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SPIRITUALISM and Spiritism

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Bianca
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« Reply #75 on: March 14, 2008, 11:17:54 am »









Even if she had been found guilt under this charge the maximum fine at that time would have been some five shillings ($1) and she would have been released. But, very oddly Helen was refused bail.

Instead she was sent to London and forced to spend four days in the notorious women's prison called Holloway. It was this same Victorian goal where suffragettes had been forced fed by prison warders and where the grisly gallows waited for all female murderers, spies and traitors. Meanwhile an anxious establishment debated the best charge to lay against this dangerous war criminal Helen Duncan.

One her first appearance before the Portsmouth magistrates she had been charged under the catchall act of Vagrancy. This was later amended to one of Conspiracy, which, in wartime Britain, carried the ultimate sentence of death, by hanging. But by the time the case had been referred to England's central criminal court - know as the Old Bailey - the charge had been changed yet again. This time to one of witchcraft and an old Act of 1735 had been dredged out of the dusty law libraries. Under this ancient rune Helen Duncan and her innocent sitters were accused of pretending 'to exercise or use human conjuration that through the agency of Helen Duncan spirits of deceased dead persons should appear to be present'.
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« Reply #76 on: March 14, 2008, 11:21:48 am »









But, lest this single charge may falter, the authorities scoured their dusty law precedents for further charges and they found them. One such was the Larceny Act, which accused her of taking money ' by falsely pretending she was in a position to bring about the appearances of these spirits of deceased persons'.

The prosecution was determined to prove Helen Duncan was a fraud. Her trial took place barely a few months before the famous D-Day landings and lasted for seven gruelling days. Spiritualists everywhere were up in arms that one of their most treasured and gifted demonstrators should be treated in such a tawdry manner. A defence fund was quickly raised. It was used to bring witnesses from all over the world to testify to her genuine gifts. Because of this her case rapidly became a cause celebre which attracted daily headlines in tabloid and broad sheets alike.
   
  One telling development that this was no ordinary case was that in a rare example of cross border co-operation both the Law Societies (senior legal bar councils) of England and Scotland jointly and simultaneously declared this case to be a travesty of justice. As a debunking exercise the case failed miserably. Sceptics must have winced at the daily reporting of case after case where 'dead' relatives had materialised and given absolute proof of their continued existence. One Kathleen McNeill, wife of a Glaswegian forgemaster, told how she has attended such a seance at which her sister appeared. Her sister had died some a few hours previously, after an operation, and news of her death could not have been known. Yet Albert, Helen Duncan's guide, announced that she had just passed over. And, at a subsequent seance, some years later Mrs McNeill's father strode out of the cabinet and came within six feet of her to better display his single eye, a hallmark of his earthly life.
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« Reply #77 on: March 14, 2008, 11:22:59 am »









By the penultimate day of this ridiculous trial the defence was ready to call their star witness Alfred Dodd, an academic and much respected author of works on Shakespeare's sonnets. Alfred told the court that during 1932 and 1940 he had been a regular guest at Helen Duncan's home seances. At one of these sittings his grandfather had materialised, a tall, corpulent man with a bronzed face and smoking cap, hair dressed in his customary donkey-fringe. After speaking with his grandson the spirit then turned to his friend Tom and said, "Look into my face and into my eyes. Ask Alfred to show you my portrait. It is the same man".

Two equally respected journalists, James Herries and Hannen Swaffer then took their places in the Old Bailey witness box - a place where for hundreds of years many a murderer has given evidence and many a witness has pointed an accusing finger. The chain smoking Swaffer, who had already won acclaim as the acerbic un-crowned father of Fleet Street (home of England's newspaper quarter) and co-founder of the Spiritualist weekly "Psychic News", told the court that anyone who described ectoplasm as butter Muslim " would be a child. Under a red light in a seance room it would look yellow or pink whilst these spirit forms all displayed a white appearance".

James Herries himself, a Justice of the Peace and much respected psychic investigator of some 20 years standing and the chief reporter of the prestigious and influential "Scotsman" broad sheet, affirmed that he had seen Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, famed author of the Sherlock Holmes books, himself to materialise at one of Helen Duncan's seances. He had especially noted the distinctive Doyle rounded features, moustache and equally unmistakable gravely voice.
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« Reply #78 on: March 14, 2008, 11:23:59 am »









But, wisely or otherwise, the defence had decided that the best test of Helen Duncan's genuine gifts were for her to give a demonstration of physical phenomena whilst in trance from the very witness box of England's Central Criminal Courts. This suggestion really did cause a frightened flurry in the ivory dovecotes of the establishment. If she pulled it off, they debated, then instead of the censure they sought her cause would be spread throughout the land and even beyond. And this would mean that the famed British legal system adopted by so many former colonies - including America - would be held to total ridicule.
   
  Hurried conferences with the best legal minds were held throughout the night. Their solution was to reject this offer and suggest instead that Mrs Duncan be called as a witness - thus giving the prosecution an opportunity to cross examine this ordinary Scottish housewife and, in doing so, attempt to destroy her credibility. But Helen's defence lawyers saw through this ploy. They pointed out that Mrs Duncan could not testify since she was in a trance state during these seances and could not, therefore, discuss what had transpired.
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« Reply #79 on: March 14, 2008, 11:27:53 am »









The jury only took half an hour to reach their verdict; Helen and her co-defendants were found Guilty of conspiracy to contravene that ancient 1735 Witchcraft Act but Not Guilty on all other charges. Portsmouth's chief of police then described this new 'criminal's' background. Mrs Duncan was married to a cabinetmaker and had a family of six children ranging from 18-26 and she had been visiting Portsmouth for some five years. He then described her as " an unmitigated humbug and pest" and revealed that in 1941 she had been reported for announcing the loss of one of His Majesty's ships before the fact had been publicly known. The presiding judge announced a weekend's delay whilst he considered sentence. Helen herself left the dock weeping in her broad Scottish dialect, "I never hee'd so mony lies in a' my life".

The following Monday morning the judge declared that the verdict had not been concerned with whether ' genuine manifestations of the kind are possible . . .this court has nothing whatever to do with such abstract questions'. However he interpreted the jury's findings to mean that Helen Duncan had been involved in plain dishonesty and for this reason he therefore sentenced her to nine months imprisonment.

The shocked Spiritualist movement immediately demanded a change in the law. They felt that she had been prosecuted to stop any leakage of classified wartime information. As one of many, many, examples during 1943 and once more in that ungrateful city of Portsmouth Helen Duncan had given a seance during which a sailor materialised reporting that he had gone down with His Majesty's Ship "Barham" whose loss was not officially announced until three months later.
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« Reply #80 on: March 14, 2008, 11:29:36 am »









But, the defence right of appeal to the House of Lords, Britain's highest court of appeal, was denied. The establishment had achieved its objective and certainly did not want one single inch of further publicity. Helen was sent back to London's Holloway prison, that Victorian monstrosity for female prisoners still being used today. It was not only the best legal minds in the country that felt this case had been a major miscarriage of justice. So too did her prison warders. They refused to 'bang her up'. For the entire nine months of her unjust incarceration Helen Duncan's prison cell door was never once locked! What's more she continued to apply her psychic gifts, as a constant steam of warders and inmates alike found their way to her cell for spiritual upliftment and guidance.

And many senior Spiritualists who were close to Helen report that it was not only prisoners and staff who made pilgrimage to the dreaded Holloway Goal. So too did some of her other more notable sitters, including Britain's Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill himself.

Churchill was no stranger to psychic phenomena. Recalling the events of the Boer War, when he had been captured, then later escaping and seeking sanctuary. He explained in his autobiography how he was " guided by some form of mental planchette (a Spiritualist tool) to the only house in a 30 mile radius that was sympathetic to the British cause". Had he knocked on the back door of any other house he would have been arrested and returned to the Boer commanders to be shot as an escaping prisoner of war. Many years prior to this he had been ordained into the Grand Ancient Order of Druids. And throughout his life he experienced many times when his psychic sixth sense saved his life.
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« Reply #81 on: March 14, 2008, 11:31:16 am »









Churchill was exceeding angry indeed when the Helen Duncan case began. He penned an irate ministerial note to the Home Secretary, " Give me a report of the 1735 Witchcraft Act. What was the cost of a trial to the State in which the Recorder (junior magistrate) was kept busy with all this obsolete tomfoolery to the detriment of the necessary work in the courts?" But his civil servants were over-ridden by the all -powerful intelligence community. D-Day was coming and their levels of paranoia had reached an all time high and even a Prime Minister's anger was to be set aside. Helen Duncan, mother of nine and part time bleach factory employee was considered a risk and they wanted her out of the way when the Allies struck. Her case was a transparent conspiracy to frame her ' in the interests of national security'

Meanwhile, having served her full sentence, Helen Duncan was released on 22 September 1944, vowing never to give another seance. Despite her declaration with in a few months she felt that strong call from the Spirit World to continue her work and was soon spending more time than ever in trance state. Perhaps too much so, for the quality of her seances since imprisonment appeared to have had deteriorated even to the point where Spiritualism's governing National Union actually withdrew her diploma at one stage. Helen's Spiritualist friends say that during his visits to her cell Prime Minister Churchill made promises of making amends to Helen.

True or speculative it is a fact that in 1951 the damning 1735 Witchcraft Act, which had been used
to imprison Helen, was finally repealed. In its place came the Fraudulent Mediums Act and some four years later in 1954 Spiritualism was officially recognised as a proper religion by formal Act of Parliament. And Spiritualists everywhere knew why and they rejoiced that whilst frauds would be properly prosecuted the authorities, especially the police, would stop harassing true working Mediums.
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« Reply #82 on: March 14, 2008, 11:33:24 am »








They were wrong. In November 1956 police raided a seance in the Midlands City of Nottingham. They grabbed the presiding medium, strip searched her and took endless flashlight photographs. They shouted at her that they were looking for beards, masks and shrouds. But they found nothing. The medium was Helen Duncan and in their ignorance the police had committed the worst possible sin of physical phenomena, that a medium in trance must NEVER, ever be touched. As the Spirit World's teachers have patiently explained so many times when this happens the ectoplasm returns to the medium's body far too quickly and can cause immense - sometimes even fatal - damage.

And so it was in this case. A doctor was summonsed and discovered two second degree burns across Helen's stomach. She was so ill that she was immediately taken back to her Scottish home and later rushed to hospital.

Five weeks after that police raid she was dead.



   
My thanks goes to Michael Colmer (Author) for his kind permission to use  his article on the life of Helen Duncan spiritualist and medium.


http://www.clan-duncan.co.uk/hduncan.html
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« Reply #83 on: March 14, 2008, 11:48:45 am »









.....There are two common misconceptions about Duncan's conviction. The first is that she was the last person in Britain to be convicted of being a witch. In fact, the Witchcraft Act was originally formulated to eradicate the belief in witches and its introduction meant that from 1735 onwards an individual could no longer be tried as a witch in England or Scotland. However, they could be fined or imprisoned for purporting to have the powers of a witch.

The second misconception is that she was the last person to be convicted under the Witchcraft Act. Again this is incorrect. Records show that the last person to be convicted under the Witchcraft Act was Jane Rebecca Yorke in late 1944. Due to her age (she was in her seventies) she received a comparatively lenient sentence and was fined.

Additionally, it has often been suggested that the reason for Duncan's imprisonment was the authorities' fear that details of the imminent D-Day landings might be revealed, and given the revelation about the Barham it is clear to see why the medium might be considered a potential risk.

Nonetheless, then prime minister Winston Churchill wrote to the home secretary branding the charge 'obsolete tomfoolery'.

Helen Duncan was released from prison on the 22 September 1944 and seems to have avoided further trouble until November 1956, when the police raided a private séance in Nottingham on suspicion of fraudulent activity. No charges were brought and shortly afterwards, on 6 December in the same year, the woman who is sometimes remembered as the 'last witch' died.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/scottishhistory/modern/oddities_modern.shtml
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« Reply #84 on: March 14, 2008, 11:52:42 am »








HELEN DUNCAN
Born 25th November 1897
Passed to spirit 6th December 1956
Medium Martyr   

  Navigation 

Home
Contacts
 Helen's Story 

About Helen Duncan
The Second World War
Witchcraft Trial
Imprisonment
Winston Churchill
Helen passes to spirit
 The Campaign 

Pardon Denied!
 Articles 

Winston Churchill
In America

 Winston Churchill was a client and supporter of Helen Duncan Welcome to the official pardon site for Helen Duncan
 

This website tells the true story of a Scottish housewife who found herself in the centre of a WWII legal battle which ended with her brutal conviction of a 'crime' under Britain's ancient Witchcraft Act and jailed for nine months simply for falling asleep on request.

 

Her name was Helen Duncan and in every respect but one she was just a normal housewife and mother of six. That single aspect that made her different from others and was destined to make her the confidante of wartime premier Winston Churchill and his colleagues, is that she had the astonishing ability to bring the dead to life.

 

Mrs. Duncan was a Spiritualist Materialisation Medium through whose ample body, milky ectoplasm flowed and formed into complete human figures, which could walk and talk and greet their living relatives with intimate secrets known only within their families.

 

This is the true story of a woman sent to prison accused of being a witch when she was a well-known and proven psychic. During WWII Helen's accurate 'death notices' were verified countless times. When she materialized the full form of a sailor with the name H.M.S. BARHAM on his cap, a ship which the English government denied had been sunk; she was arrested and jailed as a spy and then a witch. Even after she was proven correct, she was held as a witch. Her story is still unfolding today and is documented here.

 

This website is the OFFICIAL source for news of the latest developments in securing Helen's Pardon. Over the last decade over 45 million surfers have visited here with millions more learning of her gifts and persecution via other supporting sites.

Updates will be posted here as they break.

 

The Message Continues..

The message continues with Helen still offering proof of life after death. Since this campaign began, this web site has reached over 52 MILLION people. Now, in "death" Helen still carries her message each month to new seekers of truth. Clearly she now reaches more people in a single month via the web than she did in her private sittings.

 

Helen is often remembered as the victim of the "last witch trial" or as a martyr for Spiritualism, but the simple truth is: she is a beacon of light, letting her honour and leadership shine through the fog of doubts and fear.

 

Thanks Helen, for letting us be a small part of keeping your message going.


http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/helenduncan/
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« Reply #85 on: March 14, 2008, 11:58:48 am »











Latest legal moves to secure Helen's Pardon

by Graham Hewitt, Legal Adviser..

NEW LEGAL MOVES to clear the name of Spiritualism's materialisation heroine Helen Duncan are announced to mark the 50th anniversary of her premature promotion to the next world on 6th December 1956, shortly after yet another mischievous police raid.

I can now report that earlier this year I submitted 500 pages of legal arguments to the Criminal Cases Review Commission on behalf of her eldest surviving grandson and his family.

The CCRC replied stating that they did not consider her case to be "in the public interest", declined to consider the application and returned my submission unread.

This curious response has baffled both campaigners and the 40 million global internet surfers - the equivalent of two thirds Britain's total population - who have now logged on to this website over the past decade.

Following advice from prominent Members of Parliament, including Lord Ancram and Michael Howard QC, the Minister who introduced the Commission who explained that cases like Mrs. Duncan's were ‘the very reason that the CCRC was set up’, I sought expert advice from counsel.

We have now secured the invaluable help of the prominent expert barrister, Mr Timothy Barnes QC from the leading London Chambers of Bedford Row.

Mr Barnes has an impressive track record. He is ranked as a leading silk in Fraud in the legal Directories. He has expertise in handling submissions to such technical legal subjects with the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

After reading our detailed submission Mr Barnes has commented; “To state that defence counsel was clearly erroneous in the way that he presented the defence is overgenerous". He adds the flaws in the defence by Counsel showed a level of professional incompetence, most probably caused by Mr Loseby not being a practicing Criminal Barrister.

As a direct result of his advice, we can now submit that Mrs. Duncan’s defence barrister, Charles Loseby, failed to present Mrs. Duncan to give evidence. In the subsequent appeal, he also submitted that the Judge had allowed the prosecution to bring forward her previous conviction. The details of that were given to the jury of her prosecution in the Edinburgh Sheriffs Court when she was found guilty, according to the prosecution, of fraudulent mediumship and affray and find the sum of £10. If he had investigated to that previous conviction, he would have clearly found that she was found £10 for the affray but the case of fraudulent mediumship was "not proven".

Regrettably Mr Loseby being a civil barrister and noted constitutional lawyer, appears not to have known the correct criminal procedure. Neither had he prepared himself adequately in Criminal procedure for this case. But he was no match to the two Prosecution barristers, who were well versed in Criminal law and procedure.

There is no doubt that Mr Loseby had a knowledge of Spiritualism since he had represented the Spiritualist National Union and other Spiritualist organisations in his submission to the Home Office in 1943, to change the law in respect of the Vagrancy Act and Witchcraft Act. Unfortunately, because of the limit on Parliamentary time, the Home Secretary did not have time to put these amendments into law.

However, it is seen from correspondence passing between the Home Secretary and Chief Constables that there was a direction not to prosecute Spiritualist Mediums when they were acting in scientific discovery and sciences.

There is no doubt that Mrs. Duncan was somewhat of an embarrassment to the authorities. In particular, her guide, Albert, in a séance in Edinburgh announced that HMS Hood had been sunk earlier that day in the North Atlantic. The time of this séance was 3:30 pm.

Brigadier Firebrace, a very enthusiastic believer in Spiritualism, who was the Chief of Security at the time in Scotland, attended that séance. He returned to his office and telephoned the Admiralty to see whether, as he called it, the rumour of the sinking was true. At that time it was denied.

By 9:30 p.m., as he was leaving the office, a telephone call was received from the Admiralty confirming the sinking at 1:30 p.m.

The evidence given by Mrs. Duncan's guide was accurate. However, the authorities were clearly worried that this information coming from a third party rather than Central Government could undermine public morale. Particularly, when this country was secretly preparing allied troops for the D-Day landings.

Within six months, a young man materialised in the séance who had been severely burnt and died in the sinking of HMS Barham. The editor of “Psychic News”, Maurice Barbanell, attended this séance. He returned to make a telephone call to the Admiralty and Home Office, asking why this information had not been divulged to the parents and families of those who had perished. Again, the reason was given that it would have had a serious impact on public morale.

With Helen's name reoccurring, the authorities felt they had a cause for concern. And they acted with a very heavy hand.

The conclusion can only be that Helen Duncan was NOT convicted of being a Fraud instead she was imprisoned because her sources told The Truth. And the Government of the day wanted her out of the way !


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DATA OBTAINED FROM THE HELEN DUNCAN WEBSITE AT http://www.helenduncan.org.uk

Copyright © 1997,1998,1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
Contact Campaign Co-ordinator for permission to reproduce content;
michael.devizes@zetnet.co.uk
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Bianca
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« Reply #86 on: February 28, 2009, 06:28:41 am »
















                                      T H E   L A S T   W I T C H





Some fifty years after her death, the family and devotees of  disgraced
and convicted Spiritualist Medium Helen Duncan are seeking a posthumous pardon.

Duncan has the dubious distinction of being the last person to be convicted under
England's infamous WITCHCRAFT ACT, because one of
her revelations was true.

Helen was a Scottish matron, the sole provider with six children and a
devout Spiritualist.  She worked at a factory by day and conducted
seances in her spare time.  She proved a popular and talented Spirit
Medium and her services became sought after, especially during the
War (WWII), when she was in great demand by the families of lost sol-
diers.

Eventually, however, Helen's "sittings" drew the attention of the autho-
rities who, ironically, were convinced that her act was "make-believe",
designed to fleece desperate families.  They began to attend Helen's
meetings in secret, in hopes of catching her in some dishonest act.

Unfortunately, under watch, Helen "brought about" a deceased sailor,
of the HMS BARNHAM, the loss of which had been deliberately conceal-
ed by the British Government.  (It would not be revealed to have been
sunk 'til several months later.)

Duncan's accurate description of the Barnham and the names of its
sailors did nothing to increase her standing to those who believed her
fraudelent.  When they moved to arrest her, she was charged with con-
spiracy - spying.  This charge would mean death by hanging, upon
conviction.

Fortunately, the Crown could not make the espionage charge stick, but
they were not content to let the matter drop, most ironically because
they feared she would reveal D-DAY.

Helen was instead charged with the WITCHCRAFT ACT, which was still
in force. 

Numerous prominent citizens testified in her behalf and even Winston
Churchill railed about the ridiculousness of the charge.

She was convicted, jailed for nine months, and ordered never to perform
another seance.



CHURCHILL WENT ON TO PERSONALLY SEE THE OVERTURNING OF THE
WITCHCRAFT ACT IN 1951.



www.altreligion.about.com/6/w/257364.htm
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« Reply #87 on: February 28, 2009, 06:31:15 am »










                                         Mediums see big trouble over new laws





By Peter Griffiths
April 17, 2008

LONDON (Reuters) - Mediums and spiritual healers marched on the home of the British prime minister at Downing Street on Friday to protest against new laws they fear will lead to them being "persecuted and prosecuted."
 
Organizers say that replacing the Fraudulent Mediums Act of 1951 with new consumer protection rules will remove key legal protection for "genuine" mediums.

They think skeptics might bring malicious prosecutions to force Spiritualists to prove in court that they can heal people, see into the future or talk to the dead.

Psychics also fear they will have to give disclaimers describing their services as entertainment or as scientific experiments with unpredictable results.

"If I'm giving a healing to someone, I don't want to have to stand there and say I don't believe in what I'm doing," said Carole McEntee-Taylor, a healer who co-founded the Spiritual Workers Association.

The group delivered a petition with 5,000 names to the prime minister's office, although Gordon Brown is away in the United States.

With the changes expected to come into force next month, Spiritualists have faced a barrage of headlines gleefully suggesting that they should have seen it coming.

But many don't see the funny side. They say the new rules will shift the responsibility of proving they are not frauds from prosecutors and onto them.

"By repealing the Act, the onus will go round the other way and we will have to prove we are genuine," McEntee-Taylor told Reuters. "No other religion has to do that."

The government said the new regulations form part of a European Union directive that is meant to harmonize unfair trading laws across the EU. It will introduce a ban on traders "treating consumers unfairly."

The British Humanist Association, a charity which campaigns against religion and supernatural beliefs, said stricter regulations were overdue because the current laws don't work.

"It is misleading for Spiritualists to claim that, as religious' practitioners they should not be regulated under consumer laws," said Chief Executive Hanne Stinson.

"The psychic industry is huge and lucrative and it exploits some very vulnerable, and some very gullible, people with claims for which there is no scientific evidence."



(Editing by Steve Addison and Paul Casciato
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« Reply #88 on: May 11, 2009, 09:52:55 am »









                                                Amazing Messages from Beyond



                                           Compelling evidence for life after death






By Stephen Wagner,
About.com

 SOME OF THE most compelling anecdotal evidence for life after death comes in the form of messages

from deceased loved ones. Sometimes these messages are relayed by full-blown apparitions, while other

 times they come as voices, unseen hands and even written notes. Messages from the “other side” are

 most often words of comfort for the living, that they are okay and are still watching out for us.



In the most interesting cases, however, those who have passed on communicate messages that are

not only highly personal, but are of particular significance, important – even life saving. Here are some

of those stories.
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« Reply #89 on: May 11, 2009, 09:55:00 am »









Grandfather's Gift



April had always been very close to her great-grandfather, who was a highly-respected baker and decorator of wedding cakes.

When he died, April was heart-broken. “I barely spoke or interacted with anybody,” she says.

A few weeks later, she was awakened from a sound sleep. She noticed something out of the corner of her eye. “I turned to look at the hall leading to my room. There was my great-grandfather standing there with another being. My great-grandfather just looked at me, raised his hand and lowered it back to his side slowly while saying, ‘Everything will be okay. I'll always be with you.’” April was told to lie down and go back to sleep.

But her great-grandfather left April with an incredible gift. “Ever since then, I have been able to decorate and make any type of dessert – exactly the way he did. Before that, I had never even tried to ice a cake.”
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