Vindication of Mrs. A. Brittain

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Vindication of Mrs. A. Brittain is a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle first published in Light on 20 september 1919.

Vindication of Mrs. A. Brittain

Light (20 september 1919, p. 303)

An Evidential Sitting.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle writes under date of the 7th inst.:—

Some time ago the journal "Truth," having acquired the information from me, published in what I consider to have been a very dishonourable way the fact that Mrs. B., whose remarkable clairvoyant results I had described, was Mrs. Brittain. She has been subjected to much annoyance and misrepresentation by that journal, which was totally ignorant of the remarkable series of cases upon which my opinion was formed. It would be well, therefore, to make public a recent example of this medium's power, which will show not only how false it is to maintain that her results are from fraud, but also that the overworked theory of telepathy is unable to meet the case. Mr. Hutcheson, of Aberdeen, with a courage which is too often wanting, has allowed me to publish a letter written originally for my own eyes only.

The following is the letter to which Sir Arthur refers:—

SIR A. C. DOYLE, DEAR SIR, — I desire to thank you for giving me the address of Mrs. Brittain, and in return I give you an interview that my wife and I had with that lady.

We called upon her, without, previous appointment, on Monday. August 11th, at 4 p.m. She gave an extraordinarily accurate description of our eldest son, who was a lieutenant in the Royal Air Force, and who died in Boulogne from wounds. In physical form and character we could readily recognise the lad, and her mention of several facts of his home life was very evidential. I asked Mrs. Brittain if she could get his name, and without the slightest hesitation she gave us his Christian name. I asked if friends were with him, and he stated through the medium that both grandfathers and two uncles were present, giving their Christian names.

Most amazing was the fact that the names of two lads who were classmates of his at school and who had been killed in the war were also given. He further desired us to inform the lady next door to us, who had a son missing, that her ton was with him and the name of the young man was given. Mrs. Brittain said my son was giving her a message that B——— was correct in telling his mother he believed his brother was dead. We did not comprehend this very well, as that lad was still, we knew, in the army abroad. But when we returned to Aberdeen we were astonished to find that B——— had returned from the East, and had given expression to that belief. The young man referred to has been missing since April, 1918.

Our second son, also a lieutenant in the Air Force, killed in October, 1918, was revealed to us, giving his name, and adding loving messages to his little sister (naming her, and also giving an aunt's name, and that of a lady friend).

When I asked if he had ever been to our home in Aberdeen since his death, he stated that he was there soon after, and was frequently there with his brother. "Give evidence," I said, and my wife and I were astonished when he informed us of an enlarged photograph of himself, and described a slight defect in the photograph. Now, this enlargement had never been seen by our second son, as it was not in the home until six months after he had been killed. He also communicated the name of the observer in his machine, who was also killed — a Willesden lad.

The name of a young lady, who was a member of my church choir, and died about twelve years ago, was also given.

Telepathy! We cannot accept that, because evidence was given of what was not in our minds. We believe our boys were with us, and are often with us. We had a real communion with them, talking, through Mrs. Brittain, in as natural a manner as though they were present in actual form. And what are we to say about those beautiful messages of hope and courage and comfort which were given, except that we felt very near the gates of Heaven, and that our lives were brightened and gladdened?

I do wonder what the Bishop of London or Rev. F. B. Meyer (see what he said in a recent "Sunday Chronicle") would have to say to evidence like this. Instead of drawing us from religion, it is knitting us more to the facts of a risen Christ, and his compassion for sorrowing humanity in allowing these revelations and messages to be sent. — Yours faithfully, J. HUTCHESON, 114, Osborne Place, Aberdeen, August 25th, 1919.