11 Chapter XI


How can people be dead and not know it? This was the most difficult proposition that was ever presented to me. All orthodox teaching has been such that it is difficult for any one to comprehend the natural conditions about them. In my first years of this most interesting research, I talked with many who did not know that they had left the earth-life at all. Why did they not know that they had left the physical body?

Let me give a stenographic account of our work on the evening of May 10, 1897, illustrative of the point referred to and reported by Miss Gertrude Spaulding, now secretary to one of the United States senators from Minnesota.

The spirit controlling our work said: “Tonight, we must bring into your presence a necessity, bring one who needs help more than you need words of instruction. In this regular work, do not change conditions; if you want to invite strangers, take another night.”

A strange spirit voice said:

Q. I am interested to know what you are doing here. I don’t want that woman sitting there to take down what I say.

A. She is not here to take down your confession, if you make one. The work we are doing is of sufficient importance to be taken stenographically; that is what the stenographer is here for. Well, sir, how can we serve you?

“I don’t want you to call me ‘friend,’ but as I am here, I will present a business proposition. You like money, don’t you? I suppose the rest of you like money too. It does lots of things.”

Q. Have you a speculation that you want us to join in?

A. I have a certain block of stock I want to sell.

Q. What kind of stock? A. Mining stock. It is mining stock.

Q. Is that the most important thing in your mind? A. That’s the most important.

Q. Why do you wish to sell it?

A. I have a good reason, but I don’t say very much about it to strangers.

Q. How did you get it? A. Never mind that. I have it and want to sell it.

Q. How long have you had that stock for sale?

A. I have had it for about five years. Have not sold it because everybody seems afraid of it.

Q. Now, hasn’t it occurred to you that if you have not sold it, there is something about that stock that isn’t right?

A. I know all about that stock. Are you afraid of it?

Q. No, I am not afraid of it. You have offered it very cheap, I suppose?

A. Not so very. I don’t believe in cheap stocks.

Q. You have traveled?

A. Traveled? Traveled from one end of the earth to the other. I have even been to Europe.

Q. Now, does it not seem strange to you that you have traveled so far and not sold your stock?

A. I’ll tell you. It is strange to me because everybody that I have offered it to, has turned away after looking at it. People think I am a little “off ”

Q. Now, where is your family? A. You want my wife to sign the papers?

Q. Will she sign? A. It is not necessary.

Q. Where is she? A. Home.

Q. Where is home? A. I will tell you, if you want to know. She is at San Jose, California.

Q. You have traveled a good way. Did you ever hear of the city of Buffalo?

A. Yes, who hasn’t?

Q. It is a good city, isn’t it? A. Very good, very good.

Q. Now, I live in Buffalo. I am in my own home now.

A. You don’t mean to say that I am in Buffalo?

Q. Yes. A. Your home?

Q. Yes. You have been brought here for some purpose other than selling mining stock. You have traveled a long way. Now, my friend, where did you get those papers? Be honest with me. Have they not been a burden to you for years?

A. That will do, gentlemen.

Q. Did you get that stock honestly?

The voice of the control interrupted, speaking with great force; “The man you stole the papers from, shot you.”

Q. Who is that? How does he know? How does he know?

The control speaking to us said:

“He was shot while stealing those papers. When we cannot reach spirits of his kind, we find it necessary to bring them into the conditions prevailing here now; we want your help. In this condition their mental activities are quickened, and they are brought out of mental darkness.”

I said to the spirit: “If you will come and touch me, possibly you will gather more strength.”

A. You will put handcuffs on me.

Q. You are among friends. A. I don’t trust in friends or strangers.

Q. I want you to listen to what I have to say. You are nearly three thousand miles from San Jose, California. When you were stealing that stock from that other man, you heard the click of a revolver, didn’t you?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you hear the explosion? A. No.

Q. There was one. A. I should have heard it if there had been.

Q. There was a revolver fired at that time, I am told, and that ball penetrated your body. When that occurred, you passed out of the physical body. You live right on; that life is so like the life here, that you and thousands of others go right on without being conscious of the change; they find conditions so similar, and whatever was in the mind when the change occurred is held sometimes indefinitely. You have been wandering over the face of the earth holding the thought that that stock was in your hands. You are not as you were before you took that stock; a great alteration has taken place, but you are not dead.

A. Am I a ghost?

Q. Let me explain. Every week we sit in a dark room as are now doing, and understanding the laws that govern speech between the spiritual and the physical planes, we are able to talk with people who have passed on, just as we are talking to you tonight. Now, you are in a situation which you fail to comprehend. You must work out of your present condition and undo the wrong that you have done. You will be able in time, much time probably, to progress, and those who have progressed farther and understand your condition, have brought you tonight into this condition for the purpose of having us demonstrate to you the change that has come, and teach you how to compensate for the wrong that you did. If you will listen, you will be told.

A. I believe none of that.

Q. Do you understand that there is actually no death?

A. No, I do not.

Q. The majority of people in the physical world do not understand that change at all. One leaves the old, physical body as one leaves an old coat. But the etheric body, the individual self, with its tendencies and desires, goes on and on. Now, don’t you think there has been a change with you in some way? Do you want me to demonstrate that to you?

A. I am just like you.

Q. That cannot be, for your body is composed of ether only. I lift my hand to my face. Can you see my face through my hand?

A. No.

Q. Now, lift up your hand. Don’t you see there is a difference?

A. Yes, I can see through my hand.

Q. What do you think of that? A. If you think I am crazy, I had better go.

Q. We are not trying to do you harm. A. Talk then in reason.

The control interrupted again, saying:

“We will bring a spirit that shall teach you what is reasonable, and he shall prove to you that you too are a spirit.”

Q. Do you know that the man talking to you now, is S , once a citizen of much prominence?

A. He is dead.

Q. He is talking to you. Is he dead if he can talk?

A. You are a queer lot of people.

Q. Possibly, but if you will listen to what he says, if you will earnestly seek the truth, you will find it. Things are not satisfactory with you, are they?

A. Not very.

Q. Now, you would like to get out of your present condition, would you not?

A. I don’t like to be called dead.

Q. We will help you all we can. We want you to listen. I tell you again, there is no death.

A. But you said I was a spirit.

Q. Yes, I say that you are now in the afterlife, and that you have an etheric body, almost identical with the old physical.

A. Don’t you know that the spirit is nothing but dust?

Q. I do not; on the contrary, it is as material as before dissolution?

A. Where are your ministers? Why don’t they so teach if it is a fact.

Q. Because the great majority don’t know; and the few who do know have not the courage.

A. I will go and ask Father Spencer if this be true.

Q. Do you want to see Father Spencer right here? Is it possible at this time to bring Father Spencer here tonight? I asked the control.

A. I am sending messengers for Father Spencer, who has also passed on since his going, he replied.

Q. Now, if Father Spencer can come here and talk to you as a spirit

A. Then I will believe every word you said.

Q. Either tonight, or at some other time, you shall talk with Father Spencer as you are talking now with us.

A. I will wait.

Some years elapsed before this strange spirit came again, and then only to say that he had found Father Spencer, and had come to understand the terrible condition which, by a life ill spent, he had made for himself. He then appreciated that he must meet again every wrong act of his earth-life, live it again and live it right, and by labor make retribution for all the wrong he had done. He further said that no man, if he understood the result of evil or its effect in the afterlife, would do wrong.

At the time this work was being carried on, I did not fully appreciate the fact that one could be dead, so-called, and not know it, I had first to learn that there is individual life beyond the grave. Then I was taught:

(a) That here and now we have spirit bodies composed of etheric material, as much matter as the flesh garment that covers them.

(b) That dissolution is simply the passing of the etheric out of the physical covering.

(c) That the afterlife is just as tangible and material as this, intense and real beyond comprehension, differing from this life in vibration only.

(d) That the so-called dead have bodies as real and tangible to them as ours are to us.

(e) That many of the dead, so-called, move about even among us, little realizing that any change has been made, unless developed spiritually. When I had learned these things, the teachers of the etheric world took up with me the character and conditions surrounding and governing life in the next sphere of development. Then I understood..