William H Bach

William H Bach

William H. Bach, born in 1864 in Wisconsin to Edward and Frances Bach. He married Evalina (Evie) P. Foote from Parishville, New York in 1887. They lived in St Paul, Missouri in the late 1880s and early 1890s and had no children. William was active in Mesmeric and Spiritualist circles in the 1890s. He spoke at places like the St. Paul Spiritual Alliance, the First Phenomenal Society of Springfield, Missouri and to Spiritualists in Atchison, Kansas.

The National Spiritualist Association of Churches was founded as the National Spiritualist Association of the United States of America (NSA) in 1893 during a convention in Chicago, Illinois. William was one of the NSA’s first leaders along with Harrison D. Barrett, Luther V. Moulton, Cora L. V. Scott, and James Martin Peebles.

William and Evalina moved to the Lily Dale, New York area in the late 1890s. They attended the 1897 Spiritualists convention in Washington, D.C. where William was elected treasurer for the lyceum. The following year, William and Evie became the first editors of The Sunflower, published from 1898—1909, semimonthly, then weekly, then semimonthly again by A. Gaston and F.G. Neelin, the Sunflower Publishing Co., and then Hamburg Publishing Co. It was individually owned by William but functioned as the journal for the Cassadaga Camp meeting and Lily Dale. The Sunflower Pagoda was also built in 1898 by William.  It is located midway between the Grand Hotel and the Auditorium and carries a complete stock of books, stationery and other camping necessities.

William authored several publications, including: A History of Cassadaga Camp, printed as a premium for The Sunflower in 1899, Mediumship and its Development, and How to Mesmerize to Assist Development and Big Bible Stories.

In his book on mediumship, he wrote: “All manifestations of natural law are the result of Natural Conditions. We do not think there is a single reader of this book who will deny this premise.’ Our premise must be correct or our reasoning will be wrong. We are all, more or less, hero worshippers and it is hard to reach a solid, practical ba51s, throw all superstition to the winds and look at the practical side of things, which, to some, seem sacred.”

In 1905, William and Evie were listed as printers in the New York Census. The Buffalo Times, 30 June 1907, reported,” We regret that Mr. W.H. Bach, editor of ‘The Sunflower,’ advertises his plant and paper for sale, on account of ill health. It will be difficult to get another Mr. Bach. He is peculiarly gifted to do just that work.”

It’s unclear what happened to William. It’s possible that he married another woman and moved to California. In 1910, Evie was still using the last name Bach, was listed as a widow living with her mother in New York state, and was employed as a businesswoman. In 1925 she was still running a souvenir shop in Lily Dale.

George H. Brooks

George H. Brooks

George H. Brooks was born in 1853 to Anson and Polly Brooks in Adams, New York. By 1870 he was living in Chicago, and in the early 1880s in Madison, Wisconsin. He married Frances Elizabeth Short from Dane, Wisconsin in 1883 and worked as a Spiritualist lecturer and medium.  

During the 1880s, Brooks was listed as a medium at Lamar House, Knoxville, Tennessee, giving private readings $1 an hour. He also worked in Topeka, Kansas, Lily Dale and Cassadaga. The Wheeling Sunday Register, 17 March 1889 posted, “G. H. Brooks, trance medium, will lecture in G. A. R. Hall today, morning at 10:30 and 7:30 o’clock in the evening. Subjects taken from the audience. Private sittings daily at No. 74 Fourteenth street.”

The Progressive Thinker, Vol. 4 No. 104, 21 November 1891 published Notes from G.H. Brooks about starting meetings in Elgin, Illinois. He wrote, “In my last letter I was unsettled, and knew nothing of the spiritual condition of this city. As soon as I could I started out, and soon found a number of warm friends to our cause. All speak in the highest terms of THE PROGRESSIVE THINKER. The friends were very anxious for me to start meetings here, believing it a good field. There had been no public work here, aside from what Prof. Lockwood and his wife had done in the summer, for years; so, after thinking over the matter, I finally consented. There was a much larger audience the first Sunday than I expected, and the meetings have increased in numbers and interest, until I trust that out of this there will come forth a strong spiritual society.” 

Brooks was active in Spiritualism during the 1890s. He was the chairman of Haslet Park, a Spiritualist camp, for six years, lecturing and doing psychometer readings. He was also a Michigan State missionary, street chairman at Lily Dale, and a member of the Conference of National Spiritualists. At the Fort Wayne First Spiritual Society, one of his lectures was entitled: “The Moral Influence of Spiritualism.” 

He and his wife had one son, born in 1903, before they moved to Los Angeles by 1910. Brooks continued his work as a traveling lecturer. As a renowned minister, Doctor of Divinity & lecturer from Los Angeles, he held seminars in the Cottonwood, Arizona area regularly. 

It was April 20, 1925. Brooks was staying at the Cottonwood Hotel which he did frequently. The town of Cottonwood paid a large sum to bring him into town. That visit, it is said that he predicted his death while giving psychic readings. At 3:00 am, a still located in the rear of the Thomas Moore Restaurant blew up. The fire it created was fanned by a strong wind that swept along the two blocks of the westside of Main St. Fifteen businesses and 10 residential homes were destroyed. The Cottonwood Hotel, a wooden structure, also caught fire.

The only town fatality was Reverend Brooks. It appeared that he had been awakened by the fire, partially dressed himself, and fell, overcome by the heat and smoke. The other roomers made it out of the hotel. Brooks’ body was buried in Inglewood, California. Some say he still walks around the hotel in the upper hallway.

James Madison Allen

James Madison Allen

James Madison Allen was born to Galen and Maria Allen in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts in 1837. He was educated in the common schools, graduated and became a teacher. James participated in the Civil War for about one and half years before deserting. He married Cordelia Fanny Sampson in 1862 while living in East Bridgewater and they had one child, Loverneet, who was born in 1863 and died in 1879 of Typhoid fever. It’s unclear what happened to the marriage. He and Fanny “Allyn,” who became a notable medium, lived apart not long after their marriage. 

In 1868, James married Sarah Spaulding. He became a lecturer on Spiritualism about that time and wrote while in trance. James was listed as a Spiritualist Lecturer in the Banner of Light for over two decades. During the 1870s, he lived in Massachusetts, and during the 1880s in New Jersey. He was secretary of the First Spiritualist Society in Ancora, New Jersey for a time.

James married his third wife, Margaret Theresa, about 1800 and they made their home in Springfield, Missouri. The Allens were delegates to the First National Delegate Convention of Spiritualists held in Chicago in 1893. 

James published a 92-page book, Essays, Philosophical; and Practical from the Higher Life, of essays written automatically from 1861 to 1864, an “argument on behalf of a continuous life after the close of our earthly career.” Other publications noted in the Pittsburg Kansan, 26 March 1896, were Messages from the Spiritual Congress through the Mediumship of James Madison Allen, Organic Basis of the Spiritual Co-operative Brotherhood, and Principal Reasons for Entertaining the Vegetarian or Fruitarian Principle.

The Indianapolis Journal, 3 April 1896, wrote “Professor James Madison Allen, of this city, gave a short talk this morning on spiritualism. He was followed by Mrs. M. T. Allen, his wife. They are the only two mediums in attendance at the conference. Prof. Allen is one of the leading spiritualists of the State, and has just issued a pamphlet of six essays, purporting to come through him from those in the spirit land. He is a patriarch in appearance and is a power in the association.”

James died in 1909 in Springfield, Missouri at age of 72. His obituary in the Springfield News-Leader, 25 August 1909, stated, “He was engaged nearly all of his life as a lecturer. He was prominent in the Spiritualist movement and in late years had devoted all of his time to that line of work. Mr. Allen possessed decided opinion on religious matters and spiritual affairs, being a close student and a writer and lecturer of considerable note.”

C. Fannie Allyn

C. Fannie Allyn

Cordelia Fannie Sampson was born in 1841 to Obadiah and Martha Sampson in Derby, Connecticut. She married James Madison Allen, a teacher, in 1862 while living in E. Bridgewater, Massachusetts. They had one child, Loverneet, who was born in 1863 and died in 1879 of Typhoid fever. James Allen was in the Civil War for about one and half years before deserting. It’s unclear what happened to their marriage. In 1868, James married Sarah Spaulding. Fannie refers to herself as married in the 1870 and 1880 censuses while she is living at her parents’ home. She also spelled her name Allyn.

In the 1870 census, Fannie listed her employment as a Trance Medium. During the 1870s through the 1890s, while she lived in Massachusetts, she was a guest at most of the major Spiritualists camps in New England, including Onset Bay, Lake Pleasant, Highland Lake Grove, Silver Lake Grove, and Lake Sunapee. She also spoke at Spiritualist meetings in Boston and Fall River. She was author of the text of at least four hymns, including “Hail we the thought that moves the age,” and “Ring the bells of mercy.”

The Democratic Press, 27 December 1877, Ravenna, Ohio reported that, “Mrs. C. Fannie Allyn, of Stoneham, Mass., will give an improvised Lecture and Poem, upon any rational theme, presented by the audience on Thursday evening at Citizen’s Hall, Mantua Station. All are invited.”

The Boston Globe, 4 April 1904 published some of her lecture at a Spiritualist meeting. “’Easter Sunday is older than Christianity,’ Mrs. C. Fannie Allyn told the children of the Boston Spiritualists’ lyceum at the anniversary exercises in Friendship Hall, Tremont and Berkeley streets, yesterday afternoon.”

“’ I am glad to recognize that we are pagan as well as partly Christian,’ she continued. ‘I recognize Easter astrologically long before Jesus came on earth. I recognize it with the Druids and with the minerals and with all the natural world. I don’t celebrate the resurrection of one whom some of you worship as your Lord and Savior, but I celebrate the birth of aspiration and liberty.’”

The Washington Herald, 4 December 1915, listed her appearance at the First Spiritualist Church, Pythian Temple where she was still lecturing and giving spiritual readings at the age of 71. Fannie passed on to the spirit world in 1927. The widely known lecturer died in bed while overcome with smoke from an overheated stove. Along with Spiritualism, she was also active in the G.A.R. Women’s Relief Corps, being president of the Stoneham branch.

Connecting with the Other Side

Connecting with the Other Side

Most often, we focus on methods and techniques to connect our Earthly plane to the spirit world. We don’t realize that the spirits must work to connect from their side as well.

In the book, The Blue Island, William T. Stead describes his process of reaching Earth from the spirt world. He first brings up the issue of time. On earth we are acutely conscious of the passage of time. The Earth’s orbit around the sun creates years. Its rotation divides those years into days and nights. People have subsequently divided days into hours, minutes and seconds.

He informs the reader that the spirit world has no such passage of time. “We have no dark sky,” he said. “only a light one, and we have, for the sake of the present illustration, an unlimited supply of energy. We do break up our time, but it is not your breaking, therefore we can seldom be accurate in telling when a thing did, or when a thing will, happen.”

William Stead wrote of many buildings being present in the part of the spirit world in which he resided. One of those buildings was used to establish communications with the Earth. He said that it was a well-organized, very business-like place. There were hundreds of people there trying to get messages back home to loved ones. He referred to the messages as “heart calls.”

William said he expected the building to be equipped with different instruments to aid their communications but found none. “It was only the human element,” he wrote. Connection was achieved by thought.

On his first visit to the building, he had a long conversation with a mundane looking man. He was told that they had a system of travelers who worked very closely with the Earth. “They had the power of sensing people who could and would be used for this work at the other end.”

William visited the building frequently, trying to get messages home by more than one means. Sometimes he succeeded; sometimes he did not. “The spirit has much to do himself with the success or failure attained; a great deal depends upon him. Every time I succeeded I helped another.” When he did fail, he was given unlimited help by those working there.

He first successful communication was with a group of people holding a séance. “I had to visualize myself among these people in the flesh. Imagine I was standing there in the flesh, in the center of them, and then imagine myself still there with a strong light thrown upon me….Create a picture.”

The first time, none of his family were present and he made only his face visible to them. Later on, William Stead became adept at communication, and through spirit writing, gave us the information contain in the book, The Blue Island.

Reference: Pardoe Woodman & Estelle Stead. The Blue Island. London 1922.

Sensing Auras

Sensing Auras

Charles Leadbeater, a member of the Theosophical Society, was the first person to popularize the concept of auras. In his book, Man Visible and Invisible, published in 1903, he illustrated the human aura at various stages of spiritual evolution (one drawing at left). In 1910, he incorporated chakras into his book, The Inner Life, by combining old teachings with his own ideas. Leadbeater’s concepts were later adopted by others such as Rudolf Steiner and Edgar Cayce.

Spiritualists define the aura as a type of electromagnetic energy that radiates from all physical objects. Living beings manifest a personal energy field that reflects their own unique spiritual vibration. As a physical body and spirit change, so does the aura. Some people are born with the ability to see or sense auras without training. Others may learn to develop the ability. It is through clairvoyance that a medium attunes to the spiritual vibrations of others.

Clairsentience can be used to sense a person’s aura either in the physical plane or Spirit World. It may be on an emotional level, where one is determining their state of feeling. Are they happy or sad, or sensitive or aloof? Their mental energy can also be determined. This is the way their physical mind works. Are they intelligent or easily confused, or paranoid or trusting? The condition of the physical body can be determined as well. A healthy body will radiate a completely different energy when it is sick. A well-trained medium will be able to detect subtle changes in the physical body that are not typically noticeable.

Since the aura is a type of energy, specific vibrations are sensed as colors by the human mind. One does not have to see the color, or even have working vision, to perceive the vibrations of the aura. Different colors may have different meanings, but there are basic guidelines one can follow:

RED: Passion or anger, energy and self-confidence, materialism.

ORANGE: Pride, the need for excitement, personal power and control.

YELLOW: Bright and cheery, intellectual and creative, sense of humor.

GREEN: Competitive and individualistic, processes ideas and information quickly, natural healers.

BLUE: Loving and nurturing, balanced, inspirational, noble, intuitive.

PURPLE: Wise, self-mastery, highly evolved and intuitive.

Other colors include pink (loving and gentle), white (pure and spiritual), and gray (dark thoughts).

There are many exercises you can try to develop your ability to sense auras. I’ll describe one you can do at home. Position yourself a few feet away from something that is dark in color, like a curtain or piece of furniture. Hold your hands up, palms facing you, fingers slightly apart. Stare at your hands, letting your eyes go unfocused. After a while, you’ll see a subtle glow around your hands. Once you see that, keep working. You will next see energy radiating from the fingertips. It will flow like wisps of smoke connecting the fingers of one hand to the fingers of the other. That is your aura.

 Once you identify your own aura, you can try your ability on others, with their permission of course. It will take time and patience to develop your skills. Keep in mind the colors listed above while practicing. Once a person is adept at sensing the auras of physical persons, the same technique can be used to identify spirit auras. Colors will enable you to describe the spirit in more detail when conducting readings for a client.