The Mediumship of Estelle Roberts

by Travis Sanders

Many people hail the late Gordon Higginson as one of the greatest mediums to have ever graced Spiritualism. Higginson, however, held another to such high esteem. He viewed Estelle Roberts as what he referred to as the “perfect medium,” artful and highly skilled in mental mediumship, trance mediumship, and physical mediumship, Roberts has been described by others as “the most versatile British medium of the time.”


Roberts was born in London in 1889, claiming psychic experiences at an early age. It wasn’t until marrying Arthur Roberts in 1920, that a neighbor invited her to a spiritualist circle. Within the circle, Roberts was told that she was a medium, and that if she didn’t believe it, to go home and sit for Spirit at a small table, which she did for 6 days with no indication or proof or her alleged mediumistic skills. This was until day 7, when exasperated, Roberts stood up and walked away, and the table responded by following her to the other side of the room. It was then she heard a voice saying…

“I come to serve the world. You serve with me, and I serve with you.”

Red Cloud

The voice was that her control, or Spirit guide, Red Cloud, who much like Silver Birch, the Spirit guide of Maurice Barbanell, (a friend, colleague, and supporter of Roberts), Red Cloud, would become well-known in his own right.

Roberts was masterful on the platform, and demonstrated all over the UK for thousands of people at a time, including an audience of 6,000 at the Royal Albert Hall. In her book Great Moments of Modern Mediumship Vol. 1, author Maxine Meilleur, describes Roberts “unflappable tenacity” with a brief transcript of one of Roberts’ demonstrations.


He has brought a Jim with him.
I cant place a Jim.
He’s your mother’s brother.
Yes, thats right.
He’s met Aunt Jinny.
I dont remember her.
She’s an in-law connected with your mother. Her name is Mary Anne Jane.
Oh, Yes!
They have brought Mary with them.
Mary? I cant recall her.
Well, I must help you then. She is your father’s sister.
Oh, Yes! “


Perhaps Roberts most important work in her career was ushering in the recognition of Spiritualism as a credible religion, and the overturning of the outdated witchcraft act (replaced with the Fraudulent Medium Act) when she demonstrated powerful and convincing clairvoyance in the British House of Commons in the 1950’s.

Estelle, went home to the Spirit World in 1970.

The Spirit Book: Buckland
Great Moments of Modern Mediumship: Meilleur
50 Years a Medium: Roberts

Online Sources:


Transfiguration Phenomena

By Travis Sanders

The medium takes her seat inside the cloth draped cabinet. A dim red light shines from above. The sitters sing a few upbeat songs as the medium lulls herself into a trance state. Suddenly a whitish haze begins to build in front of the mediums face. Sitters are astounded when the facial features begin to change. The middle aged woman now looks like an asian man, a bearded farmer, a young girl…That is exactly what happened to those who sat for transfiguration medium, Queenie Nixon.

Parapsychologist and psychical researcher, Nandor Fodor, defines Transfiguration, a type of physical mediumship, as ‘The metamorphic power of the medium to assume bodily characteristics of deceased people for their representation.”

Queenie Nixon

            Ectoplasmic Face materializing just above Nixon’s Face during seance


Queenie Nixon 1918-1989 was involved in Spiritualism and seances from a young age, attending with her aunties who would later nurture her gifts. It was as a young girl, Queenie fell drowsy at a circle, and attendees saw other faces superimposing over her own. She would eventually become the queen of transfiguration phenomena of the time and inspire other developing mediums such as Diane Elliott (d.2013) who saw Queenie’s feats and decided she would develop the gift herself.

While sitting for physical mediumship development, Diane trained in mental mediumship and platform demonstration with Mavis Patilla, and was even given validation from Gordon Higginson that her gifts were blossoming, in a “Physical Week” at Stanstead Hall, Arthur Findlay College. In all it took 15 years for Diane’s transfiguration to reach full development. Other notable transfiguration mediums of a more modern era include Jean Skinner, and Sharon Harvey.

While it may seem like Transfiguration is a mediumship trick of the era of seance parlors and Spiritualist meetings, many Spiritualist view the biblical Transfiguration on the Mount, as a demonstration of Christ’s unparalleled mediumship.


Book of Matthew :

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

Traditionally, transfiguration uses ectoplasm to form a mask of sorts over the mediums facial features, which might leave some to argue that the transfiguration on the mount, was actually more Materialization phenomena than transfiguration, although as you can see in the above photo of Queen Nixon’s mediumship, that the faces could appear above or to the side of the medium also, being considered a partial materialization. Either way, its a rare form of mediumship few today have been blessed enough to witness.

The last medium I wish to mention is Rev John Lilek.

John Lilek 1957-2014

The internet yields a lot of garbage in regards to self proclaimed physical mediums. A quick search of transfiguration on youtube yields numerous results of A) well-intentioned but delusional people who clearly do not have any true talent for transfiguration, or B) People using trickery with lighting to attempt to fool others.
However in a video of some photographs of Rev Lilek, notable genuine transfiguration can be seen.

Rev John was a teacher and healer through the Universal Spiritualist Association ordained in 1992. He was the student of regarded Transfiguration and Materialization medium, Rev James Tingley. He was the co-pastor of the Temple of Love & Light Spiritualist Church, in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

In her book: Mediumship, Scrying & Transfiguration, Diana Palm describes one of the last seances John gave before his passing, where not only did remarkable transfiguration occur, but so did spirit lights, the dematerialization of a spirit trumpet, trance speaking AND direct voice phenomena occurred, where Chesterfield medium, Mabel Riffle came to speak with the sitters.

Mediumship, Scrying and Transfiguration for beginners: Palm
The Spirit Book: Buckland