Pioneers of Spiritualism
May 14, 1771 - November 17, 1858
Robert Owen was a Welsh social reformer and one of the founders of utopian socialism and the cooperative movement. Despite expressing agnostic views, towards the end of his life, he became very interested in spiritualism. He had several ‘sittings’ where he became convinced he had mediumistic contact with great spirits, like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson who sought: “to prepare the world for universal peace, and to infuse into all the spirit of charity, forbearance and love.”
13 years after he had passed into Spirit, Robert Owen brought forth the 7 Principles of Spiritualism through the mediumship of Emma Hardinge Britten, one of Spiritualism's greatest pioneers.
His picture hangs proudly inside our church, to recognize and honour his contributions to Spiritualism and society.
Emma Hardinge Britten
May 2, 1823 - October 2, 1899
Emma Hardinge Britten is known for her work as an advocate for the early Modern Spiritualist Movement. Emma Hardinge Britten founded and edited for five years the Two Worlds of Manchester. She was also among the founders of the Theosophical Society in New York in 1875.
Emma Hardinge Britten's writings include: Modern American Spiritualism, New York, 1870; Nineteenth Century Miracles, New York, 1884; Faith, Fact and Fraud of Religious History, Manchester, 1896; Extemporaneous Addresses, London, 1866. She was editor of the American periodical, The Western Star, 1872, and the British The Unseen Universe, 1992 1893.
Although she was not alive to see this happen, her dream of establishing a proper and formal "school of prophets" (training school for mediums) was realized in 1900, with the founding of the Britten Memorial Institute and Library, in Manchester, England. Her classic, Modern American Spiritualism, is still considered the finest and most complete analysis of the early American Movement.
Spiritualists follow a set of principles given from the spirit of the great reformer and Spiritualist, Robert Owen, via the trance mediumship of one of Spiritualism's great pioneers, Emma Hardinge Britten in 1871. We remember her as a true pioneer and dedicated advocate of Spiritualism.
We proudly display the beautiful portrait of Emma Hardinge Britten on our church wall to honor & recognize the great contributions she made to Spiritualism.
Maurice Barbanell & Silver Birch
May 3, 1902 - July 17, 1981
Maurice Barbanell without doubt is one of the most unsung hero's of Spiritualism today.
Maurice is probably more famous for his literary works within the spiritualist field than anything else. Even so, he was the founder of the Psychic News as well as being its Editor for many years. In this capacity he was invited to sit in many physical circles, which gave him considerable opportunity to watch and judge the mediumship of some of the greatest mediums of our by gone days.
Through his literary works, he brought to the public, many, many books of a spiritual nature, and virtually and single handedly presented masses of unquestionable evidence of the survival of life after physical death, and at a time when mediumship was not taken seriously by 20th century media. He was supported by many famous and influential colleagues such as; Air Vice Marshall Lord Dowding, Arthur Findlay, Sir Oliver Lodge and Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, who spread the word and teachings of Spiritualism to millions all over the world.
Maurice Barbanell was, in his own right, a first class trance medium though which, and in Hannan Swaffer's home circle, the famous teachings of "Silver Birch" were channelled. Silver Birch was Maurice Barbanell's guide who worked with him for over 60 years before Maurice joined him in the spirit world in 1981. (Silver Birch passed to the spirit realms over three thousand years ago, a highly evolved soul who chose to come back to the earth plane as a native American Indian and give his wonderful teachings.)
There are those who say, that if you have not read Silver Birch, then you are not educated in the ways of spirit. They were and still are wonderful books, educational, interesting and still available through the Psychic Press Bookshop at Stanstead Hall. Many of Maurice Barbanell's own books are a must for any budding medium.
Some of those book titles are:
(The Picture of Silver Birch is a Psychic Portrait by Artist Marcel Poncin.)
Silver Birch was the guide of Maurice Barbanell who, during Maurice's life, channelled the great works and spirit teachings from the spirit world which was published under his name "Silver Birch". Silver Birch came back to the earth plane under this name and as a North American Indian, even though it is believed not to have been his own. It was obviously a very evolved soul who wanted to bring the teachings of spirit to mankind using Maurice Barbanell as his medium.
His teachings are excellent and have helped millions of people to live their lives. His teaching explain to us the reason for life, death and incarnation. They explain to us the meaning of existence and reveal the Natural and Universal Laws by which we are all governed and live. Any would-be mediums should take the time to read some of these books.
Some of these books are:
Their photos hang proudly on our church wall to recognise and acknowledge their contributions to Spiritualism.
Andrew Jackson Davis
August 11,1826 - January 13, 1910.
Andrew Jackson Davis was known as a Seer and Clairvoyant of the 19th Century, he was be able to enter into a higher sphere of consciousness and access higher spiritual and physical knowledge. Davis was the first person to diagnose and prescribe cures for individuals while himself in a trance state about 50 years before Edgar Cayce. He also described in detail what happens to the soul at death, and explained spiritualism and other metaphysical phenomena. His scope of knowledge extended to education, health, psychology, philosophy, and government.
Andrew Jackson Davis is often referred to as the "John the Baptist" of modern Spiritualism, for he preached the advent of spirit communication in the United States with an evangelical fervor.
He is a well known author of over 30 books including his most famous The Principles of Nature, which is over 700 pages in total.
We found this framed portrait in our upstairs closet and now proudly display it in our church to honor and recognize Andrew Jackson Davis's contributions to Spiritualiam.
November 17, 1918 - January 18, 1993
Gordon Higginson was one of the finest mediums of the last century and a great medium, speaker and teacher. His gifts of mediumship were wide-ranging and comprised mental mediumship, trance, physical mediumship and healing.
Gordon was also a man of great charisma and an outstanding servant of the Spirit.
Gordon’s birth was pre-ordained by Spirit and he began developing his spiritual gifts at a very early age under the careful supervision of his mother, Fanny Higginson, who was also an excellent medium. He first publicly demonstrated his mediumship on his twelfth birthday and he continued to work the platform for another 63 years until the day before he passed to spirit. He was renowned for the accuracy of his platform mediumship and his evidence often included full names, addresses and telephone numbers.
Gordon was also an excellent physical medium and produced the rare phenomena of materialisation and independent voice. He was one of the few physical mediums to demonstrate these unique and precious gifts publicly to audiences of up to 300 people.
Gordon was a dedicated Spiritualist and is the longest-serving President of the Spiritualists National Union (SNU), serving for an exceptional 23 years from 1970 until his passing in 1993. He was also the Principal of the Arthur Findlay College at Stansted Hall from 1979 to 1993, as well as being a Minister of the SNU. Stansted Hall was very dear to his heart and a place where many came from far and wide to hear his lectures and see his demonstrations.
We proudly display Gordon's photo in our church to honour his contributions and devotion to Spiritualiam.
The Fox Sisters
The Fox Sisters were three sisters from New York who played an important role in the creation of Spiritualism: Leah (1814–1890), Margaret (also called Maggie) (1833–1893) and Kate (also called Catherine) Fox (1837–1892). The two younger sisters used "rappings" to convince their much older sister and others that they were communicating with spirits.
In 1848, the two younger sisters – Kate (age 11)
and Margaret (age 15) – were living in a house in Hydesville, New York with their parents. Hydesville
no longer exists but was a hamlet that was part of the township of Arcadia in Wayne County, New York just outside Newark. The house had some reputation for being haunted, but it wasn't until late March that the family began to be frightened by unexplained sounds that at times sounded like knocking and at other times like the moving of furniture.
During the night of March 31, Kate challenged the invisible noisemaker, presumed to be a "spirit", to repeat the snaps of her fingers. "It" did. "It" was asked to rap out the ages of the girls. "It" did. The neighbours were called in. Over the course of the next few days a code was developed where raps could signify yes or no in response to a question or be used to indicate a letter of the alphabet. The girls addressed the spirit as "Mr. Splitfoot".
Later, the alleged "entity" creating the sounds claimed to be the spirit of a peddler named Charles B. Rosna, who had been murdered five years earlier and buried in the cellar. In his writings on the Fox sisters, Arthur Conan Doyle claimed the neighbors dug up the cellar and found a few pieces of bone, but it wasn't until 1904 that a skeleton was found, buried in the cellar wall.
Their picture hangs proudly inside our church, to recognize and honour their important role in the creation of Spiritualism.
May 29, 1893 – December 7, 1976
Harry Edwards was a self-proclaimed spiritual healer, teacher and author who had a career of nearly 40 years.
Edwards became a spiritual healer when he attended a meeting at a Spiritualist church in 1935 and was told by the mediums present that he had healing powers. His early attempts at spiritual healing were met with success, and gradually his reputation as a healer spread and his services became more in demand. During the Second World War Edwards served in the Home Guard and continued to run his printing business alongside his now growing practice as a healer. Gradually, as his fame spread, his healing took over from his printing business, which was later to be run by a brother. He moved to Stoneleigh in Surrey just after the war, where he used the front room of his house as a healing sanctuary.
Eventually, because of the increasing number of patients visiting him Edwards outgrew this home, so in 1946 he moved his family and his healing practice to Burrows Lea, a large house with several acres of gardens and woodland in Shere, where he founded the "Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary". As his fame as a healer spread he was receiving 10,000 letters a week asking for help and distant healing.
In 1948 Edwards held a healing demonstration in Manchester which was attended by 6,000 people.
In September 1951 during the Festival of Britain he appeared at the Royal Festival Hall in London, where he demonstrated spiritual healing to a packed hall.
[In 1955 he founded and was the first President of the National Federation of Spiritual Healers (NFSH). Edwards visited the island of Cyprus for his initiation into Daskalos' inner circle "The Researchers of Truth". The ceremony happened on April 1, 1954.
Harry Edwards has written many books, including:
We proudly display Mr. Edward's photo on our church wall to honour and recognise his contribution to Spiritual Healing.