Doris Stokes – Did Her Messages Really Come From Spirit?

Doris StokesDoris Stokes was one of the UK’s best known and best loved mediums who did much to revive the popularity of spiritualism during the late 20th century.

But many doubted her psychic skills and some even claimed that she was a fraud!

Doris was born in 1920, in Grantham, Lincs, and claimed that her mediumistic skills became apparent when she was a young child, when she both heard and saw spirits.

She later became involved in spiritualism, joining a spiritualist church where she was encouraged to develop her talents and  this led to her being recognised as a practising clairaudient medium by the Spiritualists’ National Union, in 1949.

In 1962, following a crisis of faith in her abilities she gave up her work as a medium and re-trained a psychiatric nurse, but had to retire five years later following an attack by a patient.

Yet Doris couldn’t resist the call of the spirit world and eventually returned to her psychic work. In 1975, she became the resident medium at the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain and this appointment would prove a turning point for Doris as just two years later she would achieve world-wide fame…

In 1977, during a visit to Australia, she appeared on a chat show and proved so popular that she was soon touring widely  there and also in the UK, performing to sell-out audiences at the Sydney Opera House and the London Palladium.

Doris said that she worked by using her powers of clairaudience to deliver messages from deceased friends and family to members of the audience.

But sceptics said her alleged paranormal abilities could easily be explained as trickery. Some claimed that members of the audience that received her messages were really plants – i.e. people known to her.

Others suggested that she used techniques such as ‘cold reading’ that is fishing for information and feeding it back as though it was something that she had been told by spirits.

All this doubt caused a storm of controversy in the national press and a Guardian columnist, Simon Hoggart claimed that her husband, John Stokes, would take information from those who called to ask for sittings, offer them free tickets for public performances, and then forward the information on to his wife.

Yet despite all the claims that Doris was not genuine her popularity never waned and she had many celebrity supporters including Dale Winton, and Eamonn Holmes.

And she herself always insisted that her mediumistic talents were genuine and wrote a series of best selling books which still sell today more than 20 years after death.

Her frequent television appearances, led to an increased interest in spiritualism and while many would dismiss her as a clever stage performer, other still believe that she genuinely communicated with the dead.

And there is no doubting that her messages brought comfort and hope to thousands of bereaved people

Doris passed into spirit in 1987.

Listen to exerpts from a live performance by Doris here:

Posted on Fri 12th Jun 2009 15:55:00