Habits, desires and inclinations are rooted in the mind and remain with the individual after he is freed from his physical body, until they are eliminated by the will.
The spirits of many criminals, murderers, those who were executed or are seeking for revenge, remain indefinitely in the earth sphere and often endeavor to continue their former activities and to carry out their evil designs through controlling the bodies of mortals who are sensitive to their influence.
In many cases of revolting murder investigations will show that the crimes were committed by innocent persons under the control of disembodied spirits who had taken complete possession of the murderer.
There is little doubt that the murder of Stanford White by Harry K. Thaw in 1906, at Madison Square Roof Garden, New York, was due to spirit influence.
Harry Thaw was a psychic sensitive and had shown evidence of this fact all his life, and whatever personal grievances he may have had when he killed Stanford White, he was unquestionably obsessed by avenging spirits who desired retribution for real or fancied injustice done to themselves or kindred.
Harry Thaw was largely only the psychic subject and the physical instrument through which was enacted a terrible drama by the invisible world, the actors being ignorant, revengeful spirits.
On July 15, 1906, several weeks after the tragedy occurred, a strange spirit controlled Mrs. Wickland during a psychic circle and fell prostrate to the floor. Placing the form of my wife in a chair I began questioning the controlling intelligence.
The stranger strenuously objected to being touched, brusquely demanded to be left alone, and called out: “Hey there, waiter! Bring me a drink”’
“What kind of drink do you want?”
“Bring me a whiskey and soda, and be quick about it!”
“Who are you?”
“None of your business who I am.”
“Where do you think you are?”
“In the Madison Square Roof Garden, of course.”
“What is your name?”
Holding one hand on the back of his head, on the right side, and clutching at his chest and abdomen as if in great pain, he cried: “Have a waiter bring me that whiskey and soda!” I was about to ask further questions when the spirit’s attention was attracted to some invisible, and he began to tremble with fear.
“Are you seeing dead people?” I asked.
He nodded his head violently, then shouted, “They are after me!” and, jumping from the chair, ran to a corner of the room in an effort to escape.
His agitation was so great that he lost control of the psychic and was gone.
Immediately another spirit took possession of the psychic and in great excitement began to walk back and forth, exclaiming exultantly: “I killed the dog! I killed the dog! There he lies!” pointing at the floor toward the spot where White had lost control.
“The dog! I have been looking for a chance to kill him for several years, and I got him at last! The dog!”
I forced the spirit to sit down and learned that his name was Johnson.
“I killed Stanford White,” he boasted. “He deserved death. He had trifled too long with our daughters.”
He was very pronounced in his denunciation of society men.
“They steal our children from us and put fine clothes on them, and the parents do not know what becomes of them.” I asked the spirit whether he was aware of being dead, but he laughed at the idea and said: “How could a dead person talk? The doctor said I had consumption and would die soon, but I didn’t die. I never felt better in my life.”
When asked to carefully examine his hands, feet and dress he demanded to know how he, a man, became possessed of a woman’s body.
Lengthy argument finally convinced the perplexed spirit of the fact of his transition, and he departed, thoroughly penitent.
He was followed by a third entity, but this intelligence was aware of being a spirit, temporarily controlling a borrowed body.
“I am Harry Thaw’s father. Save my boy! Save my boy! He is not guilty.
Harry will not be electrocuted.” (Later events proved this to be true.)
“He is sensitive to spirit influence and has been all his life.
He was always erratic and so excitable that we were afraid to correct him for fear he would become insane. But I see our mistake now.
I did not understand the cause of Harry’s queer actions while I was in the physical, but now, from the spirit side of life, I can see that Harry has been a tool in the hands of selfish, earthbound spirits most of his life.
“He was obsessed by revengeful spirits when he killed Stanford White. I have tried to reach the external world by every possible avenue, to tell the people that Harry is not insane, but that he is a psychic sensitive.”
“Save my boy! Save my boy!” he begged repeatedly.
“What would you have us do?”
“Please write to my wife, and to my attorney, Mr. Olcott.” (We did not then know that Mr. Olcott had been Mr. Thaw’s attorney, but verified the fact afterward.)
“Tell them your experience and what I have said to you, and urge them to recognize and understand Harry’s condition.
We promised to comply with the wish of the spirit and he then departed.
The following evening, July 16th, another spirit came; he seemed at first to be looking for some one, then asked: “Where did the other fellows go?”
This spirit also condemned high society in general, and denounced young girls in particular for their foolishness.
“The rich take our girls to their dens; they put them on the stage and the girls disown their parents. They deserve licking!” he declared, and emphasized his words with suitable gestures.
This spirit was laboring under such great mental excitement that he suddenly lost control before I could ascertain any particulars.
On February 10th, 1907, the spirit of Mr. Thaw returned, and reiterated his statement that Harry was a psychic sensitive who was frequently subject to the influence of mischievous spirits. He also urged upon humanity the great need for inquiry into the subject of spirit influence, saying that a proper understanding would prevent untold misery to both spirits and their unfortunate mortal victims.
That Richard Ivens, hung for the murder of Mrs. Bessie Hollister in Chicago, 1906, was a victim of foreign influences was so evident that alienists, criminologists and psychologists alike declared their belief that Ivens was innocent, and that he had confessed the crime under the hypnotic suggestion of some unknown person.
Ivens would alternately confess his guilt, saying, with a strange, trance-like stare, that a “big man” had compelled him to commit the deed, and then again wildly deny it.
Hugo Munsterburg, M.D., Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, wrote in June, 1906: “It is an interesting and yet rather clear case of dissociation and auto- suggestion. . . . The witches of the seventeenth century were burned on account of similar confessions, and the popular understanding of mental aberrations has not made much progress since that time.” Professor William James of Harvard wrote: “Whether guilty or not, Ivens must have been in a state of dissociated personality. . . . He was not his natural “self” during those fateful first days, but the victim of one of those rare alterations of personality either suggested or spontaneous, which are now well known to occur in predisposed subjects.” We present a sequel to this tragic story.
MARCH 7, 1907, Spirit: RICHARD IVENS.
Psychic: MRS. WICKLAND
When the spirit assumed control the psychic fell to the floor apparently lifeless, and only after half an hour of strenuous effort was the intelligence brought to consciousness.
“Leave me alone,” he moaned, “do you want to hang me again?” He complained of having great pain in the neck and begged to be left undisturbed, saying he wanted only to sleep.
“What is the trouble with your neck?” “It is broken. They hanged me and I am dead. I want to remain dead; if you bring me to life they will hang me again.” “What is your name?” “Richard Ivens.” “Were you guilty of the murder of Mrs. Hollister?” “I do not know. Others said I was. If I did it I do not know it.”
“Why did you plead guilty at times and then again deny your confession.” “I pleaded guilty because those three fellows (spirits) made me. The big man stood over me with a knife and threatened to kill me if I would not plead guilty. When the big man was not there I told them that I did not know whether I killed the lady or not. I told it to the police; I told it to the jailer and to everybody that questioned me, but they would not believe me when I told them the truth.
“0h, I have suffered so much! Why did you call me back when I was dead? Why didn’t you let me sleep? They will arrest me and hang me again!” Suddenly the spirit shouted with fright: “Don’t you see? There is that big man again! He has his knife and the two short fellows are with him. Oh!” Clutching his knee he cried: My knee! He has driven the knife through my knee and through the other leg! My leg! My leg! He is the devil! He has stabbed me!” The terrified spirit was gradually made to understand that his tormentors were spirits, that he was free from his physical body and beyond the power of bodily harm.
“You are using a body not your own and need now to free yourself from all mental delusions. Do you not see other spirits beside your enemies?” “Why—yes, there are others now; they seem to be friendly, and there— there’s Mrs. Hollister!” “Ask the man with the knife why he hounds you,” I suggested.
“He only grins.” “Ask him why he wanted to kill the lady.” “He says, because he hates women” he stopped abruptly, and, breathless, seemed to be watching a scene of great disturbance.
“They have taken those devils away! It was a lively fight, but they got them!” Calming himself he said: “I feel better now. I am so glad that terrible man is gone.” Asked to recall what he could of the Hollister tragedy, he said: “When I saw the woman that night I also saw the big man. My head began to feel very strange; I was grabbed by the throat and lost consciousness.
When I came to myself again the big man said that I had killed the woman.
“I had known the man for about a month, but I did not know he was a spirit. He has been hounding me ever since.
“Why didn’t they give me a chance to live, even if I would have been in prison? Oh, the shame I have brought upon my family! I feel so sorry for my poor mother; if she could only know the truth. If I could only speak to her and tell her that I could not help it—that I did not do it! Nobody had any sympathy for me, and nobody would believe me when I told them about the big fellow standing over me with the knife. He made me plead guilty.
“If I committed the crime I am sorry for it, but I don’t know that I have done it. Why did they kill me?” After I had explained the continuity of life and progression into higher spiritual realms, he eagerly asked: “If they did not kill me, is the lady still alive also?” “Certainly; doubtless she has come here to forgive you. Although you destroyed her physical body you were not responsible for the act; you were merely used by wicked spirits who hypnotized you.” With this new understanding the weary spirit was taken in charge by invisible helpers, who told us that the “Big Man” and his accomplices had in earth life belonged to a band of “White Caps” which had operated extensively for some years in England and America, mutilating and killing many women in their criminal mania.
Several months later the spirit of the “Big Man” himself was brought to our circle.
JUNE 6, 1907, Spirit: CHARLES—THE-FIGHTER.
Psychic: MRS. WICKLAND
The spirit seemed stupefied by drink, and when finally aroused was so pugnacious that the aid of several persons was required to quiet him.
“I’m Charles-The-Fighter, and I’ll have you all shot!” he shouted.
Turning to some other invisibles he cursed them for having lured him to this place and commanded them to help him, instead of standing idly by.
Subdued at last, Charles-The-Fighter was compelled to listen to an elucidation of his real situation. In an endeavor to convince him that he was controlling the body of another he was asked to examine the hands of the psychic.
Seeing the hand of a woman he shrank back, terror-stricken, and cried: “Take that hand away! Take it away! I don’t want to see it any more.” Questioned regarding the story of the hand he declared: “I shall never tell! I would rather die. Oh! There is her face too! And the hand that I cut off to get the diamond ring! They haunted me all this time.”
Looking about in horror he seemed to see a vast gathering of specters.
“See all those faces! Have I killed all those people? Have they come to accuse me? There! There is that boy! He was hung once, but he seems to be after me too.
(Ivens.) I killed the woman, but I made him confess to save my own neck. But just wait, you devil, you! I will fix you when I get out of this. I will cut you all to pieces!” But at last Charles-The-Fighter realized that further resistance was useless and that his days of robbery and murder were over. He told of his hideous career of crime and said that he murdered for revenge, stole to buy whiskey, and drank to drown his conscience and to escape the specters which constantly haunted him.
In early childhood he had been happy under the care of his own mother, but after her death his stepmother had abused him so mercilessly that he often rushed sobbing to his room and, on his knees, prayed to his dead mother for help.
This roused the stepmother to a jealous fury and, regardless of the protests of a weak father, she had beaten him angrily, forbidding him to ever mention the name of his mother again.
Her abuse grew into such a cruel tyranny that the boy had developed an overpowering hatred for her and revengefully vowed that when he was grown he would kill every woman possible.
Consistently he had carried out his ghastly purpose and had given his entire life to plotting and perpetrating atrocities and crimes, generally victimizing women.
He had died in 1870, during a wild fight with his companions, but he had not been aware of the loss of his physical body. He boasted that for many years he had continued his crimes, always eluding the police.
“Once, in Boston, I wanted to kill a policeman, but when I sneaked up behind him and hit him on the head with a club, the club went right through him and never hurt him. He didn’t even turn around.” The spirit thought himself now in the hands of authorities but declared that he was willing to give himself up to escape the haunting faces of his many victims.
“I would be glad to go to bell to get away from this torment.” While listening to an explanation of the law of cause and effect and the conditions prevailing in the spirit world, Charles saw his own mother standing before him. The sight of her had an overwhelming effect; the hardened criminal cowered in his seat and wept piteously while his mother pleaded with him to come with her and learn to expiate his crimes.
I am crushed by guilt and remorse he cried abjectly: “I cannot go with you! Dear mother, don’t ask me to go with you! You must go back to Heaven and I must go to hell, where I belong. I must be cut to pieces and burned in the fires of hell.” But maternal love prevailed and the spirit, humble and penitent, followed his mother.
In 1894, Harry Hayward, a handsome reprobate with a weakness for beautiful women and a life of gaiety, hired a villain to murder his sweetheart in Minnesota and was hanged.
While he was in prison awaiting execution he maintained his debonair attitude to the last, played cards with his jailer with the utmost nonchalance, and ordered ice cream, his favorite dish, whenever possible.
“When you come to hell, where I am going,” he told the jailer, “I am going to treat you to ice cream.” During this time I anonymously sent him a book and several papers relating to the spirit world, but otherwise had no connection with him.
On February 27, 1908, a nurse asked us to concentrate for Mrs. McA., a patient whom she was attending, arid whose case strongly suggested psychic invalidism, chronic illness and lassitude due to spirit obsession.
The nurse was a psychic sensitive herself and surmised that many of the uncontrollable notions of her beautiful patient were caused by spirit obsession, and had several times endeavored to order any intruder away.
One day Mrs. McA. developed an intense desire for homemade ice cream, although ordinarily she did not care in the least for it. But she insisted that her whim be satisfied at once, putting her maids to a great deal of inconvenience.
When the nurse entered the room with the ice cream she had a sudden feeling that some one had rushed upon her and the next instant was seized by so strong a feeling of choking that she was forced to leave the room. Upon recovery she returned and, convinced of the presence of a spirit, flung a window open and silently ordered any foreign entity present to leave the house.
This nurse and Mrs. McA.’s maid attended our circle that evening, and the controlling spirit at once complained of pain in the neck, readily explaining that his neck had been broken when he was hung, and said his name was Harry Hayward.
“Can’t you give me some ice cream? I have tried and tried to get some and today I could almost taste it, but I couldn’t quite get it. I was chased away by a woman—she threw me out of the window! I don’t like to be thrown out of a window by a woman!” Hayward realized that he was hovering around the earth as a spirit, and when we inquired how he had learned about spirit life he replied that while he was in jail he had read of it in some literature which had been sent him by an unknown person.
He complained that no matter where he went no one would take any notice of him; when he took a seat in a train some one would come along and sit down on his lap, and he would be powerless to move.
He was very pleased to be able to converse with people again and asked many questions about the various persons concerned with his trial and execution, inquiring particularly about the guard with whom he had spent a great deal of time playing cards.
I was under the impression that this guard had died some time before and informed the spirit so, suggesting that possibly he might be able to see him in the spirit world.
He was silent a moment, endeavoring to trace his former friend, then said emphatically: “No, that man is not dead. I see him playing cards at his son’s home in Minneapolis.” Hayward was readily enlightened concerning the higher life and left, expressing a willingness to progress in the spirit world.
The psychic invalid showed marked changes for the better after this, and subsequent correspondence proved Hayward’s statement about the old guard to be true. The latter was living, and on the evening of our experience with Hayward had been playing cards in his son’s home.
Ten years later, after the spirit of another murderer, who was hung, had been in our circle, Hayward returned and told something of his earth life.
SEPTEMBER 21, 1918, Spirit: HARRY HAYWARD.
Psychic: MRS. WICKLAND
I think I should like to come in and say something, for I feel I have been in the same boat as the fellow who preceded me—I mean, on the same platform. I feel but little better than he. I had a little more understanding than he had, and therefore my punishment was a little harder.
I had education and all the money I needed, but I wanted more.
I also want to tell you that since I have come to the spirit side of life I have wished I could go on every street corner and shout a message to mothers not to raise their children in the wrong way.
Mothers say they love their children; they worship them, and they let them go astray because they cannot say “No” to them.
Do not raise children without discipline. Train children as you train animals, as you train flowers. If you plant a flower in your garden you don’t want it to grow up wild, but you train it so that it will grow successfully, and have graceful flowers. But how little does humanity think of the children’s growth and training; children are not trained to become blossoms for humanity.
I tell you, if my mother—I do not condemn her by any means—had trained me properly, so that she could have said “No” to me, instead of worshipping me and letting me have all the money I wanted, and if she had punished me when I did wrong, I would have been different.
No, I would not have been hung if my mother had taught me the beautiful lesson of living for others, and of loving my fellow man as myself.
If mothers would think of their children’s welfare and raise them in the beautiful thought of living for others, they would all be better.
I lived a very sporty life. Nobody taught me any other. I had a very good time and I liked the girls pretty well, but there came a time when I spent more money than my father allowed me to have. I was only a young man and I should have been made to work. My misfortune was that my mother and father were rich. Work was a disgrace for me, they thought. It would have been far better if they had put me to work instead of giving me money each time I asked for it.
I commenced to gamble. You know when you get into that game it is hard to quit. Money came too easy for me. I met a young lady whom I liked. Young girls always were sweet to me and I was able to have whoever I wanted. The young lady liked me, and I liked her for what I got from her, so we decided that she would insure herself for $10,000 in my name.
I had a scheme. If somebody killed her, I would not get the blame, but I would get the money. I laid a bold scheme. I hired a man to kill her. At the time the deed was to be committed I took another girl to the theater, because I thought that, whatever happened, blame could not then be attached to me.
I hired a man to take her for a buggy ride out to Lake Calhoun and he was to kill her. When they got to the woods, the man killed her, and came home. Being in the theater, the girl I was with could testify I was not at the scene of the killing, but, you know, I was so crazy to get hold of the insurance money that I never thought how it looked to go to the insurance office so soon after the death, and they became suspicious, and finally caught me.
If I had only waited a week or two they would never have surmised anything about me. I was arrested. My mother loved me so much that she tried to put the blame on my other brother. He was married and had two children. The trial cost my parents a whole lot of money, and lasted months and months before they could make any headway. They could not decide whether it was Eddie or I that should be hung for the deed.
One day, while I was in jail, there came a little pamphlet for me, and some papers, all about the spirit world. I knew I had to go, for finally I had been sentenced to be hung. I realized my trouble. The papers interested me very much, and I thought I should like to know what the spirit world was. I believed in it in a way, and in another way, I didn’t.
The doctrine was better than the church had taught, but for a while I treated it more as a joke.
I talked about it quite a little to the watchman, but when the time came for me to be hung, I shrank from it. It is a very strange sensation when you think you are going to the gallows and your life will be snapped out—you cannot imagine how it feels.
You cannot imagine the sensation you have when you realize that you have only a few hours to live. Still, the little message which had been sent to me gave me a little courage, and I thought probably only my body would be destroyed and not my spirit. So at the last moment I kept up my courage and felt that I wanted to see what the hereafter was.
I have to thank the one who sent me that pamphlet, because it was a bright, cheerful spot to me at the last of my days.
When I realized that I had passed out of my body, my first thought was: “I am not dead.” I went to my mother, and I spoke to her, and she felt my presence. I still clung to my body, however, and I felt I could not leave it. I got out of it quickly, but I went back to it again. When my body was cremated I stood by and saw it burned.
After that I walked around, but I could not find the spirit world. I walked and walked, from one place to another. I still had my feeling for nice pretty women, so I traveled. In a way, I realized that I was dead, yet I did not fully realize it.
One time I felt I would like to take a journey and I wanted to travel by train. I went to the ticket office to get a ticket, but I had no money. I thought I would talk to the agent nicely and he would give me a ticket, but he paid no attention to me. So I thought, “All right; I’m going on the train anyway,” so on I got.
I sat down on one of the seats, and, before I knew it, a great, big, fat man sat right down on my lap. I got real mad. I tried to push him off, but I could not, and I could not get up either. I had to let that man sit on me until he was ready to get off the train! I had not learned the power of thought, to think myself away; I had only learned to walk. I had not yet learned the little thought lesson to think myself in a place in order to be there.
Before long I came to a beautiful lady (Mrs. McA.), and I commenced to like her. Before I knew it, I was in her magnetic aura and I could not get away. She wanted to be in bed all the time, and there I was! Once I heard some one say: “You must leave this lady and go away; if there is any spirit around her, it must leave and go away.” I was there, however.
I was very fond of ice cream, and I wanted some, so I impressed the lady to ask for it. When it was brought in, I wanted it. I seemed to come in contact with the lady who was carrying it, and I felt that if I could only get a good hold of her I would get the cream.
All at once I was a lady myself, and when I tried to get that ice cream I had the same sensation that, had when I was hung. But the lady, who was carrying the ice cream had such power that, before I knew it, she had thrown me out of the window—bodily, mind you.
I have to thank you for delivering me from all that trouble and also want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the sermon you gave me at that time, which helped me to an understanding of the beautiful world beyond.
I wish again that I could stand on every street corner and tell the mothers to raise their children to be good men and women, and when necessary, punish them while they are little, and not spare the rod and spoil the child.
If mothers raised their children properly, there would not be the selfishness there is in the world.
I have a nice little home in the spirit world now, and I have much to do, for my work is not yet done. I am trying to extend help to all those who wish help.
I thank you for enlightening me in the first place. Goodnight.
The “Car Barn Murderer,” of Chicago, was a criminal of a different type, a victim of his environment, and was brought to our circle some time after his execution, when he followed a girl, formerly a family neighbor, who came to visit Mrs. Wickland.
He returned several times after that, to tell his story and to bring earthbound spirits of similar experiences to an understanding.
SEPTEMBER 21, 1918, Spirit: PETE NEIDEMEYER.
Psychic: MRS. WICKLAND
I want to come here tonight to tell you that I also am one who is very thankful to you, although you probably do not care whether I come again or not. But I do know you helped me to something like happiness which I thought never could be mine.
I was nothing but a wild beast in earth life, but still, when you do not give children proper training, how can you expect to have good men? I had no training at all. My mother was very wild and did not care what became of her children. She thought: “Let them take care of themselves.” So you go out in company with others and get into first one game then another. Sometimes you go to church. I didn’t believe in that old story about Christ. I could not believe it, and I thought there was no such thing as what they taught about Christ, and if there was, what did I care? I walked in the path of evil from the time I was a little boy until I got where I could not live any longer, whether I wanted to or not.
I will tell you, if you have children, please give them an understanding when they are little. If they take anything from a person, make them take it back where they got it. Don’t let them get the idea that you will take it from them and think it is all right., If they steal once, they will again, if not properly taught.
When I stole, my mother thought I was a smart boy. I kept on going from bad to worse. I belonged to a gang of about a dozen boys. We got so bold and desperate that we did not care what became of us. We got into all kinds of hold-ups and the more we got into, the better we liked it. At last we held up and killed people. The result was, that we were caught and hung.
I am Neidemeyer, and here I am.
Years ago I was brought to this circle through our neighbor girl.
I liked that girl very much. One day she went away from home and I thought I would go with her.
I did not realize that I had been hung. I did not realize that I was dead. I had gone home and had stayed there for a long time, but I did not know that I was dead.
My mother was a strange woman, but from what I have seen since I came to the spirit side of life, I realize that she was obsessed. Nobody could do anything with my mother. My father and my brother were very good people, but my mother and I were the black ones.
This neighbor girl was good, and she always tried to do the best for me that she could. The day I followed her, she went to this man’s house (Dr. W.) and she went into a little room and spoke with the psychic through whom I am talking now, and I saw things that day that I had never seen before. I did not know what they meant. Somebody seemed to keep me there, and I could not get away.
Before I knew much I was sitting in a little meeting; I heard singing and before I realized it I was full of life again. I could talk and my throat did not hurt me any more. I began to wonder what had happened to me.
You talked to me so kindly that it helped me. You talked to me about the real life on the other side. You helped me to an understanding of life—not what the church and ministers taught, that we should pray to God and believe in the blood of Christ, and that Christ died for our sins, and that if we believe that we will go to Heaven.
I was not the kind that could go on that straight road, because I felt that was too easy, and I couldn’t believe that we could get to Heaven without any effort on our part. I knew I was bad, yet I felt in my heart that I should do something to try and be good, and do good for what I had done bad. The thought of that seemed to be more reasonable than that of jumping from my bad condition right into Heaven. I thought I would not be a very good example either.
You commenced to talk to me about the philosophy of God in a way I had never heard before, and it appealed to my sense. I hope somebody will talk in that way to my fellow men who are in the condition I was.
It would touch their hearts.
There are many of them who are not bad, but nobody cares for them.
The majority of them do not believe in the Jesus Christ story. As they are now, they are going to the dogs.
Since I came to this little circle the first time and received help, I have had my struggles. It is years since I made my first appearance here.
I want to tell you what I have to do since my mother passed out.
I have tried and tried to bring her to an understanding of the truth, but she will not listen. I hope some day to be able to awaken her to a higher condition.
As we progress we go from circle to circle. If I believed that Christ died for my sins, that belief and creed would keep me out of the higher spirit world.
When I had passed out of my body, you told me that I should look for spirit friends who would help me, and that my first lesson would be to serve others. I have had a very hard time.
The first thing I had to do was to conquer self, and it is very hard to conquer selfishness when you have never thought of anything else but selfishness. We must conquer that before we can do any work at all in the spirit world.
The best way is to be put in a dark room—we sometimes call it a dungeon— where we see nothing but ourselves and our acts of the past.
One after another these acts come crowding in. The good ones are so few that they hardly count for anything. When we do see a good act, it seems as if it belongs to some one else. We have to stay there until our hearts and eyes are opened. When we seek to overcome our bad habits and to live for others then we get out of the selfish state.
My heart was very hardened, but finally I cried out: “Not my will any longer, but thine.” The first thing to be done is to help serve the, very lowest we come in contact with. I felt that I did not want to assist with this or that, but I had to. I had to learn patience. When we can serve without grumbling and do it for the love of our fellow man, it does not seem so hard.
So I have gone on and on, from one thing to another, always learning, and through learning I have stepped into a more beautiful condition.
In the invisible world we advance by stages, but only through learning.
I want to thank you tonight for the help you have given me.
I have a beautiful little home in the spirit world by this time, and I am happy, but my work is not done yet.
My work is to keep on helping those who need help, and to try to influence the boys on earth not to do the mischief they are planning, but to try to be good, and do the very best they know how for their fellow men.
AUGUST 30, 1922, Spirit: PETE NEIDEMEYER.
Psychic: MRS. WICKLAND
I should like to come here tonight to say a few words. I want to thank you for helping me to the higher life.
I had gone down, down, and had only hatred and selfish thoughts.
I was down as far as I could go. My mother was obsessed. She had a great deal of influence over me. She was down on the world and made me do things to the neighbors that I should never have done. My father and brother were good people and were looked up to.
I am Pete Neidemeyer. I want to thank you for having helped me, and now I want to ask you to send good thoughts to my mother. She has passed out but I cannot reach her. She was obsessed by a very evil spirit; she sent evil thoughts to me, and I was very sensitive to them.
You did a Christian act for me which no one else had ever done. I was shunned by all. When you are in a large city, with all its temptations, and have not learned anything about the higher things, you get in bad company. You get so wrapped up with things that are bad that you think everything belongs to you just as much as it does to the other fellow.
Jealousy, selfishness and ignorance are three things that we should all try to conquer. When they get hold of you, they are the devil in you.
You feel jealous of everybody that has more than you. You are selfish.
You don’t want to give anything away, you just want to keep it all for yourself. You want everything that belongs to others. You feel that if there is a God he should have given you a chance as well as the rest of them.
In that atmosphere I was brought up. Mother was selfish and jealous.
Nobody in the neighborhood liked her; she did not have one friend. I was her pet and I could have anything.
Father told me not to do bad things, but mother said not to mind what he told me, but to go ahead and do as I pleased. I went out and stayed out nights in bad company. We got a gang together. I did not mean to get into the gang as I did, but I was forced into it by the club.
You understand, they have clubs, secret clubs, those fellows, and when you join you have to do just what they say, because you are in their power. If you try to withdraw you cannot because they will squeal on you. They watch you and somebody follows you all the time. The new beginners are the ones who do the dirty work. The leaders very seldom get caught.
There is a school and the new beginners learn to do bad things. Some of the leaders are in the finest society in big cities, and they get to know where we can find people to rob. You may sometimes wonder how we know where to go to find jewelry and money. Our leaders know all— about it. They are in fine society all the time. They have money so it wouldn’t do any good to squeal on them.
If I should tell you the names of some of our leaders who are in society in Chicago, you would not believe me. You would say that it is not so. If you would tell on them they would at once squeal on you and say you robbed such a house. What could you do? You just have to keep still. That is what the underworld is doing. The “upper world” uses the underworld when it suits its purpose. What we steal in one city, they send off to another city.
Always you will find our leaders in the finest society, but we do not dare say anything. When you once join their club—what I would call the Devil’s Club—you can’t say anything. You are in their claws, and our leaders are worse than devils, they are so mean. If we should kill, we are the ones who suffer, but they get the money.
I came here tonight to thank you for having helped me. Nobody ever gave me a helping hand before.
In that car barn murder I did not kill anyone. I was with the gang, but the one who did the work did not get hung; he got away. We four were hung, because we were there. I was innocent. My work was to watch, which I did, but I did not murder. I was hung for it.
If you have any influence at all, do not hang people. Let them have another chance, because sometimes you will find they are innocent.
Keep them in the pen; give them another chance.
If they are hung, then where are they? All they have in their hearts is hatred. They go back to earth life and do more mischief. They control people and obsession steps in.
I had hatred when I was hung and said if there is life again I will get even and fight for revenge.
You remember Tillie, who lived next door to me? I told you about her before. She used to come to your circles. I followed her once and through her influence I came into your circle and was converted to the higher life.
Tillie always had a good influence over me and sometimes she wanted to talk to me, but mother was always jealous and didn’t want her to talk. Mother was very mean to Tillie’s people. She got so mad at the time I was hung that she tormented all her neighbors. She tore up all the fences and closed up all the stable windows on their side. She tried to shoot everybody she could. If my father bad had the gun loaded, mother would have been in great trouble.
Tillie was my guardian angel, and through your circle I got over my hatred. Now I try to help others with the light you gave me. My mission is to help the unfortunate ones, like this fellow who came before me.
I try to influence people to be more just. If you have a chance to hang anyone, don’t do it, but give him another chance. You have no right to kill. Nobody should kill another person. We are all God’s children. We all make mistakes, and the strong should help the weak.
When one person murders another, no justice is shown, no mercy.
The judge and the jury—what mercy do they show a fellow when he has murdered? Why should they kill him instead of giving him another chance? Why don’t they give a good word to the poor ones? Why don’t they go to the prisoners and teach them of the higher life, and also have psychic circles and try to help them? As soon as you stop capital punishment you will not have so much killing. When persons are hanged, they have revenge and hatred in their hearts, and all they want to do is kill, kill, kill. So they influence sensitive mortals and make them commit all kinds of crime.
I want to say again, if you have any influence, stop capital punishment.
This is a Christian country and nobody has a right to kill another.
As they killed Christ, so they kill boys who have been murderers, instead of teaching them while they are young. Isn’t is right that they should be taught to do better, and to live better lives? The time will come when the world will have to understand that it must overcome selfishness. There will be lots of trouble before that time comes.
There will be much destruction, but after that, things will be better.
I am now doing my work in the spirit world, and I thank you for bringing me to a realization and waking me up. I have little meetings here and there. I give little thoughts of cheer to those in darkness.
I am up against a very hard condition, and that is, to get my mother to understand. I wish you would all send good, kind thoughts to her, because she only had hatred and selfishness and jealousy in her heart.
She was so wrapped up in herself that now she will not listen to anyone.
Help me to wake her up and realize the true condition of life.
Oh, how I thank you for helping me! At heart I was not a murderer, yet I was hung for murder. I was not with the gang that was doing the work; all I did was to watch. I was there with them and that was enough for the jury—I had the name.
Now I am trying to do my part, but I have much to learn. I was very ignorant of the real life. My father wanted me to go to Sunday School.
Mother told me I didn’t need to go, but I went, and I didn’t find anything there that appealed to me, so I quit going.
I know now that God is everywhere and that I am a part of God. I had a hard time getting rid of selfishness, jealousy and ignorance; they are the root of all evil. When they are gone, love, kindness and sympathy take their place. Get an understanding of the higher life and you will be happy. All should be brothers and sisters on earth, as we are in the higher life.
In the spirit world our real eyes are opened. You cannot progress until you have learned the lessons of life. You know, a schoolboy cannot go to University until after he gets through his schoolbooks. He must go to Kindergarten before he can enter the University, and he has to get there step by step.
So it is in the spirit world. It is the world of happiness. We cannot appreciate it until we have it before us. Everybody should know these things before they step over the Borderland. We cannot go to the spirit world until we have an understanding of it. When we are one with God then we have happiness.
I do not know much, and I cannot say much, because I have seen so little of it. I have much work to do before I go on.
The spirit world is like going into a garden and seeing one beautiful flower here and another there. The flowers all stand up so straight and look at you and seem to say: “Please take me.” This one has a certain odor, and that one another, but all are beautiful and fragrant.
The spirit world is like a flowerbed, all is beauty and harmony—I mean there is no selfishness. One shines more than another because he has more understanding. We will all get there, but we have to gain advancement for ourselves. No one needs to get discouraged; all will get there, but it takes time.
Thank you for having helped me to an understanding and a home But for that, I should have been an earthbound spirit, doing more harm than good, for I had hatred in my heart.
I am very happy, but I want you all to send a good thought to my mother, so that I can wake her up, and help her to overcome her selfishness, jealousy and ignorance. Just give me a chance to wake her up.
I thank you all!
“Spirits and Crime” is a chapter from Thirty Years Among the Dead by Carl Wickland.