Bertha Harris visits the World Beyond (7)
More communications from Raymond Lodge.
Most people delay thinking about dying until the last moment, when it is too late to fully understand what is happening. However, all of us visit the Other Side in our dreams, during a Near Death or Out-Of-Body Experience and sometimes during meditation. Even if we do not remember much about those experiences, they remain in our subconscious mind, and are re-awakened when we die, and they help us on our way. But the more knowledge we can put together now about our survival and where we will be going, the less difficult will be our transition.
Bertha Harris spent over fifty years as a well-known British medium, a friend of Conan Doyle’s, working with Sir Oliver Lodge and consulted by Sir Winston Churchill and General Charles de Gaulle. She has interesting things to say about the Other Side in some brief autobiographical notes published in George Meek’s “From Séance to Science” in 1973 by the Regency Press, London and New York.
BERTHA - Frequently, while still a child, I would tell my parents that I had been to heaven, for that was the only way I knew to express the beauty and wonderment of the spirit world. Sometimes I gave them very vivid details of what I had seen.
Auntie Margaret has such a pretty bluish nightie with flowers on it – I told my mother one time. Auntie Margaret was the vicar’s sister, not my real aunt at all, but she had taken a great interest in me before she died. After her death, of course, I was told that she had gone to heaven. Her pretty bluish nightie was actually her spirit robe.
I would speak with childish certainty of what was and what was not to be found in heaven. Oh, no, I would say, for example, the people there do not have wings. I’ve been there and met the nice people, the angels. Someone once asked me if I had seen God. No, I said, He wasn’t there. I couldn’t find Him anywhere, but I did find my [dead] rabbit.
Before I was ten years old, I visited the spirit world regularly, though not every night. I always knew when I was about to embark on another journey, for such journeys were always preceded by a sensation of giddiness, as if the room were spinning around. Then I would lie back on my bed, not feeling at all frightened, and decide that it did not really matter. Within moments, I would be floating away. In those days, there was a black boy who would take my hand and lead me as I left my body. He was about seven years old and had gleaming teeth, but I never found out who he was. There was no connection between him and the guide I later came to know. Perhaps it is just as well, for I think as a child, I might have been frightened by a grownup guide.
I made hundreds of visits to the spirit world. One time, shortly after her death, I found my Auntie Bertha, for whom I was named, living in a lovely house in heaven. I related the tale to my parents, who were generally inclined to interpret these experiences as dreams. My journeys out of the body, however, were free of the confusion of dreams, and they always had a perfect beginning and a perfect ending. I could feel myself returning to my body, but it would take about ten minutes for my normal bodily awareness to return.
The serenity, the calm, and especially the ecstasy of those realms compare unfavourably with the often cold and draughty conditions of the everyday world. Heaviness is indeed a feature of this world in contrast to the spirit world. When I return here, my body feels so very heavy. My husband was also a medium. One time his body was being controlled by my brother (in spirit), Cyril, who attempted to play our organ.
Oh, they are so heavy, these notes, he exclaimed. I have to push them down. It’s so hard. I am tired, returning to an earth body. Eventually, his visits of control ceased because of the heaviness of the earth conditions.
Although I could not describe or name it, I felt, when I projected as a child, that I was connected to my body by a string. Later on in life, when I watched people die or temporarily leave their bodies, I knew that the string I saw was the silver cord referred to in the Bible. No, I have never tripped over my cord nor felt that I was going to !
Some of the best evidence for survival after death is provided by the aura. From birth to death, the aura is with us. At birth, there is neither a mental aura nor a spiritual aura, but there is a bit of a physical aura. The child can register disturbances in the physical aura when it is uncomfortable. It is not until the child becomes more conscious of the world and his character begins to form, that the mental and spiritual auras develop.
At death, this sequence is reversed. Even before the hour of death, the aura seems to know that a separation from the physical is imminent. The aura will sometimes trail behind the individual or otherwise register the fact of separation, even in the case of accident or sudden death. When I have watched the aura of a dying person, I have noticed that the aura splits right over the head and gradually rolls down to the feet. This takes anywhere from five minutes to five days. As the old aura withers away, a new aura of finer essence starts to grow. It is of these two auras that St. Paul was speaking when he used the terms the body terrestrial and the body celestial.
I have noticed attached to the aura of the dying person a kind of tube or pipe like an umbilical cord, which seems to be attached to the feet of the person. This functions as a lifeline, perhaps, between the two auras and is of great brilliance and beauty. As the process of dying is completed, consciousness shifts into the new celestial body. The expression and animation of the individual is transmuted from the coarser terrestrial essence to the finer celestial essence. The new aura begins as a shimmering radiance of illumination, and gradually an exact counterpart of the physical person forms within the light becoming finally complete with features.
I believe that when the physical body ceases to function, the spirit is automatically transferred to the celestial body and its total personality is portrayed by the celestial body. This is provided for by a natural law of the universe which, when understood, makes physical life and our experiences here perfectly sensible. When the spirit takes over this new aura body, the person retains his individuality, his personality, and all of his characteristics, although he now exists in another dimension. This understanding can be gained through the ability to read the aura.
The experience of a human being who is striving to live a fruitful life, not necessarily a religious life, but a worthwhile life of use to mankind and humanity, creates a spiritual radiance around the whole body, reflecting what we are ultimately meant to be – a spirit in the process of becoming really spiritual, of becoming part of God. This is why the study of the aura has always been the most fascinating part of my life. Perhaps I will be fortunate enough to make some contributions to the scientific studies of the aura.
As my husband Bobby lay dying, and all life seemed to be draining away, he suddenly sat up, and began to speak: Don’t think you are talking to Bobby any more. You are not talking to him. He is gone. We have taken him away. We are looking after the body until it is silent.
I was astonished at this manifestation and asked: Who is we ?
Why, me, Cyril (her brother) I’m holding him up. It isn’t Bobby at all. He’s gone.
Guidance on the further care of the body followed. This was an unusual kind of out-of-body experience.
My own visits to the spirit world have continued throughout my life. Instead of finding my own way there, I am always taken. Likewise, when there, I am conducted instead of projecting myself by thought or other means. Angelos is usually the guide. The route to the spirit world seems shrouded by a foggy veil. On arrival, I find myself standing upright with Angelos at my side, and I become aware of others around me. Travellers to that realm find, mysteriously, that they are clothed in loose robes that vary in colour according to the occasion. Vast distances may be walked with no feeling of heaviness or fatigue. When the time comes, it is Angelos or a relative who tells me to prepare for my return, and I have never had the difficulties in returning to the body that are reported by some travellers.
It is particularly helpful to take one’s problems to the sprit world for guidance. I sometimes meet with my brother or my parents to discuss whatever is worrying me. After returning to this world, I often recall those conversations verbatim.
Frequently I meet spiritualist pioneers, such as Arthur Findlay, on my visits. Many of them are not at all happy with the current state of Spiritualism on earth. They are disturbed by the lack of development of mediums and speakers, and by the absence of dedication. They say that the effort to contribute to Spiritualism, on the part of present day mediums, is exceeded by their efforts to receive the benefits of Spiritualism.
Ordinarily, when I am out of the body, I do not find myself looking down on the earth nor wandering over the earth. Sometimes, during surgery, however, I have observed the doctors operating on me. Afterwards, to their astonishment, I have given a step-by-step account of the procedure, although anaesthetics tend to distort the conditions of the experience. During the war, in an out-of-body state, I visited my husband-to-be, at the battle front. Likewise, after our marriage, love seemed to draw me to him in the various privations that befell him at such times as we were apart from each other.
My father, when on earth, hoped one day to buy me a harp, but this was never possible. After I became closely involved with mediumship, my musical life was pushed into the background. In the spirit world, however, it has been a common experience for me to visit my uncles and cousins who were qualified musicians, and there to play the harp I never had on earth. Of course, there is no resemblance to the popular idea of angels and harps. It is easy to make music in the spirit world where concerts are swiftly arranged. Listening to and making music in that realm is a joyful learning experience.
Now here is a further communication from Raymond Lodge, this time with his elder brother Alec Lodge as the sitter with Mrs Leonard at her house.
21 December, 1915.
FEDA (Mrs Leonard’s guide) - Raymond’s here.
RAYMOND - I wish you could see me. I am so pleased.
FEDA - He has been trying hard to get to you at home. He thinks he is getting closer, and better able to understand the conditions which govern this way of communicating. He knows he has got through, but not satisfactorily. He gets so far, and then flounders. He says he is feeling splendid. He did not think it was possible to feel so well. He was waiting here; he knew you were coming, but thought you might not be able to come today. [since Alec’s train was half an hour late.] Did you take notice of what he said about the place he is in ?
ALEC LODGE - Yes, but I find it very difficult to understand.
RAYMOND - It is such a solid place, I have not got over it yet. It is so wonderfully real.
FEDA - He spoke about a river to his father; he has not seen the sea yet. He has found water, but doesn’t know whether he will find a sea. He is making new discoveries every day. So MUCH is new, although of course not to people who have been here some time. He went into the library with his grandfather William, and also somebody called Richard, and he says the books there seem to be the same as you read. Now this is extraordinary: There are books there not yet published on the earth plane. He is told – only told – he does not know if it is correct – that those books will be produced, books like those that are there now; that the matter in them will be impressed on the brain of some man, he supposes an author.
He says that not everybody on his plane is allowed to read those books; they might hurt them – that is, the books not published yet.
RAYMOND - Father is going to write one – not the one on now, but a fresh one [Sir Oliver went on to publish many more books up to the time of his death in 1940]
It is very difficult to get things through. There are hundreds of things I will think of after I am gone.
FEDA - He has brought Lily, and William, the young one – I don’t know whether it is right, but he appears to have two brothers (in spirit) [Two brothers as well as a sister (Lily) died in extreme infancy.]
ALEC - A little time ago, Raymond said he was with mother. Mother would like to know if he can say what she was doing when he came ? Ask Raymond to think it over, and see if he can remember,
FEDA - Yes, yes. She’d got some wool and scissors. She had a square piece of stuff – he is showing me this – she was working on the square piece of stuff. He shows me that she was cutting the wool with the scissors. Another time, she was in bed. She was in a big chair – dark covered - He can’t remember which room she was in. He can’t always see more than a corner of the room – it appears vapourish and shadowy. He often comes when you’re in bed. He tried to call out loudly, shouting Alec, Alec ! but he didn’t get any answer. That is what puzzles him. He thinks he has shouted, but apparently he has not even manufactured a whisper.
[they talk over some further bits of evidential information communicated at earlier sittings].
RAYMOND - Just before I go: Don’t ever any of you regret my going. I believe I have got more to do than I could have ever done on the earth plane. It is only a case of waiting, and just meeting everyone of you as you come across to me. I am going now, and young Willie.
[to be continued].
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