File Three: LIFE BY DATES MID 1870s TO LATE 1885



One reviewer described Seen and Unseen as an autobiography, but it isn’t one really and Kat didn’t call it that herself, she preferred to think of it as “Psychic reminiscences” (with all that that implies about its accuracy).  It’s based on her spiritual experiences and the people she had met through spiritualism.  References to her life outside spiritualism – especially her early life – are mentioned in a few words if at all and usually without specific dates.  Her two travel books suffer from the same problem.  In them, Kat does mention a lot of places she had already visited – though again without dates – but both are written as guides for travellers who might choose to follow the same route, and concentrate on the pleasures and pains of Kat’s current travels, rather than journeys in the past. 


Seen and Unseen seems to have made Kat rather a star in the spiritualism world.  She was encouraged to write several more books between 1908 and 1920, on her experiences in spiritualism; on where she thought the movement ought to be going in the future; and on the new age of Mankind’s spiritual evolution that she was taking part in.  Some events mentioned in earlier books are elaborated in the later ones, in a way that worries me: I can’t decide whether Kat is just allowing more detail of a particular event to be published; or whether she was adding more and more invented superstructure to an original core of a spiritualistic event that she had experienced, often many years before.  In Do the Dead Depart?, she described her own method as a medium as intuitional automatic writing, by which she meant that a general outline of the event was supplied by the spirit guide with the medium then filling in the detail.  I’m not sure of the dividing line, in that case, between Kat’s method, and fiction.


And then there are the people.  Especially in Seen and Unseen Kat makes no bones about mixing up real names with pseudonyms and it’s not always obvious which is which!   So with most of the people she meets or knew before, I’ve no real idea who it is I should be researching. 


It’s clear that some of her novels are set in places Kat had visited; but under the circumstances I’ve thought it better not to assume that the incidents that occur in them actually happened to Kat.


Kat’s a bit of a trickster!



for Kat’s description of Seen and Unseen: Do/Dead p10.

For Kat’s method of intuitional automatic writing: Do/Dead pp167-168 and p185.  There’s also a lot of being wise after the event; but that’s true of all kinds of prediction.





GR1; GR2       A Year in the Great Republic, Kat’s account of her travels in Canada and the US.

                        She is named on the original cover as E Catherine Bates.  2 volumes, London:

                        Ward and Downey 1887.

KSS                 Kaleidoscope: Shifting Scenes from East to West.  Kat’s account of her time in                        Australasia, the Far East and Alaska.  She’s named on the original cover as E

                        Katharine Bates.  London: Ward and Downey of Covent Garden 1889.


S/U                  Seen and Unseen London: Greening and Co 1907; New York: Dodge Publishing                   Company 1908.

                        The page numbers are from my own copy, printed 2016 by Filiquarian Publishing                        Llc, see                        www.Qontro.com


Do/Dead          Do the Dead Depart?  I can’t say which name appeared on the front cover of the

                        British edition as I can’t find any copies of it.  E Katharine Bates is the name on

                        the title page of the American edition published New York: Dodge Publishing

                        Company  1908.  My page numbers are from a modern reprint by

                        www.forgottenbooks.com of the US edition.


P/Sci/Chr        Psychical Science and Christianity where Kat’s name is E Katharine Bates on the

                        front cover.  London: T Werner Laurie.  No publication date but the British                         Library stamp says “1 SEP 09”. 


P/Realm          The Psychic Realm on whose front cover Kat’s name is given as E Katharine                        Bates.  London: Greening and Co 1910.


PHFL               Psychic Hints of a Former Life by E Katharine Bates.  London: Theosophical

                        Publishing Society of 161 New Bond Street.  1912.


Cope                The Coping Stone: its True Significance by E Katharine Bates.  London: Greening                   and Co Ltd 1912.  The dates given are very vague in this one.


OLD                Our Living Dead: Some Talks with Unknown Friends by E Katharine Bates with a

                        Preface by Alfred E Turner.  London: Kegan Paul Trench Trubner and Co Ltd



C/Dawn           Children of the Dawn by E Katharine Bates (sic).  London: Kegan Paul Trench                 Trubner and Co.  NewYork: E P Dutton and Co 1920.  Kat’s last published work.



As with my other great life-by-dates – Isabel de Steiger – what was happening will be in italics with the sources and my comments in Times New Roman.


KAT IN THE 1870s

See my earlier files for Kat’s background and childhood.  Here I’ll just say that by the 1870s she had very few living relations.  She had been left a comfortable income by her father, who had died when she was nine.  She had turned down one offer of marriage at least.


Kat described herself as “gregarious” and as having “a fairly broad outlook upon life in general” which included a form of Christianity very different from the Evangelical beliefs she had been brought up in; one based (inevitably I suppose) on God as gentle, caring father.  Gregarious is a good one word summing up for Kat, but I’d add some others.  She was energetic, full of zest, and able to see the funny side.  She was an intrepid – even a brave – traveller, ready to rough it (although hoping not to) and endlessly curious about the people she saw.   She was also imaginative and very suggestible and had most of the prejudices of her race and social class. 


As far as I can tell, at least until the 1900s Kat never lived as the head of her own household: she had no fixed address and didn’t directly pay any rent or rates or employ any staff.  Visiting was the core of her existence: making long stays with friends for weeks; or – when travelling – staying with strangers she had an introduction to.  Occasionally – especially when in London – she’d stay in lodgings; and when no friends were conveniently placed for her travels, she’d stay in a hotel.  Until the first World War put a limit on it, Kat’s life was spent on the move.  She disliked the English winters and spent them abroad whenever she could.  Here are a set of lists of places she had already visited by the mid-1880s:


*          a list of predictable destinations visited by most comfortably-off Britons: the Tyrol; the Adelsberger cave; Switzerland with a special mention of the Staubbach falls; Italy


*          destinations decidedly off the British beaten track at this time: Norway possibly including Lapland;Turkey including Istanbul; Spain including Córdoba and Granada; Oberammergau where she had seen the Passion Play.


She also made long visits to an English family living in Dresden; I’m not sure when but the 1870s seems the most likely time.  And I’m sure there were plenty of visits, probably too commonplace for Kat to mention them – Ireland in particular, where she had distant relations. 


Though she does not belabour the point, Kat was a keen climber.  Perhaps her visits to the Tyrol and Norway at least, were where she learned the basics of mountaineering.  This wasn’t just fell-walking, though she was a good walker too.  At the Niagara Falls, in the Grand Canyon and in Yosemite National Park – for example – she undertook climbs that were not for the novice, nor for those without confidence in their abilities. 


Kat contacting her mother during her travels in the US: Do/Dead pp47-68.

Rev Bates: P/Sci/Chr p16, p86 and there are similar accounts elsewhere in her work.  For Kat being so different from most women: p26. 
Kat as gregarious: GR1 pxi. 

Places Kat had visited: Tyrol - GR2 p255; caves in Europe including the Adelsberg – GR2 p12;

Norway – GR2 p145, KSS p244 with a detailed description on pp80-81 of Kat’s novel The Boomerang; Turkey – KSS p136; Istanbul – GR1 p7; Spain GR1 p39; Switzerland and Italy – KSS p159, KSS p244; Staubbach falls GR2 p97; Oberammergau – S/U p176.


Niagara Falls GR1 pp31-33.

Grand Canyon GR2 pp48-53.  Kat calls the 2500 foot peak she and her guide Billy climbed, ‘Prospect Peak’  but I can’t identify it and think that she got its name wrong.  She says of the climb that it was a challenge several men had been defeated by but that “a lady well accustomed to mountaineering” could manage it, though it wouldn’t be easy.  Kat managed it, including a “perpendicular scramble up the bed of a mountain torrent covered with loose stones”.  I think that suggests she was herself a lady accustomed to mountaineering.

Yosemite National Park GR2.  On p99 Kat describes the pony ride to Glacier Point as difficult, though “any woman who has...experience of Swiss mountaineering” should not find it too much of a challenge.  She was spurred on to attempt the ride by a woman staying at the same hotel who warned her off it, telling her that it was the most frightening ascent she had ever made.  During an expedition to Glacier Point Kat followed a guide on a crawl along a ledge at the top of a precipice, and then up a peak to see a view.  She also “scrambled” from the valley floor to the foot of the Yosemite Falls.


As well as climbing on foot, Kat also rode on horseback up several ascents in the Yosemite valley including the one to Glacier Point which – she told her readers – was not recommended for those who had never been on a mountain pony before; though it would not present any problems to “any woman who had even a small experience of Swiss mountaineering”.


For all three see my files on Kat and Miss Greenlow’s Year in the Great Republic.

Kat climbing a peak near the Grand Canyon: and Do/Dead p57.

Dresden: Cope pp13-14.

The Adelsberger cave is the German name for the cave complex near Postojna in modern Slovenia.  Kat’s trip there won’t have been dangerous or unusual – the caves had been a tourist destination since 1819; they had electric lighting before Ljubljana; and a train for visitors to ride in from 1872. 

Source: Postojna Cave’s English-language wikipedia page. At www.gettyimages.co.uk there’s a photograph of the ‘calvary’ scene in the caves, taken around 1875. 



Kat either lived with, or stayed for long periods with, a family living in Oxford.

Comment by Sally Davis: Kat never names the people she lived with in Oxford – not even with a fake name.  The head of the household may have been the “old and well-known Oxford professor” Kat mentions in Seen and Unseen, “in whose house I stayed many times”.  He had died by the time she wrote Seen and Unseen and Kat reported that she identified him and his dog Bob appearing as spirits on a photograph taken by Boursnell.


Whoever they were, Kat returned to visit them often, after she was no longer living with them; but none of those visits are well-dated either.

Source for the Oxford professor though without any dates: S/U p169.   Apparently a biography of him had appeared by the time of Seen and Unseen.  I haven’t tried to identify him though. 


Why do I think it was the mid-1870s?

1) ?MID-1870s though could be as early as 1870 and gone on until 1893

Kat knew Oxford University’s Savilian Professor of Astronomy, Charles Pritchard.

Source for Kat knowing him, though without any dates: Do/Dead p35.

Charles Pritchard’s wikipedia page establishes that he was elected to the professorship in 1870, having retired in 1862 from a career in teaching.  He was already a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and had served as its president in 1866.  The university built an observatory for him, with equipment donated by Warren de la Rue, head of the bank-note printing firm.  Pritchard made important contributions to the systematic study of stars: a programme of photometry in 1882; followed by one of determining their parallaxes, in which he proved that photography could be a tool of astronomical research.  He had just begun work that was part of the first international survey of the heavens when he died, in post, in 1893.  FRS 1840.  Fellow of New College Oxford 1883.

2) MID-1870s

Kat knew Oscar Wilde while he was at Oxford University.

Source: Cope p77.

Oscar Wilde’s wikipedia page says he was at Oxford from 1874 to 1878. 

3) ?1873-78; can’t be later though could be earlier

Kat saw George Eliot from a distance several times when Eliot and George Henry Lewes were visiting Benjamin Jowett, the Master of Balliol College Oxford.  Kat admired George Eliot’s novels and would like to have met her, but she was not allowed to do so.

Source: S/U p38 with a mention of people in Oxford refusing to meet the great novelist because she was living with a man who was married to someone else; which Kat thought was often sour grapes because Jowett hadn’t invited them.  She doesn’t say who made it impossible for Kat to meet George Eliot, but I presume it was the people she was living or staying with. 

See the wikipedia pages of George Henry Lewes and George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) for why they could not marry.  Lewes and Evans started to live together in 1854 and the relationship continued until Lewes’ death in November 1878.  Mary Ann Evans died in 1880.  See his wikipedia page and the Balliol Archives pages listed immediately below for Benjamin Jowett (1817-93), Master of Balliol College Oxford from 1870 until his death.

Comment by Sally Davis: I’ve tried to tie down the dates on which Lewes and Evans might have been visiting Jowett at Balliol.  At archives.balliol.ox.ac.uk the Jowett Papers Biographical Index has no entry for Lewes; its entry for George Eliot confirms they did visit several times but doesn’t give any dates.  Henry Sidgwick, Eye of the Universe: An Intellectual History by Bart Schultz.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2004: p379 lists the graduates of Balliol from 1873-78 who went on to great things and said that some at least of them were invited to meet Jowett’s house guests during that time; house guests including Lewes and Eliot.

Kat did meet the dead George Eliot later in Kat’s life.  They became quite friendly.  See entries for 1888 up to around 1908. 



PROBABLY 1876 or 1877

Kat went to Egypt.  She stayed at the famous Shepheard’s Hotel in Cairo.  She visited the Pyramids and went inside the Great one.  Then she took a boat up the Nile at least as far as Abu Simbel.

Sources, including a date of 30 years before Kat’s book Seen and Unseen was being written: GR2 p288; S/U p170; KSS p119, p191.  They are just mentions in passing, without many details including who it was that Kat travelled with; though I’m sure she didn’t do the trip alone. 

Comments by Sally Davis:

Most people going to Egypt went there to escape the northern European winter and I expect Kat and her group did the same.  The trip had some important consequences for Kat.  It led her to write her first novel, in which a group of wealthy English travellers make the same Nile trip that Kat had done.  If her novel The Boomerang is based on real events, she may have had some kind of transcendent experience inside the Great Pyramid.  The Nile trip may also have emboldened Kat to attempt trips abroad on an altogether bigger scale; though the first of these didn’t take place for several years.



Kat was living in Oxford, with people she called “very old friends”.

Source: S/U p15.  As with every other mention of these people in Oxford, Kat doesn’t name them, not even with one of her fake names.  At least this is a definite date!



2nd Afghan War broke out.  Kat’s brother Major Charles Ellison Bates left his posting in Lahore to rejoin his regiment, the 32nd Sikh Pioneers.

Sources: wikipedia on the 2nd Afghan War which broke out after a British diplomatic mission was refused entry into the country across the Khyber Pass.

For Charles being in Lahore at the time: S/U p15.  He was military secretary to Sir Robert Egerton. 



On the way to Quetta with his regiment, Major Bates suffered a stroke.  He was left severely disabled.  He had to retire from active military service, and spent the rest of his life in England.

Source for the exact date: S/U pp15-16.

Source for the regiment: Imperial and Asiatic Quarterly Review 3rd Series Volume XXIII 45 and 45, Jan-April 1907.  Published Woking: The Oriental Institute: p223.

Source for Charles’ sociability and his refusal to be depressed by his circumstances: Kat’s introduction to More Leaves from the Common-place Book of C.E.B.   Printed London for private circulation by Arthur F Bird of 22 Bedford Street Strand.  1907: pp9-10.

Comment by Sally Davis: the account in Seen and Unseen (1907, just after Charles Bates died) is one of the instances Kat writes of in which she receives news of important events psychically before she learns of them officially.  The stroke left Charles Bates unable to walk far if at all.  He had to leave the army, of course.  After a long period of recuperation, he took lodgings at the address Kat gave the GD for any letters they needed to send to her: 35 Oxford Terrace, which was off Edgware Road.  Though he couldn’t get out much, he sounds like Kat in character – endlessly sociable – and people, especially young people, came to him.  I think that if he hadn’t been so disabled, he might have joined the GD with Kat; he shared her interest in spiritualism. 



Kat lived in London with Phebe Lankester and her family, while she looked after Charles.  While she was living with them, a friend of theirs showed some spirit paintings, drawn by a child.

Comment on the dating by Sally Davis: this turns out to be a trickier period to date than I’d expected: Kat mentions living with the Lankesters in two different books, but the accounts don’t tally.  The account which says Kat lived with the Lankesters after Charles Bates’ stroke, is in S/U.  The stroke occurred in December 1878, making 1878-80 the most likely period.  There’s some corroboration of those dates in exactly who Kat lived with: she never mentions knowing Edwin Lankester senior – he died in 1874; and she says Edwin Ray Lankester was working at University College when she was living with the family - he was at UCL from 1874 to 1891.  But in Cope p19 Kat says that she lived with Phebe (not Edwin) at Belsize Park.  The Lankesters moved into 68 Belsize Park in 1867 while Phebe’s husband Edwin Lankester senior was alive.  When he died, he had large debts and the house was amongst the possessions seized by his creditors; so in this account Kat must have lived with them between 1867 and 1874.  Possible solutions: Kat’s wrong about the address – did she visit the Lankesters in Belsize Park but live with them later, elsewhere?  Or: she lived with the Lankesters at two different times. 


Other comments by Sally Davis:

Even after his stroke had incapacitated him, Kat did not go to live with Charles.  Charles did have a valet, but normal 19th century expectations would require an unmarried sister to give up whatever life she had, to care for her invalid relation. 


Source for Kat living with the Lankesters after Charles Bates’ stroke: S/U p17. 

Possibly contradictory source saying she lived with them in Belsize Park: Cope p19. 

Source for the child’s spirit paintings: Do/Dead p112.


Comments by Sally Davis on Lankesters, whose social and political views were so different from those of the clerics Kat had grown up with that I’ve no idea how she first met them; perhaps it was on her own initiative – Kat had a way of getting to know people you wouldn’t expect.


Phebe Lankester was the widow of the physician and coroner Edwin Lankester.  The family’s reactions to being left with no money after the death of a heavily indebted bread-winner were not the usual Victorian middle-class ones.  It must have been quite an education for Kat,  living with the Lankesters - not only were Phoebe’s two sons Edwin Ray and Alfred Owen both working, but so were she and her unmarried daughters Phoebe junior (known as Fay) and Nina.  Phoebe senior wrote on botany, and using the writing-name ‘Penelope’ she had a regular syndicated newspaper column.  Phoebe junior was secretary of the National Health Association, and her younger sister Nina worked for the GPO.  Alfred Owen followed his father into medicine and had his private practice in rooms in the family home at 5 Wimpole Street. 


Kat mentions specifically that she knew Edwin Ray Lankester, because he was known as a vocal opponent of spiritualism.  In 1876 he had helped expose the medium Henry Slade as a fraud and had given evidence against him at his trial.  Kat heard a lot about the trial from Edwin Ray and his friend Dr Horatio Donkin.  Edwin Ray Lankester was a zoologist and academic.  After studying at both Cambridge and Oxford universities he became a Fellow of Exeter College Oxford and worked there with T H Huxley.  The Huxleys were close friends of the Lankesters.  Kat was living with the Lankester family while Edwin Ray Lankester was professor of zoology at University College London: he held that post from 1874 to 1891 when he was appointed Linacre Professor of Comparative Anatomy at Merton College Oxford.  From 1898 to 1907 he was the director of what became the Natural History Museum.  He knew Hooker, Darwin, Lyell and Marx; and Samuel Laing MP, father of GD members Cecilia Macrae and Florence Kennedy.


The Lankesters had also known the medical statistician William Farr, father of GD members Florence Farr and Henrietta Paget.  Edwin Lankester and William Farr had helped found the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science, which was such an important platform for new ideas in the 19th century.  Edwin and Phebe also knew Charles Dickens and his family.  They knew Dr Elizabeth Blackwell and possibly her journalist sister Anna Blackwell as well.  Anna was later a GD member, Elizabeth had founded the National Health Association.   The Lankesters knew Emily Davies, campaigner for women’s education, founder of Girton College Cambridge. 


If while she was living with them, Kat met half the people the Lankesters knew, she must have had a very lively time intellectually! 


The Lankester family are not on the census in 1881; as neither is Kat, perhaps they were all travelling together.  They’re not on 1891 either but by then Kat was no longer living with them.


Sources for the Lankesters:

Victorian Values: The Life and Times of Dr Edwin Lankester MD, FRS by Mary P English. Bristol: Biopress Ltd 1990: p36; p42; p114, p147, p160, pp164-166.  The move to 68 Belsize Park: p158. 


Edwin Ray Lankester and Henry Slade: The History of Spiritualism Arthur Conan Doyle.  Two volumes.  London, NY, Toronto, Melbourne: Cassell and Co Ltd 1926. Volume 1 p294: Lankester snatched Slade’s planchette before him just as a séance was due to begin; and found writing already on it.  Conan Doyle defends Slade by accusing Lankester of not understanding the nature of spirit communications.  Slade was found guilty of offences under the Vagrancy Act; but appealed and his conviction was overturned on a legal technicality.


Phebe Lankester senior was well-known as a botanist.  There’s only one botanical work by her in the British Library catalogue: British Ferns published 1881.  However, there’s a wiki which lists three more works on botany and The Natural Thrift Reader published 1880.

Sources for the National Health Society (1871-1947):

-           snaccooperative.org

-           www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles

Members of the Lankester family are given short biographies in Collected Letters of Emily Davies 1861-1975 editors Ann B Murphy and Deirdre Raftery.  London and Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press p500; though there are no letters to any of them in the book. 

That Kat did know Edwin Ray Lankester, as well as the women in the family: GR1 p188.



Kat’s first book was published – a novel.


Egyptian Bonds.  A Novel by E Katharine Bates. In two volumes.  London: Richard Bentley and Son 1879, “Publishers in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen”. 

Some contemporary reviews of it, seen via googlebooks:

Publishers’ Weekly volume 15 1879 I think it’s a US journal.  P714 notes that the book’s publication is very timely; its Egyptian setting makes it particularly relevant to the current political situation.

The American Stationer volume 7 1879 p2 predicted large sales for it.

Peterson’s Magazine volumes 75-76 1879 p245 says of it, “If this is a first attempt at novel-writing, it may be considered a remarkable success”; though it says that any writer setting a novel in Egypt is likely to be on to a winner.




A new edition of Kat’s novel Egyptian Bonds was issued in the USA to coincide with the publication of Outlying Europe and the Nearer Orient, by Joseph Moore.  In Moore’s book, Kat was named as having given Moore information on the Nile in Nubia between the first and second cataracts.

Comment by Sally Davis: Kat had contacted Joseph Moore after letters by him, describing his travels, had begun to appear in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin.  In Moore’s book p5 he says that the letters had been published “during the last two or three years” - that is, between 1878 and 1880.


Outlying Europe and the Nearer Orient by Joseph Moore.  Published 1880 by J B Lippincott and Co, dedicated to Ulysses S Grant: p5; and Kat’s contribution is specifically mentioned in the Chapter VII, the Nile in Nubia: footnote p125.  In this chapter, the places covered are: p125 - Dabod, Philae; p127  - Abu Simbel, Gertassi.  On pp127-128 there’s a discussion of Egyptian religion and its basis in triads of gods.  Other places: p129 - Kalabsheh; p132 – Dakkeh; p134 - Wady Sabooah also known as the valley of the lions.  On pp135-137 Moore describes the illness and death of one of his fellow travellers – a similar incident is an important plot device in Kat’s Egyptian Bonds.  Moore then returns to Abu Simbel, where he mentions seeing the Southern Cross (p137, p140).  It’s likely Kat had been to all the places listed above, and told Moore about them.  She might also have contributed details from her travels to the following chapter though it’s about the more commonly visited sites on the Nile – Luxor, Thebes, Karnak, Edfu – and Moore could have taken information on these places from the many other people who wrote to him after reading some of his letters.



Kat went to see the Polish actress Helena Modjeska play Mary Stuart in Schiller’s play.

Source for Kat seeing it: GR1 p64.

Sources for the production: Times Wed 29 September 1880 p6 The Theatres; looking forward to the autumn season in London.  And Times Mon 13 December 1880 p8 a review of Modjeska’s performance, rather critical of her ability to speak verse.  The play had been at the Royal Court theatre.

See wikipedia for Helena Mojeska (Modrzewska) 1840-1909, especially noted for her Shakespeare but I also noticed that she had produced the first ever play by Ibsen to be performed in the USA – A Doll’s House, in Louisville Kentucky.



Kat was abroad somewhere, as she was on every subsequent census day to 1911.  Her brother

John Sidney was also abroad, probably in Ireland with his regiment.  Kat’s eldest brother Henry and his wife Frances Henrietta were living at Down Ampney House, Down Ampney in Gloucestershire and Kat’s brother Charles Ellison Bates was living with them.

Source: census.  Charles was still recovering from the severe stroke that had ended his army career in December 1878.


6 to 12 APRIL 1881

Kat was in the public gallery several times during the trial of the Fletchers, a married couple of spiritualist mediums accused of encouraging a client to give them her valuables.  While a witness Kat calls “Dr Mack” was giving evidence against them, Kat decided that he was under psychic attack from the Fletchers who were using “black magic” against him.  They were found guilty.


Kat’s account: P/Realm p123 but she doesn’t remember the details correctly: only Mrs Fletcher (Susan Willis Fletcher) was tried.  Her husband would have been, but he had stayed in the USA to avoid arrest. 

The trial in the Times:

Sat 29 January 1881 p10: Charge against a spiritualist.  Coverage of the first appearance of Susan Willis Fletcher, aged 32, at Bow Street Police Court charged with unlawfully obtaining valuables under false pretences from Mrs Juliet Ann Theodore Hartley Hart-Davies.  Mrs Fletcher’s address was 22 Gordon Street.  Mrs Fletcher’s husband John William was not present.

Coverage of Mrs Fletcher’s trial at the Central Criminal Court: Times 6 April 1881 p12 to 13 April 1881 p13.  The judge had summed up on 12 April.  The jury had been out for an hour and a half.  Mrs Fletcher was found not guilty of the charge of conspiracy to steal and make a Will; but guilty on all other counts.  The judge took account of the fact that she’d been encouraged to commit her crimes by her husband; he sentenced her to 12 months’ hard labour.

Light volume 1 1881 didn’t have full coverage of the trial but on p101 issue of Sat 2 April 1881 it named several of the people who had been called as witnesses on Fletcher’s side; they included future GD member William Crookes.  On p116 issue of Sat 16 April 1881 its editorial noted the ‘guilty’ verdict.  In that issue and several subsequent ones, Light printed letters about the case from some of its readers. 

Mrs Fletcher’s release was mentioned in Light volume 2 1882 pp241-42, issue of Sat 15 May 1882.  She returned to the USA a few days later.

Convict Voices: Women, Class and Writing about Prison by Ann Schwan 2014; seen on google so no page numbers.  Thomas Low Nichols may be the witness Kat refers to. 

Comments by Sally Davis: The Psychic Realm is Kat’s first reference to being present at this trial - almost 20 years after the trial took place.  I don’t know why Kat took such an interest in it – she was not involved in spiritualism at the time and wasn’t sure whether she believed in it.  The psychic attack and the black magic are surely very recent additions to Kat’s recollections of the trial: in 1881 she knew virtually nothing about either. 



THAT’S THE END of this particular file.  The next one in the sequence is NAME ??GD





5 March 2018




Find the web pages of Roger Wright and Sally Davis, including my list of people initiated into the Order of the Golden Dawn between 1888 and 1901, at: