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Edward Walter Wallis ~ 1855~1914 ~medium, parents held seances, married Minnie Eager also a medium

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Edward Walter Wallis was born in Teddington, Middlesex in 1855, the youngest of four children. His father was a grocer and although not a religious family, they sent their sons to a Baptist school. The fire and brimstone teachings of the church turned Wallis against religion. At the same time, his mother, father, and siblings exhibited mediumistic abilities and held seances in their home.

While growing up, the spirit world advised the family and provided healing. Eventually, public gossip turned against the family and the seances were discontinued. In 1872 Wallis’ uncle William, a traveling missionary, visited the family and left a copy of the book, Medium. Intrigued, Wallis found a local spiritualist meeting at Kingston-on-Thames and attended it with his father and uncle. He also convinced his mother to hold seances again.

Wallis first exhibited his abilities through spirit writing. Later he entered trance and allowed the spirits to speak through him. Lightheart, the spirit of a South American Indian, was his main spirit guide, but he had several others. Edward produced physical phenomena for many years.

Edward married Minnie Harriet Eagar who was also a notable medium in 1876 and they had three sons. Minnie did not enter trance but spoke the words she heard from the spirits. A young Spanish Indian girl, Veina Goree, was her main spirit guide. Minnie was a member of the London Spiritualist Alliance and answered questions on Spiritualism in afternoon meetings. At one point, Wallis left for America on a missionary tour.

Wallis’ standing in the spiritualist community increased both as a medium and writer. He helped Emma Hardinge Britten found Two Worlds in 1887 and worked for her until 1899. He took over the editorship of Light in 1905 when editor Edmond Rogers fell ill and remained as editor for ten years. He changed the focus of the paper from one more focused on science, which he thought was failing to understand the “grand workings of nature” to a more philosophical view. He continually criticized Christianity for lacking proof and being hypocritical.

Wallis and Minnie wrote A Guide to Mediumship and Physical Unfoldment (1910) and Spiritualism in the Bible (1904). They wrote: “The spirit is connected with the body by means of the soul, or psychical body, which in turn affects the brain, the nerves and muscles of the outer body, through the agency of which it expresses itself, and the quality and extent of such expression will depend upon the degree of responsiveness and psychic development in the individual concerned.”

Edward Wallis died in 1914, just before the beginning of WWI. Minnie died in 1939.

Additional Reading:

Glenney, Brian (2009) “Light, More Light’: The ‘Light’ Newspaper, Spiritualism, and British Society, 1881-1920. Clemson University Thesis.

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