Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive By William Dudley Pelley


Chapter XIII

THE CATHOLIC, being brought up theologically to the idea of Purgatory, of masses being necessary for the souls of the dead or for the “peace” of such souls —has difficulty in either accrediting or accepting what modern psychics are turning up as to the facts of survival. Suppose we take a moment to examine this ancient tenet of the Roman Catholic Church and find out, if we may, where it originated. Let us see if there be any substantial basis for the ritual of the requiem mass for the “repose of the souls” of fathers, mothers, aunts, or uncles, who may have died in that faith. The doctrine of Purgatory is based upon the assumption of “purging” the soul from sin, so that it may ascend into realms of suppos ed heavenly bliss. According to Roman Catholic faith, it is a state of suffering in which the souls of those who die in venial sin, or of those who still owe some debt of temporal punishment for mortal transgression, are rendered fir for the higher octaves of eternal consciousness. It is believed that such souls continue to be members of the Church of Christ; that they are helped by the suffrages of the living—that is, by prayers, alms, and other good works, and more especially by the sacrifice of the Mass—and that, although delayed until “the last farthing is paid”, their salvation is assured.

Catholics support this doctrine chiefly by reference to the Mosaic belief in the efficacy of prayer for the dead, the tradition of the early Christians, and the authority of the Church.

Many points about Purgatory, on which the Church has no definition, have been subjects of much speculation among Catholics. Purgatory, for example, is usually thought of as having some position in space, and as being distinct from the theological heaven and hell; but any theory as to its exact location, latitude and longitude, such as underlies Dante’s description, must be regarded as imaginative.

Nevertheless, the whole concept of Purgatory could not have sprung from human whimsy. Something that is basic in discarnate conditions must have first given rise to the original concept. The adept in posthumous research therefore comes upon some interesting fundamentals of spiritual evolution …

Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive

IT SEEMS to be a fact, from all that we can learn by communication with those in the discarnate state, that any soul goes forth from its bodily mechanism with just about the same concepts of consciousness that it has evolved upon earth—that is, in mortality. It is not yet adjusted to its bodiless status. It discovers itself “living in pure thought,” to use a somewhat conventional phrase. In such state, it exists “in its own evolved complexes”. Life to it, in other words, is the sum-total of what it has come to accept and believe sentimentally and ethically. It finds that Thought is more or less a creative power unto itself, just as Mrs. Hardwicke “thought” the idea of the living sparrow hawk on Dr. Hardwicke’s mantel. If such thought-world be provincial, petty and evil, because of the ignorance or circumscriptions of a given person in his current mentality, he is going to find himself living in a sort of hell indeed. How to get out of it? That is probably where the primitive church hatched its ides of Purgatory, or that mental condition immediately after discarnation when the spirit-soul is in turmoil because its own thought-universe is disclosed to be in such a mess. Suppose, for instance, that a person were suddenly withdrawn from active life and confined, while still in the physical body, in a cell or dungeon in inky blackness where even the sense of touch encountered naught but smooth walls and no means of egress. After the first hours of utter despair wore off, all the thinking of such a person would perforce be turned inward on himself, if his environment offered no distractions or diversions to his senses. He would suddenly find himself alive “with” his own mind quite as much as alive “in” his own mind. If such minds are a mad turmoil and tumult of rages, vengeances, petty notions and sterile concepts, even resultant madness will be no relief. They must face the fact of their own limitations and either “sort themselves out” or get help from somewhere to acquire new and better ideas about consciousness and factual existence. The adept psychical researcher seems to learn through various types of communication, that external help from relatives and intimates, who the spirit-soul has left behind, actually begins to profit and elevate the unfortunate from his handicapped and purblind condition. The mass of good will thought-force that comes from a great group of survivors, gathered in a room for a prayer meeting or a mass, seems to be some sort of literal essence that the discarnate and confused one can utilize to obtain light and explanation of his condition …

THERE seem to be seven octaves, or “planes”, to which the spirit-souls of our discarnate intimates go gradually after quitting their bodies —seven planes at least with which we of the mortal octave appear to have deliberate contact. The top one is apparently the “Seven Heaven” referred to in the Bible. The lowest or first octave or plane would seem to be the black, earth -bound condition that is simply mortality without the body. In between are the various gradations that the spirit-soul finally “makes” according to his moral or ethical evolution at the time of his latest demise.

Incidentally, the observation is thrown in here for what it may be worth to some, that the great rank and file of humanity, on demise usually gravitate to the third or fourth plane, according to their self-awareness and spiritual development, and reside in it till the time comes for further evolvement, unto complete discarnation, and, in due course, further trips around the reincarnational cycle

But the person who C~oes out~f the body, professing not to believe in existence after mortal demise, seems to exist in a sort of self-induces coma, a deliberate and willful refusal to accredit that survival is a fact and available if the spirit will only take advantage of it.

For instance, the great rank and file of the Mosaic race, not accrediting the wonders of immortality and discarnation, usually discover themselves in this tumultuous ฎIacknessC~rom which getting out is long and tortuous. I call to mind some experiments being made just now in some of our penal institutions with methylene blue and its results on human consciousness.

Out in California recently, the legislature changed the penal law. It declared that men legally condemned to death should no longer be electrocuted but executed by being confined in an air-tight chamber and breathing the fumes of sodium~yanide eggs, dropped into acid. Lethal vapor rises from such mixture in thin ribbons of fog. Taking it into the lungs, the condemned man immediately feels consciousness slipping. Insofar as his own sensations are concerned, he simply falls asleep. And he neverwakes up! How does anyone know? Because persons who have accidentally inhaled sodium~yanide fumes and experienced the same physical sensations as these men not allowed to awaken, have been revived to tell the tale.

But here is the uncanny thing making death by these fumes of interest to psychical students generally

The first two men to be put to death by the State of California in its new gas chamber were Albert Kissel and Robert Cannon. The report of the executions had it that Cannon was so anxious to get the ordeal over with, that he leaned as close as possible to the acid bucket and inhaled deeply. He gasped, and the shock jerked back his head0as the head reacts when the nostrils accidentally get too strong a whiff of ammonia or smelling-salts. His eyes closed, he coughed, and thereafter was quiet. Five minutes later, the physicians pronounced him dead. But according to medical scienceDand whether we choose to believe it or notOhad a belated reprieve come for Kissel or Cannon within five to fifteen minutes after being pronounced dead, both could have been brought back to life.

For among the official witnesses of these first executions by gas in San Quentin Prison was San Francisco Director of Public Health, Dr. J. C. Greiger. And upon Dr. Greiger person was phial of liquid that sould have made these two condemned felons living men again.

The substance which could have worked the seeming miracle and which Dr. Greiger had succeeded in developing and using on human beings who had

Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive

been victims of cyanide fumes —was, and is, a dye known as Methylene Blue. It is an antidote for both cyanide and carbon monoxide poisoning. A young man by the name of Charles Riley was a medical student who swallowed a large dose of cyanide because his fiance had jilted him for another man. He was rushed to San Francisco’s Emergency Hospital, and upon arrival his body showed no signs of life. He was, to all tests and appearance, as dead as he ever would be. Without the antidote handy, he would have been so pronounced and his body turned over to the nearest undertaker for embalming.

Dr. Greiger injected a solution of a new preparation, Methylene Blue, and within fifteen minutes that would be suicide was breathing almost normally. “This case was unique for two reasons,” Dr. Greiger said later. “It was the first of its type in medical annals. Likewise, and even more startling, is the fact that apparently young Riley seemed to remember his experience.” Charles Riley said, fully recovered: “I took about fifteen grains of potassium cyanide in forty ounces of water. I had no sensation except a numbness which started at the bodily extremities, and spread slowly throughout my physical system. There was no muscular rigidity in going under …

“Even while supposedly dead, I had a distinct sensation of floating. There was none of the common blackness recognized as death. I felt as if I were coming out into the light—into a vast, glowing place of cool sunshine—like entering a new and mysterious world. It was, I believe, simply another state of consciousness, different from anything that I had ever experienced before. My excursion into this strange realm was brief. I didn’t feel tragic about it, only tremendously surprised and happy to find myself still conscious. I don’t call it a psychical or mystical experience. There was nothing obscure about it. I don’t remember details, there, there wasn't time enough, but I do remember a definite feeling of release, something like emerging from a dim room into sudden brightness.”

The incident is noteworthy, not so much for the physical miracle accomplished by the antidote drug, but from the reactions mentally and spiritually on the consciousness of men thus released from their physical encasements and—brought back!

Significant in regard to the whole of it, however, is the account advanced by two Hebrew persons who had taken to suicide by the monoxide route. Their names are withheld for obvious reasons.

Each of these persons reported, when the Methylene Blue antidote had been applied and it had brought him back to life, that he had not been conscious of any higher-octave environment. He had simply been in a great blackness till the antidote restored him to physical normality.

Accepting this fact, he goes out into “the unobstructed universe” with this fixation inhibiting him, and in consequence, finds himself in thick, unreasoning darkness. It takes him a long, long time to fight through that darkness to the light of personal self-awareness. He has, in a manner of speaking, “hypnotized himself” into accepting that there is no life beyond the grave, and when he

Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive

sheds his physical self, being introduced to the world of Thought, he lets his self-hypnosis have full sway.

He is “dead” and there is “no device nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goest,” so therefore he finds himself without such device or wisdom.

He has bogged himself in his own Luciferian inhibitions, and in that dilemma he stays.

The average Christian, on the other hand, fully and joyously believing in “eternal life”, finds himself introduced at once into it. It truly is a matter of his own aggressive expectations. That which one thinks, is! You can think yourself into conscious existence on the Other Side, just as Israelite thinks himself into inky blackness or nihility on the Other Side.

Believe in survival and you enjoy survival. Let ignorant or malicious prelates convince you that you are going to roam about in coma till the crack o’doom, and the chances are that you are going to roam about in such coma.

Death, as the modern American regards it, seems to be naught else than an hypnosis!

Refuse to believe in it, and it doesn’t inflict you. Believe in it and dread it, and you know it in all its nightmare sterilities … until you work yourself out of your self-imposed darkness …