Underwood attends a talk at the local gospel hall in Letchworth by Sir Wilfred Grenfell,
and is enchanted by tales of adventure
in far-off lands...
Wilfred Grenfell (1865-1940)
Title page of Adrift on the Ice Pan by Wilfred Grenfell, an autobiographical account of his harrowing experience of becoming trapped on a small drifting piece of ice while crossing a frozen bay by dog-team on the northern peninsula of Newfoundland.
“I listened, fascinated as he related some of the superstitions and charms then common in Labrador…”
Newfoundland - a large Canadian island off the east coast of the North American mainland.
‘Grenfell of Labrador’, as he was known, was a famous physician and medical missionary to Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada. He helped the poor with food, clothing and medical care.
“He told a story of a haunted house where the occupants moved in the middle of the fishing season.”
“They said a spirit
had appropriated their dwelling
“…so they moved by day,
when the spirit was asleep,
to another spot...”
“Even after all these years,
Grenfell’s phrases linger in the memory.”
“ ‘I have long ceased to deny things
just because I cannot explain them...’ ”
“ ‘I have seen the accident called death many times,
but I never saw any reason to believe in the death of the personality…’ ”
“I particularly recall one incident he described which involved his meeting a person…”
“...whom he later found to be dead at the time he had met him.”
“It was little wonder that his experiences interested me,
for years later I learned that he had been a member
of the Ghost Club.”
Early members of the Ghost Club.
The Ghost Club was established in order to enquire into Spiritualism, a movement based on the belief that departed souls can interact with the living,
and to investigate the supposedly supernatural phenomena demonstrated by the mediums and magicians
- for example by conducting an inspection of the ‘Spirit Cabinet’ used by the Davenport Brothers.
The brothers claimed to be able to 'contact the dead' via their ‘cabinet’.
A Spirit Cabinet is a medium’s makeshift enclosure,
within which spiritual phenomena is purportedly made