THE DOOR IS NOW UNLOCKED
I KNEW that I was witnessing a display of
phenomena that might happen, even to expert researchers, but once in a
lifetimeand yet might be repeated, if one
were fortunate, no later than tomorrow night. Less than an hour had gone
by, and I had already witnessed the equivalent of manifestations that
might compose a whole evenings sιance,
and a most satisfying sιance at that. The
victrola played on at my right, and in between records, if a
materialization had not appeared, I could hear the suppressed breathing
of the score of persons around me, striving as I was striving to
accredit that they were all seated in Mayor La Guardias
New York, with the long strings of automobiles flowing down the Drive
below in the beautiful orchestration of Sunday night traffic, and the
problems of the war-torn world to be faced in the morning. Most of the
materializations, I noted, usually appeared in about the middle of the
second playing of any given hymn on the machine, when Nora would
instantly hush the music
Suddenly the curtains parted, the music was stopped,
and a figure speared that puzzled as it disquieted menot
that I recognized it, for it was a stranger and yet a somewhat different
type of entity than had materialized to the present. Edward, beyond the
cabinet, rose to his feet.
he announced solemnly, is evidently a
personage from a very high plane of eternity.
And he bent toward it with instinctive solicitude.
The man standing sedately before the drapes was not
tallin a few moments I was to stand within a
foot of him and find myself looking down slightly into his face. He was
dressed in vestments such as I had never witnessed on any cleric of any
church. A mitre of some sort seemed to be on his head. He looked eithty
years old. A long silvery beard dropped halfway down his chest. There
was a quiet restraint, a poise, a dignity to him that might be felt
merely by surveying
gives the name of Ari, announced Edward,
and is here to speak to George.
The friend beside me started up. Its
my special protective guardian, he declared
in a whisper. He materialized twice for me
down in Florida.
Why I Believe the
Dead Are Alive
This then was the spirit whom George had reported to me as having done
something that I considered truly remarkable in the way of phenomena.
One night, in a Florida sitting, he had called George up and talked with
him privately about his life and affairs. He had seemed so paternal, so
kindly, so solicitous, that George had begun to have a sincere affection
for the gentleman. When he had turned to depart, he had asked George,
would you like to have something to remember
George, of course, had answered affirmatively.
Have you a pair of scissors or a knife in
your pocket? George had a pocketknife and
Ari had twisted up a lock of his beard and held it taut.
Cut it off, he had
George had told me that while
striving to do this, he had seen the pull of the flesh where the hairs
grew out and Aris grasp of the lock had been
faulty. But he had served the strand and received it in his fingers.
Put it in a locket,
Ari had said. It will be a constant
connection between us. George, of course, had
wondered how that could be, for he rightly expected that his ethereal
guardian would presently dematerialize. But when the latter had done so,
to Georges amazement the lick of hair had
not! George had carried it from the sιance
and shown it to me in Indianapolis. This then, was the dignitary who had
done this wonder and I hoped I was going to be able to ask him how he
had performed it.
George, up before the cabinet
with Ari, called me to them. He introduced me. Ari laid his right hand
with firm pressure on my wrist. I could see him plainly then. I judged
his race to be Persian.
so glad to be able to introduce my friend to you, Ari,
George said, to make conversation.
The venerable one laughed pleasantly.
son, he returned, we
on This Side know Williams work even better
than you do. But it gives me great pleasure that we meet face to face.
I said, George has shown me the keepsake you gave him in Florida.
From the scientific angle, Ive wondered how such a thing could be
managed. How did the hair lock remain in existence on this side when you
returned to the higher octave?
Again that poised, easy laugh from the visitor. It
was meant to remain on your side of life, he
responded. I fixed it so that it would.
He put emphasis on the would.
What more could be said? Any
discussion of the higher life processes was impossible at the moment.
I went back to my seat and
presently George followed. Ari had spoken a pleasant word to the guests
and stepped backward behind the drapes.
AS THOUGH purposely to display a diversity of types a
lad of some fifteen years stepped out of the cabinet a moment or two
after the next record had
Why I Believe the
Dead Are Alive
been played. He was clad in ordinary boys
clothing of this periodtrousers and
blouse-shirt with four-in-hand tiebut seemed
to be afflicted with a slight curvature of the spine.
cried the mediums husband, springing up as
though a bit surprised himself.
Tony greeted Edward. He seemed
pleased with himself that he had contrived it. Edward explained.
he said standing in big-brotherly fashion beside the youthful visitor,
was formerly a newsboy in Chicago. He made
the passing a couple of years ago by being struck by a truck on Evanston
Avenue. He drops in to see us at these meetings quite often. Sometimes
he sings for us. Dont you, Tony?
Sure, I sing! boasted Tony.
But I dont think Ill
do it tonight. The assembly at once pressed
him to favor it. But Tony had all the embarrassment of a Chicago
newshawk suddenly plunged into a gathering in a drawing room. No, he
wouldnt sing. He just wanted to say hello to
Eddie and then get gone. Loads of folks are
waiting to get in, he declared. It was a
queer little episode. Tony hadnt some to meet
anybody in the group. He just wanted to be neighborly and that was that.
Having gotten a certain gratification from being thus noticed, he opened
the drapes behind him and his personal appearance for the evening was
WE HAD to wait a long time now. I wondered
if the ectoplasmic force was dwindling. But I presently understood.
A dignified gentleman who must have stood six feet tall, with a well
-shaped bald head,a nd a gown resembling an Episcopalian rectors
surplice, with stole, over sinewy shoulders and chest, presently walked
out of the cabinet and stood for a moment regarding us all. The woman at
my right cried, Doctor Wainwright!
the personage responded gravely, I am Doctor
Wainwright. I wish to speak to you first, my dear, about your
treatments. Will you please come up here for a short consultation?
The lady needed no urging. She
joined him, with a couple of women friends, in front of the cabinet. The
I gathered from what I overheard of the conversation
that the woman was suffering from an internal trouble with which mortal
physicians could scarcely cope.
At some previous sιance
this higher-octave physician had come through to her and promised to
assist her doctor in flesh to bring about an amelioration of her
condition, if not her cure. He made the clairaudient recommendations to
her mortal doctors, I gathered, and they gave the treatments, whether
aware of the source of their prescriptions or not. But the patient was
not cooperating, as she should. Hence this personal contact. He went on
explaining something medical for at least five minutes. Finally he
dismissed her, and noted the group. Edward asked him if he could not
speak them all a word of comfort during the terrible times through which
the earth was passing.
Why I Believe the Dead
We in the higher spheres of
life, Dr. Wainwright responded after a moments
cogitation, do not look upon what is
happening now on your plane as war.
Neither should any of you privileged persons consider it as such. What
the earth world is passing through at present is a stupendous
renovation. Dr. Wainwright spoke measuredly,
choosing his words most carefully.
time has come in modern history, he went on
in substance, for a gigantic housecleaning of
all the dark, wicked, mischief-force who so shamefully afflict man and
his institutionsespecially his political and
economic institutions. They are due to expose themselves presently
throughout all humanity for their blunderings, their greeds, their
inabilities to inspire or direct man in his worldly predicaments and
dilemmas. Before the present sequence is run they will be stripped of
their influence because of their own inadequacies. Great wrongs that
have afflicted the nations for generations are due to be righted. The
earth and its society must come back into a moral balance.
Someone asked how far American would get into the war.
There will be no such enemy destruction of
life and property in the United States as there had been in countries
abroad, he replied. At
least, those on the plane to which I have progressed seem not to be
aware of it. But you must remember that we have no more access to the
intentions of the Almighty than you have. We are simply living in a
higher and more delicate world of Matter. We have ways of seeing things
begin to occur in the astral that are presently to mature in event in
the mortal, but it is for a limited time ahead only. This thing I do
want you to remember and to count on, however: All of us in these higher
states of life have positive knowledge of a great leader who is
presently to rise here in North America and by his wise counsel and
directiongained from the same high sources
from which we get out counsel and directionstraighten
out most of the embroilments in which American humankind finds itself in
these moments. You can plan on the coming of such a leader, though you
must not question me specifically concerning his identity. He is not so
well known now as he is to be shortly. Probably he will come in result
of the terrible blunders and shortcomings of those who have had the
conflict in charge in its opening phases. He will resuscitate the United
States from the spiritual, more than from the political, angle. And when
he comes, not the least among you will have much difficulty recognizing
The doctor started to back
toward the cabinet as he concluded this message. Then with a grave bow
to the thoughtful assembly, he stepped inside
NOW FOLLOWED at least an hour of entities of
strictly private significance to other sitters present. The mothers of
several persons, clad I most cases in ethereal flowing robes, mode
themselves substantial and discoursed with sons or daughters quite after
the manner I have described. On one occasion the son of one of the women
spectators visited her for several minutes, expressing his gratitude
that he was out of mortality for the sequence now running on earth.
did my share in the first World War, he
informed us. Im
glad I dont have to
Why I Believe the Dead
go through another such experience under present
His mother explained, in introducing him to the group,
that he had been badly wounded in the AEF in 1918, and had dragged out a
miserable existence as a disabled veteran till death released him some
five years bygone. A most poignant note was introduced on another
occasion by the deceased fiancι of one of the
young women present stepping suddenly from between the drapes, being
instantly recognized, and the two of them embracing after she had left
her seat impulsively and hurried to him.
so hard to get along with you gone, Harry,
the young woman sobbed. Its
all that I can do to live day after day. Life seems so bleak, so barren.
With his arms about his erstwhile
sweetheart, the young man patted the pretty bowed back, and sought to
soothe her. But cant
you understand, he argued gently,
that Im not
gone, that Im
right close to you day after day, helping you as I never could help you
had I stayed I life with you? No, she couldnt,
and she said so. So they clung to each otherand
everyone present must have felt a bit embarrassed, as though violating
some sort of privacy by thus looking on.
help wondering what the skeptics and ignoramuseswho
contend so raucously that no dead
person has ever come backwould
say, to sit witnessing such a reunion as this, a young man stepping into
mortality for brief ten minutes to put his arms around a beloved
sweetheart whom he had been obliged to part with, when he had to go
ahead of her into the more exquisite phases of experiencing
Consciousness. But the evening was getting on. Between half-past ten and
eleven oclock it was and after the vivtrola
records had run out, to be succeeded by a beautiful rhythmic humming of
Holy Night on the
part of the sitters, that the curtains trembled, were pulled
energetically open, and a white figure stepped through without the
slightest pause or hesitation, heading straight for my chair.
SOMEHOW I seemed to know telepathically when
this Lady in White walked out, that she had materialized for me and none
other, though I couldnt tell who she was at
once. As she crossed the space of rug, she seemed to loom above me in
Presently I was to see that this effect was supplied by swathes
of chiffon about her head and held together on the center of her breast.
Dudley, my son!
she cried raggedly as I got to my feet. Now there had been only one such
woman who had gone on the other side, who had ever used my middle name
in addressing me as a lad, and that was my maternal grandmother. But
could this be my maternal grandmother? She had blue eyes, as my maternal
grandmother had blue eyes. She had something of the same contours of
face. But my mothers mother, Hanna, had been
an elderly womansome sixty-five or seventy
years oldwhen making the Passing in 1912.
this lady did not look a day over forty, if that old, and her figure
lacked my Grandmother Goodales portliness.
Why I Believe the Dead
On the other hand, I
had heard plenty in other sιances of a process
in the higher dimensions of certain souls growing
back to a norm of maturity and remaining
there until progressing along to loftier planes of consciousness. Was my
grandmother going that? Certainly in the ensuing few moments I had small
doubt about its being my grandmothers spirit.
I followed her to a position in front of the cabinet where the ruby
spotlight gave maximum illumination. You poor
boy, she crooned, what
a terrible time you are going through! And all so unfair and unmerited!
probably had I known Grandmother in her middle life, I might not have
felt so confused at having a person apparently younger than myself at
the momentat least in looksdesignate
herself as my mothers mother.
Feeling stranger in her
presence therefore, I scarcely knew how, or what, to reply. But of this
thing I took note.
Her mental or emotional anguish was poignant to
behold. Her distress was so great that it called up counter-sympathy. As
a struggled for poise, she asked mewhats
the matter? Cant you see me? Havent
I done what Ive ever done anything of this
sort, you know.
see you all right, Grandmother, I assured
stay very long
all so awkward, so different from anything Ive
ever been used to. But I had to come to you tonight to try to cheer and
encourage you in the awful ordeal youre being
called to suffer. Its all part of your
career, my son. Fancy talking to you, though, now that youre
a man grown, face to face! How does one talk
to ones grandmother whom one hasnt
seen in substantiality in over thirty years? One thing is certain. One
doesn't feel facetious
This blue-eyed lady, however, had nothing of the
ethereal about her except for the chiffon headscarf and robes. She
seemed to have considerable difficulty holding the latter together in
front. She kept pulling the folds together with her left hand while she
tried in a sort of affectionate caress to pass her right hand over my
hair and down about my shoulders.
all in ones life work, I suppose,
I said tritely.
will you remember my words of counsel, son? Will you surely remember
Meaning what? What counsel?
no matter what predicament you think that youre
in, with in authorities or anyone else, the
door has been unlocked already! Will you
remember that? The door has been unlocked
already. Promise youll
Say after me,
The door has been unlocked already.
The door has been unlocked already, I repeated. Inasmuch
as not a soul in that room but myself and George knew that I was in any
particular sort of trouble, it was on the whole convincing for a
materialized soul to proceed directly to giving of such solicitude.
Why I Believe the Dead
all I can say. Ive got to go now.
The door has been unlocked already.
With another caressing gesture at my head and shoulders, she
began to withdraw from me.
An instant later she had vanished behind the curtains.
I WAS so upset in my
feelings when I again sought my chair, that I scarcely gave any
attention to the spirit that now came forth from the cabinet and greeted
everyone in the voice of another childa
second little Indian girl, apparently, some ten to twelve years old.
She had not come there
to meet anyone in particular. I gathered vaguely that her prime purpose
was in displaying a new dress that enveloped her, somewhat after the
pattern of Silverleafs. She gave some
fanciful and lowery name, but I was thinking, thinking, thinking
The child was obsessed with the fact that on
the following afternoon, on the plane in which she resided, she was
going to a party
Had that recent
materialization been that of my grandmother or had it not? If so, and
this was an example of growing back young,
what a lot of surprises some people were in for, at making the Passing
themselves and greeting their loved ones on the other side, to find the
latter not lame, halt, blind or aged
as they might have gone out of flesh, but radiantly mature in the golden
summer of middle existence. Certainly my grandmother
had called me by the only name that she would use in addressing me face
to face. The solicitude for me was unquestionable. And her message had
plenty of consolation in it after what I had been through in the South
that past week. The door is unlocked already!
what would that mean but that the tide had definitely turned for me, and
that the out was
ready for me to experience as the days and weeks rolled onward? I was
still preoccupied with my thoughts in ruby dusk when I realized that
Edward was calling William!
That meant me again. I took up at the cabinet.
A portly man of some sixty
to seventy years was standing before the curtains. He was clad in modern
male costume and giving his name as Frederick William.
Frederick William had been the name of my fathers
father. Why should I be deserving of so much attention this epochal
MY SON, my son!
this entity cried thickly as I stood before him and his right hand
reached out and tightened on my wrist.
Is it you, Grandfather?
I cried in new perturbation. Then in the upset one feels in all such
situations, I recall exclaiming, but what
have you done with your thick gray whiskers?
My Grandfather Pelley, as long as I had known him, had worn a
patriarchal beard halfway down his chest. This was my grandfathers
figure all right, but his beard was black, and not nearly so long.
But, my son, he
chuckled, whiskers have generally gone out of
fashion. All the same Ive got some oncant
you see them?
No, I couldnt see them, and peered closer
into his face. Youve
Why I Believe the Dead
I argued banally, but the light s so poor, or
y eyes arent accustomed to it, that I cant
tell what it is.
son, dont lets
waste such important time arguing over such a matter as whiskers. I
havent worn mine on my present plane for
years. I wondered what was required of me.
How could I ever ask him the intimate family detail that I wanted to ask
him, with all these strangers present and hanging on every word? Knowing
that many persons with Second Sight had often described him as being on
the platform with me and seeming to counsel me as I had addressed past
audiences, I felt he should be in a position to approve or condemn my
present work. Not thinking how else to put it, I asked
Well, granddad, how am I doing?
This brought of a titter of laughter around the
circle. My grandsire joined in it. His hand, as strong and virile as it
ever had been in lifeand he had been a
powerful mancontinued on my wrist.
My son, youre
doing fine, he said huskily after a moment.
In fact, theres
times when it seems to your watching relatives that youre
doing too much.
I echoed. How could that be possible?
make so much progress in your work yourself that youre
not allowing the time for the rest of humanity to catch up. However,
theyll do that in time. Be patient. What I
particularly wanted to do tonight was to thank your friend George for
the aid hes been to you in getting your
printing works established. The books that youre
printing are doing more good throughout the land than youll
ever know till you get in our position and see it. Will you call him up?
I called to George and he responded.
This is my paternal
grandfather, Frederick William, I announcedas
though he had not been hearkening to every word spoken by either of us
from the first. George acknowledged the introduction and my grandfather
ran his left hand under Georges elbow.
let me thank you, dear fellow, he said,
for the help youre
giving to our grandson.
George started to deprecate it.
cried the old gentleman, youre
as much a part of his lifework as his own wits or pen. And all his
relatives are grateful and are showing it by seeing that the two you dont
get into serious trouble.
Hardly had my grandfather gotten these words out than
his voice wavered queerly. His shoulders and figure seemed to sway. The
hand on my arm relaxed its clutch and dropped.
Suddenly, weird as it sounds to relate, though it did not seem
as awesome to watch it happen, the old gentleman jack-knifed at the
waist. My instinct was to reach out and catch him, but as I had been
warned against seizing hold of these people during materializations
since it might have serious effect on the medium, I pulled back a step,
and then, before my eyes, I saw my grandsire begin to sink through the
floor precisely as the nun had done, following her blessing. He sank
through the floor directly at my feet. One moment he had been
Why I Believe the Dead
standing before me, talking with me like any normal man. The next he had
bent forward and in the bending, his feet had begun to go through the
rug as though it were the surface of a pool of water. I stood there
gaping while he sank down, down, till only his head was visible between
Georges feet and mine. The next
moment he was gone!
There was nothing whatsoever to indicate
that he had been there. I was close enough to the phenomena to see
everything in utmost detail.
Somehow I got back to y chair and devoutly wished that the sitting would
end. I was mentally, emotionally and spiritually punch-drunk. I had been
so much that I wanted only get out and think! Happily enough, my
grandfathers was the last materialization for
the night. From behind the draperies we heard Silverleaf exclaim:
Oh shucks! The powers
getting so weak that these things fall apart!
It was a queer but practical way to phrase it. a moment later she added
philosophically: Nope, I guess we cant
go along anymore tonight, even if there are a lot of folks left whod
like to talk with the rest of you. But Ill
tell you whos here
Thereat the child started calling out names of persons who hadnt
been able to avail themselves of the mediumistic ectoplasm. She must
have called out at least a dozen, every last one of them absolutely
accurate. Twice she called out names of former women business associates
of Georges. giving last names as well as
Uncle Jo -Jo, she
said, you remember Margaret G,
dont you? She says she gave you a pair of
cuff links and a stickpin one Christmas. Is that right?
It most certainly is, agreed George.
Tell her I had them stolen from my house when
a prowler got in.
Oh, she knows that,
returned Silverleaf, matter-of-factly.
What became of
them doesnt count. Any gift is only in the
giving, anyhow. Uncle Billy!
long time ago you had a daughter Harriet, didnt
you? She passed over when she was a teeny girl.
Two years old,
I know. Well,
shes a big grown woman now. About thirty
years old. And she says to tell you, God
It was the first time in twelve years of
psychical research that I had received trace of my daughter Harriet in
the higher realms of life. Well, I guess weve
all got to go now. Weve had a nice evening,
havent we? A
wonderful evening, Silverleaf, responded the
audience sincerely. Then good night,
Good night, Silverleaf!
Suddenly the maidens voice, still clear and
lovely, began to sing Good night, dear one,
Good night, dear one,
Good night, dear one,
Why I Believe the Dead
going to leave you now!
The tune was the well-known old song,
Good night, Ladies,
only when she arrived at the chorus, she altered it thus
Merrily we fade away, Fade away, fade away.
Merrily we fade away,
Over the Sea of Love
The childs voice trailed off,
fainter and fainter, as if receding into remotest distance. Presently the
room was silent. Edward said to George, Open
the door, George, so that we can get the indirect light from the bathroom.
George opened the door. The electric illumination was sickly, garish, as
it came through the inner hallway. In a moment someone switched on a floor
lamp. Edward went to the cabinet and tossed back the drapes.
Bertie, he coaxed. Everythings
over. People are ready to go home.
Miss Candler was plainly to be seen by everyone. She sat
slumped down I the wooden chair, head rolled on one side, unconscious in
slumber. Edward shook her gently. She shuddered, yawned, sat up.
so frightfully hot in here! were her first
words since she had bidden us Good night!
three hours before. It feels like Id
been in a forest fire.
Edward stayed beside her till she
dame fully awake and then helped her to her feet. Coming from the cabinet,
she paused before my chair. How was it?
she asked. Did you get anything?
Youre a sweetheart!
I cried impulsively. We got at least
twenty-five people. Its been the most amazing
evening of phenomena Ive witnessed in my life.
This was no exaggeration.
glad, she said. She walked to a vacated chair
and sat down, still rubbing her eyes and yawning.
The woman on my right asked me the time. I looked at my
wristwatch. Ten minutes past eleven oclock,
I said. Then I left the room, to get out in cool night air for a minute
and light up a welcome cigar