(1856 to 1904)
the famous physical medium investigated by Sir William Crookes,
had seen spirits and heard voices from childhood, and, as so often
happens, these events were dismissed as resulting from a vivid imagination.
was 15 years of age, while at a tea party, some friends suggested
that they experiment with table-tilting. Florence refused to participate.
At a later date, with her mother's permission, Florence consented
to sit at the table. The table became totally unmanageable and young
Miss Cook was levitated off the floor.
and her mother began sitting regularly by themselves. It was then
that Florence's hand began to write. A message came forward, in
mirror writing -- writing that can only be read by looking at it
through a mirror -- indicating that she should go to a certain bookseller
and, there, she should inquire about the Dalston Association, as
a meeting would be taking place in a few days. There, she would
make the acquaintance of the editor of The Spiritualist.
the guidance, met the right people, and began offering sittings
for the Dalston society. In the meantime, she had attended a few
materialization sittings with various mediums, most notably Herne
and Williams. Finally, she sat with Herne in her father's house.
She soon gave
up attending the Dalston meetings, as the phenomena became just
too strong and, quite frankly, embarrassing for the public. At some
of these meetings, she was carried over the heads of the sitters
and invisible hands stripped her clothing and replaced it. With
these rather strange events taking place, Florence's mother stepped
in and permitted young Florence to sit only at their home and with
It was at
this time that she began to become overshadowed by a spirit calling
herself "Katie King," the daughter of John King, alias Henry
Owen Morgan, the buccaneer. Katie King promised to speak
through Florence for three years and, during that time, to reveal
many strange things. The promise was kept.
In due time,
a formal circle was set up, consisting of the parents, the two sisters
of Florence, who were also mediumistic in their own right, and Mary,
the household maid. This circle was called the Hackney Circle
and soon became quite renowned for the phenomena which took place
at its meetings. Mr. Charles Blackburn, a wealthy citizen of Manchester,
England, guaranteed an annual retaining fee for Florence so that
she would be free to offer her services when required.
were amazing and Florence was considered the first English medium
to exhibit full materialization in good light. The first attempt
at materializing was made by Katie King in April, 1872. A
face, similar to a death-mask, was seen between the curtains of
the cabinet. It is interesting to note that in a letter written
by the medium, earlier that day, Katie King "told us that
we must give her (the medium) a bottle of phosphorescent oil because
she could not get the phosphorous that was necessary from my body
because my mediumship was not yet sufficiently developed." The bottle
of oil was used in the place of psychic light and lit up Katie's
face. At this stage of development, the medium was still conscious;
in time, she passed into a trance condition in order for the phenomena
to take place.
in part 2
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