The Blue Island: Experiences of a New Arrival Beyond the Veil
W. T. Stead
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Pages (PDF): 57
Publication Date: 1922
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On April 10, 1912, W. T. Stead boarded the S.S. Titanic bound from Southampton to New York, to take part in a peace congress at Carnegie Hall. On the morning of April 15 the ship struck an iceberg and Stead, along with hundreds of others, drowned. Ten years later, Stead's daughter Estelle published this book which purported to be a communication with Stead via a medium, Pardoe Woodman. In the book, Stead described his death at sea and discussed the nature of the afterlife. The manuscript was produced using automatic writing.
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MANY years ago I was attracted by an article on the subject of spirit communication, and, after reading it carefully several times, I was forced to admit its soundness. I was struck by the plain and practical ideas of the writer. This was the first cause of my becoming actively interested in this big and amazing work. From that time onward I did all in my power to prove and then forward the movement. Many people know this; and those who do not, can become acquainted with the details if they wish. Therefore I am going to pass at once from my first earth interest in the occult to my first interest in the earth.
Just as I was overcome with astonishment and satisfaction on first reaching conviction on earth, so I was astonished almost equally on my coming to this land and finding that my knowledge of this subject gained on earth was strikingly correct in nearly all the chief points. There was a great satisfaction in proving this. I was at once amazed and delighted to find so much truth in all I had learned; for although I had believed implicitly, I was not entirely without grave misgivings upon many minor details. Hence my general satisfaction when I recognized things and features which, though I had accepted whilst on earth, I had scarcely anticipated would be as I now found them. This must sound somewhat contradictory, but I want you to understand that my earthly misgivings were based on fear that perhaps the spirit world had a formula of its own which was quite different from our earthly mentality, and that, therefore, the many points were transmitted to us in such a form and in such expression as we on earth would be able to grasp and appreciate, and were not in themselves the precise descriptions, owing to the limitations of earth word-expression.
Of my actual passing from earth to spirit life, I do not wish to write more than a few lines. I have already spoken of it several times and in several places. The first part of it was naturally an extremely discordant one, but from the time my physical life was ended there was no longer that sense of struggling with overwhelming odds; but I do not wish to speak of that.
My first surprise came when—I now understand that to your way of thinking I was dead—I found I was in a position to help people. From being in dire straights myself, to being able to lend a hand to others, was such a sudden transition that I was frankly and blankly surprised. I was so taken aback that I did not consider the why and the wherefore at all. I was suddenly able to help. I knew not how or why and did not attempt to inquire. There was no analysis then; that came a little later.
I was also surprised to find a number of friends with me, people I knew had passed over years before. That was the first cause of my realizing the change had taken place. I knew it suddenly and was a trifle alarmed. Practically instantaneously I found myself looking for myself. Just a moment of agitation, momentary only, and then the full and glorious realization that all I had learned was true. Oh, how badly I needed a telephone at that moment I felt I could give the papers some headlines for the evening. That was my first realization; then came a helplessness—a reaction—a thought of all my own at home—they didn't know yet. What would they think of me? Here was I, with my telephone out of working order for the present. I was still so near to the earth that I could see everything going on there. Where I was I could see the wrecked ship, the people, the whole scene; and that seemed to pull me into action—I could help.. ..And so in a few seconds—though I am now taking a long time to tell you, it was only a few seconds really—I found myself changed from the helpless state to one of action; helpful not helpless—was helpful, too, I think.
I pass a little now. The end came and it was all finished with. It was like waiting for a liner to sail; we waited until all were aboard. I mean we waited until the disaster was complete. The saved—saved; the dead—alive. Then in one whole we moved our scene. It was a strange method of travelling for us all, and we were a strange crew, bound for we knew not where. The whole scene was indescribably pathetic. Many, knowing what had occurred, were in agony of doubt as to their people left behind and as to their own future state. What would it hold for them? Would they be taken to see Him? What would their sentence be? Others were almost mental wrecks. They knew nothing, they seemed to be uninterested in everything, their minds were paralyzed. A strange crew indeed, of human souls waiting their ratings in the new land.
A matter of a few minutes in time only, and here were hundreds of bodies floating in the water—dead—hundreds of souls carried through the air, alive; very much alive, some were. Many, realizing their death had come, were enraged at their own powerlessness to save their valuables. They fought to save what they had on earth prized so much.
The scene on the boat at the time of the striking was not so pleasant, but it was as nothing to the scene among the poor souls newly thrust out of their bodies, all unwillingly. It was both heartbreaking and repellant. And thus we waited—waited until all were collected, until all were ready, and then we moved our scene to a different land.
It was a curious journey that. Far more strange than anything I had anticipated. We seemed to rise vertically into the air at terrific speed. As a whole we moved, as if we were on a very large platform, and this was hurled into the air with gigantic strength and speed, yet there was no feeling of insecurity.... We were quite steady. I cannot tell how long our journey lasted, nor how far from the earth we were when we arrived, but it was a gloriously beautiful arrival. It was like walking from your own Indian Sky. There, all was brightness and beauty. We saw this land far off when we were approaching, and those of us who could understand realized that we were being taken to the place destined for all those people who pass over suddenly—on account of its general appeal. It helps the nerve-racked newcomer to fall into line and regain mental balance very quickly. We arrived feeling, in a sense, proud of ourselves. It was all lightness, brightness. Everything as physical and quite as material in every way as the world we had just finished with.
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