What would you and I regard as definite proof that a man or woman has survived death? I think by him or her appearing and speaking to us.
That is the most direct proof. A hundred others are known to psychical investigators—that is to scientists who devote their lives to investigation of the afterlife. Many such exist today.
Before I come to a consideration of the body, soul and spirit of which each one of us is composed and of the facts behind them, I will give a series of personal communications with those who have “died” into the Afterlife.
Perhaps because it lies closest to my heart as father, I will begin with the first talk I ever had with my little dead son Jan, who had passed out in his eleventh year. There was something strangely luminous about this child, with a smile of understanding which made many love him, a quality which showed itself in our talks after his death.
On 10th March, 1933, Jan’s voice was heard by me and others at the house of a friend. The first words were : “I want my father.” He then made a statement of a most intimate, personal kind. I, intensely sceptical of many sides of “communication” with the dead, was convinced by this statement that it was, indeed, my boy speaking and that there was no impersonation. Nobody else in that room, so far as I am aware, could possibly have known of the personal trouble and of its rectification which he then conveyed.
The voice was what is known as the “direct voice.” That is to say, not the voice of a medium, but the boy’s own voice coming out of the air.
On the 5th of May of the same year, he sent messages to his mother and sister. There stands a note in my records, made, as always, immediately after the experience : “I have never used his name or given any evidence at these seances.” None of those present knew anything about Jan—not even his name or that of his sister, which is a rare and difficult Gaelic name which Jan himself gave me correctly on 10th October of the same year.
On this occasion, when Lady Segrave and others were present, he gave me once more peculiarly convincing, evidence, impossible to anyone there, of certain physical and mental changes he had undergone.
In the following December, I had extraordinary proof of the reality of “Jan” as my own boy. Speaking with absolute clearness, he placed a speaking trumpet on my knee, so that the others might not hear our conversation, which was very private. Bending down, I whispered into it, his voice also coming to me from it in a whisper.
In this talk, he covered difficult psychological details of his own life as of the lives of his mother and sister. His mother was at the time undergoing a special cure, and this he discussed with close knowledge. Also her differences of mental attitude to certain questions.
A point of evidence, remarkable, was my misunderstanding him when he spoke of what I thought was his ability with the speaking trumpet. He at once corrected me and told me he was actually speaking of something which had happened to his voice since he had passed over—something, again, of which nobody present could have known. Also he poked gentle fun at one of my weaknesses.
It was at this meeting that I used his name for the first time. Yet he had given me his name correctly long before.
My last meeting with him was on 24th September, 1940, but we have met from time to time through the years. Nor do I think of him as “dead,” but as living and ever present.
Now what were the conditions under which I heard my boy’s voice? Were they “test” conditions? I here make the definite statement after many years of psychic research, that in its very nature no conditions can ever be absolutely watertight. The real “test” is that you know the bona fides of those present, that they have invariably proved trustworthy, and that the physical conditions, generally, are fraud- proof.
I have met and sometimes spoken with my boy under many varieties of conditions, with different mediums and in different places.
The supreme test of all “communication” with the so-called dead is that the evidence is self-veridical; that, in fact, what comes through is unknown to any present, and that it persistently tallies.
These conditions were complied with in my communications with Jan. Sir Oliver Lodge found the same in his talks with his son Raymond.
Of all proofs of survival, what is called the “Direct Voice” is the most compelling.
This is the actual voice of the “dead” man or woman coming out of the air and not speaking through a medium, although the presence of a medium is usually necessary. Its existence is now admitted by such notable men of science as Sir Oliver Lodge, past President of the British Association; by Professors Ernest Bozzano and Gildo Passini, and by Dr. Robin J. Tillyard and many other professors of different countries. Literally scores of distinguished laymen vouch for it.
Many American scientists, including Dr. Tillyard, have heard the direct voice in the “Margery and Walter” experiments, and some of them, including Dr. Tillyard, declare it to be genuine. Hundreds of men and women, distinguished and other, have heard the famous guide, Red Cloud, speak in this voice under the mediumship of Mrs. Estelle Roberts, a lady of probity.
I have heard it on scores of occasions, and in many languages, sometimes in good light, and even with several voices speaking at the same time. Messages have been delivered by the spirits of the so- called dead to large audiences in London by this voice, and soon we are to have public lectures delivered, literally, “out of the air.” To deny the existence of this voice would be the same as denying the existence of the voice of any human being who may speak to you tomorrow. One ventures to think that only ignorance or contumacy, and the sometimes intense “reluctance to life” of certain types of scientist, can account for such denial.
I have in my records of the “Voice” the names of men and women widely known who have spoken to me before witnesses, from the Other Side of Death. Amongst these are Sir Henry Segrave, once leading authority on internal combustion engines and world champion in motor- boat speed records ; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the thinker and novelist; William T. Stead, doyen of journalists; Dennis Neilson- Terry, the actor, and Rudolf Valentino, the film star. I have also spoken, about their writings, to names internationally famous. These last were intensely veridical, as it would have been quite impossible for the mediums present, without pretence to literary knowledge, to have discussed such recondite subjects.
From a mass of Direct Voice notes recorded at the time, and covering the seven years from early in 1933, I select one or two.
Many of us have heard Sir Henry Segrave speak with his wife upon intimate subjects known only to both. As his spirit-form left the room he would come up to me and speak to me in his friendly but reserved way, one of and talks taking place on 2nd June, 1933.
One of the most popular playwrights of our time, who wrote a fine reincarnation play which has been seen by thousands, and whose wife wishes his name suppressed, spoke to me upon many occasions.
The first time was n 5th May,1933, soon after his death, before some twenty people, including Lady Segrave.
The strikingly evidential part of this talk was his referring to himself by the special name by which I knew him. I also spoke with a friend of his on the Other Side, he using the direct voice, upon 6th and 20th October of the same year about this playwright’s plays and his changed views of my own books. Nobody present could possibly have taken part in this discussion.
Perhaps one of the best bits of evidence in the Direct Voice was when the spirit of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle came through before twenty- three people to ask to speak with me. I, always sceptical and careful, asked the spirit to prove that he really was Conan Doyle by telling me where he and I had last met. This was correctly given. We had met by accident in a doorway in Victoria Street, Westminster, where we had separately run for shelter from a shower. He then sent messages to his wife and his son Denis.
Sir Henry Segrave also spoke with me on this occasion.
It gives us all to think when we find men of the scientific standing of Dr. William Brown, M.A., M.D., D.Sc., F.R.C.P., one of the most advanced psychologists of our day, declaring in a London lecture : “Nevertheless, I think I range myself with our President . . . in claiming for the evidence that has been brought forward by the Society for Psychical Research during the last fifty years that it is sufficient to make survival of bodily death, scientifically speaking, extremely probable.” But one has only to watch the evolution of great scientists like Professors Jeans and Eddington, the astronomers, or of Dr. Alexis Carrel, author of Man the Unknown and winner of the Nobel Prize, to see the inexorable trend to a spiritual view of matter. Or, if we observe the later developments of the mathematicians and the physicists, from Einstein to that most remarkable of scientists, J. W. Dunne, with his An Experiment with Time, which has been described as “one of the most important books of this age,” we find how implacably, in the world of science, matter is becoming dematerialised, and how spiritual interpretation is taking the place of the now old-fashioned materialist science. Dunne, indeed, claims to have found irrefutable proof of human immortality.
Professor Charles Richet, the psycho-physiologist , after a lifetime of experiment, had to Professor Ernesto Bozzano to confess himself driven against his will to belief in the world of survived spirits as explanation of the phenomena he had encountered in his laboratory.
Speaking personally, I would go so far as to say that the reading of such purely scientific treatises as Sir William Bragg’s The Universe of Light will convince that under natural law, at least, there is nothing inherently scientifically impossible in man surviving death in ghostly form.
For many years I have set out the case for survival both in book and on platform. I can truthfully say that never once have statements of the above kind been effectively challenged. The fact being that the case for our passing into another world which is as real as this, is a case now resting upon evidence as clear and persistent as that of any other fact of science.
We speak with our dead. We see our dead.
The greatest scientists of all time insist upon this. Look at some of the names : Lodge and Crookes and Lombroso, Alfred Russel Wallace and Camille Flammarion. Professors Bozzano, Morselli and Passini of Italy. Professors William James, Larkin and Hyslop of America. Many of these believers in survival base their belief partly upon the direct voice which they have heard.
And I, writing these words to you, the reader, also insist with them that you can be as absolutely assured that you survive the death of the physical body as that you now, for the time, live in that body today.
In that belief you will have behind you every great religious teacher from the Gautama Buddha to Jesus. You will have nearly all the greater philosophers from Plato downwards. Almost every poet will be with you. Death is the universal superstition.
There is no death.