Spiritual healing facilitator Harry Edwards was the focal point for a pattern of healing by The God Force. This photograph shows him on the platform of the Royal Festival Hall in 1951. One patient during the healing demonstrations that day was an elderly engineer with a broken back. His healing was photographed and published in news media outlets of England.
A healer who comprehensively documented his work and became known throughout the world was Harry Edwards (1893-1976) of England. After first publishing books about mediums Jack Webber and Arnold Clare, Henry James (Harry) Edwards wrote his innovative The Science of Spirit Healing in 1945. Another book, The Evidence for Spirit Healing (1953), would present 10,369 citations of healings covering a period of four years to present documentation of spiritual healing facilitated by Edwards and his helpers. Each collected citation in The Evidence for Spirit Healing is "an actual extract from the original letter under the name of the writer." The majority were healed by what Edwards described as 'absent healing.' Having achieved international renown as a healer, Edwards stated that he received over a million letters in four and a half years.
The usual course is for the patient, or someone on his behalf, to write to the healer and ask for help, giving a brief account of the disease involved. The correspondent is then asked to report regularly, to outline any progress, or otherwise. The healer replies to each letter. It becomes a daily pleasure for him and his helpers to read, in letter after letter, of relief being given and maladies cured. From a careful analysis it has been shown that eighty per cent report easement and benefit in one way or another, and of these a third are made well.If all the testimonies of betterment were printed, it would take many volumes to chronicle them all. Therefore, the letters telling of the gradual improvements seen with the majority of the patients are not mentioned here. Yet this is the major work of the healing. During the past four and a half years, individual letters have been selected from the mass to illustrate an aspect of the healing process, or to record an outstanding feature, such as a total recovery, the doctor’s amazement at the result, or an unexpected sequel to the healing. These letters were filed under general disease headings and now appear in this book.
Edwards wrote a variety of books about 'spiritual' or 'psychic' healing during his lifetime. In his initial book on healing, he reasoned: "That consequent on the emission of a thought appeal by a human instrument, a discarnate mind is able to receive the request, and is then able to apply the correct quality of force to the particular disharmony in the body of the patient." Edwards also mentioned, "There are some who still voice the opinion that all phenomena are the product of the sub-conscious mind . . ."
Integral to what he described as "spirit healing," Edwards found it evidential that "man possesses a spirit counterpart of himself — which is termed the spirit body. If this were not so, there would be no clairvoyance, physical phenomena, healing, the 'sixth sense,' inspiration, premonition, etc."
When we "see," we do not see with the eye, this is only the transmitting organ to the brain and which interprets the experience received upon our state of consciousness. Neither do we hear with the ear, which again is the transmitting organ, via the brain, to the consciousness.When a clairvoyant "sees," his consciousness receives a picture just as clear and precise as with physical vision, although it has not been received by the physical eye, since the subject is invisible to normal sight. Similarly, when a clairaudient "hears" his consciousness presents him with an experience identical to his actually hearing physical sound.
Edwards expressed that he found it difficult to describe what takes place when a healer 'tunes-in.' He mentioned, "No healer who attains to the art of 'tuning-in' for healing ever regrets the time spent in the preliminary development, for finally to be an instrument capable of healing the sick is in itself a reward that cannot be measured in material terms."
As a healer, Edwards witnessed how disharmonious body tissues can be dispersed by spirit healers.
As the ether is the universal substance, occupying all space and providing the primary forces for our being and substance, it must be our common heritage. It follows that it is also the common heritage of the spirit people. It is their "clay and stone." With their advanced knowledge and extrasensory perceptions, they are able to manipulate it with far greater ease than man, who is only just beginning dimly to comprehend its almost infinite possibilities.
Edwards offered classifications for spirit healing, identifying two main sections: Absent Healing, or healing through thought, and Personal or Contact Healing by touch, or the 'laying on' of hands.
For diagnosis, the healer may see clairvoyantly the nature of the illness by the picturisation of the part of the body affected. Others "see" a "radiance" over that part.Treatment follows the diagnosis. For this healers generally induce a trance condition. This trance condition may be light or heavy — from say 5 to 99 per cent. The healer then tunes into or blends with the patient's auric condition. He next allows his hands to rest on or make passes around and about the affected part as his spirit-healing Guide influences him to do so.
In his final book, Life in Spirit (1976), Edwards again attempted to provide an explanation of this healing process involving himself as a facilitator.
I do know that when healing, and my consciousness is attuned to the source of healing, I receive intuitively directive thought concerned with diagnosis of the patient’s complaint — often removed from the side of trouble. I also receive advice and directives to pass on to patients, especially those unhappy people with upset minds. Indeed, my life's work could not have taken place were it not or the faculty of attunement, in which my thoughts are received by the intelligences in tune with me, and it follows that my mind is likewise able to receive thought directives.
In The Science of Spirit Healing, 'magnetic Healing' is described as "the giving of healthful power to a sufferer, in order to adjust the disharmonies in the physical organisms and for the removal of painful conditions." Magnetic healing was stated as being the simplest and easiest form of healing with most people in robust health possessing the gift. Eventually he accepted a better description for this type of healing as being 'Cosmic Healing.'
'Spiritual Healing' required "a healer to act as the human instrument or medium for the applied spirit-healing forces." Edwards described treating patients for swellings or growths, such as a tumor. "The hand is placed over the swelling, which may be as hard and big as a lemon. The fingers close gently round it, and seem to massage it. The healer feels a vibratory power possessing his arm and fingers. After a few moments it is noticed that the lump has diminished in size, and on occasions has entirely disappeared." This process was comprehensible to Edwards in comparison with ectoplasmic displays he'd observed in seance rooms. He appraised: "The implication is, that at the will of the spirit operators, the mass of matter was returned in a flash of time to its original energies. The atomic construction of the matter was changed, probably 'splitting the atoms' back into their primal etheric energies."
Photos are offered in the assorted books written by Edwards and the chapter “Healing Organic Diseases” of Spirit Healing (1960) offers a series of four photos documenting the healing of a middle-aged male patient crippled with rheumatoid arthritis. The deformity of the hands is shown in the third photo while in the fourth taken moments later the fingers have been freed and the patient is shown gripping the healer’s hand.
Edwards appraised in The Science of Spirit Healing that, as with other forms of spirit healing, there's no set procedure for absent healing. Thought emissions can be made either orally or in writing as the healer sits in seclusion and silence. "He then divorces from his mind all considerations of a worldly nature and 'tunes-in' to his spirit Guides." Edwards revealed that there were cases when he'd forgotten about healing requests and there were still quick recoveries by patients. He deduced that "during the moments when the healer was being told of the patient and the illness, the healer mentally framed the desire to help. The essential thought emission was thus made and received by the healing Guide and acted upon.”
Edwards also stated emphatically that while a patient's faith plays a part in healing, "spirit healing is not 'faith healing.'" The proof he offered was the many cured who had no knowledge of help being initiated by others on their behalf; also, those healed whose diagnoses had been described to them as incurable; and those made well though the visible dissolutions of tumors and other growths during healing.
Edwards was careful to delineate that no healer can promise or assure that any healing he may undertake will be effective. "He may be aware of previous successes in similar cases, but with this work, precedents cannot be relied upon . . . At times, in apparently similar cases, one patient will be healed and another not." Edwards admitted that his greatest disappointment had been his inability to prevent the death of his friend Jack Webber from spotted fever and meningitis. Two weeks after his death, Edwards was asked to heal a man suffering from the same ailments. The patient soon had a phenomenal and unaccountable recovery in an apparent case of absent healing, leading Edwards to state, "So it is, no healer can ever give an assurance of benefit, it is quite beyond his powers to do so."
The website of the Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary is http://www.harryedwardshealingsanctuary.org.uk/, where I read an article several years ago featuring some of the following biographical details of his life.
Growing up in London, Edwards was the son of a printer and at the age of fourteen left school to begin a seven-year printing apprenticeship.
In 1914, his apprenticeship finished and he was offered a job with the firm. The next day, he enlisted in the Royal Sussex Regiment to serve his country in the First World War.
After arresting a spy near Brighton who was using lights to guide enemy airships, Harry was sent with his battalion to India where he launched a regimental magazine. Articles about local British civilians being less than welcoming to soldiers led to disciplinary action and transfers, first to engineering duties and then to run the headquarters’ mess.
Commissioned in the field, he became a Captain and was sent to what is now Iraq with two British soldiers and thousands of local labourers. Their task was to build a railway track including bridges to support military operations in the Middle East. Harry's engineering expertise consisted of one hour's instruction on a theodolite. Nevertheless, he got the job done and ended the war as a Major, managing 250,000 people within an area of Northern Iraq.
His sojourn in the East afforded him the opportunity to study Eastern religions and witness many exotic events. On demobilization Edwards married and became a family man. He was unsuccessful with a stationery and printing company but continued in the printing trade for twelve difficult years until his business became profitable. Edwards then was able to resume his public work although he didn't succeed in his efforts to be elected to parliamentary and council seats — otherwise he may not have ever become a healer. He was in his 40s when he investigated spiritualism. Soon after becoming aware of spirit-healing, trance speech and clairvoyance, Edwards began practicing his healing gift. At the time of publishing The Science of Spirit Healing, he hadn't yet established a healing center but that goal would soon be achieved as his brother took on his printing business and Edwards moved into a large house in Shere, converting the billiard room, later enlarged, as his Healing Sanctuary.
In Psychic Healing (1946), Edwards explained the reasons for hesitation among many in the medical profession and again attested that the gift of healing is available to all people without ideological limitations.
Because spirit healing deals with a new dimension that cannot be put under the microscope, and because medical authorities cannot understand the process in terms of matter, they adopt the absurd position of saying it is nonsense, despite the mass of evidence to prove the contrary.When the Roman Catholic priest carries out his ritual, as at Lourdes, or his contemporary the witch doctor makes his incantations with his dancing, or the Mohammedan priest washes his ink-written verse from the Koran into water for his patient to drink, or the priests of other faiths pray with intent for healing, in each case the thought-emission is made and the thought-requests received by the spirit operators.
In The Truth About Spiritual Healing (1956), Edwards stated that recognition of spiritual healing by the Church and the medical profession would assist in curing disease, relieving sickness and restoring balance and happiness to a great number of sufferers.
It was with pleasure that we heard in 1953 that the Archbishops of Canterbury and York had appointed a commission to investigate spiritual healing, that this commission would seek the co-operation of the British Medical Association, and that a number of eminent physicians were appointed on to the commission itself.We have been confronted with continual evasion of every aspect of our work . . .We have no quarrel with the medical profession. We hold it in very high esteem and gladly pay tribute to its magnificent work.We never advocate that sick people should refrain from seeking medical help; indeed, we always advise it.We have no quarrel with the church. Why should we? Surely healers are putting into practice Christ's commandment "to heal the sick." We know that all healing comes from God. The only real difference between us is that we believe the healing effort takes place through His spirit ministers who are part of the heavenly host.The ancient theology of the Church should be adjusted in the light of new revelations today.
Edwards commented about what happened when he appeared on television in a confrontation with three opponents.
The heavily biased attack prevented the healing point of view being presented. The result was that the B.B.C. got more letters of protest and requests for further programmes than they have ever received following any other feature. As a result the B.B.C. instituted an Audience Survey, an action they have never before taken with any individual feature. It can be said the result was staggeringly in ourfavour.
Some of the observations by Edwards in The Truth About Spiritual Healing served to clarify aspects of his work and predicament.
While it is true that we see instantaneous or so-called "miracle" cures, the great majority of healings are a gradual process as the remedial changes are brought about. We also have to remember that sometimes healings do not take place.Cures take place gradually as the causes are overcome and the symptoms removed.. . . after the physical death our spiritual minds and bodies continue in the spirit realm, are able to acquire greater wisdom, while retaining individual character and having the potential for spiritual progression.The queer thing is that the Church freely recognizes "evil spirits," but strangely it closes down on any suggestion that there may be good spirits too.
The interests of Edwards beyond healing included "cinema and travel, with an annual holiday being a personal priority." He enjoyed reading "thrillers, mysteries and adventure yarns" and "loved his garden and always had flowers around him." He was also an enthusiast of tropical fish and 'painting by numbers' kits.
A 1959 booklet The Hands of a Healer by Harry Edwards was written "only for those who practice the Gift of Healing." In the foreword, he observed, "Every healer is individual unto himself, and the healing guides are individualists, too, so there must always be a variation in method of usage of the healer by the healing guides . . . I have endeavored to show that these satisfactory results follow the good intention and are not a direct result of a particular healing technique."
He also addressed "healers who heal the sick only under a condition of trance."
Nearly all healers commenced their ministry of healing through the development of trance — the writer did this, too, although in common with many other healers, I subsequently learned that a trance state was not necessary for healing to take place.
Edwards wanted no healers to assume it was themselves or their individual minds that accomplished the healing act.
We know that the healing guides are ever-present, that their use of us is through the act of their attunement with our inner or spirit selves, and conversely ourselves with them. They are, as it were, ever within our surroundings, in contact with us, listening-in. We know that the act of healing is not the result of physical association between the patient and the healer, but that it can only come from the spirit direction of the corrective healing forces.
One paragraph reminded me of the time I was in Bill and Maxine’s 'talking poltergeist' house in Oklahoma and a smooth stone that materialized was still warm when I touched it.
Perhaps the most common experience is that when a healer is giving contact healing to a patient he becomes aware of a strong heat in his hands and this is also felt by the patient as a penetrating heat into the body.
In considering an explanation for this heat, Edwards stated, "No categorical answer can yet be given." Among his perspectives presented in The Hands of a Healer, Edwards presented his viewpoint about auras — "The aura is a reflection of a person's physical and spiritual health"—and he found questionable some assertions of special healing rays as the 'especial possession' of a particular healer's guide. The danger here was the superimposing of the healer's desire (to have something special) over the true trance flow of thought from the guide.
In The Power of Healing (1963), Edwards noted that commissions on spiritual healing had been held in the United Kingdom by each one of the principal Christian Churches and by The Churches Fellowship for Psychical Study (supported by all denominations). In addition to the Spiritualist movement demonstrating healing activity, Edwards also observed that the Christian Science movement was built upon the testimonies of the healing of the sick.
A married couple, Olive and George Burton were principal assistants to Edwards. In The Power of Healing, Edwards wrote:
We have often marvelled at the manner in which cataracts are dispersed. In our healing experience we have come to accept the fact that these healings take time, but we are often informed that the ophthalmic surgeons observe that the cataracts are thinning, and at times have been fully dispersed.At times we are asked to try to heal eyes that have undergone a number of surgical operations, but with these we do not often see success. Detached retinas have responded to the healing and other eye troubles that are linked with nerve weaknesses and tensions can usually receive betterment.
Edwards specified also that hearing is a sense that responds to the healing, particularly when the form of deafness arises from the slack working of the stirrup bones in the middle ear. Perforations of the drum were found to be healable when the perforation wasn’t too extensive.
Concerning trance healing, Edwards stated in Psychic Healing that "the author would induce a state of deep trance for delicate operations, such as spinal readjustments; mainly for the reason that he was 'afraid' to be the conscious instrument for these tasks. Since then, experience and confidence have shown that a deep trance state is unnecessary . . ."
Edwards shared insights formed from his spiritual experiences and showed an optimism that mankind was evolving in some moral capacities. He found the view of animals not possessing souls and being intended for man's pleasure in sportingly killing and eating them as derived from an archaic mental outlook.
The biographical notes at the Sanctuary’s website reminded me of the strain placed on personal relationship when an individual dedicates his life to spiritually expanding the understanding of others. His wife had never directly participated in the healing work of Edwards and after the Burtons joined him in the healing sessions she eventually left the family home and lived with one of their daughters.
By the time Harry Edwards published Harry Edwards: Thirty Years A Spiritual Healer in 1968, some of his perceptions about healing had become more defined. In this book he commented about healers, ". . . they are but the attuned channels of Spirit used as 'transmitters' of particularized healing forces to effect beneficial changes in given ill-conditions . . . Spiritual healing is not the prerogative of any man or any Church, and neither is it a 'cure all,' for even as there are laws which govern the Universe itself, so spiritual healing is governed by certain laws."
Edwards realized that during his military occupation in Persia his gift had found expression with spiritual healing being recognizable in hindsight. The Sanctuary website article recounted:
A high number of cases of illness and injury led to many people coming to him for medical treatment, despite the fact that he had only basic equipment with which to treat them. Nevertheless, the recovery rate was remarkable and word spread of the healing powers of that 'Hakim' or healer. A local sheikh brought his aged mother for treatment and Harry obliged, but tooth powder was the only 'medicine' available so that is what he gave her. Complete recovery within two days confirmed his reputation and many more sick people came to him. Even a local governor sought his help with a favorite wife.
Edwards became a medium after attending Spiritualist churches in the 1930s. Mediums informed him that he was a 'healer' at a time when he didn't even know what this meant. When he attempted a healing experiment, Edwards described his first experience of 'astral traveling' and the incident resulted with the remarkable recovery of the patient who was the subject of the experiment.
When he conducted healing services, Edwards professed: "I am aware of being 'over-shadowed' by the spirit guide or doctor, but I am always in full possession of all my faculties and reason." He offered an estimated statistic for his healing endeavors: "Remembering the severity of 'incurable' and chronic conditions we are called upon to heal there is less than twenty per cent which do not appear to benefit." Edwards also understood that some of the healing accomplished could be ephemeral: "Disease and sickness arise from the law of cause and effect. So long as the causes are maintained then the effects will return." He also observed that healing would be powerless to restore body parts having lost the power of function.
One chapter of Thirty Years involves his participation in a demonstration arranged for a medical society in London. When the healing of a lady suffering from disseminated sclerosis occurred—something deemed impossible within conventional medical practice—the doctors remained uninterested and Edwards understood that they were determined not to give him any encouragement or acknowledge any change. When the lady demonstrated the extent of her improvement, he recognized that the doctors "realized that indeed something had happened that they could not account for." After further healings of people were demonstrated "it finally ended up with the doctors themselves asking for treatment for their own troubles! One might have thought that these doctors would have been sufficiently interested to wish to carry on further investigation, but I heard no further from them."
Thirty Years includes a chapter entitled "Miracle In Surrey" that originated in a memoir entitled A Pilgrim’s Progress by Mr. Beverley Nichols. The chapter is a firsthand account by Nichols describing the healing he saw accomplished in the Sanctuary. In his remembrance of his encounter with Edwards, Nichols summarized "the psychic theory by which Edwards explains the phenomena": "Briefly, it is that Edwards is controlled by various doctors in the spirit world, notably Lister and Pasteur, who use him as a channel through which they pour the unlimited healing resources of the Infinite."
The financial circumstances of the Sanctuary were described.
This whole, strange, bewildering affair has been organized, after many years of experience, on a strictly businesslike basis. By which, I do not mean that the Sanctuary is a money-making concern. A healer must live, and if those he has healed like to give him something to carry on, Edwards is grateful. But he accepts indifferently the rich and poor, and he never asks for money.
In Thirty Years Edwards mentioned that the largest gathering he ever witnessed for one of his many public healing demonstrations was when seven thousand people filled the King's Hall in Manchester. By 1966, Edwards stated his healing ministry averaged ten thousand letters a week. He concluded the book with a transcript of the address he delivered at the Royal Albert Hall on Armistice Sunday in 1965. His comments urged others to recognize the essentiality of each person adopting a spiritual code of values in their lives.
"The purpose of Spiritualism today, through mediumship and healership is to awaken the conscience of the human family, to a consciousness of spiritual values through knowledge and understanding, so that through logic and the evidence we demonstrate, we show the way towards new incentives to overcome the materialistic and ignoble ways of selfish life today."In their place, will come the acceptance of spiritual kinship with Spirit and thereby with God, leading towards the coming of the true brotherhood of man, accepting common responsibilities towards each other."This then is the ultimate purpose which underlies our teaching based on the truth of kinship with Spirit and survival after earthly death."
Edwards published the in-depth A Guide to the Understanding and Practice of Spiritual Healing in 1974. This was an expanded version of A Guide to Spirit Healing written twenty years earlier. The final book by Harry Edwards, Life in Spirit with a Guide for the Development of Mediumship (1976), is primarily a speculative account of what life might be like for two protagonists, John and Mary, after having 'died' and entered into their new life in a spirit realm.