I was travelling by train through the county of Staffordshire when a Roman catholic priest sat down opposite me and started talking ,the subject…what else Religion, I shall not beat about the bush and progress to the more interesting part of the conversation. I had not seen a priest for many years let alone spoken to one. However, before I continue I have to say that I’m with Arthur Findley on this one…the less I see of priests, Rev`s and Bishops the better. But one must show some `Bon hom`. We come to the part when I announced that I was a Spiritualist…the priest`s eyes widened, he did not expect that. Well, he said, I would rather be a Roman catholic. To which I countered, `Well, I would rather be a Spiritualist. Why? He asked. Because having read so much history my conscience would not allow to be at peace knowing your religion had murdered millions of men and women down the centuries across the many countries of Europe…this time his eyes widened and his jaw appeared to drop, perhaps no one ever had the temerity to sit in front of him and outline these cold hard facts. He then quickly changed the subject to mediumship. Well you know when an entity speaks through a medium it’s not your uncle Joe or your aunt sally. Is it not, says I. No not at all. Then who is it? I demanded to know. `It’s a devil or a demon`. What? He repeated it a second time thinking. I hadn’t heard him the first time. `Do you have evidence for this? No I don’t, it’s what I’ve been taught. Well father please do me a great favour…do not insult my God given intelligence with such absolute rubbish ( He was not referring to the Daemon relating to the higher mind) His definition was the devil of the dark ages…he was clearly taken aback. There may have been a time (as a schoolboy) when I would have listened to this but not anymore, my own spiritual awareness would now take precedence and demolish his religious dogma. I now had him on the ropes…I was also aware that other passengers from time to time were glancing in our direction, well it’s still a free country, at least the debate was never boring. This time I steered the debate round to exorcism. I quote here from my book, `The Liliane Tapes- Answers for the Aquarian Age`…this was more or less what I delivered to the good father via the Guide…The orthodox church does a great disservice with its misinterpretation of a presence in a certain building. The discarnate entity that causes the disturbance, is very often in need of help, and is in fact, in a state of distress and very rarely is the entity evil. The church’s attitude to this situation with its ritual of evil presence is pathetic and totally lacking in compassion and understanding. A good spiritual trance medium and dedicated support workers is what is required to do this distressing and heart rending work. There was no time for the priest to present the church’s position on the subject, as my station came into view, I took hold of my briefcase and stood up, the priest also stood up and we shook hands, it was not every day that you hear a conversation between, on the one hand a roman catholic priest and on the other a member of the spiritualist movement, I hope I gave him some spiritual food for thought.
Timeline : My first encounter with orthodoxy was when I was six years old…I took a toy gun into school, the headmistress, who happened to be a nun, decided to confiscate it and after assembly told me to wait outside her office. When she came out, she was brandishing a stick, `Raise your hand` she shouted, the next second I heard a loud whoosh as the stick landed on my tiny hand, my head hit the wall and I fell to the floor crying… she shouted ,`get up`, the stick was raised a second time, I thought… she`s going to thrash me again or kick me, all I could see was these huge crucifix swinging from the belt around her waist, (symbol of torture) I scrambled to my feet before a second assault. `Go back to your class`, she boomed. I was so terrified of this dreadful creature did not tell my Mother or Father, they would have been furious… less than a year later I went to the juniors which did not have any sadistic nuns, thank goodness. In retrospect I find it hard to comprehend how anyone, least of all a so called bride of Christ, could do such a thing to a six year old infant, who is little more than a baby. So I learned at an early age Roman Catholicism was not on the side of the angels. Is it any wonder, in the light of so many reports, that litigation for cruelty and child abuse is being brought today against these vile people in many countries around the world, justice at long last is finally catching up with them…as for the rest, those who think that they have got away with it, will have to face their nemesis when they cross over into the real spiritual world.
Moving across to Spiritualism… at least in our movement we do not have a track record of violence which can be levelled at almost all world religions with the exception of perhaps three or four including the Quakers and Buddhism. The hardest aspect to defend about Spiritualism is its record of fraudulent mediums, not to mention phoney healers…What would the great spiritual healer Harry Edwards think if he saw some of these in action today? I have seen some real comical acts down the years leaping about or a phony trance healer others grunting… these people would be better off in a circus, all sorts of nonsense, they do not have the true gift of healing and many others with potential have never been tutored in this particular field. One of the best examples was a patient who wrote to the late Tom Johanson of the SAGB and asked him, `A healer told me that I have a cracked aura how is this? ` Tom replied, `By going to a cracked healer`. Another one advertised…he/she can wash your aura (just as if) or tuck up your kundalini a couple of inches. Another so called medium supposedly had a Guide called Tall pine, to which some wag remarked ,`that sounds more like a lavatory brush…this lunacy continues, and we can laugh but these people are denigrating a serious spiritual movement and some of them have the audacity to call themselves spiritualists. A good friend of ours…Olive Hesketh who has since passed over and was a fine medium, always refered to spiritualism as,` this wonderful truth` and indeed that is what it is. These phonies and simpletons who cast a bad light on all the hardworking, decent and bone fide mediums and healers up and down the country and they act more like a fifth column, they supply opponents of the movement with plenty of ammunition. I went recently to a service with a friend only to find on arrival that the medium had been taken ill shortly before the service… the medium or should I say the phoney medium who stood in for the real medium never bothered with the philosophy and began trotting out the names of roads and public buildings, some of the congregation seemed impressed. When my friend said; `There appears to be something odd about this demo. I replied, `yes, and I think I know what it is… he is quoting from a city A – Z guide… no clairvoyance here, I felt quite disgusted, in fact I felt like hurling him off the platform and out through the front entrance. Committees need to be more vigilant…and separate the chaff from the wheat. I have always maintained it doesn’t matter if you have one gift or ability or half a dozen it must be coupled with integrity otherwise he or she has no right to be on the platform. As I mentioned earlier this is the hardest part of the movement to defend…thankfully it applies only to a minority.
So far in this article I have done nothing but criticize and for that I make no apologies, after all that is what a critique is all about. However, this final part is different, this is the eulogy…Ron & Gwen Banbury of Congleton, Cheshire…Healers and Harbingers of my entry into the Spiritualist movement and because of them eventually meeting my soul mate Liliane (Mitchell-Starr). At the time I was on the house staff at a residential school in Congleton…which trained teachers and social workers. One evening, a colleague and I went along to a healing session at the local Spiritualist church…apart from Ron & Gwen there were two other healers and a fair number of patients. This was the first time that I had met them, later they invited me to Sunday lunch(but not my colleague) also in those halcyon days I did not have a car, as was the case with most of the trainees, so I walked that sunny Sunday lunch time to their lovely bungalow on the edge of the town. I pressed the door bell and Gwen opened the door…`Glad you could make it John` she said. `Thanks for having me; it makes a pleasant change from the school dinners` I replied. But when I stepped into the hall I could have wept, I felt as though I had come home…I could not understand my sudden emotional feelings. It must have been a couple of months later when I had a sitting with a medium who said, `Recently you have met some new friends? `Yes that’s right `. I replied. `Well spirit is telling me that you were related to them in a former life`. That was it, she had hit the nail on the head, that’s why I felt the way I did, I knew intuitively there was something about them, but I could not place it until now that is. She went on to say…you have yet to meet someone very special… less than two years later I met soul mate Liliane when I returned to Merseyside. She went on to say…`You will travel a great deal, spreading God around…I see a typewriter and a manuscript( no computers in those days) My book `The Liliane Tapes – answers for the Aquarian age was published in I 984… and all your interests in psychic and spiritualist etc you will use to help many souls . Wow that was a blockbuster of a sitting. I have to say at that time I was rather sceptical because I had other plans at the time. As the days unfolded I could not wait to go round to Ron & Gwen`s bungalow…sitting in Ron`s study talking about every paranormal subject under the sun. I would return to my flat in the school laden with psychic books and magazines, among them `Two worlds` and `The spiritual healer`. I was avidly reading these publications and neglecting my studies, the very reason I was there or so I thought. Soon after the axe fell courtesy of Margret Thatcher`s government… seven junior staff (me included) got the chop. After a month in the Greek islands I returned to Liverpool, actually I was repatriated because of the war in Cyprus…it was then that I took Ron`s advice and continue with the healing and that was when I met soul mate Liliane…the clairvoyant prediction was spot on. We discovered along life`s way that our clairvoyant friend Steve Gratton, Liliane’s daughter Lois, Ron and Gwen, Liliane and myself were in fact part of a group soul and had been together before…kindred spirits no less. Our other escape apart from Weybridge was of course Congleton, to be with Ron & Gwen, we had some wonderful times with those dear souls…taking part in the more educational type of seminars… for example, it’s astonishing how many people don’t know the difference between intuitive clairvoyance and objective clairvoyance. However, through mediumship and healing we reached out to help as many souls as possible in `Spiritualist compassion ` and I can honestly say I would not have missed it for the world.