Colville, Wilbur Juvenal (ca. 1859-1917)

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Colville, Wilbur Juvenal (ca. 1859-1917)

British inspirational speaker and author of little education but considerable natural abilities. Little is known of Colville's early life. He is thought to be born on September 5, 1859. His mother died when he was an infant and his father when he was eight. He was then raised by a guardian. As a child he saw spirit beings, including a beautiful lady who claimed to be his mother. The beginnings of his own mediumship date from May 24, 1874, when as a 14-year-old youth he attended an inspirational address of Cora L. V. Richmond at Brighton. He became conscious of spirit presence, and at home he passed into trance and delivered his first poetic improvisation. He described his sensations afterward:

"I suddenly felt myself lifted in the air. I seemed to have an enormous head and a very small body. My lips seemed to be moving mechanically under the pressure of some influence over which I could not exert, and could not will to exert, no power whatever. I heard someone commenting upon a poem, then I sat down and finished my supper and wondered if I had not been to sleep. That was my first experience as a medium for speaking, though from my earliest childhood I had had spiritual experiences and constantly felt, saw and heard beings around me, who were not in material form."

Colville took regular engagements from 1877. While delivering his addresses, which showed remarkable knowledge, and while answering questions on a variety of subjects, he was often unconscious. At other times he heard everything he said as if it proceeded from strange lips. He was only 18 when he traveled to the United States, and he spent most of the 1880s moving between the United States and England. Some of his more important books appeared at the end of the decade, Inspirational Discourses (1886), The Spiritual Health and Healing (1887), and Studies in Theosophy (1889). In the early 1890s, he went to Australia for two years and then settled permanently in the United States, were he developed his early interest in alternative medicine (including chromotherapy) and mastered a broad range of subjects in the occult field. He continued to lecture and conduct trance sessions while writing numerous books, including Spiritual Therapeutics; or, Divine Science (1894), Our Place in the Universal Zodiac (1895), and Light and Color (1914).


Coville, W. J. Light and Color. New York: McCoy Publishing and Masonic Supplies, 1914.

. Spiritual Science of Health and Healing. Chicago: Garden City Publishing, 1888.

. Spiritual Therapeutics; or, Divine Science. Chicago: Educator Publishing, 1914.

. Studies in Theosophy. Boston: Colby & Rich, 1890.

. Universal Spiritualism. New York: R. F. Fenno, 1906.

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Colville, Wilbur Juvenal (ca. 1859-1917)

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