HELEN’S STORY 1897 - 1956

Helen 2nd World War

The Second World War

The prosecution were determined to prove Helen Duncan was a fraud. Her trial took place barely a few months before the famous D-Day landings.

The Trial

The Witchcraft Trial

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.

About Helen Duncan

During the second world war Helen was in great demand from anxious relatives, especially those who had lost close family on active war service.

Imprisonment Churchill

Winston Churchill

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 Passes to Spirit

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.


The Official Pardon Site

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Despite her declaration with in a few months she felt that strong call from the Spirit World to continue her work and was soon spending more time than ever in trance state. Perhaps too much so, for the quality of her seance's since imprisonment appeared to have had deteriorated, even to the point where Spiritualism's governing National Union actually withdrew her diploma at one stage.

Helen's Spiritualist friends say that during his visits to her cell, Prime Minister Churchill made promises of making amends to Helen. True or speculative, it is a fact that in 1951 the damning 1735 Witchcraft Act which had been used to imprison Helen was finally repealed.

In its place came the Fraudulent Mediums Act and some four years later in 1954 Spiritualism was officially recognised as a proper religion by formal Act of Parliament. And Spiritualists everywhere knew why and they rejoiced that whilst frauds would be properly prosecuted the authorities, especially the police, would stop harassing true working Mediums.

They were wrong.

In November 1956 police raided a séance in the midlands city of Nottingham. They grabbed the presiding medium, strip searched her and took endless flashlight photographs.. They shouted at her that they were looking for beards, masks and shrouds. But they found nothing.

The medium was Helen Duncan and in their ignorance the police had committed the worst possible sin of physical phenomena; that a medium in trance must NEVER, ever be touched. As the Spirit World's teachers have patiently explained so many times when this happens the ectoplasm returns to the medium's body far too quickly and can cause immense - sometimes even fatal - damage.

And so it was in this case. A doctor was summoned and discovered two second degree burns across Helen's stomach. She was so ill that she was immediately taken back to her Scottish home and later rushed to hospital.

Five weeks after that police raid she was dead.


Helen Duncan's work for spirit did not cease with her own passing. In September 1982, she came through the direct voice medium Rita Goold and spoke to her own daughter, Gina, who was delighted to confirm this contact without any doubts. She has since returned many times within Spiritualist Home Circles where she always felt happiest.

Indeed on one occasion last year this writer, in his capacity as visiting medium, was privileged to link Mrs. Duncan with her former neighbour.

We owe her an immeasurable debt of gratitude for her faith and skills and for sharing them so widely and at such an ultimate cost.

We owe her further debts for being the scapegoat around whom we could demand - and get - vital changes in the law. But Spiritualism's premier Heroine and Martyr will never be forgotten whilst there are writers who care sufficiently to pen articles like this one.