Spiritualism has always had a bad name such as it is of witchcraft, or communicating with evil forces. This has been done for centuries by orthodox religions to put fear into people, so they would not follow that religion. Jesus many times communicated with those passed on to the spirit world, and he told his disciples that through meditation they could learn to do the same. But he did warn them that there are the lower realms of spirit life where those that have sinned against others will try to deceive the spiritually weak and vulnerable. Jesus said to his disciples “by their fruits ye shall know them”
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Spiritualism allows the individual to unfold their psychic and spiritual gifts for the benefit of others. For those in orthodox religions who deny those psychic gifts within people there is conformation in the Bible that they do exist.
In Corinthians: chapter 12: from verses 4: 11: it says: Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same spirit. And there are differences of administration but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God, which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the spirit is given to every man to profit all. For to one is given by the spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same spirit. To another faith by the same spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same spirit. To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues. But all these worketh that one and the selfsame spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
Also Jesus also said to his disciples: “Do not marvel at the things I do for you can do even greater”. Some may say that he was only talking to his disciples on this matter? However, he was in fact telling all humanity of all generations of the psychic and spiritual gifts given to them by God, to help others.
This is also to be read in the bible when Jesus also charged 70 other people besides his disciples to carry out the same work as he did. In Luke: chapter 10: verses 17- 19 it says: And the seventy returned again with joy, saying: “Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name”.
Jesus said: “Behold I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you”.
In doing that Jesus did not wave some magic wand where those people could suddenly express their inner psychic and spiritual abilities, they first had to learn to develop those gifts over a period of time. But Jesus chose those who already had a high spiritual ability within them where they soon learnt how to put those gifts to good use.
Although many scientists’ today will not seriously investigate such phenomena in the early years of Spiritualism there were sincere scientists wanting to find out the facts and not bothering of the consequences and were not afraid to investigate and to publicly defend such phenomena. One such person was Charles Richet a renowned physiologist. Richet was very sceptical on people being able to demonstrate psychic phenomena; however this did not stop him from carrying out lengthy tests on Eusapia Palladino a physical medium. Eusapia Palladino was born in Italy in 1854, into a working class family. After conducting over 100 séances with her, he said:
…….”But at this point a remarkable psychological phenomenon made itself felt; a phenomenon deserving of all your attention. Observe that we are now dealing with observed facts, which are nevertheless absurd; which are in contradiction with facts of daily observation which are denied not by scientists only but by the whole of humanity – facts which are rapid and fugitive which take place in semi – darkness and almost by surprise; with no proof except the testimony of our senses, which we know to be often fallible”.
“After we have witnessed such facts, everything concurs to make us doubt them. Now at the moment when these facts take place, they seem to us certain and we are willing to proclaim them openly. But when we return to ourselves, when we feel the irresistible influence of our environment, when our friends all laugh at our credulity-then we are almost disarmed and we begin to doubt. May it not all have been an illusion? May I not have been deceived”?
“And then, as the moment of that experiment becomes more remote that experiment which once seemed so conclusive gets to seem more uncertain, and we end by letting ourselves be persuaded that we have been the victim of a trick”.
Orthodox religions’ say that people should not see mediums, because they are evil. Yet in 1 Samuel: chapter 9: verses 8-11: it says: And the servant answered Saul again, and said: “Behold I have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver; that will I give to the man of God, to tell us our way. Beforehand in Israel, when a man went to enquire of God, thus he spake. “Come, and let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a prophet was beforetime called a seer”.
In the 1920s and 30s this evil view of Spiritualism changed among some of the clergy in the Christian Church. The Church of England concerned about the growing popularity of Spiritualism carried out investigations into that religion. In 1920 at the Lambeth conference two Archbishops and thirty five Bishops were given the task to investigate Spiritualism and to compare the teachings in the ‘new religion’ with those of their own. At that time the spread of Spiritualism was growing and people’s attention were drawn to a kind of religion that worried the Christian Church leaders. They wanted to find out for themselves of how Spiritualism would affect their orthodox way of preaching. They were becoming increasingly concerned of the great interest shown by people of the phenomena expressed by some mediums. For they made claims that they could communicate with those that had passed over.
The first investigation in the late 1920s was lazily brought to a conclusion where seven of the investigating committee found Spiritualism had a lot to offer and the final report said: “It is possible that we may be on the threshold of a new science which will by another method of approach confirm us in the assurance of a world beyond and behind the world we see and of something within us by which we are in contact with it. We could never presume to set a limit to the means which God may use us to bring men to the realization of spiritual life”.
The Bishop’s conceded that Spiritualism was not only a significant religion to take people forward in a spiritual understanding of life but they also regarded that religion as a science. This meant if the phenomenon found within that religion was sincerely researched into without any bias from the church or scientists, then the science found in
spiritual laws which govern true communication with the spirit world would be proved. Although the church made that statement much of what they had learnt and experienced of Spiritualism was not given to the general public. They still did not want their own religion to be seriously undermined by the total truth found in Spiritualism. The full report was suppressed by the Archbishops and the Bishops.
The second inquiry was set up in Jan 1938 which took two years to complete, to again look into the religion of Spiritualism, and it did go into more detail of what they found. The inquiry was set up by Rev. G. Maurice Elliott and the Dean of Rochester. The committee was formed again with great reluctance but something had to be done because their congregations were leaving them faster than what they had done in the 1920s.
Before the final verdict of the investigation there were articles in the papers as to what the outcome may be. The Sunday Dispatch on its front page came out with the story saying: “Church of England leaders faced by shrinking congregations are watching the growth of Spiritualism and the increasing number of clergymen who openly support the ‘new religion’ in the pulpits in defiance of their Bishops”.
The Dispatch also stated: “Plain clothed clergymen are visiting séances in all parts of the country and making reports of what they see and hear”. The newspaper also told of an Ernest Oaten’s address to the church committee in which he said the committee seemed to be more concerned with finding out the effect of Spiritualism on the church than with finding out whether it is true or not.
At that time the Swedish Pastor Martin Liljeblad a spiritualist, wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury about his belief in Spiritualism and wanted to give support to that religion. The Chaplain to the Primate of all England wrote back saying: “The Archbishop of Canterbury received your letter and is only sorry that he has been unable to answer it sooner. In reply to your question he bids me to say Spiritualism and spiritualistic services are not countenanced or encouraged in the Church of England”.
A rebellion took place within the Church of England for one Vicar the Rev G Maurice Elliott resigned his living because he was not allowed to have mediums in his church or in his church hall. There were two hundred clergymen sympathetic to Spiritualism but they were too afraid of their future to openly associate with that religion.
From the book ‘News from the Next World’ by Charles Tweeddale Vicar of Weston Otley, in his communication with the spirit world and charged with heresy said: “April 11th 1913- had interview with his Lordship, the Bishop of Ripon and the Archdeacon of Craven”.
“His Lordship informed me that a commission was being got together to try me for heresy. I should have to appear before it. The Archdeacon turned his back on me when his Lordship went out, returned very depressed, but resolved to fight”.
“I now replied so vigorously and effectively to the charges of heresy laid against me that the Bishop motored over, between services on the following Sunday to inform me that he had withdrawn the commission. Seated in my dining room he told me that it was useless to take any notice of these things. Revelation was closed, and such things as I described were due either to hallucination or to fraud”.
“I replied that revelation was not closed but was a continuous process, and I asked him how he knew, and what proof he could give, that the manifestations to the prophets and to the Christ were not likewise due to hallucination or fraud”?
“He could not answer, but said: “As your father in God I forbid you to preach about these things”. I told him that I could give no such undertaking, but like the Apostles I could not but speak of the things I had seen and heard” (Acts Chapter 4 20) Then he became angry, and abruptly took his departure”.
A few weeks later another newspaper the Sunday Chronicle said that it had interviewed a member of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s committee on Spiritualism and gathered it was the intention of the church to fight Spiritualism the headlines said: “church to fight Spiritualism secret report denounces séance frauds”.
“Clergymen who openly practice Spiritualism will be severely disciplined. Legal proceedings will be instituted against certain mediums on the grounds of false pretences. In cooperation with a group of eminent doctors a nation wide campaign will be undertaken to warn the public against the dangers of tinkering with the unknown”.
The church committee to gain an insight into Spiritualism attended séances arranged through Baron Erik Palmstierna formerly Swedish Minster in England. They put many questions to the spirits who communicated through the famous violinist Madame Adili Fachiri. A record of the sittings were kept where finally they were put into Palmstierna’s book ‘Widening Horizons’ but a lot of the knowledge again was suppressed by the church.
The spirit communicators said: “The churches have not the courage to reveal to the world what they really feel and think about communication with us. A great number of people who do not disbelieve in us are, nevertheless, uncertain if God wants them to know what happens after their departure from earth”.
“Be sensible and consider that, if you receive true illumination through which you feel the all-goodness of God stronger than you did before, there can be no harm in communicating with us. Christ showed spirits to men on earth and wished them to communicate with the departed. It is only those who twist his teachings and messages who give another meaning to Christ’s words”.
“If you accept the fact that you descend to earth for penitence, why should you be forbidden to learn about the spheres to which you may return? Concerning untruths about life after death has been created by people under evil influence in order to prevent souls from learning the truth”
In 1940 the Psychic News (a spiritualist’s newspaper) was the only paper who reported that the Primate’s secret committee had by seven votes to three accepted the report. Though there was hostility by most of the leaders of the church there were seven members of the inquiry who accepted the truth of Spiritualism and it is possible to communicate with the dead. They were as follows. Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Chairman; Canon H. Anson, Master of the Temple; Dr William Brown and the celebrated psychologist Dr. WR. Matthews, Dean of St Pauls; Canon L.W. Grensted examining Chaplin to the Archbishop of York; P. E. Sanlands, K. C. and Lady (Gwendolen) Stephenson.
They admitted: “Spiritualism cannot be disregarded. It fills gaps in our knowledge. It demonstrates that communication with the dead has been effected. After making every allowance for alternative explanations and theories there remains a residuum which can only be explained on the ground of discarnate intervention. The church should set up a body of people who, under its direction shall keep in touch with responsible spiritualists. After the two years it took to complete the report it was then given to the Primate and the Archbishop of York, also copies were sent to all the Diocesan Bishops. However, even after admitting that communication with the spirit world was a fact and also a science the final report was not published for all to see. The church dragged its feet which caused unrest with those who thought the whole truth should be told. The Chaplain to the Primate gave a statement saying: “When the report came up for review it was felt further investigation was required and premature publication would be liable to give rise to misunderstanding”.
The Bishop of Bath and Wells, chairman of the committee who signed the majority report said: “The position is rather delicate and uncertain and will not be clarified until further investigations have been completed”. The trouble was, this was just an excuse, the church hoping things would die down about the report and no further investigations were carried out into Spiritualism. Because they could find truth in their investigations suddenly the clergy claimed that the documents of the report had gone missing.
Dr Matthews, Dean of ST Paul’s publicly protested against the cover up by the Primate in speaking to the Society for Physical Research he said: “A number of people had found in medium ship confirmation of the Christian faith, and even a way from agnosticism to belief”
Canon Anson Master who was also part of the committee who looked into Spiritualism said: “Spiritualism is the scientific explanation of the Christian belief and faith in survival of life after death. Spiritualist’s have always claimed that their factual evidence is the basis of all religions, which depends on the life after death without that fact there can be no religion”. The Canon also had a friend who received automatic writings from the other side, where he received proof in messages that life is continuous.
Another member of the committee who was impressed by Spiritualism a Dr William Brown a well known psychologist at that time and who had considerable knowledge of psychic facts was also outraged by the so-called missing documents.
Canon Grensted who drafted the majority report in favour of Spiritualism admitted of his involvement into Spiritualism and had an article published in the Psychic News saying: “It has been stated more than once that my wife has psychic powers”.
“This is not true either of her or myself, but another close connection of mine undoubtedly has such powers and it is through her, in very small and informed private sittings, that some of the most convincing evidence has come”.
“I have read much of the literature of the subject, and on the whole with great respect for its sincerity. The impression that I get is of a simple and yet profound philosophy of life. I hold that there is some passage of real and authentic communication through the veil which separates us so thinly from that which lies beyond. Those who are simply credulous will miss the message just as surely as those who refuse to read it at all. But there is a message to be received, if we learn how to read it rightly… There is sometimes given to us a real and personal contact with those who have passed beyond death”.
Over each century over each decade Christianity has dragged its burden of dogmas and creeds behind them, blindly ignoring great people of the past with their understanding of the spirit world. Even before those two inquiries were set up by the Church of England there were great leaders of nations who openly admitted communication to the spirit world. This communication greatly helped presidents and leaders of nations in their time of need of guidance to help the world as a whole.
We can look at the life of Abraham Lincoln who finally abolished slavery in America. Although President Lincoln did not broadcast to all of his encounters with Spiritualism, newspaper articles pronounced that he was a spiritualist, something he did not admit to nor did he deny. This claim was made by H. B. Conkling a New York medium He made the statement that the President had sat with him on many occasions. When Lincoln read one of the articles he casually replied:
“The only falsehood in the statement is that half of it has not been told. This article does not begin to tell the wonderful things I have witnessed”. Throughout his time in wanting to abolish slavery Lincoln had many meetings with Nettie Colburn a medium, she later wrote a book called, ‘Was Lincoln a Spiritualist’? In it she stated, when in trance and in communication with spirit, the President listened carefully to advice given from the spirit world. She said: “While he was yet speaking I lost all consciousness of my surroundings and passed under control. For more than an hour I was made to talk to him and I learned from my friends afterwards that it was upon matters that he seemed fully to understand while they comprehended very little until that portion was reached that related to the forthcoming Emancipation Proclamation”.
“He was charged with the utmost solemnity and force of manner not to abate the terms of its issue and not to delay its enforcement as a law beyond the opening year. He was assured that it was to be the crowning event of his administration and his life; and that, while he was being counseled by strong parties to defer the enforcement of it, hoping to supplant it by other measures and to delay action, he must in no wise heed such counsel, but stand firm to his convictions and fearlessly perform the work and fulfill the mission for which he had been raised up by an overruling providence”
Another famous leader was Winston Churchill who was elected Prime Minister where when war broke out, later in life he said: “I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial”.
In his broadcast to the nation in 1940 he referred to Britain’s ‘physical energy’ and psychic strength discussing war losses two years later he said: “Only faith in a life after death, in a brighter world, where dear ones will meet again –only that and the measured tramp of time can give consolation”.
When addressing miners he said: “I sometimes have a feeling, in fact, I have it very strongly –a feeling of interference. I want to stress it. I have a feeling sometimes that some guiding hand has interfered. I have a feeling that we have a guardian because we serve a great cause and that we shall have that guardian as long as we serve that cause faithfully”
In the same year he spoke secretly to 6,000 women at London’s famous Albert Hall. Churchill expressed the hope that: “In the post war world the name of our dear country will, by our conduct, by our clairvoyance long stand in honour among nations of the world. I have no fear of the future. Let us go forward with its mysteries, let us tare aside the veils which hide it from our eyes”.
During the war Churchill did not separate himself from danger, he did moral boosting visits at night during the blitz to the men manning the anti aircraft sites. On one occasion when on his way to see one of these gun crews, the car was sprinkled with shrapnel, which damaged the bonnet, and falling bombs narrowly missed the car. The particular
site he was travelling to was at Richmond Park where he then stood watching the gun crew in action. Instead of taking an armoured car that had been supplied to take him back, he dismissed it where instead he took an ordinary staff car. Churchill always listened to what he called his ‘inner voice’ and when entering any vehicle he would always sit by the nearside door, however, on this occasion something made him turn and enter the car by the far door, something he had never done before. On the journey back they travelled along the Kingston by-pass, Surrey at 60mph, where suddenly a bomb dropped close to the car. The impact of the explosion was so intense that two of the car wheels were lifted from the road; it nearly overturned but at the last minute righted itself. Churchill later commented on the happening saying: “That was a near one; it must have been my beef at this side that pulled it down”. If he had been sitting in his usual seat the car would have overturned.
Churchill used to seek the help of the clairvoyant Bertha Harris who lived in Golden Green NW London she once said. “Churchill was very mediumistic I think he was often guided by those beyond. He would take five minute naps when he was worried and wake, completely refreshed knowing exactly what to do”.
Churchill also accepted Spiritualism. Helen Duncan a famous medium of that time had to face a trial; for her medium ship involved materialisation, where those that passed on would materialise in her séances and she would talk with them. She was charged under the witchcraft Act of 1735. After one of these meetings at Portsmouth Hants, even though Churchill was weighed down with the pressures of the war, wrote a note to the Home Sectary. He wanted an immediate report on not just Helen Duncan but also on the religion of Spiritualism. He was greatly concerned of the cost of such a trial where the recorder and other employees of the court were involved in what he called tomfoolery to the detriment of the necessary work in the courts?
There was also Franklin Roosevelt who had meetings with medium Jeane Dixon. Those close to the President were aware of his interest in psychic phenomena. One of those was Rev O.R. Washburn he wrote:
“It is known among friends of mine and known beyond question that the former President of the United States, several members of his cabinet and the heads of important departments at Washington secured very good mediums held many séances, listened carefully to suggestions made by former Presidents, Generals, Admirals and Diplomats now residing in the spirit world”. Also RJ Cruikshank a writer said of Roosevelt: “He seemed to posses a mediumistic quality about men, politics and events”
Sir Philip Gibbs told of a visit to the White House during the black days of the Second World War. He found Roosevelt serene, cheerful and utterly confident of final victory. He said: “It was not a pose, as I could see. He was like a clairvoyant who saw the future in a clear and shining ‘vision’. Of the President’s personality he added: “There was something strange about it, something almost supernatural”.
When President Roosevelt was Governor of New York he was greatly interested in starting an institution, with professors, to study advanced psychology and employing mediums at stated salaries. His entry into national campaigns caused him to abandon his interest in this matter.
The Canadian Premier Mackenzie King also had a great interest in Spiritualism and attended séances, he once received a message after his passing from Roosevelt through the British medium Geraldine Cummins. After one of these messages Roosevelt said he had been in communication with King’s mother on the other side. He said: “The phrases he used, the characterisation, were exactly what I’d have expected from Franklyn Roosevelt if he’d met my mother in life.”
Another great leader Benjamin Franklin was aware of the spirit world; in a letter he wrote to a relative following his brother’s death he said:
“A man is not completely born until he is dead. Why then should we grieve that a new child is born among the immortals? We are spirits”.
“That bodies should be lent to us, while they can afford us pleasure, assist us in acquiring knowledge or in doing good to our fellow creatures, is a kind and benevolent act of God. When they become unfit for these purposes and afford us pain instead of pleasure, instead of an aid become an encumbrance, it is equally kind and benevolent that a way is provided by which we may get rid of them death is that way”.
“Our friend and we were invited abroad on a party of pleasure which is to last for ever. His chair was ready first and he is gone before us. We could not all conveniently start together; and why should you and I be grieved at this, since we are soon to follow and know where to find him”. Benjamin Franklin born 1706 -1790.
William Gladstone also believed in the after life and spirit communication, being guided by messages from spirit, through the then famous medium William Eglington a psychic celebrity of his day. Gladstone was greatly interested in psychic research and the medium once commented of him: “Gladstone considered psychic research to be the most important work which is being done in the world-by far”. According to the medium, Gladstone said, he was already convinced that there were subtle forces with which our puny minds could not deal with and which he could not comprehend.
He said that he held the attitude, therefore, not of a scoffer, but a student who had no reason to doubt the genuineness of my pretensions. Gladstone once quoted as saying in a newspaper to scientists who criticized such things as psychic phenomena, and would not seriously investigate such happenings: “I have always thought that scientific men run too much in a groove. They do noble work in their own special line of research, but they are too often indisposed to give any attention to matters which seem to conflict with their established modes of thought. Indeed they not infrequently attempt to deny that into which they have never inquired, not sufficiently realising the fact that there may possibly be forces in nature of which they know nothing”.
As mentioned many people have psychic gifts which can be of benefit to others that is why such gifts were given to us by God to help others in their time of need. Clement Attlee the socialist leader had such a gift and so did his wife. She could do spiritual healing while he had the ability to heal warts. He also had a strong belief in Spiritualism, he wanted that religion to enjoy freedom of practice as other religions did, and he wanted it to be legalized. “The Labour Party,” he said “stands for the complete freedom and equality of all religious bodies. I should, therefore, be in favor of freeing Spiritualism from restrictions on their liberty and of repealing obsolete acts. I. would support legislation designed to give freedom under conditions to those engaged in psychic research.”
So if Christianity still believes in witchcraft then those great leaders would have to be put down as witches where in the early days of the church they would have been burnt at the stake. These leaders were men not only of the material intellect, but they also had an awareness of the spirit.
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