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´╗┐Title: The Vital Message
Author: Doyle, Arthur Conan, Sir, 1859-1930
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Vital Message" ***

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THE VITAL MESSAGE

BY

ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE



PREFACE

In "The New Revelation" the first dawn of the coming change has been
described.  In "The Vital Message" the sun has risen higher, and one
sees more clearly and broadly what our new relations with the Unseen
may be.  As I look into the future of the human race I am reminded of
how once, from amid the bleak chaos of rock and snow at the head of an
Alpine pass, I looked down upon the far stretching view of Lombardy,
shimmering in the sunshine and extending in one splendid panorama of
blue lakes and green rolling hills until it melted into the golden haze
which draped the far horizon.  Such a promised land is at our very feet
which, when we attain it, will make our present civilisation seem
barren and uncouth.  Already our vanguard is well over the pass.
Nothing can now prevent us from reaching that wonderful land which
stretches so clearly before those eyes which are opened to see it.

That stimulating writer, V. C. Desertis, has remarked that the Second
Coming, which has always been timed to follow Armageddon, may be
fulfilled not by a descent of the spiritual to us, but by the ascent of
our material plane to the spiritual, and the blending of the two phases
of existence.  It is, at least, a fascinating speculation.  But without
so complete an overthrow of the partition walls as this would imply we
know enough already to assure ourselves of such a close approximation
as will surely deeply modify all our views of science, of religion and
of life.  What form these changes may take and what the evidence is
upon which they will be founded are briefly set forth in this volume.

ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE.

CROWBOROUGH,

July, 1919.



CONTENTS

CHAPTER

   I  THE TWO NEEDFUL READJUSTMENTS
  II  THE DAWNING OF THE LIGHT
 III  THE GREAT ARGUMENT
  IV  THE COMING WORLD
   V  IS IT THE SECOND DAWN?


APPENDICES

  A.  DR. GELEY'S EXPERIMENTS
  B.  A PARTICULAR INSTANCE
  C.  SPIRIT PHOTOGRAPHY
  D.  THE CLAIRVOYANCE OF MRS. B.



THE VITAL MESSAGE



CHAPTER I

THE TWO NEEDFUL READJUSTMENTS


It has been our fate, among all the innumerable generations of mankind,
to face the most frightful calamity that has ever befallen the world.
There is a basic fact which cannot be denied, and should not be
overlooked.  For a most important deduction must immediately follow
from it.  That deduction is that we, who have borne the pains, shall
also learn the lesson which they were intended to convey.  If we do not
learn it and proclaim it, then when can it ever be learned and
proclaimed, since there can never again be such a spiritual ploughing
and harrowing and preparation for the seed?  If our souls, wearied and
tortured during these dreadful five years of self-sacrifice and
suspense, can show no radical changes, then what souls will ever
respond to a fresh influx of heavenly inspiration?  In that case the
state of the human race would indeed be hopeless, and never in all the
coming centuries would there be any prospect of improvement.

Why was this tremendous experience forced upon mankind?  Surely it is a
superficial thinker who imagines that the great Designer of all things
has set the whole planet in a ferment, and strained every nation to
exhaustion, in order that this or that frontier be moved, or some fresh
combination be formed in the kaleidoscope of nations.  No, the causes
of the convulsion, and its objects, are more profound than that.  They
are essentially religious, not political.  They lie far deeper than the
national squabbles of the day.  A thousand years hence those national
results may matter little, but the religious result will rule the
world.  That religious result is the reform of the decadent
Christianity of to-day, its simplification, its purification, and its
reinforcement by the facts of spirit communion and the clear knowledge
of what lies beyond the exit-door of death.  The shock of the war was
meant to rouse us to mental and moral earnestness, to give us the
courage to tear away venerable shams, and to force the human race to
realise and use the vast new revelation which has been so clearly
stated and so abundantly proved, for all who will examine the
statements and proofs with an open mind.

Consider the awful condition of the world before this thunder-bolt
struck it.  Could anyone, tracing back down the centuries and examining
the record of the wickedness of man, find anything which could compare
with the story of the nations during the last twenty years!  Think of
the condition of Russia during that time, with her brutal aristocracy
and her drunken democracy, her murders on either side, her Siberian
horrors, her Jew baitings and her corruption.  Think of the figure of
Leopold of Belgium, an incarnate devil who from motives of greed
carried murder and torture through a large section of Africa, and yet
was received in every court, and was eventually buried after a
panegyric from a Cardinal of the Roman Church--a church which had never
once raised her voice against his diabolical career.  Consider the
similar crimes in the Putumayo, where British capitalists, if not
guilty of outrage, can at least not be acquitted of having condoned it
by their lethargy and trust in local agents.  Think of Turkey and the
recurrent massacres of her subject races.  Think of the heartless grind
of the factories everywhere, where work assumed a very different and
more unnatural shape than the ancient labour of the fields.  Think of
the sensuality of many rich, the brutality of many poor, the
shallowness of many fashionable, the coldness and deadness of religion,
the absence anywhere of any deep, true spiritual impulse.  Think, above
all, of the organised materialism of Germany, the arrogance, the
heartlessness, the negation of everything which one could possibly
associate with the living spirit of Christ as evident in the utterances
of Catholic Bishops, like Hartmann of Cologne, as in those of Lutheran
Pastors.  Put all this together and say if the human race has ever
presented a more unlovely aspect.  When we try to find the brighter
spots they are chiefly where civilisation, as apart from religion, has
built up necessities for the community, such as hospitals,
universities, and organised charities, as conspicuous in Buddhist Japan
as in Christian Europe.  We cannot deny that there has been much
virtue, much gentleness, much spirituality in individuals.  But the
churches were empty husks, which contained no spiritual food for the
human race, and had in the main ceased to influence its actions, save
in the direction of soulless forms.

This is not an over-coloured picture.  Can we not see, then, what was
the inner reason for the war?  Can we not understand that it was
needful to shake mankind loose from gossip and pink teas, and
sword-worship, and Saturday night drunks, and self-seeking politics and
theological quibbles--to wake them up and make them realise that they
stand upon a narrow knife-edge between two awful eternities, and that,
here and now, they have to finish with make-beliefs, and with real
earnestness and courage face those truths which have always been
palpable where indolence, or cowardice, or vested interests have not
obscured the vision.  Let us try to appreciate what those truths are
and the direction which reform must take.  It is the new spiritual
developments which predominate in my own thoughts, but there are two
other great readjustments which are necessary before they can take
their full effect.  On the spiritual side I can speak with the force of
knowledge from the beyond.  On the other two points of reform, I make
no such claim.

The first is that in the Bible, which is the foundation of our present
religious thought, we have bound together the living and the dead, and
the dead has tainted the living.  A mummy and an angel are in most
unnatural partnership.  There can be no clear thinking, and no logical
teaching until the old dispensation has been placed on the shelf of the
scholar, and removed from the desk of the teacher.  It is indeed a
wonderful book, in parts the oldest which has come down to us, a book
filled with rare knowledge, with history, with poetry, with occultism,
with folklore.  But it has no connection with modern conceptions of
religion.  In the main it is actually antagonistic to them.  Two
contradictory codes have been circulated under one cover, and the
result is dire confusion.  The one is a scheme depending upon a special
tribal God, intensely anthropomorphic and filled with rage, jealousy
and revenge.  The conception pervades every book of the Old Testament.
Even in the psalms, which are perhaps the most spiritual and beautiful
section, the psalmist, amid much that is noble, sings of the fearsome
things which his God will do to his enemies.  "They shall go down alive
into hell."  There is the keynote of this ancient document--a document
which advocates massacre, condones polygamy, accepts slavery, and
orders the burning of so-called witches.  Its Mosaic provisions have
long been laid aside.  We do not consider ourselves accursed if we fail
to mutilate our bodies, if we eat forbidden dishes, fail to trim our
beards, or wear clothes of two materials.  But we cannot lay aside the
provisions and yet regard the document as divine.  No learned quibbles
can ever persuade an honest earnest mind that that is right.  One may
say:  "Everyone knows that that is the old dispensation, and is not to
be acted upon."  It is not true.  It is continually acted upon, and
always will be so long as it is made part of one sacred book.  William
the Second acted upon it.  His German God which wrought such mischief
in the world was the reflection of the dreadful being who ordered that
captives be put under the harrow.  The cities of Belgium were the
reflection of the cities of Moab.  Every hard-hearted brute in history,
more especially in the religious wars, has found his inspiration in the
Old Testament.  "Smite and spare not!"  "An eye for an eye!", how
readily the texts spring to the grim lips of the murderous fanatic.
Francis on St. Bartholomew's night, Alva in the Lowlands, Tilly at
Magdeburg, Cromwell at Drogheda, the Covenainters at Philliphaugh, the
Anabaptists of Munster, and the early Mormons of Utah, all found their
murderous impulses fortified from this unholy source.  Its red trail
runs through history.  Even where the New Testament prevails, its
teaching must still be dulled and clouded by its sterner neighbour.
Let us retain this honoured work of literature.  Let us remove the
taint which poisons the very spring of our religious thought.

This is, in my opinion, the first clearing which should be made for the
more beautiful building to come.  The second is less important, as it
is a shifting of the point of view, rather than an actual change.  It
is to be remembered that Christ's life in this world occupied, so far
as we can estimate, 33 years, whilst from His arrest to His
resurrection was less than a week.  Yet the whole Christian system has
come to revolve round His death, to the partial exclusion of the
beautiful lesson of His life.  Far too much weight has been placed upon
the one, and far too little upon the other, for the death, beautiful,
and indeed perfect, as it was, could be matched by that of many scores
of thousands who have died for an idea, while the life, with its
consistent record of charity, breadth of mind, unselfishness, courage,
reason, and progressiveness, is absolutely unique and superhuman.  Even
in these abbreviated, translated, and second-hand records we receive an
impression such as no other life can give--an impression which fills us
with utter reverence.  Napoleon, no mean judge of human nature, said of
it:  "It is different with Christ.  Everything about Him astonishes me.
His spirit surprises me, and His will confounds me.  Between Him and
anything of this world there is no possible comparison.  He is really a
being apart.  The nearer I approach Him and the closer I examine Him,
the more everything seems above me."

It is this wonderful life, its example and inspiration, which was the
real object of the descent of this high spirit on to our planet.  If
the human race had earnestly centred upon that instead of losing itself
in vain dreams of vicarious sacrifices and imaginary falls, with all
the mystical and contentious philosophy which has centred round the
subject, how very different the level of human culture and happiness
would be to-day!  Such theories, with their absolute want of reason or
morality, have been the main cause why the best minds have been so
often alienated from the Christian system and proclaimed themselves
materialists.  In contemplating what shocked their instincts for truth
they have lost that which was both true and beautiful.  Christ's death
was worthy of His life, and rounded off a perfect career, but it is the
life which He has left as the foundation for the permanent religion of
mankind.  All the religious wars, the private feuds, and the countless
miseries of sectarian contention, would have been at least minimised,
if not avoided, had the bare example of Christ's life been adopted as
the standard of conduct and of religion.

But there are certain other considerations which should have weight
when we contemplate this life and its efficacy as an example.  One of
these is that the very essence of it was that He critically examined
religion as He found it, and brought His robust common sense and
courage to bear in exposing the shams and in pointing out the better
path.  THAT is the hall-mark of the true follower of Christ, and not
the mute acceptance of doctrines which are, upon the face of them,
false and pernicious, because they come to us with some show of
authority.  What authority have we now, save this very life, which
could compare with those Jewish books which were so binding in their
force, and so immutably sacred that even the misspellings or pen-slips
of the scribe, were most carefully preserved?  It is a simple obvious
fact that if Christ had been orthodox, and had possessed what is so
often praised as a "child-like faith," there could have been no such
thing as Christianity.  Let reformers who love Him take heart as they
consider that they are indeed following in the footsteps of the Master,
who has at no time said that the revelation which He brought, and which
has been so imperfectly used, is the last which will come to mankind.
In our own times an equally great one has been released from the centre
of all truth, which will make as deep an impression upon the human race
as Christianity, though no predominant figure has yet appeared to
enforce its lessons.  Such a figure has appeared once when the days
were ripe, and I do not doubt that this may occur once more.

One other consideration must be urged.  Christ has not given His
message in the first person.  If He had done so our position would be
stronger.  It has been repeated by the hearsay and report of earnest
but ill-educated men.  It speaks much for education in the Roman
province of Judea that these fishermen, publicans and others could even
read or write.  Luke and Paul were, of course, of a higher class, but
their information came from their lowly predecessors.  Their account is
splendidly satisfying in the unity of the general impression which it
produces, and the clear drawing of the Master's teaching and character.
At the same time it is full of inconsistencies and contradictions upon
immaterial matters.  For example, the four accounts of the resurrection
differ in detail, and there is no orthodox learned lawyer who dutifully
accepts all four versions who could not shatter the evidence if he
dealt with it in the course of his profession.  These details are
immaterial to the spirit of the message.  It is not common sense to
suppose that every item is inspired, or that we have to make no
allowance for imperfect reporting, individual convictions, oriental
phraseology, or faults of translation.  These have, indeed, been
admitted by revised versions.  In His utterance about the letter and
the spirit we could almost believe that Christ had foreseen the plague
of texts from which we have suffered, even as He Himself suffered at
the hands of the theologians of His day, who then, as now, have been a
curse to the world.  We were meant to use our reasons and brains in
adapting His teaching to the conditions of our altered lives and times.
Much depended upon the society and mode of expression which belonged to
His era.  To suppose in these days that one has literally to give all
to the poor, or that a starved English prisoner should literally love
his enemy the Kaiser, or that because Christ protested against the lax
marriages of His day therefore two spouses who loathe each other should
be for ever chained in a life servitude and martyrdom--all these
assertions are to travesty His teaching and to take from it that robust
quality of common sense which was its main characteristic.  To ask what
is impossible from human nature is to weaken your appeal when you ask
for what is reasonable.

It has already been stated that of the three headings under which
reforms are grouped, the exclusion of the old dispensation, the greater
attention to Christ's life as compared to His death, and the new
spiritual influx which is giving us psychic religion, it is only on the
latter that one can quote the authority of the beyond.  Here, however,
the case is really understated.  In regard to the Old Testament I have
never seen the matter treated in a spiritual communication.  The nature
of Christ, however, and His teaching, have been expounded a score of
times with some variation of detail, but in the main as reproduced
here.  Spirits have their individuality of view, and some carry over
strong earthly prepossessions which they do not easily shed; but
reading many authentic spirit communications one finds that the idea of
redemption is hardly ever spoken of, while that of example and
influence is for ever insisted upon.  In them Christ is the highest
spirit known, the son of God, as we all are, but nearer to God, and
therefore in a more particular sense His son.  He does not, save in
most rare and special cases, meet us when we die.  Since souls pass
over, night and day, at the rate of about 100 a minute, this would seem
self-evident.  After a time we may be admitted to His presence, to find
a most tender, sympathetic and helpful comrade and guide, whose spirit
influences all things even when His bodily presence is not visible.
This is the general teaching of the other world communications
concerning Christ, the gentle, loving and powerful spirit which broods
ever over that world which, in all its many spheres, is His special
care.

Before passing to the new revelation, its certain proofs and its
definite teaching, let us hark back for a moment upon the two points
which have already been treated.  They are not absolutely vital points.
The fresh developments can go on and conquer the world without them.
There can be no sudden change in the ancient routine of our religious
habits, nor is it possible to conceive that a congress of theologians
could take so heroic a step as to tear the Bible in twain, laying one
half upon the shelf and one upon the table.  Neither is it to be
expected that any formal pronouncements could ever be made that the
churches have all laid the wrong emphasis upon the story of Christ.
Moral courage will not rise to such a height.  But with the spiritual
quickening and the greater earnestness which will have their roots in
this bloody passion of mankind, many will perceive what is reasonable
and true, so that even if the Old Testament should remain, like some
obsolete appendix in the animal frame, to mark a lower stage through
which development has passed, it will more and more be recognised as a
document which has lost all validity and which should no longer be
allowed to influence human conduct, save by way of pointing out much
which we may avoid.  So also with the teaching of Christ, the mystical
portions may fade gently away, as the grosser views of eternal
punishment have faded within our own lifetime, so that while mankind is
hardly aware of the change the heresy of today will become the
commonplace of tomorrow.  These things will adjust themselves in God's
own time.  What is, however, both new and vital are those fresh
developments which will now be discussed.  In them may be found the
signs of how the dry bones may be stirred, and how the mummy may be
quickened with the breath of life.  With the actual certainty of a
definite life after death, and a sure sense of responsibility for our
own spiritual development, a responsibility which cannot be put upon
any other shoulders, however exalted, but must be borne by each
individual for himself, there will come the greatest reinforcement of
morality which the human race has ever known.  We are on the verge of
it now, but our descendants will look upon the past century as the
culmination of the dark ages when man lost his trust in God, and was so
engrossed in his temporary earth life that he lost all sense of
spiritual reality.



CHAPTER II

THE DAWNING OF THE LIGHT


Some sixty years ago that acute thinker Lord Brougham remarked that in
the clear sky of scepticism he saw only one small cloud drifting up and
that was Modern Spiritualism.  It was a curiously inverted simile, for
one would surely have expected him to say that in the drifting clouds
of scepticism he saw one patch of clear sky, but at least it showed how
conscious he was of the coming importance of the movement.  Ruskin,
too, an equally agile mind, said that his assurance of immortality
depended upon the observed facts of Spiritualism.  Scores, and indeed
hundreds, of famous names could be quoted who have subscribed the same
statement, and whose support would dignify any cause upon earth.  They
are the higher peaks who have been the first to catch the light, but
the dawn will spread until none are too lowly to share it.  Let us
turn, therefore, and inspect this movement which is most certainly
destined to revolutionise human thought and action as none other has
done within the Christian era.  We shall look at it both in its
strength and in its weakness, for where one is dealing with what one
knows to be true one can fearlessly insist upon the whole of the truth.

The movement which is destined to bring vitality to the dead and cold
religions has been called "Modern Spiritualism."  The "modern" is good,
since the thing itself, in one form or another, is as old as history,
and has always, however obscured by forms, been the red central glow in
the depths of all religious ideas, permeating the Bible from end to
end.  But the word "Spiritualism" has been so befouled by wicked
charlatans, and so cheapened by many a sad incident, that one could
almost wish that some such term as "psychic religion" would clear the
subject of old prejudices, just as mesmerism, after many years of
obloquy, was rapidly accepted when its name was changed to hypnotism.
On the other hand, one remembers the sturdy pioneers who have fought
under this banner, and who were prepared to risk their careers, their
professional success, and even their reputation for sanity, by publicly
asserting what they knew to be the truth.

Their brave, unselfish devotion must do something to cleanse the name
for which they fought and suffered.  It was they who nursed the system
which promises to be, not a new religion--it is far too big for
that--but part of the common heritage of knowledge shared by the whole
human race.  Perfected Spiritualism, however, will probably bear about
the same relation to the Spiritualism of 1850 as a modern locomotive to
the bubbling little kettle which heralded the era of steam.  It will
end by being rather the proof and basis of all religions than a
religion in itself.  We have already too many religions--but too few
proofs.

Those first manifestations at Hydesville varied in no way from many of
which we have record in the past, but the result arising from them
differed very much, because, for the first time, it occurred to a human
being not merely to listen to inexplicable sounds, and to fear them or
marvel at them, but to establish communication with them.  John
Wesley's father might have done the same more than a century before had
the thought occurred to him when he was a witness of the manifestations
at Epworth in 1726.  It was only when the young Fox girl struck her
hands together and cried "Do as I do" that there was instant
compliance, and consequent proof of the presence of an INTELLIGENT
invisible force, thus differing from all other forces of which we know.
The circumstances were humble, and even rather sordid, upon both sides
of the veil, human and spirit, yet it was, as time will more and more
clearly show, one of the turning points of the world's history, greater
far than the fall of thrones or the rout of armies.  Some artist of the
future will draw the scene--the sitting-room of the wooden, shack-like
house, the circle of half-awed and half-critical neighbours, the child
clapping her hands with upturned laughing face, the dark corner shadows
where these strange new forces seem to lurk--forces often apparent, and
now come to stay and to effect the complete revolution of human
thought.  We may well ask why should such great results arise from such
petty sources?  So argued the highbrowed philosophers of Greece and
Rome when the outspoken Paul, with the fisherman Peter and his
half-educated disciples, traversed all their learned theories, and with
the help of women, slaves, and schismatic Jews, subverted their ancient
creeds.  One can but answer that Providence has its own way of
attaining its results, and that it seldom conforms to our opinion of
what is most appropriate.

We have a larger experience of such phenomena now, and we can define
with some accuracy what it was that happened at Hydesville in the year
1848.  We know that these matters are governed by law and by conditions
as much as any other phenomena of the universe, though at the moment it
seemed to the public to be an isolated and irregular outburst.  On the
one hand, you had a material, earth-bound spirit of a low order of
development which needed a physical medium in order to be able to
indicate its presence.  On the other, you had that rare thing, a good
physical medium.  The result followed as surely as the flash follows
when the electric battery and wire are both properly adjusted.
Corresponding experiments, where effect, and cause duly follow, are
being worked out at the present moment by Professor Crawford, of
Belfast, as detailed in his two recent books, where he shows that there
is an actual loss of weight of the medium in exact proportion to the
physical phenomenon produced.[1]  The whole secret of mediumship on
this material side appears to lie in the power, quite independent of
oneself, of passively giving up some portion of one's bodily substance
for the use of outside influences.  Why should some have this power and
some not?  We do not know--nor do we know why one should have the ear
for music and another not.  Each is born in us, and each has little
connection with our moral natures.  At first it was only physical
mediumship which was known, and public attention centred upon moving
tables, automatic musical instruments, and other crude but obvious
examples of outside influence, which were unhappily very easily
imitated by rogues.  Since then we have learned that there are many
forms of mediumship, so different from each other that an expert at one
may have no powers at all at the other.  The automatic writer, the
clairvoyant, the crystal-seer, the trance speaker, the photographic
medium, the direct voice medium, and others, are all, when genuine, the
manifestations of one force, which runs through varied channels as it
did in the gifts ascribed to the disciples.  The unhappy outburst of
roguery was helped, no doubt, by the need for darkness claimed by the
early experimenters--a claim which is by no means essential, since the
greatest of all mediums, D. D. Home, was able by the exceptional
strength of his powers to dispense with it.  At the same time the fact
that darkness rather than light, and dryness rather than moisture, are
helpful to good results has been abundantly manifested, and points to
the physical laws which underlie the phenomena.  The observation made
long afterwards that wireless telegraphy, another etheric force, acts
twice as well by night as by day, may, corroborate the general
conclusions of the early Spiritualists, while their assertion that the
least harmful light is red light has a suggestive analogy in the
experience of the photographer.

There is no space here for the history of the rise and development of
the movement.  It provoked warm adhesion and fierce opposition from the
start.  Professor Hare and Horace Greeley were among the educated
minority who tested and endorsed its truth.  It was disfigured by many
grievous incidents, which may explain but does not excuse the perverse
opposition which it encountered in so many quarters.  This opposition
was really largely based upon the absolute materialism of the age,
which would not admit that there could exist at the present moment such
conditions as might be accepted in the far past.  When actually brought
in contact with that life beyond the grave which they professed to
believe in, these people winced, recoiled, and declared it impossible.
The science of the day was also rooted in materialism, and discarded
all its own very excellent axioms when it was faced by an entirely new
and unexpected proposition.  Faraday declared that in approaching a new
subject one should make up one's mind a priori as to what is possible
and what is not!  Huxley said that the messages, EVEN IF TRUE,
"interested him no more than the gossip of curates in a cathedral
city."  Darwin said:  "God help us if we are to believe such things."
Herbert Spencer declared against it, but had no time to go into it.  At
the same time all science did not come so badly out of the ordeal.  As
already mentioned, Professor Hare, of Philadelphia, inventor, among
other things, of the oxy-hydrogen blow-pipe, was the first man of note
who had the moral courage, after considerable personal investigation,
to declare that these new and strange developments were true.  He was
followed by many medical men, both in America and in Britain, including
Dr. Elliotson, one of the leaders of free thought in this country.
Professor Crookes, the most rising chemist in Europe, Dr. Russel
Wallace the great naturalist, Varley the electrician, Flammarion the
French astronomer, and many others, risked their scientific reputations
in their brave assertions of the truth.  These men were not credulous
fools.  They saw and deplored the existence of frauds.  Crookes'
letters upon the subject are still extant.  In very many cases it was
the Spiritualists themselves who exposed the frauds.  They laughed, as
the public laughed, at the sham Shakespeares and vulgar Caesars who
figured in certain seance rooms.  They deprecated also the low moral
tone which would turn such powers to prophecies about the issue of a
race or the success of a speculation.  But they had that broader vision
and sense of proportion which assured them that behind all these
follies and frauds there lay a mass of solid evidence which could not
be shaken, though like all evidence, it had to be examined before it
could be appreciated.  They were not such simpletons as to be driven
away from a great truth because there are some dishonest camp followers
who hang upon its skirts.

A great centre of proof and of inspiration lay during those early days
in Mr. D. D. Home, a Scottish-American, who possessed powers which make
him one of the most remarkable personalities of whom we have any
record.  Home's life, written by his second wife, is a book which
deserves very careful reading.  This man, who in some aspects was more
than a man, was before the public for nearly thirty years.  During that
time he never received payment for his services, and was always ready,
to put himself at the disposal of any bona-fide and reasonable
enquirer.  His phenomena were produced in full light, and it was
immaterial to him whether the sittings were in his own rooms or in
those of his friends.  So high were his principles that upon one
occasion, though he was a man of moderate means and less than moderate
health, he refused the princely fee of two thousand pounds offered for
a single sitting by the Union Circle in Paris.

As to his powers, they seem to have included every form of mediumship
in the highest degree--self-levitation, as witnessed by hundreds of
credible witnesses; the handling of fire, with the power of conferring
like immunity upon others; the movement without human touch of heavy
objects; the visible materialisation of spirits; miracles of healing;
and messages from the dead, such as that which converted the
hard-headed Scot, Robert Chambers, when Home repeated to him the actual
dying words of his young daughter.  All this came from a man of so
sweet a nature and of so charitable a disposition, that the union of
all qualities would seem almost to justify those who, to Home's great
embarrassment, were prepared to place him upon a pedestal above
humanity.

The genuineness of his psychic powers has never been seriously
questioned, and was as well recognised in Rome and Paris as in London.
One incident only darkened his career, and it, was one in which he was
blameless, as anyone who carefully weighs the evidence must admit.  I
allude to the action taken against him by Mrs. Lyon, who, after
adopting him as her son and settling a large sum of money upon him,
endeavoured to regain, and did regain, this money by her unsupported
assertion that he had persuaded her illicitly to make him the
allowance.  The facts of his life are, in my judgment, ample proof of
the truth of the Spiritualist position, if no other proof at all had
been available.  It is to be remarked in the career of this entirely
honest and unvenal medium that he had periods in his life when his
powers deserted him completely, that he could foresee these lapses, and
that, being honest and unvenal, he simply abstained from all attempts
until the power returned.  It is this intermittent character of the
gift which is, in my opinion, responsible for cases when a medium who
has passed the most rigid tests upon certain occasions is afterwards
detected in simulating, very clumsily, the results which he had once
successfully accomplished.  The real power having failed, he has not
the moral courage to admit it, nor the self-denial to forego his fee
which he endeavours to earn by a travesty of what was once genuine.
Such an explanation would cover some facts which otherwise are hard to
reconcile.  We must also admit that some mediums are extremely
irresponsible and feather-headed people.  A friend of mine, who sat
with Eusapia Palladino, assured me that he saw her cheat in the most
childish and bare-faced fashion, and yet immediately afterwards
incidents occurred which were absolutely beyond any, normal powers to
produce.

Apart from Home, another episode which marks a stage in the advance of
this movement was the investigation and report by the Dialectical
Society in the year 1869.  This body was composed of men of various
learned professions who gathered together to investigate the alleged
facts, and ended by reporting that they really WERE facts.  They were
unbiased, and their conclusions were founded upon results which were
very soberly set forth in their report, a most convincing document
which, even now in 1919, after the lapse of fifty years, is far more
intelligent than the greater part of current opinion upon this subject.
None the less, it was greeted by a chorus of ridicule by the ignorant
Press of that day, who, if the same men had come to the opposite
conclusion in spite of the evidence, would have been ready to hail
their verdict as the undoubted end of a pernicious movement.

In the early days, about 1863, a book was written by Mrs. de Morgan,
the wife of the well-known mathematician Professor de Morgan, entitled
"From Matter to Spirit."  There is a sympathetic preface by the
husband.  The book is still well worth reading, for it is a question
whether anyone has shown greater brain power in treating the subject.
In it the prophecy is made that as the movement develops the more
material phenomena will decrease and their place be taken by the more
spiritual, such as automatic writing.  This forecast has been
fulfilled, for though physical mediums still exist the other more
subtle forms greatly predominate, and call for far more discriminating
criticism in judging their value and their truth.  Two very convincing
forms of mediumship, the direct voice and spirit photography, have also
become prominent.  Each of these presents such proof that it is
impossible for the sceptic to face them, and he can only avoid them by
ignoring them.

In the case of the direct voice one of the leading exponents is Mrs.
French, an amateur medium in America, whose work is described both by
Mr. Funk and Mr. Randall.  She is a frail elderly lady, yet in her
presence the most masculine and robust voices make communications, even
when her own mouth is covered.  I have myself investigated the direct
voice in the case of four different mediums, two of them amateurs, and
can have no doubt of the reality of the voices, and that they are not
the effect of ventriloquism.  I was more struck by the failures than by
the successes, and cannot easily forget the passionate pantings with
which some entity strove hard to reveal his identity to me, but without
success.  One of these mediums was tested afterwards by having the
mouth filled with coloured water, but the voice continued as before.

As to spirit photography, the most successful results are obtained by
the Crewe circle in England, under the mediumship of Mr. Hope and Mrs.
Buxton.[2]  I have seen scores of these photographs, which in several
cases reproduce exact images of the dead which do not correspond with
any pictures of them taken during life.  I have seen father, mother,
and dead soldier son, all taken together with the dead son looking far
the happier and not the least substantial of the three.  It is in these
varied forms of proof that the impregnable strength of the evidence
lies, for how absurd do explanations of telepathy, unconscious
cerebration or cosmic memory become when faced by such phenomena as
spirit photography, materialisation, or the direct voice.  Only one
hypothesis can cover every branch of these manifestations, and that is
the system of extraneous life and action which has always, for seventy
years, held the field for any reasonable mind which had impartially
considered the facts.

I have spoken of the need for careful and cool-headed analysis in
judging the evidence where automatic writing is concerned.  One is
bound to exclude spirit explanations until all natural ones have been
exhausted, though I do not include among natural ones the extreme
claims of far-fetched telepathy such as that another person can read in
your thoughts things of which you were never yourself aware.  Such
explanations are not explanations, but mystifications and absurdities,
though they seem to have a special attraction for a certain sort of
psychical researcher, who is obviously destined to go on researching to
the end of time, without ever reaching any conclusion save that of the
patience of those who try to follow his reasoning.  To give a good
example of valid automatic script, chosen out of many which I could
quote, I would draw the reader's attention to the facts as to the
excavations at Glastonbury, as detailed in "The Gate of Remembrance" by
Mr. Bligh Bond.  Mr. Bligh Bond, by the way, is not a Spiritualist, but
the same cannot be said of the writer of the automatic script, an
amateur medium, who was able to indicate the secrets of the buried
abbey, which were proved to be correct when the ruins were uncovered.
I can truly say that, though I have read much of the old monastic life,
it has never been brought home to me so closely as by the messages and
descriptions of dear old Brother Johannes, the earth-bound
spirit--earthbound by his great love for the old abbey in which he had
spent his human life.  This book, with its practical sequel, may be
quoted as an excellent example of automatic writing at its highest, for
what telepathic explanation can cover the detailed description of
objects which lie unseen by any human eye?  It must be admitted,
however, that in automatic writing you are at one end of the telephone,
if one may use such a simile, and you have, no assurance as to who is
at the other end.  You may have wildly false messages suddenly
interpolated among truthful ones--messages so detailed in their
mendacity that it is impossible to think that they are not deliberately
false.  When once we have accepted the central fact that spirits change
little in essentials when leaving the body, and that in consequence the
world is infested by many low and mischievous types, one can understand
that these untoward incidents are rather a confirmation of Spiritualism
than an argument against it.  Personally I have received and have been
deceived by several such messages.  At the same time I can say that
after an experience of thirty years of such communications I have never
known a blasphemous, an obscene or an unkind sentence come through.  I
admit, however, that I have heard of such cases.  Like attracts like,
and one should know one's human company before one joins in such
intimate and reverent rites.  In clairvoyance the same sudden
inexplicable deceptions appear.  I have closely followed the work of
one female medium, a professional, whose results are so extraordinarily
good that in a favourable case she will give the full names of the
deceased as well as the most definite and convincing test messages.
Yet among this splendid series of results I have notes of several in
which she was a complete failure and absolutely wrong upon essentials.
How can this be explained?  We can only answer that conditions were
obviously not propitious, but why or how are among the many problems of
the future.  It is a profound and most complicated subject, however
easily it may be settled by the "ridiculous nonsense" school of
critics.  I look at the row of books upon the left of my desk as I
write--ninety-six solid volumes, many of them annotated and well
thumbed, and yet I know that I am like a child wading ankle deep in the
margin of an illimitable ocean.  But this, at least, I have very
clearly realised, that the ocean is there and that the margin is part
of it, and that down that shelving shore the human race is destined to
move slowly to deeper waters.  In the next chapter, I will endeavour to
show what is the purpose of the Creator in this strange revelation of
new intelligent forces impinging upon our planet.  It is this view of
the question which must justify the claim that this movement, so long
the subject of sneers and ridicule, is absolutely the most important
development in the whole history of the human race, so important that,
if we could conceive one single man discovering and publishing it, he
would rank before Christopher Columbus as a discoverer of new worlds,
before Paul as a teacher of new religious truths, and before Isaac
Newton as a student of the laws of the Universe.

Before opening up this subject there is one consideration which should
have due weight, and yet seems continually to be overlooked.  The
differences between various sects are a very small thing as compared to
the great eternal duel between materialism and the spiritual view of
the Universe.  That is the real fight.  It is a fight in which the
Churches championed the anti-material view, but they have done it so
unintelligently, and have been continually placed in such false
positions, that they have always been losing.  Since the days of Hume
and Voltaire and Gibbon the fight has slowly but steadily rolled in
favour of the attack.  Then came Darwin, showing with apparent truth,
that man has never fallen but always risen.  This cut deep into the
philosophy of orthodoxy, and it is folly to deny it.  Then again came
the so-called "Higher Criticism," showing alleged flaws and cracks in
the very foundations.  All this time the churches were yielding ground,
and every retreat gave a fresh jumping-off place for a new assault.  It
has gone so far that at the present moment a very large section of the
people of this country, rich and poor, are out of all sympathy not only
with the churches but with the whole Spiritual view.  Now, we intervene
with our positive knowledge and actual proof--an ally so powerful that
we are capable of turning the whole tide of battle and rolling it back
for ever against materialism.  We can say:  "We will meet you on your
own ground and show you by material and scientific tests that the soul
and personality survive."  That is the aim of Psychic Science, and it
has been fully attained.  It means an end to materialism for ever.  And
yet this movement, this Spiritual movement, is hooted at and reviled by
Rome, by Canterbury and even by Little Bethel, each of them for once
acting in concert, and including in their battle line such strange
allies as the Scientific Agnostics and the militant Free-thinkers.
Father Vaughan and the Bishop of London, the Rev. F. B. Meyer and Mr.
Clodd, "The Church Times" and "The Freethinker," are united in battle,
though they fight with very different battle cries, the one declaring
that the thing is of the devil, while the other is equally clear that
it does not exist at all.  The opposition of the materialists is
absolutely intelligent since it is clear that any man who has spent his
life in saying "No" to all extramundane forces is, indeed, in a
pitiable position when, after many years, he has to recognise that his
whole philosophy is built upon sand and that "Yes" was the answer from
the beginning.  But as to the religious bodies, what words can express
their stupidity and want of all proportion in not running halfway and
more to meet the greatest ally who has ever intervened to change their
defeat into victory?  What gifts this all-powerful ally brings with
him, and what are the terms of his alliance, will now be considered.



CHAPTER III

THE GREAT ARGUMENT


The physical basis of all psychic belief is that the soul is a complete
duplicate of the body, resembling it in the smallest particular,
although constructed in some far more tenuous material.  In ordinary
conditions these two bodies are intermingled so that the identity of
the finer one is entirely obscured.  At death, however, and under
certain conditions in the course of life, the two divide and can be
seen separately.  Death differs from the conditions of separation
before death in that there is a complete break between the two bodies,
and life is carried on entirely by the lighter of the two, while the
heavier, like a cocoon from which the living occupant has escaped,
degenerates and disappears, the world burying the cocoon with much
solemnity by taking little pains to ascertain what has become of its
nobler contents.  It is a vain thing to urge that science has not
admitted this contention, and that the statement is pure dogmatism.
The science which has not examined the facts has, it is true, not
admitted the contention, but its opinion is manifestly worthless, or at
the best of less weight than that of the humblest student of psychic
phenomena.  The real science which has examined the facts is the only
valid authority, and it is practically unanimous.  I have made personal
appeals to at least one great leader of science to examine the facts,
however superficially, without any success, while Sir William Crookes
appealed to Sir George Stokes, the Secretary of the Royal Society, one
of the most bitter opponents of the movement, to come down to his
laboratory and see the psychic force at work, but he took no notice.
What weight has science of that sort?  It can only be compared to that
theological prejudice which caused the Ecclesiastics in the days of
Galileo to refuse to look through the telescope which he held out to
them.

It is possible to write down the names of fifty professors in great
seats of learning who have examined and endorsed these facts, and the
list would include many of the greatest intellects which the world has
produced in our time--Flammarion and Lombroso, Charles Richet and
Russel Wallace, Willie Reichel, Myers, Zollner, James, Lodge, and
Crookes.  Therefore the facts HAVE been endorsed by the only science
that has the right to express an opinion.  I have never, in my thirty
years of experience, known one single scientific man who went
thoroughly into this matter and did not end by accepting the Spiritual
solution.  Such may exist, but I repeat that I have never heard of him.
Let us, then, with confidence examine this matter of the "spiritual
body," to use the term made classical by Saint Paul.  There are many
signs in his writings that Paul was deeply versed in psychic matters,
and one of these is his exact definition of the natural and spiritual
bodies in the service which is the final farewell to life of every
Christian.  Paul picked his words, and if he had meant that man
consisted of a natural body and a spirit he would have said so.  When
he said "a spiritual body" he meant a body which contained the spirit
and yet was distinct from the ordinary natural body.  That is exactly
what psychic science has now shown to be true.

When a man has taken hashish or certain other drugs, he not
infrequently has the experience that he is standing or floating beside
his own body, which he can see stretched senseless upon the couch.  So
also under anaesthetics, particularly under laughing gas, many people
are conscious of a detachment from their bodies, and of experiences at
a distance.  I have myself seen very clearly my wife and children
inside a cab while I was senseless in the dentist's chair.  Again, when
a man is fainting or dying, and his system in an unstable condition, it
is asserted in very many definite instances that he can, and does,
manifest himself to others at a distance.  These phantasms of the
living, which have been so carefully explored and docketed by Messrs.
Myers and Gurney, ran into hundreds of cases.  Some people claim that
by an effort of will they can, after going to sleep, propel their own
doubles in the direction which they desire, and visit those whom they
wish to see.  Thus there is a great volume of evidence--how great no
man can say who has not spent diligent years in exploring it--which
vouches for the existence of this finer body containing the precious
jewels of the mind and spirit, and leaving only gross confused animal
functions in its heavier companion.

Mr. Funk, who is a critical student of psychic phenomena, and also the
joint compiler of the standard American dictionary, narrates a story in
point which could be matched from other sources.  He tells of an
American doctor of his acquaintance, and he vouches personally for the
truth of the incident.  This doctor, in the course of a cataleptic
seizure in Florida, was aware that he had left his body, which he saw
lying beside him.  He had none the less preserved his figure and his
identity.  The thought of some friend at a distance came into his mind,
and after an appreciable interval he found himself in that friend's
room, half way across the continent.  He saw his friend, and was
conscious that his friend saw him.  He afterwards returned to his own
room, stood beside his own senseless body, argued within himself
whether he should re-occupy it or not, and finally, duty overcoming
inclination, he merged his two frames together and continued his life.
A letter from him to his friend explaining matters crossed a letter
from the friend, in which he told how he also had been aware of his
presence.  The incident is narrated in detail in Mr. Funk's "Psychic
Riddle."

I do not understand how any man can examine the many instances coming
from various angles of approach without recognising that there really
is a second body of this sort, which incidentally goes far to account
for all stories, sacred or profane, of ghosts, apparitions and visions.
Now, what is this second body, and how does it fit into modern
religious revelation?

What it is, is a difficult question, and yet when science and
imagination unite, as Tyndall said they should unite, to throw a
searchlight into the unknown, they may produce a beam sufficient to
outline vaguely what will become clearer with the future advance of our
race.  Science has demonstrated that while ether pervades everything
the ether which is actually in a body is different from the ether
outside it.  "Bound" ether is the name given to this, which Fresnel and
others have shown to be denser.  Now, if this fact be applied to the
human body, the result would be that, if all that is visible of that
body were removed, there would still remain a complete and absolute
mould of the body, formed in bound ether which would be different from
the ether around it.  This argument is more solid than mere
speculation, and it shows that even the soul may come to be defined in
terms of matter and is not altogether "such stuff as dreams are made
of."

It has been shown that there is some good evidence for the existence of
this second body apart from psychic religion, but to those who have
examined that religion it is the centre of the whole system,
sufficiently real to be recognised by clairvoyants, to be heard by
clairaudients, and even to make an exact impression upon a photographic
plate.  Of the latter phenomenon, of which I have had some very
particular opportunities of judging, I have no more doubt than I have
of the ordinary photography of commerce.  It had already been shown by
the astronomers that the sensitized plate is a more delicate recording
instrument than the human retina, and that it can show stars upon a
long exposure which the eye has never seen.  It would appear that the
spirit world is really so near to us that a very little extra help
under correct conditions of mediumship will make all the difference.
Thus the plate, instead of the eye, may bring the loved face within the
range of vision, while the trumpet, acting as a megaphone, may bring
back the familiar voice where the spirit whisper with no mechanical aid
was still inaudible.  So loud may the latter phenomenon be that in one
case, of which I have the record, the dead man's dog was so excited at
hearing once more his master's voice that he broke his chain, and
deeply scarred the outside of the seance room door in his efforts to
force an entrance.

Now, having said so much of the spirit body, and having indicated that
its presence is not vouched for by only one line of evidence or school
of thought, let us turn to what happens at the time of death, according
to the observation of clairvoyants on this side and the posthumous
accounts of the dead upon the other.  It is exactly what we should
expect to happen, granted the double identity.  In a painless and
natural process the lighter disengages itself from the heavier, and
slowly draws itself off until it stands with the same mind, the same
emotions, and an exactly similar body, beside the couch of death, aware
of those around and yet unable to make them aware of it, save where
that finer spiritual eyesight called clairvoyance exists.  How, we may
well ask, can it see without the natural organs?  How did the hashish
victim see his own unconscious body?  How did the Florida doctor see
his friend?  There is a power of perception in the spiritual body which
does give the power.  We can say no more.  To the clairvoyant the new
spirit seems like a filmy outline.  To the ordinary man it is
invisible.  To another spirit it would, no doubt, seem as normal and
substantial as we appear to each other.  There is some evidence that it
refines with time, and is therefore nearer to the material at the
moment of death or closely after it, than after a lapse of months or
years.  Hence, it is that apparitions of the dead are most clear and
most common about the time of death, and hence also, no doubt, the fact
that the cataleptic physician already quoted was seen and recognised by
his friend.  The meshes of his ether, if the phrase be permitted, were
still heavy with the matter from which they had only just been
disentangled.

Having disengaged itself from grosser matter, what happens to this
spirit body, the precious bark which bears our all in all upon this
voyage into unknown seas?  Very many accounts have come back to us,
verbal and written, detailing the experiences of those who have passed
on.  The verbal are by trance mediums, whose utterances appear to be
controlled by outside intelligences.  The written from automatic
writers whose script is produced in the same way.  At these words the
critic naturally and reasonably shies, with a "What nonsense!  How can
you control the statement of this medium who is consciously or
unconsciously pretending to inspiration?"  This is a healthy
scepticism, and should animate every experimenter who tests a new
medium.  The proofs must lie in the communication itself.  If they are
not present, then, as always, we must accept natural rather than
unknown explanations.  But they are continually present, and in such
obvious forms that no one can deny them.  There is a certain
professional medium to whom I have sent many, mothers who were in need
of consolation.  I always ask the applicants to report the result to
me, and I have their letters of surprise and gratitude before me as I
write.  "Thank you for this beautiful and interesting experience.  She
did not make a single mistake about their names, and everything she
said was correct."  In this case there was a rift between husband and
wife before death, but the medium was able, unaided, to explain and
clear up the whole matter, mentioning the correct circumstances, and
names of everyone concerned, and showing the reasons for the
non-arrival of certain letters, which had been the cause of the
misunderstanding.  The next case was also one of husband and wife, but
it is the husband who is the survivor.  He says:  "It was a most
successful sitting.  Among other things, I addressed a remark in Danish
to my wife (who is a Danish girl), and the answer came back in English
without the least hesitation."  The next case was again of a man who
had lost a very dear male friend.  "I have had the most wonderful
results with Mrs. ---- to-day.  I cannot tell you the joy it has been
to me.  Many grateful thanks for your help."  The next one says:  "Mrs.
---- was simply wonderful.  If only more people knew, what agony they
would be spared."  In this case the wife got in touch with the husband,
and the medium mentioned correctly five dead relatives who were in his
company.  The next is a case of mother and son.  "I saw Mrs. ----
to-day, and obtained very wonderful results.  She told me nearly
everything quite correctly--a very few mistakes."  The next is similar.
"We were quite successful.  My boy even reminded me of something that
only he and I knew."  Says another:  "My boy reminded me of the day
when he sowed turnip seed upon the lawn.  Only he could have known of
this."  These are fair samples of the letters, of which I hold a large
number.  They are from people who present themselves from among the
millions living in London, or the provinces, and about whose affairs
the medium had no possible normal way of knowing.  Of all the very
numerous cases which I have sent to this medium I have only had a few
which have been complete failures.  On quoting my results to Sir Oliver
Lodge, he remarked that his own experience with another medium had been
almost identical.  It is no exaggeration to say that our British
telephone systems would probably give a larger proportion of useless
calls.  How is any critic to get beyond these facts save by ignoring or
misrepresenting them?  Healthy, scepticism is the basis of all accurate
observation, but there comes a time when incredulity means either
culpable ignorance or else imbecility, and this time has been long past
in the matter of spirit intercourse.

In my own case, this medium mentioned correctly the first name of a
lady who had died in our house, gave several very characteristic
messages from her, described the only two dogs which we have ever kept,
and ended by saying that a young officer was holding up a gold coin by
which I would recognise him.  I had lost my brother-in-law, an army
doctor, in the war, and I had given him a spade guinea for his first
fee, which he always wore on his chain.  There were not more than two
or three close relatives who knew about this incident, so that the test
was a particularly good one.  She made no incorrect statements, though
some were vague.  After I had revealed the identity of this medium
several pressmen attempted to have test seances with her--a test seance
being, in most cases, a seance which begins by breaking every psychic
condition and making success most improbable.  One of these gentlemen,
Mr. Ulyss Rogers, had very fair results.  Another sent from "Truth" had
complete failure.  It must be understood that these powers do not work
from the medium, but through the medium, and that the forces in the
beyond have not the least sympathy with a smart young pressman in
search of clever copy, while they have a very different feeling to a
bereaved mother who prays with all her broken heart that some assurance
may be given her that the child of her love is not gone from her for
ever.  When this fact is mastered, and it is understood that "Stand and
deliver" methods only excite gentle derision on the other side, we
shall find some more intelligent manner of putting things of the spirit
to the proof.[3]

I have dwelt upon these results, which could be matched by other
mediums, to show that we have solid and certain reasons to say that the
verbal reports are not from the mediums themselves.  Readers of Arthur
Hill's "Psychical Investigations" will find many even more convincing
cases.  So in the written communications, I have in a previous paper
pointed to the "Gate of Remembrance" case, but there is a great mass of
material which proves that, in spite of mistakes and failures, there
really is a channel of communication, fitful and evasive sometimes, but
entirely beyond coincidence or fraud.  These, then, are the usual means
by which we receive psychic messages, though table tilting, ouija
boards, glasses upon a smooth surface, or anything which can be moved
by the vital animal-magnetic force already discussed will equally serve
the purpose.  Often information is conveyed orally or by writing which
could not have been known to anyone concerned.  Mr. Wilkinson has given
details of the case where his dead son drew attention to the fact that
a curio (a coin bent by a bullet) had been overlooked among his
effects.  Sir William Barrett has narrated how a young officer sent a
message leaving a pearl tie-pin to a friend.  No one knew that such a
pin existed, but it was found among his things.  The death of Sir Hugh
Lane was given at a private seance in Dublin before the details of the
Lusitania disaster had been published.[4]  On that morning we
ourselves, in a small seance, got the message "It is terrible,
terrible, and will greatly affect the war," at a time when we were
convinced that no great loss of life could have occurred.  Such
examples are very numerous, and are only quoted here to show how
impossible it is to invoke telepathy as the origin of such messages.
There is only one explanation which covers the facts.  They are what
they say they are, messages from those who have passed on, from the
spiritual body which was seen to rise from the deathbed, which has been
so often photographed, which pervades all religion in every age, and
which has been able, under proper circumstances, to materialise back
into a temporary solidity so that it could walk and talk like a mortal,
whether in Jerusalem two thousand years ago, or in the laboratory of
Mr. Crookes, in Mornington Road, London.

Let us for a moment examine the facts in this Crookes' episode.  A
small book exists which describes them, though it is not as accessible
as it should be.  In these wonderful experiments, which extended over
several years, Miss Florrie Cook, who was a young lady of from 16 to 18
years of age, was repeatedly confined in Prof. Crookes' study, the door
being locked on the inside.  Here she lay unconscious upon a couch.
The spectators assembled in the laboratory, which was separated by a
curtained opening from the study.  After a short interval, through this
opening there emerged a lady who was in all ways different from Miss
Cook.  She gave her earth name as Katie King, and she proclaimed
herself to be a materialised spirit, whose mission it was to carry the
knowledge of immortality to mortals.

She was of great beauty of face, figure, and manner.  She was four and
a half inches taller than Miss Cook, fair, whereas the latter was dark,
and as different from her as one woman could be from another.  Her
pulse rate was markedly slower.  She became for the time entirely one
of the company, walking about, addressing each person present, and
taking delight in the children.  She made no objection to photography
or any other test.  Forty-eight photographs of different degrees of
excellence were made of her.  She was seen at the same time as the
medium on several occasions.  Finally she departed, saying that her
mission was over and that she had other work to do.  When she vanished
materialism should have vanished also, if mankind had taken adequate
notice of the facts.

Now, what can the fair-minded inquirer say to such a story as that--one
of many, but for the moment we are concentrating upon it?  Was Mr.
Crookes a blasphemous liar?  But there were very many witnesses, as
many sometimes as eight at a single sitting.  And there are the
photographs which include Miss Cook and show that the two women were
quite different.  Was he honestly mistaken?  But that is inconceivable.
Read the original narrative and see if you can find any solution save
that it is true.  If a man can read that sober, cautious statement and
not be convinced, then assuredly his brain, is out of gear.  Finally,
ask yourself whether any religious manifestation in the world has had
anything like the absolute proof which lies in this one.  Cannot the
orthodox see that instead of combating such a story, or talking
nonsense about devils, they should hail that which is indeed the final
answer to that materialism which is their really dangerous enemy.  Even
as I write, my eye falls upon a letter on my desk from an officer who
had lost all faith in immortality and become an absolute materialist.
"I came to dread my return home, for I cannot stand hypocrisy, and I
knew well my attitude would cause some members of my family deep grief.
Your book has now brought me untold comfort, and I can face the future
cheerfully."  Are these fruits from the Devil's tree, you timid
orthodox critic?

Having then got in touch with our dead, we proceed, naturally, to ask
them how it is with them, and under what conditions they exist.  It is
a very vital question, since what has befallen them yesterday will
surely befall us to-morrow.  But the answer is tidings of great joy.
Of the new vital message to humanity nothing is more important than
that.  It rolls away all those horrible man-bred fears and fancies,
founded upon morbid imaginations and the wild phrases of the oriental.
We come upon what is sane, what is moderate, what is reasonable, what
is consistent with gradual evolution and with the benevolence of God.
Were there ever any conscious blasphemers upon earth who have insulted
the Deity so deeply as those extremists, be they Calvinist, Roman
Catholic, Anglican, or Jew, who pictured with their distorted minds an
implacable torturer as the Ruler of the Universe!

The truth of what is told us as to the life beyond can in its very
nature never be absolutely established.  It is far nearer to complete
proof, however, than any religious revelation which has ever preceded
it.  We have the fact that these accounts are mixed up with others
concerning our present life which are often absolutely true.  If a
spirit can tell the truth about our sphere, it is difficult to suppose
that he is entirely false about his own.  Then, again, there is a very
great similarity about such accounts, though their origin may be from
people very far apart.  Thus though "non-veridical," to use the modern
jargon, they do conform to all our canons of evidence.  A series of
books which have attracted far less attention than they deserve have
drawn the coming life in very close detail.  These books are not found
on railway bookstalls or in popular libraries, but the successive
editions through which they pass show that there is a deeper public
which gets what it wants in spite of artificial obstacles.

Looking over the list of my reading I find, besides nearly a dozen very
interesting and detailed manuscript accounts, such published narratives
as "Claude's Book," purporting to come from a young British  aviator;
"Thy Son Liveth," from an American soldier, "Private Dowding";
"Raymond," from a British soldier; "Do Thoughts Perish?" which contains
accounts from several British soldiers and others; "I Heard a Voice,"
where a well-known K.C., through the mediumship of his two young
daughters, has a very full revelation of the life beyond; "After
Death," with the alleged experiences of the famous Miss Julia Ames;
"The Seven Purposes," from an American pressman, and many others.  They
differ much in literary skill and are not all equally impressive, but
the point which must strike any impartial mind is the general agreement
of these various accounts as to the conditions of spirit life.  An
examination would show that some of them must have been in the press at
the same time, so that they could not have each inspired the other.
"Claude's Book" and "Thy Son Liveth" appeared at nearly the same time
on different sides of the Atlantic, but they agree very closely.
"Raymond" and "Do Thoughts Perish?" must also have been in the press
together, but the scheme of things is exactly the same.  Surely the
agreement of witnesses must here, as in all cases, be accounted as a
test of truth.  They differ mainly, as it seems to me, when they deal
with their own future including speculations as to reincarnation, etc.,
which may well be as foggy to them as it is to us, or systems of
philosophy where again individual opinion is apparent.

Of all these accounts the one which is most deserving of study is
"Raymond."  This is so because it has been compiled from several famous
mediums working independently of each other, and has been checked and
chronicled by a man who is not only one of the foremost scientists of
the world, and probably the leading intellectual force in Europe, but
one who has also had a unique experience of the precautions necessary
for the observation of psychic phenomena.  The bright and sweet nature
of the young soldier upon the other side, and his eagerness to tell of
his experience is also a factor which will appeal to those who are
already satisfied as to the truth of the communications.  For all these
reasons it is a most important document--indeed it would be no
exaggeration to say that it is one of the most important in recent
literature.  It is, as I believe, an authentic account of the life in
the beyond, and it is often more interesting from its sidelights and
reservations than for its actual assertions, though the latter bear the
stamp of absolute frankness and sincerity.  The compilation is in some
ways faulty.  Sir Oliver has not always the art of writing so as to be
understanded of the people, and his deeper and more weighty thoughts
get in the way of the clear utterances of his son.  Then again, in his
anxiety to be absolutely accurate, Sir Oliver has reproduced the fact
that sometimes Raymond is speaking direct, and sometimes the control is
reporting what Raymond is saying, so that the same paragraph may turn
several times from the first person to the third in a manner which must
be utterly unintelligible to those who are not versed in the subject.
Sir Oliver will, I am sure, not be offended if I say that, having
satisfied his conscience by the present edition, he should now leave it
for reference, and put forth a new one which should contain nothing but
the words of Raymond and his spirit friends.  Such a book, published at
a low price, would, I think, have an amazing effect, and get all this
new teaching to the spot that God has marked for it--the minds and
hearts of the people.

So much has been said here about mediumship that perhaps it would be
well to consider this curious condition a little more closely.  The
question of mediumship, what it is and how it acts, is one of the most
mysterious in the whole range of science.  It is a common objection to
say if our dead are there why should we only hear of them through
people by no means remarkable for moral or mental gifts, who are often
paid for their ministration.  It is a plausible argument, and yet when
we receive a telegram from a brother in Australia we do not say: "It is
strange that Tom should not communicate with me direct, but that the
presence of that half-educated fellow in the telegraph office should be
necessary."  The medium is in truth a mere passive machine, clerk and
telegraph in one.  Nothing comes FROM him.  Every message is THROUGH
him.  Why he or she should have the power more than anyone else is a
very interesting problem.  This power may best be defined as the
capacity for allowing the bodily powers, physical or mental, to be used
by an outside influence.  In its higher forms there is temporary
extinction of personality and the substitution of some other
controlling spirit.  At such times the medium may entirely lose
consciousness, or he may retain it and be aware of some external
experience which has been enjoyed by his own entity while his bodily
house has been filled by the temporary tenant.  Or the medium may
retain consciousness, and with eyes and ears attuned to a higher key
than the normal man can attain, he may see and hear what is beyond our
senses.  Or in writing mediumship, a motor centre of the brain
regulating the nerves and muscles of the arm may be controlled while
all else seems to be normal.  Or it may take the more material form of
the exudation of a strange white evanescent dough-like substance called
the ectoplasm, which has been frequently photographed by scientific
enquirers in different stages of its evolution, and which seems to
possess an inherent quality of shaping itself into parts or the whole
of a body, beginning in a putty-like mould and ending in a resemblance
to perfect human members.  Or the ectoplasm, which seems to be an
emanation of the medium to the extent that whatever it may weigh is so
much subtracted from his substance, may be used as projections or rods
which can convey objects or lift weights.  A friend, in whose judgment
and veracity I have absolute confidence, was present at one of Dr.
Crawford's experiments with Kathleen Goligher, who is, it may be
remarked, an unpaid medium.  My friend touched the column of force, and
found it could be felt by the hand though invisible to the eye.  It is
clear that we are in touch with some entirely new form both of matter
and of energy.  We know little of the properties of this extraordinary
substance save that in its materialising form it seems extremely
sensitive to the action of light.  A figure built up in it and detached
from the medium dissolves in light quicker than a snow image under a
tropical sun, so that two successive flash-light photographs would show
the one a perfect figure, and the next an amorphous mass.  When still
attached to the medium the ectoplasm flies back with great force on
exposure to light, and, in spite of the laughter of the scoffers, there
is none the less good evidence that several mediums have been badly
injured by the recoil after a light has suddenly been struck by some
amateur detective.  Professor Geley has, in his recent experiments,
described the ectoplasm as appearing outside the black dress of his
medium as if a hoar frost had descended upon her, then coalescing into
a continuous sheet of white substance, and oozing down until it formed
a sort of apron in front of her.[5] This process he has illustrated by
a very complete series of photographs.

These are a few of the properties of mediumship.  There are also the
beautiful phenomena of the production of lights, and the rarer, but for
evidential purposes even more valuable, manifestations of spirit
photography.  The fact that the photograph does not correspond in many
cases with any which existed in life, must surely silence the scoffer,
though there is a class of bigoted sceptic who would still be sneering
if an Archangel alighted in Trafalgar Square.  Mr. Hope and Mrs.
Buxton, of Crewe, have brought this phase of mediumship to great
perfection, though others have powers in that direction.  Indeed, in
some cases it is difficult to say who the medium may have been, for in
one collective family group which was taken in the ordinary way, and
was sent me by a master in a well known public school, the young son
who died has appeared in the plate seated between his two little
brothers.

As to the personality of mediums, they have seemed to me to be very
average specimens of the community, neither markedly better nor
markedly worse.  I know many, and I have never met anything in the
least like "Sludge," a poem which Browning might be excused for writing
in some crisis of domestic disagreement, but which it was inexcusable
to republish since it is admitted to be a concoction, and the exposure
described to have been imaginary.  The critic often uses the term
medium as if it necessarily meant a professional, whereas every
investigator has found some of his best results among amateurs.  In the
two finest seances I ever attended, the psychic, in each case a man of
moderate means, was resolutely determined never directly or indirectly
to profit by his gift, though it entailed very exhausting physical
conditions.  I have not heard of a clergyman of any denomination who
has attained such a pitch of altruism--nor is it reasonable to expect
it.  As to professional mediums, Mr. Vout Peters, one of the most
famous, is a diligent collector of old books and an authority upon the
Elizabethan drama; while Mr. Dickinson, another very remarkable
discerner of spirits, who named twenty-four correctly during two
meetings held on the same day, is employed in loading canal barges.
This man is one gifted clairvoyants in  England, though Tom Tyrrell the
weaver, Aaron Wilkinson, and others are very marvellous.  Tyrrell, who
is a man of the Anthony of Padua type, a walking saint, beloved of
animals and children, is a figure who might have stepped out of some
legend of the church.  Thomas, the powerful physical medium, is a
working coal miner.  Most mediums take their responsibilities very
seriously and view their work in a religious light.  There is no
denying that they are exposed to very particular temptations, for the
gift is, as I have explained elsewhere, an intermittent one, and to
admit its temporary absence, and so discourage one's clients, needs
greater moral principle than all men possess.  Another temptation to
which several great mediums have succumbed is that of drink.  This
comes about in a very natural way, for overworking the power leaves
them in a state of physical prostration, and the stimulus of alcohol
affords a welcome relief, and may tend at last to become a custom and
finally a curse.  Alcoholism always weakens the moral sense, so that
these degenerate mediums yield themselves more readily to fraud, with
the result that several who had deservedly won honoured names and met
all hostile criticism have, in their later years, been detected in the
most contemptible tricks.  It is a thousand pities that it should be
so, but if the Court of Arches were to give up its secrets, it would be
found that tippling and moral degeneration were by no means confined to
psychics.  At the same time, a psychic is so peculiarly sensitive that
I think he or she would always be well advised to be a life long
abstainer--as many actually are.

As to the method by which they attain their results they have, when in
the trance state, no recollection.  In the case of normal clairvoyants
and clairaudients, the information comes in different ways.  Sometimes
it is no more than a strong mental impression which gives a name or an
address.  Sometimes they say that they see it written up before them.
Sometimes the spirit figures seem to call it to them.  "They yell it at
me," said one.

We need more first-hand accounts of these matters before we can
formulate laws.

It has been stated in a previous book by the author, but it will bear
repetition, that the use of the seance should, in his opinion, be
carefully regulated as well as reverently conducted.  Having once
satisfied himself of the absolute existence of the unseen world, and of
its proximity to our own, the inquirer has got the great gift which
psychical investigation can give him, and thenceforth he can regulate
his life upon the lines which the teaching from beyond has shown to be
the best.  There is much force in the criticism that too constant
intercourse with the affairs of another world may distract our
attention and weaken our powers in dealing with our obvious duties in
this one.  A seance, with the object of satisfying curiosity or of
rousing interest, cannot be an elevating influence, and the mere
sensation-monger can make this holy and wonderful thing as base as the
over-indulgence in a stimulant.  On the other hand, where the seance is
used for the purpose of satisfying ourselves as to the condition of
those whom we have lost, or of giving comfort to others who crave for a
word from beyond, then it is, indeed, a blessed gift from God to be
used with moderation and with thankfulness.  Our loved ones have their
own pleasant tasks in their new surroundings, and though they assure us
that they love to clasp the hands which we stretch out to them, we
should still have some hesitation in intruding to an unreasonable
extent upon the routine of their lives.

A word should be said as to that fear of fiends and evil spirits which
appears to have so much weight with some of the critics of this
subject.  When one looks more closely at this emotion it seems somewhat
selfish and cowardly.  These creatures are in truth our own backward
brothers, bound for the same ultimate destination as ourselves, but
retarded by causes for which our earth conditions may have been partly
responsible.  Our pity and sympathy should go out to them, and if they
do indeed manifest at a seance, the proper Christian attitude is, as it
seems to me, that we should reason with them and pray for them in order
to help them upon their difficult way.  Those who have treated them in
this way have found a very marked difference in the subsequent
communications.  In Admiral Usborne Moore's "Glimpses of the Next
State" there will be found some records of an American circle which
devoted itself entirely to missionary work of this sort.  There is some
reason to believe that there are forms of imperfect development which
can be helped more by earthly than by purely spiritual influences, for
the reason, perhaps, that they are closer to the material.

In a recent case I was called in to endeavour to check a very noisy
entity which frequented an old house in which there were strong reasons
to believe that crime had been committed, and also that the criminal
was earth-bound.  Names were given by the unhappy spirit which proved
to be correct, and a cupboard was described, which was duly found,
though it had never before been suspected.  On getting into touch with
the spirit I endeavoured to reason with it and to explain how selfish
it was to cause misery to others in order to satisfy any feelings of
revenge which it might have carried over from earth life.  We then
prayed for its welfare, exhorted it to rise higher, and received a very
solemn assurance, tilted out at the table, that it would mend its ways.
I have very gratifying reports that it has done so, and that all is now
quiet in the old house.

Let us now consider the life in the Beyond as it is shown to us by the
new revelation.



CHAPTER IV

THE COMING WORLD


We come first to the messages which tell us of the life beyond the
grave, sent by those who are actually living it.  I have already
insisted upon the fact that they have three weighty claims to our
belief.  The one is, that they are accompanied by "signs," in the
Biblical sense, in the shape of "miracles" or phenomena.  The second
is, that in many cases they are accompanied by assertions about this
life of ours which prove to be correct, and which are beyond the
possible knowledge of the medium after every deduction has been made
for telepathy or for unconscious memory.  The third is, that they have
a remarkable, though not a complete, similarity from whatever source
they come.

It may be noted that the differences of opinion become most marked when
they deal with their own future, which may well be a matter of
speculation to them as to us.  Thus, upon the question of reincarnation
there is a distinct cleavage, and though I am myself of opinion that
the general evidence is against this oriental doctrine, it is none the
less an undeniable fact that it has been maintained by some messages
which appear in other ways to be authentic, and, therefore, it is
necessary to keep one's mind open on the subject.

Before entering upon the substance of the messages I should wish to
emphasize the second of these two points, so as to reinforce the
reader's confidence in the authenticity of these assertions.  To this
end I will give a detailed example, with names almost exact.  The
medium was Mr. Phoenix, of Glasgow, with whom I have myself had some
remarkable experiences.  The sitter was Mr. Ernest Oaten, the President
of the Northern Spiritual Union, a man of the utmost veracity and
precision of statement.  The dialogue, which came by the direct voice,
a trumpet acting as megaphone, ran like this:--


   The Voice:  Good evening, Mr. Oaten.
      Mr. O.:  Good evening.  Who are you?
   The Voice:  My name is Mill.  You know my father.
      Mr. O.:  No, I don't remember anyone of the name.
   The Voice:  Yes, you were speaking to him the other day.
      Mr. O.:  To be sure.  I remember now.  I only met him casually.
   The Voice:  I want you to give him a message from me.
      Mr. O.:  What is it?
   The Voice:  Tell him that he was not mistaken at midnight on
               Tuesday last.
      Mr. O.:  Very good.  I will say so.  Have you passed long?
   The Voice:  Some time.  But our time is different from yours.
      Mr. O.:  What were you?
   The Voice:  A Surgeon.
      Mr. O.:  How did you pass?
   The Voice:  Blown up in a battleship during the war.
      Mr. O.:  Anything more?

The answer was the Gipsy song from "Il Trovatore," very accurately
whistled, and then a quick-step.  After the latter, the voice said:
"That is a test for father."

This reproduction of conversation is not quite verbatim, but gives the
condensed essence.  Mr. Oaten at once visited Mr. Mill, who was not a
Spiritualist, and found that every detail was correct.  Young Mill had
lost his life as narrated.  Mr. Mill, senior, explained that while
sitting in his study at midnight on the date named he had heard the
Gipsy song from "Il Trovatore," which had been a favourite of his
boy's, and being unable to trace the origin of the music, had finally
thought that it was a freak of his imagination.  The test connected
with the quick-step had reference to a tune which the young man used to
play upon the piccolo, but which was so rapid that he never could get
it right, for which he was chaffed by the family.

I tell this story at length to make the reader realise that when young
Mill, and others like him, give such proofs of accuracy, which we can
test for ourselves, we are bound to take their assertions very
seriously when they deal with the life they are actually leading,
though in their very nature we can only check their accounts by
comparison with others.

Now let me epitomise what these assertions are.  They say that they are
exceedingly happy, and that they do not wish to return.  They are among
the friends whom they had loved and lost, who meet them when they die
and continue their careers together.  They are very busy on all forms
of congenial work.  The world in which they find themselves is very
much like that which they have quitted, but everything keyed to a
higher octave.  As in a higher octave the rhythm is the same, and the
relation of notes to each other the same, but the total effect
different, so it is here.  Every earthly thing has its equivalent.
Scoffers have guffawed over alcohol and tobacco, but if all things are
reproduced it would be a flaw if these were not reproduced also.  That
they should be abused, as they are here, would, indeed, be evil
tidings, but nothing of the sort has been said, and in the much
discussed passage in "Raymond," their production was alluded to as
though it were an unusual, and in a way a humorous, instance of the
resources of the beyond.  I wonder how many of the preachers, who have
taken advantage of this passage in order to attack the whole new
revelation, have remembered that the only other message which ever
associated alcohol with the life beyond is that of Christ Himself, when
He said:  "I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine until
that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom."

This matter is a detail, however, and it is always dangerous to discuss
details in a subject which is so enormous, so dimly seen.  As the
wisest woman I have known remarked to me:  "Things may well be
surprising over there, for if we had been told the facts of this life
before we entered it, we should never have believed it."  In its larger
issues this happy life to come consists in the development of those
gifts which we possess.  There is action for the man of action,
intellectual work for the thinker, artistic, literary, dramatic and
religious for those whose God-given powers lie that way.  What we have
both in brain and character we carry over with us.  No man is too old
to learn, for what he learns he keeps.  There is no physical side to
love and no child-birth, though there is close union between those
married people who really love each other, and, generally, there is
deep sympathetic friendship and comradeship between the sexes.  Every
man or woman finds a soul mate sooner or later.  The child grows up to
the normal, so that the mother who lost a babe of two years old, and
dies herself twenty years later finds a grown-up daughter of twenty-two
awaiting her coming.  Age, which is produced chiefly by the mechanical
presence of lime in our arteries, disappears, and the individual
reverts to the full normal growth and appearance of completed man--or
womanhood.  Let no woman mourn her lost beauty, and no man his lost
strength or weakening brain.  It all awaits them once more upon the
other side.  Nor is any deformity or bodily weakness there, for all is
normal and at its best.

Before leaving this section of the subject, I should say a few more
words upon the evidence as it affects the etheric body.  This body is a
perfect thing.  This is a matter of consequence in these days when so
many of our heroes have been mutilated in the wars.  One cannot
mutilate the etheric body, and it remains always intact.  The first
words uttered by a returning spirit in the recent experience of Dr.
Abraham Wallace were "I have got my left arm again."  The same applies
to all birth marks, deformities, blindness, and other imperfections.
None of them are permanent, and all will vanish in that happier life
that awaits us.  Such is the teaching from the beyond--that a perfect
body waits for each.

"But," says the critic, "what then of the clairvoyant descriptions, or
the visions where the aged father is seen, clad in the old-fashioned
garments of another age, or the grandmother with crinoline and chignon?
Are these the habiliments of heaven?"  Such visions are not spirits,
but they are pictures which are built up before us or shot by spirits
into our brains or those of the seer for the purposes of recognition.
Hence the grey hair and hence the ancient garb.  When a real spirit is
indeed seen it comes in another form to this, where the flowing robe,
such as has always been traditionally ascribed to the angels, is a
vital thing which, by its very colour and texture, proclaims the
spiritual condition of the wearer, and is probably a condensation of
that aura which surrounds us upon earth.

It is a world of sympathy.  Only those who have this tie foregather.
The sullen husband, the flighty wife, is no longer there to plague the
innocent spouse.  All is sweet and peaceful.  It is the long rest cure
after the nerve strain of life, and before new experiences in the
future.  The circumstances are homely and familiar.  Happy circles live
in pleasant homesteads with every amenity of beauty and of music.
Beautiful gardens, lovely flowers, green woods, pleasant lakes,
domestic pets--all of these things are fully described in the messages
of the pioneer travellers who have at last got news back to those who
loiter in the old dingy home.  There are no poor and no rich.  The
craftsman may still pursue his craft, but he does it for the joy of his
work.  Each serves the community as best he can, while from above come
higher ministers of grace, the "Angels" of holy writ, to direct and
help.  Above all, shedding down His atmosphere upon all, broods that
great Christ spirit, the very soul of reason, of justice, and of
sympathetic understanding, who has the earth sphere, with all its
circles, under His very special care.  It is a place of joy and
laughter.  There are games and sports of all sorts, though none which
cause pain to lower life.  Food and drink in the grosser sense do not
exist, but there seem to be pleasures of taste, and this distinction
causes some confusion in the messages upon the point.

But above all, brain, energy, character, driving power, if exerted for
good, makes a man a leader there as here, while unselfishness, patience
and spirituality there, as here, qualify the soul for the higher
places, which have often been won by those very tribulations down here
which seem so purposeless and so cruel, and are in truth our chances of
spiritual quickening and promotion, without which life would have been
barren and without profit.

The revelation abolishes the idea of a grotesque hell and of a
fantastic heaven, while it substitutes the conception of a gradual rise
in the scale of existence without any monstrous change which would turn
us in an instant from man to angel or devil.  The system, though
different from previous ideas, does not, as it seems to me, run counter
in any radical fashion to the old beliefs.  In ancient maps it was
usual for the cartographer to mark blank spaces for the unexplored
regions, with some such legend as "here are anthropophagi," or "here
are mandrakes," scrawled across them.  So in our theology there have
been ill-defined areas which have admittedly been left unfilled, for
what sane man has ever believed in such a heaven as is depicted in our
hymn books, a land of musical idleness and barren monotonous adoration!
Thus in furnishing a clearer conception this new system has nothing to
supplant.  It paints upon a blank sheet.

One may well ask, however, granting that there is evidence for such a
life and such a world as has been described, what about those who have
not merited such a destination?  What do the messages from beyond say
about these?  And here one cannot be too definite, for there is no use
exchanging one dogma for another.  One can but give the general purport
of such information as has been vouchsafed to us.  It is natural that
those with whom we come in contact are those whom we may truly call the
blessed, for if the thing be approached in a reverent and religious
spirit it is those whom we should naturally attract.  That there are
many less fortunate than themselves is evident from their own constant
allusions to that regenerating and elevating missionary work which is
among their own functions.  They descend apparently and help others to
gain that degree of spirituality which fits them for this upper sphere,
as a higher student might descend to a lower class in order to bring
forward a backward pupil.  Such a conception gives point to Christ's
remark that there was more joy in heaven over saving one sinner than
over ninety-nine just, for if He had spoken of an earthly sinner he
would surely have had to become just in this life and so ceased to be a
sinner before he had reached Paradise.  It would apply very exactly,
however, to a sinner rescued from a lower sphere and brought to a
higher one.

When we view sin in the light of modern science, with the tenderness of
the modern conscience and with a sense of justice and proportion, it
ceases to be that monstrous cloud which darkened the whole vision of
the mediaeval theologian.  Man has been more harsh with himself than an
all-merciful God will ever be.  It is true that with all deductions
there remains a great residuum which means want of individual effort,
conscious weakness of will, and culpable failure of character when the
sinner, like Horace, sees and applauds the higher while he follows the
lower.  But when, on the other hand, one has made allowances--and can
our human allowance be as generous as God's?--for the sins which are
the inevitable product of early environment, for the sins which are due
to hereditary and inborn taint, and to the sins which are due to clear
physical causes, then the total of active sin is greatly reduced.
Could one, for example, imagine that Providence, all-wise and
all-merciful, as every creed proclaims, could punish the unfortunate
wretch who hatches criminal thoughts behind the slanting brows of a
criminal head?  A doctor has but to glance at the cranium to predicate
the crime.  In its worst forms all crime, from Nero to Jack the Ripper,
is the product of absolute lunacy, and those gross national sins to
which allusion has been made seem to point to collective national
insanity.  Surely, then, there is hope that no very terrible inferno is
needed to further punish those who have been so afflicted upon earth.
Some of our dead have remarked that nothing has surprised them so much
as to find who have been chosen for honour, and certainly, without in
any way condoning sin, one could well imagine that the man whose
organic makeup predisposed him with irresistible force in that
direction should, in justice, receive condolence and sympathy.
Possibly such a sinner, if he had not sinned so deeply as he might have
done, stands higher than the man who was born good, and remained so,
but was no better at the end of his life.  The one has made some
progress and the other has not.  But the commonest failing, the one
which fills the spiritual hospitals of the other world, and is a
temporary bar to the normal happiness of the after-life, is the sin of
Tomlinson in Kipling's poem, the commonest of all sins in respectable
British circles, the sin of conventionality, of want of conscious
effort and development, of a sluggish spirituality, fatted over by a
complacent mind and by the comforts of life.  It is the man who is
satisfied, the man who refers his salvation to some church or higher
power without steady travail of his own soul, who is in deadly danger.
All churches are good, Christian or non-Christian, so long as they
promote the actual spirit life of the individual, but all are noxious
the instant that they allow him to think that by any form of ceremony,
or by any fashion of creed, he obtains the least advantage over his
neighbour, or can in any way dispense with that personal effort which
is the only road to the higher places.

This is, of course, as applicable to believers in Spiritualism as to
any other belief.  If it does not show in practice then it is vain.
One can get through this life very comfortably following without
question in some procession with a venerable leader.  But one does not
die in a procession.  One dies alone.  And it is then that one has
alone to accept the level gained by the work of life.

And what is the punishment of the undeveloped soul?  It is that it
should be placed where it WILL develop, and sorrow would seem always to
be the forcing ground of souls.  That surely is our own experience in
life where the insufferably complacent and unsympathetic person softens
and mellows into beauty of character and charity of thought, when tried
long enough and high enough in the fires of life.  The Bible has talked
about the "Outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of
teeth."  The influence of the Bible has sometimes been an evil one
through our own habit of reading a book of Oriental poetry and treating
it as literally as if it were Occidental prose.  When an Eastern
describes a herd of a thousand camels he talks of camels which are more
numerous than the hairs of your head or the stars in the sky.  In this
spirit of allowance for Eastern expression, one must approach those
lurid and terrible descriptions which have darkened the lives of so
many imaginative children and sent so many earnest adults into asylums.
From all that we learn there are indeed places of outer darkness, but
dim as these uncomfortable waiting-rooms may be, they all admit to
heaven in the end.  That is the final destination of the human race,
and it would indeed be a reproach to the Almighty if it were not so.
We cannot dogmatise upon this subject of the penal spheres, and yet we
have very clear teaching that they are there and that the no-man's-land
which separates us from the normal heaven, that third heaven to which
St. Paul seems to have been wafted in one short strange experience of
his lifetime, is a place which corresponds with the Astral plane of the
mystics and with the "outer darkness" of the Bible.  Here linger those
earth-bound spirits whose worldly interests have clogged them and
weighed them down, until every spiritual impulse had vanished; the man
whose life has been centred on money, on worldly ambition, or on
sensual indulgence.  The one-idea'd man will surely be there, if his
one idea was not a spiritual one.  Nor is it necessary that he should
be an evil man, if dear old brother John of Glastonbury, who loved the
great Abbey so that he could never detach himself from it, is to be
classed among earth-bound spirits.  In the most material and pronounced
classes of these are the ghosts who impinge very closely upon matter
and have been seen so often by those who have no strong psychic sense.
It is probable, from what we know of the material laws which govern
such matters, that a ghost could never manifest itself if it were
alone, that the substance for the manifestation is drawn from the
spectator, and that the coldness, raising of hair, and other symptoms
of which he complains are caused largely by the sudden drain upon his
own vitality.  This, however, is to wander into speculation, and far
from that correlation of psychic knowledge with religion, which has
been the aim of these chapters.

By one of those strange coincidences, which seem to me sometimes to be
more than coincidences, I had reached this point in my explanation of
the difficult question of the intermediate state, and was myself
desiring further enlightenment, when an old book reached me through the
post, sent by someone whom I have never met, and in it is the following
passage, written by an automatic writer, and in existence since 1880.
It makes the matter plain, endorsing what has been said and adding new
points.

"Some cannot advance further than the borderland--such as never thought
of spirit life and have lived entirely for the earth, its cares and
pleasures--even clever men and women, who have lived simply
intellectual lives without spirituality.  There are many who have
misused their opportunities, and are now longing for the time misspent
and wishing to recall the earth-life.  They will learn that on this
side the time can be redeemed, though at much cost.  The borderland has
many among the restless money-getters of earth, who still haunt the
places where they had their hopes and joys.  These are often the
longest to remain . . . many are not unhappy.  They feel the relief to
be sufficient to be without their earth bodies.  All pass through the
borderland, but some hardly perceive it.  It is so immediate, and there
is no resting there for them.  They pass on at once to the refreshment
place of which we tell you."  The anonymous author, after recording
this spirit message, mentions the interesting fact that there is a
Christian inscription in the Catacombs which runs:  NICEFORUS ANIMA
DULCIS IN REFRIGERIO, "Nicephorus, a sweet soul in the refreshment
place."  One more scrap of evidence that the early Christian scheme of
things was very like that of the modern psychic.

So much for the borderland, the intermediate condition.  The present
Christian dogma has no name for it, unless it be that nebulous limbo
which is occasionally mentioned, and is usually defined as the place
where the souls of the just who died before Christ were detained.  The
idea of crossing a space before reaching a permanent state on the other
side is common to many religions, and took the allegorical form of a
river with a ferry-boat among the Romans and Greeks.  Continually, one
comes on points which make one realise that far back in the world's
history there has been a true revelation, which has been blurred and
twisted in time.  Thus in Dr. Muir's summary of the RIG.  VEDA, he
says, epitomising the beliefs of the first Aryan conquerors of India:
"Before, however, the unborn part" (that is, the etheric body) "can
complete its course to the third heaven it has to traverse a vast gulf
of darkness, leaving behind on earth all that is evil, and proceeding
by the paths the fathers trod, the spirit soars to the realms of
eternal light, recovers there his body in a glorified form, and obtains
from God a delectable abode and enters upon a more perfect life, which
is crowned with the fulfilment of all desires, is passed in the
presence of the Gods and employed in the fulfilment of their pleasure."
If we substitute "angels" for "Gods" we must admit that the new
revelation from modern spirit sources has much in common with the
belief of our Aryan fathers.

Such, in very condensed form, is the world which is revealed to us by
these wonderful messages from the beyond.  Is it an unreasonable
vision?  Is it in any way opposed to just principles?  Is it not rather
so reasonable that having got the clue we could now see that, given any
life at all, this is exactly the line upon which we should expect to
move?  Nature and evolution are averse from sudden disconnected
developments.  If a human being has technical, literary, musical, or
other tendencies, they are an essential part of his character, and to
survive without them would be to lose his identity and to become an
entirely different man.  They must therefore survive death if
personality is to be maintained.  But it is no use their surviving
unless they can find means of expression, and means of expression seem
to require certain material agents, and also a discriminating audience.
So also the sense of modesty among civilised races has become part of
our very selves, and implies some covering of our forms if personality
is to continue.  Our desires and sympathies would prompt us to live
with those we love, which implies something in the nature of a house,
while the human need for mental rest and privacy would predicate the
existence of separate rooms.  Thus, merely starting from the basis of
the continuity of personality one might, even without the revelation
from the beyond, have built up some such system by the use of pure
reason and deduction.

So far as the existence of this land of happiness goes, it would seem
to have been more fully proved than any other religious conception
within our knowledge.

It may very reasonably be asked, how far this precise description of
life beyond the grave is my own conception, and how far it has been
accepted by the greater minds who have studied this subject?  I would
answer, that it is my own conclusion as gathered from a very large
amount of existing testimony, and that in its main lines it has for
many years been accepted by those great numbers of silent active
workers all over the world, who look upon this matter from a strictly
religious point of view.  I think that the evidence amply justifies us
in this belief.  On the other hand, those who have approached this
subject with cold and cautious scientific brains, endowed, in many
cases, with the strongest prejudices against dogmatic creeds and with
very natural fears about the possible re-growth of theological
quarrels, have in most cases stopped short of a complete acceptance,
declaring that there can be no positive proof upon such matters, and
that we may deceive ourselves either by a reflection of our own
thoughts or by receiving the impressions of the medium.  Professor
Zollner, for example, says:

"Science can make no use of the substance of intellectual revelations,
but must be guided by observed facts and by the conclusions logically
and mathematically uniting them"--a passage which is quoted with
approval by Professor Reichel, and would seem to be endorsed by the
silence concerning the religious side of the question which is observed
by most of our great scientific supporters.  It is a point of view
which can well be understood, and yet, closely examined, it would
appear to be a species of enlarged materialism.  To admit, as these
observers do, that spirits do return, that they give every proof of
being the actual friends whom we have lost, and yet to turn a deaf ear
to the messages which they send would seem to be pushing caution to the
verge of unreason.  To get so far, and yet not to go further, is
impossible as a permanent position.  If, for example, in Raymond's case
we find so many allusions to the small details of his home upon earth,
which prove to be surprisingly correct, is it reasonable to put a blue
pencil through all he says of the home which he actually inhabits?
Long before I had convinced my mind of the truth of things which
appeared so grotesque and incredible, I had a long account sent by
table tilting about the conditions of life beyond.  The details seemed
to me impossible and I set them aside, and yet they harmonise, as I now
discover, with other revelations.  So, too, with the automatic script
of Mr. Hubert Wales, which has been described in my previous book.  He
had tossed it aside into a drawer as being unworthy of serious
consideration, and yet it also proved to be in harmony.  In neither of
these cases was telepathy or the prepossession of the medium a possible
explanation.  On the whole, I am inclined to think that these doubtful
or dissentient scientific men, having their own weighty studies to
attend to, have confined their reading and thought to the more
objective side of the question, and are not aware of the vast amount of
concurrent evidence which appears to give us an exact picture of the
life beyond.  They despise documents which cannot be proved, and they
do not, in my opinion, sufficiently realise that a general agreement of
testimony, and the already established character of a witness, are
themselves arguments for truth.  Some complicate the question by
predicating the existence of a fourth dimension in that world, but the
term is an absurdity, as are all terms which find no corresponding
impression in the human brain.  We have mysteries enough to solve
without gratuitously introducing fresh ones.  When solid passes through
solid, it is, surely, simpler to assume that it is done by a
dematerialisation, and subsequent reassembly--a process which can, at
least, be imagined by the human mind--than to invoke an explanation
which itself needs to be explained.

In the next and final chapter I will ask the reader to accompany me in
an examination of the New Testament by the light of this psychic
knowledge, and to judge how far it makes clear and reasonable much
which was obscure and confused.



CHAPTER V

IS IT THE SECOND DAWN?


There are many incidents in the New Testament which might be taken as
starting points in tracing a close analogy between the phenomenal
events which are associated with the early days of Christianity, and
those which have perplexed the world in connection with modern
Spiritualism.  Most of us are prepared to admit that the lasting claims
of Christianity upon the human race are due to its own intrinsic
teachings, which are quite independent of those wonders which can only
have had a use in startling the solid complacence of an unspiritual
race, and so directing their attention violently to this new system of
thought.  Exactly the same may be said of the new revelation.  The
exhibitions of a force which is beyond human experience and human
guidance is but a method of calling attention.  To repeat a simile
which has been used elsewhere, it is the humble telephone bell which
heralds the all-important message.  In the case of Christ, the Sermon
on the Mount was more than many miracles.  In the case of this new
development, the messages from beyond are more than any phenomena.  A
vulgar mind might make Christ's story seem vulgar, if it insisted upon
loaves of bread and the bodies of fish.  So, also, a vulgar mind may
make psychic religion vulgar by insisting upon moving furniture or
tambourines in the air.  In each case they are crude signs of power,
and the essence of the matter lies upon higher planes.

It is stated in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, that
they, the Christian leaders, were all "with one accord" in one place.
"With one accord" expresses admirably those sympathetic conditions
which have always been found, in psychic circles, to be conducive of
the best results, and which are so persistently ignored by a certain
class of investigators.  Then there came "a mighty rushing wind," and
afterwards "there appeared cloven tongues like unto fire and it sat
upon each of them."  Here is a very definite and clear account of a
remarkable sequence of phenomena.  Now, let us compare with this the
results which were obtained by Professor Crookes in his investigation
in 1873, after he had taken every possible precaution against fraud
which his experience, as an accurate observer and experimenter, could
suggest.  He says in his published notes:  "I have seen luminous points
of light darting about, sitting on the heads of different persons" and
then again:

"These movements, and, indeed, I may say the same of every class of
phenomena, are generally preceded by a peculiar cold air, sometimes
amounting to a decided wind.  I have had sheets of paper blown about by
it. . . ."  Now, is it not singular, not merely that the phenomena
should be of the same order, but that they should come in exactly the
same sequence, the wind first and the lights afterwards?  In our
ignorance of etheric physics, an ignorance which is now slowly
clearing, one can only say that there is some indication here of a
general law which links those two episodes together in spite of the
nineteen centuries which divide them.  A little later, it is stated
that "the place was shaken where they were assembled together."  Many
modern observers of psychic phenomena have testified to vibration of
the walls of an apartment, as if a heavy lorry were passing.  It is,
evidently, to such experiences that Paul alludes when he says: "Our
gospel came unto you not in word only, but also in power." The preacher
of the New Revelation can most truly say the same words.  In connection
with the signs of the pentecost, I can most truly say that I have
myself experienced them all, the cold sudden wind, the lambent misty
flames, all under the mediumship of Mr. Phoenix, an amateur psychic of
Glasgow.  The fifteen sitters were of one accord upon that occasion,
and, by a coincidence, it was in an upper room, at the very top of the
house.

In a previous section of this essay, I have remarked that no
philosophical explanation of these phenomena, known as spiritual, could
be conceived which did not show that all, however different in their
working, came from the same central source.  St. Paul seems to state
this in so many words when he says:  "But all these worketh that one
and the selfsame spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will."
Could our modern speculation, forced upon us by the facts, be more
tersely stated?  He has just enumerated the various gifts, and we find
them very close to those of which we have experience.  There is first
"the word of wisdom," "the word of knowledge" and "faith."  All these
taken in connection with the Spirit would seem to mean the higher
communications from the other side.  Then comes healing, which is still
practised in certain conditions by a highly virile medium, who has the
power of discharging strength, losing just as much as the weakling
gains, as instanced by Christ when He said:  "Who has touched me?  Much
virtue" (or power) "has gone out of me." Then we come upon the working
of miracles, which we should call the production of phenomena, and
which would cover many different types, such as apports, where objects
are brought from a distance, levitation of objects or of the human
frame into the air, the production of lights and other wonders.  Then
comes prophecy, which is a real and yet a fitful and often delusive
form of mediumship--never so delusive as among the early Christians,
who seem all to have mistaken the approaching fall of Jerusalem and the
destruction of the Temple, which they could dimly see, as being the end
of the world.  This mistake is repeated so often and so clearly that it
is really not honest to ignore or deny it.  Then we come to the power
of "discerning the spirits," which corresponds to our clairvoyance, and
finally that curious and usually useless gift of tongues, which is also
a modern phenomenon.  I can remember that some time ago I read the
book, "I Heard a Voice," by an eminent barrister, in which he describes
how his young daughter began to write Greek fluently with all the
complex accents in their correct places.  Just after I read it I
received a letter from a no less famous physician, who asked my opinion
about one of his children who had written a considerable amount of
script in mediaeval French.  These two recent cases are beyond all
doubt, but I have not had convincing evidence of the case where some
unintelligible signs drawn by an unlettered man were pronounced by an
expert to be in the Ogham or early Celtic character.  As the Ogham
script is really a combination of straight lines, the latter case may
be taken with considerable reserve.

Thus the phenomena associated with the rise of Christianity and those
which have appeared during the present spiritual ferment are very
analogous.  In examining the gifts of the disciples, as mentioned by
Matthew and Mark, the only additional point is the raising of the dead.
If any of them besides their great leader did in truth rise to this
height of power, where life was actually extinct, then he, undoubtedly,
far transcended anything which is recorded of modern mediumship.  It is
clear, however, that such a power must have been very rare, since it
would otherwise have been used to revive the bodies of their own
martyrs, which does not seem to have been attempted.  For Christ the
power is clearly admitted, and there are little touches in the
description of how it was exercised by Him which are extremely
convincing to a psychic student.  In the account of how He raised
Lazarus from the grave after he had been four days dead--far the most
wonderful of all Christ's miracles--it is recorded that as He went down
to the graveside He was "groaning."  Why was He groaning?  No Biblical
student seems to have given a satisfactory reason.  But anyone who has
heard a medium groaning before any great manifestation of power will
read into this passage just that touch of practical knowledge, which
will convince him of its truth.  The miracle, I may add, is none the
less wonderful or beyond our human powers, because it was wrought by an
extension of natural law, differing only in degree with that which we
can ourselves test and even do.

Although our modern manifestations have never attained the power
mentioned in the Biblical records, they present some features which are
not related in the New Testament.  Clairaudience, that is the hearing
of a spirit voice, is common to both, but the direct voice, that is the
hearing of a voice which all can discern with their material ears, is a
well-authenticated phenomenon now which is more rarely mentioned of
old.  So, too, Spirit-photography, where the camera records what the
human eye cannot see, is necessarily a new testimony.  Nothing is
evidence to those who do not examine evidence, but I can attest most
solemnly that I personally know of several cases where the image upon
the plate after death has not only been unmistakable, but also has
differed entirely from any pre-existing photograph.

As to the methods by which the early Christians communicated with the
spirits, or with the "Saints" as they called their dead brethren, we
have, so far as I know, no record, though the words of John:
"Brothers, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they
are of God," show very clearly that spirit communion was a familiar
idea, and also that they were plagued, as we are, by the intrusion of
unwelcome spiritual elements in their intercourse.  Some have
conjectured that the "Angel of the Church," who is alluded to in terms
which suggest that he was a human being, was really a medium sanctified
to the use of that particular congregation.  As we have early
indications of bishops, deacons and other officials, it is difficult to
say what else the "angel" could have been.  This, however, must remain
a pure speculation.

Another speculation which is, perhaps, rather more fruitful is upon
what principle did Christ select his twelve chief followers.  Out of
all the multitudes he chose twelve men.  Why these particular ones?  It
was not for their intelligence or learning, for Peter and John, who
were among the most prominent, are expressly described as "unlearned
and ignorant men."  It was not for their virtue, for one of them proved
to be a great villain, and all of them deserted their Master in His
need.  It was not for their belief, for there were great numbers of
believers.  And yet it is clear that they were chosen on some principle
of selection since they were called in ones and in twos.  In at least
two cases they were pairs of brothers, as though some family gift or
peculiarity, might underlie the choice.

Is it not at least possible that this gift was psychic power, and that
Christ, as the greatest exponent who has ever appeared upon earth of
that power, desired to surround Himself with others who possessed it to
a lesser degree?  This He would do for two reasons.  The first is that
a psychic circle is a great source of strength to one who is himself
psychic, as is shown continually in our own experience, where, with a
sympathetic and helpful surrounding, an atmosphere is created where all
the powers are drawn out.  How sensitive Christ was to such an
atmosphere is shown by the remark of the Evangelist, that when He
visited His own native town, where the townspeople could not take Him
seriously, He was unable to do any wonders.  The second reason may have
been that He desired them to act as His deputies, either during his
lifetime or after His death, and that for this reason some natural
psychic powers were necessary.

The close connection which appears to exist between the Apostles and
the miracles, has been worked out in an interesting fashion by Dr.
Abraham Wallace, in his little pamphlet "Jesus of Nazareth."[6]
Certainly, no miracle or wonder working, save that of exorcism, is
recorded in any of the Evangelists until after the time when Christ
began to assemble His circle.  Of this circle the three who would
appear to have been the most psychic were Peter and the two
fellow-fishermen, sons of Zebedee, John and James.  These were the
three who were summoned when an ideal atmosphere was needed.  It will
be remembered that when the daughter of Jairus was raised from the dead
it was in the presence, and possibly, with the co-operation, of these
three assistants.  Again, in the case of the Transfiguration, it is
impossible to read the account of that wonderful manifestation without
being reminded at every turn of one's own spiritual experiences.  Here,
again, the points are admirably made in "Jesus of Nazareth," and it
would be well if that little book, with its scholarly tone, its breadth
of treatment and its psychic knowledge, was in the hands of every
Biblical student.  Dr. Wallace points out that the place, the summit of
a hill, was the ideal one for such a manifestation, in its pure air and
freedom from interruption; that the drowsy state of the Apostles is
paralleled by the members of any circle who are contributing psychic
power; that the transfiguring of the face and the shining raiment are
known phenomena; above all, that the erection of three altars is
meaningless, but that the alternate reading, the erection of three
booths or cabinets, one for the medium and one for each materialised
form, would absolutely fulfil the most perfect conditions for getting
results.  This explanation of Wallace's is a remarkable example of a
modern brain, with modern knowledge, throwing a clear searchlight
across all the centuries and illuminating an incident which has always
been obscure.

When we translate Bible language into the terms of modern psychic
religion the correspondence becomes evident.  It does not take much
alteration.  Thus for "Lo, a miracle!" we say "This is a
manifestation."  "The angel of the Lord" becomes "a high spirit."
Where we talked of "a voice from heaven," we say "the direct voice."
"His eyes were opened and he saw a vision" means "he became
clairvoyant."  It is only the occultist who can possibly understand the
Scriptures as being a real exact record of events.

There are many other small points which seem to bring the story of
Christ and of the Apostles into very close touch with modern psychic
research, and greatly support the close accuracy of some of the New
Testament narrative.  One which appeals to me greatly is the action of
Christ when He was asked a question which called for a sudden decision,
namely the fate of the woman who had been taken in sin.  What did He
do?  The very last thing that one would have expected or invented.  He
stooped down before answering and wrote with his finger in the sand.
This he did a second time upon a second catch-question being addressed
to Him.  Can any theologian give a reason for such an action?  I hazard
the opinion that among the many forms of mediumship which were
possessed in the highest form by Christ, was the power of automatic
writing, by which He summoned those great forces which were under His
control to supply Him with the answer.  Granting, as I freely do, that
Christ was preternatural, in the sense that He was above and beyond
ordinary humanity in His attributes, one may still inquire how far
these powers were contained always within His human body, or how far He
referred back to spiritual reserves beyond it.  When He spoke merely
from His human body He was certainly open to error, like the rest of
us, for it is recorded how He questioned the woman of Samaria about her
husband, to which she replied that she had no husband.  In the case of
the woman taken in sin, one can only explain His action by the
supposition that He opened a channel instantly for the knowledge and
wisdom which was preter-human, and which at once gave a decision in
favor of large-minded charity.

It is interesting to observe the effect which these phenomena, or the
report of them, produced upon the orthodox Jews of those days.  The
greater part obviously discredited them, otherwise they could not have
failed to become followers, or at the least to have regarded such a
wonder-worker with respect and admiration.  One can well imagine how
they shook their bearded heads, declared that such occurrences were
outside their own experience, and possibly pointed to the local
conjuror who earned a few not over-clean denarii by imitating the
phenomena.  There were others, however, who could not possibly deny,
because they either saw or met with witnesses who had seen.  These
declared roundly that the whole thing was of the devil, drawing from
Christ one of those pithy, common-sense arguments in which He excelled.
The same two classes of opponents, the scoffers and the diabolists,
face us to-day.  Verily the old world goes round and so do the events
upon its surface.

There is one line of thought which may be indicated in the hope that it
will find development from the minds and pens of those who have studied
most deeply the possibilities of psychic power.  It is at least
possible, though I admit that under modern conditions it has not been
clearly proved, that a medium of great power can charge another with
his own force, just as a magnet when rubbed upon a piece of inert steel
can turn it also into a magnet.  One of the best attested powers of D.
D. Home was that he could take burning coals from the fire with
impunity and carry them in his hand.  He could then--and this comes
nearer to the point at issue--place them on the head of anyone who was
fearless without their being burned.  Spectators have described how the
silver filigree of the hair of Mr. Carter Hall used to be gathered over
the glowing ember, and Mrs. Hall has mentioned how she combed out the
ashes afterwards.  Now, in this case, Home was clearly, able to convey,
a power to another person, just as Christ, when He was levitated over
the lake, was able to convey the same power to Peter, so long as
Peter's faith held firm.  The question then arises if Home concentrated
all his force upon transferring such a power how long would that power
last?  The experiment was never tried, but it would have borne very,
directly upon this argument.  For, granting that the power can be
transferred, then it is very clear how the Christ circle was able to
send forth seventy disciples who were endowed with miraculous
functions.  It is clear also why, new disciples had to return to
Jerusalem to be "baptised of the spirit," to use their phrase, before
setting forth upon their wanderings.  And when in turn they, desired to
send forth representatives would not they lay hands upon them, make
passes over them and endeavour to magnetise them in the same way--if
that word may express the process?  Have we here the meaning of the
laying on of hands by the bishop at ordination, a ceremony to which
vast importance is still attached, but which may well be the survival
of something really vital, the bestowal of the thaumaturgic power?
When, at last, through lapse of time or neglect of fresh cultivation,
the power ran out, the empty formula may have been carried on, without
either the blesser or the blessed understanding what it was that the
hands of the bishop, and the force which streamed from them, were meant
to bestow.  The very words "laying on of hands" would seem to suggest
something different from a mere benediction.

Enough has been said, perhaps, to show the reader that it is possible
to put forward a view of Christ's life which would be in strict accord
with the most modern psychic knowledge, and which, far from supplanting
Christianity, would show the surprising accuracy of some of the details
handed down to us, and would support the novel conclusion that those
very miracles, which have been the stumbling block to so many truthful,
earnest minds, may finally offer some very cogent arguments for the
truth of the whole narrative.  Is this then a line of thought which
merits the wholesale condemnations and anathemas hurled at it by those
who profess to speak in the name of religion?  At the same time, though
we bring support to the New Testament, it would, indeed, be a
misconception if these, or any such remarks, were quoted as sustaining
its literal accuracy--an idea from which so much harm has come in the
past.  It would, indeed, be a good, though an unattainable thing, that
a really honest and open-minded attempt should be made to weed out from
that record the obvious forgeries and interpolations which disfigure
it, and lessen the value of those parts which are really above
suspicion.

Is it necessary, for example, to be told, as an inspired fact from
Christ's own lips, that Zacharias, the son of Barachias,[7] was struck
dead within the precincts of the Temple in the time of Christ, when, by
a curious chance, Josephus has independently narrated the incident as
having occurred during the siege of Jerusalem, thirty-seven years
later?  This makes it very clear that this particular Gospel, in its
present form, was written after that event, and that the writer fitted
into it at least one other incident which had struck his imagination.
Unfortunately, a revision by general agreement would be the greatest of
all miracles, for two of the very first texts to go would be those
which refer to the "Church," an institution and an idea utterly
unfamiliar in the days of Christ.  Since the object of the insertion of
these texts is perfectly clear, there can be no doubt that they are
forgeries, but as the whole system of the Papacy rests upon one of
them, they are likely to survive for a long time to come.  The text
alluded to is made further impossible because it is based upon the
supposition that Christ and His fishermen conversed together in Latin
or Greek, even to the extent of making puns in that language.  Surely
the want of moral courage and intellectual honesty among Christians
will seem as strange to our descendants as it appears marvellous to us
that the great thinkers of old could have believed, or at least have
pretended to believe, in the fighting sexual deities of Mount Olympus.

Revision is, indeed, needed, and as I have already pleaded, a change of
emphasis is also needed, in order to get the grand Christian conception
back into the current of reason and progress.  The orthodox who,
whether from humble faith or some other cause, do not look deeply into
such matters, can hardly conceive the stumbling-blocks which are
littered about before the feet of their more critical brethren.  What
is easy, for faith is impossible for reflection.  Such expressions as
"Saved by the blood of the Lamb" or "Baptised by His precious blood"
fill their souls with a gentle and sweet emotion, while upon a more
thoughtful mind they have a very different effect.

Apart from the apparent injustice of vicarious atonement, the student
is well aware that the whole of this sanguinary metaphor is drawn
really from the Pagan rites of Mithra, where the neophyte was actually
placed under a bull at the ceremony of the TAUROBOLIUM, and was
drenched, through a grating, with the blood of the slaughtered animal.
Such reminiscences of the more brutal side of Paganism are not helpful
to the thoughtful and sensitive modern mind.  But what is always fresh
and always useful and always beautiful, is the memory of the sweet
Spirit who wandered on the hillsides of Galilee; who gathered the
children around him; who met his friends in innocent good-fellowship;
who shrank from forms and ceremonies, craving always for the inner
meaning; who forgave the sinner; who championed the poor, and who in
every decision threw his weight upon the side of charity and breadth of
view.  When to this character you add those wondrous psychic powers
already analysed, you do, indeed, find a supreme character in the
world's history who obviously stands nearer to the Highest than any
other.  When one compares the general effect of His teaching with that
of the more rigid churches, one marvels how in their dogmatism, their
insistence upon forms, their exclusiveness, their pomp and their
intolerance, they could have got so far away from the example of their
Master, so that as one looks upon Him and them, one feels that there is
absolute deep antagonism and that one cannot speak of the Church and
Christ, but only of the Church or Christ.

And yet every Church produces beautiful souls, though it may be debated
whether "produces" or "contains" is the truthful word.  We have but to
fall back upon our own personal experience if we have lived long and
mixed much with our fellow-men.  I have myself lived during the seven
most impressionable years of my life among Jesuits, the most maligned
of all ecclesiastical orders, and I have found them honourable and good
men, in all ways estimable outside the narrowness which limits the
world to Mother Church.  They were athletes, scholars, and gentlemen,
nor can I ever remember any examples of that casuistry with which they
are reproached.  Some of my best friends have been among the parochial
clergy of the Church of England, men of sweet and saintly character,
whose pecuniary straits were often a scandal and a reproach to the
half-hearted folk who accepted their spiritual guidance.  I have known,
also, splendid men among the Nonconformist clergy, who have often been
the champions of liberty, though their views upon that subject have
sometimes seemed to contract when one ventured upon their own domain of
thought.  Each creed has brought out men who were  an honour to the
human race, and Manning or Shrewsbury, Gordon or Dolling, Booth or
Stopford Brooke, are all equally admirable, however diverse the roots
from which they grow.  Among the great mass of the people, too, there
are very many thousands of beautiful souls who have been brought up on
the old-fashioned lines, and who never heard of spiritual communion or
any other of those matters which have been discussed in these essays,
and yet have reached a condition of pure spirituality such as all of us
may envy.  Who does not know the maiden aunt, the widowed mother, the
mellowed elderly man, who live upon the hilltops of unselfishness,
shedding kindly thoughts and deeds around them, but with their simple
faith deeply, rooted in anything or everything which has come to them
in a hereditary fashion with the sanction of some particular authority?
I had an aunt who was such an one, and can see her now, worn with
austerity and charity, a small, humble figure, creeping to church at
all hours from a house which was to her but a waiting-room between
services, while she looked at me with sad, wondering, grey eyes.  Such
people have often reached by instinct, and in spite of dogma, heights,
to which no system of philosophy can ever raise us.

But making full allowance for the high products of every creed, which
may be only, a proof of the innate goodness of civilised humanity, it
is still beyond all doubt that Christianity has broken down, and that
this breakdown has been brought home to everyone by the terrible
catastrophe which has befallen the world.  Can the most optimistic
apologist contend that this is a satisfactory, outcome from a religion
which has had the unopposed run of Europe for so many centuries?  Which
has come out of it worst, the Lutheran Prussian, the Catholic Bavarian,
or the peoples who have been nurtured by the Greek Church?  If we, of
the West, have done better, is it not rather an older and higher
civilisation and freer political institutions that have held us back
from all the cruelties, excesses and immoralities which have taken the
world back to the dark ages?  It will not do to say that they have
occurred in spite of Christianity, and that Christianity is, therefore,
not to blame.  It is true that Christ's teaching is not to blame, for
it is often spoiled in the transmission.  But Christianity has taken
over control of the morals of Europe, and should have the compelling
force which would ensure that those morals would not go to pieces upon
the first strain.  It is on this point that Christianity must be
judged, and the judgment can only be that it has failed.  It has not
been an active controlling force upon the minds of men.  And why?  It
can only be because there is something essential which is wanting.  Men
do not take it seriously.  Men do not believe in it.  Lip service is
the only service in innumerable cases, and even lip service grows
fainter.

Men, as distinct from women, have, both in the higher and lower classes
of life, ceased, in the greater number of cases, to show a living
interest in religion.  The churches lose their grip upon the
people--and lose it rapidly.  Small inner circles, convocations,
committees, assemblies, meet and debate and pass resolutions of an ever
narrower character.  But the people go their way and religion is dead,
save in so far as intellectual culture and good taste can take its
place.  But when religion is dead, materialism becomes active, and what
active materialism may produce has been seen in Germany.

Is it not time, then, for the religious bodies to discourage their own
bigots and sectarians, and to seriously consider, if only for
self-preservation, how they can get into line once more with that
general level of human thought which is now so far in front of them?  I
say that they can do more than get level--they can lead.  But to do so
they must, on the one hand, have the firm courage to cut away from
their own bodies all that dead tissue which is but a disfigurement and
an encumbrance.  They must face difficulties of reason, and adapt
themselves to the demands of the human intelligence which rejects, and
is right in rejecting, much which they offer.  Finally, they must
gather fresh strength by drawing in all the new truth and all the new
power which are afforded by this new wave of inspiration which has been
sent into the world by God, and which the human race, deluded and
bemused by the would-be clever, has received with such perverse and
obstinate incredulity.  When they have done all this, they will find
not only that they are leading the world with an obvious right to the
leadership, but, in addition, that they have come round once more to
the very teaching of that Master whom they have so long misrepresented.



APPENDICES


A

DOCTOR GELEY'S EXPERIMENTS


Nothing could be imagined more fantastic and grotesque than the results
of the recent experiments of Professor Geley, in France.  Before such
results the brain, even of the trained psychical student, is dazed,
while that of the orthodox man of science, who has given no heed to
these developments, is absolutely helpless.  In the account of the
proceedings which he read lately before the Institut General
Psychologique in Paris, on January of last year, Dr. Geley says:  "I do
not merely say that there has been no fraud; I say, 'there has been no
possibility of fraud.'  In nearly every case the materialisations were
done under my eyes, and I have observed their whole genesis and
development."  He adds that, in the course of the experiments, more
than a hundred experts, mostly doctors, checked the results.

These results may be briefly stated thus.  A peculiar whitish matter
exuded from the subject, a girl named Eva, coming partly through her
skin, partly from her hands, partly from the orifices of her face,
especially her mouth.  This was photographed repeatedly at every stage
of its production, these photographs being appended to the printed
treatise.  This stuff, solid enough to enable one to touch and to
photograph, has been called the ectoplasm.  It is a new order of
matter, and it is clearly derived from the subject herself, absorbing
into her system once more at the end of the experiment.  It exudes in
such quantities as to entirely, cover her sometimes as with an apron.
It is soft and glutinous to the touch, but varies in form and even in
colour.  Its production causes pain and groans from the subject, and
any violence towards it would appear also to affect her.  A sudden
flash of light, as in a flash-photograph, may or may not cause a
retraction of the ectoplasm, but always causes a spasm of the subject.
When re-absorbed, it leaves no trace upon the garments through which it
has passed.

This is wonderful enough, but far more fantastic is what has still to
be told.  The most marked property of this ectoplasm, very fully
illustrated in the photographs, is that it sets or curdles into the
shapes of human members--of fingers, of hands, of faces, which are at
first quite sketchy and rudimentary, but rapidly coalesce and develop
until they are undistinguishable from those of living beings.  Is not
this the very strangest and most inexplicable thing that has ever yet
been observed by human eyes?  These faces or limbs are usually the size
of life, but they frequently are quite miniatures.  Occasionally they
begin by being miniatures, and grow into full size.  On their first
appearance in the ectoplasm the limb is only on one plane of matter, a
mere flat appearance, which rapidly rounds itself off, until it has
assumed all three planes and is complete.  It may be a mere simulacrum,
like a wax hand, or it may be endowed with full power of grasping
another hand, with every articulation in perfect working order.

The faces which are produced in this amazing way are worthy of study.
They do not appear to have represented anyone who has ever been known
in life by Doctor Geley.[8]  My impression after examining them is that
they are much more likely to be within the knowledge of the subject,
being girls of the French lower middle class type, such as Eva was, I
should imagine, in the habit of meeting.  It should be added that Eva
herself appears in the photograph as well as the simulacra of humanity.
The faces are, on the whole, both pretty and piquant, though of a
rather worldly and unrefined type.  The latter adjective would not
apply to the larger and most elaborate photograph, which represents a
very beautiful young woman of a truly spiritual cast of face.  Some of
the faces are but partially formed, which gives them a grotesque or
repellant appearance.  What are we to make of such phenomena?  There is
no use deluding ourselves by the idea that there may be some mistake or
some deception.  There is neither one nor the other.  Apart from the
elaborate checks upon these particular results, they correspond closely
with those got by Lombroso in Italy, by Schrenk-Notzing in Germany, and
by other careful observers.  One thing we must bear in mind constantly
in considering them, and that is their abnormality.  At a liberal
estimate, it is not one person in a million who possesses such
powers--if a thing which is outside our volition can be described as a
power.  It is the mechanism of the materialisation medium which has
been explored by the acute brain and untiring industry of Doctor Geley,
and even presuming, as one may fairly presume, that every materialising
medium goes through the same process in order to produce results, still
such mediums are exceedingly, rare.  Dr. Geley mentions, as an
analogous phenomenon on the material side, the presence of dermoid
cysts, those mysterious formations, which rise as small tumors in any
part of the body, particularly above the eyebrow, and which when opened
by the surgeon are found to contain hair, teeth or embryonic bones.
There is no doubt, as he claims, some rough analogy, but the dermoid
cyst is, at least, in the same flesh and blood plane of nature as the
foetus inside it, while in the ectoplasm we are dealing with an
entirely new and strange development.

It is not possible to define exactly what occurs in the case of the
ectoplasm, nor, on account of its vital connection with the medium and
its evanescent nature, has it been separated and subjected to even the
roughest chemical analysis which might show whether it is composed of
those earthly elements with which we are familiar.  Is it rather some
coagulation of ether which introduces an absolutely new substance into
our world?  Such a supposition seems most probable, for a comparison
with the analogous substance examined at Dr. Crawford's seances at
Belfast, which is at the same time hardly visible to the eye and yet
capable of handling a weight of 150 pounds, suggests something entirely
new in the way of matter.

But setting aside, as beyond the present speculation, what the exact
origin and nature of the ectoplasm may be, it seems to me that there is
room for a very suggestive line of thought if we make Geley's
experiments the starting point, and lead it in the direction of other
manifestations of psychomaterial activity.  First of all, let us take
Crookes' classic experiments with Katie King, a result which for a long
time stood alone and isolated but now can be approached by intermittent
but definite stages.  Thus we can well suppose that during those long
periods when Florrie Cook lay in the laboratory in the dark, periods
which lasted an hour or more upon some occasions, the ectoplasm was
flowing from her as from Eva.  Then it was gathering itself into a
viscous cloud or pillar close to her frame; then the form of Katie King
was evolved from this cloud, in the manner already described, and
finally the nexus was broken and the completed body advanced to present
itself at the door of communication, showing a person different in
every possible attribute save that of sex from the medium, and yet
composed wholly or in part from elements extracted from her senseless
body.  So far, Geley's experiments throw a strong explanatory light
upon those of Crookes.  And here the Spiritualist must, as it seems to
me, be prepared to meet an objection more formidable than the absurd
ones of fraud or optical delusion.  It is this.  If the body of Katie
King the spirit is derived from the body of Florrie Cook the psychic,
then what assurance have we that the life therein is not really one of
the personalities out of which the complex being named Florrie Cook is
constructed?  It is a thesis which requires careful handling.  It is
not enough to say that the nature is manifestly superior, for supposing
that Florrie Cook represented the average of a number of conflicting
personalities, then a single one of these personalities might be far
higher than the total effect.  Without going deeply into this problem,
one can but say that the spirit's own account of its own personality
must count for something, and also that an isolated phenomenon must be
taken in conjunction with all other psychic phenomena when we are
seeking for a correct explanation.

But now let us take this idea of a human being who has the power of
emitting a visible substance in which are formed faces which appear to
represent distinct individualities, and in extreme cases develop into
complete independent human forms.  Take this extraordinary fact, and
let us see whether, by an extension or modification of this
demonstrated process, we may not get some sort of clue as to the modus
operandi in other psychic phenomena.  It seems to me that we may, at
least, obtain indications which amount to a probability, though not to
a certainty, as to how some results, hitherto inexplicable, are
attained.  It is at any rate a provisional speculation, which may
suggest a hypothesis for future observers to destroy, modify, or
confirm.

The argument which I would advance is this.  If a strong
materialisation medium can throw out a cloud of stuff which is actually
visible, may not a medium of a less pronounced type throw out a similar
cloud with analogous properties which is not opaque enough to be seen
by the average eye, but can make an impression both on the dry plate in
the camera and on the clairvoyant faculty?  If that be so--and it would
not seem to be a very far-fetched proposition--we have at once an
explanation both of psychic photographs and of the visions of the
clairvoyant seer.  When I say an explanation, I mean of its superficial
method of formation, and not of the forces at work behind, which remain
no less a mystery even when we accept Dr. Geley's statement that they
are "ideoplastic."

Here we have, I think, some attempt at a generalisation, which might,
perhaps, be useful in evolving some first signs of order out of this
chaos.  It is conceivable that the thinner emanation of the clairvoyant
would extend far further than the thick material ectoplasm, but have
the same property of moulding itself into life, though the life forms
would only be visible to the clairvoyant eye.  Thus, when Mr. Tom
Tyrrell, or any other competent exponent, stands upon the platform his
emanation fills the hall.  Into this emanation, as into the visible
ectoplasm in Geley's experiments, break the faces and forms of those
from the other side who are attracted to the scene by their sympathy
with various members of the audience.  They are seen and described by
Mr. Tyrrell, who with his finely attuned senses, carefully conserved
(he hardly eats or drinks upon a day when he demonstrates), can hear
that thinner higher voice that calls their names, their old addresses
and their messages.  So, too, when Mr. Hope and Mrs. Buxton stand with
their hands joined over the cap of the camera, they are really throwing
out a misty ectoplasm from which the forms loom up which appear upon
the photographic plate.  It may be that I mistake an analogy for an
explanation, but I put the theory on record for what it is worth.



B

A PARTICULAR INSTANCE


I have been in touch with a series of events in America lately, and can
vouch for the facts as much as any man can vouch for facts which did
not occur to himself.  I have not the least doubt in my own mind that
they are true, and a more remarkable double proof of the continuity of
life has, I should think, seldom been published.  A book has recently
been issued by Harpers, of New York, called "The Seven Purposes."  In
this book the authoress, Miss Margaret Cameron, describes how she
suddenly developed the power of automatic writing.  She was not a
Spiritualist at the time.  Her hand was controlled and she wrote a
quantity of matter which was entirely outside her own knowledge or
character.  Upon her doubting whether her sub-conscious self might in
some way be producing the writing, which was partly done by planchette,
the script was written upside down and from right to left, as though
the writer was seated opposite.  Such script could not possibly be
written by the lady herself.  Upon making enquiry as to who was using
her hand, the answer came in writing that it was a certain Fred
Gaylord, and that his object was to get a message to his mother.  The
youth was unknown to Miss Cameron, but she knew the family and
forwarded the message, with the result that the mother came to see her,
examined the evidence, communicated with the son, and finally,
returning home, buried all her evidences of mourning, feeling that the
boy was no more dead in the old sense than if he were alive in a
foreign country.

There is the first proof of preternatural agency, since Miss Cameron
developed so much knowledge which she could not have normally acquired,
using many phrases and ideas which were characteristic of the deceased.
But mark the sequel.  Gaylord was merely a pseudonym, as the matter was
so private that the real name, which we will put as Bridger, was not
disclosed.  A few months after the book was published Miss Cameron
received a letter from a stranger living a thousand miles away.  This
letter and the whole correspondence I have seen.  The stranger, Mrs.
Nicol, says that as a test she would like to ask whether the real name
given as Fred Gaylord in the book is not Fred Bridger, as she had
psychic reasons for believing so.  Miss Cameron replied that it was so,
and expressed her great surprise that so secret and private a matter
should have been correctly stated.  Mrs. Nicol then explained that she
and her husband, both connected with journalism and both absolutely
agnostic, had discovered that she had the power of automatic writing.
That while, using this power she had received communications purporting
to come from Fred Bridger whom they had known in life, and that upon
reading Miss Cameron's book they had received from Fred Bridger the
assurance that he was the same person as the Fred Gaylord of Miss
Cameron.

Now, arguing upon these facts, and they would appear most undoubtedly
to be facts, what possible answer can the materialist or the sceptic
give to the assertion that they are a double proof of the continuity of
personality and the possibility of communication?  Can any reasonable
system of telepathy explain how Miss Cameron discovered the intimate
points characteristic of young Gaylord?  And then, how are we
afterwards, by any possible telepathy, to explain the revelation to
Mrs. Nicol of the identity of her communicant, Fred Bridger, with the
Fred Gaylord who had been written of by Miss Cameron.  The case for
return seems to me a very convincing one, though I contend now, as
ever, that it is not the return of the lost ones which is of such
cogent interest as the message from the beyond which they bear with
them.



C

SPIRIT PHOTOGRAPHY


On this subject I should recommend the reader to consult Coates'
"Photographing the Invisible," which states, in a thoughtful and
moderate way, the evidence for this most remarkable phase, and
illustrates it with many examples.  It is pointed out that here, as
always, fraud must be carefully guarded against, having been admitted
in the case of the French spirit photographer, Buguet.

There are, however, a large number of cases where the photograph, under
rigid test conditions in which fraud has been absolutely barred, has
reproduced the features of the dead.  Here there are limitations and
restrictions which call for careful study and observation.  These faces
of the dead are in some cases as contoured and as recognisable as they
were in life, and correspond with no pre-existing picture or
photograph.  One such case absolutely critic-proof is enough, one would
think, to establish survival, and these valid cases are to be counted
not in ones, but in hundreds.  On the other hand, many of the
likenesses, obtained under the same test conditions, are obviously
simulacra or pictures built up by some psychic force, not necessarily
by the individual spirits themselves, to represent the dead.  In some
undoubtedly genuine cases it is an exact, or almost exact, reproduction
of an existing picture, as if the conscious intelligent force, whatever
it might be, had consulted it as to the former appearance of the
deceased, and had then built it up in exact accordance with the
original.  In such cases the spirit face may show as a flat surface
instead of a contour.  Rigid examination has shown that the existing
model was usually outside the ken of the photographer.

Two of the bravest champions whom Spiritualism has ever produced, the
late W. T. Stead and the late Archdeacon Colley--names which will bulk
large in days to come--attached great importance to spirit photography
as a final and incontestable proof of survival.  In his recent work,
"Proofs of the Truth of Spiritualism" (Kegan Paul), the eminent
botanist, Professor Henslow, has given one case which would really
appear to be above criticism.  He narrates how the inquirer subjected a
sealed packet of plates to the Crewe circle without exposure,
endeavoring to get a psychograph.  Upon being asked on which plate he
desired it, he said "the fifth."  Upon this plate being developed,
there was found on it a copy of a passage from the Codex Alexandrinus
of the New Testament in the British Museum.  Reproductions, both of the
original and of the copy, will be found in Professor Henslow's book.

I have myself been to Crewe and have had results which would be amazing
were it not that familiarity blunts the mind to miracles.  Three marked
plates brought by myself, and handled, developed and fixed by no hand
but mine, gave psychic extras.  In each case I saw the extra in the
negative when it was still wet in the dark room.  I reproduce in Plate
I a specimen of the results, which is enough in itself to prove the
whole case of survival to any reasonable mind.  The three sitters are
Mr. Oaten, Mr. Walker, and myself, I being obscured by the psychic
cloud.  In this cloud appears a message of welcome to me from the late
Archdeacon Colley.  A specimen of the Archdeacon's own handwriting is
reproduced in Plate II for the purpose of comparison.  Behind, there is
an attempt at materialisation obscured by the cloud.  The mark on the
side of the plate is my identification mark.  I trust that I make it
clear that no hand but mine ever touched this plate, nor did I ever
lose sight of it for a second save when it was in the carrier, which
was conveyed straight back to the dark room and there opened.  What has
any critic to say to that?

By the kindness of those fearless pioneers of the movement, Mr. and
Mrs. Hewat Mackenzie, I am allowed to publish another example of spirit
photography.  The circumstances were very remarkable.  The visit of the
parents to Crewe was unproductive and their plate a blank save for
their own presentment.  Returning disappointed, to London they managed,
through the mediumship of Mrs. Leonard, to get into touch with their
boy, and asked him why they had failed.  He replied that the conditions
had been bad, but that he had actually succeeded some days later in
getting on to the plate of Lady Glenconnor, who had been to Crewe upon
a similar errand.  The parents communicated with this lady, who replied
saying that she had found the image of a stranger upon her plate.  On
receiving a print they at once recognised their son, and could even see
that, as a proof of identity, he had reproduced the bullet wound on his
left temple.  No. 3 is their gallant son as he appeared in the flesh,
No. 4 is his reappearance after death.  The opinion of a miniature
painter who had done a picture of the young soldier is worth recording
as evidence of identity.  The artist says:  "After painting the
miniature of your son Will, I feel I know every turn of his face, and
am quite convinced of the likeness of the psychic photograph.  All the
modelling of the brow, nose and eyes is marked by illness--especially
is the mouth slightly contracted--but this does not interfere with the
real form.  The way the hair grows on the brow and temple is noticeably
like the photograph taken before he was wounded."



D

THE CLAIRVOYANCE OF MRS. B.


At the time of this volume going to press the results obtained by
clients of this medium have been forty-two successes out of fifty
attempts, checked and docketted by the author.  This series forms a
most conclusive proof of spirit clairvoyance.  An attempt has been made
by Mr. E. F. Benson, who examined some of the letters, to explain the
results upon the grounds of telepathy.  He admits that "The tastes,
appearance and character of the deceased are often given, and many
names are introduced by the medium, some not traceable, but most of
them identical with relations or friends."  Such an admission would
alone banish thought-reading as an explanation, for there is no
evidence in existence to show that this power ever reaches such
perfection that one who possesses it could draw the image of a dead man
from your brain, fit a correct name to him, and then associate him with
all sorts of definite and detailed actions in which he was engaged.
Such an explanation is not an explanation but a pretence.  But even if
one were to allow such a theory to pass, there are numerous incidents
in these accounts which could not be explained in such a fashion, where
unknown details have been given which were afterwards verified, and
even where mistakes in thought upon the part of the sitter were
corrected by the medium under spirit guidance.  Personally I believe
that the medium's own account of how she gets her remarkable results is
the absolute truth, and I can imagine no other fashion in which they
can be explained.  She has, of course, her bad days, and the conditions
are always worst when there is an inquisitorial rather than a religious
atmosphere in the interview.  This intermittent character of the
results is, according to my experience, characteristic of spirit
clairvoyance as compared with thought-reading, which can, in its more
perfect form, become almost automatic within certain marked limits.  I
may add that the constant practice of some psychical researchers to
take no notice at all of the medium's own account of how he or she
attains results, but to substitute some complicated and unproved
explanation of their own, is as insulting as it is unreasonable.  It
has been alleged as a slur upon Mrs. B's results and character that she
has been twice prosecuted by the police.  This is, in fact, not a slur
upon the medium but rather upon the law, which is in so barbarous a
condition that the true seer fares no better than the impostor, and
that no definite psychic principles are recognised.  A medium may under
such circumstances be a martyr rather than a criminal, and a conviction
ceases to be a stain upon the character.



[1]  "The Reality of Psychic Phenomena."  "Experiences in Psychical
Science." (Watkins.)

[2]  See Appendix.

[3]  See Appendix D.

[4]  The details of both these latter cases are to be found in "Voices
from the Void" by Mrs. Travers Smith, a book containing some well
weighed evidence.

[5]  For Geley's Experiments,  Appendix A.

[6]  Published at sixpence by the Light Publishing Co., 6, Queen
Square, London, W.C.  The same firm supplies Dr. Ellis Powell's
convincing little book on the same subject.

[7]  The References are to Matthew, xxiii 35, and to  Josephus, Wars of
the Jews, Book IV, Chapter 5.

[8]  Dr. Geley writes to me that they are unknown either to him or to
the medium.





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