Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive By William Dudley Pelley


Chapter IX

I HAVE uniformly kept to the viewpoint in examining or receiving these higher and more delicate exhibits of life, that personal actuality and identity require stabling by something more reliable than fantastic displays of phenomena to physical senses. What I mean is: it would satisfy most people to see with what they term their own eyes the fully materialized body of a friend or relative that had previously been lowered into a cemetery grave. They would then subscribe to the evidence of their senses, or what they take to be such, that the identical person was not dead but very much alive and the question of survival no question at all. What they want for proof is Form, or rather, Appearance. Given this, they are appalled but satisfied. On the other hand I have never yet encountered a researcher in psychics of any prestige or experience who has not agreed that nothing is easier to trick than the eye. When I say trick, I do not mean intentional hoax. I mean illusion. If the apparently materialized figure of ones grandfather walks out of a mediums cabinet, corresponding as to size, features, whiskers and general corpulence to what the old gentleman resembled a w eek before his physical death, there is reasonable indication that his Light Body has somehow gotten itself clothed with ectoplasm and that it is indeed he whom one visited in the country on so many pleasant vacations when one was young. But if, in the conversations that ensue, the materialized personality cannot describe where his farm was located, or give the first names of his children, or carry on intelligent intercourse concerning the principal happenings in his long and venerable life, then something is decidedly wrong and though the projection look like ones forebear, even to the mole below his eye, little or nothing is proved beyond the fact that a replica of ones grandparents figure is existing in the room.

Speaking for myself, I have never been one to scurry around from sance room to sance room, observing the work of this or that medium, watching for deceits or witch-hunting frauds, and taking delight in stirring up and recording fresh psychical sensations to gratify curiosity or prove survival. Somehow my inclinations didnt exercise that way. Particularly they didnt exercise that way after I began to realize the terrific potency of so-called Thought Forms. Also in

Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive

my Higher Instruction I continually had hints as to Astral Husks of people who had in turn died out of the next elevated octaves and left their more tenuous remains for possible occupancy by mischief-makers or renegades.

What I did instinctively was to concede the probability of spiritual survival, make it after a fashion a fundamental of my thinking, and thereafter left things happen. Uniformly, I say, they happened. But when it came to checking validities and identities, I found myself giving forty times as much credence to a proof of survival contained in the German folksong rendered by Minnies grandmother as I did to materializations that pounded tables, creaked chairs, levitated trumpets or picked up some fat man and hung him from the steam pipes. I say this; no matter what familiar aspects such materializations take. After all, personality is a thing of spirit. I know you, and you know me, directly and definitely because of what is embedded in the way of knowledge of one another and our concerns, in our minds. If you die physically while I am owing you a sizable sum of money, and you find a way to contact me after your passing, either through a clairaudient message or a mediumistic materialization, and cannot tell me how much the sum was and under what conditions the debt was contracted, I have every right to entertain reservations as to your identity till you do tell me. Dead or alive, you may well remember all right, whether in your new orientation you may have forgiven me the debt or not. So what I call Mind Proofs have been the criteria of identity on which I have relied up across the last dozen years, to establish implied contact with personalities I have known in overcoats of flesh.

I would far rather have two or three irrefutable Mind Proofs to demonstrate to me that the dead are alive, than all the ectoplasmic materializations that could be crowded into a sance room the size of Grand Central Terminal. Again I say, thought Forms and Astral Husks offer too many chances for willful or witless deceiving.

THE OTHER day, visiting in Baltimore, one of my colleagues told me of a medium whose sance he had recently attended, who materialized some twenty-two separate and distinct persons during the course of the evening-a remarkable feat no matter how you view it. Among these persons was my friends own sister who had passed over while a girl but attained to her majority in the elevated octave.

This sister succeeded in accomplishing a materialization so opaque that as she sat sown in the chair next to her brother, she caused the chair to creak beneath her weight. She sat beside her brother for ten to twenty minutes, touched him occasionally as an affectionate woman will, discussed family complications from the angle of intimate knowledge and deported herself to all intents and purpose exactly as she might have done had she returned in her physical body. The thing that made the materialization of interest to me particularly was my hosts description of the beautiful flowing robe which he said his sister wore. Her materialization was so complete that she allowed him to take a fold of the

Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive

fabric in his hands and stretch it between his eyes and the light. He told me that it seemed to be of the same wonderfully soft substance that composes a bats wing-yet possessed of a sheen as exquisite as rayon. Anyhow, it had no weave in it.

All the same, I was far more convinced of her hyperdimensional personality from the fact that she had seemed to know everything which had passed between her brother any myself in the political campaign of five or six years ago, and that she had been keeping track of my own personal activities along patriotic lines since and imparted to her brother details of them which he could have had no way of knowing about unless he had remained a member of my intimate personal circle. Which decidedly he had not On the other hand, consider the episode described to me by Dr. Henry

Hardwicke and his wife of Niagara Falls, N. Y., the first time I visited at his

home to arrange with him for going to North Caroline and lecturing on

psychics at Galahad School in Asheville.

PERHAPS you may have heard of the celebrate medium, Marjory, wife of the physician, Dr. Crandon of 10 Lyme Street, Boston, who attracted national attention for her remarkable exploits in connection with her deceased brother, Walter Stimpson, during the 1920s. If not, I had better mention her, for it ties into the Hardwicke incident I am about to relate.

As mutual acquaintances told me the story, Dr. Crandon had been a physician in Niagara Falls, N. Y., before going to Boston to take up practice there. Be ing a local colleague of Dr. Hardwickes, my later psychics professor of course knew him well. In fact, I understand they had been brother physicians in the same neighborhood. But in due time the Crandons moved to Boston, where Mrs. Crandons brother, Walter Stimpson, was killed in a motorcar accident about 1972. Mrs. Crandon naturally grieved for the lad, by no means being aware of her own mediumistic abilities or what was specifically to result from his death One nightand I admit that I am now relying on memory for the details the doctors wife went to dinner at a friends home in Newton or Newton Highlands, when, after talking about Walter, she felt a strange lassitude stealing over her. Presently her head went down on her arm amid the teacups. Guests thought she had fainted or dropped into a nap. Instead, her husbands quick examination showed her to have fallen into coma. Suddenly as though from the center of the uncleared table, the literal and audible voice of the dead brother, Walter, spoke to the whole dinner group. He greeted them cheerfully and energetically, explaining in the following dew minutes that if the actinic rays could be filtered he had taken ectoplasm from his sisters body and fashioned it into a synthetic larynx through which he was addressing them. This was later found to be so, because photographs of that ectoplasmic larynx were taken on another occasion. There was nothing phony about such pictures because I have personally seen and examined them, and I know something about trick photography as a result of my eight years at

Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive

movie-making in Hollywood Anyhow, that was the beginning of the Walter demonstrations. They became of outstanding importance in psychical research, because over the next three years Walter materialized his hands and caused some seventy-two sets of his fingerprints to be impressed on dentalplate wax under conditions which precluded all trickery, and upon comparison with prints left by Walter on toilet articles and objects in his room before his death, were attested by the Boston Police Department to be irrefutably authentic. I may come back to Walter later. Buy to get back to Dr. Hardwicke and Though Forms.

IT WAS a Sunday afternoon in the spring of 1932 that I sat with Dr. Hardwicke and wife in their living room in Niagara Falls and our conversation turned upon Walter and Marjory.

One of the most marvelous things I have heard of in connection with psychical research, remarked Dr. Hardwicke, happened right here in this room. Dr. Crandon was back here in the city and had dropped in for a half-hours chat to renew old acquaintances. It was not quite dark and we had the lamps switched on. Half a dozen relatives and neighbors had come in. we were sitting in chairs about this room when all of a sudden we heard Walters voiceaudible to all of us. Hello, Henry! he cried, addressing me. Think Im dead, do you? Man, what couldnt I shoe you if I could only use that nice rich yellow aura of yours! I recognized the boy as I had known him a couple of years before . Go ahead, I assented jokingly. Whereupon Dr. Hardwicke recounted to me how he presently felt a strange drowsiness stealing over him, and a few minutes later, to all appearance, had dropped fast asleep. Whereupon his wife, Katewho later came to Galahad School with himtook up and completed the narrative. Walter started talking to us, said Mrs. Hardwicke, about the terrific potency of Thought Forms. When we thought positive and dynamic thoughts, he contended, we actually projected a literal creation into the higher Octave universe. For instance, and to prove what I mean, Walter said, suppose you pull off the stunt of thinking into existence the light-pattern body of a bird on the corner of the upright piano. Then Im going to see if I can take ec toplasm out of Henrys carcass and coat the pattern body so that all of you can see it. Wait! we waited, narrated Mrs. Hardwicke. And believe it or not, in a moment or so we were conscious of a strange fluttering on the corner of the piano among the mementos and photographs. A small sparrow hawk took off from the top of the pianowhile Henry continued to sleepand darted three times around the room. Finally it came to light on Mrs. Joness head. The name of this lady wasnt Jones, by the way, but it will serve to describe what presently happened as Mrs. Hardwicke related it.

Mrs. Jones let out a startled shriek and instinctively raised her hands to brush it off. Dont touch it! cried Walter, still talking audibly to us, though none of us could see him. But he spoke too late. Mrs. Jones had already touched it.

I MIGHT say, myself, by the way, that this same Mrs. Jones was present there in

Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive

the livingroom when the Hardwickes told me these details, and she corroborated all of them. In fact, she interjected at this point. It felt exactly as though Id thrust the tips of my fingers into a jar of cold menthol. But the bird did fly off my head at the contact. Ill say it did, added Mrs. Hardwicke. It swooped three times around the room almost faster than the eye could follow it, and then made a swift dart for my right ankle. Its tiny claws cut through my silk stocking and drew blood. I screamed and tried to kick it off. Everyone here knows that the tiny wounds that its claws made, were two to three weeks in healing up and disappearing.

What became of it? I asked both Hardwickes.

Walters voice broke in, concluded Kate, with the exclamation I guess this thing has gone far enough. Ill take the ectoplasm off. Again, believe it or not, that tiny sparrow hawk simply dissolved from its grip on my flesh. It seemed as though it turned to smoke and was gone. I wish I could get it through your heads, Walter told us, that you people in mortal bodies use your minds to manufacture such Thought Forms a thousand times a day, and that those Thought Forms are literal thingsor they would be literal in your dimension if they could only be coated with etheric substance. Be careful what you think! Youre projecting literal creations into the higher octaves, just as that sparrow hawk was nothing but your own envisionment.

I had no reason to doubt he Hardwickes or to assume that they had any motives for hoaxing me with such an anecdote.

Later I was to see and possess actual camera snaps of similar thought forms, photographed through the filters of a quartz lens. Such cameras do not lie. They

retain what is THERE.

I learned of an experiment conducted in New York in 1930 or thereabout, when a research worker assembled six people before a bare white wall. On the wall he marked out an area six feet high and about thirty inches wide. At it be pointed his quartz-lens camera and inserted a plate. I want you six people, he said, to imagine with all the thought force at your command, the literal presence of Abraham Lincoln standing in that space, as in life. Im going to keep my camera lens opened on it and see what it produces. The thing that resulted was a queer impression of six Lincolns, superimposed one over the other, but with features of face and figure that could be recognized anywhere.

He had photographed literal projections from six human minds. I mention them as contention that it may be entirely possible for a person to go into a sance room wanting to contact a certain departed loved one, hold the thought of that persons appearance in his mind, and get a Thought Form coated with the mediums ectoplasm, in result. The eye could be tricked, of course. But unless there were intelligent and motivating spirit inside the Thought Formgrandparent or otherwiseI for one would be skeptical as to whether he was my forebear, dead or alive, real or fancied. I would want him to converse with me on what he had done specifically when as a boy I visited his home in

Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive

Lynn, Mass., and report precisely what subjects we had discussed during the long talks we had together. Then I would accept that he was fathers dad, indeed

YET IN my own case, and continuing the same thought, consider this

In the late spring of 1932, it happened that I delivered a series of five lectures in Norfolk, Va., on precisely these subjects. Night after night, down to my right in the audience as I faced it from the platform, I noticed an important-looking gentleman of middle age in a naval uniform. Finally, toward the end of the week, I was moved to go down and speak to him.

Im Captain J, he told me, pf the United States Battleship M, which is laid up in dry dock here this month. Im Scotch by ancestry and was born with the gift of second sight. All my life Ive been intrigued by these demonstrations of higher existence, but Ive been coming out to your lectures here night after night for quite a different reason than to hear you speak. Much of what youve said, Ive known for years.

Well, I asked, What has brought you out?

The demonstrations of help you get from the two gentlemen on the platform with you, he replied.

Nobody has been with me on the platform! I exclaimed.

Even the chairman went down and sat in the front row of the audience after introducing me.

Maybe, laughed the navy man, thats what you think! But Ive been able to see two personages on that platform with you. One is a tall, dignified man in a flowing white robe with a fright golden beard and blue eyes. His job seems to be scanning that audience with an eagle eye to make sure no one in it intends to do you harm. Call him your invisible bodyguard, for thats what he seems to be. The other man on the platform is an elderly gentleman in modern dress, with a short gray beard and a mane of iron-gray hair. Also he has a peculiar mannerism of pushing his beard down flat upon his chest and tilting his right eyebrow with a sharp twinkling eye beneath. I recall that I gasped a bit. He was describing my grandfather Frederick William, to a tee. Well, I asked, why is he there with me?

He seems to act in giving you your cues, replied the captain. Hour after hour as youve been speaking here this week, hell step close to your left shoulder as you conclude a thought or exposition of some point in your discourse. Hell whisper something into your ear. Immediately inspiration will break over your face and youll pick up a fresh thought and go on with it. Grandfather Pelley might materialize the husk of himself in a hundred sance rooms, but not one of them would so convince me of his survival and literality, as did Captain Js perfect description of him that night in Norfolk. Its the spirit-soul identification that convinces me of the correctness of such contacts. You can have the bat-wing robes on the materialized bodies of your sisters. But I want my deceased grandpop to tell me what he spanked me for in the cellar bulkhead in the year 1894. if he remembers0as I remember~ prepared to concede he still the literal Frederick William