E. B. Gibbes

Experimented with Geraldine Cummins for many years who described her as "my principal investigator for thirty years". Cummins lived in Gibbes's home in Chelsea for 8 years and was encouraged to develop automatic writing. Cummins said of her, "Her exhaustive work in keeping records of our sittings and checking up evidence obtained by me for other sitters as well as for herself, has been very remarkable. She tried to check every detail, fact or name, given in personal communications that were unknown to us. She even analysed every sentence in certain series of writings of mine when seeking evidence of the character and style of deceased persons." Gibbes also experimented with Osborne Leonard, Blanche Cooper and most of the leading mediums in London. Among her books were "The Controls of Geraldine Cummins" (Bristol: 1936), "They Survive" (with Geraldine Cummins) (London: n.d.), "The Road to Immortality" (with Geraldine Cummins) (London: 1932).

"Controls" as Separate Entities

- E. B. Gibbes -

          AN ARTICLE entitled "The Controls of Geraldine Cummins" appeared in the October issue of Psychic Science. In it I recorded evidence which seemed to show that "Astor" and "Silenio" (the controls concerned), were entities separate from each other and from their medium.

The general consensus of opinion is that the case was proved in fact, so far as I have heard, there has been only one dissentient voice.

From an unexpected source I have received additional evidence which amplifies my conviction as implied above. Obviously, since the publication of the article, further information through mediums may be considered valueless. Nevertheless, the following is, I think, worth recording.

I have had six sittings with Mrs. Mason, five of which have taken place at the British College of Psychic Science (B.C.P.S.), the first in January, 1933. These sittings were held entirely from personal motives. There is no reason to suppose that Mrs. Mason has the least idea of my identity, neither does her control, "Maisie," show any recognition of me as was the case with the Leonard control.

On November 10th last I sat with Mrs. Mason at the College, Maisie commenced by describing two men and then gave a rather important and entirely unexpected message from one of them who purported to be F. W. H. Myers.[1]

[1] This message caused Miss Cummins and me to reconsider the advisability of sending a script recently written, to a certain individual as suggested. We were probably thus saved some annoyance.

Maisie continued:

"... from the spirit side of life is a man who stands behind this gentleman here. I should say he has been in spirit-life a very long time. He looks more like a guide than anything else - more so than this gentleman."

(E.B.G.: What is he like?")

"He is a taller man altogether than the gentleman who has built up here and he was an old gentleman when he passed; he has a very dignified face. I don't know how else to describe this man's face. A very high and what I call a flat forehead; the hair worn rather long and he has rather a lot of hair all round the face. I feel he lived long years ago."

("Has he a long beard?")

"Yes, down to about here [indicating waist] and he is wearing just what I call a robe. He is not coming dressed like the other man."

("Is he a guide?")

"Yes, he is some sort of guide. He too holds up some papers. I wonder if you can understand; it is rather muddled."

Some confusion occurred here in connection with the message to which I have alluded and which I unravelled on getting the transcription of the sitting from the note-taker. This confusion was probably due to the fact that this last entity appeared to push in before F.W.H.M. had finished speaking, and the control could not easily distinguish from which of them the message came. In any case the situation must have become rather involved, for both F.W.H.M. and this "guide" were represented as holding up papers.

(E.B.G.: "If he is a guide, whose guide is he? Can he say?")

"Yes, he is a guide, or belongs to a band. I call him guide for want of a better name, but he tells me he is only one of many. He belongs to a band ... it is not to you ... I have to go to someone else. You are not the person he is guide of. He seems to give me another lady; or rather they are trying to build up a thought-form of a lady, I don't know what age, but the middle of life she looks. I don't know if she is thin, but they have drawn her as looking rather a thin sort of person. Anyway, I do know this that, from the first man who spoke to me, this person has not been well, and has seemed to be not well for a long period of time and then it seemed she pulled up again. There is a great influx of spirit-power and when it comes to this lady she rapidly uses it and it seems to be a strain on her health again. Can you follow that?"

("Yes, I can.")

"I am told to say, not from the one I call the guide but from the other gentleman, that that condition will pass after a time and would you kindly convey to her their greetings and say that what she is undertaking to do will be got through."

("That guide, is he the guide of the lady just referred to?")

"Yes, he is the guide of that lady, not you."

("And he was born some years ago?")

"Yes, he has been over here - oh - I should say he has been over hundreds of years by the look of him ... he holds up for me to see, I call it a staff, perhaps you know what I mean by that. It is a long stick with a hook over the top of it. I feel that will give you some clue.

("Does his name begin with any letter you could see?")

"I will ask him [pause]. 'S' That is what I get, only that letter. He seems to have been in the condition of that lady on and off for a long time; then seems to have retired, and come back again. He is rather telling me he has gone on into what I call higher spheres to obtain wisdom and then has come back again now into earth conditions. He comes back rather closer than he was some time ago. He and this other gentleman, they both seem to work in harmony with each other, although there is so great a distance of time between the two of them in the spirit-world. Now they have brought a monk for me to see. The old man has brought a monk. I know it is a monk because he wears that funny little thing on the top of his head. He too tells me that he is a guide so this lady must have got a lot of guides."

Here followed a description of the automatic writing of Miss Cummins, but again there seemed some confusion as distinguishing that of Myers from that of the Messenger of Cleophas, or of Silenio as the case may be. However, that is of minor importance. Maisie continued:

"He says that they have been waiting for an opportunity to get in like this and to establish a more firm belief in the mind of the lady whom they use; because the lady is sometimes inclined to doubt them and they say they have come in order for you to tell her that they are certainly entities, that they do not belong to part of her mind at all. The new book which they propose to bring through will give ample proof of their existence. That is what I have got to give you and it comes from both of them."

The control then described a friend and the conversation turned to my family affairs. As usual, with Mrs. Mason, I obtained amazing results in this respect.

If we admit the presence of this "guide" and "monk," the allusion that they belonged to a "band" would seem to indicate their connection with Cleophas. In the scriptwriting which, it is claimed, is transcribed by the Messenger of Cleophas through Miss Cummins, reference is sometimes made to unseen intelligences as belonging to the Company of Cleophas or to the Cleophas Group. Miss Cummins is in the "forties" so perhaps may be described as being "in the middle of life." She is certainly noticeably thin. By the words "the first man who spoke," the control indicates Frederic Myers. Having recently written The Road to Immortality and Beyond Human Personality through her, Myers may be considered fairly au fait with the health of the automatist in question.

The prediction made in November last concerning "what she is undertaking" has now been successfully fulfilled. The remark that "S" had retired and had come back, is symbolic of the fact that we have been obliged to break off work with the Cleophas Group on more than one occasion when illness or other work has necessitated it. That they were waiting an opportunity "to get in" is apt, and might be termed a gentle hint to us to get on with our job with them.

It is true that, at one time, Miss Cummins inwardly rather doubted the existence of the Cleophas communicators as being "entities." But that was a long time ago. Soon after the publication of The Scripts of Cleophas, much argument reached her ears concerning the probability that she herself got in touch direct with some earth-memory of those times, or, of course, that the whole book was the product of her subconscious mind. Moreover, travelling the Cleophas path has not been easy - innumerable obstacles seem to have been placed in our way, and we have been let down on more than one occasion. Miss Cummins has confessed to me that she felt, at one time, that if there were intelligences behind the writing, many difficulties would have been obviated. Now, however, she is quite of opinion that the Cleophas Scripts are communicated by some mind other than her own. The new book to which Maisic referred certainly gives evidence of an unseen intelligence writing through Miss Cummins.

Though the following does not throw much further light on the subject of the control, Silenio, it is of interest as indicating that he and the Messenger are not myths and the creation of the subliminal mind of the automatist.

After some considerable conversation of an extremely evidential character, my communicator withdrew and Myers apparently spoke again referring to the fact that he did automatic writing but not through me. I asked if he could tell me anything of the one through whom he wrote? Maisie replied:

"He says, 'a great deal, I know her very well. I've just told you we are very pleased with her and her general condition is improving ... and this man who was monk on the earth-plane, he seems to be interested in the lady too. He seems to have given quite a lot of things through, one way and another."

(E.B.G.: "Can either the monk or Mr. Fred say anything about another book?")

"Yes, the monk answers and says they are getting on with one. He answered that question. But it seems as though there are about seven or eight people in spirit-life who are interested in this lady and who all contribute something to the book. Seven or eight. They are giving just lights. Mr. Fred is one, this monk is another and the old man with a beard is another. The others only represent lights to me, more distant lights. But those three are the ones that are more intimately in touch with her. At times she is inclined to doubt - she does not seem to doubt this Mr. Fred as she seems to doubt the monk and the other man, yet the old man with the beard says that he has given her such a lot... He was a teacher of some sort, you know, this man with the beard. I get him like a priest-man, I don't know whether there were priest-men in those days, but he could have been a teacher in a big building..."

("What is the book about?")

Here again there seemed to be some misinterpretation, owing, I should suppose, to the fact that Myers and the Messenger both endeavoured to speak at the same time. The book described became a mixture of the one the Messenger was writing and Beyond Human Personality. The control realised that she was not giving it very well but stated that "it was the best that she could do." Under the circumstances, she made a pardonable error in affirming that Myers contributed to the Cleophas books. Then she suddenly got on the right track:

"It is more to do with his life (the monk's), I think. Almost as if he is trying to unearth something. He is rather symbolising to me as though he is digging down in the earth and unearthing something - revealing something, that is the word I want, revealing something. And it seems almost as if the revealing of whatever he is proposing to do will be rather an astonishment to a lot of people on earth. That is the work and he has promised to do it and he says he knows just where to go to unearth those scrolls and things ..."

Distinction was then made concerning a book already completed and the book then in the making. But these remarks have no bearing on the theme of this article' which is primarily to establish further evidence of the individuality of the controls of Geraldine Cummins.

Now it is of interest to note that the "monk" is indicated as saying that they are getting on with another book. This was correct for only three parts of it were, at that time, completed. Waiting to get on with it would have better fitted the case at the moment.

A certain amount of interest attaches to the spontaneous allusion to the fact that there are seven or eight others, represented by lights, interested in Geraldine Cummins and all contribute something to the books. The Messenger has stated that the scripts are communicated through a chain of intermediaries, all of whom participate in the transcription of these writings from "The Tree of Memory." And he has said that they numbered seven in all. The eighth mentioned would probably include Silenio.

The book to which Silenio and the Messenger refer certainly reveals unknown history and it is the fact that the Messenger had promised from the first to give us the whole story of Paul. This has now been completed. It is true that at times we both doubted if it would ever be accomplished so many have been the hindrances and pitfalls which blocked our way.

In the middle of October last Miss Cummins returned from Ireland, where she had spent the summer. Up to November 10th we had had no Cleophas sitting since the previous June. On the 12th we had our usual "preliminary canter" before taking up the actual story after a lapse of some months. Miss Cummins was entirely unaware that I had been to Mrs. Mason. There had been a few sittings of a personal character since her return from Ireland, and these had been held under the supervision of Astor. Astor appeared in his old form.

"Astor is here."

(E.B.G.: "Well, Astor, we want now to finish up the story the Christians are relating.")

"I saw it in your mind. As you will. They bring you only annoyance and trouble. I leave you." [pause.]

Silenio: "Greetings, sister. We are well pleased to find ye ready and diligent for our service..."

Evidently Silenio thought his gentle hint at Mrs. Mason's sitting had borne fruit. After some further remarks and when the automatist was "well off," I asked him if he had been trying to speak to me through another channel. It was a leading question of course, but as he made no reference to it, it seemed the only course to take. What mattered would be the evidence contained in the reply. He wrote:

"Yea, I strove to reach thee through a strange being, one I call the Slave of the Lamp - a guardian spirit. She hearkened to what I had to say. But she could not, because there was little time, give of the exhortation I uttered. But she, in her own tongue, spake of the Group who write through this woman on Holy Writ."

("Were you alone?")

“There are, when I come thus into the light of the Earthenware Lamp, other shapes behind me. The Messenger may be dimly seen in his white robe, and it may well be his beard and honourable appearance are perceived also. The Messenger was with me and we spake as one. But know that the words spoken are not in my manner of speech. The interpretation of a tongue is far from the colours of that language. Yet the meaning may be truly conveyed."

The Messenger then outlined his intentions for the next few sittings. Later on I asked him if he had spoken to me elsewhere. He replied:

"I strove to send you a sign that I was prepared for this work and its completion. I gave unto one of the little lights a piece of my writing and it was spoken in another tongue, in words somewhat strange.

("Did you see others from the spirit-world at that time?")

I come enclosed within a shell so that the power may be given only in one quarter of the earth, so I could not perceive others."

("You were described as a monk.")

"A monk. That is a name for a holy man, is it not? It may well be that Silenio was the holy man..."

Time pressed so I did not pursue further this line of investigation. There seemed to be enough corroboration in the above remarks to establish fair evidence that Silenio and the Messenger had been present on the occasion described. No wonder there was a certain amount of confusion at the Mason sitting. Silenio uttered exhortations, the Messenger and Myers talked about their respective books, and the former handed out "pieces of his writing." It is remarkable that Maisie got it so clearly. However, when I received my notes, it was quite easy for me to understand what was intended.

It will be noted that Silenio spontaneously alluded to the fact that Maisie had mentioned the Cleophas Group and that there were other shapes behind him. With no suggestion from me, he also alluded to the Messenger, his robe and his beard! The remark that he and the Messenger spoke as one may also cast some light on the difficulty the control had of distinguishing between the two. And this spontaneous remark of Silenio's correlates with Maisie's utterance: "That is what I have got to give and it comes from both of them." The Messenger also volunteered the interesting information concerning the appearance, at the Mason sitting, of the "little lights" to which the control referred.

It may be said that there was nothing in the Mason sitting that could not have been put together from various articles which have appeared from time to time in psychic journals. That is true.

I do not know if Mrs. Mason had read my article in Psychic Science on the controls of Geraldine Cummins, but it was already in print at the time of the sitting. In this event it is possible that some linking up with me may have taken place in the subconscious mind of the medium: alternatively, that some such connection was made by the control due to her quick intelligence. But if this is so, why was no reference made to Astor? He played a prominent part in the article referred to.

However, the above supposition would seem to be ruled out for the following reason. On looking through my Mason sittings I find that, at the first, in January, 1933, indications were also made of the presence of the Cleophas Group.

Unfortunately, I took my own notes on this occasion so they are not so full as they would otherwise have been. Myers also communicated at this sitting. My notes run as follows:

Maisie suddenly referred to the fact that "a guide or a monk" was present. "He says he, too, has worked with you in the past. It seems that he is drawing near again - not with you but with someone like a sister with you. The monk is drawing back, as though you had stopped in some way. He wants the other woman to concentrate a little more on him."

(E.B.G.: "Can he say anything about books or writing?")

"He says he has done a lot already. Much information has been obtained through him and will be again. It will open out wider still... The guides are very anxious to encourage your friend to go on with them. She has had a set-back, been ill, and the work is not finished. Do not let her get lethargic about it. She has a good mind which they have influenced."

The rest of the sitting was devoted to other matters. I was not particularly impressed with the above incident, thinking that my connection with the Cleophas writings might have been known to the medium, though I attended the sitting anonymously.

Beyond the fact that The Road to Immortality had by then been published, there had been no public indication as to whether the Cleophas Scripts had ceased altogether to be transmitted or were still being written. Therefore, Maisie's remark that more information would be obtained and that it would open out wider still, would have been an unwise prognostication on the part of the medium if influenced by normal speculation. Moreover, there is the definite statement that the work was not finished - a fact unknown outside our immediate circle. That Miss Cummins had been very ill was, of course, common knowledge.

It will be observed that, as in the sitting of November, 1936, there appeared the suggestion, symbolically conveyed, that there had been an interlude in the writing of the Scripts. This was quite correct. Also the hint was given that we might proceed with them. It is interesting to note that Silenio's mode of expression when writing on November 12th indicates that he had been present at a Mason sitting on more than one occasion.

Curious evidence in connection with the Mason sitting and the Cleophas Group is given below. At a sitting with Miss Cummins on November 17th, Silenio made a few remarks. But as I was anxious to get some more and detailed confirmatory cross-references from a friend who also spoke at the Mason sitting, I asked him to leave and to call Astor. The latter was, of course, delighted. "I am pleased to see you," he wrote. "You intend to leave the Christians to their memories." I explained that I wished, for certain reasons, to speak again to my communicator, "K." "K" was an old friend - my sister-in-law's sister. Miss Cummins was still quite unaware that I had had a sitting with Mrs. Mason. After some preliminary conversation with "K," I explained that I could not speak to her as often as I wished as we had to complete the books the Christians were writing. I asked her if she had spoken to me in another way. She replied:

"I can't help laughing. Sorry, but I somehow can't see you forgathering with synods of holy people. I sent you a message and I brought B. along, and I saw a group of your relations. But the difficulty was that your clergymen were there too. It made rather a crowd and we were pushed away a bit. They are queer to look at. Picture to yourself ancient hermits, very brown, rather shrivelled skins, long beards and white garments. I felt I was in the south-east of Europe the moment I saw them. They brought with them what travellers call 'the stillness of the desert' - a strange, supernatural quiet. Even when they moved or spoke, that quiet remained. We were all hushed by it..."

It is quite correct that "B" communicated at considerable length at this Mason sitting - a fact entirely unknown to Miss Cummins.

Here I may perhaps record an incident in connection with controls which occurred at my first sitting with Mrs. Mason. It is another link in the chain of evidence which would seem to denote that the control Feda, is also an entity independent of her medium, Mrs. Leonard. Almost at the commencement of the sitting Maisie introduced the name of Fred or Frederic, making some evidential remarks connected with the automatic writings of Geraldine Cummins. Suddenly she said:

"Feda is here. Do you know Feda?"


She says Mr. Freddie is going to work with you and tell G. it is all right. Maisie doesn't call him Mr. Freddie. Feda is laughing. She is amused that you have turned up again. She says 'All you earth-people never have enough of it. But you haven't been to her lately...' She has gone now."

As I went entirely anonymously, it is very unlikely that Mrs. Mason could have been aware of the fact that I had had no sitting for some time with Mrs. Leonard.

While engaged on composing this present article, it occurred to me that some additional information from Silenio concerning the Mason sitting might be of interest. Without mentioning my intention to Miss Cummins I recently referred him to the sitting where he had communicated through the "Slave of the Earthenware Lamp." I asked him if he and the Messenger wore beards as one seemed to be represented by the control as being a monk and the other with a long beard. Silenio replied:

"Yea, we come in our earth likeness and a man was no man without his beard in our day. Also we cared not to use the knife for its removal."

("She referred to a monk, you say the Messenger had a beard.")

"He was not a monk if ye would regard a monk as one who lived in an order in a monastery. But he wore what resembled the habit of a monk so she called him by this name quite rightly."

("Then who was the monk she described?")

"He is the Messenger - the one who has given ye the greater part of your chronicle."

("She also referred to the 'little lights' as well. I suppose she meant the chain of intermediaries the Messenger described some time ago.")

"Yea, there is a chain of intermediaries that winds and unwinds..."

Here Silenio suddenly drew the following somewhat quaint diagram:

"The little scribe" is Geraldine Cummins; "The elder scribe" is the writer of this article; the oblong drawing represents the table at which we sit; the dots indicate the other scribes ending in the Messenger. From this diagram it seems that the skein from the Tree of Memory reaches to the brain of the automatist and the Messenger, standing on the right, is also linked with her head.

By further diagrams Silenio indicated that the Group gathered the records into circles on the undulating wave-line of the etheric memory. After the writing the thread winds up into circles again and returns from whence it comes.

"Thou perceivest that each piece of the record is thus encircled and set down then given to thee. You know that the Little Scribe is born under the sign[2] and that sign is in the semblance of the etheric record which is like the waves of the tide.[3] 'The Tree of Memory' would be perceived by men in that manner if they could make a glass fine enough to look through and see it. They might see it thus with their human eyes, but with their minds, if they were spiritual enough, they would perceive it in scenes and words. There are seven in the Group and, though I am unworthy to be counted, if thou wouldst do so, I am the eighth. Thou wilt perceive that, having seven, we are able to write of a wide period in time... The Messenger was in Hibernia for a good part of his life. He has knowledge, therefore, of the Little Scribe's land and in her early childhood his threads were joined to her spirit when she sat in the fields playing with the grasses and the flowers..."

[2] Here Silenio drew a wavy line.
[3] The sign of Aquarius.

When Silenio wrote the last words I conjectured that he was probably embroidering the story. I could not imagine Geraldine Cummins thus wiling away her time. However, after the sitting, and smiling rather sceptically, I read out this statement. To my surprise she said: "How extraordinary! I used to spend hours sitting in the fields at Woodville playing with the grass and flowers. I had quite forgotten it." She had certainly never mentioned the fact to me. Being one of a large family, I imagined she would have been allowed little solitude of the kind described.

The above diagrams and details do not actually appertain to the theme of this article, but they may be considered of sufficient interest to some readers to be included.

I would like to draw attention to a subtle distinction made by Maisie which occurs on p. 110. It seems remarkable that the control should be able to derive from Miss Cummins (who was not present at the sitting) the fact that she doubted the existence of the Cleophas Group as entities (p. 108), whereas she did not doubt the existence of Frederic Myers. I was myself unaware of this problem at the time. It appears that these communicators do exist apart from the medium and that they gave this information to the control.

However, if it should be considered that Silenio is merely a subliminal creation or a trance-personality induced by Miss Cummins to present himself on certain occasions when she writes, then, from the foregoing evidence in connection with his appearance at these two Mason sittings, it would seem that she is capable of ejecting this personality and of transmitting it to other sittings with other mediums, which she is unaware are taking place.


Psychic Science (Quarterly Transactions of the British College of Psychic Science Ltd), Vol. XVI, No. 2, July, 1937.

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