Book: "Raymond or Life and Death"

Author: Sir Oliver Lodge FRS

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- (Part 2) Chapter 16 - Supernormal Portion -

OJL Sitting of 3 December. With Some Unverifiable Matter


          At a sitting which I had with Mrs. Leonard on 3 December 1915, information was given about the photograph-as already reported, Chapter IV. In all these 'Feda' sittings, *the remarks styled sotto voce represent conversation between Feda and the communicator, not addressed to the sitter at all. I always try to record these scraps when I can overhear them; for they are often interesting, and sometimes better than what is subsequently reported as the result of the brief conversation. For she appears to be uttering under her breath not only her own question or comment, but also what she is being told; and sometimes names are in that way mentioned correctly, when afterwards she muddles them. For instance, on one occasion she said sotto voce, "What you say? Rowland?" (in a clear whisper) ; and then, aloud, "He says something like Ronald." Whereas in this case 'Rowland' proved to be correct. The dramatically childlike character of Feda seems to carry with it a certain amount of childish irresponsibility. Raymond says that he "has to talk to her seriously about it sometimes."

A few other portions, not about the photograph, are included in the record of this sitting, some of a very non-evidential and perhaps ridiculous kind, but I do not feel inclined to suppress them. (For reasons, see Chapter XII.) Some of them are rather amusing. Unverifiable statements have hitherto been generally suppressed, in reporting Piper and other sittings; but here, in deference partly to the opinion of Professor Bergson who when he was in England urged that statements about life on the other side, properly studied, like travellers' tales, might ultimately furnish proof more logically cogent than was possible from mere access to earth memories-they are for the most part reproduced. I should think, myself, that they are of very varying degrees of value, and peculiarly liable to unintentional sophistication by the medium. They cannot be really satisfactory, as we have no means of bringing them to book. The difficulty is that Feda encounters many sitters, and though the majority are just inquirers, taking what comes and saying very little, one or two may be themselves full of theories, and may either intentionally or unconsciously convey them to the 'control'; who may thereafter retail them as actual information, without perhaps being sure whence they were derived. Some books, moreover, have been published of late, purporting to give information about ill-understood things in a positive and assured manner, and it is possible that the medium has read these and may be influenced by them. It will be regrettable if these books are taken as authoritative by people unable to judge of the scientific errors which are conspicuous in their more normal portions; and the books themselves seem likely to retard the development of the subject in the minds of critical persons.

Sitting with Mrs. Leonard at her House on Friday, 3 December 1915, from 6:10 p.m. to 8.20 P.M.

(OJL. alone.)

This is a long record, because I took verbatim notes, but I propose to inflict it all upon the reader, in accordance with promise to report unverifiable and possibly absurd matter, just as it comes, and even to encourage it.

Feda soon arrived, said good evening, jerked about on the chair, and squeaked or chuckled, after her manner when indicating pleasure. Then, without preliminaries, she spoke:

He is waiting; he's looking very pleased. He's awful anxious to tell you about the place where he lives; he doesn't understand yet bow it looks so solid. (Cf. p. 184.)

(Feda, sotto voce.-What you say? Yes, Feda knows.) 

He's been watching lately different kinds of people what come over, and the different kinds of effect it has on them.

Oh, it is interesting, he says-much more than on the old earth plane. I didn't want to leave you and mother and all of them, but it is interesting. I wish you could come over for one day, and be with me here. There are times you do go there, but you won't remember. They have all been over with him at night-time, and so have you, but he thought it very hard you couldn't remember. If you did, he is told (he doesn't know it himself, but he is told this), the brain would scarcely bear the burden of the double existence, and would be unfitted for its daily duties; so the memory is shut out. That is the explanation given to him.

(Feda, sotto voce.-What, Raymond? Al-lec, he says, Al-lec, Al-lec.)

He keeps on saying something about Alec. He has been trying to get to Alec, to communicate with him; and he couldn't see if he made himself felt-whether he really got through.

(The medium hitherto had been holding OJL.'s left hand; here she let go, Feda saying: He will let you have your own hand back.)

He thought he had got into a bedroom, and that he knocked; but there wasn't much notice taken.

OJL.-Alec must come here sometime.(1)

(1) Alec had had a sitting with Peters, not with Mrs. Leonard.

Yes, he wanted to see him.

And he also hopes to be able to talk to Lionel with the direct voice; not here, be says, but somewhere else. He is very anxious to speak to him. Through a chap, he says, a direct voice chap.

OJL.-Very well, I will take the message.

Well, he says, he wants to try once or twice. He wants to be able to say what he says to Feda in another way. He thinks he could get through in his own home sometime. He would much rather have it there. And he thinks that if he got through once or twice with direct voice, he might be able to do better in his own home. H. is psychic, he says, but he is afraid of hurting her; he doesn't want to take too much from her. But he really is going to get through. He really has got through at home; but silly spirits wanted to have a game. There was a strange feeling there; he didn't seem to know how much he was doing himself, so he stood aside part of the time. [Mariemont sittings are reported later. Chapter XIX.]

Then the photograph episode came, as reported in Chapter IV.

Then it went on (Feda talking, of course, all the time) -

He says he has been trying to go to somebody, and see somebody he used to know. He's not related to them, and the name begins with S. It's a gentleman, he says, and he can't remember, or can't tell Feda the name, but it begins with S. He was trying to get to them, but is not sure that he succeeded.

OJL.-Did he want to?

He says it was only curiosity; but he likes to feel that he can look up anybody. But he says, if they take no notice, I shall give up soon, only I just like to see what it feels like to be looking at them from where I am.

O.J.L-Does he want to say anything more about his house or his clothes or his body?

Oh yes. He is bursting to tell you.

He says, my body's very similar to the one I had before. I pinch myself sometimes to see if it's real, and it is, but it doesn't seem to hurt as much as when I pinched the flesh body. The internal organs don't seem constituted on the same lines as before. They can't be quite the same. But to all appearances, and outwardly, they are the same as before. I can move somewhat more freely, he says.

Oh, there's one thing, he says, I have never seen anybody bleed.

OJL.-Wouldn't he bleed if he pricked himself?

He never tried it. But as yet he has seen no blood at all.

OJL.-Has be got ears and eyes?

Yes, yes, and eyelashes, and eyebrows, exactly the same, and a tongue and teeth. He has got a new tooth now in place of another one he bad-one that wasn't quite right then. He has got it right, and a -good tooth has come in place of the one that had gone.

He knew a man that had lost his arm, but he has got another one. Yes, he has got two arms now. He seemed as if without a limb when first he entered the astral, seemed incomplete, but after a while it got more and more complete, until he got a new one. He is talking of people who have lost a limb for some years.

OJL.-What about a limb lost in battle?

Oh if they have only just lost it, it makes no difference, it doesn't matter; they are quite all right when they get here. But I am told-he doesn't know this himself, but he has been told that when anybody's blown to pieces, it takes some time for the spirit-body to complete itself, to gather itself all in, and to be complete. It dissipated a certain amount of substance which is undoubtedly theric, theric- etheric, and it has to be concentrated again. The spirit isn't blown apart, of course,-he doesn't mean that,-but it has an effect upon it. He hasn't seen all this, but he has been inquiring because he is interested.

OJL.-What about bodies that are burnt?

Oh, if they get burnt by accident, if they know about it on this side, they detach the spirit first. What we call a spirit-doctor comes round and helps. But bodies should not be burnt on purpose. We have terrible trouble sometimes over people who are cremated too soon; they shouldn't be. It's a terrible thing; it has worried me. People are so careless. The idea seems to be - "hurry up and get them out of the way now that they are dead." Not until seven days, he says. They shouldn't be cremated for seven days.

OJL -But what if the body goes bad?

When it goes bad, the spirit is already out. If that much (indicating a trifle) of spirit is left in the body, it doesn't start mortifying. It is the action of the spirit on the body that keeps it from mortifying. When you speak about a person 'dying upwards,' it means that the spirit is getting ready and gradually getting out of the body. He saw the other day a man going to be cremated two days after the doctor said he was dead. When his relations on this side heard about it, they brought a certain doctor on our side, and when they saw that the spirit hadn't got really out of the body, they magnetised it, and helped it out. But there was still a cord, and it had to be severed rather quickly, and it gave a little shock to the spirit, like as if you had something amputated; but it had to be done. He believes it has to be done in every case. If the body is to be consumed by fire, it is helped out by spirit-doctors. He doesn't mean that a spirit-body comes out of its own body, but an essence comes out of the body - oozes out, he says, and goes into the other body which is being prepared. Oozes, he says, like in a string. String, that's what he says. Then it seems to shape itself, or something meets it and shapes round it. Like as if they met and went together, and formed a duplicate of the body left behind. It's all very interesting.(1)

(1) I confess that I think that Feda may have got a great deal of this,
perhaps all of it, from people who have read or written some of the books
referred to in my introductory remarks. But inasmuch as her other
utterances are often evidential, I feel that I have no right to pick and
choose; especially as I know nothing about it, one way or the other.

He told Lionel about his wanting a suit at first [at an unreported second sitting]. He never thought that they would be able to provide him with one.

OJL.-Yes, I know, Lionel told us; that you wanted something more like your old clothes at first, and that they didn't force you into new ones, but let you begin with the old kind, until you got accustomed to the place (p. i8q).

Yes' he says, they didn't force me, but most of the people here wear white robes.

OJL - Then, can you tell any difference between men and women.

There are men here, and there are women here. I don't think that they stand to each other quite the same as they did on the earth plane, but they seem to have the same feeling to each other, with a different expression of it. There don't seem to be any children born here. People are sent into the physical body to have children on the earth plane; they don't have them here. But there's a feeling of love between men and women here which is of a different quality to that between two men or two women; and husband and wife seem to meet differently from mother and son, or father and daughter. He says he doesn't want to eat now. But he sees some who do; he says they have to be given something which has all the appearance of an earth food. People here try to provide everything that is wanted. A chap came over the other day, would have a cigar. "That's finished them," he thought. He means he thought they would never be able to provide that. But there are laboratories over here, and they manufacture all sorts of things in them. Not like you do, out of solid matter, but out of essences, and ethers, and gases. It's not the same as on the earth plane, but they were able to manufacture what looked like a cigar. He didn't try one himself, because he didn't care to; you know he wouldn't want to. But the other chap jumped at it. But when he began to smoke it, he didn't think so much of it; he had four altogether, and now he doesn't look at one.(1) - They don't seem to get the same satisfaction out of it, so gradually it seems to drop from them. But when they first come they do want things. Some want meat, and some strong drink; they call for whisky sodas. Don't think I'm stretching it, when I tell you that they can manufacture even that. But when they have had one or two, they don't seem to want it so much-not those that are near here. He has heard of drunkards who want it for months and years over here, but he hasn't seen any. Those I have seen, he says, don't want it any more like himself with his suit, he could dispense with it under the new conditions.

(1) Some of this Feda talk is at least humorous.

He wants people to realise that it's just as natural as on the earth plane.

OJL.-Raymond, you said your house was made of bricks. How can that be? What are the bricks made of?

That's what he hasn't found out yet. He is told by some, who he doesn't think would lead him astray, that they are made from sort of emanations from the earth. He says there's something rising, like atoms rising, and consolidating after they come; they are not solid when they come, but we can collect and concentrate them-I mean those that are with me. They appear to be bricks, and when I touch them, they feel like bricks; and I have seen granite too.

There's something perpetually rising from your plane; practically invisible-in atoms when it leaves your plane-but when it comes to the ether, it gains certain other qualities round each atom, and by the time it reaches us, certain people take it in hand, and manufacture solid things from it. Just as you can manufacture solid things.

All the decay that goes on on the earth plane is not lost. It doesn't just form manure or dust. Certain vegetable and decayed tissue does form manure for a time, but it gives off an essence or a gas, which ascends, and which becomes what you call a 'smell.' Everything dead has a smell, if you notice; and I know now that the smell is of actual use, because it is from that smell that we are able to produce duplicates of whatever form it had before it became a smell. Even old wood has a smell different from new wood; you may have to have a keen nose to detect these things on the earth plane.

Old rags, he says (sotto voce.-Yes, all right, Feda will go back), cloth decaying and going rotten. Different kinds of cloth give off different smells-rotting linen smells different to rotting wool. You can understand how all this interests me. Apparently, as far as I can gather, the rotting wool appears to be used for making things like tweeds on our side. But I know I am jumping, I'm guessing at it. My suit I expect was made from decayed worsted on your side.(1)

(1) I have not yet traced the source of all this supposed information.

Some people here won't take this in even yet about the material cause of all these things. They go talking about spiritual robes made of light, built by the thoughts on the earth plane. I don't believe it. They go about thinking that it is a thought robe that they're wearing, resulting from the spiritual life they led; and when we try to tell them that it is manufactured out of materials, they don't believe it. They say, No, no it's a robe of light and brightness which I manufactured by thought." So we just leave it. But I don't say that they won't get robes quicker when they have led spiritual lives down there; I think they do, and that's what makes them think that they made the robes by their lives.

You know flowers, how they decay. We have got flowers here; your decayed flowers flower again with us - beautiful flowers. Lily has helped me a lot with flowers.

OJL.-Do you like her?

Yes, but he didn't expect to see her.

(Feda, sotto voce.-No. Raymond, you don't mean that.)

Yes, he does. He says he's afraid he wasn't very polite to her when he met her at first; he didn't expect a grown-up sister there. Am I a little brother, he said, or is she my little sister? She calls me her little brother, but I have a decided impression that she should be my little sister.

He feels a bit of a mystery: he has got a brother there he knows, but he says two.

(Sotto voce.-No, Yaymond, you can't have two. No, Feda doesn't understand.) Is it possible, he says, that he has got another brotherone that didn't live at all?

OJL.-Yes, it is possible.

But he says, no earth life at all That's what's strange. I've seen some one that I am told is a brother, but I can't be expected to recognise him, can I? I feel somehow closer to Lily than I do to that one. By and by I will get to know him, I dare say.

I'm told that I am doing very well in the short time I have  been here. Taking to it-what he say?-duck to water, he say.

OJL.-You know the earth is rolling along through space. How do you keep up with it?

It doesn't seem like that to him.

OJL.-No, I suppose not. Do you see the stars?

Yes, he sees the stars. The stars seem like what they did, only he feels closer to them. Not really closer, but they look clearer; not appreciably closer, he says.

O.J.L.-Are they grouped the same? Do you see the Great Bear, for instance?

Oh, yes, he sees the Great Bear. And he sees the ch, ch, chariot, he says.

OJL.-Do you mean Cassiopeia?

Yes. [But I don't suppose he did.]

There's one more mystery to him yet, it doesn't seem day and night quite by regular turns, like it did on the earth.

OJL.-But I suppose you see the sun?

Yes, he sees the sun; but it seems always about the same degree of warmth, he doesn't feel heat or cold where he is. The sun doesn't make him uncomfortably hot. That is not because the sun has lost its heat, but because he hasn't got the same body that sensed the heat. When he comes into contact with the earth plane, and is manifesting, then he feels a little cold or warm at least he does when a medium is present not when he comes in the ordinary way just to look round. When he sang last night, he felt cold for a minute or two.

OJL.-Did he sing?

Yes, he and Paulie had a scuffle. Paulie was singing first, and Yaymond thought he would like to sing too, so he chipped in at the end. He sang about three verses. It wasn't difficult, because there was a good deal of power there. Also nobody except Mrs. Kathie knew who he was, and so all eyes were not on him, and they were not expecting it, and that made it easier for him. He says it wasn't so difficult as keeping up a conversation; he just took the organs there, and materialised his own voice in her throat. He didn't find it very difficult, he hadn't got to think of anything, or collect his ideas; there was an easy flow of words, and he just sang. And I did sing, he says; I thought I'd nearly killed the medium. She hadn't any voice at all after. When he heard himself that he had really got it, he had to let go. Raised the roof, he says, and he did enjoy it!

(Here Feda gave an amused chuckle with a jump and a squeak.)

He was just practising there, Yaymond says. At first he thought it wouldn't be easy.

[This relates to what I am told was a real occurrence at a private gathering; but it is not evidential.]

OJL.-Raymond, you know you want to give me some proofs. What kind of proofs do you think are best? Have you talked it over with Mr. Myers, and have you decided on the kind of proof that will be most evidential?

I don't know yet. I feel divided between two ways: One is to give you objective proof, such as simple materialisations and direct voice, which you can set down and have attested. Or else I should have to give you information about my different experiences here, either something like what I am doing now, or through the table, or some other way. But he doesn't know whether he will be able to do the two things together. 

O.J.L.-No, not likely, not at the same time. But you can take opportunities of saying more about your life there. Yes, that's why he has been collecting information. He does so want to encourage people to look forward to a life they will certainly have to enter upon, and realise that it is a rational life. All this that he has been giving you now, and that I gave to Lionel, you must sort out, and put in order, because I can only give it scrappily.I want to study things here a lot. Would you think it selfish if I say I wouldn't like to be back now?-I wouldn't give this up for anything. Don't think it selfish, or that I want to be away from you all. I have still got you, because I feel you so close, closer even. I wouldn't come back, I wouldn't for anything that anyone could give me. He hardly liked to put it that way to his mother. Is Alec here? (Feda looking round.)

OJL.-No, but I hope he will be coming.

Tell him not to say who he is. I did enjoy myself that first time that Lionel came-I could talk for hours.

(OJL. had here looked at his watch quietly.)

I could talk for hours; don't go yet.

He says he thinks he was lucky when he passed on, because he had so many to meet him. That came, he knows now, through your having been in with this thing for so long. He wants to impress this on those that you will be writing for: that it makes it so much easier for them if they and their friends know about it beforehand. It's awful when they have passed over and won't believe it for weeks, - they just think they're dreaming. And they won't realise things at all sometimes. He doesn't mind telling you now that, just at first, when he woke up, he felt a little depression. But it didn't last long. He cast his eyes round, and soon he didn't mind. But it was like finding yourself in a strange place, like a strange city; with people you hadn't seen, or not seen for a long time, round you. Grandfather was with me straight away; and presently Robert. I got mixed up between two Roberts. And there's some one called Jane comes to him, who calls herself an aunt, he says. Jane. He's uncertain about her. Jane-Jennie. , She calls herself an aunt; he is told to call her 'Aunt Jennie.' Is she my Aunt Jennie? he says.

OJL.-No, but your mother used to call her that.

[And so on, simple talk about family and friends.]

He has brought that doggie again, nice doggie. A doggie that goes like this, and twists about (Feda indicating a wriggle). He has got a nice tail, not a little stumpy tail, nice tail with nice hair on it. He sits up like that sometimes, and comes down again, and puts his tongue out of his mouth. He's got a cat too, plenty of animals, he says. He hasn't seen any lions and tigers, but he sees horses, cats, dogs, and birds. He says you know this doggie; he has nice hair, a little wavy, which sticks up all over him, and has twists at the end. Now he's jumping round. He hasn't got a very pointed face, but it isn't like a little pug-dog either; it's rather a long shape. And he has nice ears what flaps, not standing up; nice long hairs on them too. A darkish colour he looks, darkish, as near as Feda can see him. [See photograph, P. 278.]

OJL.-Does he call him by any name?

He says, 'Not him.'

(Sotto voce.-What you mean 'not him'? It is a 'him'; you don't call him 'it.')

No, he won't explain. No, he didn't give it a name. It can jump.

[All this about a she-dog called Curly, whose death had been specially mentioned by 'Myers' through another medium some years ago, - an incident reported privately to the S.P.R. at the time,-is quite good as far as it goes.]

He has met a spirit here, he says, who knows you-G. Nothing to do with the other G. Some one that's a very fine sort indeed. His name begins with G-Gal, Gals, Got, Got,-he doesn't know him very well, but it sounds like that. It isn't who you feel, though it might have been, nothing to do with that at all. Some one called Golt-he didn't know him, but be is interested in you, and had met you.

It's surprising how many people come up to me, he says, and shake me by the hand, and speak to me. I don't know them from Adam. (Sotto voce.-Adam, he say.) But they are doing me honour here, and some of them are such fine men. He doesn't know them, but they all seem to be interested in you, and they say, "Oh, are you his son? - how-do-you-do?"

Feda is losing control.

O.J.L.-Well, good-bye, Raymond, then, and God bless you.

God bless you. I do so want you to know that I am very happy. And bless them all. My love to you. I can't tell what I feel, but you can guess. It's difficult to put into words. My love to all. God bless you and everybody. Good-bye, father. 

O. J. L.- Goodbye, Raymond. Good-bye, Feda.

(Feda here gave a jerk, and a 'good-bye.')

Love to her what 'longs to you, and to Lionel. Feda knows what your name is, 'Soliver,' yes. (Another squeak.)

(Sitting ended 8.20 p.m.)

The conclusion of sittings is seldom of an evidential character, and by most people would not be recorded; but occasionally it may be best to quote one completely, just as a specimen of what may be called the 'manner' of a sitting.



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