What is dying like from the point of view of our spirit friends? And what immediately follows dying?
One of the richest descriptions of the afterlife was transmitted from the mother of an Anglican minister, Rev. Vale Owen, in 1917. Owen’s mother had died eight years earlier. The book, The Life Beyond the Veil, was first published in 1920. In it is a moving description of a passing that vividly suggests the difference in attitude between typical earth-side views of death and the spirits’.
Bear in mind that the speaker is the Rev. Owen’s deceased mother. Here is the full account.
We once were sent to a large town where we were to meet with other [spirit] helpers at a hospital to receive the spirit of a woman who was coming over. These others had been watching by her during her illness, and were to hand her over to us to bring away.
We found a number of [her earth] friends round the bed in the ward, and they all wore long dismal faces, as if some dire disaster was about to happen to their sick friend. It seemed so strange, for she was a good woman, and was about to be ushered into the light out of a life of toil and sorrow and, lately, of much bodily suffering.
She fell asleep, and the cord of life was severed by our watching friends, and then, softly, they awoke her, and she looked up and smiled very sweetly at the kind face of one who leaned over her.
She lay perfectly happy and content until she began to wonder why these strange faces were around her in place of the nurses and friends she had last seen. She inquired where she was, and, when she was told, a look of wonder and of yearning came over her face, and she asked to be allowed to see the friends she had left.
This was granted her, and she looked on them through the Veil and shook her head sadly. “If only they could know,” she said, “how free from pain I am now, and comfortable. Can you not tell them?” We tried to do so, but only one of them heard, I think, and he only imperfectly, and soon put it away as fancy.
We took her from that scene, and, after she had somewhat gained strength, to a children’s school, where her little boy was, and, when she saw him, her joy was too great for words. He had passed over some years before, and had been placed in this school where he had lived ever since. Then the child became instructor to his mother, and this sight was a pretty one to see. He led her about the school and the grounds and showed her the different places, and his schoolmates, and, all the while, his face beamed with delight; and so did the mother’s.
A very different death scene awaited those who died on the Titanic in 1912. It was vividly described by one of the passengers who died, W. T. Stead. Stead had been a champion of Spiritualism and a medium in life, so he was well prepared for death. Here is his description:
The whole scene was indescribably pathetic [or sad]. Many knowing what had occurred, were in agony of doubt as to their people left behind and as to their own future state. What would it hold for them? Would they be taken to see Him [God]? What would their sentence be?
Others were almost mental wrecks. They knew nothing, they seemed to be uninterested in everything, their minds were paralyzed. A strange crew indeed, of human souls waiting their ratings in the new land.
A matter of a few minutes in time only, and here were hundreds of [spiritual] bodies carried through the air, alive; very much alive, some were. Many, realizing their death had come, were enraged at their own powerlessness to save their valuables. They fought to save what they had on earth prized so much.
The scene on the boat at the time of striking was not so pleasant, but it was as nothing to the scene among the poor souls newly thrust out of their bodies, all unwillingly. It was both heartbreaking and repellant. And thus we waited—waited until all were collected, until all was ready, and then we moved our scene to a different land.
A final death scene comes from Winifred Coombe Tennant, an upper–class Englishwoman communicating through the celebrated Irish medium Geraldine Cummins in 1958. Her passing was perhaps typical of what ours will be like. She died in old age of natural causes and seems to have been a conventionally good person of no particular distinction
After I woke up from the sleep of death, and following its uneasy dreams, some pleasant, some nightmares, my father and mother appeared to welcome me. Then your father [she is writing to her son through Miss Cummins] and my sisters came. But my end was my beginning. I was too overjoyed at getting a glimpse of George, your brother, so father and mother soothed me, calmed me, took charge of me and gave me my first sense of locality and environment.
It was all rather gradual—time of oblivion and unawareness, then those two were there beside me—my parents almost like doctor and nurse, and they guided me back into real consciousness.
What is perhaps most interesting in these accounts is the reuniting with loved ones and the absence of a judging God. Earth’s two largest religions give no hint of such a passing. Islam says that two angels of death interrogate the newly deceased in their tomb a day or two after their death, and most Christians expect to be judged by God and sent to heaven, hell, or purgatory within minutes of their death. Nothing remotely like this happens. Yet, as we will see in a later chapter, there is a judgment. But it doesn’t unfold the way most of us have been taught.
Note also the presence of spirit helpers in the first and third accounts. It’s one of many ways that spirits render loving service to each other. You might say it’s part of their religion.
Perhaps the most important lesson here is that we don’t really die when we pass. We just shed the physical body and keep going in a spiritual, or “astral,” body.
“Dying” is an extract from Heaven and Hell Unveiled: Updates from the World of Spirit by Stafford Betty which will be published by White Crow Books in May, 2014.