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.


CARRYING ON AFTER JULY 1907 when Seen and Unseen was published

JULY 1907

Kat’s book Seen and Unseen – which she described later as “psychic reminiscences” - was published  in the UK.

Comments by Sally Davis:  Seen and Unseen made Kat quite a celebrity in the spiritualism world; something she was rather pleased about but also saw as something which brought with it important responsiblities and some personal danger.  For some years, she held tea parties, explaining spiritualism to her guests and encouraging them to believe.  They weren’t very successful and in the end she gave them up.  She began to be contacted by strangers telling her about their own spiritualist experiences and asking advice.  She seems to have tried to respond to their queries individually by letter or more generally in her later books.  She also made it her business, wherever she was staying, to call on the local clairvoyants and psychics.  She might have done this anyway, of course, to use their services herself; but now she began to check their credentials and abilities with a view to judging whether she was prepared to recommend them to those looking for a medium they could trust.

Seen and Unseen seems to have been well-received by those in the business: in Do/Dead p183 Kat says that she received a letter of congratulation from Oliver Lodge.  On the last page of Do/Dead there’s a long paragraph of enthusiasm by W T Stead, published in his magazine Review of Reviews.  Reviews in the world outside spiritualism were more ambivalent and I don’t think any of the reviewers were won over to the cause by it: the Methodist Recorder described it as “extraordinary” and the Publisher and Bookseller called it “remarkable”.  The Morning Leader spoke of Kat’s “evident sincerity and balance” and the Evening Standard wrote of being convinced she wrote in “good faith”.  The Pall Mall Gazette suggested that it should be read not only by “the believer” but also by “the sceptic, and the mocker”. 

Source for UK publication : title page of Seen and Unseen by Emily Katherine Bates.  London: Greening and Co.  1907.  And for Kat’s description of what was in it: Do/Dead p10.

Source for Kat’s tea parties: S/U pp7-8; and for the quality-control assignments: Cope p95, for example, has Kat checking out the practitioners while on a visit to the spa at Harrogate in 1910 or 1911.



Comment by Sally Davis on sources for Kat post-1907: there aren’t any, really.  Seen and Unseen was the last book in which Kat systematically mentions her travels.  The books she wrote after it are either novels, or about spiritualism and psychic matters.  They often elaborate experiences she mentioned in Seen and Unseen, but don’t add much that’s new, especially on the subject of Kat’s periods abroad – when and where.  I do assume, though, that she did still spend a great deal of time abroad; until the outbreak of the first World War curtailed that.


?1907 ?1908

Kat was staying at Chagford in Devon with an old friend who – unlike Kat – was still a fervent Evangelical.  The friend took Kat to visit Shelley’s grand-daughter, also an Evangelical.

Source: Cope p113 in which Kat says it was “Some four years ago”, Cope being published in 1912 but perhaps written in 1911.  Kat doesn’t name the descendant of Shelley that they visited, but she makes it easy to identify her, by saying she was a grand-daughter of Shelley’s first wife, Harriet née Westbrook.

Wikipedia on Percy Bysshe Shelley and his descendants indicates that there’s only really one person Kat can have meant: Eliza Margaret Esdaile (1841-1930).  Eliza Margaret’s mother Ianthe (1813-76) was the daughter of Percy and Harriet.  Ianthe Shelley married Edward Jeffries Esdaile of Cothelstone Manor Somerset in 1837.  They had three daughters, but Eliza Margaret was the only one still alive in 1907/08.  On the day of the 1901 census Eliza Margaret Esdaile (apparently called Margaret, not Eliza) was living in a house on High Cliff, Dawlish; a woman of independent means, with a staff of cook, housekeeper and parlour maid.


Though Kat doesn’t say so, I think this next event may have happened during the same visit to her friend in Chagford on which she met Margaret Esdaile:


Kat fell down a flight of steep steps at a house in Chagford.  She said she felt something hurl her down them.  She had injuries to her hands, shoulder and face and was laid up for several weeks.

Source for the fall, the malignant influence and the date: Cope p64.  She mentions it as one of several attempts on her life there had been since she started to publish books on spiritual matters.  She doesn’t say that it happened at her old friend’s house – though it probably did - or equate it with the visit to Shelley’s grand-daughter, so that might have happened during a different visit.



Kat went to stay with Usborne Moore and his wife in Southsea.  While she was there she got a message from a woman-friend in Brighton saying Kat’s spirit contact from about 1893, the old Egyptian priest, had been trying to get through to her to warn her about her personal safety.

Source: Cope pp63-64: as she had already injured herself in the fall down the stairs at Chagford, Kat felt that the warning had arrived too late. 


BEFORE 1908 when Kat was writing Pyschical Science and Christianity:

Kat visited the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi, to see the place where the saints Francis and Chiara had their meal together.  Stopping near the door on the way out, to say a prayer “as is my usual practice in foreign churches”, she had an intense transcendental experience like being “bathed” in the divine.

Source: P/Sci/Chr pp80-82.  



The Hope letters – supposedly dictated verbatim by a dead boy to his mother and her maid servant – were given a reading in a private house.

Source: P/Sci/Chr (published 1909) p45 with the date of “A few months ago”.  For more on the Hope letters and Edith Maturin see this life-by-dates 1902 and 1905, and immediately below.



Do the Dead Depart was published – a non-spiritualist’s guide to spiritualism.  It was dedicated to Kat’s spiritualist friend Dr Richard Hodgson.  Its last chapter – Guardian Children – was based on the transcripts the woman Kat called Mrs Hope had left her in 1905.

Comment by Sally Davis: Dr Richard Hodgson was the first person to be a full-time, paid psychic researcher.  While an undergraduate, he had joined the Cambridge Society for Psychical Research – the fore-runner of the UK’s Society – in 1879.  It was Hodgson who had investigated Helena Petrovna Blavatsky’s powers as a medium and pronounced her a fraud; earning the undying hatred of most members of the Theosophical Society.  In 1887 he’d moved to Boston to be secretary of the American branch of the Society for Psychical Research, taking over the continued investigation of Leonora Piper from Professor William James.  From 1887-1905 he spent hundreds of hours observing Piper as a medium, and came to believe her powers were genuine.  He died in Boston in 1905.

Source for Hodgson: www.spiritualistresources.com.



Do the Dead Depart?  And Other Questions in which Kat was named as E Katharine Bates.  London: T Werner Laurie 1908.



Seen and Unseen was published in the United States, by the Dodge Publishing Company of 214-220 East 23rd Street.

Source: my modern copy which is reprinted from that first US edition.



Kat’s book Psychical Science and Christianity was published.


Psychical Science and Christianity.  A Problem of the Xxth Century by E Katharine Bates. London: T Werner Laurie 1909.

Comment by Sally Davis: in this book Kat developed the view (held by many in the occult community) that a new age had begun in which Mankind had the opportunity to reach a higher level of psychic development.  As someone who still considered herself a Christian, Kat was worried, though, about the attitude of the Christian churches to the new age: they were doing nothing to promote it.  They were not keeping up with the views of their parishioners on the subject, causing their flock to desert them, and the vacuum of leadership to be filled by rival groups, like the theosophists.  Kat called for Christian mystics to come forward to facilitate the new era by careful and systematic investigation of the invisible or astral world; so as to learn what the entities inhabiting it had to teach.



The International Club for Psychical Research was founded.


Times 31 August 1909 p1 in the personal column: an advert encouraging prospective members to contact the Club’s hon sec, Mr Byron Webber, via the offices of The Annals of Psychical Science at 110 St Martin’s Lane.

Comment by Sally Davis: I imagine Kat knew all about the founding of this Club.  Perhaps she had even been active behind the scenes, helping to set it up (though she was not really an ‘admin and fund raising’ person).  She was a member of the Club by July 1911 but probably joined it at the outset.


BEFORE 1909 when Kat was writing The Psychic Realm.  Probably long before it.

Kat had read works by Ralph Waldo Emerston and by Swedenborg.  She was particularly interested in Swedenborg’s “law of correspondences” in which every physical law has a shadow cast by the corresponding spiritual law that preceded it.

Source: P/Realm p18, pp90-91.

Comments by Sally Davis: Swedenborg’s writings were widely read by 19th-century occultists.  John Yarker, for example, set up an order he called the Swedenborgian Rite, whose papers are now in the Freemasons’ Library.  Correspondences are the very basis of the magic Kat will have learned while a member of the GD; see my life-by-dates for the early 1890s.


?1908 ?1909

Kat heard Everard Feilding talk about his researches with Eusapia Palladino; at the Society for Psychical Research.

Comments by Sally Davis: the source for this is P/Realm p50 and as usual Kat doesn’t give it a date; and she also calls him Edward Feilding, not Everard.  Feilding’s account of this research was published in the Society’s Proceedings in 1909.  Talks were given at Society meetings, which were for Society membes only.  I thought Kat had left the Society by 1909 but perhaps she hadn’t. 


Website www.iapsop.com has The Theosophist volume 31 number 4, 1910.  On p551 there’s a reference to an article in the magazine Nineteenth Century on a series of seances with Palladino, so Kat could have read about them there.  The investigation ended with Feilding convinced that “intelligent forces” had been present during the seances, though he didn’t speculate on what exactly they might have been.  However, his wikipedia page says that his work – known as the Feilding Report – was heavily criticised (for example by psychic researcher Frank Podmore) and after a second series of seances with Palladino in 1910, he changed his mind about the intelligent forces.  The original set of seances took place in Naples in 1908, with Feilding, W W Baggally and Hereward Carrington doing the investigations, and they did catch Palladino cheating.    Hon Everard Feilding was a son of the 8th Earl of Denbigh.  After a short time in the Royal Navy, he went to Cambridge and then became a barrister.  He was secretary of the Society for Psychical Research from 1903 to 1920. 



Kat’s book The Psychic Realm was published.

The Psychic Realm by E Katharine Bates.  London: Greening and Co 1910

Comment by Sally Davis: I think of The Psychic Realm as a sequel to Psychical Science and Christianity.  It’s also an elaboration of an article Kat had written as far back as 1898.  In the article, Kat had argued for a code of conduct for psychic investigators.  Nothing had been done; the public was still open to exploitation by fraudulent mediums; and spiritualism’s reputation had declined.  Like many spiritualists, Kat had in the past had high hopes that the Society for Psychical Research would do the work of regulating mediums; but she now viewed the scientific approach to psychical investigation as too limited.  What was needed, she argued in The Psychic Realm, was a new breed of spiritualist medium for the new era.  They should have impeccable morals; and they should undertake the work of investigating the invisible world, with the goal of seeking the kingdom of God.



Kat went on a visit to friends who were landowners in Scotland, supposedly with her friend Mary Vernon.

Source: PHFL p46 though their hosts weren’t named and there’s no date more precise than 18 months before Psychic Hints of a Former Life was written.  PHFL was published in 1912.

Comment by Sally Davis: see my life-by-dates for 1897-98 for much more on ‘Mary Vernon’.


SUMMER OF 1910 or 1911

Kat visited the spa at Harrogate, then went on to make visits elsewhere in Yorkshire.

Source for Harrogate and Yorkshire: Cope p95 though the date is only “last summer”; Cope was published in 1912. 

Comment by Sally Davis: an anecdote in Cope p116 has no date, however vague, but might relate to this time in Yorkshire.  Kat went on a visit for a day to a house in Yorkshire in which she knew she had lived, as a woman, during one of her past lives.  While she was there, the spirit of her own past life contacted her psychically and told Kat that Kat did not represent the whole of her past life’s personality, only a particular part of it.  Her past self also told Kat that one aspect of her post-death education was watching Kat acting out that part of her personality. 


12 JULY 1911

Kat went to a reception given by the International Club for Psychical Research to welcome the Countess of Warwick as a member.

Source which doesn’t actually state in so many words that Kat was a member: Occult Review volume XIV number 1 July 1911, editor Ralph Shirley.  In the news section, pp65-66: a report on the reception; which reads as if the Club had only been in existence for a month or two (see August 1909).  There was a short list of other guests, including “Miss Katharine Bates”, Annie Besant, A P Sinnett and Sir Francis Younghusband.  The Club already had 400 members.  The report doesn’t say where the reception was held.



Kat had two books on spiritualism published: Psychic Hints of a Former Life; and The Coping Stone.

Psychic Hints of a Former Life by E Katharine Bates.  London: Theosophical Publishing Society 1912.

The Coping Stone.  (On Mental Science) by E Katharine Bates. London: Greening and Co 1912.

Comments on these two by Sally Davis:

Psychic Hints of a Former Life was Kat’s attempt to argue that reincarnation and life after death were real.  Most of the evidence she put in the book was about herself, though she didn’t admit it, she wrote as if describing the experiences of a friend called Mary Vernon.  See my life-by-dates for 1897-1898 for how Kat and Mary Vernon both became convinced that Mary Vernon had previously had a life as Queen Elizabeth I.


Though still considering herself a Christian, in PHFL Kat showed herself to be a passionate believer in the reincarnation of a soul into other bodies; as part of a process of soul-development which – in the end – would lead it to exist on higher planes of being.  Kat acknowledged that there was no definitive evidence for reincarnation, and perhaps never could be; but she tried to persuade her readers of it with the anecdotal evidence that was all there ever could be in its favour.  She also tackled some of the most popular criticisms of reincarnation, including why people were always reincarnations of the rich and famous and not of the ordinary and banal.


The Coping Stone continued Kat’s argument – put forward in two books already – that a new era had dawned which gave Mankind the chance to solve the mysteries of existence through spiritualistic enquiry.  This was the most obviously Christian of the three books: Kat was arguing for the importance of (the Christian) God to Mankind’s psychic progress, as the coping stone without which the new era would collapse.


NIGHT OF 14-15 APRIL 1912

Kat’s spiritualist friend W T Stead was drowned when the RMS Titanic sank in the north Atlantic.

Source: its wikipedia page amongst plenty of others.


MAY 1914

Kat’s last novel, The Boomerang, was published.


The Boomerang.  A Novel by Katharine Bates (no Emily).  London: Holden and Hardingham 1914.  The book is dedicated to W T Stead.  In its Book Three he is portrayed, as William T Worthington, journalist and (p297) “Dauntless fighter” for causes.

Date of publication: The Publishers’ Circular 1914 p540 issue of 2 May 1914 has it in a list of books either just published or just about to be. 

Comment by Sally Davis: The Boomerang is a very involved tale of souls not quite coming together in a man and a woman living in mid-19th century England.  In its third volume the souls are incarnated two generations later in a man and woman at the same level of psychic development; they are thus – finally – able to marry.  The plot was so dependent on an understanding of reincarnation and the development of the soul that at the beginning of Book 3 Kat felt obliged to take time out from it, to explain the theory. 



Kat’s book Our Living Dead was published.

Our Living Dead.  Some talks with Unknown Friends by Emily Katharine Bates; with Preface by Major-General Sir Alfred E Turner.  London: Kegan Paul and Co 1917.  To add to the confusion about names, the British Library has two copies with Katharine Lee Bates (1859-1929) credited as author.

Comments by Sally Davis:

On Our Living Dead: Kat was reaching out to those traumatised by the losses of the War.  She hoped to comfort the bereaved by suggesting that through spiritualism they could maintain contact with their dead. 

On Alfred Edward Turner (1842-20 November 1918).  Alfred was the son of a barrister.  He joined the Royal Artillery in 1860 and apart from going on the Nile Expedition to rescue General Gordon (1884), spent his career in Ireland.  He had investments in rubber plantations in Borneo and was a director of one of the earliest channel tunnel companies.

He wrote various works on military subjects, and a memoir.


Turner was a friend of Yeats (who was in the GD, of course); and also of W T Stead.  In 1900 he joined the Society for Psychical Research.  In 1912 he sent William Usborne Moore accounts of some of his own psychic experiences, which Usborne Moore mentioned in his The Voices…   Kat had probably known him for many years.

Sources for Turner: wikipedia.  Who Was Who volume 2 p1059.  Probate Registry entries 1899 (his first wife Emma Blanche) and 1919. 

Journal of the Society for Psychical Research p161 of volume 9 number 65 issue of January 1900: Major-General Alfred E Turner CB of 21 Tite Street London SW is on a list of new members.

Sixty Years of a Soldier’s Life by Alfred E Turner.  London: Methuen 1912.

Channel Tunnel Visions 1850-1914: Dreams and Nightmares by Keith Wilson.  London: Hambledon 1994: p64.

The Mummy’s Curse: the True History of a Dark Fantasy by Roger Luckhurst.  Oxford: Oxford University Press 2012: p82 in the section called Walter Herbert Ingram and the Coffin of Nesmin: Turner was a member of the Ghost Club.  During his time in Egypt he went to the Cairo museum to see the mummy of Ramases II.

The Voices: A Sequel… by William Usborne Moore. London: Watts and Co 1913: p160 quoting a letter by Turner dated 25 November 1912.

Yeats Annual volume 19 2013.  Article: The Manuscript of Leo Africanus; by Margaret Mills Harper and Warwick Gould: p299 footnote 27 mentions Turner as a friend of Stead.


JUNE 1917

Our Living Dead was reviewed in Occult Review by ‘EMM’, a regular book reviewer at this time.  EMM thought that the book was timely, offering some comfort to people grieving for those killed or missing in the War.

Occult Review volume 25 January-June 1917.  London: William Rider and Son Ltd.  Issue of June 1917 p360. 


15 MARCH 1918

Kat’s psychic investigator friend William Usborne Moore died at 8 Western Parade Southsea, where Kat had often visited him and his wife Maria Gertrude.

Source: probate registry entries 1918.


6 MAY 1918

Kat’s eldest brother, Henry Stratton Bates, died at his home, Langtons, in  Alfresford Hampshire.


Probate Registry entries 1918:


JUNE 1918

Occult Review published an article by Kat.  In it she suggested that a group come together to use their concentrated thought to request the Higher Powers to use “harmonic vibrations in the universe” towards the British war effort.  Kat was hoping that the vibrations would bring the British side more weapons and workers, and kill the enemy without bloodshed or suffering.  The war was holding up the evolution of the human species to a higher level.


Occult Review volume 25 January-June 1918.  Issue of June 1918 pp330-334: Etheric Vibrations by E Katharine Bates.



Children of the Dawn – Kat’s last book – was published. 

Children of the Dawn by E Katharine Bates.  London: Kegan Paul and Co; New York: E P Dutton and Co 1920.

Comment by Sally Davis: this was Kat’s last attempt to encourage a group of high-minded psychical researchers to come forward, a theme she had already explored in three previous books.  She had moved on a little though: instead of investigating the invisible world themselves on behalf of Mankind, she now saw the group as encouraging the public at large to develop their psychic abilities so that they could access it on their own.  Kat argued (like many Christian esotericists) that the Fall in Genesis had resulted in Mankind losing touch with the astral plane.  Kat saw the first World War as a purification by fire, in preparation for the new era in which Mankind could find the astral plane again and go through an evolution of his inner being, rather than his physical body.  The book included some photographs taken by Richard Boursnell.  On the right of them is an elderly woman in a coat and hat.  The woman isn’t identified but it must be Kat herself, the only photographs I know of her.  On the left of them are two children, an older girl and a baby boy.  Kat names them as Stella and Reggie and believes they are some of the children of the dawn of the new era, born to facilitate Mankind’s second chance at Redemption. 

Just noting here that Boursnell died in 1909 so the photographs had been taken many years before they were published.



The spiritualist documents Kat called the Hope letters were published by the dead boy’s mother with an introduction by W T Stead.

Source: Rachel Comforted by Mrs Fred Maturin.  See 1902, 1905 and Do the Dead Depart 1908 for Kat’s part in making the documents more widely known.



Occult Review published an account by Kat of a visit she made to have a photograph of her brain taken by Dr Hippolyte Baraduc, a doctor based in Paris.  She may, at some point, have questioned some of his patients about his methods of treatment.

Source for the article: Occult Review volume 32 issue of August 1920: pp104-109.

Comments by Sally Davis: this article was Kat’s last published work.

Dr Baraduc was well-known for using his clairvoyant powers, and photographs he’d had taken of his patients’ brains, to help in diagnosis.  Kat was not wanting a diagnosis and treatment of any illness of her own; she was curious, though, to find out more about treatment as given by a man who believed in the existence of the etheric body – Kat usually calls it the astral body – and treated that as well as the physical one, believing that any cure had to come from within the patient.  She asked her friend Mrs Finch for an introduction.

The doctor was busy on the morning Kat called, and could only talk to her in between consultations.  He gave her a book of photographs of brains to look through.  Eventually, the doctor’s assistant got Kat into a cane chair on top of a table, to have her own brain photograph done.  The exposure was a long one - she had to sit in a “darkness that could really be felt” (Kat’s italics) for “the most gruesome ten minutes of my life”.


The article reads as if Kat had cross-examined some of Dr Baraduc’s regular patients, asking them about his methods.  She had done this in seances.  She wrote in the article that she thought the methods – as described to her – quite mad.  They included cutting the etheric body away from the physical one, around the head, with copper scissors, to allow “spiritual oxygen” (Kat’s quote marks) into the soul.  She ended the article by looking forward to a time when the etheric body would became a subject for “higher research”, leading to a breaking down of the barrier between man’s higher and lower selves, and thus to greater spiritual development.


As so often, Kat doesn’t give a date for her visit to Dr Baraduc but it had to have happened between 1901, when she met Isabel Smith, later Mrs Finch; and 1909 when the doctor died.


A mention of Dr Baraduc from long before Kat went to see him:

Light: A Journal of Psychical, Occult and Mystical Research published for the London Spiritualist Alliance at its offices at 110 St Martin’s Lane WC.  Volume 17 1897 p554 issue of Sat 13 November 1897 a short report on a talk by Dr Baraduc at the Paris Society of Psychical Science; the report had originally been published in the London Evening Standard.  The talk’s subject was The Vital Forces of Man.  In it, Baraduc sought to disprove theories that mankind was dependent on heat and electricity.  The report led some readers to write in, because on p598 in the issue of Sat 11 December 1897 the editor gave details of where people could buy one of Baraduc’s biomètres – small pieces of equipment with a hand like a watch which was supposed to be drawn towards happy thoughts and repelled by grief.

A modern reference to him in Phantasmagoria: Spirit Visions, Metaphors and Media into the 21st Century by Marina Warner.  Oxford: OUP 2008.  Q at //rationalwiki.org/wiki/Hippolyte_Baraduc 1850-1909.  He was a French physician and parapsychologist.  He claimed to have seen his wife’s soul departing from her body after death as a mist; she died in 1907.  He also thought human thought could project itself into physical space. 


13 FEBRUARY 1922

Kat died.  Her last known address was 72 Lansdowne Road Bournemouth so she probably died there.  She didn’t leave a Will.  Her only surviving brother, John Sidney Bates, sorted out her affairs.

Source: Probate Registry entries 1922; London Gazette 14 April 1922 p3065: legal notice issued by Foster Wells and Coggins of Aldershot, solicitors acting for Major John Sidney Bates. In the notice, Kat’s name was spelled Emily Katherine Bates.

Comment by Sally Davis: in her books, Kat makes passing mentions of diaries – especially of her travels – and of notebooks in which she wrote automatic communications received during seances.  I suppose John Sidney Bates threw them all away.  I don’t know how long she had been living in Bournemouth; perhaps she had been there since travel abroad had got so difficult with the outbreak of World War 1.

And on Kat’s last address: 72 Lansdowne Road was within a walk or short bus ride of where Kat’s only surviving first cousin, Louisa Logan, had been living since the 1870s: the house called Cliffe Side, which was later given the number 35 Grove Road Bournemouth.




Her brother John Sidney Bates and his wife Mary Isabella; they both died in 1923:

Times Wed 20 June 1923 p1 death notices.  And Probate Registry entries 1923.


Her first cousin Louisa Logan:

Probate Registry entries 1924.


Her sister-in-law Frances Henrietta Bates:

Probate Registry entries 1925.


William Usborne Moore’s wife Maria Gertrude:

Probate Registry entries 1931.


Francis William Raikes’ widow Diana:

Probate Registry entries 1932.





By the time she was writing Do the Dead Depart – probably a long time before that – Kat no longer believed in the Evangelical Christian tradition in which she and her brothers had been brought up. She was still a Christian, but by the time she went on her first trip to the USA (in 1885) her Christianity was of a specific and personal kind.  She rejected the concept of predestination – she thought it encouraged immorality.  She particularly didn’t want to have priests coming between her and her God.  And in her later books on spiritualism and the psychic world, she managed to reconcile Christianity with a belief in reincarnation.


In 1907 she still struggled to find a reason why her brother Charles had been rendered an invalid, by a stroke.  How could “one so bright and generous and sympathetic should have been marked down for so sad a fate”?  Her way of putting it down as God’s Will is as “one of those mysteries before which we can only bow in silence - and faith...we can see that the higher natures are, as a rule, put through the deepest suffering...physical disasters also seem to fall heaviest on the kindly and unselfish souls, whilst the hard and grasping often appear to have immunity from any troubles” .



Do/Dead p22 and on p226 she confirms that her brother Charles had also moved away from it.

Still a Christian in 1885: GR1 p42.

No predestination: KSS p251.

No priests: OLD p100.

More Leaves from the Common-place Book of C.E.B. w this on the title cover “In Memoriam Col Charles Ellison Bates, Bengal Staff Corps”.  Printed London: Arthur F Bird of 22 Bedford Street Strand 1907.  Kat’s preface pp10-11.



Kat described herself as “anti-Conservative”.  However, the newspapers she mentions reading all seem on the conservative side: the Daily Telegraph; and the Morning Post.

Living with the Lankester family (probably around 1880 though I haven’t been able to tie down the date) she can hardly have avoided being aware of issues around women’s rights: they knew so many women’s rights activists.  She went to talks on the rights of women, and read Olive Schreiner.  Her feminism comes out strongly in GR1 in her comments on marriage in America, as opposed to marriage in the UK: she notes that wives had more independence, of thought and otherwise, in America; and that the marriages she observed seemed to be happier than those she watched at home. 

Sources: KSS p77.   Reading the Telegraph: S/U pp181-82; reading the Morning Post – Cope p35.  Lectures on women’s rights, Schreiner: C/Dawn p54.  Marriage in the USA: GR1 p46, p49. 



In her last few books, Kat was trying to bring to public notice the new era of humanity’s evolution that she (and others in the occult) thought had begun or was just beginning.  She wanted to bring together a group of psychics and mediums capable of doing systematic research on the etheric/astral plane, bringing back descriptions of the entities they encountered there, which Mankind would evolve into in the right circumstances.  However, she did not think that she would be one of that group herself: she wasn’t a good enough medium for that.

Source for Kat’s assessment of herself: P/Realm p112.  My own view is that she probably didn’t have the discipline for such a role: she never specifically says so but I get the impression from her last few books that most of her seances were by then undertaken on her own – so there was no one present to pour cold water on any communication she thought she might have received.  Particularly when she was depressed or ill, she did let her imagination run away with her.




In 1997 a book was published in which a professional hypnotist gave details of sessions with a client who remembered a past life as Emily Katharine Bates.

Source: Seeing the Unseen: A Past Life Revealed Through Hypnotic Regression by Ormond McGill.  Carmarthen: Anglo-American Book Co.  August 1996.

Comment by Sally Davis: Kat would have been delighted!  But I think I remember reading suggestions that McGill’s client was just remembering passages from the book which he or she must have read many years before and then forgotten about.




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: