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Rescue Circles by Lord Dowding

During the first half of the 20th century, Lord Dowding (the head of RAF fighter command during the Battle of Britain) was an avid psychical researcher, and he regularly sat with mediums all over the United Kingdom, in order to try and understand what happens after we physically die. The account below is from a sitting with a Rescue Circle he participated in, where the aim of the circle/group was to help deceased earthbound spirits understand their predicament, so that they might improve their situation.

The communicator identified himself as Leopold Phibs.


I think this is the next tale, for it is a tale that longs to be told.

I was a bringer of evil in the horridest way on his children, for I liked my own bright thoughts, and thought my children must like them too. So I made them think this was the only true thought, and they could not have any hope for themselves in this spirit world unless they believed the things I told them.

This I did not understand was the exact opposite way I could help them to be happy in heaven, but I had no imagination, and did not try to think how such things could be true, that a god who loved could damn those who failed to believe the things their father taught them; especially when this father was only a stupid beer-drinking fat man who liked his own comfort more than any real love, or even belief. This is the real description of myself.

This time of which I tell was a time of peace before any thought of great wars came. This I thought would never happen, and made a bright boy of mine be a bringer of this war nearer by being a fighter in his trade. This he hated, but I said he could only be a true lover of me if he obeyed his father. This he did, and became a truly unhappy man who hated his work, and hardly enjoyed living his life at all. This I knew, but was too stupid to understand, and thought he could be provided for this way, and made a brave lad that people admired. So I made this foolish plan for him with no freedom for him to choose.

Then I became old, and made the discovery that I myself had nothing to hold on to and was terribly afraid to die.

This was a true condition, for my belief was a hollow inheritance, not even a true belief of my own.

Then I was in misery, and tried to find some way to be assured that this lift I was going to was in truth the lift I expected where a god would himself welcome me, and I should have a throne and a crown and all sorts of good things. But I had no assurance.

Then I died. This was in truth a terrible event. This dread I had was a real foreshadowing, and must have at least loosened my mind a little. For the shock I had was terrible, for I was simply lost.

No one met me that I could see, for I did not look for love, only for a holy welcome.

This had a dreadful effect on me, for I then looked down to see how I could be helped by men. This was terrible, for I could find no help, though I tried to make them hear my cries of longing for help. This lasted long, but I did not know it was long. It seemed truly brutally horrible to me that I who believed so much should have been so deceived. But so it was; I had deceived myself, and had to discover that I had only believed a hollow sham.

This came by degrees, for I had to find it out by watching people who professed as I did, and people who professed nothing, but loved their children and their friends, and left them free to be the people God meant them to be.

Then I tried to see my own children, and they were loaded with chains that I had put on them, and had no freedom or help to loose them, for they tried to be the good things I had made them to be, and not question anything. I had a horrible despair that I had damned them too, and had a love for them that hated myself. This lighted my mind, for then I found a true parent waiting to lead me. I had no love for him, but thought him a bad father as he had not believed these things, and had never taught me to believe them, for I had only been my own gaoler.

This parent led me to a place of haven for my tired heart, and comforted me by trying to show me my mistake.

This I now had already seen, but not as this kind parent knew was still necessary. I did not wish to be further instructed by him as he had never known the truths I knew; so I had a thought that perhaps my heaven was a true heaven, but

I was lost in some unfortunate way, but now could be the revealer of bright truth to my father.

This I proceeded to try to do. I made an illusion of some bright place with psalm singing and harps, but it was hollow, and I could hardly bear to be in it myself, and my helper did not wish to come into such a foolish place. He had a truly honest wish to help me, but I tried not to be helped and went to my heaven and tried to be in happy bright love there.

But this was not possible, for love is a truth that can never be found in illusion, and this found me the key; for I tried to consider that God was loving.

This was the truth, but only a little of it, but it helped me, for I looked for love, and saw! love everywhere. This made me see that perhaps this was a thing I had half expected. This truth that God is love then came to me, for I had thought this was a truth that I had believed; but I had never believed it, for I did not understand the breadth or height or depth of even an earthly love. This love that I now began to see was only spirit love, but it became the beautiful thing that helped me to be loving at last.

I longed to help my children but could not make them hear me, for I was dead, and must not be thought of as approachable, for this was a thing I thought forbidden, to meet the dead, or even to pray for them. This was a truly strange belief, for I believed that all were one. This really had no meaning for me, but was just a form of words that I had made my hard rule.

Then my mother, who had never had a true love of this type of thought I had, but who had been led by me, attempted to be in communication with me. This was a truly curious attempt, for this true lover of her child was an old frail woman in a little home that had small comfort but had to do for her. Then this true love of hers became a light to her mind, and she asked me to help her to die as she was afraid, and thought I could lead her to my heaven.
I did not know how to lead her, but asked my father how I could be this leader. He told me that only love can lead, but since I loved her I could perhaps try to lead her. But it did not help me, for I had no place to lead her to.

Then I tried to be truer in mind, and became a learner to find some place to which I could bring my tired old mother who looked for help to me. This was a real help, to have to help this love that loved me. Then I found help that showed me a true place of rest that was there all the time, but not visible to me, for I had not looked for simple love that helped each other. This they now showed me helps all who look by being loved, that love creates the rest and loveliness that the spirit needs for its bright haven of refuge that the child can enjoy and the old man lead him to, but all are the same in love.

This kind home that this father had led me to now became my home that I led my mother to, for she had asked me to lead her. This came as a true surprise to me by now as I had begun to know how unfit I was to lead. But I was asked, and I led. But I had no home of my own to lead her to, only her old love’s home where she had never been happy, for he had not loved her well.

This then was the best home to take her to, and she had a feeling that all was different from her expectations, and that I had changed and had no bright heaven to welcome her to. This was true; however she was tired and glad to find a home that made her welcome who had been so lone.

My life had been the only true life of her life.

This is a help, to be the loved son of a true mother.

This was the love that made me free.

I am Leopold Phibs.


No one can possibly imagine how happy this was to be in a home. This is a different thing from an earthly home because this is not just a shelter but a true home that gives hope to the mind and help to the spirit.

This hope is the hope of being secure that nothing can hinder the individual from his own line. This was the truth. I had hardly perceived mine at all, but now I found I had a true line that led me along a path in the mind that taught me to be patient. I think this is perhaps the truth that I was trying to be patient in holding on to my forlorn belief, now brought into bright will to perceive for myself the true patience, that waited to be preferred to all other virtues in my mind. It found a hold in my mind like bright lightning that patience is the loveliest thing that is known.

To be patient is to be the possessor of a true kingdom in the spirit; this is to be the patient helper of people who try to wait to be perfect in this trial of hope that many must endure, for patience is the line that helps the struggling people to hold on. This is the patience of the saints that says ‘How Long?’ This I now see, for I am this patient spirit at last. But I could not again try to be patient to wait till my children found release from the chains I had put on them. I tried in every way to be their helper not to be patient, but to be truly rash and free and hold their own lines that had had little chance against my patience, for this was the line I had imposed on them, though I had hardly recognised it myself.

I think I thought it high to be patient, so perhaps I had to a small extent known it; but now I tried to waken them to rebel, for this was so necessary to help them to free themselves.

Then this true love of the boy that had to be the fighter tried to tell me he could not be patient in this trade, but must leave it. This pleased me for I hoped he could then be more free. Then I tried to help his mind to think to be led to a high idea of how to be himself. This he heard, but of course he did not know I told him, but almost feared he became a traitor to me. But he tried to be true to hold this idea of being true to the highest he could see. This made him look to see the highest he could; then he became the truly inspired man who found the reason for his own life, and became a true teacher of boys in the loving way that led them to find their own line that each had.

I think I was truly proud of this loving work, for I loved this man that I had tried to chain. This true being became the helper of his brother that was also chained, and both were loving beings that had reason to be bright spirits. I think this is all I can tell.

I am the truly brutal man that had the name Leopold Phibs.

“Rescue Circles” is an extract from The Dark Star by Lord Dowding.

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“A Case to Consider” by Paul Beard – What is it possible to discover about the experiences we shall meet with after we die - if indeed existence does continue - and about how we can best prepare for them? Read here
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