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

1 thought on “Albert Best

  1. Hi George, thank you for the story of Albert Best. I have great interest in him. I understand Albert was a fiercely private person and rarely spoke of his family, but I was wondering if you know whether he called his wife Rosie privately. Also, do you know the names of his children? I wish I could know more about his private life as well. Sachie

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