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ASHA LECTURE NOTES
HARRY EDWARDS—SPIRITUAL HEALER AND FOUNDING PIONEER OF NFSH.UK

Notes taken by Jane Fleming from Thirty Years a Healer by Harry Edwards

 

Early Years

Harry, known as Henry to his friends, was born in 1893 in Balham, south London.  He was one of nine children born to his father, who was a printer, and his mother, who was a dressmaker.  They were members of the Church of England and at the age of twelve, Harry joined the London Diocese Church Lads’ Brigade, and later trained as a printer with his father.

He was a bright lad with qualities of leadership who pioneered one of the first Boy Scout troops.  He was interested in politics and became secretary, at age 18, to a London Liberal Association (1911).  For 14 years he was apprenticed to the printing trade and worked for the ‘Field and Queen’ newspapers.  Edwards finished apprenticeship at the beginning of WWI at the age of 21.  The outbreak of war in 1914 changed his life, and he enlisted in the Royal Sussex Regiment.

 

World War I

In 1915 his battalion moved to Bangalore, South India where he initiated and edited the Royal Sussex Herald.  As a ‘printer’ he was transferred to 2nd Battalion of the Kings Own Sappers and Miners (Indian equivalent of the Royal Engineers) to join a printing section.  But he managed to get commissioned in the field (although not educated in private schools as were most British officers).  He was promoted from a corporal to a cadet officer, and eventually rose to rank of captain.

It was assumed that he was a qualified engineer at this point.  When ordered to lay a railway track, using a local labor force with no interpreter and no training as an engineer, Edwards went confidently ahead leading the project.  Edwards had to be ingenious, as he was definitely not an engineer.  One stone bridge he built on dry land and diverted the river under it.  While building a brick incinerator at Tekrit (called Edwards’ Mosque because it towered into the sky—he did not know how to scale the size correctly) he first experienced rapid healing.  The son of a Mohammedan priest (the local Mullah) had an abscess in the sole of his foot.  Arab feet are unique with a very hard sole, ¼ inch thick and bone-like.  A deep fissure developed and the abscess formed underneath the hard skin. Edwards himself was squeamish at the sight of wounds but took a thin razor blade, and made a deep incision to lance the abscess.  The boy felt no pain, and was soon well.  In gratitude he asked to be Edward’s servant for life as a reward!  

While building roads and bridges in Persia, now Iran, a call for laborers was made.  It brought out thousands of men, women and children, weak and starving.  The wars between Russians, Turks, and Germans left no harvests, all domestic animals had been killed, and starvation was rampant. These people were unaccustomed to using the European tools provided and, therefore, had frequent accidents with shovels, pickaxes and hammers.  Medical supplies consisted of bandages, iodine and castor oil.  The extreme rapid healing of the people (almost overnight) Edwards attributed to their hardiness.  But as his reputation grew, people who understood the concept of Healer began to know him as hakim or healer.  Many came out of the hills with a great variety of ills to be healed.  A sheik with a mounted escort brought his aged mother wedged into a panier or basket on one side of a mule, balanced by a woman in a panier on the other side. Edwards gave her pink carbolic tooth powder (standard army issue for cleaning teeth, not a medicine), four pinches in four paper packages to be administered morning and night for two days.  Three days later a mounted escort returned firing rifles in the air.  The interpreter disappeared in fear.  However, the sheik called for the interpreter in order to express thanks for his mother’s healing.  He offered bags of gold, carpets, etc.  Edwards did not wish to offend by refusing a gift, so asked only for eggs for his breakfast.  By afternoon the sheik’s posse returned with 300 eggs in baskets.  Once an ill girl baby was brought to him and given a few spoonfuls of condensed milk.  Immediately it recovered, but the local mullah accused the woman of going to an infidel and giving the baby to the devil.  The baby’s mouth was filled with grass for an unknown reason, so the mother and child were sent to a military hospital and then accepted into another community some distance away.

 

Another dramatic healing occurred when Edwards heard screaming from the house next door in the city of Kermanshah.  A woman in the harem of a Persian military officer had been stung by a scorpion.  Edwards entered the garden without hesitation, although no man should dare, touched the wound, and she quieted immediately and recovered.  When the officer returned, he accosted Edwards in full military uniform, not for a duel (as it is a sin to look upon another man’s woman) but to thank him for saving her life.

While in the Middle and Far East, Edwards became curious about Eastern religions.  He was able to travel widely in India, Iran, Iraq, Kurdistan and the Sudan and witnessed many religious ceremonies, both Hindu and Moslem.  The philosophies and spiritual phenomena interested him very much.

He then returned to England after the war to set up his printing and stationary business in Balham High Road, London.  He married his childhood sweetheart, and resumed his interest in politics.  He stood as a Parliamentary candidate in the London Borough of Camberwell but never won a seat.

 

Beginning Life as a Healer

Four cases led to his acquaintance with his own healing gifts.  First Edwards visited a Spiritualist church in 1935 at the age of 42, and was given a message by the medium that he was ‘born to heal’ and that was to be his future service.  He was skeptical but continued to attend spiritualist churches and development circles.  Again he was repeatedly told that he was a healer even though he didn’t know what that meant.  While experimenting in a circle with absentee healing for a man dying of advanced tuberculosis, he had a vision of the hospital corridor, the ward and the man on his death bed.  A week later he received news that this man had remarkably healed within 24 hours of the intercession, had stopped hemorrhaging, his temperature returned to normal, and all pain was gone.  Three weeks later the man was free of infection, with renewed vitality and strength. Skeptically Edwards remained doubtful and thought the factors could be coincidental.

The second case was that of a young woman, tearful and upset, who came into the printing shop after wandering aimlessly through the neighborhood in despair.  She did not know why she entered that particular shop.  Her husband had just been diagnosed with incurable cancer and she was advised to take him home and make him comfortable until his inevitable death.  Edwards offered to ask for healing on his behalf and two days later she returned to report a complete change and his immediate return to health.  A medical check up and x-rays seemed to be those of an entirely different person!

The third case was that of a young woman who knocked at his door very late at night around 11 pm.  Earlier that evening a medium from a Spiritualist church across town had directed this young woman to a healer, by the name of Harry Edwards, who lived near her own home and whom she should seek out immediately.  She had found his address through a Spiritualist registry.  She explained to Edwards that her sister was extremely ill and dying.  When he visited the sick room the next morning, he felt awkward about what to do.  So he placed his hands on the sick girl’s head, felt the energy flow down his arms and hands into patient for some time and when it lessened, he pronounced that she would be up by Sunday.  This amazed both the mother and Edwards himself, considering the severity of the illness, but it proved to be true and she was up by Sunday.  The sister who had sought healing for the dying girl had a deformity in the form of a club foot which Edwards gradually healed.  However, this took place over a two year period as Edwards discovered that not all healings are rapid.  The young woman went on to become an ambulance driver during WW II.

In the fourth case he did a healing on a friend of this family, a woman dying of cancer and near death.  The patient’s doctor was attending four times daily to administer morphine for extreme pain.  In this setting Edwards held her hand (no one there knew him as a healer) and next morning she was completely changed, recovered fully, and lived many years more.  This elderly patient, when told of the spiritual healing that was administered, dismissed it with ‘What that young man!  He only came once!”  She assumed it was the medical doctor’s attention that cured her.  An important premise is that you don’t have to believe in spiritual healing for it to work!

 

Preceding WW II, Edwards created a healing sanctuary at his own home in Kingston Road, Ewell, using a front room as his clinic.  He did healings seven evenings per week while still running his printing and stationary business during the day.  Requests for absentee healing mounted, especially for TB which was incurable at this time.  He had to book appointments for private healings and leave open some evenings for absentee healing.  Edwards thought it important to have a set time, and for both the distant healing recipient and him to sit quietly at this precise time. During the Blitz when a bomb reduced his London House to rubble, he lost his records on absentee healing.  This led to the discovery that he did not need appointed times for the intercession to be successful.  Edward’s sense of humor is illustrated when he tells about a dejected man, after seeing Edwards’ home in rubble, appeared at his shop to receive healing in the printing press room.  This man was relieved that the healings would continue, rather than being the least bit concerned about Edwards’ house!

 

Edwards’ great reputation was well deserved as he healed people in every conceivable place, even, he says, a lavatory!  During the Blitz when he was on duty for the Home Guard, he healed a sergeant’s chronic eye condition during the flash and roaring of guns.

 

Fame & Public Life as a Healer

After the war his brother took over the family printing business in 1946.  In 1947 Harry was joined in healing work by Olive and George Burton and moved to Burrows Lea, his large estate home in a great beauty spot of Sussex surrounded by park.  To promote spiritual healing, Edwards embarked upon public demonstrations of healing that were scheduled throughout the 1950’s and 60’s.  Growths, abnormal swellings, goiters would disappear, locked arthritic joints begin to move, spines straighten, pain disappear, etc. right on stage before an audience of witnesses.  Many who were carried to the platform in public healings were able to walk off.  Even Edwards doubted his success sometimes when the case seemed hopeless, but he almost always succeeded.  Usually Edwards had to select those with visible afflictions, such as spinal problems, arthritis, blindness or deafness for the demonstration to be effective before the public.  Other diseases such as diabetes would need tests to assess the improvement so were more suitable for private healings.  A woman with very severe curvature of the spine and rib distortion from an accident in early babyhood (she had been dropped on her head in the hospital) was completely cured on stage.  She felt the spine straighten, ribs align, etc.  These demonstrations took place in various venues:  London’s Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, cities in Scotland such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, and other places in England such as King’s Hall, Manchester, etc.  Edwards appeared every two or three months at Victoria Hall, Bloomsbury for the Spiritualist Society of Great Britain.  He also did a 1964 open-air healing demonstration in Trafalgar Square before 3,000 people; and this event has since become a tradition.  A film was made called The Healing Spirit bringing more publicity to Edwards.  He was so well known he became a household word in Great Britain as mentioned before.  He was the author of many books on healing which further publicized the benefits of spiritual healing and are still available today.  True Magazine featured an article on his healing sanctuary every month.

Doctors were more receptive to spiritual healing on the European continent where Edwards also demonstrated his abilities.  His books were translated into German and he received requests for healings and demonstrations from doctors and professors there.  They were meticulous in reporting the results.  

 

Once in Cyprus the two Burtons and Edwards were hounded in their hotel by thousands of applicants for healing. Vast numbers came to the two demonstrations held in Famagusta.  The crowd became out of control and unruly.  People rushed forward laying crippled, sick bodies on the platform in an endless stream, a human tidal wave.  The second night, after maintaining some control for awhile, and a few very dramatic healings had been demonstrated, the audience rushed forward again, depositing the sick on the platform.  The healers had to escape to a small office back stage where healings continued well into the night, until even the police brought their own relatives for treatment.  Whenever the healers went to escape from the public to private homes, their presence soon became known and they were inundated.  When they left Cyprus for Athens the press awaited them and publicity grew. Edwards eventually gave up demonstrations abroad as too tempestuous.

As a well known healer, Edwards had many eminent patients:  royal family members, peers of the realm, cabinet ministers, army commanders, judges, bishops, etc.  His favorite was Her Royal Highness Princess Marie Louse, last of Queen Victoria’s living grandchildren and frequent visitor at the sanctuary due to arthritis and fatigue.  She asked for absentee healing for members of the royal family and friends as well, and she would faithfully report progress on each.  Three days before the Queen’s coronation, he revived the princess’ strength for the event.  Once he healed her case of pneumonia just before a charity ball, and just before her death Edwards gave her the strength to attend a book launch of her memoirs.  He also received an official invitation to her funeral, a very prestigious occasion, but kept his healing commitments, and sent his secretary to represent him.

 

Advocating Spiritual Healing

Edwards was on a mission to promote spiritual healing.  He always had difficulty with the medical profession despite his great popularity.  One demonstration was given before 30 doctors of a medical society who appeared apathetic and bored at first.  He first healed a woman with advanced paralysis who could only shuffle.  She walked very well as a result of the healing.  This was followed by a man in the same condition, with the same result.  After many more patients and many more healings, some of the doctors themselves asked for a personal healing.  However, the requests were made in private only.  Some secretly whispered to him of their own belief in spiritual healing.  Some doctors brought patients or family members to the sanctuary although they risked being struck from the medical registry.  One doctor’s teenaged son who was thought to be retarded, was violent and obstinate (probably was LD or bi-polar).  It was recommended that the lad be institutionalized.  The son began a correspondence with Edwards and his fits ceased and gradually over several years his personality improved.  Eventually he attended university and came to appreciate his own family.

Some of his healings received the ire of doctors who obviously needed to defend their treatments and deny Edward’s work, even when they had pronounced the patient incurable.  An example was the case of a boy with infantile paralysis who wore a permanent brace, but was able to romp freely after a healing.  The medical profession would not believe the evidence before their eyes.  They accused Edwards of chiropractic manipulation or in the case of his healing a condition of blindness he was accused of using the power of suggestion.  Edwards wondered why the doctors did not successfully use these alternative means themselves, since they claimed that was how he must have worked.  He was a very feisty man in opposition to the medical model.  One extraordinary case of bladder cancer was totally healed.  When the patient was operated on, no trace was found.  Yet the man died of a heart attack 9 months later.  However, a medical committee deemed that he had died of the bladder cancer.  Another case of severe fungal growth on the fingernails of a little girl, which caused them to continually fall off, was shown to cease after spiritual healing.  Surgery was not needed, and within a few months the nails were normal.  Doctors attributed the cure to their own treatments with lotion, even though they had labeled the condition incurable.  Sometimes the doctors claimed their original diagnosis must have been incorrect when a cure took place after spiritual healing, rather than acknowledge the phenomena of spiritual healing.

 

Edwards was also antagonistic with main stream churches.  He made presentations to the Anglican Archbishop’s Commission on Divine Healing.  This was a bitter disappointment to him.  The Archbishop’s Commission deemed Edwards healings to be spontaneous healings not spiritual healings.  One public demonstration was held specifically to protest the Commission on Divine Healing, because it had ruled that all evidence testifying to spiritual healing was outside its terms of reference.  (It is to the credit of the Anglican Church today that it does continue healing services through prayer and laying on of hands.  St Peter’s in south Calgary held a Sunday Evening Healing Service for many years.  The Catholic Church does hands-on-healing, especially in South America, but locally as well.)

Harry Edwards helped to establish the National Federation of Spiritual Healers (NFSH), a formal organization for the training and giving of spiritual healing.  This organization with Edwards’ assistance eventually persuaded the British Medical Association to allow healers to visit patients in National Health hospitals.  He was definitely a missionary-medium as well as a healing-medium.  To many practitioners healing is the highest form of mediumship.  

 

Success Rates

Edwards was noted for other successes such as his own personal healing and the healing of animals.  When his hand had been slammed in a car door, absolutely no damage appeared and the healing was instantaneous.  However, once in a car accident that caused a badly scraped leg, he suffered no pain but the wound did take time to heal and a scar remained.

A local farmer of a dairy farm not too distant from Burrows Lea came to the sanctuary with news that his herd had chronic mastitis and would have to be destroyed.  Through Edwards the herd was healed by the next morning to full milk production, and it astonished the veterinarian who thought the idea of spiritual healing must have been a joke.  One time a sick parrot with a large repertoire of words had lost all his feathers and was brought to the healing sanctuary.  He had been taught by its owner to say ‘Harry Edwards heal me,’ which he did.  The bird lived to a very old age.  Another time Edwards was called out to a van in the drive way at Burrows Lea.  He held the head of the dying dog for a moment and then invited the owners inside for a cup of tea, in order to prepare them for the dog’s impending death.  When they returned to the van, the dog was standing up wagging its tail and once again in good health.  Many Spiritual Healers do animal healing today with great success.  Some animal owners claim that their pets themselves are healers—seems quite possible.

Harry Edwards was aware that not all healings are successful.  Records at Burrows Lea show a 70 to 80% success rate and recovery.  Edwards expressed that 20% of healings fail because the healer had to work within the framework of natural laws.

 

Three specific reasons that healings fail were noted:

  • A healer cannot bring back youth, stop aging, nor repair severed nerves, reverse mental retardation, etc. or reverse the laws that bind our human existence.

  • Environmental or physical conditions could cause a reversion to the illness despite the healing work.

  • Some patients do not wish for healing.
     

The following are some examples:

A man crippled from a slipped disc, received healing at the clinic.  He felt so robust he chopped up a tree stump with the roots and the condition reverted.  He returned for another successful healing, and apparently learned his lesson.  Good sense must prevail plus cooperation with the healer.

Edwards cites a case of a woman with failing eyesight and neuralgic pains.  Spiritual healing gave relief, but she refused the advice to leave her job as a bookkeeper, and returned with the same condition.  The cause was resurrected and the condition had returned.

In the case of an elderly couple crippled with rheumatism, the cure was affected but they returned some time later with same condition caused by living in a damp, wet and mildewed cottage.

In the case of a paraplegic young woman paralyzed from the waist down, her expectation was to walk again immediately.  She arrived with no appointment and with these high expectations.  Although she was kept some time at the sanctuary, the healers got little response from the limbs as the nerves were completely damaged.  Spiritual healing still must operate within the laws of healing and some reversals are not possible.

The last case cited of an unsuccessful healing was of an elderly woman brought to the sanctuary in a wheel chair.  Edwards found her to have only a mild arthritis.  She whispered to him that she had worked hard for the family and now she expected to have them care for her.  He realized that she could walk just fine when alone and did not want a healing.  

Many patients fail to report on the progress of a condition and the healing link is broken.  So no record was made of the healing treatment’s success or failure.

 

View of Harry Edward

A good description of Harry Edwards is as follows:  thick white hair, handsome, medium build, youthful for his years, piercing blue eyes, clear skin, winning smile and a sense of listening and careful attention during each healing.  Each healing was relatively short and Edwards’ manner was always calm, matter-of-fact, and never theatrical.  He never asked for remuneration, but accepted donations for the sanctuary.  He was white-coated at the sanctuary but tweed-suited for public demonstrations and looked very British right down to the polished brogues. (Today NFSH and ASHA healers have a code never to wear the garb of the medical profession.)  Edwards was a modest man, a pure channel for healing power without ego.  He had a good sense of humor and was feisty when taking on the medical profession.  As a sound thinker and avid debater he was able to bring respectability to spiritual healing and to legitimize it.

Harry Edwards had his own views about how spiritual healing worked.  He maintained that he was merely a channel for healing power directed from the spirit world through his guides.  He claimed to have evidential experience that his guides were the great medical scientists, Louis Pasteur and Joseph Lister, while some healers prefer to attribute the healing influence to God alone, or to Jesus or the Virgin Mary.  (Attunement is discussed in the ASHA course and we follow an attunement triangle as described in the text book Hands on Healing by Jack Angelo and our philosophy is nondenominational.)   

Edwards accepts the healing power itself as divine but never alters from the opinion that it is channeled through the intelligent direction of spirit guides.  The Code of Conduct for ASHA does not allow healers to speak of spirit guides (or psychic information that they may receive) to their clients or recipients.  Information from a divine source or intermediaries is for the healer alone and helps the healer gently direct the recipient.  

 

Distant Healing

Much of Edward’s work was through absent or distance healing.  Absent healing does not necessitate the healer to see the patient, nor that the patient be aware of the healing that is being done.  Edwards’ view was that spirit guides are able to act upon these requests, seek out the patient, diagnose the illness, direct energy to the patient’s auric field, restore balance and effect healing which is at a level beyond the healer’s knowledge.  Healing requires a material or physical agency through which the guides operate, hence the necessity of the healer’s presence.  The healer acts as a catalyst to transmit energy.

Distance healing for Edwards’ was facilitated by a vast correspondence of letters through the sanctuary secretaries.  3,500 letters arrived weekly to be answered.  His assistants were Olive and George Burton, Ray and Joan Branch.  There is an anecdote of a barman, who said if you want proof of the miracles at Burrows Lea, ask the porters at Dorking train station.  They see the cripples come and then leave healed, you wouldn’t think them the same people.  Edwards died in 1976, aged 83.  This is not old by today’s standards but his fabulous mission on Earth must have been complete.

Healing work is still carried on at Burrows Lea by Edwards’ successors Ray and Joan Branch, and now a new generation of healers.  You can find information on the internet.  You can also access the NFSH (National Federation of Spiritual Healing—The Healing Trust) website at www.nfsh.org.uk

The National Federation of Spiritual Healers (of which Harry Edwards was associated as a founding member) has a direct association with ASHA (Association of Spiritual Healers of Alberta).  It is dedicated to training and accreditation of Spiritual Healers (in keeping with the movement in Britain). All denominations of healers are welcomed, as the organization is non-religious and non-partisan.  It was founded by Daphne and Jack Thomas, longtime Spiritualists and members of CFSC, and incorporated in 1993.  They operated out of the New Thought Church which became Christian Unity and now meets at CFSC every Monday night.  Healing for the public begins at 7:30 pm. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Edwards

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                          Burrows Lea

 

 

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

75th Birthday Party

Introduction

Harry Edwards was a household word in Great Britain in the twentieth century.  Everyone had heard of his amazing healing abilities whether they credited them as true or not.  He was, indeed, the most famous healer of the last century, at least in the English speaking world (not including the amazing indigenous healers of South America, China or Australian outback, etc.)  Avril Oliver, longtime member and Past President of Calgary First Spiritualist Church as well as an ASHA healer, tells of a healing that her Granny got from Harry Edwards.  Granny had cancer after the tremendous stress of WWII, but went on to live another ten years after meeting with Harry Edwards.

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