(1893 to 1970)
Garrett is, perhaps, the most respected medium of the twentieth
century. Her contributions to the investigation and understanding
of mediumship and allied phenomena remain immeasurable.
As a sensitive,
she was very much aware of people's moods and feelings. As a psychic
researcher, she recognized the need for a scientific and an open-minded
investigation of paranormal phenomena. As an author, lecturer, and
publisher, she sought to share her ideas and experiences with the
public. As an administrator, she had a keen mind and a sense of
perception for the more mundane aspects of life.
Any one of
these undertakings would certainly be a career, in itself, but there
was something quite remarkable about this woman which allowed her
to pursue all four with amazing zest, integrity, and effectiveness.
was born in 1893, in Beauparc, County Meath, Ireland. From the beginning,
her life was riddled with tragedy. Her parents both committed suicide
shortly after her birth; she was, then, adopted by an aunt and uncle.
In her autobiography, she writes:
I heard my aunt refer to them as 'poor Anthony and Anna' in a
tone that held both pity and disapproval, and a sympathy for them
stirred within me . . . It was explained to me later that Anna
and Anthony were my dead parents. I was glad then that I had given
their names to many living things that I had cherished."
were a part of Eileen Garrett's life from the moment she saw an
infant for the first time. She sensed and saw around people, animals
and, even plants, various forms of light and energy which she initially
termed "surrounds". She said that she had imaginary playmates, whom
she called "the children". She claims that their appearance was
a very normal part of her life and that she "did not have to go
to them in any particular place, or make any adjustments" in order
to see them.
One day, while
quite young, she saw her favorite aunt, who lived about twenty miles
away, walking up the path carrying a baby. As the aunt approached,
she said to young Eileen, "I am going away now and I must take the
baby with me." Eileen quickly ran into the house to relate this
to her adoptive aunt, who immediately punished her for making up
stories. The following day she learned that her aunt Leone had died
in childbirth, along with the baby.
introduction to death had its impact upon young Eileen. She had
many questions concerning birth and death, none of which anyone,
least of all her aunt, cared to discuss with her. As a means of
protest, and in response to some undeserved punishment, she drowned
some ducklings of which her aunt was very proud. She recalls, "The
little dead bodies were quiet, but a strange movement was occurring
all about them. A gray, smoke-like substance rose up from each small
form. This nebulous, fluid stuff wove and curled as it rose in winding
spiral curves, and I saw it take new shape as it moved out and away
from the quiet forms." Thus she became aware, at a young age, that
there was more to life than the physical form, and that this "more"
separated itself from the body, at the time of death.
Eileen Garrett's younger years. Tuberculosis and other respiratory
conditions flared up frequently, and, at age fifteen, she left Ireland
for the milder climate of England. She stayed in England with relatives
and, very soon thereafter, was courted by an older gentleman named
Clive, whom she married within a few months. She gave birth to three
sons, all of whom died at very early ages. The eldest and second-born
sons both died of meningitis within weeks of each other. The third
died a few hours after birth. Eventually, she gave birth to her
daughter, Eileen. Once again her health deteriorated, and, by the
time she recovered, her marriage had ended in divorce.
War I, she opened a hostel for convalescent soldiers. It was during
this period that she met and married her second husband, a young
officer who was immediately called to the front. She had a premonition
that this marriage would be short-lived. In her memoirs she wrote:
"I knew that
my young husband was . . . suffering. In order to find release
from the depression . . . I gathered several friends together
and went out to dine. That evening . . . I had a vision of my
Two days later,
he was listed as missing in action, and, shortly thereafter, he
was stated as having been killed in Ypres.
fell ill, and, while recuperating, she became friendly with a young
man whom she eventually married, one month before Armistice. She
readily admits, "I drifted into my third marriage without any thought
of its being permanent." It was at about this time that Mrs. Garrett
began investigating psychic matters. Despite all this unhappiness
and tragedy, she was obviously being prepared for her major role
in life: that of a sensitive.
One day, during
a table rapping session, she became drowsy and started falling asleep.
When she awakened, she discovered that dead relatives of others
in the room had communicated through her. In spite of her husband's
warnings never to attend such meetings again, she sought the advice
of one Mr. Huhnli who took it upon himself to guide Eileen in her
understanding of what was happening to her. At one such meeting,
she was entranced by an Arab soldier called Uvani who expressed
his interest in helping prove survival.
mediumship had finally come to the surface, but fear, ill health,
and the break-up of her marriage delayed its development. Despite
this delay, she eventually came to meet J. Hewat McKenzie, founder
of the British College of Psychic Science. It was under his careful
guidance, at the College, that her mediumship blossomed. Mr. McKenzie
and his wife, Barbara, were keenly aware of the need for mediumship
to expand well beyond that of messages from the spirits. They recognized
that mediumship could provide a tool whereby the investigator could
delve into the various dimensions and levels of perception and consciousness.
Mr. McKenzie was probably the most powerful influence upon Eileen
Garrett, as well as her attitudes concerning the process of communication.
She continued studying and developing her mediumship at the College
until Hewat McKenzie's death in 1929.
once again in the offing, and, once again, after a premonition,
it ended in tragedy. Both she and her fiancé became ill on
the same day. He died of pneumonia, and she barely survived a mastoid
operation. Confused about what to do, convinced that her mediumship
resulted from nothing more than a split personality, and quite fed
up with the message game, she decided to come to the United States
and seek help from the scientific community.
In the United
States, she was able to make some astounding connections with many
noted scientists and parapsychologists. She subjected herself to
intense physiological and psychological experimentation, hoping
that such testing might shed some light upon the processes of mediumship
and psychism. She traveled to and from the States, searching, studying,
and experimenting. When the Second World War broke out in Europe,
she was in France working with children and refugees. She remained
there until the end of 1940, when in a "wholly spontaneous and of
external origin" flash she knew she should leave and seek other
work. Quite miraculously, she arrived at Lisbon and found passage
on a refugee boat to New York.
Her life now
took a definitive course. Within a few months of her arrival in
New York, she started Tomorrow, a monthly magazine of literary
and public affairs. She also started the publishing firm, Creative
greatest achievement was the founding of the Parapsychology
Foundation, in 1951. Her honesty and acumen for business affairs
helped make this one of today's most respected foundations of its
type. Over the years, the Parapsychology Foundation has published
several fine journals, newsletters, and reports, many under the
presidency of Mrs. Garrett herself. In the autumn of 1952, Tomorrow
was re-instituted as a quarterly journal for the study of psychic
science. In January, 1955, the Foundation began publishing its bimonthly
newsletter, followed, in 1958, by a series of Parapsychological
Monographs, and, in 1959, by the very prestigious International
Journal of Parapsychology. In March, 1970, the Foundation began
publishing the Parapsychology Review, a bimonthly review
of articles, news, and books. Unfortunately, the Parapsychology
Review suspended publication a few years ago. The Parapsychology
Foundation has hosted twenty-eight Annual International Conferences
on parapsychology and allied sciences.
had four trance communicators. Uvani, a fourteenth century
Arab soldier, was the control of the mediumship. Abdul Latif,
a seventeenth century Persian physician, dealt primarily with healing.
Speaking very seldom and on more philosophic and spiritual matters,
were Tahotah and Ramah. These two claimed no earthy
One of Eileen
Garrett's more memorable communications, as a medium, was the case
of the R101. Here is what Nandor Fodor says about this in his Encyclopedia
of Psychic Science:
sitting at the National Laboratory of Psychical Research on October
7, 1930, two days after the explosion of the R101, Flight Lieutenant
H. C. Irwin, Captain of the airship, suddenly entranced Mrs. Garrett,
announced his presence and gave the listeners a highly technical
account of how the airship crashed. The narrative was taken down
in shorthand and a copy was submitted to the Air Ministry. According
to the opinion of experts, a number of observations in the message
tallied in every detail with what was afterwards found in the
course of the official inquiry. E. F. Spanner, the well-known naval
architect and marine engineer, came to exactly the same conclusions
in his book, The Tragedy of the R101."
wealth of information and evidence of survival which came through
Eileen Garrett, she was never quite convinced that her mediumship
stemmed from a separate source; an attitude which, in our opinion,
made her mediumship so profoundly wonderful. She was always searching
for more information concerning the secrets behind the consciousness
of the mind and its relationship to the physical organism. She was
a prolific writer and the author of: Adventures in the Supernormal;
Telepathy; Awareness; The Sense and Nonsense of Prophecy; Life is
the Healer; and Many Voices.
In the preface
to her autobiography, she wrote:
a gift, a capacity - a delusion, if you will - which is called
'psychic'. I do not care what it may be called, for living with
and utilizing this psychic capacity long ago inured me to a variety
of epithets - ranging from expressions almost of reverence, through
doubt and pity, to open vituperation. In short, I have been called
many things, from a charlatan to a miracle woman. I am, at least,
neither of these."
best sums up Mrs. Garrett's point of view concerning her work. On
September 15, 1970, Eileen J. Garrett passed to Spirit after one
final and very painful struggle with bone cancer.
Spiritual Temple is very proud to have hosted Mrs. Garrett on the
following dates, for public lectures and private sittings: December
2, 1955; May 2, 1956; November 13, 1957; and May 13, 1959. Furthermore,
whenever Mrs. Garrett was in Boston, she would stop in at the Temple
to bid her greetings.
her as a fine medium, an astute researcher, a productive writer,
and a hard-working businesswoman.
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