12:01AM BST 12 Aug 2006
George Chapman, who died on August 9 aged 85, was said to be one of
Britain's most remarkable healers; for 60 years he treated patients from all
walks of life, including celebrities and members of the medical profession, by
going into a state of trance and allowing the spirit of William Lang to
"operate" through him.
William Lang, the son of a wealthy merchant, had been an ophthalmic
surgeon at London's Middlesex Hospital from 1880 to 1914, and his cultured
tones from beyond the grave were a stark contrast to those of the Liverpudlian
fireman through whom he spoke.
Some may have dismissed this vocal contrast as acting on George
Chapman's part, but William Lang's daughter, Lyndon, and his grand-daughter,
Susan Fairtlough, confirmed not only that his speech and mannerisms were as
they remembered them, but also that they discussed events and people who would
have been unknown to George Chapman, who was not even in his teens when Lang
retired from private medical practice.
Chapman's "surgery" on his patients was carried out on their
spirit (or etheric) bodies, from which the benefits were transferred to the
subjects' physical bodies. Sceptics may have scoffed, but Chapman's supporters
point to many astonishing healings achieved. He is credited with curing an inoperable
and malignant brain tumour, among other cancers, as well as with improving
various eye conditions and even lengthening a patient's leg. Chapman himself
maintained that the purpose of his healing mission was to prove that there was
life after death; the healings, he said, were secondary.
Born in Liverpool on February 4 1921, George William Chapman was brought
up by his maternal grandparents after his mother died when he was five. Finding
employment was difficult when he left school in Bootle, he took work as a
garage hand, butcher and docker before becoming a professional boxer.
Having joined the Irish Guards in 1939, Chapman subsequently transferred
to the Royal Air Force as an air gunner. In 1944 he was based at RAF Halton,
near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, where he trained apprentices in unarmed
combat, self-defence, small arms and battle drill.
It was at Aylesbury that year that he met and married Margaret May
Dickinson. Their first child, Vivian, born in 1945, survived only four weeks.
The Chapmans were devastated but, encouraged by a fellow fire officer (Chapman
had joined the Fire Brigade after being demobbed), they used a
glass-and-alphabet to receive spirit messages which reassured them that their
daughter was alive and well in the next world.
These experiments also induced a trance state in Chapman, and a variety
of "entities" spoke through him. In time, however, "Dr
Lang" manifested himself, explaining that his mission was to heal the
Over the years Laurence Harvey, Stanley Holloway, Patricia Neal, Barbara
Cartland and Roald Dahl were among those said to have sought the spirit
So, too, did a dental surgeon, SG Miron, whose wife ironically had had
the roof of her mouth perforated during a tooth extraction. No surgical procedure
could cure the problem, but Lang's intervention caused the wound to heal,
resulting in Miron writing a book, The Return of William Lang, about this and
other remarkable cases.
Lyndon Lang was so impressed with Chapman's mediumship that she entered
into a contract with him to hold twice monthly meetings at her home in London,
to which she invited friends and medical contemporaries of her brother, Basil
Lang (also a surgeon), most of whom had known William Lang. This arrangement
continued for 10 years while Chapman served as a fireman and also held healing
clinics, mostly in the Midlands.
When Chapman left the Fire Brigade in 1956, those meetings became
weekly, but he also had more time to see patients and to travel. Eventually, he
ran regular clinics in Paris and Lausanne, and carried out spirit operations in
the United States, India and other parts of the world. Lyndon Lang showed her
support for Chapman and his mediumship by leaving much of her estate to him on
her death in May 1977.
By then, Chapman had moved to Pant Glas, close to Machynlleth, Wales. A
healing clinic adjoined the house, where the medium slept in William Lang's
bed, a gift from the surgeon's daughter.
George Chapman is survived by another daughter,
Lana, and a son, Michael - a healer in his own right who assisted his father
for more than 30 years.
(WEDNESDAY AUGUST 23) A WORLD-famous healer who spent 40 years of his life in Aylesbury has died.
George Chapman passed away at his home in Wales earlier this month, aged 85.
For 60 years he had treated members of the public and many celebrities by going into a trance and allowing the spirit of Edwardian surgeon Dr William Lang to 'operate' through him.
His fame was so great that a letter from America, with only his photo stuck on the envelope and a note for the postman that read 'To England- please try your best,' made its way to him.
Mr Chapman grew up in Bootle, Liverpool, and transferred to RAF Halton during the Second World War. In 1945 he met and married Margaret Dickinson, who had been evacuated to Aylesbury from London. Their first home was a bedsit in Stonehaven Road, but they moved into Cromwell Avenue once a council house was available.
It was the death of their first child, Vivian, who died aged four weeks at Ashridge Houses' emergency Second World War medical facility, which sparked Mr Chapman's interest in the spiritual world. Encouraged by a colleague from Aylesbury Fire Brigade, where he then worked after being demobbed, he used a ouija board to make contact with his daughter.
Soon he was acting as a medium to a variety of entities, but Dr Lang, who had died in 1937, became the most prominent. In 1956 Dr Lang's family said publicly that the speech and mannerisms that Mr Chapman portrayed were a perfect match, and some of the things he talked of would only have been known to close friends. The doctor 'explained' to him that his mission was to heal the sick.
Mr Chapman left the Fire Brigade in the same year to devote more time to healing, and by the 1960s he had become world-renowned.
In 1966 journalist J. Bernard Hutton published Healing Hands, detailing the 'miracles' that Mr Chapman, via Dr Lang, had performed, including a five-year-old boy with advanced leukaemia. The book was a hit and was even translated into Chinese.
Coach loads of tourists were by now turning up at his new home in Wendover Road, particularly on a Tuesday, when he held a free session. Many celebrities also visited him, including Laurence Harvey, Stanley Holloway, Barbara Cartland, Patricia Neal, Roald Dahl and the King and Queen of Romania.
In 1984 Mr Chapman decided to escape to Pant Glas, near Machynlleth in Wales. His son Michael, 54, joined him although his daughter, Lana Dodds, 59, still lives in Aylesbury.
Son Michael, who is also a healer, said: "Dad was such a hard-working and humble man who didn't care where you came from, everyone was the same to him.
"He loved Aylesbury and often used to ask himself why he moved because he had so many good friends there. He had mementos from the town all around his home."
Mr Chapman was cremated in Aberystswyth on Friday August 18. His ashes will join those of his wife, who died in 1995, and his daughter, both of whom are buried near Aldbury, Tring.