Estelle Roberts: The Critics and Skeptics – Part 2

We started out using an online search for the keyword ‘Estelle Roberts’ and could quickly see there are those who have genuine admiration for Estelle Roberts and those who would seem to prefer that she be labeled as one of the many questionable psychic mediums who was part of a questionable movement called ‘Spiritualism’. Then, we took a look at some of the criticisms leveled at her to justify why we should just skip passed her personal history as well as some of the contributions she made to her chosen form of spirituality. We have looked at Estelle’s association with the Society of Psychical Research and why, historically, she may not have trusted them in ‘testing’ her mediumship. In this article we look closer at other critizisms of Estelle to see if they may be a bit questionable themselves. And, we’ll ask some questions that seem to go unasked.

This is part 4 of a 4 part series of articles on Estella Roberts. To read previous article, go to Estella Roberts: The Early Years, and then, Life and Times of Estella Roberts, followed by Estella Roberts: Critics and Skeptics, Part 1

Roberts and Red Cloud Red Cloud? Really?

One criticism of Estelle Roberts surrounds her spirit guide, Red Cloud. Noted author and paranormal ‘debunker’ Melvin Harris is said to have studied a psychic photograph of Red Cloud and compared it to a photograph of Estelle Roberts and determined it was Estelle Roberts in an Indian war bonnet (both photos posted on the left). No doubt Melvin Harris is a brilliant researcher and detective, however, in this matter one needs to point out he made this assessment without the advantage of facial recognition software. It would be interesting to actually apply some science in this matter and see what happens. If opinion is the benchmark for truth, then check out the photos themselves and decide for yourself if the faces match somehow.

‘Psychic photographs’ of any type taken or developed during the late 1880s through the early 1900s should always be suspect, whether used to endorse psychic phenomena or to debunk it. The reason being photographers and developers were well aware that people didn’t want to pay for psychic photographs if there was nothing psychic about it. During the timeframe mentioned, both investigators and psychics fell victim to the new technology of photograph and those who worked in that field.

A misconception regarding Red Cloud, Estelle Roberts’ spirit guide, is that he was the deceased Chief of the Oglala Lakota of the Sioux. For critics, it would seem to make their case that Estelle Roberts should not be taken seriously. It’s very understandable that many Native Americans might feel this is another slight against Native Americans in general. However, Estelle Roberts herself did not think her spirit guide was THE Red Cloud of historical fame. About her spirit guide, Red Cloud, Estelle Roberts would write, "I have worked with Red Cloud for nearly fifteen years … He has never told us who he was on earth. We know that his identity as a Red Indian is a cloak …". Estelle goes on to infer that her spirit guide selected the name Red Cloud out of respect for Native Americans connection to the spirit world (who knows, maybe because Native Americans, like many native peoples, never did abandon the belief in spirits and a spirit world).

The Prediction That Scuttled the Spiritualist Movement

Some historians feel the Spiritualist movement really went into decline around 1939, when World War II began. A number of Spiritualists had stated, according to their spirit guides, that there would be no second world war. Estelle Roberts was among them. In hindsight, Estelle Roberts offered perhaps the best explanation to the public. She would say that the future is not fixed but existed in the form of probabilities. If the future were fixed, then there could be no free will, the foundation of spirituality. Spirit guides might seem to see more from a higher vantage point, but they, like us, could only predict based on what was most likely to happen, not what will absolutely happen.

At the time, this explanation for why the prediction there would be no second world war seemed weak, at best. Niels Bohr’s uncertainty principle was first put forth in February 1927 and at that time it was highly controversial. Niels Bohr would put forth based on quantum physics that the future can only be known as probabilities. Nothing was true until it happened. Bohr himself would say, "Anyone that is not shocked by quantum physics does not understand it.". It would be years until there would be wider acceptance within the scientific community of the concept that the future is always in flux, even for the most predictable of events. Suddenly, Estelle’s explanation goes from weak to seemingly ‘prophetic’ – and it is not that her position changed but the position of science itself changed.

Questions Unanswered and Speculations

There is a question, a matter of historical context, which seems unexplored: Why would be Estelle Roberts deceive anyone? She was uninterested in and even seemed uncomfortable with fame. It wasn’t for fortune. Estelle seemed to go to great lengths to not make too much money, even turning down large ‘gifts’ or ‘donations’. Estelle only appeared to want to earn enough money to live comfortably, take care of her family, and carry on her work. During her time Estelle risked arrest and/or humiliation for claiming she was a medium. Why risk it?

Estelle Roberts made it clear what her motivation was, what her passion was: To show there was survival after death. If proving survival after death was Estelle’s motivation, why use deception? Having to use deception would indicate she had no faith in her mediumship. And, if that were true, why bother to convince others of life after death when she herself didn’t believe it.

Given Estelle’s fifty year history as a medium, meeting with hundreds of people, how would one explain Estelle’s many admires, none of whom ever accuse her of trickery? If fraud was involved, then how did Estelle Roberts, who’d quit school at fourteen years old, with a humble background working remedial jobs and struggling to raise a family, suddenly discover the skills necessary to deceive so many people, from all walks of life from well educated professionals to royalty, at numerous locations, for fifty years? Surely someone, or many people, would have seen or heard something suspicious and reported it to the authorities or taken evidence to the press. Yet, other than skeptics offering their opinions, there is no record of anyone doing so. It is possible Estelle fooled everyone, but the ‘why?’ remains problematic.

The biggist question seems to be left unanswered: Is there survival after death? Critics would like to say the all the displays of mediumship, including physical mediumship, vanished because the fraud was revealed. Only, that is not what has happened. Spiritualist may have withdrawn to quiet East Coast communities … or the quiet of rural Florida … even the deserts of Arizona … but the recorded spiritual history of Spiritualism and the displays of mediumship, even physical mediumship, have not disappeared. It has all just gone underground.

The dead, it seems, just won’t shut up. They also seem to refuse to invisable, especially given all the ghost investigators and TV shows available today. Today, as in the past, there are reports of people who are surprised when they experience something paranormal like clairvoyance or clairaudience (and are unsure what to make of it). Most often these people have never heard of ‘Spiritualism’. Nor have they heard about the history of the Spiritualists who made an effort to explore what this contact with spirits is all about.

Psychic  Albus Phoenix

Talk to a Professional Clairvoyant – Call Psychic Albus Phoenix – 1-800-888-5523

This would seem to indicate that the question about survival after death really isn’t settled at all, the issue just seemed to get side tracked for awhile.

So, the effort to delete the history of Estelle Roberts may work well for the agenda of those who want the issue over with, settled, done, but it does deprive the rest of us a chance to explore an interesting era and an important topic. It also deprives us of learning about one of the most interesting women of the Spiritualist era. One thing is for sure, we will all eventually find out what is true and what is not regarding survival after death.

This article a part of a 4 article series on Estella Roberts:
Estella Roberts: The Early Years
Life and Times of Estella Roberts
Estella Roberts: Critics and Skeptics, Part 1
Estella Roberts: Critics and Skeptics, Part 2

Would you like to chat with a professional clairvoyant? Then, give Psychic Albus Phoenix a call at 1-800-888-5523. Free trial reading for first time callers. You might also appreciate checking out Ask the Spirits where you can contact mediums anytime. You can also call 1-866-327-9032 (toll free USA and Canada).

Interesting Resources:
Estelle Roberts – Biography – PDF Download
Estelle Roberts – England
Niels Bohr’s Uncertainty Principle
Psychic Photography
Fifty Years a Medium
Fifty Years a Medium – PDF Download
Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death – Book Published 1903