Barbanell, Maurice

Barbanell, Maurice (1902–1981)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Maurice Barbanell was a British author, lecturer, and medium. He was the founder of the weekly Spiritualist newspaper Psychic News, and was its editor for two decades. He was also the editor of Two Worlds, the magazine founded in 1887 by Emma Hardinge Britten.

Although he was of Jewish heritage, as a young man Barbanell claimed to be an atheist. He was born on May 3, 1902. In the 1930s, he worked as a journalist. During this time, he was attracted to Spiritualism only because he thought he might be able to write a number of stories exposing it as fraudulent. However, at the second séance he attended he fell asleep … or so he thought. When he woke up he was told that a spirit identifying itself as Silver Birch had been speaking though him.

For more than sixty years Barbanell was the medium at the Hannen Swaffer Home Circle. The teachings of Silver Birch—published in a dozen or more books—are read by people around the world. They were first published shortly after World War II and brought comfort to a tremendous number of people. The books are still in print and in demand. Barbanell’s spirit guide has been described as “an old soul who took the guise of a humble Native American in order to be readily accepted.”


Barbanell, Maurice: This Is Spiritualism. Oxshott: The Spiritual Truth Press, 1959
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