ONE THING is certain even to the most confirmed doubter. We are here! Here in space which has no imaginable end, which goes on and on without boundaries. The mind cannot picture this boundlessness. Baffled and bewildered it turns away from the quest for an end, a cessation of journeying into the vastness of space.
And as with Space, so is it also with Time, the endless progression of sequences. Time in the past, Time in the future; in both directions endless!
One is here in the midst of endless Space and Time.
Unhappy speakers have expressed the opinion that there is no Mind behind all this. That we are all but as grains of sand in a vast Sahara Desert of such grains, with no meaning, no outlook, nothing to hope for, nothing to anticipate!
Happy are those of simple faith who take the assurances of Our Lord and rely in God's beneficent purposes for all mankind; who rest in confidence that He Who gives so much in this life has prepared for us yet more in the life beyond.
What, have fear of change from Thee
Who art ever the same?
Doubt that Thy power can fill
The heart that Thy power expands?
Browning: Abt Vogler.
But happier still are those of us who, in addition to early beliefs, have the
certain knowledge which derives from conversations with arisen loved ones who, from etherial realms, strive to bring us some suggestion of its vivid reality and delights.
Convinced that some types of mind need knowledge in which to root a living and progressive faith, I endeavour in this book to show them yet one further strand of that evidence which can assure intelligent thinkers of man's surviving death, and prove that death is but the gateway into greater life.
Nor is our survival of bodily death the only fact emerging from these studies. We find that the departed are enabled to keep themselves well informed of our doings. Theirs is no sleep. They are awaiting our coming. They will be
present - to welcome our arrival. They know of our trials and triumphs and are solicitous for our welfare.
To realise these facts would lighten many a load and comfort many who now weep in secret with no suspicion that those they mourn are often watching them.
Passing through an ancient churchyard I noted the following inscription on a moss-covered stone:
She sleeps unconscious of the tear
Shed by the one who loved her here.
Had the sorrowing widower but known
it, she was not sleeping and nothing was beneath that stone save the dust which remained from the no-longer needed body, a body from which "the soul had broken and flown away". Long years ago he has followed her. Picture their raptured meeting, and the poor man's surprise when she told how near she had often been during the sad years when he had deemed her sleeping in the earth, unconscious and unconcerned!
That tragedy continues. Many there are who, while I write these lines, are suffering the pangs of that same delusion. Motoring one day in June through a quiet countryside my attention was attracted to a lonely church which evidently served the neighbouring hamlet. Leaving the car I wandered in the long grass which hid many unmarked mounds and surrounded the lichencovered tombstones. Presently I noticed a recent grave with its stone fresh and clean. The inscription referred to one who had died in a far-off land while on his country's service. Evidently a young soldier whose fiancee had erected this stone to his memory. The inscription chosen by her saddened me. It ran:
I am far from the land where my loved one sleeps, But my heart in his grave is lying.
Looking over the meadows to the hamlet I thought of the girl who, from the
fullness of her heart, had chosen these pathetic lines. One who, perhaps, was still feeling the desolating blankness of loss and who dreamed of the loved form lying beneath the gleaming tropic sands. My thought then turned to him: "Poor fellow! How trying for him, if he loved her as she loved him, when he returned at the earliest opportunity to visit her and found that he could in no way break through that barrier of self-pitying grief which surrounded her like mist. She pictured him far away and sleeping; yet he was there, with her in the familiar room." What strange delusion to think that our dead are sleeping in the grave!
A few weeks after my sister Etta died she spoke at my sitting with Mrs. Osborne
Leonard, the gifted trance sensitive, and said, "I came to see you recently. You were in your study, standing near the table on which were several books. You were too interested in what you were doing to think of me. I stood near you by the corner of the table, but you did not feel me in the least. I wondered how it was you did not feel my presence; I had forgotten that I was not trying. Then the Guide who had come with me said, 'Concentrate'. I calmed myself and tried for the time not to feel too loving, not to want to touch you, but that you should feel me. You did not at first; then you suddenly thought of me and forgot what you were doing; at least, you closed the book you had been looking at, placed it on the table, and sighed, thinking of me very strongly. You then turned round and faced me, but you did not see me and, of course, thought it quite natural that the memory of me should come in and interrupt what you were doing. I did not mind your not seeing me, and had not expected you to do so. My studies of the subject on earth had helped me to understand the difficulties. I felt rather glad that I had made you suddenly think of me".
On another occasion when Etta said something similar I replied, "I do wish I could have seen you, Dear, but it is something to be sure, without even seeing". She answered, "To be sure with the mind and soul is the chief thing. Some whom you could touch are not so close to you in spirit; bodies may be present while thoughts are far away".
Shortly after my mother's passing my father, who had long preceded her, remarked, - "I want to say how extremely delightful and happy everything is now that your mother is here. If you could see her for half a minute you would say, 'I never wish her back'. Her state of happiness is complete. This completing of the family life on our side is so delightful. Even though there are others still on earth, we know they will soon join us. We can afford to wait patiently. I often think of the happy philosophy we give you. We are teaching the gospel of happiness. It is a wonderful truth. We should accomplish much if we could induce people to prepare themselves for receiving this happiness, to feel it and radiate it in themselves. Sometimes when we are all together I say to myself, 'If only Charlie could see us as we really are!'
We have told you as much as we can, but that is a very poor idea of the real picture".
Yes, he had told me much, some of, which I have published, and he has since given further descriptions of their activities and surroundings. All that is omitted from the present book; for such descriptions only assume the interest of realities when one has reached conviction of survival and persistence of personal identity. It is to this assurance that I hope to conduct the reader.
It is often said, by those who repeat stock phrases, that "no single incident, however, striking, is sufficient to prove human survival". This I question; much depends on whether one merely hears of the incident, or whether it happens to oneself. Many intelligent persons have been turned from life-long scepticism by a single experience which came to them unsought and unexpected.
But we are not limited to the single incident. The records of serious researchers show from how many different directions has come convincing evidence of human survival. The evidence is both abundant and various. It is not to be thought of as a chain, or argument, which is no stronger than its weakest link. Rather is it like the Alpine rope, tested and trustworthy, and formed of many interwoven strands.
It is to one such strand of evidence that this book draws attention.
of Future Events
Can future events be foretold? From early antiquity it has been held that, sometimes and by some people, glimpses of the future can be seen. We, find instances of this in history, both sacred and secular. The Kings of Israel were wont to inquire of their "wise men" whether a projected war would be successful, and the Romans had professional augurs who sought to ascertain the future by various, and sometimes ludicrous, means.
Despite failures in such attempts, a belief in the possibility of forecasting the future still lingers in the form of "fortune telling" as practised by gypsies and others. After becoming discredited among educated people it has recently come into prominence among those interested in Psychical Research; for investigation of mediumship shows that forecasts of the future have come to pass in ways for which no known cause, and most certainly no chance coincidence, can account.
For many years I have studied trance mediumship with Mrs. Osborne Leonard, and some of my results have been described in earlier books. Accurate predictions of future events presently arrested my attention; a series of these came from in old friend, a former Member of Parliament, who rarely manifests his presence at my sittings except when matters of social or national concern are pending. In the months preceding the war of 1939-45 he outlined the probable course of events with acumen and remarkable accuracy. Then, during that war, my father, who throughout has been my chief communicator, gave many forecasts which were realised by the events. He explained that he
was able to ascertain the plans of the belligerents on both sides; not that he always did this personally, but rather in conjunction with groups of interested persons who, during their earthly lives, had taken a prominent part in national affairs.
Besides these references to matters of public importance, I have been given forecasts of events which were to affect me personally, and it is on these that I shall chiefly draw for illustration in this book.
The problem of how an event yet in the future can be foreseen and described with clarity is one which has baffled the imagination of philosophers. These forecasts of the future fall into several Classes, some of which can be explained, as I propose to show. But there are others, like the following
Double Event which leave the would-be expositor musing in reverent silence.
of a Double Event
Received by the late David Thomas, Barrister-at-Law
My friend, David Thomas, was fortunate in knowing a psychically gifted lady in private life who permitted him to study trance mediumship with her. He showed me his notes from time to time, giving me permission to use them.
Here is a brief extract showing how a forecast was shortly fulfilled.
Mr. Thomas had long conversations with his deceased wife, who kept herself well versed in his doings and those of the family. On one occasion she was speaking of her sister Marianne, then residing in California, and remarked on an injury to her toe. Mr. Thomas was aware of this injury, as Marianne had mentioned it in a recent letter. But the next statement puzzled him; it was to the effect that Marianne would shortly die, but not before the death of her son Ernest.
Why should Marianne's death be caused by a toe injury, which might be regarded as harmless?
And if Ernest was well, as his mother had said, why should his death be imminent?
Yet only ten days after this came a letter from Marianne to say that Ernest was in hospital with confluent smallpox. This was shortly followed by news of his death.
Five days later, a relative residing near Marianne wrote that she had contracted the disease from her son and was very ill.
She died within a few days.
And so the prediction was exactly fulfilled. Both were dead and the son had predeceased his mother!
Even if we could assume that the Communicator had noticed germs of the disease in Ernest, there would have been no certainty that the smallpox would prove fatal, nor was it certain that his mother would take the infection. It is doubtful if any medical man in attendance on the family could have suspected, at the time this forecast was given, that a double fatality was near.
I have never been eager to know the future in a fortune-telling sense. I am convinced on excellent grounds that one's life-course is planned in a broadly general way and that, so far as one wills to know and do the right, one is co-operating with unseen guidance and the result is assured. Variations of the route are open to us, but the goal is reached by them all. Only those who
willfully, or carelessly, elect to live for present pleasure rather than for future good will entirely miss their way. We are free within limits and sufficient guidance is available for those who seek it.
On the other hand one is justified in making plans and hoping to realise them. While success cannot be ensured it can be more or less deserved. To be supernormally informed that this plan would fail, or that plan succeed, might be interesting yet unhelpful. Better to try and fail than be deterred from trying.
But there is a different way of regarding Prediction, the way of scientific inquiry. From personal experience I am confident that we have something vitally important to learn from it. It certainly happens! It happens over matters that seem trivial and entirely unimportant; it also happens over matters of moment.
While many old friends have spoken with me in the course of thirty years study with Mrs. Osborne Leonard, my chief communicators have been my father and my sister Etta. The former, John Drayton Thomas, was a Christian Minister who passed on in 1903; my sister followed in 1920. Many of their talks describing after-death experiences have been published. In the present book will be found some of their predictions about future events, the study of which may enable us to clarify our ideas on that difficult subject. But the chief purpose of the book will be to indicate how such predictions form an important addition to the ever accumulating body of evidence for the truth of our belief in man's personal survival of bodily death. It will show that those who have gone from our sight are still living, that they are mentally alert, that they keep themselves in close touch with those they love and that they often know of matters relating to our present life which are as yet hidden from us.
It will be convenient to divide forecasts into six classes or types. Beginning with the more simple and easily explained, and then passing to others more difficult, we shall finally reach what may be termed Pure Precognition, predictions which undoubtedly occur but which seem beyond the human intellect at present to explain.