ALBERT (WISHART) BEST: TRANCE MEDIUM

Albert Wishart was a native of Belfast, Ireland. Born to a teen mother in October 1917, he was informally adopted by the Best family soon after. Albert did not speak much about his childhood, only mentioning that it was difficult.  Although modest and reclusive, he was known for his sense of humor, his love of whiskey, and friendly personality.

Albert recalled having his first spiritual experience at the age of seven in 1925, when he saw the full materialization of a Spirit.  That same year, the Belfast Spiritualist Alliance was established at Central Hall, near his home. The Alliance would later play a pivotal role in Albert’s development.

Albert quit school at the age of 14 after Mrs. Best died. In 1932, he began working as a fitter in the Belfast Rope Works. He also attended the Belfast Spiritualist Alliance Church. It wasn’t long before they recognized Albert’s spiritual gifts. He was invited to sit in Circle for development.

Albert married, and he and Rose had three children.  September 1939, he volunteered to join the 6th Battalion of the Royal Inniskillen Fusiliers. He was taken prisoner of war and shot twice; once in the mouth and once in his left hand, which left it paralyzed. After being released from prison camp, he returned to home to find that Rose and the children had been killed during a German air raid in Belfast on May 5, 1941. What remained of the bodies was buried in a mass grave.

Albert was devastated and wouldn’t return to Belfast permanently. Instead, he moved to Scotland and settled in Ayrshire where we worked for the Post Office. He found a development Circle there, and by 1951 started to attend the Spiritualist Church in Kilmarnock.  Utilizing his experience in the Post Office, he was not only able to give the names of visiting spirits during trance, he could also give addresses and telephone numbers as well as information about past lives and events.

One person witnessed the following during one of Best’s demonstrations: “If I had not been in the company of people who I consider sane of mind, I would not have believed my eyes, as the chair, along with Mr. Best, lifted up till the little man’s head was near ceiling height. No sooner had this happened that voices could be heard, which I can say came from no one seen sitting in that room. The chair slowly returned to the floor with Mr. Best still calling out to the invisible forces around him and the session ended soon after. The medium explained that he was unharmed and never in any danger, but he did not like it when they played games like that just to impress people. He said that the spirits who had played this prank on him were men who had been part of his squadron during the war and who had died in Africa in 1943. This was Mr. Best’s account; quite honestly, I, along with the most of my group, even those among us with a background in physics, have absolutely no explanation for what we experienced.”
By the late 1950’s Albert left his job in the Post Office and moved to Glasgow. He joined a new Healing Sanctuary in Thornhill and remained as a Healer in this non-denominational Sanctuary until 1982. Albert traveled the world, visiting places like India and Australia. On his visit to India in 1991, he warned Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to stay out of crowds as he was in great peril. Weeks later, Gandhi was assassinated by a suicide bomber. He also saw the materialization of his children while visiting India.

Both his mediumship and healing ability were legendary. Albert turned down countless offers to appear on television, but mentored celebrity mediums Colin Fry and Gordon Smith. He was a renowned tutor at Arthur Findlay College for years. He was honored for his unceasing work for Spiritualism by being awarded Spiritualist of the Year in 1994.

Albert was hospitalized in Glasgow on April, 2 1996. At one point he saw his wife and children in the room with him. Witnesses said there were tears of joy in his eyes, and he told visitors: “They’ve come, you will have to let me go.” Afterward, he slipped into a coma from which he never regained full consciousness. He passed ten days later and left his body to medical research with a Scottish University. Best is considered one of the most important Spiritualist Mediums of the 21st Century.

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