Two other sitters whom I am delighted to have known for many years are Miss Louise Cook and her sister Miss Ida Cook, better known to the public as Mary Burchell, the romantic novelist. Their visits to me commenced some ten years ago, but I shall always remember them for their great courage before the war in seeking out Jewish people in danger in Germany and managing to get them out of the country.
They also smuggled out refugees’ jewellery, often at risk to themselves. On one occasion, a diamond brooch of great size was brought out by Ida wearing it quite openly on an inexpensive Marks & Spencer Jumper, thereby creating the impression that it was of no value, although its subsequent sale maintained its rightful owner for a difficult period before reestablishment in a new life.
Eventually, they received official recognition from the Israeli Government for their work. They had no idea they were being heroines, and disclaimed being the James Bond type. Nevertheless, such bravery calls for quickness of mind and precision of thought, and it was armed with these two attributes that they approached Spiritualism.
They are the friends referred to by Ginette Spanier. Their great and absorbing passion for Opera brought about the opportunity of helping Jewish refugees; it also created some of their finest evidence of proof of survival and spirit communication. To them, who have been kind enough to contribute the following, I offer my gratitude.
One of the most impressive of Estelle Roberts’ many psychic gifts is her fantastic capacity for giving actual names of those communicating from the other side. The speed, the accuracy, the sheer brilliance of such a display can be compared to the passage work of a virtuoso violinist, as the names go out to be claimed and identified by the astonished sitter, one after the other. We particularly recall the time we took our mother, then 87, to visit Estelle.
The first name, understandably, was our father’s William, but Estelle added immediately, “He says, ‘Call me Will.’ ” – the name by which Mother called him when they were young. There followed in rapid succession Mother’s own mother, her two favourite boy cousin’s, an uncle, her grandmother, her great-aunt, and a cousin from the other side of her family,
who gave his name as Horace, and said Ernest was with him. Mother quickly identified Horace, but it was not until later that she remembered Ernest was Horace’s twin brother who died young. Then came a dazzling succession of the friends of her youth, before Estelle returned to the subject of our father and said, “I think he had a will of his own,”