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An illuminating séance at Stourbridge church

Bill and Colleen Meadows

Members of Stourbridge church have been treated to an exceptional demonstration of physical mediumship, writes Sue Farrow.
     On Friday 5th April, medium Bill Meadows, accompanied by his wife and circle leader Colleen 
(both pictured right), visited the West Midlands church to give a séance for 30 very eager people.

Searches and checks

After an introductory talk by Colleen, giving information about Bill’s regular spirit controls, and outlining the basic ‘do’s and don’ts’ of the séance room, the customary searches were carried out. I had earlier been present in the church as it was set up for the evening sitting. Cabinet and medium’s chair had been supplied by the church, and a double horseshoe of chairs arranged for the sitters. Two independent checkers were appointed – Paranormal Review editor Roy Stemman, and myself. Our role would be to go to the cabinet when asked, and check that the medium’s bindings, consisting of cable ties over Velcro on all four limbs, were still securely in place.
     Colleen was seated on the medium’s right-hand side, and I on his left. Church president Laraine Killarney sat next to Colleen. Neither Bill nor Colleen played any part in the seating of sitters. Once everyone was seated, the medium came into the room and was searched. An unassuming and rather shy man, Bill seems almost bemused by the attention he receives, and I always have the impression that he is quite pleased when he can just sit down in the cabinet and slip quietly and unobtrusively into trance. Roy and I secured his bindings, and the single cabinet curtain was lowered.

Red light and greater 
freedom for sitters

Because he doesn’t work with ectoplasm, and phenomena are produced using what his controls describe simply as ‘energy’, he is at far less risk of injury than a traditional ‘ectoplasmic’ physical medium might be. The atmosphere during his séances is therefore rather more relaxed, with sitters being allowed to stand up in order to see more clearly what is happening. There’s also a greater degree of participation from sitters, in that they’re regularly invited to take part in various experiments with phenomena. In addition, a red light is frequently switched on during the séance.

Main control

Bill’s main control, Marie, who, we were told, had passed in childhood, was the first to communicate. She greeted sitters and reminded Roy Stemman and myself that we would be asked to check the medium at intervals throughout the sitting. After some banter with various individuals, she withdrew, asking us to sing to raise the vibrations for the production of phenomena. At this point, Roy and I checked the medium again and found his bindings to be exactly as before.

Stourbridge Spiritualist Church
   Stourbridge Spiritualist Church

Visible face

After a rousing chorus of We shall not be moved, Marie spoke again and asked for the illuminated plaque, lying on a small table to my right, to be made brighter. Colleen obliged, and the music resumed. After a few minutes, the plaque rose from the table, hovered in the air and a sitter was asked to take hold of it. Doing so, she saw and recognised facial features of her partner in spirit. She was told by Marie that the image “was with love”.

Musical instruments

After another burst of singing – this time, Spirit in the Sky – Ralph, another member of the Meadows spirit team, made himself known. He had been a musician in earthly life and proceeded to play the harmonica. His rendition of Amazing Grace, which seemed to come from a position a few feet in front of the cabinet, was sufficiently good to enable the sitters to join in singing. Drums were then added to the mix, with two illuminated sticks moving visibly and rhythmically as the harmonica continued to play. The medium was checked at the end of this phenomenon, and was still secured by his bindings.

Rotating wrist

Marie explained that the spirit team would attempt to produce another, rather different phenomenon, in which a wrist would materialise and rotate a full 360 degrees. After more singing, a wrist emerged from the bottom of the cabinet curtain in good red light, and duly rotated the promised 360 degrees. It was a most unusual thing to watch. Though Marie pointed out that some magicians claimed to be able to do it, I for one could not, and I noticed others in the room trying to do so, and failing completely. The medium was checked again at the end of this experiment.

Trumpet phenomena

More music followed, and after a short while the first of two trumpets shuffled along the floor, then rose into the air, followed not long afterwards by the second trumpet. Then, following an instruction that would have been the ultimate no-no in a séance room where ectoplasm was present, several sitters were invited to take hold of the trumpet as it came to rest near halfway up the cabinet curtains. A slight resistance was felt as the trumpet was grasped on each occasion, but the medium experienced no ill-effects.

Materialised hands

As is often the case in Bill’s séances, a large hand materialised in red light at the base of the cabinet curtain and at least twelve sitters were invited to approach the cabinet and shake it. Later in the séance, a visibly disfigured hand also materialised. It had belonged in earthly life to one of Bill’s spirit controls. The light was turned off and the controls took their leave.
     When the red light was switched on at the end of the séance, Bill, still secured to his chair, had been moved silently out of the cabinet and placed several feet in front of it. The séance finished as it had begun – with a prayer.

A physical circle

No verbal survival evidence was given at this séance, though I have known some to be given at previous sittings with Bill. Colleen emphasised that the primary purpose of the Meadows circle is to demonstrate physical phenomena, not to give evidential messages. 
In all, the medium’s bindings were checked eight times during the séance, and on each occasion found to be intact. Church members who spoke with me afterwards were delighted with what they had witnessed, describing it variously as “mind-blowing”, “amazing”, “stupendous” and “fantastic”.


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