Where are the Dead?
A little thought will soon make it apparent to any investigator that we live in a world of EFFECT which is the result of INVISIBLE CAUSES. MATTER and FORM we see, but the FORCE which molds the matter into form and quickens it is invisible to us. Life cannot be cognized directly by the senses; it is invisible and self-existent, independent of the varied forms we see as its manifestations.
Electricity, magnetism, and steam are names given to forces never seen with physical eyes, though, by conforming to certain laws discovered by experiment, we have made them our most valuable servants. We see their manifestations in moving streetcars, in railways and steamships; they light our path at night and carry our message around the globe with a speed that annihilates space. They are at our beck and call at any and all hours, tireless and faithful in the performance of innumerable tasks, yet, as said, we have never seen these, our most faithful and valuable servants.
These Nature Forces are neither blind nor unintelligent as
we mistakenly think; there are many classes of them and they work along
different avenues of life. Perhaps an illustration will make clear their status
in relation to us. Let us suppose a carpenter is making a fence and a dog is
standing by watching him. The dog sees both the carpenter and his work, though
it does not fully comprehend what he is doing. If the carpenter were invisible
to the dog it would see the fence being slowly built, it would see every nail
driven, it would perceive the manifestation but not the cause, and it would then
be in the some relation to the carpenter as we are to the Nature Forces which
manifest about us as gravity, electricity, and magnetism.
During the past few centuries, but particularly in the last sixty years, science has made giant strides in the investigation of the world in which we live, and the result has been to reveal in all directions a hitherto invisible world. With telescopes of increasing power the astronomers have been reaching out into space, discovering more and more worlds; with admirable ingenuity they have attached the camera to the telescope, and have thus been able to photograph suns at such enormous distances from us that their rays make no impression on our eyes, and can only be caught by hours of exposure of a sensitize photographic plate.
In the direction of the minutely small, the increasing perfection of the microscope has achieved similar results; a world that was hitherto invisible to us has been discovered, containing an exceeding activity of LIFE and marked by a diversity of form scarcely less complex than the world we behold through our unaided senses.
The effort of making such investigations through the eyepiece of a microscope is a severe one, causing intense strain on the eyes; but here also the camera lends its aid to man. With proper mechanical attachments and lightning speed it can make permanent records of microscopic phenomena at the rate of perhaps seventy negatives per second. These may then be magnified and projected upon a screen as moving pictures; they may be seen by hundreds of people at the same time in comfort and ease.
We may see how the sap slowly circulates through the veins of a leaf, or watch the way the blood races like a millstream through the semitransparent veins of a frog's leg. Maggots in cheese appear as large as gray crabs meandering hither and thither in search of prey. A drop of water contains many dark colored balls which grow and burst, throwing out numerous tiny globes which in their turn expand and fling out offspring. Dr. Bastian of London has even seen how a little black spot on the spine of a cyclop (of which there are many in a drop of water) developed into a parasite which fed on the cyclop.
By means of the X-ray science has been able to invade the innermost recesses of the dense body of the living human, photographing the skeleton and any foreign substance which may have become located there by accident.
Thus in many directions a hitherto invisible world has
presented itself to the gaze of the persistent investigators. Who shall say the
end has been reached; that there are no other worlds in space beyond those now
photographed by astronomers; no life dwelling in forms more minute than those
discovered by the best microscopes of today? Tomorrow an instrument may be
designed that will reach beyond all previous devices and show much of what is
hidden today. The infinitude of space, of the great and of the small seems to be
beyond question and independent of our cognition.
Investigating Invisible Worlds
In looking over the marvelous achievements of physical science, there is one characteristic particularly worth while to note; namely, that each new discovery has been made through the invention of new or the improvement of previously existing devices to aid the senses; and for that reason the investigations of science have been limited to the world of sense -- the dense Physical World. Scientists have dealt with the chemical elements: solids, liquids, and gases; but beyond that they have no instruments capable of reaching, although forced to postulate a still finer matter they call "ether," because without this finer medium they find it impossible to account for light, electricity, etc. Thus we see that physical science inductively recognizes the existence of an invisible world as a necessity in the economy of Nature.
Both physical and occult science are therefore agreed on that point and both reach into the invisible world for solutions to problems. They differ as to the method of investigation and the credence to be given evidence thus obtained. Material science seeks only for explanation to problems insoluble on a purely physical basis, such as the passage of light waves through a vacuum or the resemblance of the flowers of the present season to those of past summers. In such cases science readily postulates an invisible, intangible something like ether or heredity and prides itself on its acumen and the ingenuity of its explanations.
Occult science asserts that THERE IS AN INVISIBLE CAUSE AT
THE ROOT OF ALL VISIBLE PHENOMENA, which when known will afford a more thorough
knowledge of the facts of life than a mechanical concept, and that the most
comprehensive idea of life is obtained by the study of BOTH the phenomena of the
visible and the noumena or underlying causes of the invisible world. It
therefore investigates the invisible worlds and offers a more thorough and
reasonable solution to the problems of life than mere facts of science derived
only through observation of the physical phenomena.
Proving Scientific Hypotheses
Material science postulates ether and heredity as solutions to the above problems, though unable to offer actual proof of the truth of its hypotheses except their seeming reasonableness. Yet when occult science employs similar methods and declares the existence of the Spirit, its immorality, its pre-existence to birth, and persistence after death, its independence of the body, etc., physical science sneers and inconsistently speaks of superstition and ignorance. It demands proof, though the evidence offered is at least as good as the scientific evidence of the existence of ether, heredity, and numerous other ideas advanced by science, implicitly believed in by the multitude that admiringly bows its head in the dust before any dictum supported by the magic word Science.
No one can demonstrate the truth of a proposition in geometry to a person unacquainted with the principles of mathematics. For similar reasons the facts of the inner worlds cannot be proved to the material scientist. If the person devoid of mathematical knowledge studies that science he will be easily satisfied as to the solution of the problem. When the physical scientist has fitted himself for the apprehension of superphysical facts he will have the proof and be compelled to uphold the very theories he now combats as superstition.
Occult science commences its investigations at the point
where material science leaves off, at the door to the superphysical realms,
mistakenly called supernatural. There is nothing "supernatural"
or "unnatural"; nothing whatever can be outside Nature,
although it may easily be superphysical, for the Physical World is the smallest
part of the Earth. Unlike the material scientist, however, the occult scientist
does not pursue his investigations by means of mechanical instruments, but by
IMPROVING HIMSELF; by cultivating faculties of perception latent in every human
being and capable of being awakened by proper training. The words of Christ,
"Seek and ye shall find," were particularly applied to spiritual
qualities, and directed to "whosoever will." All depends upon oneself;
there is none to hinder and many to help the earnest seeker after knowledge. The
discussion of the means and ways are, however, outside the present topic, and
must be left for elucidation in future essays.
Why Study Invisible Worlds?
"But," someone will say, "what is the use of troubling about an invisible world? We are placed here in this workaday material world; what have we to do with an invisible world? And even though it may be true that we go there after death, why not take one world at a time? 'Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof'; why borrow more?"
Surely such a view is a most shortsighted one. In the first place, a knowledge of the after-death state would take away the fear of death which haunts so many people even while they are in the most vigorous health. In the most careless life there are times when the thought of the leap in the dark which must some time be taken dulls the sense of joy in life; and any explanation offering definite, reliable knowledge upon this important subject surely ought to be eagerly welcomed.
Besides, as we look about us in the world, we see there is one law that must be apparent even to the most callous: the law of causation. Each day our work and condition depend upon what we did or did not do the day before; it is absolutely impossible for us to tear ourselves away from our past; to "start afresh." We cannot perform an act that is not connected in some way with our previous acts, limited and hedged about by former conditions; and it must surely appear as reasonable to suppose that, whatever may be the mode of expression of life in the invisible world, it will be in some way determined by our present mode of life. It would be logical, also, to declare that if reliable information about this invisible world were available it would be wise to prepare oneself with it for the same reason that when we wish to travel in a foreign country we acquaint ourselves with its geography, laws, customs, language, or other necessary information. We do this because we know that the more thoroughly we are primed with this knowledge the more we shall profit by our travel and the less will be the annoyances due to changed conditions. The same must logically hold as regards the postmortem state.
Again some objector will say: "Ah, but that is just the rub! Whatever the condition after death may be no one knows for certain. Those who profess to know all differ from each other in their stories, many of which are unreasonable, impossible--"
In the first place, no man has a moral right to assert
that NO ONE knows, except he himself is omniscient and knows the extent of the
knowledge of ALL who live; and it is the height of arrogance to attempt to judge
the mental capacity of all others by the exceedingly narrow ideas which
wiseacres who make such statements generally have. The wise man will always have
an ear open for new evidence, he will be willing and eager to investigate; and
even though there were but one man who professed knowledge of the invisible
worlds, that would not necessarily prove him mistaken. Did not Galileo stand
alone in asserting his theory concerning the movement of the heavenly bodies, to
which the whole western world has since become converted?
Points of View
As to the difference of the stories told by those who profess to know about the invisible worlds, this is not only to be expected but is a valuable feature, as an illustration from daily life will show.
Supposing San Francisco had been entirely rebuilt on an imposing scale with all the latest and most modern improvements, and had decided to celebrate the occasion by a grand festival. Many thousands would flock to the Golden Gate to rejoice in the new Phoenix which had arisen from the ashes of that beautiful city, so suddenly swept from the face of the earth in a fiery death. Among others would probably come a considerable number of newspaper men, reporters from different parts of the country, for the purpose of sending reports to their respective publications. It is a foregone conclusion that although reporters are trained observers, no two reports would be alike. Some might have certain points in general. Some would be unlike the others in every respect, for the simple reason that every reporter saw the city from his own particular viewpoint and noted only what appealed to him. Thus, instead of the diversity of reports being an argument against their accuracy it will readily be seen that they would all be valuable as different phases of the one whole; and it is safe to say that a man who read all the different reports would have a vastly more comprehensive idea of San Francisco than if he had read only one report subscribed to by all the reporters.
The same principle holds good concerning the different
stories describing the invisible worlds; they are not necessarily untrue because
varying, but form collectively a more complete narrative.
As to the "impossible" stories, let us suppose
that one of our San Francisco reporters instead of observing had spent the time
enjoying himself, and sent in an imaginary report; surely that would not
invalidate the honest reports. Or let us suppose that one was wearing a pair of
yellow spectacles put on him without his knowledge and he sent a report that the
houses and streets were of gold; that would only show HIS ignorance in not
knowing that the glasses were that color and not the city; and his report should
not reflect on the sanity and veracity of the others. Lastly, let us remember
that even though some things are at present beyond OUR reasoning power that does
not prove that they are unreasonable. The fact that a baby cannot understand
square root constitutes no valid argument against mathematics. In short, no
reasonable argument can be made by the materialist to prove that there is no
invisible world any more than the man born blind can successfully debate against
the existence of light and color in the world about him. If his sight is
obtained he will see them. So no argument from those blind to the invisible
world can convince the seer of the nonexistence of what he sees, and if the
proper sense is awakened in such people they too will perceive a world to which
they have previously been insensible, though it was all about them, as light and
color pervade the sense-world, whether perceived or not.
Passing onward from this negative testimony to the existence of the superphysical realms, to more positive evidence, an everyday illustration will show how matter is constantly changing from denser to finer states in Nature. If we take a block of ice we have a "solid"; by applying heat to it we raise the vibrations of the atoms which compose it, and it becomes a "liquid"--"water." If we apply more heat we raise the vibrations of the atoms in the water to such a rate that it becomes invisible to the eye; then we have a "gas" which we call "steam." The same matter which was visible in the ice and in the water has passed from our sight but not out of existence; for by the application of cold it will be condensed into water, and then may again be frozen into ice.
Though matter may pass beyond the range of our perception it still persists. So does consciousness continue though it may be unable to give to me the slightest sign of existence. That has been proven in cases where a person has seemingly died, where not the faintest flutter of the heart or the slightest respiratory movement could be perceived, and perhaps at the last moment before interment, the supposedly dead would come to life, repeat every word and describe every action of those who had been around him while entranced.
Therefore, when matter, which is indestructible, is known to exist in states invisible and intangible, and when consciousness is as alert, or even keener when the dense body is entranced than in ordinary waking life, is it not reasonable to suppose that this consciousness may mold the matter invisible to us and function in it when excarnate (as it shapes during earth-life the matter of this world), thus bringing into existence another world of form and consciousness as real to the excarnate Spirit as this world is to the eyes dwelling in fleshly bodies?
Even during life in the dense body we know and deal with
the invisible world at every moment of our existence, and the life which we live
there is the most important part of our being--the basis of our life in the
We all have an inner life where we live amidst our thoughts and feelings in scenes and under conditions unknown to our outside environment. There the mind shapes our ideas into thought pictures which we afterwards externalize. All, everything we see about us and contact with our senses and call real, is but the evanescent shadow of the intangible, invisible world. The visible world has consolidated from the invisible realms in essentially the same manner that the hard and flinty house of the snail has crystallized from the juices of its soft body. Moreover, as the house of the snail is inert and would remain motionless did not the snail move it about, so the bodies of plant, animal, and man are but inert emanations from the Spirit which dwells in the invisible world, and except this indwelling life galvanizes the form into action it is incapable of movement. These bodies are preserved only so long as they serve the purpose of the Spirit; when that leaves there is nothing to hold the form together, so it decays.
Furthermore, all that we see about us, as houses,
streetcars, steamboats, telephones, in short, all objects that have been
fashioned by the hand of man are crystallized IMAGINATIONS which had their
origin in the invisible world. If Graham Bell had not been able to imagine the
telephone it would never have come into existence. It was Fulton's "inner
life" that first witnessed the birth of the steamboat, long before it
became the visible "Clermont."
The Reality of Ideas
As to the reality and permanence of the objects in the invisible world, they are far more so than the visible conditions which we mistakenly think of as the acme of "reality." We regard our mental pictures and imaginations as less real than a mirage and speak of them in a slighting manner as a "mere thought" or "just an idea," when in truth they are the underlying realities of all that we see in the world about us. An illustration will further emphasize the point:
When an architect wishes to build a house he does not order lumber and other material sent to the building site, hire workmen and tell them to go ahead and build! He formulates an idea, thinks it out, first building the house "in his mind" with as much detail as possible, and from this mental model the house might be built if it could be seen by the workmen, but it is yet in the invisible world; and although the architect perceives it plainly, "the veil of flesh" prevents others seeing it. Thus it becomes necessary to bring it within the sense world and make a visible plan which the workmen may follow. This is the first consolidation of the thought picture of the architect and when the house is built we see in wood and stone what was first an idea in the architect's mind and invisible to us.
As to the relative stability of the idea and building; it is plain that the house may be destroyed by dynamite or some other powerful element of destruction, but the "idea" in the architect's mind even he cannot destroy; and from that "idea" a similar house may be built at any time while the architect lives. Even after his death the idea may be found in the Memory of Nature (of which more will be explained in the next essay), by anyone qualified for this research; for no matter how long ago the impression was formed it is never lost or destroyed.
While we may thus inductively "infer" the
existence of an invisible world this is not the only means of proof. There is an
abundance of direct testimony to show that there is such a world, testimony from
men and women of unquestioned integrity whose truth and accuracy are never
questioned regarding other matters, who state that this invisible world is
inhabited by those whom we call dead, who are living there in full possession of
all their mental and emotional faculties, living under conditions which make
their life as real and profitable as ours, perhaps more so. It is further
capable of proof that at least some of them take considerable interest in the
affairs of the Physical World. Suffice it to take two instances of world-wide
Joan of Arc
There is first the testimony of Jeanne D'Arc, the "maid of Orleans," to hearing "voices which spoke to and directed her." Let us consider the story of her life and see if it does not bear the stamp of truth. Here we have a simple, pure, and unsophisticated peasant girl, scarcely more than a child, who had never been outside her native village before going upon her "mission." She was extremely timid, afraid of disobeying her father, yet the imperious "voices" drove her to brave his displeasure and she set out to find the King of France. After much trouble but constantly guided by voices, she was finally granted an audience by the King. When she entered the King stood in the midst of his courtiers, a puppet was seated on the throne, and everyone expected to see her discomfited, for she had never seen the King, but, guided by the faithful voices, Jean unhesitatingly walked up to him and saluted. She convinced him of the truth of her mission by whispering in his ear an exceedingly weighty secret known only to himself.
In consequence of this proof the command of the French army was taken out of the hands of the experienced generals, who had been defeated by the English at every turn, and placed in the hands of this child who knew nothing of war craft herself, yet, taught by her invisible prompters, led the French troops to victory. Her knowledge of military tactics was the constant wonder of her associates, and in itself a proof of the guidance she claimed.
Next we see her imprisoned, subjected for years to threats or cajolery, as the mood of her cruel persecutors prompted, to induce her to acknowledge that there had been no voices, but the records of the proceedings of her different trials show in her answers a singleness of mind, an innocence and a straightforwardness unequaled in the annals of history, which confounded her judges at every turn. Not even death at the stake could make her abjure the truth as she knew it, and to this day her testimony to the guiding voices from the invisible world stands unshaken, sealed with her life blood. This martyr to truth has lately been canonized a saint by the church which slew her.
"Ah, but," some one may say, "while she was
no doubt honest, she was but a simple peasant girl, unaware that she was
suffering from hallucinations!" Strange hallucinations which enabled her to
unhesitatingly pick out the King she had never seen and tell him a secret
unknown to any other person, to accurately describe battles while they were
being fought many miles away, as afterwards verified by participants.
But let us pass on to our second witness, who is by no means of the "simple minded." In that respect Socrates is an absolute contrast to Jeanne D'Arc, for his was the keenest intellect, the greatest mind we know, unexcelled to the present day. He also sealed his testimony to the voice of guidance from the invisible world with his life blood, and we may take it as a self-evident fact that it must have been an exceedingly intelligent voice or it would never have been able to counsel so great a sage as Socrates.
To hold that he was insane or suffering from hallucinations will hardly meet the case, for a man who, like Socrates, would weigh all other matters with such nicety, is above suspicion in that respect, and the more reasonable course is to acknowledge that "there are more things in heaven and earth" than we know individually or collectively, and then start to investigate.
That is indeed what the most advanced people are doing in
our day and age, realizing that it is just as foolish to be too skeptical to
investigate as to be over credulous and take for gospel truth everything we
hear. Only by properly informing ourselves is it possible for us to arrive at a
conclusion worthy of our manhood or womanhood, no matter whether we decide one
way or the other.
Testimony of a Scientist
Recognizing this principle, and the signal importance of the subject, the Society for Psychical Research was formed more than a quarter of a century ago and numbers among its members some of the brightest minds of our time. They have spared no pains to sift truth from error in the many thousands of cases brought to their attention, and as a result we find that one of the most prominent scientists of our time, Sir Oliver Lodge, as president of the society, gave to the world several years ago the statement that "the existence of an invisible world, inhabited by the so-called dead, and their power to communicate with this world, had been established beyond peradventure in such an abundance of cases as to leave no room for doubt."
Coming as that statement does, from one of the greatest of
modern scientists, one who has brought to his psychic studies a mind sharpened
by science, who was well protected against being duped in any way, such
testimony should command the highest respect among all who are seeking for
"There is no Death"
Having thus submitted inductive, deductive, and direct evidence, we may add that the existence of another world, intangible to the five senses but readily investigated by means of a "sixth sense," is a fact in Nature, whether we recognize it or not, as light and color exist around "blind" and "seeing" alike. It is the blind man's loss that he cannot see the light and color all about him. It is ours if we are "blind" to the superphysical realms; but to all who will take the trouble to awaken their latent faculties, the opening of the proper sense is but a matter of time. When that time comes we shall see that the so-called "dead" are all about us, and that in fact "there is no death," as John McCreery says in the following beautiful poem:
To rise upon another shore,
And bright in heaven's jeweled crown
They shine for evermore.
There is no death. The forest leaves
There is no death. The dust we tread
There is no death. The leaves may fall,
There is no death, although we grieve
Although with bowed and breaking heart.
They are not dead. They have but passed
They have but dropped their robe of clay
Though unseen to the mortal eye,
Sometimes upon our fevered brow
Yes, ever near us, though unseen,
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