Today, I want to share the stories of two women very involved with the Portland Spiritualist Church. Fortunately, due to Alice Duross Grant’s small scrapbook she gave me in the early 1980’s I have the stories of Rev. Alice Slack and Rose Shaw.
Reverend Alice Slack was an ordained minister with the Portland Spiritualist Church. To Alice Slack the spirits she communicated with were “as real as life.” She firmly believed that life continues long after the transition called death. She felt transition released us from the mortal coils of life. “Only the weather affects their appearances,” she said. “If it’s unusually stormy or atmospheric conditions are poor, they can’t get through to earth.”
(She pulled an odd little trick on the words I was typing
just now, so I know she is with me.)
She had a lifetime of contact with the spirit world and felt she was on speaking terms with more ghosts that people. She felt most spirits were basically good people. She felt some were tied to the earth’s atmosphere because of wrongs committed against THEM when they were here on the earth plane. She felt those who were disturbed could be reached by mediums to convince them that there was no damnation. “I can save them sometimes, if I can contact them. But, they’re an awful mischievous lot…” Rev. Alice Slack felt that “just belief in good over evil will be enough.”
She sounds to me like a good humored lady I would have liked to have met.
Rose Shaw, CM passed away just a year or two before I came into the church, so was spoken of often by those who missed her gifts of mediumship and singing. The article I am using was printed in May of 1971 when she was in her 60’s. She was called a psychic reader. The term medium was not used as much at that time. She knew there were those with other gifts such as astrologers, palm readers etc. but she said she just simply sat with the subject and talked.
Before illness slowed her down she was a very vital and active person. Her career area had been as a nurse. I mentioned her voice. She had a mezzo-soprano quality voice. In speaking she had a quality authority in her voice.
She was born in Limestone, Maine, the oldest of 9 children. At the age of two she was already showing her connection to spirit. Little things like knowing someone was going to show up unexpectedly that afternoon. Her father understood and was sympathetic. He was of Scottish ancestry, so shared a bit of the ability. On the other hand her mother was of French descent and feared Rose’s gift.
At 11 she went to live with her aunt at Fort Fairfield. A cousin was a Spiritualist minister in Bangor, so Rose began spending her vacation’s in Bangor. By the age of 14 she was doing mediumship from the rostrum of his church.
In 1930 she married Vinal Shaw and they moved to Perth, NB. where they owned and ran a hotel. Unfortunately, a few years later he died, so she moved to Portland with her young son. In Portland she trained at the Eye and Ear Infirmary. And so she became a practical nurse. That career continued for 28 years. (Now I know why I have a whole pamphlet of the layout etc of that building. It was in some old paper work of the church!)
During those years she did very little with her gifts. At the Eye and Ear Infirmary one doctor told her “You’ve got a touch that none of the other girls here have.” She cared for her own brother when he was dying. He asked her to call on their deceased father and say George needed him. That night she sent a prayer asking their father to visit his son. The next morning her brother said, “Well, Rose you did it. Dad came last night. I’m definitely not afraid now. He explained everything to me, and I know I’m going to a place where I’m going to be proud of myself. His father told him that people pay for their sins before “going over.” He said, “George, you’re sick and suffering. When you go you’ll have a crown of glory all clean when you get there. You paid for it here – it’s all cleaned up.”
Rose was very ill in 1970 from a stroke and the flu. She had her own experience while bedridden in the hospital. She found herself on a long path and something in the distance coming toward her. It was a 2 –wheeled cart so she hopped on. When she stopped she was at a door with a gold S for a handle. When she opened the door there was George who had recently passed away. “Why Sis what are you doing here?” Rose said ,”Well, they are all done with me down there, I guess.” “Oh no”, said George, “we’re not ready for you up here yet.” You’d better go back. Don’t turn around but back out.” Standing behind her brother were her mom, dad, 3 sisters, and a brother who had been lost at sea. “They didn’t laugh – they just waved at me and I backed out. I’ll never forget the feeling.
Her brother said “Don’t touch me, Rose.” She just kept backing up until she was through the door and it closed. She said the sound of the door closing was like when the barn door would close on the farm. She got back into the cart and came back to consciousness In the air in front of her on a silver plate were the words “Well, you made it, kid.” That was an expression her brother often used when on the earth plane.
She called herself a waking medium. Occasionally she would go into trance but not often. She was a combination of clairsentient and clairvoyant. Her charge for a reading was not much more that the cost of a hair cut at a barber’s per Paul Downing.
Yes, I have pictures of both of these ladies.
We need you, spirit friends, along our way;
And for your loving help we humbly pray.
Rev. Beth Carter