Monday, April 23, 2012

Focus On: William T. Stead

From Wikipedia:

William Thomas Stead (5 July 1849 – 15 April 1912) was an English journalist and editor who, as one of the early pioneers of investigative journalism, became one of the most controversial figures of the Victorian era.[1] His 'New Journalism' paved the way for today's tabloid press.[2] He was influential in demonstrating how the press could be used to influence public opinion and government policy.[3] He was also well known as a world peace advocate, an advocate of women's rights, a defender of civil liberties, a fighter for the deprived and oppressed,[3] and a supporter of the international language Esperanto.[4] He was among the most famous passengers aboard the RMS Titanic, losing his life when it sank in April 1912.[1]

From The Red Pill / The Daily Grail:

William Thomas Stead (July 5, 1849 - April 15, 1912) was a dedicated journalist, author, social reformer, and pacifist, remembered in psychic circles as the founder of Borderland - a quarterly journal devoted to psychical subjects - and as founder of Julia’s Bureau, a psychic bureau intended to demonstrate the reality of survival after death as well as to assist in a spiritual revival. Stead was on his way to New York to give a speech on world peace at Carnegie Hall when he became a victim of the Titanic.

Early History

Born on July 5, 1849, at Embleton, Northumberland, England, Stead was first educated by his father, a Congregationalist minister, and later attended Silcoates School, Wakefield. In 1863, he became an office boy in a merchant’s countinghouse in Newcastle-on-Tyne. The poems of James Russell Lowell played an important part in shaping his life’s work, which, he decided, around age 18, was to help other people.
Stead’s career as a journalist and author began during the 1860’s when he became a reporter for a newspaper called the Northern Echo, advancing to editor in 1871. In 1880, he accepted a position as assistant editor of the Pall Mall Gazette, then became its editor in 1883. In 1890, he founded the Review of Reviews. According to Leslie Shepard, who wrote the Introduction to the New American Edition of Borderland, published in 1970, Stead is credited with inventing the “New Journalism,” bringing important topics in bright, colorful prose to the man in the street. Shepard states that he introduced the interview technique to British journalism and was a pioneer of cheap reprints for mass sale in the form of penny pamphlets.

In a story written by B. O. Flower, the editor of Arena, a popular American publication, Stead is referred to as a cosmopolitan journalist “with a rare blending of intellectual force with moral conviction, idealism with utilitarianism, a virile imagination, and a common sense practicality that strove to make the vision a useful reality.”

In 1891-92, stories from Borderland were compiled into two separate volumes – Real Ghost Stories and More Ghost Stories, and in 1897 they were published under one title, Real Ghost Stories. These true cases of apparitions, hauntings, astral projection, clairvoyance, and premonitions, collected by Stead, have since become a classic under the title Borderland.

Stead was also an automatic writing medium when alive and a frequent spirit communicator after his death. In 1909, three years before his death, he published Letters from Julia, a series of messages purportedly coming to Stead from Julia T. Ames, an American newspaperwoman, for her friend Ellen, during 1892-93. Stead had met both women on his travels, and several months after Julia’s death, Ellen told Stead about seeing apparitions of Julia in her bedroom. Having recently discovered that he had the gift of automatic writing, Stead told Ellen that he would see if she could communicate through him. “Sitting alone with a tranquil mind, I consciously placed my right hand, with the pen held in the ordinary way, at the disposal of Julia, and watched with keen and skeptical interest to see what it would write,” Stead explained in the book’s Introduction. Julia’s Bureau was formed that same year.

Reading Resources:

Wikipedia: "William Thomas Stead"

The Red Pill, "William Stead"