Fifty Years A Medium by Estelle Roberts





Hugh died in May 1919, three days after my thirtieth birthday.


Since the necessity for living by the sea had now gone, I decided to leave Hastings and went to settle with my three children in Hampton-on-Thames. Although I had passed through much stress and grief during the twelve years of my marriage, our family life had been a happy and united one. And so it continued; the children, who were now reaching companionable age, bringing me great joy and consolation.


I never spoke to them of my spirit people, but inevitably they became aware that I possessed some special insight which they did not share nor could they understand. It became almost like a parlor game when I would predict for their amusement little unimportant things that were going to happen. Sometimes I would startle them by telling them what they had done in my absence. I derived endless amusement from mystifying them, as children always love to be mystified, and they never tired of laying traps to catch me. One of their favorite games centered in an old­fashioned phonograph we owned, which had a large trumpet; the records were in the form of cylinders. The children delighted to bring these cylinders to me, holding them behind their backs so that I could not see them, and test my powers of clairvoyance by demanding that I tell them the names of the particular cylinders they held. Nearly always I was right, but on the odd occasions when I was wrong, the cheers of triumph from the little ones rang joyously round the house.


Again I was faced with the task of supporting a family and I succeeded in getting work at the Sopwith factory in Kingston. My job was to sew the fabric on to the ailerons of airplane wings.


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One day I was asked to sew a canvas boat, which was to be carried by Harry Hawker, Sopwith's chief test pilot, on his attempt to fly the Atlantic. In the course of sewing it I became more and more convinced that the boat would be put to the purpose for which it was intended. The feeling was so strong I told my friends about it., adding that it would be the means of saving Hawker's life. Nobody paid much attention to my prediction, until it was fulfilled exactly as I had foreseen. Although it was unfortunate that Hawker's bold attempt was unsuccessful, I was nevertheless happy that my sewing had stood the test.


The strain of Hugh's illness, over-work and undernourishment had taken toll of my strength. My health gave out again, and for several months I was unable to do anything in the nature of steady work. I began to despair of ever getting stronger. Necessity, however, is a relentless taskmaster. As soon as I felt I could stand the course, I secured a post as a waitress in the upstairs restaurant at Victoria Station. All the children were now at school all day, so I was free to leave home, but it was a long and wearisome working day. I started at six each morning busying myself with housework and getting the children ready for school. Then I would leave for work at the restaurant and not return home until nine or ten at night. My eldest daughter and a kind neighbor cared for the younger ones, putting them to bed and watching over them until my return.


This arduous routine went on until the end of 1920, when I married Arthur Roberts. I was then able to give up my work as a waitress and return gratefully to the duties of a housewife, which also happily meant that I could devote more time to the children. My spirit people still came to me regularly and my understanding of them was growing noticeably. I began to give them much more thought than I had in the past and even went so far as to discuss them with my next-door neighbor, a Mrs. Slade, who invited me to accompany her to a Spiritualist meeting which she was going to attend. I agreed, and we went to a little Spiritualist church at Hampton Hill. This church, I recall, was constructed entirely of tin. We attended three times.


Each meeting was addressed by a different medium, and each medium, it seemed to me, was focusing her entire attention exclusively on me. I began to think it was all part of a conspiracy to convert me to Spiritualism. At the third meeting the psychic demonstrator was Mrs. Elizabeth Cannock, whom I later came to know as a very good medium, highly respected for her gifts and her


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integrity. She singled me out at once, saying in unequivocal terms: "You are a medium and have much work to do. Chosen by the Spirit World, you must not ignore the call. Please come and see me after the meeting."


I did so, and we discussed my spirit people and their voices. I told her there had been many times when I had feared that I was suffering from hallucinations, so strongly had this idea been implanted in my mind as a child by my father. Even now, I could not bring myself to believe her when she declared that she knew beyond all doubt that I was a medium. I asked her for proof of her words, proof by some happening that was entirely outside my mind and unconnected with myself in any way. Only in such circumstances could I be convinced of her faith in me and the mystic work she said that lay ahead of me. Only then would I feel that I could go into the world and say with conviction, "I know."


She readily conceded my point and said: "Go home and sit at a table. I am confident they will make physical contact with you."


I did as I was bid. I went straight home and sat alone at a table, expectant and apprehensive. Nothing happened that night, or on any of the next six nights when I repeated the procedure. I just sat there, silent and solitary, until I began to feel more than a little foolish. The table did not so much as wobble. I decided to have one final session. I sat again the next night and the result was exactly as before. When I could stand it no longer I got up in disgust, telling myself that other people might be mediums, but I certainly was not. I picked up the table and carried it across the room to its accustomed place by the opposite wall. It was a solid table, with tripod legs, and it required considerable effort for me to lift it. "Well, that's that," I thought. "I shall not be so easily persuaded the next time."


I turned and began to walk away. As I did so, the table rose into the air and hit me firmly in the back. I stood momentarily in astonishment, and then ran in panic to the far end of the room.


The table pursued me inexorably, within inches of my back. When I stopped, it stopped, too, returning to the floor with a thump.


After the first shock had subsided, I immediately realized that this was proof of the existence of a power outside myself that I had demanded, and with this realization came a reaction of intense


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gratitude. Turning around, I put one hand on the table and said, "Thank you, whoever you are."


It is difficult in retrospect to analyze an emotion, especially one which has no other parallel to use for comparison. I can only describe it as a grave and wonderful moment in which I felt as though my whole being had been reborn into a new level of consciousness. I was still trying to adjust myself to what had happened when I saw and heard my guide for the first time. A voice said in stilted, too precise English: "I come to serve the world. You serve with me, and I serve with you."


I asked, "Who are you?"


The voice replied, "I am Red Cloud."


As these words were spoken, I saw the top part of a man's figure surrounded by a halo of white light. His skin was olive-colored, his eyes were dark, and he wore a small black beard. In that moment I was aware as surely as if Red Cloud had told me that all that had gone before in my past life - the privation, the long hours of manual work and, particularly, my spirit voices - had been part of a preconceived pattern. And now the pattern was complete. I knew with unwavering certainty that my true mission in life - whatever it may be- had just begun.


A week after I first saw Red Cloud, I invited Arthur, my husband, to sit with me. We drew the curtains making sure that no light from outside could enter, and then sat down on two chairs we had placed opposite each other. Arthur took the bigger of the two, a heavy chair upholstered in leather, leaving me a cheap little chair having a thin wooden seat pierced with an intricate pattern of small holes. We sat facing one another in total darkness, and awaited some manifestation of the spirit power which I now knew existed. We had not long to wait. Almost at once a brilliant golden light shone down from above my head, enveloping me in its rays like a theatrical spotlight.


Arthur's reaction was immediate. "Where are you, Estelle?" he demanded. "Where have you gone to?"


I had no idea what he was talking about. I had not moved from my chair and I thought for a moment he was playing some game with me. Rather impatiently, I replied: "I haven't gone anywhere. I'm sitting just where I've been sitting all the time."


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"But you can't be," he said, "Your chair’s empty. I can see it quite clearly the seat, the back, all of it. The chair's empty."


It was my turn to be surprised. "But, Arthur, it isn't empty. I'm sitting here just as I was before."


"My dear," he insisted, "you're not. I tell you the chair is empty."


I pondered this uncomprehendingly. Quite certainly I had not moved from the chair, and as far as I was concerned no change had taken place in the room since we sat down except for the unexplained appearance of the light overhead.


"You say you can't see me," I said, "yet I can't have gone. Otherwise I shouldn't be able to answer you as I am doing now."


"Well, I can't see you," he replied, "but I can see the chair you were sitting in. I can even see the holes in the seat."


"Then tell me how many holes there are."


He leaned forward and with his forefinger traced the pattern of holes, counting each one as he came to it. He could feel nothing of my body sitting on the chair, nor could I feel the touch of his hand.


A few minutes later the golden glow overhead was extinguished as mysteriously as it had appeared, and we were left sitting face to face in the darkness. Arthur got up and put on a light, turning quickly as he did so to see if I really was still there. Then he came over and stood by me. "Let me have a look at that chair, my dear," he said. I stood up and together we counted the holes patterned in its seat. They totaled precisely the number Arthur had counted not five minutes earlier.


Some years later a similar happening, though working in reverse, when a psychic photographer exposed his camera on me. The photographer could clearly see me sitting on the chair, but when the photograph was developed, only the chair was to be seen in the picture. I had somehow been "eliminated."


In 1922 my son, Terry, was born, and when he was a year old the whole family had a narrow escape from disaster. One evening I had been to the Spiritualist church to listen to Mrs. S. D. Kent, a medium whom I had always wanted to meet. After the meeting Mrs. Kent walked home with me. When we arrived we found Arthur giving a chest of drawers a much-needed coat of white paint. As


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we entered the sitting room Mrs. Kent looked around and asked, "Why are you painting it white when all else in the room is black?" Neither Arthur nor I had the least idea what she meant by this question, and she could not explain her words. As far as I could see there was nothing black in the room, but as Mrs. Kent offered no further comment, I thought it best to let the matter drop.


However, we were soon to be enlightened. The significance of her apparently meaningless statement was brought home to us in no uncertain fashion two nights later.


The room in which we slept had a double bed, which stood in a corner with one side pressed close against the wall. I usually slept on the side nearer to the wall. I had been fast a sleep for some time when suddenly I awoke to find myself lying on the floor. Too dazed to give the matter any thought, I just climbed back to my side of the bed and fell asleep again. Some minutes later I again woke up, and once more I was lying on the floor by the far side of the bed. I thought I must be having a nightmare, and, more awake this time, got back into bed. I was still lying half-awake when suddenly I felt myself rise into the air, and pass over the top of my husband. A moment later I was unceremoniously bumped on to the floor. I became wide awake after this treatment. Putting one hand to the floor in order to pick myself up, I saw that it was covered by a white vapor which, when I scooped some in my hand to smell it, I discovered to be smoke.


I shouted to Arthur that the house was on fire. Together we rushed downstairs with the children and passed them to safety out of the back window into the yard. The firemen later told us that the sitting room must have been in a state of slow combustion for over two hours for when the door was opened the whole place burst into roaring flames.


Sadly we surveyed the ruins of our home. What remained of the furniture and walls of the sitting room was charred and blackened, including the chest of drawers, which we had so carefully painted white. It was then that we recalled the words Mrs. Kent had uttered, two nights before. Another aspect of the disaster, however, brought me great comfort. There was now no doubt in my mind that I was under the protection of the spirit world. By dumping me three times on the floor to awaken me, my spirit friends have conclusively shown that they had no intention of allowing me to leave this life until my work was done.


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I had now reached a stage in my physical development where I felt the urge to go into the highways and byways and work among people, trying to bring hope and comfort to their minds and healing to their bodies. I longed to share the light of understanding which had been given to me, and to help to bring into sharper focus the truth which had been demonstrated to mankind nearly two thousand years before.


There began for me a gradual process of the unfolding of the psychic powers necessary for the fulfillment of my mission. This was accomplished, not by special training, but simply by opening up my mind to receive impressions from the spirit world and in so doing becoming the instrument for the exercise of the divine power through Red Cloud.


I would like at this point to correct a common misconception of the manner in which spirit guides are sometimes said to treat their mediums. It is frequently suggested that guides force their way through to mediums without any regard for their feelings. I must stress this is emphatically not the case. Red Cloud has always treated me with gentleness and the greatest consideration for my health and well being. He has never asked me to do anything to which I have not freely given consent. Always he has insisted that not only mediums but all men and women have free will to act as they choose, and with it goes the responsibility for their actions.


An interesting example is the case of a young man who came to me seeking proof of Survival. He was anxious to get in touch with his father in the spirit world. Red Cloud told him: "I am sorry, my son, but I cannot bring your father to see you. When he was on earth he believed that after his death he would sleep until Resurrection Day. I cannot interfere with his free will. He now sleeps in one of the rest homes in the spirit world."


From this it will be seen that spirit people cannot be called back against their will to communicate with those on earth. They come only if they wish to do so. There can be no questions of "raising the dead" as so many people erroneously assert.


I began to take many meetings in many districts round London, at Spiritualist churches at Hampton Hill, Richmond, Surbiton, Wimbleton - to mention only a few-giving clairvoyance, clairaudience ( a means by which I hear spirit voices), healing and trance lectures. At Richmond Spiritual Church a curious incident occurred when a picture was taken by a psychic photographer who, although a non-professional, was operating under test


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conditions. When the plate was developed it contained a ray of light in the form of a spear, the head and shaft being clearly distinguishable. It was winter-time. There was no sun, and there was no window in the direction from which the spear was pointing. I had not seen the spear clairvoyantly when the photograph was taken. I can only surmise that the purpose of its appearance was to symbolize the piercing of darkness of ignorance by the light of understanding.


From a material aspect, these meetings were anything but remunerative. At the time of which I am writing, it was the custom for mediums to receive five shillings for a meeting, out of which they had to pay their own fares. Furthermore, it was no uncommon occurrence for a medium to take both afternoon and evening services without any increase in payment. This did not worry me, however, useful though a little extra money would have been. I was too filled with the zeal of the crusader to look for pecuniary gain. Indeed, I was probably too idealistic and too serious in outlook.


It is so easy to become too intense about any subject on which one feels strongly. Because of this, during the early days of my career, at sittings when I was not entranced, and therefore aware of all that I said, I was sometimes tempted to ignore or dress in greater decorum occasional phrases, which shocked me as being flippant, or in bad taste. I recall such an instance when a young woman, whose fiancé had been killed, came for a sitting. He immediately came through to me. I heard him with perfect clarity, repeat the same words over and over again, but as they shocked me I was reluctant to pass them on to my sitter. "Tell me," I asked her, "was he a man who used strong language?"


"Not especially," she replied. "Why do you ask? What is he saying?"


"Well," I said dubiously, "he keeps on saying, 'Not bloody likely, not bloody likely!' "


She laughed happily at this, and told me they had agreed that whoever died first should try to come back and give as a password the famous phrase from Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion.



I soon learned that the spirit people behave just as naturally and individually as we do. By passing over they do not suddenly become paragons of all the virtues as some people seem to think.


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They retain their mortal characteristics and to all intents and purposes are the same people they were on earth, except that they have discarded ailing, injured, or worn out bodies in exchange for perfect spirit bodies.


Red Cloud loves laughter, which he says creates harmony. He has a sparkling and delighted sense of fun which he frequently brings into play when he feels the atmosphere of a sitting is becoming too tense. I remember one lady, who moved in elevated society circles, and always exquisitely dressed in the height of fashion, once asked him: "Red Cloud, why is it that the so many of the guides are Indians with painted faces?" She did not mean this unkindly. It was a genuine question which, incidentally, has been asked many times.


"Should the Indian not paint his face?" Red cloud replied with a twinkle. "Do you not do the same?"


The tenseness of the séance at once dissolved in laughter.


At another sitting, when the atmosphere had become charged with emotion, Red Cloud suddenly interposed: "Two days ago others of my race approached me, saying, 'Come quickly, there are those who would scalp your medium.' I went with them and found her seated in a chair with her hair attached to a machine. I looked, but she was well and happy, so I went away."


I was, of course, at the hairdresser's, having my hair permanently waved.


Another example of spirit identification by a pre-arranged password was when a lady came, bringing a personal object which had belonged to someone she loved. She hoped that with its aid she might receive a communication. In the course of the sitting I became mystified when the only word I could hear was "rabbits," repeated several times. The sitter asked if there was any message for her. I replied there was, though I doubted whether it could possibly interest her. Somewhat diffidently I told her that all I had received was the word "rabbits."


"But that is the very word my husband and I agreed upon as evidence of identification," she exclaimed triumphantly.


After that I was no longer surprised at any message which came from the spirit world.


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It was at Richmond Spiritual Church in 1925 that Red Cloud first controlled me. A small group was sitting with me in an experiment to discover the extent of my psychic powers. I was not in a deep trance, and therefore had some knowledge of what was happening. It was as though I was partly present, partly detached. No doubt Red Cloud chose this semi-trance state to give me confidence before entrancing me fully, when all consciousness is withdrawn.


I could hear what he said through me, though I had no control over what was said. I heard him say: "One day this medium will be known to all the world. People will come from every country to hear her. Many will be turned away, for there will be no meeting place big enough to hold all who wish to listen to her. She will never want, nor yet will she ever know riches."


When I emerged from this semi-trance I laughed self-consciously, saying, "What lovely fairy story I have been telling?"


Events proved it to be anything but a fairy tale. I have demonstrated my mediumship at many mass gatherings from which people had to be turned away because there was no room. I have met men and women of many races and creeds, from all over the world and from all walks of life, who have come to receive comfort from Red Cloud and to hear his wisdom. Perhaps the most remarkable example of the truth of Red Cloud's words is to be found in a most unexpected occurrence in India.


The late King George of Greece often came to talk to Red Cloud, to receive his teachings and guidance. This fact has since become generally known, but at the time his visits were never mentioned outside the small circle in which we sat and were unknown to the world at large. He had gone to India, and stayed with the then Viceroy, Lord Willingdon. Being deeply interested in psychic matters, he inquired of Lord Wellingdon if he knew of a mystic with whom he could discuss them. The Viceroy told him of a holy man who lived like a hermit. King George set off to find him, taking care to preserve the secret of his identity. En route he had to cross a wide plateau. After he had gone some distance, he was met by a holy man, dressed in a loin-cloth and wearing a turban. The hermit held up his hand, bidding the king to stop.


"Come no further, my son," he said. "You have no need of me, for you are under the protection of the great Red Cloud." He turned back, refusing further conversation, and made his way out to his hut.


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When King George returned to England, he came immediately to tell me the story. He was greatly impressed by what had happened, particularly because the holy man could have had no knowledge from earthly sources of the visitor's association with Red Cloud. Nor could the holy man could have known who the monarch was.


Other members of the Greek Royal Family have visited my house; the late Paul, who was Crown Prince at the time, often came to seek guidance. Neither King George nor Prince Paul made any secret of their great interest in Spiritualism and Red Cloud, but I and my family always referred to them as "Mr. Roy" and Mr. Constantine," the names they chose when traveling incognito. My daughter Iris has acted as my personal secretary throughout her adult life, and she considers herself shock-proof. However, even her natural aplomb was shaken when answering the telephone one day was met with, "Buckingham Palace calling." Mr. Roy was an official guest at the Palace. Another member to come to Red Cloud was their sister, the late ex-Queen Helen of Rumania. King George was the most frequent visitor. He loved Red Cloud, and liked to discuss all manner of subjects with him. Greece was in a troubled ferment at this time. The King, exiled in England, came many times to discuss his country's affairs with Red Cloud. When eventually he was invited to return to the throne of Greece, as the guide had foretold, he wrote often, sending questions for Red Cloud to answer. I still have his letters covering the years from 1933 to 1940. They are, of course, entirely private, and will never be allowed to pass out of my hands.


King George was a most charming man, a strong but kindly ruler, able to make his own decisions and to carry them out. In spite of his exalted position, he was modest and unassuming in his private contacts, always completely natural, and possessed of a strong sense of humor.


I remember he once came to a public meeting at the Aeolian Hall, where, for a time, I demonstrated clairvoyance on Saturdays. One Stewart, Nicknamed "Twiggy," was a Cockney of the best type. King George asked my daughter, Iris, for a seat in the balcony. She, unable to leave her post at the door, called to "Twiggy" to conduct him there, without mentioning the Sovereign's identity. When "Twiggy" returned, Iris asked him if he had found the visitor a seat.


"Yes," said "Twiggy" complacently, "and I gave 'I’m an acid drop."


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"Good gracious!" said the horrified Iris. "Did he take one?" "He did. Several!"


The King also attended the opening of the House of Red Cloud, in a lovely old building in Wimbledon, formerly the residence of Mr. Justice Hill. In October 1934 it was dedicated to healing the sick and for demonstrations of my psychic gifts. It also became the headquarters from which many huge Spiritualist meetings were organized in London and the provinces. They included those held in conjunction with the Sunday Pictorial and a campaign sponsored by the Daily Sketch. Much valuable work was done there until 1941 when, bombed out of my home in Esher, I went to the West Country to live, closing the doors of the House of Red Cloud behind me.


The opening ceremony of the house of Red Cloud was performed by Mrs. Gordon Moore in the presence of King George of Greece, Mr. Hannen Swaffer, Rose, Marchioness of Headford, Shaw Desmond, and many other notabilities. Mrs. Gordon Moore was accompanied by her husband, who was physician to Princess Beatrice, whose sister, Princess Marie Louise, was interested in spirit healing and had received treatment from Harry Edwards.


Princess Marie Louise frequently sent requests and questions to Red Cloud through Dr. Gordon Moore, who conveyed the answers to her. On more than one occasion Red Cloud sent messages to the Princess from people in the spirit world whom she was able positively to identify yet who were quite unknown to me.


For some long time Dr. Gordon Moore was far from convinced of the truth of Survival, or of the existence of Red Cloud. He accompanied his wife on one of her visits to Red Cloud, and decided to put Red Cloud to the test. He had been much distressed by seeing the suffering of a young housemaid in his own household who was dying with cancer. "If you can stop the suffering of this girl, I will believe," he said to Red Cloud.


The guide replied: "I cannot cure her, for the disease is too far advanced, but I will stop the pain."


The doctor could hardly get back to the hospital to see if this promise had been kept. When he arrived, he found that Red Cloud had been as good as his word. The girl was free from all pain and continued to have no suffering right up to the time she eventually died. It is no wonder that Dr. Gordon Moore became completely


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convinced of Red Cloud's existence. More than twenty years later, he became a victim to cancer. Red Cloud said he would tell him when his final earthly hour was approaching, promised to help his passing into the next world. Again Red Cloud kept his word, telling us he was standing by for this great event. Twenty-one hours later the doctor passed over.


Another strange incident concerns the man who was then president of the Marylebone Spiritualist Association. He came to me because he said that he had an interesting story to relate. He told me how a stranger had come to the officers of the Association and had insisted on speaking to him in person. The visitor said he had come to seek out a well-known medium whose name he had forgotten. Could the president help him to remember? The official was only too ready to assist and reeled off a string of names, mine included.


"Ah," said the man, "is she a lady with black hair and dark, very bright eyes?" The president agreed I had the features described. The visitor then gave a clearly recognizable description of myself. The official asked him in surprise: "Do you not know her, then?"


The man shook his head. "No," he said, "but I have just come from Africa. There I lived for months with a primitive tribe who know little of white men or of the civilized world. Yet they told me. 'When you go back to England you must find the Lady Estelle. She is the one who will help you.' "


Answering further questions the man stated that many of this tribe were accomplished mediums. He believed they must have heard of my name through the spirit world. This opinion is confirmed by Red Cloud, who says that though the white races have made many advances in civilization, the primitive African leads in his understanding of psychic laws.


Not unnaturally I was deeply interested in this story and eagerly awaited the visit from the man who had recounted it. There was so much I wanted to ask him about this primitive tribe, especially about the extent and the limitations of their psychic powers. It certainly never crossed my mind that I should hear no more of him. Yet that proved to be the case. Despite the trouble to which he had gone to ascertain my name and address, he never came to see me-or, if he did, he did not make himself known to me.


I have, of course, had dealing with many colored people. One I recall very vividly was an African, a medical student burning with


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the desire to help his own people who were sadly in need of proper medical attention. He had come to England in the hope of training as a doctor at one of the big teaching hospitals. Unfortunately he was having difficulty in being accepted. He explained that though there were no regulations excluding African students from British Hospitals, he was meeting with resistance which, he believed, was due to a color bar.


It was clear to me that the eager enthusiasm with which he had embarked on his private crusade was turning to disillusionment and despondency. He was alone in a strange new country and felt himself shunned by the white people around him. He longed desperately for the comfort and encouragement of his own people. Diffidently, he asked me if I harbored any feelings of racial and color prejudice. I replied that the spirit world recognized no boundaries of race, creed or color and that this was also my outlook. He thanked me for this assurance. In the course of our séance his father and brother returned to him and also an African surgeon with whom he had been very friendly.


As he left he said: “When I came into this house, I was alone. I believed that in the whole world there were only myself and, infinitely remote from me, my God. Now I know that I have not only many friends but also Red Cloud to act as intermediary between me and God.”


I learned later that he quickly succeeded in getting into a Hospital for training, but I never heard whether his story had its happy ending.


Countless numbers of people have come to me seeking evidence of Survival. Though the majority were skeptics, almost without exception they have gone away convinced by an abundance of evidence that their loved ones still live.


One woman, I recall, was shocked by the possibilities revealed by life after death. She was a prim unmarried woman to whom I had said that I could see clairvoyantly three men around her. From my description she identified them as her father and two brothers who had died.


“They often come to see you at night after you have gone to bed,’ I told her.


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At this she sat bolt upright and said: “Mrs. Roberts, if Spiritualism teaches that male spirits can come into one’s room after one has retired, I want nothing more to do with it!”