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  Personality Survives Death: After-Death Communication from Sir William Barrett
Florence Barrett and William Barrett

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Dr Florence Barrett was a prominent gynaecologist and obstetrician, as well as dean of the London School of Medicine for Women.  Professor William Barrett, her husband, was a distinguished physicist, knighted in 1912 for his contributions to science.  He was also one of the founder of the Society for Psychical Research.  Sir William spent much of his life investigating mediumship and the possibility of life after death until his own death in 1925.

During the 11 years that followed Sir William’s death, Florence, initially very skeptical, sat with renowned trance medium Gladys Osbourne Leonard on numerous occasions (35 sittings are recorded in this book) and became convinced that William and numerous other deceased friends, acquaintances and relatives were communicating with her.  Many topics were discussed, including cancer, diet and the nature of reality. During one communication William explained:

“We cannot locate the seat of life in the physical because it is not there. How many have tried to find something in the physical organism – the seat of life – some spark, germ, cause of what is called life. It doesn’t lie in the physical body, it is useless looking for it there. It is in the etheric – or more correctly, the etheric is the true carrier of life.”

When theologian and scholar G. W. Butterworth reviewed Personality Survives Death in 1938, he wrote: “If mere quantity of evidence were all that was necessary to establish the truth of the spiritistic hypothesis then all men ought by now to be believers. ” In 2020 the same could be said to be true. Materialist science has failed to explain psychic phenomena preferring to opt for the easy explanation that it doesn’t exist.

For the hardened sceptic this book may do nothing, but for the seeker it has much to offer.

A few quotes from the book.

We are so much happier than you, because even the lowest here is conscious of God. You wondered whether the teachings of Christianity were essential to the human race; the longer I am on this side the more convinced I am that it is so.”

“Physical relationship isn’t so important on our side as yours. There are many people in your family you will never meet again – not spiritually related at all.”

“You know it’s not just the evidential side of communication that counts – people have had a great deal of that; they want to know this: if we live, how we live. And what do we consider the best way they can live in order to make the best of life before passing and after – the two sides of the picture.”

“It is a case of a lot of work to be done in editing these messages – posthumous communication. (I dislike being identified with posthumous.) I’m living, I’m more alive than I have ever been.

W.F.B. “I hope that in publishing this work, you will assist people to take the first rung of the spiritual ladder.”
F.E.B. “What is the first rung?”
W.F.B. “The first rung is looking above self.”

“The life of reason is shared with higher animals – life higher than human is spirit rather than intelligence. We share spirit with higher beings as animals share intellect with us. As we help to raise animals, so angels help to raise us even on Earth to reach the fringes of the spiritual.”

“God helps those who help themselves – there is a lot of truth in it. God only allows us to help those who help themselves.”

Communication is always permissible so long as it is not allowed to interfere with the spiritual, the mental and physical development of the individual while on Earth.”

About the author

Dr Florence Barrett (1867-1945) was a prominent gynaecologist and obstetrician, as well as dean of the London School of Medicine for Women.

William F. Barrett (1844-1925) was a British physicist and a leading figure in the early years of psychical research, investigating telepathy and clairvoyance, apparitions, mediumship, dowsing, deathbed visions of deceased persons, and related topics. Barrett co-founded the Society for Psychical Research and the American Society for Psychical Research. Source:

Sample chapter


March 6, 1926
Leonard Sitting

W. F. B. I am pleased about the book. I see it going through now – things have got much further than when you were here last. It has all worked out very well. Something is happening about it almost at once – I am sure now that it’s being printed – indeed it is an accomplished fact in a sense.

I am very pleased with the way it’s been handled.

You’ve done it very well, but I feel grateful to a man too, and if I could I would like to thank him, for he seems to have caught my ideas of what was necessary. Don’t let him misunderstand that. I don’t detract from all his own ideas and the amount of work and thought he has brought to bear on it.

I shouldn’t like him to think I said he merely reflected thought, but it is exactly as I would have done it.

I am very pleased, very pleased.

Did you have to look up some very old matter for this book? You’ll remember after – he took trouble to supply some information – looking up something in an old book of reference to things a long time ago – not in your memory.

Mr. A. Trethewy did give great help in the preparation of Deathbed Visions, both in verifying statements of reference, in preparing the index, and in most valuable advice.

A.V. (speaking of the change to another life.) They are the most satisfactory conditions that could be imagined, because so natural, one step at a time. I was glad and relieved to find that it was only one step that I was required to take when I moved from Earth to this condition. The surroundings in which I found myself are extremely like those on Earth, without ugliness, disease or pain.

W. F. B. It was different for me. It was all waiting for me very much as I had pictured – only much more wonderful.

After I had rested for a little while, I felt like a boy on a holiday exploring a new wonderful place of which I had heard and conjectured and pictured, but which more than came up to my expectations.

F. E. B. Shall I like it when I come?

W. F. B. Yes, you will, you will: you like any place with possibilities. When you find yourself in a mental or physical cul-de-sac, you don’t like it; but you’ll love it here – you’ll love it.

To me it’s a perfect condition.

It is a great help when one comes over to be attuned to an idea of what it may be like even if one isn’t quite sure of it.

F. E. B. Can you give me any help in my own work?

W. F. B. I am interested in cancer, and want to help you. It is in the alimentary canal that the mischief originates.

F. E. B. How can we prove it?

W. F. B. I am not talking of the induced disease, but that which grows naturally (I have to use that word though it is not good). You cannot judge by the induced disease. Cancer always has its origin in the alimentary canal. Clearly internal cleanliness is the one thing that is absolutely essential to prevent it: perfect digestion and elimination must be worked for. Diet has a great deal to do with it. If we had the right diet from birth or early childhood we could not breed cancer.

F. E. B. What is the right diet?

W. F. B. Too much starchy food is the wrong one: a superabundance of stimulating food is bad. Over-stimulation produces irritation of a kind. Undoubtedly we need the juices with different salts found in fruit.

We need fruit and also grains, e.g. wheat, barley, oats – not in too refined a condition so that they produce a clogging starchy material, but a perfect wheaten or wholemeal bread: fresh lemons, apples, pears.

So many of the fruits disagree, or appear to disagree with people whose stomachs or intestines have for forty to sixty years been trained to the wrong diet and therefore rebel against the imposition of a right one.

If you were cramped and confined in a position in which you had to crouch down, you would be in terrible pain and discomfort when you were able to resume an upright natural position again. For a while the previous wrong position would appear preferable. That is how it seems to the stomach when you impose a correct diet. It may be too tired to respond at all. The thing to do is to teach people the right diet early in life.

F. E. B. Should meat be eaten?

W. F. B. That is just what I was going to say. I’m afraid of meat. I think we must learn to nourish our bodies with the right substitutes for it. As far as possible we should rely on vegetable food, supplemented by dairy produce, until we have educated our internal organs to live on plant life only. That might take several generations.
Nuts are stimulating, and where they cannot be taken whole they can be grated. Fruit juice would keep the alimentary canal clean.
With those who start to grow cancer, if they could be examined at an early stage there would be found to be a great deal of putrefactive material in the intestines.

F. E. B. What should be done?

W. F. B. Washed out. An intestinal disinfectant is needed and that should be used every day if cancer has begun. It would remove the cause of the trouble, and the disease would then be cut off from its supplies and would become a local and surface growth only.
I maintain that disease can only be a malignant one if there is a headquarter storehouse with a place from which toxin is supplied or material which creates sufficient force or life in the cancer enabling the growth to maintain its malignancy.

F. E. B. Would this treatment be any good in advanced disease?

W. F. B. It would alleviate but might not cure. It would alleviate and there would be a strong possibility of cure.

You have noticed in one or two rare cases of what appeared to be stubborn and malignant growth – it cures itself or disappears for no reason whatever as far as we can tell. It means something has shut off the supplies.

These supplies were as the sap of a tree. Cut it off to a certain part or branch, and that part dies. That is what we’ve got to do with cancer.

In a few years there will be no question about its origin. I know you will remember our little talk on the matter. It won’t be disputed in a few years.

Constipation and even partial retention of impure matter is the curse of civilisation.

I believe meat, being as it is the principal part of diet, is at the bottom of a great deal of trouble.

I believe rheumatism, gout – in fact poisoning of any kind – has origin in this same canal – merely a different manifestation of the same system of poisoning. All the so-called cures that we have attempted with regard to cancer have attacked the manifestations and not the disease – i.e. not the seat of the trouble, which I consider is the disease.

Only good can come of trying this treatment on a very advanced case. I have a feeling that you’ll have an opportunity of trying this – that you’ll be able to soon.

Great care should be taken to prevent undue distension by injecting too great a quantity of liquid at a time – small quantities twice a day rather than one large injection given once.
I don’t believe in a sudden change – rather a gradual change of diet.

I have spoken to a great many men who were interested in this subject on Earth and who have taken the trouble to use a faculty which would be best described as X-ray vision.

This is not guesswork on my part: they have been able to see the cause of the trouble and to watch the way it works out through the body.

We know the poisoning can be set up in a very acute way and yet the disease seems to be dormant for a long time, until some local irritation or some shock is given to any part of the body, and that draws the poison to the surface, makes it localise itself, and in that case it at once becomes active.

But if there were not the local shock or irritation the patient might live for years in the condition which we regard as fairly well – suffering from a mild form of rheumatism, indigestion, acidity, so many of the conditions which we accept as a natural part of our physical life. Absolute cleanliness in every way is the solution of most disease problems.

Another problem that interests me very much is the problem of heredity.

One of the penalties attached to the system of our wrong diet and wrong living is that we hand on a predisposition for these diseases to our children.

I have heard people on Earth say ‘There is nothing in heredity’ – but you must reckon with it. It can be overcome, but will be more difficult to overcome in the first generation than in the second and third.

Even if you give right diet at once to a child, you have inherited predisposition to disease to reckon with, but right diet will overcome it in time, and fortunately all disease (as all life does) has its rest periods – its dormant periods; though disease is the antithesis of life and the forces of nature, it is subject to the same rules and laws, and during the resting period is the time to tackle it. So often we disregard it in its dormant stage, which is its danger stage too for us, because in that condition it is gathering new strength with which to attack us later on.

I still think people ought not to work too hard – on the same lines we’ve been talking about – because it produces congestion, mental and nervous, and congestion of any kind is to be avoided.

But I don’t worry about you as much as I did, because I see one person can work hard and take it differently to another person, who does not work as hard, but is more conscious of the strenuousness of life.

It is the consciousness of it that makes the danger.

When you do become conscious it is Nature calling on you to stop. Some people go on longer before they reach the stage at which that must happen.

Also I feel that work that is productive is not so tiring as unproductive work. It is ‘casting bread on the waters.’

A.V. Did I give you a letter last time?

H is the name of something I was very much connected with – Ho – not a hospital – it’s nicer than a hospital – not kept up in any public way.

It is a nice place with a good deal of love in it.
W. F. B. Loving service. Ada can still help in those ways from where she is now.

These messages evidently refer to a Country Holiday Home which A.V. started in connection with the Guild of the Handicapped near Bristol.

A.V. Did you know I have a home this side – not for myself but for others to come to?

F. E. B. What is it for?

A.V. I’ll use this term – people not yet quite sound in mind or body. There are people who come over who do not know how to use their minds and new bodies. Some have had long distressing illness, perhaps more of mind than body, and cannot learn to use their minds immediately: so we have homes in which they are helped by loving and sympathetic treatment and companionship to recover themselves entirely.
That is what I love doing, only I can do it in an ideal way now, whereas there were difficulties on Earth.

April 9, 1926
Leonard Sitting

W. F. B. I am glad to have a sitting near Easter, it has a definite message of hope for everyone. It is new life, new hope, new strength, and it is right that Easter should have come in the spring because the two harmonise so well with each other.

This Easter I have specially tried to bring to you all this strength and peace, and I believe I have been to some extent successful in bringing these conditions round you. I am bringing you strength and peace specially this Easter, because there is such a great deal to do.

I have been a great deal with you lately and I think you have known it. I want to go on with my investigations, not just psychical research, but into your work. When on Earth I took a great interest in your work though it was not my own, and if younger I would have taken a still greater interest in it. But I find I can do even more than I thought possible.

Every week he used to read the British Medical Journal and the Lancet to give me a digest of them in case I should miss any article of importance.

W. F. B. I am more than ever convinced that on the lines I indicated to you is to be found, I won’t say the cure but the correct preventive measures to be taken against cancer, and certainly great alleviation may be obtained through the diet and internal cleanliness.

There is something I want to get through with regard to germ theory – amplification – referring to the external gases given off in so-called infectious diseases – it is most important if only I can give it.

The harmful condition given off by an infected person is not only due to bacteria but to the gases in which bacteria live and infect and poison. I wish to say the harm is not in the germ but in its aura.

We have noticed that the easiest way to become infected is to breathe in, to take in the bacteria.

But in order that it should infect one, that is to make certain that one would be infected, one would have to take in not only the bacteria but a certain amount of the gas – the bacteria cannot live except in the gas. Bacteria of any kind must have their own gas to live in. If the gas is a harmful one the bacteria become harmful bacteria; if it is a good one they become beneficent. You see we are all giving off some kind of gas all day long, all night; every part of us gives off this gas or ether, whichever you like to call it. A healthy part of the body gives off a different gas from an unhealthy or diseased part.

This gas of course is quite invisible; that is, it is not possible to locate it at present; but it will be. In a very short time indeed we shall go a step further and not only locate the germ as we do now, but locate the aura of the germ. That is all I can say about it at the moment.

The present condition, whatever it may be, will not permit me to say all I wish to say on a definite subject; but, for the time being, it is as though I were using up a certain amount of material, and then I have to change over and use a new material. I have other interesting things to say about it later on.

But what I specially wish to say at the moment is this: We shall have opposition in certain quarters to this idea, but in a comparatively short time, while you are still here, you will find this theory is being accepted; other people will say they have discovered it, but it will be on the lines I have just indicated.

Ada sends her love. She says the home is getting on very well, not the Earth one, the one she has got now. She says you have been in it with her. You have seen it – not in your sleep – not quite the right way of saying it – but you have been out of your body and have seen the home and approve of it.

Do you know, when she was here she was interested in a Home that was not quite in London, but more outside where there are fields? Because she is showing me a picture of the home she has now, and says it is like the home she has seen and it is not one of those in London but in the country – flowers and trees all round. Cannot see the water but she says it is there, she says there was water near, not the sea, just a bit of inland water quite near, and she believes that you could find out about it. She knew it very well, the water, only a short walk from the house itself.

I thought this could not be so, but on enquiry I find that from one corner of the garden of the Guild House, Churchill, or from an adjoining field water as described can be seen.

W. F. B. She says not only for children on the other side, she has grown-ups there too, and she says she takes them in when they come over; they have been suffering and unhappy for a long time and they have been treated there, not because they have got the conditions now over there, but the habit of thought that has been produced through the condition they have had on Earth; that is what has been eliminated, and she says that is what her home is for.

But I feel she has great sympathy with all kinds of trouble. That was the work she was most fitted for: it was the mental help she gave them, not only physical help – surroundings.

There are two people you have met lately, since you were here last, who have interested me and taken me back to the time when I was on Earth.

Do you remember a long time ago meeting the Medium in a street in a country place on an island? You were reminded of that place a little while ago, and it made me remember about seeing her there. It is not important but to get the reminder with you.

I had been seeing Louis and Olive de Sibour in town. When we were staying with them in Shanklin we did one day meet Mrs. Leonard and her friends out walking.

W. F. B. I think that looking back I had a long life of remarkable happiness, and especially at the period at which most people are going down hill and getting depressed. I was remarkably happy, and I did like little jokes and hope it did not worry you. There was a joke about a man I met in the road, one about a stupid man in a road.

A pedestrian asked a man sitting on the roadside how long it would take him to reach Bristol. ‘Go on,’ said the man. He asked again, and again the man said, ‘Go on.’ He went on, saying, ‘Silly idiot.’
‘It will take you half an hour,’ called the man.
‘Why could you not say that before?’ asked the pedestrian.
‘Because I had to see how fast you walked,’ was the reply.

W. F. B. I am going now. I have the idea of a dog, a dog I am taking care of for you. It passed over. You have had it. I am keeping it for you; it is quite a small dog, but it is all right. I cannot get his name through; I will bring him again. I was very pleased to find animals lived on this side. Only animals that loved us.

Publisher: White Crow Books
Published February 2020
226 pages
Size: 6 x 9 inches
ISBN 978-1-78677-123-0
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Proof of Survival by Lord Dowding – I think that "Raymond" is a very important book because its main purpose appears to be to convey to the world proof of human survival after death. This proof is conveyed by the publication of a series of messages from Raymond Lodge, the son of Sir Oliver Lodge, the famous scientist and author of the book. Read here
also see
Deathbed Visions   Deathbed Visions
Sir William Barrett
On the Threshold of the Unseen   On the Threshold of the Unseen
Sir William Barrett
The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die   The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die
Michael Tymn
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