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Purgatory is for real

Posted on 08 September 2014, 10:04

It is difficult to generalize when it comes to traditional Jewish thought relative to the afterlife, as there are different schools of thought, one school not even believing in an afterlife, another school believing in it but not concerned with it, and still other schools with varying degrees of concern.  One school holds that after death only the very righteous go to Gan Eden (Garden of Eden).  The average person goes to an intermediate state, apparently Sheol, for punishment and/or purification, while the wicked go to Gehenna, a place of eternal punishment (although some Jews see Gehenna as the intermediate state).  This intermediate state is referred to by Catholics as Purgatory.  Catholics point to 2 Maccabees 12:39-46, 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, Matthew 5:25-26, and 12:31-32 to support their belief in the doctrine of Purgatory.  Although they do not clearly state it, these passages all suggest a realm where one purges his sins before being admitted to Heaven. 

The Protestant Reformation attempted to do away with the idea of Purgatory.  In fact, it was the primary issue giving rise to the break with the Catholic Church.  Martin Luther rebelled against the corruption involved with buying indulgences to shorten one’s sentence in Purgatory.  Rather than attempt to make sense of it, Protestantism found it easier to offer a black and white afterlife, Hell or Heaven, even though the “righteous” soul does not fully experience bliss of Heaven until after the Resurrection and the “wicked” soul does not fully realize his punishment until that time.  Perhaps the “staging area” is Purgatory for them, unless they happen to be in a deep sleep until that day of awakening.

If Albert Pauchard is correct, the Catholics got it more right than the Protestants, but the Catholics got it all wrong in thinking of Purgatory as something very akin to Hell except for the fact that it is not eternal.  “Purgatory is not a fancy, it is a reality,” Pauchard communicated to his sister Antoinette through a medium, shortly after his death, at age 56, on July 3, 1934.  He went on to explain that it was not a place of punishment for faults committed, but rather a place one has created for him- or herself based on his or her mindset and earthly deeds. 

Pauchard lived his entire life in Geneva, Switzerland. The Introduction to a 1952 book, The Other World (recently republished by White Crow Books), does not say much about him other than that he had served as librarian, vice-president, and president of the Geneva Society for Psychic Studies, that he had mediumistic abilities, and that he devoted his life to perfecting himself, serving God and his fellow man.  His “Purgatory” is nothing new in spiritualist literature, more a matter of giving a name to the “lower” planes, realms, spheres, or levels that a soul encounters after death in its spiritual evolution. But Pauchard’s explanation of his own experiences in the purgatorial realms is informative and intriguing. 

“I shall tell you exactly how things happened,” he communicated.  “I was conscious of retiring from my physical body.  It was a more or less unpleasant moment.  Just as if all my blood was being withdrawn first from my limbs, then from the rest of my body, in order to concentrate in my heart.  A slight pang, quite a physical one.  Then, the departure from my body and an immense relief.”

Initially, he experienced a state of serene bliss, one of complete relaxation.  “In the beginning I was more or less conscious of the presence of dear ones around me.  Of loved and familiar faces.  I felt as though after a very long journey I was received with joy by my family.  But all that as from ‘afar’ and through a mist.”  He walked about and met many old friends and some new ones. “So that I had the impression of having lived here already a long time.” However, when he again turned his attention toward his sister, he realized that only three or four terrestrial days had elapsed since his departure from the earth realm.

Purgatory is not a “place,” Pauchard explained, but a “state of consciousness.”  “Perhaps you already understand that here it is a matter of another dimension, and in the beginning, the hardest work consists in adapting oneself to it.” 

Subjective conditions there, he further explained, give the impression of being objective and take tangible, symbolic forms. “Something rather difficult to explain in order to make you grasp it, is the fact that a whole sphere of life which you call ‘subjective’ is not purely subjective to us.  The reason for this is that we live in a four-dimensional world which is constituted of more living realities than on earth.  The intensity of joy and moral suffering is multiplied more than a hundredfold, and impressions which on earth are more or less vague take an objective and symbolic form here…So it happens that here we sometimes come fact to face with a great desire or fear of the past, which has taken an objective form…Cruelty, for instance, creates horrible forms, which threaten and pursue those who have brought them forth.  On the other hand, higher feelings bring us into the presence of delicate and luminous forms which they take on by themselves.  Besides, feelings and emotions of a certain kind attract their likes and bring together those who have cultivated them, for their mutual joy or mutual discomfort, according to each case.  So that there forms around us a world created according to our own nature.” 

Pauchard said that he had met all kinds of people there. “One sees everybody as they really are, and each individual spends a more or less long period in his or her own particular purgatory.  You will be the first to understand how intensely one desires to warn those on earth when seeing this.  Because a little goodwill, the slightest effort, even without success, makes such an enormous difference in the results over here.”

Pauchard said he met a man who had been rich all his life but then lost the greatest part of his wealth due to misfortune.  Still, he had enough left to lead a comfortable life.  But he was overwhelmed by a feeling of poverty, so much so that his health suffered and he passed over due to influenza.  “At present, out here, he walks about in rags! He hides for shame when he sees somebody approach him.  I wish I could, and how I wish I could tell him that he is poor only in imagination.  But his hour of understanding has not come yet…”  The moral of it, Pauchard explained, is that if one yields to a feeling of misery on earth, he creates it there and must support it until it becomes absolutely unbearable.

He added that he observed many people there who understand nothing of their condition, unaware that they have passed from the earth life.  One such man, he noted, had prided himself on being an intellectual and had rejected the idea that humans live on after physical death.  “He was a theoretician,” Pauchard said. “He continues theorizing here.  He is not even aware that physical wants and conditions have vanished…He sees around him his study and bedroom and simply goes on in the old way as he did on earth.  As to his Purgatory, he has not yet gone through it.  There is still no room for it in his being.  His incessant and rather superficial intellectual activity must first wear out a little.”  Pauchard thought he should try to awaken the man and inform him of his condition, but his guide informed him that there was no point in it as the man would ignore him, just as he would have ignored him in the earth life.  In earth time, some don’t “awaken” to their true reality for many years. The more enlightened awaken within hours or days. 
It is a matter of “spiritual purification,” Pauchard told his sister, again stressing that it is not punishment.  He further told her that the purification can take place while she is still on the earth plane, thereby avoiding much or all of the purgatorial state. “There is nothing arbitrary in it, and no punishment,” he counseled her.  “They are only the natural consequences of causes which, long ago, you yourself set in motion, and which therefore must be liquidated by you…It must also be said, that the more willing and desirous a soul is of understanding, the sooner its trial is over, and much can be done in this respect already on earth by an attitude of true aspiration to see clearly.”

Beyond the purgatorial realms, Pauchard ended, there is a world entirely independent of man.  “Those whose souls are serene can see it – and the beauty of that world is wonderful to behold.  To venture a description is out of the question, because your mind would bring it all down to some beautiful terrestrial scenery.  Do not forget the mysterious Fourth Dimension!...One must have lived here for some time and reached a certain degree of development to become conscious of it.”

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die is published by White Crow Books. His latest book, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife is now available on Amazon and other online book stores.
His latest book Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I is published by White Crow Books.

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Next blog post: Sept. 22





I remember when I watched the very first 10 minutes of the first series for “Lost”. I said they are all in Pergutory. I never deviated. Everyone at that time thought “No way”. I said, as this show goes on you will begin to see each characters flaws and regrets. To this day I made my mark with all that knew me and followed the series. It was kind of peaceful knowing how it was all going to end, even a few years later and when it did I just smiled.   
Purgatory, I believe begins within the living who have not exactly made amends to their ways for their past. It carries within you through the years, bearing an inner weight until you die. Basically speaking, if you live in denial and have not come forth seeking amends and forgiveness you are going to transition into full Pergutory. I imagine that for those, when they do die, is when they are forced to come face to face with their moral inadequacies. Imagine for a moment that Pergutory began it’s first stage by being within us. A quiet inner torment manifesting with each day that goes by that you ignore your ways or your past. What if that could some how be measured by deep it goes within? Would that qualify as perhaps a possible “Fifth Dimension”? All I know to say is to make your peace here and now while still on Earth. You will sleep better

Shellsea Lou, Thu 11 Sep, 06:49

Very true.
We make our own reality (good, bad and everything in between) in the spirit world upon our return depending on our level of morality, intelligence and spiritual development. In addition, the more we know about spiritual realitites (that there is an afterlife, etc.) is a plus.
After the hundreds of spirits that we have heard communicate at our mediumship sessions, the spirits create the conditions about them and how they feel (although there are good spirits trying to help them). Many are brought to us so we can try to help, but each has freewill and have to be ready to break themselves out of their own personal “purgatory or hell” they have created themselves. 
Generally, the more moral a person is, the less attached to material things they are, and have at least somewhat of a belief in an afterlife - the better their condition is in the spirit world.

Yvonne Limoges, Wed 10 Sep, 18:25

Interesting discussion about components or levels of the afterlife.  The Catholic Church also described a place called Limbo.  That was the place unbaptized infants, who were innocent souls, went.  It was never clear what happened to them.

Individuals who have near-death experiences report positive and distressing experiences.  The positive experiences involve an after-life of meeting up with deceased friends and relatives, maybe spiritual beings.  The feelings are of total love and acceptance.  They also have enhanced vision and hearing, although hearing is generally telepathic. They may have a life review. Also there is no time, which is beyond the comprehension of most of us, at least mine.  Many do not want to come back from this glorious place.  The distressing NDEs may involve a void of nothingness, or experiencing demonic beings and ugly, frightening landscape and noise or features of the positive NDE perceived as being frightening with no control.  I’ve interviewed individuals who have seen apparitions of the Grim Reaper at their hospital beside.  So far there is no correlation between a morally good life and the type of NDE a person might have.  Many who attempt suicide have positive NDEs, an experience contrary to the teachings of some religions.

It might be interesting to compare the various descriptions of the afterlife from different vantage points for commonality.

Madelaine Lawrence, Wed 10 Sep, 16:44

I find comments made by Pauchard are virtually
the same as many passed over souls have told us before, only differing in basic expression.
the only one I found who didn’t say anything negative about the afterlife scene was the Monsignor H.Robert Benson.But I do believe that when we pass we will create our own dimension in accordance with others of similar earthly desire.
love attracting love ,selfishness attracting selfishness,indiffference to others attracting indifference, but can change ones attitude either here on earth before we pass,or later in the self chosen afterlife.

david hall, Wed 10 Sep, 01:49

I have read about the “shower” that cleanses one of some of the horrific memories of the life you just left - cleanses the soul so to speak.  Also in the movie Defend Your Life there was just such a scene where people waited in line outside the “Past Life Pavillion” to view their past lives.  I believe Shirley McClaine was inside and they could only see 3 or 4 past lives at one time.  I can’t wait for that pavillion myself!  Blessings Karen Herrick

Karen Herrick, Tue 9 Sep, 23:28

Very interesting Michael, makes sense to me we create our own environment, just like here on earth. And I believe we don,t get away with anything, Regards Stan

Stan Raymond, Tue 9 Sep, 23:27

Growing up in a largely Protestant country i’ve often thought when it comes to purgatory, if spirit communication is to be believed, the Catholic teaching is closer to the truth. I mentioned this to a Catholic friend of mine recently and was surprised when she told me, “well, we don’t really believe in Purgatory any more.”
It’s a funny old world.

Jon, Tue 9 Sep, 09:41


You may possibly remember the teenage boy I wrote about, who died a couple of years ago and who has been leaving yellow BBs around for his family to find.  He’s also been conversing with his mom, who gets clear verbal messages from him.  Today she told me that he said that he experienced something like standing in a line at a movie theater—you wait in line to go in, and once you’re in you see your whole life like a movie. 

Then, he said, you have to get “hosed off”—get purified, I assume.  He told her that for him it was just a quick rinse, but he saw some people stay under the shower for hours!

So, for whatever it’s worth, that was how one relatively untroubled and open spirit saw the purgatory process.

Elene Gusch, Tue 9 Sep, 06:06

Hi Michael,
Pauchard provided a ‘thought for today’ for me.  I needed that!  Thanks Michael.

“The moral of it, Pauchard explained, is that if one yields to a feeling of misery on earth, he creates it there and must support it until it becomes absolutely unbearable.”

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 8 Sep, 15:03

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Facing the Final Choice by Michael Grosso – The editor of my first book suggested I call it The Final Choice (1985). I thought the title was overdramatic and a bit grandiose. I did in part write the book in response to what seemed like the growing threat of nuclear war. Read here
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