Over the years, I have read at least 500 books dealing with various aspects of life after death – books on mediumship, near-death experiences, reincarnation, apparitions, death-bed visions, and other paranormal phenomena suggesting that consciousness exists independent of the brain. In addition, I have read parts of another 500 or so books in this general subject area. When a friend recently asked me to name what I consider to be the top five of all those books I have read, I pondered only briefly before telling him that the two books by Vice-Admiral William Usborne Moore – Glimpses of the Next State and The Voices – would definitely be among the top five, possibly even one and two on my list. Both books are filled with amazing phenomena strongly suggesting spirits and, concomitantly, life after death.
When he wrote a small book titled The Cosmos and the Creeds, Moore, a retired British navy officer who had command of six surveying vessels before his retirement, attacked the teachings of the churches and expressed doubt as to the reality of a future life. “At the time I thought that such immortality as man possessed lay in the influence his actions, words, or writings had upon those who were his contemporaries, or who came after him; but that he himself, as an individual conscious entity, disappeared forever, not to be recognized again,” he wrote eight years later in Glimpses of the Next State, published 100 years ago this year.
Soon after the first book was published, Moore began to have misgivings about his agnosticism, as he had not investigated sources of evidence outside the narrow confines of the churches. Once he began investigating mediums late 1904, his views changed. “To be brief, I found that the deeper I went into the study of spiritism the more apparent it became that, whether he wished it or not, man’s individuality was not extinguished at death,” Moore, who went by his middle name, explained. “I read books, visited clairvoyants, and attended séances for materialization. Through all I was constantly reminded of the existence of a near and dear relative, older than myself, who passed away thirty-seven years ago in the prime of her life. Her continued reappearances could only lead me to one conclusion: I was being guided to a reconsideration of the problem of immortality.”
Moore referred to the deceased relative as “Iola,” explaining that she herself adopted the spirit name to avoid any unpleasant complications among friends and relatives still living who were not educated in spiritism. He pointed out that his investigation into spiritism was not prompted by any desire for consolation as he had not lost anyone other than his father many years before and was certainly not grieving and wanting to believe. His desire was simply to get at the truth. Moore concluded that as a surveyor, interested in detail and exactness, he was as qualified as anyone to investigate the subject matter.
While clearly aware that there were many charlatans posing as mediums, Moore proceeded cautiously. He explored mediumship in England and made three trips to the United States to sit with various mediums there. He experienced both physical and mental mediumship. Sitting with Joseph B. Jonson of Toledo, Ohio, he witnessed many materializations, including his father and mother. “In these there was no possibility of error,” he wrote, mentioning that his father’s characteristic “iron duke” nose stood out and that he saw him in good light. At one séance, he observed as many as 25 spirit forms emerge from the materialization cabinet and was certain that there were no trap doors of any kind in which confederates in costumes could have been admitted. They came in all sizes and shapes.
At a Jonson séance on February 1, 1909, 19 spirits manifested, 10 of them for Moore, including his father, mother, and Iola. “During this séance, I saw several spirits dematerialize,” he recorded. “Some descended into the floor slowly and, so to speak naturally. It was possible to follow their heads with the eye until the shoulders were level with the carpet. Others doubled up before they dissipated, and a few fell over on one side.”
While Moore sat with dozens of gifted mediums, Etta Wriedt of Detroit, Michigan may have been the most gifted. “For my part I can only say that, in her presence, I obtained evidence of the next state of consciousness so clear and so pronounced that the slightest doubt was no longer possible,” he offered. “I left her house in February 1911 in the condition of mind of a man who no longer fosters ‘belief,’ but who knows what is his destiny when the tomb closes over him and his spirit leaves the earth plane.”
Author of The Afterlife Revealed &
The Articulate Dead
About the author
Vice-Admiral William Usborne Moore (circa 1850 - 1918) was a retired British naval commander when he became a devoted psychical researcher in 1904. His books Glimpses of the Next State, published in 1911, and The Voices, published in 1913, detail his investigation of a number of mediums in both Great Britain and the United States.
RECORDS OF 1912
TWO SÉANCES WITH MRS. WRIEDT MR. W. T. STEAD MATERIALISES
By M. Chedo Miyatovich
After some hesitation, from personal reasons, I have arrived at the conclusion that it is my duty to the undying memory of my dear friend, William T. Stead, and my duty to a great cause, to address this letter to you for publication in Light.
By profession I am a diplomatist, having had the honour to represent my country (Servia) at the court of the King of Roumania, at the sublime porte of the Sultan of Turkey, and three times at the court of Queen Victoria, and once at the court of King Edward VII, besides having been entrusted by my Government with several important diplomatic missions and representations at international conferences. I am a member of several learned societies on the Continent, and an honorary member of the Royal Historical Society in London. I mention these personal facts to claim from your readers the credit that I am a man accustomed to weigh the facts and my own words in full consciousness of my responsibility. I ought to add that for many years I have been interested in the scientific study of occult phenomena, but was not yet a convinced Spiritist.
Having heard that at Mr. W.T. Stead’s house at Wimbledon the remarkable American medium, Mrs. Wriedt, with whom Vice-Admiral Moore experimented, was staying, I asked that lady for permission to pay her my respects, and eventually to have a séance with her. She gave me an appointment for Thursday, May 16, at 10.30 in the morning. I went there accompanied by my friend, Mr. H. Hinkovitch, doctor of law and a distinguished barrister at Agram (Croatia), who had just arrived in London.
Mrs. Wriedt took us to Julia’s Bureau, and told us that she is what is called a voicing medium, but that under good conditions the materialised spirits may also show themselves. She asked us to examine the cabinet and the room if we liked. As I have been on a previous occasion in that room, and examined the cabinet with several German Doctors, I did not think it necessary to do that on this occasion.
I and Dr. Hinkovitch took seats near each other in the centre of the room, facing the cabinet. Mrs. Wriedt did not enter the cabinet, but sat all the time on a chair near me. She placed a tin speaking-tube (megalophon) in front of my friend.
She started an automatic musical clock and put all the lights out, so that we sat in perfect darkness.
When a beautiful melody of a somewhat sacred character was finished by the clock, Mrs. Wriedt said to us that the conditions were very good, and that we should be able not only to hear, but also to see some spirits. “Yes,” she continued, “here is the spirit of a young woman. She nods to you, Mr. Miyatovich; do you not see her?” I did not see her, but my friend saw a piece of oblong and illuminated fog. “she whispers to me,” continued Mrs. Wriedt, “that her name is Mayell – Adela or Ada Mayell,” I was astounded. Only three weeks ago died Miss Ada Mayell, a very dear friend of mine to whom I was deeply attached. But in that moment there was no other manifestation of her. She disappeared without saying anything more except her name.
Next moment a light appeared from behind the medium, and moved from the left to the right of the cabinet, as if carried slowly by a soft breeze. There, in that slowly moving light, was not the spirit but the very person of my friend William T. Stead, not wrapped in white wrappers, as I have seen spirits at other séances, but in his usual walking costume! We both, I and Mrs. Wriedt, exclaimed loudly from joy. My friend Hinkovitch, who only knew Mr. Stead from photos, said: “Yes, that is Mr. Stead!”
Mr. Stead’s spirit nodded to me in a friendly manner and disappeared. Half a minute later he appeared again and stood opposite me (but somewhat higher above the floor), looking at me and bowing to me. And a little later he appeared again, for the third time, seen by us all three still more clearly than before. After his third disappearance I felt that the speaking-tube was moved towards my face, and then we all three heard distinctly these words:
“Yes, I am Stead—William T. Stead! And, my dear friend Miyatovich, I am so pleased you came here. I myself came here expressly to give you a fresh proof that there is life after death, and that Spiritism is true. I tried to persuade you of that while here, but you always hesitated to accept that truth.”
There I interrupted him by saying: “But you know I always believed what you said to me!” “Yes” he continued, “you believed because I was telling you something about it, but now I come here to bring you proof of what I was telling you—that you should not only believe, but know [pronouncing that word with great emphasis], that there is really a life after death, and that Spiritism is true! Now, goodbye my friend! Yes, here is Adela Mayell, who wishes to speak to you!”
Stead never knew Miss Ada Mayell in his life, nor had he ever heard her name before. She then spoke to me in her affectionate and generous manner, trying to reassure me on certain questions which have sadly preoccupied my mind since her death, and telling me that she is happy now. There is no need to report here all she said to me. Mrs. Wriedt and Mr. Hinkovitch heard every word she said.
Then, to my own and my Croatian friend’s astonishment, a loud voice began to talk to him in the Croatian language. It was an old friend, a physician by profession, who died suddenly from heart disease. My friend Hinkovitch could not identify who that might have been, but they continued for some time the conversation in their native tongue, of which, naturally, I heard and understood every word. Mrs. Wriedt, for the first time in her life, heard how the Croatian language sounds.
Mr. Hinkovitch accidentally overturned the speaking tube, and although he tried to replace it in the original position, and thought he had succeeded in doing so, the talking manifestations were not continued. When the light was turned on,
Mrs. Wriedt found that the speaking tube was not placed properly, and that circumstance, according to her, explained the cessation of further manifestations.
I and my Croatian friend were deeply impressed by what we witnessed on that day, May 16, between 11 and 12 o’clock at noon. I spoke of it to many of my friends as the most wonderful experience of my life. I spoke of it to the most scientific woman of Germany, Frau Professor Margarette Selenka, Who had just returned from Tenerife, where she was establishing a station for scientific observation of apes. Mme. Selenka came to London to hear all the details of the Titanic catastrophe, in which her great friend W.T. Stead had perished. We arranged to have a private séance with Mrs. Wriedt on Friday, May 24, at one o’clock. That séance was held in Julia’s Bureau, but excepting for a voice shouted once, “Sit quiet in the chair!” no other manifestation took place. By arrangement with Mrs. Wriedt, I and Mme. Selenka returned in the evening, and at eight o’clock we had a séance, at which, besides me and Mme. Selenka, Mrs. And Miss Harper and a very charming lady, whose name I did not ascertain, were present.
After a short time from the beginning of the séance we all saw Mr. Stead appear, but hardly for more than ten seconds. He disappeared, to reappear again somewhat more distinctly, but not so clearly as he appeared to me on May 16. That was the only materialisation phenomenon of that evening, but as compensation we had wonderful and various voicing manifestations. Mr. Stead had a long conversation with Mme. Selenka and a short one with me, reminding me of an incident which, two years ago, took place in his office at Mowbray House. Then, again, Miss Ada Mayell spoke to me, telling me, among other things, that she knew that her sisters and her niece wrote to me, as she wished them to do.
After her my own mother came and spoke to me in our own Servian language most affectionately. Mme. Selenka had a very affecting conversation with her husband, Professor Lorentz Selenka, of the Munich University, and also with her own mother, who died last year in Hamburg; both these conversations were carried on in German. A friend of Mme. Selenka came singing a German song, and asked her to join him, as they used to sing together in old times, and Mme. Selenka did join him singing. Then we had an Irishman, once a naval officer, who had a long, cheerful and Indeed, quite a sparkling talk with the charming lady, whose name I unfortunately do not know, but with whom the brilliant Irishman seemed to be everlastingly in love. Naturally, although I heard clearly all the conversations in German and in English, I am not justified in reporting them here. Not even the long statement which Julia made concerning certain suggestions to keep the Cambridge House as a centre for psychic research in memory of Stead, can I properly reproduce here. All I wish to state publicly is that I am deeply grateful to the wonderful gift of Mrs. Wriedt for having enabled me to obtain from my unforgettable friend, William T. Stead, a convincing proof that there is a life after death, and that Spiritism is true, and for having given me almost a heavenly joy in hearing the affectionate words of my dear mother in our own tongue, and in getting another and sacred proof of the continuance of the living individuality of one of the most charming, most selfless, and generous women whom I have ever known so far in my life.
Royal Societies Club,
St. James’s S.W.
By Vice Admiral W. Usborne Moore
The versatile genius of W. T. Stead was never directed to a better object nor one more worthy of the highest admiration than when he instituted “Julia’s Bureau.” No mortal has ever schemed out a saner or more altruistic plan. He claimed to be guided from the next state of consciousness, and I believe he was, and by his friend in spirit-life, Julia Aimes. The general idea was that men and women who wished to come into touch with their relatives who had passed the change called death were to come to him, register their names, and to be taken to mediums incognito, who would probably be able to put them in touch with those from whom they wished to hear. Free of cost, these visitors received more or less consolation, and enjoyed the use of Mr. Stead’s psychic library.
As far as money went Stead was “Julia’s bureau,” and Julia’s Bureau was Stead. It was a very costly experiment. Except for certain insignificant contributions which he received, the whole of the expenses were borne by the founder alone. He dropped some thousands of pounds over this beneficent project.
It was a noble scheme, and it was successful. Many a sorrowing man and woman found peace and comfort through the agency of the bureau; but, like all one man undertakings, it was bound to fail when its originator passed over. On July 4, 1912, the Bureau ceased its labours. If a philanthropist comes forward with a thousand a year to spend upon it, the useful work may still flourish in different hands. Unfortunately, on this plane we can do nothing without cash, and I see no prospect of either the man or the money being found.
Mr. Stead had a custom of holding a weekly religious service at his country house with a small circle of friends, one of whom was a medium; it was followed by a séance. Julia generally manifested in some way or another. But these Wednesday evening meetings did not constitute in themselves the “Bureau,” though pleasing to the few who joined in them. They were merely incidents in a far larger and more comprehensive plan of benefit to the general public. These little gatherings may still be continued, but the grand work of obtaining consolation for those who need it has ceased to exist, and there is little chance of its being revived.
Early in 1911 Stead wrote to me in America asking whom I could recommend as a suitable psychic for “Julia’s Bureau.” I knew exactly what he required, and named Mrs. Wriedt, of Detroit, who, in fact is the very person of all others whose gift is most active and conspicuous for the purpose he desired to achieve. She came to England at his invitation, and, through her mediumship, much good was done during the two and a half months she was able to remain. She was again invited this year, and agreed to come for two months and to return with Mr. Stead. On the morning of Monday, April 15, she heard the ghastly intelligence of the loss of the Titanic, and hurried down to New York to stop with kind friends in 61st Street. At this time, and, indeed, until Wednesday, the 17th, the extent of the catastrophe was not known. Rumours and false Marconigrams were flying about all over the place; it was not till the 17th that it was accepted in New York that the majority of the crew and passengers had perished. The following letter was received by me by the next return voyage of the Mauretania, from Mrs. Wridet’s host; date, New York, April 23, 1912:-
Mrs. Wriedt came in from Detroit Tuesday morning, 16th, and was to return with Mr. Stead for London. The sad end of poor Mr. Stead was a great shock to her, and she was very much discouraged. At a séance on the same night of her arrival Dr. Sharp gave us the full details of the Titanic’s encounter with the berg; also assured us of the passing of Mr. Stead, and gave us names of many prominent persons who went down with the ship. The following night, Wednesday, Mr. Stead came (just three days after his passing). He was weak in his articulation, but we quite understood him; his stay was short. The next night, Thursday, Mr. Stead came again; his articulation and personality were much stronger, and he went into details of his passing. The following night, Friday, he came again very strong and clear, again gave us full details of his passing…......He particularly desired that Mrs. Wriedt go over to London to fulfil her engagement, which she is now about doing.
On Friday this gentleman wired to me for instructions, and on Sunday, 21st, I directed that Mrs. Wriedt should come over, and then took charge myself of the financial and other details of her visit. The ladies and gentlemen who had guaranteed Mr. Stead for the expenses of the undertaking, just as I expected, cordially supported my action. The psychic arrived at Wimbledon on Sunday, May 5. Proper arrangements were made for her times of sitting and periods of diversion and rest, and séances were held throughout nine weeks, ending on Friday, July 5.
The results of this visit were, on the whole, satisfactory. More power was exhibited than last year, and much good was achieved; but during June there were many blank séances, owing, in my opinion, to Mrs. Wriedt, against my express wishes, holding sittings for her own friends at times allotted by me for her rest and amusement. I found it was quite impossible to stop these irregular proceedings; any attempt to thwart the determination of the psychic resulted in a painful scene and consequent “bad conditions”; remonstrance’s only defeated their own object. My own failures were very few; no more than I ought to expect in any case (the last sitting was the best), but I had my finger on the pulse of Cambridge House all the time, and knew of many disappointments, though not one sitter complained to me. They appeared to appreciate that in all such cases the psychic was as disappointed as they were, also that these blanks afforded good evidence of her entire genuineness. Of the thorough honesty of the proceedings in the séance room no sitter has ever hinted a doubt. As trustee for the guarantors I only regret that many casual visitors enjoyed sittings with Mrs. Wriedt who took no part in bringing her to England or maintaining her while here.
I propose to give an account of some of the séances with this privileged instrument of the higher powers —enough to demonstrate to your readers the value of her unique gift, which is not in the least dimmed and which I hope will continue for many years. I will first give a brief résumé of my own experiences alone with Mrs. Wriedt in the dark.
We were in the habit of sitting at some distance from one another; by leaning forward in our chairs as far as possible and stretching out our right arms to their fullest extent we were just able to clasp hands. I do not remember that we were ever closer than that. When the sitting began we sat upright in our chairs in an easy posture; a trumpet, mouth downwards, on the floor between us; plenty of flowers in bowls and vases on either side of me. Generally within five minutes voices could be heard, and conversation would last for periods of between thirty and fifty minutes. On many occasions there were beautiful spirit lights and etherealisations—i.e., heads and forms brightly illumined, but features not plainly visible. When the room appeared to me pitch dark the phenomena were poor; when, to my partially clairvoyant sight, the room was lighter and psychic clouds could be seen we always had a good sitting.
My guide always appeared as a phantasm, but could not always speak. It was curious to see her move back from me to the psychic or to the flowers to gather strength, and then return. That the forms were not hallucinations of my own was quite clear, for they moved their arms and could be seen crossing and recrossing each other. I soon found that Iola had developed a new power. She could appear to me without being seen by the psychic, and talk to me without trumpet and without a single articulate word being heard by Mrs Wriedt. I could just catch the words, which appeared to emanate from a distance of six inches from my ear; but Mrs. Wriedt heard nothing at all, or only a slight swishing sound. On the other hand, the psychic often saw lights and spirit forms which I was unable to see. All this shows that our friends on the other side can present a dark half and manifest only to those whom they desire shall see them or hear them.
Several of my relatives came to talk to me through the trumpet, but only one or two friends. The chief communicator was Iola, who told me many new truths and evinced the most extraordinary memory for events ranging over a period of from forty to fifty years. She recalled to me circumstances that occurred during my voyages about Australia, showing a familiarity with numerous events that did not take place till four years after her death. These I shall not relate, as they would not interest your readers.
One feature of the conversations with my relatives should be noted. On some twenty occasions they alluded to a lady friend of mine who is in a home for those who are mentally distressed. I trust that the affliction is only of a temporary nature; but, whether temporary or permanent, it is obviously the proper course to separate her from her children for a considerable time. To do otherwise would be to invite a tragedy. The children are at present in the care of their nearest relatives, tenderly cared for and happy in constantly seeing their father, who also visits his wife whenever his professional duties allow of his doing so. No sane man could possibly adopt any other course than that which he has found himself obliged, reluctantly to follow. Yet those on the other side have been endeavouring to influence me to induce the lady’s relatives to restore her to her children. Apparently all these spirits can see and feel is divine sympathy with the sufferer; the common-sense precautions which we discern so clearly are nothing to them; anything in the nature of sternness or firmness is abhorrent to their thoughts. To me this is inexplicable, but it is a very useful lesson. We are not intended while on this plane to regulate our lives by advice from people in the next state; they do not know all the circumstances, and have only commiseration and loving kindness for those who are in distress. They, apparently, are incapable of understanding that there are conditions in our sphere where sternness is kindness and true wisdom.
I was surprised that Greyfeather, the old Indian medicine chief, was equally indulgent. The persistence of the latter and my relatives can only be compared to the story in David Copperfield of the constant repetition of Charles the First’s head in Mr. Dick’s Memorial. I asked my relative, A., a psychic, what he thought of all this. He replied: “Well, what do you think would happen if Mrs. —— were to be put in command of a battleship?” It is a fair Analogy. The lady he mentioned is remarkable for her sympathy, selflessness, and spirituality. Most certainly, if she were transferred to the grotesque situation he named, there would be no punishments; crime and offences against discipline would go unchecked; and in three months, at latest, the ship would be in a state of mutiny.
This little experience of mine blows to atoms the overstretched theory that our subliminal self is responsible for the information we receive in many ways through mediums. For every utterance of these spirits on the subject of the restoration of her children to the invalid is opposed to my judgement. I have not the least intention of seriously considering them, nor of obtruding advice on the husband, who is acting in the best interests of his wife and family.
During the time Mrs. Wriedt was our guest, Grayfeather, the control of J. B. Jonson, the materialisation medium at Toledo, Ohio, was a frequent visitor. He only manifested once, so far as I know, when I was not present. I asked him one day; “Grayfeather, will you come to my friends Colonel L. and Major and Mrs. R. next Tuesday at 8 o’clock?” He said: “Are you coming Chief?” I replied: “No” he said: “I only come when you are here. I not come to make laugh, I come to do good.” I told him that he was doing good to come to my friends, and he finally replied, “I see.” On the Tuesday morning I repeated my request: “I hope you will come to my friends this afternoon, Grayfeather.” Again he grunted “I see.” That evening Mrs. R. kindly wrote to me an account of her séance in which she said that Grayfeather had manifested, shouting: “Chief Usborne send me: what you want?” He had a friendly talk with the circle, and then departed. During these last two months the old Indian has repeatedly told me that he is treating the invalid lady I mentioned above “in her topknot,” and that he has magnetised me several times so that I shall be fit to sit frequently. That I have been magnetised often I do not doubt, for I have sat six times a week for three periods, with gaps between, without any depletion worth mentioning. I only hope he has been equally successful with the patient.
As regards “conditions,” the best, of course, were in dry weather and when the sitters were harmonious. Rain always had a depressing effect, and the voices were low in the room. When the conditions were at their best the voices were high, level with or above our heads; when conditions were bad, and the controls found it impossible to draw from the throats of the sitters, the voices failed, and they resorted to the exhibition of coarser physical phenomena. These consisted of movements of a small table and large vases of flowers, flowers taken out of vases and bowls which were given to the sitters, and upsetting of chairs, all done noiselessly.
John King (the Sir Henry Morgan of the past) was active in assisting all phenomena. I think he might be called the “control-in-charge” at Cambridge House. Dr. Sharp (Mrs. Wriedt’s own control) came often and talked in a loud, clear voice; his visits were more frequent when those people were present who knew him and had talked with him during the psychic’s visit last year.
Before closing my brief record of my séances alone with Mrs. Wriedt I ought to mention two rather curious evidential sittings. A Mrs. H. had a private séance one day which she did not consider satisfactory, because none of her relatives were able to make their identity clear to her, but Iola (whom she neither expected nor desired to see) came to her and sent a significant private message to her sister, who, she asserted, was a friend of Mrs. H. (this last statement was true).
On the following morning I had a private sitting. After the visits of some of my relatives a voice was heard, Admiral, I am Mrs. H’s nephew.” He then gave his Christian and surname correctly, and expressed his great regret that he had not been able to make himself known to his Aunt clearly on the previous day; and requested that I would tell her. An expression was used in the message which sealed his identity beyond doubt. On acquainting the lady I found that it was this relative she had specially hoped would manifest during her sitting. I had known this spirit myself when he was in earth life; he passed over twelve years ago.
It is very rare, indeed, for my guide to manifest in any way to strangers when I am not present. She has only done so three times in England, and four times in America (through another medium). On each of these seven visits there has been a special reason; on four it has been at my own request.
During this visit (1912) I did not sit with Mrs. Wriedt in the light, though many of the guarantors did so. I have done this so often as a scientific experiment that it was, for me, wholly unnecessary. Sittings in the dark are better in every way on account of the extraordinary lights, etherealisations and phantasmal forms; the voices are more numerous and clear.
I will now proceed to give an account of some of the sittings held on Wednesdays, generally known as “Julia’s circles.”
Mr. Stead’s manifestations.
The first appearance of W. T. Stead at Cambridge House, Wimbledon, his country residence when in life, was at 11.30a.m., May 6, when I was sitting in the dark alone with Mrs. Wriedt. This phenomenon has been mentioned in your journal in the issue of May 18, p. 239 [Light, 1912}, and also in Miss Estelle Stead’s article in the July number of Nash’s magazine. On the same evening a meeting of Julia’s Circle was organised to welcome Mrs. Wriedt; it was attended by Miss Stead, who has recorded briefly what she saw and heard from her father, in the magazine above mentioned. The first spirit that manifested was Cardinal Newman, who recited a Latin benediction; Dr. Sharp made himself known in a loud, clear voice; Grayfeather followed; then Mr. Stead; he was followed by the son of two of the sitters and by Iola. Finally, Mr. Stead came again.
The séance lasted one hour and a quarter, and was replete with incident. The voice of the Cardinal was heard the instant the lights were put out. At least forty minutes were taken up by Stead talking to his daughter. I could not help hearing every word. It was the most painful and, at the same time, the most realistic, convincing conversation I have ever heard during my investigations. The first time he came it was chiefly to give directions to his daughter as to the disposal of his private papers. Miss Estelle was, naturally, much agitated, and her grief at last reacted upon her father, who uttered a loud shout, “Oh my God!” and dropped the trumpet, which fell to the floor with a crash. The second visit, which was at the end of the séance, was a calmer manifestation; this time the speaker was much assisted by Dr. Sharp, who sometimes interpreted what he wanted to say.
On Wednesday, May 8, the members of Julia’s circle met again. This time Mr. Robert King was one of the party, and sat, as he always has done when Mrs. Wriedt has been present, opposite to her at a distance of eight feet. The reason that I am relating in some detail what happened in Julia’s circles is because, speaking generally, the sitters were the same every time, and occupied the same places. Psychic history has proved that when this is done the best results are obtained. I have attended these meetings only when Mrs. Wriedt was present, and have never known a blank séance. Some have been better than others, owing, no doubt, to superior atmospheric conditions, and partly to the presence of Mr. Robert King, whose gift has materially assisted in the results obtained through the American medium. All the members of Julia’s circle were mediumistic, except three men.
The séance was a very good one. A few seconds after the lights were switched off phenomena commenced, and they lasted without interruption for one hour and forty minutes. At least fifteen different spirits identified themselves to their friends, and there was an unknown entity making comments on what went on from under a chair. For quite an hour a spirit was slapping me, at intervals, on the back with a trumpet (Mr. King described him as a tall, big man); the noise of sawing wood was going on at the end of the room, ten feet outside the circle. About the middle of the séance W. T. Stead came, talking loudly, and insisting upon Julia’s sittings going on. He said “Ladies and gentlemen, I beg to propose that these sittings be continued, at any rate as long as Mrs. Wriedt is here. Those in favour hold up their hands. If any money is required I will see to it.” (Pause.) “Admiral Moore, you have not held up your hand.” (Pitch Dark.) To humour him I then raised my hand; my head was struck twice with a trumpet. The voice continued; “I was hit in this room once in the same way.”
(I must here explain that the Julia meetings involved a small extra expense. At the time I did not see how this was to be met, and discouraged the idea. But for three weeks after this séance subscriptions of expectant sitters poured in, and it was evident that there would be no difficulty; the amount finally received amounted to one-fourth more than the sum estimated, and enabled me to give the psychic a substantial gift from the guarantors. As to my friends allusion to being hit on the head the previous year, the story was this. One night Stead came up to his house determined to be very scientific; he directed the two trumpets to be painted near the big end with luminous paint. This was done, and they were stood up in the centre of the circle. The lights were put out, Stead took both Mrs. Wriedt’s hands in his, and the séance began. Presently one trumpet was seen to be rising, but, instead of any voice coming from it, it was thrown at his head and hit him a sharp blow. The second trumpet behaved in a similar manner. Stead was mildly indignant, and exclaimed: “This to me! Take those trumpets away and have them washed.” When brought back clean and put down in the circle phenomena went on as usual, and there was a satisfactory séance.)
There was a long talk by the spirits about the work of Julia’s bureau being carried on as a fitting memorial to Mr. Stead, and all the members of the circle, except myself, joined in a chorus of approval. As it was certain that not one-fiftieth part of the annual sum required could have been raised by those present for the purpose, and the most modest estimate for carrying out such a project is one thousand pounds a year, this seemed to me futile; so little do those in the next state appreciate the material facts of earthly conditions.
The ladies of the party were ejaculating, “Yes, dear chief, it shall be done,” and so forth. With all my respect for Mr. Stead I have never regarded him as my “chief,” so I sat tight, knowing well that the “Bureau” was quite defunct.
Grayfeather came and made himself known to each sitter; Dr. Sharp, as usual loud, clear, and in his best form. Cardinal Newman manifested, and Iola. An Admiral St. C␣ came to me and told me he had been present when I was talking to a friend at Southsea, giving the man’s name, and recalling some details of the conversation. (They were true) Each member of the circle received some test. Two or three times three spirit voices were speaking at the same moment. The Captain of the Titanic made himself known, and, through Dr. Sharp, assumed full blame for the disaster. Dr. Sharp explained that Mr. Stead could not etherealise that evening. Julia addressed the circle. Miss Estelle was not present on this occasion.
I may mention that Stead’s talk on every occasion that he came was characteristic of him. Nobody who heard it and who had enjoyed the privilege of knowing him in life could doubt that he was before us.
Wednesday, May 15. Julia’s circle. There was one stranger present, a physician much interested in psychic research. He was well known to the psychic, who asked him to sit next to her. As usual, phenomena began very quickly, and continued throughout the séance with but few gaps. Two spirits came to speak to Dr. ——. One was a lady whom he had attended last year. Dr. Sharp assisted her to make her identity known, and then said: “She wants to ask you a question.” A voice asked: “Doctor, did you get your fee?” and went on to indicate that the speaker had been troubled about it.
The Doctor told me afterwards that this was, to him, a remarkable test. Before an operation he had made special arrangements with this poor lady, whose means he knew were very limited, and had agreed to a very reduced fee. After her death, owing to some foolish misunderstanding on the part of one of the executors, his account was disputed, and the payment was delayed for some time; in fact he was actually asked to reduce his minimised charge, which, of course he declined to do. Eventually the sum for which he had originally agreed was sent to him, and apologies tendered. Now, talking to him from the next state, was the lady herself, earnestly inquiring if her debt had been paid. He reassured his visitor, and she departed after a short conversation, apparently relieved.
His other visitor was a foreigner, who asked the Doctor if he would do something for his brother. He made his own identity clear, and there was no ambiguity about the request. Dr. Sharp then intervened, and, addressing the doctor, said: “Don’t do it; if people who are born with five senses use only four, you cannot do anything with them.” The doctor told me he quite understood the message of the spirit, and that the control’s advice was good.
Mr. Stead spoke. He welcomed the doctor to the circle, and greeted me and other members. Iola manifested, and addressed a few words to all. Mrs. Anker’s child came to her, talking in the Norwegian tongue; also her father-in-law, whom she had never seen in life. As I sat next to Mrs. Anker, I heard the prattle of the child very distinctly. The cloak of a lady sitting opposite to me, and distant about five feet, was brought from the back of her chair, and thrown over the back of the lady next on my left and over my left arm. Many spirit friends of the sitters spoke during the evening. Two voices, occasionally three, talked simultaneously.
Wednesday, May 22. A minute or two after the lights were switched off the white form of a man appeared in front of me, and was sensed by the lady on my left. Mrs. Wriedt said: “There is someone here of the name of ——.” This was the surname of a military man, a friend of mine, who died some five or six years ago after many years of great suffering. I asked him to speak, but he was unable to do so. (He came to me afterwards at one of my private séances, and talked for some little time. There was a decided significance, to me, in his making himself known just at this time.) Cardinal Newman manifested, and gave a Latin benediction. Again Mrs. Anker’s child came to her and talked in their own language. Some three or four friends of different sitters came to them, after which Grayfeather talked in loud and lively tones.
Q. (from my neighbour): “Do you build houses the other side, and do you need sleep?” A.: “No; no shutte eye␣always wake.” Q.: Do you get tired?” A.: “No get tired, because me no walke with bones.” Q.: “Do you need food?” A.: “Where I put it?”
The Indian told Mrs. Wriedt that her husband in Detroit, Michigan, had slipped on the outer steps leading up to the house and strained his ankle. (A letter received a month later confirmed this.) He also gave good tests to four members of the circle.
On several occasions the spirits sang through the trumpet or joined in when we sang. Iola came to me, but could not speak. She was not seen by the ladies right and left of me. Neither Julia nor Stead manifested. As a Wednesday evening sitting it was inferior.
Wednesday, May 29. Dr. Sharp came first, and greeted all the members of the circle. Mrs. Wriedt complained bitterly that none of her relatives ever came to her. Could not Dr. Sharp bring her father to see her? He was a Welshman, who had many relatives residing in this country. Sharp said, I will tell him what you have said,” but made no promise.
William Stead Jr., who passed over several years before his father, came and talked to his sister, who told him that she recognised his voice as the same she had heard last year. I can support Miss Estelle in this statement. There are a few spirit voices, I have noticed, which never alter, and one is young Stead’s. I have often talked to him; the voice and manner of talking are always precisely the same. He is an excellent communicator. When in this life he did not believe in Spiritism.
Grayfeather burst in: “Me here! Me heapy much glad to see you” (Trumpet banged on the floor). He then greeted each sitter individually, paying special attention to Miss Estelle, and threw the trumpet out of the circle. Sir Henry Irving manifested for a minute, saying in the same voice I heard last year, “’Tis well, ’tis well,” and singing a few bars of a song. He was followed by three spirits, who came to different sitters and were identified. I related to the circle a curious phenomenon I had been shown the previous morning; the trumpet had been twice removed from the floor, and twice, noiselessly, replaced in exactly the same position. The first time this happened Mrs. Wriedt thought that, in sweeping round my hand in the dark, I might have missed it. I knew this to be extremely improbable, because it was standing within six or eight inches of a table, and the small end three inches above it; I had the table as a guide. On the second experiment we clasped hands (which we could just do by both reaching forward to the full extent of our arms), swept towards the table, touched it, lowered our arms one and a half feet, and then swept outwards an arc of about forty degrees. No trumpet! On lighting up, there it was, standing precisely where I had found it after the first experiment. The trumpet is always kept damp inside, and one damp ring only was visible on the floor coinciding exactly with the rim of the mouth of the trumpet, Joined as our arms were, it was absolutely impossible to miss any object within the arc I have mentioned.
A voice, Iola: “Dematerialization is suspension. It was suspended out of reach and sight.” Q.: “What do you mean? There was no question of sight, for we were in the dark.” Iola: Do you remember that a trumpet has fallen several times from the ceiling?” [Correct. I have seen this phenomenon at least eight times] That is dematerialization; the light was so strong that it fell.” [Every time it happened it was at the instant of switching on the lights.] “This is suspension. In our case yesterday morning the trumpet was lifted up; it was not actually dematerialised.” Q.: “It was in exactly the same place when the lights were switched on.. Was it simply lifted up out of our reach, or was it dematerialised?” Iola; “Dematerialised.”
Dr. Sharp now intervened, and gave an explanation in almost the same words as those used by my guide. I could not make head or tail of it; but I find that I seldom can when spirits try to explain to us how these mysterious physical phenomena are performed. They appear to be unable to explain these wonders in terms that mortals can understand. It was no use pursuing the subject.
A husband and wife were visited by their son, who talked to them for several minutes. The lady on my left got into touch with young Brailey, who was drowned in the Titanic; then Mrs. Anker, on my right, was visited by a distinguished Norwegian authoress, who conversed with her for some time in their own language. Mrs. Anker told me that the last time she saw this lady in life was in Rome; she was much attached to her. She added: “I asked her just now if she knew my husband [in spirit life}, and she replied: ‘ Yes, yes; he is here now!’ I wrote of her in Norway after her death.” All that I could make out in the talk of the spirit were the words “Ella Anker, Ella Anker,” in most affectionate tones.
Mrs. Wriedt: “Things seem to be a little queer in my head. I must go outside.” She left the room for a few minutes. I gathered that she had taken on the dying condition of the spirit who had just been talking to my neighbour. On her return, Dr. Sharp gave an address on the developing customs of the fakirs in India, in clear, loud tones that anybody might have heard outside the room. It lasted several minutes, and wound up with, “Remember, friends, this is not for publication.
The control then went on to say that most mortals had not developed their brain cells, and referred to the superior development of distinguished men like Mr. Stead. I tried hard to follow this discourse, but failed, and other sitters were no more fortunate. The enunciation was perfect; but he could not explain his meaning, nor answer questions put to him by the sitters, in such a way that we could find out what he meant. The voice was firm, and loud enough to have been heard downstairs; he must have talked for thirty minutes in the aggregate. Julia now manifested, and greeted Miss Estelle Stead and all the members of the circle.
I did not attend the séance of Wednesday, June 5. Wednesday June 12. Atmospheric conditions bad. As soon as the lights went out, I saw a white form approaching me. Iola whispered for a second or two, and said: “You have dropped a flower.” The lady on my right did not see the form, but the lady on my left sensed a presence and heard the words; she most kindly picked up the flower from the floor that had been brought by the spirit. Dr. Sharp then made himself known, and greeted each sitter by name. Then Grayfeather exclaimed: “Me here! me here! Me heap much glad to come to big chief across pond.” That morning the Indian had come to a private circle of mine, and accosted an old lady sitting next to me who was wearing a turquoise brooch, asking her in what month she was born. She replied “February”; and he then said, “Turquoise no good for February.” It seemed appropriate, therefore, to ask him this evening what precious stones represented the months of the year. His answers to various questions of the sitters were: March, catseye; September, moonstone: June, topaz: December, turquoise; April, amethyst. We could not make much of it. Then he had quite interesting conversations with the ladies to the right and left of me about their respective occupations; they seemed to think that his knowledge of their affairs was remarkable. All this time a second had been ejaculating remarks from the floor not far from Mr. King, and at rare intervals a third voice intervened.
The voice which we have been accustomed to associate with Sir Henry Irving now spoke: “’Tis well, ‘tis well.” He could not make us understand what he wished to say. A son of two of the sitters now manifested, and talked with his parents for some minutes. Here William Stead, junr., had a long talk with his sister, and made an appointment to meet her and another brother at a private sitting the following week.
Grayfeather came again to give a prophecy to a sitter about a friend of his who, he declared, would have an accident in a motor-car in a month or two if he did not take care. His description of the gentleman (whom I afterwards met) was excellent. After this I heard a voice close to the floor near my feet. It was clear that the spirit wanted to speak to me; but the words were not distinguishable. Grayfeather said: “You remember, chief, where once you go in your ship to line Islands, the first Island you come to you go ashore to big meeting you meet a tall man with black moustache; he not a black man. When you come back, you find no clapper on bell. You hunt around to find out who did it, and no one tell.”
Admiral Moore: “I have a sort of dim remembrance of the tongue of the ship’s bell being removed, Grayfeather; but I cannot clearly recollect anything about it. I will ask my brother officers.”
Dr. Sharp: “You got off the ship and went to the meeting house, and that was when it was done. This man here [spirit] is the man who did it. He did it for a purpose.” Admiral Moore: “It was a very curious voyage.” Dr. Sharp: “You had to be very careful, and it’s a wonder you ever returned. You had treachery behind and in front of you.”
The next day I enquired of a captain in the Navy who had served with me for some years. He laughed and said: “I remember hearing about that having happened when you commanded the Dart, but not when I was with you.” I am now making further inquiries. This much is certain: that twenty-nine years ago I did command a ship which made two long and arduous voyages among the remote islands in the Pacific at and near the Equator; that during these voyages I was faced with difficulties of no ordinary kind (not inaptly described by Dr. Sharp); and that I did go to several meeting-houses of the Polynesians. Unfortunately, the first lieutenant of the Dart is dead; but I hope to find out more about it, and, if I am successful, will report in a future letter.
A Voice: “Power up, power done.”
Julia now came in and talked briefly to Miss Estelle and the members of the circle in her refined English tones, finishing with “Sweet rest to all, good night.”
Wednesday, June 19. The members of Julia’s circle assembled in the drawing-room, where they examined a photograph taken that day in the séance room, in the dark, by a lady. The picture is unquestionably of psychic origin. It shows a cabin with door open and apparently broken, a porthole, ropes hanging about, and, in relief against the porthole, a face which is very like W. T. Stead. We then went upstairs to the séance- room. The psychic switched off the lights, and before she had time to regain her chair Dr. Sharp’s voice was heard. He greeted the sitters by name, and carried on a conversation in a clear voice with three of them. Other spirits then manifested. One was Wilbur Wright, the airman, who conversed with Mrs. Wriedt for a short time; then Grayfeather, who shouted: “Me here, me here! How do, chief from across big pond? Me heap much glad you got letter.” Admiral Moore: “I got a letter from Mr.— — [Mrs. Wriedt’s host in New York] today.” Grayfeather: “You got your scratchem from little squaw?” [meaning my wife]. Admiral Moore: “Not yet, but I expect to when I get back tonight” [which I did]. The Indian addressed another sitter and left. Then came another Indian spirit␣a girl, to judge by the voice; we had heard this voice last year. Admiral Moore: “Is that you Mimi? How old are you?” Mimi: “Two hundred years! Miss Scatcherd [addressing the lady on my left], I going to play with your beads.”
[The lady had some beads about her.] Mimi talked for some minutes very clearly; the voice was close to me, and sometimes above my head.
The spirit of a young man manifested to his parents; he also gave a message to a sitter near to them. A flower from his mothers dress was taken to another sitter. The members of the circle sang, and a voice joined in through a trumpet. Iola then spoke to me, and afterwards greeted the sitters in a little speech. She was instantly followed by Mr. Stead, who spoke rapidly to his daughter upon private matters, and then said, with reference to the narrative of his life, which was to be written by his private secretary: “I want to get right on. I want Edith to write it as I want it.” A sitter: “He is in a hurry.” W.T. Stead: Did you ever know me take my time over anything?” There was a chorus of “No!” from all present. W. T. Stead: “How are you Admiral?” Admiral Moore: Delighted to hear you again.” A few final words to his daughter followed. Admiral Moore: “Will you tell us about the photograph?” W. T. Stead: “The photograph represents what took place in the Titanic as near as I can give it to you.” Admiral Moore: “Is that your cabin door?” W. T. Stead: “yes, and the porthole.”
A voice on the floor kept on, at intervals, complaining “his trumpet had been taken away from him.”
Another spirit came and talked intelligently to the lady on my left; and a man’s hand was put into that of Mrs. Anker. He spoke to her in the Norwegian language. She told me after the séance that it was her husband.
Julia now manifested, as usual, to close the séance, and talked in eulogistic terms of Mr. Stead. While she was speaking there was a shout, “Stained Glass Julia.” This last utterance of Mr. Stead was␣to me␣the most striking evidential fact of the séance. He was, in life, surrounded by a knot of women who adored him for his kindly sympathy. When one of them approached him with some complimentary speech he would good-naturedly turn it off by saying “Stained Glass.”
When the lights were switched on a vase of lilies from a small table was found in the centre of the circle four feet from where it was seen before the séance commenced. Phenomena had gone on with scarcely a gap for nearly two hours.
Wednesday, July 3. Farewell to Mrs. Wriedt.
Directly the lights were out Dr. Sharp gave a general greeting to the sitters; then a great number of spirit lights, a flash of light in the ceiling of the room, and a partial etherealisation were seen; there was an illuminated head and some white stuff underneath, but the features were not distinguishable. Then a voice, Iola: “That was Mr. Stead.” I made an appointment with her for Friday, July 5; she then gave a few words of address to the members of the circle and departed. Many spirits manifested to their friends. The feature of the evening was the clear talk of an Indian girl who called herself “Blossom.” She gave tests to at least half of the circle. One sitter was especially insistent that she should spell out the name of the spirit who had just before been trying to make himself known. She made an attempt, but failed, and then said (apparently to someone in the background), “Come here and do your own talking,” causing a roar of laughter from us all.
Grayfeather came for a short time, and told me I had received a letter from a friend in America (quite correct; I had received it the day before). W. Stead, junior, spoke for a long time with his sister Estelle. I asked him to give my kindest regards to his father. Hr replied, “He hears you Admiral.” Julia manifested last, as is her custom, and gave a farewell address to Mrs. Wriedt; after which Dr. Sharp broke in with thanks to all for their kindness to his medium; the speech of the old control was most effective.
This closes my abridged account of those “Julia circles” which were held in 1912 while Mrs. Wriedt was at Cambridge House. It is very far from being complete. I am not justified in revealing the hundred private details which came out and gave conviction to individual sitters. But it may be sufficient to confirm the reiterated statements of all serious investigators during the last forty years that the best results can only be achieved by the circle being composed of the same people, sitting on the same day of the week at the same time. W. T. Stead rightly valued these weekly meetings; but, as I said before, he only regarded them as pleasant periodical incidents in his magnificent plan of eventually enabling all, young and old, the strong and the weak, rich and poor, to get in touch with those whom they loved and feared they had lost.
Some remarkable physical phenomena occurred on two or three occasions after the Wednesday evening séances, in another room downstairs; but, as I left at once after each séance was over, I am not competent to report them.
The following account, written by Mr. and Mrs. J. Maybank, is a typical “Bureau” case.
Mr. Maybank served under my command in H.M.S. Rambler on the China station as a private of the Royal Marine Light Infantry, 1885␣1889. He holds now a responsible civil post. I sat with him at one circle séance and one private séance; his account of these sittings is correct.
I notice one rather important omission in his narrative of his private sitting of Monday, May 20. There was one bright etherealisation. It was a simulacrum of the chaplain of H.M.S. Tamar, 1889, the troopship which brought home the crew of the Rambler, Maybank had often talked with the chaplain on the voyage. I knew him well, not only on board the Tamar, but afterwards up to the time of his death, which occurred three years ago at Southsea. Mr. Maybank writes:—
Having suffered bereavement through the loss of our only child, who passed away on February 24, 1911, from consumption, at the age of nearly twenty-one years, my wife and I were drawn to the help and comfort afforded by Spiritualism at Christmas-time of the same year. We were first made curious by the conversations we had and reading the literature lent us by some old friends, who, themselves pronounced Spiritualists, had suffered bereavement like ourselves, and had found much consolation in this beautiful doctrine. An advertisement which appeared in Light drew our attention to a publication by Vice-Admiral W. Usborne Moore, called Glimpses of the Next State, and as I had been to sea and served on board H.M.S. Rambler, whose Captain was W. Usborne Moore, I thought it not unlikely they were one and the same person. So I determined to write and ask the Admiral if he could assist me in my investigations respecting Spiritualism. I was not greatly surprised to find my surmise was correct, and that the Captain I had served under years ago was the author of the work quoted. His letters were most kind and helpful, and I should like to say here how thankful my wife and I are for the many kindnesses we have experienced since asking advice about Spiritualism, and how much we appreciate what he has been able to accomplish for us. Words do not seem adequate, and expressions fall flat when we remember the amount of consolation that we have obtained through his instrumentality and goodness of heart.
In replying to me, the Admiral sent a copy of Glimpses of the Next State, which, by the way, is most interesting and fascinating, with a request that I should lend it to anyone whom it would help, and who could not afford to purchase it, and further stated that in May of this year (1912) Mrs. Wriedt, a famous medium from America, was coming to England to stay at the late W. T. Stead’s place at Wimbledon, and I should hear from him again. Further correspondence resulted in the Admiral kindly arranging a series of sittings for us with Mrs. Wriedt at Wimbledon, two private sittings and two in the general circle, and on the invitation of the Admiral I propose to place on record our experiences at these sittings, so that others may be led to know of the consolation and comfort given by Spiritualism.
My wife and I arrived at Cambridge House, Wimbledon, on Thursday, May 16, 1912. As arranged we were met by the Admiral, who was pleased to see us, and made us very welcome and quite at home. After he had given us a few directions relating to the sittings, we were introduced to Mrs. Wriedt, the medium, and in company with six others, all strangers to us, we proceeded to the room where the sittings were to take place. This room was the one that is known as “Julia’s Bureau,” and is a large room, comfortably furnished and bright, with many flowers——an ideal room for that purpose. On the floor were two aluminium trumpets, through which the spirits were expected to speak.
We sat in a semi-circle, Mrs. Wriedt sitting at one end of the arc, and after taking our seats all light was excluded by heavy curtains over the windows etc. The Lord’s prayer was then repeated aloud, and then one verse of that beautiful hymn, “Lead Kindly Light,” was sung by all present, and lovely voices from all parts of the room were heard joining in the singing. A voice then pronounced the benediction, individually, in Latin, and we were told it was Cardinal Newman who was speaking. The hymn, “There are angels hovering round,” was next sung, and my wife and I were conscious of bright forms floating about the room. These forms were not recognised by us, but we undoubtedly saw them. I propose to omit all that happened which did not directly concern us, and only mention the facts we experienced and can vouch for. We were all sitting quietly and expectantly when Mrs Wriedt exclaimed, “There is someone at the roses!” and a lady next to me said, “I have a rose,” and another and another said the same. I then felt a splash of water on my forehead, and immediately after a rose with a long stem dropped into my hand, which I passed to my wife.
Directly after this an uncle and a great uncle and great aunt of my wife came and spoke through one of the trumpets previously mentioned. The conversation that ensued was purely personal and private, and would not be of interest to the general reader, but it left no doubt in my mind that I was actually conversing with those who had departed from this life many tears ago.
Those who have read Glimpses of the Next State will remember the Grayfeather who is described there so well. He was the next to manifest. He did not use the trumpet, but spoke direct—first to the Admiral, and then to my wife and me. Iola, who is the Admiral’s spirit guide, also came and blessed the circle generally. Next came one singing and whistling as happy as any schoolboy. He sang Annie Laurie in a powerful voice, and then whistled beautifully. When he had finished he spoke to me and said: “Don’t you know me. Maybank?” I replied, “No I don’t.” He repeated the question, and I answered as before. “What!” he exclaimed, “don’t you know Tommy Mahone?” I was with you on the Rambler.” He then referred to several incidents that happened on the ship when on the China station, and I am certain it was the same Tommy Mahone that I knew on that ship. The Admiral remarked, “Who is that? Do I know him Mr. Maybank?” and I described who he was and mentioned several small items in connection with Mahone that had happened when he was with us on the ship, and I am pleased to say I fully established his identity with the Gallant Admiral.
Our dear boy next had possession of the trumpet and spoke to us, and I want to emphasise this point—immediately he commenced to speak we (his mother and I) recognised his voice. We did not see him, but we knew his dear voice again; it was our loved one returned and speaking to us. He greeted us with, “Hulloa, mum! Hulloa,dad! How are you? I am so pleased you are here tonight through the kindness of Admiral Moore.” He then told us he was perfectly sound now, and was very happy, and was with his mother’s grandmother. Then, speaking to his mother, he said: “Did you get your rose, mum? I gave it to dad to pass to you.”
I should say that before I passed the rose to Mrs. Maybank she was disappointed at not having received one, she not knowing or being able to see that I had already got it. We both distinctly heard our son make the sound of kissing through the trumpet three times, we heard his fingernails in contact with the metal. He promised to return on the following Saturday, when we were to sit at the next circle. This concluded the sitting, and we left deeply impressed, and oh!
so thankful for what we had listened to.
On Saturday we met at 7 p.m. in the same room, this being another general circle; those present, with the exception of Mrs. Maybank and me, being entirely different from the sitters on Thursday. Mr. W. T. Stead came and spoke to some in the circle for quite a long time. Then our dear boy Harold came and spoke to us. He said: “Hulloa, mother hulloa father! I am glad you are here.” Then followed a short conversation which would not interest anyone other than his parents. Now although not in the least doubting that it was my son speaking to me, it flashed upon me suddenly to put a test question—one that would be absolutely convincing to anyone at that time, and one that I could mention when endeavouring to try and teach the truth about Spiritualism. So I said: “Harold, do you remember poor old Cyril?” He replied: “Of course I do dad; didn’t I tease him?” I agreed that he had teased him, when he went on: “And didn’t he growl?”
And he caused a laugh among the sitters by imitating the noise that a cat would make when angry. It is reasonable to assume that, when the name “Cyril” was mentioned, not one of the people sitting there would suppose it referred to a cat. This, to my mind, was convincing and unique, as under no circumstances whatever could anyone present have possibly known that we had a cat named “Cyril.” Mrs. Maybank then spoke to Harold, and said: “You know Harold dear, I have had a letter from Mrs. Sainty today, and she wants to know if you can bring Bernie Sainty to speak to me on Monday next.” He said he would try and do this. I then said: “What did he pass over with Harold? Do you know?” He replied: “Of course I do dad; but we never speak about that here.” We then asked if he knew we visited the Sainty’s, and he said: “Yes, Bernie and I often see you there, and we are glad you are friends.” He further said: “You know, his mother does worry so, and it does upset the poor chap.” We then inquired if he (Harold) could help us at home to get automatic writing, or some other means whereby we could communicate with him. His reply was that he did not know, as it was all so new and strange to him yet. I asked him if he had met Florrie Allen (another friend of ours), and whether he could bring her, and also my grandmother, on Monday next, when we were to have a private sitting. He then bade us goodbye, saying. “Goodbye; God Bless you”; and again we heard the sound of kissing. Others came and spoke to others in the circle, and then we came away from the second sitting, deeply grateful for what had been sent us.
On the following Monday (May 20) we had a private sitting at 11 a.m., and at our request Admiral Moore sat with us, there being present Mrs. Wriedt, Admiral Moore, my wife and myself. This was, to us, the best sitting we had, being the most convincing and absolutely reliable so far as concerned tests and the giving of proofs of the life beyond.
Grandmother was the first to come, and I plainly saw and recognised her. She spoke through the trumpet, and her voice was strong and quite distinct. She told us both that our boy was with her, and quite happy, and she had grandfather with her too. Harold then came and was clearly visible to Mrs. Maybank and myself, and I must emphasise this—we both distinctly saw and recognised him. He expressed his pleasure at seeing us, and thanked the Admiral for his kindness in affording us this opportunity to come into communication with him. The Admiral, who was delighted, said “Don’t mention it Mr. Maybank; this is one of the greatest pleasures of my life that your parents are so successful in this experience.”
A voice then suddenly said: “I’m Flossie, I’m Flossie!” and Mrs. Maybank cried: “What, my little sister?” when the voice replied: “Little sister indeed! I’m a woman now.” I said: “Do you remember, Flossie, what I said to you when I was going away that Sunday ever so long ago?” She replied: “Yes, you said, ‘Goodbye, dear, I’m off to China, and when I return you will be quite well.” The Admiral here remarked: “Dear me, this is marvellous, and she was well, Mr. Maybank.” I should state here that the Flossie referred to was a sister of Mrs. Maybank who passed away twenty- seven years ago at the age of three years.
She told us how nice it was to have her bonnie nephew with her, and Mrs. Maybank remarked, “I suppose you are looking after him,” when the reply came quick and sharp: “No, indeed, he looks after us!” which greatly amused both the Admiral and Mrs. Wriedt.
Mrs. Wriedt then said: “I see a young man standing here with an empty sleeve; he is showing that to me.” I Inquired if she could describe his hair, when she said: “He has very bushy hair.” A voice said: “I’m Bernie Sainty! I’m Bernie Sainty!” Neither Mrs. Maybank nor I saw him; but he spoke to us, and gave us messages to give to his parents, which messages were of a purely private character. He promised to come again the next day, when we were to have another private sitting. I should explain here that Bernie Sainty was the elder son of the friends mentioned as having first brought Spiritualism to our notice. He had had his right arm amputated for sarcoma, and passed away nearly twelve months before our son. It was simply impossible for either Mrs. Wriedt or the Admiral to know this, which fact speaks for itself when considering the genuineness of these sittings. Grayfeather then came and spoke, greeting Admiral Moore with a cheery
“Good morning Chief Moore across the big pond”; then to me “Good Morning Chief Bankies.” I replied: “Good morning; are you going to help me in my search for light and truth in Spiritualism?” He answered, “Yes, me help you”; and on my inquiring how he proposed to help me I was requested to keep my eyes open
Publisher: White Crow Books
Published January 2012
Size: 229 x 152 mm