Dr Ian D. Rubenstein

The doctor who trained as a medium


This page is reproduced by kind permission of Roy Stemman from the Paranormal Review website


Spirit helps doctor treat patient


2009 August 10 by Roy Stemman


A general practitioner with a practice in east London was remarkably frank about his mediumistic abilities in a programme, “Talking to the Dead”, one of a series on different faiths on the UK’s Channel 4 which was screened last night (Sunday, 9 August).


Dr Ian Rubenstein was filmed at Walthamstow National Spiritualist Church, where he sits in its Awareness Circle for developing mediums, and in his surgery where he recounted some of his extraordinary experiences.


Richard Alwyn, who filmed, produced and directed the documentary “after being given unprecedented access to a Spiritualist church”, testified that Dr Rubenstein had given him a vivid description of his grandfather when they were both sitting in the development circle. He described him, accurately, as being involved with music, playing instruments and conducting.


At his surgery, he told Alwyn about one woman patient who came to him suffering with inconsolable and inexplicable depression.

“So I printed out a prescription for an anti-depressant for her from the computer and, as I took it out, signed it and went to hand it to her I felt this blow to the back of my head and I heard a voice say, ‘Ask her about her father’.

“As I heard the voice I saw, at least I think I saw – it was almost as if I could see it properly over her left shoulder – the misty outline of a man. And I could actually describe him. I said, ‘Lucy, tell me about your Dad’. And she looked at me quizzically, stopped crying and said, ‘He was killed 38 years ago on the 8th of December by the IRA. Do you think that’s why I’m depressed?’

“And I said, ‘Did he look like…’ and I described him. And she said, ‘Yes, how do you know?’ And I said, ‘Actually, Lucy, I think I’ve just seen him.’ At which point she grabbed my arm and said, ‘Thank you so much, doctor, you don’t know what this means.

“She regained her composure and I offered the prescription but she said, ‘No thanks, I don’t need that now. Now that you’ve told me you’ve seen him, I don’t need it’.”


Dr Rubenstein’s first psychic experience occurred 35 years earlier, when he was a young medical student. He and his sister were sitting with a friend, 19-year-old Felicity who had long dark hair and a dark complexion.  They were having an ordinary conversation when “all of a sudden there was someone else there” who had a very stern “snow queen face” with blonde hair, piercing blue eyes and “distorted thick white lips”. His sister suddenly started screaming and said, ‘My God, did you see those lips?‘ The “vision” had lasted just a few seconds but it made an impact on the young student. Later, talking a friend’s neighbour, medium Keith Hudson had told Dr Rubenstein that he had seen Felicity’s spirit guide. The doctor started going to the Spiritualist church five years ago after an unsettling experience with a patient who gave him an uncannily accurate message from the dead.  There, he was reunited with Keith Hudson who plays an active role in the running of the church, as its vice-president, and who was the focal point of much of the documentary


As well as receiving the doctor’s mediumistic impressions about his grandfather, producer Richard Alwyn also had another experience at the Walthamstow Spiritualist church which was equally impressive.

“When I decided to try healing for myself, it had a dramatic impact.

After years of chronic back pain, I had little expectation of a cure. But after just 20 minutes with a healer the pain was no longer with me, and four months later I still don’t know what to make of it.” Later, he referred to it as “my seemingly miraculous cure”.


Despite these experiences, Alwyn’s voice-over commentary didn’t always do justice to Spiritualism. Even so, this was something of a breakthrough: the Spiritualist movement seldom gets this sort of TV exposure.


But it was Dr Ian Rubenstein who was the undoubted star of the documentary, as he talked about “speaking to these voices in my head that I hear”.

“When I’m doing my job, I’m a doctor. When I come here [to the Spiritualist church] I’m a psychic medium. I’m quite happy with the terminology. …”

Richard Alwyn said he was “amazed by the doctor’s stories, amazed by their contents but also to think of him using spirits as part of a consultation.”

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