Roberts, Estelle (1889–1970)
One of the more famous British Spiritualist mediums of the
mid-twentieth century. Born May 10, 1889, she claimed to have
first seen a spirit at the age of ten. At school, she constantly
heard voices and saw apparitions. Her parents scolded her for
having a too-vivid imagination. At the age of fifteen, she was
employed as a nursemaid, but the visions and voices followed
her wherever she went. She married at the age of seventeen and
later foretold her husband’s untimely death. After that she had
a hard struggle to support her three children, and she took a
job as a waitress, working from 7 a.m. until late at night.
One day a neighbor persuaded her to attend a Spiritualist
service, where the clairvoyant said ‘‘You are a born medium.
You have great work to do in the world.’’ In due course, she became
a medium, controlled by the spirit guide ‘‘Red Cloud.’’
She operated in complete darkness and manifested clairvoyance,
clairaudience, direct voice, materialization, psychometry,
psychic healing, trance oratory, automatic writing, and
production of apports.
While hailed by Spiritualists, she would never allow trained
observers to examine her work. She even gave a demonstration
of Spiritualism in the august surroundings of the House of
Commons in Britain, but she turned down a formal offer from
the Society for Psychical Research to investigate her physical
Estelle Roberts died in 1970.
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of
Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York Paragon
House, 1991.
Roberts, Estelle. Fifty Years a Medium. London, 1969. Reprint,
New York Avon, 1972.