Memories of my grandfather a spiritualist healer.
I have few memories of my grandfather. He was a little, quiet man who trundled along in the wake of my large, perm-haired Nanny. She was big, jolly and assertive. He was small, thin and seemed to melt into the background.
They always reminded me of those old seaside postcard cartoons of the jolly fat lady with the miserable weedy husband. He had a big nose that my mum passed down to me. He was also very good with his hands. I can remember him working on this old circus ride horse that he’d made into a rocking horse. He repaired it, sorted a tail from old string and put in eyes. Then he painted it. I was well impressed.
My mother told me stories about séances she had witnessed when living at home. She said that a tambourine and trumpet, that both resided on hooks on the wall, would play and fly into the air. That she’s seen ectoplasm formed out of thin air and heard voices and tales from the ‘other side’.
I remained cynical. All I had ever seen was my granddad putting on silly voices. He seemed like a prize charlatan to me. But then I was only fourteen when I last saw him. I found him embarrassing.
My father wanted nothing to do with it all. My mother had persuaded him to go along to a séance when they were courting after the war. He’d taken along a hat-badge of a good friend of his who was in submarines and reported missing in action. My granddad went into a trance and gave him a string of numbers which he wrote down. They worked out that they were coordinates and sent off to the War Ministry. They replied by asking where they had got this classified information. The coordinates were within fifty miles of the submarines last known location. It had scared my father.
Now I do not know how true that was or how embellished a story. All I know is that my father refused to talk about it.
My granddad also used to recite books. He would go into a trance and talk. This was taken down in short-hand and later typed up.
Edgar Wallace wrote a number of books through him. My mother told me that they were real and had been authenticated as being in Edgar Wallace’s style.
I don’t know. I never got the chance to read them.
When my Nanny died all the writing, books and a whole load of other material was taken out into the back garden and burnt in one big bonfire. Oh what I’d give to get a look at that stuff now.
Why did my mum do that?
Regardless of anything, and I still remain a skeptic, it was quite a feat to dictate a book to someone. I’ve been writing for forty five years and I don’t think I could do it. My granddad was an uneducated meter reader.
All I have of his are a number of sheets of writing purporting to be a lesson from his American Indian guide – White Eagle.
I’ll dig them out and have a look again.
I still think he was a charlatan but then again…………. There’s a lot we don’t yet understand.