The second of a couple of pamphlets from the world of mediums, psychics and seances - part of a large collection bought from a major collector who was trying to disprove it all. He was particularly incensed by the spoon-bending Uri Geller and worked back from there. There were books on the occult, the paranormal, spirit messages from famous dead authors like Doyle and Wilde, the inevitable Madame Blavatsky, afterlife experiences, many books with titles like 'There is no Death' and messages from the ether, heaven and hell.
This is the well told and touching story of a boy who lost his sight, the operations he went endured, the dismal reactions of his school friends and so called experts and his fortunate awakening to his mediumistic skills and partial regaining of his sight. He appears to have been an accomplished performer and he ends the piece with this caveat 'to all my friends' - 'I wish to state that I do not give private readings or psychometry neither by post or at my home. My work is exclusively confined to the platform.' The work was published in Britain in 1919 but is unknown to the internet and all world libraries - but no longer!
How I Lost my Material Sight
and Gained the Spiritual Sight.
My sole object in writing my life's story is to try and give a little encouragement to those who perhaps, like myself, may meet with misfortunes, from which it may appear for the time being there is neither help nor hope for them on this side of life. My advice to such people is that they should never lose hope. If in despair or depression, or if afflicted, continue to live in hope, have faith, use your will power, try and throw off the condition, and always try to look on the bright side of life. Remember that things are never so bad, but they can be worse. It is quite possible, as in my case, that the doctors sometimes may be wrong. Seek those higher powers, trust in your God and the Spirit Friends, and place your fullest confidence in the,. When seeking help, do not get discouraged, for if one door is closed against you, another will be opened. Read my story very carefully, and note how very sad was my lot, how dark and dreary the path which I had to travel along on this material plain, until those higher powers were found. Note my progression after coming in touch with them, see how God and the Spirit World have guided me and lifted the veil from my material eyes, and given me my Spiritual Sight.
I remember quite well how my affliction came about. I was then twelve years old, we had just finished school and were given a month's holiday. I had been planning in my own mind how I was going to spend it. I can assure you that I intended having a real good time, but eventually I was taken very ill, confined to my bed, and the doctor was sent for. I was kept in bed for a period of six weeks, during which time I suffered with acute pains in my head and back. What I suffered God alone knows, my eyes went crossed and the expression of my face was very wild and unnatural. My parents were Very much upset about the condition of my eyes; and they made it their duty to question the doctor about them. He told them that it was caused by the pain in my head, and said they would be quite right again when the pains had gone. However, very shortly after he made another examination of me, and this time be found out that I had a fluid on my lungs. He seemed very much upset about me and my condition, and said that I should have to go to the General Hospital to have it taken away at once. As it very often happens, there were no beds empty at the time, so that I could not be admitted. I was rushed off to the Isolation Hospital, where I was an inmate for six weeks. It appeared I had contracted Enteric Fever, and my case seemed to be a complicated one. On the second day after my admission my parents were sent for to see me. It appeared that I was going through a critical period, and my passing away was fully expected to take place at any moment. My parents came and stayed at my bedside for about two hours, during which time I was continually raving with pain. My face was very flushed, and I had a wild expression on my face. It was with sad and weary hearts that they kissed and left me, expecting to hear at any moment of my passing on. But my time had not yet come. God had willed it otherwise. He must have intended me for a greater purpose which time will show. I was placed on the danger list, which entitled my parents to visit me every day, a privilege that was much appreciated. My sight now began to get worse. Everything around me began to look dim. At the end of three weeks it had entirely gone, and I was in utter darkness. Still my eyes were wide open and not crossed as before. Little did I realise that I was blind, neither did my parents, who put it down to my weakened state, fully expecting it to come back again when I got well and strong. Now, about this time (so my parents have told me) I really must have been developing some very strange conditions, because right away from one ear across the head to my other ear, ran a very large vein, and underneath this you could trace with your finger a grove in my skull. It seemed as if my skull was being severed into two parts. The doctor was puzzled with my condition, and it seemed as if I was given up. My father asked him if the fluid that was on my lungs could not be taken away, and he said that there was not sufficient to take away. This statement was extremely ridiculous, as you will see later on, but no doubt in his mind he thought it useless to do anything, because at that particular time my parents were allowed to bring me anything I wished, and that only happens when the case is given up. My father had this impressed very much on his mind, and was worried and upset about it. Being determined to leave no stone unturned, and fully realizing that if one door closed against him another would be thrown widely open, he set to work with a determined spirit, and eventually got me admitted into the General Hospital, in which I was a patient for 13 weeks. I may state here that when my parents visited me they always tried to hide their grief, always seemed pleasant, and tried by all means possible to make me believe I was really in no danger at all. Every time they came to visit me they would bring along a little nicety, and they always left me a copper coin, and as they came to see me every day, the amount grew so that when I did come out I had quite a little sum, and how proud of it I was! Now this may seem very simple to some people, but I really believe it helped to save my dear young life. You see, it helped me to forget my trouble somewhat. I always had something to look forward to; it put new life and energy into me; it helped me to throw off my condition; it made me happy; and after all, simplicity is good in itself, and it is the simple things which very often determine the greater ones.
After being admitted into the General Hospital, I was carefully examined by the doctor, who on the first day of my admission put me through a slight operation. A small hole was put into my back, through which a small glass tube was fixed, penetrating into my lungs. On the following day the doctor came and pumped away three-and-a-half pints of fluid from my lungs, through only a few days previous to this the other doctor had said that there was not sufficient to take away. Seven days later I was put through another operation, out of which I came successfully, yet after all this, the doctor really gave no hope of my life. During all this time my parents had never been told or yet realized that I was blind until one day the Sister of my ward informed mother that it was her painful duty to make known to her that I was blind, and that the doctors said that I should never see again. Oh, God what a blow it was; it nearly sent my parents mad. However, I was spared the news for the time being, but the truth naturally dawned as time went by. My father, who was determined to know the worst, sought an interview with the doctor, who explained to him that an abcess had formed on the brain at the back of the head. This had exerted pressure on the nerves of the eyes, and by so doing had destroyed them, and when once a nerve had been destroyed it could never be made good again. Asking if anything was being done to remove the abcess, my father informed that, as it was inside the skull, it could not be got at for treatment. So after a time I was discharged from the hospital incurable, with the abcess still in my head.
I had been looking forward to my home-coming, but that day was to be the saddest of my life, for it was then, and not till then, that I fully realized I was blind, for I had come home to find myself in darkness, and those around me were hidden from me. Oh, God! how I cried as if my little heart would break; and there were other hearts breaking too. I even wanted to go back to the hospital, for there in the large ward among all the other patients, with plenty to talk to, it did not seem so bad, and I really thought in my mind that I should be able to see when I got home. This stage of depression remained with me for some considerable time, and it was with the greatest difficulty that I was enabled to throw off the condition. I was just able to distinguish light from darkness very, very faintly, and I had to feel and grope my way about the house, and was continually running in contact with everything that came in my way. In fact, I really dreaded to move about the house in fear of the bumps and knocks which I was constantly getting.
Another little incident which hurt my feelings very much and seemed to make my cross far heavier to bear, was the way in which my old playmates treated me; the boys with whom I had played my boyish games and spent so many happy hours seemed to shun me, and I was practically left alone to carry my own burden in a world of darkness. Not one of them seemed to have a thought for their less fortunate brother, and this helped to make my condition far worse, and I may say I took it very much to heart. As soon as it was convenient I was taken to an eye specialist, who at once declared my case hopeless, and on several occasions I have been examined by well-known eye experts, but always with the same result–no hope of ever getting my sight restored. It really appeared that every door was closed against me.
Now, as it happened, I had a distant relative, a young doctor, who had a practice in North Wales, and who was considered very clever. My father wrote him a letter telling him of my affliction, and described to him the symptoms I was suffering from according to my medical sheets in the hospital, asking him for any advice if he had any to give, or if he could recommend him to any expert for my particular case. He wrote back and expressed his sympathy for me, and said it would be quite useless to spend money upon me in any shape or form, but they were to watch me very closely, thereby hinting that i might go wrong in my head, and perhaps do something desperate. No doubt he was right in his verdict, considering that the abcess was still in my head, and no doubt that would have happened if higher powers had not been sought.
How it really occurred I don't know, but by some Divine Power father was impressed and guided to a Spiritualist meeting, and took me with him. The Medium conducting the service was a lady well-known in spiritual work, and I may say that she at once took a very great interest in me, and from that day to this she became one of my greatest friends, both spiritually and materially. She has always encouraged me in anything that I ever attempted to do; in fact, money alone could never repay the debt I owe to her. After the meeting was over, father introduced me to her. She immediately entered into my condition, and located the cause of my blindness. She gathered that the nerves were badly crushed, and not destroyed, although they were severely injured. She said that the Spirit Friends were going to help me, and that my sight may be restored in time, but it would come very gradually, and it would be a number of years in doing so. This was the turning point in my life. It was the only ray of hope that had ever been given to me, and from that very day I entered into a state of progress. For a period of four years that Medium voluntarily magnetised me twice a week. She was deeply interested in me; she watched my progress step by step, and watched me like a mother, and her home was always open to me. She helped me in my material life, and with her assistance I was able to start a little business on my own account, until to-day I can look upon it with pride, and thank my God for the humble way in which I started. I was also treated by an herbalist, to whom this lady recommended me, for a period of six months, and with the aid of two treatments by him the abcess was cleared from my head, and my condition began to gradually improve. I could begin to tell the different colors and see black objects when they came in front of me. Father used to take me out into the country to test my progression; he would take me to a lamp-post or a telegraph post and ask me if I could see it. If I answered “yes,” another object would be taken some little distance off, and if I recognized that, the distance would be measured and a record made of it. I progressed in this way bit by bit, until at last I could see black objects some 100 yards away. I now began to have more confidence in myself, until to-day I can go about by myself without fumbling or groping my way. If a child or dog get in my way it is very rarely I run into them; in fact, there are plenty of people who see me go about who really do not know my affliction.
After getting into touch with the Spiritualist Church, my father never left it. He used to take me to the meetings regularly, and if a test was given to me it always spoke in favour of my sight coming back again. If a test was given to me it was always appreciated, because it used to build me up–it put new life into me, and gave my father fresh hope and encouragement. If no test was given unto us, we used to leave the meeting disheartened and depressed. This condition continued for about four years until I began to get weary of it. I kept away from the meetings for some time, but gradually my depressions led me back to them. I joined the Developing Circle, and in a very short time the veil was withdrawn from my eyes and I received my Spiritual Sight. I saw the Spiritual forms; I saw them build up; I couId hear them speak and sing. In fact, I began to describe them and give forth the beautiful messages they brought. Since then my progression has been very rapid. I first began giving clairvoyance in our developing class, then in home circles. After a time I was permitted to give one or two descriptions in our public circles. By this means I gained both confidence and knowledge. I went step by step until at last I was allowed to take public circles alone. I may say that I have some very clever and instructive Guides, but at the present time I am not yet fully developed; still I see before me a great spiritual work; in fact I practically live in the cause, and bye and bye, in God’s good time, I have faith to believe that my material sight will be given to me, and then I hope my work will grow so that I shall be able to stand before the world as a living test to the healing powers of God and the Spiritual World.
God grant it may be so, for there is nothing I can either say or do to repay the many friends whom I have found in the Spiritualist Church. Now my friends you have heard my story. I have in my own humble way tried to show you step by step how I was plunged into a state of darkness, and then by perseverance and the will of the Higher Powers I was given the Spiritual Light.
In conclusion, may I saw what a lot of suffering could be averted if only more of our brothers and sisters were in touch with our beautiful phenomena. Taking my own case, for instance, a Medium might have been called in at the commencement of my illness. That Medium might have located the abcess on my brain, and by so doing a treatment might have been tried which would have perhaps removed it, instead of puzzling the doctors until my sight had gone, and then finding out the cause when it was too late. But after all, God has blessed me in many ways; the material way has been opened out to me ; I have a clear brain, and my intellectual powers are equal to anyone's ; and right throughout my darkness a beacon light has been shining, beckoning me onward to those things which are far higher than anything on this material plane. It has led me to aspire to all that is brightest and noblest in life. The day will surely come again when the green fields, the buttercups and the humble daisy will shew themselves to me again, and the faces of those who are nearest and dearest to me, and the many friends I have made in the Spiritualist Cause, whose voices I know, but whose faces I have never seen, will be made plain to me.
My Spiritual life is assured.
Written by his father, William Clayton, March 6th, 1919.