Gladys Osbourne Leonard

Today I’d like to talk about a remarkable lady and spiritual pioneer of the twentieth century, not one to shy away from regular scientific scrutiny, the medium Gladys Osbourne Leonard.

Gladys was born the eldest of four children in Lytham on the coast of Lancashire near to Blackpool in the Spring of 1882. In her formative years money was abundant, hence she was taught by a governess up until the age of eleven. Her father was a wealthy yachting entrepreneur.

Frequented by visions in early childhood, she successfully learnt to suppress them and accepted them as completely natural phenomena. Adolescence brought huge financial loss and many changes for the family, so Gladys ended up fending for herself. She became a professional singer but illness prevented her from following this path.

After sitting in sessions in the Spring of 1914 Gladys learnt that her spirit control was named ‘Feda’ and was actually her Hindu ancestress great-great grandmother.

This was to mark the beginning of a partnership that lasted nearly fifty years. During this time Gladys was studied extensively by numerous researchers, one being the renowned physicist Sir Oliver Lodge. Other notable investigators into her work were James Hewat McKenzie, Rev. C. Drayton Thomas, Mrs. W. H. Salter, Rev. Vale Owen and Whately Carington. To determine the origin of her material the tests were carried out in a variety of ways:

  • BOOK TESTS, in which Feda would direct the sitter to a certain book in a certain place in his or her home where, on a given page, the sitter would find a special message. Significant results from these tests were reported by many investigators.
  • PROXY SITTINGS, in which the person present with her would be acting as a proxy on behalf of the actual sitter. The sitter was known neither to the medium nor to the person acting as a proxy.
  • CROSS CORRESPONDENCE, in which part of a message would come through her mediumship and part through another medium.

During her several years learning her craft Gladys was to experience table tilting, automatic writing as well as direct voice communication before going on to primarily establish herself not only as an evidential medium but also as a notable trance medium. Gladys considered herself to be an ordinary woman who was a conduit; a channel, able to relay messages of comfort, love and understanding to her sitters. Gladys stated that spirit communication was just like talking on the telephone.

Countless testimonies exist to this day from Gladys’s work as a medium, evidence produced of the survival of consciousness after death of the physical form. The records can be accessed at the Society for Psychical Research in London. Under the Combined Index, Part III, pages 50 through 52, and Part IV, page 104.

Known for her honesty and down to earthness regarding her spiritual work Gladys was considered by many to be a woman of integrity. Gladys always let it be known to her sitters on the odd occasion if she was unable to connect with the spirit people. When her husband became ill she put the brakes on her work to tend to his needs.

Aged 85 Glady’s passed over to spirit in March of 1968.

If you would like to know more about her Gladys’s autobiography is ‘My Life in Two Worlds’ London: Cassell, 1931.

x Della Marie