Bishop Beals born in 1832 in Versailles, New York to Amplius and Olive Beals. His father was a physician, and he and his family were members of the Universalist church. In 1856, when living in New York City, Beals joined the congregation of Rev. E. H. Chapin and he became interested in Spiritualism. He attended a demonstration by 14-year-old medium, Miss Libbie Lowe, and was struck with wonder. He said that she woke the latent power of mediumship within him.
Beals served in the New York Infantry during the Civil War and was discharged due to a disability in 1861. It wasn’t until after the death of his mother in 1865, that he began a career as a public teacher and speaker. He worked as a trance speaker, poet, singer and musician.
In an interview for the Carrier Dove, vol. 3 no. 10 October 1886, Beals stated, “I do not recollect a time that I was not visited with strange, prophetic dreams and trance-like visions. I have always been conscious of the nearness of the spiritual world. I was, even in childhood, a worshipper at the shrine of nature, and later in life I found her sweet influences far more in harmony with my religious aspirations than were the religious doctrines of popular churches.”
Mrs. C. H. Decker Buchanan said that Beals was sensitive and preferred to let “his works praise themselves. The circling waves of harmony surround his efforts; his resolves spring from the purest motives, and when understood must endear him to all who are associated with him socially.”
During the mid-1870s through the 1890s, Beals traveled through New York and New England, across the Midwest, including Kansas, Missouri and Illinois, and then went west to California, where he spoke in Santa Barbara, Stockton, and San Francisco. His lectures included: “The World’s True Redeemer,” “The Evolution of Thought,” “New Dispensation,” and “What is Truth?” His lectures were often accompanied by music, song and his own poetry.
Beals moved to Oakland, California in the 1880s and married late in life to Eliza Cone in 1895. The Waterloo Press, 7 March 1895, described him as one of many curious people. “…this professor, who is of ordinary stature with long (will-be-silver) locks of hair swinging to and fro about his head attracting the attention of everybody, made his appearance in this city last week.” It continued, “He compared men of today with those of from one hundred to five hundred years ago and said that men are now governed by laws of mercy.”
Beals returned to his home state of New York and died in 1909 while living in the Lily Dale area.
Helen (Nellie) Temple was born in 1843 in Manchester, Vermont, the fourth child of Jabez and Mary Temple. Her first spiritual demonstration was held in Glens Falls, New York in the old Universalists church when she was 14 years old. By the age of 16, she was listed in the census as a Spiritual Medium living with her parents in Whittingham, Vermont. The family moved to Colrain, Massachusetts and she began her public speaking career at the age of 18.
Helen was a well-known by 1861 and was listed in many Spiritualist publications. She married farmer, Luther A. Brigham in 1865 and had a son a year later, but that did not slow her down. She continued with her public speaking, appearing in various places during the 1870s-1890s in New England and New York.
Helen’s husband died in August of 1895 at the age of 60. Helen continued with her public speaking. In 1896, she was a guest at the Psychical Hall, reciting impromptu poems chosen by the audience. According to the Post Star, Glens Falls, NY, “The public are respectfully invited to witness these wonderful phenomena of the voicings of the angel world.”
Helen moved to New York City where she lodged with Belle V. Cushman, president of the Spiritual and Ethical Society of New York. In 1896, they sailed from New York to England and traveled around Europe for 6 months. She became friends with Sir Oliver Lodge and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
In 1897, Helen continued with her impromptu public poetry, composing works such as “No Night There,” “The Choir in Our Village,” “Lake George,” and “How It Ended.” In 1899 at Glens Falls, she spoke on a variety of subjects, including “Why Does God Allow Evil to Predominate in the World?” and What is Heaven Like?” Her poems included: “Fall Blossoms,” “Spirit Guidance,” and “Father, Brother and Sisters in the Spirit Land”
Helen’s appearances continued through the early 1900s. In 1901, she was a speaker at Queen City Park Spiritualists Camp in Burlington, Vermont. In 1902 she traveled to Australia and New Zealand. The Topeka Daily Capital, 1909 3 October, reported on the Convention of the Society for Scientific Revelation at the Temple of Health in Kansas City, Missouri. They wrote, “Another lecturer and teacher, whose beautiful lessons have been given in all parts of the world, Mrs. Helen Temple Brigham, of New York City, will also be present. Mrs. Brigham has just returned from a lecturing tour through Europe and Australia. She has been pastor of one church or society in New York City for more than 40 years. Her lectures are uplifting and filled with words of wisdom which brings her close to the heart of her audience the very moment she begins to talk. God has gifted but a few with such powers of description and inspiration, as is possessed by Mrs. Helen Temple Brigham.”
Helen passed on to the spirit world in 1923. The North Adams Transcript, 17 February 1923, wrote, “Mrs. Brigham was always ready to give her hometown the best of her ability and had preached from every pulpit in the town, lectured for the benefit of various organizations and the hospitality of her home was famous. A woman of charming personality, Christian character and beloved by all who knew her, she was for fifty years the pastor of the Spiritual and Ethical society in New York. During this time, she spent most of her summers at her home here. Mrs. Brigham had traveled extensively from Canada to Mexico and in foreign countries. She had lectured in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.”
The other day I was watching the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, during which an angel helps a distraught businessman by showing him what life would be like if he never existed. I assume most people identify with Jimmy Stewart’s character, George Bailey. But the character I love the most is Bailey’s guardian angel, Clarence, played by Henry Travers.
Most people probably imagine guardian angels as perfect beings with flawless dispositions clad in white robes, halos and wings. Clarence is a kindly, unassuming soul. After he saves George from an intended suicide, we find that he is not a perfect being. He has come to earth to earn his wings. To do that he must help George.
It’s been said that angels are the most under-employed souls because people here on this earthly plane never ask for their help. It is no coincidence that Spiritualists believe in the Ministry of Angels. We believe that angels never existed on Earth in physical form but are immortal beings who take on the role of God’s divine helpers. It is through them that He makes known His purpose and will. Angels serve God and act on His authority for the good of His other creations. Their role is to show us our spiritual path. They awaken an awareness of God’s plan within us.
Most of us are familiar with the notion of guardian angels. These are angels who take on the special responsibility of helping us discover our true purpose here on Earth. Guardian angels come close to us when we are in trouble or need. They assist us by offering protection and support, and easing our fears in times of distress. “They bring the light of eternal truth for our upliftment and they rejoice when we are happy and fulfilled,” Carol Austin wrote.
We can ask angels for help, but it must be understood, that they will not interfere with our responsibility to conduct our lives in accordance with our own conscience. That responsibility is ours alone to bear. “We know that with the guidance of compassionate spiritual and angelic beings we shall move towards fulfilment of the purpose for which our earthly lives were intended,” Austin wrote.
I love our Christmas Eve service at the Spiritual Path Church, because every year we meditate to open ourselves to the angels. This is something many people have never done before and our service is open to the community. The practice helps people who attend become aware of their guardian angels.
“It was a time of my life when I needed to feel more grounded in my spiritual practice and I ‘happened’ to see an angel meditation being offered at a local church,” Ruth Kovac says. “My friend and I went, and I found it a peaceful place to be, and found a peaceful place inside myself. I am grateful for that and for the community that I found.”
“One present I give myself each Christmas Eve is attending a candlelight service called, Sitting in the Power of the Angels,” Gerri Heckler added. “Too much jingling, shopping and parties can easily pull me away from how I like to feel during this season. Soft candlelight and soothing music quiets my mind and connects me with God and His glorious angels who quickly restore my soul with joy, peace, hope and love–the perfect gifts to share with others.”
During the movie, it’s mentioned that every time you hear a bell ring an angel has gotten its wings. The Third Principle of Spiritualism maintains the human experience of linking with individual spirits and higher beings and affirms that we can both commune and communicate with them. It is my fervent wish and hope for everyone that you too will find your own Clarence this holiday season.
Joseph O. Barret was born in Canaan, Maine in 1823 to Joseph and Olive Barrett, one of their seven children. He was educated in botany and forestry but after experiencing visions he became interested in mesmerism and trances. He trained for the ministry in the Universalist Church, and at the same time continued to practice mediumship.
Joseph married Olive S. Moore in 1853 and the couple had four children while they moved from one location to the next, including Detroit, Michigan and Franklin Grove, Illinois. When Joseph admitted to a congregation in Illinois about his interest in Spiritualism, it caused an uproar in the church. He eventually lost his position with the church. The family moved again, settling in Wisconsin where he was a lecturer, writer, forestry expert, and editor of the Chicago newspaper, The Spiritual Republic. He wrote mainly about religion, but also about women’s rights and botany.
Joseph was listed in the Banner of Light as an active lecturer in the Spiritualist community in the late 1860s and 1870s. He was a contributor to theSpiritual Rostrum, a delegate to the American Association of Spiritualists at their 1873 Chicago meeting and was a speaker at the Michigan State Spiritualists Association in 1866.
Unfit to fight in the Civil War, he published the Eau Claire Free Press during that time. His other publications included, Spiritual Pilgrim: a Biography of J. M. Peebles, Looking Beyond: A Souvenir of Love to the Bereft of Every Home, and Social Freedom: Marriage as It Is, and as It Should Be. He also wrote a book about “Old Abe” the war eagle of the 8th Wisconsin Regiment. He edited hymnals of Spiritualist hymns and was involved with the American Spiritualist Publishing Co. as one of their editors.
In his book, Looking Beyond: A Souvenir of Love to the Bereft of Every Home, he wrote, “Herein you will find a ‘Sunny philosophy,’ ‘a balm for every wounded heart.’ Its sweet truths, and its consoling revelations from the ‘better land,’ will be needed by all. For we are all journeying thither and do ask for light to shine upon the way. Mine is humble,–but a single ray,– while the great sun of heavenly benediction remains unmeasured. I may show you, perhaps, where its founts of divine baptism are. ‘Come and see.’”
In 1881, he moved to Browns Valley, Minnesota and focused on his interest in forestry. In 1890, he was elected secretary of the State Forestry Association. His Annual Tree Planters’ Manual encourage tree culture throughout the prairie sections of the state. He was also sent by the World’s Fair commission to personally supervise the Minnesota State Forestry exhibit at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1892.
Joseph passed away peacefully February 8, 1898, in Browns Valley, Minnesota.
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.
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.