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Rescue Circles Part 45 More about elementals. Alftred Kitson at first criticised by W.T. Stead

By:Richard Rowley
Date: Tue,08 Mar 2011
Submitter:Richard Rowley - reviewer

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In the previous article, Verity Alder was taken by her guide Raphael to see the elementals both within her body, and out in the solar system and deeper into the universe. This might seem to stretch the imagination a bit too far for some people, but elementals, devas and angels, goblins, leprechauns and other fairy folk are often discussed by guides and spirits in seances. As these folk help us in our healing and rescue work, often without our knowledge, to give us some more information I thought it would be good to quote from anothersource.

We have already included Lord Hugh Dowding's visit to Ireland in this series, and Roc and Dorothy MacLean from Findhorn (see Parts 17 - 22).

So now here is a report from Alfred Kitson, who was General Secretary of the British Spiritualists' Lyceum Union from 1890 to 1919. Kitson's notes are taken from his autobiography published around 1920 by Wadsworth & Company, The Rydal Press, Keighley, Yorkshire, the birthplace of the first British Spiritualist journal, The Yorkshire Spiritual Telegraph, coedited by an ancestor of mine, Chartist David Weatherhead.

Kitson was not a medium but he attended a home
circle regularly, where the guide Zela presided. With
regard to the subject of elementals, he wrote: "I was
opposed to the theory of elementals belonging to the
earth, fire and water as taught in "Ghostland, "Art
Magic" and "Nineteenth Century Miracles" edited and
published by my esteemed friend and colleague, Mrs.
Emma Hardinge Britten, and in some other books which I
had put on one side as being the result of imagination
and on a par with the "fairy tales" written to amuse
children. [Several people] had assured me that there
were lower orders of being called Elementals. But I
was too sceptical to believe their testimony, so I
resolved to enquire of spirit Zela, as she was well
versed in psychic problems.
I accordingly asked Zela if she had any knowledge
of there being such things as elementals. Her answer
being in the affirmative, I further asked if they were
restricted to one of the earth's elements, such as
water, fire, earth or the atmosphere.

ZELA The earth, air, fire and water are each
inhabited by their particular order of elemental
KITSON Are they immortal?
ZELA No, they are a lower order of beings, but
lack the immortal Divine Spark.

We learned at subsequent circles that they were
not evil of themselves, but were inclined to play
practical jokes and tricks on people, and being
irresponsible beings, had no conception or idea of
wrong or right according to our ideas of morality.
They could be very vindictive when annoyed or
disturbed in their haunts. They had served a wise
purpose in past ages, as primitive man was conscious
of these "little people," and so they were an evidence
that there were other planes of being, not of the same
material nature as he, which made man more sympathetic
and kept him from becoming too materialistic in his
belief and conceptions of life. But the present day
people were gradually getting out of touch with these
"little people," and were apt to think of them as
being mere fiction, invented for the amusement of
children. I reluctantly changed my attitude, and began
to read and study Mrs. Britten's books, for it
appeared that the "fairy stories" of our youth were
based on fact.
I enquired of several of my friends who had
clairvoyant powers if they had ever seen any elemental
beings when out in the fields, woods, glens, or by the
sea, and if so could they tell me what they were like.
I wanted first-hand evidence if such beings really
My eldest sister Mrs. Thornes related the
following incident when visiting Scarborough, and
watching and admiring the "curlers" [waves] she was
startled at seeing a number of forms, something like
human beings. Although they had eyes they did not
appear to see her nor the other visitors who were
admiring the waves, but were intent on the fun of
sporting themselves in the rushing waves and curlers.
The sight frightened her, as she had never heard of
such creatures, and she inwardly wondered if she were
losing her senses and becoming subject to
The next party I questioned on the matter was my
esteemed friend Mrs. Naylor, of Middlesbrough, who
had frequently seen the elementals in glens, woods,
streams and sea. She described them as being small in
stature, varying in height from eighteen inches to
twenty-four. They have a round "tubby" body, small
legs and arms, often large head, out of proportion to
their height, often wore a peaked cap with a tassle,
as generally depicted in nursery story books. The
colour of their clothing is said to vary, with their
surroundings. Those she saw when going through the
Gap of Dunlow, in the region of the Purple Mountain in
Ireland, were clothed in purple. She was more
interested in watching the efforts of an old elemental
(a male) who stood on the top of the mountain
endeavouring to pull up by a rope what looked like a
boy elemental, than she was in the scenery itself.
The old man looked vexed and angry with the little
fellow over something: she could not tell what. Those
she saw in Newcastle on the occasion of the Lyceum
Demonstration there were clothed in green, being in
harmony with the rich foliage.
On one occasion, when visiting Carlton in
Cleveland, while resting under a big tree near the
stream, reading, she heard some tiny voices singing,
and on looking up from her book, was surprised to see
herself surrounded with a number of "little people"
who danced around her, holding each other by the hand,
like a group of merry hearted children playing at
"Ring-o'-Roses." They continued their dances, capers
etc., for nearly two hours, evidently for her special
benefit, for at the finish, one, who appeared to be
their leader, and who had played the funniest antics
of the lot, and who was distinguished by a
varicoloured dress and peaked red cap, approached her,
and taking off his cap, made her a gallant bow. She
smilingly returned the compliment. The whole party
then instantly vanished out of sight as if they had
melted into the earth."

Alfred Kitson paid another visit to Mrs. Naylor
and they watched the elementals riding the waves.
“She watched several elementals ride towards us on the
“curlers,” and go rushing back without showing their
lower limbs, if they had any. Bye and bye one came
alond which gave her the opportunity she was waiting
for, when she saw that, instead of legs, it had a
broad tail similar to those which mermaids are
represented as wearing. May it not be probable that
the stories of there being such creatures have arisen
from the testimony of certain sailors who have
possessed the second sight, or clairvoyance, and who
have seen these elementals who looked very real and
“ The last contribution I have from Mrs. Naylor
describes the elementals she saw while on a visit to
Walcot in August 1920.
‘On the hills going towards Burton I saw three
trees near each other, and on the short one I saw the
largest elemental I have ever seen. It was about
three feet high. It looked like a dwarf with a large
head and eyes. Its features were not pretty to look
at. Its colour was dark brown.
‘Near Alkborough, through what is locally known
as the “Witch Walk,” which is bordered with some fine
trees, at the village end of the :Walk” are three fine
sycamore trees. In one of them I saw another
elemental about two and a half feet high. It was
slim in build. Its face was long and narrow.
‘On another occasion when going to Alkborough
along the :Church Walk” – a beautiful arboreal pathway
laeding from Walcot Hall to Alkborough Church – when
within about fifty yards from the end of the walk we
came to a large holly bush in which I saw the
elemental of a holly tree, the first of its kind I
have ever seen. It was short in stature, its skin had
a prickly appearance, as if partaking of the nature of
the leaves. Its head seemed to be too big for its
‘I saw dozens of different kinds of elementals
during my visit, but the prettiest were two which I
saw while resting on the stump of a tree that had been
cut down at the Alkborough end of the :Witch Walk.”
I sat facing the trees where I had seen the other one.
Mrs. Wemyss and Mrs. Begg had walked forward to view
the beautiful scenery, when there emerged from some
bushes on the bank behind me two of the loveliest
elementals, about a foot high, I have ever seen. They
were like two dolls, light brown in colour, and had
such lovely eyes. I got fairly friendly with one of
them, but when I tried to touch it, it ran away. I
believe it would have come back to me, but some
visitors made their appearance and it took fright.’

“ In subsequent conversation with spirit Zela
concerning the elementals, I learned there were other
orders not yet seen by Mrs. Naylor. Some of their
natures were protean, and they could assume different
shapes at will, like the fabled Proteus. Zela was
unable to describe the nature of their bodies, as I
was unacquainted with any material to which she could
refer me by way of comparison. But I learned that
their lives were not subject to change or decay as
ours were, and so they lived to a greater age than we

More rescue work in WW I. W. T. Stead, Andrew
Jackson Davis and the Lyceum Schools in England and
Alfred Kitson. More from Mr. Stead after his death.

There is an interesting connection between these three
icons from the early days of Spiritualism and
Mediumship, as given in Alfred Kitson’s autobiography.
There is also an illuminating illustration of the
different shades of Spiritualism which continue to
divide us today.

Kitson was an active figure in the Lyceum
movement in England, and Andrew Jackson Davis himself
replied to a letter from him describing his work with
the English Lyceums. In the conclusion of his
letter, Davis wrote: “The heavens are open to every
spirit, old or young, who enters freely into Lyceum
work. Holy influences distil upon you as you go so
cheerfully from place to place teaching the way, and
organizing the Angel’s School for the interior culture
of the little ones – the coming men and women!
England is full of noble, free-minded souls, not
wealthy in materialism, but so truly RICH in all that
death cannot destroy: Truth, Candour, Integrity,
Justice, Reason, Love; and I am not surprised that you
find persons ready to cooperate with you wherever you
volunteer to almost give your personal attention and
I have your “English Manuals,” and like them.
Better for your Lyceums than ours could be. I notice
that Mrs. Britten has not hesitated to exert her
strong influence in the Lyceum direction.
May you be faithful, dear friend – not
over-worked nor weary in heart – full of the power of
Spirit in doing good. Your friend ever, A.J. Davis.”
Boston, September 25th, 1887.

Eight years later Kitson was invited to read a paper
on “The Duty of Spiritualists to the Young,”* at the
General Conference of Spiritualists held in London in
May, 1895. Kitson writes: “The gathering represented
Spiritualists of all shades of opinion, including the
Christian Spiritualist, who desired to make
Spiritualism subservient to Christianity; the
Experimental Spiritualist, who saw in spirit phenomena
another branch for scientific research, and denied its
ethical, moral and religious value; and the
out-and-out Spiritualist.
Mr. W. T. Stead, who had issued his “Ghost
Stories,” which had roused much public comment, and
not a little surprise, and who was also beginning to
express himself favourably towards Spiritualism, had
kindly consented to preside over the Conference.
The proceedings were orderly and decorous to a
degree, not an adverse word ruffled the mental
atmosphere until I had read my paper on “The Duty of
Spiritualists to the Young.” The invitation had come
to me from the kindly efforts of Mr. J.J. Morse, in
order that I should present to the London
Spiritualists the case for the Lyceum Movement in
general, and the Lyceum Union in particular.
When I had read my paper Mr. Stead, in his
opening remarks, said that if he had read it before
consenting to preside he should have been tempted to
decline the honour; and then proceeded to severely
criticize the paper from the Christian standpoint.
Several prominent ladies and gentlemen began to
condone with him, and deprecate teaching spiritual
facts, philosophy and religion to children. The
general feeling of the Conference was one of
antagonism to the Children’s Progressive Lyceum
Movement until Mr. James Swindlehurst, of Preston, the
enthusiastic Missioner of the Spiritualists’ National
Federation, made a stirring appeal on behalf of the
Lyceum Movement, and concluded with the following
quotation from the Golden Chain Recitation, No. 123:
“All religion has relation to life, and the life of
religion is to do good!”
Mr. Stead was not satisfied with his severe
criticism delivered in the Conference, but used his
influential position as Editor and publisher of “The
Review of Reviews.” In this paper he described both
my paper and myself as being anti-Christian, etc., and
on that account strongly denounced the Lyceum Movement
in general, and Alfred Kitson in particular!
No doubt he did it in all good faith and felt
sure within himself that he was performing a Christian
duty, as did the Inquisitors of old. I did not mind
for myself so much as for the injurious effects his
bias would have on those who were sympathetically
inclined towards our Movement. One gentleman, a
Government Inspector of Mines, who made a point of
calling on me for a chat whenever he was in our
district, and who had contributed liberally to our
Publishing Fund, ceased his visits after reading some
of Mr. Stead’s strictures.”

However, twenty years later and three years after
his death on the Titanic, W. T. Stead returned to
speak at Alfred Kitson’s home circle. “The first
time he came the medium saw him clairvoyantly, and
remarked in wonder and pity on observing a deep cut
across his right temple, that if he had received the
wound in the excitement of the panic among the
passengers, it would have the effect of stunning him
and so lessen his struggles in the water. But he made
no sign or reference to it when he controlled and
greeted us.
Just previous to his appearance we had been
singing (without any thought of the hymn having any
connection with the closing scene on the ill-fated
boat) “Nearer my God to Thee,” which we sang sweetly
and reverently.
At times he would draw near, as if on a visit of
inspection of the conditions, and address a few words
to the medium, which she heard clairaudiently. At
other times spirit Zela, while controlling the medium,
would see him, and give us his greeting ere he
On a subsequent visit Zela remarked, “The writer
man [Stead] is here and is saying something about
there having been some misunderstanding between
himself and you when he was in earth life, for which
he is now sorry, and says it all arose from his early
Christian teachings.”
Evidently his remarks had reference to his
strictures on my essay given at the Conference held in
London over which he presided. I had never made any
reference to it during the period of his visits, and
the incident occurred years before the medium came in
the Spiritual Movement, so that his reference to it
came quite spontaneously from him.
I remarked to Zela that I understood to what Mr.
Stead was referring, and was pleased to learn he now
saw the matter in question from a broader standpoint.”

On other visits Stead “would control and try to
fix his thumbs near the armpits of the medium’s
blouse, as if he had been in the habit, when in earth
life, of inserting his thumbs in the armholes of his
vest (waistcoat). He would address us briefly for
about ten minutes, concerning the spiritual harmony of
our circle, which appealed to him. The progress of the
cause of Spiritualism in general, and the forces –
mainly those of invested interests – in maintaining
the old order of orthodoxy – that were leaguing
together to hold Spiritualism in check. He also
referred to the persecutions, even to being
imprisoned, he had endured in relation to the abuses
he exposed in “Modern Babylon.” I refrained for
quite a time from making any reference to the wound
which the medium had seen on his temple, in the hope
he would vouchsafe some explanation. As he did not
again present himself in that state, nor make any
reference to it, I decided to draw his attention to
it, partly for the confirmation of the medium’s
description, and to learn, if possible, how he had
received it.
He informed us that the wound referred to was
made on his temple when the ship gave one of her big
lurches which threw him off his feet, and landed him
with his head in one of the scuppers. “I suppose you
do not know what a ‘scupper’ is, friend Kitson?” he
queried. “I have only shown myself with the wounded
temple to one other clairvoyant, and that was at a
meeting held in Liverpool.”
In reply to the question as to the name of the
place he said he could not tell me, but it was up some
When the war broke out (1914) and the German
armies seemed to be sweeping all before them, Mr.
Stead was very perturbed in mind as to what the result
would be. Sometimes he would control and speak with
deep concern as to the evils of war. At other times
he would hold in his hand folios of press matter, and
pointing to them would exclaim, “Write, write, write,”
Spirit Zela would describe him and give me his
He was very sad and depressed over the awful
slaughter of soldiers on the fields of battle, and the
awful effect warfare had over the combatants. On one
occasion, when he was speaking to us on the matter, he
exclaimed, “Kitson, it is hell; I tell you, war is
hell! Oh, the terrible slaughter of human beings that
is continually going on, and many of them are full of
hatred and bloodlust as they reach our side. If
rulers could be brought to realize the evil
consequences they are laying up for themselves by
promoting and fostering wars, they would stand
appalled and seek some other method of settling
international differences.”
His impetuous ways were a striking contrast to
that of the eastern spirit people who often visited
us. Zela often described his approach to the circle
as a “rushing wind.” He came with tremendous force
and energy. At other times she would refer to him as
“the writer man” as he frequently appealed to me to
write on the horrors of the war, and would hold “copy”
towards me, which Zela would describe to me. I had to
explain to him that our “Lyceum Banner” was not a
magazine of general news, but the special organ of the
Children’s Progressive Lyceum Movement, and its pages
were inadequate for the Movement’s needs, and could
not be used by me for other purposes, much as I would
like to oblige him. After a moment’s reflection he
acknowledged I was right in my decision. At the fall
of Kut he was very much depressed, and severely
criticized those in authority for their lack of
Several spirits who had been highly placed when
in earth-life visited us and were much surprised at
finding such a center of active spiritual forces in
such lowly social conditions, and asked permission to
repeat their visit, and were numbered among our wise
counselors. I withhold their names, as it is not the
titles that count in the spiritual world, but good
deeds. Some of these spirits were very busy
ministering to the victims of the war on the
battlefields. They freely cast on one side all pride
of social rank and distinction.”

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