STRANGE AID IN MY BUSINESS
THE SUMMER of 1929, which now came on, seemed
to be one full program of a series of psychical happenings. I had seen
evidences of discarnate guidance so pronounced in my affairs up to this
time, that there no longer remained any friends whom the world called
dead were not only alive but in touch with me and intensely interested
in everything I did.
This attitude of
mind left the door wide open for anything to happen. I consequently
happened. And I grew to think little of it. As I have said elsewhere in
these pages again and again, by admitting the imponderable we have the
I accepted the fact that the dead were not only alive
but far more sentient and active than people are in the mortal state.
And while unusual occurrences brought their quota of surprise, in the
main I ceased to be awed.
I continued the taking of psychical transcripts day
after day and night after night. Two outstanding events occurred to show
how supernormal guidance manifested.
The first was the
sale of my third novel, Drag,
as a motion-picture; the second was the writing of my fourth novel,
I WAS taking a doctrinal message in the
apartment of a friend one evening early in the summer when there came an
informal aftermath to the discourse. The Friend who had been
transmitting the communication always chatted a few moments with me
before ringing off on the Cosmic Wire. This particular evening he
declared to me:
We rejoice to tell you that
something extremely pleasant is in prospect for you. We look ahead and
see a man in a certain office signing papers of sale on literary
property which you own, that will mean a large amount of money for you.
I have always been skeptical of messages which purported to predict
large amounts of money,
legacies, and other expositions of unusual good fortune. It
Why I Believe the Dead
has been my experience that if these things are to
happen, they will happen anyway. To talk about them and discuss them in
advance frequently sets vibrations in motion that defeats the end in
Besides, it is a favorite dodge of the mischief-makers
to predict wonderful good fortune that fails to materialize and thus
cause loss of faith and confidence in psychical interpretation. So I
fine. When and how does it happen?
The answer came in the clearest clairaudience:
Tomorrow morning you will
receive a phone-call from a man here in the city who wants to buy the
rights of your novel Drag.
He will make you an offer that seems ridiculously low. Do not accept it
at once. Wait for my voice instructing you. I will advise you what is
going on in the inside of his brain; he has been instructed to buy the
work within a certain price but he will not tell you what that price is,
at first; you set your figure high a nd bargain with him; when you come
within the neighborhood of the price he has been authorized to pay, I
will advise you and do you close your deal. Do you refuse to be hoaxed
or intimidated? He wants this book and is willing to pay a satisfactory
sum for it. I will be an unseen third party to the deal because you are
in need of the funds to carry on our mutual work. Do not forget. No
matter how the trading goes, wait for my voice advising you when to
close your deal.
I WENT home wondering whether I confronted a
new manifestation of mischief. Those were anxious sequences, waiting for
the Higher Counsel to prove up in event whether or not the voices could
Nevertheless, around 8:30 the following morning I was
awakened by the ringing of the phone near the head of my bed. My
motion-picture agent was on the wire.
just received a call from First National Pictures,
he informed me. Theyre
interested in buying the movie rights to Drag
to make into a production starring Dick Barthelmess. Were
to have a conference with their New York purchasing representative at
ten oclock. Please be at my office and well
go over and discuss the deal together.
At ten oclock we were in
the office of the picture concern on upper Madison Avenue. I learned
that my Counselor of the evening before had been absolutely accurate in
his statements. The trading commenced. Pursuing the tenets of his
calling, our buyer started in by telling me what a frightful writer I
was, and how the novel that he wanted to purchase was shop-worn goods
that I ought to feel honored to have First National make for nothing.
But he graciously condescended to refuseby
which the transfer of the rights might become valid in law.
WHAT no one in
that room, at least in mortal form, knew but myself was the fact that we
three mortals were not alone. I could feel
the vibration of my unseen Friends presence
in my sensitized left side like a galvanic battery. I knew he
Why I Believe the Dead
was standing about 20 inches from my left shoulder, taking in all that
transpired. Clearly in my Inner Ear came his voice. Tell
him you want the following amount of money for the rights,
and a sum was named almost three times what our buyer had first
I did so.
you craze? cried our buyer.
We wouldnt pay
that much for movie rights to a best seller by a first class author!
Suppose we split the
difference, suggested my agent.
cried the picture man, but Ill
come up three hundred dollars.
Ill come down three hundred,
I rejoined, making the result equally as absurd.
Up and down, back and
forth we jockeyed. Again and again my unseen counselor at my shoulder
advised me at each new offer:
Hes not telling
the truth as to the highest price hes been
authorized to pay. Keep on trading.
Several times we drifted
off upon other subjects. Again and again we came back to how much the
movie rights to the book were worth. It had been ten oclock
when we entered the buyers office. At a
quarter to twelve he jumped to his feet, thumped a copy of the book upon
his desk and cried Listen to me, both of
you! Im going to tell you the topnotch price
I can possibly offer you. If you dont want to
trade on it, everythings off.
He named a new price.
Distinctly and emphatically in my ear my counselor
telling you the truth. Accept it and close your deal. But make him give
you a certified check before you leave this office.
Okay, I said
aloud. But only on condition that you draw
my check at once. I walked out with the check
in my pocket.
THE adept student in psychical phenomena may raise the question
concerning this episode as to whether or not the whole affair might not
have been my clairvoyant powers coupled with the practice of
cryptothesis or subconscious mind-reading which I translated to myself
in terms of a discarnate voice of an unseen friend at my elbow.
answer is it was indeed possible but not
probable. I base this contention on the vibratory phenomena that went
with his presence, and the nature of his asides to me clairaudiently
from time to time during the trading. He gave me a more or less literal
recount of exactly the thoughts that were transpiring in that buyers
mind, things which it would not be in the nature of my own perceptions,
conscious or subconscious, to receive. Also, if I had this gift of
cryptothesis, why should it be confined only to business deals of this
kind? Why do I not have it for use in a hundred other situations? I
solemnly affirm that I have not. It was only for this one sequence that
the clairaudient voice came to me advising me so. Try as I may, I cannot
summon a repetition of the performance at will.
Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive
I TOOK the money, relieved a badly strained financial situation
which had accrued from pulling up stakes and moving to New York from
California. Then a month or so later a similar phenomenon happened
out of a clear sky
so to speak.
Again I was in
communication clairaudiently taking a doctrinal message. The voice
During the week that is ahead, you are going
to be invited to a dinner with a certain New York publisher. He will
proposition you to write a book for him. When he makes you the proposal,
do you accept it. The book will be dictated to you by us for a very
special purpose in connection with the work you are doing. He will make
you the proposal at our instigation although he will not be aware of it.
At the time I
received this news I had no intention of writing a new novel. I was far
too busy with other things. But two or three days passed and then I was
suddenly invited to go to the old Waldorf-Astoria to hear a lecture by
Dr. Crandon, husband of the famous trance-medium, Marjory, of Boston.
The friend who gave me the invitation mentioned offhandedly that she had
also invited one of the members of the publishing firm of G. P. Putnam
Sons to go along with us. We would have dinner first and drive over for
the lecture afterward.
apparently, was the opening that had been predicted. I accepted both
invitations and on the evening in question sat through the meal with no
proposals coming from my newly-found publisher friend. Not until we were
approaching the Waldorf in a cab did the talk turn on the literary work
that I might have in prospect. I mentioned something to the effect that
I had had such poor luck with my last publisher that I had no heart to
write another novel for anyone just then.
Do you mean youre
thinking of changing publishers? he demanded.
bantered, if I got a proposition good enough.
We wouldnt take
you away from another publisher unless you wanted to make the break
yourself, he declared. But
if youre seriously thinking of changing, wont
you come and see me before signing up with anybody else?
Again the voice seemed to know what it had been talking about. I said
that Id drop in and talk him about it the
TO MAKE a
lengthy episode brief, I had a new contract for three novels signed,
sealed, delivered, and stored away in my safe deposit box, within a
week! But what to write about?
I recall that I was not in an especial story-telling
the creative impulse was not really
strong enough just thenwith all that was
happening to me
Why I Believe the Dead
apply myself over the extended period of time that a book requires for its
I went home and looked through my old manuscripts of
partially-written plots such as every writer had stored away in his bureau
drawers against faulty inspiration. Finally I found the beginning of a
story that I had begun three years before and abandoned. It presented
possibilities and as I had the product s old before it was produced, I
felt justified in reopening the yarn and seeing how it went under possible
No sooner had I revamped the premise of the plot and
gotten launched in the first two or three chapters, than I was aware of
that strange vibratory exhilaration at my left shoulder.
Someone was standing there, directing what I was
Chapters flowed out from beneath my typewriter keys with
amazing facility. It seemed time after time that I was merely taking
dictation. The language and the style were not my own. I would type whole
pages swiftly as my fingertips could touch the keys.
The moment came finally when
I leaned back in some perplexity and demanded:
Is someone literally
dictating this story to me?
The answer came distinctly: of course!
I asked: Who is it?
Whereup I heard the name of
a world-famous author spoken as plainly as I might have heard it addressed
to me across a telephone wire.
believe it. I told a friend who later came into
the room. Who should a man so famous spend his
time following me around, giving me a story in his own style, when hell
never get any credit for having composed it? I feel as though I were
sailing under false colors, anyhow.
Within a week I was getting
absolute proof that this great authorseveral
years deadwas indeed aiding me, and the reasons
why he was doing so.
spoke to me confirming it, by a voice heard in a room by half a dozen
people who were present at the episode!