Hendry on October 17, 1870 in Elgin, North Scotland. Principal of the
British College for Psychic Science and editor of it's journal
"Psychic Science". Wife of J. Hewat McKenzie, founder of the
BCPS. James and Barbara had regular sittings in their special
'quite room' for meditation. Barbara was the medium, "and as she
sat she became aware of various new influences operating on her
receptive mind, which seemed distinct from her ordinary thoughts
of which she had full control. Various personalities 'spoke'
through her, giving evidence regarding matters of which she had
no knowledge, but, illustrating the influence of the mind, they
would very often answer questions on which her husband had been
pondering, arising out of his intensive reading" (Hankey, J.
Hewat McKenzie: Pioneer of Psychical Research). President of
the Women's Adult School Movement. She became actively
interested in politics and met many of the political leaders of
the time through her position with the ASM.
THE ENFORCED retirement, for reasons of health, of one of the most valued
mediums on the College staff, "Miss Francis," Miss Nina de Verthier, is a heavy
blow to the work, for such sensitives are rare and their gift only reaches the
stage of wide accepted general appreciation as the result of the most devoted
attention to its care and development on their part. Miss de Verthier was one of
the very early members of the College, and took full advantage of its courses of
study and also attended a development class. She had at this time the faculty of
receiving messages by means of the 'glass and letter' method. It was not till
some years later that, after an illness which made a break in her work as a
teacher of French, she made the important decision to undertake serious psychic
development, and, if successful, to use this for the benefit of humanity. Mr.
Hewat McKenzie, then Hon. Principal, gave her all the assistance he could by
regular sittings, to induce the trance state, and 'Lucio,' her well-known guide,
was soon able to use her with excellent results. She became a member of the
College staff and during ten years has remained solely associated with the
College. Her work has been exclusively for private sitters who found in 'Lucio'
a wise friend, able to help them in their personal problems and also to guide
them in deeper philosophical matters. The late Mr. G. R. S. Mead, of the Quest
Society, had a special regard for 'Lucio's' erudition and enjoyed many
conversations with him through the mediumship.
A gift, sincerely and carefully used under good conditions and with serious
sitters, is bound to develop. Some time in 1930 I was with Miss Francis and
noticed to my astonishment a most remarkable, and perfect as to shape and
colouring, development in the region of her solar plexus. At the time she was
not entranced, merely concentrated on the sensitivity of one of the pupils of
her developing circle, a task which she undertook with great acceptance for a
I verified by continued observation that this psychic appearance related to her
exclusively as she stood behind her pupil making some magnetic passes. When the
test was over I asked whether she had been developing any new powers. Not that
she was aware was the reply, but she felt her powers were now well established.
I described the appearance, and later, sketched the form and colours I had seen,
which I found coincided perfectly with the drawings of the solar plexus "centre"
in C. W. Leadbeater's well-known book The Chakras, drawn from clairvoyant
visions with sensitives. (I had not looked in this book for a considerable
period and my experience of development in mental mediumship would not have led
me to expect to see anything of the kind in this region.) I remarked at the time
that it looked as if she was due for some new development of a very powerful
kind, it might be on physical lines, though I felt that Miss Francis'
inclinations did not lie in that direction. There the matter was left between
ourselves, and as I was then leaving the College on Mrs. de Crespigny's taking
office, I was a little out of touch with the medium for a time. But I was not
surprised to hear, within a few months, that she had developed a fine gift for
diagnosis under the guidance of the control 'Abduhl Latif' who had hitherto been
associated with Eileen Garrett. At her request, when she had to leave for the
States, 'Abduhl' agreed to see whether he could use Miss Francis to continue his
medical work. Apparently he found her completely ready for him, for the work
began in power almost at once, and I still think that months before, I saw the
psychic organ ready for use. If this contact with 'Abduhl' had not been made,
some other use for the developed centre would have been found. The power of
diagnosis and healing has often been found in association with physical
'Lucio' still remained the chief guide, and worked harmoniously with 'Abduhl,'
recognizing that in his own particular line he was a Master.* More and more
during the past few years 'Abduhl' was called upon and many healers began to
bring groups of cases to him for diagnosis. I would not call him infallible, for
conditions were not always perfect, but in a large majority of cases, simply
from the reading of a letter, which often contained little or no information but
only a cry for help, the trouble was pointed out and described with accuracy,
and advice was given for treatment and was efficacious in hundreds of cases.
Previous to the appearance of this 'control,' Miss Francis had no such gift. It
was in such work that the medium became the focus of help to many lives, and if
in doing it she has somewhat worn out a naturally delicate constitution, we need
not be sorry for that. Nor is she herself, for there has been given her a work
of the greatest uniqueness to do in the service of others, and who can ask for
* In Prediction for June there is an
interesting article on Miss Francis and her control, Abduhl Latif.
But there is more work to be done. She requires a period of rest, which she is
now taking at her home in the country and then hopes to do quiet work, without
the strain of journeys to town and the regular demands which a Society must make
upon its staff. She speaks with gratitude of the happiness of her years of work
at the College, of the excellent conditions provided for her and of the many
friends whom she has made among its members.
The medium's personality was most attractive to her sitters and greatly assisted
her work and made for success. Of French birth, of good family and education,
her charm and courteousness evoked a ready response from others. She has
sometimes the gaiety of a child with a deep love of Nature and of simple
pleasures, and again she has the seriousness of an old soul seeking wisdom among
others. With such a natural gamut she has been able to meet the long stretch of
human need which sought her help through her fine natural psychic powers, powers
which always make use of all the resources the personality of the seer can
The College Council has expressed to Miss Francis its high appreciation of her
services and the steady loyal work she has given on its behalf. With such and
many other good wishes surrounding her, we may hope that very soon her health
may be completely restored.
The above article was taken from "Psychic Science", vol. XVII, No. 2, July