Book: "Raymond or Life and Death"

Author: Sir Oliver Lodge FRS

Availability: Out of Print

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- (Part 2) Chapter 5 - Supernormal Portion -

Beginning of Historical Document


          ALTHOUGH this episode of the photograph is a good and evidential one, I should be sorry to base an important conclusion on any one piece of evidence, however cogent. All proofs are really cumulative; and though it is legitimate to emphasise anything like a crucial instance, it always needs supplementing by many others, lest there may have been some oversight. Accordingly, I now proceed to quote from sittings held by members of the family after Raymond's death-laying stress upon those which were arranged for, and held throughout, in an anonymous manner, so that there was not the slightest normal clue to identity.

The first message came to us through a recent friend of ours in London, Mrs. Kennedy, who herself has the power of automatic writing, and who, having lost her specially beloved son Paul, has had her hand frequently controlled by him-usually only so as to give affectionate messages, but sometimes in a moderately evidential way. She had been sceptical about the genuineness of this power apparently possessed by herself; and it was her painful uncertainty on this point that had brought her into correspondence with me, for she was trying to test her own writing in various ways, as she was so anxious not to be deceived. The first I ever heard of her was the following letter which came while I was in Australia, and was dealt with by Mr. Hill:

First Letter from Mrs. Kennedy to OJL

"SIR OLIVER LODGE. 16 August 1914

"DEAR SIR, - Because of your investigations into spirit life, I venture
to ask your help.

"My only son died 23 June, eight weeks after a terrible accident. On 25 June (without my asking for it or having thought of it) I felt obliged to hold a pencil, and I received in automatic writing his name and 'yes' and 'no' in answer to questions.

"Since then I have had several pages of writing from him every day and sometimes twice daily. I say 'from him'; the whole torturing question is-is it from him or am I self-deceived?

"My knowledge is infinitesimal. Nineteen years ago a sister who had died the year before suddenly used my hand, and after that wrote short messages at intervals; another sister a year later and my father one message sixteen years ago; but I felt so self-deceived that I always pushed it aside, until it came back to me, unasked, after my son's passing over.

"Your knowledge is what I appeal to, and the deep, personal respect one has for you and your investigations. It is for my son's sake-he is only seventeen-and he writes with such intense sadness of my lack of decided belief that I venture to beg help of a stranger in a matter so sacred to me.

"Do you ever come to London, and, if so, could you possibly allow me to see you for even half an hour? and you might judge from the strange and holy revelations (I know no other way to express many of the messages that are sent) whether they can possibly be only from my own subconscious mind. . . . Pardon this length of letter. - Yours faithfully,

(Signed) Katherine Kennedy"

Ultimately I was able to take her anonymously and unexpectedly to an American medium, Mrs. Wriedt, and there she received strong and unmistakable proofs.(1) She also received excellent confirmation through several other mediums whom she had discovered for hersel fnotably Mr. Vout Peters and Mrs. Osborne Leonard. Of Mrs. Leonard I had not previously heard; I had heard of a Madame St. Leonard, or some name like that, but this is somebody else. Mrs. Kennedy tells me that she herself had not known Mrs. Leonard long, her own first sitting with that lady having been on 14 September 1915. I must emphasise the fact that Mrs. Kennedy is keen and careful about evidential considerations.

(1) I think it only fair to mention the names of professional mediums, if I find them at all genuine. I do not guarantee their efficiency, for mediumship is not a power that can always be depended on, - it is liable to vary; sitters also may be incompetent, and conditions may be bad. The circumstances under which sensitives work are difficult at the present time and ought to be improved. 

As Mrs. Kennedy's son Paul plays a part in what follows, perhaps it is permissible to quote here a description of him which she gave to Mr. Hill in October 1914 accompanying an expression of surprise at the serious messages which she sometimes received from him-interspersed with his fun and his affection:

K.K's Description of Paul

"Picture to yourself this boy: not quite eighteen but always taken for twenty or twenty-two; an almost divine character underneath, but exteriorly a typical 'motor knut,' driving racing cars at Brooklands, riding for the Jarrott Cup on a motor cycle, and flying at Hendon as an Air Mechanic; dining out perpetually, because of his charm which made him almost besieged by friends; and apparently without any creed except honour, generosity, love of children, the bringing home of every stray cat to be fed here and comforted, a total disregard of social distinctions when choosing his friends, and a hatred of hurting anyone's feelings."

On seeing the announcement of Mr. R. Lodge's death in a newspaper, Mrs. Kennedy 'spoke' to Paul about it, and asked him to help; she also asked for a special sitting with Mrs. Leonard for the same purpose, though without saying why. The name Raymond was on that occasion spelt out through the medium, and he was said to be sleeping. This was on 18 September. On the 21St, while Mrs. Kennedy was writing in her garden on ordinary affairs, her own hand suddenly wrote, as from her son Paul:

"I am here. . . . I have seen that boy Sir Oliver's son; he's better, and has had a splendid rest, tell his people."

Lady Lodge having been told about Mrs. Leonard, and wanting to help a widowed French lady, Madame Le Breton, who had lost both her sons, and was on a visit to England, asked Mrs. Kennedy to arrange a sitting, so as to avoid giving any name. A sitting was accordingly arranged with Mrs. Leonard for 24 September 1915.

On 22 September, Mrs. Kennedy, while having what she called a 'talk' with Paul, suddenly wrote automatically:

"I shall bring Raymond to his father when he comes to see you. . . . He is so jolly, every one loves him; he has found heaps of his own folks here, and he is settling down wonderfully. DO TELL HIS FATHER AND MOTHER.... He spoke clearly today. . . . He doesn't fight like the others, he seems so settled already. It is a ripping thing to see one boy like this. He has been sleeping a long time, but he has spoken today. . . .

"If you people only knew how we long to come, they would all call us."

[Capitals indicate large and emphatic writing.]

On the 23rd, during Lady Lodge's call, Mrs. Kennedy's hand wrote what purported to be a brief message from Raymond, thus:

"I am here, mother. . . . I have been to Alec already, but he can't hear me. I do wish he would believe that we are here safe; it isn't a dismal hole like people think, it is a place where there is life."

And again:

"Wait till I have learned better how to speak like this. . . . We can express all we want later; give me time."

I need hardly say that there is nothing in the least evidential in all this. I quote it only for the sake of reasonable completeness, so as to give the history from the beginning. Evidence comes later.

Next day, 24 September 1915, the ladies went for an interview with Mrs. Leonard, who knew no more than that friends of Mrs. Kennedy would accompany her. The following is Lady Lodge's account of the sitting:

First Sitting of any Member of the Family (Anonymous) with Mrs. Leonard


24 September 1915


Mrs. Leonard went into a sort of trance, I suppose, and came back as a little Indian girl called 'Freda,' or 'Feda,' rubbing her hands, and talking in the silly way they do.

However, she soon said there was an old gentleman and a young one present, whom she described; and Mrs. Kennedy told me afterwards that they were her father and her son Paul. There seemed to be many others standing beside us, so 'Feda' said.

Then Feda described some one brought in lying down-about twenty-four or twenty-five, not yet able to sit up; the features she described might quite well have belonged to Raymond. (I forgot to say Mrs. Leonard did not know me or my name, or Madame le Breton's.) Feda soon said she saw a large R beside this young man, then an A, then she got a long letter with a tail, which she could not make out, then she drew an M in the air, but forgot to mention it, and she said an 0 came next, and she said there was another 0 with a long stroke to it, and finally, she said she heard 'Yaymond' (which is only her way of pronouncing it). [The name was presumably got from 'Paul.' - O. J. L. Then she said that he just seemed to open his eyes and smile; and then he had a choking feeling, which distressed me very much; but be said he hadn't suffered much-not nearly as much as I should think; whether he said this, or Paul, I forget; but Paul asked me not to tell him tomorrow night that I was not with him, as he had so much the feeling that I was with him when he died, that he (Paul) wouldn't like to undeceive him.

I then asked that some one in that other world might kiss him for me, and a lady, whom they described in a way which was just like my mother, came and kissed him, and said she was taking care of him. And there was also an old gentleman, full white beard, etc. (evidently my stepfather, but Feda said with a moustache, which was a mistake), with W. up beside him, also taking care; said he had met Raymond, and he was looking after him, and lots of others too; but said he W. belonged to me and to '0.' [Correct.] I asked how and what it was he had done for me, and Feda made a movement with her fingers, as though disentangling something, and then putting it into straight lines. He then said he had made things easier for me. So I said that was right, and thanked him gratefully. I said also that if Raymond was in his and Mamma's hands, I was satisfied.

[I do not append the notes of this sitting, since it was held mainly for Madame and her two sons, both of whom were described, and from whom some messages appeared to come.]

Table Sitting at Mrs. Leonard's

Next day (Saturday, 25 September 1915), as arranged partly by Paul, the three ladies went to Mrs. Leonard's house again for a sitting with a table, and Dr. Kennedy kindly accompanied them to take notes.

The three ladies and the medium sat round a small table, with their hands lightly on it, and it tilted in the usual way. The plan adopted here is for the table to tilt as each letter of the alphabet is spoken by the medium, and to stop, or 'hold,' when a right letter is reached. For general remarks on the rationale, or what most people will naturally consider the absurdity, of intelligent movements of this kind, see Chapter XIV,Part III.

It was a rather complicated sitting, as it was mainly for Madame who was a novice in the subject. Towards the end unfortunately, though momentarily and not at all pronouncedly, she spoke to Lady Lodge by name. At these table sittings the medium, Mrs. Leonard, is not unconscious; accordingly she heard it in her normal self, and afterwards said that she had heard it. The following extracts from the early part of the sitting may be quoted here, as answers purporting to be spelt out by Raymond:


Are you lonely? No.

Who is with you? Grandfather W.

Have you anything to say to me? You know I can't help missing you, but I am learning to be happy.

Have you any message for any them? Tell them I have many good of friends.

Can you tell me the name of anyone at home? Honor. [One of his sisters.]

(Other messages of affection and naturalness.)

Have I enough to satisfy them at home? No.

Is there anything you want to send? Tell father I have met some friends of his.

Any name? Yes; Myers.

Have you anything else to say? (No answer.)

Is some one else there? Yes; Guy. (This was a son of Madame, and the sitting became French.)

Reasonable and natural messages were spelt out in French. The other son of Madame was named Didier, and an unsuccessful attempt to spell this name was made, but the only result was DODI

Automatic Writing by Mrs. Kennedy, 26 September

On 26 September Mrs. Kennedy (alone) had a lot of automatic writing, with her own hand, mainly from Paul, who presently wrote, "Mother, I have been let to bring Raymond."

(After a welcome, Raymond was represented as sending this message:)

"I can speak easier than I could at the table, because you are helping all the time. It is easy when we are alone with you, but if I go there it confuses me a little. . . . I long to comfort them. Will you tell them that Raymond had been to you, and that Paul tells me I can come to you whenever I like ? It is so good of you to let the boys all come. . . ."

"Paul tells me be has been here since he was seventeen; he is a jolly chap; every one seems fond of him. I don't wonder, for he helps every one. It seems a rule to call Paul if you get in a fix."

(Then Paul said he was back, and wrote:-)

"He is quite happy really since he finds he can get to his people. He has slept ever since last night, till I was told to fetch him tonight."

(Asked about the French boys, Paul said:-)

"I saw them when I brought them, but I don't see them otherwise; they are older than I am . . . they hardly believe it yet that they have spoken. All the time they felt it was impossible, and they nearly gave it up, but I kept on begging them to tell their mother they lived."

"I do hope she felt it true, mother. . . ."

"It is hard to think your sons are dead; but such a lot of people do think it. It is revolting to hear the boys tell you how no one speaks to them ever; it hurts me through and through."

(Interval. Paul fetched Guy [one of Madame Le Breton's sons], saying:-)

"I can't stand it when they call out for help. Speak to him please, mother."

(Mrs. Kennedy spoke to Guy, saying that she felt he could not believe any of it, but would he give time and trouble to studying the subject as she was doing? The following writing came:-) 

Guy.-I think you hear me because it is just as I am feeling; how CAN I believe we can speak to you who live where we once lived? It was not possible then for us to speak to dead people; and why should it be possible for us to speak. Will you keep on helping me, please, for I can't follow it, and I long to?

(Mrs. Kennedy asked him to ask Paul, that being an easier method, probably, than getting information through her. She asked him to 'excuse' Paul's youth.)

GUY.-I like Paul; he is good to us. I shall be glad to talk to him constantly if he has time for all of us; he seems a sort of messenger between us and you, isn't be?

(Guy had been to school in England, his brother had not.]  



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