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Jack Webber Physical Medium

Jack Webber Physical Medium: the back story

In the 80 years since Jack Webber's sudden passing he has become a legend. But never has the story behind his last 16 months been fully told, until now and by his nephew.

Jack Webber Physical Medium: the back story

Jack Webber Physical Medium: the back story

By Denzil Fairbairn

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March 2020 marks the 80th anniversary of the death of the most photographed physical medium, Jack Webber.  He was 33 years old when he died, a few days after an act of kindness to a stranger on a train. This is an important piece of Physical Mediumship history. Never before has the story been told in detail of the years leading up to the last 16 months of his life, so well publicised by Harry Edwards in his book, "The Mediumship of Jack Webber".  Here there are records from family papers, reports from the Psychic Press of seances, a challenge of fraud and reports by eminent researchers and other mediums. Many infra-red photographs showing the ectoplasmic phenomena not considered good enough for inclusion in Harry Edwards' original book are included here as well as uncropped versions of others showing the sitters in the séances at the time the phenomena occurred. The author, his nephew, also writes of events after Jack Webber's passing in March 1940, never before revealed. With 64 illustrations within the pages we see into the séance rooms, get to know the family and the hardships following the medium's death.

Product Details
  • Paperback: 134 pages
  • Publisher:Saturday Night Press Publications; New edition (20th Feb 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908421364
  • Product Dimensions: 14.0 x 0.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Price: £9.50(UK),  $14.00(US)
From the book...


Jack Webber & RhondaJack was introduced into the London Spiritualist fraternity on 21st April 1938, when an inaugural London séance took place, in a private home. The séance was amazing, and additional invites were extended for Jack to demonstrate again. He returned to London on 7th May and stayed until 10th during which time two more séances were held.

During one of these early séances Harry Edwards met the ex-miner from South Wales and there began a close friendship. It was soon agreed that Jack’s future probably lay in London and at Jack's behest, after a few months, accommodation was found for him and his extended family in the London area.

The next sixteen months were truly momentous in the life of Jack and his promoter Harry Edwards, resulting in the publishing of an excellent book detailing Jack's mediumistic achievements and a 78rpm record, captured by Decca Records, of his Guide, Reuben, singing two Spiritualist hymns. However, the story does not begin there and neither does it stop there.

Prior to the work carried out with Harry Edwards in London, which is very well documented in Edwards' book, many years had been spent in South Wales developing and honing the Spiritual gifts of Jack Webber.

With the aid of family photos and records, other photographs of Jack Webber's physical phenomena not previously seen before, together with financial documents, newspaper cuttings and sundry records collected by Harry Edwards, plus memorabilia relating to aspects of Jack Webber the Medium, that have been retrieved (indeed salvaged) from the Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary, the background story can now be told!

Chapter 3 - Spreading his Wings

Jacket Removal… a séance was held a week later in which direct voice and other phenomena provided a large company of sitters with convincing evidence of spirit returns. …

Then came another voice who claimed to be a friend and was accepted by one of the sitters. He told him that a great weight had been lifted from him. "Well who are you, please?" asked the sitter. "I am Llew Rees and I was killed outright in the colliery. My body was buried under tons of topping." This was verified as true.

Next came a spirit voice which exclaimed, "George, I am glad you are present. I am your Aunt Jane." Mr McCracken and his aunt then went on to hold an animated and intimate conversation containing much evidence. After a few moments the trumpet floated away from George and across the circle saying "There is another one present I must speak to. It is my old and trusted friend, Mrs Graham." There was a sense of reality as two old friends greeted one another with feeling and joy.

Then a voice for the Misses Edna and Millicent Davies, of Aberavon was heard. Their Father, Mother, brother and a friend of their mother spoke for a long time to them giving clear evidence of their identity. These two young women had lost both parents some seven years previously but have now found them again thanks to the wonderful gift of mediumship and Spiritualism.

This was followed by a remarkable form of phenomena. The medium, still in trance, rose from his chair and walked across the room, with all the ropes remaining secured to his body. He shook hands warmly with Mr Turner and whispered a warning to him of things likely to happen in the séance which could spoil everything. Several of the sitters were sensitives and were judged to be giving way to their spirit controls and were thus sapping the power in the room which might easily bring chaos in the séance. Mr Webber returned to his chair and within less than a minute the guide requested that the lights be put on and the knots examined.

Mr Webber was found to be securely tied to his chair with all the sailor-made knots being completely intact. The lights were once again turned down and some old melody was sung, Mr Webber's coat was taken off his person, but the ropes around him were found to be still unbroken and the jacket was later found to be upon the lap of a sitter several yards distant from the medium.

Chapter 5 - Phenomena Challenged

Jack Webber relaxingIn February/March 1939 Jack Webber's mediumship was brought into question with the accusation of fraud in connection with his physical mediumship being levelled at him during a séance organized through a Mr & Mrs Bell who with a party from the Kent House Sanctuary, Beckenham., came in force with a preconceived plan to 'Frame up' and expose the medium. This was proved by the fact that Harry Edwards received a telephone warning from Psychic News, on Tuesday February 7th 1939, a few hours before, of the group's intentions. They came armed with torches to flash a beam of light on the medium, these were shown to Mr Edwards following the séance. To his knowledge only one of the group members had previously sat with Jack Webber. The remainder including Mr & Mrs Bell came organized to condemn at all costs without any first-hand knowledge of the mediumship. ….

What appeared to take place happened during the roping of the medium. Two sitters were nominated to rope the medium. One person (un-associated with the party) tied the medium up tightly. The second person was one of the Bells' party, nominated by Mrs Rolfe. As part of a pre-arranged plan, the ropes were deliberately left loose on one side, this in spite of the medium's request that the ropes around the arm be tied tighter, and that his upper arms be lashed to the back of the chair. At the end of the séance, Mrs Bell's first and immediate action was to go to the loose roping and point it out. …

Séance in Red Light:
The séance with Jack Webber reported below, was held prior to March 3rd, 1939 and red light was on for the whole of the séance, so that what happened was visible to the eyes of each sitter present; the following phenomena occurred:

Levitation of trumpet in slow and violent motion, levitation of the medium roped to his chair, full length materialized forms appeared.

The Guide said he would de-materialize the medium and in good red light, before everyone's eyes, we saw the head, hands and wrists vanish, leaving just the medium's clothes sitting in the chair. It remained so for approximately one minute. They all then saw the rapid re-emergence of the medium back into his suit once more.

Mr Edward's hand was taken hold of by a hand and placed on the medium's hand. A similar action was taken with the sitter on the other side of the medium. Where did these hands come from? Even though red light was on for the duration of the séance at times white light was also put on to show more clearly such things as the roping of the medium to the chair. ….

Chapter 6 - The apported Egyptian amulet

Jacket RemovalThe production of apports had occurred throughout Jack Webber's mediumship. Their method of arrival demonstrated that apported objects may come via the medium's body. This is consistent with those apport mediums who produce apports using a trumpet for their delivery.

Harry Edwards explains in his book The Mediumship of Jack Webber that the trumpet is connected to the medium by an ectoplasmic arm/rod. The apport in its dematerialized condition travels via the medium's body, along the ectoplasmic appendage into the mouth of the trumpet where it is materialized; the trumpet acting as a conserver or retainer for the ectoplasmic force and the act of materialisation.

On one occasion in 1939 the apporting of two objects was witnessed in red light. For some hours before a séance when apports may occur, Jack would feel a tightness of the abdomen and was therefore able, at times, to know what was intended.

On the occasion referred to, he had this sensation and therefore he invited a search to be made of his person in the séance room before the start of procedures. This was carried out by Mr Stanley Croft, a member of the Metropolitan Police Force and a member of the new circle, in view of all the sitters and prior to Jack being roped to his chair.

The red light was on, it was sufficiently bright enough for all to see the medium bound to the chair. Trumpets were in levitation, also clearly discernible in the red light. One of these turned around, presenting its large end to Jack's solar plexus (mid-torso) area and an object was heard to fall into it. It then came across to Harry Edwards who was instructed to take the article from inside the trumpet—an Egyptian Amulet.

Chapter 7 -  Jack Webber's Mediumship Investigated

Jack WebberEctplasmic extrusionsThe following detail relates to work carried out by well-known Psychic Investigator Mr B. Abdy Collins C.I.E. …..

This was the era of an invention called Infra-Red Photography which allowed that which was being produced in the dark of the séance room to be witnessed, as though being photographed in day light.
The series of photographic plates included in Harry Edwards’ book were quite unique of their time and remain some of the best attested to records of physical phenomena ever produced. These were selected as being the best examples of the different types of phenomena through Jack's mediumship. However, other photographs do exist, but they weren't considered necessarily good enough for inclusion in the final publication of Harry's book. The following pages contain some of those photographs of Jack Webber's mediumship and phenomena not previously used for publication. Some due to the poor quality of the photograph[1] but I believe these "also rans" are still extremely interesting to study and I believe form a more complete record of that short period in Jack's mediumship in London, so I include them within this publication as they are worthy of viewing by those interested in this subject. …

[1] With today’s Photoshop technology the original 80 year old photographs have been given a little more contrast for this publication but absolutely NO other changes have been made to them.  (AH Publisher)

Ch 8 - In the midst of Life We are in Death

The new year started well with séances for the International Institute of Psychic Investigation — as documented in the previous chapter and as Addenda in Harry Edward's book, but Jack developed influenza during February and passed a few weeks later. His life cut short with an untimely passing on March 9th 1940 at the age of 32 years and 10 months.

There are several versions, by various authors, giving details of Jack's health condition in the days leading up to his passing. One version in Paul Miller's book, "Born to Heal", the story of Harry Edwards from the mid 1950's, is taken from Harry Edwards' own book , "Science of Spirit Healing" (1943), and another briefer version is recalled by Harry Edwards in his own later book, "Spirit Healing" from 1960.

There is also an account which is included in my Grandmother, Nellie Evans' letter, from the late 1940's which she entitled "Family Saga of Psychic Gifts" some of which is already included in this book, detailing Jack's development and early years of his mediumship. Nellie writes;

"After living in Balham for a year, war had broken out, but Jack still carried on with his work, travelling long distances under great difficulties. He was taken ill with influenza but before he had time to properly recover, he undertook an engagement up north. On his return journey he travelled by train….

Ch 9 - "Post Mortem"

There was and has been speculation since the time of his passing that Jack had become a wealthy man. The simple truth behind these speculations is that that he had not become and was not wealthy. He may well have been considered as not too badly off by the standards of the day but it wasn't truly the case when one has to take into consideration that he had a wife and young family to support, as well as his in-laws who shared the same house as him during that period. …

Jack has been accused of being a bit of a gambler and prone to wasting his money particularly at the Penny Arcade on Balham High Street and I don't seek to defend Jack in this matter because it's true! He did like to wander down to the High Street, sometimes with Harry Edwards for company, to spend an afternoon on the slots. His especial favourite for whiling the time away was the 'Crane machine'. Nowadays this type of machine is filled with fluffy toys which one must try and extricate with a dodgy claw grabber. Back then they were filled with more elaborate items such as lighters, pens, watches, cigarettes and note cases etc. …

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