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