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How a Dead Author Finished His Books

Posted on 13 September 2021, 9:21

When Frank R. Stockton (below) died in 1902, he left a legacy of 23 volumes of stories for adults and children.  His first book, Ting-a-Ling, a children’s book, was published in 1870.  His most famous book, The Lady or the Tiger, was published in 1884.  Because of its uncertain ending, that book would become required reading in many high school English classes, something for students to debate.


Apparently, Stockton still had a number of stories to tell when he died, because he went on to dictate seven stories, all assembled in a book published in 1913 titled The Return of Frank R. Stockton. It was produced through the automatic writing of Etta De Camp, a resident of Schenectady, New York who worked as a legal secretary. 

Upon reading a newspaper article about automatic writing early in 1909, De Camp decided to give it a try, patiently sitting with pad and pencil.  After some time, she felt a “thrill” go from her shoulder to her finger tips as though she had been touched by an electric battery. “To my utter amazement the pencil began to move,” she recalled. “I watched it, fascinated, for I was absolutely sure I was not moving it myself.  It seemed as though my arm and hand had become detached from my body and did not belong to me.”

At first, she got only circles and scrolls, then some illegible words.  It was not until her third night of experimenting that the writing became readable and expressed thought. The first message came from an Indian calling himself “Blackfoot.”  A week or so later, she received several messages from her father, who had died 12 years earlier.  The messages were for her mother and contained much information that De Camp knew nothing about.  However, her mother confirmed them as fact.

De Camp was informed that the discarnates were writing through the “law of vibration.”  She recalled fighting off the trance condition, but recorded that she was in an abnormal state when the writing came through.  She had no idea what the next word would be until she saw it on the paper.  In one case, as her hand wrote, the words, “Who said we were d…,” she assumed the last word would be “dead,” but was surprised when the word turned out to be “drunk,” which proved to her that her conscious mind had nothing to do with the writing.

On March 23, 1909, De Camp’s hand wrote in a handwriting different from her own:  “I am Frank R. Stockton.  I have many stories I wish written out.  I am glad I can write them through you.  I have one I wish to write called What Did I Do with My Wife. We will go on with it now.”
After Stockton first took control of her pencil, De Camp felt intense pain in the forehead between her eyes, “and I felt a sensation in the left side of my head as though another mind was crowding into my own.”  However, the pain subsided and the first story was completed.  Three days later, Stockton wrote another story, My Wireless Horse.  Stockton advised De Camp that best results could be obtained if she would write an hour or two each morning at a fixed time.  He told her that when she felt a pain behind her ears it would be a sign that he was ready to write.  He explained that he was anxious to go on to the next plane, but that his brain must be relieved of the stories before he could progress further.  “We must be freed from all earth vibrations before we can go on,” he wrote through De Camp’s hand.  “The mind carries too many memories for me to get free.  I must write out my book and my stories before I can get beyond the earth-vibrations which keep me here.”

Prior to becoming an instrument for Stockton, De Camp knew nothing about him, although she had read The Lady or the Tiger during her school years.  She claimed only a faint recollection of it.  While apparently realizing that subconscious memories could not be completely ruled out, De Camp was certain she had no creative literary ability of her own and that she was not controlling the pencil. Moreover, she claimed that she never saw the stories in her imagination and had never really cared for humorous stories, even as a child. She further recalled that she often resisted the writing sessions, and when she did she would awaken in the morning in a dazed condition, as though drugged.  She felt as though she were enveloped in a thick fog.  The greater she resisted, the stronger the force became until she was finally compelled to take the pencil and write in order to find relief.

Upon learning of her experiences, some friends cautioned her about continuing. She was told that there were low-level spirits who delight in masquerading under the name of some well-known person and that the spirit claiming to be Stockton might very well be one of them.  If that is possible, she reasoned, then it must be equally possible for an honest spirit to represent itself.  “I have never for one moment doubted the genuineness of the spirit claiming to be that of Mr. Stockton,” De Camp reported.  “The serious objects of his return, the development of some higher sense enabling me to feel the personality of this entity so strongly, and to know its characteristics so well, make Mr. Stockton, to me, as real as anyone I know in earth-life.”

At a sitting on August 5, 1909, Stockton wrote that he had been searching for years for the right person to continue his stories.  “I am very fortunate in finding you, my dear madam, as you are sensitive to my vibration, and so I reach you easily,” he informed her. “We are in perfect accord, and, together, will do a great work, and teach the old world what can be done even after the so-called end of man.”

At times, De Camp had difficulty in achieving the passive state necessary for effective communication.  Stockton told her not to think at all while writing, as best results are obtained when the conscious mind is not allowed to interfere with the subconscious.  “The struggle for me to overcome the opposition of your conscious mind has been very great,” Stockton counseled her.  “The strain on you has been severe also.”

Apparently, Stockton still held on to his ego as he insisted that De Camp not take credit for the stories or pass herself off as the author.  “These stories are not yours nor do they belong to anyone living on your plane,” he admonished her.  “They are mine and I shall never consent to their being sold under any other name.”  He also asked that ten percent of the proceeds from the sale of any book be given to his estate.

When De Camp questioned the frivolous and humorous nature of the stories, Stockton explained that his objective was to show that people passing from the body to other planes of existence do not suddenly change temperament and personality.  “I am no more capable of writing serious stuff now than when in the body, and if these stories were not written in a humorous style they would not be recognized as mine.”

Stockton further told De Camp that he felt like a clown at the circus because some of the greatest writers the world has ever known were waiting to find an instrument through which they could write.

When Dr. James H. Hyslop, (below) a psychical researcher, heard the story about De Camp and Stockton, he decided to investigate. He was told by the editor of Harper’s Monthly that the stories produced by De Camp’s were very much in character with those of Stockton.  Hyslop then arranged for De Camp to sit with Minnie Soule, a trance medium he had been studying.  Though Soule knew nothing about De Camp, who sat with her incognito, Stockton communicated through Soule and gave some personal history unknown to De Camp or Hyslop, but later verified as true, and also confirmed that he was the source of her stories, adding that her subconscious sometimes distorted what he had tried to say though not to any great extent.


Hyslop observed that there were many touches of personal character and wit coming through, but he asked Stockton for more evidence of personal identity.  Stockton replied:  “I really have a desire to do a certain kind of work, but deliver me from the class who cut up their relatives to see how their corpuscles match up … I think I won’t do for your business at all, but personally I have no fight with you.  You can go on and save all the critics you can, but don’t send them to me when they die … I had my share of them while I lived, and I wash my hands of the whole lot.”

After Stockton departed, George F. Duysters, who had been an international lawyer and De Camp’s employer before his death, began speaking through Mrs. Soule.  He, too, offered veridical information to confirm his identity. “It is especially significant that both personalities should appear to communicate,” Hyslop reported.  “They are not in any way connected with each other in life, and [they were not] relatives of Miss De Camp.”

Stockton’s story suggests that it is best to transition from this lifetime with no unfinished business as it might very well be difficult to find a living human to finish it for you.

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 book

Next blog post:  Sept. 27


Yes Newton,
I’ll second Arthur Conan Doyle. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 27 Sep, 19:17

What I don’t get about your perspective, AOD, and maybe the problem is on my end, is that while we’ve been clearly and repeatedly told that we enter the next world in essentially the same state of love and wisdom as we were able to reach in this world, the afterlife is all about progressive and perpetual INCREASE in love and wisdom. Thus when a rare older spirit like Patience or Imperator communicates with us, shouldn’t we expect them to know and convey much more about our world and the next than they could have possible known when living in our midst? I, along with Michael, like the idea of a group soul, which may help explain why we resonate with certain thinkers and not others even on this side of the veil. But so far in my “resonating” with Patience, I’ve felt one definite and consistent personality speaking to me in various voices. And I don’t want to speak for Nate, but his comments seem to indicate a similar experience. Of course, none of this really matters, does it? As Arthur Conan Doyle, echoing Imperator and many others, has counseled us, we who are still locked in the mortal coil should concentrate on the big picture of spiritualism—the existence of God and his angel helpers, the reality of eternal life, the necessity of ethical conduct, etc.—and let the subtleties and details work themselves out when we’re properly positioned in the afterlife to begin to grasp them.

Newton E. Finn, Mon 27 Sep, 16:21

Dear Amos, and dear Chris de Cat,

On reading over recent comments on Mike Tymn’s blog I see that I have never thanked you for your substantial comforting messages regarding Dr Maureen Lockhart’s passing to a better world. At the serious risk of continuing to abuse this particular blog (it is about Frank Stockton, but importantly mentions Hyslop, if others need reminding too) I do at last thank you.

Apologies to Mike for using the blog as a personal messaging service. I shall try not to do that again, and the bad dream that has been my recent life is slowly moulding itself back into a workable and progressive normal routine, thank you both.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Mon 27 Sep, 08:10

We are not arguing or nitpicking.  We are just having a discussion. I think one of the reasons that Michael Tymn may be agreeable with the soul group idea for ‘Patience Worth’ is that if one reads several of her novels and her “Table Talk” one can begin to feel that more than one spirit may have been responsible for the writing. Each writing is different in style and language from the others yet they all came through Pearl Curran. It is difficult to understand how Patience Worth or Pearl Curran could write in those different styles perhaps especially the modern English of Hope Trueblood, the novel you are now reading. Perhaps that was purposeful in demonstrating that each style evidenced a past life of Pearl Curran, a concept which I am inclined to favor.  The personality known as Patience Worth seems to me to be that of a relatively simple woman of a bygone era as I have previously said but the personality of Hope Trueblood, Telka, and Theia of the Sorry Tale as narrators of their stories are quite different from that of Patience Worth. I find little or nothing high-minded in The Sorry Tale, Hope Trueblood or Telka. I personally think that Theia in The Sorry Tale was the driving force behind Patience Worth.  Theia was the mother of the thief who died on the cross next to Jesus and as any mother might, Theia was determined, through the ages, to show the world that her son was not such a bad sort but in fact was the son of the Emperor Tiberius and inheritor of leadership as the son of the Roman emperor. If Theia was a past life of Pearl Curran it is easier for me to understand why and how Pearl Curran was ‘chosen’ to relate the story of Theia’s son Hatte in The Sorry Tale. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 26 Sep, 20:11

Dear Nate,

My expectations are totally fulfilled. On reading your comment several times I find there is not a single RELEVANT statement, even of opinion let alone of fact, in it.

My earlier response to your comment tells you what the paper does intend to show. The topics it does not intend to address (NOT A SINGLE ONE of the topics you speak of throughout your comment, plus much else that careless readers may think it deals with) are irrelevant to my paper. It survives meaningfully and possibly enlighteningly after the total irrelevance of your comment is recognised. Sorry!

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Sun 26 Sep, 17:38

AOD, aren’t you assuming that people like Nate and me are neglecting aspects of Patience’s work? I’m currently wading my way through “Hope Trueblood” and intend to stick with it (although it’s an emotional wrench) before undertaking “Sorry Tale.” But what I’ve found over the years is that what Kierkegaard called “paragraph-eating”—reading quickly through one volume after another of an author’s work—rarely leads to in-depth understanding. It’s always struck me as preferable to take one significant book or poem and read and re-read it, turning it over in one’s mind until such pondering leads to fuller insight and illumination. I have little doubt you feel the same. And while I have the highest respect for your lifelong immersion in the Patience Worth literature and greatly value and appreciate your guidance in attempting to absorb it, I most strongly disagree with your characterizations of her two short poems I’ve put on this thread. The first, unmistakably IMHO, has to do with the deceptive appearance of physical reality so designed by God (to induce us, I believe, to take this world as seriously as we must); and the second, even more unmistakably IMHO, having to do with humankind’s raping of the earth and the toll this unspeakable crime takes on our souls. Both poems are examples, again IMHO, of a level of knowledge and wisdom impossible for Patience to have acquired in her humble earthly existence, akin to what you yourself have alluded to as her seemingly intimate knowledge of the daily life of Second Temple Judaism reflected in “Sorry Tale.” Why are we arguing and nitpicking about this stuff? Don’t we both love Patience, as does Nate, each in our own way? She’s a jewel with many facets, isn’t she?—facets which strike different eyes in different ways.

Newton E. Finn, Sun 26 Sep, 16:57

Here is a reminder of the definition of sarcasm:


1. A cutting, often ironic remark intended to express contempt or ridicule.
2. A form of wit characterized by the use of such remarks.
3. A biting taunt or gibe, or the use of such a taunt; a bitter, cutting expression; a satirical remark or expression, uttered with scorn or contempt; in rhetoric, a form of irony; bitter irony.  -AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 26 Sep, 14:34

There is a poem titled “The Deceiver” in which some people think that Patience Worth reveals that she was a “trickster”. What is not known is the context in which the poem was given.  Patience Worth may or may not have been revealing herself. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 26 Sep, 14:21

Take a look again at the last lines of the poem you quoted.
“Wrest out earth oh men and forget the shrunken thing that shivereth naked beside thee; standing, aching with the gnaw of emptiness.  Thy soul.”

Now Patience didn’t really mean that people should destroy the earth nor did she mean that people should forget their soul.  She was being sarcastic.  She meant just the opposite.  She wanted to bring to the attention of people that they had a soul, or an inner spirit to which they should be paying attention.

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 26 Sep, 14:10

Pearl Curran said that the Ouija board was just a piece of dead wood, nothing more.  It helped her to concentrate and eventually she experimented in discontinuing the board in favor of speaking out whole words and even using the typewriter at times to convey what she was hearing and seeing in her inner self. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 26 Sep, 13:29

I did not say that Patience Worth was a “trickster”,  I think that has devious connotations.  I said that she “might be categorized as a mischievous spirit”.  I use “mischievous” in a fun way not in a devious way.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 26 Sep, 13:15

Newton and Nate,
To understand ‘Patience Worth’ one must read all of her work not just her poems and ‘table talk’.  I know it is a major undertaking to read it all or at least “The Sorry Tale”, “Hope Trueblood”, “The Merry Tale”, “Pot upon the Wheel” and the story written by Pearl Curran; “Rosa Alvaro Entrante”.  But if one wants to understand her, all of her work must be considered.  I think it is a mistake to make ‘Patience Worth’ something more than she was or is.- AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 26 Sep, 13:03

Dear Nate,

I am getting used to some unfamiliar email software, and also have other serious stresses around me at the moment, so I have not read your whole comment yet. However, it’s obvious almost from the start of your comment that you are not understanding me AT ALL because you have NOT read my very simple paper. How can you respond to any paper without first reading it? It is NOT about the higher universes we postulate (and have good reason to believe do exist) in which rather higher beings than ourselves live. It is WHOLLY about how it is possible for THIS, our own low universe to accommodate other universes flowing through it without those universes normally being detectable by consciousnesses within ours. Perhaps you now see how irrelevant your comments must be to WHAT I HAVE WRITTEN BUT YOU HAVE NOT READ.

As you really ought to know without me reminding you, no-one is able to critique another’s thought unless he has first read and understood what the author is contending for, and even more particularly, what he is NOT talking about at all, but is IRRELEVANT TO THE NARROWLY DEFINED SCOPE OF THE PAPER ITSELF. The paper is very small in its scope, (as many scientific papers are) addressing one particular aspect of physics ONLY. You obviously know a great deal about Relativity, but you do NOT know the limits of what my paper argues, and what it does not. Your whole comment seems to be outside the subject of the paper. I shall read you again when my stressful circumstances allow.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Sun 26 Sep, 12:46

Eric Franklin: “I hope it is worth remarking that the less-than-infinitely high velocity of light is precisely what brings it about that there can be other universes contiguous with ours.”

I’m sorry Eric, but I don’t personally see much of any connection between Einsteinian relativity and the higher-order dimensions of the spirit world. Mostly because Relativity is all about a physical *limitation* - a speed which can’t be exceeded by physical matter - which simply does not exist in the spirit world. Every communication I’ve heard or read from Beyond (including my own mother’s description of her death experiences) tells me that in those higher spaces, there isn’t a light-speed barrier, and the people who report from there do not report any of the phenomena predicted by Einstein’s theories. Communication and travel “up there” happens much faster than light; the “light” and “matter” that they have up there isn’t the same light and matter that we have here (or at least it’s a different “more ethereal” aspect of it); even their “time” seems to be a completely different entity to ours; and in fact their whole physics is utterly different to ours here in the physical plane.

Relativity is probably correct, for us here, as far as it goes, in describing some small features of our, extremely limited, experience of the physical plane. But it’s just not how the higher planes operate, in my opinion, and it is not the golden key for explaining the spirit world.

I also don’t think that we even *understand* Einsteinian Relativity - either mathematically or philosophically - and its place in our physical science at all well enough to build psychological or spiritual theories on it. Recall that Einstein spent about the last 40 years of his life chasing a Relativity-based dream (the Unified Field Theory) which simply did not pan out, and appeared to have less and less connection as the years went on to the phenomena being observed - even in the 1920s - in extremly simple, by today’s standards, atomic experiments. Einstein’s failed UFT program isn’t often talked about because it’s an embarrassing story for the myth of Einstein as the embodiment of Science. But it was a complete dead end, at least as far as physics today believes.

Physics today may be wrong. I think it IS wrong when it claims that spiritual phenomena are impossible. But if the mathematics of Einstein’s Relativity wasn’t even a path to understanding what was happening in 1920s physics labs, why would we think it would be a path to understanding the much more subtle and interesting phenomena happening in 1920s seance rooms?

However, if it helps, you’re not the only person who has thought that there might be a connection between a geometrical-classical approach to physics and psi. This idea started way back in the mid-1800s, during the first wave of Spiritualism, when William Hamilton’s “Quaternions” introduced the idea of a Fourth Dimension (which wasn’t quite the same mathematically as Einstein’s spacetime, but I think inspired it), and almost immediately the Fourth Dimension was seized on by Spiritualists as THE explanation of the spirit realms.

Very little of true value came from “Fourth Dimension” speculation, in my opinion. The vast and infinite spirit world cannot be collapsed to one mathematical dimension. Though this pool of Victorian Quaternionic-Spiritualist speculation is probably where we got our terminology of “plane” from, I think; from the mathematical analogy of a 3D section of a 4D hypercube, as in the book “Flatland” (1884). So in that respect it’s been a little useful. But again, this is an analogy, much like a parable, a tool for expanding our idea of the possible. It is not a precise mathematical/physical model.

Then in the occult revival of the 1970s, the Fundamental Fyziks Group and the whole weird physics scene around the US Psychotronics Association revived a whole bunch of pre-Einsteinian ideas of the “luminous ether” as an explanation for psi, and also tossed around ideas involving Relativity and gravity.

I’ve personally chased up and read far too many of these algebra and gravity and Relativity based theories for decades, and none of them have struck me as having much utility. The data from the afterlife that we have that needs to be explained is primarily subjective and textual, not mathematical. None of this data is about the deformation of the observed spacetime coordinates of events under changes of reference frames, which are the only subjects that the Special and General theories of Relativity chooseto make statements about.

This is my opinion anyway. Perhaps it’s not the answer you wanted to hear, but it is my honest answer to your honest question.

Nate Cull, Sun 26 Sep, 10:43

Amos Oliver Doyle: “And, in some ways she might be categorized as a mischievous spirit of the lower levels of spiritual existence close to the earth who just wanted to write poetry and stories, just like Frank Stockton and Mark Twain.”

I’ve been reading as much of Patience Worth as I can get my hands on this week (especially Keith Ringcamp’s reprinted Vol 1 of the Patience Worth Record from the Missouri Historical Society - ), which details the actual to-and-fro of the initial conversations in 1914

and I have to say, from these transcripts, I don’t think of Patience as a “trickster” spirit at all. That is the opposite of how she comes across to me. Rather, she presents as a deeply serious spirit with extremely important things to say who is, initially, rather frustrated with the frivolous questions being asked by the people who are treating her as a kind of toy or game instead of *thinking about what she is saying and what it means*.

And from what I understand about how the Ouija board works, treating spirit contact as a party game is a *very dangerous thing*, and so Patience’s “sarcastic remarks” during this initial period are actually warnings, I think. They are also parables in a similar mode to those of Jesus, especially as described in the more Gnostic books such as the Gospel of Thomas.

To me, it seems that Patience’s spirituality is very deep and very worked out and very full of love and so I would have to say that she is a resident of a “high plane”, not a low one. But one of the deep aspects of her message is a kind of Celtic spirituality: reminding her listeners that God is to be found within the heart, and within nature, much more than in books or institutions. This theme in her work appears in other esoteric sources too: that being lovingly close to the physical world is not what makes a spirit “low”.

Remember that this contact is happening in 1913, on the eve of a terrible World War in which the authority of the Church and other established institutions of the Western world would be devastated by the harsh message of war preached from pulpits. Compare Patience also with the spiritual entity that talked to Carl Jung around this time and gave him the foundations for his entire psychological approach. I see a lot of connections, except that Patience got there first.

Nate Cull, Sun 26 Sep, 07:11

I don’t see the sarcasm, AOD, but I agree with your overall sentiments. To me, this poem should be taken at face value, as telling us a terrible truth about our relationship with Mother Earth, how we’re eagerly raping her, destroying her beauty and bounty at the cost of our souls. This poem could be published tomorrow in a leading environmental journal and likely receive rave reviews. Yet it was transcribed in 1917, 45 years before Rachel Carson wrote “Silent Spring,” resurrecting Albert Schweitzer’s reverence for life and jumpstarting the global movement to preserve our ecosystem. By the way, I’m sure you caught the typo in the first line of the poem, which should read “oh men” rather than “of men.”

Newton E. Finn, Sun 26 Sep, 03:30

I think Patience Worth is being sarcastic in that short poem.  As in so many of her poems she tries to get people to pay attention to their soul and the spiritual beauty of the earth, if you will rather than focusing so much on making money or just living for material things.  As she so often does, the intent of her poems is found in the last one or two lines.  In this case it is the last stanza where she says: 

“Wrest out earth oh men and forget the shrunken thing that shivereth naked beside thee; standing, aching with the gnaw of emptiness.  Thy soul.”


Amos Oliver Doyle, Sat 25 Sep, 19:36

As this thread draws to a close and Michael is about to begin a new one, let me offer this additional evidence that Patience Worth was/is an extremely high level spirit, akin to Imperator, bursting with transcendent love and wisdom to share with us, love and wisdom which encompasses our own time, our own state of knowledge, not merely that which comprised her humble earthly experience long ago. Consider the following poem transcribed in October 1917 (decades before the environmental crisis became apparent) in light of the ecocide we now know we are committing for short-term economic gain and yet seem unable or unwilling to stop.

Wrest Out the Earth

Wrest out the earth, of men!
Twist her flesh till the blood floweth!
Make her give forth! Strip her!
Pilfer, pilfer, slay, slay!

Wrest out the earth, Oh men, stopping not
That ye watch the shadows creep
Nor know the moon’s rising
Nor yet the sun’s farewell. Drink not
The soul of the earth, but eat her flesh!

Wrest out earth, oh men!
And forget the shrunken thing
That shivereth, naked, beside thee,
Standing aching with the gnaw of emptiness,
Thy soul!

Newton E. Finn, Sat 25 Sep, 16:36

Dear all,

I meant to say also that I, like Don, noticed Hyslop’s expression of his certainty about our continuing lives after the failure of the body, and admired his courage, and was glad of the reassurance his scientific certainty affords us. We should quote him more often. It’s about time we opposed the scorn of the learned fools of today, eg most philosophers, with expression as loud and clear as theirs.

I wonder if we have moved away from the topic of this blog, Frank Stockton, in part because he is not as substantial a topic as Hyslop. (Mike’s blog about Stockton is excellent, of course, even if Stockton himself is a less-than-congenial lightweight.)

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Sat 25 Sep, 08:46

Delighted to hear from Don Porteous again!

And notification of comments to me Inbox does seem to have resumed automatically.

And thanks to Amos for helpful comments.

What a lot we have to thank Mike for - his erudite blogs - and to thank Jon for as publisher of them (as well as the books). We must not make the comments a chat room, though. I have been guilty of that for a while but will try to be more learned and less chatty now.

Regards to all.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Fri 24 Sep, 15:05

Good morning Mike…

Apologies for throwing in an off-topic reference to an older column here…but after a totally chaotic downsizing move a few months ago, I’m just now beginning to find time to try to catch up here.

In your wonderfully written column of July 5th (I have a LOT of catching up to do!)you added (on July 6th) a lengthy comment from Prof. James Hyslop, from his 1918 book “Life After Death.” Another statement from Hyslop, from that same source, was included in my own book (page 217 on the manuscript for any of you who may still have it)...which is my absolute all-time favorite response to the unthinking “denialism” that remains so rampant throughout mainstream science and academia. To wit…

“I regard the existence of discarnate spirits as scientifically proved and I no longer refer to the sceptic as having any right to speak on the subject. Any man [sic] who does not accept the existence of discarnate spirits and the proof of it is either ignorant or a moral coward. I give him short shrift, and do not propose any longer to argue with him on the supposition that he knows anything about the subject.”

Hyslop was not big on mincing words…

Don Porteous, Fri 24 Sep, 13:42

Dear Amos,

That simple point you make is most helpful. I thought the tick for comments was a ‘standing order’, applicable for ever after one ticked the box, and I cannot check now, of course, whether the box was always ticked. But it is ticked now, without me renewing the tick, so I SHOULD now be receiving comments automatically. In any event your mention of the tickbox is a loving and kind act, and I thank you. We shall see, now, whether the notification of ongoing comments is restored.

I very vaguely recall the remark, perhaps made by Yahshua himself, that the Father of all is very, very close, but I don’t remember where the remark is recorded. Possibly it is that well-known statement of Paul (his “second defence”) in the book of Acts that you refer to; but perhaps Yahshua did indeed say something akin. I thank you for reminding me of it, if indeed Yahshua said something similar - which I vaguely recall he did. And I am glad to add that, perhaps in a way the scientists would not recognise as similar to their own ‘fact followed by logical inference therefrom’, you are, by your own method, perceiving what my paper on the relevance of Relativity describes more technically.

The paper is worth reading, nevertheless.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Fri 24 Sep, 09:50

When you make a comment are you putting a check mark in the box at the end of your comment to notify you of follow-up comments? If you are doing that, follow-up comments should be sent to your email address you provided and can be accessed on your iphone or computer.

Wasn’t it Jesus who said that God or heaven was closer than your very breath?  That’s even closer than ” a nanometre” away from the tip of your nose.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 23 Sep, 12:53

Dear all,

Thank you for your expressions of empathy concerning the transition of Maureen Lockhart. I am beginning to realise that she has gone from THIS universe, but I believe she is much better off for that. I remind you of her book ‘The Subtle Energy Body’ (ie the conscious soul), now out of print but still fairly readily available second hand, I find, though often at far more than the original retail price. (Perhaps it’s a good book.)

Notifications of comments following Mike’s Blogs are still not appearing in my email Inbox, and I am involved beyond my available energy in sorting and giving away Maureen’s clothes etc.

I am very glad to see from Amos’s comment that Patience Worth may have been inspired beyond her natural knowledge to make utterances which align well with Relativity. As Amos says, distant stars may no longer exist despite our still receiving light from them. (Try to imagine how big the God who contains the universe(s) must be for THAT to happen!!!)(though the travel of light from those stars raises questions about relative time, does it not?). There’s no time at the speed of light.

I hope it is worth remarking that the less-than-infinitely high velocity of light is precisely what brings it about that there can be other universes contiguous with ours. In other words, in crude parlance, Heaven may be a nanometre away from the tip of my nose and yours. As this is the fundamental notion the implications of which the professional physicists seem not to have noticed, and that forms the central argument of my paper on the implications for us of Relativity, I am puzzled still by two facts: the stone wall I have, for the most part, met when offering the paper, eg from the SPR, and (for instance) Amos’s current acknowledgement that Patience Worth may have spoken more knowledgeably than she knew on the subject of the lifetime of stars. I remind you all that (this time I will presume to cite his name, and hope he does not mind) the WORLD-KNOWN mathematician and logician (he admits he is not also a physicist) A R D Mathias thought I had handled a difficult subject well when he read the paper. He made NO criticism of the argument. NONE.

The other fact that amazes me: why on Earth do most of you still choose to refuse the very very simple and utterly logical possibility the paper describes? One of you disparaged it by implication as my “pet theory”, but did not, himself, ask to read the paper. It is no such thing. I am just as interested in that completely different matter of the effect of Quantum Theory on living beings, distinguished from non-living space and time. I have only repeatedly mentioned my ideas about Relativity because they have been spurned, not ‘seen’ and understood even by some who DO understand physics. I believe the paper is an expression of a highly relevant truth that few have noticed. Is it not truth we seek?

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Thu 23 Sep, 09:56

As I understand the afterlife, AOD, as revealed (only in part, of course) by psychical research, we enter the spiritual world at an initial level reflecting our earthly growth in love and wisdom. At this point of transition, our goal and task is to steadily increase our love and wisdom in the afterlife until we reach even higher stages, utterly ineffable, having to do with the contemplative love of God. If this is indeed so, as Imperator and others like Myers clearly relate, then when Patience finally chose to communicate with us long after her death, why wouldn’t we expect her to be bursting with wisdom acquired on the other side? Any why wouldn’t such wisdom likely include the hidden mental/spiritual nature of what we take at face value to be our solid/physical reality? “The Mental Universe” is easily accessed by internet search, and if you read this brief essay by a scientist’s scientist, and then put it side by side with the beautifully archaic words of Patience that we’re focusing on, the two fit together, at least for me, like hand and glove.

Newton E. Finn, Mon 20 Sep, 20:59

Perhaps my previous comment to you was not very well written.  I find it difficult to put into words my ‘intuitions’ about Patience Worth.  I didn’t say it very well in my previous comment. Whatever Patience Worth was when she manifested through Pearl Curran she portrayed herself as a woman thoroughly embedded in a very down-to-earth existence.  Patience Worth may have been existing in a lower level spiritual life still attached to the earth life of which her entire body of writing, while alluding to a spiritual life at times, was at the same time deeply concerned about fields, flowers, home and hearth of the earth. I have never thought that she was existing on a high level of spiritual existence similar to Imperator and his cohort of spirits transmitted through Stainton Moses.  But Stainton Moses was a highly educated man capable of receiving higher spiritual concepts quite the opposite of Pearl Curran with barely an 8th grade formal education who also spent many childhood hours romping through the fields and flowers of rural Missouri; Pearl could understand that.  That is, the spirits communicating through Curran and Moses seeming were at an intellectual level commensurate with the education of the person who channeled them.  Patience Worth acknowledged that in Pearl Curran whom she called her ‘harp’ and who she said she had searched for in order to transmit her poems and novels. 

Patience Worth portrayed herself as a simple woman with a simple love of Jesus and God as probably was appropriate for a Puritan woman of the 1600s .  I think her views of the afterlife were congruent with her religious education and the same as many Puritan women of her time but that from the perspective of her now spiritual existence she recognized many or several corrections to Puritan ideas of the afterlife.  The portrayal of a simple rural spinster added to her authenticity that she was a Puritan woman of the 1600s.  Even her view that there was no such thing as reincarnation was consistent with her upbringing as a Puritan. That is why that quote you gave is so enigmatic.  It was a betrayal of sorts of a simple woman of the hearth and fields. Patience Worth may have been playing a character for the purpose of generating interest in her writing.  She may have been an entity of the higher levels of spiritual life where she might have been privy to the secretes of the universe but for the most part she stayed in character throughout her manifestation over 25 years.  And, in some ways she might be categorized as a mischievous spirit of the lower levels of spiritual existence close to the earth who just wanted to write poetry and stories, just like Frank Stockton and Mark Twain. Although there may have been overtones of a higher spiritual existence in the writing of Patience Worth for the most part her writing, especially her novels, e.g. “The Sorry Tale”  brimmed with human emotions and volatile relationships. With a few exceptions I don’t find a lot of high-minded spiritual insights in her novels although many of her poems do allude to a higher spiritual life.

My wish is that professors of English in Colleges and Universities would eventually recognize the quality of the Patience Worth writings.  Those writings deserve study similar to the writings of any poet or novelist of the 19th and 20th centuries.  In my opinion Patience Worth is better than many of those who receive praise and have a college course devoted to them.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 20 Sep, 15:19

Yes Michael, I am moving toward the group soul theory for Patience Worth; perhaps not with the same understanding that you have.  I am willing to accept that Patience Worth may have been a ‘facet’ of the same ‘diamond’ of which Pearl Curran was a part.  Somehow I think there is a spirit connection between Pearl Curran and Patience Worth.  Since I accept that reincarnation might occur in some people, I have often thought that Pearl Curran was the reincarnation of Patience Worth.  But with the group soul theory I can move to that concept, which if one accepts the “diamond theory” combines the concept of reincarnation with the group soul idea.  Pearl and Patience may each be a facet on their group soul diamond. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 20 Sep, 13:42


I think all your concerns would be answered by the Group Soul theory, i.e., Patience Worth was a convenient name for a group of advanced souls communicating through Pearl Curran.  Back to the pronoun issue, “their” might be grammatically correct when it comes to Patience Worth.  Recall that Cora Scott Richmond was said to be controlled by a 12 different spirits.  Of course, Imperator was a band of 49 spirits. Sir William Crookes was told that a particular spirit communicating through D. D. Home was not one spirit but several.  Coincidentally, the Seymour book I referred to earlier in the comments here has two spirits speaking to Seymour as one.

Michael Tymn, Sun 19 Sep, 20:43

Dear AOD, certainly your description of Patience is in accord with her character as revealed in her writings and also in accord with her likely earthly experiences. But what struck me about this particular quotation was the unmistakable import that what we see and experience on this side of the veil are merely sense impressions, that when we take them as solid manifestations of some sort of physical reality, our eyes and minds are tricked. Yet that tricking, Patience goes on to say, is an essential part of how God designed our world, including how he shaped human perceptions and cognitions. It’s as if Patience, now living in the spiritual world and more aware of deeper levels of existence, is telling us that this seemingly substantial world WE live in is as spiritual as hers, but that we must engage with it “physically” in order to struggle, suffer, rejoice, and grow. Supplementing Michael’s favorite comment of Luther from the other side, that doubt is necessary to keep us plowing the furrows of life, Patience is adding the further necessity of illusion. To get a better handle on the science I believe to be involved here, you might want to check out Richard Conn Henry’s succinct essay, “The Mental Universe,” published in the highly-regarded, peer-reviewed journal, “Nature.”

Newton E. Finn, Sun 19 Sep, 17:08

That quote from Patience Worth has always interested me.  I think it is very poetic as is usual for Patience Worth but I think there may be more revealed in those words from Patience Worth/Pearl Curran.  I don’t think there should be any esoteric, spiritual or quantum meaning in those sentences if dictated by Patience Worth because she was always a down-to-earth woman with seemingly little or no formal education.  She was a plain-spoken woman of the 17th century. She was a woman of the home and the hearth spending most of her time cooking cleaning and sitting before a spinning wheel or helping with the harvesting of grain and was limited to the experiences of the country folk who might have passed her way.  Pearl Curran was also a woman concerned with maintaining a home for her husband her children and her mother and father and reportedly other than her interest in music had no interest in obtaining an advanced education.

What befuddles me is that Patience or Pearl seem to have some knowledge of relativity theory perhaps as it is related to the speed of light.  That is, what Patience/Pearl says in that quote is scientifically accurate in that the light one sees from stars in the night sky may be from ‘stars’ no longer in existence. As Patience says, “They be not but be the trickin’ of thine eye ” That is, the source of the light we see no longer exists but we still see the light emitted eons ago. For all we know those stars no longer exist.

Maybe I am reading something into this comment than neither Patience nor Pearl intended or understood or it is just a coincidence. However I do think this quote is one of Patience’s more enigmatic comments. It makes me suspicious that Pearl knew a lot more than she has been given credit for or else Patience kept up with advancement of physics in the 20th century as a spirit in the afterlife.  If this was written by Pearl/Patience in 1916 it could be that there might have been a public titter about Einstein’s theory of relativity published in 1906 and 1915.  Pearl may have had a meager formal education but she was not a stupid woman or not well read.  She was well aware of current events from her attendance at movies and reading of women’s magazines like the Saturday Evening Post as well as attending the World’s Fair in St Louis in 1904 where the latest scientific concepts were on display. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 19 Sep, 01:24


Very fascinating and in depth! Appreciative for all your research into the past.

Also, as a medium, I always enjoy reading about how other mediums feel when the spirits utilize them, because it is a corroboration of how similar the mediumship experience can be; how it feels in a trance state, how spirits transmits their messages and as well how the arm feels for certain types of writing spirit messages.

My hand and arm has felt, at times, almost to the point of pain. Also, feeling strong energy in my arm when there is a lot of spirits/spirit energy around me.

The process involved in the use of the faculty of mediumship affects the body and vice versa.


Yvonne Limoges, Sat 18 Sep, 20:41

On the subject of synchronicities, I’ve recently been engrossed in works by Arthur Eddington, an eminent astronomer, physicist, and mathematician of the early 20th Century who concluded, from quantum mechanics, that the universe was entirely mental—comprised only of observations, measurements, and experiences. Contrary to our common sense impressions of the solidity of things, Eddington insisted that there was no physical structure behind the universe, no “stuff” of which it was made apart from consciousness. Then just a few minutes ago I picked up Walter Prince’s book on Patience Worth, and the first words of hers that caught my eye were these (transcribed in June of 1916): “What be days and nights but filmed folds that veil the Here from the There? I be atellin’ thee, thou hast looked unto the silver beams that stream the stars from out the heavens. And yet they be not but be the trickin’ of thine e’e. And yet, of naughts hath He abuilded what sheweth thee o’ them! The silver mists o’ morn be but waters of the far lands wraithed. And this be the work o’ Him…. For behold, he (we) be fashioned for to see o’ naughts like unto the stars streaming, that be not, yet be!”

Newton E. Finn, Sat 18 Sep, 18:46

Eric, condolences for your loss.
Sometimes things happen that need to happen, sometimes things happen that make us wonder why they need to happen, hopefully one day the awareness and understanding comes why they had to happen.

Chris De Cat, Sat 18 Sep, 09:28


Thanks for the title suggestion. I had in mind “Just Flush My Ashes Down the Toilet,” but I will Keep your suggestion in mind for the one after that.  However, even though I am the same age as Richard, I am not nearly as ambitious and am not even sure about one more.

Michael Tymn, Sat 18 Sep, 03:25

Richard Lee Van Der Voort, 17 Sep, 13:47:

I see you attended UNM for some of your education. I lived in Santa Fe for nine years, but visited Albuquerque fairly often. I wonder if we ever crossed paths.

About the automatic writing: were you fully conscious during it? Aware of what was going on around you? Was the process interactive—that is, did you speak or communicate with the spirit(s) involved, such as asking them questions?

Did you take any precautions to prevent any nasty spirits from entering?

Rick Darby, Sat 18 Sep, 00:37

I am so sorry for your loss.
Here are two of my favorite thoughts which I remember in times of grief. - AOD

Stepping onto a shore and finding it heaven.
Taking hold of a hand and finding it God’s hand
Breathing new air and finding it celestial air.
Feeling invigorated and finding it immortality
Passing from storm and tempest to an unknown calm
Waking and finding it home.

      From the thoughts of Don Wyrtzen

And, from William Wordsworth.

What though the radiance
Which was once so bright
Be now forever taken from my sight
Thought nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass
Of glory in the flower
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind.
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be.
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death;
In years that bring the philosophic mind.

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sat 18 Sep, 00:15

Here is your next book title Michael:

“98.8% SURE:


Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 17 Sep, 18:29

Michael, I think your “Sarah” thing was a spirit-guided synchronicity.  Amazing isn’t it!  I hope you took note of what Richard said that at 84 he plans to write several more books.  Good advice, I think! - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 17 Sep, 17:07

I can’t wait to read your book . “Why Some Guys, Like Me, Should Never Ever Marry!”  We just might have something in common.  I read a little on Amazon and think you have a great writing style.  Very enjoyable and readable.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 17 Sep, 15:17

I found this writing VERY interesting because my Psychic Development began via automatic writing, and then progressed stage by stage. I toured as a Psychic Consultant for more than 20 years. And at one point acted as a psychic oil finder by doing automatic line drawing on maps. But mostly I did Personal Consulting Work for individual clients. When beginning in any city, I began by doing Psychic Call-In Shows on Radio and some TV. And Seminars. It was a great life travelling from city to city and working by Base (one of Four). During my last years I wrote 20 books published by Amazon Publishing. I am age 84 now and plan to write several more books before making my transition. But yes, AUTOMATIC WRITING was my beginning of Psychic Development! Richard Lee Van Der Voort, B.A. Philosophy, M.A. Creative Writing
Michigan State University, U. of New Mexico

Richard Lee Van Der Voort, Fri 17 Sep, 13:47

Dear all,

I return, having buried Dr Maureen Lockhart’s merely physical remains in a pleasant woodland, which I hope does not even concern her, but, if it does concern her, also pleases her, to reading and responding to Mike’s blogs to find that others have expressed already what I would say about Frank Stockton. I believe Newton, the very first responder, has said pretty exactly what I thought to say myself. And all the other comments are interesting in their various ways.

One oddity: my son bought me a Mac with newer software the older Mac could not install, and this very blog about Stockton and De Camp has today appeared for a second time via the newer Mac. I wonder why, but that isn’t important. And notifications of comments are still not appearing chez moi at all. Only when a new blog appears, in this case for the second time, do I know that discussion is continuing. This time, I think I have nothing worthy of being said except the observation that Stockton does indeed seem to have been a rather proud embodied spirit who imperiously uses another embodied spirit’s writing hand once he no longer has one. He does not sound a very nice character to me. But there are many dwelling places for a huge variety of spiritual characters. That’s reassuring. I am not my own judge, and do wonder how I have done. Dr Maureen Lockhart is, I trust, either resting a while, or already beginning to find out some answers to the questions that perplex us down here.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Fri 17 Sep, 13:16

I totally agree. There should not be a price on those books who claim to tell the Truth as if the truth is only available for those who can afford it.
Especially for those books that give the messages from spirit. I myself have writen four books in Dutch. When I feel time is right ,I ‘m planning to upload them to the internet, free for everyone, because I feel that what is told is not only from my own mind…lets say too many synchronicities. And what is more important: that you reach as many people as possible or that you try to get rich with the risk that almost nobody reads your writing?
On the other site of the story is of course the question that those who have to live from there writings or mediumship don’t have the right to earn a living? The golden mean will give the solution, I think.

Chris, Fri 17 Sep, 09:48

Newton E. Finn: “It’s almost as if some sort of group soul, including Arthur and Michael and others (some of whom comment here), are carrying on with conveying the fundamental thrust of spiritualism, despite its continuing rejection by both scientism and orthodox religion”

I very much feel like there is something stirring in the unseen realms along those lines. There’s a generational handover that needs to happen: GenX and Millennials and GenZ are almost ready to look at this stuff, I think.

Amos Oliver Doyle: “I have come to find out that there are a multitude of “hidden gems” out there about spiritualism which will soon be forgotten.  “

They might not always be forgotten. There are a lot of old (ie, 1850s to 1920s, so out of copyright) Spiritualist books up on the Internet Archive, I’m reading my way through JW Edmonds “Spiritualism Vol 2” at the moment, and enjoying it.

The Archive also has a bunch of newer copyrighted books that you can borrow and read online for a short period (an hour at a time, I think now).

But there are still many books from after 1930 trapped in the dark planes of copyright, where they’re out of print but not yet digitized and accessible, and those ones, sadly, might vanish forever.

I guess White Crow has been doing a good job rescuing and reprinting some of these. But (with all due respect to them as the host of this conversation) I’d really prefer that there were some kind of nonprofit foundation working to clear the copyrights, digitize and archive these books, rather than a company selling them for money. Why? Because on the one hand the Internet moves much faster than print (even print-on-demand) does, the need to purchase a book before it can be shared with a friend slows the whole social-media process down to the point that it stops. And on the other: for STEM people who might be almost on the edge of confronting Spiritualism (ie most of my friends), one of their biggest fears about the whole scene is that it’s just a kind of scam for cash. If money isn’t involved, that entire argument just vanishes.

So that’s why I’m currently most interested in books I can find and share and discuss *for free*, no strings attached, which often means the old Victorian through WWI era stuff. So there may well be a very strong Internet afterlife among Generation X and beyond for the likes of, eg, Kardec, Edmonds and Conan Doyle.

Nate Cull, Fri 17 Sep, 06:22

Amos and Newton,

I agree about the “hidden gems.”  I have been trying to reduce the number of them in my library so that my wife doesn’t have to deal with that after I transition, but I can’t bring myself to get rid of them, especially the copy of “The Sorry Tale” signed by Patience Worth. 

Two days ago, I came across a little gem by Charles J. Seymour, who was mystified by the fact that the name “Sarah” was given to him by 15 different mediums, but he had no idea who Sarah was.  I saw it as a possibility for a future blog and wrote “Who’s Sarah?” on my list of possible future blogs. Just after writing it and saving it, I departed my computer and walked through the living room, where the TV was on and a commercial just beginning.  The woman in the commercial began with, “I’m Sarah….”  I shook my head in wonderment, but I neglected to find out what she was selling. Coincidence or Synchronicity?

Michael Tymn, Thu 16 Sep, 22:26

I share your lament, AOD, but isn’t it at least a bit encouraging that Dr. Bruce Greyson, for example, occasionally alludes to some of the old psychical research when he talks about NDEs? This morning, I hit the point in “The New Revelation” when Sir Arthur, laying out the largely common vision of the afterlife relayed by mediums, describes a period of “sleep” or recuperation before a soul proceeds deeper into the spiritual world. It struck me that this rest period is absent in most NDE accounts because they end with a return to this world before or shortly after a life review. Thus NDEs can offer only a glimpse into the larger territory explored more fully by psychical research.

Newton E. Finn, Thu 16 Sep, 20:13

I have come to find out that there are a multitude of “hidden gems” out there about spiritualism which will soon be forgotten.  When I find them, it seems that we today are ‘reinventing the wheel’ as it has all been said and done before, sometimes many, many years before.  I don’t know when the time will be right for these books to surface again if ever. It seems such a sad loss to me that all of these highly intelligent people wrote about their observations, experiments and extended research and that in spite of its erudicity, it will all be forgotten.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 16 Sep, 17:56

To move from the form of pronouns to the substance of spiritualism, does anyone else resonate with the booklet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle called “The New Revelation?” It reminds me so much of Michael’s indomitable work, in its own way as indomitable as Sir Arthur’s, to make common sense of spiritualist teaching. For me, “The New Revelation” is a hidden gem that shines with the religious implications of everything talked about on this blog. It’s almost as if some sort of group soul, including Arthur and Michael and others (some of whom comment here), are carrying on with conveying the fundamental thrust of spiritualism, despite its continuing rejection by both scientism and orthodox religion. As long a shot as this group endeavor may seem, a renewed receptivity to what spiritualism has told us—and NDEs are now telling us—would appear to be our only hope in this desperate, divisive time of civilizational unraveling.

Newton E. Finn, Thu 16 Sep, 15:45

I don’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill, but I try to refer to “He, She, or It” when referring to God. The “It” includes God as Cosmic Consciousness or something akin to that.  To each his own on the “their” matter.  It sounds more vulgar to me than “he/she” or “his/her.” 

Rick gives the example: “If a worker thinks he or she has Variant Zeta, he or she should report it to his or her supervisor immediately.”  That can be easily fixed by substituting “the person” for the second “he/she,” i.e., “If a worker thinks he or she has Variant Zeta, that person should…..” Enough said on the subject, I think.

Michael Tymn, Wed 15 Sep, 23:08

Strange linguistic discussion…why not ‘IT’ and ‘its’?
Don’t we have to dehumanize God? I think that God is All That Is so ‘IT’ will do fine for me. In Dutch you can translate it into ‘Het Al’ and it is gender neutral.
Maybe that is one reason why the spiritworld communicates whith images and visualisations. No symbolic signs like our language where you can interpret the symbol your own way…what one of the main problem is with the holy scriptures in the world.
If you think about a spirit as a diamond with many facets…there are always masculin and feminin facets (previous lives)... so ‘it’ will do nicely.
Bottomline for me as a foreigner is that as long as I can understand what the writer means,its oké for me. You don’t have to win the Nobelprice for literature.

Chris, Wed 15 Sep, 20:41

I agree that using “they” or “their” as pseudo-singular is Woke nonsense. It’s okay when the sex of the person described is unknown, but otherwise should be he or she, his or her.

Quoting myself is probably a sign of decline, but I was unclear in that paragraph (written in the negligible hours after midnight). So I’d like to set the record straight.

I meant that a third-person pronoun should generally be one of the following:

1. He
2. His
3. She
4. Her

In other words, “he or she” (etc.) even in a general statement makes the world a little uglier. Trying to be inclusive in this way leads to abominations such as “If a worker thinks he or she has Variant Zeta, he or she should report it to his or her supervisor immediately.”

Rick Darby, Wed 15 Sep, 18:17

I have to say that I do cringe a little bit when people refer to God as he/she.  -AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 15 Sep, 16:55


I’ll stick with “he/she” over “their,” as I know Sister Anastasia would have given an “F” for “their,” but probably only a “D” for “he/she,” maybe a C- for “she/he.” smile  I agree with your other comments.  Thanks.

Michael Tymn, Wed 15 Sep, 09:41

A low-level spirit may have been a relatively good person in the earth life, but he/she still has to spend some time in the lower levels to adjust, adapt, and further learn before advancing. (I refuse to use “their” with a singular noun, as is now sanctioned by some “authorities.”)

I agree that using “they” or “their” as pseudo-singular is Woke nonsense. It’s okay when the sex of the person described is unknown, but otherwise should be he or she, his or her. Until the dead weight of cultural Marxism descended on us, it was understood by everyone that he and his referred to both sexes.

Still, “they” is a mild improvement on “he/she” and “their” is better than “his/her.” When the world turns and thinking people send the politically correct back to their basements, we can once again start using words for discussion instead of indoctrination.

Rick Darby, Wed 15 Sep, 08:40


Once again you have provided a case I’ve never heard of before that perhaps sheds some light on the afterlife. Thanks!

It sounds like Frank Stockton genuinely communicated through Etta De Camp, but what he said is hardly inspirational.

Stockton may have found a crowd-pleasing tease in the ending of The Lady or the Tiger, but none of his other work is remembered. I suspect it was rubbish. And his post-mortem obsession with continuing to be published, let alone wanting to be sure it was under his earthly byline, suggests (as you put it) a “low-level spirit.”

Maybe we shouldn’t be too hard on Stockton. At least he apparently had enough self-awareness to understand that “he was anxious to go on to the next plane, but that his brain must be relieved of the stories before he could progress further.”

It’s sad that a spirit should need to give an uncaring world a few more pot-boilers before getting on with serious business on higher planes. But quite a few living writers have been so egotistical.

“Stockton explained that his objective was to show that people passing from the body to other planes of existence do not suddenly change temperament and personality.” I think he proved his point.

Rick Darby, Wed 15 Sep, 08:06

thanks Nate, that was the spirit I
mentioned, but I didn’t knew his name anymore.
Michael, those with a vision of a tunnel start from darkness, but I don’t know if those who see a meadow when going over always got in darkness at first.
Maybe it is the state of our consciousness at the moment of passing that will determine the surroundings.

Chris, Tue 14 Sep, 09:16

Chris: “If a can remember there was a spirit who said he needed to rectify his version of the afterlife because the things he wrote during his stay on earth were incorrect.”

The strongest sentiment I’ve seen along those lines so far is Robert Hugh Benson through Anthony Borgia in “Life in the World Unseen” (publishing date usually given as 1954, though I think received earlier). Borgia’s Benson says the novel he was most unhappy about is “The Necromancers” (1909), a religious/psychic horror story about communication with ghosts.

Nate Cull, Mon 13 Sep, 23:25

It’s interesting - given that I don’t put much faith in some of the classic “New Age” beliefs like, eg, crop circles - that I have very little doubt that automatic writing is real. But then I’ve experienced it, or something very close to it, so I know what the process feels like. When you’ve seen/felt it up close, it’s not something you feel skeptical about.

I wish more younger people (Millennials and Gen-Z) were aware of the store of writings we’ve received since about 1850 that have come through channels like this, and how many serious questions they answer.

Mike, I’m very glad that you’re blogging regularly on this site, but, I took a look at the other White Crow bloggers and (apart from Michael Cocks who I know personally)... it seems like nobody has posted much here in the last five years or so? Is there a wider White Crow community or social network out there or is your blog just it now?

Nate Cull, Mon 13 Sep, 23:09


The various definitions for the afterlife environment are subjective, and I often have to catch myself in suggesting that a low-level spirit is necessarily earthbound or an evil spirit.  As I see it, a low-level spirit is simply not too advanced.  To me, an earthbound spirit is one who doesn’t even know he/she is dead and still clings to materialistic ways. That soul is lower than low. A low-level spirit may have been a relatively good person in the earth life, but he/she still has to spend some time in the lower levels to adjust, adapt, and further learn before advancing. (I refuse to use “their” with a singular noun, as is now sanctioned by some “authorities.”)  I wonder if any soul dies and automatically goes to the higher levels.  Even Jesus is said to have “descended into hell” before rising.

Michael Tymn, Mon 13 Sep, 21:45

Interestingly, the spirit of Mark Twain told Emily Grant Hutchings that he wanted 25% of the money received for the book “Jap Herron” to be given to James Hyslop who endorsed the book as being a true communication from the spirit of Mark Twain. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 13 Sep, 18:46

Apparently ‘Mark Twain’ aka, Samuel Clemens became an earth-bound spirit in that he dictated a story similar to his “Huck Finn” stories called “Jap Herron” through a medium Lola V. Hays.  The story was dictated to Emily Grant Hutchings who with her husband Edwin, massaged the text and eventually published it as the book “Jap Herron”.  Mark Twain’s daughter sued Emily to withdraw the book as it was an embarrassment to her and the Clemens family. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 13 Sep, 18:40

“On March 23, 1909, De Camp’s hand wrote in a handwriting different from her own.”

Well, that proves nothing.  I am an example of someone who writes in at least two or more handwriting styles. One is Palmer-method cursive and the other is a disjointed capital letter printing.  I have been known to have several more handwriting styles.

Now maybe that is indicative of something pathologic about me as I have suspected at times that I might have more than one personality but probably it is just play-acting; not obsession, possession or dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality disorder).- AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 13 Sep, 18:29

“In one case, as her hand wrote, the words, “Who said we were d…,” she assumed the last word would be “dead,” but was surprised when the word turned out to be “drunk,” which proved to her that her conscious mind had nothing to do with the writing.”

Ah, not so fast, keemosabe!

The subconscious mind is a devious creature.  If the conscious mind thinks that the word starting with a ‘d’ was “dead” then the subconscious mind, just to be cantankerous, will provide another word perhaps just to prove that the conscious mind did not do the writing when in fact the writing did come from the conscious mind.

Actually, I think that the subconscious mind wants to provide whatever the conscious mind wants. It wants to be helpful. And if the conscious mind wants evidence that the writing came from the spirit world, the subconscious mind will come up with something to support that farce. Hence ‘drunk’ instead of ‘dead’.

I would like to know more of the context of that communication as that may show that ‘drunk’ really was the appropriate word rather than ‘dead’.  But considering the situation of talking to the dead, “dead’ would be the expected word; that is, “Who said that we were dead!” – AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 13 Sep, 18:17

I tend to think, having made so many documentaries for Youtube on afterlife issues myself, that I am reasonably well read in this area. But very often I read the latest Michael blog and find material I have not come across before. This is one of the great attractions of Mike’s writing. He is phenomenally widely read and deserves the greatest respect for his tireless production of new blogs and books. Thanks Mike. I found this one really interesting.

Keith P in England, Mon 13 Sep, 18:16

Newton, this time you were first…another synchronity (about his ego and materialistic intentions).

Chris, Mon 13 Sep, 17:03

I have some difficulties with the Stockton story. I don’t know his work nor his afterlife work, but it seems very clear that his didn’t lose his ego and materialistic tendencies. I don’t think he reached the higher realms of the spirit world at that moment.
I think it’s often a case of character . If you are a control freak and you are sure that you are indispensable in your business, family matters or artistic creations , there is a good chance that you stay earthbound for a while. Also if you want to rectify things that you did wrong , you would like to stay in search of a communicator. If a can remember there was a spirit who said he needed to rectify his version of the afterlife because the things he wrote during his stay on earth were incorrect. I can imagine I would possible do the same thing or when your goal in life was unfinished, that you tried to accomplished it, I can understand that also. I ask myself if such a longer stay good or bad id for your spirit. Can you make progression by doing so or is it the opposite?

chris, Mon 13 Sep, 15:31

It seems to me that we will all leave this world with “unfinished business.” As Imperator told us, there is no finality, NONE, on either side of the veil. I suggest that the issue which refused to release its hold on Mr. Stockton had more to do with HIS name being listed as the author of the stories and HIS estate receiving a share of the proceeds. The constraining attachment IMHO was not stories yet to be told but the pride (and profit) of ownership in the telling of them. Contrast the reticence of Patience Worth to say much of anything about her personal identity.

Newton E. Finn, Mon 13 Sep, 15:05

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“Life After Death – The Communicator” by Paul Beard – If the telephone rings, naturally the caller is expected to identify himself. In post-mortem communication, necessitating something far more complex than a telephone, it is not enough to seek the speakers identity. One needs to estimate also as far as is possible his present status and stature. This involves a number of factors, overlapping and hard to keep separate, each bringing its own kind of difficulty. Four such factors can readily be named. Read here
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