The Leslie Flint Educational Trust

WEB: www.leslieflint.com                  EMAIL: leslieflinttrust@outlook.com

 
 

The Irish playwright and author
George Bernard Shaw
 July 1856 - November 1950

The George Bernard Shaw séance

Recorded: December 23rd 1965


“People will say 'what happened to G.B.S? 

He seems to have lost his Irish accent!'”

I suddenly began to feel a strong personality impinging on me psychically. Although I tried to ignore this awareness, eventually it became too strong to resist and I suggested that if we drew the curtains and put out the light
we might find out who this personality was.


The curtains were drawn and the light put out, but only partial darkness was possible. Fortunately Rose had a tape recorder. The incomplete black-out did not stop the personality I had sensed from speaking almost immediately.

At first we did not know who the voice belonged to…”


 ~ excerpt from Voices in the Dark by Leslie Flint.


Shaw speaks with Rose Creet and they discuss how his most popular play 
Pygmalion
became an even bigger success years later, when it was turned into the musical
My Fair Lady.

“I merely came in for a few minutes...to wish you a very happy Christmas.”


Note: This impromptu séance was hastily recorded on vintage equipment

and despite enhancement, the audio is not to modern standards.

 
 
 

Please read the transcript below as you listen...

The recording is introduced by co-founder of the Leslie Flint Trust, Larry Taylor



Present: Rose Creet, Leslie Flint.

Communicators: George Bernard Shaw, Mickey.


Larry Taylor:

[The following] communication was received on the 23rd of December 1965, when George Bernard Shaw talked to Mrs Creet. The medium was Leslie Flint.


Shaw:
'Enjoy yourself on Christmas Day and tuck in'
.

Creet:
Thats right.

Shaw:
What an expression, what an expression.

Creet:
Why?

Shaw:
What bad English that is.

Creet:
Huh!

Shaw:
'Enjoy yourself on Christmas Day.'
Well that's not too bad. But 'tuck in' ?

Creet:
[Laughing]

Shaw:
What an expression. But it's not the expression, it's the sentiment behind it that matters. Of course, that I know full well. But, you know, I find such interest in people and, uh, people's accents, uh... When I was on your side I used to keep a very keen ear to accents.

Creet:
Oh?

Shaw:

I used to sometimes deliberately go out of my way to listen to a person. And sometimes I'd make a point of going to cafés and places where I could sit and observe and listen, without people realising it. And I used to be so fascinated at people's conversations and the intonations of their voice and I used to try and sometimes, sitting in a train; not I hope, being observed or noticed - but nevertheless, I was taking it all in. I was assessing them, trying to give them characters, trying to build up things around them. And sometimes I think, you know, in a sort of subconscious way, uh, I hit upon, quite often, the true story.

You know, it's an extraordinary thing, I don't think any of us fully realise it, but you know, we are all very susceptible to conditions. We are very susceptible to thought-forces. We are very susceptible to atmosphere, which sometimes we are not always able to account for it - and, uh, sometimes perhaps we are rather puzzled, but nevertheless, I do think the vast majority of people, without realising or understanding it perhaps, are extremely sensitive and psychic to things.

I used to...when I used to sit down in my study, when I used to take pen to paper and I used to try to create and bring characters into being, I would find myself remembering...in fact, I used to keep little notebooks and sometimes I'd look them up. Perhaps a character would fascinate that I'd listened to and met, you know and I think that that person could...would make a very good character in a play and, um, and I would weave...weave that person, as it were, into the story and build up situations and use some of the actual dialogue that I'd heard them use perhaps previously, some days previously, in a restaurant or perhaps in a, in a tram.

I used to keep my eyes open and my ears open and I didn't miss very much. You know I used to take various, um, people as a... as a model, I used to, um, mold them to some extent into my stories...

Creet:
Oh yes.

Shaw:

...and plays and so on. I often think, looking back, that I might have done so much more than I did, because, um, I think I missed, to some extent, a lot of opportunity. But then I think all creative artists feel like that; whether it is an author or a playwright or a musician or an artist in some way. We, we, we do work. We work on something...

Creet:
Yes.

Shaw:

...full of enthusiasm, we build up to it and we create and we take so much from ourselves in the attempt...and then we're not happy about it; we think the construction is wrong perhaps or the plot's not working out as it should be and all sorts of things enter one's mind. And I look back now and I see that quite a number of things that I wrote, that were never published, uh, it was rather perhaps a pity that I didn't, um, go back on them or work on them again. I think some of the best things, well, were never published.

Creet:

Were you a playwright?

Shaw:
Well....I had the reputation of being a playwright and I wrote quite a bit of other work too.

I'm so sorry my dear lady, this is G.B.S.

Crete:
Oooh! But I thought that...

Shaw:
Um, I suppose if you were to...what do you call it now 'play this over'? I think you term it, with this machine: this remarkable machine, which I must admit I wish to goodness it had been brought into being in my age, my day. It would have been a great asset to me and all writers. But, um...people will say 'what happened to G.B.S? What happened to G.B.S? He seems to have lost his Irish accent!

Creet:
Yes, that was...

Shaw:

Yes. Yes, I know. I know that is true. I know that people will think and say that, and, um, I suppose it is that over here, we have - and I'm speaking for myself - I have so immersed myself in my life here and, in consequence, have entered into the lives of so many other people, have become interested in so much that transpires here, uh...

Creet:
Yes.

Shaw:

...and I have realised how much more one can enter, mentally, into the...into people's lives, into their minds and so on and have become so accustomed to...to communication by thought...

Creet:
Yes.

Shaw:

...that, um, in the process of living and working and having my being here, the Irish aspect or the Irish...you see, one of the first things we learn to forget here is...I was going to use the term 'self', which, in a sense is true and in a sense is not true - shall we say that one learns here to put oneself further into the background.

Creet:
Yes.

Shaw:

One realises that you are to be and will become, eventually, submerged in life, in the fullest sense, and there are many aspects of the human being, especially certain people's, and I include myself, which are a barrier into one's progress...as regards one's progress here. You must forget many things and one of the things one forgets [sound of a passing train] is nationality and national spirit; national outlook, patriotism, pride and many of the...failings...and they are definitely and truthfully failings in human beings.

When one is on Earth, of course, one doesn't think of them in that light. If you are Irish or Scottish or whatever it may be, by background and upbringing, it's a normal natural thing, through schooling and etc., to take pride in one's nationality. I'm not exactly finding fault with it, but the only thing is, it is a drawback to human life and human society, to the well-being of the human race. This rather stupid pride in race...



Creet:
That they should be patriots?

Shaw:

Yes. It leads to war, as we know, it leads to unending tragedy. And of course that...I don't suggest this is an answer to my losing - or so it it appears - my Irish 'brogue', as it's called, but at the same time I suppose it is also true to say, that I am not in the habit of making communication and, um...

You see, the point is this, dear lady...

Creet:
Yes?

Shaw:

...when someone like myself attempts to communicate, I suppose so much more is expected of us. You see, now if I were your 'Aunt Fannie' it wouldn't be so important. You would be quite content with your Aunt Fannie telling you about some idiotic something-or-other that happened umpteen years ago which possibly in the family was hilarious and caused a great deal of amusement at the time. But, um, poor G.B.S. or poor Barry or some other soul who wants to come - who was noted or reputed to be something, shall we say, of a wit, something of a scholar, shall we say...

Creet:
Yes.

Shaw:
...or something-or-other of a character - is expected to put on, what you might term, a good show.

Creet:
Yes! [Laughing]

Shaw:
But I'm afraid, in a sense, although I may have been a good showman on Earth, I'm not so good at trying to put on a show now. At least, from the point of view that, uh...for the fact that perhaps I'm not so experienced in the sense of communication as, perhaps, your dear Aunt Fannie. As your poor dear Aunt Fannie may be so in the habit of coming to talk to you and you may have become so used to listening to the sort of drivel that she would probably talk about...

Creet:
[Laughing]

Shaw:
...that really, I wouldn't be able to compete with her!

Creet:

I'm sure you wouldn't because you never...you know, you never...your...your plays and so on, there was no drivel in it.

Flint:
[Sniffing]

Shaw:
Well I don't know...there was a lot of sense, yes. A lot of nonsense too. When you come to think about it, although there was a great deal of sense and a great deal of...well, I think some people who, in the past, rather looked upon me as trying to sermonise. Though, you know, in my earlier years...[laughs] the critics, some of them, bless their hearts, rather got the impression that I was using my plays to sermonise and to... To some extent, it was true. I wanted to bring new light onto...onto subjects which appealed to me, which affected me.

I wanted people to think for themselves and think particularly about certain things, which at my time...in my time, uh, caused me a great a deal of concern. I was concerned with...with many subjects which, um...of my day, were very important subjects, which a lot of people were either not interested in or were not very anxious to do very much about. And I tried to bring into my plays subjects and themes which I felt would also have a message, which would make people think.

You see, I know it's a common thing and I agree it's a very proper thing that if you go to the theatre, you go to be entertained. But at the same time, if you can be entertained and educated and have certain subjects brought to your notice that may, perhaps, lead to something being done, that will benefit people less fortunate, then I think it's a good thing.

Creet:
Yes.

Shaw:

I don't think that a play should be a sermon. At the same time, I think it should contain something of merit and something of consequence, something that will make people think and something that I hope will, to some extent at least, raise the human mind to a higher status, to a higher condition.

You know, the theatre today when I go, which I admit is very seldom, appalls me. Quite frankly I feel that, that although here and there may well be excellent plays in places, generally speaking, I feel that the theatre has really declined.

Creet:
Oh it has. It has declined.

Shaw:
But I must admit that I'm highly amused as to what they do find they are capable of doing today, from the point of view of using other authors works and adding music...

Creet:
Yes. [Laughing]

Shaw:
...and generally turning a play such as mine...

Creet:
Like yours...

Shaw:

Yes...into, um...I...I'm not going to complain. I think that, in a sense, perhaps the music helped it a bit. But, um, [laughing] I was highly amused. I was very amused indeed because the play had been highly successful, one of my most successful plays of course, and then they decide to jig it up a bit.

Creet:
[Laughing]

Shaw:
And now it's made more money, I believe, since they jigged it up with someone else's music.

Creet:
My Fair Lady
it was...

Shaw:
Yes...than ever it did previously.

Creet:
Yes.

Shaw:
Anyway, I'm very happy to know that the young people of today are benefitting from the proceeds of this new reproduction, if I can call it that, of my old works. It's very amusing to think that, uh, that...that...that...that this is happening.

Creet:
[Laughing]

Shaw:
Anyway, you know...of course you probably didn't see [when it was] first played did you?

Creet:
No. I've never seen it.

Shaw:
No. It was quite many years ago. Oh, I've had some very amusing and interesting conversations...but you know, I'm not supposed to be talking at length to you.

Creet:
That's alright.

Shaw:

As a matter of fact, I merely came in for a few minutes - since it seemed to be some sort of a party, a Christmas party - to wish you a very happy Christmas. But here I am talking to you at length, just as if I might be one of those relations of yours who had special privileges!

Creet:
Oh you can't be Aunt...Aunt Fannie anyway! [Laughing]

Shaw:
No I shouldn't want to be anybody's Aunt Fannie!

Creet:
[Laughing]

Shaw:
I should hate that very much. But Ellen's her with me. You know, I always had such great regard for Ellen.

Creet:
Anyhow, it's very, very nice...

Shaw:
I believe...I believe you've been reading our letters? I believe they have been published?

Creet:
Is that so? [Unintelligible]

Shaw:
Oh, the things they do when you're dead and they think you can't retaliate.

Creet:
Yes.

Shaw:
Well, you know it's an extraordinary thing, how people...how people wait until you're dead before they just pull you to...well, of course, they didn't pull you to pieces when you are alive but they seem to, when you're dead, they think they can do exactly what they like with you.

Creet:
That is...

Shaw:

It truly doesn't really matter to me.

Creet:
Oh, I don't think that's a very nice thing to do, but it happens to so many.

Shaw:
I suppose they think, 'well, you've had all you can get out of your life, now let us get something out of it'.

Creet:
That's it. [Laughing]

Flint:
[Laughing]

Shaw:
But anyway, they just write and say all sorts of things which sometimes, quite frankly, is very...one finds very amusing.

Creet:
I expect you're leading a very interesting life now?

Shaw:
For a moment I thought you were going to say I was leading a double life!
No. [Laughs] I'm leaving...leading a very happy existence, yes of course I am.

Creet:
Good.

Shaw:
But I'm still writing and I would like to find some suitable instrument - a medium or call it whatever it is - who I could get through, write through and get some of my works published on your side. That would be marvellous wouldn't it?

Creet:
Why don't you try Geraldine Cummins?** She is supposed to be very, very good.

Shaw:
I don't know Miss...what you call her?
Geraldine who?

Creet:
Cummins.

Shaw:
Oh. I don't know the dear lady.

Creet:
She is a wonderful automatic writer I believe. I should try her. Try and see if you can bring anything through her. You might be able to.

Shaw:
Anyway, what I am going to concentrate on now...

Creet:
Yes?

Shaw:
...should I be able to come and talk to you again at length, which I hope I shall in the coming year...

Creet:
Mmm...

Shaw:
...I'm going to concentrate on my Irish accent a little bit, other wise dear Dame...

Creet:
Oh good!

Shaw:
...dear Dame Sybil** and a few of my other friends on your side will never accept me.

Creet:
Yes.

Shaw:
Isn't it dreadful that people won't accept you when your dead?

Creet:
That's true. You do...do try and do it [unintelligible] they will be able to recognise you...

Shaw:
But you know dear...

Creet:
...with that accent of yours.

Shaw:
...dear Dame Sybil you know, she...I don't think she's really interested in this subject.

Creet:
She's what?

Shaw:
I don't think she's interested in this subject.

Creet:
She's not?

Shaw:
Don't think so. Not really.

Creet:
Oh. There are so many that are not. Very many people. It can't be helped.

Shaw:
Anyway, I must go. But bless you and a very happy Christmas to you dear lady.

Creet:
Thank you.

Shaw:
Good-bye.

Creet:
Good-bye.

Mickey:
Didn't expect him to come in, then [talk so loud].

Creet:
Oh but please tell us...

Mickey:
Dunno. Ne'er mind. Hold on...

Creet:
Yes.

Flint:

[Laughing]

END OF RECORDING



* Geraldine Cummins = Irish medium and prolific publisher of automatic scripts dictated from the spirit world.

** Dame Sybil
= the British actress Dame Agnes Sybil Thorndike [1882-1976]


This transcript was completed for the Trust by K.Jackson-Barnes