CHAPTER VI THE CONTINUICTY OF LIFE
Do the so-called dead actually live be yond the grave? If so, where? Can they communicate with us after they have left their physical bodies? Have conditions been perfected by which they can talk to those living here, using their own voice? Do their words sound the same in our atmosphere as they did when they inhabited their physical bodies?” These questions and many more have often been asked me. I answer, “Yes” – but the abstract affirmative reply means so little that I propose to give a detailed explanation of the facts. If I can explain the principle involved, the result will be understood, for the former is a condition depending upon the latter.
We were conducting our investigation as usual. The room devoted to the purpose was in intense darkness, as it always was, and the atmospheric movement was slow. Mrs. French, my assistant, the most perfect psychic then living, was with me.
In the darkness appeared points of non-luminous light, constantly in motion, cloudy, etheric substance, half-form, which moved with an effect of a cool wind blowing across one’s face and hands, as it passed and repassed. A strong influence seemed to take some vital force from me.
From years of similar experience I knew that aiding us was a group of workers in the afterlife, who were creating conditions by which it would be possible for them, and those whom they would bring, to converse with us; that etheric and physical matter were being transformed into a state in which they could be used to clothe the vocal organs of spirit people.
“Do spirit people have bodies?” is a question frequently asked. My answer is that they have, and when in this world, it is clothed with a flesh garment. In the change the etheric body discards the flesh covering, but that act does not destroy the individual, or his etheric body, or his organs of speech, or change them in any way. The flesh covering of man’s etheric body makes possible existence in the physical world. Similarly, the absence of the flesh garment makes possible his existence in the spirit world. It is only by again clothing organs of speech with matter slow in vibration that the words of inhabitants of the etheric world may sound in our atmosphere, and after this has been done, an individual in the afterlife has no more difficulty in speaking than he had when in the earth-life. These were the conditions being arranged on the evening which I am about to describe.
As we waited, every faculty was alert. Though I had had the same experience upon hundreds of previous occasions, yet each occasion seemed more interesting and different from the one preceding. I had long since ceased to demand tests, or to insist on the coming of any particular individual. I asked for knowledge, and any one who was in a position to give that would, I knew, talk; so with patient expectation we waited, conversing easily, filling the room with voice vibrations. Who out of the great beyond could take on the physical condition which would make conversation possible?
There was absolute silence, save for a slight movement as of soft garments, a moment of expectancy as we awaited the greeting of those from the great beyond – was there ever a situation more intensely interesting?
“Good evening, Mr. Randall. I am glad to have the pleasure of greeting Mrs. French again.” The voice was clear and distinct. “I have been asked to tell you something of the conditions that make speech possible.
“First of all,” he continued, “I know that to your physical eyes all is in intense darkness. With us, however, who no longer live subject to physical vibrations, there is light, but not the light of your day. To us in the etheric world, who are not bound by earth conditions, all is light – a state far different from the light you know. In our light the physical is visible, and through it we pass as easily as atoms pass through your solids, and here let me say, as we have often said before, our etheric bodies are just as perfect as when we inhabited physical garments in the earth plane, or as your bodies are tonight. When compared to yours, our bodies appear transparent, and all things in this life appear more transparent than did things in the earth plane, but they are more real to us than things physical are to you, because more intense. It is difficult, I know, with all you have been told, to comprehend matter, except it be tangible – but to continue my account of the work being done here.
“From Mrs. French’s brain project magnetic lines of force, to me perfectly visible, extending to a point just over the table between you, while over your head appears a bar of light from which other lines of force reach out, meeting those first described, under which there appears to be a cup into which the magnetic and electric forces so taken are gathered. These substances, etheric in character, are by chemists, skilled in such work, manipulated to clothe my organs of speech; otherwise the sound of my voice would not fall upon your ears. All psychics possess a peculiar vital force that is used by us; otherwise they would not be psychics, and when I speak to you I am for the moment really an inhabitant of your world, just as for the moment you are in touch with the afterlife. In the conditions prevailing at this moment, there is no line of demarcation between the so-called two worlds; we are both in the same room, actually within a few feet of each other; both have bodies; for the moment, you sit in a chair, while I stand, and each hears the other’s words. If I could gather just a little more strength, I could touch you.”
“Just a moment,” I interrupted, “won’t you take my hand in order that I may feel the tangibility of an etheric body, re-clothed for the moment?”
“I will try,” was the answer. “Wait.”
Then in the darkness I held one hand to my right, while across the table at right angles my left held firmly both hands of my assistant. This was in a room in my own residence; all light was excluded, and we were alone. Soon a hand took mine; there was no groping. I took the hand meeting my own firmly, feeling the form and outline. It was warm, and perfectly natural in all respects with one exception; although it rested easily, yet it seemed to move and to vibrate beyond any description I can give. As my hand closed, the other hand seemed to dissolve. No word was uttered during that particular time. Then the gentleman speaking from a point very near his former position, said:
“We do not like to use the material that we have gathered with such great effort for physical demonstrations, for so much can be accomplished in other ways. Do you know there is no place in the world today where such work can be done, as in your home tonight? I mean that working with Mrs. French and you so long, we have overcome many crude conditions, and have reached such a state of perfection that many of those in an advanced plane can enter, can teach laws and explain conditions unknown among men, touching the very foundation of the physical. Then again, working in conjunction with you, we bring many persons into that quasi-physical, quasi-etheric condition which is necessary to restore them to a conscious state. We do a work that is being accomplished in no other place; here the physical and the etheric force blend as one, and here many of the dead, so-called, are awakened in the conditions created. We shall always feel the obligations we owe you, for with your aid we have helped very, very many in the years gone by, the extent of which you have little idea.”
From this it would seem that physical vibrations, working in conjunction with the etheric are necessary to create a condition where some in the afterlife may be roused from an unconscious state. If this be so “Earth needs Heaven, but Heaven indeed Of Earth has just as great a need.”
“We can help you, and you can help us in so many ways,” he said.
“How do our physical bodies appear to you tonight?” I inquired.
“Your bodies, I now speak of the flesh covering,” he said, “may be likened to a lighted pumpkin on Halloween night. Some give out more light than others, depending on the development and refinement of the life force. Generally speaking a physical covering appears dark, some darker than others. The life force in many is fine, in others undeveloped; there is as much difference as in the arc light and the candle.
“Your brain.” he continued, “appears to me like a fine machine in constant motion. As suggestions both spirit and physical, through movement of matter reach you, they pass into the brain machine, are fashioned and changed, then flow out in new form, and we of this world not only see them enter but we see them emerge. All in the world is substance and all is life; they are one and the same thing, for life has never existed and never can exist without substance; form cannot be without matter; so in this way we illustrate how important it is to keep the thought, the output of the brain clean, and men and women will keep it clean when they come to know that it is visible. But I am transgressing; there are others who would speak – good night.”
“I have waited,” the voice of a woman then said, “so long for just the conditions to prevail that would enable me to speak. Tonight, while the gentleman was addressing you, I was told by those having the work in charge that I might try. I was asked to stand to the right of the table that separates the psychic from you. This I did when the chemist of the spirit group took from the cup in which it had been gathered, a substance slow in vibration and precipitated the material around and about my organs of speech. I touched my mouth and moved my tongue, both seemed in a way different, but their use was not modified, and when I spoke to you I realized that my voice sounded the same as it did before I left your world.
“My passing out of the old body was so delightful, so different from what I had expected, and the plane in which I now live is so wonderful that I have long been anxious to give to your world a description of my going and of what awaited me. I now see that I lived a fairly good life. As occasion presented, I did what little I could to make those about me happier, helped those less fortunate as opportunity offered, and tried to do right. I had no knowledge of what followed the earth-life, but I always had an abiding faith that if people invariably did the best they could, all would be well, and I was not disappointed.
“In my last illness, as the hour of dissolution approached, I felt no fear. It seemed to me that I was about to make a natural change, and that in some place I should live on in the companionship of those who had preceded me. There came over me a weakness that I cannot describe; I seemed to sleep. With great effort I aroused my faculties, and plainly saw members of my household, some kneeling about the bed sobbing. I wanted to speak to them, but found I was unable to articulate. Looking again I was for a moment startled, for I saw many faces of spirit people smiling. Looking once more, I saw beside my bed my dear husband, whose face was full of tenderness, and who took my hand speaking words of welcome. Others whom I now know help on such occasions, gathered about me, their hands under my poor physical body, encouraging me, and telling me all was well. Soon, without any effort on my part, for I was far too weak to make an effort, I seemed to be lifted above and out of my old body, and stood among the others referred to, startled at the reality.
“I turned and saw the old flesh body, white and still, and heard the cry of anguish as the physician said, ‘She is dead.’ I wanted to speak to the loved ones who mourned, and tell them, as I do now that I was not dead, but conscious and living. I was informed, however, that my words would fall upon deaf ears, and that in my present disturbed mental state the wisest course would be for me to go with my husband to a rest house for a little time, until I should grow accustomed to the change. Later, I was told, I should be shown the beauty of the afterlife, and in good season should come again into the house of mourning. I was not for one moment unconscious in passing from one world to the other.
“Many of those who had preceded me into the afterlife, who came to help in the change, went with us to the house of rest; there was great joy among them, but my heart was filled with sorrow, for many dear ones left in your world needed a mother’s care. I could not at that time comprehend the wisdom of the infinite, or realize that each change in Nature means progress. I will not undertake,” she continued, “to describe the joy of meeting with those who had preceded me, or of the coming and going of friends and acquaintances. Their good cheer and happiness were a great comfort, but my thoughts were ever with those in the old life who grieved so much. I felt that I must go and tell them, but I was informed that the time was not opportune, for they were without knowledge. Further, I was assured that both they and I must learn many things before help would be possible, except by suggestion, and that I should be instructed in good time.
“What impressed me most after a period of rest, and my faculties had become alert, was the reality of all things. I looked at my own body, which seemed as tangible as before the change, although it had perhaps a more etheric appearance. I stood upon my feet, and moved my legs, arms, and head; my senses of touch, smell, and sight were more acute; I spoke to those about me, and they answered; I looked over a valley and saw running brooks, and lakes, trees, grass, and flowers of many kinds. I took long deep breaths of wonderfully vitalizing air, and as the new conditions dawned upon me, I turned to those about me questioningly.
‘I do not understand,’ I said.
“‘No,’ they answered, ‘as you have never been taught anything concerning this life, how could you understand? But let us tell you one fact: the life you have now entered is just as material as the one you have left. Stop for a moment and realize that truth. Moreover, everything in the earthplane is only a poor imitation of a part of what exists in this plane.’
” ‘Did it never strike you as absurd,’ a spirit said, ‘that houses, trees, flowers, and all animal life should be limited to the physical plane; such a proposition must assume that the universe is limited to the earth planet?’
‘I could not grasp the suggestion,’ I said, and I asked that I might rest for a while. Turning my head, I saw the smiling face of my husband beckoning, and I went with him with confidence, as in the days of youth.
“I am weary now,” she said, “the material seems to be falling from my lips and throat; there is so much that I want to say; I will come again.”
Her strength was exhausted, with the experience half told.
“You have said that in the world of spirit, you have lands and waters, lakes and rivers, trees and shrubs, vines and flowers; tell us of them in language we may comprehend,” I said to another spirit who greeted us.
“In the first place,” he answered, “you must disabuse your mind of the idea that nothing existed before your poor earth-planet came into being, or that nothing exists beyond the physical. The truth is that all things which in the ages have found expression on the earth- plane, have existed in the etheric world since the beginning. There were rivers flowing down from mountains, and lakes in the valleys among the hills, and lands and trees and embracing vines, and flowers long before this planet was fertile, and now only a few of the wonderful things of our plane are able to find expression in yours. Then again, there is much vegetation developing in our etheric material that the earth in its crude state cannot clothe, and your inability to comprehend vegetation beyond or outside the earth lies in the fact that you have heretofore had an erroneous idea that all life originated in the physical.”