How people become mediumistic healers, Part 2

Westman Islands, Heimaey rooftops. Courtesy of michael clarke stuff

Read Part 1 here

Guðrún was only a little girl when she realized she preferred being alone. During her alone-times the dimensional veil seemed to be thinner than when she was around other people. Not wanting to be labeled strange, she kept it to herself. When her health failed her at 14 years-old, these clairvoyant experiences came to an abrupt end. Guðrún had  contracted polio (or spinal meningitis) and was confined to her bed for 26 weeks under constant medical supervision. 

Despite her illness and physical limitations, she kept her spirits high and when she turned 20, she married Sveinbjörn Friðfinnsson (1891-1988). With the future ahead of them, Sveinbjörn began building a house for them and their future family. When the house was nearly finished, something went wrong and the house burned to the ground. With no insurance, they were left standing without a penny to their name. They had lost everything they owned.

The couple had to take shelter where it was offered. Their living conditions were therefore very poor and bordering livable. Fortunately, Sveinbjörn was able to find work so he could provide for his family, which now consisted of the two of them and a little girl. His jobs were often far away, forcing him to live away from home much of the time. 

Their relationship was very spiritually connected and their love and devotion towards each other ran deep, even through the times apart. Guðrún was often able to see her husband during his travel and work through her clairvoyant abilities. She would describe in detail for him the people she saw him with and the locations. These visions seemed to always represent the actual events very accurately.

Sveinbjörn Friðfinnsson on the left. 
In the photo with him are his siblings 
Kristrún and Kristján.  Source

One Saturday evening while Guðrún and their few-week-old daughter waited for Sveinbjörn to come home from work, the phone rang. It was a message telling them that Sveinbjörn had been taken to the hospital with a very serious case of pneumonia. In fact, it was so serious that the doctors believed he was beyond help. Guðrún wasn't able to go visit him as she was still breastfeeding their little baby. She couldn't stop thinking about him and it was keeping her up at night. 

Monday night was especially bad for some reason. Guðrún lied in bed wide awake all that night worrying about him. When morning came she fell into some type of a trance. She saw herself with her husband where he was lying sick. An unknown spirit-being told her that her husband was no longer in danger and that he would from that moment on begin to feel better. 

Guðrún snapped out of the trance feeling happy and certain that Sveinbjörn was going to be okay. It turned out that during that same time when Guðrún was struggling the most, he was at his worst and in the morning at the same time she was in a trance, he was beginning to heal. 

For some time afterwards Sveinbjörn suffered from poor health, making it difficult for him to work and provide for his family. His future health would be much stronger, giving him almost a century on this earth.   

In the fall of 1924, Sveinbjörn and Guðrún had moved to Westman Islands and were living in a house called Berjanes. It had been ten years since Guðrún's illness and she was had been paralyzed on one side of her body ever since. Her left leg didn't work and its muscles almost completely atrophied. Through the years, she had been to eight different doctors and after trying every method and experiments they had to offer, nothing had changed. 

With the family in a new place, it was also the beginning of a new phase in their lives. Guðrún met a woman who experimented with a glass. She used it in the same way one would use a Ouija board. One time when Guðrún was over at her house and she was using her glass, she began complaining about being tired. 

The glass then moved and spelled out: Let Guðrún take over. Guðrún did as the message said and took over the glass. With Guðrún now in charge, nothing remarkable was spelled, but the energy increased and the glass started moving at a fast speed. 

When Guðrún got home she wanted to try it out on her own. She wasn't entirely convinced that she was dealing with an otherworldly or supernatural entity. She sat down and got ready to communicate. The glass started moving right away and spelled out the name  Lárus Pálsson

From then on, Lárus became her otherworldly contact through the glass. Lárus told her that she could receive much help with spiritual healing. She was already feeling much better whenever she experimented with the glass. It was like a force of energy coursing through her body like electricity. She was beginning to feel there was something other than herself working through her. 

Þórunn Sveinbjörnsdóttir (1921-2015) in the middle. Next to her are her aunts Ólöf Friðfinnsdóttir (Berjanes) and Rut Friðfinnsdóttir .  Source

Something that made her lean towards its authenticity was when the glass spelled the name of a man, his address and what position the man worked in. Lárus told her the man had died that same night. Guðrún had heard of this man, but thought he was still alive. She was certain this was nonsense, but that night when her husband came home, he told her that this man had died suddenly that night. After that, Guðrún started taking the glass more seriously.

Around the same time, Guðrún caught wind about a young woman up north who was communicating with a  hulduman with healing abilities. This sparked her interest and she set out to find out if there was any truth to this rumor. She asked anyone she came in contact with, but nobody seemed to know anything about this woman up north. The only information she was able to gather was that someone had read about her in an article in the spiritist news paper,  Morgunn

Guðrún had at least found out what the source was. Now she just had to find a copy of the article to verify the content. This turned out to be a difficult task as nobody seemed to own a copy of it or be able to provide her with one. 

Not willing to give up quite yet, Guðrún did the only other thing she could think. She sat down with her glass and asked Lárus for an explanation. The glass moved and spelled out the name  Margrét Thorlacius at Öxnafell. Lárus continued telling her that she needed to write this woman and ask the huldu-doctor for help. 

Not wanting to be too naive, Guðrún needed to verify the name Lárus gave her before writing the letter. This time, she wasn't going to stop until she had a copy of   Morgunn in her hands. With her persistence and strong desire to find out the truth, she was finally able to get a copy of Morgunn. She found the article and it didn't take more than a glance to know that Lárus had given her the exact same name as was stated in the article. Guðrún didn't know the name of the woman prior to this and the only way she could have gotten it right through the glass was if Lárus was a real separate entity from her. 

The first edition mentioning Margrét Thorlacius,  published Dec. 1st, 1924 . Source

In that moment, Guðrún knew she needed to write Margrét a letter. She was still very reluctant and skeptical about the whole thing. She didn't want anyone to know about it, not even Sveinbjörn. This made it very difficult to get the letter down to the post office. Not knowing what to do, she decided to hide the letter for now. Later that evening when everyone in the house had gone to sleep, Guðrún was sitting alone doing her work. Suddenly she felt very strange and was forced to put her work down. 

She could feel someone was in the room with her, but she couldn't see anyone. She felt this strange sensation as if a thorough medical examination was being performed on her entire body. Sometimes she felt the urge to answer either yes or no. She knew she was answering questions, but she didn't know what they were. 

This examination happened two evenings in a row. On the third night, Guðrún had just gotten ready for bed when all of a sudden her entire body trembled and she started performing gymnastic moves which she didn't know how to do nor had she ever done them before. The activity woke up her husband. Looking at her in bewilderment, he asked her if she was sick. 

Guðrún was barely able to answer him, but managed to tell him no, don´t be scared, there´s a doctor with me. Her husband got out of bed and turned on the light. During all this, Guðrún was completely aware of her surroundings, but couldn't speak or control her body. Sveinbjörn watched her do gymnastics for about an hour. 

When this was all over, she told her husband everything. She told him about the rumors of a healer up north, about Lárus and how, through the glass, he had told her the name of the woman healer. She also told Sveinbjörn that she found a copy of the article in Morgunn and then  finally showed him the letter she had written to Margrét.

Berjanes is the house on Faxastígur 20 which
Guðrún lived in. This is where Lárus and Friðrik
communicated with her.   Daniel Steingrímsson

For quite some time after this, the strange exercises became a common occurrence. Guðrún usually had the light on during the exercises, but then one night without warning, the light in the lamp was mysteriously quenched. What made this even more strange was that as soon as the exercises were over, the lamp light came back on. The lamp was a 14 line oil lamp that hung up in the air and no man touched it. Guðrún took this as a sign that she shouldn't have the light on during her medical treatments or exercises.

After this, things started changing. A supernatural being came to her and introduced himself as Friðrik. She asked him if he was a  hulduman like the rumors said he was. He told her that he was not, that he was a dead man and not a hulduman, at least not in the sense that humans thought it meant. Friðrik explained to her that he wasn't only there to heal bodily ailments, but also to arouse people's attention towards the omnipotence of God. But the sickness of man was their weakness and therefore he worked in this manner. 

Friðrik told her it was time for her to help others heal. He promised to tend to those who came to her and help them as much as he could. He was going to continue coming to her every evening at 6:00 p.m. except on Sundays, then he would come to her at 9:00 a.m. He also told Guðrún to bathe every morning at 8.30 a.m. Something within Guðrún knew that Friðrik was working through Lárus. 

Guðrún, Sveinbjörn and another woman were having a conversation in their bedroom. Guðrún was sitting on her bed when she started feeling strange. She was about to go into a trance-like state. 

Suddenly her body levitated off the bed and she was transported in mid-air over to a chaise on the other end of the room. She was lying on her back in mid-air. She wasn't touching anything nor supporting herself. Sveinbjörn and the woman watched this strange occurrence. Before they knew it, Guðrún burst out in a song that she had never heard before and then started her gymnastic exercise treatment. 

During Guðrún Guðmundsdóttir's memorial 
service, the priest stated she had contracted 
polio as a youth. Another source, Hallgrímur 
Jónasson, mentioned her as having spinal 
meningitis. In Icelandic, polio is called mænusótt
and spinal meningitis is called mænuhimnabólga.  

After this, rumors of Guðrún's supernatural abilities spread through town. People began to be very curious and asked to be present when this was happening. With the cat already out of the bag, there was no reason to keep this a secret anymore. Many people would come over to watch Guðrún perform gymnastic moves while she was in a trance. Among them was a nurse and masseuse. After watching Guðrún, she told people that the moves were so organized and correctly performed that there was no doubt that they were being executed by a trained gymnast. There was no way that Guðrún could have performed them without being controlled by a strong supernatural power. Similar comments had been made by numerous people all thinking the same thing, that Guðrún couldn't possibly be doing this on her own. 

Although Guðrún never properly healed, these exercises helped her a great deal. She improved drastically. Before Friðrik came into the picture, her leg was completely limp and had very little sensation. This had caused the muscles in her leg to atrophy. Now, for the first time since her illness, all sensation in her leg had been restored and she had gained quite a bit of muscle back.

After Friðrik came into the picture, Guðrún stopped using the glass. This wasn't by choice. She tried using it, but every time she did, Lárus told her that she couldn't do it anymore. He explained to her that she couldn't be doing both at the same time. Lárus said goodbye and the glass stopped for good.

With Lárus out of the picture, Guðrún continued to communicate with Friðrik. She would do this by using her mind instead of words. She would ask him questions and he would answer her and give instructions in the same manner. He promised to heal her to the best of his abilities. 

During her altered states, Guðrún's eyes were closed, but she remained conscious enough to be aware of herself and her surroundings. 

Guðrún's relationship with Friðrik evolved into a full blown mediumship. He started putting her into complete trance states. This way his thoughts could be directly transferred through Guðrún and spoken through her lips. Just like at other seances where the spirits spoke through the mediums, Friðrik was speaking through Guðrún. Using her as his communication tool, he gave people advise and instructions. 

By November 28th, 1924, people were lining up to seek her help. Guðrún had a certain process she used when helping others. After they approached her, she would write their names down in a dedicated notebook. Then later on, she would enter a trance and read the names in the book. Friðrik then picked out the names he was going to help. 

This went on for a few months, but then on March 19th, 1925 while Guðrún was in a trance, Friðrik told her it was time to change their methods. From then on he was going to help other people by using her body, especially her hands. Guðrún was to put her hands on the sick and then he would heal them through her.

This was the beginning of otherworldly healing of the sick in Westman Islands. More stories of the people involved will be continued in the next blog.

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