Home

 

Ferry Over Jordan by Margery Lawrence 1944

 

IX. ON ANIMALS, FAIRIES, GHOSTS AND OTHER
STRANGE MATTERS

It may come as a considerable surprise to many people to know that besides the Cycle of Evolution - the “ Spiral” of Evolution is really a better term - upon which Man is developing on this planet called Earth, there are very many other cycles of life, both physical and non-physical, developing alongside our own. Each separate, not impinging on the others, and yet all at the same time interdependent and (in the case of the nonphysical) interpenetrant with our own, and all gradually and slowly evolving higher and higher, with our own, towards a more spiritualized stage of development.

It cannot be too clearly realized that there is nothing lifeless on this planet of ours. Nothing whatever, not a crumb of earth, not the most insentient pebble with which a small boy plays “ skipping-stone” on the still surface of a lake, but has within it some minute spark of the Life of the Cosmos that we call the “ Divine” . There is a very beautiful Eastern proverb that I read somewhere, which is not only true, but the best thing I can think of to illustrate my meaning.

“ God sleeps in the mineral, dreams in the vegetable, stirs in the animal and wakes in the man....”

In the physical world, of all the animals evolving on their own cycles, the dog is evolving nearest to our own - though I expect this statement will be greeted by shouts of dissent by cat or horse lovers! But the fact remains that it is stated that when mankind has evolved upwards so far that he no longer needs to incarnate on the earth, then after one of the Cosmic “ Days of Rest” (presumably so that all the works of man shall vanish from the earth and leave it clean once more!) these sparks of the Divine at present incarnating in the bodies of dogs, will incarnate upon it in the bodies of a very simple type of living creature that will none the less be actually human, and ultimately grade upwards by degrees, as we have done from our prehistoric days.

The vast difference between Man and all the other creatures, seen and unseen, is that alone amongst them all Man possesses a separate, a conscious and sentient soul capable of individual thought and free will. All the others, in greater or less degree, operate under the influence of a “ Group-soul” or “ Over-soul” - this proves itself to the observer in the mass-migration of birds, the mysterious voyagings of the eel and the


 

salmon, the “ homing” instinct of many animals, especially the pigeon and the cat, the yearly emigration of those little rat-like creatures called “ lemmings” from Norway, who still obey the urge of their, particular group-soul and yearly swim out to sea in thousands, only to be drowned, since the land towards which they used to swim has long been lost beneath the waves.

But every single creature, visible and invisible, has its appointed place and work in the colossal Life Scheme of the Cosmos, and in the ultimate outcome of things the lesser creatures in the great tapestry of life are fully as important as we are though it probably does not please our vanity to realize that this is so! But of course we bear a far higher responsibility for our sins of omission and commission, since being each a separate individual we are each separately responsible for what we do - there is no blaming it on the mass-influence of the Group-soul, though far too many of us do allow ourselves to be swayed by the hypnotic power of a large mass of people all thinking the same way. (Hence the tragedy of Fascism, Nazism and similar movements.) Stubborn and selfish individualism is, of course, equally wrong and foolish. I mean by that the type of mind who, from sheer perversity, like the Irishman is always “ agin the Governmint”! The truly-balanced soul steers its course between these extremes, and neither is led by the nose by hysterical mob-eloquence, nor rushes to the other extreme in order to assert its independence at any cost, no matter how high.

The reason why the dog is destined to form the next “ Human” evolution - in other words, to be directed into a state of physical being where the divine spark called the soul will operate individually and be developed individually - is, I am told, because for so many years the dog has been so close a companion of man, been trained and trusted and petted, truly loved and truly mourned over, that the love-link, which is the strongest tie of all, has already brought this creature something very nearly approaching the individual soul. I know a cry will arise that many dogs, especially in foreign countries, are starved, beaten, ill-used, and it is true - more shame to mankind that it should be so. But even in countries less far advanced than our own in their attitude towards animals, two in particular, the dog and the horse, are, generally speaking, cherished and cared for, if only for the practical value they have as guardians, hunters, servants, beasts of burden, guards for home and guards of flocks and herds, and stout aids in battle. For centuries, all over the world, the dog has been the creature truly nearest to man.


 

- 112 -

There is an Eastern story to the effect that in the beginning, when Man was made, all the animals, including the dog, banded themselves together to, boycott him.

“ He is weak and alone, a poor mean creature,” they said, “ and if we all leave him alone he will soon die and the earth will be ours again.” And to make this more certain the elephant stamped furiously on the earth, and a chasm opened between the animals and man, who stood alone on the farther side. But as the chasm was opening the dog leaped over and joined the man - and ever afterwards man and dog have dwelt and worked and lived and suffered together, two close and constant friends. One thing is certainly curiously true of the dog tribe. Alone of all animals they will cling to man, once they have learnt to love him, rather than to their own kind. A dog who is devoted to his owner will visit his kind now and then, run with them, sport, breed, fight . . . but at the call of his master he will leave them and be off back to the person who really makes his world.

(Needless to say, I am talking of real dogs, not of the petted, overfed lap­dogs beloved by some women - these are not really dogs at all, to my mind! To ruin a dog's character and constitution like this is not loving a dog truly at all.) I have never known a dog of mine who would not leave his own kind to return to me if I called him. Even if he were involved in a fight, he had only to see me walking away to drop the fight and rush after me in terror of being left behind, and anybody who has known much of dogs will, I am sure, uphold me in saying this.

My two favourite dogs, a black Aberdeen who died at the outbreak of war, and an Alsatian that I had for eight years before I married, often come to me now, especially if I am ill or sad, and more than one medium has seen them beside me in the séance room. They have not yet “ spoken” to me, though I think it likely they may. Only recently at a seance at the house of a well-known actress, a very dear friend of mine and a keen student of Spiritualism, we were all startled to hear, after several voices had come through the trumpets, a loud and joyous barking, after which the trumpet seemed to fling itself at an old lady sitting next to the medium as though the joyful spirit of the dog behind it were trying to get through and climb into its beloved mistress's lap! This charming demonstration lasted several minutes, and the lady in question said that she felt the dog himself very plainly tugging at her skirt and bouncing about - and the barking was so loud that we could scarcely hear ourselves speak! (The medium in this case was Ronald


 

- 113 -

Strong, the young medium of whom I have already spoken, whose future should be well worth watching.)

This is the answer to those who ask if animals have souls and whether they have a future life. “ Yes” to both - though animals do not possess individual souls as man does, they most certainly have their place on the Other Side, and we shall meet them again, those particular animals whom we have brought close to us and helped to train onward in their evolutionary cycle by the use of the law of love. Descriptions of life on the Other Side abound in allusions to the beautiful birds and animals, the butterflies, and so on, that are to be found there, and I am quite certain that amongst the first creatures I shall see when I get over there are my two beloved dogs “ Captain Jock” , my Scottie, and “ Zach”, my lovely Alsatian.

The love we British have for animals is often a puzzle to foreigners. It is, of course, a mark of high spiritual development but it frequently arouses either bewilderment, derision or frank contempt amongst other nations. The fact that the average Briton will swim back to a sinking ship to rescue a kitten, or risk his neck down a mine or in a blazing house after a dog or bird, completely baffles the foreigner; and I well remember the astonishment with which a Free French officer, one day when I was walking with him in Regent's Park, regarded the crowds of people, children and grown-ups, who were feeding the pigeons, the ducks and squirrels on a bright May day.

“ You know,” he said to me, “ this impresses me more than anything that I have seen in England - and it is the same with all my colleagues! In France we have scarcely any song-birds, no thrushes or sparrows - we trap them for food. And as for squirrels, those would be caught and killed for their skins in a twinkling. But here - in war-time - when you are short of food you people still bring crumbs to feed these creatures, and one can see from their tameness that they have no fear of being killed.”

I told him rather tersely that if anybody tried to kill one of the adorable squirrels or the pigeons that will alight on the hand of a child to be fed, he would probably be thrown into Regent's Park lake by the infuriated crowd, and he nodded thoughtfully.

“ A remarkable people,” he said. “ A remarkable people! Nowhere else in the world would you see what I have seen this morning.”

And you know, I think he is right.


 

- 114 -

So in the dog-world lies the physical cycle of evolution that is actually nearest to our own. A cycle in whose development we can assist by our patience and love and understanding; and thereby assist ourselves, of course, since such help always aids the helper even more than the helped. And below and beyond it come the lower animal cycles, ranging downwards to the very lowest type of creatures that breathe - the evolving cycle of the birds, the fish, the insects, each responding to its own particular vibration of the Life Force that governs its group-soul, and each controlled and directed by its own Masters who are guiding it on its course; but now we come to a side of nature that will doubtless arouse some controversy. Side by side with the cycles of physical life are very many cycles of non-physical, invisible life, also all pursuing the gradual course of upward development! Side by side with us exist literally millions of beings, elusive, intangible, only rarely visible to us; an immense variety of entities great and small, all, again, with their own place in the Cosmic Plan - and I now propose to try and give my readers some sort of an idea of what they are, and their work and importance in the world.

Has it ever occurred to you to wonder over the raison d'etre of everything that happens in the vast world of Nature? Why a plant, from a grubby-looking bulb, develops into a tall and lovely flower? Why fruit, from a crumpled green marble, ripens into a red-flushed luscious apple? Why the tides swing to and fro, why some mountains spout out fire and some are covered with trees and some with heather, and a lot of other whys?

Your answer is “ Nature” - but a moment's thought will show you that this is no answer at all!

We are so accustomed to the processes of Nature that we take, it all for granted - but this is foolish, when you come to think of it. Nothing that we know of happens by itself - some sort of conscious effort, some kind of work, or action of some sort is necessary for anything to happen - in other words, there is no effect without a cause, and the same is true of Nature, in every single one of its processes. And the whole life of the universe, from the flow of the tiniest drop of water in the sea to the growth of the most magnificent tree that ever reared its crown heaven­wards, is controlled, helped and guided by an entire hierarchy of nature-spirits, so vast and so varied in kind that it is quite impossible within the limits of this chapter to do more than touch briefly upon a few of them.


 

- 115 -

These nature-spirits are called various names in various countries. I prefer the Indian word “ Devas” for the greater spirits at all events, though from those immense, calm, shadowy figures at the top of this hierarchy to the minute flower-spirits that we call “ fairies” , who are barely visible to human eyes, they all belong to the same evolutionary group - the group in whose hands rest the seasons and the tides, the growth and fruit and fading of flowers and crops, the winds and the rain, the slow development of minerals in the bowels of the earth, every single thing that takes place upon this planet on which we live. If they were to fail us, or grow bored with their work, this Earth would stop. It would either be overwhelmed with water, since the seas, no longer controlled, would burst their bounds and flood the land, or consumed with fire, as volcanoes and oil-fields and fire-lakes escaped from their bonds, or shrivelled with thirst and dryness as giant sand-storms swept it . . . but fortunately they do not tire! It is left to Man, sole possessor on this globe of an individual soul, to have developed what he calls “ independence” - which nine times out of ten is merely the monkey­trick of dropping a job half done because he has not the faith or the patience to carry it through.

These nature-spirits, I repeat, are of immensely different types, shapes, forms and sizes, and their work is similarly differentiated. The greater spirits, the Devas, hold sway over such things as the elements - winds, rain-storms, electrical disturbances, volcanic upheavals, and so on, the slow growth of forests, the formation of lakes and seas, the raising of new lands and the submergence of others. These can be seen sometimes by those gifted with clairvoyant sight, brooding over the tops of high mountains or deep green valleys, over plains and deserts and lakes.

They seem to resemble human forms in the main, but the sea-spirits less so than those of the land. According to those who have seen them, the sea-spirits which are occasionally seen on calm days far out to sea, like colossal shadows against the horizon, look vaguely human about the head, but fishlike from the shoulders downwards, and some seem to have a bird-like appearance, but with a human head. Far less, naturally, is known about these great Devas than about the smaller nature-spirits; these have been seen all down the ages, especially by children, who are most of them naturally clairvoyant until it is laughed out of them by foolish nurses and parents who refuse to believe them when they tell what they see. But great and small, all these nature-spirits react, like the animals, to the rule of a Group or Over-soul, belonging to a higher


 

- 116 -

hierarchy still. They are not, as Man is, individually ensouled; but still they are, like all other cycles of life seen and unseen on this earth, developing slowly upwards towards a higher plane of existence.

From the great Devas downwards they range through every conceivable kind and type. They are grouped into spirits of air and earth and water, but these groups are again divided and subdivided into myriads of smaller groups, each with its own allotted task, and those most usually seen by human eyes are the smaller type of beings to whom is entrusted the care of the grass, the trees and hedgerows, bracken and fern, flowers and fruits - every conceivable detail of the earth's vigorous plant and vegetable life. Each type of flower and tree, vegetable and plant has its particular type of nature-spirit working constantly about it; and in the course of ages the varieties which the human race knows best have had certain descriptive names attached to them which will be familiar to most of my readers.

The “ dryads”, “ nymphs” , “ fauns”, “ egipans” and “ sylvaines” form a large group - these live and work and have their being among forests and trees. “ Undines” , “ sylphs” , “ naiads” and water-sprites belong exclusively to the water-world, and are seen only in lakes or rivers - generally near waterfalls, whose rushing speed seems to rouse them to intensely active life. There are countless smaller sea-spirits too, some of whom are, of course, the prototype of the mermaid and merman of legend, and some of whom, as I have already said, resemble birds or fish, and an equally countless number of sylphs of the air. They are peculiarly elusive and difficult to see, and like the water-spirits, they partake more of the female aspect than the male - though naturally there is no such thing as sex as we know it amongst these ethereal entities. On the other hand, the salamanders, and some of the winged storm or mountain-spirits, have more of a male aspect than a female; and some of the tree-spirits, again, look more male than female.

But by far the best-known types of nature-spirits are the smaller ones who concern themselves with the flowers and plants - those, who have been known for centuries as brownies, gnomes, elves, mannikins, goblins, leprechauns - in a word, “ fairies” .

These tiny creatures follow the traditional description as to dress, head­gear, wings, etc. - indeed, why should they not, as descriptions of them have been handed down from the dark ages by people who have actually seen them? On the very few rare but fortunate occasions when they have been sketched or photographed, the comment has been made that they


 

- 117 -

“ look too much like pantomime fairies to be real” - but actually this comment is a proof of their reality. The traditional pantomime-fairy's dress is based on the actual! Photographs show them with diaphanous wings, floating draperies and little stars or crowns on their heads - of course they have all these. They always had, just as brownies always wore green or brown and gnomes were hooded or wore pointed caps, and so on! These creatures were so described from early days by children or by clairvoyants who saw them dressed thus - so they were drawn, and so described, and so they have come to us, traditional but perfectly true. The nature-spirits we call fairies have floating draperies because that is the way in which the aura looks to the clairvoyant; many of them have wings because their evolution partakes in some slight degree of the insect or butterfly world, and the star on their heads is the chakram, the nexus that is their life. When their brief life is over, that light goes out - and so there is more truth than Barrie ever dreamed in his picture of Tinkerbell's light going out as she lies dying in her little house.

Not that any life ever really goes out, of course. But these tiny creatures, like the mayfly, live and work and fade out quickly and are as quickly reborn into their cycle of existence, all the time gradually developing higher and higher.

The question will be raised as to precisely how they work and what their duties are. I have not space within the scope of one chapter to go into this in detail; but briefly put, their work seems to be that of guiding and concentrating the radiation of the Life Force, which stimulates all things into growth and development, into each individual tiny plant and flower.

The fine shining lines of these radiations can sometimes be seen by highly-trained clairvoyants being directed to root and flower and fruit by these little people; this is probably the origin of the “ wand” story, as at the top of the shaft of force, where it contacts the flower to stimulate it, can often be seen a sudden spark of brilliance, as when an electric point “ sparks” when making contact with another. Sometimes the stimulation is given by merely touching or stroking the petals of a flower, from which touch the flower seems to gather added scent or colour - sometimes by hovering above a group of plants and seeming to “ draw” them upwards towards the sun - sometimes by joining hands and swinging round a clump of flowers in an aery dance as though working up energy by sheer force of movement, after which the clump


 

- 118 -

of flowers seems to shine and quiver with added strength - and doubtless by many other methods of which we know nothing. If this is true - and I see no reason to doubt the reports I have heard - it would provide a very practical reason for the apparently aimless “ dancing” of the fairy tribe so often described in old tales. They seem to communicate with each other by means of a sort of singing or twittering mode of speech - but for much more detailed information about nature­spirits I advise my readers to try and get hold of Mr. Gerald Hodson's two charming books, ‘Fairies at Work and Play’and the ‘Kingdom of Faerie’. Mr. Hodson is plainly a highly-gifted clairvoyant with a peculiar sympathy with the invisible cycles of evolution nearest to Nature, and his account of his many meetings with brownies, gnomes, undines, Devas, and other nature-spirits great and small, is of absorbing interest - though I hope he will forgive my quarrelling with him when as a theosophist he drifts into some rather fantastic pseudo-religious theories towards the end of the second book. His accounts of his encounters with the creatures of faerie carry conviction - but not his declaration that the Virgin Mary herself is present at the birth of every child!

In Shaw Desmond's ‘Tales of the Little Sisters of St. Francis’ are further delightful accounts of the “ little people”, as might be expected from an Irishman; and also in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's book the ‘Coming of the Fairies’. This book aroused much controversy, but after carefully studying the evidence I can see no other explanation for it but that it is the simple truth - that the two little girls described within it did both see and manage to photograph the fairies shown within. The usual comment made upon these photographs is, again, that they “ can't be true because they look too much like the traditional fairy” - though this actually confirms the truth. They can't be fairies because they look too much like fairies? But, dear objector, naturally they look like fairies! They are fairies. And fairies have looked like that all down the ages.

And before the echoes of the derisive laughter with which that remark has been greeted have had a chance to die down, I propose to invite another outburst of laughter - for I declare that I firmly believe the much discussed “ gremlins” of the R.A.F. to be simply small nature­spirits of the brownie or gnome class who, playing about the planes with their usual curiosity and interest, have been seen by one or two young airmen who happen to be gifted with clairvoyance! And having in an


 

- 119 -

unguarded moment let slip something about them, the story spread until the R.A.F. is getting rather annoyed about it.

But from various talks I have had with R.A.F. friends who have “ opened out” to me in private, and despite the fact that the “ gremlin” story is at the moment of writing being soft pedalled, as the R.A.F. are tired of being teased about it, I am sure that my theory is true.

The division between all these various cycles of life and evolution is, of course, one of vibration pure and simple, and it is possible, on occasion, to “ see through” (or a better phrase would be to “ tune into”) another vibration and so see the creatures that are living and working on it. Some people are natural clairvoyants and do this without realizing that they are doing it, and in other cases the faculty can be acquired; but it is not one to play with, as to raise or lower one's vibration to tune into another that is not truly one's own, is a somewhat risky thing to do, and liable to cause physical faintness, heart-strain and other ills, quite apart from the more subtle strain imposed on the etheric body, which is even more sensitive than the physical.

To contact the lesser entities such as the “ fairies proper” - the fairies of tale and tradition - is much less of a strain than to contact the higher, wilder types such as the creatures of the air or sea, or the spirits of fire and flame. These last, restless, energetic creatures with tremendous driving force and power, bring with them great stimulating powers - but there is a certain danger in them also, as their very stimulation may be too much for the human frame to bear at times.

Here I would like to say that these creatures belonging to the elemental side of the earth's life as distinct from the physical, mean no harm to the human creatures alongside whom they work and live. Any harm they may do is quite unintentional - indeed, they do not see or notice us as a rule, any more than we see them. I am quite sure the greater spirits - the giant Devas of sea or forest or hill, of whom one very occasionally may catch an aweinspiring glimpse - never heed us; their remote gaze is fixed on some far-off vision miles beyond our little selves. But occa­sionally the interest of some of the smaller nature-spirits is arrested, and then they are astonished and curious like children. They circle round, poke and pry and after a while lose interest - again, like children - and go off again upon their own concerns.

The smaller earth-spirits, elves, leprechauns and brownies, are mischievous at times, and will go out of their way to hide things, upset


 

- 120 -

things, and cause a general confusion and muddle that will amuse them vastly - until they lose interest. But they have no evil intent, though certain of the lower-vibration earth-spirits, such as gnomes or brownies or leprechauns, are surly and suspicious and tend to hide themselves away.

Have I ever seen a fairy myself? Only very rarely, as I have not the gift of clairvoyance really highly developed, I regret to say. But I remember seeing various tiny creatures as a child - only when I mentioned them to my nurse I was rebuked for telling lies, and retreated into myself and said no more! And though I have been “ aware” of the presence of nature-spirit: quite often, especially at sea or in a forest, I have actually seen very few. But a few years ago in an old garden near Stratford-on­Avon (a garden that must date back to Shakespeare's own day, as it was part of his estate and he willed it to his daughter Joanna) I certainly saw a Green Boy one moonlight night, sitting astride my balcony and watching me as I brushed my hair for the night. He was quite visible for a moment or two - a creature about four feet high, slim and active, like a lad of about fifteen years old, with a queer little narrow face and bright eyes and upstanding curly hair like green flames. He was not a faun - there was no sign of horns or tail or deer-legs! - I think he must have been a tree-spirit of some sort. He was quite naked and the colour of a green olive, and when he saw that I had observed him he grinned and slipped off the balcony rail and vanished into the garden. That was certainly enchanted ground, that garden. There was a Luminous Tree, a glorious golden yew, that shone luminous at night, and many little creatures lived there; one could see their lights flitting about sometimes at nights, down by the lake, and a friend who was with me saw far more than I did, as she is very mediumistic.

Yes, I know that all this must sound altogether too childish to be true, and I have no doubt that some of my readers are saying, “ Well, up to date I confess I have been quite interested in what Margery Lawrence has had to say, about Spiritualism. But now she's spoilt it all by starting this rubbish about fairies.”

So let us pass on to certain other entities belonging to the invisible world - entities who date back to a very early period of the world's history, and who, belonging as they do to a very low vibration, can be, on the rare occasions when they run counter to human beings, both annoying and alarming.


 

- 121 -

These creatures are called “ elementals” because they belong to the elements which formed the early world; and when they encounter man­which fortunately does not often happen – they can make themselves very objectionable, as in a blind sort of way they seem to resent his presence upon the earth. Some occultists say that they belong to a cycle of evolution that, in the very early days when the world was slowly forming itself, had been intended to become Man. But that something went wrong, and they were discarded, so in consequence they hate man and try to be revenged on him; but personally I doubt this. I think that these entities are merely very early earth-spirits, who were employed by the Lords of the Earth in the very, very beginnings of the world, in the period of vast misty marshes, where giant tree-ferns grew and huge monsters, half-fish, half-reptile, the most primitive forms of life, crawled from the still-warm seas out upon the steaming mud-flats that were the beginnings of the dry land to come; and my theory is supported, I consider, by the undoubted fact that these, the most unpleasant form of nature-spirit, always seem to be found where the earth is virgin - i.e. untouched by man!

Stories of this type of elemental come from the giant redwood forests of Canada and America, from the wide prairies and savannahs, and near home, from parts of England where virgin forest, shore or moorland still exist untouched by the hand of man. These creatures seem to resent any interference with the earth to which they belong, and very often the cutting down of a patch of wild forest, or above all, the opening of a quarry - which, of course, means tearing open a great hole in the bosom of the earth - will result in a very unpleasant and alarming form of haunting; and there have been not a few cases where building or mining operations have had to be completely abandoned, as the men flatly refused to continue working on the site owing to the constant accidents, queer and unpleasant sights seen or noises heard, and so on.

These elementals can be “ trapped” and used by persons versed in the practices of black magic. They were often placed as guardians of the dead over the tombs of great people in the days of ancient Egypt, the priests knowing how to summon and chain them down by suitable ceremony and ritual, to wreak vengeance on any culprit who dared disturb the sleep of the illustrious dead; and without a doubt these “ guardians” were the cause of a good many of the apparently mysterious deaths, accidents, illnesses or what not that have befallen


 

- 122 -

various archwologists, even in our own times, after the opening of a long-sealed tomb.

Whether these elemental spirits, if left to themselves, are actually capable of doing physical harm to human beings, I rather doubt - though they can be terrifying enough. But certainly if they are used as foci by men who understand the laws of magic, who desire vengeance and destruction and who know how to infuse that desire into their creature, the enslaved elemental, they are certainly capable of doing all that their masters order them to do - though in common with all black magic practices, if anything goes wrong with the spell or rite, like a boomerang it rebounds automatically upon the magician. The “ curse” or haunting, sent against a person and deflected, returns to the sender with dire results!

The “ poltergeist” I am convinced, is a milder version of this sort of earth-spirit. The poltergeist's cantrips are generally more irritating than actually alarming; generally it seems to need a young boy or girl of adolescent age at hand before it can really display its powers. At least it will be noticed that in practically every record of poltergeist disturbances there is a child or young person present in the family where the disturbance takes place and as a rule as soon as the young person in question is removed the disturbances cease. So the implication that the young person acts as a sort of “ focus” seems plain. I do not suggest that the said young person is necessarily personally responsible for the disturbances - though certainly there are cases where admittedly the whole thing has been deliberately faked, either out of morbid desire for notoriety, or out of spite or childish mischief and love of causing a scene. But as a rule the disturbances are perfectly genuine. Stones fly about, pots and pans dance on the hob, bedclothes are pulled off sleepers, books and so on are seen to move without the aid of any human agency, and all sorts of other upsets take place.

If anybody feels an urge to read more about these rather unpleasant types of earth-spirit, I suggest they get hold of Sitwell's brilliant book ‘Poltergeists’; there is much interesting material about them, also in various books written by Elliott O'Donnell, who is a ghost-hunter of many years standing. And speaking of ghost-hunters leads us naturally to ghosts!

Now, ghosts are of various kinds - and though some hauntings are due to earth-bound spirits who are held to the place they knew best on earth either by strong vibrations of greed or hate or distress, or the sheer


 

- 123 -

ignorance that is harder to cure than any of these things, they do not by any means form the only explanation of a haunted house. If the ghost is an earth-bound spirit it can be, and often is, released by a medium trained for, this work. I have known several cases where a house was cleansed of a haunting spirit by a séance being held inside it. The haunting spirit was persuaded to speak through the medium and the true position explained to it, that it was being kept to earth only through its own lack of knowledge and could really go free and rejoin its loved ones on the Other Side the moment it wanted – and the spirit, released the moment it “ understood” vanished, leaving the house for good. But spirits bound to earth by greed, such as misers or gross-living men, or those who have shackled themselves with the vibrations of black magic, often seem to hang about the scenes of their earthly sinning almost indefinitely, and are often very difficult to remove - and very upsetting to the tenants of such houses if they are “ sensitive” to ghosts; fortunately we are not all of us sensitives, or many houses and flats would remain un-let!

Then there are those appearances called “ wraiths” or “ fetches” or “ phantasms” . “ Ghosts” of those already living - in other words, astral projections of the person concerned that, sometimes quite without his or her knowledge, show themselves to their friends at a distance while they themselves are working or sleeping or reading in their own homes! Cases of this kind are too numerous to describe in detail, and I have several recorded experiences of my own where I have been seen by friends living many miles away when I was peacefully working in my study! Or at least I thought I was working - for I believe that when this happens one slips for a brief moment into a form of trance when the etheric body is released to go where it will; and when it returns and one awakes, one goes on working unaware of having paused even for a moment! As a rule these cases of momentary projection (or “ extension” ) of the etheric body happen when one is thinking strongly of somebody, wondering how they are, perhaps a little troubled about them - and if the conditions are suitable, the physical body slips into trance and the etheric body, swift as thought itself, has followed the direction of one's thoughts.

Again, stories of ghosts seen by the living at the moment of death or shortly afterwards, or sometimes before, are so numerous that it would be superfluous to try and repeat any of them here. Camille Flammarion's classic trilogy that I have already mentioned, ‘Before


 

- 124 -

Death’, ‘At the Moment of Death’ and ‘After Death’, contains literally thousands of these cases; and there are many hundreds of other books recording such visitations.

These ghostly visits are generally made, it seems, either to try and comfort or to warn the beholder who, in my opinion, herself or himself unconsciously provides the ectoplasm out of which the returning spirit builds itself a fleeting copy of the shape it wore on earth. These visitations are occasionally alarming to the person visited - but I have known many people whom the brief vision of their dear one comforted and helped very greatly; and on the whole I think the great majority are glad when these gracious ghosts pause in their passing to try and cheer them up a little.

These “ ghosts” do not, of course, come under the heading of “ hauntings”. They are definitely spirits who, on their way upwards, deliberately pause a while in order to show themselves to their loved ones, for some definite purpose or other, and rarely appear more than once or twice, as far as my reading and experiences have taught me. They remain mentally in touch though, sometimes. I know two cases of women who saw their respective husbands at the moment of their death. But though these women have never seen their husbands again, they have certainly remained in touch with them, insomuch that one receives regularly written messages from her husband, via the gift of automatic writing which she has developed, and the other often receives advice and help from hers through a medium she knows.

Again, occasionally a house is haunted by one of the “ earth-elementals” that I have just described. And this is unpleasant, for these entities never having occupied a human body or possessed a human soul, are not responsive to exorcism either via a medium or via any of the old church rituals which, based on knowledge of magic as they were, are still very effective when you can get a person who believes in them to use them. (But they are useless tangles of words used by somebody who describes them as “ superstitious folly”, as too many clergymen do to­day!)

I knew a house in Cornwall that was haunted by a most unpleasant entity of the earth-elemental type. It was a new house, but it was built near a quarry, on virgin earth, and either the digging of the quarry or the building of the house had evidently disturbed this creature and roused its resentment. I believe it was ultimately “ laid” by using a protective rite given by an old Cornishwoman - Cornwall is a part of


 

- 125 -

England peculiarly rich in ancient knowledge of magic - but personally I would prefer to give up any house so haunted. I should never feel safe in it!

Again, some ghosts are nothing but a sort of “ astral photograph” that lingers on in the locality where some terrible crime or tragedy has taken place; the force of emotion engendered by the tragedy has formed a sort of “ picture” that lingers on the ether for a long time and can be picked up by anyone peculiarly sensitive to this sort of thing. In the passage of years this fades away - but in any case such visions mean nothing, being mere shadowy records of what has long passed. Some of the so-called “ ghosts” that haunt the houses and flats belonging to people who drink or drug or indulge in any other specialized form of vice can be alarming to a degree. But these are not ghosts, strictly speaking. They are actual entities attracted from the Lower Astral Regions by the evil habits of the person or persons they haunt . . . these are what are loosely called “ devils” by church people, and certainly they are terrifying and dreadful entities, and can be dangerous to those who call them up, either deliberately or by the mere fact of sinning so that they form a “ lure” for these creatures. These can, again, like earth-elementals, be captured and made use of by black magicians; but it is rarely that ordinary, normal people need have any fear of them, as they cannot come near a clean-living decent human soul, unless that soul in a moment of folly or madness has given them a “ right of entry” .

For instance, if a woman who was pure and good loved a man who was a black magician, her love for him would make her - to a certain extent - vulnerable to attacks from these lower astrals who swarmed about him. She might see or hear them, for instance, which would upset her physical body. But unless she deliberately “ opened” her inner self, they could never harm that - but alas, it has happened sometimes that with the mistaken idea of saving her beloved by sharing his dangers, a woman has opened the gate, with serious results. There are various cases of this sort that have been written up under the guise of fiction that are tragic enough. But on the whole, like attracts like - and the ordinary, normal human being is not in the least likely to see the unpleasant astrals that prowl about the dwelling of the drunkard or the drug-fiend, the sadist or the black magician!

Some places, like very low-grade public-houses, brothels, doss-houses and the like, are also haunted by lower-astral entities of earth-bound spirits of a very vile and debased type, who crowd about such places like


 

- 126 -

dogs attracted by a foul stink that none the less pleases them, since they loved it on earth - and then you get your cases of obsessions, where a man runs wild, drinks himself savage, even at times commits murder under their frightful influence. I believe that in the case of many apparently quite incomprehensible sex-murders, when the murderer pleads that he was “ driven to it by voices” or else that he “ did not know what he was doing”, “ everything went red” - and similar excuses, that often he is telling nothing but the truth.(*) I don't suggest that he should escape the just consequences of his deed - indeed part of the blame is his, since unless there was already fertile ground within his own soul, these “ seeds of evil”, creatures of darkness, could not have fastened on him. Yet in the long run it may well be that the act itself is done by the obsessing spirit in command, that drives the knife or wields the hammer via the hands of the unfortunate creature wholly under its control. I believe that the case of Cummings, the young aircraftman who in 1942 was executed for the murder of three or four women, if not more, was one of these cases, though I have not been able to find out details.

(*) It is interesting to note that my theory that psychic forces play a large part in many criminal cases is shared by E. T. Woodhall, ex-Scotland Yard and H.M. Secret Service. (See his fascinating book, ‘Crime and the Supernatural’)

Many cases of apparent lunacy, of drug-addiction, sex-mania, sadism, and so on, are actually cases of obsession, and can be cured by proper treatment given by trained Healers. I know this, having seen some of these cases cured when they have been given up by earthly doctors. There is a very interesting book upon this subject written by Dr. Carl Wickland, entitled ‘Thirty Years Among the Dead’, in which he describes his own method of treatment, his wife being the medium to which the obsessing spirit is transferred and gradually trained or persuaded (or in obstinate cases, forced, by carefully-judged electrical shocks) to quit the patient and return to the astral world whence it came.

Yes, the world as yet does not know the first thing about the immense possibilities of Spiritual Healing, and the astonishing things being done by those who are working in conjunction with doctors and scientists on the Other Side for the help and benefit of the human race. And in the next chapter but one I propose to try and explain a little how this is done, and how wonderful it is.

ON MAGIC, MIRACLES, OCCULTISM AND THE PHENOMENA OF THE SEANCE ROOM