E. Piper -- some record her name as Leonora E. Piper -- of Boston, is considered the foremost trance medium
in the history of psychical research, absolutely above reproach
of any kind.
When eight years old and playing in the garden, young Leonore
"suddenly she felt a sharp blow on her right ear, accompanied
by a prolonged sound. This gradually resolved itself into the
letter "S" which was then followed by the words 'Aunt Sara, not
dead, but with you still.' The child was terrified. Her mother
made note of the date and time of this occurrence. Several days
later, it was found that Aunt Sara had, indeed, died at that very
hour on that very day." This marked the beginning of Mrs. Piper's
Her mother understood that it would be better to allow young Leonore
to have a "normal" childhood; thus, any occurrences with the paranormal
were kept pretty much to themselves. At the age of 22, Leonore
married William Piper of Boston, her lifelong companion and friend.
Soon after this, she consulted Dr. J. R. Cocke, a blind clairvoyant
who had attracted quite a bit of attention by his uncanny medical
diagnoses and cures.
At that meeting, Leonore fell into a short trance, apparently
of little significance. Later, she attended one of Dr. Cocke's
circles for development. When Dr. Cocke placed his hands on her
head, she saw in front of her "a flood of light in which many
strange faces appeared."
While in trance, Leonore rose from her chair, walked to a table
in the center of the room, picked up a pencil and paper, wrote
rapidly for a few minutes, and, handing the written paper to a
member of the circle, she returned to her seat. That particular
circle member was Judge Frost, of Cambridge, a noted jurist. The
message, the most remarkable he had ever received, came form his
It did not take long for news of this event to spread throughout
the Boston area; and, in a short period of time, Mrs. Piper was
besieged by requests for sittings.
In the early stages of her mediumship, a French doctor named Phinuit,
was the exclusive control. Apparently, he had worked with Dr.
Cocke, but, now, shifted, if you will, to Mrs. Piper. Before Phinuit
became the primary control of the mediumship, others communicated
through Mrs. Piper; in particular, a young Native American girl
named Chlorine. But it was Phinuit who, more or
less, commanded the mediumship between the years 1884 to 1892.
Shortly thereafter, George Pelham, who had been a friend
of the renowned researcher Dr. Hodgson and who had died in an
accident, appeared and worked with Mrs. Piper, through automatic
It is interesting to note that both controls, Phinuit and
George Pelham, often worked together; Phinuit speaking
in trance, and George Pelham communicating in automatic
Then, in 1897, a new communicator and control came to the scene.
They called him the Imperator; it was a title given not
to one guide, but to a group.
This reminds me so much of the early stages of Rev. Fulton's mediumship,
when the communications were under the control of a group -- speaking
as one communicator -- who called themselves by one name: Elexius.
Once the Imperator came into the picture, Phinuit, more
or less, disappeared and George Pelham communicated only
on rare occasion. This often happens in a medium's work. Certain
stages or phases of the work are with one Spirit control, while
others fall under the control of other Spirit helpers. I have
seen this in Rev. Fulton's mediumship. Over the past 25 years,
various controls have come and gone, obviously to assist the medium
walk through various aspects of his work and ministry with Spirit.
The Imperator was an apparently stronger control, in that
he was more able to discipline and focus the communications through
Mrs. Piper. Whereas, under Phinuit's control, other spirits
often interrupted the flow of communication, the Imperator
would not have any of that. Under the Imperator's control,
the communications were far more direct and effective. They also
assumed a more spiritual and religious flair. Furthermore, the
passing in and out of trance by Mrs. Piper seemed more easy and
natural with the Imperator as the control.
This should speak volumes to the inquirer. It is amazing how different
Spirit controls have very different impacts on the communications,
as well as on how those communications come about through the
What is, also, interesting to note is that, once this group of
controls began working with Mrs. Piper's mediumship, she, herself,
became a most amazing spiritual advisor. Her daughter, Alta Piper,
notes in 1929:
is almost as if the cloak of Rector (one of the group) has fallen
upon Mrs. Piper herself, and the good that she has been able
to do along these lines, during the past nine or ten years,
is most unbelievable."
Some of the most amazing communications and evidence of Spirit
survival were given through Mrs. Piper's mediumship. She was hard
working, honest, and a woman of genuine integrity, dignity, and
professionalism. She was investigated in the United States and
England by the greatest minds in psychical research. Never --
except once -- has her work been under any cloak of suspicion.
Many of her researchers were antagonistic to the idea of Spirit
contact and communication and, quite frankly, wanted to see her
mediumship exposed as nothing more than subtle telepathic interaction.
But, they were all stymied by the volumes of evidence presented.
The truth spoke for itself and it spoke clearly: Spirit was able
to communicate through this woman.
Unlike many of the mediums of her day, Mrs. Piper did not exhibit
physical phenomena, except for one odd manifestation: she was
able to withdraw the scent from flowers and make them wither in
a very short period of time. In order to establish rapport with
her Spirit contacts, she often utilized psychometry, requesting
to hold an object which had been about the person of the departed.
The late Douglas Johnson -- protégé of Eileen J.
Garrett and frequent visitor to the First Spiritual Temple --
an amazing medium, himself, used this technique.
As noted above, Mrs. Piper was subject only once to the shadow
of doubt. On October 20, 1901, the New York Herald published
a statement of Mrs. Piper, advertised as a confession, in which
she was quoted to say that she intended to give up the work she
had been doing for the Society for Psychical Research. She was
quoted as saying:
theory of telepathy strongly appeals to me as the most plausible
and genuinely scientific solution . . . I do not believe that
spirits of the dead have spoken through me when I have been
in the trance state . . . It may be that they have, but I do
not affirm it."
Mrs. Piper was infuriated that the facts of her comments had been
so badly twisted and proclaimed as a confession. On October 25,
1901, she stated in The Boston Advertiser:
did not make any such statement as that published in the New
York Herald to the effect that spirits of the departed do
not control me . . . My opinion is today as it was eighteen
years ago. Spirits of the departed may have controlled and they
may have not. I confess that I do not know. I have not changed."
When you consider this statement, it is very much in line with
the views and feelings of so many of this century's most amazing
mediums: Eileen Garret; Edgar Cayce; Douglas Johnson; Gladys
Osborne Leonard; Alice Bailey, to name but a few. One would think
that these incredible channels for Spirit would be the last people
to question from whence came the information communicated through
them. Yet, this very fact is what makes these mediums so astounding.
Furthermore, it is this very question which has always stood at
the center of the debate: is the information which comes through
a medium genuine spirit contact, or is it telepathic interaction
with the sitter? Proponents for both sides of the debate have
been guilty in their proclamations. Parapsychologists have attributed
these communications to just about anything other than spirit
contact, and Spiritualists have been naive and gullible in accepting
absolutely everything which comes from a medium's mouth as originating
As always, in dealing with this issue, discretion and balance
are key. This is why the pioneer mediums of the 1880's through
the 1940's have given us so much food for thought. Their approach
to mediumship, especially their own mediumship, has been balanced,
levelheaded, far more scientific than that of psychic researchers,
and far more spiritual than that of Spiritualists. Thus, we must
maintain the memory of their work and sacrifice before us.
Nandor Fodor, in his Encyclopedia of Psychic Science, states
of Mrs. Piper:
Piper's work cannot be sufficiently appreciated. For several
decades her powers were tested to a degree which no other medium
had approximated. Psychical research owes a debt to her which
cannot be discharged."
Pioneer researcher, Harry Price, in his Fifty Years of Psychical
Research, says of Mrs. Piper:
the greatest mental medium of whom we have any record is Mrs.
Leonore E. Piper, of Boston, Massachusetts . . . Mrs. Piper's
successes were due to the intimate and personal nature of her
communications, when in trance."
Well spoken, indeed!