THE MOST romantic spirit control. He claimed to have been Henry Owen
Morgan, the buccaneer, who was knighted by Charles II. and was appointed
Governor of Jamaica. He first appeared with the
Davenport Brothers in
1850, and was first seen in the flash of a pistol fired by Ira Davenport
in the dark. He remained as spirit manager with the Davenports
throughout their career and in typtology or direct voice gave them sound
advice in difficult positions. His activity was multifarious. While
faithfully serving the Davenport Brothers he took charge of the
performances in the Koon loghouse in the wilds of Ohio. Here he assumed
an august mien. As the head of a band of 160 spirits he claimed descent
from a race of men known by the generic title Adam, and having as
leaders "the most ancient angels." They signed their communications as
King No. 1, No. 2., etc., and sometimes: Servant and Scholar of God. In
his last incarnation he strayed from the path of virtue and became a
redoubtable pirate. He communicated in direct voice through a trumpet,
his own invention, and through direct scripts. The tone of these
writings was sanctimonious and upbraiding, i.e.: "We know that our work
will be rejected by many, and condemned as the production of their King
Devil, whom they profess to repudiate, but do so constantly serve by
crucifying truth and rejecting all that is contrary to their own narrow
pride and vain imaginings."
The Telegraph Papers of 1856 published a psychometric reading of the
writing of John King by Mrs. Kellog and Miss Jay of New York to whom the
paper was handed in a sealed envelope. Mrs. Kellog became entranced and
"A person of great might and power appears before me - a power
unknown. I cannot compare him to anyone on earth. He wields a mighty
weapon. I can neither describe nor explain the influence that emanates
from him. I can only compare it to one of whom we read in the Bible. It
seems like unto one who 'rules the world.' It does not seem to have been
done by any human being. It does not seem to me that a mortal could have
been employed even as the instrument for this writing. This is beyond
Miss Jay had given similar reading:
"It must be a power
so far exalted in the scale of development as to grasp the great laws
that govern all material combinations. He does not seem to be of the
earth, but to belong to another race of beings, whose spiritual growth
has continued for ages."
In the early years of British spiritualism it was the aspiration of many
mediums to secure his influence. Mrs. Marshall was the first,
Guppy, Miss Georgina Houghton, Mrs. Firman,
William Eglinton and Husk
followed, whilst in America he was claimed by the
Holmeses and Mme.
Blavatsky in her early career as a spiritualist. Solovyoff even suggests
that Mahatma Koot Hoomi was John King transformed by the addition of an
On March 20, 1873, in a daylight sťance of Williams, John King
manifested so successfully that a sketch was made of him by an artist. A
week later he appeared again in solid and material form. He was usually
seen in the light of a peculiar lamp which he carried and which
illuminated his face and sometimes the room. In Paris, on May 14, 1874,
a young man tried to seize him. John King eluded his grasp and left a
piece of drapery behind. The medium was found entranced. On being
searched no paraphernalia for a make-up was discovered.
In comparatively recent times* John King took charge of the physical
phenomena of Mrs. Wriedt in London. He greeted the sitters of Williams'
and Cecil Husk's circle by their names. W. T. Stead once found a mislaid
manuscript through communication in automatic writing from John King.
Quite recently* Feda, the control of Mrs. Leonard, informed
Bradley during a sťance of his own that John King often helped with the
voices and that the volume of his own voice is enormous.
* This biographical sketch was written in
Of all the public activities of John King, his association with
Paladino was the most memorable. Scientists all over the world made his
acquaintance and found him ever anxious to produce good and convincing
phenomena. He said in many messages that Eusapia Paladino was his
reincarnated daughter but he seldom spoke, if so only in Italian and
through the entranced medium.
A curious story of his appearance in strong light was told by Chevalier
Francesco Graus, an Italian engineer, in a letter to Vincent Cavalli,
the letter being published in Luce e Ombra in April, 1907. At the time
of the narrative Eusapia worried herself ill over the theft of her
jewels. She was so affected by the reproaches of the police inspector
that she fainted. The table began to move and rapped out: "Save my
daughter, she is mad."
"A minute later" - writes Graus -
"in full light,
a phenomenon occurred which I shall never forget. On my left, in the
space separating me from Mme. Paladino, appeared the form of an old man,
tall, rather thin, with an abundant beard who, without speaking, laid
the full palm of his right hand on my head, which he squeezed between
his fingers as if to draw from it some vital fluid, and when he saw fit
he raised his hand and spread over Eusapia's head the fluid he had
withdrawn from my brain. He repeated this operation three times in
succession, then the figure dissolved. Mme Paladino immediately returned
to her normal state. I remained for three consecutive days in such a
condition of cerebral prostration, on account of the fluid that had been
drawn from me, that I could not carry on the smallest intellectual
The identity of John King with Henry Owen Morgan, the pirate, has never
been satisfactorily established. Conan Doyle had in his possession a
contemporary picture of the buccaneer king but it bore no resemblance to
the tall, swarthy man with a noble head and full black beard, who
presented himself in materialised form. But he adds in a remark that a
daughter of a recent governor of Jamaica was confronted in a sťance in
London with John King. He said to her: "You have brought back from
Jamaica something which was mine." She asked: "What was it?" He
answered: "My will." It was a fact. Her father brought back this
To Admiral Moore, in a sitting with Cecil Husk on March 28, 1905, John
King said that he had been hunting up old records and found that he
succeeded Lynch as Governor of Jamaica. There was a Richard Morgan who
came before him as Governor and the names were sometimes confused. He
believes that he was governor three separate times - not consecutively
- but he would make further inquiries.
A correspondent to Light (June 29, 1912) looked up the official handbook
of the island and found that he succeeded Sir Thomas Lynch in 1673, Lord
Vaughan in 1677 and the Earl of Carlisle in 1680. The other Morgan to
whom he referred was Colonel Edward (not Richard) Morgan and he was
Deputy Governor in 1664.
Through Mrs. Wriedt in Julia's bureau in London John King gave many
particulars in regard to his earth life in Jamaica and made beautiful
bugle calls through the trumpet, saying that was how he used to call his
men together, in the old buccaneering days, one most terrific blast
illustrating his signal to fight.
In February, 1930, John King manifested in Dr.
Glen Hamilton's circle in
Winnipeg and carried on a dialogue with "Walter" who controlled another
medium, feigning that they were aboard the pirateship amongst a crew of
ruffians. This play-acting had a psychological purpose: the recovery of
past memories and the imagining of a sailing ship which was afterwards
objectively built out of ectoplasm.
Source (with minor modifications):
An Encyclopaedia of Psychic Science by Nandor Fodor (1934).