Emily S.French (1830-1912), was one of the greatest American independent voice mediums. She was investigated by the famous Buffalo attorney, Edward C.Randall (1860-1935), who intended to expose her as a fraud but was over time, and after completing many exacting experiments testing her powers, completely convinced that she was genuine. Mr.Randall became a champion for the cause of survival of death and communication with spirits. During the seances, which were held in complete darkness, the spirit voices would manifest apart from and totally independent of Mrs.French, who was not in trance. The voices would literally manifest from thin air, and carry on conversations with Mr.Randall or whoever else he invited to the seances. A stenographer was employed to take down word for word conversations and Mr.Randall asked many searching, important questions, which are all included in The French Revelation. The book is illustrated & the Appendices contain a wealth of information, including a suggested reading list containing many of the great classics involving independent voice/direct voice mediumship.
About the author
N. Riley Heagerty, has been involved non-stop in research involving Spiritualism and Physical Mediumship since 1985.
He has, up to the present day, collected and read more than 600 books - mostly rare, on the subject, and has lectured extensively in England and America. His first published book, The French Revelation, dealt exclusively with the Independent Voice mediumship of Mrs. Emily S. French, of Rochester, New York.
Mr. Heagerty, considered one of the leading authorities on American Physical Mediumship in the United States has said, “The research of Mediumship and Spirit Communication is just as exciting and enthralling to me in the present day as it was during the first days of my research. It is an ongoing adventure that will never cease. The subject is vast, marvelous and contains, in this researchers opinion, the most important truths we could ever know. The heyday of Spiritualism, what I have termed the ‘Century of Wonders,’ existed between 1848 & 1948. Mrs. French along with May and Elizabeth Bangs are just three of the many that demonstrated their wondrous gifts within this time period and I am honored to write about them. “
“Nothing is too wonderful to be true.” –Faraday
Audacious, startling and incredible would be mild characterizations of the assertions that were contained within the first published work of Edward C. Randall entitled Life’s Progression; Research in Meta-psychics (Henry B. Brown Company: Buffalo, New York, 1906.), which he suddenly and unexpectedly dropped like an atom bomb of controversy into the religious world. His announced object in publishing the work, which he said represented fifteen years’ research in meta-psychics, a comparatively unknown field of study, was to illuminate, but he also knew that it would produce a fire storm of heat as well as light.
“There is no death; there are no dead.”
These words stood out on the cover of the book, and in its foreword he asserted the following: “I have no need of creeds nor use for faiths. Positive knowledge has displaced them both and I have come to know there is no death; there are no dead. That change is one step only in life’s progression, in the unceasing march of evolution, in which neither identity nor individuality is lost, and that life goes on and labor continues as the soul works toward perfection, for progress is an absolute law that nothing can resist.”
His words were a direct challenge to orthodox thinking and through all the pages of his work ran this disconcerting challenge to those whose idea of God, of heaven, hell and a future life were based strictly on the Bible. If there is no death, if there are no dead, what then would become of the resurrection morn; where shall we look for the great White Throne, where for the One who shall intercede for the sinful; where shall the separation of the goats and sheep take place; where are the streets made of gold? Mr. Randall’s findings annulled these widely accepted teachings. He was convinced that every man must, and will, stand as his own redeemer. He was not inferring by his statements that he did not believe in the life hereafter, nor in the universal power and controlling force which is denominated God and which is thought by some to be clothed with a personality and by others considered the essence of good; the true spirit of love, only not embodied. He did not contend the existence of these things. He did believe in a heaven, not a heaven of idleness and exclusiveness, but a heaven peopled by active, progressive and hard-working spirits. Mr. Randall likewise believed in hell, only it was not a hell where punishment is meted out in an atmosphere of flames and sulfurous fumes. In this modern day, belief in a hell of fire and brimstone may seem outmoded, but there are some, rest assured, who still look upon hell as a place of physical torment. Many conceive hell to be a place apart from heaven where the wicked have gained admission by their actions while on earth. There is also the steadily growing belief that hell is a state of remorse of the spirit, and this view comes extremely close to Mr. Randall’s hell.
The author of Life’s Progression published four more, equally startling books which together embodied the results of his psychic research. The works were the outcome of what Mr. Randall termed his positive knowledge, yet he never claimed that he was the only one that knew or could know. This certainty, in the year 1906, was remarkable of psychic literature. Many books had been written previously about the life hereafter; men of many minds had reasoned from many viewpoints as to what might be seen beyond death’s mysterious door. These speculations began in the very early ages and have continued right up until this present day, but at the turn of the century, few books, if any, had been written which purported to give exact and definite knowledge of the life that is beyond the Everlasting line.
And where did Mr. Randall get his information? His answer, always direct and without equivocation, was: “From those that are living that life” he said, “from spirits with whom I have talked voice to voice, for many years,” and he meant “voice-to-voice” literally. Commenting on the reasons for publishing his research, he further stated:” I do so in the hope that the fear of death may pass, that those who mourn may find consolation, and that all may find understanding. All the facts that we know and can gather—the miracle of death; each new birth; all teachings from the great beyond, and here; all discoveries and inventions; all the wondrous paintings, miracles of form and color; the marvelous marbles that seem to live and breathe; the secrets told by winding stream and desert sand; the record of all events evidence a Directive Force that we call God, that finds expression not only on this poor earth of ours, but in the planes beyond, where all at last must go. I have come to know something of the plan, purpose and operation of the Directive Force, not only here, but in the planes beyond. Having come into touch with those who live there, we have discussed these questions, and their teachings, faithfully recorded, I have given to you as they were given to me unaltered and unchanged.”
The world seemed to stand at attention when Mr. Randall made public the results of his research and soon after, his works attracted the following of the two foremost American psychic researchers at the time, Dr. Richard Hodgson and Prof. James Hyslop, and also, England’s leading experts of psychic research, J. Arthur Findlay and Vice-Admiral W. Usborne Moore (see Appendices and Reading List). This was, after all, no ordinary man making these astonishing assertions concerning the very nature of man’s destiny; Mr. Randall was an esteemed member of the highest echelon of society, one of the most powerful leaders of business in the United States, and, furthermore, a celebrated trial lawyer, well known for his abilities of sifting evidence and interrogation of witnesses on the stand. His very presence within this body of research was, in itself, a proclamation of its seriousness.
Edward Caleb Randall was born in Ripley, New York, in 1860 and obtained his preliminary education in the district school and academy of his native place. He was prepared for college under private tutorship and he pursued his classical studies at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. In 1883 he was admitted to the bar, having been practicing at Dunkirk since 1879. He married Maria Howard of Buffalo in 1897. At the time of his death in 1935, he was the president of the American Super Power Corporation, Super Power Syndicate Inc., Niagara Terminals Buildings Inc., Cataract Development Corporation, South Buffalo Gas Corporation, vice-president of Eureka Smelting Company, and director of Prest Air Corporation.
Mr. Randall stated when he began his investigations into psychic research, he had absolutely no place in his mind for even a conception of a spiritual existence, or for any agencies in the universe other than matter and force. For this famous trial lawyer and astute businessman, his days of agnosticism and conjecture ended and a wondrous journey of transformation began with his introduction to a quiet little woman who lived on Tremont Street in Rochester, New York. She was a psychic medium, her name, Mrs. Emily S. French.
Emily French And the Direct-Independent Voice Phenomena
“For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit… To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits…”
- First Epistle of Paul the Apostle 1 Corinthians, Chapter 12
Arthur Findlay, in his classic book, Looking Back, published in 1961, mentions that when he visited Mr. Randall in 1923 and asked him how he became interested in the phenomena of Direct-Voice, Mr. Randall responded by saying that in 1890 he had been approached by a number of his associates who requested him to investigate the practices of a lady named Mrs. French since, reportedly, she was a magician of the highest class and the cleverest fraud in America. It was assumed that Mr. Randall, being a master of detecting fraud on any level, was the last person who could be bamboozled by any charlatan, especially one pretending to be contacting the so-called dead. He stated, “I went (to Mrs. French’s home in Rochester), and found there two others, both men of national reputation. We sat in a dark room for two hours, and heard what purported to be voices…we found Mrs. French far along in years, of rare refinement, a beautiful character, and we were satisfied, a perfectly honest woman.” He quickly realized that the accusations made previously by his associates were absurd. Without exception, Mrs. French was held in the highest regard by her acquaintances and, most astonishingly and of the highest evidential level, took no money for her services. That she inspired trust is evident in the wondrous reports about her, some of which are given by those with weighty names and marks of scholarship. Mr. Randall was to eventually consider this unassuming woman from Rochester the greatest living psychic in America, if not in the entire world. His deep and unalterable conviction of the extraordinary nature of the case led him to experiment with and investigate the phenomena attending Mrs. French for twenty-two consecutive years; phenomena so marvelous that such occurrences would be impossible to apprehend unless an individual be familiar with the experience itself or the literature which deals with it.
In the presence of the medium, Mrs. French, but quite apart from her, voices, claiming to be those of deceased people would speak, and, when replied to, would answer back intelligently, which proved that not only was a mind behind the voice, but also that the speaker was able to hear as well as speak. Isolated voices manifesting from space without visible source of agency, could something be too wonderful to be true? Absolutely not, according to Mr. Randall. The proof, he said, was incontrovertible and conclusive, brought about by the sheer weight of evidence resulting from his many sittings and exacting experiments in which he tested the powers of Mrs. French in every conceivable way he could devise. The evidence was spoken; it was established through the attestations of men, women and children who had experienced the drama of death and who had come back by way of the direct-independent voice to share their experiences with those still living in the physical world.
Concerning the actual mechanics of speech, the following was spoken to Mr. Randall during one of the earlier séances:
“There are in our group,” the spirit replied [after being asked by Mr. Randall to tell of the conditions which enabled them to speak], “seven people, —all expert in the handling of the electric and magnetic forces, and when you and the psychic, Mrs. French, meet, the vital force that emanates from her personality is gathered up. We also take physical emanations—substances—from you and the others with you, while we contribute to the mass a certain spirit force. Now, that force, which we gather and distribute, is just as material as any substance that you would gather for any purpose; it is simply higher in vibration. We clothe the organs of respiration of the spirit who is to speak, so that his voice will sound in your atmosphere, and when this condition is brought about, it is just as natural for a spirit as it is for you. You then have what is known as the direct or independent voice, that is, the voice of a spirit speaking as in earth life.”
Although very little information is obtainable on the early life and biographical background of Mrs. French, some insight into her person and practices may be gleaned through the following passages.
This information was taken from a letter written by the secretary of the Rochester Art Club, Mr. A.W. Moore, dated 1905:
With a newspaperman’s soul, I found out something about the lady’s antecedents. She belongs to the American branch of the Pierrepont family, the head of which is the Earl of Manvers, whose principle estate is at Holme Pierrepont, Nottinghamshire, England. I borrowed a book giving the history of the American branch, in which there is a list of the members of the family then living in the United States. In the list I found the name of the late Judge Pierrepont, one time minister to the Court of Saint James, London, and at the very end, I found the names of Mrs. French and her only child, Mrs. D. Oberst. Mrs. French is the widow of the late Lieut. French of the United States Volunteers, who lost his life during the war of the Rebellion. She draws a pension of an officer’s widow. For many years she has made her home with her daughter, and her chief pleasure in life is administering to the comfort and education of her grandchildren. She is a lady of refinement and possesses the charming, unassuming and gentle manners of a well-born race.
From The Encyclopedia of Psychic Science:
Mrs. Emily French (1831-1912), of Rochester, a relation of President Cleveland, excellent American direct-voice medium. She was investigated for more than twenty years by Edward C. Randall of Buffalo. Isaac K. Funk and Prof. Hyslop [see Part III and appendices] also conducted remarkable experiments and proved that the voices did not originate in the vocal organs of the medium. “Red Jacket,” her Indian guide, had an exceedingly loud, masculine voice which could have easily filled a hall with a seating capacity of two thousand people. The medium at that time, was a frail old woman, with a weak and irregular heart and very deaf. Yet the communicators-the spirits-could hear every remark of the sitters at the séances.
As a superb example of a completely spontaneous situation involving the phenomena attending Mrs. French and one with the highest evidential value, I include the testimony of Mrs. French’s personal physician and friend, Dr. Jane M. Frear, who lived at 21 Orton Place, Buffalo, New York; it is dated 1907:
“My father [and I] at one time were talking with her, we standing on opposite sides of a doorway. The light from the next room made Mrs. French’s face plainly visible to me. I was looking at her and talking to her when the loud voice known as “Red Jacket” spoke to us from the top of the stairway, which was in the dark. I have also heard a voice beginning to speak while she was talking. This has happened on several occasions while I was chatting with her-her deafness prevented her from catching the first vibrations of the other voice or voices. I have also heard two voices singing at the same time-she does not sing. These voices were male voices.”
Emily French was 80 years, 11 months and 12 days old when she quietly passed away on June 22, 1912 at her home at 227 Tremont Street in Rochester, where she had spent most of her adult life. She was buried in Mt. Hope cemetery in that city.
The Complete Work of Edward C. Randall with Emily S. French
“Seek, and you will find; for you have aids from Nature for the discovery of Truth. But if you are not able yourself, by going along those ways, to discover that which follows, listen to those who have made the enquiry.” –Epictetus
Ninety years after his first published work startled the world, I present to a new audience as one edition, the complete Meta-psychic research of Edward C. Randall with the spiritual medium, Mrs. Emily S. French. Included, in edited form, are his five books, published between 1906 and 1922, and never before published, rare excerpts from his last unfinished manuscript, written in 1926, which I was fortunate enough to locate in Melbourne, Australia. Most importantly, all of the words spoken by the spirits and stenographically recorded by Mr. Randall and published by him are included in The French Revelation.
To all those who are interested in life after death and spirit communication, or to those who are uncertain of their beliefs, the case of Mrs. French cannot be denied as one of the most evidential cases in psychic history. Greed and notoriety played no part in Mrs. French’s life. There was no media frenzy, sensationalism or Internet back then. She refused money from anyone, and wanted nothing in return, except that all who experienced her mediumship would gain from it, and gain they did. Total selflessness was at the core of her spirituality. Many books have been published on the various types of phenomena manifesting in the séance rooms all over the world and many of these are classics, (see Suggested Reading List), but few, are infused with direct, in depth, specific teachings from the world of spirit. Teachings that help us to understand the meaning of life itself, here and now, and in the afterlife where all, without exception, are headed. Compiled into one solid edition at last, this body of work is truly the Magnum Opus of Emily S. French and Edward C. Randall and one of the most important works ever recorded.
The Spirits have said:
“We communicate with you not merely to prove survival but to attract attention to the important truths connected with it. We are anxious to show mankind that earth-life is not complete in itself, but contributes to a larger order, that it is an episode in a stupendously larger drama.”
God does seem to work in strange and wonderful ways. After having finished compiling The French Revelation, I found in a musty-smelling little sequestered nook in his hometown library, yet another faded obituary notice for Edward Caleb Randall, and in it was a statement from his memoirs which he completed before his death in 1935. He had written that the world would not be sufficiently advanced for the theories set forth in his work until another half century had passed; at a time when, as he expressed it, “the world is ready.” It was precisely fifty years later, in 1985, when I came upon, quite unexpectedly, Randall’s great classic, The Dead Have Never Died, and determined shortly after reading it to try and locate what other research he may have done and compile it into one complete edition. My entire mission has now come to pass, and I bow in thanks to the Infinite Intelligence who, it seems, has allowed me to have played a part, however large or small, in fulfilling the futuristic prophecy of this great American researcher, Mr. Edward C. Randall, with the psychic wonder of the world, Mrs. Emily S. French.
May these glorious truths, given to the world by these two tireless explorers into man’s greatest mystery, now infused with new life and set on its course once again, provide a more clear and rational understanding of life’s progress, and by so doing, enrich the world; complimenting God, natural laws, universal Truth and substantiate to a profound degree, man’s rightful place in the unceasing march of evolution.
- N. Riley Heagerty, New York, 1995
Publisher: White Crow Books
Published March 2015
Size: 229 x 152 mm