File Five: LIFE BY DATES 1894 TO 1898



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 went to Egypt for the second time.  During her time there she nearly met Herbert Kitchener.  She returned to England with her friend Mrs Judge of Windsor.  She or they stopped off for a few days in Paris, where Kat met up with her young Swedish friend from her last Indian trip, the woman she calls Madame Bruegel.  Madame Bruegel was able to introduce her to the Duquesa de Pomar/Countess of Caithness.

Source: S/U pp87-88.

Comments by Sally Davis: the way Kat writes it, I can’t be sure that Mrs Judge was with her in Egypt.  I imagine she was – Kat didn’t like travelling on her own.

On the Duquesa de Pomar who is known by her Scottish title, the Countess of Caithness., in English sources.

I’m astonished, really, that Kat had not met the Duquesa before this.  The Duquesa’s houses in Paris and the South of France were important gathering places for spiritualists and theosophists in the 1870s and 1880s.  Kat made an afternoon call on the Duquesa and was invited to one of the Duquesa’s seances, which were presided over by Mary Queen of Scots via the mediums the Duquesa employed.

On Madame Bruegel.  I think this is one of Kat’s false names and anyway, as Bruegel seems to have lived in Sweden I don’t know how to find out more about her.

On Mrs Judge of Windsor, who turned out to be a real person.

Maria Adelaide Judge, née Bellew.   Maria Judge’s life was typical of the empire-running classes of the 19th century.  The Bellews were an Irish family.  The man I think was Maria’s father, Henry Walter Bellew, was a Captain in the East India Company; he was killed at Jalalabad in 1842 during the retreat from Kabul.  Maria’s mother, Anna, had been born at Fort William Calcutta; Maria herself was born in 1836 on a ship off Port Adelaide South Australia.  In 1857, Maria married Thomas Edward Bristow Judge in Calcutta. Her husband was a solicitor, a partner in Judge Vrignon and Judge of 2 Old Post Office Street Calcutta.  He was drowned in an accident on the Hooghly River, in September 1862, and Maria moved to England with her children.  The censuses of 1871 to 1901 show Maria Judge moving steadily out of central London in a manner typical of the late 19th century, from Kensington in 1871, via Ealing in 1881 to 9 Queen’s Terrace New Windsor, where she was living in 1891 and 1901.  In 1891, Maria was able to afford three female servants; their tasks weren’t specified but cook, housemaid and parlourmaid or kitchenmaid was a likely combination.  On census day 1891, Maria’s son Charles, her daughter-in-law Ellen and their daughter Marion were staying with her.  Charles Judge was a Captain in the Indian Staff Corps.  He was killed in action in October 1897 at Dargai in Bengal.  On census day 1901 Maria was at home on her own, with a staff of cook and housemaid.  She died in 1908.


On the future Earl Kitchener whom Kat didn’t quite meet.  I think it must have been on this trip to Egypt that they were both seated “on a red velvet sofa” at the Gezireh Palace, where a ball was being given by the “Gippy” army in Cairo (Kat’s quotes).  Kat knew the military man’s brother Arthur – she had stayed with Arthur at the Kitchener family sheep station in New Zealand - but in the manner of the 19th century, because she and Herbert hadn’t been introduced, they didn’t speak.



Maria Adelaide Judge: census 1871-1901.

At www.revolvy.com some family history information on the Bellew family.  There’s a profile of a Henry Walter Bellew (1834-92) who I think is Maria’s brother; with mention of their father.

Familysearch Indian marriages 1792-1848.  India-EASy GS film number 498995: marriage on 3 January 1857 in Calcutta of Maria Adelaide Bellew to Thomas Edward Bristow Judge.

The Law Times volume 22 1854 p151 list of solicitors recently qualified includes Thomas Edward Bristow Judge.

Bengal Directory and Annual Register 1855 seen at archive.org.  Part II p11 list of attorneys proctors etc lists Thomas Edward Bristow Judge, of Judge Vrignon and Judge, 2 Old Post Office Street Calcutta.

At sheldonkirschner.com, there’s an article on British imperial architecture in Calcutta (Kolkata).  It mentions a plaque in St Paul’s cathdedral to Thomas Edward Bristow Judge, drowned 6 September 1862 when a boat capsized on the Hooghly River.

At discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk though the documents are at Birmingham Archives, Heritage and Photography Service: MS 28/1003 which is a discharge to trustees dated 13 May 1897.  Maria Adelaide Judge of 9 Queen’s Terrace Windsor is one of six named trustees.

At www.thepeerage.com an entry for Charles Bellew Judge who married Ellen Annie Jeffcock in 1887 in London.

Source for not-quite-meeting Kitchener: OLD p118 though with no date.  The wikipedia page of Herbert first Earl Kitchener (1850-1916) shows him as serving in Egypt during the 1890s.  In 1892 he was promoted to be commander-in-chief/Sirdar of the Egyptian army, a post he still held in 1894. 


MID 1890s most likely 1895-97

Kat spent an afternoon with Dr John Pulsford, whom she described as a “true Saint”. 

Source for the acquaintance and the quote: P/Realm p107.  In this account, written around 1909, she says that he was over 80 at the time.  He died in 1897 at the age of 82 – hence my dating.  However, in C/Dawn p51 (published 1920) Kat muddies the waters by saying she knew him around 1870.

Comment by Sally Davis: Dr Pulsford (born 1815) was Congregationalist minister of the Albany Street chapel in Edinburgh from 1868 to 1884.   He wrote a number of books on religious and spiritual matters including a set of two that would have appealed to Kat: The Supremacy of Man, and Morgenrõthe: A Book for the Age.  He did not figure in the spiritualist magazine Light a great deal and doesn’t seem to have been known to many members of the London Spiritualist Alliance and its affiliated groups, but Light volume 9 1889 p345 published two quotes from his works, to the effect that both Protestantism and Roman Catholicism had made an idol out of Christianity’s outward trappings, hampering its spiritual growth. 


Kat was not the first occultist to seek out  Dr Pulsford.  Anna Bonus Kingsford had met him in the autumn of 1883.  In the mid 1890s he was living in retirement at 8 Linden Gardens, Hornsey Lane in north London.  He died in 1897.


The Supremacy of Man: A Suggestive Inquiry Respecting the Philosophy and Theology of the Future.  Revised edition London: Hamilton Adams and Co 1883.

Morgenrõthe: A Book for the Age, for the Children of the Age.  A Supplement to the “Supremacy of Man”.  London: Hamilton Adams and Co 1883.

//sites.google.com, web pages on the history of the Albany Street chapel, one of the first Congregationalist churches. 

For Kingsford’s meeting with him: Red Cactus by Allan Pert.  Watsons Bay NSW: Books and Writers 2006/07 pp113-114; she thought his sermons were very mystical. 

Probate Registry entries 1897.



Kat went to the Sesame Club to hear a talk by Frederick Myers.

Source for the talk: P/Sci/Chr p152.  As usual Kat doesn’t give a date for the talk, and I haven’t found any reference to it in the sources I’ve looked at.  However, it can be tied down to between those years.  The Sesame Club was founded in 1895; and Frederick Myers died in January 1901. 

Comment by Sally Davis on the Sesame Club: Kat doesn’t say that she was a member of it and I suppose she could have been at the talk as a member’s guest.  In case she was a member, here are some details about the Club, which was in Dover Street in its early years; at either 25 or 29 (the sources I found didn’t agree on this).  It had been founded by Lady Isabel Margesson and others as a club for both men and women, and tried to attract professional women in particular by reduced fees and a programme of literary and educational events. 

Sources for the Sesame Club:

Web pages www.helenhughes-hirc.com, Historic Interiors Research; actually an assessment of 49 Grosvenor Street, where the Club was from the 1920s.  This website gives 25 Dover Street as its original address.

Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866-1928 by Elizabeth Crawford 2003 features the Sesame Club on p127 in its list of clubs because it was later popular with women’s rights activists such as Lady Betty Balfour.  Crawford gives 29 Dover Street as its original address.


1895, probably EARLY IN THE YEAR

Kat went to Algeria.  She mentions having visited the Fort Nazionale and gone into the church there.  She also visited a mosque and had some kind of psychic experience there while watching a a Muslim cleric teaching his followers,

Sources: S/U p94 for the visit, though with a relative date – the year after she and Mrs Judge went to Egypt – rather than an absolute one.  S/U doesn’t say who Kat travelled with on the trip.

P/Sci/Chr p79, p82 for the places she visited while she was there.

Comment by Sally Davis: Kat usually kept away from Britain during the winter, so January-March is a likely time for her visit.


APRIL 1895

Kat wrote to Oscar Wilde offering sympathy for his plight; but also assuming he was guilty as charged.

Source for the letter and the assumption: Cope p77; Kat dates her letter to the period while Wilde was on bail, between the two trials.  It’s the only mention of the Wildes in any of Kat’s books and the context reads as if she had not seen any of the family for many years.

Wikipedia on Wilde v Queensberry: trial began 3 April 1895 and ended when Wilde withdrew, on the advice of his lawyers.  As he left the court after the collapse of his case, he was arrested.

Professor Douglas O Linder’s www.famous-trials.com dates the collapse of the Wilde v Queensberry trial to 5 April 1895.  Regina v Wilde began on 26 April 1895.


?JULY 1895

Kat was in Cambridge, possibly visiting Frederick Myers.

Source: Do/Dead p193.  It’s not clear from the text whether Kat was actually staying with the Myers, or in lodgings in the town. 

Comments on the date of Kat’s visit or visits, by Sally Davis: Kat mentions a visit or possibly two visits to Cambridge in two different books: S/U pp111-14; and Do/Dead p193.  In Do/Dead the visit or a visit is dated to the time that the Italian medium Eusapia Palladino was investigated by the Society for Psychical Research.  In S/U a visit to Cambridge which Kat says was her first, is dated as May 1896 after Kat had spent the social season in London (for once) and no mention of Palladino is made.  So perhaps there were two visits, which Kat has since amalgamated in her memory. 


Wikipedia’s page on Palladino states that it was July 1895 that she made her first visit to England, invited by Myers on behalf of the Society for Psychical Research.  She stayed at Myers’ house, and he and Oliver Lodge undertook a programme of experiments with her as a medium.  Palladino was easily exposed as faking most of what happened and the experimenters also caught her trying to disconnect the physical equipment they had attached to her.  Apparently, Kat was not involved in the experiments herself.



Kat visited Scotland.  While she was there she went to Holyrood, to look at the Duquesa de Pomar’s grave.  The Duquesa had died a few months after Kat’s only meeting with her.

Source: S/U p95. 



Kat went to stay with her friends in Oxford, before spending the social season in London. 

Source: S/U p96, p105.

Comments by Sally Davis: Kat must have had lots of friends in Oxford but perhaps she was staying with the people she had once lived with there.  The London social season cranked itself up in April and wound itself down in July each year. 

?MAY 1896

Kat she made her first visit to Cambridge, where she – by coincidence - stayed in the rooms lived in by her rejected suitor, the man she calls ‘judge Forbes’. 

Source: S/U p111-114 including a reference to May 1896.

For other references to the man Kat calls ‘judge Forbes’ see around 1870-72, and again 1900 in this life-by-dates.  I have identified Kat’s ‘judge Forbes’ as Francis William Raikes.


13 JANUARY 1897

Kat left England for the West Indies.  According to her (much later) account of this trip, she travelled with a friend called Mary Vernon.  However, the passenger-list data shows that she went with a young(ish) relative.


PHFL pp19-20 for Barbados, Jamaica and the woman Kat calls Mary Vernon.

When I checked findmypast, the list of cabin passengers for the trip of the Don from Southampton to Puerto Limón, Costa Rica via Barbados had no one called ‘vernon’ in it.  It does have a “Miss Logan” listed immediately after “Miss E K Bates”; and I think Kat was travelling with Grace Logan (born 1861), daughter of Kat’s first-cousin Louisa. 

For more on the supposed Mary Vernon, see summer 1897-January 1898 below.



Kat and Grace Logan went first to Barbados.  Kat had letters of introduction to two sisters who lived there, and she and Grace visited them at their estate.  The younger sister was known as an amateur psychic and clairvoyant.  Kat and Grace then went on to Jamaica, Trinidad and St Lucia.  They then set out for the United States.  Their ship went along the coast of Haiti but Kat was too frightened by its sinister reputation to go ashore. 

Comments by Sally Davis:

On the writing commission:

I presume it was W T Stead as founder and editor of Borderland, who asked Kat to investigate the magic and ghosts of the West Indies; and get an interview (if she could) with a mysterious man in Philadelphia who was supposed to have invented a method of tapping the ether as a source of energy.  Kat doesn’t name anyone that she stayed with on the trip but on the 1861 census, two of Kat’s school-mates – sisters Louisa and Edith Gray – are listed as born in the West Indies, so perhaps she was visiting them, amongst others; maybe they were the sisters with an estate on Barbados.

Sources: S/U p116 a brief mention; Borderland see below for her two articles.  For the psychic acquaintance on Barbados, PHFL pp19-24 because thereby hangs a tale, see the entry for spring/summer 1897.


Articles in Borderland: A Quarterly Review and Index volume IV January-October 1897, editor W T Stead.  Volume 4 number 3 July 1897 pp289-94: A Travelling Borderlander in the Western World: West Indian Magic and Keeley’s Motor.  The West Indian section was written in Philadelphia, 22 March 1897.  Kat doesn’t mention having a travelling companion in these articles.



Kat went on from the West Indies to Boston with the fixed intention of obtaining a séance sitting with Leonora Piper. Initially she was refused access to Mrs Piper, but eventually she was allowed two sessions, because of her friendship with Rev Stainton Moses.  Mrs Piper had recently been receiving messages from a spirit claiming to be Rev Moses and Kat was able to verify that it really was him.  While Kat was in Boston, she met Lilian Whiting.


Occult Review volume 3 January to June 1906.  Issue of March 1906 pp136-143, an article by E Katharine Bates: Mrs Piper and Her Controls.

S/U pp116-119, pp121-22.  Kat would have wanted to have a session with the celebrated and much-studied Mrs Piper in any case, I think, but it was also part of W T Stead’s commission for her to have such a session if she was allowed.  Access to Mrs Piper was through Dr Richard Hodgson of the American Society for Pyschical Research. 

For Lilian Whiting see her wikipedia page: born 1847, daughter of Lorenzo D Whiting who served as senator for Illinois.  She began working as a newspaper reporter in St Louis in 1876 and by the time Kat met her, was living in Boston editing a couple of magazines there.  She was interested in theosophy, and later in Bahai; //bahai-library.com/clegg_lilian_whiting is a short biography by Blanche Cox Clegg.

Comments by Sally Davis: I suppose Grace Logan was still accompanying Kat though Kat doesn’t mention her in any of the accounts of the sessions with Mrs Piper and I’m sure she was not present at any of them.   In 1897, Kat agreed to Dr Hodgson’s condition that she should not publish anything about her seances with Mrs Piper; but Hodgson died in 1905 and Kat felt released from the obligation.  In her writing up of the seances Kat mentioned that whereas Mrs Piper normally communicated by word when in trance, she used automatic writing for most of Kat’s two sessions. 


Kat made two assertions in her account of the sessions with Mrs Piper that come as a surprise to those at the modern College of Pyschic Studies who have charge of Rev Moses’ papers. 


The first assertion was that Rev Moses was engaged to be married at the time of his death.  Kat doesn’t name his fiancée but gives two details about her: that she was a widow, and that she had a daughter.  During the two sessions with Mrs Piper the spirit of Rev Moses asked Kat to make sure the widow was given a watch that he had meant to bequeath to her; and to see that she was given the proceeds of a manuscript that Rev Moses had just finished preparing for publication when he died – letters between him and Lord Tennyson, on the subject of spiritualism. 


Kat’s second assertion was that Rev Moses’ Will had two executors, one of whom was Alaric Watts.  Rev Moses died in September 1892, at Bedford, where his mother Mary was living.  He left no Will and his mother, as his next-of-kin, applied for letters of administration.  With no Will, there were no official executors.  What I think Kat means is that Mrs Moses had asked her son’s friends to help sort out his papers; so that Alaric Watts was doing an executor’s job, but not in an official capacity. 


When Kat returned to England she sought out Alaric Watts, who had seen the Moses/Tennyson manuscript before Rev Moses’ death, but hadn’t been able to find it in his papers.  When Kat was preparing the Occult Review article, it still hadn’t been found. Before Rev Moses’ death, Kat had been slightly acquainted with the woman she called his fiancée.  She now sought her out too, to confirm some of the information she had been given during the seances with Mrs Piper.

Sources for Rev Stainton Moses’ death and estate: Probate Registry entries 1892, 1897 (for the death of his mother, confirming her address); census 1891, 1851.


MARCH 1897

Kat went to Philadelphia to interview a man called Keely, of the Keely Motor Company, who had claimed to have invented an engine which tapped the ether to make atomic energy.  Kat was unable to reach Mr Keely, she was only able to speak to his wife, who told her that Keely no longer gave interviews.


Articles in Borderland: A Quarterly Review and Index volume IV January-October 1897, editor W T Stead.  Volume 4 number 3 July 1897 pp289-94: A Travelling Borderlander in the Western World: West Indian Magic and Keeley’s Motor.  The West Indian section was written in Philadelphia, 22 March 1897.

S/U pp125-126.  On p126 Kat quotes a letter published in the American Times on 6 March 1898 (sic, I think Kat wrote down the wrong year) in which Keely announced that he was preparing his ether/atomic energy for commercial use.  She also noted that he died in November 1897.   

Comment by Sally Davis: Kat’s own account says that during Keely’s lifetime, only a few believed him; most thought his new energy was a fraud.



Kat and ‘Mary Vernon’ rented a farmhouse in Kent for a few weeks.  They visited Hever Castle and Penshurst, and Kat tried and failed to learn to ride a bicycle.  As a result of a traumatic dream ‘Mary Vernon’ had after the visit to Penshurst, a psychic friend of Kat’s identified ‘Mary Vernon’ as having had a past life as Queen Elizabeth I.

Source: PHFL  more or less passim– published in 1912 and using the story of Mary Vernon as evidence of reincarnation.

Website www.penshurstplace.com says that Queen Elizabeth first visited the Sidney family at Penshurst Place in 1599.

Comment by Sally Davis.  Kat as PHFL’s author writes as “I” and refers to ‘Mary Vernon’ as a friend of hers.  However, it’s clear from the author’s description of Mary Vernon’s life so far, that Mary Vernon is actually Emily Katharine Bates 1846-1922. 


I won’t go into the evidence presented by Kat writing as “I”, but the story ends with “I” having amassed enough of it to convince herself and ‘Mary Vernon’ that in a past life ‘Mary Vernon’ was Queen Elizabeth I.  The evidence is all from psychic communications, of course, and involves Queen Elizabeth apparently making a visit to Scotland, and confusion on Kat as author’s part between Lettice Knollys Countess of Essex and then Countess of Leicester; and Catherine Howard, née Carey, Countess of Nottingham. 


I think the tale of Mary Vernon has its beginnings in Kat’s meeting (in 1895) with the Countess of Caithness/Duquesa de Pomar.  It was widely understood in spiritualist circles in the 1880s and 1890s, that the Countess believed herself to be a reincarnation of Mary Queen of Scots.  Kat wrote in S/U that the Countess believed no such thing.  However, I think the idea of being a reincarnation of monarchy took root in Kat’s mind in 1895, to come out via ‘Mary Vernon’.


In other publications Kat referred to two other past-lives she had been told about by mediums and psychics specialising in past life restorations.  In one, she was a reincarnation of an ancestor of her own, an 18th-century army officer.  In the other, she had had a past life as a woman living in a house in Yorkshire.

Sources for Kat’s other two past lives: the army officer - D/Dead p154; the woman living in Yorkshire - Cope p116..


Given that Mary Vernon is Kat Bates, I’m not sure who Kat was renting the farmhouse in Kent with; perhaps it was Grace Logan again.



Kat went to see the play The Little Minister, with Cyril Maude and Winifred Emery in the two major roles.

Source: Do/Dead p123.

Comment by Sally Davis: Kat doesn’t often mention going to the theatre.  This trip got into Do the Dead Depart because Kat was using it to illustrate that predictions about the future don’t always get it exactly right.

Sources for the play and the production Kat saw:

At britannica.com there’s a paragraph on J M Barrie’s The Little Minister; published as a novel in 1891 and turned into a play, by Barrie, in 1897.

At www.abebooks.com in October 2017 some theatre programmes were on sale and on show, including one for a performance of The Little Minister with Maude and Emery in the leads, on 4 January 1898 at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

Just noting here that Kat will have met Winifred Emery’s sister-in-law, though she may not have known about the relationship: Florence Emery, better known these days as Florence Farr, was a senior member of the GD.


END MAY 1898

A jubilee was held in the USA to celebrate 50 years of spiritualism.  Kat had been invited to go, but couldn’t.  She sent notes for a talk, instead.

Source for Kat’s invitation to the event;  P/Realm p9.  

At iapsop.com you can read the relevant copies of The Philosophical Journal, published in San Francisco.  The issue of 23 June 1898 has an account of the jubilee meeting which was organised by the National Spiritualists’ Association and held where the Fox sisters had launched spiritualism - Rochester New York State.  There were sessions on 30 and 31 May 1898.  During the session of 30 May, submissions sent by foreign spiritualist organisations and individuals were read.  I suppose Kat’s submission must have been one of them but the report didn’t give the details of any of them.  

Comment by Sally Davis on a possible reason why Kat couldn’t attend the jubilee: Grace Logan’s sister Isabel married John Burbey of Clifton in the middle of April 1897.  Perhaps Kat – who wasn’t a good traveller by sea – didn’t fancy another crossing of the Atlantic so short a time after her trip to the West Indies and New England. 

Source for the wedding; though it doesn’t give the exact date it will have been since the last issue of the paper, probably the week before: Bristol Times and Mirror 23 April 1897 p5.  They were married at Holy Trinity Bournemouth.



Kat was very ill.

Source: S/U p129.


Kat was still recovering from the illness when she went to Ireland to visit a place she called Castle Rush.  She stayed in the castle with its owners, whom she called the Kents.  While she was there, she slept in its most haunted room, unknowingly discovered some skeletons inside a wall; and had communications from several of her hosts’ dead relatives.

Source: S/U pp129-134 in which Kat made it rather easy for me to identify the correct place and family, by saying the castle was – according to W T Stead – the most haunted in Ireland.  There’s plenty on the web about Leap Castle as the most haunted castle in Ireland.  The ‘Mrs Kent’ that Kat stayed with seems to have been largely responsible for it getting that reputation.  Mrs Kent’s real name was Mildred Henrietta Gordon Dill (1867-1932).  In 1889 she married Jonathan Charles Darby who had inherited Leap Castle from his grandfather in 1880.  The Darby family had owned the castle from 1649; Mildred’s husband Jonathan was the last of the family to actually live in it.

Between 1898 and 1910, Mildred Darby published several novels and some short stories using the writing name Andrew Merry.  She also wrote an article on Leap Castle’s ghosts, based on seances held at the Castle – seances Kat might have attended.  One source I found said that the article had been published in Occult Review in 1909; but when I looked at that year’s volumes I couldn’t find it.

Sources for Leap Castle and the Darby family:

British Library catalogue entries for Andrew Merry.

Birth registration for Midred Dill, Brighton January-March quarter 1867.

Familysearch England-EASy GS film number 214085: marriage of Jonathan Charles Darby to Mildred Henrietta Gordon Dill, daughter of Richard Dill and his wife Helen née Gordon.  At St John Burgess Hill 7 November 1889.

Castle’s website at leapcastle.net



After her stay at Leap Castle, Kat went on to Cork to visit some relations.

Source: S/U p132 though without naming the relations.



Kat and Mildred Darby met in London and told her more about the skeletons in the Leap Castle wall.

Source: S/U pp130-31.  


Kat went to a lunch held to introduce her to the well-known amateur medium, Miss Rowan Vincent.  Though Miss Rowan Vincent did not normally use the automatic writing technique as a medium, when the lunch was finished she and Kat had a séance using it.

Comment by Sally Davis: during this session Miss Rowan Vincent wrote down a message which Kat interpreted as being for W T Stead – a message containing a symbol which would establish it as a genuine spirit communication.  Kat says that Miss Rowan Vincent was unaware of the message’s significance.

Source for the lunch: S/U pp135-136.

Sources for Miss A Rowan Vincent, who was probably better known in London spiritualist circles than Kat was, when they met:

Light: A Journal of Psychical, Occult and Mystical Research was the magazine of the London Spiritualist Alliance, published for the LSA at their offices at 110 St Martin’s  Lane London WC.  Its volume 17 1897 p312 mentions Miss Rowan Vincent lecturing at the Pioneer Club, on Clairvoyance and Psychometry.  On p469 she was in a list of current members of LSA’s council.  And on piii of the issue of Sat 23 Oct 1897 she was mentioned as a member of the Marylebone Association of Spiritualists, and currently on its committee.  She would be doing an evening of clairvoyance, the first in a series of events organised by the MAS for the autumn.



 That’s the end of this particular life-by-dates file.  To carry on from 1900, look in FILE NAME FOR WEB





21 April 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: