White, Stewart Edward

White, Stewart Edward,

1873–1946, American author, b. Grand Rapids, Mich., grad. Univ. of Michigan, 1895. The stories collected in The Claim Jumpers (1901) and The Blazed Trail (1902) reflect his own adventures in the Black Hills gold rush and in a Michigan lumber camp, respectively. His ambitious trilogy, The Story of California (1927), consists of three historical novels, Gold (1913), The Gray Dawn (1915), and The Rose Dawn (1920). In addition to books for children he wrote accounts of his own life in Dog Days (1930) and Speaking for Myself (1943).

White, Stewart Edward (1873–1946)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Born on March 12, 1873, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Stewart Edward White studied at the University of Michigan. He obtained his Ph.D. in 1895 and M.A. in 1903. He married Elizabeth Calvert Grant in 1904. He became a member of the Royal Geographic Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Society for Psychical Research.

After writing a number of books about his life in mining and lumber camps, in 1937 White published The Betty Book, which contained statements made by his wife when in trance. These statements were supposed to have originated from entities calling themselves “The Invisibles.” It started on March 17, 1919, when White, his wife Elizabeth, and some friends were working with a Ouija® board. The board became insistent that “Betty” use the planchette (though they had actually substituted an upturned wine glass, as an easier tool). The messages kept telling her to “get a pencil.” Some days later, Elizabeth (Betty) experienced automatic writing. As she and White explained it, “The pencil moved very slowly, and it wrote curiously formed script, without capitals or punctuation, or even spacings, like one continuous word.” They continued the experiment over several days. “After a time the words were divided one from the other. Betty blindfolded her eyes, or looked away from the paper so that she might separate herself as far as possible from what was to come next.” The automatic writing continued for several months. Then, after White had read a book called Our Unseen Guest (by “Darby and Joan"), they tried with Betty going into a light trance. From there “the Invisibles” took over and it turned into full blown channeling. White believed that the messages received embodied a valuable philosophy and religious interpretation for daily life.

In 1939, a second book from the same source was published, titled Across the Unknown. White’s wife died in 1939 and she communicated with him through a medium—the Joan of “Darby and Joan"—and the communications were published as The Unobstructed Universe (1940). Additional books were published by White in response to the many letters he received from readers of the earlier books. These later works were The Road I Know (1942), Anchors to Windward (1943), The Stars Are Still There (1946), With Folded Wings (1947) and The Job of Living (1948). The last two were published posthumously. White died at Hillsborough, California, on September 18, 1946.

Sources:

Joan and Darby: Our Unseen Guest. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1920
Shepard, Leslie A: Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology. New York: Avon Books, 1978
Stewart Edward White Biography: http://www.spiritwritings.com/stewartedwardwhite.html
White, Stewart Edward: The Betty Book: Excursions into the World of Other-Consciousness, made by Betty between 1919 and 1936. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1937
White, Stewart Edward: The Unobstructed Universe. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1940
Wicca see Witch; Witchcraft
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