I wasn’t able to find out a lot about Ethel Johnson Meyers, the medium who accompanied Hans Holzer to Bank Street (the story I tell below). But as I say in the preface to the book, it always comes back to a love story, and this was true of Ethel Johnson Meyers.
Meyers, a former opera singer, was a trance medium and her control—the person who essentially used her body to become a guide between the living and the dead—was her dead husband, a musician named Albert.
Albert had died when his pharmacist made a mistake with his medicine and poisoned him. Ethel was going to walk into the sea and join him, but Albert came to her and stopped her. If she killed herself she wouldn’t be with him, he warned. Just the opposite. “It would separate us.” He told her that there was another way they could be together. Ethel went to a psychiatrist about the apparition and he rather surprisingly suggested that she contact J. B. Rhine.
Soon after Ethel found herself at the American Society for Psychical Research, which eventually led to her becoming a medium.
Whenever she went into a trance, Albert appeared. However, it was a bittersweet and ultimately unsatisfying reunion for Ethel and Albert. They weren’t really together again. Ethel was unconscious when Albert appeared, and when she awoke she remembered nothing. Hans Holzer spent more time with Albert than Ethel did. Even though Albert’s spirit was inside her, somehow suffused throughout her body in order to communicate with whoever required his afterlife services, Albert was still as far apart from Ethel as he was the day he died.
I called Hans Holzer to ask him what Ethel and Albert were like, but he wasn’t able to tell me anything. I had also intended to ask him if he ever tried to mediate any kind of exchange between his faithful medium and her beloved and deceased husband. IE, “Hey Albert, as long as I’ve got you, any messages for Ethel?” But Holzer didn’t seem to be feeling well and so I thanked him and got off the phone more quickly than I had planned.