Journeys into the Spirit World exactly 100 years ago. Meeting past Presidents, Kings and Queens.
We are becoming aware that there is a spirit intelligence supporting and directing us all the time, behind us, within us and beyond us in the World of Spirit. It is this intelligence and awareness which has brought us together to create our various civilisations. At the moment we are still divided into conflicting tribes and nations, and our next task in our spiritual evolution here is learning to cooperate and share and trust and eradicate the tension, the spying between nations, the crime and cruelty, and the indifference to suffering, lack of a sense of morals and ethics and other negativities which plague us.
For ourselves, individually, knowing for certain now that life does go on, we can confidently continue extending and enjoying our true interests in the arts and sciences right up to the day we die, for we will be able to carry them over to the World Beyond. There, we will have someone to meet us who will escort us directly to our proper place, and real home. Both science and religion can help us now and contribute in these new developments, recognizing and improving our contact with and understanding of the Spirit World.
In the autumn of 1910, exactly 100 years ago, and a quarter century before Bertha Harris's journeys into the Spirit World, a Danish lady in her forties who had settled in Burlington, Vermont, USA started to have similar out-of-body experiences. When retiring to bed early one evening while her violinist husband and some friends continued playing Beethoven quartets downstairs, she lifted out of her body, floating round the house, and saw her spirit body reflected in the mirror, looking twenty years younger. Her hearing and vision were enhanced, and eventually after exploring what was happening downstairs, she ventured further afield, and over the following months and years she explored other parts of the world in these OOBEs and eventually visited the the different regions of the Spirit World. In 1927 she self-published an account of these journeys in her book, "My Travels in the Spirit World," and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was one of the first to vouch for the autheniticity and value of her writing.
The book is divided into three main parts. After a brief introduction, explaining how she became aware of what was happening, she describes the many earthbound spirits she saw wandering about in the world, intermingling with the living. For the most part they were unaware that they had died. The second part of the book describes her visits to the first four levels of the Spirit World, beyond which she was unable to travel. The final section deals with journeys out into the greater universe. In this article we will take a look at her experiences out of body in this world, and meeting the earthbounds, including some past American Presidents and some English Royalty. I will select and present the accounts in her own words, merely reviewing and condensing them into a more concise report for twentieth-first century readers. My own comments are added [within square brackets. The following are Caroline Larsen's words. Richard Rowley].
Without further preliminaries, I shall begin my narrative of life after death. I shall divide my story into three parts. First, I shall describe the manner of life here on earth immediately after death. Secondly, I shall picture life in the real realms of the Spirits; and finally, I shall give my observations of the surging life which fills the entire Universe.
Spirit Life On Earth.
The phrase 'there is no death' used through ages for the consolation of mourning relatives and friends is actually and literally true. For no sooner has the physical body been stilled in death than out of that mortal form steps the personality which had so recently inhabitied it and used if for his [or her] manifestations in this life. He stands now in the full glow of another existence, having exchanged his short and limited life in the prison of earthly clay for life eternal and infinite in possibility. When death overtakes the mortal form, the spirit continues life in the new body. Hence there is no death as far as that personality, or soul, is concerned. There is only transmutation from one form of life to another. Materially-minded as we are, we are apt to think of this change as something vague, with no real foundation to it, often illustrated erroneously as a spiral column of smoke at the top of which appears the picture of a strangely distorted human face.
Nothing could be further from the truth. A disembodied spirit appears, feels, thinks just exactly as I did in my first experience out of the body. The spirit or astral body which in form and appearance is an exact duplicate of the material body is composed of a fine substance whose rapidity of vibration our bodily senses cannot perceive. Moreover, to the spirit, the astral body feels just as natural and substantial as did the material body when it was inhabited, [with the one difference that there is] a strange, rather delightful lighness and buoyancy.
Not only are all of the sensations of the former body - sight, sound, touch, taste and smell - present in the new body, but they have become greatly intensified. The spirit sees everything in the material life as well as everything in the spirit life, but in the spirit life there are not the limitations of vision characteristic of the material life. As with the spirit eyes, so with the spirit ear. It can detect sounds that would completely elude the material ear. In like manner the other senses are growing keener.
The mind undergoes no transumutation whatsover except to take on the added facility of being capable of reading others' thoughts. So far as my state of mind was concerned I was merely continuing earthly existence. So with all spirits. Many of them, because of this condition of mind together with the natural feeling of their astral body, are deluded into believing that they still live in the material and they endeavour to carry on life as they had always done.
Nor does memory suffer in the passing over. In the astral, I could remember every detail of my past material life. I was perfectly aware of my own identity. Such is the case with spirits. This fact was often demonstrated to me by conversations with spirits whom I had known in earth life. They, too, were able to recall even certain trivial details of their past existence with which we were both familiar. All their characteristsc and peculiar masculine and feminine qualities REMAIN UNCHANGED. Spirits, like humans, wear garments. From every spirit emanates a strong aura, [as-it-were, a kind of] phosphoric light which is completely controlled by the mind. Out of this substance is moulded the clothing. At first, right after death, the moulding in most cases is an unconscious act. For no sooner is a spirit separated from the physical body than it is in some manner dressed, even though the garment be only a sort of shroud. But as the mind gains control of itself, the act of dressing becomes a conscious act and the fashion of the wearing apparel is largely governed by the individual's taste [as one past President appeared to Caroline later in fashionable Eighteenth Century clothes]. So the first thing to catch my eye in my first wandering [on earth] in the the astral [body] was the strange spectacle of spirits who appeared as mortals in earthly raiment walking everwhere.
In the Spirit World, the colour of the aura defines the quality of the spirit. All darker colours denote a low state of development. As the spirit progresses upward the colours of the aura become continually brighter. These aura colours of course determine also the colour of the spirit garment. Hence the character, quality, and development of the spirit is denoted by the colour of the garment [being part of the aura].
Some of the departed spirits are at once fully aware that they are able to reflect on their condition just as I was able to reflect on mine. Other spirits suspect dimly that something strange has overtaken them but they refuse absolutely to accept the realization and in order to shut it more completely out of their minds they deliberately continue their familiar activity of the world. Thus with their minds ill-attuned to their conditions they seem unable to reason clearly about their state until by slow degrees they are adjusted to it. The majority of spirits however are in so confused a state of mind that they do not suspect at all the great change they have undergone. No sooner are they out of their earthly form than they proceed at once to live their life along the old familiar lines
The business man immediately starts for his office to direct affairs, wondering constantly at the delay in the execution of his orders. The traveller laden with baggage, as he thinks, looks for the train which shall carry him on his usual route. The judge places himself on the bench ready to listen to the pleas. But somehow matters do not concur to his satisfaction. The lawyer hunts for his client, but either he is unable to find him or else he makes no connection with the proper court room. The professor eagerly lectures his class and wonders angrily why the class does not pay him the customary attention. The hostess anxiously attempts to gather her guests together for the party she had planned, but success does not crown her efforts. The mechanic and the worker trot cheerfully to their places of work, but nothing seems to go right. Here some spirits will enter their accustomed stores to purchase something only to lose sight of the clerk or to discover that they have forgotten the money for the purchase. Others will enter the old familiar restaurant, sit down at a table and give the waiter the order for their favourite dishes. But they find the waiter so disrespectful that he either ignores them completely or fails to bring the desired food. Disgusted with such service they leave the place to try elsewhere. But a similar result greets every effort. So they all continue in their various customary activities of earthly life only to find constantly some inexplicable barriers existing between them and their desires. They are filled with surprise that relatives and friends ignore them, and that their usual aims fail completely Yet no one attempts to disillusion them. First of all, it is not permitted to do that as the sudden shock of such information volunteered to an ignorant spirit would have disastrous results. Furthermore most spirits would not listen to such talk; they would stoutly and angrily deny that there was anything unusually the matter with them. Therefore at first there is no questioning and everyone must there, in the Spirit World, as here on earth, dispel and clear away his or her own illusions and slowly formulate his or her own ideas. For the mind suffers no change in death.
Everywhere in my journeys I found these new citizens of Spirit Land thronging the streets of cities [here on earth], passing in and out of houses, travelling on trains and voyaging on steamers. In fact, wherever mortals habitate there are to be found also denizens of the Spirit World. So in reality, there are as many spirits inhabiting this earth as there are mortals. It was a strange sight to me, able as I was to reflect on the strangeness of the situation, to look down a busy street and to see spirits and mortals intermingling with one another. Occasionally I would follow into the houses those spirits whom I had known in the flesh. They would lie down on the bed they had always used, recline on the couch wich had so often been a comfort to them take the usual seat in the easy chair and occupy the old familiar place at the family table. But there was always a troubled expression on their faces because none of those whom they had loved seemed to recognize them. Restless, they would rise, and wander aimlessly out among the crowd in search of something or somebody that could be of some assistance to clear up the mystery,. I often talked with such spirits as well as with those who understood the truth of the situation. In almost every instance however they spoke first and then approached me. I shall relate some of these incidents and conversations as they are both interesting and a help in understandin the condition of the spirit mind.
At one time a Mrs. C., a pleasand acquaintance of earth life, approached me. She was conscious of having passed over. With a gentle smile she said, 'I saw your kind feelings for me and realized how you mourned for me when I died, and I thank you so much for the beautiful roses you sent me (meaning to her funeral). If I had known and seen what I do now, things would have been different.' She referred to some misunderstanding between us that had been caused by the jealous talk of some of her relatives. Having said this to me she went on her way. I did not reply but felt very pleased She was a beautiful spirit. Her aura was bright and her dress white. This denoted spiritual development
I met and recognized a woman spirit who on earth had been a Royal Queen of modern times [possibly Queen Victoria]. She had enjoyed much power and wide popularity in earth life. Her present life contrasted drably with her former existence. Although her aura was of a fairly bright hue she had adorned herself in the simplest possible way with a kind of shroud which covered her head and body. How different from her royal splendour on earth ! She walked around in seemingly stunned bewilderment, ignorant of having passed over. Her power was gone and no attention was paid to her. She simply could not understand her present predicament. Her state of mind seemed so confused and dazed that thinking was impossible. She did not notice me. I simply watcher her for a while out of curiosity.
In strong contrast to the appearance and condition of this royal personage was the bearing of another Queen who on earth had been greatly beloved for the kindness and generous deeds which had filled her long life. I met her in that palace where she had always lived. She had stayed there until now because, as I understand it, she had evidently not yet completely disassociated herself from her past life of well-doing. [This is probably Queen Alexandra, who was well respected for her many good works]. She confided to me, 'There is some little work yet I would have liked to have done and I am sorry I did not get it finished.' It was delightful to be near such a lovely spirit. Her aura was very bright and she was clad in a pure white dress of beautiful design. I had the feeling that this noble spirit would not stay much longer there but that she would gravitate to the spirit regions where she would fit in better and where she would be given opportunity to continue her noble work, thus furthering the development so well started in earth life. [Interested readers may hear Queen Alexandra give various talks from the Spirit World through the direct voice mediumship of Leslie Flint at the website www.leslieflint.com ]
I received a different impression from the appearance of her husband, Edward VII, the former king who had died in 1910, who came into the palace while I was with her. His aura was not bright. Indeed it tended to be dark. [He had not behaved well towards his wife, to say the least]. He was dressed in a frock coat with striped trousers. He did not seem to realize fully the conditions under which he lived. He carried himself with royal dignity and seemed rather surprised to see me with this queen. The one thing that he instinctively realized was evidently the benefit which he might derive from association with the lovely spirit that was once his queen. But in a kind yet firm manner, she refused him the privivlege of staying near her. With seemingly wounded dignity, he went from us with heavy steps and soon I left th presence of the former queen.
[to be continued]
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