Morris, L(ouis) A(nne) Meurig (1899 )
Early twentieth-century British inspirational medium
through whom an entity who chose the name Power delivered
religious and philosophical teachings from the platform
in a manner analogous to modern channeling. Some signs of
Morriss psychic gifts were noticeable at an early age, but they
were stifled by an orthodox education. However, she began to
develop rapidly after a first séance with a direct voice medium
in Newton Abbot in 1922. Within six weeks she went under control.
Sunshine, the spirit of a child, spoke through her, and
Sister Magdalene, the spirit of a French nun, assumed charge
as principal trance control. The prediction came through that
Morris would be trained for the delivery of teaching by a spirit
Under the control of Power, the mediums soprano voice
changed to a ringing baritone, her mannerisms became masculine
and priestly, and the teachings disclosed an erudition and
sophisticated philosophy that was far above the intellectual capacities
of the medium.
In 1929, Laurence Cowen, well-known author and playwright,
came in contact with Morris. Power convinced him of
the truth of survival and filled him with a missionary spirit.
Hitherto an agnostic, Cowen became a convert to Spiritualism,
associated himself with Morris, and arranged a long series of
Sunday meetings in the Fortune Theatre in London for the
general public. Wide publicity accompanied the sermons for
some time in the press. Public attention was further aroused by
the provincial tours Cowen arranged at great personal sacrifice.
Morriss rise into the forefront of inspired orators was punctuated
with two publicly attested supernormal occurrences.
First, an attempt was made by the Columbia Gramophone
Company to make a phonograph record of Powers voice. According
to the publicly rendered account of company
spokesperson C. W. Nixon, at the very commencement of the
experiment an incident occurred that by all the rules should
have spoiled the first side of the record.
Ernest Oaten, president of the International Federation of
Spiritualists, was in the chair, and, being unaware that the start
was to be made without the appearance of the usual red light,
he whispered loudly to Morris as she stood up Wait for the
signal. These words were picked up by the microphone and
heard by the engineers in the recording room after the apparatus
had been started, and it was believed they must be on the
record. Later, when the second side of the record was to be
made, there was confusion in starting, and towards the end, as
if to make technical failure a certainty, Morris turned and
walked several paces away from the microphone.
A week before the record was ready for reproduction,
Cowen telephoned Nixon and told him that Power had asserted
that notwithstanding the technical mistakes the record
would be a success, that Oatens whispered words would not be
reproduced, and that the timing and volume of the voice would
not be spoiled by the later accidents.
This statement was so extraordinary and appeared to be so
preposterous in view of technical expectations, that Nixon had
it taken down word by word, and sent it in a sealed envelope
to Oaten in Manchester with the request that he would keep it
unopened until the record was ready, and the truth or otherwise
of the prediction could be tested. The record was played
in the Fortune Theatre on April 25, 1931. It was found perfect.
The letter was opened and read. The prediction was true in
The second strange incident occurred in the studios of the
British Movietone Company where a talking film was made of
Powers oratory. Seventy people saw the microphones high
in the air, held up by new half-inch ropes. The rope suddenly
snapped (it was found cut as with a sharp knife) and a terrific
crash startled all present. Within half an inch of Morriss face,
the microphone swept across the space and went swaying to
and fro. A foreman rushed up and dragged the rope aside to
keep it out of sight of the camera. The cameraman never
stopped filming. Nor did Morris falter. In spite of the obvious
danger to her life she never stirred and went on undisturbed
with her trance speech.
According to expert opinion the voice registering must have
been a failure. Yet it was found that the accident had not the
least influence. The record was perfect. According to Powers
later revelation, everything was planned. The ropes were supernormally
severed so as to prove, by the mediums demeanor,
that she was indeed in trance (which a newspaper questioned)
as no human being could have consciously exhibited
such self-possession as she did when the accident occurred.
Sir Oliver Lodge, in his book Past Years (1931), refers to
When the mediums own vocal organs are obviously being
usedas in most cases of trance utterancesthe proof of supernormality
rests mainly on the substance of what is being
said; but, occasionally the manner is surprising. I have spoken
above of a characteristically cultured mode of expression, when
a scholar is speaking, not easily imitated by an uncultured person;
but, in addition to that a loud male voice may emanate
from a female larynx and may occasionally attain oratorical
proportions. Moreover, the orator may deal with great themes
in a style which we cannot associate with the fragile little woman
who has gone into trance and is now under control. This is a
phenomenon which undoubtedly calls attention to the existence
of something supernormal, and can be appealed to as testifying
to the reality and activity of a spiritual world. It is, indeed,
being used for purposes of such demonstration, and
seems well calculated to attract more and more attention from
serious and religious people; who would be discouraged and offended
by the trivial and barely intelligible abnormalities associated
with what are called physical (or physiological) phenomena
and would not be encouraged by what is called
In April 1932, Morris sued the Daily Mail for a poster reading
Trance Medium Found Out, and also for statements
made in the article to which the poster referred. The action
lasted for 11 days. The summary of Justice McCardie was draMormons
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology 5th Ed.
matically interrupted by the sudden entrancement of Morris
and an address of Power to the judge. The jury found for the
newspaper on the plea of fair comment but added that no allegations
of fraud or dishonesty against Morris had been proved.
Morriss appeal, after a hearing of four days before Lord Justices
Scrutton, Lawrence, and Greer, was dismissed. The House
of Lords, to which the case was afterward carried, agreed with
the Court of Appeal.
Morris, L(ouis) A(nne) Meurig (1899 )