I came across on YouTube a BRITISH MOVIETONE NEWSREEL of trance medium Meurig Morris and her guide ‘Power’ delivering a trance address.

Here is the background story behind that demonstration:

Born in 1899, trance medium, (Louisa Anne) Meurig Morris’s psychic gifts were noticeable at an early age, but were stifled by an orthodox education. However, she began to develop rapidly after joining Mr Maddams circle in Newton Abbot in 1922. “I sat in his group and went into trance. I was told that my work would be spiritual teaching and philosophy.”

“Little Sunshine,” the spirit of a child, spoke through her, “Father O’Keefe” an old Irish priest described as “an elderly man with a long beard and thin face” and “Sister Magdalene,” the spirit of a French nun, who assumed charge as principal trance control were her main controls

The prediction came through that Morris would be trained for the delivery of teaching by a spirit called “Power.”

Under the control of “Power,” the medium’s soprano voice changed to a ringing  baritone, her mannerisms became masculine and priestly, and the teachings disclosed an erudition and sophisticated philosophy that was far above the intellectual capacities of the medium.

Morris’s rise into the forefront of inspired orators was punctuated with two publicly attested supernormal occurrences. First, an attempt was made by the Columbia Gramophone Company to make a phonograph record of “Power’s” voice. According to the publicly rendered account of company spokesperson C. W. Nixon, at the very commencement of the experiment an incident occurred that by all the rules should have spoiled the first side of the record.

Ernest Oaten, president of the International Federation of Spiritualists, was in the chair, and, being unaware that the start was to be made without the appearance of the usual red light, he whispered loudly  to Morris as she stood up: “Wait for the signal.” These words were picked up by the microphone and heard by the engineers in the recording room after the apparatus had been started, and it was believed they must be on the record. Later, when the second side of the record was to be made, there was confusion in starting, and towards the end, as if to make technical failure a certainty, Morris turned and walked several paces away from the microphone.

A week before the record was ready for reproduction, Cowen telephoned Nixon and told him that “Power” had asserted that notwithstanding the technical mistakes the record would be a success, that Oaten’s whispered words would not be reproduced, and that the timing and volume of the voice would not be spoiled by the later accidents.

This statement was so extraordinary and appeared to be so preposterous in view of technical expectations, that Nixon had it taken down word by word, and sent it in a sealed envelope to Oaten in Manchester with the request that he would keep it unopened until the record was ready, and the truth or otherwise of the prediction could be tested. The record was played in the Fortune Theatre on April 25, 1931. It was found perfect. The letter was opened and read. The prediction was true in every detail.

The second strange incident occurred in the studios of the British Movietone Company where a talking film was made of “Power’s” oratory. Seventy people saw the microphones high in the air, held up by new half-inch ropes. The rope suddenly snapped (it was found cut as with a sharp knife) and a terrific crash startled all present. Within half an inch of Morris’s face, the microphone swept across the space and went swaying to and  fro. A foremen rushed up and dragged the rope aside to keep it out of sight of the camera. The cameraman never stopped filming. Nor did Morris falter. In spite of the obvious danger to her life she never stirred and went on undisturbed with her trance speech.

According to expert opinion the voice registering must have been a failure. Yet it was found that the accident had not the least influence. The record was perfect. According to “Power’s” later revelation, everything was planned. The ropes were supernormally severed so as to prove, by the medium’s demeanour, that she was indeed in trance (which a newspaper questioned) as no human being could have consciously exhibited such self-possession as she did when the accident occurred.

Sir Oliver Lodge, in his book Past Years (1931), refers to Morris: “When the medium’s own vocal organs are obviously being used—as in most cases of trance utterances—the proof of supernormality rests mainly on the substance of what is being said; but, occasionally the manner is surprising. I have spoken above of a characteristically cultured mode of expression, when a scholar is speaking, not easily imitated by an uncultured person; but, in addition to that a loud male voice may emanate from a female larynx and may occasionally attain oratorical proportions. Moreover, the orator may deal with great themes in a style which we cannot associate with the fragile little woman who has gone into trance and is now under control. This is a phenomenon which undoubtedly calls attention to the existence of something supernormal, and can be appealed to as testifying to the reality and activity of a spiritual world. It is, indeed, being used for purposes of such demonstration, and seems well calculated to attract more and more attention from serious and religious people; who would be discouraged and offended by the trivial and barely intelligible abnormalities associated with what are called physical (or physiological) phenomena and would not be encouraged by what is called clairvoyance.”

In April 1932, Morris sued the Daily Mail for a poster reading “Trance Medium Found Out,” and also for statements made in the article to which the poster referred. The action lasted for 11 days. The summary of Justice McCardie was dramatically interrupted by the sudden entrancement of Morris and an address of “Power” to the judge. The jury found for the newspaper on the plea of fair comment but added that no allegations of fraud or dishonesty against Morris had been proved. Morris’s appeal, after a hearing of four days before Lord Justices Scrutton, Lawrence, and Greer, was dismissed. The House of Lords, to which the case was afterward carried, agreed with the Court of Appeal.



(Ira Erastus(1839-1911) and William Henry (1841-1877))

Famous American demonstrators of claimed spirit medium-ship who performed before large audiences on the theatrical stage. Their father was a police official in Buffalo, New York, where Ira was born on September 17, 1839, and William on February 1, 1841.

In 1846—two years before an outbreak of paranormal activity at Hydesville, New York—”raps, thumps, loud noises, snaps, crackling noises” were reportedly heard at the Davenport home during the night. In 1850, in the wake of the widely reported events in Hydesville, the Davenport boys and their younger sister Elisabeth tried table-turning. According to their father, the table soon moved, raps were heard, messages were spelled out, and Ira’s hand began to write automatically. A little later a simultaneous levitation of the three children was witnessed by all present. On the fifth night of the experiments, to comply with rapping directions, Ira fired a pistol into a vacant corner of the room. At the instant of firing the pistol was taken from his hand and in the flash a human figure was seen holding it and smiling at the company. The apparition was the first appearance of “John King,” their self-appointed control. It lasted for an instant only, and with the extinction of the flash the figure vanished, the pistol falling to the floor.

A short time later a public rope-tying performance, for which the brothers became famous, was instituted on direction from the spirits. The brothers released themselves from the most complicated knots remarkably quickly. In due course both direct-writing and direct voice phenomena developed, and the brothers took to the road as performers, holding public séances amid challenging circumstances. Public committees were set up to examine the Davenports’ phenomena, and their rope tying developed into an art of torture.

In 1857 the Boston Courier offered a reward of $500 for the production of genuine physical phenomena. Dr. H. F. Gardner of Boston accepted the challenge and arranged, before a committee of Harvard professors (consisting of Benjamin Pierce, Louis Agassiz, B. A. Gould, and E. N. Horsford), a series of séances with the sisters Kate Fox and Leah Fish, J. W. Mansfield, Dr. G. A. Redman, and the Davenport brothers. The Davenports were tied in the most brutal manner, the ropes drawn through holes bored in the cabinet and firmly knotted outside to make a network; the knots were tied with linen. Pierce sat in the cabinet between the mediums. As soon as he entered, an invisible hand shot the bolt, and the din of musical instruments began. A phantom hand was thrust through a small, curtained opening near the top of the middle door of the wardrobe-like cabinet, and the professor felt it touch his head and face.

At the end of the séance, the mediums were found released, and (according to T. L. Nichols’s biography) the ropes were found twisted around Pierce’s neck. (The latter statement, however, was pronounced “shamelessly false” by the Boston Courier.) The committee issued only a brief negative report; a complete report was never published. It was countered by the report of Dr. Loomis, a professor of chemistry and toxicology at Georgetown Medical College, who also investigated the brothers. He concluded that the manifestations were produced through some new unknown force.

A Professor Mapes also had interesting experiences with the Davenports in Buffalo. He conversed with “John King” in direct voice for half an hour. His hand was seized in a powerful grasp, and when it was taken a second time, the phantom hand increased in size and was covered with hair. A large table on the elevated platform where the mediums were sitting was carried in an instant over the heads of the sitters and deposited in the most distant part of the room.

While some found the phenomena inexplicable, charges and evidence of fraud soon emerged. For example, a letter from Dr. John F. Gray, a well-known New York Spiritualist, to Epes Sargent (June 7, 1864) states: “I have not seen the Davenports this time here; but I entertain no doubt of the genuineness of the manifestations made in their presence. When they were here some years ago they were detected in making spurious manifestations when the genuine failed.”

As a means of control, investigators often filled the hands of the mediums with flour or placed pennies on their shoes after carefully drawing the outline of the shoes on a piece of paper beneath them. When the door of the cabinet was opened, the flour was found in the brothers’ hands as before, no white spots were on their clothes, and the pennies were in place.

The performance while sitting in the cabinet was called the light séance. There was a second part, the dark séance, in which the lights in the room were extinguished and the mediums sat tightly bound to their chairs between the other sitters. Tying and releasing occurred as in the cabinet. The swishing of rope was heard. The knots presented no obstacle. Sometimes every intermediate knot was left undone, with the seal at the end, yet the mediums were found free. As an additional amusement the rope was often coiled around the neck of some sitter. Then through the ropes, in some mysterious way, the coats of the mediums, or their waistcoats underneath, were whisked off and on again.

Those who entered the cabinet to sit with the brothers in the light séance were usually victims of strange pranks. Their handkerchiefs were taken, their breast pins removed and stuck into their coats, and their spectacles transferred to the face of one of the mediums.

“I have, at different times,” wrote Robert Cooper, who spent seven months with the Davenport brothers in England and on the Continent, “seen at least three hundred persons enter the cabinet, all of whom certified that there was no movement on the part of the Brothers.”

The Davenport brothers arrived in England in 1864. They were accompanied by the Rev. J. B. Ferguson, a former pastor from Nashville, Tennessee, who was famous throughout the South; D. Palmer, their operatic manager, who acted as secretary; and William M. Fay, another physical medium. Their stay in England was strenuous. Public opposition was violent, but interest in their feats was tremendous, and the Spiritualists reaped rewards of favorable press.

Their first séance in London was held privately at the residence of Dion Boucicault, the famous actor and author, in the presence of scientists and members of the press. In a report on the séance, after describing the babel generated by the musical instruments playing in the light and dark séances, a correspondent for The Times continues: “A new experiment was now made. Darkness having regained its supremacy, one of the brothers expressed a desire to be relieved of his coat. Returning light showed him in his shirt-sleeves, though his hands were still firmly bound behind the chair. It was now stated that he was prepared to put on the coat of any one of the company willing to ‘loan’ that article of attire, and an assenting gentleman having been found, the coat, after a short interval of darkness, was worn in proper fashion by a person for whom it had not been designed by the tailor. Finally, the brothers desired a release, and one of the company, certainly not an accomplice, requested that the rope might fall into his lap. During the interval of darkness a rushing sound as of swiftly-drawn cords was audible, and the ropes reached the required knees, after striking the face of the person in the next chair.”

The Times correspondent said he was not sure that he had witnessed simple conjuring. An account in The Standard says the knots were tied by a sailor who was “profound” at knot tying, and the reporter of the Daily Telegraph was not certain whether the feats were “the annihilation of what are called material laws” or a display of some extraordinary physical dexterity. He was unsure whether to regard the believers in Spiritualism as “the embodiment of a mutual and colossal self-deceit, or the silent heralds of a social revolution which must shake the world.”

The Davenport public séances began in October 1864 at the Queen’s Court Concert Rooms, Hanover Square, London. They continued almost nightly until the end of the year. No committee could pinpoint the brothers’ fraud, though a group of stage magicians attempted to prove that the performance was fraudulent.

It is probable that a sailor could tie a magician so that he could not free himself. “But no person,” declares T. L. Nichols in Supramundane Facts in the Life of the Rev. J. B. Ferguson (1865), “of all the hundreds who have tried, has ever tied the Davenports or Mr. Fay so that they were not freed in a few minutes, nor so that the manifestations, which must have been made either by them or by an intelligent, invisible force attending them, did not occur in two seconds.”

Although their stay in London was somewhat successful, the Davenports and Fay met with open hostility in the countryside. In Liverpool, for example, two members selected from the audience tied the mediums with a peculiarly intricate knot. The mediums protested that it was unfairly tight and injured their circulation. A doctor from the audience made an examination and pronounced against them. The Davenports refused to sit and asked Ferguson to cut the knot. The next night a riot broke out and the party left town. At Hull, Huddersfield, and Leeds they found a hostile public, inclined to lynch them. Since they did not find the police protection sufficient, they broke off their engagements. In a letter to Ferguson, the Davenports later wrote: “Were we mere jugglers we should meet with no violence, or we should find protection. Could we declare that these things done in our presence were deception of the senses, we should, no doubt, reap a plentiful harvest of money and applause. As tricks they would transcend, according to the testimony of experienced observers, any ever exhibited in Occident or Orient. The wonders of the cabinet, or still more, of the dark séance, surpass all pretentions of conjurers. We should safely defy the world to equal them, and be honoured for our dexterity. But we are not jugglers, and truthfully declare that we are not, and we are mobbed from town to town, our property destroyed and our lives imperilled.”

The truth of these wonders was solemnly promulgated by Ferguson: “I have in their presence had articulate and audible conversation with a voice which was not theirs, nor that of any living person. With this I have conversed as a man talks with his friend, while the power or being from which the voice proceeded made its presence and reality known to me by other physical manifestations. In railway carriages, when in company with the Brothers Davenport and Mr. Fay, in passing through dark tunnels, I have been manipulated all over my body by hands seemingly human, sometimes unexpectedly, others at my request, when no one present could have touched me without my knowledge.”

Robert Cooper’s Spiritual Experiences (1867) thus sums up seven months’ of close observation: “I can truly say that during the whole time I was with them, extending over a period of seven months, I never saw aught to indicate that they were anything but passive instruments, the manifestations being produced by a power outside themselves. Indeed, I feel quite sure they could not accomplish these things by natural means without being detected every week of their lives; and I give it as my deliberate conviction after all the opportunities I have had of forming an opinion, that their manifestations are a reality; if they are not, then all creation is a myth and our senses nothing worth.”

In France, where the Davenports travelled after their misadventures in England, they could not get the necessary permit to exhibit in public for some time, since the authorities feared similar disturbances. When the time finally arrived for their first performance, an emissary of a conjurer named Robin stepped onto the platform. Under pretence of examining the cabinet, he tore off the rail that supported one of the seats and, holding it up before the excited crowd, asserted that he had discovered a secret spring. Because of the confusion that arose, the police cleared the room. A few days later the séances continued, but by order of the prefect attendance was restricted to 60 persons.

Some magicians were more friendly, however. The famous conjurer Hamilton, and one Rhys, a manufacturer of conjuring implements, state in letters to the Davenports published in the Gazette des Etrangers (September 27, 1865) that the phenomena were inexplicable and could not be attributed to fraud. In later years a Professor Jacobs similarly testified that the phenomena seen in Paris “were absolutely true and belonged to the spiritual order of things in every respect.” Before they left Paris, the Davenports were summoned to appear before the Emperor and the Empress Napoleon at the palace of St. Cloud. A party of 40 witnessed their demonstration with astonishment. They were well received in Belgium and appeared in St. Petersburg before the Czar in the Winter Palace. Their first public séance in St. Petersburg was attended by a thousand people.

In 1868 they returned to England. At Cooper’s initiative the Anthropological Society appointed a committee to investigate their phenomena. A trial séance was held, which the committee considered a failure. The conditions they proposed were found unacceptable by the mediums, and the investigation was broken off.

In 1876 the Davenports visited Australia. The following year William Davenport died in Sydney on July 1, 1877. His brother had the cabinet, ropes, and so forth engraved on William’s tombstone. Ira returned to Mayville, New York, and continued to give stage demonstrations with another partner in Boston, Washington, and Pennsylvania. In 1906 he toured Jamaica and Cuba. His last performance was on November 19, 1906, for an American regiment near Santiago de Cuba. He died on his farm in Mayville, July 8, 1911.

The general conclusion regarding the Davenport brothers’ phenomena is that their performance was simple stage conjuring. Trick cabinets and rope tying were standard items of stage magic at the time, and Harry Houdini and his students demonstrated feats equal to and surpassing those of the Davenports. The brothers’ refusal to continue with a performance in England when their wrists were tied too tightly argues against spirit agency, since this should have operated even in such unfavourable circumstances considering other marvels that were demonstrated. They escaped any exposure of trickery though, in spite of observation by alert and intelligent investigators (which other mediums also accomplished only to be caught later), and their release from binding with strong ropes was phenomenally rapid—often taking only two or three minutes.

Furthermore, during their long and chequered career the Davenports never claimed to know how their phenomena occurred. In a letter he wrote to Houdini, Ira Davenport declares, “We never in public affirmed our belief in Spiritualism. That we regarded as no business of the public, nor did we offer our entertainment as the result of sleight-of-hand or, on the other hand, as Spiritualism. We let our friends and foes settle that as best they could between themselves but, unfortunately, we were often the victims of their disagreement.”

In A Magician Among the Spirits (1924) Houdini claims that Ira Davenport admitted that he was a fraud and described how the rope trick was performed. There is no independent confirmation of this admission, however, and Houdini privately voiced different opinions to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In The Edge of the Unknown (1930), Doyle asserts, “I was an intimate friend of Ira Erastus Davenport. I can make the positive assertion that the Davenport Brothers never were exposed…. I know more about the Davenports than anyone living.”



The phenomenon of apports is the conveyance of material objects, large or small, into a room, the containing walls of which have no apertures through which they might ordinarily pass. It is a fairly common phenomenon; it usually occurs only in the dark, but with powerful mediums and suitable sitters it also occurs in the light. The apports may be anything; human beings, living animals, hints, fish, reptiles, plants, flowers, fruits, earth, snow, books, curios, etc., have all formed apports at one séance or another.

The phenomenon would seem to involve the passage of matter through matter. It can only be accomplished by the dematerialisation of the article, which in its then attenuated or etheric state, is introduced into the séance room and there materialised back to its former state.

Communicating spirits tell us that every material thing has its spiritual or ethereal counterpart, and that the phenomenon of apports is accomplished by a temporary dematerialisation of the article into its invisible etheric form, in which state it can be conveyed with the speed of light from any distance, through stone walls or other material things, and then be materialised again into its original form. This view is very generally held by psychic students.

Other spirits, however, assert that dematerialised objects cannot actually be passed through existing matter, but only through pre-existing openings, fissures or cracks, so that if the enclosed space were bounded by continuous matter, as in an air-tight vessel, apports could not be introduced.

No doubt the different views expressed by different spirits are in accordance with their limited knowledge and experience.

The phenomenon of apports was a common one; it usually occurred in the dark, but not always. Numerous articles of all kinds, mostly small, were brought from various rooms in the house and thrown on the séance room table, while all sat holding’ hands. Fragile articles were laid down gently. Strange articles, sometimes of value, were also brought, including precious stones and large numbers of perforated seed pearls.

The following two descriptions of the apport of a hand-bell, the one by Stainton Moses and the other by Sir W. Crookes, are particularly interesting in that, being almost identical, they corroborate each other. The séance room was in darkness, but the lobby outside and the dining-room, from which the bell was brought, were brightly lighted.

Quoting Moses’ words:-

In the dining-room there was a little bell. We heard it commence to ring, and could trace it by its sound as it approached the door which separated us from it. What was our astonishment when we found that in spite of the closed door the sound grew nearer to us! It was evidently within the room in which we sat, for the bell was carried round the room, ringing loudly the whole time. After completing the circuit of the room, it was brought down, passed under the table, coming up close to my elbow. It rang under my very nose, and went round about my head, then passed round the circle, ringing close to the faces of all. It was finally placed upon the table.”

The similar phenomenon witnessed by Sir William Crookes occurred in his own house with Kate Fox, and he records it in his Phenomena of Spiritualism, p.97.

Kate Fox called by appointment in the evening, and Sir William, hearing the door bell, left his library where he was sitting alone, and himself opened the front door and showed her straight into the dining-room where there was a lady friend and his two sons. He immediately sent his sons into the library and, locking the dining-room door; he put the key in his pocket, sat down at the table with the two ladies and took both Kate Fox’s hands in his. Very soon they were told by the alphabet to put the light out, the control saying, “We are going to bring something to show our power.” The room was then in complete darkness and almost immediately afterwards, quoting Sir William’s words:

” . . .  . We all heard the tinkling of a bell, not stationary, but moving about in all parts of the room, at one time by the wall, at another in a further corner of the room; now touching me on the head, and now tapping against the floor. After ringing about the room in this manner for fully five minutes, it fell upon the table close to my hands.

During the time this was going on, no one moved, and Miss Fox’s hands were perfectly quiet.

I remarked that it could not be my little hand-bell which was ringing, for I left that in the library. (Shortly before Miss Fox came, I had occasion to refer to a book, which was lying on a corner of a book-shelf. The bell was on the book, and I put it on one side to get the book. That little incident had impressed on my mind the fact of the bell being in the library.)

The gas was burning brightly in the hall outside the dining-room door, so that this could not be opened without letting light into the room, even had there been an accomplice in the house with a duplicate key, which there certainly was not.

I struck a light. There, sure enough, was my own bell lying on the table before me. I went straight into the library. A glance showed that the bell was not where it ought to have been. I said to my eldest boy, ‘Do you know where my little bell is?’

‘Yes, papa,’ he replied, there it is,’ pointing to where I had left it. He looked up as he said this, and then continued, ‘No, it’s not there, but it was there a little time ago.’

‘How do you mean? Has anyone come in and taken it?’

‘No,’ said he, ‘No-one has been in; but I am sure it was there, because when you sent us in here out of the dining-room, J. (the youngest boy), began ringing it so that I could not go on with my lessons, and I told him to stop.  J. corroborated this, and said that after ringing it, he put the bell down where he had found it.”

Kathleen Barkel and Estelle Roberts were both apport mediums although the method of producing apports was different.

Maurice Barbanell describes, in “This is Spiritualism”, how apports vary in nature – “I have seen produced semi-precious stones, a sapphire set in silver, a jade ear-piece set in nine- carat gold, a gold locket and a gold ring with three opals and four diamonds, two figures of Buddha, some praying beads and a scarab edged with gold, later verified by the British Museum’s Department of Ancient Antiquities as coming from Abydos.


A journalist put the following questions to Silver Birch: when animals die and their evolution……..


Do some animals spend their whole time with their human friends on the other side or is their real home on the animal sphere?


It depends, because love is the index. You know that love determines the survival of animals. It is the love that exists between the animal and the person that enables the animal to obtain the temporary consciousness that exist beyond the grave of matter. If an animal and I do not like the word “owner” because no one owns another soul, and the one whom it has served are in the world of spirit together, then the home of the animal is the home of the individual who has always loved it. It stays where love is, for love is the link that binds it to the one who loves it. It has no necessity go to the animal plane, because it has its home. Those who dwell in the animals sphere are the ones who come to the world of spirit before the masters, or owners, as you call them, arrive in our world, because it is necessary that someone shall take care of them. Otherwise they would be distracted, being cut off from the love, which not only warmed their hearts but breathed the temporary immortality into them. Where the animal comes to our world preceding the one who loved it, who gave it shelter and taught it all the habits of memory, of reason, of judgment and affection, it goes to the animal world to await the time when it can greet the one it has missed. There it is put in charge of those specially trained to look after animals, just as you have trainers in your world to care for animals when their masters and mistresses are away.


Will you describe what it is an animal obtains from human contact that makes it survive?


In the long line in evolution, at some stage that Great Spirit or the law, breathed into the animal and it became a living soul, conscious, aware of its own existence. Then came the dawn of reason; intelligence bloomed; there was judgment, the ability to reflect, to decide, to weigh and to consider. But, potentially, all that existed no matter how far back in the line of evolution you go. It requires the breath of the Great Spirit to awaken it. Just as the Great Spirit enabled a divine spark to become a flame, so you, by love, transfer that process to the animal who lives within the shelter of your affection. You are part of the Great Spirit, having the power within you to transfer the tribute of spirit to the next in line of evolution, so that by your association, by radiating love, you awake that consciousness which, in time, through the process of evolution, would reach its own apex. Love is the keynote in all life. Death cannot still the voice of love in humans or in animals. Love is the driving force throughout the whole universe; love controls and governs all life; and love seeks to work through man towards all other creatures, whether they be his equal or his inferiors. The love that emanates from man to the lesser beings he embraces in his heart, the dog, the cat and the pets – cannot be ended by “death.” It is love that determines that life must go on because love goes on.


How long does the survival of an animal last? Is it as long as that of a human being?


No, there is this difference. At some stage the animal and human evolution inevitably part company. It may take, as you measure time, hundreds or thousands of years, but their rates of spiritual evolution are unequal. The animal has to be left behind because it cannot keep pace with the growing soul that restlessly struggles towards the greater light. Once you have passed from the vale of matter and accustomed yourself to conditions of the spiritual life, once you have realised that the ties which bind you to earth are severed, the desire to progress, the desire to unfold the surging divinity within becomes quickened. You seek to unfold all the qualities, which, by their practice, will enable you to be a greater service wherever you are. The higher you climb in the realm of spiritual unfoldment, the more difficult it is for the animal to keep pace with you. And so the love which kindled for a while a flame that burned beyond “death” gradually becomes attenuated. The flame flickers and it merges in the end with the group soul of that species.


Does that mean that the animal loses its personality and individuality?


Yes. That is the clear distinction between the two evolutions, because the animal, as a group, has not yet reached the stage of evolution when the whole group is individualised. Otherwise it would cease to be animal; it would have then reached the stage of the human being. But because you enable it to jump the scale of evolution, because you enable it to advance by love, it means that it must return to the group out of which it is formed.


It sounds rather unfair that, because the animal has earned individuality for itself, it must return and lose what it has gained.


No, because it has contributed to the group spirit and has enabled the process evolution to be advanced by its fraction of evolution. It contributes to the common stock. It adds a quota to the pool that before did not exist, in order to help the whole. The more such sacrifices are made, the quicker the group’s soul advances towards the stage where it leaves the animal behind and earns the evolution which makes it now ready for individual souls in human form.


Is that when they definitely become incarnated?


There are two kinds of incarnation. There is the old soul re-embodied in the world of matter and there is what you call the, “new soul,” starting its first phase in the world of matter as an individual.


Do you mean as a human individual?


Yes. They are both spirit, they are both conscious spirit, they are both individual spirit. But one is an old soul, returning to complete or help complete a cycle; the other is a new soul on the first rung of the ladder. The new one comes from the group, the group that once was animal, a  pool of spirit which has been through all the evolutionary stages and animal, of bird, of fish, of reptile, right back to the lowest slime on earth.

That is Theosophical teaching.

I do not care whose belief it is. You should not tell me about labels. I am not interested. All these facetious critics who do not desire knowledge, who only seek to exhibit their vaunted intelligence, do not realise the simple truth. You do not bring a spider into your home and give it love, do you? You do not bring a beetle into your home and give it love and try to serve it. You do not give it companionship and the warmth of your heart, do you? No, because you recognise the gulf that is fixed between you, because you know instinctively that it is far away from you in the scale of evolution. You bring those whom you call the domestic animals – the dog, the cat, sometimes the monkey – because you feel a kinship with them. They are just below you in the line of evolution. They are ready for your love or affection because they are awaiting the next stage in their evolution, which is incarnation as humans.


Is the group’s soul situated on the animal planes?


I have one great advantage over you. I do not have to learn lessons in geography. We have no situations. Space is boundless and spiritual conditions do not occupy space. You are thinking in terms of physical location and spirit does not require habitation, unless it is to assume form. But a group soul requires no form. When it does, then it has to have a mode of manifestation and a place where that mode is manifested.


Do pet animals visit the spirit world and sleep?


No. Are they not familiar with it when they pass?


No. When in your sleep state you come to our world you do so because you have your guides to take you by the hand. But none can do that for the animal except the one it knows, and that one is still in the world of matter.


Suppose that one had passed on?


That is a little different, but I speak generally.


Why are animals, particularly cats and dogs, often more psychic than human beings?

Answer: Because all though they have not as yet, as far as evolution goes, reached the stage where they become humans, they have not had to face “civilised” life that human beings do. If the human had not had the benefits of what you call “civilisation” then before now he would have reached the stage where the exercise of psychic qualities was part of his normal life. He has sacrificed that for his civilisation. The animal, not faced with the economic problems, with the sociological problems that affect human beings, has continued in the evolutionary line to the stage that humans should have reached, but have not, and therefore is in possession of those psychic qualities which humans have, but often repress, because of the material life they have to lead. Then again, those whom you call mediums are the precursors of the evolutionary line. They are exhibiting today what will be natural tomorrow.


Animals have what is called a sixth sense… they have premonitions and the ability to find their way over unknown territory. Is that a psychic quality?


Yes, that is what mediums can do. But sometimes it is a quality of the species because; there again, you get a precursor of evolution manifest in one quality, like the pigeon, which has developed the one quality of finding its way home. It is called instinct, but it is really a form of lucidity. They are qualities, which are precursors to the line of evolution.

Question: Sometimes when a medium describes a “dead” animal, it is accompanied by another one. Does one animal help the other to return?


No, unless there was an association between the two animals already in your earthly world. Is it always a human spirit who helps them? Yes, because the higher helps the lower always. In is the law.

Question: What sort of animals are on the animal plane? Answer: All those animals which were your pets, which you thought to be almost your equals, which you endowed with affection, with love, and stimulated their reason and the ability to think. Rather than that they should be lonely, disconsolate, lost without the one to whom they were attached, they come to this plane where they mingle with other animals and receive the special care of those who, have devoted their lives to the study of animals, are able to minister to them and to give them the kindness which is their natural expression. In this world they find all the things that will delight animals, all the pursuits of enjoyment that prevent them from fretting. And occasionally they are brought within the radius of the home, so that they can still feel the affection of the ones from whom they are part for a while. That is why so many sometimes see or hear the dog or the cat, even though they do not possess knowledge of spiritualism. They only know that there is a sense, or feeling, that the dog is there. And other animals always see them because of their higher psychic qualities.


Do the people who work on the animal plane bring them back?


It is the ones who minister to them on the animal plane who bring them back because they would not come back with anybody else. And do you know who are the ones who minister to them? Those who were passionately devoted to animals and never had the opportunity of befriending them, just is in our world the children who pass before their parents are cared for by those who had strong maternal instincts, which were never satisfied. Dogs and the cats and all the pets are cared for by those who were devoted to them and did not have the means of lavishing their devotion upon them. Of course, they are aided by those who have specialised knowledge of animals, which is always used in our world. Knowledge is never wasted.


If an animal is ill when it passes over, does it get nursed, as human beings do?


Yes, because there are many in our world who are glad to have the opportunity. Are there different sections, or do the animals mingle?

No, the boundaries are fixed.

Though it is one animal plane, has it different boundaries?

Yes. It is very natural. It is not like a huge pen.

Are cat separated from the dogs?

Yes, they are.

Except the friendly ones, and I suppose they are near the boundaries?

Yes, it is all very natural.

Which is next in the line of animal evolution after the dog – the cat or the monkey?

The cat.

Why not the monkey, considering he is so much like us?

Evolution, as I have tried to explain, is not in a straight line. There are always precursors and retrogrades. Whilst man has developed in his line of evolution from the monkey, that pace has not been maintained and the dog has passed the monkey stage, largely because man has conferred friendship on the dog.

Did the monkey break the law?

They did not break the law, but they fail to live up to what they could have done. Is it possible that in the future the dog will slip backwards?

No, I do not think so, because now, after all these millions of years, the species have become defined. The pattern has become almost standardised and the chances of physical evolution are diminishing. You must remember that there is a limit to physical evolution, in the sense that there can be changes in form, but not in the essential pattern there can be various, but not complete, changes. For example, take your physical body. You will not outgrow, for generations, this form, this shape – the two arms, two eyes, one nose, two legs. That pattern has now becomes fairly standardised. There will be variations according to race and country, but not changes in the pattern. This is more so in regard to the animals, so that there will be an emergence of the group spirit in the animal world but not so much in the physical world.

Would the slipping back of the monkey be the result of free will?

No, because it is a condition that affects the whole group. How could the group will decide if it had no individual consciousness?

There is a difference between the behavior of animals according to their instincts and also lack of instincts. Even in animals, where there is no individual reasoning ability, there is a power either for labour or for idleness. It can respond, or fail to respond. It can sharpen up or awaken the instincts of the group. And, though it has no individual judgment, there can be, in the line of evolution, epochs where the whole species is failing to respond to what it is capable of doing.


How do you view the ever-increasing practice of experiments on living animals, often causing terrible pain to helpless creatures?


Many people on this side are striving to get this unholy thing stopped.
Is there any help in any way from the spirit world? Answer:

All those who desire to serve at once bring to their aid those in my world who were inspired and sustain and bring them the power of the spirit to aid the work that they seek to do. It is wrong to administer pain to any of the creatures of the Great Spirit, but you must remember that there are many who do it in ignorance, not realising the pain that they inflict, only possessed with motives to help their fellow men. But they are still breaking the law.


But if, as we are often told, only the motive counts, will these people who inflict pain in what they conceived to be service to their fellow men have to pay the penalty for breaking the law?


The motives may be good, but the principle is unaltered. If one deliberately inflicts pain, knowing it will hurt, that means that the one who does it is conscious of his responsibility. His motives, of course, are good, but he has inflicted pain. All these factors are taken into account, I cannot agree with the practice of inflicting pain.

Are animals sent to earth to help mankind?

Yes. And mankind is sent to help them.

But the sole purpose of the animal creation is it not to be of use to man?

No, that is only part of the work.

Do you believe that vivisection can be right when it is undertaken with a good motive?

No. How can that which is cruel be right? How can that which causes pain, which inflicts torture, be right? It is contrary to all we teach. It is wrong to experiment on those who are not capable of resisting.

Do you agree that no cure for cancer will ever be found by that method?

Your world cannot produce remedies for the diseases, which it has created by living contrary to the laws of the Great Spirit. There will be found remedies for all your diseases, but they will not be found by experiments on animals.

Why does not the spirit world interfere when it sees so many appalling atrocities committed on animals?

Because the Universe is ruled by natural laws.

At the end of these questions the guide made this comment: “Just as animals strive to serve us with devotion, let us always try to serve others with equal devotion, with equal faithfulness, for it is all part of the divine love restlessly stirring which seeks to find expression everywhere. In a world that is so full of hatred and anger and jealousy, rage and fierce passion, it is increasingly necessary for divine love to be made manifest.”  

Road of Many Ways (6)

Dirkie’s Story

HELLO THERE, HEY. Gee, I just wanted to tell you my story, too. It’s not really a long one. There’s not much to tell. It’s quite simple really.

I was going off to see a girl friend of mine one night, down in Benoni, and I was burning it up a bit. I didn’t see the booms on the railway crossing — well, not until it was too late. It was one hell of a moment 1 can tell you. I broadsided the bike but it was too late. You know, I hit that boom so darn hard with such an almighty impact!

One moment I was all hale and hearty and the next moment I was — well, all hale and hearty. There I was standing, at least I felt I was standing, about ten feet above the crossing.

There was the bike right on the far side. It had gone across the track and up the other side. Ha! And there was me, or what was left of me, half wrapped around a boom and half on the ground. What a mess! You know, I took one look at that and thought, “Dirkie, you’ve had it, man.” Only, then I thought: It can’t be you, there was no pain, you felt nothing. But wait, man, you’re alive. Yet there you are — and here you are. Then this ou beside me, he said, “Well, welcome home, Dirkie.”

I looked around. “Man, but who are you?”

“I’ve been sent to fetch you.”

“Been sent to fetch me?”

“Yes,” he went on, “we knew you were coming. You ride like such a damn fool. If I could get grey hairs here, I’d have had them long ago.”

“But who are you, man?”

“All in good time you’ll find out who I am. But I’ve had my eye on you for a long time and I’ve been trying to take care of you. So many times I’ve succeeded, made you go one way and not another.

Made you slow down when you were speeding, or made you speed up when you were going too slow. And every time, you’ve been alright, but this time you wouldn’t listen. So now, here you are.

You’re right here where I am. I’m out of a job now because I don’t have to keep my eye on you the whole time. But now I can really get down to the job I’ve been trying to do, and that’s to educate you.”

“Am I really dead?”

“Yes,” he said, “as dead as you’re ever going to be.”

“I’ve got to get back. I’ve got to tell Tessa.”

“No, not now. Now is not the time. You can see her later.

Now you’ve got to turn your back on that and come with me.

Now, come on, we’ve got a long way to go, so let’s get cracking.

There is no going back there for you. That’s finished. You can see that with your own eyes.”

I looked back. By this time there was a crowd of people, and there were police, and in the distance I heard an ambulance coming that wouldn’t be needed. While I was looking at all this the scene began to fade and I was moving away from it. Suddenly we were in another place. We hadn’t really seemed to move, or to stay either. But there we were.

“Alright,” he said, “now, take hold of me, hold my hand.”

I felt a bit silly holding his hand, but I did.

He explained, “Here in this place, it’s a bit of a struggle for you to move forward unless there is someone to help you along. You see that patch of light over there? That’s where we’re going, so you stay with me.” And we went off, stumbling along.

At least I stumbled along, but he didn’t seem to.

We came out into this open patch, into this light, and as I looked I could see other people coming into it. It was like a park. There were trees and bushes and grass. A hell of a klomp of people were milling around but they didn’t get in each other’s way for they all seemed to know where they wanted to go. I saw people meeting them and then they’d stand talking in little groups. Then suddenly someone else would stumble in and be met. I was looking around, most intrigued by all this lot.

This ou says, “Yes, Dirkie, this is an arrival point. They all come to some point or other and this is your place.”

“But where are the people here to meet me?” I asked.

“Well,” he said, “I have met you. You’ve not come through the mist belt alone.”

“No, no I haven’t come through alone but some of the others have. Why wasn’t I alone?”

“Well, it’s like this. You’ve been a bit of a hell-raiser, and you’ve had your share of ups and downs and not doing things you were told to do, but basically you are just a young lad, full of the exuberance of youth, so nothing is being held against you, nothing at all. And to have let you come through there on your own wouldn’t have been exactly fair, so I was with you all the way. The others, too, haven’t really been alone for there are helpers working in there who’ve given them a hand.”

“But, man, where’re the people who’re coming to meet me?” I repeated. “You know, other people, like those meeting people just over there. Friends or whatever.”

“Have you got many friends here?” he asked me.

“No, I suppose not. One or two people I know.” Then 1 heard a voice behind me, a voice I’ll never forget.

“Dirkie, what have you been doing, hey? Always I told you, always you wouldn’t listen. You wouldn’t wash behind your ears when I told you. You wouldn’t eat your food when I told you. You wouldn’t come inside when I told you. You wouldn’t put your shoes on when I told you. And now look what you’ve done. You didn’t take notice of what I told you, and now here you are with us. Welcome home, my seuntjie.”

Ja, it was my Ouma. There she was, and she had come specially to meet me.

“But Ouma, how did you know? How did you know I was coming here?”

“We know.” She nodded her head. “We always know. The message came.

“Do you mean you got a telegram?”

“Of course not. Now don’t you start your nonsense here because it won’t go down. You’ve got to behave yourself.” But there was such a wicked twinkle in her eyes. “No, Dirkie, we send messages other ways here. You’ll learn all about it. The message said you’d arrived, and I wanted to be the first to meet you,”

“You’re not exactly the first, hey, this ou’s been with me right from the time it happened.”

“Yes,” said Ouma, “but you didn’t know him. He’s not one of yours. I am. You see, you’re one of mine and I welcome you home. But you’ll find things different here. Things are not all what they seem at first glance.”

And you know what? While I was watching her she seemed to change. It was still Ouma, but not Ouma anymore. Right there before my eyes she grew younger.

“There,” she continued, “if I’d come to you like that you wouldn’t have known me, would you?”

“No, Ouma.”

“But this is how I am here.”

“But . . . you’re beautiful.”

“And another thing,” she said, “1 think it’s time you started calling me by another name, and not Ouma, because here we call one another by our true names.” Then she gave me her name, but 1 won’t tell you. We’re not permitted to do that. It’s not right, you see, that people know our spirit names. And you know something about that name? It fitted her so perfectly. Yes, it was really her name, it belonged to her.

“But what’s my name?” I asked.

“All in good time,” she replied. “Now you must come with me because you are going to stay with me for a while.”

“But what about Ma? I must go and see her.”

“No,” she said, “you are not going there. Not yet. She knows. She already knows. And it’s not good for you to see her like that. First you’ve got to come here to my place and rest.”

Well, I went with her and when we got there it was a nice place. A little house, all on its own, tucked away behind some trees.

“But, Ouma, you know. . .

“No,” she interrupted me, “no more ‘Ouma’.”

“Well, anyway, Ouma,” I said not taking any notice, “this is the sort of place you always wanted, hey?”

“That’s right, and that’s the sort of place I got. And here you’re going to stay with me and you’re going to rest a bit.”

We went inside. Man, it was beautiful!

“Now, you lie down there and rest a while. There’s a friend coming here, a little later, who will talk with you.”

Well, I lay down and very soon I fell into a deep sleep, but it was suddenly, very suddenly, ended. I was standing there with Ma and Eileen, my sister, and they were crying something horrible. I was in my room at home, and they were just sitting there crying, crying.

“But Ma, I am here, right here with you. Don’t cry, I’m not dead. I’m alive.”

But they didn’t hear me. They couldn’t hear.

Then Ouma was there again and my friend, beside me.

“No, it’s no good. You can’t talk to them. You must come back with us now.”

“But why am I here? I was sleeping.”

“Yes, you were sleeping. But they are grieving for you, and they sent out their true love and it found you. It brought you back. And while they grieve so will they keep calling you, keep waking you. You see, there is nothing we can do to stop love when it calls. Love calls you back.”

“But, man, I want to tell them I’m alright. How can l tell them?”

“No, that you can’t do. They will not hear . . . not now. We will try later, in a little while. But now you must come back.”

Well, this happened three or four times. 1 went to my own funeral. Man, I never knew so many people liked me, hey. They were all there, friends and neighbours, a whole klomp of people.

Never did I know they liked old Dirkie that much. But my Ma . . . she was so sad. And there were others, sad too, others I really didn’t know they thought that much of me. And there were some I expected to be more upset, and weren’t.

Man, that funeral was an education. But I was so saddened and upset that I had caused all this. I had a very bad time. And all these friends here, they gathered around me to try and help me. But what could they really do? There it was in front of me: my doing.

I was taken back again to Ouma’s place, and again I slept.

After the funeral it was easier.

There wasn’t so much of a pull.

It gradually grew less, for long periods. And then Ma would have one of her sessions again, and the pull would become strong and back I’d go.

But by this time I wasn’t sleeping any more. I was beginning to get around, to meet people, old friends, some people I’d never known but who knew me.

Road of Many Ways (5)

Alan’s Story

PERHAPS THE STORY of a judgment throne is more my story than John’s.

I come from Sydney. That’s right, I’m Australian. My name is Alan.

Perhaps I should say I was an Australian and, well, as you can imagine, I wasn’t exactly an angel. I wasn’t a bad man, I suppose.

I’d led a full life and enjoyed every moment of it. I always enjoyed a beer or two and still do, as a matter of fact. That may sound funny to you but it isn’t really,you know.

The life that we have here isn’t so vastly different from the one we’ve known on earth. If it were, I don’t think any of us could take it. Not at first, anyway.

My passing was somewhat similar to John’s, I suppose.

It was in the heat of battle when suddenly everything went very, very quiet. Dead quiet, in fact. Not a sound.

“Where the blazes has that Jap gone to? He’s gone to ground somewhere out there,” was my first thought.

Then I looked down, and there was this fellow lying there on the ground. I stared at him.

“Your face is familiar,” I thought. “I’ve seen you around but I don’t remember you being part of the outfit.”

Then it dawned on me. That was me I was looking at.

But it couldn’t be. And yet it was. That was me, fair dinkum!

There was only one thing wrong. I had a hole right through the middle of the forehead.

Well, I knew then that I’d bought it. I’d never been so scared in all my life as I was at that moment. I began to panic.

Blimey, what now? What’s going to happen now?

With that I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned, and there was this Pommy officer standing there.

He speaks to me in a voice that sounds like he had a mouthful of plums, and he says, “Hold on, old chap.” You know the way they do.

“No need to panic,” he says. “The time to panic is past. None of that can touch you now.

You’ve come to the end of one road but you’ve just taken your first step onto the new one.”

Well, I didn’t quite know what to make of it.

“Come on,” he says, “come with me.”

The strange thing was I didn’t want to leave that body. It was drawing me. I wanted to look at it.

He says to me, very gently, “Come on old man, it’s no good to you anymore. Just lift up your hand. Go on, lift it up.”

I quizzed him for a moment, then I lifted it up.

“Now look at your hand. Is it any different from the one on that body lying down there?”

I looked down, and it was the same old hand, but it was different. Something was different. I couldn’t quite make it out.

“Now look, compare your hand with the hand down there.”

And I did.

“Now think again. What’s the difference?”

Well, for the life of me I couldn’t think of one.

And I clenched my fist, just thinking about it.

The other fist didn’t clench, not the one down there on the old body.

Then it dawned, dawned on me bright and clear like a sunny morning, and I gawked at him. “The one down there ain’t got no life.”

“That’s right, friend. But yours, the one you’re looking at, the one you’re moving, that’s got life, hasn’t it?”

“Yeah,” I says, “it has.”


I knew what he meant. I was living. I was alive but that body there wasn’t, never would be again. In a few days’ time it would pretty much cease to exist altogether.

“But. . .

“That’s right,” he says, “but you’ll go on. No more pain, no more sickness.”

No more a lot of things, I thought to myself.

“How do you know?”

Now that shook me, because I hadn’t said anything!

“You a ruddy mind reader?”

“No,” he replies, “not a mind reader. But you’ve got to start getting used to a lot of things here.

You’ll find that one of them is ‘behave your thought’, because whatever you think, other people can see it too.

And if you start thinking all sorts of thoughts, you are going to attract to you people who think the same way and, well, if those thoughts aren’t any good, it is not going to help you.

Now, come along with me. You’re going to need a bit of a hand. Put your arm across my shoulder.”

As he said this he put his arm around my waist. “Right, now close your eyes, tight.”

I did, and what seemed like a moment later he says, “Alright, you can open them again now.”

We were moving out of a hazy sort of fog onto an open clearing.

No, it was more than a clearing. It was an open plain at the far end of which was a hill, and we were walking steadily towards it.
Suddenly, I felt tired. I wasn’t sure that I wanted this . . . that perhaps the old body . . .

“No,” he says, “there’s no going back there. You can only go forward now and over the hill, and I’ll help you.”

He did, and as we went I suddenly felt someone on the other side of me. I looked round, and there was old Smithy.

My God! He’d copped it in North Africa.

“Smithy! Whatever are you doing here? You’re dead.”

He says, “You know, you’re a nut.

Here you are, and you’ve been talking about death for the last ten minutes, looking at your own body, and you haven’t got it through your thick skull yet that you’re dead!

Well,” he went on, “we’re both dead now, but I thought I’d like to come along and meet you.

Am I the first one to get along here?”

“Well, Smithy, you’re the first one I know.”

“Good,” says he, “I’m glad of that, then. Anyway, let’s get over the hill.”

“What’s on the other side?”

“The other side of the hill?” asks Smithy.

“Don’t hold out on me, cobber. What’s over there?”

He says, “Well, if you think maybe you’re going to see the ‘pearly gates’ on the other side of that hill, you’ve got another think coming!”

“Now look, Smithy,” says I, “do you mind if we sit a moment?”

And he looks at this Pommy officer sort, who nods, and we all sit down on the slope of the hill.

“Look, Smithy, you know me. You know what sort of life I’ve led. I’ve not exactly been an angel. I don’t suppose I’ve been really bad either, but I ain’t been really good.

A lot of things I haven’t done I should have done, and a lot of things I’ve done I shouldn’t have done.

Well, it’s nice of you to come and help me and all that, and ready to speak up for me but, well, since there is a life hereafter, which is something I’ve always had my doubts about, maybe the rest of the set-up’s there too. You said there weren’t no pearly gates?”


“You mean I’m going the other way?”

“No,” says Smithy, and he laughs like a drain. “No. None of us who comes here, comes here as angels. That is something you’ve got to work up to. But there’s angels around ain’t there, sir?” The Pommy officer nods and smiles but doesn’t say nothing.
.. In fact he hadn’t said very much since we got through that mist belt.

I could see it back there like a heavy bank of fog. And there were many other soldiers coming out of it.

“Look,” 1 asks, “surely you’re separating the sheep from the goats and all that — like Judgment Day?”

“No,” answers Smithy, “there ain’t no judgment day. That’s already over.”

“I don’t remember it.”

“Well,” says the Pommy officer, “do you remember when I put my arm around you and told you to close your eyes, and carried you along.

“Yep, I remember that.”

“You remember when we came out of that mist you felt rather tired and weak?”

“Yeah, I remember.”

“Right,” he says. “That’s the only judgment you’ll ever have.

When you pass from the old world to the new, you pass judgment on yourself.

What judgment did you pass on yourself?”

“‘Fraid I don’t know. Ain’t got no idea about that.”

“Well,” he continues, “could the judgment have been so bad when your friends, like Smithy here, came to meet you straight away?

He went right through to where you’d be and waited for you to come through there. The call went out, and there he was. You think the judgment has been harsh or easy? It’s been neither.

It’s been completely just. You are what you are.

You’ll find now that you will meet a lot of people here. Some you know and some you don’t know.

They’ll all be pretty much like you. Now, come along with me.”

We passed over the hill and there beyond it was quite a sight I can tell you, almost like some of the bays and coves on the coast south of Sydney.

A beautiful headland, the sea stretching away, the sort of land I loved, the place I used to like to wander in during the summer, sitting and watching those beautiful Pacific ocean breakers pounding on the shore.

“Blimey!” I exclaims. “It’s a slice of home!”

“Yes,” replies this Pommy, “not altogether unfamiliar to you, is it? Whatever is down there, we’ve got up here and, well, we thought you’d be happy in a place like this, so we brought you here. Come on, I’ll show you where to report.”

We started off down the hill.

There was a lot of people about and they all seemed to take notice.

They all waved and called a greeting. “Welcome home, soldier.” “Welcome home, cobber.”

Some of them fell in behind and beside us, and we all walked down the hill, down to the little . . . well, you might call it a little village.

As we came to it there they were — two or three of the boys we’d lost a long time ago — fellows I’d forgotten about.

Old friends they were. It was quite a reunion!

“Come in, cobber. Come on in and sit down.

We got the beer laid on.” And they had too.

Lovely, ice-cold, tall glasses of beer.

I looked round at the Pommy officer, and he smiled.

One of the blokes said to him, “Well, John, it seems our friend is puzzled ‘cos he’s got the beer.”

John (this Pommy officer) he just smiled and said to me, “You go right ahead.

You love beer and your idea of heaven is a cold beer on a hot day, and you’ve had quite a day.

If that’s your idea of heaven, well, there’s heaven staring you right in the face. So you get right in there.

You walked through the valley of the shadow and you didn’t know it was there.

You’ve been judged and you didn’t know it, because you judged yourself.

You’ve got the little bit of heaven you wanted most. The only thing that was missing was that ice-cold beer.

You wanted it, and there it is. It’s not against the rules.

Whatever you want, if you want it enough you can have it.

Drink up, and good health!”

Well, I must say it was the best beer I ever tasted.

That’s the beginning of my story, my first toehold in this world.

Believe you me, it was a shattering experience.

Strange to come from a battle and go through all that.

And yet, none of it was out of place, none of it was really unreal.

Perhaps because Smithy was there, almost from the moment I realised I’d arrived
There was a familiar face, a friendly hand.

There was also someone who was obviously in charge and knew what he was doing, and I fitted into the pattern pretty easily because in the army, well, your officers do the thinking for you anyway, or so you imagine.

One gets used to it. And even if he was a Pommy, he was an officer, and here I was — home.

Well, not quite, but it was a stopping place along the way.

It wasn’t really home as I discovered later.

It was a sort of resting area. An in-between place.

A decontamination centre, if you like, before we moved on; a place where we still had our thoughts about getting back to the fighting.

Remember, we could look down and see our bodies.

“Why the heck don’t we get in there and really stuff the Japs up?” we thought.

We hadn’t got round to wondering about what happened to the Japs we had bumped off.
Where were they?

We hadn’t got to that yet.

We were only at the first stage.

The rest came later.

Road of Many Ways (4)


THAT WINTER IN NORTH KOREA was cold. We had almost reached the Yalu River and no further to go. There we sat and looked across into Manchuria. The war could be over by Christmas, everybody said.

And then the Chinese struck.

We fell back slowly to the Changjin reservoir but the Chinese came relentlessly on, hordes of them, thousands and thousands of them.

We knew what we could expect. We weren’t going to do no walking out of there. The only walk we could look forward to was a long walk north to P.O.W. camps — if we let them take us alive, that was. I guess that’s the way most of us felt. But we made them pay dearly for every yard as we slowly pulled back toward the coast and safety.

We were pretty thin on the ground by then. I remember that particular day well when they came in for the last time, Chinese, with some North Koreans amongst them, one wave after another. That final attack broke through, and it was a case of meeting them head-on with the bayonet. Suddenly, right there in front of me, was this little Gook with a burp-gun. I let him have my bayonet through the gut. He fired at me, and I pulled out and moved on to the next one. I couldn’t figure how in tarnation he missed me with that burp-gun, right up close like that.

A little while later it was all quiet again. I called out the names of the guys in my squad and a few of the fellows answered. We crawled back into our fox-holes and waited. We didn’t know it yet, but those who answered were those who had taken the long jump. Those who didn’t answer, they were still living for a while. But that was the end of our squad.

Anyway, there we were, dug in on a cold, snowy hillside in Korea, and there we kept our lonely vigil. Somehow or other the attacks we were expecting didn’t materialise. Yet, there we were. We could hear movement, we could even see it.

But no attack came.

Night fell. We were pretty low on ammo, and I went around to the boys to see what sort of state they were in. All our boxes were empty. Well, I got to looking around and, sure enough, found a box and it was full. We handed it out.

That’s when, I remember, old Torn — Tom Arnold had said, “You know, wouldn’t it be great if we had some chow, real chow, instead of ‘K’ rations?”

“Like what?”

“Like a nice fried chicken.”

All the boys went on about food. One thought about a steak. We got to talking to one another, very quiet like. I said, “Well, Tom, just you go back and look, there should be a box of rations in that weapons pit back there. Just open it up and whatever’s there just bring it forward. And be glad you’re getting it, because tomorrow morning the darn Chinese will be coming up this hill again, and it’s probably going to be the last meal you’ll ever eat.”

When Tom came back he said to me, “You know what? There’s something screwy somewhere. There’s fried chicken in that box.”

“Come on now, it’s great to be kidding in a situation like this, but I wasn’t born yesterday and besides there’s a time and a place for everything. Just pass out those rations.”

He said, “Look for yourself if you don’t believe me,” and, sure enough, there it was: fried chicken!

One of the other lads laughed, “Well, if we’ve got the fried chicken, I hope they remembered the coffee.”

We got to looking around that box of rations. That’s when we realised something was wrong, but it didn’t sink in. Not then, anyway.

The following morning no attack came. No orders came either, so we decided we’d stick to the position for a while.

About midday Tom went back to have a look. He came forward a little while later looking pretty worried. “There’s no-one behind us,” he said. “We’re alone. No-one on either flank.”

We decided we’d drop back, which we did, slowly, surely, the way Marines should.

Maybe we’d been overrun and the enemy were all around us. We didn’t know. Anyways, we didn’t run into any. Hour seemed to run into hour. None of us really knew what time of day it was. It was just cold and clammy, a misty sort of day. We wandered, and eventually found ourselves a nice defensible position against a slope. There was a cave under an overhang, and we took it in turns to sleep and stand guard.

The boys were pretty hungry and got talking about food again.

“Tom, you were always interested in your stomach. You opened the rations. You got anything there in that pack of yours?” Well, he opened his pack and, sure enough, there was. Tom sat quietly on one side after that. Seemed to be thinking to himself.

The next morning, on the march, Torn disappeared. I looked for him, went back, backtracked.
No, not a sign of him.

It was pretty confusing after that. Never seemed to get out of that darned mist. Boy, oh boy, was I getting madder and madder at the Chinese who had gotten me into this mess. The madder I got, the more confused I became. The fellows looked to me for leadership, but got none. One by one they just disappeared. Eventually, I was on my own. I didn’t know north from south, east from west. I was like that when I found myself a place to lie down and sleep. A little ruin, a building — a Korean farmhouse, I guess. It was quiet, strange.

Before I went off to sleep I got to thinking about my brother, Joe. He had also been a Marine. He didn’t make it through Okinawa. He was killed there, and I had followed him into the Marine Corps. I guess I always loved Joe. He’d been the one to take care of me when I was younger. Took care of us all, had Joe. I know I sort of felt a bit better, not so alone, almost as if Joe was there. And I slept. 1 often thought about Joe after that. I knew something was wrong, and I was lost, real lost.

One day, I said it out quite loud: “Joe, what would you do if you were in the position I’m in right now?”

I heard his voice clearly. He said: “Son, if I were in your position right now, I’d pray. I’d pray like hell.”

I tried, and I prayed.

And then suddenly I saw him. I was sure it was him, right there in front of me, smiling. He reached out and I reached out. But no, it couldn’t be. Joe was dead. Then Joe faded and was gone. This happened, 1 don’t know, a number of times.

Then one night, I know it was night, 1 suddenly found myself in a strange situation. There was a group of people just sitting around in a room. I could see them clearly. They weren’t Koreans. They weren’t Americans. There were men and there were women and there I was. Sitting as if I was tied into a chair.

How the heck had I arrived there? What was 1 doing in this room? Was I going mad? Was I imagining things? These people around me had I been imagining everything? Been dreaming it all? Was I in a hospital? What was it? One of them spoke to me, “What’s your name, friend?”

I said, “Ken. Ken Davidson.”

He said, “Welcome, Ken, you’re among friends. Do you know where you are?”

“No. Where the heck am I?”

He replied, “Well, this is a place called Cape Town in South Africa.”

“Cape Town? South Africa? How did I get here?”

“You don’t know how?”

I was totally confused.

He continued gently, “Tell me, have you got any near relatives or friends, someone you’re fond of, someone you loved dearly, who doesn’t live in this world anymore? Someone who’s. . . dead?”
“Sure, my brother, Joe.”

“Tell, Joe’s right here. He’s right here with you now.”

I didn’t believe him. “What do you mean?”

“Why don’t you look around,” he said insistently, “then you’ll see Joe.”

I looked around, as he said. And sure enough there was Joe.

He reached out as he had done before, but as before he faded, grew strong, faded and grew strong again.

Then this guy says to me, “Try and reach out to Joe. Try and touch him.”

I thought about this. “Wait a minute. You mean I’m dead too?”

“Sure. That’s about the size of it,” said he, smiling at me.

Suddenly Joe didn’t fade any more. He reached out to me. “Come on kid. It’s morning now. The night’s over.” He took my arm and all at once I wasn’t strapped in that chair any more. I looked down, and I saw this body slumped in the chair.

“Joe, is that me?” I said, wonderingly.

“No, no,” said Joe, “that’s not you. That’s a fellow we call ‘Skin and Bones’. He’s what you call a medium. You’ve been using his body to talk to those people. I looked back, and that group of people were smiling, and one of them said to me, ‘God bless you, friend’.”

They began to fade out. “Come on, kid,” said Joe. “You were too interested in your job to realise what had happened. Too full of darned hate, too full of everything, and shouldn’t have been. It has kept you away from us for a long time, away from your home for a very long time. Now I’m going to take you there.”

It was great, feeling Joe was there, strong and real. Feeling so strong and real myself. So excited about it all, and yet so tired. Tense, and with a sadness of a kind. I looked back but couldn’t see any of them anymore. They’d gone.

Joe and I seemed to be moving without moving, if you understand, and I felt very, very tired. Very tired indeed. “Okay, kid,” said Joe, “just you relax. You’ll be alright.”
The next thing I knew I was lying on a bed. There was a pretty girl there, and Joe was there also. She seemed to be a friend of his. Joe said to me, “How’re you feeling now? We’ve been nursing you. Do you feel fit enough to get up and walk around and see something of your new home?”

“This is my home?”

“No, this isn’t your home, but I’m going to take you there. It’ll be your own little private place. You can stay there on your own for a while, if you like, or you can come with me. But home is all around you — just look outside.”

I walked over to where I supposed a window would normally be, but there wasn’t one. Just an open door, a wide open door. We walked out on to the terrace — I guess you’d call it that — and there, stretching out in front of us was one of the most beautiful sights I’d ever seen in my life.

“Ken,” said Joe, “this is home. This is where you’re really alive. It’s been waiting for you all the time, if you could only have brought yourself to reach out for it. You became embittered when I was killed. It twisted you up inside. Instead of being a normal, ordinary fellow who could take it, you got bitter about it. Maybe that’s my fault because I always took care of you when you were a kid, but that’s what’s kept you away from all this.”

I turned to him. “The other fellows,” I asked, “Tom Arnold and the rest of the boys . . . ?”

“Sure, they’re all here. They’re waiting. You’ll meet them again soon. They’ve been worried about you. They’ve been working with the group trying to help you along with many others like you. You remember when you were wandering in the mist? You sometimes saw dim shadows, and thought you heard someone but never actually met anyone?”

“Sure, I remember.”

“Well, they were other guys like you, just wandering around. You’ve been wandering around like that for two years.”
“Two years!” I couldn’t believe it.

“Yup. That war is over.”

I gazed at him. “Who won it?”

“Who won it?” Joe said. “Whoever won a war? Tell me that, Ken. Whoever won a war? There’s peace, then there’s war, and then there’s peace again. And when there’s peace again, it’s as if there’d never been a war. It’s a memory in people’s minds. There are scars on the land. The grass grows and the trees, they cover the scars. Man fills up the shell-and bomb-craters, ploughs over them, grows crops on them. Everything that had passed over it; all the blood that had soaked into that soil; all the men who have gone out with the deepest patriotism in their hearts and fought so tenaciously for it, and others who had fought so lovingly for it — all have gone. They’ve all disappeared. Others have picked up the threads of life again. What has really happened? Who has really won that war? Who has really lost it? It’s merely a conflict in the lives of men, the passing of a phase, the twinkling of an eye. If it is no longer there, it doesn’t exist now. Therefore, it’s never been because only now really exists. So, no-one wins, no-one loses. But if you really want to start thinking about winning or losing, take a look around you. Tell me, are you a winner or a loser?”

“Joe, I dunno. I dunno whether I’m a winner or a loser. I haven’t seen much of it yet. Of what I’ve seen, it’s so beautiful, I sure don’t feel like a loser. But what about those people? Those people who spoke to me, called me a friend? Said, God bless you! ?”

He looked at me. “You doubt it? Didn’t God bless you? Aren’t you here now, looking at His Kingdom? Isn’t that a blessing? You’re no longer wandering around in that mist down there, are you?”

“So they were real people?”

“They were real.”

“Can I get to see them again? To thank them?”

“Sure you can. You can thank them. There’s hundreds of others who also go back from time to time to thank them. A lot of fellows who have passed through there come to know them. We work with them.”

“Work with them?”

“That’s right. People like yourself. We take them there. You see, when you’re in the condition that you were in, you can see people who are still living on the Earth plane. They look like shadows but you can still see them. We can make you see them far more easily than you could have seen us. You know how it was when I showed myself. First you’d see me strong, and then you’d see me fade, then finally disappearing. That didn’t happen with them. You were on their wavelength, and all we did was to project you into that living body and you were able to see them clearly and talk with them. In that way.

“Well, you remember that little fight you had out there near the reservoir?”


“The last fight, the one where you were down to your last few rounds? You fixed your bayonet, and went out there and met their charge head on.”

“Yeah, I remember that.”

“Well,” he said, “that’s when you got it. You rammed your knife right through a North Korean. At the same time he let you have it with a burp-gun.”

“Sure, I remember.”

“Well,” he repeated, “that’s when you got it. He killed you.”

The pieces began to fit. I could remember that was when the charge started. “What about the other fellows? They also bought it then?”

“Yes. Some then, some later. That whole patrol. There’s not one left now in the old world. They’re all here. One by one they came through. Some came straight away, others later. One of the conditions of battle is that men don’t immediately leave their bodies and know that they’ve gone. Not like someone dying in his bed knows it.”

“What about the Korean guy, and the other Chinese?”

“Sure, they’re here too or, at least some of them, from where you were.”

“That . . . particular one?”

“He’s here. Strangely enough, Ken, he’s been trying to help you.”

“Been trying to help me?”


“But. . . but why?”

“Well, in a way he owes you quite a bit. Life wasn’t exactly a bed of roses for him. As many joys as there were, he’d more or less lost hope. When he found out he was dead he got to understanding a little bit about it. Sort of figured that in a way you’d done him a favour. He asked us if he could help. His name’s Ho, and I’d like you to meet him.”

“I’d like to meet him. Yeah, I’d sure love to meet him.”

“Well, he’s right here, waiting.”

He called out, “Ho!” This strange little guy came in. I looked at him and he looked at me. I must confess my feelings were pretty mixed up at that moment. Then he smiled and gave a funny little bow. I found myself smiling and giving a funny little bow right back. I put out my hand and he grabbed it. He couldn’t speak any American but somehow we didn’t seem to need that. It’s almost as though we knew what the other one was thinking which, as it turned out, was exactly what was happening. But all this was pretty new to me.

Joe turned round and said, “Come on, you two. You come with me. Got things to show you.”

The three of us wandered off together.

Later, Joe told me, “Ken, you know your real moment of truth?”

“What do you mean, Joe?”

“When you really came home and put your feet firmly on the ground?”

“No. When was it?”

“It was when you met Ho on this side, and you liked him.”

The war had passed. Fields were being ploughed again, rice was being grown again. It was over.

“Tell me, Ken, who won the war?’ ‘said Joe.

I gazed at him and said, “What are they doing down there, where we used to live?”

“Well,” he replied. “They’re still shouting at one another. They’re still hitting one another. They’re still not forgiving one another.”

“Well, Joe,” I said. “Wanna know who won the war? I guess we did.”

“Welcome home,” was all Joe said.

Road of Many Ways (3)

Lillian’s Story  
Hello, I’d like to tell you my story, if I may. It’s quite a queer one, really. My name’s Lillian. It’s been a long time since I last used a body and it feels a little strange.My mother died when I was quite young, and Dad married again. I didn’t get on very well with my stepmother. It was as much my fault as hers, and the unfortunate part was it made Dad’s life a bit of a misery too. Eventually I left home, moved in with a friend and got a job. I was only sixteen at the time.

The war was on, so things were difficult. But they could also be rather fun. I met a young man, a soldier. A very nice boy. We went out together. He used to come and see me on all his leaves.

One day I had a postcard from him. His unit was on the move. He couldn’t say where he was going. Not only didn’t he know, but even if he did he couldn’t tell me. This was a little bit hard to take at the time, because I’d just discovered I was going to have a baby. She was a lovely little girl when she was born, my daughter. She didn’t live long though, just a few days, and I was left without her, without him. Things weren’t good. Life was hard.

Then I heard that Freddy had been killed.

I sort of went to pieces after getting that news.

Well, to be honest, I ended up walking the streets. Not a very pleasant thing to tell, even now, when it doesn’t matter anymore, when I can see it as it really was. It doesn’t really mean anything other than being a mere fact of life, my life.

However, one night I was standing in my usual place, looking for customers, when a car came screeching round the corner and mounted the pavement. I jumped out of the way just in time, but I got such a fright that I walked off.

A little while later, feeling foolish, I thought: Better go back and see if you can help. Someone may have been hurt. The car had come right up on to the pavement and crashed into the wall of the building.

I went back, and it was only then that I saw there’d been someone in the way. There was a girl beneath the car. She was obviously quite dead. It made me feel ill. I moved off and went back to my room; straight to my bed I was so terribly upset.

The next morning I went back again. Everything had been moved away and all was quite normal. My place of work was once more all nice and tidy. So 1 went for a walk in the park, sat down and watched the ducks. I often used to do that. I sat and thought of Freddy; of our little daughter; how it might have been; how it was. I decided that I didn’t feel any better even though it was a very nice day. It didn’t help to cheer me up.

Well, eventually I got up and went back home, and there I got quite a shock, I can tell you. They’d turned my whole room upside down. There was my landlady and Mary, one of my so-called friends, going through my things. Ooh, I sailed into them, I can tell you. I told them what for in no uncertain terms. And, you know, they didn’t take the blindest bit of notice of me. It was as if I hadn’t been there. I got so annoyed I gave Mary such a clout but she didn’t seem to feel a thing. Something was very wrong, very definitely wrong. I felt my senses reeling. Then I must have fainted.

When I woke up it was night. I was still in my room, but it was all different somehow, changed. I went downstairs and found Mrs. M who ran the house. I. asked her: “Mrs. M what on earth is going on? I’ve paid my rent. You’ve got no right to go through my things and turn my room out like this. What on earth do you think you’re doing?” Mrs. M., she just didn’t take any notice at all. The louder I shouted, the less she seemed to hear me. She just pottered around doing her normal chores in the kitchen: filled the kettle and put it on, sat down at the table, picked up the newspaper and started reading. It was as if I wasn’t there at all.

I stormed out of there and went down to my place of business. Well, that was a fine ‘how d’you do’.  Maggie, one of the girls, was there. This was a conspiracy of some sort, I was certain. I was really getting very, very cross. I went up to her and gave her a piece of my mind, too. She didn’t take any notice.

At that point I had another — can’t call it a fainting spell, a breakdown is more likely the word for it. This seemed to happen every time I got cross with someone, as if it burned me up inside.

I remember the words going through my mind, “Oh God, what’s happened? What’s wrong? God help me!” There was a hand on my shoulder. I looked round and there was this gentleman standing there.

“Lillian,” he said to me. “Lillian.”


“You asked for help. You said, ‘God help me!’”

“Oh, I didn’t know I said it out loud.”

“No,” he said, “you didn’t, but you said it with your heart and you really meant it. I’m going to help you.

There’s something wrong, isn’t there?”

“You a parson?”

“No, nothing like that,” he said. “Well, maybe something like that, but I think I can help you. Just walk with me, just for a little way. Can you walk alright?”

“I think so,” I said.

He said, “Right. Let me put my arm around you to give you a bit of support. You just lean against me. Close your eyes. Relax. I’ll guide you.”

I must have been some sort of dope because normally I wouldn’t have trusted anyone. Close my eyes indeed! Let someone lead me? But I did. We moved off. Then suddenly we stopped.

“Right,” he says. “Lillian, look around you.” We were in a room and there was this group of people there, sitting around. He then says, “Lillian, these are my friends. They’ll help you. You just sit down here.” He gently eased me down into a chair, and they immediately started to speak to me. They asked me my name and a little bit about myself. I thought they’d got a darned cheek, and I told them so.

The one man, he said, “Lillian, tell us when all this trouble started, the problem you’re having, and then maybe we can help you.’’

I thought back. The problem seemed to start from the time of that accident with that girl.

He said, “Yes, that’s when it started. Lillian, you didn’t jump out of the way quite quickly enough. That girl under the car was you.”

“Lot of blooming rot,” I told him. “What a lot of rot.”

He said gently, “Lillian, you’re talking through a man’s body. If you don’t believe me, feel the arms, feel the head, the hair. Go on, reach up and feel and tell me if it isn’t a man’s body.”

I did. And I did something else which has been a source of embarrassment to me ever since. I examined that body very closely, and it was a man’s body, there was no mistaking that.

He said to me, “Yes, Lillian. You know now, don’t you?”

Yes. Yes, I knew now.

Someone said, “Lillian is there anyone you know, whom you love very dearly?”

“Ooh, yes. There’s my Mum, and I had a little girl. If she was alive she’d be three years old now.”

“She is alive, where you are now, and she’s three years old.”

Oh, and I wanted to see her so much.

I heard the gentleman’s voice in my ear. “Come, Lillian. Come and see your daughter. You’re home now.”

I remember standing up, and then the whole room swam in front of my eyes. The gentleman put his arm across my shoulders in such a fatherly way and said, “Come with me.”

I remember those nice people. I must have shocked some of them, me being what I had been. And I told them about them being such nice people. But, one and all, they said, “God bless you, Lillian. Come again when you’ve had your rest.” I looked at the gentleman and asked, “Will I be able to come again?”

“Yes, but first you come with me. There are people waiting for you.”

We walked, and . . . I don’t know, we also seemed as if we were walking on air. I know I felt like it. Then suddenly, almost without realising it, we were standing in a courtyard of a very fine building, as if it had just appeared.

I remember thinking: What sorts of a life have I lived? I was weak, took the line of least resistance. I wondered if I could face any of the people who were likely to meet me… if they could meet me…if it was allowed. And I turned to the gentleman and said, “Look, you haven’t been having me on, have you?”

“No.” He smiled. “We don’t ‘have people on’ here.”

“Is this the Hall of Judgment?”

He laughed out loud. “No,” he says, “this is no Hall of Judgment.” Then he said quiet-like, “You’ve just judged yourself, by every action, by every thought, as you stood thinking.

You’ve also judged other people. You’ve felt that no-one would want to meet you. You were thinking for them. You mustn’t do that, you mustn’t think for them. They’ve already thought, and they know. Those people are close to you with love, with sadness for what you’ve done, what you’ve had to do.

What you’ve done through weakness, this doesn’t count. You only condemn yourself with it. No-one else will condemn you here. Here, come inside with me and see who’s there to meet you.”

We went up those steps and, as we walked up, there was Mother holding the hand of a little girl who reached out towards me.

“Hello, Mommy,” she said.

I swept her up into my arms and everything else was meaningless. All that mattered was that moment. How did she know? How did she know me when she couldn’t possibly remember? How did I recognise her when I’d only seen her as a tiny baby? It didn’t even puzzle me at the time. I just knew. But later I found out how and why.

We moved into a room. There were so many friends there. People I’d forgotten, people who’d ‘died’ ages ago. They were all crowding round me.

“Welcome home, little one. It’s all over now. Welcome to Life.”

And I knew what they meant.

Road of Many Ways (2)

John’s Story

It was during the Second World War, south of Imphal. The Japanese were advancing. The town was under heavy attack and, some miles away, we stood athwart the enemy line of advance. It was a very short, sharp engagement. I went ahead to my so-called forward platoon consisting of about a section-and-a-half — some fourteen men (all who had survived). As I spoke with the sergeant in command, the Japanese launched their attack with a mortar barrage and I was caught in the open.

It was all over very quickly. I lay on the ground. The sounds of battle had died away. It had moved on. I wondered how long I had been lying unconscious and then, as I lay there, I realised that it wouldn’t be long before the Japs arrived. Wounded as I was they would make pretty short work of me.

It wasn’t a pleasant thought but it led my mind away from the immediate prospect of death to the memory of a little pamphlet which I had read somewhere, one put out by an organisation in Britain. Funnily enough, it had stuck in my mind. It was headed, ‘What to do in case of Sudden Death,’ and had been published by a group of Spiritualists. I remember I had been mildly amused by it at the time: now I wished I had read it. Maybe there was something in it after all.

Then I looked up. A Jap was standing there watching me, looking down at me, and I remembered thinking, “This is it. Here it comes.” But nothing happened. I looked up into quizzical eyes. Those eyes were laughing, yet not maliciously.

“What are you doing lying there?” he said in English. “That’s a ridiculous question,” I replied.

“Is it?”


I can’t move and I can’t feel much. I think my spine is smashed.”

“Try moving a leg. Go on, try.”

There was something about this situation that I couldn’t put my finger on. Here was a Jap, an enemy, in the midst of a field of battle telling me to move a leg, and me with a hole in my back that seemed large enough, in my imagination, to put a couple of fists through. But there was something reassuring about him, in what he said and the way he said it. So I tried. My leg moved. No pain.

“Now try the other one,” he said. It moved. Again no pain.

“Now try standing up.”

Well, this was quite shattering, but I tried, and I stood up! I can’t describe that feeling. Having lain there in fear and terror then suddenly to stand up and feel totally whole and well. It was incredible.

“What’s happened?” I asked hesitantly.

He smiled again and raised an eyebrow. “You really should have read that pamphlet, you know. It would have helped you immeasurably.”

“You mean . . . you mean I’ve had it?”

“Yes,” he said, “you’ve had it. And I’ve had it. Not only have you had it, but you’ve had the war too. That lies behind you even as your body lies behind you now.”

I looked back. Another shock. On the ground behind me lay my shrapnel-shattered body.

“But when. . . when did I die? Was it the moment I saw you?”

“Die?” he said. “You didn’t die, you merely laid aside a body which was of no further use to you. Nobody dies. A body becomes useless and is cast aside like an old suit of clothes. Yes, sometimes cast aside lovingly if it has served well; at other times regretfully because it has served too well; and at other times lightly because one has suffered too much. But no, I know what you mean. The moment you cease to live within the confines of that body, the moment the body ceases to be your suit of clothes, at that moment you die.”

Then he said, “Do you remember that there was much pain, that the barrage continued and then the battle passed over you?”


“And there was a moment of unconsciousness? A brief moment? Then you opened your eyes again. The sounds of battle had faded away. Had moved on, you thought. But it was not the battle that had moved on, for it still rages. It was you who had moved on and away from it.

I have been standing here waiting for you to realise that something was different, waiting until it was time to come forward and speak to you. When the realisation came to you that something had happened — that death, if it wasn’t already there was not far off — then was the time for me to speak with you. But you had already passed out of one world into another, and it is because of this that I came to be here with you.”

In all the time in which I have been engaged upon my own particular task — that of meeting newcomers from the battlefields of the world — nothing has ever been quite as wonderful to me as my own arrival.

I tell you, it was no valley of the shadow, and although I wondered about it for some time I certainly found no throne of judgment.

Road of Many Ways

(From “Road of Many Ways” through a South African trance medium.)
IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN SAID that to every story there is a beginning, a middle and an end. But how, and where, does one begin a story that has neither beginning nor end, and no middle, a story that is endless, timeless? All that can be said of it is that it is.My name is John and it has been my pleasure, since moving into the world in which 1 now live, to visit from time to time amongst my friends still upon the Earth, to speak, to comfort, to discuss with them so many things. And now the time has come to talk to a much wider circle of friends.You ask, ‘What manner of person is this?’ and ‘Where does he come from?’ All people ask these questions. I know. When I lived upon the Earth, I too wondered what lay beyond. Was there something ‘out there’? What was ‘reality’ and what was ‘fantasy’? Where did the one begin and the other end?Most people experience uncertainty and doubt no matter what they may have seen or heard. It is a portion of the price of free will freedom of thought and freedom of action and, during the process of individual thinking, one can so easily lose the way because there is only self, one small mind. All the great teachers, throughout the ages, have told us:  ‘Love one another,’ is the first lesson: ‘I and my Father are one,’ is the second. And, if every man is truly your brother, then your mind cannot be entirely alone.

These are fine words, platitudes you may think, and to many quite meaningless because they have never delved deeply into the well of life.  I was such a one. I wondered and pondered but did not know. Then, one day I found out that there was not only a ‘life hereafter’ but continuous life – a life that will never cease, life that goes on forever.

JOHN: … Death, the fear of all, the wish of some, the relief of many, is the end of none – it is but a transition from one plane of existence to another.

This is a  story of one man’s transition – the story of Bradshaw.

I greet you. I will use the name Bradshaw, for that is enough. Those who know me will, if they read these pages, recognise me. For those who do not know me it does not matter.

My life on Earth was a good one  – I don’t mean in terms of my being a good person for I was as good or as bad as the next man  –  but in terms of what it gave to me. I started work very young, in the family business. We lost that during the depression years. Things were not any better for us than they were for a lot of other people at the time. I was barely on my feet when the war came. I married. Went off to war. Did nothing distinguished. Just did a job. When it was over I came back again, settled down, got my nose down to work, and in time built up a good business. I was lucky. I had the breaks. A loving wife and two lovely children. Things were going very well for me then.

I’d always been interested in psychic subjects, but particularly since the war years when one of my comrades-in-arms, who had been very much involved with that sort of thing before the war, had
spoken to me quite a lot about it on those lonely nights in the desert campaign. Times when men could sit and talk, and could almost forget about the war that was going on around them. Through Derek I’d learned how little I had really known before. Admittedly, I had started off as most people do, by finding it rather amusing. Almost, but not quite, laughing. But Derek was so sincere, so darn sincere that one had to take him more than a little seriously. And during those years after the war he introduced me to what is known as ‘Spiritualism.’

Well, I studied all the usual books which were around at the time. One book that impressed me quite a bit was On the Edge of the Etheric which I used as, shall I say, my foundation. In fact, I owe the author, Findlay, quite a lot for giving me that grounding, for it has stood me in good stead.

To cut a long story short, the time came when things were going very well indeed. Business was good. My wife and 1 were happy. I was able to take a holiday every now and again  –  a trip across to the Continent, or up into the north of Scotland which was a favourite haunt of mine, quiet, peaceful, a change from the hurly-burly. The children were doing well at school and were normal, healthy children. I had everything going for me, everything to be pleased about.

Then it started. A vague sort of discomfort at first, not a real pain, but I wasn’t myself. I no longer enjoyed my food. I felt that, possibly, it was ‘nerves’ although things were going well. This in itself was unnerving, even more so than if one was up against it, say, when starting a business.

Eventually Nan talked me into going to see our doctor. He, in turn, sent me on the rounds and ultimately to a specialist. His verdict was not good at all. Cancer. Inoperable, he said, and I was given about four months in which to put my affairs in order. With all the knowledge I had gained over the years it was still a dreadful blow  – but there it was. I knew my time was coming, and very shortly too, and I could hardly believe it.

What of Nan? What of the children? What was going to happen to them? Without me there, what would it be like? How was the business going to continue?

Well, first things first. Get rid of the business. Get the best possible price. Nan couldn’t hope to run it. It was all I could do. There was insurance of course and other bits and pieces we’d laid aside. We had a little cottage outside London and that could be sold. It would be something extra for Nan, but maybe she’d like to keep it. All these things were going through my mind.

Then Derek came to see me.  As soon as I saw him I began to think back to those old days, back in the desert. We sat and talked about ‘spirit healing’. Yes, I thought, there was still that. It was a ray of hope, only to be dashed a fortnight later.

The guides of the healer to whom I went said, “No, there is nothing we can do here. Make your peace, and know that we will be with you when the time comes. It will be easy.” Easy, I thought. Easy to leave your wife and so spoil a marriage which, through all its knocks, had been one of building, it was bad enough that I was selling out what had virtually been my life’s work.

Nan had married me early in the war years, as I’ve already said, and had stood by me even though she hadn’t seen me for four long years which she had gone through all alone. She had spent the war in London with a young baby, her husband far away, neither ever knowing whether the other were still alive or what was happening.

Now I was to leave it all. No, I was going to fight this thing. I wasn’t going to let it get me. Fight it I would, and fight it I did.  By sheer willpower I managed to hold on for ten whole months. My body faded away to almost nothing and in the end I was bedridden. I couldn’t move, barely aware of what was going on around me most of the time. But Nan, what a tower of strength. She stood by me, as always. Nothing was too much trouble.

I didn’t get rid of the business. She moved in and, even though she was spending so much time with me and the children, she was showing a grasp of what was necessary. It was going very well. It was a ray  –  more than a ray –  of hope. It gave me a great deal of peace. The end was very near now. I could feel it. The vital life-force was leaving my body.

Then, one Friday afternoon, lying there in a hospital bed, I looked up to see Nan smiling down at me. I said to her, “Nan, the time is almost here. I’m shortly going to leave you. In  the years to come, do always what you feel is the best. I won’t mind what it is, but will back you to the hilt if I can.”  She gently scolded me. “Why do you say, ‘If I can’? You know you can. You’ve read and you’ve heard. You’ve been convinced of the life that lies beyond all this.”

Yes, she was right, I did know. I was convinced. But in those months of lingering on with this thing working its way inside my body I had known moments of deep doubt and depression. And yet, in spite of this, I knew. Nan left.

I woke up from a good sleep some hours later. It was night. There beside the bed were two people: one I knew  –  my father  – but the other I did not recognise until he spoke. Then I remembered him as a very dear friend who had talked many times while I’d been attending séances at a friend’s house. He’d often said to me, laughingly, “One of these days, when your turn comes, I’ll be waiting there to meet you.”

I looked at him. “Is it now? Have you come for me now?”  “No. Not yet. But we wanted you to know that
we are here, that we are waiting, that you have nothing to fear. Now, look in front of you. What do you see?”  I turned my head. There in front of me was a wonderful scene, a wide valley with gently sloping hills on either side.

Beautiful, green, shimmering. I described what I saw, and they said to me, “Yes, when we come for you it is to such a place we shall be going. Keep it in your mind, remember it well, for shortly you will travel there with us.”  I fell again into a deep sleep, the best I’d had for many a long day.

The following day  – morning or afternoon, I don’t know Nan was there and she was so sad. I smiled at her, or tried to, and she saw it.  She spoke to me. Her voice seemed to be coming from far away. “They sent for me darling.”

“Yes, Nan, they have been to me, too. They’ve shown me what lies beyond this. I’ve had a glimpse. They’re coming for me now. It’s almost time to go.”  Then everything started to fade. The last thing I saw was Nan’s face, sad but brave. Then it was gone.

I felt a touch, no more: a gentle touch on my forehead. Then I was standing on that slope above the valley, with my father and my friend, one on either side, supporting me.  I wanted to look back but they led me gently away saying, No, don’t look back, for that is the past. Look forward across the valley, for that is where you are going and we are going with you. The other is all behind you now. You are tired; just close your eyes, relax, sleep.”  I felt myself, without any effort of will, drifting into a peaceful, pain-free sleep.

How they transported me I know not, but I awoke later. I say ‘later’ for that is all that one can say. One event followed after another, but here I soon discovered there was no time. 1 slept and woke again. There, once more, were my friend, my father, yet another friend, and other people, some of whom I hadn’t thought of for years.

“Welcome home, welcome home. Come, lazybones, get up.“ “Now,” they said, “you’re ready to come home with us, but first you should see yourself.” They led me to a mirror and said, “Now look.”  What a transformation! I looked and felt so brimful of energy, so alive, so vital.

They led me to the door and on to a verandah. The view before me extended way back, back across that same valley, seemingly endless, full of beauty.

“Look for the last time. Now, turn around and look to the future.”

And the happy company led me home.

Royalty and Spiritualism


By Fred Archer

Not long ago the gossip columnist of a popular Sunday newspaper “revealed” that the Queen Mother had had a clairvoyant visit her. The story created uproar at Buckingham Palace. The journalist and the clairvoyant were promptly summoned by the Queen’s press secretary and carpeted for the indiscretion. They had to back down, as gracefully as they could, the following Sunday.

Meeting the clairvoyant a day or two later I sympathised. His own, usually lively, larynx was still suffering shock from the sequel to his indiscretion. It had been known for a long time, by those in the know “, that highly placed members of the Royal Family had an interest in Spiritualism.

So why all the fuss? Does disgrace attach itself to anyone who attends a séance?

Well, yes, in a way, if you are royalty. For Her Majesty happens to be the figurehead of the Established Church, sworn to uphold its doctrines. And the Church of England is officially opposed to that upstart religion Spiritualism—witness its suppression of the Archbishops’ Report. The Queen’s advisers could never allow those nearest to her to be publicly connected with mediums and suchlike.

Yet records indicate that the British Royal Family has had contact with Spiritualism through mediums for more than a century. At the time of the Coronation I pieced together records which gave the full story. I have since had testimony that such contacts have not diminished in the reign of the second Elizabeth.

It began with Queen Victoria, matriarch of the House of Windsor. Indeed, the Queen’s experiences started before the event that dates the birth of modern Spiritualism—the rappings heard in the cottage of the Fox family at Hydesville, near New York.

That was in 1848. Two years before then Victoria had held séances at Osborne House, her home in the Isle of Wight. Proof of one visit by a medium exists in permanent, well-nigh indestructible, form. It is a gold watch that bears the inscription:

“Presented by Her Majesty to Miss Georgiana Eagle for her Meritorious and Extraordinary Clairvoyance produced at Osborne House, Isle of Wight, July 15, 1846.”

This thank-offering to mediumship has had a striking history. Georgiana Eagle died before the watch could be presented to her. The Queen later entrusted it to the well-known editor, W. T. Stead—a foremost Spiritualist who died in the sinking of the Titanic. She asked him to give it to whichever medium he considered most worthy of recognition.

Stead consulted two other leading Spiritualists, Sir William Crookes and Alfred Russel Wallace, both eminent scientists. Between them they decided that Etta Wriedt, an American voice medium, should be the recipient. The story of the watch does not end there.

The sequel was confided to me by Nina, Duchess of Hamilton, and I was the first to make it public.

As she grew older Etta Wriedt decided that before her death the Queen’s gift should be returned to Britain. She asked Mackenzie King, then Prime Minister of Canada, who often sat with her, if he would undertake to deliver it. Mackenzie King brought the watch to England and passed it on to the Duchess of Hamilton, who in turn presented it to the London Spiritualist Alliance—now the college of Psychic Science—and there it remains.

The Queen’s testimony to Georgiana Eagle was given, it is worth noting, fifteen years before the death of the Prince Consort. So the charge cannot be levelled against Victoria that she became interested in psychic matters only as a result of the loss of her dearest. Albert had known of the Queen’s séances, and in all likelihood attended them. But her interest became deeper and more intense after his passing. Its full extent cannot be apprehended without some understanding of the status of her personal servant, John Brown.

This Scots’ gillie holds a unique place in Victorian annals.

There has been much speculation about his true position. Brown was the only person Victoria allowed to treat her as a human being rather than a Queen. He could address her when all others had to hold silence until they were spoken to. No one else, when the Queen complained of being pricked while having her shawl pinned, would have answered, “Can ye no hold yerre head up?”

Brown, a Presbyterian, had little affection for a certain Anglican bishop who was popular with the Queen. Once she remarked, “I am sure the dear Bishop will go straight to heaven when he dies.” Weel,” said Brown, “God help him when he meets John Knox.” Victoria was amused. Not so the court. They hated Brown for his influence over the Queen, his biting speech, and the scant respect he showed them. As rumours spread the public began to share this hatred. Not until the day when a Fenian sprang to the window of the Queen’s carriage, and was overpowered by Brown while brandishing a pistol in her face, did the” Great Court favourite” begin to win a measure of public acclaim.

With one class, his fellow servants, he had always been popular. To them he was a good friend, just in authority, who gained them comforts and privileges they had never before possessed. Brown dared to remonstrate with the Queen. When she ordered that a footman, who had just dropped a salver in her presence, should be reduced in rank, startled listeners heard Brown say, “What are ye daein’ to that puir laddie, hiv ye niver drappit onything yersel’?”

If Brown could be brusque with Victoria, he was always ready to see that no one else offended her. The Queen disliked Gladstone, who, unfortunately, talked on social occasions as if he were addressing a public meeting. Dining with the Queen, Gladstone was once perorating at great length to her growing irritation, when a voice rasped in his ear: “ Ye’ve said enough.” The disconcerted Prime Minister said no more.

Victoria might have welcomed the silencing of Mr. Gladstone. But why was Brown’s plain speaking towards herself—and there are many more examples than I have given—tolerated by a Queen before whom princes and prime ministers usually trembled? John Brown was honest, and a man of sound sense—but these by themselves were not the virtues to advance him at Court. Had they been his sole qualifications he would have been found wanting.

What then was the service rendered by this rough Highlander to his Queen, that made her feel towards him “Loving, grateful and everlasting friendship and affection “, and describe herself as “his truest, best and most faithful friend”? From Crawfie to Cronin, no royal servant since has been addressed in such terms.

The explanation is a simple one. John Brown was the medium, the intermediary, the link between Victoria and her beloved Albert during the long years when she stood alone after the Prince Consort’s death. How did Brown come to this position?

After Prince Albert’s passing, the grief-stricken Queen was inconsolable. Only with the greatest difficulty could her ministers persuade her to take any interest in affairs of state. For a long time she refused to appear in public.

It was during this period that Robert James Lees, a young medium still in his teens, began to receive communications purporting to come from Prince Albert. These messages were brought to the notice of Queen Victoria by James Burns, the editor of a well-known psychic newspaper. She decided that two members of the court should secretly, and anonymously, visit the medium.

Lees had the ability to pass quickly into trance without preliminaries. When the two emissaries of the Queen entered his room he greeted them normally. Next moment the voice of the dead Prince Consort was heard through his lips, saying, “You are Lord— and you are the Earl of—” identities which they had to acknowledge.

Then the Prince, still controlling Lees, shook hands with them, giving a secret and advanced Masonic grip which the medium could have had no means of knowing. There was more personal evidence given to be transmitted to the Queen, including facts that only Her Majesty could confirm. Finally, as a clinching proof of identity, he wrote a message and signed it with a name he had never used except when corresponding privately with his wife.

Soon after the Queen’s ambassadors had delivered their report, Lees was summoned to the Palace. There he conducted a series of séances for the Queen. So impressed was Victoria with the results of these that she invited Lees to enter her service, so that he might be available to her at all times. Lees declined the offer. He felt that his work lay in other directions; and he did, in fact, become one of the best-known writers on mysticism of the nineteenth century. When his book, Through the Mists, was published, Queen Victoria ordered six specially bound copies to present to members of her family.

But Lees gave the Queen a message from Albert that there was a man already serving her who could act as a medium and maintain the link that they had established. The man he named was John Brown.

Before he left the Queen, Lees promised that if the time came when Brown was unable to help her he would again give séances to Her Majesty. The contact was, in fact, resumed after Brown’s death, and lasted throughout Victoria’s lifetime. On numerous occasions she offered Lees honours and gifts, all of which he declined. A short time before her own death she sent for Lees again to thank him for all he had done.

It was in 1863 that Lees gave his first séance to Queen Victoria. Brown was then in attendance on the Queen only at her home in Scotland, Balmoral Castle. Soon afterwards he was appointed to be in “constant personal attendance upon Her Majesty on all occasions “.

The tongues began to wag as the strong, inexplicable bond formed between the Queen and John Brown became apparent. People noticed that when something worried her Victoria glanced at the bust of Albert, who had been her constant adviser; then her gaze went to John Brown before she came to a decision.

Those at court, not excluding some of royal blood, were outraged by Brown’s independence and lack of servility and came to hate him and fear his influence. The wiser ones, among whom was the Prime Minister Disraeli, accepted the fact that to keep in favour with Victoria it was safer to pay regard to John Brown. Eventually, as a biographer has written, the “conviction had grown unshakable among many near the Queen that Her Majesty, John Brown and the spirit of Albert formed some mystic kind of triangle “.

The country only began to realise after his death how much it owed to the statesmanship of the Prince Consort, who had worn himself out in its service. Can it be said that the Queen’s actions in later years supported the view that Albert’s guidance was still available to her? Her own journals and other records indicate that it can. Indeed, one historian has commented:

“She did generally act, in fact, as the Prince Consort might have been expected to act when dealing with such a problem . . . on the whole it must be admitted in view of the documentary evidence which anyone may read for himself, that, if some power other than her own brain prompted Victoria in her actions, then it impelled her to act as a great and wise Queen.”

When Brown died the Queen herself was his chief mourner.

A statue of him was erected in the grounds of Balmoral, a two-foot-high plate decorated the Royal Mausoleum at Frogmore, and busts of him appeared in the Queen’s rooms at all the royal palaces— even as his photographs had decorated them during his lifetime.

The Queen presented every servant with a gold scarf pin in Brown’s memory and she asked that they should be worn on each anniversary of his death. Every Sunday for the rest of her days two salt-cellars, given to her by Brown, appeared on the table wherever she travelled—and until they were there Victoria would not begin the meal.

The conduct of others is perhaps even more significant than that of the Queen. Immediately after Brown’s death his diaries were impounded by Lord Ponsonby, and later destroyed. Soon afterwards the Queen caused consternation by announcing that she intended to publish a biography of John Brown, written by herself. This project was brought to an end by Dr. Randall Davidson, Dean of Windsor and afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, who with other church leaders had always opposed the Queen’s interest in Spiritualism. He had a long interview with the Queen and threatened to resign if the book were published.

After the death of Queen Victoria the statue of Brown at Balmoral, the plate on the Royal Mausoleum, all the busts and every other memento of his existence to be found in the royal palaces were destroyed. But the most significant testimony that the Queen could give existed in a form that not even the most impious dared efface. On the grave of her servant Victoria had erected a stone and had graven on it the inscription: “That friend on whose fidelity you count, that friend given you by circumstances over which you have no control, was GOD’S own gift.”

And although whatever accounts of their séances she and John Brown may have written are lost to the world, the opposition of Church and Court did not avail to withhold knowledge of mediumship and spirit communication from Queen Victoria’s descendants.

Queen Alexandra, consort of Edward VII, the son who succeeded Victoria, not only attended séances with mediums but was apparently herself the possessor of psychic gifts. Most of the historic homes of the British Royal Family are said to be haunted. Queen Alexandra had her first personal psychic experience at Windsor Castle. She saw the apparition of a tall woman wearing a black and white dress standing in the doorway of her dressing-room. ‘The Queen later confided to a close friend that she frequently heard the sound of ghostly music and singing at Windsor during the night. It suggests that Alexandra was both clairvoyant and clairaudient.

Edward VIIhad only a short reign. Both he and the Queen received dramatic warnings of his passing. Alexandra had invited a London medium to visit her at Windsor. The séance was held in an ante-room, about a dozen people being present. Some evidential messages had been given and then came two disturbing prophecies. One foretold the early death of the King in the house where he had been born; the other forecast that a great war wouldbreak out a few years later.

Some months later Queen Alexandra was holidaying at the Greek island of Corfu when the news came that King Edward was ‘ not feeling so well as usual “. Ignoring official assurances that there was nothing seriously wrong, the Queen insisted on leaving for London immediately. She arrived at Buckingham Palace—where Edward VII had been born—in time to see the King before he died. That was in 1910. He had reigned only nine years. Four years later the start of the First World War fulfilled the second prophecy.

Shortly before his death King Edward had received a warning through a non-professional medium. The Countess of Fingall recalled that she was sitting next to the King at dinner, on an evening in January 1910, when he told her that he wanted a private word with her later. After dinner he took her to a quiet (corner of the drawing-room. Then he said with deep solemnity: Lady Fingall, your friend Mrs. Jameson has hurt me very badly.” He was referring to Mrs. Willie Jameson, a sister of the soldier who was to become Earl Haig. She often received messagcs through her automatic-writing mediumship from another brother, already passed on, George Haig. “She knows how much I loved my sister Alice,” the King continued, “and she has written to me giving a message which she says is from her, sent through her brother George.” King Edward then repeated the words of the message sent to him: The time is short. You must prepare.”

“Oh, Your Majesty,” stammered Lady Fingall, realising what this meant, “if Mrs. Jameson wrote that she must have felt it to be her duty.

But—did she give you any proof that it was from Princess Alice?”

“Yes,” replied the King. “She said that I was to remember a day when we were on Ben Nevis together and found white heather and divided it.” He could see no possible way in which Mrs. Jameson could have known of that trivial incident. He died four-and-a-half months later.

Both Edward VII and his mother, Queen Victoria, are claimed to have returned—and through Etta Wriedt, one of the most gifted mediums in psychic history, and the woman who was judged most worthy to receive Victoria’s watch, as I have already related. Etta Wriedt was a direct-voice medium; that is to say, the voice of the communicator was heard, not through the medium’s lips, but apparently out of thin air.

It was the Countess of Warwick, an old friend of Edward VII, who first heard his voice through Etta Wriedt. The Countess, a renowned beauty of the Edwardian era, became interested as a result of phenomena that occurred at her home Warwick Castle. Lights were unexplainedly switched on during the night, and at the same time the tramping of feet could be heard. Thick carpets were laid in the rooms and corridors, but the noise went on and the servants became frightened. On one occasion a manservant was struck in the back while going up a staircase. It was in an attempt to solve and put an end to these disturbances that Lady Warwick invited Etta Wriedt to visit her.

Soon after the medium’s arrival, while waiting for her to come downstairs from her room, the Countess idly picked up a séance trumpet that was lying on the floor. Immediately she heard issuing from it a voice—the voice of her old friend King Edward. It spoke in German, a language they both understood; and the medium was not even in the same room at the time.

The King also contacted Queen Alexandra, and through a medium as remarkable in his own way as Etta Wriedt, John Sloan, of Glasgow. He was a working man who would never accept a penny for his services, despite the poverty in which he lived. His mediumship is the basis of a book which is considered to be a classical account of the evidence for survival, On the Edge of the Etheric, by Arthur Findlay.

One day Findlay received a letter from the Honourable Everard Fielding, a leading member of the Society for Psychical Research, saying that a friend who was to visit Glasgow would like to attend one of Sloan’s séances. Findlay agreed to make arrangements, and when the stranger arrived he accompanied him to Sloan’s house. Neither he, the medium, nor any of the other sitters present knew the man, or had any clue to his identity. During the séance a voice spoke to the new visitor, addressing him by name, and announcing it as being Edward VII. The stranger recognised the voice of the dead King.

More names were mentioned, and as natural a conversation followed as might have gone on between two people on earth. At parting the voice said: “I must thank you for all your kindness to my wife, Queen Alexandra. I do not know how she would have got on without you, and you have relieved her of much worry and care.” When asked afterwards if he was satisfied with the séance, the visitor answered, “Most certainly.”

When Findlay asked what his connection might be with Queen Alexandra, he replied: “I am the Controller of her Household.”

When the official returned to London and reported what had taken place to the Queen, she too wished to speak to her husband through Sloan, and a further sitting was arranged. It must have been one of the most impressive groups that ever foregathered in an attempt to contact the dead. Besides Queen Alexandra, those present included Marconi, the radio pioneer; Sir Thomas Lipton, tea millionaire and famous yachtsman; Sir William Barrett and Sir Oliver Lodge, two of the most eminent scientists of the day; and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes.

The reigning king at this time was, of course, George V, grandfather of Queen Elizabeth. An unusually close bond of affection existed between King George and his mother, Queen Alexandra. King George was convinced he was in touch with his mother after her death. A reader of Psychic News received a spirit message believed to have come from Queen Alexandra and intended for the King. It was sent to him.

This was the reply, written in George V’s own hand, addressed from Buckingham Palace and dated February 16, 1935:

“It was very kind of you to send me such an inspiring message from my dear mother. I fully understand what she has thought fit to convey to me through your instrumentality. I also thank you for the enclosure viz Psychic News, which I shall certainly peruse with pleasure. My mother is constantly with me, watching and guiding my private affairs. I appreciate her message about ‘a dark cloud shadowing the home, but a happy reunion in the land of eternal sunshine’”

That letter has a simple eloquence of its own, accepting as a matter of course the idea of spirit communication. It is proof in itself that George V knew as much of the subject as did his grandmother, Queen Victoria, for it could hardly have been written by a stranger to Spiritualistic beliefs.

King George of Greece, another descendant of Queen Victoria, was an active Spiritualist. At one time he was a regular member of a circle conducted by Estelle Roberts. During the last war, while exiled in Britain, he worked with her healing group. Many patients, unaware of his identity, received treatment by the laying-on of hands from the King of the Hellenes. In these same years he often acted as intermediary in passing on spirit messages to King George VI.

Princess Louise, elder sister of George V, kept in close and regular contact with mediums. After the death of her husband, the Duke of Fife, the Princess maintained communication with him through the mediumship of her companion-secretary, Miss Elisabeth Gordon.

Princess Louise often discussed psychic matters at length with another member of her household staff, Mr. John James. A convinced Spiritualist, James served royalty for more than twenty years. Other members of the Royal Family besides Princess Louise discussed their beliefs with him, and he often passed on messages he had been given for them at séances.

One member of the Royal Family, whose identity I cannot reveal, mentioned that someone named Godsden had promised to communicate with him if she were the first to die. At the next séance he attended James was given a message from a woman named Godsden, who said she had been a nurse. The fact that she had been a nurse was confirmed when James passed the message on, though he himself had been unaware of it.

James possessed the gift of healing that King George of Greece practised; and, indeed, he gave healing to Princess Louise. She reminded him of this when she communicated with him after her death. Miss Mary Francis, dresser-in-waiting to Princess Louise for twenty-five years, identified her voice at the same séance.

During her lifetime the Princess often confirmed evidence received by James concerning her royal relatives when they dealt with matters outside his own knowledge. I have myself been present with James at séances when relatives of Queen Elizabeth have purported to communicate, and he has confirmed the proof of identity they have given.

One of them was the late Duke of Kent, the Queen’s uncle, who was killed in the air during the last war. He was himself making arrangements to go to a séance with a medium known to me when death intervened.

Princess Marina, former Duchess of Kent, is one of the living members of the Royal Family who is no stranger to the séance room. She has sat with a direct-voice medium living at Brighton. When she and the Duke were married a well-known clairvoyant was specially invited to the wedding.

I referred at the beginning of this chapter to the upset caused by a suggestion that the Queen Mother had been visited by a clairvoyant. Whatever the truth of that particular incident, on which I am unable to comment, it can hardly be claimed that Her Majesty has not been in close contact with those who knew something of psychic subjects.

A chair that once belonged to her husband, King George VI, is now in the home of a famous London medium, Lilian Bailey. It is high-backed, ornately carved from solid oak, and she sits in it whenever she gives a séance. How it came there is an interesting story.

The speech-therapist who cured the late King of his stammer, Lionel Logue, was a Spiritualist. George VI told him that he was not as ignorant of the subject as many people believed. They often talked of Spiritualism and Logue passed on messages to the King.

When he died Logue thought it appropriate that the Kings chair—which he had had sent over to Logue’s consulting-room from Buckingham Palace because without it he found it difficult to relax completely—should be given to Mrs. Bailey.

If King George was not ignorant of Spiritualism it does not seem likely that he would keep his knowledge from his wife. But even before her marriage the Queen Mother must have had some acquaintance with psychic matters, for her youngest brother, David Bowes-Lyon, possessed clairvoyant powers, or “second sight” as it is termed in Scotland.

Glamis Castle, historic home of the Earls of Strathmore, is reputed to be haunted. As a boy David often saw the ghosts. He called them “the grey people” and could describe every detail of their costumes.

In later life there was a remarkable example of his “second sight” proving correct. During the First World War the War Office listed his elder brother Michael as having been killed. David protested that the report was wrong and stubbornly refused to wear mourning. He claimed to have twice seen Michael clairvoyantly, looking very ill, with bandaged head, in a big house surrounded by fir trees. His vision proved true; some months later the news came that Michael had been wounded in the head and was a prisoner of war in Germany.

There is one other branch of the psychic that remains to be mentioned—healing. Britain’s best-known Spiritualist healer, Harry Edwards, was asked to give treatment to King George VI, and has had six royal patients in all. He helped Princess Alice through several illnesses, and she took a number of other highly placed personages to visit his sanctuary in Surrey.

There is surely enough in this record to prove that, whatever the Queen’s advisers wish the public to believe, the British Royal Family has been interested in mediumship since the age of Queen Victoria.

The Mediumship of Stella Cranshaw

The Mediumship of Stella Cranshaw

One of the descriptions of Stella Cranshaw, better known as ‘Stella C.’, was that she was ‘a simple, well-educated girl whose main interest in life was not in psychical science at all, but to whom “odd” things occurred’.

After being ‘discovered’ by Harry Price in 1923, Stella undertook thirteen sittings with him early in the same year: after a break, possibly through becoming engaged, she resumed sittings from February 1926. Stella had a degree of interest in the phenomena that surrounded her, but she had no wish to actually probe them for a meaning. As Tabori notes: ‘She thought them strange but felt little concern about them. She was perfectly happy in her chosen career – a hospital nurse and dispenser’; her amiable disposition led Price and his colleagues to refer to Stella as the ‘gentle maiden’. When Price met Stella, she ‘knew nothing whatever about psychical research, and had never sat with a circle of investigators’

In the years leading up to her chance encounter with Price, she had often been the focus of different phenomena, e.g. strong breezes, object movement, rappings and lights, but had done nothing to investigate them. The breezes were of particular interest due to their highly unusual character. It was noted that when Stella was motionless, a breeze would ‘sweep across the room, taking in its path the flowers, which bend under the strain’. Such occurrences even took place on occasions when she was in a room where the windows and doors were firmly closed, or a ‘hot, still night, when not the slightest ripple in the atmosphere has been noticeable in the open air’. Of those who witnessed the lights which would sometimes appear, they compared these to the sparks generated by an electrical discharge.

Tabori mentions that Stella had only attended one séance in her life before meeting Price: this was ‘at the age of eleven – and then had to be removed from it because of a fit of unconscious giggling’.

Price presumably believed that in Stella, he had found someone with considerable mediumistic abilities; he therefore asked her to co- operate in his work, and was surely delighted when she agreed.

In the case of the first series of séances with her, a thermometer was placed within the room and invariably a reduction in temperature, sometimes quite dramatic, was noted during the proceedings. It was interesting to note that the temperature reduction coincided with the more powerful phenomena. Careful records were made of the séances and these documented the types of phenomena manifested. In the séance room, a sixty-watt lamp was available, controlled by a rheostat. Furthermore, despite the criticisms made of doing it, incense was burned; it was not through any belief that it would, or could directly assist the phenomena, but simply because Stella enjoyed this. A musical box was also used.

The regular sitters included a number of people from varied backgrounds, e.g. Mercy Phillimore, the General Secretary of the LSA, Lt.-Col. W. W. Hardwick, the Managing Editor of ‘Light’, H. W. Pugh, an SPR member, David Thomas, a retired barrister, and Harry Price. Those who were not regular sitters, but attended a number of the séances, included Everard Feilding who had carried out successful research with Eusapia Palladino, and Dr Dingwall, the Research Officer of the SPR. When the séances took place, one of the regular sitters sat on the right of Stella and controlled her right hand and foot, and Price sat on her left controlling Stella’s hand and foot on that side. In the midst of this, it was noted: ‘Never was a medium easier to control than Stella. She did exactly as she was requested, and made no comments – in fact, she hardly spoke at all’.

The records that were made provide a truly remarkable insight into what the sitters were fortunate enough to witness. In the first séance on 22 March, 1923, after twenty minutes from the commencement, the table began to move and rose up on two legs and quickly moved across the room. After this, ‘the table then oscillated, and was apparently controlled by an intelligent entity’. The red light was then switched off although a little light still entered the room through the window: at this, the table moved even more dramatically. During the séance, one of the sitters noticed a ‘column of pale phosphorescent light just behind the medium’. On checking the temperature of the room when the séance concluded, it was discovered that it had fallen by eleven degrees.

In the second séance on 29 March, 1923, the table moved almost constantly throughout the period and it was noted that one of the sitter’s hands had become obscured by ‘some substance (teleplasm?)’. During the latter period, the table movement was accompanied by raps given in response to questions asked, and breezes were also felt by all the sitters present. Once again the temperature fell dramatically. It was also reported that Stella’s position in the room made it ‘physically impossible for her normally to control the table in any way’.

In the third séance on 5 April, 1923, the table levitated and was followed by communication achieved by rapping. It was then decided to use a table again whereupon it levitated several times; in one case it rose above the heads of the sitters who had to rise up to keep some contact with it. However, one unfortunate sitter who decided to remain in his seat was struck by it and then had it descending to rest upon his chest. After the sitters had resumed contact with the table, two of the legs broke away. This activity took place with either a full red light or a degree of daylight.

In the fourth séance on 12 April, 1923, after yet further table movement, the sitters ascertained that Stella’s control was called ‘Palma’, apparently a young child, presumably explaining the gusto displayed in the table communication/movement. Tabori refers to her as ‘an intelligent entity which followed requests and moved a heavy oak table in accordance with the directions given’.

Later in the séance, Stella fell into a light trance state and said that she was seeing a copy of the ‘Daily Mail’, relating to thirty-seven days ahead (i.e., 19 May, 1923). She also reported that she could see a reference to an ‘Andrew Salt’ in large characters and felt this was connected with a boy falling and a man, who seemed to be of the medical profession, stooping over the boy and giving him white powder from a container. As none of the sitters could understand any of this, little attention was given to what had been said. However, on 19 May 1923, it was noticed that the ‘Daily Mail’ had a full page advertisement on its cover page. This was for ‘Andrews Liver Salt’ in large characters, together with a boy pouring, or allowing the falling of white powder from a container. The number of correct features of Stella’s description when compared with the advertisement was totalled as being ten, possibly eleven. The only item missing from all the features that Stella had mentioned was a man with a medical connection, although it was noted that the product itself was of a medicinal type. Enquiries were made into the background of the advertisement and it was ascertained that the advertisement had not been in any poster display; moreover, the ‘Daily Mail’ confirmed that it was only three weeks before the publication date (i.e., at the end of April) that it had been requested to publish this particular advertisement; in fact another had been planned for this issue, but the arrangement had been changed, and furthermore, changed after the time of Stella’s vision. Price observed of this: ‘I have no explanation or hypothesis to offer for the above amazing case of prevision’.

In the fifth séance on 19 April, 1923, there was, in full red light, the usual table movement, and when ‘Palma’ was asked to communicate by rapping, the sitters were confronted by four different types which occurred in different areas at the same time. Further progress was made when an experiment was carried out with the table; in this instance the medium and sitters moved well away from the table and had no contact with it and yet it was seen to move, accompanied by raps being made. After this, the table moved towards Hardwick, injuring his knee; when it rose up on two legs, all the sitters present tried to push it down but were unsuccessful. One only has to consider the power that must have been made present by the communicator(s) to gain some idea about the energy of the phenomena manifested through Stella’s mediumship.

Another such occasion was during the sixth séance, on 3 May 1923, when the table ‘started to wander around the room, compelling the sitters to relinquish their seats’. In the same sitting, two other events took place; firstly a large piece of lilac fell down on to the table. Although a vase of lilacs had been in the séance room earlier on, this had been removed to another room on a different floor, and Price agrees that there was ‘no explanation…as to how it apparently fell from the ceiling on to the table top’. Secondly, those present were fortunate to witness how a ‘bright blue…flash appeared over the head of medium. These flashes were repeated six times’. Indicating an intelligence behind this particular phenomenon, while the lights were appearing, the name of one of the sitters was rapped out, together with other words.

The seventh séance on 10 May, 1923, manifested yet further phenomena; in addition to the table movement and rapping, a handbell under the table was moved (during this time, the hands of all the sitters were linked and visible, and the feet of each sitter were touching the person on either side). This was followed by notes being played on the mouth-organ, also under the table; this was accompanied by a bright flash of light above one of the sitters. Further notes were then played on the instruments. One of the sitters stated that she observed a formation of ectoplasm above the medium, while another saw what was believed to be ‘Palma’. The séance also experienced breezes and the movements of different objects. For the first time, Stella became fully entranced and it was noted that when this occurred, there was a greater assortment of phenomena. The events which took place in each séance as the series continued, clearly indicated the progress being achieved.

The reality of this was made apparent by the eighth séance on 17 May, 1923. As soon as the séance began, breezes were felt and different musical instruments placed within a cage area under the table, were played. There were also several occasions of lights being seen above Stella’s head. In the case of the instruments, Dr Fodor refers to how they were encased by wood from an outer table and the gauze mesh of the inner table, but ‘nevertheless, the operators of Stella C. found no difficulty in getting within and playing upon the instruments’.

In the ninth séance on 24 May, 1923, the sitters spoke to ‘Palma’ who responded by clear raps to indicate that she was responsible for the phenomena; these included the musical instruments again being played, accompanied by lights appearing in the séance room and obvious movement of different objects. The remaining séances on 7 June, 21 June, 27 September, 14 October, were no less spectacular. Shortly before the last séances, there had been some discussion about Stella going to America, but for various reasons this did not occur.

There was a break until 1926 with Stella having taken up employment in Clerkenwell with a business of silversmiths. The next séances took place between February and July 1926 (numbering eighteen), then in 1927 (the only report that exists is for the one on 28 April), and were followed by further ones between March and July 1928. In these, the phenomena continued. The 1928 series included sitters who had a noted scientific background, e.g. Professor Julian Huxley, Dr E. B. Strauss, and Lord Charles Hope; the observation of the latter in respect of the 1928 series is enlightening. Writing in the SPR Journal, he recorded: ‘At three out of the last four sittings considerable phenomena were obtained, clearly denoting a supernormal origin…These phenomena, although not appearing to indicate the direction of any profound intelligence, yet did not give the impression of an uncontrolled force at work’. This series included object movement, rapping (in one case, it kept time with the music being played), breezes, and sitters becoming aware of sensations on their own bodies.

After Stella married Leslie Deacon in 1928, she had no further involvement in the subject of psychical research, although she kept in contact with Price after this date. Tabori notes that Stella ‘was one of the very few mediums in whose genuineness all the people who sat with her believed without reservation. She was never “temperamental”, she did not demand any special ritual and made no stipulations’. In the very short time during which Stella was prepared to undergo tests, she revealed something of the potential of undeveloped physical mediumship. It is natural to wonder what she would have been able to achieve under different circumstances. Undoubtedly, the phenomena produced by her were far less than in the case of many other physical mediums, but the noteworthy factor is the amount produced in such a short period of time and under such stringent conditions. It is surely because of this, one name that will always be remembered in the list of powerful physical mediums of twentieth century Britain is that of Stella Cranshaw, ‘the gentle maiden’.

Note:- (1)Harry Price was involved with a number of well-known physical mediums, e.g. Stella C., Helen Duncan, and Rudi Scheneider. He was a complex and highly controversial figure who sought publicity and frequently irritated Spiritualists. What was his personal view of the subject?

Mrs Clarice Richards, a close friend, admitted that Price did believe in an afterlife. In “The Future of Faith”, ed. Percy Colson, Price replied to the question of whether communication with the dead had been established:

‘Scientifically, no: occasionally and spontaneously, yes’. His belief was presumably overshadowed by his Christian convictions (he was a devout Christian and warden of the church at Pulborough): Tabori sums up the position as: ‘he rejected Spiritualism as a religion just because it was contrary to the tenets of the Church of England’ (Harry Price: Ghost Hunter, pp.13,22).

(2)Stella’s surname is found in different material, and bewilderingly sometimes in the same material, spelt with and without an ‘e’. However, in her letters to Price, she signed herself as ‘Cranshaw’.

“You Can Speak With Your Dead”


“You Can Speak With Your Dead”


Shaw Desmond

What would you and I regard as definite proof that a man or woman has survived death?
I think by him or her appearing and speaking to us.That is the most direct proof. A hundred others are known to psychical investigators – that is to scientists who devote their lives to investigation of the afterlife. Many such exist today.

Before I come to a consideration of the body, soul and spirit of which each one of us is composed and of the facts behind them, I will give a series of personal communications with those who have “died” into the Afterlife.

Perhaps because it lies closest to my heart as a father, I will begin with the first talk I ever had with my little dead son Jan, who had passed out in his eleventh year. There was something strangely luminous about this child, with a smile of understanding which made many love him, a quality which showed itself in our talks after his death.

On 10th March, 1933, Jan’s voice was heard by me and others at the house of a friend. The first words were: “I want my father.”

He then made a statement of a most intimate, personal kind. I, intensely sceptical of many sides of “communication” with the dead, was convinced by this statement that it was, indeed, my boy speaking and that there was no impersonation. Nobody else in that room, so far as I am aware, could possibly have known of the personal trouble and of its rectification which he then conveyed.

The voice was what is known as the “direct voice.”

That is to say, not the voice of a medium, but the boy’s own voice coming out of the air.

On the 5th of May of the same year, he sent messages to his mother and sister. There stands a note in my records, made, as always, immediately after the experience: “I have never used his name or given any evidence at these séances.”

None of those present knew anything about Jan – not even his name or that of his sister, which is a rare and difficult Gaelic name which Jan himself, gave me correctly on 10th October of the same year.

On this occasion, when Lady Segrave and others were present, he gave me once more peculiarly convincing, evidence, impossible to anyone there, of certain physical and mental changes he had undergone.

In the following December, I had extraordinary proof of the reality of “Jan” as my own boy. Speaking with absolute clearness, he placed a speaking trumpet on my knee, so that the others might not hear our conversation, which was very private. Bending down, I whispered into it, his voice also coming to me from it in a whisper.

In this talk, he covered difficult psychological details of his own life as of the lives of his mother and sister. His mother was at the time undergoing a special cure, and this he discussed with close knowledge. Also her differences of mental attitude to certain questions.

A point of evidence, remarkable, was my misunderstanding him when he spoke of what I thought was his ability with the speaking trumpet.

He at once corrected me and told me he was actually speaking of something which had happened to his voice since he had passed over – something, again, of which nobody present could have known. Also he poked gentle fun at one of my weaknesses.
It was at this meeting that I used his name for the first time. Yet he had given me his name correctly long before.

My last meeting with him was on 24th September, 1940, but we have met from time to time through the years. Nor do I think of him as “dead,” but as living and ever present.

Now what were the conditions under which I heard my boy’s voice?

Were they “test” conditions?

I here make the definite statement after many years of psychic research, that in its very nature no conditions can ever be absolutely watertight. The real “test” is that you know the bona fides of those present, that they have invariably proved trustworthy, and that the physical conditions, generally, are fraud-proof.

I have met and sometimes spoken with my boy under many varieties of conditions, with different mediums and in different places.

The supreme test of all “communication” with the so-called dead is that the evidence is self-veridical; that, in fact, what comes through is unknown to any present, and that it persistently tallies. These conditions were complied with in my communications with Jan. Sir Oliver Lodge found the same in his talks with his son, Raymond.

Of all proofs of survival, what is called the “Direct Voice” is the most compelling.
This is the actual voice of the “dead” man or woman coming out of the air and not speaking through a medium, although the presence of a medium is usually necessary. Its existence is now admitted by such notable men of science as Sir Oliver Lodge, past President of the British Association; by Professors Ernest Bozzano and Gildo Passini, and by Dr. Robin J. Tillyard and many other professors of different countries. Literally scores of distinguished laymen vouch for it.

Many American scientists, including Dr. Tillyard, have heard the direct voice in the “Margery and Walter” experiments, and some of them, including Dr. Tillyard, declare it to be genuine. Hundreds of men and women, distinguished and other, have heard the famous guide, Red Cloud, speak in this voice under the mediumship of Mrs. Estelle Roberts, a lady of probity.

I have heard it on scores of occasions, and in many languages, sometimes in good light, and even with several voices speaking at the same time. Messages have been delivered by the spirits of the so-called dead to large audiences in London by this voice, and soon we are to have public lectures delivered, literally, “out of the air.”

To deny the existence of this voice would be the same as denying the existence of the voice of any human being who may speak to you tomorrow. One ventures to think that only ignorance or contumacy, and the sometimes intense “reluctance to life” of certain types of scientist, can account for such denial.

I have in my records of the “Voice” the names of men and women widely known who have spoken to me before witnesses, from the Other Side of Death. Amongst these are Sir Henry Segrave, once leading authority on internal combustion engines and world champion in motor-boat speed records; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the thinker and novelist; William T. Stead, doyen of journalists; Dennis Neilson-Terry, the actor, and Rudolf Valentino, the film star. I have also spoken, about their writings, to names internationally famous. These last were intensely veridical, as it would have been quite impossible for the mediums present, without pretence to literary knowledge, to have discussed such recondite subjects.

From a mass of Direct Voice notes recorded at the time, and covering the seven years from early in 1933, I select one or two.

Many of us have heard Sir Henry Segrave speak with his wife upon intimate subjects known only to both. As his spirit-form left the room he would come up to me and speak to me in his friendly but reserved way, one of and talks taking place on 2nd June, 1933.

One of the most popular playwrights of our time, who wrote a fine reincarnation play which has been seen by thousands, and whose wife wishes his name suppressed, spoke to me upon many occasions.

The first time was on 5th May, 1933, soon after his death, before some twenty people, including Lady Segrave.

The strikingly evidential part of this talk was his referring to himself by the special name by which I knew him. I also spoke with a friend of his on the Other Side, he using the direct voice, upon 6th and 20th October of the same year about this playwright’s plays and his changed views of my own books. Nobody present could possibly have taken part in this discussion.

Perhaps one of the best bits of evidence in the Direct Voice was when the spirit of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle came through before twenty-three people to ask to speak with me. I, always sceptical and careful, asked the spirit to prove that he really was Conan Doyle by telling me where he and I had last met. This was correctly given. We had met by accident in a doorway in Victoria Street, Westminster, where we had separately run for shelter from a shower. He then sent messages to his wife and his son Denis.
Sir Henry Segrave also spoke with me on this occasion.

It gives us all to think when we find men of the scientific standing of Dr. William Brown, M.A., M.D., D.Sc., F.R.C.P., one of the most advanced psychologists of our day, declaring in a London lecture:
“Nevertheless, I think I range myself with our President . . . in claiming for the evidence that has been brought forward by the Society for Psychical Research during the last fifty years that it is sufficient to make survival of bodily death, scientifically speaking, extremely probable.”

But one has only to watch the evolution of great scientists like Professors Jeans and Eddington, the astronomers, or of Dr. Alexis Carrel, author of Man the Unknown and winner of the Nobel Prize, to see the inexorable trend to a spiritual view of matter. Or, if we observe the later developments of the mathematicians and the physicists, from Einstein to that most remarkable of scientists, J. W. Dunne, with his An Experiment with Time, which has been described as “one of the most important books of this age,” we find how implacably, in the world of science, matter is becoming dematerialised, and how spiritual interpretation is taking the place of the now old-fashioned materialist science. Dunne, indeed, claims to have found irrefutable proof of human immortality.

Professor Charles Richet, the psycho-physiologist, after a lifetime of experiment, had to confess himself driven against his will to belief in the world of survived spirits as explanation of the phenomena he had encountered in his laboratory.

Speaking personally, I would go so far as to say that the reading of such purely scientific treatises as Sir William Bragg’s The Universe of Light will convince that under natural law, at least, there is nothing inherently scientifically impossible in man surviving death in ghostly form.

For many years I have set out the case for survival both in book and on platform. I can truthfully say that never once have statements of the above kind been effectively challenged. The fact being that the case for our passing into another world which is as real as this, is a case now resting upon evidence as clear and persistent as that of any other fact of science. We speak with our dead. We see our dead.

The greatest scientists of all time insist upon this. Look at some of the names: Lodge and Crookes and Lombroso, Alfred Russel Wallace and Camille Flammarion. Professors Bozzano, Morselli and Passini of Italy. Professors William James, Larkin and Hyslop of America. Many of these believers in survival base their belief partly upon the direct voice which they have heard.

And I, writing these words to you, the reader, also insist with them that you can be as absolutely assured that you survive the death of the physical body as that you now, for the time, live in that body today. In that belief you will have behind you every great religious teacher from the Gautama Buddha to Jesus. You will have nearly all the greater philosophers from Plato downwards. Almost every poet will be with you.

Death is the universal superstition.

There is no death.


The Mediumship of George Spriggs

The Mediumship of George Spriggs

George Spriggs (1850-1912) is rightly designated as a ‘powerful English materialisation medium’ by Nandor Fodor.

The first records made of his mediumship began in the 1870s, being witnessed at ‘the Circle of Light’ in Cardiff. George worked as a non-professional medium at the circle, this having been formed by Rees Lewis in 1875.

The circle enjoyed spectacular results and may have possibly been linked to the arduous routine adopted by its members; this included a vegetarian diet, abstinence from alcohol and tobacco, and fasting on the day of the séance: a special room was also set aside for the séances. Possibly more relevant was that the circle was, according to Lewis, ‘physically, intellectually and morally good’; the members saw their activity more as a sacred service than an attempt to simply commune with ‘the other side’. Until George joined the circle, there had been limited to table-turning; however, when he participated, dramatic phenomena began.

The first indications of his mediumship were the occurrences of automatic writing and clairvoyance; these were followed by the appearance of a luminous cloud in the séance room that signalled greater things would soon follow. And indeed they did, with full materializations joining the circle and speaking to the sitters; on occasions, as many as twelve materialized persons would appear during one séance: in this time, George was also visible. Furthermore, séances could be conducted when, ‘the light at times streamed in, permeating every corner of the room, and falling on the form of the spirit’.

Most people acquainted with this type of phenomena and communication are aware that a negative or even a disbelieving nature reduces the degree of quality. While this in itself attracts criticism, the reality of the situation has been noted time and time again. Robertson noted that the Cardiff circle were disinterested in any scientific testing because: ‘They had the evidence of their eyes, their ears, and their hands. The faces of those they had known, the voices they knew of old, were sufficient for them’. This does not mean everything has to be accepted at face value with blind faith: this attitude is, and has always been quite alien to authentic Spiritualism; but the fact remains that a positive stance does assist in quality communication, and having received this, it may then be evaluated accordingly. In the upshot, it can be seen that the right attitude secures the best results, and the Cardiff Circle was a very apt example of this.

It has often been observed that in most cases, materializations are confined to appearing within a certain distance of the medium. However, George’s mediumship differed in this respect as those who materialized could function at some distance from him, e.g. walking about the property and even into the garden. Robertson recorded how the next-world visitors ‘would come out of the sitting-room into the hall and show themselves in good light. They would ascend a short flight of stairs, open the doors of the rooms, and enter them’.

In one case, Lewis was accompanied by a materialization, holding his arm, as he walked downstairs, a distance of about fifty feet. In the midst of such activities, a direct voice could also sometimes be heard.

One of the more amusing aspects of George’s mediumship was that in the case of spirits going out into the garden, this upset the religious neighbours who saw and heard them, and threatened to call the police. An interesting feature of the materializations facilitated by George was that a form would change into another person without having to dematerialize, and the second visitor was spared having to go through the process of appearing from a basic form. The argument that the materialized forms were simply George undergoing transfiguration was shown to be incorrect as he could be seen when the figures joined the circle and then dematerialized in front of the sitters.

A record was kept, detailing those who attended and what had occurred, and Lewis wrote about the events that were witnessed, e.g. in Light in 1886.

In 1880, George travelled to Melbourne, Australia; before he left, he asked Lewis to demonstrate his own survival after he died, and if possible, in a lighted environment. On arriving in Australia, George continued to produce the same type of phenomena that had been witnessed in Cardiff. An editor who attended fifty of George’s séances testified that he recognized associates who had died.

After many months of not hearing from Lewis, George was outside his home one afternoon in the bright Australian sunshine and felt his clothing being pulled; on turning around he recognized his friend, Rees Lewis: Lewis had died a week earlier. He had kept his promise.

Another instance that demonstrated George’s remarkable mediumship was the case of three teenagers who had drowned while sailing. Hugh Junor Browne, the father of two of them, went to George seeking information after they had not returned home. George, not knowing anything about the circumstances, went into trance and told Browne there had been trouble at sea, and described the movements of the boat and advised that it had foundered.

During séances on the following two days, George was controlled by all three boys who confirmed what had been said earlier. Three weeks later, the remains of one of Browne’s sons were recovered from the sea; amongst them was the boy’s watch and this had stopped at the very time that George had said the ship had foundered. Fortunately, Browne was a Spiritualist, and the boys were acquainted with its teachings and testified to how their knowledge had assisted them in their transition. In fact, ‘the lads made their materialised appearance once or twice a week, and the father and others recognized them distinctly, and were cheered by the messages they gave’.

Meads, a prominent worker and speaker for Spiritualism in its early days, once attended a meeting arranged in honour of the American medium, Mrs Wallace, and was seated next to George during the events. While one of the speeches was being made, Meads became aware of ‘faint rappings’ on the platform. On commenting upon this to George, he calmly replied that he had not only heard them, but seen the next-world visitor responsible.

Meads added that on meeting George, he had ‘formed a very favourable impression of his sincerity and honesty’. George’s abilities for materialization had faded by 1886, although he continued with his work of healing. Many testified to their recovery through his intervention. Meads also made mention of George’s abilities in this respect saying that he doubted, ‘if any medium had surpassed him in diagnosing disease’. Furthermore, ‘he asked no questions, but carefully avoided the subject of health’; in fact, George was quite ignorant of health matters, but having passed into a trance state, he would locate the area causing concern and prescribe a suitable cure.

After several visits to England, George returned in 1900 and resided in London; he was then involved in establishing the Psycho-Therapeutic Society in 1901 that sought to heal, by psychic treatments, through a ‘society where those who needed it could get free treatment’.Here, he continued to give his services, making no charge, for those who required them.

Writing before George died in 1912, Robertson said that having met him, he had ‘a generous, happy, cheerful, healthful nature’, and ‘if there are souls needing help, his powers are ever at their service’.

Opening The Psychic Door

Opening The Psychic Door

By F.W. Fitzsimons F.Z.S., F.R.M.S.

“Try the facts in every way you choose; they can only be accounted for by the interaction of intelligences other than our own. Intelligences which appear to be of every grade—some of them possessing powers unknown to us.”SIR OLIVER LODGE.

In 1920—1921 I was in London, and, with a colleague, had many psychic experiences at, what is commonly known as, a “Direct Voice Séance.” The medium was a Mrs Wriedt.

A trumpet, the shape of a megaphone, made of aluminium, is usually placed on the floor or a table. This is raised into the air by supernormal power, and spirit people speak through it.

The trumpet merely acts as an amplifier for speech, and also for the purpose of concentrating the psychic emanations known as ectoplasm, which is mostly drawn from the medium. The trumpet was marked with luminous paint.

Mrs Wriedt, on this occasion, was dressed in a white robe. The trumpet was on the floor between myself and my friend, and six feet away from the medium. Heavy black curtains were drawn over the window; but being daylight outside, sufficient light penetrated the room to enable us to dimly discern the medium who during the one hour of the séance, did not move from her chair. No music was played; but the three of us conversed at intervals.

Suddenly the trumpet rose to a height of about eight feet from the floor. The bell end pointed at an angle down direct to me, being at least ten feet from the medium. Through it came the voice of a woman, tremulous and vibrant with excitement and emotion:

“Fred! Fred! My boy! My boy, it’s your mother —do you hear me? I am your mother.”

Taken aback, I was silent, until the medium exhorted me to speak up and ask questions.

“Yes, yes, mother, I hear you; but it is too wonderful! Is it really you—can it be?”

“Yes, yes, I am your mother; Norah is with me.” (Norah is a deceased sister of mine.)

“If you are really my mother, please tell me what was the complaint which caused you to pass over.”

“Consumption of the lungs.”

Then, through the trumpet, came a succession of consumptive coughs. I knew that coughing only too well, because, as a boy I used to sit by her bedside when she lay patiently waiting to pass on. The trumpet then came slowly down and settled on the floor. Presently it rose again and my mother announced herself.

“Fred, it is I, your mother I rested to gather power. I want you to be careful—do not get your feet and clothes wet—yes, your feet especially.”

“But, mother,” I answered, “what do you mean by that?”

“Take heed, my boy, be careful, very careful, your feet, your clothes, keep yourself dry.”

The trumpet again went down and rested on the floor; and after remaining a short time rose, and the same gentle voice of my mother came through it.

“Fred, Fred, do you hear me?”

“Yes,” I answered.

“It is not what you think it is; do not worry anymore; it will come right.”

“But what do you mean, mother? “I asked, bewildered.

“Your cough, the cough you have. Do not worry; there is no cause for worry; it is not what you think it is. In three months it will be gone. Goodbye, my boy—my boy, God bless and keep you.”

The trumpet came down and rested on the floor. Addressing my friend I asked, “Did you hear what was said?”
“Yes,” he replied, “I heard nearly every word she said.”

Then up rose the trumpet again and it sailed like an airship across the room and over to my friend; through it a deceased relative of his spoke to him on intimate, private matters.

I was mystified by those two messages from my mother; but the explanations came later.

I had heard that, on Easter Monday, there is a vast exodus of people from the East End of London to Hampstead Heath. I wanted to see this, to me, novel sight; accompanied by my wife and friend, I went. It unfortunately started to rain—a steady, continuous downpour. We took shelter and killed time in a restaurant; and eventually decided to make tracks for our hotel.

It seemed that thousands were fighting for seats in buses and trams. After shivering for some time we managed to get accommodation on the top of a bus. It stopped innumerable times in the overcrowded streets, through traffic jams. My thick overcoat was soaked through; the damp had penetrated to my very skin. Cold and miserable, we made for our respective rooms. I changed into evening dress for dinner, and that night retired early. At one o’clock in the morning I awoke shivering. I tried to control it, but could not; this was the prelude to pneumonia from which I nearly passed on.

During 1918 the” Flu “epidemic had swept through South Africa, leaving a trail of human corpses in its wake. I undertook the work of giving prophylactic and therapeutic vaccine injections at the request of the Government. I gave upwards of ten thousand injections.

Almost from the beginning I contracted “Flu” but fought it off, and injected vaccine copiously into myself. Anyway, I carried on to the end; and when the work was done, I collapsed for a short time and was afterwards annoyed by a dry, irritating cough.

I began to believe it to be T.B., and that was the deciding factor in my going overseas to England in 1920.
At the time my mother spoke, I had come to the conclusion that it must be the onset of consumption. Four medical men \who examined me at intervals looked wise and gave evasive answer to my questions as to what was wrong with me.

Three months later when on the high seas bound for South Africa I had a serious fit of coughing, and there was a gush of blood from my mouth. I looked at my stained handkerchief and remarked to myself, “Well, that’s that, it is T.B. all right.”

I fell to wondering how long my body would last out; but that was the end of the trouble. It was all due, no doubt, to chronic congestion in the forks of the bronchial tubes; or perhaps a tuberculous patch in or on one lung.

Here, then, was the explanation of the warning and message of assurance given by my mother through the trumpet.

Shortly after this episode I was wandering through Madame Tussaud’s waxworks, and among the men of note in English politics, I had the pleasure of seeing the waxwork figure of Charles Bradlaugh. He having been a “ Spirit Guide “ at our Home Circle in Natal, I was much interested, and sat on a bench opposite where I could obtain a full view of his commanding figure and massive head ; and fell to meditating on the past.

Three or four weeks later I happened to have a private sitting with an accredited deep-trance medium in London. Her guide came through and talked; suddenly he exclaimed: “A co-worker of yours is here. He is a man of powerful and forceful mind. When on earth he accomplished much; I will permit him to come through.”

The medium’s body sank back and, drawing a few deep breaths, she sat upright; her head was slightly tilted back, the jaw set firm. Suddenly her hands shot out impulsively and held mine in a firm hearty grasp of friendship ; and, in a strong voice, said I am Bradlaugh—Charles Bradlaugh. Again, old friend, once again we meet. Yes, it is years since I manifested at your little Circle in far-off South Africa.”

I admit I was much taken aback, not having the remotest idea that he, of all men, would come to me like this; and through a medium whose very name I did not know, and who had never seen me before.

“I am indeed glad to meet you again,” I exclaimed impulsively. “I never knew you in the earth body; but you are and have been just as real to me all these years.”

“Yes! “he replied in his deep, strong voice, that I knew so well from past experience. “You and I have much—very much—in common, and our work is not yet ended.”

“Shall we work together in spirit life?” I asked.

“Yes, eventually, but not now, no, not for many years to come. You and I will accomplish much on earth—you in the material body and I in the spirit body. The discarnate man will work hand-in-hand with the incarnate.”

He ceased to speak for some little time; his face lit up with a humorous smile, and he, at last, remarked:
“Well, what did you think of my waxwork image?”

I was abashed and did not know what to say at the moment.

“I was with you when you sat on the seat and looked at my figure; good figure of a man?” he laughed.

Proceeding, he said: “I am the same now, but changed, very much changed—in thought, ideals, and in form, too.”

“In what manner? “I queried.

“I am young again and pulsating with life. There is no old age here, my friend. The spirit body is young and always remains so, without any of earth’s blemishes.”

“What brought you when I was looking at your wax figure?”

“Your thoughts at the time were centred on me, and I came to see the reason why.”

A week after this occurrence I decided to visit Mr William Hope who lived at Crewe, which is a railway centre in the midlands of England. I had heard of the wonderful gift he and his sister-in-law possessed of obtaining psychic photographs, scotographs, etc.

I wrote twice, and then sent a prepaid telegram, with the object of arranging an appointment; but I received no answer. This, I ascertained subsequently from Miss Estelle Stead, was typical of him; I was advised to go up to Crewe on chance.

Accompanied by two South African friends, I visited the Kodak Film Company’s premises in London. I said to the assistant : “ Please let me have a packet of quarter-plate special rapid photo plates; take them into your dark room and mark each plate, so that you can identity them afterwards if called upon to do so.’’

The folloving day was Saturday, and we caught the morning train for Crewe. Arriving there, Hope’s cottage was soon found, and Mrs Buxton kindly invited us in. Presently Hope appeared in his rough working clothes, having been called from his workshop.

Learning of our visit he objected strongly, declaring that he never seemed to get a weekend to himself. However, he was mollified by our declaring we had come from far-away South Africa to see him.

“Did you bring your own plates?” he asked.

“Yes,” I answered.

“That’s well,” he remarked. “Now please do not let them out of your sight. I have been called all manner of bad names in newspapers; and I am tired of it.”

Before going into the dark room I carefully examined the two carriers. I asked Hope to come in, and he stood six feet away on my left; meantime, one of my friends, a man with as great experience in amateur photography as myself, undid the packet.

Taking out a plate he signed his name across the film side of four, and I initialled them. Carefully watched all the time by him, I loaded the slides and carried them out of the dark room.

The camera belonged to Hope, and it was a simple, cheap, quarter-plate, tripod. I made a minute examination of it, even to unscrewing the lens and scrutinizing it critically.

The photo studio was a dilapidated lean-to glass conservatory, where a pile of coal was lying in one corner, tinder in another, and an assortment of neglected and unhealthy plants in tins and pots.

Taking a dark rug at random from the couch in the small lounge, I tacked it on to the wall to serve as a background for the sitters. Four plates in all were exposed, and in three my friends were the sitters in the fourth I sat, while one of my friends released the shutter.

Before each exposure, Mr. Hope stood on one side of the camera and Mrs. Buxton on the other, joining hands over the camera. Photographically they had nothing whatsoever to do with the work from start to finish.

Accompanied by my friends I went into the dark room, developed and fixed the plates. They were then washed in the kitchen sink and examined. Three of the four had psychic images on them.

The following morning we repeated the performance, and there were two “extras” on four exposed plates. When prints were obtained from the negatives, the five psychic images were seen to be human faces, surrounded by a mass of misty material.

One was immediately recognized by a colleague as the face of a deceased clergyman friend of his, who had lived and died in Capetown. A second was that of a deceased uncle of my wife’s; two, we could not locate; the fifth was that of a beautiful dark-haired and large-eyed girl with a sweet smile; she was looking down at my friend, who was the normal sitter in the photograph.

“Why! Do you not recognize her?” I asked. “I am sure she must have known you in earth life; just look how lovingly she is smiling down at you.”

“No!” he explained,” “I cannot remember her.”

“A sweetheart of your young days, whom you have forgotten and who still loves you,” I commented.

“Stuff and nonsense,” he growled.

Months later he arrived back in Capetown and showed the psychic photos to his wife. With the usual orthodox sceptical smile one sees on the faces of those who believe such supernormal happenings to be impossible, she examined the photographs.

“Why, that’s Mabel,” she suddenly declared.

“Do you recognize it, then?” her husband eagerly asked.

“Yes, do you not remember her?” She was a friend of mine before I married you, and was one of our bridesmaids.”

He had been married thirty years, and small wonder he could not recognize the girl. After considerable searching the photo of the wedding group was found and sure enough there, for all to see, was Mabel.

Numbers of people have examined these two photographs and all unhesitatingly declared they are of the same girl. The one in the wedding group is full face, and the other three-quarter face.

“The vast mass of conclusive evidence, which is recorded from year to year demonstrating the survival of human personality after so-called death, is sufficient to establish it for evermore as an irrefutable fact, for such it truly is.” – F.W.F