Forecasts based on a plan perceived in some human mind to which invisible agents add a purpose of their own and proceed to carry out the combined plans by influencing human
BEFORE ENTERING on a personal investigation of mediumship I was frequently dining with a group of men who were in London for study in Law, Medicine and other professions. They were inclined to agnosticism and doubtful of survival after death. I frequently spoke with them about the findings of Psychical Research and their reaction was that, provided my evidence could be relied on, it proved the case for survival. But they objected that my knowledge was only secondhand. I therefore decided to obtain first-hand information and, after finding that my first sitting with Mrs. Leonard was so productive of good evidence, planned to take
six further sittings which, I considered, would furnish sufficient material for my purpose. Little did I foresee that, at the end of thirty years, my sittings would still be continued and proving a hundredfold more informative and valuable than I had supposed was possible!
Some months after the first sitting my father told me that it was part of his destined work to co-operate with me in this way; that he had known of this shortly after his passing and had waited, wondering how long it might be before I began to play my appointed part with
"When you began to read about this subject I was glad, knowing your earlier interest in it and your feeling that you would like to gain personal experience; the first sitting was disappointing, as I had hoped to say much more than I did. On inquiry, however, I learnt that first beginnings were usually much like mine. Then I wondered whether you would have the patience to continue while I blundered through. I had always been told that some of my work would be with you, but did not at first know what exactly it would be. I shall be able to do better later
Here we find definite assertion of a plan, together with a forecast that my father and I would do work together. The experience of thirty years proves this forecast to have been correct. Based on material given by my father in sittings with Mrs. Leonard, I have already published seven books, one of which reached 17,000 copies before going out of print during the 1939-45 war. These books have brought letters of appreciation and thanks from hundreds of readers both here and abroad.
During my first sitting with Mrs. Leonard, February 3rd, 1917, there was given a forecast which Feda seemed only partly to understand and which suggested nothing whatever to my mind. I quote from condensed notes taken at the
There will be a little journey to take some temporary work and in the end this will lead to something important. The work looks unimportant, but will prove to be important. It is, say, about thirty miles from London. Your Guides are preparing for it and will see it through with you. (Here came a pause of about one minute during which Feda seemed to hold a whispered conversation with some person invisible to me). It seems to Feda that the importance is on
account of someone you will meet there.
I was perplexed and could understand nothing of this. My engagements included several Sundays away from home, among them a School Anniversery at Luton with a lecture on the Monday evening. As the date for this, May 7th, drew near I was informed that my home would be with a Mr. and Mrs. Squire. As we walked home from the morning service Mrs. Squire said that a remark of mine prompted her to ask if I had read Sir Oliver Lodge's book
Raymond, and if I knew anything about the possibility of communication with those whom one had lost. I replied suitably and
he then told me of their having recently lost a son in the war. We had several talks on the subject, and finally I invited her to share my forthcoming sitting with Mrs. Leonard. It was only then that it occurred to me that as this was, for her and her husband, a very important matter, it might be the Work hinted at in the forecast. Remembering that the foretold journey was to be one of "about thirty miles" I inquired how far was Luton from London. The reply was, "Thirty miles"! As this agreed with the forecast I was all the more interested in the next remark of my hostess, which was to the effect that she was glad
I had come to them for these three nights as it had given her a new outlook and hope, but that she had narrowly missed the chance. She went on to explain that, on being asked to entertain me, she had refused; because since losing their son they had been too sad to enjoy any social intercourse and preferred to be alone. However, the official who arranged for the preacher's entertainment had asked her to reconsider, and presently approached her a second time on the matter. She had again refused; but when he asked her a third time and was very pressing about it, she finally but with reluctance consented.
Realising, by now, that there might be more in this than appeared on the surface, I wrote to the above church officer asking if he could confirm what had been told me. He replied that, knowing I should be comfortable with this family, he had felt a particular wish to put me with them and,
without knowing why, had felt strong reluctance to take a refusal.
Mrs. Squire later accompanied me to a sitting with Mrs. Leonard. Subsequently she went alone and these sittings brought joy and thankfulness to her and the family.
This bears out the forecast given three months earlier: "It will lead to something important ... your Guides are preparing for it and will see it through with you... The importance is on account of
someone you will meet there".
Consider how neatly these events dovetailed together.
A. I am engaged for Luton on a given date.
B. The entertainment official decides to ask Mr. and Mrs. Squire to take me for the occasion.
C. He feels an unaccountable reluctance to accept their refusal and finally
D. A remark of mine leads Mrs. Squire to ask about possibilities of communication.
E. She finds the comfort and assurance needed.
I was struck by the persistence of the official in persuading the Squires to entertain me, since there were many homes to which I might equally well have gone: also that Luton should be the exact distance from London named in the forecast. How
unaccountable all this when viewed from the standpoint of common experience, and yet how simple to the enlightened mind! The need of the bereaved mother was perceived, her prayers "heard". My knowledge could help her. I was to be in her town. The official could be impressed to get me to her house, and she could be prompted to question me.
The incident affords us a glimpse behind the curtain which usually hides from earthly eyes the activity and planning which goes on in the unseen. Mr. and Mrs. Squire had been unknown to me until this visit, nor had I previously heard anything about them.
Here, as in other cases of this kind, we note evidence of a purpose which was not in the sitter's mind and cannot possibly be ascribed to him. Whose purpose was it if not the Communicator's? F. W. H. Myers (in
Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death) says; "I ascribe some precognitions to the reasoned foresight of disembodied spirits ... their not infallible inferences from what they
At a sitting in April 1935 I had a long conversation with Elsie, a lady with whom I had close friendship in the long ago and whom I had hoped to marry. She died. During this talk she made a forecast which puzzled me at the time and to which I had absolutely no clue. Its substance was as
Quite soon you have to go to a place very closely associated with me. You may not know yet that you will have to go, but when you do you will say, "Oh, full of memories of her!" What I say now belongs to a big subject, the plan of life. Part of our lives is planned, but we are free co-operators. If we do not interfere, the plan outworks for us. There is no forcing, but instinct guides us to co-operate with it. One is free to fall in or to step aside. It applies to you; your steps are being guided easily and firmly. Well, I have a feeling that soon you will find yourself at a place associated in your mind with me. You have been there several times and I have been there several times with you. You think of me there where you walk down a little hill, not a steep place, and if you notice it you'll remember other times.
Feda then added: When you get to a corner is there the word "Avenue" written up, or is she only thinking
As above remarked, I failed to find any satisfactory interpretation of this and, as usual with forecasts, put the matter aside until time and the event should explain it.
Six days later I went to Liverpool Street Station to meet my friend Major Mowbray, whom I was to accompany for a meeting in Cambridge. As there are two routes to Cambridge, via Kings Cross or Liverpool Street, I had written to Mowbray asking him to decide which route and train. So that it was he, and not I, who fixed the route. As I reached the sloping road leading down into the Station I suddenly realised that this fitted with Elsie's forecast. It was impossible to enter that Station without recalling the many times we had been there together: indeed it was one most memorable conversation we had there which finally led to our engagement. On our many journeys together for days in Town, this was the Station to which we came. It is for me ever redolent of her memory.
Thinking over the forecast during the journey, it occurred to me to ask Major Mowbray if he would give me a list of the associations which Liverpool Street Station brought to his mind. It seemed that he had used the Station for many years during his residence in Cambridge and he gave me a longish list of its associations for him, but did not mention "the little hill". Nor was he aware of any "avenue" thereabouts. I asked a second person the same question with the same negative result.
What then had the reference to "Avenue" meant? Elsie having used Liverpool Street Station all her life, and done shopping in its neighbourhood, might well know the names of the streets better than most people. I therefore inspected a map of the district: to my surprise it showed, close by the station, two streets the names of which both ended with the required word. There was Finsbury Avenue, a small and unattractive lane, and Throgmorton Avenue which, I found when going there, displayed its full name conspicuously on both sides at its end only some 200 yards distant from Liverpool Street Station.
Thus within six days of receiving the forecast I found myself fulfilling it to the letter, and by no choice of my own, but by Major Mowbray's choice to travel via Liverpool Street. Had he chosen the alternative route the forecast would have failed. Why had Elsie risked it? My theory is that, in such cases, the Communicator relies on an ability to influence the person concerned and, from previous practice, is fairly sure of success.
The introduction of the word "Avenue" would seem to have been in the nature of a clue, or an additional description, by which I might be certain that I had discovered the place to which the forecast referred.
During a temporary residence at Harrogate I came to Town for a sitting on November 5th 1942. On this occasion Elsie spoke for almost the whole time. She began with a reference to background and foreground which, as later appeared, was a designed preparation for the description of a picture. Here is the substance of what was
Feda: Elsie is in the background of your mind while other things are in the foreground. The slightest thing may bring her to your recollection and into the foreground again. She is never lost on the canvas of your memory, nothing dwarfs or so obscures that she is lost in the picture. She is always there and is brought to the fore when necessary. When one passes over the background of that spiritual canvas comes into the foreground. It would not be right for her to come into the foreground all the time. She has helped you by being in the background.
Now why this harping on the words background and foreground? Evidently it was a preliminary devised to assist reference to a certain picture of which she wished to speak. The message continued:
"Lilies"; she is giving me something about lilies, a picture which should remind you of her. They are not real flowers, not in a pot, but in a picture. And not only lilies but words also, something about it should remind you of her and her position with regard to you, a sort of reassurance of all she stands for and remains in your life, even if the words background and foreground are not literally given in this picture.
Feda does not understand where this picture is, and it may be better not to ask, as she might not be able to explain. She hopes you will find it and get the message from this picture.
She says that occasionally she and Etta can impress you to act in some way by influencing your mind. Before you come across anything we tell you of, observe what happens to your consciousness a second or two before; there is a slight blank or suspension of thought. If you will notice that you may realise that something is happening. She will try to show you this picture.
The above would seem to have been a carefully prepared speech planned to introduce references to a particular picture which I was to look for and notice. That we had no such picture in our Bromley house I was certain, and so resolved to inspect all pictures in our temporary home at Harrogate on my return. I had arranged to spend the following day with my cousin at Harpenden and there, during the evening, we sat listening to the radio. When it came to the American Broad cast I was sitting facing the fire and presently, wearied of listening, leaned back in my chair with mind more or less vacant. Suddenly came the thought that I might use the opportunity for glancing around the room to see if any of the pictures showed lilies. After inspecting three of the walls I turned round to see what might be behind me. At once I noticed a picture representing an angel with seven annunciation lilies in her hand. Rising to make a closer examination, I noticed that it met exactly the description given at the sitting. These were its chief features:
"Background; Foreground". The background is strikingly separated from the foreground by a distance of several miles; far away one sees water with shipping and an island. There is almost nothing but foreground and background. Elsie and I often visited picture galleries and she was a keen observer of detail.
"Position with regard to me". The angel speaking to Mary (one from the Beyond with a message to one on earth) is analagous to Elsie from her life in the Beyond speaking to me.
"Get the message from this picture". It will be recollected that the angel said to Mary, "Hail, thou that art highly favoured" (Luke 1, 28). I am indeed highly favoured in many ways, and that Elsie thinks so has been abundantly shown by her in many previous messages.
This discovery of the picture and its apposite character came as a real surprise to me. That the urge to look for the picture came suddenly when my mind was somewhat blank favours the idea that Elsie was prompting me to look for it. Feda had said, "She will try to show you this picture".
How do I interpret this incident? Something as follows: Elsie would know that I was to visit my cousin, either from her own observation of my thoughts, or in conversation with my father and Etta. They would, if she required it, show her the house and leave her to select some object there which would be suitable for a test message.
The presence of a plan is the outstanding fact, and the plan included a reliance on so influencing my mind that I should notice the picture which she had selected for the forecast.
It was some six years since I had been in this room and I was unaware that my cousin possessed any such picture. The parallel suggested between an angel speaking to Mary and Elsie's communications to me was an idea so entirely new that I am positive it had never entered my thought.
Implication of these Four Incidents
The events above recorded warrant the conclusion that invisible helpers not only perceive intentions in human minds, but that they sometimes exert a telepathic influence by which they contrive to guide human action into harmony with their own purposes.
So man, who here seems principal alone,
Perhaps acts second to some Sphere Unknown,
Touches some wheel, or verges to some goal.
'Tis but a part we see, and not the whole.
Pope's Essay on Man, Ep. 1, 157.
Whatever may be thought of the first type of forecast, such as
The Building, Hospitality, Old Silver, we have now seen evidence of intelligent activity in the unseen. The "dead" are fully alert, they can be in touch with those they love and aware of matters concerning them. Is not this by itself a most important conclusion? An answer to those who say, that nothing of value comes from psychic communications?
References to Unconscious. Agents of Heaven-Made Plans
It is interesting to note that the author of Isaiah ch. 45 deemed that Cyrus was an unconscious instrument in the outworking of the divine purposes. He wrote, "Thus saith the Lord to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him ... I have called thee by thy name; I have surnamed thee,
though thou hast not known me", and much more to the effect that Cyrus was the chosen instrument by whom Israel was to be released from captivity and enabled to rebuild its ruined city.
Nor was Cyrus unworthy of this calling. He was proving himself a discreet statesman, a victorious warrior and also, which was rare in those times, quite humane in his treatment of the vanquished. He destroyed no towns, nor did he put to death the captive kings.
However we regard the prophet's statement, it clearly shows his belief that the doings of Cyrus, and especially his restoration of Israel, were the direct result of impressions given from the world unseen, impressions which led him to act in harmony with designs and purposes greater than his own.
This idea of unconscious agents carrying out divine purpose meets us again:
Isaiah X, v. 5.: "Ho, Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, the staff in whose hand is mine indignation! I will send him against a profane nation ...
Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few. For he saith ... Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols?
As I write this chapter an apposite illustration comes from a lady whose deceased son has given messages for her at my sittings. It shows that the human agent may be aware of an impression while unaware of the plan behind it. She writes:
"Curious little things happen to me which I have put down as direct answers to prayer, and yet I have wondered sometimes whether it is one of my loved ones helping me. The matters to which I refer are only small and would make a cynic smile; yet I am sure there is some power at work. To take a recent example: When I had been at my new job only one day I was given some work to do which completely baffled me. The instructions given were vague in the extreme, yet
I knew that the job must be really simple if only I could get the hang of it. I wrestled with it for some time and asked one or two of the others, but no one seemed to know any more than I did. In despair I sent up a silent prayer for help. Wondering even as I did so how such help could come. I then continued to struggle with the problem.
"Within five minutes - literally within that time - a man suddenly spoke to me. I had seen him once or twice in the distance, but did not meet him when the manager introduced me to the rest of the staff; so I had no idea who he was. Anyway this man spoke to me and introduced himself, telling me that he worked upstairs and that was why we had not met before. We chatted for a few minutes when he suddenly bent over my shoulder to see what I was doing. I explained that I did not understand the job. He quietly picked up a pencil, scribbled down a few figures, explaining things as he did so, and in a flash I saw daylight and the whole problem was clear.
"Later I asked this man why he had spoken to me then and he said he had felt a sudden urge to do
so! He has been a very great help to me since, assisting me over many a difficulty.
"This is a small thing, but I am discovering more and more that if I really need help and ask for it, somehow it comes."
At my first sitting with Mrs. Leonard, January 1917, Elsie indicated her presence by evidence which clearly identified her. I therefore expected to hear from her again at my next sitting and frequently after that, but was disappointed. At this period I was trying sensitives of various kinds, some trance, others clairvoyant and clairaudient; at some of these Elsie was described and a few identifying items given, but without anything in the way of conversation following.
Towards the end of 1922 my sister informed me that Elsie was not likely to communicate at present, but that the time would come when she would do so and would then take a part in my work. Here is one of these remarks;
C.D.T.: Is Elsie interested in these sittings? Etta: Yes, very. You will understand later that, although she cannot, or had better not, communicate at present,
she will come into this later on. I think she cannot fit in with this part of your life, and yet she may do later. Although not coming here to speak she is learning much about communication which will be useful to her later.
During following years Elsie only very occasionally sent brief messages through my father and sister. This was all I heard from her during the seventeen years following my first sitting.
It was not until May, 1934, that Elsie came for her first talk and conversed freely with me. The next occasion was in April 1935 when she spoke lengthily at two sittings. After that came a break of eighteen months, and then her talks became more frequent. She showed some awareness of a plan with which she was expected to co-operate. I quote from her talk in April
I shall be more connected with your work later on, I think. Although interested and eager, I do not think it is meant for me to enter into that work till later. Why, I do not know, but I feel
In the seventeen years after my first sitting there had been only brief intimations of Elsie's presence, or messages given on her behalf by my father and sister; but in the next ten years (1935-1945) she took occasion for no fewer than seventeen long conversations and she is now continuing these.
Thus is being fulfilled the forecast made in 1922 by my sister, and later confirmed by Elsie,
that a time would come when Elsie would speak freely and enter into my work. This "entering into my work" has included the giving of many excellent forecasts of which I have related two on previous pages.
The above forecast, viewed in relation to its ultimate fulfilment, suggests a definite plan. Whether it represents the kind of oversight usually found beneficial in such cases, or whether it was a special discipline which some higher Guide deemed most profitable for both Elsie and me, cannot be decided. The reason for introducing it here is that, on any interpretation, it looks like a plan. It was not, however, Elsie's plan, nor does it seem to have been Etta's. I am inclined to attribute it to the decision of some mind higher than that of Etta or Elsie, a mind which could appreciate Elsie's wishes, estimate her latent capabilities, and foresee a time when the latter would have so matured that she would be able to co-operate in my psychic studies as my relatives were already
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