The secret life of Geraldine Cummins, automatic writing medium

Geraldine Cummins was a double agent in WW2 before she rose to fame in the 1950s as an author and automatic writing medium...

By: The College of Psychic Studies.   Posted

The College of Psychic Studies' grand Lecture Hall is something of a Hall of Fame. Its walls are lined with painted portraits and photographs of some of the greatest psychics and mediums of our time. Indeed, many of our alumni will recognise this portrait photo of the celebrated automatic writing medium Geraldine Cummins (24 January 1890-24 August 1969)... A few of our erstwhile students may even remember attending her lectures in this very same hall! 

Geraldine Cummins profile and a selection of Cummins' books

Geraldine Cummins was an outstanding medium who was best known for her automatic writing - or transmitted writing, as she preferred to call it. She wrote numerous scripts transmitted to her by various notable individuals who had passed on. The crown of her achievement was her final book, Swan on a Black Sea, published in 1965. This book documents the life – and afterlife – of Winifred Margaret Coombe Tennant, a British suffragist and an ardent patron of Spiritualism. Coombe Tennant was renowned for her mediumship under the name Mrs Willett. The scripts in Swan on a Black Sea were received by Geraldine via automatic writing from Mrs Willet, who had died in 1956. A few copies of Swan on a Black Sea can be found in the College library.

From beyond the veil: Frederic William Henry Myers

Geraldine also published two volumes of philosophical teachings transmitted to her from the leading Victorian psychical researcher, Frederic William Henry Myers (1843-1901). Myers was a classical lecturer at Trinity College, Cambridge. Through Geraldine Cummins' automatic writing, Myers describes the world beyond death, referring to its 'many mansions'. In these scripts, Myers refutes many contemporaneous orthodox ideas and beliefs about life after death. He describes how the spiritual laws operate, and how they affect our progress in the spirit world.  

These scripts were accepted as authentic by Myers' former colleague, Sir Oliver Lodge. Lodge wrote in his foreword to Cummins' The Road to Immortality: '[Geraldine Cummins' colleague] Miss Gibbes wrote to me to know if I would read some of the script and see whether I thought it reasonable to attribute the substance of the writing to [Frederic William Henry Myers]. On examination I decided that it was in many respects characteristic of FWH Myers. The account he gives... is very much in accord with what he taught or discussed with me when he was here."

Geraldine Cummins' secret life

In 1951, Geraldine published her memoir, Unseen Adventures. Alongside writing this memoir, Geraldine was also privately documenting an account of her secret war work. Geraldine worked as a British agent in Ireland during the Second World War. A manuscript of this account was deposited at the offices of the Society for Psychical Research and another copy at The College of Psychic Studies, then known as the London Spiritualist Alliance. The account would not be published until 10 years after her death. It was featured in the College journal, Light.

A personal statement

On reading about Geraldine's war work, the College secretary at the time - Miss Mercy Phillimore - wrote, 'I can only say very truly that I have always held the highest opinion of Miss Cummins' rare quality of mediumship, which she has faithfully employed with the purest motives. I find myself utterly amazed at learning the facts disclosed in this document. They concern her personal experience other than that of a psychic nature and reveal physical and moral courage of a degree possessed by few people. It is astounding to find such qualities combined with a delicate psychic constitution and a somewhat shrinking sensitiveness from all the ordinary outward affairs of life. Moreover, the personality of Miss Cummins is further revealed as one of remarkable intelligence and strength of will.' Mercy goes on to say, 'I am happy to put on record my profound admiration of Miss Geraldine Cummins.'

This post is based on research by former College Archivist, Leslie Price. Sign up to our newsletter for updates on the next course.

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