Some absolutely astonishing phenomena materialized in the both the church and our home development circles. When I reflect on those heady days of circle apprentiship, as I used to call it. I first met Liliane Mitchell starr (my soul mate in spirit) at the healing sanctuary of the local Spiritualist church…a week later I was sitting in the development circle. This class was under the tutelage of a lovely lady called silvia Alaxio and during the war she was engaged to a young man who was serving in the army…tragically he was killed…she never met another person whom she wished to spend her life with and so she dedicated her life to serving spirit, often travelling home late at night by train and bus in all kinds of weather …such bravery and humility, she was a wonderful soul, and the good news for silvia was that her beloved in spirit came through frequently.
Initially I did not know what trance was, that is until I sat in the church circle…to begin with there was a sensation…rather like cobwebs on my face, then my breathing became laboured, tears ran down my cheeks, my lips and vocal cords appeared to be moving…but not of my choice followed by what I can only describe as a feeling of ectasy, I also felt as though I was both in the physical body but also outside it… how long this state lasted ive ` no idea until I became aware of silvia`s voice calling…`Come back to us John…come back to us now`. I became aware of a gentle hand on my shoulder…her voice seemed to be calling from some distance, slowly I opened my eyes the tears were still running down my cheeks and my breathing began to calm down, `Its alright John`, I heard Silvia say as she offered me a glass of water… This was my first introduction to the world of the real trance state, words cannot describe it …it is truly mind blowing. Later on the way home I was thinking to myself, `If only those souls who feel so empty and lost and think there is just nothing, if only they could experience that feeling of spirit, its closer than they think…its right there, if only they could open their eyes…I often think along these lines…some people would think I was quite mad, others would not want to know and there again others are not ready for it, we are all at different levels of spiritual evolvement.
I had embarked upon a quest I was searching for the profound in life and had struck gold, `spiritual gold`…my life would never be the same again.
Liliane also formed her own spiritual unfoldment circle on a night she was not travelling, she also kept it free from private sittings. A small select group of eight souls, four male and four female, with an equal balance of positive and negative, we met each week at Liliane`s home, but the very first gathering was held in Ray`s (Mellers ) flat right above the sanctuary were the services were held. Ray was a healer who also chaired for the mediums…as soon as I stepped through the door I was peering in all directions, there was phenomena everywhere. A large caduceus (wand) seemed to roll down the wall For those readers who are not familiar with a caduceus…if you see a picture of Mercury wearing a winged helmet…he also has wings on his heels…this is from Roman mythology, he is the messenger of the gods…its quite an apt symbol because this is all about communication. The caduceus or wand…its colour was a kind of silver, rather like tinsil on a Christmas tree but this silver was Out of this world and very beautiful. A monk also appeared and Liliane received information for a member of the group of which the contents transpired the following week according to the recipient. I saw a spirit light hovering over the head of the woman opposite…then I began to get 'Ferry Cross the Mersey' later I said to her, ` I was getting `Ferry across the Mersey with you `. She replied, `that’s spot on`…yesterday I went over to Wallasey to view two properties (Wallasey is on the opposite side of the River Mersey from Liverpool) Steve another member of the circle got an apple tree with her…she confirmed at a later date she had purchased the property in Wallasey which also contained a large apple tree in the rear garden. Various people were receiving messengers from spirit and relaying them to the relevant members of the circle… just before closing Liliane always went round the group with a final message of advice for each developer.
Earlier in the year Liliane and I went on several occasion`s to visit a friend who was in hospital …in a neighbouring bed was a woman who never seemed to have any visitors , so I would talk to her…she told me that her husband and son had passed away within a short time of each other, on our last visit ( as our friend was about to be discharged) I went over to this woman and I held her hand and said to her, `you will see your husband and son again`…she smiled through her tears and said, ` Yes I`ve been told that before`, she did not have long to go in this material world, about a couple of months later in Liliane`s ,circle She together with her husband and son materialized, they were each linking arms and smiling . Liliane said, ` She is saying, ` I will not let them go this time`. The hymn,` O Love that will not let me go`, which is so familiar with Spiritualists up and down the country always reminds me of these wonderful reunion`s in the spirit world. I find it so moving…of course there are tears but they are tears of joy. I remember Liliane giving the philosophy during a particular service at chester church …we had just sang that hymn…Liliane went on to say it was full of compassion, indeed it is… that hymn say`s it all.
Ron Chessworth was another home circle member, he started out as a healer in Liverpool`s Daulby church…he later went on to organise and promote the Mind..body..spirit festival in Leeds, Liverpool and Port Sunlight…in fact he was into so many things, Liliane nicknamed him `Rent a prophet`…back in the circle, on one occasion he said to Liliane, `Spirit is showing me in one hand your holding a schroll of philosophy and in the other hand a bag of chips…well, everyone just started laughing including Liliane who said, ` Are you trying to lower the tone dear Ron ?` …of course a sense of humour is always important as among other things it helps to lift the vibration`s.
Speaking of humorous situation`s after Liliane retired from her mediumistic career… from time to time, we would pick up the boy`s grandson`s Ifan and William from school. On this occasion I… was driving the car and Liliane was talking about people`s pet`s in the Spirit world, she had also written a poem which was featured in her poetry book. When she had finished talking william learned forward from the rear seat and said with a rather indignant expression, `Yes Granma, but you can`t see them`… I just started laughing. On another occasion on the way home from school, we stopped off at the `tuck shop`… a few minutes later William remerged glutching a handful of sweets and chocolates, but I also noticed that he had a rather `down expression` on his face. `What is it William? Is it the end of the world? ` said I. `No`, he replied, `It`s more important than that…the chocolate fredo`s have gone up…happy day`s
However to return to the circle, Liliane launched three good mediums and the same number of healers. Our dear friend Steve Gratton who sometimes came with us to the S.A.G.B. in London…he knew his way around the city … during an earlier period his chosen University was situated there. Steve was another of those souls who thought nothing of himself but he was an exceptionally good clairvoyant… he too is in spirit world …crossing over at a rather young age ( well I think middle age is rather young ) I should also mention here Liliane`s daughter Lois who was not a member of the church circle but she did spend some time in Liliane`s home development class, Lois is a brilliant psycometrist…some of the things she revealed via this ability were truly amazing… she saw spirit when she was in her cot, however, she never followed Liliane into a mediumistic career instead raising a family and working as a supply teacher…she does have her hands full.
People have asked me about the chakras (Energy centres) …well I was taught Prana yama (breath control), meditation and I managed to master about twenty five asana`s all taught by a lecturer of Biology and Botany (who incidentally was a devout Sikh) at what used to be the old Polytecnic in Liverpool. The first time I saw a chakra, of which there are seven, was in meditation…just after what is described as `an alternative nostril breathing session` it (the energy centre or wheel ) would turn a half circle in one direction followed by a half turn in the opposite direction. Incidentally…the colours of the earth are rather drab when compared with those of spirit…colour and pattern of the chakras are so beautiful they really do exist …material science will treat it with disdain, but then material science has never served it`s spiritual apprentice.
On another occasion Liliane and I were back in Liverpool, we had just parked the car at the top of Penny Lane…yes that one, and we had just crossed over to the little island were the Sergeant Pepper`s bistro is situated… this is also featured in the song… `the pretty nurse`s selling poppies’ from a tray`… suddenly Liliane said, `Look John over there it`s Silvia` (the church circle leader who we had not seen for some years because of our travelling) Quick grab hold of her, I`ll be back in a moment. I quickly crossed the road towards Silvia, who was just passing the welsh chapel (recently demolished), Silvia, I called… she turned around… `Lovely to see you`… John? I hardly recognised you, and you have grown a beard… we hugged each other and started laughing, minutes later Liliane reappeared together with a bottle of scotch for Silvia, her favourite tipple… Liliane had popped into the off liecence, she was always doing things like this… buying little gifts for people or giving them a message… always cheering people up… she was a very generous person ,always giving without measure.
Returning to the circle, a truly amazing thing happened as all eight members of the class heard the voice of an airline pilot relaying his position, altitude, etc as he approached Liverpool airport, now renamed ` John Lennon` airport… we also heard the response from the man in the control tower… this lasted for some minutes, to use a modern phrase, `We were all gobsmacked`. After the circle had ended ( remember this was Ray`s flat above the church sanctuary) I went around to check if anything had been left on… the T.V. or the stereo, but Ray had removed all the plugs including the telephone jack… it has never happened since … astonishing.
A Haunted House
To move on , a chemist, Mr Hogan (not his real name ) knew Liliane of old… he himself had psychic ability, contacted Liliane and asked would she come along to a house around the corner from his pharmacy… the woman who lived in the house wanted to know if all these things were actually happening or was she going mad ? Liliane and I agreed to go along. Mr Hogan and his wife, a fellow Spiritualist called at the arranged time… we drove to a district on the east side of the city called Norris Green; this was something of a rough area. Mary Johnson (not her real name) opened the door, `Welcome to my humble abode`, she said. After a talk in the living room…of which I noticed she had a bed in the corner… she never used the upstairs rooms, she had them all padlocked. Soon after Liliane led the way up the stairs…Liliane said, `Someone is trying to put their hands around my throat…a swift appeal to the Guides and the attempt ceased. Up on the landing Mary was visibly shaking, she unlocked the first of three rooms… one of which in particular had very bad vibrations, someone in a previous time had been murdered here… after examining each room we stepped back onto the landing, Mary quickly relocked each door her hands were still shaking. It was then that all four of us and Mary heard loud rapping or banging on the wall… she looked absolutely terrified and with the third padlock secured she rapidly moved towards the stairs, the rest of us followed. Outside in the rear garden the vibration`s were just as bad …returning through the kitchen and back via the hall, Liliane called out, `John, can you see that spirit entity`? I peered into the gloom and sure enough there was a rather seedy looking Roman Catholic priest…to say this entity was somewhat unsavoury is an understatement. Liliane said, `According to the Guide this fellow was defrocked from the church…`he was what she called, `a bad olley` (after her naughty cat), there were also negative mischievous entities in the house. We returned to the living room and sat round the table. The first question Mary wanted to know was…`Who was … during the night… pulling the blanket`s off the bed? I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end… this really was a spooky house, I had never been in such a place before. We all spoke in turn to Mary offering pieces of advice… Liliane covered a number of things including accepting the council offer of being rehoused. We ended with a prayer… this was not a rescue, we had simply been requested to confirm the phenomena.
Mary came to the gate with us… we wished her a safe and peaceful night, it was now twilight and as the car drew away, I looked back…she was turning to go back in there to face all that alone… I shuddered.
This next one was an actual rescue… we (the circle) had been contacted by a family living in Halewood a suburb in the south of the city. Something was happening to the daughter, something of a hostile nature. The daughter, a young woman in her early twenty’s was at her wits end. Liliane agreed to come over together with three support workers… myself, Lois and a close friend and clairvoyant steve Grattan. (Liliane had been informed by the Guide this would be a trance rescue). We were met by the family who were obviously quite frightened by the events that were unfolding in the house. (Jane, the daughter… not her real name) explained what was happening to her, she appeared to be the focus of all the hostile attention… utensils had been thrown at her, she had also been hit and slapped over the head, and understandably she was terrified. The Jehovahs Witness`s had been there a few day`s before… there was a bible propped up on a stand in every room … I asked Jane had it helped? She replied that it had not made the slightest bit of difference.
We arranged for the family to stay a couple of hours with relatives down the road while we got organised… just before we commenced a clock was thrown across the room and landed on the sofa opposite… Steve quipped, `time hurries on…is someone trying to tell us something? `Liliane went into trance, I sat opposite, Steve and Lois sat on either side. Incidentally Liliane was brought up in Weybridge , Surrey and has no trace of an accent, also I`ve never heard her use a four letter word, but this entity coming through certainly did, every other word began with the letter F and with such hostile aggression… I was taken aback; if Steve and Lois were shocked then they did not show it. (Some years ago I read Doctor Carl Wick land’s book, `Thirty years among the Dead`)… little did I know then that I would be involved in similar situation`s. We explained that we were friends and that she had died physically and had been allowed to use the body of trance medium… she replied…that was rubbish. We all spoke one at a time in order to bring about a realisation of her condition. She, it turned out was the aunt of the young woman under attack and was incredibly jealous of her, she continued to rant and rave and shout at us…I said, `If you don’t pipe down we can have you removed by the Guides any time we choose and so bit by bit the resistance began to crumble and she started crying. I said to her, ` Do you know of anyone who has crossed over? Or died? `Yes `, she said, My Mam and Dad and there was a … hang on a minute, their`s Benny…Who is Benny?... He was a dog I had years ago…but he died and yet he`s sitting here wagging his tail… I can`t believe this. `Who else can you see? ` `Hang on…my Dad, he`s got his sleeves rolled up and he look`s in good health, he was very ill before he died and their`s my Mam`… Mam, she shouted and then started crying… `They want me to go with them… God their all around me` (referring to her loved ones)…` and there is some fellah with a turban (one of the Guides )… I`ll have to go with them. `Yes go with them to a better place and leave Jane in peace`… I`m sorry… I`m sorry for what I did`. Just go with your people now… `I will…I will…` The entity withdrew and Liliane returned to us. Later we brought back the family and explained the situation to them, they were not of course Spiritualists. The Mother said that it made sense because the aunt, her sister, was extremely jealous of Jane and gave her a really hard time…when she was alive. Later we had a cup of tea, they thanked us and we left for home.
Some weeks later we received a phone call from the family, confirming…since our visit, the house was at peace above all so was the daughter who was now much happier… and there had not been one solitary incident since our visit.
A final footnote on the Mary Johnson episode…Mr Hogan said, ` As the vibrations were so bad perhaps the house should be demolished? ` Liliane replied, `The bad vibrations would continue even after demolition because they are imprinted on the Ether, rather like a blue print… they will be there for a long time to come into the future until such time when spirit is ready to remove it`. To which I added, ` And some rescue group in the future will have their work cut out rescuing those entities’