Linda Martel: The Little Girl With the Gift of Healing
Who Was Linda Martel?
Linda Martel was a young girl gifted with the extraordinary power to heal people. Born in Guernsey's Amherst Maternity Home in St. Peter Port at 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 21st, 1956, she sadly only lived until October 20th 1961. During those years, she became a legend for being wise well beyond her years and the sheer number of healing miracles she performed during her short life.
Linda Martel was born with hydrocephalus (water on the brain), spina bifida, and paralysed legs. Doctors gave Linda only months to live. She far outlived their estimations and survived past the age of five.
The doctor in charge of Linda's case was called Dr. Webber. He warned Linda's father that she would most likely go blind and that her head would swell to huge proportions. Sadly, there was nothing he could medically do to help because surgery was not capable of providing a cure.
At 11 days old, Linda was transferred to the St. Peter Port Hospital—everyone assuming her remaining time was limited. Soon after her arrival at the hospital, Linda was christened. Weeks went by, during which time Linda's head did indeed swell up, and after some months, the hospital warned Mr. and Mrs. Martel that their daughter was dying.
Some weeks earlier, Roy Martel (her father) had experienced a very strange event: He heard the sound of wind, and the room filled with a glowing light. Whether it was because of this or some other reason, Roy Martel refused to believe the hospital's message. He told his wife to call the hospital the following morning, and there would be good news. Sure enough, when Mrs. Martel called the hospital the following day, she learned that Linda was alright.
An Experimental Hydrocephalus Treatment
Linda made it to her first birthday, and Matron Bones arranged for a celebratory birthday cake. Shortly after this, the same matron read of a new American treatment for hydrocephalus cases such as Linda's. The treatment (invented by an American called Spitz, with a valve designed by another American named Holter) drew fluid away from the head. Matron Bones wrote to Spitz hoping that the estimated £2,000 (about £48,000 or $61,000 when adjusted for inflation) required to send Linda to see him could be raised. Luckily, this proved unnecessary: Sptiz wrote back to say that an English surgeon by the name of Peter Rickham had been studying the treatment in the US and was now back in England.
Going Through With the Surgery
Mr. Rickman readily agreed to see Linda, but due to the costs of the necessary valves that the treasury refused to pay for, he was left having to improvise using a polythene catheter to drain the fluids into the peritoneal cavity. This was a temporary success, and Linda's head did start to reduce in size. By the time the catheter failed to work, Mr. Rickman had fortunately been able to obtain the correct valves. He performed the operation, and Linda was back in the Guernsey hospital within a matter of days (now aged just 17 months).
Linda Goes Home
Linda began to talk whilst still in the hospital, and for this reason, her first words were "My Lady," "Doctor Webber" and "Sister." There were no other children around for Linda to learn more basic words from. By the time Linda reached two years and nine months old, Dr. Webber decided she would be better off at home because she was in no imminent danger of dying.
Linda's Healing, "the Lady," and Jesus
It was after Linda's arrival home that her family noticed Linda possessed the ability to not only "see" illness and pains that people were suffering from—but she could also cure these afflictions.
Linda often spoke about "my Lady" and Jesus, and shortly after returning from Liverpool, she had told her father, "Roy, it's my Lady who looks after me. She comes to see me you know." She answered a question from her father by saying, "the Lady has a blue dress, and she wears a gold chain around her waist. She doesn't smile or laugh; she cries. She cries, you know." If a person died, she would say: "He is with my Jesus. He is in Heaven."
What is worth mentioning here is that Linda's parents did not attempt to indoctrinate Linda into a denomination or variation of any organised religion. They simply practiced one main commandment: love thy neighbour.
She Seemed to Have Uncanny Wisdom
The deep, meaningful statements made by Linda on the topic of religion were therefore not a result of any brainwashing. As her father said, "There was no arguing with Linda when she spoke; she spoke with authority."
Linda did not, however, like to hear hymns being sung, and she feared entering church. When her parents tired to take her on a couple of occasions, she exclaimed, "I don't like churches. I only like the people."
As Roy states, "Linda knew this was not the only life because, at two and a half years, she said to my wife: 'I died before, Eileen. I died before.'"
What does a child of that age know of living or dying? When she said she would walk again, she was dead three weeks later. She was obviously going to be capable of walking again once no longer on this earth.
Right Before Her Death
Aged five years old, Linda said, "My Jesus Christ told me last night that I will walk next year." The very next day she experienced back pains. Linda's concerned parents wanted to send for her doctor, but Linda said, "There isn't any need to send for the doctor. There isn't anything he can do, you know. There isn't anything he can do."
The Friday before Linda died, she said: "My Jesus Christ is not coming to see me many more times, but I shall soon be going. I shall soon be going to see Him, and the world will soon know, you know, Auntie Noreen."
The following Thursday, Linda died in her mother's arms shortly after experiencing breathing difficulties. She was buried in St Sampson's Church cemetery in Guernsey.
Instances of Linda Martel's Alleged Healing Powers
The cases of Linda's clothing curing people are many—too many to list in one article to be honest. I'll enumerate a few.
Her Doctor's Words
Dr. Webber's words proved of particular interest:
It wasn't for some months (after her return from Liverpool hospital) that the story of Linda appeared in the newspapers. Various patients of mine then went to see her. Many of them were definitely neurotic, quite apart from the psychosomatics, and cures are the natural sequence of an illness. There is a medical panel which investigates all claims for cures at Lourdes. The average is less than one a year, which is authenticated though, over the years, there have been quite a few. So a cure can be supernatural. In the case of Linda, you can explain away in medical terms a whole lot of her individual "cures." But to judge by the number of people who claim to have been healed by Linda, there are too many of them, too many coincidences, considering what a short time she was alive. I am not one of those who dismiss this sort of thing out of hand. It is difficult to understand, but things are done which have quite remarkable results.
Strangers Asking for Her Clothing
It was whilst in his cafe that Roy Martel was approached by a gentleman asking if Roy had a handkerchief that Linda had ever handled. When Roy explained that he hadn't, the gentleman asked him if he had any of Linda's clothing at all. When Roy asked the gentleman why he needed the clothing the man's answer was "Well, she used to cure with handkerchiefs; why not her clothing?"
Roy agreed to give the man a piece of Linda's clothing, and gave him a 12-inch-by-1 -inch strip of cloth from one of Linda's dresses. Two weeks later, the man approached Roy again, told him that he had placed the cloth inside his vest in order to help his asthma, and said that now his breathing was 100%. This was just the start, however.
Healing Her Brother's Eye
It wasn't long before fabric from Linda's clothing had also healed Peter's (one of Roy's children) eye after a splinter of wood became lodged in the eye after an accident in his school woodworking class. Within five minutes of applying the cloth to Peter's eye, the swelling, pain and bloodshot appearance had vanished. A quarter-inch-long splinter was left on the cloth once it was removed.
It seems Linda had far more spiritual knowledge than even the clergy can claim to possess. Roy distinctly remembers an occasion where Eileen was ironing, and Linda was listening to a church service on the radio. Linda suddenly turned and said, "They are very silly people, Eileen. They are very silly people." Eileen turned to Linda and said, "What people Linda?" "The ones on the radio, Eileen. Don't they know that my Jesus Christ is God, and that God is Jesus Christ. Don't they know that?" What in that service had prompted Linda to say that? After all, she was only three years old at the time.
Charles Graves wrote in his 1968 book titled The Legend of Linda Martel: "She knew where the pain or the ailment was situated." Roy Martel assures that this is not a fantasy. It may be unbelievable, but nevertheless, it is a fact.
Mrs. Morris's Daughter
One night, Roy Martel answered their front door and found a gentleman standing there. The stranger asked them if they knew a Mrs. Morris, who was a lady that Eileen had sent a piece of the material from one of Linda's dresses to in order to try and help her four-year-old daughter walk. By the third day after the material was applied to the affected area, the child was walking again.
A Dying Baby
There was the baby who was apparently dying from liver and kidney problems, but when the mother sewed a piece of Linda's clothing inside the child's vest, he went on to make a full recovery. Even the lad's doctor says it was a miracle.
The "Water on the Knee" Chap
Then there is the chap with "water on the knee" who had been told he needed an operation, but he could not really afford to take the required time away from work. Within a few days his leg was back to normal and he had no further bother from it.
There was a one Mr. Staples who had a spinal injury that required an uncomfortable steel corset to be worn constantly. He placed a piece of Linda's clothing in his jacket near his injury. For three days, he endured a blinding headache that medicine had no effect on. When the headache finally dissipated, he realised he had no need to continue using the steel corset and could return to his original profession as a roofer.
This same man had a nasty accident trying to stop a 40-foot ladder from slipping. The result left him with split muscles around his heart, and the heart itself had squeezed through the slit. His doctors told him that he would never work again, and he would be bedridden for at least three months. Then Mr. Staples remembered he still had Linda's material in his wallet. Within three weeks, he was weeding in his garden and had returned his business.
Linda's Own Father
Roy went through a phase of getting frequent migraines—to the point where he almost suspected that he had a brain tumor. It was on one of these occasions that Linda (at the time still alive) called him over and put her hands on his said saying, "You'll be all better now." Within ten minutes, the pain had disappeared.
The Girl With Crutches
A girl of 13 asked for help getting a piece of Linda's material sent to her young cousin who had been on crutches for several years and was getting worse. Within two months, the girl had thrown away her crutches, and by January, she was "normal again."
On another occasion, the famous tenor Victor Soverall was on the bill for a local summer season show in Guernsey (in fact, it was my father Sydney James who had booked him to perform). Soverall was overcome with throat trouble and told to rest his voice for several weeks, even though he was under contract at the time. A visit with Linda Martel was arranged by Roy's cousin Flo Bates who was a great fan of Soverall's singing. Linda placed her hands on his throat, and then, after a few minutes said, "You are better now". Later when talking to others present, Victor said, "It's very odd. The pain and tension have left my throat. I wonder when I will be able to sing." Linda said, "You will be able to sing tonight." This he did and had no further problems for the rest of the season.
The Race Car Driver
A man in a race car accident had received all the conventional treatment available for his back injury without success. He went to see Linda. He was doubled up like a cripple. When he entered the house, Eileen came over to him with Linda in her arms. Without any hesitation, Linda put a tiny finger on the very spot where the pain was most intense—the fifth lumbar vertebra. He was cured instantly and able to walk out of the house completely upright.
The Martel Family Never Sought a Profit
No profit has ever been taken by Linda's family for the scraps of clothing that they have given away. In fact, they have voluntarily answered thousands of letters free of charge. Even many senior doctors on the island refuse to dismiss these miracle cures as imagination. One senior surgeon commented that "Doctors have acquired a lot of knowledge about healing, but we are still scratching the surface. Miracles such as those attributed to little Linda Martel depend on faith, which can move mountains."
People Started Visiting Linda's Grave
One thing is for certain: Linda's name lives on, and many visitors come to her grave even now. Her grave was miraculously spared by a landslide in the cemetery that dragged approximately 150 graves into a nearby quarry. Somehow Linda's grave remained undisturbed though, as if by some divine intervention. Here are a few stories of those who have visited her grave.
The Man on TV
Soon cases arose of people with ailments visiting Linda's grave and coming away cured (or being cured shortly thereafter). Shortly after Charles Graves published his book, Mr. Graves phoned Roy to tell him that a gentleman was being featured on Channel Television's news. The man had been told that he only had six months to live because of an advanced growth in his throat. The man visited Linda's grave. He was re-examined after visiting the grave, and the growth had vanished.
A local hotelier took some of his visitors to Linda's grave in order for them to take pictures. The hotelier was due to get cysts removed from his eye. While he was at the grave, he thought he would ask for help. The following morning, the cysts had completely disappeared. His doctor was skeptical, but as the hotelier pointed out, "If you didn't remove the cysts, who did?" The doctor had no answer.
Roy Dodd, who worked at De Putron's paint counter, had been suffering from severe headaches. He came down to the paint counter and said, "Tom, I have to go to Winchester Hospital next Wednesday for an operation." It had to have been a complicated operation to send him all the way to Winchester because Guernsey surgeons were very capable.
Anyway, Dodd needed a mastoid removal and a nose blockage dealt with. Tom then said, "Why don't you try a piece of Linda's dress?" "I don't believe in that bloody nonsense," said Dood. Tom responded by saying quietly, "Look, Roy. I will give you a piece. You are not getting charged for it. It is absolutely free. If it doesn't work, you go to Winchester. If it does work, you won't have to go, will you?" At that, Dodd stopped, thought about it, and then agreed that he had everything to gain and nothing to lose; he accepted a piece of cloth.
Having attached it to his complaint, he retired to bed. The next morning, Dodd attended work, and Tom (Mr. Ramsden) asked if anything had happened. "No," said Dodd, "and I don't expect anything to, that's for sure." About 11:00 a.m. the following Monday, Dodd turned up for work late. He was white as a sheet and had a piece of cotton wool protruding from his ear. After begging a cigarette from Roy Martel (Linda's father), Dodd went on to say:
"I never want that to happen to me again. I woke up at about 2:00 a.m. In my head, the pain was terrible," he said. "I thought I was going mad; then all of a sudden there was a flash of light—I thought I was going or gone." Then he said, "I woke up or came to—I don't quite know which." Blood and pus had poured out of his ear and down his nose. To the best of Roy Martel's knowledge, Dodd never went to Winchester or back to a doctor.
Linda Could Spot Ailments in Photographs
Linda had another amazing gift: she could detect illness from photographs sent to her parents from people abroad. Bearing in mind that many of the accompanying letters needed to be translated into English, it was often not possible for Linda to know the nature of the problem simply from the enclosed photos. In spite of this, she would point at an area of the person's body within the photo and say, "That person is sick. It is there." It was even claimed that Linda could look at photos of groups of people and point out which of the people were deceased and "With my Jesus Christ" as she put it.
Although Linda was baptised as a Christian in hospital, she seemed to have distinct aversion—even distrust—of churches. Linda received no religious instruction from her parents, yet somehow knew about Jesus and his Mother Mary. Even if she had learned this during her time in the Liverpool hospital, she would have learned it at an incredibly young age.
Handkerchiefs, as we know, featured highly in Linda's healing, and her parents were always buying them. It states in Acts 19:12,
So that from his [Paul's] body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases parted from them...
Many who met Linda said that she had a wisdom beyond her years and that when she looked into your eyes it was like looking into the eyes of an "old soul." She spoke in a manner much like a mature woman and commanded an air of authority to those around her (even her parents, whom she always called by their first names).
Her father donated one of her dresses to the Guernsey Museum, hoping that the dress might heal those who looked at it. The material itself might be or have been an intermediary of some unknown force.
Research Sources Used
- Martel, Roy. The Mysterious Power of Linda Martel. Guernsey, Channel Islands: Toucan Press, 1973.
- Linda Martel - Little Healerby Bob Bloomfield. 1990.