

Further Reading: A Path Prepared  by Allan Macdonald


Bertie Lilly Candler

The medium was Bertie Lilly Candler. She was a handsome woman of some forty years, with a head of lovely auburn hair and sincere blue eyes. Later I was to learn that she had been raised in the Methodist denomination in Atlanta, Ga., and had begun to exercise her phenomenal powers following the death of her brother Howard, after she had married and started living in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was accompanied in this New York visit by her husband Edward, who superintended her séance work. My friend George had cleverly arranged the day before I saw the phenomena I am about to describe, that he was to arrive “with a friend” at the borrowed studio where Miss Candler – as she is professionally known – was to go into her trance, and that we were to be slipped into reserved chairs after the other spectators had assembled and just before the lights were dimmed, that any possible notoriety attendant upon myself might in no-wise embarrass either medium or hostess.
Twenty persons were gathered at 8:15 when George and I pushed the bell of an apartment on the twelfth floor of a residence skyscraper overlooking the Hudson River. We were admitted just as the hostess was requesting a group of women present to accompany the medium into an adjacent room while she divested herself of her usual clothes and donned her séance robe—a plain gown of olive satin. This to forestall any late charge of fraud, or of taking into the cabinet with her anything that might be extraneous to unassisted phenomena. The room in which the sitting was being held was about twelve feet wide by twenty feet long. The length of it ran east and west in the building. At the western end was a small angular platform, containing a rostrum and a studio piano, raised fifteen inches from the main flooring. This flooring was carpeted with what appeared to be a heavy dark green Brussels rug.

We entered from the public corridor through the main door in the room’s southeastern corner. The room had only one other door, farther west in the southern wall, opening into a little hallway off which were chamber, bathroom, and kitchenette. These details are important in what followed. The cabinet consisted of a collapsible wooden framework with heavy red velours drapes on brass hooks. It made a little compartment about five feet square and seven feet high, inside which was nothing but a plain wooden chair turned sideways to the audience. Several people examined this cabinet beforehand, finding it absolutely empty of anything but the chair. At the right of the cabinet outside was a chair where the medium’s husband usually sat throughout his wife’s séances. He personally greeted and interrogated the materialized people as they emerged, and made certain that no sitter who was called close to the cabinet, crossed between the materialization and the medium, thus interfering with, or cutting off, the ectoplasmic cord. To the left of the cabinet outside was a small table holding a portable victrola with a pile of sacred records, subsequently played between manifestations. At the northern corner of the platform opposite the cabinet was a small spotlight with a ruby lens, focused on the front curtains. This illumination, after the eyes became accustomed to it, was sufficient to reflect throughout the whole room and show all the sitters in silhouette. At least nobody could move in the room without its being discernible. After a time Miss Candler came from the chamber in the satin robe, nodded to acquaintances in the room who had been at some of her sittings before, and went into the cabinet. Before the floor lamps were switched off and the ruby spotlight turned on, she sat herself on the chair, gathered the robe about her feet, lifted a corner of the front drape and called out naively to everyone, “Good night!”

Unique to add, Miss Candler’s little Pomeranian trotted after her into the cabinet and stretched near her feet. I had it whispered to me that the pet always did that, and slept soundly throughout the whole proceeding. It certainly was there asleep, and had to be awakened, after the floor lamps were snapped on at the end of the séance. Inasmuch as some twenty-five entities were to materialize in the ensuing three hours, of all ages and both sexes, it hardly seems possible that a dumb animal—especially a dog—would have slept soundly while they passed in and out of that cabinet, had they been mortal actors putting over any hoax …
One of them, at least, would have stepped on it!

With the floor lamps snapped off and the red light turned on, the woman who owned the apartment and acted as hostess—and who was herself one of New York’s most famous trumpet mediums—requested that we open the proceedings by reciting the Lord’s Prayer in unison. That finished, our hostess put on the first record. It was, “Nearer, My God to Thee.” The record contained three verses. When it was finished, we waited. Nothing happened.

Our hostess put on another hymn, “Abide With Me.” When its three verses had finished in turn, a period of electric silence followed. Suddenly it was cut by a voice. It was a girl’s voice, possibly fourteen to sixteen years old. It came from behind the drapes.
“Hello, everybody!” it rang out, clear as a bell. “I’m Silverleaf!”

Now I had heard about Silverleaf from George. She was not so much Miss Candler’s “control”, as her mediumistic companion. Usually Miss Candler’s brother, Howard—at whose decease, as aforesaid, she had truly begun her mediumistic work—acted as her control. But Howard did not seem to be with her this night. Silverleaf took charge of the sitting.

She had not only talked with George in Florida but had materialized at all of Miss Candler’s séances, which George had attended. He had come to know her rather intimately during the fortnight spent in the South.

He had described her to me as an attractive young Indian girl, who usually appeared with a band of jewels around her head, two heavy braids down her breast over an Indian jacket, and a skirt of a billowy white material resembling poplin. On one occasion George had playfully challenged her as to whether her braids were real. She had taken one of them and brushed it across his nose and face. She called him Uncle Jo-Jo. Many of those present had been at Miss Candler’s sittings before and met Silverleaf. They responded to her greeting. “I’m coming out a minute,” Silverleaf went on. “Medie,” meaning the medium, “isn’t quite asleep yet. Hello, Uncle Jo -Jo!”
“Hello, Silverleaf,” called back George. “Do you know who I’ve got with me?’
“Sure I know who you’ve got with you,” she said with a rippling laugh. “You’ve got Uncle Billy with you. Hello, Uncle Billy!”
“Hello, Silverleaf,” I returned, having been at trumpet sittings before and not feeling inhibited at carrying on my end of such conversations.

Thereupon Silverleaf began to call out and greet other sitters personally. She never missed the correct name. Finally she called to our hostess, “Put on another hymn, Nora, then I guess we’ll be about ready.”The hostess put on “Lead Kindly Light.”

Now understand me, what I am about to relate I saw with my own eyes, I heard with my own ears, and I touched with my own hands. There is no secondhand information to any of it. And I had my friend George for witness as to the accuracy of what I am reporting. When the final verse of “Lead, Kindly Light” had died away, the front of the drapes moved in the ruby lamp’s focused illumination. Out of the cabinet stepped an Indian girl of about sixteen years, with long braids down each side of a dark pretty face, her shoulders covered by a beaded jacket, and a flowing white skirt billowing down from her belt. She came out without the slightest hesitancy and with a child’s delighted cry of, “Well, here I am!”

A chorus of greetings met her. Somehow it seemed, despite my clandestine presence there, that I had to be singled out for attention, though my last name never was spoken in the three hours that followed. The room was then deathly silent. You could have heard the proverbial pin drop.

Silverleaf came tripping over to where George and I sat, about midway between the two doors along the southern wall. She stood before us. Just what was expected of me, I wasn’t sure. George said, “I wanted Uncle Billy to meet you in person, Silverleaf.”

“I told you I knew all about Uncle Billy,” repeated Silverleaf. “See, I’ve got on the same dress tonight that I had on down in Florida, Uncle Jo -Jo.”
The voice of Mrs. Candler’s husband interrupted us from across the room. “Get up, William,” he suggested. “Come back nearer to the cabinet here.” I arose. To my astonishment, Silverleaf put her hand on my forearm and held me as she backed before me toward the cabinet. It felt as the hand of any 16-year-old girl would feel. There was nothing waxen or ethereal about it… it was no papier-mâché hand.
What on earth we talked about when I got in correct position facing her in front of the cabinet, where I did not obstruct the beam from the ruby lamp, I don’t for the life of me recall. If I did I would set it down. But I remember George calling out to the girl, “Smooth Uncle Billy’s face with one of your braids, Silverleaf, just to show him they’re real, the same as you did mine down in Florida.”

With a naive little chuckle, Silverleaf caught up her right-hand braid and brushed it playfully across my features. I had expected to feel coarse Indian hair. Instead it was soft as silk and delicately perfumed with lotus. I say that I smelled that beautiful scent and yet I couldn’t have done it with nostrils alone, for unknown to many of my friends I lost my sense of smell during a siege of typhoid in Vermont in 1921. Later I had it explained to me that while the “smell buds” in my nostrils were destroyed, the nerves of smell back to the brain centers were not, and it had been these that caught the supernatural perfume. Then came another startling incident. I thought that Silverleaf had done with me and started back to my chair. To my astonishment, it seemed that she wasn’t done with me, because I sensed her running after me, I felt her hand in the crook of my right elbow, and she playfully whirled me around to face her. I weigh 154 pounds. No ethereal “phantom” grabs hold of a 154-pound man and has strength enough to turn him completely about. As I recall, it was some trivial promise about listening at times for her voice in my clairaudient ear, so that having thus met her I could identify her, that caused the whirligig. Anyhow, I got back to my seat and Silverleaf turned her attention to the rest of the sitters.

She stood in the center of the group, half-way down the room, and addressed practically every person there in turn, calling each one by his or her first name and asking after personal affairs or suggesting times when they had met before. She seemed to take particular delight in her costume and showed it off with the savoir faire of the professional manikin. Her poise was adorable. Finally she said that she had to go back into the cabinet and help “build up the ray” for others.I asked “What ray?”“The materializing ray,” she answered.

What she alluded to was, that to obtain such results in actuality, this was what took place: As the medium sank into deeper and deeper trance, her body began to release its ectoplasmic content, which poured out through its orifices into a sort of pool in the cabinet before her. This is one of the chief reasons for the cabinet at all, that such exhibition does not frighten or disgust the spectator. Into this flood of released ectoplasm, the more tenuous Light Body of the materializing entity steps and concentrates—with the help of “guides” like Silverleaf who are in the cabinet discarnate—on what his or her physical appearance was in mortality. This concentration acts as a sort of magnetic ray that begins to draw up the ectoplasm around the discarnate Light-Body like mercury filling up the glass stem of a thermometer. When the Light-Body, or pattern-self, is completely substantialized, the materialization is accomplished and the discarnate entity can leave the cabinet, to all intents a normal human being.

Don’t say, “It can’t be done!” It can be done, and is done in a thousand bona fide séance rooms on five continents year after year. It is the operating of a law just as natural as the growth of a blood clot in a woman’s womb into a perfectly formed human being, within the first twenty -five days after conception, though too minute to be recognized for what it is. One is no more a mystery than the other.

When Silverleaf had withdrawn into the cabinet, our hostess put on a fresh sacred record. As its final verse died away, the front drapes rippled and parted. Another young girl stepped through—a white girl. She was dressed in a pretty lace frock with a sort of bridal net falling from her hair. Edward got her identity and called out to her father and mother who was seated on George’s left. They arose and hastened forward.

The mother gave a sharp cry, “It’s really you, dear!” Recognition was instantaneous. Gertrude, it seemed, had caught a chill at her high school graduation dance, taken to bed, and Passed Over of quick pneumonia. This, apparently, was the first time that the parents had seen her in materialization. The reunion was poignant. I had noticed the careworn father and mother seated beyond George just before the lights went off. The father had something like a fold of cardboard in his hands and I had thought it a pad of paper for taking notes. Presently I was to find out what it was.

They talked swiftly, eagerly, of events that had taken place in the family since the girl’s passing. She gave them what she could of her own experiences in the octave above the mortal. Then still in the ruby light, the father opened the cardboard folder.

“I brought this along just in case we actually saw you tonight,” he explained. And he handed it to her. The whole thing was played out not four feet from me and I could hear plainly every word that passed. The girl took the folder, opened it herself, and held it down against her skirt in order to get the ruby light-beam upon it.

“Why, it’s me in my graduation dress!” she cried.
“Yes, dear,” the mother said. “You remember it was taken the day you went to the dance, but you left us before the photographer delivered it.”
“And there’s another picture in here,” Gertrude said. She looked at it closely.
“Why, it’s Tommy!”
I gathered that Tommy was a younger brother.
Somehow that recognition of the picture hit me as being a more accurate proof of identity of a departed soul than even the things that subsequently happened to myself.

Gertrude handed back the photographs. Suddenly, with a surge of emotions, she threw both arms around her father and mother. The three of them embraced there—like the three normal persons, which they were—loath to give each other up.

Could that father and mother ever conceive thereafter that their beloved daughter was dead, or that she had “perished”? What Mosaic numskull was it who had written back over the years, “The dead know not anything,” and ‘There is neither device nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goest?’   Rubbish!

The breakaway had to come between Gertrude and her parents. Seeing her withdraw and go backward into the cabinet was not unlike having her die a second death to them, I suppose, in that she could not walk out of that meeting with them. When the drapes had fallen before her figure, we were brought back to realities by another bit of sacred music coming from the victrola. Who would emerge from the cabinet next? We had not long to wait.
The curtains parted, the form of an elderly lady stepped through. She paused a moment and then stepped back. The drapes fell before her figure.

A second time she opened the drapes. This time she stepped through and at least six feet out into the room. She cried with a husky Irish brogue: “Dennis!” Mind you these voices were not spookish whispers, unless their possessors did not particularly want the whole roomful to hear what they were saying to their intimates.

An Irish traffic policeman who was present, but not in uniform, sprang up with an exclamation. Apparently this was his mother.

“Dennis, me son, me son!” she cried.

What they said privately up close together I could not hear, for the woman dropped her voice a few moments. Then louder we heard her say, “Oh why do ye have to be all the toime standing down under thim terrible elevated tracks with the trolley cars going past ye, and thim trucks nearly hitting ye? A dozen toimes a day, me bye, ye give your mither the conniption fits that they’re going to take your toes off.”
“Are you there with me, mother?” the copper asked incredulously.

“All the toime I’m with ye, to keep ye from harm. But ye scare the wits from ye mither a dozen toimes an hour. Why don’t ye give up the job, Dennis, and git a dacent job at man’s wages?”
“Somebody has to do that sort of thing, mother,” Dennis argued.
“Yes, I suppose so. But do ye take care of yourself. And I know there’s going to be a new wedding ring on your finger in the spring. May ye be happy, me son!”

“That’s pretty realistic,” I whispered to George in the ruby dark, as a new hymn played sweetly.

“Look!” George cried presently. Out from the curtains had stepped a tall foreign-looking cleric in vestments that seemed to me to be of the Greek Catholic church as I had seen them in Siberian mosques in 1918. He wanted his sister Mischa.

A stocky Slav girl sprang up and came forward. After the usual emotional greetings, they began talking about family affairs, with references to papa and mama and other relatives and their troubles, which the brother contended he was daily helping to iron out. We thought it was to be just another of those domestic visits which mean nothing to a stranger excepting the humanness of the problems. Suddenly, however, the Russian said, “Do you recall, Mischa, how we once played and sang together at the piano?” Indeed, Mischa did.
“Would you play an accompaniment for me,” the brother asked wistfully, “and let me sing with you again?”
Mischa acted embarrassed. She didn’t enthuse. “Some other night, brother,” she begged.
“Oh, all right—nichivo!” the man said, the tone of disappointment bitter in his voice.
The audience broke out in a storm of protestations. “Play, Mischa, play!” they insisted.
The brother, in retreat toward the cabinet, seemed to pause and wait.
“What do you want me to play?” she asked him.
“Would you play The Rosary?”

Mischa went to the piano on the dais. That she was an expert musician was evident the instant her fingers’ touched the keys. She sounded off on the proper chord. Then, to my stupefaction at least, the brother who had remortalized himself for this epochal evening by courtesy of the gracious Florida woman asleep inside that cabinet, cleared his throat and started in with the words. He sang the three verses without slip or falter, though sometimes not quite making the true tone on the high notes. There he was, within five feet of me, doing that thing, his voice having quite as much volume as any man’s in that room. My eyes had grown quite accustomed to the red light by this time. His figure between me and the opposite wall was as opaque as any figure within reach of my vision. It was perfectly made. I could see the man’s chest rise and fall. His accent, not pure English, often flatted on the words. But singing the song seemed to mean a lot to him. When the solo was over, he thanked his sister like a grateful little boy. The approval of the audience, of course, was noisy.

“It’s quite like old times,” he murmured to Mischa as he finally backed toward the cabinet. A moment later, he had disappeared from out sight.
“What do you think of that?” asked George.
“If I hadn’t heard it with my own ears, I wouldn’t have believed it,” I replied. The victrola hymn had started up again.

A portly German father stepped out from the drapes and called to his son and his family, sitting directly opposite the cabinet. The son brought up his new bride to be introduced, a girl who had never seen the old gentleman in flesh. The conversation began in German and finished in German—for a full ten minutes. Not knowing German, I could not follow it. But it seemed to be all about relatives, for I distinguished several Christian names, both men and women.

Suddenly, when the German had finished his visit, the voice of Silverleaf called to the hostess over the drapes, “put on the Bells of St. Mary, Nora!”
It took a moment to find the record out of the pile by the aid of a tiny flashlight. Nora played it once and nothing happened. But just as it started up a second time, the drapes parted and the figure that advanced out of the cabinet was that of a nun, muttering in what I took to be Latin. She was clad in sharp blacks and whites in headdress and girdle. Her presence was so impelling that the audience forgot to welcome her audibly.
Strangely enough, the room happened to be so silent for an instant that as the Sister trod past me—within at least two feet of where I was leaning forward—I could hear the scuff of what seemed to be her naked feet on the nap of the heavy Brussels rug. That too was pretty convincing evidence in view of what happened when she later “went out.” She moved toward one of the women at the back of the room and spoke. The woman started up. What relation she was to the nun I could not make out. But if I recall correctly, the woman was perplexed over whether or not she should give up her present work and take up nursing.
“No,” the nun advised against it. “If I were you I would keep on where you are. You are doing more good to humanity.”

On and on they talked about more family complications. The way in which these good people—striving against time to cram all their troubles and sorrows into a brief few minutes of contact—choking hectically over the questions and answers, was heart-rending.

But the nun kept her poise and terminated the interview. Back near the cabinet—I should say some three feet in front of it and yet standing slightly off-center toward the right—she suddenly raised both arms heavenward. She looked like one of those Angels of Mercy on the Red Cross posters. I heard a hoarse whisper: “She’s blessing us. Listen!”
It was a Catholic blessing, uttered in Latin. The nun was talking swiftly, almost parroting her words. As she repeated the blessing, I beheld her start to sink through the floor with a curious twist of her uniformed figure.

I blinked my eyes. I did everything but pinch myself or jab a pin in my leg. What on earth was I seeing?

The nun’s figure sank further. She went down to her knees, her waist, her shoulders. Finally her head went out of sight—through the rug! It was like watching a person sink beneath the surface of water.

Finally we watched the awesome sight of two upraised arms and hands, still heavy with vestments, thrusting upward from the carpet. Finally the left hand nearest me vanished. The right hand lingered as a pool of fluorescence on the rug for ten or fifteen seconds, and then that too disappeared. No part of her had gone back into the cabinet. She had dematerialized—sloughed off her clothing of substantiality—directly before our eyes! I was to have a second such demonstration before the night was over.

It was to be my own paternal grandfather!

I knew that I was witnessing a display of phenomena that might happen, even to expert researchers, but once in a lifetime—and yet might be repeated, if one were fortunate, no later than tomorrow night. Less than an hour had gone by, and I had already witnessed the equivalent of manifestations that might compose a whole evening’s séance, and a most satisfying séance at that.

The victrola played on at my right, and in between records, if a materialization had not appeared, I could hear the suppressed breathing of the score of persons around me, striving as I was striving to accredit that they were all seated in Mayor La Guardia’s New York, with the long strings of automobiles flowing down the Drive below in the beautiful orchestration of Sunday night traffic, and the problems of the war-torn world to be faced in the morning. Most of the materializations, I noted, usually appeared in about the middle of the second playing of any given hymn on the machine, when Nora would instantly hush the music …

Suddenly the curtains parted, the music was stopped, and a figure appeared that puzzled as it disquieted me—not that I recognized it, for it was a stranger and yet a somewhat different type of entity than had materialized to the present. Edward, beyond the cabinet, rose to his feet.“This,” he announced solemnly, “is evidently a personage from a very high plane of eternity.” And he bent toward it with instinctive solicitude.

The man standing sedately before the drapes was not tall—in a few moments I was to stand within a foot of him and find myself looking down slightly into his face. He was dressed in vestments such as I had never witnessed on any cleric of any church. A mitre of some sort seemed to be on his head. He looked eighty years old. A long silvery beard dropped halfway down his chest. There was a quiet restraint, a poise, a dignity to him that might be felt merely by surveying him.

“He gives the name of Ari,” announced Edward, “and is here to speak to George.”
The friend beside me started up. “It’s my special protective guardian,” he declared in a whisper. “He materialized twice for me down in Florida.”

This then was the spirit whom George had reported to me as having done something that I considered truly remarkable in the way of phenomena. One night, in a Florida sitting, he had called George up and talked with him privately about his life and affairs. He had seemed so paternal, so kindly, so solicitous, that George had begun to have a sincere affection for the gentleman. When he had turned to depart, he had asked George, “would you like to have something to remember me by?”

George, of course, had answered affirmatively.
“Have you a pair of scissors or a knife in your pocket?”
George had a pocketknife and produced it. Ari had twisted up a lock of his beard and held it taut.
“Cut it off,” he had directed.

George had told me that while striving to do this, he had seen the pull of the flesh where the hairs grew out and Ari’s grasp of the lock had been faulty. But he had severed the strand and received it in his fingers.
“Put it in a locket,” Ari had said. “It will be a constant connection between us.”

George, of course, had wondered how that could be, for he rightly expected that his ethereal guardian would presently dematerialize. But when the latter had done so, to George’s amazement the lick of hair had not! George had carried it from the séance and shown it to me in Indianapolis.
This then, was the dignitary who had done this wonder and I hoped I was going to be able to ask him how he had performed it.

George, up before the cabinet with Ari, called me to them. He introduced me.
Ari laid his right hand with firm pressure on my wrist. I could see him plainly then. I judged his race to be Persian. “I’m so glad to be able to introduce my friend to you, Ari,” George said, to make conversation.
The venerable one laughed pleasantly.

“My son,” he returned, “we on This Side know William’s work even better than you do. But it gives me great pleasure that we meet face to face.”
I said, “George has shown me the keepsake you gave him in Florida. From the scientific angle, I’ve wondered how such a thing could be managed. How did the hair lock remain in existence on this side when you returned to the higher octave?”

Again that poised, easy laugh from the visitor. “It was meant to remain on your side of life,” he responded. “I fixed it so that it would.” He put emphasis on the “would”.
What more could be said? Any discussion of the higher life processes was impossible at the moment.

I went back to my seat and presently George followed. Ari had spoken a pleasant word to the guests and stepped backward behind the drapes.

As though purposely to display a diversity of types a lad of some fifteen years stepped out of the cabinet a moment or two after the next record had been played. He was clad in ordinary boy’s clothing of this period—trousers and blouse-shirt with four-in-hand tie—but seemed to be afflicted with a slight curvature of the spine.

“Tony!” cried the medium’s husband, springing up as though a bit surprised himself.
Tony greeted Edward. He seemed pleased with himself that he had contrived it. Edward explained.
“Tony,” he said standing in big-brotherly fashion beside the youthful visitor, “was formerly a newsboy in Chicago. He made the passing a couple of years ago by being struck by a truck on Evanston Avenue. He drops in to see us at these meetings quite often. Sometimes he sings for us. Don’t you, Tony?”
“Sure, I sing!” boasted Tony. “But I don’t think I’ll do it tonight.”

The assembly at once pressed him to favor it. But Tony had all the embarrassment of a Chicago newshawk suddenly plunged into a gathering in a drawing room. No, he wouldn’t sing. He just wanted to say hello to Eddie and then get gone. “Loads of folks are waiting to get in,” he declared.

It was a queer little episode. Tony hadn’t come to meet anybody in the group. He just wanted to be neighborly and that was that. Having gotten a certain gratification from being thus noticed, he opened the drapes behind him and his personal appearance for the evening was over.

We had to wait a long time now. I wondered if the ectoplasmic force was dwindling. But I presently understood.
A dignified gentleman who must have stood six feet tall, with a well-shaped bald head, and a gown resembling an Episcopalian rector’s surplice, with stole, over sinewy shoulders and chest, presently walked out of the cabinet and stood for a moment regarding us all. The woman at my right cried, “Doctor Wainwright!”,“Yes,” the personage responded gravely, “I am Doctor Wainwright. I wish to speak to you first, my dear, about your treatments. Will you please come up here for a short consultation?”
The lady needed no urging. She joined him, with a couple of women friends, in front of the cabinet. The assembly waited.

I gathered from what I overheard of the conversation that the woman was suffering from an internal trouble with which mortal physicians could scarcely cope.
At some previous séance this higher-octave physician had come through to her and promised to assist her doctor in flesh to bring about an amelioration of her condition, if not her cure. He made the clairaudient recommendations to her mortal doctors, I gathered, and they gave the treatments, whether aware of the source of their prescriptions or not. But the patient was not cooperating, as she should. Hence this personal contact. He went on explaining something medical for at least five minutes. Finally he dismissed her, and noted the group.

Edward asked him if he could not speak them all a word of comfort during the terrible times through which the earth was passing. “We in the higher spheres of life,” Dr. Wainwright responded after a moment’s cogitation, “do not look upon what is happening now on your plane as ‘war’. Neither should any of you privileged persons consider it as such. What the earth world is passing through at present is a stupendous renovation.” Dr. Wainwright spoke measuredly, choosing his words most carefully.

“The time has come in modern history,” he went on in substance, “for a gigantic housecleaning of all the dark, wicked, mischief-force who so shamefully afflict man and his institutions—especially his political and economic institutions. They are due to expose themselves presently throughout all humanity for their blunderings, their greeds, their inabilities to inspire or direct man in his worldly predicaments and dilemmas. Before the present sequence is run they will be stripped of their influence because of their own inadequacies. Great wrongs that have afflicted the nations for generations are due to be righted. The earth and its society must come back into a moral balance.”

Someone asked how far American would get into the war.
“There will be no such enemy destruction of life and property in the United States as there had been in countries abroad,’ he replied. “At least, those on the plane to which I have progressed seem not to be aware of it. But you must remember that we have no more access to the intentions of the Almighty than you have. We are simply living in a higher and more delicate world of Matter. We have ways of seeing things begin to occur in the astral that are presently to mature in event in the mortal, but it is for a limited time ahead only. This thing I do want you to remember and to count on, however: All of us in these higher states of life have positive knowledge of a great leader who is presently to rise here in North America and by his wise counsel and direction—gained from the same high sources from which we get out counsel and direction—straighten out most of the embroilments in which American humankind finds itself in these moments. You can plan on the coming of such a leader, though you must not question me specifically concerning his identity. He is not so well known now as he is to be shortly.

Probably he will come in result of the terrible blunders and shortcomings of those who have had the conflict in charge in its opening phases. He will resuscitate the United States from the spiritual, more than from the political, angle. And when he comes, not the least among you will have much difficulty recognizing him.”
The doctor started to back toward the cabinet as he concluded this message. Then with a grave bow to the thoughtful assembly, he stepped inside …

… now followed at least an hour of entities of strictly private significance to other sitters present. The mothers of several persons, clad in most cases in ethereal flowing robes, made themselves substantial and discoursed with sons or daughters quite after the manner I have described. On one occasion the son of one of the women spectators visited her for several minutes, expressing his gratitude that he was out of mortality for the sequence now running on earth.

“I did my share in the first World War,” he informed us. “I’m glad I don’t have to go through another such experience under present conditions.”

His mother explained, in introducing him to the group, that he had been badly wounded in the AEF in 1918, and had dragged out a miserable existence as a disabled veteran till death released him some five years bygone. A most poignant note was introduced on another occasion by the deceased fiancé of one of the young women present stepping suddenly from between the drapes, being instantly recognized, and the two of them embracing after she had left her seat impulsively and hurried to him.

“Oh, it’s so hard to get along with you gone, Harry,” the young woman sobbed. “It’s all that I can do to live day after day. Life seems so bleak, so barren.”

With his arms about his erstwhile sweetheart, the young man patted the pretty bowed back, and sought to soothe her. “But can’t you understand,” he argued gently, “that I’m not ‘gone’, that I’m right close to you day after day, helping you as I never could help you had I stayed in life with you?”

No, she couldn’t, and she said so. So they clung to each other—and everyone present must have felt a bit embarrassed, as though violating some sort of privacy by thus looking on.
I couldn’t help wondering what the skeptics and ignoramuses—who contend so raucously that no “dead” person has ever “come back”—would say, to sit witnessing such a reunion as this, a young man stepping into mortality for brief ten minutes to put his arms around a beloved sweetheart whom he had been obliged to part with, when he had to go ahead of her into the more exquisite phases of experiencing Consciousness. But the evening was getting on.

Between half-past ten and eleven o’clock it was and after the victrola records had run out, to be succeeded by a beautiful rhythmic humming of “Holy Night” on the part of the sitters, that the curtains trembled, were pulled energetically open, and a white figure stepped through without the slightest pause or hesitation, heading straight for my chair.

Somehow I seemed to know telepathically when this Lady in White walked out, that she had materialized for me and none other, though I couldn’t tell who she was at once. As she crossed the space of rug, she seemed to loom above me in unnatural proportions.
Presently I was to see that this effect was supplied by swathes of chiffon about her head and held together on the center of her breast.
“Dudley, my son!” she cried raggedly as I got to my feet.

Now there had been only one such woman who had gone on the other side, who had ever used my middle name in addressing me as a lad, and that was my maternal grandmother. But could this be my maternal grandmother? She had blue eyes, as my maternal grandmother had blue eyes. She had something of the same contours of face. But my mother’s mother, Hanna, had been an elderly woman—some sixty-five or seventy years old—when making the passing in 1912. This lady did not look a day over forty, if that old, and her figure lacked my Grandmother Goodale’s portliness.

On the other hand, I had heard plenty in other séances of a process in the higher dimensions of certain souls’ “growing back to a norm” of maturity and remaining there until progressing along to loftier planes of consciousness. Was my grandmother going that? Certainly in the ensuing few moments I had small doubt about its being my grandmother’s spirit. I followed her to a position in front of the cabinet where the ruby spotlight gave maximum illumination.

“You poor boy,” she crooned, “what a terrible time you are going through! And all so unfair and unmerited!” probably had I known Grandmother in her middle life, I might not have felt so confused at having a person apparently younger than myself at the moment—at least in looks—designate herself as my mother’s mother.
Feeling stranger in her presence, therefore, I scarcely knew how, or what, to reply. But of this thing I took note.
Her mental or emotional anguish was poignant to behold. Her distress was so great that it called up counter-sympathy. As I struggled for poise, she asked me—“what’s the matter? Can’t you see me? Haven’t I done what I’ve never done anything of this sort, you know.”

“I can see you all right, Grandmother,” I assured her.
“I can’t stay very long … it’s all so awkward, so different from anything I’ve ever been used to. But I had to come to you tonight to try to cheer and encourage you in the awful ordeal you’re being called to suffer. It’s all part of your career, my son. Fancy talking to you, though, now that you’re a man grown, face to face!” How does one talk to one’s grandmother whom one hasn’t seen in substantiality in over thirty years? One thing is certain. One doesn’t feel facetious …

This blue-eyed lady, however, had nothing of the ethereal about her except for the chiffon headscarf and robes. She seemed to have considerable difficulty holding the latter together in front. She kept pulling the folds together with her left hand while she tried in a sort of affectionate caress to pass her right hand over my hair and down about my shoulders.
“It’s all in one’s life work, I suppose,” I said tritely.
“But will you remember my words of counsel, son? Will you surely remember them?”
“Meaning what? What counsel?”
“This counsel—that no matter what predicament you think that you’re in, with authorities or anyone else, ‘the door has been unlocked already!” Will you remember that? ‘The door has been unlocked already.’ Promise you’ll remember that.”
“I promise,” I said.

“Say after me, ‘The door has been unlocked already.’”
“The door has been unlocked already,” I repeated. Inasmuch as not a soul in that room but myself and George knew that I was in any particular sort of trouble, it was on the whole convincing for a materialized soul to proceed directly to giving of such solicitude.
“That’s all I can say. I’ve got to go now. ‘The door has been unlocked already.’” With another caressing gesture at my head and shoulders, she began to withdraw from me.
An instant later she had vanished behind the curtains.

I was so upset in my feelings when I again sought my chair, that I scarcely gave any attention to the spirit that now came forth from the cabinet and greeted everyone in the voice of another child—a second little Indian girl, apparently, some ten to twelve years old.

She had not come there to meet anyone in particular. I gathered vaguely that her prime purpose was in displaying a new dress that enveloped her, somewhat after the pattern of Silverleaf’s. She gave some fanciful and flowery name, but I was thinking, thinking, thinking … The child was obsessed with the fact that on the following afternoon, on the plane in which she resided, she was going to a party …

Had that recent materialization been that of my grandmother or had it not? If so, and this was an example of “growing back young,” what a lot of surprises some people were in for, at making the passing themselves and greeting their loved ones on the other side, to find the latter not “lame, halt, blind or aged” as they might have gone out of flesh, but radiantly mature in the golden summer of middle existence.

Certainly my “grandmother” had called me by the only name that she would use in addressing me face to face. The solicitude for me was unquestionable. And her message had plenty of consolation in it after what I had been through in the South that past week. “The door is unlocked already!” what would that mean but that the tide had definitely turned for me, and that the “out” was ready for me to experience as the days and weeks rolled onward? I was still preoccupied with my thoughts in ruby dusk when I realized that Edward was calling “William”! That meant me again.
I took up at the cabinet.

A portly man of some sixty to seventy years was standing before the curtains. He was clad in modern male costume and giving his name as Frederick William.
Frederick William had been the name of my father’s father. Why should I be deserving of so much attention this epochal evening?
“MY SON, my son!” this entity cried thickly as I stood before him and his right hand reached out and tightened on my wrist.
“Is it you, Grandfather?” I cried in new perturbation. Then in the upset one feels in all such situations, I recall exclaiming, “—but what have you done with your thick gray whiskers?” My Grandfather Pelley, as long as I had known him, had worn a patriarchal beard halfway down his chest. This was my grandfather’s figure all right, but his beard was black, and not nearly so long. “But, my son,” he chuckled, “whiskers have generally gone out of fashion. All the same I’ve got some on—can’t you see them?”
No, I couldn’t see them, and peered closer into his face. “You’ve got something on,” I argued banally, “but the light is so poor, or your eyes aren’t accustomed to it, that I can’t tell what it is.”
“My son, don’t let’s waste such important time arguing over such a matter as whiskers. I haven’t worn mine on my present plane for years.”

I wondered what was required of me. How could I ever ask him the intimate family detail that I wanted to ask him, with all these strangers present and hanging on every word? Knowing that many persons with second sight had often described him as being on the platform with me and seeming to counsel me as I had addressed past audiences, I felt he should be in a position to approve or condemn my present work. Not thinking how else to put it, I asked—
“Well, granddad, how am I doing?”

This brought of a titter of laughter around the circle. My grandsire joined in it. His hand, as strong and virile as it ever had been in life—and he had been a powerful man—continued on my wrist. “My son, you’re doing fine,” he said huskily after a moment. “In fact, there’s times when it seems to your watching relatives that you’re doing too much.”

“Too much,” I echoed. “How could that be possible?”
“You make so much progress in your work yourself that you’re not allowing the time for the rest of humanity to catch up. However, they’ll do that in time. Be patient. What I particularly wanted to do tonight was to thank your friend George for the aid he’s been to you in getting your printing works established. The books that you’re printing are doing more good throughout the land than you’ll ever know till you get in our position and see it. Will you call him up?”

I called to George and he responded.
“This is my paternal grandfather, Frederick William,” I announced—as though he had not been hearkening to every word spoken by either of us from the first. George acknowledged the introduction and my grandfather ran his left hand under George’s elbow.
“Just let me thank you, dear fellow,” he said, “for the help you’re giving to our grandson.”
George started to deprecate it.
“No, no,” cried the old gentleman, “you’re as much a part of his lifework as his own wits or pen. And all his relatives are grateful and are showing it by seeing that the two you don’t get into serious trouble.”

Hardly had my grandfather gotten these words out than his voice wavered queerly. His shoulders and figure seemed to sway. The hand on my arm relaxed its clutch and dropped.
Suddenly, weird as it sounds to relate, though it did not seem as awesome to watch it happen, the old gentleman jack-knifed at the waist. My instinct was to reach out and catch him, but as I had been warned against seizing hold of these people during materializations since it might have serious effect on the medium, I pulled back a step, and then, before my eyes, I saw my grandsire begin to sink through the floor precisely as the nun had done, following her blessing.

He sank through the floor directly at my feet. One moment he had been standing before me, talking with me like any normal man. The next he had bent forward and in the bending, his feet had begun to go through the rug as though it were the surface of a pool of water. I stood there gaping while he sank down, down, till only his head was visible between George’s feet and mine. The next moment he was gone!

There was nothing whatsoever to indicate that he had been there. I was close enough to the phenomena to see everything in utmost detail.
Somehow I got back to my chair and devoutly wished that the sitting would end. I was mentally, emotionally and spiritually punch-drunk. It had been so much that I wanted only get out and think! Happily enough, my grandfather’s was the last materialization for the night.

From behind the draperies we heard Silverleaf exclaim: “Oh shucks! The power’s getting so weak that these things fall apart!” It was a queer but practical way to phrase it. A moment later she added philosophically: “Nope, I guess we can’t go along anymore tonight, even if there are a lot of folks left who’d like to talk with the rest of you. But I’ll tell you who’s here …”

…Thereat the child started calling out names of persons who hadn’t been able to avail themselves of the mediumistic ectoplasm. She must have called out at least a dozen, every last one of them absolutely accurate.

Twice she called out names of former women business associates of George’s… giving last names as well as first.

“Uncle Jo -Jo,” she said, “you remember Margaret G—, don’t you? She says she gave you a pair of cuff links and a stickpin one Christmas. Is that right?”

“It most certainly is,” agreed George. “Tell her I had them stolen from my house when a prowler got in.”
“Oh, she knows that,” returned Silverleaf, matter-of-factly.

“What became of them doesn’t count. Any gift is only in the giving, anyhow. Uncle Billy!”
“Yes, Silverleaf,” I answered.

“A long time ago you had a daughter Harriet, didn’t you? She passed over when she was a teeny girl.”
“Two years old,” I agreed.
“I know. Well, she’s a big grown woman now. About thirty years old. And she says to tell you, ‘God bless Dad.’”

It was the first time in twelve years of psychical research that I had received trace of my daughter Harriet in the higher realms of life.

“Well, I guess we’ve all got to go now. We’ve had a nice evening, haven’t we?”

“A wonderful evening, Silverleaf,” responded the audience sincerely.

“Then good night, everybody!”
“Good night, Silverleaf!”

Suddenly the maiden’s voice, still clear and lovely, began to sing—

“Good night, dear one,
Good night, dear one,
Good night, dear one,
We’re going to leave you now!”
The tune was the well-known old song, “Good night, Ladies,” only when she arrived at the chorus, she altered it thus—
“Merrily we fade away,
Fade away, fade away.
Merrily we fade away,
Over the Sea of Love …”

The child’s voice trailed off, fainter and fainter, as if receding into remotest distance. Presently the room was silent.

Edward said to George, “Open the door, George, so that we can get the indirect light from the bathroom.” George opened the door. The electric illumination was sickly, garish, as it came through the inner hallway. In a moment someone switched on a floor lamp. Edward went to the cabinet and tossed back the drapes.

“Wake up, Bertie,” he coaxed. “Everything’s over. People are ready to go home.

Miss Candler was plainly to be seen by everyone. She sat slumped down in the wooden chair, head rolled on one side, unconscious in slumber. Edward shook her gently. She shuddered, yawned, sat up.

“It’s so frightfully hot in here!” were her first words since she had bidden us “Good night!” three hours before. “It feels like I’d been in a forest fire.”

Edward stayed beside her till she came fully awake and then helped her to her feet. Coming from the cabinet, she paused before my chair. “How was it?” she asked. “Did you get anything?”

“You’re a sweetheart!” I cried impulsively. “We got at least twenty-five people. It’s been the most amazing evening of phenomena I’ve witnessed in my life.”
This was no exaggeration.
“I’m glad,” she said. She walked to a vacated chair and sat down, still rubbing her eyes and yawning. The woman on my right asked me the time. I looked at my wristwatch. “Ten minutes past eleven o’clock,’ I said. Then I left the room, to get out in the cool night air for a minute and light up a welcome cigar …


 IT IS one thing to enter upon strange premises as a paying spectator, and see what appears to be phenomena occur before the eyes, realizing that the human vision is the easiest of the senses to deceive. It is quite another to have the phenomena projected within one’s own home, where one is arbiter of every condition, where one knows to a certainty there can be no secret entrances, where certainly none of the fifteen to twenty materialized types of humanity, either sex and all ages, could have been present five minutes before the doors were fastened and the lights turned off. Insinuations as to fraud or deception are unqualifiedly eliminated. Strangely enough, therefore, it was in the first séance thus held in my Indianapolis home, that my eldest daughter, Harriet, staged her initial appearance to me in her recreated “body”… no volume listing my evidence would be complete without a description of that memorable first séance.

Harriet, my first child, had been born in Springfield, Mass. in November of 1912. Two years later, in Wilmington, Vermont, she succumbed to cerebral meningitis. Harriet had been noted for her strange violet eyes—not blue, not grey, but an out-of-this-world violet.

It was a May evening of 1941 that Bertie Lilly and Edward gave us their first séance in our Indianapolis library, where George Fisher had personally supervised the sealing of the windows with beaver-board and created a “cabinet” by stretching two heavy velour drapes across the southeast corner of the twenty-foot-square room.
The Candlers had motored up from Miami; George had driven over from Darien, Conn. I had invited a choice assortment of guests and employees to witness the wonders, one of the former being the chief of the State vigilante police, another a leading attorney of the State Capital.

Some two dozen people had gathered at eight p.m. in chairs around the north and west walls of the library. The front door had been locked and doorbell and telephone disconnected. The room was illumined by a red spotlight turned on the front of the velour curtains from a position atop the bookshelves in the northwest corner.
The first soul-spirit to materialise was, as usual, ‘Silverleaf’ – who greeted each guest by his or her first name, although almost none of them was known to the medium and some of them had only been invited on the spur of the moment within the hour before the affair was called.

The second materialization had been a portly stranger of advanced years who called lustily to his adult son seated in a back corner, one of the Miehle pressmen at the Noblesville plant.
Charley came forth from his corner astounded.

It was his father, who had “died” before World War I. He proved to Charles’ satisfaction that he was the parent, not only by his appearance and voice but also by the narration of an incident that had occurred in Minnesota when Charles had been a lad of ten – and in 1940 he was in his fifties.

“Remember how you got some poison oak on a camping trip we took?” he reminded his son. “What was the fool thing I tried for it, when we didn’t have any other antidotes?… No, let me tell you … It was a mustard plaster I happened to have along, wasn’t it?”

Charles cried afterward, “He was one hundred percent correct. But no one in God’s world but he and I knew anything about it! I’d never even mentioned the incident to my wife.” What do we want for proof that the “dead” are alive? Mustard plasters on poisoned oak assailments … the very quaintness of the incident gave it validity.
Then, for the first time, I saw my beloved first daughter, grown to womanhood …
THE PRESSMAN’S father had scarcely retired within the cabinet, after general banter about the son’s vicissitudes since the father’s death, when I beheld a great “snowball” of whitish effluvia beginning to quiver and contort in front of the drapes. It seemed to be forming and growing not fifteen inches from my left foot, where I was seated on a low divan to the east of the curtains. Edward, the sleeping medium’s husband, exclaimed, “Someone’s building up right in plain sight for you!”

The “snowball” lost its rotundity and became elongated vertically. It oscillated, it writhed, it mounted higher and higher. Reaching a pillar of five feet two or three, it gave a peculiar shuddering twist. Then even in ruby light I blinked my eye. A particularly handsome young woman stood before me, gowned in white. Her long chestnut hair fell in curls down her back from under a Juliette cap. She was personable, she was graceful.

In a voice whose chuckle did not cancel its culture, she accosted me …
“Well, Daddy, how do you like that?”

I could scarcely speak. “You’re … Harriet?” I managed to exclaim on my second attempt.
“Uh-huh, … of course! Are you surprised to meet me for the first time, full-grown?”

What could I say to her? Unfortunately, the ruby light—wholly adequate as it was otherwise – did not permit me to determine the colour of her eyes. But she placed warm pulsating hands on my shoulders. She looked into my face from a distance of twelve to fifteen inches. Was this actually the beloved child who had waved me a final and scarcely audible “Bye!” from her crib in the kitchen that long-ago winter’s morning in Wilmington, Vermont, two hours before the town’s physician had rushed her to Brattleboro Hospital? She chuckled again.

“I know what you’re thinking. You’ve carried the notion about you for years – while I’ve been growing up on the Higher Side – that Adelaide might have been my reborn soul. Coming along as she did five or six months after I made that Wilmington Passing. Am I not right?”

Yes, she was right. But I had never mentioned it to anyone that I recalled. She tossed her adorable chin.
“Well, I certainly am no-one but myself, and Adelaide is no one but herself. And at last we’re together, Daddy, face to face. Isn’t it wonderful?”

Words had no effect in translating the wonderment of it. The lump in my throat was interfering with speech. And Harriet pivoted lightly on her toes and swung completely about for me to view her total figure.
“Don’t you remember Aunt Pauline telling you from time to time she saw me in company with Uncle Ernest?”
Here was family evidence that could not have existed even in the medium’s mind, since up to then my acquaintance with Bertie Lilly had not been replete enough to rehearse my past domestic affairs with her. So I asked about Ernest. It was the beginning of a colloquy on family relationships that established beyond all doubt that I had met up again in truth with my long-lost baby girl.

It was likewise the beginning of a sixteen-year intimacy in other and greater matters, during which I have watched her grow from a vivacious maiden in her middle twenties to a sedate woman of forty-one. I was to confront her equally vividly time upon time when visiting Mary Beattie at Chesterfield at Anderson, Indiana – the same girl, same Juliette cap and white gown, same characterful profile, same dainty and cultured voice, same personality in every respect.

That to me is the big test of personality survival, to the utter demolishment of fraud. No matter what medium I visited for such sessions, identically the same girl unerringly materialized. Moreover, time and again she made references to matters we had discussed or mentioned at earlier sessions when the medium was some other person.

Remember, this was occurring in my own house and library, in which no such physically living girl had been contained when the séance started. She greeted her younger sister, Adelaide, who was present, and her brother, William, warning him, incidentally, to draw in his long legs from where he sat on the rug directly in front of her so that she wouldn’t trip over them.

Then she asked for the loan of my handkerchief. What on earth could she want with that? I stammered that I had no handkerchief but the honestly soiled one that I had used all day out at the plant in Noblesville. No matter, I must let her have it. She was going to do something with it I would never forget.
I handed across the webbed square of cloth. Standing in the rug’s centre in plain sight of all guests, she pulled it taut across all four corners. Then grasping it by right and left edges she started a peculiar motion of seeming to throw it away from her. She called it “weaving”.

Presently we were thunderstruck to note that the fabric was increasing in size. It was big as a towel. She continued to give it that outward-throwing motion, till it became so wide that she could no longer keep it taut between her hands. Rapidly it was increasing to the size of a bed sheet.

“Harriet, darling, how in the world are you contriving that?” I wanted to know. “I’m increasing the distances—by the Power of Thought – between each electron and proton in the linen atoms,” she replied. “It’s the way, too, that we weave clothing for those of you who come up onto Our Side naked when they’ve quitted their physical bodies for good.”

She was commencing to pant from the exertion of it. And the fabric was so sizable and so filmy that it floated and billowed on the still air of the library where twenty spectators about three walls were feeling its gossamer edges against their faces. Suddenly she tossed her clutch of it in air, darted under it, seized it in its centre, and began doing a ballet dance under it – unfortunately without music, but no less graceful for that.

Then she retreated to her original position before me, reversed her efforts, “wove” the gossamer fabric closer and closer to herself – and we watched it diminish in proportions. Back to bedsheet and towel size she worked it, back to the dimensions of a man’s everyday handkerchief. Suddenly with a dexterous flip of her fingers she had seized it by opposite corners, twisted it and tied a knot in it. Knotted thus, she tossed it down upon my lap.

Later in the evening when the electric lights were on, I examined the knotted fabric. It was some sort of fourth dimensional knot she had tied. The diagonal handkerchief corners were inside this knot. Try to tie a knot sometime with the corners enwrapped inside, and tell me how you did it.

I have that handkerchief and knot preserved to this moment among my psychical keepsakes, and the diagonal corners are still hidden inside it. “We’re going to have lots of good times together, you and I, Daddy, from here on out,” she promised before leaving us. “It’s the Beginning of something, wait and see!”
And how truly she spoke!

How many times I have confronted my eldest girl in the past sixteen years I cannot say accurately. When Mary Beattie was alive in nearby Anderson, I had only to get into my motorcar after arranging an appointment, and be with my beautiful child in half an hour. I am concluding the writing of the revised version of this book of an afternoon in early September, 1954, and I have met and conversed with her three times under Mrs. Candler’s sponsorship since the first of this past June.

“THAT is why I had to leave you, Daddy, when I was a baby, and come out here,” she explained to me in a materialization last October, “to be able to work in association with you – you on the earth-side and I on the heavenly side – to demonstrate to a world of bewildered and error-tormented people that there is no such thing as Death.’
And how she is doing it!

Yet always my mind reverts to a winter’s morning in early 1914 when they had phoned from the hospital in Brattleboro for me to come over the twenty miles from Wilmington as fast as I could travel, if I wanted to see my child again alive. As I urged my panting horse up the western grade of Hogback Mountain, alone in the sleigh, I groaned aloud in my anguish, “Oh, God, don’t let her die! … don’t let her die!” but I arrived too late.

That was forty-one years bygone. I am still in the mortal role this lazy September afternoon as I write; yet Harriet is back with me and has been sixteen years continuously back with me. I have her piquant and distinctive voice on fifteen electronic tape recordings. Never have I gone to a psychical séance since that first appearance of hers in our Indianapolis library that she has failed in coming and conversing with me.

Are the dead alive, indeed!

From: Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive by William Pelley

POSTSCRIPT by Zerdini:

Following the original publication in the Ark Review I received the following from a lady in the USA (Lorna) who wrote:

I read about Bertie Lilly Candler’s materializations in New York. I witnessed many of her full body spirit manifestations in Los Angeles in the 1950’s when I was in my teens. Everything described about the number of people attending (always 20 – 25), done with red light and how the entities would come out through the cabinet. The meetings were very private and not public. My mother was a highly developed trance-voice medium, and a clairvoyant both visual & audio. I saw many Masters and teachers come through the cabinet, in various raiments of etherial ectoplasmic beauty, many coming out with various jewels that glistened in the semi-darkness with the red lighting and the séances were conducted just as stated.

I also remember her Pomeranian dog – who, with our manifestations, would sleep outside the cabinet in a chair. One time, before any spirits had arrived, after the prayers and singing, just before it was time for spirits to appear, a fully formed cat darted out of the cabinet and the Pomeranian immediately jumped off the chair barking wildly – and the cat instantly vanished.
We were all surprised, and people responded with startled laughs. It took a little time to get things quieted down and continue on with the materialization that evening.

I feel very very fortunate to have experienced these magnificent manifestations through Bertie Lilly. Just as it is mentioned, the ones passed on, usually relatives, did come out of the cabinet to greet the attendees. Great care was taken to make sure there was no one who came who might jump up at some point and either grab at the spirits or suddenly turn on the light. This of course, could lead to a terrible shock to the medium, and possibly kill her.

My father was the one who came out first for my mother and myself. We were standing close – approximately two feet from him. There was absolutely no doubt who it was, I was nearly eight years old when he died approximately 10 years before. My father detested ties, and this is the way he wore his clothes and tie when he was on the earth plane. He first came out dressed with a dark suit, with his white shirt collar pulled apart and the tie loosened and pulled askew off to the side. The first thing he said was to my mother and it was “Rae, why did you bury me twice?” (I was unaware of this fact because my mother sent me to my uncle in Arizona immediately after my father’s death for about 5 months). My mother had never told me or anyone else about this, and she explained that she wanted him to “have a Military funeral and be buried with Taps in Sawtelle since he was in WWI”. We saw him many times thereafter, and after the first time would always come out in his etherial ectoplasmic robes.

I’ve been reading some of the posts on this site, and it seems that there are no more materialization mediums that have séances that anyone knows of. My mother has passed on, of course, and I feel very fortunate to have experienced actually seeing many many full body materializations. I have no desire to be a “crusader”, wanting to prove that life after death exists, because to quote one of the remarks my father made while communicating with him was “we aren’t asking that you prove you exist, so we know that at some point you’ll find out on your own”. My father was a scientist, a bacteriologist. To me, life after death is normal, I don’t have to have “faith” or a “belief”, unfortunately most others will not have the opportunity to answer the question with their own physical eyes, and will have to have ‘faith’, or wait until the time comes and they cross the river Styx.


Further Reading:  Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive by William Pelley

George Chapman


By David Nicholls Ph.D

George William Chapman was born in Bootle on 4 February 1921. After the death of his mother when he was five years old, he was brought up by his grandparents, during the time of the Great Depression. After leaving school at the age of fourteen, employment was scarce although he managed to secure a number of different occupations, e.g. garage attendant, professional boxer and docker, before joining the Irish Guards. He was then transferred to the Royal Air Force and also served in the Royal Navy.

George recalls that by about this time: ‘Apart from a keen interest in animals and a natural ability to nurse them back to health, there were no signs in the first twenty-five years of my life that I would become a healer’. After marrying Margaret in 1944, Vivian, their daughter was born a year later. However, only a short time after her birth, George and Margaret were told that she would not survive, and only four weeks later she died. At this point, George was confronted with the questions faced by those in a similar position, e.g. how such a thing could happen. Nonetheless, on reflection, he views this as a turning point in his life: ‘For the first time I began to think seriously about the possibility of an after-life…I asked as many people as I could. Clergymen, to my dismay, were of little help apart from warning me not to dabble with the supernormal’.

Despite the all-too-obvious lack of information about survival, George continued his quest to find answers; it was after being demobbed and starting work in May 1946 as a fire officer with the Aylesbury Fire Brigade, that the first indications of an answer began to appear. With another officer, he passed away the time between call-outs, using an upturned glass and alphabet, and it duly moved spelling out messages. Aware that it is argued that such communication only arises through the subconscious mind of the sitters, George’s conclusion was that, ‘sometimes the content of the messages was so astounding that this theory could be instantly ruled out’. George also tested this mode of communication with his wife and when he did so, messages from his mother, about whom he knew little, were received; on investigation of what was being relayed, he discovered that the communicator could only be his mother. One item of information received was that she was now caring for Vivian.

Prompted by what was happening, the next step in George’s progress was developing trance mediumship, sitting for three hours each day. In these periods he accomplished astral travel and made contact with both his mother and Vivian. In view of what was taking place, George began to meet with other persons interested in the subject; on these occasions he would become entranced and a number of regular communicators would make themselves known. With these, one communicator, who would change George’s life, spoke to those who were present: he gave his name as Dr Lang.

Following up what George had already been told on a number of occasions, i.e. that he possessed healing powers, Dr Lang advised George that his mediumship would relate to the work of healing, and furthermore, he would have the principal role in George’s activity. The significant feature about Dr Lang was that, unlike many other guides and controls whose pre-mortem existence cannot be verified, he had lived in Britain in the twentieth century, and George therefore went to great lengths to verify this. George argues that verification of identity is of major importance: ‘The spirit communicator should speak as near as possible to the way he spoke on earth, using the same phrases and mannerisms and manifesting personal characteristics. He should be able to give dates, names and details of his earthly experiences that can be verified, and be able to discuss intimate matters with relatives and colleagues still on earth’. And indeed, George reports that, ‘William Lang, however, satisfied all my demands’, and he was able to contact people, both colleagues of Dr Lang and the people whom he had treated, and, ‘they confirmed it was the same Dr Lang they had known’.

From this time, George has gathered together information about the life of Dr Lang and demonstrated the continuity between the surgeon and his own mediumship. One incident that he describes is when a Dr Singer heard that a ‘Dr Lang’ had been successfully treating people suffering from cancer and made an appointment to see George: Singer was in fact suffering from cancer himself. On walking into George’s healing sanctuary, he was quite unaware that the ‘Dr Lang’ working through George was the very same Dr Lang who had taught him at Middlesex Hospital many years previously. But this suddenly changed when Dr Lang spoke through the entranced George, and greeted Singer with the words: ‘Hello my dear boy, I am happy to see you again’. George has supplied many examples of when a person, who knew Dr Lang before he died, has recognized him in George’s mediumship.

In time, more requests were made to George for healing, and eventually these came from abroad. Not wishing to leave his family, that by now included his two children, Michael and Lana, George attempted to initially work while remaining in this country. This in itself caused problems as: ‘One of the penalties of being well known is that people find out where you live and turn up on your doorstep, without an appointment, expecting to receive healing on the spot’.
Some of those who unexpectedly arrived at George’s home in Aylesbury even included those who had travelled from abroad. A number of these had seen many healers but there had been no improvement in their health. In the case of one person who saw George after flying from Morocco and was seeking help for her daughter Isabelle, ‘what impressed her about Dr Lang was that he was the first healer who did not promise to cure Isabelle. All he said was that he would do his best’.

In view of the number of requests for healing from those living in Europe, George established clinics in various European locations, and began to travel to treat people requiring Dr Lang’s assistance, e.g. Germany, Switzerland, Spain and the United States of America. In fact, by the close of 1974, he had been referred to as ‘England’s most travelled healer’. George relates how his life has involved hectic travelling between cities in different countries, and because of patients submitting progress reports, he needed typists and translators; his working ‘day’ often went into the early hours of the morning. One of the reasons for working abroad was the fact that he became aware that it was primarily only the wealthy who could travel to England to benefit from Dr Lang’s skill: by setting up clinics abroad, this ensured those who were not in such an advantageous position could also benefit. Accounts of George’s work appeared in Psychic News; one eyewitness told Maurice Barbanell that she had seen spirit operations carried out by Dr Lang on over a hundred people. These included a boy deemed to be an imbecile, who after treatment by Dr Lang, appeared to be enjoying virtual normality as he left the consulting room. Patients suffering from cataracts, glaucoma, arthritis and a host of other ailments were successfully treated by Dr Lang through George’s mediumship.

Dr Lang’s achievements are not restricted to treating human illness; his work has also included animals, e.g. Fella, a guide dog, who, ironically, suffered from cataracts, and was successfully healed. One Paris vet, who was so impressed with the improvement in his own health after contacting George, began to send his own cats to him for treatment. In fact, animals benefiting from George’s presence goes back to the days of his early childhood: as a young boy in the Bootle area he was energetic in caring for injured/stray animals during the years of the Depression. On realizing the extent of animal suffering, he began to run errands and use the money earned to feed the animals for which he was caring.
Due to his perseverance, this eventually led to him running his own sanctuary in someone’s cellar in return for doing the owner’s shopping and cleaning. The result was: ‘People began to talk about the boy who undertook any errand or job to earn a few coppers to buy food for his stray cats and dogs, and who put splints on their limbs and nursed them when he found them injured’. Indeed: ‘To this day, some of the people in Bootle talk about the unselfish boy who nursed animals with such tenderness’.

It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to know which of the healings effected by Dr Lang working through George, can be cited, simply because there are so many from which to choose. Therefore, the following are selected at random. One, in October 1974, when Dr Lang treated Mme. Gutowski for poor blood circulation and a fibroid (a non- malignant tumour in the womb), brought about unexpected results. Five months later she wrote to George saying: ‘Dr Lang told me I would be healed by December 26th… Not only was his prediction correct but there has been a bonus. As soon as I was healed I became pregnant, and I am expecting a baby during the first week of October 1975’.

In 1974, a physician directed Joseph Tanguy to George. This young man was suffering from a malignant tumour in the brain, and after an unsuccessful operation was told that he had only six months to live. Distant healing was commenced immediately and was followed up by a spirit operation by Dr Lang in the December. After two further consultations, Dr Lang advised that the disease had virtually disappeared. Five months later at the Raymond-Poincar‚ Hospital, the young man was examined and ‘considerable improvement’ was noted. This continued and his recovery was so noticeable that he was able to resume full-time work. The conclusion was: ‘Eventually, further EEG [electroencephalograph] examination showed the tumour had completely disappeared’.

The doctor who sent this patient to George stated in writing: ‘I have, therefore, complete trust in sending to him [Dr Lang] those patients for whom all known therapies have failed…The healing of M. Tanguy’s brain tumour, which had been beyond all therapeutic resources, is a completely convincing example’. In fact the same doctor has sent many patients to George, and in fact even did so as ‘a block- booking’ without George even knowing what their ailments were.

A number of examples of George’s healing successes are given by S. G. Miron, L.D.S., R.C.S. (Eng.), a dental surgeon who wrote in 1957; one of the cases that he cites was of a young girl suffering from serious kidney disorder and facing the prospect of the right kidney having to be removed, although the left one was not working properly either. After a number of unsuccessful operations, it appeared that her life expectancy was no more than a year. Miron observed: ‘the outlook could only be described as very bad…one could be honest and say pretty hopeless from a medical standpoint’. As her health began to rapidly deteriorate, her parents contacted George and after absent healing, there was an improvement. This was followed up by contact healing and in less than a month, her health ‘was greatly improved’.

Dr Lang continued to treat her on a monthly basis and on returning to the hospital shortly before Miron wrote his book, it was discovered than her right kidney ‘was beginning to function and the left kidney was functioning practically normally’. Miron’s book includes an introduction written by the Revd William Rose, an Anglican priest who referred to witnessing George’s work and added: ‘I emphasize that he does not work for gain, nor claim any merit…He regards himself as a servant sent with the Power to heal’.

In the case of spirit operations carried out by Dr Lang through the mediumship of George Chapman, a fascinating account is supplied by Morton B. Jackson, a Californian lawyer: the operation in this instance was to alleviate the painful condition of rheumatoid spondylitis (a condition that attacks not only the joints, but the ligaments that bind them). On entering the room where George worked, he related how he saw George, a man in his forties, who spoke as ‘an elderly gentleman’, and ‘somehow I found no difficulty in accepting the fact that it was actually Dr Lang with whom, I was conversing…Everything was very easy and natural’. After a cordial conversation, Dr Lang began his spirit operation on Jackson, who became: ‘aware of the sharp cracking noise of his snapping fingers occasionally accompanied by instructions to Basil [Dr Lang’s son who died in 1928] and others apparently assisting him. The nature of the touch, while light, seemed consistent with the handling and utilisation of invisible instruments…All this while…Dr Lang explaining, as he went along, what it was he was doing and why’.

Another witness to George’s mediumship was Lady Barbirolli who was treated by Dr Lang in April 1972. Of this event, she recorded that after George had said that he was about to become entranced: ‘He seemed to have become another man, and to have changed in appearance, voice, manner and age’.
During the spirit operations that were carried out by Dr Lang, it was noticed that he operated with his left hand, while George is right-handed; furthermore, a tremor was observed. On making enquiries, it was ascertained that Dr Lang, before he died, did in fact suffer from tremors, and as this was less of a problem in his left hand, he tended to use this hand when carrying out surgery.

One report by Dr John Best described the remarkable healing of a friend’s wife who had been diagnosed as having a thyroid disorder, with only eight months to live. Best details how after a few visits for contact healing by Dr Lang, her terminal illness was cured, and she became active and enjoyed life again. However, as Best’s fiancee, Marjorie, had died not long before this time, he wrote to George and asked whether he might speak to Dr Lang about the questions that he had concerning the afterlife.
An appointment was arranged and on entering George’s consulting room, the medium was already entranced and Best noticed that the personality of George, whom he had met before, was wholly absent and had been replaced by Dr Lang. While asking Dr Lang questions, that were duly answered, Best was advised about how he could secure a better communication with Marjorie. Best followed the advice that he was given, and found that a link was established in which he had no doubt that he was communicating with his fiancee.

And who was William Lang? Firstly, although he was, and is, invariably addressed as ‘Dr Lang’, he was actually ‘Mr Lang’ in view of being a surgeon, but through his warm character, most of his patients preferred to call him ‘Doctor’. In the initial stages, George was very anxious to confirm Dr Lang’s identity, and contacted the BMA (British Medical Association), but it could not confirm his existence due to the lack of details supplied and the fact that ‘Lang’ was a common name in the field of those practising medicine. However, later, Dr Lang was speaking with one of George’s fire brigade colleagues and he said that he wanted a book to be written about his healing work, adding that he had not revealed much information earlier on, as he did not want his identity to be revealed. He therefore went on to give details about his life, i.e. he had worked at Middlesex Hospital. On making enquiries, it was discovered there had indeed been a William Lang working there as an ophthalmic surgeon between 1880 and 1914.

With this information, the BMA was approached again and it was duly confirmed that Dr Lang had been a distinguished surgeon and ophthalmologist. George was still unsure but he reports that, ‘over the months the kind doctor…slowly revealed more about himself which left us in no doubt’. The life story of William Lang, born on 28 December 1852 in Exeter, only serves to demonstrate his marvellous skill and untiring dedication to the work of healing.

When only eighteen years of age, he entered the London Hospital in Whitechapel and then qualified in 1874 as a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons. Five years later, he became a Fellow. In time, he developed an interest in sight, and became the assistant surgeon to the Central London Ophthalmic Hospital (later Moorfields Eye Hospital), at the age of twenty-seven. His achievements included several publication of important works regarding ophthalmology, and with others, founded the Ophthalmological Society. It would be impossible to deal with, or even list all of his accomplishments herein; however, an indication of his high standing is given by testimonials reproduced in Surgeon From Another World, together with other details concerning his extraordinary abilities. After Susan, his first wife, died in 1892, he married Isabel; his joy was made manifest in Basil, his son, who became a distinguished surgeon and often worked with his father. However, Basil died in 1928 after developing pneumonia, and the world and hopes of Dr Lang, collapsed; he then retired to Crowborough and died there on 13 July 1937, aged eighty-four.

In the obituary notice for William Lang, his abilities were praised and there is reference to the deep respect with which he was held: he was a man, ‘always good tempered, always courteous, always full of sound advice’. But what is most striking is the amazing conclusion to this notice:- ‘When we all foregather in the Elysian fields there will be one pleasure that we wish – to see him again perform…’.

While the writers were entirely correct in thinking that Dr Lang would continue his healing work after his death, little did they realize that he would do this in the present world. It is interesting to note that in his childhood, Dr Lang had witnessed paranormal phenomena in the family home and his father had told the young William these were caused by unseen persons: ‘They are spirits’, he would say, ‘and there is nothing to be afraid of…they just come to visit us, to be around and help us’. Later on, the idea of life after death became a subject of great interest to him and it was often a topic of discussion with other academic colleagues who shared the same interest.

Surely one of the most important statements concerning Dr Lang’s continuing activity through George, is the one made by his own daughter, Marie Lyndon Lang: ‘an active and very well-educated woman with a level-headed approach to life and death’ . After meeting George, and seeing him regularly for many years, and speaking with Dr Lang while George was entranced, she was only too willing to make the following crucial statement: ‘I can truthfully say the William Lang who operates via the body of George Chapman is, without a doubt, my father’. In addition to speaking with her father through George’s mediumship, she was also able to do this with her mother and Basil. George regularly met Dr Lang’s daughter together with a group of friends and medical contemporaries of Basil Lang, who also knew William Lang, and they ‘questioned and tested’ both George and Dr Lang. Of these occasions, Dr Lang’s daughter stated: ‘We could only come to one conclusion: that the person who speaks through George Chapman and claims to be William Lang is, without a doubt, my father…It is a fact that William Lang, my father, is as much alive today’. Noteworthy is the fact that it was Dr Lang’s daughter and this group of persons who encouraged George to take up healing full-time, which he did in 1957.

Confidence is also expressed by the Revd Allan Barham, a experienced member of the SPR and Churches’ Fellowship for Psychical and Spiritual Studies. On meeting George, he observed that the man with whom he spoke when George was entranced, ‘had the appearance, voice and mannerisms of an elderly doctor of a generation earlier. He was obviously a cultured man with an extensive vocabulary’. Moreover, Barham remarked on how he understood, ‘that a number of William Lang’s former colleagues recognised him in George Chapman when the latter was in trance, and would meet him regularly…Sometimes they would even bring their patients for consultation and treatment’.

An excellent review of George’s work is supplied by Joe Bernard Hutton in his very readable Healing Hands, that has already been cited. The book was first published in 1966 and has been reprinted several times as well as being translated into several languages. Hutton begins his account by describing how in 1963 his doctor advised him that he was suffering from poliomyelitis. Hutton, a journalist, had suffered poor eyesight for most of his life, and from 1958 had been under the care of a leading ophthalmic specialist, but in 1963 he was faced with the dire prospect of becoming blind. He had already been told by his specialist that without certain complex operations, he would become permanently blind. However, due to the risk element, he had decided not to undergo the operations. By 1963, clear signs of this awful reality had begun to appear, i.e. a person standing just ten yards way was no more than ‘an indistinct outline’. One day his wife passed him a copy of Psychic News, and asked him to read a certain article; only with tremendous difficulty and great discomfort did he manage to read the article: this described ‘some remarkable happenings in Aylesbury’, relating to a Dr Lang working through George Chapman.

Hutton’s wife implored him to ‘give it a try’, and it was with only the greatest of reluctance did he consent. An appointment was made to see Dr Lang, and Hutton travelled to George’s home. On entering the consulting room, the first thing that struck Hutton on seeing George were the ‘wrinkles and lines . . . of true old age, but I knew Chapman was in his early forties’. Dr Lang introduced himself (‘Even the voice sounded old’), and on holding Hutton’s spectacles, still having not opened his eyes, Dr Lang remarked on Hutton’s poor eyesight and that the spectacles were classified as minus eighteen. He then went on to comment on a childhood splint operation that had been carried out on his eyes. Hutton records: ‘I was astounded. How could he have known this? Not even Pearl, my wife, knew. I never spoke about it. In fact I hadn’t even thought about it for years’. Dr Lang made no promises except that he would do his best: he began examining Hutton and referred to the diagnosis of poliomyelitis and the existence of a hepatitis virus. At this, Hutton said: ‘If I had been amazed before, I was speechless now. I had not told Chapman anything about my own doctor . . . nor had I mentioned being ill. Yet here was the medium, telling me something that only my own doctor and my wife could possibly have known. And neither had been in touch with George Chapman. It was uncanny’.

Hutton then details how Dr Lang explained what he was about to do and said that he would operate with the assistance of Basil and other colleagues: ‘He came across to the edge of the couch and then lifted his hands and started to move them, and flick his fingers just above my eyes. His own eyes stayed tightly closed. The fingers of his hands opened and shut as though taking and using instruments’. Hutton comments that after Dr Lang had explained what he had done, that: ‘Incredible as it may seem, I began to experience the physical sensation of incisions bring made. They were painless, but none the less capable of being felt. The man’s eyes never opened, and he did not touch me’. Further surgery was carried out, at this point for the virus, and yet again, Hutton could feel instruments being used, albeit painless. On sitting up, he was concerned to find that he could barely see and Dr Lang, recognizing this, reassured him that this was merely a temporary phase. On not being able to even guide himself out of the consulting room, the receptionist guided Hutton’s exit and he groped his way to the car and waited for his wife to return to drive them both home. There, he recorded that he sat ‘cursing and depressed’ by what appeared to be a deterioration. But ‘then it began to happen’: he suddenly saw things around him coming into focus and consequently, he ‘wept then, fully and freely’. During the journey home, his sight continued to improve and he could ‘see much farther than ever before’ and his eyes no longer hurt when confronted with lights.

The next morning, Hutton took hold of the newspaper and was reading it until his wife pointed out what he was actually doing. His sight had vastly improved together with the absence of the accompanying effects of the poor vision as were the pains of his liver condition. He recalls how his friends and colleagues were, not surprisingly amazed at how he, ‘a pathetically short-sighted man’, could now suddenly type with ease without having to ‘crouch over with my nose to the keyboard’. He continues by recounting how further surprises were in store when undressing that night, and he noticed ‘a long mark, a thick line about five inches long’, that ‘looked exactly like the scar of a surgical incision just as if I had had an operation on my liver’. He concludes the record of his own healing by referring to how he later returned to Dr Lang who told him the operation had been a success and adds: ‘But I didn’t have to be told. I knew
it. It was a miracle and it happened in Aylesbury on a cold January day in 1964’.

It was, of course, this event that prompted Hutton wholly to abandon his initial sceptical viewpoint and investigated George’s mediumship, resulting in his book, Healing Hands. Apart from the fascinating interview with Dr Lang detailing something of his post-mortem life and involvement in healing, the book includes testimonies by people with such diverse backgrounds as the Chairman of Psychic Press, a retired police superintendent, Member of Parliament, matron, state registered nurse, laboratory technician and ex-miner. Hutton selected patients at random and interviewed them, acquiring written authorities to consult their hospital and doctor(s), and obtaining their health records. He remarks: ‘I succeeded eventually to establish from lw medical case histories that the patients had indeed been classed “medically incurable”, yet the latest records stated: all tests established that no trace of the disease could be detected’. If Hutton did not have enough evidence by this stage, he was about to gain some more: when his book was about to be published, he was injured and he refers to how ‘the orthopaedic surgeon decided my left leg must be amputated’. Hutton arranged an appointment with Dr Lang and was operated on by him, Basil and others. Afterwards, Dr Lang informed Hutton, you won’t lose your leg’, adding that not only would amputation be unnecessary, hut he would not suffer any problems with the leg either. Hutton then saw the hospital surgeon again and he states that, ‘Lang’s forecast proved correct in every respect’. The surgeon remarked that the recovery was ‘incredible’, and writing twelve years later, Hutton confirmed that his leg had caused him no problems.

George moved from Aylesbury to Machynlleth in Wales, where he continued his healing work; this was an area that Dr Lang had often visited before he died. By the time of moving here, George had already started to build up a collection of items belonging to both William and Basil Lang. George recalls how Dr Lang has taken special pride in telling visitors about some of the articles when they came for healing through George’s mediumship. In this respect, George comments: ‘I am surrounded by reminders of Dr Lang’s presence. He uses my body and, in return, I have use of most of his belongings!’.

June 1996 marked fifty years from the time when George Chapman first became involved in spirit communication, which led to his remarkable healing mediumship and partnership with Dr William Lang. As someone who knows something of his work, and has experienced the benefit of absent healing through him, I would begin with my own personal observation: this being that George Chapman comes across as a medium with a strictly no-nonsense approach, and his feet firmly on the ground. Furthermore, despite the attention that could be derived from his accomplishments, he has chosen rather to quietly devote himself to his healing work. In fact, in view of what he has achieved, not only in healing but in providing evidence of survival, he is undoubtedly a medium who stands out prominently in the sphere of twentieth century mediumship.

One recognition of this was gaining the ‘Spiritualist of 1975’ award, presented to him by Harry Edwards.

As Barbanell so rightly observed in Psychic News (27 March 1976): ‘When Spiritualism’s history comes to be written, the Lang/Chapman partnership which has brought health to thousands of sufferers after their cases were called “hopeless”, will contribute some of its most illumined pages’.


The Daily Telegraph published the following obituary:

George Chapman

12:01AM BST 12 Aug 2006

George Chapman, who died on August 9 aged 85, was said to be one of Britain’s most remarkable healers; for 60 years he treated patients from all walks of life, including celebrities and members of the medical profession, by going into a state of trance and allowing the spirit of William Lang to “operate” through him.

William Lang, the son of a wealthy merchant, had been an ophthalmic surgeon at London’s Middlesex Hospital from 1880 to 1914, and his cultured tones from beyond the grave were a stark contrast to those of the Liverpudlian fireman through whom he spoke.

Some may have dismissed this vocal contrast as acting on George Chapman’s part, but William Lang’s daughter, Lyndon, and his grand-daughter, Susan Fairtlough, confirmed not only that his speech and mannerisms were as they remembered them, but also that they discussed events and people who would have been unknown to George Chapman, who was not even in his teens when Lang retired from private medical practice.

Chapman’s “surgery” on his patients was carried out on their spirit (or etheric) bodies, from which the benefits were transferred to the subjects’ physical bodies. Sceptics may have scoffed, but Chapman’s supporters point to many astonishing healings achieved. He is credited with curing an inoperable and malignant brain tumour, among other cancers, as well as with improving various eye conditions and even lengthening a patient’s leg. Chapman himself maintained that the purpose of his healing mission was to prove that there was life after death; the healings, he said, were secondary.

Born in Liverpool on February 4 1921, George William Chapman was brought up by his maternal grandparents after his mother died when he was five. Finding employment was difficult when he left school in Bootle, he took work as a garage hand, butcher and docker before becoming a professional boxer.

Having joined the Irish Guards in 1939, Chapman subsequently transferred to the Royal Air Force as an air gunner. In 1944 he was based at RAF Halton, near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, where he trained apprentices in unarmed combat, self-defence, small arms and battle drill.

It was at Aylesbury that year that he met and married Margaret May Dickinson. Their first child, Vivian, born in 1945, survived only four weeks. The Chapmans were devastated but, encouraged by a fellow fire officer (Chapman had joined the Fire Brigade after being demobbed), they used a glass-and-alphabet to receive spirit messages which reassured them that their daughter was alive and well in the next world.

These experiments also induced a trance state in Chapman, and a variety of “entities” spoke through him. In time, however, “Dr Lang” manifested himself, explaining that his mission was to heal the sick.

Over the years Laurence Harvey, Stanley Holloway, Patricia Neal, Barbara Cartland and Roald Dahl were among those said to have sought the spirit doctor’s help.

So, too, did a dental surgeon, SG Miron, whose wife ironically had had the roof of her mouth perforated during a tooth extraction. No surgical procedure could cure the problem, but Lang’s intervention caused the wound to heal, resulting in Miron writing a book, The Return of William Lang, about this and other remarkable cases.

Lyndon Lang was so impressed with Chapman’s mediumship that she entered into a contract with him to hold twice monthly meetings at her home in London, to which she invited friends and medical contemporaries of her brother, Basil Lang (also a surgeon), most of whom had known William Lang. This arrangement continued for 10 years while Chapman served as a fireman and also held healing clinics, mostly in the Midlands.

When Chapman left the Fire Brigade in 1956, those meetings became weekly, but he also had more time to see patients and to travel. Eventually, he ran regular clinics in Paris and Lausanne, and carried out spirit operations in the United States, India and other parts of the world. Lyndon Lang showed her support for Chapman and his mediumship by leaving much of her estate to him on her death in May 1977.

By then, Chapman had moved to Pant Glas, close to Machynlleth, Wales. A healing clinic adjoined the house, where the medium slept in William Lang’s bed, a gift from the surgeon’s daughter.

George Chapman is survived by another daughter, Lana, and a son, Michael – a healer in his own right who assisted his father for more than 30 years.


Interview with Dr Lang – Guide of George Chapman

By George Cranley – January 1999

On a recent visit to George Chapman, while in the treatment room, I seized the opportunity to question Dr Lang about his method of entrancement. Here are his tape-recorded answers:

Q: Dr Lang, for over fifty years you have been working through George Chapman how do you take control of the medium?

A: Quite simply, George spends a little time relaxing before he starts really working. He starves himself for the weekend. So he just has tea and water and maybe a small sandwich in the evening. He prepares his body and all that happens is that he is here half an hour before the patients to get himself into a relaxed state and then I start to move towards him and take over the physical body as his own spirit starts to move out.

Q: Is this a very complicated process?

A:What happens is, as George sees me moving towards him, it is as though he is being suffocated and starts to doze off and then from behind the eyes a pressure is exerted from the rod and cones to the bulbar part of the brain so the brain is deadened.

For instance, if you look at the light and you move your hand you pick up light reflections which are transmitted through to the brain so you don’t actually feel that the eyes are light vibrations. So I exert pressure here (indicating the back of the head) so that his own spirit gradually moves out until the end of the healing session because he has to stay in trance this way for the whole period of time.

Q: What exactly can you see?

For instance, I can’t see your machine, can’t see the couch, I can’t see anything that is of the material. I can only see the spirit of the object or person.
I can move around the room but I like everything fixed in a way that suits me. Where George is right-handed I operate left-handed so the couch must be for left- handed persons (the couch is flush with the wall so it can only be used by a left-handed person). At the end of today when I suppose I should have about thirty-odd patients and tomorrow there is a coach with about forty, I understand, from Holland, it will be trance throughout. I control George’s body today till about 3.30 pm (approx. five hours) I suppose.

With patients I am rather quick to perform my operations but at the end of the trance Michael (George Chapman’s son) will first come in talk with me, say it is all finished, he may ask me a few questions and then I gradually withdraw from George’s body. His own spirit then will move strongly with the raised vibration from the Spirit World back into his own body and he starts to become at one with himself. It could take him two hours or more to recover.

Q: When you take control are there a group of people helping you to take control?

A: I have the team. Outside you see a brass plate with various names on it and these medical gentlemen, contemporaries of my son Basil most of them, and they, of course, made a contract for George going back to 1947 but they first met up with him in 1946 to talk with me in a general way. George used to travel to London each Thursday in the month for them to carry out various studies of George when in trance. There was Sir Alexander Cannon who used to try to get across from the Isle of Man and those people have now passed into this life, medical men who worked with me at London, The Middlesex, are still practising with me today. We are a team and so, if I have a patient with say an eye problem, I will call upon one of the oculists.
I was the first medical man to bring in a dental gentleman to a hospital and I brought in William Heard who was a dentist who I had a lot of respect for. William came, Sir William Heard, because I found during my lifetime upon earth many patients with serious eye problems were suffering with what you call moon- shaped or Hutchinson type teeth due to disease. Therefore, I used to have their teeth extracted because they were poisoning the system anyway.

When George had completed the contract it became a gentlemen’s agreement that when the last person in the contract had passed on he could more or less retire and the last one to pass was my daughter, Lyndon, but George kept visiting her until she passed over at a very ripe old age, way into her nineties. Younger medical men that were associated with the team wanted George to continue under them but he refused. The medical group made a trust for him for his life so he could retire while still quite young so he could have retired when he was 55 or 60.

FOOTNOTE(1): George Chapman, at the time, was 78 and was still healing at his beautiful home in Mid-Wales. In addition he travelled to many countries, as he had done for years, where he held regular healing clinics. A former fireman and champion boxer, turned healer, he had the energy of a man half his age — Zerdini


I experienced a spirit operation by Dr Lang through the mediumship of George Chapman some years ago which averted a proposed operation at my local hospital and can, therefore, confirm everything written above.  To date the condition has not returned. – Zerdini

Further Reading:

Surgeon from Another World by Roy Stemman

 Healing Hands by J Bernard Hutton

Leslie Flint

‘I need no trumpets or other paraphernalia. The voices of the dead speak directly to their friends or relatives and are located in space a little above my head and slightly to one side of me. They are objective voices which my sitters can record’ .- Leslie Flint.

A full and very readable account of Leslie Flint’s life and mediumship, is to be found in his autobiography, Voices in the Dark. Writing in 1971, Leslie begins by advising the readers: ‘In spite of a childhood which would give any modern child nightmares, or perhaps because of it, I have reached the age of fifty-nine without falling prey to neurosis, psychosis or even the screaming meemies. I am a happy man’.

When Leslie’s unmarried mother realized that she was pregnant, she left the home shared with her widowed mother in St Albans, and gave birth to Leslie in a Salvation Army home in Hackney, in 1911. On returning home, she married Leslie’s father. However, the marriage was unsuccessful; Leslie’s mother enjoyed the ‘bright lights’, while his father ‘drank most of his wages and put the rest on horses which never seemed to win’. When war broke out in 1914, Leslie’s father was one of the first to enlist, ‘simply to get away from the domestic hell he lived in’.

From this time onwards, his mother would go out each evening and deposit the young Leslie with the wife of the local cinema manager; therefore, each evening, he would spend his time watching whatever film was being shown. This situation came to a sudden end when Leslie’s mother eloped with one of her many admirers and Leslie reports that she ‘disappeared from my life’. He was then brought up by his grandmother who could not read or write, and took in washing to feed the extra mouth that she had taken in.

Leslie relates his childhood ponderings regarding God and the afterlife, and records his bewilderment when hearing of a boy who attended three Sunday Schools. On realizing this provided the boy with three Christmas treats, ‘a magic lantern show followed by a glorious feast of jam sandwiches, ice buns and cakes, with lemonade to drink’, Leslie promptly did the same and notes: ‘I felt vaguely sinful, but quite determined to repeat the manoeuvre the following year’.

It was during this period when Leslie had the first realization of his psychic abilities. He saw a soldier who then ‘vanished’, and on being later shown a photograph of his uncle who had been killed, he told his aunt and grandmother this was the same person whom he had seen. But the response for saying this, as Leslie recalls, was ‘I got a good clout from Gran’. After a similar experience, he, somewhat wisely, said nothing about the people that he saw and invariably disappeared. Shortly after reaching thirteen, he left school and worked as a gardener in the local cemetery.

Leslie recalls that it was a conversation in the cemetery potting shed between his atheistic, Darwinian boss, and a man who had become ‘saved’ through the Salvation Army, that aroused interest in the purpose of life. Leslie sided with the latter and told him of seeing his dead uncle, but his boss warned him that such talk would cause him to end up in the lunatic asylum. Time went on although this exchange remained in Leslie’s mind and his work in the cemetery prompted him to think that death might indeed be the end of personal existence.

Becoming increasingly anxious about the question, Leslie began to inquire at different churches but was left unsatisfied; he then saw a notice about a meeting of the local Theosophical Society and decided to attend. Unfortunately on doing so, and listening to the guest speaker, Leslie says that ‘most of his discourse passed right over my devoted head’. Nonetheless, the speaker mentioned the subject of life after death, but warned the audience to avoid Spiritualism and the activity of communicating with the dead. Leslie was fascinated by such an idea: ‘Obviously my next step was to find these Spiritualists’. Leslie kept asking people about how he could find Spiritualists, but due to the negative response, he came to the conclusion that he was trying to infiltrate ‘some sinister secret society’.

It was only when his boss was in the midst of another tirade against the concept of survival, that Leslie discovered that the local Spiritualists met at the local Friends’ Meeting Place. Leslie went along and Mrs Johnson, the medium, referred to a Mr Lewis; before his death, he had been Leslie’s art teacher and someone who had become a father-figure to him. The medium described him accurately, and went on to refer to Leslie’s guide. In view of what he was being told, Leslie began to become confused: ‘He was a Guide, said Mrs Johnson, and he was not really an Arab, he was someone dressed as an Arab. This seemed to me to get more involved by the minute’.

The experience baffled Leslie and he therefore continued to attend the meetings to investigate the matter further. In doing so, he often became angry at the blatant ‘fishing’ by some mediums, and the gullibility of those present. Those who claimed the ‘messages unclaimed by others’, whom Leslie called the ‘Body Snatchers’, at least provided some amusement for him. During these meetings, he nevertheless received messages, including a number from ‘the young Arab’ and the call to develop his own mediumship..One of those who was present at the meetings invited Leslie to her home circle and he agreed to attend. This was followed by the receipt of a letter from a woman in Munich who said that someone calling himself Rudolf Valentino had made himself known in her circle.
He had asked that a letter be sent to Leslie, supplying his address, saying that he must develop his mediumship; the communicator added that he had been trying to communicate this request through various mediums whom Leslie had seen, but without success. Leslie therefore wondered if Valentino could possibly be ‘the Arab who was not really an Arab’: Leslie knew of the actor through his cinema attendance and that Valentino had appeared in different films as an Arab. Leslie replied to the writer and asked whether the communicator could make himself known in a convincing way.

In the meantime, Leslie began to attend the home circle to which he had been invited. This consisted of table-tipping, and one of the messages received was from someone calling himself Valentino, and it, ‘was exactly the same message contained in the letter from Munich’. The circle members were delighted with what had occurred and asked Leslie to return. Leslie left promising to do so, although doubts began to appear but he received another letter from Munich with another message from Valentino saying that he wanted Leslie to persevere. It was the distress of a widow that he later saw at a funeral in the cemetery that prompted Leslie to return to the circle. He did so and it was highly successful with Leslie becoming entranced and several communicators speaking through him to some of those present.

The circle members thanked Leslie for making this possible and told him that one of those who spoke was Valentino, who once again said that Leslie must continue with his development. Unfortunately, despite this momentous advance, Mrs Cook, the medium who organized the circle, claimed to have an Egyptian high priestess as a guide, called Shu-shu, and at a subsequent circle meeting, Leslie’s downfall occurred. Leslie’s account was that: ‘Shu-shu said she would demonstrate through her medium one of the rituals she used to perform when she was a high priestess in the temple of Isis…Mrs Cook was…broad in the beam and her bosoms were of Earth Mother proportions…She gyrated her hips and weaved her arms, the while chanting what sounded gibberish to me but was acclaimed enthusiastically by the others as ancient Egyptian. The bounteous bosoms flopped alarmingly as the dance grew more energetic…the arms kept weaving like the tentacles of a busy octopus. I wanted to look away…but try as I might my eyes were glued to the spectacle’. At this point Leslie could not stop himself from laughing, ‘until the tears streamed down my face’. Not surprisingly, when the meeting ended, Mrs Cook suggested that Leslie did not return. Leslie departed, having made up his mind to ‘have nothing more to do with Spiritualism’.

After having given up his job in the cemetery, Leslie secured employment at the local cinema. Unfortunately, this came to a premature end when he managed to extinguish its electricity supply, and he consequently became unemployed. On being offered work as a barman in Barkingside, he duly accepted the offer and also occupied himself with dancing, a pastime that he had taken up while in St Albans.

However, his mind returned to the messages from Valentino and after much thought, he decided to return to St Albans to try and develop his mediumship; he did so and took a job in a tailor’s shop. In the case of his mediumship, no progress was made until he met Edith Mundin, a member of the local Spiritualist church, who invited him to her home circle.
Leslie began attending the circle, and many weeks passed with no obvious development in his mediumship. This was until one night when he fell into trance and a number of communicators spoke through him, including Edith’s late husband. Further development occurred with him becoming clairvoyant when he could describe the next-world visitors.

By this time, Leslie was not only being kept busy with his mediumship, but also with his dancing and developing a friendship with Edith. At this point, Leslie recalls, ‘my development as a medium was entering its last and most important phase’. He had already noticed that he could hear voices near him, albeit only a few words; when this happened during a film that he was watching at the cinema, he realized this was not his imagination as, ‘other members of the audience could also hear them because I was constantly being told to shut up or thumped angrily on the back by those sitting behind me…This happened so often that I had to give up going to the cinema altogether’.

After moving into Edith’s home as a lodger, Leslie had a quieter and happier environment in which to develop his mediumship and the voices became clearer; furthermore, much to Leslie’s delight, becoming entranced was no longer necessary. Torn between his desire to become a professional dancer or to continue the development of his mediumship, he chose the latter. He soon discovered that he had made the correct decision as it was not long before Valentino was making himself known at the circle; his voice being audible to all those who were present. At this time, Edith decided that Leslie should train himself for public work. His first public demonstration at a local Spiritualist church, while in trance, was a success. Edith and Leslie then decided that his ability for independent direct voice mediumship should be made available for others and a church should be opened where this would be possible.

After Edith and Leslie saved all the money that they could collect together, the day came when they could advertise services at their Watford Spiritualist Mission: the church was in fact an unfurnished room over a shop with a few dozen chairs. For his own living costs, Leslie began to give sittings in Edith’s house, but aware there were people who could not afford the one guinea fee, he began an open circle one evening a week at the Mission. Many of these circles produced startling evidence; one being when a local woman, who had been murdered, communicated and gave a considerable amount of information about herself and the circumstances of her death. The circle members scanned the news reports in the local newspapers and information that she had given was subsequently confirmed as being correct.

Noah Zerdin, one of the founders of the Link Association of Home Circles, attended one of Leslie’s circle meetings and warned him of the danger of allowing simply anyone to attend these. He supplied further information about the dangers and problems, and it was agreed that Leslie sit in Noah’s home circle.
Of his meeting with Noah, Leslie recalls: ‘I had been moved by his burning sincerity and the compassion which urged him to share his own conviction with as many people as possible’. Leslie continued his work in the Mission, and while sitting with Noah’s circle, the quality of the voice phenomenon improved. By this time, Mickey was Leslie’s guide and worked with the developing medium to facilitate the voices.

In view of Leslie’s continuing development, Noah Zerdin and the Committee of the Link decided to hold a large demonstration in London on 16 May 1935, at Bloomsbury’s Victoria Hall, with Leslie as the medium. Leslie recalls his deep fears about what faced him, although the voices of communicators were heard despite his considerable apprehension. However, it was found that the light was causing difficulties and after Leslie was shielded from these, the voices improved. Noah suggested that Leslie use a cabinet at demonstrations in future, with a microphone on the outside.

The next significant event in Leslie’s life was deciding to move to Hendon, this being made possible by renting the property from one of his sitters. And so, Leslie, Edith, Owen (Edith’s son) and Rags, the family mongrel, moved to Hendon and another phase in Leslie’s life was about to begin. At the new location, Leslie’s mediumistic work was now undoubtedly a full-time occupation. He continued to work with the Link and give demonstrations in some of the largest halls in London to which coaches full of people would come: ‘The voices came and addressed friends and relatives in the audience to give their proof of continuing existence and many thousands were given conviction and their lives changed for the better’.  Some examples of the evidence given in Leslie’s public demonstrations are detailed by H. Porten.

In addition to this activity, hundreds of letters were being sent from all over the world to Leslie about his mediumship. At this time it was also attracting attention from those interested in testing the phenomena. One of these was Dr Louis Young who had been a frequent sitter together with his wife. He had tested, and exposed, many mediums in America and was anxious to prove the genuineness of Leslie’s mediumship. Leslie remarks: ‘The tests he conducted with me made fraud impossible’. One of these was filling Leslie’s mouth with coloured water for the duration of the séance while the voices manifested themselves and spoke to the sitters.
In addition to the independent direct voice phenomenon, Leslie’s mediumship was able to facilitate materializations who participated in the events of the séance. In a dim red light: ‘These materialisations were quite firm and solid and they could be felt as well as seen. They would move round the circle and sometimes they would speak to the members’.

Despite this success, it was discovered that materializations diminished Leslie’s independent direct voice mediumship and it was decided to concentrate on the latter. Although his mediumship was clearly developing, he admits that it was not always successful; there would be occasions when sitters would sit in the dark for an hour or so, and nothing would occur.
One of the many examples of Leslie’s successes was when Shaw Desmond, an Irish novelist, attended a séance. Shaw was accompanied by a woman, although Leslie did not know the names of either sitter. Shaw’s son spoke to his father at length, and Valentino spoke with the woman sitter and had clearly known her at one time. It later transpired that she had indeed known him: during the séance she had asked where they had last met and she later told Leslie that the communicator’s reply was quite correct. Furthermore, she advised Leslie that Valentino was passionately interested in psychic matters and used to spend much time discussing the subject.

Leslie was also tested by The Confraternity; he refers to these people as ‘a group of brave clergyman’, i.e. they accepted the possibility of communication through mediumship. Leslie’s sitters also included those from the royal household. A sitting was booked by a ‘Mrs Brown and Mrs Smith’, and good evidence was supplied, e.g. one of the women spoke with her late husband. After this, another communicator spoke and it transpired from this that the two sitters were attached to the royal household. By virtue of their visit, Leslie gave a sitting to John James, who was steward to Princess Louise at Kensington Palace. James was so impressed with the evidence, that he arranged regular sittings with Leslie to be held every month. James then received various messages from different communicators that were duly passed on to those members of the royal family for whom they were intended (Leslie comments that he waited until all those concerned had died before giving this information.) It was not long before Leslie was invited to Kensington Palace to speak with the Princess. On arriving at the Palace, they had a lengthy and pleasant conversation about survival and the afterlife.

Shortly after this time, various countries were becoming caught up in the Second World War and Leslie noted that he began to have problems with his mediumship, and he was advised the reason was because ‘the atmosphere surrounding the earth was so filled with fear’. As other mediums during this bleak time, Leslie worked to provide assurance of survival to those who had lost their loved ones in the fighting. As Leslie heard more and more communicators express their bewilderment and distress at suddenly being thrust into the next world, and seeing the grief of those who mourned, this caused him to reflect. The result was: ‘I made up my mind that when the time came to stand up and be counted I would be a conscientious objector’.

Leslie continued to give sittings, but eventually the time came when he had to explain his refusal to fight. Standing before the panel, Leslie explained that he was a Spiritualist to which one of the panel, whom Leslie described as being like a ‘petulant walrus’, retorted, ‘This fellow’s a crank of some kind’. After much intense questioning, the President asked Leslie to provide a brief account of his beliefs, which he duly did. While Leslie affirmed his refusal to kill, he stated that he was fully aware that the war effort against Nazism was a struggle against evil, and he would gladly assist his country – but he would not kill.

It was agreed that Leslie would be called into a non-combatant role in due course. It was not long afterwards that Leslie was called up and went to Ilfracombe to undergo training. On his first leave, he returned home for a sitting arranged by Edith. During this, an air raid began and many people were killed nearby. Leslie recalls: ‘Mickey at once returned to speak to us…He went on to say that hundreds of spirit people were already at the scene of the disaster to help the victims over the border between this life and the next….That evening, he talked to us very seriously and as he talked his treble boy’s voice changed its timbre and became more adult, more cultured, more resonant’. After the séance, Leslie proposed to Edith and two days later they were married.

On returning to barracks, Leslie’s presence caused upset as one of the other non-combatants, a Christian, refused to sleep in the same hut ‘as a necromancer’. However, not all of Leslie’s colleagues adopted this stance. It was reported how he held circles for fifty of his army colleagues on a regular basis although, ‘they have to take it in turns to attend séances because there is not enough room in the hut for them all’..On one occasion when Leslie’s colleagues asked him for a demonstration of his mediumship, he did this, and a sister of one of the men began to communicate; however, this was abruptly ended by a sergeant barging in whereupon the ectoplasm rushed back, causing Leslie considerable discomfort. He then recalled Noah Zerdin’s warning years before and decided never to hold a séance in such circumstances again.

After moving to a new camp, Leslie felt guilty about his non-combatant role, and volunteered for bomb disposal duties and was moved to Cardiff. When local Spiritualists discovered that he was nearby, they asked him to give sittings and he says that: ‘it was a joy to experience again the satisfaction of giving help and reassurance to those in need of it’. After a while, the bomb disposal unit was disbanded and Leslie returned to London to undertake different work. He was therefore able to resume regular séances both at home and elsewhere. In these, excellent evidence was forthcoming, some of which related to parents hearing from their children who had been killed while fighting in the war. The next stage in Leslie’s life was, as he says, ‘rashly’ responding to the call for miners. After a period of working underground, he laboured at Liverpool moving crates to be shipped out of the docks to the forces overseas. There he remained until V.E Day.

The war having finished, regular séances resumed and at one, Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding was present. During this, Mickey made himself known and mentioned a young airman wishing to speak. He did so and gave his name as Peter Kite, his address and a message for his parents: he was particularly concerned about his mother as the distress of his death was causing her ill-health. He then mentioned that he knew Mr Turner, one of the sitters, and told Mr Turner that he had visited him for dental work. Leslie remarks: ‘None of the other sitters knew Mr Turner was a dentist nor did they know his name. Mr Turner said he remembered Peter Kite coming to him for treatment…but he did not know he had been killed nor even that he had joined the R.A.F.’
The airman’s parents were contacted and invited to a séance. Arthur Conan Doyle was the first to communicate and took the opportunity to explain to the parents what had happened to their son, as they had no knowledge of the subject. The son then spoke and referred to practical jokes that he had played on them before his death and what he had seen them doing since that date. Leslie recalls: ‘For close on forty minutes the voice of Peter Kite went on piling evidential detail on detail, details trivial in themselves but in the aggregate giving his parents incontrovertible proof of his identity and his continued existence’.

One of Leslie’s sitters, a Mrs Barrat, was so impressed by the evidence that she received about her son who had been killed in the war, that she arranged and paid for sittings for other mothers who had suffered similar losses. On one occasion, one of these women did not arrive and the séance had to begin without her. A young man’s voice then communicated and asked for his mother, and Mrs Barrat recognized the speaker as the son of the woman who had not arrived. He then told the sitters that his mother’s train had been delayed and she was sitting outside the séance room. It was explained the door could not be opened as this would allow light inside. Leslie relates how: ‘Then a wonderful thing happened. As a rule the voices…speak from a point above my head…but as this spirit spoke his voice moved right away from me across the room to the door where he called loudly for his mother, From outside the door the mother answered him and the dead boy and the living mother talked together through the door’.
Another example of Leslie’s spectacular mediumship shortly after the war was when Edgar Grant attended a séance and spoke with his wife, ‘for some minutes in a perfectly ordered and natural manner’. After this, he recorded that: ‘I then felt fingers take my pen and notebook from my hand and heard the pen moving across the paper’. On examining this, he declared the ‘writing obtained at the séance and his wife’s normal handwriting [before she died] is indisputable’.

Leslie mentions how he was anxious to provide quality demonstrations to the public. In one at the Kingsway Hall in March 1950, Leslie was able to provide marvellous evidence of survival when a young man referred to his death by suicide, giving details of this. Mr Shead, a member of the audience recognized the communicator, a son of a friend, with whom he had only met a short time earlier and had mentioned his son’s suicide. Shead later said the information given by the communicator, ‘had been the same, almost word for word, [as] told by the father’. This demonstration also saw various other communicators recognized by members of the audience, including instances of sons who had died in childbirth or killed in the war, with their mothers.

The pressure of the public demonstrations had an effect on Leslie’s health. In one article headed ‘Voice Medium Collapses at Public Séance’, it recorded how Leslie had ‘collapsed and had to be carried from the platform’: this was at the Kingsway Hall in July 1950.
Nonetheless, Leslie was still able to demonstrate his mediumship and at one large public séance at the Kingsway Hall, he used a specially-designed cabinet. This was seven feet high and four feet square. The cabinet was covered in tarpaulin and the audience could therefore see all that was happening in the area outside. In this demonstration, various communicators spoke and convinced their loved ones in the audience of the continuing existence.
It was interesting to note how they confirmed what is repeatedly stated by communicators, i.e. they are ‘more alive than ever’. In the case of Jim, a boy, who spoke to his mother, he confirmed that he was still very much alive; Mickey interrupted and said to the mother: ‘Jim’s a darned sight more alive than you are lady, I’ll tell you!’.

In the course of time, Leslie received so many requests to demonstrate his mediumship, that a committee was formed to deal with the administration and other related aspects. One of the members of the committee was the Revd Drayton Thomas, who had, through his tireless efforts, gained excellent evidence of survival through the medium, Mrs Gladys Leonard, and had also served on the SPR Council. He was aware that some were suggesting that Leslie heard the voices clairaudiently, and then gave the messages himself through his own mouth. Thomas therefore arranged a test, details of which were reported in Psychic News (14 February, 1948); in this, a strip of elastoplast was placed over Leslie’s mouth with a scarf then being tied over this, with cords being used to tie his hands and restrict head movement. In this situation, the voices were heard and ‘Mickey emphasised his ability several times by shouting loudly’. At the end of the séance, with twelve people present, the cords and plaster were intact and had not been disturbed.

A further test was conducted in the presence of Dr West, the SPR Research Officer; after Leslie had his mouth firmly taped with the position of the plaster marked with a pencil, and his arms strapped to the chair, the voices manifested themselves and both Thomas and West held a conversation with the communicators. Leslie found the experience to be extremely uncomfortable, i.e. having great difficulty in breathing, and he had to cancel appointments for the next few days in order to recover. However, West then advised Leslie that as one of the plasters was not in line with one of the markings when the test ended, he did not view the experiment as conclusive: West took responsibility for not taking sufficient care in fixing the plaster.
In view of the discomfort experienced, and the unsatisfactory manner in which the test had been conducted, Leslie, understandably, declined West’s invitation to submit yet again. It appears that not even Leslie was allowed to escape the muddled and bungling efforts of researchers, many of whom, throughout much of the history of physical mediumship, have continually requested ‘more’ due to their lack of care and attention.

In time, Leslie discovered, much to his distress, that while he originally thought that by demonstrating his mediumship to scientists and researchers, they would therefore join the chorus of those proclaiming survival, this was not to be: ‘All too soon I learned the hard way that many of those who call themselves researchers have immutable values of their own which preclude belief in…the possibility of life after death’.

In an attempt to provide irrefutable evidence of Leslie’s mediumship, the Revd Drayton Thomas contacted an electronics expert who had an interest in psychic matters and provided various devices to use that would verify the voices were not coming directly from Leslie. In the presence of experienced researchers, Leslie underwent tests in which his lips were sealed with plaster, a microphone was attached to his throat, and there was an infra-red telescope that allowed the researchers to monitor the events in the dark; furthermore, Leslie’s hands were held by the sitter on each side of him. Leslie reports that the result was: ‘Voices spoke at many of the tests under these conditions and on more than one occasion a researcher viewing through the infra-red telescope was able to see the ectoplasmic larynx through which the discarnate speak forming on my left side some two feet distant from me’. One of the researchers later wrote to Leslie, confirming what had happened and saying this had been ‘impressive’.

The actual content of Leslie’s independent voice mediumship was itself indicative of the external sources responsible: as he points out, ‘literally thousands of different voices…speaking in different dialects, in foreign languages unknown to me’. And this was apart from the ‘mass of personal detail and reminiscence’.

The success of tests made on Leslie is noted by Guiley: ‘Flint was extensively tested – he called himself “the most tested medium in England” – but no evidence of fraud was ever found. The most dramatic test was done in London and New York in 1970. Flint’s lips were sealed with plaster, and a throat microphone showed no evidence of use of his vocal chords, despite the manifestation of ghostly voices’. Leslie corroborates this when he says: ‘I have been boxed up, tied up, sealed up, gagged, bound and held and still the voices have come to speak their message of life eternal’.
Notwithstanding, we nevertheless learn an important lesson here, relevant at this time. Leslie graciously submitted to being monitored through infra-red apparatus, apart from a host of other modes of tests, and while no evidence of fraud was evident, the tests had little or no effect on scientists and sceptics, and added nothing meaningful to the field of knowledge. Yet again, this provides an example of how the filming, recording and/or monitoring of mediums has no value, and if anything only serves to minimize the phenomena.

The full scope of Leslie’s mediumship is surely demonstrated by the judgements given by other mediums. Jessie Nason, who supplied so much excellent evidence to so many people and appeared on British national television to demonstrate her ability, attended a séance with Leslie in 1965. After receiving remarkable evidence for herself and witnessing this occurring with others, she declared Leslie’s séance as ‘fantastic’.

In 1970, Leslie spoke to the Spiritualist Task Force and referred to how physical mediums had been ‘hounded out’ of Spiritualism. When asked why he had not suffered the same fate, he replied with his usual dry humour, saying, ‘Perhaps I’m a little more intelligent and a little more careful’. He also remarked on one sad fact that still prevails nearly forty years later: on commenting on how much effort and time he had devoted to developing his mediumship he remarked on how, ‘You have to find self-sacrificing sitters. And believe me, I haven’t found many among some Spiritualists’. He also spoke about the dangers that sometimes exist and recalled how someone had once turned on a light while he was in trance and he was ‘ill for weeks afterwards’.

Leslie’s mediumship resulted in him travelling abroad and this clearly had no effect on the quality of the evidence supplied. One example was the séance at the W. T. Stead Centre in New York when Mickey announced that a Carl Schneider wished to speak. None of the sitters responded, but Mickey was adamant there had to be someone there who knew him. One sitter, a Robert Bolton, spoke up saying that he knew Schneider, but believed that he was in fact alive. The communicator nevertheless spoke and said that he had died a year earlier; moreover, Bolton recognized the voice as Schneider’s. The following day, Bolton telephoned the number that Schneider had given him at an earlier time, and was told by the person answering that Schneider had died a year earlier, having committed suicide. Bolton was so impressed by the evidence that he wrote an account of the experience in Psychic News. Leslie then left New York to give successful séances and visit Chicago, Los Angeles and Hollywood; during which time he was entertained by Mae West and her husband, and visited Valentino’s grave and placed flowers there.

Demonstrating that the pain of losing a loved one is still very much present, despite an intimate awareness of survival, Edith’s death after a lengthy deterioration in health caused considerable heartache for Leslie. He recalls that after the funeral: ‘A wave of desolation swept over me as I realised I had yet to come to terms with the loss of her physical presence…I wondered if I could go on living in a house filled with memories of past happiness’. Following this, Leslie’s guides told him that he would soon be moving into a flat in central London, and despite his doubts, a few months later he was there.

It was at this time that Leslie became anxious about the pressure being placed upon him and he decided to retire from public work. He then gave all his energy to private séances that continued to be successful, and often eventful; one was when a Mr and Mrs Newton attended and Leslie was perturbed that they had brought an alsatian dog with them as he did not allow animals in the séance room; but he then suddenly realized the dog was not physically present. When the séance began, Mr Newton’s father communicated and said that ‘Rex’ was with him and his wife. Leslie records: ‘At this point to my surprise and embarrassment I heard Mr Newton sobbing’. It transpired that Mr and Mrs Newton had once had an alsatian dog called Rex, and Mr Newton was deeply distressed by the circumstances in which the dog had died. Of the séances, of which there were a number, when this type of evidence arose, Leslie states: ‘I am convinced that the love we give to our animals on this side of life lifts them on to a higher plane of existence…and that when we die we shall find them waiting to greet us’.

Leslie mentions the many séances that he conducted for George Woods and Betty Greene. In these, a positive wealth of information about the post-mortem existence was revealed. A wide range of people communicated and no matter what their background had been, their statements had remarkable uniformity. This was made apparent with one communicator, Rose Hawkins, who had been a street flower seller before her death and had an ‘earthly voice, strident, cheerful, with a Cockney twang even more pronounced than Mickey’s. She said: ‘You want me to describe our world in your material language! I don’t know which way to start. I suppose if you could think of all the beautiful things in your world without all the things which aren’t pleasant, you’d ‘ave a vague notion of what it’s like…The only things you get ‘ere is by character and the way you’ve lived your life and how you’ve thought and acted’.

In view of the valuable information imparted when the two were there, Leslie admits: ‘I began to look forward more and more to my sittings with George Woods and Betty Greene’. Details of some of these were detailed by Neville Randall in his book, Life After Death, that makes truly fascinating reading as it records much of the detail provided in a number of these sittings. The work of Woods and Greene became public news resulting in Leslie appearing on television, and having the opportunity to expound the reality of everlasting life and the possibility of communication between the two worlds.

A number of communicators joined the Woods/Greene séances attempting to undo the wrong done in their earthly life: one was Lord Birkenhead who, having died, realized the immoral nature of capital punishment that he had once supported. Leslie records how he ‘spoke eloquently and urgently for almost an hour on the necessity for the total abolition of the death penalty’. Another communicator was George Bernard Shaw. When the tape of his communication was played to the writer Laurence Easterbrook, O.B.E, who had known Shaw for a good number of years, he declared: ‘I found the G.B.S. recording interesting indeed. The more I think about it, the more impossible it seems for none but himself to have been responsible’. When the tape was played to George Bishop, the dramatic critic of the Daily Telegraph, who was a close friend of Shaw but also someone who had no interest in the paranormal, he agreed, ‘The mind and the mood are Shaw’s’.
One person who communicated and is well-known to Spiritualists was Dr Cosmo Lang, who had been Archbishop of York and had suppressed the report of a church commission investigating Spiritualism; he voiced his regrets regarding his behaviour. A tape of his communication was played to Conan Shaw, who had known Lang and he stated: ‘Yes, I have every confidence it is Dr Cosmo Lang who is the communicator as he claims to be on the tape’.

The Revd Allan Barham, a member of the SPR and Churches’ Fellowship for Psychical and Spiritual Studies, wrote about Leslie and states: ‘I have been present many times at a Leslie Flint sitting, when voices have spoken which have been recognised as the unmistakable expression of the personality of someone – a relation or friend – who has died’. It was in fact Barham, who played the Shaw tape to Bishop, as mentioned above; he reports that after listening to it, Bishop ‘was deeply moved’.

Despite the well-known personalities who communicated through Leslie, he continued to provide evidential séances to ‘ordinary people’. One such instance was when a Mrs Dunk attended and Robin, her son who had died in a car accident in 1968, communicated. She noted how he continued using a term of language about which she always corrected him before his death. He gave a considerable amount of personal evidence about what had happened in the family since his death, even thanking his mother for ‘the two rose bushes she had planted in his memory’.

Mrs Dunk’s own mother also communicated and she reported how the voice was ‘unmistakable’.

Christmas Tree Séances

Following the usual Spiritualist tradition, Leslie held Christmas tree séances. One, that took place in 1972, was described by a sitter, who recounted the usual dry humour that occurred, e.g. when Leslie asked Mickey to hurry up, the guide replied: ‘I wish you’d shut up!’ A number of children were able to communicate successfully and it was noted ‘the voices seemed to be manifesting directly above the Christmas tree. Occasionally they moved as the spirit children examined presents’ and that, ‘the children’s different personalities were marked’. Then, ‘towards the end of the séance, presents on and under the tree were thrown about the room. Though the proceedings took place in pitch darkness, nobody was hit’. Noteworthy was the fact that ‘Leslie was heard coughing several times while the voices spoke. As Mickey said, “We’ve been having trouble with old Flint lately.

A number of NAS members have also related their experiences when sitting with Leslie and provided a fascinating insight into the marvellous quality of his mediumship. One of the accounts reveals something of the extent of Leslie’s abilities: George Cranley describes a Christmas party when numerous children spoke, each with their distinctive personality, although this resulted in two of them arguing over one of the toys: ‘Mickey would break in saying, “Ere, pack it in you two” so that three voices would be heard simultaneously’.

Leslie died on 16 April 1994: previously the Vice-President, he became the joint Vice President (in spirit) of The Noah’s Ark Society with Noah Zerdin who accomplished so much in directing Leslie’s course.

It is surely fitting to conclude with the words, ‘For many, Leslie had the quality of a Columbus, opening for us the portals into a new world that gave hope, that enlarged our vision of life, and deepened our values.

He was a rare soul, who served us well’.

This experience of sitting with Leslie Flint, in the early years of his mediumship, was written by Charles Seymour

One day, looking through my notes, I was reminded that so far I had not experienced the “independent direct voice.” Independent means without a ‘trumpet’ i.e. a light metal, usually aluminium, cone or amplifier.

Where a trumpet is used, it moves about the room, and I have been at séances for physical phenomena when it whizzed to and fro in the dark at a tremendous speed, often within a quarter-inch of one’s nose; but I have never known a sitter to be hit, only very gently tapped when his attention was sought.

I had a medium earmarked — his name having been obtained from Press reports. This was Mr Leslie Flint, whose centre, at the date of this writing, is at Hendon. I wrote, as usual under an assumed name, asking for an appointment, and one was fixed for a few days ahead.

On the day, arriving a little before time in order to get the lie of the land in advance, I found already assembled eight persons, five women and three men. One of the latter, a young man, was, it transpired, the medium; another was the regular chargé d’affaires. With the third I had a little chat and learned that he was a Doctor of Philosophy, that this was his second visit here, and that, as I gathered, he, like myself; was an investigator.

We went to the séance chamber, which I found to be an ordinary sitting-room with chairs and a gramophone and with one corner curtained off. The medium seated himself in the recess, the curtains only partly drawn, and the sitters were ranged round the room.

I had been led by accounts in the spiritualist paper to expect a “Mickey,” who was declared to be this medium’s regular control, a little Cockney boy who, it was stated, had been knocked down and killed in the street some years previously. He had been described as a veritable character’, a merry, sharp-witted youngster who seemed thoroughly to enjoy the task to which, on the other side, he had been assigned.

We were advised to sit comfortably, the light was extinguished, a record played, a hymn sung.

In perhaps ten minutes, a voice “crackled” out – that seems to be the only word to describe the timbre – a shrillish, lively boy’s voice, and wished us all a good evening.

We returned the greeting. Mickey at once began to live up to his reputation. He laughed and joked and quickly proved himself to be that “veritable character,” humorous, cheeky, quick on the uptake. He stayed on no ceremony with anyone, and among the first greeted the Doctor of Philosophy as ‘mate’, saying he was glad to see him again.

“So you remember me, Mickey “- from the Ph.D.

“Of course I do!” – indignantly.

Mickey continued for some minutes, and was a one-boy entertainment all by himself.

But presently he cut the fun, explained that he had come in first to ‘get the vibrations up’, and announced that he was now making way for a number of spirits, some of whom would be talking for the first time.

During the interval I took the opportunity to size things up so far. I noted these three points:

(1) The sitters were so grouped, and my own position was such, that I judged it would be impossible for anyone to enter or leave the room by the one door (which I almost faced) without my being aware of it.

(2) Practically simultaneously with the Mickey voice I had on several occasions heard the medium’s voice also. The medium had himself spoken with Mickey, and remark and counter-remark had followed one another instantly.

(3) My hearing being acute, and, I believe, my sense of direction good, I can vouch that the medium’s voice came from the recess where I had seen him take his place, and that Mickey’s voice was located from five to six feet away from him -at a spot, as near as I could judge, about a foot from the ceiling.

I may add that I had not been put off my guard by Mickey’s quips: ‘with one ear’ I had listened carefully for sounds of any suspicious move or rustle suggesting changing of seats, but had heard nothing. (I knew that neither of my immediate neighbours, right and left, had moved, as the circle was fairly closely packed, and my knees touched theirs.

As I was inwardly marking off these points, a quite different voice, a man’s, husky and apparently rather strained, sounded from the same spot overhead.

It said: “Charles.”

No one answering, the voice repeated: “Charles, I want Charles.”

Still no acknowledgment.

I was there under an assumed name. This was, if anyone would like to know it, ‘David Brevior’. The name had been chosen, as are all my pseudonyms, at random. I had just been reading about an old-time author named Shorter, who had used the Latinized form “Brevior” for his pen-name, and I signed that when writing for the interview.

Therefore, I remained silent.

“The spirit wants a Charles,” said the gentleman in charge (his voice reached me from the place—on the medium’s right—where I had seen him take his seat before lights out: throughout, all the ‘spirit voices’ came from the spot I have indicated, which was on the medium’s left).

“You want a Charles, friend. Charles who?”

“Charles Seymour.”

The name was uttered with difficulty, but it was distinct, the surname being delivered almost in a shout, as though fresh power had been acquired.

Scarcely able to believe my own ears, I gaped in the dark for a few seconds, and then I surrendered. What else?

“I am Charles Seymour.”


William? I have a brother William, who, however, happily, is still in the flesh.

My mind was running back to some half-forgotten acquaintances when the voice came again, “Uncle William.”

This was almost as amazing, for it was true, I had had an Uncle William, who had died some twenty years earlier. But I had forgotten him, as when he lived he had been little more than a name to me. An Army man, he had been for many years stationed in India and South Africa, and I can recollect only two or three occasions when he visited our house, each time for a few hours. I did not know he took any interest in me.

‘William’ proceeded to give me a message.

This was quite as remarkable in content as the fact of my real name being spoken, but I will not here disclose its nature, as it fits more appropriately into the next chapter. Suffice it to say that ‘Uncle William’ and I conversed for several minutes, and he showed a close knowledge of my affairs and circumstances. He spoke, too, of his own state (which I gathered was not entirely a happy one. “We have our problems, too, you know”, he said, “but they are largely of our own making.”

Next a woman’s voice, “It is mother, my dear.”

I am unable to record the ensuing conversation, as it refers to private and personal details which have no place in this book. But from the evidential standpoint it is necessary to mention that my mother met her death by being knocked down by a car, and that this spirit voice disclosed knowledge of the fact that I was fetched to view her body in the mortuary. One point needs to be emphasized, because of something that will appear in the next chapter. I did not at this séance, neither did the voice, make any reference to the cause of my mother’s death. The mortuary was mentioned but so far as anyone at the séance could have known, death might have been due to natural causes.

Then Mickey again.

“What a lot of people there are for you, Charlie. You are one of the lucky ones.”

A different voice sounded: “Cousin Harry speaking.’

I had a cousin Harry – the only one of that name – who was reported missing, believed killed, in the war of 1914-18.

Mickey interposed with: “Did you know Portsmouth, Charlie?”

I said I did. In fact, I was stationed there for some time during the (1914-18) war.

“There’s a lot of buddies who knew you at Portsmouth,” and he proceeded to give a string of names.

I reflected, but had to answer that I was very sorry, but could not recall a single one of them.

“That’s all right, Charlie, don’t get downhearted. Cheer up. But you have got a bad memory, ain’t you?”

“No, Mickey, I’ve got a good memory.”

“That’s what you say. . . Wait a minute. There’s one bloke here says they all remember you all right, and you’d know them if you was able to see ‘em as I do, but very likely you wouldn’t remember their names.”

(Note: In the Army I had a particular job at which I was a fixture for some considerable time. Hundreds of R.G.A. and R.E. men passed through on courses of training before being drafted overseas. I never knew the names of more than a fraction of them, but certainly many would have known me, as part of the landscape of the place, at that time.)

There’s Parsons here, who says he hurt his hand, and you ought to remember him by that.”

“On one of the guns?”

I knew that several men had so hurt themselves, but could recollect no Parsons.

“No, it wasn’t on the guns. Try to remember, Charlie.”

“I am trying, but it seems no good, Mickey. But thanks to everybody for looking me up—though I’m afraid there’s not much ‘look’ in it, in this dark.”

“We can see you all right, though, if you can’t see us. But that’s what it is, Charlie, they’ve just come to show you that they’re all alive and haven’t forgotten you.”

This ended my innings, and my notes show that thirteen other voices spoke, and all were acknowledged by various sitters.

Conversation with the voices went on for perhaps three-quarters of an hour longer, and some of it I found extremely interesting, particularly a duologue between a spirit and one lady who was scolded about something, in what was evidently to her a surprising and unacceptable way.

During an interval I spoke with my nearest neighbour, mentioning that although my name had been correctly given as Seymour I had come there as Brevior.

Scarcely had I finished when Mickey shouted, “You shouldn’t come here under a fictitious name, Charlie.” He was clearly very proud of the “fictitious,” enunciating it with gusto.

The sitting closed with my arguing that point with him.

But Mickey had shown himself to be a determined person who when he makes up his mind makes it up, and I did not appear to have convinced him!

NOTE by Zerdini: When I sat with Leslie he was thirty years older and had moved to new premises. He no longer sat in a recess but with the sitters, usually about eight in number, and had no assistants in the room. We all had our own tape recorders until he bought a swish tape recorder with which he recorded every séance.

My Experience with Leslie Flint by Alan Crossley

Prior to moving to Cardiff, South Wales, I had the opportunity to attend a mass public demonstration of the independent direct voice, held at the Kingsway Hall, London. Demonstrating this type of phenomena before a large gathering in a public hail was completely new and was somewhat in the nature of an experiment.

Previously, the direct voice had always been held in private circumstances with usually only a dozen or so people present. The idea on this occasion was to construct a soundproof and lightproof cabinet, placed in full view of the audience. Instead of the séance being held in total darkness, normally essential in the case of direct voice, the house lights would remain on. The medium would then be isolated in the cabinet during the meeting.

Immediately outside and in front of the cabinet, three microphones were placed to pick up the voices emanating from within the soundproof wall of the cabinet. The sound system was arranged, checked and tested by qualified technicians on the staff of the Kingsway Hall. I understood that during testing of the equipment, they had turned the amplifier up to its capacity and with a colleague inside the cabinet, shouting at the top of his voice, failed to pick up hardly a sound.

The medium for this demonstration was Mr. Leslie Flint, a specialist in direct voice phenomena. The hall was packed to capacity for this first ever public demonstration. Leslie entered the cabinet, where he would remain for about the next two hours. He once told me that he suffered from claustrophobia and I can imagine that he must have found the confined space something of an ordeal.

The Chairman, the Rev. C. Drayton Thomas was a man of considerable experience in physical mediumship. He gave a short talk on the modus operandi then handed the meeting, as he put it, ‘over to the spirit world.’

There was a hushed and expectant silence throughout the hail waiting for the first sign of sound through the loudspeakers.

Suddenly, the first voice broke through the silence. “Cor, what a lot of people.” The voice was that of ‘Mickey,’ Leslie Flint’s spirit guide.

Mickey was a London cockney newspaper boy when on earth and acted as a kind of master of ceremonies by introducing the various spirits wishing to communicate. It was obvious that Mickey was something of a comedian, for he had the audience in raptures, his humorous and down-to-earth chatter setting the scene for the first communicator.

“There is a lady here who wishes to speak to you all. She says her name is Ellen Terry.” A gasp of excitement rose from the audience as a powerful voice, cultured in tone, proceeded to give a discourse about the fear of death and the philosophy of survival. My mother had known Ellen Terry; she was a well known actress. As the voice began to speak, my mother turned to me and said “I knew that voice well, it belongs only to Ellen Terry, and it’s uncanny.”

Several others communicated and appeared to be identified by people in the hall. The spontaneous reaction to the spirit communicators was evident by all those receiving the voice messages.

However, the drama of the evening came toward the end of the séance. Mickey had been busy bringing through one person after another, enjoying the odd joke with certain members of the audience. Then he became very serious. “1 have someone here now who has only been on our side of life for a few hours. He is telling me that he is the policeman who was shot last night.” Murmurs rippled through the hall.

That same morning, the national press had reported the murder of a P.C. Edgar, who lived in Finchley, London. Yet here, one day later, in the Kingsway Hall, he was purporting to communicate from the spirit world. Mickey continued. “He is asking for someone named Florrie, you’re up in the gallery somewhere. Will you please speak to him, it will help him get through to you.”

A shout from the gallery was immediate. “I’m Florrie, I’m his sister.”

Only a heavy breathing at first could be heard from the loudspeakers, then a few words, gasped out in desperation. The voice was quite weak and one had to listen intently as the voice attempted to convey a message to his sister.

“The man they are looking for is in a Hastings boarding house, the gun is hidden under the mattress in his room.” The policeman had great difficulty in sustaining communication and the voice faded completely. Mickey intervened to explain that a spirit which had passed only a few hours before, especially in these circumstances, needed time to adjust to the new dimension and therefore it was extremely unlikely they would be able to communicate effectively.

Mickey brought the proceedings to a close because the ‘power’ had all been used up. He ended by telling the audience that they were responsible personally for their actions, but that redemption was open to every soul by their own efforts.

During the singing of a final hymn, two assistants entered the cabinet to help a very tired Leslie Flint from his confined space, which he had endured for the past two hours.

The experiment, the first of its kind, had been a success.

Recommended reading:

Voices in the Dark by Leslie Flint

To listen to tape recorded voices:






Alec Harris

Alec Harris’s remarkable materialisation and direct-voice mediumship astounded all those who had the privilege to witness it; and the world is fortunate that his wife, Louie, recorded details of her husband’s great work in a fascinating book entitled “They Walked Among Us”.

An abridged version of the manuscript was published in 1980 under the above title.

The complete and unabridged biography of the renowned materialisation medium Alec Harris has now been published for the first time.

The strength and power of Alec’s physical mediumship were universally acclaimed. One astonished sitter who attended a séance in Alec’s home in the Whitchurch area of Cardiff, which is the capital city of Wales, remarked, ‘The materialised people came out of the cabinet sometimes two or three at a time.

On that amazing night, about twenty fully materialised forms greeted us and spoke with us, quite naturally. After a while you forgot you were conversing with so-called “dead” people’.

In the mid 20th-Century, the editor of “Psychic News”, Maurice Barbanell, said of Alec’s mediumship that ‘the spirit forms not only show themselves in good red light, but they also hold sustained conversations, after having walked about ten feet from the cabinet’.

But in the early days of his spiritual awakening, Alec Harris at first refused to accept the idea that he might possess such an incredibly rare mediumistic gift: his family were Welsh Christians of the ‘dyed-in-the-wool’ kind. Born and bred in Treherbert, in the Rhondda Valley in South Wales, where Christianity was most certainly the order of the day, Alec wanted nothing to do with ‘meddling’ with the dead, or with the religion of Spiritualism.

But then his sister, Connie, died – and subsequently returned to the astonished members of her family when Alec attended a séance conducted by the remarkable Scottish physical medium Helen Duncan.

His sister’s spirit-return encouraged him to sit for the development of his own spiritual gifts, and he became one of the finest materialisation mediums to emerge from Great Britain in the 20th-Century. Strangely enough, Alec Harris’s sister Connie later made another successful spirit return in a materialised form, but this time through her own brother’s remarkable physical mediumship.

During the production of materialised spirit forms, Alec’s spirit guides usually took him into a deep-trance, and the sitters were able to clearly see him sitting on his chair (bound hand and foot) inside the ‘cabinet’ – and the whole room was bathed in good red light while the materialised people walked around the room and spoke with their loved ones.

At one memorable séance, which was attended by Sir Alexander Cannon, Sir Alex spoke to two spirit forms who were Tibetans, and these conversations were held in their native tongue, which was unknown to Alec Harris or any of the other persons present at the séance. And a certain Prof. T J Haarhoff, who was a professor of classics, conversed with a materialised spirit who spoke to him in ancient Greek.

These events signal quite clearly the genuineness of Mr Harris’s mediumship.

Like other physical mediums before him, Alec was treated abominably by hostile sceptics who simply could not admit the possibility that what they were seeing with their own eyes was genuine phenomena, and he was hurt in a séance in South Africa when a journalist grabbed an ectoplasmic spirit-form, while other members of the press set off flashlights without permission.

Alec Harris will be long remembered for the amazing phenomena that were produced through his remarkable mediumship.


Zerdini comments:

Professor Haarhoff, who is mentioned in the above report, was a Professor of Classics at Witwatersrand University and one of a handful of scholars at the time who spoke ancient Greek.

When he came to Cape Town to sit with Mona van der Watt I had the opportunity to question him about his experiences with Alec Harris and he confirmed to me that he did converse with a spirit in ancient Greek and then continued his conversation through Mona’s trance mediumship.

I think that the reason we had such wonderful mediumship from Alec Harris was that it was a joint mediumship between him and his wife. He had the gift of materialisation and she had the gift of direct voice. They were told that they had to sit together or nothing would happen. Divorce, therefore, was out of the question.
Louie told me this herself while we were having tea and sandwiches after the séance.

To have the support of one’s life partner when developing must have been a great asset.

The Mediumship of Alec Harris
By Isa Gray

“It is all very well for you, who have probably never seen any spiritual manifestations, to talk as you do; but if you had seen what I have witnessed you would hold a different opinion.”– W. M. THACKERAY.

Ina picked me up in her car and we drove off to a suburb named Bramley (Johannesburg). I remember remarking to her on the way that it was interesting that so many mediums were of Celtic descent and that most of their names seemed to be Welsh, Scots or Irish.

The Anglo-Saxon races do not seem to be as gifted in psychic matters. We were both full of enthusiasm for this great venture which was about to take place, and excited that in a few hours’ time we would have learnt to understand so much of the great mystery of death.

It was a crisp, cold night. As we walked up the garden path to the house, I felt a slight touch of fear when looking at the stark trees traced against the dark sky. We rang the bell and Mr Harris opened the door for us. He gave us a friendly greeting, asking us to step into the drawing-room where some other sitters were already waiting. He was stocky and strong, with a fine face and a head of thick wavy hair. Mrs Harris chatted to us in the cosy drawing-room. I noticed her pretty face and kindly way. My immediate impression was of admiration for their obvious sincerity. I also felt happy to be there with Ina for my first experience, as she is a very well informed Spiritualist.

When all the sitters had arrived, Mrs Harris told us some facts about materialisation: of how it is a very rare form of phenomenon and how the figures build up out of ectoplasm, drawn mainly from the medium but also from the sitters. She explained that it was much easier for our guides to materialise, but if anyone had a loved one come through, they must respond warmly and not be afraid; that one never knows who will come through, and that we must not long for any particular person, as it made too many crossed thoughts if each sitter was anxious to contact some special person.

She added that this circle was protected from the other side, and that no one evil had ever come through. We all felt duly reassured, yet I think that most of us found it hard not to be a little tense with the knowledge that for the first time we would witness discarnate personalities who had transcended the grave. It is strange for anyone living in our world of calendar dates, suddenly to find that the other world is timeless. I did not realise what ineffable joy was to come to me in the next few hours. I hope that I have made it clear that materialised spirits are not ghosts, wraiths, spectres or phantoms.

Walking along the passage on our way to the little sanctuary, we passed Mr Harris in black pyjamas with the coat loose and open.

We took our seats in two rows, seven of us in the front row and the rest of them sitting close behind. There were infra-red lights above, but otherwise the room was in complete darkness. There was an electric fan, which was later turned on when the room began to get warm, as the window was closed and the door was locked. The temperature was distinctly chilly for the first part of the séance, as if a slight wind was blowing in. There were two black curtains, which met in the middle and one of these, on the right of us, fitted across the corner of the room, where Mr Harris seated himself in this corner, not many feet away from us, behind the curtain. This corner formed a ‘cabinet’, so that the ectoplasm could be concentrated better in this enclosed space.

Ina sat on the extreme right of the front row, and next to her was a Portuguese gentleman, whose mother I was told was a well-known medium in Lisbon. I sat next to the Portuguese, and on my left was Hyman Klein. Next to him was Mrs Harris, and beyond her a couple whom we did not know, who had been to these séances before. Hyman had known the Harrises for a long time and often attended their séances.

Mrs Harris said a prayer then we all said the Lord’s Prayer, and holding hands started to sing, beginning with a hymn. By his heavy and regular breathing, we could tell that Mr Harris had gone into trance. A little time passed and then we sang an old-fashioned love song, which Mrs Harris told us was the favourite of the guide who usually appeared first. She said that his name was Rohan or Rowan.

Presently we heard a man’s voice speaking to Mr Harris from behind the curtain and he answered, and then the curtains parted and Rowan came in. I was momentarily astonished and my heart thumped with excitement; and even after all I had read, and knowing of the medium’s complete integrity, I could hardly believe that I was really looking at a spirit. He was an elderly man with a neat beard, and had much dignity of bearing. He seemed to give off a quality of steadfastness and benevolence. His feet were bare. As for his long white robe, I can only describe it as like the ‘dazzling raiment’ of the Bible.

He said in a rather low voice: “Good evening, friends”. Mrs Harris greeted him as an old friend, and we all replied: “Good evening.” He spoke with paternal warmth that won my heart.

He came forward a step or two and told us not to be afraid, and asked us each in turn to put our hands in his. He felt to me like an ordinary earth person, only I had the impression that his hands felt a little smoother and slightly cooler. He had round his head a veil of ectoplasm, which was snow-white like the rest of his clothing. Being dressed in a long white robe made him look some-what Biblical.

He said: “Look”, and a little bit of ectoplasm floated across the room like a tiny, fleecy cloud, eventually to disperse. One is surprised at the solidity of a spirit. He went back once to the medium, telling us it was for him to be ‘recharged’, and he also held the curtain open once so that we could see the medium ‘asleep’ in his chair. He said a few more words to us, ending with: “God bless you all”, then taking his leave of us departed behind the curtain so we did not see him dematerialise.

We held hands and sang again, and not long after this appeared a most attractive young man who is called Jolkim. Apparently he is half British, half Russian, and lost his life in World War I.

He conversed with Mrs Harris and Hyman. Jolkim is so light-hearted and unpretentious that everyone finds him a delightful person. He had on a headdress of the ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ type, and one could see his features quite clearly. His tall handsome presence and youth made the ladies feel drawn to him. His eyes are gentle and humorous and his curved lips often smile: his speech is precise and well phrased. He has a slight foreign tilt to his eyes, and his features are regular. He asked Ina and me to hold his hands in turn so that we could feel his friendly strong clasp. He then said to me: “May I kiss you?” I naturally consented, and a soft cheek was placed against mine. He did the same for Ina.

He told the Portuguese gentleman that he was a medium, and chatted a bit to various people. He concluded by singing a most beautiful duet with Mrs Harris. It was so moving to hear a spirit and an earth person sing together, and his low bass notes blended with her higher voice in perfect harmony.

After the song was over, he remarked to Mrs Harris that the curtain was stiff for them to open. She replied: “I keep telling Alex to fix that curtain!” which made us all smile at the wife-like remark. He then opened one of the curtains and we could half see him as he dematerialised. It was so strange to see his head bend forward and then he slipped downwards until there was nothing left of him.
By now I was enthusiastically beginning to regain my equilibrium. I realised that most of us greatly over-estimate our powers of understanding, which is why one is so surprised to witness this great reality for the first time. We sang again, and then after a transitory pause there were three loud thumps from behind the curtain. I had heard from other people who had been to these séances that a little dwarf called Ginger came and usually did this to herald his arrival. There appeared through the parting of the two curtains a tiny figure who looked about three feet in height but probably was a few inches more. I gulped with surprise at his bizarre appearance.

He chatted away in a Cockney accent and skipped about in front of us. He had a happy, animated face, and reminded me of some jester in a Velasquez painting. He, Ginger, was going to ask the Portuguese to go up to him, but noticed that he had gone into trance, so he asked me to talk to him. I stood up and he took my two hands in his. I am very small indeed but he seemed to come up to my waist. He asked me to put my hand on his heart, which I did, and his heart was beating strongly. His cheery Cockney personality pervaded the room. He then suggested that I tweak his nose, which I did rather timidly, and he interjected with: “Give it a harder tweak from side to side.” He had a very flat nose, and told us that his nose was flat, as someone had thrown a tomato at him, but unfortunately it was still in the tin. We had a good chuckle at this. I could not see his red hair due to his ectoplasmic headdress.

Ina then got up and spoke to him and held his hands. He usually prefaces his acquaintance with new women by asking them their names and then replying what a nice name it is. As Ina is extremely tall they made a strange pair. He also asked her to feel his heartbeat. She put both hands round his chest, and told me afterwards that he had a deformed chest and was also a hunchback. Poor little Ginger could not have had such a wonderful life when on our earth, but with his courage and humour I am sure was loved by many. I told him that my husband was also called Ginger, and he said: ” ‘E must ‘ave red ‘air too.”

He made us all roar with laughter, saying: “I don’t know what you all see in Jolkim: it must be ‘is legs!” continuing with: “The trouble wiv me is I’m not properly ‘evoluted’,” which made us all yell with mirth at his use of the word ‘evolved’. As he said this – and we could see his little mouth articulating the last words—he dematerialised only a few feet away from us. It was so quick and unexpected that several of us gasped. I was just recovering from this amazing and humorous experience and we were starting to sing, when another surprising event took place.

A man appeared, as usual draped in white, and told us all to feel the ectoplasm of his sleeves. It felt fine and smooth yet slightly stiff, and rather dry and firm to the touch.

He said: “I am the healing scientist. Healing comes from our world. I will show you.” He was a grave, quiet amiable man with a rather high voice. Then, out of his chest shone a sort of oval of the most wonderful refulgent white light. It had radiations of a slightly green or blue tint. Words are inadequate in describing what we saw. We were astonished when he held up his arms and the same light sparked off the end of his fingers. He then said that he would test us all for healing powers, by our putting our hands in turn in his.

When I gave my hands to him, the white light in his chest did not expand much, but when the Portuguese did so, a large ball of light appeared at the contact, and he said to him: “You are a healer: go out into the world and heal.”

It was literally quite electrifying to see this magnificent sight. The light from his chest rose and fluctuated at the touch of the various sitters.

We all sat with heads craned forward to watch this incredible sight. When everyone had been to him, he told us that all people had a little healing in them. Our friend Lettie Klein, wife of Hyman, was sitting in the second row, and he remarked to her that her back was giving her trouble, which was true. He requested Lettie to come to him and bend over. This she did, and it was quite amazing to see his hands go up and down her back, with a white sparkling light like fireworks coming off the tips of his fingers.

He bade us all goodnight courteously and went behind the curtains to dematerialise. After this a figure walked in, and a lady in the second row whispered: “Is it a man or a woman?” The figure did not reply, but came forward with a touching dignity, and it was evident that she had heard, for she tipped her head back for the red lights to shine on her face. It was then that we saw that she was a nun, and to our astonishment we saw that she had on spectacles of ectoplasm. She approached Ina, and said in a quiet, restrained manner: “I am Sister Monica of the Sisters of Saint Clare.” Ina when a girl had been to a convent, and latterly had been told by a clairvoyant medium that she had ‘seen’ a nun with her. Sister Monica had the usual quiet bearing of a nun and the gentle softness of voice. She took Ina’s hands and talked softly to her for a few minutes. I did not try and listen, feeling that it might be personal. When she had finished speaking, she turned to us all and said: “God bless you all,” and made her slow exit.

We held hands and sung some more songs and I noticed that when we sang songs with a lilt, like ‘My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean’ or ‘Jingle Bells’, the sound waves seemed to help the phenomena. The next to come was a fine-looking Red Indian, with a black band round his forehead and a black feather stuck in it. He said: “I am Pathfinder,” but nothing more, and only stayed a few moments. I would gladly have seen more of him, with his long thick black plaits and copper-coloured skin.

Then arrived a weird looking man who seemed to be very serious. He opened with: “I am an Indian but not a Red Indian”, with the accent on the ‘not’. He seemed to be a Hindu with a turban on his head. He talked to a woman who was studying oriental languages. Before departing he intrigued us all no end by holding his arms in front of him and what appeared to be long black gloves up to his elbows came and went.

Shortly after he had gone, there were some psychic lights up in the curtains, and then some ectoplasm, which showed as quite a long vertical shape of filmy substance against the curtains. There materialised a man who seemed to form from ectoplasmic ‘clouds’, slowly descending. I could not gather who he was, but he had a high white cap as a chef wears with a narrow black band round it. This hat made him look even taller than he was. He came only briefly, and spoke to the married couple in our front row. Hyman also had a short visit from his guide Shalom.

After this we sang some more songs and wondered if any others would come, as there was rather a long pause. Some minutes later, a very tall man draped in white appeared and, unlike the others, stood silently at the curtains. He had a very bright psychic light from his waist, shining up into his face, that unearthly light which is so hard to describe. He stood opposite me, and Mrs Harris said: “He is for you, Mrs Gray, they always stand opposite the person they want.” I went up to him, somewhat in awe of his silent presence, and felt two friendly hands grasp mine and draw me nearer to him.

He said: “I always call you the small one or the little one.” I was very taken aback, as I felt it so extraordinary that this stranger knew me so well. He was so tall that the bright light ended just before his eyes, so I could not check their colour, but I could see his long classical features as clearly as if it were daylight. Being extremely small, I was told by Ina afterwards that my head was at an angle of 90 degrees to be able to see his face. He told me that he was often with me and that I would probably never ‘see’ him, but that he hoped that I would sometimes feel his presence. Never have I experienced such comfort and goodness as emanated from this man.

He said that he was replacing a man who had tried to materialise, but who was unable to do so as conditions were difficult on their side, partly due to an emotional spirit woman crying. I thanked him and said: “Please could you tell me your name?” He paused for a moment and I could see that he did not want to give it, but also did not want to hurt me. He smiled and said: “What is there in a name after all?” Then he added: “Now you give me a name.” Looking up at his beautiful face and his noble presence, and feeling such tremendous comfort from his friendly handclasp, and remembering the days of chivalry, I said: “I shall always remember you as the White Knight.”

He laughed spontaneously and replied: “That’s a lovely name; I do like that, thank you.” This highly evolved spirit guide’s touch seemed to charge me with vitality. It pleased me the way he accented the word ‘lovely’ and squeezed my hands on saying it.

He then let go of my hands, so I knew that he was going to dematerialise. I thanked him from the bottom of my heart for coming to me, and I returned to my chair. He appeared to be neither young nor old. I can still recollect this very cultured English voice, just as if we had known each other on earth, in fact more so.

Presently came the slightly lisping voice of Christopher – I had been told that he was a schoolmaster when on earth – speaking in trance voice through Mr Harris, saying: “This is Christopher, Mrs Harris. I am sorry, but although we have a lot of scientists over here working on it, they cannot keep the power going, but we will give you some transfiguration.”

A few moments later, the two black curtains parted. What was so incredible to us was that they stayed open on their own, draped like two cinema curtains, yet with no support. We saw Mr Harris ‘asleep’ in his chair. From the region of his chest, where his pyjamas were open, there came a long ‘rod’ of ectoplasm, thin-looking and strongly white. It turned into a thick, blobby shape about five feet away from him. Little bits would break off and float about then return to the main piece. This lasted for some minutes then vanished.

Shortly after, in the stillness that followed, we saw a very bright psychic light on the medium’s face etching his features sharply. In this light we saw a woman’s face superimposed on his. The impression gained was that it was similar to when one takes two photographs on one exposure.

Then came two men’s faces, one after the other, but none of us recognised them. Immediately after this came Christopher’s voice saying: “Goodnight everybody, that is all.”

The curtains dropped on their own, Mrs Harris said the closing prayer; someone unlocked the door and put on the hall light. We left the sanctuary dark for Mr Harris to come round in his own time, and we all trooped into the drawing-room.
At first our amazement was too great for anyone to speak, and we stood staring at each other. Then it burst out like a flood with everyone talking loudly. We sat down and refreshed ourselves with tea, sandwiches and biscuits.
Mrs Harris produced two portraits in oils painted by her husband. They were of Jolkim and Ginger. It struck me as so strange that he had never seen them with his eyes but only through his mind. The medium dressed and entered after about twenty minutes and had a cup of tea and a cigarette. I felt like asking him questions, but refrained, as he looked tired.

I thought of the thousands of people who must have pestered him. I also thought that if anyone had any doubts as to the genuineness of the phenomena, their doubts must have been dispelled, seeing that we saw the medium sitting in his chair in trance and the spirit also present. Only that day he had had a letter from some Swedish scientists who wanted to investigate his great and strange powers.

Before leaving, I asked Mrs Harris if the White Knight had ever been before. She replied in the negative, saying that she felt he was a very highly evolved spirit. I felt so grateful to the spirits for appearing with their irrefutable evidence, and radiating loving kindness.

We bade these two friendly people good-bye and thanked them for the wonderful evening and told them that we felt our lives could never be the same after this great experience. I felt that my entire sense of perspective had to be altered. It certainly broadens one’s horizons. One cannot be lonely in the hours of darkness when one knows that kindly spirits are with one. Whilst driving home, with the cold night air biting into us, Ina and I both felt a feeling of intense elation. We talked over each incident in detail with great happiness and joy. When one has met these beings from the higher side of life, one cannot fear the life, which is to come, on the other side.

A Christmas Tree Circle taken from Chapter 12:

When Christmas came around each year we held our Christmas circles. One year we were asked to give a circle at a place approximately a hundred miles away from Johannesburg. We agreed to the request provided those attending the séance brought the toys to decorate the tree, which after the Spirit children had their fun playing with them, would be distributed among underprivileged children, bringing to them all the love which the Spirits had instilled into the toys during the circle.

There were present fifty sitters, doctors, lawyers, and many well known people of the district, and a great number of lovely toys were provided. The little Spirit children of all ages had a wonderful time playing with them excitedly around the tree. I had stipulated that no toy guns were to be among the toys as the bangs caused by these could distress the medium.

At some stage during the proceedings I could feel someone fiddling under my chair, and when I enquired, “What are you doing under there?” The red light of a torch flashed on to reveal Ginger in the process of extracting a toy gun from under my seat. Where it had come from I have no idea for it was not there when we prepared the room. But there it was, and Ginger ran around having enormous fun firing the gun and shining the red torch alternately. In the dull red beam of light from the torch we could see six or seven little Spirit children around the tree, all busily and noisily blowing bugles, beating drums, playing mouth organs, winding up or pushing along whining mechanical toy trucks and cars, or pulling crackers and throwing streamers. Besides the unknown Spirit children, quite a few loved ones also materialised or spoke through the trumpet or cone.

Suddenly a small voice piped up right beside me. “I want to speak to my Mummy and Daddy,” it said. “Darling,” I replied, “you know where they are, you can see them plainly, can’t you?” A moment’s pause followed, then the child whispered, “Yes.” “Well then, dear,” I said, “you go over and speak to them. It will make them very happy.”

I saw the trumpet float over to the other side of the room and come to rest in front of a man and woman. We could then hear the same little voice pleading; “Please Daddy you must not cry any more. I am all right now.” There was an audible intake of breath from the man; it could have been a sob. “Oh please, Daddy, don’t cry,” went on the little child, “I am here beside you.” The child had now materialised beside his parents. “Feel my head and face Daddy; it is quite better now.”

The man put out his hand and felt the tiny head, and then the face. He said something to the child which was inaudible to the rest of us in a voice choked with emotion, and I knew that he was quietly crying. “Don’t cry any more Daddy. I want you to be happy,” pleaded the little one again, and then the child was gone. It was a heart-rending incident always to be remembered.

Afterwards I heard from this man the tragic story. He had gone into his car one morning before work, unaware that the little fellow had followed him to the garage. He had reversed out of the garage, running the vehicle over the child who could not be seen from his position in the driving seat, and his little son was crushed to death. Terrible injuries had been inflicted on the little boy’s head and face, and the horror of these, and the fact that he had caused them, had remained to torment the poor father night and day until he was but a shadow of his former self through his unbearable guilt and grief.

As he spoke to me he actually smiled and said that he felt better than he had done since the accident. Speaking to his little son had been the most wonderful thing that had ever happened to him and he felt that this would help him to face up to life again. The incident was all the more convincing because we knew nothing of this tragedy.


In this extract Louie writes about her guide White Wing:

White Wing, aware of my fears, always materialised early in the circle. He would stand towering above us, his feathered headdress almost level with the top of the cabinet; a tall magnificent figure draped in white ectoplasmic robes. Slowly he would turn from side to side, then completely around, so that all could see that he was fully formed in every detail. Then he would put out his arms to me saying, “Come, Faithful!”

As I stood in front of him I barely reached up to his chest, so tall was he. I could so clearly discern his Red Indian features as I gazed up into his face, the high cheek bones in a lean face clean-cut jaw, and prominent aquiline nose, altogether a strong face. Then he would turn me around to face the sitters.

As I stood there with my back to him, he would raise both his arms high so that the folds of his robe would hang from his arms like two huge white wings. Then he would enfold me, so that only my head could be seen against his chest above the folds and drapes of his white robe, his own dark magnificent head above mine, surmounted by the impressive Indian Chieftain’s headdress with feathers trailing down his back to the floor.

I cannot put into words my feelings at these times. I felt inexpressibly close to this Guide of mine, and trusted in him implicitly as he said in his deep and resonant voice, “Faithful, White Wing here to help you.”
Through the years he remained a pillar of strength to me, always imparting sound advice. He always urged us to reach for the highest, to strive to develop our spiritual rather than our psychic gifts.

To illustrate the meaning of this entreaty, I remember how he uttered these memorable words: “White Wing say the ‘phenomena’ of what you call Spiritualism is the ‘Door’: the ‘philosophy’ is the ‘Hall’: but we want you to come into the ‘Dining Room’ and partake of the ‘Food’ the Great White Spirit has prepared for you. So many people are content to remain at the ‘Door’. The Master Jesus attracted multitudes by performing miracles, but when they were gathered around Him He preached to them of Spirit. So we come to demonstrate phenomena, but we expect you to go forward, to search, to learn more of the Great White Spirit.”

Materialisation and medium seen together.

“On four occasions we saw a form outside the cabinet and the medium inside at the same time.” reports H. B. Gill, of London Road, Portsmouth, describing a séance with Alec Harris, the remarkable South Wales materialisation medium.

The first to materialise was an entity known as “the chemist”, who shook hands with all the sitters in the front row, then returned to the cabinet and asked a person to draw the curtain aside so that the medium could be seen in his chair.

One unexpected materialisation was an airman, whose left arm was missing and the side of his face mutilated. With emotion he said, “Look what they have done to me.”

A sitter, an Air Force officer, went over to him, examined the materialised form and confirmed the arm was missing.

The form returned to the cabinet and later came out smiling, showing both arms, with his face in perfect shape.

Then the sitters watched while outside the cabinet a mass of ectoplasm slowly built up into the form of a man, who said he was a guide to one of the visitors.

Later a woman’s spirit form, which stayed away from the cabinet too long, was seen slowly to sink to the floor until, by the time she reached the cabinet, only a small portion of ectoplasm was visible.

Gill, at sittings with three mediums, had been told that from the Other Side an Egyptian would shortly be associated with him for healing. He materialised and conversed with Gill.

Later “the chemist” showed himself again, walked to the opposite end of the room, sat in a chair and held a conversation with a sitter.

“One of the chief characteristics of these séances is that you can actually feel the materialised forms and hold quite intelligent conversations them,” says Gill.

Conjurer testifies to materialisation

A conjurer, who went as a sceptic to an Alec Harris séance in Cardiff, saw his father, brother and son materialise.

A.G. Fletcher-Desborough described his “unique” experience in Liverpool Evening Express.

“I examined the cabinet which he used. Having been on the stage as an illusionist and magician, I knew exactly where to look for such things as panel and floor escapes, and ceiling and wall slides.

“I was satisfied nothing could make an exit or an entrance in any way. There was no chance for deception.”

A short stout man materialised from the cabinet, walked straight to him and mumbled the sitter’s name, Bertie. “It was my father and, in his mumbling way of speaking, gave my family pet name used by my parents. No one but the family knew it.”

He was followed by a young man who hobbled, grasped the sitter’s hand and said: “Bertie! I am your brother Walter.” This brother, the conjurer explained, had his left ankle shot away in the Boer War.

“No one there knew I had a brother. So who learnt his name and that he hobbled when walking in life? There certainly could have been no deception in this case.”

Then from the cabinet walked a stiff upright young fellow. Like the others he came towards the conjurer. Then he swerved and throwing out his arms, “embraced my wife saying in a very pathetic voice, ‘Mother, Mother, I’m your son, Ronnie’”

This was their third son, born under fire during the Sinn Fein rising in 1916, and captured in Singapore Harbour by the Japs and beheaded.

“He turned to me after embracing his mother and put his head against mine. I recognised his voice.” No one among the sitters or the medium knew the intimate characteristics of those who materialised.

“Why all these manifestations on my behalf?

“Because I was an unbeliever.”

From a Two Worlds reporter. May 16, 1959:

“A university graduate, who has done four years in medical school, describes in a South African newspaper how he examined materialised spirit forms and even felt their heartbeats.

“He is Douglas Baker, B.A., of the University of Cape Town . . .

“Louie Harris recalled, as Baker stated, how he was brought to the séance by a Johannesburg doctor, a convinced Spiritualist who is one of their friends. Baker said that a score of other sitters were present when he witnessed these materialisations. …

“Baker testified that the materialisations had ‘weight’, could be embraced, had pulse beats, breathed, had intelligence of their own and personalities.

“Several, he says, occupied the room at the same time. In three hours, thirty different forms materialised and disappeared. ‘Some stayed as long as twenty minutes, answered questions and submitted to examination.’ Their bones could be felt. They appeared normal in most ways except that they lacked colouring …

“They were all draped in what Baker calls ‘Arabian garments’.

This, however, was the usual ectoplasmic covering. He says their bare feet were visible.

“They did not object to my examination. I felt the pulse of several. Their hearts were beating at about seventy-two to the minute. There was hair on the backs of their hands. One old woman had hardened veins on the backs of her hands.”

Psychic News, August 20, 1960, tells us:

“Hearing a medical man testify in a public lecture to the reality of materialisations
was too much for a retired colonel, who was heard to say: ‘What rubbish! Charlatan! The man should be horse-whipped!’

“The lecturer was Douglas Baker, a medical graduate, who edits ‘Aquarius Rising’, which spreads a knowledge of psychic and allied subjects in South Africa.

“Baker reminds his readers that he has been trained scientifically in the rationale of what a human body is composed of and how it works. As quickly as these forms solidified from ‘nothingness’, they disintegrated while they spoke. Here, he says, was a challenge to the physiology he was taught in medical schools, that the human skeleton takes 22 years to materialise more or less completely.”

Donald Maclean gives the following account in Psychic News,
February 13, 1965:

“A small séance room in Johannesburg provided its sitters with one of the most instructive demonstrations of Survival ever produced. The curtains of the cabinet were drawn back to show Alec Harris in trance, with ectoplasm flowing from him.

“Out of this ectoplasm, on each side of him, a spirit child began to materialise. Watching the fascinating spectacle in the light of three red bulbs, sitters saw the children grow in size and then diminish, as ectoplasm flowed to and from the medium. . . .

“Equally startling at the Harris materialisation circle was a healing guide who walked into the circle with a bright green-yellow sphere shining in front of him. This was a ‘healometer’.

The guide held sitters’ hands, and their potential healing power was measured by the intensity of the light.”

This last and most interesting account was in Psychic News,
June 5, 1965: as told to one of the reporters.

“To see his guide materialise was ‘the finest sight I have ever witnessed,’ Douglas
Johnson, the famous medium, told me last week.

“It was the unforgettable climax of his South African tour. As he volunteered to Alec Harris at the end of a two-and-a-half-hour materialisation séance, ‘It was worth coming all these thousands of miles for this evening alone.’

“For Johnson that memorable evening was the personal highlight of a triumphal three-month tour of South Africa’s major cities. It fulfilled two long-cherished dreams: a sitting with the world-famed, Welsh-born medium, and the joy of shaking hands and talking face-to-face with his own Chinese guide, Chang.

“Not normally fond of superlatives, Johnson, fit and deeply sun-tanned, told me: ‘It was really terrific. There must have been at least a dozen materialisations. Some materialised twice.’

“ ‘I sat in the centre of the circle, within three feet of the medium. He could be seen entranced in the cabinet as each spirit entity walked out of it to greet members of the circle in the small room well lit by red light. They held up their faces towards the light to allow us to see them clearly.. ..’

“ ‘Then the curtains parted and there was the enormous figure of a North American Indian guide. He was magnificent.’

“This guide materialised in Indian robes and full feathered headdress. Johnson could hardly believe his eyes as the majestic figure walked forward from the cabinet to shake hands and chat with members of the circle.
“ ‘It was really terrific,’ he repeated, ‘as one materialisation followed almost on the heels of the previous one.’ He counted at least twelve full materialisations ranging in size from men of over six feet to a young Cockney boy. …

“His first surprise came when a woman sitting next to him was kissed and held in the arms of her ‘dead’ doctor-husband. Then he turned to Johnson, greeted him with a ‘How do you do?’ shook hands and thanked him for having helped his wife when she had earlier sittings in England. Johnson told me, ‘His handshake was warm and living.’

“Another poignant episode occurred when the more than six-foot son of a Jewish couple materialised. He greeted, embraced and chatted to his parents. Later they told Johnson that this son had been killed in his early twenties in an accident in Switzerland. . . .

“Next came Johnson’s supreme séance experience. After an announcement that there was ‘somebody for the guest visitor from England’, the cabinet curtains again parted.

“ ‘There was a small, smiling Chinese figure. He asked me to stand up and I held his hands. Then he talked to me, telling me I was doing very good work out there. He knew I was very tired.

He assured me he would not let me become ill, but would see I was able to finish the tour.’

“Johnson easily recognised his guide because he has clairvoyantly ‘seen’ Chang from time to time… .

“Johnson, who has attended materialisation sittings with other mediums, said his South African séance with Harris was quite the best.

“He awards South African sitters top marks for their keenness and sincerity. ‘They are genuinely interested in Survival. . . .’

“He was also pleasantly surprised to find that interest was equally keen among the young people—a higher percentage than in England. Their numbers include medical students.”

The following is taken from the booklet,’Materialisation’, by
Harry Dawson:

“One or two supremely interesting examples standout in my memory from the many séances it has been my privilege to attend over the years. At one memorable sitting with Alec Harris there were with me Ernest Oaten, John Stewart and Ernest Thompson. During the proceedings a little stocky figure came out of the cabinet, and stood by Ernest Thompson who was a heavy man, fourteen stone. This little stocky figure proceeded to lift Ernest right off the floor. I myself was so fascinated I went down on my knees in order to watch the play of the muscles in the calves of his legs. As a physiotherapist I know something about muscles. At the same time the Austrian scientist in charge of the proceedings invited another member of the group to reach out and ascertain that the medium was still in his chair.”

Mr Dawson continues, saying: “The more I learn of these matters, the more vital it seems that a greater knowledge of the subject should be acquired and then we shall not be too hasty in our judgment. I do feel that it is dangerous to take the ignorant and uninitiated into the séance room. . ..

“On one occasion at Whitchurch, Cardiff, South Wales, sitting with the well-known medium. Alee Harris (who now resides in Johannesburg, South Africa), I witnessed a remarkable phase of this type of phenomena, and this was under the most stringent conditions imposed by the examining panel of observers. The curtains of the medium’s cabinet suddenly swung wide open and we observed the medium slumped in his chair in deep-trance-indicated by certain signs known to the trained symptomatologist, one of whom was present.

The ectoplasmic form of the guide (Austrian scientist in Earth life) was visible to all of us. (Three red lights of 75 wattage.)

As we watched we saw the ectoplasm begin to emerge slowly from the medium’s mouth, nose and ears, it rolled down his body on to the floor where it coiled itself into a sizeable mass and from the centre of this mass, it began to rise, just as if someone was pushing it upwards, it took the form of a little black boy (here I should mention that the mass as it first emerged was black in colour with white streaks in it). The figure finally presented itself perfectly, above the waist line, the eyes, squat nose and teeth when it smiled was perfect. After a short space of time it began to dissolve before our eyes, and slowly like a thick black snake it climbed back over the body of the medium and was absorbed through the same orifices of the body. There was a kind of phosphorescent light during the whole time, which rose and fell in intensity. This was indeed a most amazing night.”

Here is another most interesting account, also by Mr Dawson:

“Another example of the evidential return of a Spirit friend was recorded at one of Harris’s séances at which certain members of the National Council were present; amongst them was Mr Wilfrid Ely, B.Sc., M.S.N.U., and a Minister of the Union.

During the séance, many figures appeared and one gave outstanding evidence to Mr Ely. The Spirit who appeared and walked up to Mr Ely gave him the Sioux Indian salute and spoke to him. Then taking Mr Ely’s hand and placing it upon the nose of the spirit-form, smiled.

Mr Ely immediately recognised his brother who passed as a result of wounds received in the 1914-18 war, for his brother had received an injury earlier in life which had disfigured the nose.

Mr Ely was profoundly moved, and was full of joy and emotion: and then confided to his colleagues on the Council the striking information that his father was a full-blooded Sioux Indian. This was a remarkable piece of evidence, as Mr Ely had not disclosed his father’s nationality. The name of the brother who appeared was John Henry Ely.”

By Norman Blunsdon, Psychic News, January 31, 1959:
“C. K. Shaw, well-known Two Worlds contributor, left his ‘Corner’ temporarily last week to enter the witness box and be grilled by the ‘counsel’ Eric W. Stuart at the Marylebone Spiritualist Association. (now the SAGB)

“Asked the best form of mediumship for proving Survival he was most emphatic. ‘Materialisation,’ he replied. He recounted details of an Alee Harris séance.

“ ‘I was unknown to all present and had not expected anyone to materialise for me. My sister appeared. I looked into her face and eyes. It was my sister. I said, ‘Hallo Maud, what are you doing here?’

“ ‘I am making ectoplasmic rods.’

“ ‘You don’t know anything about ectoplasm,’ he said. ‘If it is true, bring me one rod.’

“His sister disappeared and then returned with a large ectoplasmic rod.

“ ‘Can I hold it?’ Shaw asked.

‘Yes,’ she said.

“ ‘It was solid to the touch,’ Shaw stated. ‘I tapped the fireplace and wall; it made a rapping noise. I examined the texture; it was like fine muslin!’ “

Psychic News, November 24, 1962, gives the following account:
“When a fortnight ago, we referred to anti-Spiritualist comments made by Sir Shane Leslie in The Tablet, a Roman Catholic journal, we stated that there seemed good ground for a debate between father and son.

The son, Desmond Leslie, of flying-saucers fame, we added, had been to séances where he had communications from the ‘dead’. This has brought the following letter from him.

“ ‘It is true that I have been to a number of séances, good and bad. Perhaps the most impressive were those given by the Alee Harris circle in Cardiff where full materialisations took place, sometimes two at once. The materialised beings could talk, sing and answer questions.

“ ‘They might for all the world have been a group of actors draped in cheesecloth except that (when we were allowed to touch them) their flesh was cold like the furniture in the room, and one of them dematerialised before our eyes.’

“ ‘Only one question remained unanswered—were they the actual spirits of departed men and women or were they manufactured by the fantastic power of the subconscious utilising a principle we know nothing about?’

“ ‘There seems no sure way of determining which. The evidence they gave was very impressive. One of them knew details of my life to which no one in the room could have had access, but it was still possible that these details originated in my own sub-conscious mind. . . .’”

Mr Leslie goes on to tell us: “ ‘Possibly the most valuable thing that happened during the Harris demonstrations was the dematerialisation of the medium himself. For about twenty minutes, he existed somewhere without a physical body, thus proving for the first time the existence of a soul. Had he been only a body he would surely have been dead when he was put together again. That, I think, was the most important demonstration of

Here is the account of an outstanding séance written by a friend of mine, Reg Britten, for Psychic News, June 27, 1964

“It was in 1945 that I had the honour of meeting Alee Harris, whom I found to be a gifted amateur materialisation medium. His ordinary occupation was a painter-foreman employed by the Ministry of Works in Cardiff.
“During the period when I was stationed locally in the R.A.F. I attended six of his séances. We were able to increase the power of the usual red light considerably, until it was sufficiently bright to enable us to see quite clearly.
Also we were able to see the medium clearly in his cabinet if the curtains were drawn back.

“The materialisations were every bit as solid as were the sitters.

In one instance, when I was kissed on the lips by my mother’s materialised form, I could distinctly feel her warm breath on my face. On other occasions I had the opportunity of shaking hands with the forms. Their hands were warm and life-like. They gave as firm a grip as anyone in the room would have done.

“Solid and life-like as were these materialisations, they were frequently seen to dematerialise when the power was exhausted.
This process often took place in the middle of the room and quite a distance from the cabinet.

“On these occasions the form was seen to sink into the floor. The features would seem to melt and run as if they were wax before a fire. Quite often nothing of the form would remain except a small piece of white ectoplasm on the floor. It would then either be whisked into the cabinet along the floor or vanish as one watched.

“On one memorable occasion a form actually built up out of the floor within a couple of feet of where I was seated. I was able to watch the whole process of materialisation. My attention was drawn to what appeared to be a dazzling white handkerchief on the floor in front of me.

“Within seconds this piece of ectoplasm rose quickly from the floor as if there was a stick under it pushing it up, although the whole time the material seemed to grow in height, so that the edge of the ectoplasm was always touching the floor. When it reached about four feet it could be seen to have a head on top of it, but a ‘dead’ face with eyes closed and very pale.

“Within the next couple of seconds it ceased to increase in height. The face took on the appearance of a bronzed skin with an aquiline nose and high cheek bones. The eyes opened to reveal a Red Indian with two black pigtails, a band round his hair with a single feather, another band above the elbow, and wearing grey trousers.

“He did not speak, but walked round the room and showed his features to all present, even stepping over the sitters’ feet as he passed into the second row so that all might have a closer view of him.
“On another occasion a materialisation left the cabinet curtains drawn apart. We were patiently awaiting the next form to build up and were watching the medium sitting slumped in his chair, so that we would not miss seeing a form build up in the cabinet.

“Our surprise was intense when we all realised that the medium’s chair was empty. Nobody actually saw him vanish, as we established when we discussed it after the sitting. One moment we all saw him, and the next his chair was empty.

“We sat and watched for about four or five minutes without anything happening. Then we all saw what appeared to be a grey cloud form at the top of the cabinet. This cloud sank slowly downwards until it almost reached the chair, when it seemed to swirl around the chair. And there was Alee Harris sitting in his chair head sunk on his chest, and breathing heavily.

“We were all a little dumbfounded at the end of the séance, but the medium’s wife seemed to take it as a matter of course.
Her only remark when we discussed it was: ‘Now you know why we don’t talk about this outside. They would say we were mad!’”

Zerdini reports on his sitting with Alec Harris:

I met Alec Harris through a friend of my mother. She was a lifelong Spiritualist and on a visit to Cape Town, knowing of my burgeoning interest in Spiritualism, asked if I would like to sit in a materialisation circle.

A regular sitter in Alec Harris’ circle she told me that her husband had, on one occasion, materialised in his Royal Marines uniform, walked out of the cabinet, kissed her and called by a pet name that was not known even to their children. Naturally I was very excited at the prospect, particularly as I had read many dramatic accounts of his mediumship in Two Worlds and Psychic News.

One Friday morning I received a telegram which simply said: ‘Séance tomorrow night. Can you come?’ I wired back that I was on my way, went down to the airport at Cape Town with my whole month’s wages, bought a ticket and flew to Johannesburg, a thousand miles away.

I arrived three hours later and stayed in a hotel overnight. Next day, my friend took me along to a modest house where I was introduced to the medium, Alec Harris, and his wife Louie. A small bedroom, part of which had been curtained off to provide a cabinet, was used as the séance room. There were eight of us, four in the front row and four immediately behind. I was invited to sit next to the medium’s wife, directly in front of the opening in the curtains.

Louie led the singing, which went on for about twenty minutes. I was beginning to feel a bit restless when, all of a sudden, I heard a voice from behind the curtain. ‘That’s Alec’s guide, Christopher’, said Louie. ‘He speaks with a lisp’.

The curtains parted as if drawn by unseen hands and there stood, what looked to me, a vague white outline
next to the medium. There ‘that’s Alec’s mother’, said Louie. ‘She comes quite often now that Alec is getting older’.

The room was lit by a number of red bulbs. No dimmer switches were used, which made it very easy to distinguish everything quite clearly. Suddenly, after more singing, there appeared from the side, not the front, of the curtains, a Red Indian. He stood in front of my friend. ‘Greetings, Black Feather’, she said. He was her guide and regularly materialised whenever she was present.

After exchanging a few words he turned towards me and said, ‘Will the young man from Cape Town come forward?’

Before the séance, Louie told us not to touch the materialisations unless invited to do so, as it could harm the medium.

I stood up and walked over to him. He was bare from the waist upwards, with one black feather in a band round the back of his head; the lower half of his body was just draped in ectoplasm. ‘Feel my skin’, said the figure. He was very tall, well over six feet, far taller than Alec Harris.

I had to stretch up to touch the side of his face. Copper-coloured, the skin had a leathery feel about it. Then he said, ‘Feel my chest’. I did as requested and noted the chest was quite solid.

‘Hit me on the chest’, he said. ‘Are you sure?’ I asked. ‘Yes’, he replied. I did. ‘Harder!’ he said. Using the palm of my hand, I hit him on the chest. He never flinched and again said, ‘Harder’. Summoning up all the energy I could muster I hit him on the chest. My hand just bounced off. The figure turned to me with a half-smile on his face and said, ‘You may sit down now’. I sat down absolutely staggered, thoughts flashing through my mind. How did he do it? Was there a trapdoor in the floor? Was it Alec Harris on stilts?

As he walked back behind the curtains, simultaneously, the curtains parted in the front and a young woman came out and stood in front of me holding a little baby in her arms. One of the sitters recognised her and explained afterwards that she had died while giving birth. Both mother and baby had passed together.

During the course of the séance, which lasted around three hours, about fourteen people materialised.

One I found particularly interesting was a figure which appeared half in shadow and draped in ectoplasm. Only half the face was visible: he didn’t speak. I heard crying behind me. One of the ladies asked, ‘Is that you Uncle Arthur?’ The figure just nodded. I remember thinking ‘why doesn’t he speak?’

After the séance, I was told that Uncle Arthur had died from a particularly nasty type of cancer. Half his face had been eaten away so he was unable to speak before he died.

Every circle seems to have a child guide whose job it is to lighten the proceedings when things become too emotional. Theirs was no exception. A little Cockney boy named Ginger materialised and said to me, ‘Feel my nose’. I bent down to touch his nose which felt as though it had been squashed.

‘I was hit by a tomato’, he said, ‘in a can!’ This was followed by peals of laughter which immediately lightened the tension in the room.

Ginger then walked round greeting all the sitters, returned to the cabinet and disappeared. As he walked, I noticed a trail of ectoplasm behind him which flowed under the curtains and back towards the medium.

The most fascinating part for me was when a guide dressed in the most beautiful white robes walked out of the cabinet and said, ‘The young man from Cape Town, come forward’.

I did … and found myself literally looking straight into his eyes. I asked who he was.

‘I am one of your guides’, came the reply. He told me his name and the area he came from.

I asked if I might touch his robes, but he said, ‘Please don’t, but I will show you something’.

He then fully extended his arms so I could see the whole of the spirit drapery. Neither his face nor neck was covered with any sort of ectoplasm.

I stood there thinking, ‘How can I touch you?’ so I said, ‘May I touch your hands?’ He said, ‘Yes’ and held them out. I took them in mine and thought to myself, ‘Now I’ve got hold of you, I’m not going to let go until I’ve got to the bottom of this’.

I was determined that, whoever he was, he wasn’t going to get away from me!

We chatted for 10 to 15 minutes about my future spiritual work. I particularly remember him saying, ‘You and I will work together and one day you will speak before thousands of people’.

I thought how ridiculous that was as I couldn’t speak before half a dozen never mind thousands.

However, I have since spoken to hundreds of people at a time in different countries around the world including the USA, Sweden, Iceland, Australia and Japan. The big moment came when I had to address two thousand three hundred people at a fundraising event for the Noah’s Ark Society.

Much of what he said seemed impossible at the time, but it has all been fulfilled.

Suddenly he said, ‘I have to go now’, so I thanked him for coming, but still held onto his hands. Something made me look down at his feet. As I did so I saw the bottom half of his body dissolving away, but his hands were still solid. Then his hands melted away between my fingers yet my hands were still closed.

The last thing I saw was his head slowly sinking to the floor saying, ‘I am going now’, disappearing under the curtains like a streak of light.

At the very end of the séance the curtains parted. Christopher said, ‘We have no more power left’.

As he spoke, from the medium’s solar plexus came two great clouds of ectoplasm to the left and to the right. In the ectoplasm appeared literally hundreds of miniature faces. The guide said these were some of the people who had been present, but unable to get through.

What was very noticeable during the séance was the earthy smell unlike anything I had smelt before or, indeed, since. I wouldn’t describe it as pleasant, but I had a headache for about three days afterwards. Louie described it as the ‘power’ which had been drawn from the sitters.

Alec Harris passed to the Spirit World on February 12th 1974. The full story of Alec Harris and the development of his mediumship is told in They Walked Among Us by Louie Harris. It has recently been updated and called “Alec Harris: The Full Story of His Remarkable Physical Mediumship”


Some weeks after the séance described above, the friend who had invited me decided to visit Cape Town. I arranged for a small group of friends to join us for a sitting with the guides of Mona van der Watt.

Mona’s Red Indian guide came to my friend and without any preliminaries described the presence of Black Feather exactly as I had seen him saying, ‘I greet my Indian brother’.

Alec Harris first returned to me through Joe Benjamin at an Alliance Hall meeting and has, together with his wife Louie and three of their guides, continued to make his presence known through the brilliant Stoke-on-Trent medium, Gerard Smith.
Alec has also returned at a physical séance with Colin Fry and spoken in the direct voice.
While I Remember by Ivy Northage

A sitting with Alec Harris in Cardiff

It was on a tour in Wales that I was privileged to attend the most extraordinary demonstration of physical phenomena I have ever witnessed. I had an engagement in Cardiff and my host invited me afterwards to go with him and his wife to a materialisation séance with Alec Harris, later an extremely famous materialisation medium but then practically unknown. He was also most reluctant about his extraordinary gift. If I remember rightly, he was an engineer in normal life. His wife played the violin in a theatre orchestra so it was not until she returned after the evening performance that the séances could start. These took place in a small upstairs room in which a cabinet had been arranged by hanging blackout curtains across one corner. In contrast to those of Helen Duncan, these curtains remained open and the medium was fully visible the whole time. Like her, he was stripped and searched beforehand and came back in a very loose tunic and trousers of blackout material. I sat with my host and Mrs Harris, beside me their son David, aged about twelve. Across the room were three rows of sitters, perhaps some twenty people in all. A central red light provided illumination.

It was customary for the séances to start with a solo from David. In his very beautiful choirboy’s voice he sang The Lord is My Shepherd. Meanwhile, fully visible to us all, Alec went into trance and just as the glorious notes of the last verse died away, the curtains billowed very slightly, as if stirred by a breeze.

With Helen Duncan, materialisations came gradually. You could see the flow of the ectoplasm; it came out in a ribbon before expanding into a form. With Alec it was different. There was just a slight tremor of the curtains and there before your eyes was a form. One moment there was nothing and the next moment he was there, and we could still see Alec sitting in the cabinet, apparently quite unchanged. The materialised figure, Alec’s guide, whose name also was David, had a long grey beard. He stepped out and in a very Welsh voice thanked little David for his singing which, he said, had done much to build up the power, before very courteously greeting everyone. Then, before addressing me directly, he asked the sitters across the room if they would excuse him for a moment.

‘Your spirit friends are extremely pleased that you are here this evening,’ he said, turning to me, ‘but they do not intend to manifest for you. There are so many here who need the consolation of conviction of survival, but you have no such need. I have been asked to give you their love, to say that they are participating this evening, helping in any way they can, and that they are most grateful for the opportunities you afford them to bring comfort and enlightenment to the bereaved.’ Then he turned to Mrs Harris. ‘May I, madam, have your permission to take one of these roses out of your vase and, on behalf of her spirit friends, give this to this lady?’ As he handed me the flower I took it by the stem.

As I have explained, I cannot bear to be touched in these situations and with my mind I made my usual plea, whereupon the figure said, ‘My dear, would you shake hands with me?’ Thus forewarned I felt no reluctance to take his hand. To my astonishment it was the tiny hand of a child of five. In my mind – I said nothing out loud — but in my mind I said to myself, ‘This is a child’s hand.’ Instantly he smiled and said, ‘Nobody wants to see hands, it is faces they are interested in, and if we make the hands a little smaller it conserves the power for that more important feature.’ Then, giving a little chuckle, he moved from me and addressed the rows of sitters across the room. ‘I am now going to send those loved ones to you who will try to manifest tonight. It is most important that you answer, because your contact is the supporting rod of energy that will maintain the materialised form.’

Alec’s guide was very much more informative than Albert and there was not that slight feeling of being patronised. I never felt comfortable with Albert but David took time to explain the procedure; he made you really glad to be there and anxious to help in any way he could. Now he explained, ‘Before we begin these proceedings we need to lighten the atmosphere. My hostess is a musician but she has already been working this evening at the theatre. We have our own methods of lightening the atmosphere, which is all that music does; it breaks down the tension inevitably arising when people are in an unknown situation. I shall depart and a little light-hearted creature will take my place.’

There was something like a flash, a “whoosh…” into the curtain and, before we had time to realise it, David was no longer there and in his place was a little girl. She was fully formed, with dark skin and a mass of curly black hair, clothed not in loose draperies but in a whitish-pink dress with a frill on the skirt, which came just to her knees. Nothing could have been more different from the materialised form of Alec’s guide than this little girl perched on the lap of the medium, whom we could see quite clearly sitting with his head down and his arms loosely folded as if asleep.
‘I love him very much,’ she said and gave him a kiss but with no response from him; he was quite unaware. ‘I know he is asleep,’ she went on, ‘but his other bit — his spirit bit — he’ knows I have kissed him.’ Then she explained, ‘I am here to tell you who is coming. David tells me what to do but I am the conductor.’ And she threw back her head importantly, shaking her mop of curly hair. She had the most lovely eyes and very dainty features.

‘You won’t see me,’ she continued. ‘You will only hear my voice because you people want to see bodies, and if they have bodies I can’t have mine, but I will tell you what to do. The first person who wants to come is another little girl.’
With that, Topsy was gone and we heard her voice asking if there was someone who had a little girl called Dorothy. ‘Speak up,’ she said. ‘This is where you must speak up.’ From towards the back of the room a voice acknowledged a daughter named Dorothy. ‘Go on, Dolly,’ we heard Topsy’s voice, ‘your mother is here.’ And there before us was a white child with her hair done in ringlets and wearing a very ordinary child’s dress and white socks and shoes. She greeted her mother and we heard Topsy’s voice, ‘Come on, answer her, answer her.’ The mother, quite overwhelmed and speechless with emotion, at last managed, ‘Oh, Dorothy, it’s lovely to see you!’

‘Look!’ said this lovely little being, pointing to her ringlets. ‘I don’t have to have these tied up in rags, hurting and pulling my hair. They come like this.’ Both parents were in tears. It was these trivial but evidential details which carried conviction, as when an older man who had been killed in an accident materialised in overalls and we could even see the dust on them.
All this time we did not see Topsy but heard her voice. Then followed the most spectacular episode I have ever experienced in my life. Topsy started by asking, ‘Who is it here who does a lot of what they call healing?’ Three of the sitters spoke up.
‘Well, I don’t know,’ said Topsy. ‘I don’t know which one of you he wants, but there is a great, big Indian here — oh, he is a big man, so you will really have to help with this. All you people who are healers, just think about healing and send your thoughts to help him make up the extra body.

’ To the stunned amazement of us all, suddenly before us was a North American Indian at least seven feet tall, olive- skinned with sharply defined features, beaked nose and very firm mouth, clothed in a white leather suit with fringed edges. Two enormous plaits of hair hung down in front of him. We were all dumbstruck. He stood looking around him in a very imperious way. ‘He wants to find his medium,’ we heard Topsy say. Someone asked his name, at which Topsy apparently experienced difficulty because she did not reply. Several people then asked the same at which the Indian figure jumped up and down with frustration and then appeared to mutter something which nobody could understand. An impasse seemed to have been reached when suddenly he turned to the mantlepiece where a carafe of water and a glass had been placed. He carefully poured the water into the glass, then turning back, he gently poured the water onto the floor. ‘Ah!’ exclaimed a lady sitting directly in front of him, ‘You are Running Water,’ whereupon he bent and embraced the lady.

Now this episode raises all sorts of questions, not least, why did he not know her? As far as I can understand, those in spirit do not identify the physical body because their awareness is of the spirit. As soon as the healer acknowledged him he focussed on her spirit and so was able to recognise her. He then held out his plaits and we heard Topsy say that he wanted those in the back row to take hold of them. To our amazement, they stretched across to where two sitters in the back row picked up the ends, and he ran his hands along them. Then, through Topsy, he said he wanted by this to convey to his medium the power he was directing to her, and he gave some instructions for a particular case she was trying to help.

Then, again with the same suddenness, he was no longer there. In his place was a rather hunched old lady. All this time, Alec continued to be visible in his cubicle; we could see that he had not moved. She had a wrinkled face with deep lines down from the mouth suggesting a bad temper. In a very querulous voice with a strong Welsh accent, she said, ‘My daughter is here.’ As a voice answered her, this old lady trod in the water which Running Water had poured on the floor. I think it’s disgusting,’ she remarked, looking down at this. ‘People are so slovenly. Why don’t they wipe up these messes?’ As the embarrassed daughter tried to explain, her mother interrupted. ‘I don’t care who it was, they shouldn’t have left it like this.’

The daughter tried again. ‘I’m so pleased to see you, mother.’
‘Are you?’ demanded the old lady crossly, and went on to criticise her daughter for all the things she was doing wrongly at home. It became very clear to us all that just being in the spirit world and not in a physical body did not, in itself, improve the character.

It was about eleven o’clock when the séance actually started. The materialisations continued, all with personal evidential details, until two o’clock in the morning, everyone staggered by the wonder of it all. Alec’s guide, David, had exuded a special quality, making us feel that we were indeed loved.

It was July. The house, some way out of Cardiff, stood on a hill overlooking the town; in the distance we could see the surrounding hills. I looked up at the sky and it seemed that literally millions of stars were shining down on me. I stood there quietly for a while, wrapped in the wonder of it all, and it came to me how difficult — how impossible — it must be for people to believe such things could really happen. I had only just come from witnessing them, but even I could hardly believe that they had actually taken place.

I realised now more clearly what Chan had meant when he said I needed to understand the difficulty people had when they started to investigate and how important it was for me to be able to say that I knew these things were true, that I had seen them for myself.

I was still holding the rose that David had picked out of a vase and given to me. I treasured this, of course I did, but with no idea then of the extraordinary sequel. Carefully wrapped in damp tissue, I took it home and put it in water. When the mass of violets materialised at the end of an evening in the Hodges’ circle in Brighton, we each took some home. Mine had lasted for a few days, as any violets would, so every day I expected the rose to show signs of fading. Days went by, then weeks. Each morning I looked at it in amazement. That flower lasted for three months with no sign of withering or decay until, one morning in September, I came down and there was no flower. No dead leaves or dead bloom, no stem — nothing in the clear water but around the base of the vase was a circle of ash, like cigarette ash.

I can only think that when Alec’s guide held it in his hands before presenting it to me he impregnated it with some sort of spiritual energy, and that because of the faster frequency of that energy it did not go through the stages of physical decay but turned immediately to dust — the cancellation of the physical level. Whenever I am feeling a bit down or uncertain, wondering at some low moment whether I might not be deluding myself, I go back to that memorable night. With all due respect to Helen Duncan and the others who played their part in my education, for me, that night with Alec Harris was the crown of everything that was convincing.

‘Alec Harris – The full story of his remarkable physical mediumship’ (253 pages) is available from Amazon by post priced at £9.99, plus £2.40 postage and packing UK, £3.25 Europe and £5.55 rest of the world.

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