Eileen J Garrett

Eileen Garrett (1893–1970) was an internationally-known trance medium, author, and business executive. Born in Ireland, she lived in England and France before immigrating to America in 1941. In New York, she launched her own publishing venture and in 1951, with the help of philanthropist Frances P Bolton, she founded the Parapsychology Foundation, Inc, to support research on psychic phenomena and disseminate its results.

Life Outline

Eileen Garrett was born Eileen Jeanette Vancho on 17 March 1893 in Beauparc, County Meath, Ireland.1 Her parents killed themselves after their marriage was rejected by her mother's Protestant family because her father was Roman Catholic. Jeannie, as she was then known, grew up with her aunt Martha and uncle William, and was given her uncle’s surname, Lyttle.2 She got along well with William, but her relationship with Martha was unrelentingly difficult.

Early Years

Garrett’s earliest memories were from the age of about three. She spent most of her time outdoors on the family farm, learning the ways of animals and nature. She had three imaginary companions, whom she later identified from photographs as deceased children from the neighbourhood.3 By the time she started school she was considered a strange and lonely child, although that was not how she felt inwardly. She became increasingly aware that she was different from others in the manner she perceived the world.

Once Jeannie saw the apparition of Martha’s sister Leone holding a child in her arms. Leone looked tired and Jeannie tried to help her into the house, but she replied, ‘I am going away now and must take the baby with me.’ Jeannie fetched Martha but when they looked for Leone she had disappeared. Jeannie was severely punished for telling lies, the latest in a series of harsh injustices that Garrett later speculated might be the basis of her ability to dissociate, enter trance and develop spirit controls.

That night Jeannie cried herself to sleep and awoke the next morning with an aching head and heavy body. She was too ill to go to school that day and in the afternoon took her revenge by drowning a brood of ducklings of which Martha was fond. She watched misty forms drift upward from the bodies laid out on the bank of the pond, her first hint of a separation between physical and spiritual essences.

For once, Martha did not give Jeannie a thrashing but instead told her that she would have to leave the home, which for Jeannie was a welcome development. She was sent to her room without supper. Then Martha came to tell her that she had received word that Leone had died in childbirth about the time Jeannie had seen her. True to form, Martha blamed Jeannie for the vision having come true.

Jeannie’s departure was delayed when she became ill with incipient tuberculosis. Upon recovering, she was sent to boarding school in Dublin. Although she made an effort there, her preferred learning style clashed with the school’s instruction methods. Her health collapsed again, and she had to return home.

When Jeannie’s uncle William died, his apparition briefly appeared before her. He gave her to understand that he appreciated her troubled relationship with Martha but nevertheless encouraged her to submit to her wishes whenever possible. William also said that in two years she would be free, as she would be going to London for study. These events occurred as he had predicted: due to a recurrence of her respiratory issues, a doctor recommended Jeannie be sent to the more salubrious climate of the South of England.

Marriages

Garrett was fifteen when she was sent to stay with relatives in London before the start of her new boarding school term. She was maturing into an attractive woman, with chestnut brown hair, arresting hazel eyes and a pleasing face. She was intelligent, articulate and outgoing, delighted to be away from Aunt Martha and rural Ireland. Her new friends called by her first name, Eileen, which she was to use thenceforth.

In London Eileen met a 28-year-old architect named Clive Barry, who initially imagined her to be older than she was. She shared her unusual experiences with him as he showed her round the city and when he proposed marriage, she accepted. Immediately after the wedding, however, he changed. He was less understanding of her experiences and told her that she must give up her ‘seeing’ and ‘sensing’. He expected her to manage the household staff and be a proper hostess to his friends.

After four months of marriage, Eileen discovered that she was pregnant. She gave birth to a boy and a year later to a second child, another boy. She had the feeling that neither child would live long, and indeed both died within months of each other, stricken by meningitis. Later she and Clive had a third son, but he too died, shortly after birth. Eileen was greatly affected by the loss of her children. She saw a misty white cloud leave the body of her first son as he passed, much as she had observed with Martha’s ducklings. Her reflections on this led to the appreciation of a protective ‘surround’ about the body in life and increased her ability to divide her consciousness, separating her inner self from her outer being.

Advised that it would be good for her to become involved in activities outside the home, Garrett engaged in social services and nursing in London’s East End. She then tried her hand at musical comedy, but Clive and his family forbade this, and she was forced back into the home. Relatively idle there, her inner world opened again, and she became more proficient with her supernormal sensing. She became able to perceive the world through her fingertips, finding that ‘knowing’ came to her more easily through the nape of neck, her feet and her knees than through her eyes and ears.

Clive told her that she would sometimes lose awareness, at which times she described travelling to distant places and related what people were doing there. Concerned for her mental health, he insisted she see a psychiatrist. The consultation only convinced Eileen that she needed to come to terms with her experiences on her own. She saw that this would be easiest if she were engaged in pursuits that directed attention away from her inner states. When a friend invited her to join in opening a catering establishment, she accepted. As she threw herself into this occupation, her health gradually improved.

Eileen gave birth to a fourth child, a girl, when she was 23,4 but her marriage collapsed with the news that Clive had become romantically involved with another woman. She filed for divorce but was not to remain single for long. World War I was then underway, and she opened a hostel for wounded soldiers returning from the front. While convalescing, one of the officers proposed marriage. ‘I can’t go away and face what I have to face, unless you marry me,’ he told her. She was not especially interested in this second marriage, but she had a strong premonition that the man would not return and it seemed the humane thing to do. Within weeks of his departure, she had a vision of her new husband caught by a landmine and dying. Confirmation of this event reached her a week later.

Gradually, as Eileen learned to distinguish between what she thought of as her ‘normal’ and ‘supernormal’ modes of sensing, she was able to enter and leave them at will. Still, they would sometimes take her by surprise. She continued to have spontaneous out-of-body experiences in which she seemed to travel to distant places; on two occasions she was seen as an apparition at the other end. Her psychic explorations exhausted her physically: she contracted scarlet fever and then rheumatic fever.

When she had come through these latest illnesses, Eileen heard that a friend, James William Garrett, was in hospital, and went to see him. She found Jim in considerable distress; he had been advised that his leg might need to be amputated, and his fiancée had left him. Eileen assured him that his leg would not be amputated; it was not.

Eileen visited Jim Garrett regularly in hospital and their friendship deepened to the point that she accepted his marriage proposal. The year was 1918, a month before the Armistice was declared. The marriage was on the whole a pleasant one, although Jim was not interested in the spiritualist activities into which Eileen was increasingly drawn, and after nine years, they divorced amicably. Now known as Eileen Garrett, she retained the name and in her subsequent career continued to identify herself as ‘Mrs Garrett’ or ‘Eileen J Garrett’.

Spiritualism

Garrett’s introduction to the London spiritualist scene came through her acquaintance with the social reformer and author Edward Carpenter, then in his seventies. When they met in 1919, she was initially attracted to his social and political writings, but Carpenter also understood her spiritual side and taught her about the religious and spiritual movements of the day. In the two years she knew Carpenter, Garrett later wrote, she underwent the ‘most profound spiritual experience’ of her life, ‘a sense of release, of being set free, of being reborn’. Finally she was able to accept that her supernormal perceptions were not hallucinations but rather a capacity to enter into what Carpenter called ‘cosmic consciousness’.5

Garrett closed her hostel in 1926, a period of economic downturn, but not before it had brought another life-altering contact. Among the many who stayed there was a man who identified himself as a clairvoyant. This man informed her that she had ‘latent powers’ that encompassed the range of psychic abilities, including clairvoyance and clairaudience, distant healing, and psychometry. He handed her a watch and asked for her impressions, which turned out to be accurate references to the life of his son. Intrigued, Garrett accompanied him to meetings at the London Spiritualist Alliance (from 1955 to 1970, the College of Psychic Science, currently the College of Psychic Studies) where she was recognized as having an impact on table tipping and similar activities. She began to enter trances during which an apparently discarnate Oriental man identifying himself as ‘Uvani’ spoke, sometimes relaying messages from deceased persons.

Hoping to achieve a better understanding of her psychic functioning, in 1925 Garrett accepted the tutelage of James Hewat McKenzie at the British College of Psychic Science. MacKenzie helped her develop her mediumship further. However, Garrett was not convinced that Spiritualism held the answers she sought. Many Spiritualists were too credulous for her taste, and when MacKenzie died in 1929, she turned increasingly to psychical research for help in comprehending her experiences and capabilities.6

In the later 1920s, Garrett from time to time worked with Harry Price at his National Laboratory for Psychical Research.7 She also served as a medium in John F Thomas’s study of his late wife’s communications, for which he received a PhD under William McDougall at Duke University.8 Throughout the 1930s, she volunteered her mediumship to be studied by researchers on both sides of the Atlantic, believing that their scientific approach was more likely to bring her the insights she desired.

With the French Resistance

Garrett considered the decades between the world wars to be ‘waiting years’, due to the great social and economic upheaval brought by World War I and the growing turbulence in the political climate as World War II approached. Tiring of her mediumistic activities in the late 1930s, she first visited Germany, where she became aware of impending war, then went to southern France. She rented a villa in Juan-les-Pins on the Côte d'Azur and, when France was occupied by the Germans, worked within the resistance to manage the soup kitchen of an orphanage. By the end of 1940 it had become too dangerous for her to remain in France, and accordingly she escaped to Portugal.  

Immigration to America

In sittings in 1930, Garrett had received unexpected contacts from a communicator who identified himself as the deceased pilot of the R-101 airship, which had crashed in France days earlier (see below). This episode had brought her international recognition, and with it an invitation from the American Society for Psychical Research (ASPR) to participate in studies of her mediumship, followed by a lecture tour in the United States.9

In Lisbon in 1940, it was proposed that Garrett could make a greater contribution to the war effort if she resumed lecturing in America than if she returned to Britain. To accept would mean being separated from her now-adult daughter, who was employed in a London office. Garrett, though, realized she could do more for the Allied cause if she went to the US to carry out speaking engagements – talking now not about Spiritualism and psychical research, but rather giving first-hand information about the situation in Europe.

As it turned out, the need for this activity diminished as America’s eventual entry into the war became  more likely. So having arrived in New York, Garrett looked for other things to occupy her time. While crossing the Atlantic she had had the idea of launching a magazine called Tomorrow; this required a publisher, and with the assistance of her long-time friend Frances Payne Bolton, she established the Creative Age Press.10 The venture lasted from 1941 to 1951, when Garrett and Bolton gave it up and founded the Parapsychology Foundation, Inc (PF), to support academic parapsychology.

Garrett remained in America after the war. Her daughter Eileen joined her in New York and succeeded her as President of the PF, which continues in existence to this day.

Final Days

After World War II, Garrett maintained a residence in New York and another in St-Paul-de-Vence on the Côte d’Azur, where the PF maintained its European headquarters along with a hotel and conference centre called Le Piol. Garrett was staying there when, shortly after the close of the PF’s nineteenth international conference, she suffered a heart attack while reading in the garden. She died in hospital in Nice on 15 September 1970, aged 77.11

Mediumship

R-101 Airship Disaster

Of all the mediumistic communications in which Garrett was involved,12 the best-known are those relating to the crash of the R-101 dirigible. The airship had taken off from London on its maiden voyage, bound for Karachi, India, but went down over northern France when it was caught in an unexpected thunderstorm on 5 October 1930. Only six of the 42 persons aboard survived.

Garrett had three premonitory visions of the crash, the first two years before and the third in the month that it happened. She also received communications from a pilot killed in a separate tragedy, who in sittings with his widow repeatedly warned of problems with the R-101. Both the widow and Garrett tried to pass on these concerns to the appropriate authorities, but they were not heeded.13

Two days after the crash, Garrett was acting as a medium for Harry Price and a journalist who wished to contact the recently deceased Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. During the sitting she brought through a distraught communicator who claimed to be the airship’s deceased captain, HC Irwin, and seemed desperate to provide details of the mishap. In a later set of sittings, Garrett again established contact with Irwin, along with several other deceased crew members, who all appeared determined to explain what had gone wrong. The communications were remarkable for the many technical details of which Garrett had no way of knowing.14 The full story is told here.

Ash Manor Haunting

Garrett was sometimes called upon to use her mediumship in the investigation of poltergeists, reports of which were frequently received by the British College of Psychic Science.15 One of the most curious cases of this type was the Ash Manor Ghost, which was investigated with Garrett’s help in 1936 by Nandor Fodor, a Hungarian psychoanalyst and psychical researcher based in Britain.

Ash Manor in Sussex was reputed to be haunted, although no incidents had been reported for seven years before new owners, a Mr and Mrs Keel, took possession. Almost at once the Keels heard strange sounds and reported encounters with an apparition, a little man dressed in a green smock. Garrett was brought to the house and in trance gave way to her control Uvani, who encouraged the ghost to move on. Uvani also revealed that the ghost was gaining power from negative energy related to Mr Keel, who was conflicted about his homosexuality. The phenomena ceased when Fodor provided Keel with a transcript of what Garrett (as Uvani) had said about him, exposing his mental state and providing a cathartic effect.16

Exorcism in New York

Garrett curtailed her mediumistic activities after settling in New York in 1941, but she still occasionally made use of her talents. Martin Ebon, who worked with her for years at the PF, describes a possession-type episode in which she was involved in the 1960s.17

The case concerns a woman to whom Ebon gives the name Victoria Camden. Victoria had taken up automatic writing and sometimes spontaneously channelled what seemed to be discarnate entities. Having carried out this activity for some time, she began to see apparitions and hear bizarre noises. The situation worsened when she and her husband moved to a townhouse on New York’s Upper East Side. Victoria now came under the influence of an aggressive entity she knew as Ruth, who appeared able to take violent control of her body. On one occasion, apparently possessed by Ruth, she nearly drowned in her bath, then found herself being hurled, naked and wet, against the tiles on the surrounding walls; her body, scratched and beaten, was left bleeding and suffering contusions.

Garrett learned of these events and offered to help. She invited Ebon and Victoria’s lawyer to accompany her as witnesses and note-takers; Victoria’s husband also was present. She walked through the building to get a feel for the place, then sat on the sitting-room couch, removed her jewellery, and surrendered to trance. After a short while, she started speaking as Abdul Latif, an individual who identified as an Arabian physician and who sometimes acted as a control in place of Uvani. As Victoria’s husband was explaining the circumstances, Victoria became convulsive and a croaking voice was heard to emanate from her throat: ‘I want – I want – I want peace!’

Abdul Latif assured Ruth that he was there to bring her peace but insisted that she must first leave Victoria and depart her plane of reality. She should not feel abandoned, because there were others like him on the other side who would help with her transition. He guided Garrett’s hand over Victoria’s head, as if offering a benediction, and said a few more compassionate words while continuing to urge Ruth to leave. Then suddenly Ruth was gone; she never bothered Victoria again.

Investigations of Spirit Controls

Beginning in the 1930s, Garrett took part in studies designed to explore aspects of her supernormal talents, hoping to learn more about how they functioned. A central concern was the nature of her spirit controls – specifically, whether they should be considered independent entities or dissociated parts of her own mind. (She also acted as a subject in ESP testing, see below).

Adolph Meyer (1932)

Adolph Meyer, head of the Phipps Psychiatric Clinic at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, conducted sixteen sittings with Garrett aimed at clarifying the status of Uvani. Meyer could not come to a firm conclusion and suggested word association tests of the type pioneered by CJ Jung, to probe Garrett’s subconscious. He recommended these tests be carried out by psychologist and psychical researcher Hereward Carrington and provided money for this further study from an ‘intuition fund’ he supervised.18

Hereward Carrington (1932–33)

Carrington’s investigation was conducted at the ASPR building in New York. In addition to Jung’s word association tests, he administered the Bernreuter Personality Inventory and Page's Behaviour Analysis to Garrett in her normal state and to Uvani in her trance state. At Meyer’s suggestion, he also employed a galvanometer to measure reaction-time and recorded skin temperature and sensibility, pulse and respiration. The mass of data was analyzed by a statistician at New York Medical Center, who reported finding significant variation between Uvani and Garrett on only eleven of the one hundred stimulus words. Carrington argued that these eleven words were key words and concluded that Uvani was an entity independent of Garrett. However, Garrett was not persuaded and resolved on additional study.19

Whately Carington (1934)

In Britain, Garrett participated in word-association tests administered by Whately Carington, who had carried out similar work with Gladys Osborne Leonard and Rudi Schneider. Again the results were equivocal.20

William Brown (1934)

In July 1934, psychologist William Brown of Oxford University examined Garrett in her waking state, in trance, and under hypnosis. Uvani did not emerge under hypnosis, only in trance. Brown’s results were once again inconclusive as to the basis of the Uvani personality.21

Cornelius Traeger (1936)

On a visit to the United States early in 1936, Garrett talked with Alexis Carrel, the 1912 Nobel Prize winner in Medicine, about the impasse in understanding her trance mediumship. Carrel advised that progress might best be made through a study of her physiological reactions, in and out of trance.22

Garrett got in touch with Cornelius Traeger at Roosevelt Hospital in New York and arranged for physiological tests in both her normal and in trance states, the latter with either Uvani or Abdul Latif dominant. Consistently strong differences between Garrett and her controls emerged, in the time it took blood to clot, in hemoglobin count, in cardiovascular measures and more. Blood tests returned a diagnosis of diabetes for Uvani, but not for the others. Garrett, Uvani and Abdul Latif had distinctly different physiological profiles, but what this meant, Traeger and his team were not prepared to say.23

London Physicians (1937)

Back in London in 1937, a group of British physicians sought to replicate and extend Traeger’s results. They examined a broad range of physiological reactions but reached starkly different conclusions. None of the London tests showed differences between Garrett and her spirit controls; all data appeared to derive from the same individual. The report of these studies was published along with Traeger’s results in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research.24

Ira Progoff (1957)

In 1957 Garrett, still struggling to understand the nature of her spirit controls, asked Jungian analyst Ira Progoff if depth psychology might provide answers. What was the nature and meaning of the voices which spoke through her? Were her controls the discarnate entities they purported to be, or did they have another origin?

Progoff brought a different approach to bear on the problem. He held conversations with Uvani and Abdul Latif and elicited two additional controls – Tahoteh, ‘the Giver of the Word’, and Ramah, ‘the Giver of Life’. He concluded that the controls neither had an independent existence, nor were they simply split-off parts of Garrett’s mind. Rather, he regarded them as symbolic constructs that facilitated access to a level of consciousness in which Garrett made contact with a transpersonal reality larger than herself, allowing her more effectively to assist those she was trying to aid.25

Lawrence LeShan (c. 1968)

Lawrence LeShan spent ‘many hundreds of hours’ working with Garrett for his book The Medium, the Mystic, and the Physicist, but these dialogues appear to have supplied no more than background information, for he does no more than quote from her occasionally. He argues for the existence of a Clairvoyant Reality that has been apprehended independently by mediums (Garrett in particular), mystics, and quantum physicists. LeShan observed that Uvani seemed to exist only in interaction with others and, in the end, expanded his Clairvoyant Reality to include a Transpsychic Reality similar to Progoff’s transpersonal conception.26

ESP Testing

In addition to studies of her mediumship aimed at clarifying the nature of her spirit controls, Garrett participated in experiments designed to determine the extent of her ESP abilities.

Anita Muhl (1932)

In 1932, Garrett participated in an unusual experiment with psychiatrist Anita Muhl, in which she was asked to establish telepathic contact with Muhl’s co-experimenter in Iceland, psychiatrist D Svensen. (The test was conceived as long-distance telepathy, but could also be regarded as involving clairvoyance or out-of-body travel of the sort Garrett had spontaneously experienced.) Garrett correctly described the room in which Svensen was seated, as well as objects on a table there. She saw Svensen with his head bandaged; it was not known to Muhl at the time that he had sustained a head injury. Svensen later reported that he sensed Garrett’s presence and verified the accuracy of her descriptions of his office and of the articles on the table.27

JB Rhine (1934)

JB Rhine learned of Muhl’s experiment with Garrett and wanted to bring her to his Duke University Parapsychology Laboratory to see how she would perform in tests with his ESP cards.28 This was made possible in 1934 with the financial assistance of Frances Bolton.29 Garrett made thousands of guesses both in and out of trance (with Uvani in control), with a sender (telepathy) and without a sender (clairvoyance). She performed above chance in all conditions, although the scores showed little difference between her normal waking state and the Uvani trance state. In both states she scored much better in the telepathy trials than in the clairvoyance trials;30 this, she speculated, was because without a sender, the ESP card symbols were impersonal, lacking the emotional qualities that allowed her to resonate with them.31

SG Soal undertook to replicate Rhine’s findings but failed to do so in tests at University College, London. In Soal’s trials, neither Garrett nor Uvani performed above chance.32

JG Pratt (1934–35)

J Gaither Pratt arranged for Garrett to carry out mediumistic readings in the Uvani trance state. He then examined the accuracy of Uvani’s pronouncements by having sitters blindly score all the readings in the experiment, those intended for other sitters as well as their own. Pratt’s was the first attempt to bring quantitative methods to bear on the assessment of trance material. The results were strongly positive, supporting Uvani’s use of telepathy and clairvoyance to acquire information. The study was published by the Boston Society for Psychic Research.33

Andrija Puharich (1952)

In 1952, Andrija Puharich conducted an experiment with Garrett in her normal waking state. He placed her in an electrically shielded chamber and asked her to say when an electrical device in a distant building was activated (the device was triggered by meteor showers, which could not be predicted). The experimental room’s electrical shielding was turned on (test condition) or off (control condition) at random times. Garrett identified all activations in the test condition correctly but her calls in the control condition were at chance.34

Montague Ullman (1959)

In 1959, Montague Ullman helped to conduct a dream telepathy experiment at the PF with Garrett as a subject. An electroencephalograph (EEG) machine was employed. Garrett produced ‘spectacular hits’ on the telepathy tests as well as presenting unusual EEG readings.35 These tests anticipated the celebrated dream telepathy experiments that Ullman and Stanley Krippner later undertook at New York’s Maimonides Hospital.36

Executive Positions

Creative Age Press

As Joanne McMahon has pointed out, Garrett was the only woman of her day to own and operate a publishing house.37 She founded the Creative Age Press in 1941 with Frances Bolton as a silent partner.38

The Creative Age Press specialized in current events and literature, with metaphysical and psychical issues a secondary concern. It issued Tomorrow magazine, which Garrett described as ‘a significant monthly publication drawing nourishment from the still too small fraction of those who feel compelled to participate materially and spiritually in the shaping of the life ahead’.39

In addition to Tomorrow, the Creative Age Press published books, beginning with one on Nostradamus. Its second title was Garrett’s own Telepathy, which she penned in five weeks. Over the years, she wrote three other nonfiction books and three novels for the press, which also put out acclaimed works by other authors, including six by Robert Graves.40 In 1951, she sold the press to Farrar, Strauss and Young, later known as Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, and turned to supporting academic parapsychology.

Parapsychology Foundation

By 1951, Garrett had come to recognize the need for an organization to support the large community of parapsychologists through funding and the exchange of information. She had been thinking about such an organization from at least 1936.41 In her autobiography Many Voices she recalled that, having sold Creative Age Press, she was tired and ill, when

on the periphery of sleep, I heard a voice telling me that I must get well and build an “edifice” that would honor the subject to which I had given my life … I awoke with the feeling of deep conviction that I must begin to build a new structure containing the best elements of my own work.42

The Parapsychology Foundation was incorporated on 14 December 1951.43 Its funding came from Frances Bolton, and Garrett devoted the last two decades of her life to managing it. In the estimation of Carlos Alvarado, Garrett’s ‘major contribution was not in her psychic gifts (and the contribution they made to the field was by no means trivial), but in her work to support and organize parapsychology’ through the PF.44

The first of the PF’s annual international conferences was chaired by Gardner Murphy in Utrecht, the Netherlands, in 1953. Tomorrow magazine was relaunched as a quarterly devoted to psychical research and ran for another ten years (1952–1962). The PF also published a bimonthly newsletter (1953–1970), succeeded by the bimonthly Parapsychology Review (1970–1990) and the quarterly International Journal of Parapsychology (1959–1968, with a new biannual series 2000–2001).

The PF supported parapsychology through the publication of longer items as well. It issued proceedings of its annual conferences and through its Helix Press division, occasional books. A series of monographs began to appear in 1958.

See here for more about the PF’s history and ongoing efforts to support parapsychology.

Psychedelics

Garrett was much interested in the effects of hallucinogens on consciousness, for the enhancing effect they had on her mediumship and for therapeutic purposes. She noted that in her personal experience with LSD she retained memory of the sessions afterwards, which was not the case with mediumistic trance. She believed the drugs made her a better and more accurate sensitive, having a lasting effect in heightening her perceptions. However, she found that they did little to assist with clairvoyance, for instance in trying to guess the symbols on Rhine’s ESP cards.45

Garrett’s involvement in this area stemmed from her acquaintance with Aldous Huxley, whom she met in London in the 1920s and got to know well. Huxley wrote articles for Tomorrow, one of which was published in 1956 as his book Heaven and Hell. Huxley also served as a Trustee for the PF and helped to inspire two PF conferences on psychopharmacology, the proceedings of which were published together in a volume in 1961. See here for a more detailed examination of Garrett’s involvement in the psychedelic community of the 1950s and 1960s.

Works

Books (Nonfiction)

My Life as a Search for the Meaning of Mediumship (1939). New York: Oquaga Press.  

Telepathy: In Search of a Lost Faculty (1941/1968). New York: Creative Age Press. [Reprinted 1968 in paperback as a Berkley Medallion Book.]

Awareness (1943/1968/2007). New York: Creative Age Press. [Reprinted 1968 in paperback as a Berkley Medallion Book; reprinted 2007 by Helix Press.]

Man – the Maker: A Pictorial Record of Man’s Inventiveness (with A. Lemarque 1946). New York: Creative Age Press,

Adventures in the Supernormal: A Personal Memoir (1949/1969/2002). New York: Creative Age Press. [Reprinted 1969 by Garrett Publications and issued in paper in 2002 by Helix Press.)

The Sense and Nonsense of Prophecy (1950). New York: Creative Age Press.

Life is the Healer (1957). New York: Dorrance and Co.

Beyond the Five Senses (ed., 1957). New York: Lippincott.

Does Man Survive Death? A Symposium (ed., 1957). New York: Helix Press.

Many Voices: The Autobiography of a Medium (1968). New York: Putnam’s.

Books (Fiction)

Garrett authored four novels under the nom de plume Jean Lyttle.

Today the Sun Rises (1942). New York: Creative Age Press.

You are France, Lisette (1943). New York: Creative Age Press.

Sheila Lacey (1944). New York: Creative Age Press.

Threads of Destiny (1961). New York: Dorrance & Co.

Selected Articles

A medium’s reflections (1947). Light 67, 339-42.

The ghost of Ash Manor (1952). Tomorrow 1/1, 50-66.

The Rockland County ghost (1953). Tomorrow 1/3, 1-23.

What parapsychology means to me (1953). Tomorrow 1/3, inside front and back covers.

Psychometry (1953). Light 73, 275-76.

The aura (1954). Light 74, 303-6.

Patterns of clairvoyance (1961). In Proceedings of Two Conferences on Parapsychology and Pharmacology, 14-16. New York: Parapsychology Foundation.

Psychopharmacological parallels to mediumship (1961). In Proceedings of Two Conferences on Parapsychology and Pharmacology, 61-63. New York, NY: Parapsychology Foundation.

The nature of my controls (1963). Tomorrow 11, 324-28.

Further Reading about Eileen Garrett

In addition to Garrett’s own books, see the biography by Allan Angoff and briefer treatments by Joanne McMahon and Carlos Alvarado.46 Much additional information is contained in memorial notes by JB Rhine, Ian Stevenson and others.47

James G Matlock

Note: I would like to thank Lisette Coly for assistance with this article.

Literature

Alvarado (2002). Epilogue: Eileen Garrett’s continued “adventures”.  In Adventures in the Supernormal, by E.J. Garrett, 181-86. New York: Helix Press.

Angoff, A. (1974/2009). Eileen Garrett and the World beyond the Senses. New York: Helix Press.

Brown, W. (1934). Sleep, hypnosis and mediumistic trance. Character and Personality 3, 113-36.

Carington, W. (1934). The quantitative study of trance personalities. Part 1. Preliminary studies. Mrs. Garrett, Rudi Schneider, Mrs. Leonard. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research 42, 173-240.

Carrington, H. [1933]. An instrumental test of the independence of a spirit control. American Psychical Institute Bulletin I, 8-95.

Carrington, H. (1957). The Case for Psychic Survival. New York: Citadel.

Ebon, M. (1974). The Devil's Bride: Exorcism, Past and Present. New York: Harper & Row.

Ensrud, B., & Feather, S.R. (eds.) (2021). J. B. Rhine, Letters 1923-1939: ESP and the Foundations of Parapsychology. Jefferson, North Carolina, USA: McFarland.

Fodor, N. (1959). The Haunted Mind. New York: Helix Press.

Fuller, J.G. (1979). The Airmen Who Would Not Die. New York: Putnam’s.

Garrett, E.J. (1952). The ghost of Ash Manor. Tomorrow 1/1, 50-66.

Garrett, E.J. (1961). Psychopharmacological parallels to mediumship. In Proceedings of Two Conferences on Parapsychology and Pharmacology, 61-63. New York, NY: Parapsychology Foundation.

Garrett, E.J. (1968). Many Voices: The Autobiography of a Medium. New York: Putnam’s.

Garrett, E.J. (2002). Adventures in the Supernormal. New York: Helix Press.

Goldney, K.M., & Soal, S.G. (1937). Report on a series of experiments with Mrs. Eileen Garrett. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research 45, 43-87.

Hastings, A. (2001). The many voices of Eileen J. Garrett. International Journal of Parapsychology 12/2, 95-120.

Herbert, C.V.C. (1937). An experiment with Mrs. Garrett. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 30, 99-101.

Hinchliffe, E. (1930). The Return of Captain W. G. R. Hinchliffe. London: Psychic Press.

LeShan, L. (1974). The Medium, the Mystic, and the Physicist: Toward a General Theory of the Paranormal. New York: Viking.

Loth, D. (1957). A Long Way Forward: The Biography of Congresswoman Frances P Bolton. New York: Logmans, Green and Co.

Margery visits Mrs. Garrett (1932). Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 27, 58-60

McMahon, J.D.S. (1994). Eileen Garrett: A Woman Who Made a Difference. New York: Parapsychology Foundation. [Reprinted from Women and Parapsychology: Proceedings of an International Conference Held in Dublin, Ireland, September 21-22, 1991. New York: Parapsychology Foundation]

Plimpton, H.S. (1935). Man’s Becoming. London: Rider.

Pratt, J.G. (1936). Towards a method of evaluating mediumistic material. Bulletin of the Boston Society for Psychic Research 23, 5-53.

Price, H. (1931). The R-101 disaster (case record): Mediumship of Mrs. Garrett. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 25, 268-79.

Price, H. (1933). Leaves from a Psychist’s Case Book, 118-32. London: Victor Gollancz.

Progoff, I. (1964). The Image of an Oracle: A Report on Research into the Mediumship of Eileen J. Garrett. New York:  Helix Press.

Puharich, A. (1962). Beyond Telepathy. London: Darton, Longman & Todd.

Rhine, J.B. (1934). Telepathy and clairvoyance in the normal and trance states of a medium. Character and Personality 3, 91-111.

Rhine, J.B. (1971). Eileen Garrett as I knew her. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 46, 59-61.

Soal, S.G. (1934). A repetition of Dr. Rhine's work with Mrs. Eileen Garrett. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research 42, 84-85.

Stevenson, I. (1971). Eileen J. Garrett—An appreciation. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 65, 336-43.

Thomas, J.F. (1937). Beyond Normal Cognition. Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Boston Society for Psychic Research.

Ullman, M. (1988). Autobiographical notes: Montague Ullman. In Lives and Letters in American Parapsychology: A Biographical History, 1850–1987, ed. by A.S. Berger, 288-304. Jefferson, North Carolina, USA: McFarland.

Ullman, M., Krippner, S., & Vaughn, A. (1973). Dream Telepathy: Experiments in Nocturnal ESP. New York: Macmillan.

References

  • 1. The following account is taken from Garrett (2002), with supplementary details from McMahon (1994), Angoff (2009) and other sources as noted. Lisette Coly, Garrett’s granddaughter, read over the text and provided many important corrections and clarifications.
  • 2. The details of her name changes come from Hastings (2001).
  • 3. Garrett recalled the names and recognized the photographs under hypnotis, though not in her normal state of consciousness (Brown, 1934).
  • 4. Garrett named her daughter Eileen. Angoff (2009, 50 and passim) is incorrect in giving the name as Babette (personal communication from Lisette Coly).
  • 5. Garrett (2002), 81.
  • 6. Some of Garrett’s sittings at the British College were included in published reports. For references, see McMahon (1994) 17.
  • 7. McMahon (1994), 16, 17.
  • 8. This study was published by Thomas (1937).
  • 9. Garrett also participated in research while at the ASPR in 1931, although she was disappointed with the informal atmosphere there (2002, 105). A brief account of a séance given for Mina Stinson Crandon (Margery) appeared in the ASPR’s Journal (Margery visits, 1932). A longer account of another session was published by a sitter, Helen Sheppard Plimpton (1935).
  • 10. Loth (1957), 170-71, 209. For more on the Creative Age Press, see especially McMahon (1994, 25-28).
  • 11. See Garrett’s obituary in the New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/1970/09/17/archives/eileen-j-garrett-spiritualist-dies-psychic-researcher-who-wrote.html. Additional details were provided by Lisette Coly (personal communication).
  • 12. See Angoff (2009, 81-89) for a review of publications about Garrett’s mediumship.
  • 13. Fuller (1979). Garrett’s communications from the pilot of the earlier mishap are related by Hinchliffe (1930).
  • 14. Price (1931, 1933).
  • 15. Garrett (2002), 145-57; Angoff (2009), 91-111.
  • 16. Fodor (1959). For Garrett’s view of the haunting, Garrett (1952).
  • 17. Ebon (1974), 161-70.
  • 18. Angoff (2009), 127. See Garrett (1968, 100) for additional details.
  • 19. Carrington (1933, 1957); Angoff (2009), 127-29. For Garrett’s response, see Garrett (2002, 108).
  • 20. Carington (1934); Angoff (2009), 129-30.
  • 21. Angoff (2009), 132-34.
  • 22. Garrett (2002, 121).
  • 23. Angoff (2009), 135-37.
  • 24. Goldney & Soal (1938); Angoff (2009), 139-141. Experiments by Herbert (1937) similarly failed to replicate Traeger’s findings.
  • 25. Progoff (1964).
  • 26. LeShan (1974).
  • 27. Angoff (2009), 124-25.
  • 28. Angoff (2009), 125.
  • 29. See Ensrud & Feather (2021, 106-7) for Rhine’s correspondence concerning the arrangements.
  • 30. Rhine (1934); Angoff (2009), 131-32. Rhine concluded that since the performance of Uvani was similar to that of Garrett in her waking state, his results ‘favor the hypothesis of a common function or capacity’, although he was unwilling to state this categorically.
  • 31. Garrett (2002), 116.
  • 32. Soal (1934).
  • 33. Pratt (1936).
  • 34. Puharich (1962); Hastings (2001), 104-5.
  • 35. Ullman (1988), 299-300.
  • 36. Ullman, Krippner, & Vaughn (1973).
  • 37. McMahon (1994), 25.
  • 38. Loth (1957), 209.
  • 39. Garrett (2002), 171.
  • 40. See here for a list of authors and books published by the Creative Age Press between 1941 and 1951.
  • 41. Rhine (1971).
  • 42. Garrett (1968), 157.
  • 43. Angoff (2009), 156.
  • 44. Alvarado (2001), 181.
  • 45. Garrett (1961).
  • 46. Angoff (1974/2009); McMahon (1994); Alvarado (2002).
  • 47. Rhine (1971) and Stevenson (1971), with excerpts from many other reminiscenses reprinted in Garrett (2002, 187-224).