History of the Spiritualist Movement

The table shows a chronological History of Spiritualism, including pioneering and famous Mediums, scientists and other prominent figures involved in the investigation of Mediumship and Spiritualism during it’s history to date.


Emanuel Swedenborg (1688 – 1772) was, truly, one of Europe’s great minds; and it is to this that we can attribute the success of his mission as a teacher and philosopher of the Spirit.


Justine Kerner (1786 -1862) Noted German poet and physician of Weinsberg; author of a remarkable record of supernormal phenomena and experiments in magnetic therapeutics. In 1845 he published a book entitled ‘The Seeress of Prevost; or Openings-up into the Inner Life of Man, and Mergings of a Spirit World into the World of Matter’. In Germany the book made a great sensation.


On the 31st March, 1848, The Fox Sisters made a break through with contacting the entity who had been disturbing the family with strange sounds and activities. The Hydesville Knockings in the United States of America lead to the investigation of the Mediumship of the Fox sisters and the Birth of modern Spiritualism.


The first public demonstration of Mediumship by Margareta Fox in the Corinthian Hall in New York.


Cromwell Fleetwood Varley was first attracted to Spiritualism in 1850. He investigated the hypothesis that table rapping is the result of an electrical force and demonstrated that this hypothesis was altogether unfounded. In later years he had many curious psychic experiences, discovered that he possessed mesmeric healing power and effected cures on his wife.

Mrs. Varley had clairvoyant visions and spells of trance in which she foretold the exact course of her illness. After the birth of a son, Varley was one night aroused by three tremendous raps. He felt impelled to go into his wife’s room where he found the nurse intoxicated and Mrs. Varley rigid and in a cataleptic state.







Mrs. Maria Hayden came from America in 1852 and was the first Spiritualist Medium to work in England. The press and clergy were very antagonistic towards her but in spite of this, she succeeded in demonstrating spirit return

Judge John W. Edmonds (1816 – 1874)was one of the most influential early American Spiritualists.After a great public career, as a member of both branches of the New York State Legislature and, for some time, President of the Senate and Judge of the Supreme Court of New York, he resigned the latter position on account of the outcry raised against his Spiritualistic beliefs and, especially, his support of the Fox sisters.


David Richmond (1816 – 1891)became a Spiritualist whilst living in America and upon his return to his native town of Darlington, England in 1853, tried unsuccessfully to open a Spiritualist church. He moved to Keighley and there established the first Spiritualist church in England.

Robert Chambers (1802 – 1871) English writer and publisher, played no public part in Spiritualism, but his conversion and anonymous activity was no secret to his contemporaries. He had many experiences with D. D. Home. The anonymous preface to Home’s ‘Incidents in My Life’ and the appendix, ‘Connection of Mr. Home’s Experiences with those of Former Times’ were written by Dr. Robert Chambers.

Professor of chemistry Robert Hare (1781 – 1858) at the age of 72, began his investigations and devised a number of instruments which, contrary to his expectations, conclusively proved that a power and intelligence, not that of those present, was at work. His book, ‘Experimental Investigation of the Spirit Manifestation,’ published in 1855, summed up the results as follows: ‘The evidence may be contemplated under various phases; first, those in which rapping’s or other noises have been made which could not be traced to any mortal agency; secondly, those in which sounds were so made as to indicate letters forming grammatical, well-spelt sentences, affording proof that they were under the guidance of some rational being; thirdly, those in which the nature of the communication has been such as to prove that the being causing them must, agreeably to accompanying allegations, be some known acquaintance, friend, or relative of the inquirer.


Robert Owen (1771 – 1858) Socialist Reformer and Cofounder of the Cooperative society became converted to Spiritualism after sittings with Mrs. Hayden. After he passed to spirit he became the author of ‘The Principles of Spiritualism’ which he gave through the Mediumship of Emma Hardinge Britten in 1871.


Daniel Dunglas Home (1833 – 1886)One of the greatest physical mediums in whose presence almost all types of physical phenomena occurred. Born in Edinburgh, his powers were discovered whilst he was living in America. On his return to England, in 1855 the remarkable phenomena aroused great interest.Dr. Henry Slade was an American medium famous for slate-writing Mediumship, in which messages were written on sealed slates. He was thoroughly tested by several eminent investigators and pronounced genuine.

‘The Yorkshire Spiritual Telegraph’ the first Spiritualist Newspaper was published in Keithley

Alexander N. Aksakof (1832-1903) Imperial Councilor to the Czar, the pioneer Spiritualist of Russia, a Swedenborg enthusiast whose introduction to modern Spiritualism was effected by Andrew Jackson Davis’s ‘Nature’s Divine Revelations’ in 1855. Allen Kardec (1804 – 1869) published his classic, Le Livre des Esprits (The Spirits’ Book) – not very much is known about Allan Kardec’s early years within the Spiritualist Movement, but his impact upon the Movement is profound.


James Martin Peebles (1822 – 1922) known as ‘the spiritual pilgrim’ as he enthusiastically spread his philosophy through his writings and travels around the United States and the world. Himself a medium, he was surrounded by what he called his ‘band of angels’ from whom he received inspiration and spiritual guidance.











Andrew Jackson Davis (1826 – 1910)established the Spiritualist Lyceum in New York. The American born medium who, through his visits to the ‘Summerland’ during ‘out of the body’ experiences initiated Lyceum education and is acknowledged today as the Father of the Lyceum Movement.

Prof. Augustus de Morgan (1806-1871) One of the first English scientists who investigated the phenomena of Spiritualism and became convinced of their genuine occurrence. ‘I am perfectly convinced’, said De Morgan in the Preface of his wife’s book ‘From Matter to Spirit’, ‘that I have both seen and heard, in a manner which should make unbelief impossible, things called spiritual which cannot be taken by a rational being to be capable of explanation by imposture, coincidence or mistake.’

In the same year of 1863 he published his work ‘Mind’ and declared not only that the facts of supernormal occurrences were incontestable, but he also believed that the hypothesis that explains the facts by intelligence exterior to ourselves is the only satisfactory one.

Robert James Lees (1849 – 1931) was a journalist, philanthropist, novelist and medium. Lees believed that his psychic experiences began before his third birthday, at a stage of mental development when children are still discovering the basic properties of the physical world. These experiences were to invade his waking and sleeping hours for the rest of his life. It is claimed that Queen Victoria confided in Lees when he was just fourteen years old when she attempted to contact the spirit of the late Prince Albert. It is also claimed that Lees later helped Scotland Yard to confound several American-Fenian bomb attacks planned for Central London during the last two decades of the 19th century. There is also the well-known story of Lees’ alleged involvement in the search for Jack the Ripper An attempt was made to form the first National Organisation of Spiritualists in Darlington.


Alfred Russel Wallace (1823 – 1913) English naturalist, evolutionist, geographer, anthropologist, and social critic and theorist. In 1865 he Wrote to the Times regarding his beliefs regarding Spiritualism and Science.


Emma Hardinge Britten (1823 – 1899)returned to England from America where she was quickly recognised as a powerful medium, and is perhaps, the most renowned and most respected advocate and proponent in the early Modern Spiritualist MovementThe first Lyceum in Britain was opened by Mr. J. Hitchcock in Nottingham.


The Dialectical Society appointed a Committee to investigate Spiritualism. They published a very favourable report (the best by any external body).



















Modern spiritualism came to the Australian gold fields in Victoria in the 1860’s.  The Victorian Association of progressive Spiritualists, later became the Victorian Association of Spiritualists and is now known as the Victorian spiritualists Union, was formed in 1870.  One of its well known members was an Alfred Deakin, who eventually became president of the V.S.A. and held this position for many years, until taking on a full time commitment in politics. His entry into politics was spurred on by a message from a medium, who said he would go and will do great things for Australia.

Florence Cook (1856 – 1904) Outstanding for the wonderful materialisation of Katie King investigated by Sir William Crookes. He proved this spirit to be entirely separate and distinct from the medium.

Emma Hardinge Britten (1823 – 1899) received ‘The Principles of Spiritualism’ from Robert Owen (1771 – 1858) after he passed to spirit.

Sir William Crookes (1832 – 1919) reported on Spiritualism to the Royal Society and published his findings in the quarterly Journal of Science. An outstanding physicist who began his investigations into Spiritualism with the avowed intent of exposing it as nonsense. The facts, however, (particularly his investigation of Katie King through the Mediumship of Florence Cook) were too overwhelming, and to the end of his life he remained completely convinced of the truth of Spirit communication.

Alfred Kitson (1855 – 1934) Lyceum’s were opened in 1870 at Keighley and Sowerby Bridge in England. Alfred Kitson attended the first anniversary of the latter in 1871 and thereafter devoted himself to this cause. He began to develop a system of Lyceum teaching here based upon the American model of Andrew Jackson Davis.


A second attempt to form a National Organisation was made at the National Conference in Darlington. Again it failed. However, it stimulated interest and people wrote to the Spiritualist Press. It soon became recognised that there was a need for such an organisation.

William Stainton Moses (1839 – 1892) An Oxford M.A. and a clergyman on the Church of England. He was a leading light in promoting The London Spiritualist Alliance, and became its first President and the first Editor of ‘Light’. His great contributions were the teachings produced through him by means of spirit controlled writing and published as ‘Spirit Teachings’ and ‘More Spirit Teachings’

Dr. A. Russel Wallace (1823 – 1903) co-discovered with Charles Darwin of the Theory of Evolution. He painstakingly investigated Spiritualism over a number of years, eventually in 1873 stating quite fearlessly that its phenomena were proved quite as well as the facts of any other science.



A conference was held in Liverpool which led to the formation of the British National Association of Spiritualists. The headquarters were in London

E. W. Cox – Sergeant-at-Law, well-known psychical investigator in the days preceding the foundation of the S.P.R., assisted Crookes in his first experiments with D. D. Home, suggested the term ‘psychic force,’ published a booklet ‘Spiritualism Scientifically Examined with Proofs of the Existence of a Psychic Force’ in 1872.


Mme. d’Esperance (1855 – 1919)The Mediumship of Elizabeth Hope who worked under the pseudonym of Mme. d’Esperance, is an example of the quality evidence available through physical Mediumship.

The Eddy Brothers (1830 – 1940) An amazing family of physical mediums.







Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831 – 1891)commonly known as Madame Blavatsky, founded the Theosophical Movement and wrote several books and articles.

Cecil Husk (1847 – 1920) was aware of his mediumistic abilities from his early childhood, experiencing clairvoyance and being accompanied by the unexplained movement of objects. Fortunately, Cecil’s father was a Spiritualist, and Cecil therefore did not suffer the fate of other mediumistic children who were victimized by unthinking parents.

David Duguid (1832 – 1907) This Glasgow medium was perhaps the most famous for spirit oil painting of landscapes, produced in total darkness and at an amazing speed, and independently of his hands. In his presence were produced all kinds of phenomena, and through him was dictated a remarkable book, the well known ‘Hafed, Prince of Persia’

George Spriggs (1850 – 1912) Designated as a ‘powerful English materialisation medium’ by Dr. Nandor Fodor.

Frank Podmore (1856-1910) One of the ablest opponents of Spiritualism, well-known psychical investigator, distinguished author. His personal experiences in supernormal matters date from his academic studies in Oxford. He rapidly became a convert to survival and communication with the deceased. Between 1875-76 he was a frequent contributor to ‘Human Nature’ on Spiritualistic subjects. His doubts as to the truth of Spiritualism were finally solved by his experiences with Henry Slade in 1876.


Emma Hardinge Britten toured Australia and New Zealand promoting Spiritualism.

The Society for Psychical Research was started by the following:

Henry Sedgwick (1838 – 1901) Founder President of the Society who took an active part in the work of the Society until his death, and contributed largely to the ‘Proceedings of the SPR’. He investigated the work of many mediums but kept his personal convictions private.


F. W. H. Myers (1834 – 1901) Cofounder of the Society whose celebrated book ‘Human Personality and its Survival of bodily Death’ is acknowledged as a classic, and has established psychical research as an organised science. The SNU recommends that all students of Spiritualism read this book.

Edmund Gurney (1847 – 1888) Cofounder of the Society who studied the psychological aspect of Hypnotism in England.

Sir Oliver Lodge (1851 – 1940) was a world-renowned physicist and a fearless champion of survival. One could not really call him a proponent of the Spiritualist Movement, but he was, surely, an avid believer in Spiritualist concepts.


William Eglington (b1857)was noted for outdoor and daylight materialisations and also for slate-writing Mediumship. Questions put in Spanish, French and Greek were answered in the same languages. Gladstone after sitting with him, was sufficiently impressed to join the Society for Physical Research.Leonore E. Piper (1857 – 1950) of Boston, USA, allowed herself to be subjected to the most exacting scientific investigation of her Mediumship for a period of 45 years. This great medium was instrumental in converting many eminent people to belief in a spirit agency operating through her trance Mediumship.


Dr. Richard Hodgson was an early member of the Society for Psychical Research who soon became noted as a competent and critical investigator. He made a systematic study of the Mediumship of Mrs. Leonore Piper, through which he became completely convinced of the reality of spirit return. The development of his own mediumistic powers late in life brought to him an even deeper conviction.


Balfour Stewart (1827 – 1887) occupied the presidential chair of the S.P.R. from 1885-87. He was the joint author with Prof. Tait of the anonymously published ‘The Unseen Universe’, a book which created a stir as the first serious scientific attempt to oppose a spiritual view of the universe to the prevailing materialistic one. The ‘Two Worlds’ was launched as a weekly newspaper by Emma Hardinge Britten.


The British ‘Lyceum Manual’ was published for the first time. Its co-authors were Mr. H. A. Kersey of Newcastle upon Tyne and Mr. Alfred Kitson and, of course, Emma Hardinge Britten. The Principles of Spiritualism which were given by Robert Owen through the Mediumship of Emma Hardinge Britten in 1871 were published in the ‘Two Worlds’ Magazine.


Mrs. A. W. Verrall (1859 – 1918) joined the S.P.R. in 1889, wrote many important papers for the Proceedings, was elected to the Council in 1901, developed psychic powers herself and sat, on Myers’ request, with Mrs. Piper when she visited England. In automatic writing she obtained in 1901 the first results after the death of Myers and produced afterwards hundreds of scripts which often contained matter of supernormal interest. In 1906 she published in the Proceedings an analysis of her scripts. This paper formed the starting point of a serious study in cross correspondence. Formation of the National Spiritualists’ Federation Spiritualists’ Lyceum Union Established. Name was later changed to British Spiritualist Lyceum Union in 1894.














Stanley de Brath (1854 – 1937) Made his first acquaintance with the phenomena of Spiritualism in 1890 through Cecil Husk, carried on extensive research and ended by fully accepting survival and the occurrence of supernormal phenomena. After the war he worked at the Institut Metapsychique in collaboration with Dr. Gustave Geley. Editor of ‘Psychic Science’, the quarterly of the British College for Psychic Science.

Jan Guzyk (1875 – 1928) a Polish materialisation medium, the son of a weaver whose strange powers first manifested in his years of apprenticeship in the tanning trade at Warsaw. There were raps, blows on the walls and a stirring of objects as soon as evening approached. At the age of 15, under the domination of M. Chlopicki, an acknowledged Spiritualist, he became a professional medium. Aksakof took him to St. Petersburg where he achieved great success.

Ernest Bozzano (1862-1945) The dean of Italian psychical researches.  His attention was first directed to psychical phenomena in 1891 by Prof. Theodore Ribot who forwarded him to the first number of ‘Annales des Sciences Psychique’.

In the company of Prof. Morselli and Porro he had many sittings with Eusapia Paladino and ended by accepting the survival hypothesis and by becoming a most prolific writer on psychic subjects.


Florence Marryat (1837 – 1899) English authoress, daughter of Capt. Marryat, acquainted with all the celebrated mediums of the seventies-eighties both in England and America, witness of Katie King’s famous farewell from Florence Cook, recorded remarkable experiences in two books: ‘There is No Death’, 1891, and ‘The Spirit World’, 1894, both of them very popular, and claimed mediumistic gifts herself, among them the strange power of summoning the spirits of the living.


In 1892 William T. Stead (1849 – 1912)discovered that he had the gifts of spirit-controlled handwriting. He became associated with the L.S.A. and was a fearless champion of Spiritualism. He was, of course, a well-known editor, and a nationally famous figure for his great fight against the White Slave Traffic and the prostitution of children. He passed to the Higher Life through the tragic sinking of the ‘Titanic’ in 1912. Foundation of National Spiritualists Association of America.

Eusapia Palladino (1854 – 1918) was a medium whose name continues to be associated with both spectacular Mediumship and fraud; the impact made by her activity is clearly demonstrated by the continuing debate.


Mrs Holland (pseudonym) an automatic writer with whom many important experiments were conducted by the S.P.R. She had written automatic poetry since 1893 and on a few occasions obtained messages from a deceased friend. In 1903 she read Myers’ Human Personality and in September of the same year she began automatic writing systematically. The entities who came through in her scripts claimed to be Edmund Gurney and F. W. H. Myers. Generally she was in the waking state during these communications.





Lord Arthur Balfour (1848 – 1930)Served as the British Prime Minister from 1902 to 1905 and through his sister, the wife of Prof. Henry Sidgwick, the first president of the SPR, he became interested in psychic phenomena and the question of survival in 1882. In 1894 he occupied the presidential chair of the SPR. Especially interested in telepathy as it lent itself to experimental work. President of the SPR in 1893. President of the British Association in 1904.

Professor William James (1842 – 1910) Professor of psychology at Harvard University, achieved his MD in 1869 and later taught physiology and philosophy. One of the founders of the ASPR, president of the SPR in 1894-5, vice-president from 1890-1910.

Prof. Baron von Schrenck-Notzing (1862 – 1929) German pioneer of psychical research, a physician of Munich who specialised in psychiatry which eventually led him into psychical research. With the awakening of his interest in psychical research he founded the ‘Gesellshaft fur Metapsychische Forschung’ and began his study of telekinesis and telepathic which rendered him famous.

Up to the time of his death there was no important medium in Europe with whom he did not conduct personal experiments. He commenced with Eusapia Palladino at whose experiments he was present as early as 1894 in Rome.


R. Thompson – an English trance medium, whose powers were developed at Frederic W. Thurstan’s Delphic Circle at Hertford Lodge, Battersea. In her early sittings in 1897 and 1898 the records of which in ‘Light’ refer to her as Mrs. T., she exhibited powerful physical phenomena, raps, movements of objects, psychic lights, elongation, direct voice, apports, scents and materialisations. Her physical manifestations were discouraged by F. W. H. Myers and she was persuaded to give her services to the S.P.R. as a trance medium from 1898 onwards (Proc., Vol. XVII, 1901-3). Her chief control was her deceased daughter, Nelly, who died in infancy.


Dr Gustave Geley (1865 – 1924) Graduate doctor of the Faculty of Medicine of Lyon, distinguished psychical researcher and Director of the Institut Metapsychique International of 1919 to 1924. The most palpable evidence he produced for the reality of mediumistic phenomena were the Kluski plaster casts, which are still on view in the Institute. His last book, ‘Clairvoyance and Materialisation’, based chiefly on his experiences with Eva C., marks another milestone in psychical research. It was to have been followed by a second volume, ‘The Genesis and Meaning of Metapsychic Phenomena’, of which, however, the world was deprived by his sudden death in an aeroplane accident on July 15, 1924, a few days after a last experiment with Kluski in Warsaw.


Dr. Hereward Carringtonat the age of 19, joined the Society for Psychical Research and afterwards devoted his life to psychical research. He became assistant to Dr. Hyslop, who was leader of the American Society for Psychical Research, founding in 1906. Dr. Carrington wrote widely on the subject of Spiritualism.

Theodor Flournoy – Professor of Psychology at the University of Geneva; author of perhaps the most remarkable book in the whole literature of psychic science: ‘Des Indes a la Planete Mars’ (From India to the Planet Mars), Paris, 1900. This was the sensation of the year and the passage of time has in no way affected its unusual scientific worth, or mitigated its absorbing interest. It deals with the Mediumship of Mlle. Helen Smith to whose circle he was first admitted in the winter of 1894-95.


Foundation of Spiritualists National Union Limited.


The S.N.U took over the rights, assets and obligations of the Federation and obtained legal status whereby it could hold real property.


Indridi Indridason (1883 – 1912) His Mediumship was unusual because it appears that he was the first person known to have had these abilities in Iceland; secondly, he was found by academic researchers, and his Mediumship was developed by them. The source of this work was the Experimental Society that later became the Icelandic Society for Psychical Research.


Gladys Osborne Leonard (1882 – 1968) As often happens with many natural mediums; Mrs. Leonard exhibited early signs of her sensitive nature. Mrs. Leonard was one of the most thoroughly investigated mediums of the twentieth century. For more than fifty years she gave remarkable evidence of personal survival to countless sitters. Perhaps the most significant in her life was a series of sittings she gave to Sir Oliver Lodge, the renowned physicist.


G. N. M.Tyrrell wrote ‘Grades of Significance’, ‘Science and Psychical Phenomena’, ‘The Personality of Man’ and ‘Apparitions’;, and has contributed articles to the ‘Hibbert Journal’, the ‘Spector’, ‘Philosophy’, and other publications. His Myers Memorial Lecture on ‘Apparitions’, published in 1942, revealed the psychological character of these memorial experiences. He joined the Society for Psychical Research in 1908 and became President in 1945.


Cesare Lombroso (1835 – 1909) Early in his career Lombroso was a staunch materialist and admitted in his 1909 work ‘After Death – What?’, “If ever there was an individual in the world opposed to spiritism by virtue of scientific education, and I may say, by instinct, I was that person. I had made it the indefatigable pursuit of a lifetime to defend the thesis that every force is a property of matter and the soul an emanation of the brain.” He was later forced to considerably alter his views after extensive study of the phenomena of Eusapia Palladino and later wrote, “I am ashamed and grieved at having opposed with so much tenacity the possibility of the so-called spiritistic facts…”




Dr. Eugene Osty (1874 – 1938)First became convinced of ‘metapsychic’ phenomena in 1910. On his return of the war, Dr. Gustave Geley invited him to join the Management Committee of the IMI. From 1924 to 1931 Osty gave up his activities as a doctor, to devote himself entirely to the IMI and the study of ‘metapsychic’ phenomena. He organized, animated and supervised experiments, in particular with Jean Guzik, then with the Austrian medium, Rudi Schneider.Towards the end of the 1920’s, in collaboration with his son Marcel, an engineer, he constructed an experimental device making it possible to objectify the existence of an opaque substance during ectoplasmic productions. Osty undertook his experiments in a purely scientific manner, rejecting both the popular but dogmatic views of orthodox science and also the uncritical attitude of Spiritualism. He wrote his widely known book ‘Supernormal Faculties in Man’ in 1923.

Etta Wriedt (b1840) In addition to voices heard in the daylight, there were other features to her séances as well: luminous forms, etherealisations gliding about the room in darkness. Sometimes dogs materialised and barked…Flowers were taken from vases and placed in the hands of sitters…invisible fingers touched the sitters and rapped by the trumpet to urge a hesitating person to answer promptly when spoken to, luminous discs…were seen to move round…The sitters were often sprinkled with water, wafts of cool air were felt.’








The Bang Sisters Within the vast and marvellous records of American physical Mediumship, one of the most outstanding chapters belongs indeed, to the turn of the century mediums, the Misses Elizabeth S and May E Bangs, of Chicago, Illinois. Their gifts included above board, independent writing in broad daylight (mostly slates), and independent drawing and painting; all forms of fully developed clairvoyance, materialisations, and direct voices. Their most wondrous and spectacular phenomena was that of precipitated spirit portraits in full colour.

P Stanislawa, the wife of a Polish officer, subject of Baron von Schrenck Notzing for important materialisation experiments. At the age of 18 she saw the phantom of a friend, Sophie M., who died at the exact time. Soon after, spontaneous telekinetic phenomena developed. Having joined a Spiritualistic circle, Sophie M. materialised and became the medium’s permanent attendant, occasionally sharing control with ‘Adalbert’ and a young Polish boy. In 1911 P. Lebiedzinski, a Polish engineer, began a series of experimental séances which lasted intermittently until 1916. His report, published in the ‘Revue Metapsychique’ (1921, No. 4) was favourable.


Pearl Curran The medium through whom the remarkable books of Patience Worth are produced. Her first experience was with the ouija board which moved under her hands at a rapid rate. She spelled out the letters. They have given highly interesting communications. Later she spoke the letters aloud as they tumbled into her mind. Disregarding the claims of Patience Worth the books bear the stamp of supernormal origin. Mrs. Curran has travelled and read little, her education is limited and her literary output under the influence of Patience Worth is prodigious both in quantity and quality.


Maria Silbert (1866 – 1936) was a physical medium, always ready to help, sacrificed herself, in spite of years of illness, for science and her suffering fellow-creatures.


Luiz de Mattos 12 conferences organised on Science and Religion, in the main room of the Commerce Employees Association in Rio de Janeiro. In those conferences, the principles upon which Rational and Scientific Spiritualism was based, were brought up to light. Parliamentary Campaign for the legal recognition of Spiritualism instituted by the Union under Ernest Oaten who was Doyle’s tour organiser and right-hand man, but years prior to this he had devoted his life to the building up of the S.N.U. In 1919 he became editor of ‘The Two Worlds’ and was rightly recognised as a leader of Spiritualist thought. Spiritualism is indebted to him beyond measure for his unflagging efforts of its behalf.









Dr. W. J. Crawford (1881 – 1920) whose painstaking and thorough investigations with the Kathleen Goligher Circle between 1917 and 1920 go a long way towards discovering the ‘psychic’ laws behind telekinesis phenomena. Crawford’s conclusions are summed up in three important books: “The Reality of Psychic Phenomena”(1916); “Experiments in Psychic Science” (1919); and “The Psychic Structures in the Goligher Circle” (1921).

James Hewatt McKenzie (1870 – 1929) Founder of the British College of Psychic Science began the study of psychic facts in 1900 – led to this by dissatisfaction with the failure of Science or Theology to throw any light on Man’s destiny. Years of private study and investigation followed, and in 1915 he gave a series of various lectures in London, Edinburgh and Glasgow. In 1916 he published ‘Spirit Intercourse, Its Theory and Practice’ and a pamphlet ‘If a Soldier Die’, which had a wide circulation. In 1917 he toured U.S.A. as far as Chicago in search of mediums and again in 1920, spending a good deal of time in California on the latter visit.

In 1920 the College was established, and for this venture Mr. McKenzie found the entire initial cost. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1858 – 1930) proclaimed his belief in the teachings and truth of Spiritualism. Just as Andrew Jackson Davis was called the ‘John the Baptist’ of Modern Spiritualism, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was called the ‘St. Paul’ of Spiritualism. He was a prolific writer on the subject and an avid proponent.




Sir William F. Barrett (1845 – 1926)published his book ‘On the threshold of the unseen; an examination of the phenomena of Spiritualism and of the evidence for survival after death’. Barrett made searching inquiries both in England and in the USA. His summing up was that there is evidence for the existence of a spirit world, for survival after death, and for occasional communication with those passed over.Franek Kluski (1873 – 1943) an educated man, a banker and writer, did not attract the level of attention that was given to such mediums as Daniel Dunglas (‘D. D.’) Home, Eusapia Palladino, Rudi Schneider and others. His short period of Mediumship lasted only seven years; the amount of information detailing his activity is therefore limited.

Dr Glen Hamilton (1873 -1935) In 1918, soon after his son’s wartime death, he began to experiment with psychic phenomena. His aim was the investigation of paranormal phenomena such as rapping’s, psychokinesis, ectoplasm’s and materialisations under scientific conditions that would minimize any possibility of error. His work became known in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States. Between 1926 to 1935 he presented 86 lectures and wrote numerous articles that were published in Canada and abroad.

John Campbell Sloan (1869 – 1951) a direct voice medium was investigated extensively by Arthur Findlay and whose findings were published in Findlay’s book ‘On the Edge of the Etheric.’


Estelle Roberts (1889 – 1970) Barbanell referred to Estelle Roberts as ‘one of the world’s greatest mediums and the possessor of nearly every psychic faculty’Willy Schneider (b1903) His mediumistic abilities had become apparent when, after returning from the funeral of his older brother, Willy saw his brother.















William McDougall, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, author of ‘Body and Mind and Social Psychology’, President of the S.P.R. for 1920-21 and of the A.S.P.R. for 1921, member of the Scientific American Committee for the investigation of Margery’s Mediumship, a keen but reserved investigator who takes great care not to commit himself as to the genuine occurrence of the supernormal and agencies of an extra-terrene origin.

Rev. G. Vale Owen (1869 – 1931) a Church of England clergyman who developed spirit controlled writing. A whole series of articles produced in this manner was published in the ‘Weekly Despatch’ in 1920 and made a profound impression.In consequence of this publicity he was persecuted by his Ecclesiastical superiors and resigned from the Church. He conducted lecture tours of Britain and America. His ‘Life Beyond the Veil’ (five volumes) has become a Spiritualist classic.

Dr. Walter Franklin Prince, Ex-minister of the Episcopal Church, research officer of the A.S.P.R. from 1920-24, founder and research officer of the Boston S.P.R., President of the S.P.R., 1931-32, an able and extremely sceptical investigator. His cure in the multiple personality case of Doris Fischer was brilliant, his studies of the case of Patience Worth and of the Antigonish ghost especially instructive. His books: ‘The Case of Patience Worth’, ‘The Psychic in the House’, ‘Noted Witnesses for Psychic Occurrences’, ‘The Enchanted Boundary’ and (in collaboration with Mrs. Allison) ‘Leonard and Soule Experiments’.



Dr. Konstantin Oesterreich, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Tubingen, an authority on religious psychology, the first modern scientist in Germany who publicly declared his belief in psychic phenomena. In 1921 he published two books:’Grundbegriffe der Parapsychologie’ and ‘Der Okkultismus im modernen Weltbield’.

In the latter he testified to materialisations and telekinesis as facts. Oesterreich is a very active and thorough psychical researcher. The number of his articles in scientific papers, his university lectures and monographs in which he has presented the case of psychic science is significant.



Rev C. Drayton Thomas whose works describe life in the spirit world wrote many books including ‘In the Dawn beyond Death’, ‘Life beyond Death with Evidence’, and ‘Some New Evidence for Human Survival’. Formation of the International Spiritualists Federation.Mina “Margery” Crandon (1888 – 1941) Perhaps the most controversial medium in the history of Spiritualism. In her heyday, in the 1920s, she spurred comments from some of the most noted Spiritualists and parapsychologists.





















Rudi (Rudolf) Schneider (1908 – 1957) One of the four sons in the Schneider family who demonstrated their mediumistic abilities at a young age.Stella Cranshaw One of the descriptions of Stella Cranshaw, better known as ‘Stella C.’, was that she was ‘a simple, well-educated girl whose main interest in life was not in psychical science at all, but to whom ‘odd’ things occurred.’

Prof. Camille Flammarion (1842-1925) is noted chiefly as the author of popular books on astronomy, including Popular Astronomy and The Atmosphere. He was later to write extensively on psychical research, and produced classic works such as ‘Death and Its Mystery,’ vols. 1, 2 and 3. One-time President of the SPR in 1923.

Geraldine Cummins Authoress, daughter of the late Professor Ashley Cummins of Cork, Ireland, remarkable automatic writer, receiving communications alleged to emanate from Phillip the Evangelist, Cleophas and F. W. H. Myers. The development of her Mediumship began in December, 1923, in sittings with Miss E. B. Gibbes. She never studied theology or kindred subjects. She travelled far and wide but never visited Egypt or Palestine. Ordinarily her work of composition is very slow. In her automatic writing the speed is remarkable. On March 16, 1926, 1,750 words were produced in one hour and five minutes.

Stephan Ossowiecki (b1877) was a Polish engineer, and one of the most remarkable and scientifically tested clairvoyants. He inherited his psychic gifts from his mother’s side, and could read thoughts from early childhood. In the Engineering Institute at Petrograd, where he studied, he astounded his professors by answering questions enclosed in an envelope without opening it. He could see coloured auras of surrounding people, heard raps and could move objects telekinetically. When he practised telekinesis his clairvoyant powers diminished. At the age of 35 he lost his telekinetic powers and his gift of reading sealed papers developed remarkably. With human subjects he showed even more penetration. Most of the persons he meets have no secrets from him. He knows their most intimate thoughts, and reads their past, present and future as in an open book.


Hannen Swaffer proclaimed his belief in the teachings and truth of Spiritualism. Author, Journalist and socialist, he created a sensation when he made public his conversion to Spiritualism in 1924, in his book ‘Northcliffe’s Return’. He was a great propagandist through the spoken and written word. It was in Hannen Swaffer’s famous home circle that Silver Birch, the spirit guide of Maurice Barbanell (1902 – 1981) used to speak.


Carlos Mirabelli (1889 – 1951) Carlos worked in a shoe shop where he found himself in the midst of poltergeist activity: ‘The shoe boxes took to leaving their shelves and flying around the shop, sometimes even accompanying him out into the street’. Consequently, and regrettably, he was incarcerated in an asylum. However, those who cared for him decided to carry out tests and discovered his ability to move objects without physical contact with them.


Gordon Higginson (1918 – 1993) began demonstrating publicly at the age of 12. Gordon continued to demonstrate his Mediumship in Churches, Theatres, Halls, including the Albert Hall and astounded hundreds of thousands of people with his evidential clairvoyance. Because of the strength of his physical Mediumship, many have witnessed materialised spirit forms in home circles and at the Arthur Findlay College of Psychic Science where he was the Principal and demonstrated his physical Mediumship over many years. Gordon was a Spiritualist Minister, President of the West Midlands District Council and President of the Spiritualists National Union from 1970 to his death on 18th January, 1993.





Arthur Findlay’s trilogy published…”On the edge of the Etheric”, “The Rock of Truth” and “The Unfolding Universe” The ‘Psychic News’ was founded by Arthur Findlay under the editorship of Maurice Barbanell.


William Brown (b1981) a keen inquirer into psychical research. In two letters to ‘The Times’ he wrote appreciatively but guardedly of Rudi Schneider’s powers and declared that they are worthy of the closest scientific investigation. In a lecture delivered during the jubilee celebrations of the S.P.R. he reviewed the evidence collected and examined by the society and declared that it was ‘sufficient to make survival scientifically extremely probable.’


First broadcast on behalf of Spiritualism through BBC by Ernest Oaten.

Alexander Frederick Harris (1987 – 1974) was born in Treherbert, in the Rhondda Valley, and was a physical and direct-voice medium.


Harry Edwards (1893 – 1976) probably did more to permanently affect Establishment attitudes, in the UK at least, towards a particular type of Mediumship (healing) than any other single Spiritualist before or since.


Spiritualism investigated by Church of England Committee set up by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Cosmo Lang. (It’s subsequent favourable report was suppressed but leaked to ‘Psychic News’).

Jack Webber (b1907) A Welsh ex-miner, Jack Webber was born in 1907 into a Christian family, but was introduced to Spiritualism through his wife’s acceptance of this. He discovered his mediumistic abilities when attending a home circle.


Arnold Clare (b1901) After reading an article by Conan Doyle, Arnold was prompted to attempt receiving communications, and found that he was capable of automatic writing.


Ministers begin to be appointed by the Spiritualists’ National Union.


Spiritualists National Union gains Government sanction / certificate to act as a Trust Corporation.



Helen Duncan (1897 – 1956) Trial in London – Spiritualists are no strangers to scorn, skepticism and stupidity. We face these regularly and deal with them appropriately. But few know that one of our most gifted Mediums was charged with conspiracy and actually imprisoned for her special psychic gifts of proving survival after death.


Helen Hughes (1893 – 1967) was a superb medium who conducted countless propaganda meetings around the British Isles, in modern times when Mediumship was still subject to the antiquated and outdated Witchcraft and Vagrancy Act (formed in 1735).

Lord Dowding came into prominence as a champion of Spiritualism after the 1939-1945 war. Lord Dowding was in command of the R.A.F. during the Battle of Britain and, through a medium friend, many of the airmen who had passed over were able to give their former Chief convincing evidence of their survival. Since then Lord Dowding spoke and wrote indefatigably on his convictions regarding the continuity of life.


Minnie Harrison (1895 – 1958) An example of the evidential quality of Minnie’s Mediumship was when Alfred Kitson, one of Spiritualism’s early pioneers, materialized on 22 March, 1947.


The Spiritualists’ National Union recognised as the Official Spiritualists’ Body. Passing of the Fraudulent Mediums’ Act 1951 removing genuine mediums from the previous provisions of the Witchcraft Act 1735 and from s.4 of the Vagrancy Act 1824, thereby enabling Spiritualist openly and legally to practice their religion.


Eileen J. Garrett (1893 – 1970) Established the New York-based Parapsychology Foundation in 1951. She presided over the foundation until her death in 1970. She is, perhaps, the most respected medium of the twentieth century. Her contributions to the investigation and understanding of Mediumship and allied phenomena remain immeasurable.The Lyceum Department received a letter from the Spiritualists’ National Union stating that henceforth it would be known as ‘The Spiritualists Lyceum Union’ (in 1948 the British Spiritualists’ Lyceum was incorporated into the Spiritualists’ National Union.


Lillian Bailey was a deep trance medium who gave supreme survival evidence to many notable personalities in the 20-Century. Kings and Princes consulted her because of her remarkable gift which allowed her spirit-self to leave its mortal shell and thus allow a communicator from the next world to take temporary control of it. In 1957 the Psychic Press published a book about her life (written by W.F. Neech) called ‘Death is Her Life’


A motion showing that there was a need for a Guild of Spiritualists Healers was put to the Spiritualists’ National Union’s Annual General Meeting at Worthing and was held to be proven, although nothing could be done at that meeting, it was an ideal only.


Proposals were put to the Spiritualists’ National Annual General Meeting at Manchester for the formation of a Guild of Spiritualists Healers.

Stansted Hall bequeathed to the Spiritualists’ National Union by Arthur Findlay to be used as a College for the advancement of Psychic Science.


Arthur Findlay College (Stansted Hall) opens in September.


Tom Henwood and Bill Tyler, Members of the Healing Committee, ask for closer contact with the District councils, this helped to increase membership.


The League of Friends of Stansted Hall was inaugurated.

Ena Twigg (b1914) On September 4, 1969, while Ena Twigg, her husband, Harry, and canon John Pearce-Higgins sat in the living-room of her home, suddenly a discarnate voice commanded her to switch on the tape recorder. The spirit voice belonged to the missing Bishop Pike, who – unknown to anyone on Earth – had then been ‘dead’ for twenty-four hours.


The Northern, Sheffield, Southern, Yorkshire, East Midlands and London Guilds had been formed and the first meeting of the Guild of Spiritualist Healers took place in Stansted Hall.


Leslie Flint (1911 – 1994) publishes his book ‘Voices in the Dark’. Previously the Vice-president, he became the joint Vice President (in spirit) of the Noah’s Ark Society with Noah Zerdin.


First National Conference of the Guild of Spiritualists Healers was also held in Stansted Hall.


A set of by-laws was set up for the administration of the Guild of Spiritualists Healers, these to be known as by-laws ‘H’

















The Denomination of the Church of United Spiritualism of Australia was founded by the late Arch Reverend Anne McCann. Prior to 1975, there were a large number of individual Churches throughout Australia. Eventually they came together and began talking and sharing ideas and information about Spiritualism.This progressed extensively and eventually there was a combined meeting of the individual Churches, where it was agreed that they would become a Denomination.  Anne McCann was voted in as the Arch Reverend, as she had an extensive amount of knowledge of the Law and politics. Anne was also a high ranking member of the Labour Party.

This allowed her to learn the legal aspects for the Denomination. It was through Ann McCann that the Church of United Spiritualism became proclaimed on the 25th August 1975, by an Act of Parliament by the then Governor General Kerr.

Prior to this, anything connected to Mediumship, clairvoyance, psychics and any other connection to the paranormal, was illegal to do so in Australia. (See the Witchcraft Act, which was then the Vagrancy Act).  This was unique in itself, as it allowed previously illegal acts to become legal. The Denomination was proclaimed and a Constitution from the Lyceum Manual was formed.

This proclamation ensured that the Denomination of The Church of United Spiritualism of Australia has the right to have rites; i.e. the right to be married as a Spiritualist – under Marriage Act 1961, and to have naming and funeral services, held under the auspices of the Church.

Upon the passing of Arch-Rev Anne, the present Arch Rev Ken Pearsall was voted into office as the Nominating Authority and Arch Reverend in 2003.

George William Chapman (b1921) undoubtedly a medium who stands out prominently in the sphere of twentieth century Mediumship. One recognition of this was gaining the ‘Spiritualist of 1975’ award, presented to him by Harry Edwards.

At the S.N.U Annual General Meeting, members voted in favour of adopting a new set of Articles of Association which were circulated prior to the meeting. This resulted in bringing into force the three tier system of administration.


The three tier system came into effect immediately after the S.N.U. Annual General Meeting marking a new phase in the history of the S.N.U.


At the Spiritualists’ National Union’s Annual General Meeting at Manchester it was agreed that the Guild would administer its own funds and its chief officers would be known as President and Vice-president, these arrangements took effect in January 1990.


Doris Stokes (d1987) publishes her first book ‘Voices in my Ear’


The S.N.U and Guild became two of the Founder Members of the Confederation of Healing Organizations.


Coral Polge (1947 – 2001) One of Britain’s most well known psychic artists, Coral is able, through the use of her Mediumship, to create portraits of people in spirit. In 1986 she wrote her book ‘Living Spirits’


Prof. David Fontana, Professor of Psychology at Cardiff University and the author of many books on Psychology, Meditation and Dream Analysis, first joined the SPR in 1987. He was co-opted to the Council of the SPR in 1992, elected to Council in 1993, served as President from 1996, and is now a Vice-president and Chairman of the Society’s Survival Research Committee. Also co-authored ‘The Scole Report’ (Proc.SPR 58, Part 220) with Montague Keen and the now deceased Prof. Arthur Ellison.


Betty Shine (1929 – 2002) wrote her first book ‘Mind to Mind’ in 1989. She was guided by a spirit voice from the age of two onwards, but the bulk of her work in adulthood was done privately, in one-to-one consultations. She was not greatly interested in giving clairvoyant demonstrations, although she was in fact a medium, as she recounted in her autobiography; and she often did clairvoyant medical diagnosis.


The S.N.U Centenary was celebrated by holding Publicity Meetings in every District Council are with a National Celebration at Wembley, London on 31st March, date of the Hydesville event in 1848.





Archie Roy (b1924) Founder member of PRISM – Psychical Research Involving Selected Mediums which is an organization devising scientific experiments, using mediums, to give evidence of survival. Archie, for many years Professor of Astronomy at Glasgow University, is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, the British Interplanetary Society and has been President of both the Scottish and English Societies for Psychical Research.

He has lectured in many countries, been an invited speaker for NATO Scientific Division, edited journals and newspapers, investigated haunted houses and haunted people. His publications are over seventy scientific papers, scores of articles and thirteen books.


The Guild of Spiritualist Healers amalgamated with the S.N.U and a new Standing Committee was instituted, known as the Spiritualist Healing Committee. The S.N.U withdrew from the C.H.O.


For many years that the Roman Catholic Church has been carrying out scientific experiments with their own mediums and one of the most competent theologians of the Vatican, Father Gino Concetti, writing in the ‘Osservatore Romano’, the daily paper of the Holy See, says that, ‘According to the modern catechism the Church has decided not to forbid anymore to dialogue with the deceased … this is as a sequel of new discoveries within the domain of the paranormal.’


John Edwards was Born and raised on Long Island, NY, exhibited psychic abilities from an extremely early age, and was deemed ‘special’ by many in his family. The fact that he would uncannily know family history and events that took place prior to his birth solidified that fact. Because no fuss was made over these early experiences, he maintained as normal a childhood as possible. Since psychic phenomena were so accepted by his family, it was easy for his abilities to flourish.


Ivy Northage (1909 – 2002) was well known for her teaching abilities; and in Britain she set up the Ivy Northage School for Mediums, which helped many acolytes to hone and perfect their mediumistic skills. In 1999, she wrote her life-story, called ‘While I Remember,’ which features some fascinating accounts of the Mediumship that she witnessed.


George Anderson is a contemporary American medium who has been achieving some amazing results under controlled conditions in studies at the University of Arizona in which five mediums were tested conducting readings for the same clients and found to be consistently accurate well beyond chance or guessing. The full first study was published in the Journal of the Society of Psychical Research in England in January, 2000.