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Elizabeth Amy Collins was born in 1868, the daughter of George Collins, a Cashier in Warwick, England. As a young girl, she saw her deceased grandfather. He told her that her sister would pass away at midnight on a certain day and that when she died, he would be waiting on the other side for her. Unfortunately, Elizabeth’s mother did not welcome that news. Elizabeth was beaten for not telling the truth. When her sister did pass, she said she saw her grandfather waiting for her before she died.

Elizabeth married George Cannock in 1885. George was a coal miner and Elizabeth worked as a laundress when they first married. After giving birth to a daughter, Lillian, in 1891 in Nottinghamshire, Elizabeth became an herbalist and trained her daughter in the occupation.

Elizabeth said a rain shower led to her first contact with Spiritualism. She was on her way to church when it began to pour just outside the Leicester Liberal Club. She stepped inside, and soon realized a Spiritualist service was taking place. After being invited to a séance in Birmingham, while sitting around the table, she went into a trance. When the medium encouraged her to develop her abilities, she replied, “You have never made a bigger mistake in your life; I shall never be a Spiritualist and shall never be a medium.”

Elizabeth’s interest in the religion grew slowly. She began to attend services regularly at a church in Hampton Hill. One evening when the guest speaker did not arrive, she agreed to speak from the platform for a short while. Elizabeth soon became a well-known London clairvoyant.

Five months before World War I was declared in Europe, she had vision before she addressed a meeting of the North London Spiritualist Society. She told the audience that before September they would be in the midst of a war and advised them to stock their larders. She connected with many deceased soldiers during the war. They would line up in single file. Each man wore a large placard with his name and the place where he had lived on earth. She was able to read these names and descriptions for the audience members.

Elizabeth first met Estelle Roberts at a Spiritualist church at Hampton Hill. “You are a born medium,” she told Estelle. “You have a great work to do in the world.” Estelle, who had seen spirit forms and heard their voices for a long time realized she should become a medium. Elizabeth also convinced Rev. George Ward, a former Baptist minister, to become a Spiritualist. She described his deceased mother in such detail that he and his niece joined Elizabeth’s home’ circle. Within six months., the niece developed clairvoyance and he himself practiced powers of transfiguration.

Elizabeth traveled all over the British Isles as a medium.  While she was in Sweden for two months, she founded the Swedish Spiritualist Society.  She also toured Canada for the Canadian Spiritualists’ National Union and visited Lily Dale in 1931. She practiced mediumship until she was 75 years old and died at the age of 78 in October of 1945.

Additional Reading:

“Passing of Medium Who Started Estelle Roberts on Her Psychic Career,” The Pioneer, Vol 8, No 2, April 2021, The Spiritualists’ National Union, Reprinted from Psychic News, November 17th, 1945.

Doyle, Arthur Conan (1926 ) History of Spiritualism, Vol II. Cassell & Co. Ltd, London


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