The Mediumship of Mollie Perriman
Details of Mollie Perriman's mediumship are supplied by Mr. A. E. Perriman,
her husband, in his book, Broadcasting From Beyond, from which the following
information has been taken.
Mr. Perriman describes how, through being dissatisfied with the usual opinions expressed about death and life after death, he discussed the matter with a friend who advanced the Spiritualist view. He admits to being very sceptical about this, but considered it only fair to test the possibility, and began to sit twice a week with his wife: an example of their dedication is revealed by the fact that they did this for some twelve years before they heard the first rap. As he says, 'Just remember the best things of life are the hardest to get, and to enjoy them to their fullest, one has to work very hard'.1
After moving to Llandaff in Glamorgan, when Mollie's mediumship was in the initial stages of development, a sitting was held at short notice due to a request by a visiting friend. At this, the phenomena were of a better quality with table vibration and levitation, together with the sitters also being levitated. As Mr. Perriman notes, 'Our combined weight totaled nearly thirty-five stones, yet we were lifted off our feet by some unknown power with such ease'. He also admitted that the sequence of events, that took place in the dark, had unsettled him and, 'We were unnerved, and not ashamed to admit it'.2 It was only with considerable reluctance that Mr. Perriman consented to a further séance a week later, and this was only forthcoming when it was agreed there would be a handy box of matches in the room. At this séance, Mr. Perriman, Mollie and their friend, heard rappings soon after it began. However, these were not only on the table on which the sitters had placed their hands, but on various parts of the walls. Only fifteen minutes later, the sitters witnessed the manifestation of ectoplasm that Mr. Perriman described as looking like 'snow'.3 While discussing this, a noise was heard and the sitters discovered that a cross from another room had been apported, but were further astounded to see that a piece of honeysuckle, from the garden, had been attached to it. After their friend departed, Mollie and her husband continued with their investigation of the subject and in the next sitting, witnessed the manifestation of lights that Mr. Perriman describes as 'huge patches of lights twinkling like stars in the heavens'. In fact, the illumination was so great that the couple, despite sitting in a room without any normal light, could see each other. On hearing the noise of rappings, they began to ask the communicator questions, but on this occasion, sadly, Mr. Perriman reports, 'we failed to get any message'.4
Despite the lack of success, they continued to hold séances and while nothing dramatic occurred, they were intrigued by the fact that the name 'Belle' was rapped out on several occasions. The phenomena improved when their friend, together with his wife, visited and participated; this effected the phenomenon of physical touches along with object movement. At a later séance, a message was rapped out asking that the sitters obtain a trumpet and promised, 'We will try to speak'. The sitters complied with the request and on the next occasion when they sat together, after about twenty minutes, they witnessed a movement of the trumpet: 'It circled round, dipping and rising...This went on for a little while, and then the trumpet gently tapped our heads'.5 As so often happens with this type of phenomenon, the sitters began to hear hissing and then gurgling noises, and eventually a voice was heard. This only greeted those present and then promised to speak again at a later date. Mr. Perriman adds how he and Mollie realized the problem of communicators being able to speak, and furthermore, do so in their pre- mortem voice.
With the obvious progress made, the Perrimans were anxious to improve the communications and shortly afterwards, another séance was held in which: 'we observed the trumpet leave the table and rise above our heads where it remained suspended'. Fully expecting yet more inarticulate noises to occur, as before, those present were astonished when, 'a terrific "voice" bellowed through the trumpet...It was deafening, and vibrated the whole room'. The communicator was a Welsh clergyman who spoke at length; indeed those present were held 'spellbound' by his speaking.6 After this, details given by the clergyman, concerning his home and two daughters, were checked and found to be as he had described them. In the course of time, as Mollie's mediumship developed, other next-world visitors became a regular part of the séance, and took on the role of controls. Belle, a young Indian girl communicator, became firmly attached to the circle and often assisted in organizing the next-world interaction with the circle. Despite the progress being made, the Perrimans experienced one particularly disturbing séance in which the atmosphere became unpleasant and suffocating and a voice was heard, swearing and cursing. Even a dog, present in the room, began to react, snarling at the being who had interrupted the proceedings. After this event, the Perrimans decided that it was essential that the appropriate mental attitude be adopted for séances; after this episode, much greater care was taken concerning the procedures carried out, and they were not troubled again in such a manner.
Further development later occurred when Belle gave instructions for the séances and shortly afterwards, a materialization joined the sitters, going up to each one and speaking. Belle then partly materialized and also went to each sitter and spoke. Following her departure, Mr Perriman describes how, 'twenty-two entities communicated, among them being my wife's four brothers who were killed in World War I, my mother, my brother-in-law, my two regimental pals...who were killed..[in] 1916'.7 Belle's abilities were surely demonstrated when she described someone who had burgled the Perriman's home; only after she insisted that no action be taken against the man as, 'He was poor, his wife was seriously ill, and his children had no food', did she supply enough details about the man by which Mr. Perriman could trace him; the enquiries that he made, 'confirmed Belle's statements'.8 Not surprisingly, after it was evident that the communications were both valid and strong, the Perrimans were told by one of the regular communicators that the 'direct voice is intended for the many and not for you alone', and they were to move to London.9 There was some argumentation about this and it was only after a considerable number of hurdles, that Mollie and her husband followed the instruction to move and she was able to provide evidence of survival to a greater number of people.
In the usual Spiritualist tradition, the Christmas parties were an occasion always welcomed by the Perrimans. Hannen Swaffer recorded one such occasion referring to it as 'the most remarkable séance'. At this, one child communicator explained that in the case of the toys brought into the séance room: 'We take back with us the impression of them, and then each has one like the one chosen here'. Hannen Swaffer noted that after the celebrations, the actual toys were sent to children living in the slum areas of London.10 The séance lasted for over two hours; during this period the sitters could hear the children having heated discussions about who was to have a certain toy, although Belle endeavoured to keep some order in the proceedings. The séance was also not only enjoyable, but evidential: 'Several children were recognised by sitters. Several were addressed by their pet names'.11
The séances conducted by the Perrimans also provided an opportunity for those killed in the war to demonstrate their survival. One, in 1932, began with the usual prayer and hymn, and within a short time 'a trumpet, with bands of luminous paint, was seen above our heads beating time with the music'. Furthermore, 'many spirit lights, too, were observed in different parts of the room'.12 On this occasion, there were communications with the sitters, from those who had killed, in which personal conversations took place. Mr Perriman notes of this particular event: 'The séance lasted two hours, and there were fifty-three spirit communicators'.13 In view of the success, Mollie gave public demonstrations at which a microphone was installed in order that the hundreds of sitters would hear what was being said; at the demonstration on 15 October, 1933, one communicator after another spoke to the audience, and a number of sitters who were there issued a statement, 'that they had received from relations and friends who have departed this life unmistakable messages'.14
A short time later, another demonstration was organized by Noah Zerdin, and once again numerous persons who had departed this life made themselves known. One communicator spoke on behalf of another who was unable to speak and asked that his message be relayed on to his sisters, also supplying their address. A letter was then written to the sisters who confirmed details about the person who had been unable to communicate. Further evidence was forthcoming at the public séance held at the Victoria Hall in London on 27 April, 1935. It was decided that, despite the problems caused, light would be permitted in order that the sitters could see Mollie while the communicators spoke. The light was in fact 'sufficient to enable all sitters to see each other clearly', and although Mollie was shielded from the light during the main part of the séance, the voices were heard before this when Mollie was in view. Despite this being an experiment, 'the voices were strong and clear, and came plainly through the microphone'. One of the communicators was a clergyman from Bourton-on-the-Water who asked that people be assured of his survival. The voices that were heard on this occasion were recorded, and when the recording of the clergyman speaking was later played to those who had known him before his death, they confirmed 'His voice is the same'.15
of the more interesting features of Mollie's mediumship was that the
same communicators would manifest themselves not only at her own
circle, but that of Hannen Swaffer. As her mediumship developed, the
phenomena became even more impressive with full materializations. On
one occasion, Noah Zerdin's wife materialized and the couple were able
to embrace each other: the description of the time following was that
'the form moved round the room. The face was distinctly seen...An odour
of ozone mingled with perfume filled the room'.16 In
addition to this visit, and after over thirty different communicators
had spoken, the sitters enjoyed the manifestation of apports.
One of the more spectacular demonstration of Mollie's mediumship was undoubtedly the occasion when a séance was conducted in a garden. As successful communications had taken place in both red and white light (sometimes as strong as one hundred watts), a séance in a garden environment at dusk, seemed to be the next logical, and surely the most pleasant step for those seeking communication with their loved ones. In this instance, Mr Perriman together with three friends sat in the garden of one of the friends and he records how, 'we noticed that the medium appeared to be covered with some luminous substance...The voices spoke apparently from the air'. After Belle had spoken, 'then came the father of one sitter. He gave very good evidence, mentioning family names and telling of incidents which were at once recognised'. After other communicators made themselves known to those present, the conclusion of the sitters was that, 'the séance was remarkable, having regard to the close proximity of the garden to a main London road with its continual stream of motor traffic. During the séance, psychic lights flitted around our feet'.17
Illustrating that mediumship is not limited to only providing evidence of survival, Mollie was also able to prevent suicides by those who were grieving the passing of their loved ones. In one case a woman had a sitting with Mollie, with nothing being known about her beforehand. After the séance began, a boy began speaking to the sitter saying that his father was also present. He referred to her grieving and told her that she should not carry out the action she had been contemplating as 'you won't join us, as you think you will'.18 After the séance ended, the sitter explained that after her husband and only son had died, she had often thought of committing suicide and had even attempted it on more than more occasion. However, after hearing the words of wisdom from her son, Mr Perriman notes, 'it was a very different person who left our house that evening'.19
Mr Perriman relates how, after just seven years following the move to London, 'we have held some two thousand five hundred sittings, and have listened to over ten thousand spirit entities discourse'.20 In these and the many that followed, Mollie Perriman was able to demonstrate, through her remarkable physical mediumship, to so many people, the reality of the life that follows physical death.
NB. This article appeared in the Ark Review of December 1998. As has been reproduced here their kind permission,
1 Perriman, A. E., Broadcasting From Beyond (London: Psychic Book Club, 1952), p.9.
2 Perriman, Ibid., pp.17,18.
3 Perriman, Ibid., p.19.
4 Perriman, Ibid., p.20.
5 Perriman, Ibid., p.23.
6 Perriman, Ibid., pp.25,26.
7 Perriman, Ibid., pp.37-38.
8 Perriman, Ibid., p.43.
9 Perriman, Ibid., p.50.
10 Perriman, Ibid., pp.61,62.
11 Perriman, Ibid., p.64.
12 Perriman, Ibid., p.68.
13 Perriman, Ibid., p.75.
14 Perriman, Ibid., p.76.
15 Perriman, Ibid., pp.88,89,90.
16 Perriman, Ibid., p.108.
17 Perriman, Ibid., p.120.
18 Perriman, Ibid., p.128.
19 Perriman, Ibid., p.129.
20 Perriman, Ibid., p.55.