Geraldine [Dorothy] Cummins

Life
1890-1969 [Geraldine Dorothy]; b. Glanmire, Co. Cork; author of Abbey plays incl. Fox and Geese (1917); also issued novels incl.The Land They Loved (1919) and Fires of Beltaine (1936); wrote a biography of her friend Edith Somerville (1952); also wrote fictional biographies of St. Paul (1939) and Christ (1949); became a leading automatic writer & psychic medium and published widely on spiritualism, including an autobiography of her experiences as Unseen Adventures (1951); a friend of Kathleen Raine, she purported to have received communication from W. B. Yeats after his death. IF DIW DIL ATT OCIL

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Works
Drama, [all with Suzanne Rouviere Day], Broken Faith (Abbey 1913); The Way of the World (Abbey 1914); Fox and Geese (Dublin & London: Maunsel & Co. 1917), 55pp.

Fiction [novels], The Land they Loved (London: Macmillan 1919), 328pp.; The Fires of Beltaine (London: Michael Joseph 1936), 286pp.; Variety Show (London: Barrie & Rockliff 1959), pp.vi, 27-200pp. Also [religion], When Nero was Dictator, Introduction by A. H. E. Lee [Life of St. Paul Ser.] (London: F. Muller [1939]), 272pp.; The Manhood of Jesus, His Early Adult Years, His Trial and Crucifixion, with a preface by Eric Parker and a foreword by B. A. Lester (London: A. Dakers 1949), 250pp.

Lit. Biography, Dr. Edith OE Somerville, preface by Lennox Robinson (Andrew Dakers 1952), xi, 271pp. [with index of 1st edns. compiled R. Vaughan].

Autobiography, Unseen Adventures, an autobiography covering 34 years of work in psychical research (London: Rider 1951), 183pp., port.

Miscellaneous [Psychic research]: Scriptures of Cleophas, with a Critical Introduction (1927, 1928), xix, 11-291pp., and Do. [4th edn.] (London: Psychic Press 1961), xx, 296pp.; Paul in Athens [Scripts of Cleophas], Introduction by the Rev. John Lamond, D.D. (London: Rider 1930, 1931), vii, 197pp.; The Road to Immortality [communication of F. W. H. Myers] (London: I. Nicholson & Watson 1932) [more]; Beyond Human Personality (I. Nicholson & Watson 1935), 223pp. [more]; Childhood of Christ (London: Frederick Muller 1937), 224pp., and Do. [4th edn.] (Psychic Press 1949), 220pp.; The European Crises: Accurate Prophecies Given through G. Cummins, comp. by E.B. Gibbes (London Goodmount Press [1939]), 45pp.; After Pentcost: An Alexandrian Chronicle of Cleophas [purporting to be communicated by Cleophas, an early Christian] written by the hand of Geraldine Cummins [1944], 112pp.; with R. Connell [pseud.], Perceptive Healing [case histories] (London & NY: Rider [1945]), 91pp.; They Survive, Evidence [ ... &c.] (London: Rider & Co. 1946), 140pp.; The Resurrection of Christ, Explanation of the mystery through Modern Psychic Evidence (London: LSA Publ. 1947), 35pp.; Travellers in Eternity; Being some descriptions of life after death, with evidence, from scripts of G. Cummins, comp. by E. B. Gibbes, foreword by Eric Parker (London: Psychic Press 1948), 203pp.; I Appeal Unto Caesar: Scripts of Cleophas (1950), 189pp.; The Great Day of Epheseus [Cleophas], explanatory notes [by] E. B. Gibbes (1953), xvii, 212pp.; The Fate of Colonel Fawcett: A Narrative of His Last Expedition [purporting to be communicated by P. H. Fawcett through G. D. Cummins, with chaps. by E. B. Gibbes] (London Aquarius Press 1955), 148pp.; Mind in Life and Death: review of recent evidence of the survival of Franklin Roosevelt and Others, foreword by Raynor C. Johnson [Records from the Society of Psychical Research] (London: Aquarian Press 1956), 269pp. [incls. David Russel, David Gray, et. al.]. See also Signe Toksvig, ed., Swan on a Black Sea: A Study in Automatic Writing: the Cummins-Willett Scripts transmitted by Geraldine Cummins, foreword by C. D. Broad [rev. edn.] London: Routledge & Kegan Paul 1966, 1970), lxii, 168pp. [purportedly communicated by spirit of Mrs. Charles Coombe Tennant]. Also Preface [introductory foreword] to John N. East, Man the Immortal, with foreword by W. Y. Evans-Wentz (London: Psychic Press [1960]), xxi, 231pp.

Bibliographical details
Beyond Human Personality, being a detailed description of the future life purporting to be communicated by the late F. W. H. Myers, containing an account of the gradual development of human personality into cosmic personality, intro. by E. B. Gibbes (London: I. Nicholson & Watson Ltd. 1935), 223pp.

The Road to Immortality: being a description of the after-life purporting to be communicated by the late F.W.H. Myers through Geraldine Cummins, foreword by Sir Oliver Lodge; with evidence of the survival of human personality by E. B. Gibbes (London: I. Nicholson & Watson 1932, 1935), 194 [2]pp.; Do. (London: Psychic Book Club 1947), 111pp.; Do. [3rd edn.] (London: Aquarian Press 1955), 192pp., and Do. [abr. version], being a description of the after-life purporting to be communicated by the late F.W.H. Myers through Geraldine Cummins (Tasbucge / Norwich: Pilgrims Book Services 1984), 114pp.

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Commentary
Margaret Mills Harper, Wisdom of Two: The Spiritual and Literary Collaboration of George and W. B. Yeats (Oxford: OUP 2006), refers in a footnote to Geraldine Cummins ‘this famous Anglo-Irish writer and author of Unseen Adventures (1951)’, who, after the death of Yeats, ‘received a message from him by means of automatic writing addressing the vexed question of where his remains should be permanently interred.’ Further, ‘Wondering how to convey the post-mortem message, the automatic script asked at one point, “Do you know my friends or my wife”, to which Cummins responded in her own hand, “This woman here through whose hand you write used to know you & knows yr friend. But it will be difficult to speak to yr wife - ”.’ Harper concludes: ‘This may well have been true, although perhaps not for the reason next stated: “My wife is afraid of spirits and the grave I fear she would not listen to you.”’ The ‘message’ was given to Harper’s parents [George and Mary Mills Harper] by Kathleen Raine. (Wisdom of Two, p.19n.) Note: Harper does not draw the obvious inference that Cummins forged the message, consistent with her [Harper's] view that George Yeats was closely involved with Yeats in all that he did regarding his belief in the afterlife and psychomancy.

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References
Desmond Clarke, Ireland in Fiction [Pt. II] (Cork: Royal Carbery 1985); lists The Road to Immortality; Unseen Adventure; They Survive; The Childhood and Manhood of Jesus; Paul in Athens; After Pentecost.

Janet Madden Simpson, ed., Woman’s Part, An Anthology of Short Fiction by and About Irishwomen 1890-1960 (Dublin: Arlen House 1984), incls. ‘The Tragedy of Eight-Pence’, short story concerning a women who attempts to hide from her dying husband that fact that she will be destitute when he dies.

Ann Owens Weekes, ed., Unveiling Treasures: The Attic Guide to the Published Works of Irish Women Literary Writers: Drama, Fiction, Poetry (Dublin: Attic Press 1993) quotes a remark from Janet Madden-Simpson to the effect that Kate, a sympathetic caring Anglo-Irishwoman in the Fires of Beltaine is unusual in Irish fiction.

British Library holds Perceptive Healing (1945); Fox and Geese, with Day (1917); After Pentcost, an Alexandrian chronicle of Cleophas [purporting to be communicated by Cleophas, an early Christian] written by the hand of Geraldine Cummins [1944], 112pp.; Beyond Human Personality, communicated by the late FWH Myers; intro. by E. B. Gibbes (1935), 223pp.; Childhood of Christ (Frederick Muller 1937), Childhood of Christ (Psychic Press 4th ed. 1949), 220pp.; Dr. Edith OE Somerville, preface by Lennox Robinson (Andrew Dakers 1952), xi, 271pp., with index of 1st edns. compiled R. Vaughan; Fires of Beltaine, novel (London: Michael Joseph 1936), 286pp.; The Great Day of Epheseus [Cleophas], explanatory notes [by] E. B. Gibbes (1953), xvii, 212pp.; I Appeal Unto Caesar, Scripts of Cleophas (1950), 189pp.; The Land They Loved (London: Macmillan 1919), 328pp.; The Resurrection of Christ, Explanation of the mystery through modern psychic evidence (London: LSA Publ. 1947), 35pp.; The Road to Immortality [FWH Myers] (1932), 192pp. [cross-ref to Myers]; Scriptures of Cleophas with critical introduction (1928), xix, 11-291pp.; They Survive, Evidence &c. (London: Rider & Co. 1946), 140pp.; Unseen Adventures, an autobiography covering 34 years of work in psychical research by Geraldine Cummins (Rider 1951), 183pp., port.

University of Ulster Library holds Variety Show (London: Barrie & Rockliff 1959) [n.p.]; Swan On a Black Sea, a study in automatic writing, the Cummins-Willet scripts, transcribed by Geraldine Cummins, ed., Signe Toksvig [wife of Francis Hackett (1965).

Belfast Public Library holds The Land They Loved (1919), Dr. E. OE. Somerville (1952); and Unseen Adventure, cited as autobiography; also Variety Show, I/FICT in New Catalogue.

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Notes
Fires of Beltaine (1939): Epigraph, Beltane, Beltene, Beltine, or Beltaine ... [encyc. Brit. definition; and an author’s note on the festival fires on St Johns, with attribution of verse quoted in text to Emily Lawless’s With the Wild Geese. Norah Keogh; Kate (Widow) Keogh; Owen the fiddler; the Fenian; Father Flood; St. Blaise; Paul Peter Carolan.

Michael Joseph (publisher): inside cover of Fires of Beltaine (1936) cites Irish works by Geraldine Cummins, The Land they Loved, and two plays in collaboration with Susanne R. Day [sic]), Broken Faith and Fox and Geese.

F. W. H. Myers, purportedly the communicator whose messages provided Cummins with the text of The Road to Immortality (1932), was referenced in propria persona by W. B. Yeats in his lecture on “Ghosts and Dreams” to the London Spiritualist Alliance on 23 Oct. 1917. (See under Yeats, “Life”, supra.)

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