A Trial Witness Describes Seeing and Speaking to Her Loved Ones

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Helen Duncan had people materialize in seances

Helen Duncan, Materialization Medium

Helen Duncan, a British medium active in the twentieth century, gained notoriety for her purported ability to materialize spirits during séances. In 1941, during one such session, a sailor claimed to have died aboard the HMS Barham, a fact concealed by the British Admiralty to maintain public morale. Two years later, with the approach of D-Day, the Admiralty sought to suppress further revelations and arrested Duncan under the Witchcraft Act of 1735. The Admiralty’s response indicated a recognition of the accuracy of her statements.

Duncan’s trial commenced on March 30, 1944. Twenty-two witnesses testified to the authenticity of their encounters during Duncan’s séances, asserting connections with departed loved ones. Below is an abbreviated transcript of a sworn testimony affirming the materialized spirit’s familiarity, coherence, and physical presence. 

Jane Mary Rust, a municipal midwife nurse, provided testimony at the Old Bailey Central Criminal Court in London as part of Duncan’s trial. Under oath, she affirmed the veracity of her accounts detailing conversations with her late husband, mother, and aunt. Rust attested that during these encounters, the materialized individuals approached her closely, engaged in physical contact, and permitted her to reciprocate. She observed that they exhibited all the physical, mental, and memory traits characteristic of her loved ones. The provided link directs to a transcript relevant to demonstrating the continued existence of her deceased relatives, along with a narrative summary of the text.

A narration of her testimony follows. You can read the court transcript of Rust’s testimony below these audio controls.

Transcript of Excerpts from Jane Rust’s Testimony

Excerpts from the trial testimony follow.[i]

Defense Attorney: Had you any doubt about it being your husband?

Jane Rust:   No doubt whatsoever.

Defense Attorney: How close up to him were you?

Jane Rust:   As close as I am to this.

Defense Attorney: Did he speak to you?

Jane Rust:   He spoke to me.

Defense Attorney: Did you recognize his voice?

Jane Rust:   I did. I was perfectly certain.

Defense Attorney: Did he say anything to you in particular that struck you as of importance?

Jane Rust:   Just spoke about the family. He said that he was always with me, and he would be on the other side waiting for me; he would never leave me until I joined him.

Defense Attorney: Had he altered in appearance at all?

Jane Rust:   No, sir, he had not altered just a wee bit thinner, perhaps, than he was in health, but my husband was very ill for three years before he went.

Jane Rust:   He said, “Put your hand in mine, dear,” so I gave him my right hand. He took hold of it with his right and clasped my hand very tightly.

Judge:         It was flesh and blood, was it?

Jane Rust:   It was very cold, my Lord, but it was his hand. I held it firmly. I felt the knuckles. He suffered with rheumatism, my Lord, and I felt the nobbly knuckles.

Defense Attorney: Did he kiss you?

Jane Rust:  He did, sir, right on the mouth….

[My mother] came out and stood on the side of the cabinet. I wanted to be close to her, because I had never been so close before; I wanted to get right in contact. I said, “Mother, you are not going back without kissing me, are you, this time?” She said, “Come here, my child”; she beckoned me to her side. She made me stand, and I was standing facing her. She turned me to the sitters and patted my shoulder and said, “My loving daughter” introduced me, sort of thing.

Defense Attorney: Did you touch her?

Jane Rust:  I did. I kissed her.

Defense Attorney: Did she put her arms on you, or did you put your arms on her?

Jane Rust:  She put her arm around my shoulders.

Defense Attorney: Tell me a little about her voice. What was her voice like?

Jane Rust:  It was her natural voice…. My mother had a mole in the hollow of her chin and another over the left eyebrow, and without that it would not be my mother, and she had it there, and I was satisfied…. I got as close to [my aunt] as I got to my mother and my husband…. She said to me [words in Spanish here]. I said [words in Spanish]…. It was Gibraltarian Spanish. It was not the Spanish, possibly, that they speak in Spain itself, but the Gibraltarian Spanish.

Defense Attorney: Did you recognize the figure that spoke to you?

Jane Rust:   Yes, absolutely, sir. She was my aunt, my mother’s sister, and I recognized her because she is a replica of my own mother; they were always taken for twins, but they were not twins.

[i] Helen Duncan and C. E. Bechhofer Roberts, The Trial of Mrs. Duncan (London: Jarrolds Publishers, 1945), 171-172.

Conclusion 

The sworn testimony of Jane Mary Rust during Helen Duncan’s trial provides compelling evidence supporting the authenticity of Duncan’s purported ability to materialize spirits during séances. Rust’s detailed accounts of conversations and physical interactions with her deceased loved ones, including her husband, mother, and aunt, suggest a profound familiarity and coherence consistent with their personalities and physical traits. Her descriptions of the encounters, including physical contact, recognition of voices, and specific details unique to each individual, lend credibility to the existence of these spirits in the séance environment. These testimonies contribute to the ongoing debate surrounding spiritualism and the capabilities of mediums like Helen Duncan.

FAQs on Life After Death:


What is the proof of the afterlife?

The proof of the afterlife often comes from various sources, including near-death experiences, spiritual encounters, and testimonies from mediums or individuals claiming communication with departed loved ones.

What evidence exists for life after death?

Evidence of life after death can include documented near-death experiences, accounts of afterlife communication through mediums, and spiritual beliefs spanning various cultures and religions.

How does afterlife communication occur?

Afterlife communication can occur through mediums, who claim to facilitate contact with spirits of the deceased, or through personal experiences such as dreams, visions, or signs believed to be messages from loved ones who have passed on.

Is there any proof of heaven?

Proof of heaven often stems from personal accounts of near-death experiences, religious texts, and testimonies from individuals who claim to have glimpsed or experienced the afterlife.

What evidence supports the existence of heaven?

Evidence of heaven may include descriptions from near-death experiences, religious teachings about an afterlife paradise, and accounts from individuals who claim to have received messages or visions of heaven.

What happens after you die according to various beliefs?

According to various beliefs and traditions, the afterlife may involve entering heaven or hell, reincarnation, spiritual liberation, or existing in a different realm of existence based on one’s actions and beliefs in life.

Helen Duncan had people materialize in seances

Helen Duncan, Materialization Medium

Helen Duncan, a British medium active in the twentieth century, gained notoriety for her purported ability to materialize spirits during séances. In 1941, during one such session, a sailor claimed to have died aboard the HMS Barham, a fact concealed by the British Admiralty to maintain public morale. Two years later, with the approach of D-Day, the Admiralty sought to suppress further revelations and arrested Duncan under the Witchcraft Act of 1735. The Admiralty’s response indicated a recognition of the accuracy of her statements.

Duncan’s trial commenced on March 30, 1944. Twenty-two witnesses testified to the authenticity of their encounters during Duncan’s séances, asserting connections with departed loved ones. Below is an abbreviated transcript of a sworn testimony affirming the materialized spirit’s familiarity, coherence, and physical presence. 

Jane Mary Rust, a municipal midwife nurse, provided testimony at the Old Bailey Central Criminal Court in London as part of Duncan’s trial. Under oath, she affirmed the veracity of her accounts detailing conversations with her late husband, mother, and aunt. Rust attested that during these encounters, the materialized individuals approached her closely, engaged in physical contact, and permitted her to reciprocate. She observed that they exhibited all the physical, mental, and memory traits characteristic of her loved ones. The provided link directs to a transcript relevant to demonstrating the continued existence of her deceased relatives, along with a narrative summary of the text.

A narration of her testimony follows. You can read the court transcript of Rust’s testimony below these audio controls.

Transcript of Excerpts from Jane Rust’s Testimony

Excerpts from the trial testimony follow.[i]

Defense Attorney: Had you any doubt about it being your husband?

Jane Rust:   No doubt whatsoever.

Defense Attorney: How close up to him were you?

Jane Rust:   As close as I am to this.

Defense Attorney: Did he speak to you?

Jane Rust:   He spoke to me.

Defense Attorney: Did you recognize his voice?

Jane Rust:   I did. I was perfectly certain.

Defense Attorney: Did he say anything to you in particular that struck you as of importance?

Jane Rust:   Just spoke about the family. He said that he was always with me, and he would be on the other side waiting for me; he would never leave me until I joined him.

Defense Attorney: Had he altered in appearance at all?

Jane Rust:   No, sir, he had not altered just a wee bit thinner, perhaps, than he was in health, but my husband was very ill for three years before he went.

Jane Rust:   He said, “Put your hand in mine, dear,” so I gave him my right hand. He took hold of it with his right and clasped my hand very tightly.

Judge:         It was flesh and blood, was it?

Jane Rust:   It was very cold, my Lord, but it was his hand. I held it firmly. I felt the knuckles. He suffered with rheumatism, my Lord, and I felt the nobbly knuckles.

Defense Attorney: Did he kiss you?

Jane Rust:  He did, sir, right on the mouth….

[My mother] came out and stood on the side of the cabinet. I wanted to be close to her, because I had never been so close before; I wanted to get right in contact. I said, “Mother, you are not going back without kissing me, are you, this time?” She said, “Come here, my child”; she beckoned me to her side. She made me stand, and I was standing facing her. She turned me to the sitters and patted my shoulder and said, “My loving daughter” introduced me, sort of thing.

Defense Attorney: Did you touch her?

Jane Rust:  I did. I kissed her.

Defense Attorney: Did she put her arms on you, or did you put your arms on her?

Jane Rust:  She put her arm around my shoulders.

Defense Attorney: Tell me a little about her voice. What was her voice like?

Jane Rust:  It was her natural voice…. My mother had a mole in the hollow of her chin and another over the left eyebrow, and without that it would not be my mother, and she had it there, and I was satisfied…. I got as close to [my aunt] as I got to my mother and my husband…. She said to me [words in Spanish here]. I said [words in Spanish]…. It was Gibraltarian Spanish. It was not the Spanish, possibly, that they speak in Spain itself, but the Gibraltarian Spanish.

Defense Attorney: Did you recognize the figure that spoke to you?

Jane Rust:   Yes, absolutely, sir. She was my aunt, my mother’s sister, and I recognized her because she is a replica of my own mother; they were always taken for twins, but they were not twins.

[i] Helen Duncan and C. E. Bechhofer Roberts, The Trial of Mrs. Duncan (London: Jarrolds Publishers, 1945), 171-172.

Conclusion 

The sworn testimony of Jane Mary Rust during Helen Duncan’s trial provides compelling evidence supporting the authenticity of Duncan’s purported ability to materialize spirits during séances. Rust’s detailed accounts of conversations and physical interactions with her deceased loved ones, including her husband, mother, and aunt, suggest a profound familiarity and coherence consistent with their personalities and physical traits. Her descriptions of the encounters, including physical contact, recognition of voices, and specific details unique to each individual, lend credibility to the existence of these spirits in the séance environment. These testimonies contribute to the ongoing debate surrounding spiritualism and the capabilities of mediums like Helen Duncan.

FAQs on Life After Death:


What is the proof of the afterlife?

The proof of the afterlife often comes from various sources, including near-death experiences, spiritual encounters, and testimonies from mediums or individuals claiming communication with departed loved ones.

What evidence exists for life after death?

Evidence of life after death can include documented near-death experiences, accounts of afterlife communication through mediums, and spiritual beliefs spanning various cultures and religions.

How does afterlife communication occur?

Afterlife communication can occur through mediums, who claim to facilitate contact with spirits of the deceased, or through personal experiences such as dreams, visions, or signs believed to be messages from loved ones who have passed on.

Is there any proof of heaven?

Proof of heaven often stems from personal accounts of near-death experiences, religious texts, and testimonies from individuals who claim to have glimpsed or experienced the afterlife.

What evidence supports the existence of heaven?

Evidence of heaven may include descriptions from near-death experiences, religious teachings about an afterlife paradise, and accounts from individuals who claim to have received messages or visions of heaven.

What happens after you die according to various beliefs?

According to various beliefs and traditions, the afterlife may involve entering heaven or hell, reincarnation, spiritual liberation, or existing in a different realm of existence based on one’s actions and beliefs in life.

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