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Ferry Over Jordan by Margery Lawrence 1944

 

FOREWORD

I am afraid that a good many of my readers will feel disappointed, even a little annoyed, on opening this book, to find that it is not a novel, nor even a book of short stories, but a treatise - a handbook, a primer, what you will - on that much-discussed subject known as Spiritualism!

This comment may well be made - “ I suppose the war has got on her nerves, or she has lost somebody and taken to Spiritualism in consequence!” So I would like to make it quite plain that though the war does weigh on my nervous system, truly enough, as far as I know it does not do so more than upon anybody else's, I have not, thank God, lost anybody near and dear to me as yet, and I have not recently “ taken to Spiritualism” (which sounds rather like drugs or drink!) but have been deeply interested in it for years past.

My interest in it dates actually from the moment when I saw a near relation three nights after he died, when he gave me specific instructions about the finding of a box containing important papers. They were found precisely where he said - and from that moment I became deeply interested in what, throughout this book, I have called the “ Other Side” . Somewhere that man was obviously still alive! Somewhere he was thinking of us, anxious to help, caring what happened; in a word, he was still alive somewhere, and I was determined to find out where. So my interest in Spiritualism is no matter of recent growth, but has been a vital central study of mine for more years than I like to count, and this book is the result of that study. I may say, though, that a year ago I had no idea of doing such a venturesome thing as writing a book about it, and I can assure my critics that I think it highly improbable that I shall ever write another! I have no intention of abandoning my trade as a novelist - I love writing fiction too much ever to give it up - and it may come as a small consolation to readers who find my efforts at explaining Spiritualism disappointing, to know that a new novel called ‘The Gilded Jar’ is already on the stocks, and should appear very shortly after ‘Ferry Over Jordan’. How the latter book came to be written is as follows.

I have from time to time written various articles dealing with psychic or occult matters, that have attracted a flattering amount of attention and much subsequent correspondence. I have also written various “ uncanny” short stories and one long novel entitled ‘The Bridge of Wonder’ - which I did not expect to be a success, since a novel written


 

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with Spiritualism as its basis is not generally hallmarked as a probable hit! But it was a success, and a large number of letters followed from readers showing great interest and asking many questions, all of which I answered to the best of my ability. During the latter part of 1941 I wrote a further group of articles on Spiritualism, for the Psychic News, and the trickle of letters swelled to such impressive proportions that Maurice Barbanell, the editor of the Psychic News (who is himself a student and investigator of long experience in psychic matters, suggested to me that I should put these articles together, enlarge and expand them, add various others and weld them into book form. (I should like here to take the opportunity of thanking him for the loan of various valuable and interesting books, pamphlets, records, etc., that have been of great use to me - also for his prompt and courteous help over various doubtful or difficult points that cropped up from time to time.)

I must admit that I blenched a trifle at first at the suggestion of producing a book on Spiritualism, knowing how many wonderful books have been written by far greater authorities on the subject than I can possibly claim to be! But then I began to think - judging from the fact that a large proportion of the letters I had received asked the most rudimentary questions about Spiritualism - that perhaps while advanced students were catered for in great plenty, beginners were not so lucky.

And from that I went on to feel that perhaps among the number of more erudite books there might be room for a plainly-written, commonsense sort of “ book for beginners”! A book written, not by a great authority like Oliver Lodge or Conan Doyle, but a book written for students by a fellow student who happened to have travelled just a little farther ahead along the way.

What do the wise Chinese say? “ If you want to know the road ahead, enquire of those who have travelled it!”

I have travelled it a little farther than many, though not so far as I hope to do before I die - and here, very humbly offered, is the result of my travellings. A “ First Steps in Spiritualism” , for enquirers just beginning to enquire!

I entirely agree that a fair comment would be “ Why should you think, if there is room for such a book, that you are qualified to write it?”


 

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I know, of course, that despite a good many years' study, training and experience, in the face of all there is to know, I still know very little! But I was urged so strongly by friends both here and on the Other Side to undertake it, that at last I decided to take the plunge - and hope that the result will justify these friends' belief in me.

I know also that there will be those who will say “ But is this really all you have learned during the years since you first began studying this thing?”

The answer is “ No! Of course this is not all I have learned - not within miles of it!”

In common with many other earnest students, above and beyond the proofs of individual survival - which is the ABC, the first and most vital stage of Spiritualistic study - I have been given the opportunity of learning, from various highly qualified Masters both on this side and on the Other, many absorbingly interesting things concerning the deeper aspects of the spiritual life and future of man. I have made the most of the opportunity according to the best of my ability. If I were merely out to try and impress my readers I could “ spread myself” in a highly - effective fashion upon such matters as the Cosmic Ray System, Inter­Planetary Vibrations, Evolutionary Rhythms and Cycles and what-not; but these are advanced matters with which authorities far greater and more learned than myself have already dealt at length. I have in this book merely tried to answer, as clearly as possible, the leading questions, the doubts, fears, problems, puzzles and so on that, experience teaches me, beset the average Person in their initial enquiries into Spiritualism. When this initial stage is passed a world of fascinating knowledge will lie open to the student - and my hope is that this small “ primer” may serve to smooth the path towards that greater learning.

Actually, I hate the word “ Spiritualism” (I have never met a sincere Spiritualist who did not!) and the alternative, “ Spiritism”, is equally unpleasant. The true name of this study is “ The Great Law” or the “ Natural Law”; but alas, if I used this phrase I should never be understood! My readers would wonder if I were writing a theological treatise, or one on legal matters. So perforce I use the label that custom has attached to this ancient study. For Spiritualism is not new.

It is the oldest study in the world. It is the knowledge, the truth that underlies - and is generally, alas, hidden by - all religions. It was known


 

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in the time of Atlantis - and has been known all down the ages. It has been denounced as black magic, and venerated in the time of Christ as born of God - for what are the miracles but evidence of the psychic powers known to all students of Spiritualism? But it remains the same thing, whichever way you look at it. Spiritualism is the study of the basic truth that lies behind all religions, all beliefs. The Law that not only teaches, but proves, beyond any shadow of doubt, the continuity of life, the survival of the individual, and the eternal immortality of Love.

 

I. IN WHICH I ANSWER SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT SPIRITUALISM

I find that most people who get interested in the subject of Spiritualism (whether casually or seriously, derisively or disapprovingly!) always start by asking much the same series of questions - comments, objections, you can call them what you will. Roughly speaking, they fall into the following list

1. “ I should never have thought you, of all people, would have been interested in this sort of thing!”

2. “ But doesn't Spiritualism send people off their heads? I've heard ...”

3. “ Where do you get your evidence, and how do you know it is reliable?”

4. “ But why can't the Church teach you what you want to know about life after death?”

5. “ It goes against Christianity - and I was taught to believe in Christ.” 6. “ But why can't I be my own medium?”

7. “ I don't trust mediums - there are so many fakes.” 8. “ I could never believe in anything held in the dark.” 9. “ I distrust paid mediums.”

10. “ What do you get, out of it, after all? “

11. “ Isn't it irreverent to try and find out all this? Are we intended to?” 12. “ Suppose I want to find out about all this, how do I start?”

1. Now these are all frank and practical questions, and I propose to try and give them equally practical answers, taking them in order as they come.

I am a very normal person, enjoying frocks and food, dancing, theatres, cocktail-and-any-other-parties, and an occasional mild flirtation, as well as most normal women - and I suppose it is because I am so interested in the life of this world that people find it difficult to understand that I am still more interested in any information that I can manage to get concerning the life of the next world! I can never quite understand this point of view. After all, most of us believe we are going


 

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somewhere when we die, and it seems to me merely plain common sense to try and find out something about where we are going. If I were enjoying myself immensely in England, but I knew I was going to live in Jamaica after a while, I should immediately set to work to try and study conditions of life in Jamaica. But I should still enjoy my life in England as long as I was living there!

I think that this question dates back, actually, to the time when the study of Spiritualism meant to the general public dark rooms, floating tambourines and weird voices, a mysterious and slightly crazy mumbo­jumbo in which only a few morbid, hysterical or neurotic people took any interest. But, anyway, to-day any such idea is entirely exploded. People belonging to every walk of life, from the highest to the lowest, from the studious to the sporting, the stage, the learned professions, science and medicine, and even - cautiously but in increasing numbers - the Church, are taking an increasing interest in this study which concerns us all so vitally. So, first of all, do let us drop the notion that only slightly “ queer” people believe in Spiritualism. It is a perfectly healthy and normal study of a deeply interesting matter - our future life - and the people investigating or practising it, mediums and sitters alike, are, with few exceptions, perfectly normal, ordinary people like you and me. In the rare cases when they are not normal, it is not Spiritualism that has made them “ queer”! They would have been “ queer” in any case, and if their “ queerness” seems to have increased since they became interested in Spiritualism, it would equally have increased if they had become obsessed by religious mania, or astrology, or yoga, or a dozen other subjects that could be named. The fault - or the disease - is not in the subject they are studying. It is inherent in their own make-up.

Now we come to another question - a question that has so often been put to me that I have ranked it second on my list.

2. “ Doesn't Spiritualism easily send one off one's head? I've heard .. .

Yes, I know what you have heard - the hoary old yam about the asylums being filled with people who have been sent crazy through Spiritualism! This statement, which is entirely false, has been made times without number, and I think I cannot do better than quote from a special publication refuting it, written some years ago by H. J. Osborn, lecturer and journalist, and printed in London.


 

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“ The frequent recurrence in recent days of the false statement that Spiritualism is one of the main causes of lunacy seemed to culminate in the widely-published dicta originally attributed to Dr. A. T. Schofield (and published in the Daily Sketch) that ‘there are 100,000 lunatics owing to Spiritualism’. The present writer received from Dr. Schofield, in reply to an inquiry, a courteous note to the effect that he had said no such thing, that it was absurd, and that the Daily Sketch had apologized to him for its blunder. All the same, that ‘absurd’ blunder has since been reproduced, with a farcically solemn pretence of fact, in many other papers, not one of which has given equal publicity to denial or disproof of this statement.

The late Dr. Forbes Winslow was the classic instance. An opponent of Spiritualism and a great authority on insanity, he declared that more than 10,000 lunatics owed their condition to Spiritualism. It took a number of years for truth to overtake this, but ultimately Dr. Winslow convinced himself, by careful investigation, that there was no ground for his original statement, and he retracted it, fully and completely. Moreover, he became and remained a firm Spiritualist!

Later the libel was so often quoted that a group of serious students of Spiritualism undertook a long and detailed investigation, which resulted as follows:

A circular letter was sent to the Medical Superintendents of a number of_ the largest public institutions for the insane, all situated in centres where Spiritualism is most active - east, west, north and south. Here are brief extracts of some replies:

1. ‘There are no patients certified insane through Spiritualism here.’ 2. ‘No cases within recent times have been attributed to Spiritualism.’

3. ‘It is very rarely that Spiritualism is assigned as a case of insanity, and then only a secondary one.’

4. ‘No patient has been admitted to this Institution whose insanity has been certified as caused by Spiritualism,’ etc. etc.

In no single instance were the Medical Superintendents of any Asylums able to furnish any statistical data on which, by any claim, could this charge against Spiritualism be sustained. Practically all disowned the idea of Spiritualism being a cause of lunacy.”

So that is the answer to a very hoary old libel! Now comes a very practical question.


 

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3. “ Where do you get your evidence and what makes you think it is reliable? “

I have obtained my evidence - as all other investigators have done - from various sources and in various different ways, and all the way along I have checked and tested this evidence until I am personally satisfied of its truth. I have gathered a good deal via personal experiences, such as messages received sometimes in writing, sometimes in dreams or visions, sometimes from mediums, via the Direct Voice and in other ways - and have tested and checked these messages as far as I was able. I have received proofs of the continued existence of “ dead” friends and relatives under circumstances where fraud was absolutely impossible, and I have shared in the experiences of friends where fraud was likewise impossible. I have talked with many “ dead” friends and compared their statements with those of others, and with the recorded statements kept over many years by other students and investigators - and found a remarkable degree of agreement between them. Above all, I have listened for many years to the things told of the Other Side by the various great Guides with whom I have worked for years - and found again the same agreement between their statements. I have been doing this, gathering experience and evidence ever since I was in my twenties, when I first began to be really interested in the Other Side of life - and I do not really feel it is likely that I and many friends as well, can have been steadily fooled or self-deceived during the whole of that time. Sometimes, of course, the most patient and cautious student may be fooled - but for years on end? I don't think so! I am not a hysterically credulous person, but a barrister's daughter with a strongly marked legal bent of my own, and I am inclined rather to cautious analysis than too impulsive acceptance, and know the importance of careful testing and questioning before making up one's mind. Naturally I have had disappointments and failures, and a few experiences that were definitely unsatisfactory in that I felt the medium or her helpers were not to be trusted (though I am bound to say these have not been many); but on the whole all the evidence I have gathered “ hangs together” so logically

that I cannot but accept that there is another world where those we love are still living and loving us and anxious to help us.

Now this extremely silly comment is often made - “ nothing worth while is ever told us about what happens on the Other Side” . The answer to this is to be found in many hundreds of books recording information


 

given about the Other Side; which the foolish people who make the above comment never take the trouble to read!

There are many thousands of these books of records, some of which date back for many years past - a whole literature that is being added to almost daily. Reports, descriptions, messages, teachings, advice, instruction, information, given from the Other Side and received and written down by sober and cautious men and women who, after weighing, testing and checking them in every possible way, have put them on permanent record for the help of those who, coming after them, want to learn and check their own learning by studying the reports of those who have gone before them. Sociologists, professors, scientists, physicists, chemists, mathematicians, as well as ordinary everyday people like you and me, are studying Spiritualism to-day, as they have done for years past, with caution as well as with keenness and enthusiasm. And do you see any reason - I see none - to conclude that all these people are either suffering from delusions or deliberately lying, when they record their experiences and maintain that they accept them as proof that there is an unseen world, and that that world is inhabited by conscious and sentient people? Still more solid proof of this world's existence is coming forward steadily via the discoveries of science - mainly physics and mathematics - which are steadily proving, as we go deeper in our investigations, the value and truth of the statements, messages, instructions and so on that are being constantly received from the Other Side. (To take at random one of the many proofs of this, see the case of the “ putting through” from the Other Side of the ancient ground plan of Glastonbury Abbey, which was revealed to Mr. Frederick Bligh Bond years before excavations on the ground concerned proved him absolutely right! Though the diagrams and descriptions given from the Other Side had been laughed out of court before, the subsequent exploration of the site proved them right in every detail.)

I have personally, and so has my husband, had innumerable proofs of the practical possibility of receiving communications from the Other Side, given in circumstances that made any sort of telepathy, fraud or trickery totally impossible.

These messages have been sometimes advice, sometimes descriptions of life and conditions on the Other Side, sometimes information, sometimes warnings - and they have rarely been incorrect, though quite frequently the matter raised in the message was unknown to anybody at the sitting. I have checked and counter-checked messages sometimes

via two or three different mediums living in totally different towns, so that consultation between them would be absolutely impossible, and ( have known two or three interesting instances of this) where half the message was given by a medium living in France and the other half by one living in England. Each message read separately was so much nonsense, but when the two halves, were put together, the message was complete and intelligent! Instances like this could be multiplied - multiplied ad lib.- so surely there is no possible way of dodging the conclusion that some conscious intelligences are at work from somewhere?

These words were spoken (I think) by the famous French writer Anatole France. “ If you grant a quarter per cent of truth to this thing (Spiritualism) - and you must grant it at least that - then you will have to readjust your views upon the entire Universe!”

Circumstantial evidence, as Sir Edward Marshall-Hall used to say, is as good proof as any personal witness of a man's having committed a murder - that is, providing there is a sufficiency of it! And I submit that unless one deliberately shuts one's eyes to facts, there is far and away too much circumstantial evidence of the existence of the Other World, of the people that live there and of the possibility, given the right conditions, of getting in touch with them, for it possibly to be denied. Take away all the frauds, the fakes, the hysteria, and there remains a solid unshakable core of evidence that cannot be ignored. Evidence collected for years by hundreds and thousands of people of every condition and standing, patiently, carefully, all over the world... .

Here is a rough - a very rough - list of names taken at random of people notable and brilliant in our own period who either have been, or who still are, deeply interested in the study of Spiritualism. And if my readers still think they are rogues, fools or self-deceived, well, I am content to be included in their ranks!

Dr. Alexis Carrel - the great writer and scientist (Nobel prize). Hannen Swaffer - best-known Fleet Street journalist of our time.

Dr. Nandor Fodor - Research Officer of the International Institute for Physical Research.

Leslie Howard - famous English actor.

Professor Charles Richet - one of the greatest psycho-physiologists.

Professor Grafton Elliott-Smith, F.R.S., M.A., M.D., Ch.M.D.Sc. - Egyptologist. Lord Balfour - at one time Prime Minister of England.

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Dr. Frederick Wood, Mus.D. Hon., R.C.M. - well-known composer and organist. Mary Clare - famous English actress.

Professor Ernesto Bozzano - great Italian scientist.

Dr. William Brown - one of the most brilliant psychologists in Europe. Colonel Arthur Lynch, C.E., M.A., N.R.C.P.- famous mathematician. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - famous writer and lecturer.

Dr. Eugene Osty - international psychologist.

William Steed, M.A., Ph.D. - great Orientalist.

Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding - the man who trained and led the fighter pilots in the Battle of Britain. (*)

Sir William Fletcher Barrett-Professor of Physics, Royal College of Science, Dublin. Professor Crookes - one of the outstanding physicists of last century. Camille Flammarion - great French astronomer.

(*) Lord Dowding, with the assistance of his “ dead” friend, Colonel Gasgoine, and the latter's daughter, Mrs. Hill, as the medium, obtained many messages from “ dead” soldiers which are now being published in book form under the title of ‘Many Mansions’.

Sir Edward Marshall-Hall - famous barrister who, entering Spiritualism with the avowed intention of “ exposing” it, became one of its most ardent supporters.

Baron Schrenk-Notzing - famous German physician and psychiatrist. Cesare Lombroso - Italian psychiatrist and anthropologist. Sir Oliver Lodge - greatest scientist of our day, etc., etc.

I quote the words of two great men on the foregoing list regarding Spiritualism.

Sir Oliver Lodge in his report to the S.P.R. published in November 1894 ended with these words

“ However the facts are to be explained, there is no further room in my mind for doubt. Any person, without invincible prejudice, who had had the same experience would come to the same broad conclusion - viz., that things hitherto held impossible do actually

occur. .

The result of my experience is to convince me that certain phenomena, usually considered abnormal, do belong to the order of nature; and as a corollary from this, that these phenomena ought to be investigated and recorded by persons and societies interested in natural knowledge.


 

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And here is Professor Cesare Lombroso...

“ I am ashamed and grieved at having opposed with so much tenacity the possibility of the so-called spiritual facts - I say the facts, because I am still opposed to the theory! But the facts exist, that I cannot doubt - and I boast of being a slave to facts.”

This was in 1891! I have deliberately chosen words written at that time because I have so often heard it said, in the case of many great men that they only “ took to Spiritualism” when they were past their prime, and that in the case of Sir Oliver Lodge his brain was affected by the loss of his son Raymond, whose return from the spirit world to talk to his father is so finely told in Sir Oliver's book ‘Raymond’. Obviously neither Lombroso nor Sir Oliver were old men, but young and vigorous, when they wrote the foregoing words.

And now we come to question 4.

4. “ Why can't the Churches teach you what you want to know?”

Because the Churches deny what they once taught - the importance of all forms of mediumship in connection with spiritual life and knowledge.

In ancient days mediumship and all it entails was accepted as a blessed gift, and the teaching, the prophecies, the counsel given from the “ gods” through the mediums - who were then mostly attached to the Temples - were used and valued by the priests of old as they deserved. The Bible is full of stories of mediumship. What of the story of the Child Samuel in the Temple, or the Voice that spoke from the Burning Bush (clair­audience) or the Hand that wrote upon the Wall (materialization), also the appearance of Christ after the death of His Body on the Cross? (There is an interesting point here! When Mary saw Christ in the Garden, after having seen Him lying dead; she wondered and did not at first know Him, and He told her not to touch Him, saying, “ I am not yet come unto Myself,” i.e. His newly-materialized body (of ectoplasm) was not yet sufficiently “ built” to risk a touch. But later He allowed Thomas to touch Him - when the materialization was complete and solid!) The apparition of the Angel to Balaam's Ass, and to Mary to announce the birth of the Child, was of course clairvoyance, and there are countless other similar instances that could be quoted. The very miracles themselves all cry aloud the facts that Spiritualism accepts and explains - and devout Christians are asked to believe these things when they happened long ago, but told to disbelieve them when they happen now,


 

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to-day, in a little house in the next street! This simply is not logical. These “ gifts of the spirit” are still possessed by man - but the Church of to-day bids us ignore or denounce them! That is why the Church is no longer “ filled with the spirit” and can only offer as comfort mere words and phrases, rite and ceremony empty of reality. Can one seriously respect a system that can allow one of its leading prelates to declare that it was “ positively undesirable that there should be experimental proof of man's survival after death”?

This remark bears a depressing resemblance to that once made by a certain bishop to John Wesley: “ Sir, this pretending to a special revelation of the Holy Ghost is a horrid thing: a very horrid thing!”

The Universal Church has always been chary of private revelations!

Mind, I do not deny that there are many fine souls working unselfishly and wonderfully in the name of the Church - men like “ Woodbine Willie” , “ Tubby” Clayton, “ Dick” Sheppard shine out as leaders of men, and followers of the Nazarene in the greatest sense of the word. But they are not, or were not great because the system under which they worked is great- they are or were great in themselves, great enough not to be stifled and prisoned by the rigid rules of their Church. If the Church were great enough to trust the truth, it would obviously have had the courage to publish the findings of the Committee specially set up in 1939 to investigate the claims of Spiritualism!

This Committee was set up after the Rev. G. Maurice Elliott (who is himself deeply interested in Spiritualism) and Dr. Francis Underhill, then Dean of Rochester, had approached the Archbishop of York and pleaded that the time was ripe for the Church of England to investigate Spiritualism and pronounce, after exhaustive investigation, testing, proving and discussing, whether it was true, or whether it was a fraud and a delusion. A Committee was therefore nominated for this purpose.

The names of the members of the Committee were never made public, but according to Dr. Underhill, they “ comprised a number of men and women amply qualified to hear and to weigh evidence”. (He made this statement after the Committee had been sitting for about a year; he had then become the Bishop of Bath and Wells.)

Presumably the Committee arrived at some definite conclusion, because after two years they were disbanded. But no public report has ever been made regarding that conclusion - which obviously implies that it was favourable to Spiritualism.


 

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Can it be imagined that if the findings of the Committee had not been favourable to Spiritualism, they would not have been trumpeted to the high heavens? Of course they would! The Church would have rubbed its hands and triumphed - but as it was not in a position to triumph, it took refuge in uncomfortable silence and ever since refuses to discuss the Committee at all.

The Church has not even denied the frank statement made in the Psychic News, February 1940 (I quote from that publication)

“ The Church of England, by nine votes to three, has decided that Spiritualism is true! The nine were all the influential members of the Committee on Spiritualism. The three others - unimportant and unknown – ‘reserved their opinions’. This was later amended to seven votes to three.

Our authority for this statement is someone who has seen the Committee's secret report. His statement is also confirmed by a member of the Committee itself. Both these people are famous and both bear unblemished reputations...”

The Church has never disputed this report. The implication is obvious!

I have no use for anything that cannot face the truth; and the Churches cannot and will not face the truth we claim - which is that we can prove what they merely beg us to take on trust.

The stupid theory that the study of Spiritualism means getting into contact with the Devil or any of his interesting if unpleasant gang is one that is mainly kept alive by the Church, which as a body dislikes Spiritualism and its study intensely. No wonder - because the teachings and the knowledge that Spiritualism gives means that the Church, colloquially speaking, is more or less “ out of a job” . Who is going to listen to a parson talking platitudes about faith when you have a much better thing - solid knowledge? I flatly refuse to believe that the subject that for years has been studied, examined and tested, constantly and patiently, by sane and earnest people can be dismissed as either a mirage or a world-wide hoax worked by thousands of mediums all unknown to each other. And still less can I accept the medieval suggestion of the Church that Spiritualism is a smokescreen behind which hide the Devil and all his Angels, as the Genie hid behind the smoke-cloud that rose from the Fisherman's Bottle! I accept that there are Black Forces as well as White, and under certain circumstances, when they are “ invited” by humanity's sin or greed or evil (as they have been “ invited” to Germany by her long history of arrogance and ruthlessness) they can insinuate themselves into the vibrations of this world and cause much suffering and distress.


 

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But I do not believe that the investigation of Spiritualism, as long as it is done with the genuine desire to learn and not with the desire to gain wealth and success or power for one's own use, can possibly issue any invitation to the Devil or take the cork out of any fisherman's bottle!

5. “ It goes against Christianity?”

It does not! People who talk this sort of nonsense have simply never listened to or read any of the teachings of the Great Guides. Without exception these emphasize and underline the true teaching of Christ, and I myself was never so fervent a believer in Christ, in His Mission and in His greatness, as I have become since I studied Spiritualism. And I know many others who through their interest in it have become believers in Christ as they never were before. People who talk this sort of foolishness should go to one of the public demonstrations held every week by most of the leading mediums and find out for themselves the truly “ Christian” nature of the lectures, talks, etc., given by the Guides. Read any of the published writings of Red Cloud, Silver Birch, White Eagle, and many others.

Red Cloud is the great Guide who for many years has worked through his medium, Mrs. Estelle Roberts - one of the most famous and gifted mediums of our time. Red Cloud is known and loved by thousands - I have known him myself for fourteen or fifteen years and owe him more than I can say.

Silver Birch is the Guide of Hannen Swaffer's Home Circle - the name of the medium through

whom he works is not disclosed. But for a long time past he has been doing wonderful work, and his talks are published almost weekly in the Psychic News. White Eagle, whom I have also known for years, is a great and gentle Guide who is also known

and loved by thousands. His medium, Mrs. Grace Cooke, a cultured and charming woman, has written a deeply interesting book entitled ‘The Plumed Serpent’, that deals not only with her early life and the development of her psychic gifts in this life, but contains also certain

memories of earlier incarnations which are of absorbing interest.

Here, in proof of what I say, are a few lines from each of these great Guides.

The first instance comes from a book containing a selection of some of the teachings of Red Cloud published under the title ‘Red Cloud Speaks’.

“ To know God is to love your fellow-men: to worship God is to serve them; to believe in God is to succour them; and to see God is to bring peace among the nations.”

Here are the words of a prayer uttered by Silver Birch at the end of one of his lectures published in the Psychic News:


 

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“ We ask to be given the strength to perform those missions with which we have been charged, to help all who require our help, to serve all who require our service, to become in the highest possible measure the instruments of the Great Spirit whose children we are.

May we feel the eternal protection of His mantle of love all around us. The Great Spirit bless you all.”

I quote again, this time from a page lying before me, the opening page of Angelus, the monthly journal of the White Eagle Lodge, which is the centre of the group working under the guidance and teaching of White Eagle, speaking through his medium Mrs. Grace Cooke. The work and training of this Lodge lies along mystical lines rather than along purely Spiritualistic lines; but since all psychic work, however aspected, is part and parcel of the Great Plan, I quote with permission this page from their journal.

“ The Principles of the White Eagle Lodge The White Eagle Lodge teaches: 1. The Father-Motherhood of God.

2. That Christ, the Son of the Father-Mother God, is the light which shines through the wisdom and love in the human heart; and that by reason of this Divine Sonship all are brothers and sisters, regardless of race, class or creed, and that this brotherhood and sisterhood embraces life visible and invisible.

3. The expression of these principles in daily life through service.

4. The awareness of the invisible world which bridges separation and death and reveals the eternal unity of life.

5. That life is governed by five cosmic laws. Reincarnation, Cause and Effect, Opportunity, Correspondence (as above, so below), Equilibrium (the Law of Compensation).

6. That the ultimate goal of mankind is the Blooming of the Rose at the Heart of the Cross, the realization of the Christ consciousness as exemplified by the Master; the reunion of the Holy Family.”

All I can say is that if anybody can declare that this sort of teaching “ goes against Christianity” , they either do not understand the meaning of the words or are deliberately refusing to accept plain facts!


 

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Now we come to four questions that I have deliberately grouped together, since they concern mediums. I touch on these at the moment only very briefly, as I propose to deal with them all in a special chapter a little later on.

6. “ Why can't I be my own medium?”

Because mediumship is a specialized gift, and it is very unlikely that you possess it sufficiently developed to be able to be your own medium. I don't say it is impossible. But it is very unlikely.

7. “ There are so many fakes.” There are some, of course. There are rogues or fools in every profession. But actually, in many years of personal study and investigation I have found remarkably few real “ fake” mediums. Investigators should test all their mediums carefully and at all times be wary of accepting everything wholesale. The best mediums are always ready to be “ proved” in reasonable ways.

8. “ I could never believe in anything held in the dark.”

But very few sittings are held in the dark: this popular impression is a completely fallacious one!

9. “ I distrust paid mediums.” Why? They must live somehow - and mediumship is no part-time job. (These answers are, I repeat, sketchy. For full discussion of this essential part of Spiritualism turn to Chapter 4, “ On Mediums”, where the matter is dealt with at length.)

10. “ What does one get out of it?”

One gets out of it the most important knowledge that life can give: it proves beyond any shadow of doubt that life is continuous! That for you and those you love there is no separation; there is no break beyond one which may be compared to the gulf that would separate you from a loved one who had gone to live on the other side of the world. That gulf can be bridged, and is being bridged daily by ardent students of Spiritualism, led and taught by the great souls who are working through their mediums, their servants on earth - those amazing, unforgettable friends we call the Guides. The magnificent cry “ there is no death” is true indeed. Our loved ones live on - not as diaphanous, white-robed beings floating about in a vaguely cloudy state (in which case we should certainly never recognize them!), but as their own selves, vital and eager, as full of laughter and love as ever they were!

The John Smith you knew on earth is the same John Smith on the Other Side. When you hear him speak to you through the “ telephone” of a


 

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medium you will hear that same John Smith, quiet and shy, or dry and sardonic, or laughing, swearing, cracking jokes, just as he would if he were speaking to you through an ordinary telephone! “ Is it as simple as that?” All great truths are essentially simple, as was the original teaching of Christ. It is man who, through long ages and for his own ends, has twisted and complicated truth and surrounded it with such a high wall of dogma, ritual, ceremony, theory, argument and all the rest that its original lovely simplicity has been almost forgotten.

11. “ Isn't it irreverent - and are we intended to find out?” If you knew you were going to a far country, you would try and find out, with your earthly father's consent and help, what you could about it, so that when you got there you were not quite ignorant - why should you imagine the Great White Spirit that we call our Heavenly Father any less approving, when you seek information about the land to which you are going? why should we not be “ intended” to try and find out what we can about our future home, about what we are and whence we came?

“ Seek and ye shall find. Ask and it shall be given unto you.”

Man was surely meant to strive and endeavour, to discover and learn and explore, not to sit back listening to platitudes, religious and otherwise, no matter how wise and helpful. Man can and should learn much from the experience of others, but he was meant to supplement and extend that learning by experimenting and analysing, by working and studying, by using his own brains and judgement, courage and wisdom. I am not minimizing what we can learn from the experience of others when I emphasize the fact that what we learn for ourselves is far more valuable - and the words I quote above can surely only be read as encouragement to do so? And as regards such endeavours being “ dangerous” , well, there are dangers of some sort all round us everywhere, and it is not by shutting oneself up in a box at home that one avoids them, since within that box are often worse dangers than anyone can encounter outside! Sloth, narrowness, weakness, prejudice, mental laziness, lack of decision, unwillingness to accept responsibility . . . all these are serious dangers that lie in wait for the many people who, reluctant to try to “ walk by themselves” , hide behind excuses such as these:

“ I don't feel one ought...”

“ I think those things are better left alone.”

“ Personally, I'd rather not think about death until I've got to....”


 

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Well, I would! I love life - but I think with Peter Pan that Death will be a great Adventure, and what lies beyond is the Greatest Adventure still! I want to find out absolutely all I can about the future, so that when I start on that Adventure, I may - I hope - have gathered sufficient knowledge about the country I must ultimately reach so as not to feel quite strange there. I think I have learnt something - and in this book I try to pass it on, in case other adventurers may find some of my learnings useful. Which brings me to question 12 – “ How do start? “ - and my next chapter.

ON BEGINNING AT THE BEGINNING