Manning - Psychic Healer
healer, Matthew Manning was born in 1955, and,
according to his autobiography, found himself at the centre of inexplicable
events from an early age. In February 1967, when
Matthew was eleven, the family - his father and mother, sister and brother, were
living in a relatively modern detached house in Cambridge. One Saturday morning
Matthew?s father discovered a silver tankard, which was usually kept on a
shelf above a cupboard, lying on its side on the floor. Though the object was
curiously undamaged by the ?fall? nothing much was thought of it at the
time. However, on the following Wednesday morning the tankard was again found in
the same position on the floor. This time the family was a little puzzled and
decided to test whether something was causing the object to slide horizontally
off the shelf. That night Matthew?s parents surrounded the tankard with a ring
of talcum powder. Next morning the tankard was again found on the floor, but the
powder ring was undisturbed. It must therefore have risen vertically off the
shelf. Soon other objects began to mysteriously move around the house, and the
family began to get seriously worried about what they should do.
After contacting the doctor and the police they were put in touch with the
Cambridge Psychical Research Society and their expert on
(and author of the book ?Can We Explain the Poltergeist??) Dr. George Owen.
Though Owen could offer no ?cure? for the phenomena, he suggested that, due
to his age, Matthew was probably the centre of the activity and that such
manifestations rarely lasted more than a month or two. Later, he came to visit
the family and was of much help in dealing with the situation.
according to Manning, the phenomena increased in number and intensity. Various items were moved or
disappeared, there were loud knocking and creaking sounds and objects flew
violently around the house. As is often the case with poltergeists, no objects
moved while the rooms were being watched. As Matthew?s father put it: ?This
poltergeist was a silent operator and not to be caught red-handed. It was
teasingly just that much faster and far-seeing than humans.?
autumn 1968 the Mannings moved to an 18th century house in the
of Linton, about eight miles away
from their former home. All was quiet for a while, but in July 1970 the doors on
an antique wardrobe in Matthew?s room began opening of their own accord,
heralding the return of the poltergeist with a vengeance. Heavy ornaments were
moved around, tables and chairs were piled on top of each other, objects
disappeared to be found later hidden or in a different place. There were various
electrical problems and, in August 1971, apports (objects appearing seemingly
from nowhere) began to appear on the landings and staircases, an old bee?s wax
candle, fossils, an ancient loaf of rock hard bread and a string of beads were
some of the items found. Child-like scribbles materialized on the walls in the
house written in pencil, though no one saw them appear - they seemed rather to
grow from the walls themselves.
were also poltergeist outbreaks and other strange happenings at Matthew?s
school ? chairs and heavy bunk beds in the dormitory were moved around, there
were apports such as broken glass, nails and pebbles, table knives were
propelled against a wall, pools of water materialized, and odd lights appeared
on the walls. The headmaster was at his wit?s end and twice almost expelled
Matthew, only relenting at the last minute.
school Matthew had an out?of-the-body experience where he apparently managed
to astrally project himself back into his home; his mother felt his presence and
he saw the inside of his house, though physically he was lying on his bunk bed
in his school. If he could do this, Matthew reasoned, why not try and astrally
project himself into the past? Back at home one weekend he lapsed into a
trance-like state. After half an hour he could hear a woman?s soft voice ?
she identified herself as Henrietta Webb, who had died in 1673 and had lived in
the house. Other ?spirits? that had lived in the house came through and
eventually Matthew found himself witnessing a scene from 1731 when the house had
just been built.
after this while Matthew was writing an essay for school, he became stuck for
something to write. Suddenly his pen hand went down onto the paper and begun to
write incomprehensible sentences in a strange scrawled handwriting, definitely
not his own. He later tried this again in the company of six school friends and
was soon getting messages from ?someone?, albeit very confused and
unintelligible ones. After this particular experiment in what is known as
?automatic writing? there was no poltergeist activity for over thirty-six
hours. In fact, every time he practiced automatic writing the poltergeist
phenomena would temporarily cease.
Matthew continued to write these messages,
the communications becoming more coherent as time went on. Most of them seemed
to be from ?spirits? who had either died unpleasantly or who did not know
they were dead. Matthew also began producing automatic writing in languages
completely unknown to him, such as Greek and Arabic.
development was the appearance of signatures on the walls in many different
types of handwriting, again seemingly from departed spirits. When pencils were
left in a locked room, scratching noises were heard suggesting the action of
writing. But this would never take place when anyone was actually in the room
watching. In one particular week in 1971 more than five hundred signatures ?
some dated ? appeared on the walls of Matthew?s bedroom. The room had been
locked and some of the signatures appeared in extremely inaccessible places such
as on the ceiling and even on the lampshade. The signatures apparently
represented people from the village that had lived from the 14thth to
the 19th centuries, and some of them were subsequently traced through
is not uncommon for writing to be reported in connection with poltergeist
hauntings. In Stratford, Connecticut in 1850-51, a Dr. Phelps found the message
?Very nice paper and very nice ink for the devil? written on a piece of
paper in his study, and in a case in southern India in the 1920s, writing
appeared on walls inside the house.
a more light-hearted vein, and in an attempt to alleviate the strain of the
poltergeist activity, Matthew attempted to ?contact? his great-grandfather
Hayward Collins ? a racehorse owner - and request some names of winning horses
. The family deliberately
did not look at the papers that day to see which horses were running.
gave six names ? all of
which proved to be running. Of the six given, five finished within the first
three and two won. Later Matthew obtained some tips for the Grand National from
Collins ? he predicted Red Rum to win, Crisp to come second, and advised
leaving third place well alone as it was too close. This turned out to be the
exact result ? third place being a photo-finish.
evening as Matthew was walking on the school campus he saw a boy approaching him
whom he didn?t know. Matthew had drifted off into an almost dream-like state
while walking and noticed to his astonishment that the boy was surrounded by a
pear-shaped aura of colours that resembled heat waves. These colours then
vanished and the boy walked passed. Matthew soon discovered that he could switch
himself ?on? and ?off? like an electric light. If he switched himself
on, as if he was going to do automatic writing but didn?t actually do so, he
could see auras surrounding people. He found that certain colours seemed to
denote a personal trait in the individual ? for example a fiery temperamental
character showed red as the main colour, but if the person was also kind and
generous then this red might be bordered by blue or purple. It seemed that the
aura was particularly clear when it surrounded a person with psychic abilities,
and weak around those who were ill; he also noticed that a darker shadow
surrounded diseased parts of the person?s body.
the summer of 1971 Matthew spent a lot of time carrying out
mainly communicating with a the ?spirit? of a man named Robert Webbe, who
had built the front of the house where the Mannings lived, in 1731, and had died
shortly afterward in 1733. In fact Matthew claimed to have met an ?apparition? of Robert
more than once in the house. In the written communications Robert seemed not to
realize he was dead and still saw himself as owner of the house despite the
presence of Matthew and his family. He was also bewildered at modern day (1970s)
prices and the presence of ?horseless carriages? (cars) and thought Matthew
was taking him for a fool. But there
were some discrepancies in dates and personality in Robert Webbe?s
communications, and after a time it became clear to Matthew that he was in fact
communicating with two people ? Robert Webbe senior who died in 1713, and
Robert Webbe junior, who built the house. Another prolific communicator,
significant in view of Matthew?s later career, was someone called Thomas Penn,
who gave extremely accurate medical diagnoses on receipt of a person?s birth
date from Matthew.
of the inspiration for the signatures on the walls of Matthew?s room and the
writings of Webbe must have come from Matthew?s research into his village
history for an ?O? level history project in 1970, and also from finding the
name ?John Webbe 1731? scratched into a brick on the outside wall of the
house. Matthew amassed a lot of information on the Webbes and attempted to
create a family tree for them ? but there was a still a lot missing. As soon
as he began to write out the notes on the Webbe family, Robert Webbe began his
communications, suggesting helpfully that he could fill in the gaps.
autumn 1971, at the suggestion of his mother, Matthew attempted to communicate
with the equestrian painter Sir Alfred Munnings and asked him to draw him a
picture. The result was an average drawing of a scene featuring a horse; later
that day he drew a camel purporting to come from the early 19th
century wood-cutter Thomas Bewick, and later that week a swan, also from Bewick.
As time passed Matthew?s ?automatic? artistic ability grew and convincing
works appeared apparently from artists as diverse as Picasso, Paul Klee, Henri
Matisse and Aubrey Beardsley, despite the fact that Matthew himself had no
artistic ability whatsoever. A director of Sotheby?s thought that no one could
have copied the style of so many artists, and Belgian art expert Dr. Lambert
Jageneau stated that the head of a woman Matthew had drawn ?automatically?
was definitely from a Matisse. Matthew acknowledged that about 80 per cent of
these drawings probably came from his subconscious, but the remaining 20 per
cent couldn?t be explained in such a way.
April 1972 Matthew received an automatic writing message purporting to come from
Frederick W. Myers, pioneer psychical researcher and one of the founders of the
Society for Psychical Research. It read:
should not really indulge in this unless you know what you are doing. I did a
lot of work on automatic writing when I was alive and I could never work it out.
No one alive will ever work out the whole secret of life after death. It pivots
on so many things ? personality ? condition of the physical and mental
bodies. Carry on trying though because you could soon be close to the secret. If
you find it no one will believe you anyway.
Matthew was not the first to claim that he was receiving posthumous messages from Myers (he died in
1901); mediums Leonora Piper and Geraldine Cummins also claimed contact.
that Matthew discovered was that if he did no writing or drawing for more than
two weeks the poltergeist activity returned. He also found that after automatic
writing or drawing for more than an hour his energy began to run out and he felt
tired; it then took him a few hours for his powers to revitalize.
in 1974 Matthew and his family, along with millions of other Britons, saw Uri Geller apparently
bending metal spoons with his mind on TV. He was persuaded to try it and was
successful almost immediately, later progressing onto other metal objects. One
scientist, Graham Hodgetts of Cambridge University, was present with other
witnesses at a session with Matthew on
8 March 1974, when a tea spoon curled up
on the table without anyone touching it. Manning had merely held his hands about
six inches away from the spoon and concentrated on it.
began to take an interest in Matthew?s abilities and in the summer of 1974 he was
invited to The New Horizons research Foundation, Toronto, as the main subject of a
three-day seminar on
psychokinesis, involving twenty-one scientists from various
countries. In front of these scientists Matthew was able to demonstrate some of
his abilities, but their main interest was in his metal bending and he bent an
endless number of keys, spoons and forks until he was tired of the whole thing.
One of the experiments Matthew took part in was with Professor Brian Josephson,
Professor of Physics at Cambridge University College, Cambridge, and a 1973 Nobel
prizewinner at the age of 33. The experiment was similar to the compass
experiments with dubious Russian
psychic Nina Kulagina
(see article on this site). It
began with the compass needle completely still, then Matthew moved his hands
above the compass and the needle moved around; when he took his hands away the
needle, unnaturally, stopped completely dead. Throughout the experiment
Professor Josephson experienced a strange sensation,?as though I was seeing
it through a heat haze,?as he told a journalist.
on Electrical Equipment
to promote his 1974 book The
Link, detailing his poltergeist experiences, Matthew underwent a range of
tests with varying degrees of success, but at
his presence allegedly caused the
expensive machinery to break down. In fact, Manning records that such was his effect on electrical
machinery that when flying he would always ask for a seat at the back of the
plane ? to be as far away as possible from the flight deck and instrument
after the publication of The Link, Matthew
appeared on the Frost Programme demonstrating some of his
psychic abilities to a
slightly bewildered David Frost, which included unintentionally causing havoc
with the electrical equipment and at one stage bringing Television Centre to a
halt. In Barcelona, signing copies of his
book, an entire department store blacked out, and when he appeared on Japanese
TV there were hundreds of reports of poltergeist activity from all over the
According to his autobiographies, it was around
this time that Matthew began to attract the unwanted attention of the British
security services. A rather mysterious individual calling himself John Steele,
apparently connected in some way with the government, made the acquaintance of
Matthew?s publisher Peter Bander, and on one occasion brought a pair of
Clejuso handcuffs for Matthew to ?test?. They were German-made and of a very
light but absolutely unbendable metal. Matthew tried wearing them for some time
but nothing seemed to be happening, so Peter decided to unlock them and take
them off. But when he tried he found that the key didn?t fit anymore - one of
the bars of the indestructible handcuffs had been bent; it subsequently took
Matthew a long time to extricate himself from the misshapen handcuffs. Extensive
showed no change in the
molecular structure of the metal, and X-ray photos proved that no physical force
had been used to bend the handcuffs. This was scientifically inexplicable.
late Lord Rothschild, then head of the security services, also questioned
Matthew in detail about his powers. He was asked, among other things, in what
countries he would be taking part in experiments in the future, if he could
physically affect things at a distance, if he thought he could interfere with
radar and how many people he though there were in Britain
capable of copying him. According to Manning some people were considering the possibility of him being a security
1976 Colin Wilson studied both Matthew and Uri Geller. He noticed that neither
had full control over their powers and that electronic equipment in their
vicinity would inexplicably malfunction. Wilson
spent a morning attempting
to record Matthew, but his cassette recorder ? which had been in perfect
working order until then, and worked fine afterwards ? refused to function,
consequently the tapes that should have contained conversation with Matthew were
believed, controversially, that the powers of
Matthew and Uri Geller, and
psychokinesis in general, were a kind of controlled
? Copyright 2004
by Brian Haughton. All Rights Reserved.