Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive By William Dudley Pelley


Chapter XII

WHAT do we want as proof that the so-called “dead” are existing in higher forms of Consciousness? Do we went them to walk around in mortal bodies in this form of Consciousness, to open doors and hoist windows, to eat with knifes, forks and spoons, to drive motorcars and punch typewriters? If they did all these things, how would their form of existence differ from ours? Why would these be any reason for graduation out of one octave and into the other? What we are chiefly interested in finding—or determining to a certainty—is, that their personalities remain intact, that they are living, thinking, and operating as individuals, that it is their habit or arena of performance that has been altered, not the essential personalities of human souls as souls. The complaint is frequently heard on this plane: “If there be actual survival beyond physical discarnation, then why is not the contact with those of us sill in mortality more common than it is? Why mist we rely on sιance rooms and mediums, on the chance episode of materialization, on the all -too-frequent incident of discarnate evidencing themselves in times of great stress in the mundane world?” we forget our unwitting bombast in thus stipulating circumstances.

Who are we, in this mundane octave, to demand that the “dead” shall do all the “work” , that they alone shall take the initiative in achieving materializations, that all we must do is to sit back and wait impatiently for them to perform? Have they not as much right to say to us, “If you want to prove the reality of our existence, how about you mortal folks making a few efforts to come up onto this plane, and contact us, as you expect that we should contact you?”

Only one individual in ten thousand deliberately sets about the efforts to elevate his consciousness above this mortal octave. Why should we look for those who have graduated into the higher octaves to make manifestations of themselves to us in any greater ratio?

THE FACTS of the matter seem to be, that when a soul has shuffled off his mortal coil, he finds conditions in the more tenuous realms s o agreeable and opposite to everything he has known in physicality that only under special

Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive

circumstances can he be persuaded to take any interest in the form of worldly performance, which he has left.

Why in the name of all that is logical and reasonable, should any spirit-soul that has gotten done with the trials and tribulations of mortality, with its plots and counterplots, its greeds and its grasping, its wars and competitions, bethink that it devolves on him to make deliberate effort to come back into it, merely to convince a lot of dunderheads —who will fight the demonstration, anyhow—that survival of personality is a fact, that is a problem causing us to wonder why we even have the demonstrations that we do.

The more I delve into the subject, however, and the more evidence that I have brought to my attention concerning the certain survival of the “dead”, the more I am persuaded that such exhibitions of discarnation as we do have, are prompted by complexes in the minds of so-called “dead” people, more than they are prompted by any desire on those discarnate person’s part to convince those left behind in flesh that life has its continuity and there is no such thing as perishing to extinction …

In other words, the “dead” have purposes of their own to serve in entering back into the physical octave, and they are usually serving those purposes —unmindful of us—when we catch glimpses of them in light-body manifestations.

The more I probe into this entrancing subject, the more I am convinced that everything resolves itself into a matter of what “frequency” the mind may be operating on.

The attitude that some people disclose, that because spirit-soul have shuffled out of their physical mechanisms and begun to employ themselves in an unobstructed universe, they are spooks, wraiths, shades, abstract ideas, “the stuff that dreams are made of,’ unwittingly puts the only premium of importance on materiality. If, in other words, you are not clothed with substance, you really amount to no more than last year’s crow’s nest—so we might gather from the people who consider discarnation as becoming comparable to the summer’s zephyr.

It is very like a fish on the bottom of the sea expressing an opinion on the gull winging above the rolling billow and saying, “Because they are not down at my ocean-depth and knowing its stresses and strains, I consider that they amount to no more than the off-shore wind on which they glide. Life sown here at my depth is black and thick and fraught with everpresent menace. Therefore it is the only life that can truly be called such. These sea gulls high over the ocean’s surface may think they’re alive, but inasmuch as their existence knows little or no obstruction of what earthly use are they, to themselves or anybody?” The gull could tell the sluggish, provincial and menaced fish much about freedom of action that the fish never dreams about. And yet, granting all that, the average person does seem to think that it should be easier for the “dead”. They exclaim—

“We are told that upon making the passing, souls don’t ‘go’ anywhere—in the

Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive

sense of separting for some distant planet or celestial elevation—so if this be true, and they’re somewhere in our vicinity, and are more conscious of being I our would, though in an unobstructed state, than we are conscious of being in theirs, why don’t they gibe more evidences of themselves than they do and leave no question or doubt about survival?” If I were to answer that question in the light of a thousand attestments or communications that have come to my notice since I began my examinations of psychics as a study, I would say it is because it gets them nowhere to do it as a practice. In other words, they make the discovery of the futility of doing so. Either friends or the public will not accredit the identity or manifestation, or the human race behaves generally as though life in the mortal vehicle were the only life that counted and any type of consciousness outside of it must be ephemeral and capricious.

TO ILLUSTRATE what I mean, a few years ago there was photographed in the talkie newsweeklies an interview with a seventeen-year-old boy who had been the victim of a near-drowning accident in a lake in central Pennsylvania. At a picnic one afternoon his canoe had tipped over, he had been unable to do much swimming on account of sudden cramps, and before rescue could be summoned his lungs had filled with water. State troopers ultimately recovered the body and laid it out on the shore. Both pulse and respiration had stopped, insofar as any physician could discover.

Recalling the details from memory now, I think it was a Boy Scout leader who begged permission to work upon the corpse and see what could be done by applying artificial respiration. The troopers and physicians permitted it while waiting for the mortician’s wagon to arrive. At the end of twenty minutes to half an hour, officials and spectators were stupefied to see the physical mechanism responding. The heart began to galvanize, and to make a weird tale short, eventually the drowned boy regained consciousness. Rushed to a hospital, he gradually recuperated.

Of course, everybody wanted to know that his sensations had been, where he had “been” himself” as a spirit-soul after the water strangled him and before the Scout leader got his heart and lungs functioning. “It seemed as if I came up out of the water and took to the air like a bird,” he attested haltingly before the talkie microphone in bucolic English. Of course, everybody in the theater tittered …

“Were you at all conscious?” asked the interviewer.

“Sure I was conscious. I just drifted back and forth over the water and the shore, and when the Scouts brought me in and the Scouts went to work on me, I was outside my body, watching ‘most everything that was being done”. “But floating around in the atmosphere, ah?” his questioner emphasized. “Yep—that’s a sort of like it. I saw everything being done to bring me back, all the same. Then I felt a sort of ‘pull’ that I had to come back into my body, and so I come.”

The audience laughed out loud. It was all so very ridiculous. When people

Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive

actually died, they went immediately to heavens, of course, and were judged for their sins; they didn’t float around over Pennsylvania lakes and watch resuscitation efforts in progress. The boy had not truly been dead—according to the acceptance of that jocular audience—the spark of life had still been in him and he had dreamed a dream of being out of his body. After which assumption, what audience settled down to enjoy the near-seduction of the screen heroine by the Hollywood villain and his ultimate beating-up by the hero in consequence. That audience, in other words, didn’t have the psychical acumen to realize that what the lad was recounting to them was the sternest phase of truth. The point I would make, however, is: If that lad, returned to flesh by artificial respiration, couldn’t convince that movie crowd of his manifested consciousness when out of the body, how could he—or anybody in similar predicament—hope to do it with the rank and file, when such discarnation became permanent?

For that discarnation, I that particular youth’s care, might have been made permanent, had the Scoutmaster not decided to go to work on him. The mortician’s wagon might have come for the remains, taken them to his shop, and embalmed them. Two or three days later the funeral would have been held. Would the boy’s consciousness not have continued to function just the same, exactly as it functioned while watching the resuscitation efforts being made? This lad came back to tell of it, however, and because he did come back and did tell of it—even to the extent of an interview in the news weeklies—his hearers said that of course he had never been dead, that in his strangled condition he had merely dreamed a dream.

Countless are the numbers of people who have undergone a similar experience of discarnation, and detached observation, while under the influence of surgical gas or ether. We had one laughable case of it in North Carolina shortly after the Galahad summer school of 1932 came to a close. Dr. Henry Hardwicke, the same man who had related the story of the materialized sparrow hawk in Niagara Falls, suffered from a serious glandular malady in the throat. He was finally prevailed upon to go to the local hospital for a fortnight and have the gland operated upon.

He jokingly told later of getting his consciousness out of his body during the actual surgery and wandering around through the corridors and rooms of the hospital and inspecting the cases and condition of other patients the while. Being a practicing physician himself, these held more interest for him than because he wanted to satisfy an idle curiosity.

When he ultimately came back into his body after the surgery had been dressed—“after he came from the ether” as the attendants and nurses phrased it—he quickly threw that hospital into a stupefied turmoil by commenting upon, or discussing, outstanding cases in the rooms on the floor above. “That woman in five-thirteen needs to have better attention,” he advised the doctor who visited him a half-hour later. “Blood-poisoning seems to be setting in, and you’d better begin applying serums immediately.”

Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive

“How do you know anything about any woman in five-thirteen?” the astonished physician demanded.

“Because I got out of my body and went through most of the rooms and wards,” returned Dr. Harwicke, “while you were down here cutting my throat.” His further narrations well nigh got the nurses of the hospital into a dither. Physically he had not been anywhere in that institution but the one room into which he was admitted for treatment when he first arrived. Challenge: Suppose Dr. Hardwicke had elected not to go back into his body, after his throat had been treated and dressed? The report would have come forth, of course, that he had failed to survive the operation. But why should not his consciousness have gone on functioning? Why should he not have left the inspection of the hospital’s cases and gone out into the town, gone where he pleased in the whole unobstructed universe, for that matter? … Incidentally, Dr. Hardwicke did make such Passing in New York City a couple of years ago and is at this moment enjoying life and consciousness in such unobstructed arena of existence.

OF MY own similar discarnation in “Seven Minutes in Eternity” I have told at too much length in my autobiography, “The Door to Revelation” to take time or space to add any more here. Except this—

When I published the narrative of that experience in the American Magazine for March, 1929, I got thousands of letters from all over America, from persons who at some time or another in their lives had encountered allied or duplicate adventures in those higher octaves. But I also got an occasional letter from some skeptic who advised me that from the psychopathic angle, what had actually happened to me was the dreaming of a grandiose or supernal dream. Particularly, the orthodox psychiatrists took such position. Some of them were openly insulting about it. But how explain this—

One letter I got from a psychical group up in Salem, Mass., where the member commissioned to write the attestment to me, said that during a seance the previous week a certain discarnate physician who had been working with it from the Other Side had been queried as to whether or not my experience had been bona fide.

“Absolutely!” this person had responded. “I was one of those who witnessed the author’s discarnation that night, and saw him in most of his reactions. If you want a checkup on this, write to him and ask him if in that hyperdimensional adventure he didn’t do the following—“ and forthwith the Salem letter contained a series of paragraph-descriptions of some phases of my conduct and behavior, not to mention my contacts and addresses, that I had not imparted to a living soul up to that moment. In fact, in one or two instances, this Salem discarnate recalled episodes to me which I had well-nigh forgotten, myself. How could such a psychical go-between, working with an unknown group in Massachusetts, have been in any position to describe such items if all that happened to me that n ight in Altadena had been only an epochal dream? Of

Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive

course I realize that such “evidence” is evidence to me alone, but it has been just another bit of confirmation of my gradually built up conviction that consciousness need not depend for its self-awareness on the housing of the physical brain, that the same consciousness and sense of awareness that I took with me into that Seven Minute octave could have gone on operating. They might have found my discarded remains in that Altadena bungalow and interred them ultimately, but I would have gone straight along “being myself to myself” …

In these pages I am merely setting down in book form what my experiences have been as an individual, convincing me that the “dead” are alive. They may not have been your experiences, and you may not be convinced as yet, as I am convinced. I am simply telling you how it has been with me.

Still I haven’t finished what I started to say about the “dead” not commonly manifesting themselves to friends or intimates still confined in mortality …

MY PERSONAL conclusions are, that if any particular soul makes the Passing with life business undone, or is obsessed with any notion that involves an earthly spot, act, or relationship, such mental concentrations may produce the effect of making his Light Body visible to earthly eyes upon special occasions. Finding after a time, however, that they are not commonly accredited in the mundane and that they cannot get the common contacts with men and things that they got while operating their former vehicles, spirit-souls simply lose interest in things mundane as fecundities of their new and higher octave begin to entice them.

To be slightly facetious for a moment, if you had been a poor fish for fifty or sixty years, and all of a sudden you found yourself a bird—with real wings, able to soar anywhere—you would scarcely over-exert yourself to make your way down to the sea-bottom and hunt up your former brethren-fish just to prove to them that you had abruptly changed into a bird. After all, suppose you c ontrived it, what of it? You know that you’re a bird, and that’s that. Convincing a lot of fish that you’re a bird would butter no parsnips wither for you or for them in the long run. After you’d sincerely tried to do it for a time and gotten what might be called a first class fish-laugh, you’d rather lose interest. You’d exclaim to yourself: “I’m going to fly and enjoy my wings. Let those piggish creatures who get their motion with fins, go ahead and imagine they’re the only form of life in the universe that counts.” And you would do so, regardless of the circumstance that many of your former fish-relatives would cry, “Poor Whoozis! He once tried to convince us that there was consciousness above the fish-octave. If there is, why doesn’t he come back and be a fish again for a time, to save us from recalling him as a fanatic or a liar?”

And yet it does happen constantly that there are many fish-persons who have existed as fishes for so long, and gotten the fish-complex so firmly fastened into their consciousness, that being birds does not appeal to them in the slightest. And some of them have a strange sense of humor and often exercise it to prove

Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive

their continuity. In life they may have been practical jokers. When they become discarnate, they get a great “bang,” as we say in the vernacular, from doing things that mystify or upset people still in bodies of substance. When such a one “learns the ropes” in the matter of getting physical results though discarnately motivated, he is termed in psychical lexicography a “poltergeist”.

The world is German and means “mischievous spirit”. In nine out of ten cases, running down the identities or personalities of such poltergeists, we discover them to be children or youths—or sometimes lunatics still carrying their idiotic reflexes into discarnation—who have simply learned the technique of moving material objects in this octave from the dimension in which they have found themselves thinking deliberately.

Uniformly these entities stick to one particular locality, or one particular house, because if either gets the reputation of being haunted, it will draw maximum attention and thus the poltergeist will get itself and its conduct recognized. Flammarion tells about one of these that became associated with a peasant’s farm in Brittany and found delight in throwing apples out of its fourth dimensional state, into this third dimensional state. Evangelical Pastor Laval wrote him from Saint-Michel-de-Chabrillanoux, on December 15, 1922 as follows—Dear Master: The incomprehensible facts, which I related to you last year, begging you for an explanation, and which you asked me to verify as far as possible, are unexceptionable. I am sending you an exact plan of the house and its surroundings as well as the names of these good people, who are much impressed by what had happened to them, and you can locate the spot geographically. I do not see any objection to your publishing my name and address, if you consider it useful for your scientific documentary evidence.

Poor M.R. has suffered a great deal mentally from the stupidity and credulity of the people, who look on him as one sold to the “evil spirits”. Perhaps it would be better not to give his name, which I communicate to you personally, as I do not wish to take away from the scientific value of the document. This M.R. is a farmer in our local parish and possesses property comprising an old house, not far from which there is another belonging to M.E. He goes to his farm in the busy agricultural season. The nearest houses to these two are 440 yards away. You have before you a plan of the two houses, with their barns, the streams, roads, and neighboring meadows, the lower fields, vineyards, tobacco patches and woods on these rural properties. I have marked the rooms into which the stones and apples were thrown from no one knows where; also the place, at the crossing of two roads, where I myself was hit by a stone which grazed me vertically from head to foot.

The stones first began to be thrown in the early days of September 1921 and continued—with some interruptions—till the end of December. The maximum phase can be assigned to the first ten days of October.

They fell at all hours of the day, and even followed M.R. in the fields, 220 yards

Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive

away from the house. The front door was hit, window No.1 w as broken, window No.2, which gives onto an open space of ground 440 yards long, was the one that received most of the hits. The stones arrived without anyone being able to tell how; they were not seen until they touched an object. Some fell vertically. M.R. has three children—Heli, twelve years old; Andre, aged seventeen; Henri, aged twenty-two—who were very naturally accused. Consequently they were watched and spied upon as much possible, but they were not caught in a single suspicious action.

One Sunday M.R. begged me to write out for him a complaint to the Public Prosecutor. I was anxious, first of all, to satisfy myself as to the facts. The next day, at five o’clock in the evening, I was in the farmyard, having two children with me and facing me, when the stone the size of a hen’s egg came down vertically, grazing one of the children. A litter later another stone grazed me in the same way, about 52 yards from the house. The children were in sight close by my and they could not have been the cause. The stones fell slowly, and gave one the impression of falling from a height of about six feet only. This was often remarked. It was incomprehensible.

I decided to go to bed. Nothing happened in the night. The next morning, about seven o’clock, in full daylight, while M.R. with a friend worked in a room adjoining the kitchen; two apples hit the closed shutter of a window and touched the father. The first apple knocked out an old board in the shutter, which was very loose, the others coming in through the space th us created. The friend, believing that I was the perpetrator of the deed, said, “Is that you, M. Laval, who are throwing apples at us?” Imagine my surprise! It is true that just at the moment when the apples were thrown, I happened to be outside facing the window aimed at. An extraordinary thing was, that I heard something strike the shutter but saw nothing. Convinced that I had not thrown anything, this friend, a neighboring farmer, joined me quickly to see what was happening. Some seconds later, two other apples arrived through the same opening into the room and rolled to M.R.’s feet. As in the first case, we heard the shock but could see nothing.

The apples really came from the outside. They arrived in a horizontal direction with considerable speed. It would have been humanly impossible for anyone to hide in broad daylight in front of the window, which opens onto an empty field 440 yards long. The most able man, unless he was quite near the window, would never have succeeded in throwing an apple through a hole of an inch or so, however well he might have aimed. While we were outside, we heard a blow on the window, but saw nothing entering from outside. M.R. called the gendarmery of Gourdon which arrived on the spot. During the four months of these happenings there would surely have been ample time to surprise tricks of children.

M/R. suspected his only neighbor, whom I designate as M.E., who has two sons, aged seventeen and twenty-two respectively. I conveyed a remonstrance to the E. family but they replied, “Yes, we are accused, but we are innocent. Having

Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive

lived for a long time on a good footing with M.R., and having up to now considered him a good neighbor, we declare before our conscience that we had no part in the inexplicable occurrences at his house.”

“How can we explain these things?” writes Pastor Laval to the great astronomer. “Are we, without knowing it, plunged into an unknown psychic environment? Do electropsychic forces exist which thus show themselves?”

PARALLEL to this case is the episode of the Haunted House of La Constantinie, described in a lengthy monograph by Colonel Albert de Rochas, administrator of the Ecole Polytechnique, published in Paris, in 1896. M. Maxwell, Procurator-General, conducted his own private investigations into the phenomena and aided in the compilation of the details. The most significant excerpts follow—

“La Constantinie is quite a considerable property. The dwelling house, built on the side of a hillock in Correze, is composed of structures in the form of a square. That portion of the house that contains the front doors is on a ground floor, raised some steps above the ground. It contains a large kitchen running the length of the building. To the right of the kitchen are a drawing room and bedroom …

“The personnel of La Constantinie comprised a certain number of farm servants, Mme. Faure, her mother-in-law, aged eighty-five, and a young servant of seventeen, Marie Pascarel. Mme. Faure is a well-educated woman of culture. She comes of honorable family. Her aged mother-in-law appears to have preserved all her faculties though heavily burdened by her age … “The numerous servants of La Constantinie take their meals in the kitchen, on a solid wooden table three feet wide and nine feet long. The kitchen contains an oven, an immense fireplace with a little bench on the left and two chairs on the right, and some cupboards and shelves.

“The phenomena started in the second fortnight of May, 1895, with knocks apparently made on the wall separating the dining room from the bedroom of the elder Mme. Faure. On May 21, at about 9 a. m., Mme. Faure told her daughter-in-law that her bed seemed to move and strike the partition. The younger Mme. Faure did not attach much importance to this remark, which she put down to a mistake. Next day, at exactly the same hour, the sound came again in the same place. This time the younger Mme. Faure heard it distinctly. On Friday morning, the 24th, the noise started afresh in the same room with greater force. The noise was as if the bed had hit the partition. “An hour afterwards, the younger Mms. Faure entered her own bedroom and found the quilt, the blankets, the sheets, and the pillows thrown on the floor. Other disorders occurred in the house. Three empty casks were displaced in the cellar. In another room the bed was disturbed, a statuette of the Virgin and a coffeepot filled to the brim had been transported from the cupboard to the middle of he room. They were on the floor beside a crucifix, which had been taken down from the wall.”

Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive

“These things appeared inexplicable to the two women and they became frightened. Mme. Faure the younger asked her mother-in-law to sleep with her through the nights Friday and Saturday. Marie the maid slept in the same room.”

“On Saturday morning three great blows were struck on the door of the attic. The stairs leading up to it were closed by a door opening from the upper hall.” “When the Faure ladies came to pass through their bedroom, the beds were in wildest disorder and coverings again off upon the floor. This time the coffeepot was broken. Leaving this room they went into the kitchen, but they had scarcely gotten there before they heard a frightful commotion. They found three sugar bowls, a dozen cups, photograph framed and engravings broken on the floor.” “The three women were now very much frightened, for at the moment when all this damage was being done the farm servants were in the fields and nobody was in the house excepting themselves.”

“AMELIE BAYLE, an intelligent and reasonable woman of thirty, went to the Faures’ at 7:30 to see the damage. In her presence the cover of a soup dish standing in front of the fire was thrown violently into the center of the kitchen. Amelie was at that moment sitting in front of the fireplace, with her back to the fire. This phenomenon scared her. She at once left the house with the two young servants. At 11:30, however, they returned. Marie, the maid, was busy in the kitchen picking up the broken crockery, which littered the floor. For, according to the witnesses, pots, plates, glass es, and dishes were taken down from the shelves by invisible hands while they watched, and thrown upon the floor where they broke. Mme. Bayle saw a wooden bottle jump from a shelf and crash at her feet.”

“More disorders were found in the room where the Faure ladies slept. The bed was upset. A mirror was taken down. Papers from a shelf were strewn on the floor. Later one of the papers was opened and two drops of blood, still moist, were found upon it. Five minutes later when Marie, the maid, went again into the bedroom, six drops of fresh blood had been added upon the paper. Nobody in the house had any wounds or could have done the bleeding.

“From Sunday, May 26, to Wednesday, May 29, inclusive, no phenomena took place. But on Thursday the 30th, they started afresh with increasing force. Saucepans hanging from hooks in the kitchen chimney were violently thrown to the ground. At six o’clock that night, old Mme. Faure saw her bed move along by itself in her room. The chair on which she was sitting was drawn back. She got up at once and the chair was upset. Between 7 and 8 o’clock, at suppertime, pieces of wood in the kitchen fell of themselves on the women. Everybody was so much frightened that they wet to spend that night with neighbors.

“On Friday, May 31, they sent for the Mayor of Objat, a nearby town, and syndic of bailiffs of the arrondissement of Brive, a ministerial office of high respectability. M. Delmas wanted to make sure of what was happening as well

Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive

as to find out the cause of such occurrences. He went into the kitchen and placed some plates on the table, where there was already a stove-brush. He then sat down in front of the fireplace with Mme. Faure on his left. The young servant worked at her duties.

“Under the eyes of M. Delmas, the brush was violently picked up and thrown with circular motion into the fireplace. The servant was at some distance from the table where the brush had been lying. His surprise gave way to uneasiness when he saw a pair of kitchen bellows which lay on the bench in the fireplace, slide along the bench, and throw itself with a loud clatter into the middle of the floor.

“The Mayor immediately had the house cleared. Just as she was leaving with the Faure ladies, the young Marie Pascarel was hit on the back with a stick 16 inches long thrown with considerable force. They did not see where the stick came from.”

“Hardly had the Mayor returned to Objat than he was summoned back. Fire had broken out at La Constantinie. Marie had absorbed that a thick smoke issued from Mme. Faure’s room. On entering the room it was found that it came from the bed of the younger Mme. Faure. There were no flames and no brazier. Mme. Faure even used this singulat expression in her account of the episode, ‘—the fire went back into the bed.’”

“A phenomenon of this kind had already been observed. Marie Pascarel and the elder of the two ladies had sometimes noticed a thick smoke which seemed to issue from the old lady’s skirts.”

“Two days latter, Marie Pascarel left the service of the Faure ladies without giving notice. They went home and since then the peace of their house has not been troubled …”

ANYONE who has ever been to a true materialization seance and seen or heard a North American Indian “cut up” or “whoop it up” with maximum bombast and clatter in order to give firm evidence of his presence, will note in the foregoing phenomena a recognizable similarity.

What we conclude from observing the acts of these somewhat elemental personalities, is, that so long as they have someone in the vicinity from whom to draw the materialistic force, they can exert strength on inanimate objects precisely as though they were operating in normal mortal bodies. The person from whom the force is drawn may not be cognizant of it at the time. Usually a young and extremely robust person is drawn upon. The account of the phenomena in the Faure household ends with the simple statement that Marie left the premises without notice the upset stopped abruptly. Naturally it would be the logical thing for the novice to conclude that by some hocus-pocus the maid was making the disturbance—although how she could whack herself on the back with a 16-inch stick out of nowhere, would require some explaining. The more expert investigator would rationalize it from his wider observations, that whatever “wild Indian” had seen fir to attack the Faure

Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive

premises and scare three women witless, had obtained the electro -psychical energy from the maid’s body and when she removed herself from the premises, the “Indian” no longer had it available.

Not all persons are possessed of this electro-psychical energy in sufficient quantities so that it can be used extraneously to their own conscious wills, which is probably why such phenomena are not more widespread.

When, therefore, there is a room, a house, or a locality where material objects are shunted about seemingly without hands to shunt them—manifestations of what the unlearned call “spooks” or the supernatural—where pictures sway or crash, clocks stop, pots and pans bang around, and thumps are heard in floors , walls or ceilings, the psychical adept is coming to believe that nothing more is at work than a spirit-soul who has graduated out of his former physical body but not out of his mundane psychology, that such spirit-soul is undoubtedly that of a child, youth, or practical joker who has discovered the technique of “borrowing” energy from some handy person in flesh and is using it for the bombastic pleasure he derives from mystifying people or scaring them.

The latter wouldn’t be particularly “afraid” of such child, youth or practical joker if her retained his own physical body and did the some things. Why should they necessarily be terrified because the same effects are gotten vicariously, or with a body of too delicate a substance to be seized hold of, or bundled out, or chastised? Of course, it’s all in the point of view. Knowing, however, that there probably is such a thing as an exertion of physical energy on inanimate objects that can be made from another octave or dimension should be a trifle of consolation at least.

Sometimes such demonstrations can be poignant.

A FEW years ago I had a pastor friend who took over an Episcopalian parish in a little town in eastern Massachusetts. The rectory he was called to occupy dated back over a hundred years. This pastor friend, incidentally, was something of a musician and a particularly good performer on the harp for his own amusement and relaxation.

He told me that he had no more than gotten his family settled in the old rectory, his study being located in the big front room on the second floor, when he uncovered and tuned his harp just before dinner one evening, leaving the instrument uncovered while he ate his meal on the floor below.

During the dinner’s progress, the doors and stairs being open and unobstructed to the second floor, he and his whole family were suddenly transfixed by the sounds of exquisite harp music drifting down from the floor above. Mounting the stairs in perplexity and no little awe, they could look into the study and see the harp apparently “playing of itself”. The instant they moved into the room, however, and approached the self-playing instrument, the music came to an end as though “smothered”. This happened on several occasions. My friend’s foster-sister, a woman of forty years, undertook to solve the mystery of her half-brother’s self-playing harp. Finally she located a very old lady of the

Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive

parish who remembered that forty to fifty years before, one of the rectors who had lived in the house a decade or more had possessed a crippled son—a boy of fifteen years—who had spent most of his life in that second-floor front room. To relieve his tedium, this lad had learned to play the harp. Question: Was this lad’s spirit-soul still bound in some inexplicable fashion to that apartment and when my friend’s instrument had suddenly been made available had the cripple seized upon it? What else may we conclude? Why should the boy’s spirit-soul have “stayed there” in the old rectory long afterwards? There we meet with enigma.

Nevertheless, my pastor friend was hardly the type to fabricate the episode, and his sister corroborated this account in every particular. The harp when thus uncovered, continued so to play at intervals till my friend gave up the parish to become a chaplain in the first World War …