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Boston Mayor Describes Afterlife Conditions

Posted on 01 March 2021, 10:02

While visiting the office of the Society for Psychical Research in Boston during February 1888, Anne Manning Robbins met Dr. Richard Hodgson, who, at the time, was interviewing various people who had had sittings with medium Leonora Piper. Robbins’s first sitting with Mrs. Piper was during the winter of 1884-85, not long after Piper’s mediumistic ability was discovered and before Professor William James of Harvard was introduced to it. “The personality of Mrs. Piper, then a young woman, with her sweet, pure, refined and gentle countenance, attracted me at once,” Robbins wrote in her 1909 book titled Both Sides of the Veil.

Upon learning that Robbins had stenographic abilities, Hodgson solicited her help in recording and transcribing future sittings with Mrs. Piper. Robbins accepted and assisted Hodgson for many years. It was in 1894, that Robbins first met Augustus Martin, (below) who had become Boston’s police commissioner 10 years after serving as mayor. Robbins, a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, became his administrative assistant for the next five years and later worked with him when he became the water commissioner. She remembered him as a man of “dignity, sweetness and light.”


Martin, usually referred to as “General,” after Massachusetts Governor John Long commissioned him an honorary brigadier general because of his distinguished service during the Civil War, especially at the Battle of Gettysburg, died on March 13, 1902. On May 21, 1903, Hodgson, who had been studying the mediumship of Mrs. Piper for more 15 years at that point, was informed by Rector, Piper’s spirit control at the time, that a spirit there was constantly calling for a lady in the body. After some struggling to get the name, Rector (using Piper’s hand) wrote “Robbins.” The spirit was identified as having been Augustus Martin, but it was said that he was not yet ready to speak, though he would be soon. However, it wasn’t until December 23 that year, some 21 months after his passing that Martin actually began to communicate. Rector asked Hodgson to arrange for a sitting by Robbins.

During that sitting, Rector first addressed Robbins and brought her old friend Hiram Hart to communicate with her. Hart then said, “I am bringing another friend who seeks you, who knows you as you are. ” It was explained that Martin was not yet able to speak through Piper and that Hart would relay his words.

“You have called for me in your spirit,” Hart relayed Martin’s message through Mrs. Piper. “I knew it and felt it, but I could not reach down until the conditions were arranged for it. Do you know what they all mean? Perhaps you know better than I do. But these good priests opened the way, who showed me the Light, opened the door for me and there I am. Would to God you could see me as I am! I am quite the man that I was, only my ideas are all changed. They are more now I think in harmony with your own.”

Martin apologized for not taking her seriously about spirit communication when he was alive and she attempted to tell him about her visits with Mrs. Piper. In fact, Martin didn’t seem to realize that Mrs. Piper was the medium through whom his words were being delivered that day. However, he added that what Robbins told him in those earlier days had helped him adjust to his new environment.

Some discussion then took place about Martin’s family. He said that his grandson Augustus, who was named after him and who died at age two, about six months after his death, was with him. Also, another grandson was born just a week prior to the sitting. Martin said he thought that the newborn was also named after him.  Robbins told him she didn’t know the name. When she later checked with the mother, she was told that the given name was William Everett, but they called him Augustus, as he seemed to replace the little Augustus whom they had lost.

“It is just the little details of the material life which I cannot grasp and [in] which I long to have you help me, but the actual life, and the actual life of the children, and all that, is well known to me, but the details of the material life I cannot see,” Martin communicated. Robbins again asked if Martin was speaking directly to her or if Hiram Hart was relaying his words to her. Martin replied that Hiram was doing it for him as he did not yet know how to communicate directly, without the help of others.

Robbins asked about his initial experiences following his physical death. “When I first passed out my mind was cloudy, rather confused,” Martin replied. “I felt as though I was going into space, did not know where, drifting as it were, for a few hours – that was all – and then I felt as though there was a strong hand grasped me and said to me: ‘It is all right, it is all over.’ And I said: ‘What is over?’ I could not seem to understand what it all meant, and after a little while, perhaps an hour, possibly an hour or two, I saw oh such a light! You cannot imagine it, cannot conceive what it is like. It is the most brilliant and yet the softest moonlight that you ever saw, and I thought, what a beautiful light it was! And all of a sudden I saw people moving about. I saw their heads, their figures. Then they seemed all clad in white, and I could not seem to make them out.  They were moving in the air.”

“…You could not conceive of anything more strange and beautiful,” Martin added, “in a sense – the confusion was not so beautiful, but because it was so I could not seem to retain my consciousness and could not seem to be released from the burden that hung over me, and all of a sudden, the moment I realized this hand was on my arm, then I began to see clearly; and from that moment I have been advancing and going on, and I have seen everybody I ever knew, and I have had the happiest time you could imagine. I have a mansion all my own and live in it just the same as you live in your place there, just the same. I have walls, I have pictures, I have music, I have books, I have poetry, I have everything…It is not a fac simile of that life, but that life is a miserable shadow of what this really is, and when I get strong, as I become stronger, and, that is, more accustomed to using this [light], I can tell you more clearly about it.”

Robbins asked him if he would eventually be able to communicate directly. “Yes, but not just now,” he answered. “I am trying to understand the laws and the workings of the [medium], and they put me up here so I could see. Just like a schoolboy being sent to the board to figure out a multiplication table. I am set up here, I am held here, and there are three [spirits] one behind me, and one on either side of me, holding me up here and telling me to talk, and I am talking to Hiram, and Hiram is repeating it after me, and I am trying to do a sum in geometry. That is just what I am trying to do. And since I am not fully equipped in that problem perhaps you can understand something of the difficulty.”

Robbins asked Martin if he remembered any of the public officials who used to work with him. “I think I should,” he replied. “Many names have gone from me, naturally, and new ones have come up to me. Names of places, names of people whom I knew in the mortal world, have gone from me to a certain extent, and as I go on they go still farther from me, but I shall never forget you. I remember when I was suffering so, I remember the little councils we had together, and they have lasted in my memory and will to the end of all life.”

Robbins then asked him if the spiritual sympathies are the only ones remembered. “Yes, well, those are the real vital ones, those are the real ones,” he answered. And when you understand better the conditions of life and the conditions of passing from that life to this, the changes in the life as it were, you will understand more clearly what that means. But until then it will be difficult for you to understand it fully.”

At a later sitting, Robbins told Martin that she had assembled many of his speeches and put them together in one complete copy.  She wondered if Martin knew anything about it. “Well, yes, I knew the outline, but the work itself, the actual work as it was going on, I could not fathom.” Martin explained. “But I knew the work concerned my mortal life and things that transpired in it. But the nature of it I could not define. We know what takes place in a general way, but if we were to define it, condense it and give utterance to it, it would be difficult. But such is the law of this life. Remember, now, if you could see me you would say I was a mere film, and you would say, ‘how transparent and peculiar and how light and how strange you look to me;’ and you would say, ‘where is your body? You look like a shadow, as it were,’ but still I could talk with you, we could converse with each other, and you would be surprised to see how real I am. The passing out is really beautiful, just after you once get beyond the border, it is perfectly beautiful. You know the meaning of the word heaven? Well, it is heaven indeed.  But the coming back is a little confusing at first and we have to learn.”

Martin said that he sometimes dictates thoughts to Robbins. “I want to say this, that when you are working I sometimes dictate thoughts to you, and it is surprising to me to see how clearly you register them, and I think sometimes you are surprised to think that you have done what you have, and if you just stop and give me a thought you would know why it was that you did those things, registered those thoughts. Sometimes there seems to be a barrier between you and your thoughts, they are not clear, and they seem to be a little obscure, and then they clear up, and you have always attributed that to the condition of your brain, and now if you just give me credit for a little bit of help you would do the right thing. Not that I am egotistic, but the point is that I am really with you. And I want to say one thing, that you have not grown old in spirit and not in the flesh. It looks so clear to me, so free, so bright and so young, and I think your body looks the same. I can’t see much change. Yes, I think you look about the same. I can’t see the body so clearly as I can the spirit.”

After discussing the building they once worked in, Martin asked about Orinton Hanscom, one of the higher officials in the police department, with whom he had had some differences when they were working together. Martin mentioned that he now had a higher opinion of him “because I see his principles.”

Martin further explained that it was pretty much beyond her comprehension, and said that if her eyes were opened to the spiritual life she could see him as he stood there talking with her, observing every gesture which is copied by Rector

Robbins asked if everyone leaves here just when right for him or her to go, whether he is young or old. “Yes, yes, yes,” he replied, “that is all in the hands of God, and although we never see God – I have never seen Him and never hope to – He rules us all and reigns over us all, and we are a part, a branch of Him…”

The above is significantly abridged from Chapter 8 of my book, “Resurrecting Leonora Piper.” Martin had much more tell Robbins.

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

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Next blog post, March 15


Very good analogy!-  AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 8 Mar, 13:30

Briefly, from the busy builder at eighty . . .

I want to say that I completely agree with what Amos and Chris de Cat say in their latest posts.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Mon 8 Mar, 12:27

I like to think that I will not reincarnate until I am ready to come back—-until I recognize my need for additional soul growth through experience in a physical form.  But most likely I will impetuously make a choice to return for some desire of the moment and without much thought.  I can think of several things too personal to share that I would jump at the chance to experience.

Probably Jesus said, “God!  I don’t ever want to do that again.”  But what if Jesus had initially said, “No I refuse to go down there!”  What then?

Being incarnated is a challenge for all of us.  We all suffer some degree of physical and emotional pain in whatever role we assume in life but sometimes as a result of that pain come learning and progression to a higher reality. I believe that upon transition at death the soul forgets all of the pain and sorrow of the earth life and rejoices in the recognition that the physical life was just an experience of little significance. Many of those who report a near death experience report exactly that emotion; they willingly leave their earth life, including their family, behind as they move forward into a warm, loving home-like place welcomed by those who may have been part of their life at one time but who have passed on.

Rest assured that God is not a monster god and that everything works together for good. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 7 Mar, 20:36

I know it’s not the same but it is like if an atom of a cel in the human body says that it can’t see the human. And he indeed can not see the human as a whole, but everything around him and the atom itself is part of that human. So if you can’t see the whole   that does not mean that it isn’t existing. See the things you CAN see and just know that there is the whole. Be thankfull for what you can see and act whith respect. That was the message I wanted to share.

Chris De Cat, Sun 7 Mar, 19:04


VERY interesting discovery you made re: the Bigelow contest—who knows whether it will change anything for me, but at least it opens a door…

Thanks for posting it!

Don Porteous, Sun 7 Mar, 18:37

Dear all, especially Ian and Chris de Cat,

I think Augustus Martin’s point is that he, being only a small part, in the relationship of a part-to-whole duality with God (Who is the whole of that whole) cannot “see” God, being too small in perceptive power, even in his present spirit ‘world’ (or universe) to ‘see’ any entity bigger than himself. A crude analogy would be that an ant crawling on an elephant’s skin cannot see the elephant. Just as for us down here, Augustus Martin has limited sight, even if better sight than ours. We see only what we can see. (That is why unimaginative sceptics cannot believe there is anything but our world’s physical, sensible by the five senses we have.) Martin acknowledges the fact that, even now, in (we trust) a bigger and better universe than the one he was in when down here with us on Earth, he knows he has an infinity of higher and yet higher stages to pass through before he reaches the same infinity-of-being as God, which, if you think about it, would actually BE to have BECOME God. The Bible (Revelation) says that eventually God will be all-in-all, even Yahshua surrendering his kingdom, to be ““absorbed”” into that all-inclusive Whole. In relativistic ie modern terrestrial scientific terms (undeniable by sceptics) this means that God is an omni-multi-total-ALL-encompassing universe of Being that includes EVERYTHING, the infinitude of universes of fewer than infinite number of dimensions, HimHerself having an infinite number of dimensions of space which includes the final dimension of time which has BECOME a dimension of space. God has no remaining dimension of time because He/She has the whole infinity of space dimensions. A static, eternal WHOLE, but with an absolute infinity of action (the times of the infinite number of lower universes) going on WITHIN itself. Martin is expressing the knowledge that he cannot begin to aspire to that Godness, nor see it, unless/until he becomes something a very great deal bigger than a human being, but he is (by implication) glad to have been preserved in being into a world one stage higher than the human (ie he is still alive) so that he can carry on that upward journey, perhaps shortly joining Imperator’s universe - and so on up, TOWARDS but never reaching, and never seeing, God.

It’s the limitation of human language that makes this difficult to explain, difficult to “see”. Set aside the words, and just see what is meant - and then this will become very simple indeed.

And a final note: Einsteinian Relativity is the human step-ladder by which to reach an understanding of it.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Sun 7 Mar, 11:40


Good point about the General never wanting to see God. I wondered about that, too, but there is no further discussion concerning it.  One might infer that he was not too advanced in the afterlife and didn’t know what was involved in the higher realms. He was thoroughly enjoying himself in the realm he was occupying and seemingly content with it.  Then again, it could have been a misinterpretation by the medium or by the control.

Michael Tymn, Sun 7 Mar, 10:32

“that is all in the hands of God, and although we never see God – I have never seen Him and never hope to…”

This baffles me; I can’t recall ever reading any channeled material where someone in Heaven has said that they never want to see God. Does Martin elaborate on this later in the book?

Amos, with regards to people not wanting to reincarnate, I think one main reason is not wanting to go through the difficulties and pains of life (losing your loved ones, watching your dreams die, struggling with ill health and financial difficulties, etc.) over and over and over again with no way to say, ‘No. I refuse to go back.’ If reincarnation really is like that, then I wouldn’t want to go anywhere near such a monstrous God, either.

Ian, Sun 7 Mar, 08:35

This link may explain why Don hasn’t heard from the Bigelow contest people yet.

Michael Tymn, Sat 6 Mar, 20:29

Dear all,

A quick, incomplete, but nonetheless careful comment while resting from drilling some holes in a concrete wall . . .

The view Newton unfurls in his latest comment seems, using other words, to describe what I have described in Maureen Lockhart’s 2010 book as a part-to-whole duality. (If God is the totality, the absolute “there-is-nothing-but” entity, that Whole CONTAINS all the differentiated parts or “things” that we see as knots in the quantum foam of the underlying field of our universe. (My paper on the relevance of relativity also starts from this very same idea.) But there is no priority to be claimed for stating the idea. It has been there in our world for millennia, for it is the daoist idea of the whole oneness that divides into two, and divides again and again. Newton is, surely, not only right in what he now describes, but also right, a few days ago, when he said that Amos and I were saying the same thing, but using different words (and should therefore not squabble but mutually understand).

My thread of thought has broken for a moment because the postman has just dumped something through the door - and I do have to get back to drilling those holes in the concrete wall. Perhaps my words in my paper will eventually gain entry into some other walls - that sounds a nasty thought, but is not really so, so I will, smiling genially, go and look at the post, and then drill those holes. (My old software does not allow me to show you the smile.)

Later in the day I must get back to reading Don’s very, very good, informative and thoughtful book.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Sat 6 Mar, 11:20

Maybe it’s just a glitch with Don’s application (and I hope it is), but if they won’t let Don write a Bigelow essay, then I wouldn’t have had a prayer. I’m about to begin Don’s book and will talk with him and with all of you about things I learn from it, which I anticipate will be quite a bit but will also take quite a bit of time. Meanwhile, I indicated that I would share a few “Bigelow” thoughts here on Michael’s blog, and I’ll do so in dribs and drabs so as not to hog too much space. So how would I have begun my essay? I would have come at the question of proof of the afterlife by talking about two famously heroic doctors working to alleviate human suffering under dangerous circumstances: Dr. Rieux, the central character in Camus’ “The Plague,” who can always be found by reading the book, and Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the medical missionary, who could have been found only before his death in 1965 at his African jungle hospital. The obvious and fundamental difference between them, I would have elaborated, boils down to what quantum physics calls “symmetries,” which by a yet-to-be-discovered process yield the “conserved quantities” we take to be “things,” the components of so-called “objective reality.” My lead witness here would have been a heavyweight mainstream scientist called Dr. Richard Conn Henry. For those interested and unaware of him, an internet search for “The Mental Universe” will access his succinct, startling, yet virtually unchallenged article published (2005) in the highly-regarded “Nature” journal. Enough about that imagined essay for now (which will never become a conserved quantity), and let’s get back to talking about Anne and the General and see where that fascinating subject takes us. Chris, for example, sees the God which the General has never seen as “All That Is.” My take is different, what one might call theologically a “strong creation” stance; i.e., that God, in order to create something truly apart from “himself,” as opposed to cloning “himself,” had by definition to create Not-God. This does not mean that the creator does not infuse and participate in the creation but does mean that the creation was given some sort of independent existence, stands to a certain degree on its own feet. Yes, I am a dualist in this regard, not a monist, and there are both currents IMHO running through spiritualism.

Newton E. Finn, Fri 5 Mar, 17:15

Once again—I am humbled. If I ever need a PR agent…

Many, and most sincere, thanks.

Don Porteous, Fri 5 Mar, 00:54

Dear all, but Don Porteous in particular,

Let me say, speaking from personal experience, that I empathise totally with the suspicion that the lack of letters after names often impedes publication of excellent work that would benefit everyone reading it.

This was my own position relative to the publication of Dr Maureen Lockhart’s book of 2010, The Subtle Energy Body, subtitled BY THE PUBLISHERS, not by us, the authors, as “the complete guide”. We are not so arrogant as Inner Traditions International’s boast aimed merely at increasing sales. Of course it was not complete. No book could be. More to the present point: my name is not on the cover of our book BECAUSE I am an auto-didact without society’s usual marks of recognition of learning. I am, from the commercial publisher’s point of view, a loss-making non-entity. I am writing further matter to add to my own part of Dr Lockhart’s book (my writing is still my copyright, no rights having been conceded to Inner Trads when Maureen’s book was published with my contribution included). The result will be another book, which I hope will be published.

But mine will not be the only good book around . . .

At the present moment, let me say this, very loudly, if you don’t mind . . .  Don Porteous’s book is a scholarly work showing great erudition, and, especially, a hugely useful analytical approach, presenting the many kinds of “inexplicable” event that have been, and still are, going on in matters spiritual and parapsychological. Don deserves a publisher. I have found two readings of his book hugely useful, and hugely fascinating. With (what shall I call it? a helpful following wind of encouragement from others, their freely given help (prayers to the gods? etc etc), a whisper or two in the ears of terrestrial publishers?, we may be able to buy Don’s book some time soon.

I thoroughly recommend Don’s book for its enlightening analysis of the whole field of our interest. So when the present book (or some other product of his mind) is finally on the market, let’s all buy it. Like all authors, Don said himself (a few days ago) that he would like to sell some books. He deserves to. So I hope he does not mind me advertising his abilities.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Thu 4 Mar, 13:21

Dear Mike, and all,

There is indeed a difference between mediumship and clairvoyance, and it is along the very lines of the explanation you cite, Mike, from Johannes Greber. What I want to add here confirms what he states, but gives a “deeper” more explanatory explanation. A Popperian explanation, for those who are interested in the sources of ideas. What I myself think is the correct understanding of the difference between a medium and a clairvoyant is probably best grasped by reference to relativity theory. This will surprise many, I think, but I also think it is worth offering the explanation, at least to those who want to understand it. I cannot help those who do not. To those who do wish to have light on the subject, the explanation I shall now give will be lucid, convincing, appropriate, and to have more explanatory power than the original question itself seems to require - a very good thing about any theory is that it explains EVEN MORE than your question asks. I shall try my best to be clear and brief.

Clairvoyance takes place wholly within our familiar universe, though it uses our universe’s underlying field, using that word in the physicist’s sense, the concept of fields due originally to Faraday. This quantum field was revealed, indeed long-suspected, but finally confirmed for the first time, by Tonomura in 1986. It is the instant interconnection known as ‘entanglement’ via a field of scalar waves that imperceptibly UNDERLIES our perceptible universe. The clairvoyant’s mind spans the gap (space and/or time) between his/her immediate surroundings and the distant place being seen - all WITHIN AND BENEATH OUR UNIVERSE.

The ‘mechanism’ of mediumship is quite different. Communication via a terrestrial medium from, for instance, Imperator, is the receiving of communications from ANOTHER UNIVERSE, maybe of more dimensions than our own every-day-familiar universe, and maybe higher than ours. That other universe is totally beyond communication either way with our universe, as Relativity Theory proves, despite being RIGHT HERE around us, UNLESS Beings within the higher universe can establish a connection with a receiving “apparatus” here in OUR universe. (Hence ectoplasm used to make a bridge, etc etc etc.) A medium’s brain is such an apparatus, so long as her real essence, her soul, vacates for a while, leaving her body unconscious, movable for automatic writing, etc etc etc., or steps aside somehow without him/her losing consciousness. Leonora Piper is a magnificent example.

A number of recent comments on your Blog, Mike, plus this one, fit together in giving a comprehensive understanding of all this, given no prejudice, of course, in the reader’s mind. It all fits, believe me, but it will never go together in the minds of those who are afraid of science, or who resist it on account of irrational emotion. Science CONFIRMS what we believe about spiritual matters. We should never be scared of science, or of those who are prejudiced against even the explanation science provides.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Thu 4 Mar, 11:26

Meant to say that the medium’s consciousness steps aside in the last comment.

Michael Tymn, Thu 4 Mar, 09:44

Dear Newton, and all,

A few thoughts that may be useful, because probably pertinent:

The earliest New Testament writing we have is that of Paul (some decades before the gospel writers, whose products at best must be next-generation hearsay). Even Paul’s writing has been mauled about by later hands, grossly altering his meanings in some places. He spoke (very early) of the “mystery of iniquity [that] doth already work”. He was, I think, warning about the falling away from the primitive gospel, the original good news, the easy yoke and light burden, namely the law-free way of love that Yahshua himself had expounded (so simply). The letters to the Galatians and, more deeply, to the Romans, almost state this view clearly, and it is definitely inferrable from what Paul left us, even in its apostasy-impaired state. He was foretelling what we, with hindsight, see as the whole movement of degradation of the beauty and simplicity of the gospel that led to all the panoply of show and high visible office, arrogance, architecture and pomp that is the catholic church, the hijacking of all authority, the . . . one does not need to go on. It is all visible in the history of the Church as taken over, expanded and IMPOSED by Constantine.

So the selective sifting of what we now have in the debased, palimpsest-ridden NT texts might well, overseen today by a mind of honesty and purity, find the simple pearl without price lost for centuries in the mire of Established Church Tradition. What you, Newton, were commissioned to do by the professor might well have that function. The re-correction of the deliberate falsifications of those who altered the texts during the first few centuries, if done by reverent minds, would be wholly good.

The new understanding you, Newton, or any other conscientious worker, would arrive at would align better with what Imperator and his group imparted to Stainton Moses than with the texts we have in any existing edition of the Bible. I think this line of thought, honest and careful, and seeking a state of informed reverence, is something we all need, and we should not be afraid to use our intelligence and our faith, say so, and actually live our lives accordingly.

I won’t say any more here, though a lot more could be legitimately said. I hope this is not too ragged, and my meanings clear, but I am tired and need some more sleep before tackling this morning’s tasks.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Thu 4 Mar, 07:48

Wow Yvonne,
Your comment is like the break shot on the pool table of my mind.  Balls are bouncing all over the place.  I have so many thoughts related to what you have written that I cannot even formulate what they all are.  What got my conscious attention was the comment concerning reincarnation. And why there is some disagreement—-even in the spirit world—-whether or not there is such a thing.  Do consciousnesses return to inhabit a physical form or do they not return to a physical world?  That is the question!

I could not understand why so many people were opposed to the idea of reincarnation when there is so much good evidence to support it. To me it is a self-evident idea.  Of course, a loving creator would allow spirit entities to get more than one chance to experience a physical learning experience; to correct wrongs or to experience what was denied them in a previous incarnation.  After all, everything in our world seems to be progressing, that is growing and changing into something different or better.  That is called evolution in this age I suppose. And even nature has multiple chances in that after Winter comes Spring, a renewal and an opportunity to do it all over and over again. It never occurred to me that there might be some hidden bias against a possible return to a non-white, uneducated, pagan culture.

I may get in trouble for saying this, but I believe that consciousness is evolving in the spirit world in a similar way that physical forms are evolving in the physical world.  That suggests that some spirit entities are more highly evolved that other spirit entities.  This is suggested by Frederic Meyers in his conversation with Geraldine Cummins and documented in her book “Road to Immortality” and by others. This does not mean that some spirit consciousnesses are better in any way than other consciousnesses less evolved.  They are all part of the Source of all things and of equal value as seen by God.  They are all evolving.  All consciousnesses in whatever forms, human and non-human, deserve our respect and recognition as a part of God.

It may be that once counsciousness departs it’s physical form it takes with it—-at least for a while—-all the prejudices and biases it entertained while in was incarnated on earth.  And if like attracts like, then like-minded consciousnesses find themselves together in one of the many ‘mansions’ of God’s heaven. If that might be so, then of course there would be a group of those who would disclaim anything like reincarnation because they, either consciously or subconsciously do not want to experience physical life in a form which they previously regarded as inferior to them in any way. This was probably especially true for the snooty people that Leon Denis listed and you quoted.  And they either consciously or subconsciously saw that to be a possibility in a return to a physical life.

What they don’t understand is that they will reincarnate in a form that is appropriate to their development and their need to learn.  And in most cases it will be an incarnation of their choice or one with which they are in agreement.  It would be unlikely that a highly evolved human consciousness would return to inhabit a form usually inhabited by a less evolved spirit, but in certain situations and need, e.g. the incarnation of Jesus, a spirit might agree to incarnate in a lower physical form.  This is not a new concept and is in fact centuries old, to be found in religious beliefs that include transmigration of souls into animals as well as other people.

Now the part of this that will get me in trouble and may be difficult to accept by some, especially those imbued with Judeo/Christian dogmas and the idea that “all men are created equal” is that not all embodied human counsciousnesses are equal; some are more spiritually evolved than others and as difficult as that thought may be its acceptance might allow for greater respect and tolerance of the different cultures of people inhabiting the earth in recognizing that they are all evolving on their way back to their Source and are of equal value. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 4 Mar, 01:58

Dear Mike,

I think you mean a medium’s spirit (not his/her body) steps aside so that a spirit in another world can use the terrestrial body to communicate with our world. But I think we all know what you meant, and we all make little slips of this kind, which is what proof-readers are for.

I wonder if the alleged ability of today’s mediums to function as such when conscious, ie not impeding the messages being brought by an inhabiting spirit despite being conscious, bespeaks an increase in compatibility and mutual awareness between the spirit from elsewhere and the medium’s own spirit within, ie her/his soul. If this is new in our century, or increasing in frequency, it may indeed be evidence of a new era dawning in which communication between our world and the higher worlds will become normal. There are intimations of precisely this in the Bible, at least one passage (I forget where) foretelling an era when humans will hear a voice telling them “THIS is the way; walk ye in it”, which would be an immediate guide and incentive to good behaviour, and might even be the influence on human behaviour that Robert Simpson says (rightly) is lacking at present.

As always, this is an unperfected comment (proof-read, but not finely edited, you might say). It is very late at night after a toilsome day. Please forgive me if my meanings are not too clear.

If my software could do so I would here append a sincerely-smiley face . . . but you will have to imagine that.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Wed 3 Mar, 23:42

Newton brought up the topic of the Bigelow competition—-for what it’s worth, here’s my own update on it.

Last week, I went through the rather laborious process of submitting their application forms—-emphasizing the 18 years of research I had devoted to this topic in putting my book on “Spiritual Reality and the Afterlife” together. Apparently, this was not sufficient for them, as by the deadline (this past Sunday)for notification of “acceptance” to applicants—-I had heard nothing. I suspect this may be another case of “the missing letters after one’s name” jumping up to haunt an author. I seriously wonder how much tremendously valuable knowledge has been withheld from the world as a result of this unfortunate and short-sighted syndrome…

Don Porteous, Wed 3 Mar, 23:06

Concerning Amos’s comment, I might note that, according to researcher Johannes Greber (“Communication with The Spirit World of God”), clairvoyants are not mediums, per se. According to him, a medium is someone whose body is controlled by spirit as the medium’s body steps aside, while a clairvoyant is not so controlled.  The clairvoyant’s consciousness is able to separate from her or his body and tap into another dimension for information. I don’t know if others agree with Greber, but there is clearly a big difference between the mediums of yesteryear and the clairvoyants of today. I think I’ll be discussing this in my next blog.

Thanks to all for the kind comments to date

Michael Tymn, Wed 3 Mar, 21:37


You are a spiritual messenger relaying great information about the afterlife!

It’s sad more people do not have access, consistently, to attend spirit communication sessions now.

Our group has always wished we could record one way or another the information that has come via mediumship at our meetings, but we concluded that is not our particular pupose. Too much personal information is mixed in with the other information received, and we are not scientists or scholars.

We learn, and try to help and share our information with many… in other ways.

Points to ponder:

One thing to keep in mind regarding spirit communications… To whom and what mediums the superior spirits allow info to come through to educate humanity; what century, culture, race and class (researchers back in 1800s, many were Protestant Christian, white, elite, educated British upper class…Anglo-Saxons, as Leon Denis would say), and, what type of spirit communications, the topics, and, to what people were receiving the information.

- Proof of an afterlife was the spirits’ first priority.

- Mechanics of mediumship and psychic phenomena

- Life in the afterlife.

- Philosophy, morality - purpose of life, prayer, resignation in struggle, etc.

It would be logical for the superior spirits to allow explanation of all the above according to what a particular audience would more easy accept.

There is an order in the Universe, a Divine Plan. Why not with spirit communications? Like attracts like, as well.

Leon Denis in his book - Problem of Life and Destiny, ch. XVI - states part of the objections, for example on reincarnation, being “inflexible religious prejudices” and “prejudices of race” and in America “prejudices of color.” Denis attended all the International Spiritual Congresses which were attended by more scholars than nowadays, and he was also well-read.

Maybe that explains the ambiguity in explanations of reincarnation by Silver Birch and the spirits to Rev. S. Moses.

Though Denis writes that, F.W.H.Myers writes favorably in considering the reasonableness of reincarnation, in his book - Human Personality in, Syllabuses, Ch. X, Vol II, pg xx, and in, ibid. section 1004, pg 281.

Sorry for rambling on…it was Black History Month, and I was researching a possible article on the above. Anna Blackwell, Kardec’s translator, also expressed this concern. I read it, but couldn’t find where. 

Take care!


Yvonne Limoges, Wed 3 Mar, 21:02

Thank you, Eric, for your overly-generous words. God knows I’m no paragon of virtue or wisdom—merely, to use Jesus’ phrase, a man who tries (like many others) not to be a hireling who runs away when he sees the wolf coming, but more like a shepherd who remains at his post (albeit, in my case, often whining about it). Speaking of Jesus…when I was in a very radical seminary back in the early 70s, our New Testament professor tasked each student to take the gospels apart, using the then-popular tools of form and redaction criticism, and to create his or her own version of the gospel. At the time, I thought the task presumptuous and did a half-baked job just to be done with it. Then after a decade or so of battling in the legal arena (I went to law school following seminary), I suddenly felt compelled to take time off from the wrangling and revisit that old seminary assignment. So I “retired” for a few months, selected a variety of translations of the gospels, and literally cut them apart verse by verse or clump by clump, when the verses naturally stuck together. Next, I made research-informed value judgments to separate the genuine from the spurious, stripped away from the genuine what seemed like editorial gloss or spin, and then finally reassembled the remaining material into modern short story format, supplying context and chronology in similar fashion to the writers of the original gospels. Only one saying did I construct entirely on my own, and that was merely a summary of other things Jesus was reported to have said or done. The reason I mention this exercise is that I found so much of what I learned from it back then reflected in my recent reading of the Spirit Teachings given to Stainton Moses and the poetry of Patience Worth. These sorts of synchronicities have always struck me as signs of being at least somewhat on track, and no doubt many of Michael’s readers feel the same. Should anyone desire to check out my little gospel, they would need a Kindle and search for “Life of Truth: a synoptic gospel,” written under the pen name Theophilus. On the Amazon website you can get a book description and a free sample by clicking on the cover, which will offer access to the introduction. Alas, the sudden onset of health issues prevented me from entering the Bigelow Contest, but I’ve told Michael that I’ll share some of my ideas, hatched for that purpose, on this blog as opportunities arise. Then you guys can be the judges without having to pay me a bunch of money if you like what I say. And yes, Eric, my friend, many of us would “feel bereft” were it not for all that Michael has given us.

Newton E. Finn, Wed 3 Mar, 18:06

quote:‘although we never see God – I have never seen Him and never hope to – He rules us all and reigns over us all, and we are a part, a branch of Him…”
Strange and a little bit funny: he knows that we are part of God but he never has seen him. Of course we never can see God as All That Is in one blink of an eye but are we able to see another human in all he is with every atom and thought in one blink of an eye? I think that everywhere you see, you see All That Is.We don’t have to search for God. Everything around us and we ourselves are part of it. All we have to do is to open our eyes and to know it. Maybe if everybody knew this, there would be more respect for all that surrounds us.

Chris De Cat, Wed 3 Mar, 17:26

Dear all,

I suppose I would say that this comment is an instance of giving credit where it is due, by not remaining silent when appreciation of another is indicated. Perhaps it will be seen by a few as my coming to praise Caesar, or to exemplify some other vague literary reference - but it is certainly not that.

I want to give credit again to Newton. We have all (surely?) noticed the loving nature that his comments show. He writes: “Where have such governmental leaders gone, men or women we can genuinely look up to, warm up to, and trust? ” I agree with Newton in bewailing the very (VERY!) low ethics of the people who claim to be our leaders today. Like the money changers Yahshua threw out of the temple these hypocrites should be thrown out of the positions of authority on our planet that they have usurped, and sent back to spiritual school. Imperator would like a word with them . . .

It is surely on account of the evil that men are doing to planet Earth that, it is to be hoped, higher Beings from a higher universe, or more than one such, will shortly intervene down here to save some remnant of the naive and arrogant human race who infest this planet, and are wrecking it - unless that intervention takes place before it is too late. Robert Simpson raises a warning of the destruction that man would bring upon himself, but Don Porteous gives details in his unpublished book (I can’t yet remember details to cite) in chapter 11, recounting the messages received from Mary, often at variance with official catholic dogma. Well worth reading again and again, until even the aged (ie myself) can remember what he cites. I am reading the book again right now, and hope to see Don’s work, in some form of his own choosing, published soon.

And thanks, Mike, for all the Blogs. We would feel bereft without them.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Wed 3 Mar, 08:56

Dear all,

If it is a fact that today’s mediums can work whilst conscious, or at least less than totally unconscious, it would seem that, over the past century and a half, the inhabitants of higher worlds have been opening up channels of communication between their higher places and our lower place, despite the efforts of sceptical scientists who do not grasp the implications even of their own knowledge. One can wonder what is the intended final situation. Somewhere (I do not remember where) in the Bible there is a vision of God dwelling with (mere) men, and of peace between animals and mankind, and in other places there are further hints of similar fellowship in a better future.

A few days ago Robert Simpson expressed the belief that humans will never change their views until they are able to converse with those who were known to them when incarnate, but have now passed on. Perhaps, if the channels are indeed being opened up, that will happen.

Perhaps the higher beings are already engaged in bringing about exactly the situation Robert would like to see, but doubts will ever be possible. Perhaps the higher beings will redouble their efforts of more than a century, and the fruit of those efforts will be greater and still-growing closeness between the worlds, the halting of mankind’s headlong rush over the terrestrial cliff, and the establishment of precisely that closeness between earthlings and angels in a future régime right here on earth. Don Porteous finds evidence for some such development in the Marian phenomena he details in his as-yet unpublished book.

And science (Relativity Theory in particular) supports the belief that there really are other universes cocooning ours, out from which the higher beings are able to phenomenalise themselves in ours. Perhaps they will shortly be able to speak with us face to face, as the Bible also somewhere predicts, no longer only through mediums.

Again, there is much more to say, but I hope the logical thread in this comment is clear.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Tue 2 Mar, 21:55

In America and perhaps in the Western World, Leonora Piper might be considered to be the ‘Grand Dame’ of mediums.  She is perhaps the best studied and documented medium of the ‘old’ mediums, that is, those mediums of the late 1800s and early 1900s.  She was truly a trance medium as her most spectacular readings came through her when she was in a deep trance, something most mediums today rarely or never achieve or seem to need.  Piper did not react while in trance to pinches, needle pricks and ammonia spirits under her nose and her ‘performances’ were quite dramatic when she was being used by spirit entities to transmit information verbally and by automatic writing, sometimes at the same time.  The period of time when she was coming out of trance was also dramatic and she was somewhat disoriented and confused for a while. I don’t recall that Piper was a direct voice medium however as was Etta Wriedt, George Valiantine, Leslie Flint and others.

Modern mediums, especially those popular commercial mediums like Christopher Stillar, John Edward, and Matt Fraser and others apparently don’t need to be in deep trance to communicate with spirit entities on the ‘other side’ nor do they dramatize their performances although some like, for instance Matt Fraser, are somewhat flamboyant and fast-talking in their delivery.  Modern mediums report that they are able to see, hear, feel, smell and otherwise communicate with spirits while in an apparent normal conscious state.  Pearl Curran and Geraldine Cummins also claimed that they were able to see and hear spirits when they transmitted information which they subsequently wrote down and published.  Neither of them was in a trance when they did this.  (Pearl Curran actually wrote to Dr. Walter Franklin Prince, an Episcopalian minister that she wanted him to make sure that when he wrote his book about her that everyone understood that she was NOT a medium but was an Episcopalian!)

Something IS going on with all of these mediums.  We have seen them over a period of more than 150 years provide information about deceased persons that only the deceased person and sometimes the sitter knew.  Regardless that they provide evidence of life after death, they do provide an opportunity to learn more about the capabilities of human beings.  Why are they not being studied to the extent that Leonora Piper was studied.  When the activities and reports of mediums purportedly coming from a spirit world are added to reports of near death experiences there is enough reason to get serious about mediumship and take a scientific close look at what is going on.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 2 Mar, 18:12

Dear all,

Stafford is right to mention the gift of Mike’s blogs, and we owe him at least our thanks. Thank you again, Mike.

What strikes me as I read this blog is that Augustus Martin speaks as one would expect of the state of Being in which he finds himself, very shortly after leaving the body, to be at least somewhat as Avicenna describes. I have not read Avicenna himself even in translation, but he believed that we would still be conscious beings when the body and the surrounding world we now live in had fallen away. We would be conscious even if we had no object to be conscious of. Little me, for what his thoughts may be worth, agrees. Heidegger, often very difficult to grasp, but worth the effort, also speaks of a bare consciousness, the true nature of which he seeks to know. Whatever the undeniable inaccuracies and inadequacies in my partial knowledge of these thinkers, one thought stands out as true: in whatever ‘world’ a Conscious Being finds itself, that world seems as ‘solid’, as substantial, as real, as ours here does to any of us. There is no risk, when life here ends, of the world in which we shall then find ourselves dissolving around us and leaving us disillusioned, helpless, and frightened. To some extent, we mould by thought even the world in which we now exist. Human consciousness sees everything in the world around us AS something - we INTERPRET the world, and form our version of it in our minds. Sadly, many human minds are persuaded by their own delusions, which can completely block logical argument. The world about us is at least partially the product of our minds. As we pass to higher worlds, it seems, it will be more so. Our minds will be more creative and more effectual in their acts of creation. Worlds of thought are just as ‘real’ as the world of rocks and rivers in which we now live. But in higher worlds we shall not stub our toes on the rocks.

As always, there is much more to say, and before we say anything at all, more to think.

Eric Franklin

A wry PS: I wish many of today’s materialist/physicalist philosophers would think.

Eric Franklin, Tue 2 Mar, 17:23

This is a lovely story, and Anne’s description of the “General,” the former mayor, police commissioner, and water commissioner of Boston, a description amplified in her longer accounts of their work together, makes one wonder: Where have such governmental leaders gone, men or women we can genuinely look up to, warm up to, and trust? As I have come to understand it, this was and remains the true mission of spiritualism, not to manifest one sign and wonder after another to boggle our minds, not to fully explain and lay out a roadmap of the afterlife, but rather to use such methods of manifestation and revelation to draw and focus our attention, so that we might again believe in and live for higher things. It’s crystal clear by now, isn’t it? Either we break out of materialism or break apart, a point Michael makes better than I (or is it “me”) in his latest book.

Newton E. Finn, Tue 2 Mar, 16:58

Fascinating account. One of Michael’s greatest gifts to all of us is his making available long-out-of-print books like Robbins’ “Both Side of the Veil.” Each one adds to the total picture of the life to come.

Stafford Betty, Mon 1 Mar, 19:46

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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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