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Estelle Roberts (1889-1970) • a Helen Duncan materialization • 'Katie King' • 'John King'
Estelle Roberts would enter a trance state and then the voices of unseen people in Spirit would converse with sitters during 'Direct Voice' seances. At other trance seances, her guide 'Red Cloud' would speak through her and these accounts correlate with what today is observed under the category of psychic phenomena known as 'deep trance,' 'overshadowing' or 'total takeover' 'channeling.' Occasionally there were 'apports' (materialized objects) and at one seance Spiritualist journalist Maurice Barbanell witnessed the full body materialization of 'Red Cloud.' Maurice wrote about the various manifestations of Estelle's mediumship-including clairvoyance and clairaudience-in several chapters of Power of the Spirit, a 1949 memoir about the many people whom he personally witnessed to manifest the 'power of the spirit' in diverse ways.

In Power of the Spirit, Maurice identified Estelle Roberts and Helen Hughes as mediums who were well-known for public displays of their psychic abilities with Estelle having "twice filled the Royal Albert Hall." This article presents passages from the book about Estelle's mediumship.
Long experience has taught her that when she meets with a blank "No" or with "I do not remember," the fault is usually with the recipient. Memory cannot always be spurred in a hurry, especially as some people find that their recollections freeze when they are addressed in public.

When Estelle meets with this class of individual she provides additional links in the chain of evidence until recollection comes.

The evidence piles up as the communicator mentions names of relatives and friends with whom there has been a reunion in the spirit world. Finally, there is a recital of names of mutual friends on earth. There is built up, as a result, a complete test of Survival which removes every vestige of doubt. She rejoices when she has an avowed skeptic to deal with, for she knows that in the ensuing duel her clairvoyance will emerge triumphant.

Here are instances taken from notes I made during her clairvoyance at two large meetings in Sheffield and Leeds which were held about the time this chapter was written. The first communication is from a dead brother returning to his sister:

"He has brought Jim with him."
"I can't place a Jim."
"He's your mother's brother."
"Yes, that's right!"
"He's met Aunt Jinny."
"I don't remember her."
"She's an in-law connected with your mother. Her name was Mary Anne Jane."
"Oh, yes!"
Here is a part of the evidence given to a man who was told all his four dead brothers were present:
"They have brought Mary with them."
"Mary? I can't recall her."
"Well, I must help you. She is your father's sister."
"Oh yes!"

In another case, the message began by the medium saying to the spirit form standing by her, "I will find her if I can." Then, her eyes scanned the audience until she paused and pointed to one woman. "There is a young airman who wants to talk," the medium told her. "You are his mother. Before this meeting, you went to his portrait and asked him to get through tonight, if he could."

"Yes," admitted the woman.
Estelle gave the boy's age correctly, twenty-two, and asked, "Who is Ken?"
"A friend," was the reply.

Here the medium quickly added, "Ken belongs to the lady sitting next to you." Estelle, when told that this was true, went on to transmit messages from both boys. Ken, she said, knew that "my Mum asked me to get a look-in if I could."

The two war victims were laughing and joking she informed their mother, adding significantly, "If these are the dead. . . ." Estelle smiled as she announced that the boys addressed her as "Auntie."

Ken was an excellent communicator. He described how he had watched his mother go to a drawer and take out his "wings." He referred to his "old writing book" which has, at the end, "a figure of an airman with a hand that is cock-eyed." Naturally, all this was understood by his mother, who was overjoyed when Estelle said that she saw Ken reproduce his favourite habit, pushing his hat over his head until it came on to his nose. This incident, which skeptics might regard as trivial, was excellent evidence for the mother.

The editor [London Sunday Pictorial] decided that readers living in the provinces should have an opportunity to witness these displays. The largest halls in Manchester, Birmingham and Sheffield were taken. The response for tickets surprised the editor when he found that it had reached the sixty thousand mark!

This was clear evidence that the man in the street was intensely interested and was determined to find out for himself whether Survival was capable of being demonstrated.

I am always interested in the mechanics of mediumship. For that reason, I asked Estelle to tell me what she actually saw and heard when she gave public demonstrations. Her psychic vision, she said, could be subjective or objective. When it came within the first category, she could see spirit forms even though her eyes were closed. It was a mental or inner process. When the dead appeared to her objectively, they seemed to be as real and solid as living people.

Her gift of clairaudience functions simultaneously. She can hear the voices of the spirit communicators who address her, and when they are close enough she is able to watch the movements of their lips. Their speech, she told me, has a softer tone than the voices of living people, but she definitely hears what they say.
Links to more recent videos made of psychic mediums demonstrating their abilities have been presented in previous blog articles and a great many more videos of mediums conducting psychic readings are available via a You Tube search (including Rosemary Altea, John Edward, Sally Morgan).

A portion of Power of the Spirit offers an attempt to articulate the medium's predicament among the 'communicators' of the 'Other Side' and portions of this section were reworded for This Is Spiritualism (1959), an alternate edition of Maurice Barbanell's memoirs. In following decades, many books and other forms of documentation have offered perspectives about life in the ascended realm through quotations and transcripts of the explanations from the 'communicators,' as reported in many articles at this blog.

'Psychometry' is a form of mediumship where an inanimate object creates a pattern for psychic information concerning the circumstances involving it. Several examples related in Maurice's books were taken from notes made by the author upon witnessing Estelle's interaction with the public during exhibitions. One of these anecdotes is presented in the following excerpts from This Is Spiritualism.
Public demonstrations of psychometry are frequently given at Spritualist meetings. The procedure is for an official to go among the audience with cards numbered in duplicate. Those who wish to have an article psychometrised take a numbered card, attach one portion to the object and retain the other for reference purposes.

The owner places his object on a specially constructed tray divided into compartments, each large enough to hold only one article. The medium picks up an object and gives the delineation, calling the number attached so that the person to whom it belongs can follow what is said.

Reporting her impressions upon handling a watch, Mrs. Roberts stated that it had been associated with troublesome times. One of its owners had passed over. It had been possessed first by a man, then by a woman, and lastly by another man. "It has not been worn for a considerable time," declared the medium. "I sense a wonderful character. The present owner of the watch is someone who is very patient and who, at some time, experienced two great shocks. Whose watch is this?"

"Mine," answered a member of the audience, "and all that you say is perfectly true."

"Do you know that the owner passed through a great tragedy?" asked the medium.

"Yes, I do."

"Did you know that he appeared in court where someone was fighting for life and he gave evidence which was the turning-point?"

"I know that he appeared in court."

"The owner met with a very bad accident," went on the medium. "This watch is between eighty-five and ninety years old. Do you know the young boy, who now wears it?"

"I do."

"And do you know the lady who wore it on a thin chain round the neck?"

"Of course I do; I gave it to her."

"Do you know this watch has been in a folded, coloured handkerchief, close to a small claps-knife?"

"Yes, I know that."

"What has happened to the coin that used to be attached to the watch?"

"I have it now. It is on the thin chain."

The medium then referred to the fact that, when the watch was given to the member of the audience, the glass was cracked and another one was consequently put in. Once, the watch was mislaid and was later found inside the covers of a book. "Before that," said Estelle Roberts, "it used to lie in a long, square book. The book had a red cover."

"All that is perfectly true," said the person who had brought the watch.

Psychometry can be a useful form of mediumship in cases where an inquirer lives many miles away. When the inquirer sends an article used or won by one who has died, the medium can link up the spirit owner with the one left behind on earth.
As described in Power of the Spirit, the materialization of Red Cloud at an Estelle Roberts seance occurred among a group of around 60 participants. The 'guide' had previously announced his intention to materialize so that the sitters could all see him. In preparation for this seance, Red Cloud requested two luminous plaques and a red torch (lantern) be placed in the seance room. Maurice recalled: "These were put in the curtained recess which became the improvised 'cabinet' for the materialization."

After Estelle Roberts entered the 'cabinet' and became entranced, the phenomena commenced. The two luminous plaques floated in the air and the phosphorescent glow made discernible the face of Red Cloud. Maurice shook hands with the materialized Red Cloud and was directed to feel his shoulder-length hair that at touch was found "long and silky." Maurice wrote that he could see the ectoplasm which was draped around the figure -
These are the words I used in an account I wrote shortly afterwards to describe what I had seen.

"Here was a 'miracle'-a materialisation of a dead man who could move and speak, who had life and volition. Incidentally, the voice that came through his moving lips was a little softer than I have usually heard it. But it was undoubtedly the voice of Red Cloud as I have often heard it through his entranced medium and through the trumpet at his voice seances."
Maurice also described occasions when he saw the materialization of people at seances with other mediums: Helen Duncan, Mrs. Ashdown (Louisa Bolt), Ethel Post-Parrish, and Kathleen Barkel. The photographs show several examples of materialized beings representing the ascended realm of human existence, as mentioned in previous blog articles. The photo captions( 'John King', 'Katie King', materialized hand during Margery Crandon seance, a Helen Duncan materialization, are links to these articles.