26 Chapter XXVI


On June 24, 1912, at her home in Rochester, New York, Emily S. French, the most perfect psychic of modem times, left this world of ours. She had passed on life’s highway the stone that marked four score and more, and weary with the burden of good deeds and many years, she crossed the golden bridge from life to life.

On that June day as I stood where all that was mortal of my friend was being put away, memory flashed back to a previous time. I saw the open grave of my mother, I felt again the biting winds, and the chill of another death, – a sensation born of ignorance, – and I recalled my early resolution to solve the problem of dissolution. Again I stood apart, about me hills and valleys crowned and carpeted with green, winding roads, lakes and streams, trees and shrubs and flowers, and when the casket was lowered, the sun’s rays, rich and warm, fell upon it, and birds sang merrily in the trees. With joy in our hearts, we among the many who came to bid Mrs. French God-speed, turned homeward, for this good woman – one among millions – had gone to the next life with absolute knowledge of what conditions were to come. She knew that death was not the end, but the open door.

“Glad,” one asks, “that she has gone?” Yes, for it is the most glorious privilege possessed by mankind, after a long and eventful career, when the shadows lengthen, to pass to more intense and comprehensive life.

Mrs. French was born possessed, of what Crookes has termed, “Psychic Force”; from infancy she had unusual abilities. She could not remember a time when she was unable to see people and hear voices which were neither seen nor heard by others; for this reason she was in childhood thought peculiar. There came a period in her young womanhood when, with a pencil in each hand, she would write on different subjects simultaneously, easily conversing at the same time. Automatic writing was not then known or understood, and the suggestion that the beyond was inhabited by people, just as this world is, had not dawned upon our mentality. Afterward there came in her presence, under certain conditions, independent voices, that is, a way was found by which the vocal organs of the dead, so-called, could be and were clothed, so that they spoke audibly in our atmosphere, and in this manner came the discovery of another plane inhabited by all the countless dead, where individuality is actually continued – a world as real and tangible as this.

It was my good fortune to meet Mrs. French early, and the compact then formed was faithfully kept to the end. She was as anxious as I was to understand the play of forces in her presence, and without payment she freely gave her time and strength that through her instrumentality good might come, not only to those living here but also to those in the great beyond. The idea of accepting money for such service was abhorrent to her, and she devoted her life to the liberation of the mind, that the mental bonds of superstition might be broken, and that mankind might become better by living more intelligently.

Her work gave the world a new discovery, and her labor opened the door to the Unknown Land. Her love went out to those in sorrow – to the unfortunate, the rich, the poor, and the ignorant, and yet with her great power she was a child, sincere and frank and full of hope as spring, and she ever borrowed sunshine of tomorrow to make the present glad. She saw into the great beyond where the modes of motion were too rapid for physical sight; she knew the needs of others, and her charities encompassed them, and as the years passed, and the results became more apparent, the censure of this little world failed to sting. Her span of earth’s life was exceedingly long. For many years her physical ear failed to catch sounds; she grew refined and delicate as her life force ebbed. Some years before her dissolution she became blind, and all the beauty of the physical world was shut out, but still our wonderful work went on. Toward the end she became weary with well-doing, and met the change with confidence and courage.

Mrs. French passed into the next world gladly, for her physic sight had already beheld the glories of her new home; she had more friends there than here, and she had often heard the voices of the husband, who gave his life that the union might be preserved, and of her son who passed just as manhood touched the noon of life. She went not as a stranger into an unknown land, but as one familiar with the way, for just across the border, there waited with outstretched hands and words of welcome countless thousands who had been helped through her effort.

The memory of Emily S. French comes like a benediction. Over every cradle Nature bends and smiles, and at this second birth it does the same. She made me her friend by being honest; I made her my friend by being fair, and so we worked for twenty years and more to learn how to expel the fear of death from the human heart. She grew old as we count time, feeble in body and blind; yet her courage and devotion never waned, and at the end she smiled and met the dawn of everlasting life.

She was an instrument through which a great group worked. In her presence with the necessary conditions the people in the next plane spoke, and never again can it be said, “The dead know not anything.”

I cannot give out the knowledge gained through Mrs. French’s instrumentality without paying this tribute to her. She was the noblest woman I have known; she was both honest and brave; she enriched herself by aiding others. She helped to stay the tears that fell from furrowed cheeks and looked with pity on ignorance and superstition. She came to know that all wretchedness and pomp lose distinction in the democracy of death and that only character survives. To her in the great beyond where she now resides I send my love. – We shall meet again.