During the year in which Tom Harrison became 70, he sat down to write about the amazing range of physical phenomena he and fellow members of his home circle – the Saturday Night Club – had witnessed through the extraordinary mediumship of his mother, Minnie.
The events Tom set out to describe had taken place some forty years earlier, but he always maintained that they remained as fresh in his memory as on the day they happened. The breathtaking array of phenomena he witnessed included apports, voices amplified through the ‘trumpet’, telekinesis, spirit writing, independent direct voice and, most remarkable of all, full ectoplasmic materialisations in good red light – 1,500 of them, at Tom’s estimation, over eight to ten years of sitting.
The resulting 36-page booklet was launched at the Arthur Findlay College Open Week in May 1989, under the title Visits by our Friends from the “Other Side”.
As Tom wrote in the opening sentence of the book, its purpose was “to share with as many people as possible the wonderful experiences of our Family Home Circle in Middlesbrough from April 1946 to the mid 1950s; to interest those not actively involved in psychic matters and to help and encourage those who are.”
In 2004, when Tom and his wife Ann published Tom’s book Life After Death: Living Proof, they thought that the original 36-page booklet, with its two supplementary loose articles, had become redundant, since all the information it contained was now in the larger book.
“But I know this little book is treasured by many, including the late Professor David Fontana,” says Ann. “I recall Tom’s first meeting with David Fontana at the Arthur Findlay College in 1995. When David saw the book, he could hardly wait for Tom to finish speaking to one of the other students before saying to Tom: “Is this your book? It is wonderful.” And for the rest of the evening, no one else had a chance of speaking to Tom, as David, who had owned a copy of the book for some time, wanted to know all about the phenomena it described. He was so impressed with the simplicity and honesty with which the eye-witness testimony was given that he arranged for Tom to give his talk at a SPR meeting in London the following year. The two men having become firm friends, David prevailed upon Tom to write about his experiences in more detail, which led to the 280-page book ten years later.
“As the remaining stock of the small book eventually ran out, we heard from a friend that he was sad there would be no more copies available. He had found it so helpful to give to people who were grieving and had no certainty of life after death, and at a price of just £3.50 he could afford to give away an occasional copy to someone in need.”
Tom’s original booklet has now been reprinted by Ann in his memory, and in memory of the rest of the Saturday Night Club, now all together again in the spirit world. “Three weeks ago,” she told SPN, “I felt impelled to scan one of our two remaining copies and set the book up in its original form, as Tom had first set it up in 1989, with beautiful poems by his mother, and other quotations. But this time, the two extra pieces, which used to be loose sheets tucked in the back, are now included in the book itself.
“The proof copy was delivered to me in Spain ten minutes short of 24 hours after leaving the printer in Milton Keynes. I placed an immediate order for 100 books and 14 hours later they were printed, packed and on their way to Yorkshire. When you get this sequence of events you know you have done something right.”
Visits by our Friends from the “Other Side” ISBN 978-0 9557050-8-3 is available from Ann’s own publishing company by emailing on firstname.lastname@example.org and through Spirit of PN’s Amazon store. Price £3.50 and $5 (US).