“Is Death the End?”
by John Henry Remmers
Materialization is the highest phase of physical mediumship, and its development should not be attempted until at least three years of effort have been applied to the unfoldment of other phases. My reasons for this conclusion are as follows: A good independent voice medium is seldom, if ever, developed in less than two years.
An additional year is usually required to bring the voice mediumship up to its best unfoldment, providing the medium is not harassed by financial cares or inharmonious environment. And as materialization (when the manifesting personalities speak) surpasses in magnitude the independent voice, it seems only logical that it should follow as a natural sequence.
Those who have never witnessed materialization should read the writings of Professor Crookes regarding his experiments with the medium Florence Cook and the manifesting personality Katie King; also “The Phenomena of Materialization”, by Baron Schrenk Notzing, “Clairvoyance and Materialization”, by Dr Gustave Geley, and the more recent experiments of various investigators through the mediumship of Mr Jonson, of California.
My own experience in witnessing this most marvellous phase of manifestation has been limited to five occurrences, one of which, however, was of such nature that it afforded every opportunity for the most careful observation. This séance took place in my own home and under conditions where fraud of any kind was impossible.
This experience brought to me such realization of the reality of the next dimension and the survival of personality that no contrary argument of any nature could ever alter my convictions. And when I read or listen to the silly postulations which oppose this Truth, I cannot at times refrain from laughing aloud. Ninety-nine percent of the opposing arguments are not only actually stupid, but highly refreshing, in that they always serve to point out clearly the critics’ absolute ignorance regarding the subject.
The séance in my home came about in the following manner: I had heard that the medium in whose presence I had witnessed the unusual demonstration of the ectoplasmic envelope was also a very fine materializing medium. I asked her if she would favour me with a séance of this kind. She replied in the negative, adding that the after-effects upon her physical organism were unpleasant, and she had given up séances of this nature entirely.
Several months passed, and the occasion arose where I could favour the lady. In appreciation she expressed a desire to repay the kindness, and I suggested a materializing séance. She agreed, and voluntarily offered to hold the séance in my own home under any conditions which I might desire. A date was set. The séance was to take place in the evening, and on the afternoon of the same day I made such arrangements as I felt would eliminate every possibility of fraud and at the same time in no manner hinder genuine results.
I had read a number of scientific books regarding materialization, thereby gaining to some extent knowledge of the rules governing the procedure. I had no intention of tricking the medium; my whole attitude was one of fairness, inspired by a desire to gain further knowledge, if possible, in this field, the most worthy of all human endeavours.
The room in which the séance took place is located on the second floor of a dwelling which was at that time our home. The house was erected under my own personal supervision; this fact at once eliminates the foolish assertions of secret trap-doors, etc., which are often proposed as an explanation for the manifestations. The room, which was used for the séance, measures eleven by twelve feet (see drawing). It is plastered and papered throughout. The ceiling is low, not more than eight feet, and has no opening of any sort. In the centre of it there is fastened an electric light fixture. At either end of the room there is a plastered closet. The closet on the south wall is large and has but the one door opening into the séance room and a small opening, fourteen by thirty inches that serves as a vent. Both the door and the vent were locked on the afternoon of the séance. The closet on the north wall measures three by three feet and the ceiling is of such nature (due to a slope in the roof) that a person of ordinary height can just stand erect in it. After a fair-sized armchair is placed in the closet, very little room is left for body movements. This closet has but one opening, and this into the séance room; the opening measures two feet four inches by six feet. It is finished with a regular doorframe, but had at the time no door. With the exception of this opening, the entire closet is plastered throughout, and no one on earth could enter it otherwise than through this opening.
This closet I chose as the cabinet. Two curtains the length of the opening were fastened at the top of the door frame, and arranged so as to part in the centre. On the west wall of the room there is a large window consisting of two stationary sashes and one movable one between them. Its distance from the ground is about twenty-five feet. This window I locked and covered with a frame upon which was tacked black oilcloth. This arrangement not only served to keep out all light rays, but also prevented any one from entering through the window. Five plain wood chairs were placed before the cabinet (as shown on drawing) and within the cabinet I placed a willow armchair. This chair was selected purposely for the medium because of its peculiarity of being extremely noisy when anyone sat in it. It was impossible to move in the chair and avoid the squeaks that came from it. The floor of the cabinet was of wood, having no covering of any sort. The photographer’s lamp containing a twenty-five watt electric globe was inserted in the fixture in the centre of the ceiling and its distance from the cabinet was six feet. The light from this lamp was directed squarely upon the curtain.
About seven-thirty that evening the medium and her husband arrived. After a half hour of conversation, she accompanied Mrs Remmers to our bedroom and there, in the presence of my wife, changed her attire, putting on an ordinary house wrapper. The two again joining us, we went directly up to the séance room, where the medium, who is almost six feet tall and weighs close to two hundred pounds, crowded into the small cabinet and seated herself in the squeaky chair.
The little group which formed the half-circle before the cabinet, as indicated on drawing, consisted of Mrs Remmers, the medium’s husband, Ellsworth, our boy, a young lady friend, and myself. After carefully locking the door, which led into the hallway, and placing the key in my pocket, it was impossible for any individual on earth to enter the room unobserved. Mrs Remmers occupied chair No. 1, the medium’s husband No. 2, Ellsworth No. 3, our friend No. 4, and I, No. 5. In the red light emanating from the photographer’s lamp one could distinguish without difficulty the features, limbs and clothing, and observe easily all movements of every sitter. Mrs Remmers and I purposely sat opposite each other and directly next to the curtains. Our positions gave us the advantage of having between us every manifestation, and also afforded excellent opportunity of hearing every sound caused by any movements the medium might make. Our chairs were within a foot of the curtains and not more than four feet apart. Our physical senses were keenly alert. Imposture under these conditions could not have been attempted without detection. The medium’s husband is a tall man weighing more than two hundred pounds. I placed him almost directly opposite me, and no move on his part could escape my attention.
For a few minutes the medium moved about in her chair, coughed violently for a time, then all grew silent. This silence continued for five minutes or more, when I noticed slight movements at the bottom ends of the curtains. These movements continued, and finally grew to such extent that it appeared as though both curtains were being blown out into the room by a strong draught.
The curtains actually stiffened out at an angle greater than forty-five degrees. Gradually they dropped back into place and then proceeded to bulge in the centre as though being held at either end. I have since learned that this was caused by the uncontrolled energies emanating from both sides of Life, and that heavy curtains should always be used to assist the operators in concentrating these energies within the cabinet. The curtains used on this occasion were of a very light material.
Shortly after this interesting occurrence, the curtains parted and there appeared before us the slender form of a woman. She was attired in a white robe of the most exquisite laces, and emanating from her whole being there came a radiance the like of which I have never seen. The manifestation informed us that she was one of the medium’s guides, and then gave a short talk on the wondrous beauties of Life beyond the earthplane. I paid no attention to what she was saying but arose and studied her carefully. In no manner did she resemble the medium. Two people could not have been more opposite in features and physique.
After a brief interval she bid us adieu, and while the curtains remained closed, vanished before our eyes. But in less than ten seconds a boy’s head and shoulders appeared between the curtains and, laughing, he invited his mother and me to come close, study his countenance from all sides, so that every particle of doubt regarding his survival would be eliminated. The boy submitted to every test requested, asking me repeatedly if I could see the cap he wore.
This incident of the cap should be of profound interest to the student, because that very day, as a test, I had, mentally, without the knowledge of anyone on earth, expressed a desire that the boy, if he materialized, would wear a cap similar to the one he wore last while upon the earth-plane. The cap, which I treasured, was locked in a cedar chest in another room of the house. The medium had never seen it. And yet, at this materialization John wore a cap similar in every detail to the one locked away in his cedar chest, and he was especially eager that I observe this fact closely!
Mr Critic, what have you to say regarding this? And furthermore, would a medium practicing deception invite a careful scrutiny of her features?
I have heard critics say that under such conditions and environment people give full sway to their imagination and conjure out of nothing the image which they desire. Granting that such may be the case with some, is it not also possible that there are others with whom this does not happen, others who are just as rational and keen in their observations as the critic? Does he alone possess the power of clear and calm discernment? Most of my life has been spent in the fields of civil and structural engineering; if one is not trained to think and observe accurately in these fields, then I do not know where such training may be acquired. The one question addressed to a critic of this kind invariably closes the discussion, and it is this: “Have you ever witnessed a materialization?” Nine times out of ten the answer is: “No, and I don’t want to!” There you have it! – the old prejudice, which, like the clam, enjoys only the narrowness of its own little world.
Directly following the manifestation of our boy, the first wife of the medium’s husband materialized, stepped away from the cabinet and stood directly before him. Their conversation was of the most endearing nature. In the nobler Life beyond, petty grievances do not exist. There, Love is the governing factor. Jealousy is only of earth; the nearer we approach God the less of it we know.
The manifesting personality I have just mentioned had hardly re-entered the cabinet when a slim masculine form appeared. The rapid appearance of each personality is worthy of attention. The cleverest actor, with all sorts of assistance and trappings, could not have accomplished these lightning-like transformations. The slim masculine form who now stood before us and conversed happily with his sister, Mrs Remmers, was fully attired in evening clothes. I studied carefully the entire manifestation, from the wavy hair down to the patent leather shoes. Unbelievable, isn’t it? Well, I can only tell you what I have seen. If you question my sincerity or qualifications as an investigator, then apply your own effort and investigate for yourself, just as I did. These facts will some day grip men on earth with astonishing effect; thus far, only a minority know that they are true.
Almost instantaneously following the manifestation of Mrs Remmers’ brother, the form of a girl appeared. She was not more than four feet six inches tall and generally small in physique. This personality walked about among us for ten minutes or more, chatting happily with all present, especially Ellsworth, for whose pleasure she danced gracefully about the half-circle. Could the medium, who stood almost six feet and weighed nearly two hundred pounds, have accomplished this? How?
As the girl stood between Mrs Remmers and myself, I took hold of her garments and asked my wife to do likewise. We examined the substance; it appeared white in colour, and felt soft, warm and life-like. I then took a firm grip upon it, and suggested that Mrs Remmers do the same, and not leave go under any condition.
Now came the supreme test! We held on firmly, and only by means of force and considerable disturbance could a fraud have dislodged itself. But the girl before us only chuckled, then vanished, leaving our clenched hands empty. The mysterious radiant matter had vanished with the manifestation. Such an experience is worth a lifetime of effort here, and once having had it, we laugh at the bugaboo men call “Death”. Asleep in the grave? Ah! The so-called dead are more alive than we!
Thus far, and throughout all that occurred, not a sound came from within the cabinet. The medium made not the slightest move. She was, as I know today, in deep trance. All of the talking, with the exception of a few words from the control, was done by the manifesting personalities outside the cabinet.
I relaxed, sat back in my chair convinced that the medium had absolutely nothing to do with the manifestation, but was only serving as an instrument for the use of Intelligences whose knowledge is far superior to our own.
Seven other personalities manifested, among them my wife’s mother, the mother of our friend, my sister, and my grandmother on my mother’s side. The known likeness between my wife and her mother was remarkably apparent. I had lived with my grandparents from the time that I was twelve years old, or a period of thirteen years, and came in close contact with them up to the time of their transition. No one knew the face or the voice of my good grandmother better than I. She had been a mother to me for almost twenty years. German was her favourite language, and in German we conversed. The medium does not speak nor understand this language. Several others materialized but were strangers to me; therefore I cannot vouch for them, but the recognition of those I did know was unmistakable.
The séance lasted almost two hours; there had been considerable conversation of an intimate nature throughout. As the control brought the manifestations to a close, he instructed us to open wide the curtains, observe the medium in trance, and inspect the cabinet. Mrs Remmers and the young lady held the curtains wide apart while I entered the cabinet. I found the medium in deep trance with her head hanging over the side of the chair; the independent voice of the control instructed me to feel the hands and face of the medium, which I did. Both were extremely cold and clammy. Throughout the entire séance the medium’s husband did not leave his chair. After a short period, the medium emerged from the trance. I unlocked the hall door and switched on the light. When the medium left the cabinet she was exceedingly pale and weak. Noting this, Mrs Remmers and I insisted that she and her husband remain as our guests for the night.
I shall only mention that my own dear mother materialized and spoke to me. The manifestation was perfect, resembling in every detail the cherished memories of her loving countenance and delicate form. That which transpired between us is sacred to me. I cannot write about it.
God bless you, mother mine!
May the glory of thy radiance ever shine throughout the Eternities. And in this darker place of fears amid its mockery and sneers, May it guide me to be true, thinking ever, dear, of you!
Those who have never experienced such manifestations as I have just related may involuntarily question their reality, especially the statement regarding the materialization of garments as worn by Mrs Remmers’ brother. I shall try to show that it is not impossible.
First, let us consider the source of any piece of cloth with which we are familiar. For example, the wool which composes a man’s attire. We all know that this wool came from the body of the sheep; and through a process known to us as physical nature this body came from various elements, all of which had their origin in the ether. Conceding this to be a fact, would it not be possible to produce the same things out of the same ether by a shorter process as yet unknown to us?
Are we not, of this earth, constantly doing the same thing, by newer methods, shortening the process of physical nature? Today, through the proper application of radium, a plant can be made to grow and blossom before your very eyes. Would anyone have believed this a century ago? It is, even at this period of our development, extremely difficult for the majority of men to comprehend anything beyond the realms of dense matter and the slow processes of nature as we ordinarily experience them.
Dense matter is in reality nothing more than an illusion compared with that which is, in fact, The Reality, and with a few simple words this truth can be substantiated. Let us consider briefly this substance, which appears so real to the majority of men. Let us see what it is actually composed of.
What is matter? It is a substance composed of atoms held together by Cohesive Force. What are atoms? Intricate particles, untold numbers of which go to make up the smallest quantity of matter visible to the eye of man.
What constitutes an atom? Gases.
What do we mean by gases? Ether.
And what is ether? No one knows. And yet within it exists the mystery of all Life, Intelligence, and the Power, which creates worlds, and all that is!
The materialization of discarnate entities fully attired in clothing of their own choice is a fact. To assert that this is not possible is but a futile effort to limit the Unlimitable! The most difficult part of the whole situation at present is that the intelligences of the next dimension are making use of energies and elements of which we of earth as yet know nothing.
At this period of our development we simply cannot comprehend such energies and elements. Gradually, however, this situation will be altered, just as similar ones have been altered through all the past ages. As the centuries unroll, Man moves onward, constantly gaining knowledge and constantly smashing such barriers, which oppose his forward march. Slowly but irresistibly the “Preconceived Result” is being accomplished.
My own meagre understanding regarding the production of materialization is as follows: A portion of the energy used is drawn partly from the sitters, but mainly from the medium. This energy is then vitalized with other energies and elements as yet unknown to us, and the combination is concentrated within the cabinet. The discarnate entity moves into this combination of energies and elements and his ethereal body absorbs them, thereby temporarily taking on a nature similar to our own. As to the actuality of materialization I quote the following from Sir William Crookes’ writings.
“One evening I timed Katie’s (the manifesting entity’s) pulse. It beat steadily at seventy-five, whilst Miss Cook’s (the medium’s) pulse a little time after was going at its usual rate of ninety. On applying my ear to Katie’s chest I could hear a heart beating rhythmically inside, and pulsating even more steadily than did Miss Cook’s heart when she allowed me to try a similar experiment after the séance. Tested in the same way, Katie’s lungs were found to be sounder than her medium’s, for at the time I tried the experiment Miss Cook was under medical treatment for a severe cough.”
The ethereal or spiritual body is an exact counterpart of the material one, and through the process of full materialization this ethereal body absorbs the energies and elements concentrated in the cabinet, and for a time takes on a nature very similar to that of our own physical bodies. Under conditions where there is not enough psychic stuff or radiant matter present for manifestations of this nature, artists and sculptors of the next dimension create, out of that which is at their command, replicas of the living ethereal entities. These replicas do not, of course, speak; are usually half-size, and very often, although clearly recognizable, somewhat distorted. Further than this I cannot at present comprehend the process. My experiments have been limited, but I hope to delve deeply into this phase at some future time when I shall be privileged to experiment in my own home through the unfoldment of our own powers.
At most, I can only repeat at this writing that Materialization is an absolute fact, and when the conditions are good, personalities of the higher realms stand before us radiant and alive. There are many who have learned, through their own investigations, that these things are true.