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Swift
Written by James Randi   

e8King Edward VIII of England reigned for only 11 months, abdicating in December of 1936 so that he could marry the twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. He was automatically succeeded by his younger brother, who became George VI - King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, Emperor of India, and King of Ireland. George reigned until his death in 1952.

It has now been discovered that Edward consulted a famous "mystic," Dr. Alexander Cannon, in an attempt to solve the dilemma brought about by his intended marriage to Simpson, which was of course strenuously opposed by politicians of the day and would have caused a constitutional crisis, had he remained on the throne.

The rich-and-famous of the 1930s in the UK - as in the USA - were heavily tuned to woo-woo, and they'd made this Dr. Cannon a wealthy man by spending small fortunes on "treatments" at his consulting rooms. Formally trained as a medical doctor, Cannon - who became known as "The Yorkshire Yogi" - had obviously found much more reward for himself in "alternative treatments," mystical techniques, and black magic, and since he'd already dabbled in the performance of magic tricks, he had some savvy about how giddy socialites could be dazzled by sleight-of-hand - and sleight-of-mind.

Previously undisclosed archives that have now emerged reveal that Edward VIII was seeing this mystic during the abdication crisis, prompting the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Cosmo Laing, to intervene. Laing began an investigation into the rumors and alerted the prime minister about his concerns. Lambeth Palace - official residence of UK Archbishops of Canterbury when they aren't in the Tower of London awaiting decapitation - was informed that the King was receiving "hypnotic treatment" from Dr. Cannon for alcoholism, and that soon segued into other expensive and useless applications of woo-woo such as "electrotherapies" and Tibetan "hypnosis" techniques learned while Cannon was a prison doctor in China. One act in Cannon's repertoire involved putting his assistant Rhonda Deronda - no relation to Roseanne Roseannadanna, I'm sure - into a "hypnotic trance" to diagnose physical and psychological problems by simply glaring at the patient. This highly unorthodox medical practitioner became quite close to the King, and became, in effect, a confidant.

Dr. Cannon was the subject of a justifiably alarmed MI5 - the UK equivalent of the CIA in the USA - investigation, following which his existence was covered up by the establishment, and he quietly retired in virtual exile to the Isle of Man, where he spent his time putting on magic shows and "psychic" performances.

Many years ago, I was invited to a posh NYC town house to entertain Edward and Wallis, and though I have heard that she never addressed him in public by any term but the respectable "sir," I can tell you that Wallis - perhaps just a bit tipsy - repeatedly used the appellation "Eddy" while I was with them, though I declined to do so. Edward was, I feel, reasonably well titillated by the card trick I designed specifically for the occasion. He selected a card from my proffered deck which turned out (!) to be the King of Hearts. I asked him to place it in his inner jacket pocket, then I ran through the deck to show him that it had found its way back. He immediately reached for the one he'd put away, and discovered that it was now the Jack of Hearts, which had Edward's profile inserted...

The Duke of Windsor graciously accepted the souvenir I offered him...

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The 100 Years War of Woo
written by Willy K, December 07, 2008
Wow, a War of Woo between a real honest-to-gosh psychic vs. the Archbishop of Canterbury! I wonder who had more influence on old Eddy?

Randi, wouldn't it be ironic if they considered you just a simple Yank entertainer? Honesty just won't get you as far in the world of rich and powerful royalty! smilies/wink.gif

Willy K

P.S. Maybe this story will be the next "true" story on The History Channel. smilies/grin.gif
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Two UK archbishops
written by Jan2, December 07, 2008
"Lambeth Palace - the official residence of UK archbishops"

There are two UK Church of England archbishops: one in Canterbury, one in York. Lambeth Palace is the London residence of the Canterbury one.
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written by epicure, December 07, 2008
Seeing Alexander Cannon's name again took me back to my teen years, nearly 60 years ago, when I read everything I could find of his in the Muswell Hill Public Library... it was all nonsense, of course: the hypnotism didn't work, and the coloured light therapy was just silly. How strange to suddenly come across this man again!
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Greet Hofmans affair
written by yarro, December 07, 2008
This reminds me the crisis in the Durch Royal House: The Greet Hofmans Affair .http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greet_Hofmans_affair.
Just goes to show that even the high and mighty are as gullible as the average Joe.
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written by BillyJoe, December 08, 2008
Obviously, I not much for history, because this actually reminded me of Bob Dylan, I'm not sure why. smilies/cool.gif
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written by kaivulagi, December 08, 2008
Thank you James for sharing your memoirs, You Sir are a national treasure. Just one selfish request- more please!
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written by Roo, December 08, 2008
That was a very interesting article. Mr. Randi - you really should consider writing your autobiography; it would be a fascinating and, no doubt, educational read. (Apologies if you have already done so and I am being a numpty).

I believe that the late Princess Diana regularly consulted psychics and 'faith healers'.

Woo-woo is a great leveller.
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written by Cuddy Joe, December 08, 2008
Ditto on the Randi autobiography - I'd love to see that too.

lol@BillyJoe's Jack Of Hearts song reference.
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written by JeffWagg, December 08, 2008
@Jan2: thanks, fixed that.
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RE:I believe that the late Princess Diana regularly consulted psychics and 'faith healers'.
written by drahcir87, December 08, 2008
ROO you are correct. While im not too sure about whether she encountered faith healers, it is well known here that our so called beloved "queen of hearts" regularly consulted psychics, including one Sally Morgan "psychic to the stars," a woman who magically knows details about about easily researched celebrities (i use the term loosely, her "celebrities" these days consist of big brother winners and the girlfriends or ex-girlfriends of football/soccer players.)
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written by Cuddy Joe, December 08, 2008
First Lady Nancy Reagan reportedly consulted an astrologer to determine the best dates for White House events.
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Secretly speaking.
written by Ian Mason, December 08, 2008
smilies/cool.gif
To be accurate, MI5 was the Interior Security Service. The "spies" = CIA were know as MI6, although properly know as SIS - Secret Intelligence Service. So MI5 were certainly rattled, but they had no brief to operate overseas. In reality the only secrets being kept were from each other, as Moscow Centre knew most of them.
Who guards the guards? It's also possible that Eddie and Simpsom had their interest in the supernatural in common with others in their circle, like that nasty Charlie Chaplin lookalike in Germany.
My first visit and I like it here.
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Delicious Historical Note
written by LindaRosaRN, December 08, 2008
Canon didn't have to be a psychic to see that Edward was losing popularity over his cozy relationship with Nazi Germany.
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Roesanne Roseannadanna
written by grochon, December 09, 2008
I accidentally launched the link to Roseanne Roseannadanna and had to LMAO! I love the older SNL and Gilda Radner was one of my absolute favourites - her skits with Bill Murray killed me. She was one of a kind. Thanks for including the link and reference to this greatly missed talent.
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written by pillock, December 12, 2008
Penn is writing a biography of the great man. Randi referred to it during his evening show in London earlier this year. The title will be "I, James Randi, will die today" if I remember correctly. Thank you, Wallis Simpson, for stopping us from having a "Woo-woo king" back then.
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