THE FAMOUS spirit control of Miss Florence Cook. She claimed to be the
daughter of John King, but of her identity even less proof is available
than of her father's. She began to manifest in the Cook house when
Florence was a girl of 15. She was seen almost daily, the first time in
April, 1872, showing a death-like face between the curtains. Later her
materialisations became more perfect, but it was only after a year of
experimental work that she could walk out of the cabinet and show
herself in full figure to the sitters. She was a nearly permanent
inhabitant of the Cook household, walked about the house, appeared at
unexpected moments, and went to bed with the medium, much to her
annoyance. When Florence married, complications arose. According to
Florence Marryat, Capt. Corner used to feel at first as if he had
married two women, and was not quite sure which of the two was his wife.
According to all accounts she was a beautiful girl.
William Crookes had forty
flashlight photographs of Katie. In most of them she noticeably
resembles Miss Cook, but Crookes had no doubt of her
"Photography was inadequate," he wrote in
Researches into the
Phenomena of Modern Spiritualism, "to depict the
perfect beauty of Katie's face, as words are powerless to describe her
charm of manner. Photography may, indeed, give a map of her countenance;
but how can it reproduce the brilliant purity of her complexion, or the
ever varying expression of her most mobile features, now overshadowed
with sadness when relating some of the bitter experiences of her past
life, now smiling with all the innocence of happy girlhood when she had
collected my children round her, and was amusing them by recounting
anecdotes of her adventures in India?"
Her name was Annie Owen Morgan. She was about twelve years old when
Charles I. was beheaded. She married, had two children and committed
many crimes, murdering them with her own hands. She died quite young, at
the age of 22 or 23. Her attachment to Florence Cook served the purpose
of convincing the world of the truth of spiritualism. This work was
given her on the other side as a service to expiate her earthly sins. On
her farewell appearance, after three years of constant manifestations,
she declared that her years of suffering were now over, she would ascend
to a higher sphere from where she could only correspond with her medium
through automatic writing at long intervals, though clairvoyantly
Florence would be able to see her.
In her early manifestations in the Davenport sťances Katie King was
apparently far less spiritual than at the time of the Crookes records.
Robert Cooper, describing a direct voice consultation of the spirits by
the Davenports, writes:
"The next minute a shrill female voice was heard
immediately in front of us. It was like that of a person of the lower
walks of life and talked away, like many persons do, for the mere sake
of talking. It was intimated that it was 'Kate' who was speaking. There
was a great attempt on her part at being witty, but according to my
ideas on such matters, most of what was said would come under the
category of small - very small - wit."
In another passage he writes:
"Unlike John, Kate will talk any length of time, as long in fact as she
can find anything to talk about, even if it be the most frivolous
nonsense; but I must do her the justice to say that she talks sensibly
enough at times, and I have heard great wisdom in her utterances, and
satisfactory answers given to profound philosophical questions."
The "Katie" who assisted "John King" in the sťances of
Frank Herne and
Charles Williams is apparently not identifiable with Katie King, as the former,
after the materialisation of a negro hand, was described as a descendant
of that race. Her voice was like a whisper but perfectly distinct. The
transportation of Mrs. Guppy to the room of Williams was put down to her
A rather dubious Katie King manifested through the mediumship of
Mrs. Holmes of Philadelphia. Dr. Henry T. Child and Robert Dale Owen
have seen her materialise on May 121 1874. Robert Dale Owen believed
that she was identical with the control of Miss Cook, though her
features differed from those in the photograph of the London Katie. The
nose was straight, not aquiline and the expression was more
intellectual. Crookes, who had seen a photograph of the Philadelphia
Katie, had no hesitation in declaring her as a fraud. To justify her
appearance in America the Philadelphia Katie King declared:
"Some of my
English friends misinterpreted my parting words. I took final leave not
of your earth, but of dear Florrie Cook, because my continuance with her
would have injured her health."
A rather limp explanation which was
further disproved by the circumstance that Florence Cook, under the
control of another spirit, Marie, continued her materialisation sťances
without injury to her health.
In October, 1930, Katie King unexpectedly manifested in Dr.
Hamilton's circle in Winnipeg. Photographs were taken. According to Dr.
"Obviously it is wholly impossible to say whether or not
this Mary M-Mercedes-Katie King is the same being as the entity
appearing in the experiments of Crookes and others. We have the word of
the controls in this case that it is so and we have seen how, so far,
these controls have repeatedly established the fact that they know
whereof they speak... While there are, I may say, some points of
similarity to be traced between Katie as photographed by Crookes and
Katie as photographed in the Winnipeg experiments, both faces for
instance being rather long in formation, the eyes in both being large
and luminous, the angle of the jaw in both being rather pronounced, the
later Katie is so much younger in appearance, her beauty so much more
apparent that it is evident that we cannot use the earlier record of her
presence in any way as conclusive proof that there is any connection
between the two."
Source (with minor modifications):
An Encyclopaedia of Psychic Science by Nandor Fodor (1934).