Stewart Alexander – An Extraordinary Journey

Physical medium Stewart Alexander talks to Sue Farrow about his autobiography, which was published last week to coincide with his annual seminar at Cober Hill, in Yorkshire. The book is dedicated to Stewart’s much-loved sister Gaynor, who passed to spirit in February 2009.

Stewart, it’s many years since a physical medium wrote his or her autobiography. What prompted you to take up the pen?

Quite simply because I felt that my journey of rich experience through Spiritualism in respect of my development as a physical medium – the people I have known, the extraordinary things I have witnessed, my observations regarding the movement, etc – demanded that I should document them.

Also, because many times over the past fifteen years I have been urged to do so by sitters at my public séances and by many people who have attended my talks.

Physical medium Stewart Alexander

For some years now I have felt strongly that I had something worthwhile to contribute which might result in a better understanding of physical mediumship. Indeed, a bird’s eye view that could prove informative and of interest not only to Spiritualists but also to the world of psychical research. And I wanted to make a kind of statement that would encompass all aspects of my extraordinary journey and serve as a record for future generations who might find it of help on their own journeys.

How long has it taken you to complete the book? It must have been a huge job.

I first conceived the idea as a series of articles, and then about four years ago I started working on them. However, after many months toiling away in my study I found that growing numbers of people were suggesting I should write a book. With that in mind, I put the unfinished series in one of my desk drawers and there they stayed for about two years until one day I took out the text and read through it, wondering if I could use it as a kind of template for a book. Writing does not come easily to me, and at that time I had absolutely no idea what a mammoth task lay before me. A task which occupied me most days of the week from early morning until late at night and often through the night. You ask if it was a huge job – to say that it was would be an understatement. It took over two years to complete – it was the first book I had written and, believe me, it will most certainly be the last. In agonising over every word I wrote, and every opinion I expressed, I wanted the book to represent the very best I would be capable of producing.

The book is obviously a chronicle of your own life and work as a medium. Do you include additional topics, such as the work of past physical mediums?

Yes. Over the past forty-two years I have been a historian of our movement – particularly in respect of physical mediumship. I saw this book as my final opportunity to comment about issues which are, or should be, of interest to all Spiritualists. Since physical mediumship brought me into the movement all those years ago, I have studied it in some depth. Two of the mediums I have chosen to feature in Part 2 of my book are the American George Valiantine who, in the 1920s was perhaps the most celebrated trumpet medium in the world, and the Boston medium Mina Crandon, widely known by the pseudonym ‘Margery’. In the 1920s and early 30s she was regarded by the Spiritualist movement, and by some researchers, as “the eighth wonder of the world” and “the jewel in the crown of American Spiritualism”. Sadly, both their careers were to end in controversy, and ever since they have suffered a terrible press. Countless books and articles have castigated them as having perpetrated fraud on a grand scale. That jaundiced conclusion has largely been based, in my considered opinion, upon speculation and deliberate misinterpretation. My own view is that history has dealt harshly with both of them and in my book I take the opportunity to offer my defence of both Margery and Valiantine by presenting the reader with facts which, for over eighty years, have largely been forgotten; critics have conveniently swept them under the proverbial carpet.

I have also used the book to record my thoughts about such matters as mediumistic mediocrity, Spiritualism as a religion, the movement’s decline and fall over the past fifty years – but also some of its wonderful and bizarre aspects that I have personally witnessed during my journey. I also include my thoughts about the ‘sceptic’ who, for far too long, our movement has rarely replied to.

How did you choose the other mediums you have referred to? There must have been so many you could have mentioned.

Mainly, I chose mediums of whom I had knowledge through books and articles etc, and also from my interviews with elderly Spiritualists who in years gone by had sat with physical mediums who today we can only read about. My talks with them were conducted while I was privileged to be the archives officer for the now disbanded Noah’s Ark Society. The physical séances that they had attended had so impressed them that when they were describing their unique experiences to me it was as if they were talking about séances held only the night before. They had forgotten nothing in spite of the fact that often they were recollecting events which had occurred fifty or sixty years earlier. Such had been the impression made upon their minds.

Yet – incredibly – there are many people today who seriously believe that the physical séance room has no place within our modern day movement. I offer my comments on this and a whole lot more.

You’ve given many public demonstrations of physical mediumship during your life, enabling more people than ever before to experience the rare marvels of physical phenomena. Now that you are retiring from those demonstrations, what will you miss most about them?

That is not easy for me to answer. The truth is that throughout my eighteen years of work before the public I have truly been blessed. On countless occasions I have seen how lives have been changed. I have seen the effect that the séances have had upon some sitters. I cannot say all sitters, because I am certain that there will have been those who remained unmoved by the experience. To me it has been a great spiritual adventure and I have made many, many friends, both in this country and abroad. To make the decision to retire from public work was, for me, difficult in the extreme on many levels but I ‘know’ that the time has come for me to step aside.

Will you continue to sit for further development within your home circle?

Of course I will. I have sat weekly for over forty years now – it is a way of life.

My current circle has sat for well over twenty years – it is, for us, a major part of our lives.

What has been achieved through my mediumship we have achieved together in full co-operation with the spirit people. And they have always told us that in working publicly we would sacrifice further significant development. Many home circle nights were ‘blank’ sittings with little activity because the Spirit World would always reserve vital energy for public sittings which were to follow a few days later.

Of course I am in no way complaining – the circle and I have always felt this was a very small price to pay. The public sittings have enabled unknown numbers of people to see and to witness for themselves the ‘great reality’. A price cannot be put on that.

You are in deep trance during demonstrations, and therefore have no awareness of what has gone on until people tell you afterwards. Are there any experiences among those you’ve been told about that have made more of an impact on you than others?

From down the years, one stands out above all the others, the most wonderfully moving experience that I have ever had. One sitter in particular came to us as a stranger but ended up a most valued friend. I close my eyes and I can see and hear her as she approached me after her first sitting with us and said just six simple words: “Thank you for saving my life.”

To this day I have a lump in my throat whenever I think of it. Many, many things had been said to me over the years – wonderful things – but her words finally ‘made me see’, and I thank her.


19 responses to “Stewart Alexander – An Extraordinary Journey

  1. Norman Hutt

    Takes me back to when I first witnessed Stewart’s mediumship, at a NAS seminar about 1996. Those were the days!

  2. And dont you go and leave us stu otherwise there will be no one left…lol

  3. Great jobb looking forwared to read it!
    al the best 🙂
    Jane Lyzell at the spiritualist college Ramsbergsgarden, sweden

  4. Currently reading Stewarts “An Extraordinary Journey” fascinating info with other mediums, “Its all in the book” Those who were present will understand this comment.
    This weekends seminar again had all the elements of Spirit working in truth and light onward an forward the launch of this “Spirit of PN” is the icing to a great weekend.

  5. Terry Gardener

    Where can we get it? I can’t wait!!

  6. We are reading it right now, brilliant work!
    “It`s all in the book” will be a great memory from the Cober Hill Seminar 2010.


  7. Stewart’s seances and talks have changed my life more than he will ever know. As a result, I have shared what I experienced and learned with many, many people – almost everyone I come in contact with. Also, after leaving one of Stewarts seances in Nov. of 2007, I returned to the US and was so inspired that I started my own physical circle. God bless this man for all that he has given us.

  8. I can’t wait to read Stewart’s book. He is a remarkable physical medium. A true gentleman and very modest. I only wish there were more like him.

  9. Dear Stewart,
    Thank you for the Love and Humility you have shown in your work and dedication to the Spirit. You were truly blessed with a great gift and you shared it with others so that they had the rare opportunity of being with their loved ones once again, truly seeing that life is Eternal and true Love never dies.

    Pat Beck

  10. Ann Harrison

    I hope by now Terry that you have managed to get Stewart’s book. If not and for anyone else wanting it it is available through and as well as through any bookshop.
    You wouldn’t find it on their shelves but they can order it.
    I thoroughly enjoyed working on it to get it into print and I hope you enjoy the read as much as I did.
    The full title is ‘An Extraordinary Journey – the Memoirs of a Physical Medium’ ( ISBN 9780955705069).

  11. Dear Stewart
    Thanks for your dedication and humility.
    I listen to the cd from your seance I attended often, as it is merely a gathering of friends from both sides of the veil, enjoying each others company.
    Walter, Freda, etc are fabulous people.
    My own circle continues to develop, and you were part of the inspiration for that beginning.
    When we sit, I always refer to you and the wisdom of those souls that come through to work with you. WALTER features on my seance wall, (:-
    Fab picture.
    I hope we still see you around often.
    God bless you for all you have given unconditionally this lifetime, to heal grieving minds and hearts.
    Su F. Down south…Portsmouth

  12. I am reading the book at the moment and am enjoying the journey of Stewart Alexander and all the wonderful people he met along the way.. Just one question, well two!!! The medium Hunter Selkirk is mentioned and the book written about him which is still available to buy…. But I cant find anywhere!! Can anyone help? Also are the Noah’s Ark Archives available to read to the public? Any help would be greatly appreciated…

  13. Ann Harrison

    Alex, if you read the footnote at the bottom of page 90 it tells you the book is available from Craghead church. I have found a contact number for them in last year’s Yearbook which I think is still current. It is 01207 591166.
    I hope this helps.

    • Thanks Ann. I did see the Church details in the book but couldn’t find a website for it. I thought I would be able to purchase the book via a website. I think the church is closed until new year so will have to phone then. But thanks for Info

  14. Sounds great – if only there were more such mediums to provide materialised proof for the world to see.

  15. I sat with Stewart on a number of occassions when he visited Bristol.

    Sometimes at our friend Doug`s house in a specially darkened room that was once my bedsit many, many years before seances were ever held in there.

    I always remember a little young lady who had come a very long distance to be with us and happened to be sitting next to me.
    I asked her if this was her first circle sitting which she said it was.
    I also remember asking her if she was nervous, to which she said yes and I said it’s no problem you are with friends and you will have the time of your life.
    During the seance she was asked to sit beside Stewart and to check the wrist ties and the fact that Stewarts forearms were now free of the bonds.

    When she returned to her own seat by myself, Walter clumped across the room and asked if he could kiss her, to which she agreed and his words were something like ‘How does it feel to be kissed by a man who has been dead for over 100 years?’
    He went on to say ‘You will remember this and be able to tell your grandchildren as it’s a personal experience that no one can ever take away from you.

    This is just one of many physical events that I remember thanks to our very good friend Stewart who is one of the very best physical mediums that I have ever been fortunate enough to sit with.

    Thank you Stewart you helped me a lot in my way forward as a Spiritualist and many of my friends.

    Love and Light,

    John Morris.

  16. Dear Stewart
    I like John from Bristol was invited along to some of your many physical demonstrations in Bristol area, on one demonstration you called me up onto the stage, the chair I was sitting on next to you folded yet made of steel, after the chair was replaced, I was later informed that the chair was returned back to a chair shape and was sat upon and found to be safe, what were spirit up to I ask.
    My wife (Jeanette) and I talk about our meetings as if it was only last week. We are always with you in thoughts of love and prayer.
    Jeanette and I wish you health and love, you’ll never be forgotten.
    Raymond, Cardiff ,South Wales.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s