First published in 1920.
This online edition was created and published by Global Grey on the 18th November 2021.
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Chapter 1. First Communications Received
Chapter 2. Cases Where Some Link With Communicators Existed
Chapter 3. Cases Where Relations Were Present
Chapter 4. Cases Where Relations Were Not Present
Chapter 6. Special Relationships
Chapter 7. Erroneous, Confused And Irrelevant Matter
Chapter 9. Super-Normal Sense-Impressions, Etc.
Chapter 10. The Potential Value Of Communication
THIS short book contains the record of some of the communications received by me through automatic writing between the years 1916 and 1918.
Its chief recommendation to public notice lies in the fact that the accounts given are strictly accurate, and that the statements made by communicators have been carefully verified, wherever possible. Pseudonyms are used, and names of places have been altered, to prevent recognition; in some cases also the rank of officers has been changed, for the same reason.
Whether these communications can come under the heading of telepathy from the living, or whether, as the title suggests, they are partly due to telepathy from discarnate minds, is for the reader to decide.
In a large proportion of the cases, there was no previous link with the communicators or their families; the latter were put into touch with me by letter, and in the majority of cases I wrote without relations of the communicator being present.
In other cases the communicator wrote spontaneously, and I was never in touch with his family at all: verification in these cases was only possible in an indirect way.
Altogether between fifty and sixty persons have communicated, and, although in some cases the evidential matter was insignificant, the cumulative evidence is considerable.
I can report only a few of these cases, and the choice has depended necessarily upon permission given to make them public.
Some of the records have already been published in Light, and I am indebted to the Editor of that journal for kind permission to reprint them. I have. been helped in every phase of this work, and of its record in this volume, by my friend Miss E. F. Cooper, to whose kindness I am also indebted for the loan of a small cottage adjoining her house, which enabled us to do continuous work together.
L. MARGERY BAZETT.
IT is important that all careful records of phenomena calling for some supernormal explanation should, as far as possible, be published. Only by much accumulation of such data shall we be enabled to make the proper inferences as to causation.
The record in this volume is specially to be welcomed, by reason of the exceptional qualifications of its authors.
They disclaim wide acquaintance with the subject, but their equipment is what most people would consider very good; and more important than knowledge of other cases they have a painstaking habit of mind, and are as free from prejudices as we can expect mere human beings to be.
I had the pleasure of several talks with them within a few months of the inception of the writing, and was much impressed by the excellently systematic way in which they were keeping the record, with complete dating of each script and each item of verification, and so forth.
They showed me all their manuscript, and I examined it carefully. discussing various matters of detail.
My opinion was, and is, that, while there is some subliminal matter (which has diminished as the writing progressed), there is much that is most reasonably explained by the hypothesis of discarnate agency.
Telepathy from distant, and often unknown people may not be excluded, but I think that such a hypothetical explanation of these phenomena is far-fetched.
The wiser plan for the rejector of spiritist theories would be, I think, to assume that the knowledge shown was "somehow" possessed unconsciously by Miss Bazett. But I think the amount of knowledge thus possessed is more likely to be estimated correctly by the two ladies themselves than by anyone else. And, though they avoid dogmatism, they make their conclusions pretty clear.
To me, at least, they seem justified.
J. ARTHUR HILL.
BEFORE attempting to give an account of the work done during the years 1916-1918, I should like to make it clear that before 1916 the whole field of Psychical Research was to me an unexplored territory.
The great war which swept men from our midst in such rapid succession, touched our family circle at this time.
A young relative, Lieut. Frank Thompson, was killed suddenly, after being at the Front for a few weeks only.
After his death I was strongly impressed with the idea that he wished me to carry out something which, owing to his sudden departure for the Front and subsequent death, he had been obliged to leave unfinished. Unless I were supplied with a certain name and address known to himself alone, I knew that I could do nothing in the matter.
After consultation with a friend, I decided to try the experiment of automatic writing, in case Frank were able by this method to give me the necessary information.
I tried for ten minutes together, at a given time, during nine, successive days, without result, and decided that the tenth day should close the experiment. From the first I was very sceptical as to the possibility of obtaining any success, and should have given up the attempt sooner, but my desire to supply a channel of communication for Frank, if such a thing were possible, made me inclined to persevere.
I was frankly amazed when on the tenth day (July 24th, 1916) an electric current seemed to rush through my arm and hand, with such force that the pencil which I held was thrown across the room.
After this force had moderated sufficiently to make writing possible, the full name of Frank Thompson appeared, and with it that of his elder brother, Christopher Thompson, who had been reported "missing" a few months earlier, and unofficially reported killed in a letter received on July 17th, 1916. Shortly afterwards, the missing name and address were given. I wrote at once, asking if the name of Lieut. Frank Thompson were known to these people, and received a prompt reply in the affirmative; the letter stated that their son, then serving abroad, had been from time to time in touch with Lieut. Frank Thompson.
As Christopher's name had appeared in the writing, and as he had been only unofficially reported killed, it seemed natural that I should ask Frank for more definite news of his brother.
I think it well to mention here that on July 1st, 1916, before any automatic writing had been attempted, I had the following experience in connection with Christopher.
I woke in the morning before it was fully light. My mind reverted at once to a letter. received the day before, mentioning particularly the suspense felt by Mrs. Thompson concerning Christopher; he had been reported missing," as already mentioned, in April, 1916, and in spite of continuous enquiry, no news had been, obtained. As I was thinking about this, Christopher himself appeared at the foot of the bed; 'he was in uniform, but wore no cap; his brow was puckered, and he looked distressed, and seemed to be trying to rivet my attention upon himself. He drew a newspaper from his pocket, held it before him, and looked at it. It dawned upon me that he was scanning the "missing" column, where his own name was placed. Glancing up from the paper, he looked straight at me, and repeated three times the following words: "I was killed...it could not have been otherwise, if you had known the circumstances." It was said solemnly and deliberately. Having said this, he walked round to the right side of my bed, close enough for me to notice the smell of his breath, and this awakened me to the reality of his presence. (There was a special characteristic fragrance about Christopher's person and breath, which was well known to me.) He vanished as suddenly as he had come, and I remained for some time pondering upon this experience.
A few weeks afterwards, on July 25th, 1916, I received the following letter from a great friend of Christopher's, Captain P. Marryat, then serving in France:
"I was sitting in here alone, writing to X—, when it seemed that Chris impressed his thoughts instead of mine. The thought seemed to be...It's like an impressionist picture...how stupid you are...you can't find the right words, or really understand...you don't want to look at the details...this is my message (Christopher's), not yours.'"
The letter continues: "And that was all I could get. I seemed to have, or feel, Chris' impatient worrying over the inadequacy of the words. You know how he used to say 'Oh, how stupid you are.'"
A second letter from Captain Marryat, dated August 4th, 1916, referred again to this experience. He wrote: "I had no feeling of Christopher being there, only of Christopher's thinking, and his impatience seemed to be that I couldn't find the right words, rather than at the idea; I don't think I missed that."
Captain Marryat had no knowledge at all of my vision of Christopher.
During the autumn of 1916, I received many written messages from Christopher; some were of an evidential nature mentioning names of people be had met "over there," and these were carefully verified. Some dealt with the new conditions under which he was living; one day he wrote: "Dying is really rather fun, you know, as we are so much happier here, and much freer to do lots and lots of things. You have no idea."
When this message was shown to Captain Marryat, he remarked: "That strikes me as like Chris."
His mother had been thinking about prayer for the "departed," and Chris answered her thought by writing the following message: "As to praying for us, tell mother this. Pray for Frank and me every day. We pray for you, both of us."
One day we asked him: "Can you actually see the room we are in?" The answer was: "No, I can't see it, I feel. Sight is very deceptive. Feel intensely."
His mother asked: "What attitude on our part gives you' over there 'most satisfaction?'"
The reply was: "I think faith—I mean vision I sufficient light to live by a well of water to draw from.... A well.
Life...I will explain...Life
A well-balanced, regulated, planned:
[square wave illustration]
No haphazard affair...
Haphazard...[short zig-zag illustration]
Your view on earth I mean.
(Question): "Who taught you this symbol of ordered life?"
(Answer): "Just mine, my very own does, doesn't it? I. want to learn such crowds of things here. I feel bursting with desire, desire for expansion."
Another day he wrote: "We here see a larger part of life than you. We are very happy, as love abounds here. Heaven is and will be, perfect love and harmony. Life and love are wonderful here. Rate has hurt so many, and has been sad."
THE cases recorded in this chapter are not given in order of sequence, but are classed together because in each instance there was some previous link with the communicator or his family; this arrangement has been carried out in order that readers may more easily judge of the evidential value of the communications.
The first case is that of Lieut. Baker (reported in Light), who was a friend of Christopher and Frank Thompson, and personally known to myself.
He spent the day with me on September 27th, 1917; in the course of that day he referred once or twice to Christopher who was presumed dead since April of the previous year, and mentioned his own strong conviction that he himself would be killed shortly after his return to France.
His leave was over three days later, and it was not until October 8th that my attention was again directed to him in the following way. On the night of October 8th (1917), towards the dawn of the 9th, I dreamt that I saw Lieut. Baker lying on a stretcher, apparently dead; his head was turned aside, away from me; several people were bending over him. I seemed to be watching the scene, and noticed that Christopher was also standing near.
I learnt afterwards that Lieut. Baker was killed while flying, in the early morning of October 9th, 1917, but no further details were received by his family until some weeks later.
In the meantime I received the following communication by automatic writing, and was able to verify it later from letters written by the pilot and the chaplain.
On October 16th, 1917, I asked Christopher Thompson whether Lieut. Baker was able to communicate yet, and was told that he could not, but Christopher himself volunteered the following scraps of information: "Went so suddenly "..."Mentioned dentist."
The pilot's letter of November 10th stated:—
"We landed at once, and medical assistance arrived quickly; they said he must have died instantly."
I learnt from his sister, in reply to an enquiry, that the whole of his last day of leave had been spent at the dentist's.
On October 19th, Christopher reported as follows: "I am seeing him to-day.... He is so asleep still.... He thinks he is in a dug-out, poor old Baker.... He spoke once of you, and the darn(ed) war...she is on a hard chair...he was rambling."
Lieut. Baker had only recently joined the Flying Corps, and it would be natural that his mind should revert to a dug-out, which had been so familiar to him in the early part of the war.
The reference to the "hard chair" is in connection with September 27th, when we spent most of the day in the garden, and I sat on a rather upright chair, which at the time he offered to replace by a more comfortable one.
On the same day (October 19th) Christopher gave more particulars: "Leg hurt badly...soldier in plane with him survived."
From the pilot's letter, quoted above, we learnt that "He was shot in the stomach; it may have penetrated sideways," and the chaplain reported that "Pilot and machine landed safely."
Later on October 19th, and on November 4th, Lieut. Baker himself was able to write a little, giving a fuller account of what took place at the time of his death: "I was waiting for sound of aeroplane, and missed it, wind so strong." (This was written on October 19th.)
"I heard gun, and that was all...German plane sank so low in wind, came out of cloud. (Written on November 4th.)
Miss Baker verified the message of October 19th in writing to me on November 2nd: "The communiqué of the day he was killed stated that the 'aeroplanes went up in spite of rain and storm all day.'
We give extracts from the pilot's account, dated November 10th:
"A German fighting, machine was coming straight for us, out of a cloud, and firing at us. At that moment Baker stopped firing, and fell forward over his gun.... The first I knew of the attack was, that I heard a machine gun behind us, which sounded very close; another plane was diving to get under us; the clouds were very low, and at times we were practically in them."
Lieut. Baker also wrote through my hand (November 4th) that "Dalten lost big glass,” which conveyed nothing to me at the time, but his sister explained later that an optician named Dalten (name altered) had failed to repair Lieut. Baker's goggles in time for him to take them back to France, and that he must have gone to the attack without them.
I have reported this case rather fully, as it shows how simple and natural communication can be.
Lieut. Baker has not communicated through me again, except to send a definite message to his sister when I was sitting with a medium, asking her not to overstrain herself at her work.
In the autumn of 1917 I was told of the death in action of a young officer named Sydney Pollock, whose relations were known to me by name only.
His mother had read Sir Oliver Lodge's Raymond, and after her son was killed, she naturally became interested in the possibilities of communication alter death.
I was introduced to Mrs. Pollock, by a mutual friend, and received some messages from her son at her request.
His mother had wondered whether he had met any of their relations, as there were so few on the "other side" who were nearly related. He reassured her on this point from the very first, and mentioned the names of two relations whom he had seen, describing one in the following words: "Uncle Tom is a dear, mother; I do like him awfully."
This uncle, describing Sydney in a later communication, wrote: "You are very well pleased with your son, and indeed he is a fine boy...he has the head of his father, the same broad forehead....Your boy is made of the right stuff." (Correct.)
"Uncle Tom" also gave an accurate description of his brother Nigel Pollock, Sydney's father, referring to his love of golf and a pipe, his keenness for politics, and his early grey hairs. (Correct.) Sydney and his mother had been very close friends, and it was apparently a great consolation to him to know that their friendship was unbroken, and that she still thought of him as alive.
About six months after his death he Wrote:
Mother, I say, do you think I am alive all the time? Don't forget to do so, as it is hard on us, jolly hard, to fight out the feeling dead, it is hateful to us chaps. Some have never been thought really alive by. a single relation, poor chaps."
Another young officer, killed in action, writing through my hand in December, 1916, was equally insistent on this point, sending the following message to his sister: "I want her to know I am not dead. I am alive. Did she think I was asleep? No, indeed, not I!”
In the following case it will be seen that the communicator, a Miss Mary Bardsley, was able to make use of the sensitive's clairvoyant powers to supplement the writing, which she found difficult.
I have in each case found it very hard, and it has generally proved unsuccessful, to get communication from a woman. Miss Bardsley died in December, 1916, after a short illness. On November 18th, 1917, she communicated in the following way. My friend and I were sitting facing a bookshelf on which (unknown to me) were some of Miss Bardsley's books, given after her death to my friend.
I had met Miss Bardsley once or twice, but my friend knew her very well, and had often discussed the subject of communication with her. The writing came very laboriously, and nothing definite or satisfactory came through.
Looking up during a pause, I saw a bright blue light in front of the bookshelf; as I watched it, it moved to a certain book (a Bible) and remained stationary.
I told my friend what I saw, as she was not able to see the light, and she said at once that the book was Miss Bardsley's own Bible. A date was then written, which might have been 1870 or 1878, the last figure was not clear.
We opened the Bible, and found the date 1878 on the first page, Then followed the chapter and verse of one of her favourite texts, correctly given; after this the blue light moved to two other books which had been specially valued by her.
We have not been able to try this experiment again, but it seems probable that great possibilities lie in this direction, and that some form of signalling by means of lights could be developed.
I HAVE only once written for a child (Daisy Pendleton, aged five or six years), and this took place in the presence of her father. He was a complete stranger to me, and was introduced by letter. On his arrival I asked him who it was with whom he wished to be in touch, and he said that it was his daughter; it did not strike me at the time that the daughter might be a little child.
Mr. Pendleton sat at the other end of the room while I was writing, and said quite naturally: "Daisy, will you give your father a message?"
My hand wrote quickly: "My daddy, my daddy."
I replied (on paper): "Yes, he is here."
She then wrote: "Dickie has been my great love, he was a sad boy.... Is Daddy very sad, cos I am so happy.... His girlie has so loved her father...tell him so. My brother Dickie, can he feel me?"
Mr. Pendleton said that Dickie was Daisy's favourite brother: he had been intensely sad after her death, and puzzled as to what had happened to her.
The father answered several questions aloud, apparently confident that the child could hear.
In answer to "Have you seen Baby lately?" Daisy wrote:
"My daddy, yes, course I have.... My daddy, yes, yes."
The next question was: "How many teeth has Baby?"
Daisy wrote: "Yes, teeth number 3 (written as a mirror image 3 and then 3), I think. And you were pleased."
Two drawings followed, the first of My horse wot I rode and the second "Pussy fluffy with big tail."
Daisy's message closed with the words: "Give my love to Dickie, and be my own Daddy still. Daisy."
Mr. Pendleton said that the answers to these questions were correct, and that the drawings represented two of her pets.
He sent some further questions by letter, but the answers to these were unsatisfactory on the whole, possibly because the father was not present.
My interview with Mr. Pendleton took place on December 2nd, 1916, and on the evening of December 3rd I had a curious experience. I was sitting in my room, in a dim light, and suddenly saw (clairvoyantly) a short dark man standing in the room. He had brush-like hair and moustache, which gave him a curious appearance, small, very humorous eyes, and curling eyelashes. He was dressed in blue serge, and wore a flat black bow at his collar, rather large. He seemed to be greatly amused, and was smiling broadly; his appearance was so real that I found myself involuntarily smiling back at him! He vanished quite suddenly, and it was not until months afterwards that a possible clue was supplied by Mr. Pendleton, who wrote as follows: "I may possibly have known the man you saw clairvoyantly, although the description does not tally exactly with anyone that I can call to mind. The man I have in mind was called Walter."
On another occasion, I woke in the night, or early morning, and saw the figure of a young officer rush through my room, apparently without being aware of me.
He seemed to come through the outer wall, and go out at the door; his feet were a yard or more from the floor. He was in khaki, but wore no cap, and his hair was streaming with perspiration; his face was very tense and strained, and he was looking towards the ceiling as if he saw nothing. He was apparently in great distress, and I could only ask mentally that help might be sent to him. I have no idea who he was, and have never been able to identify him.
During the summer of 1917, another stranger, Mrs. Alderton, living in Yorkshire, was introduced to me by letter; as in the case of Mr. Pendleton, the introduction came through an Associate of the Society for Psychical Research, Miss H.. A. Dallas, 'whose books brought her many enquiries from bereaved parents, and who had arranged to make occasional use of my power of automatic writing, where it seemed to her that such help would be desirable.
Mrs. Alderton was anxious to receive a message from her son Kenneth, who had been killed in the war; she was in very close touch with him, and there was a strong link of understanding between them, as well as of affection.
She came to see me on several occasions, when I wrote for her. Part of the communication seemed to be confused, but a great deal of it was clear, and undoubtedly characteristic of her son.
I give rather a detailed account of these messages, and the mother's verification of them, as their evidential value was heightened by my knowing nothing whatever, at the time of writing, of the history of the Aldertons.
From the statements made by Kenneth, he seems to have had some knowledge of the kind of message that might contain useful evidence, for even before I had seen his mother he wrote:
"Sandgate send to....Mrs. Alderton had written to me from London, and Sandgate conveyed nothing to me in connection with her; but a letter from her stated: "I was on my way to Sandgate, or Folkestone, which is one with Sandgate.... He (Kenneth) had specially happy memories of this place, where he had spent more than one holiday, and it looked as if he knew, and wished to mark his knowledge of where I was going."
At the same time, also before his mother came, Kenneth Wrote: "Mother has three children," and Mrs. Alderton told me afterwards that this was correct.
Later in the day, when his mother was present, he wrote: "Rachel is well; say she believes in her daughter's faith, and she is happy.... Tell mother this."
Rachel was the name of Mrs. Alderton's mother, who had, died.
One small point puzzled Mrs. Alderton, but she was able to explain it later.
Kenneth wrote: "Which face is fuller?"
Mrs. Alderton, writing later, says I have been impressed by some things which simply puzzled us when you wrote them, and I feel I must write and tell you of them. Do you remember saying 'Which face is fuller'? in a puzzled voice, after you had written it down, and adding 'I do not know what that means.' When a very intimate friend of his and mine, to whom I showed the script, saw this, she gave expression to the thought which had passed through my mind a few minutes before.
Does this mean...Which face is fuller of the two photographs?... I have always with me two photographs of him, taken at the interval of a year." Here followed a detailed description of the two photographs, pointing out that one showed the face as thinner than the other.
On August 4th, 1917, when Mrs. Alderton was not present, her son wrote: "Alderton has seen his father at his work Golden," later written as "Gold."
This reference conveyed nothing to me at the. time, but Mrs. Alderton wrote: "It struck me as most remarkable. His father had been a little time previously at a place called the Gold Fields, where his work, nothing to do with gold, had taken him. There seems a distinct allusion to the Gold Fields. You could have had no conceivable knowledge of this, and I was not there to convey it to your subconscious telepathically, and it was not the kind of thing you would come upon by chance, so that it seems to me more remarkable than anything else we have obtained."
This message was prefixed by the emphatically-written instruction "Go to her and say,"' as if it had some special significance.
Other statements made by Kenneth, and confirmed by his mother, were as follows:
"Daily I see mother fondly take my photo, and speak to me.... My Mother was a great player of game, chess...would you ask her to play still, it is an excellent game, Alderton will find a partner for mother.... I love play lente, Alderton wanted fellows to be quiet when you played.... Flowers he still loves."
Mrs. Alderton was very musical, and a great chess-player, but had given up the latter since her son's death, as she had chiefly played with him.
One day he wrote...I fetch granny," and then followed a message from Mrs. Alderton's mother Dear...your mother...you are puzzled, why? My help is ready...your boy is alive, and well, and gay."
Some reference was made to an old friend in the following words: "Ruth was a help...Ruth was worried, worried that special day, do you remember?... Ship...India...so long ago, dear...think, think..."
The "Ruth" referred to was a great friend of Mrs. Alderton's, who took temporary charge of Kenneth when a child.
The "special day" referred to was the day they sailed for India, when their luggage was lost and nearly left behind.
References to two school friends were made on another occasion, as follows: "Mother, I am, here, my friend, too, is here, John.... My mother met him at Sandgate once, long ago."
His mother wrote thus about. this friend:
The only friend named John I knew my son ever to have had was a very dear boy, who passed over a few weeks after he did. I had met him 'once long ago,' but this did not take place at Sandgate, neither was it at Sandgate that my son had known him. The mistake disappointed me....
Much later on, at a sitting with another psychic, I enquired about this boy John, mentioning only his surname, which was curious and unusual, and was then told that my son, the purporting communicator, wished to say that his friend had been mentioned before by a psychic previously, but coupled with a wrong suggestion."
Another friend was mentioned in the following words: "Mother, Leep has died, do you know?"
His mother 'wrote, saying: "A short time previously another schoolfellow of the same period, whose name began with 'Lep' had, in fact, passed over,"
The following account of communication from a Mr. Marston was published in Light of November 23rd, 1918, and I reproduce it here in the same form.
Mr. Marston died in December, 1916. As his wife had died while their children were young, he had always tried to be both father and mother to' them, in which he had fully succeeded.
The Marston family was quite unknown to me until I met Marion, the second daughter, who was greatly devoted to her father, and quite inconsolable at his death.
She was able to verify the allusions made to her mother by referring to her elder sister; as she herself was a tiny child at the time of her mother's death. The home was broken up after the father's death, and Marion was working independently when I met her. It was only after I had written for her father that she told me anything of her family history and circumstances.
The communications are shortly reported as follows:
November 5th, 1917.—Question: Is this Marion Marston's father? Answer: Graham M.
Note.—Christian name correct.
November 5th, 1917—"My handshake was better for Marion's teaching."
Note.—He had a peculiar way of shaking hands, and Marion had tried to teach him to grip less hard.
November 5th, 1917—"Ida had a peculiar way of saying 'Dad,' peculiar to the Marston family."
Note.—This was correct. The "Ida" referred to was the elder sister.
November 6th, 1917.—"Been to see your grandfather Bill, with the far away gaze I know so well—like my child—led a quiet and beautiful life."
Note.—The grandfather's name was William. All these allusions were perfectly correct.
November 6th, 1917.—“I have seen Ida too; her back is well?"
Note.—Ida had been suffering from her back, but had recovered.
November 8th, 1917.—"I have seen Marion's mother. Mother has lost her baldness, which was such a pity, was it not?"
Note.—The reference to "Marion's mother" was natural, as Mr. Marston had married a second time. The first Mrs. Marston had become very bald during her last illness her husband had loved her beautiful hair, and had much regretted this disfigurement.
November 8th, 1917.—"Mother used to look very sweet in that coloured jacket; it was between a blue and a green."
Note.—Mrs. Marston wore a dressing-gown exactly of this colour during her last illness.
November 8th, 1917.—"Natural to be by a sofa.... I sat in the corner of one so much, Lassie, did not I?"
Note.—I was sitting with Marion on a sofa writing. The father and daughter had always sat together on a certain sofa in their old home.
“Lassie" was his pet name for Marion.
November 8th, 1917.—"We will ask Miss B. if she has some sweet violets, the scent helps me.”
Note.—Violets were his favourite flower. There were some faded ones in the room in which we were writing.
November 8th, 1917.—"Golden tree-lupins I loved too...white globe tolerus-flower; beautiful thing."
Note.—Mr. Marston loved flowers, and these were some of his favourites. A gardening index gives "trollius"—"Globe-flower."
November 29th, 1917.—"Marion, why not take that tonic you used to have at home? That pink mixture?"
Note.—Marion was run down at the time. She well remembered a certain pink-coloured tonic which she had been accustomed to take.
November 29th, 1917.—"At seventeen she (Marion) had a great shock. We were away at the time. She was waiting for me to. join her. Ida was away. She (Marion) missed me, and I was very anxious. When we finally did meet it was late, and we missed tram-car. She and I did not get home till after eleven, She was much affected. I am a nervous man myself."
Note.—Marion stated that the above was correct in every detail. Mr. Marston was essentially of a nervous temperament.
I knew nothing as to the correctness or otherwise of these answers until I was informed by' Miss Marston.
DURING the Spring of 1917, Miss Dallas, to whom I have already referred, sent me a letter of introduction to a Mrs. B—, an invalid, living in Worcester, whose only son, Sergeant John B—, had been killed on May 22nd, 1916.
The bond of affection between them was exceptionally strong, and his care for his mother was as thoughtful as that of a woman.
Mrs. B— had some belief in communication, and was anxious to have a message from her son, if this were possible.
I tried to write for him on March 20th, 1917, asking him first the written question: "Have you any message for your mother? I have promised to try and get one."
The answer came at once in firm, easy writing: "Yes. Thank you for your kindness. You, mother darling, have been so brave. Miss Dallas was good to you...she is out to help mothers, and you have been blessed. John is your son and no other. My love is greater than ever, because love never falters here. John died in a great cause.... Truth dies never. Death hides from your eyes what it reveals to us. Life is beyond doubt a fund of treasure. John lives, lives in much scope and joyfulness. John waits and prays for you and Dad.... Believe this message, trust the sender. John must give proof. John saw mother take his photo out of the sideboard drawer, fetch a blue frame, and put it in by Dad's on my mantelpiece.... You will see I was seeing your life with my own eyes. You won't be disappointed if I have failed to get this correct, I will try again if you are. This lady has an active mind, and this I must use. It's a help, and a difficulty my great love wraps you round. No more to-day. I will write again if Miss...Lady will be so kind. Mother, adieu. "JOHN."
This message was sent to Mrs. B—, who replied: "I put an enlargement of his in a green frame, and hung it over the mantelpiece. I may have had it in the sideboard drawer, because I often put photos there till I can frame them."
She added: "He would frequently put, 'You, mother darling' when addressing me in particular...he always said 'Dad.'"
Mrs. B— also asked me, if I were writing again for John, to see if he could give the pet name by which he used to call his sister. The nearest approach to this written automatically was "Cuffie," but the real name was "Kathie."
Names and other words are sometimes written phonetically, and the writing is then not purely automatic, but partly impressional, helped out by clairaudience. This may explain the difference between "Cuffie" and "Kathie."
John B— spoke of having met "William—"Muller"—and "Gunner Hunt."
I wrote to Mrs. B— about these names, and she replied: "A dear chum was killed a few months before John, he was called Williamson. I find that John had a friend named Muller, whether alive or not I do not know."
Letters of enquiry to Canada about Muller have not yet been answered, and may have been lost, owing to war conditions. A friend of John's answered the enquiry about Gunner Hunt; he wrote: "I. think my chum did know a man by the name of Gunner Hunt." Further particulars about Muller were given later by John B— as follows: "Muller was a good man, mother, a lover of truth...his face reminds me of Seller, Jim Seller, you know.... Seller nice chap, good chap, had a way of looking you straight in the face."
Mrs. B— wrote: "There was a boy in John's platoon whom John thought very highly of; he wrote me when he was killed; the name was given; it was like Seller."
Writing later, she said that the name was Syder, and the initial was "J."
A curious feature in one of John's messages was, that he wrote a bar of music after his signature, giving no explanation; I copied. the music and sent it to his mother, who forwarded it to a sergeant, and received his answer: "It certainly wears the aspect of a bugle-call." I reproduce the bar here:
On June 10th, 1917, Sergeant B— wrote:
Did you get up on F— W—? Was the heat too much for you, my best one?""
His mother's comment on this was: "At 4 a.m. on Friday, June 8th, I was awakened by torrents of rain, and thunder; as thunder always upsets me very much, I dressed and came downstairs, and lay on the sofa."
John's care for his invalid mother is shown in almost every message; he added to his remark about the heat and its effect on his mother: "Heat, how strange to me. Can people take in we feel them still, and sympathise? Mother, dear, 'be a little careful this hot weather. Dear, we are near, we are, we are."
As the weather changed in the autumn, he wrote on November 15th, 1917: "Sofa by the window is cold, mother, turn it round as you used to do."
The following remark shows that he was aware of conditions in his old home: "I like the wooden chair with pink cushion.... I like that new curtain in my old room.... My beautiful swell stick, does dad use it now?... My big photo is damp behind, I think... just look, dear.... My watch dad has had mended now at last, mother...dad has been so long away from his garden...those cabbages are a little bigger than they were.
The reference to the garden amused the parents, as they termed it "the wilderness," and Mr. B "never does anything in the garden from choice," according to his wife's account.
Mrs. B— verified the other points as follows: "I always sit in a high-backed wooden chair; it has a pinkish-looking cushion.... We have some new thick curtains in the sitting-room since John was here.... John once bought it (the stick) for his father's birthday; it is very plain, and very strong.... John may mean to be funny about the stick."
The references to his watch being mended, and the photograph being damp, are explained in this letter from his mother: "His father has had my watch, which John gave me, seen to this summer; it was waiting a long time.... When I was dusting it (the photograph) I thought that perhaps if anyone could not see quite plainly, they might think it was mould (after describing the state of the picture).
John B— enquired once after a friend of his: "Is Hedley still at home?"
The name was apparently wrong, for his mother replied: "Hopley joined the army sixteen months ago."
John once referred to his sister as "Judy," and Mrs. B— wrote: "My daughter tells me that when they were children, they often played a game in which they called each other Punch and, Judy, but it was many years since John called her that."
On June 10th, 1917, just before 8 p.m., I felt a strong impulse to write automatically, but as I had not finished supper, I waited till the meal was over and wrote then.
A message came from Sergeant B—: "May I write? B—," followed by a communication to his mother. I sent this to Mrs. B—, and in her reply she wrote: "At about a quarter to eight p.m., June 10th, I was standing at the open window, and asked him (John) if he heard me, to send a message to you then."
The communication just mentioned contained the following request "Father, be more careful about—"(indicating Mr. B's knee).
His mother wrote: "Mr. B— was not able to take any country appointments, owing to an accident to his knee, and on the 10th of June, the day you wrote, returning from —— he was thinking of and praying for John, and just felt a little of his knee; he does now if he walks too far."
I give next some stray remarks scattered throughout Sergeant B—'s written messages, as they give some idea of his personality; when writing for him, I always had a strong impression of his being a very fine character, and it gave me real pleasure to come into contact with him.
"Mother believes I live, and that is great gain and joy. Must we be hindered, mother, by death? I say no, NO. I will show you of my own free will much revelation, dear,...I yearn to help. I see the men with years of regret weighing them down. Help our boys before they are men.... Dear heart, I see your life still. I need your prayers, for life is growth.... I am only able to give a half-hour now, work calls me, and I must obey. I love you, darling, and I am near. I am so very happy, I your own son."
His mother told me that he used to sing The Rosary, and thought that he took the expression, "Dear heart" from the song; she said that he had many pet names for her.
I have never, up to this time, met Mrs. B—, or anyone connected with her; I have come to know her entirely by letter, and to appreciate her as I appreciate her son.
I must add here that this is the only case in which I have departed from my rule of using pseudonyms, at Mrs. B—'s own request. I had sent her a copy of what was to be inserted in this book, with names carefully changed, and received the following reply from her: "You are quite at liberty to do as you please, but we should like it much more if you called him John (real name) instead. of James (pseudonym). Wouldn't it do if you said John B— and Mrs. B—, also Worcester (real name)? No one would connect it with us unless they were told, and I tell all my friends, and others besides."
Once or twice during 1916, I met a young Mrs. James, and we had some discussion on psychic matters; she asked me later if I would try to get a message, from Dr James, who had been dead for a' year or so; I promised to do so on the first opportunity.
She gave me no information whatever about him, and I had never heard of him before. I should like to make it quite clear, however, that two facts concerning him were known to the friend who sits with me:
(1) His name and profession.
(2) That he died after a long illness in a suburban nursing home; the nature "of the illness was not known to her.
On October 13th, 1916, I was sitting alone, trying to write for Dr James for the first time.
When my friend came into the room later, she noticed the cramped position in which I was sitting, and that I was writing from the elbow, moving the whole of the lower arm; she remarked that the attitude was that of a paralysed person, and owing to the fact that she had nursed a paralysed invalid, she recognised this characteristic at once. A few days later I questioned Mrs. James on this point, and she stated that Dr James had been partially paralysed, and that when he wrote, it was in the manner described; we also compared the script with his handwriting, and it was found to have a striking resemblance.
In my experience, this has rarely happened, although there are marked differences in the handwriting of communicators; it varies in size, regularity, and the amount of pressure used on the pencil.
All the following communications came through on October 13th, 1916: "English must always be good.... English very hard, great labour.... My friend John must help Philip about publishers."
Mrs. James said that this part of the script must refer to a book that Dr James had been writing, and had been unable to finish before his death; her husband (Philip James) had contemplated finishing the book, but was not good at English; his father wrote excellent English, and was particular in this respect.
"John" referred to Dr John Alexander, of—Hospital, London, who was an intimate friend of Dr James.
The rest of the communication consisted of references to his earlier life and friends; we were able to verify these through his daughter-in-law.
Some of his recollections were as follows, and although fragmentary, they were useful for identification.
"James was years ago Surbiton. James was hearing music.... My pew was near Mrs. Arthur M...Gates...Mills.... Years ago I walked past the Gables...My son knew Simpson.... Mrs. Mullins was friend of ours.... My wife was on committees with her.... My wife was very keen about poor ladies."
We ascertained that Dr James used to go regularly to a certain house in Surbiton for musical evenings. He had sittings in St Gregory's Church, Roehampton, a few pews behind those occupied by a Mr. Mills and a Mr. Gates. "The Gables" was. the name of a large house in Roehampton; Dr James used to take his son there when a child, to have lessons with a class of other children. "Simpson" was the son of Mrs. Simpson, who had lived at "The Gables."
"Mrs. Mullins" lived in Roehampton, and was a friend of the family; she was on several committees with Mrs. James.
The statement about Mrs. James' interest in poor ladies was correct. All these allusions were unknown to me.
In the four cases that follow, the communication was entirely spontaneous, and in three out of the four cases the very existence of the communicator was previously unknown to me.
The initiative came entirely from the "other side," and the communication seems to have been sent with the definite object of bringing help to someone still in the earth-life.
In the first case a warning was given, as will be shown. On December 2nd, 1916, I was writing for the friend (deceased) of a Colonel Taylor, who was present, when an unknown name "Taunot" was written, which had no connection with Colonel Taylor or myself, and was consequently ignored.
Four days later, when writing for another stranger, the same name recurred, written this time as "Tauntn" (proved later to be phonetically correct) followed by the words "Feeling sad about Em...y." Variations of this Name—"Taunnot”—"Taun"—were again repeated on December 10th and 12th, while I was writing for quite different people.
It was proved afterwards that this personality had no connection with any of these sitters. His identification was a great difficulty, and was only discovered by chance some months later.
On December 8th, 1916, "Taunton" wrote:
“I will verify my statement. Taunot...Taylor (the sitter, as on December 2nd, confusion of name here)...will stop Mother going. I am afraid she will meet trouble on the way."
We verified this later as follows: Mrs. Taunton (wife of the communicator, referred to as "Mother") left England about the beginning of December, 1916, for South Africa. She had a very good voyage, but on her journey up country she was in a bad railway accident. Owing to the floods the railway bank subsided. The whole carriage turned over, and she was flung into the mud and water, and strained her leg.
The mention of "Taylor" in the above script caused great confusion, as Colonel Taylor naturally imagined that the warning concerned someone connected with him, and mystified a friend of his considerably by asking if she were planning to take a journey, and if so, advising her to postpone it!
The reference to "Emily" evidently concerned Mr. Taunton's daughter Emily, who before the war was in charge of nuns in a convent in Belgium; since the German occupation, up to 1917, no news of her had been received by the family, in spite of many enquiries. The following message also seems to refer to Emily, as no other daughter was in France or Belgium, but the name given here is wrong:
"Sophie found dead in France."
A few months later he wrote: "Emily will meet me soon.... Emily will be found dead.... Adelaide has a deep sorrow on her mind.... Adel...Taunton...to confess for Lent."
Mr. Taunton and his wife were Roman Catholics, and this was written in the spring of 1917; his wife's name was Adelaide.
These facts and names were quite unknown to me.
Two other fragmentary sentences were given:
"You must find a way news to Lyd...get...Martin...John is with daughter."
Lydia was another daughter, John (deceased) and Martin were friends of the Taunton family.
Curiously enough, "Martin" was introduced to me by letter, as he was interested in Spiritualism I had then no knowledge of his link with the Taunton family, this transpired later.
It may be remembered that Christopher Thompson, the subject of the first chapter, included in his messages the names of various people whom he had met since his death.
He also gave correct information concerning the fate of several fellow-officers reported "Missing" on the same date as himself, although considerable time elapsed before his statements could be verified.
One of those referred to was a brilliant young officer, a Captain Marton, who was mentioned by Christopher in a message on August 9th, 1916: "About Captain Marton, he is over here.... I have seen him...he is happy except for his father."
As in the case of the other officers just mentioned, my only knowledge of Captain Marton was, that his name was on the "Missing" list with that of Christopher Thompson.
On September 5th, 1916, Christopher brought Captain Marton to write, and the message was given: "Marton wants father helped." This referred to Colonel Marton, who was quite broken down after his son's presumed death.
On October 3rd, 1916, Marton wrote, referring to the attack: "Everyone dead; surrendered to the enemy and was killed."
We learnt much later that the whole division was practically cut to pieces.
On October 16th, he wrote, with evident agitation: "I want father helped...send my love only...Cedric has come.... Cedric has come."
The last sentence was in different writing, and we asked: "Who is this?"
The reply was: "Cedric Deam, friend of Marton."
We then enquired of him what we could do to help Captain Marton, and he replied: "Help his father...my coming helps Marton...go to Colonel Marton for his son...you have been good to Marton...Marton was helped."
At this point Marton himself wrote again:
Deam...nice chap.... Ethel so anxious to-day, and Father so ill, and...and...and what can I do?
We asked: Would Ethel believe in communication?
He wrote: "What?"
We explained: "A message from you," and mentioned spirit-communication.
His puzzled reply was: "Spirit? Spirit I say, what do you mean?"
We were also puzzled, and asked: "You have left earth, haven't you?"
His answer was: "Goodness, yes."
At this point Deam again broke in, and wrote: "Marton so agitated, so sorry he can't write."
I then explained to Captain Marton my difficulty (writing this' down) that, as he was only reported "missing" I hesitated to approach his relations with news of his death, more especially as they were entire strangers. He answered: "Quite so. Very sorry I was impatient. Such strain...you will help as you think best. I am relieved. Marton."
Captain Marton's agitation about his father was accounted for by the following facts: Colonel Marton was taken seriously ill in the street on Saturday, October 7th, 1916, and very nearly died. He had a serious relapse on October 14th.
Ethel was the name of Captain Marton's only sister.
These facts were entirely unknown to me.
On one occasion he wrote: "Sylvia was...what made it a way for us.... Sylvia Tam...fresh girl.... I like her...she is so gentle."
This apparently referred to a Miss Sylvia Tanner (deceased) who had been governess to Captain Marton in his childhood; this fact was also unknown to me.
The "Taunton" and "Marton" cases were reported in Light.
Much trouble was taken to identify Cedric Deam, who was eventually proved to be a real person.
He had been killed in France early in the war.
It has never been possible to approach the Marton family, and all confirmation of messages came through acquaintances of theirs.
On October 23rd, 1916, I was writing for the brother (deceased) of a Mr. James Rawdon; the latter was present; he was not an entire stranger, but I knew nothing of his affairs, nor the names of his friends.
Mr. Alfred Rawdon (the brother who had died) gave no information concerning himself on this occasion, but announced through my hand that "'Roger B.M. is badly wounded...you will have to be brave." Clairaudiently I heard him add: "He is dying, or dead," but I refused to let my hand write this, nor did I mention it then to Mr. James Rawdon, the sitter, as I shrink from the responsibility of announcing such predictions, which may prove untrue.
Mr. James Rawdon was greatly surprised at being told that Roger B.M. (whom he recognised at once as his friend Colonel Roger Burn-Murdock) was wounded, as the last news he had received was that the regiment had gone to Ireland.
We learnt later from two sources that Colonel Burn-Murdock was wounded about 9:30 a.m., a few days after the announcement had been written by Mr. Alfred Rawdon; he died eight days later in hospital.
A fortnight after his death Colonel Burn-Murdock himself wrote: "I have estate property, and will leave it to Mrs. Ferg..."
This was corroborated a few weeks later in a letter, stating "Mrs. Ferguson has all the estates. Colonel Burn-Murdock left a codicil which has not been published."
Mr. James Rawdon attended the Memorial service, and during the ceremony mentally asked his friend: "Can you see me in this church, at your Memorial service?"
I was ignorant of this question having been asked, but was impressed to write that day, and received the following message from Colonel Burn-Murdock: "He wants me to say that I was able to see him in Church. Tell him yes."
Two characteristic remarks concerning his parents were interesting from an evidential point of view.
About his father he wrote: "Was Ceylon. Fond of white Te...."
His father had travelled in Ceylon, and had often remarked on the beauty of the white Temples.
In referring to his mother, he mentioned her tendency to rheumatism; he also spoke of the beautiful crochet-work she used to do; both these points proved to be correct.
It was only after the lapse of a year that I was able, with very great difficulty, to obtain verification of most of his messages. Colonel Burn-Murdock's personality was one of the most interesting and advanced of all those with whom I have come into contact through this work. The greater part of his communication was of a very private nature, which cannot be reproduced; much of it was evidential, and was carefully verified; we have only been able to give a few fragments from his messages.
Owing to the fact that this book is published so shortly after the messages have been received, it will be easily understood that many of the most strikingly evidential passages have had to be omitted, out of consideration for the feelings of the surviving relatives.
THE following case (that of Lieut. Cyril Markham) was published shortly In Light, but we are able to report it more fully here. The account given by Lieut. Markham of his own death was curious and interesting; he was killed in action, but there is no suggestion of war-conditions in the description of his passing, as will be seen.
The communication was as follows: "I went out slowly."...(I had a sharp, painful impression of his being shot through the right lung. — "L.M.B.)
"I had a feeling of being asleep on a shady hill, as I felt cool breezes on my left cheek...I smelt wild lavender...woke at last, and saw—whom do you think?—why, old gentleman you know...funny head, fond of hunting, heart big as big.... Refreshed? said he...and your father's son all over, every inch...kind old eyes, grey like father's, only more grey...I don't like a memorial, father...makes me sort of want to smile, then weep, for the way we understand, or rather, misunderstand..! am myself? I am tremendously myself.... Life is grand here."
When I met Mr. Markham for the first time, I noticed his very kindly grey eyes.
He and his family were entire strangers to me, introduced by letter. The parents were planning a memorial to their son; this was quite unknown to me at the time of writing.
Lieut. Markham was, we learnt, a great lover of nature, and a joyous personality; I always had this impression strongly when writing for him, and it is apparent from time to time in the script, e.g., "Oh, hear the birds.... I would like to catch you up, father, to hear the birds.... I will sing in the dressing-room like a bird...Some day you will hear, father."
His father told me that Cyril always sang while dressing. Mr. Markham and his son were very close friends, and after "passing over," Lieut. Markham, himself, a decided Churchman, showed some concern about his father's religious views; the latter described himself as agnostic.
The reference is given thus: "Cyril wants father to be led to God.... Dad was so honest with Cyril about his views.... Regret so much my wanting him to be a Churchman, does not matter."
Father and son had freely discussed their religious views together, and Cyril generally addressed him as "Dad."
Mr. Markham was interested in Spiritualism, but his wife, who had "High Church" views, was much averse to it Cyril's comment on this was "Want Nellie to do something for me. Will she break down mother's attitude?"
"Nellie" was his sister, who had greatly helped her parents since the son's death.
Cyril also wrote: "Mary brings a feeling of hope," referring to a friend of his sister's.
On one occasion he stated "Claud has had narrow escape."
This referred to a cousin of his who had been wounded.
He mentioned one day, in a message to his father, that he had seen "Relly"—"Harold Wood"—"Taylor"—and "endless fellows."
A letter from Mr. Markham gave the following information about these friends: "One of Cyril's Scout Boys, in whom he was interested was called Rally...he had a fellow prefect named Wood, who had a commission in the army.... Taylor was another schoolfellow."
I was unacquainted with any of these names.
Cyril stated that he had been at school, "Harrow and Portsmouth"; his father wrote: "Cyril was at Harrow at school, his regiment was stationed at Portsmouth."
Lieut. Markham had a house-master at school named Lynwood, whose opinion carried great weight with his parents; Cyril once wrote: "Mr. Lynwood has so much weight with my people," and his father, seeing the script later, was especially interested in this remark.
The chief interest of the following account lies in the fact that it shows very clearly how confusion may arise when two communicators from "the other side" are writing on about the same date.
The confusion is of the same nature as that which ensues when two photographic impressions are registered on the same plate, or two people in succession speak indistinctly through a telephone, and the person listening does not know the personality or the voice of either.
In April, 1918, I was corresponding with a Mrs. Eliot, living in Sussex, about an interview with her that I was trying to arrange. I had been told that someone connected with her had lately died, and she expressed a wish to see me, as the fact had been mentioned to her that I could write automatically.
I had no idea whether the person who had died was a friend or relation of hers, man or woman.
After some correspondence, we finally arranged that I should go and see her on April 29th.
On April 26th I had the following experience.
I was resting in the afternoon, as I had made an 'appointment to write (automatically) at 5:15 p.m. for a certain Lieut. Arthur Drayton (deceased) who was a stranger to me.
While resting I became aware (clairvoyantly) of a young officer pacing up and down my room; both his hands were in his pockets, and he was whistling a tune.
His whole personality expressed abundant vitality and joyousness; he seemed a mere boy, and I was amused by his light-hearted gaiety, and the quick swing with which he turned each time he came to the end of the room.
My attention was thoroughly aroused, and I found that I was receiving a clear but fragmentary impression of his character, which I wrote down a little later. I give it exactly as I noted it then:
Alert, spontaneous, clever, refined, particular about his personal appearance and that of others...a good deal of real humour...very keen, original, capable of keeping several things going at the same time...the sort of person one would get in touch with easily and find really interesting...many-sided, versatile, accessible."
I naturally concluded that this boy was the person who was to write at 5:15 p.m., though I was surprised at getting such an impression previously.
I therefore sent the character-sketch, with a copy of the script received at 5:15 p.m. to Mrs. Drayton, and was more than surprised to hear from her that neither had the least connection with her son Arthur.
I went on April 29th, as arranged, to see Mrs. Eliot, and found that it was her son, Bruce by name, for whom she wished me to write; he had been killed in the war.
I found him easy to get into touch with, and will reproduce his messages later.
A week or two after my visit to Mrs. Eliot, a sudden idea came to me concerning the so-called "Drayton" script; from what I had learnt on April 29th of Bruce Eliot, after writing freely for him for an hour and a half, I felt fairly sure that the script and character-sketch belonged to him.
I accordingly sent a copy of both to Mrs. Eliot, who replied as follows: "The mental impression was quite the best I have had from anyone, as far as it goes; it exactly describes him."
The script, too, seems quite definitely to have come from Bruce Eliot, as the following extracts, with verification notes, will show: "I am aged twenty, you know, younger than my brother. I do miss him, dear old chap.... I am feeling how true is the idea expressed in our motto, Mother.... Geraniums I loved...we had such a lot in our garden...sorry new gardener has said good-bye to those."
His mother's letter confirmed the above as follows: "He was twenty-one when he died...he had an elder brother to whom he was deeply attached...the idea expressed in our motto is—'ad rem'—to the point— and he was extraordinarily to the point in all he did. We had many geraniums always, and-if was a joke against our former gardener that he would grow nothing else I Instead of them last year we had tomatoes and beetroot on the terrace!"
Lieut. Eliot referred to his own death; he wrote I get feeling of" —
[illustration of a vertical zig-zag scrawl]
As I, L.M.B., wrote this, my hand became quite numb, and I breathed heavily; I had the feeling, first of high altitude, and then of a rapid zig-zag fall. I explained to him that he was giving me a horrible sensation, and he wrote: "I say, I am sorry. How extraordinary to be sure.
'My next sense-impression was of an overpowering smell of petrol, and Bruce Eliot then wrote: "Did you smell petrol?"
I answered (in writing), "Yes, strong smell," and he added, "Our engine did give out clouds of petrol."
Mrs. Eliot gave us the following information later: The engine was riddled with bullets, and giving out clouds of petrol."
The script continued: "Mother has a vivid account of what took place.... Colonel of section, nice letter he wrote."
His mother wrote: "I have a very vivid account of his death from himself, through a medium...and a very nice letter from the doctor of his former battalion, he may have acted as Colonel."
The last part of the script of April 26th contained these words:
"Mother would be wise to make enquiries about getting alterations done by-. Don't be advised by Mr. X—, who is in correspondence.
I feel it is unwise. I am uneasy, Mother, do you follow? Uneasy about some dealing with Mr. X—. You must get things done quickly, mustn't you? I hope this idea will reach you.... It is only a trifling matter in comparison, but I care for your comfort, Mother."
Mrs. Eliot confirmed this as follows: "Rather remarkable about the alterations, as it seems to refer to a transaction about to take place, but which at the time I was unaware of.... All has been done now. I did make enquiries. I did not take the advice of the person I was then in correspondence with. The whole situation is changed, which has added to my comfort."
Referring once more to his brother, he commented thus: "Rod (his brother Roderick, name correct) is my great chum...he is colossal...he is a great fellow really."
A message was sent to a friend: "Send a message from me to Doris, send Doris my love, and say when she comes here we will have a gorgeous time."
We learnt that "Dods was a great friend of his, a girl of about fifteen; they used to have great fun together.
All the above script, except the reference to "Rod" and "Doris" was received on April 26th, before I had met Mrs. Eliot at all, or even knew of the existence of her son Bruce.
The part about "Rod" and "Doris" was written on April 29th, when Mrs. Eliot was present.
The evidential matter received on that day was especially interesting and valuable, but was of too private a nature to be reproduced here.
His personality was very apparent throughout the writing, and one or two touches (from the script of April 26th) are given:
"I say, it is most awfully good of you doing this. It must seem queer to you, we are utter strangers...dear me, how funny it is."
As I wrote this I heard him laugh, and he wrote the word "laugh" with a large circle round it.
At the outset. of the first communication he asked: "Would you like me to take any special line?" and I replied: "Take your own line, just use me like a telephone."
He answered: "I see. Thanks. jolly good of you. Do say if you get tired or bored."
During the autumn of 1918 I wrote for him again, his mother being present. I was able to get into touch with him quite freely and easily in spite of the lapse of several months.
He wrote: "Isn't it nice to talk, dear?.... I see so far here, it is a delightful experience,'
He was evidently still in close touch with those whom he knew in the earth-life, for he referred at some length in this script to the recent death of a young cousin, Pauline, and to its effect upon her parents.
Of the girl herself he wrote: "' I am longing to help Pauline...strange how she died, wasn't it? She was young, too, wasn't she?... So easily she slipt over...felt no shock at all...it was as easy as a quiet sleep...and all was made so possible here for her, tell her mother this. I do hope her work will be acknowledged, it was of real value."
He showed a most sympathetic insight into the grief of the father and mother of Pauline, noting their condition from day to day, and actually sharing in their sorrow.
Referring to the father, he wrote: I saw him a day or two ago, and I felt quite sad after. I whispered to him, but he did not hear. I fear he could hear nothing. He is an awfully fine character."
Before writing for Lieut. Eliot on that day, I was aware (psychically) that the death of someone connected with him had taken place, but I knew nothing of Pauline or her family, nor did Mrs. Eliot mention her until after I had written the above.
One point of interest concerned his brother "Rod."
Bruce asserted that "Rod" had gone to Boulogne, but indicated that there was no cause for alarm, and that he would return to England.
His mother could not believe the assertion about Boulogne, as "Rod" was then in the fighting line.
She wrote later: "My son has returned from France. He did go to Boulogne to get some spectacles, unknown to me till some weeks after."
IT must be evident that the work upon which I have lately been engaged is of such a nature that it has brought me into contact with many grief-stricken people.
I have not emphasised the fact in this short record, owing to my belief that their first natural and inevitable sorrow should be gradually and sympathetically directed towards the brighter outlook upon death and separation which the study of spirit-communication is designed to give.
It has been noticeable throughout the war that the bereaved, faced suddenly with the loss that death entails, have been in many cases unable to derive comfort or strength from any of the ordinary sources. Religion and philosophy alike failed to touch them at such a time, and it is in these instances that The New Revelation (aptly named by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) has met and relieved their great need.
It may be that the Giver of all comfort permits those whose loss has created the gap of separation, to be the very means of bridging over the gap; the following instances at least appear to point in this direction.
The first instance given concerns the message sent by a son, killed in the war, to his mother, in the first shock of her distress. He sent four very short, careful messages, which we reproduce here in the order in which they were received.
The first read as follows: "Be brief, as mother's mind is so stunned."
Next, "Try and be very cool when you see her."
Next, "Say I, Gilbert, have been with her all to-day."
Next, "Say I, Gilbert, am alive indeed."
Next, "Say I, Gilbert, am always near her."
Next, "Say I, Gilbert, am in a very happy place, with my great chum."
Next, "Say I, Gilbert, am always with her and father."
"Mother, you must believe this.
The second message was sent on the day following:
"I, Gilbert, have been with you all to-day.
"I, Gilbert, have seen your grief and understand.
"I, Gilbert, am alive indeed.
"I, Gilbert, have not left you.
"I, Gilbert, am not dead in any sense of the word.
"I, Gilbert, am happy, very happy, except for your grief.
"I, Gilbert, hope to bring you comfort.
"I, Gilbert, love you just the same.
With reference to the expression used above:
"I am not dead," he added an explanation:
"I, Gilbert, am alive. There is no death really. We are only out of the fleshly body, and this new body is not unlike the old one, but infinitely more beautiful, more easily moved about, and more alive to all the life of the whole universe.
The following day he wrote: I, Gilbert, send yet a third message to you, mother.
"I, Gilbert, never leave you.
"I, Gilbert, am alive indeed.
"I, Gilbert, am happy, except for your sorrow.
"I, Gilbert, will be able soon to make you feel me near, you do now, but you will be perfectly sure soon.
"I, Gilbert, love you more than ever. Death cannot touch our love.
"I, Gilbert, make an appeal to you. "Mother, believe.
Two days later the following, message was written:
"I, Gilbert X., send yet another message.
"I, Gilbert, see all you do.
"I, Gilbert, saw you pray to-day by the open window (Correct).
"I, Gilbert, help you not to cry.
"I, Gilbert, see you and love you more than ever.
"I, Gilbert, am happy with Jim, my chum. Take comfort, mother.
Note.—Gilbert X— was a complete stranger to me; I had not previously known of his existence. The reference to his friend is correct.
The same consideration is shown in the case of a son for his father, an old man, left terribly desolate by his son's death. He had been reported "Missing," and I had been asked if I could get definite news from a relation (deceased).
The information came direct from the missing son, who asked me to send it to his father, adding the following comment: "Poor old chap, he is hit this time."
His next message was: "My love to my father. We are very near him, and helping, tell him this. He may be useful with you on earth yet, and so must bide his time."
In answer to. written questions from his father, he wrote:
"I am decidedly the gainer. I see that. More scope. General ways of communication more open here. You, father, will appreciate great minds here. You can get glimpse into some. My great discovery was to find God everywhere. It is rather a staggerer. I mean, one has to get used to it...it was painful at times."
He wrote later: "One thing, father, I should be pleased if you did it. Consult Dr X— about yourself, and do not get run down. Live well to the end, and don't give up the game, play it right out. All is well with us. Your son."
Another time he wrote:
"I am quite convinced, father, that death only shifts the fulcrum...shifts.... I see you walk up that lane back of house as clearly as I saw you of old. I wonder in the mornings if you will take to a stick. Better do so, father. I am giving you insight...look up a bit more...no mist hangs over the place in reality. My very will is bound to lift you. I will. Age...age...it is the flesh only. Bear that lightly, and take it as a very warm and comfortable coat with holes, and don't feel ashamed of a well-worn coat. Hold on to the end with as much courage as a man may muster in a rough and tumble world as you think it, it is not so really. I say, you know, I am very fit and well and happy, and would not come back, save to give you an arm over the latter stiles."
A letter from the father confirms the above as follows:
"What Dick said about seeing me go up the lane at the back of the house is particularly appropriate, as the lane does go up, and I have stopped and wondered if he saw me as I walked up."
Note.—In this case also I was dealing with complete strangers, living in a place unknown to me.
The following messages are from a private, killed in the war, to his fiancée, written in 1917, several months after his death.
His early communications showed that he realised her grief very deeply, and he wrote with much agitation: "Has she felt no love reach her?... Have I any right to bind you still? I have so often wondered, and turned it over and over.... Has your beautiful love for me grown? I. feel it has. Shall I vanish out of your mind? I feel not.... I mean, can you remember how. I looked, quite as much as ever? just tell me you can, and I will be very happy. I am remembering...it is good to remember...no one can take that away.... I am happier since I spoke to you. I am indeed. I am easier in my mind."
The above was given on different days; some months later he wrote:
"I am permitted to stay very near you, as love binds us closely.... Don't feel sad, I am so very near. I only wish you could see me. I believe I look just the same. I feel you quite close at times, and even touch you. How faithful to me you are, and death leaves such traces on your dear face. Mine is the less affected. Death is kind to us, so very kind, and help is always at hand here. Never forget I am here by you to the end of time. If I cannot often write, still I am here; and speak often to me, I hear all, and reply.... Be brave, as you have been. Life here is before us both...wait a little while and we will be together."
Note.—The communicator was quite unknown to me, but I was acquainted with his fiancée; I have not reproduced the evidential matter in his messages, which was considerable, and was verified by her.
The following messages were sent by an officer to his fiancée, the first written a few weeks after his death; it ran as follows:
"We will love each other, though we cannot actually see each other. Go and live your life bravely. We will be together a glorious day in the future...will you wait for me? I will wait for you, and prepare for you...we will be united...have faith, for death cannot touch our love."
Later he wrote: "She is as precious to me as gold in the process of being refined.... I think verily that love transforms as nothing else can. He himself is a changed man indeed. John is not worthy of her, as he knows. John...call me always that...it means loveable. John the beloved disciple is an ideal one may well bear in mind, Love is nothing if not steady. We cannot get a lofty enough conception. There is an old Italian legend.... Ah, the old book of mine. If I could turn up the page and show you.... Well I recollect.... Love there is an old man, and rightly. I am leaving now with the thought
This must be our ideal, lest love fail in its object. Given such a gift, let us penetrate to its very heart, and love will then overflow and enrich the ground. All share in true love.
Note.—In this case also there was a considerable amount of evidential matter; I knew the fiancée, but the communicator was unknown to me. Both "John" and his fiancée have given permission for the publication of these messages, in the hope that they may bring comfort to others who have suffered the same loss.
The other fiancée has generously given leave, for the same reason.
I SHOULD not like this short account to be published without reference to the erroneous and confused matter which has occurred from time to time in the scripts.
It was necessary, for the sake of clearness, to collect the evidential messages, with their verification, and record them without the addition of the confused matter, which in some cases accompanied them.
The amount of this confused matter varied in every case; in a certain number of messages there was none; in others there was a considerable proportion; whilst in one case the evidential matter resolved itself into three correct statements only, verified by a friend of the communicator; these were picked out from a mass of irrelevant matter, and were as follows:
(1) "My very old golf boots are pathetic to see...do let them go...leather to leather."
(2) "I had money and spent a good deal in travelling."
(3) "I loved the sea above everything.."
In this case the connecting link was of the slightest; a reader of Light had seen an article of mine, and wrote to ask if I could obtain a message from a friend of hers, who had died some years before.
In another case I received a letter from an officer known to me only by name, asking if I could get a message from a friend of his, whose brother had been killed in the war.
The result was a failure, as none of the script was recognised. The causes of partial or complete failure, in my own experience, are to me generally obscure, although I have noticed that those who have long "passed over," or who died at an advanced age, are as a rule more difficult to get into touch with, unless their minds are exceptionally flexible.
Another very great difficulty consists in the inability of some minds to deal with evidential matter when it is presented to them; in their estimation, evidence must necessarily consist of clear answers to definite questions, names correctly given,—references to incidents which "X— would most certainly remember," etc.
The two former are exceptionally difficult to obtain, for reasons unknown.
It often happens that the evidence given is not on these lines at all, but is of a more subtle and indirect nature.
To give a hypothetical instance.
A certain script purports to be written by John Graham, who asserts that he was born at Southend, and collected old china. He had travelled a great deal in the East in his youth...had a clear recollection of a certain old garden, and liked to give expensive presents.
This script would be sent to Mrs. John Graham for verification, and her answer would quite possibly be: "I do not think it can be from my husband, as his name was Clarence, not John, and he had never travelled in the East."
A second letter to Mrs. Graham would elicit the facts that her husband had travelled a great deal in his life, although he had not been to the East; that he had at one time lived in a house which had a beautiful old garden, and that it had been his great pleasure to give expensive presents.
In some instances the only verifiable part of the message lies in the fact that it is characteristic of the personality of the writer, and this is not at first recognised, owing to the expectation of a different kind of evidence. I have had one very interesting example of this, too long to reproduce here.
Two very curious cases occurred, in which incorrect statements were made; both referred to the supposed deaths of men serving in the war; in each case the death was quite definitely asserted, and circumstantial details given; in each case the very existence of the, man was previously unknown to me, and verification of the statement was delayed.
An unusual feature of these scripts was, that it was alleged that a man named Meller, described as an enemy, had confused the messages, and that he had some connection with the death of one of these men. This was obviously not a point that could be proved.
In the case of extreme illness, assertions have been made as to the death or recovery of the invalid; in two cases of the former kind, it was announced that the patient would shortly die; in both cases the patient recovered, although one had been at the point of death for some days, and had been pronounced by the doctor to be past recovery.
In one case in which recovery was prophesied (an officer dangerously wounded) his condition was reported almost daily in automatically-written messages, and these reports tallied with the medical bulletins received later from France. At the time when his recovery was confidently asserted, his condition was most critical and no hope was given by the doctor.
In this case the patient recovered completely.
The messages sometimes contain a good deal of confused matter, illegible words, and fragmentary sentences; this is especially noticeable towards the end of a long sitting, or when I myself am tired.
An example of irrelevant communication is given in the following, reproduced exactly as it occurred:
A name was written: "Lieut. Muriontel," followed by "my brother has been hit by my death...write to him...fetch frere...Monte..."
I answered: "I am in England."
He replied: "Madelle, Oui, mais je ne jamais" (scribble).
I said: "Try a French medium."
The answer was: "Are you not French?"
I replied: "No, English."
He answered: "Oh...ah je...adieu."
Another rambling communication, also purporting to come from a Frenchman, was given at the end of a message from someone else.
No name was given; it ran as follows:
"Your England been (or being) beaten...Mon pays...Mon (sic) femme a quitter (sic) la France lorsque je Mon femme...you will help her Comment?"
I have thought it best occasionally to receive such messages, when they came unsought, as it seemed inhuman to refuse; but I have had no time to pursue either of the above cases, and there was no clue whatever to their identity.
Note.—It may be worth mentioning that my name is of French extraction, and this may have supplied some slight opening for a French communication.
Another example of irrelevance occurred while writing automatically in an old house, which had formerly been an inn.
I had spent the night in this house, and had noticed in the room in which I. slept an almost overpowering smell of ether, which came intermittently and was quite unaccountable.
The following morning I enquired of a spirit-guide what was the explanation of the smell, and the words were written:
"Ether was dying...has been buried without my wife."
I explained that I could not write for strangers, and the question was written:
Then followed the name "Roger Gunner," who asserted that he was a railway guard, killed in an accident some fifty years previously; he said that he often slept in this inn. He gave copious details to prove his identity, but in spite of many enquiries we were unsuccessful in tracing him.
It may be that some messages which I have deemed wholly irrelevant have had significance which I could not trace; the chief difficulty in preventing interruptions and confusion is the ignorance which prevails concerning the laws which govern this method of communication; increasing knowledge will probably do much to eliminate disturbance of this kind.
A knowledge of human nature, and a power of discrimination can, even at this stage of imperfect knowledge, safeguard to a considerable extent those who attempt to receive messages by these means.
I do not think that it will be. out of place here, and it may even be of some interest to readers, to sketch briefly the part played by "Guides," (my own and others) in the communications received automatically during these two years.
I had read of the help given by spirit-guides to those in earth-life, but it did not at first occur to me to seek this help when writing automatically, and I did not in fact know how it was possible to get into touch with them.
During the summer of 1916, shortly after I had begun this writing, I had a series of puzzling messages connected with a very interesting case which I am not able to report here.
At a difficult point in these communications, I suggested to the communicator that he might ask help from his own guide, and he replied' "He has just come to the rescue must say my guide is a fine fellow."
We learnt from this guide that his name was Bennett; he had been a clergyman, and had died three years before. He asserted that he had been "very High Church," an undergraduate of Christ Church, Oxford; that his first curacy was at Holy Trinity, Ramsgate. He stated that his father was also a clergyman, and had lived at Ramsgate.
We had no idea whether any of these statements were true, but took considerable trouble in trying to verify them, as they would have been interesting evidentially, if correct.
We had, however, no success in establishing his identity, and were obliged to leave it, as more important work was in hand.
The communicator described Bennett as "a clear-headed man" and wiser than himself, able to advise him as to the best way of giving proof of identity.
Bennett was also useful in suggesting the best times for writing automatically, and telling me when to stop owing to fatigue; this kind of advice was afterwards taken in hand by my own guide, who made himself known to me some days later under the name of Hewett. He was described to me at another time by a medium, who gave the name as Hubert, and stated that he was a literary man.
Hewett explained the work of guides as follows:
"Guides are for helpful service to those on earth.... Guides are what you call disembodied spirits...theirs is this very special work."
Since he disclosed his personality, I have used his help constantly in tracing strangers (deceased) for whom I was to write, asking him to explain the method of communication to them if it were unfamiliar, and to keep away other personalities who might unconsciously confuse the messages.
On two occasions only, when I sought his help, I was told that he had "gone away"; one of these occasions was at Christmas-time, when I was informed that he had "gone home."
I once wrote for a Mr. Johns (deceased) whom I had known very slightly, and found that an overpowering feeling of distress and misery accompanied his attempts at communication, so that I was obliged to tell him that I could write no more; the next day Hewett explained that Mr. Johns was "in great trouble. He added," He can't write now, it is impossible...he is not able to bear much. I am very sorry for him."
On one occasion Hewett gave me beforehand a scrap of information which proved to be correct; it was in connection with an Atlantic liner, which he asserted would arrive on a certain Saturday, giving the date; it reached port on the following day, but a passenger told me that they had actually arrived on the Saturday, though they could not disembark. This was in 1917, when no news of the arrival of ships was allowed to be given.
Hewett has never taken up any of my time, or attempted to communicate on his own account; he has figured solely as a helper and director to me, and to those who have communicated through me. Only twice has he commented on the communicators, once in a case which I am not at liberty to report, and again when an old lady was writing, of whom he remarked: "The old lady flagged...she goes...was she a belle in her youth? She is strong and fine. My comment. Hewett."
In both cases the comments were very much to the point, and correct.
Eight other "guides" have figured from time to time in the script, only two of them being women; each personality seemed quite distinct, and all showed great insight into the minds of those to whom they were attached as guides, summing up their characteristics, and giving suitable advice in each case.
No evidential value can, however, be attached to the above, as in each case the individuals were known to me.
One of the guides described himself as having been an American engineer; another said that he was a private, killed in the Afghan War. A third, named Scott, said that he was a clergyman, and his remarks were characterised throughout by a breezy humour and optimism.
As in the case of my own guide, Hewett, the others were helpful at first in bringing those to whom they were attached as helpers into touch with me, but when direct touch was established, they seemed to stand aside, unless specially appealed to for help. One guide asserted that she was only intermittently attached to her earth-protégée, and declared that the help given was mutual. The idea of ministrations by guardian spirits to those on earth is a very familiar one, but the possibility of the help being reciprocal is at least unusual and suggestive.
Note.—All this matter concerning Guides is simply gathered from the script.
I have no means of knowing whether they are real entities, or merely creations of the subconscious mind.
IT may have been observed that in some of the accounts given, sense-impressions experienced by me have played some part in intensifying the feeling of reality conveyed to my mind.
It would appear that anyone possessed of mediumistic powers (usually described as a sensitive) becomes aware from time to time of the operating of an expanded consciousness; clairvoyance and clairaudience fall naturally into this category, and it seems probable that there are other varieties of manifestation.
My own experience includes many of these, and I record them simply as they came to me, without any attempt at classification or explanation. I cannot attempt either, as my experience has been too limited; no doubt this could be undertaken by other sensitives, who possess a longer record of such impressions from which to make deductions.
I have, from time to time throughout my life, been conscious of supernormal impressions, if I may roughly classify the following as such. My first memory of this kind is of a dream when I was five years old; I was seriously ill at the time, and it seemed to me that I had left my body, and was moving through space, guided by someone, who took me to heaven, into the Presence of Christ.
He was seated on a throne, around which many people were standing. I was not immediately presented to Him, but when my turn came I was told to go forward, and Christ placed a little crown on my head, very gently and kindly. On my way back, I passed hell, which looked like a hole in the ground, from which clouds of smoke came up; I saw many people going down there, and was greatly distressed about this when I awoke. The strongest impression which remained with me was that of the personality of Christ, and I lay still for a long time, lest the feeling should leave me.
I have remembered this dream clearly all my life, and the room in which it took place.
The next experience 'that I can remember came to me when I was helping to train students for teaching at a certain College; 'the work was very engrossing, and I fully expected that this would be my occupation for the future.
On two occasions, however, I heard a voice clairaudiently which told me that I should not be at the College long, and that my life-work did not lie there. As a matter of fact, I was at the College for a year.
In the early morning of New Year's Day (I think in 1910) I saw at about 7 a.m. a large wooden cross in my room. It appeared as if made of dark oak, and was very large, reaching almost to the ceiling; it remained stationary for a few seconds, and then vanished. An impression of coming difficulties was left strongly in my mind, and one of the most formidable faced me about a fortnight later, and others throughout that year.
In December, 1916, I woke one night to see a bright figure bending over me, but the face was not discernible; another night I woke suddenly, and found myself enveloped in a flood of light. I have continually seen rays of light apparently issuing from my own head, and assume that this must be the "aura" often described by clairvoyants.
In February of the same year, on the 11th and 15th, I saw on each occasion a shadowy white figure, unrecognisable but clear.
On July 1st and 12th, 1917, I had two psychic experiences, which may or may not have been connected; I have never been able to find out if they had any meaning.
On the 1st, I woke at 2 a.m., and saw a man with a white drawn face, and eyes dilated and wild. He conveyed the impression to me of saying "I will do it" (meaning suicide). When he had vanished, I was left with a great feeling of fear.
On the 12th, at 3:30 a.m., I was awakened by the report, heard clairaudiently, of a pistol shot, and caught a glimpse of someone holding a pistol to the back of his head. I had an oppressive feeling of being in close proximity to this person at the moment.
Twice I have experienced strongly, and often slightly, the feeling of being drawn out of my body to watch some passing event; this usually occurs just before sleep.
On the first occasion the darkness of my room appeared to focus, into a ball I of blackness, which suddenly opened, and disclosed a wide, straight road, along which a motor-car was rushing at great speed. I seemed 'to follow this car, keeping close behind it, and had the impression afterwards that I had saved it from an accident, or that I myself had had a narrow escape.
I was suddenly back on my bed, gasping for breath, my heart beating very quickly, fully awake.
On the second occasion, at 2:15 p.m., I was resting on my bed, when I found myself following a motor-ambulance in the same way; we rushed past two cars coming towards us; the road we were on. was wide, and very dusty, raised above the surrounding fields. The day was bright, and the contrasting darkness of two tunnels under which we passed was very marked.
On November 21st, 1917, and April 12th, 1918, I saw two people clairvoyantly, neither of whom had been known to me in earth-life; I identified them by describing them afterwards.
One was an elderly lady, whose daughter was staying with me at the time; the other was the sister of a friend with whom I was staying.
Referring to the latter, the son of the lady who had died was expected home on leave from the East that day, and the appearance of his mother seemed to be in some way connected with his expected arrival.
In January, 1918, I saw some writing on the wall of my room; it consisted of two Christian names and a surname, all of which I recognised, as they were the names of an airman whom I knew to have been killed, though he was not personally known to me. I also had the impression that I was trying to write automatically. A few days later a friend, to whom I had not mentioned this incident, chanced to. remark that on the 28th she had received a short message automatically written, from this airman.
On February 2nd, 1918, I had a curiously vivid dream, which at the time seemed to be more like a vision.
I was walking along a corridor in an old house, guided by an elderly lady, with very beautiful soft white hair. I noticed some fine stained glass windows on the right side of the corridor, and we stopped once while she remarked on these.
At the end of the corridor was a door on the left, and a maid passed us, and opened this door; I glanced in, and saw the maid proceeding to lay the fire. The room was dimly lighted, as the curtains, blue in colour, were not drawn back; the colouring of the room was indistinctly blue throughout. There was an old lady lying in bed, facing the window, and the one who was guiding me told me that this was her sister, who was ill.
I have a dim recollection' of such a house, but the clue is too slight to pursue.
I have three times seen (clairvoyantly) the friend who has assisted me with this book once when she was away on rather distressing business, once when I myself woke in the night with a feeling of distress, and the third time for no reason that we can remember.
During the Spring of 1918, a stranger engaged in war-work slept at our house for several months, and after she had left, I happened to sleep for one night in the room that she had occupied. I woke several times in the night, feeling very uneasy, and conscious of someone standing close to the bed, He leaned over me, and on. his face was a very fixed, searching expression, and hard lines round the mouth. I shrank from the feeling of distress that he brought with him each time that he came near me.
It occurred to me the second time that he was seeking someone, not myself, whom he expected to find there; I therefore mentally explained to him that Miss X— had left, and he disappeared. A few, days later, I met Miss X—, and she told me that a brother of hers was just reported "Missing."
So far as I know, no news of him has been received.
On August 14th, 1918, at about 10 p.m., I had a strong presentiment that some tragedy had taken place, either that someone had died suddenly or been killed in the war; I mentioned this at the time to my friend. This ominous feeling remained with me for quite an hour, accompanied by great physical discomfort; my flesh seemed to "creep," and I shivered. I also became aware that someone was in my. room, trying to attract my attention, but I could see nothing, and had no idea who it could be.
Two days later a telegram came to my friend, asking her to break the news of a sudden death to someone staying in her house.
Some years ago I attended the funeral of an old clergyman whom I had visited constantly during his last illness.
The service was taken by his eldest son, who was also a clergyman. There was a long pause for silent prayer before the coffin was removed from the Church, and glancing up during this silence, I saw that the officiating priest was standing before the altar, with his arms raised high above his head. He remained in this position for a curiously long time, and the congregation grew a little restless at the delay.
I do not know whether anyone else became aware, as I did, of the cause of this delay. I could see quite plainly the outstretched arms and hands of his father, reaching down from above, and grasping his own; I knew the hands too well to mistake them. The son did not change his position till the father's grasp was relaxed. There seemed to be a special significance about this act, as the son had found some difficulty, during his father's later years, in maintaining sympathetic touch with him.
The sense-impressions recorded above, taken as a whole, affect one's normal life very little; I noted them carefully at the time, and put them aside, in case of possible verification later.
BEFORE closing this short record, it may be of use to refer briefly to the potential value of communication from "the other side" in general, and to touch on the opinions and criticisms expressed by those who have entered into this subject with us during the last two years, in many cases for the first time.
Owing to the careful system of introduction pursued throughout, I have been fortunate and privileged in coming into contact only with those who have approached the matter in a dignified and thoughtful spirit, the only spirit in which such investigation is, to my mind, justifiable.
In the case of public mediums, the protection of careful private introduction is often lacking, and they are at the mercy of an indiscriminate collection of sitters, who come with very mixed, and even unworthy, motives.
In the latter cases, the communications received must necessarily be on a low level, and detrimental to all concerned.
Many of the public mediums are high minded and honourable people, who, owing to their sensitive nature, undergo a considerable amount of real suffering from unworthy influences such as these. If the extreme sensitiveness of this heightened consciousness were more generally recognised, sitters would, no doubt, hesitate to make use in the manner just indicated, of the rare powers placed at their disposal.
On the other hand, it is a real refreshment and inspiration to high-minded mediums when they are brought into touch with sitters and communicators of a higher type, and the communications received under such conditions are often valuable, and a worthy outcome of the delicate vital force expended.
There has often been a certain hesitation on the sitter's part with regard to entering into communication with the departed, and this is probably due to a natural and healthy sense of self-protection, which halts before the exploration of unknown ground, where even experts tread cautiously, and confess to only fragmentary knowledge. A very common attitude on the part of survivors seems to be expressed in the following words: "Can we not leave them in God's hands? Why attempt to call them back?
It may be well to point out that they cannot be "called back" against their will; they come at their own wish if at all.
Perhaps the expression "call them back" is in itself an unfortunate one, as it suggests a sharp division between the spirit-world and our own, which is out of accord with much of the scientific thought of the day.
Recent telepathic experiments have shown that thought-transference is unhampered by the limitations of space, and for all we know, the worlds of spirit and matter may interpenetrate, as matter is interpenetrated by the ether of space.
What limits can be set to the attraction-power of thought, especially when the thought is permeated by love? If it is true that "neither life nor death can separate from the love of God," may this not also be true of human love?
Love demands expression by intercourse of some kind, and intercourse with the spirit-world in the past has been limited to communion with. God by means of prayer, and in the case of the Roman Church, the invocation of saints. It is at least worth considering whether communication with our own departed friends may not be a perfectly natural and legitimate extension of the above.
An important fact noticed by us is, that those on "the other side" often seem anxious to take any opportunity open to them of re-establishing the intercourse interrupted by death, and some of their attempts to do this have an element of pathos in them, as they try one channel after another in the hope of success.
If, as is so often the case, the would-be communicator is a man of mature judgment, well-tempered mind, and unselfish character, such action on his part should be respected by his friends on earth, even though this involve some departure from their habitual ways of thought.
It may be supposed that those in the next stage of existence are better judges on this question, so far as they themselves are concerned, than their friends on earth, who have had no experience of the change wrought by death.
The decision that inevitably rests with the survivors is, what attitude they should wisely adopt towards such communication if it comes, and whether they themselves are in such a condition of mind and body as to render such communication beneficial to all concerned.
We have had many personal testimonies as to the beneficial and uplifting effect of communication, but these letters are naturally of a private character. No case of detrimental effect has so far come into my personal experience.
That such communication, if entered upon at all, should be moderate and restrained, is as necessary as in the case of all friendships undue absorption of, one personality in another would be as limiting and inadvisable in the spirit-sphere as in any other.
It is often stated that messages received in this manner are concerned mainly with trivialities, or else are of so abstruse a nature that no evidential value can be attached to them. This accusation is one which might equally well be brought against our communications with each other in earth-life, and it is not surprising to find the same mental conditions persisting after death.
For proof of identity it will readily be granted that trivialities are invaluable; do we not single out our friends here from many others, by small peculiarities of dress or manner?
The difficulty on the part of communicators must be very great, as either type of communication is liable to be classified as unsatisfactory by the recipients.
As a matter of fact, the messages that I have received have been of a very varied character, and would scarcely fall into either of the above categories.
Some communicators tried to convey definite advice, some desired to give help of various kinds to their relations, some gave news of "Missing" persons (correct in the majority of cases), some expressed a wish to heal a misunderstanding, whilst others impressed upon their friends the fact of their continued and intensified love and interest, and spoke of the mutual efforts needed to link their world with ours.
The messages have sometimes indicated that help needs to be received on the other side, as well as given; a few extracts follow which make this clear: "Do not grieve only...grief is so short-sighted, I mean, it blocks the outlets, dear.... I am close at hand, you must feel it surely? I cannot return, no.... You face that one chasm, and then turn your back on it. I return in spirit, and we must learn to meet in this realm. It is a tremendous step, and uplifting to us both...a stepping-stone upwards...you will see when grief is tamed...tamed, yes...it is a force which ravages."
A curious appeal, made directly to ourselves, came one day from a stranger killed in the war, who gave the name of Sogno. He wrote with much agitation:
"Sogno is getting no help at all, no help, I say...cruel war.... God is indeed cruel to men. I am bitter and so sad....
"Miss, I am appealing to your charity. I was called to fight against my will and better judgment. I am sad and alone here. We are not ready for this sudden change, how can we be? Help me, to you I appeal. You are reposeful, I felt it, and came like a hunted thing I was and am, but I want to understand. I cannot follow yet, I am confused.... You are at rest, I see and feel. I remain near at present, may I? I am no one you need fear at all. I drink repose.... I feel it, so it must be at hand. I get so perplexed, see glimpses at times only. I am helped.
"Ah, the sign of death...how we saw it on all hands.... Your charity I appreciate.... I go now.... Ah...ah...you women are lucky to be where you are...ah...ah...so late and dark...so wet.... Sogno. Thank you."
The case of "Sogno" is one of acute appeal for help. I am told that special private circles exist for the help of such cases, and that they are still carrying on the steady work begun in the stress of the war-need. Testimony from those helped in these circles tends to show that in some cases, especially where the grip of physical conditions has been strong and painful up to the moment of death, the spirit finds himself best able to receive help from those still on earth, in order to prepare him for the further help that awaits him beyond.
The close of earth-life has come to these men in an unnatural catastrophic fashion, for which our world in general is responsible. They have missed the maturing influences of normal life at its later stages, and the responsibility of compensating partly for this loss rests with parents and friends here, as well. as with those who are helping them directly in the spirit-world. The thought of help by prayer is accepted by many, but the possibilities, of direct thought-help are as yet very inadequately used or understood.
No one is without experience of such help in his earth-life, and the appeal made by death is surely that we should transmute the power so commonly expended in hopeless grief into a fruitful, developing influence of mind upon mind.
The growing belief in the continuity of life, and the fast-vanishing fear of death, are two of the most marked effects of the new thought which has grown up around this subject.
Another effect is the development of a new receptive attitude on the part of those here, as the realisation slowly grows that the difficult process of rebuilding the social order need not be undertaken by ourselves alone, but maybe a joint effort, inspired by those whose wider outlook gives a larger scope to human enterprise, and a deeper insight into the ultimate possibilities of human life.