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Special Corner - Richard Rowley A week at Camp Chesterfield, Indiana: Materializations with Lula Taber - 1941 January 16, 2010

For your interest, here is a report of a visit to Camp Chesterfield by Colleen Owen Britt [an ordained minister] in August 1941, which also mentions Robert Chaney. This was just four months before the USA joined World War II after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7th December of that year. Richard R.

"Chesterfield Spiritualist Camp is a beautiful place. The grounds are like a lovely restful picture. As one walks in the cool shade of the majestic maples, the sturdy oaks, and the friendly evergreens, he becomes aware of his nearness and his at-one-ment with Nature. The chimes of the Chapel harmonize with the natural charms and bring the needed uplift to cheer the soul of man. Here it is so easy and so wonderful to cast off the troubles and woes of the world and become conscious of the realm of spirit, realizing that continuous life is the heritage of every man.

"There's a beautiful spot in God's wonderful world,
HIS presence we all may feel,
If we pause for a time by the Garden of Prayer
‘Neath the Chimes of Chesterfield.

There are comforting words each heart may hear
By his own loved ones revealed,
As he talks and sings with his spirit friends
‘Neath the Chimes of Chesterfield."

A great majority of spiritualists have been brought to the realization of the truth of spirit phenomena by the loss of loved ones, which loss has caused so many tortured souls to seek further rather than accept the cemetery as the end of life's way.

For this reason most of the folks who attend Chesterfield meet on a common ground. Because of this, sympathy, kindness, tolerance, love, helpfulness and friendliness are the out standing characteristics of the men and women, young and old, who gather in this hallowed place year after year. From all part of the United States they come, to enjoy a reunion with the loved ones.

Just inside the arch of the entrance to Chesterfield Camp stand the two Camp hotels, the Lily and the Sunflower. Man-made beauty spots of the Camp are the Amerindian, a fine statue of the American Indian designed according to spirit direction; the Stone Pulpit where the grove message services and lectures are held, and the Garden of Prayer, a truly beautiful spot symbolic of the Garden of Gethsemane where Christ went to commune with the spirit through prayer. Inside the quiet, restful room in the hillside are dainty statues and vases of roses artistically arranged about the altar. Seats are found before the altar for those who wish to tarry there for meditation.

The activities of a day at Chesterfield conform to a general plan, as follows:
8.00 a.m., "powwows" or séances held mostly with Indian guides, which any one may attend; 10.30 a.m. Class work, given in the Chapel; 2.30 p.m., Lecture and message service in the auditorium; 4.00 o'clock every day Robert Chaney holds a healing service at the Chapel. Mr. Chaney is a nice person whose talks and personality are inspirational. Mr. Chaney is a spirit photographer and produces some remarkable pictures.

We arrived at Chesterfield on August 3rd, 1941. this was designated as Etta Bledsoe Sunday due to the fact that she had promised to give a lecture through the mediumship of James Laughton. Her talk to the audience was very interesting and her use of James as a medium was a marvelous example of spirit power and spirit ability. There were over 1,800 people present to hear Etta Bledsoe lecture. To sit with hundreds of other listeners and hear the beautiful melody of Chererfield's pipe organ invade this lovely place seemed a fitting prelude to the privilege of hearing the message of love and understanding from Etta Bledsoe on the spirit side of life. Many present had known and loved her while she was here. I had not, but I had seen and heard her in my own home through the mediumship of Rev. Taber. We appreciated her coming to our home and hope she will do so again soon.

The program for our group during the week we spend at Chesterfield was approximately as I shall record. The séances I shall mention were attended by two or more of us on each occasion. We attended all work mentioned above, under the program schedule for the day. Mr. Bias' class work was very interesting and well presented. It was entirely of an informative and educational nature. If such work was available to all, the truth of spiritualism could progress much faster than is possible under present conditions.

Monday, August 4th, 1941. Materialization - Medium: Lula Taber.

There were over twenty persons present at this meeting, among whom were Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Pressing, publishers of Psychic Observer. They were interested in seeing Byron's violin and in hearing his music so we were very pleased when he materialized and played. [Byron was the Britt's son, who had passed in 1939 from influenza at the age of sixteen]. When he had finished he held his violin out at arms length and asked the Pressings if they could see it well. Mrs. Pressing then stepped up to the cabinet and talked with him. The following is an excerpt from the November tenth issue of Psychic Observer wherein Grace P. Schafer, feature writer for the Observer, wrote an article on ‘The Mediumship of Rev. Lula Taber." Quote: - "What I like about Mrs. Taber's materializations is: there is no question about the spirits who come through. When they make an entrée they announce their full names and the names of the ones they have come to visit. I was deeply impressed by the spirit who announced his name, ‘Byron Britt.' He called for his parents. They asked him if he could play something on the violin for them. Before our eyes we saw the form of a violin and bow assemble. As the bow was drawn across the gauze-like strings, we heard music.....violin music.... Only sweeter .... more heavenly than an earthly instrument could produce. The selection played was ‘Sweet Mystery of Life.' How appropriate!"

An interesting incident was when a soldier materialized to Mr. Morris, gave a military salute, and said, ‘Major, I salute you. I am Harry Atkins. I served under you.' Mr. Morris saluted in return, saying, ‘I remember you well.' Later he told us that Mr. Atkins had been killed in France during the First World War.

At this same séance Mr. J. Langworthy Taylor, Professor-Emeritus of the University of Nebraska, materialized and talked with Altinas Tullis, Instructor in Chorus at the University of Nebraska. He said, ‘Tell all the world we do not die. There is no death, only life. I want everyone to know that I am learning all about this thing called spirit return and it's true, true, TRUE!' When the Pressings heard Mr. Taylor give his name they were surprised and pleased, saying that they had traveled abroad together some years ago. They, too, had an interesting visit with their old friend.

[To be continued]

[These materializations are interesting to study. As we have been discussing recently, the powers of thought and emotion are multiplied many times over in the spirit worlds, to create the substance and environment over there. Physical mediumship is a wonderful precursor of powers we shall all develop when our time comes. Richard R]

The standard of writing about mediumship and Spiritualism which we can find in the best journals and magazines is ideally what we would like to read also in the newspapers and hear in the broadcast media. Unfortunately it is not so. Instead, we get all this flippant off-hand derision from young fledgling writers. One useful project for our Spiritualist societies, unions and organizations would be to offer persistently and consistently authoritative and interesting articles to the press, and really inform public opinion. Many of the writers and mediums who have presented their articles here on the List might well contribute in this. Already their articles appear in the Psychic World, Psychic News, Two Worlds, Summit Lighthouse, the now defunct Ark Review, Fate Magazine, the AEVP Newsletter, the Parapsychic Journal and similar places. They need wider circulation.

Meantime, I thought I'd dig another item out of the archives, and offer an example of the best standard of reporting. Even though this is 67 years ago, the writing brings the events to life as if they happened yesterday. Richard R

My Son Lives
By Coleen Owen Britt

Article in the Psychic Observer, June 25th, 1941.

Materialization is a scientific phenomenon which gives the thinking individual the factual basis for a livable and believable religion. Materialization gives absolute proof of life after what we call death.

Spiritualism, through materialization and direct voice and trumpet séances, is a religion which invites each one of us to see and believe, rather than to believe blindly. Reasonable and believable religious truths are what people today need, but have been unable to find. The truths have been there all of the time but due to superstition and the lack of proper understanding, these truths have not reached the majority of the people. From the experiences of my husband and myself we know the above statement to be fact. We were raised in a church environment, each taking an active part for years. We did so for the same reason that thousands of others did; because we had been taught that it was the proper thing to do. However, also like thousands of others, we did not get the uplift or help that one should get from his religion. Because some conscientious, or ambitious, minister gave beautiful rose-colored pictures of Heaven - if we were good, and dark painful stories of hell - if we were bad, the thought of religion did not seem to impress us definitely. In our hearts we did not believe the Bible as usually presented, and after due investigation we found out that there were many more individuals who felt just as we did. We felt a need for religion, but religion as we could find it in no way satisfied that need. Religion as it has been, and is, widely preached, is no comfort at the time of the death of our loved ones, at the very time we need its comfort most. It takes us to the grave where we are forced to say farewell in the deepest despair with no hoe of ever seeing or hearing the one we love again. How different the change we call death becomes, through Spiritualism. We know that our loved ones are not dead but have only left the physical body, and that they in their spiritual body are now free to advance to unbounded heights, no longer hindered by the ills and pains and the griefs of earth life. Spiritualists not only believe this, they know it is true.

When our son Byron went over to the spirit side of life, at the age of sixteen, I almost went insane. I became an atheist. I searched but could find no source of comfort. A week after his passing his father and I were riding over a quiet road in the Ozarks when to our ears came clearly the sound of the Morse code. We were both startled and my husband stopped the car so that we could be sure as to whether or not we were really hearing something. The code continued for what seemed several minutes, after which we drove on. Wondering. Byron was an amateur radio operator and we talked over the fact that the code he was always sending sounded just like what we had heard. However, we soon cast the incident aside as a product of our imagination; yet in my heart I knew it was real. A year later, in despair, I consulted a medium. She was kind and sympathetic, and told me of a materializing medium Rev. Lula Taber, of St. Louis, Missouri, who was to be in our city soon. Paul and I talked it over and decided to attend a séance. We were not believers but we were seekers after truth. We knew no one in the group which gathered that evening. We had made no appointment. We had told no one we were going to attend. There were sixteen men and women gathered in a semicircle In front of the medium, who sat behind light-weight black curtains during the séance. Before going behind the curtain she explained briefly about the phenomena. The lights were dimmed to a dull red glow. We all joined in repeating the Lord's prayer and in singing a few songs. In a few minutes a pretty little girl stepped out from between the curtains and told us that her name was Star Bright, the medium's guide, and that she would do her best to have a good meeting for us.

Numerous spirit folks appeared and talked that night, but when Byron, our son, came to us, said his name, kissed us and said that he was happy, we felt the first mental relief we had experienced since he passed from earth life. Most of my time had been spent in tears and morbid existence; - now I could even sing songs, and that was something I had never been able to do since I last sang them with him. We attended practically all of the séances which Mrs. Taber held. After seeking Byron many times, and hearing him many more times in trumpet séances, I am convinced that the only grief one should experience at the passing of a loved one is loneliness. There should be no sorrow for the one who has passed to the spirit side for there they can be far happier than they ever could be here. They can do many more things, go many more places, and live a more interesting and satisfying life than we. Byron, and many others, tell us of so many wonderful things that we are anxious to try the experience ourselves.

Byron has played the violin for us many times [the violin and bow was materialized as well as Byron, in addition to the other instruments he played at other times]. At another time he sang me a Mother song unlike any I have ever heard. I do wish that I could have remembered the words. At a later meeting I asked him about repeating it but he said that he had just made up the song as he sang it and that he did not remember just what the words were. Recently he told us of his sweet-heart Margaret. She has talked to us now, calling us mother and father. He says that she is blond, dances and sings beautifully, and that they do many interesting things together.

One of Byron's materializations especially impressed us. He came very close, tipped his head over toward us and said, "Put your hand on my head and feel my hair." We both did. It was combed straight back neat and shiny as he has always worn it. His head was firm and the hair felt and looked as natural as yours or mine. He stayed with us several minutes, touched everyone in the room and talked in his naturally pleasing manner.

One should never touch the materialized forms unless they way that you may, but Byron has touched us and asked that we touch him, many many times. He always acts so happy when he has materialized plainly and completely. When we talked with him concerning the code we had heard months before, he said, "Well Mother, you were convinced but Daddy wasn't."

I could write for hours about the wonderful comforts and the interesting experiences found through a study of spiritualism. Since meeting Mrs. Taber we have found her to be not only a wonderful medium, but also a lovable lady, and a devoted mother. This article has been written because of our feeling of thankfulness to Rev. Tabor for bringing back our son to us, and for making it possible for us to again find some satisfaction in living.

Byron has told us that in spirit we advance by our own merits. What fairer method could we earth folk desire? What more wonderful fact need one know as an incentive to live one's best?

Records of Physical Mediumship (2) A week at Camp Chesterfield, Indiana : Materializations with Lula Taber - 1941.

I'm continuing with this report on events at Camp Chesterfield  and elsewhere in 1941, since it discusses among other things the remarkable physical mediumship of Rev. Lula Taber, whose abilities were comparable with those of Helen Duncan and Minnie Harrison in England.  As the writer  Coleen Britt stated, these demonstrations were genuine and beyond fraud, since she witnessed them in her home, and  at other locations as well as in the public appearances at Camp Chesterfield. It is interesting to compare these accounts from 67 years ago with what is being presented at the camps this summer of 2008.      Richard R.

Seances with Medium Lula Taber, May 22-25, 1941. 

We had a series of very fine meetings.  I shall try to record the outstanding incidents but there are always so many wonderful things happen that cannot be explained by the written word, it seems.

     The seances were held in our home here in Omaha, and at three different homes in Lincoln, Nebraska.  I was privileged to be cabinet attendant at all of these materializations.  I am always happy to help.  Being near the curtain I can always see and hear all that is said and done by the spirit friends, at a closer range than is possible for those sitting in the circle.  I am thankful for this as I feel that it makes my reports absolutely accurate, as each incident I mention is a personal experience.

     At one of the seances in our home the medium was sitting in trance in a corner in which was a door.  It had not been latched well and so came open and was letting in some light.  Ordinarily no one is allowed behind the curtain when Mrs. Taber is in trance so I asked Star Bright, her guide, what I should do.  She said that I had better shut it.  I went behind the curtain and fastened the door.  While there I could see the medium in deep trance, and beside her was a materialized form.  I was sorry for the interruption of the meeting but was thankful for the experience of seeing and being behind the curtain with Lula in trance.

     One lady said, "I do not believe it was my husband who came to me before because I have never heard him sing the song which he then sang."  The medium did not hear the conversation.  A bit later at materialization a man materialized to this lady and asked for her by name.  He had a very dark heavy mustache and the lady said at once said, "Oh!  It is you."  He replied, "Of course it is.   I heard what you said but now you know it is true."  That mustache was very definite proof to her, and she says that she will never doubt again.

     Byron (our son in spirit) played his trumpet, violin, and cello very beautifully at several of the meetings.  Those attending are always appreciative of his playing as they all know that the instruments are not in the room, and that therefore they must be materialized, and also because the music is sweet to hear.  One conversation with Byron was of interest to all who heard, and I believe will be to all who read.  A friend of ours had several bouquets of flowers and so she asked me if we couldn't take them out to the cemetery the next morning.  The medium was not present at the time of the conversation and nothing was said to her concerning the matter.  When she came in we at once started the trumpet séance.  Byron spoke to Mrs. Temple, and then she said, "Byron, what do you think of the trip we planned for in the morning?"  He replied, "Oh, it's all right I guess."  She then said, "Do you know what I am talking about?"  He said, "Sure.  You mean
about the flowers."  She then told him he was right and also asked, "Don't you want us to?"  His answer was,  "I do not care, only why do something to make Mother feel badly?  Why not let Mother take the flowers home.  I will be there and we can all enjoy them."  -  That, to me, and I know to others, was a very lovely and beautiful answer.

     I have often been told that there was some one like a Hindu standing near me.  At last I know who it is for Romania materialized to me, saying he was a guide for me. He gave a fine message and then paraphrased the Lord's prayer.  He said he was a Buddhist priest while on this plane.  I am happy to have him for a helper.

Etta Bledsoe materialized to the group at two different times, giving us some of her characteristic inspirational messages.  She has only recently passed to spirit side.  She was a fine medium while here.  We appreciated her appearing to us.

     One spirit lady materialized with long hair which hung far below her waist.  She took first one side and then the other and put it in a roll on the top of her head.  I did not know the lady to whom she came, but she remarked, "Yes, that is just the way she did it."  I am always so glad when the loved ones come to the friends and relatives who are so anxious to see them.  The spirit ones are so happy to bring the message dear to the hearts of all of us, that is, that they are not dead, but even more alive than we.  I have repeatedly heard the remark, "Spiritualism has completely changed my outlook on life, and death."   To hear intelligent thinking men and women make this statement is a source of great satisfaction to me, and to others who are also very anxious to see the cause of Spiritualism grow.

Tuesday August 5th, 1941.  Camp Chesterfield

   8.00 a.m.   All of us attended a séance with Medium Maude Fox and her sister, Mrs. Smith.  It is a fascinating demonstration of power from the spirit side of life.  The Indians sing and dance and give war calls.  Usually an Indian guide or helper comes to each one who is present and the spirit artists draw his picture on a sheet of paper.  The sheet is then placed in the large end of the trumpet by the spirits and delivered to the correct person by the trumpet.  Sheets of white paper and crayons are placed on the table at the beginning of the séance.  The meeting is in total darkness so everyone is surprised to find a really nice picture on his sheet of paper.  Each of us has ours framed.

     8.00 p.m.   We attended Mr. James Laughton's trumpet circle.  He is a marvelous medium and we had a wonderful evening.  Byron  loves to talk and demonstrate through him.  Mr. Laughton does not trance for his trumpet work though he does for independent voice.

     An outstanding feature of his trumpet work is that one not only hears the voice of  those to whom he talks but can also hear the voices of other spirits as they converse among themselves.  For example, I record the following.  The son Robert of the folks sitting next to us, came and talked to them.  After that Byron talked to us, and just after he said good-night to us we heard him say "Oh you are Robert, aren't you."  As I talked to my mother in spirit we could still hear bits of the conversation of the two boys. Soon Byron said, "Grandma Owen, come over here; I want you to meet Robert."  As the meeting continued we could hear them talking a little distance away.  Later Byron gave a very realistic demonstration of the short wave radio sending of Morse code.  As he did so, he said "Testing, testing, calling Mother. This is station H-E-A-V-E-N - Byron.  Signing off."   The code was rapped on the trumpet and the whole demonstration was natural and
very fine.

Those who read this please remember that we had never met the medium before and had had no conversation before the séance.  There were twenty-one in the room.  No one knew that we had a son Byron, and certainly no one could have known that he was an amateur radio operator.  Some Indians usually come in at Mr. Laughton's trumpet.  They give unique demonstrations of riding up on their ponies.  One can hear the sound of the hooves away in the distance as they come, as they leave, and on several occasions the ponies would snort in a perfectly natural earth manner.  While all of this is going on the medium sits and talks and enjoys the phenomena with the rest of those present. 

  [to be continued]

Camp Chesterfield - Physical Mediumship (3).  Wednesday August 6th, 1941.

     In the morning we attended a séance held by Medium Mary Langley Beatte.  There was a group of twenty people.  On a table in the center of the room was a pile of slates.  We were invited to examine the slates just before the séance started in order to satisfy ourselves that they had no writing on them.  The slates were double, and about eight by ten inches.  There was also a guitar on the floor beside the table.  The seance was conducted as usual, with the group sitting in a circle, and the room in darkness.  Mrs. Beatte sat in the circle also.  About two feet behind the medium was her cabinet wherein she sits for regular materializations seances, but during this session she was not in it.  You might say "How do you know that she was not in it?"  My reason would be that on numerous occasions during the seance different folks, including ourselves, spoke to her and she at once answered, always from the same location.  She was not in trance at any time.
The seance was held in total darkness.  As the seance continued a great many Indians materialized, coming from out the cabinet.  They showed their feathers shiny and bright, and the stripes in their blankets and each article of dress was plainly visible.  Their features were not as plain as the features of those who materialize in an ordinary materialization, but the clothing was very vivid.  One Indian came over into the circle and gave a healing treatment to a lady.  He knelt down so he could treat her from head to foot.  The Indian calls, songs and dances are very fascinating and very pretty.
     I was especially pleased at this seance because my Dr. Summer was the first to speak.  He told me that he had been given the honor of opening the meeting.  For me, of course, this was a real thrill.  As the meeting proceeded the slates were brought to us and placed on our laps or in our hands.  They were given to us by some of our spirit visitors.  The medium told us to hold our slates by both hands, one on each side of the slate.  This I did, and at no time was the slate out of my hand or opened up.  Later the trumpet came near each slate and the scratching of writing could be heard for just a few seconds.  I expected the writing to be on the outside of the slate but when the lights were put on I found the inside of my slate was where the writing occurred.  My message was signed "Byron" and said, "If you only knew how I like to come in!  Anyway, I am so happy to bring you this message.  I am interested in all of your earth problems and I do linger
close and impress you a lot."  Paul's message was from his father and read as follows, "Greetings from us all.  I am progressing nicely and come close to you every day.  Joseph Britt."   Mr. Morris' slate contained the following, "My darling boy I am so happy to come like this and will help in every way I can.  All is well.  Mother Jennie."   Mrs. ----- also had a nice message, as did everyone in the room.  Everyone kept his slate if he cared to, which I believe everyone did.  To you who doubt, I want to say that the appointment for this seance was made by one of our group, for four people, but only one name given.  The names of the sitters were not mentioned before the seance at any time.  Just before the close of this interesting seance the guitar was levitated high in the room and a tune played on it for us.

     In the evening our second seance with Mr. Laughton was just as remarkable as the first on Tuesday evening.  As my lady friend and I met at the door on our way to the second  of Mr. Laughton's seances, she handed me a copper Indian (figure), as a souvenir.  I took it out of its box and since it was so pretty I set it on a vacant chair beside me, saying,  "Well, we will let him attend the seance too."  Later, in the meeting, Red Feather came to me.  I heard the trumpet gently bumping against my copper Indian, and then Red Feather spoke, "I believe I can pick this Indian up."  No sooner said than done and then he asked me to hold out my hand.  I did so and found that my Indian was hanging from the end of the trumpet.  He held the copper Indian there some time while I felt all around the end of the trumpet.  I tried to take the Indian in my hand but found that it was held securely to the end of the trumpet.  Red Feather said, "Wait a minute.  I want to
take this over to the little girl so she can feel it."  In a few seconds the girl over on the other side of the circle said, "Oh!  He brought it to me."   After a while Red Feather brought it back to me and placed it in my hand.

   Mr. Laughton has partial materialization in his seances.  Each of our group had a demonstration of this and it was an experience which we shall never forget.  It is a difficult phenomenon to explain to those who have not experienced the thrill of it.  In the total darkness while Byron was talking to his Dad, he asked him to hold out his hand.  Paul did so and Byron grasped it accurately and firmly and waved it about.  Right after this Byron took my hand gently in his own, raised it to his lips and kissed it very fervently, yet very definitely.  The kiss was slightly damp and warm and the caress was one of the most delightful and satisfying Spirit manifestations I have experienced.  The others had experiences which were similar but I shall not attempt to tell of those since one must actually be the receiver to be able to speak positively concerning such demonstrations.   Coleen Owen Britt.

Records of Physical Mediumship (4) A week at Camp Chesterfield - Thursday. Apports and Trumpet work.

Thursday August 7th, 1941.

At eight in the morning we attended another apport seance.  The seance was conducted much in the same manner as the pow-wow mentioned.  Rev. John Banker of Eaton Rapids, Michigan, is a very fine apport medium.  His meetings demonstrate a very high type of mediumship.  The messages and teachings of his services are inspirational, spiritual and educational.  Mr. Bunker is in complete trance during his apport seances which usually last for two hours or more.  Thistle is an interesting and efficient trumpet control, and she has an amazing memory.  She is a personality one does not forget.   Apport phenomena are fascinating to all who come in contact with them.  Mr. Bunker said that he believed the Indians give the needed strength for the work, although the loved ones [in spirit] are present and take an active part.  All present do not always receive apports but everyone did at the three seances we attended.  The groups averaged from twelve to twenty persons.
  At the start of the meeting loved ones come to those present and tell them who is going to try to bring the apport to each individual.  The first day (earlier in the week) Byron our son in spirit went for Paul's apport, and Mother in spirit went for mine.  The second day Margaret went for my gift, Paul's father in spirit for his.  The third day (Thursday) Byron went in search of something he thought I would like, and Paul's Mother told him she was going to bring him something to wear.  To Paul, Byron brought a piece of beautiful crystal, his father brought an arrow head about two inches long, and his mother brought him a very pretty Mexican opal suitable for a set in a ring.  To me Mother brought two tiny white shells which she said she found beside the ocean to the west and that she wanted me to have them made into earrings.  They are almost identical and are very dainty.  Margaret brought me some crystal from a cave, similar to that which Byron
brought to Paul.  Byron placed in my hand a tiny arrow similar to the ones for which we had spent hours searching and were never able to find.  The arrow is about a half inch in length, very thin and nearly perfect.  It is needless to say that we prize these apports highly.  When Byron told us that he secured the crystal from a cave in Switzerland it made me realize anew how interesting and wonderful the other side of life must be.  I feel sure that the experience which we in our shortsightedness look upon as death, is in reality far more enjoyable and satisfying than any activities in which we take part here.  At the seance mentioned above (on Thursday) Mrs. Tullis received an arrow head, a blue sapphire and two shells which are entirely different than those which were given to me.  Among other things Mr. Morris was given an ancient coin.  His brother Charlie brought it to him, telling him that it was a Hindu coin at least two thousand years old.  The
stones above mentioned have been shown to a jeweler, Mr. Stastny, of Lincoln, Nebraska, and he told us the same as we had been told at the seance in regard as to what kind of stones they are.  We did not doubt what we had been told but for the sake of the record we wished to verify our information by a good jeweler.
     I do not pretend to be an authority on the phenomenon of apport work but I do want to tell you what Mr. Bunker told us.  He received what information he has through spirit communication and personal experience.  Mr. Bunker says that he feels sure that the apports come through his solar plexus region.  The articles are changed into a gaseous state so they can be transported through solids, and through the air at a great rate of speed.  When Mr. Bunker was developing his mediumship all the apports which came were flowers.  Since then he has had a great variety of objects.  The largest apport ever brought was a tomahawk of stone, about five inches in length.  Mr. Bunker was ill for two days after this experience.  Most of the apported articles are small.  Some of the apports are articles found just as we receive them but others are manufactured by the spirit chemists.  Mr. Bunker told us that he had asked that he might have an apport for himself and
that one day he was shocked by a force similar to the force coming from a nearby explosion.  He stopped suddenly, saw a cloudy mass in front of him about the location of his solar plexus, and an arrowhead fell on the floor at his feet.  This happened in the light and when he was not in trance.

Thistle the control told us that they never apport articles of any intrinsic value because if they did people would forget the spiritual side of the work, and that is the part in which she and the other workers are most interested.
     Thursday evening we attended a trumpet seance by Rev. Clifford Bias.  Mr. Bias is a fine young minister of about twenty-five years of age.  This winter he is to work at the Hotel Statler, Buffalo, New York.  His control Sylvia is very efficient in taking charge of the seance while her medium is in trance.  We had a pleasant surprise at this meeting as Byron played for us on his mandolin.  We had never heard him play on this instrument before and the sweetness of the music was appreciated by all who were present.  One of the characteristics of Mr. Bias' seances is that at nearly every one Sylvia brings a lovely sweet perfume which permeates the whole room.  She names the different scents Joy or Faith, or some similar name.  My Dr. Summer came with an encouraging message and said that he would show me what would lead me.  As he said this a perfect illuminated cross formed in the large end of the trumpet.  I was glad that each one could see the cross
and thus more keenly appreciate the power and love being manifested to us from the spirit plane.

[to be continued.  excerpted by Richard R. from reports written and collected in "Byron, Station to Station" by the Rev. Coleen Owen Britt and published in 1942].  

Physical Mediumship at Camp Chesterfield in 1941 (5) Friday. General review of the Camp

Friday 8.00 a.m. We attended another pow-wow, finding that unlike other seances, the more people there are present, the better the demonstrations. We could hear several Indians talking over which colors to use on certain pictures. The colors they say they are using are the ones found on the finished picture. For instance, Red Maple said, "Make me red. Make me all red. I Red Maple." When the lights were turned on I found that his picture was all red. Other touches of color had been used but for the most part the artist had used red, and with very fine results, too.

At one-o-clock we attended another pow-wow held by mediums Maude Fox and Loretta Smith. Greatly to my surprise and satisfaction my guide Romania came to me, and the Indian artists drew his picture for me to keep. I appreciated the fact that Romania could and would come to me. I had been told that I should not worry about it if my guides did not come to me at Chesterfield as it would be a new vibration for them and for me. Consequently I had made up my mind that I would be happy about whoever was kind enough to contact me. At the same time, however, my constant prayer was that I could have nice visits with Byron. Now after the lovely week of reunion with those who have progressed further along life's pathway than I, my appreciation of good mediumship is even greater than before. At every seance which I attended on the grounds of Chesterfield, Byron and my guide, Dr. Summer, both came and talked with me. Red Feather came often to both Paul and
me, and Romania materialized and visited me several times. Paul's Dr. Brown was also in at every seance. Dr. Brown and Dr. Summer work together with Paul and me and they often come to us at near the same time. It amused us at one of the Laughton seances when Dr. Brown spoke to me and gave me a message for Paul, who was absent. Then Dr. Brown spoke, saying, "Dr. Summer is here too." In a sort of aside, he continued plainly, "You may go in now, Dr. Summer." Dr. Summer replied, in rather a competitive manner, "Well, that's mighty white of you, Brown!"

General impression of the whole week's visit.

The children of the mediums serving the Camp have their own Lyceum while Camp is in session. They assemble at the Chapel each morning and are there taught the fundamentals of Spiritualism. They are taken to the Garden of Prayer and taught the value of prayer and communion. They attend the seances and there visit with relatives and friends and receive valuable teachings from their guides and helpers. Such wonderful teaching for children is an excellent asset to their education. Children brought up in such an atmosphere will never have the fear of death that you or I experienced, for they will know that there is no death. They will know from their own mother's teaching that the phenomena at which we marvel are natural and beautiful. They will understand how to receive the best and give the most, when attending seances. This training of the children at the Spiritualist camps would prove to me, even when nothing else could, that the
mediums are sincere. A few mothers might teach a child to believe in something which she knew was false, but no one could make me believe that thousands of parents all over the United States would do so.

We attended seances of the mediums mentioned, other than I have recorded specifically. In this report I have attempted to mention only the most pertinent incidents, which I hope will be of interest to all.

The auditorium services, ordinarily consisting of a lecture, selected musical numbers, message hour, and several inspirational pipe-organ solos, are always very fine. There are many excellent message bearers working from the platform. The most satisfying of those whom we had the pleasure of hearing were Clifford Bias, Mary Beatte, John Bunker, Maude Fox, Clara Knost, James Laughton, Lula Taber, Mabel Riffle, Mamie Schultz, Loretta Smith, Oscar Throndsen, Edith Stillwell, Nellie Curry and Robert Chaney. These messages bring much comfort to those who receive them. The mediums give the first and last names of the person to whom the messages come, and the full name of the spirit giving the message, the names of various members of the family, and many other interesting items pertaining to health, business or other topics of interest. Part of the mediums work blindfolded, though most of them do not. Some read sealed questions. Many of the mediums
just stand before their audience and give remarkable evidence as it is received by them from spirit. The management of Chesterfield tries to have every known phase of mediumship demonstrated on the grounds.

Every afternoon there was a service at the Stone Pulpit similar to the one held in the auditorium. This service is always held one hour before sundown. The pulpit is made of natural rock and stands in a beautiful clearing under huge trees. Seats are placed in a semicircle around the pulpit. Because of the natural setting this service is of great inspirational value to most people. It makes one happy at any time to receive words from a loved one, but it is especially pleasant to be a part of this wonderful hour at the close of the day. Coleen Owen Britt.

[to be concluded, followed by further physical mediumship seances with Lula Taber. I am posting these reports from many years ago to counter the impressions made in books like "The Psychic Mafia." We should of course bring all cases of fraud out into the light of day, but not thereby regard all mediumship, and every Spiritualist Camp, as likely to be fraudulent. This is certainly not the case, although the attitude of journalists and the media, generally, remains tongue-in-cheek, unfortunately! Also, confessions of former cheats and scoundrels pretending to be mediums are likely to be suspect. They may just wish to make a fast buck out of an exaggerated and sensational revelation, just as some professional debunkers do today! Richard R.]

Another demonstration that week.  

Mary Langley Beatte gave a wonderful demonstration of precipitated writing, on plain white cards, in the full light of day.  Mr. Clark assisted her by passing the cards around through the audience so that all might see for themselves that no writing was on the cards at the time the demonstration started.  The cards were of the dime store variety often used in recipe files.  Mary Beatte carried a bouquet of petunias in her hand and when Mr. Clark came to the platform with the cards she took them and placed the petunias at random between the cards.  She then put rubber bands around the cards, which she had divided into two packages.  Two people from the audience were asked to come to the platform and sit in the two chairs which were placed side by side, facing the auditoriium.  A lady and then a gentleman went up from the audience.  She gave each one a package of the cards, asking that they be held in the right hand  and allowed to rest on the left
 shoulder of the one holding them.  Mrs. Beatte stood behind the chairs with her hands resting lightly on each pack of cards. After a short time the scratching of writing could be heard.  We waited, attentively, for six or eight minutes before the two who had gone up from the audience said that they no longer heard any sound of writing.  Mary Beatte then took the cards, and starting at the top, read the name appearing on the card.  In answer to his name each person went up and claimed his card.  I read the messages on quite a number of the cards and no two were even similar, either in writing or in the content of the message.

     Some were written in blue, some red or another color taken from the variegated bouquet of petunias.  Mary Beatte told us that her spirit helpers had told her how to secure the writing by this method, the flowers being the source of the chemicals used in this fascinating demonstration by our spirit loved ones. Mr. Morris, Mrs. Tullis and myself were present at this demonstration.  Mrs. Tullis received no message.  Mr. Morris had one written in blue which said, "John Morris - Dear ones of earth, how nice it is to come and tell you we are together and watching over you.  Sister Mary."  I received no card personally, but one was addressed to Paul.  Paul had intended coming to the meeting but at the last minute he had to go on an errand for Lula.  I went up and received the card, which amazed me when I read it.  The card said, "Paul - We are all having a glorious experience and I am so glad to SEND a card to you.  Go on.  All is well.  Dr. Brown."  

The medium could not possibly have known that Paul was not going to be able to be present at the seance as he did not know it himself until the last minute.  I thought it was so very thoughtful that since I had been privileged to see and hear the demonstation that Paul could have a message sent to him.  True mediumship is a beautiful development.  

     Mr. Morris,  Mr. Britt,  Mrs.  Tullis and myself spent another wonderful week at Chesterfield during August, 1942.  The contacts were even more satisfying than the previous summer, if possible.
[Now, does anyone have any reports from THIS year's camps  to share with us- 2008? That would be an interesting comparison and contrast.    Richard R.]

Physical Mediumship (6) Lula Taber.

To continue with physical demonstrations, here are some further seances with Lula Taber from October 1 to 9, 1941.   Coleen Britt is reporting.

"As I think back over the wonderful meetings that have taken place I realise that Mr. Britt and I have been especially privileged to have been able to hold these meetings in our own home.  We enjoy the seances, and the medium, so much that we are never ready for her to leave our home.

     The second day Rev. Taber was here she completely lost her voice and did not regain it until the day before she left.  To those who wonder about the source of the voices this incident should be a complete proof that the medium is not doing the talking.  She could only whisper, and weakly at that, yet it did not affect the voices of our spirit friends.  They talked to us just as plainly as ever.  The following day Lula developed a bad cough.  During the time she was sitting in trance the cough became a nuisance due to the fact that it caused her to strangle [choke] and come out of the trance condition for a time.  When this occurred, we had to sing until Lula went into trance again and Star Bright could go on with her work.  After a few seances where the coughing interfered, Star Bright became out of patience.  When Lula came out of trance Star Bright kept right on talking to her so we all could hear.   She told her that if she could not do something
 to help her cough she had better go home because she was not doing good.  Lula laughed while Star Bright talked and then said, "Well, I guess that's right."

     "At this same time I also had a very bad cold and could not sing without becoming very hoarse.  Star Bright does not usually come out of the cabinet while the seance is in progress so I was much surprised when she came out and said, "Coleen, I brought you something."   I looked down at her and to the amusement of all she handed me an inhaler.  The inhaler was one which we had been using that day and it had been placed on the buffet before the seance began.  Star Bright said that Dr. Burkett had told her to give it to me.  The incident was so interesting to all of us that before the seance began the following evening I purposely asked Lula to place the inhaler on the buffet behind the curtain.  During the seance I asked Star bright if she could bring the inhaler out to me as she had done before, as I wished the folks present to see her carry it out.  In a few seconds here she came, not only with the inhaler, but also carrying a bottle of pills much
 larger than the inhaler, both articles wrapped in two kleenex.  Lula had just put the items all down together so Star Bright brought them all out.  Star Bright is a darling and can be appreciated best after one has known her a long time.  I have seen and talked to her in over one hundred seances and never has there been any difference in her appearance, in her voice, or in her personality."

[To be continued....  Byron plays on his materialized cello.]

Physical Mediumship (7) October 1 - 9, 1941 (continued)

     "On another evening, two sisters in their teens were present.  They seemed so happy  about the contacts they had experienced and since they had never attended a seance before I thought they would enjoy seeing Star Bright again.  Behind the curtain I had a whatnot shelf in the corner, on which were about a dozen articles.  Remembering a little dancing doll which was on the shelf,  I asked Star Bright if she could bring the little doll out to one of the girls.  She did so, handling the doll carefully to one of the sisters.  When the girl thanked her, Star Bright replied, true to form, "You is welcome much."  I am sure the girl will treasure the doll as a keepsake of her first seance.

     At the last group of seances some unusual things occurred.  Perhaps I should say things which were new to me, rather than that they were unusual.  One evening a little white dog trotted into the room from behind the curtain, barked several times, ran about wagging its tail for a few seconds and then ran back behind the curtain.  The dog was long haired, about a foot high, and had a tail which curled up over its back.  We did not know to whom the little dog came.  If Star Bright knew, she did not tell us.

    An Indian healer materialized with a black snake.  He said his name was Chief Black Snake.  The Chief held the snake in his hands.  It measured at least four feet in length and was about the size of a broom handle in circumference, though I would judge a little bit larger.  The snake's eyes were plainly visible to me as was also the forked tongue, which moved rapidly in the usual snake fashion.  The Chief said he wanted to touch the snake's head to my face, so of course I let him do so.  I am not a lover of reptiles in general but I knew that Star Bright and Dr. Burkett (Lula Taber's control and guide) would not have let the snake be brought into the seance if it had been other than a helpful vibration.  The Chief gave a healing message as he gently held the snake against my cheek. He touched at least two others with his black snake before he and the snake dematerialized.  When Rev. Taber was out of trance I told her of what had happened and she was
 not sure if she liked such a demonstration.  I assured her that Star Bright had told us definitely that the Chief used the snake for his healing work and that it was all a very good influence.  Rev. Taber had never known of the materialization of a snake in her, or any other's materialization.

     Little Bright Eyes, guide of Mr. Morris, materialized for the first time.  She has never spoken English but she sings Indian songs to us.  In this seance she danced and sang at the same time.  She materializes only about eighteen inches in height and seems to dance continuously.

     Byron has often played his cello but has never materialized it until this evening.  The instrument was taller than he and he said it had been quite a job to bring it out where we could see it and so he was not going to attempt to play it too.  The cello was very plain and one could see the strings and every detail of it as Byron stood there holding it upright.  Just before the cello was materialized we plainly heard the sound of the sending of [Morse] code. [Byron had been an amateur ("ham") wireless operator].  Later Byron told us that what we had heard was him sending a code message for help in materializing the cello.  What a little we know concerning the forces of nature! 

     Paul or I have never attended a materialization seance that Byron did not appear.  That is, we never had until the other evening when Lula and I were both about sick.  At the close of the meeting I asked Star Bright to tell him that we missed him.  She said, "I will, but Byron has been helping me."  Byron then spoke from behind the curtain and told us that since the medium and I were neither one "giving" as much as we usually did, he was helping Star Bright build up the ectoplasm but that he could help with the medium so that was what he had been doing.  Byron could not leave the medium so it was impossible for him to materialize.  The wonderful and amazing things which they tell us are ever a source of interest and satisfaction to me and to the many others who are seeking a knowledge of the ways of a life into which we all shall so soon enter.  That side of life is going to be a marvelous experience and I am ready any day to take that step of
 progression.  Each day while here, I want to search into the truths of psychic research and so be better able to help others who grieve as I did in hopeless maddening despair. 

     The other evening I had the thrill of seeing a tiny baby materialize.  The mother also materialized and carried the infant into our view.  We were told by this spirit mother's friend that the mother and babe passed to spirit about a year ago, when the baby was only a few days old.  While the mother and babe were materialized, Star Bright asked the other lady and myself to hold hands securely, across in front of the cabinet.  We did so and at once the spirit mother laid her tiny child in our arms and then stepped back, apparently entirely away from it.  Of course there was a connection but we did not see it.  After a bit the baby cried lustily and the mother reached out and carefully picked it up, cuddling it close in her arms.  The baby had a sweet face and had dark hair all over its tiny little head.  This demonstration seemed a lovely one to me.  It was a fascinating picture of devotion from life's finer side.

     While I attend the cabinet I do not really expect anything to materialize to me; only Byron, of course.  Seeing him is a satisfying bit of heaven.  If others do come I am very happy, however.  But since I was not expecting anyone I did not pay personal attention when a lady stepped in and said "Frances".  No one in the circle claimed a friend by the name of Frances, so I turned to speak to her, then realized she was coming to me.  Before I could speak she said, "McIntosh.  Frances McIntosh.  Oh!   I thought I would surprise you, Coleen."   She certainly had, very pleasantly, because I had not had the chance to visit with her for nearly three months [and hadn't heard of her passing]."

Rev. Lula Taber lived in St. Louis, and came to stay with the Britt's for this series of seances, and was to return on other occasions.  There were also seances with other physical mediums, including trumpet mediumship, apports and the levitation of objects.  These are included in Coleen Owen Britt's book, "Byron, Station to Station" self-published in 1942 by Rev. Britt. It is well worth tracking down a copy of these interesting accounts of physical mediumship at the time. Maybe the NSAC Bookstore at Lily Dale still has copies. It was originally on sale there back in the 1940s, where my copy came from, circulated through the Lily Dale News.

Richard R.

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