Daniel Dunglas Home (pronounced Hume) was a truly gifted individual. He was born on March 20, 1833 near Edinburgh and was descended on his maternal side from a clan of Highland seers. His gift of second sight began when he was four years old and was characterized by visions of future events of which he could not possibly have any knowledge at his age. He was the eighth child of the Home family and because his family could not afford to feed and clothe yet another child, Daniel was sent to live with an aunt until he was nine years old. His aunt later took him to the United States to be reunited with his family who was living in Connecticut.
By the age of seventeen, Daniel found himself living in an era where spiritualism was ripe. The year was 1850 and the United States was saturated with interest in all things psychic and supernatural for it was the time of the Movement of Modern Spiritualism. People were highly gullible and manic in their desire to connect with spirits from the other side. Fraud and drama by phony seers was also rampant characterized by séances full of moving and levitating furniture, wall rapping and knocking, and in some cases spirit manifestation. Daniel was interested in all of these things not because he wanted to "cash" in but because he possessed real psychic talent and could manifest rapping, knocking, dancing furniture and spirit voices quite naturally. These events greatly disturbed his family and he was turned out into the street. In order to survive, Daniel held séances like many of his psychic contemporaries. Unlike his contemporaries however, the events were never held where he lived and always took place in the daytime in a well lit room. Daniel did not need a cloak of darkness to cover
He returned to Britain in 1855 where his supernatural abilities made him the toast of London and he gained many notable admirers including Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, John Ruskin, William Makepeace Thackeray, Lord Lytton and even Queen Victoria! His abilities now surpassed séances and included levitation, floating from one place to another, manifestation of disembodied hands that dissolved after materialization and bodily elongation... all eye witnessed. For the next nine years Home traveled Europe impressing just about everyone including Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie. He also had an audience with the Pope. Records show that Home married the daughter of a Tsar in 1859 who unfortunately died four years later.
In 1871, Home was investigated by Sir William Crookes an eminent physicist and chemist. Crookes put his reputation on the line to run the experiments since no other scientist of the day wanted to be associated with Home. In fact Crookes suffered great ridicule at the hands of his colleagues after his amazing findings were published. Home passed every test of his telekinetic abilities much to the shock of Crookes who could not believe that Home could use his powers while secured in a closed copper cage under a table. Most notable of these tests was Home's ability to move a spring balance at the end of the room and to play an accordion with seemingly invisible hands. Home went on further to prove his immunity to fire to Crookes by reaching into an open fire and stirring the coals with his bare hands without suffering any ill effects at all. In addition to these abilities Crookes catalogued the following:
- Translocations or apports
- Percussive noises including detonations
- Movement and levitation of furniture
- Levitation of Home himself
- Changes of temperature and current of air
- Movement of articles at a distance
- Change in the weight of objects
- Materializations (Crookes claimed to have retained one of the materialized hands holding onto it until it vaporized)
- Playing tunes on musical instruments without touching them
- Movement of heavy bodies with contact but no pressure
- Writing with disembodied hands visible and invisible
- Phantoms and luminescence
- Manifestation of darting points of light
- Knowledge of people no longer alive and of things of which he had no prior information
Home died in 1886. After his death Sir William said of him, "He was one of the most lovable of men, whose perfect genuineness and uprightness were beyond suspicion." To this day researchers cannot debunk Home's abilities.
Rehash from Strange But True - Mysterious and Bizarre People by Thomas Slemen, Robinson Publishing Ltd., 1998.
The time - July 1488. The place - the town of Knaresborough in North Yorkshire, England. The setting - a raging thunderstorm. The event - the birth of the Yorkshire Witch.
The legend: Janet Ursula Southiel was born on this day to Agatha Southiel in the company of several neighbors and the local midwife. All expected a normal birth but shortly after the baby arrived, the tiny newborn smiled and chuckled significantly at all in residence. Witnesses claim that the moment the baby laughed the storm outside immediately ceased and the sun came out from behind the clouds to light up the now clear blue skies. Needless to say the whole event did not sit well with those who experienced it. They immediately labeled the little girl the Devil's Child and ran from the cottage.
Gossip reigned supreme in those days and the maliciousness and non-acceptance of the neighbors drove poor Agatha to a convent leaving baby Janet with a nurse. In an unsuccessful attempt to shield the child from any further harm, the nurse dropped the baby's first name, Janet, and the child became known as Ursula Southiel. When young Ursula entered school she was mercilessly taunted by her classmates because she had no parents. Ursula retaliated by having her "invisible friend" accost her classmates who experienced punches, bites and pinches. Consequently she was snubbed by everyone at school including the headmaster who made it very clear to her she was not welcome. Ursula spent most of her time alone with only her invisible playmate as a source of company. This situation continued until her early teens when Ursula met a young carpenter named Tobias Shipton. They immediately fell in love and were married. Very soon thereafter they moved to the town of Skipton which was about 35 miles west of York.
While living in Skipton, Ursula discovered that she had psychic abilities and could look into the future. She became fondly known among some as Mother Shipton and adversely as the Yorkshire Sybil or Witch. Her vision was attuned to the politics of the day and she very accurately foresaw the 1513 invasion of France by Henry VIII. She described the defeat as "great shame" for the French which was right on target since history records that the French retreated so fast and so far from the English cavalry that the battle became known as the Battle of the Spurs. Another subject of Ursula's of psychic abilities was Cardinal Wolsey who had fallen into disfavor with King Henry. She referred to Wolsey as the "Mitred Peacock" who would not be able to hide from the King for long and who would never be able to enter the city again. Wolsey sent three spies, the Duke of Suffolk, Lord Darcy, and Lord Percy to the home of the "Yorkshire Witch."
Ursula was unfettered by their visit and was a most gracious hostess feeding them oatcakes and ale. When the Duke of Suffolk asked her if Wolsey would ever see the city again she corrected him about her prediction stating, "No, I said he might see the city but never ENTER it." Offended, the Duke warned her that when Wolsey did finally come back to the city he would see that she was burned at the stake. In a counteraction, Ursula took a linen handkerchief and thrust it into the fireplace on top of a log and said, "If this burns, so shall I." Needless to say, when Ursula lifted the handkerchief out of the fire some 15 minutes later the piece of cloth was untouched by the flames and was just the way it was when she put it in the fire. Now she had the noblemen's undivided attention and they were so impressed that they asked her to tell their futures.
History bears out her words to these men.
- She told the Duke of Suffolk that one day he would be as low as herself, "... a low one indeed." In 1554 The Duke of Suffolk was beheaded for treason making his fall from grace low indeed not to mention that his severed head lay low on the ground!
- Lord Percy was told that his body would be buried in York but that his head would be. "...stolen from the bar and carried into France." In 1572, Lord Percy was beheaded and his head was impaled on a pole over the Michelgate Bar Gate in York. It was later stolen by a Catholic fanatic and taken to France.
- Lord Darcy was told, "You made a great gun! Go shoot it off, for it will do you no good. You are going to war and you will pain many a man, but you will kill none." Darcy was a soldier and a statesman who was familiar and concerned with artillery. He participated in the 1536 Pilgrimage of Grace which was a revolt in Northern England against the tough religious and economic reforms of Henry VIII. Darcy ended up as one of the 230 men who were beheaded because of their part in the uprising.
- Cardinal Wolsey did attempt to travel back to York. About 8 miles outside of the city he was apprehended and arrested. He was charged with high treason and was scheduled to be incarcerated in the Tower of London until his execution. He never made it. He died on the way to the Capital.
Ursula died peacefully in her bed at the age of 73 in 1561. Storied passed down about her relate that she often gave her prophecy in rhyme and that her vision extended far into the future. Here is a passage describing the fate of the World:
"Carriages without horses shall go,
And accidents fill the world with woe.
Around the Earth thoughts shall fly,
In the twinkling of an eye;
The world upside down shall be
And gold found at the root of a tree.
Through the hills man shall ride,
And no horse shall be at his side.
Under water men shall walk,
Shall ride, Shall sleep, Shall even talk.
In the air men shall be seen.
In white, in black, in green;
Iron in the water shall float.
As easily as a wooden boat.
To an end the world shall come,
In the year two thousand and sixty-one."
This is a one account of the life of Ursula Sothiel. Her story has come under much scrutiny and has been debunked in several circles due to the unscrupulousness of her later biographers who added untruths to her story. Still, some of the facts of her life remain and in the end truth will be known.
Rehash, quotes and verse from Strange but True - Mysterious and Bizarre People by Thomas Slemen, Robinson Publishing Ltd., 1998.
When the Greatrakes family of Affane, County Waterford, Ireland was blessed with a baby boy on February 14, 1629, it seemed only fitting to name the child Valentine. Little did they know that the child would grow up to be an amazing healer whose reputation and fame would transverse Europe.
As a child and young man, Valentine did not display any extraordinary talents. At 20, he began a seven year military career as a Parliamentary army officer under Cromwell. After his discharge in 1656 he was awarded a number of political appointments but lost the appointments with the 1660 restoration and the reinstatement of the English monarchy. It wasn't until 1663 at age 34 that Valentine Greatrakes began to experience a series of odd recurrent dreams where he believed he received the "gift of healing" from an omniscient being. This seemed odd to him since he was basically a squeamish man who became nauseous at the sight of disease. These dreams were soon followed by a strong undeniable impulse to begin the physical healing of others. His wife suggested that he begin his quest by attempting to heal disfigured people and he did with success.
During this point in history, Europe was plagued by Scrofula which is tuberculosis of the lymphatic glands. The disease was commonly known as the "king's evil" and it was generally believed that the touch of a royal hand of a monarch could cure the disease. People flocked from all over the map to be cured of the disease by King Charles I with less than satisfactory results. In the meantime, Valentine Greatrakes was making a name for himself with successful healings of Scrofula often termed "miraculous cures." He then tried his hand at healing ague a feverish condition characterized by convulsions. Once again his healing hands brought relief and a cure to those afflicted.
In 1665, the Bubonic Plague engulfed London and the Irishman found himself healing the infirmed 12 hours a day several days a week. His home was so overcome with people that he built outhouses to accommodate them. By now his fame had reached far and wide and unfortunately the ears of the ecclesiasts. The "Irish Mesmerist" was called before the bishop's court and he was forbidden to practice his healing methodology. An outraged Greatrakes ignored the ruling and because of his enormous popularity among the laypeople the religious authorities were unable to touch him.
In time Greatrakes earned the name "The Stroker" because of the way he moved his hands in a soothing stroking fashion above the afflicted parts of a patient's body. He was also noted for curing cancer, sciatica, blindness, deafness, and palsy. Even more remarkable was the fact that he never accepted any money for his cures. London's prominent physicians and academics spoke favorably of Greatrakes and his abilities. He was investigated by the prominent and brilliant Irish physicist of his day, Robert Boyle who proclaimed Greatrakes to be a genuine healer and by others who witnessed his curative miracles. Valentine Greatrakes withdrew from the public due to baseless but escalating accusations of witchcraft prior to his death at the age of 54 in 1683. No one has ever been able to explain or disprove his great healing talent.
CONJECTURE: Valentine Greatrakes spiritual method of healing was to work energies through and with the assistance of "... prayer to God for Jesus' sake" which leads one to believe that his ability came from the Highest Power. So what omniscient being might have delivered the message to him at age 34 that he was to heal? Consider the possibilities among them - Christ Himself, Archangel Raphael - The Healer, or Ascended Master Hilarion who is the Patron of Medical Healers.
When Londoner Rosemary Brown was seven years old, she was visited by "a spirit with long white hair and a flowing black cassock." He stated that he was a composer who would make her a famous musician one day. Such visions were not uncommon in Rosemary's family for her mother and grandmother were psychic and Rosemary herself displayed psychic abilities at a very early age. It would not be until about 10 years later that Rosemary would identify the man in her vision as Composer Franz Liszt. Still, Rosemary could not make any connection to the vision - she had paid little attention to music during her life and had just as little natural talent for it. She did purchase a second hand piano and took lessons for a year in later life but no spectacular personal musical aptitude or talent emerged.
By 1964, Rosemary was a middle aged widow who had raised two grown children and was living alone in a Victorian house in London. It was during this period of time that Liszt renewed his contact with Rosemary and she began to channel original compositions from great musicians of the past among them Liszt himself, Beethoven, Bach, Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Brahms, and Shubert. Igor Stravinsky appeared to Rosemary shortly after his death and dictated 60 lines of music to her.
Rosemary claimed that despite the different ethnic backgrounds, all of the musicians spoke to her in English although they did have different methods of dictation. Liszt would control her hands at the piano for a few bars at a time allowing her time to write the notes down. Chopin told her the notes and manipulated her fingers on the right keys while Shubert sang his compositions to her. All attempts to debunk Rosemary by trained psychologists and scientists were unsuccessful AND one thing was very clear - all of the dictated compositions were far beyond her musical capacity and conscious knowledge.
Some great artists she claimed took on different interests in the afterlife such as Debussy who preferred to try his hand at painting. Eventually other historic greats fell into the mix. Rosemary channeled van Gogh who communicated artistic renderings to her, Albert Einstein who patiently explained rather abstract theories to her in order to reconfirm existence on different planes, and philosopher Bertrand Russell who since passing over had reconsidered his atheism and disbelief in life after death.
So where does this information come from? Some psychics believe that it does not come from deceased minds but rather from an individual's receptiveness to the Akashic Records and the Universal consciousness. This might be true but it hardly explains Rosemary Brown's difficulty in keeping up with the other-worldly dictation of musical masterpieces or the ability to turn out paintings and drawings reminiscent of the Masters with an untrained hand.
Rehash and quotes from Strange Stories and Amazing Facts, Reader's Digest Association 1976 and Mysteries of Mind, Space and Time, Vol. 19, H.S. Suttman Inc., Westport, CT. 1992.