One of the most intriguing stories of mediumship on record was told by Hamlin Garland, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, in the last of his 52 books, The Mystery of the Buried Crosses, published in 1939.
In 1934, shortly after giving a talk on psychic phenomena in Los Angeles, Garland, a very skeptical psychical researcher, received a letter from Gregory Parent, a resident of Redlands, California, telling him of some strange psychic phenomena connected with his wife, Violet. They included some 1,500 crosses and other treasures buried by Indans and unearthed at the direction of her spirit guides as well as spirit photography.
Having had many years of experience with mediums, Garland decided to find a medium who might get in touch with the deceased Violet Parent and request her help in finding additional relics, as Gregory Parent had noted that there were, according to the spirits, more to be found. Sometime around July 1937, Garland selected Sophia Williams, an amateur medium who did not charge for her services, to help him in his search.
Williams was a direct-voice medium and while doing some tests with her, Garland’s “Uncle David,” who had been dead for some 30 years, communicated; Garland asked him if he remembered the old tune he used to play for him in on his fiddle. Garland then heard the tune “When you and I were young, Maggie” being whistled and played on a fiddle. If Williams were a fraud, she would have had to know about Uncle David, anticipate Garland’s question to him about the tune, and smuggle a fiddle into and out of Garland’s home. Many other evidential voices came through Williams, convincing Garland that she was a genuine medium.
Soon after Violet Parent communicated, Father Junipero Serra, the pioneering California missionary, and other “Invisibles” communicated. Under their direction, Garland and Williams traveled hundreds of miles through southern and central California and Mexico searching for more artifacts. The spirits would tell them where to go, where to stop, which direction to walk, and then where to dig. In total they found 16 crosses, similar in substance and design to those collected by the Parents, in 10 widely separated locations.
A year after The Mystery of the Buried Crosses was published, Garland died. By the time of his death he had amassed 40 years of research strongly suggesting that we do indeed survive physical death.
About the author
Hannibal Hamlin Garland (September 14, 1860 – March 4, 1940) was an American novelist, poet, psychical researcher, essayist, and short story writer. He is best known for his fiction involving hard-working Midwestern farmers.
Hannibal Hamlin Garland was born on a farm near West Salem, Wisconsin, on September 14, 1860, the second of four children of Richard Garlin of Maine and Charlotte Isabelle McClintock. The boy was named after Hannibal Hamlin, the candidate for vice-president under Abraham Lincoln. He lived on various Midwestern farms throughout his young life, but settled in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1884 to pursue a career in writing. He read diligently in the public library there. His first success came in 1891 with Main-Traveled Roads, a collection of short stories inspired by his days on the farm. He serialized a biography of Ulysses S. Grant in McClure’s Magazine before publishing it as a book.
in 1898. The same year, Garland traveled to the Yukon to witness the Klondike Gold Rush, which inspired The Trail of the Gold Seekers (1899). He lived on a farm between Osage, and St. Ansgar, Iowa for quite some time.
Many of his writings are based on this era of his life.
A prolific writer, Garland continued to publish novels, short fiction, and essays. In 1917, he published his autobiography, A Son of the Middle Border. The book’s success prompted a sequel, A Daughter of the Middle Border, for which Garland won the 1922 Pulitzer Prize for Biography. After two more volumes, Garland began a second series of memoirs based on his diary. Garland naturally became quite well known during his lifetime and had many friends in literary circles He was made a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1918.
After moving to Hollywood, California, in 1929, he devoted his remaining years to investigating psychic phenomena, an enthusiasm he first undertook in 1891. In his final book, The Mystery of the Buried Crosses (1939), he tried to defend such phenomena and prove the legitimacy of psychic mediums.
A friend, Lee Shippey, columnist for the Los Angeles Times, recalled Garland’s regular system of writing:
. . . he got up at half past five, brewed a pot of coffee and made toast on an electric gadget in his study and was at work by six. At nine o’clock he was through with work for the day. Then he breakfasted, read the morning paper and attended to his personal mail. . . . After luncheon he and Mrs. Garland would take a long drive . . . . Sometimes they would drop in on Will Rogers, Will Durant, Robert Benchley or even on me, for their range of friends was very wide. .
. . After dinner they would go to a show if an exceptionally good one were in town, otherwise one of their daughters would read aloud.
Garland died at age 79, at his home in Hollywood on March 4, 1940. A memorial service was held three days later near his home in Glendale, California. His ashes were buried in Neshonoc Cemetery in West Salem, Wisconsin on
March 14; his poem “The Cry of the Age” was read by Reverend John B. Fritz.
The Hamlin Garland House in West Salem is a historical site.
Publisher: White Crow Books
Published February 2013
Size: 229 x 152 mm