Words by Eric Hatton
Special Advisor to The Butterfly Fellowship 2012 & Honorary Member in Spirit
Minister Eric Hatton recounts the touching and powerful story which led to the formation of The Butterfly Fellowship 2012, and the personal reason behind its name.
The Butterly Fellowship was established in 2008 in memory of my wife, Heather Hatton. And the reason for its name?
Her lifelong love of Butterflies.
Over the years, Heather would frequently go out into the garden to admire and marvel at the many butterflies which danced amongst our flowers and trees. When I questioned her on occasion about why she was so fascinated by them, she would speak of the close affinity she felt with them as indeed she did with all nature.
As I reflect back, I realise that over the course of our fifty years of marriage, she collected a wealth of glass, porcelain and metal butterflies, placing them on window ledges and shelves around our home.
Her interest in these lovely creatures was not confined to those found in Britain, and in 1989 we fulfilled a long-held dream of visiting Singapore and Bali. This trip was not just a holiday; it was also an opportunity to study the cultural and spiritual practices of these countries.
Much though we admired the City of Singapore, with its wonderful buildings, Chinese influences and pristine cleanliness, it was in Bali that our eyes were opened to a range of Spiritual practices, and, less happily, to the stark contrast between affluence and poverty. We were fortunate to meet a Balinese man who became our guide and good friend, and it was because of his kind and honest nature that we were taken places off the beaten track, not always accessible to tourists.
Among these was a never-to-be-forgotten visit to Butterfly Valley.
No sooner had we got out of the car than we were surrounded by thousands upon thousands of Butterflies - many white, others of vibrantly beautiful colours and markings. Within a few seconds of our arrival, they all stopped flying, almost as if there had been some silent command, and settled on rocks, stones and trees. Then, when we or others clapped hands, they began swirling around us again, almost in synchronised formation. This visit touched our inner sensitivity and left us with memories of a profound and beautiful experience.
In March 2007, Heather underwent surgery for a very serious heart condition. We were told that the operation was likely to be successful, and that she would return home within a few weeks. Alas, it was not to be, and she passed into her new life on the 4th June.
Despite all that I know of the afterlife, I was left with a broken heart.
Although I was aware that Heather was respected and loved by many, it was only when hundreds of people attended her funeral and the memorial service which followed a short while later, that I fully realised just how much she meant to so many.
In the September following her passing, I was invited to the Arthur Findlay College in Stansted, Essex. Amongst those who were to lecture and demonstrate was a man from Brazil named José Medrado. He was truly a humble man, and though he spoke little English, even as his lecture was conveyed through an interpretor, his humility shone out. Amongst the things we learnt about him was that all his income from demonstrations, radio and television programmes went to charitable homes he runs in Brazil for orphans and ill-treated women.
In readiness for his demonstration of Spirit painting, a specially made table was placed on the platform. Brushes, sealed tubes of paint and other artistic materials were arranged upon it by his assistant, Solange Liberato. These were then independently examined, as was the table upon which canvases - also independently examined in advance - would be placed one at a time throughout the demonstration. Gentle music then played as, unobtrusively, and without any drama, Medrado slipped into trance.
Solange quickly placed a canvas on the table in front of him as the first in a succession of 'dead' famous painters took control of Medrado's latex-gloved hands, producing a beautiful painting in a matter of a few minutes. This process was repeated for each spirit painter, including legendary names such as Monet, Manet, Gaugin, Van Gogh, Matisse and Picasso.
After four paintings had been completed, and a fifth was in progress, without warning a white Butterfly emerged from the canvas and flew around the platform. Then, in full view of almost 200 people, it flew around the college sanctuary. Everyone looked on in amazement, until after a few minutes, the Butterfly simply disappeared. The whole episode was recorded by the digital camera that had been installed to project images of Medrado's demonstration onto a large screen at the front of the sanctuary.
News of this remarkable demonstration circulated quickly. Many believed that the Butterfly incident had something to do with Heather. As a result, it was decided that an organisation should be set up in Heather's memory, and so The Butterfly Fellowship was born.
The Fellowship's main aim is to enlighten people about the awareness of the Spirit in all it's many facets and to guide them into avenues of spirituality and philosophical thought.
Since its inception, numerous events have been held, including demonstrations of mediumship, talks and lectures, the first being a very successful residential seminar at the beautiful Cober Hill, near Scarborough.
Thanks to the dedication of certain members and under the leadership of Chairman Cissie Shaw and a dedicated committee, the Fellowship is thriving and fulfilling its purpose of promoting spirituality to all those who might not otherwise have been touched by the glorious power of the Spirit.
First written by Eric Hatton, January 2013.
Eric passed away in November 2015, but remains an Honorary Member of The Butterfly Fellowship 2012 in Spirit, and since May 2016, the Fellowship now operates in his name as well as Heather's.