Colville, Wilbur Juvenal (ca. 1859–1917)
British inspirational speaker and author of little education
but considerable natural abilities. Little is known of Colville’s
early life. He is thought to be born on September 5, 1859. His
mother died when he was an infant and his father when he was
eight. He was then raised by a guardian. As a child he saw spirit
beings, including a beautiful lady who claimed to be his mother.
The beginnings of his own mediumship date from May 24,
1874, when as a 14-year-old youth he attended an inspirational
address of Cora L. V. Richmond at Brighton. He became conscious
of spirit presence, and at home he passed into trance
and delivered his first poetic improvisation. He described his
sensations afterward
‘‘I suddenly felt myself lifted in the air. I seemed to have an
enormous head and a very small body. My lips seemed to be
moving mechanically under the pressure of some influence
over which I could not exert, and could not will to exert, no
power whatever. I heard someone commenting upon a poem,
then I sat down and finished my supper and wondered if I had
not been to sleep. That was my first experience as a medium
for speaking, though from my earliest childhood I had had
spiritual experiences and constantly felt, saw and heard beings
around me, who were not in material form.’’
Colville took regular engagements from 1877. While delivering
his addresses, which showed remarkable knowledge, and
while answering questions on a variety of subjects, he was often
unconscious. At other times he heard everything he said as if
it proceeded from strange lips. He was only 18 when he traveled
to the United States, and he spent most of the 1880s movEncyclopedia
of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Colville, Wilbur Juvenal
ing between the United States and England. Some of his more
important books appeared at the end of the decade, Inspirational
Discourses (1886), The Spiritual Health and Healing (1887), and
Studies in Theosophy (1889). In the early 1890s, he went to Australia
for two years and then settled permanently in the United
States, were he developed his early interest in alternative medicine
(including chromotherapy) and mastered a broad range of
subjects in the occult field. He continued to lecture and conduct
trance sessions while writing numerous books, including
Spiritual Therapeutics; or, Divine Science (1894), Our Place in the
Universal Zodiac (1895), and Light and Color (1914).
Coville, W. J. Light and Color. New York McCoy Publishing
and Masonic Supplies, 1914.
———. Spiritual Science of Health and Healing. Chicago Garden
City Publishing, 1888.
———. Spiritual Therapeutics; or, Divine Science. Chicago Educator
Publishing, 1914.
———. Studies in Theosophy. Boston Colby & Rich, 1890.
———. Universal Spiritualism. New York R. F. Fenno, 1906