Biography of James E. Padgett

James E. Padgett was born August 25, 1852, in Washington, D.C. He attended the Polytechnic Academy Institute in New Market, Virginia, and in 1880 was admitted to the bar. Thereafter, he practiced law in the Nation's Capital for forty-three years.

Padgett was not a Spiritualist, but a Methodist and taught Sunday school at the Trinity Methodist Church. He had no previous experience with psychic phenomena; his conception of religious doctrine was simply the doctrine of the Protestant church.

He was reluctant to attend his first seance, held at the home of a medium named Mrs. Maltby, but due to his longing for Helen, and at the insistence of friends, he was willing to investigate the possibility of contact with her.

At the seance, Mrs. Maltby described Helen perfectly and told Padgett that Helen wanted to make contact with him. Mrs. Maltby also recognized that linking with Helen and recording her thoughts through a type of mediumship called "automatic writing" would be within Padgett's psychic ability.

Because of his loneliness, Padgett was willing to attempt this rather unorthodox endeavor. In the evenings that followed, he sat patiently at his desk with pencil in hand, hoping to hear from his dear, departed wife. In time, his hand began to move and he wrote scrolly characters that he described as "fish hooks" and "hangers". Eventually, he wrote a short readable note signed "Helen". In the note, Helen stated she was often present with Padgett in spirit form and that she was glad that she was able to be close to him in this way.

Padgett was not convinced that the letter he wrote actually came from his deceased wife and, in fact, he asked for proof. In the months that followed, Helen, through her letters, provided details of their lives that only the two of them had shared. Padgett thought that even these phenomena could be explained as material coming from his own mind, except that the writings came too quickly for him to formulate the thoughts. Besides, Padgett had forgotten many of the experiences he and Helen shared years ago; only Helen would have remembered them. Helen was insistent that the writings originated from her mind and not from his.

At this point, the understanding that these phenomena could not have been the brainchild of his own imagination came forcibly to Padgett. He became compelled to accept the evidence, as conclusively as any that he had heard in court, that his wife was alive and well, living in another dimension from where she was able to transmit her thoughts to he husband and he was able to write them down.

Through the insistent multitude of Helen's letters and those of other close relations, Padgett eventually accepted that his psychic powers were to be used by the hierarchy of the spirit world to impart spiritual knowledge to the world, as an epoch-making revelation.

One may wonder if such an important spiritual event took place, why it has gone unnoticed for nearly a century? The answer is that Helen had suffered from a long illness that depleted Padgett's savings. He was raising their two boys and he had to continue practicing law to provide for his family. He realized that if he were to reveal his mediumship, it could jeopardize his reputation and law career, his only means of support. Thus, he chose to keep his writings private, disclosing them to only his closest friends - Dr. Leslie Stone, Eugene Morgan, Mr. Colburn and Dr. Goerger. Because of this, Padgett and his spirit communications are virtually unknown to this day.

Padgett was able to accomplish the mediumistic assignment given him because he was born with psychic abilities, though they required development for the task at hand. Also, and equally important, he had the ability to make his mind extremely passive, which enabled him to receive the thoughts of spirits without imposing his own thoughts along with theirs during the writing sessions.

According to his closest friend, Dr. Stone, Padgett often did not fully know what he had written until reading it afterwards. Padgett was able to learn, through his writings, how to improve his soul condition, which developed his psychic powers to the extent that enabled him to link psychically with the higher spirits to receive and write their messages accurately.

Upon Padgett's passing in March of 1923, Dr. Stone became entrusted as publisher of the more than two thousand channelled messages that Padgett wrote over a nine-year period. Leslie R. Stone was born on November 10, 1876, in Aldershot, Hampshire, England. He immigrated to Toronto, Canada, in 1902, where he was introduced to Spiritualism.

Dr. Stone studied at the Palmer Gregory College of Chiropractic in Oklahoma City and, after graduation in 1912; he opened an office on the boardwalk in Atlantic City. In the fall of 1914, he relocated to Washington D.C., where he was introduced to James Padgett at his law office in the Stewart Building. A lasting friendship ensued, based on their mutual interest in psychic phenomena. Dr. Stone was invited to Padgett's home, which he visited frequently, often being present during the writing sessions.

To publish the first book of Padgett's writings was a considerable undertaking for Dr. Stone because of Padgett's style of automatic writing, whereby the words were interconnected without breaks or punctuation. Nevertheless, Dr. Stone persevered and completed his book of "messages", as he called them, in 1940.

Unfortunately, by 1940, Spiritualism's popularity in America had waned dramatically. This was due, for the most part, to the successful campaign by the celebrated escape artist, Harry Houdini, to expose fraud in the seance room. Houdini succeeded in discrediting the spiritualist mediums, and, by the time Dr. Stone's book was ready for publication, Spiritualism was a mere shadow of its former self.

This proved to be unfavorable for a book on the subject of Spiritualism, and has contributed sharply to the obscurity of James Padgett and his channelled work. Nevertheless, a small, but dedicated group, headed by Dr. Stone, continued to transcribe and publish Padgett's writings and today there exists four sizable volumes.

In the fall of 1954, Dr. Stone met Dr. Daniel G. Samuels in Washington, D.C., and a lasting friendship ensued. Dr. Samuels was a graduate from City College (New York) in 1930. He received an M.A. from Columbia University in 1931, and his Ph.D. in philosophy from the same university in 1940.

In November of 1954, Dr. Samuels began taking automatic writing, and it was soon realized by the others in the group that he had been chosen as the second mortal instrument to continue the revealment from the spirit world. He wrote messages for eleven years, until his passing in 1966.

I am convinced that the channelled writings of James Padgett were meant for Spiritualism at the height of its popularity, though they were never received. Furthermore, I believe that the writings of both of these men are of considerable importance, not only to Spiritualism, but also to religion itself. And that these writings can contribute significantly to the understanding of spiritual philosophy as a whole, and to the understanding of the Bible.