Slater, John

Slater, John (1867–1932)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

John Slater was an American clairvoyant who gave demonstrations of mediumship for over fifty years. He was born on September 24, 1867, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His parents were Irish; his father Michael was a Roman Catholic and his mother Mary Killen a Baptist. Slater began showing psychic ability when he was only four years old. His four-year-old playmate Mary Powers died, and Slater spoke of seeing her in his back yard shortly after attending her funeral. By the age of twenty-one, he left home determined to devote his life to Spiritualism. His parents were not at all supportive of his interests and he suffered some self doubt. Slater and a friend—Spiritualist Elizabeth Holmes—had a séance with Leah Fox Underhill, one of the original Fox Sisters. At that sitting Slater was told, in effect, “You were born to do the work of the spirit world.” He took the message to heart.

From the platform, Slater would read sealed letters and give names, addresses, dates, and all pertinent information regarding deceased people. He also excelled at psychometry. He traveled all over the United States, appearing before large audiences everywhere he went. He settled in San Francisco and married Eugenie Browell in 1890. Prior to that he had traveled to Hawaii, and been well received there.

Slater’s spirit guide was his uncle William Killen, his mother’s brother. His first spiritual camp work was at Lake Pleasant, Massachusetts, and shortly thereafter he went to Lily Dale, New York, which he then attended on a regular basis.

In 1930, Slater established his right to function as a medium in Detroit, Michigan. A clergyman there had him arrested for making predictions, which was a statutory offence. Slater won his case, with costs against the clergyman, and went on to do his work unchallenged until his death in 1932. In June of that year, Slater had been to the annual convention of the California State Spiritualists Association and died shortly after returning home from that event.


Fodor, Nandor: Encyclopedia of Psychic Science. London: Arthurs Press, 1933
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“Sleeping Prophet" see Cayce, Edgar