I first met Elisabeth Fraser at a meeting in the Theosophical Society in great King Street in Edinburgh. What the meeting was about and who the speaker was I can’t recall clearly. Perhaps what was said was uninteresting but more likely unintelligible. But what I do remember clearly is that I was seated next to a tall, brown bookcase full of esoteric writings about religion and folklore, the latter mainly about fairies and the supernatural; and as the talk was droning on I noticed a set of books on a shelf. Having read many of his works in the past, the books were by Krishnamurti, I pulled one from the shelf. Immediately, Elisabeth turned to me and whispered, “I’m a follower of Krishnamurti. We used to go down to Brockwood Park to hear his talks every year.”
What impressed me about Elisabeth was that although she was born in 1918 at the end of the First World War, there was a vibrancy and intelligence about her and a youthful sparkle in her eyes. Her hair was white and lay in thick, healthy waves with no sign of thinning. In fact, Elisabeth gave me the impression of someone who has in some way defied the process of ageing both mentally and physically.
Now, having just read her book, FRAGMENTS: MY LIFE AND DEATH IN A CULT, I am impressed by the variety of events that happened to her as well as the extent to which she investigated her capacity to understand herself. But what drew my attention in relation to my own interests and my real or imagined experiences of the past, was her capacity for second sight. Throughout the book she relates incidents that she intuitively foresees. She calls the skill her ‘psychic abilities’. One incident is when she suddenly wakes up in her camper with a start:
“It felt as if I had hardly been asleep when I was conscious of a voice in my head saying, ‘We are very worried for your safety.’ I heard it over and over again before I became consciously aware of the urgency of the voice. I shot up in my bunk, banging my head on the roof. As I began to feel the significance of those words I became very worried. Completely mystified I climbed wearily out of my sleeping bag and slipped to the floor of the van …My first thought was to check the calor gas.”
It turns out that she drives to a shop and the owner checks the system for a leak which he finds. He says, “My God! You have a leak that could have blown you and your van to smithereens had you put a match to any of your gas rings!”
Elisabeth recalls, “The voice had said ‘we’ so there must have been more than one kind friend.”
Elizabeth also writes of her unmanageable husband and children and her eventual separation from them. Subsequently, she is drawn in to a cult and despite her strength of character, she is eventually dominated by its power to control. Ultimately, she rediscovers herself and the commonality that binds us together as human beings: “My story is your story and your story is my story.”