SUCH was the coming of
Bertie Lilly Candler into my life. I had long since established the
publishing house that had first been given the title of Galahad
press, then Pelley publishers, then Fellowship Press,
to finally level off under the significant title of Soulcraft
Chapels. I had maintained headquarters in New York City, then
Washington, D.C., then Asheville, N.C., then Noblesville, Indiana. It
was a long way back to that night in Altadena, California, when I had
climbed the stairs to my bungalow bedroom to undergo the experience that
has now become historical as My Seven Minutes
in Eternity. Water under Times
Bridge indeed! As I draw this revised version of Why I Believe the
Dead Are Alive toward a close that water has been twenty-six years
Political conditions south of Ma son
& Dixons Line had grown so intolerable after
1940 that I had transferred linotype machines, presses and general
publishing equipment up into Hoosierland, buying a property in a
wholesome American small town sixteen miles north of Indianapolis, the
States Capital. Adelaide, my younger
daughter, was unmarried in 1940 and we likewise acquired residence in
the latter city, driving back and forth to Noblesville morning and
night. It was in the Indianapolis home, therefore, that Adelaide and I
became hostess and host to Bertie Lilly, and the long series of sιances
began, in Noblesville and otherwise, that were to cement the bonds of
fellowship that have made the Candler name a byword in ten thousand
households wherever Soulcraft periodicals and books have been read. Only
one other medium has been thus informally connected with the Greater
Soulcraft program, ranking anywhere within Bertie Lillys
classificationthat was Mary Berttie, of
Chesterfield, Indians, curiously enough a materializing adept with whom
Bertie Lilly had sat for development in her younger years. Mary Bertties
husband, after her untimely demise in 1952, joined Soulcraft as
invaluable compositor in its printing-room. But Bertie Lillys
coming to Indiana in 1941 had opened a new sequence of personal proofs
of the utter fallacy of death as any permanent tragedy.
IT IS one thing to
enter upon strange premises as a paying spectator, and see
Why I Believe the
Dead Are Alive
what appears to be phenomena occur before the eyes,
realizing that the human vision is the easiest of the senses to deceive.
It is quite another to have the phenomena projected within ones
own home, where one is arbiter of every condition, where one knows to a
certainty there can be no secret entrances, where certainly none of the
fifteen to twenty materialized types of humanity, either sex and all
ages, could have been present five minutes before the doors were
fastened and the lights turned off. Insinuations as to fraud or
deception are unqualifiedly eliminated. Strangely enough, therefore, it
was in the firs t sιance thus held in the
Indianapolis home, that my eldest daughter, Harriet, staged her initial
appearance to me in her recreated body
Inasmuch as Harriet herself has since grown into a Soulcraft
institution, no volume listing my evidence as to why I believe the dead
are alive would be complete without description of that memorable first
Harriet, my first child, had been born in Springfield,
Mass. in November of 1912. Two years later, in Wilmington, Vermont, she
succumbed to cerebral meningitis. You may recall my recounting in an
earlier chapter how Pauline, my brother-in-laws
bride, had first gotten in touch with her soldier-husband at Lake
Pleasant, Mass., when learning about the
nurse of the Mohawk Trail. Hes
got a violet-eyed little girl with him whos
inseparable attached to him, Pauline had
reported. She had not known Harriet as a baby not ever seen her in the
flesh. But such description had caused us to pay attention. Harriet had
been noted for her strange violet eyesnot
blue, not grey, but an out-of-this-world violet. Who would
be with Ernest but
out long-lost baby? He had been a member of our Vermont household all
through her prolonged illness and demise.
It was a May evening of 1941 that Bertie Lilly and
Edward gave us their first sιance in our
Indianapolis library, where the George Fisher of previous mention had
personally supervised the sealing of the windows with beaver-board and
created a cabinet
by stretching two heavy velours drapes across the southeast corner of
the twenty-foot-square room. The Candlers had motored up from Miami;
George had driven over from Darien, Conn. I had invited a choice
assortment of guests and employees to witness the wonders, one of the
former being the chief of the state vigilante police, another a leading
attorney of the State Capital. Some two dozen people had gathered at
eight p.m. in chairs around the north and west walls of the library. The
front door had been locked and doorbell and telephone disconnected. The
general program of the sιance followed the one
previously described. The room was illumined by a red spotlight turned
on the front of the velours curtains from a position atop the
bookshelves in the northwest corner.
The first soul-spirit to
substantialize was, as usual, Silverleafwho
greeted each guest by his or her first name, although almost none of
them was known to the medium and some of them had only been invited on
the spur of the moment within the hour before the affair was called. The
second materialization had been a portly stranger of advanced years who
called lustily to his adult son
Why I Believe the Dead
seated in a back corner, one of the
Miehle pressmen at the Nobleville plant. Charley came forth from his
It was his father, who had
died before World
War I. he proved to Charles satisfaction that
he was the parent, not only by his appearance and voice but by narration
of an incident that had occurred in Minnesota when Charles had been a
lad of tenand in 1940 he was in his fifties.
Remember how you got some poison oak on a
camping trip we took? he reminded his son.
What was to fool thing I tried for it, when
we didnt have any other antidotes?
No, let me tell you
It was a
mustard plaster I happened to have along, wasnt
it? Charles cried afterward,
He was one hundred percent correct. But no
one in Gods world but he and I knew anything
about it! Id never even mentioned the
incident to my wife.
What do we want for
proof that the dead are alive? Mustard plasters on poisoned oak
the very quaintness of the incident gave it validity.
Then, for the first time, I saw me
beloved first daughter, grown to womanhood
THE PRESSMANS father had scarcely retired within the cabinet,
after general banter about the sons
vicissitudes since the fathers death, when I
beheld a great snow ball
of whitish effluvia beginning to quiver and contort in front of the
drapes. It seemed to be forming and growing not fifteen inches from
my left foot, where I was seated on a low divan to the east of the
curtains. Edward, the sleeping mediums
husband, exclaimed, Someones
building up right in plain sight for you!
The snowball lost
its rotundity and became elongated vertically. It oscillated, it
writhed, it mounted higher and higher. Reaching a pillar of five feet
two or three, it gave a peculiar shuddering twist. Then even in ruby
light I blinked my eye. A
particularly handsome young woman stood before me,
gowned in white. Her
long chestnut hair fell in curls down her back from under a Juliette
cap. She was personable, she was graceful. In a voice whose chuckle did
not cancel its culture, she accosted me,
Well, Daddy, how do you
I could scarcely speak.
managed to exclaim on my second attempt.
of course! Are you surprised to meet me for
the first time, full-grown?
What could I say to her? Unfortunately, the ruby lightwholly
adequate as it was otherwisedid not permit me
to determine the color of her eyes. But she placed warm pulsating hands
on my shoulders. She looked into my face from a distance of twelve to
fifteen inches. Was this actually the beloved child who had waved me a
final and scarcely audible Bye!
from her crib in the kitchen that long-ago winters
morning in Wilmington, Vermont, two hours before the towns
physician had rushed her to Brattleboro Hospital? She chuckled again.
I know what youre
thinking. Youve carried the notion about you
Why I Believe the
Dead Are Alive
been growing up on the Higher Sidethat
Adelaide might have been my reborn soul. Coming along as she did five or
six months after I made that Wilmington Passing. Am I not right?
Yes, she was right. But I had
never mentioned it to anyone that I recalled. She tossed her adorable
I certainly am no one but myself, and Adelaide is no one but
herself. And at last were together, daddy,
face to face. Isnt it wonderful?
Words had no effect in translating the wonderment of
it. The lump in my throat was interfering with speech. And Harriet
pivoted lightly on her toes and swung completely about for me to view
her total figure.
you remember Aunt Pauline telling you from time to time she saw me in
company with Uncle Ernest?
Here was family evidence that
could not have existed even in the mediums
mind, since up to then my acquaintance with Bertie Lilly had not been
replete enough to rehearse my past domestic affairs with her. So I asked
about Ernest. It was the beginning of a colloquy on family relationships
that established beyond all doubt that I had met up again in truth with
my long-lost baby girl. It was likewise the beginning of a sixteen-year
intimacy in other and greater matters, during which I have watched her
grow from a vivacious maiden in her middle twenties to s sedate woman of
forty-one. I was to confront her equally vividly time upon time when
visiting Mary Beattie at Chesterfield and Anderson, Indianthe
same girl, same Juliette cap and white gown, same characterful profile,
same dainty and cultured voice, same personality in every respect. That
to me is the big test of personality survival, to the utter demolishment
of fraud. No matter what medium I visited for such sessions,
identically the same girl unerringly materialized. Moreover, time
and again she made references to matters we had discussed or mentioned
at earlier sessions when the medium was some other person.
Remember, this was occurring in
my own house and library, in which no such physically living girl had
been contained when the sιance started.
She greeted her younger sister, Adelaide, who was
present, and her brother, William, warning him, incidentally, to draw in
his long legs from where he sat on the rug directly in front of her so
that she wouldnt trip over them. Then she
asked the loan of my handkerchief.
What on earth could she want with that? I stammered
that I had no handkerchief but the honestly soiled one that I had used
all day out at the plant in Noblesville. No matter, I must let her have
it. she was going to do something with it I would never forget.
I handed across the wobbed square of cloth. Standing
in the rugs center in plain sight of all
guest, she pulled it taut across all four corners. Then grasping it by
right and left edges she started a peculiar motion of seeming to throw
it away from her. She called it weaving.
Presently we were thunderstruck to note tha t the fabric was
increasing in size. It was big as a towel. She continued to give it that
outward-throwing motion, till it
Why I Believe the Dead
became so wide that she could no longer
keep it taut between her hands. Rapidly it was increasing to the size of
a bed sheet.
daring, how in the world are you contriving that?
I wanted to know. Im
increasing the distancesby the power of
Thoughtbetween each electron and proton in
the linen atoms, she replied.
Its the way, too,
that we weave clothing for those of you who come up onto Our Side naked
when theyve quitted their physical bodies for
She was commencing to pant
from the exertion of it. And the fabric was so sizable and so filmy that
it floated and billowed on the still air of the library where twenty
spectators about three walls were feeling its gossamer edges against
their faces. Suddenly she tossed her clutch of it in air, darted under
it, seized it in its center, and began doing a ballet dance under itunfortunately
without music, but no less graceful for that.
Then she retreated to her
origin position before me, reversed her efforts, wove
the gossamer fabric closer and closer to herselfand
we watched it diminish in proportions. Back to bedsheet and towel size
she worked it, back to the dimensions of a mans
everyday handkerchief. Suddenly with a dexterous flip of her fingers she
had seized it by opposite corners, twisted it and tied a knot in it.
Knotted thus, she tossed it down upon my lap.
Later in the evening when the electric
lights were on, I examined the knotted fabric. It was some sort of
fourth dimensional knot she had tied. The diagonal handkerchief corners
were inside this knot. Try to tie a knot sometime with the
corners enwrapped inside, and tell me how you did it. I have that
handkerchief and knot preserved to this moment among my psychical
keepsakes, and the diagonal corners are still hidden inside it.
Were going to have
lots of good times together, you and I, Daddy, from here on out,
she promised before leaving us. Its
the Beginning of something, wait and see!
And how truly she spoke!
How many times I have confronted my eldest girl in the past
sixteen years I cannot say accurately. When Mary Beattie was alive in
nearby Anderson, I had only to get into my motorcar after arranging an
appointment, and be with my beautiful child in half an hour. I am
concluding the writing of the revised version of this book of an
afternoon in early September, 1954, and I have met and conversed with
her three times under Mrs. Candlers
sponsorship since the first of this past June. During my political
incarceration at the hands of the Red fellow-travelers in the
Administration during World War ? , Mrs. Candler paid a visit to
Seattle, Wash. One Sunday afternoon she went into trance on the platform
of silver Lodge, I am informed, and Harriet thud materialized, came to
the edge of the dais, and talked to two hundred of my followers in a
public address for a matter of twenty minutes. After expounding to them
the exact significance of my temporary imprisonment and bidding them to
be of good cheer, she disintegrated before their eyes
Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive
THAT is why I had to
leave you, Daddy, when I was a baby, and come out here,
she explained to me in a materialization last October,
to be able to work in association with youyou
on the earth-side and I on the heavenly sideto
demonstrate to a world of bewildered and error-tormented people that there
is no such thing as Death.
And how she is doing it!
Yet always my mind reverts to a winters
morning in early 1914 when they had phoned from the hospital in
Brattleboro for me to come over the twenty miles from Wilmington as fast
as I could travel, if I wanted to see my child again alive. As I urged my
panting horse up the western grade of Hogback Mountain, alone in the
sleigh, I groaned aloud I my anguish, Oh, God,
dont let her die!
don't let her die! but I arrived too late.
That was forty-one years bygone, and yet it had been on
Kismets cards to happen, that the very
Soulcraft work in which I am currently engaged I my sunset years could go
forward. I am still in the mortal role this lazy September afternoon as I
write; yet Harriet is back with me and has been sixteen years continuously
back with me. I have her piquant and distinctive voice on fifteen
electronic tape recordings. Never have I gone to a psychical sιance
since that first appearance of hers in our Indianapolis library, that she
has failed in coming and conversing with me.
Are the dead alive,