Skegness Spiritualist in Britain’s Last Witchcraft Trial

This 1944 local news article reveals the astonishing fact that our “old friend”, Skegness spiritualist Mr Basil Kirkby gave evidence in Britain’s last witchcraft trial at the Old Bailey! You’ll remember Mr Kirkby and his friend Mr George Jobson from earlier stories we’ve covered: Remarkable Spirit Photos, Spirit Typewriter Automatic Writing, Skegness Invention Ridiculed, Astonishing Spirit Message in Lincoln Tragedy, “I Bequeath Annual Bonfires to Horncastle”, and many more!

Let’s read the article and then go on to look at the even more astonishing trial and the British Government’s cover-up…

SEANCES TRIAL

Former Skegness Witness

Spiritualist, Mr Basil Kirkby with the spirit of George Jobson over his shoulder

Mr. Basil B. Kirkby, of Wimbledon, London, who said that he had carried on research into ectoplasm for the last 20 years, told the Seances trial jury at the Old Bailey on Wednesday of the appearance at a seance with Mrs. Duncan, the accused medium, of a scientist friend of his who was paralysed and “passed over” 20 years ago.

Mr. Kirkby said that his friend, George Jobson, who became paralysed though X-ray work, appeared in a cramped-up position.

Materialisation, said Kirkby was very, powerful and as elusive as radium once was to the Curies.

The late Mr. Jobson, referred to above, will be remembered as a resident of Horncastle.

Mr. Kirkby formerly resided at Skegness and his spirit message receiving instrument, “The Reflectagraph,” was first introduced at the resort.

Source: Skegness Standard 5th April 1944

Well, it transpires that the Mrs Duncan referred to in the article above is, in fact, medium Helen Duncan who became the last woman in Britain to be convicted of witchcraft when one of her seances exposed a government attempt to cover up the deaths of 861 sailors!

In a nutshell, during a seance, Mrs Duncan claimed that a sailor with the words HMS Barham on his hatband appeared and said: “My ship is sunk.” HMS Barham, a 29,000-tonne battleship, was attacking Italian convoys when it was hit by three German torpedoes. The ship went down within minutes, with the loss of 861 lives, and the British government decided to keep the news quiet, even to the extent of forging Christmas cards from the dead to their families! Mrs Duncan was arrested, seemingly because the Government was frightened of her revealing its secret plans for the D-Day landings, due to take place five months later!

Read the full story of the Helen Duncan witchcraft trial.

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