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´╗┐Title: The New Revelation
Author: Doyle, Arthur Conan, 1859-1930
Language: English
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THE NEW REVELATION


BY

ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE



Dedication

To all the brave men and women, humble or learned, who have the moral
courage during seventy years to face ridicule or worldly disadvantage
in order to testify to an all-important truth.

March, 1918



PREFACE

Many more philosophic minds than mine have thought over the religious
side of this subject and many more scientific brains have turned their
attention to its phenomenal aspect.  So far as I know, however, there
has been no former attempt to show the exact relation of the one to the
other.  I feel that if I should succeed in making this a little more
clear I shall have helped in what I regard as far the most important
question with which the human race is concerned.

A celebrated Psychic, Mrs. Piper, uttered, in the year 1899 words which
were recorded by Dr. Hodgson at the time.  She was speaking in trance
upon the future of spiritual religion, and she said:  "In the next
century this will be astonishingly perceptible to the minds of men.  I
will also make a statement which you will surely see verified.  Before
the clear revelation of spirit communication there will be a terrible
war in different parts of the world.  The entire world must be purified
and cleansed before mortal can see, through his spiritual vision, his
friends on this side and it will take just this line of action to bring
about a state of perfection.  Friend, kindly think of this."  We have
had "the terrible war in different parts of the world."  The second
half remains to be fulfilled.

A. C. D.
  1918.



CONTENTS

CHAPTER

   I  THE SEARCH
  II  THE REVELATION
 III  THE COMING LIFE
  IV  PROBLEMS AND LIMITATIONS



SUPPLEMENTARY DOCUMENTS

   I  THE NEXT PHASE OF LIFE
  II  AUTOMATIC WRITING
 III  THE CHERITON DUGOUT



THE NEW REVELATION



CHAPTER I.

THE SEARCH


The subject of psychical research is one upon which I have thought more
and about which I have been slower to form my opinion, than upon any
other subject whatever.  Every now and then as one jogs along through
life some small incident happens which very forcibly brings home the
fact that time passes and that first youth and then middle age are
slipping away.  Such a one occurred the other day.  There is a column
in that excellent little paper, Light, which is devoted to what was
recorded on the corresponding date a generation--that is thirty
years--ago.  As I read over this column recently I had quite a start as
I saw my own name, and read the reprint of a letter which I had written
in 1887, detailing some interesting spiritual experience which had
occurred in a seance. Thus it is manifest that my interest in the
subject is of some standing, and also, since it is only within the last
year or two that I have finally declared myself to be satisfied with
the evidence, that I have not been hasty in forming my opinion.  If I
set down some of my experiences and difficulties my readers will not, I
hope, think it egotistical upon my part, but will realise that it is
the most graphic way in which to sketch out the points which are likely
to occur to any other inquirer.  When I have passed over this ground,
it will be possible to get on to something more general and impersonal
in its nature.

When I had finished my medical education in 1882, I found myself, like
many young medical men, a convinced materialist as regards our personal
destiny.  I had never ceased to be an earnest theist, because it seemed
to me that Napoleon's question to the atheistic professors on the
starry night as he voyaged to Egypt: "Who was it, gentlemen, who made
these stars?" has never been answered.  To say that the Universe was
made by immutable laws only put the question one degree further back as
to who made the laws.  I did not, of course, believe in an
anthropomorphic God, but I believed then, as I believe now, in an
intelligent Force behind all the operations of Nature--a force so
infinitely complex and great that my finite brain could get no further
than its existence.  Right and wrong I saw also as great obvious facts
which needed no divine revelation.  But when it came to a question of
our little personalities surviving death, it seemed to me that the
whole analogy of Nature was against it.  When the candle burns out the
light disappears.  When the electric cell is shattered the current
stops.  When the body dissolves there is an end of the matter.  Each
man in his egotism may feel that he ought to survive, but let him look,
we will say, at the average loafer--of high or low degree--would anyone
contend that there was any obvious reason why THAT personality should
carry on?  It seemed to be a delusion, and I was convinced that death
did indeed end all, though I saw no reason why that should affect our
duty towards humanity during our transitory existence.

This was my frame of mind when Spiritual phenomena first came before my
notice.  I had always regarded the subject as the greatest nonsense
upon earth, and I had read of the conviction of fraudulent mediums and
wondered how any sane man could believe such things.  I met some
friends, however, who were interested in the matter, and I sat with
them at some table-moving seances.  We got connected messages.  I am
afraid the only result that they had on my mind was that I regarded
these friends with some suspicion.  They were long messages very often,
spelled out by tilts, and it was quite impossible that they came by
chance.  Someone then, was moving the table.  I thought it was they.
They probably thought that I did it.  I was puzzled and worried over
it, for they were not people whom I could imagine as cheating--and yet
I could not see how the messages could come except by conscious
pressure.

About this time--it would be in 1886--I came across a book called The
Reminiscences of Judge Edmunds.  He was a judge of the U.S. High Courts
and a man of high standing.  The book gave an account of how his wife
had died, and how he had been able for many years to keep in touch with
her.  All sorts of details were given.  I read the book with interest,
and absolute scepticism.  It seemed to me an example of how a hard
practical man might have a weak side to his brain, a sort of reaction,
as it were, against those plain facts of life with which he had to
deal.  Where was this spirit of which he talked?  Suppose a man had an
accident and cracked his skull; his whole character would change, and a
high nature might become a low one. With alcohol or opium or many other
drugs one could apparently quite change a man's spirit.  The spirit
then depended upon matter.  These were the arguments which I used in
those days.  I did not realise that it was not the spirit that was
changed in such cases, but the body through which the spirit worked,
just as it would be no argument against the existence of a musician if
you tampered with his violin so that only discordant notes could come
through.

I was sufficiently interested to continue to read such literature as
came in my way.  I was amazed to find what a number of great men--men
whose names were to the fore in science--thoroughly believed that
spirit was independent of matter and could survive it.  When I regarded
Spiritualism as a vulgar delusion of the uneducated, I could afford to
look down upon it; but when it was endorsed by men like Crookes, whom I
knew to be the most rising British chemist, by Wallace, who was the
rival of Darwin, and by Flammarion, the best known of astronomers, I
could not afford to dismiss it. It was all very well to throw down the
books of these men which contained their mature conclusions and careful
investigations, and to say "Well, he has one weak spot in his brain,"
but a man has to be very self-satisfied if the day does not come when
he wonders if the weak spot is not in his own brain.  For some time I
was sustained in my scepticism by the consideration that many famous
men, such as Darwin himself, Huxley, Tyndall and Herbert Spencer,
derided this new branch of knowledge; but when I learned that their
derision had reached such a point that they would not even examine it,
and that Spencer had declared in so many words that he had decided
against it on a priori grounds, while Huxley had said that it did not
interest him, I was bound to admit that, however great, they were in
science, their action in this respect was most unscientific and
dogmatic, while the action of those who studied the phenomena and tried
to find out the laws that governed them, was following the true path
which has given us all human advance and knowledge.  So far I had got
in my reasoning, so my sceptical position was not so solid as before.

It was somewhat reinforced, however, by my own experiences.  It is to
be remembered that I was working without a medium, which is like an
astronomer working without a telescope.  I have no psychical powers
myself, and those who worked with me had little more. Among us we could
just muster enough of the magnetic force, or whatever you will call it,
to get the table movements with their suspicious and often stupid
messages.  I still have notes of those sittings and copies of some, at
least, of the messages.  They were not always absolutely stupid.  For
example, I find that on one occasion, on my asking some test question,
such as how many coins I had in my pocket, the table spelt out:  "We
are here to educate and to elevate, not to guess riddles."  And then:
"The religious frame of mind, not the critical, is what we wish to
inculcate." Now, no one could say that that was a puerile message. On
the other hand, I was always haunted by the fear of involuntary
pressure from the hands of the sitters. Then there came an incident
which puzzled and disgusted me very much.  We had very good conditions
one evening, and an amount of movement which seemed quite independent
of our pressure.  Long and detailed messages came through, which
purported to be from a spirit who gave his name and said he was a
commercial traveller who bad lost his life in a recent fire at a
theatre at Exeter.  All the details were exact, and he implored us to
write to his family, who lived, he said, at a place called Slattenmere,
in Cumberland.  I did so, but my letter came back, appropriately
enough, through the dead letter office.  To this day I do not know
whether we were deceived, or whether there was some mistake in the name
of the place; but there are the facts, and I was so disgusted that for
some time my interest in the whole subject waned.  It was one thing to
study a subject, but when the subject began to play elaborate practical
jokes it seemed time to call a halt.  If there is such a place as
Slattenmere in the world I should even now be glad to know it.

I was in practice in Southsea at this time, and dwelling there was
General Drayson, a man of very remarkable character, and one of the
pioneers of Spiritualism in this country.  To him I went with my
difficulties, and he listened to them very patiently. He made light of
my criticism of the foolish nature of many of these messages, and of
the absolute falseness of some.  "You have not got the fundamental
truth into your head," said he.  "That truth is, that every spirit in
the flesh passes over to the next world exactly as it is, with no
change whatever.  This world is full of weak or foolish people.  So is
the next.  You need not mix with them, any more than you do in this
world. One chooses one's companions.  But suppose a man in this world,
who had lived in his house alone and never mixed with his fellows, was
at last to put his head out of the window to see what sort of place it
was, what would happen?  Some naughty boy would probably say something
rude.  Anyhow, he would see nothing of the wisdom or greatness of the
world.  He would draw his head in thinking it was a very poor place.
That is just what you have done.  In a mixed seance, with no definite
aim, you have thrust your head into the next world and you have met
some naughty boys.  Go forward and try to reach something better."
That was General Drayson's explanation, and though it did not satisfy
me at the time, I think now that it was a rough approximation to the
truth.  These were my first steps in Spiritualism.  I was still a
sceptic, but at least I was an inquirer, and when I heard some
old-fashioned critic saying that there was nothing to explain, and that
it was all fraud, or that a conjuror was needed to show it up, I knew
at least that that was all nonsense.  It is true that my own evidence
up to then was not enough to convince me, but my reading, which was
continuous, showed me how deeply other men had gone into it, and I
recognised that the testimony was so strong that no other religious
movement in the world could put forward anything to compare with it.
That did not prove it to be true, but at least it proved that it must
be treated with respect and could not be brushed aside.  Take a single
incident of what Wallace has truly called a modern miracle.  I choose
it because it is the most incredible.  I allude to the assertion that
D. D. Home--who, by the way, was not, as is usually supposed, a paid
adventurer, but was the nephew of the Earl of Home--the assertion, I
say, that he floated out of one window and into another at the height
of seventy feet above the ground.  I could not believe it.  And yet,
when I knew that the fact was attested by three eye-witnesses, who were
Lord Dunraven, Lord Lindsay, and Captain Wynne, all men of honour and
repute, who were willing afterwards to take their oath upon it, I could
not but admit that the evidence for this was more direct than for any
of those far-off events which the whole world has agreed to accept as
true.

I still continued during these years to hold table seances, which
sometimes gave no results, sometimes trivial ones, and sometimes rather
surprising ones.  I have still the notes of these sittings, and I
extract here the results of one which were definite, and which were so
unlike any conceptions which I held of life beyond the grave that they
amused rather than edified me at the time.  I find now, however, that
they agree very closely, with the revelations in Raymond and in other
later accounts, so that I view them with different eyes.  I am aware
that all these accounts of life beyond the grave differ in detail--I
suppose any of our accounts of the present life would differ in
detail--but in the main there is a very great resemblance, which in
this instance was very far from the conception either of myself or of
either of the two ladies who made up the circle.  Two communicators
sent messages, the first of whom spelt out as a name "Dorothy
Postlethwaite," a name unknown to any of us. She said she died at
Melbourne five years before, at the age of sixteen, that she was now
happy, that she had work to do, and that she had been at the same
school as one of the ladies.  On my asking that lady to raise her hands
and give a succession of names, the table tilted at the correct name of
the head mistress of the school.  This seemed in the nature of a test.
She went on to say that the sphere she inhabited was all round the
earth; that she knew about the planets; that Mars was inhabited by a
race more advanced than us, and that the canals were artificial; there
was no bodily pain in her sphere, but there could be mental anxiety;
they were governed; they took nourishment; she had been a Catholic and
was still a Catholic, but had not fared better than the Protestants;
there were Buddhists and Mohammedans in her sphere, but all fared
alike; she had never seen Christ and knew no more about Him than on
earth, but believed in His influence; spirits prayed and they died in
their new sphere before entering another; they had pleasures--music was
among them.  It was a place of light and of laughter. She added that
they had no rich or poor, and that the general conditions were far
happier than on earth.

This lady bade us good-night, and immediately the table was seized by a
much more robust influence, which dashed it about very violently.  In
answer to my questions it claimed to be the spirit of one whom I will
call Dodd, who was a famous cricketer, and with whom I had some serious
conversation in Cairo before he went up the Nile, where he met his
death in the Dongolese Expedition.  We have now, I may remark, come to
the year 1896 in my experiences.  Dodd was not known to either lady.  I
began to ask him questions exactly as if he were seated before me, and
he sent his answers back with great speed and decision.  The answers
were often quite opposed to what I expected, so that I could not
believe that I was influencing them.  He said that he was happy, that
he did not wish to return to earth. He had been a free-thinker, but had
not suffered in the next life for that reason.  Prayer, however, was a
good thing, as keeping us in touch with the spiritual world.  If he had
prayed more he would have been higher in the spirit world.

This, I may remark, seemed rather in conflict with his assertion that
he had not suffered through being a free-thinker, and yet, of course,
many men neglect prayer who are not free-thinkers.

His death was painless.  He remembered the death of Polwhele, a young
officer who died before him.  When he (Dodd) died he had found people
to welcome him, but Polwhele had not been among them.

He had work to do.  He was aware of the Fall of Dongola, but had not
been present in spirit at the banquet at Cairo afterwards.  He knew
more than he did in life.  He remembered our conversation in Cairo.
Duration of life in the next sphere was shorter than on earth.  He had
not seen General Gordon, nor any other famous spirit.  Spirits lived in
families and in communities.  Married people did not necessarily meet
again, but those who loved each other did meet again.

I have given this synopsis of a communication to show the kind of thing
we got--though this was a very favourable specimen, both for length and
for coherence. It shows that it is not just to say, as many critics
say, that nothing but folly comes through.  There was no folly here
unless we call everything folly which does not agree with preconceived
ideas.  On the other hand, what proof was there that these statements
were true?  I could see no such proof, and they simply left me
bewildered.  Now, with a larger experience, in which I find that the
same sort of information has come to very, many people independently in
many lands, I think that the agreement of the witnesses does, as in all
cases of evidence, constitute some argument for their truth.  At the
time I could not fit such a conception of the future world into my own
scheme of philosophy, and I merely noted it and passed on.

I continued to read many books upon the subject and to appreciate more
and more what a cloud of witnesses existed, and how careful their
observations had been. This impressed my mind very much more than the
limited phenomena which came within the reach of our circle.  Then or
afterwards I read a book by Monsieur Jacolliot upon occult phenomena in
India. Jacolliot was Chief Judge of the French Colony of Crandenagur,
with a very judicial mind, but rather biassed{sic} against
spiritualism.  He conducted a series of experiments with native fakirs,
who gave him their confidence because he was a sympathetic man and
spoke their language.  He describes the pains he took to eliminate
fraud.  To cut a long story short he found among them every phenomenon
of advanced European mediumship, everything which Home, for example,
had ever done.  He got levitation of the body, the handling of fire,
movement of articles at a distance, rapid growth of plants, raising of
tables.  Their explanation of these phenomena was that they were done
by the Pitris or spirits, and their only difference in procedure from
ours seemed to be that they made more use of direct evocation.  They
claimed that these powers were handed down from time immemorial and
traced back to the Chaldees.  All this impressed me very much, as here,
independently, we had exactly the same results, without any question of
American frauds, or modern vulgarity, which were so often raised
against similar phenomena in Europe.

My mind was also influenced about this time by the report of the
Dialectical Society, although this Report had been presented as far
back as 1869.  It is a very cogent paper, and though it was received
with a chorus of ridicule by the ignorant and materialistic papers of
those days, it was a document of great value.  The Society was formed
by a number of people of good standing and open mind to enquire into
the physical phenomena of Spiritualism.  A full account of their
experiences and of their elaborate precautions against fraud are given.
After reading the evidence, one fails to see how they could have come
to any other conclusion than the one attained, namely, that the
phenomena were undoubtedly genuine, and that they pointed to laws and
forces which had not been explored by Science.  It is a most singular
fact that if the verdict had been against spiritualism, it would
certainly have been hailed as the death blow of the movement, whereas
being an endorsement of the phenomena it met with nothing by ridicule.
This has been the fate of a number of inquiries since those conducted
locally at Hydesville in 1848, or that which followed when Professor
Hare of Philadelphia, like Saint Paul, started forth to oppose but was
forced to yield to the truth.

About 1891, I had joined the Psychical Research Society and had the
advantage of reading all their reports.  The world owes a great deal to
the unwearied diligence of the Society, and to its sobriety of
statement, though I will admit that the latter makes one impatient at
times, and one feels that in their desire to avoid sensationalism they
discourage the world from knowing and using the splendid work which
they are doing.  Their semi-scientific terminology also chokes off the
ordinary reader, and one might say sometimes after reading their
articles what an American trapper in the Rocky Mountains said to me
about some University man whom he had been escorting for the season.
"He was that clever," he said, "that you could not understand what he
said."  But in spite of these little peculiarities all of us who have
wanted light in the darkness have found it by the methodical,
never-tiring work of the Society.  Its influence was one of the powers
which now helped me to shape my thoughts.  There was another, however,
which made a deep impression upon me.  Up to now I had read all the
wonderful experiences of great experimenters, but I had never come
across any effort upon their part to build up some system which would
cover and contain them all. Now I read that monumental book, Myers'
Human Personality, a great root book from which a whole tree of
knowledge will grow.  In this book Myers was unable to get any formula
which covered all the phenomena called "spiritual," but in discussing
that action of mind upon mind which he has himself called telepathy he
completely proved his point, and he worked it out so thoroughly with so
many examples, that, save for those who were wilfully blind to the
evidence, it took its place henceforth as a scientific fact.  But this
was an enormous advance.  If mind could act upon mind at a distance,
then there were some human powers which were quite different to matter
as we had always understood it.  The ground was cut from under the feet
of the materialist, and my old position had been destroyed.  I had said
that the flame could not exist when the candle was gone.  But here was
the flame a long way off the candle, acting upon its own.  The analogy
was clearly a false analogy.  If the mind, the spirit, the intelligence
of man could operate at a distance from the body, then it was a thing
to that extent separate from the body.  Why then should it not exist on
its own when the body was destroyed?  Not only did impressions come
from a distance in the case of those who were just dead, but the same
evidence proved that actual appearances of the dead person came with
them, showing that the impressions were carried by something which was
exactly like the body, and yet acted independently and survived the
death of the body. The chain of evidence between the simplest cases of
thought-reading at one end, and the actual manifestation of the spirit
independently of the body at the other, was one unbroken chain, each
phase leading to the other, and this fact seemed to me to bring the
first signs of systematic science and order into what had been a mere
collection of bewildering and more or less unrelated facts.

About this time I had an interesting experience, for I was one of three
delegates sent by the Psychical Society to sit up in a haunted house.
It was one of these poltergeist cases, where noises and foolish tricks
had gone on for some years, very much like the classical case of John
Wesley's family at Epworth in 1726, or the case of the Fox family at
Hydesville near Rochester in 1848, which was the starting-point of
modern spiritualism.  Nothing sensational came of our journey, and yet
it was not entirely barren.  On the first night nothing occurred.  On
the second, there were tremendous noises, sounds like someone beating a
table with a stick.  We had, of course, taken every precaution, and we
could not explain the noises; but at the same time we could not swear
that some ingenious practical joke had not been played upon us. There
the matter ended for the time.  Some years afterwards, however, I met a
member of the family who occupied the house, and he told me that after
our visit the bones of a child, evidently long buried, had been dug up
in the garden.  You must admit that this was very remarkable.  Haunted
houses are rare, and houses with buried human beings in their gardens
are also, we will hope, rare.  That they should have both united in one
house is surely some argument for the truth of the phenomena.  It is
interesting to remember that in the case of the Fox family there was
also some word of human bones and evidence of murder being found in the
cellar, though an actual crime was never established. I have little
doubt that if the Wesley family could have got upon speaking terms with
their persecutor, they would also have come upon some motive for the
persecution.  It almost seems as if a life cut suddenly and violently
short had some store of unspent vitality which could still manifest
itself in a strange, mischievous fashion.  Later I had another singular
personal experience of this sort which I may describe at the end of
this argument.[1]

[1]  Vide Appendix III.


From this period until the time of the War I continued in the leisure
hours of a very busy life to devote attention to this subject.  I had
experience of one series of seances with very amazing results,
including several materializations seen in dim light. As the medium was
detected in trickery shortly afterwards I wiped these off entirely as
evidence.  At the same time I think that the presumption is very clear,
that in the case of some mediums like Eusapia Palladino they may be
guilty of trickery when their powers fail them, and yet at other times
have very genuine gifts.  Mediumship in its lowest forms is a purely
physical gift with no relation to morality and in many cases it is
intermittent and cannot be controlled at will.  Eusapia was at least
twice convicted of very clumsy and foolish fraud, whereas she several
times sustained long examinations under every possible test condition
at the hands of scientific committees which contained some of the best
names of France, Italy, and England.  However, I personally prefer to
cut my experience with a discredited medium out of my record, and I
think that all physical phenomena produced in the dark must necessarily
lose much of their value, unless they are accompanied by evidential
messages as well.  It is the custom of our critics to assume that if
you cut out the mediums who got into trouble you would have to cut out
nearly all your evidence.  That is not so at all.  Up to the time of
this incident I had never sat with a professional medium at all, and
yet I had certainly accumulated some evidence.  The greatest medium of
all, Mr. D. D. Home, showed his phenomena in broad daylight, and was
ready to submit to every test and no charge of trickery was ever
substantiated against him.  So it was with many others.  It is only
fair to state in addition that when a public medium is a fair mark for
notoriety hunters, for amateur detectives and for sensational
reporters, and when he is dealing with obscure elusive phenomena and
has to defend himself before juries and judges who, as a rule, know
nothing about the conditions which influence the phenomena, it would be
wonderful if a man could get through without an occasional scandal.  At
the same time the whole system of paying by results, which is
practically the present system, since if a medium never gets results he
would soon get no payments, is a vicious one.  It is only when the
professional medium can be guaranteed an annuity which will be
independent of results, that we can eliminate the strong temptation, to
substitute pretended phenomena when the real ones are wanting.

I have now traced my own evolution of thought up to the time of the
War.  I can claim, I hope, that it was deliberate and showed no traces
of that credulity with which our opponents charge us.  It was too
deliberate, for I was culpably slow in throwing any small influence I
may possess into the scale of truth.  I might have drifted on for my
whole life as a psychical Researcher, showing a sympathetic, but more
or less dilettante attitude towards the whole subject, as if we were
arguing about some impersonal thing such as the existence of Atlantis
or the Baconian controversy.  But the War came, and when the War came
it brought earnestness into all our souls and made us look more closely
at our own beliefs and reassess their values. In the presence of an
agonized world, hearing every day of the deaths of the flower of our
race in the first promise of their unfulfilled youth, seeing around one
the wives and mothers who had no clear conception whither their loved
ones had gone to, I seemed suddenly to see that this subject with which
I had so long dallied was not merely a study of a force outside the
rules of science, but that it was really something tremendous, a
breaking down of the walls between two worlds, a direct undeniable
message from beyond, a call of hope and of guidance to the human race
at the time of its deepest affliction.  The objective side of it ceased
to interest for having made up one's mind that it was true there was an
end of the matter.  The religious side of it was clearly of infinitely
greater importance.  The telephone bell is in itself a very childish
affair, but it may be the signal for a very vital message.  It seemed
that all these phenomena, large and small, had been the telephone bells
which, senseless in themselves, had signalled to the human race:
"Rouse yourselves!  Stand by!  Be at attention!  Here are signs for
you.  They will lead up to the message which God wishes to send."  It
was the message not the signs which really counted.  A new revelation
seemed to be in the course of delivery to the human race, though how
far it was still in what may be called the John-the-Baptist stage, and
how far some greater fulness and clearness might be expected hereafter,
was more than any man can say.  My point is, that the physical
phenomena which have been proved up to the hilt for all who care to
examine the evidence, are really of no account, and that their real
value consists in the fact that they support and give objective reality
to an immense body of knowledge which must deeply modify our previous
religious views, and must, when properly understood and digested, make
religion a very real thing, no longer a matter of faith, but a matter
of actual experience and fact.  It is to this side of the question that
I will now turn, but I must add to my previous remarks about personal
experience that, since the War, I have had some very exceptional
opportunities of confirming all the views which I had already formed as
to the truth of the general facts upon which my views are founded.

These opportunities came through the fact that a lady who lived with
us, a Miss L. S., developed the power of automatic writing.  Of all
forms of mediumship, this seems to me to be the one which should be
tested most rigidly, as it lends itself very easily not so much to
deception as to self-deception, which is a more subtle and dangerous
thing.  Is the lady herself writing, or is there, as she avers, a power
that controls her, even as the chronicler of the Jews in the Bible
averred that he was controlled?  In the case of L. S. there is no
denying that some messages proved to be not true--especially in the
matter of time they were quite unreliable.  But on the other hand, the
numbers which did come true were far beyond what any guessing or
coincidence could account for.  Thus, when the Lusitania was sunk and
the morning papers here announced that so far as known there was no
loss of life, the medium at once wrote:  "It is terrible, terrible--and
will have a great influence on the war." Since it was the first strong
impulse which turned America towards the war, the message was true in
both respects.  Again, she foretold the arrival of an important
telegram upon a certain day, and even gave the name of the deliverer of
it--a most unlikely person.  Altogether, no one could doubt the reality
of her inspiration, though the lapses were notable.  It was like
getting a good message through a very imperfect telephone.

One other incident of the early war days stands out in my memory.  A
lady in whom I was interested had died in a provincial town.  She was a
chronic invalid and morphia was found by her bedside.  There was an
inquest with an open verdict.  Eight days later I went to have a
sitting with Mr. Vout Peters.  After giving me a good deal which was
vague and irrelevant, he suddenly said: "There is a lady here.  She is
leaning upon an older woman.  She keeps saying 'Morphia.'  Three times
she has said it.  Her mind was clouded.  She did not mean it.
Morphia!"  Those were almost his exact words. Telepathy was out of the
question, for I had entirely other thoughts in my mind at the time and
was expecting no such message.

Apart from personal experiences, this movement must gain great
additional solidity from the wonderful literature which has sprung up
around it during the last few years.  If no other spiritual books were
in existence than five which have appeared in the last year or so--I
allude to Professor Lodge's Raymond, Arthur Hill's Psychical
Investigations, Professor Crawford's Reality of Psychical Phenomena,
Professor Barrett's Threshold of the Unseen, and Gerald Balfour's Ear
of Dionysius--those five alone would, in my opinion, be sufficient to
establish the facts for any reasonable enquirer.

Before going into this question of a new religious revelation, how it
is reached, and what it consists of, I would say a word upon one other
subject.  There have always been two lines of attack by our opponents.
The one is that our facts are not true.  This I have dealt with.  The
other is that we are upon forbidden ground and should come off it and
leave it alone.  As I started from a position of comparative
materialism, this objection has never had any meaning for me, but to
others I would submit one or two considerations.  The chief is that God
has given us no power at all which is under no circumstances to be
used.  The fact that we possess it is in itself proof that it is our
bounden duty to study and to develop it.  It is true that this, like
every other power, may be abused if we lose our general sense of
proportion and of reason.  But I repeat that its mere possession is a
strong reason why it is lawful and binding that it be used.

It must also be remembered that this cry of illicit knowledge, backed
by more or less appropriate texts, has been used against every advance
of human knowledge. It was used against the new astronomy, and Galileo
had actually to recant.  It was used against Galvani and electricity.
It was used against Darwin, who would certainly have been burned had he
lived a few centuries before.  It was even used against Simpson's use
of chloroform in child-birth, on the ground that the Bible declared "in
pain shall ye bring them forth." Surely a plea which has been made so
often, and so often abandoned, cannot be regarded very seriously.

To those, however, to whom the theological aspect is still a stumbling
block, I would recommend the reading of two short books, each of them
by clergymen. The one is the Rev. Fielding Ould's Is Spiritualism of
the Devil, purchasable for twopence; the other is the Rev. Arthur
Chambers' Our Self After Death.  I can also recommend the Rev. Charles
Tweedale's writings upon the subject.  I may add that when I first
began to make public my own views, one of the first letters of sympathy
which I received was from the late Archdeacon Wilberforce.

There are some theologians who are not only opposed to such a cult, but
who go the length of saying that the phenomena and messages come from
fiends who personate our dead, or pretend to be heavenly teachers. It
is difficult to think that those who hold this view have ever had any
personal experience of the consoling and uplifting effect of such
communications upon the recipient.  Ruskin has left it on record that
his conviction of a future life came from Spiritualism, though he
somewhat ungratefully and illogically added that having got that, he
wished to have no more to do with it.  There are many, however--quorum
pars parva su--who without any reserve can declare that they were
turned from materialism to a belief in future life, with all that that
implies, by the study of this subject.  If this be the devil's work one
can only say that the devil seems to be a very bungling workman and to
get results very far from what he might be expected to desire.



CHAPTER II.

THE REVELATION


I can now turn with some relief to a more impersonal view of this great
subject.  Allusion has been made to a body of fresh doctrine.  Whence
does this come?  It comes in the main through automatic writing where
the hand of the human medium is controlled, either by an alleged dead
human being, as in the case of Miss Julia Ames, or by an alleged higher
teacher, as in that of Mr. Stainton Moses.  These written
communications are supplemented by a vast number of trance utterances,
and by the verbal messages of spirits, given through the lips of
mediums. Sometimes it has even come by direct voices, as in the
numerous cases detailed by Admiral Usborne Moore in his book The
Voices.  Occasionally it has come through the family circle and
table-tilting, as, for example, in the two cases I have previously
detailed within my own experience.  Sometimes, as in a case recorded by
Mrs. de Morgan, it has come through the hand of a child.

Now, of course, we are at once confronted with the obvious
objection--how do we know that these messages are really from beyond?
How do we know that the medium is not consciously writing, or if that
be improbable, that he or she is unconsciously writing them by his or
her own higher self?  This is a perfectly just criticism, and it is one
which we must rigorously apply in every case, since if the whole world
is to become full of minor prophets, each of them stating their own
views of the religious state with no proof save their own assertion, we
should, indeed, be back in the dark ages of implicit faith.  The answer
must be that we require signs which we can test before we accept
assertions which we cannot test.  In old days they demanded a sign from
a prophet, and it was a perfectly reasonable request, and still holds
good.  If a person comes to me with an account of life in some further
world, and has no credentials save his own assertion, I would rather
have it in my waste-paperbasket than on my study table.  Life is too
short to weigh the merits of such productions.  But if, as in the case
of Stainton Moses, with his Spirit Teachings, the doctrines which are
said to come from beyond are accompanied with a great number of
abnormal gifts--and Stainton Moses was one of the greatest mediums in
all ways that England has ever produced--then I look upon the matter in
a more serious light.  Again, if Miss Julia Ames can tell Mr. Stead
things in her own earth life of which he could not have cognisance, and
if those things are shown, when tested, to be true, then one is more
inclined to think that those things which cannot be tested are true
also.  Or once again, if Raymond can tell us of a photograph no copy of
which had reached England, and which proved to be exactly as he
described it, and if he can give us, through the lips of strangers, all
sorts of details of his home life, which his own relatives had to
verify before they found them to be true, is it unreasonable to suppose
that he is fairly accurate in his description of his own experiences
and state of life at the very moment at which he is communicating?  Or
when Mr. Arthur Hill receives messages from folk of whom he never
heard, and afterwards verifies that they are true in every detail, is
it not a fair inference that they are speaking truths also when they
give any light upon their present condition?  The cases are manifold,
and I mention only a few of them, but my point is that the whole of
this system, from the lowest physical phenomenon of a table-rap up to
the most inspired utterance of a prophet, is one complete whole, each
attached to the next one, and that when the humbler end of that chain
was placed in the hand of humanity, it was in order that they might, by
diligence and reason, feel their way up it until they reached the
revelation which waited in the end.  Do not sneer at the humble
beginnings, the heaving table or the flying tambourine, however much
such phenomena may have been abused or simulated, but remember that a
falling apple taught us gravity, a boiling kettle brought us the steam
engine, and the twitching leg of a frog opened up the train of thought
and experiment which gave us electricity. So the lowly manifestations
of Hydesville have ripened into results which have engaged the finest
group of intellects in this country during the last twenty years, and
which are destined, in my opinion, to bring about far the greatest
development of human experience which the world has ever seen.

It has been asserted by men for whose opinion I have a deep
regard--notably by Sir William Barratt--that psychical research is
quite distinct from religion.  Certainly it is so, in the sense that a
man might be a very good psychical researcher but a very bad man.  But
the results of psychical research, the deductions which we may draw,
and the lessons we may learn, teach us of the continued life of the
soul, of the nature of that life, and of how it is influenced by our
conduct here.  If this is distinct from religion, I must confess that I
do not understand the distinction. To me it IS religion--the very
essence of it.  But that does not mean that it will necessarily
crystallise into a new religion.  Personally I trust that it will not
do so.  Surely we are disunited enough already?  Rather would I see it
the great unifying force, the one provable thing connected with every
religion, Christian or non-Christian, forming the common solid basis
upon which each raises, if it must needs raise, that separate system
which appeals to the varied types of mind.  The Southern races will
always demand what is less austere than the North, the West will always
be more critical than the East.  One cannot shape all to a level
conformity.  But if the broad premises which are guaranteed by this
teaching from beyond are accepted, then the human race has made a great
stride towards religious peace and unity.  The question which faces us,
then, is how will this influence bear upon the older organised
religions and philosophies which have influenced the actions of men.

The answer is, that to only one of these religions or philosophies is
this new revelation absolutely fatal.  That is to Materialism.  I do
not say this in any spirit of hostility to Materialists, who, so far as
they are an organized body, are, I think, as earnest and moral as any
other class.  But the fact is manifest that if spirit can live without
matter, then the foundation of Materialism is gone, and the whole
scheme of thought crashes to the ground.

As to other creeds, it must be admitted that an acceptance of the
teaching brought to us from beyond would deeply modify conventional
Christianity.  But these modifications would be rather in the direction
of explanation and development than of contradiction.  It would set
right grave misunderstandings which have always offended the reason of
every thoughtful man, but it would also confirm and make absolutely
certain the fact of life after death, the base of all religion.  It
would confirm the unhappy results of sin, though it would show that
those results are never absolutely permanent.  It would confirm the
existence of higher beings, whom we have called angels, and of an
ever-ascending hierarchy above us, in which the Christ spirit finds its
place, culminating in heights of the infinite with which we associate
the idea of all-power or of God.  It would confirm the idea of heaven
and of a temporary penal state which corresponds to purgatory rather
than to hell.  Thus this new revelation, on some of the most vital
points, is NOT destructive of the beliefs, and it should be hailed by
really earnest men of all creeds as a most powerful ally rather than a
dangerous devil-begotten enemy.

On the other hand, let us turn to the points in which Christianity must
be modified by this new revelation.

First of all I would say this, which must be obvious to many, however
much they deplore it: Christianity must change or must perish.  That is
the law of life--that things must adapt themselves or perish.
Christianity has deferred the change very long, she has deferred it
until her churches are half empty, until women are her chief
supporters, and until both the learned part of the community on one
side, and the poorest class on the other, both in town and country, are
largely alienated from her.  Let us try and trace the reason for this.
It is apparent in all sects, and comes, therefore, from some deep
common cause.

People are alienated because they frankly do not believe the facts as
presented to them to be true. Their reason and their sense of justice
are equally offended.  One can see no justice in a vicarious sacrifice,
nor in the God who could be placated by such means.  Above all, many
cannot understand such expressions as the "redemption from sin,"
"cleansed by the blood of the Lamb," and so forth.  So long as there
was any question of the fall of man there was at least some sort of
explanation of such phrases; but when it became certain that man had
never fallen--when with ever fuller knowledge we could trace our
ancestral course down through the cave-man and the drift-man, back to
that shadowy and far-off time when the man-like ape slowly evolved into
the apelike man--looking back on all this vast succession of life, we
knew that it had always been rising from step to step.  Never was there
any evidence of a fall.  But if there were no fall, then what became of
the atonement, of the redemption, of original sin, of a large part of
Christian mystical philosophy?  Even if it were as reasonable in itself
as it is actually unreasonable, it would still be quite divorced from
the facts.

Again, too much seemed to be made of Christ's death.  It is no uncommon
thing to die for an idea. Every religion has equally had its martyrs.
Men die continually for their convictions.  Thousands of our lads are
doing it at this instant in France.  Therefore the death of Christ,
beautiful as it is in the Gospel narrative, has seemed to assume an
undue importance, as though it were an isolated phenomenon for a man to
die in pursuit of a reform.  In my opinion, far too much stress has
been laid upon Christ's death, and far too little upon His life.  That
was where the true grandeur and the true lesson lay.  It was a life
which even in those limited records shows us no trait which is not
beautiful--a life full of easy tolerance for others, of kindly charity,
of broad-minded moderation, of gentle courage, always progressive and
open to new ideas, and yet never bitter to those ideas which He was
really supplanting, though He did occasionally lose His temper with
their more bigoted and narrow supporters. Especially one loves His
readiness to get at the spirit of religion, sweeping aside the texts
and the forms. Never had anyone such a robust common sense, or such a
sympathy for weakness.  It was this most wonderful and uncommon life,
and not his death, which is the true centre of the Christian religion.

Now, let us look at the light which we get from the spirit guides upon
this question of Christianity. Opinion is not absolutely uniform
yonder, any more than it is here; but reading a number of messages upon
this subject, they amount to this:  There are many higher spirits with
our departed.  They vary in degree.  Call them "angels," and you are in
touch with old religious thought.  High above all these is the greatest
spirit of whom they have cognizance--not God, since God is so infinite
that He is not within their ken--but one who is nearer God and to that
extent represents God.  This is the Christ Spirit.  His special care is
the earth. He came down upon it at a time of great earthly depravity--a
time when the world was almost as wicked as it is now, in order to give
the people the lesson of an ideal life.  Then he returned to his own
high station, having left an example which is still occasionally
followed.  That is the story of Christ as spirits have described it.
There is nothing here of Atonement or Redemption.  But there is a
perfectly feasible and reasonable scheme, which I, for one, could
readily believe.

If such a view of Christianity were generally accepted, and if it were
enforced by assurance and demonstration from the New Revelation which
is coming to us from the other side, then we should have a creed which
might unite the churches, which might be reconciled to science, which
might defy all attacks, and which might carry the Christian Faith on
for an indefinite period.  Reason and Faith would at last be
reconciled, a nightmare would be lifted from our minds, and spiritual
peace would prevail.  I do not see such results coming as a sudden
conquest or a violent revolution.  Rather will it come as a peaceful
penetration, as some crude ideas, such as the Eternal Hell idea, have
already gently faded away within our own lifetime.  It is, however,
when the human soul is ploughed and harrowed by suffering that the
seeds of truth may be planted, and so some future spiritual harvest
will surely rise from the days in which we live.

When I read the New Testament with the knowledge which I have of
Spiritualism, I am left with a deep conviction that the teaching of
Christ was in many most important respects lost by the early Church,
and has not come down to us.  All these allusions to a conquest over
death have, as it seems to me, little meaning in the present Christian
philosophy, whereas for those who have seen, however dimly, through the
veil, and touched, however slightly, the outstretched hands beyond,
death has indeed been conquered.  When we read so many references to
the phenomena with which we are familiar, the levitations, the tongues
of fire, the rushing wind, the spiritual gifts, the working of wonders,
we feel that the central fact of all, the continuity of life and the
communication with the dead, was most certainly known.  Our attention
is arrested by such a saying as:  "Here he worked no wonders because
the people were wanting in faith."  Is this not absolutely in
accordance with psychic law as we know it?  Or when Christ, on being
touched by the sick woman, said:  "Who has touched me?  Much virtue has
passed out of me."  Could He say more clearly what a healing medium
would say now, save that He would use the word "Power" instead of
"virtue"; or when we read: "Try the spirits whether they be of God," is
it not the very, advice which would now be given to a novice
approaching a seance?  It is too large a question for me to do more
than indicate, but I believe that this subject, which the more rigid
Christian churches now attack so bitterly, is really the central
teaching of Christianity itself.  To those who would read more upon
this line of thought, I strongly recommend Dr. Abraham Wallace's Jesus
of Nazareth, if this valuable little work is not out of print.  He
demonstrates in it most convincingly that Christ's miracles were all
within the powers of psychic law as we now understand it, and were on
the exact lines of such law even in small details.  Two examples have
already been given.  Many are worked out in that pamphlet.  One which
convinced me as a truth was the thesis that the story of the
materialization of the two prophets upon the mountain was
extraordinarily accurate when judged by psychic law.  There is the fact
that Peter, James and John (who formed the psychic circle when the dead
was restored to life, and were presumably the most helpful of the
group) were taken.  Then there is the choice of the high pure air of
the mountain, the drowsiness of the attendant mediums, the
transfiguring, the shining robes, the cloud, the words:  "Let us make
three tabernacles," with its alternate reading:  "Let us make three
booths or cabinets" (the ideal way of condensing power and producing
materializations)--all these make a very consistent theory of the
nature of the proceedings.  For the rest, the list of gifts which St.
Paul gives as being necessary for the Christian Disciple, is simply the
list of gifts of a very powerful medium, including prophecy, healing,
causing miracles (or physical phenomena), clairvoyance, and other
powers (I Corinth, xii, 8, 11).  The early Christian Church was
saturated with spiritualism, and they seem to have paid no attention to
those Old Testament prohibitions which were meant to keep these powers
only for the use and profit of the priesthood.



CHAPTER III.

THE COMING LIFE


Now, leaving this large and possibly contentious subject of the
modifications which such new revelations must produce in Christianity,
let us try to follow what occurs to man after death.  The evidence on
this point is fairly full and consistent.  Messages from the dead have
been received in many lands at various times, mixed up with a good deal
about this world, which we could verify.  When messages come thus, it
is only fair, I think, to suppose that if what we can test is true,
then what we cannot test is true also.  When in addition we find a very
great uniformity in the messages and an agreement as to details which
are not at all in accordance with any pre-existing scheme of thought,
then I think the presumption of truth is very strong.  It is difficult
to think that some fifteen or twenty messages from various sources of
which I have personal notes, all agree, and yet are all wrong, nor is
it easy to suppose that spirits can tell the truth about our world but
untruth about their own.

I received lately, in the same week, two accounts of life in the next
world, one received through the hand of the near relative of a high
dignitary of the Church, while the other came through the wife of a
working mechanician in Scotland.  Neither could have been aware of the
existence of the other, and yet the two accounts are so alike as to be
practically the same.[2]

[2]  Vide Appendix II.


The message upon these points seems to me to be infinitely reassuring,
whether we regard our own fate or that of our friends.  The departed
all agree that passing is usually both easy and painless, and followed
by an enormous reaction of peace and ease.  The individual finds
himself in a spirit body, which is the exact counterpart of his old
one, save that all disease, weakness, or deformity has passed from it.
This body is standing or floating beside the old body, and conscious
both of it and of the surrounding people.  At this moment the dead man
is nearer to matter than he will ever be again, and hence it is that at
that moment the greater part of those cases occur where, his thoughts
having turned to someone in the distance, the spirit body went with the
thoughts and was manifest to the person.  Out of some 250 cases
carefully examined by Mr. Gurney, 134 of such apparitions were actually
at this moment of dissolution, when one could imagine that the new
spirit body was possibly so far material as to be more visible to a
sympathetic human eye than it would later become.

These cases, however, are very rare in comparison with the total number
of deaths.  In most cases I imagine that the dead man is too
preoccupied with his own amazing experience to have much thought for
others. He soon finds, to his surprise, that though he endeavours to
communicate with those whom he sees, his ethereal voice and his
ethereal touch are equally unable to make any impression upon those
human organs which are only attuned to coarser stimuli.  It is a fair
subject for speculation, whether a fuller knowledge of those light rays
which we know to exist on either side of the spectrum, or of those
sounds which we can prove by the vibrations of a diaphragm to exist,
although they are too high for mortal ear, may not bring us some
further psychical knowledge.  Setting that aside, however, let us
follow the fortunes of the departing spirit.  He is presently aware
that there are others in the room besides those who were there in life,
and among these others, who seem to him as substantial as the living,
there appear familiar faces, and he finds his hand grasped or his lips
kissed by those whom he had loved and lost.  Then in their company, and
with the help and guidance of some more radiant being who has stood by
and waited for the newcomer, he drifts to his own surprise through all
solid obstacles and out upon his new life.

This is a definite statement, and this is the story told by one after
the other with a consistency which impels belief.  It is already very
different from any old theology.  The Spirit is not a glorified angel
or goblin damned, but it is simply the person himself, containing all
his strength and weakness, his wisdom and his folly, exactly as he has
retained his personal appearance.  We can well believe that the most
frivolous and foolish would be awed into decency by so tremendous an
experience, but impressions soon become blunted, the old nature may
soon reassert itself in new surroundings, and the frivolous still
survive, as our seance rooms can testify.

And now, before entering upon his new life, the new Spirit has a period
of sleep which varies in its length, sometimes hardly existing at all,
at others extending for weeks or months.  Raymond said that his lasted
for six days.  That was the period also in a case of which I had some
personal evidence.  Mr. Myers, on the other hand, said that he had a
very prolonged period of unconsciousness.  I could imagine that the
length is regulated by the amount of trouble or mental preoccupation of
this life, the longer rest giving the better means of wiping this out.
Probably the little child would need no such interval at all.  This, of
course, is pure speculation, but there is a considerable consensus of
opinion as to the existence of a period of oblivion after the first
impression of the new life and before entering upon its duties.

Having wakened from this sleep, the spirit is weak, as the child is
weak after earth birth.  Soon, however, strength returns and the new
life begins.  This leads us to the consideration of heaven and hell.
Hell, I may say, drops out altogether, as it has long dropped out of
the thoughts of every reasonable man.  This odious conception, so
blasphemous in its view of the Creator, arose from the exaggerations of
Oriental phrases, and may perhaps have been of service in a coarse age
where men were frightened by fires, as wild beasts are seared by the
travellers.  Hell as a permanent place does not exist.  But the idea of
punishment, of purifying chastisement, in fact of Purgatory, is
justified by the reports from the other side.  Without such punishment
there could be no justice in the Universe, for how impossible it would
be to imagine that the fate of a Rasputin is the same as that of a
Father Damien.  The punishment is very certain and very serious, though
in its less severe forms it only consists in the fact that the grosser
souls are in lower spheres with a knowledge that their own deeds have
placed them there, but also with the hope that expiation and the help
of those above them will educate them and bring them level with the
others. In this saving process the higher spirits find part of their
employment.  Miss Julia Ames in her beautiful posthumous book, says in
memorable words:  "The greatest joy of Heaven is emptying Hell."

Setting aside those probationary spheres, which should perhaps rather
be looked upon as a hospital for weakly souls than as a penal
community, the reports from the other world are all agreed as to the
pleasant conditions of life in the beyond.  They agree that like goes
to like, that all who love or who have interests in common are united,
that life is full of interest and of occupation, and that they would by
no means desire to return.  All of this is surely tidings of great joy,
and I repeat that it is not a vague faith or hope, but that it is
supported by all the laws of evidence which agree that where many
independent witnesses give a similar account, that account has a claim
to be considered a true one.  If it were an account of glorified souls
purged instantly from all human weakness and of a constant ecstasy of
adoration round the throne of the all powerful, it might well be
suspected as being the mere reflection of that popular theology which
all the mediums had equally received in their youth.  It is, however,
very different to any preexisting system.  It is also supported, as I
have already pointed out, not merely by the consistency of the
accounts, but by the fact that the accounts are the ultimate product of
a long series of phenomena, all of which have been attested as true by
those who have carefully examined them.

In connection with the general subject of life after death, people may
say we have got this knowledge already through faith.  But faith,
however beautiful in the individual, has always in collective bodies
been a very two-edged quality.  All would be well if every faith were
alike and the intuitions of the human race were constant.  We know that
it is not so.  Faith means to say that you entirely believe a thing
which you cannot prove.  One man says:  "My faith is THIS."  Another
says:  "My faith is THAT." Neither can prove it, so they wrangle for
ever, either mentally or in the old days physically.  If one is
stronger than the other, he is inclined to persecute him just to twist
him round to the true faith.  Because Philip the Second's faith was
strong and clear he, quite logically, killed a hundred thousand
Lowlanders in the hope that their fellow countrymen would be turned to
the all-important truth.  Now, if it were recognised that it is by no
means virtuous to claim what you could not prove, we should then be
driven to observe facts, to reason from them, and perhaps reach common
agreement.  That is why this psychical movement appears so valuable.
Its feet are on something more solid than texts or traditions or
intuitions.  It is religion from the double point of view of both
worlds up to date, instead of the ancient traditions of one world.

We cannot look upon this coming world as a tidy Dutch garden of a place
which is so exact that it can easily be described.  It is probable that
those messengers who come back to us are all, more or less, in one
state of development and represent the same wave of life as it recedes
from our shores. Communications usually come from those who have not
long passed over, and tend to grow fainter, as one would expect.  It is
instructive in this respect to notice that Christ's reappearances to
his disciples or to Paul, are said to have been within a very few years
of his death, and that there is no claim among the early Christians to
have seen him later.  The cases of spirits who give good proof of
authenticity and yet have passed some time are not common.  There is,
in Mr. Dawson Roger's life, a very good case of a spirit who called
himself Manton, and claimed to have been born at Lawrence Lydiard and
buried at Stoke Newington in 1677. It was clearly shown afterwards that
there was such a man, and that he was Oliver Cromwell's chaplain.  So
far as my own reading goes, this is the oldest spirit who is on record
as returning, and generally they are quite recent.  Hence, one gets all
one's views from the one generation, as it were, and we cannot take
them as final, but only as partial.  How spirits may see things in a
different light as they progress in the other world is shown by Miss
Julia Ames, who was deeply impressed at first by the necessity of
forming a bureau of communication, but admitted, after fifteen years,
that not one spirit in a million among the main body upon the further
side ever wanted to communicate with us at all since their own loved
ones had come over. She had been misled by the fact that when she first
passed over everyone she met was newly arrived like herself.

Thus the account we give may be partial, but still such as it is it is
very consistent and of extraordinary interest, since it refers to our
own destiny and that of those we love.  All agree that life beyond is
for a limited period, after which they pass on to yet other phases, but
apparently there is more communication between these phases than there
is between us and Spiritland.  The lower cannot ascend, but the higher
can descend at will.  The life has a close analogy to that of this
world at it its best.  It is pre-eminently a life of the mind, as this
is of the body.  Preoccupations of food, money, lust, pain, etc., are
of the body and are gone.  Music, the Arts, intellectual and spiritual
knowledge, and progress have increased.  The people are clothed, as one
would expect, since there is no reason why modesty should disappear
with our new forms.  These new forms are the absolute reproduction of
the old ones at their best, the young growing up and the old reverting
until all come to the normal.  People live in communities, as one would
expect if like attracts like, and the male spirit still finds his true
mate though there is no sexuality in the grosser sense and no
childbirth.  Since connections still endure, and those in the same
state of development keep abreast, one would expect that nations are
still roughly divided from each other, though language is no longer a
bar, since thought has become a medium of conversation.  How close is
the connection between kindred souls over there is shown by the way in
which Myers, Gurney and Roden Noel, all friends and co-workers on
earth, sent messages together through Mrs. Holland, who knew none of
them, each message being characteristic to those who knew the men in
life--or the way in which Professor Verrall and Professor Butcher, both
famous Greek scholars, collaborated to produce the Greek problem which
has been analysed by Mr. Gerald Balfour in The Ear of Dionysius, with
the result that that excellent authority testified that the effect
COULD have been attained by no other entities, save only Verrall and
Butcher.  It may be remarked in passing that these and other examples
show clearly either that the spirits have the use of an excellent
reference library or else that they have memories which produce
something like omniscience.  No human memory could possibly carry all
the exact quotations which occur in such communications as The Ear of
Dionysius.

These, roughly speaking, are the lines of the life beyond in its
simplest expression, for it is not all simple, and we catch dim
glimpses of endless circles below descending into gloom and endless
circles above, ascending into glory, all improving, all purposeful, all
intensely alive.  All are agreed that no religion upon earth has any
advantage over another, but that character and refinement are
everything.  At the same time, all are also in agreement that all
religions which inculcate prayer, and an upward glance rather than eyes
for ever on the level, are good.  In this sense, and in no other--as a
help to spiritual life--every form may have a purpose for somebody.  If
to twirl a brass cylinder forces the Thibetan to admit that there is
something higher than his mountains, and more precious than his yaks,
then to that extent it is good.  We must not be censorious in such
matters.

There is one point which may be mentioned here which is at first
startling and yet must commend itself to our reason when we reflect
upon it.  This is the constant assertion from the other side that the
newly passed do not know that they are dead, and that it is a long
time, sometimes a very long time, before they can be made to understand
it.  All of them agree that this state of bewilderment is harmful and
retarding to the spirit, and that some knowledge of the actual truth
upon this side is the only way to make sure of not being dazed upon the
other.  Finding conditions entirely different from anything for which
either scientific or religious teaching had prepared them, it is no
wonder that they look upon their new sensations as some strange dream,
and the more rigidly orthodox have been their views, the more
impossible do they find it to accept these new surroundings with all
that they imply.  For this reason, as well as for many others, this new
revelation is a very needful thing for mankind.  A smaller point of
practical importance is that the aged should realise that it is still
worth while to improve their minds, for though they have no time to use
their fresh knowledge in this world it will remain as part of their
mental outfit in the next.

As to the smaller details of this life beyond, it is better perhaps not
to treat them, for the very good reason that they are small details.
We will learn them all soon for ourselves, and it is only vain
curiosity which leads us to ask for them now.  One thing is clear:
there are higher intelligences over yonder to whom synthetic chemistry,
which not only makes the substance but moulds the form, is a matter of
absolute ease.  We see them at work in the coarser media, perceptible
to our material senses, in the seance room.  If they can build up
simulacra in the seance room, how much may we expect them to do when
they are working upon ethereal objects in that ether which is their own
medium.  It may be said generally that they can make something which is
analogous to anything which exists upon earth.  How they do it may well
be a matter of guess and speculation among the less advanced spirits,
as the phenomena of modern science are a matter of guess and
speculation to us. If one of us were suddenly called up by the denizen
of some sub-human world, and were asked to explain exactly what gravity
is, or what magnetism is, how helpless we should be!  We may put
ourselves in the position, then, of a young engineer soldier like
Raymond Lodge, who tries to give some theory of matter in the beyond--a
theory which is very likely contradicted by some other spirit who is
also guessing at things above him.  He may be right, or he may be
wrong, but he is doing his best to say what he thinks, as we should do
in similar case.  He believes that his transcendental chemists can make
anything, and that even such unspiritual matter as alcohol or tobacco
could come within their powers and could still be craved for by
unregenerate spirits.  This has tickled the critics to such an extent
that one would really think to read the comments that it was the only
statement in a book which contains 400 closely-printed pages.  Raymond
may be right or wrong, but the only thing which the incident proves to
me is the unflinching courage and honesty of the man who chronicled it,
knowing well the handle that he was giving to his enemies.

There are many who protest that this world which is described to us is
too material for their liking.  It is not as they would desire it.
Well, there are many things in this world which seem different from
what we desire, but they exist none the less.  But when we come to
examine this charge of materialism and try to construct some sort of
system which would satisfy the idealists, it becomes a very difficult
task.  Are we to be mere wisps of gaseous happiness floating about in
the air?  That seems to be the idea.  But if there is no body like our
own, and if there is no character like our own, then say what you will,
WE have become extinct.  What is it to a mother if some impersonal
glorified entity is shown to her?  She will say, "that is not the son I
lost--I want his yellow hair, his quick smile, his little moods that I
know so well."  That is what she wants; that, I believe, is what she
will have; but she will not have them by any system which cuts us away
from all that reminds us of matter and takes us to a vague region of
floating emotions.

There is an opposite school of critics which rather finds the
difficulty in picturing a life which has keen perceptions, robust
emotions, and a solid surrounding all constructed in so diaphanous a
material.  Let us remember that everything depends upon its comparison
with the things around it.

If we could conceive of a world a thousand times denser, heavier and
duller than this world, we can clearly see that to its inmates it would
seem much the same as this, since their strength and texture would be
in proportion.  If, however, these inmates came in contact with us,
they would look upon us as extraordinarily airy beings living in a
strange, light, spiritual atmosphere.  They would not remember that we
also, since our beings and our surroundings are in harmony and in
proportion to each other, feel and act exactly as they do.

We have now to consider the case of yet another stratum of life, which
is as much above us as the leaden community would be below us.  To us
also it seems as if these people, these spirits, as we call them, live
the lives of vapour and of shadows.  We do not recollect that there
also everything is in proportion and in harmony so that the spirit
scene or the spirit dwelling, which might seem a mere dream thing to
us, is as actual to the spirit as are our own scenes or our own
dwellings, and that the spirit body is as real and tangible to another
spirit as ours to our friends.



CHAPTER IV.

PROBLEMS AND LIMITATIONS


Leaving for a moment the larger argument as to the lines of this
revelation and the broad proofs of its validity, there are some smaller
points which have forced themselves upon my attention during the
consideration of the subject.  This home of our dead seems to be very
near to us--so near that we continually, as they tell us, visit them in
our sleep. Much of that quiet resignation which we have all observed in
people who have lost those whom they loved--people who would in our
previous opinion have been driven mad by such loss--is due to the fact
that they have seen their dead, and that although the switch-off is
complete and they can recall nothing whatever of the spirit experience
in sleep, the soothing result of it is still carried on by the
subconscious self.  The switch-off is, as I say, complete, but
sometimes for some reason it is hung up for a fraction of a second, and
it is at such moments that the dreamer comes back from  his dream
"trailing clouds of glory."  From this also come all those prophetic
dreams many of which are well attested. I have had a recent personal
experience of one which has not yet perhaps entirely justified itself
but is even now remarkable.  Upon April 4th of last year, 1917, I awoke
with a feeling that some communication had been made to me of which I
had only carried back one word which was ringing in my head.  That word
was "Piave."  To the best of my belief I had never heard the word
before.  As it sounded like the name of a place I went into my study
the moment I had dressed and I looked up the index of my Atlas.  There
was "Piave" sure enough, and I noted that it was a river in Italy some
forty miles behind the front line, which at that time was victoriously
advancing.  I could imagine few more unlikely things than that the war
should roll back to the Piave, and I could not think how any military
event of consequence could arise there, but none the less I was so
impressed that I drew up a statement that some such event would occur
there, and I had it signed by my secretary and witnessed by my wife
with the date, April 4th, attached.  It is a matter of history how six
months later the whole Italian line fell back, how it abandoned
successive positions upon rivers, and how it stuck upon this stream
which was said by military critics to be strategically almost
untenable.  If nothing more should occur (I write upon February 20th,
1918), the reference to the name has been fully justified, presuming
that some friend in the beyond was forecasting the coming events of the
war.  I have still a hope, however, that more was meant, and that some
crowning victory of the Allies at this spot may justify still further
the strange way in which the name was conveyed to my mind.

People may well cry out against this theory of sleep on the grounds
that all the grotesque, monstrous and objectionable dreams which plague
us cannot possibly come from a high source.  On this point I have a
very definite theory, which may perhaps be worthy of discussion.  I
consider that there are two forms of dreams, and only two, the
experiences of the released spirit, and the confused action of the
lower faculties which remain in the body when the spirit is absent. The
former is rare and beautiful, for the memory of it fails us.  The
latter are common and varied, but usually fantastic or ignoble.  By
noting what is absent in the lower dreams one can tell what the missing
qualities are, and so judge what part of us goes to make up the spirit.
Thus in these dreams humour is wanting, since we see things which
strike us afterwards as ludicrous, and are not amused.  The sense of
proportion and of judgment and of aspiration is all gone.  In short,
the higher is palpably gone, and the lower, the sense of fear, of
sensual impression, of self-preservation, is functioning all the more
vividly because it is relieved from the higher control.

The limitations of the powers of spirits is a subject which is brought
home to one in these studies. People say, "If they exist why don't they
do this or that!"  The answer usually is that they can't.  They appear
to have very fixed limitations like our own. This seemed to be very
clearly brought out in the cross-correspondence experiments where
several writing mediums were operating at a distance quite
independently of each other, and the object was to get agreement which
was beyond the reach of coincidence. The spirits seem to know exactly
what they impress upon the minds of the living, but they do not know
how far they carry their instruction out.  Their touch with us is
intermittent.  Thus, in the cross-correspondence experiments we
continually have them asking, "Did you get that?" or "Was it all
right?"  Sometimes they have partial cognisance of what is done, as
where Myers says:  "I saw the circle, but was not sure about the
triangle."  It is everywhere apparent that their spirits, even the
spirits of those who, like Myers and Hodgson, were in specially close
touch with psychic subjects, and knew all that could be done, were in
difficulties when they desired to get cognisance of a material thing,
such as a written document.  Only, I should imagine, by partly
materialising themselves could they do so, and they may not have had
the power of self-materialization.  This consideration throws some
light upon the famous case, so often used by our opponents, where Myers
failed to give some word or phrase which had been left behind in a
sealed box. Apparently he could not see this document from his present
position, and if his memory failed him he would be very likely to go
wrong about it.

Many mistakes may, I think, be explained in this fashion.  It has been
asserted from the other side, and the assertion seems to me reasonable,
that when they speak of their own conditions they are speaking of what
they know and can readily and surely discuss; but that when we insist
(as we must sometimes insist) upon earthly tests, it drags them back to
another plane of things, and puts them in a position which is far more
difficult, and liable to error.

Another point which is capable of being used against us is this:  The
spirits have the greatest difficulty in getting names through to us,
and it is this which makes many of their communications so vague and
unsatisfactory.  They will talk all round a thing, and yet never get
the name which would clinch the matter.  There is an example of the
point in a recent communication in Light, which describes how a young
officer, recently dead, endeavoured to get a message through the direct
voice method of Mrs. Susannah Harris to his father.  He could not get
his name through.  He was able, however, to make it clear that his
father was a member of the Kildare Street Club in Dublin.  Inquiry
found the father, and it was then learned that the father had already
received an independent message in Dublin to say that an inquiry was
coming through from London.  I do not know if the earth name is a
merely ephemeral thing, quite disconnected from the personality, and
perhaps the very first thing to be thrown aside.  That is, of course,
possible.  Or it may be that some law regulates our intercourse from
the other side by which it shall not be too direct, and shall leave
something to our own intelligence.

This idea, that there is some law which makes an indirect speech more
easy than a direct one, is greatly borne out by the
cross-correspondences, where circumlocution continually takes the place
of assertion.  Thus, in the St. Paul correspondence, which is treated
in the July pamphlet of the S.P.R., the idea of St. Paul was to be
conveyed from one automatic writer to two others, both of whom were at
a distance, one of them in India.  Dr. Hodgson was the spirit who
professed to preside over this experiment.  You would think that the
simple words "St. Paul" occurring in the other scripts would be
all-sufficient.  But no; he proceeds to make all sorts of indirect
allusions, to talk all round St. Paul in each of the scripts, and to
make five quotations from St. Paul's writings.  This is beyond
coincidence, and quite convincing, but none the less it illustrates the
curious way in which they go round instead of going straight.  If one
could imagine some wise angel on the other side saying, "Now, don't
make it too easy for these people.  Make them use their own brains a
little.  They will become mere automatons if we do everything for
them"--if we could imagine that, it would just cover the case.
Whatever the explanation, it is a noteworthy fact.

There is another point about spirit communications which is worth
noting.  This is their uncertainty wherever any time element comes in.
Their estimate of time is almost invariably wrong.  Earth time is
probably a different idea to spirit time, and hence the confusion.  We
had the advantage, as I have stated, of the presence of a lady in our
household who developed writing mediumship.  She was in close touch
with three brothers, all of whom had been killed in the war.  This
lady, conveying messages from her brothers, was hardly ever entirely
wrong upon facts, and hardly ever right about time.  There was one
notable exception, however, which in itself is suggestive.  Although
her prophecies as to public events were weeks or even months out, she
in one case foretold the arrival of a telegram from Africa to the day.
Now the telegram had already been sent, but was delayed, so that the
inference seems to be that she could foretell a course of events which
had actually been set in motion, and calculate how long they would take
to reach their end.  On the other hand, I am bound to admit that she
confidently prophesied the escape of her fourth brother, who was a
prisoner in Germany, and that this was duly fulfilled. On the whole I
preserve an open mind upon the powers and limitations of prophecy.

But apart from all these limitations we have, unhappily, to deal with
absolute coldblooded lying on the part of wicked or mischievous
intelligences. Everyone who has investigated the matter has, I suppose,
met with examples of wilful deception, which occasionally are mixed up
with good and true communications.  It was of such messages, no doubt,
that the Apostle wrote when he said:  "Beloved, believe, not every
spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God."  These words can
only mean that the early Christians not only practised Spiritualism as
we understand it, but also that they were faced by the same
difficulties.  There is nothing more puzzling than the fact that one
may get a long connected description with every detail given, and that
it may prove to be entirely a concoction.  However, we must bear in
mind that if one case comes absolutely correct, it atones for many
failures, just as if you had one telegram correct you would know that
there was a line and a communicator, however much they broke down
afterwards.  But it must be admitted that it is very discomposing and
makes one sceptical of messages until they are tested.  Of a kin with
these false influences are all the Miltons who cannot scan, and
Shelleys who cannot rhyme, and Shakespeares who cannot think, and all
the other absurd impersonations which make our cause ridiculous.  They
are, I think, deliberate frauds, either from this side or from the
other, but to say that they invalidate the whole subject is as
senseless as to invalidate our own world because we encounter some
unpleasant people.

One thing I can truly say, and that is, that in spite of false
messages, I have never in all these years known a blasphemous, an
unkind, or an obscene message.  Such incidents must be of very
exceptional nature.  I think also that, so far as allegations
concerning insanity, obsession, and so forth go, they are entirely
imaginary.  Asylum statistics do not bear out such assertions, and
mediums live to as good an average age as anyone else.  I think,
however, that the cult of the seance may be very much overdone.  When
once you have convinced yourself of the truth of the phenomena the
physical seance has done its work, and the man or woman who spends his
or her life in running from seance to seance is in danger of becoming a
mere sensation hunter.  Here, as in other cults, the form is in danger
of eclipsing the real thing, and in pursuit of physical proofs one may
forget that the real object of all these things is, as I have tried to
point out, to give us assurance in the future and spiritual strength in
the present, to attain a due perception of the passing nature of matter
and the all-importance of that which is immaterial.

The conclusion, then, of my long search after truth, is that in spite
of occasional fraud, which Spiritualists deplore, and in spite of wild
imaginings, which they discourage, there remains a great solid core in
this movement which is infinitely nearer to positive proof than any
other religious development  with which I am acquainted.  As I have
shown, it would appear to be a rediscovery rather than an absolutely
new thing, but the result in this material age is the same.  The days
are surely passing when the mature and considered opinions of such men
as Crookes, Wallace, Flammarion, Chas. Richet, Lodge, Barrett,
Lombroso, Generals Drayson and Turner, Sergeant Ballantyne, W. T.
Stead, Judge Edmunds, Admiral Usborne Moore, the late Archdeacon
Wilberforce, and such a cloud of other witnesses, can be dismissed with
the empty "All rot" or "Nauseating drivel" formulae.  As Mr. Arthur
Hill has well said, we have reached a point where further proof is
superfluous, and where the weight of disproof lies upon those who deny.
The very people who clamour for proofs have as a rule never taken the
trouble to examine the copious proofs which already exist.  Each seems
to think that the whole subject should begin de novo because he has
asked for information.  The method of our opponents is to fasten upon
the latest man who has stated the case--at the present instant it
happens to be Sir Oliver Lodge--and then to deal with him as if he had
come forward with some new opinions which rested entirely upon his own
assertion, with no reference to the corroboration of so many
independent workers before him.  This is not an honest method of
criticism, for in every case the agreement of witnesses is the very
root of conviction.  But as a matter of fact, there are many single
witnesses upon whom this case could rest.  If, for example, our only
knowledge of unknown forces depended upon the researches of Dr.
Crawford of Belfast, who places his amateur medium in a weighing chair
with her feet from the ground, and has been able to register a
difference of weight of many pounds, corresponding with the physical
phenomena produced, a result which he has tested and recorded in a true
scientific spirit of caution, I do not see how it could be shaken.  The
phenomena are and have long been firmly established for every open
mind.  One feels that the stage of investigation is passed, and that of
religious construction is overdue.

For are we to satisfy ourselves by observing phenomena with no
attention to what the phenomena mean, as a group of savages might stare
at a wireless installation with no appreciation of the messages coming
through it, or are we resolutely to set ourselves to define these
subtle and elusive utterances from beyond, and to construct from them a
religious scheme, which will be founded upon human reason on this side
and upon spirit inspiration upon the other?  These phenomena have
passed through the stage of being a parlour game; they are now emerging
from that of a debatable scientific novelty; and they are, or should
be, taking shape as the foundations of a definite system of religious
thought, in some ways confirmatory of ancient systems, in some ways
entirely new.  The evidence upon which this system rests is so enormous
that it would take a very considerable library to contain it, and the
witnesses are not shadowy people living in the dim past and
inaccessible to our cross-examination, but are our own contemporaries,
men of character and intellect whom all must respect.  The situation
may, as it seems to me, be summed up in a simple alternative.  The one
supposition is that there has been an outbreak of lunacy extending over
two generations of mankind, and two great continents--a lunacy which
assails men or women who are otherwise eminently sane.  The alternative
supposition is that in recent years there has come to us from divine
sources a new revelation which constitutes by far the greatest
religious event since the death of Christ (for the Reformation was a
re-arrangement of the old, not a revelation of the new), a revelation
which alters the whole aspect of death and the fate of man.  Between
these two suppositions there is no solid position. Theories of fraud or
of delusion will not meet the evidence.  It is absolute lunacy or it is
a revolution in religious thought, a revolution which gives us as
by-products an utter fearlessness of death, and an immense consolation
when those who are dear to us pass behind the veil.

I should like to add a few practical words to those who know the truth
of what I say.  We have here an enormous new development, the greatest
in the history of mankind.  How are we to use it?  We are bound in
honour, I think, to state our own belief, especially to those who are
in trouble.  Having stated it, we should not force it, but leave the
rest to higher wisdom than our own.  We wish to subvert no religion.
We wish only to bring back the material-minded--to take them out of
their cramped valley and put them on the ridge, whence they can breathe
purer air and see other valleys and other ridges beyond. Religions are
mostly petrified and decayed, overgrown with forms and choked with
mysteries.  We can prove that there is no need for this.  All that is
essential is both very simple and very sure.

The clear call for our help comes from those who have had a loss and
who yearn to re-establish connection.  This also can be overdone.  If
your boy were in Australia, you would not expect him to continually
stop his work and write long letters at all seasons.  Having got in
touch, be moderate in your demands.  Do not be satisfied with any
evidence short of the best, but having got that, you can, it seems to
me, wait for that short period when we shall all be re-united.  I am in
touch at present with thirteen mothers who are in correspondence with
their dead sons.  In each case, the husband, where he is alive, is
agreed as to the evidence.  In only one case so far as I know was the
parent acquainted with psychic matters before the war.

Several of these cases have peculiarities of their own.  In two of them
the figures of the dead lads have appeared beside the mothers in a
photograph.  In one case the first message to the mother came through a
stranger to whom the correct address of the mother was given.  The
communication afterwards became direct.  In another case the method of
sending messages was to give references to particular pages and lines
of books in distant libraries, the whole conveying a message.  The
procedure was to weed out all fear of telepathy. Verily there is no
possible way by which a truth can be proved by which this truth has not
been proved.

How are you to act?  There is the difficulty. There are true men and
there are frauds.  You have to work warily.  So far as professional
mediums go, you will not find it difficult to get recommendations. Even
with the best you may draw entirely blank.  The conditions are very
elusive.  And yet some get the result at once.  We cannot lay down
laws, because the law works from the other side as well as this.
Nearly every woman is an undeveloped medium.  Let her try her own
powers of automatic writing.  There again, what is done must be done
with every precaution against self-deception, and in a reverent and
prayerful mood.  But if you are earnest, you will win through somehow,
for someone else is probably trying on the other side.

Some people discountenance communication upon the ground that it is
hindering the advance of the departed.  There is not a tittle of
evidence for this. The assertions of the spirits are entirely to the
contrary and they declare that they are helped and strengthened by the
touch with those whom they love.  I know few more moving passages in
their simple boyish eloquence than those in which Raymond describes the
feelings of the dead boys who want to get messages back to their people
and find that ignorance and prejudice are a perpetual bar.  "It is hard
to think your sons are dead, but such a lot of people do think so.  It
is revolting to hear the boys tell you how no one speaks of them ever.
It hurts me through and through."

Above all read the literature of this subject.  It has been far too
much neglected, not only by the material world but by believers.  Soak
yourself with this grand truth.  Make yourself familiar with the
overpowering evidence.  Get away from the phenomenal side and learn the
lofty teaching from such beautiful books as After Death or from
Stainton Moses' Spirit Teachings.  There is a whole library of such
literature, of unequal value but of a high average. Broaden and
spiritualize your thoughts.  Show the results in your lives.
Unselfishness, that is the keynote to progress.  Realise not as a
belief or a faith, but as a fact which is as tangible as the streets of
London, that we are moving on soon to another life, that all will be
very happy there, and that the only possible way in which that
happiness can be marred or deferred is by folly and selfishness in
these few fleeting years.

It must be repeated that while the new revelation may seem destructive
to those who hold Christian dogmas with extreme rigidity, it has quite
the opposite effect upon the mind which, like so many modern minds, had
come to look upon the whole Christian scheme as a huge delusion.  It is
shown clearly that the old revelation has so many resemblances, defaced
by time and mangled by man's mishandling and materialism, but still
denoting the same general scheme, that undoubtedly both have come from
the same source.  The accepted ideas of life after death, of higher and
lower spirits, of comparative happiness depending upon our own conduct,
of chastening by pain, of guardian spirits, of high teachers, of an
infinite central power, of circles above circles approaching nearer to
His presence--all of these conceptions appear once more and are
confirmed by many witnesses.  It is only the claims of infallibility
and of monopoly, the bigotry and pedantry of theologians, and the
man-made rituals which take the life out of the God-given thoughts--it
is only this which has defaced the truth.

I cannot end this little book better than by using words more eloquent
than any which I could write, a splendid sample of English style as
well as of English thought.  They are from the pen of that considerable
thinker and poet, Mr. Gerald Massey, and were written many years ago.

"Spiritualism has been for me, in common with many others, such a
lifting of the mental horizon and letting-in of the heavens--such a
formation of faith into facts, that I can only compare life without it
to sailing on board ship with hatches battened down and being kept a
prisoner, living by the light of a candle, and then suddenly, on some
splendid starry night, allowed to go on deck for the first time to see
the stupendous mechanism of the heavens all aglow with the glory of
God."



SUPPLEMENTARY DOCUMENTS


I. THE NEXT PHASE OF LIFE

I have spoken in the text of the striking manner in which accounts of
life in the next phase, though derived from the most varied and
independent sources, are still in essential agreement--an agreement
which occasionally descends to small details.  A variety is introduced
by that fuller vision which can see and describe more than one plane,
but the accounts of that happy land to which the ordinary mortal may
hope to aspire, are very consistent.  Since I wrote the statement I
have read three fresh independent descriptions which again confirm the
point.  One is the account given by "A King's Counsel," in his recent
book, I Heard a Voice (Kegan Paul), which I recommended to inquirers,
though it has a strong Roman Catholic bias running through it which
shows that our main lines of thought are persistent.  A second is the
little book The  Light on the Future, giving the very interesting
details of the beyond, gathered by an earnest and reverent circle in
Dublin. The other came in a private letter from Mr. Hubert Wales, and
is, I think, most instructive.  Mr. Wales is a cautious and rather
sceptical inquirer who had put away his results with incredulity (he
had received them through his own automatic writing).  On reading my
account of the conditions described in the beyond, he hunted up his own
old script which had commended itself so little to him when he first
produced it.  He says: "After reading your article, I was struck,
almost startled, by the circumstance that the statements which had
purported to be made to me regarding conditions after death
coincided--I think almost to the smallest detail--with those you set
out as the result of your collation of material obtained from a great
number of sources.  I cannot think there was anything in my antecedent
reading to account for this coincidence.  I had certainly read nothing
you had published on the subject.  I had purposely avoided Raymond and
books like it, in order not to vitiate  my own results, and the
Proceedings of the S.P.R. which I had read at that time, do not touch,
as you know, upon after-death conditions.  At any rate I obtained, at
various times, statements (as my contemporary notes show) to the effect
that, in this persisting state of existence, they have bodies which,
though imperceptible by our senses, are as solid to them as ours to us,
that these bodies are based on the general characteristics of our
present bodies but beautified; that they have no age, no pain, no rich
and poor; that they wear clothes and take nourishment; that they do not
sleep (though they spoke of passing occasionally into a semiconscious
state which they called 'lying asleep'--a condition, it just occurs to
me, which seems to correspond roughly with the 'Hypnoidal' state);
that, after a period which is usually shorter than the average
life-time here, they pass to some further state of existence; that
people of similar thoughts, tastes and feelings, gravitate together;
that married couples do not necessarily reunite, but that the love of
man and woman  continues and is freed of elements which with us often
militate against its perfect realization; that immediately after death
people pass into a semi-conscious rest-state lasting various periods,
that they are unable to experience bodily pain, but are susceptible at
times to some mental anxiety; that a painful death is 'absolutely
unknown,' that religious beliefs make no difference whatever in the
after-state, and that their life altogether is intensely happy, and no
one having ever realised it could wish to return here.  I got no
reference to 'work' by that word, but much to the various interests
that were said to occupy them.  That is probably only another way of
saying the same thing.  'Work' with us has come usually to mean 'work
to live,' and that, I was emphatically informed, was not the case with
them--that all the requirements of life were somehow mysteriously
'provided.'  Neither did I get any reference to a definite 'temporary
penal state,' but I gathered that people begin there at the point of
intellectual and moral development where they leave off here; and since
their state of happiness was based mainly upon sympathy, those who came
over in a low moral condition, failed at first for various lengths of
time to have the capacity to appreciate and enjoy it."



AUTOMATIC WRITING

This form of mediumship gives the very highest results, and yet in its
very nature is liable to self-deception.  Are we using our own hand or
is an outside power directing it?  It is only by the information
received that we can tell, and even then we have to make broad
allowance for the action of our own subconscious knowledge.  It is
worth while perhaps to quote what appears to me to be a thoroughly
critic-proof case, so that the inquirer may see how strong the evidence
is that these messages are not self-evolved. This case is quoted in Mr.
Arthur Hill's recent book Man Is a Spirit (Cassell & Co.) and is
contributed by a gentleman who takes the name of Captain James Burton.
He is, I understand, the same medium (amateur) through whose
communications the position of the buried ruins at Glastonbury have
recently been located. "A week after my father's funeral I was writing
a business letter, when something seemed to intervene between my hand
and the motor centres of my brain, and the hand wrote at an amazing
rate a letter, signed with my father's signature and purporting to come
from him. I was upset, and my right side and arm became cold and numb.
For a year after this letters came frequently, and always at unexpected
times.  I never knew what they contained until I examined them with a
magnifying-glass: they were microscopic.  And they contained a vast
amount of matter with which it was impossible for me to be acquainted."
. . .  "Unknown to me, my mother, who was staying some sixty miles
away, lost her pet dog, which my father had given her.  The same night
I had a letter from him condoling with her, and stating that the dog
was now with him.  'All things which love us and are necessary to our
happiness in the world are with us here.'  A most sacred secret, known
to no one but my father and mother, concerning a matter which occurred
years before I was born, was afterwards told me in the script, with the
comment:  'Tell your mother this, and she will know that it is I, your
father, who am writing.'  My mother had been unable to accept the
possibility up to now, but when I told her this she collapsed and
fainted.  From that moment the letters became her greatest comfort, for
they were lovers during the forty years of their married life, and his
death almost broke her heart.

"As for myself, I am as convinced that my father, in his original
personality, still exists, as if he were still in his study with the
door shut.  He is no more dead than he would be were he living in
America.

"I have compared the diction and vocabulary of these letters with those
employed in my own writing--I am not unknown as a magazine
contributor--and I find no points of similarity between the two."
There is much further evidence in this case for which I refer the
reader to the book itself.



THE CHERITON DUGOUT

I have mentioned in the text that I had some recent experience of a
case where a "polter-geist" or mischievous spirit had been manifesting.
These entities appear to be of an undeveloped order and nearer to earth
conditions than any others with which we are acquainted.  This
comparative materialism upon their part places them low in the scale of
spirit, and undesirable perhaps as communicants, but it gives them a
special value as calling attention to crude obvious phenomena, and so
arresting the human attention and forcing upon our notice that there
are other forms of life within the universe.  These borderland forces
have attracted passing attention at several times and places in the
past, such cases as the Wesley persecution at Epworth, the Drummer of
Tedworth, the Bells of Bealing, etc., startling the country for a
time--each of them being an impingement of unknown forces upon human
life.  Then almost simultaneously came the Hydesville case in America
and the Cideville disturbances in France, which were so marked that
they could not be overlooked.  From them sprang the whole modern
movement which, reasoning upwards from small things to great, from raw
things to developed ones, from phenomena to messages, is destined to
give religion the firmest basis upon which it has ever stood.
Therefore, humble and foolish as these manifestations may seem, they
have been the seed of large developments, and are worthy of our
respectful, though critical, attention.

Many such manifestations have appeared of recent years in various
quarters of the world, each of which is treated by the press in a more
or less comic vein, with a conviction apparently that the use of the
word "spook" discredits the incident and brings discussion to an end.
It is remarkable that each is treated as an entirely isolated
phenomenon, and thus the ordinary reader gets no idea of the strength
of the cumulative evidence.  In this particular case of the Cheriton
Dugout the facts are as follows:

Mr. Jaques, a Justice of the Peace and a man of education and
intelligence, residing at Embrook House, Cheriton, near Folkestone,
made a dugout just opposite to his residence as a protection against
air raids. The house was, it may be remarked, of great antiquity, part
of it being an old religious foundation of the 14th Century.  The
dugout was constructed at the base of a small bluff, and the sinking
was through ordinary soft sandstone.  The work was carried out by a
local jobbing builder called Rolfe, assisted by a lad.  Soon after the
inception of his task he was annoyed by his candle being continually
blown out by jets of sand, and, by similar jets hitting up against his
own face. These phenomena he imagined to be due to some gaseous or
electrical cause, but they reached such a point that his work was
seriously hampered, and he complained to Mr. Jaques, who received the
story with absolute incredulity.  The persecution continued, however,
and increased in intensity, taking the form now of actual blows from
moving material, considerable objects, such as stones and bits of
brick, flying past him and hitting the walls with a violent impact.
Mr. Rolfe, still searching for a physical explanation, went to Mr.
Hesketh, the Municipal Electrician of Folkestone, a man of high
education and intelligence, who went out to the scene of the affair and
saw enough to convince himself that the phenomena were perfectly
genuine and inexplicable by ordinary laws.  A Canadian soldier who was
billeted upon Mr. Rolfe, heard an account of the happenings from his
host, and after announcing his conviction that the latter had "bats in
his belfry" proceeded to the dugout, where his experiences were so
instant and so violent that he rushed out of the place in horror.  The
housekeeper at the Hall also was a witness of the movement of bricks
when no human hands touched them.  Mr. Jaques, whose incredulity had
gradually thawed before all this evidence, went down to the dugout in
the absence of everyone, and was departing from it when five stones
rapped up against the door from the inside.  He reopened the door and
saw them lying there upon the floor.  Sir William Barrett had meanwhile
come down, but had seen nothing.  His stay was a short one.  I
afterwards made four visits of about two hours each to the grotto, but
got nothing direct, though I saw the new brickwork all chipped about by
the blows which it had received.  The forces appeared to have not the
slightest interest in psychical research, for they never played up to
an investigator, and yet their presence and action have been
demonstrated to at least seven different observers, and, as I have
said, they left their traces behind them, even to the extent of picking
the flint stones out of the new cement which was to form the floor, and
arranging them in tidy little piles.  The obvious explanation that the
boy was an adept at mischief had to be set aside in view of the fact
that the phenomena occurred in his absence.  One extra man of science
wandered on to the scene for a moment, but as his explanation was that
the movements occurred through the emanation of marsh-gas, it did not
advance matters much.  The disturbances are still proceeding, and I
have had a letter this very morning (February 21st, 1918) with fuller
and later details from Mr. Hesketh, the Engineer.

What is the REAL explanation of such a matter? I can only say that I
have advised Mr. Jaques to dig into the bluff under which he is
constructing his cellar.  I made some investigation myself upon the top
of it and convinced myself that the surface ground at that spot has at
some time been disturbed to the depth of at least five feet.  Something
has, I should judge, been buried at some date, and it is probable that,
as in the case cited in the text, there is a connection between this
and the disturbances.  It is very probable that Mr. Rolfe is, unknown
to himself, a physical medium, and that when he was in the confined
space of the cellar he turned it into a cabinet in which his magnetic
powers could accumulate and be available for use.  It chanced that
there was on the spot some agency which chose to use them, and hence
the phenomena.  When Mr. Jaques went alone to the grotto the power left
behind by Mr. Rolfe, who had been in it all morning, was not yet
exhausted and he was able to get some manifestations.  So I read it,
but it is well not to be dogmatic on such matters.  If there is
systematic digging I should expect an epilogue to the story.

Whilst these proofs were in the press a second very marked case of a
Polter-geist came within my knowledge. I cannot without breach of
confidence reveal the details and the phenomena are still going on.
Curiously enough, it was because one of the sufferers from the invasion
read some remarks of mine upon the Cheriton dugout that this other case
came to my knowledge, for the lady wrote to me at once for advice and
assistance.  The place is remote and I have not yet been able to visit
it, but from the full accounts which I have now received it seems to
present all the familiar features, with the phenomenon of direct
writing superadded.  Some specimens of this script have reached me.
Two clergymen have endeavoured to mitigate the phenomena, which are
occasionally very violent, but so far without result.  It may be some
consolation to any others who may be suffering from this strange
infliction, to know that in the many cases which have been carefully
recorded there is none in which any physical harm has been inflicted
upon man or beast.





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