THE UNCERTAIN SPY
tale of elusive espionage
shadows of a spy are as visible as the mists of time, and there was
no one more mysteriously linked with that dark art than His Excellency
Sir Dr Alexander Cannon. Inside
Excellency Sir Dr Alexander Cannon is not a name that immediately leaps
off the pages of a Le Carre novel - but his is a story of intrigue.
of Man, during World War Two, was considered a safe haven and it was there
that the doctor elevated himself to the ranks of high society.
he qualified as a doctor at Leeds University, he never practiced. Instead,
his mundane lifestyle was transformed as he became hypnotherapist to the
His titles of "His Excellency" and "Sir" were bogus,
but his fortune became very real.
an incredible man
was equally as bizarre. From the regular magic shows to his claim of being
able to read Hitler's mind, it was althogether something that MI5 considered
Amongst other unusual practices, Dr Cannon would manipulate his patients
with recordings of his hypnotic voice telling them they really were
as a medical practitioner in 1928. It was during these early years in
practice he wrote books about levitation and the occult drawing patients
to his lavish Harley Street clinic.
He thought his adopted title of "His Excellency" gave him a
certain kudos and by the late 1930s, his London clinic had become very
façade of his rather unusual public repertoire - coffin tricks
and the hypnosis of chickens, Dr Cannon faced allegations of being a Nazi
practices on the Isle of Man at Ballamoor Castle
was declared, the Isle of Man was a safe refuge. So it was here that the
doctor moved his practice. But it was immediately adjoining an RAF base.
The move to the island immediately brought with it further suspicions.
One of his
military patients, Admiral Davies, was involved in planning naval manoeuvres
in the Atlantic. Others were peppered throughout the ranks of the RAF.
psychiatrist - Dr Doris Odlum was sent to the island by MI5 to investigate
the situation. She was alarmed by what she found.
But all she did find was simply rumour and suspicion.
After a police
search uncovered no firm evidence of espionage, Dr Cannon's peculiar treatments
were allowed to continue in outbuildings behind Cannon's castle.
the Duke of York one of Dr Cannon's patients?
has found that although his patients in the military may have been above
suspicion, the MI5 file reveals yet another concerning point - Cannon's
friendship with Capt George Drummond.
Drummond was a Nazi sympathiser.
He had been
removed from Northampton and interned on the Isle of Man in a palacial
mansion. He not only had entertained the Duke of York there, before he
was king - but also members of a pro-Nazi organisation, of which Drummond
didn't bother Dr Cannon. He dined out on Drummond's royal connections.
Eventually, the suspicions about Dr Cannon became so great that the RAF
forced him out of his home.
had been intercepted on Dr Cannon's tapped phone, and MI5 thought this
was the first "real evidence" against him. So, the RAF wanted
Investigations also focussed on his two assistants to his theatrical practices
- Rhonda de Rhonda and Joyce de Rhonda.
they were in fact Eleanor and Joyce Robson from Sunderland, having changed
their names by deed poll.
But the reasons why Cannon had teased the security services went with
him to his grave.
|High-profile campaigns have highlighted access issues
messages turned out to be meaningless.
police force worked out that Cannon simply craved attention - something
that MI5 concluded long after.
war ended, Cannon satisfied his attention craving with his live magic
shows. Curiously enough, part of his show was titled "Journey to
beyond the grave".
Given the people he had dealt with, Dr Cannon could certainly have imparted
a wealth of interesting tales, but
his alleged dabbling with espionage will never be proven.