Medium Helen Duncan

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 Helen Duncan Medium.       Scotland.  UK.

Dundee. U.K. 1897 to 1956

When the press started the smears, any story was made up and there were a lot of people who were willing to stand on their heads to denounce the ways of any seance, which they were indoctrinated by their religions into believing was evil.  Thankfully not as we know now, that it is natural for a Physical Medium to be used in such a manner as it is only proving to us all that life continues after our so called death.

What is it the press say :   Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story.

Helen Duncan sat for the London Psychic Laboratory, the research department of the London Spiritual Alliance. a great many times. These were followed in the psychic press by an eager public. In these scrutinized seances Helen produced massive quantities of ectoplasm at each planned and tested gathering. A lot of specimens were obtained by the scientists for analysis, human figures of adults and children appeared clothed in the ectoplasm,  also movements of objects beyond the reach of Helen were observed within each controlled situation. Mrs Duncan was placed nude into a sleeved sack with stiff buckram fingerless gauntlets sewn to the sleeves of her suit. The sack was then sewn in at the back and fastened with tapes and cords to the chair. At the end of the sitting the Medium was often found outside the bag, the seals, tapes and the stitching remaining intact. But as the wider press got wind of the seances that were being monitored and there were no fraud at all to be seen, they started a smear campaign. [what should be realized here, is the press was mainly owned by alleged God fearing people who went to church throughout the week and every Sunday, and the priest had control over their flock at this time, they were not allowed to think for themselves]. This is when the politicians and the authorities took notice of what was happening around Helens seances even though a lot had been to many a seance but had not said so publicly, they needed the peoples votes and the authorities had to keep quiet.

If you think this is a bit far fetched. Look at the instance of Mrs Helen Duncan and the way she died through the hands of the Christian authorities in England. She was deliberately hounded by the authorities from the 1930's until she died in 1956. But through all this Helen never stopped working hard for the Spirit World, sadly always in constant fear of her seances being interrupted, yet she carried on until the last one where the police again broke into her seance, and caused chaos which ultimately killed her. Please try to read the full stories that are now in print about her life and don't take too much notice of a lot of the negative propaganda on the net. One book about her is "My Living Has Not been In Vain", by Mary Armour, the other one that comes to mind is "Two Worlds of Helen Duncan" by Gena Brealey and Kay Hunter. 

Here is a photograph taken during one of her seances where Mrs Duncan is producing a human form, which is formed by the production of ectoplasm.

In 1956 Helen Duncan the Physical Medium, was severely injured and consequently died by the deliberate, forced intervention by the police into one of her Physical Materialisation seances.
A seance was being held in a private room upstairs in a Nottingham chiropodist’s home, the police forced entry gave a massive shock to Helen who was in the cabinet, in an unconscious Trance State, and producing ectoplasm (so "Albert" her guide, who would come through, [he was talking through Helen at the time of the break up of the seance] talk to the audience through Independent Direct Voice box before the Materialization started). Helen was deathly grey, unconscious and bleeding from the mouth when the police carried her out of the cabinet into a separate room and laid her flat out on a couch. The doctor was called, the police at first wanted to take Helen down to the police station, the doctor refused to let them, so the police wanted him to strip her and examine her for masks and muslin cloth in ALL her orifices even in the state she was in. She was also in great pain the police again asked the doctor to come down to the station with her, the doctor again refused. They again tried to insist on taking her down to the police station, the doctor said "I will have no part of it, she is in deep shock," "Can t you see she is dying." "She is a diabetic and has a heart problem." "If you move her she will die". She died thirty-six days later, I now believe as a direct result of that massive shock to her human bodily system. I can see this death was caused by internal bleeding and psychic burns, knowing what I do now.
All because Helen Duncan was using her gift, the powers from God, the Divine Spirit to comfort people and it was in conflict with the all powerful Christian establishment.
Other photographs
 

 

Under this ancient rule Helen Duncan and her innocent sitters were accused of pretending 'to exercise or use human conjuration', that through the agency of Helen Duncan, spirits of deceased dead persons should appear to be present'.

But, lest this single charge may falter, the authorities scoured their dusty law precedents for further charges and they found them. One such was the Larceny Act which accused her of taking money 'by falsely pretending she was in a position to bring about the appearances of these spirits of deceased persons'.

The prosecution were determined to prove Helen Duncan was a fraud. Her trial took place barely a few months before the famous D-Day landings and lasted for seven grueling days. Spiritualists everywhere were up in arms that one of their most treasured and gifted demonstrators should be treated in such a tawdry manner. A defence fund was quickly raised. It was used to bring witnesses from all over the world to testify to her genuine gifts. Because of this her case rapidly became a cause celebre which attracted daily headlines in tabloid and broadsheets alike.

One telling development that this was no ordinary case was that in a rare example of cross border co-operation both the Law Societies (senior legal bar councils) of England and Scotland jointly and simultaneously declared this case to be a travesty of justice.

As a debunking exercise the case failed miserably. Skeptics must have winced at the daily reporting of case after case where 'dead' relatives had materialised and given absolute proof of their continued existence. One Kathleen McNeill, wife of a Glaswegian forgemaster, told how she has attended such a seance at which her sister appeared. Her sister had died some a few hours previously, after an operation, and news of her death could not have been known. Yet Albert, Helen Duncan's guide, announced that she had just passed over. And, at a subsequent seance, some years later Mrs. McNeill's father strode out of the cabinet and came within six feet of her to better display his single eye, a hallmark of his earthly life.

By the penultimate day of this ridiculous trial, the defence was ready to call their star witness Alfred Dodd, an academic and much respected author of works on Shakespeare's sonnets. Alfred told the court that during 1932 and 1940 he had been a regular guest at Helen Duncan's home seances. At one of these sittings his grandfather had materialised, a tall, corpulent man with a bronzed face and smoking cap, hair dressed in his customary donkey-fringe. After speaking with his grandson the Spirit then turned to his friend Tom and said; "Look into my face and into my eyes. Ask Alfred to show you my portrait. It is the same man".

Two equally respected journalists, James Herries and Hannen Swaffer then took their places in the Old Bailey witness box - a place where for hundreds of years many a murderer has given evidence and many a witness has pointed an accusing finger. The chain smoking Swaffer, who had already won acclaim as the acerbic uncrowned father of Fleet Street (home of England's newspaper quarter) and co-founder of the Spiritualist weekly "Psychic News", told the court that anyone who described ectoplasm as "butter muslim" would be a child. Under a red light in a seance room it would look yellow or pink whilst these spirit forms all displayed a white appearance".

James Herries, himself a Justice of the Peace, a much respected psychic investigator of some 20 years standing and the chief reporter of the prestigious and influential "Scotsman" broadsheet affirmed that he had seen Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, famed author of the Sherlock Holmes books, himself materialise at one of Helen Duncan's seances. He had especially noted the distinctive Doyle rounded features, moustache and equally unmistakable gravelly voice.
 

But, wisely or otherwise, the defence had decided that the best test of Helen Duncan's genuine gifts were for her to give a demonstration of physical phenomena whilst in trance from the very witness box of England's Central Criminal Courts. This suggestion really did cause a frightened flurry in the ivory dovecots of the establishment. If she pulled it off, they debated, then instead of the censure they sought, her cause would be spread throughout the land and even beyond. And this would mean that the famed British legal system adopted by so many former colonies - including America - would be held to total ridicule.

Hurried conferences with the best legal minds were held throughout the night. Their solution was to reject this offer and suggest instead that Mrs. Duncan be called as a witness - thus giving the prosecution an opportunity to cross examine this ordinary Scottish housewife and, in doing so, attempt to destroy her credibility. But Helen's defence lawyers saw through this ploy. They pointed out that Mrs. Duncan could not testify since she was in a trance state during these seances and could not, therefore, discuss what had transpired.
The jury only took half an hour to reach their verdict; Helen and her co-defendants were found Guilty of conspiracy to contravene that ancient 1735 Witchcraft Act but Not Guilty on all other charges.

 


Portsmouth's chief of police then described this new 'criminal's' background. Mrs. Duncan was married to a cabinet maker and had a family of six children ranging from 18-26 and she had been visiting Portsmouth for some five years. He then described her as "an unmitigated humbug and pest" and revealed that in 1941 she had been reported for announcing the loss of one of His Majesty's ships before the fact had been publicly known.
The presiding judge announced a weekend's delay whilst he considered sentence. Helen herself left the dock weeping in her broad Scottish dialect; "I never hee'd so mony lies in a' my life".

The following Monday morning the judge declared that the verdict had not been concerned with whether 'genuine manifestations of the kind are possible . . .this court has nothing whatever to do with such abstract questions'. However he interpreted the jury's findings to mean that Helen Duncan had been involved in plain dishonesty and for this reason he therefore sentenced her to nine months imprisonment.

The shocked Spiritualist movement immediately demanded a change in the law. They felt that she had been prosecuted to stop any leakage of classified wartime information. As one of many, many examples during 1943 and once more in that ungrateful city of Portsmouth, Helen Duncan had given a seance during which a sailor materialised reporting that he had gone down with His Majesty's Ship "Barham", whose loss was not officially announced until three months later.

 But, the defence right of appeal to the House of Lords, Britain's highest court of appeal, was denied. The establishment had achieved its objective and certainly did not want one single inch of further publicity. Helen was sent back to London's Holloway prison, that Victorian monstrosity for female prisoners still being used today.

It was not only the best legal minds in the country that felt this case had been a major miscarriage of justice. So too did her prison warders. They refused to 'bang her up'. For the entire nine months of her unjust incarceration, Helen Duncan's prison cell door was never once locked! What's more, she continued to apply her psychic gifts as a constant steam of warders and inmates alike found their way to her cell for spiritual upliftment and guidance.

And many senior Spiritualists who were close to Helen report, it was not only prisoners and staff who made pilgrimage to the dreaded Holloway Goal. So too did some of her other more notable sitters, including Britain's Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill himself.

Despite her declaration with in a few months she felt that strong call from the Spirit World to continue her work and was soon spending more time than ever in trance state. Perhaps too much so, for the quality of her seances since imprisonment appeared to have had deteriorated, even to the point where Spiritualism's governing National Union actually withdrew her diploma at one stage .

 Helen's Spiritualist friends say that during his visits to her cell, Prime Minister Churchill made promises of making amends to Helen. True or speculative, it is a fact that in 1951 the damning 1735 Witchcraft Act which had been used to imprison Helen was finally repealed. In its place came the Fraudulent Mediums Act and some four years later in 1954 Spiritualism was officially recognised as a proper religion by formal Act of Parliament. And Spiritualists everywhere knew why and they rejoiced that whilst frauds would be properly prosecuted the authorities, especially the police, would stop harassing true working Mediums.

They were wrong. In November 1956 police raided a seance in the midlands city of Nottingham. They grabbed the presiding medium, strip searched her and took endless flashlight photographs. They shouted at her that they were looking for beards, masks and shrouds. But they found nothing.

The medium was Helen Duncan and in their ignorance the police had committed the worst possible sin of physical phenomena; that a medium in trance must NEVER, ever be touched. As the Spirit World's teachers have patiently explained so many times when this happens the ectoplasm returns to the medium's body far too quickly and can cause immense - sometimes even fatal - damage.
 

And so it was in this case. A doctor was summoned and discovered two second degree burns across Helen's stomach. She was so ill that she was immediately taken back to her Scottish home and later rushed to hospital.

 Five weeks after that police raid she was dead.

 

Footnote:


Helen Duncan's work for Spirit did not cease with her own passing. In September 1982, she came through the direct voice medium Rita Goold and spoke to her own daughter, Gina, who was delighted to confirm this contact without any doubts. She has since returned many times within Spiritualist Home Circles where she always felt happiest. Indeed on one occasion last year this writer, in his capacity as visiting medium, was privileged to link Mrs. Duncan with her former neighbour.

 We owe her an immeasurable debt of gratitude for her faith and skills and for sharing them so widely and at such an ultimate cost. We owe her further debts for being the scapegoat around whom we could demand - and get - vital changes in the law. But Spiritualism's premier Heroine and Martyr will never be forgotten whilst there are writers who care sufficiently to pen articles like this one.

 


Latest legal moves to secure Helen's Pardon

 

by Graham Hewitt, Legal Adviser..

 NEW LEGAL MOVES to clear the name of Spiritualism's materialisation heroine Helen Duncan are announced to mark the 50th anniversary of her premature promotion to the next world on 6th December 1956, shortly after yet another mischievous police raid.

 I can now report that earlier this year I submitted 500 pages of legal arguments to the Criminal Cases Review Commission on behalf of her eldest surviving grandson and his family.

 The CCRC replied stating that they did not consider her case to be "in the public interest", declined to consider the application and returned my submission unread.

 This curious response has baffled both campaigners and the 40 million global internet surfers - the equivalent of two thirds Britain's total population - who have now logged on to this website over the past decade.

 Following advice from prominent Members of Parliament, including Lord Ancram and Michael Howard QC, the Minister who introduced the Commission who explained that cases like Mrs. Duncan's were ‘the very reason that the CCRC was set up’, I sought expert advice from counsel.

 We have now secured the invaluable help of the prominent expert barrister, Mr Timothy Barnes QC from the leading London Chambers of Bedford Row.

 Mr Barnes has an impressive track record. He is ranked as a leading silk in Fraud in the legal Directories. He has expertise in handling submissions to such technical legal subjects with the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

 After reading our detailed submission Mr Barnes has commented; “To state that defence counsel was clearly erroneous in the way that he presented the defence is overgenerous". He adds the flaws in the defence by Counsel showed a level of professional incompetence, most probably caused by Mr Loseby not being a practicing Criminal Barrister.

 As a direct result of his advice, we can now submit that Mrs. Duncan’s defence barrister, Charles Loseby, failed to present Mrs. Duncan to give evidence. In the subsequent appeal, he also submitted that the Judge had allowed the prosecution to bring forward her previous conviction. The details of that were given to the jury of her prosecution in the Edinburgh Sheriffs Court when she was found guilty, according to the prosecution, of fraudulent mediumship and affray and find the sum of £10. If he had investigated to that previous conviction, he would have clearly found that she was found £10 for the affray but the case of fraudulent mediumship was "not proven".

 Regrettably Mr Loseby being a civil barrister and noted constitutional lawyer, appears not to have known the correct criminal procedure. Neither had he prepared himself adequately in Criminal procedure for this case. But he was no match to the two Prosecution barristers, who were well versed in Criminal law and procedure.

 There is no doubt that Mr Loseby had a knowledge of Spiritualism since he had represented the Spiritualist National Union and other Spiritualist organisations in his submission to the Home Office in 1943, to change the law in respect of the Vagrancy Act and Witchcraft Act. Unfortunately, because of the limit on Parliamentary time, the Home Secretary did not have time to put these amendments into law.

 However, it is seen from correspondence passing between the Home Secretary and Chief Constables that there was a direction not to prosecute Spiritualist Mediums when they were acting in scientific discovery and sciences.

 There is no doubt that Mrs. Duncan was somewhat of an embarrassment to the authorities. In particular, her guide, Albert, in a seance in Edinburgh announced that HMS Hood had been sunk earlier that day in the North Atlantic. The time of this seance was 3:30 pm.

 Brigadier Firebrace, a very enthusiastic believer in Spiritualism, who was the Chief of Security at the time in Scotland, attended that seance. He returned to his office and telephoned the Admiralty to see whether, as he called it, the rumour of the sinking was true. At that time it was denied.

 By 9:30 p.m., as he was leaving the office, a telephone call was received from the Admiralty confirming the sinking at 1:30 p.m.

 The evidence given by Mrs. Duncan's guide was accurate. However, the authorities were clearly worried that this information coming from a third party rather than Central Government could undermine public morale. Particularly, when this country was secretly preparing allied troops for the D-Day landings.

 Within six months, a young man materialised in the seance who had been severely burnt and died in the sinking of HMS Barham. The editor of “Psychic News”, Maurice Barbanell, attended this seance. He returned to make a telephone call to the Admiralty and Home Office, asking why this information had not been divulged to the parents and families of those who had perished. Again, the reason was given that it would have had a serious impact on public morale.

 With Helen's name reoccurring, the authorities felt they had a cause for concern. And they acted with a very heavy hand.

The conclusion can only be that Helen Duncan was NOT convicted of being a Fraud instead she was imprisoned because her sources told The Truth. And the Government of the day wanted her out of the way !

 

Helen Duncan ectoplasmic matter

 

HELEN DUNCAN      A Medium Martyr 

Born 25th November 1897    Passed to spirit 6th December 1956
 

 

This website tells the true story of a Scottish housewife who found herself in the centre of a WWII legal battle which ended with her brutal conviction of a 'crime' under Britain's ancient Witchcraft Act and jailed for nine months simply for falling asleep on request.

 Her name was Helen Duncan and in every respect but one she was just a normal housewife and mother of six. That single aspect that made her different from others and was destined to make her the confidante of wartime premier Winston Churchill and his colleagues, is that she had the astonishing ability to bring the dead to life.

Mrs. Duncan was a Spiritualist Materialisation Medium through whose ample body, milky ectoplasm flowed and formed into complete human figures, which could walk and talk and greet their living relatives with intimate secrets known only within their families.

This is the true story of a woman sent to prison accused of being a witch when she was a well-known and proven psychic. During WWII Helen's accurate 'death notices' were verified countless times. When she materialized the full form of a sailor with the name H.M.S. BARHAM on his cap, a ship which the English government denied had been sunk; she was arrested and jailed as a spy and then a witch. Even after she was proven correct, she was held as a witch. Her story is still unfolding today and is documented here.

 This website is the OFFICIAL source for news of the latest developments in securing Helen's Pardon. Over the last decade over 45 million surfers have visited here with millions more learning of her gifts and persecution via other supporting sites.

Updates will be posted here as they break.

 

 

The Message Continues..


The message continues with Helen still offering proof of life after death. Since this campaign began, this web site has reached over 43 MILLION people. Now, in "death" Helen still carries her message each month to new seekers of truth. Clearly she now reaches more people in a single month via the web than she did in her private sittings.

 Helen is often remembered as the victim of the "last witch trial" or as a martyr for Spiritualism, but the simple truth is: she is a beacon of light, letting her honour and leadership shine through the fog of doubts and fear.

 Thanks Helen, for letting us be a small part of keeping your message going.

 

 

Helen Duncan and 'Predictions'
 

HELEN DUNCAN was a remarkable Spiritualist Materialisation Medium and campaigners have spent over a decade now researching her life and work. Now over 60 million surfers have visited this website.

 To date we have not found any record that she ever made predictions for her clients. Recent claims in American and German tabloids that she has given predictions about the American President Elect Obama are not based on facts.

 These claims do not conform to the traditions that Mrs Duncan was trained to observe which firmly maintained that all evidence given during her many sittings was completely confidential. It is also worth noting that since she was in a trance state she had no knowledge of what took place during her seances.

 We are trying to trace the original source of these claims which appear to conform to the modern approach of 'scry and tell' psychics and do not reflect the long standing traditions of confidence observed by all properly trained Spiritualist Mediums.

 German surfers wishing to learn more about the accuracy of Mrs Duncan's work during WWII will find it reported in our new *E-book* "CHURCHILL's WITCH" - further details available on this official website.

 

The Helen Duncan Story

The remarkable story of Helen Duncan Spiritualist and medium branded a traitor in WWII.

Helen was born in Callander, a small Scottish town on the 25th of November 1897 the daughter of a master cabinet maker. Her family was far from rich. Like many of her fellow Celtic lassies she struggled to earn a living even after her marriage at the age of 20. Her husband, Henry, another cabinet maker, had been injured during WW1. She had 12 pregnancies, but only six children survived. To sustain this large family and a disabled husband she worked in the local bleach factory by day and her Spiritual work and domestic duties by night. The small amount of cash she made from her sittings, mostly token donations rom friends and neighbours existing in a similar poverty to her would often discreetly go to their local doctor to pay for those patients who were destitute. This was in the time before Britain's National Health Service concept of free medicine for all had been introduced. But her skill lay in Mediumship of a particular kind, that rare psychic gift of being a vehicle for physical phenomena whilst in trance state. A precious gift that brought comfort to thousands, but one which was eventually going to cost her earthly life.

By the 1930s and 1940s she was travelling the length of wartime Britain giving regular seances in hundreds of Spiritualist churches and home circles. The evidence that flowed from these physical phenomena seances was astonishing.

Dead' loved ones appeared in physical form, spoke to and touched their earthly relatives and in this way brought both proof of survival and much comfort to thousands of traumatised and grieving wartime families.

One such sitting was attended by a man named Vincent Woodcock, he had brought his sister in law for an evening's demonstration. Those 60 minutes changed both their lives. Vincent gave evidence in London's premier Old Bailey courtroom that the medium Helen Duncan slipped into trance and began producing the much-scoffed 'ectoplasm'. Then his 'dead' wife materialised from this ectoplasmic matter and asked both Vincent and his sister in law to stand up.

The materialised spirit then removed her wedding ring and placed it on her sister's wedding finger, adding, "It is my wish that this takes place for the sake of my little girl". A year later the couple were married and returned for a further seance during which the dead woman appeared once more to give her renewed blessings to the happy couple.

But this touching human story, along with other similar unsolicited and genuine testimonials to her remarkable gifts, were ignored by the law courts for Helen Duncan was destined to 'go down' to appease an establishment terrified that she might accurately discern the date of the D-Day Normandy Landings.

During the Second World War Helen was in great demand from anxious relatives, especially those who had lost close family on active war service. One of many such sittings took place in a private house in the homeport of Britain's Royal Naval fleet, the southern coastal city of Portsmouth on the evening of January 19 1944. It was a dangerous place to hold any meeting - such was the German Luftwaffe's intent on reducing Portsmouth to rubble and disable Britain's fleet. But the real danger lay not in a hail of enemy bombs but with the scepticism and fear of the establishment. For that night a plain-clothes policeman who blew his whistle to launch a raid disrupted her seance. Police hands made a grab for the ectoplasm but the spirit world was too quick for them and it dematerialised quicker than they could catch.

Thus Helen Duncan, together with three of her innocent sitters, were taken up before Portsmouth magistrates and charged with Vagrancy. At this hearing the court was told that Lieutenant R. Worth of the Royal Navy had attended this seance suspecting fraud. He had paid 25 shillings (then worth about $5) each for two tickets and had passed the second ticket to a policeman. It was this policeman who had made the unsuccessful grab for the ectoplasm, believing it to be a white sheet. But the subsequent finger tip search of the room immediately after the raid failed to discover any white sheets.

Even if she had been found guilt under this charge the maximum fine at that time would have been some five shillings ($1) and she would have been released. But, very oddly Helen was refused bail. Instead she was sent to London and forced to spend four days in the notorious women's prison called Holloway. It was this same Victorian goal where suffragettes had been forced fed by prison warders and where the grisly gallows waited for all female murderers, spies and traitors. Meanwhile an anxious establishment debated the best charge to lay against this dangerous war criminal Helen Duncan. One her first appearance before the Portsmouth magistrates she had been charged under the catchall act of Vagrancy. This was later amended to one of Conspiracy, which, in wartime Britain, carried the ultimate sentence of death, by hanging. But by the time the case had been referred to England's central criminal court - know as the Old Bailey - the charge had been changed yet again. This time to one of witchcraft and an old Act of 1735 had been dredged out of the dusty law libraries. Under this ancient rune Helen Duncan and her innocent sitters were accused of pretending 'to exercise or use human conjuration that through the agency of Helen Duncan spirits of deceased dead persons should appear to be present'.

But, lest this single charge may falter, the authorities scoured their dusty law precedents for further charges and they found them. One such was the Larceny Act, which accused her of taking money ' by falsely pretending she was in a position to bring about the appearances of these spirits of deceased persons'.

The prosecution was determined to prove Helen Duncan was a fraud. Her trial took place barely a few months before the famous D-Day landings and lasted for seven gruelling days. Spiritualists everywhere were up in arms that one of their most treasured and gifted demonstrators should be treated in such a tawdry manner. A defence fund was quickly raised. It was used to bring witnesses from all over the world to testify to her genuine gifts. Because of this her case rapidly became a cause celebre which attracted daily headlines in tabloid and broad sheets alike.

One telling development that this was no ordinary case was that in a rare example of cross border co-operation both the Law Societies (senior legal bar councils) of England and Scotland jointly and simultaneously declared this case to be a travesty of justice. As a debunking exercise the case failed miserably. Sceptics must have winced at the daily reporting of case after case where 'dead' relatives had materialised and given absolute proof of their continued existence. One Kathleen McNeill, wife of a Glaswegian forgemaster, told how she has attended such a seance at which her sister appeared. Her sister had died some a few hours previously, after an operation, and news of her death could not have been known. Yet Albert, Helen Duncan's guide, announced that she had just passed over. And, at a subsequent seance, some years later Mrs McNeill's father strode out of the cabinet and came within six feet of her to better display his single eye, a hallmark of his earthly life.

By the penultimate day of this ridiculous trial the defence was ready to call their star witness Alfred Dodd, an academic and much respected author of works on Shakespeare's sonnets. Alfred told the court that during 1932 and 1940 he had been a regular guest at Helen Duncan's home seances. At one of these sittings his grandfather had materialised, a tall, corpulent man with a bronzed face and smoking cap, hair dressed in his customary donkey-fringe. After speaking with his grandson the spirit then turned to his friend Tom and said, "Look into my face and into my eyes. Ask Alfred to show you my portrait. It is the same man".

Two equally respected journalists, James Herries and Hannen Swaffer then took their places in the Old Bailey witness box - a place where for hundreds of years many a murderer has given evidence and many a witness has pointed an accusing finger. The chain smoking Swaffer, who had already won acclaim as the acerbic un-crowned father of Fleet Street (home of England's newspaper quarter) and co-founder of the Spiritualist weekly "Psychic News", told the court that anyone who described ectoplasm as butter Muslim " would be a child. Under a red light in a seance room it would look yellow or pink whilst these spirit forms all displayed a white appearance".

James Herries himself, a Justice of the Peace and much respected psychic investigator of some 20 years standing and the chief reporter of the prestigious and influential "Scotsman" broad sheet, affirmed that he had seen Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, famed author of the Sherlock Holmes books, himself to materialise at one of Helen Duncan's seances. He had especially noted the distinctive Doyle rounded features, moustache and equally unmistakable gravely voice.

But, wisely or otherwise, the defence had decided that the best test of Helen Duncan's genuine gifts were for her to give a demonstration of physical phenomena whilst in trance from the very witness box of England's Central Criminal Courts. This suggestion really did cause a frightened flurry in the ivory dovecotes of the establishment. If she pulled it off, they debated, then instead of the censure they sought her cause would be spread throughout the land and even beyond. And this would mean that the famed British legal system adopted by so many former colonies - including America - would be held to total ridicule.

Hurried conferences with the best legal minds were held throughout the night. Their solution was to reject this offer and suggest instead that Mrs Duncan be called as a witness - thus giving the prosecution an opportunity to cross examine this ordinary Scottish housewife and, in doing so, attempt to destroy her credibility. But Helen's defence lawyers saw through this ploy. They pointed out that Mrs Duncan could not testify since she was in a trance state during these seances and could not, therefore, discuss what had transpired.

The jury only took half an hour to reach their verdict; Helen and her co-defendants were found Guilty of conspiracy to contravene that ancient 1735 Witchcraft Act but Not Guilty on all other charges. Portsmouth's chief of police then described this new 'criminal's' background. Mrs Duncan was married to a cabinetmaker and had a family of six children ranging from 18-26 and she had been visiting Portsmouth for some five years. He then described her as " an unmitigated humbug and pest" and revealed that in 1941 she had been reported for announcing the loss of one of His Majesty's ships before the fact had been publicly known. The presiding judge announced a weekend's delay whilst he considered sentence. Helen herself left the dock weeping in her broad Scottish dialect, "I never hee'd so mony lies in a' my life".

Helen Duncan - The Witch

The following Monday morning the judge declared that the verdict had not been concerned with whether ' genuine manifestations of the kind are possible . . .this court has nothing whatever to do with such abstract questions'. However he interpreted the jury's findings to mean that Helen Duncan had been involved in plain dishonesty and for this reason he therefore sentenced her to nine months imprisonment. The shocked Spiritualist movement immediately demanded a change in the law. They felt that she had been prosecuted to stop any leakage of classified wartime information. As one of many, many, examples during 1943 and once more in that ungrateful city of Portsmouth Helen Duncan had given a seance during which a sailor materialised reporting that he had gone down with His Majesty's Ship "Barham" whose loss was not officially announced until three months later. 

But, the defence right of appeal to the House of Lords, Britain's highest court of appeal, was denied. The establishment had achieved its objective and certainly did not want one single inch of further publicity. Helen was sent back to London's Holloway prison, that Victorian monstrosity for female prisoners still being used today. It was not only the best legal minds in the country that felt this case had been a major miscarriage of justice. So too did her prison warders. They refused to 'bang her up'. For the entire nine months of her unjust incarceration Helen Duncan's prison cell door was never once locked! What's more she continued to apply her psychic gifts, as a constant steam of warders and inmates alike found their way to her cell for spiritual upliftment and guidance.

And many senior Spiritualists who were close to Helen report that it was not only prisoners and staff who made pilgrimage to the dreaded Holloway Goal. So too did some of her other more notable sitters, including Britain's Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill himself. Churchill was no stranger to psychic phenomena. Recalling the events of the Boer War, when he had been captured, then later escaping and seeking sanctuary. He explained in his autobiography how he was " guided by some form of mental planchette (a Spiritualist tool) to the only house in a 30 mile radius that was sympathetic to the British cause". Had he knocked on the back door of any other house he would have been arrested and returned to the Boer commanders to be shot as an escaping prisoner of war. Many years prior to this he had been ordained into the Grand Ancient Order of Druids. And throughout his life he experienced many times when his psychic sixth sense saved his life.

Churchill was exceeding angry indeed when the Helen Duncan case began. He penned an irate ministerial note to the Home Secretary, " Give me a report of the 1735 Witchcraft Act. What was the cost of a trial to the State in which the Recorder (junior magistrate) was kept busy with all this obsolete tomfoolery to the detriment of the necessary work in the courts?" But his civil servants were over-ridden by the all -powerful intelligence community. D-Day was coming and their levels of paranoia had reached an all time high and even a Prime Minister's anger was to be set aside. Helen Duncan, mother of nine and part time bleach factory employee was considered a risk and they wanted her out of the way when the Allies struck. Her case was a transparent conspiracy to frame her ' in the interests of national security'

Meanwhile, having served her full sentence, Helen Duncan was released on 22 September 1944, vowing never to give another seance. Despite her declaration with in a few months she felt that strong call from the Spirit World to continue her work and was soon spending more time than ever in trance state. Perhaps too much so, for the quality of her seances since imprisonment appeared to have had deteriorated even to the point where Spiritualism's governing National Union actually withdrew her diploma at one stage. Helen's Spiritualist friends say that during his visits to her cell Prime Minister Churchill made promises of making mends to Helen. True or speculative it is a fact that in 1951 the damning 1735 Witchcraft Act, which had been used to imprison Helen, was finally repealed. In its place came the Fraudulent Mediums Act and some four years later in 1954 Spiritualism was officially recognised as a proper religion by formal Act of Parliament. And Spiritualists everywhere knew why and they rejoiced that whilst frauds would be properly prosecuted the authorities, especially the police, would stop harassing true working Mediums.

They were wrong. In November 1956 police raided a seance in the Midlands City of Nottingham. They grabbed the presiding medium, strip searched her and took endless flashlight photographs. They shouted at her that they were looking for beards, masks and shrouds. But they found nothing. The medium was Helen Duncan and in their ignorance the police had committed the worst possible sin of physical phenomena, that a medium in trance must NEVER, ever be touched. As the Spirit World's teachers have patiently explained so many times when this happens the ectoplasm returns to the medium's body far too quickly and can cause immense - sometimes even fatal - damage.

And so it was in this case. A doctor was summonsed and discovered two second degree burns across Helen's stomach. She was so ill that she was immediately taken back to her Scottish home and later rushed to hospital.

Five weeks after that police raid she was dead.

 

The Trial of Helen Duncan

The Society has been fortunate to acquire a rare 1st Edition

of the transcript of the Trial at the Old Bailey

please try to get to read it.

  My thanks goes to Michael Colmer (Author) for his kind permission to use  his article on the life of Helen Duncan spiritualist and medium.

 

spirit.jpg (10376 bytes)

An old man produced by Helen Duncan through the help of one of her guides Albert Stewart. AFTER permission was given by the Spirit Guide [NOT by ONE of the sitters] looking after Helen, this photograph was taken by an infra red  flash Light. Notice in the picture the part of the ectoplasm that attaches to the Medium like an umbilical cord is at the side of the head of the materialised form, notice also the difference of the ectoplasm, some has become transparent. [Looking at the photograph, on the left hand side along the edge].

 

The phenomena of Helen Duncan taken at Harry Price's National Laboratory in 1931.

 

Helen Duncan photographed with the ectoplasm showing the early development of an ectoplasmic baby that was eventually materialised. Note also one of the sitters [a regular trusted sitter], the chairs and the table in front of Helen are tied with string so the new sitters could be certain of no hanky-panky [fraud] going on. Also notice they are holding Helen by the wrists and she is blindfolded.

 

The Spirit World is using Helen Duncan while producing ectoplasm which is forming into a baby like structure. This was whilst she is in trance, sitting inside a cabinet.

 

In a small public seance demonstration, Helen Duncan produces a materialized Spirit form.

 

Go to these link to find out more about her.

Helen Duncan Interesting article by John G Sutton

Helen Duncan The BBC's article

Helen Duncan and other women accused of witchcraft

Helen Duncan Historic UK article

http://www.spiritencounters.co.uk/helenduncan.html a very good detailed article

There are other sites on a similar vein but slightly different pages click on links.

 keeways.com        mediumshiptruth.info        psychictruth.info 

 

Click onto the links BELOW for the other pages on this site.

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