A Lawyer Presents the Case for the Afterlife


The Book 4th Edition

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11. Helen Duncan

“Facts often appear incredible only because we are ill informed and cease to appear marvelous when our knowledge is extended.”
Sir Francis Bacon

Helen Duncan was a most magnificent materialization medium from Scotland and one of the most important women in psychic history. Her story is given its own chapter in this book because:

• the British Government indirectly acknowledged her materialization as genuine — because of it she became a 'national security risk' in wartime Britain

• some forty-one witnesses with the highest credibility, including a Royal Air Force Wing Commander, stated in court on oath that Helen Duncan was a genuine materialization medium, explaining in detail their psychic experiences with her. Many senior barristers and Q.C’s when canvassed stated that this is ‘unique’

During World War II, in January 1944, the British Admiralty decided that it could not let Helen Duncan, a gifted medium, continue to materialize intelligences from the afterlife to reveal information which the Minister for Defense considered top secret. It was a most crucial time in World War Two, immediately before the landing at Normandy.

Throughout the war years Helen Duncan reunited many grieving relatives with servicemen who had died. At one such séance at Portsmouth in 1941 a sailor materialized and was reunited with his mother. He told the assembled sitters that his ship, HMS Barham, had recently been sunk. The editor of the Psychic News, Maurice Barbanell, innocently telephoned the British Admiralty to enquire whether this was true and if it was true why the Admiralty had not advised the sailor's mother about the loss of her son. The military intelligence was furious because for security reasons and for public morale, news of the sinking had been withheld and had been classified 'top secret'.

National Security thought that a medium of Helen Duncan's caliber could very easily get hold of the most secretly held information: where the Allies were going to land in Europe on D. Day. One can understand the concern of the Admiralty for secrecy of such an important event.

But one cannot understand the way the Admiralty dealt with a frail woman, who had six children and a disabled husband to support, by sending her to jail for nine months causing her family to be evicted from the family home. The way the Admiralty conspired to put her away was outrageous, immoral, unconscionable and violated every human and legal right of a human being who did nothing except help people communicate face to face with their loved ones who had 'died' and were living in the afterlife.

Helen Duncan was arrested in January 1944, charged initially with vagrancy and later with a trumped up charge of fraudulent mediumship and sentenced to nine months in jail. According to BBC Online (2001) she was visited in jail by Winston Churchill who, appalled at what had happened, promised to repeal the Witchcraft Act under which she had been charged. He did keep this promise and after the war Spiritualism was made a legal religion in the UK.

In a "Kangaroo Court", the accused is guilty before the trial begins. Inevitably there is no due process, no real defense, no fairness, no equity, and no justice. Procedurally, the testimony of witnesses for the accused will not be acceptable, and the accused is not given the right to defend herself. The prosecution becomes a lynch mob and the violation of natural justice is deliberate, blatant and executed with extreme prejudice. Of course, there will be no appeal.

That is exactly what happened to Helen Duncan:

• the informer who 'complained' to the police to prosecute Helen Duncan was identified as a naval officer employed by the Admiralty

• the police raided Helen Duncan at a séance she was giving whilst she was in trance hoping to find white sheets, fake beards and other crude paraphernalia for impersonating spirits. They found nothing. There was absolutely NO evidence that fraud was taking place. The police, the British intelligence, the ‘stool pigeon’ naval officer who was involved in the matter – all looked not-so- intelligent, looked absolutely humiliated, disgraced, embarrassed and shamed.

• the police illegitimately and knowingly used the presumption of fraud and gratuitous brutal physical violence against a helpless spiritual woman giving service to the community while still under trance

• the Admiralty was determined to lock her up by making sure she was charged with something which carried a prison sentence

• after changing the charge a few times the police then arranged for a trumped up charge against Helen Duncan under the very old statutory law of the Witchcraft Act of King George II of 1735?passed when 'witches' were still being burnt in Europe

• the police took the matter to the Old Bailey where Helen Duncan's supporters would have claimed that an ultra-conservative obsequious judge and ‘hand-picked’ jury were specially selected for their subservience and the a priori acceptance that the defendant would be found guilty as charged

• Helen Duncan was technically denied the full due process of law, denied Natural Justice, denied the fundamental right to properly defend herself by demonstrating that she was a genuine medium

• Helen Duncan was again denied natural justice, denied constitutional equity and was denied equitable and other rights to demonstrate that materialization was a reality—the Crown itself had criminally charged her with fraud claiming that materialization could not be real

• since Helen Duncan had to be put away, no matter who defended her, the situation was a fait accompli—she had already been found guilty before the trial started. Anyone experienced in criminal intelligence work at a higher level will immediately concede this to be true

• the English and Scottish Law Societies jointly and separately expressed disgust at the miscarriage and 'travesty of justice' in the Helen Duncan tragedy created by cowardly armchair-violent men to do untold harm to a spiritual person.

From the circumstances surrounding the Helen Duncan trial:

• Helen Duncan would have been completely ignored if the Government did not wholly accept Helen's gifts of afterlife communication

• by imputation, the British Government accepted that materialization was real and that Helen Duncan had objectively proved it with the materialization of the sailor and others

• by its conduct, the Government had also accepted that it was possible for afterlife intelligences to pass information to the living

• for the above reasons the Government did NOT allow Helen Duncan bail on such a silly trumped up archaic charge. Even murderers were allowed bail but not someone with genuine mediumistic powers in time of war

• as a 'security risk' Helen Duncan had to be ‘put away’.

Of tremendous significance

• at her trial forty-one witnesses who came from all over the world for Helen Duncan all testified that they had experienced meeting loved ones in a materialization séance

• this meant that under oath and for posterity at the Old Bailey highly accredited witnesses stated in very clear terms, from their own experience, the reality of materialization, of meeting their loved ones

• not one of the defense witnesses was 'broken' in cross examination

• it is immaterial whether the members of the prejudiced jury accepted the testimony or not. The fact is that numerous highly credible people had the courage to take on the leaders of the establishment who knowingly and intentionally made gross errors of judgment. These brave witnesses went to court and told ‘the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth’ about the reality of materialization and how they met their loved ones because of Helen Duncan's materialization mediumship

• the crown case consisted of the claim that Helen Duncan or an accomplice was pretending to be all of these 'materializations' by dressing up in a sheet and using false beards, wigs etc. But when the police had 'raided' her séance while she was in trance and producing materializations they had found no sheet, no false beards, no wigs, no accomplice—indeed no evidence of fraud whatsoever.

Typical testimony

• Nurse Jane Rust testified on oath at the Old Bailey, among other things, that she, through Helen Duncan, actually met a loved one again—her husband who materialized from the afterlife and kissed her. 'I have never been more certain of anything in my life before', she said. She stated that she had been enquiring for 25 years as a skeptic but it was only when she met Helen Duncan that she was able to actually meet her loved ones including her mother who had passed on (Cassirer 1996: 68).

• A high ranking Air Force officer, Wing Commander George Mackie, stated on oath that through Helen Duncan's materialization gifts he actually met his 'dead' mother and father and a brother (Cassirer 1996:72, 115).

• James Duncan, (no relation) a jeweler, testified that both he and his daughter had seen his wife materialize on eight different occasions, in good light. Duncan had seen her close up at a range of 18 inches and they had talked of domestic matters including a proposed emigration to Canada that they had previously kept secret. He had, he said, not a shadow of a doubt that the voice was that of his wife. He also claimed to have seen materializations of his father, who was about his own height and bearded, and his mother (Cassirer 1996:103).

• Mary Blackwell, President of the Pathfinder Spiritualist Society of Baker Street London, testified that she had attended more than 100 materialization séances with Helen Duncan at each of which between 15 and 16 different entities from the afterlife had materialized. She testified that she had witnessed the spirit forms conversing with their relatives in French, German, Dutch, Welsh, Scottish and Arabic. She claimed that she had witnessed the manifestation of ten of her own close relatives including her husband, her mother and her father all of whom she had seen up close and touched (Cassirer 1996: 87).

Some years later a team of magicians headed by William Goldston—founder of the Magicians Club—carried out an experimental sitting with Helen Duncan. Goldston and his colleagues were astounded when their dead friend, the magician 'The Great Lafayette', materialized and spoke to them in his own voice. Goldston wrote a report on the event for The Psychic News in which he confirmed that Helen Duncan's mediumship was genuine and that no magician could possible duplicate the phenomena that he and his fellow magicians had witnessed.

The Death of Helen Duncan

In 1956, the Nottingham police raided a séance Helen Duncan was giving. The police knocked on the door of a private home without a search warrant on the supposed complaint of two police officers who had earlier attended one of her séances. The police had technical knowledge that materialization usually has to be conducted in semi-darkness and that if the lights are put on suddenly very serious injury or death to the medium can occur.

When they were admitted to the home they made a grab for the medium's cabinet, grabbed the medium and took flash photographs. The police raid caused the death of Helen Duncan five weeks afterwards. Without doubt, Helen Duncan's unique gifts which proved survival and her service to the community make her one of the most important women in psychic history.

On the Internet

Official Helen Duncan home page

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