Albert Best (1917 - 1996), a Medium who came from Northern Ireland born in Belfast on the 2nd December 1917, sadly Albert's mother Died when he was young was then brought up by his adopted Grandmother another Mrs Best, some say it was his father's mother. [The confusion arises because Albert was a quiet retiring man about his personal affairs]. He lived with Mrs Best and her four daughters who were a lot older than him they then went on to have families of their own, in their own houses, he still classed them as his sisters. Mrs Best then brought him up on her own within her very strong Christian beliefs in [the Orange] Church of the Church of England.
Albert did not have a very happy childhood [he did not want to dwell or share that information with others he knew], being very sensitive and at the time scared of the Spirits he felt around him. His first experience he remembers of seeing the Spirit World was at the age of seven, He told of the man standing at the top of the his grandmother's stairs the man was carrying a lit lamp and the thing that stood out for him was the man had string tied around his legs just below the knees. [this was to stop the rats and mice running up your legs when cutting the fields of cereal crops]. Albert told his Grandma she only said to him that he had eaten too much cheese. After leaving her in the living room he heard her say "father go away, you are frightening the boy" His grandma must have believed it was the grandfather Albert saw, but he had never met him as he had died before Albert was born. He said from that day on he was never frightened of the Spirit World again, and so the voices which he heard occasionally did not upset him but he did not tell anyone otherwise they would have thought he was going mad, and subsequently be institutionalised.
Before he left school old Mrs Best died and being on his own he had to lodge with one of his sisters. Round about that time he was talked into going to a Spiritualist church by his friend who was a little older than him and had a job of cleaning windows. At the service a Medium on the platform told him he would wear a uniform and go to Africa.
On leaving school when he was 14, he started in a rope factory. About this time Albert was going on long walks in the countryside to be alone with the Spirit Voices and was being guided by them in their two way conversations. They always brought him comfort and reassurance.
One of his sisters moved over to Scotland into the picturesque town of Irvine, so Albert decide he would like to go and see her and stayed for a quite a while. On returning to Northern Ireland he attended a Belfast Spiritualist Church were he was told by he platform Medium he had the energy around him in the form of lights which she saw and he she told of his guide who was giving him guidance, He was invited to join their regular Development Circle in which a lot of sitters saw and confirmed the presence of the wonderful coloured lights around him.
One evening he had gone to the cinema and standing the queue he saw a girl he like and started chatting to her they sat together he found out she was a Catholic and him being a Protestant [at that time the both religions did not get on in Northern Ireland and there were many fights even killings on both sides] They did not care as they had fallen in love, so in a few weeks of meeting they went to St Anne's Cathedral Church in Belfast to see the priest and just a few weeks after that Albert and Rose were married very quietly with only bystanders from the streets as their witnesses, no relatives.
When World War Two started, Albert was 22 then so he decided to join the Enniskillen Fusiliers. Rose stayed in Northern Ireland with her family in the Belfast area of New Lodge. Albert ended up in Algiers Africa in 1940. He was amongst the the troops who had the task of clearing the Goubellet plain of gun emplacements just beyond no-man's land and at the time the Germans were holding the ridge to the south of Tunis, the allies were on a ridge to the north. When Albert heard the name of Goubellet he remembered something his other grandma said to him the one and only time he ever met her when he was about 14, she had told him, "You will be a widower by the age of 24, I have not seen you all my life but I will be there with you in Goubellet." During the battle Albert was wounded the Germans left him for dead next to eight of his platoon who had perished, a voice came to him and said "get up" he did so but as he stood and started walking the shocked Germans did not get him that time but later he was captured and ended up in a Prisoner of War Camp, he would never speak about the terrible times he endured at the hands of his capturers.
When he was in Africa, Rose was at home in Belfast with their three children.
When he was released Albert got sent home, sadly he was told on his arrival that Rose, her family and his children had perished in a massive bombing raid on Belfast when 1000's of innocent victims died. Albert grieved for his loved one Rose and the children for the rest of his life but rarely speaking of it to others.
In 1943, Albert was medically discharged from the army when he was 25. He then went back to Ayrshire, Scotland in 1944.
On arrival in Irvine, Albert took on the job as the local postman and later became friendly with a Spiritualist family, Mr George and Mrs Olive Williamson and their teenage daughter Olive (now known as Mrs Olive Field). Albert frequented their home from time to time and would enjoy their conversation and company. He was also introduced to a lady that lived just over the road from Olive's home named Mrs Cissie Swan, also a Spiritualist. She had six children and originated from Ballymena, Northern Ireland. Albert would often call in to chat with Cissie.
The Williams family, including young Olive and Albert, were invited to join the home Development Circle of Mrs Maggie Haffety in Irvine. Mrs Cissie Swan also sat within the circle. Albert sat with the circle for two years before moving on. Olive recalls Albert and Cissie later sitting in a Circle in Ayr and later working the Kilmarnock and Ayr churches.
(Kind thanks to Olive Field for sharing this information and memories)
In 1951 he attended the Kilmarnock Spiritualist Church, were he was given a book as a gift from Arthur Findlay called 'In tune with the infinite' by RALPH WALDO TRINE which was first published in 1897. Albert treasured this book and called it his bible, as it covered the philosophy of spiritualism.
Albert was invited into a Circle for development with the Kilmarnock Church and he was remembered as being a shy lad, who never shared or spoke of his former life in Belfast.
He sat with this Circle for sometime into the mid 50's before being introduced to Maurice Barbanell, the editor of Psychic News Newspaper, who helped him to work further a-field.
Albert was well known for his wonderful accurate mediumistic evidence during demonstrations. Having worked previously as a postman it seemed natural that the Spirit World would prove survival by giving details such as names and addresses along with other private details. Albert left no doubt in the recipient minds, and proved time and time again a person's spirit survives the death of the physical body. He was an extremely hard working Medium and admired and loved by many. Albert maintained he was no speaker and preferred someone more qualified to give the address during services, but still they loved to listen to his anecdotes about all the other wonderful Mediums he had known. As well as demonstrating Mediumship he gave spiritual healing to many during his life.
Later he met a retired businessman who had been so impressed by Spirit that he set up a healing room in his property. He approached Albert to work as his grounds-man as well as a healer and offered accommodation along with the job, which was a flat in Glasgow.
In 1965 the businessman's house caught fire, but the healing room remained untouched, the fireman couldn't believe it. The sanctuary was moved to another site and Albert worked there till 1982. Albert worked as a Trance Healing Medium and had three Spirit Helpers; Dr Wong, Hans and Ally. Approximately 24,000 people received treatments at the sanctuary during the 24 years it was open.
Albert's work took him to many places, even Africa and India, were he gave healing whilst there. It is reported that he visited a Witch Doctor and during a ritual Albert's wife Rose materialised before him and looked as alive as you or I, then dematerialised again, for Albert this was proof of the Spirit existing beyond death of the physical body, this gave him great comfort throughout the rest of his life. Albert Best last visited the Belfast Spiritualist Church in the 1980's and is still loved and remembered fondly. In 1994 the chairman of the Psychic Press paper, Mr Roy Stemman, on stage of the Lewisham Theatre, London made a presentation to Albert Best and named him the 1994 Spiritualist of the year. Albert often helped young mediums with their development and encouraged those, such as Gordon Smith and Colin Fry.
Albert Best was taken into hospital on the 2nd April 1996, soon after he slipped into a coma and never regained consciousness until the evening of Thursday 11th April when three Mediums went to visit him one being Gordon Smith, the others being Ann Docherty and Jim McManus, both Healing Mediums. They all stood in silence looking at Albert, Gordon became aware of a presence at the foot of the bed, he turned but no one was there physically but as they looked at Albert he began to stir. In that moment Albert opened his eyes turned his head to Jim and smiled, then he looked at Gordon and finally he looked up at Anne and tried to speak. No-one could make out what he had tried to say.
But again he repeated the statement and this time they heard him say "my wife is here and the children" his eyes turned to face the foot of the bed and his eyes opened wide, he smiled and lifted his head. His smile became bright, Gordon reports that in his minds eye he could visualize a young lady standing there slim build with long auburn hair.
Albert was transfixed. Albert's gaze went around all three of them, and then he spoke his last words. "They've come. You will have to let me go", Anne replied, "we were never holding you Albert", he gave one last smile then lowered his head gently to the pillow and closed his eyes. Albert remained in a coma until he passed to the Spirit's World side of life the following evening Friday 12 April 1996.
During his lifetime Albert Best was adopted by the people of Glasgow as one of their own. It was known in Spiritualist Circles, Albert hoped Gordon Smith the very good Mental Medium would carry on from him. Gordon is now making a name for himself as a very good Clairvoyant.
A lot of this information was collected by Lorraine Brill, Belfast Spiritualist Church
Albert Best was a postman and a world famous Spiritualist Medium. He was also the uncle of footballer George Best.
Ann Kennedy was the wife of a Church of Scotland minister called the Rev. David Kennedy.
Ann Kennedy died while she was still in her forties.
Before Ann had died she had promised to try to find a way to contact her husband from beyond the grave.
Although it was against his religion, the Rev. David Kennedy contacted a Medium called Lexie Findletter. Lexie told David that Ann was trying to communicate with him.
A week later David was asleep at home. He was awoken by the sound of the phone ringing. He looked at the clock on the wall. He realised that he only had five minutes to prepare his sermon and find a clean collar. He lifted up the phone.
"Your wife Ann is with me," said a voice. "She tells me that your clean collars are in a bottom drawer of your wardrobe and the speech you prepared last year for this service is in the top drawer of your desk. Incidentally, my name is Albert Best."
David looked in the bottom drawer of the wardrobe and found the three clean collars.
Albert went on to say that Anne told him to tell David that he (David) needed to send to the laundry the 23 soiled collars which he had already accumulated in a special box where he kept his collars. When David counted the number of collars in his box, there were 23 in all.
More messages reached David in the days that followed. On one occasion Albert said that Ann had asked him to tell David to phone Ann's sister and ask about the ballet shoes. When David did so, Ann's sister was astounded that he knew about the private joke that had been a secret between Ann and her sister.
Gordon Smith, The Unbelievable Truth (2005)
David Kennedy, A Venture in Immortality (Colin Smythe, 1973).
I heard last week the fascinating psychic story of a Medium who has held his fully-materialised dead wife and children in his arms and shaken hands with his guides.
He is the well-known non-professional Glasgow Medium, Albert Best who, for 28 of his 53 years, has served Spiritualism with dedicated devotion.
The result is a well-deserved splendid reputation for his versatile mediumship.
Ever since his London debut at Acacia House, Acton, 1968, I have tried without success to interview him for a profile article.
I finally tied down this most diffident Medium to a lunch- hour appointment during his visit last week to the College of Psychic Studies.
Albert became aware of his psychic gifts at the age of nine. Several times he 'saw' an elderly man's spirit form around the house.
He told his grandmother, who reared Albert, that this strange visitor scared him. Now he realises she too must have been clairvoyant and recognised the entity.
During one 'appearance' he heard her say: "Go away, father. You are frightening the boy." So it was his great grandfather young Albert saw!
A psychic window-cleaner introduced the teenage potential medium to his local Spiritualist church.
He sat in a Developing Circle for five years, constantly fighting what was obviously impending trance. "It felt as though I had been chloroformed, but I always resisted losing consciousness."
When he finally succumbed he was told his guide had spoken through him for over an hour.
Belfast-born, brought up a Protestant, Albert married a Roman Catholic local girl when he was19. Their three children included twins.
While he was serving abroad tragedy struck. His wife Rose and the children were killed in the second German air raid on Belfast.
Albert told me he went on a 'mammoth bender' trying to forget his shattering bereavement. He could not face returning to his native Belfast.
As he had many friends there, Albert decided to settle in Glasgow. The double-Celt psychic, who reminds me of a benign gnome, has spent more time there than in his native Ireland. "I would not choose to live anywhere else," he said.
In Ayr and Glasgow he experienced memorable physical phenomena at private Home Circles. The first was with Alec Martin of Ayr, who passed on several years ago.
Albert had the joy of holding in his arms the fully-materialised forms of Rose and his three children.
I thought it strange he has never contacted them through his own mediumship. "I don't wish to," said Albert.
His Spirit Guides have also materialised and shaken hands with him.
Albert showed me bullet scars in his neck and left arm resulting from an injury for which he has a small army disability pension. He also draws a Civil Service pension.
After watching Albert demonstrate first-class clairvoyance at Acacia House last Saturday, I deplore his reticence. He regards this gift as secondary to his healing for which he holds three weekly sessions in Glasgow.
One outstanding message was for Jim Webster of Goldsmith Avenue, Acton. It was the first time he had seen Albert. The Medium asked if he knew a Wilson, giving a 72 Grange Road address.
Webster became emotional when Albert said this communicator always wore a flower in his buttonhole.
He told me later that his 'dead' brother Wilson had lived at the address given and was never without a rose in his buttonhole.
Albert said correctly that the man sitting next to Webster was his son.
Geoffrey Webster, 27, told me it was his first visit to a Spiritualist meeting. He was deeply impressed by Albert's clairvoyance.
The medium next got a connection with Holborn, and asked Webster if he was a boxer. "Who is Rafferty" asked Albert. "Did he break your nose?" Webster accepted this message as accurate.
He later showed me his broken nose, not immediately apparent, received in a boxing bout with Johnnie Rafferty at a Holhorn boxing match.
Israeli Meir Hed, 24, is working on a film project, a documentary on the London Spiritualist scene. His Dutch fiancée had a message from Albert at Acacia House.
Here are Albert's answers to some of Hed's questions: "I go through tortures before every demonstration. But once on the platform I become icy cool. I am not afraid of the 'dead' - only of Spiritualists!"
From "Psychic News" 1972.
This account was given to medium Gordon Smith by a Catholic priest who lives just outside Glasgow:
I was invited, along with some friends of mine who had joined together to form an ecumenical group to study and discuss religious matters, to attend a session of mediumship given by the late Mr Albert Best. The group met in Glasgow at the home of my friend who was hosting this session. I had been told by many members of the group who were familiar with the medium and his work that he could be quite phenomenal, but none of us could have ever expected what we were about to see.
Albert Best was a man of Irish origin, small in stature, who appeared, in my view, very shy. He seemed to be intimidated by the gathering of men and women in our group who were either of a religious or scientific background. Soon after the formal introductions, Mr Best sat in a large and very heavy-looking armchair at the far end of the well-lit sitting room, whilst the rest of the group were seated around the room in a sort of circle formation. Mr Best closed his eyes and fell into a sort of trance and a voice spoke through him in an accent which was hard to dintinguish as any exact nationality. He began to give what I believe was a message from the spirit on the other side to one of my colleagues, who was confirming what he was hearing when, without warning, the chair on which Mr Best was sitting began to shake furiously. Mr Best snapped out of his trance state and began to protest to unseen forces around him, saying, 'Stop that!' and 'Put me down!'.
If I had not been in the company of people who I consider sane of mind, I would not have believed my eyes, as the chair, along with Mr Best, lifted up till the little man's head was near ceiling height. No sooner had this happened that voices could be heard, which I can say came from no one seen sitting in that room. The chair slowly returned to the floor with Mr Best still calling out to the invisible forces around him and the session ended soon after. The medium explained that he was unharmed and never in any danger, but he did not like it when they played games like that just to impress people. He said that the spirits who had played this prank on him were men who had been part of his squadron during the war and who had died in Africa in 1943. This was Mr Best's account; quite honestly, I, along with the most of my group, even those among us with a background in physics, have absolutely no explanation for what we experienced.