Since the discovery of DNA, there is no more Anastasia mystery, as it was immediately proven, without a shadow of a doubt, that Mrs Anderson ¬who pretended to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, youngest daughter of Nicholas II, survivor of the Yekaterinburg massacre – had nothing to do with her.
Long before the war, my father had a strange experience in connection with this matter. He was first cousin to Nicholas II but had Anastasia’s age. They had therefore often played together during their childhood. When Mrs Anderson appeared in America, my father immediately had his doubts, but the parents of the witnesses convinced him that she was the Grand Duchess. He remained deeply perplexed and unsettled when he went through the extraordinary experience that I draw from his memoirs.
Dorothy Caruso, the widow of the famous tenor, called me on the telephone at my New York hotel asking me to accompany her to a séance. My interest for psychic studies dated back to the time I became acquainted with William T Stead in London, during a dinner in 1910. This man appealed to me both due to the charisma of his conversation and due to the difference he seemed to bear from others of his kind. At the end of the evening, I walked down Regent Street in his company. He suddenly asked me if I had ever dabbled in spiritualism.
I answered him that no, although the subject interested me, I knew near nothing about it. He then invited me to visit him in his office one afternoon and attend a séance with a new medium he had heard much about but had not yet had the opportunity to hire. We scheduled a meeting for the following week. When I got there, I was somewhat surprised by the mundane ambiance in which the experience was to take place. The brightly lit living room, with its comfortable armchairs, the steno in one corner, all ready to take notes and the quite ordinary looking young man that was introduced to me as being the medium.
The medium fell into a trance as naturally as if he’d fallen asleep. Almost immediately, he started pouring out a stream of words: exclamations, incomplete sentences, long rants, which seemed to make no sense. Yet, I saw the pencil of the young steno lady flying rapidly on her bloc, of which she had soon filled entire pages. Then Stead took something that he gave to the medium. “Say what this is.” The other remained silent for a moment. “Let’s make the chain.” Stead said quietly, and he took one of my hands while I reached for the medium’s cold and limp hand with the other. “The object that I am touching is a cross, a ruby cross, and it is somehow connected to the person holding my hand. It once belonged to a member of his family, a woman gifted with such an exceptional personality that she influenced the destiny of this family, and of the entire world, at the time.”
A moment later the medium came out of his trance, became once again a plain young man and left. Stead placed the ruby cross in my hand. “It belonged to your ancestor’s, Empress Catherine of Russia.”
He had the report of the séance thoroughly typed and had a copy sent to me. Its reading didn’t inspire me much and so I put it away amongst my papers. This took place in 1910. In 1932, I was organizing the content of an old box when I stumbled upon this document, which curiosity drove me to reread. It was no longer incomprehensible, contrary to what I had believed when I had received it: there were predictions of all that was to transpire the following years.
For me, it predicted the Balkan Wars, the Greek Revolution, our exile. For Stead personally a long voyage…a boat. Rereading this impromptu 20 years after my friend died in the shipwreck of the Titanic felt like hearing a voice from beyond the grave…from this world Stead believed in with such conviction.
I had more than once thought of William Stead, especially during a crossing of the Atlantic in 1927 while reading Bradley’s book “Towards the Stars” in which the author describes the extraordinary results obtained by a medium that was quite the sensation in New York at the time. […] The book piqued my interest so vividly that I resolved to meet this man. And so I was thrilled when Dorothy Caruso told me that the medium that was to partake in the séance to which we were going was precisely the one I desired to meet.
TO BE CONTINUED….