Fifty Years A Medium by Estelle Roberts




 By Hannen Swaffer

Estelle Roberts will long be remembered as the most versatile British medium of her time. Her public clairvoyance is remarkable not only because of the determination with which she forces home a piece of evidence - seldom will she accept a skeptic's reluctance to acknowledge it - but because of her dramatic and arresting appearance on the platform.


In former years, her direct-voice sťances, attendance at which was a prized privilege enjoyed only by the favored few, were an almost unique emotional experience that could never be forgotten by any sitter, however accustomed he or she was to psychical phenomena. Why she abandoned them, I never heard.


Her trance addressed by Red Cloud inspired many.


She has used her rare gifts lavishly, bringing comfort to thousands and proving Survival to innumerable inquirers.


I first met her on Sunday when she was the clairvoyant at a Marylebone Spiritualist Association service in the Aeolian Hall in Bond Street. Then I was deeply struck by her impressively dignified appearance, one obviously due, I was soon to know, to the fact that psychic power was beginning to prepare her for what would be a challenge to almost anyone else's nerves.


Then, after she had successfully given messages, with the names of the spirit communicators and descriptions of their personalities, she became the very ordinary woman she is in her private life.


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During the next few years, she acted as the clairvoyant at many meetings I addressed - in the Royal Albert Hall and Queen's Hall, London the Town Hall, Birmingham; the Free Trade Hall, Manchester; and in Reading and other towns the names of which I cannot now recall. All of them were among the most successful gatherings of the hundreds at which I have spoken for our cause.


Often, it is with some anxiety that a speaker like myself, who has been emphatic about the abundant proofs of Survival and has indulged in fervent oratory, awaits the beginning of the clairvoyant's demonstration. For, if he has never shared a platform with the medium, he fears the evidence will be weak and unconvincing. The medium may be unwell, with a natural deterioration, however temporary, of his or her psychic powers - and so the meeting may end in an anticlimax. This has happened to me more than once - and so I fear to trust a stranger.


With Estelle to follow me, I never had the slightest qualm. I could use the phrase "As the medium will soon prove to you" with the highest assurance that it would be justified. He psychic personality invariably dominated any public assemblage at which she demonstrated.


At two enormous meetings arranged in the Royal Albert Hall by the Sunday Pictorial within three weeks, Estelle excelled even herself. I had spoken with unqualified conviction and, directly afterwards, her electrifying mediumship more than proved my case.


At Reading, knowing the sort of criticism the meeting might meet with the local Press, I used such words as these:


Mrs. Roberts tells me that she has never been in this town before tonight, when I accompanied her from the station and have been with her ever since. That can be checked.


"She has had no time to copy names of the 'dead' from any local cemetery, or to arrange a conspiracy with any of the town's residents."


"So I issue to the Press this challenge: 'Get the name and address of every person to whom a message is given. Call on them at home and cross-examine them about any possible complicity. Then print the truth, favorable or unfavorable to the medium as it may prove. I defy any reporter to do this.' "


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As I knew would be the case, I heard no more of the matter.


About Estelle's voice sittings - much of the evidence will be found in the pages following - I could write a volume. Until, in later years, a non-professional member of my own home circle developed similar powers, they were the most convincing I ever attended.


That at which Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding heard, once again, the eager voices of some of "The Few" who had lost their earth lives in the Battle of Britain, which, under his victorious leadership, saved our island from invasion by Hitler's hordes, was the most dramatic of them all.


It was at the opening of the House of Red Cloud - the revered Indian Guide himself performed the ceremony - that I first met King George of Greece, one of her many highly-placed sitters.


Spiritualism owes much to Estelle Roberts. It is because of my personal debt to her that I have written this brief tribute to her remarkable qualities.