Raymond; or, Life and Death
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Raymond; or, Life and Death is a 1916 book written by Sir Oliver Lodge after the death of his son, Raymond, during World War I. The book details his attempts, along with his wife, to contact his son via a medium. Lodge was convinced that his son had actually communicated with him from the after life. A lot of Lodge's contempories, such as Edward Clodd and Paul Carus, expressed a sense of disappointment that a scientist had written such a book. Lodge did later admit that a lot of what the medium picked up was nonsense. In addition to being a book about seances, the first part also contains letters to and from Raymond Lodge during his time in the War.
This book has 398 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1916.
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Excerpt from 'Raymond; or, Life and Death'
THIS book is named after my son who was killed in the War.
It is divided into three parts. In the first part some idea of the kind of life lived and the spirit shown by any number of youths, fully engaged in civil occupations, who joined for service when war broke out and went to the Front, is illustrated by extracts from his letters. The object of this portion is to engender a friendly feeling towards the writer of the letters, so that whatever more has to be said in the sequel may not have the inevitable dulness of details concerning an entire stranger. This is the sole object of this portion. The letters are not supposed to be remarkable; though as a picture of part of the life at the Front during the 1915 phase of the war they are interesting, as many other such letters must have been.
The second part gives specimens of what at present are considered by most people unusual communications; though these again are in many respects of an ordinary type, and will be recognised as such by other bereaved persons who have had similar messages. In a few particulars, indeed, those here quoted have rather special features, by reason of the assistance given by the group of my friends "on the other side" who had closely studied the subject. It is partly owing to the urgency therein indicated that I have thought it my duty to speak out, though it may well be believed that it is not without hesitation that I have ventured thus to obtrude family affairs. I should not have done so were it not that the amount of premature and unnatural bereavement at the present time is so appalling that the pain caused by exposing one's own sorrow and its alleviation, to possible scoffers, becomes almost negligible in view of the service which it is legitimate to hope may thus be rendered to mourners, if they can derive comfort by learning that communication across the gulf is possible. Incidentally I have to thank those friends, some of them previously unknown, who have in the same spirit allowed the names of loved ones to appear in this book, and I am grateful for the help which one or two of those friends have accorded. Some few more perhaps may be thus led to pay critical attention to any assurance of continued and happy and useful existence which may reach them from the other side.
The third part of the book is of a more expository character, and is designed to help people in general to realise that this subject is not the bugbear which ignorance and prejudice have made it, that it belongs to a coherent system of thought full of new facts of which continued study is necessary, that it is subject to a law and order of its own, and that though comparatively in its infancy it is a genuine branch of psychological science. This third part is called "Life and Death," because these are the two great undeniable facts which concern everybody, and in which it is natural for every one to feel a keen interest, if they once begin to realise that such interest is not futile, and that it is possible to learn something real about them. It may be willingly admitted that these chapters are inadequate to the magnitude of the subject, but it is hoped that they are of a usefully introductory character.
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