The mediumship of Lula Taber
by Coleen Owen Britt
Materialization is a scientific phenomenon which gives the thinking individual the factual basis for a livable and believable religion. Materialization gives absolute proof of life after what we call death.
Spiritualism, through materialization and direct voice and trumpet séances, is a religion which invites each one of us to see and believe, rather than to believe blindly. Reasonable and believable religious truths are what people today need, but have been unable to find. The truths have been there all of the time but due to superstition and the lack of proper understanding, these truths have not reached the majority of the people. From the experiences of my husband and myself we know the above statement to be fact.
We were raised in a church environment, each taking an active part for years. We did so for the same reason that thousands of others did; because we had been taught that it was the proper thing to do.
However, also like thousands of others, we did not get the uplift or help that one should get from his religion.
Because some conscientious, or ambitious, minister gave beautiful rose-colored pictures of heaven—if we were good, and dark painful stories of hell—if we were bad, the thought of religion did not seem to impress us definitely. In our hearts we did not believe the Bible as usually presented, and after due investigation we found out that there were many more individuals who felt just as we did.
We felt a need for religion, but religion as we could find it in no way satisfied that need.
Religion as it has been, and is, widely preached, is no comfort at the time of the death of our loved ones, at the very time we need its comfort most. It takes us to the grave where we are forced to say farewell in the deepest despair with no hope of ever seeing or hearing the one we love again.
How different the change we call death becomes, through Spiritualism. We know that our loved ones are not dead but have only left the physical body, and that they in their spiritual body are now free to advance to unbounded heights, no longer hindered by the ills and pains and the grief of earth life.
Spiritualists not only believe this, they know it is true.
MY SON LIVES!
When Byron went over to spirit side of life, at the age of sixteen, I almost went insane. I became an atheist. I searched but could find no source of comfort. A week after his passing his father and I were riding over a quiet road in the Ozarks when to our ears came clearly the sound of the Morse code.
We were both startled and my husband stopped the car so that we could be sure as to whether or not we were really hearing something. The code continued for what seemed several minutes, after which we drove on, wondering.
Byron was an amateur radio operator and we talked over the fact that the code he was always sending sounded just like what we had heard. However, we soon cast the incident aside as a product of our imagination yet in my heart I knew it was real.
A year later, in despair, I consulted a medium. She was kind and sympathetic, and told me of a materializing medium, Rev. Lula Taber, of St. Louis, Missouri, who was to be in our city soon. Paul and I talked it over and decided to attend a séance. We were not believers but we were seekers after truth.
We knew no one in the group which gathered that evening. We had made no appointment. We had told no one we were going to attend. There were sixteen men and women gathered in a semicircle in front of the medium, who sat behind lightweight black curtains during the séance.
Before going behind the curtain she explained briefly about the phenomena. The lights were dimmed to a dull red glow. We all joined in repeating the Lord’s Prayer and in singing a few songs. In a few minutes a pretty little girl stepped out from between the curtains and told us that her name was Star Bright, the medium’s guide, and that she would do her best to have a good meeting for us.
Numerous spirit folks appeared and talked that night, but when Byron, our son, came to us, said his name, kissed us and said that he was happy, we felt the first mental relief we had experienced since he passed from earth life. Most of my time had been spent in tears and morbid existence; now I could even sing songs, and that was something I had never been able to do since I last sang them with him. We attended practically all of the séances which Mrs Taber held.
After seeing Byron many times, and hearing him many more times in trumpet séances, I am convinced that the only grief one should experience at the passing of a loved one is loneliness. There should be no sorrow for the one who has passed to spirit side for there they can be far happier than they ever could be here.
They can do many more things, go many more places, and live a more interesting and satisfying life than we.
Byron, and many others, tell us of so many wonderful things that we are anxious to try the experience ourselves.
Byron has played the violin for us many times. At another time he sang me a Mother song unlike any I have ever heard. I do wish that I could have remembered the words. At a later meeting I asked him about repeating it but he said that he had just made up the song as he sung it and that he did not remember just what the words were. Recently he told us of his sweetheart Margaret. She has talked to us now, calling us mother and father. He says that she is blond, dances and sings beautifully, and that they do many interesting things together.
One of Byron’s materializations especially impressed us. He came very close, tipped his head over toward us and said, “Put your hand on my head and feel my hair.” We both did. It was combed straight back neat and shiny as he has always worn it. His head was firm and the hair felt and looked as natural as yours or mine. He stayed with us several minutes, touched everyone in the room and talked in his naturally pleasing manner.
One should never touch the materialized forms unless they say that you may, but Byron has touched us and asked that we touch him, many, many times. He always acts so happy when he has materialized plainly and completely. When we talked with him concerning the code we had heard months before, he said, “Well Mother, you were convinced but Daddy wasn’t.”
I could write for hours about the wonderful comforts and the interesting experiences found through a study of Spiritualism. Since meeting Mrs Taber we have found her to be not only a wonderful medium, but also a lovable lady, and a devoted mother. This article has been written because of our feeling of thankfulness to Rev. Tabor for bringing back our son to us, and for making it possible for us to again find some satisfaction in living.
Byron has told us that in spirit we advance by our own merits. What fairer method could we earth folk desire? What more wonderful fact need one know as an incentive to live one’s best?
WORDS FROM BEYOND
On the 27th of May, 1940, Rev. Lula Taber came to Council Bluffs, Iowa, to hold a series of materialization and trumpet séances, several of which my husband and myself attended. On the first night Byron appeared in person, announced himself as “Byron”, kissed us, touched his face to ours, and talked some.
At each séance he appeared more plainly to us and our visits became natural and satisfying. We always disliked saying goodnight and it was very difficult to say goodbye the last night of the séances, when the Tabers had to return to their home in St. Louis.
To realize that one’s child, whom his parents never expected to contact again, is very much alive, very interested in his work, very capable, and very happy in his daily experiences, is about the greatest blessing that could come to one.
Proof of life hereafter is the one thing that makes life here endurable and at all satisfying. For that reason we do wish that each and every one could have the experience of seeing and visiting with their loved ones in the Spirit World.
Heaven is not very appealing when one thinks of it in the usual light, as for instance, one’s sitting on a golden throne for eternity, but when one realizes that those in Spirit live a life similar in many ways to ours but without the pain and grief of a physical body, then our greatest wish is fulfilled. That death, as we call it, is not being put in a grave but is a sort of sleep from which we waken into a much finer existence than this, is the realization that we humans want, and can understand, and can believe, and can work for, tirelessly.
For the materialization the medium sat in one corner of the room, in a common chair, behind light-weight black curtains. Nothing was behind the curtain but the medium, in her black slip, and the chair on which she sat. She had removed her clothing and had given it to one of us to lay away. The floor and walls were of cement, the ceiling of wood.
There was no window. I was in the curtained space with her many times so I relate from personal experience. I will mention here that due to some glandular trouble Mrs Faber weighs about three hundred pounds. I mention this to you as proof that she could not possibly impersonate the average-sized person, not to mention the tiny children who appeared at different times.
Those attending the séance sit in chairs in front of the curtains, usually in a semi-circle and about eight feet distance. There is no ‘equipment’. The only light is a subdued red light, all others being turned out after a short visit by those present. At this time one may ask questions if he so desires. The meeting is begun by repeating the Lord’s Prayer, then several songs are sung.
Usually about five minutes elapse before Mrs Taber’s guide, Star Bright, appears and announces that “my medie” is under control, and that she will do her best to bring everyone’s loved ones to them. Soon the spirit folks enter, usually one at a time, and advance toward the person whom they wish to contact, calling the person’s name or else their own names. At first the spirit friends seem to be in a filmy white covering which obscures their whole body, then they push this covering of ectoplasm back and stand revealed as we remember them.
The hair, the features, the hands and oftentimes books, crosses, flowers, or whatever they might be carrying, all become evident. One’s desire is to hug the dear one close, but it is injurious to the medium and also to the one doing the touching, at times. If they tell us we may touch them then it is permissible to do so. They can, and often do, touch us, kiss us, and put their arms around us, in a very delightful manner.
Their touch is soft like that of a baby’s skin, yet very definitely firm. Their voices are usually clear and typical of the individuals as we remember them. Everyone in the room sees each spirit person as he stands or walks in the circle, and each voice is heard by all. Sometimes the spirit folks return to behind the curtain before they dematerialize but often they disappear from our sight right where they have been standing.
Many interesting statements were made by those with whom we visited. Byron made the following ones: “I am happy here. We can do anything here that you do there only we do not sit down to the table for meals. We take food but I do not know how to explain it to you. There are no toilets here, either. The spirit body is much nicer than the physical one. Yes, I go to classes now. I do not care for chemistry though. I am specializing in radio.”
In reply to my question as to whether or not they had vacations, he said, “We can take vacations if we want to but we do not need to because we never get tired. That is, not tired as you think of it, but we do rest.
We have beautiful places to rest.” Byron says that he is often with us and sees us, but that we just cannot see him. He said that he moved papers once in awhile but that we did not seem to notice. He told me on one occasion that he liked the new shoes which I was wearing. I did have on new shoes but it had rained and I had been in the mud with them so the medium, nor anyone else, could have told that they were new.
One evening I told Byron that I had applied for a job that day. He replied, ‘‘Mother, you didn’t, because I was with you all day today.’’ I was certain that I had so I said, “Yes I did, son.” He replied, “No. That must have been some time yesterday.” After thinking it over I realized that he was right, because I actually had written and mailed the application the previous evening.
At a private trumpet séance, that is, just Mrs. Taber and myself, Byron told me that he would play for me later. After a while a violin began to play “Ah Sweet Mystery of Life” and played it all of the way through, very beautifully. When the piece was finished Byron said “What do you think of that, Mother?” Then he told me that he and the son of the family upstairs had played a duet.
Later the mother told me that her son would be about Byron’s age and that he had passed on prematurely. When I told Byron that I was very much surprised to hear him play the violin he said, “Well, I am just learning, really. You know I always did want to play one only I just thought I couldn’t.” While here he had often expressed a desire to play a violin but always thought it would be very hard to learn. He became interested in the electric Hawaiian guitar, purchased one, and was learning to play it very well.
Shortly after he had played the violin for me a lady announced herself to me as Grace Edwards, saying she was Byron’s music teacher. She said, “I have never had a more studious and conscientious student than Byron.” I asked if Byron still played the guitar and she said “Yes, but he seemed to lose interest in it when he found that he could play the violin.”
So many interesting visits were enjoyed by Paul and myself that I cannot here relate them all, so I shall limit my record to the most specific and pertinent incidents. Numerous relatives and friends talked to us.
Many of these we recognized, many we have been able to find out about through letters and some we have been unable to place definitely. Many of them talk to us only once; many talk again and again.
They are all very interesting and have very definite and individual ideas.
It is very interesting when they tell us some item by which we can check, and they always seem anxious to do so, in their own unique way. For instance, my grandfather on my mother’s side told me that he had some fingers off of one band. He said that they had been cut off with a scythe while he was cutting grain. I never saw my grandfather and knew very little about him as he passed on before I was born. I had never heard anyone mention that he did not have all of his fingers so I was curious about the truth of the information. Since that time I have talked with an elderly lady who was a friend of my mother and she told me that my grandfather did have some fingers missing. She said she did not know how he lost them but it could easily have been as he said because the scythe was used a great deal at that time.
Paul talked with a good friend of his who mentioned his wife by name and talked about affairs, financial and social, in a very comprehensive and positive manner. When Paul asked him if he wanted him to tell any of his folks he said, “Well, you know them. They wouldn’t understand so it would not do any good. I would like to talk to Ruby sometime, though.” Ruby is his wife. Her name had not been previously mentioned.
My father came to me through the trumpet for the first time, announcing himself as “John.” I could not think of anyone whom I knew as John but the large end of the trumpet continued to bump gently against a cameo pin which I was wearing so I was convinced that the message was for me.
Finally I thought of my father’s name as being John so I said, “Is this you, Dad?” He replied at once, “Sure it is.” I replied that I had not expected him to call himself John. He then said, “Byron said I should call myself John instead of Grandpa.” My father always called himself Grandpa to Byron.
A friend appeared to me in materialization but was not strong enough to talk. She came again in a few days and this time she said, “Frances. Tell Sandy that I am all right.” Frances had only been on Spirit side about two months and had never materialized before so did not know just how it was done. She could not have said anything that would have been of more proof to me than the things she did say, however. Sandy is her husband’s nickname.
She said, too, that she wanted me to have her pink dress. I still have the pink dress and cherish it deeply. You see, she stayed with me when she was sick. She had a very serious operation and she realized she could never be well again. The day she was leaving for her home she came out where I was, carrying a very pretty pink silk night dress. She said, “Coleen, I can never hope to repay you for the many nice things you have done for me, but I do want you to have my pretty pink night dress.”
Needless to say, how thankful I am for that conversation. Frances and I had often talked over the possibility of life after death. She believed in it much more than I at that time, but she did not think that contact could be made with another world anymore than I did.
Monday, August 4th, 1941. Materialization — Medium Lula Taber.
There were over twenty persons present at this meeting, among whom were Mr and Mrs Ralph Pressing, publishers of Psychic Observer. They were interested in seeing Byron’s violin and in hearing his music so we were very pleased when he materialized and played.
When he had finished he held his violin out at arms length and asked the Pressings if they could see it well. Mrs Pressing then stepped up to the cabinet and talked with him.
The following is an excerpt from the November 10th issue of Psychic Observer wherein Grace P. Schafer, feature writer for the Observer, wrote an article on “The Mediumship of Rev. Lula Taber.”
Quote, – “What I like about Mrs Taber’s materializations is: there is no question about the spirits who come through. When they make an entree they announce their full names and the names of the ones they have come to visit. I was deeply impressed by the spirit who announced his name, ‘Byron Britt.’ He called for his parents. They asked him if he could play something on the violin for them. Before our eyes we saw the form of a violin and bow assemble. As the bow was drawn across the gauze-like strings, we heard music . . . violin music . . . only sweeter . . . more heavenly than an earthly instrument could produce. The selection played was ‘Sweet Mystery of Life.’ How appropriate!”
An interesting incident was when a soldier materialized to Mr Morris, gave a military salute, and said, “Major, I salute you. I am Harry Atkins. I served under you.” Mr. Morris saluted in return, saying, “I remember you well.” Later he told us that Mr. Atkins had been killed in France during the First World War.
At this same séance Mr J. Langworthy Taylor, Professor-Emeritus of the University of Nebraska, materialized and talked with Altinas Tullis, Instructor in Chorus at the University of Nebraska. He said, “Tell all the world we do not die. There is no death, only life. I want everyone to know that I am learning all about this thing called spirit return and it’s true, true, TRUE.”
When the Pressings heard Mr Taylor give his name they were surprised and pleased, saying that they had traveled abroad together some years ago. They, too, had an interesting visit with their old friend.
These materializations are interesting to study. As we have been discussing recently, the powers of thought and emotion are multiplied many times over in the spirit worlds, to create the substance and environment over there.
Mrs Britt writes: “The seances were held in our home here in Omaha, and at three different homes in Lincoln, Nebraska. I was privileged to be cabinet attendant at all of these materializations. I am always happy to help. Being near the curtain I can always see and hear all that is said and done by the spirit friends, at a closer range than is possible for those sitting in the circle. I am thankful for this as I feel that it makes my reports absolutely accurate, as each incident I mention is a personal experience.”
During his short stay here Byron really knew and lived life at its best. He never showed much interest in religion. He had listened to sermons from the time he was a little fellow, but as he grew older and learned to think for himself he decided the ministers themselves did not really believe all the things they said from the pulpit. He felt there was a world of truth somewhere, and he wanted to dig down and find it. He believed that sound waves would eventually be controlled to the extent that vibrations which are not recognized now, would be interpreted by man, and thus open the door to understanding.
Byron became ill with influenza about three weeks ago. After a relapse he was unable to recover. He passed peacefully away at 2:45 Thursday morning, March 30th, 1939, at his home in Alliance, Nebraska. His age was sixteen years, nine months, and seven days. At the time of his passing he was a Sophomore in Alliance High School. He was a member of the Sons of the Legionnaires and of the American Radio Association.