Rosher, Grace (d. 1980)

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Rosher, Grace (d. 1980)

Noted British exponent of automatic writing. She was an artist who exhibited miniature paintings in the Royal Academy, London. Her psychic talent became manifest after the loss of her fiancé Gordon E. Burdick, whom she had known for many years. In June 1956, he was serving in the Canadian Navy, stationed at Vancouver, and intended to come to London to marry Rosher. A week before sailing, he died.

Fifteen months later, Grace Rosher had written a letter concerning an aunt and was wondering if she had time to write another letter before tea-time when she had a strong urge to keep her hand on the writing pad. The pen began to move without her conscious volition, and she discovered to her astonishment that it had written a letter in the handwriting of her dead fiancé. In the course of time, many other such automatic letters followed, stating that this phenomenon would be the means of bringing other people to realize that life continues after death.

Rosher was not a Spiritualist, and sought guidance from the Rev. G. Maurice Elliot, then secretary of the Churches' Fellowship of Psychic and Spiritual Studies. Elliot enlisted the aid of handwriting expert F. T. Hilliger who studied the automatic scripts and compared them to the handwriting of Burdick when alive. Although initially skeptical, Hilliger reported that the automatic scripts bore a close resemblance to the genuine writing of Burdick in a large number of different ways, and were so consistent that "the writing reproduced by Grace Rosher was, if it were humanly possible, genuinely inspired by the personality of Gordon E. Burdick."

Rosher subsequently produced many other scripts, including messages from her mother, father, and three sisters, and a relative who had died in 1752. On one occasion, she produced a communication claimed to be from the famous scientist Sir William Crookes, in handwriting remarkably similar to that of Crookes in his lifetime.

A special characteristic of these automatic scripts was the way in which they were written with a pen lying loosely across the joint of Rosher's index finger, the nib resting on a writing pad. Although she did not hold the pen, it wrote swiftly and intelligently. Skeptical stage magicians have pointed out that it is possible to guide a pen under these circumstances, but it is not clear whether they are suggesting a conscious or even subconscious deception on her part. The circumstances of the production of Rosher's automatic scripts are in no way comparable with the deliberate mystification of a professional magician. Grace Rosher died in July 1980.


Rosher, Grace. Beyond the Horizon. London, 1961.