Alexander Frederick Harris (1897–1974) was a Welsh
Spiritualism is the metaphysical school of thought opposing physicalism and also is the category of all spiritual beliefs/views (in monism and dualism) from ancient to modern. In the long nineteenth century, Spiritualism (when not lowercase) b ... medium
Harris was born in Treherbert, Wales
. As a young man he joined the army as
World War I
World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
(1914–18) began. He married in 1928 and in the 1930s was introduced to
Spiritualism is the metaphysical school of thought opposing physicalism and also is the category of all spiritual beliefs/views (in monism and dualism) from ancient to modern. In the long nineteenth century, Spiritualism (when not lowercase) b ...
. He attended
A séance or seance (; ) is an attempt to communicate with spirits. The word ''séance'' comes from the French word for "session", from the Old French ''seoir'', "to sit". In French, the word's meaning is quite general: one may, for example, spea ...
s with the medium
Victoria Helen McCrae Duncan (née MacFarlane, 25 November 1897 – 6 December 1956) was a Scottish medium best known as the last person to be imprisoned under the Witchcraft Act 1735 for fraudulent claims. She was famous for producing ectopla ...
which he was convinced were genuine. After attending other séances he became a medium himself and claimed the ability to materialize
A spirit guide, in Western spiritualism, is an entity that remains as a discarnate spirit to act as a guide or protector to a living incarnated human being.
In traditional African belief systems, well before the spread of Christ ...
s. Harris would only work in dark conditions with a cabinet in a curtained-off alcove from his audience where the spirits were reported to emerge.
In the 1940s it was stated by spiritualists that he could materialize as many as 15 to 30 spirits in a single séance. He later moved to
South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by of coastline that stretch along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the north by the neighbouring cou ...
to resume a career as a medium. He conducted séances until his death in 1974. He died on 12 February 1974 in
Johannesburg ( , , ; Zulu and xh, eGoli ), colloquially known as Jozi, Joburg, or "The City of Gold", is the largest city in South Africa, classified as a megacity, and is one of the 100 largest urban areas in the world. According to De ...
. His wife, Louie Harris, wrote a biography of him after his death.
[Louie Harris. ''They Walked Among Us''. London: Psychic Press, 1980. ]
In January 1955,
Anthony Donald Cornell (born 1924, died 10 April 2010, aged 86) was a British parapsychologist and prominent figure in the investigations of ghosts and other paranormal activity across the United Kingdom during the later part of the twentieth c ...
attended a séance to investigate the
Mediumship is the practice of purportedly mediating communication between familiar spirits or spirits of the dead and living human beings. Practitioners are known as "mediums" or "spirit mediums". There are different types of mediumship or spi ...
of Harris. In the séance Harris sat behind a curtain cabinet and in total eleven "spirit" figures came out from behind the curtain at different times dressed in different
Clothing (also known as clothes, apparel, and attire) are items worn on the body. Typically, clothing is made of fabrics or textiles, but over time it has included garments made from animal skin and other thin sheets of materials and natural ...
. They walked around the room and communicated with the sitters, and then disappeared behind the curtain. The room was in complete darkness apart from some dim light in the middle of the room.
Anthony Donald Cornell (born 1924, died 10 April 2010, aged 86) was a British parapsychologist and prominent figure in the investigations of ghosts and other paranormal activity across the United Kingdom during the later part of the twentieth c .... (2002). ''Investigating the Paranormal''. Helix Press New York. pp. 327-338.
Cornell noted that all the figures had a similar stature, they dressed similarly but used different
A mask is an object normally worn on the face, typically for protection, disguise, performance, or entertainment and often they have been employed for rituals and rights. Masks have been used since antiquity for both ceremonial and practi ...
s and hats. Only one figure came out from the curtain at a time and always minutes after the previous one. According to the sitters who had touched the figures, their skin felt coarse and rough even though some were supposed to be female. Cornell wrote that a stomach rumble,
Nicotine is a natural product, naturally produced alkaloid in the nightshade family of plants (most predominantly in tobacco and ''Duboisia hopwoodii'') and is widely used recreational drug use, recreationally as a stimulant and anxiolytic. As ...
Breathing (or ventilation) is the process of moving air into and from the lungs to facilitate gas exchange with the internal environment, mostly to flush out carbon dioxide and bring in oxygen.
All aerobic creatures need oxygen for cellula ...
In medicine, a pulse represents the tactile arterial palpation of the cardiac cycle (heartbeat) by trained fingertips. The pulse may be palpated in any place that allows an artery to be compressed near the surface of the body, such as at the ne ...
gave away the fact that all the figures were in fact Harris and that he had dressed up as each one behind the cabinet. The cabinet was not examined before or after the sitting and Harris refused to be searched before or after the sitting.
The spirit figures were also reported to creak and move floorboards as they walked on them, indicating that they were human.
People from Treherbert
Welsh spiritual mediums