Above: Psychic News advertisement from September 11th 1971
The Universalist Church of New York
Recorded: October 15th 1971
“We have a great truth of survival...
yet so many deny it.”
This revealing talk from Leslie Flint
was given inside the beautiful Universalist Church
on Central Park West in New York, almost 50 years ago.
"I have no time for orthodox religion, although I'm speaking to you in a church."
Leslie Flint talks about his Independent Direct Voice mediumship
and explains why some spirit communicators can speak naturally and some cannot.
He explains how, every so often, he has blank sittings, where nothing happens at all
and confirms that 'no medium can call up the dead'.
are lots of people who pretend to be mediums,
Note: This audio was not professionally recorded and although it has been enhanced, it is not to modern standards.
Please read the full transcript below as you listen.
This lecture was recorded on October the 15th 1971 in
the Unitarian Church of New York City.
The Reverend Linn has given me, uh, a remarkable build up. I don’t profess that I can live up to his remarkable statements, but nevertheless, I have come here because I do feel that I have something that I can offer you.
I realise that quite a lot of you here have had experiences of a psychic nature, some of you no doubt are Spiritualists and in consequence there are many things that I shall have to say, uh, which will not be new. So therefore, those of you who have had a lot of experience in this subject, I do ask you to bear with me.
For 40 years I have been demonstrating the reality of life to come, by communication - and in my particular kind of mediumship, by what is termed Independent Direct Voice. Now there are many forms of mediumship, but the Independent Direct Voice is one of the rarest forms and can be, at its best, the most highly evidential - and I think perhaps I should explain what Independent Direct Voice is.
Independent Direct Voice means that you hear a voice which is completely separate and apart from the medium and that that voice will be able, under certain given conditions, be able to give to the recipient of the message evidence, which substantiates the claim of the reality of the communicator.
Now, Independent Direct Voice is not something that just happens, uh, in a simple way...uh, there are many difficulties, there are many complications and even those who have studied this particular form of mediumship, really - when analysed - know very little about how it’s produced.
We have been told that to do this, in other words to communicate with us in an independent direct way, they have to build what they term an 'independent voice box' from a substance, for the want of a better word, which is termed 'ectoplasm'.
Now I, as a medium, do not go into any trance state. I’m completely normal. I hear all that transpires at a séance. I can and often do talk to the voices and it is a fact, as you will perhaps hear a little later, that some of these voices are so strong in their characteristic and individual manner of speech, uh, that it would be impossible to doubt the validity of the voice and the personality that is expressed, that is coming through.
Unfortunately [coughs] the sound system, uh, I regret to say is not too good...um, this is no one’s fault in particular. It’s just one of those things that unfortunately do happen.
But I have brought with me a tape taken at various séances and on this tape you will hear five different communicators, entities...so-called dead...entities, speaking to us in a clear voice, with their own particular way of speech, with their own particular idiosyncrasies of speech. Each individual is a complete character and personality. There is no trace whatsoever of myself as the medium and, as I’ve already said, as a medium I am completely separate and apart from what transpires at a séance.
The voices themselves, of course, obviously, must and do vary considerably, according to the particular person that is endeavouring to communicate. Now, some people are able to come through and speak very naturally and very much, uh, in an evidential manner, but others find great difficulty. We’ve have had many a sitting or séance where very little has transpired. Indeed, there have been times when no one at all could communicate. This of course we must expect.
Mediumship is not something, uh, that you can call upon automatically. There is an old fallacy, uh, by people who do not understand and who perhaps do not like the subject, uh, who say 'oh, well it’s wrong to call up the dead.'
Well, no medium can call up the dead, that’s quite impossible. If a particular person or persons, wishes to come and communicate, if it’s possible for them to so do, so they will contact and they will transmit their message, which can and often is, of an evidential nature. But it would also be very wrong to give the impression that if you sit with a medium, such as myself, that you will automatically receive communication, from a particular person or persons, that you would very much like to have conversation or communications with.
No medium, if he is a medium, um, can predict what will transpire at a particular session or séance. It may well be that on a certain occasion, uh, an individual comes along, uh, with the hope of making a contact will receive a highly evidential, illuminating and comforting and helpful, uh, message or communication.
But I do think it's very, very necessary for everyone who is endeavouring to find out the truth and the reality of this whole subject, to realise that mediumship is a fluctuating, uh, thing in itself. It is very complex. We know very little about it - uh, a medium may have a great deal of experience, but he has no yardstick by which he can measure as to whether he is going to achieve a success or not.
Mediumship is one of those things which, the more you know, in a sense - I’m talking here about the mechanics of mediumship - the more you know, the less you know.
Unfortunately a lot of people are very mislead, uh, by often books that they read about mediums and mediumship and they assume, uh, because they have those certain books, that they are going to receive if they go to a medium (need not necessarily be me)...but they will receive the most marvellous message and the most evidential subject matter and they will receive the proof of survival that they are seeking. This is just not so.
Mediumship is so rare and I’m now talking about mediumship, real mediumship. There are lots of people who refer to themselves as mediums and I can honestly say that if they saw a spirit they’d drop down dead themselves.
Mediums can develop, it is true, but I maintain that mediums, real mediums, are invariably born with this extra ability, gift - call it what you will - which enables them to become instruments, in some sense that they are able to receive messages and to see apparitions.
I had my first psychic experience when I was roughly about six. It was during the First World War. My aunt had lost her husband, he had been killed in France, and I remember vividly the occasion when my aunt came into our kitchen, sat down in the chair crying hopelessly and behind her came a man; a soldier carrying a kit bag. But behind this soldier was another soldier and I realised, as young as I was, that my aunt was mourning for her husband who had been killed in France.
But what struck me as a small child, was that I could see this other soldier going towards my aunt and pulling her coat, trying to attract her attention. And my grandmother, who was also there, was trying to comfort my aunt and it was quite obvious that neither my grandmother or my aunt could see the other soldier. I thought that this was very odd, but I was young of course.
But after the other soldier had gone and the apparition had left, I started to tell my grandmother and my aunt about the other soldier and they just thought I was telling lies, they just thought I was imagining things. But I discovered a little later on, that the soldier that I had seen, the apparition was the husband of my aunt, whom I had never met and I wouldn’t have known him or recognised him if my aunt hadn’t...shown me a photograph of this soldier, who was obviously her husband.
This is just merely one of many, many experiences that I had as a very small child and I began to realise that if I was going to start telling people things that I had seen and experienced, I was going to be in trouble. Because my grandmother, who brought me up, she was under the impression that I was being very naughty and that I was making up these stories and saying these things. And in consequence, as I grew a little older, I learnt to keep my mouth shut, because otherwise I knew that I was going to get a scolding or perhaps even worse.
What I am trying to point out here is, that what I am telling you is really of course nothing new. Ever since time immemorial, man has been seeking the answer to death; is there a life after death? Well all that I can say is, at this point, that if there were to be no life after death, there would be no point in this church or any other church, any denomination, any creed, any dogma.
And so it seems to me, that if we are to seek, we shall find. But the tragedy is, that where are you going to find truth of survival, of life after death? Are you going to find it in the churches? Well, the churches, the varying denominations, the various religions of the world talk glibly - and I use the term 'glibly' - about life to come, death, afterlife.
Do they attempt to prove it? No! I do not know of any church or any denomination or any creed or group of peoples who endeavour to prove survival. They talk about it. They talk about that you will be saved if you are very good and if you accept certain tenets and so on.
Now I am not here to criticise religious bodies, because I’ve known many people and have many friends who are very sincere in their religious beliefs and for some, faith is sufficient. But today we are living in a world where faith is obviously not enough, where man wants conviction, he wants evidence, he wants truth, he wants to know. And there is only one way, as far as I know, in which he can find the reality and the evidence to substantiate the claims made by the various denominations, churches and societies, and what have you.
And yet strangely enough, Spiritualists, invariably, are frowned upon by the Church and if they do admit the possibility of our getting 'in touch', as we put it, with the 'other side', the so-called departed, then we are of the devil. It's extraordinary to me how often very religious people are so familiar with the devil...but this is a fact because they studied it.
I have very strong beliefs, I have very strong convictions. I believe that man will only find peace harmony, brotherhood, when he releases himself from the chains that bind him from creeds and dogmas, from all the things that hold him down and stop him from thinking and becoming and realising. There is only one way you can ever gain knowledge and that is to be free. If you are strangled or held down or roped down to this, that or t’other - whatever it may be - if your mind is not free to search and to find, then that is a tragedy.
I do not suggest that Spiritualism as it is presented today or yesterday, is the complete answer. Spiritualism's record is not a terribly good one. I am not afraid to stand here and say this. I know this. The tragedy is, perhaps, that there are very few mediums who are capable of really demonstrating the reality of life to come. But it's not just that. The whole tragedy seems to me that man, in his searching for truth, cannot always allow himself to be released from preconceived ideas and notions. I see Spiritualism - properly understood and properly applied - as the very basis of all religious teaching.
There is no doubt in my mind that Christ was a great medium. If you say this in some quarters or to some people they think it's sacrilegious, but Christ did many things that are common to mediumship. There was the time when Christ even told a woman’s fortune at the well.
Christ returned from the dead to prove his survival. He appeared to the disciples in the upper room when the doors were locked and he materialised to prove that he had overcome death and even then there were doubts. Even though he appeared to his friends, there was one who doubted and had to prod in his side and to see his hands.
You see, even then in the time of Jesus and as soon after his death, there were doubts and fears. Always man...always man has had doubts and fears in regard to this truth. It doesn’t matter what religion or what particular creed you take, you’ll find that that the basis is 'something after death'.
If there's nothing after death, what is the point? We might as well do exactly what we want to do and live the way we want to live and just go on and not bother. And of course, if we looked into the world as we see it today, we'd realise that very few people do bother. And we have only got to look at the churches and the lack of congregation, and I presume it is the same in America as it is in England.
You can go into a church...I live next door to one and if that man has ten people in his congregation he thinks he’s having a whale of a ball. Why? I can tell you why. The answer is simple. They are no longer proclaiming the truth and the reality of the spirit.
A man doesn’t have to go to an academy to talk about the reality of life to come and the reality of the spirit. He doesn’t have to be a learned man. If he were filled with the spirit he would go to his pulpit and...and he'd claim it, he would give it, he would prove it. This is what we need.
The churches are empty because they...what they are offering is not sufficiently enabling the peoples of the world to feel that they are caught up in a living reality. They are being given things which they have listened to, their parents and their grandparents have listened to, listened to for centuries. But this is not sufficient for an age, where men are at last beginning to think and to analyse and to criticise.
We criticise the young people and, no doubt, in certain aspects there is reason, but I personally admire the young people today. They are no longer going to believe just what their elders want to tell them or what the elders have accepted. They are no longer going to be like sheep, led to the slaughter, backed up by the Church.
Europe has had two world wars and behind those wars, and others, you'll find the Church; militant, sending young innocent men to death. Blessing the guns, blessing the flags and then, having a little service over them after they have been killed. This is the hypocrisy of religion.
I have no time for orthodox religion, although I'm speaking to you in a church. I believe what I believe, because I know it. Not because some parson told me or because of some book I read. I have heard the so-called dead speak and I know that that which I hear is true.
I know that some of things I may say or have already said, must, by their very nature, offend some people. If I offend, then I am very sorry. But if you want me to speak the truth, and I can only say obviously the truth as I see it, which therefore means that I can [unintelligible] be wrong, I am not perfect. But I do know that the only thing that is going to save this world from disaster is the true realisation of the power of the spirit, which can manifest itself in many ways, it is true.
But if we can release man from fear, if we can give to man the reality of the power that only spirit...and we can make it clear and decisive and give him the initiative to search and to seek and to find for himself the reality of the power of the spirit - and he can be convinced that this life is, as it were, but a training ground...and this is all it is, this is only one small minute particle of time in which we live. This is only a very small aspect of ourselves. This is not the 'be all and the end all'.
This is the tragedy of man; that he is born into this world and he must leave this world. And the average individual is more concerned and only, indeed in most instances, concerned with 'what am I going to amass while I am here in this world?' 'How successful am I going to be?' and 'shall I be able to have this and shall I be able to do this?' And it seems to me that the tragedy of so many people is, 'how much money am I going to have in the bank?' But he can’t take it with him.
What you should be amassing in this life is your character and your personality. This is the only thing that you can take with you when this body ceases to function. And so it seems to me that so many of us are running after the wrong things. We have the wrong values, we have no balance.
am not suggesting that we should not live this life to the full. I
believe and I know that we came here for a purpose and that this life
it can and should be very beautiful. But was it not Christ who said
‘render unto the things to Caesar, the things that are Caesar's,
and unto God the things that are God's'?
In other words, it is as if the coin of our lives, we are part spirit and we are part flesh. And if we can live together in harmony; that is, the part of us that is indestructible and that of us which is the physical in which we have to inhabit this 'house' which we call our body - if we can realise that we have within ourselves an inner awareness, an inner consciousness, that we are spiritual beings whilst yet in flesh, spiritual beings in embryo, that we can overcome many, many things if only we will understand ourselves.
We have within ourselves a tremendous possibility of realisation, but very few people, it seems to me, realise what this means. Yet this is the tragedy that I feel that so very few people; well-meaning; kind; well-disposed; church goers, they don’t seem to have caught this reality of the spirit. So much is said about the spirit in orthodox religions, but nothing or very little, it seems to me, is ever done about developing it or understanding it.
I mean, psychic gifts, spiritual faculties - these things are normal, these things are natural, they are not odd things or weird things or strange things. A medium is a person who is no different to any other person, other than the fact that he has evolved and developed, to some extent, his inner self and his facilities and sensitivities of spiritual realisation. And that doesn’t necessarily mean to say that he is any better spiritually. This is another fallacy.
Some Spiritualists - and I count myself as one of them in a sense, although I don’t like 'isms' of any kind - the point is, that we are all, within ourselves, capable of releasing the aspect of self which is indestructible, while yet in the physical body. But the point is, that many people who realise and should know of these things in orthodoxy have never yet, so far as I know, demonstrated it.
How marvellous it would be if in a church like this - a beautiful, magnificent building - a man gets onto this pulpit, not reading out of a book or some lecture that was prepared for him months ahead or by some organisation that sends them out every month in the past - but he stood up there and he proclaimed the truth of survival, that he was, as it were, taken over.
We are told by Saint Paul to test the spirits and see if they be of God. How can you test the spirits if you don’t accept them, if you reject them, if you say it's an evil or it's of the devil, you should have nothing to do with it? How can you test the spirits if you don’t know anything about them? Or if you think it’s wrong to do it or that perhaps it would be unwise or if you did or if people that you know do, that it must be wrong?
Of course you can test the spirits. I’ve tested the spirits practically every day of my life and very rarely do I find them wanting. That doesn’t mean to say that there are not times when they are not able to communicate or when they do, perhaps they do not supply the kind of evidence that certain persons or people would like to get.
There are so many aspects to this whole subject, that one could carry on for hours. But what I want to get over, more than anything else, is not just myself as a medium - I am one of many and in a sense, perhaps I’m one of few. I just feel that if only humanity could see the reality of the spirits and try to bring from within one's self the realisation of this and develop these powers, these faculties, which are nor...normal, natural.
We are told all about the different gifts by Saint Paul; the gift of tongues, etc. These things are all in the Bible. In fact, if you took out of the Bible all the spiritual and psychic things that happen to various people, you wouldn’t have much left in the Bible. Th...th...this is the extraordinary thing, the...the churches and the religious groups and organisations so condemn that which we try to prove. This I...I find absolutely impossible to...to understand that...that here we have a great truth of survival; life after death, communication, entities from the 'other side' who will come back to us, to help us, to guide us, to uplift us, to inspire us - and so many deny it.
I said earlier that in Spiritualism there are many aspects which I personally, and I’m sure many sincere people, feel very sad about and that is, this tendency among mediums to lower their dignity as human beings and to lower their gifts, spirit gifts, to pander to the mundane and the material.
There are three, I won’t mention names, there are three well-known English mediums, two of them are very great friends of mine, who have wonderful, wonderful gifts and have comforted hundreds and hundreds of people who mourn; given comfort, given new hope, new understanding - indeed, saved some from suicide. They have done wonderful work.
But now, because they suddenly realise that by coming to America, your country, coming to America they can earn an enormous amount of money in dollars, by prostituting themselves and their gifts. Instead of wanting to serve the churches, to uplift humanity to comfort those who mourn - which is our job - they suddenly realise that they can come to America and other countries, no doubt, and they can earn, what to most of us would be, a small fortune.
This is the tragedy; lowering the standards of their work of spirit, to tell fortunes under the guise, if you please, under the guise of E.S.P. There is so much nonsense talked in Spiritualism, that I am almost ashamed to call myself a Spiritualist.
I believe in the reality of life to come. I know that communication is a reality - it is not a possibility, it is a reality - and that mediums can be used and developed and they can be of great service for mankind. And as I've said earlier, Spiritualism, properly understood, properly applied, could save the world and, to my way of thinking, I believe this is true to say, that the fundamental truths of survival and communication are the only truths that are going to save this world from destruction. It’s not going to be orthodox religion.
We've seen in two thousand years how the churches have backed up all the things that have brought misery to man. We don’t have to talk about the torture chambers, we don’t have to talk about the burnings at the stake, we don’t have to talk about Ireland; where Protestants and Catholics are fighting because they don’t seem to realise that they should be following the Lord Jesus Christ, [sound of car horn outside] the Prince of Peace. I have no time for Orthodox religion although I speak in an Orthodox Church. I speak in freedom; freedom to express myself, freedom to learn what I may learn and above all, the realisation that I can and have communicated with the so-called dead.
We have a recording that I have brought with me from London, of an Archbishop, an Archbishop of Canterbury, a man called Cosmo Lang. Now Cosmo Lang set up an investigation into Spiritualism during his lifetime in England, and much to his absolute amazement and horror, the committee or the group that investigated it came out in favour of Spiritualism. Automatically he suppressed it and wouldn’t allow it to be made public. We know. A little later it all seeped out and the truth came to light. We have had several communications from Cosmo Lang and he bitterly regrets his suppression of the truth.
Unfortunately, um, [the] equipment isn’t up to scratch. This is no reflection on the gentleman here who has done his best. Whatever I say, I say in sincerity - I wish you could hear these voices as they should be heard; full of personality, full of character, full of the desire to come back to this world of ours to help us, to guide us, to uplift us and indeed, truthfully, to save us from ourselves.
Anyway, to give me a little breather for five minutes or so, I’m going to ask our friend to play some of these recordings. Now the first recording that you will hear is of a little boy. I shall explain this, that Mickey [coughing in audience] is a little Cockney boy, those of you who understand what I mean by this, is that, he’s a little boy who once lived in London who used to sell newspapers.
And somewhere around about thirty-odd years ago he came to one of my séances and he was so amusing and so full of fun and he became a regular visitor. And he gradually became an important part of my life and my work and he, sort of, acted almost, as you might say, as a compère. And he comes through and chats away, and he's very amusing and bright and intelligent, uh, and he helps people and he brings people through to talk to their friends and relations.
Now the little boy that you are going to hear, Mickey, is the first one, and he talks much more seriously on this recording, uh, than is normal. Usually, as I’ve said, he’s chirpy and funny and bright, but here he talks a little more seriously...
You cannot enter into a state of being, until you yourself have made it possible by your evolution or development, which means to say that you can go down of course into other spheres which you have already come from.
In other words, there is always a returning to Earth and being able to link up with Earth and, um, of course communicating, under certain conditions, but you cannot enter in to a higher state of being until you yourself have made it possible by your state...your status and evolution.
This is what people don’t understand. I think a lot of people think, for instance, that they come and have a circle or a meeting and they say, 'oh well Mickey can go and fetch so-and-so or he can get so-and-so. Well that’s impossible. I mean I can’t, sort of, go paging, as you call it, like a hotel page...
...and say 'I want to get old Mrs Florence so-and-so who died on...and all this...and page all the different spheres to find her...
I mean, the point is, that when you...when people come to a circle, like you people come, if your mother or your father, or your husband or your son, whoever it is - or friend or relation or some distant connection - it comes with you when you are in the circle.
And I can see, often, these people once they come onto my vibration and I can get some contact with them. It’s not always clear-cut one. But often, um, I'll get certain information and I'll say, 'well this could be very interesting or helpful' and I may be able to get the message over to you and tell you, 'there's a lady here says she’s so-and-so' or 'a bloke who says he’s so-and-so' and give certain information.
And then, when I feel that I’m on the right track and the contact is made, then...I will pass on their message or if they can't, they come and pass on their own message in a direct sense...
The next voice is the voice of one of England’s greatest actresses Ellen Terry...uh, she was, uh, for about thirty years [the] leading lady to Sir Henry Irving; the first, uh, actor ever to be knighted. Anyway, the next voice is Ellen Terry. I hope that she will come over clearly.
I’m very conscious indeed of all these difficulties. I don’t think it’s possible for anyone on your side of life to realise how very, very difficult it is...endeavouring to converse, endeavouring to convey, with some clarity, ones thoughts, endeavouring to enunciate words under such strained and difficult conditions. I’m quite sure, of course, that it has never been satisfactory explained to you and, for that matter, I am quite sure that no one on this side could ever hope to do so.
The difficulties are tremendous, but I suppose the extraordinary thing is that we are able to speak at all, to convey anything at all. As I am talking to you, all around and about are numerous souls; some whom I know not, others whom I know well. Yet all have come with a desire, if not to personally communicate, to convey the power of their love to Earth and to you in particular, because of the work which you are endeavouring to do.
Could you hear them at all well, or not?
Well, I was rather concerned about people at the back. Could you hear?
Now Ted Butler was an ordinary working man, we gathered, uh, who had been out shopping on a Saturday morning with his wife and was crossing the High Street and was knocked down or killed...and killed by a lorry, I think you call them trucks here.
I was killed in an accident. I was crossing the High Street. On a Saturday it was - I always remember. I'd been out doing a bit of shopping and I was across the road and before you knew Jack Robinson, something hit me. It was some lorry that I think got out of control or something, down the slope. Anyway, it got me pinned against the wall, uh, and I was out! Anyway, I...just remember something coming towards me, and that's all. It all happened so sudden you know.
I saw a crowd of people all standing, looking down at something and I had a look, with the crowd, and I looked and I saw someone who looked exactly like me! I thought...well, at first I didn't realise it was me. I thought, 'well, that's a coincidence. That fellow looks the same as I do, exactly the same. It might be a twin brother.' And it was me of course.
Anyway, they put the body in the ambulance, you know, and the wife got in. And some nurse or some woman was there - I think she must have been a nurse - and I naturally got in with the wife and sat in this ambulance thing...and she didn't seem to realise I was sitting there at all. And gradually it came on me that, that was me lying down there.
Anyway, next thing I knew it was as if I must have lost consciousness or something. The next thing I knew I was sitting in a very nice armchair opposite this lady, in a very nice little parlour. Nice little room it was, you know. Very pretty, very nice. Chintz curtains, there was, at the windows. There was a nice...nice hearth rug on the floor and, uh, although there was a wonderful feeling of lightness and warmth, there was, what I thought, was the sun was shining through the windows.
Everything looked spick and span. The table was nicely laid out. Oh, there was everything there that one would want. It was just like as if I had gone somewhere for afternoon tea, you know. I couldn't help laughing. I said, 'well who would think that people on Earth would think of us sitting up here having cups of tea?' They'd think we were crazy, you know.
People when they pass out of this world and they leave their physical body, quite often and invariably, awaken to a new realisation of a life far removed from their previous imaginings - that is, if they had any imaginings at all about it. And invariably they are met by people who they have known and loved when on Earth, who help them across the river, if I can so use that expression.
But with the case of this man, obviously, he must have passed instantaneously and it was so quick that he just didn’t realise that he was dead. As far as he was concerned he was exactly the same. He could see the people standing around, he could see his wife, he could see the ambulance that was pulled up and he saw his wife get into the ambulance, so he got into the ambulance - and it was possibly, perhaps twenty minutes, half an hour, an hour, before he realised that he was dead.
The whole point, it seems to me and I go on now with forty years' experience of communication, listening to thousands of voices of varying peoples from all walks of life - when they were here that is - and indeed sometimes people from other nations...
It seems to me, that the reality of this is so absolutely fantastic it...it’s so wonderful that here are people who have lived in this world and have had their being, their loves and their hates and their little moment of time and happiness and so on.
And there they are and they come back, they want us to know one thing above all else; that they are happy, that they are well, that they are fit, that they are not dead, that they can see us, they can watch over us, they can help us, they can guide us and they can comfort us.
But the only way that they can do this, the only way in which they can reach us, unfortunately - and I use the expression, the word and emphasis...emphasise it - unfortunately, is through a medium. And there again, we come against the criticism of people who say, 'oh well, if my Jack wanted to communicate with me, he’d come and talk to me. He wouldn’t go through some strange woman or some strange man. Why should he?'
The attitude of people, even when they think of the possibility of communication, say, 'oh well, I don’t think my…in fact, I’m sure my Jack wouldn’t come through a medium. Why would he go to a strange woman to communicate with me?'
The tragedy is, that we should all be mediums, we should all know of the reality of this, we should all be conscious of the nearness of those whom we have known and loved and still love us. We shouldn’t have the need or the necessity to go to a medium. It’s because we ourselves are so blinded by materialism; we cannot see and we cannot hear because we have, for centuries, been held down, oppressed, lied to by creeds, dogmas.
There was a time when the Church didn’t want people to even read the Bible, they used to chain it up. And in...not so long ago in England when the Church had one law for the rich and one for the poor, you would see the masters and mistresses of the household arriving in their carriages with their reserved seats and you’d see the poor little cleaners and the maids and the butlers pushed over there out of the way, not to be seen, not to be acknowledged.
The Church has always suppressed truth and will go on suppressing truth and the Church has always been powerful. Go to Italy, go to Spain and see the power of the Church and the poverty on the very doorsteps. See, as I have seen and thousands of others have seen, the massive wealth of the Vatican City and see families in hovels; mother and father sleeping on mattresses on the floor with five or six little bambinas and their little crucifixes on the walls with the little humble flowers put there for their little poppets.
The Church has suppressed truth for centuries and has tried to suppress the Spiritualists and is, indeed, still trying to suppress it because we are proving the very thing that is the essence of the reality of what they have supposed to have been teaching for generations.
I have strong views. I probably will never be invited in this church again, that doesn't worry me. [Audience laughter] But I believe the truth will out and I believe that one day, perhaps sooner than one may dare hope, that...that one day, humanity will realise how they have been conned by the churches. How they have been held down, how they have been suppressed.
It’s only recently in England...I live next door to a church, right next door [unintelligible]. If that man has ten people in his congregation he’s got a ball. [Audience laughter] When I first went there, twenty years ago, he had a very nice choir, he had a reasonably good congregation. But the whole tragedy of all this is that the churches should be full. There shouldn’t be an empty seat in any church - if they were proclaiming the truth and substantiating that truth.
Why did Christ come into the world? To set an example? To show us the way? To prove the reality of spiritual gifts and faculties ? To demonstrate the reality of life after death by appearing to his disciples? Jesus didn’t come into the world to found a religion, man founded that and found it was very profitable and built up a damn good business on it.
Christ was a poor humble carpenter with nowhere to lay his head, who rode into Jerusalem on a mule. Not in a carriage, not carried on a litter. What has Orthodox religion got to do with the simple Jesus of Nazareth, the man who had nowhere to lay his head, who came to set an example to the world, who came to prove the reality of life to come? Jesus was a great medium, he was one of many mediums. Christ came to demonstrate the reality of the gifts of the spirit. Christ even said, 'greater things - greater things than these shall ye do, for I go unto my father.'
I don’t know of anybody that has demonstrated anything, anything like or anything near the wonderful things that Jesus did. Why? Because nobody, it seems to me, has ever realised what Jesus was talking about. Jesus knew of these things of which I speak and which I speak freely - thank God, I speak freely; unfettered and unchanged by creeds and dogmas.
The Church has stifled truth. It's not so long ago when they first brought out (the medical profession) anaesthesia - giving people things which would have helped them in time of dire distress, when they needed to be chloroformed and things like that. The Church said, 'oh no, oh no...man was intended to suffer.' The Church has always stood in the path of man’s progress.
Now this doesn’t mean to say that there are not good Christians or good followers of the Christ and sincere people. I don’t want you to go away with the wrong impression. But it is the rituals and the creeds and the dogmas, the stifling things that [stop the truth] that we have got to get away from. We've got to get right away from these things that have obscured truth for centuries. When man is free then he will begin to search and perceive and to work for himself his own...
No one can save one. This is another fallacy. If it were...if it were so, then what is the point? We might as well do exactly what we damn well like and in the last five minutes say, 'oh Jesus forgive me'. This is hypocrisy. We must save ourselves by our own will, by our own endeavour and if we have the realisation that death is not the end and that those whom we have known and whom we still love cling to us because they love us...because love is stronger than death...
We do not die, we do not lose those whom we have loved. And some people would say that, as Spiritualists, that we hold them to us. This is not true either. They come to us because they love us, because they want us to know that they are well and happy and that one day we shall be reunited with them - and they want us to change ourselves.
There are so many of us, and I include myself, who sometimes are so lead astray by our own weaknesses and our own foolishness and sometimes when we even know these truths, we do not follow them out. I do not think that we are meant to be perfect, I, myself cannot think of anything more embarrassing than to be perfect and I don’t think that in the other world, in the world to come, that they are perfect. They are always telling us that there are greater spheres ahead, greater opportunities, greater things to know and to discover and that is what makes eternity a reality.
This is the only, as I see it, the only answer to this business of eternal life. I mean, if we try to think about eternal life and we say to ourselves, 'well what is eternal life?' It's...one's mind boggles. The fact of going on and on and on and on and on, that one could almost wish that one could, in a sense, be dead and know nothing.
But the point is, that they tell us repeatedly that they move, as it were, from stage to stage, from sphere to sphere, from condition of life, to condition of life - always evolving, always gaining more knowledge, more experience, expanding their vision and, in consequence, becoming more and more conscious and more and more aware of all the joys and the beauties of the reality of the life in which they inhabit. This sounds reasonable to me, this sounds possible. The things I was taught in Sunday school and in Church, at the time I accepted them blindly, but I realised that these are fallacies propped up, cooked up by the Church.
I just feel that we have within ourselves, within our grasp, a great reality and a great truth. Some of you here have had some witness of this, some experience of it. Some of you, no doubt, are mediums and have seen and have heard and endeavour, in consequence, to express yourselves and that which you know and understand, to others. And yet there must be many of you here who are on the fringe, who are doubting, who are full of fear. Is this good or is it not? Should one or should [one] not go further, should one investigate?
The tragedy is that all Spiritualists, that all mediums - including myself - we are human beings with our failings and our faults and we do not always act up or live up to what we believe. But nevertheless, if you are fortunate to sit with good mediums, who are sincere, open, frank and honest - and there aren’t many, there are very few. There are lots of people who pretend, as I said at the beginning of my talk, to be mediums. If they saw something they would drop down dead with fright. Unfortunately this is true.
There are lots of people who have the ability to tell you about the future; some of it is guesswork, some of it is intuition, some of it is E.S.P. But real mediumship is rare, very, very rare and I don’t have to tell you the obvious; in Spiritualism over the last hundred years, there have been many fakes, many frauds and there still are, no doubt. This is the big, big tragedy, this is the big, big problem of Spiritualism - and this is one of the reasons why I think that Spiritualism has not made the progress which it should have done - that unfortunately, it lends itself to fakery.
This is true, it does lend itself to fakery and there are innumerable people who profess to be mediums and they misbelieve and they misguide and people, unfortunately, in the beginning, are conned by them. But sooner or later they are found out and they are usually hounded out of the movement, the Spiritualist movement, by the Spiritualists themselves. But is it not alter the fact, that a lot of bad publicity, uh, is brought into being through what has obviously happened and will no doubt continue to happen in Spiritualism, if fakery and fraudulence are being professed. But it still doesn’t alter the facts - the reality of communication.
There is genuine communication between the living and the dead and there are genuine mediums. In the past we had great scientific minds like Crookes, Lodge and Flammarion - men of great position. Eminent men who had nothing to gain whatsoever by advocating Spiritualism. They had their reputations at stake by announcing boldly and publically to the world that they were convinced of survival. That communication had been proven to them scientifically and that they had no doubts as to the reality of the life to come and the communication between the so-called dead and the living.
And this is the fact. There is communication between the living and the dead and mediums are used. But there are very few mediums and there are certainly very few, what are termed, physical mediums and there are even less physical mediums who have willingly subjected themselves to scientific research and tests.
Now I don’t want to talk too much about myself, I've already said quite a lot and some things I have said which may, as I have already mentioned, have been considered to some offensive, but I must speak the way I am, the way I feel. Mediumship, my own mediumship, has been tested. I have subjected myself to all manner of scientific tests that anyone could devise and in many instances my mediumship has been proved. But it doesn’t alter the fact that, as a medium, I realise the weakness. I realise that there are times when I cannot produce evidence.
This is what you want to look out for in Spiritualism - that the medium who can stand on a platform and give everyone a message and go all the way around, night after night, day after day; giving twenty, thirty private appointments a day. If that man or that woman had genuine powers, they won't last.
Mediumship is not something you can play around with. You can get away with a lot of things for a time, but mediumship just doesn’t function to order. And it is true that there are many forms and kinds of mediumship and many different types of mediums, but mediumship is not something that will just function because you want it to or because you have an appointment at seven o’clock on a Monday night or eight o’clock on a Thursday or three in the afternoon.
You can sit there and nothing happens at all. This is not a bad thing, this is a good thing. It shows that we cannot demand that we cannot call up the dead. If they can come, if they can communicate, they will, but it is not possible for a genuine medium to go on giving message, after message, after message, after message to every Tom, Dick and Harry and for those messages to be genuine. It’s impossible, absolutely impossible.
The Spirit World is not there to be commanded and demanded, to be ordered, to be organised, to be arranged. We are instruments, but they are the power. A medium is as nothing, he is merely...like a violin if you like; there are some who are just little cheap violins and they get scraped and there are others who are like a Stradivarius - but the Stradivarius are very rare and it needs a musician, it needs an artist, who can play that instrument and this is what I am trying to convey about mediumship.
The people on the 'other side' want to use us as instruments [and] we must be as good an instrument as we possibly can. But we must realise that we cannot command or demand and neither can we make possible exactly what other people - who may come to us for a sitting or séance or a lecture or whatever it is...that we can always give them exactly what they want.
But I do maintain one thing, above all else, that if you are true to yourself you cannot then be false to any man and I would suggest that Spiritualists and mediums in particular, should take this very much to heart - that they should not be false to themselves not try to do what they cannot do or too much.
I told you earlier about certain mediums from England, were coming out to the States. I wouldn’t like to say how many sittings today they'd give, it’s none of my business...but this is not the way to serve humanity. This is not the way to prove the reality of life to come. This is not the way to comfort those who mourn and help those who have lost the path - telling somebody their future, telling somebody to get rid of their shares and invest in something else or that their husband has gone away with somebody else or will be going away with somebody else.
And so many mediums prostitute themselves and their gifts and Spiritualism, in consequence, gets a bad name and the work that we should be doing is neglected and there unfortunately are a lot of mediums now who are giving up the true work of the spirit. They have prostituted themselves and their gifts for material gain.
If I condemn, you must forgive me. But I take my work and myself seriously. I take Spiritualism seriously. I realise, that if it is properly understood and applied it could save all of us. It could, not only just comfort us when we are sad and lonely when we have lost someone we love, but it could change us as human beings and make us, indeed, better men and better women and could unite humanity and bring brotherhood among men. It could break down the barriers of creeds, colour and race. It could bring us all together in true union and understanding, in true brotherhood. Because all who live must die, none can escape.
This transcript was kindly and very patiently created for the Trust by Coleen Mackenzie - April 2018
The audio was expertly digitised from an original tape recording by Trust volunteer Jack Andrews - April 2018
The original tape was donated to the Trust by Nigel Buckmaster - November 1997