The French Revelation: Some Forgotten Treasures Resurrected
Posted on 15 June 2015, 10:17
N. Riley Heagerty, a 53-year-old resident of Buckeye, Arizona, (below) has sat with a number of physical mediums, both in Great Britain and in the U.S. and has witnessed an abundance of physical phenomena, including ectoplasm and materialized spirits. However, he has not been impressed with what seemed like an almost “circus” atmosphere of physical phenomena with certain mediums. He says that the physical phenomena were interesting in the beginning but eventually led to a deeper inquiry for communication from those he knew in the spirit world.
As Heagerty sees it, there is nothing even remotely close to the vast numbers of mediums and phenomena that were manifesting within what he refers to as the “century of wonders,” which he places as between 1848 and 1948. The mediumship of that era offered much more in the way of both evidence and wisdom coming from the spirits. The reason for the decline in the quality of mediumship, Heagerty believes, has to do with the many distractions we have today. Before radio, television, the Internet, cell phones, etc., people had much more quiet time in which to get in touch with their inner selves. Just sitting in front of a fire place and staring into the flames, as so many people did before the distractions came along, could prompt an altered state of consciousness, one which could be developed over time and in which the person could experience other realities. “All of this led to the required passive, calm state,” Heagerty explains. “If the young mediums especially had sympathetic parents and were surrounded by understanding and love, then all the better. The world seems to be in such a rush now that although there are certainly physical mediums, they are very rare.”
A semi-retired professional musician, Heagerty became interested in mediumship in 1985, when a woman very close to him was struck down by leukemia. “Two weeks before her passing, her clairvoyance became evident in the highest regard and her messages involving spirits who were in the room with her, including her own son Bradley, who had passed some thirteen years before, were startling in the extreme and were the very reason I left the music business, to dedicate my life to research involving life after death and communication with spirits,” Heagerty explains his initial interest. “I first decided to collect every available book I could on the subject, and this in turn naturally graduated into a more refined method of book hunting and collecting. I have now more than 650 books in my library, many of them rare.”
One medium of yesteryear who especially impressed Heagerty was Emily S. French (1830-1912), (below) an independent voice medium who became the subject of five books authored by Edward C. Randall, a prominent Buffalo, New York trial lawyer and corporate executive. Heagerty has brought those books back to life in an anthology he calls The French Revelation, first published in 2000 and just recently republished by White Crow Books.
Randall (below) had the first of more than 700 sittings over some 20 years with French in 1892. After satisfying himself that Mrs. French was a genuine medium and that he was hearing from “spirit people,” including his mother and father, Randall began having Mrs. French sit in his (Randall’s) home in order to further rule out any kind of trickery. Initially, the voices were just whispers, but gradually, as Mrs. French developed, they became loud voices, the loudest one being that of her primary control, an American Indian known as Red Jacket. Randall pointed out that each voice had individuality and sometimes spoke in a foreign tongue. “When new spirits come for the first time and take on the condition of vocalization, there is often a similarity in tone quality, but this soon passes away, as they grow accustomed to using their voices in this way,” he explained. “The voices of those accustomed to speak never change, and are easily recognized. There is no similarity of thought or words.” Randall further mentioned that the strength of the voices varied greatly, much as they do in earth life.
While many of the early messages were of the evidential type, Randall considered them a waste of time as he was more interested in the “new philosophy,” including information on the meaning of life, the nature of the afterlife, spiritual evolution, and other higher truths. “We live,” Red Jacket communicated, “as real lives, more real – on this side than we did when on earth. The laws that govern life are the same here as with you. In fact, everything here is so real that many who come over here – die as you call it – do not know for a long time that they are dead. A great part of the work to be done here is to instruct the dead in the true science of progress. To the circles held by this medium we often bring dazed and earthbound spirits, so as to be able to reach their consciousness through earth surroundings.”
Randall went on to explain that much of the French circle’s activity involved missionary work, or “rescuing” earthbound spirits – those who did not realize they were dead and seemed to be bewildered. “Some are in total darkness, some in half-light; all in all, it is at most a twilight zone between the spiritual and physical worlds,” he offered. “Here old appetites, thoughts, and desires hold sway as before. In this zone a great mass of undeveloped people of the same general character, with a desire for spirituality no greater than when living in the physical body, remain. Their condition is much worse than in this world, for there is not the opportunity for reformation that there was before.”
Randall stated that other spirits would try to help these earthbound spirits, but were unsuccessful because of the difference in vibration rate. Because the vibration rate of those living on earth is much closer to that of the earthbound souls, it was easier for the higher spirits to reach the lower ones by communicating through Mrs. French and having Randall talk with the earthbound souls and explain their condition to them.
During one sitting, Randall heard from an old business acquaintance who had died at the age of 70 some five years earlier. While considered a good citizen, the man, referred to as Mr. W— by Randall, had the reputation of being a “pennypincher.” Both Mrs. French and a visiting clairvoyant could see the man and describe his appearance, which fit Randall’s recollection of him. More evidential, however, was the man’s voice, which Randall clearly recognized. Mr. W— told Randall that he was trapped in a wall of money and that it shuts out the light.
Randall asked a spirit known as Dr. Hossack about the nature of light. “The light we have is obtained from the action of our minds on the atmosphere,” Dr. Hossack replied. “We think light, and there is light. That is why people who come over in evil conditions are in the dark; their minds are not competent to produce light enough for them to see. There is greater intensity of light as we go up through the spheres, which comes from the blending of the more spiritual minds. Our life is merely the condition of mind which each one has. We create images in thought, and have the reality before us, just as tangible as your houses and buildings are to you. You do not have any conception of the great power and force there is, or may be, in thought. It dominates all conditions and makes us what we are. One who realizes this may control his destiny.”
One evening, Randall and the others sitting with Mrs. French heard from a stranger who said he was a physician living in Philadelphia. He was apparently brought in by other spirits who said that the doctor was having trouble separating from his physical body. “When he finally became fully conscious, he told his name, the number of his residence, and much more about himself,” Randall recorded. “The papers the next morning had a full account of his death early the evening before.”
Randall wrote that in addition to Red Jacket, he was lectured by Channing, Beecher, Tallmadge, Ingersoll, Hough, Segoyewatha, and hundreds of others. “Lectures from such men, speaking in their own independent voices, materialized for the time, leave no doubt as to what follows death,” he stated. “I have never heard such matchless oratory, such sermons, such thought expressed by the living as I have from the so-called dead. They tell me that we are as much spirit to-day as we will ever be. We are not all that we can become, but there will be no sudden acquisition. Death itself will add little to present knowledge, nor will it enlarge our opportunities to any marked degree.”
Dr. Isaac Funk, cofounder of the Funk & Wagnalls publishing firm, also studied Mrs. French, at first satisfying himself that there were no confederates, no ventriloquism, no hidden megaphones, or other forms of trickery. He also noted that Mrs. French did not accept payment for her sittings and that she was deaf.
Funk arranged for Mrs. French to travel to New York City and be observed by him and some friends under strict test conditions. At one sitting, they heard a strange, loud laugh which seemed to emanate about six to eight feet from the medium. Funk described it as a deep basso to almost a treble and noted that the location of the voice seemed to change to different parts of the room. Red Jacket explained that it was for their benefit in ruling out ventriloquism, the theory most advanced by skeptics. Funk also had Mrs. French hold water in her mouth during some of the voices to further rule out that possibility. He also asked her to laugh at the same time as they heard the strange laughs and noted there was no resemblance.
There is so much more to French’s mediumship as recorded by Randall and resurrected by Heagerty. It will be further discussed in my next blog post in two weeks.
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.
His latest book Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I is published by White Crow Books.
Next blog post: June 29