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Afterlife Teachings from an Advanced Spirit

Posted on 20 August 2018, 7:46

After Lord Adare’s 1869 book, Experiences in Spiritualism with DD Home about the amazing mediumship of Daniel Dunglas Home was released, William Stainton Moses, (below) an Anglican priest, referred to it as the “dreariest twaddle” and just so much “stuff and nonsense.”  Little did Moses realize at the time that within two or three years, he would develop into a medium with abilities similar to those of Home.  In fact, Home and Moses have gone down in history as the most influential mediums of the first 80 years of the nineteenth century. 

 moses

Born on November 5, 1839 in Lincolnshire, England, Moses, who went by Stainton, his mother’s maiden name, earned his master’s degree at Oxford in 1863 and served as a curate on the Isle of Man for five years before being appointed English Master in University College London, a position he would hold until 1889.

In Moses’s biography, Charlton Templeman Speer, a renowned musician, recorded that Moses and his father, Dr. Stanhope Speer, frequently discussed religious matters and both were gradually drifting into an unorthodox, almost agnostic, frame of mind.  Mrs. Speer had taken an interest in spiritualism and persuaded her husband and Moses to attend a séance with medium Lottie Fowler.  During that sitting, on April 2, 1872, Moses received some very evidential information about a friend who had died.  His curiosity aroused, Moses attended other séances, including some with D. D. Home. 

On March 30, 1873, spirit messages started coming through Moses’s hand by means of “automatic writing.” This method was adopted, Moses was informed by the spirits, for convenience purposes and so that he could preserve a connected body of teachings. However, the spirits also communicated in the direct voice and trance voice when a small circle of friends, including Dr. and Mrs. Speer, Serjeant Cox, a barrister, and several others gathered at the Speer’s home.  The teachings coming through Moses were compiled in two books, Spirit Teachings, published by Moses in 1883, and More Spirit Teachings, collected and published after his death in 1892 by Mrs. Speer. Mrs. Speer recorded the teaching coming through the direct voice and the trance voice. 
Many of the messages conflicted with Moses’s beliefs and with Church dogma and doctrine.  “It is certain that the mass of ideas conveyed to me were alien to my own opinions, were in the main opposed to my settled convictions, and, moreover, that in several cases information, of which I was assuredly ignorant, clear, precise, and definite in form, susceptible of verification and always exact, was thus conveyed to me,” he explained. 

The teachings came from a band of 49 spirits under the direction of one called Imperator, who said that he had come to explain the spirit world, how it is controlled, and the way in which information is conveyed to humans.  “Man must judge according to the light of reason that is in him.” Imperator voiced through Moses when asked how anyone could know if what was being taught was actual truth.  “That is the ultimate standard, and the progressive soul will receive what the ignorant or prejudiced will reject.  God’s truth is forced on none.”

Spirits named Rector and Doctor were the most frequent communicators, although indications were that they were merely relaying teachings from Imperator, who was at too high a vibration or frequency to effectively communicate directly with Moses. That is, Rector and Doctor were at a level closer to the earth frequency and better able to get through to Moses.

“I remember mentally wondering how such spirits spoke English; and, in reply to my thought, several addressed me one after another in different languages,” Moses explained the phenomenon. “They were not intelligible to me, but were interpreted by Imperator. He also showed me how spirits commune with each other by transfusion of thought.  Imperator explained that the sounds could be made in the same way, without any aid from anything material.”

Moses further explained that as his hand was writing, his spirit was separated from his body.  He recalled standing in spirit next to his body and observing the writing taking place. Rector held one hand on Moses’s head and the other hand on his right hand, which held the pen.  “Through the ceiling streamed down a mild, pleasing light, and now and again rays of bluish light were shot down on my body,” he said. “When this was done, I saw the body jerk and quiver. It was being charged, as I may say. I noticed, moreover, that the daylight had faded; and the window seemed dark, and the light by which I saw was spirit-light. I could hear perfectly well the voices of the spirits who spoke to me. They sounded very much as human voices do, but were more delicately modulated, and sounded as though from a distance.”

According to Charlton Speer, Moses (or the spirits working through him) could, by simply placing his hands on it, levitate a large mahogany table which otherwise required the strength of two men to move it an inch.  The spirits levitated Moses at least three times, on one occasion raising him on the table and then lifting him from the table to an adjacent sofa. 

Other phenomena reported by Charlton Speer included a great variety of communicating raps, numerous lights, luminous hands, musical sounds, direct writing (no hand holding the pencil), apports, and the passage of matter through matter. 

“I can only say that they were delivered in a dignified, temperate, clear, and convincing tone, and that though the voice proceeded from the medium, it was always immediately apparent that the personality addressing us was not that of the medium,” Speer explained.  “The voice was different, and the ideas were often not in accordance with those held at the time by the medium.  An important fact, too, was that although many spirits exercised this power of control, the voice which spoke was always different; and in the case of those spirits which controlled regularly we came to know perfectly well which intelligence was communicating, by the tone of the voice and method of enunciation.”

Here are some of the teachings coming from the Imperator band:

Imperator & Spirit Names:  “These names are but convenient symbols for influences brought to bear upon you. In some cases the influence is not centralized; it is impersonal, as you would say.  In many cases the messages given you are not the product of any one mind, but are the collective influence of a number.  Many who have been concerned with you are but the vehicles to you of a yet higher influence which is obliged to reach you in that way.  We deliberate, we consult, and in many instances you receive the impression of our united thought.”

Barrier to Spirit Influence: “The busy world is ever averse from the things of spirit life. Men become so absorbed in the material, that which they can see and grasp, and hoard up, and they forget that there is a future and spirit life. They become so earthly that they are impervious to our influence; so material that we cannot come near them; so full of earthly interests that there is no room for that which shall endure when they have passed away.  More than this, the constant preoccupation leaves no time for contemplation, and the spirit is wasted for lack of sustenance. The spiritual state is weak; the body is worn and weary with weight of work and anxious care, and the spirit is well-nigh inaccessible.  The whole air, moreover, is heavy with conflicting passions, with heart-burnings, and jealousies, and contentions, and all that is inimical to us.”

Evidence: “There is a point beyond which it is impossible for us to present evidence.  Of that you are aware.  We labour under one great disadvantage, as compared with human witnesses; we are not of your earth, and cannot produce for you the kind of evidence which would weigh in your courts of justice.  We can but state for your acceptance the evidence on which we ground our claims to your hearing and acceptance, leaving to your own mind in fairness to decide upon the points which we cannot clear up by evidence.”

Truths: “We can only dimly symbolize truths which one day your unclouded eye will see in their full spendour.  We cannot speak with clearness when the spirit of our medium is troubled, when his body is racked with pain, or his mental state vitiated by disease.  Nay, even a lowering atmosphere, or electric disturbance, or the neighborhood of unsympathetic and unfavorable human influences, may colour a communication, or prevent it from being clear and complete.”

Jesus:  “You inquire from us what position we assign to Jesus the Christ.  We are not careful to enter into curious comparisons between different teachers who, in different ages, have been sent from God.  The time is not yet come for that; but this we know, that no spirit more pure, more godlike, more noble, more blessing and more blessed, ever descended to find a home on your earth.  None more worthily earned by a life of self-sacrificing love the adoring reverence devotion of mankind.  None bestowed more blessings on humanity; none wrought a greater work for God.” 

Literalism:  “Friend, you must discriminate between God’s truths and man’s glosses.  We do not dishonour the Lord Jesus – before whose exalted majesty we bow – by refusing to acquiesce in a fiction which He would disown, and which man has forced upon His name.  No, assuredly: but they who from a strict adherence to the literal text of Scripture – a text which they have not understood, and the spirit of which they have never grasped – have dishonoured the Great Father of Him, and of all alike, and have impiously, albeit ignorantly, derogated from the honour due to the Supreme alone…The holding of a narrow, cold, dogmatic creed, in all its rigid lifeless literalism, cramps the soul, dwarfs its spirituality, clogs its progress, and stunts its growth.  ‘The letter,’ says your Scripture, ‘the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.’ Hence we denounce such views of God as are contained in the fable of a material hell; and we proclaim to you purer and more rational ideas than are contained in the orthodox notions of atonement and vicarious sacrifice.”

Faith:  “Faith to be real must be outside the limits of caution, and be fired by something more potent and effective than calculating prudence, or logical deduction, or judicial impartiality.  It must be the fire that burns within, the mainspring that regulates the life, the overmastering force that will not be at rest.  This is that faith that Jesus spoke of when He said of it that it was able to move mountains. This is that which braves death and torture, braces up the feeble knees for long and hard endurance, and conducts its possessor safe at last through any perils that may assail him to the goal where faith finds its reward in fruition.” 

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.  

Spirit Teachings and More Spirit Teachings by William Stainton Moses are available from Amazon.

Next blog post:  Sept. 3


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Suicide or Murder? Clairvoyance or a Mother’s Intuition?

Posted on 06 August 2018, 8:26

The key issue involving the death of James Sutton, (below) a 22-year-old newly commissioned second lieutenant in the Marine Corps, was whether or not he had committed suicide. The other possibilities were that he was murdered by fellow officers, that he was shot in self-defense by the fellow officers, or that he accidentally shot himself while engaged in a brawl with one or more of the other officers.  The case grabbed national headlines around the country, from the New York Times and Washington Post to the San Francisco Chronicle and Portland Oregonian.  It involved politicians, the Secretary of the Navy, America’s only Catholic cardinal, high-ranking military officers, and distinguished lawyers and doctors.

 jamessutton

Sutton’s death took place on the grounds of the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, then the basic school for marine officers, in the early morning hours of October 13, 1907.  As he returned to his barracks with three fellow marine officers, after a night of socializing and drinking, Sutton was involved in an argument with one or more of them and an altercation resulted with shots being fired.  It all ended with Sutton being shot in the head as one or two of the fellow officers reportedly pinned him to the ground.  The statements made by the three fellow officers and others who came upon the scene were confusing and conflicting, but the board of inquest concluded that all the evidence was reliable and pointed to death by suicide, even though the trajectory of the bullet into the side of Sutton’s head above the right ear would likely have required him to pull the trigger with his thumb, unless, as one expert testified, he had been a contortionist.  The possibility that he tried to shoot the person pinning him to the deck while using his thumb to pull the trigger also looms as a very reasonable possibility.

Sutton’s mother, Rosa Sutton, (below) had another reason to believe that “Jimmie” had not committed suicide. “Mama I never did,” Rosa recalled Jimmie’s words, when his apparition appeared to her some 12 hours after his death at his parents’ home in Portland, Oregon, just after they received a telegram advising of his death by suicide. “My hands are as free from crime as they were when I was five years old.  Oh, Mother, don’t believe them.  Adams struck me in the head with the butt of a gun and stunned me.  I fell on my knees and they beat me worse than a dog in the street.  Mamma dear, if you could only see my forehead you would know what they did to me. Don’t give way, for you must clear my name.  God will give you the men (means?) to bring those men to justice.”


 rosasutton


On October 16, three days after his death, Jimmie again allegedly appeared to his mother and said, “They put a bandage around my forehead and around to the back of my neck to try to hide what they had done.  My face was all beaten up and discolored and my forehead broken and a lump under my left jaw.  They put my body in a basement and left it there.  Utley managed and directed the whole affair.” As Jimmie’s apparition spoke, his mother noted that he had his overcoat on and that he kept looking around for something.  She asked him what he was looking for and he said that his shoulder knot (epaulet) was missing.  Jimmie also told his mother that his watch had been broken with a kick as he lay on the ground. He added that he did not realize he had been shot until he “woke up in eternity.”

And so began Rosa Sutton’s two-year legal battle with the Navy Department to clear her son’s name.  Indications are that there was a deeper reason for her crusade than simply setting the record straight and erasing the stigma of suicide. “As a Catholic, Rosa Brant Sutton believed suicide was a mortal sin,” author Robin R. Cutler explains in the Prologue of her book, A Soul on Trial, published by Rowman & Littlefield.  “If the navy was correct, Jimmie would spend eternity in hell with no chance of being reunited with his loved ones.”  Moreover, Jimmie’s admission to purgatory and then heaven, rather than hell, required, in Rosa’s mind, a priest to consecrate his grave at Arlington National Cemetery, something a priest was not allowed to do in the case of a suicide.

 suttonbook


It seems strange that Rosa, described by an investigator as “shrewd” and a woman of “unusual intelligence,” would assume that a celestial judge would render justice based on the verdict of a terrestrial board of inquest.  Seemingly, a celestial judge would most certainly know the true facts and direct Jimmie to the proper station in the afterlife without regard for the terrestrial finding.  But Rosa, like many others of that time, apparently did not question Church dogma and doctrine. 

Even before Jimmie’s death, and considering the three-hour time difference between Annapolis and Portland, Rosa sensed something was wrong with Jimmie.  At about the time of his death, or shortly before, she felt as if a knife had struck her in the heart and cried out to her husband and two daughters that something had happened to Jimmie, after which she retired to her room and prayed.  Rosa reported Jimmie coming to her in different ways in the weeks following his death. 

Was Rosa Sutton delusional or was she really seeing and hearing from her discarnate son?  In 1910, three years after the death of Jimmie and after his remains had received a proper Catholic burial, Rosa contacted Professor James Hyslop, who headed up the American Society for Psychical Research, and requested help in understanding what was going on with her visions. Hyslop sent an investigator, George A. Thacher, who lived near the Suttons, to determine if she actually had psychic or mediumistic abilities. Family members, including her husband and daughters, confirmed her visions and words on the night of Jimmie’s death and the next day as Jimmie told her of his innocence.  Thacher reported that the family members, including two of Rosa’s sisters, had been accustomed to Rosa’s premonitions and visions over the years and had shrugged it all off as just so much “happy-hearted nonsense and chaff,” while Rosa, herself, didn’t know what to make of it.  Moreover, as good Christians, all members of the family saw anything resembling Spiritualism as repugnant to them.

Rosa told Thacher that when she lived in Los Angeles, some 20 years earlier, her mother, who lived in Vancouver, Washington, appeared to her several hours before she received a telegram notifying her of her mother’s death. Before that, in 1884, she had a “knowing” that something had happened to her 18-year-old brother, Albert.  As it turned out, Albert had died that day.  That night, Albert came to her while she was sleeping and told her that her house was on fire.  She assumed it was nothing more than a dream and attempted to go back to sleep.  She then felt a touch on her shoulder, heard some noise in the house, and realized her house was actually on fire.

Rosa had a number of other visions and premonitions over the years, but they were nothing more than curiosities to her and irritations to her husband and some of her family members. James, her husband, saw it as simply a “mother’s intuition” of some kind, even though she had such visions not involving her children. Perhaps the most veridical vision came on December 16, 1910 when Thacher arrived at the Sutton home to interview Rosa Sutton.  She told him that she had a dream or vision that very morning in which she saw a coffin.  As she stepped up to the coffin, she saw the smiling face of Sister Dorothy (actually, Sister Dorothea), who had been her teacher, as well as her sister’s teacher, in Catholic school in Vancouver more than 30 years earlier.  Her sister, Mary, was especially close to Sister Dorothy.  Both Mary and Rosa were under the impression that Sister Dorothy was dead, and the purpose of the vision was unknown.  But then, nearly three weeks later, on January 4, 1911, the Portland Oregonian carried a notice and photo of Sister Dorothea, reporting that she had died the previous day, on January 3.  Thacher concluded that this was some kind of premonitory-type vision and that there was absolutely no deception on the part of Rosa or her sister.  Rosa attended the funeral of Sister Dorothy and told Thacher that the coffin and room corresponded with those she had seen in her vision. 


When Jimmie’s personal belongings arrived back home in Portland in a trunk, his watch was there with the crystal shattered.  It had stopped at 1:15, believed to be the time of his death. As Rosa held the watch, it began ticking and stopped after three minutes.  “Jimmie says that’s how long I suffered,” Rosa told her daughter, Rose, who replied, “Mamma, you have lost your mind.”  The watch started up again and ran for two minutes.  “That’s how much longer I lived,” Rosa relayed Jimmie’s words.  The watch was taken to a jeweler, who had a difficult time restoring it to working order.  It was given to another son, who reported that it stopped at 1:20 every day for about a year before being further repaired. 

In addition to the shattered watch, Rosa’s visions were given some credence by the fact that the autopsy showed that Jimmie’s face was badly beaten, including the forehead and the lump under his left jaw, independent of the gunshot wound to the right side of his head, and the epaulet was missing from his military overcoat. Also, his head had a large bandage wrapped around it before his first burial.

Needless to say, Rosa’s visions were not admissible in the military court of inquiry that took place in 1909 in Rosa’s extensive efforts to have the suicide verdict overturned. Thacher and Hyslop concluded that they were veridical to a certain extent, but there was no way to tell how much her memory and those of family members had distorted the visions.  Hyslop gave considerable weight to the possibility that the two names, Adams and Utley, were filled in by Rosa and family members to fit facts later developed.  Her words, agreed to in substance by family members and others interviewed by Thacher, were not likely verbatim and only recalled and recorded in general at a later date.  If those two names actually came through on the first and third days following Jimmie’s death, before the Sutton family had become aware of the circumstances and the other officers involved, it would certainly have added some strong evidence for psi or extra-sensory perception, even if not admissible in court.  Of course, a defense counsel would likely argue that Jimmie had mentioned those names in the many letters he had written to his family, possibly even commenting on differences he might have had with his two fellow officers, thereby leading Rosa to associate those names with her visions.

The head injuries not associated with the gunshot wound, the bandaged head, the damaged watch, the missing epaulet, along with Rosa’s many other experiences attested to by others but not taken seriously by them, or even by Rosa, all suggested that Rosa had clairvoyant abilities of some kind.  Although it is not a particularly strong case for such ability, it is certainly a very interesting and intriguing one.

It should be noted that the Catholic Church has changed its position on the fate of the suicide in the afterlife in recent years. According to the Catholic Education Research Center website, fear, force, ignorance, habit, passion, and psychological problems can all impede the will of the person and therefore the person may not be fully responsible or responsible at all for taking his or her life. Thus, it is in God’s hands as to how the person is judged and only He can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance.

I think Cutler should have been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her efforts in researching this case and writing about it, clearly a long-term and laborious undertaking. (See her website and special deal on the book at https://robinrcutler.com/a-soul-on-trial/)  Considering the likelihood that the court’s decision would not have affected Jimmie’s fate in the afterlife one way or the other, one has to wonder if Rosa Sutton’s crusade, which reportedly cost the family $10,000 or more, quite a sum in those days, was worth it all, but in the very end Jimmie communicated to his mother what it was all about, and it does, in fact, seem that there was a bigger picture to it all.  It was, Jimmy communicated, “to purify the Navy, Mamma.”

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.  


Next blog post:  August 20


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“Children and the Light” by Peter and Elizabeth Fenwick – ALF Rose had this experience many years ago when he was ill with pneumonia as a young child of four or five. Suddenly I was out of my body and floating near the top of the window in my bedroom. I could see myself in bed and my mother kneeling at the side of the bed. She was crying and looked very distressed. I gazed at this scene for a little while and remember that I didn't feel any emotion at all and was completely indifferent to what I saw. Without any warning at all I was travelling very swiftly through a dense forest. Read here
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