Gerlaldine Cummins, the Cork woman with links to the Spirits is profiled by Anthony Edward Dundon


When Geraldine Cummins sat down to write The Scripts of Cleophas in 1923, she was not writing fiction. Geraldine Cummins (1890–1969), considered to be one of Ireland’s most celebrated psychics of the twentieth century, was a spiritualist author, suffragist and spy, as well as a novelist and playwright.

She was born in Cork, on August 24, 1890. The Cummins were Anglo-Irish Protestants. Educated privately, she attended a finishing school in France. She came from a medical background where the other siblings “were brought up in an analytical atmosphere with a kind of religious respect for exact scientific research.”

She intended to pursue a medical career, but was persuaded against it by her mother. Instead, she immersed herself in drama and modern literature, and a keen aptitude for sport resulted in her being selected to play hockey for Ireland.

Cummins and her friend Susanne Day were founder members of the Cork Suffrage Movement and staunch supporters of women’s right to vote. Like Day, Cummins hoped that, by taking on electoral office, women and men would work together to tackle the disease, slums and poor education, which were rampant in southern Ireland then.
These women spoke openly on the campaign for women’s votes at meetings in Ireland – meetings and rallies that could become hostile. In 1914 Cummins was stoned at one of these rallies in the streets of Cork by a mob of factory workers.

She contributed to a suffrage publication, the Irish Citizen. However, the bulk of her writing, published and unpublished, came from her ‘transmitted writing’, the term she preferred to ‘automatic writing’.

Her interest in psychical research started when she was five. Her father’s coachman told her tales of fairies he had seen and sightings of ghosts in haunted places. She even searched the garden of her house for fairies and was bitterly disappointed when she found none.

The ghost stories may perhaps have helped to sow some seeds in her subconscious to explore these mysteries. It was her family’s medical background, however, that reinforced her interest in the occult.

While on holiday in France in 1914, Cummins met a fellow Corkonian, Hester Dowden, a well-known automatic writer. Under Dowden’s guidance, she started experimenting with spirit communication.

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