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  Letters from a Living Dead Man
Elsa Barker

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Much inspired writing over the years claims to have originated from dis-incarnate beings, and Elsa Barker was no exception. She encountered automatic writing in 1912, and the entity responsible for the writing claimed to be Judge David Patterson Hatch, a lawyer from Los Angeles.

The judge explained that he had recently passed over and that he wanted to document his experiences on the other side in the form of letters that he would write through Elsa’s hand. Within a few days, Barker received verification from a friend that the judge had indeed died recently in Los Angeles.

Over the next three years, over 100 letters were ‘dictated’ and published as a trilogy, debuting with Letters from a Living Dean Man, followed by War Letters from the Living Dead Man and Last Letters from the Living Dead Man. Coming shortly after WT Stead’s bestselling channelled work, Letters from Julia, the letters are now considered an essential guide to the afterlife. All are fascinating, informative and inspirational and are required reading for anyone interested in life and death, the afterlife, and why we are here.

Do not fear death; but stay on earth as long as you can.
Not withstanding the companionship I have here,
I sometimes regret my failure in holding on to the world.
But regrets have less weight on this side—like our bodies.
Everything is well with me.
I will tell you things that have never been told.

Letter 5: Letters From a Living Dead Man

About the author

Elsa Barker, American author and poet, was born in 1869 in Leicester, Vermont, USA. Throughout her life, Barker’s poems and short stories were published in various books and magazines.

Her debut novel, The Son of Mary Bethel, was published in 1909 and this was followed in 1910 by her first collection of poetry, The Frozen Grail and Other Poems. Barker was a spiritual writer and one evening in 1912, while she was in Paris, she began automatic writing, the phenomenon where someone other than her own subconscious was writing using her hand. What followed was the trilogy of Living Dead Man books.

Sample chapter


The Return

I am here, make no mistake. It was I who spoke before, and I now speak again.

I have had a wonderful experience. Much that I had forgotten I can now remember. What has happened was for the best; it was inevitable. I can see you, though not very distinctly.

I found almost no darkness. The light here is wonderful, far more wonderful than the sunlight of the South.

No, I cannot yet see my way very well around Paris; everything is different. It is probably by reason of your own vitality that I am able to see you at this moment.


Tell No Man

I am opposite to you now in actual space; that is, I am directly in front of you, resting on something which is probably a couch or divan. It is easier to come to you after dark.

I remembered on going out that you might be able to let me speak through your hand.

I am already stronger. It is nothing to fear—this change of condition.

I cannot tell you yet how long I was silent. It did not seem long. It was I who signed “X.” The Teacher helped me to make the connection.

You had better tell no one for a while, except—, that I have come, as I do not want any obstructions to my coming when and where I will. Lend me your hand sometimes; I will not misuse it.

I am going to stay out here until I am ready to come back with power. Watch for me, but not yet.

Things seem easier to me now than they have seemed for a long time. I carry less weight. I could have held on longer in the body, but it did not seem worth the effort.

I have seen the Teacher. He is near. His attitude to me is very comforting.
But I would like to go now. Goodnight.


Guarding the Door

You need to take certain precautions to protect yourself against those who press round me. You have only to lay a spell upon yourself night and morning.

Nothing can get through that wall—nothing which you forbid your soul to entertain.

Do not let any of your energy be sucked out of you by these larvae of the astral world. No, they cannot annoy me, for I am now used to the idea of them. You have absolutely nothing to fear, if you protect yourself.


A Cloud on the Mirror

(After a sentence had been half written, the writing suddenly stopped, and was continued later.)

When you respond to my call, wipe clean your mind as a child wipes its slate when ready for a new maxim or example by its teacher. Your lightest personal thought or fancy may be as a cloud upon a mirror, blurring the reflection.

You can receive letters by this means, provided your mind does not begin to work independently, to question in the midst of the writing.

I was not stopped this time as before, by beings gathering round, but by your own curiosity as to the end of an unusual sentence. You suddenly became positive instead of negative, as if the receiving instrument in a telegraph office should begin to
send a message of its own.

I have learned here the reason for many psychic things which formerly puzzled me, and I am determined if possible to protect you from the danger of cross currents in this work. There was one night when I called and you would not let me in. Was
that kind? But I am not reproaching you. I shall come again and again, until my work is done.

I will come to you in a dream before long, and will show you many things.


The Promise of Things Untold

After a time I will share with you certain knowledge that I have gained since coming out. I see the past now as through an open window. I see the road by which I have come, and can map out the road by which I mean to go.

Everything seems easy now. I could do twice as much work as I do—I feel so strong.

As yet I have not settled down anywhere, but am moving about as the fancy takes me; that is what I always dreamed of doing while in the body, and never could make possible.

Do not fear death; but stay on earth as long as you can. Not withstanding the companionship I have here, I sometimes regret my failure in holding on to the world. But regrets have less weight on this side—like our bodies.

Everything is well with me. I will tell you things that have never been told.


The Wand of Will

Not yet do you grasp the full mystery of will. It can make of you anything you choose, within the limit of your unit energy, for everything is either active or potential in the unit of force which is man.

The difference between a painter and a musician, or between a poet and a novelist, is not a difference of qualities in the entity itself; for each unit contains everything except quantity, and thus has the possibilities of development along any line chosen by its will.

The choice may have been made ages ago. It takes a long time, often many lives, to evolve an art or a faculty for one particular kind of work in preference to all others.

Concentration is the secret of power, here as elsewhere.

As to the use of willpower in your present everyday problems, there are two ways of using the will. One may concentrate upon a definite plan, and bring it into effect or not according to the amount of force at one’s disposal; or one may will that the best and highest and wisest plan possible shall be demonstrated by the subconscious forces in the self and in other selves. The latter is a commanding of all environments for a special purpose, instead of commanding, or attempting to command, a fragment of it.

In this communion between the outer and inner worlds, you in the outer world are apt to think that we in ours know everything.

You expect us to prophesy like fortune-tellers, and to keep you informed of what is passing on the other side of the globe.

Sometimes we can; generally we cannot.

After a while I may be able to enter your mind as a Master does, and to know all the antecedent thoughts and plans in it; but now I cannot always do so.

For instance, one night I looked everywhere for— and could not find him. Perhaps it is necessary for you to think strongly of us, to make the way easiest.

I am learning all the time. The Teacher is very active in helping me.

When I am absolutely certain of my hold upon your hand, I shall have much to say about the life out here.


A Light Behind the Veil

Make an opening for me sometimes in the veil of dense matter that shuts you from my eyes. I see you often as a spot of vivid light, and that is probably when your soul is active with feeling or your mind keen with thought.

I can read your thoughts occasionally, but not always. Often I try to draw near, and cannot find you. You could not always find me, perhaps, should you come out here.

Sometimes I am all alone: sometimes I am with others; strange, but I seem to myself to have quite a substantial body now, though at first my arms and legs seemed sprawling in all directions.

As a rule, I do not walk about as formerly, nor do I fly exactly, for I have never had wings; but I manage to get over space with incredible rapidity. Sometimes, though, I walk.

Now, I want you to do me a favor. You know what a difficult job I often had to keep things going, yet I kept them going. Don’t you get discouraged about the material wherewithal for your work. Work right ahead, as if the supply were there, and it will be there. You can demonstrate it in one way or another.

Do not feel weak or uncertain, for when you do you drag me back to earth by force of sympathy. It is as bad as grieving for the dead.


The Iron Grip of Matter

To a man dwelling in the “invisible” there comes a sudden memory of earth. “Oh!” he says. “The world is going on without me.

What am I missing?” It seems almost impertinence on the part of the world to go on without him. He becomes agitated. He is sure that he is behind the times, left out, left over.

He looks about him, and sees only the tranquil fields of the fourth dimension.

Oh, for the iron grip of matter once more to hold something in taut hands! Perhaps the mood passes, but one day it returns with redoubled force.

He must get out of the tenuous environment into the forcibly resistant world of dense matter. But how? Ah, he remembers!

All action comes from memory. It would be a reckless experiment had he not done it before.

He closes his eyes, reversing himself in the in visible. He is drawn to human life, to human beings in the intense vibration of union. There is sympathy here—perhaps the sympathy of past experience with the souls of those whom he now contacts, perhaps only sympathy of mood or imagination. Be that as it may, he lets go his hold upon freedom and triumphantly loses himself in the lives of human beings.

After a time he awakes, to look with bewildered eyes upon green fields and the round, solid faces of men and women.

Sometimes he weeps, and wishes himself back. If he becomes discouraged, he may return—only to begin the weary quest of matter all over again. If he is strong and stubborn, he remains and grows into a man.

He may even persuade himself that the former life in tenuous substance was only a dream, for in dream he returns to it, and the dream haunts him and spoils his enjoyment of matter.

After years enough he grows weary of the material struggle: his energy is exhausted. He sinks back into the arms of the unseen, and men say again with bated breath that he is dead.

But he is not dead. He has only returned whence he came.

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Letters from a Living Dead Man - Elsa Barker & Judge David Patterson Hatch

Publisher: White Crow Books
Published January 2010
178 pages
Size: 5.5 x 8.5"
ISBN 978-1-907355-83-7
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