Charles Drayton Thomas

Charles Drayton Thomas (died 1953)

Methodist minister in England who devoted a major portion of his life to psychical research. Had his first sitting with Mrs. Osborne Leonard in 1917. In 1922 he began publishing his long series of books and articles in which he presented cumulative evidence that had convinced him that, through the mediumship of Mrs. Leonard, he was in full communication with his father and sister (as well as with other departed friends). The recognition of his scientific integrity led to his election to the Council of the SPR, on which he served for nineteen years. His membership in the Society extended over a period of more than half a century.

The Sleep of Death and the Awakening to Greater Life

 - Charles Drayton Thomas -

           DEATH HAS been a mystery. The lifeless body of a friend has all the appearance of profound slumber. But it speedily undergoes chemical changes which ultimately destroy it. The cage is empty, its tenant has escaped elsewhere.

"How shall we bury you?" asked his friend, as Socrates was about to drink the hemlock. "Just as you please, if only you can catch me, and I do not escape you," said Socrates, "for when I have drunk the poison I shall no longer remain with you, but shall depart to some happy state of the blessed."

A greater than Socrates assured His disciples that when He was crucified He would pass into another state of life. His subsequent reappearances created in those who loved Him an invincible enthusiasm; they saw that death was a step upward into greater life.

Some who have experienced the earlier stages of death, and then revived, have given an account of what, at the time, had seemed to be their last moments on earth. Their story is tranquillising and encouraging.

But we learn much more from those who, having finally crossed over, are able to return and describe their falling asleep and the subsequent awakening beyond bodily death.

My father once said:

I wish you could come here for a week and remember it on returning to earth. But there is a subconscious awareness, even with some who have heard nothing about life on our side, but who are doing their best, notwithstanding absence of knowledge.

I am certain that when they come to the end of physical life they have some intimation of what awaits them here, and this brings them a more wonderful knowledge than they had ever dreamed of, even if it comes only a few seconds before their transition. It is something like approaching a bridge in a thick fog, and the fog lifts suddenly so that the opposite bank is clearly seen. You will have known instances where those previously passed over have been seen by the dying, who exclaim, "I can see so-and-so." It seems unfortunate that so often there is no physical strength left to tell what they see. But I think they do see.

C.D.T.: Did you yourself see just at the last?

Father: (The reply was given with unusual solemnity and emphasis). I did. I felt not one presence only, but several. At the time one does not reason about it, and may be unable to ask oneself why it is so, being able only to realise, "They are here."

Speaking of his earliest consciousness after death my father remarked on his surprise at seeing trees, flowers and birds. It must be remembered that his passing had been as sudden as it was unexpected. Owing to what seemed a temporary indisposition he had spent the day in bed. The doctor saw nothing serious in his condition, and he was able to do some writing. Towards the close of the afternoon my mother left him alone for a while and on returning found him in the act of expiring.

He tells me that, following his surprise at seeing trees and flowers when waking, he had a hazy recollection of a proposed absence from home. It occurred to him that he must have already made the journey and commenced the visit for, had he been in his own room, neither flowers nor trees would have been visible. Presently he rose and walked out among the trees. In the distance he observed a house standing on a grassy slope. While wondering as to his whereabouts he was joined by one who, in friendly conversation, made him realise what had taken place.

Not long afterwards he was enabled to return and view his earthly home. He could see the familiar rooms and realise the sorrow we were feeling. He longed to be able to prove to us, what he was aware we all believed - namely, that he still lived and that his love for us was unchanged. Fourteen years later there came the opportunity for which he had been waiting: I commenced a course of psychical investigation.

My sister died shortly after a serious operation. Being aware of her approaching transition, she discussed it calmly with me during our last interview. Having to some extent shared my psychic studies, she knew that she would be able to communicate with me, and this knowledge softened for both of us the pain of parting.

Some months later she described to me her awakening in the new life beyond death. It was, in substance, as follows:

From where she found herself reclining she looked through an open doorway into a garden of flowers, and realised that she was in the home which had been described by her father in his communications. While gazing out upon the scene of beauty and light she became aware that her father was standing near. They did not immediately speak in words, but it seemed to her that they were thinking to each other, exchanging ideas mentally without spoken words. When, presently, he spoke she found it delightful to hear his voice again, and to be able to reply in the old, familiar way.

She added, that to find herself there did not seem so strange as might have been expected. Memories came to her of having been there previously; the place was not wholly unfamiliar. Later, she learnt that at times, during sleep, her soul had visited and grown accustomed to the place; although, when waking from such sleep, no normal consciousness remained of what the soul had enjoyed. Her physical brain had not been able to share the experiences of the soul.

Seven months after her passing she again alluded to this experience:

"It is difficult to realise I have been here so long a time, it seems no more than a few weeks; for there is so much to do, to see, and to learn. I am glad to have known before my passing something about this life and the possibilities of communication with you. Before finally leaving earth I seemed to be dreaming, and yet it was not wholly a dream. It seemed as if I had come here before the final separation from my physical body. I was only partly conscious towards the last, only half within the body; for my soul was already freeing itself. Nor did it seem wholly strange to me when I found myself here. I must have frequently come during sleep; for I could now remember that I had been here previously."

The following account of death and awakening was given by one whom I had known for many years, and who had passed her last hours in unconsciousness. To those who were watching her it seemed as if body and mind were in extreme discomfort, and only a few isolated sentences, uttered amid the ramblings of delirium, hinted at the experience which the soul was then enjoying. I had been told of these hints - references to seeing her parents - and so took occasion to inquire, during her first communication with me, whether in her last hours on earth she had seen the friends who had gone before. She replied:

"You ask if I saw anyone before passing. I seemed lifted above the usual things and surroundings, and I had a dream or vision, I do not know what you would call it. It seemed at the time like a very wonderful, happy and peaceful dream, in which I was with, not only those who had passed over recently, but with father and mother and many relations whom I had not seen for a long, long time. Now you ask: Did I see them? Yes, I saw them, though not with physical sight, but I saw them. They were as satisfactory to me, as clear and distinct, as anything I had ever seen in my ordinary earth life.

"Now I was not conscious of any change, or anything abrupt, but from that very happy dream I seemed to pass into a peaceful sleep, and I think I emerged into a more or less conscious state, now and again, because I seemed occasionally aware that there were people whom I knew and loved who were near me, and taking care of me, and I was quite content to let it be so.

"I hear now that I slept for three or four days. But when I woke, completely awoke, I felt refreshed, and so much younger and better in every way than I had felt for many years...

And now, here we are all together again, all the people I used to know and love; all are here at their best, best time, best health, best everything..."

We get a glimpse from a slightly different angle in the experience of G. M., who had been a life-long friend of my father and who was welcomed by him on his passing. My father and sister, in describing his awakening, said:

"He has been rather surprised to find how extremely natural it all is here. At first he could scarcely realise it, but on the whole it has been a great relief to him. It is intensely interesting to welcome people like G. M.; for, beside the pleasure of having them with us, there is the extraordinary interest of observing their surprise on awakening. They always exhibit relief at finding themselves in a tangible world. Many people fear death owing to an idea that they are about to exchange the tangible for the intangible. It is not fear of finding themselves in a bad place, but rather a dread of the unaccustomed. In this case, G. M. was particularly pleased to find tangible things and people around him, and scope for activity."

A few weeks later G. M. was again spoken of:

"G. M. is getting on remarkably well and quickly picking up the new conditions. He is most interested in everything. He has now ceased to question the reality of what he sees around him. At first, he was inclined to say, 'Well, what I see cannot be really present.' But after a short while he had to admit that so many different things could not exist merely in his imagination, and that the most vivid dream could not go on so long. He tells us that, having now relinquished that mental attitude, he feels pleased and enthusiastic about everything, and insatiable in his desire to see and know more. He says that again and again he stops to ask himself, 'Why did we not know this while on earth?'"

Expressed concisely, and omitting personal details, the usual testimony of those who, in these communications allude to their passing, is as follows:

"On awakening from unconsciousness I felt free from pain, quite strong, and full of gladness. It was a great relief to know that death was past. My new-found happiness was increased by the sight of old friends who gathered around and who gave me welcome. I then wished to return and see those left behind; after some little time I was able to do this."

The collective testimony of those speaking from the next life is remarkably consistent. It is frequently intermingled with convincing proofs of the speaker's identity; I am therefore left without a doubt that these descriptions represent, so far as language makes possible, the actual experience of death.


"Life Beyond Death with Evidence. Part 1" by Charles Drayton Thomas  (London: Psychic Book Club, 1928).


Online Books by Charles Drayton Thomas

An Amazing Experiment
Precognition and Human Survival

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