Question: Is mediumship injurious to health?
Answer: That depends: Where a person becomes the medium for a disembodied spirit which enters the body, as in the case of the trance mediums, where it takes possession of this body and uses it as the owner might do, there is little if any harm done, provided the spirit control does not abuse his privilege. In fact, there are some cases where spirit controls have a better idea of caring for a body than the owner himself, and may sometimes improve the health. But spirits of a high ethical nature do not usually control a medium, it is rather earthbound and low spirits such as Indians and others of a like nature who obtain a control over mediumistic persons, and when in possession of the body they may use it to gratify their low passions for drink and sex. Thus they cause a disturbance to the system and a deterioration of the instrument.
In the case of the materializing medium, we may say that the influence is always injurious. The materializing spirit entrances the victim and then draws the ether of the vital body out through the spleen, for the difference between the materializing medium and the ordinary person is the fact that the connection between the vital body and the dense body is exceedingly lax, so that it is possible to withdraw this vital body to a very great extent. The vital body is the vehicle whereby the solar currents which give us vitality are specialized. Deprived of the vitalizing principle, the body of the medium at the time of a materialization sometimes shrinks to almost one-half its usually size; the flesh becomes flabby and the spark of life burns very low. When the séance is over and the vital body replaced, the medium is awakened and in normal consciousness. He then experiences a feeling of the most terrible exhaustion and sometimes, unfortunately, resorts to drink to revive the vital forces. In that case, of course, the health will very soon suffer and the medium will become a total wreck. At any rate, mediumship should be avoided, for apart from this danger to the instrument there are other and far more serious considerations in connection with the more subtle bodies, and particularly in connection with the after-death state.
Question: Where mediums make so-called soul trips, what is it that leaves the physical body, and can it leave in the waking state to gather data?
Answer: A medium is a negative or involuntary clairvoyant and under the control of a spirit from the Desire World. He or she corresponds to the victim of a hypnotist in the Physical World. In the case of the hypnotist, he is seen by his victim in the waking state, while the medium does not see the spirit which hypnotizes her until she has been driven out of her body. She is then clothed in her desire body and therefore usually unable to bring her experiences back.
All her experiences take place while the physical body is in a trance. It is the Ego clothed in the mind and desire body which leaves the physical body behind, and the same separation takes place then as in ordinary dreamless sleep, with the difference, however, that the physical body is not left tenantless upon the bed, but the spirit control usually enters the physical body of the medium, taking possession and using it according to pleasure, often to the great detriment of the medium. For when such a spirit control has been a drunkard or libertine during earth life, it will often use the medium's body to gratify its craving for liquor or its base, sensual instincts. We cannot too seriously impress upon people that this physical body is our most valuable instrument, and that it is very wrong for anyone to abandon it to the tender mercies of either a hypnotist or a spirit control. In the case of mediums, there is a still graver danger, for sometimes it is not an ordinary human Ego which is the control, but an elemental that cannot ordinarily function in the Physical World. When the medium at death enters the Desire World, the elemental has obtained such a power over the desire body of the medium that it may rob the owner of his vehicle. The desire body is the vehicle whence comes the spring to action, and therefore when an Ego is deprived of that vehicle there is nothing to cause it to reincarnate. The elemental may keep this body even for millions of years, and so, while the result of humanity is progressing, the unfortunate Ego, deprived of its desire body, is left inert and will be far behind all its fellows, perhaps, before it is released from the bondage of this entity. Therefore, mediumship is the gravest danger to the soul the writer knows of or is able to conceive, except the practice of black magic.
Question: I have taken many soul flights, and on one of these journeys my guide took me through gates into a crystal city and on into a temple filled with ethereal people, saying, "This is God's holy city." Will you kindly tell me where this is, why there are gates and walls around the city, and why everything looked like crystal?
Answer: It is one of the peculiarities of desire stuff, which is the matter of the Desire World that it is exceedingly plastic and readily molded by thought. In the twinkling of an eye it takes the most different shapes according to the thought that ensouls it, and where many people upon earth think along similar lines all their thoughts mass themselves and form one grand whole.
Thus in the lower regions of the Desire World, the thoughts of people who believe in a fiery, furnace-like Hell make of the desire stuff there such a place of torture. There we may see devils with horns, hoofs and tails, prodding the unhappy sinners with pitchforks, and often when people pass out at death, after having lived in that belief, they are in a sad state of fear on beholding this place which they have helped to create. There is also in the higher regions of the Desire World a city such as you describe, a New Jerusalem with pearly gates, with a sea of glass and its great white throne upon which is seated a thought form of God, created by these people and appearing like an old man. It is probable that you visited this place, which is a permanent feature of the Desire World, and will remain so as long as people continue to think of the New Jerusalem in that way, for these forms have no life apart from the sustained thoughts of mankind, and when in time humanity shall have outgrown that faith, the city created by their thoughts will cease to exist. Its crystal-like appearance is due to the exceeding brilliance of the desire stuff of which it is built. The old alchemists called the Desire World "astral," "starry," on that account.
Question: Are not the desire bodies left by progressing Egos used by elementals to deceive friends and relatives of the deceased person? How can they be detected and recognized?
Answer: When the spirit has passed out at death, and after a stay in Purgatory of shorter or longer duration enters the First Heaven, it still has with it the desire body used during the earth life, but when it enters the Second Heaven that desire body is left behind in a like manner as the vital and dense bodies were left at death and shortly after. But, while the dense body goes to decay and disintegrates, becomes inert and useless at once when the spirit has left it, it is very different with the desire body. The material of which that body is composed is so much more vitalized by the Universal Spirit that it will retain the ability to move about a long time after the spirit has left. The shell is drawn by magnetic attraction to those with whom it associated during earth life and a memory of that past life very often enables it to pose successfully as a deceased relative. This is particularly the case when the shell is used by an elemental entity.
These empty shells ensouled by elementals account very satisfactorily for most of the phenomena encountered at spiritualistic séances. The pranks of these elementals in spilling water down the necks of the sitters, throwing chairs, tables and the like about, are specimens of what may be done by such empty shells when in the possession of elementals.
As to how they may be detected or recognized by us, it will be evident that while our deceased friends and relatives during earth life possessed common sense, there is nothing to be gained from the inane nonsensical communications of these empty shells, for the spirit which was in reality our friend has passed away, leaving the house empty. Therefore we may judge them by words and acts as we judge people here.
Question: Can elementals assume the shape of animals or reptiles, and what can be done to stop them?
Answer: In this material world all the forms are stable and do not easily change. The Desire World is widely different in that respect. The fairy tales, like the metamorphosis of Cinderella's mice, etc., are actual facts in the Desire World, for the forms change at the will of the ensouled life with a lightning-like rapidity, which is very bewildering to one who enters that world as a neophyte. It is, therefore, necessary for the clairvoyant to be trained, in order to escape being glamoured by the form, which is always changing and may assume any shape at any moment. When we are able to see the ensouling life, it does not matter what form it takes upon itself for the time being, we are not deceived.
Like all others in the Desire World, elementals have this faculty of changing their shape, and it is due to that fact that so many strange tales or visions seen are thought true by untrained clairvoyants. Nothing can be done to stop elementals from changing their shape, but we may shoo them away from us as we chase a serenading feline from below our bedroom window.
Question: How can one avoid becoming obsessed?
Answer: Obsession is a state where a discarnate spirit has taken permanent possession of the body of someone after dispossessing the owner. But sometimes people who have formed a habit of drunkenness or some other low vice seek to excuse themselves by claiming to be obsessed. Wherever a person makes that statement concerning himself, one may nearly always be sure that it is nothing but an excuse, for a thief who has stolen something here in the material world does not go about and tell people of his theft, neither does an obsessing entity go around proclaiming the fact. It is very certain that such an entity does not care what is thought about the man whose body he has stolen, so that there is no reason why he should tell and risk being exorcised.
There is an infallible means of knowing whether a person is really obsessed, namely, by diagnosis of the eye. "The eye is the window of the soul," and only the true owner is capable of contracting and expanding the iris, or pupil of the eye, so that if we take a person who claims to be obsessed or whom we think is obsessed, to a room which is darkened, we shall find that the pupil of his eye will not expand if he is obsessed. Neither will the pupil contract when we bring him into the sunlight, nor expand if we ask him to look at an object at a distance or contract when he is asked to read small type. In short, the pupil of the eye will respond neither to light nor to distance when a person is obsessed, but there is also a certain disease called locomotor ataxia, where the iris will not respond to distance but is responsive to light.
No one who maintains a positive attitude of mind can ever become obsessed, for so long as we assert our individuality that is strong enough to keep all outsiders away. But in spiritualistic séances where the sitters are negative there is always a great danger. The best way to avoid becoming obsessed would be to maintain this positive attitude. And anyone who is at all negatively inclined should avoid spiritualistic séances, crystal gazing and other methods of evoking spirits. That is bad practice anyway, for those who have gone beyond have their work to do there and should not be brought back here.
Question: What is psychometry?
Answer: Science teaches us that every particle of matter in the Physical World is interpenetrated by ether, so that the chemical atoms of every substance, no matter how dense, do not touch one another, but each little atom vibrates in a field of this all-pervading ether. The vibrations of this ether emitted by every object carry to our eyes a picture of the things about us. This picture is not lost. The pictures of all things which we have consciously observed still exist in the ether of our vital body, and it only depends upon our ability to call them back whether we remember them or not.
There is also in the ether pervading every object a picture of the whole surroundings of that object. On the walls of our rooms are inscribed all the scenes, every incident that ever happened in that room, and even though we strip them of lath and plaster, it may be impossible to get rid of all the pictures inscribed there. If we take a piece of plaster from such a room and bring it to a person who has cultivated etheric sight, it is possible for that person to see the ether in that piece of plaster, and to tell about the scenes which happened where that plaster came from. If we show him a piece of stone taken from the pyramids of Egypt, he will see those pyramids just as well as if we had brought him a photograph, for it is the ether from an object such as the pyramid that makes the impression upon the photographer's sensitive plate, and the only difference between that impression and the impression we receive through the eye is that we are able to fix it on the photographic plate, and may take a look at the photograph at any time, while we are not yet able to clearly visualize the scenes of our past under ordinary circumstances. But the psychometrist who can read the ether has a wonderful picture gallery at his disposal.
Question: Is it true that at spiritualistic séances persons are sometimes transported bodily from one place to another by invisible hands; that flowers are brought into the room through closed windows and doors, and if so, how can that be done?
Answer: Yes, it is perfectly true that such phenomena as you have mentioned take place at times under conditions where no fraud is at all possible. As to the movement of objects, that may be accomplished by the spirits in charge of the séance in various ways. Hands may be materialized which are either visible or invisible, and they may lift objects or persons from one place to another, or else these objects may be lifted by the suspension of the law of gravity so far as that object is concerned. As to the passage of flowers through a wall, a closed window or other material object, we should remember that these objects are not really as solid as we usually think. Science recognizes the fact that no two atoms in any substance touch one another, but each atom swings and vibrates at a varying rate of speed in the sea of ether which permeates all matter. It is well known also that all substances may be reduced to gas. Iron, stone, water, or whatever other substance we name is capable of being thus reduced. Realizing this, it is only a step further to the idea that as these substances are reduced to a gaseous state and as readily resolved back into their original state, so a flower may be resolved into ether, passed between the atoms in a wall and then resolved back into its existence as a flower. That is in fact what happens.
But the inquirer may say, "Yes, but if you take a silver dollar, melt it in a crucible, or retort and change it into a gas, it will not take the shape of a silver dollar when it is resolved back into the metallic state but will become simply a lump of metal." That is true where the operation is performed by an ordinary man, who is incapable of separating the dense material from its etheric counterpart during the process of melting, but the spiritual entities who perform the feats spoken of are capable of thus detaching the ether part of the flower from the dense material. And it is that etheric part which retains its shape and forms the matrix or mold which gives form to the material of the flower when liberated in the room after having been passed through the wall.
Question: Will you kindly explain the use of the planchette (Ouija board)? and state if it is advisable to try to produce the phenomena among amateurs.
Answer: The planchette (Ouija board) is a small board placed upon wheels with a device for holding a pencil in a vertical position, so that when the medium's hand is placed upon the board and moved about by the spirits the pencil will write their messages on a sheet of paper. Like all other spiritualistic phenomena, planchette writing is produced by a disembodied spirit through a negative medium.
When an entity has passed out of earth life and entered the Invisible Beyond, an evolution of a different nature from ours awaits him in Purgatory and the various heavens. It is a retrogression when he tries to communicate with us here under ordinary circumstances. Therefore, all spiritualistic phenomena which bring the disembodied spirit into contact with the Physical World are to be deprecated as having a bad effect upon the spirits concerned. The communicating entities are also dangerous to the negative sitters in a circle, who abandon their will powers and their bodies to a certain extent.
Of course in planchette writing the whole body may not be in trance, although it sometimes is; but at least an arm is abandoned to the control of a discarnate spirit whom the sitter does not see, and who may or may not be what it represents. If a tramp came to our door and tried to persuade us to abandon our house and allow him to take possession for a little while, we would indignantly refuse, but when a tramp from the Desire World asks us to let him have possession of our most valuable house, our body, many at once comply, flattered in the belief that "a dear Angel" has visited them. But "dear Angels" and philanthropists do not grow on every bush in the Desire World any more than here. It cannot be too often reiterated that there is no transforming power in death; that an ignorant Indian does not suddenly become all wise by the mere fact of having passed out at death. As it is necessary to study in order to gain knowledge in this world, so must the departed spirits apply themselves if desiring to learn about conditions in that world, and until they have had the requisite amount of experience, the departed are no more fit to guide us from there than they were while here. The safest plan is to leave all negative phenomena alone, concentrating all our energies on living the life, and doing exercises which foster in us the faculty of entering that world at will, either traveling in our finer vehicles or clairvoyantly observing it while still within our dense body. That is progress; when we have that ability we can see the disembodied entities face to face and judge for ourselves whether it is advisable to listen to their counsel or not. Until we can do that we are at a disadvantage, and caution should teach us to keep on the safe side.
Question: Is a vampire the same as a werewolf?
Answer: No, a vampire is a person who absorbs the vitality of another, while that which was called a werewolf in medieval times was the vital body of a low order of black magician. He would give a gruesome shape to his vital body, and partly stud it with dense matter in order to inflict harm upon other people. The old folk stories said that it was no use to strike such a thing, blows would not hurt it. But if it were stabbed with a knife or another sharp instrument, it would commence to disgorge the blood of its victims, run away yelping to its home, and there the black magician who had manifested as a wolf could be found suffering from a wound in the precise place where the wolf had been hurt. This is on account of a curious circumstance known to esotericists as Repercussion, and the same phenomena may be seen where spirits materialize at a séance. The ether in which these spirits materialize has been taken from the body of the medium, and if a piece is cut out of the robe of such a spirit, a piece will be found missing from the garment of the medium at the close of the séance. This fact has been used by skeptical investigators ignorant of the law of repercussion to stamp mediums as frauds, when in fact they have been perfectly honest, though incapable of explaining away the seemingly damning evidence.
Question: What is the difference between a trance medium, a materializing medium, the trained clairvoyant and the ordinary person?
Answer: Roughly speaking, we may say that humanity today is divided into two classes—those in whom the connection between the vital body and the dense body is very close, and another class where the connection is more loose. The former class is the ordinary person who is engaged in material pursuits and is altogether out of touch with the Spiritual Worlds. The latter class is the so-called sensitives, and is again divided into two classes. One class is actuated by the will from within and is positive. From this class comes the trained clairvoyant and the Invisible Helper. The other class is negative and is amendable to the will of others. From this class mediums are recruited.
When the connection between the vital body and the dense body of a man is somewhat lax, he will be sensitive to spiritual vibrations, and if positive he will by his own will develop his spiritual faculties, live a spiritual life and in time receive the teaching necessary to become a trained clairvoyant and a master of his faculty at any and all times, free to exercise it or not, as he pleases.
If a person has this slight laxity between the vital and dense bodies, and is of a negative temperament, he is liable to become the prey of discarnate spirits, as a medium.
Where the connection between the vital and dense body is very lax, so that it may be withdrawn, and the man is positive, he may become an Invisible Helper, capable of taking the two higher ethers away from his dense body at will and using them as a vehicle for sense perception and memory. He can then function consciously in the Spiritual World and bring back a recollection of everything he has done there, so that, for instance, when he leaves his body at night he takes up the life in the Invisible World in a fully conscious manner, as we do here when we wake up in the morning after sleep and perform our various duties in the visible world.
When a person has this lax connection between the vital body and the dense body and is of a negative temperament, the spirits which are earth bound and seek to manifest here may withdraw his vital body by way of the spleen and temporarily use the ether of which it is composed to materialize spirit forms, returning the ether to the medium after the séance is over.
Question: If mediumship is so dangerous, why do not the mediums cease to allow themselves to be controlled?
Answer: In the first place, of course, the great majority of the mediums do not realize that there is danger. They are particularly unaware of the enormous danger which threatens them after death. The desire body may then be appropriated by the spirit control. If they were to try to stop the influence of the spirit control while still here in the body they would find that that entity has an exceedingly strong hold upon them, a control it is very difficult to break, and they ought to realize that naturally when death brings them into the same world with these spirit controls the danger will be still greater.
The writer has known certain cases where mediums have balked and tried to escape from the toils of the spirit control, but have failed to break the strong hold of that entity. They were helpless. Mediums have come to the writer for help and told him that they were almost irresistibly compelled by their spirit controls to commit suicide and murder; that they had begged and pleaded with the spirit controls to leave them alone, but without avail. Cases are known also where spirit controls have mercilessly dragged their victims out of bed in the middle of night against their will and forced them to listen to their importunities. Only seldom does one hear that they show mercy. Though the writer has known mediums who have been ill from such treatment, he has only known of one case where the sickness of the medium induced the spirit controls to listen to his plea and leave him alone for a few months while he recuperated.
Thus it will be seen that mediumship, once entered into, is not usually a matter of choice with the mediums; they lose the power to shut out spirit controls. While they do the bidding of their taskmasters and are docile, they may not feel the bit; but let one of them try to balk, and he or she will soon feel that the spirit control has both bit and spur, and is merciless in his use of them.