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What Happens When You Die by Robert Crookall


IT IS EVIDENT that someone who was well known to St. Paul underwent the release of the Soul Body from the physical body, though the details given are meagre. The Apostle (II Cor. xii, 2) mentioned a man who had been “caught up as far as the third ‘heaven’ ”, i.e., as far as Paradise, the Soul Body of the physical world. He heard unrepeatable words spoken.

Perhaps the most complete and convincing case of this type is that of William Gerhardie, M.A., B.Litt., the well-known author. In a note prefacing his book, Resurrection, Gerhardie insisted that the experiences which he described therein were genuine ones. They obviously cannot be explained on the basis that this “double” was imaginary, a body-image, and they show that its appearance does not necessarily indicate illness.

Outside his physical body, in his “double”, Gerhardie said, “I had stretched out my hand to press to switch off the lamp . . . but found myself [‘double’] suspended in mid-air. I was fully awake . . . and said to myself, ‘Fancy that! Now would you have believed it! Now this is something to tell! And this is not a dream!’ Then I was seized and placed on my feet. I stood there, the same living being ... If the whole world united in telling me that it was a dream, I would remain unconvinced.

“I was in the body of my resurrection. ‘So that’s what it is like! How utterly unforeseen!’ I staggered to the door. I felt the handle, but could not turn it. Then, turning, I became aware of a strange appendage. At the back of me was a coil of light. It was like a luminous garden-hose. It illuminated the face on the pillow, as if attached to the face of the sleeper. The sleeper was myself [physical body],

“Who would have thought that I had a spare body at my disposal adapted to the new conditions! But I was not dead; my physical body was sleeping peacefully, while I was apparently on my feet and as good as before. ‘Now how will I get out?’ I thought ... At the same moment the door passed through me, or I through the door. I was in the corridor, dark, but illumined by a subdued light which seemed to emanate from my body [‘double’]. The next instant I had entered my bathroom, affecting from habit to switch on the light, but unable to press it down.

“There was this uncanny tape of light [the ‘silver cord’] between us like the umbilical cord, by which the body on the bed was kept breathing . . . ‘Now, be scientific!’ I said. ‘This is one chance in a million! You must convince yourself so that nothing later will make you think it was merely a dream!’ All this I said to myself while going round and collecting such evidence as: that window is open; that curtain is drawn; this is the new towel-heater ... I noticed a familiar outline of myself in the looking-glass . . .

“ ‘What evidence? What more evidence?’ I kept asking myself, as I passed from room to room. Here I noted which windows were shut, then I tried, and failed, to open the linen cupboard. Then I noted the time ... I flew through the front door and hovered in the air, feeling an extraordinary lightness of heart. Now I could fly anywhere, to New York, etc., to visit a friend, if I liked, and it wouldn’t take me a moment. But I feared that something might happen to sever the link with my sleeping body . . .

“What was I going to do now? ‘Proof,’ I said, I wanted irrefutable proof which would convince me and others when I came back into my body . . . Whom could I visit? And at that moment the thought occurred to me: let me visit my friend Max Fisher at Hastings. Again I flew off . . . Suddenly, I was stepping over an open patch of grass ... I thought, ‘How do I know I am not dreaming this}’ And the answer, ‘Look for the lighted cord behind you”. I looked round. It was there, but very thin . . .

“Then, with a jerk which shook me [= re-entering body] ... I opened my eyes. I was in my bedroom . . . Not a detail of my experience had been lost to my mind and there was quite another quality about it all, that of reality, which removed it from the mere memory of a dream . . . We had a duplicate body all there and ready for use, the almost indistinguishable double of our natural body ... It seemed that, for the first stage of survival at any rate, we already had a body, stored away, it is true, like a diver’s suit, but nevertheless neatly folded in our everyday bodies, always at hand in case of death or for special use ... I got up, and went through the rooms, checking the mental notes I had made about which windows were closed or open, which curtains drawn; and the evidence in all cases proved correct.”

Gerhardie reasoned as follows: “If my body of flesh could project this other more tenuous body, while I could behold my flesh stretched out as if in death . . . then this subtler body, adapted to the subtler uses of another plane, was also but a suit or vehicle, to be in turn, perhaps, discarded for another [the True Spiritual Body] . . . Gone was the notion that death was eternal rest . . . Gone was the notion that the Soul was like a little fleecy cloud. That twin [Soul] Body was real enough. Perhaps it was rash to think that conditions beyond the grave were entirely different from ours. The surprise might be that they were the same ...”

The well-authenticated “reciprocal” case of Mr. and Mrs. Jansen was reported in Journal American S.P.R., 1923, by Dr. Gerda Walther. Mr. Jansen was away from home (on the Isle of Bornholm) on business, his whereabouts being unknown to his wife. The latter mentally “looked for him, though in vain, in all the various towns which he usually visited”. She then concentrated on, i.e. directed her attention towards, her husband (instead of possible towns) and suddenly she had a “vision” of him going along an alley and into a house which was unknown to her. Mr. Jansen entered a room, undressed and went to bed. Mrs. Jansen felt comforted and fell asleep. The next day she wrote to her husband (addressing the letter to Copenhagen) and told him of her “vision”. That evening Jansen had been in Randers, a town that his wife had never seen. After a short walk down an alley, he returned to his hotel and went to bed. Suddenly he saw the figure of his wife standing beside his bed. The description which Mrs. Jansen gave of the alley and the hotel corresponded to where he had been that night.

Dr. Walther considered this to be “bilocation” (i.e., the “double” being in one locality and the body in another) and not merely telepathy, since Mrs. Jansen was thinking of her husband and of what he was doing, while he was thinking of her (and not making a mental picture of himself walking about), i.e., they did not take up what was in each other’s minds.

Mrs. Thomas Doan of Long Beach, California, obviously had no prior knowledge of these matters. She wrote, “I wonder if any of your readers have experienced the dreams, or visions, which I have and if they could explain them. For years I have experienced a peculiar sensation when asleep. When sound asleep, I suddenly become completely numb and have a feeling like electricity in my body. I try to move and can’t. I also feel the presence of someone beside my bed. I get petrified and cannot speak. On one occasion . . . I could see myself (physical body) lying in bed and at the same time I (the ‘double’) was lying across a pair of bare shoulders and spinning as a wrestler spins another wrestler . . . Once I dreamed that I (in the ‘double’), was trying to float away from my body. I saw myself in bed [ = physical body] with a smoky string [ = the ‘silver cord’] connecting the two of me. Then I snapped back into my body ... I wish to find out, if possible, if I am dreaming or if the visions I see are actually there.”

Mrs. L. “Ringwood” sent the following account to the present writer:

“In 1917 I had a great friend who was a wireless operator in the Royal Navy. One night I could see myself [physical body] in bed. Another body [the ‘double’] seemed to rise out of my chest. It was attached to the body on the bed by a silver streak of light [ = the ‘silver cord’]. I floated out of the open window and over gardens and fields. Then I went over strange country and at length over the sea until I was on a ship, close to my friend as he sat with the earphones on. The silver streak of light was there. It had stretched as I floated. I returned as I went, the silver streak of light drawing me back until the second body returned to the one on the bed. I woke with a start . .”
In answer to my question, Mrs. “Ringwood” stated that she had not heard of astral travel or the “silver cord” before having had this experience. Her description of the “cord” agrees with that given by Muldoon and others—it was “about the thickness of a rope clothes-line”. On various occasions she met her parents and her son (who had all “passed on”).

Mr. E. G. Williams had an experience at the age of twenty-six, at which time, he informed me (in litt.j) he had no interest in psychic matters. His account is as follows. “Lying in bed, I suddenly became aware that there were two ‘me’s’. . . Suddenly I found that one of ‘me’ [the ‘double’] was walking across the floor of the hospital ward towards the door. On reaching the door, I turned and looked and saw the other ‘me’ [ = the physical body] apparently asleep. The two ‘me’s were joined by a white cord [ = the ‘silver cord’] like a piece of thin string ... I saw a beautiful blue opaque mist ... I sensed that if I passed into the mist [ = Hades conditions] I should never return. It was not a frightening thought: in fact, the peace and tranquillity that the mist offered seemed very inviting—so I just stood looking. I have no record of returning to my physical body, but suddenly I was there ... I often ask myself, ‘Was I standing at the gateway of death?!”

J. W. Stuart-Young said, “It is as though the ‘astral body’ floated above the physical. It invariably turns upon its back, even should the sleeper be upon his stomach. When it has risen to some 5 or 6 feet, floating freely, but always attached to the ‘silver cord’, the ‘astral body begins gradually to tilt forward, feet towards the ground. By degrees it reaches the perpendicular position. It is then able to become aware of its surroundings, to see the physical shell upon the bed, etc. ... The silver cord never disappeared ... At times it was like a clothesline for diameter, and at other times as fragile as a silken thread. If I touched it intentionally . . . presto! I was back on my verandah. I felt myself pushed upwards and backwards: I became supine immediately over my sleeping body (compare the descriptions of the “return” independently given by Muldoon, Mr. “H”, etc.). I repercussed with such a shock that I awakened with an involuntary cry of fear.”

“FIRST GROUP OF EXPERIENCE” is a extract from What Happens When You Die by Robert Crookall, published by White Crow Books

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