Rosher, Grace (d. 1980)
Noted British exponent of automatic writing. She was an
artist who exhibited miniature paintings in the Royal Academy,
London. Her psychic talent became manifest after the loss of
her fiancé Gordon E. Burdick, whom she had known for many
years. In June 1956, he was serving in the Canadian Navy, stationed
at Vancouver, and intended to come to London to marry
Rosher. A week before sailing, he died.
Fifteen months later, Grace Rosher had written a letter concerning
an aunt and was wondering if she had time to write another
letter before tea-time when she had a strong urge to keep
her hand on the writing pad. The pen began to move without
her conscious volition, and she discovered to her astonishment
that it had written a letter in the handwriting of her dead fiancé.
In the course of time, many other such automatic letters
followed, stating that this phenomenon would be the means of
bringing other people to realize that life continues after death.
Rosher was not a Spiritualist, and sought guidance from the
Rev. G. Maurice Elliot, then secretary of the Churches’ FelEncyclopedia
of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Rosher, Grace
lowship of Psychic and Spiritual Studies. Elliot enlisted the
aid of handwriting expert F. T. Hilliger who studied the automatic
scripts and compared them to the handwriting of Burdick
when alive. Although initially skeptical, Hilliger reported
that the automatic scripts bore a close resemblance to the genuine
writing of Burdick in a large number of different ways, and
were so consistent that ‘‘the writing reproduced by Grace
Rosher was, if it were humanly possible, genuinely inspired by
the personality of Gordon E. Burdick.’’
Rosher subsequently produced many other scripts, including
messages from her mother, father, and three sisters, and a
relative who had died in 1752. On one occasion, she produced
a communication claimed to be from the famous scientist Sir
William Crookes, in handwriting remarkably similar to that of
Crookes in his lifetime.
A special characteristic of these automatic scripts was the
way in which they were written with a pen lying loosely across
the joint of Rosher’s index finger, the nib resting on a writing
pad. Although she did not hold the pen, it wrote swiftly and intelligently.
Skeptical stage magicians have pointed out that it
is possible to guide a pen under these circumstances, but it is
not clear whether they are suggesting a conscious or even subconscious
deception on her part. The circumstances of the production
of Rosher’s automatic scripts are in no way comparable
with the deliberate mystification of a professional magician.
Grace Rosher died in July 1980.
Rosher, Grace. Beyond the Horizon. London, 1961