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Cora L. V. Richmond – An Amazing Medium (Part II)

Posted on 16 December 2013, 10:08

Scientists, scholars, ministers, and journalists were befuddled by young Cora Scott (later Cora Richmond), who, at age 11, began giving lengthy discourses on various philosophical, metaphysical , social, political, and reform matters. Or rather, one or more advanced spirits gave the discourses through her (see prior blog post).  One theory offered to explain it was called “psychological absorption,” which held that by merely putting her hand on a book or passing through a well-stocked library, young Cora could absorb all knowledge stored in the book or in the library. At the same time, she would have had to discern it, organize it in her mind, and deliver it in a coherent and persuasive manner. The skeptics were prepared to buy into anything but spirits. 

Some of the spirit communication came through in foreign languages, occasionally an ancient language, but Ouina, one of Cora’s key spirit guides, who often acted as intermediaries between the advanced sprits and the medium, was able to interpret all of them.  At one lecture, Cora relayed a message in an Indian sign language to a member of the audience.  The man rose from his seat, said that the sign language given through her was perfect, and though he had been a skeptic he was now a convert.

At the urging of Mrs. Lincoln, President Lincoln and several congressmen were said to have attended Cora’s lectures in Washington, D.C. when she was still a teenager, and to have been much impressed with her.  The abolition of slavery was one of the key themes in her lectures during those early years.

In 1874, when she was 34, Cora toured the United Kingdom.  It was reported that there were standing-room only crowds and that many were turned away.  The Telegraph, a London daily, reported: “For upwards of an hour the lady poured forth an uninterrupted flow of language, without hesitating for a single instance, sentences of the most involved character and abounding in parentheses, being evolved without apparent effort, and every word fitting into the place as in a child’s puzzle.  Though somewhat devoid of elocutionary emphasis, her delivery was clear and telling, and her diction of a very high order.  If, as stated, she is merely a mouthpiece of the Spirits, the condition of belles lettres (beautiful writing) in the Spiritual world is decidedly encouraging.  If, on the other hand, her lecture is a mere effort of memory, its recital is a feat rarely excelled.”

The Liverpool Courier reported: “Although it might be assumed by the advertisements that the lady is an American, she spoke with an unmistakable Scotch accent.  The lady has a fine presence and much grace of manner, a clear and somewhat impressive delivery…” 

The Newcastle Critic story noted that she had given more then 3,000 public discourses before the age of 30 and went on to say that “ her lectures are extraordinarily clever, no matter whether they are the result of spiritual inspiration or that inspiration which is common to thoughtful, intelligent minds.  There is an eloquence which we deem natural to this lady; her articulation is clear and deliberate, her figure is commanding and graceful and she possesses those qualities which are necessary to successful public speaking.  Her knowledge is something marvelous, and that is shown by her ability in lecturing intelligently on any subject that may be chosen by the audience.”

A report in the August 15, 1874 issue of The Bury Times of Bury, England read:  “She is unlike many lady lecturers, having nothing of the masculine about her, either in appearance or style of delivery, but is quiet and ladylike.  She has nothing of the strong-minded woman, which characterizes some of our American female cousins.  Her voice is sweet and clear, but somewhat low in pitch.  She spoke for perhaps three quarters of an hour on the abstruse subject, given in a very logical style, unusual certainly to a lady, apparently unaware of the subject to be chosen, as she must have in this case have been….She was never at a loss for a word, and spoke easily and confidently throughout in what Spiritualists would call the trance state, but in this instance with the eyes open.”

By the 1870s and 1880s, the educated world, had adopted Darwinism and had for the most part totally dismissed religion and spirituality, failing to distinguish between religious dogma and spiritual truths.  As a result, much of the press didn’t know what to make of Cora, (below) but Wilbur F. Storey, editor of the Chicago Times, was very much impressed with her and published many of her lectures verbatim.

cora 3

While touring California, Cora filled a hall with a capacity of 3,000 in San Francisco in successive weeks.  The advice and opinions expressed were almost always prefaced with “we,” referring to the group of 12 spirits speaking through her, e.g., “We can only say, study your souls as you do your bodies, pursue the science as you do any other.  Make the lamp of the human spirit the subject of your inquiries. and investigations, and, like the happy astronomer who triumphed in the exercise of mathematical faith, you too shall triumph in the certainty of spiritual knowledge.”

Here are some other excerpts from Cora’s discourses:

God: “It is often said that an Infinite Deity is inconceivable.  An Infinite Deity is incomprehensible, we admit, but not inconceivable.  The mind may conceive of that which cannot be comprehended.  All that relates to Eternity is not comprehended except in Eternity; but you do conceive both of the heretofore and the hereafter while in your present state.  The conceptions of the mind are prophecies, and the comprehensions of the mind are limitations.”

The Soul: “The Soul in its pure and primal nature has nothing to do with time, nor space, nor matter, but only with eternity and that which belongs to eternity.  Whatever hereinafter shall be expressed concerning what the Soul does must not be mistaken for what the Soul is. The Soul is a revelation unto outward nature.  No external thing can reveal God.  The Soul alone, being of the nature of God, perceives God.  Nothing can teach that there is God.  All things may illustrate it; teaching comes from knowledge, possession; and that which recognizes God is from the Soul.  As consciousness is in the Soul, so every attribute expressed by consciousness is in the Soul.  As you must go to the Soul for the source of all intelligence, so you must go to the Soul ultimately for all that promises expression.”

Overcoming Adversity:  “The strength of spirit is attained through struggles that may encompass all conditions of life.  Not gigantic to the extent of over-weening physical strength, but for the purpose of usefulness as much strength as needed; not gigantic to the extent of worshipping the intellect at the expense of the heart, but to succeed in all and to fail in all, until one can forward the work of the spirit, until it has conquered all states, not only sin, but the greatest of all sins, self-righteousness, and stands in sublime and exalted humility as the typical illustration of conquest over the earth. All states between that and the lowest condition which you can picture are states of human experience that every Soul must pass through.  Meanwhile there infiltrates into these experiences a religious or spiritual element, a suggestion that that which the body, or the mind, only accomplishes is no accomplishment at all.”

Morality: “When the mental force is taking possession it is often veiled before recognition; the antitheses are the stepping from heights that are false; as the physical height has its downfall in order that a better height may be attained, so in the intellectual world there is the recession.  Let no one suppose that, when placed in the spiritual balance, the human intellect without Soul weighs any more than the dust which expresses no intellect; let no one suppose that simply intellectual expression, unaccompanied by moral force or intention, can weigh any more in the great scale of real life, that that life whose intellect is veiled, and yet, in all appearances, wears a fair face, with features that are delicately chiseled , but under some law has come into the world with no intellectual outlook, with no face for earthly victory.  These illustrations are extremes, but there is no more extreme depth, or fictitious height, that that of the pride of intellect, of which this extreme is the necessary and natural antithesis.”

Genius: “We would name Mozart as a genius, because, untaught, in childhood he knew the principles of harmony.  He did not know because he had never had experience, but he knew because he had experience in previous lives; he had taken all the steps because that life was the culmination.  This enabled Mozart to know music at three years of age, not because his Soul, or spirit was any more tuneful than any other, but because he had taken the preceding steps in preceding lives to that culmination.”

Reincarnation:  “The human mind takes alarm at once at these teachings, and declares a loss of identity if one embodiment is followed by another, and one spirit after another has expression.  There is no reincarnation; there is another expression, and another, until all that is possible is expressed here and in spirit life.  Another embodiment is not a loss of identity, but an added expression of identity.. As each form only expresses a portion of the spirit that pervades it, so each spirit (of a Soul) only expresses a portion of the Soul.  Do not mistake the spirit of embodiment for the Soul; it is as fatal as to mistake the body for the spirit.”

Meeting Friends in the Afterlife:  “People say: ‘I would not like to go into the spirit life and not find my friends.’ If they are your friends, you will find them; if they are not you would not wish to.  All real ties are found to last in spiritual existence, and form a portion of the Soul’s possessions. The larger sphere includes the smaller one.”

According to Harrison D. Barrett, her biographer, Cora L. V. Richmond was one of the most famous women in the world during the late 1800s. But today, we ask, “Cora Who?”

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die is published by White Crow Books. His latest book, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife is now available on Amazon and other online book stores. 

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Next blog post: December 30





you might have a look at the Silver Birch series of books..widely regarded as some of the best material from the other side that there is. There is also a recording of a seance on youtube.
Michael, many thanks for the information about Cora. Until a few weeks ago I had never heard of her but I am now an avid reader of “her” material.
Many thanks

Neil, Sun 5 Jan, 13:53

Thanks Michael, I really appreciate it. I’ll check out those three.

joe, Sat 28 Dec, 22:15


Yes, I have thought about something like that, but it is so difficult to categorize them.  I think my number one all-around book would be “The Widow’s Mite and Other Psychic Phenomena,” by Isaac K. Funk, published in 1911.  Number 2 would be Hamlin Garland’s “Forty Years of Psychic Research.” and number 3 would be Usborne Moore’s “Glimpses of the Next State.”

Michael Tymn, Fri 27 Dec, 21:15

Hi Michael, have you ever thought about doing a post that lists what you consider the 20 best historical books dealing with Spiritualism/early psychical research. I’m talking about most compelling or interesting. And then maybe a list of what you consider to be the most important books. I’d like to read some of the older books but there are so many that I’m not sure where to begin.

joe, Thu 26 Dec, 05:27


Though I can’t give you the references off the top of my head, there have been a number of spirit communications indicating that while spirits can influence us in creative ways, inlcding inventions and discoveries, they cannot directly interfere by providing direct knowledge, such as the cure for cancer, etc.,  That is something that is part of the challenge we face in evolvling.

metgat, Sat 21 Dec, 23:07

Hello, Michael.

I have a question for you. Do you know if a medium has brought new knowledge on any field? The philosophical, social, political knowledge is provided by Cora Richmond were beyond her normal range but were knowledge that mankind had developed previously, so how do we know if Cora was not contact with spirits of deceased, but she was getting that knowledge of a pool where it is all the knowledge of mankind? One way to know would be that the spirits of the deceased through the medium provide new knowledge for example, solutions to medical or mathematicians problems, etc.

Juan, Fri 20 Dec, 19:05

I came across a great quote by the poet Yeats:  We are spirits “fastened to a dying animal.”  Over and over and over Cora (or rather her 12 spirit friends) proved it.

So glad you’ve unearthed this amazing gift from the world of spirit.

Stafford Betty, Wed 18 Dec, 00:36


Your comments are appreciated.


Thank you for the correction on Cora’s age.  Yes, she would have been in her early 20s when in Washington, D.C., not in her teens.

Michael Tymn, Tue 17 Dec, 21:20

Very interesting to bring back insights from the 19th century.  I had also found books by Dr. Michael Newton (Journey of Souls and Destiny of Souls) to be quite interesting, and going far beyond what Cora brought to the world. Newton went on to explain (through his research) the type of lives we live “in-between lives.” And also a very new book about “Inner Guidance” by Anne Archer-Butcher to be quite insightful, and giving hope and where to get help in periods of difficulties.

Always in the Light, in tune with the Sound.


Jek Kerou, Tue 17 Dec, 21:01

As always, Michael,
Your writings are extremely interesting, and I’m totally grateful for all that you investigate and share. You are such a gift, and I so appreciate all the work you do to share what you have learned and to make it available to the rest of us.
When I realize that I never heard of Cora or Leonora Piper (or FWH Myers or Helen Blavatsky or Krishnamurti or Ramana Maharshi or Yogananda or DD Home, etc. etc.) in all my numerous school studies,
I also realize how great your contributions are for all who are interested in the evolution of human consciousness. Thanks so much.

Jane Katra, Mon 16 Dec, 22:00

Hi Mike

Good work….
I hope soon you’ll be able to give the readers more depth into the Washington DC work that Cora gave.
Btw, she was not a teenager doing the heavy Washington work.  This work came after the love of her life Col. Daniels and her child with him had passed over from Cholera.  She had been called to the White house by Lincoln’s wife.
This story must be put with Nettie Maynard’s work/book:  WAS PRESIDENT LINCOLN A SPIRITUALIST
Cora and Nettie were very close and Cora also handled Nettie’s memorial which was Nettie’s request of Cora before she went over.  So, Cora helped Lincoln’s Cabinet members while Nettie helped Lincoln personally on the slave issue. With Nettie, Lincoln would NEVER have changed his mind about emancipation.  Lincoln had to be told by Spirit thru Nettie a few times before he finally acted.

Love & Light

Ziaa, Mon 16 Dec, 21:28

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Fallen Soldier Convinces His Famous Father of Life After Death – On September 14, 1915, Second Lieutenant Raymond Lodge, the youngest of six sons of Sir Oliver Lodge, a distinguished British physicist and pioneer in electricity and radio, as well as the former president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, was killed in WWI action in Flanders. Read here
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