The prosecution were determined to prove Helen Duncan was a fraud. Her trial took
place barely a few months before the famous D-
The true story of a Scottish housewife who found herself in the centre of a WWII legal battle which ended with her being convicted under the Witchcraft Act.
During the second world war Helen was in great demand from anxious relatives, especially those who had lost close family on active war service.
Two second degree burns were found across Helen's stomach. She was immediately taken back to her Scottish home and later rushed to hospital.
Helen was sent back to London's Holloway prison, that Victorian monstrosity for female prisoners still being used today.
The Prime Minister had been ordained into the Grand Ancient Order of Druids and was a client and also a keen supporter of Helen Duncan.
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STOP PRESS!! -
He was a Spiritualist Medium for the last three decades, a former British Fleet Street
Dateline WWII -
ABOUT the same time that Helen Duncan was languishing in her dank Victorian prison an American fellow medium was hauled up before a court in New York City on a charge of fortune telling. We don't, at this time, know her name but we do know the name of the judge, one Francis Giaconne. And we do have his judgement.
This medium had been arrested by a policeman whilst in the midst of a New York Spiritualist
church service. She was a member of America's General Assembly of Spiritualists -
Instead of the prejudice and presumption of guilt that was meted out to Mrs Duncan the American judge showed common sense. He dismissed the charge and told the court why;
"The only issue is the good faith of the defendant. The prosecution contends she was merely telling fortunes, while the defence seeks to prove that in the observance of a duly recognised religion, she was merely giving expression to her religious faith.
"She is supported in her trial by the principles and traditions of our democratic form of government, which leave untrammelled and untouched the right to the individual to observe her faith according to the dictates of her own conscience. The defendant is a minister of the Spiritualists church, and in addition thereto she states that she is a medium with the faculty of communicating with the spirits of the departed. This is a faculty recognised by her church.
"Prejudice Falsifies the Scales of Justice."
"However, there is another silent witness in this case which may militate against the defendant. It may be an intruder, but it is ever forceful. It is Prejudice.”
"The community generally is sceptical as to the possession of that faculty on the part of any mortal. Religion, in the generally accepted sense, has surrounded the realm of the dead with an impenetrable wall, and with many taboos. If the defendant is justified in her faith, such sceptism would amount to prejudice. If it is thrown into the balance of our judgement. Prejudice falsifies the scales of justice.
"It was the intent of the legislature to omit from the effects of the law the beliefs, practices and usages of incorporated ecclesiastical governing bodies or their duly licensed teachers or ministers acting in good faith and without personal fee.
"The State, acting through its proper department, has already recognised the Spiritualist church by granting them a charter of incorporation under the Religious Corporations Law of the State of New York. It recognises the defendant as a duly ordained minister of such church and even grants unto her the authority to solemnise marriages, certainly a most scared power in our civilised community.
"The question here is not the validity of the beliefs off the defendant. They have already been accepted by the State. In the field of science those beliefs that have challenged and, on the other hand, they have found some, if only a few, advocates and sponsors. The defence produced witnesses of varied background who stated they were attendants of the church because they found comfort in its tenets. The defendant herself said that she abandoned her former church several years ago, when she lost her son and found solace in Spiritualism.
"If calling the massages transmitted by the medium-
The legislature obviously and apparently intended to do what it obviously and apparently says, that is, not to interfere with incorporated ecclesiastical governing bodies or their duly licensed teachers or ministers acting in good faith and without personal fee.
"The legislature has spoken. The courts do not legislate. The court is the spokesman of the sovereign power of the State, which under our form of governmen is the jealous custodian of the right of every man, women or child to believe as his or her conscience dictates.”
That 'Silent Witness' that magistrate Giaccone mentioned was not silent in the case of Helen Duncan.
It was very vocal.
Note: The above text is an extract taken from "CHURCHILL's WITCH", the new book
written about Helen Duncan and her secret psychic sitter Winston Churchill by our
For more details of this book please visit www.churchillswitch.com.