Thursday, 5 January 2012

Patsy Douglas

Yesterday we spent the day in Rye, celebrating the life of Patsy Douglas, also known as Jo Sheridan.  What a fascinating life, we shall miss her.

Patsy Douglas November 12, 1919 – December 17, 2011 

Born Mary Patricia Devlin, but known to her family and close friends as Patsy and professionally as Jo Sheridan, Patsy was born in the Falls Road area of Belfast in 1919. She was the eldest of eight children, with seven sisters and one brother. Her father was Joe Devlin, famed trainer of the Belfast Celtic football team and later a celebrated masseur and recognized healer. 

After St. Dominic’s girls’ grammar school, Patsy ambitiously upped sticks and travelled to the hustle and bustle of life in London to work in the Civil Service. During the 1940s she worked for the Foreign Office dealing with anti-German propaganda and she stayed on at the end of the war to work on the Russian desk as a code breaker. 

With her inquisitive mind, vast vocabulary, sharp wit and her innate healing ability, Patsy broke into journalism as an agony aunt for “Woman” magazine in the early 1950s and by the mid 50s she had advanced her career to feature writer, specializing in astrology, palmistry and the occult for various magazines. 

With the gift to translate complex subjects into simple understandable messages which were entertaining and witty, Patsy fulfilled her publishing dream and released her first book in 1960. Her book, “What your hands reveal” soon became a classic text on the subject of palmistry and is still cherished to this day by many experts and students of palmistry. Other books soon followed, including “The Floral Oracle”, based on her in-depth knowledge of flowers, herbs and trees of the zodiac. 

As her writing career took off, Patsy made waves in the occult as Assistant Editor of “Prediction” magazine, and was following in her father’s footsteps in the art of healing. She built a very successful hypnotherapy practice at a time when this was a very rare profession for anyone, let alone a woman during the 1960s. 

Moving in famous circles, Patsy appeared on numerous TV programmes, and intrigued TV personalities, including Alan Whicker, who was most impressed with her when he brought a film crew to her consulting rooms in London in 1966 to film a feature for “Whicker’s World of Healing.” 

Towards the end of the 60s, Patsy met her kindred spirit Bosie Douglas, who she married on Saint Patrick’s Day in 1972 and loved him dearly for the rest of her life, lovingly referring to him as her Golden Bosie. Patsy continued her interest in the zodiac, writing annual horoscope books for each sign of the zodiac for Mayflower Books, which became extremely popular, with sales reaching over five hundred thousand per year. 

In the 1980s, Patsy fulfilled her ambition to open her own alternative therapies centre in London, where she practiced hypnotherapy and provided facilities for other therapists to help people resolve their physical or emotional problems. By the 1990s, the centre had become world famous, offering over 20 different types of alternative therapies, with numerous patients from the entertainment business and medical doctors referring their clients to the centre. 

After an extremely successful, active, creative, spiritual and intellectual career, Patsy left London to retire in the quiet town of Rye in East Sussex with Bosie in 2002. Patsy enjoyed retirement studying, learning, working on new projects and entertaining others as she recounted an episode from her past or commented on what was happening around her. 

Patsy was a remarkable woman who captivated everyone who met her. She was a woman way ahead of her time and successfully competed in male dominated careers. You could always rely on Patsy to tell you exactly what she thought. She had a very unique outlook on the world. Her sharp wit, truthfulness, wisdom and warm nature engaged everyone who met her, and her caring spirituality healed many. Patsy had two daughters and two sons, three granddaughters and four great-grand children and she was very proud of all of them. She celebrated her 92nd birthday in November and her sharp mind and memory were unimpaired till the end.

She was one of a kind and can never be replaced.

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