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Helen Wilmans

Pioneer of Mental Science

Helen Wilmans-Post was an American journalist, publisher and proponent of the mental science movement which stressed control of mind over matter. She started her own paper, The Woman's World, and published a weekly magazine, Freedom.

Wilmans, a poor, downtrodden farm wife for over twenty years, eventually determined to leave her husband and fulfil her dream of becoming a ‘literary woman’. She went to San Francisco with but a few dollars in her purse. When she arrived there she secured her first position on a newspaper, then she gradually drew to herself through that center money enough to enable her to live more comfortably than previously. 

From a journalist she became an author, wrote several books and finally added healing and teaching to her long list of accomplishments. Through it all she continued to draw more and more opulence to herself until she was very rich. By her own example she has shown that she belongs to the second class of workers and makes the statement in her book, "The Conquest of Poverty," that no one can draw wealth to himself independently of physical effort.

A one time student of Emma Curtis Hopkins, Helen Wilmans was a very important and influential figure in the theory and practice of what in the latter part of the nineteenth century became known as mental science. Not only a teacher in her own right, but a teacher of teachers, this pioneer metaphysician gave to hundreds of teachers and healers a vision of what they could do for their students and patients, and a vital impulse and force irresistible and inexhaustible

A woman of middle age, living among strangers, torn by sorrows and worn by worries, having no capital whatever, no experience in managing a business, and no money to pay her board bill, founded a publishing concern that made money from the start and put her on her feet in a month after she went in business by herself. 

Let her tell the story in her own words:

“It may not be amiss here to speak a word concerning my own experience--it often happens that the experience of another fires him who hears it to a new effort--and I want to tell how all things have conspired to push and kick and starve me into my present position of thought. “My temperament is lymphatic. I like my ease. I could amuse myself with small pleasures. I could bear much inconvenience and endure bad treatment, finding compensation in books, embroidery, and other small enjoyments.

“But it seemed as if everything I touched turned to ashes--as if nature were in conspiracy with fate to drive me on. I lost my home, where I would have been content to raise poultry for a living. I was driven into newspaper work from my very hunger.

“I was successful in this work only a few months. My ideas ripened too fast and I began, without knowing it, to write ahead of the demand made by the class of readers who took the paper I was on. Then this door shut in my face, and other doors did the same, until I stood, one sleety November day, out in the Chicago streets with twenty-five cents in my pocket, and not a soul on earth from whom I felt free to ask a dollar.

“And now note this: I was stripped of every dependence save that which I had in my lone self. And oh, what a position it was! I shall never forget it. Do you imagine that I was frightened? The first attempt I made to analyze my feelings brought me the fact that I was not frightened at all.

“Then came such a consciousness of power as I never had had before in my life. Everything was swept from me and I stood alone in my own strength. And this naked strength is a tremendous thing to stand in. There is nothing equal to it.

“For the first time in my life I was perfectly erect; I touched no one at any point. I felt myself an unfathomable abyss of mighty potencies. I was glad my purse was empty; the thought of money should never master me again. I started toward my boarding house, with the exultant freedom of a bird. I held a power in my hands that nothing could quell; that power was the absence of fear--the sense of freedom, and the consciousness of my own independent and unaided strength.

“I went to my room and began to write; and that article was the most emphatic declaration of the right of the ‘I’ that was ever put in type. Looked at from a conventional standpoint it was utterly lawless. But when it came out, it touched the people like a shock of electricity. It said for them what they wanted to say but dared not. Hundreds of journals copied it, and it ran through public feeling like wildfire.

“I had just finished writing it when there came a rap at my door and my landlord came in. He was a man who looked carefully after his own interests.

“You came home early,” he said, “and if you do not care I want to know why.” I told him that I had lost my position.

“What will you do?” he asked.

“I will make a paper of my own that shall be free from the fear of public opinion,” I said.

“And then I read the article I had written. Now this man was almost a stranger to me. I simply knew him by sight. When I read him what I had written he stood up to go. At the door he turned and with a manner as respectful as if he had been addressing a queen, asked if he might have the privilege of furnishing the money necessary to get the paper out.

“But it was not necessary. I finished writing the other articles to be used and then took them to the largest newspaper publishers in the city. I told them I wanted twenty thousand copies of the paper. They asked no questions; the paper came out in a few days and was sent to such addresses as I could command. The bill for the paper was never presented to me. I called for it some four weeks later and paid for it out of the money that flowed in on me in subscriptions, and I have never lacked for a dollar since.

“I have told this for a purpose, as the student may guess. I want to show that the basis of success rests in a person’s power to stand alone; and no man will ever be the magnet to attract success until he can stand alone, straight and tall as a liberty pole, glorying in the position; free from fear; independent of public opinion, and daring to be himself. Here is the strength that draws still greater strength; here is that which all men adore, and before which all false assumptions of greatness doff their tinsel crowns.”

This first bold venture was the beginning of the marvelous career of Helen Wilmans. Going from strength to strength, always aiming higher and achieving more, she built a city, founded a colony, made a fortune, wrote and published a library of Mental Science, healed hundreds of patients of all manner of ailments and diseases, taught thousands of students the way to heal, energize, upbuild and emancipate themselves.

In the state of Washington, interest early appeared in Helen Wilmans' type of mental science, and a Mental Science Association was organized in Seattle. The first convention was held in Seattle in 1899. The second convention representing this mental science was held at Seabreeze, Florida, in 1900.

During her healing ministry Helen Wilmans ran into trouble and was said to have made fraudulent use of the United States mails by soliciting money for "absent treatment." Apparently, Mrs. Wilmans was discredited and the value of absent treatment called in serious question. The facts in the case were best known by Eugene Del Mar, president of the League for the Larger Life, and actively connected with the New Thought movement since 1898. Mr. Del Mar, who had been a student of Mrs. Wilmans' writings for several years, and established the New York branch of the Mental Science Temple in 1899, says,

"It was my good fortune to know Helen Wilmans intimately, first visiting her at Sea Breeze, Fla., as her guest, and subsequently taking up my residence there for six months, lecturing and writing for her magazine, Freedom.

"Helen Wilmans was one of the most broadminded of the leaders of the movement, with pioneer spirit and courage, and when others accepted or compromised with the arbitrary and bureaucratic methods of the Post Office Department she defied them and fought to the end. Her resistance endured to the great ultimate advantage of the movement, even in the face of the criticism and condemnation with which she was greeted by some of the New Thought leaders.

"The Post Office Fraud Order was placed on Helen Wilmans without even prior notice. There was no hearing, no trial, no conviction. It was instituted by the jealousy of the man who dominated Sea Breeze, Helen Wilmans having established her 'City Beautiful" a few miles distant, and thereby taken away the post office and other privileges that this Sea Breeze magnate had previously enjoyed. He happened to be an intimate of the then senior U.S. senator from Maine, who was very close to the President; and on motives of jealousy and revenge, and at the instigation of political intrigue, the Post Office Department was set in motion in true Russian autocratic manner.

"Helen Wilmans was cut off from the world without chance for redress and condemned publicly without hearing or trial. After this had been done, she was indicted on a charge of 'fraud,' the U. S. Government contending that her claim of cure by absent treatment was necessarily fraudulent because it was impossible to be done. Her claim was false because absent cure was impossible, and it was fraudulent because she must have known that it was impossible. The United States district judge so instructed the jury as follows: 'The foundation of the contention of the Government is that what was promised to be done could not have been intended, because the fulfillment was known to be impossible, by the means proposed by the defendant, viz. the transfer of the power of her thought to the person of the client with a curing influence sufficient to accomplish the changes in condition that were declared to be accomplished.

"The United States Supreme Court reversed this decision and finally--after Helen Wilmans had been impoverished, her business ruined, and her spirit broken--the matter was dropped. When, not long after this, her husband died, she felt that she had no further desire to go on with her work, and she passed away.

"Helen Wilmans was one of the many wonderful women that the New Thought movement has produced. She was much misunderstood and maligned by those who either did not know her or were prejudiced by her pioneer methods. I shall indeed be glad if at this late date some measure of justice is done to her memory."

Of course no question concerning the value of absent treatment as a whole could be settled in court. The test question for devotees of the silent method would be, What constitutes absent treatment? Can it be undertaken for a group, or should it be employed for the benefit of one person at a time only, and this as a result of correspondence between healer and patient, with a precise arrangement as to time, and the number of sittings? Some of the critics of Helen Wilmans perhaps hastily assumed that Mrs. Wilmans treated all her absent patients at once, and that these were acquired through responses to advertisements in which great promises were held out. If so, their judgments were indeed ill-founded, and as sweeping as those of the district judge.

Despite these early difficulties, millions of people today who are using practical psychology in their professional duties, business problems, home relations or personal life gained their first knowledge of how to succeed from teachings that stemmed from Helen Wilmans and her army of students.

The following books by Helen Wilmans are available to purchase in eBook form for immediate download. They may then be read on your computer and printed out. The eBooks are in Adobe Acrobat Reader (.pdf) format.

Excerpts from the following may be read online:

Home Course in Mental Science

The Conquest of Death

The following books may be ordered using a Credit Card via our association with Amazon.com. Be sure to use the Back button on your browser after viewing or ordering to enable you to check out the other titles listed on this and our other pages:

Blossom of the Century

Home Course in Mental Science

Conquest of Death

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