Living Images: The Story of a Psychic Artist 9781855380844

Coral Palge has a unique gift. While most clairvoyants describe communicators from the spirit world, she takes communica

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Table of contents :
Front Cover
Title Page
Copyright Page
List of Illustrations
Dedication
Foreword
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Postscript
Back Cover
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Living Images: The Story of a Psychic Artist
 9781855380844

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Living Images

1978-Receiving the Spiritualist of the Year A ward.

Living Images The Story of a Psychic Artist

CORAL POLGE

with Kay Hunter

•... The Aquarian Press An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

The Aquarian Press An Imprint of GraftonBooks A Division of HarperCollinsPublishers 77-85 Fulham Palace Road, Hammersmith, London W6 8JB First published as The Living Image by Regency Press, London, 1985 Published by The Aquarian Press 1991 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

© CORAL POLGE and KAY HUNTER 1985, 1991 Coral Polge and Kay Hunter assert the moral right to be identified as the authors of this work A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN 1-85538-084-6 Printed in Great Britain by Woolnough Bookbinding Limited, Irthlingborough, Northamptonshire All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publishers.

List of Illustrations Frontispiece Spiritualist of the Year 1978 William and Mabel Potts 11 Coral Polge as a young child 14 32, 33 Maurice de la Tour, Coral's guide 50, 51 The son of Mrs. Bayles, Rhodesia 56, 57 Herbert Light Coral's cousin Mavis 62 Mrs. Raitby's father 78 90, 91 Gwynneth Richards The parents of Mrs. Humphries 100, 101, 102, 103 114, 115 Mrs. Hart's grandmother Maria Malibran, the opera singer 124, 125 128, 129 The great-grandmother of Mrs. Wright 130, 131 Maude Wall and the earring 132, 133 Tommy Smith, Australian airman 135 The pattern on a Chinese guide's hat Andrew Weston 155 Miss Okli-Ijoma's nephew 162, 163 Mrs. Nakaoka 172, 173 178, 179 Tom Chantrell and his father Tom Johanson 182 186 Peter Cook's grandfather and great-uncle 187, 188 Peter Cook's grandmother and mother 189 Peter Cook's wife's grandfather 194 The great-great-great-grandfather 22 years on Rudolf Meldau's German soldier friend 201 204, 205 Kay Hunter's father and maternal grandmother

To Mavis

The changing seasons come and go, And yesterday's saplings vault the sky. Her sun gold hair will never dull, Her happy heart for nought will sigh. No frown will crease her arching brow; Death's key gave her Eternal Now.

Foreword In spite of having devoted the major portion of my life to mediumship, my understanding of how it functions has barely scratched the surface. There are at the moment innumerable books being published about Spiritualism, for suddenly its followers are being accepted as almost respectable. I make no excuse for adding another book to the collection, because with such an unusual form of mediumship as psychic portraiture, something a little out of the ordinary is explored. Many readers may be as uninformed as I was when, over thirty-five years ago, I asked the question, "What is a psychic artist?", having been informed by a medium that I was one. The following pages may answer this, and perhaps explain a little more about this gift, possibly inspiring others with a similar latent talent to develop it to the fullness of their ability. Coral Polge

"All was foretold; Nought could I foresee, But I knew how the wind would sound After these things should be.'' Edward Thomas, The New House

Chapter One

I wanted to go home. The environment around me was alien; cold and dark, and I was very afraid. But where was home? Somewhere away from here, somewhere which was beautiful, some place where I belonged. But I seemed to be attached to the dark shape lying below me in the little bed, a small body which somehow was also Me, as well as this golden floating Self which was a hovering light a few feet above the bed. Instinctively I knew it was necessary to go down again into that sleeping form. Much as I hated the idea, it was my new home, and I could not move out of it as I so desired. Returning to it was a strange, jolting experience, but suddenly there I was, lying in the bed again, my infant heart pounding with fear of an unknown future, yet somehow knowing that whatever lay ahead of me was right. Unlike many mediums I was not psychic as a child except for those very early out-of-body experiences. Although not more than a year or two old when they occurred I can still recollect those completely silent, wordless happenings . As I grew out of them I gradually came to accept this earthly world as reality, and forgot all about my golden home which I had left so reluctantly at birth. Life proceeds in cycles. Incidents keep recurring, and many years later I was to come back full circle when awareness of that golden Self returned, after I had completely forgotten it in the intervening passage of time. I was again to find the true Me, which bore no relationship to that body which I came to know as my "new house". I grew up in the East End of London. We lived in a tall Victorian house in Richmond Road, Hackney, which belonged to my father's sister Ethel. I first saw the light of the earthly world in that house

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on 22nd September, 1924, at quarter to six in the morning, astrologically a true Virgoan, also having Virgo as my rising sign. I was christened Coral Annetta because my mother wished me to have a first name which could not be shortened, and because my father's sister was a beautician who had a client called Lady Coral Something-or-Other. What was good enough for the gentry was good enough for us, so I became Coral. My rather classy first names were in no way enhanced by the surname of Potts, which never pleased me! My father, William John Potts, was a cinema manager at the time of my birth, and although neither of my parents were psychic, my father's sister could read cards and teacups with a fair degree of accuracy, and later, when we became involved with Spiritualism, two of my mother's sisters proved to be psychic. As for me-the story goes that when I was born the midwife exclaimed to my mother, "This child has been here before!" My mother thought it was a most peculiar thing to say. She had miscarried a son before me, so I was deprived of the brother I might have had, and remained an only child. I longed to be old enough to go to school where there would be all the playmates I had ever wanted. Long before going to school I used to ask what it would be like, and could hardly wait to be old enough to attend. "Tell me who will be there when I go to school," I would plead with my father. "What will they be like?" "Well," he would reply thoughtfully, and with a perfectly straight face, "There'll be Freddie Foghorn, Matilda Milk, Billy Bluebottle, and ... " He always was a good story-teller, and the names rolled out. Convinced that they were real children, just waiting for me when I was old enough to go to school, I finally crossed the threshold of Wilton Road School. It was terribly disappointing not to be able to find those children anywhere. Wilton Road was one of those redbrick, Victorian London County Council schools, and in the Infant department we had little tables and chairs, the tables seating two pupils. There was indeed a Freddie who sat next to me, but he did not rejoice in the name of Foghorn. To this day I cannot recall his real name, but I remember him vividly. He was a quiet little boy, and I adored him, wanting to mother him, and with my typical Virgoan attention to detail, I wanted to

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My father, William Potts.

My mother, Mabel Rose (Bennett) Potts.

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pull up his socks and tidy him up. It puzzles me as to why I got along so well with Freddie because he hardly said a word and I was an inveterate chatterbox. Maybe that was the very reason we were such good friends! Somebody mentioned that he had an invalid mother. I don't think I realised what an invalid was, but people always looked very worried when they said it. One morning Freddie did not appear at school, and I went home to relate to my mother that I'd had to sit by myself that day. She did not seem entirely surprised at Freddie's absence. "Oh, well," she said sadly, "His mother has died." I was stunned. At that age I had never thought about people dying. My grandfather had died when my father was about fourteen, so I had heard as part of the family chit-chat, but that was ancient history and did not relate to me. But the fact that Freddie's mother could die absolutely terrified me. Suddenly I saw the possibility of my own parents dying. What would happen to me if they did? As an only child the thought filled me with apprehension and fear, which was carried with me for a long time. People seldom realise how frightening death can be to a child, especially in regard to parents. Somehow one assumes, in childish innocence, that Mum and Dad will be there for ever. It was part of my insecurity that I always wanted people-lots and lots of people. Many mediums relate how they saw and played with misty spirit children when they were young, but such playmates never came to me. I had to wait for the real thing-for people like Olive Goodchild. Olive became the most important friend in my life when I was at school. Visiting her house for tea was wonderful. She had several grown up brothers and sisters, and it was marvellous to go there and be part of a large family. Also, I was fascinated by the collection of blue and white willow pattern china they had on the big kitchen dresser. Why couldn't we have plates with little Chinamen crossing bridges too? My grandfather annoyed me by always referring to Olive as "Moonface" just because she had a lovely round smiling face. He obviously meant it almost as a compliment in a way, and it was merely banter, but it seemed most unfair. Olive's father, I heard, had died of pneumonia and pleurisy, and again came this realisation that parents could die.

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When I was seven we moved a few doors up the road to another house in Richmond Road. It had a garden containing some old chestnut trees which had been sawn down short, and having grown outwards provided a little hideway right in the middle of a tree. Olive and I used to sit up in that tree for hours. Trees have always been important in my life; I love them. Olive was rather like me, with straight hair and a fringe, and because of that we rather resented my cousin Jean, who was blessed with fair curls. Aunt Em, my father's younger sister, used to bring Jean to the house, and everyone would comment upon how pretty she was. Looking back, I must confess that she was. She was also quite a pleasant child, but because I thought I was plain I was terribly jealous of her. It is the only time I can ever remember being jealous of anyone, but how I disliked that girl! Even before attending school, drawing was my great love. Sometimes we went for holidays to my mother's Uncle Tom in Southsea. He was a wonderful old man-very tall and upright, like a policeman, and I had to reach up a long way to hold his large safe hand when he took me for walks. My favourite walk was in the cemetery, and I would drag him round the churchyard asking him to read me the names on the tombstones. At that time I was too young to be able to read. "Where have they gone?" I would anxiously ask Uncle Tom, staring perplexed at the tombstones which represented people. It worried me that he never seemed to be sure where they had gone. "Heaven, I hope," he would reply. "Their souls have gone to heaven." This was confusing, because we sometimes had soles for lunch. To me a sole was a flat fish. To this day, whenever someone refers to a soul going to Spirit, I still find my imagination going back to that peculiar image, envisaged in early childhood, of a flat, fish-like shape, floating up to heaven. I would draw pictures of the graves in· a little book, thinking how lovely the crosses and angels were, especially the weeping angels among the trailing ivy. Poor Uncle Tom would patiently walk around with me while I drew. We always had a great affinity, and he was the first person from whom I ever received a message when I came into the Spiritualist Church at the age of twenty-three. Another favourite outing with him was to the Marine barracks to listen to the band (I wasn't always morbid!). Uncle Tom's

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) Myself when young. I hated my straight hair and fringe, and longed for beautiful curls!

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daughter, my mother's cousin, known to me as Auntie Cis, is still alive in her eighties. "You were a very funny child," she told me recently. "You came home with all those drawings of graves and would say, 'Give me some better paper, Auntie Cis.'" And then I would draw laboriously some improved versions of the pictures originally done in the churchyard. I still find such places peaceful and beautiful. On my first visit to Denmark I remember going into a churchyard, wondering why so many people were called Fred, which was on dozens of headstones. Then I discovered that Fred is Danish for "Peace". Why I should have become an artist I'm not sure, but most of my mother's family, the Bennetts, could draw, write, or were musical. Great Grandfather Bennett was advertising manager for the Evening Standard. My mother's family reminiscences seemed quite romantic. Going further back into history there was a greatgrandfather who had been a coachman and eloped with a young lady of noble birth, who was promptly disowned by her angry parents. That branch of the family were silk merchants by the name of King, and Freemen of the City of London. Several generations back on my father's side we had an ancestor who was the illegitimate daughter of a Marquis. Maybe that's where Dad inherited his aristocratic profile! He really was incredibly handsome when young. The rest of my ancestry on that side seems to have been nothing more spectacular than master bakers, and later, upholsterers. My mother always wanted a house of her own, scrimping and scraping to save the requisite deposit of £25, a considerable amount of money in those days. We visited the Ideal Home Exhibition, and she persuaded my father to go out to Harrow to look at some of the new estates then mushrooming on London's outskirts. They decided to embark on home ownership, and bought a house for what now seems an amazingly low price of £575, but appeared to be a fortune in those days. We left London to move out to Harrow on my ninth birthday. The thought of moving to Harrow Weald, which was then beautiful countryside, was very enticing, yet somehow I was torn in half by the move. I seem to have spent much of my life being divided by my desires, and at that time moving house meant leaving

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Olive, who was so important to me, as my friends always have been over the years. To a child, the distance between Hackney and Harrow seemed like a whole world away, although I remember Olive came to stay with us on one occasion. The thought of not seeing her again was heart-breaking. I had formed my first very strong attachment, an aspect which has shaped much of my life. Having emerged from that, I now find myself not at all possessive, although my possessiveness was never based on jealousy. All I needed was to feel secure. My mother and I were very close, and until I married for the second time I was never away from her for very long periods. During my first marriage we shared part of a house with her, which was probably not a good idea when thinking about it in retrospect. The move to Harrow meant a change of school, to what must have been at one time the village school. The suburban housing estates in Harrow were just being built, and our new home was a little end-of-terrace house at the edge of a field, which is hard to believe of Harrow now. Opposite was one small row of houses, and behind was a huge buttercup field, which I thought was wonderful. I remember galloping through the long grass while the golden flowers nodded their welcome to me, a delighted city child set down in a country fairyland. We were near Bentley Priory, home of RAF Fighter Command during the war, but when we first discovered it, it was just a big empty mansion. I loved the mystery of empty houses, and we used to climb through a gap in the fence to pick rhododendrons and explore the echoing house, wondering about the people who had once lived there. In spite of having arthritis, my mother liked walking. We walked for miles, picking wild flowers and gatheripg blackberries in autumn. It was such a happy period of my life. There was a farm near us. When it rained and the farmer's pond overflowed, the ducks used to swim in the middle of the road. For a child having come from Hackney, it was like living in the depths of the country. There was a little pub further up the road, and a blacksmith next door, where we huddled around his fire to watch the horses being shod. By 1939 all this had gone, buried by the rows of new housing which grew rapidly to form part of John Betjeman's beloved "Metro-land". My new school, High Street School, W ealdstone, was a small

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two-roomed brick building with a wooden extension forming a third classroom. This establishment of learning was presided over by two elderly teachers, Miss Elenora Larcombe and Miss Penelope Larcombe. Ella was gaunt and thin, and Penelope was round and fat. I didn't care for either of them very much. The teacher I favoured was Miss Lomas, on whom I had a great crush. She was blonde, with her hair dressed in the old style of "earphones". As she lived near me, she used to let me walk home with her, holding her hand. I thought it was lovely to be walking home with the teacher! The two Miss Larcombes were strict and old-fashioned. They appeared to my childish eyes to be very old indeed! Penelope had the class in the wooden extension, where there was a round fat smelly coke stove with a chimney, by which she used to sit. Pupils in the front suffered from headaches and felt sick, and those who happened to be in the back row steadily froze throughout the winter. That was my season for chilblains, and I always felt so ill in that classroom. At a sitting I had with a medium some time ago she asked me, "Why do I get the name of Penelope, and I have a dreadful sick headache?" I knew exactly what she was talking about! After three years we went to Fisher Road Senior School, Harrow Weald, which had been built on one of those lovely buttercup fields. I much preferred the field. One of my new friends was a girl called Margaret Eades. We went to school together right up to the day we left to go to work. Like me, she grew up to be an artist. It was never my fortune to excel at sports because I was seemingly accident prone. I was always the one who was hit in the eye with a ball, and once even ran into a rounders post, cutting my forehead very badly. I retain the dent to this day! Although quite good at netball, I still kept colliding with the ball because my reactions were never swift enough. But I loved literature and poetry, of which I could recite reams, having learnt it by heart. I learned the whole of The Pied Piper of Hamelin and recall standing up in class to recite it in its entirety, which must have bored the rest of the class out of their minds. Never much good at factual subjects, I liked needlework and art, and the only reason I made good progress at geography was because I could draw the best maps. Always an incorrigible chatterbox, the

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admonition, "Coral, stop talking!" must have been said to me a hundred times a day. The love of poetry has remained with me, and I still read it frequently. My favourite anthologies are the Penguin Books of Verse which I bought during the war, now well thumbed and stuck together with tape. One of them contains Wordsworth's Intimations of Immortality, a most beautiful poem . .. Our birth is but a sleep and a f orgetting; The Soul that rises with us, our life's star, Hath had elsewhere its setting And cometh from afar.

Not in entire f orgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness, But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God who is our home.

This long poem always made sense to me, even when I first read it, although at the time not understanding why it should be so easily comprehensible. My father was not well when we moved to Harrow . He left his job in the cinema because of ill health . The doctor suggested he should have an open air job, so he was strong-willed enough to give up smoking, and took a job as a park-keeper for the vast salary of £2 .5 shillings a week. At that time we were paying 15 shillings a week for the mortgage and 5 shillings for rates, so somehow my mother kept three of us on 25 shillings a week . We never had any great luxuries, but at least we never went hungry, and my mother, who had at one time been a dressmaker, made most of her own clothes and mine. Dad had an allotment, and it was great fun to help him there, and in the garden . He kept chickens and pigs too, during the war. My early gardening with him has left me with a love of it today, and I still find gardening a great pleasure and relaxation. My father was always an early bird, rising at about six o'clock in the morning to go downstairs and , during the winter, coax a fire into life. There was no central heating of course, or even an electric fire . Life at home was much colder then, as I recall, especially in the bedrooms, but then Dad would come up to Mother and me with welcome cups of hot morning tea, which always tasted wonderful. On one of those mornings as I opened my reluctant eyes on the chilly world, something white and shaggy came into vision. Peering over the side of my bed was the hairy face of a sad-eyed dog. She'

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was beautiful! To me, all dogs were beautiful, but I adored this one from the moment I saw her. As I went to touch her she licked my hand affectionately, and then went on to drink most of my morning tea. A friend had asked my father to take her to be destroyed as he was going overseas and could not face the fatal journey to the vet himself. Trix was destined not to meet a premature demise. She soon won the hearts of my mother and myself, and we demanded that she should be kept, as I'm certain my father expected us to do . The only member of our family not to accept the new pet wholeheartedly was our cat. Many years later, long after her transition to Spirit, Trix was to return with unmistakable proof that animals also go on beyond the veil we call Death. I believe my father must have had some healing power, as I retain a vivid recollection of him treating my mother's arthritis, from which she suffered since she was twenty-three years old. Her hands became fixed and closed, and the doctors wanted to cut the tendons to free her fingers. Dad flatly refused to allow this. He massaged my mother's hands with olive oil and eventually managed to open them. She could never close her hands properly, but somehow she knitted and sewed, struggling against arthritis for the whole of her life. It seemed to be hereditary; one of her sisters suffered similarly, and even I began to develop it in one hand. Later I took up Yoga, discovering that it took care of most of my bodily creaks . In fact, a major proportion of health problems seemed to succumb to this form of therapy. My mother and I discussed everything in depth-my own feelings, and even her relationship with my father, of whom she was quite jealous because of his good looks. He had blue eyes, black hair, and was a real charmer. My mother and he met in 1917 when she was a theatre cashier. He had been invalided out of the army after being blown up by a German shell which badly injured his leg. He went to the place where my mother worked to apply for his old job again, as projectionist. It was at the old Empress in Hackney, where he arrived in his "hospital blue", which my mother said matched his eyes. The minute she saw him she said she knew she had to marry him. Within a year of meeting him, my pretty little brown-eyed mother married her Prince Charming.

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At one stage my father left the cinema for a time, and had a coal business. We had two half-Shire horses, Daisy and Charlie, and I can remember walking about in the stables under their great legs, which were like tree trunks, although the horses were such gentle creatures, despite their size. Dad always overfed them, and was really not the kind of man to run his own business. One of the earlier enterprises he went into with his brother. They formed a business whereby they would fit up a whole "cinema", converting a shop for £100. Many of the East End shopkeepers realised there was money in movies, which were the up and coming novelty, so my father and Uncle Fred would fit up the whole system-projector, screen, and benches for the audience-an entire mini-cinema for £100. On another occasion he went into music-publishing, having had links with this from pre-1914 war days when his fine tenor voice had been heard in the music halls. A typical Sagittarian, he loved horses and the open air, but was too easy-going, and lacked the self-discipline for running his own business. However, he was a great survivor, and suffered several serious illnesses and bad accidents. He had a natural ability to heal himself, or lap up all the healing others could give. When he felt better he would say, "I'm all right!" Discarding all fuss, he would then charge ahead with his life, brushing aside any discomfort. When we first came into Spiritualism he had heart trouble, and it was thought he would be lucky to survive three years. He lived another thirty, despite occasional chest trouble and an enlarged heart muscle. He continued to work until the age of seventy, his earthly span ending in his ninetieth year. Just before my fourteenth birthday I was accepted at Harrow Art School, somehow having scraped through the entrance examinations. It was 1938, the year before the beginning of the second world war. In March that year there was another important event for me. My mother's younger sister Doris gave birth to a daughter. Doris was only nine years my senior, and we were always close friends. She married a widower with a daughter aged twelve, and in 1939 had her own baby, my cousin Mavis. She had beautiful colouring-golden hair and big eyes which later became green. I was intensely attracted towards this baby, and from the moment she was born I felt as if she belonged to me. Her father, John, went

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into the RAF and died in 1941, leaving Doris with two babies, Marion having been born shortly before his death. She gave up her Essex home and came to live with my grandmother in Harrow Weald. As she had to go out to work we frequently looked after the children, with the result that Mavis and I were often together. In later years, not having had any children of my own, Mavis became almost like a daughter to me. Because of the outbreak of war, we had a very long summer holiday in 1939. Nobody knew when we would be going back to art school. Eventually it was realised that life had to proceed as normally as possible, and in the middle of October we resumed classes. I had decided to specialise in textile design. Many of the girls studied dress designing, but it seemed such an overcrowded avenue that it did not tempt me. In those days few girls went in for commercial art, which was usually left to the boys. My favourite subjects were plant drawing and still life, which I used later in textile designs. I was never brilliant, but was considered an average student. Tutors said I was technically good, and was fine at drawing things I c;ould actually see, but my work was rather slow and laborious. Never very good at ideas, I had little imagination if not given a set subject. Obviously, in psychic art imagination is a hindrance and just gets in the way, so eventually my lack of it proved to be an asset. Emotionally my teens were difficult, and I would hate to go through it all again. I was insecure, as I believe we all are at that age, and convinced I was not going to make the grade in life. Many of my friends at art school were boys. This was the first time I had had much contact with the opposite sex; I had never taken any great interest in them since Freddie in the infant school! Like most teenage youngsters I was constantly falling in and out of love, many of my flirtations simply being to see if I could be popular. The criterion of popularity seemed to depend upon one's retinue of boy friends, it appeared, but it could be a deadly serious business sometimes, as it always is in one's teens. Many of the art school teachers went into the forces at the outbreak of war. We had another school evacuated to us from inner London and the building became very cramped. Indeed, it was so crowded that if we needed a little privacy to hold hands, we

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adjourned to the bicycle sheds. Yet somehow it was all very prim and correct, judged by today's standards, and not a bit bohemian, as art students are reputed to be. Maybe I was never really in love with the boys, but merely in love with love. I always had such romantic ideas. Because my mother had related how she had fallen in love with my father the minute she saw him, I thought I had to have a similar reaction. I expected, and was looking for something instantaneous which just did not happen, so I chopped and changed boy friends constantly, searching for some indisputable heaven-sent partnership. My father joined the ARP during the war, and was in heavy rescue work. The first bomb of the war fell in Wealdstone High Street, landing in the road and blowing all the windows out at the baker's on the corner. Dad frequently went up to London to help during the blitzes, and my mother and I would sit anxiously in the air raid shelter, wondering if he would ever come back safely. In 1942 I left art school and went to work in London at a firm called Elliott and Spears, who made lampshades in premises near the BBC in Regent Street, remaining there for nine months, painting shades, before being called up for war work. This took me to the GEC at Wembley, where by way of a change I found myself making lamps! At that time I had great Socialist leanings and became a shop steward. There was no shortage of Communists who went to union meetings when nobody else could be bothered to go. I was what could be termed a moderate, and only took on the job of shop steward because none of the older women wanted it, but being only nineteen I had to be an honorary shop steward. My job of putting filaments on lamps was extremely boring, so whenever there was any trouble I was only too pleased to be called away from my bench to sort it out. The outlook of some of my fellow workers amazed me. Many were women in their forties or fifties who, having been employed by the company since leaving school at fourteen, were still there operating the same machines after thirty years or more. Their one objective in their working life was to stick more bits of glass or metal into those ever hungry, revolving machines, and remove them when they came round again, so earning a few extra shillings each day. It was more than monotonous; it was soul destroying, and I vowed that as soon as the war was over I would escape as

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quickly as possible. Life had to hold a greater purpose than earning money in that way. Shortly before the end of the war I took a job as a commercial artist with Harwood Press Ltd., a small firm in Harrow. Started by a demobbed RAF officer, at first it boasted three employees-the founder, a typist, and me. Gradually it expanded over the years and more artists were employed. I did all the artwork in those early days for advertisements-layouts, drawings and lettering. Mr. Harwood did the writing and selling. I remember when there was a shortage of yeast, someone invented a product which would make bread rise. As part of the advertising campaign I portrayed a baker with a huge loaf three times as big as himself, and the slogan: "You only need a little!" It was a murderous schedule, as one was always working to press dates and deadlines. I would lie in bed at night trying to think up ideas as to how to sell somebody's socks, or sausages, tinned food or furniture. Often I would take work home to finish it in time. It proved to be an exhausting profession at which I would be hopeless now because the quality of advertising work today is so slick. Much of it is airbrush work, and in those days we did not have such refinements. After the war advertising work was of fairly poor standard, and looking back at magazines of the time, the quality of the artwork was atrocious. Later, for a time I worked for Polyfotos, doing re-touching. Sometimes they re-photographed old pictures, and I used to fill in the damaged or missing portions of those old battered photographs because I had the requisite patience to fiddle with all the fine details. Eventually I became engaged to a boy from Darlington who was in the Coldstream Guards, but when I look back I realise I hardly knew him! During those years letters were the basis of our relationships. I belonged to the YWCA youth club in Harrow, where I had lots of friends, and forces members often attended. "Of course you will become a Catholic," said my fiance, stating a fact rather than asking a question. I was not a member of any religion, but I asked why I had to comply. "Because I can't marry you unless you become a Catholic," was the reply. "My sister-in-law wasn't a Catholic, but she had to become one.''

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"But I don't want to become a Catholic," I said firmly. There was no reason for me to be so adamant, never having been a church attender except when very young, and then only because my friends went. When we lived in Hackney I went to the Band of Hope Sunday School simply because I loved going on their outings. We went to Epping Forest and Theydon Bois, which was beautiful. Epping Forest for a day was like visiting fairyland, and well worth the calculated weekly attendances at the Band of Hope! When my boy friend insisted that I had to observe his religion, something jarred inside of me. I knew nothing about Roman Catholicism, but refused to be told I must be part of it. This refusal marked the end of my romance with Vincent. Another engagement a few years later proved to be equally short-lived, which was just as well. His family never did see me as being good enough for their son! I met Arthur, my first husband, at a Hallowe'en party which I had attended with a sailor friend. We performed an eerie Hallowe'en theme, with the added excitement of a rigged up trap door. I was doing sound effects, and had to scream my head off at the moment something came down through the trap door while we sat in a circle holding a mock seance. At that time I had never heard of a seance, but that did not deter me. One club member dressed as a medium, in long robes and holding a large glass globe which served as a crystal ball. I was sitting next to my sailor escort, and at the right time started to scream. As I did so, the "medium" accidentally dropped the crystal ball, which exploded with a resounding bang. All the lights went out, and when they went on again my sailor had disappeared, never to be seen again! But Arthur was there, and asked if he could take me home on his motor cycle because I had been left high and dry by my sailor, who obviously thought I was stark raving mad. Arthur was two or three years younger than I was, and became a very dear friend. I think I became too dependent on him and took him for granted. When we separated he married a girl who was perhaps more suitable for him. We married when I was twenty-five, after knowing each other for seven years, so perhaps there was not the impact in our relationship which should have been there. I hope he is happy now, as he really was a very nice person, and we had eight enjoyable years together.

Chapter Two

Our first introduction to spiritual healing came when Uncle Will, my mother's brother-in-law, heard about Brixton Spiritualist Church. Uncle Will was a London taxi driver, and one of his colleagues attended the church. "Why don't you take your wife for healing?" he asked Uncle Will, having heard about Auntie Kit's severe arthritis. We had never heard of such a thing as spiritual healing, but were determined to try anything . As my mother's arthritis was also causing her great discomfort, Auntie Kit suggested she should go too. In fact, my mother was never completely cured, but healing did her more good than anything the doctors could devise. My mother was a typical Libran-rather possessive, over loving, and inclined to hold on to hurt. I think this was partly the cause of her illness; she became a little bitter about things. A lovely woman who would do anything for anyone, she wanted very much to be appreciated. Unfortunately, expectation of approval does not necessarily guarantee its receipt. She had had a difficult childhood because my grandfather often drank heavily. Grandmother was very sweet, but a rather weak character, who had always looked so old and tired to me when I was a child. My mother was the eldest of seven children, and carried the rest of the family along. Grandfather was a dear, but became unemployed when he was relatively young, and jobs were hard to find . He was inclined to drink to cheer himself up. With the help of Aunt Kit, her junior by a year or so, my mother worked and propped up the family. This support they gave for most of their lives. They had obviously been little mothers, and expected a lot of appreciation which was not always forthcoming. Mother also worried a great deal in case her handsome husband might stray.

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We discovered where the local Spiritualist Church was, and once having been for healing, decided to go along to a Wednesday evening service. I must confess I was rather scared, and was sitting in the back row wondering what was going to happen. The church was a wooden building at Harrow-on-the-Hill. At that time it was all dark brown paint and looked somewhat gloomy. When the medium came in, it was surprising to discover that she looked quite normal. I don't know what I expected a medium to look like, but whatever the image was which had fixed itself in my mind, this ordinary looking woman did not conform to it. Her name, as I recall, was Hilda Anderson. She was tall and elderly, but being only in my early twenties, anybody over the age of thirty-five seemed old, so I may have been doing her an injustice. It was all quite interesting. She gave out some messages to members of the congregation from friends and relatives in the spirit world, and then her eyes swept towards the back of the church. Her arm began to wave in that direction, and suddenly her index finger pointed straight at me. "Young woman, I want to come to you," she said. I nearly joined the spirit communicators by promptly dying of fright! It was fascinating to listen to other people's messages, but it had never crossed my mind that I would receive one myself, and the shock was considerable. "Do you know you are a psychic artist?" asked the medium. Struck dumb partly by fright, and also by the fact that I had no idea what a psychic artist was, I did the classic thing which now makes me grumble at some of my own sitters-sat there and said nothing, just shaking my head negatively. "But you are an artist, aren't you?" she persisted. "Yes," I admitted, wondering how she knew. "Well, do you realise you have the gift of psychic art? I know that one day you are going to be a well-known psychic artist." She went on to describe a very tall elderly man in the spirit world, who could have been a policeman, she said. Both Grandfather and Uncle Tom had a slow, deliberate walk. When they went into a pub everyone used to think they might be plain clothes policemen. The message she gave was undoubtedly from Uncle Tom, and was perfectly acceptable and evidential. We walked home, talking and wondering, completely bemused.

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Although it did not seem likely, part of me accepted the possibility of becoming a psychic artist from the moment the medium had said it. I had changed jobs so many times, and had no clear sense of direction. Suddenly this seemed to make sense, even though logic was trying to reject it. On returning to the church several more times, I found that other mediums said the same thing. This newfound knowledge of Spiritualism made a tremendous impact on my whole concept of life. Death did not end it. Uncle Tom, Grandma, Uncle John, and many more were communicating, proving their identity so clearly that I had to believe. Wanting to share this great news with others, I spoke to everyone around me at first. Luckily, most of my close family were convinced, but soon it became apparent that a number of my friends thought I had gone soft in the head, or-worse still-was engaged in some Satanic ritual, consorting with evil spirits. While working for Polyfotos the manageress there told me threateningly, "You' ll end up in the lunatic asylum, you will!" Sadly, I learned discretion, sharing my beliefs with more sympathetic acquaintances, but I soon discovered that some friends kept a safe distance from me and my seemingly daft ideas. I had retained one friend from my days in the factory, and when I told her I had become a Spiritualist she suddenly stopped writing to me. After my mother died I found a letter I had written to her from the Isle of Wight while on holiday at that time, mentioning that I had been to Ryde Spiritualist Church and had received a message from someone via a medium. I wrote: "But don't worry, I'm not going to get involved." In spite of visiting many Spiritualist Churches and circles during the next few months, it was difficult to find the requisite guidance or advice on how to develop my unusual gift. But at Harrow Spiritualist Church, a young couple, Mr. and Mrs. Saunders, gave some indication of what my work might entail. When visiting their home I was shown several portraits of their spiritual guides. Who the artist was I cannot recall, but at least I then knew what psychic portraits were! Although I attended several psychic development groups during the first year, they were not really suitable for my individual needs. Eventually a small group, including my parents and a couple of friends, sat at home with me. I found that with their help I could

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obtain automatic writing. Scribble would be a more appropriate word, for it began as nothing more. But eventually comprehensible words and sentences began to emerge, through which were given instructions for my future work. Much good evidence came through the writing, but also a certain amount which was complete rubbish. The spirit guides who worked with us at that time did not have full control, for like a radio, a medium can get wrong frequencies or "crossed lines", creating great confusion. There was a guide called Yo San, or Yo San Loo, who professed to be the "doorkeeper". He wrote of his brother, Yo San Wan, and years later I was struck by the fact that the name sounded so like Johanson, my present surname, slightly rearranged. Predictions continued to come, and in spite of penning them myself, I was extremely doubtful of their credibility, even though I was beginning to believe in the possibility of becoming a medium. But world famous? No, that was not for me. On television? Certainly not-far too terrifying. Travel the world? Out of my scope for sure. So the predictions and doubts continued to come and go as the quest progressed. During the course of the automatic writings I would often be given the word TRUTH in large letters, or SEEK THE TRUTH. Uninitiated and ignorant as I was at that time, I did not know what it was all about. To me, truth was simply the opposite of untruth. It meant not telling lies. I applied it in the material sense, but in retrospect I see that everything has fitted in beautifully to form a kind of timetable mapped out for my life; "The Plan", as Spirit called it. Like most young girls I wanted to know what was going to happen to me and who I was going to marry. We ask such mundane questions when we are young. Many of these questions were answered through the automatic writing. I was told I would marry someone called Tom. He would be Norwegian and would run a spiritual centre. Eventually my boy friend Arthur Polge joined our circle. I had then known him for some years, and when he and I were married in 1949 I concluded that the predictions were a long way out in their accuracy, and promptly forgot about them. Arthur was partly French, and although interested in psychic matters, he was certainly not involved enough ever to want to open a spiritual centre of his own.

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After the automatic writing came automatic drawing. At first it was not even drawing, but a series of lines, circles, waves, and funny meaningless shapes. It gradually became obvious that my spirit communicators were trying to get the "feel" of a material channel, rather as a child has to learn to hold and manipulate a pencil. At that stage their creations were not meant to make sense. Gradually, understandable images began to emerge, even though they were not brilliantly artistic. One was a portrait of Yo San, the Chinese artist who professed to be working with me. Frequently the question is asked of me: ''How do you know what to draw?" It is a very difficult one to answer. When linking with a spirit communicator a complete change of personality seems to take place within me, and having "become" that person, I attempt to portray my character. I use the word character rather than face, for often what emerges first is the drawing of a laugh or scowl, a gentleness or strength, which are "sensed" rather than seen. Actual features are incidental and somehow just follow on, after the expression. Expressions were not so evident in the earlier portraits. Perhaps a Chinese artist trying to impress a western mind caused certain difficulties, and later an Italian artist by the name of Masaccio took over. We were able to trace records of his life on earth in about the year 1400, and discovered that-as he had informed us through medium Lilian Bailey-he had passed to spirit at an early age, having been killed while journeying between two Italian cities. Some records simply state that he vanished, others that he died on reaching Rome. One interesting factor was that when communicating he gave his name as Giovanni Masaccio, but records give it as Tommaso. Later research proved that Lilian Bailey had been absolutely correct. She had given his place of birth-San Giovanni, not the name by which he was known. Lilian had given his date as being around 1400, and his dates in the records are 1401 -1428. We also learned that Masaccio is a version of Tommaso, so the name of Tommaso di Giovanni is synonymous with Giovanni Masaccio. Both meant Tommaso, or Masaccio, from Giovanni, and the information we had received from Spirit was perfectly valid! He was one of several artists who, over the years, have been willing to return to guide my hand and eventually produce some

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2,000 to 3,000 pictures each year. These artists seem to come and go, some only working on one or two portraits while others remain constant helpers. They do not take complete control of my hand, possibly using my mind in some subtle way, and so influencing the choice of colour and positioning of line. Ruby Whitely, one of my fellow mediums, had an interesting experience when she took some of my more detailed, larger pictures to be framed. The receptionist questioned her about the artist because, she said, there was something strange about the work. Two artists seemed to have been involved, producing a combination of styles. Obviously, my spirit helpers cannot entirely block out my personal peculiarities of artistic expression. My most frequent helper now is the French pastel portrait artist, Maurice de Ia Tour, who began to make his presence felt some twenty years ago. Being a critical man he had obviously delayed using me until my own abilities had considerably improved. Over a period of several years other mediums had described this Frenchman, dressed in 18th century style, with wig and lace ruffles. Eventually I managed to sketch a portrait of him, but at that time I had still only established that his Christian name was Maurice. No further information was known. Shortly afterwards a book came into my hands, apparently quite by chance, and there among the illustrations was a self-portrait of the laughing-eyed Frenchman. He was instantly recognisable as "my" Maurice, and there too was the rest of his name; he was Maurice de la Tour. Later he was to confirm his presence even further, through Leslie Flint's direct voice mediumship, speaking not to me, but to my husband. On this occasion he gave not only his name, but several details of his life, mentioning his involvement with my work, a fact my husband was unaware of at the time. Reading Maurice de la Tour's autobiography has revealed many interesting relevant facts. We were both born under the sign of Virgo, so have that over-critical temperament, especially towards our own work. If we work together until I join my friends in the spirit world, I am sure that neither of us will be entirely satisfied with the pictures we produce. Among the automatic writings was a statement to the effect that one day I would take Frank Leah's place in Spiritualism. Leah was a brilliant portrait artist and psychic. Most of his portraits were of

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relatives and friends of his sitters-far more evidential than anything I was producing at that time. But one day perhaps ... I thought hopefully. Who knew what perseverance might bring? In the meantime I was only drawing spirit guides. Wondering why it was only Spiritualists and not other religions which seemed to have guides, I came to the conclusion that it was all a question of labels. "Guardian angels" seems to be a Christian term, and of course Roman Catholics ask saints for assistance. But most religions make the bright beings seen by mystics into "Gods". Even Moses made his guide Jehovah into God, not realising he was just God's messenger. Five or six years after beginning to work I met the great Frank Leah, and I think my meeting with him, brief though it was, probably helped me more than anything before or since. His work was amazingly accurate, making me realise that my efforts were not as good as my ego, which had been boosted by friends and relatives, had led me to believe. I knew then that if I was ever to reach that standard Spirit had in mind, there was a long path ahead of me, artistically, psychically, and spiritually. It has certainly been worthwhile. A perfect likeness of a loved one who "died" many years ago can often convince a sceptic that life goes on, and that death is simply a new beginning. Pastels were suggested as a medium for my work, and as I had never used them before, the early results were elementary to say the least. Soon it became possible to work without the other circle members. My impressions were quite strong, in spite of the fact that I never actually "saw" the people portrayed. Because all those early portraits were of spiritual guides, it was not possible to vouch for their accuracy, but now and then mediums who were clairvoyants claimed they were good likenesses. I knew that one day we just had to produce the more evidential portraits of friends and relatives, verified by photographs. This must be the ultimate aim, yet when it actually happened, my guides, with some strange twist of humour, took some of the gilt off my coveted gingerbread. I found myself drawing a gentleman in the spirit world, and my heart lifted with excitement when my lady sitter suddenly announced, "That's my father. It's the living image of him!" We had done it at last. There was my first portrait of a

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.,

\.

My artist guide Maurice de la Tour. I drew his portrait some time before I found a self-portrait of him.

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recognisable relative taking shape on paper. Delighted, I carried on with the drawing, but my elation was short-lived because my sitter immediately went on to add, "He's the last person I want. I hated the sight of him!'' Despite his apparently unwelcome appearance, at least he had helped me make the breakthrough I sought. I had drawn the first relative, and from then on they began to creep into the groups of pictures I drew, but only infrequently. Some time later I was surprised when Maurice Barbanell, then editor of Psychic News, advised me I must "demand" a higher percentage of relatives. I had never thought about demanding from spirit, but to my amazement it did work. Drawing more relatives meant sticking one's neck out a little further because sitters could give a positive yes or no. If the drawings were inaccurate they would say so, whereas with a drawing of a guide, they obviously could not verify it. The quality of the drawings gradually improved, and the percentage of relatives began to grow. So too did the field of activity. In time, instructions were given by my communicators to begin work in public, re'questing a group of spiritual healers at the local church to sit for me. This, I was informed, would bring in further work, but under no circumstances was advertising allowed. "If the work is not coming to you, then it is not of the standard expected," I was told. They were, as always, blunt and to the point in their wisdom. As promised, requests for pictures began to snowball, setting me on a path which was to change my whole way of life. Although already an artist when I began my psychic work, it was obvious that the spirit artist who planned to use my hand needed a far more competent channel, and he has only drawn close to me during the last twenty years. Even now, Maurice de la Tour shows a great sense of frustration when I am unable to produce the quality of line or colour he has in mind. In the early days there was a concentration on teaching me to use pastels, and coaching me in anatomy, and the guides were endeavouring to balance three aspects-the artistic or material channel, the psychic, and the spiritual. It is not easy to control the balance, with the result that there are some psychic artists who cannot draw well, or some mediums who are inarticulate speakers. We have many wellmeaning workers whose psychic gifts have never really developed

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because of this lack of balance. The most disturbing cases are the wonderful psychics who have forgotten the "spiritual" in Spiritualism. Let me not be critical of them, for in retrospect I see aspects during my own development when this lack of balance was very evident. There are still times when doubts of my psychic ability predominate; when reception from the world of spirit seems to go completely adrift. Being a well-known medium subjects one to a great deal of publicity, . which is a two-edged sword, difficult to handle. It brings compliments to feed the ego, and occasionally a pedestal on which to stand. But pedestals are dangerous things, and experience has taught me how easily they topple over. Progress increasingly indicates that one's feet need to be firmly planted on the ground. At the time I was beginning my venture into psychic art there were several excellent mediums visiting Harrow Church. I remember Estelle Roberts, Roy Morgan, Taylor Ineson, a fascinating old character from the north, and Nora Blackwood. One medium who lived in Harrow, Ida Dare, an excellent clairvoyant, gave us a sitting in which my grandfather returned only two hours after his passing. There was also a young and already famous Gordon Higginson. Naturally there were many avenues to explore in our new found faith, and in those days there were a number of physical mediums, who produce a visible form of phenomena such as transfiguration or materialisation. I was quite naive about some aspects, and at the time did not appreciate how fortunate I was to be invited to a seance with the great materialisation medium, Helen Duncan. We gathered in a friend's flat, about a dozen of us, and before the meeting the medium, according to her usual practice, was thoroughly searched. There were no hidden lengths of cheesecloth, such as she was accused in court of secreting, and certainly no "props" were concealed in my friend's flat. The small light in which we sat was quite adequate once our eyes had become accustomed to it. Helen slumped in a small "cabinet" made up of a drape across the corner of the room, and went into deep trance. Albert, her spirit guide, began to manifest from the wisps of white ectoplasm emanating from the medium. I was somewhat apprehensive, as nobody had explained to me what it

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was all about and what was going to happen. Gradually relatives and friends of various members of the circle materialised in the centre of the group. They appeared very clearly as I recollect, showing their features sharply, and speaking evidentially to their loved ones in the circle. Then my father's mother appeared. Helen Duncan was a short, plump, round-featured woman. My grandmother was tall, rather gaunt, sharp-nosed, and totally different in appearance to Helen, which disposed of yet another accusation levelled at her-that she herself stepped out of the cabinet and impersonated spirit people. We could still actually see Helen Duncan in the cabinet while the figures manifested. My grandmother walked out of the cabinet; perhaps I should say she glided out, because the form had materialised down to the knees, to the hem of her dress. Spirit had not wasted energy on building up feet! She came and stood under the little light in the centre of the room, so close that we could all recognise her immediately. She not only showed herself, but stood by my father, put a firm arm around his shoulders and said, "Well, how's my Billy?" just as she had always done on greeting him. I don't know whether he even answered. We were so completely astounded at this wonderful manifestation. We sat, totally incredulous, staring at Grandma's face. Suddenly she vanished like a whiff of smoke, not going back into the cabinet, but simply dematerialising, apparently into the floor. Nothing could have been more positive or real. At a later stage I was able to sit with the north country medium, Jimmy Gardner. The forms which materialised at his seances were not as clearly defined as those of Helen Duncan, but at one of his seances a soft hairy form suddenly landed on my lap and barked. It was dear old Trix, our dog. I touched her and felt her paws on my lap. It was only a brief moment, but even dogs have their individuality when it comes to barking, and her spiky white hair was quite clear in the dim light. This realisation that our much loved animals live on in spirit meant as much to me as to know that relatives and friends go on into the next world. I still have an unpleasant shock when coming face to face with my early efforts at psychic art. An important thing for beginners to remember is that at first they will not necessarily get any sense, any more than a child first learning to use a pencil. A lot of potential

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mediums give up at this stage, but I don't believe the early scribbles are intended to have any significance, being rather like a test card on television-just for the technician to know his picture is getting through. Much of it is simply the message, "Are you receiving me?" and it might go on for months. This applies in all forms of mediumship. Obviously it was essential that I undertook further study, and as always spirit friends provided the means. The Psychic Writers and Artists Society was formed in 1952 by James McLintock, and we were able to compare work and ideas . The first meeting brought together an interesting gathering. Lady Muriel Anderson was the speaker, and Arthur Findlay was chairman. I regret to say that at the time his name was not familiar to me, and 1 did not realise he was one of Spiritualism's most famous writers. There was . apparently much to learn! Another speaker at that meeting was Harold Sharp, who unfortunately rather upset Lady Muriel with his political views. I made my debut by giving a small demonstration of my work. The Psychic Writers and Artists Society was instrumental in providing many fascinating encounters. It was there that I met Rosa and Bill Parvin. Rosa was a well-known psychic artist, and soon after we met she went on a trip to South Africa, which made me wonder if I would ever travel to such exotic places, not having been out of the country at all. Then there was Samuel Martin, whom I met in November, 1952. He was a wonderful old artist, a former schoolteacher who devoted much of his time to psychic drawing after retirement. His first instruction, after looking at my work, was that I should get myself a book on anatomy. This proved invaluable, as my knowledge of it increased, so the guides found it easier to help me and impress my mind with their wishes. Mr. Martin continued to assist, giving blunt and constructive criticism. He has returned to me on several occasions since his passing, and can still give his words of wisdom from beyond. There was an annual competition in the Psychic Writers and Artists Society for the best psychic portrait of the year. In 1954 I won third prize, which was presented to me by Arthur Findlay. With the knowledge I now have, I realise what a waste it was to have met him and not have asked him questions or tried to learn more from him. It was a measure of my naivety and inexperience.

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As requests for my services began to increase, the realisation dawned that the hardest part of the job was the travelling. Before all this happened my longest trips had been down to the Isle of Wight to visit Auntie Doris, Mavis and Marion. Doris had taken a job as a housekeeper in a guest house there, and the family had moved to Ryde. Occasionally Arthur would drive me to my destination in our first car, a little Austin Seven which was our pride and joy. But Arthur was not always available, as I usually spent both the afternoon and evening at a church. Gradually I was travelling increasingly further afield, to strange towns on unknown routes, sometimes wondering if I would ever find my way at all, and-even more worrying-if I would manage to catch the last bus and train home. Fortunately the Underground service at Harrow-on-the-Hill was a good one, but the last bus left the station at about 11 p.m. Faced with the choice of a taxi or a 45 minute walk home, not very welcome late at night, I usually spent a major proportion of my hard earned fee on a taxi home. In winter one had to contend with the usual hazards of snow and fog (real pea-soupers in those days!), and getting soaked on rainy nights became a normal occurrence and all part of the job.

Chapter Three

As the work improved, so demand expanded. I began to meet yet more interesting people, many of whom were to prove of considerable help in my progress . Nora Blackwood was one, a wonderful medium who invited me to her little church in Harlesden in north-west London. Called 'The Haven', and held in a friend's house, it was not perhaps the ideal church, but most of our Spiritualist societies were founded in a similar small way. 'The Haven' was usually full to overflowing, and I spent many happy hours there during the following years. Nora frequently took the services herself, her mediumship always attracting people from a wide area. On these occasions she spent most of the time walking on and off the platform. Not only did she play the organ, accompanying the hymns, but she gave the introductions herself if there was no chairman available, and then gave clairvoyance. Later she became one of the foremost mediums at the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain, and frequently demonstrated her gifts in the Royal Albert Hall, a far cry from her first little church, where I eventually joined her development circle. Another member of that circle was a promising young medium called Ronald Hearn. Later, as Nora's work began to fill more of her time, Ronald took over direction of the circle. I must have attended that group for at least seven years, every Tuesday evening without fail, come sun, rain or blizzard. Nothing would have kept us from that appointment with our spirit friends. It was in Nora's tiny church that I first found myself conducting a Sunday service. I was supposed to be chairman, but as the medium did not arrive, and neither Nora nor Ronald were present, I was pushed into the gap as the only one with some mediumistic

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ability. A major proportion of our platform exponents have began their public work in this way! Standing there on that little rostrum was frightening, speaking to twenty or thirty people, and at that time no one in this world or the next would have convinced me that one day I wouid calmly stand and demonstrate to 5,000 people in the Royal Albert Hall, just as Nora was to do. Somehow I managed to give an address and messages plausible enough to satisfy the congregation. Inevitably I was then launched on an additional path, taking Sunday services around the churches, and contending with an even worse travel problem. Sunday transport in this country is never particularly efficient or frequent, and some of those visits took what seemed like an eternity. For some reason, and probably because they had to be built on the cheapest sites available, Spiritualist Churches are seldom near railway stations. Many of these little churches could only pay a very small fee, or maybe only expenses. This was not a great problem for a married woman supported by her husband, but there was to come a time when it really mattered. Recently, when looking through an old account book, I discovered that originally churches were charging 2s.6d. (12Yip) for my pictures, and I received half of that, so for an afternoon and evening's work I earned the sum of 17s.6d. Less than £1, out of which I paid fares and had to buy my materials! But how wonderful it was, knowing I had found a purpose in life and was doing what I really loved. It was in 1953 that I did my first picture "by post", and it seemingly happened by accident. I frequently visited a church in the Willesden area, run by a Mr. Kidd. He would write to me when he had enough sitters for me and ask for a booking. A time would be fixed three or four weeks in advance, according to how appointments fitted in. One day while working out an appointment for him I found myself doodling on the back of his used envelope. It was the picture of a young man. I wondered who he was. Perhaps he had something to do with Mr. Kidd, I thought. I put it in with my reply, explaining to him how I had come by the drawing, and asking his opinion on it. Surprise came with the response, because although the letter was in the same handwriting it bore a totally different signature. A lady at the church had been writing Mr. Kidd's letters for him (which I

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did not know), and the portrait of the young man I had drawn was that of her cousin who had been killed in Africa. This was a fascinating breakthrough, because it meant that I had been "tuning in" to the actual handwriting, thinking it was that of Mr. Kidd. But the spirit helpers had not led me astray, and the portrait reached the right recipient in the end. My first public demonstration as a psychic artist was something of a catastrophe. Although I had done a couple of small demonstrations for the Psychic Writers and Artists group, I had never done a large scale demonstration for the general public. Medium Ronald Hearn and I, friends for many years, decided we would put on a meeting at Caxton Hall. We had not then conceived the idea of working as a team, but would give two separate demonstrations; Ron would give clairvoyance, and I would do drawings. We also decided to put on an exhibition of my work. The moment I entered Caxton Hall I realised this was going to be something very different from the intimate atmosphere of a private society. The only way I can describe the feeling when I went into the hall is that it was like a wall hitting me. It was as though the air was full of knives. Ron felt exactly the same thing, and we wondered why. When we questioned the caretaker to try and find out why this hostility was hanging on the air, he told us there had been a trade union meeting in the hall during the afternoon. One of the many large strikes was in progress at the time, and the union had held a meeting in the hall to discuss it. Anybody who is not psychic could have no idea of the intensity of feeling left behind in that hall for us to work through. People began to arrive, and the exhibition of my work invoked a lot of interest. Looking back, there is no doubt that was the best aspect of the whole demonstration. All the work had been done in advance, and we had chosen the best pictures to put on show. At that time I was still drawing mainly spirit guides, but I was desperately hoping that when we came to do the platform demonstration a few relatives would come through. Just to make the situation more tense, in walked Maurice Barbanell, the editor of Two Worlds and Psychic News. He sat himself down in the front row, looking anticipatory and enthusiastic, pen and notebook at the ready, waiting to make notes on this historic occasion, which we hoped it would be.

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Very few people recognised the portraits I drew, and even Ron Hearn, who is a remarkably good medium, struggled to get his messages over to the audience. We went home feeling very dejected, determined that we were not going to do any more demonstrations in large halls. I was certainly not going to attempt it again, I decided. Waiting for Two Worlds to come out was a nerve-racking experience, but much to my surprise Maurice Barbanell had been extremely kind. Over the years I found that he could be quite caustic in his comments, but he was always very generous and encouraging to me. Although he did not give a glowing report in his magazine, he felt, as I had done, that the atmosphere had not been good, and we would do better in the future. He even wrote me a personal letter, which I still have, saying I must not be discouraged. This was all very uplifting, but nevertheless my mind was made up very firmly that there would be no more platform demonstrations for me, and I stuck rigidly to this vow for many years. In the meantime I had sittings with various mediums, among them Joe Benjamin, all of whom said I was going to undertake world wide travel. At that time it seemed a very remote possibility. I have always tried to make a strict ruling that spirit people do not impinge on my consciousness when I don't wish them to do so. As a medium one has to have a private life and be able to switch off, shut down, and have the opportunity to go back to the more mundane and materialistic world. The ability to do this has come over the years, and very rarely are there any "intrusions" of this kind. It was not always so easy, and I had been working psychically for about five years when I was aware of a very persistent spirit communicator, who had a connection with our local butcher of all people! He was a Frenchman, and on several occasions when I had been in his shop I had been aware that there was a lady anxious to contact him. She not only tried to get through to me in the shop, but even followed me all the way home! There was a strong feeling that she was his mother, so I sat down and made a little sketch of her, hoping this would please and satisfy her. The following day I returned to the shop rather apprehensively, to give my butcher his portrait. Not knowing how it was going to be received, I knew it had to be given to him. I handed it to him

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silently, wondering what the reaction was gong to be. The look of instant recognition which flitted across his face prompted me to ask, "Is that your mother?" He had large eyes, and they almost popped out of his head as he nodded in agreement. "Mother!" was his only astonished comment. It took some careful explanation to tell him how I had been able to portray his mother, who had died in France some years previously, but he seemed convinced and impressed, probably because there was no other logical way that I could possibly have come by a clearly recognisable portrait of his mother, who certainly was unknown to me when she lived on earth. The greatest psychic artist of that time, Frank Leah, whom I felt I could never emulate, gave one public demonstration in 1957, which I attended. His demonstration was unusual in that he had made his preliminary contacts with recipients by telephone, gaining impressions simply from the voice, and making quick sketches. He took these pictures to the hall where the demonstration was held, and finished off the portraits on the platform. The accuracy of his work was extraordinary, and I had a great admiration for him. It was therefore a great thrill when I was introduced to him by journalist Bill Leach, and invited to his studio. His advice was that if I studied a lot more, I might eventually make the grade, and to have encouragement of this kind from the great man was something I valued greatly. That same year I had the pleasure of meeting another famous Spiritualist, Hannen Swaffer, the journalist always known as the Pope of Fleet Street. I am not so sure the pleasure was reciprocal because I don't believe he had any idea who I was. He was very deaf at the time, and Maurice Barbanell introduced us at a Psychic News dinner in a crowded room. Barbie shouted at him that this was Coral Polge and she was a psychic artist, at which Swaff nodded his head energetically, smilingly saying, "Yes, yes," but I had a shrewd suspicion that he did not even catch my name, nor did he have a clue who I was, so I think the pleasure of that meeting was entirely mine! Some time during 1957 I received a strange letter from a mediumistic friend who insisted that I must tell Arthur, my husband, to be careful because she kept having an image of him at the top of an escalator, as though he was going to fall down its moving stairs.

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''But when I look above the escalator,'' wrote my friend, ''I see a clock which shows the time at ten minutes past ten.'' I passed the message on to Arthur and thought no more about it. It came as a tremendous shock when Arthur suddenly told me he no longer wanted to go on with our marriage. I had thought we were reasonably happy, even though we were apart a lot. His hours of work were strange, but that was because of the nature of his work, which was as manager of an all-night garage. I never worried, and certainly never thought about another girl friend being around somewhere. I was busy with my psychic work, and there did not seem to be a lot of time to dwell upon the preservation of our marriage. Looking back, I wonder whose fault it was. There must have been something lacking, and I sometimes wonder if Spiritualism got in the way of our relationship, which I may have neglected simply because I assumed it was perfectly sound. I was always out and about, and Arthur was an easy-going person who accepted my work and let me go my own way. On the 10th October we parted company. Weeks later when I reread my friend's letter I realised the significance of what she had said. There had been a message in that "ten minutes past ten" she saw on the clock above the moving stairs. It was the tenth day of the tenth month, and Arthur must have been poised at the top of his "escalator" for some time, waiting to get away. Shortly after our parting I was in church when a young medium by the name of David Young, unknown to me then, gave me a message explaining the upheaval in my life. He described my Chinese guide and quoted the message: "You have seven years, and we will teach you the message of non-attachment that you may know the truth." KNOW THE TRUTH-there were those words again which had appeared in my automatic writing. Those next seven years were unsettled and often miserable. Like most women whose husbands desert them I had a great sense of failure and inadequacy. My ego had been delivered a tremendous blow, and to convince myself that life was not over, I began to look around frantically for something to fill the gap. I dived into the most unsuitable relationships and situations, and had two proposals of marriage, which I turned down. I even considered giving up my work to marry a non-Spiritualist. Despite the

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emotional insecurity and instability of that time, it has since proved useful because I have been able to help others through the same thing, just as I had support from my friends while I worked my way through that very blac!< period of my life. Three very good friends were Ron Hearn, his friend Jimmy Carpenter, and Doris Plant, all members of the development circle at Nora's church, but I realised I could not use them as permanent props. Ron did his best to guide me through his excellent mediumship. I did not always take his advice, but afterwards usually regretted not having done so. During that time both my mother and my father were seriously ill at different times. Mother had what was thought to be pneumonia, but turned out to be a heart attack. My father had serious kidney trouble, and I thought I was going to lose them both. It was with surprise I found, for the first time in my life, that I could face the possibility that they might die. I had always wanted to hold on to people, to cling to relationships. Now I found the ability to let go. It was not that I had ceased to care for them, but I could suddenly see that I was perfectly capable of going on without them, and release myself from the emotional bondage in which I had always placed myself because I was too vulnerable, too possessive, and too insecure. It seems we spend our lives being afraid of what we are going to lose, or of what we are not going to attain. What must be accepted is that one day we are inevitably going to lose everything. Either we will pass and leave it behind, or it will leave us. My irrational fears had stemmed from childhood, from incidents such as the time my father lay in bed in the big bedroom of our house in Hackney. I was about seven years old and had heard it said that Dad had pneumonia and pleurisy. Knowing my friend Olive's father had died of the same thing, I watched in anguish as my own father lay there, making awful noises in his chest. I was petrified at the thought of him dying. Olive had lots of grown up brothers and siters, but I had nobody. What would happen to me? He crawled out of bed one day and staggered unsteadily to his feet saying, "I've got to get up or I 'II die." No, he mustn't die, I thought desperately. Pneumonia was very dangerous in those days before antibiotics, and my anxious mother asked the doctor if he would send for a specialist.

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"It will cost you five pounds," replied the doctor in matter-offact tones. "Have you got five pounds?" It sounded like a fortune, but my mother produced the requisite amount, without which the doctor would do nothing. When the specialist came he diagnosed fluid on the lung and had my father admitted to the London Hospital. We visited him regularly, and I remember thinking that the hospital was a lovely place. I hoped very much, in my childish naivety, that I would be able to go into hospital some time because there were lots of friendly people there. It was the same old thing; my personal formula for happiness at that time was to have a crowd of people around me. From 1957, slowly and painfully, I learned the lesson I had been told would take seven years. Although I did not lose my parents at that time, I perceived through their illnesses how to cope with their departure when the time came. My husband had gone, other relationships fleetingly came and went during that period, and there was little doubt that I was being taught a hard lesson. The only person I really felt close to was Mavis, my young cousin who seemed so much a part of me. At least she was still with us, and nothing could change that. So life went on, and so did my psychic work. It was not easy to adjust to being unmarried once more, nor was it simple to make compromises. l floundered along, knowing my guides had warned of seven years in which to be taught an essential truth, but wishing at times that it need not be so uncomfortable or demanding. The trauma of the divorce shattered my nerves. It was all so sordid in those days, adultery having to be proved, in spite of the fact that we both accepted that our marriage was over. Every so often there came a small compensation for the despondency and difficulties. Nothing is ever totally bad, and we are given help, often in unexpected ways. It was therefore flattering and exciting when Maurice Barbanell decided to feature one of my pictures in an article for Illustrated, a popular weekly magazine of that time. It was my first publicity in the national press, and I was not prepared for the repercussions. Letters began to flood in from all parts of the country, even from overseas. The Post Office must be credited with a wonderful ability to deliver under-addressed mail. The most impressive achievement was with a letter simply addressed to "Coral Polge, London, England". It arrived safely.

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Since that time I se~m to have struggled constantly to keep abreast of an ever increasing flow of mail, especially as the national press has continued to take a periodic interest in my work. My parting from Arthur meant that I was faced with having to earn a living from my work. Previously it had not been essential, but now it had to become a full-time occupation. So the travelling began, not just day trips around London, but visits to Wales, the north, and the south coast, often for two or three days, or maybe two weeks at a time. The north of England, with its particular type of sitters, was a good school. The northerners were more analytical of what was produced, but once they accept someone there is a great warmth and encouragement, and I still love working in that part of the country. At the time my travelling began the Spiritualists' National Union had its headquarters in a little centre in Tibb Lane, Manchester. From there they would send mediums to the surrounding towns-Blackburn, Blackpool, over into Yorkshire to Barnsley, and down to Longton. This meant finding my way on strange bus routes, catching trains, and arriving back in Manchester late at night, wondering where on earth I was going to end up. But I learned my trade well on those trips, making some lasting friendships over the years. One of the people I met while working from Manchester was a middle-aged healer by the name of Jim Hook, whom I still see occasionally when in that area. When I was to stay with a lady for the first time, she told me later that Jim paved the way for me by saying, apparently to alleviate any suspicion about me, "You'll like Coral. You wouldn't know she was a southerner." This must surely have been the greatest accolade! In spite of being a southerner, one of the easiest places for me to work is in the north-east, among the Geordies. I have a special feeling for them as my present husband's family come from that part of the world. I was used to my in-laws' Geordie dialect, so I didn't feel a stranger when I went there. They are a down-to-earth people, who will never accept any rubbish or padding in messages from mediums, but if they take to someone then they emerge as warm, giving people, and I always look forward to my visits to the Tyneside area. After the incident with Mr. Kidd's letter I began to do a few

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pictures by that method, making the link by post. Eventually this began to develop into a postal web spreading to the ends of the earth. One lady came to me from Australia, having a sitting while she was on a visit to this country. After she had returned home, several of her friends wrote for postal sittings, and so developed the connection of what must be thousands of Australian clients, many of whom I was to meet years later when making a trip to work there. Postal work eventually had to be curtailed simply because the increased workload created by wider travel means there is not the time to devote to it, and when I am overworked the quality of the drawing deteriorates noticeably. Without any advertising-a rule always adhered to-each set of sketches dispatched triggered off an interest in someone else, and so the postal work snowballed to fantastic proportions. Whereas at first portraits were being sent off in a week or so, I finished up with a six month waiting list, and every so often had to call a halt in order to clear the backlog. This inevitably became a worry, being aware of having to press on with the work because people were waiting for it, and recently I decided to curtail it. Although postal work can be extremely interesting, it is also more tiring, meaning I could only work for two or three hours at a time. It is not easy to acquire concentration without the sitter beside me, but there have been some fascinating results. Not all pictures received at "long distance" appear to make sense at first. Sending one woman a picture, I did not know what the connection was, nor could I say who the portrait showed, but the name of Dolly Matthews was given by the spirit communicator. What I could not possibly have known was that my postal "sitter" had a friend in Canada by the name of Dolly Matthews. She sent the picture to her, and sure enough, it was a relative of her Canadian friend! A letter from Holland came from a lady who had lost her son in an accident and wanted to know if there was any possibility of drawing his portrait. It is often impossible to produce exactly what is required, and confirms the old adage about never making demands on the spirit world . "Never demand," we are told repeatedly. We can only ask, and even then we only receive what is right for us at that particular time. Setting to work, I produced what turned out to be a picture of

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her grandmother, and one or two spirit guides. Two portraits she did not recognise, perhaps because they were not accurate, or maybe they were relatives of previous generations. It was two years before one of these was identified, and the other was indeed of a young boy, but while drawing it there was an awareness that this was not the son the Dutch mother so wanted to contact. Yet there was a connection somewhere. When sending the set of pictures to the recipient I wrote on the back of the boy's portrait, "I do not think this is your son, but I feel perhaps that you know this boy's mother." After a week or so came the news that the picture I had drawn was of the son of the local farmer from whom my postal sitter bought her butter and eggs. During these visits she had occasionally seen the farmer's son, who had been killed shortly before I did my sketch of him. She took the picture to the family, apprehensive of what they would think. Fortunately, she had a Dutch magazine which contained a detailed article about my work, so she took this along too, by way of explanation. She quietly presented the drawing to the boy's mother. "That's my Richard," came the immediate response. Soon the daughter of the household arrived home from work and instantly recognised her brother. The portrait was put in a prominent place in the room, and when Richard's father came in he said, somewhat taken aback, "Who drew that? Did somebody copy it from a photograph?" So this portrait which had come to me as a result of a letter from Holland was completely accurate, and the family were glad to know their son was safe and well somewhere in the spirit world. Sadly, I never did manage to draw a picture of my Dutch correspondent's son. I later met her on several occasions, and now know more about her. She has shown me a photograph of the boy, which makes it doubtful whether I will ever be able to portray him. The other "mystery" portrait she received as a result of the postal contact, she kept for two years, and it was only when a Hungarian friend visited her that she discovered whom the picture showed. Not having seen her friend for twenty years, she was telling her of her new interest in Spiritualism, and produced the portraits she had received from me. Suddenly her friend exclaimed, "But that's a picture of my father!"

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A portrait by post for Mrs. Bayles of Rhodesia. It was her son, who died while having an operation to correct his nose, broken several years previously. The sketch shows the nose in slightly better shape. This young man was also drawn by the great psychic artist Frank Leah.

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I had drawn a middle-aged man wearing a peaked cap, and wrote that he had gone through extremely difficult times during the war. He was not wearing army uniform, but the peaked cap was connected with his job. It turned out that he had been an engine driver, and had certainly had hard times during the war. So here again we had a gentleman who had sought a fragile, distant link in order to return to his daughter. It is fascinating how these things sometimes work out. A picture is frequently written off as not being accurate because we do not realise at the time how the spirit network is operating, and how contact can be made through the most tenuous links. An almost chance encounter can produce the answer we have been waiting for. A mistake occasionally made when working by post is that I find I have portrayed the person to whom the drawings are to be sent. When a young man wrote from Italy, asking for some pictures, one was included which seemed to be his father. I asked him when writing if his father had been killed during the war, and whether this was a likeness of him. The young man replied that his father had indeed been killed during the war, but this was not a picture of him, nor did it resemble him in any way. But it was, he said, a pretty good likeness of himself! One can only assume that the father, thinking about his son and wanting to contact him, had built up such a strong image that he had transmitted this, instead of a sketch of himself. It must be difficult for communicators to visualise what they look like. Although working with a spirit aritist who helps me to portray these poeple, to a large extent I have to be very aware of the person being drawn. I must feel like them and almost become them, putting down that impression. When the picture is accurate there is a sensation of looking in a mirror, the portrait reflecting back to me what I am actually feeling. I can sense the structure of the face over my own, and can share the subject's character and personality, sometimes even experiencing the conditions under which they pass to the spirit world. On one occasion when I mentioned to a sitter that her spaniel was also present, she queried, "Which one?" Asking Spirit for identification of the dog, very briefly I knew how it felt to be a small blind dog. The blindness proved to his mistress just which of her beloved dogs had returned to say hello.

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It is often passing conditions which block the link. Many times I have started to draw someone who was killed in an accident. If the face was seriously injured, or if the communicators were aware, even momentarily before passing, that their faces were damaged, they immediately start to think what it may look like. The memory and the shock of what happened, comes back to them, and is then transmitted to me. They stop projecting and the link is lost. Often they find it necessary to portray themselves at a much younger age than they were at their actual passing, in this way avoiding the traumatic experience they went through before their transition to spirit. We do not always appreciate how difficult it is for a spirit person to portray himself if he-or she-suffered considerably before passing over. It may be that he has to go back a number of years, before he was ill, before the accident if there was one. This cuts out all memory of the suffering, and a younger face is transmitted. While this is more agreeable for the spirit communicator, it is not always satisfactory for the sitter, who may not have known the person at such a young age. Frequently when we receive a portrait of someone who died at the age of sixty or seventy, the picture emerges as that of a twentyyear-old . In many of these cases we learn that the person had a hard or difficult life, and the younger years had been the happier ones. Or they may go back to the times just before the terminal illness, because like most of us they are just a little vain, and want to look their best. How many of us realise how old we look? We believe we are younger, looking more attractive than we really are, and when we return to the world of spirit we revert to our memories of youthful features, forgetting that we ever had wrinkles, went grey or lost our teeth or hair. We show ourselves as we should be-young and healthy. Would you not do the same? "I never knew him like that," say many of my sitters when confronted by a youthful portrait. One lady did not even recognise her own husband because she had not met him until he was fifty-five, and he chose to give a portrait of himself aged about eighteen. A few days after her sitting she discovered an old photograph of him which exactly matched my drawing, and she realised its authenticity. We all have our favourite portraits, and when we go to spirit we may try to reproduce them through a psychic artist.

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You and I only ever see ourselves in a mirror, where everything is reversed. Stand side by side with somebody else, looking into the mirror, and you realise how totally different the face is when reversed. So many spirit friends come back recollecting what they looked like in the mirror, and that is precisely what I produce. Recipients sometimes look at a portrait and say, "She didn't have her hair parted on that side," but when they hold the picture up to a mirror, or hold it to the light, seeing it through the back, they find a much better image displayed. We all have one side of our face which is much happier than the other. Note how one side is inclined to go up, and the other goes down a little. So many times when receiving portraits which are "not quite right" it is because of the mirror image. Once having seen a photograph of someone it is difficult to draw a portrait, and it is almost impossible to draw someone I have known personally, but some strange things have happened. There were two people who were very close to medium Gordon Higginson. One was his good friend Frank Tamms, whom I knew quite well, and the other was Gordon's mother, whom I had met two or three times, but could not remember her very clearly. If I had begun to draw her for Gordon I would immediately have stopped because my own awareness of whom I was portraying would prevent me from receiving an impression from Spirit. One day while working at Stansted Hall, the Spiritualist National Union College in Essex, the manager Charles Sherratt asked if I would do a picture for him. I happily complied, and he received the portrait of a young man aged about seventeen, clean-shaven, with fairly long features and thick fair hair. Charles did not recognise him, but I stated that it was not for him, and he should put it on show. "Hang it up in your office," I suggested. "Someone is going to come in and recognise it.'' A little disappointed with the result, Charles did so, and the sequel to the story came a few days later. Gordon walked into Charles's office, glanced at the picture and asked, "Do you know who that picture is, Charles?" "No," replied Charles. "It's one of Coral's puzzlers!" But he was thrilled when Gordon announced, "It's Frank Tamms when he was young."

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Frank in middle age was rather bald and sported gingery sidewhiskers. There was obviously no resemblance between the Frank I knew and the Frank I had drawn. Gordon was able to produce a photograph of him in his youth which almost matched the drawing. Later, when working in Gordon's church in Longton, I found myself portraying an elderly bespectacled lady for one of my sitters. Suddenly she said, "Do you realise who you're drawing?" "No," I replied. "Should I?" "That's Gordon's mother," said my sitter, and I realised she was right. Gordon was working in the church a few yards away from the room where our group was sitting, so the recipient hurried over to him with the portrait. Immediately he recognised it as his mother. My sitter was quite happy to pass the picture on to Gordon, so I suggested she came back into the group so that I could draw her another picture for herself, to replace the first one. I produced a portrait of an elderly gentleman, which unfortunately did not gain any recognition from my sitter. "Well," I said, feeling rather disappointed, "Let's see if Gordon can pick up any further impressions-something which might give you a clue as to who he is." We showed the picture to Gordon. He looked at it quietly for a few moments before saying ponderously, and rather reluctantly, "Er-well-that's my grandfather." He was quite embarrassed at having been the recipient of two consecutive pictures when my sitter did not receive any for herself, but she good-naturedly gave up and said she might come to see me again on my next visit! There have been many lessons learned during my life as a Spiritualist and a psychic artist. One lesson I learned from my first major demonstration which was such a flop was that we should not jump hurdles before we are ready for them. As far as spirit people are concerned, timing is all important. When we are ready, opportunities will open up, it is not for us to push them. When requests for bookings are made to me, if I am meant to take them there will be a gap in my diary. If there is something blocking the way, then obviously Spirit does not think it suitable in some way. Perhaps I am not ready for it. Over the years it has emerged that if I want or need something which spirit friends agree to, they will, in the most incredible way, open the doors and guide me to it.

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The story of how two branches of a family were re-united by a psychic portrait: In a public demonstration at the Spiritualist Headquarters of Great Britain, in Belgrave Square, I received a drawing from spirit of this elderly gentleman. l also felt I wanted somebody wearing green, but it was confirmed that Green was his granddaughter's maiden name! It was for this granddaughter, Mrs. Betty Anderson, that the drawing was done. She immediately recognised it as her grandfather, Herbert Light, and later sent me his photograph for comparison. The photograph and drawing were featured in a Sunday Mirror article, and later in an article in an American publication, National Enquirer.

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The journalist who wrote the article for the American press, received a letter .from somebody in Canada , saying that he had been amazed to glance at the article and see a picture of his grandfather, Herbert Light, of Salisbury , Wilts., England. Herbert Light had been married twice. The children of his first marriage had emigrated to Canada and had not been heard of since. From his second marriage there was another family, from which my sitter was descended. Through the publication of the drawing and photograph, the Canadian family and English branch were re-united.

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As a result of the national publicity I received, I gave a sitting to the Foreign Minister of an African country, which I feel should remain nameless. He came along to my parents' little house at Harrow for his sitting, complete with a large ambassadorial car, driven by an equally large and impressively dressed African chauffeur, who, because of the inclement weather at the time, escorted him up the garden path to the door with a giant umbrella. "Who was that?" queried several of the neighbours later. It was an unusual sight for suburban Harrow . One recollection from that encounter is the dark ominous red colour which I kept seeing around the honourable gentleman-a warning, but of what? I felt most uneasy, but he brushed it aside. Red, he assured me, was his favourite colour, but I was still worried. We kept in touch for a while after his sitting. He wished for coloured enlargements of his sketches, which were to be despatched via his Embassy in the diplomatic bag. He sent a courier to collect them. His letters stopped arriving, and a small piece in the British press told me why . He had been arrested by his own President, but it was not easy to understand what was the truth of the matter. The court condemned him to death. Later, the country was embroiled in civil war, and the last I heard was that he had been rescued, fled the country, and seems to have survived that "dark red" period in his life, which I had seen at the time of his sitting.

Chapter Four

The spirit guides had told me they would teach me non-attachment, which would take seven years. I had learned much in that time, but my seven-year lesson was not quite over ... The bedside telephone jangled noisily. I tried to ignore it, sliding a bit further down the bed a nd pulling the clothes over my head, but the noise did not go away. Reaching my arm out into the cool air of the late September night, I gra bbed the offending instrument and pressed it to my ear, mumbling my telephone number into the mouthpiece. A voi ce on the other end said, "Is that Mrs. Polge?" "Yes," I replied. "This is Edgwar~ Hospital." Edgware Hospital? What were they doing telephoning me in the middle of the night? I propped myself up on the pillows and listened anxiously. "We have a Miss Mavis Crouchman here," the voice went on. "She has blood poisoning. She gave your number, but did not want us to worry you. We thought we should notify you." My mind was still muddled with sleep. Trying to concentrate, I asked if I should go immediately. The reply was that it was thought advisable for me to visit the hospital in the morning. "Not now?" "No, that won't be necessary. We have notified Miss Crouch man' s mother.'' I requested that they phone me if there was any deterioration in Mavis's condition, which they promised to do. I replaced the receiver and went into my parents' room, still half asleep and not entirely in focus. "Mavis is ill," I announced. "She's in Edgware Hospital. I think they said she had blood j)oisoning."

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"Have you got to go to the hospital?" my father asked sleepily. I explained what had been said, which did not sound too terrifying. I went back to bed, but still wondered whether I should have gone straight to the hospital. Eventually anxiety got the better of me and I rang the hospital, volunteering to go. "No, please don't worry," came the businesslike voice on the other end. "Come in the morning. We will let you know if there is anything more serious.'' I went back to sleep, to be wakened once again by the telephone. Sitting up sharply this time, I grabbed the receiver, expecting another call from the hospital. But it was Mavis's mother, phoning from the Isle of Wight. "Coral," she said hesitantly, "Mavis is dead." Dead? It just did not sink in . It couldn't be true. I explained to her mother that the hospital had assured me there was no immediate danger. The bedside clock showed six in the morning. Aunt Doris had been contacted by the hospital earlier, and was preparing to catch the first boat from the Isle of Wight when she had received a second call informing her of Mavis's passing. Once again I leaped out of bed and rushed into my parents' room to tell them the news. Like me, they did not believe it. We had seen Mavis two or three days previously, fit and well. Our world would never be quite the same without this beautiful soul with her golden hair and glowing personality. After some time spent trying to locate her sister Marion, a medical student at St. Thomas's Hospital, I eventually contacted her. She immediately arranged to come to our home at Harrow, where we waited for her mother to arrive, which she did around lunchtime. My father drove us all to the hospital, where we were told on the ward that, as it was Saturday, the people handling that aspect of hospital work had gone off duty. Desperately we tried to obtain more information, but were politely told that we would have to return on Monday morning. It seemed absurd, and we spent one of the longest weekends I shall ever remember. There was nothing Marion could do so she decided to go home to her children and return on Monday. I accompanied her to the bus stop, and as we stood there I was aware of Mavis standing beside us. Although I could not see her, there was an intense and unshakable conviction that she was there. I felt her presence, knew exactly what she looked like, and could

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hear her voice. What she said startled me. "What's wrong?" she asked. "What's all the excitement for? Why are you all rushing about?" Did she not know? Turning towards where I knew she was standing, I was aware of her confused expression. "Coral," she said, "Am I dead?" The disbelief in her voice came across pathetically. She had obviously gone so suddenly and unexpectedly that the shock had not penetrated her mind. "Yes," I replied, and was aware of her eyes filling with tears. "Marion," I said quietly, "Mavis is here. She didn't know; she hadn't realised." While speaking there came an awareness of somebody else standing there. It was Mavis and Marion's father, Uncle John, who had died during the war, and there he was, just behind Mavis. Although she was only a very small child when he died, she had memories of him, and proudly kept his photographs, in his Flying Officer's uniform. As we stood there at the bus stop, Mavis turned to her father, burying her head in his shoulder. He held her closely, and they walked away together. I knew then that she was safe and being cared for, but the shocked and shattered expression on her beautiful face when she realised she was no longer in this world, is something I shall never forget. Marion caught her bus, and I walked sadly back home to tell my parents that at least Mavis had made a brief contact. Because of the suddenness of her passing a post mortem was necessary. A few days later we were asked to go and make an official identification of her body. Her mother was too upset to do so, and Marion and I volunteered. We were warned not to be too shocked at what was referred to as "p.m. bruising", and as we walked into the mortuary Mavis lay still and quiet, a strange yellowish tinge of jaundice on her skin and the blue bruise marks. What surprised me was that her golden hair had suddenly lost all its lustre, and although it was Mavis's body I could not help saying to Marion, "She's not really here. This is not her." Whenever someone close to me has died I have always had a feeling of nonrelationship with the body, which no longer belonged to anyone I knew, but was like an old coat which had been dropped, discarded, by the roadside. This was all I felt as I looked at Mavis's body. For some reason my attention was drawn to my watch. "It's eleven o'clock," I announced across the silent room.

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My cousin Mavis .

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"She isn't here, is she?" said Marion. "She's not here with us." With that, we turned and walked out of that sad place. When we arrived br.ck at my mother's home, her first question was, "Where were you at eleven o'clock?" "Why?" I asked. "Because something very strange happened at eleven o'clock," replied my mother. She related how, at precisely that time, one of the flowers from the bunch in the vase on the dining room table had removed itself and lain gently on the table. "I don't know why," said my mother, "But for some reason I looked at the clock and knew Mavis was with me. She wanted me to know where she was at that time." I explained how we had had the same feeling, that I had been impressed to look at the time, and how Marion had said, "She isn't here." We knew then where she was. The next occasion when Mavis made her presence known to us was at her funeral a few days later. Ronald Hearn, who knew her well, took the service for us, and the incident happened soon after we left the house. With other members of the family I was in the first car with Ron, when he suddenly turned to me and said, "Mavis is sitting on top of the hearse! She's up there with all those flowers, looking so happy." As he spoke, some of the flower heads, mainly chrysanthemums, detached themselves and the petals were tossed towards the car behind. As we drove slowly along, Ron suddenly said something which seemed so wrong and inappropriate at the time. "She's saying, 'Look at the confetti'," he announced. "Coral, are you thinking of getting married again?" I was startled. This was not the sort of thing to ask on the way to a funeral, and I felt rather affronted. "Good Heavens, no!" I retorted, having no intention of involving myself in yet more painful and abortive relationships. Ron was unabashed. "Well," he said, "Mavis is saying to me, 'The next service you take will be Coral's wedding'." Little did I know that losing Mavis had been the final cutting away of old foundations and the beginning of a new life. It had all been a tremendous shock, and I had to get myself back on to an even keel. Sitting in a circle a few days later, sending out my thoughts to Spirit, I tried to find some inner sense, wanting to

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reject my life as it was at that time. Suddenly I clicked into a state almost impossible to describe; one can only experience it in complete silence. I felt that I had ceased to exist as Me as I knew myself. Physically, astrally, or as a separate person I was not there any more. I had gone back beyond everything, to that minute spark within, which is part of God; a golden spark, warm and beautiful. A state of absolute joy engulfed me. I had come full circle to find again that childhood awareness, lost when I began to relate to this world as a reality. The bubble of illusion was broken. This was "TRUTH". That little spark is a tiny blueprint of the whole universe, and within that spark is all the knowledge of eternity, all that has ever been or will be, and in that complete silence in a fraction of time, suddenly you know that you are one with God, and that everyone and everything is God. All that is lost is a physical, material illusion, a collection of atoms. Similarly, if water has to be analysed by a chemist, he only needs to analyse one drop, because what is contained in that is the same as if he analysed a gallon. A drop of sea water contains precisely what is contained in whole oceans, multiplied millions of times. Everything is as one. It was like an unfolding of wisdom, a thunderclap of knowledge, and I was suddenly aware of my God Self. That may sound far-fetched, but I find it difficult to describe in words. I felt a microcosm of the whole universe, and in that state of consciousness I was aware of oceans, fine grains of sand, planets, trees, people and animals, of everything that existed, and there was no such thing as Time. I was in a state of complete timelessness, what the mystics call, The Eternal Now, free of the need to have and to hold anything because I had-and was-everything. What else did one need? We are all one, as I realised at that moment, so I had not lost people and relationships. All we ever lose is the shell, the ego, and the illusion we think is the person. Also in that state of timelessness one is aware of what has been and will be, that God is a creative, thinking, loving Energy, and the memory of that creation is there within each one of us. We created the universe. That is why, when teachers say, "I am God," they are speaking the truth, but they don't always make it clear that this is nothing special. The pupil is as much God as the master, but is · simply unaware of the fact.

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I could recall-if recall is the right word-being part of that moving consciousness in space, building planets, manipulating suns. Built and destroyed, they explode, implode, and we, the energy which created them, go on redesigning, re-creating from cosmic dust. But we never cease to go on learning. It is like a brilliant light within, and in that state of brilliance there is no comprehension of itself. If we were to sit in a room which was completely light, we would not comprehend it because there would be no shadows. We are all seeking an understanding of darkness in order to comprehend the light, not finding it because we are attached to a lot of illusions . . . people, power, money, cars, houses, even bits of furniture, which we think are essential realities. These are getting in the way of seeing what we really are. We stand with our backs to the light, seeing only the shadow we cast-that of our own ignorance. Many philosophies teach something of this greater awareness, calling it by various names-Nirvana, cosmic consciousness, Christ consciousness ... just labels. Labels do not matter. In fact, they hinder, for like the religions which spawn them they become yet more things to which attachments are formed. We must be free to move ever upwards to higher levels of awareness, never allowing ourselves the dangerous presumption that we have found the whole answer, but simply accepting that in our unison with the Great Spirit our conception will grow and change as our dependence upon material things lessens, and eventually evaporates completely. After an experience of realisation such as this, one walks completely free. What was so exciting for me was that this enlightenment came almost exactly at the end of seven years, just as I had been told. At the end of that time came the revelation which enabled me to love in an entirely different way, without needing anything in return. So it should be. We need a home, food and furniture because we have a physical body to look after. We need relationships because people are a part of life's pattern; they are needed in order to serve and express ourselves, but for me, nothing would be quite the same again. Arthur had left home on 10th October, 1957. On 11th October, 1964, two weeks after Mavis had died, and seven years later to the day, I met my present husband, Tom Johanson. It seemed

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incredible that the seven-year lesson could have been so accurately pin-pointed. Many mediums had already told me I would marry again, and about that time one of them enquired if I was going to Paignton. Yes, my next trip was to Paignton Church. "You are going to meet someone there who will change your whole life," she said. I duly went to Paignton and took the Sunday service at the church. There I met Karl and Betty Francis, who asked me if I would care to go to dinner some time when they returned to London. In the meantime Betty had spoken to Harold Sharp, the medium who trained Tom as a healer. "Will you ask your guides to influence Tom, because I think I've found a suitable wife for him," she had said. Poor Tom, has he ever forgiven her for manipulating his life in this direction, I wonder? At the time, of course, I was unaware of this surreptitious match-making, and so was Tom. Betty and Karl duly gave their dinner party, and arranged that Tom Johanson should drive to fetch me. He seemed a nice man, but it was not a case of love at first sight. As we chatted in the car he said, "I hear your cousin has just died." For some reason I found myself telling him all about it, and the spiritual experience I had been through. To my amazement he knew exactly what I was talking about, and understood it completely. We discussed things animatedly all the way to Betty' s home. By the time we arrived I liked him very much, but simply on the level of having mutual interests. He told me all about Jean, the girl to whom he had been engaged, and who had died of cancer, after which he went through an experience very similar to my own. "Of course, I 'II never get married now," he added. As soon as he voiced that afterthought there came into my mind the words, "Yes, you will." And I knew I was the person he was going to marry, not even sure that the idea was entirely to my liking at that stage! Tom invited me to the premiere of a film about healing, which had been made in Trafalgar Square. That was the start of our relationship. The film was produced, at Tom's instigation, by an amateur film company, who made it on Whit Sunday, 1964. Trafalgar Square may seem an extraordinary place for such an event to take place, but Tom, true Aries that he is, has always had some novel and sometimes apparently impossible ideas, as I realised when I came to

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know him better. He first organised the event in 1963, when he was secretary of the Surrey Healers' Association, and before we met. When he proposed a mass healing demonstration in Trafalgar Square, the idea did not meet with a great deal of enthusiasm. It was thought that crowd control might present some difficulties, and that disabled or infirm people could be hurt if any unruliness were to break out. There seemed to be so many obstacles in the way of such a large scale outdoor event, especially in central London. Tom refused to be put off by any of the doubts expressed and said that if he could not enlist the support he wished for, then he would go it alone. The great healer Harry Edwards, whom Tom had invited to be principal healer for the occasion, at first refused, but was eventually won over by Tom's determination. Permission was granted by the then London County Council for the gathering to take place, and it was planned that the team of healers would work on the plinth of Nelson's Column. This was to present one major problem-how did sick or disabled people climb up there? "That's all right," said Tom, undaunted by anything. "I'll make some steps.'' He set about doing so. He had just moved into a flat in Twickenham, which was still only partly furnished, so he used the empty bedroom as a workshop in which to build his steps. They were necessarily large and very solid, but Tom was pleased with the result of his labours. He had them ready in time to be moved to Trafalgar Square, but in his enthusiasm he had overlooked one vital point; he had made the steps so big that they could not be moved out through the bedroom door! The result was that they had to be unscrewed again, taken apart, put in sections into a small van, and re-assembled in Trafalgar Square. There was no way of knowing how many people would attend the event, but Tom decided that it was going to be essential to have a number of chairs on the site for those people who were unable to stand for any length of time. He duly returned to the London County Council official who had granted him the permit for the meeting to take place, explaining that he wished to put out some chairs in Trafalgar Square on the day of the healing demonstration. The official was a little perplexed at receiving what seemed a strange request.

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"Have we ever had chairs in Trafalgar Square?" he asked his assistant. "No," came the immediate reply. "Is there anything in the by-laws to prohibit it?" "No, I don't think so." So Tom was allowed to put out twenty-five chairs in the Square, which was obviously not going to be enough, so the number was increased to fifty. In fact, at the time of the demonstration Tom set out one hundred chairs, but in later years he managed to increase the quota to three hundred without incurring any problem. At that first mass meeting there was no healing. Tom and Harry Edwards addressed the crowd about spiritual healing, and it was not until Whit Sunday, 1964 that Harry Edwards conducted the first healing meeting in Trafalgar Square. In 1965 Tom conducted the healing himself, having never done a solo demonstration of public healing, but it was a great success, and there was an annual repeat performance for six years in all. Tom continued to organise these events for three or four years after we were married, and several well-known people spoke at them, including Lady Dowding, Lord Soper, Christopher Woodard and Canon John Pearce-Higgins. Lord Soper's participation took place in the most appalling weather. The rain poured down all day, but we continued under umbrellas and in our soaking macintoshes. Psychic News reported the event under the headline: HEALING MAKES PEOPLE RIGHT AS RAIN! I did my best to shelter Lord Soper with an umbrella from the worst of the downpour while he addressed the crowd, but as he was a tall and somewhat mobile speaker I was not entirely successful. My lack of success was evident from the steady stream of water running from the hem of his long robe! The incorrigible and seemingly incurable romanticism of my teenage days had been brought under control over the years, partly through disillusionment and partly through spiritual realisations and experiences, so I was capable of happiness on a contented and undemanding basis. This was perhaps just as well, because if I had been expecting a "moonlight and roses" proposal from a knight on a white horse I would have been doomed to disappointment. Tom's proposal of marriage stemmed from a situation in which I was demonstrating my affection in a practical way, with a needle and

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cotton in my hand, repairing his clothes. He was wearing a blazer which was coming apart at the back. "Let me sew that up for you," I said, tut-tutting and adding, "You do need looking after." He took off the blazer and asked, "Would you like to take on the job full time?" So much for my romanticism, but somehow I didn't mind at all that the trappings I had once thought essential, were completely absent! We were married almost a year later, in 1965, and Ronald Hearn took the service. During the ceremony I could see him looking over our shoulders, smiling as though he could see someone there. Later he told me it was Mavis, mouthing, "I told you so." Jeannie, Tom's fiancee who had died so tragically, was also there. It is so easy sometimes to say that advice has come from the spirit world, and to make the subsequent story fit the message, but when that spirit presence mentions something not in one's mind at the time, then it becomes very evidential. Yo San's predictions through the automatic writing had all come true, even at the time I thought them absurd. I had indeed married someone called Tom, of Norwegian descent, who was connected with a spiritual centre which he was eventually to run, the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain in Belgrave Square in London. Sometimes we meet people without knowing why. We may not even like them, but these experiences are necessary so that we grow and understand each other. To be hurt, or to go along a hard path is not wrong. There are lessons to be learned from it. We should not attach ourselves to people so that we cannot Jet go if it is better for one or both parties to leave. We should try not to inflict hurt, but should never love because we want something in return. Real love demands nothing, therefore it is possible to love more satisfactorily when there is no fear of loss. We must give in order to grow. Whether anybody appreciates the giving of your love is not your business. It is the other person's loss if he or she decides not to accept it, and it is your loss if you retaliate with unpleasantness. It does no good, but I could never comprehend this until I found that inner consciousness. My life has even been much better materially since I stopped worrying about what I needed. I never had any doubts, once I started on the spiritual path, as to

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where I was going. I have never become disenchanted with my beliefs-only occasionally with the people involved. More than anything, Spiritualism has given me a complete inner peace, to know a purpose manifests in everything. Accepting that, one only needs to worry in a superficial way, and I have had enough experiences to have learned that even the material, mundane things are looked after, but only after there has been great personal effort. Things happen and help arrives only when you really need it, and not simply when you want it. Demanding what you want is very different from demanding what you actually need. Some time before we were married Tom sold everything he had in order to get together the deposit to buy a flat. He moved in with only curtains, a bed, and a cooker-nothing else. Gradually he bought extra furnishings-a carpet, kitchen table, little extras, and he set up a pleasant healing sanctuary in one room. After our marriage we pooled resources. I had some money saved, but had always had to be careful with finances as I had no alimony from my first husband. I brought some of my furniture from my mother's home. We bought a bedroom carpet and a dressing table, and a refrigerator. I brought a bed from Harrow, and a folding table. We had no dining chairs, but used the kitchen chairs, making do as far as possible. Immediately after the wedding Tom was asked by Ralph Rossiter, the then secretary, if he would consider going to work at the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain headquarters. The salary was to be £15 per week. He was already earning £28 a week as a commercial artist, and our mortgage was £6 a week. "What shall I do?" he asked me. Both of us knew this was what he must do. The opportunity was there for a purpose. "If you feel this is what Spirit wants, then you must go," I replied. "We'll manage somehow." Having spent every penny I had on furniture, we were completely broke. We had an ancient Morris Minor which was a real old banger, and in this unreliable conveyance we had set off on honeymoon to the Isle of Wight. It certainly got us there, but on the way back it knocked and clanked all the way home. Chugging up hills was alarming, and even a garage attendant commented when he heard our noisy arrival on his petrol forecourt.

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"Is it as bad as it sounds?" he asked jokingly as he filled it up. Once we arrived home it was impossible to use the car any longer in its present state. They said the big end had gone, which meant a new engine. The estimate for the job was £50, and we just could not muster that amount of money between us. Tom had taken his job at Belgrave Square, and he was doing a lot of travelling in order to do his healing too. We really desperately needed a car. We were sitting at breakfast on Saturday morning. That afternoon Tom had to get into London to Belgrave Square for his healing clinic. "I don't know what I'm going to do," he said glumly. "I really need a car to cover all this work." He never did like travelling on buses and trains. Waiting for them tried his patience to its limit! I felt it was time for me to make one of my rare demands. We had done everything to help ourselves and to comply with what we thought had been required of us. "Well," I announced, "We have done what Spirit wants. Now they are going to have to find us £50." I held out my left hand and said, "Yo San-quick! I want a cheque for £50 at once." Tom went to Belgrave Square that afternoon by public transport. "Where's your car?" asked Lucas Ralli, one of his healing group. "The engine has packed up," replied Tom gloomily. "Getting a new car?" asked Lucas. "Not likely," said Tom. "It's as much as I can do to find fifty pounds to repair the old one!'' Nothing more was said, and the matter was dropped. On the Monday morning a cheque for £50 arrived in the post. It had been sent by Lucas Ralli, saying that Tom had helped him a great deal in the past, and he would like to give some help in return. We had our new engine! The power of visualisation can be quite potent. I once stopped a train by this means-or I firmly believe I did. When taking a service at a church which was so unwelcoming and dirty I would not even stay to have a cup of tea afterwards, I went straight home. It had been a long day and I had to cross London and get back to Waltonon-Thames. The first changing point was at Clapham Junction. There had already been a half-hour wait on the previous station, and I knew I was running late. By the time I reached the second

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changing point, which was Wimbledon, I realised there was a possibility of losing my connection . I was tired and hungry, and could not wait to get home. The thought of missing my train on that freezing cold night was unbearable. Somewhere between Clapham and Wimbledon the fast train to Walton whizzed past. My heart sank. I'd never get there in time unless . . . yes, that was it. I would have to stop that fast train somehow. I concentrated like mad, picturing the train being pulled backwards, slowing it down. When I arrived at Wimbledon there was no sign of the train. Obviously my powers of visualisation and positive thinking had not worked. Why should they? Then I became aware of a crowd of people standing on the platform, apparently still waiting for the train. So where was it? We had certainly not passed it again on the way from Clapham. I asked a porter if I had missed the train. "No," he replied, "The mad driver forgot to stop. He went straight through the station, and now he has to come back.'' And as I stood on the platform I watched mesmerised as the train came in backwards towards the platform, being pulled back just as I had visualised it. Coincidence? I wonder ...

Chapter Five

There was family sadness in 1966 when my mother died . She had suffered ill health for some time, and the hospital diagnosed an enlarged thyroid. A healer, Mrs. Anne Warman, who was treating her at the time, was constantly told by her guide that my mother needed an operation, but the hospital insisted it was not necessary. By the time Tom and I married it was obvious that her health was deteriorating rapidly, and shortly afterwards my father decided to take her to a different hospital. She went into the small Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital in Hampstead, where we were reprimanded by the doctor for not having brought her for treatment before. We explained that Edgware Hospital had seen her several times during the past five years. She was promptly whisked into the Hampstead hospital for removal of the thyroid, which was cancerous. I am still sure she could have survived had the operation been carried out at an earlier stage. She lived for three months afterwards, and eventually passed with meningitis as an after effect of surgery. She was so depleted by this time that she never really had the strength to fight back. At the time of her passing I was with her, with my father and other members of the family, by her bed. One minute I was watching the nurse pressing an oxygen mask over her face, and the next minute I was psychically aware of my mother standing beside me. That was how I knew she had actually left her body. The mask was being pressed so hard it was making a mark on my mother's face. For a moment it seemed that all my psychic training as a medium, and all the nurse's practical training in tending the living, might clash. How could I begin to explain to her that life after death had been proved to me, and that I, in turn, had proved it many times to thousands of others?

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"Do you have to do that?" I asked her. "Oh, yes," she replied, surprised, and with that air of total authority adopted by medical personnel when their judgement is even remotely questioned. I don't think my mother knew she had cancer, and if she did, then she put on a remarkably brave fa\:ade. It was obvious during those last few days that her passing could not be far away. Several other medium friends had warned me gently that it would be soon. Nora Blackwood had asked if 1st May was her birthday. It wasn't, but that was the day she passed. It happened to be the birthday of her sister, Auntie Kit. Only a couple of weeks before, Mum had tried to share some of her fears with me, and I reassured her that she would soon be well and back to her old self. Yet as I left her that day I just knew that she would actually pass in two weeks' time. Those last days brought back to mind so many childhood memories that it was like being reborn. I remembered how she used to read my three very special books. Over and over again I would make her go through "The Sleeping Beauty", "Mother Goose" and-my special favourite, "Alice in Wonderland". She never tired of reading them, and I never tired of hearing those magical tales. I was always asking her to teach me things-how to knit and sew. I would follow her around the kitchen in Hackney and plague her with questions. These flashes of memory and hundreds more, came flooding back, and when I recalled my childhood fears of death I smiled at my ignorance and innocence. It was hard not to feel sorry for the flustered young doctor at the time of my mother's passing. He obviously wasn't used to consoling bereaved relatives, and as he struggled with a few mumbled words of comfort I took his hand and reassured him. "It's all right," I found myself saying. "You see, we're Spiritualists. We understand. She's alive and well in another world." He looked so relieved, probably thinking I was a little strange, but at least he didn't have any weeping relatives to cope with. But the busy matron of that little cottage hospital was the one who dealt so well with the situation. She offered Dad and me spirits of a different kind-a comforting dose of brandy! It may not have been part of the hospital regulation treatment, but it was certainly very welcome.

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It was a great relief to know that Mum had now left her creaking, suffering body behind. Just before her transition I found myself tuning in with my psychic gifts. I don't think I consciously "switched on"; it simply came naturally. Even for me, so used to giving people messages from their "dead" loved ones, it was still a completely new experience. One minute I was holding her hand, watching her grab at each tortured breath, the next minute she was standing behind me and the room was suddenly filled with a radiant gold light. I heard a joyful, excited voice saying, "Come on, Auntie!" and I knew instantly who it was. Mavis had come to welcome her, and in her arms she cradled Nigger, our old cat, purring contentedly. My main concern now was to console and look after my father, who seemed lost and desolate. It is perhaps difficult for the uninitiated to accept that images such as this can actually be seen, or their presence so clearly defined, yet hundreds of people have experienced this, and its truth cannot be denied. It is even possible to project oneself to another place simply by a thought process, as happened to me in 1956. At the time I was unaware what had actually taken place, but I was told afterwards. Ronald Hearn was still quite a new medium, and had taken his first booking at Acton Church. I was taking a group at Hayes at the time, and suddenly it crossed my mind to wonder how Ron was making out at his Acton debut. One of my friends, Mrs. Saunders, was president of Acton Church at that time, and I mentally rebuked myself for failing to tell Ron to introduce himself to her, saying I was a friend of his. It would have given him an introductory talking point in the strange surroundings. Next morning a puzzled Ron telephoned me and said, "What were you doing at Acton Church last night?" It was my turn to be bewildered. "What on earth do you mean?" I asked. "I was at Hayes." Ron explained that after his demonstration Mrs. Saunders, who had chaired the meeting, asked if he had any connection with Coral Polge. Ron replied that he knew me well. "Is she all right?" Mrs. Saunders had asked . "As far as I know," Ron had replied. "Why?" "I saw her standing beside you during the demonstration, and she turned round and smiled at me,'' said Mrs. Saunders.

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My thought had created a form in the place I had been thinking about, and made the introduction I had been considering. Shortly after Tom and I were married I made my first television appearance. It was on one of Alan Whicker's programmes, "Whicker's World" in which he was making a whirlwind survey of the paranormal. I learned a lot from the experience, and realise how careful one has to be when pre-recording a programme. Tom and I were living in the small flat at Twickenham at the time, and the neighbours must have wondered what on earth was going on as there was a tremendous amount of activity everywhere, with large vehicles parked in every available space around the flat. A huge BBC van arrived, closely followed by a slightly smaller one, and then came Alan Whicker's Bentley, which was parked at the front. In came two cameramen, two lighting engineers, a sound recordist, a continuity girl, the producer, plus Mr. Whicker. In the small flat it was absolute chaos, but they plugged in all their equipment with much efficiency and a lot of consultation, and promptly blew every fuse in the flat. It took two hours before everything was organised to their liking, and eventually we began to record the programme. Drawing for Alan Whicker, the first person I sketched was a lady whom I said was from his mother's side of his family. He agreed immediately, saying it was a picture of his mother's sister. I mentioned that she was very fond of gardening, and again he agreed. Other details also seemed to be accurate, and I was delighted that things were going well for my first TV appearance. The second picture was of an elderly gentleman. I thought it might be his grandfather, I said. He admitted he had not known his grandfather but had seen photographs of him and from that recollection it could well be him, but he would check it. Then he suddenly asked me, "Do I have a spirit guide?" "Yes, you must have," I replied. "But it would not make much sense to show a spirit guide on a television programme as it would prove nothing to the viewer.'' Quite, said the plausible Mr. Whicker. He was not really concerned from the point of view of the programme, but from a purely personal angle he would very much like to know about his spirit guide, and could I draw one for him? I fell straight into the trap, and found myself drawing a Chinese gentleman, explaining

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that he was a spirit helper who was going to assist him in the future. "I think you're going to be visiting China soon," I told him, because that was the impression I was gaining. "Yes," he replied. "I'm going to China in the near future to do some filming .'' At this, I told him the guide would be helping him while he was there. We concluded the recording, by which time they had spent about four hours in the flat, and everyone seemed well satisfied. When the programme was transmitted I glued myself avidly to the television set and waited for my contribution to "Whicker's World". His programmes were tongue-in-cheek, and this was no exception. The hours of filming which we had done had been edited and condensed into a few minutes. There was no mention of the accurate drawings I had given of Alan Whicker's relatives, which he had accepted at the time. Instead, after a very brief appearance in which I was seen drawing for him, he held up to the camera the portrait of his spirit guide. "Look,'' he grinned at the viewing millions, ''She's given me a picture of a cheeky Chinese guide!" This experience taught me to be very wary, and certainly never again would I be trapped into drawing pictures for the media of guides whose identities could not be proved. On the whole, the media have been fair and generous to me, but they are not always accurate. One day Maurice Barbanell telephoned me and said in a somewhat puzzled tone, "Coral, did you really say that?" I wondered what he was talking about until I recalled an interview I had given to a national paper. Barbie had read it and could not believe what he had seen, so I asked him to read it to me. He quoted me as having said, "Sexy teenagers attract sexy ghosts," something I had certainly not done. Thinking over the interview with the reporter I realised that what I had actually said was, "Like attracts like." A considerable amount of journalistic licence had produced a more startling and down-market statement, which might sell more papers, but did nothing to enhance either my reputation or that of Spiritualism. During our first visit to Vancouver in 1972, with Ursula Roberts and Lady Dowding, a member of the Vancouver Psychic Society managed to gain us interviews on "The Hot Line", a programme compered by Pat Burns. It was a phone-in programme, and we had no idea what we were letting ourselves in for.

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A psychic portrait drawn in 1972 for Mrs. Rosemary Raitby, who identified it as her father. His photograph is shown below.

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When we arrived, we found it had been arranged that Ursula Roberts and Lady Dowding would go to the studios the first morning. A number of people said rather apprehensively, "Do you think you should have agreed to go on the programme?" Some even uttered the discouraging words, "If you're not careful he'll slaughter you!'' Pat Burns was obviously a man with a mind of his own, and we found out afterwards that initially he had no inclination towards believing our ideas. He simply thought we would be something different and interesting for his programme. That first morning Ursula and Lady Dowding went to the studios while Tom and I listened in our hotel room to see how they coped. Ursula was magnificent. Pat, with his Irish-Canadian accent and rather abrasive voice, flung questions at her which she answered sedately and almost primly, seeming to take the wind out of his sails. Lady Muriel appeared to inhibit him a little more because of her title, but they both spoke extremely well, answering questions for listeners who phoned in to the studios. One woman phoned in with the query for Ursula Roberts, "If I come to one of your public meetings, can you please make a link with my grandson?" "Yes, that's quite possible," came Ursula's reply. Then she went on to describe the boy and the white teddy bear which had been buried in the coffin with him, a teddy bear which had been a present from the grandmother who had telephoned the question. Pat Burns was obviously floored by this reply, and almost immediately the telephones began to ring non-stop, humming with anxious listeners wanting to know if Ursula could possibly contact their relatives. She really was amazing. As we sat there listening we heard Pat say, "Now tomorrow morning we have Tom Johanson and Coral Polge. Tom will talk about healing and philosophy, and Coral will do some drawings. I want half a dozen listeners in the studio, and she will draw pictures of their relatives." Nobody had warned me about this. I thought I was just going to answer questions, but next morning there were six or seven listeners waiting in the studio and I had to come up with the goods. I was apprehensive, but Ursula had softened Pat's antagonism towards the subject, and he realised that if Tom and I went over on the air as well as Ursula and Lady Dowding, he had something unique.

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Much to my surprise it worked incredibly well. There is something about certain parts of the world which helps my work, and the Vancouver results have always been psychically good. It is a beautiful city set between sea, mountains, and the great forest area to the north. On our second visit we left the plane at Calgary, driving for two days across the Rockies to our destination, an experience of a lifetime which I shall never forget. Somehow the immensity of those majestic mountains, with the Frazer river rushing headlong between steep rocky walls to the distant sea, gives us a better sense of proportion. We and our little problems are so unimportant by comparison, and a sense of timelessness was easier to comprehend up there in that great silent beauty of nature. Never a climber myself, I can understand the fascination the pastime engenders in many people. While filming in Bavaria I was fortunate to squeeze into a busy schedule enough time to go up one mountain (most of the way by cable car!), again finding that glorious sense of timeless peace and oneness with Creation. Those people who say they have heard the mountains singing may not be so far wrong, for there is a harmony in nature when left to itself which echoes in all our hearts when we care to listen. Sadly, we are constantly upsetting that harmony, and creating some shattering discords. It was a far cry from the mountains of Vancouver to the confines of the broadcasting studio, but most of the listeners who came into the studio for my first Canadian radio appearance were able to recognise the portraits i drew for them, and went away very enthusiastically. One lady did not recognise either of her drawings, but two days later she phoned in to the programme to say that her parents and older relatives had identified them. Those programmes were a wonderful training ground for anyone doing psychic work on radio or TV. It was commercial radio, so every few minutes we would have to stop being spiritual and revert to the mundane as Pat would advertise somebody's cement or sausages and talk about the virtues of various commercial products. We would also be "switched off" while there was a news bulletin and weather forecast. Then we had to switch on again both literally and spiritually, link up with our spirit friends, and continue to turn out messages and portraits.

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I would have said it was very difficult to do, but having been pitchforked into it without knowing what was coming, I did not have much chance to develop "stage fright". All the stops and starts did not make any difference, which was surprising. Each programme was two or three hours long, including breaks, but they were very enjoyable and we had a lot of fun giving happiness and help to many people. Each time we went back to Vancouver we returned to the programme, and people would phone in to relate the outcome of previous messages a year or so earlier. The programmes also helped to fill our public meetings. During our first visit, when it was announced that Tom would be giving healing at a certain hall later that day, hundreds of people turned up. It was impossible for him to do more than two minutes' healing for each one. The memory of one little girl remains in my mind. She had lost all her hair, and Tom gave her a couple of minutes' healing in a queue of people. A year or so later when we were back on the programme, her mother phoned in and asked to come and see us. She brought the little girl to the studio, and happily the child then had a beautiful head of hair. But, said her mother, explaining what she had not had time to say at the healing, it had not primarily been her hair which was the problem. She had cancer and only a short time to live, the hair loss being as a result of chemotherapy treatment. Shortly after Tom's brief healing she had gone back to hospital, where the doctors had taken another biopsy and discovered she was completely well. There was one strange occurrence during one of Tom 's phone-in sessions when he seemed to be completely "off course". In reply to Tom's descriptions of her, which he had been pressed to give, a listener kept saying no. She did not have a bad back as he described, no, she wasn't short, fair-haired and plumpish, nor was she wearing peep-toed shoes. This time his gift just wasn't working, he admitted. Then the next listener came on the line. "It's me," she said . "I'm the short plump fair lady with the white peep-toed shoes and the bad back!'' Somehow Spirit was way ahead of us , knowing who would phone in before we even heard the listener's voice. We went back to Vancouver and on to Pat's programme on three occasions, the second time taking David Young with us. It was an

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initiation for him and he was a great success. Later when he went to live in Canada it developed into a network of radio and TV programmes for him. Over the years many mediums have followed this path of radio and TV. Tom tried doing diagnosis over the air, which worked remarkably well, and he also tried healing by this method, which also worked. It was amazing how Spirit can use modern technology to such advantage. While we were in Canada an American TV team came to film David and me in a double demonstration. Several people have since said they saw that programme when it was shown, and how it first interested them in our work. In England we made other programmes, one for Westward Television and one in Birmingham. Doris Collins and I took part in Mavis Nicholson's "Good Afternoon" show, which I particularly remember because of the rushing about entailed. The programme was due to be transmitted an hour after it was recorded, and I had a car to take me back from London. The driver rushed me home to see it because we hardly ever have the chance to see ourselves unless programmes are pre-recorded. There have been many programmes in which I have taken part for foreign television with no idea how the subject has been treated. It is so easy for bad editing to leave all the negative theories and eliminate the valuable evidence, as in "Whicker's World". During the second visit to Canada, Pat Burns realised one morning that he had forgotten to arrange for listeners to come to the studio to have portraits drawn for them. Then he had a bright idea. He called one of the girls in the office, telling her to go upstairs to the hotel and find a few people, asking them if they would care to come into the studio and take part in the programme. There was no shortage of volunteers, one of whom was a tall Swede, who spoke very little English. He had no idea what the programme was about, or what he had let himself in for, but he sat there like a lamb while I drew the portraits and Tom was talking to the audience about healing. Pat came to me to ask how I was getting along, and I explained the picture which had been produced. For the Swedish gentleman I had drawn a grandfather and grandmother which he had accepted as good likenesses, and he seemed to know exactly who they were. "What do you think about it?" Pat asked him.

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"I do not know," he replied in his broken English . "I come here to sell furniture, and I am Catholic." I often wonder what thoughts he has had since then, and what effect the pictures had. He went out clutching them and looking very worried. It was necessary for me to scramble my wits together on one occasion in Vancouver for an interview with a TV newscaster at 8.00 a.m. He wasn't happy just to ask questions, but wanted a picture, which unfortunately he did not recognise. Then I tried a drawing for the cameraman, who was highly delighted to be given a portrait of his beloved grannie. The trouble was that while he was enthusing about his drawing he wasn't filming behind the camera, so we lost the best piece of evidence! After my mother's passing, my father had been determined to go on living by himself at Harrow. He was not the most domesticated of men, and although he could cook quite well, his idea of housework was extremely limited. There began two exhausting years during which I shuttled between our little flat at Strawberry Hill and my father's home in Harrow, looking after both and doing my psychic work as well. After two years Dad felt he had had enough. Tom had frequently suggested that he came to live with us, and eventually he agreed to do so. We began the difficult task of house-hunting, because neither of our homes was big enough for three of us to live comfortably, and after much searching we found a pleasant detached house in Walton-on-Thames which we all liked. Things were becoming hectic and difficult at the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain headquarters where Tom worked, because Ralph Rossiter, the secretary, suffered from emphysema, and it became obvious from his frequent bouts of illness that he would soon have to retire. He did so at about the time we began our house-hunting. Frank Reading, who was then president of the SAGB, took over as secretary. He did not realise the immense task it was going to be, and six months later he had to retire after a serious stroke. Tom was at that time carrying much of the workload, and by the time we were ready to move house he had been asked if he would become secretary. Everything happened in the week of our house moves. Clearing up a home ready for removal is always somewhat

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traumatic, but I was clearing two, some distance apart! We could not take everything from both homes so we began a mammoth sorting out process, giving away bits and pieces, discarding what had to go, and arranging for the removal company to pick up my father's furniture, then come and pick up ours, and transfer everything to Walton-on-Thames. Tom was busy trying to sort out affairs at the SAGB, and could not possibly spare the time to assist, but somehow or other everything was finally organised, and in October, 1969 we were all installed in our new home. My mother's brother, who lived near my father, was a great help. He and his wife drove Dad to Walton and made sure everything was packed safely before leaving Harrow. Fortunately we just managed to squeeze into the house all we wished to keep. The rooms were larger, and we were surprised-as were the removal men!-that there was enough room to get everything in. Upon arrival we almost collapsed with exhaustion, and naturally the first thing everyone wanted was that English cure for all ills-a nice cup of tea. I rummaged through packing cases desperately in an effort to find the electric kettle, finally achieving success. I filled it triumphantly and went to plug it in, horrified to discover that all our plugs were square pinned, whereas the new house was fitted with sockets for the old round pins! Visions of that reviving cup of tea faded rapidly, and everyone groaned. My uncle, who was helping us that day, scrambled into his car to search for an electrical shop, eventually returning with a dozen appropriate plugs, and we sat re-wiring every plug we had brought with us. Needless to say, the kettle was the first one we fitted! We soon discovered that it was not only the plugs which were unsuitable. All the wiring was extremely ancient, and if one plugged in two things simultaneously the fuses blew. Most new homes have their problems and within those first few months we had to get to grips with various jobs, including installing a new lavatory and contemplating completely re-wiring the house. We did not have enough money for this, as we had paid for the house with what we had left after paying off the mortgage on the flat, and the money my father gave us as his share of the purchase, but not long after we moved in came the offer to visit Canada. Although we did not set fees for the Canadian trip, there was an opportunity to make more money than I would have earned here,

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and on that first trip I managed to earn enough to have the house re-wired. Spirit had come up trumps again. Perhaps we were also guided to choose the house we did. We had, without knowing it, moved into a house with wonderful neighbours. Next door but one was the Browning family. Doris, the mother, became one of my greatest supports when my father was ill, but during his first years with us he was fit and well, and a great asset, looking after the house when we were away, which we frequently were. That first Christmas a family cat was added to the household. I had always been very fond of cats, ever since childhood, but Tom had never owned one. As a Christmas present he bought me a beautiful colour point Persian, and I think it is one of the best loved presents I have ever had . Tom had brought it home the previous night, on Christmas Eve. It was a shy little thing, and he hid it away in the spare bedroom with a litter tray and some food . It did not make a sound, which is rare for a six-month old kitten. On Christmas morning he opened the door and this round furry ball walked into my bedroom and howled. He took to me immediately and we have had a most happy relationship. A very affectionate cat, he has been a great joy to us, and at the time of writing is fifteen years old. A damaged eye meant there was only one possible name for him, so he became Nelson! My father loved him too, and was happy to look after both cat and house in our absence, with the invaluable assistance of good neighbour Doris Browning. We settled into a busy existence of working and travelling, with Tom's job and his healing clinics fully occupying him, and my psychic art taking me even further afield; in addition to visits to dozens of churches throughout the country. I don't think either Tom or I realised what he was undertaking when he became secretary of the SAGB. This was no ordinary job, but a seven-day-a-week post with long hours and some unexpected additional tasks. In order to save expenses at that huge building in Belgrave Square, he frequently did repairs and decorating, sometimes even cleaning! I often had a stack of net curtains to wash for the dozens of windows. Not only had we married each other, but we had also married perhaps the best known Spiritualist headquarters in the world, a kind of Mecca for overseas visitors to this country, many of whom live in countries where Spiritualism is not recognised, or even approved of.

Chapter Six

Our first Canadian visit lasted two weeks, and the first public meeting in Vancouver was in a relatively large hall, holding about 500. Much to my surprise it all went incredibly well. I rattled off my clairvoyance to the best of my ability, drew as fast as I could in order to keep the audience interested, and seemed to succeed. Like all public performances, platform mediumship depends a great deal on capturing the audience and keeping them responsive. If once the atmosphere goes flat, then it is very difficult to recapture it. The trip started off with a minor problem because both Tom and Lady Dowding are vegetarians, and there was no vegetarian food available on the plane. Tom was annoyed, not only on his own behalf, but he was also embarrassed that Lady Dowding was unable to have what she wished. He instructed Air Canada that they must be sure to have the requisite supplies on the return journey, and his instructions were certainly heeded. We were sitting in the airport lounge, awaiting the return flight, with a crowd of people from the Vancouver Psychic Society and Pat Burns, the host of the Vancouver radio show. Over the tannoy came the announcement, "Will Lady Dowding, Mrs. Ursula Roberts, and Mr. and Mrs. Johanson please board the plane first." Everyone looked round at us to see who we were, and a lot of people recognised Pat. They obviously thought we were visiting celebrities of some kind, and all eyes followed us as we walked through the lounge and on to the aircraft. We were shown to front seats where the air hostess could take care of Lady Dowding and make sure she had her vegetarian food. Tom's embarrassment on the outward flight was nothing compared with mine as we began our return journey!

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As Vancouver is a psychically receptive place it was the ideal environment for me to re-launch myself on to a public platform in a large hall, and the success was greatly encouraging. All the pictures I drew at that meeting were accepted except for one. I felt it was strange that nobody gave any sign of recognition because deep down I knew that what I was drawing was perfectly valid, and that somewhere in that hall was its recipient. I had sketched a little boy, whom I felt had not been in the spirit world many years. I announced that his mother was believed to be in the audience, but nobody answered. I went on with the drawing, giving every possible scrap of information, but still there was no response. Yet here I had in front of me a portrait of this nervous little boy who was hoping to contact his mother. It all began to drag out for too long, so eventually I had to say we must move on to the next picture because I had a queue of spirit people waiting to have their portraits drawn. The evening went on and I continued to draw one picture after another, with suitable responses coming from the audience as they recognised relatives and friends . I was still puzzled about the little boy, but could not devote any more time to him. At the end of the meeting the recipients were asked to come and collect their pictures. After I had handed them all out there remained that haunting picture of the small boy. Who did he belong to? How sad for him to be left behind, unclaimed. Then a young man came up to me and said, "I think I have that little boy's mother here." He led forward a young woman. She had been sitting at the back of the hall, said the man, and had been too upset and emotional to answer up when she saw the portrait of her small son. As soon as she came towards me I knew she was the child's mother. The likeness was unmistakable. He was simply a baby version of his mother. I gave her the portrait, knowing that the little boy was satisfied and had found his way back to the mother he had left behind when he went to the spirit world. There was a nice epilogue to that story, because waiting at the door for us at the end of the meeting was Pat Burns, who had been so helpful to us. It was greatly because of his assistance that we had packed meetings everywhere we went. Pat had been unable to attend that particular meeting, but he was anxious to know how it had been received. I told him about the experience with the little

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boy's mother, and he spoke to her about the portrait. The following morning he told the story on his radio programme, and said that for the benefit of everyone who had attended the meeting he wanted to let them know that the child's mother had been found, accepted the portrait as that of her little boy, and everything had worked out satisfactorily. It is a matter for conjecture as to how many portraits have not been claimed over the years simply because someone is too emotional, upset, or even too self-conscious to speak up in public, in front of a hall full of people. I am very aware that this sometimes happens. My next major public demonstration was again in Vancouver, this time with medium David Young. Our first trip to the city had been such a success that membership of the Psychic Society there had jumped from 30 to 300, in no small measure because Pat Burns had given us so much radio exposure. We were invited back some months later, and on this occasion my husband Tom had the idea of my doing a double demonstration. While I drew, another medium would give clairvoyance, linking the picture with the recipient. Would it work? I was dubious, but Tom, enthusiastic and determined as always, said, "It will be all right. You can do it perfectly well." Over the years I have learned to believe him because he has shuttled me into undertakings I would never have dreamed of attempting myself. So I stood up in a large ballroom in Vancouver and tried my first double demonstration. David Young is one of the most brilliant mediums I know, and that night he was a fantastic success. He managed to tune himself in to the people I drew, and gave amazing evidence, which cannot have been easy. Mediumship is a fragile, elusive thing. One feels rather like an old cat's whisker radio trying to link with a very high frequency, attempting to tune in to something which, at times, one is not sure exists at all. I stood up and drew my portraits, and gave what impressions I received of the character. David began to get their names and addresses, other facts about them, and pin-pointed people in the audience with whom the portraits were connected, giving them wonderful evidence. It was one of those amazing evenings which made me feel that what had been predicted for me was coming true,

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and that perhaps I was beginning to come up to the standards Spirit had envisaged for me. One of my portraits that evening was of somebody's grandfather. He wasn't immediately recognised by anyone, but David pointed sharply to a lady in the audience and said it was her grandfather. He then gave her some details of her family and her life, which she accepted and agreed with, but she had to admit that she did not remember her grandfather. But grandfather was not entirely satisfied with this state of affairs. He wanted to produce further evidence of his identity. I continued with what I thought was the next communication, which was a portrait of a little girl aged 6 or 7, describing her personality. We followed up with a few details, but David could not find her in the spirit world. He is a true clairvoyant, and actually "sees" the people, so is well able to tell me whether I have drawn a good likeness. This time he could not even find the person for whom I was doing the drawing. Completely baffled, he walked up and down the platform in.his excitable way, muttering, "Where is she? Where did you get her from? I can' t find her! ' ' Suddenly it was as though he had been given the key to the whole mystery. He laughed and told me, "Hold on a minute-you're drawing somebody who's alive ." He turned back to the previous recipient and said, "I still have your grandfather here. He tells me this is your own granddaughter on the earth plane. He has given you a picture of her in order to prove who he is!" When the lady accepted that it was indeed a picture of her little granddaughter it became apparent that grandfather had given this portrait to show he was still part of the family and knew its youngest member. This example proves to me that it is possible to receive a portrait from somebody in the spirit world which is definitely a picture of a living person. There was an almost identical case at the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain headquarters. A grandfather gave me a portrait of his little granddaughter still on earth. Some months later, when I did a coloured enlargement of that first pencil sketch, I was impressed to give the child a red spotted dress. My sitter explained that dress had been bought for her some weeks ago. Obviously grandfather was aware of it, and had come along to give me this impression for the coloured enlargement.

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Gwynneth Richards.

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One of the most interesting examples of drawing a living person was the case of Gwynneth Richards. Again I was working with David Young in a double demonstration at the SAGB. I began to sketch a pretty girl whom I said had passed recently, quite suddenly, and had not yet been buried. After further clairvoyance David linked with a Mrs. Eley in the audience, and like me, he was quite convinced the girl was in spirit. He gave her name and more details, which all proved accurate. Mrs. Eley accepted everything, saying that the girl was her niece, but that she was definitely alive. "Don't worry," I said hastily to Mrs. Eley. "I often draw people who are alive." Although I was saying this, I did not believe it at all. The girl was so clear to me, and the impression so vivid, but Mrs. Eley was clearly very upset and somehow had to be comforted. Some weeks later she returned to tell me the end of the story. Gwynneth had been for her inoculations after joining the

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Women's Royal Air Force, and it happened to be on the very day I had done the drawing. She had passed out after the inoculations, giving her colleagues a terrible fright because she had turned a very bad colour, and it was extremely difficult to bring her round again. When she eventually returned to consciousness Gwynneth was sobbing and crying, saying she had a total recall of being with her grandmother, who had also come through at our demonstration-a quaint old lady in the spirit world who had mentioned that on earth she had an uncomfortable set of false teeth! Whether the incident of Gwynneth's unconsciousness took place at the actual time I was doing the portrait I have never been able to ascertain, but it was obvious that a link had been made with the spirit world on that day. I have since heard from her aunt that Gwynneth still has the portrait of herself, and tells friends, "That's a portrait of me when I died!" Over the years I did a number of demonstrations with David and they were always both successful and exciting, even if they were a little nerve-racking beforehand, because I have never known a medium so over-anxious before a meeting as poor David. He does not need to be, because he is always brilliant, but like actors and actresses, mediums also experience stage fright before they go on to a platform. There is nothing they can do about it, and perhaps if one did not have preliminary "butterflies" the demonstration would never work. Nothing could have been worse than my first demonstration, which I survived without too much loss of face, so now I don't worry at all. Platform demonstrations in the 1970s went from strength to strength, and I worked with many mediums at the SAGB. On our next visit to Vancouver I worked with Doris Collins, who was extremely successful. She is a very positive medium, who always knows exactly who she is linking with. Another exciting development of my platform mediumship came with my first experience of working with that great clairvoyant, Gordon Higginson. This was in a large town hall in Derbyshire, where there was a big publicity meeting for the Spiritualists National Union . Tom was to give a healing demonstration, and Gordon and I combined our abilities as clairvoyant and artist. What made the whole event more interesting, but certainly more nerve-racking, was the presence of a Japanese camera team, there to film our

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work. Tom had arranged this without mentioning it either to Gordon or myself until th~ last minute. When we arrived at the hall Gordon was obviously nervous. He had never worked with me before, and like David Young, wondered whether he would be able to do it. He sat on the platform beside me as I began my first picture, giving what impressions I had of the communicator. Gordon sat there looking at me for what seemed like an eternity and I began to wonder if he was going to be able to make that three-way link between me, the communicator, and somebody out there in the audience. Suddenly he stood up, giving forth the most positive evidence and information about the person I was drawing. A woman in the audience claimed the first picture, and Gordon poured out names, addresses and personal details as only Gordon can. From that moment we never looked back, even though we had the Japanese cameramen to contend with throughout the meeting. They had been asked not to be too intrusive, but their efforts and antics to try and keep in the background became in themselves an entertainment. One of them was in the audience, running up and down with a microphone, trying to be as small as possible by bending his knees and walking in a low crouched position, and managing to look like a little rabbit as he scurried up and down the aisles. Another cameraman was filming us from just below the platform. At the outset I don't think the camera team particularly believed in what they were doing. After the first two or three pictures they began to be very excited and enthusiastic, and in their efforts not to miss anything they completely forgot all the instructions about' being unobtrusive. One of them climbed up on the platform, completely carried away by events. I was standing drawing with my back to the audience, and Gordon was on the other side of the platform. I turned to look at him to see if he was picking up the link, and observed a stray cameraman kneeling on the floor between us. I stopped dead for a moment, rather thrown by this intrusion. This was not what we had planned at all! Gordon looked at me and simply shrugged his shoulders, obviously prepared to carry on regardless of such diversions. I did the same, and went on drawing. From then on we simply ignored the cameras, and much to my surprise they did nothing to inhibit us

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or the communicators, even when our platform cameraman decided he wanted a shot of my face while I was drawing. Sometimes my facial expressions must look extraordinary because I take on the features of the people I am drawing. I screw up my eyes or frown, and if drawing an old person I sometimes feel as though I have no teeth. Intrigued by the procession of contortions flitting across my face, the cameraman posted himself behind my drawing board. As I drew, the camera lens suddenly poked round the corner of the board, but despite all this extraneous activity we completed the demonstration to rounds of applause and great enthusiasm. The success of this first effort convinced Gordon that we could work in partnership on a platform, and he was quite happy about it. Thus encouraged, we then took the big step of arranging a demonstration at the Royal Albert Hall, which in the past had often been packed for meetings by many of our great mediums. I had never envisaged myself being one of them, and certainly could not see how my particular form of mediumship could succeed in a hall of that size because surely nobody would be able to see what I was drawing. Perhaps I am wrong in saying that we arranged the Albert Hall demonstration, because in fact it was arranged for me! At that time the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain held an annual Memorial Service each November at the Royal Albert Hall. One day when working at the SAGB headquarters I walked down into the mediums' room where one of my colleagues, Roy Morgan, announced, "I see you're doing the Albert Hall this year." I stopped in my tracks. "What did you say?" I gasped, shocked to the core by this revelation. Roy repeated his snippet of news, apparently surprised that I did not know. I laughed nervously, and said that I was certainly not doing the Albert Hall. "But you are," he insisted, and pushed a copy of P:>ychic News under my nose. And there it was-an announcement of the Royal Albert Hall gathering with the name of Coral Polge given due prominence. Appalled, I shot up the stairs as fast as I could go, burst into Tom's office and demanded, "What do you mean by putting me on at the Albert Hall? I didn't know anything about it, and anyway, nobody will be able to see the drawings in that huge place."

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Tom was unperturbed. He just looked at me quizzically, raised one eyebrow and said, "Don't worry. You're going to work on an overhead projector.'' "And what is an overhead projector?" I asked, not having heard of such a contraption. "Oh, it's a sort of box thing with a light in it," replied Tom airily. "You draw on it and the result shows up on a screen." He really did seem to be very offhand about the whole business. "What do I draw on?" I pursued. "Plastic," came the response, as though that was the end of the matter. "But I don't know that I can work in plastic," I protested fully convinced that the whole thing was going to be fraught with difficulties. "It's quite simple," said Tom confidently, as though he was addressing a child who was not too bright. "You just use a felt pen, and the drawing comes up on the screen behind you. It's all called an overhead projector, and I'm going to buy one." Buy one he did, a few days later, and when I saw it I had to admit it was a very simple system, but it was also a totally alien medium for me to work in. The drawing was done on a slippery sheet of plastic with a fine felt-tipped pen, specially for use on these machines. Ordinary felt pens simply form little bubbles on plastic and are quite unsuitable. The daunting factor about the special projector pens was that they were indelible, so that if a mistake was made it could not be altered . The projector arrived a few weeks before the date at the Royal Albert Hall, and we tried it out at a demonstration at the SAGB. I realised I had to have a much greater control of the pen than was usually necessary, concentrating on trying to keep the lines as fine as possible, and not making any mistakes I could not alter. It was not quite as difficult as I had envisaged, but one of the unexpected aspects of working with the projector was the intense heat it generated . There is an extremely powerful lamp inside it, and while drawing, one's hand is constantly resting on a very warm surface. Although I drink a certain amount of water while working, I found that when working with the projector I became almost dehydrated, having to drink a lot more. By the time the Royal Albert Hall meeting was upon us I felt

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more confident. Those big meetings lasted about two and a half hours, and included hymns, a choir, a speaker, and a potential audience of about 5,000. I was so overawed that there was little scope for nervousness. I was to work with Gordon Higginson, and Doris Collins was to share the platform with us, giving clairvoyance. Various mediums who have worked in that vast arena have reacted in totally different ways. Nora Blackwood, brilliant medium though she was, grew terribly nervous during the three preceeding weeks, wondering whether she would be able to cope with it. She always did. Others seem to take it in their stride without worrying too much. I was very concerned in the days before the big occasion about how I was going to handle the projector. Was I going to be able to avoid the sheets of slippery plastic falling about, and would I be too hot bending over the brightly lit surface? When we walked out on the platform into the arena the atm0sphere was beautiful and I knew immediately that I was going to be able to cope. Doris Collins gave exceptionally good clairvoyance prior to our demonstration, which is always helpful to the mediums who follow. When it was the turn of Gordon and myself, I stood up and explained briefly to the audience how we were going to work. Gordon said, somewhat apprehensively, "I hope I can tune in to you," and away we went. Once we had the first link and the audience began to respond, I found myself riding on a sea of energy which was being generated. Gordon also excelled himself on that occasion, and we felt it had been a breakthrough, being able to reach such a huge audience with our new "toy", the overhead projector, which fully justified Tom's promise that everything was going to be all right. It was amazing how easily the whole thing flowed along, and everyone seemed satisfied with the results. Not so satisfactory were the photographs in Psychic News. When their photographer took pictures of the portraits on the screen, the brilliant light on the screen itself almost obliterated the result, so that when the photograph was processed for publication, my drawing was nonexistent. The photographer, obviously no artist, had filled in a face which was not really to my liking. On a later occasion he came to me and asked me to fill in the missing face. There is nothing so exhilarating as working in front of a vast audience, and since that first meeting at the Royal Albert Hall I

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have taken many other large scale meetings all over the world, either alone, or working in partnership with clairvoyants. When the SAGB found the cost of hiring the Albert Hall to be prohibitive, we held some meetings at the Royal Festival Hall which, although pleasant, did not exude the warmth and friendliness generated in the large circular auditorium of its older counterpart, which comedian Bob Hope once described as "a giant layer cake". The easiest large auditorium I ever worked in was the Leicester Square Odeon, and when I commented on it to one of the usherettes she replied, "Oh, that must be because of our ghost." I never discovered who the friendly spirit was, but it apparently liked us. Each medium contributes something different, and much is gained by listening to how others work. Studying how they use their gifts has helped me to improve my own clairvoyance. It is fascinating to be drawing somebody and be told by the medium working with me, "Yes, that's not a bad likeness," or "You've made her nose a bit too long, and you've left out her brooch." This sort of comment has always been a great encouragement to me because it means I'm not imagining the whole thing, and that someone else can also see the person I am portraying. Gordon Higginson and Robin Stevens have a similarity of style, while Gaye Muir and Ronald Hearn work on the same lines. Mary Duffy is possibly the fastest working clairvoyant I know. Her evidence rushed out as a great pace, and when we did a demonstration together in the north of England we produced eleven portraits, in 1Yi hours, eventually having to stop because I ran out of paper! One interesting aspect of these double demonstrations was, I discovered, that my partners must be working on a mediumistic rather than a psychic level. They have to be able to tune in to the spirit person I am drawing, and not, as is the case with many psychics, tuning in to the audience or congregation, singling out a sitter and then reading psychically from that individual. It was some time before I realised why one or two people who attempted to demonstrate with me, found it impossible. In the early years of my career, it never occurred to me that a difference existed between mediums and psychics. I suppose I should really call myself a mediumistic artist rather than a psychic artist. All mediums are psychics, but not all psychics are necessarily mediums too, although most of us work on both levels.

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Working for people in other countries is exciting and demanding, producing occasional difficulties. One evening I was working with Gordon at an international meeting at the Froebe! College in Roehampton. Gordon was becoming a little exasperated with me because I seemed to be drawing foreigners all the time, with difficult languages like Finnish and Icelandic. Poor Gordon was having to spell out names and addresses because he could not get his tongue around them in order to pronounce them. "All right, all right, spell it for me," he would request, talking back to the spirit communicator. Then he would gaze up into space and write out the letters with his finger. The result would be the name of the street in Finland or Iceland. Nobody but Gordon does this sort of thing so well. Letter by letter, number by number he is capable of the most extraordinary accuracy and detailed information. At one international demonstration I began to draw an elderly lady. 'Tm drawing somebody's grandmother here," I announced, "And she's giving the name of Elizabeth." Gordon looked at the picture, then stared out at the audience. "I want a gentleman from Paris, " he began. "He has a Paris telephone number which is ... " And he rattled off a seven-figure Parisian phone number. A hand shot up from somewhere in the audience, and a man responded with some surprise, "Yes. That is my telephone number." "Good," said Gordon. " And this portrait is of your Scottish grandmother who was named Elizabeth." It was. At times like this one knows that what we believe in is absolutely true. Once or twice I have been able to get a name and address myself, but this happens rarely because I do not actually hear what is given to me, whereas Gordon clearly hears the communicators speak to him clairaudiently. It is this indisputable kind of communication which makes all mediumship worthwhile. In the case of a psychic artist, a perfect likeness of a loved one who died many years ago can often convince a sceptic that life is eternal, and that what we call death is simply a new beginning. Medium Robin Stevens has also often been called upon to work with a foreign language. In a double demonstration with him one evening at the SAGB, I was drawing a dark, swarthy complexioned man. Robin was addressing him in the spirit world saying, "I can't understand you. Please speak English."

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He turned to me and said, "This chap has no interpreter over there, and he doesn't speak English." After a few minutes of trying to make sense, Robin advanced to the front of the platform and asked, "Who in the audience speaks Arabic?" It was a long shot, as we do not have many Arab visitors at the SAGB, but much to my relief two men at the back raised their hands and said they spoke Arabic. Robin then began to try and transmit a message from the spirit communicator whom he did not understand. He described somebody who sounded like a doctor or apothecary, who turned out to be the brother of one of the two men. Thus encouraged, Robin went on, being given his messages in a series of little pictures. He described where the man lived: "When you come out of the airport you get on a train, and go on travelling east as far as the train goes." The man in the audience nodded. Robin continued, describing an extension being built south of that station. It seemed he had drawn a blank because the man shook his head and said, "No." His companion suddenly spoke up, and disagreeing with his friend said, "Yes, that is true. They are going to build more stations there." My first attempt at working in a non-English speaking country was in Germany, and I thought it was going to be extremely difficult. It proved not to be. The important thing is that the interpreter understands the work we are doing and is sensitive to it. It is more essential that the meaning of the message is transmitted rather than a word-for-word translation, because so often messages are "wrapped up", intending that the rest of the audience should have no comprehension of what it is about. The medium sometimes does not know what she is talking about, but the recipient knows exactly what is meant. Wrongly interpreted, it can ruin the whole meaning. In Sweden I had drawn a picture, had it accepted, and given a lot of detail about the gentleman I was communicating with. Suddenly I found myself saying, "You can play on the edge of the pond, but don't jump in the water. It is a lot deeper and murkier then you suspect." The message did not mean a thing to me , but the recipient nodded, smiled wryly and said, ' 'Oh, yes,'' and knew exactly what I was talking about. Many of our communicators do not even tell us what we are passing on. We are purely telephone lines, nothing more. In 1974, with Kathleen St. George and Doris Collins, Tom and I made our first trip to New York. The good lady who had arranged

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Opposite, above and overleaf: The parents of Mrs. Humphries. I began the man's portrait by drawing his spectacles, and adding the face. Sometimes I draw a smile or hairstyle and have to wait for the next impression of the features.

the visit was a great one for publicity, and had organised for us a whole series of radio, TV and press interviews, cramming them into a matter of days. This was apart from some private sittings and two large meetings at Hunter College. We seemed to spend all our time whizzing around New York in yellow cabs, diving in and out of one studio after another, and then

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on to meet the press somewhere else. It was a mad few days , especially when we discovered we had one radio show at midnight. All four of us were included in the programme. We did not have sitters in the studio for portraits , but the producer asked if I would draw some portraits for him, which I did, including one of his mother-in-law. About half an hour later his wife turned up at the studio. She had been listening to the programme at home and dashed round to see the picture of her mother, whom she recognised immediately .

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Doris and Kathleen gave clairvoyance over the air, and Tom and I were besieged with questions on all aspects of psychic phenomena. We had been going on for an hour and a half when there was yet another commercial break. Tom took the opportunity to ask the compere what time the programme ended. We were astounded to learn that we had been booked until four o'clock in the morning. So there we were, chatting to all the New York insomniacs and almost falling asleep ourselves . At ten o'clock the next morning we had to be up and ready to start private sittings. There was no difficulty in getting on to shows in New York. So many programmes on all the various channels were looking for fresh material, and we were " something entirely different". It was all worthwhile, but somehow I could never fall in love with New York. A city which never seems to sleep, there was too much concrete and a crazy pace of life. My memories of it are of one mad jumble of activity , which entirely represents the place. England seemed so very green and peaceful when we arrived home. A more recent visit to the States has given me a far more attractive view of the north-east area. This time I toured Connecticut and the Boston area. In spring, with the dogwood in full bloom, it is a beautiful district, and the people whose homes I visited were so kind and welcoming . Although we spent a major part of our New York visit in the plush Waldorf Astoria Hotel, I preferred the private households where I was made more than welcome. One vivid memory is of a fascinating meeting at Hunter College, New York, when I was working in partnership with Doris Collins. At that time we were still working with blackboard and easel, and large sheets of paper. Many members of the audience were young enthusiastic students. One drawing that night was a portrait of a girl whom I thought had committed suicide. When I receive a strong determined link I can take on the person's character, and often the conditions under which they passed, which can momentarily be very disturbing. As I started to draw the girl I immediately began to feel light-headed. I could hear myself talking, but from a distance. " I have a young lady here who died of something which made her feel very giddy," I said. "I feel as if I can't breathe-everything is floating away. " I began to cough, and felt that if I wasn 't careful I was going to fall over on the platform because my head was swimming. I asked the girl in the spirit world

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not to come too close to me in case I collapsed. Whether I would actually have done so I'm not sure, but I felt as though I was being completely asphyxiated. In the distant background I was aware of Doris's voice saying, "Madam, I want to come to you. I have your daughter here. Can you understand this? " The woman said she could . The portrait was indeed her daughter, who had died of carbon monoxide poisoning. After the meeting I recalled that this woman had spoken to me before it started, saying, "If I came to you for a private sitting, could you draw my daughter?" My reply was that I could never promise anything, but I would fit in a sitting for her if I had time. Fortunately , her daughter managed to arrive in time for the meeting, and came back to her mother in a very positive way, much to my own discomfort. I shall never forget that frightening sensation of giddiness as I stood on the platform, wondering if I was going to fall flat on my back. Such physical conditions can be uncomfortable, and even alarming at times. One learns to "switch off" and ask spirit friends to take them away, but they do seem rather real, especially when I am drawing people who died of heart attacks . My own heart begins to pound unnaturally quickly, as though somebody has suddenly thumped me on the chest. This is always worrying when the condition arrives on a platform, when I have to stand and keep my balance. One night during a demonstration I felt as though my leg had completely gone to sleep. I could not make out what was wrong with it until the lady who accepted the portrait told me it was of her father , and she explained that he had an artificial leg! A sad aspect of life in America struck me very forcibly when one of the young students attending the Hunter College demonstration said to me afterwards, "You look so calm and sure of yourself while working. What would you do if you couldn't get any pictures?" "Well," I replied , "I would just have to explain this and sit down." "How awful," murmured the young girl. Not at all. I have seen some of the world's best mediums do just this. Our gifts do not always function to order. But does this matter? Americans, more than most people, seem to be so success orientated. Personally, I have learned a great deal more from my failures than from my successes, and am sure that most people can say the same. When you fall flat on your face, the road you are treading comes into your field of vision much more clearly. Being a great success is not

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important. Having tried and done your best is vital. Next time, your best may be even better. The first German visit Tom and I made was to a small castle on the Rhine , and to Frankfurt. It was rather frightening , never having worked in a non-English speaking country, but it all worked beautifully, the pictures needing no translation. Later I was to visit Sweden, France, Denmark, Holland ... the list is endless, but people are the same, whatever language they speak. They are all seeking proof that their loved ones live on. The interesting thing is that I pick up communications from the spirit world in English , even if the communicators never spoke it on earth. In 1982 during my third visit to Sweden I wondered at one time if I might end up in jail, because in 1938 a public demonstration there had culminated in the arrest of the medium and promoter. Nobody had risked holding one since. Demonstrations for societies on a "members only" basis are legal, but not meetings for the general public. Sven Arme Silve, president of the Malmo Psychic Society decided to take a chance, putting on a public demonstration on my last night in Sweden. At least he was not going to miss out on other bookings if things went wrong! It proved to be a successful evening. No one objected or tried to arrest us , and I was on my morning flight home as planned .

Chapter Seven

Foreign television teams have visited the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain several times, wanting to film demonstrations or group sittings. An Italian team came on one occasion to produce a film for an educational programme, and as examples of my work I did some drawings for members of the camera team . This is always more satisfactory than providing sitters from our own membership because nobody can then accuse us of having rigged the evidence. Working through an interpreter, the portraits were going very well. The producer was a tall handsome man, but somehow seemed very hard and efficient, snapping out orders to his camera crew, and giving every sign of being a remote, unemotional character. Yet there was something fascinating about him, and I felt I would like to draw a portrait for him, but somehow thought there would be difficulty in getting through to him. To my great surprise he actually suggested that he would like to have a picture, which did not make me entirely happy, because there was every chance that he would prove to be an awkward customer. He seemed so totally unresponsive. I took his hands for a moment to make my link, and immediately became aware of a very large cuddly Italian grandmother, a beautiful emotional lady with laughing eyes and a ready smile. As I drew her I glanced round at my sitter. The change in him was extraordinary. This hitherto coldly practical man had melted, and his eyes were full of tears. Yes, he said, it was his grandmother. He had been in the United States at the time she passed, and was unable to get home in time to be with her. She had brought him up, so he was very close to her, and had loved her intensely. He put his arm round my shoulder and cried, telling me in broken English how wonderful it all was. Reflecting on it afterwards, I felt I had not

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been a very good judge of character, expecting him to be hard and difficult. He had gone home so happy that his beloved grandmother had come back to him. We made programmes for German TV companies, a Finnish group, and one for Norway. These I never saw, so have no idea whether they were successful or portrayed us fairly, but over the years letters have filtered through saying I had been seen on a certain programme. In 1974 a telephone call came to the SAGB inviting me to go to Zurich with Doris Collins to make a film. It was to be a two-hour programme, to be filmed in its entirety and go out as filmed, so we were reassured that it would not be badly cut. It was a complicated production, as there were others in the programme with psychic gifts, and also a professor of parapsychology from Austria. Because the programme was made in German Doris and I were given little earpieces to wear, and everything was translated back into English for our benefit. There was a discussion group also, and bearing in mind that the translator probably had no knowledge of our subject, his interpretations were very impressive as he kept us right up to date with all that was being said. Doris and I were given over half an hour of the two hours specified for the programme. In this time four drawings were done, with Doris backing them with her clairvoyance. Fortunately it was one of those days when we were in good form. We managed to place our pictures fairly easily, the last one being a young man who had committed suicide. My first impression as he overshadowed me was of complete and utter confusion. He seemed to have no idea whether he was in this world or the next. The transition had obviously been a tremendous shock, and we discovered he had passed only a few weeks previously and did not understand what had happened to him . Indicating a girl in the audience Doris said, "This is your brother, isn't it? And he hanged himself." Greatly distressed, the girl burst into tears, but Doris reassured her that he still lived, but not in his body, and I am sure that we were able to help the boy to escape from that strangely earthbound state in which he found himself. Before beginning the programme we had been introduced to the press, and it was said that the transmission was to be in two weeks'

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time. We were told the time and date, so we informed our various friends in Switzerland. Everyone was looking forward to seeing it, but for some reason the programme just did not appear on the Swiss small screens. A few days after it should have been shown I received a letter from a friend, greatly disappointed that it had been cancelled. When she had telephoned Zurich TV to ask the reason she was told, "We could not possibly use it. It was far too controversial and we dare not show it." I have often wondered whether that film is tucked away somewhere in the archives and will be shown one day. So much time and effort went into it. If it had been one of our negative days, when the links were not coming easily, then presumably it would have been shown. But because it was exceptionally evidential they had decided that the Establishment would object to Spiritualism being shown in such a positive light. It is always preferable to take part in a live programme, and one of the most successful was in Southern Ireland. Just before Christmas I received a phone call asking if I could go over during the holiday period to take part in Gay Byrne's "Late, Late Show". This is a top rating Saturday night show in Ireland, lasting two hours. Clairvoyant Jessie Nason had been on the programme before by herself, and this time Gay Byrne wanted her back to work with me. We left by plane, hoping we would be a success. I was worried because a winter cold had left me with an infuriating and persistent cough. "I only hope I can get through those two hours without coughing my head off," I commented to Jessie on the plane. I sent out a thought to spirit friends, and much to my surprise survived the programme without coughing once. Half an hour after transmission ended, the cough came back! The programme was great fun, and although the audience was mainly Roman Catholic they were very receptive and responsive. There was such a lot of love, and perhaps one could say it was the emotion of the audience which carried us along so easily. Jessie and I "performed" for over half an hour, which went well, and included a picture of a grandfather for one of the girls in the camera team. She disappeared for a few minutes afterwards and returned in triumph, waving a photograph of her grandfather. Living near the studio, she had been able to rush home and

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bring back the photograph, enabling the audience to see the accuracy of the likeness. Another portrait was of a small boy who, I felt, had died from a lung complaint. I couldn't understand what was wrong. It was as though my whole breathing apparatus had caved in. We wondered if he had been drowned, but neither Jessie nor I picked up the impression of water. It transpired that he had fallen from an upstairs window and had been crushed by the impact. This was what he was trying to transmit. His mother burst into tears with typical Irish emotion, but was thrilled with the portrait of her young son. At the end of the programme Gay Byrne muttered to me, "While I'm closing the programme, would you like to try drawing something quickly for me?" He turned to the audience and gave his final remarks. Meanwhile I scribbled frantically, trying to get the picture finished before the programme went off the air, hastily saying as I put the finishing touches, "I think this is your grandmother.'' "I didn't know my grandmother," replied Gay. Then he looked at the portrait and said, right at the programme's closing, "Good God! It's my brother in drag!" I never knew whether the TV audience actually heard that remark or not. Unfortunately, the general treatment meted out to Spiritualists on English TV is not exactly fair. In 1977 I made a programme for Peter France, "Everyman", and as it happened one of the portraits I drew was of his mother. She came through as quite a young woman, and immediately I noticed that she bore a strong resemblance to her son, which inevitably happens sometimes. But I was not prepared for what was transmitted when the programme was shown. After receiving his portrait from me, Mr. France had concluded that if I took a good look at my sitter, I could easily make a guess as to what his relatives looked like. To add insult to injury he had, before his programme was put together, gone to a street artist, a man drawing on the pavement, and asked him to draw a portrait of his mother. "Take a good look at me," he had said to the artist, "And have a guess at what my mother looked like.'' When the two drawings were shown on the programme, side by side, I suppose there was a similarity. But Mr. France did not

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condescend to produce a photograph of his mother as a young woman, at the age I had portrayed her. He showed an elderly photograph of her, which obviously did not resemble very much the young face I had drawn. Some years later, when making a documentary film for German TV, I was requested to attempt a portrait by telephone. This took my memory back to the programme with Peter France, because again I had drawn somebody's mother, incredibly like the sitter. But on this occasion I had never seen the sitter; she was merely a voice on the end of a telephone line. I wished Peter France could have seen that! Of course it is inevitable that some portraits will resemble my sitter. Loved ones will not refrain from communicating because they happen to look like us. Frequently my mind has refused to believe that some relationships are possible, as on the occasion when I drew a portrait for an ebony-skinned lady who came into my room for a sitting. She had to be pure African, I felt, so assumed that the red-bearded Irishman I was sketching must be a guide or a friend. "Oh, no, honey," my sitter replied to this suggestion. "That's my Grandpa.'' In-laws 'frequently come to be drawn, or people for friends and neighbours, eliminating any possibility of drawing somebody resembling the recipient. Telepathy is ruled out by the high percentage of unknown pictures, identified later by relatives or friends. A recent portrait proved to be the sitter's step-daughter's husband ' s father, whom my client had never met! Telepathy would mean far more satisfied clients; they would get whom they wished for, but that is not usually the case. The strong determined characters are the better communicators. Gentle people, as on earth, are easily relegated into the background. But Esmeralda was a pushy character. When taking a group sitting, each person gives me their hands to hold for a moment, and usually this prevents the pictures being given to the wrong sitter. One lady accepted and recognised her portrait, the next seemed to draw a complete blank. A strong-featured lady manifested, rejoicing in the name of Esmeralda. She slammed her information into my head very clearly and, I was certain, accurately.

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"A prison wardress," I said to the sitter as I was drawing. "Do you know anyone who was a prison wardress?" The sitter did not. Knowing I was correct, I asked her to go home and check the family history . A few days after the sitting, meeting another lady who was in the group, I was told that Esmeralda was probably her great-aunt. Having taken home her own picture to show her father, she had related the incident of the unplaced drawing. "Oh," said her father, "I had an aunt called Esmeralda who was a prison wardress." For the two people to have a similar relative was too much of a coincidence. Luckily, a few weeks later the two ladies met at another sitting, and eventually Esmeralda's portrait found its way back to the nephew. It was during 1976 that Wendy Jones of Birmingham's ATV phoned to invite me to take part in one of their programmes. I had previously worked on one of her programmes, and as this was to be an uncut film, I agreed. She asked if I could also recommend a good clairvoyant to come along also. I knew Robin Stevens had not worked on television before, but his mediumship was ideal for such an occasion. As he had done some stage work I was sure he would have just the right professional touch. Leslie Flint was also to be included in this thirty minute programme. We set off for Birmingham, Robin very anxious about his ability to cope. Experience had taught me that the lights, cameras, and an excited audience produced a generally good atmosphere. I reassured him that it would be easy, hoping desperately that it would be. As time was limited the presenter suggested that I actually did my drawing before we began filming, just to make sure that it was possible to recognise a picture. It was a drawing of someone's father, I knew as I sketched rapidly. Robin added some details, then when I stated that the portrait belonged to one of the studio staff, not a member of the audience, a young woman claimed recognition. At this point a woman in the audience shouted out, "Oh, it's rigged!" I had not met any of the studio staff previously, and knew them no better than anyone in the audience. The presenter was quite satisfied, so I was placed in a corner of the studio to include my little offering as a finale. Robin had to break the ice, and was introduced first, having been instructed by the producer to give one

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good lengthy message instead of several short ones. He really was excellent, linking with a girl in the audience whose grandfather communicated, giving not only his name and personal details, but the girl's full name and nickname. We cut for the advertisements. Robin, visibly relieved at having completed his part successfully, went outside for a cigarette. The presenter called him back, saying that the producer had changed his mind about the whole procedure, and could Robin do it all again, but this time give two short messages instead! As they had to be crammed into less time, none of us felt those two messages, accurate though they were, were as impressive as the first one. The second half of the programme began with questions from the audience, and Leslie Flint's reminiscences about his long and interesting career as a direct voice medium . Time ticked away, and although the presenter tried to change the subject, it was impossible. She had to close, so my controversial picture was never even included in the programme. I came home more than contented that Robin's introduction to the TV cameras had been an inspired choice, and it did not matter in the least that I had not appeared. Sometimes, when working with Robin Stevens, 1 feel his guides encourage me to give him difficult pictures just to test his clairvoyance and send him up the most maze-like pathways. He struggles through strange facts and figures, emerging as perfectly accurate, and someone will accept them saying, "Yes, I know exactly what you're talking about." At one demonstration with Robin I drew a very sad woman, and a vague, strange feeling overshadowed me as I began to draw her. I found myself in a dark street, wandering about, not knowing where I was going or why. The drawing was of a young woman of the early 1940s period, but I could get nothing more. Robin suddenly took up the link and said, "Who knows of somebody who lost a husband or boy friend during the war? I think he died at sea because I'm seeing docks. But this woman didn't believe he was dead, and she kept going out to look for him. She would disappear, sometimes for several days. Then eventually she disappeared entirely, and nobody knew what became of her.'' It was an impressive piece of clairvoyance, and so definite that I knew it would either be met with a total silence, or somebody would answer up immediately.

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Grandmother of Mrs. Wendy Hart. While drawing her I kept getting the impression of the word "sunshine". When Mrs. Hart eventually discovered a photograph of her grandmother, on the back was handwritten, in grandmother 's writing, "From your Sunshine".

A young man instantly raised his hand. "I think that is my mother," he said, going on to explain that his father, in the Royal Navy, had died during the war. His mother had disappeared, and nobody had ever seen her again. The young man was only a year old when she left, so did not remember her.

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"But I have a small picture of her," he said. He fished in his wallet and produced a tiny passport size photograph. At the end of the meeting he brought it to us to compare with my portrait. I did not really need to see the photograph because he was so like his mother. My portrait showed her with slightly shorter hair than was in her photograph, but it was clearly the same person. We were unable to tell her son exactly what had happened to her, but at least he knew she was happily with his father, and trying to get in communication with her son. To me, mediumship is a serious and deeply spiritual subject, but it has its humorous aspect. Laughter is not confined to earthly beings, and we all take our sense of humour (or lack of it) with us when we go on to our new spirit surroundings. Some of the most amusing demonstrations have been with Robin Stevens, who has a very dry sense of humour, and can lift an audience with his wit when the atmosphere is rather flat, and the onlookers seem more dead than the communicators. It can be depressing to see them sitting there, so solid and unresponsive. One night in Iceland Robin and I were working on a stage with drapes at the sides, tied back with ropes and tassels. The audience was slow to respond; there were walls of silence, and nothing seemed to be accepted for a while. Eventually Robin had had enough. He walked to the side of the stage, put one of the ropes around his neck and announced, "If somebody doesn't say yes soon, I'm going to do it!" The audience burst out laughing, and from then on the whole atmosphere changed. Again working with Robin, I was in the process of drawing a charming old lady whom we had ascertained was the mother of a young man in the audience. He was readily accepting all the detailed information Robin was giving, including a lot about the dressmaking she did, and her other hobbies. All the time Robin was talking to the young man I was aware that the old lady was shaking a small brown bottle, containing something which was rattling. As we had established that she did dressmaking I wondered if the bottle contained buttons, but this did not seem right because the sound was too dull and heavy. I could not come up with a satisfactory explanation, and eventually had to ask the young man if he understood about the little brown bottle which his mother was persistently rattling under my nose.

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"Oh, yes," he said immediately, and without surprise. His face broke into a broad smile. "That would be her gallstones. She always brought them out to show everybody!" The old lady was obviously still basking in the attention this created, and she had brought back her bottle of gallstones as an amusing and identifying memory. When I began to draw somebody's husband, further laughter ensued . Robin indicated a woman halfway down the hall saying, "Madam, I think Coral is drawing your husband." "Well, you can just take him back!" the woman retorted, much to the audience's amusement. "I want nothing to do with him in this world or the next, thank you very much!" We tried to explain to her that her poor husband had come back with an apology for his unacceptable behaviour when on earth, and eventually we did coax her to take the portrait home, but I would not have been surprised if she had torn it up almost immediately, being so affronted by her husband's unwanted intrusion. A strange little lady sat herself down in the front row of a demonstration at the SAGB one evening. She was not one of our regular attenders, and was obviously a little anxious and confused. When I drew a picture of a young choirboy she immediately put up her hand and claimed she knew him. Instead of letting my colleague, Doris Collins, give details about him, she kept on supplying a mass of information and we could not shut her up. Several times I had to explain, "Madam, we are supposed to tell you these things. Let us do the talking." Doris went on, with the constant interruptions from the recipient, then suddenly said, "Who is this Mrs. Green I'm being told about?" To the audience' s amusement the lady announced in a loud voice, "Oh, that's my husband's lady friend. Is he going to die?" Doris looked aghast as she asked, "Why? Do you want him to?" "I'll leave that to Mrs. Green," the woman replied. "She'll kill him off soon enough!'' The meeting came to a complete standstill as the audience roared with laughter. I could not draw, and Doris stood there looking completely nonplussed. At the end of the meeting the little lady collected her picture and departed into the night, still muttering irately about her husband and Mrs. Green.

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Somt!times it is necessary to censor a communication, trying not to transmit language which might shock an audience, because we certainly don't change our personality or our vocabulary on transition to spirit. One old Cockney communicator was using expletives with enthusiasm, and I was carefully cutting them out for the sake of the recipient. I need not have bothered because when his daughter recognised his picture she burst out, "Gawd blimey, it's me Dad! 'E' s been dead for years. It's bloody marvellous!" Her father had returned at one of my public demonstrations with that well-known clairvoyant Jessie Nason. He was easily recognised by his one time neighbour from Peckham, who was delighted when Jessie said to her, "You remember old Charlie Bates, don't you? He kept a stall in East Street market." The neighbour had passed the picture on to Charlie's daughter, and gave us a report of her comment. Seldom can the residents of the spirit world be "called up" to order, as story-tellers would have us believe. It is often the motherin-law we did not get along with, or that awful cousin we fought with when we were children . Unexpected people return, frequently to disbelief and laughter. "Fancy him turning up!" seems to be a much repeated comment. One old granny was actually portrayed three times on separate occasions, much to the recipient's disgust, as she was never entirely welcome anywhere, even on earth. We put a bar on her after that, but later when her grandson visited another medium she managed to get in with a further message in which she expressed her displeasure at my refusal to comply with her wish to be portrayed! For some reason audiences always fall about when somebody recognises a family tradesman. There was a huge laugh the day someone accepted a picture as being of her old coalman, and the same thing happened when a woman identified a picture and said, "It's the spittin' image of my Mum's old insurance man! He was ever so good to my old Gran. Fancy him turning up!" Obviously, the man still felt a link of friendship with the family, so why shouldn't he turn up? A milkman's return, of course, is always going to raise a titter. We have had various neighbours back, often from childhood days, and a number of old family doctors have returned, perhaps still concerned for the welfare of their patients. Some still act as guides when a healer is working.

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During one demonstration I was drawing a picture of a man with a red beard. A lady in the audience had been singled out as the recipient, and was told the man was a relative, someone she may not have known. "Oh," she said with some surprise. "That's where my brother gets his red hair from . We've always blamed the milkman!" It is difficult at times to be certain whether I am portraying boys or girls, especially Victorian children, or today's teenagers. On several occasions I have been startled by a sitter's response to my statement, "There's a young woman here ... " "Oh, no," they reply . "That's my son." (or boy friend). Something like this happened during a demonstration in Boston during my visit to the United States in 1983. "She has a lovely Veronica Lake hairstyle," I said, pointing to a girl at the back of the hall. I gave the name of Mary, and enquired whether she knew the pretty girl materialising on my drawing board. "Mary is my mother, and she's here in the hall, but that's my kid brother you're drawing," came the surprising reply. I took Dag Hammarskjold, the one time Secretary General of the United Nations, for a little girl when he portrayed himself as a small child on returning to a family friend. An elderly German sitter quite understood why I mistook his brother Wilfred for a little girl; his mother had dressed him like a girl because she already had two boys, and would have preferred a daughter!

Chapter Eight

We may make a certain amount of progress up the spiritual ladder, then something will be slapped before us which is hard to deal with, and we realise our many inadequacies . My father's health deteriorated in the mid-seventies. He had a prostate operation, and one for hernia. Then he broke his arm . In the latter stages of his life he began to suffer from senile dementia, and became incontinent, which was very hard to cope with. I had to stop travelling, and for the last year of his life I gave up work completely because it was not safe to leave him. During this period I learned that I was not as spiritual as I thought, as anyone will appreciate who has had to contend with a similar problem . It was a difficult situation, and what was so sad was how our relationship was debased by the effects of his physical disabilities and indignities. Sometimes I found myself feeling quite hostile towards him, especially when I had been up during the night changing wet beds and was feeling tired. Then there were the times when he refused to eat and turned on me with an unnatural and unwarranted aggression. It turn, I found myself becoming exhausted and irritable. Obviously, my spiritual progression had not advanced as far as I thought it had . Almost with shame I was aware of being nasty to him, even at times resenting what he was doing to me, especially when I was very tired. I had promised my mother that I would always take care of my father. He had always dreaded being put into a home, but when he reached the stage of complete senility, falling over and being aggressive, I had to let him go, but only for the last four weeks, after I felt I had done all I could. I could never have coped without Tom ' s help. He was very tolerant of having a difficult in-law in his home. Invaluable assistance also came from neighbour Doris

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Browning, and a wonderful district nurse, Mr. Piggott, who came in each week to give Dad his bath. Spirit always sent me the support I needed, and if I did my best, they would back me up. When I visited Dad in hospital during his last four weeks on earth, there was an elderly lady patient who used to talk to me. She too was mentally ill. When I told her I would not be seeing her again as my father was being moved to another ward she said, "Oh, that's rather a pity my dear, because you are nice and golden." I have often wondered what she could see. My father was admitted to hospital in a state of confusion at the end of November, 1978. It was a freezing cold winter, and an icy day when I made my way to the hospital on 30th December. I had always hoped I would be there when he died. I sat down beside him and took his hand, thinking how ridiculous it was that anyone should have to stay in a physical body in that condition. Sending out my thoughts to my mother, and people I knew in the spirit world, I felt them come and gather round. I put one hand on his forehead, held his hand in mine and said gently, "Now off you go with Mum." I knew he would not be able to hear me in the physical sense because he was very deaf, but when I spoke he smiled, closed his eyes, and stopped breathing. It had worked . The whole ward was full of that lovely golden light, just as when Mother passed, and he was suddenly free. I called the nurse and said, "He's gone." She called Sister who commented that it was very sudden. "He had his lunch and seemed a bit better," she said. "That was impeccable timing. You had only just arrived. Are you all right?" "Yes," I replied. "Don't worry. My mother's taken him away." I told her what I had done. "Do you believe that?" she asked, and looked a little incredulous. "I hope that's true," she added. "I don't know whether to believe in it or not, but it would be nice if it was." She made me a cup of tea and asked if I would be all right going home by myself. I assured her I would be. Going back in the train there were spiiit people all around in the compartment. It was so happy, like a party; like seeing someone off on a pleasure cruise. Obviously, death is sad when someone is young and it comes suddenly, but my father was eighty-nine, and life held nothing for him but sadness and discomfort. In such cases

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death is a release. When it is the right time for me to go, then I shall look forward to it. During that last difficult year of my father's life my doctor suggested that Dad should spend a couple of weeks in hospital while I had a rest. Having done almost no work since he became ill, I took this opportunity to do some, since it becomes almost an explosive force inside me if I try to stem the flow of energy for any length of time. Having promised a Dutch sitter that I would visit Amsterdam, it seemed a wonderful opportunity to fulfil that commitment. What a happy time it was! Netty Goffree made me so welcome in her home, and a young friend, Ronald Beerepoot acted as chauffeur and interpreter. As Ronald is also an opera singer I had entertainment too, and being a great opera fan, I was frequently more interested in his work than my own. Since that first trip to Holland I have formed a close bond with many Dutch friends, and always enjoy returning to what I find a very beautiful country. Although I did not feel I had done much work during 1978, in May of that year I received the Spiritualist of the Year Award at the Psychic News dinner. It came as a great surprise to say the least. The name of the recipient is always a closely guarded secret until the moment it is announced at the dinner, and certainly there was no indication that I was to receive the honour that year. I had come a long way since Maurice Barbanell sat in the front row at Caxton Hall all those years ago, watching that first public demonstration so notable for its failure. While in Holland, Ronald Beerepoot had a sitting with me at which I drew a portrait of his "singing guide", who I said was helping him from the spirit world. Ronald is an up and coming tenor just beginning his career. He did not recognise the portrait, neither did his friends who were also involved in opera and music. Then out of the blue, someone gave him a record of the great singer, Tito Schipa, and there on the record sleeve was a portrait of him which corresponded with the picture I had drawn. He and Ronald have remarkably similar voices. The interesting thing with theatrical personalities is that they naturally attract other theatrical people from the spirit world, and these people are some of the best communicators. They have been extroverts in a professional sense while they were on earth, and

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spent their lives "putting themselves across" to an audience. In the spirit world they are still able to do this. One of my clients with an interesting story is soprano Norma Williams, who now lives in America, but at the time of her sitting she was living in Germany. I gave her a portrait of the singer Tetrazzini and another which she instantly recognised as the great Wagnerian soprano, Kirsten Flagstadt, although I had no idea who I had drawn. At that time Norma was singing a Wagnerian role, and this must have attracted her back. Drawing Flagstadt was an extraordinary experience for me because although I never see the people I draw, they overshadow me, and she was an incredibly large lady. First of all I had to move the table away to give myself more room, because I felt as though I was going to explode! Flagstadt had the most enormous breathing capacity, and I found myself taking deeper and deeper breaths . Everything seemed too tight, and I had the feeling that I was growing all the time. Even after she passed, Flagstadt returned as a very powerful presence. Another singer who returned significantly was the opera singer Maria Malibran. Even if I did not know what Flagstadt looked like, at least I knew the name, but the name of Maria Malibran meant nothing at all to me at the time I drew her portrait, nor was I aware that she had communicated before, through automatic writing. The first person who became aware of Maria's spirit presence was a young Australian singer, Deidre Dehn, who in 1967 felt compelled to pick up a pen and write. She found herself rapidly scribbling information which was being dictated to her by someone in the spirit world who gave her name as Maria Garcia. She gave many details of her life, writing of her unhappy first marriage and her death from head injuries after falling from a horse. Fascinated by what was happening, Deidre starred to do some research into the life of Maria Garcia, but was unable to find a lead anywhere. In further automatic writing sessions she conveyed this to Maria, who then gave her another name-Malibran. This was what Deidre had been waiting for, so she made more investigations. Her research this time proved more fruitful. Maria Malibran was a young and highly successful opera singer of Franco-Spanish descent, the daughter of singer Manuel Garcia. Born in 1808 in Paris, she made her London debut in The Barber of Seville at the age of seventeen, married vt>ry young, and used her married name

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Opera singer, Maria Malibran.

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for her professional career. She sang in this country, including a season at Drury Lane, and died in Manchester, where she was appearing at an operatic festival. Her biographical details revealed that, as she had stated to Deidre, she died as a result of a fall while riding. Deidre met another singer, Grace Brooks, on the set of the film Oliver, and they became friends, aware of a great rapport. The fascinating story of Maria came out, and Grace too began to ask questions of Maria, answered through Deidre's automatic writing. One of the things she said was that they would soon see "a likeness" of her. Within a few days, Grace's husband, who knew nothing of the written communications, brought home a recording of operatic arias. Inside the record sleeve were details of two of the singers who had originally sung them, with their portraits. They were Maria Malibran and her sister, Pauline Viardot! All this happened some time before Grace Brooks came to me for a sitting, and 1 was quite unaware that it had taken place. I began to draw a portrait for Grace and found I was drawing a young woman with an unusual hairstyle. "This is a young Spanish singer," I said as I drew. ''She's giving me the name of Maria.'' After the sitting the whole story came out. Grace was able to find an authentic portrait of Maria in the British Museum, and it certainly looked very like the young woman I had drawn. Grace also produced a photograph of herself, taken long before she knew of the existence of Maria, and showing her with a hairstyle she no longer wore. The extraordinary thing was that the old photograph of Grace, even to the hairstyle, bore a striking resemblance to Maria, who, 134 years after her so-called death, was still capable of very firm and accurate three-way communication through Deidre, Grace, and myself. So often I have noticed that when people receive a portrait it does not make immediate sense. Even after exhaustive checking no answer comes. Then suddenly it appears, handed over on a plate, like the next little piece of the jig-saw. When Ronald Beerepoot played his record, the similarity of style and voice between himself and Tito Schipa was remarkable. The explanation is twofoldpartly the fact that he was influencing Ronald, who was unaware of this, and partly because Ronald had unwittingly attracted

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him by being potentially like him. This was also true in the case of Grace Brooks and Maria Malibran. The portrait of Sarah Goody remained a mystery for a year, and her identity was revealed through automatic writing. The sitter received the portrait in 1966, and at the time I told her I thought it was of a great-grandmother. As my sitter's parents were both dead there was nobody who could give any credence to this. Mrs. Elizabeth Wright, sister of my sitter, asked for information through automatic writing, and made contact with a spirit who said the drawing was of herself. She told Mrs. Wright her husband's name was Job Goody, and that he died young, leaving her with two sons. She married again to a Job Brown, and said she worked as a tailoress. "After months of searching at Somerset House, eventually I found her first husband's death certificate, dated 1858, and hers dated 1890," Mrs. Wright wrote to me. Mrs. Wright was then put in touch with a distant relative who could furnish more information, and who also supplied a photograph. Sarah (Smith) had indeed married Mr. Goody, and had two sons, Joshua and William. After Mr. Goody died she married her cousin, Job Brown. Sarah had lived in north London before moving to Sudbury, Suffolk, and she had been a tailoress, just as she had stated in the automatic writing. The photograph satisfied Mrs. Wright that she had received a drawing of her greatgrandmother. Mrs. May Baker, of Hove, Sussex, came to me many years ago for a sitting. She was hoping for a portrait of her son, Gordon, who had been killed in a motor cycle accident, and was most disappointed when he did not come through to be drawn during her sitting. She did receive a portrait of a young man whom she thought might have been her Australian nephew, Tommy Smith, shot down in an aircraft during the war, although she had never met Tommy. Twelve years later she was going through some old photographs and discovered one of Tommy. When she compared the dq1wing, done twelve years previously, with the photograph, the resemblance was uncanny. "I don't think there is much doubt about it, do you?" she wrote, sending the two items for comparison.

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The great-grandmother of Mrs . Elizabeth Wright.

When I did a group of drawings for Mrs. Joan Smith, of Saddleworth, Oldham, she received at least three easily recognisable relatives. The lady I drew and thought was a grandmother, was very insistent that I drew her wearing a black earring. It seemed to be very important to her. Mrs. Smith later sent me some photographs showing her grandmother, Maude Wall, as a younger woman, actually wearing the earrings. The other portraits were of her grandfather, Sam Gibson, and her greatgrandfather, William Burnett, and were remarkably accurate. They were obviously a family of good communicators!

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Maude Wall , grandmother of Mrs. Joan Smith of Oldham. Mrs. Wall insisted I drew her black earring. Later Mrs. Smith sent me a photograph of her grandmother wearing the earrings when she was much younger.

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Australian airman Tommy Smith, nephew of Mrs. May Baker of Hove.

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One young man came to see me two or three times, and although I knew nothing about him, I was sure he was either a dancer or choreographer, but people kept coming through who were helping him with different kinds of acting roles. On one occasion I drew a portrait of an old Jewish gentleman who had died in a gas chamber. "Are you going to do something different?" I asked as I drew. "Because this man says he is going to help you with this, but I can't see what it is ." The young man told me he was going to take part in a film as an SS officer in a concentration camp, working in a gas chamber. The old man had returned to help him. At another sitting I drew someone who impressed me that he was going to help the young man with his singing. "You don't normally sing, do you?" I asked. He replied that he really was not much good at singing, but I was able to tell him that the man I was drawing in the spirit world was apparently going to help him to sing. He smiled. "Well, I have just landed a part which involves me singing with three or four other boys." Gradually I have learned that however trivial or stupid my impressions are, maybe somehow, somewhere, and at some time they are going to have significance. Some years ago I found myself drawing a strange little pattern on a Chinese guide's hat. My sitter queried it with the Victoria and Albert Museum, and their reply was: "The symbol on the hat is derived from the character 'shou' , meaning long life. It is a common emblem in Chinese costume, particularly robes. It would have the same meaning on a hat, merely signifying good luck and long life, and is not a badge of rank." No one could have been more surprised than I that my seemingly simple squiggle had any meaning. Similarly, how silly it sounded when, while we shared a Vancouver radio programme, David Young said to a gentleman caller, whose name we did not know, "Why am I seeing someone throwing a bottle of ink all round the studio?" The voice on the other end of the line laughed melodiously and said, "I'm Bill Kenny-one of the original 'Ink Spots'." Older readers will remember this group of close harmony singers, and we

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Victoria and Albert Museum South Kensington London SWl 2RL Tel: 01 -589 6371 Telegrams Vicaleum London SWl 2RL

A C Vince ~sq Room 1315 Portcullis House 27 Victoria Avenue Southend-on-Sea Essex.

Your reference

Our reference

Date

9 June 1972

Dear Sir Your letter of 1 June addressed to the British Museum has been passed to us for attention. The symbol on the hat is derived from the character 'shou', meaning long life. It is a common emblem in Chinese costume, particularly robes. It would have the same meaning on a hat, merely signifying good luck and long life, and is not a badge of rank. Yours faithfully

EDMUND CAPON Far Eastern Section

1he pattern I drew on a Chinese guide 's hat. Someone tried to find out about it-see answer from the Victoria and Albert Museum.

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were delighted when he offered to come along and sing at one of our public meetings. Sadly he was not in good health, and has, I think, since passed to Spirit. A number of show business celebrities come to me for sittings, but I feel I have no right to publish their names or details of sittings. One who has herself mentioned in a newspaper interview the drawings she has received is Rita Tushingham, so including her name is not giving away any secrets. She is, I found, a delightfully warm and responsive personality, and great fun to work for, always welcoming with unbounded enthusiasm those who choose to contact her . There is always room for scepticism when famous people communicate from the spirit world. Obviously they sometimes do communicate, but they need to be tested very thoroughly. So many people claim to have had a spirit return from Winston Churchill, Napoleon, or other great historic figures, and one has to ask why they would wish to communicate with people with whom they would have had nothing in common in this life. But some people are apt to tell tall stories in this world, and they will still spin a good yarn from the next. How often one meets somebody for the first time, and in conversation it will emerge that this person is perhaps related to the aristocracy, or in the case of a man he might speak of his brilliant war record. Later, when one learns more, it becomes obvious none of these stories are true. People tell them because they wish to gain attention, fearing that if they tell the truth about themselves, nobody will be interested. If a spirit communicator at a development circle were to say, "I'm Joe Brown. I lived in Acton and worked in a factory," he assumes nobody will be impressed, so he might fantasise. He may say he is Churchill or Napoleon, or that he died heroically in a famous battle, in order to gain attention. Such communicators are desperate for approval, just as they were on earth, and how many of us can say we have never stretched a point occasionally, adding a little glamour to what we have done? Many gullible sitters are terribly impressed by returning pharaohs, or well-known historical figures. If the milkman or the coalman makes a spirit return it does not impress them so greatly, despite the fact that this can be very evidential. Just as we have the strong capable communicators and the

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extrovert theatrical personalities, we also have the shy retiring people, the sort of people who on earth were always reluctant to have their photographs taken. For the same reasons, whatever these reasons were, they do not wish to have their psychic portraits drawn. One lady sitter, hoping to receive a picture of her husband, was desperately disappointed when I did not link with him. I was able to describe the colour of his hair, and his build, but then he quite deliberately turned round so that I could not see his face. The sitter said that was typical of him. If anyone produced a camera he would turn his back or go out of the room, and he had obviously not changed his character in the spirit world. He was still dodging anything which was going to portray his face. It seems apparent that some communicators think in pictures, while others think more in words. They would therefore find it easier to communicate by talking to a clairaudient. Evidence of these different preferences has often been revealed. Time and again, when doing a double demonstration with a clairvoyant or clairaudient, the communicator is talking to my colleague far more easily than he is transmitting his portrait to me, or vice versa. A number of famous composers have returned, including Beethoven and Mozart. Although it is arguable that at some time I must have seen portraits of these people, even if the memory is stored in my subconscious, I could never file away in my mind sufficient images to produce portraits in a few minutes, as I have to at sittings and demonstrations. One of the most interesting experiences I had of working "off the platform" with another medium was in April, 1975. Some workmen at the famous old Brooklands race track had reported strange psychic "happenings" there. Such places retain a tremendous atmosphere, and it is not surprising that spirits return to them. There have been many reports of psychic activity on now disused airfields, once the scene of great wartime activity and now just a series of empty huts and overgrown runways. Robin Stevens and I were asked to go along to Brooklands to give our impressions. There we met Kevin Desmond, who was doing research for a book, and Leo Villa, the famous engineer and mechanic who worked exclusively for Sir Malcolm Campbell and later for his son, Donald Campbell, both of whom had links with

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Brooklands. Most of the time, Robin and I were working in different parts of the ground, but our impressions frequently coincided. Soon after our arrival we walked up a hill, and Robin instantly approached a patch of overgrown bushes and weeds. "There used to a bridge here," he said. "It went over part of the track, and there was an accident just below the bridge. There were two cars battling for position and there was a collision. One car was bright red and the other was burnished aluminium." Leo Villa confirmed that this was true. In the meantime I had been elsewhere, 'and returned with a portrait of what I described as a hawk-faced man. I was sure he raced there at one time, but not motor cars. There was also the feeling that he did not die as a result of an accident, but from natural causes. The portrait was recognised by Leo Villa as being that of a man called O'Donovan, who had raced motor cycles at Brooklands. He had died of natural causes a few months before our visit. One of the other portraits I drew was that of a small boy aged about ten, whom I felt always went to Brooklands with his father, who had a lot to do with the racing cars . Leo Villa said the portrait was very like the young Donald Campbell, who was always at Brooklands with his father when he was a child. On the other hand, it also looked like his own son, who had often accompanied him. ''The two boys were very much alike,'' he said. Robin's clairvoyance became very active as we wandered round the old racetrack. He referred to three men, two of whom were related. "The man in the middle is very tall," said Robin. "The youngest is referring to the third man as 'the old man'. He's talking about a large trophy with a figure on top. He didn't want the trophy and wanted to hand it back. It wasn't won here, but in another country. I want to hand this down from father to son. The son held it only for a little while, but it was taken away by someone else.'' Leo Villa said that Donald Campbell always referred to his father as "the old man", and that the trophy, the Oltranza Cup, was won by Donald in a speedboat race on Lake Garda, Italy. He refused it because he did not actually win the race, but it was awarded to him for doing the fastest lap and creating a new record.

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The tall man, whom Robin had described as having a limp, was, said Leo Villa, Sir Henry Segrave, whose leg had been damaged as a result of a flying accident. The trophy won by Donald Campbell was presented in his memory. Robin was also able to pick up impressions of Donald Campbell's last fatal speed attempt on Coniston Water. "Windscreen," he said. "Wind screaming . . . G-force ... something about the wash ... something behind me in the water ... something lower down in the water ... the final run is very fast ... faster than I've ever gone before ... " He was visibly affected by what he was experiencing. They then went down the hill to an old hut, where Robin was asked about his impressions of it. He said a man lived there many years ago, and he could see blueprints, and pieces of engines lying around. There were two big dogs with the man. He was preparing to leave for some place connected with Wales, but he was ill and knew he should not be going. He had a terrible cough, and came back, but not the way he wanted to, said Robin. The others confirmed that the man Robin was "seeing" was Barry Thomas, who did indeed work in that hut, building his own car. He had two dogs; he also had an appalling cough. He was killed in an accident at Pendine, South Wales. I was not with Robin at the time he received these impressions, and did not go to the hut until later in the afternoon, so I knew nothing of what had already been said. I was asked to try and draw a portrait of the man connected with the hut, but I found great difficulty. Impressions came through, but I could not get a face. I felt that at the end there had been something sharp in front of him which had severed his head. I received the impression of a strong connection with Wales, and I knew he was coughing badly. These impressions were confirmed as correct, and it was · explained that in his fatal accident Barry Thomas was decapitated. "I'm also getting an anniversary with him," I said. "Do you know about an anniversary?" "Yes," smiled Kevin Desmond. "Today was his birthday." One interesting factor is that during public demonstrations we make contact with more suicide victims, or people killed in accidents than we do in private sittings . .One can only assume this is because the power and energy generated by large audiences gives the spirit on the other side the extra strength needed to make the

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contact. When giving a demonstration at the SAGB, a girl came through to be drawn, and my first impression was that I wanted to draw a large question mark over her head. I expressed this to the audience, and wondered if she had committed suicide. A lady in the audience said it looked exactly like her cousin who had indeed committed suicide. The link was a difficult one to hold; the whole thing was heavy and depressed, and the girl was confused. My drawing was slow, and the clairvoyance was equally plodding. After giving a few more details I said, "I want to come back to this question mark. There was a query as to whether or not she did commit suicide. Did she really mean to do it?" The recipient agreed that there was a query, and the girl in spirit said to me very positively, "Yes, I did commit suicide and I meant to. I realise now it was a mistake, but I don't want anyone to think it was an accident." Suddenly the whole atmosphere lifted. It was almost as though the girl had come to confession. She wanted everyone to know it had been intentional, but that she still regretted it. It was as if she had been released from what had been a state of tying herself to the earth. We talk about spirits being earthbound, yet nothing ties them but their own minds and thoughts. They are in the condition they believe they are. This girl was still thinking about what she had done, regretting it, and wanting to clear the atmosphere. Simply by saying those few words she had found herself free. During a demonstration with David Young, a young boy returned who had been shot earlier that week in Northern Ireland. David had given evidence of him to a group of youngsters at a sitting in the afternoon, and that evening I did a drawing of him which was accepted by his friends. They were obviously surprised that he had returned so quickly, but when people pass suddenly they are for the first few days hovering very near to earth, anxious to let someone know what happened to them. One of the quickest returns I ever had was .during a public demonstration attended by one of my regular clients called Mary. That evening I drew a picture of her neighbour, and when she recognised it she said, "He's very ill, and we are expecting to hear of his passing very soon." When she returned home that evening with her picture she was told by her husband that their neighbour had passed, probably

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during the time she was at the demonstration. One of his last requests to his wife had been that she must thank Mary for the card she had sent him, but apparently he preferred to come along to the demonstration and thank her himself. This sort of evidence is of considerable importance, because mediums are so often accused of using telepathy. "They read the sitters' minds," say the sceptics. I wish I could do so, because then people would receive the portraits they want. Sitters often come along with a fixed idea of who they want, and it doesn't seem to work. They may receive a picture for somebody else . Mary has received some extraordinary pictures for other people. She lives in a small village and knows most people in the area. On several occasions she has received pictures of members of her local community. One evening I drew a picture of a girl who had died as a result of drug addiction. The picture was given to Mary, and Robin Stevens explained to her exactly where the girl had obtained her drugs-it was on the school bus, he said. He warned Mary that the same boy who had sold drugs to the girl in spirit was attempting to sell them to her sister, and Mary must pass on this warning to her mother. One of Mary's most fascinating pictures-again for someone else-came during a demonstration I was giving with Doris Collins . A pretty little girl turned up, and I described how she had been killed on a bicycle. She was coming out of a gate between two high hedges, and had gone straight into the road where she was killed by a passing car. Doris Collins said the child's name was Linda. Pointing to Mary she said, "You know this little girl, don't you?" "I know of her," replied Mary, "But I don't know what she looks like. My niece in Newcastle has recently written to me saying that her neighbour's child has just been killed on a bicycle, and I know her name was Linda. I have been thinking about her and her mother." The picture was passed on to Mary's niece, and then to the child's mother in Newcastle. It was apparently a good likeness of Linda and was immediately accepted. So often people who have nothing directly to do with us, having no immediate link, can sometimes communicate with us far more easily than our close relatives. Maybe it is because our nearest and dearest become too emotional, whereas a stranger is merely

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concentrating upon communication. They do not lose this concentration, but a relative can become upset when communicating from the spirit world, rather as we do when we have to make a long distance telephone call, and we have only three minutes in which to do so. It is easy to forget much of what we wish or intend to say in our anxiety to make the call. Every medium has regular sitters, and sometimes good friendships are formed between mediums and sitters over the years. One of my "regulars" has been Mavis Marshall, and as far as I know she has at least seventy of my pictures. She first came to me because another medium had told her that one day she would have a picture of her Chinese guide. She had no idea who would present her with this picture, as she did not know a medium who could draw or paint. Eventually she read about me in an article, came to see me, and before she had told me any of this background I drew her first picture. It was of her Chinese guide. The success of this sitting spurred her on, and she has had sittings ever since. Mavis is an extremely receptive client, never giving an outright "No" to anything, but always willing to say, "I'm not sure about that, but I will try and check." On her second visit she received a picture of a pretty young lady whom she did not recognise. Nevertheless, she took it home, framed it, and hung it on the wall. When her mother visited her, she stared at the picture in surprise and said, "Where on earth did you get that picture of Aunt Laura?" "Who's Aunt Laura?" queried Mavis, gratified that the picture actually meant something, but having no idea who it wa's. "She's your Dad' s young sister," her mother replied. As Mavis's father had died when quite young, she did not know all his relatives, and his sister Laura, having also died at a young age, was unknown to Mavis. She was delighted to receive a picture of her father, which came among the many she received, but despite her numerous sittings she was careful not to tell me anything which I might "use" at a later date. This is a good thing, because a medium can always be accused of "fixing things" if too much information is forthcoming. She never mentioned that she had lost a baby at the age of nine months, but eventually I drew her a little boy and told her about him . Sure enough, it was her son.

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She had lots of pictures of various relatives, including in-laws and step-relations, and one day I drew an old lady for her. She was obviously a very large woman, with straight hair and a kirby-grip at one side. With an easy sitter I receive all kinds of additional information, and with Mavis I began to get this old lady's background. I could see her sitting outside a north country house in a street, and the neighbours were talking to her because she could not walk. Suddenly Mavis recalled who she was, and how she used to go and talk to her when she was a little girl, living a few doors away from her. It is nice to feel that such old contacts are not forgotten. Sometimes pictures spark off memories of the past in the most extraordinary way, after images have been buried deep in the subconscious for years. It is also interesting that adopted children can often identify pictures of their real parents, or other relatives. One of my sitters who was brought up in an orphanage has pictures of parents and relatives all round the walls, saying she now feels she has a real family. It is a great responsibility, and I only hope I was accurate in my drawings, because one day she is going to meet them and prove me right or wrong.

Chapter Nine

I can sometimes detect a kind of desperation in sitters who are looking for just one particular person . When Angela came to my group I felt there was going to be problems. As I took her hands it was as though her whole world had collapsed; there was a dreadful empty feeling. She seemed isolated with no future. It was quite clear that she was there hoping to have one person return to her through my drawing, and I knew I was going to be unable to give her what she wanted at that particular time . "Your whole world has fallen apart," I told her. "I'm afraid I can't draw the person you want-not yet. You are too upset and emotional at present." I began to draw, and saw that the image forming on the paper was that of a nun. "But she has brought a little girl with her," I said. "I can't yet draw the little girl because it would be too upsetting for you." As soon as I mentioned the child Angela began to cry, and I knew I had touched the nerve, but also that the time was not ripe to draw what I saw. As I went on drawing the nun I kept talking about the child, whose name was Samantha. "She's holding something out to me which looks like a big red poppy which has gone flat. No ... it's not a poppy, it's a camelia." Angela told me her husband John had recently bought a camelia plant which bore just one red flower. Shortly before Samantha was killed she had picked the precious flower, handing it to Angela. "I've brought you a present," she had said. "I do love you, Mummy.'' The red flower was the only evidence Samantha gave me, but it was enough for Angela. I gave her my telephone number, and for weeks she phoned me every night. She had several sittings with me

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at which she had considerable evidence, but no drawing of Sammy. She was desperate to find mediums who could make contact with the little girl, and did what many bereaved people do in their anguish-she went from one medium to another in search of the proof she wanted. One night she phoned almost on the verge of collapse, and I knew I had to draw Samantha, who had eluded me. I so desperately wanted to help this woman to whom I had become so close. That night I prayed she may be given something to hang on to, some evidence that would help her. Next morning Angela telephoned me. "Coral," she began, "You' 11 never believe what's happened!" "You've seen her, haven't you?" I said, convinced ofit. Angela had indeed seen Sammy. She had come and stood next to her bed that night, quite solid and real. She had put her arms round her mother's neck and said, "I do love you, Mummy." It was a kind of turning point, perhaps brought about by prayer, and perhaps because it was the only way Angela could have been helped at that time. I could not assist, but the spirit world did, in its own way. That very week I was able to draw a successful picture of Samantha, after all those weeks of failure. It is part of a medium's work to spend time with people and just be there when help is needed. Doreen was another bereaved mother for whom I became a confidante. She had lost her little girl Lisa as a result of a road accident, and again I was unable to make a drawing of the child. Doreen not only had this bereavement to contend with, but she was also suffering over a broken marriage at the time. It seemed that everything had gone wrong for her. Some years previously she had had a miscarriage, and I was able to draw her son who had grown up in the spirit world, but Lisa did not come forward. Doreen became friendly with my other regular sitter, Mavis Marshall. In an effort to help, Mavis took her to direct voice medium Leslie Flint, through whom Lisa spoke, saying, "I keep standing by the picture lady, but she doesn't take any notice of me!" Mavis's guide then spoke, explaining what she must do, and offering his help on the next occasion. I did eventually receive a drawing of Lisa, which did not come through a sitting with her mother, but during a sitting with Mavis. "I'm not sure who this little girl is," I said as I began to draw. "I

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think she passed with pneumonia because I'm getting fluid on the lungs and a feeling that I can't breathe." A few more details came as I went on drawing. "Do you think that could be Doreen's little girl?" asked Mavis. "No," I replied. "She died in a car crash." "But she didn't die immediately," Mavis informed me. "Her lung was punctured , and she died about two weeks after the crash." This was something I didn't know. When the drawing was finished Mavis rushed away to find Doreen, taking the picture with her. "Is this a picture of Lisa?" she asked. And it was. During the series of sittings Doreen had received a picture of a young man with whom I said she had had a relationship when she was much younger. Doreen had no idea who he was, and could not recall him. She was quite convinced she had never known this young man. Her own marriage over, she had formed a close relationship with a man of middle-age, and one day she was showing him her collection of psychic portraits. He stopped her suddenly when he was shown the picture of the young man, and was clearly astonished. "Wait a minute," he said. "I have something which will interest you." He disappeared and returned with a photograph of himself when he was seventeen years old. The picture I had drawn was of him at that age, and was unmistakable. So what was I doing, and how did one define the time element in such pictures? In this instance I mentioned a relationship which I thought was in the past. What had actually happened was the prediction of a future relationship, but through a picture from the past. The time factor is fascinating, and it is possible to draw portraits of those on the earth plane, those who pass shortly after a portrait has been given, and some even before they were born. In Holland I drew for a man a portrait of his elderly grandmother. In the physical sense she was senile, but her spirit was able to communicate rationally, and give me a considerable amount of information about herself. The man explained that he was aware that his grandmother could, and did travel astrally. Although confined to an old people's home, unable to get about, she mentioned his "nice new yellow car", which in no circumstances

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had she either seen or heard of. She had also managed to make an astral journey to have her portrait drawn. I heard from the man later that his grandmother had passed three months after I drew her portrait. She was ninety-five years of age. This ability of elderly people to live between two worlds can have quite a beneficial effect because it takes away the shock of sudden passing. Although we may think it very sad that people seem too vague in their later years, it is possible that they are quite happy, and getting used to their new abode, so that when they go there permanently they are prepared for the change. The time element is also evident if I receive portraits of emigrants-people who have left their families in this country to go and live in Australia or America. They come back in sleep state to visit their parents from the other side of the world, probably being fast asleep at the time I am doing the drawings. The interesting thing about such portraits is that the subjects invariably portray themselves as they were when they were here in England with their parents, not as they are now in their new surroundings. Maybe they wake up and think they have had a dream about old times, never realising that they have, in fact, returned and had their portraits drawn. Portraits of living people can also be described as "memories", brought to me from the spirit world, but recollections of their loved ones still here. Sometimes the very desire to receive a portrait of one special person creates an emotional blockage . Often when sitters have given up hope, the communicator suddenly manifests. It seems that we take the pressure off them simply by accepting whoever comes through, and by making no demands. Frequently I have drawn people who have been unable to make any communication through a clairvoyant or clairaudient. One lady was delighted when I stated that I had for her a young man killed during the war. He was wearing a sailor's uniform, and it proved to be a beautiful likeness of her brother. My comment that he was an exceptionally able communicator invoked the reply, "But this is the first time he has ever come through." She had been a Spiritualist even at the time of his passing during the war, and so had her mother. They had been to several mediums and many churches, but this was the first time he had ever managed to make himself known. Somehow or other he almost effortlessly

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gave me a very accurate portrait of himself. Maybe he could transmit in pictures better than in words. We are inclined to think of spirits as people of another world, those who have vacated their earthly shell and are of a different substance from ourselves. But we too are simply spirits, wearing a fleshy overcoat which we will discard when it has served its purpose in this material classroom. Mediums are spirits communicating with other spirits. Elaborate and complicated theories are put forward to explain mediumship and psychic phenomena. Personally, I found all my answers in that brief moment of pure spiritual consciousness-or maybe I should say the one answerfor eventually we must return to one simple truth. God is one and we are God, complete and indivisible, not only from each other, but from anything and everything. Material things may give an illusion of separateness; so too may people. But Spirit is indivisible, and everything is spirit in the first instance. It cannot be lost or destroyed, and must retain its unity with the whole. "Do you feel you know God?" was a question once asked me by an Irish Catholic priest to whom I had given a sitting. When I replied, "Yes, I do," he responded by saying, "That's more than I can say.'' I explained to him the mystical experiences I had had, particularly the revelation after Mavis's death when I discovered what I could only describe as my God Self. It was not easy to expound on this to a Roman Catholic priest, but he listened quietly before saying, "Yes, I think you know what you are talking about. I do understand." When I told him he was very psychic he said he realised he had the ability to heal but he was not officially allowed to do so. "The only thing they will let me do is water divining," he said. "That is acceptable." At an SAGB demonstration one evening a gentleman received a portrait of his Welsh grandfather and another relative. I said the recipient's work was something to do with advising or guiding people. "Yes," he agreed. "I understand what you're talking about, but I prefer not to mention what I do until afterwards, so that it does not inhibit what you are doing." When he came to collect his pictures at the end of the meeting he said, "Now I can tell you-I'm a priest."

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Surprised at this annoucement, I asked if he was permitted to come to ''this sort of thing''. "Not officially," he replied . "We do study psychic research in the Catholic Church, but obviously we don't let the rank and file become involved with it. There are dangers." Another Catholic priest came for a sitting in Australia, and the Irish priest has been back for sittings with several mediums at the SAGB. There are many ways in which our beliefs do not contradict those of the Roman Catholic faith. Over the years it has been amazing to realise just how wide a field of interested people my work has reached. Groups have not only taken place in Spiritualist Churches, but everywhere from tiny cottages and council houses to impressive mansions, and even an Embassy. Sitters range through all walks of life-working class people of every kind, representatives of the law and medical profession, and many theatrical people. There has also been a sprinkling of titles and the occasional millionaire. So many of my sitters do not give names, so there may even be a greater cross section of the public than I realise. Not everything we do is either perfect or successful, and having studied this topic over the years, some answers have emerged as to why certain sittings go wrong. In some cases there is nothing we can do about it, but frequently we are to blame. There can be circumstances completely beyond our control, and at other times the fault can lie with the sitter or with me. One of our mediums told me that he had a relative in the spirit world to whom he was very close. Although he had been to various mediums, she had never communicated with him. He could never understand this, but eventually he went to the famous trance medium, Estelle Roberts. The lady he had hoped for all those years, controlled Estelle and spoke to him without any problems at all. With no prompting she said, "You have often wondered why I did not come back to you." "Yes, indeed," he replied. "Well," said the lady in Spirit, "This is the first medium you have been to whom I have liked." At first this may all sound rather strange, but when one considers it, it makes a lot of sense. To communicate through a medium must mean a very close blending from the other side, and they would

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probably want to avoid merging with someone with whom they have nothing in common. So they wait until the right channel comes along. Another important factor is harmony between medium and sitter. Occasionally certain sitters come to me, and immediately they walk into the room there is the feeling that it is just not going to work. There are others who receive very evidential results, but they seem to be "go-betweens" for their friends and families. It is a common occurrence to draw a portrait which will be unrecognised by a sitter. It later turns out to be the relative of a friend or of an in-law. This happened in Manchester, where a lady received a portrait about which I was quite adamant. It was her grandmother, I said firmly. The sitter had known both her grandmothers well, and assured me she could not recognise the portrait as either of them. I still had the idea that I was drawing Grandma, and insisted that if it was not hers, then it was the grandmother of someone close to her. I am not often given names from Spirit, but this time the communicator managed to give me her full name-Kitty Moss. It meant nothing to my sitter, nor did any of the other information transmitted. Nevertheless, I was convinced that Kitty Moss was a Grandma closely connected with the recipient. The following morning when I was going to the church, the sitter's husband called to take me by car. As he came up the front steps he was bursting with excitement. "We've found out who Kitty Moss is!" he announced triumphantly. She had turned out to be the grandmother of their cleaning lady, to whom they had shown the picture and mentioned the name. Obviously then, some of these seemingly negative sittings are not as futile as they first appear, but they may necessitate some research on the sitter's part to discover to whom the portraits belong. Some sittings may be blanks, but there are others which are muddled, where the results appear to be slightly scrambled. They can be a combination of two, or even three people. What I am drawing does not come through clearly, and it does not take more than two or three lines out of place to produce a totally different picture, bearing no resemblance to the person it is supposed to be. Like all mediums, I occasionally go off course, and sittings do not work out as they should. I always liken myself to a somewhat inefficient "cat's whisker" radio, picking up bits and pieces, hoping to put

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them together in a sensible flow, but if there are too many gaps in the communication, then results can be completely inaccurate. There are the odd times when a blind is literally drawn down between t~e sitter and myself. The reason is usually because the spirit people are wary of the person, and feel the influences around him or her are not suitable for me to draw. They do not wish to have anything to do with this particular group of entities so the whole contact is switched off as a protective measure. An aspect which can have amusing results is when someone is communicating quite well, and suddenly something "snaps" and the link is lost. Before I know what has happened , somebody else has tuned in on the wavelength. We can then end up with an extraordinary picture which might depict the top half of Granny and the bottom half of Uncle Fred, or something equally ridiculous. The dottiest pair of drawings I ever did came about because something went wrong with the communication while I was drawing. I first drew a Red Indian's headdress, and was sure I had tuned in to the gentleman's Indian guide. As I went on drawing the face beneath the headdress, my sitter was watching carefully, suddenly saying quizzically, ''My Dad never wore that!'' The sketch was a good likeness of his father, but the Indian guide who was trying to help him along had impinged a little too strongly on my consciousness with the result that the two personalities mingled, producing a very nice portrait of Dad wearing Indian headgear. Even worse was a picture I started, being aware that there was a woman in spirit who was with the sitter. As I drew a face on my pad there was an impression of rather strong bone structure. When I had almost fini shed the sitter informed me that the face was her husband's, but I had somehow draped the poor man in a nun's headdress, which, judging by the sitter's comment, was the most inappropriate thing I could had done. This was a very obvious mix-up, but sometimes there are partial confusions, with just a slight variation, as in the case of a sitter who received a picture of her grandmother. She looked at it for a long time, wondering why it was not quite Grandma. She compared it with a photograph of both her grandparents and realised the mouth was completely wrong-the mouth was Grandad's. Somehow I had superimposed his smile over Grandma's face. Once when drawing by post I ended up with a very strange

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mixture. The outline of the face , and the hairstyle were those of the lady who had written to me, but because she wore her hair very short and cropped at the back, I had thought I was drawing a gentleman. The eyes, nose and mouth were those of her husband in the spirit world, but he had momentarily thought of his wife as he began to impress me with his portrait. Again I had superimposed one drawing on another-his features on her outline and hairstyle. The touch of laughter often makes communication easier, even when remarks are not intended to be funny. Some communicators, like an old lady who returned during a demonstration at Hitchin Church, really stage their performances. I was working with Ronald Hearn, taking an afternoon and an evening demonstration . Right from the start I had been aware of Florrie, but for some reason she chose not to come forward to be portrayed during the afternoon meeting. There she was again in the evening, and as time began to run out I suspected she was not going to make it in time. "One more picture only," announced the chairman, looking at his watch. I had obviously misjudged Florrie, for she suddenly stepped into the limelight. Drawing rapidly I sketched an old face full of character. Ron Hearn pointed to a lady in the audience, asking if she recognised the picture as Granny. "No," came the reply. "She wasn't my Granny, although that's what we called her. She was my employer.'' From then on it became laughter all the way. Florrie chatted to both Ron and myself, giving details of her personality and habits, which included eating while she was working. She was very partial to cockles and raw kippers! "She was unmarried," said Ron, and was a little surprised to be told he was wrong. "But she keeps saying 'spinster'," he protested. "Why is she insisting on that?" "Because that was her surname," replied the recipient. "Her name was Florrie Spinster." Some rolls of cloth shown to Ron proved to be evidence of Florrie's little sideline in dressmaking, and the audience was a little taken aback when she mentioned her drawers . Why was she talking about her drawers, we wondered.

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"Oh, she was always losing those," came the recipient's laughing reply. At the end I asked why Florrie was indicating something strange at the back of her neck and said she "looked like a humped camel". "What was wrong with her neck when she passed?" I asked. "She fell downstairs and broke it," came the reply. "She was all humped up when I found her." Florrie would have gone on chatting about herself for ever. She had mentioned a number of her business clients and many more personal details, but in the end we had to close her "act". No one could have followed that. I'm sure she knew she would be the star turn, and had purposely waited to be last. Some of her evidence was perhaps what some people would call "a bit common", but who would have recognised her if she had suddenly tried to sound refined and spiritual? Her one time employee said afterwards, "She was a wonderful old girl. We thought the world of her." And in her own way, Florrie was probably more spiritual than those who only wear their piety on the surface. It can sometimes be difficult to locate the correct recipient of a picture in a large audience, and the hardest links to make are when someone has been taken into the spirit world very suddenly and unexpectedly. Desperate to make contact with their families, these victims of a sudden transition will link with a person who may have a very distant connection . They may communicate with neighbours or mere acquaintances because they are the only possible means of getting back to their families. There was an interesting case of this kind at a Stansted Hall demonstration some years ago. I was drawing a young boy, who gave me his age as 17, and I was impressed that he had been killed in a motor cycle accident. He was desperate to get in touch with his mother, about whom he was worried. There was also concern about his sick father. I was sure the boy's passing had been very recent-a few days previously, at the most, a week. He was still very tied to the earth, and not going on to the spirit world because all he could think of was how upset his parents were. No one in the audience recognised the boy, or the name of Fred, which I seemed to be getting for him. He managed to transmit more details, but still no one responded. Suddenly the wife of Spiritualist

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minister Eric Hatton, from Stourbridge, spoke up. Heather Hatton remembered that Eric had taken the funeral service, a few days previously, of a boy killed in a motor cycle accident. Eric had been pleased at the number of young people who had attended the service. Neither Eric nor Heather had ever met the boy, and Heather had not met the parents, but she could confirm that his name was not Fred, but Andrew Weston. At the end of the demonstration Heather took the portrait, passing it on to Andrew's parents. The likeness was unmistakable. The boy's parents supplied a photograph of him which was used on his student bus pass, and Psychic News published both photograph and drawing side by side. During Eric Hatton's subsequent conversations with Andrew's parents, he also discovered that Andrew's father used the nickname "Fred" for his son. People often ask why their own relatives should not come back, and why a very distant acquaintance of someone else makes a return. We should look at this from the point of view of the people in the spirit world, and liken it to someone who has suddenly been shipped off to Australia or South America, with no opportunity of telling their family where they have gone. The first reaction is, "I must telephone and let everyone know where I am ." If the family does not have a telephone, then a call is put through to a neighbour, or someone who happens to be available to pass on a message. Precisely the same thing happens when people go to Spirit. They look around, desperately trying to find someone who knows their loved ones. This is not quite so easy as making a telephone call because they have to contend with the uncertain lines of communication through a medium, and hope that someone recognises the few facts they are able to transmit. On several occasions my clients have been quite young children, brought along of course by older members of the family. The smallest was a six-month old baby. For him came a portrait of an elderly lady whom his young mother did not recognise at all. She was, she mentioned, going home to Australia soon, and would visit her grandmother, who may be able to solve the mystery. When she came back from Australia the news was passed on to me that the portrait was of the baby's great-great-grandmother, recognised by her daughter at once. Obviously our ancestors take an interest in our welfare across many generations from their vantage point in Spirit.

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Andrew Weston, who was killed in a road accident.

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Children can be amazingly gifted psychically. Unlike adults, they do not try to rationalise what they see; they just accept that they can perhaps see another child who was not there a moment ago, or that a lady wearing strange, old-fashioned garments walked into the room. It is because they do not analyse that their psychic gifts flow freely. As we grow older we apply logic, and convince ourselves that we should not be seeing things that "aren't there". So many times I have found that this incredible ability of children to be aware of spirit people has produced wonderful evidence to back up my drawings. Often when I have drawn a spirit child who has grown up as part of the family, and the parent has taken the portrait home, showing it to another child, the immediate response has been, "Oh, yes, that's the little boy (or girl) I play with." The same thing has happened on a number of occasions with portraits of older people-a picture of Grannie whom the child has not known. Children have perhaps confirmed, "That's the old lady who comes to tuck me in at night." Quite a few children see their spirit guides, but unfortunately many parents do not understand what is going on, and say, "Stop making up stories," or "It's just imagination." An interesting incident was recalled when my mother was first told about an American Indian guide who linked with her. The medium talking to my mother said, "He wants to apologise for frightening you that day in Grandma's kitchen." I wondered what on earth all this was about, because my mother had never mentioned the incident to me before, but after the meeting at which her childhood memory had been stirred, she told me. "Yes, I do remember that," she said, and went on to relate how when she was a little girl she had been in her grandmother's kitchen one day. Looking towards the scullery door she was confronted by a vision of a huge American Indian, complete with feathered headdress, glowing with a golden light. She was naturally terrified, but did not say a word to anyone-just sat there wondering who he was. Suddenly he walked into the scullery and disappeared. A little while later, Grandma askecl her if she would go and put the kettle on. The only tap was in the scullery, and my mother recollected how she had crept in, wondering where this great figure had gone. But the scullery was empty, and the Indian had vanished. She never

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saw him again, and had forgotten completely about the encounter until all those years later, when he returned through a medium to apologise for frightening her. Children make very good sitters, and a number of clients bring their children to have pictures drawn for them. Sometimes they receive pictures of people who act as their guardians in the world of spirit, and sometimes they receive portraits of their relatives. But they all seem to thoroughly enjoy watching somebody busy drawing, and it is very exciting how frequently they recognise the people who return to them. Their young open minds have no preconceived ideas to get in the way, and they are totally honest, giving a very positive yes or no to anything given to them. One delightful memory is that of a young boy who received a drawing of a spirit companion of similar age to himself. The spirit boy was wearing a very large football scarf, and intimated to me that he was looking after his earthly friend. Like him, he had been a keen football fan . "I go to all the matches," said the young boy sitter. "Which team does he support?" he asked, indicating the portrait. My knowledge of football is nil, and I would not know one team from another. "Oh, dear," I thought, "I mustn't get this wrong or I shall lose all my credibility." I went on drawing, and although no name was forthcoming I completed the scarf, putting in the colours of the stripes. I was relieved to hear him say enthusiastically, "That's right. That's our club scarf." I never did find out which club it was! The boy went home very happy that his spiritual pal went along to the football matches with him. The same boy came for another sitting two or three years later. He sat down, put his hands in mine and said, "Please Miss, can I have a picture of my dog?" I was quite flattered to be called Miss at my time of life, but was slightly worried about drawing his dog. I can draw cats and dogs if they are sitting in front of me, but whatever I draw from Spirit comes only as an impression. "Oh, dear," I thought, "I'm not very good at drawing dogs." But within a second or two the dog was there, sitting between the boy and myself, and it was quite definitely waiting to be drawn. It was a dark bro~n Doberman Pinscher. I did my best to portray it, not perhaps, as perfectly as I would have wished, but my young sitter was no art critic, thank

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goodness, and seemed quite satisfied with my efforts. Then I said to him, "There's a young boy in Spirit looking after him for you." "I know who that is," he replied. "That's my spirit guide. Don't you remember, you drew him for me last time I came." Of course I had not remembered, but he recalled to me the story of the football scarf, and obviously the little spirit football fan had come along to take care of the dog who, it transpired, had only died a couple of days earlier. The child went home, sad that his dog had been lost to him, but contented to know that it was in another world, well again, and that his little friend was taking care of it. Football also featured in one of the funniest pictures I ever had. The recipient and I still refer to her "footballing nun". While I was drawing for my sitter a dear little Irish nun came through. She had a freckled face and twinkly eyes, and she gave me a picture of herself as a schoolteacher. She had a small class of boys, about six or seven years old, and was playing football with them. I had this amusing and highly improbable image of the team rushing about while Teacher showed them how to play, her long robe draped · across her arm so that she could run. Her little black shoes and stockings were darting about, trying to keep up with the lads in their football boots and striped socks. It was a ridiculous impression, but there it was, quite clearly. Hanging in the sitter's living room to this day is an enlargement of this dear little nun-not playing football, incidentally! It proves to me that the spirit people have not lost their sense of humour, and at least we will be allowed to laugh when we are reunited on the other side . It would never be Heaven if it was so serious that all we did was sit on cold clouds and play spiritual songs on our harps. A nun featured in another picture, given to a child sitter. The girl recognised her as a teacher from her school. "I didn't like her much," she said. "She hit me with a ruler one day!" Children are the most rewarding of sitters. How delightfully encouraging it was to see one child almost jumping up and down with excitement as she recognised a portrait. "It's Gramps, it's Gramps!" she said excitedly to her mother. One delightful little boy who loved to come to me for pictures during his school holidays always brought me one of his own artistic efforts as a gift, not perhaps of academic standard, but drawn and given with so much love. I still have them all.

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Perhaps the most unusual response to a drawing came from a child during my trip to America in May, 1983. A Jewish family came for a group sitting-mother, father, and young daughter, but their seven-year-old son was not present. He was late home from a football match . Relatives were portrayed for the parents and daughter, and as young Jacob had still not arrived home I attempted to draw for him by making a contact with something belonging to him. I used his gloves as a psychometric link. A young dark-haired boy wearing thick spectacles was portrayed, impressing me that he was acting as Jacob's helper. He was also Jewish, having died in one of Hitler's gas chambers during the war years. His name eluded me. Was it Isaac? Not quite-then the father gave me.the Hebrew version, Yizhak, which I still can't pronounce. Jacob's spiritual name was this Hebrew version of Isaac. A few minutes later Jacob came rushing in, a sturdy lad in American football gear, totally different from the boy in the drawing. On seeing the picture he exclaimed nonchalantly, "That's me. That's how I look when I don't want to be me." We all stared at him in surprise, and he added to it by saying, "When I want to be different I pretend I'm like that, with black hair and spectacles." The spirit child's influence was apparently sufficiently strong to blend with his little earth friend. It was, I felt, a very good influence, bringing a calmer, gentler personality to a rather over active child. A notable feature of my work is that I frequently draw portraits of children who have grown up in the spirit world. One reason for receiving so many of these may be that my own brother, who would have been six years older than I, died when he was miscarried after my mother's six-month pregnancy. He was one of the very first communicators who returned to me through another medium, and I argued very strongly with the medium that I did not have a brother, not realising then how children grow up, however young they were when they passed. From the moment of conception the spirit is linked to the body and the astral. Even if the physical body is discarded, the astral continues to grow in the other world. The interesting aspect is that the child grows to look just as it would have done on earth if healthy and perfect, so we receive

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strong family likenesses which are the identifying factors of these children. My brother works with me a great deal, and gives other spirit children encouragement to manifest. Naturally, it is never really possible to do justice to children who have grown in the other world. They have a glory about them which is quite ethereal-a beautiful translucent quality which cannot be interpreted in earthly artists' materials, but we receive something resembling their likenesses. Usually they show themselves at the age they have grown to, but when they reach the age of 20 or 25 they seem to stop growing, just as a person on earth stops growing. The difference is that they do not begin to age, so even my brother, who would now be over sixty, looks about thirty. A lady who came to the church at Weston-super-Mare received three portraits of her son at three different stages. He had passed as a very young child, and when she came for her first sitting l depicted him as a baby, as she knew him when he actually died . Seven or eight years later at the same church she came for another sitting. She said nothing about having been to me before, and certainly I did not recall who she was, or the drawings done for her so many years previously. I drew a portrait of the boy aged about ten. Always so snowed under with sitters l hardly ever remember them, often not even seeing their faces as l am drawing. Yet when this same lady returned for a third time, again after a gap of several years, I drew a portrait of her son in his teens. It was only then that she told me of the earlier pictures, which all matched perfectly! They were unmistakably the same boy, a little older on each occasion. One recipient had two portraits given to her at the same time, both of her grandson who had passed at birth. One portrait was of him at a very young age, and the other showed him as he had grown up. The picture of him as a child almost exactly matched a portrait which had been painted of his mother when she was a child. The boy wanted to show the family likeness, so had given me a picture of himself at a similar age to his mother, when she had her portrait painted. It is always interesting to hear sitters' comments when I draw spirit children. Frequently they remark upon a resemblance to another brother or sister, and on occasions it is almost an identical portrait of a living brother or sister. One girl received a portrait

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which was literally a picture of herself, yet the girl in the spirit world said she was her sister. My sitter denied this, saying she never had a sister. Convinced that she had, I suggested she asked her parents. She reluctantly said she would ask her mother. A few weeks later she returned, explaining that the answer had been quite shattering. Her mother had admitted that there had been a twin sister, which accounted for the phenomenal likeness. The twin had died at birth, and because the mother felt her surviving daughter might miss her twin, or develop a complex about it, she decided never to tell her. She was therefore more than a little startled when her daughter arrived home with the portrait and the awkward question. Twins also featured in another strange story. Miss Okoli-ljoma is a frequent visitor to my sessions at Belgrave Square. She is a tall, rather beautiful Nigerian lady who has over the years received portraits of a number of relatives as well as one or two of her spiritual guides. On one occasion she had a drawing of a Scotsman, whom she could not accept. Her family was pure African, she assured me a little indignantly, while he, equally adamantly , insisted he was "family" . "Take him home," I advised. "Ask your relatives." She agreed to do so. Later she revealed she had not done this, confident that I was wrong, and it was not worth the trouble. While in Nigeria she was visiting her step-mother for tea, when suddenly a photograph on the wall caught her eye. Closer inspection revealed ... yes, the Scotsman! "Who is he?" she enquired incredulously, to be informed that he was her step-mother's grandfather. One picture she had taken with her was a drawing I did for her of a small African boy. He was, I felt, a child who had quite recently been miscarried and was now growing in the spirit world. Again we seemed to be off-course. Her sister-in-law was expecting a baby soon. Could this possibly be a prediction of the child who was coming? It seemed to be the answer, but several months later when she saw her new nephew, the likeness was obvious. Then she learned that her sister-in-law had been pregnant with twins . One baby had indeed miscarried, but not his twin, who somehow survived, and at the time she sent me his photograph, to compare with my drawing, he was about six months old.

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The nephew (opposite) of Miss Okli-ljoma, who I felt had miscarried before being born, and was growing in spirit. The photograph is of his surviving twin brother.

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I have discovered that it is possible to draw children yet to come into the world. While visiting Mr. and Mrs. Day, of Herne Bay, a small boy of about four years old was portrayed fQr Mrs. Day, whose daughter was awaiting the birth of her child. This was probably her grandson to come, I suggested to Mrs. Day, and indeed, it turned out to be so. At two years of age he is now beginning to develop a remarkably strong resemblance to his "prebirth" portrait, his proud grandfather informed me recently. The following letter tells a similar story, with an interesting "twist". It comes from Mr. Colin Bower, of Torquay, who wrote it in 1977. "Way back in 1968 I came to see you for a private sittil}g. The first picture you drew was quite obviously my grandfather. The second picture was equally as obvious, and was my grandmother. The third picture had me stumped . You drew a young boy, about four or five years of age, in profile, looking from right to left. These last facts are very important to the tale. "At that time I was single, although had been previously married. One night I awoke at about three in the morning, and at the foot of the bed was the perfect profile, in gold, of the boy you had drawn for me. However, whereas in your picture he was looking from right to left, the boy at the foot of the bed was looking from left to right. After about twenty seconds, the profile faded away. "About a year later I moved to Devon, met my wife, and as is the way of things, she became pregnant. About two weeks from the expected time of birth, Judith was told by doctors that the baby was 'around the wrong way'. "Immediately I remembered the picture of the boy you had drawn, and how he had 'turned'. I told Judith not to worry, that the baby would turn, and that she was carrying a boy. The following week Judith went for examination and came out much relieved, having learned that during the past few days the baby had turned to the correct position. "At the birth there were no complications, and the baby was a boy. As a further matter of interest, my son's profile looks very much like your picture." Letters frequently bring fascinating details of work completed months or even years earlier, and like the previous one, I feel that

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this one from a white South African sitter speaks for itself. It is perhaps one of my favourite stories, and comes from Mrs. Dorothy Balladan, of Durban: "When you last did portraits for me, one of them was of a young Zulu African girl, whom you thought could belong to someone in my employ. I had my suspicions it would be my houseboy, and how right this was. "On my return home I could see the great likeness between him and the portrait-indeed, he even saw it himself. He recognised his sister who had passed over at the age of twelve, some years ago. He was absolutely delighted with the picture, and very awed by the fact that someone who did not live in South Africa could be so correct in drawing a Zulu girl! In South Africa there are many tribes all with their own features. "Shortly after this, his mother arrived from the country-a typical rural African woman knowing nothing of modern society and very steeped in Zulu customs. I said nothing, but simply held out the portrait to her. Her reaction was alarming-covering her face with her hands she began the typical African chant of sorrow. "When finally I could calm her I asked why she was doing this, and with eyes that literally stood out of her head in utter amazement she said, 'Because I look at the face of my piccanin, but she is dead.' We could not make her understand how this came about, but Shadrach now has his sister's picture proudly hanging on the wall of his room. He is a great churchman, and understands the beliefs of Spiritualism-in fact in his own way, teaches these beliefs. He wished to thank you for this 'present from God' which he had dreamed of, and says to please tell you that not only has this portrait made him happy, but his sister as well. "So your gift from Spirit reaches out to darkest Africa, and brings joy and light as well.'' One strange picture I never understood was a lovely portrait of a boy with black wavy hair and very distinctive features . I asked my sitter if she had a son who had passed. No, it was one of the great sorrows of her life that she was unable to have children, she told me. Nor had she ever had a miscarriage. She commented that the drawing was incredibly like her husband, probably as he looked when he was a baby. It was, she said, the child she had always wanted-a son who looked exactly

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like her husband. At the end of the evening she asked me if I would mind waiting to meet him, as he was coming to collect her in the car. It was true; the resemblance was quite remarkable, and the portrait could have been a childhood picture of him. Was it a thought form they had created? Was it really a child who could not come into the earth world? The woman went aw:iy, happily convinced that when she went to the next world she would still have a son there waiting for her. For me there is still a large question mark over this incident. The quotation about the mills of God grinding slowly is perhaps particularly applicable to psychic art, in that portraits have often taken long and devious routes before finding the correct recipient. It is quite extraordinary how in most instances they eventually reach the right destination, perhaps having been unrecognised for months or even years. One portrait took fifteen years before it was positively identified, and it happend in a way which makes one wonder whether there is any such thing as coincidence. Some fifteen years ago I drew a postal portrait for Mrs. Margaret Hansford, who now lives in Hemet Hempstead. The drawing was of a young boy, and I received the impression that he had loved trains. I sensed him near a railway line, and there had been an accident. Among the many portraits I did for Margaret, she had never identified this young boy. Recently I received a letter from Mrs. Joan Saville, who was visiting this country from Australia. She was new to Spiritualism, and had attended the Hayes Symposium, where for the first time she had met Margaret Hansford and her husband George, and made friends with them. "After meeting you at the Hayes Symposium, I spent a few days at Hemet Hempstead with my new friends George and Margaret Hansford," she wrote. Then followed this amazing story. While at the Hansfords, they had produced their collection of my old drawings to show her. Suddenly she spotted the portrait of the young boy and said without hesitation, "But that's my brother!" She went on to tell them how he had loved trains. One day when she was a little girl she was looking after her brother. He had wandered away from her on to the railway line, where he had been killed on the level crossing. At the time she was telling this story to the Hansfords she had not read the notes I had written on the back of

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the portrait all those years ago. She turned it over and could hardly believe her eyes as she read: "There was an accident, and he died young. He loved trains, and I saw him standing by a railway line." Joan Saville had to come all the way from Australia to end up in that house in Heme! Hempstead, where she saw a fifteen-year-old portrait of her brother, who had passed to Spirit in 1939. It was almost as though the little boy knew in advance that one day she would be there to see it. I would have doubted the identification if it had not been for the reference to the trains on the back of the drawing. Probably the child's last memory was of standing by the railway. Is all our life planned? Some of our spirit friends seem to know a lot about our futures, where we will be, and what we will be doing many years ahead.

Chapter Ten

During the period of my father's illness in 1978 I was asked to do a television recording for Kevin Arnett, a young man from Australia's Channel 9 in Melbourne. He had come for a sitting, which impressed him, although I would not have called it brilliant, but there was an. extremely good portrait of his uncle. He had previously had a sitting with medium Doris Stokes, and the same uncle had communicated. Kevin returned to Australia with the films, which were of great interest to Australian viewers. Later when he came back to England he asked if there was any chance of my going to his country to demonstrate on a TV programme, but it was quite impossible for me to leave my father at that time. He also approached Doris Stokes, who went, and had a great success on Australian television. It was to be about three years before I was able to go myself. My very first meeting with Doris was in a hospital in St. Anne's, Lancashire, where she was recovering from surgery. Tom and I were working in that part of the country, and Tom was giving Doris healing during our visit. She asked him if she could come and do some work at the SAGB when she was better. It was something she was very anxious to do. Tom agreed, and Doris told me she planned to come and live in London when she had recuperated because she wanted to become a top medium and Spiritualist of the Year. Remembering how ill she looked at the time, I am amazed at how she surmounted everything and achieved her ambition. I had promised George Eldred of the Victoria Spiritualist Union that I would go when circumstances permitted, and in 1980 I set off on my longest trip, to spend six weeks "Down Under". Jet lag hit me badly after the 28 hour flight, but when acclimatised, work proceeded happily in Melbourne and Sydney. The local airlines

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were on strike, and I had to travel from Melbourne to Sydney by road making the 600 mile journey by night when it was cooler. The Australians were very receptive audiences. A warm and friendly people, they made me feel completely at home. It was very surprising therefore, to find that one meeting was the hardest in all my years of experience. Given in a brand new university, where the buildings were of grey concrete, it made me wonder if I was a medium at all. George Eldred, president of the Victoria Spiritualist Union, had worked with me on several of the larger demonstrations and was a good, experienced medium. We both realised on entering the university theatre that there were problems. Everything was dead, and there was no atmosphere at all. Certainly there was no feeling of living spirit. Somehow I did manage to give a demonstration, but George had to admit that he was up against a blank wall. To add to our problems we were demonstrating before a young audience who had very few relatives whom they remembered who had passed to spirit. Most of their ancestry which came from Europe was not familiar to them, so the combination of circumstances did not make for a glorious success. It is strange how a building, if it is sterile and "dead", can completely destroy the lines of spiritual communication. The sensation is rather like driving under a bridge while listening to the car radio-the reception suddenly is nil. Most of my work was confined to some of the smaller Spiritualist Churches in Melbourne, and I thoroughly enjoyed the personal contact made with local Spiritualists. The largest audience I had was doubtless formed by viewers of the Don Lane Show, a popular television programme in Australia . This was an interesting experience because as the programme planners did not know my work they were obviously not going to give me much of their time. I was confined to a ten minute interview during which I was to show a few drawings with comparative photographs which I had taken along, and give a brief demonstration. I had precisely five minutes in which to give my one drawing and message. The system was that I should draw with a couple of cameras peering over my shoulder, and the drawing emerged on a large monitor screen for the audience to watch. I could not see the audience because they were in complete darkness, so I had no idea

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who I was talking to. In my mind I anxiously asked my spirit helpers to give me something positive and clear. Immediately I was aware of a young man, whom I began to sketch rapidly. He had, I felt, only recently passed in what appeared to be a car accident, but I was not absolutely sure. In front of me I was aware of something shining which he seemed to have gone through. Was it glass or was it water? I could not clarify this, but explained to the audience what I was receiving, adding that I thought the young man had been one of four brothers, and gave one or two names. No one answered . "He is anxious about his father's health," I went on. "His father is still suffering a feeling of shock at the loss of his son.'' There was complete silence. I sat there, wondering what was going to happen, and Don Lane murmured to the audience, "Come on, who knows about this?" He was very charming, and obviously anxious for the whole thing to succeed. "Come on," I silently echoed to my spirit friends. Then suddenly I received a name. "Who in the audience is called Clive?" I asked boldly. After a moment's silence a voice from the darkness of the audience said, "Me." The spotlight turned on a gentleman in the middle of the theatre. "I'm Clive," he announced, adding, "But I don't believe in all this." I experienced a sense of relief that we had found Clive, but he was obviously not going to be very co-operative. "Do you know who this is?" I asked him. "Oh, yes," came the nonchalant reply. Nothing else. I went on to give more evidence about the young man, which was received in silence, Clive being very reluctant to depart from his statement that he "didn't believe in all this". Eventually I enquired what had happened to the young man in the portrait. "He was in a car, and the car went into the river." Obviously then, the water and the glass were both accurate. The boy, said Clive, was a neighbour's son. He then felt he had said too much because again he muttered, "I don't believe in all this, you know. I just don't believe in it." I hope he was able to take home the picture to the boy's parents to prove to them that their son lived on. By this time my ten minutes were up, and I was hastily ushered from the studio to be followed on the programme by a man carrying a bottle, who was

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going to talk about local spring water. I think the audience would have preferred more drawings! A brief radio or television appearance can do wonders for a medium's popularity, whether the mediumship is good or bad, and the public meeting we took immediately after the Don Lane Show was packed out, whereas the one before it had been about half full. The Victoria Spiritualist Union had paid my large fare to Australia, so sufficient work had to be done to recoup it for them, plus earn a little for myself. The disadvantage of very distant trips is that one has to stay for lengthy periods in order to earn enough money to cover costs, unless one is going to charge enormous fees, which some mediums are prone to do. Although I am a great believer in mediums being paid a living wage, there is a difference between that and charging huge fees which can completely price many sitters out of the market. Another programme I enjoyed making was for a charming team from Japanese TV in 1979. The producer had also been to see me during the period when my father was ill, asking if I would care to go to Japan and be in his programme. It was quite impossible to leave my father, much as I should have loved to visit the beautiful Land of the Rising Sun, but a couple of years later the producer returned to England arid asked if he could make the recording here. It was only a few weeks after my father's passing. None of the camera team spoke any English, but they brought a .translator with them. They chattered in Japanese as they trotted round the house, working out which was the best room to use. They liked the front room because of the lattice windows. Before beginning the filming they had been intrigued by the outside-"typically English", they felt, with its leaded lights. It was in the middle of a very cold January and snowing quite hard, so to them the house must have looked very picturesque in its white shroud. I'm sure the neighbours must have been fascinated at the sight of two little Japanese cameramen filming the house, and members of their team getting out of their car and walking up to my front door. Eventually we started filming, and I found them delightful. As usual, I did a drawing for each member of the team, including the producer. The first portrait for him was of an elderly gentleman whom I felt was a grandfather. He was a beautiful spiritual man,

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The mother of the Japanese TV producer. Mrs. Nakaoka had passed to Spirit a few weeks previously. I was aware of my father, who had also recently passed, coming to help her as I sketched her.

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and his grandson explained that he had been a Shinto priest and a mystic. He brought with him a great sense of spiritual harmony. But the most impressive picture of all was of the producer's mother . I became aware of my father's presence, and he ushered her forward so that I was able to draw her-not actually seeing her, but being very aware of her personality and her features . She, like my father, had passed a few weeks earlier. Two years later the producer came back to do some more filming, bringing the photographs he felt I should see. Although he did not speak any English, it was obvious that he was excited and thrilled with his portraits. His eyes filled with tears, and he took off his large horn-rimmed spectacles to wipe them while the cameramen went on filming. Whether they showed this scene or not · I don't know, but it would have made impressive and dramatic viewing . I hope they did not show the scene during which, as I concentrated, the silence was punctuated by a resounding bang. It was not some psychic phenomenon, simply that one of the lights had exploded! The glass covering on one of the extremely hot lamps suddenly shattered, and bits flew all over the room. Everyone dashed frantically around, trying to remove the pieces of hot glass before they scorched the carpets. After the excitement subsided we went back to our drawings, and much to my surprise I had not lost the link with my communicators. The Japanese team took infinite care with their preparations and presentation, very anxious to portray everything fairly, which is perhaps more than can be said for the BBC when they put together a programme on psychic phenomena, introduced by Angela Rippon. Meant to be what they euphemistically termed "an investigation", it was a hotch-potch of ridiculously unrelated subjects, leaping chaotically from card-reading and witchcraft to a haunted house in New York, and even taking in fortune-telling on the end of the pier. Amid all this, and lumped together as part of it, was Spiritualism. The mediums who took part were very disappointed, and some said they would never again have anything to do with television. Despite everything, I was amused at the Guardian critic's comment the following day. She described the programme as "a train hooting through a dark tunnel without even

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stopping at the stations", and that Angela Rippon had not given "the lunatic fringe, who certainly add a colourful edge to life, a chance." But, added the critic, she would have liked to see "a little more of Doris and Coral, the Hinge and Bracket of the Other World." When I am wearing my little half-specs, sitting at the drawing board, with Doris Collins pacing up and down giving messages, perhaps we do look a bit like Hinge and Bracket! Such bad experiences of filming make one wary, so when producer Michael Pakleppa first approached me about making a documentary for German television I was not exactly enthusiastic. Never again was I going to do anything but a live show. If that came out badly it was my own fault, not that of the cutting room. But my husband Tom was persuasive. Michael had completed a beautiful film about his healing and would, he felt, produce an equally sympathetic one about my drawing. Michael was charming and sincere, a tall, slim young man with wide eyes behind large horn-rimmed spectacles, and something of the wistful, waif-like quality which had attracted me to little Freddie in the infant class at school. Yes, I would make the film. The two weeks filming during 1981 were quite a revelation. Never had I anticipated how much work would be necessary for a one hour programme. The first week was spent in England, beginning with a double demonstration at Caxton Hall, partnered by Gordon Higginson. How relevant was Michael's comment that he could cut the film to make our demonstration appear just as good or bad as he wished! Luckily, things went well, added to which he was sympathetic to our beliefs, which was a great help. Next came hours of filming at my home, sittings for Michael and the crew, shots of my everyday world, with me making tea, mowing the lawn, sitting doing my crochet ... all to show that mediums are quite ordinary, normal people. Much to my surprise Michael wished to include some spiritual philosophy, quite a change from most producers, who simply want the drama of messages and phenomena. It all took a very long time, most scenes requiring three or four takes. I was glad I had never wanted to be an actress; it was too much like hard work. They even took a few shots of me riding my bike across Walton bridge, causing a bit of a traffic jam as people kept stopping to see what was going on.

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Then to give an impression of my travels we spent a day wandering around London and its railway stations. I walked out of one Underground station about six times before we had it to the cameraman's liking. Buses, cars and people got in the way, but eventually it was completed. Filming was then transferred to Munich for most of the sittings, plus many more travelling shots. Unfortunately, the airport would not give us permission to film there because of a current terrorist scare, and a great deal of extra security. During the course of filming one of the drawings which thrilled Michael was of his Aunt Clara. She was a delightful large lady with the ability to make beautiful cakes. I could almost taste them. There they were, with all their sticky tops and fancy trimmings, smelling delicious-almost reality under my nose. Michael remembered her very well, but one picture which completely puzzled him was of a gentleman with a handlebar moustache. On each occasion I had drawn him-and I had drawn him twice with a six-month gap-I had given the name of Lewis. He gave the impression that he had damaged a leg and had a slight limp. One thing I was acutely aware of was his attention to timing. Everything had to be absolutely on time. Michael had no idea who he was, but went off with the pictures and promised to let me know if he made any sense of them . Next day he went to visit Tom Chantrell, a London graphic artist who did the posters for Star Wars and who was doing some work for Michael. He took along my drawings to show Tom, as he thought he may be interested from an artistic viewpoint. When he produced the gentleman with the handlebar moustache Tom said in astonishment, "But that's my father!" It seemed unbelievable that the picture should find its way to Tom by this means, but it often happens that psychic portraits, by the most devious means, find their way to the correct recipients. "But who is Lewis?" asked Michael, mentioning the name given with the picture. "Lewis was his partner. He was in show business." I had already told Michael something had been conveyed to me about music, so this made sense. "He used to be a trapeze artist," explained Tom. No wonder timing was of the utmost importance to him!

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Tom's father had given me such an accurate portrait of himself that Tom, a first class portrait artist, commented in the film, "I certainly couldn't draw my father as well as that from memory.'' Although the film has been shown in Germany, British television has been reluctant to deem it suitable. I can only suppose they are afraid of something which shows Spiritualism in a good light. A recent experience which my husband had with ITV convinces me of this. Tom agreed to participate in a programme for Anglia Television called 'The Medicine Men'. It was arranged for a doctor to provide a test tube of living cancer cells, which Tom was to try to "heal", after which they were to be re-examined. When this was done the results were quite remarkable. The whole molecular structure of the cells had changed, a fact to which the doctor testified . This was all filmed, but was this section of the film ever used? Of course not. In the programme as seen by the viewers a doctor inferred that most healing was purely psychosomatic, a conclusion which could not possibly have applied to those cancer cells enclosed in their glass tube. It is sad that progress is impeded by this negative attitude of suspicion, and a reluctance on the part of the media to give a balanced appraisal of Spiritualism, psychic phenomena and healing. "There are more things in Heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy" is one of Shakespeare's many truisms, yet there is an unwillingness to accept or try to understand those aspects of life and so-called death which transit the mundane. For some reason the media prefer to dismiss or debase them, whereas the simple unvarnished truth would make much better and more gripping viewing , listening or reading. Spiritualism is a recognised religion, healing is now being accepted by members of the medical profession as beneficial, yet the media continues to treat the entire psychic field as something subversive. Their attitude has progressed little since the days of the Witchcraft Act, only repealed in 1952, which stamped us all as "rogues and vagabonds". As Tom and I have reached what might for other people be described as "retiring age", there seems little possibility of either of us giving up our work. Recently, another medium gave me a message without knowing my identity. "You are on a roundabout," she told me, "And you never seem to get off. "

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Tom Chantrell in his studio, and the portrait I drew of his father , also photograph taken later in life.

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Her words were absolutely true, but I don't think I really want to get off the roundabout, maybe just slow it down a little sometimes, when it tries to run away with me and there seem to be a million things to do in a short time. But I really love that roundabout, and could not get off and walk away from it. While making the film with Michael Pakleppa he asked me if I had ever wanted to be an actress. The short answer was, "No, never!" My mind went back to childhood days during the period when my father had been a theatre manager. As a small child I had often been backstage, and remember looking up at the glamorous long-legged chorus girls with their sequins and feathers, and seeing the scenery which had looked so impressive from the other side of the footlights. My disappointment was intense when viewing it at close quarters . It was all drab, made up of board, paper, and fading paint. The girls' make-up, heavy and vivid, was equally artificial in close-up. Oh, dear, I thought, they are just ordinary people after all, and nothing is real! I see now that this is a typical Virgoan attitude; everything must be what it seems. But how much of what we take to be life's reality is like the theatre, purely a brittle surface illusion . Have I travelled very far on the road between illusion and truth, I ask myself, often thinking of the words spoken by my husband when discussing my mystical experiences with him. "You have found Truth," he had said. "Now you must work to become it." We all find Truth in our individual ways eventually. All religions teach it, but few of their followers really comprehend what it means. Some seekers use meditation to know themselves, and thereby find the creative life force; the overself; the cosmic consciousness . . . call it what you will, but labels simply cause antagonism. Equally, words create divisions, for truth is a silent knowing, and all dogmas, "isms", and beliefs that our personal way make us specially chosen people only drive us further from spiritual one-ness. Some people, like me, simply find truth through the buffeting which life gives us all. That buffeting can make us bitter and sad, or bring us the indescribable joy of finding reality. But what a long, long road there is ahead before I become one with that truth, a road which for me must be service through my portraits, in this

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incarnation at least. The artist Maurice de la Tour must also be seeking progression through service, but I sympathise with such a brilliant artist having to work through my own limitations. Sometimes I go into the National Gallery and stand looking up at one of his portraits hanging there , feeiing his presence beside me, knowing that he is probably thinking, "Will she ever learn to work to my standards?" Doubtful. Very doubtful! If I live to be ninety, as all astrologers, palmists and seers predict that I will, Maurice and I will never be happy with the quality of the work, certainly from an arti stic point of view. But if only one in a hundred of my clients receives some evidence which helps them to believe there is a life after death, and to know that love is an eternal bond, then I shall feel it has been worthwhile. There are not many psychic artists to share this task, and as publicity increases, so too does the workload, making it unlikely that I will ever get off my roundabout. In this country there is Ivor James and Jean Arnold, and a year ago I met a young promising psychic artist, but at present he does not wish to settle down to thi s type of work. That is understandable, for although it can be exciting and rewarding, it can also be rather pedestrian at times, a constant sea of faces turned out in vast quantities for an ever increasing market. Sometimes I wish I had more time to return to my own drawing, and painting watercolour landscapes which I have always loved, but there is simply not the time to indulge in it now. Fortunately, I have never found psychic art to be boring. When my loved ones have died, or have been reborn into Spirit, as I prefer to put it, the knowledge that one day we will meet again has sustained me through the lonely days which inevitably follow at such a time. Even with the conviction that there is no death, we miss the physical presence. Let us not weep for ourselves, for surely that is what we do. Those who have passed are free of the world's suffering. If they know we understand this, how much happier they will be. Those thousands who have returned over the years to be portrayed through my drawings, have provided irrefutable proof that life goes on . As long as there is somebody's picture waiting to be drawn, I will continue to be used as a channel for such communication between this world and the next. This was the path mapped out for me. It is a path I tread with love, and a great sense of privilege that I was chosen to do so.

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Chapter Eleven

It was 1984, and I found myself heading far too rapidly towards my

sixtieth birthday. It wasn't something I had allowed myself to think about, but the Department of Health and Social Security did not share my reluctance to accept that I was becoming of pensionable age, and kindly wrote to enquire whether retirement was a possibility . Retirement? Having completed a book, analysing the previous 60 years in the process, I realised there was still much to be done, and putting my feet up for the rest of my life did not seem a feasible idea. Various pathways stretched far ahead. Someone, somewhere, was always writing or telephoning, asking me to go here, there, and everywhere. And I do enjoy my work. My only problem was wondering whether it was still good enough after 35 years . Time has sped rapidly since then. Does it really go faster as one grows older? In spite of my good intentions to cut down on work, I have been busier than ever. I have received attractive invitations to other countries, but not all of them could be crammed into my timetable. There was a long-standing invitation to visit South Africa, and eventually I decided to go with Mary Duffy , a medium with whom I always enjoy demonstrating. Mary had been there several times , and said it was a lovely part of the world, where I would like working. How right she was: South Africa proved to be a wonderful country in which to work. For some reason different parts of the world vary in this respect. Why some areas seem to generate more psychic energy than others I do not know, in spite of listening to many theories on the subject, but this is certainly a fact. Even in Britain I find some areas easier to work in than others, and people in those areas more responsive. In South Africa communication came easily, and I felt so

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well and energetic during my three weeks there that I long to return. There have been invitations, but as always lack of time has held me back. Normally it is not easy to produce spirit links to order, but there requests were met much more frequently than usual. One instance occurred in Port Elizabeth during a public demonstration where Mary and I were working in tandem. The audience accepted various portraits, and the messages that went with them. They were mainly people who had been in the spirit world for some years, so when I began my final sketch, I mentally said to the guides working with me, "Give me a more recent transition." A gentleman's face began to take shape under my hand, and immediately Mary pointed to two ladies near the front of the church, saying, ''This man has only just passed to spirit,'' to which the elder of the two replied, "Yes. That's my husband. His funeral was this week." The other lady, who was his daughter, explained that our chairman at the church had actually conducted the service two days previously. Could I have asked for a better response to my request? But interesting and exciting trips are only a small part of a medium's work, and the many small churches which gave us bookings in our fledgling days also deserve our services when we become well known. Sadly, there are never enough days in the year to fit them all in, and I do feel guilty when I have to decline invitations so frequently. My journeys to give demonstrations were not made easier by the amount of heavy drawing paper I had to carry around. Dragging a couple of large suitcases up and down railway station stairs becomes hard work as the years pass, and I was sure my arms were gradually growing longer! I considered learning to drive. Maybe it was a little late in life, but encouraged by the fact that an older friend was having lessons and progressing quite well, I decided it was worth making a late attempt at becoming a driver. Like most new drivers, I found the first few months a little nerveracking. Constantly travelling to new places to work, finding my way around proved far more difficult than the actual driving, especially when I was coming home in the dark. People gave me directions, but on my return journey I had to read them in reverse order. This could be confusing, and I often went up some very strange roads, frequently wondering where on earth I would find myself at the other end. Spirit guidance never seemed to be readily forthcoming on these occasions.

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I just had to learn to become a good map reader and make sure there was enough petrol in the tank in case I found myself driving off in the wrong direction. At the end of 1989, my Aunt Doris , mother of my dear cousin Mavis, passed into the world of spirit. She was my last aunt. All my mother's family have now departed, and I'm sure are happy to be linked together again. Doris had remarried, and her passing left her elderly husband mourning, although a dedicated Spiritualist. But I was able to give him wonderful comfort a few days later. Just before Doris's funeral I visited Stansted Hall, where Gordon Higginson was giving what was to be his last materialisation demonstration. Several figures communicated. I was in the position right opposite the cabinet, and the very last figure to appear was my Aunt Doris, four days after she had passed into the world of spirit. The bottom half of the face, including the nose, was very distinctive , and I could recognise her quite clearly from this. She only said a few words, assuring me she was all right, and said Hello to Betty Wakeling who was present, and whom she had known during her visits to Stansted many years earlier. Then Gordon's guide told us she was reunited with her first husband, and with Mavis. Two days later I went to her funeral and was able to tell my uncle that Doris had arrived quite safely in the spirit world, and had been able to communicate with me very quickly. This gave my uncle great comfort. Newsapers and magazines, attracted by the unusual nature of my work, often telephone for interviews, and at times these have led to a fascinating series of events, although experience has taught me that reporters frequently write stories which bear little resemblance to what was actually said. There are exceptions, and I have come to know some really reliable writers who are always fair and honest in their reports. When a Sunday Mirror reporter asked for an interview, my first reaction was to refuse, but after a third phonecall I agreed to see her. But trying to produce drawings for her proved to be hopeless. Nothing clear or accurate was coming through. As usual on these occasions, a photographer-in this case Peter Cook-accompanied the reporter, and I suddenly felt impressed to draw for him. I knew he would be a better subject to work with. His great-uncle appeared on my sketch pad, followed by his grandfather, grandmother, and his mother. He confirmed them all, and told the reporter that he had good photographs of them for comparison.

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Photographer Peter Cook's grandfather (left) and great-uncle (right) .

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Peter Cook's grandmother.

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Peter Cook's mother.

But he had come for photographs of me, so I had to pose with my board and pencil poised, pretending to draw. "Make up a bit of a face," he suggested, "just to make it look as though you are actually drawing." I did so, and without really trying produced a good likeness of his wife's grandfather. Later he sent me copies of the drawings, and the photographs which matched them. They were all good likenesses, but no one ever made sense of the pictures I drew for the reporter. Nevertheless, she wrote a very fair article, using two of the photographer's pictures. This article triggered off a great deal of interest from other papers and magazines, local and national. But the most exciting outcome was an invitation to visit Hawaii. It sounded wonderful, and much as I wanted to dash off on the first available plane, I had to explain that my bookings stretched out at least a year ahead. But eventually I did go to Hawaii, and what an interesting trip it proved to be. The people who had invited me were descendants of

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Peter Cook 's wife 's grandfather.

the one-time Royal Family , and the purpose behind their request for my visit was to obtain a picture of their great-great-grandfather. He had supported a Christian church near Honolulu back in the early part of last century. As a chieftain on the island of Oahu , he was in a position to instruct his people to attend church and become Christians, even if they had been quite happy with their own beliefs. A portrait of his was required to hang in the church, but they had no photographs of him, and did not know what he looked like. One member of the family was reading papers in the library one day and spotted, in the Sunday Mirror, the article about my work. He decided this could be the solution. Perhaps, he thought, this lady might provide the required picture, even if she had to travel half way round the world to do so. I promised to try , and luckily, he proved to be a very communicative gentleman. My first awareness of him was when I visited the church. Standing in the graveyard, looking at dozens of tombstones, I found myself

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walking towards the back of one particular stone, knowing instinctively that this was his grave-and it was . During my stay in Hawaii he gave me more than one picture of himself, and I must admit he turned out to be something of a surprisepure Hawaiian in appearance, but dressed in European Victorian clothes,- including a top hat, wing collar and cravat. His family confirmed it to be correct. Later, when I saw paintings of his close relatives, including his cousin the King, the likeness convinced me that I really had been in contact with him. Several other members of the family returned to be drawn, many of them recent as well as those going back into antiquity. In many cases there were matching photographs produced later, and it was very exciting, rather like illustrating a history book. In fact, my sketches of the great-great-grandfather, Gideon Loanui, were used by a local artist to paint a large oil portrait of him, which now hangs in the church. Apart from members of this particular family, there were one or two unexpected communicators. Visiting one family member's house for a dinner party, I admired some beautiful pieces of hand-carved furniture. My hostess explained they had originally been in one of the royal palaces. I had my sketch pad with me , and offered to do a few sketches before we had our meal. They proved to be one or two family members, plus a Victorian Englishman wearing a flat cap and sporting a large moustache . He didn't look as though he was part of the family. I was wondering who he could be, but my hostess stepped in and recognised him immediately. "Oh yes," she smiled. "We used to have an old photograph of him. He was the cabinet-maker who carved these pieces of furniture." Thoughts are real things, and mine must have reached him in spirit, attracting him back to be drawn. Like South Africa, Hawaii is a lovely place to work, and as I was working only when I felt inspired it was considerably easier than taking sittings to a timetable, as we usually have to do. Perhaps the natural beauty of the islands, and the strength generated by mountains and seas, help in some way. Trying to fit our work into set periods must pose problems in the world of spirit, a world where time, as we know it, does not exist. Yes, Hawaii was beautiful, and I was to return there. It was three years later when I made my second visit, on this occasion spending

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most of the time on Maui, a less inhabited island which I found even lovelier. Again various family members in spirit were contacted, but what I found most satisfying was going to view the large oil painting made from my original sketches of the Chief. The artist had achieved a wonderful result, and as I stood gazing at it, I felt sure he was just beside me, assuring me that he too was happy with the final outcome. During the last visit, one very fascinating portrait was produced. My friend, with whom I was staying, asked if there was any chance of producing a portrait of the great sacred queen, Keopuolani. She lived before the time of cameras and photographs, but apparently there was a lot of recorded history about her. Fortunately, at that time I had not read any of it, so there were no preconceived ideas which could affect my drawings. I prefer it this way, as the results cannot earn the accusation of being induced by telepathy. I managed to make what I thought was a link with the legendary queen, but one thing continued to puzzle me. She kept giving me some strange communication about her "shadow", and I could not understand what she meant. But when I mentioned this to my friend Kapi, she knew exactly what it was all about. "Because she was a sacred queen, born from two lines of royalty, no gentleman was allowed to walk on her shadow," she explained. There were many old religious taboos in the Polynesian culture, and one of them was that if a man walked on the queen's shadow he had to be killed. But as she was a kindly lady and did not agree with this extreme penalty, she took the trouble to stay at home during the day, emerging only at night, so nobody had the opportunity to step on her shadow. As a result of these trips, my knowledge of Hawaiian history has greatly expanded, and I feel a tremendous empathy with these lovely people and their islands. There was one sadness during my first trip to Hawaii; my dear 19-year-old cat, Nelson, who was not too well when I left home, passed to spirit in my absence. Tom telephoned to tell me of his transition. Of course we know animals pass to the world of spirit, but we miss them just as we miss our human loved ones. Soon after this, one of our old cats at the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain also died, and my dear friend Netty phoned from Holland to say that she too had lost a dearly loved cat. He was a ginger tabby, one of the largest cats I have ever seen. It was not long before

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they, like humans, confirmed their continued existance in spirit. I was visiting Nottingham a few months later to work with Lee Lacy, a friend and medium who ran a psychic centre there. While chatting together one evening, he suddenly said, "Your father is here, and he has three cats with him." When on earth, my father was a great animal lover, and had a habit of collecting strays and unwanted cats and dogs, so it seems plausible that he would continue to do so in spirit. I just wonder how many he now has! Lee then went on to describe each one in considerable detail. The cat at the SAGB had had his tail amputated, which Lee did not know, and Lee assumed that the cat he could see with my father was a Manx. "That's old Ming from the SAGB," I told him. Lee immediately replied, "But he had a tail." As he had not known about the removal of Ming's tail, I felt this was extremely good evidence. Fortunately, I have some lovely records of Nelson on film. He appeared several times in a German documentary, and managed to get into a number of magazines and television programmes. He became a bit of an Alfred Hitchcock, who made a point of making a fleeting appearance in each of his films. Nelson could never resist a camera performance. Most reporters wanted my big fluffy cream cat to be included, but I'm sure he wasn't the sort of cat they expected . I think most of them thought mediums ought to have black cats because this was what the public image demanded. When I was visiting Finland, a sitter there asked me how my beautiful cat was. I told her about his transition to spirit, and then asked her how she knew anything about him. She explained that she had seen him on television. It had completely slipped my mind that Finnish TV had visited my home to film a couple of years previously and Nelson, determined to make his contribution, had managed to sneak into that documentary as usual. I have seen him once since he passed to spirit, and it was a delightful experience because I discovered that he once again had two beautiful blue eyes. In his earthly life he lost an eye when he was a kitten, which was why we gave him the name of Nelson. Publicity brings an interesting flow of letters from various parts of the world, many relating details of pictures identified long after sittings. The record must be held by one which took over 20 years to be verified.

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A gentleman wrote from the United States, enclosing a copy of a photograph and my matching drawing made some 22 years before of his great-great-great grandfather who had died in 1872. It raises the question of just how long our ancestors continue to take an interest in our welfare. Personally , I frequently receive messages from a lady named Caroline. It was many years before I discovered she was my paternal great-grandmother, who had passed to spirit before my father's birth in 1890. Obviously, she is attracted to me for some reason, and perhaps one day, in this world or the next, I will discover why. During the last few years I have had the pleasure of working with some new and very promising mediums , and was pleasantly surprised to discover how many of them, at their first attempt at a double demonstration, could tune in to the spirit person being drawn , and give convincing evidence. Bill Landis proved to be very popular as a partner, and we were able to make a few overseas trips together. An old acquaintance of mine from Ireland had emigrated to Kentucky and started a psychic centre a few years ago. He had phoned on several occasions-usually at short notice-and asked that I should visit. Always it was impossible. Eventually, time did allow me to go, and I took Bill with me. We attended a seminar at a large hotel in Louisville to which an elderly lady called Anna Mitchell-Hedges brought a crystal skull, a well known Mayan religious artefact. When she was a young girl, travelling with her father, a well-known archaeologist, something sparkling caught her eye while playing on an old Mayan pyramid and it was carefully removed by her father. It proved to be the top half of a carved crystal skull. Further digging unearthed the lower half, and the two parts fitted together perfectly . Many theories have been put forward about its purpose; various people have filmed it and written about it, so it was exciting to be asked to "read" this ancient object. In a way it was like psychometry , and I was surprised that both Bill and I picked up quite a lot of information from the carving. An early Mayan priest came forward to be drawn, stating he was the keeper of the skull. He wore a large golden headdress which at first I took to be golden feathers, but then it seemed like beaten gold. Anna told us that the priests still wear something similar. He gave us some deep spiritual comment and historical facts about his race and .

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its near extinction, largely because of the introduction of the plague brought in by Spanish invaders. But the most interesting aspect of this sitting was when the purpose of the skull was revealed to me, when there seemed to be a ray of sunlight from directly behind me. I had turned the skull so it was immediately facing me, and as we were in a windowless room the shaft of "sunlight" which I saw was obviously given from spirit. The ray struck the forehead of the skull at the crucial angle, and then reflected back through the eye sockets, coming towards me to enter my body just to the right of the heart. Here is the heart chakra, which, when opened like a lotus, brings about the awareness of the Great Universal Consciousness. Again I had experienced the golden light of the Great Spirit within, and realised that the skull had been used centuries ago to initiate young priests into this truth. Our visit proved to be quite successful, and I made a return visit some time later. Bill made several trips to the area, as the demand The drawing that took 22 years to be verified-a gentleman who came through to his great-great-great-grandson, still looking over him since his death in 1872! '

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for his work seems endless. During our second visit to Kentucky, Bill and I were asked to take part in a programme for NBC TV network. I had earlier made part of the programme at home in England. We spent at least ten hours filming in my home, and another four or five in America, only to be told that eventually a fifteen-minute programme would be shown in a series called "Unsolved Mysteries". Obviously they classed me as an unsolved mystery. Our demonstration was not as easy as one would have wished, and the audience seemed to be inhibited by the television cameras. They looked scared of the whole procedure, but then they began to relax and respond, and all the pictures were identified. One link I recall clearly was of a young woman trapped in a room during a fire. She led me through her experience, which was terrifying. Several people tried to accept what we were receiving, but could not accept everything which was given. Eventually a young woman spoke up and said her aunt had died in that way at a young age. All the details were known to her, including the contact name Martha, her elder sister, who was a waitress in the hotel where we were giving the demonstration. Our recipient had never known her aunt, but Martha had. As soon as the meeting was over we sent her upstairs to find Martha, who confirmed that the portrait certainly was her aunt. She was able to inform the TV crew that we were correct. The filming included a lengthy interview, plus sittings with several actresses in England, and a re-enactment of Peter Cook's visit to me when he was a photographer for the Sunday Mirror. They took all details of the sitting he had had with me some years previously, and also asked Kay Hunter about her sittings with me. All this took a complete day's filming. When it was added to interviews with people in the States, plus a complete demonstration and an introduction by Robert Stack, cutting the whole thing back to fifteen minutes seemed impossible. The result, however, brought me many appreciative letters. During our off-duty hours in Kentucky, Bill and I were able to attend the Kentucky Derby. Although not a horseracing enthusiast, I found it an interesting experience, but our psychic abilities did not seem to be working too well on that occasion as we failed to back any winners! 1990 was a special year for Spiritualists. The Spiritualist National Union reached its centenary, which meant that many big publicity meetings were arranged, the major one at the large Wembley Conference Centre. Several speakers and a healing demonstration were

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in the programme, which was certainly a lengthy one, but when it was over, everyone felt it had been a great success. Asked by organiser Jean Bassett to take part, I thought I would probably be giving a demonstration with the SNU President, Gordon Higginson, with whom I had worked before . But Gordon was the star turn at the end of the evening, and I was on in the afternoon, so someone else had to be found to work with me. It had to be someone accustomed to working with me, who would not be intimidated by an audience of several thousand. Mary Duffy was also booked for an evening demonstration, so it could not be hear. On several occasions I had worked with Stephen O'Brien, a young Welsh medium, and had found him a very able partner indeed. I suggested he should appear with me, and he came up with some wonderful evidence to back up my pictures. One lady was startled when he suddenly asked her, "What does the Chichester Arms mean to you?" It sounded as though it could be the name of a pub, but this was not the case. She explained exactly what it meant. Just before his passing, her husband, who had been a heraldry expert, had been researching the Chichester coat of arms. Gordon Higginson and Mary Duffy were, of course, in top form in the evening, and we all felt it had been an extremely enjoyable day. It reminded me of the large meetings we used to hold years ago, at the Royal Albert and Royal Festival Halls . It is easier to work with thousands of people than with twenty or thirty . Many mediums find it frightening, but I find that the energy generated from such a large gathering makes communication easier, and at Wembley I was amazed at the speed with which the links were made. I don't think it was because of the quality of our mediumship so much as the love and energy coming from the large audience, which could have made any medium feel good. Large meetings always create requests for more sittings and church bookings, most of them impossible to fulfill because I am usually booked two years ahead, and 1990 was as crammed as any other year. It was also a year when I rashly allowed myself too much publicity. This is a very easy trap to fall into, and can bring its own problems, although the exposure is all very pleasant at the time. Bella magazine published an article on me, and the avalanche of letters it produced was astonishing. The world seems to be full of sad souls, desperately seeking confirmation that their loved ones are still

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alive. Many of these seekers never even realise that there is such a thing as a Spiritualist Church which they can attend. Then when Thames Television produced a series called 'Stories in the Night' , I agreed to be included, largely because the half-hour programmes were not going to be cut, so what we said could not be distorted by shrewd editing. Nick Stuart, the presenter, proved to be an unbiased young man and gave us all a fair opportunity to put our case. We had someone in each programme to argue against the case for Spiritualism, healing , astrology, or whatever the topic happened to be. One said that mediums were completely telepathic. Another, arguing with Uri Geller, said there was no such thing as telepathy. My opponent argued that life after death was pure fantasy, so I must be drawing imaginary portraits. As far as some people are concerned, imagination could be thought to be an explanation for my gift, but in countless cases so many unusual details are included which I personally would never anticipate. For example, a grandfather, blind in one eye, came through wearing a blacked-out glass in his spectacles. Then there was the picture drawn as a profile of what I took to be an old man, as there was a flat cap on the head and an impression of a clay pipe being smoked. It was only when the portrait was almost complete, and I found myself drawing the hair in a bun at the back, that I realised I was drawing a lady 's portrait. The sitter confirmed that it was her old granny-not, I think, the first idea which would have sprung to my mind if it had simply been my imagination at work. Even though the series of programmes went out at 1.30 in the morning, it was surprising to realise how many people saw it. We must be a nation of insomniacs or night owls. On the whole , the series was extremely well conducted, and we seemed to come out well instead of being lampooned, which dogs us on most TV programmes . Again there was a flood of letters to be answered, and for months afterwards I found myself writing to people all over the country and even abroad, trying to direct them towards their nearest Spiritualist Church, to a medium or healer who could help. As I no longer do work by post, and most of the letter-writers were a considerable distance away , it was impossible to help them personally. The argument that mediumship is simply a form of telepathy could perhaps be valid, and at times I worry about it being a possibility. But in recent years the complex links have continued to crop up,

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producng evidence sent from spirit as if to dispose of the argument-not giving people exactly what they want, but pictures which need a lot of research before they can be identified , and frequently becoming complicated and exciting stories. There were three such stories, all about young men who passed tragically. On each occasion it was proved-to me at least-that it was not possible for telepathy to have taken place. A handsome man of about 30 years of age started to show himself on my drawing board in Walton Spiritualist Church, and stated firmly to me as I drew him, "I was blown from here to Kingdom Come." No one in the church recognised him at all, but a young woman in the congregation said she would take the portrait as she had known several of the names I had given, and her sister's husband's brother-inlaw had been blown up while serving in the bomb disposal squad 20 years earlier. It was a long shot, but she later returned to confirm that it was indeed this in-law of an in-law, whose ·photograph she had never even seen at the time she saw my portrait. Certainly I could not have received a telepathic image from her. Another young man in the spirit world informed me that drowning was the cause of his passing. There was no response from the congregation in the tiny church at Tolworth. Keith Charles was working with me that evening, and stated in his evidence that the boy's name was Fisher. This generated even blanker looks on the faces in the congregation. I was feeling a bit desperate when Keith suddenly said, "Who has a family named Fisher about five houses along the road?" Much to our relief, some people at the back of the church responded , but were quite sure that the Fishers had never lost a son. Certainly they had never heard about it, but a few days later they were able to inform me that we were correct. Seventeen years earlier the boy had been drowned in Teddington Lock. In this instance there was nobody present in the church who had known this boy had ever existed. The third time was even stranger. A lady had accepted a picture of a young man who had died of leukaemia-her friend's son, she was sure. She had seen several photographs of him, but they had never met. I wanted to call him Paul; she said that was not his name but when I gave her the picture at the end of the meeting I still wanted to call him Paul. I turned out to be quite correct-in a peculiar way. He had at one time been in the French Foreign Legion and wanted to gain his release

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because of ill health, but he was refused perm1ss1on. His mother, anxious for him to come home, arranged to have him smuggled out on a false passport, on which the name was Paul. He and his mother were the only two people who knew this, so it was impossible for this link to have been made through telepathy. Of course, these spectacular pieces of evidence are not run-of-themill, and at times, like all mediums, when I finish a day's work I cannot remember a thing about the sittings. It is just these rather surprising results which remain in one's memory. Portraits of spirit guides do at times make me realise that in most cases we can never prove their accuracy. However, the occasional one is traceable with a little hard work and research, especially those who lived in recent years, like doctors and old mediums who frequently return to help their modern counterparts. Because of the difficulty of proving the authenticity of guides, when I drew a portrait of a Chinese guide for a young man at the SAGB some years ago, it never crossed my mind that there was evidence of his life on earth. The sitter was Martin Young, now a very good medium himself and one with whom I have done some recent demonstrations. Martin had visited me on more than one occasion, travelling down from the Midlands for his sittings. A few relatives had returned to him, but he was then interested in developing his own mediumship, and wanted portraits of his guides. The Chinese gentleman was an elegant character, wearing a beautiful golden coloured robe with red clouds embroidered on it. I have no idea why, but for some reason I suggested Martin should research what class of Mandarin wore such opulent robes . I knew that Mandarins wore robes according to their class, and this one did seem to be a person of some importance. I gave Martin an approximate date for this guide's life on earth. He explained that he had actually heard the Mandarin speaking to him, and had been given his name. Some months later, at his next sitting with me, Martin told me he had ascertained that only Emperors wore robes of gold colour with red clouds, but the records contained no accounts of the Emperor whose name he had been given. He wondered if he was spelling it correctly, and how he could find out. With a flash of inspiration, he decided that his local Chinese restaurant might be the place to discover the answer. One evening, when having dinner there, he asked one of the waiters how to spell the name which he had only heard. The waiter

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wrote it down for him in Chinese and in English, and he discovered the spelling to be quite different from what he had imagined. With the correct version, he was able to identify his guide as the last of the Ming Emperors. Having already made a large coloured portrait of this Emperor, the next step was to find out if there were any records of his life. Martin decided to try the British Museum. A photograph of my drawing was sent along, and I was delighted when Martin told me that one of the curators had written back to tell him it was definitely a true picture of the Emperor in question. The museum went into great detail about him and his robes, which were authentic and correct, and said the information Martin had received saying the Emperor had hanged himself was also correct. We were delighted all this could be proved. It is so rare that one can actually prove the authenticity of a spirit guide. Not all mediums' work is successful-we all have our failures. There are times when I question whether I should retire, but then I am encouraged to continue by these occasionally startlingly evidential results. If, after more than 40 years' work, it has been possible to convince even a few of my clients that their loved ones do still exist somewhere in a different dimension, then I must be satisfied. We live in a world of beauty , so often made ugly by the behaviour of the human race, driven by hostility, greed, and the endless quest for material things. So many people hate those of other nations, other colours, other creeds, going as far as killing each other because of their differences. Religions have been the worst culprits in driving their followers to murder in the name of their spiritual leader or particular god . If only they all understood our knowledge that whatever creed they follow , they will all find themselves in the next existence-even those who have no creed or belief at all and think that bodily death is the end of everything. One indignant Roman Catholic communicator informed her grand-daughter that they had "let the Other Lot in over here' ' . She genuinely believed that only Catholics were going to be allowed into Heaven. Today we still find that although Spiritualism is a legally accepted religion, some Christian sects treat us with great hostility . They would be upset, I'm sure, to meet up with us one day in the next world , as well as with Hindus , Moslems, Buddhists, and people of all beliefs-or no beliefs at all. How sad that we cannot convince them all now that we are all children of one God, whatever label we give

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The young German soldier who had fought with Rudolf Meldau in the Second World War.

Him, and that He made us all eternal. Death is simply a moving on to another stage of life. I have drawn people of so many different creeds and nationalities communicating from spirit. I have drawn English and Australian soldiers who died in the war, fighting against the Germans. Yet I have also drawn a number of German boys, including one for Rudolf Meldau in Frankfurt-a picture of a young German soldier he had fought with during the war. There are no barriers in the spirit world. After forty years working as a medium, I find there are still many questions unanswered, and it may be strange for newcomers to our belief to discover that we do not have absolutely positive answers to everything. Spiritualism has no dogma, as other religions have.

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We can only understand according to our individual level of consciousness. This means that we mediums do not know all the answers, and neither do those who communicate with us from spirit. Once we have vacated our material body, we do not alter as people, and can still be as limited in our outlook as we chose to be on earth. There is no limit to knowledge; its extent is beyond our comprehension. We exist in eternity, and have for ever to learn about ourselves and the great universe of which we are but a minute part. This, for us all, is a wonderful and inspiring thought.

Postscript by Kay Hunter

Pictures and anecdotes . . . Collaborating with Coral Polge on the production of this book brought forth a stream of both. It was a challenge to know which to omit rather than which to include, and always behind the endless validity of her psychic gift lurked my nagging, niggling, journalistic questioning. One wanted to say , "Yes, but .. . " or "Why?" or "How?" Yet how could one begin to query an obvious truth? Having seen her vast collection of psychic portraits, and letters from enthusiastic and satisfied sitters, I longed to have a sitting myself. Although we worked for many months together, she knew nothing of my background or relatives beyond the day-to-day trivialities . We never had time for long mutual conversations, as her busy life took her abr9ad, and on journeys in this country, so our encounters were limited to dealing with her book. We found we had a common love of poetry , we both adored "Alice in Wonderland ", and we both hated Punch and Judy shows. Apart from such apparently trivial affinities we did not discuss my background at all, being much too concerned with writing about hers, and the business in hand. Although anxious to have a sitting with Coral, "just to see what happened", there never seemed to be time. I solved the problem by booking a sitting through the orthodox channels, and presented myself one morning at the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain in Belgrave Square, when we were about halfway through the book. The results were extraordinary to say the least. Coral drew an unmistakable portrait of my father, who she said was a young man when he passed. He was forty-three years old, and passed with the chest condition Coral accurately described. My maternal grandmother was described and beautifully drawn, as were an aunt, and an uncle called Charles (she got the name right), who passed with tuberculosis

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when very young. He portrayed himself as a boy, and said I had a photograph of him at the age at which Coral drew him. This was quite true. He was on an old school photograph as a small boy, clearly recognisable as the little boy she had drawn . A portrait of my great-grandfather, whom I never knew, was verified instantly by an older relative, who was simply handed the drawing without explanation as to where it had come from. Coral had said the link was the name of George, but that was not the name of the man in her drawing . In fact, George was my grandfather, and it was his father's portrait. Any question of pre-knowledge or telepathy was ruled out by a portrait of a lady I did not know. Coral told me there was a link with the name of Louise, and with the London district of Chelsea. The lady in the portrait had been noted for her beautiful skin. "This may not be to do with you," said Coral. "It could be something to do with a friend." "Louise" remained a mystery for a time, until I recalled that the only Louise I had ever heard about was a passing reference made by my friend, Mrs. Susan Gough, of Wortham, Suffolk, to her grandmother, whom she called Grandma Louise. I showed her Coral ' s drawing, and was disappointed when she said it was not Grandma Louise. Had we drawn a blank? Not entirely, because there were links with Chelsea, where her family had lived, and certainly her greatgrandmother had been noted for her beautiful complexion. Wait a minute ... out came the family photographs, and among them a photograph of Susan's great-grandmother. Coral's portrait was a younger, but clearly recognisable version of her. It was an instance of a psychic portrait "finding its way home", and reaching the right recipient in the end, as quoted so often in Coral's book. I had my personal proof, and there were , as the lawyers put it, "no further questions''.

Of further interest . . .

VOICES FROM HEAVEN Communion with Another World STEPHEN 0 'BRIEN in the eagerly awaited sequel to his bestselling Visions of Another World, medium Stephen O'Brien shares with us more of his incredible adventures and psychic experiences. 'Death is an illusion,' says Stephen as he brings knowledge, love and hope from beyond the grave. In his moving and touching autobiography, grieving parents are reunited with their innocent children; wives are joined again with their husbands; even animals survive. His Voices from Heaven also includes startling messages from screen goddess Marilyn Monroe, Lord Olivier and even Earl Louis Mountbatten of Burma. In these fascinating recollections, Stephen crosses time zones and is transported back into previous centuries where he meets people who are long dead. And, privileged not only to visions of the past, he is also given glimpses of the future - among his many predictions he foresees the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster an incredible five years before it happened. But the climax to this remarkable book is a unique set of journeys into the spirit world itself, revealing what awaits us all beyond death. Never failing to comfort his countless thousands of followers through his mammoth media tours, Stephen O'Brien now shares with us all his fascinating Voices from Heaven.

OUT OF MY HANDS My Life and Work as a Healer ALLON BACON Foreword by Katie Boyle Allon Bacon's story is a colourful account of a man whose life as a healer enables him to give a unique insight into the fascinating world of spiritual healing. His early days as a medical student cut short by tuberculosis at the beginning of the Second World War, Allon Bacon was saved by his discovery of powers of self-healing. During the course of his later career, writing and composing for the theatre in Britain and France, he developed his psychic awareness . Coming to accept his own healing powers . and their significance, he later brought them to benefit an increasing number of people in many walks of life and more than one country. A wide variety of public names show up in these pages as they play their brief or longer parts in this intriguing life-story. Leading the reader through the curious world of psychic experience and phenomena in a down-to-earth manner, he tells how healing works, describes several of his own healings and goes on to teach self-healing techniques and meditation. Out of My Hands will uplift the sick, lonely and ailing, inform the successful, fit and strong , and serve as a source of inspiration and guidance for those seeking self-awareness and the power to heal.