Do we die? Or can we live forever…?
Does our body die but our soul continue…?
What links Thomas Edison, Logi Baird, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Queen Victoria? - they were all sure that we do not die….and many have set out to prove this.
American Thomas Alva Edison became known as the man who invented the electric light, the motion picture camera, and the phonograph. What most people didn’t know however, was that Edison was also busily at work in his laboratory building a machine to achieve spirit communication with the dead.
Interviewed by Scientific American magazine, Edison said, “If our personality survives, then it is strictly logical or scientific to assume that it retains memory, intellect, other faculties, and knowledge that we acquire on this Earth. Therefore, if we can evolve an instrument so delicate as to be affected by our personality as it survives in the next life, such an instrument, when made available, ought to record something.”
His assistant, Dr Miller Hutchinson, wrote, “Edison and I are convinced that in the fields of psychic research will yet be discovered facts that will prove of greater significance to the thinking of the human race than all the inventions we have ever made in the field of electricity.”
When looking further into Edison’s undertakings, writer Stacy Horn, in her book Unbelievable says that he told a Boston Globe reporter, “Man is not the unit of life. The unit of life consists of swarms of billions of highly organized entities which live in the cells. I believe at times that when man dies, this swarm deserts the body, goes out into space, but keeps on and enters another and last cycle of life and is immortal.”
Edison sadly died before he could conclude his afterlife experiments. However, there is apparently some evidence that Thomas Edison kept up his interest in afterlife communication after he died. During the famous Scole experiments in England in the 1990′s, pictures developed on photographic film in sealed boxes seemingly appeared to show communication from Edison (among others).
The Scole Experiment chronicles the extraordinary results of a five-year investigation into life after death. At the beginning of 1993, four psychic researchers embarked on a series of experiments in the Norfolk village of Scole. The subsequent events were so astounding that senior members of the Society for Psychical Research were asked to observe, test and record what took place.
The images received from Edison were diagrams of the ‘machine’ he was working on before he died, and pieces of paper with his signature on it.
A tracing of the signature was sent to the Edison National Historic Site office in West Orange, New Jersey for authentification. Douglas Tarr, the archives technician at the time, responded by providing original samples of Edison's handwriting that they had there in a collection of his letters. Astoundingly, the ‘spirit’ signature the Scole researchers had received, proved virtually identical to the signatures from the Historic archives.
Another famous inventor, Scotsman John Logie Baird, (born in 1888), inventor of the television, also recorded an incredible incident in his memoirs, with regards to Thomas Edison.
It started with the arrival of a man at the company where Baird was working, who had brought with him an invention that he wanted to show to Baird. It was an electric motor controlled by a tuning fork.
Baird writes, “He had it with him but had some difficulty in making it run properly. I suggested he should come back when the troubles were overcome. He rose to go and as a parting shot said: "Would you care to have definite and irrefutable evidence of the survival of the personality after death?" I said, "Yes, I would give everything I possessed for such evidence.” "Well" he said, "You only have to go to West Wimbledon".
“I duly arrived at the address given, a small highly respectable villa; here I was welcomed by a party of elderly ladies and gentlemen and given tea. Then a medium arrived, a nervous looking woman of about thirty five. We trooped up to the séance room. Here there was arranged a circle of chairs and in the centre of this a small box like a sentry box, draped in black, with a chair. The medium was handcuffed to this chair.”
“The audience sat round on the other chairs provided, each person held a hand of each of his neighbours and put a foot on one of his neighbour’s feet, so that any undetected movement of hand or foot was impossible. Lights were then extinguished. The leader, an elderly gent with whiskers, then led the singing of a hymn.”
“This was followed by a prayer. Then darkness and silence, broken only by a mysterious steady humming sound, which I learned afterwards came from an electrical tuning fork. The rhythmic sound was found to assist manifestations. We waited and waited, the darkness and silence had a most eerie effect, then the old lady next to me squeezed my hand and whispered "Look, it's coming."
“Sure enough in front of the booth, faint and almost invisible, a wavering purple coloured cloud was forming. It grew denser and then the silence was broken by the irregular tapping of a morse key; the spirit was signalling by tapping in the morse code.”
“The message was directed to me and it came from no less a person than Thomas Alva Edison. Edison had, it appeared, been experimenting with noctovision in his home in the astral plane, and he was convinced that it would in time prove of great use in assisting communication between the living and those who had passed over, but the time was not ripe.”
“He was however continuing his research and would communicate with me when the time came to use noctovision. Here his message stopped and Edison left and gave place to another spirit called Lilly. Lilly was more domestic in her messages and gave detailed advice to one of the circle upon what to do for her rheumatism and how to handle various family troubles. I remembered that I had a lunch appointment and time was passing, and so I whispered to the leader that I had an engagement and if he would excuse me I would slip out.”
“I bade a hurried and apologetic good-bye and arrived at the Dieu Donne restaurant nearly an hour late. My guests, two hearties from Scotland, were still waiting, drinking beer over lunch. I told them where I had been and what I had seen. "It seems all tosh to me", said Mr. B. "I wonder how sensible people can waste time with that nonsense." said Mr. M.
"Well", I said, "What about Sir Oliver Lodge, Conan Doyle and other men of similar standing, you can't brush them aside."
The reason that Baird mentions Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, of ‘Sherlock Holmes’ fame, is because he was at the time an avid and outspoken spiritualist who believed he conversed with the spirits of the dead; to such an extent that he all but abandoned further work on new Sherlock Holmes books to write books on spiritualism instead. He spent a large amount of time addressing vast audiences around the world on the subject.
After the death of his wife Louisa in 1906, and the deaths of his son Kingsley, his brother, his two brothers-in-law, and his two nephews in World War I, Conan Doyle was said to have sunk into a deep depression, and it was claimed that he found solace supporting Spiritualism, though he himself denied this was the reason for his interest.
A medium named Lily Lauder-Symonds once offered to conduct a séance for him, and it was reported that she delivered a message from his wife’s brother, Malcolm. He had been killed during the Great War and he and Conan Doyle had been very close friends. Years before, the two men had apparently shared a private joke about a guinea that ‘Leckie’ had given to Sir Arthur as his first “fee” when he became an Army doctor.
Conan Doyle had cherished the small token and wore it on his watch chain. The message that Conan Doyle was given by the medium concerned the guinea, an item that most people, including the medium, knew nothing about, and it was thought that this was the reason for his conversion to spiritualism.
At the same time as Sir Conan Doyle’s interest in Spiritualism, it was widely rumoured that the reigning Queen of England, Queen Victoria, was also immersed in the belief. In fact, there is a letter in existence, from Sir Conan Doyle to a young medium asking for the medium to make known his connection with the Queen.
The story starts when the late Queen’s husband, Prince Albert, died. After she lost her beloved, the Queen insisted that his room be kept exactly as if he were still alive. Every evening a clean nightshirt, fresh flowers and a jug of hot water were laid out. By preserving every semblance of his presence, the Queen felt she could keep his spirit alive.
Above all she longed to hear his voice again. And so it was, that in the very room in which he had died months earlier, plunging his widow into a grief so overwhelming that her courtiers feared she would lose her mind, she took part in a ritual seeking some comfort. Together with her Highland man servant John Brown, and a few trusted courtiers, she sat in the dark and waited. Then, through the darkness, came a man’s voice. But although it came from Brown’s mouth, it was not Brown’s gruff tones to which the Queen listened; the voice she heard was that of Prince Albert, talking to his wife from beyond the grave.
A few months after Prince Albert’s death, the Queen had learned that Robert James Lees, a 13-year-old boy who was reputed to be a medium, had held a séance in Birmingham during which the spirit of the dead Albert had spoken through him. The séance had been attended by the editor of a spiritualist magazine, who published an account of it and sent a copy to the Queen.
According to Robert Lees’ daughter Eva, the Queen was cautious at first; however, she sent two incognito courtiers to the next Lees family séance. To the courtiers’ amazement, they heard Lees speaking in a voice that was unmistakably Prince Albert’s. Stranger still, he addressed the courtiers by their real names, not the pseudonyms they were using at the séance, and he gave many private details about Victoria’s life that only Prince Albert could have known.
The stunned courtiers hurried back to tell the Queen about their experiences. And so it was that Lees was invited to the Palace to conduct séances. The Queen held a total of nine séances with Lees before inviting him to join the royal household as her resident medium. However Lees declined the offer, apparently on the advice of his spirit guide, but reassured the Queen that Prince Albert had chosen another medium through which to communicate with her: The boy who used to carry his gun at Balmorals. This ‘boy’ (although he was in his late ‘30s now) was John Brown, whom Albert had appointed as Victoria’s personal hunting guide at Balmoral.
The Queen became immediately inseparable from Brown. She insisted on having him by her side at all times. He addressed her as ‘Wummun,’ and was allowed to smoke in her presence (even her sons were forbidden from doing so) According to her courtiers and advisers, she allowed herself to be berated by the servant, who told her what do, say and even wear.
She allowed the kind of intimacy normally only granted a husband, letting him sleep in adjoining bedrooms, contrary to etiquette of the times and deemed inappropriate behaviour for a royal. For years, rumours persisted that Victoria’s infatuation with Brown was a romantic one. Servants dubbed him ‘the Queen’s stallion,’ and even Victoria’s children referred to him as ‘Mamma’s lover’. Some even suggested she had secretly married him, with newspapers calling her Mrs Brown.
The Royal Household was scandalised and at a loss when the Queen turned a blind eye to Brown’s loutish behaviour. She consulted him on everything, and the hold that Brown exerted over the Queen seemed to be extraordinarily strong.
According to a new book by J.H. Brennan, few knew the real reason for her dependence on the rough Scottish servant, with The Queen’s senior courtiers going to great lengths to keep it secret, fearing news of it would lead to rumours that the Queen had lost her Christian faith, or even her sanity. She was head of Church of England and yet she was now a supporter of spiritualism.
Intriguingly, after her death, Victoria’s personal doctor, Sir James Reid, had to intervene in a case of blackmail, involving a cache of 300 ‘most compromising’ letters she had written to her estate manager at Balmoral, in which she reportedly discussed her interest in communicating with the other world through Brown. Sir James purchased the letters on behalf of her son Edward VII, who destroyed them.
According to J.H. Brennan, some of Brown’s writings may have survived, as he cites that King George VI once mentioned to his speech therapist Lionel Logue, who he saw in an attempt to conquer his stammer, that he had seen a record of these séances in Brown’s diaries.
On the official John Lees site, there is the letter from Sir Author Conan Doyle dated 06/11/1928. "Dear Mr. Lees, I was wondering whether the remarkable story of the late Queen and your psychic experiences could not be put on record - even if it were not publicly used. It seems to me, so far as I understand it, to be a point of great historical interest. The general outline as it reached me was that as a young Medium you got a message from Prince A. That you sent it. That two Court Officials came to investigate. That they got messages. That these messages indicated JB as having the same powers as you, and that from then onwards JB did act as medium. We are all growing older & it would be good to leave a clear record behind. Yours sincerely, A Conan Doyle"
Eminent Professor Fred Alan Wolf states, “As fantastic as it sounds, the new physics, called Quantum Mechanics posits that there exists, side by side with this world, another world...I and all those who live, have lived, and will ever have lived, are alive!”
Whereas in prior times scientists thought of the material world as constructed of solid though minute blocks of matter, they now know this is not the case. Rather, the material world consists of invisible patterns of energy, and the implications of this theory with regard to the existence of a spiritual dimension are now very clear.
Nobel Laureate for Physics, Professor Brian. D. Josephson, points to the discoveries of subatomic forces, that behave in a seemingly paranormal manner; they move much faster than the speed of light, and like so-called ghosts, they pass effortlessly through matter. Given that we now know that each of us are made of invisible energy called sub atomic particles, it's perhaps no longer so fantastic to have something invisible break away from the dead physical body and continue on. Just as we cannot see electricity or waves of light and waves of sound, we too cannot see the life force that continues after physical death.
There are many things in the natural world that exist beyond the range of our five physical senses. For example, we cannot see electricity, or sound waves. Nevertheless, they exist. In the same way, even though we cannot perceive a spiritual world through our physical senses, it exists all around us. Just as we perceive the physical world with our five physical senses, so the spirit world can be perceived by a set of spiritual senses, which most of us do not know how to use, because most of us are not attuned to our spiritual senses. We become aware of the spirit world only when we pass into it at the end of our physical lives, or when we are lucky enough to experience a communication from our loved ones in spirit.
In the 19th century, scientist Sir William Crookes’ experiments in paranormal activity, it was claimed, actually produced photographs which purported to show a ‘dead person’ from the ether, physically materialising in his laboratory.
“Survival Physics,” is an area that is supported now by an unexpectedly large and ever growing number of acclaimed scientists. A major accepted paradigm now states that mind and consciousness does not result from brain function alone.
Dr Craig Hogan, PhD, director of the Centre for Spiritual Understanding, has collated in his research paper, Your eternal self, a large number of scientists and researchers who have outwardly stated that consciousness is not located in the brain. He includes in this group, Sir John Eccles, an Australian professor of neurophysiologist, who won the Nobel prize.
Sir Eccles states, “The mind is a separate entity from the brain. Mental processes cannot be reduced to neurochemical brain processes. A mind may conceivably exist without a brain.”
Prof Stanislov Grof, assistant professor of physchiatry at John Hopkins University, summarized his conclusions after a lifelong study of the mind and the brain, “My first idea was that it [consciousness] has to be hard-wired in the brain. I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how something like that is possible. Today, I came to the conclusion that it is not coming from the brain. I don’t think you can locate the source of consciousness. I am quite sure it is not in the brain. It actually, according to my experience, would lie beyond time and space, so it is not localizable. You just experience it as a presence.”
Dr Charles Tart, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of California, states, “For many years I have worked on analyzing and evaluating the evidence that some aspect of us survives bodily death in some form. If I were asked to summarize my best conclusions at this time, I will not be surprised, after a period of unconsciousness, if I regain consciousness after I’m dead. We have rather good evidence for my conclusion, that we do survive death in some form. We have enough evidence that it would be foolish to simply dismiss them.”
Other scientists, over the years, have actually set out to prove that communication from those in the afterlife was absolutely impossible. Nineteenth-century professor Dr Robert Hare, the author of more than 150 papers on scientific subjects, and a world-renowned inventor, set out on a mission to prove that messages from the dead were either hallucinations or unconscious muscular actions on the part of those present.
Born in Philadelphia in 1781, Dr Hare studied at the University of Philadelphia, where he became emeritus professor of chemistry 1818 to 1847. As a high-ranking scientist of the day, he was one of the first scientific authorities to denounce the emerging trend of American Spiritualism in the press. In 1853, he wrote that he considered it "an act of duty to his fellow creatures to bring whatever influence he possessed to the attempt to stem the tide of popular madness which, in defiance of reason and science, was fast setting in favour of the gross delusion called spiritualism."
So, at the age of 72 he began his investigations and devised a number of instruments to help his experiments. However, to the complete opposite of his intentions and expectations, his tests conclusively proved to him that a power and intelligence other than that of those present was at work. In other words, he became convinced that communication with those in the afterlife was indeed happening.
"The evidence,” he said, “those in which rappings or other noises have been made, could not be traced to any mortal agency.”
In conclusion, after extensive scrutiny, he had no option but to reach his startling conclusion. “I sincerely believe that I have communicated with the spirits of my parents, sister, brother, and nearest friends.”
Lending his scientific credibility to the metaphysical, Hare then became a famous spiritualist, writing extensively on the topic whilst drawing mockery in his former scientific circles.
Dr Hare invented a machine he called the spiritoscope. He maintained that the device could "facilitate intercourse between spirits and mortals," and claimed that he had communicated with the spirit of Benjamin Franklin; just one of the spirits he came into contact with.
Reverend Stainton Moses was an Anglican clergyman and English Master at University College, London, during the latter half of the 19th Century. He approached Spiritualism with the distinct intent to dismiss those who believed in it. Instead, however, he found himself possessing strong mediumistic abilities, and actually became a medium of great ability.
He demonstrated apports (materialisation of physical objects), direct voice phenomenon, and materialisations of spirits.
Of one incident, he reports, “On March 25, 1874, a spirit communicated through the table, name and particulars both unknown to any member of the circle. The spirit said that she was named Charlotte Buckworth [called ‘Lottie’]. She has no special connection with us. She says she passed away at the house of a friend in Jermyn Street. Her sudden demise was due to a weakness of heart, increased by dancing. She has been occupied in her special sphere of work after awakening from a long sleep, and has not been brought within the atmosphere of earth until lately. She is attracted to circles where harmony prevails, being herself of a loving nature. It was at the house of one Doctor Baker that Lottie departed. The day was the fifth of December.”
He continues, “We had decided that no means of verification was open, and the matter passed from our minds; however, some time after, Dr. Speer had a friend at his house who was fond of old books. We three were talking in a room in which there were a number of books rarely used, arranged in shelves extending from floor to ceiling. Dr. Speer’s friend mounted a chair to get at the topmost row, which was composed entirely of volumes of the Annual Register…The idea flashed into my mind at once most vividly that this was the place to verify the information that had been given about this woman’s death. It was one of these communications with which those who commune with spirits are familiar. It was as if a voice spoke to my inner sense. I hunted out the volume for 1773, and there I found, among the notable deaths, a record of this occurrence, her death, which had apparently made a sensation as occurring at a festivity in a fashionable house. The volume was thickly covered with dust, and had lain undisturbed in its place since it had been put there some five years before.”
Frederick Myers (1843-1901), was a Professor of Classics at Cambridge University and founder of the Society for Psychical Research. He had a passionate curiosity about the meaning of life, and whether humans were able to survive bodily death, and he devoted much of his life to pursuing an understanding of this.
His conclusions, after twenty years of intensive research, were put together in one of the most important works ever written on the subject of the afterlife, Human Personality and it’s survival of bodily death. However, whilst he felt afterlife communication was a distinct possibility, he could never quite prove to his satisfaction, whether messages received during sittings with mediums came from spirits in the afterlife, or were coming from the medium’s mind, as a result of telepathy, getting the messages from the sitter rather than the spirit.
In order to prove once and for all whether spirits really could communicate with the living, he wanted to do the ultimate test. He was going to attempt to communicate himself once he died. He promised, that if it were possible, he would communicate.
Incredibly, it seemed that within a few weeks of his death, he did begin to communicate, through different Mediums, spread across the Globe.
He sent deliberately cryptic and highly literary references, that only specialist scholars would be able to decipher and make sense of. The reason for this; to ensure it could not be said that the mediums could tune into the person they were reading, and to prove that the messages could only have come from him and not the minds of the mediums (who would not have been able to understand the scholarly references he made.)
To prove that the mind of the medium could not be the creator of his messages, they received only very cryptic parts of messages, consisting of references to and quotations from classical literature, that once put together with all the other messages, like a jigsaw puzzle, would then make sense. In India, a medium called Mrs Holland received the following enigmatic communication, "And with that the shadow of death fell upon his limbs." In England, Mrs Verrall, writing automatically, produced the words, "Warmed both hands before the fire of life. It fades and I am ready to depart."
These were found to be quotations from a poem by nineteenth-century English poet, Walter Landor.
It seems he found the task hard work, although given that he sent three thousand communications, perhaps that is not surprising. One of his messages reads, “If I could only leave you the proof that I continue..it is impossible for me to know how much of what I send reaches you. I feel as if I had presented my credentials; reiterated the proofs of my identity in a wearisomely repetitive manner ..”
It would seem that Myers did indeed achieve in death what he could not in life.
A long established organisation called The ITC, (The Instrumental Transcommunication Foundation ) where attempts to communicate with those in the Spirit world have been ongoing for decades. Mark Macy, one if its founders, says, “For over 60 years, it has been known that we can communicate with people on the "other side" using electronics. It began with recorded voices on tape, and has now progressed into the broader area of electronics. Simply put, we can hear the voices of these people in non-physical form and we can also see their images. This area of study is referred to as I.T.C. for short. When ITC began, it was most common to record voices on tape recorders. Voices could usually only be heard upon playback.
Proof of afterlife
Work was extremely tedious, and required extensive amounts of time. Today, things are a little different. Methods are being used in which we can see spirit images in real-time. Videos can be slowed down so that spirit images can be seen in real-time. More people are becoming interested in and dedicated to "sitting" for direct radio voice. Others are experimenting with real-time voice using online messenging applications. All in all, things are changing rapidly in the area of ITC. Technology has helped advance all of these things.
Without a doubt, it is proving to be a most useful tool for advancing the knowledge. Not only can we share our experiences with each other, we can also participate in them on the internet, live, as they happen! Envision the future. One day we will all be able to see and talk with spirit live, as if it were television to the other side. Sound crazy? Think again. It is not a possibility, but an eventuality. There is no doubt that we are closer than ever to understanding that communication with spirit on a large scale is not only possible, but inevitable.”
They display images of spirits on photographs and recordings of spirit voices. They believe they have evidence of daily ongoing messages being received from the departed on phones, faxes, TV screens, and computers, with pictures of the deceased being received via these electronic mediums.
Marcy states that it is possible for anyone to be able to receive messages, like his thousands of members on the site. “There is no monopoly on communication with spirit. It is natural and normal, always has been, and always will be. Begin your journey here, and find the answers you seek. Begin your own personal experience,” he says.