Colville, Wilberforce Juvenal

Colville, Wilberforce Juvenal (1860–1917)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Wilberforce Juvenal Colville was born on September 5, 1860, on board a transatlantic ship halfway between England and America. Attending an inspirational lecture given by Cora L. V. Tappan on May 24, 1874, Colville suddenly became conscious of the presence of spirits. He was fourteen years old at the time. He determined to be like Tappan and demonstrate Spiritualism, but his guardian made him wait two years until he was sixteen. At that time, Colville traveled and demonstrated his mediumship, sitting on platforms and giving detailed lectures and reciting hours of inspired poetry based on any suggested theme from the audience. He toured England from March 1877 until October 1878. Because of his young age he became known as “The Kitten Orator.” He usually had no memory of anything he said while in trance. On occasion, he would hear what he was saying as if it were being said by someone else.

In addition to being an inspired orator, Colville was also an excellent physical medium, causing tables and other furniture to move at séances. He was very good at automatic writing. Although working tirelessly to further the Spiritualist cause, Colville actually regarded himself as a Theosophist, saying, “I must remain the freelance I have ever been, and work wherever I am called to operate, and therefore cannot pose as exclusively a Spiritualist, inclusively I am as thoroughgoing an advocate of Spiritualism as any of its most enthusiastic representatives.”

Among the books written by Colville are Inspirational Discourses (1886), Old and New Psychology (1897), Life and Power From Within (1900), Universal Spiritualism and Modern Revelations (1910), and Stepping Stones to Spiritual Health, Spiritual Therapeutics (1914).


Awtry-Smith, Marilyn: “They” Paved the Way. New York: Spiritualism & More, nd
Fodor, Nandor: Encyclopedia of Psychic Science. London: Arthurs Press, 1933
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