Book: "Raymond or Life and Death"

Author: Sir Oliver Lodge FRS

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- (Part 2) Chapter 11 - Supernormal Portion -

First Sitting of Alec (A.M.L.)


          A WORD may be necessary about the attitude of Raymond's family to the whole subject. It may be thought that my own known interest in the subject was naturally shared by the family, but that is not so. So far as I can judge, it had rather the opposite effect; and not until they had received unmistakable proof, devised largely by themselves, was this, healthy scepticism ultimately broken down.

My wife had had experience with Mrs. Piper in 1889, though she continued very sceptical till 1906 or thereabouts, when she had some extraordinarily good evidence. But none of this experience was shared by the family, who read neither my nor anyone else's books on the subject, and had no first-hand evidence. For the most part they regarded it without interest and with practical scepticism. If in saying this I convey the impression of anything like friction or disappointment, the impression is totally false. Life was full of interest of many kinds, and, until Raymond's death, there was no need for them to think twice about survival or the possibility of communication.

The first sitting held by any of his brothers, apart from private amateur attempts at home,-the first sitting, I may say, held by any of them with any medium,-took place on 23 October, when Alec had a sitting with Peters; his mother also was present, but no names were given. Alec's record of this sitting, together with his preliminary Note, I propose to quote practically in full.

Alec and his mother went in the morning to Mrs. Kennedy's house, where the sitting was to take place. M. F. A. L. stopped on the way to buy a bunch of violets, which she put on Peters' table. When he arrived and saw them, he was very pleased; ejaculated "my flower," and said that he could not have had anything that gave him more pleasure.

I may here remark, incidentally, that Peters is a man who takes his mediumship seriously, and tries to regulate his life so as to get good conditions. Thus, he goes into the country at intervals, and stops all work for a time to recuperate. He lives, in fact, at Westgate-on-Sea, and only has a room in London. He seems to lead a simple life altogether, and his "control" spoke of his having been prepared since six o'clock that morning for this sitting.

Alec went up prepared to take notes, and after the sitting wrote the following preliminary account:

A. M. L.'s Remarks on the Sitting

Mother and I arrived at Mrs. Kennedy's house at five minutes to eleven. We saw Mrs. Kennedy, who asked us if we would like her to be present. We said yes. Then she told us that Peters had come, and that she would ask him. Peters wanted her to be present.

Mrs. Kennedy brought Peters up; he shook hands, without any introduction. We had all gone up to Mrs. Kennedy's private room, where Peters likes the sittings to take place. We four sat round a table about four feet in diameter. A. and M. with backs to one or other of the two windows, K. and P. more or less facing them. A. was opposite P.; M. was opposite K. There was plenty of light, but the room was partly shaded by pulling down blinds. They talked about street noises at first. P. held K.'s and M.'s hands for a time. K. and M. talked together a little. P. now moved about a little and rubbed his face and eyes. Suddenly he jerked himself up and began talking in broken English.

During the trance his eyes were apparently closed all the time; and when speaking to anyone he 'looked' at them with his eyelids screwed up. Sometimes a change of control occurred. While that was taking place, he sat quiet, and usually held K.'s and M.'s hands until another sudden jerk occurred, when he let go and started talking.

The sitting was rather disjointed, and most of it apparently not of much importance, but for a few minutes in the middle it was very impressive. It then felt to me exactly as if my hand was being held in both Raymond's, and as if Raymond himself was speaking in his own voice. My right hand was being held, but even if I had had it free I could not possibly have taken notes under the circumstances.

(M. F. A. L. adds that neither could she nor anyone, while that part of the sitting was going on.)

Peters spoke often very quickly, and sometimes indistinctly, so that the notes are rather incomplete.

(To this OJL. adds that it was Alec's first experience of a sitting, and that, even with experience, it is difficult to take anything like full notes.)

Report of Peters Sitting in Mrs. Kennedy's Room, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, 23 October 1915

(Revised by the Sitters)

Present-MRs. KENNEDY (K. K.), LADY LODGE (M. F. A. L), ALEC M. LODGE, and the Medium-VOUT PETERS


In a short time Peters went into trance, and 'Moonstone' was understood to be taking control. He first made some general remarks:-

Good morning! I generally say, "Good evening," don't I? Don't be afraid for Medie; he has been prepared since six o'clock this morning. Magnetism has to be stored up, and therefore it is best to use the same room and the same furniture every time.

Then he spoke to K. K..-

Will you call on little woman close to? It will mean salvation to two people. [Abbreviated.]

(K. K. understood.)

Then the medium took M.'s hand.

Somebody not easy to describe; old lady; not tall; grey hair, parted in centre; grey eyes; nose thin; mouth fairly large and full. This describes her as she was before she passed away. Had big influence on your early life. Good character; loving, but perhaps lived in narrow outlook; not only a mother to her own belongings, but she mothered every man, woman, or child she came into contact with. She is here this morning and has been before. Is it not your Mother?

M. F. A. L.-If it is my Mother, it is a great pleasure to me.

She has been with you and comforted you through this trial.

She has been, and will go on, looking after the boy. You must not think she is not just as much with you because she has no body. She is just as much your mother. She has a body, though it is different.

(Pointing to A.) She is related to him. She puts her hand on his shoulder. She is very proud of what he is doing at the present time. He has been a great help to you. Since the passing away of him who is loved by you both, he has looked on spiritualism with much more respect, because previously it has not touched his heart. It is not only a thing of the head, it is now a thing of the heart.

She suffered terribly before passing away. She bore her suffering patiently.

She put her finger on her lips and says: "I am so proud of 0.!" (Medium puts one finger on middle of lips.)

It has always been what I thought: the triumph (?) has been a long time coming, but it will come greater than had been anticipated. There have been difficulties. I am glad of success. It will come greater than before. The book that is to be will be written from the heart, and not the head. But the book will not be written now. NOT NOW! NOT NOW! NOT NOW! (loud). Written later on. THE BOOK which is going to help many and convert many. The work done already is big. But what is coming is bigger.


(Paul, sending a message to K. K.:-)

I have been drilling her to link up. You don't know what it is. It is like teaching people to transmit messages by the telegraph. Don't let the boy come, let Granny come. (The medium here imitated Paul's manner of sitting down and pulling up the knees of his trousers.) She laughs at the idea of being drilled.

He says (Paul still communicating): You know, little Mother, you wonder why I was taken; but it is a great deal better like this. Thousands of people can be helped like this. You are the link, and the means of reaching thousands of mothers.

(Then 'Moonstone' was understood to say-.-)

Returning to Madam (i.e.- the old lady again, and medium turning to M. F. A. L.), she says: "I am so glad you not only told him what you did -this is not to you but some one away (finger on lips), somebody she will not give-and reached out as you did."

This is from Madam. She is going away. M. F. A. L.- My love to her.

No, no, no, she does not go away; she stands back, to let some one else come forward-like actors take turns at a theatre.

[Then an impersonation of my Uncle Jerry was represented, with the statement, "Your husband will know who he is"; but this part of the record is omitted as comparatively unimportant. It was unintelligible to the sitter.-O. J. L.]

(Then a new control came in, which was by K. K. understood to be 'Redfeather.' When he arrived,the medium smacked his hands and spoke to K. K. -)

I come dis little minute to try experiment. If we succeed, all right; if we don't, don't mind. There will be some difficulties.

You know me? (To K. K.) K. K.-Yes. It is 'Redfeather.'

Glad to see you better. You used to feel-a hand on your head. It was a little girl. It was your boy who brought her. Now I go. just talk a little.

(K. K . then thanked the speaker for his help.)

Who could help better than me? 

. . . long ago I was killed.

Who could help better?

(Then there was an interval, and evident change of control. And speech very indistinct at first.)

I want to come.

Call Mother to help me.

Because you know.

You understand. It wasn't so bad. Not so bad.

I knew you knew the possibility of communicating, so when I went out as I did, I was in a better condition than others on the other side. We had often talked about this subject, father understanding it as he did; and now, coming into touch with his strength, makes it easy.

(Medium here reached out across the table to A. and grasped his right hand, so that the notes were temporarily interrupted. The medium's arms were now both stretched out across the table, with his head down on them, and he held A.'s hand in both his. All this time he spoke with great emotion: the medium was shaken with sobs; his head and neck were suffused with blood; the whole circumstances were strained, and strongly emotional; and the voice was extraordinarily like Raymond's. A., too, felt that his hands were being gripped in a grasp just like Raymond's. This was the central part of the sitting; and for the time no notes could be taken, even by Mrs. Kennedy. But after a bit the hand was released, the strain rather lightened, and notes continue which run thus:-)

[A. M. L. says, "In time the interval was brief," but it was surcharged with emotion, strongly felt by all present.]

But no, wait.

Because they tell me. I am not ashamed.

I am glad.

I tell you, I would do it again.

I realise things differently to what one saw here. And oh, thank God, I can speak!

But ...

The boys help me.

You don't know what he has done.

Who could help?

But I must keep quiet, I promised them to keep calm.

The time is so short.
Tell father that I am happy.
That I am happy that he has not come.

If he had come here, I couldn't have spoken1 find it difficult to express what I want.

Every time I come back it is easier.

The only thing that was hard was just before. The 15th, do you understand?

And the 12th.

[We do not clearly understand these dates.] But every time I come it is better. Grandmamma helped or I couldn't. Now I must go. . . . broken . . . But I have done it, thank God! (Then this special control ended; while the medium murmured, as to himself, first the word 'John,' and then the word 'God.' Then the strain was relieved by a new control, understood to be 'Biddy.')

Surely it's meself that has come to speak. Here's another mother. I am helping the boy. I said to him to come out.

(T0 A. M. L.) just you go and do your work. When the boy comes as he did, it upsets the body. I come to help to soothe the nerves of the medium. It is a privilege to help. I am an old Irishwoman.

(To K. K.) You don't realise that the world is governed by chains, and that you are one of the links. I was a washerwoman and lived next a church, and they say cleanliness comes next to godliness! One of my chains is to help mothers. Well, I am going. But for comfort, - the boy is glad he is come. (TO K. K.) Your husband is a fine man. I love him. His heart's as big as his body, and it is not only medicine, but love that he dispenses.

(Then an interval; and another control-probably 'Moonstone' again, or else Peters himself clairvoyantly:-)

We succeeded a little in our experiment.

Now the boy is with . . .

(Here the medium seized both Alec's hands, and K. K. continues the notes.)

[But they may be abbreviated here, as they represent only Peters's ordinary clairvoyanceprobably.]

You bring with you a tremendous force. You don't always say what you think. A quick way of making up your mind. Your intuitional force is very strong. Your mind is very evenly balanced, [and so on] . . . The last three months, things have altered. It has stirred you to the depths of your innermost being. You had no idea how strong the bond was between you and one who has been here to-day. Want to shield and take care of your mother. You know her devotion to both you and the one gone over...

The one gone over is a brother. He wants to send a message.

(Some messages omitted.)

You did not cry, but heart crying inside.

Help others. You are doing it. If you ever tried to do what he did, you would physically break down. All this is from him.

(To Mother) So glad about the photograph. Something you have had done that is satisfactory.

[This is good, but it only occurred to me today, 31 October. It evidently relates to two photographs in a pocket case, found on his body, which Raymond carried with him, and which had been returned to the original by us. A. M. L. ]

Wants to convey message to father, but it is not about himself this time. I get the initials F W M - not clear about all the letters - but F M wishes to be remembered. He says: I am still very active. Get into touch with Crookes re the Wireless.

[OJL. was at Muirhead's works in Kent on this subject, at this moment.-A. M. L]

Still active, still at work.

[Spoken like "I see you are still active, still at work." - A. M. L.]

Then he gives me a curious thing, and laughs. One of the things I am most proud of is "St. Paul.)'

[This puzzled K. K., the note-taker.]

(To Alec.) So glad you came, boy! What a lot you think!

(Medium came-to, breathing and struggling. Said he had been under very deep-like coming-to after an anaesthetic.)

Note BY OJL.

Lady Lodge impressed me considerably with the genuine and deeply affecting character of the above episode of personal control. It was evidently difficult to get over for the rest of the day. I doubt if the bare record conveys much: though it may to people of like experience.



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