Leslie Flint - Independent Spirit Voice Medium
January 21st 1911 - April 16th 1994
Image courtesy of Psychic News
"I think I can safely say I am the most tested medium this country has ever produced...
I have been boxed up, tied up, sealed up, gagged, bound and held
- and still the voices have come to speak their message of life eternal...
I have a rare gift known as 'independent direct voice mediumship'. I do not speak in trance, I need no trumpets or other paraphernalia.
The voices of the dead speak directly to their friends or relatives and are located in a space a little above my head and slightly to one side of me.
They are objective voices which my sitters can record on their own tape recorders to play later in the privacy of their own homes.
Sometimes those who speak from beyond the grave can achieve only a whisper, hoarse and strained. At other times they speak clearly and fluently in voices recognisably their own during life.
I do my work by sitting wide awake in total darkness with other people. I know I have learned more about life, people and human problems and emotions, by sitting in the dark, than I could possibly have learned in any other way - and those who have taught me the most are people dead to this world, but who are living in the next..."
What is Independent Direct Voice ?
by Betty Greene
"In direct voice mediumship it is very important to remember that the spirit voice is not coming through the medium’s lips - in other words they are not speaking through the medium, but completely independently, about three feet away.
In everybody there is a substance known as ectoplasm, which is a life force. Although the direct voice medium has certain strong powers, to enable the spirit voices to be heard, it has to be a combination of the sitters and the medium, because ectoplasm has to be drawn from the sitters, as they provide the negative element which must be coupled to the positive element drawn from the medium, in order that an etheric voice box may be constructed, through which the spirit communicators can communicate their thoughts.
The voice box, automatically transmitting those thoughts as sound, will reach the sitters as the voice, therefore the sitters are very important. Some sitters may actually feel the power being drawn from them, and at the end of a sitting may feel rather depleted. This may be especially so in the case of a single sitter.
If you were to take an infra-red photograph during a direct voice séance, you would see cords of ectoplasm emanating from the medium and the sitters and joining up to form what looks like a ball of mist, or the voice box, which we understand to be a replica of the vocal organs, and whilst the spirit communicators are using this voice box, they have lowered their vibrations to reach the earth vibration. This explains why the spirit voice may not always sound quite like their original earth voice - it may be a little distorted.
Our spirit friends must find it very complicated when they have to reproduce their voice by thought, and also through an artificially created voice box. They cannot be expected to reproduce their own voice exactly, though unfortunately some sitters do expect it. If a spirit has been on the other side for a number of years, they forget what their earth voice sounded like, that is, if they ever did know what it sounded like, since in the spirit world they communicate with each other by thought.
Also, some direct voice mediums go into trance, but Leslie Flint does not do so, and is conscious the whole time."
Leslie Flint - Medium
by Alexander Walker - Journalist, Film Critic and Biographer for the London Evening Standard
"In his heyday, which was before the war and some 25 years after it, Leslie Flint was one of Britain's best known Spiritualists. He possessed the rare distinction of being a direct voice medium.
Flint used no trumpets or paraphernalia. Through sitting in total darkness, he did his work wide awake, not in a trance. Those who flocked to see him could engage, if conditions were propitious, in fluent colloquial conversation with others - kith and kin, strangers and the well known - all of them 'passed over', who manifested themselves in space, by voice only, around Flint...
The mood was not at all solemn, still less frightening. Leslie Flint took his inexplicable gifts sensibly and objectively, sometimes lightheartedly. Especially when conversing with his 'familiar', a child named Mickey, who had been killed in a street accident in Camden Town around 1910.
Image copyright: K.Jackson-Barnes
This perky and impertinent boy would engage his master in Cockney chit-chat and occasionally turn his sharp tongue on the guests, who sat expectantly, a dozen strong, around Flint's big Paddington drawing room - or when Flint's health had permitted him to tour in earlier decades, guests packed churches, halls and theaters in their hundreds and thousands all over Britain, Europe and America.
Born In Poverty
looks, Flint was short and square, wore double-breasted suits and heavy
framed spectacles. Only his silvery hair and a bass voice, with an
actor's vibrato in it, suggests a theatrical dimension. Like
many such prodigies, he was born into poverty, at a Salvation Army home
in Hackney, London.
was legitimised soon afterwards, only to 'lose' both parents again when
they went their separate ways: his mother headed for the bright lights
of London's West End, whilst his father travelled to the trenches of the
Western Front and Flint saw neither of them again.
Image copyright: Leslie Flint Educational Trust
A grandmother then raised him in St. Albans, on broken biscuits and a tuppence worth of jam and let the cinema take care of his pre-school afternoons. So from the start, he was happier in the dark than in the light of day.
dead became a normal part of his world early and enduringly, when aged
eight, he saw the apparently solid figure of a deceased uncle in his
granny's kitchen. Around the same time, Flint grew aware that the voices
whispering all around him at the cinema in that silent era, hadn't paid
for their admission. He was, in turn, a cemetery gardener, and
impromptu gravedigger, a semi professional dancer - up to trophy hunting
standard, a cinema usher and a barman, before becoming a medium.
Flint founded a Spiritualist circle in Sydney Grove, Hendon with the aim of providing evidence of the 'continuity of life after physical death' by the demonstration of his psychic gift. From the mid-1930's, Flint's work 'took off ' and he was soon filling the biggest halls in London and answering bags of letters. He also willingly submitted to numerous tests to disprove accusations of ventriloquism or other deceptions.
A Measured Quality
one test, Flint held a measured quantity of coloured water in his
mouth, throughout a voluble seance. In another, a throat microphone
registered no vibrations from his larynx, while the voices continued in
full spate. Later, he allowed anyone who liked to do so, to tape record
famous were no strangers to him: actor Rudolph Valentino often came
(sounding a bit like Charles Boyer - which was correct since he had been
taught English by a French governess). Others included actor Leslie
Howard, composer Ivor Novello, Cosmo Lang (the late Archbishop of
Canterbury) and Her Majesty Queen Victoria...this became an important
calling-card for Flint, after receiving an invitation to take tea at
Kensington Palace with Victoria's daughter Princess Louise.
Unsurprisingly, during the Second World War, Flint was a conscientious objector and served in a non-combatant regiment for a time, then was assigned to the Bomb Disposal Unit. He later worked briefly in the coal-mines, though he much preferred the sedentary darkness of his psychic occupation.
voices, with a show-business emphasis, evoked understandable suspicion -
compounded by Flint's presidency of the 'Valentino Memorial Guild' and
the fact that his London apartment, within 140 Westbourne Terrace, Paddington, had
once been the home of actor George Arliss which had a basement cinema
for guests - who by this time were not disturbed by
Image copyright: Leslie Flint Educational Trust
the famous were vastly outnumbered by the spirit voices of those
anonymous, ordinary people, who spoke messages of hope, comfort and
occasional clairvoyance, to their friends and relatives.
I attended several sittings and they were always held in pitch dark. Flint explained that he extruded ectoplasm, which formed the 'etheric voicebox' for the dead to relay their words. Any sudden intrusion of light would send it recoiling back to him, 'like a kick in the midriff ' - potentially very dangerous. The company gathered would be chatting in a desultory way until, very suddenly and dramatically, the room grew cold...
Infrared photograph of Leslie Flint taken during a test séance in 1970
Image copyright: The Leslie Flint Educational Trust
Permission to share this text has kindly been given by Joanna Chaundy - Syndication Manager for The Independent.co.uk