by Geoff Griffiths

By Geoff Griffiths

As someone who claims to have a North American Indian spirit guide called Red Herring, you may think I don’t take guides very seriously. You’d be wrong. Of course, the first thing to be said is that they have the strangest names and don’t seem to belong anywhere that we can identify, so they are not much use as evidence. Sceptics might say – and often have said – that they are secondary personalities, an opinion difficult to rebut. But I’ll come to that in a moment.

The Victorian medium – and Anglican cleric – William Stainton Moses had an array of guides, who seem to have been part of a ‘group soul’. There were 49 of them and they gave us a connected stream of teaching, explanation and instruction, which comprised the book Spirit Teachings, known and revered for many decades as the bible of Spiritualism, but out of print at the moment. Now what sort of a ramshackle religion lets its bible go out of print? We need to have our legs smacked! (To its credit, the SNU has put a copy on its website. At the Home page, go to the sidebar of links down the left-hand side and right at the end, you will see a link for FREE e-books to download.)

The leader called himself ‘Imperator’ and it was only at the end of Stainton Moses’ life that he revealed himself to be the Jewish prophet Malachi, whose book is the last one in the Old Testament. The reason that he, and all the other guides – Silver Birch, Red Cloud, Moon Trail, etc – use noms-de-plume is that, if we knew their real identity, our attention would be centred on them, rather than the message they wanted to deliver. Even back in the nineteenth century, we lived in a ‘celebrity culture’. And one which straddled the two worlds!

Guides and evidence

Back to the evidential value of guides. The two stories I am about to tell you are very evidential, but would never have happened if a recent SNU instruction had been given forty years earlier.

The first began in late 1953 when my grandmother took me to the short-lived Werneth Spiritualist Church which met in a room above a used car dealership in Oldham. I was nine and a bit disappointed that I never seemed to get a message, a point which my grandmother quietly took up with the visiting medium after one service, when we all tucked into potato pie with pickled red cabbage at 6d a plate. He told me that a new life would be coming to our house in late January or early February, which I was able to accept. (My mother had let me in on the news of her pregnancy a couple of weeks before, which is why I can date my first involvement with Spiritualism as being just before my sister’s birth.)

He then told me that I had an Egyptian guide, who had been a doctor, but was also a priest. I went home quite satisfied. And I knew then that I was a Spiritualist.

Grandmother passed on not long after, so it was another ten years before I managed to visit another church. This was in Rhyl and I was in the army. This church met above a shoe shop and a trance medium told me, again, of this Egyptian doctor-priest. My next posting in 1965 – to Salisbury Plain – brought me into contact with Andover Spiritualist Church. Again, the same guide was given to me. All this before I had had any evidence of contact from people I knew. But it was impressive evidence for me.

Japanese Guide

My wife’s experience with her guide was even more impressive. In late September 1969, I set up Southampton Psychic Youth Group in Bitterne Spiritualist Church – the only one of Southampton’s famous huddle of seven neighbouring churches that encouraged me in my efforts. At the inaugural meeting, the medium, Lillian Ryder, gave my then girlfriend, Karen, a message, featuring a North American Indian guide with a blue feather, named – no, your psychic powers have not let you down – Blue Feather.

She then said she also had a Japanese lady with her, and asked if Karen drew sketches? Art was her best subject. “She wants you to start using colour,” said Mrs Ryder. Karen, now my wife, conceded that she only used a black lead pencil, but was attracted to painting. She later became an accomplished oil painter.

We thought little more about it until, in early 1970, we paid our only visit to Winchester Christian Spiritualist Church, where one Barbara Lewis, from faraway Chertsey, was the visiting medium. Again, the Japanese guide came through with the same message about artwork and colour. Surely no coincidence.

On 20th June of the following year, a general election night, I had a demonstration of mediumship arranged in Southampton city centre with that well-loved London medium, Jessie Nason. Fortunately the house was packed. Karen arrived in the back room just before the start and, as I introduced her, Jessie jumped back, startled, crying “Ooh – Japanese guide!” She had no time to give a reading, but asked if Karen did painting, because that came through strongly. In later years Jessie remarked to me about the vividness of that vision.

Through the years, the Japanese lady came through several times. Once, through Wiltshire medium, Gordon Frazer-Buckland, during a demo in Melksham. He described a large bow at the back of her kimono and, again, emphasised colour. Some years later, after Karen had completed a demo in Swindon, she was approached by a member of the audience who, again, described the Japanese guide that he had seen working with her. He was an old man, but I recognised him as that same Gordon Frazer-Buckland, although he had by then retired from demonstrations.

Karen was a very good clairaudient medium, much in demand. A service we took in Huddersfield in 1983 brought most convincing evidence. My younger brother, Richard, came over from Oldham to see what his sister in law did.

The service went well and, circulating in the large tea room afterwards, he chanced on a conversation between two local labourers, one of whom had a star tattooed on his forehead. It seemed to be their first visit. This man said to his friend, “It was odd, but I saw a Japanese girl, next to the medium, when she was working…”  Richard had heard about the Japanese guide, so it went home to him immediately. My brother, always pretty laid back, didn’t tell us about this until we were well on our way back to Oldham.

Back in those days, we used to get many North American Indian and Chinese guides. However, I can barely remember any Japanese guides. But we don’t get any guides at all now as the SNU has discouraged mediums from giving them off, which I think is a pity. Had that rule existed then, these two stories could not have been told.

As for Blue Feather, he never came through again. So he’s missed his chance forever.

14 responses to “Guide-ology

  1. Phil Hotchkin

    How sad that the SNU has discouraged mediums from giving named guides to people receiving messages. The only way most people will ever get to know they have a spirit guide is through a medium and if they are not allowed to convey this information I think it is a retrograde step which will deprive many from working with their guides to develop their psychic abilities or become healers.

    • Phil, I am sure Geoff, whose work I have enjoyed for many years, is being a little disingenuous. In my experience SNU mediums have never been shy of giving guides during private sittings but the platform , when less experienced people are present, is for giving evidence of survival

      • Phil Hotchkin

        Roy – If I had not been given my Native American Indian guide and told by a platform medium that he was waiting to work with me, I would never have become a healer and then a healer trainer who has trained twelve healers to qualification so far. I agree the platform is to give evidence of survival but it can also prompt those who are open to spirit to take up the challenge of actually working for spirit.

  2. Geoff Griffiths

    I am not remarking on my own article, but on the Google ad below it. Our intention in SPN is not to feature ads on psychic phone-ins or tarot as they do not reflect Spiritualism, but the message culture that surrounds it. We have tried to turn these ads off, but so far without success. Be assured that we are on the case and, in the meantime, send you our apologies.

  3. Mike Goodall

    I don’t see any ads when I use Adblock+ extension with the Firefox browser.
    However in the IE8 browser it does appear.

    It’s a double edged sword Geoff; while I used to hate to see such ads in the original ‘PN’ I was told that they needed the revenue they brought in. I guess the same may apply to ‘Spirit of PN’, although I’m not sure how much Google Ads would pay you.

    Perhaps Susan could elucidate.


    • Mike – we have not enabled any google ads, they are entirely unsolicited. Until we are able to bring out a printed version in addition to this online paper, the editorial team is working gratis. Sue Farrow

  4. My own meeting with Silver Cloud
    I had painted Silver Cloud before l had actually met him. Spirit uses the power of thought on a mind-to-mind basis. When I painted my friend Silver Cloud, I had been going to a Spiritualist church for a while and was repeatedly getting messages from other mediums who would say that l would or could work like they did. One day l felt a strong urge to go to the church and managed to get the last chair. When the messages were being given out by the medium, the room and the people at the service changed. They seemed to step back and to my right stood this Native American who seemed to be looking ahead. I felt very excited to see Spirit and I had a chance to ask the medium what I had seen. She told me that he is my helper. ‘How can it be?’ l asked: ‘He was not looking at me?’ She told me that I was the only one who had seen him and will I accept him as a helper, or Spirit guide, to which my answer was a big Yes! They say when the pupil is ready a teacher will appear which is true as a few weeks later I started an awareness class, then a closed circle. This is where l learned to communicate with Silver Cloud.

  5. Geoff For information – I printed my own copy of Spirit Teachings and More Spirit Teachings combined on It cost me £9.97 in hardback. Roy

  6. Having been a Spiritualist for over 45 years, I guess I am entitled to talk about what it was like in “the old days” (lol). In both the training ground (development circles, etc) and in the Churches, it was not only acceptable, but considered quite relevant to bring forward information about people’s guides. This was because there existed a strong recognition that one’s guides played an important role in our lives and in our spiritual and mediumistic development.

    While I take Roy’s point that the public meeting is for presenting evidence of survival, and in the strict sense giving information out guides does not often do that, I believe there is still a relevance to pass on that information, albeit in conjunction with other information that is about evidence of survival.

    Just yesturday I was involved in a Spiritualist centre’s ‘Christmas break-up’ service. I and 5 trainee mediums from a development group I run gave the demonstration. Because it was the last meeting of the year we decided to attempt to give all the 40 plus people present a ‘message.’ Not something we would usually do of course but we did, and it was done well. Ninety-nine percent of those messages included evidence of survival of someone in spirit who communicated and was recognised. That in itself, was a remarkable achievement, but I mention this event because in the midst of all those ‘evidential’ messages was one, just one that was a message from a guide, and it was I that gave the message.

    The guide had an important message to pass on to a man in the audience who was, unknown to me, a working medium. The guide made their identity very clear. Their personality, their involvement in the man’s mediumship, and their desire to further enhance this person’s development.

    Interestingly, after the meeting this young man informed me, that I was the only medium who had ‘independently’ confirmed this guide’s existance and involvement in his mediumship, and in doing so this had meant much to him, and enhanced his confidence in working with this guide. He advised that both the description, the representation of the guide’s personality and the very words I heard from the guide and passed on were those he knew so well and could not be doubted.

    In other words, sometimes a message from a guide may be, at that point in time, as meaningful and relevant, and capable of providing evidence of existence, as any other sort of message. So, to ban information about guides from our public demonstrations may be going to far, and risk us preventing those guides, who after all, do walk with us, watch over us, and try to guide us forward, from having an opportunity to confirm their existence and get their message of hope and encouragement across through the vehicle of an independent source. Just a thought.

  7. Geoff Griffiths

    CORRECTION: My statement about Imperator only revealling his true identity towards the end of Stainton Moses life was not correct. The sequence seems to have been:

    Sept 19 1872 – entity signs as Imperator.
    December 3 – clams to have lived on earth.
    December 12 – SM sees him clairvoyantly
    July 6 1773- under pressure from SM, claims to be Malachi, the prophet.

    This comes from Trethewy’s book, “ The Controls of Stainton Moses”.(1923) , but see the article in Psypioneer April 2007, by Trethewy just before which is deeply interesting.

    SM did not want the great names to be associated with his mediumship to be disclosed, and though he died in 1892, they were not disclosed until Trethewy’s book thirty years later. (They were patient in those days- no Wikileaks! ) So in this case it was the medium who was worried about the distraction of great names. But Malachi seems not to have given his true identity willingly.

    Apropos the ‘toxic ads’ that crept in, we seem to have solved that problem now. But the way these ads work is that advertisers pay for so many clicks per day and when the limit has been reached, they disappear. If you see any come up, let us know on

  8. Del Drummond

    Geoff,I´ve followed enough Red Herrings trying to track down the old L Squad,perhaps with this one will be more successful ??? You can contact me
    at if you wish. I promise no”double wrist locks”.
    Hope you had a good Christmas and best wishes for 2011.
    It’s only been 48 years, Del Drummond

  9. I understand your view about guides from the platform and I offer for your consideration what has happened here in the US. Guides are accepted here from the platform, and on the majority of occasions are brought through instead of good, evidential spirit contact. It is a field day for Black Bears and Grey Wolfs, all coming through in broken English—”Me help you. Me guide.” It amazes me that Chinese, Japanese, Eastern Indian guides can all come through speaking perfect English, yet for some reason, Native American guides can’t. It’s a real embarrassment here. Now they are trying to add past lives to the mix of non-evidential material that is being given out. Perhaps in the UK, where there is a higher standard of mediumship, guides would work, but here in the US there is a long way to go to get to the evidential part in most areas. Guides, angels and past lives just become one more thing to give out instead.

  10. Some time ago, a medium asked me from the platform whether I was aware that I had a new guide, an American Indian, by name of “Green Arrow”.

    My response, that this sounded more like the name of a bus company, did not go down well with the medium.

  11. Ray, maybe he was your travel guide. ; -)

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