1)The plan for the Messiah for the 20th century .
The plant came out of the cross correspondences produced by The Society for Psychical Research between 1901 to 1930. These were produced by automatic writing coming from the spirits of late members of the SPR. The cross correspondences were allegedly started by the deceased spirit of SPR member FWH Myers.
Alice Johnson, research officer of the Society for Psychical Research, discovered that Messages from mediums as far apart as India, New York, and London contained parts of messages when put together made sense.
The messages were produced by automatic writing by Rosina Thomson, Mrs Forbes, Margaret Verrall, Mrs Leonora Piper. and Winifred Willett (whose real name was Winifred Combe -Tenant who we will hear more of later).
The messages put together from these sources were called The Cross Correspondences. Seeming to be coming from the dead FWH Myers. They contained quotes etc. from Latin and Ancient Greek literature. A the subject of which he had been a scholar .
As time wore on his spirit was joined by SPR members Henry Sidgwick and Edmund Gurney who had then both died. Most of this work on the Cross Correspondences was done at Fishers Hill near Woking which belonged to Gerard Balfour.
Gerald Balfour was a member, (rising to President) of the SPR, Tory M.P. and holder of many high Government posts. His brother Arthur, who had been a Tory Prime Minister, and SPR President (1893) was also involved. Since this time there has been dispute between members of the SPR on the worth of the Cross Correspondences.
The group received messages from the group on the other side on many subjects. One of these was a plan to produce a messiah to save the 20th century. Now it is obvious this did not work. However the plan involved an illicit extramarital affair between the Tory MP Gerald Balfour and Winifred Coombe Tennant (Winifred Willett) who was one of the mediums. She was also a Welsh Liberal party activist.
The child they produced was born in 1913 and was called Augustus Henry Coombe-Tennant. It was not known if Winifred-Tennant’s husband knew what was going on. Gerard Belfour’s wife had also become estranged from her husband during this time.
Augustus however did not become the Messiah but still had an incredibly interesting life .
He went to Eden and from there to Trinity College’ Cambridge where he won a double first. Unlike most of his generation in the 1930s he saw the coming of the world war and joined the Welsh Guards.
In 1940 he was part of the British Expeditionary Force in France. He was forced back by the German Blitzkrieg to the Channel Ports where he was captured at Boulogne. This was not, however, before helping the Dutch Queen to escape the German forces.
He was taken to POW camp at Warburg in Westphalia. While in the camp he kept the rest of the inmates amused by playing on the piano without sheet music for hours.
Eventually having found the camps main electricity board he fused all the external lighting and a load of the POWs escaped. All but three were recaptured. One of the three was Augustus These three walked for three weeks across Germany in the British uniforms. Moving mainly at night they finally reach the Dutch border. A friendly farmer hit them in the barn and handed them over to the resistance. Who sent him to Brussels and using an escape route designed for allied pilots managed to get them over the Spanish border.
This was not the end of his war. Trained by the Special Operations Executive he was parachuted back into occupied France where he assisted the Maquis in their resistance operations. This added a Croix de Guerre medal, given to him by the French, to his Military Cross medal.
After the war he served with the Welsh Guards in Palestine. Then joined the diplomatic service and while attached to the British Embassy in Baghdad converted to Catholicism.
On his return to the UK in 1965 he joined the Benedictines as a monk at Downside Abbey, where he changed his name to Dom Joseph. He lived there the rest of his life until his death in 1989. He was a much-loved monk who served both the Abbey and his parishioners at West Malvern and Radstock.
However this was not the first time That someone one had tried to produce a messiah to save the world. The earlier attempt was with a machine!
2) The God Machine.
John Murray Spear was born in the city of Boston in 1804 and from an early age, was a member of the Universalist Church of America. Becoming ordained in the church in 1830. Spear was active in petitioning for social reforms which included women’s rights, labour reform, and the removal of the death penalty. He organised the first Universalists anti-slavery convention and was involved in the underground railway that ran through Boston
In 1852 he broke all ties with the Universalist Church and turned to spiritualism. He worked as a medium for some time. One day he claimed that he’d been in touch with a spirit group called “The Association of Electrizers”. This group includes the spirits of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, Benjamin Rush and John Murray. Spear believed with the help of this group and the technology that he was channelling from them, a new age would dawn. An age which would give mankind new levels of freedom. To do this the following year he retreated to a wooden shed at the top of high rock Hill in Lynn Massachusetts, with some followers.
In October 1853, he set to work creating the “New Motive Power”, a new messiah to produce the new Utopia. This mechanical Messiah was constructed of copper, zinc and magnets carefully machined and put together on a dining room table.
It was described as: A shaft supported a cross steel arm from whose ends were suspended two large steel bells with magnets inside. Under the balls, a there was a sort of oval platform, made of magnets and metals. Above this were hung a some of zinc and copper plates, alternately arranged, and said to be an electric memory. The power was supplied with high metal conductors, which were reaching up to draw power directly from the air. Added to these parts were metal bars, plates, wires, magnets, insulating substances, chemical compounds, etc.
The project also involved an unknown woman to act as the “New Mary” and to give birth to the machine after a set nine months At the date she came to the shed and went through the movements of giving birth. After this the machine was seen to shake a little.
However that was all that happened. Fellow Spiritualists were not impressed. They considered it a well-made machine but considered Spare had been misled by irresponsible entities, into carrying out the project.
Spare was told by the spirits to move the machine to another location with a more lofty and better electrical position. He chose Randolph, New York. Dismantled it was temporarily put into a shed at Randolph. One night a mob broke in and totally destroyed the machine. That was then the end of the story.
However researchers have found no trace, in documents and newspapers in Randolph of Spear’s Machine at that time . No record of it being there, or a mob, or anyone preaching against it. Many think Spear destroyed it himself, to cover up that nothing was happening. He never built another. He was thought of as honest and well meaning, but gullible. He spent the rest of his life as a Spiritualist, promoting liberal causes. He claimed he received a message from the “The Association of Electrizers” to end his ministry in 1872. He died in October 1887 in Philadelphia.
It was very much a sign of the times with the 19th century obsession with new technology that will change the world. Which it did but not in that particular way.
Since the reporting of its destruction, many wondered if it was just stored. Lying hidden somewhere gathering its power. Only recently a device with a plaque saying “New Motive Power” was found in an attic. See http://www.danbaines.com/blog/john-murray-spears-mechanical-messiah-discovered-in-colorado-attic/3/7/2019