ARTICLES

Harry Edwards portrait

Harry Edwards

1893-1976. British healer and founder of the National Federation of Spiritual Healers. Over a period of forty years he gained a reputation for his unorthodox healing ministry. Over one million letters were received by him from sufferers asking to come to his treatment centre in Surrey, England, or to his public demonstrations.

Materialised Forms of Jack Webber

- Harry Edwards -

          THE FIRST phase of Mr. Webber's mediumship to produce materialized forms was the creation of heads only, which were illuminated by means of the luminous plaques. With this development came hands that were felt and seen by the sitters.

Jack Webber

Looking into the heads full faced, they are seen to be of perfect formation; hair, eyes, nose, and mouth being fully physical.

The faces are often full-sized, but now and again are much smaller than any normal head, being about four to five inches high.

A white ectoplasmic cowl invariably surrounds the head, and the shape of shoulders and garments can be glimpsed in the illumination.

The period of formation occupies only a few seconds. When the plaque first illuminates the head it may not be perfectly formed, but it rapidly assumes the correct features.

The heads remain in the proximity of the medium, probably linked to the medium by an ectoplasmic connection. They can, however, travel about six feet from the medium in any direction.

After the head has formed and a short period of time has elapsed, the lips are seen to move, and sounds like a preliminary struggle for articulation ensues. This finally leads to the materialization speaking to the sitters. This speech is usually perfectly audible, and the difference between that of a woman, a child, a man, or a Guide is quite distinctive.

The forms of Guides build up strongly, particularly so with the controls of the medium, in which case the voice is loud and clear.

These heads have been recognized very many times by sitters as the faces of those whom they knew when on earth.

Guides are often able to give further details of their personality, either showing head-dresses, colouring of features, or speaking in their own tongues. Conversations have taken place in tongues other than English between a materialized head and a sitter. If a person passed over as the result of head injuries, bandages, and blood-stains are reproduced to add weight to the identity.

Hands of all sizes are also seen by the plaques, and if in an instance of this nature there had been a deformity in physical life, such as the loss of a number of fingers or enlarged joints, these are faithfully reproduced.

Sometimes as many as five or six forms may be seen at a séance; at others, there may be materialized only one head, or not any at all.

Jack Webber produces an expanse of ectoplasmic material. White light was switched on one second after photographic exposure.

The copious white ectoplasmic cowling is evidential of supernormal power apart from the heads themselves. So voluminous is it that it would be difficult for any person to secrete it. Mr. Webber is always open to a search; in fact, after there has been shown excessive cowling or drapery, the Guide invariably asks the chairman of the séance to search the medium before he leaves the presence of the sitters.

Frequently, hands are felt by sitters. They are full physical hands. The large hand of a powerful man or the small hand of a child. They are, as a rule, slightly wet, yet their temperature is warmer than the hands of the sitters themselves. The latter through being linked for an hour or more are usually hot, yet the materialized hand is the warmer. If the hands are of Chinese Guides, the long nails which these Guides have can be felt by the sitters.

Sometimes the hands caress the face, hands, and arms of a sitter, or they may play with the hair or an ornament.

There is another phase of materialization that is worthy of comment. In a dark séance a cigarette lighter has been flicked on, and in the white flash there has been outlined the solid form of a being with outstretched arm-one of the medium's controls.

At times, when the sitters are known to the Guide, or it is judged they will not be alarmed by a little frivolity, jokes are played. On one occasion Mr. Bernard Gray, of the Sunday Pictorial, who was present at the séance, had his hair lightly tied to that of the author. If there should be spare rope or string, a sitter may find himself or herself securely tied.

Thus the fact has to be taken into account that at times there may be present in the circle the materialized forms of the medium's controls who are carrying out work in connection with the phenomena. The author has not yet excluded from his mind the work of controls in this state of being responsible for the joining of two parts of a trumpet together, removing the spectacles from a sitter's face, and perhaps assisting with the final stage of removing the coat from the medium.

At the present time [1939], the developing circle is sitting in red light for materializations, and the physical forms have been seen, felt, and conversed with. During such phenomena the medium is often seen bound to his chair.

With materialization, at first a vague, shadowy form is seen, darker than the prevailing light. This form then becomes denser, and the hands and head are held to the red light for closer examination. The red light is about nine feet from the floor, yet the materialized people are able to rise to it and expose their heads in close proximity to the bulb.

Reuben and Paddy materialize most easily. At one circle Reuben materialized perfectly. He took hold of the author's hand and passed it over his face. This was repeated with other sitters. It was noticed that Reuben's hands were very warm. A conversation also took place between Reuben and those present. Thus not only is a physical figure present, but the lungs and larynx must also have been formed.

The warmth experienced in materialization raises an interesting problem. From whence does the warmth come? Ectoplasm as felt, is wet and cold, yet it is from this substance that the forms build themselves. One reasonable hypothesis is that the ectoplasm is in a state of very high vibration, and just as the infra-red ray is the transition stage between light and heat (there is always heat with the infra-red ray) so it may be that the condition of "vibration" (for want of a more expressive word), which is used for the purpose of materializations may give the heat that is certainly in evidence.

When a form has built up in the red light, its disappearance is of interest. Standing full length in the centre of the circle, it is seen to diminish downwards as if passing through the floor. The period of time necessary for the disappearance is about two seconds. After the disappearance of a forth, throat action is heard from the medium - gulp-like sounds, rather similar to those made when ectoplasm is returning to the medium's body.

On the occasion previously referred to, when the red light was detached from the fitting, it was used to light up the faces of materialized people, the lamp being held close to, and almost touching, the faces, so that there could be no possible doubt at all as to the form being present.

Three forms have been seen at the same time, in a moderate degree of red light - two of the forms were full length, while the third, quite small, was of Paddy, a boy of about ten years old.

At most séances a small spirit child, answering to the name of Matilda, skips with a rope, and obeys requests for fast skipping, hopping, etc.

The following are extracts from published reports, by independent persons, dealing with this phenomenon:

"Jack Webber gave four remarkable séances at Cambridge... He came alone and only arrived a short time before the first séance ... so there was no chance of anything being arranged beforehand. Several well-known people were present, including in Indian Prince (Prince Deo), and the Dean of Trinity College. Some members of the Cambridge Society for Psychical Investigation were present at each séance.

"The sittings were carried out under test conditions. No restrictions were made as to the method of tying, in fact, he was tied so tightly one evening that some of the sitters complained that it might stop his circulation. But Jack just said: 'That's all right, let it go.'

"On three nights, materialized heads appeared, and although some of these heads were perfectly formed they were considerably smaller than normal size. The most remarkable materialization occurred when the head of an Indian came close to me, the features showing clearly above the luminous slate.

"The head bowed, and when I asked him if he could tell me his name, he said 'Ranji,' which, of course, was the name by which Prince Ranjitsinhji was known when he was up at Cambridge at the height of his fame as a cricketer. I knew him quite well when he was up at the University."

(Mr. A. J. Case, President of the Cambridge Research Society, reporting in the Psychic News, August 12th, 1939.)

"For me, the most outstanding event of the séance was the materialization of two faces. A luminous plaque rose from the floor, and came within a few inches of my face: rising from it, partially concealed in what appeared to be a shining band of material, some two inches wide, was the face of a woman - I should estimate her to be between forty and fifty years of age: the face was perhaps a little larger than three-quarters life-size, and near enough for me to observe the fine moulding of the features, which were illuminated with the glow from the plaque. Particularly, I noticed the nose and nostrils, which seemed to be perfectly chiselled as from alabaster or some similar material.

"The face was quite solid - three-dimensional, without colouring, but obviously alive; I encouraged it to talk while it floated there, resting on they plaque which was quite unsupported. The lips moved in an attempt to answer me, but produced strange 'ticking' sounds that seemed to precede any attempt at speech on these occasions. Eventually the woman whispered: 'I have no pain now, I do not suffer as I used to ... isn't it glorious ... Mother.' ... Then the plaque withdrew and the face disappeared.

"The woman's face was remarkable for the fine moulding of the features - almost like a piece of Greek sculpture; the absence of skin creases probably accentuated this, and while it was obviously the face of a mature woman, there was a suggestion of youthfulness about it. The eyes were partly in shadow, owing to the lighting arising from the plaque, so that it was difficult to determine whether or not they had been materialized yet during the whole time the face remained there - a matter of several minutes - there was no suggestion of eyeless sockets.

"The second face which appeared after an interval also came across to within a few inches of my face, supported by the luminous plaque.

"This time the strong masculine features were surmounted with a white, typically Egyptian headdress: the long Roman nose gave the face a look of severity, and the eyes - what I could see of them, looked piercingly into mine. This face was unlike its predecessor in that there was a suggestion of swarthiness about it. Pronounced facial ridges in the flesh enhanced the severe expression, and the set of the jaw and mouth suggested a powerful character. Several times the head bowed in front of me, and, projecting from the head-dress I noticed a triangular device which stood out and threw a shadow back on the forehead. I heard other sitters commenting on the 'hair'; they apparently overlooked this triangular projection, which had its base in the head-dress, and apex standing well out from the head. It seemed to be constructed from different material, and was evidently not intended to be overlooked. I commented on it, and, after remaining in front of me for a brief period, the head withdrew and disappeared.

"This, too, was solid, and three-dimensional in appearance, certainly more life-like than the first, nearer to life-size, and without the mask-like appearance that characterized the first, before it spoke.

"Needless to say, there were no sitters in the room resembling either face. I later learned that the device in the head-dress corresponded to that worn by priests and officials of the ancient Egyptian temples it apparently signified rank in the temple - this no doubt explains the repeated endeavours of the head to draw my attention to the device."

(Special reporter for the Two Worlds, published January 27th, 1939.)

"In the course of the séance there were five materialized heads shown against an illuminated plaque; they came to within an inch of our faces. They were not more than half the size of a normal head. Some of these were Guides who announced themselves by name, and such names were quite unknown to Mr. Webber."

(W. H. Glaser, Two Worlds, March 3rd, 1939.)

"Three faces then materialized and came within a few inches of my eyes, and they were definitely smaller than Jack Webber's face."

(Sid. C. Carter, Two Worlds, March 3rd, 1939.)

Addendum, March, 1940

Plate No. 35: A materialised hand produced at a sitting specially arranged for the Press.

In February, 1940, the Guide asked for the floor to be covered with white powder. This was done. In the red light the medium and the white floor was clearly seen. Materialized forms were seen more easily against the white background. After the séance it was seen that the powder had not been disturbed, proving that the physical materialized forms did not touch the floor, but "floated." This peculiar gliding movement of materialized people has often been commented on with other materialization mediums, and the above experiment tends to confirm that they do not contact the floor. This raises an interesting point, for as the materialized individuals are definitely physical for the time being, they do not obey the law of gravity.

Plate No. 35 [right] was obtained in February, 1940, at a sitting; specially arranged for the South London Press, when two editors and another representative were present. The photograph shows a perfect materialized hand emerging (probably) from the solar plexus region. On this occasion another photograph was secured (and published by the newspaper) showing the medium's hands held by the two editors, while the coat was removed from the body, similar to Plate No. 6. This newspaper published a laudatory article on the mediumship, as indeed has every other newspaper that has investigated it. It is pertinent to remember that newspaper men are, as a rule, of the hard, sceptical turn of mind, and invariably extremely critical of physical phenomena, and attend with the idea of "seeing through" the demonstration. On no occasion, however, has any newspaper investigator even queried the genuineness of the mediumship - all have testified to their bewildered amazement, and have reported the séances fairly.

Note

The article above was originally titled 'Materialized Forms, Heads, Hands, etc' and was taken from Harry Edwards's "The Mediumship of Jack Webber" (London; Rider & Co., 1940).

Photographs of Jack Webber

A long ectoplasmic structure emerges from the mouth of Jack Webber
Jack Webber reverses the direction of his coat

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