One of our pioneer Presidents (1912)

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Light – February 24, 1912

A Quaker Spirit Described and Recognised.

Sir, Perhaps the following may he helpful to many of the readers of ‘ LIGHT,’ whilst it may be equally interesting to those whom it is difficult to convince. About. twenty-six years have elapsed since there passed over, in the City of Dublin, a well-known philanthropist and social reformer, Richard Allen. He was a member of the Society of Friends, and a leader in every good work. I was a partner in business with him for nearly twenty years, and during that long period there never was a shadow of cloud between us.

Now comes the point of my story. Some six years ago I was led into the Spiritualist movement, since when there have been few of my departed friends who has not manifested to me in some way or other. Until recently I had frequently remarked that surely something must be wanting in Spiritualism when one of the best men I ever knew, and with whom I was so closely connected, had never been seen beside me. I cannot say so now.

Some six weeks ago, as I left the platform after a Sunday evening meeting, a lady member of our association, who is an excellent clairvoyante, came forward and pleasantly inquired who ‘the nice old gentleman’ was whom she had seen beside me all the evening. She proceeded to describe my friend, whose marked appearance there was no mistaking. Need I say what unspeakable satisfaction it gave me? A fortnight later she again informed me that my old friend had been with me during the evening.

Two weeks later we had a lady medium from Glasgow giving clairvoyant descriptions after the lecture. I was not presiding on that occasion, but seated amongst the audience. This lady publicly described my friend to me in a different way, but equally convincing. Full details would be of little general interest, and I shall only mention one point. After describing his personal appearance, she said that he wore a peculiar-looking coat; it seemed as if the collar had been taken off, as there was only something like a band where the collar should be. She had no difficulty in describing this peculiarity, although she did not seem to understand it; but to me it was quite intelligible, knowing as I did the style of garments formerly worn by the Society of Friends.

On Sunday, the 4th inst., the first-mentioned lady again saw my friend beside me, and on this last occasion he was accompanied by an old lady, the description of whose dress, &c.,was that of a Quakeress. I recognised her as his sister, whom I knew very well, and who retained that style of dress to the last. In the later years of his life Mr. Allen discontinued wearing the distinctive dress, and I am convinced that he showed himself in it merely to confirm his identity. I was pleased to get the overwhelming testimony; at the same time I never knew anyone whose personal appearance could be confounded with his.

Now, to sum this matter up: Although I know both the ladies referred to, neither of them had ever heard of my friend’s existence, and both have since informed me that they knew nothing of the Quaker fashion until I told them, after they bad seen the forms beside me. There are those who cannot deny phenomena, but try to account for them all by telepathy, or some such theory. I wonder where that theory fits in here? Why not adopt the simplest solution -viz, survival after death and continued existence?


JAMES HALL (President, Edinburgh Association of Spiritualists)