Interesting little snippets from 1928 and 1929
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD – FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 1928
SPIRITUALIST CONVICTED OF IMPOSITION
“READINGS” WITH POLICE
At the Central Police Court yesterday, Eleanor Morrell was charged with having used a spiritual reading to impose on Lillian May Armfield. The defendant admitted most of the evidence given by Policewomen Armfield and Cuneen, but said that she made no attempt to deceive them. “I would not expect to get much of a spiritual result from policewomen coming there to catch me. It would be impossible,” she said.
“The main motive of the sort of spiritualism practised by the defendant – according to the two police witnesses – is the extraction of money from gullible people,” remarked Mr. Laidlaw, S.M.
Morrell was sentenced to seven days’ imprisonment, but the sentence was suspended upon her entering into a recognisance of £10. Notice of appeal was given.
Miss Armfield, in her evidence, had stated that Morrell said she gave spiritual readings, but did not tell fortunes. She described witness as a good medium, and said that she ought to attend her church, which was attended by “some wonderful people.” On learning the date and year of her birth Morell declared that witness was born under Mars, and would be very lucky, as she would then be under No. 9, which was the luckiest number in the psychic world.
Policewoman Cunneen said that defendant told witness she was very “nervy,” and advised her to go to a herbalist and buy some hops. Witness was instructed to make a pillow of the hops, and sleep on it, and to drink about three cups a day of the water from the remainder of the hops.
In evidence, the defendant said that she had given Cuneen some medical advice.
Wyndham Heathcote, a minister of religion, said that he believed that Mrs. Morrell was in communication with the spirits of the departed. She had described some relatives of him who had “passed over,” and had given him messages from them. He believed her because from the physiological point of view her description corresponded with his parents’ character.
Mr. Hayes of the Crown Law Department, appeared for the prosecution, and Mr. Sproule for the defendant.
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD – TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 1929
A WOMAN’S CLAIM
“I have the gift of discerning spirits,” declared Mrs. Eleanor Morrell of College Street, Sydney, when giving evidence in the Quarter Sessions Appeal Court before Judge Armstrong yesterday. She referred to spiritual gifts, and quoted from the 12th chapter of Corinthians.
Mrs. Morrell was charged at the Central Court with having used a device – a spiritual reading – to deceive and impose upon Sergeant Lillian Armfield, and was sentenced to 7 days’ imprisonment. The sentence, however, was suspended upon her entering into a recognisance to be of good behaviour. From this decision she now appealed on a number of grounds.
Mr. R. Sproule of Messrs. R. D. Meagher, Sproule, and Co., appeared from the appellant, submitted that there was no case to answer.
Miss Armfield stated that when she went to Mrs. Morrell she was told that she was born under a lucky planet – Mars.
Mr. Sproule: Have you had spiritual readings before?
You went to this woman’s place with the intention of getting her to tell you your fortune? – Yes.
With the intention of tempting her to break the law? – Well; yes.
Mrs. Morrell said she professed to be able to commune with spirits. She had given “readings” to many eminent people, and she had entertained Sir Conan Doyle when he was in Sydney.
Thomas William Hayes declared that Mrs. Morrell had given him absolutely true “readings” about his father, who had passed away in England some years before witness came to Australia. They were messages, he said that none but his father could give him.
Florence Hanger, who said she had studied astrology, declared that she knew many good, Christian people who had devoutly applied themselves to the study of astrology.
His Honor: Don’t you know, madam, that the dear old human race has blown out astrology? (Laughter.)
In dismissing the appeal with £2/2/ costs, his Honor said he thought the “using of a device to deceive and impose” had been made out, and that was the intention in the mind of the appellant.