Johanne Elisabeth Agerskov (1873–1946), daughter of the Danish inventor Rasmus Malling-Hansen, was a Danish intermediary. Together with her husband, Michael Agerskov, she was responsible for the ethic-religious, philosophic and scientific book, Toward the Light (in Danish, Vandrer mod Lyset!), first published by Michael Agerskov in Copenhagen in 1920.
In her young days Johanne Agerskov worked as a teacher, and she married Michael Agerskov in 1899. Their only daughter, Inger Agerskov, was born in 1900, and Johanne Agerskov became a housewife. During the first decade of the last century, Michael Agerskov became interested in spiritistic phenomenons, and he also persuaded his wife to participate in séances, even though she was sceptical in the beginning. Very soon some extraordinary happenings occurred, and the spirits of the transcendental world called upon Johanne Agerskov and gave her the message that she was a mediator, and that she before her birth had promised to be instrumental in bringing some of the eternal truths to mankind.
Once convinced that she had a special mission, Johanne Agerskov and her husband formed a circle with two more couples and for many years held weekly séances, in which messages from the spirits of the light were given to Johanne Agerskov through intuitive thought-inspiration. She had the unique ability to close off her own thoughts, so that all she could hear in her mind was the thoughts of the spirit with whom she was in contact. This was very demanding, and in this period she gave up all the pleasures of social life, in order to be focused and prepared for the séances. The members of the circle were called on to form questions to the spirits, and soon after they were given the answers through messages to Johanne Agerskov, which then were written down by the participants.
This work resulted in the publishing of the great book, Toward the light, which was said to be a message to mankind from the transcendental world, and it was sent out to all the bishops and to 60 ministers of the Danish church. The hope was that they would participate in a reformation of the Danish church, based upon the new knowledge given in Toward the Light. Johanne and Michael Agerskov made great efforts through answering letters and by opening their home to anybody who wanted to see them about Toward the Light but there were still not much public interest in the book, and the expected reformation did not take place.
Johanne Agerskov was also deeply engaged in the work of her father, inventor, minister and principal of the Royal Institute for Deaf Mutes in Copenhagen, Rasmus Malling-Hansen. In 1924 a Danish professor set forward false accusations that Malling-Hansen was not the inventor of the Hansen Writing Ball, and Johanne Agerskov engaged herself in a thorough investigation of the facts together with her sister, Engelke Wiberg. They wrote several articles on the subject, and Johanne Agerskov also wrote a book, called Hvem var Skrivekuglens Opfinder? (in English: Who was the Inventor of the Writing Ball?), published in Copenhagen in 1925.
Journey toward light
In 1926 there was formed a Society for the advancement of Toward the Light and services based on Toward the Light were held for the members of the Society, but Johanne Agerskov was sceptical to this, because in Toward the Light the followers of the book are called on to stay in the church and to work for a reformation from within.
Even though the Agerskovs in the beginning had been participating in spiritistic séances, they soon appealed to everybody to end this activity, as it's said in Toward the Light that the calling on the spirits of deceased ancestors will bring problems to those who can't resist the call to appear. The spirits need to rest and to prepare for their next incarnation, and are not allowed to visit the earth, according to Toward the Light.
Michael Agerskov died in 1933, but Johanne Agerskov continued to answer letters and to publish some works up until 1938, now in cooperation with her daughter, Inger Agerskov. During the last years of her life Johanne Agerskov was suffering from illness, and was not able to leave her home.
Photos of Johanne Agerskov
In Denmark there is, and has been, a disagreement whether to publish photos of Johanne Agerskov or not, as she has been said to have destroyed all her own pictures of herself before she died. Some of the followers of Toward the Light! have the opinion that her will in this matter should be respected, and do not want to take part in the publishing of photos.
Others, as is the case with the author of this article, can't see anything wrong in publishing photos of Johanne Agerskov, considering that photos of her are available in public collections in both Denmark and Norway. There are also many photos already published on the Internet, in connection with her father, the Danish inventor, Rasmus Malling-Hansen. This article therefore contains photos of both Johanne and her husband Michael Agerskov - photos which have been supplied by their descendants, who have no objections against the publishing of the photos.
- Hilsen to Danmark, Copenhagen 1915
- Toward the Light!, Copenhagen 1920
- The Doctrine of Atonement and the Shorter Road, Copenhagen 1920
- Some Psychic Experiences, by Michael Agerskov, Copenhagen 1922
- Questions and answers I and II, Copenhagen 1929-30
- Hvem var Skrivekuglens Opfinder? by Johanne Agerskov, Copenhagen 1925
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Johanne Agerskov.|
- The International Foundation for Toward the Light!
- Toward the Light! online on many different languages
- Unofficial website promoting Toward the Light!