Psychic News Archives

Psychic News Archives
Editor Maurice Barbanell reading Psychic News, 1970s

Editor Maurice Barbanell reading Psychic News, 1970s


Maurice Barbanell’s spirit guide Silver Birch, painted by Marcel Poncin and first published in Psychic News on Dec. 11, 1937

Name of institution: Psychic News Archives (Psychic Press Ltd.)
Mailing address: Unit 2, Griggs Business Centre, West Street
City: Coggeshall, Essex CO6 1NT
Country: United Kingdom
Email address:

Your collections page relating to parapsychology holdings:

University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections digital collections:

Description of your institution:

The UK-based Psychic News (PN) was first published as a weekly newspaper for Spiritualists on Saturday, 28 May 1932, with the support of top Fleet Street journalist Hannen Swaffer. Its founding editor, Maurice Barbanell, was also a gifted trance medium, and famous Spiritualist author, J. Arthur Findlay, helped him finance its launch. PN boasted a record of continuous publication for 78 years, with only two issues missed during February-March 1947 due to a fire in a London office building. It ceased publication with issue number 4066 in July 2010. A successor company, Psychic Press Ltd., resurrected the publication in December 2011. Today, PN continues as a monthly magazine, available both through print and digital subscriptions:

Description of how and when your institution started acquiring archival, library or artifact collections relating to parapsychology:

Psychic Press Ltd. owns the publisher’s copy of Psychic News, since its inception in 1932, with the exception of bound volumes for three years (1938/39 (vol. 8), 1986, and 2000). If you know the whereabouts of any of those volumes or other records relating to Psychic News, please contact the newspaper’s business manager, Paul Brett, at Psychic Press would welcome their return, to complete its collection.

Your main collections in the field, including the names of prominent creators:

The Psychic News Digital Archive comprises 4,125 items when special advertising supplements and book lists are counted. It offers a rich source for historical study of Spiritualism and psychical research, both within the United Kingdom and internationally. Biographers will discover tributes to Spiritualist mediums, healers, and church leaders, many of whom were previously difficult to trace, as well as well-known figures associated with, for example, the Thomas Glendenning Hamilton Family’s psychical research experiments in Winnipeg, Manitoba. PN regularly features articles about evidence of life after death obtained through mediumship and various forms of spirit communication, as well as spiritual healing, the psychic gifts of clairvoyance, clairaudience, and clairsentience, automatic writing and drawing, psychic and spirit art, psychokinesis, ectoplasm, materialization, reincarnation and other paranormal topics. The newspaper’s pages celebrate the successes of the Spiritualist movement; they also document the controversy and disappointment when séance-room fraud was uncovered.

From the early 1940s through 1970, the PN tagline boasted that it was the Spiritualist newspaper with the world’s largest net sales or circulation. In the decade that followed, the tagline claimed over 100,000 readers. From August 1981, PN was “Britain’s only independent Spiritualist weekly.”

Finding aids for your main parapsychology collections:

The PN archives (1932-2010) are owned by Psychic Press Ltd. The University of Manitoba Libraries hosts and maintains the digital collection through UM Digital Collections. The PN digital archives for 1932-1967 are now available, with the years 1968-2010 anticipated for release in Fall 2020. Thanks are due to Senate House Library, University of London, which loaned its Harry Price collection unbound newspaper copies to the project to facilitate a significant portion of the scanning. The Survival Research Institute of Canada and File IT Solutions, both of Victoria, BC, compiled and crunched the data to ensure that every issue was located and scanned.

Any relevant external websites of prominent creators of your holdings:

Wikipedia entry for Psychic News:

Paperback reprints of books about the Silver Birch teachings are available from the Spiritual Truth Foundation. E-book versions may be ordered through White Crow Press.

Published works created using your parapsychology collections, including books, plays, artwork, both non-fiction and fiction:

Founder/editor Maurice Barbanell’s spirit guide for his trance work was a North American Indian known as Silver Birch. Silver Birch is credited with having named Psychic News. There are more than a dozen books about Silver Birch and his teachings, compiled and edited by Tony Ortzen, Anne Dooley, A.W. Austen, William Naylor, Stella Storm, Pam Riva, and other Spiritualists. The fact that Barbanell was the medium for Silver Birch was not revealed in Psychic News during Barbanell’s early days as editor. Barbanell was editing Two Worlds when that fact was made public, and most of the Silver Birch sittings were reported in the pages of Two Worlds.

Psychic Press Ltd. and its imprints Psychic Book Club and Spiritualist Press published several hundred books relevant to life after death, mediumship, spiritual healing, and related topics of interest to Spiritualists. Many of the Silver Birch books were originally released by those publishers. Detailed bibliographies of books published by Psychic Press, Psychic Book Club, and Spiritualist Press are in progress, with release anticipated during 2020.


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