Lees, Robert James

Lees, Robert James (1849–1931)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Robert James Lees was born in Hinckley, Leicestershire, England, in August 1849. He was one of six children and came from a Calvinistic background. At a very early age he exhibited mediumistic abilities, being able to go into a deep trance. His daughter’s later description of him said, “Before he was twelve years of age he was a deep trance medium, and in that state manifested a high degree of culture, a perfect use of the English language, and a range of philosophic knowledge that astounded his listeners.” It was no wonder, then, that his name came to the attention of Queen Victoria, who was interested in Spiritualism.

Prince Albert died in 1861. Within days of his death, Lees received a message for the Queen from him. A local newspaper editor who happened to be at the séance where Lees received the message, and he published it. Upon seeing the report, Queen Victoria sent two representatives to visit the boy medium. The two used false names. Lees again channeled information from the Prince, who recognized the two visitors from the Court and called them by their true names. The Prince went on to write a letter to the Queen through the entranced Lees. In the letter, he called Her Majesty by a pet name known only by the two of them. When the Queen received the letter she immediately summoned Lees to the palace.

Lees was invited to give a séance at Windsor Castle and there gave evidence that the deceased Prince Albert was still in attendance upon his wife. A number of séances followed and Lees was offered a permanent position at court. On the advice of his spirit guide, Lees declined. The Queen’s personal manservant, John Brown, was named as a substitute, although Lees continued to visit the Queen on a few rare occasions.

Lees went on to distinguish himself in a number of fields. In 1872, at the age of twenty-three, he joined the staff of The Manchester Guardian newspaper. There he met the publisher George Newnes, and together they produced the weekly periodical Titbits. Lees also became associated with General Booth and the Salvation Army.

In 1886, Lees toured America lecturing. He met Thomas Edison and began a friendship with him. Edison was very much interested in the possibility of life after death. Lees became one of the first people to have his voice recorded by Edison. On his return to England, Lees founded the People’s League and spoke before crowds of several thousand. He assisted Scotland Yard on some difficult cases, including one which led to the arrest of Dr. Gallacher and his confederates known as the American-Irish Fenians. They were convicted and imprisoned for plotting to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Lees was also called in on the case of Jack the Ripper.

One Internet web site says, “Perhaps the most remarkable phase of this unique mediumship was the production of the series of volumes of which Robert Lees only claimed to be the amanuensis. One Christmas Eve a stranger suddenly appeared before him, though the door was locked … The stranger proceeded to dictate the remarkable volume Through the Mists (London, 1898), outlining the nature of the spirit world.” This book created tremendous interest and went through more than twenty editions. There followed The Life Elysian (1905), The Heretic (1901), An Astral Bridegroom (1909), and The Gate of Heaven (1910).


Fodor, Nandor: Encyclopedia of Psychic Science. London: Arthurs Press, 1933
Lees, Robert James: Through the Mists. London: William Rider, 1920

Robert James Lees Biography & Links: http://www.rjlees.co.uk

The Spirit Book © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.