W. T. Stead – a message from the Titanic & the after-life

Found - a rare booklet published in Melbourne, Australia circa 1913 -What Life in the Spirit World Really is. Being messages received from beyond the veil by Annie Bright. It is purportedly by the great newspaperman W.T. Stead (1849 - 1912) who had drowned in the 1912 Titanic disaster. It was  in fact 'channelled' from Stead by one Annie Bright. Stead numbered spiritualism among his many interests and as well as editing The Pall Mall Gazette (which became the Evening Standard) he also edited the occult quarterly Borderland. He is said to be the first 'investigative journalist' and campaigned against child prostitution and the London slums. He befriended the feminist Josephine Butler and joined a campaign with her to successfully repeal the Contagious Diseases Act. He was an early Esperantist and he is also the father of modern paperback publishing and even 'digest' publishing, issuing severely abridged versions of the classics. Wikipedia has this to say of his last moments on the Titanic:

After the ship struck the iceberg, Stead helped several women and children into the lifeboats, in an act "typical of his generosity, courage, and humanity", and gave his life jacket to another passenger.
A later sighting of Stead, by survivor Philip Mock, has him clinging to a raft with John Jacob Astor IV. "Their feet became frozen," reported Mock, "and they were compelled to release their hold. Both were drowned." William Stead's body was not recovered. Further tragedy was added by the widely held belief that he was due to be awarded the Nobel Peace that same year.

In this 1913 booklet there is a message from him a week after his drowning blaming the greed of the companies who try to break speed records crossing the Atlantic...the messages came through automatic writing (one of Stead's interests) via one Julia of a spiritualist gazette called The Harbinger:

I am now in a position to know some of the eternal truths of Spiritualism. The terrible accident had nothing in it of a terrible nature for myself. My only sorrow was for the despair and mental terror, as well as the physical suffering, of those who prayed and called upon God to save them, and to know that either He was unable or did not choose to do so, in spite of their cries.

I went down exhorting those by whom I was immediately surrounded to be calm, assuring them that death had no terrors for myself, and need not have any for them: that shortly we would all be in a better and fairer world: that our sufferings would soon be over, and that if those who were parted from me when the final summons came would look for me when in the water - when what the world calls drowning had occurred-I would be with them, and would give them more information of the afterlife in which we soon find ourselves.

I am so delighted that I was able to calm their fears, for I was aided by Julia and the spirit band to assure them and give them comfort. They went to their doom quite calmly, and remembering what I said to them just before the Titanic sank, they were calm when their spirits left their bodies, and I gathered all that I could to speak to them, and with the heavenly messengers, I was enabled to help them much.

How thankful I am, how happy I am to know that, not only had I no fear, but that I was enabled to help my brothers and sisters in distress. How many acts of unselfish bravery I witnessed! How chivalrous the crew were! How calm! How manly they went about saving the women and children!

The real cause of the disaster was the skipper's desire to create a record trip with a record ship, and this caused him to chance the dangerous route. This, in turn, was but the result of the greed of companies, who expect their officers to try these risky passages, and it is the cause of many a loss at sea…

I am full of delight at my new surroundings; full of delight that this world is even more full of joy and ecstasy than I had essayed to tell the people in earth life; so full of joy that I want to wipe the tears from eyes the weep through this terrible disaster; so full of joy that I want to take doubt from every downcast soul.

Ten years later, Stead's daughter Estelle published The Blue Island: Experiences of a New Arrival Beyond the Veil, which purported to be another communication with Stead via a medium, Pardoe Woodman. In the book, Stead again described his death at sea and discussed the nature of the afterlife. The manuscript was produced using automatic writing, and Ms. Stead cited as proof of its authenticity the writer's habit of going back to cross "t's" and dot "i's" while proof-reading --- which she said was characteristic of her father's writing technique in life. In the first pamphlet the rant against the shipping companies has the authentic Stead touch..

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