Paschal Beverly Randolph

By Travis Sanders

pbr-215x300

One of the most fascinating figures I have come across in the world of Spiritualism and the occult is that of Paschal Beverly Randolph.

Born October 8, 1825, Paschal was a descendant of William Randolph, an early American colonist and politician. Paschal was a free man of mixed raced, his mother, Flora, was said to be descendant of a queen in Madagascar. Flora, died young, leaving Paschal’s half-sister, Harriet to raise him for part of his youth.

In his late teens, Randolph set to sea as a sailor, exploring Europe, Africa and the far east, where he was exposed to, and studied esoteric, medicinal and magical practices of numerous cultures. He even studied under and befriended Elphias Levi, a famous french occultist and ceremonial magician. By his mid twenties, he returned from sea to pursue a career as a writer and lecturer.

Randolph firmly supported abolishing slavery, and even spent time teaching literacy to freed slaves. In the course of lecturing, teaching, writing, and traveling, he was exposed to Spiritualism and adopted the faith, eventually developing as a trance-medium, who demonstrated in halls for many. His numerous books include- Clairvoyance, How to Produce It, and Seership! The Magnetic Mirror.

pb-randolph-20150729

Like many Spiritualist, Paschal Randolph was a progressive thinker, supporting abolitionism, free love, and even birth control as early as the late 1850’s.  He was also known for introducing teachings on sex and the spirituality of sex and sex magick to the western world. He established the First Rosicrucian Order in the United States (Brotherhood of Eulis & Ordo Templi Orientis), a sect of an esoteric brotherhood derived from a 17th century order named for Christian Rosenkreutz, whose aim was to illuminate christian mysteries through an occult lens of understanding. He achieved titles of Supreme Hierarch, and Grand Templar.

While Paschal Beverly Randolph traveled all over the world, he primarily placed roots in New York, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Ohio, where he founded a publishing company. Randolph died by suicide at age 49, in Toledo, Ohio. His feast day is July 29th.

Sources: 
Conjuring Harriet ‘Mama Moses’ Tubman by Witchdoctor Utu
zeroequalstwo.net
Wikipedia.com
Oto.usa.org
Theosophy.wiki

 

 

The Mediumship of Ethel Post Parish

It’s a shame more people don’t know her name, one of the greatest American physical mediums of the last century, Ether Post (Parish)

EthelPost-Parrish.jpg

I have felt inspired to write a blog about EPP for some time, the difficulty is in information about her life being scarce, with the exception of a few detailed accounts of some materialization seance. However, I will give you what I know.

Known for her direct voice and materialization mediumship, EPP contributed greatly to the world of Spiritualism. In the early 20’s she opened a church and learning center in Miami, FL, and was a regular at Camp Chesterfield, evening owning what is now know as the “President’s house” with her husband, then president Myron Post in 1924.

silverbelle_0004.jpgTrumpet  levitated

Ethel’s Cousin, and powerhouse force at Camp Chesterfield was Rev Mabel Riffle. While Mabel passed before my time, I have had the pleasure of speaking to Riffle posthumously via direct voice in two separate seances. To say “when Mabel speaks, you listen” is an understatement.

In 1932, EPP established Silver Bell Spiritualist Camp in Euphrata, PA. The camp was named for Post’s primary control, a native girl named Silver Bell. 

SilverBelle.jpg
Silver Bell

In one notable seance in 1943, EPP materialized three family members for an attending sitter named Emily Fritch. As the materialized communicators exited the spirit cabinet, Post could be sitting in the chair, still entranced, with Silver Bell standing beside her, and a mound of white that looked like a small snow bank of 1- to 2 ft high. This was not snow of course but ectoplasm. Silver Bell reached into the mass and manipulated it to show sitters how the ectoplasm could be used to form the features and ‘clothing’ of the materialized visitors.

EPP was not opposed to contributing through being studied as well. In one materialization seance, a Native American male manifested. An attending researcher asked this figure if he could be weighed. The total weight of this fully solid spirit totaled 37 lbs. Inside the cabinet, the entranced EPP was weighed and showed a 37 lb weight loss from the time the seance started until that moment.

silverbelle_0003Chapel at Camp Silver Bell

Like all physical mediums, Post was not excluded from claims of fraud. Often seen online or in books are pictures of an alleged materialization of Silver Bell.

07sb.jpgMabel Riffle standing, EPP entranced 1953

While it seems obvious to me that this is a cardboard cutout superimposed photo, many people will argue this as evidence that EPP was attempting to fraud people. And while some people (probably those needing glasses) will argue this as genuine, it clearly to me is not. That being said I don’t necessarily believe this was meant to be anything other than a recreation of happenings during a seance.

Such similar photos are that of Helen Duncan, and the materialization that looks like a puppet…because it was. Not that she was trying to pass those photos off as genuine, but was trying to recreate (for a jury in her instance) the happenings of a seance, during her infamous trial. It was meant to be an illustration, and I believe this to be the case with EPP and this photo as well.

I wish more was known about Ethel Post Parish, she contributed greatly to the cause, and her name deserves to be remembered.

 

Sources:

Seance 101: Kuzmeskus
Chesterfield Lives:

Online Resources:

Wikipedia
gotsc.org
shishigami.com