Brown, Rosemary (London, July 27, 1916 – November 16, 2001): Music Medium
Institution / Country:England


Considerable evidence for survival has come to us in the way of music. Probably the best known case of musical overshadowing is that of Rosemary Brown, a widowed London housewife who, beginning in 1964, purportedly received compositions from the spirits of many great composers, including Beethoven, Liszt, Mozart, Chopin, Bach, and Debussy. Although Brown had taken some piano lessons, she had no real talent and was unacquainted with the technicalities of writing notes. Mediumistic since her childhood, Brown was contacted by Liszt and told that a group of composers from the spirit world would be using her to dictate new compositions through her by means of automatic writing. “You have sufficient training for our purposes,” Liszt told her. “Had you been given a really full musical education it would have been no help to us at all.”

Liszt further explained that a full musical background would have been an impediment to them as she would have had too many theories and ideas of her own that they might not have been able to overcome.

Brown proceeded to produce many musical works, all of which were well beyond her previous capabilities. She went on to perform on both British and American TV. Music critics were divided as to whether her music resembled or approached that of the old masters. “I’ve no doubt she’s psychic,” said composer Richard Rodney Bennett. “She’s told me things about myself she just couldn’t have known about. I was having trouble with a piece of music and she passed along Debussy’s recommendation – which worked…. A lot of people can improvise but you couldn’t fake music like this without years of training. I couldn’t have faked some of the Beethoven myself.”