From the Camp Silver Belle booklet A Treatise on Physical Mediumship Lena Barnes Jefts
by Jay Strong
Ethel Post-Parrish Carried From
The Cabinet While In Trance
Five persons touch medium whilst materialized forms are on the floor.
Before a mixed audience of twenty-five people seated in the materialization room Sunday evening, August 8, 1943, at Camp Silver Belle, Ephrata, Pennsylvania, Ethel Post Parrish gave an involuntary test séance never to be forgotten by those who witnessed it. It is a great temptation to go overboard and adopt Hollywood superlatives in describing the phenomena presented; however this would be most distasteful to Mrs. Post Parrish. Therefore, expect only simple, factual reporting.
She Kept Her Promise
The preliminary addresses by the Rev. Lena Barnes Jefts concluded, the large light in the center of the room was extinguished and we found ourselves peering at those opposite us; the outline of each individual being plainly discernible by the illumination of the ruby-colored light hanging in the corner of the room. After a verse and a chorus of one hymn, Silver Belle came from out of the cabinet. In her best terpsichorian manner, she greeted old friends by their first names, introducing herself to newcomers as the medium's Guide and cabinet worker.
I am going to work hard tonight and try to get as many of your loved ones through as possible. Just be patient, won't you? And with her infectious tinkling laugh, Silver Belle returned to the cabinet.
Silver Belle kept her promise—she did work hard. Singularly five spirits came in, greeted their relatives and disappeared. Among them was my own mother who ad dressed herself to my wife and me. She referred to my wife's health and assured her of a complete recovery from a recent illness and then discussed at length a new venture that I am undertaking.
TWO Figures Emerge!
Silver Belle then called out from within the cabinet, Mi'lena which is a pet name she has for Mrs. Jefts. Acknowledging the call, Mrs. Jefts said, Yes, dear, what is it? Mi'lena, I said I was going to work hard tonight, Silver Belle continued, And I am going to do something with my medium I have never done before. What do you mean, dear? There was a dubious tone in Mrs. Jefts' voice. My grandfather is here tonight and he is going to materialize for you and I am going to have him take the medium out of the cabinet so you all can see her in trance, and then I want some people to come into the cabinet to prove it is really empty.
It has been my privilege to know Mrs. Jefts for several years and I have, always regarded her as a cool and poised person, but upon hearing this she did not attempt to conceal the agitation in her voice knowing that one false move might mean harm to her dearest friend. Everyone present was warned not to touch either Chief Baconrind, the Spirit Grandfather of Silver Belle or her medium. Silver Belle preceded her grandfather and held the curtain on the left open while the two figures emerged!
Julian Ortez—A Witness
Chief Baconrind, standing at least six feet three, supported the entranced body of Ethel Post-Parrish. Slowly very slowly—the Chief took the first step outside of the cabinet. The medium's right arm hung out rigidly from her body and as the two figures proceeded toward the center of the room, it reminded one of a puppeteer carrying a life-sized marionette whose strings had been broken. The locomotion of the medium as she was led to the center of the room appeared to be that of an automaton. A faint glow from the ruby lamp cast a strange pallor on Mrs. Parrish's face. The phenomenon was magnificent.
Silver Belle waited for the figures to stop and then called some of the spectators into the cabinet—Five responded, including Mr. and Mrs. Max Klauser, Scarsdale, New York; Dr. Julian Ortez, Wilmington, Delaware; Emily Fritch, Reading, Pennsylvania; and Wynn Ellis of New York City. After these people returned to their chairs, Chief Baconrind guided the inert medium back to her cabinet. As the curtains closed on these three principals of the scene, there was an audible sigh of relief from the sitters.
Under TEST Conditions
To break the tension, Silver Belle laughed from within the cabinet and asked, How am I doing? In rapid succession, the following phenomena occurred: Ella Carter and a Dr. Baker, both in spirit, materialized for Joseph Graham, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. These two held the floor simultaneously and for several minutes talked to Mr. Graham. Ella Carter moved from the center of the room to her right and stopped a few feet away from me. I could see that she was a very beautiful spirit. Pointing in our direction, she asked, Will you two gentlemen go and verify that the medium is in the cabinet? Dr. Ortez and I did. Ella Carter reached the cabinet before us and pulled aside one of the curtains to let us enter. Dr. Ortez entered first and then myself. Put your hand on the medium's head, the Spirit directed me. As I did, I could feel the moisture of perspiration on her hair caused by the heat in the tiny cabinet.
A Trifle Wobbly
I withdrew from the cabinet and starting back to my chair I was not surprised to find my knees a trifle wobbly. During the entire period of verification, Ella Carter remained at the curtain while Dr. Baker and Joseph Graham remained standing in full view of the rest of the sitters.
It was obvious we were all more than satisfied with the demonstration—that is all but Silver Belle she knew she had her audience on the edge of their chairs and she was determined to keep them there as long as her medium had the strength to remain in trance without injuring herself.
Mr. and Mrs. Max Klauser of Scarsdale, New York, were greeted by Mr. Klauser's sister, Martha, as she materialized and stepped through the curtains. A moment after the first greeting—and with Martha standing in the room talking to the Klausers, a verbal barrage emanated from the cabinet, much to everyone's amusement. The voice identified itself as Senta, Mrs. Klauser's daughter. This was indeed an unusual and happy family reunion.
Three Spirits Materialize
The next episode was the youthful son of one of the sitters whistling a tune in the cabinet for his mother while Mr. and Mrs. Raphael Rice stood in the center of the room talking to the materialized Spirit of Mr. Rice's mother.
In conclusion, Silver Belle brought out three Spirit forms: the mother, father, and grandfather of Mrs. Emily Fritch of Reading, Pennsylvania. These three materialized Spirits walked from the cabinet to the front of the room passing Mrs. Fritch who remained by her chair near the other end of the room. Then they returned to her and the four conversed together for a few minutes. The three spirits returned to the cabinet; the two men preceding Mrs. Fritch's mother who turned just before entering the cabinet to say a final Goodbye.
Silver Belle, a moment later called out wearily, I'm tired—I just can't get another one out. It may be interesting to many to know that for nearly thirty minutes after the séance, Mrs. Post-Parrish felt that she was still partly in trance. I took her pulse almost immediately following the séance and while I did not tell her at the time, it was definitely slow and labored. This was the only physical reaction that registered.
None of us in that group who witnessed this astounding phenomena dare hope for an early repetition by Ethel Post-Parrish and her co-worker, Silver Belle. Such séances are rare, indeed.