They Walked Among Us
by Louie Harris
the whole book online
Eventually, it was the turn of one of the substitute sitters
to be greeted. As Rohan (the materialised spirit) was about
to take his hands in welcome, the man sprang forward and grabbed
Throwing his arms around the spirit figure, he held on to
him tightly, shouting, "I've got you!" The sitter
was obviously convinced he had captured the draped medium
in the act of duplicity, masquerading as a spirit form.
As Rohan's figure quickly dematerialised there was a loud
groan from Alec in the cabinet. Then carne a cry of pain as
the ectoplasm swiftly returned to his body with the impact
of a sledge-hammer.
The treacherous sitter fell dazed to the floor as the "solid"
body he had held so tightly minutes before disappeared. I
threw myself on him, desperately flailing with my hands, sobbing:
"Oh don't! You'll kill my husband! You fool, you'll kill
The man looked up at me, his eyes wide, terrified. The realisation
dawned on him it had not been the medium he had grasped, but
what it purported to be, a fully materialised spirit form.
Meanwhile the second impostor, taking advantage of the commotion
that ensued, rushed to the window and pulled aside the closed
curtains, having previously tampered with them during the
"meditation" session earlier. This revealed his
confederates outside the window. They had a battery of cameras
focused on the seance room, on the cabinet in particular.
Lenses immediately clicked furiously as flash bulbs exploded.
I glanced frantically in the cabinet's direction, and realised
with profound relief that our guides were doing all in their
power to protect their medium. They had swathed the curtains
around Alec, completely enveloping him so that he was immune
to the blinding flashes of light being so ruthlessly directed
I was utterly bewildered and sick with dread for Alec, knowing
what he must have suffered by the sudden impact of the returning
ectoplasm. It all happened so quickly everybody was stunned.
The two journalists were the first to recover. They made a
dash for the door in a bid to escape, but my niece Phyllis
and her husband, Trevor, followed close on their heels in
hot pursuit. One chose the kitchen exit. Trevor rescued him
from the clutches of the dog who added its services in intercepting
the fleeing man. The other ran wildly down the passage and
was cornered by a very irate Phyllis and several male sitters
in the lounge. This, to his chagrin, he found securely locked.
Escape was impossible. All arrogance deserted him. He cringed
"You tried to kill my uncle," Phyllis raged. "Why?
Did you think he was a fake?" When the man did not answer,
Phyllis went on angrily, "Now you know he isn't."
In disgust she told him to leave and take his friend with
him. Two very frightened men, sobered by what they had seen,
ran off into the night to join their confederates in a waiting
car parked some distance down the street.
When Alec came out of trance he was patently very ill. He
had a severe pain which persisted for some weeks in his solar
plexus. A doctor was called. He treated Alec weekly for many
months. Rohan, too, suffered adverse effects and needed, we
were told by the scientist, a period of recuperation.
There was a sequel to this unhappy encounter. A short time
after the "exposure", Alec and I were sitting in
conversation with a doctor friend when my husband stopped
speaking in mid sentence and was entranced. Alec's eyes closed,
his face became relaxed. A soft baritone voice announced,
"I have come to tell you," he said, "that greater
care must be taken of the medium. If there should be a repetition
of the accident which took place a few weeks ago we will not
be able to protect the medium as we then did. It was fortunate
it was I who was materialised at the time. I knew what to
do and was able to take the full shock of the encounter. By
the time it reached the medium it was less severe. But I doubt
that I shall be able to do this again. Take care!" I
thanked Rohan and promised it would never occur again if it
was humanly possible to avoid such a catastrophe. I then raised
a point which had been worrying me.
"Rohan, what about all those photographs they took and
are going to publish?" I asked.
"Do not worry about that," he said. "We have
made certain all the films will be blank."
So it turned out to be. The magazine had promised readers
in a previous issue it would give full photo coverage to the
"exposure" of Alec's mediumship. These pictures
never appeared. Obviously there were no photographs to print.
When Vidie heard how the exchange of seats had been engineered
she was very upset and reacted in her typical outspoken manner.
She wrote a letter to the man who had originally secured the
two seats. "Herewith your 30 pieces of silver!"
were among her words. The Biblical inference was appropriate
and, she hoped, humiliating to the perpetrator of such shameful
I noticed a great change in Alec after the exposure attempt.
His health was not as robust as before. Something seemed to
have gone out of him. He slowed down considerably. Alec had
always been such an energetic person, constantly looking for
things to do about the home. Now everything seemed to be an
Vidie thought a trip to Britain might help Alec, and restore
his zest for living. In May 1962 we accompanied her to the
United Kingdom. Alec did not look at all well. I decided that
as soon as we reached Cardiff he should see our doctor and
have a check-up.
We visited Peggy, our dear pianist friend of yore, and spent
happy hours chatting of the old days.
After we left her, and were on our way to visit Alec's brother
I noticed that Alec's driving was very erratic. He seemed
to have difficulty keeping the car on a straight course. Alec
managed to negotiate the vehicle through Cardiff's busy streets
without mishap. We were driving slowly along a quiet road
where his brother lived when the car suddenly swerved violently
and landed on the pavement, where it came to a halt. Alec
was slumped in his seat looking very strange.
"I can't feel anything down my right side," he gasped.
"My right leg and arm are numb." His speech was
Fortunately my brother-in-law, anticipating our arrival, was
waiting by his gate. He saw the mishap take place and quickly
ran to give assistance. Moving Alec into the passenger seat,
he got behind the wheel and took us to his house. He then
drove us back to an aunt's home. Alec refused to allow a doctor
to be called. He did not wish to disturb the household. By
then, it was midnight.
The doctor came early next morning and told me he would get
my husband to hospital at once. As we were in Cardiff where
all our old healing circle members lived, I felt Alec would
be better at home receiving treatment from them. The doctor
reluctantly agreed, provided Alec was watched very carefully.
Alec was sedated for five days. When the doctor made another
examination he was very surprised at the improvement in my
husband's condition. But Alec continued to make good progress.
We remained in Cardiff for a further four weeks. Vidie came
down to drive us back to London.
The sea air and plenty of rest on our return trip did Alec
a lot of good. He seemed very much better. When we arrived
in Durban to stay with our children they were dismayed at
the change in their father.
It took two years before he was anything like his old self
Once home, we gave
occasional circles, but only for immediate friends, not the
public. Alec's confidence in sitters had been sadly shaken.
He could never again be completely relaxed and at ease as
in the days before the seance room betrayal. His health was
not as good as previously. Spirit friends had difficulty in
When we first sat nothing happened, but we were asked to be
patient as there would have to be a period of redevelopment.
There did not seem to be enough power for materialisations
to form completely, or as strongly, as before. Sometimes they
could not build to their proper height. On other occasions
only portions of their figures took shape, perhaps an arm,
leg or face, unrecognisable in incompleteness. When a form
did build fully there would be a long wait until the next
materialisation. Before the incident, when one spirit form
returned to the cabinet another would step out almost immediately.
the whole book online