The Extraordinary Mediumship of Elizabeth Blake

Left to right: Professor James Hyslop, Elizabeth Blake, Dr. L.V. Guthrie and David P. Abbott

Elizabeth Winn Blake was one of the most gifted and famous direct voice mediums of her day. In the span of 50 plus years, she conducted seances for approximately 200,000 people. People from all over the country flocked to her cottage in Ohio. No matter a person's income, sex, or color all were welcome to attend her seance and hear the direct voice of the spirit.

Humble Beginnings

Elizabeth was born on a farm in Proctorville, OH on July 23rd 1847. At the early age of seven, she experienced direct voice communication. A year later while driving a cow path, she saw the ghost of her grandfather (a methodist minister) who was long dead. It was not until her grandfather’s second visit that he would confirm what she knew all along, she was a medium.

Despite confirmation of her gifts, Elizabeth did not offer her services to the public until she married her sweetheart Zachariah Blake at the age of 16. Their union lasted 56 years and produced 15 children, 11 of which passed before her.

Mrs. Blake was a plain honest woman deeply rooted in her Christian faith and a member of the Methodist Church, a church that would later remove her due to her “unorthodox” occupation. Although illiterate, she was highly intelligent and commanded the respect of many of her patronages, from the hard working laborers to esteemed government figures.

How Trumpet Mediumship Works

Using her psychic energy and other spiritual means, Elizabeth would isolate spirit voices with a double ended trumpet.

The trumpet was a light metal megaphone that was large in the middle and small at both ends. This feature enabled the spirit operators to amplify their voice. The trumpet would act like a tiny vacuum which enabled the spirit force to be condensed and project the volume of their voice.

During the seance Mrs Blake, would hold one end of the trumpet while the sitter would grab the other end. At this time, the trumpet would usually levitate in the air by a spirit control. In Mrs. Blake’s seances, her deceased son Abe would serve as the control. Abe would announce the variability of the conditions and halt them if his mother was not strong enough to serve as a channel.

As soon as the trumpet would get heavy or move in the direction to who the spirit wanted to communicate with, Mrs Blake would take one end to her ear while the sitter did the same on their end. Voices were then heard within the trumpet. During this time Mrs Blake’s mouth and lips would be tightly closed and no motion of her throat and lips would be made.

Often times Mrs. Blake would intuit the sensations related to the spirit and take on the conditions of those who died. One of the astounding things to note was that the vast majority of her sittings were done in the light. Something her counterparts could only conduct in the dark.


As some can imagine, a person with this unique ability amassed alot of naysayers. She was accused of ventriloquism, hypnotism, and mesmerizing those in attendance. However, all of these theories were disproven by the many witnesses and researchers who documented her work.

One of Mrs. Blake’s more notable investigators, Dr. James H Hyslop, a professor of logic and ethics at Columbia University, dutifully investigated her mediumship ability. Although no fraud was detected he failed to share his result with the rest of the world. As many suspect, his original hypothesis was to prove her psychic gifts as fraudulent. He only later concluded in a carefully worded statement that her abilities appeared to be genuine.

Sitters noted that if Mrs. Blake had to speak at some point in the seance, the voice of the spirit voices could be heard at the same time. At one time, witnesses saw her cough, during which the spirit voice was still speaking with no interruption. Other confirming observations were hearing two distinct voices at the same time and hearing the spirit whisper in the trumpet, a feat quite difficult to achieve with the mouth closed. Repeat clients even noted that spirits showed the same personality and intonations of voice in later sittings.

A noble human life does not end on earth with death. It continues to live in the spirit world, it hovers around us always, it knows our thoughts, our deeds, it sees and hears all things, it will protect and guide us alright, if we listen and hearken to its voice coming from the higher realm.”

~ Mrs. Elizabeth Blake

Mrs. Blake died in 1920 in Coryville, Ohio of pneumonia, she was 73 years old. Although it was reported that she died the Wednesday prior, she returned back to life later on that day after being declared dead. During her brief departure she told her relatives of her brief reunion with her husband and eleven children.

Mrs. Blake’s home going service was attended by a diverse population, much like her practice. Many automobiles parked on the road alongside her home, “from the humble Ford to the luxurious limousine”.

Her gifts were indeed once in a generation, as one investigator David P. Abbot remarked, "Hundreds of miles over the hills on the bank of the Ohio River, there sits and elderly and frail woman in a chair, and king and queens could well afford to trade their power for hers."

Credit - The Direct Voice by N. Riley Heagerty

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