During a séance in November 1941, Helen Duncan (1897-1956) materialized the spirit of a sailor who revealed the sinking of HMS Barham – something the British Government had kept Top Secret. Helen Duncan was subsequently arrested, prosecuted and convicted under the Witchcraft Act of 1735, an Act which made falsely claiming to procure spirits a crime. She was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment. Duncan’s trial contributed to the repeal of the Witchcraft Act which was replaced by the Fraudulent Mediums Act in 1951. Duncan died in 1956.
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