This month I thought I might return to my more usual theme of personal interest anecdotes. This story is a rather unusual tale regarding a youngish man I met quite a while ago now in the strangest of ways and the experience we shared that enabled him to be united with his grandfather.
As far as my being a medium is concerned, I have my ways… Well, I suppose we all do! But in order to explain myself properly, in very brief terms, there are a couple of different ways in which someone with my gift could share it. Personally, I have always felt that my calling is to demonstrate my gift of Mediumship to the public and commune between them and the spirit world, as opposed to working strictly within the confines of the Spiritualist Church as others do.
Although I have been a Church official several times and have really enjoyed being involved, I have never been affiliated to the S.N.U. (the Spiritualists’ National Union) by becoming a class B member. There is nothing wrong with becoming a member, of course, and I do not decry anyone who is one but it has to be right for you, I feel. And I’ve never felt it necessary for me to be associated in this way with the Church. Of course, I hold strongly to the seven principles but I do not see the harm in demonstrating my gift in places such as function rooms and halls, if this is where the public at large will commune in search of a stronger connection with the spirit world. In fact, I see it as my vocation: I think it spreads the ideas of Spiritualism to a broader group of people. So, it was with all this in mind that in 1993 I started to promote myself as a medium in the local area of North Manchester.
Anyone who is acquainted with the task of self promotion will be familiar with how tedious a job it can be! You have to spend forever researching all manner of events and exhibitions where you might share your talent and get folk interested. There is so much walking around, handing out leaflets, putting up posters in shops and public places, that you’d be just as well to train for a marathon!
On one such occasion while strolling through my local town looking for possible vantage points, I saw a T.V. Sales and Repair shop which had a very large window. OK, not exactly the buzzing hub of spiritualism you might think, but a large window… is a large window! I immediately made a bee line for it.
As I entered the shop and joined the back of the queue to the front desk, I started to look around. When I eventually reached the front of the line and explained that I wanted to put a poster in the window I awaited to hear the barrage of usual jokes and wise cracks my quest normally attracts. To put you in the frame, it’s usually things like “A medium? Make mine a large…” or “So, how am I feeling today?” or “Looking for new business eh? Is it due to unforeseen circumstances?” or my personal favourite, “Any insight into tonight’s lottery?”
However, amazingly, today was different. As I unfurled the poster, I was pleasantly surprised when the lady behind the counter smiled kindly and began to express an interest in what I did. She told me that the owner of the shop was out on a call and while she didn’t see a problem in displaying the poster, she would check it out with him first and put it up for me later. I left the poster with her and returned home figuring that I had done enough trekking around for that day.
It was later that afternoon, when I received an unexpected phone call from the shop owner. He sounded like a fairly young and enthusiastic guy. He started by saying that he didn’t mind at all me using his window to advertise my vocation but he then went on to ask me more questions about my spiritualism. It transpired that he had been for sittings before with other mediums and found the whole subject of Mediumship very interesting. He was easy to talk to and it didn’t take long for him to enquire as to whether I did private readings. At his request, I reached for my diary and booked him in to visit me the following week, under the name of Shaun.
A few days later, at the appointed time, Shaun knocked on my door and I let him in. I was surprised to see on my doorstep a shortish Asian bloke with a bright smile. In my experience at the time, which I admit hadn’t been long, spiritualism had been a middle-class white preserve; although since the years have passed, I am glad to say it has broadened its appeal massively. The conversation flowed and we chatted easily for a short lime during which he told me that his father was Indian and his mother was English. What struck me most about him was his charisma: he had a cheeky charm and a great motivation to succeed in life; I suppose he came across as a younger version of the Del Boy type of character.
I started the reading and immediately had a very strong contact with his mother’s father.
The information relayed in the first instance was that his grandfather was called George, that he had been a professional artist and also that he had left his painting easel and painting equipment to Shaun. There was more, including information about Shaun’s grandmother who was still living, as well as a strong hint of his paternal grandfather who had never left India and had died quite tragically by drowning.
This information Shaun readily accepted as being true and he seemed very impressed by the rest of the ‘survival evidence’ I had given him. The second part of the reading was really interesting to him as it communicated his maternal grandfather’s wish for Shaun to take up painting seriously, instead of just drawing funny cartoons of Desperate Dan. This last part came through very strongly and I felt it would turn out to be key.
At the mention of this, Shaun started to become very visibly emotional. I paused for a second, to allow him time to recollect himself but there was more turbulence to come. I went on to tell him that I could see a vision of his grandfather wearing a cavalier type hat with a large feather sticking up out of it and a long sword hanging from his waist. Shaun’s countenance changed and he began to shake his head slowly. He simply would not accept what I’d just said; it had nothing, he felt, to do with his grandfather.
But I am an intrepid trooper! I was not to be put off. Even though Shaun had no clue what I was talking about, I firmly believed then (as I still do) that evidence which is not immediately accepted can sometimes be of greater importance later, especially as it proves, in my mind and beyond all doubt, that the medium is not reading the mind of the sitter. This is really important to my profession. However, to his credit, Shaun remained open minded and agreed to ask around the family to see if he could find anything out that might throw some light onto what I had said. With the reading finished we said our goodbyes and he left.
Shaun kept his promise and promptly the very next day he visited his maternal grandmother to make more enquiries about his grandfather. He deliberately did not tell her that he had been to make contact with him the day before nor did he give any clues as to the reason for his questions about the past.
She was, as was to be expected, more than happy to oblige. As is often the case, Shaun’s interest seemed to be the perfect cue for his grandmother to get out the family photographs.
As she opened the door to the cupboard where generations of family photographs were kept, a large envelope fell out onto the floor and as if being pulled by a silvery string out of the envelope, without any assistance at all, out slid a photograph of Shaun’s grandfather.
As he bent down to pick it up, Shaun’s eyes grew wider than ever. It was definitely his grandfather, but something wasn’t quite right. He was dressed up in what looked like frills and as Shaun’s face showed complete puzzlement his grandmother began to laugh.
She held the photograph tenderly, and with a wide smile looked at it longingly as she began to explain the fancy dress. It had been a pantomime, and Shaun’s grandfather had gamely taken part, all dressed up in frills and feathers; a sword hung loosely from his waist and a cavalier’s hat with large feather completed the outfit. To conclude the image, he also had a warm smiling and jovial expression on his face: the veritable Laughing Cavalier.
Shaun called me immediately to tell me what had happened, he was literally gobsmacked by the turn of events in the past 24 hours, and was still in a bit of emotional shock. He went on to tell as many of his family of his contact with his mother’s father.
It didn’t stop there. Shaun has since taken up his grandfather’s great passion for the arts and has discovered that he really does have a talent for painting and drawing. Some would say that perhaps he is being inspired by a spiritual guardian: and I would agree, helped by his grandfather, he is making his mark in this world.
To date, this remains one of the strongest connections to the Spirit World that I have ever received, and as it is a huge part of my vocation, I see it is an excellent illustration of the continuation of life.