Found in the Peter Haining Archive ( though how it got there is anybody’s guess) is a letter addressed to Alec McClelland, author of The Lost World of the Agharti from someone called John Hanning-Lee.
Bearing no year date ( but it must be dated after 1982, when The Lost World of Agharti appeared ) it urges McClelland to read Seth Speaks by the American psychic and author Jane Roberts (1929 – 84), who from 1964 received spirit messages from a male being called ‘ Seth’, whose pronouncements were later made the subject of a number of published works by Roberts collectively known as the ‘Seth material’. In his letter Hanning –Lee particularly focuses on the chapter in Seth Speaks devoted to the lost underground civilisation that predated Atlantis. Hanning-Lee describes the inhabitants and their civilisation thus:
‘They had blown up their own civilisation prior to that and the underground existence that followed was, of course, a reincarnational one. They excavated whole cities, by that I mean they excavated extensively so that their cities and communicating passages were entirely beneath the surface. The means of doing this was by means of sound vibrations where certain low notes sounded with power can cause a tunnel to form where there was solid earth. I suppose an analogy would be if you were to manipulate iron filings so that a path was formed through a mass of them placed on a sheet of paper and the paper tapped lightly. These ‘ caves ‘ they formed were, then, far more extensive than the ordinary idea of the word ‘cave’ and ran for miles, Their knowledge of the plates of the Earth’s crust and the science of earthquakes was almost certainly far superior to ours. Continue reading →
Found - a curious and very rare spiritualist book The Spirit of Irene Speaks published in Bournemouth in 1923. The title refers to a notorious murder in 1922 of a young cook, Irene Wilkins, who had travelled down to Bournemouth to London in response to a potential employer from an advertisement she had placed in a local paper. She had been met at the station in a large Mercedes and her body was found in a field the next day battered to death. Eventually a chauffeur was arrested, one Thomas Henry Allaway. An astute car designer had noted the car's registration number at the station and he was also recognised by a telegram clerk… The book claims that through 'psychometrics' (in this case the psychic tracing of the murderer through clairvoyant communications from an object from the murder scene) a medium had solved the case and there is a weight of convincing evidence in the book and suggestion of police co-operation. No account of the case found online mentions this aspect of the case.
However the book is notable for other reasons. It has a long plea at the beginning by Dr Abraham Wallace for the repeal of capital punishment as being irrational and unchristian and a further article on 'The Futility of Capital Punishment.' The endpapers of the books are designed by the cult outsider artist Madge Gill. She is mentioned in the text as having produced these 'automatic drawings'. She is called Madge E. Gill from London ('this lady through her mediumship obtains gorgeous oriental designs in marvellous colour schemes, and quite unusual in conception. She also, under control, does the most beautiful embroidery and needlework…)
Madge Gill (1882- 1961) was a prolific outsider and visionary artist. She was introduced to Spiritualism by an aunt when she was in her teens in East London. Later when she was about 40 she began creating thousands of mediumistic most done with ink in black and white. She claimed to be guided by a spirit she called "Myrninerest" (my inner rest) and often signed her works in this name. Many feature a young woman in intricate dress often thought to be a representation of herself or her lost (stillborn) daughter, and female subjects dominate her work. Her drawings are characterised by geometric chequered patterns and organic ornamentation, with the blank staring eyes of female faces and their flowing clothing interweaving into the surrounding complex patterns.These endpaper drawings, different at both ends (rear endpapers pictured) do not have the female face…a book on her came out in 2013 by the musician and occultist David Tibet.
The second and last part of this booklet by Shaw Desmond (1877-1960). (see first part here.) He was an Irish novelist, poet, founder of the International Institute for Psychical Research in 1934, and author of many works on the afterlife and several Scientific Romances- some dystopian and possibly influenced by Olaf Stapledon. He appears as himself in Haunted Palace(1949), a documentary, directed by Richard Fisher, in his role as a ghostbuster. There is more on Desmond at the at the SF Encyclopedia.
STORIES FROM MY CASE-BOOK
It is impossible in a little booklet of this kind in every case to give the minutiae of authorities, places, times, people present and conditions of phenomena described and other references, but the reader wose interest has been stimulated to further study is advised to refer to the author's books and to those of others. The books of Geraldine Cummins, in particular, will be found of the utmost value, especially her Scripts of Cleophas and their kindred volumes, which can, with the author's, be obtained at any good library.
The following experiences from my case-book and from other records may be relied upon. They run the gamut from tragedy to comedy. They are of the stuff that helps to make psychic history.
Some years ago I was travelling on one of my American lecture tours in my Pullman, from San Diego to San Francisco. In the night, I was awakend by a most powerful influence which kept on "calling out," so to speak, the name of Annie Flynn.
This spirit influence brought to my memory a lady of this name I had known thirty years before in Ireland, and with whom I had since lost all connection. Annie had been a lovely girl of the typical Irish model, with blue eyes and black hair, tall and of a certain queenliness which had remained in my thought. Continue reading →
Found in the Coleman collection this striking pamphlet. The collection consisted of 3000+ books and booklets on parapsychology, spiritualism and the occult accumulated by a zetetic Bedford scientist determined to disprove all aspects of the paranormal. This pamphlet by Shaw Desmond from 1946 is actually quite late in the day for spiritualist and psychic publications. They were at their height in the early 1930s. There is a theory that they blossomed in the 1920s with the business of putting grieving parents in touch with their dead soldier sons…In the age of Dawkins these pamphlets are still published but the flood has (sadly) become a small stream. Shaw Desmond (1877-1960) was an Irish novelist, poet, founder of the International Institute for Psychical Research in 1934, and author of many works on the afterlife and several Scientific Romances- some dystopian and possibly influenced by Olaf Stapledon. He appears as himself in Haunted Palace(1949), a documentary, directed by Richard Fisher, in his role as a ghostbuster. There is more on Desmond at the at the SF Encyclopedia.
In his autobiographical Everyman Remembers ( 1931), the litterateur Ernest Rhys recalls his friendship with Frank Podmore, one of the more colourful members of the late nineteenth century Spiritualist community, a co-founder of the Fabian Society and the author of a fat biography of the proto-socialist Robert Owen.
Like Anthony Trollope, the Oxford-educated Podmore, was a writer who held down a day job with the Post Office. But unlike the Victorian novelist, he was, to quote Rhys, ‘unimaginative’ and ‘practical to a degree, but cultured and full of intellectual curiosity ‘—ideal qualities for a paranormal investigator. But although Rhys touches on his friend’s investigations, he seems more interested in the odd personal lives of Podmore and his wife Eleanor. Here, for instance is his impression of the odd couple in their Hampstead home:
They set up house in Well Walk, and furnished it with extreme taste and a touch of virtuosity.
Although Leslie Shepard (1917 – 2004) was a passionate devotee of early cinema, he is probably best known today for his books on Dracula, Indian mysticism, the supernatural, paranormal and British street literature, on which he was a world expert. He was a born collector who amassed a huge library of books and ephemera, much of which is now in academic libraries. The portion which escaped this fate seems to have been sold at auction over a period of years and it was at auction a couple of years ago that I acquired a large box containing part of his penny ballad archive—possibly the detritus.
It goes without saying that Shepard was a fan of Charles Fort, that indefatigable collector of facts concerning the paranormal, and probably in the 1960s, as he reports in this typed article of 1974, which may have appeared in INFO, a successor to Doubt, the house journal of the American-based Fortean Society, that Shepard was recruited into the latter. Shepard had relished the early issues of Doubt, but in the article he complained that in the later numbers natural skepticism towards scientific dogma was transformed into something:
Found in Hartman's International Directory of Psychic Science and Spiritualism for 1931 this proclamation from Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich of Russia - then a refugee from the Russian revolution and staying at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in New York. He appears to have been giving lectures on spirituality and spiritualism in America.
The book itself comes from a time when 'psychic science' was at its height and many famous names were involved. Among others the directory lists Oliver Lodge, C.K. Ogden, Count Louis Hamon ("Cheiro), Swami Yogananda, G.R.S Mead, Hannan Swaffer, Anna Wickham, Henri Bergson, Lady Jean Conan Doyle (with an address in Queen's Gardens W2 - her husband Arthur, very much a believer had died in 1930) Eric Dingwall, Earl Balfour etc.,
The Saturday Book (1950) 10th Anniversary edition has this quite modern sounding interview/ blurb printed on the inside flaps of its jacket. It was edited by Leonard Russell who probably wrote it. There is a 1000 to one chance it was written by George Orwell a one-time contributor and no stranger to advertising techniques..
Inside flap reads:
Q. and A.
Q.Ten years is a long time, isn't it for a publication of this kind?
A.There is no other publication of this kind.
Q.No imitations, then?
A.They have all perished - crushed to death by the weight of our reputation.
Q.Ah! And is this tenth anniversary number the best ever?
A. Certainly. It is axiomatic.
Q.How would you describe it in a nutshell?
A.Conservatively, as a master piece.
Q.H'm, any particular favourites among this year's contribution.
A.Let's see - there's Osbert Sitwell, Bertrand Russell, Kenneth Walker, Fred Bason, Olive Cookand Edwin Smith, John Hadfield, Walter de la Mare, F. Spencer Chapman.
Found, a leaflet from the early 1960s issued by the London HQ of Transcendental Meditation or 'The Spiritual Regeneration Movement Foundation of Great Britain' as it was known then. The alphabetical phone number HYD 6296 puts it before 1966, before the movement, under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, became a major force with the involvement of The Beatles and other celebs in 1967...
THE ROLE OF THE INDIVIDUAL IN TODAY'S WORLD SITUATION
The question of what can be done to reduce international tension and avoid the disaster of war is one that weighs upon the hearts and minds of us all. But few of us ask "What can I do?" Because it seems impossible for an individual to do anything; we are coming to regard ourselves as no more than helpless passengers on a vast liner that is about to sink.
Found - a rare booklet published in Melbourne, Australia circa 1913 -What Life in the Spirit World Really is. Being messages received from beyond the veil by Annie Bright. It is purportedly by the great newspaperman W.T. Stead (1849 - 1912) who had drowned in the 1912 Titanic disaster. It was in fact 'channelled' from Stead by one Annie Bright. Stead numbered spiritualism among his many interests and as well as editing The Pall Mall Gazette (which became the Evening Standard) he also edited the occult quarterly Borderland. He is said to be the first 'investigative journalist' and campaigned against child prostitution and the London slums. He befriended the feminist Josephine Butler and joined a campaign with her to successfully repeal the Contagious Diseases Act. He was an early Esperantist and he is also the father of modern paperback publishing and even 'digest' publishing, issuing severely abridged versions of the classics. Wikipedia has this to say of his last moments on the Titanic:
After the ship struck the iceberg, Stead helped several women and children into the lifeboats, in an act "typical of his generosity, courage, and humanity", and gave his life jacket to another passenger.
A later sighting of Stead, by survivor Philip Mock, has him clinging to a raft with John Jacob Astor IV. "Their feet became frozen," reported Mock, "and they were compelled to release their hold. Both were drowned." William Stead's body was not recovered. Further tragedy was added by the widely held belief that he was due to be awarded the Nobel Peace that same year.
The second of a couple of pamphlets from the world of mediums, psychics and seances - part of a large collection bought from a major collector who was trying to disprove it all. He was particularly incensed by the spoon-bending Uri Geller and worked back from there. There were books on the occult, the paranormal, spirit messages from famous dead authors like Doyle and Wilde, the inevitable Madame Blavatsky, afterlife experiences, many books with titles like 'There is no Death' and messages from the ether, heaven and hell.
This is the well told and touching story of a boy who lost his sight, the operations he went endured, the dismal reactions of his school friends and so called experts and his fortunate awakening to his mediumistic skills and partial regaining of his sight. He appears to have been an accomplished performer and he ends the piece with this caveat 'to all my friends' - 'I wish to state that I do not give private readings or psychometry neither by post or at my home. My work is exclusively confined to the platform.' The work was published in Britain in 1919 but is unknown to the internet and all world libraries - but no longer!
We are publishing a couple of pamphlets from the Spirit World - part of a large collection bought from a major collector who was trying to disprove it all. He was particularly incensed by the spoon-bending Uri Geller and worked back from there. There were books on psychics, seances, the paranormal, spirit messages from famous dead authors like Doyle and Wilde, the inevitable Madame Blavatsky, afterlife experiences, many books with titles like 'There is no Death' and messages from the ether, heaven and hell. This book is a guide to running a psychic event or meeting. There is much practical advice- e.g. ' Do not have a heavy meal immediately prior to a séance.' The author has the same name as the famous post-romantic writer but is known to librarians as Leigh Hunt, 'writer on Spiritualism.' It was published in London in 1937.
A Few Hints
L.S.A. PUBLICATIONS LTD.,
16 QUEENSBERRY PLACE.
LONDON, S.W. 7
No attempt is made in this little brochure to cover the whole ground of mediumistic activity, either in connection with development or with the various phases of phenomena. I have merely indicated by the hints given what I consider to be the best methods for investigators to adopt when holding a circle for psychic unfoldment. It cannot be too strongly emphasised that the whole subject calls for careful and serious consideration and investigation, and, therefore, at least a fair acquaintance with the literature of Spiritualism and Psychic Research is necessary if the inquirer is to pursue his quest with the hope of achieving any full measure of success.
From a large spiritualist collection this curiosity Psychic Messages from Oscar Wilde (Psychic Book Club, London 1924) published 24 years after his death and purporting to be spirit communications from purgatory with the great writer. Why Oscar was in purgatory and not heaven is not explained (although he famously said 'I don't want to go to heaven. None of my friends are there.') One of the communicants, Eric Dingwall (described online as '...a man of many parts – psychical researcher, librarian, book and antique collector, anthropologist, sexologist, intelligence operative) was no mere gullible spiritualist and occasionally they get Oscar's tone...his damning opinion of Joyce's recently published Ulysses is interesting, but it seems more likely Oscar would have approved...
COPY OF AUTOMATIC SCRIPT OBTAINED MONDAY,
JUNE 18TH, 1923.
Present.-Mr. V., Mrs. Travers Smith, Mr. B., Mr. Dingwall (Research Officer of the Society for Psychical Research), Miss Cummins.
Mr. V. was the automatist, Mrs. T.S. touching his hand.
From a paperback called I've Seen a Ghost - True Stories from Show Business by Richard Davis (Granada, London 1979). A series of mostly tall, real ghost stories from British stars of the time -Jon Pertwee, Roy Hudd, Pat Phoenix, Vincent Price, Bob Monkhouse, Rula Lenska etc.. There are the usual actor's superstitions and tales of ghosts seen in old theatres...the one from Kenny Everett could be filed under 'more things in heaven and earth' or Kenny was simply blagging - which seems unlikely as there is no joke or punchline. Also it is worth noting that this was before the time of proper mobile phones...
It happened when we were staying at Pete Asher's house in Surrey, near Rosper. It looks rather like a Chinese house – all made of paper walls and bits of stick. And it was by a lake, an 8 acre lake with two islands on it. All very deserted, it was.
We had a cameraman and his assistant staying with us, and we decided to have a go with the Ouija board. Well, the cameraman got a message through from his girlfriend; he said "that's odd - she's not dead". And she said by means of the Ouija board that she'd died that day. She'd taken a load of pills and she was in Bicester Mortuary. He couldn't believe this. He thought we were messing around, though I don't think any of us would have been quite as cruel as that. So he rang her dad, and her dad picked up the phone and he was in tears, because she had just taken a load of pills and he had taken her to the mortuary. The cameraman had been with us for two days; the phone hadn't rung and there was no way he could have known.
Came across this article in the Winter 1948 Occult Review by the intrepid cinematographer J.C. Bee-Mason, a war photographer in France, Belgium and Russia, and cinematographer to Ernest Shackleton on his last expedition south and other Arctic expeditions. He was obsessed with bee-keeping (hence the hyphenated “Bee” in his name) and filmed documentaries about bees.There is quite a bit about him on the web including his belief that if you ate a hundred pounds of good honey every year you would live to 100. Sadly JCB only made into his early 80s. Part of the interest in the piece is the acknowledged influence of Shackleton's experience on some lines in T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land:
Who is the third who walks always beside you? When I count, there are only you and I together But when I look ahead up the white road There is always another one walking beside you Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded I do not know whether a man or a woman - But who is that on the other side of you?
This phenomenon has been called by the author John Geiger the 'third man factor' - the experience of people at the very edge of death who feel the presence of an incorporeal being who encourages them and guides them to safety. Geiger tells the stories of 9-11 survivors, mountaineers, astronauts, explorers and prisoners of war who have reported this feeling…