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Margaret Thatcher
Via Wikimedia Commons

I went to see Margaret Thatcher’s ghost be summoned to solve Brexit

We attended the Friday 13 event to get a peek at hell from the late Tory prime minister

It promised to be a treat for fans of exploitative cults, hard-right politicians, and pseudoscience. A crude looking flyer punctuated by Union Jacks, a mysterious gathering offered to reveal what the deceased former prime minister Margaret Thatcher thinks about Brexit, and where her spirit is now.

The omens looked good – the seance to summon Thatcher was to take place on Friday 13 – that notoriously spooky date – at the Happy Science building on Margaret Street in Fitzrovia, London. 

‘Happy Science’ is a controversial, relatively new religious and spiritual movement that appears to be a mix of eastern philosophy with a hard-right economic nationalism, discussed in this branch through a prism of western political culture. It’s all about a kind of chaos magic, attempting to breath new life into occultism with a postmodern skepticism concerning the existence of objective truth. 

The movement was started in Japan in the 1980s by former businessman Master Rhuyo Okawa, and claims to boast millions of followers worldwide. In 2009, it even set up the Happiness Realisation political party, although it has yet to win any seats in the Japanese parliament. 

The London office of the organisation is housed in the former St Agnes Hospital ‘for fallen women in need of medical aid’. It reflects a convent-based system of rehabilitation that was prevalent in Victorian Britain, at a time when there was an obsession with deviance, and the control of what Victorians classed as problematic and non-conformist behaviour. It is then a somewhat fitting location to hear from the corpse of a woman whose ruthless neoliberal cruelty saw many working class communities resemble a Victorian workhouse.

On arrival, I paid the £5 suggested donation and climbed four flights of stairs. At the top – dizzy and out-of-breath – I was disappointed to find the seance would actually be a screening of a performance held in Japan just 18 hours after Thatcher died in April 2013.

Undeterred, I took one of the few seats left at the front of a very beige room as our well-suited extremely earnest UK and Europe Master of Happy Science took to the pulpit at the right of the room, where he began to briefly espouse the group’s virtues.

A five minute film started up with a montage of the world’s ills that, at one point, faded out of a night vision military exercise into an overhead shot of the White House; its ultimate message of love portrayed Master Okawa as a god-like figure, reincarnated from nearly every other major religious leader. 

“At a time of such division, it seems like the perfect opportunity to go beyond the grave and hear from one of the county’s most hated and divisive politicians”

On a stand to the left of the pulpit stood the group’s sword of wisdom and the staff of progress, above which read the words ‘El Cantare’, or ‘he will sing’ in Spanish. Underneath the display were a number of books that included ‘The Trump Secret’ and an interview with Princess Diana’s spirit guide. 

It appeared “living Buddha” Master Okawa was a great guy, but I was still skeptical that anyone could channel Thatcher’s evil. Although, at a time of such division, it seems like the perfect opportunity to go beyond the grave and hear from one of the county’s most hated and divisive politicians.

As Master Okawa made contact with Thatcher’s spirit, it became apparent she wasn’t aware of her death – our supernatural conduit began searchingly crying her husband’s name: “Denis, Denis,'” he wailed. Admittedly, my heart leaped at the thought that Thatcher would spend an eternity confused about her own mortality but I would later find out she was just resting in a ‘hospital for the soul’. 

As Thatcher’s spirit mulled over the EU referendum, her spirit had little to offer on the current Brexit debate, only that she had warned the UK that France and Germany had always been the problem with the EU. More worrying were her takes on other areas of foreign policy. At one point, she called for the death of former US President Barack Obama and for Japan to become a nuclear power with weapons bought from the UK or the US to protect itself from a resurgent China.

Unsurprisingly her views on unions remain unhinged, as she described the UK as having an “old-fashioned caste system” and that working class people “loved being lazy”. There was also confirmation that Stalin and Hitler were both antichrists.

Later, she claimed she had previously been reincarnated as Germany’s first chancellor Otto von Bismark, the second king of Israel David, and saved Jesus from the Romans.

She/Okawa declared: “I wasn’t just the Iron Lady, but the hot Iron Lady!” Even those of us in the room who were trying to remain courteous cracked up at this point. Throughout the whole screening, it didn’t appear like anyone in the video was taking the performance that seriously, even the group’s other members.

Afterwards the Happy Science PR man fended off questions ranging from the group’s support for the Japanese empire in World War Two to the attainment of Master Okawa’s supernatural prowess. The path to attainment, said the PR guy, was what I’m assuming to be an expensive ‘training’ program.

The group’s London members were happy to chat over juice and biscuits at the end and their sincerity was quite disarming, there really wasn’t much of a hard sell. Although my friend did buy an hour’s worth of guided meditation music. 

Ultimately I think that any spiritual leader who has written one book every five days since its creation is far more interested in lining his own pockets than leading a global spiritual revolution, but I still left wondering: who had trolled who?

Without the albeit falsely advertised Brexit seance, myself and the other 30-odd attendees wouldn’t have turned up, yet I left grasping a pamphlet on how to cure my own illnesses, a membership form, and a flyer for an evening with Lady Diana’s spirit guide. I’m not going to become a new member anytime soon, but I’d happily pay £20 to find out who really killed the Welsh Princess.