PSYCHIC NEWS – THERE IS NO DEATH!

By Sue Farrow.

With enormous delight and pleasure I can confirm that Psychic News, Spiritualism’s most famous and iconic voice, silenced for so long by the Spiritualists’ National Union (SNU), is to speak its truth again. Many readers will by now be aware that the J.V. Trust has succeeded in its long-running and complex battle to secure the resurrection of Psychic News. On October 4, it became the new owner of the paper and its world-renowned archive – a large and unique collection of historical material relating to all aspects of Spiritualism. A new company – Psychic Press Ltd – was formed shortly afterwards and was incorporated on October 11.

J.V. Trust Chairman Minister Eric Hatton

J.V.’s chairman, Minister Eric Hatton, supported by his fellow trustees Hugh and Margaret Davis, has fought tirelessly to save the paper whose legendary founding editor Maurice Barbanell was a personal friend. Years earlier, Eric had given Barbanell an assurance that he would do all in his power to ensure that Psychic News would continue as an independent voice for the Spiritualist movement.

In honouring that promise, Eric has found himself in the unenviable and often painful position of opposing the SNU, an organisation to which he has devoted almost seven decades of service, and of which he is still honorary president. Those of us who have witnessed at close quarters the toll this has taken on Eric, now 85 years old and in frail health, have at the same time witnessed a powerful and moving demonstration of the importance of principle over personal considerations.

So, what led to this extraordinary and completely unnecessary state of affairs?

Writing on the wall

In March 2010 a routine Psychic Press (1995) Ltd (PP) board meeting was held. The accounts showed a small loss but this was no great surprise to the directors in the context of the deepest world recession in living memory. After all, even the Guardian, Times, Telegraph and Express were suffering a decline in readership, newspapers understandably being seen as non-essential items when food, rent and mortgages were at stake.

The first whisper of trouble came in April 2010 when, quite by chance, I discovered that the SNU had convened a “working party” to consider the future of Psychic News. This information was deemed strictly confidential and was not officially shared with me or other staff members for some time. Neither, astonishingly, was it shared with at least one of the directors of PP. During this period, a source close to the SNU’s National Executive Committee (NEC) confided to me that secrecy had been imposed so that the SNU could retain “the element of surprise”. People might reasonably ask why an organisation dedicated to the promotion of “The Brotherhood of Man” would want to spring an unpleasant “surprise” on anybody.

Offers of support

David Bruton

In late April, the J.V. Trust offered a significant sum of money to PP’s chairman David Bruton (now SNU president) to support Psychic News through the tough times of recession. The trustees believed that, though it was desirable for the paper to make a profit, its primary purpose was as a mouthpiece for Spiritualism. David Bruton rejected the trust’s offer. At the same time, the Spiritual Truth Foundation (STF) offered money to fund a marketing campaign for the paper. This, too, was rejected. The reasons for rejection were not easy for outsiders to grasp. The funds offered were in excess of PP’s debts, which at that time were modest.

In early May 2010 staff were told that the company was in bad shape, but on May 13 we received a memo stating that it was still “a going concern” and we were to conduct “business as usual”. A further PP board meeting was held on May 22 – a mere nine days later – so that David Bruton could present directors with the working party’s recommendations. Prime among these was that PP should be placed in liquidation.

I was present at this meeting and was instructed not to tell other staff members of the decision to liquidate the company, with one exception – Paul Brett, then assistant editor of Psychic News. There was a reason for this: David Bruton made a number of statements at that meeting, most of which were minuted by the SNU’s general secretary, Charles Coulston, and one of which directly affected Paul.

Andrew Hadley

Key among these statements was that the working party had recommended that Psychic News should become an internet-only publication. However, the minutes recorded that “the chairman … thought they had to retain some form of physical paper. Mr Hadley [Andrew Hadley, then a relative newcomer to the upper echelons of the SNU, and member of the working party] and he had met with an insolvency expert and it [liquidation] could be done painlessly. If they continued Psychic News they would make the staff redundant except for Ms Farrow and Paul Brett, which would mean redundancy payments of some £30,000, otherwise they would wind up and the government would make the redundancy payments. They could take the book sales into the Union [PP (95) also published books, including reprinting classic Spiritualist volumes – a profitable operation], which would save on accountancy fees. The Union would have to buy the assets back, which would be at a considerably knock-down price.

In the weeks following this meeting, Paul Brett and I met with David Bruton and also with Mark Bradley, then executive director of PP. Throughout these meetings, and during a number of related phone calls, there was a clear assumption that we would both continue in employment. At David Bruton’s request we produced a plan for the future of Psychic News, and presented it to him by the date he specified.

Judith Seaman

We never heard another word, save for the fact that Paul Brett was subsequently phoned by the SNU’s Vice-President (spiritual), Minister Judith Seaman, and invited to work with her and another NEC member to produce a publication. She assured him that funding was available for the project, though did not specify whether she was making the offer on behalf of the SNU or in a private capacity. Paul, who has worked on PN for fifteen years, declined the offer as he believed he had been promised employment with the new Psychic News after the liquidation. The PN team was not unreasonably left wondering whether a SNU in-house version of Psychic News had in fact been the agenda all along.

June brought increasing uncertainty for the already stressed staff, particularly when PP’s cheque books were removed from the Psychic News office without warning or explanation. A few days later I was told that the company would cease trading on July 31. At this point, though vague rumours were circulating, the international Spiritualist community was for the most part completely unaware of the SNU’s plan to kill off PN.

However, on the evening of June 13, things changed dramatically. News of the planned closure was leaked at a public event and within hours I received an urgent email instructing me to inform the staff of immediate liquidation. I dreaded having to do this to my colleagues. It was not my job, it was the job of management. A little less than twelve hours later this instruction was revoked and I received yet another email, headed: “Hold the front page we have a reprieve.” The situation was becoming farcical.

Following these bizarre developments we had many an informal staff meeting, trying to work out what was going on. I expressed multiple concerns to the executive director in emails and phone calls during the weeks that followed. My team was left in an impossible position, fielding a constant stream of calls from concerned subscribers and advertisers, yet frequently having no clear instructions on what to say to them. Staff members were deeply concerned about the morality of taking money from the public when the situation appeared so uncertain.

Breakdown of negotiations

On August 4, 2010, hopes were raised when a SNU delegation consisting of David Bruton, Andrew Hadley, Charles Coulston and assistant general secretary Graham Hewitt met with trustees of the J.V. Trust and their then lawyer, Margaret Neville. The trustees intended to purchase Psychic News and its assets “lock, stock and barrel” and to relaunch the paper as soon as possible.

Silver Birch by Marcel Poncin

Sadly, hope was to be short-lived, as negotiations broke down irretrievably following the SNU’s staggering revelation that, having shut down the most famous title in Spiritualism, they were not prepared to sell it or its archive, nor were they willing to sell other key assets of Psychic Press (1995) Ltd, which included Maurice Barbanell’s desk and the world-famous painting of his legendary communicator, Silver Birch, by the French artist Marcel Poncin. There being nothing else worth buying, the J.V. Trust withdrew.

The Union claimed that these assets belonged to the SNU, not Psychic Press (1995) Ltd, even though the minutes of the company’s Board meeting on 22 May (referred to above) made it clear that the Union would have to buy those assets if it were to continue publishing Psychic News as an SNU publication.

Liquidation had been put on hold during the negotiations, and our employment extended to August 14. Then, out of the blue, we were instructed to work until August 21 pending talks with another interested party. The identity of that alleged party has never been disclosed, but, if they existed, their reaction must surely have been the same as the J.V. Trust’s: if there was no Psychic News for sale, and no archive either, what was the point of talking? The burning question on many people’s lips was why the SNU would shut down the world’s best-known Spiritualist publication, yet refuse to let anyone else buy it or revive it. It made no sense at all, unless they had their own plans for the title.

Liquidation

In September 2010, PP was put into liquidation with London-based firm, Berley’s. At a subsequent creditors’ meeting, those who were owed money from advance subscriptions, advertising and book sales, and had travelled to London for the purpose of hearing how much, if anything, they could expect to be repaid, sat stunned as the meeting opened with an announcement that PP had been withdrawn from liquidation. No satisfactory explanation was given for this extraordinary turn of events, but a senior SNU figure intimated to one creditor that the sudden about-turn had been caused by the possibility of a £20,000 bill from Berley’s, something the NEC of the time were reportedly not prepared to countenance.

It was around this time that Paul Brett and I were summoned to Stansted for an appeal hearing, arising out of our respective claims for unfair dismissal. David Bruton chaired the appeals panel and we were each given the opportunity to put our case. At the close of the meeting we were told that the panel’s decision would be notified to us in writing. Imagine our surprise when, a couple of weeks later, a letter arrived informing us that no claim against the company was possible, since PP was to be placed in liquidation again – this time with another London firm, Marsh Hammond and Partners.

A creditors’ meeting was convened, and a Committee of Inspection formed to oversee the work of the liquidator on behalf of PP’s creditors. It was at this point that the fortunes of Psychic News were to take a dramatic turn for the better.

Turning point

The Spiritual Truth Foundation (STF), previous owners of Psychic Press, had gifted the famous title and its assets to the SNU in 1995 as a complete package to ensure the continued publication of Psychic News as an independent voice for the Spiritualist movement. The rationale was that by moving the operation to Stansted the newspaper would become economically viable once again, which it did in time. After all, the SNU exists to “promote knowledge of the religion, philosophy and science of Spiritualism” and says it “unites Spiritualists throughout the world”.

Roy Stemman

A new company – Psychic Press (1995) Ltd – was set up to hold the assets and publish Psychic News. The STF trustees, including Geoffrey Craggs, Eric Hatton, Roy Stemman and myself, were convinced that Psychic News and its assets were therefore the property of Psychic Press (1995) Ltd, and not of the SNU. The new liquidators accepted that ownership was in dispute and issued a statement that discussions would take place. On behalf of the STF, Roy Stemman sought an independent legal opinion, which supported our contention.

At a subsequent and memorable meeting, held at the office of the liquidator’s lawyers, it was ruled that all disputed assets, including the title Psychic News, belonged to PP. They were not, and never had been, the property of the SNU. The tide had turned and things were on the move at last. The liquidator advertised the assets for sale, the J.V. Trust put in the highest bid, and the real talking began. There were many obstacles to overcome, but the trustees stuck to their guns, and, together with their excellent team of lawyers, finally achieved the result we had all longed for.

The human cost

Whatever the reasons for the SNU’s decision to silence Psychic News after almost 80 years of proud service to Spiritualism, there can be no doubt that their actions have caused immense damage:

  • Damage to SNU members in terms of huge expenditure on two liquidations which could easily have been avoided by a quick sale to the J.V. Trust in August 2010
  • Damage to advertisers, subscribers, loyal readers and employees, who would have been greatly advantaged by a speedy resurrection of the paper
  • Damage to the Psychic News brand, which has now been out of circulation for more than fifteen months

Over the past two decades the J.V. Trust has donated in the region of £2,000,000 to ensure that Arthur Findlay’s former home at Stansted has been enhanced to its present standard. There is barely a corner of the magnificent house and grounds that has not benefited from the trust’s generosity. Numerous SNU churches have also received financial help from the trust. Yet the SNU leadership apparently considered J.V. an unsuitable owner of Psychic News, and preferred to hang on to the famous title and its assets themselves.

How much hardship to so many people could have been avoided if the SNU had not been intent on claiming the spoils? With the best will in the world it’s hard to see any sign of spirituality in their actions.

A new era

However, we all make mistakes and, as the SNU’s seventh principle has it, eternal progress is open to every human soul. In the interests of fairness it’s important to record that SNU president David Bruton, speaking at this year’s annual general meeting, conceded that mistakes had been made in handling the closure of Psychic News.

It’s time to leave the past behind and look to new beginnings. Thanks to the J.V. Trust, Psychic News is now more independent than at any time in its history, and its future looks bright. So when, and in what format, will it be back?

Last week we moved into our new offices in Essex and, in addition to unpacking the hundreds of crates and boxes containing our long-lost equipment and records, we are working our socks off to get things up and running again.

Maurice Barbanell

Maurice Barbanell with his beloved Psychic News

For those who prefer to hold a physical copy in their hands, we plan to bring you a fortnightly version of PN in an exciting new magazine format. Readers who are happier with an online version will be able to subscribe to a new web-based PN with all the interactive facilities of SPN, and more. iPhone and iPad users will be able to download an app to enable them to receive PN direct to their devices.

If you’ve lost money as a result of the SNU’s decisions, expect to hear from us within the next month. We won’t be able to reimburse you in hard cash, but we’re devising concessionary schemes to reimburse you in some way for what you’ve lost. If for any reason you don’t hear from us, please write to me personally at psychicnewseditor@gmail.com and let me know your situation.

Please bear with us as we work to get the show on the road again. It’s a challenging job but we are loving every minute of it! Though we can’t absolutely guarantee it, we hope to launch the new Psychic News just before Christmas. In the meantime, you can help us enormously by spreading the word that we’re on our way back.

If you have strong feelings about what you’d like to see (or not like to see) in the new Psychic News, don’t just keep them to yourself – tell us! You can write to me at the email address above. And one more thing: you’ll be pleased to hear that there will be no premium-rate phone-line adverts in your new PN!

J.V. trustees Hugh and Margaret Davis

The J.V. Trust has given Spiritualists, and all who are interested in a spiritual way of life, an amazing opportunity to be part of a whole new venture. It’s a hugely exciting prospect, at a time when the general public’s interest in exploring spiritual matters has never been greater. Together, we really can make the world a better place.

And finally…

My thanks can never be adequate for those thousands of people around the world who have contacted us over the past year and more, to express astonishment and huge disappointment at the sudden closure of Spiritualism’s most respected publication. You know who you are, but you will never know just how much your support has strengthened us during extremely challenging times.

Please continue to support us as we go forward. If Psychic News is to resume its role as the independent voice of Spiritualism, we will need your wholehearted backing. My dream is of a world in which all who know the truth of survival will work together with a single purpose. It matters not if we are Christian Spiritualists, SNU Spiritualists, Muslim Spiritualists, Jewish Spiritualists or any other kind of Spiritualist – we have one truth in common: we know we can never die. Life is eternal, communication between this world and the next is a reality, and our job is to make this life-changing knowledge available to everyone.

The difficult events of the past eighteen months must now be consigned to the past, and with the help of the spirit world Psychic News will move forward into a much brighter chapter. That said, I can’t begin to tackle the many challenges ahead without first recording my personal thanks to a number of very special people who have provided me with huge support and played a pivotal role in bringing us to this happy outcome.

Roy Stemman – who was assistant editor of Psychic News, working with the newspaper’s founder and editor, Maurice Barbanell, for eight years – has offered me constant encouragement and friendship, in addition to his vital contribution in helping to establish the true ownership of PN and its assets. I’m delighted that he has accepted my invitation to become the new chairman of Psychic Press.

Geoff Griffiths

SNU members Geoff Griffiths, Al and Geoff Potts, were among a number who spoke out publicly when others felt unable to. Jim Warwood – accomplished businessman and financial expert – generously drew up a detailed financial plan for the future development and success of PN.

Eminent Spiritualist historian Leslie Price, and Geoffrey Craggs of the Spiritual Truth Foundation, provided loyal support throughout the liquidation process. Hugh and Margaret Davis – J.V. trustees – stood by me with great kindness through all the twisting highways and byways of the past fifteen months. Paul Brett has offered support on many levels and has generously worked without any payment on Spirit of PN. My friend Margaret Wood, a Roman Catholic, but greatly sympathetic to matters psychical, gave limitless practical help and support throughout a battle that has stretched me to the limit.

Gerard Smith

Gerard Smith, who gave me a lengthy private sitting before anyone other than the SNU working party knew of the plan to close down Psychic News, and warned me in detail of all that would transpire, and has transpired, before an ultimately favourable outcome, not only made his unparalleled mediumship available to me, but showed me patient friendship and wisdom when it was most needed.

Above all, my great friend Minister Eric Hatton stood shoulder to shoulder with me during exceedingly difficult times, at enormous cost to himself. From him I have learned the most valuable lesson of all: that there is a greater purpose to Spiritualism than any one of us can see or imagine; that it is bigger by far than any single organisation. Integrity and courage, honesty and unwavering loyalty to one’s principles, whatever they may cost us in personal terms, are the defining features of what it means to live life as a Spiritualist.

Eric Hatton with Sue Farrow at Maurice Barbanell's desk in the new Psychic News office

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62 responses to “PSYCHIC NEWS – THERE IS NO DEATH!

  1. This is a magnificent moment for all of the devoted patrons of Psychic News! Welcome back!
    I look forward to holding my eagerly awaited copy once again….and what is more, look forward to browsing it in its many new variations, online etc…
    Well done to all of you for ‘keeping on keeping on’……

  2. Dear Sue

    May we be the first to congatulate you and Paul in becoming the new independent owners of PN. We, like you, hope to see people from all Spiritualist organisations sending you interesting news of events taking place wherever it may be in the world.
    Love and light to you all.

    Hugh and Margaret Davis – Trustees of J V Trust.

  3. Well done all of of you, and shame on those who covertly tried to stop you .
    I hope they realise the damage they have done to the SNU.

    Please let me know when PN will be back in paper form.

  4. Hooray ! Hooray & hooray again !!
    Congratulations & best wishes to all.
    I agree with Sue that…’ it matters not if we are Christian Spiritualists, SNU Spiritualists, Muslim Spiritualists, Jewish Spiritualists or any other kind of Spiritualist – we have one truth in common: we know we can never die. Life is eternal, communication between this world and the next is a reality…’
    Absolutely !

  5. Hilary Penn

    So now we know. What a dark chapter for the SNU. My heart, and also my husband Richard’s goes out to those who have fought this battle, particularly Minister Hatton. We wish you all success and pray that all spiritualists will unite around our most special publication and support it as it deserves. Congratulations to you Sue and to all who have worked so hard to see things put right.

  6. Yippee! Its a great day for spiritualism!

  7. It must be both humbling and uplifting to have had such amazing support from both the physical and the spirit world to get to this point. It goes to show that even when all seems dark, somewhere there is a little bit of light looking for a will and a way to shine brighter than before and light up that darkness.

    It’s also uplifting to know that from now on, all of us can share the load of making PN a success again, in whatever way is best suited to our abilities and resources.

    Love and Light

  8. I can not express my joy that psychic news is again an independant publication
    I wish it health and happiness after a long period of enforced sickness !
    Colin Fry

  9. Mike Goodall

    Can’t wait for the first edition. :)

  10. John Morris

    This is the best news that I have heard for a while.

    Thanks to all who made it possible. John Morris.

  11. Janette Oakman

    This is fantastic, I am so pleased to hear that PN will be back in print but I do worry about the magazine format. Please don’t allow it to become another magazine that costs a fortune and then every page is just full of adverts as there are enough of those on the market already

  12. Janet Marsh DSNU

    I look forward to reading the new paper, please advise of your subscription procedures, Janet Marsh

  13. I, like all the other regular contributors to Psychic News in the past, those who supported it by purchasing it, and all who have held the paper and its vision dear to their hearts, express the deepest gratitude to those who fought so long and hard to save it from extinction.

    In reading Sue Farrow’s report of the events that transpired, it is clear that the SNU did not act in the best interests of Psychic News or Spiritualism by taking the path it did.

    Whatever their claimed intent, those in the SNU responsible for closing PN down, rejecting early offers to save it, leaving the staff in hardship, and trying to claim that the assets of PP (1995) Ltd belonged to the SNU when they did not, then placing the company in liquidation, not once but twice, and I suspect, making negotiations to purchase exceedingly difficult, have done immense harm to Spiritualism, and to the reputation of the SNU.

    The new owners of Psychic Press, are now faced with a difficult task to resurrect Psychic News after such a long time. I am sure their commitment is strong, and their vision clear, and that the Spirit world will be supporting their efforts. But, as I have said elsewhere, for Psychic News to be the success it deserves to be it will need Spiritualists around the world to do their part by buying the paper.

    I wish the J.V. Trust, and the editorial and support staff every success in this new venture.

  14. This is such wonderful news. It was a travesty that PN was allowed to close in the first place but it can now be returned to its rightful place as the voice of Spiritualism. Well done to everryone for securing its future.

  15. Phil Mortiboy

    You are such wonderful people and have worked so hard to get the Psychic News back in print. I can only say good luck and best wishes for the future.

  16. Geoff Griffiths

    I agree with Janette Oakman, when she says “Please don’t allow it to become another magazine that costs a fortune and then every page is full of adverts . . . ” The way to keep costs of production down and profits healthy is for as many of us as possible to take the online version. (The losses on the printed version are what compelled all those ‘toxic’ ads we all so hated. The online subs will happily cross-subsidise these losses instead. And you can print it out if you like – its just a bit more ‘dinky’.) Not only does the online version hit our mailboxes two days earlier than the print version hits the doormat, but it also gives us all the chance – and the space – to make our own comments and contribute to the debate.

  17. Bill Dingley

    Congratulations to Sue, the JV Trust and all concerned. It has been a long, hard fight and the outcome is so richly deserved. I eagerly look forward to seeing PN once again in print.

  18. Congratulations! It’s wonderful news. My admiration for the drive with which you all battled the insane decisions of the SNU. I can’t wait to see the first issue. Thanks for everything and good luck for you and the new PN!

  19. Wow, great news :-) Congratulations to you all!
    Looking forward to the new PN

  20. Great news! How can I renew my subscription to PN?

  21. Denzil Fairbairn

    Nice One Susan :-)
    Congratulations to all involved in making this momentous occasion possible

    “Live Long & Prosper”
    Denzil Fairbairn

  22. Best wishes on the new Psychic News publication. It will be good to see it back.
    Ewan

  23. Giles Dawson

    Its interesting that not one member of the NEC has come on here to applaud the rebirth of Psychic News. That in itself speaks volumes about their devious and failed plan to appropriate it. The relaunch of a really independent paper should be a happy event for all spiritualists but evidently not for the NEC. I imagine they may be a little fearful right now.

  24. Giles, thank you for your comment. In fairness I must say that the SNU president David Bruton was among the first to write to me with congratulations after the J.V. Trust’s announcement on 4th October. Sue

  25. Congratulations and Well Done everyone for your tenacity. Now you can be truly seen to be independent – a Voice for all, as Karl quoted in his comment.
    And I add to this, thanks from a friend who does not have the internet who is looking forward to his paper copy as soon as he can get it. I have printed off a copy of your article Sue so he can read it at leisure.
    Our thoughts and energy stay with you in the exhausting days ahead to achieve your and our desires for a wonderful ‘reincarnation’ , with the backing of all those who have gone before – particularly Barbie, Arthur Findlay and Tom.

  26. “Spiritualism is bigger by far than any single organisation.”
    Amen to that. I look forward to my new status as an independent Spiritualist in the New Year.
    “Integrity and courage, honesty and unwavering loyalty to one’s principles, whatever they may cost us in personal terms, are the defining features of what it means to live life as a Spiritualist.”
    Words we must all consider. Thank you for your courage, tenacity, and commitment to the independent voice of Spiritualism. Membership of the SNU is small and decreasing; the number of people in the UK alone who hold broadly Spiritualist views runs into millions. An independent voice to represent them is vital. May you prosper. I promise you my full-hearted support.

  27. Freddie Giddings

    After a run in with the SNU a few years ago, I wrote to PN and warned that if you sup with the SNU you need a very long spoon indeed. After reading what Susan Farrow and Paul Brett have had to endure from the higher echelons of the SNU, I now realize that must have been the understatement of the year. What has now come out explains why Eric Hatton’s book was banned from selling at Stansted. In it he writes modestly about the JV’s Trust contribution to the refurbishment of Stansted and the surrounding grounds. I would have thought that the SNU would have shown its gratitude for the two million pounds it received, by facilitating the sale of PN, instead of blocking it in any way they could. It never ceases to amaze me that Spiritualists can be so unspiritual. It is indeed wonderful that PN will live again, but shouldn’t all those involved in the actions of the SNU be held very much to account for their shoddy deeds and pay with their resignation? Then the law of cause and effect will have been seen to operate and the movement as a whole will have shown it can purge itself of its rotten apples.

    • Freddie if you think any of them are going to resign you are living in lala land, sorry.

    • Following on from the comments made by Freddie Giddings, I suggest that those in the higher echelons of the SNU should remind themselves of the 5th and 6th of the Seven Principles.

    • Chris Butler

      Couldn’t agree with you more freddie… The SNU have their own agenda and cross with them at your own peril.

      • Mike Goodall

        Yes not a good idea to cross them if you still wish to stay a member; you’ll soon be chucked out. I jumped before I was pushed and severed all ties with them. My conscience would just not allow me to finance, support and be a member of a so-called Spiritual organisation who could act in such an unspiritual way. They will have to explain their sins eventually, if not in the World then in the next.

  28. Like all other commentators I too congratulate everyone involved in brining PN back to the loyal readers. Looking forward to receiving my first copy of a true independant voice for Spiritualists.

  29. We should perhaps remember under the ‘Human Cost’ that having been made redundant in August the former staff were left without compensation of any sort until the end of the year. A direct result of the on-off liquidation.
    The SNU who bear the full responsibility for the ensuing hardship, as far as I am aware, made no offer of help, which on moral grounds alone one might have expected.
    The resurrected company will I am sure be run on very different lines and deserves every success.

  30. This really is wonderful news for all spiritualists. However the number of times David Bruton has offered apologies after events, of which he seems to have been a party too, would indicate that we have the wrong man in the role as President. A man that only seems interested in covering his own back and not being representative of the movement.

    • I agree with Steve that PNs revival is wonderful news for Spiritualism but i think he is being a bit harsh about David Bruton. It’s important to remember that he inherited a lot of bad baggage, especially certain people who he is probably stuck with whether he wants them or not. I dont envy him his job. There are some bad apples who have always caused trouble wherever they have gone and it will take time for him to clear them out.

      • Chris Butler

        It is important not to apportion blame to anyone person but rather to look at the whole of spiritualism as it stands now. Even in my short time within the movement, (some 35 years), the swing to popularization and commercialism has been palpable with those that tend to battle over position pushing into centre stage.
        There is no hierarchy in Spirit yet there are those that maintain these orders within their earthly organizations to feel their own power over others and afraid to lose this power under any circumstance by stopping the dissemination of truth through the Psychic News and other independent voices.
        An organization that takes the basic principles of spirituality and turns it into a platform for its own voice is flouting the rules. There is only One God and thou shalt not make or bow down before craven images, be they institutions or buildings.
        I believe that by the struggle and reintroduction of PN the true independent voice of Spirit will be heard and read in the words of the contributors and that spirituality will make a real comeback.

      • Mike Goodall

        You need to clear them all out at the same time David, otherwise the old ways of working are just passed on the the newcomers. (The monkeys and the hose problem that I posted months ago.)

        • Mike Goodall

          Before someone asks what’s that all about, please read on: I found the original text…

          Monkey training

          If you start with a cage containing five monkeys and inside the cage, hang a banana on a string from the top and then you place a set of stairs under the banana, before long a monkey will go to the stairs and climb toward the banana.

          As soon as he touches the stairs, you spray all the other monkeys with cold water. After a while another monkey makes an attempt with same result … all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water.Pretty soon , when another monkey tries to climb the stairs the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

          Now, put the cold water away. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and attempts to climb the stairs. To his shock, all of the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs he will be assaulted.

          Next, remove another of the original five monkeys, replacing it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment… with enthusiasm. Then, replace a third original monkey with a new one, followed by a fourth, then the fifth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs he is attacked.

          Most of the monkeys that are beating him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs. Neither do they know why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

          Finally, having replaced all of the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys will have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, none of the monkeys will try to climb the stairway for the banana. Why, you ask? Because in their minds… that is the way it has always been!

          This, my friends, is how Politics and NECs operate… and is why, from time to time, all of the monkeys need to be REPLACED AT THE SAME TIME.

  31. Richard Penn

    Mr Eric Hatton is known to many as a man of integrity. If members of the current NEC had even a tenth of his principles spiritualism would not be in the pitiful state it so clearly is. Assuming the information in Sue Farrow’s article is accurate (and presumably the NEC would have been quick to say so if not) it is a damning indictment of the SNUs hierarchy. It should be inconceivable that they could behave in such devious and selfish ways but alas it is not. Minister Seaman’s attempt to head hunt a key member of staff to help with an SNU publication seems particularly underhand. It would interesting to know if she was acting on behalf of her colleagues or not but I suspect we will have to wait until we are all in the next world before we find that out.The whole episode has been shameful.

  32. Robert Pallett

    Well done and congratulations to all concerned! It will be wonderful to be able to read an independent Psychic News again. We must all now support it and encourage others also to buy it (in either format) and advertise in it!
    Best wishes, Robert & Linda Pallett..

  33. Well congratulations especially to Sue for keeping on. Obviously also to everyone who helped her along the way, especially to Eric Hatton.

    Sue is right, now is the time to move on, although it may be with some feelings about the events of the past and the actions of the NEC.

    My forum has tracked this whole event from when the idea of closing Psychic News seemed something so implausible as to be beyond belief. To date the threads involved have attracted a staggering 25,786 views from all areas of the globe.

    I have now completed the final thread I will write on this, unless something new comes along.

    http://spiritualismlink.forumotion.com/t1215-psychic-news-is-free-from-snu-spiritualist-national-union#7148

    Now let us get right behind Sue in getting Psychic news back up as a major success story.

    Jim Warwood

  34. Graeme Hunter

    I do not know what the minds of the executives were when they closed the Psychic News and to prevent the J.V. trust to take it over. It reminds me of dictators who burns books because they do not wish the people to be educated or learn what is exactly going on around. The Psychic News did that, it kept us in touch, and it is that about communication that the S.N.U. claim to be about? Yet they stop communicating with the printed word. I wonder whether the S.N.U. are going down the road where communication and sharing experiences with each other in this world, we will need a medium of some sort, instead of a medium of a paper, that none mediums can read to get information. Thank the people who have decided to print the Psychic News for they seem to have vision beyond their own limitations.

  35. Chris Butler

    We, the mass of the people need the independent voice that PN gives. That which has become indoctrinated into it’s own policies and dogma entraps itself beyond spirit and involves itself in religion first. Spiritualism is not about the institutionalization of our beliefs and knowledge of spirit to suit a particular set of people but is for all, ‘mankind’. It is not for the betterment of one group but a universal understanding that comes to the heart of those that ‘have ears to hear’. I believe that the SNU have fallen foul of all the clichéd mistakes of previous religions and gone beyond recognition as the representative of spiritualism in all but the legality. This is not enough on its own and will fall as many have done before.
    I am so pleased to see the voice of reason and independence back and I wish you all the very best. It is also my hope and prayer that ALL spiritualist will become as one. Good luck and God bless.

  36. GREAT Looking forward to reading the new issues.
    Long may it continue.

    Declan Flynn
    Irish Academy of Mediumship

  37. Daniel Lyon

    Has it occurred to anyone that the SNU has taken a turn for the money obsessed worse since a certain person joined their upper ranks? PN, AFC, Stafford and other SNU associated enterprises have all suffered because of a dedication to mammon rather than God since that person’s advent. Wise up, one and all!

  38. Trish Weaver

    Shame on you SNU, cause and effect already in operation? About time! Personal gain will never win in the end.
    CONGRATULATIONS PN.

    • A few of us have already felt their wrath, there is no room for the spirit world anymore within the so called union.This wasn’t why the union was formed many many years ago.
      Now it is all about power and closing down churches, amongst other dirty deeds. I’m glad that PN has been saved. It was obviously not meant to go down the same road.

  39. Membership of the SNU is dismal, to say the least, and getting worse. I for one will not affiliate to an organisation that cares only about money and titles. Take the time to look at the websites of the various ‘officiants’ of the SNU, and you will see these people are headed down the sleazy, murky roads of commercialism and materialism. They’ve completely forgotten what Spiritualism is about, because power and greed have turned their heads in the opposite direction to that which they should be going.

    • Daniel Lyon

      I’d like to think Vanda is being cynical about commercialism but I fear she or he isn’t. I’m puzzled by something else too. I have always thought of Spiritualism as the very opposite to orthodoxy but the SNU seem keen to parody it at every opportunity. Ministers and officiants equal priests and deacons, the NEC must be the House of Bishops and presumably Mr Bruton is the Archbishop of Canterbury? I yearn for the days when spiritualism was free thinking, unafraid to be itself, and wanted no part of orthodox traditions.

  40. Helen Gandoff

    Well done Sue and all those who never gave up-over here and over there! Good health to all, and may this new creation forever continue.

  41. Put people in positions of ‘power’, or positions where they feel they have power over others, and certain not-so-nice traits of the human psyche always come into play. Personal agendas come to the fore, pushing out and blocking the original agenda, or the one that benefits most people. Greed and personal gain become the main objectives.

    OK, so there’s a bit of good stuff carried out on a superficial level, just for show. But I’ve yet to see a medium affiliated to the SNU who has a simple website (much like Michael Bagan’s) where they put their name out there in all humility and with a genuine desire to help those of us who are bereaved, or just to further the true cause of Spiritualism. There are no fancy photos or lists of accomplishments. Just a desire to help people, for little or no reward.

    Then visit the websites of the SNU ‘officiants’ and the difference is palpable. There you will surely find a lot of airbrushed, posed photos of the medium or worthy, a long list of honours and awards (Who are they trying to impress? Spirit has told us many times these superficial things don’t have any meaning over on that side of life) and a resume of the various good deeds and important offices they have held. What does all this matter, for goodness sake? These are not the type, or indeed quality, of people we need to run an organisation which promotes and encourages selflessness, love and spiritual progression. Self-promotion of any kind has NO PLACE in Spiritualism.

    • I agree that self promotion for the sake of, ‘self’ is not good but, if the motivation is to attract people that may otherwise pass by Spiritualism then we have to bow to modernity and some of the PR methods used today.
      The PN, SNU, Christian Spiritualist’s and many other logos have been out there for a long time.
      It is what people find when they are attracted by the advertising that concerns most people, whether from the individual Medium to the large organizations.
      As a new Medium, 35 years ago, I found a genuine warmth and friendly welcome in all the Churches and amongst most of my Medium friends. There was a definite feeling of, ‘brotherhood’ and a belonging to the larger family of God. (You could say that in those days without fear of recrimination).

      We should all be happy that Spiritualism has grown and spread and that there are more Mediums than ever working in our country.
      Granted there are some that abuse their abilities and those who promote themselves for the wrong reasons and the attitude of the general public (not necessarily the Church going public) leaves something to be desired. However, we must stop squabbling amongst ourselves and those who have some power and influence over the direction that Spiritualism is going should try to see the needs of the whole before the bank balance and bottom line of their own organization first.
      This is why we, the ordinary folk, are so pleased to see PN return. Lets face it, anything that promotes openness, honesty and harmony is a life line for all.

      Arthur Findlay, Maurice Barbanell, Hannen Swaffer and some of the other pioneers of modern (and organised) Spiritualism must be looking down on us and wondering what on earth they started and I’m fairly sure Ivy Northage would throw most of us out of her circle.
      Come on Spiritualists. Try to remember where all this comes from and why.

  42. barbara miller

    The best news i’ve heard for ages, congratulations to you all for your dedication. As an ordinary member of the Spiritualist church and just a “punter” it is easy for people in positions of so called power to forget that in ordinary life it is very easy for certainty and beliefs to be diluted and lost in travails of day to day life. Personally I am in a position to and have the desire to buy books as and when I wish to top up the “certainty” level which is such a comfort. Not every one can do or does this and the Psychic News is and was their lifeline, and there’s a lot of us out here. I haven’t logged on for a while for various reasons and I couldn’t have picked a better time to do so. I will pass the news around and I will make a determined effort at church to see if I can talk them into placing an order as they didn’t before and i was always on at them but you know what entrenched committee members can be like sometimes!!!!!!!! Again all health and strength to you, you always were and always will be needed and thank you and spirit that you had the will to fight all our corners.

  43. I would like to have sent to me the copies of Psychic News.as a paper
    Please let me have details of cost,application to become a regular
    subscriber, how and where to sed monies
    Robin Winbow

  44. This is a request for some information about A spiritualist Medium. I do not know much about this lady only her surname Mrs Alexander. Would be grateful if someone could tell me about her thank you!!!

  45. Fantastic News…Eagerly awaited!
    Michael Courtney-Hunt

  46. As the person who was at the heart of the purchase of PN from STF, I and Roy are the only ones who really know what was discussed and agreed at that time. I cannot comment on the decisions of the SNU had in closing PN, but I can say I was saddened by it. I am pleased it has found a new form and wish it well. I would now like to see all the hitting back stopping and that the new PN starts with love and light. I repeat only Roy and I know this history of what was discussed and agreed at that time.

    • Now that PN has risen like a Phoenix from the ashes of the SNU funeral pyre, no doubt the furore over its premature demise will fade slowly away.
      What will not fade away is the need for urgent reform of the SNU itself, to make it the democratic servant of its members in fact not fiction.

  47. Mike Goodall

    “What will not fade away is the need for urgent reform of the SNU itself, to make it the democratic servant of its members in fact not fiction.”

    So well put Bystander; at the moment it appears that the members are the servants of the SNU and woe betide any that step out of line or dare to question their actions.

    • The first SNU church that I attended was in 1952. It was also the last. Far too dictatorial. Horses wear blinkers in order not to see what is happening around them. The SNU hierachy were wearing blinkers in 1952 and, sad to say, they still do.

    • Spiritualism is going through a metamorphosis not only in the SNU but throughout all communication with the Spirit world and the psychical. In modern Spiritualism we have only come from the 1830′s to the present and even in the 60,s Mediums were being prosecuted under archaic laws.
      If you look at recent history before the ‘war to end all wars’ and the second world war most humans were broken down into rival tribes and constantly fighting. Most of the world has seen the error of its ways in this and it is getting better. (All be it slowly).
      I believe thee Spiritualist movement is doing the same and will see that unity is better than this constant bickering.
      i, my name is Chris. I am nothing special and just like you I get all the usual aches and pains of life.
      The only thing I do specialize in is training people to meet their Spirit Guides and find some inner spiritual peace.

  48. This is fantastic news – a paper much missed – congratulations to all of you and long may you continue with love and support from all of us

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