Harris, Alec (1897–1974)
British Spiritualist medium Alexander Frederick Harris was
born in Treherbert, Wales. He left school at the age of 14 and
soon found himself in the army as World War I (1914–18)
began. After the war he settled into a mundane job and in 1928
married. In 1932 his wife’s brother became a Spiritualist, which
led to her joining him in attempts at spirit contact, though Harris
would have nothing to do with it. He was first convinced of
the truth of what was occurring after contact with his deceased
sister and then gained some idea that he might himself have
mediumistic powers. He eventually began to fall into trance
states, during which his spirit guides began to manifest. Final
confirmation came when he attended some materialization séances
conducted by the famous medium Helen Duncan
(1898–1956), at which his sister and his wife’s father materialized.
Soon afterwards, Harris began to manifest as a physical medium,
and in 1940 materializations began to occur. His work
blossomed as the deaths during World War II (1939–45) began
to mount, and the various Spiritualist journals marveled at the
number of materializations that would occur at a single séance,
sometimes as many as 15 to 30. In 1956 he moved to South Africa,
where he lived for the next five years. In 1961 he suffered
from a disturbance at one of his séances attended by two reporters
attempting to unmask him as a hoaxer. They did not
succeed, but Harris appeared to be harmed both by their grabbing
a materialized spirit entity and setting off flash bulbs in
the dimly lit room. (It is generally understood that materialized
spirits are drawing power from and are connected to the medium
and any disturbance will rebound on the medium.)
Harris did a few further séances in South Africa and moved
back to Wales the next year. However, he returned to South Africa
in 1963 and resumed his career. He continued to conduct
séances until his health failed in 1974. He died on February 12,
1974, in Johannesburg. His wife, Louie Harris, wrote a biography
of him several years later.
Harris, Louie. They Walked Among Us. London Psychic
Press, 1980.