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.
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.