Morris, Mrs. L. A. Meurig
Morris, Mrs. L. A. Meurig (b. 1899)(religion, spiritualism, and occult)
Mrs. L. A. Meurig Morris was a simple Westcountry woman with limited education. She was born on November 17, 1899, in London, England. The name Meurig is a Welsh name, frequently Anglicized to Morris. The case of Mrs. Meurig Morris is interesting in that it shows a changeover from mediumship to pure channeling. After attending her first séance in Newton Abbot, England, in 1922, she began to develop rapidly as a medium. Within six weeks a spirit guide was speaking through her. The guide was a child calling herself Sunshine. There was also a secondary guide named Sister Magdalene, who said she had been a French nun. They predicted that Mrs. Morris would be trained by spirit to be the channel for an entity known only as “Power.” This did happen. Within a year, Mrs. Morris began going into trance; her voice would change from her own high-pitched feminine one to a deep baritone male voice. Her mannerisms and gestures were described as being “very masculine and priestly.” The entity provided no details of its origins, only that it wished to be known as Power. Through Mrs. Morris, Power delivered long lectures which Nandor Fodor described as teachings disclosing “an erudition and deep philosophy which was far above the intellectual capacities of the medium.”
Well known author and playwright Laurence Cowan met Mrs. Morris in 1929. He was a lifelong agnostic, but after listening to Power’s teachings, converted to Spiritualism. He was so impressed by Mrs. Morris’ mediumship that he wanted to make it available to a wider audience. He arranged a long series of Sunday meetings, first at the Fortune Theater and then at the Aeolian Hall in London. These meetings garnered much publicity and press coverage. Cowen also arranged for Mrs. Morris to tour the country at his expense. A recording of Power’s teachings was made, as was a short film. During both of these events, interesting occurrences took place.
The Columbia Gramophone Company made the first recording. Ernest Oaten, President of the international Federation of Spiritualists, was to make the introduction. He did this, but did not see the red light signifying that recording was in progress. He leaned across to Mrs. Morris and said, “Wait for the signal.” This was picked up by the microphone and heard distinctly by the engineers in the sound booth. Powers went ahead and started the lecture, so there was no way to stop what was in progress, as this was in the days before recordings could be easily edited. Later, when the second side of the record was being cut, other interruptions were heard and recorded. At one point, Mrs. Morris turned away from the microphone and walked several paces around the room before continuing.
A week before the record was ready for reproduction, Power, speaking through Mrs. Morris, assured Columbia executives that everything would be fine, and that there would be no problems at all on the recording. Some thought this so unlikely that they wrote down what was said, sealed it in an envelope, and gave it to Ernest Oaten in Manchester, telling him not to open it until after the record was ready. The record was first played in public at the Fortune Theater on April 25, 1931. It ran perfectly, with no sign of Oaten’s original comment, no change in Mrs. Morris’ voice when she turned away from the microphone, and none of the other interruptions and apparent problems in evidence. The letter was opened and read, showing that Power’s prediction was correct.
The second strange incident occurred in the British Movietone Company studios, where a short film was to be made of Mrs. Morris channeling Power. Seventy people were in the audience and the microphones were strung up out of the line of sight of the movie camera. They were held up by rope that was half an inch thick. Partway through the oration the rope snapped (it was later examined and it looked as though it had been cleanly cut with a sharp knife) and the heavy microphone swung down toward the stage. The cameraman kept filming. The microphone swung across less than an inch from Mrs. Morris’ face, but she did not blink, pause in her talk, or register any awareness of the near miss. A newspaper previously suggested that Mrs. Morris was not really in a trance during her Power orations, but this incident seemed to quash that idea. A technician grabbed the rope and pulled it out of sight of the camera, which never stopped rolling. Mrs. Morris/Power never stopped speaking. After an incident such as this, the sound quality should have been severely compromised, but the finished film was perfect. There was no sign of the swinging microphone nor of the change of audio input.
In his book Past Years (1931), Sir Oliver Lodge wrote, “When the medium’s [Mrs. Morris’s] own vocal organs are obviously being used, as in most cases of trance utterances, the proof of supernormality rests mainly on the substance of what is being said; but occasionally the manner is surprising. I have spoken of a characteristically cultured mode of expression, when a scholar is speaking, not easily imitated by an uncultured person; but, in addition to that a loud male voice may emanate from a female larynx and may occasionally attain oratorical proportions. Moreover, the orator may deal with great themes in a style which we cannot associate with the fragile little woman who has gone into trance and is now under control. This is a phenomenon which undoubtedly calls attention to the existence of something supernormal, and can be appealed to as testifying to the reality and activity of a spiritual world.”