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PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 12:17 pm 
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Spiritualist, medium and the last person in Britain to be tried and sentenced under the 1735 Witchcraft Act.

Born in Callander in 1897, the daughter of a cabinet-maker, Helen Duncan was a show woman who travelled throughout Britain, holding regular séances during which she would produce the form of dead people by emitting a cloud-like substance – ectoplasm – from her mouth. These spirits were said to appear, talking and actually touching their relatives.

It was during the years of the Second World War that Duncan’s activities attracted the attention of the Establishment.

In 1941, she spoke with a deceased sailor from HMS Barham and revealed that the ship had been sunk in the Mediterranean, although the War Office did not officially release this fact until several months later. The wartime government had been trying to hush up the loss of 861 British seamen when the German U-boat U331 torpedoed the ship.

On the night of 19th January 1944, one of Helen’s séances was raided by police, in her then hometown of Portsmouth where the Royal Navy’s Home Fleet was based. Officers attempted to stop the ectoplasm issuing from Helen’s mouth, but failed. After some order had been restored, Helen was formally arrested.

It has been alleged that the real reason for the raid was due to the official paranoia surrounding the forthcoming D-Day Normandy landings and the fear that she may reveal the date, location and other details.

In one of the most sensational episodes in wartime Britain, Duncan was eventually brought to trial at the Old Bailey in London and became the last person to be prosecuted under the Witchcraft Act of 1735, which had not been used for more than a century. After a seven-day trial, she was sentenced to nine months in London’s Holloway Prison. She was even denied the right to appeal to the House of Lords.

As a result of the case, the Witchcraft Acts were finally repealed in 1951. A formal Act of Parliament three years later officially recognised spiritualism as a religion.

Helen Duncan was released from prison on the 22 September 1944. However, the harassment she faced appears to have continued right up to her death. In November 1956 the police raided a private séance in Nottingham in an attempt to prove fraud. Once again the investigators failed in their objectives. Five weeks later, the woman who will always be remembered as the last witch, died.

A bronze bust of Helen Duncan, presented to the town of Callander, gives rise to controversy even today, as those with strong religious views object to its public display. As a consequence the sculpture is currently on display at the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum.

https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/H ... ast-witch/


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 4:17 pm 
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Hmm, first credible case I've heard about regarding ectoplasm.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:28 pm 
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Hmm, first credible case I've heard about regarding ectoplasm
maybe

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The psychical researcher Harry Price investigated Duncan at his laboratory and exposed her as a fraud in 1931. Because Duncan had been swallowing natural substances to regurgitate in the séance room for her ectoplasm, she declined to be X-rayed by some of the psychical researchers who investigated her, went out into the street and made a scene. According to Harry Price in a report of the mediumship of Duncan:

“”At the conclusion of the fourth séance we led the medium to a settee and called for the apparatus. At the sight of it, the lady promptly went into a trance. She recovered, but refused to be X-rayed. Her husband went up to her and told her it was painless. She jumped up and gave him a smashing blow on the face which sent him reeling. Then she went for Dr. William Brown who was present. He dodged the blow. Mrs. Duncan, without the slightest warning, dashed out into the street, had an attack of hysteria and began to tear her séance garment to pieces. She clutched the railings and screamed and screamed. Her husband tried to pacify her. It was useless. I leave the reader to visualize the scene. A seventeen-stone woman, clad in black sateen tights, locked to the railings, screaming at the top of her voice. A crowd collected and the police arrived. The medical men with us explained the position and prevented them from fetching the ambulance. We got her back into the Laboratory and at once she demanded to be X-rayed. In reply, Dr. William Brown turned to Mr. Duncan and asked him to turn out his pockets. He refused and would not allow us to search him. There is no question that his wife had passed him the cheesecloth in the street. However, they gave us another séance and the "control" said we could cut off a piece of "teleplasm" when it appeared. The sight of half-a-dozen men, each with a pair of scissors waiting for the word, was amusing. It came and we all jumped. One of the doctors got hold of the stuff and secured a piece. The medium screamed and the rest of the "teleplasm" went down her throat. This time it wasn't cheesecloth. It proved to be paper, soaked in white of egg, and folded into a flattened tube… Could anything be more infantile than a group of grown-up men wasting time, money, and energy on the antics of a fat female crook?
Harry Price and his team of investigators took many photographs of Duncan which revealed her fraudulent ectoplasm to be made from cheesecloth, rubber gloves and cut-out heads from magazine covers which she would pretend to her audience were spirits. Following the report written by Price, Duncan's former maid Mary McGinlay confessed in detail to having aided Duncan in her mediumship tricks, and Duncan's husband admitted that the ectoplasm materialisations were the result of regurgitation.
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In 1933 at a séance in Scotland a little girl called Peggy emerged in the séance room, someone grabbed her and the lights were turned on and the spirit was revealed to be Duncan. She was prosecuted and fined £10. Later Duncan was caught cheating again, pretending to be a spirit in the séance room; this time Duncan and four of her traveling companions were prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to nine months in prison.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:08 am 
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Oooh weee! what up with that?

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nevux3SEz_Y

:D


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:44 am 
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Thanks for the information. It sounds like she was a fraud. I wonder why she was prosecuted then.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:03 pm 
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She was not the last witch. She might have been the last 'officially known' or 'ackknowledged' witch.

Moreover, being sentenced and persecuted as a witch does not make you one - and vice versa. Most practice their magick or witchcraft in secret because they have and/or want to. However, the internet is full of self-proclaimed witches and magicians (if they really are is open to debate for each case).

So there are many witches as well as 'magicians' around the world practicing their craft.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:31 pm 
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Thanks for the information. It sounds like she was a fraud. I wonder why she was prosecuted then.
Yea, I know. Weird. Maybe she p.o’ed the wrong people and they set their minds toward her total destruction. Only thing I can think of at the moment. I mean if she was a simple fraud why not just prosecute her on that basis?

Do I smell a conspiracy? Lol. Who knows?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:34 pm 
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It may be that she did have a genuine gift and then decided to make money out of it fraudulently.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:23 pm 
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It may be that she did have a genuine gift and then decided to make money out of it fraudulently.
A genuine gift of regurgitation ?

That alone sounds slimy.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:48 pm 
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Actually she was likely prosecuted due to fear that she may disclose more top secret information during a time of war. The article states:

"In 1941, she spoke with a deceased sailor from HMS Barham and revealed that the ship had been sunk in the Mediterranean, although the War Office did not officially release this fact until several months later. The wartime government had been trying to hush up the loss of 861 British seamen when the German U-boat U331 torpedoed the ship.

It has been alleged that the real reason for the raid was due to the official paranoia surrounding the forthcoming D-Day Normandy landings and the fear that she may reveal the date, location and other details."

During the war there was a saying: "loose lips sink ships."


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:59 pm 
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Actually she was likely prosecuted due to fear that she may disclose more top secret information during a time of war. The article states:

"In 1941, she spoke with a deceased sailor from HMS Barham and revealed that the ship had been sunk in the Mediterranean, although the War Office did not officially release this fact until several months later. The wartime government had been trying to hush up the loss of 861 British seamen when the German U-boat U331 torpedoed the ship.

It has been alleged that the real reason for the raid was due to the official paranoia surrounding the forthcoming D-Day Normandy landings and the fear that she may reveal the date, location and other details."

During the war there was a saying: "loose lips sink ships."
But why prosecute her under a law banning witchcraft? If she was such an obvious fraud? A fraud who might reveal D-Day plans? Something is missing here.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:14 am 
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Quote:
Quote:
Actually she was likely prosecuted due to fear that she may disclose more top secret information during a time of war. The article states:

"In 1941, she spoke with a deceased sailor from HMS Barham and revealed that the ship had been sunk in the Mediterranean, although the War Office did not officially release this fact until several months later. The wartime government had been trying to hush up the loss of 861 British seamen when the German U-boat U331 torpedoed the ship.

It has been alleged that the real reason for the raid was due to the official paranoia surrounding the forthcoming D-Day Normandy landings and the fear that she may reveal the date, location and other details."

During the war there was a saying: "loose lips sink ships."
But why prosecute her under a law banning witchcraft? If she was such an obvious fraud? A fraud who might reveal D-Day plans? Something is missing here.
I think they suspected that she was a witch or simply did not want to take the chance that she would divulge top secret info. They wanted her off the streets. This was probably the only crime they could pin on her at the time. Somehow she had obtained info that was not known by the general public as is stated in the article. There was to much to lose if she somehow learned about the date of D-day. Clearly, she was governed by her ego. No doubt she would have disclosed the date in a seance to advance her career at the risk of loss of life. She got everyone's attention at a fearful time. It was determined after the war that she was a fraud.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:21 am 
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Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
Actually she was likely prosecuted due to fear that she may disclose more top secret information during a time of war. The article states:

"In 1941, she spoke with a deceased sailor from HMS Barham and revealed that the ship had been sunk in the Mediterranean, although the War Office did not officially release this fact until several months later. The wartime government had been trying to hush up the loss of 861 British seamen when the German U-boat U331 torpedoed the ship.

It has been alleged that the real reason for the raid was due to the official paranoia surrounding the forthcoming D-Day Normandy landings and the fear that she may reveal the date, location and other details."

During the war there was a saying: "loose lips sink ships."
But why prosecute her under a law banning witchcraft? If she was such an obvious fraud? A fraud who might reveal D-Day plans? Something is missing here.
I think they suspected that she was a witch or simply did not want to take the chance that she would divulge top secret info. They wanted her off the streets. This was probably the only crime they could pin on her at the time. Somehow she had obtained info that was not known by the general public as is stated in the article. There was to much to lose if she somehow learned about the date of D-day. Clearly, she was governed by her ego. No doubt she would have disclosed the date in a seance to advance her career at the risk of loss of life. She got everyone's attention at a fearful time. It was determined after the war that she was a fraud.
That must be it I guess. Unfortunate story.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:09 am 
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I see no fakery here. These photographs clearly indicate that Helen Duncan may very well have been 'tasting the pudding'.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File ... uselang=fr

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:27 am 
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I see no fakery here. These photographs clearly indicate that Helen Duncan may very well have been 'tasting the pudding'.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File ... uselang=fr
Lol :)


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