The William Stead Scripts of 1942-1943

 - Margaret Lillian Hamilton, B.A. -

          AT REGULAR sittings from late 1942 to 1943 the Hamilton group received numerous deep-trance scripts signed "W.T.S." When the series was completed and we had had time to study and compare them with the book, After Death - Letters From Julia, which, it will be recalled, Stead wrote automatically in 1892-1894, we found that phrases, sentences and sometimes whole paragraphs from that earlier work had been introduced into our Dawn writings.

The longer we studied the scripts the more it appeared that Stead had deliberately chosen those Julia teachings that he wished to emphasise, had altered them where necessary to suit his purpose, and then had worked them smoothly into his new communications through our medium Dawn. There was nothing mysterious about these rewritings. Stead quoted them, as any writer would quote from an author whose line of thought fitted in with his own. The fusing process was well carried out. Stead thus achieved the objective which an unknown control had announced early in 1940.

One other thing must be mentioned. Alone among all the writers through Dawn, Stead occasionally used a term or phrase characteristic of Theosophical writings. Such usage serves to recall the fact that during his lifetime Stead was not only personally acquainted with a number of Theosophical leaders, but was also aware that parallels could be traced between certain of the teachings embodied in the Julia letters and certain of the principles presented in Theosophical concepts. One of the Dawn-Stead scripts shows a definite intermingling of these two older streams of thoughts. In this way, by using new and vigorous phraseology, our writer re-emphasised certain selected Theosophical beliefs which demonstrated a philosophical and religious slant quite new to all of us.

As I have done in previous chapters, here also where quotations from the Julia letters appear in the Dawn scripts, I have enclosed them in single quotation marks. In the footnotes I have indicated the page number of the edition we used in our research. As the words of the scripts flowed in unbroken pencil lines, we introduced the punctuation and the paragraph indentations. The captions at the head of each section were my mother's idea, and were not part of the original scripts.


"As we have only the eyes of the flesh with which to see the invisible astral, and only our narrow preconceived ideas with which to see these things, it is not to be wondered at that we have strange contorted ideas as to what is taking place at the time of death. Slowly the ethereal double separates from the material body, held only by the fragile cord which holds it for a few hours after apparent death. It is then that the strictest silence in the death chamber is absolutely necessary, (for) the dying see the panorama of their entire life displayed before them. If there is agitation, they are called back, and it is so much harder for them to recover from the condition.

"We have said that the etheric double carries away the principles of man, leaving upon the bed of death the tabernacle of flesh, henceforth empty and unappropriated. All the energies that radiated the outer body are now brought into the interior where, after a time, they become enfeebled and die away - a man's aggregate of matter, still alive, but deprived of the power of perception.

"After a spirit has dissolved its connections with the body it is tired, especially if there has been much strain of a mental nature. Then there is a period of rest and sleep. You are placed in a sleeping position where you lie in a dreaming state. The spirit friends hover round about, giving strength from their own magnetic influences, comforting and lulling you as a mother comforts her ailing child until it falls into a peaceful sleep. Until strength is given to a departing spirit it sometimes takes a long time to become reconciled to conditions. Sometimes the shock is terrible. The good spirit friends give all the love and help they can.

"The loss of the physical body is of no effect on the intellectual and moral value of the deceased, and it is by reason of this permanence of being that there is found quite a variety of character among those whom we call dead. Do not let us ignore the fact that death does not modify in any way the psychic state of the man whose terrestrial career has just closed."

New Discoveries and Activities

"Let us follow one of our loved ones who has just died in the terrestrial life, but who revives in another life no less distinct and actual than the one from which he has disappeared. To what sphere will he ascend? In what surroundings and conditions will he pursue his evolution? What will his environment be in the strange new world into which he is entering?

"The unknown regions exist quite close to us. Indeed, it would be strange if the space between us be empty and deserted and the inhabitants of the earth the only form through which life could manifest. Its inhabitants are human beings and their new bodies are called 'boundary transformations,' particularly pure creations, without which none could penetrate into the peaceful happy regions which they call 'home.'

"And it is because of these spirits being totally different that it is possible to co-exist without even knowing each other except under extraordinary circumstances. Between you and the astral plane there is no distance in space. Though we do not cognise each other by our normal senses, we are together. The difference is one of perception, not space. We your spirit friends have not dropped the tenor of our lives. We exist in the same universe.

"'Know from the experience of friends, of the possibility of the multiplication of person, of the appearance of the double of one's body, and its transport to any place with the speed of thought. This is no mere fantasy of imagination. The spirit that takes no heed of the limitations of the body while the body lives is not less free when the body is laid in the grave. The power that creates a double can cause the living who love to perceive their dead again."(1)

(1) Compare with page 148, Gleams of the Coming Day from "Julia".

Knowledge and Evolution

"'There is something that increases on this side more than any other thing, and that is the desire to learn. And such facilities! We shall never be able to say that we know everything about this world that we have been privileged to enter, for the marvellous wisdom of our Father God is past finding out. When we reach what we think the ultimate, then a new and marvellous vista is before us. As we pass through there stretches before us a new marvellous world of beauty into which we may in time begin to enter.'(2) And we see its beauty unfolding always and for ever for those who truly seek to enter. The journey may be a long one, but our spiritual guides will show us the way."

(2) Compare with page 76, The Passion to Know, from "Julia". This Stead script through Dawn is almost identical with an automatic script which Stead wrote on December 25. 1894.

The Heavenly Hierarchy

"Now let us look at the fight which we get from our spiritual guides. There are many higher spirits with our loved ones; call them angels and you are in touch with old-time religion. High above all is the Greater Spirit. This is not our loving Father God. God is so infinite that He is not in their ken. But this Higher Spirit is our Saviour, Jesus Christ, Who is the Great High Spirit, and His special care is the earth plane. He came down upon the earth to live as His sisters and brothers lived, was crucified, and was placed in the earth, and after three days came back again and appeared to His friends and assured the world that there was no death, only a great new life. But we must prove ourselves worthy to receive His gift of love, which is eternal life.

"When you read your Bibles in the knowledge you have, you will have a deeper conviction that the teachings of Jesus Christ were lost in many respects to the early Christian Church when you read so many references to phenomena with which you are familiar.

"Death brings its stores of knowledge, its planes of activity to every human being, and it rests with the individual."

Words of Advice

"I want to talk to you about the soul-how to find it. There is only one way: there is no chance of saving it unless you give yourself time to think on those things that are timeless, that are, when time shall be no more. You must become more spiritual.

"'You must realise that some men and women in this generation have lost their souls, and this is the awful truth. You must not go back to the old-fashioned idea of losing one's soul in hell when you lay aside this earthly body; but if your soul is lost, you must find it before you can make progress. What is clear to me is the indifference one sees, the misunderstanding that the soul is the real self that lives for ever. It is only through the soul that you can communicate with the spiritual world.'(3)

(3) Compare with pages 138 and 139, "Letters From Julia".

"'There is another thing that may surprise you, and that is the nothingness of things. I mean the entire nothingness of things which seemed on earth, the most important. For instance, money, rank, worth, station, and all the things we prize most on earth are simply nothing. They do not exist any more. They pass as the cloud passes and are not visible. I have told you this before.'(4)

(4) Compare with paragraph 3, page 49. The Dawn-script was found to have quoted almost verbatim this paragraph from the "Julia" letter.

"'There is another thing that I might have mentioned and that is what lies under and over and around - it is love! If you enter this quest with any other thought but love I cannot suggest how far you will succeed. If you have any other thoughts you will meet with many difficulties. You will find (that) where there is love of abstract truth, there is added a spiritual longing for communication with other spirits who are on this side. The double current is more potent and your results will be very much better.'(5) The temperature depends on the thoughts you have in mind-curiosity or love. Learn from spirit friends; the power is one that ought to be under control. You, who can, should do these things."

(5) Compare with page 127, The Losing and the Finding of the Soul and The Nothingness of Things, in "Julia".

The Need

"It is remarkable that so many learned men have closed their minds. What are the bare and simple truths that are known to so many people, those who are called Spiritualists? Theirs is a simple faith. They interpret their experiences in the most straight-forward and unsophisticated manner. Some of them have often been in error; this is caused by unscrupulous persons. Nevertheless these are soon discovered for what they are. This cannot be used as an argument either way.

"'The world is full of spirits longing to speak to their loved ones.'(6) What can be done to bring these forces together? You must help us all you can by these writings, and by telling others the good news that we can communicate with those we have left behind. It is a strange spectacle-you on your side, and we on our side, trying so hard to speak to our loved ones. 'What is needed is a bureau of communication between the two sides; if only such a place could be established with trustworthy mediums!'(7)

(6, 7) Compare with pages 49 and 50, and pages 50 and 103 of "Julia". Note: Through Stead's hand Julia had also asked for a bureau of inter-communication. Many will recall that the Stead Bureau operated for this purpose for many years in London, and that many persons received sound confirmation of the fact of individual survival through its agency. This bureau was first operated under the oversight of Stead, and after his death under that of his devoted daughter Estelle, a beloved figure in Spiritualistic circles, who passed on in 1966 after a long life of distinguished service to the cause her father had so nobly championed.

"You have a good writing medium I hope she will keep on giving her hand for this good work. I hope to have another opportunity soon. The world is hungry for a spiritual message."

"Death to the progressive soul is a glorious promotion, a stepping to a higher grade of all good, a change to a grand and better world. Not one to be voluntarily sought; not one to be gained by suicide, for that step would defeat the desired end by enmeshing the spirit in a web of earthly conditions; but one to be graciously accepted when Nature works her will with the worn-out body.

"Time passes for all on this earthly plane of abode. Soon like snow before the sun you will all melt away from the earth. After a while you will realise that at last you have come into an inheritance, and you, and your own people who have travelled before you, will find not death but an everlasting life which grows more beautiful as you progress.

"'There is much love on earth, were it not so, it would indeed be very hard to live.'(8) 'Love, love, love! It is the first word and the last!(9) All I have written is true and good. I have nothing to alter. With all that, I have much more to say which I do not say now. All that 1 wrote about the joy and the glory and the love of God is true.'"(10)


(8) Compare with page 50, "Letters From Julia". 

(9) Compare with page 54, "Letters From Julia". 

(10) Compare with page 38 of preface to "Julia". These sentences in the Dawn script were later found to be part of a script written by Stead for Julia in 1909, on the occasion of the ninth printing of "Letters From Julia".

In the final paragraphs of the above Dawn scripts many passages from the "Julia Letters" have been skillfully woven together to give a new emphasis.

In the script of July 22, 1943, Stead writes of the conditions surrounding degenerate personalities, and of the efforts made by missionary workers - of which he appears to be one - to reclaim such unfortunate ones and start them on a path of evolutionary progress. Thus from yet another angle we find Stead preaching of God's goodness and His abiding love for humanity. The vigorous phraseology of the first section of this script constitutes a very impressive internal phenomenon when it is remembered how unlettered was our automatist. Inspiration again has been forcefully demonstrated.

In the rash lustiness of my young powers
I shook the pillaring hours
And pulled my life upon me; grimed with smears,
I stand amid the dust o' mounded years-
My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.
My days have crackled and gone up in smoke.

Halts by me a footfall; Is my gloom after all
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me."

The Hound of Heaven, by Francis Thompson.

The Stead Script of July 22, 1943

"Not having undergone any change by his death, he (the depraved man) still displays all his passions in their tragic hideousness. Excitedly he responds to the worst suggestions, teeming with carnal lusts which he cannot satisfy for the want of sensorial organs. (Thus) these furious unsatisfied souls wander through this tenuous habitation. If they remain they are confined, but unfortunately they succeed sometimes in escaping. They return to the earth-plane where they attract disastrous affinities. They prowl about all their bad places where they often drink, bringing others who frequent such places, to acts of perversity that they themselves would like to commit.

"Assassins who have perished on the scaffold, full of hatred and revenge, kindle in the hearts of men of criminal instincts similar thoughts, and foment the most execrable passions. Here is found the hell for those pitiless vivisectors, who trembling with hatred against thoughtless man, follow him, obsess him, and force him to repeat his worst experiences; and finally, not having any more victims to make suffer, turn their own cruel lust toward themselves.

"This is the work of the spirit-missionaries, who try to break down their stubbornness, and by their tender love and prayer bend (their wills) so that the light at last can penetrate into the dark souls, until, after much prayer and repentance, weary, subdued, broken by torture, they come to understand that they cannot struggle against the immutable law; that God does not wish them to continue in this horrible state for ever. On the contrary, the light rays shall translate their darkness and destroy the evil; this, thanks to a loving Father, gives them the opportunity to be able to live together with those who are the children of better things. Often these depraved souls, after they have recovered, undergo certain transformations, certain purifications, without which they cannot enter the peaceful happy regions which are properly called man's native home.

"I want to tell you of one of these evil forms that I have been able to bring back to the light and true love. He had been killed in trying to escape from the police. For a long time he had been in hiding; he was betrayed in his hiding place by a pal, for a price. I do not know his name; he had passed on long before I had. Then he managed to escape back to the earth plane with revenge seething in his soul. Not having a material body, there are half-human, half-animal forms that serve as clothing-that is to say-as bodies for degraded souls who have indisputably become beastly.

"Such a one was our friend. As a boy he had thieved. He had had a good mother but a father who drank. With some of my friends I tried to follow in his wake, but this was hard for me to do. After much travelling he seemed to see me in a mist of grey. He called out to me, 'Who are you?' and I answered, 'A friend.' Then he swore and said: 'I have no friends! You have come to take me back! I won't go!'

"Then after I had tried to show him what had happen & he listened to me. I told him I would help him. Then he said 'Well, I'll go, but it is dark; I can't see!' Then the clear blue light of the missionary spirits shines through the grey mist and the poor lost soul sees it, and as he sees it he moves as if to follow the spirit form; and as he does so, his own battered form gathers like a vapour and gradually takes the shape of a human being. But it is not beautiful and bright as is the spirit form of a spiritual being who walks in the light

"He was very anxious after that; he went about trying to find out what he must do to work out his salvation. Now he has a great work to do among the derelicts on the earthly plane. He is imbibing knowledge, and at the same time is fed his sense of beauty. All is good. He is satisfied with his travels and glad that he is allowed to be a guide and try to turn their thoughts towards Home, a Home that is a beauty spot in the spirit world. He labours according to his bent, but all is good."


The Stead Script of October 1943

In this script Stead corroborates the Theosophical belief in certain remedial after-death experiences, beliefs which now apparently have become observed facts to our communicator. Considering the lack of intellectual development of the automatist, one finds this script a most remarkable piece of writing. It reveals not only new and vigorously worded phrases, but it expounds doctrinal and philosophical teachings demanding open-minded attention from all thoughtful readers. In one section the medium's hand ceased to function, leaving a blank in the writing. The words considered necessary to the argument have been placed in brackets by the editor.

"The spiritually developed man whose astral body already deems itself purified does merely cross Koma Loka.(11) Let me explain it. Koma Loka is a sort of limbo or hades, but must not be confused with the purgatory of the Roman Catholic Church, from which the souls of the people cannot escape before they have purchased a certain number of salvatory masses which must be duly paid for according to an established tariff! Is it not perfectly just that the effects of causes, put into play by man during the course of his terrestrial life, have for sequel, sanctions similar to those that socalled social legislation supplies to our misdeeds?

(11) Note: "Koma Loka" is the spelling used by the Dawn communicator, not the spelling found in Mrs. Besant's book.

"If there is justice in some parts, should it not remain without contest in a universe that administers the supreme law of harmony between cause and effect? - between the germ of whatever nature that ought to develop and fructify according to its beneficial or hurtful kind (and its final frution)? The idea, more or less prevalent, that death levels all, is an error born out of complete ignorance.

"Korna Loka is only a locality in the relative sense, for it has no circumference, no determined limits, and only exists in subjective space. Need we still add that it does not enclose any place of unlimited torture? The everlasting hell in which a number of poor ignorant souls and sectarian fanatics believe is only foolish fear and superstition."


Now given for the purpose of comparison is the pertinent excerpt from Annie Besant's book, The Ancient Wisdom:

"Kamaloka, literally the Place of Desire, is part of the astral plane, not divided from it as a distinct locality, but separated off by the condition of consciousness of the entities belonging to it ... This region represents and includes the conditions described as existing in the various purgatories and intermediate states, one or other of which is alleged by all the great religions to be the temporary dwelling of man after he leaves the body but before he reaches 'Heaven.' It does not include any place of eternal torture, the endless hell still believed in by some narrow religionists, ... but it does include conditions of suffering, temporary and purificatory in their nature, the working-out of causes set going in his earth-life by the man who experiences them."

Source: "Is Survival a Fact?" by Margaret Lillian Hamilton (1969, Psychic Press).


Other articles by Margaret Lillian Hamilton

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