The Spiritualists National Union - Newsletter


It seems like such a long since my introduction letter, but it’s only been 3 months! So much has happened in such a short space of time. As your fi rst point of contact I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to many Churches, Districts and Individual Members which has provided me with valuable feedback about the kind of issues you face as volunteers, feedback that will inform some of the things I’m working on and help improve the level of support the SNU provides.

Matthew Mould - SNU Church Relations Coordinator

Memorial Service - June Russell (1931 - 2011)

A Memorial Service was held for June Russell (1931 - 2011), at Stockport Spiritualist Church on Saturday 3rd March 2012.

June was the Secretary for Stockport Spiritualist Church, she passed away before the church awarded her with the "Long Service Award", and so in memory the Long Service Award was awarded (presented to her son Andrew Russell) and a plaque erected.

June was also responsible for publishing the Manchester District News along with Ray Williamson, so the December Issue of the Manchester District News dedicated in memory to June, published by Andrew Russell, Ray Williamson & incorporating the last un-published issue June Russell compliled.

If you would like a copy of the December 2011 Issue of the Manchester District News,
please contact Stockport Spiritualist Church.

We're Back... Spirit of PN.

Psychic News fans around the world have had a long, long wait for the return of their much- loved publication, but it’s almost over! The new-format Psychic News will be launched on 15th December and published fortnightly.

You’ll be able to choose from printed and internet versions and you can subscribe for either 6 months or 12.

We’re thrilled to be able to offer you the new fortnightly Psychic News at £1.40 per single issue, which works out at exactly the same price as the 70 pence you used to pay weekly.

A subscription to the printed copy costs £48 per year, or £25 for 6 months. To pay by credit or debit card call:

Alita McGuiness on 01279 874341
You can also email her at:

Alita is also the person to contact regarding overseas postal subscription rates.

If you prefer to pay by cheque, make it payable to “Psychic Press Ltd” and send it with your name and address to:

Psychic News, Suite 6, Thremhall Park, Start Hill, Bishops Stortford CM22 7WE

A year’s subscription to the online version costs just £26.00 or £14 for 6 months. If you’d like to subscribe online, simply visit and follow the on-screen instructions.

If you’re new to Psychic News, you can find out more by taking advantage of our free online trial offer. Just visit the website for details.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Source: Spirit of PN. Article: 30th November 2011

The SAGB on the move .....

After fifty-five years in its most recent home, the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain is packing up and moving out of that big Victorian house close to one corner of Belgrave Square – but it’s not going very far. Still in Belgravia, the SAGB will be based on the second floor of the Victoria Charity Centre at 11, Belgrave Road, SW1V 1RB. Victoria mainline and underground stations are close by.

The SAGB has now closed at Belgrave Square, and will use the Christmas and New Year break to begin settling in to its new home, where it will reopen at 11.30am on Wednesday 12th January 2011.

Source: Spirit of PN. Article: 9th December 2010

Psychic powers do exist (predictably)

You may already know this . . . but psychic powers seem to actually exist.

Research suggests that far from being a trick employed by fair-ground fortune tellers, many of us are blessed with the ability to see into the future. Influencing events before they happen is also within our remit, the study by a respected psychologist found.

The publication of the results in a leading social science journal will make waves in the world of science.

They will also start a million conversations about the significance of everyday occurrences, such as knowing who is at the end of the phone before picking it up. Daryl Bem, a physicist and part-time magician turned psychologist, set out to investigate psi, or parapsychology.

In one experiment, students were shown a list of words to memorise. They were later asked to recall as many as they could and finally they were given a random selection of the words to type out. Not surprisingly, they were better at remembering some words than others. But spookily, these tended to be the words they would later be asked to type, suggesting a future event had affected their ability to remember.

In another experiment, the students were shown an image of two curtains on a computer screen and told one concealed an erotic picture. The students chose the curtain hiding the naughty picture slightly more often than could be explained away by chance, this week’s New Scientist reports. Importantly, the position of the picture was randomly allotted by a computer which didn’t make its decision until after the volunteer chose one curtain or the other.

To believers in the paranormal, this suggests the students were actually influencing future events. In fact, Professor Bem, of Cornell University in New York State, carried out nine different experiments involving more than 1000 volunteers. All but one came down on the side of the psychics.

The odds against the combined result being down to mere chance or being a statistical fluke are 74 billion to one, says the professor. He said the science world should open its mind to the possibility of the paranormal.

One sceptic is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Joachim Krueger, a US psychologist, said ‘My personal view is that this is ridiculous. Going over the methodology and experimental design is the first line of attack. But, frankly, everything seemed to be in good order.’

The proof of the pudding, says New Scientist, will be in whether other scientists can repeat the professor’s success.

Source: The Daily Mail. Article: 18th November 2010

The President of The Spiritualists’ National Union attends the Armistice Day Service at the National Memorial Arboretum

On a very wet Thursday morning David Bruton OSNU DMS MBA and Charles Coulston BA attended the Armistice Service held at The National Memorial Arboretum to represent the Union.

The Service was conducted by the Bishop of Manchester in the presence of His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO and representatives from all branches of the Armed forces and many Civic Leaders.

The service began under cover in a specially erected marquee before we all made the short journey to the main memorial the focal point of the Arboretum. In his opening comments the bishop stated that the sun would come out at 11.00am as we stood in the wind and rain this looked like a vain hope but as eleven o’clock approached the rain stopped, the clouds parted and a ray of sunshine shone from a very grey sky. The ray shone through the slit carefully constructed in the outer wall of the monument and bathed the wreath at the memorials centre with sunlight. This was both a very special and moving moment which touched many who attended the service. Around the walls of the memorial are listed the countless names of service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country. At the end of the service The Duke reviewed the names of the service personnel added in the last twelve months, a fitting reminder of the conflicts still raging around the world. As part of the service the President joined many other organisations in laying a wreath to remember those who had passed to the higher life whilst serving their country. The service was followed by a march past by the band of The Royal Marines and a company of cadets from the four main services.

Following the main service the President visited the newly built memorial for Spiritualists, which was dedicated by Minister Duncan Gascoyne last July, to lay a wreath remembering Spiritualists through the ages who have served their country in times of conflict.

Source: Spiritualists National Union. Article: 15th November 2010

Spirit of Psychic News rises from ashes

It's now over three months since the last issue of Psychic News rolled off the press,  therefore it's good news for all those who have been missing Psychic News, and it's weekly update on Spiritualism. The team who did such an excellent job of producing the newspaper, were unfortunately made redundant in the summer, now three of them have teamed together to launch a new website aptly called "The Spirit of PN".

Susan Farrow (former editor), Paul Brett (assistant editor) and Magnus Smith (researcher and assistant) are the brains behind the new venture. The publication will be featuring a team of writers, including a 'mystery' roving reporter, whose identity will be revealed in a forthcoming issue.

The "Spirit of Psychic News" lives on as an independent voice of Spiritualism, currently only in digital format, this now provides an independent internet platform on which the team can express their views and report on the Spiritualist movement globally.

The publication is currently free to all subscribers,  and will eventually provide opportunities for advertising.

Source: The Spirit Of Psychic News. Article: 4th November 2010

Tom Harrison 1918 - 2010

The Spiritualist movement is infinitely poorer for the passing of Tom Harrison, one of its most tireless and dedicated ambassadors.

Tom, who passed peacefully on October 23rd 2010 at the age of 92, had been admitted to hospital the previous day following a brain haemorrhage, thought to have resulted from an earlier fall. Though in a deep coma, he was in the company of his beloved wife Ann, daughter Wendy, and son Alan.

What can one say of a man who spoke for an unconventional truth without fear or favour for more than seven decades?

Spiritualism was in Tom’s blood. He was born into a Middlesbrough Spiritualist family on August 8, 1918. His mother, Minnie, would later become one of the world’s most powerful materialisation mediums, a fact that would influence the entire course of Tom’s life in ways he could never have imagined. His Aunt Agg, Minnie’s sister, was a respected trance medium, and was one of the mediums who gave the legendary Arthur Findlay some of the outstanding evidence contained in his revolutionary book, On the Edge of the Etheric.

There is no doubt that Tom will have made a swift and easy transition to the next world, for if ever there was one who knew where he was headed, it was Tom. It goes without saying that he will have been met by a joyous company of loved ones and friends, all eager to welcome home a true pioneer of spirit.

Source: The Spirit Of Psychic News. Article: 3rd November 2010

Paying tribute to one of our greatest pioneers

On Saturday 14th August Spiritualists from around the country converged on Moston Church in Manchester to share a day dedicated to Emma Hardinge Britten the lady who played a vital part in laying the foundations for modern Spiritualism.

111 years ago 2,000 people made the journey to the cemetery in Manchester to pay their last respects at Emma’s funeral. In recent years concern has been mounting over the poor state of Emma’s grave, the late Joan Adams and Dr. Malcolm Lewis both campaigned to address this sad state of affairs.

This campaign and dedication event was organised by Linda Smith, President of Norwich Church, who became aware of this campaign after attending a lecture by Dr. Malcolm Lewis four years ago and actively set about raising the necessary funds to replace the headstone which was worn and broken with a fitting tribute to a lady who had done so much to shape our movement.

Many people have become involved in this campaign including Mavis Pittilla , Paul Jacobs and Sue Wood together with the members of Norwich Church and other Spiritualists from around the country. A special fund raising evening was held at the Arthur Findlay College Open Week with guest speaker William Roach from the popular soap opera Coronation Street. Finally the necessary funds were raised and a stonemason was commissioned to undertake the work.

On Saturday 14th The President of the Spiritualists’ National Union David Bruton was invited to join Linda, Mavis, Malcolm and representatives from Districts and Churches to hold a service of dedication. The sun shone and everybody agreed the finished result was a fitting tribute to one of our greatest pioneers.

As part of the project the old headstone has been removed by the stonemasons and will be repaired and reconditioned before being transported to Stansted Hall where a dedication service will be conducted in due course to create a lasting memorial at the hall for Emma.

To find out more about Emma Hardinge Britten please visit

Source: The Spiritualists National Union. Article: 14th August 2010

Psychic News folds after 78 years

The end of Psychic News was confirmed by the SNU at its A.G.M in July 2010, as shocked delegates looked on.

Founded in May 1932 by Spiritualist legend Maurice Barbanell, Psychic News served the Spiritualist community steadfastly through good times and bad. It was a vehicle of truth and light, bringing forth each week reports of evidential mediumship. It was a beacon for the Movement - its voice.

This is why the decision by the SNU to terminate its existence will be so hard to take for so many. Reports suggest the SNU pulled the plug due to the paper’s financial difficulties. However, inside sources report that funds from benefactors were offered - but turned down.

The SNU has previous history of struggling with the ownership of Psychic News. In 1946, Barbanell resigned his editorship when news reached him that the paper’s financial backer, Arthur Findlay, intended to pass his shares to the SNU. In 1962, he was persuaded to return as it was slowly sinking amidst heavy losses.

Later, Barbanell formed the Spiritual Truth Foundation which owned the shares in Psychic News - partly to prevent the SNU from ever taking control of the newspaper again.
How he must now be shaking his head in dismay.

Source: The Psychic Times. Article: 18th July 2010

Spiritualists to commemorate past and present members who have served their country

A new memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum is the first to recognise the sacrifice of Spiritualists.

A service on 10 July 2010 will mark the dedication of Spiritualists' first ever memorial to members that have served in the UK Armed Forces.

The imposing memorial, which features a tall granite obelisk, will be unveiled at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire. The memorial was proposed and funded by the Spiritualists' National Union (SNU), a charity responsible for the administration of 360 churches across the UK and the largest Spiritualists' organisation in the world.

It follows a number of unsuccessful attempts to have Spiritualists represented at the Cenotaph for the Remembrance Day parade and SNU's determination to create a lasting memorial to all Spiritualists who have served and continue to serve.

The SNU's Communications Director, Minister Steven Upton, said of creating the memorial: "We have never done anything of this nature before and never a project of this scale. Every penny has come from our churches and individual members, making this very much their memorial.

"Situated adjacent to the Arboretum's stunning wildflower meadow, the memorial will become a place where bereaved families and colleagues can come to mourn their loss and commemorate their loved ones. It'll be a lasting reminder to future generations of the sacrifices that have been made."

All Spiritualists are welcome to attend the special memorial dedication service which will be led by SNU President, Minister Duncan Gascoyne.

For further information please see:

Source: National Memorial Arboretum. Article: 10th July 2010

Movietone Newsreel of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - 1929

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

In October, 1928 one of the first Movietone Newsreels ever made featured Sir Arthur Conan Doyle speaking on his writing of the Sherlock Holmes stories and of his firm belief in Spiritualism.  It was recorded in the rose gardens of his Sussex home, Windlesham, by William Fox for the Fox-Case Movietone and the Fox Film Corp. 

The clip was released for viewing in America in May, 1929 and Sir Arthur's presentation was said, in a New York Times review, to be superior to that of George Bernard Shaw and the King of Spain's interviews because of the easy flow of Sir Arthur's words.  A second release was made after ACD's death in 1930, and another version was reissued in 1974 by Blackhawk Films.

Source: Woodlands Sanctuary Foundation

Spiritualist wins landmark ‘religion’ ruling

A former Greater Manchester Police officer has won a landmark case which says his Spiritualist beliefs should be counted as a religion. Alan Power, 62, was sacked in October 2008 because, he claims, he believed psychics were able to contact people after their deaths and help inform investigations.

An employment tribunal has rejected an appeal from the police authority which says his beliefs do not amount to religious views. A ruling on whether Mr Power was unfairly dismissed is scheduled for November 23. Mr Power said his beliefs stem from “ghosts” he saw during his childhood.

At a previous hearing, a judge ruled that Mr Power’s views were “capable of being religious beliefs” and was therefore covered by the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003. Mark Hill QC, from the Greater Manchester Police Authority, said the ruling could open the “floodgates” for a series of similar claims. According to the 2001 Census, spiritualism is the eighth largest faith group in Britain, with 32,000 people saying they belong to it. Outside the tribunal, Mr Power said he was delighted with the judge’s decision. “It’s fantastic,” he said. “It proves that spiritualism is a religion worthy of respect. “I haven’t claimed any costs. I’m not claiming compensation. It’s about hurt feelings. I expect my religion to be respected.”

Source: Police Article: 19th November 2009

Spiritualist told he can use religion law to sue over sacking

A man who believes that psychics can contact the dead was celebrating a landmark legal victory last night. Alan Power, 62, won a ruling from a judge that his Spiritualist beliefs qualify as a religion which should be protected in the workplace. The decision clears the way for Mr Power to bring a discrimination case over his sacking by Greater Manchester Police.

He claims he was fired from his job training special constables after just three weeks, when his bosses became aware that he believes messages from beyond the grave could help in criminal investigations. Mr Power, who has attended a Spiritualist church for 29 years, said after the hearing: 'This is fantastic. It proves spirituality is a religion worthy of respect.' But Mark Hill, QC, acting for the police, warned that the ruling could open the floodgates.

He said it could lead to a 'Jedi Knights' defence - based on the co- ordinated campaign in the 2001 census when 390,000 people claimed to follow the religion from the Star Wars films. At yesterday's Employment Appeal Tribunal hearing, Greater Manchester Police Authority were appealing against a previous ruling that spiritualism qualified as a 'religious or philosophical belief' under the Religion and Belief Regulations 2003. At the earlier hearing, Judge Peter Russell told an employment tribunal: 'I am satisfied that, in common with other Spiritualists, the claimant believes in the existence of a God, that there is life after death and that the dead can be contacted through mediums. I am satisfied that such beliefs are capable of being religious beliefs for the purposes of the 2003 Regulations.' Yesterday Judge Peter Clark upheld this decision.

He said: 'Mr Hill has wholly failed to persuade me that such a conclusion is entirely perverse.' The judge added: 'There is no suggestion that the claimant does not genuinely believe in the tenets of the faith.' Mr Power, from Birkenhead, Merseyside, can now bring a religious discrimination claim over his sacking last October. His case is due to be heard by the Manchester Employment Tribunal later this month. Mr Power said last night: 'I haven't claimed costs and I'm not claiming compensation. It's about hurt feelings. I expect my religion to be respected. 'If someone came up to me and said they were a Jedi Knight I would respect their religious belief if that is how they saw it.' Greater Manchester Police refused to comment.

In the 2001 census spiritualism was the eighth largest faith group in Britain with 32,404 people claiming allegiance. The Jedi Knights were fourth, with 390,000. The Equality and Employment (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 were brought in to stop employees being sacked on grounds of religion. After lobbying by secular groups, philosophical beliefs were included. Last week another judge ruled that 'green' beliefs also qualify. Tim Nicholson, 42, had claimed his desire to prevent climate change was protected. His employer had argued that green views were simply a lifestyle choice.

Source: Daily Mail.. Article: 13th November 2009

The First Spirit Photograph (Taken in Manchester)

Mr. F. Silkstone, 76, George Street, Hulme, Manchester, in a letter, dated October 23rd, to the Christian Spiritualist for November, gives the following particulars respecting the first spirit-photograph taken in Manchester:

Elizabeth Ann Williamson, a little girl of 12 years, small for her age, but apparently full of life and health, residing with her parents at 2, WilBngton Street, Lower Ardwick, Manchester, went at the commencement of the present month to have her portrait taken to Mr. Thomas M. Waters, photographer, 105, Hyde Road, Manchester.

Her likeness was taken as requested, but at a stance where she was present during the following week, it was communicated by knocks through the table that in the process the photographer had rubbed out a spirit-face, which he in his ignorance of the whole affair considered a defect. She was instructed through the table to go again to the same photographer, and the spirit would appear a second time on the plate.

She accordingly went, accompanied by her father, on the 10th October, 1874. A few questions were asked the photographer, and he acknowledged having erased, on her previous visit, some figure he could not understand. He was requested, should anything appear except the little girl, to let it remain untouched. The result was that a shadowy face, with features, however, quite clear, distinct, and well-defined, appears by the side of the girl. The forehead is broad and high, the beard and whiskers short, but plentiful. It is decidedly one of the beat spirit-photographs I have seen; and this opinion is shared by many Spiritualists who are competent judges.

The spirit is one of the guides of the young medium, to whose name great interest will now be attached; and many warm hopes will be excited that this innocent, guileless child will be the means of our obtaining in the future striking phenomena, which shall establish in our midst the certainty of our continued existence. The guide who was thus photographed gave his name at a stance as a Dr. Pearson, of London, who practised when in earth-life on the Surrey side of the water. He is entirely unknown to any Spiritualists in Manchester.

Source: The Condenser Magazine. Article: 23rd September 2009