What is Mediumship?

What is Trance Mediumship and Channeling?

Why Seek Spirit Communication?: Three Part Series

Helpful Hints on Consulting a Medium or Psychic

Physical Mediumship: Three Part Series

The Ethics of Mediumship by Eileen Garrett

Helpful Hints on Development

Pioneers in Mediumship and Psychic Research

A Tribute to Eileen Roberts


Florence Cook
(1856 to 1904)


Florence Cook, 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.

When Florence 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.

Later, she 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.

Florence followed 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 herself.

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.

The phenomena 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.

Continued in part 2


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The Ayer Institute
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