Laubscher, Dr B J F
Dr Barend Jacob Frederick Laubscher [born 1897 - ? ] was a medical doctor – a physician – and a psychiatrist, who was born in and practised in South Africa. He became the Chief Psychiatrist at the Queenstown Mental Hospital, South Africa.
He was born in Vredenburg, a town of the Cape West Coast in the Western Cape province of South Africa. "Vrede" is Afrikaans for peace.
In South Africa and indeed the medical world he was better known for the book “Sex, Custom and Psychopathology” which was the fruit of his work with the Xhosa peoples, but Dr Laubscher also had a great interest in spiritual experiences. He not only recorded them when they occurred as part of his medical practice, but collected them from letters or other sources sent to him. Many are recorded, along with the background to them, in his book “Where Mystery dwells” .
In compiling the book, Dr Laubscher made an appeal for people to send in their own experiences. He apparently had hundreds and hundreds of replies, which meant that he then had to select from these and using his experience as a doctor and the training in taking a case history, he selected a number of cases and followed them up. Thus we have a scientific method applied to the study, he even adds personal comments about why he selected a particular case.
Marius Valkhoff – Preface to Where Mystery dwells
I wish to stress two facts which struck me particularly when reading Dr Laubscher. There is first the enormous wealth of cases of ‘paranormal’ occurrences. They are not a stroke of good fortune of the author. In Johannesburg, too, the S.A. Society for Psychical Research gets the same number of cases regularly reported to them, there are more than we can ever envisage to investigate. Our Republic with its different races and old traditions is a prodigious reservoir of psychic and mediumistic power and potentialities…. The second fact which is very notable is that official science has kept itself nearly unanimously aloof from investigations of this kind….. As the reader will notice, these two facts – the great frequency of the paranormal phenomena and the official ignorance of them – contrast strongly and sadly….. It is to the outstanding merit of Dr Laubscher’s to have underlined once more the discrepancy, by his wealth of cases and his intelligent discussion and classification of them.
Dr Laubscher spent his childhood on a farm facing the Atlantic Ocean, at the mouth of the Berg river and with a backdrop of blue mountains. He spent most of his childhood with local people fishing in their sailboats, helping with harvests on the farm. His family had emigrated from Germany some 300 years before and he thought of himself as Afrikaans. Dr Laubscher immersed himself in the culture of the locals.
He seems, in fact, to have felt more at home as a child with the people on his father’s farm who worked there, than his own family.
Out of all the memories of a bygone age, I retain many vivid impressions…. Each has an emotional atmosphere of spirituality which even as a child, made me think that somewhere, transcendent to all the earthly pleasures was a world where beauty, grace and harmony ruled supreme. And this, I must add, was not taken from any religious teaching.
His father appears to have been a firm, but just man, who ran the farm on paternal lines, his workers were simply extensions to the family.
Yet these local people formed a sentimental background to our lives. I have seen my father sit up the whole night while an old servant was dying with his head on his lap. There was a strange bond between the master and servant of those semi-feudal days. The Aias carried us on their backs and sang us lullabies at bedtime while the outas told us stories, mostly of talking animals and I, for one, enjoyed these thrills of their phantasy world, created with such abundance of vitality and supernormal creatures.
Barend had a mentor called Outa Jantjies [Outa signified a person whom one should treat with great respect – an ‘elder’ or wise person] and as a consequence, he was able to experience the spiritual for himself, thus we have a good scientifically minded researcher whose own experiences and childhood led him to be open minded about the case histories he was sent. Outa Jantjes family had been with Barend’s family since their liberation from being slaves and he claimed to be a Hottentot. Barend describes him as good natured, strong, tall and with ‘peppercorn hair’, so he was already an elderly man when Barend was a child.
Often in the years that followed I wondered at Outa Jantjes’ genius for inventing stories. There was a subtle poetic sense in some of them. One day, while speaking of the silence of the deeply wooded kloofs, he told me that this silence was actually made by the spirits who lived there. They sang with the humming insects and the birds, but one had to train one’s hearing to discern their notes and voices from those of the bees, crickets and birds. Should one walk very silently and not even break a twig, then lie down on your stomach near a little stream or preferably a tiny waterfall under the dense undergrowth, and then listen and listen, one could hear them making tinkling noises like little bits of glass to the accompaniment of the bird songs.
Barend studied Medicine at the University of Glasgow between 1919-1923, returning initially with his Scottish wife to Port Elizabeth to practise. Why the University of Glasgow? From about the 19th century South Africa had been the target of Scottish Presbyterian missions, and their presence – presumably positive given the effect - influenced the decision of South African-born students to study in Scotland as well as the emigration of graduates of the University of Glasgow to work in Africa as ministers, teachers, medical officers or engineers.
The first University student was Tiyo Soga, who attended in 1851. The first graduate was Abdullah Abdurahman in 1893. As a small aside, the University’s first South African Rector was Albert John Mvumbi Luthuli, who was widely admired for leading a non-violent campaign against apartheid in South Africa. He had to serve remotely as Rector from 1962 until 1965 as he was not able to leave South Africa.
A number of the observations have been grouped under the heading of African tribal, as they were not Laubscher’s own experiences but the experiences of the African people whose cases he recorded. These observations can be found by going to this section and looking for the name B J F Laubscher in the observations.
There are some observations that he collected that are not of the indigenous African people but of his fellow [white] South Africans, so we have grouped them for convenience under his name. There are also a number of his own experiences and also some that he witnessed – cases of psychokinesis for example and again we have placed them here as he was part of the experience – a witness.
- Sex, custom, and psychopathology; a study of South African pagan natives. - London, Routledge, 1937
- The Philosophy of the Evolution of Spirit. - Unie-Volkspers, 1949
- Where mystery dwells 
- Body, mind and spirit : The Pagan soul 
The paintings on this page are by Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef (13 August 1886 – 14 November 1957), who was a South African landscape artist. His distinctive style is widely recognised and his work was greatly influenced by the South African landscape. Most of his landscapes were of the South African highveld, which provided a lifelong source of inspiration for him.
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- Dr Barend Jacob Frederick Laubscher has his own prophetic experience
- Dr Barend Jacob Frederick Laubscher meets Miss Lily Thomas
- Laubscher, B J F - A familiar 'something' in the shape of a black Scotch terrier dog, only seen when something was about to happen to her
- Laubscher, B J F - A few days later Mrs K died of a stroke
- Laubscher, B J F - A huge black dog appeared amongst them – but it was just a shared hallucination
- Laubscher, B J F - An ex-officer of the Indian Army who wished to remain anonymous sees his dead mother in a lily
- Laubscher, B J F - Dreaming of the ghost of a little black Scots terrier
- Laubscher, B J F - Dreams of flying and OBEs
- Laubscher, B J F - Dreams of flying, OBEs and sights of another world where his dead friend was learning to make pictures with his mind
- Laubscher, B J F - His little doggie pal had come back to play with him
- Laubscher, B J F - I have just seen 'greatgrannie' going up, up there in the sky
- Laubscher, B J F - I lost my baby; and my sister and sister-in-law each lost a child
- Laubscher, B J F - Jamie and the phantom limb from having his leg amputated
- Laubscher, B J F - Jamie goes out of body whilst having his leg amputated
- Laubscher, B J F - Mrs May Davies from Pinelands in the Cape, has a vision of her Mother
- Laubscher, B J F - Out of body from typhoid, fever and haemorrhage
- Laubscher, B J F - Outa Jantjes and Grietje, the girl who could throw stones and lift vases with her mind
- Laubscher, B J F - Seeing the ghost of the little girl who drowned in the dam
- Laubscher, B J F - She was blue in the face already
- Laubscher, B J F - The grey apparition floating along as if draped in a long frock and with hooded head that is the harbinger of gloom
- Laubscher, B J F - The poltergeists who threw rocks and coal in the house of Mr and Mrs Nieuwoudt
- Laubscher, B J F - The Rabbi’s spirit kept the little boy from being lonely
- Laubscher, B J F - The secrets of Anna; diagnosing illness and auras
- Laubscher, B J F - The secrets of Anna; ouiji boards, table lifting and tapping
- Laubscher, B J F - The secrets of Anna; summoning squirrels
- Laubscher, B J F - There were noises, movement of objects, rappings under the table and footsteps all over the place
- Laubscher, B J F - Three knocks as the signal of having gone to the other side
- Laubscher, B J F – A Premonition seen as an hallucination - Mother passed away this morning
- Laubscher, B J F – A premonition of the dangers of an illicit diamond deal
- Laubscher, B J F – Am I getting a little crazy because of my pregnancy
- Laubscher, B J F – Astra goes out of body to a friend
- Laubscher, B J F – Can you imagine what I endured during those twenty-one days
- Laubscher, B J F – Cesi Bon to win the Durban July
- Laubscher, B J F – Four of his companions had been shot as spies but his execution was postponed for a few days
- Laubscher, B J F – Gone, gone, gone to the other shore
- Laubscher, B J F – Has a vision of the death of the little girl who looked after his child
- Laubscher, B J F – I became aware that I was up in the roof of my room, looking down at my sleeping body
- Laubscher, B J F – Little Deon Els prophesies his own death
- Laubscher, B J F – Mamma a motor car has just run over my 'Oupa'
- Laubscher, B J F – Mr de K from Pretoria University goes out of body with a friend
- Laubscher, B J F – Mr Sp catches a glimpse of the 1900s in May 1938 in Pietermaritzburg
- Laubscher, B J F – Mr. J. A. Nardin of Port Elizabeth, who ignored his inner voice, has his right hand mangled in a mincing machine
- Laubscher, B J F – Mrs D Jones of Sasolburg describes her symbolic visions and OBEs
- Laubscher, B J F – Mrs K from Pretoria sees her dead son and goes out of body
- Laubscher, B J F – Mrs Mey has too many prophecies and after this was regarded almost as a witch
- Laubscher, B J F – Mrs R is given the instructions of a dying man - Clara please give Koos a piece of bread
- Laubscher, B J F – Mrs. Cadel of Johannesburg, a trained nurse, witnesses the past murder of a lover
- Laubscher, B J F – Mrs. G. of Lydenburg thought that this was the end of physical existence, and that death had brought a change for a new life
- Laubscher, B J F – Mrs. Greyling’s Near Death Experience
- Laubscher, B J F – Mrs. Hunter, Junior Red Cross organizer for the Eastern Cape goes out of body after a train crash
- Laubscher, B J F – My body was dead but I walked about the house
- Laubscher, B J F – One piece of this washing was an old white blouse of mine and blood was seeping on to it
- Laubscher, B J F – Premonitions of the deaths of her relatives
- Laubscher, B J F – She had followed the little ducklings, wanting to catch them and got into deep water
- Laubscher, B J F – She was out of body and then saw Stanley who had died in Italy on 7th February 1945
- Laubscher, B J F – Sister G. Heinz a masseuse at the warmbaths near Carolina, floating out of a third-floor window of the block of flats on her back
- Laubscher, B J F – The farmer who he felt his consciousness enter into every particle belonging to an infinite whole
- Laubscher, B J F – The van Staden’s strange and beautiful phantom visitor who was out of body in their house
- Laubscher, B J F – The widow’s tale - I was excited and said 'Oh Dad' and again he vanished
- Laubscher, B J F – Try and listen with me, I am hearing the most beautiful music; it seems to be drawing me, but it is far far away
- Laubscher, B J F – While still staring at his dead mother, she was gone and with that vanished his disbelief