During the writing of our book, To Dance With Angels, Don and I heard about a man who had met Dr. Peebles in Los Angeles in about 1920. In 1987, this man had attended the Church of Inner Light in Los Angeles where Thomas Jacobson had channeled Dr. Peebles. His comment that day about Dr. Peebles had been, "He hasn't changed a bit." We had tried to locate the man during the writing of our book but had been unsuccessful.
A month before To Dance With Angels was published we did locate him. Nelson Westphalen agreed to an interview. We arraigned a get together at his home and were accompanied by Thomas and Connie Jacobson:
Los Angeles, July 30, 1990
Nelson Westphalen, who observed his 90th birthday at his home in West Los Angeles, California this past December is one of few persons still living who could have known James M. Peebles in the flesh. It is fortunate then, that Nelson attended a special service at the Church of Inner Light in 1987 where trance-medium Thomas Jacobson brought forward the spirit of Dr. Peebles in a demonstration of trance channeling.
"As a young man," Nelson recalled during our interview, "I had the privilege of attending a meeting in Los Angeles when Dr. Peebles was the guest speaker for George Francis, a popular psychic of the time. It was on the 8th floor of the old Hamburger Building at 8th and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. I'll never forget that night, and I have held both Dr. Francis and Dr. Peebles close to my heart ever since.
"Well, so I was very interested in hearing Thomas Jacobson and seeing if this was real [the channeling]. But I knew it was him [Dr. Peebles] the minute he started speaking. Same powerful voice, same Scottish accent, the same humor and the same wisdom. I had a chance to ask a question, so I decided to ask about George Francis, who also of course had been dead for many years.
"Dr. Peebles replied that he still saw George on the spirit side from time to time, and that his favorite topic for conversation was still 'man's inhumanity to man.' That sealed it right there. I had to slap my leg. That was George's favorite theme while I knew him."
Nelson described Dr. Peebles as a dynamic lecturer even though he was at that time close to one hundred years old. He recalled Dr. Peebles to have been distinguished looking and that he stood tall even though he used a cane. Nelson chuckled when he told us that Dr. Peebles had been accompanied by an attractive, full bosomed, younger woman.
Dr. Peebles' words had apparently had a tremendous impact on young Nelson for he carried with him the memory of their meeting for so very many years. Nelson's wife Dorothy, a delightful woman, confirmed for us that Nelson, indeed, had often spoke of the impact that both Dr. Peebles and George Francis had on him and of the respect and admiration he had for them.
We had an enjoyable afternoon with Nelson and Dorothy. Nelson was thrilled when Thomas offered to do a trance session for him and bring Dr. Peebles to our get together. Nelson had a lively and humorous discussion with his old "friend."
Don and I saw Nelson and Dorothy one more time after that, at the Church of Inner Light. Sadly, Nelson died several months later.
© Copyright 2001 by Linda Pendleton
Nelson Westphalen and Thomas Jacobson
Photograph by Linda Pendleton
A Man Who Knew Dr. James Martin Peebles
"He hasn't changed a bit."