Lis Warwood’s Snippets from the Past: Death of James Burns

By Lis Warwood

Snippets from the Past is an occasional column in which items from newspapers and elsewhere that might be informative, amusing, weird, wonderful or just plain ridiculous, are posted for your edification or entertainment.

This month’s snippet is rather sad and refers to the death of James Burns, founder and editor of The Medium and Daybreak found in The Unknown World No 6 Vol 1 January 15, 1895, at page 242 (The Unknown World was a magazine devoted to The Occult Sciences, Magic, Mystical Philosophy, Alchemy, Hermetic Archeology, and the Hidden Problems of Science, Literature, Speculation and History, and was edited by Arthur Edward Waite).

Death of James Burns

The sudden death of Mr. James Burns, founder and editor of The Medium and Daybreak, removes a prominent and peculiar personality from the front rank of Spiritualism, on which, not only by means of his periodical, but also by all forms of public speaking, he exercised a very great and earnest influence for something like thirty years. It was not the best possible influence, perhaps on the whole it was not a wise influence, but it was honest and it was earnest, and it was impressed with the whole man.

We understand, with profound regret, that his life closed amidst poverty and almost distress, and that a heavy burden of financial liability devolves upon his son, Mr. James Burns, Jun., who, with all his energy and capacity, is quite unable to deal with it unassisted.

Our contemporaries observe that the late Mr. Burns was in reality supported as generously as could be expected by the movement which he represented. Perhaps so, and if so, should it not make one more effort and wipe out the whole liability? It is large for an individual, but it is small for a ‘cause’, and it is a necessity which will not recur, for we take it that one section of the spiritual movement dies with the editor of The Medium; there is surely no need that it should die also under the auspices of an ‘official receiver’.

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