Photograph of Earnest OatenBorn in Bristol in 1875, Ernest Oaten was one of the most formidable workers for organised Spiritualism, giving almost sixty years' service. He attended his first seance in 1892 and began his investigations. He attended lectures by Emma Hardinge Britten, Edward Wallis, James J. Morse and others.

In 1900 he moved to Portsmouth, doing valuable work in reorganising the local psychical society, and in circa 1903 he was President of the Portsmouth Temple.

In 1911 he was elected to a seat on the SNU council, becoming President in 1915. Under Oaten's Presidency in 1916 at the Glasgow AGM the Executive Committee was instructed to raise a fund of £1,000 for the purpose of parliamentary action for the amendment of the Witchcraft and Vagrancy Acts.

Oaten was closely associated with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the fight for an amendment to the law which prevents mediums working legally. On July 1st 1930 the first depiutation, headed by Conan Doyle, THe Honorary President of the SNU, met the Home Secretary. This was Conan Doyle's last gallant fight for Spiritualism, as he died on 7th July 1930.

Earnest Oaten in 1934 was the first speaker on the BBC on behalf of the Spiritualist movement in Great Britain, his subject being "What I Believe". Oaten's remarks were entirely uncensored and he was allowed every facility in making clear his opinions. Oaten died on Thursday January 3rd 1952 in Bristol; the service was conducted by Percy Wilson, President of the SNU, and a tribute was given by Maurice Barbanell.