The second and last part of this booklet by Shaw Desmond (1877-1960). (see first part here.) He was an Irish novelist, poet, founder of the International Institute for Psychical Research in 1934, and author of many works on the afterlife and several Scientific Romances- some dystopian and possibly influenced by Olaf Stapledon. He appears as himself in Haunted Palace(1949), a documentary, directed by Richard Fisher, in his role as a ghostbuster. There is more on Desmond at the at the SF Encyclopedia.
STORIES FROM MY CASE-BOOK
It is impossible in a little booklet of this kind in every case to give the minutiae of authorities, places, times, people present and conditions of phenomena described and other references, but the reader wose interest has been stimulated to further study is advised to refer to the author's books and to those of others. The books of Geraldine Cummins, in particular, will be found of the utmost value, especially her Scripts of Cleophas and their kindred volumes, which can, with the author's, be obtained at any good library.
The following experiences from my case-book and from other records may be relied upon. They run the gamut from tragedy to comedy. They are of the stuff that helps to make psychic history.
Some years ago I was travelling on one of my American lecture tours in my Pullman, from San Diego to San Francisco. In the night, I was awakend by a most powerful influence which kept on "calling out," so to speak, the name of Annie Flynn.
This spirit influence brought to my memory a lady of this name I had known thirty years before in Ireland, and with whom I had since lost all connection. Annie had been a lovely girl of the typical Irish model, with blue eyes and black hair, tall and of a certain queenliness which had remained in my thought.
I put it out of my mind, as I wished to sleep, but before going to sleep I remembered that Annie had gone into the hotel business and said to myself, more in fun than earnest: "Suppose Annie Flynn is living in the San Francisco to which you are going! Supposing? Stranger things have happened to you from the world of spirit."
Coming off the overnight journey, I had my breakfast in San Francisco in the Stewart Hotel, and was going to keep an appointment about a lecture, when the face and figure of Annie Flynn rushed again into my mind. It was so persistent that I could not shake it off, and when I got the direct inspiration to go to the largest hotel in this Queen of the Pacific, the St. Francis, I yielded, although I had never been in San Francisco before and did not know the hotel except by name.
I drew the lists of staff at the Saint Francis without avail. Although "Flynn" is a common name in America, there was no "Annie" Flynn on the lists. Finally, angry with myself, I went by the ferry to spend the day at San Salito across the Bay, where I saw my first humming bird, hanging in the blue air like a drop of molten copper, and by then had quite forgotten my old friend. In the evening, coming to the landing stage at the foot of Market Street, I heard something like a Voice say: "Go up that big wide street before you on the left-hand pavement when you will come to a great hotel (not on the street but off it in another place), and there you will find Annie Flynn."
This was more an "impression," powerful and direct it is true, rather than a voice I heard. It was with the Inner Ear I perhaps heard it, I having become suddenly clairaudient.
After a while I saw a great, golden flame-sign high above the city sky-line, on it the name of a certain big hotel–but not the St. Francis. Again the "Voice" said: "Go in there down that passage and you will find your friend."
To cute a story short, when I asked for my friend at the "Reception," believing all the time that I was in a dream, I was informed that they did have an "Annie Flynn" on their staff, I imagining that the name was merely a coincidence. However, I was sent up on a lift to her suite, the "Reception" girl saying that a lady of that name was the housekeeper of that hotel. Yet as the name "Flynn" is a common one in San Francisco, which seethes with Irish, I still thought it either coincidence or dream.
As I got out of the lift on this immensely high skyscraper, I saw in the distance, coming down the long passage, a Dresden shepherdess figure, with magnificent hair, white as snow and high-piled. "That is not Annie," I said, forgetting that a quarter of a century had elapsed since we had met. Nor could I for a moment recognise the figure, which, as it approached, searched my face, as though seeking my identity.
But Annie Flynn it was! The beautiful, young woman I had known in Ireland, who had become old and white-haired, though more beautiful than ever, and so she took me into her suite. But the end of surprise was not yet.
For there, sitting in her reception room, was a girl whom my wife and I had met many years before in Ireland, who had arrived only that day from Ireland to become a school-teacher.
* * * *
I could fill many pages with similar happenings, and I set this down because it is my considered opinion, after a lifetime of study: (1) that we are guided from the Other Side, the spirit guides of which use such methods in order to assure us that we are not alone and abandoned on this earth and that there is a world beyond awaiting us: (2) that we are all, so to speak, "hung on wireless," and in constant communication in the subconscious if not in the conscious, and that we find one another upon a common vibration as on a telephone line: (3) that we never really lose our friends whether by death or even by temporary earthly separation.
Our so-called dead children wait for us Over There. Our dear memories Over There materialise in the Land where Dreams come true.
This is set down in earnest and purely upon the evidence. It is as sure as sunrise. It is part of my statement at the opening of this little booklet that "we do get a second chance," and that, freed form the heavy body of flesh, we do find our dearest hopes realised.
The girl or boy who, dying young, seemed to have "missed their chance," have not done so, nor was their brief span of earthly existence without value but was a preparation for the eternal realisation which awaits each one of us. The woman or an who seems to have "missed the bus" of life may find it in what we miscall death. Nothing is wasted. Nothing lost.
How many men have I not known, men brilliant and capable, who in this life have "missed the bus"! Men who because of some seemingly trifling happening just escaped "hitting the target" where another luckier and inferior man has struck it! Such frustrated souls need not fear.
For on the Other Side, they will find the work they love, and in which they may excel, waiting them. The musician will find his orchestra and his audience. The writer and thinker his readers. And this I know definitely, if only because, although I suppose I have been of the fortunate ones of the world's authors, I have at times wondered whether I should not first have to die before finding my own publics! Men who can write and think, my guides would often say, are rarely read or understood whilst they are still in the body pent. Let the frustrated take that for their comfort!
Here I make public a confession for the first time. I wish to make it in gratitude to the greater spirit guides who, when my thought was battling for recognition, told me repeatedly not to despair. "Keep on keeping on, little man!" one of them would say. "The world will yet recognise you."
Now if this encouragement had been vague and platitudinous, I should at once have rejected it. But it was at times exceedingly intelligent. Writers like the novelist, Rose Champion de Crespigny, speaking to me either out of the air in the Direct Voice before many others or by other methods, would tell me what the probable reception of my novels or other writing would be. And, always, generally speaking, I found such prognostications accurate.
So it is with full confidence and in grateful acknowledgement for the kindness I have myself received not only from the critics of spirit but those of earth that I say to any reader who comes under this category of frustration:
"Keep on keeping on. The sun yet will shine. Other days will come. It is literally true that 'the darkest hour is before the dawn' and nothing is wasted, either here or hereafter."
WHERE YOU GO WHEN YOU DIE
More nonsense has been written about the conditions of the Next World than about any other side of "psychics," as I call Psychic Science.
My mail-bag often has inquiries as to certain things on the Other Side–what the spirit people do and so on. Here are a few taken at a venture : –
Do the spirits spend their time playing harps and singing hymns as the Churches say?
Do they live in a world of mist or in a real world?
Do they have love and marriage Over There?
The dreadful ignorance in which our children are reared is responsible for many of such foolish questions. Each child as he or she enters our world should be told not only what we call today "the facts of life," but also the facts of death!
It is one of the more astounding of the anachronisms of our earth that the most important thing in the world receives less attention in our educational schemes than anything else! For surely it is the first of all problems–this problem of what happens to us after death? What more important question can there be?
Every child knows something of the map of our world. Where America and Australia lie. Where the Poles are. And so on.
But very few children have been told anything about the topography or "map" of the Next World. I do not suppose that half-a-dozen out of every thousand children, or, for that matter, their parents and teachers, could tell us whether on the Other Side of the grave there exist mountains and seas, trees and rivers.
The common and ignorant retort to this is that: "How can we tell the children anything when nobody knows anything about such things?"
To which comes the counter-retort: "But, we do know very much about these things. We have minute details at times of the conformation, as of the habits and customs of the Next World. Of what they eat and drink. Of whether they fall in love. Of a hundred other things."
Now if the reports we get daily from the Other World differed materially from one another, we might suspect their origin. But as, substantially, through a long course of years, we find almost the same details, when they are given of the same world, then I think we are bound, as reasonable people, to think that "there must be something in it." The more so because some of these details, such as building by thought, we should never have thought of imagining ourselves.
I use the words "when they are given of the same world," because there seem to be thousands of different worlds on the Other Side of the Grave. These are the modern scientist would call "worlds of vibration," separated from one another by the boundaries of the rates at which they vibrate. There are fast-vibratory worlds and slow-vibratory. Our earth is a rather slow-vibratory world. The sun is one of a very fast vibration.
Now the world about which nine-tenths of our descriptions are received from the Other Side is what some occultists call "The World of the Third Plane." The reason for our reception of the details of this rather than those of other worlds is because it is the world to which you, who read these words, and millions of other mortals, will most probably go after death.
That is also why I think it is as well that you and I should know something of our future home, much as an emigrant to America or Canada will want to know a little of the home to which he is sailing.
Is that not plumb commonsense, anyhow?
"THE NEXT WORLD"
In the first place, when you die on this earth, you find yourself, after a longer or shorter period, waking up in the world of the Third Plane, which most people, whether they know it or not, call "The Next World."
The first difficulty which faces the Sleeper Awakened is that he usually does not realise that he or she has died on the earth he has left and where he or she believes he or she still is.
Here is a composite case-story, with fact behind it, which will better convey to you the facts of death than a dozen treatises.
Say, for example, it is the case of a girl who has died. She ginds herself perhaps in a cool, beautifully lighted room, surrounded by what seem to be doctors and nurses. The light in the room is blue, because of its restfulness.
This young girl naturally concludes that she has had an accident and that she has been taken to hospital. Outside the windows she hears the song of birds and the ordinary noises of the world she has just left. She hears the sound of running water. Also the echoes of distant music. Always music, in a land where, as she is to learn, music is regarded as the fundament of all life and of all education.
For a time she lies there too happily tired to speak. Then she tries to move in her bed to see how and where she has been injured. To her astonishment she finds that she is not in pain and that her body, as solid as when on the earth on which she believes she still dwells, is seemingly whole.
She ponders on all this for a little while. Then, seeing near her, a white-robed nurse, a motherly woman with grey eyes, who has been watching her though she has not known it, she asks: "Where am I, nurse? What happened?"
The grey-eyed woman bends over her to say soothing words and to assure her that all is well with her and that nothing has happened except one thing of which she will tell her later when her patient has slept again for a bit. So she folds the bedclothes about the girl, who, feeling reassured, quickly sleeps.
It is only some time later when, awaking, she, seeing near her the same nurse, asks again: "But what has happened to me, nurse?" To which the nurse replies with a smile: "A little thing called death, dear."
"What do you mean. Am I dead?"
"Do you feel dead?"
"A have never felt so living in my life," the girl replies. "Is it that I have awakened to a new life, nurse?"
"Yes, dear. You have wakened in what you used to call 'Next World.' Indeed, you are in it!"
"But it looks solid to me. Surely there is some mistake?"
"There is no mistake. This world is as solid and as real to us as the earth used to be when we lived on it. That is what the earth people don't understand. But, then, if it comes to that, they understand so little."
"But have you got ships and trees and streets and shops over here?"
"Yes, everything but the shops. We don't need shops. Everything here is free–it, so to speak, comes out of the air. To imagine or to think a thing is to have it."
"But that is impossible."
"Is it? Why, how do you build your earthly houses, if not by first thinking them out?"
"Yes, but we use our hands–and bricks and mortar."
"Here you don't have to use any hands. First of all, we don't use bricks and mortar."
"Then what do you use?"
"We use a substance that is light and airy–something like the ether of which the scientists used to speak on earth. Try now yourself and think of something you want–just try! Just for fun."
The girl on the bed, feeling so full of a life she had never known on the heavy, cluttering earth, "just for fun," as she says, tries to think upon or conjure up her old home on the earth, but finds it difficult to concentrate. Nothing happens.
"I can't," she says at last. "My thoughts keep wandering."
It is only some months afterwards, when she has left her bed and begun to walk about beneath the beautiful trees on her new home and speak with the people and sail on the river that she finds how they create by thought, as the nurse had told her in what was a sort of "nursing" home.
She was one day lying under a great cedar, looking out over the adjoining bay which spread its blue waters before her, when there came to her vividly the memory of the little cottage, with the roses climbing over it, in which she used to live on the Cornish coast, for this girl was a Cornish-woman. The picture became so vivid that she almost thought she could see the cottage, with its rough, stone walls and the tall, end chimneys and the roses.
Then she sat up and rubbed her eyes. For there, before her, was the shadowy outline of the little house in which she had been born and lived for most of her earthly life. Gradually it seemed to come to her out of the air–but just at that moment there became about her something more like a fine spray of dew than a shower of rain, which drew away her attention. Instantly the cottage faded as though the rain had washed it out of the air. It was then she noticed for the first time that there was no sun in the sky, and, later, she was to find out that on the astral there was light, but no sun.
The next day she again made the experiment of thinking the cottage into existence. Again it seemed to come to her–only, this time, her concentration being unbroken, she had the delight of watching it gradually detach itself from the surrounding atmosphere. Also, when her thoughts drifted after a while to other things, it remained for a longer period than on the previous day before it finally vanished.
It took a Mary Blake Trevallion many months before she was able to first to call her cottage out of the air and then, by a further process of thought, to permanise it so that it no longer vanished.
Room by room did she build it up out of her imagination, much as an artist will draw a house, window, door and roof. Then each room she furnished after her own taste and, literally, "thought." And there, over the tiny porch, the red roses climbed and scented the air to be the crown of her edifice.
* * * *
If the reader be astonished at this, I can only make the following statement, a statement which has been proved by more than one and which you, who read these words, may have experienced. First, that some branches of modern science are beginning to regard the Mind or Thought as the origin of everything, whether on our earth or elsewhere. (In a word, that it is Mind which has called forth the material world.) Secondly, that it is possible for some people to practise themselves this calling forth or evocation of the material by thought when they are in the twilight stage betwixt sleeping and waking.
I have practised this last myself and have secured at times extraordinary results. What I cannot promise the reader is that the object called forth will remain substantial upon full awakening. For this but the first stage of the "creating by thought" process. To arrive at the second stage would need an astral mind and the shadowy substance with which the astrals, or dwellers on the planes of spirit, build everything from a house to a ship or plane, for they have aeroplanes over there in an air of infinite rarety. In the same way their pictures are painted and even their music is played.
I am most careful in my statements in this little booklet. That thought is fact is now being considered probably by some schools of psychology, and, in concrete proof, the scientist Fukurai some years ago actually photographed instensely concentrated thought by a highly sensitised camera. But such advanced considerations of astral optics and astral physics are not for so modest a work as this, and the reader is referred to the works of some of the modern psychologists and even physicists, especially the astro-physicists.
The astrals also have the power of telekinesis, or moving objects at a distance without contact. This I have tested in what is now a famous experiment at Cambridge University in the precincts of John College, when it worked perfectly–too perfectly alas!–for it might have caused the death of the man struck without contact!
It is useless for people to say: "It cannot be done." They said the same about speaking and seeing at distances across the earth by radio telephone and television. Some day they will accept creation by thought–and may even discover the way to practise it while still in the earthly body pent!
HOW THEY LIVE BEYOND THE GRAVE
People constantly write to ask me how they will live after their passing over. That is but common intelligence after we reach, say, the world of the Third Plane, about which we now know so much.
We appear to go to the particular world or place for which we prepare ourselves according to whether our deeds and thoughts on earth are good or evil. There are, of course, no eternal "heavens" and "hells," these being the inventions of the theologian. When Jesus and other great Masters spoke of such places, they were speaking, as every scholar knows, not of eternal places of bliss or torment, but of temporary states of mind, which, as we saw in our last chapter, condition our environment. Our thoughts make our worlds.
Put simply. People who are evil livers on earth go to the hells they have prepared for themselves. There they associate with men and women who were on earth evil livers like themselves and as might be expected. People who on earth have lived lives of self-sacrifice go to what might be called a "heaven world." None of this is a fairy tale. It is solid sober fact. Also it accords with natural law.
"But how have you learnt all this?" the reader may naturally want to know.
First, we have learnt it from the many living people on earth who, in trance or in deep sleep, or even in the coma of partial death, have visited the astral world, and who have returned to tell us about it. One of the more famous of such cases is that of Swedenborg, the Swedish philosopher, but there have been scores of others.
Secondly, we learn it from our spirit guides, whose accounts, as I have written elsewhere, are astonishingly alike, so proving the accuracy of their observation and its factfulness. There is no possible question about the facts, as none of them, so far as I know, has ever been challenged individually or effectively.
Now there is such a hatred by those "partners in death," the professional priest and the professional scientist, of survival of bodily death being demonstrated, that if it had been possible to shatter these proofs of life after death, rest assured it would have been done. Indeed, from long experience, I may say, without malignance, that the ignorance of both scientist and priest of such psychic matters is incredible. Neither the one nor the other, with rare exceptions, has experimented continuously for even a month in any psychic laboratory and so made first-hand attempt at understanding the thing they denounce without knowledge.
What would the theologian or priest say of me if I attempted to denounce and write about, say, the Homoiousian heresy, if I had not first studied my subject? And what would the scientist say if I analysed and laughed at Einstein's "curvature of space" or the "heresies" of Ouspensky or Dunne, if I had not studied my subject before appreciation or denunciation?
Yet, often without a day of reading and investigation, many a professor of religion or professor of science will literally "rush in where angels fear to tread" and ostracise with "bell, book and candle" the painstaking work of thousands of psychical researchers throughout the last hundred years.
So we do actually know what we shall have to face after death, assuming that it is to the Third Plane world and not to one of the other worlds to which we shall pass.
And here comes another pertinent question:
"Where is the Next World?"
Before answering that, we have to make one or two statements to clear the ground. Long before modern science had practically reached the conclusion that "Time" and "Space" were comparative terms only and that, in any real sense, there was neither the one nor the other, the spirit guides had been telling us this. Indeed, directly or indirectly, throughout the centuries, spiritual communication had been saying this.
The things experienced by the saints and by the clairvoyants of the ages indicated, beyond doubt, that there was neither Time nor Space. For instance, transport from one place to another was done like a flash of thought, and in these days of psychic science, we are constantly being told that you pass from one place to another in the Next World, not by train or plane or bicycle, but by thought. To think you wish to be in a place is to find yourself there. All the same, they have there all these machines as playthings.
So when you ask me "Where is the next world?" I answer by asking you: "Where is our earth?"
For you cannot tell me or anybody where our little earth is in time or space. All you can tell me is where it lies in relation to our sun or the other heavenly bodies of our solar system. On the astral they have neither sun nor solar system.
To put it as plainly as possible without a long scientific dissertation which would bore you to read as much as it would bore me to write, I might say that the Next World of the Third Plane is not a place in the ordinary sense of the world "place," but is a state or world of vibration.
For example, as every earthly scientist knows, anything of high vibration can pass through things of slower rates of vibration. This is not mysterious. It is a fact of matter and it is matter of fact, admitted by all scientists.
A gas, for instance, can be forced through a piece of wood. Water can pass through snow. And, as many of us have seen, a ghost can go through a solid door without opening it.
It is as simple as that.
So the Next World, being of infinitely faster, higher vibratory rate than our earth, can be interpenetrant with that earth. It can, so to speak, be everywhere or anywhere it wishes. In the room in which I write these words or the place where you read them, the Next World already is, even though normally we are not aware of it. The only thing that separates one world from another, is the rate of vibration of each world.
America is separated from England by the Atlantic Ocean, because America and England, being part of the earth, move at the same vibratory rate and so can be separated only by the physical barrier of water. But the Third Plane world is separated from our earth only by its faster rate of vibration. And it can be so separated only because the two worlds are moving at quite different rates of such vibration.
A charge of electricity of a tremendously high voltage can pass through a man without hurting him or without his even being aware of it. This was proved in the early days of the electric chair, when the scientists found they could not kill the criminal until they lowered the voltage. I have not heard certain incredibly high noises, until I used an instrument which brought them down to my own vibratory level. Up to then, they had passed through my ears without my even being aware that they existed.
So the Next World can be in and through and about and even, if you like, outside this earth all the time and without our even knowing it is there.
WAKING UP ON THE ASTRAL
Before all else, I want my reader to understand that to them, the inhabitants of it, their world, is as solid as our earth. They can shake hands and embrace warmly and can feel all that we feel in a substantial way.
All this is because they are on the same vibration, one which is none the less real and if you like "solid," because it is immensely fast.
One of the first discoveries made by a man who has just died is that when he views, as he does, the body of flesh and blood which he has just relinquished, lying there on the bed, he knows that he is within another body. One so light and "gaseous" that when he wishes to get closer to his old body, which he has laid down as if it were a suit of clothes worn out, he does not have to pass round the bed but just walks through it.
He sees his wife and children weeping and tries to tell them that he is not really dead but that he is there, alive, in the room with them. He calls out to them but they do not seem to hear him, although he can himself hear the sound of his own voice. Nor can they see him, although he can see them by some process by which he can focus them so that they come into his view.
This "focussing" is done automatically by all beings of a higher, faster vibration who bring the slower vibrationed world they have left "into focus," by just willing it–an act of thought which slows their vibrations until they move at the same slow rate as that of the earth. All this, much in the same way that you change the focus of your telescope by turning it until it brings into view a distant ship or "tune in" on your radio set until you "pick up" the particular vibration and station you want.
Now this dead man, who of course, is not dead because there are no dead and nobody has every really died, finding that his dear wife cannot hear or see him, goes over to where she is kneeling by the side of that poor body which is but an empty house from which the inhabitant has fled, and puts his arms about her. To his surprise the arms pass through his wife's neck. Nor does she move, for she cannot even feel it.
It is often only then that a man usually knows that he is what we call dead.
So he passes out through the walls of his earthly house, out into the countryside and wanders at will over and through everything and everybody! It is a marvellous sensation–this power to go through instead of round everything. He sees a hill before him, but he does not have to climb it–he just lifts himself over to the other side by wishing to be there, and with a little more imagination could as easily pass through it. A sea lies at his feet, with boats on it–and remember he is still on the earth–so he just crosses the sea by willing it and does not have to take a ship to do so.
It is only after he has become accustomed to these new powers, which after a time pall a little on him, for we can get used to everything, that he finds the new world come into view in which he is now to live for his next stage of existence.
Gradually, he hears voices and sees people moving about him. And so, imperceptibly, he takes up his abode within that new world, finds his new amusements and occupations, and generally, "settles down" as we would say.
Remember there is no single fixed way by which we "wake up" in and to that world. It all depends upon the individual.
This man gradually "finds himself." Just "finds himself there."
But one phenomenon applies to all types of mortals who die out of the world of earth into the Next World. All have to pass through, for longer or shorter intervals, what is known as "the sleep of recuperation." After the weary struggle of earth, with its pains and temptations and fears and frustrations, the tired soul needs rest.
That rest is forthcoming. You may be asleep for a thousand years or for only a few minutes in that transition stage from earth to astral, but sleep you do. The active seeking soul, anxious "to get on with it" and to take up his or her work of service and sacrifice Over There, will sleep but a short time. The lethargic and the indifferent may have a longer rest before they face the new conditions and the new faces.
On this length of the sleep of recuperation we still, however, do not know much. But we learn more every day.
* * * *
One of the first things which astonishes the newcomer to the astral world of the Third Plane is that it is so very like the world he has left. He had expected to meet angels in white robes and wings and to hear hymns and psalms being sung, and to see "Great White Thrones" and perhaps the Almighty Himself.
Instead of which, all he sees is a world so like this, that, as I have written, he might never know he had left the earth.
Yet are there differences!
There is no sun, even though there is a delightful subdued light and there is even something like "shade." Also, as I said, there are no "shops," and no signs of "business." For in the New World there is neither rent, profit nor interest–nor Devil!
People there no longer waste their lives and their time in amassing money, for there is no money, and if there were money, it would be useless in a land where there is nothing to buy because everything is free. When you can make things by thought, it is not possible to charge for the result!
If he be a business man, he will perhaps ask where the Stock Exchange is, to be told that there is no such place, and for people to laugh indulgently at the "New Chum." If he be a man who on earth has been a stockbroker or company promoter, and wants occupation "for idle hands to do," or if you prefer, mischief, he is told that they have a sort of Stock Exchange plaything where they can play at buying and selling stocks and shares. This, in one way or other, I have been told–more than once. "Babies must have baubles," said my spirit guide.
Here is a story, for its centre a world-famous millionaire, whose partner in New York was a friend of my own and who told me much about his partner. The details in it of the general conditions have been gathered by me from various sources over long periods, and brought together so as to make a coherent story.
When this millionaire found himself one day on the Other Side of the grave and looking at his great, obese body which, as he reconstructed his earth life, he had left sitting in its chair in his New York offices, and for ever, he moped for months. There was nothing for him to do, because he had only "made money" and so had never done any useful work in his earthly life and the only "game" he knew was the game of "beggar your neighbour" by buying in the cheapest market and selling in the dearest.
Nobody bothered about the great man. Rather did they pity him. And this is a true not an invented story, for the full facts were given to me and many others from the Other Side.
They let him mope about the astral world, looking like a dog that has lost its tail. Then the "great man," as such men will, decided to commit suicide. He could not bear himself and his new existence.
But Over There, telepathy is the ordinary method of intercourse, helped out sometimes by speech and writing. A "Watcher" or "Guardian," whose work over there was to take care of just such Big Lost Babies, getting the thought of the man, approached him and said:
"Look here, Blickafeller, it's no good your thinking of making away with yourself–because it cannot be done. The moment after you have 'killed' yourself, you will, in thought at least, return to the earth where you so shamefully misused your powers and will have to go through the whole sad, bad business again and in any case you can't get rid of life, here or hereafter. Don't try it on, old chap!" And so left him.
This astonished our friend Blickafellar very much. He had actually discovered that on the astral you cannot hide your thoughts from those about you, because the etheric world, as it is sometimes called, is also telepathic. You can only keep your thoughts private by a deliberate act of will that the other shall not know and you can't always be on your guard.
He had also discovered that it was no use killing himself. He was a very ignorant man, of course, knowing only about Big Business and vulgar scheming–he had never contributed anything really worth while to the earth he had left, as he now recognised for the first time. Minus servants and adulation and the admiration of men and women as base as himself, "Blick," as he was sometimes known, found himself for the first time looking at himself in the mirror of life, like a naked child regarding himself in a looking-glass to see himself exactly as he is.
So he moped a little more. He found that nobody was respected in this new world unless he or she did something to help others. Also he found that having had on earth much money and being a millionaire meant in this "Next World" that he was to be pitied rather than envied. And it was only then that Blickafeller realised for the first time that in all his earthly life, from the time when he had become what men called "successful" and rich, he had never had a really happy day, not even when in Wall Street he was playing pitch and toss for millions. Why, any street urchin playing "pitch and toss" might get more excitement and solid satisfaction than he! It was humiliating.
It was the discovery extraordinary.
His next phase was to try and remember some happy millionaire amongst his acquaintances on earth who had died and with whom he might meet and foregather in this new world where everybody seemed to pass him by. He would yet show them that money did mean something!
He had no sooner framed the thought than he found near him a former partner, who, like himself, had been one of the richest men in the United States. He ran up to him with a warmth he had never felt or shown in life:
"I am so glad to see you, my dear old partner. How goes it with you? Are you happy here?"
The answer came slowly:
"I think I am in hell."
"In hell–what do you mean?"
"Over Here they only care for working for others," was the answer.
For such as these two men, the astral world, with its life of selflessness and high evaluation of the artistic and of the service of others and for what on earth is so often ill rewarded, was a veritable hell. That was as inevitable as that we live over again on the astral.
His old partner, finding Blickafeller a bore, and hating him if possible more on the astral than he sometimes had on earth, had left him, so depriving him of what seemed like his solitary chance of astral friendship.
But his partner's remark that, "Over Here they only care for working for others" had set him thinking.
Was there anything that he could do "to work for others"? Was there nothing he had known or done on earth, something outside his silly business of grab and snap on Wall Street–was there nothing that he knew or could do to help others? It sounded silly. But was it?
Then he found the "Watcher" man not so very far away, as though he had been waiting for him. To him he went:
"Please, sir, tell me. I want to work–to do some work of any kind–if possible something that may help others to work . . . ."
The Watcher, hitherto grim enough, smiled a little at him and quietly cut in:
"Now you are talking, Mr. Blickafeller. If you want to help somebody, why, I think I can help you. I couldn't do it before. You see, we never compel anybody here. They have first to find themselves, as you appear to have done–then they find us–and with us and the work we give the, they find happiness and a satisfaction."
"But, my friend, there is nothing I can do to help others because I don't know anything except the game of stocks and shares–and to talk of these counters here sounds mere foolishness."
"Are you sure there is nothing you know outside the silly game of checkers which you call the game of making money? Are you sure? Think!"
And the man who spoke to him seemed to become kinder and kinder as they went on, and if it hadn't seemed as silly as that "game of checkers" to which his friend had referred, he might have thought there was something "angelic" about him! Anyhow, it being the first real warmth he had met in his new world, he felt grateful.
So he began to think what there was he could do to help others. Then he remembered.
"As a matter of fact," he began diffidently, "I–I, that is to say, I used to be a bit of a curio-hunter on earth. I had a knowledge of books and old pictures and pieces of silver and gold, chased and engraved–especially of books, which I care for very much indeed. I wonder would that knowledge be any use here."
His friend smiled. "Of course it would be of use. We have great libraries here, and I happen to know that they want a curator right now."
So it was that Jonas Blickafeller was installed as librarian in one of the great astral libraries which abound in that world. With it he found balm for a troubled soul, and, ultimately, in self-sacrifice, discovered peace and hapiness.
And this is, once more, a plain story which has been duplicated many times. Only by service of others may we advance is the first lesson we learn upon reaching the world of the astral which is the future home of you and me.
BIRD'S EYE VIEW OF THE NEXT WORLD
I want you with me to take a general bird's eye view of the Next World as we might see it if we flew over it in one of their magnificent flying machines which they use as playthings. If this last be thought far-fetched, I may say that my friend, Sir Henry Segrave, once the holder of the world's motor-boat speed record, and who was killed on Lake Windermere in a speed trial, has often discussed his marine engines with those on this earth who were interested. I have spoken several times to him since his passing, and made a pilgrimage to the spot on Windermere where he was flicked into eternity when all out over the "100," probably by a tiny and nearly invisible piece of wood which, at that speed, would go through his motot-boat like a bullet through paper. As my own boat passed over the exact spot where Segrave died, I got, as I expected, the unmistakable reaction of the dead man's spirit which had come to me "on the vibration." He had been watching me and had come to me on my thought-wave, as do such visitants, who have a method of enwrapping those they love with a sort of electric "cloak," to feel which however you have yourself to be receptive.
We should notice as we fly that there is no smoke rising up from ugly factory chimneys, and that whatever processes of manufacture they may have there, neither coal nor smoke enters into it.
We shall see no railways, though we may meet some flying machines like our own. And as for ships on the astral seas, the lovely waters of which at least I have myself often seen during earthly sleep when I pay my nightly visits to the astral, the ships we observe moving across the vast plains of opalescent sea are certainly not like our own liners or warships. They are obviously pleasure boats.
These astral seas have to be seen to be believed–and not then! I have developed in my sleep the capacity at times to see right down through the shimmering, opalescent depths to the sea bottom, where there is a mosaic that might have been made by a supercraftsman. And perhaps it is by the Supercraftsman we call "God."
Now over all the seas of this astral world, we shall not find a single craft, hate-driven, for Over There no physical wars exist. No torpedo boats; no destroyers; no cruisers or the unwieldly leviathans we call "battleships." Not a soldier. Not a uniform.
Nor shall we hear the sound of gun or flying bomb. Nor shall we see locked together in the murderous butchery we call "war," millions of men, digging themselves into trenches or rushing up into the unstable element to "grapple in the central blue" with their fellow beings.
No war. No murder. No hanging on the astral.
The cities we see are smokeless and noiseless. They are built often of some white material, like our marble, tier on tier, by a system of "hanging gallery" which enables the astral architect to surpass anything that we know. Not even the Hanging Gardens of Babylon could approach the efforts of the astral designers.
Nor shall we find maddened millions huddled together into the slums and ghettos of great cities. The cities are often perched upon spurs of Himalayan-like mountains, from which the astrals can drop down into the great plains at their own wish. For their flying machines are not used primarily for a transport which there is no longer necessary, as it can be done by thought, but for the sheer pleasure of "flying," much as in our days of planes and electricity we use our pleasure horses not for transport but for the joy of riding.
What we do see as we pass overhead are here and there remarkable buildings of temple-formation and model, not unlike the plan of the modern American universities, where I have lectured.
I have often been told by my astral guides of these "temples" or "Halls of Learning," as they sometimes call them. They are the centre of the scientific training of the astral youth and of astral age–for boys and girls grow up on the astral as they do on earth. Only Over There, education is not confined to a few perfunctory years of a human's life, but goes on as long as life lasts, upon their principle: "You never cease to learn."
In these "halls," there is one thing which separates them completely from our universities of earth–from Oxford and Cambridge, Yale and Harvard, Bonn and the Sorbonne. Science is not separated from religion. Each is part of the other. And, it may be said, that no theology of any kind and no dogma is taught in these Temples not only of Science but of Silence, as one might term certain phases of them, for "contemplation" forms part of all their curricula.
To assert, for it is only assertion, that we have no means of knowing such things as the above about the education of the youthful astral is equivalent to asserting that all the millions of messages received, often under test conditions, from the Other Side of the Grave, about these and other conditions, have either been faked or imagined.
It is also equivalent to saying that some of the greatest names of our world, after experiments extending sometimes over half a lifetime, have been subject to illusions when they confirm some of the statements I have here made.
It is, above all this, the same as stating that only when evidence is of the earth, earthy, and never when such evidence comes out of the worlds invisible, that the evidence may be admitted. Is this not to make a laughing stock of all education and of all evidence?
I myself alone and with hundreds of others, professional men and women and ordinary men and women, sat for a period of four years with Mrs. Estelle Roberts–who is one of the greatest of modern mediums. During that time every conceivable method of observation and care was used to prevent fraud, and never in a single case did I find this splendid woman even suspected of fraud. Nor, despite much that is doubtful in certain types of mediumship, have I ever found anything suspicious in the work of the mediums of the first class.
Women like her regard their work of medium as holy work, their profession as a profession of priesthood. For them monetary gain can mean but little because they know from their visits to the Other Worlds that such is but vanity and that fraudulent mediumship means degradation of the soul.
I have also sat with other "splendid women." I have seen the minutest precautions taken to prevent any suggestion of duplicity. I have seen doors locked and guarded. Roofs and floors examined–indeed I have often done the examinations myself!
Yet have these women, and with them many male mediums, come triumphant through all tests. I have known some of these ladies give their services free and I have seen them help those who were in trouble without fee. Proud to do their duty as gifted instruments, they gave of their best–and, once more, why should we always suspect our mediums of a wish to deceive? We expect deception in "psychics"–but we never dream of suspecting it in physics.
I have, of course, also seen mediums of the second or third class who were ignorant, and, often without intending it, deceiving the public and themselves. With my experience, it is not easy to deceive me, and I have seen many things which should not have occurred. Following my invariable practice of giving both sides of psychic research, its marvels and its menaces, I here give the other side also, as a matter of honesty.
But women like Estelle, as we know her, are pearls without price. It is she who once said, when people talked about her only "imagining" the things which came through her mediumship:
"I feel more at home with the people of the spirit world than with those of this earth. I see their mouths moving as they speak. I hear their message. I feel their joys and sorrows. They speak with a speed that is remarkable. It beats like the drumfire against my ears. I have to listen as intently as if I listened to a high-speed message through a telephone. Once I miss the line of vibration on which the words are coming, I cannot get it again."
Here is one of the later happenings in my own life of the occult which in this case helped me personally. It is typical of much that such fine instruments as Estelle Roberts are doing every day.
Just before I was about to leave to lecture in the Kingsway Hall on November 10th, 1945, when funds were being raised for the R.A.F. Benevolent Fund, something rather frightening befell my wife and myself.
Our little daughter had gone to visit some friends at a place some distance from London, and had not materialised. The friends she was visiting rang through to us to say that the train on which she had travelled seemingly had not carried her, and that they would be making inquiries along the line and, if necessary, with the police in order to see if anything had befallen her.
My wife was distressed, partly because there had been many attacks on young girls recently in newspapers. I was fairly calm because my Spiritualist knowledge, and my absolute certainty that my girl would be cared by one of the spirit guides, taught me not to worry. Yet was I deeply moved underneath.
I was in a rather dreadful position. I had to speak to a great audience and I had wanted my message about the atomic bomb and the spirit world to go over and outside Kingsway Hall, on the platform of which that devoted Spiritualist, Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding, had sat with me some months before and at which earlier meeting I had told my audience that we all owed our lives to this gallant gentleman and to his fighting aces in the Battle of Britain.
The time came when I had to catch my train to the hall, with no news, after a lapse of many hours, about the girl. But one of my guides did manage to get through to me in the train and to impress on me that I had nothing about which to be troubled–it would be all right, and the girl was safe.
I kept my nerves in control. Indeed, I can truthfully say that never, for years, had I felt such a peculiar quiet elation and certainty as after my guide had "got through." Spiritualism makes for hope and sound nerves.
The moment I reached the hall, I searched for my friend, Estelle Roberts. I told her the circumstances, when, instantly, she said: "Give me something to hold–a handkerchief–anything!" (She meant as a link to get into touch with my daughter.) I gave her a silk handkerchief, when instantly her guide, Red Cloud, upon whom she had called, came through and began to speak with her, as I listened.
Standing there, with my audience waiting, I felt again, and against reason, that strange sense of security and fearlessness. Then this noble woman had turned to me, her face smiling:
"Red Cloud says that she is all right." She went on to say exactly what had happened to her, and so I went to speak, with others, to the audience, my soul at peace. Nor was this the first time she had thus helped me, and always was she accurate.
In the interval, I ran out to find a telephone, in order to speak to my wife. She told me quietly that the girl was all right and safe and that what Red Cloud had said exactly fitted what had happened to delay her.
My audience was informed a minute or two afterwards of this practical side of mediumship and of the greatheartedness of some mediums.
Let any father or mother who has a daughter place themselves in my position, and ask themselves: "How would I have also felt under the same circumstances?"
For in a world which has lost its religion, there are still the miracles of mediumship.
THE WOMAN WHO LOST HER BOY
Spiritualism is useless if not practical. It is practical. It is religion of hope based on fact.
As I write these words, millions are being comforted by Spiritualism, never more than when they have lost a child, a husband, a wife, a friend. Such have spoken to their dead and sometimes have even felt their materialised bodies. To some of my friends, the visits of the dead mean no more to them than those of the living. They are natural.
Many years ago, I knew a doctor and his wife in Middlesbrough who were regularly visited by their two sons after their deaths at the Battle of Mons. The lady told me that her husband and herself had been strong Rationalists and had regarded belief in a future life as superstition, until one day as they were sitting in their dining-room, heart-broken after having the deaths of their sons reported, the door opened and in walked the lads, real and living as when on earth. Yet these lads were then spirits.
These boys visited them from time to time, told them of their lives in the Other World, and made fun of what they called their parents' superstitions, "You thought the dead never came back," they would say. "Look at us!"
My friend, the philanthropist Fru Burch-Hansen of Copenhagen, at the time I lived there, was regularly visited by her dead and beloved husband, who would sit in his old chair, advise her about her earthly affairs, and comfort her. As every Dane knows, this lady was of a great nobility and clearness of thought and character, accustomed to handle the business matters connected with her charities, etc., and would be the last person on this earth to "imagine" her husband's visits. Also, such visitors have been repeatedly seen by witnesses.
It is only ignorance which makes the average man scoff at such happenings, ignorance wilful or temporary. I have myself spoken to and felt ghosts as solid as life, before witnesses.
The beauty of Spiritualism is that, unlike so much of what passes today for "religion," it is a "religon" which can be applied to life. But is also a science.
In the first place it destroys the fear of death, because it demonstrates that there is no death. When there is a death in a Spiritualist household, there is no mourning. The family go about their daily work without sorrow–beyond, of course, the sorrow inevitable from what they know is but a temporary separation.
I have known the greatest writer of musical comedy of his day who, within a few minutes after having left his body, came through to his daughter and to a distinguished journalist in the next room to tell them that all was well with him. But both these people were Spiritualists. They were not even surprised.
In the Spiritualist home, there is the feeling that the dear one who has just been with them is still with them. It is this close realisation of presence of the absent one which enables the Spiritualist to laugh at death. He, and almost he alone, can say: "Oh death where is thy sting–oh grave where is thy victory?"
And here is a typical composite picture of what happens to hundreds of mothers who write to me and others and their distress when they have lost a child. I think it will find its echo in the hearts of many who read these words.
Here is the story of a mother who loses her little boy, who had been the joy of her husband and herself. This lady is not a believer in Spiritualism and, indeed, like many others, conceals a prejudice against it.
When here boy passed out, she felt that she had lost all that made life worth while. She moped and wept. When she asked her clergyman if he could give her positive assurance that Derek was still alive on the other side of the grave, that good man gave her the usual vague assurances with the impotence to which we have become accustomed, and tells her that "she must have faith."
"But," she said, "I want you to prove it to me. I can't feed on faith."
It was a cry from the heart. Faith is not enough.
The clergyman replied: "I'm sorry but my Church cannot give you proof. You must trust in God and His holy scriptures."
"But has nobody ever come back from the dead" asks the broken woman.
"Nobody, so far as I know," replies her spiritual adviser, who might have instanced the resurrection of the Master he was supposed to serve and his miracles of raising from the dead–all, let it be emphasised, under a natural law which is never abrogated.
Desparing, the poor woman turned to a friend whom she had just got to know and whom she liked. These two women had never spoken of religion. It was a subject taboo because in this rather prim house such a topic was regarded as not "good form."
Stange as it seems to the Spiritualist, there are thousands of homes in which the discussion of religion is regarded as "not the thing to do." I know clergymen who never, if they can help it, discuss religion in any intimate sense with their flocks. As one of them says: "People don't want religion forced down their throats especially about death. And, after all, what have we priests got to tell them about what happens after death–how can we comfort them? We don't know much about it ourselves!"
Timidly, the bereaved mother approached her new friend, who had come to the funeral of her little boy some time before. The mother had noticed, surprised and rather shocked, that Mrs. Angers, a woman of refinement, had smiled and talked as though nothing had happened to Derek. She had brought some violets and laid them on the little white coffin. That was all. She had not even condoled with her friend. Nor had she said anything about the dead child.
Yet, in spite of this, something seemed to come from this lady which had given comfort to the mother.
So when she called this day, the mother said:
"Do you know anything about what happens after death, Mrs. Angers? Somehow I feel that you do, though I can't say why."
"Of course I know," returned her friend smilingly. "I suppose you mean by death the giving up of the physical body?"
"Yes–I–well I was of course thinking of my little Derek."
"I also have been thinking about him, my dear."
"But you never said anything to me about his dying?" asked the mother wonderingly. "I remember, on the day of the funeral, you hardly even spoke to me about the death of my only child–and yet, somehow, I must say I felt you did sympathise."
"I did not speak about Derek, because Derek was not really dead," returned Mrs. Angers. "I knew that Derek was not dead, because he happened to be in the room speaking to me at the time that his poor, wasted body was laid out in his bed."
"What! What do you mean by saying that you had spoken with him? How could you speak with my child who was lying dead on that bed?"
"First of all, he was not lying on that bed. His body was lying there–but the body is not the boy. Secondly, you don't have to be occupying a body of flesh and blood in order to speak and to be spoken with. Your Derek was speaking to me–and I remember his words."
"But I never heard him speak," said the amazed woman. "There was no voice heard in that room of death."
"Nevertheless, I have heard him speak. He was telling me that I was to comfort you and that I was to tell you that he was alive and watching you–and that he would come back again and again to you. In fact he has been trying to make his presence felt by kissing you."
The mother, all at once, caught her breath and would have fallen to the ground had her friend not held her in her arms.
"I am all right now, dear. Do you know what happened as you were speaking? I felt two little arms placed about my neck and a kiss on my lips."
"Of course you did," said Mrs. Angers. "It was Derek. I saw him stand there on the chair by your side and put his little arms about you and kiss you as he did in life–and he is still 'in life.'"
"You saw my Derek? You said also that you had heard him? What do you mean?" Derek's mother was still shaken, but the tears came into her eyes–nor were they tears of sorrow but of hope.
"Well, my dear, I may as well confess it. I happen to be what they call a 'medium.' I have the power, like other mediums, of seeing into and hearing in the Next World, as people term it. I can hear sounds that you cannot hear–and see sights that you cannot see. That was how I saw and heard your little boy."
The mother put our her own arms towards her friend, and embraced her, the tears of joy streaming down her face.
"Now I know what it was that seemed to be near me as I went about my daily household work–the steps I seemed to hear–and, once, a voice. Perhaps I also am a medium. It must have been my Derek."
"It was. Sometimes grief will for a time make normal people clairvoyant or mediumistic, because it lifts the speed of the vibrations to match the high-speed vibrations of the other world. In such moments we are, as people say, literally, 'transported to other worlds.' There is often in such popular sayings a basis of truth.
"The boy was doing his best to draw your attention to him and so materialised sufficiently to enable him to make his presence felt by that kiss. Thousands of mothers have felt what you have felt–the ghostly kiss, the ghostly embrace–and have 'put it down to fancy.' But such things are not fancies. They are facts."
From that moment, this mother became more and more aware of the visits of her little boy. One evening, when she was sitting in the garden behind the house and thinking of the evenings when Derek had played at her feet, she all at once heard the call: "Mother! Mother!"
She turned her head in the direction of the voice which she recognised as Derek's and which came a little from behind her. And there she beheld for a fleeting second her own dear boy. He was standing there smiling to her–and then he had vanished.
But Derek comes from time to time to let his mother know that he loves her over there where he is waiting for her.
* * * *
Is this not worth having? Is not this fulfilment of faith and love worth taking? Is it not fine to be without fear even in blitz or blast?
Spiritualism teaches that the love of God is infinite. That death is not the end. That we have nothing to fear now or ever.