I TALK WITH DEAD FRIENDS
I NOW come to the most intriguing, andto
my way of thinkingthe most convincing phase
of my personal experience, attesting to me beyond all doubt that there
is no such thing as Death or blotting out of the personal consciousness.
It is one thing for a
person to claim that he has had some sort of sojourn in another octave
of time and space, and quite another foe him to prove it. It is one
thing to claim that he has hearing
so finely attuned to Thought Speech that he can pick up message from the
higher realms of life and still another to demonstrate scientifically
that he is not subconsciously composing what he hears,
though he may not be consciously aware of it. But in the winter of 1929,
in New York City, and on into the spring and summer of 1930, I had a
series of experiences which there seems to be no refuting, rationalizing
of, or explaining by any other method than that I was actually talking
with the souls of people who have gone Beyond the Veil. It will take
several chapters for me to relate in detail all that happened. But the
first experience happened while I was writing my esoteric novel,
I HAVE mentioned that while writing this book it seemed to me
that whole pages, and even chapters, were being dictated to me faster
than I could record them on the typewriter. I was making no effort to
think up what I was writing,
but the words poured into my brain in such connected, logical, and
artistic fashion that all I had to do was put them down, and I had my
story. Whereat I cried: Is anybody dictating
this narrative to me?
The answer came back distinctly: Yes!
You have so much work to do that you are being helped in composition,
naming a celebrated author who had gone over
during the past decade.
As I recently stated in these pages, I was skeptical
that any such personage should be devoting his world-famous talents to
aiding me. Why should he do it? And yet beyond a doubt, whole sequences
of the story were his, in his style and filled with his idioms. I had
read much of this author and admired him much. But
I had never become so
imbued with his style that I had subconsciously copied it;
Why I Believe the
Dead Are Alive
fact, my style in my three other novels and scores of short stories was
about as far removed from his as two authors
style could possibly b e.
This was borne out so graphically in the story itself that many people
have since refused to believe the novel was mine when it appeared in
print. It was in fact, a curious hodge-podge of two mens
literary styles and is a curious exhibit of what can happen when this
type of clairaudience is practiced consciously.
TO CONVINCE me
that I was indeed taking the dictation of another brain in my story,
this strange episode occurred:
I had reached a place in the narrative where I wanted to describe Louise
Garlands resentment at her early lifeor
at life in generalbecause it had denied her
social advantages. She was furious at the way she was bested time and
again in the social comities, and her lack of childhood training brought
her social handicaps that maddened her.
struggled with the right word to describe her plight. Suddenly my famous
authors voice said gently in my ear:
Use the word interclusions
I cried aloud. Theres
no such word; at least I never heard of it. Oh
yes, there is, my discarnate helper
returned. Consult your dictionary and youll
find Im right.
I recall that I walked into the front living-room where my big
dictionary was kept, and hunted for the word. I found it! And it meant
exactly the thought I had been struggling to get over.
proofs like that
can sometimes be more convincing than spectacular seance-room
manifestations. In the seance room manifestation there is always the
wonder as to whether or not the Sensitive has put over a trick or
illusion. I went back to my machine and used the word. But I did much
thinking the balance of the day. More dramatic things had happened to
me, and were slated to happen to me still, convincing me that those in
the Higher Dimensions can communicate with people in mortality at will.
But the speaking
to me of this utterly strange worda word I
had not known as existingmade a profound
psychological effect on me. There was to be still more concrete proof of
this author-discarnate, however.
That week I made the acquaintance of that very remarkable psychic,
I DO NOT know whether you have ever chanced to see, much less to
read, George Wehners autobiography,
A Curious Life. It
was published by Dutton, I think, back in 1930. In it he told exactly
how he came to recognize and develop his peculiar talents.
George was a commercial artist, about 30 years old, a bachelor, who had
shown the remarkable faculty from childhood of separating his soul-mind
from his physical body, vacating the latter, and handing it over to
disembodied souls from a higher level of life
who wished to use his organism for a brief visit to earth conditions. In
other words, he abandoned his own physical mechanism
Why I Believe the
Dead Are Alive
with which he had been born and gave it over to the
temporary use of some dead
person, allowing its spirit-soul to come into it, take possession of it
and use it as though it were his own. George got out of his own bodily
vehicle, in other words and loaned it for a couple of hours to souls who
had lost their own bodies by the process we commonly know as
permitting them to converse with their former relatives or friends
precisely as though they had ad their former bodies restored to them.
An interchange of
souls took place, and on a score of nights I saw it happen. George
went off with his
motherso he told me oncefor
en evening with her in the discarnate octave, and permitted discarnate
or bodiless spirits to inhabit his physical self until his return when
was over. He would arrive at my apartment, where I always had friends
gathered to witness the phenomenon, about 8 oclock
in the evening. The room would be closed and heavily curtained; it was
usually lighted by one floor lamp. George would relax himself in a chair
with his head thrown back comfortably and those of us in a semicircle
about him would recite the Lords Prayer to
tranquillize all of us. Then I would turn the dials of my radio until I
came on some selection of dreamy music that aided the medium in falling
into a trance. George would at first appear to drop to sleep. His eyes
would close; his head would droop. Next it would seem as though his
eyeballs sank into his skull. His face took on a waxy corpse like hue;
his mouth fell open and his tongue filled it. It seemed to those of us
who were watching that a dead man say in the chair before us!
became phlegmatic, them seemed to stop altogether; the hands grew
cyanotic. Eight or ten minutes of this, with the radio finally shut off
and silence in the room where all the doors had also been shut. Then
suddenly it would appear to us that our dead
man was in distress! The breathing resumed,
signs of vitality came in his face, but his head would start jerking and
rolling in his collar. His hands would come up and claw at his throat. A
moment of this and then he would start whistling.
AT FIRST sittings it was all rather terrifying.
But I soon got used to it. When the whistling came, I learned that
Georges spirit had left his body and it had
been taken possession of by the soul of a young musician, who told us
one night that he had been killed in an accident in Detroit some years
before. He always rendered us an obligation of his own composition
before the real work of the evening commenced with the entities.
Frank stayed with us for about ten minutes and then
the transition took place as before. Georges
body went through another period of distress and then the deep bass
voice of an American Indian would issue from the mediums
lips with a salutatory How!
THE question is repeatedly asked by the novitiate why so many
mediums have these American Indian controlsor
souls who act as guards and protectors
Why I Believe the Dead
while the rightful soul is out of its body, to see
that it does not become permanently possessed by entities who have no
right to such permanent possession.
The answer seems to be that our American Indians lived
so close to nature that they are still vibrating in what might be called
That is, having always lived in close earthly conditions throughout
their mortal lives, they are more conversant with work of this nature,
and it gives them an opportunity for service peculiar to their earthly
Be that as it may, the voice of an aged Indian issued
from Georges lips and greeted us each in
turn. He gave his name as White Cloud and persisted in singing us a
ditty in his own language. The rendition over, he addressed me
You like my people?
I said that of course I liked his people.
make words walk on paper, was his manner of
describing my vocation as an author.
I assented to this, also.
You make words walk on
paper about my people, he informed me next.
You make words walk on paper about old chief.
You are good man. You make words walk on paper about your people who are
good men. They help old chief who is good man,
and he waited for me to confirm this.
I SEARCHED my
memory. What was he talking about? Then it came to me. Twelve years
bygone I had traveled for a time with a Wild West Show outfit to get
some first hand material for a series of stories that appeared in The
Saturday Evening Post. There had been many Indians with out outfit.
One sedate old Ogallalah chief had intrigued me by his size. I had
become acquainted with him and written a yarn about him. And White Cloud
knew about it and was recalling it to my attention. Not another person
in the room had known I had written such a story. I asked White Cloud to
suggest more details about the pot of the story. He did so! He was quite
Perhaps he read my
subconscious mind to accomplish this. I cannot say and the matter is
What is of importance is, that on this particular night White Cloud had
no sooner finished his comment on my Saturday Evening Post story
about the old Ogallalah chief, than we beheld Wehnres
body sinking into its dead
aspect again and we knew that a substitution of souls was taking place.
When the substitution had been made, and the body in the chair had shown
signs of reanimation, I beheld the muscles of the face altering till the
expression of a celebrated author of English sea stories had become so
plain that the identity might be recognized. This author, by the way,
went over in 1923.
When this entering spirit-soul had oriented himself to the Wehnre
mechanism, he started a strange motion with his right hand, while his
elbow rested on the
Why I Believe the
Dead Are Alive
chair-arm. After wards I grasped that the motion of the hand and wrist
was really the capricious swinging of an invisible monocle
Good morning, he
greeted me and my companions.
I replied, properly awed if this was indeed the speaking soul of the
world-famous literary-man whose books are known in every quarter of the
giving the name of the famous author who had addressed me clairaudiently
several days before.
Continuing to swing the invisible monocle, he turned to me, seated on
his left and asked whimsically as if identifying himself
Well, William, have you learned the meaning of the word
Here was a double-check on the incident of the previous afternoon
when I had been alone in my apartment and heard obviously this mans
thought-speech in my ear only. Wehner had known nothing of the
dictionary reference. I certainly had not been expecting either the
famous authors advent into Georges
mechanism nor any allusion on his part to his dictionary suggestion. How
to explain it?
It was easier and saner for
me to accept the obvious and concede that the clairaudient speech was
bona fide than it was for me to figure out the hocus-pocus in itif
the episode were fabricated.
It might have been cryptothesis, or subconscious mind
reading. I grant anewif the incident had
comprised allusion to the word and nothing else. But I forthwith
proceeded to have a lengthy conversation with this particular author
about the book we were jointly engaged in writing, about literary work
in general, about incidents in his own writing career that were not
generally known and which were not in my subconscious mind at all.
Not only did he confirm his precious contact with me
by discussing audibly through Georges larynx,
points of story development which we had previously debated
clairaudiently, but he gave me information about his own work while in
mortal life that would be priceless if the public could only be
convinced that I had actually talked with his departed
I recall that I said to
him: It seems a little bit unfair for you to
dictate literary productions for me out of your own fine mind and
experience, and by your skilled technique, giving them to me for
publication as my own. I feel that in putting out such material over my
own signature, I am masquerading under false colors.
Smiling indulgently he
answered: My dear William, you will discover
as you go along in this work that such is the procedure. In aiding you I
am but paying my debt to others who in my own mortal writing career,
aided me. I got all my own books psychically, from another dimension,
exactly as every author does, whether he is conscious of it or not. And
when you return to us after your own work is completed, you will repay
not me, but some other craftsman who needs higher supervision.
you still writing? I asked him.
Why I Believe the Dead
disposition do you make of your writings when done in the higher realms
have great libraries over here, he replied,
whose size and contents your mind could not
grasp. We write for people in the higher dimensions exactly as we wrote
in life for those in the three-dimensional world. More often we compose,
however, for transmission to some mortal author to aid him in his
career, although he may accredit our help only in the sense of
why were you especially drawn to help me? First,
because I had read and admired your work before I made the Transition,
and was able to get close to your character mentally and spiritually
when I had shed the husk of my physical self. Second, and the more
important, I am interested in you for the greater work of spiritual
revelation which you are attempting.
You mean psychical work?
I mean the candid way in which you are
telling the public the truths about what each person actually encounters
on passing through the change called Death. It would make such a cast
difference in mortal psychology, and the inter-relationships of men
everywhere, to have actual facts of common knowledgeabolishing
all fear of Death and thus making life itself more beauteousthat
we all want to assist in such revelations. You would scarcely accredit
the identities of some of the souls who collaborate to gibe you the
messages which you receive and pass on to the public.
MY CELEBRATED author-friend stayed with us almost a half-hour,
discussing literary methods, technique, careers of other famous authors
whom he claimed he was living among on a higher planematerial
which by no stretch of the human imagination could have been in the
subconscious brains of either George or myself. Then he bade us a polite
adieu and we beheld Georges physical body in
the process of devitalization and gradual moribund coma. We sat
discussing among ourselves some of the precepts we had just heardfor
one of my friends present was a prominent New York magazine editorwhen
sudden vitality appeared to seize hold of Georges
body and a womans voice issued forth from his
Bill came the clear, surprised greeting.
How long have you been interested in this
sort of thing?
Who is it?
came the answer in a tone that seemed exasperated that I did not grasp
it at once. June Mathis!
in a flash I adjusted myself. I was talking with the soul-personality of
a famous Hollywood scenarist who had gone
over some two years before on sudden demise
while at a play in a New York theater.
Looking backward over ten years of the most dramatic of experiences in
psychical research, I am forces to assert that no other one incident has
Why I Believe the Dead
furnished me with more conclusive and irrefutable proof that there is
survival after mortal death, than the appearance of this woman in Georges
physical instrument, and the conversation which consumed the next
half-hour between us. Talking face to face
with people who have made the passing is always a hair-raising
I had known her on and off
for a three-year period on the West Coast while I had been out there,
making movies prior to my awakening.
She had at one time been story-editor for one of the big film companies
and I had sat in her office for lengthy period and discussed prospective
screen material with her. Here was a person whom I had definitely known
in life in recent years, of whom I could ask questions, the answers to
which were known only to myselfthus proving
the survival of personality irrefutably.
Havent you heard
of my Seven Minute in Eternity article in the American magazine?
Yes, she replied,
only just tonight. But the world over here is
a dozen times the size of the world of mortality, although contacts are
pretty much the same. I heard about you tonight through your English
author-friend and came along to be present because of my great
admiration foe him. I had a way to check up
on this womanunquestionably. It was a way
that George Wehner could never fabricate, if all this were a phenomenon
of his subconscious mind.
Do you recall where I last
met you in earth life? I asked.
Just before she died
in the National Theater in New York, June had married one Balbonian
Italian gentleman of parts who I understand became head of Mussolinis
state movie of their own from a script called the Vienna
Melody. But they had decided this name not to
be a good box-office pull
so they adwittingly or unwittinglypurloined
the name of my first novel The Great Glory
for their picture. I had required to sue them in the California courts
for this bit of appropriation, and had won a decision. They had
recompensed me $2,500 foe this use of my title. In consequence, my first
pleasant contact with June had terminated in a legal coolness. However,
tonightoccupying George Wehners
body for the moment, she seemed to have recovered from it. But I recall
definitely where I had last seen her in the physical flesha
meeting that was known only to the two of us. I had been out to the
First-National-Warner studios in Burbank, just before quitting
California, and had inadvertently come face to face with June at the
flowered gate just behind the administration building. None but the pair
of us had been around. I had opened the gate for her and spoken to her
pleasantly. But the memory of our recent lawsuit over the
Great Glory title
had still rankled and she had given me only a perfunctory nod. No
matter! She had come through to New York the next fortnight, gone to the
National Theatre to witness a play, and dropped dead of heart failure I
one of the aisles between the acts. Now I wanted the June Mathis
spirit-soul in Wehners body to tell me where
we had met face to face for the final time in California. The spirit in
Wehner thought for
Why I Believe the
Dead Are Alive
she responded. Out in the rear of one of the
executive buildings at First National Studios in Burbank, California. We
met at the gate over one of the walks that led to the stages.
This was absolutely accurate, but how could George, the medium, know itif
it was George masquerading as June?
Come on, you materialists and skeptics who declare
that death ends everything
and that there is no device not wisdom in the
grave whither thou goest. If June Mathiss
discarnate but perfectly conscious and remembering spirit were not
located in George Wehners organism that night
in New York, how did whatever personality WAS in George Wehner, know how
to reply to me accurately in the matter of this last spot and place in
which June and I had ever come face to face?
Try and explain it by your fantastic theories of
Cryptothesis if you can! I say you cant do itor
rather, that our explanations
must be three times as fantastic as the one made obvious by this Mathis
-Wehner-Pelley episode. If you want more positive proof than this that
personality and consciousness endure after physical demise, Im
afraid I cant give it to you.
I CANNOT report in detail the conversation that
followed, because it appertained to private contacts, relationships, and
business associations that June and I had experienced in screenland. But
here is the absolute proof on which I rely, that I was talking to June,
and that she is very much alive in her new phase of consciousness.
She made intimate statements about her contacts and
business associates while in life, and confided data to me about the
personal affairs of people in movie-land, that I had to check up on then
I was next in California, and which I proved to be absolutely correct!
Here was information
about this womans activities while in mortal
life, and her trade and professional relationships, that in a manner of
speaking were secrets buried with her.
By no chance could they have been known to anyone present, either the
medium or myself. Yet here she was, telling them to me. And they turned
out quite correct when I made inquiries in Hollywood months later. She
told me what certain Hollywood officials were doing in the business at
the moment, what future plans they had for the industry, which were to
be trusted and respected in future dealings, and which were
untrustworthy and to be avoided.
Incidentally, she confided that she in turn had become
a great screenwriter while in mortality through having a thorough
knowledge of psychics. She said that a world famous movie star, in whose
career she assisted, had been clairaudient as I was clairaudient. They
had shut themselves away in a Hollywood room together time after time
and gotten story material from others in a higher dimension, which she
had sold, to Hollywood producers without the slightest difficulty. All
her professional life and affairs were guided by instructions received
in this manner.
It was a half-hours talk with an old friend
just as graphic and real as though she
Why I Believe the
Dead Are Alive
was there in her own physical body. And yet in Hollywood during her
earth-life it had been touch and go
between us. She was no intimate of mine. We had met in trade contacts as
fellow authors and nothing more. There was no especial tie between us,
impelling her to look me up.
The visit ended and June withdrew/
It was a perfectly
gorgeous time that I enjoyed with deceased
literary celebrities on this particular evening of which I write. June
had no sooner vacated the Wehner mechanism than a soft, beautiful and
obviously cultured spirit-soul took possession of the Wehner mechanism.
Robert Louis Stevenson!
THIS was pretty tall
Were all the famous authors of Eternity crowding into the Wehner body
that night, intent on honoring me with their felicitations? Frankly, I
was a bit skeptical at first. But not after Robert Louis started
He began to tell us
myself, and the group that was present that
eveningof his explorations
on the bottom of the Pacific in the discarnate condition, since he had
been living in the unobstructed universe. Why
are we thus honored? I wanted to know.
he explained gently, are a special family
unto themselves in the Higher Dimensions. Their mutual profession unites
them together. We who have been over on this plane foe a time have come
to identify the Great Souls who are incarnate in the bodies of unknown
people of the present earth-period, and we want to do that we can to
facilitate their present worldly labors. As for my researches, I wish
that I could prevail upon you to take clairaudiently the result of my
Pacific Ocean researches since my demise in Samoa. I have been down to
unbelievable depths. You have no idea of what is hidden by that great
body of water. I was not only impressed by the submerged Lemurian cities
but by the forms of animal life that exist on the deep floor of the
Pacific. For instance, there are worms down there that never have seen
the light of day, that measure thirty to a hundred feet in length. They
are tremendously scaled, to withstand the water pressure at the depths
at which they live. Occasionally a submarine volcano or earthquake
precipitates them to the surface, and when they appear at the top of the
water, sailors behold them and take tales of sea-serpents
into port. But actually they arent serpents
The description of the submerged Pacific life that the spirit
purporting to be Robert Louise Stevenson gave us that night made us
forget that we were present at a sort of spiritualistic seance.
Will you take a
manuscript clairaudiently which I have written?
snowed under with
literary work at the time, and yet didn't wish to appear impolite.
come to me clairaudiently as you can, I said,
and if I can get your voice
Ill transcribe your manuscript.
It was a couple of months before we actually made the contact, however,
Why I Believe the
Dead Are Alive
chapter of the Stevensonian manuscript. I still have it in my books of
I HAVE never had much patience with the type of
investigator in psychical research who passes over the obvious
explanation for phenomena simply because it is obvious and frantically
hunts for causes of unusual happenings on the principle:
if something aint
wrong, taint rigtht.
Such a type is not an investigator, anyway. He is not interested in
getting at the truth. He is perpetually witch-hunting fraud. If he
cannot find fraud, he is subconsciously disgruntled. He does not
accredit that in failing to find fraud he may have confronted new and
startling discoveries. He says: If I have
failed to find fraud, it doesnt prove that
fraud does not exist; it merely indicates that I have not been smart
enough to detect it.
All this is viciously negative.
No engineer would go about investigating the
possibilities in electricity by first assuming that electricity does not
exist. Yet that is precisely what happens in the matter of psychical
researchers of the type who try to convince themselves of the truth of
into this subject with the serious attention it deserves, we find people
disposed to accredit only that which they can perceive with their
physical senses. They fail utterly to take into account that those with
whom they are establishing contact are operating from a dimension where
all the laws of procedure applicable to the mortally finite do not
maintain. Consequently when they do not get the same kind of proof in
manifestation that they get in the material world, they are either
disgruntled or skeptical. It is a childish attitude, but one that often
worked incontestable harm, inasmuch it leaves the researcher open to
constant doubtings, and these doubtings in turn reduce the investigator
to that state where all sorts of misrepresentations occur from the
dimension being investigated.
Now the alternative to all this is not to cast all
phenomena aside and say that it is falsehood and fabrication, but to
take into consideration the handicaps and limitations which people on
the Other Side are under in forming contact with This Side, and
appreciate in a way that our problems are their problems as well,
inverted or turned about.
They want to form contact with us and convince us of
their existence, but they have just as much difficulty in manifesting in
the conditions of our dimension as we have in manifesting in theirs. So
we have to look for proof of their existence to the kind of
manifestation that is reducible to the medium in or from which they
This is not
rationalizing, but the truest part of truth, as thousands of sincere and
positive investigators have discovered to their profit.
Which is all another way of saying that people on the Other Side give
evidence of their survival via the mental senses mentality
being the medium in which
Why I Believe the
Dead Are Alive
they functionwhereas we on
this plane give evidence of our survival via the physical senses. And
the wise constructive investigator has to correlate the two.
Now and then this is done successfully, as in the
incident I am about to relate.
ONE EVENING in
the Wehner sittings, a person who identified himself simply as
Frank came through
and talked with one woman member of our group that I shall refer to
hereinafter as Minnie.
He claimed that just after the Spanish War he had been killed in Detroit
in a streetcar accident. Succeeding to occupancy of Georges
mechanism for the moment, he conversed with Minnie about himself and his
ante mortem adventures in a way that allowed Minnie absolutely to
identify him. They chatted as old friends, because Frank had reduced
himself, as it were, to the physical by being allowed to use Wehners
mortal mechanism. I was auditor to the conversation that went on. They
referred to childhood pals and outings together which by no manner of
coincidence the medium Wehner could have known about. If the claim is
made that the medium might have possessed himself of all this knowledge
beforehand, I want to ask two questions: How did he know that Minnie was
going to be present that evening, so as to prepare himself and acquire
al this information in advance, and how could he possibly acquire a
plethora of such information that he had a ready and absolutely accurate
answer foe any reference which she made to past acquaintances that came
to her mind at the moment?
It would have been necessary for the medium to spend
weeks running down the information and get it in such perfect form that
he knew the ins and outs
of Minnies life as adequately as she knew it
herself, in order to carry on such a conversation as we listened to
between them, that evening.
I AM PERFECTLY aware that a great library of
information exists among charlatans, which they exchange among
themselves for a consideration, informing them of the past histories of
those coming to sittings. But here was a case of a woman who was an
utter stranger to the medium, whom he did not know beforehand was going
to be present this particular night, and who asked questions on the spur
of the moment as they came into her head about people who could not
possibly have been known to any others than herself and the friend who
had died at the time of the Spanish War. The streetcar accident in
Detroit she had not known about.
If there is a simple and reasonable explanation for
such happenings, why not accept it in preference for one that is so
involved and preposterous that it exceeds in phenomena the obvious one
of survival and contact?
Minnie and Frank talked together as old friends, and
not in one single reference or allusion was there a flaw in the
information, an evasion, or a hesitancy, in carrying on the complete
But Frank was only a precursor of the much greater evidence that was
Why I Believe the
Dead Are Alive
presently coming, proving survival definitely in an
episode that stands out in my own thinking and acceptance, higher and
clearer than almost anything else that has happened to me within recent
A few nights later we were in seance with wehner and
the same moribund conditions of his body were evident as before.
Suddenly after one of his phys ical revivifications, the voice of a
little old ladyfeeble as became her yearssounded
from the mouth of the medium. She was not talking in English, however.
She was talking in German
It was Minnies grandmother
directly addressing her, with the intonation, accent, and idioms of that
particular womans speech, which no one could
have duplicated without knowing her personally.
grandmother had been on the Other Side something like forty years!
It was a somewhat
poignant reunion. I sat to one side and witnessed the whole of it.
Haplessly, however, I do not understand German.
THEY discussed different members of the family,
details concerning the last illness of Minnies
motherwho had Gone Over a few weeks
previouslyidiosyncrasies of friends and
situations, domestic and financial, which prevailed among them.
little intimacies between them which had occurred four decades before,
and which Minnie had well nigh forgotten, the grandmother gave as
near-perfect evidence of positive survival as I have thus far
confronted. She proceeded to sing a droll little German folk song to
Minnie, with which she had rocked Minnie to sleep as a child.
no medium asking for cues and headlines on anothers
life, fumbling and evading, suggesting and fabricating, making slips and
mistakes, and generally groping to present the illusion of a discarnate
person sending a message. Here was all the evidence of a grandmother and
granddaughter meeting after a forty-year separation and chatting about
life as they had lived it in intimate contact in a little Iowa town
among people long forgotten. It was not invited, the medium could not
have known who was to be present that eveningin
fact, he knew almost nothing of Minnie or her association with me or the
work at that time.
Even a little dachshund named Tip
was brought into the conversation, and Minnie had to search her memory
to recall that when she was about three years old her family had owned
such a dog for a time, but that her mother had been forced to put it out
of the way because a neighborhood puppy afflicted with rabies had bitten
it. Her mother was fearful that the dachshund might develop hydrophobia
and bite the young children with whom it romped. Her grandmother
declared that the soul of that long-forgotten pet was now with her
mother in the Higher Level of conscious life, and was her incessant
Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive
THE whole session was one of the highlights of my psychical
experiences. Other manifestations I have hadfrom
my own dead
relatives and othersbut none were quite so
clear and convincing as the rendering of that pathetic lullaby in
German, which by no reasonable chance could have been fabricated under
the circumstances. The medium would have had to be possessed of the
entire life-knowledge of those who were functioning in this peculiar
mental-physical manner, and there was no source or sources of such
information in existence outside of the brain of Minnie herself! In the
face of such evidence is it gullibility to accept the obvious
explanation: that Minnies grandmother was
alive and was functioningconclusively proved
to both mental and physical sensesthrough
Georges organism? The claim is often put
forth that persons trying to identify themselves from the Higher Levels
us e too peculiar allusions to accomplish it. They call to mind
descriptions of persons, scenes, or episodes, which the one on the
physical side thinks frail, insignificant, or to which they do not have
ready mental access in memory. But suppose that a friend you have not
seen or heard from for twenty years suddenly calls you up on the
telephone from a distant city and says: This
is Joe Smith. Dont you remember me? We went
to school together twenty years ago in Oshkosh. Dont
you recall the picnic at Watsons Glen? I was
the boy with the red hair. You may have
forgotten any specific picnic at Watsons
Glen, for you went to a score of them while you lived as a child in
Oshkosh. And scores of companions might have had red hair. On the other
hand, Joe Smith with the red hair s aw that picnic through wholly
different eyes and remembered you distinctly. Furthermore, it may have
been the only picnic he ever attended at the Glen. The episode stands
out in his memory and he uses it to identify himself. But because it has
not remained with equal clearness in your memory is no proof that Joe
Smith is a hoax, or that the man at the other end of the line is an
impersonator. He may be, of course, but the chances are twenty to one
that he isnt, because he would know that
sooner or later he could recall something to you that would rather
irrefutably identify him or expose him. So it is in identifying those
who have been graduated from mortality over a period of time. Giving
them the benefit of the doubt leads to other contacts that gradually
prove they are bona fide acquaintances of other years. Whereas to slam
down the mental receiver on the hook and assume impersonation and hoax
as a policy, can result in nothing but total termination of any contact
Results depend entirely on proper cooperation!
I ARGUE along these lines, not because I am over-eager to
establish contact with those who have gone and therefore seize on such
phenomena as reasonable proof, so much as because I have found this
psychological attitude to be productive of the most astounding and
Why I Believe the
Dead Are Alive
Minnies German grandmother
talked to her for half an hour on the most intimate phases of their
family relationships, referred to happenings back over forty years in a
little city in southern Iowa, and then terminated the visit finally with
the singing of the lullaby.
How could George Wehner ever have gotten that detail
concerning Minnies family into his
subconscious mind in a million years, without having been a member of
Minnies family himself? How could he have
known what the lullaby was, which Minnies
grossmutter had sung to her, nearly a half-century in the past? Minnie
had practically forgotten it herself. The voice which came from Wehners
throat was not his own, but the old ladys
personal voicesomething it would have been
difficult to fabricate. True, it was produced audibly by Wehners
vocal chords, but the pitch or tone of anyones
voice is largely determined by the tension or frequency
of his own individuality.
How could the
whole feat, I demand, have been accomplished by other methods than those
indicatedthe interchange of spiritual
personalities in the one body? The whole thing was done in a fully
lighted room and without the slightest preparation have been made in
regard to who would be present. I have had plenty of cause to learn all
about the breed of psychic renegade who makes appointments to give some
studentseeker private readings
of a phenomenal nature, and who reads up on the innocent and gullible
victimeccentricities, experiences and family
complicationsor gets such information from
colleague scoundrels, and equipped with such information merely turns it
back to the victim as psychically acquired. None of this could have
happened at the Wehner sittings, evening if he had been that kind of
Sensitivewhich emphatically he was not. In
the first place, George almost never knew who was going to be present at
these groups in my apartment until he had arrived there and been
introduced. Sometimes I did not know who was to be there, myself. Many
of my groups members would bring in friends
unannounced. But Georgeor whatever
spirit-souls came into his organismwould
converse with these last minute arrivals quite as intimately as Minnies
grandmother talked with her about their family life back in Iowa.
Another phase of the strange business was this
Lest it be argued that Wehner as a sensitive
could read the subconscious minds of such sitters, how explain the fact
that time and time again throughout the balance of that summer of 1929,
as we held the gatherings one eveining a week, the occupying
souls would impart informationlater found to
be absolutely correctthat had not been in our
subconscious minds at all? June Mathis did this several times.
She chatted with me about Hollywood and movie-colony
affairs as if she might have come on from the West Coast within the
week, and when I next went through to California and checked on what she
had told me, I discovered she had been right, to the hair.
Its merely a rationalization of something
that cant be otherwise than the obvious, to
call all such phenomena the action of
subconscious mind? What
Why I Believe the Dead
sort of action, and just
what part of subconscious mind? The rationalization in scores of instances
was far more unlikely and even bizarre or fantastic than accepting the
fact of consciousness-survival.