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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Imperator was the spirit guide of William Stainton Moses (1839–1892), one of the greatest physical mediums after Daniel Dunglas Home. Beginning in March, 1872, Moses started a series of automatic writings that continued for ten years without interruption. They were produced through Moses by various spirit guides, the major one calling himself Imperator. This guide also officiated at Moses’s physical mediumship séances. Selections from the twenty-four notebooks Moses filled with the writings were eventually published as Spirit Teachings (London, 1883)

Imperator first announced his presence on September 19, 1872, signing his name to the automatic writing Moses had just completed. The signature was “Imperator S. D.” (Servus Dei). At other times he would sign simply I.S.D. preceded by a cross or a crown. On July 6, 1873, he revealed himself as the prophet Malachias, though he advised Moses not to disclose this identity to others without his permission. Moses did eventually see Imperator clairvoyantly, and described him in Book VI of Spirit Teachings.

An extract from a June, 1873 discourse from Imperator speaking of the afterlife reads, “Of punishment we know indeed, but it is not the vindictive lash of an angry God, but the natural outcome of conscious sin, remediable by repentance and atonement and reparation personally wrought out in pain and shame, not by coward cries for mercy and by feigned assent to statements which ought to create a shudder.”

On January 18, 1874, speaking for himself and the other guides who worked with him, Imperator wrote about Moses, “We are real in power over you; real in the production of objective manifestations; real in the tests and proofs of knowledge which we adduce. We are truthful and accurate in all things. We are the preachers of a Divine Gospel. It is for you to accept the individual responsibility from which none may relieve you, or deciding whether, being such as we are, we are deceivers in matters of vital and eternal import. Such a conclusion, in the face of all evidence and fair inference, is one which none could accept save a perverted and unhinged mind; least of all one who knows us as you do now.”


Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan: The History of Spiritualism. New York: Doran, 1926
Fodor, Nandor: Encyclopedia of Psychic Science. London: Arthurs Press, 1933
Podmore, Frank: Modern Spiritualism. London: 1902; reprinted as Mediums of the Nineteenth Century. New York: University Books, 1963
Trethely, A. W.: The ‘Controls’ of Stainton Moses. London: 1923
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