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Feuds & Regrets in the Afterlife

Posted on 06 May 2024, 10:47

The story of the Ross sisters, as communicated through the mediumship of Geraldine Cummins, (below) perhaps the most accomplished automatist of the 20th Century, suggests that family grudges and feuds carry over into the afterlife if not resolved before death. The story also suggests that we can have concerns and regrets relative to how things, such as wills, were left at the time of transition from the physical world.


Beatrice Gibbes, Cummins’s friend and assistant, described the method employed by Cummins. She would sit at a table, cover her eyes with her left hand and concentrate on “stillness.” She would then fall into a light trance or dream state. Her hand would then begin to write. Usually, her “control,” most often a spirit named Astor, said to be a pagan Greek when alive on earth, would make some introductory remarks and announce that another entity was waiting to speak. Because of Cummins’s semi-trance condition and also because of the speed at which the writing would come, Gibbes would sit beside her and remove each sheet of paper as it was filled. Cummins’s hand was quickly lifted by Gibbes to the top of the new page, and the writing would continue without break. The handwriting most often changed to that identified with the communicating spirit when alive.

From 1925 thru 1929, Molly Ross, the youngest of four sisters and Gibbes observed and recorded the story in a book titled They Survive. After the sittings, Gibbes would go over the scripts with Molly and have her comment on evidential points.

Molly had three sisters who had passed over. They were Audrey, who died in 1894 at age 21; Margaret, who died in 1925 at age 57, and Alice, the oldest of the four sisters, who died in 1928 at the age of 62. Molly had had several evidential sittings with GC after Margaret’s death in 1925. When Alice appeared on the brink of death while in a nursing home in York, Molly, who was living in London, was summoned to her sister’s bedside. After Alice died on October 11, 1928, Molly wired GC in Dublin, Ireland, requesting that Astor find her oldest sister, Audrey, and to let her know that Alice had passed over.

Four days later, on October 15, Molly received a letter from GC, postmarked October 12, saying that Margaret had communicated and said that “Alice was not alone when she was slipping out of her body… that Audrey and Mater (their mother) came to her.”

Margaret explained that Audrey presented herself to Alice as Alice remembered her in 1894, not as she was in 1925. She further explained that because Alice and Mater had quarreled before Mater’s death three years earlier, and because Audrey had much more experience on that side, Audrey was the first to appear to Alice while Mater remained in the background. Because Alice was so restless, Audrey put on a dream of old days about her soul. When Alice saw these old memories, her fear left her.

Margaret said that she had not yet approached Alice because she was not yet fit to draw near the newly dead. Besides, Margaret added, she would not have been received kindly by Alice as they constantly quarreled when they were alive. (This point was particularly evidential to Molly, since it was true and she was certain that GC had no way of knowing of the friction between the two sisters.)

On November 10, 1928, Mollie sat with GC in London. A request was made to Astor to find Margaret. After a pause, Margaret took hold of GC’s hand and told Molly that she had talked with Alice. “I had quite a shock when I found out that we didn’t disagree with each other,” Margaret wrote. “She is so much gentler than she was.” Margaret then said that Alice would attempt to communicate directly, although it might be too soon and her words might be muddled. Mollie observed the writing change to a big scrawl and become very labored.

“Mo, Mo, Molly. I am here. I see you,” Alice wrote. “It’s all true. I am alive. The pain went at once. I felt suffocating. Then, just after I got that awful choking, I felt things were breaking up all about me. I heard crackling like fire and then dimness. I saw you bending down with such a white face and you were looking at me, and I wasn’t there.” Alice added that she regretted that her husband, John, and her son, Ronald, were not there when she left the body. (Molly confirmed the deathbed scene as accurate and pointed out that John and Ronald arrived several hours after the death. Here again, Molly saw this as very evidential since GC had no way of knowing what took place in Alice’s final hours.)

Alice said that she regretted not having treated her second son, who was living in East Africa, as an equal to Ronald. (Molly confirmed that Ronald was the favorite son and noted that Ronald was favored in Alice’s will, another fact which GC could not have known.) As the writing became fainter, Margaret took back the pencil and explained that Alice found it hard to write at the end as she didn’t understand how to manage the words. However, she got through most of what she wanted to say. Margaret added that Alice also regretted treating her husband badly. (Molly noted that this was also very evidential as Alice “bullied her husband dreadfully.”)

Margaret then mentioned that Alice still resented the fact that Margaret cut her out of her will and left her share to Charles, their brother, who had no need of the money. (This was another very evidential fact to Molly.) “She hasn’t forgotten yet the way I left my money,” Margaret wrote. “She feels it would have made a difference in her last days.”

Molly told Margaret that Alice’s family was managing financially. “Good,” Margaret replied. “I will tell her that, then she won’t bother about things. The fact of the matter is, she came out of the world with a dark cloud of years of troubled thought about money. It all accumulated and clung about her. But I think now it will be slowly dissipated… All that worrying before her death left her in a very scattered state of mind.”

When Margaret told Molly that Alice had it easier than she (Margaret) did, Molly requested an explanation. “I never cared much for anyone,” Margaret responded. “One pays for that over here.”

Margaret went on to say that she was now “quite clear” of her worldly longings and had built herself a house with her thoughts. Moreover, she was sharing the house with someone. “Oh! I don’t think that sounds quite nice,” Molly reacted. “Who are you sharing it with? A MAN?” Margaret said she was not prepared to tell Molly of her companion, but, apparently in jest, wrote that she should tell Charles (their brother) that she had dragged the Ross name into the mud. (Mollie noted that it was a family joke that Charles took life too seriously and was always afraid of a family scandal.)

On November 11, 1928, Molly again sat with GC. After GC went into a trance, Molly asked Astor if he could bring Margaret. “Yes, I will call her,” Astor responded, apparently thinking of Alice. “She is quite near. Her new body is now almost formed. When it is complete she can face the new world and this life. Wait (pause).“Funny old man called me,” Alice wrote, “Who is your grey-bearded admirer, Molly?”

Molly explained that the man was Astor, GC’s guide. Alice replied that her mind was still in tatters and that she was confused. Alice then wrote that her men were no good. Molly replied that there were many men she liked in her younger days. “They were nice to flirt with but not any use otherwise,” Alice wrote. (Molly noted that Alice, when alive, frequently referred to herself as a “flirt.”)
Alice then said that Mater sends her love to Molly and talks about her (horseback) riding. Alice then recalled a quarrel that she had had with Mater over Molly’s ability to ride a particular horse. (Another evidential fact.)

Alice mentioned that Margaret had been around. “You know I never could stand her,” Alice said, “but you would have laughed to see us together. We were so polite. She was trying so hard to avoid giving offence… I put Margaret in her place all right. She told me how sorry she was about her will and the money she didn’t leave to me. I told her that being sorry didn’t make up for the thoughtlessness, that there was more thought in your little finger than in her whole body. Do you know, she took it quite quietly, and would you believe it, kissed me! My word, I was never so taken back in my life. I couldn’t say anything more to her then.”

At one point, Alice said, “And in those last months I used to keep saying to myself, ‘if only this or that had happened.’” (Molly recalled her saying those exact words.) Alice also mentioned having talked with their father (Pater) and his making reference to some “numbskull” relatives. (This was a word that Alice sometimes used when alive, Molly noted, while Beatrice Gibbes could not recall GC ever having used the word before.)
Alice asked Molly if she had seen John (Alice’s husband) recently. Molly said she had. “Tell him I see more and more how patient and good he was to me,” Alice wrote. “I feel so sorry now because I know I spoke harshly to him sometimes.” (Molly noted that “harshly” was a very mild way of putting it.)

After a few more comments the writing changed to Margaret’s quick style. Molly asked Margaret if she was aware that Alice was just communicating. “Yes, she has quite blossomed out,” Margaret replied. Molly noted that Margaret frequently spoke of people “blossoming out” when she was alive in the flesh.

Margaret mentioned that she and Alice had had a “fusillade” (i.e., shoot-out, outburst) when they last met. Molly recalled that the word “fusillade” was often used by Margaret before she passed.

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife, and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.
His latest book, No One Really Dies: 25 Reasons to Believe in an Afterlife is published by White Crow books.

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(To be continued in the next blog, May 20)


Don @19 May, 16:33,

Looking around at “all of the aimless, purposeless, ill-educated and ethically-challenged individuals walking around with us (not to mention the countless millions who, through no fault of their own are in similar circumstances in a variety of third-world countries)” is sad all right. Especially when we toss our own shortcomings into the mix.

It would destroy any reasonable hope in an ultimately loving creation to believe that all benighted souls have blown their only chance to evolve mentally and spiritually.

Just about all reports via mediums of the post-mortem environment that I’ve read are clear, though, that opportunities to grow toward higher states of being are abundant in the afterlife. So I don’t believe reinsertion on the physical plane is necessary to evolve.

Reincarnation appears to be consistent with what we can observe about the human condition and various clues about its inner meaning. But the overshadowing theory makes equal sense as an interpretation.

You are right that both theories (and maybe others) don’t cancel one another out. They could each be true. I hope I will have a choice whether to come back or not.

Rick Darby, Sun 19 May, 18:27


Yes, that (overshadowing) is an interesting, and in my mind, a totally valid theory—I mention it (somewhere) in my first book. Beyond Lurancy Vellum,there’s also the Thomson (I don’t recall his first name) paintings case (written about by D. Scott Rogo) and a number of others.

My primary reason for not rejecting reincarnation entirely stems more from intuition than evidence. Wherever you live, just take a look around on the street (or the internet) at all of the aimless, purposeless, ill-educated and ethically-challenged individuals walking around with us (not to mention the countless millions who, through no fault of their own, are in similar circumstances in a variety of third-world countries)and it boggles the mind to think that this is IT for them—with no further opportunities for growth or “redemption.”

In short, I see no rational reason why both theories can’t actually exist in practice…

Don Porteous, Sun 19 May, 16:33

Further to my comment time stamped Thu 9 May, 02:28 in which I threatened to offer a plausible alternative explanation of phenomena suggesting reincarnation.

While it doesn’t seem to capture the public enthusiasm reincarnation does, it is pretty well established by now that disembodied spirits, former tenants of this physical world, do lurk about. Some of them attach themselves to psyches of the still-living and influence them to one degree or another, from imparting moods to actual possession. The classic account is Thirty Years Among the Dead by Carl Wickland; an extreme case is that of a young woman named Lurancy Vennum, whose mind was apparently taken over by the deceased spirit of another, Mary Roff, for some 10 months in what is known as the Watseka Wonder. 

It seems to me that just about all the signs and symptoms that point to reincarnation—especially confirmed “previous life” facts—map just as well to overshadowing by earthbound spirits of people who have passed recently.

This interpretation doesn’t rely on lame assumptions such as super-ESP or a hidden “secondary personality” of a person with supposed past-life memories. They actually are describing past incarnations—just not their own. It’s natural for the subject to believe they are remembering relatives and sights from another time and place, because that’s what the attaching spirit is doing.

Yes, it’s somewhat hard to explain the stigmata that seem to match injuries obtained in the supposed earlier incarnation. How would the spirit of a different person transmit those? Fair enough, but the phenomenon is just as puzzling if we ask how a previous self could generate such “wounds” in a newborn.

I’ll confess to a bias: I don’t want to come back to the earth plane. This one life has shown me all I want to know about its trials and even pleasures. You say we’re all here to learn our lessons? I’ll study hard on the Other Side, promise. You say we learn faster immersed in the hard school of mortal existence? No problem. We are told that there is no time as we understand it in the afterlife. So what difference does it make if I’m a bit of a slacker? I’ll have all the “time” in the next world to get it right.

Rick Darby, Sat 18 May, 03:33


Sorry for the delay in replying.

Yes, absolutely family feuds continue into the afterlife. And even into other lifetimes.

As a Spiritist attending spirit sessions over 50 years…spirits communicate their animosity and regrets about various family members regularly.

Angry spirits try to create problems emotionally and even physically to those they hate that are still incarnated.

That is why sometimes we see violence and even murder against family members, that sometimes appears to come out of nowhere and the people involved even question why they themselves committed such acts.

Many times the reason lies in past lives… where the other party has possibly done a terrible wrong, especially to family members. And although their conscious mind was not aware of it,  the spirit definitely does.

And, if an emotional situation arises, and deep anger rises up ....due to a past life memory,
it can trigger horrific actions and events.

Many leave this life with regrets!

How sad are those who come to ask their family members forgiveness. They pray they will have a chance for atonement in a future life together.

In the recently translated book, Acts that Prove - Causes of Human Suffering from the Perspective of Reincarnation (42 chapters)
... are a series of spirit communications revealing similar circumstances and more.

The information was compiled by Amalia Domingo Soler, one of the most famous Spiritists in Spain during the time of the very first Congress in Barcelona in 1888.

Yvonne Limoges

Yvonne Limoges, Sat 18 May, 00:09

Thank you for your comment and reference. 

Patience Worth often had people request a communication with their deceased loved ones or to tell them about their future.  In each edition of “Patience Worth’s Magazine,” the editor (probably Casper Yost) printed a kind of “Black Box Warning” that Patience Worth does not do those kinds of things.  The following is a partial quote from that cautionary note:

“The sole purpose of this publication is to spread and to interpret the words of Patience Worth.  It is not a medium of occultism nor of physical research.  It will not concern itself with kindred phenomena of any character.  It is not related to nor associated with any cult or society, nor has it any theories to present other than those based upon the words and the personality of Patience Worth.  It is, in short, Patience Worth’s magazine, nothing more, nothing less.

It should be clearly understood that Patience Worth is not a ‘fortune-teller.’  She does not ‘read the future.’  She does not find lost lovers, lost relatives or lost property.  She does not give advice upon business.  She does not pretend to be a physical healer.  It is therefore, utterly useless to ask her service in any such matters, and it is worse than useless to send money to this publication, or to anyone associated with her, for such purposes.”

In reference to the Ouija board, Pearl Curran once said that for her it was “just a piece of dead wood.” The following is Pearl Curran’s statement about her use of the Ouija board:

“I have been besieged by letters of inquiry, not only as to my theories as to the phenomenon of Patience Worth but as to the real part of the Ouija board plays in the actual production.  I am prompted to answer this latter question so that erroneous ideas arising from the superstitious belief that the board moves with mystic power may be dispelled.  In my own experience, the board has acted merely as a thought dispeller, enabling me to put my own thoughts away for the moment.  As soon as this happens, and with me it is almost instantaneous, the dictation of Patience Worth begins and with my hands I record what is being given to me.  It is I who moves the board, in response to the subconscious or conscious impulse.  There is no mystery in the movement, the mystery, if any is in the source of the impulse.”

Several modern psychics use a ‘scribble pad’ to help them clear their mind similar to the way Pearl Curran used the Ouija board, e.g., George Anderson, Allison Dubois and Tyler Henry.


Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 17 May, 17:15

Test test test

Jon, Fri 17 May, 06:46


I ran across this page 19 Sir Oliver Lodge is right; spirit communication a fact by Grace DURAND on the internet archive

Sometimes mediums get insights in to other spirit communications, again hard to prove one way or the other but as she had nice things to say I thought I would pass it on. I don’t get the very famous names in case you were wondering.

“There is no doubt but that the rare beauty of the literature, the exquisite diction and unusual phraseology is without parallel. Words are used found only in the plays of Shakespeare, and the quick wit and repartee is delicious.

“A Sorry Tale” has just been published and will rank with the novels of any time.

So much for what is known by the public. For what is not known by the public, my mother in the Spirit world has given me: “Patience Worth is a peculiar, unusual Spirit, most beautiful to look upon and wonderfully developed spiritually. For years she had hoped to find one on the earth plane whom she could use as a medium, and through an instrument particularly adapted for her use. This she found in Mrs. Curran and the ouiji board.’ ’ As for the direct voice, she will have none of it, when I asked if she would speak to me, preferring her own way of communication exclusively through Mrs. Curran and the ouiji board, and my brother in the Spirit world laughingly remarked, “No use to urge her to speak to you. Patience Worth has a mind and a will of her own and we had better let it alone.

I have never played with an ouiji board and get surprised when people get good at this form of communication as I see it is a poor unshielded communication device. What I like from this quote is the waiting game played by spirits to find an instrument.


Bruce Williams, Fri 17 May, 06:39

I guess the biggest obstacle to accepting reincarnation in the way it is usually interpreted is that of no time existing in the greater reality.  I know that Michael Newton and others have us living past, present, and future lives all in the moment, i.e., at the same “time.” That may be so, but it is beyond the grasp of most of us. I’m tied up right now in a future life while trying to resolve a past-life issue, but I’m finding time to reread the Scole material, including the reason it came to an end—scientists from the future were interfering with the research.  Will discuss that more in a future blog.

Michael Tymn, Wed 15 May, 05:08

Amos and Don,
I appreciate the presentation of this information. In particular, I think that we are close in certain views. A surprise to me. As I always say, be reasonable and agree with me. This is contrasted with my other phrase, if I would agree with you then we would both be wrong. In any case, I like both of your articulate contributions.
Cummins - Mine has never been a case of possession by another mind.  I am as a stenographer taking down words from dictation and employing as it were an inner hearing.  .  .  . The authors are in eternity.  In my experience no more than any secretary or shorthand writer is my conscious mind dissociated during sittings.  That is to say it is not in any way controlled by a dictating alien mind either during my scriptwriting or for one moment in my ordinary daily life.
This is my technique which is different from trance. I act as a minute secretary (I was a minute secretary for many years) receiving scripts which I date and write down. Their technique is telepathy. I have not found too many like me (Mrs. Willett and Cummins have described the same technique). I recently contacted a medium who had a similar approach to a certain spiritual situation but she used trance. To explain to someone who knows only trance, I describe it as a light trance. It depends on your preferred technique.
Automatic writing is where the control of the hand is by the spirit and usually someone feeds the blank papers to the medium. I know Patience’s technique with “The picture is not confined to the point narrated but takes in everything else within the circle of vision of the time” as it often happens to me. The best way I can describe it as a tracking drone seeing from above but can be moved to see off to the side. The different techniques used by mediums often distort the message so there is always debate as to accuracy.
I have the normal problems of believability but as have a soul group to keep happy I really only care if there is progression. Don’s recent comment is getting close to the mark. Don’t worry I wouldn’t believe me apart from the fact I know me.

Bruce, Mon 13 May, 14:13


That’s a nice summation of a main stream of thought regarding the Group Soul (or as you prefer to call it, Soul Consciousness).

This area is hardly one of my strong points, as it’s been a long time since I’ve read much of this material. If memory serves however, both Myers and “Mrs. Willett” (Winifred Margaret Coombe Tennant) were of the feeling that at some point, continuing reincarnation into a new physical lifetime was no longer necessary, as any new learning we still needed could be accessed through participation in the past lives/memories of the other members of our Group Soul while on the “other side.”

I don’t recall if this was from Myers/Cummins’ “Road to Immortality” or from Willett/Cummins’ “Swan on a Black Sea” (or some other source)...but obviously, we won’t know for sure until we get there…

Don Porteous, Mon 13 May, 11:58

Myers’s comment that he would not live on earth again (as Frederic Myers) is in agreement with Dr. Lazar (or Lazar is in agreement with Myers) who said that he, Oliver would not live again as Oliver, implying that he might live again as another personality of his Group Soul. This suggests that one personality, whether it be Myers or Patience Worth will not be reincarnated; only the Soul Consciousness will be reincarnated but with memories and experiences of its many past lives, in this case, Myers and/or Patience Worth.

This is beginning to make sense to me and in some ways explains Pearl Curran for me, and I am starting to understand what a “Group Soul” may really be, based upon what Myers and Lazar said.
The Soul Consciousness (Group Soul) does not change but a point is reached when the incarnated personality of the Soul Consciousness or its subliminal self will have completed its purpose in life or the physical form will no longer support the personality and it is time for the subliminal self of that personality to bow to its applause, hang up its costume, go to the cast party and be remembered by the Soul Consciousness as another experience, another role it played in physical form.  The Soul Consciousness then waits for another audition for another role or personality to play in the grand theater of life.

Throughout a lifetime the Soul Consciousness remains the same while the personality and its physical form changes through experiencing a challenging changing physical life.  Through this process of a returning subliminal consciousness, the Soul Consciousness is able to learn, to grow and to evolve into an enhanced version of itself on its way back to God, the Universal Soul Consciousness, from whence it came and to which it contributes to God’s omniscience all of its lifetime experiences. On the way back, another lifetime may be required and experienced with a new costume and makeup and new lines to learn. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 12 May, 21:34

You may not know it but your thoughts about embodiment of the immortal soul might be considered Avant-garde today by some thinkers of spiritual matters, including myself.  You comment that, “I have a variation based on Zoroastrian thinking where each of us has a pre-existing immortal soul which splits when we embody, one part in the material world the other part is a pure spirit. When the material dies it rejoins the spiritual part.”

Allow me to quote Dr.(M.D.) Oscar Lazar’s thoughts about the immortal soul and reincarnation, really not so different than your own.

“Basically, we all have a higher self, a kind of main soul in the spiritual world, which contains all our aspects from previous and future lives. This main soul always remains in the spiritual world, and when we incarnate only parts of this main soul are extracted, combined and formed into a new individual human soul.  This constellation of soul parts is unique and will only exist once in this form.  However, this human soul of an individual is permanently in contact with its main soul rather in the way of a radio link.  If one has lived one’s life as this unique person, all one’s soul parts will return to the main soul complete with one’s new experiences after death.  So, when I die one day as Oliver the soul aspects that made me up will merge again with my main soul.  There I am stored eternally as Oliver and will never incarnate again in this constellation.  In these circumstances no one need to fear that the soul of a loved one has already reincarnated and can no longer be encountered.  In a new incarnation, new parts of my main soul would again be combined and a new individual would be formed.  This new individual soul would then also carry the experiences and memories of me (Oliver).”  (Beyond Matter, 2023 Lazar pp 33-34)

Here is my own take on the matter.

I tend to think that there is no separate entity we can call a “Group Soul” residing off somewhere in eternity while my currant personality struggles here on Earth. Alternatively, to finesse Dr. Lazar’s thoughts, I would say that each of us may be, in fact, the Group Soul, here and now, which I would like to call “Soul Consciousness”, experiencing itself in physical form in the life currently being lived. The subliminal self or living personality associated with a physical form as male, female, young, old, black, white, dwells within or is a part of that Soul Consciousness, wherein abides all of the other subliminal selves or personalities of past lifetimes like facets of a gemstone or threads in a Persian carpet or tapestry.  The Soul Consciousness does not abide in any one physical brain but has had various and sundry incursions in physical life associated with many brains as a subliminal self but not located in the brain, each new personality (lifetime) becoming a new addition to the Soul Consciousness rather like a new cut on a precious stone or another thread in a tapestry. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 12 May, 19:25

I have to comment about Geraldine Cummins and Pearl Curran, considering the way that they both received dictation for their novels from whomever it was, and that is to include their own subconscious or their subliminal multidimensional soul.  I think these two women provide an opportunity to study the source of information thought to be transmitted by non-physical entities.  These women are very similar and unique in the way they received information about which they wrote. The following is Pearl Curran’s description of her experience receiving dictation which she claimed was from Patience Worth.  Compare that with the previous post about the way Geraldine Cummins received dictation.

“I am like a child with a magic picture book.  Once I look upon it, all I have to do is to watch its pages open before me and revel in their beauty and variety and novelty. Probably, this is the most persistent phase of the phenomena, this series of panoramic and symbolic pictures which never fail to show with each expression of Patience where there is any possibility of giving an ocular illustration or an expression.

When the stories come, the scenes become panoramic, with the characters moving and acting their parts even speaking in converse.  The picture is not confined to the point narrated but takes in everything else within the circle of vision of the time.  For instance, if two people are seen talking on the street, I see not only them but the neighboring part of the street with the buildings, stones, dogs, people and all, just as they would be in a real scene.  , , , If people talk in a foreign language, as in The Sorry Tale, I hear the talk but over and above is the voice of Patience, either interpreting or giving me the part, she wishes to use as a story.”

Additionally, Cummins and Curran both disclaimed they were automatists.  Both of them believed they acted as a secretary taking dictation from somebody else. Cummins’s “Scripts of Cleophus” about the apostles of Jesus could be seen as a continuation of Worth’s “The Sorry Tale” after the crucifixion.—AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 12 May, 18:40

Michael & Bruce…

Michael: Interesting comment from Myers about “I will not live on earth again, etc.”—but I suspect that even the spirit Myers would admit that while HE (an obviously somewhat advanced soul) might not have the necessity of coming back, for a clearly un-advanced soul, particularly one of those who adamantly refuses to learn, the return is required until the lesson IS learned.

As the spirit “Red Cloud” (through Estelle Roberts) put it in the 1930’s, “We don’t need to learn the same lesson twice.” But the implication is that we all DO have to learn it once.


Your concept of the “split soul” is at least somewhat related to a basic thought put forth by a number of spirits, perhaps most strongly by the guides of Cora Scott…that the soul has TWO elements, one male and one female, which separate into two separate lives when coming down to earth-level—ultimately reconnecting again (“soul-mates”) on the return journey as development progresses. Another take on a common theme…

Don Porteous, Sun 12 May, 13:12

Amos and Rick,
I am very interested in reincarnation for many reasons. From the Spiritualist viewpoint (which was the same as early Cayce) it was no reincarnation although there were odd examples. The spirits who came through were often incarnated a few centuries before. Nobody said Sorry but the spirit is not available as they have just incarnated. However in a spiritual séance in 1869 (referenced in book mentioned below) the spirit of a living niece of one of the participants appears. She says that in her previous life , during the reign of Louis XIV she had been a nun. A nobleman who tried to elope with a guest of the convent had knocked her down and she died as a result. She wrote down something via the medium only her uncle would know. So we have evidence from a spirit but the niece is living. Incarnated at the same time as non incarnated! Where’s the Fish?
Kardec’s Spiritism was reincarnation and Cayce moved over to reincarnation. Spiritualists also moved along slowly to the reincarnation point of view. .
I have a variation based on Zoroastrian thinking where each of us has a pre-existing immortal soul which splits when we embody, one part in the material world the other part is a pure spirit. When the material dies it rejoins the spiritual part. This would make the transition dependent not on those friends who have transitioned before showing up to yell words of encouragement but rather the relative ease of the reunification of these two parts. Note - I may have formed this belief in a previous incarnation 😊
I have the book Hans Tendam Exploring Reincarnation which has chapter 4 Psychic information about past lives from which the 1869 example is given. “Works on spiritualism contain other examples of spirits of living people appearing while the body sleeps and taking on the identity of a past life”.
May I suggest that some of the contributors to this blog have past lives? For my part I have enough spiritual problems this time around without sorting out unfinished business from the past. When I broke up with a girlfriend I said we might have better luck next time we incarnate.  I thought it was a great farewell line but I guess both have to believe in reincarnation.

Bruce, Sun 12 May, 09:46

Geraldine Cummins and Pearl Curran had a similar way of receiving dictation from the spirit world and describing it.  Both of them saw panoramic pictures in their mind’s eye and heard or saw words explaining the scene. Interestingly, Geraldine Cummins like Pearl Curran disclaimed that she did “automatic writing” or was possessed by another entity. 

Cummins said that “During the writing of her novel The Scripts of Cleophas, I had now and then a ‘sense of seeing’.  Perhaps a moment before scenes and people were presented in the transmitted writing, I saw them quite clearly in my mind’s eye.  But it was as if I were a spectator in a cinema, looking at moving pictures.  I had hardly any sense of the words describing them that were being rapidly written by my hand.  .  .  .  [W]hen I recorded the Cleophas writings, concerned with people who were said to have lived eighteen hundred years ago, I sometimes saw moving pictures of them and their surroundings.  Among them were scenes of mobs and uproar, trial scenes or a mystical vision.  Very occasionally a foreign word or foreign name, Hebrew, Greek or Roman, appeared in illuminated images of it. 

Mine has never been a case of possession by another mind.  I am as a stenographer taking down words from dictation and employing as it were an inner hearing.  .  .  . The authors are in eternity.  In my experience no more than any secretary or shorthand writer is my conscious mind dissociated during sittings.  That is to say it is not in any way controlled by a dictating alien mind either during my scriptwriting or for one moment in my ordinary daily life.  Certain people have said or written that ‘automatic’ writing is dangerous to the writer’.  In my case there has been no danger experienced by me, possibly for the simple reason that mine has not been automatic writing.  It has been transmitted writing taken down as by a reporter who has complete control of his physical body. But I am aware that my conscious mind is more keenly alert and active in its pointed concentration during the transmitted process. .  .  .  Whether the content of my scripts are [sic] transmitted to me by a subconscious or unconscious mind or a discarnate communicator, that is for others than myself to judge.”

It may be that Cummins had a different method of receiving information from spirits when she wrote “Swan on a Black Sea’ from Mrs. Willet or Road to Immortality from Myers. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sat 11 May, 22:13

I continually ponder on the comment by the discarnate Frederic Myers through Geraldine Cummins:

  “When your Buddhist speaks of the cycle of birth, of man’s continual return to earth, he utters but a half-truth,” Myers went on.  “And often a half-truth is more inaccurate than an entire misstatement.  I shall not live again on earth, but a new soul, one who will join our group, will shortly enter into the pattern of karma I have woven for him on earth.”

Michael Tymn, Sat 11 May, 21:31

Yes Rick,
There is a difference between “suspecting” that reincarnation is a “false doctrine’ and “claiming” that it is. Thanks for the instruction. I stand corrected.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sat 11 May, 13:25


Thanks for your reply.

I hope this isn’t hairsplitting. My exact statement was: “I now suspect reincarnation is a false doctrine ... .” Perhaps not as dogmatic sounding as your paraphrase, “You claim that reincarnation is a ‘false doctrine.’” Surely there’s a difference between suspect and claim.

If I’ve learned one thing in reading about psychical research, it’s that making definitive claims is risky. I just study, subject to time constraints, the evidence available to me, try to make sense of it, and draw tentative conclusions.

As for supportive evidence, this is of course a huge subject, too complex to be covered in a whole book let alone a blog comment. I did supply a few hints (in a semi-humorous vein, which perhaps I was not successful in conveying) of the reasons for my belief.

As noted, I intend to amplify my remarks in a new comment coming soon.

I accept your correction about Patience Worth.

Rick Darby, Fri 10 May, 22:07

You claim that reincarnation is a “false doctrine.”  I would be interested in the evidence you have to support that claim?

You may be interested in the podcast “New Thinking Allowed” with host Jeffrey Mishlove in which he presents a 12-part series of discussions about reincarnation with Dr. James G. Matlock, Ph.D. currently a Research Fellow at the Parapsychology Foundation in New York.  His interviews can be found at:

Dr. Matlock published a book based on his lectures titled, “Signs of Reincarnation: Exploring Beliefs, Cases and Theory” which might be of interest to some people looking for a comprehensive review of the history of reincarnation other than the research of Dr. Stevenson and Dr. Tucker.  Dr. Matlock provides comprehensive information suggesting a belief in reincarnation going back 5,000 BCE in China and several other ancient lands as well as current research.

I would be remiss if I did not mention a somewhat controversial researcher, Dr. Walter Semkiw, M.D, M.P.H., who has been investigating cases of regression therapy of adults claiming past lives, (sometimes of famous people) group souls and xenoglossy and has written several books on these subjects including, “Born Again: Reincarnation Cases Involving Evidence of Past Lives, with Xenoglossy Cases Researched by Ian Stevenson, MD.”  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 9 May, 17:25

One point of clarification.  “Many Moons Ago Patience” did not directly support a belief in reincarnation. Seeing that most or all of her main followers where Christian, including Pearl Curran herself who was Episcopalian and her promoter Casper Yost, both of whom believed in resurrection according to their religious dogmas and in accordance with western beliefs at that time against eastern religious thought.  Patience Worth did not directly say that there was reincarnation; to the contrary, when asked, she said who would want to return to earth in the same body.  Clearly, she (or Pearl) didn’t understand what reincarnation was.  And why would she?  Patience Worth was not omniscient.  The “Patience Worth” personality was a Puritan and promoted the belief system of that following. Be that as it may, the poems of Patience Worth clearly talked about reuse of the old to make the new, newer fields to be harvested after death, the soul filling a new cup (body) after the old one is broken and turned to dust and reweaving of a life after death to make it perfect according to God’s perfect plan, all of which thoughts allude to reincarnation without actually using the word “reincarnation.”  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 9 May, 17:06

Ron, Wed 8 May, 07:43:

Those are thoughtful questions.

I’ve developed a bad attitude about reincarnation in recent years. I now suspect reincarnation is a false doctrine that survives because almost “everyone” in the spiritual industry (Hindu sages, mediums, psychics, Edgar Cayce, “Many Moons Ago” Patience, New Age gurus, et al.) claims it.

Only the Buddhists have dared to dissent, at least originally: they said reincarnation doesn’t exist because there’s nothing to reincarnate, no permanent self, just perceptions and thoughts no one is experiencing.

To put it another way, the metaphysical cool kids copy from one another. An interesting quote I ran across just today from the poet W.H. Auden:

“Every man derives most of his thoughts, opinions, and principles from others. Obedience to some authority is inescapable; if we reject the authority of tradition, then we must accept the authority of local fashion.”

If one rebels against the gods of politics or the marketplace, one doesn’t become truly autonomous. Those are replaced by the gods of local fashion, which for people who count themselves on the road to Enlightenment means spiritual heavy hitters. Can’t argue with the A-list of reincarnation investors that stretches back millennia, can we?

And indeed, the prima-facie evidence for reincarnation seems abundant. We all know about the impressive research of Ian Stevenson and the phenomena of mediums such as Geraldine Cummins. Reincarnation denialism can land you (metaphorically) in jail.

Well, it would be foolish to dispute that reincarnation often appears to fit the facts. The thing is, though, one theory that seems reasonable doesn’t displace all others that may be just as reasonable.

So what explanation would make equal sense with a rebirth rate? I have one up my sleeve, but it’s getting late and this is already a long comment, so I’ll leave you in suspense: a kind of suspension bridge till I take the issue up again in a follow-up comment on this thread. Stay tuned.

Rick Darby, Thu 9 May, 02:28

I agree with Ron;
It might be that some people have a limited idea about spirit life and the hereafter and expect that their relationships with other personalities will be the same as when they were incarnated on Earth together in a given lifetime.  That may or may not be true. The roles of parents and children may have been reversed in other lifetimes, with the child being the mother or father to the parent, or a friend or even an enemy.  Brothers and sisters may have been lovers, competitors or neighbors in prior lifetimes but in the light of the eternal, all will be revealed and the many relationships between personalities will be acknowledged and appreciated for what they were and how they contributed to the growth of their Soul Consciousness.  It may be that most relationships between personalities on Earth are not relationships of eternal commitment and I would expect that family feuds are irrelevant to the Soul Consciousness in the hereafter. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 8 May, 21:42

Thanks to all for the comments, several of which have been sent to me by email because of the posting problem. Receiving them by email and then posting them is no problem for me.

Ron, I appreciate your comment, but you seem assume that I buy into reincarnation as interpreted by most people, which I don’t.  See my blogs of April 11, 2011 and March 13, 2017 in the archives at left.  Bottom line:  I think reincarnation is beyond human understanding.

Michael Tymn, Wed 8 May, 21:26

How very appropriate Mike!  My wife and I are rereading all my Cummins books and are exactly in the middle of the Ross Sisters’ squabling, chuckling all the way.  Good to recall that difficulties continue over there.  Many are resolved and ready to take up the reins of paradise’s pleasures but there are more than a few who cling to pride, hold grudges and have intense political and theological arguments.

gordon phinn, Wed 8 May, 14:52

If our souls have “been around the block”, so to speak, many, many, maaaaaaany times, then why does our most recent incarnation have such an impact on what we experience upon crossing over?

Why don’t our “infinite” experiences - and the lessons we’ve learned - come flooding back upon physical death?

Why - or *how* - could a person “create their own Hell” if their soul possesses such a vast treasure trove of experience - and knows better than to “wallow” or create a Hell!

Thanks, Mike and Stafford

Ron, Wed 8 May, 07:43

Michael, I already became familiar with the Ross sisters story as a result of researching Geraldine Cummins for my documentary about her. I hope your blog encourages folk to investigate Geraldine Cummins book ‘They Survive’. It is available as a free pdf download on

Keith Parsons, Tue 7 May, 23:24

You have hit a family trait. I come from a family which has feuds stretching generations. I was executor for our family and found a letter written twenty eight years before which explained the basis of one feud between brothers and their families. It was a letter of apology from the wife of one brother for causing the insult. It was kept as evidence in the safe and explained why our monthly visits abruptly stopped. All correspondence and contact was stopped. Funerals were not attended.
My brother and I had a similar feud for twelve years when his wife verbally attacked my wife while I was at work. Our cousins patched it up at a funeral. I know feuds very well.
I did like this story of feuds being evidence of survival as our feuds will last many years unless resolved. Restless spirits expressing regret do not count in our family. One family member did reunite two sides of the family to allow the transfer of ownership of a cemetery crypt to remain in direct line as our ancestors would not have been happy. Feuds were difficult to resolve until a death occurred and family obligations needed to be sorted.
In a book Michael recently mentioned there is a good quote (also a special thanks to Amos who liked my quotes. I enjoyed the poem from Patience having received a poetic award at high school based on the metaphysical poet John Donne’s work. “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
Gibbes writes - The reproduction of personality would seem to be the most important evidence of survival after death and this appears to be very pronounced .in the varied records obtained by Geraldine Cummins. It must surely be admitted that it would be difficult to transmit a personality by telepathy; nor, I think, could penetration of the sitter’s mind by the automatist, be said to account for all the phenomena displayed in these cases. For, as I have pointed out, there are many instances when the sitter was “absent” or unaware that certain events as described, had taken place.
Page 14 THEY SURVIVE Evidence of Life Beyond the Grave _ from Scripts .of GERALDINE CUMMINS
I use the term evidential medium as evidence sometimes includes feuds. When a medium hits a subject such as a feud they usually tread delicately. It is a message that can take sides and if a spirit has not progressed, it will present their side of the feud. Feuds are opinions based on events which must be handled carefully.

Bruce, Tue 7 May, 10:12

What fascinating communications from the two feuding sisters! In my afterlife novel The Afterlife Therapist I include a vicious fight between a man and the woman he threw over for another. There is just enough evidence of such animosity in spirit literature to warrant such a scene.
If it’s evidential you are looking for, there is no one more impressive than Geraldine Cummins. Her classic book Swan on a Black Sea is filled with details like those in this book. The fact that she has composed automatically in fifty different handwritings is evidential in itself. Of course, her great metaphysical classic, The Road to Immortality, contains very little evidential. Remarkable how versatile she was. Thanks Mike, for writing with such clarity and helping us keep track of the names in this account.

Stafford, Tue 7 May, 07:56

Thanks, Mike. It’s kind of complicated and hard to follow on a first reading, but interesting.

The subject is relevant to me. My family—both parents and sister—have crossed over. It would be an exaggeration to say they and I were “feuding” but there was tension (especially with parents) that never got resolved when they were alive on this side.

I’ve considered whether I would really want them to show up in my last earthly hours ... assuming I will have a luxurious death in a hospice or other supportive environment.

“Oh please, don’t start up with that again. At least wait till I’m resettled on astral turf. For now, would you mind tapping the shoulder of one of my spirit guides and asking them to drop in and smooth my way to Summerland Estates?”

Our New Age desperadoes seem to bolt at the least hint of anything short of sweet passings accompanied by ultra-loving relatives. Only the easy cases get written up. Geraldine Cummins et al. are a refreshing exception.

Rick Darby, Mon 6 May, 19:48


Another good one. Time to settle my disagreements with my brother in Arkansas before I pass. 😎

Mike S

Michael Schmicker, Mon 6 May, 19:45

Amos & Michael…

This is a carry-over from the previous blog—where Amos had questioned Michael’s reference to Stephen Braude having begun to move somewhat away from his long-held “Super Psi” views and, at least somewhat, towards the “survivalist” stance.

Michael’s source for the information may well have been my own book—wherein I make reference (page 180) to the original quote which appeared in Michael Kelly et al’s 2010 “Irreducible Mind” on page 597.

Whether Braude’s views have further changed since then, I haven’t a clue…

Don Porteous, Mon 6 May, 11:49

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