Mysterious Encounters

Personal Accounts of the Supernatural in Canada

J.R. Colombo

Chapter 4
Psychic Mysteries
The Encounter with a Gifted Clairvoyant


Preface / 1
Acknowledgements / 15

1. Native Mysteries
Mysterious and Overwhelming Delight / Aua / 18
My Helping Spirit / Igjugarjuk / 21
The Making of a Medicine-Man / Isaac Tens / 24
Medicine at Prince of Wales's Fort / Samuel Hearne / 28
A Strange Adventure / Sir Cecil Edward Denny / 30
The Last Sun Dance / Richard G. Hardisty / 37
A Contest between Medicine Men / E.R. / 44
The St. Victor Petroglyphs / Mark Abley / 48

2. Animal Mysteries
Which Spectacle We All Beheld / Sir Humphrey Gilbert / 52
The Haunt of the Mammoth / David Thompson / 54
Creatures Half Satanic and Half Human / E. R. Young / 58
The Home-Made Windigo / PH. Godsell / 63
Medicine Man vs. Sasquatch Man / J.W Burns / 69
An Encounter with a Windigo / Wilma Raynor / 72
I Stood Still Wondering / Charles Flood / 75
Nessie and Ogopogo / Henry H. Bauer / 77

3. Spiritualistic Mysteries
The Hydesville Outbreak / Mrs. M. and Mr. J.D. Fox / 84
This Dreadful Life of Deception / Margaret Fox / 90
Nothing Is Left / Simon Newcomb / 101
Some Strange Power Existed / L.M. Montgomery / 104
A Rather Strange Thing Happened / L.M. Montgomery / 108
The Trails of Truth / Jenny O'Hara Pincock / 111
Account of This Seance Under Mrs. X's Pen / Mrs. X / 114
The Philip Phenomenon / Iris M. Owen / 120

4. Psychic Mysteries
The House of My Dreams / Harry Stevens / 128
The Encounter with a Gifted Clairvoyant / W Edward Mann / 131
The Precognitive Dream / Candace Cael Carman / 138
The Double Dream / Audrey Soltys / 142
The Spirit of the Hanging Judge / Jean Kozocari / 144
I Don't Question This Ability I Have / Najla Mady / 149
The End Result Is Hardly Convincing / James Randi / 156
Soltys and the Gypsies / M. A. Soltys / 163

5. Natural Mysteries
The Phenomenon of 1819 / Correspondent / 168
A Meteoric Shower / Canniff Haight / 171
The Mirage of Toronto / Sir Charles Lyell / 173
The Travelling Rocks / Lord Dunraven / 175
A Narrow Ray of Light / Alexander Graham Bell / 178
The Fiery Shower Growing More Dense / Thomas Conant / 180
Fall of Enormous, Unknown Ants / Charles Fort / 183
Nature's Illumination / John Flint Roy / 186

6. Human Mysteries
Spontaneous Human Combustion / Peter Schofield / 190
Religious Revival Meetings / Michael Gonder Sherk / 192
Narayan Stalked Me / Gordon Sinclair / 194
Nothing Ever Happens to Me! / A.R.G. Owen / 198
Relics of the Buddha / David Ryshpan / 200
Current Control at Will / George D. Hathaway / 211
Tests of Psychic Abilities / Chris A. Rutkowski / 216
"Betty Louty" / Jo Atkins / 218

7. Ghostly Mysteries
Appearance of the Lake Steamer / Rowley W Murphy / 222
The Vision of Walt Whitman / L. Moore Cosgrave / 226
An Experience in India / Marina Loan / 237
The Above Is Strange Enough in Itself / TJ. Muckle / 239
The Shuter Street Apartment / Isabel Germiquet / 242
Our House on Pape Avenue / Gertie Sequillion / 247
It Remains a Family Mystery to This Day / David Peacock / 254

8. Visionary Mysteries
The Beauties of Heaven / Saltatha / 258
White Man's Heaven / Paul Kane / 259
A Christian Vision / Catharine Parr Traill / 261
The Vision on the Hill of Bears / Anna Brownell Jameson / 263
A Singular and Beautiful Dream / Benjamin Fish Austin / 266
Three Experiences of the Strangely Familiar / John Buchan / 269
Experiences Recalled in Brazil / P.K. Page / 272
Visit to the "Twilight Zone" Truck Stop / Phyllis Griffiths / 274

9. Alien Mysteries
The Whole Subject of Saucers Is Classified / Wilbert B. Smith / 278
An Object Resembling a Star / EL. Lewis / 282
They Belong to a Different Life Wave / Howard B. MacDonald / 284
Citizen of the Galaxy / Kenneth C. McCulloch / 290
Odyssey from the Womb / Jerry Charles David / 294
Encounter with a Tiilpa / W Ritchie Benedict / 298
Bernice Niblett's Diary / John Magor / 303
Not So Close Encounter / Pierre Pascau / 311
Postface / 313
Sources / 315

The Encounter with a Gifted Clairvoyant / W. Edward Mann

My Encounter with a Gifted Clairvoyant
W. Edward Mann
The "gifted clairvoyant" who is described in this article is James Wilkie. Wilkie was born in Scotland. His psychic abilities or "gifts" must have seemed impressive, for they made an indelible impression on at least two qualified observers. One of these observers is the sociologist W Edward Mann, the author of this article. The other observer is Allen Spraggett who co-authored with Wilkie a book titled The Gift Within: Experiences of a Spiritual Medium (1970).

W. Edward Mann has enjoyed a distinguished career. He was the first student of sociology to receive a doctorate in that discipline from the University of Toronto. For many years he was one of the mainstays of the Department of Sociology at Atkinson College in York University. He has so many facets and talents that he has been described as "a multi Mann." He was ordained an Anglican priest and he has worked as a lay counsellor. Among his numerous scholarly articles and books there is one about alternative energy sources called Vital Energy and Health: Dr. Wilhelm Reich's Revolutionary Discoveries and Supporting Evidence (1989).
Mann first met Wilkie in 1957, the year that this article was written. Since then Mann has devoted much of his time and attention to studying, investigating, and writing about the paranormal. Wilkie eventually moved from Toronto to the West Coast where he continued his work.

Today, increasing interest is being shown by lay people and scientists in the whole area of ESP or extrasensory perception. Most people first approach this subject, and in fact the whole field of the psychic, with strong misgivings and doubts, if not with vigorous ridicule. It is surprising, however, how many persons have changed their minds after going through, often unexpectedly, unusual experiences.

Prior to my meeting with James Wilkie, a young man from Edinburgh, whom I met by purest accident, I, too, was skeptical and not without misgivings about seances, etc. However, some of these doubts began to give way, under the impact of James's unusual gifts.

Before you close your mind to this subject, let me tell you of my experience with James in what was a strictly unexpected and nonprofessional "sitting."

In the words of the King in Alice's Wonderland, I suppose I should begin at the beginning, and if this be so, I must confess that James was not the first clairvoyant I had ever met; but he was the first who gave me his undivided attention for a considerable period of time. He also "produced" some rather disturbing information.

My first introduction to clairvoyance had taken place two years previously at a rather high-level seminar on faith healing and psychic phenomena when several famous American clairvoyants were present. I managed to talk briefly to each of them between sessions of the seminar, and also had an eerie experience of seeing a certain medium, world famous and highly investigated, go into a trance in broad daylight. However, all she "produced" was a long and learned speech, seemingly given by her "control," that told nothing which could not have come from her own mind. Subsequent to this seminar, which greatly piqued my curiosity concerning psychic persons, I had run into several people with limited clairvoyant gifts, but nobody who ever really impressed me, or who had any sort of professional status. James was different....

I met James at the home of a friend and our encounter was entirely unexpected on both sides. I had, in fact, gone there in the hopes of meeting a physical medium - one who can produce ectoplasm - but this man had left the house early, and shortly after I arrived, another guest arrived completely unexpectedly, who was introduced to me as James Wilkie.

James is a man whom you might pass any day on the street. He has an athletic spring to his walk but a generally undistinguished appearance: slight, dark, with curly black hair, and a respectful, reserved manner. The only unusual thing about him is his remarkably broad Scottish accent, which is as thick as any to be found in the heart of the Highlands. At first I had to strain greatly to follow his speech, but as I became more and more interested in what he had to say, I gradually managed to penetrate his brogue.

A few years ago, on a blind impulse, James left Scotland for Canada. After arriving in Toronto he held a variety of undistinguished jobs. Soon after getting settled, he visited the local spiritualist churches and at once found himself asked to speak and to give clairvoyance at the Sunday evening meetings. In Scotland he had done this kind of thing many times, and he spoke glowingly to me of his Spiritualist Church in Glasgow, which he claimed was "the biggest church in the whole city." However, after his many satisfying experiences in the "old country," James found much to criticize in meetings with Toronto spiritualists. Apparently he did not hesitate to tell them so to their faces. His popularity quickly waned, on this account, and requests to speak became fewer and fewer.

As he rambled on about his early days in Toronto, my new friend spoke of a chance meeting with a certain clergyman, and of the friendship that resulted in spite of the severe disapproval of spiritualists among the clergyman's superiors. The two men had met by accident at a concert of classical music, and, over a cup of coffee after the performance, struck up a casual acquaintance. When the young clergyman learned that his new acquaintance was a clairvoyant and medium, rather than displaying the official coolness of his particular church, he arranged to attend a meeting where James was to speak.

At this meeting the young minister was quite impressed and as the friendship deepened between them, he asked James to bring him a message from his father, who had not long died. Initial attempts at "sittings" for this purpose were fruitless, and James was almost despairing of giving the clergyman real proof of his powers, when it suddenly happened. The occasion was a Sunday evening, quite late, when James felt prompted to telephone the minister from his room. He had only begun to talk with his friend when he saw a spirit in the room, and as he described it to the clergyman, the latter cried excitedly, "That is my father! What does he say?"

The message was given and the clergyman was not apparently really convinced of the reality of mediumship. But feeling guilty about his behaviour, he told James that he would have to tell his superiors that he had been meeting with a medium. It was several days later that James had a hurried call from his friend announcing that he was being abruptly moved to another city, undoubtedly as the result of his confession. However, to express his appreciation he sent James an expensive present which the clairvoyant still treasures as a token of this unusual friendship.

The evening now grew late as we sat listening to this and other stories. I finally screwed up nerve and decided to ask him for a "sitting." This is the term used by mediums when they practise clairvoyance for someone without the usual procedures of a seance. When I suggested the sitting, James at once refused to guarantee that anything would happen but agreed to try. I learned later that this kind of refusal is invariable with good mediums, since the inspirational nature of clairvoyance means that results can never be commanded or guaranteed. At the same time, in a private sitting such as mine, where no money passes hands, the medium is under no compulsion to get results, and thus if something comes through it is more likely to be genuine.

Now, let me make it perfectly clear that, having just met him, James had no prior chance to question anyone about me, and also that I had given almost no information about myself during the earlier part of the evening. He had done almost all the talking. Furthermore, as he prepared to begin, I said to myself, "Don't give him any clues at all, but play it mum; don't even say, That's right,' or let him know whenever he gets 'warm.'" I kept to these simple rules throughout the sitting.

From previous experiences I rather expected James to go into a trance, or at least a partial trance, but instead he simply concentrated for perhaps fifteen or twenty seconds, his hand over his eyes, seeming to withdraw into himself, and then he began to talk. For the rest of the time his eyes were open, and he gestured and moved about in a perfectly normal manner.

This very casual beginning threw me off at first, and I didn't listen too carefully to what he was saying, not being sure that the sitting had actually begun. In fact, all that I can recall about the early part of the sitting were references he made to growing success in my writing during the year and to changes in my line of work. Both these prophecies were proved true; my writing during the year was successful beyond my dreams at that time, and in my vocation I had more complications than ever before.

As I sat half-thinking about these things, I heard James speak of my home. I listened carefully this time. "I see a two-storey house near some woods. It is a nice home." These statements were quite true and I became excited, but remembering my self-imposed rules, I only said, "Hmm." He continued, "You ought to set aside a room for a healing sanctuary for your prayers." He added, "This would be of great help in your future work." At the time I was not attempting any spiritual healing, and I was puzzled at this advice, yet the idea had appeal. Later events showed that the proposal had much merit.

James had been moving about the room casually, hands thrust in his pockets. He stopped pacing and turned to look directly at me. His manner changed and sitting down he said, "You have many helpers on the other side. One is a brother of your father, who died quiet young, perhaps in boyhood. He is interested in you, and he is a doorkeeper up there, bringing in other helpers." I could remember no uncle who had died early, but later on, checking with my father, I discovered that there was an uncle who died in England in his early twenties who had apparently had a temperament like mine. My father also confirmed another statement made by James, that my physical appearance was like that of his father, a fact I had not known until that day.

At another point James came to something that checked out amazingly. "There is a man who has spent some time in India, he is a minister and has been head over something in the teaching field. He is a friend, and will be getting in touch with you within a month; something that you have written has impressed him strongly, and he will want to contact you to suggest certain lines of action, apparently in the field of spiritual healing." At once I cast around in my mind for anyone this might be, and thought of several people, but subsequent events proved that it was none of these. Some weeks later, a friend did approach me about having discussions on spiritual healing. The man is a minister and had previously occupied a teaching post in a boy's school in India, something he had never before divulged to me.

James was intriguing me with his tendency to prophesy, and so I decided to ask him a question about my son who was then only a few months' old, and with regard to whom I had had one prophetic vision myself. I said, "What do you see for my son?" He replied, "I see a boy who is happy, with a deep, independent mind, a boy ahead of his age. He needs special training." Other comments are too personal to mention, but what happened next is of crucial interest. As he spoke about my son in this manner, an old friend, long dead, apparently appeared to him.

"There is a chap here who says his name is Jimmy. He says he knew you when you lived in residence at college. He was a brilliant student. Can you recall who this would be?" At first, I was stumped. I thought back to my most recent years of college residence, taking theology, and could think of no college friend who had subsequently died. Suddenly I went back to a year of college residence during the war, and to a close friend called James or Jimmy, more often the latter than the former. "Yes, I could certainly remember him." James went on, "He says he went suddenly; there was an explosion, a kind of accident, and his head was affected the worst." This was all true. Jimmy had been killed in action shortly after D-Day in France. I asked James to describe Jimmy for me. "He is tall, taller than you, dark, and has a slight stoop. He speaks with good diction and great clarity. His speech is one of the most distinguishing marks." This again was true. Jimmy had been about six feet tall, and always spoke with exceptional diction, reminding me of an Oxford don, though he had not been there.

I listened carefully to what James would say next. "Jimmy says that he saw you writing today, and you stopped several times, puzzled as to how to go on. He was much interested in your article, and says that you should try again tomorrow. Say prayers first, and the conclusion that you want to be strong, perhaps even dramatic, will come." It was true. I was working on an article, an important article on the subject of politics, a matter that would have been close to the heart of my old friend Jimmy. And as I wrote, the words had grown heavy, and fought the page so that I had difficulty in finding a proper conclusion. In the past, Jimmy and I had often been drawn together by just such topics as this, and it was also likely that he would counsel prayer, as he had been training for the ministry before his death. Although this was a small matter, to me this piece of advice was "evidential," as they say in psychical literature.

To that point in the sitting very little had been revealed that could be thoroughly verified, but the next piece of information erased all doubts from my mind about the reality of James's powers. He said, "Jimmy says you helped me materially once, and he is very grateful." What could this mean? I searched my memory for a clue, and then it came to me. After his death, along with another close friend, I had organized a collection for the university education of Jimmy's son, then a mere boy, and we had put the money collected into a trust fund. This all happened back in 1944, and had long since been forgotten. I described this to James with wonder in my eyes, and he replied, "Yes, that is the help he speaks of. He says that he is very grateful, and that he appears around you every so often."

I asked then, "What is Jimmy doing now?" James replied, in a quiet voice: "He says that he is a teacher over there, in the field of philosophy, that he is happy, and is learning still, but that there is yet much to learn." This closing piece of information also seemed evidential, for not only did it sound like Jimmy's outlook, but also it touched on his main interest, which had been the study of philosophy.

A skeptic may be able to punch holes in all this material, and if he can, well and good. But to me, this encounter with a gifted clairvoyant gave me a new respect for people with psychic gifts.

Mysterious Encounters by John Robert Colombo
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