May Pepper

 Medium Mrs May Pepper 


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May Pepper Medium


by Vice Admiral W. USBORNE MOORE

On January 2 I lunched with Judge Dailey in Brooklyn. My hostess was clairvoyante; and the well known Rev. May Pepper, of the First Spiritualistic Church of Brooklyn, was one of the


guests. It was one of those charming family gatherings for the celebration of the New Year which those only can appreciate who have experienced true American hospitality.

(8) In sat during the meal on the left of May Pepper. When about half-way through lunch, she said to me: "Your father has been in Spirit life twelve years; your mother is still in earth life, but she has one foot, so to speak, in spirit life, and she is not long for this earth---she will never see another Christmas." These facts were correct---may father passed out twelve years before and my mother died at the age of ninety, on December 8 following this incident.

After lunch the hostess called me on one side, and said "Your father stood behind you at lunch, and a man who I am sure was your brother; his name commenced with the letter "A"---Albert, or Alfred, or something of that sort. There was also a sister of yours, whose name is so-and-so." (The information as to the names was correct; they were Alldin and Catherine.)

I should have mentioned that when I was introduced for the first time to Mrs. Dailey, an hour before the above incident, she said: "A sailor has come here; he is dripping with water, and I feel that he was drowned while under your command. His name seems to be Leroy." I could not think who this was; but when I got back to England I hunted through my journals, and found that in June 1873, when I was a young lieutenant in a sloop in the Indian Ocean, an accident occurred. We were under sail alone---no steam available---and during the passage from Socotra to the Maldives experienced the usual gale, called the south-west monsoon. One evening we were taking in the third reef in the topsails when a young seaman called Carey fell from aloft, and, striking the rigging in his fall, plunged into the sea. The lifebuoy was let go. I jumped into a boat, and, with five volunteers, went to his assistance. The sea was high, but a keen-sighted man in my boat saw the buoy when we rose to the top of a wave. When we got up to it, we found Carey on the buoy dead. He had managed to swim to the buoy (how I cannot conceive), but this supreme effort had killed him; and there he was, with his arms around the upright standard of the buoy, drowned. We got on board again before dark, not without considerable difficulty; and I believe this was the young man who had returned from the other side in some feeling of gratitude for the efforts that had been made thirty-one years before to save his life. Everyone knows the difficulty psychics have in reading these names in what is called the ‘astral light’. Observe: this lady could not read Alldin, but she said "Albert or Alfred, or some such name". The names Leroy and Carey have three letters in common; both ended with a ‘y’ there are the same number of letters in both, and "r" is the centre letter of each word.

 When the party went into the drawing-room, after lunch, Mrs. Pepper, who before lunch had refused to give me a sitting that day, because she was tired after the Sunday evening services, she was suddenly controlled by an Indian spirit called "Bright-eyes" who seized my hands, and, in a voice totally different to that of Mrs. Pepper, said "You have brought a parcel with you; will you let me look at it?"

(9) In my breast-pocket was the packet of photographs (entirely out of sight) and two or three closed letters to spirits. One of these was worded thus: "Please impress the medium to pick out such-and-such portraits" (mentioning four of the collection). Not a soul in the house, nor in New York or Brooklyn, for that matter, knew that these photos were on my person, nor could any mortal have been aware of the contents of the closed letters.

I handed the packet to Mrs. Pepper (or perhaps I should say to "Bright-eyes"), who laid the photos faces downward on her lap. In this position I was entirely unable to distinguish one from another; to telepathy (the bogey of spiritualism) had not a chance to spoil sport. Within five minutes three out of the four portraits were handed to me.

At lunch I sat next to Mrs. Pepper, and it is possible that, with her marvelous intuition she had read my mind correctly as to the nature of the test I was most desirous to obtain; but I would like to know by what means she was able to select the portraits, unless it was through the agency of supramundane intelligence I had requested to intervene, and who was familiar with the photographs I required. On coming out of trance Mrs. Pepper was much vexed to have failed in discovering the fourth portrait.

I am writing now to give my own experiences of psychic phenomena, and not to relate the experiences of others; but I cannot properly bring before the reader, in sufficiently distinct light, the powers of the Rev. May Pepper without giving at least one instance of the exercise of her


gift that proved to be of great practical value, and which was told me that morning by the gentleman who had invoked her assistance.

(10) Mr. R. is the son of a couple who had been separated not many years after their marriage. He was brought up by his mother, who had never concealed the fact of his father being alive, but always evaded the question of where he was living. Mr. R. was nearly of age when his mother died, and he became more than ever desirous of finding his father. He was in the habit of attending Mrs Pepper s Spiritualist Church; and it occurred to him one Sunday evening to out a closed letter on the rostrum asking his mother to give him the address of his father. Mrs. Pepper through the Spirit’s guidance, gave the address of a firm in Liverpool, under which his father was employed. He wrote to him at this address and soon received a manly and affectionate reply. (Mr. R. read me the letter). The writer made no attempt to defend his share of the unhappy differences which had estranged him from his wife and son; and he could not visit America just then, but hoped to do so in a year or two; and expressed earnest good wishes for his son"s prosperity in life. It was fated, however, that they should not meet, for a few months after this letter was penned the writer was killed in a street accident.

(11) On the morning following the lunch at Brooklyn I went, by appointment, to "Maggie Gaule" for a private reading. She said: "Your father is here. He says he was with you yesterday at lunch in the house in Brooklyn." (The followed some details which satisfied me that this was not guess-work.) "I hear the words "Captain" or "Admiral". Are you Admiral?" Then a message from my father was give, which was characteristic, and certain details about my immediate family that were correct. The Medium said: "I should like to see that packet in your pocket." (Takes from me the packet of photos). As she held them I could not tell one from another. She handed out one: "This one has an association" (correct). "I know there is some very strong interest in your life connected with this" (hands one of my wife). "I am strongly impressed by this" (hands one of the four photos what I have stated had a special interest for me). "Here is another lady who is intimately connected with you" (hands the second photo of my wife).

It is remarkable (a) that this lady should have known that I had any photo"s in my pocket:(b) that she should select three out of the four in which I was especially interested; and (c) that she should corroborate the presence of my father at Brooklyn the previous day.

After various interviews with other New York Mediums, who gave more or less correct information I went to Boston on 10th January. On the 11th I visited three Mediums who could not have known anything whatever about me---neither my name, profession, present occupations, nationality nor train of thought. Their names were Mrs Morgan, Mrs. Henderson and Mr. Porter. Mrs. Morgan, sitting in full light, commenced by announcing the presence of my father and of her medical guide. She described my physical condition correctly, and said: "I sense---following the sea. You or someone closely connected with you, is following the sea as a profession. Have you anything to do with wireless telegraphy?" (my son was about to be appointed in charge of the wireless telegraphy section of the Torpedo School at Portsmouth). Various other details followed which were correct. This Medium refused to undertake the photograph test, but gave me some interesting private details.

(12) Mrs. Henderson, after a few minutes conversation, went into trance, and was taken possession of by one of her guides, "Sunflower", an Indian girl, who announced Iola as present, and said "You have something of hers with you."

"Yes, I have a photograph."

Sunflower: "Yes, there is one taken some time before she passed over, and one taken at a later stage." (Correct). I then gave the packet to Sunflower, which she laid on her lap photograph’s faces downwards, and proceeded to describe them. Sunflower: "This one makes me feel dreadful" (hands me the photo of a lady whose sister was murdered, under horrible circumstances, in New Zealand). "There is some interest connected with this" (hands a photo to which the remark would apply). "This seems to be a sister" (quite correct). "With this comes to me a laugh --a happy time" (hands a youthful portrait of Iola). "The Spirit condition predominated when this was taken" (hands an older portrait of above).

And so she went on, giving correct accounts of at least nine of the photographs. As I was completely ignorant which picture was which, I can account for Sunflower’s prescience only in


one way--viz., that Iola, who knew all the faces except one when she was in earth life, was directing the choice.

Other particulars were given concerning my family which cannot be repeated. They were correct, and my own Christian name was told to me.

Mr. Porter blindfolds his eyes. He gave me some good tests; but some of the people whom he described were uppermost in my mind that morning, and I fancy that, though blindfolded, he was able in some way to draw liberally on my own upper consciousness. There was, however, one very curious announcement towards the end of the interview: "This Spirit says he was with you in St. Louis. Have you been in St. Louis?" I replied: "No; but that was the name of the ship I came over in." The Spirit promised to make his identity known later. Mr. Porter had no knowledge of my name or nationality, but described minutely, my occupation.

(13) I returned to New York on 14th January. On the 17th I attended a public reading of sealed letters in the drawing-room of Mrs Pepper. This time I had some closed letters of my own on the table addressed to different relatives. For instance, one was to my father asking him how many children he had in the spirit world; another was to an aunt who died fifty years before, asking what was the cause of her death. The clairvoyance shown by Mrs. Pepper on this occasion was one of the most remarkable of my experiences. About forty people were present. I should think that the number of sealed letters read that afternoon amounted to twenty or twenty-five. Not a single mistake was made. All the persons who had their letters read, or spirits around them described, admitted the clairvoyant interpretation to be correct. The seer glided about the room with absolute confidence, describing the appearances, names and relationships to the audience of the entities present, not unfrequently giving an account of a Spirit standing by some sitter who had not laid any letter on the table.

Once I thought Mrs. Pepper had made a mistake. She spoke to a fashionably dressed woman in the middle of the group: "Lady, I see near you a spirit whose name is R." "I know no one of that name," was the frigid response. "Ah! I see it belongs to this gentleman in front of you. It is a little boy who has not long passed over. He was his father’s darling. May I ask, Sir, have you lost a child lately called R.?" (The man assents, his wife sitting beside him with compressed lips, looking straight in front of her.) "You have? Let me tell you there is a barrier; your little son cannot show himself to his parents while there is this wall of gloom and despondence in your house. It shuts him out. The father and mother feel no hope; they look around and find nothing to soften their despair. This should not be so. You Sir, shall see your son. He will make you conscious of his presence within two months, as sure as I’m alive. Have you lately changed the position of a picture?"

"No we have not moved his picture."

Mrs. P.: "But (listens) he tells me he was with you when you altered the position of a picture. I did not say it was his picture." The man, who is now weeping quietly with his face eagerly scanning that of the seer, says: We did make a change in the position of a picture the other day." Mrs. P. "Yes, you did. I know it. Your little R. asks me to give you this as a proof that he has been with you in your home."

Mrs. Pepper then turns to another sealed letter, and says: "This envelope contains a letter which was not written by anyone in this room. Ah! I see. Who claims this envelope? You, lady? Thank you. Will you tell me if I am correct in supposing that in this envelope is a letter from an anonymous person trying to damage your husband in your estimation? (Lady assents). Well, take my advice and think nothing more about it. It is a slander designed to break up the peace of a home, and written from evil motives. That is my answer to what you wish to know. If you care to wait behind this afternoon, I will tell you more about this matter.

After she had dealt with seven or eight letters, she swung round to me and said: "A man, the Spirit of your father walked across to you when I took up this envelope. Is it yours?" I answered in the affirmative. "Well, I will come back to you presently." Then, turning in the opposite direction, she took up a closed envelope, but a piece out of it, and mused for a time; then said: "This is a question from somebody present who wishes to know if it would be well for her sister to return to her husband. Who put it there? You, lady? Well, I am told that she had better stop as she is; the separation was not made without good reason, and they had better remain apart.


He is a miserly creature. He would skin a flint, this husband of hers, and when they lived together he grudged her the food she was obliged to eat to keep body and soul together. (The writer assents to this cheerful delineation of character.) Tell your sister it is better for her to remain independent, even if she has to work for her living. Perhaps I can tell you more if you remain behind this afternoon.

(14) Then to me: "Your father is laughing and saying "They are wondering at home why you are going back earlier than you intended." (Correct). He also says "Does my son think I do not know how many children I have got?" (Then followed a correct answer to my question). Who is E? Your aunt? But I don’t understand. The E. who is here speaking to me (listens) says that you married into her family. (Correct. Eighteen years after my aunt"s death I married her daughter (my cousin). She was ill for a long time before she passed over; her family did not know how bad she really was, and when the end came it was a great shock." (This was correct).

I have quoted her a few of the utterances of Mrs. Pepper. All of them were equally interesting and truthful, and there was not doubt in my mind at the time that this remarkable woman did clairvoyantly see Spirit entities who had accompanied their friends into the house, and that through their agency she was able to read the contents of these sealed letters almost as well as if she had opened them and read them with her eyes.

(15) Once again, the evening before I sailed for England, I had an interview with her, this time alone. She had a few minutes before she returned from Philadelphia, where had addressed thirteen hundred people, and given readings of seventy-five letters (I understood that five hundred people were turned away from the door), and at that time she was much troubled by some domestic difficulties, so I hardly expected to benefit much by her clairvoyant faculty. In this I was quite mistaken. She gave me all sorts of information of a private and complicated nature, described the character and the manner of death of a distinguished officer (which was perfectly correct) and appeared generally as if she had had no fatigue and no worries. I can only relate one portion of our conversation. One letter I had written, closed, and addressed outside, was to the Spirit of a very amiable man who had died in the year 1868, and whom we will call here Major Jones. I knew him well when I was a boy, and had reasons for supposing that he would be present, and he was.

His only Christian name was Major; he was not a military man, and had never seen anything more formidable than a squib fired off during his life. He had passed over at the age of fifty-nine. Like many other people in the last century, before statistics had been collected on the subject, he entertained a rooted objection to consanguineous marriages, and believed that they were the work of the devil. Nine years after his death his youngest daughter married a cousin. Three other children had also married. His grandchildren totaled up to the number of eighteen, and the most successful of his children’s marriages from the physical and mental standpoint was that of his youngest daughter. The seer was instructed to ask him: "How many children have you in Spirit life, and how many in earth life? The answer was quite correct: "Two daughters in earth-life, two in Spirit-life, two sons in Spirit-life, and there was a little boy who died shortly after he was born." (This latter detail was not in my consciousness, but I daresay I had heard of it at sometime or another.) He further went on to specify which of his daughters, both of whom he named, died first. Both of his wives were mentioned by name. He said; "I have a grandson in earth-life who is ill. He will have to be taken great care of."

"Do you approve of the marriage of your youngest daughter?"

A: "No. That grandson I spoke to you about is her son. (Correct, the man in question having been attacked by enteric fever in the previous August; at this time he was nearly well.) Now observe this reply. The illness of the grandson had nothing to do with the popular notion of consanguineous marriages; but Mr. Jones who had ample opportunity, we must suppose, of knowing this fact, still adhered to his original fixed idea. This view, I hinted to the clairvoyante, who was instructed to ask again; but she said: "I can’t help it sir ; but she shakes his head." Other details were given which proved the identity of the Spirit communicating and that of four or five other Spirits who were present.

I said to Mrs. Pepper: "I certainly thought you would be confused by supposing Major Jones to be a military man." The reply was: "No, he didn"t look like one."

27It is impossible that this psychic could, by any possibility, have known beforehand of the existence of Major Jones, or any particulars of his family; nor do I see how mind-reading could assist her, as my attention was not concentrated on the replies; and they were, indeed, somewhat unexpected.

Iola was present during this interview and gave some interesting information. "Ask her," I said to the Medium. "if she ever materialised in New York." The answer came at once. "She says "Yes, when you first arrived." She is smiling, and saying something about a cane." (Listens). "She says she went with you to the séance room and that you took your cane up to the room to prevent anyone knowing who you were. Is this so?"

A: "No; what I did was to walk two or three blocks, in the snow, from the hotel, when I remembered that my stick had my name and address engraved upon it; so I returned and put the stick in my room."

M. P.: Yes; that was it. She gives you this as a test that she was with you on that evening." This was my last psychic experience during this visit to America. I left the country feeling that I had been amply repaid for the trouble of crossing the ocean. As regards clairvoyance and trance mediumship, I thought the phenomena of far better quality than anything that can be obtained in this country, probably on account of the purity of the atmosphere and superior electrical conditions.

I reached England in a frame of mind quite ready to receive the truths of spiritism if I could find evidences in any honest quarter.


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