Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Susanna has turned up the story of King Edward VIII who was seeing a mystic at the time he was considering whether to abdicate the throne in order to marry Wallis Simpson. The marriage was opposed by politicians of the day and would have caused a constitutional crisis if he had remained on the throne.
The story is available at BBC News and is dated December 6, 2008. From the website:

Previously undisclosed archives tell the story of a king in the grip of a man known as "The Yorkshire Yogi".

Dr Alexander Cannon trained as a medic, and dabbled in alternative treatments, mystic techniques and black magic.

Lambeth Palace was tipped off that the King was receiving hypnotic treatment from Dr Cannon for a drink problem.

The new archive evidence is examined by reporter Sean Stowell in BBC Radio 4's The Archive Hour.

Edward VIII reigned for only 11 months, abdicating in December 1936 so that he could marry the American divorcee Wallis Simpson....

The allegation about the King's contact at that time with Dr Cannon was made in a letter from a country vicar to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Cosmo Lang.

The Archbishop began an investigation into the claims and alerted the prime minister about his concerns....

Dr Cannon was the subject of an MI5 investigation and then an establishment cover-up before settling in virtual exile in the Isle of Man, where he put on magic shows and psychic performances.

Taped recordings of Dr Cannon reveal some of his beliefs and theories, from how to be happy to the secret behind magic-carpet journeys across Asia....

Further evidence of the King's links to Dr Cannon come in a recorded interview with Piers Compton, the former literary editor of The Universe Catholic newspaper.

Ironically, Dr. Alexander Cannon looks rather like Aleister Crowley. Shares the same initials, too.

A review of the book SHOWMAN OR CHARLATANS? by Roger Woods and Brian Lead indicates that Crowley knew Cannon well enough to have a disagreement with him.

From the website:

The rest of the book is devoted to Cannon, Part V addressing the question of “Who was ‘Sir’ Alexander Cannon?” and presenting a résumé of his career following graduation from Leeds University. The Far East, work as a psychiatrist at Colney Hatch asylum on his return to Britain, and his prickly encounter with occultist Aleister Crowley when delivering a lecture in 1934 are all covered.

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