The Evil Among Us – Organized Crime
I moved from Boulder, Colorado to Niwot, Colorado in 2010 then from Niwot to Boise, Idaho in April of 2017. I had decided on the home I purchased in Niwot relatively quickly wanting desperately to move out of the condominium in downtown Boulder where my neighbors were members of organized crime involved in prostitution and pornography. I had been dealing with severe menacing, gang stalking, intended to forcibly recruit or profit from me in some way, or just plain sadism intending to psychologically destroy me, leading me to suicide even (the motives for gang stalking).
The image above is a banner announcing the new Museum of Boulder referred to as The MOB.
I wasn’t excited about the townhome in Niwot but I did reasonably well financially on the sale of the condominium and the purchase of the townhome (I suspect I got some help behind the scenes from an unknown source) which allowed me to invest in remodeling. Still, it never felt like home. Also, it was not reasonable for me to assume the gang stalking would cease because I moved to a nearby town, for they seemed to have quite an extended network of persons willing to participate in the menacing. However, it did help psychologically that I was out of the downtown Boulder neighborhood and no longer surrounded by the criminals. As I have mentioned elsewhere on this website I stayed in the area thinking that the information I had given local law enforcement in Niwot and Boulder and the FBI in Denver perhaps provided me with some protection. Regardless, the menacing continued (and for another seven years while in Niwot) during which time I learned I could not go to the police in either Boulder or Niwot for they were not at all helpful, to say the least.
The incident that became the last straw for me (and there were many others), and when I decided I had to move out of state, occurred at a nearby restaurant a friend and I went to for dinner early one Friday evening. The waitress was so exceedingly rude that after she took our orders we considered walking out the door, but decided to stay. When she returned with our food her attitude was just the opposite, demonstrably overly friendly. As I was eating I felt something strange in my mouth. I pulled it out and discovered it was a thin four-inch wire bent in half. The two prongs were parallel, like a hair pin, with rippled areas in the center of the prongs. Given the consistency of the vegetarian dish (broccoli, celery, green peppers, etc.) I could have easily not detected the wire, and had I swallowed it, it would have landed me in the hospital at some point. My friend immediately put his fork down and ceased eating. I asked to speak to the manager but was told by the head waiter that there was no manager on duty that Friday night. He took the wire with him into the kitchen and when he returned he informed us that it was from a tortilla bag fastener that during the frenzy of the busy night it had accidentally landed unnoticed into the pan of cooking vegetables when a cook had opened a fresh bag of tortillas. The waiter apologized profusely and gave me a coupon for a free meal which I tossed into the garbage once back at my home.
At my home my friend and I looked at some plastic bag fasteners I had and the wires inside these plastic and paper fasteners were indeed exactly like the wire in my food. However, we determined that the fastener would have to have been cooking for a very long time in order for the paper or plastic to entirely dissolve or fall off of the wire. Also, the straightened and parallel positioning of the prongs suggested they were intentionally shaped into those positions. If the wire were more irregularly bent, as it would be when twisted off a bag and particularly in a hurry, it most likely would have punctured or scratched my mouth or esophagus then and there. In other words, to not be detected at the restaurant, but to damage the person later once further along in their digestive system, it was advantageous that it be shaped just as it was. My friend later added that another restaurant employee had been standing behind me watching us and acting strangely for quite a while but he was reluctant to say something at the restaurant not wanting to further alarm at the time. I did not contact local law enforcement officials; by then I knew better.
As I mentioned earlier, these persons menacing me were involved in prostitution and pornography. Months earlier, a Niwot deputy told me that Boulder County is very tolerant of pornography (which is legal in Colorado as of 2003 (if I recall correctly)), and prostitution (which is not). He said this at my home when I showed him my artist website had been converted into a porn site. New Frontier Media, owned by Larry Flint [Hustler Magazine], one of the country’s most lucrative adult media production and distribution facilities, is based in Boulder, Colorado, in a residential community called Gunbarrel just outside the city of Boulder and but a couple of miles from where my ex-husband and I Iived when the problems began. (This is not to suggest that New Frontier Media had anything to do with the terrorizing I was experiencing) . And, as I’ve reported several times on this website, our condominium in downtown Boulder was used for both prostitution and pornography production prior to our ownership and we were not aware of this (I suspect our realtor was). After interviewing me the deputy wrote in his report that I seemed paranoid to him.
Here I will add, they had on other occasions made me physically ill. They intentionally infect persons with diseases, sometimes contagious diseases; one of the many ways the mafia inflicts harm on their victims and a community.
Note: There was also potential evidence of human trafficking that I reported to the woman at the Boulder County District Attorneys’ office when I went to them for help. I had just returned from the emergency room at the local hospital due to my esophagus suddenly swelling up in the middle of the night, and if not treated it could have closed off my air supply, suffocating me. I went to the DA’s office not knowing where else to go for help. During our subsequent email correspondences I told her of what I had observed and she responded by admonishing me for not reporting of it sooner. The fact that I hadn’t is not defensible and I regret it this day. I also regret telling her and not the FBI. Regardless, what was clear was that while she was concerned about the human trafficking information I provided to her (as well she should have been) she was not at all concerned about me or my circumstances. All my electronic copies of these emails between the woman and me, and other pertinent emails, have either been deleted or corrupted.
Gang stalking can follow a person anywhere for, as everyone knows, the mafia has and continues to spread now having considerable presence and influence throughout the U.S. and elsewhere. Regardless, I needed to move and decided on Boise, Idaho. Luckily, a couple in the Niwot neighborhood who were renting a townhome similar to mine wanted to buy a home in the same community. A realtor who also lived there knew the couple and learned that I wanted to sell my property and was able to soon handle the entire transaction without my even having to list the property.
The gang stalking in Colorado was isolating. One cannot in good conscience expose innocent others to these criminals. Also, who would want to date or befriend a woman in such a position, except a gang member which is one of the intentions. One of them put it thusly, “If they can’t have you then no one else can.” Another, whom I was not at all interested in, said that because I belonged to another gang of men (I don’t recall what he called the gang) he could not date me. They’ve rendered, and consider, themselves repulsive which is why they resort to fearsome and destructive means to accomplish their objectives both professionally and personally which of course reinforces their own opinion of themselves (a cyclical process). They even consider each other repulsive. A man whom I knew to be a gangster referred to persons, that on the surface appeared as his friends, as cockroaches. Organized crime members often target those whom they wish they were more like in order to associate with them and debase them to the level they have debased themselves (among other reasons). Some are clearly sociopaths but in other cases you can see the self-loathing in their eyes; such tragic figures. During a lunch with two hospice workers I alluded to my circumstances. One of them replied, “Leslie, if it makes you feel any better the evil die miserable deaths.” Admittedly, the three of us reveled over the prospect for a bit. Fortunately, I did have one good friend whom I had reason to believe he would not be harmed and he too seemed not to be particularly concerned. Therefore, we were able to enjoy many outdoor activities together.
Though moving was stressful my new home is beautiful; brand new, modern and near the Boise River engulfed in trees and teeming with bird life. Yet, after a few months in Boise it appeared the menacing had followed me. That, combined with a medical issue that originated in Boulder, the result of exceedingly incompetent dentistry, set me back financially as well as not feeling like getting out and exploring the city. I’ve got two types of health insurance but not specifically dental. I wanted to pursue having the Boulder dentist cover the costs of the oral surgery to repair the problem but the surgeon in Boise would not support my position (although he agreed the dentist’s work was questionable).
Once spring came and the oral surgery healed I was eager to get out on my bike, go hiking and on long walks along the Boise River only to discover I now have a repetitive use injury to my hip and upper thigh due to an exercise I had been arduously doing throughout the winter. This will take months to heal and again be able to hike, bike and dance; means I had intended to use to meet people for I know not a soul in Boise. That along with the menacing here: extreme hostility directed toward me by a man in the community, evidence of entry into my home (corrupted copies of emails to and from the FBI, Boulder County District Attorney’s office, and Boulder County Sherrif and Police Department in my documents folder and on two flash drives), and finding an object on my driveway intended to damage a car tire (luckily it caught my eye before driving over it) and more, had me once again in a state of isolation and depression.
That is until, the Grace of God …
I Will Always Love You
I got three books from the library about dreaming (in an ongoing effort to better recall and improve the quality of my dreams). One book, the more intellectual of the three, was about the famous Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung’s interpretations of dreams, the other about famous scientists, inventors, and artists’ dreams and the impact those dreams had on their works, and the third a compilation of essays by various authors describing little miraculous experiences involving dreams that they had.
I started with the third book as it was the lightest reading material of the three. Yet, I quickly became bored with it and was about to quit when a synchronicity involving one of the reported miracles and circumstances in my life occurred. Then three more happened; two actually brought tears to my eyes. Each time I was about to the quit the book a synchronicity occurred. Throughout this website I mention the synchronicities I often experience with books some of which are rather astounding. In two other books about synchronicities and dreaming that I’ve referred to on this site I had the same experience I had with this book – wanting to quit the book but encouraged to continue due to synchronicities.
I’ll mention the last, or most recent one (I doubt it’s the last) and please forgive my pitiful mental state at the time. I should mention that nearly all the hostilities and menacing I’ve endured over the years are from males.
I turned on the computer seeking music videos. I clicked onto a video featuring a group called IL Divo, a male multinational classical singing quartet. The men are relatively young, quite handsome and have beautiful voices. The song featured on the video was “I Will Always Love You.” As I watched them I imagined them singing to me. To keep it in context though, I imagined myself as an elderly woman in the audience with snow white hair and wearing a lovely dress; as though they were singing to, not a romantic, but a matriarchal figure. Once the song was over I went to the couch and opened the book on miracles and dreams. I then noticed that a small, horizontal light beam landed on the book across the top of the pages I had randomly opened to; like a banner highlighting the story. There was no other light beam striking anything anywhere else in the room. It just stayed there, not moving. I even went so far as to seek the source which I found; a small window off to my right overhead. I then thought, I guess I’m supposed to read this particular essay. Then I saw that it was written by a woman named Leslie.
She wrote of a teenage boy who had been her son’s best friend since they were small children. She was very fond of this boy and when he began having difficulties at home due to his mother’s second marriage to a man whom she had additional children with, Leslie took the boy into her family’s home. He continued to act out his frustrations and she and her husband found, and paid for, a private school for him to finish his high school education. After finishing high school he went out on his own. Though he was not her biological son she always cared for him as though he were and hoped that one day they would again connect, which they did the result of a coincidence, and he again became a part of her family. When I finished reading the story I thought, “Gosh, she didn’t care he wasn’t her natural son, she just loved him as much as if he were.” Then I noticed the little light beam had moved to my left where, on the wooden floor, it appeared as a perfectly shaped heart!
Organized crime infects communities much like viruses infect organisms.
For the long periods of time I spent alone in Boulder and Niwot, and aware of the dangerous circumstance I was in, I decided that one way to keep myself from getting too depressed and to spend my time wisely would be to invest in intellectual learning and playing the flute (I could no longer paint). I invested in the study of cosmology mostly. Then later I studied cellular biology. Then from there I took an introductory course on neuroscience. I embarked on cellular biology not because I was as interested in it as I was in the study of the physics of the universe and its celestial constituents, but because I thought I should learn something about the roughly 100 trillion cells that human bodies are composed of. Here I’ll add that of the trillions of cells in our bodies there are roughly 200 different types (e.g. blood, heart, skin and brain cells, neurons). Little did I know I would become so fascinated with the subject that while doing my own research (I did not take a class) I wrote a twenty-five page paper on the basics of cellular biology merely for the pleasure of doing so. It ended up being my favorite of the four scientific fields I studied (all at a college freshman or sophomore level). Anyone who studies cellular biology is astounded because what they learn is that every cell functions like a little city inside. No kidding! All the millions of teeny intracellular parts have their specific functions and many parts appear to operate with intention just as any human does when going about their business in a community.
Then I was introduced to viruses (as in HIV and flu viruses) and learned of some of the ways viruses infect and spread within an organism and amongst organisms. It’s rather creepy. They seem to operate with a plan and intent – the intent to take over at all levels of cellular operation on a mission to destroy. Viruses operate no differently than how organized crime operates and spreads throughout a community and then on to other communities. In fact, I think it is quite reasonable to consider that we become infected with invasive viruses that make us ill, and often kill us, because we allow our communities to become infected and corrupted by persons and organizations who operate just as viruses do. It’s as though our bodies behavior on micro scales mirror our bodies behavior on macro scales. There are many within our communities, those who are trained and entrusted to protect the community from criminal activities even, that are willing to aid these corrupting and deadly influences (or influenzas) like an organism’s immune system turning against the organism which does indeed happen.
How viruses work
A virus is a minute structure, smaller than a bacteria and not necessarily alive (according to the scientific criteria defining living things). Within its external capsule structure, called a capsid, are RNA strands that contain its genetic code for replication. There are thousands of types of viruses. A flu virus, for example, has proteins embedded on its capsid surface that attach to receptor proteins embedded in a cell’s outer membrane. These receptors are duped into identifying the virus as familiar, or something of value, allowing the virus to makes its way through the membrane and into the cell’s fluidic cytoplasm.
A little cellular biology (illustration above): The cytoplasm is the fluidic solution where the organelles (membrane enveloped cellular organs) reside. For example: the nucleus containing the cell’s DNA (the organism’s, such as a human’s, genetic code), mitochondria organelles engaged in energy production, ribosomes (not organelles) where protein synthesis (in other words protein production) occurs for cellular repair and enzyme production (enzymes are proteins that enable various chemical reactions such as breaking up glucose [sugar] molecules). Also present in the cell’s cytoplasm is the cytoskeleton maintaining the cell’s structure, and tethering the positions of organelles, and also act as transportation tracks for vesicles (little cargo sacs), among other functions. There are many more intracellular processes and parts all equally important and fascinating.
Once the virus capsid is inside the cell it releases its own RNA strands which make their way into the nucleus where it replicates its RNA while killing off the cell’s competing DNA and RNA thus destroying the cell’s healthy protein production. Some virus RNA hijack the ribosomes’ protein production processes to make, for its use, capsid structures that contain the newly replicated virus RNAs. In other cases, the new virus RNA strands, rather than create new capsids, envelope themselves with parts of the cell’s membrane structure allowing for the virus to deceptively appear as a compatible, rather than an infecting, particle to nearby cells. The virus, once having corrupted the cell’s healthy mechanisms for its own use, has created havoc within the cell destroying the cell and its outer cellular and nuclear membranes (a process called lyses) allowing for the release of all the new viruses to inflict the same damage on the neighboring healthy cells. In some cases, the vulnerable nearby healthy cells, alerted to what is going on, self-destruct and in doing so they create something of an obstruction to the newly released viruses. This is a description of but a couple of the many processes in which a virus can infect an organism.
I should add that there are viruses that may be beneficial to humans. Bacteriophages (or phages, for short) are small viruses that infect bacteria. Because they can kill the bacteria that they infect, it is possible that phages could be used to combat antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.
Above are two images of different viruses. The one on the right is similar to the viruses described above and the one on the left is a bacteriophage. Out of the tail, above the spider-like legs, emerges a stinger of sorts that injects phage RNA into the bacteria.
Rudolph Steiner – The Guardian of the Threshold
Here below I shall include a paragraph from the Miracles For All chapter (E) Rudolf Steiner – How to know Higher Worlds (toward the end of the piece). While reading the book and having gotten to The Guardian of the Threshold chapter, I found this part to be much too fantastical and was going to cease reading the book. That is, until later that night after I had an extraordinary out of body experience. I recall a precipice, or threshold, of sorts and little else about where I was. Yet I knew I had to get back to my body as fast as my astral wings would carry me, if you will. It seemed I was a considerable distance for it took a while traveling at an unearthly speed until my spirit reentered my body. As it did I clearly felt myself become absorbed into the fluids of my body; like I was fully inhabiting a water balloon. After that, not only did I finish the book but I went on to write the abridged version of “How to Know Higher Words” published on this site.
From The Guardian of the Threshold chapter: “The student now shall behold all the good and evil sides of the totality of their lives. Prior to this stage of their development these characteristics were interwoven with their whole being and therefore not apparent to them. These deeds actually become released from the individual’s personality assuming an independent form which becomes visible. The Lesser Guardian is that form woven, created, from one’s life record that, until then was internal and concealed, yet at work within. Now, at this stage of esoteric development, this guardian, having departed from the individual, it has either become perfect and beautiful, or ugly and hideous due to the person having fallen prey to corruption and destructive tendencies.”
While still at the downtown Boulder condominium it was requested of me that I attend a Home Owners’ Association meeting held at the office of the owner and his partner of the real estate company in the same building and next door to my art studio/condominium. When I arrived at their office they had me sit at a chair across from the desk of the owner’s partner with the owner at his desk off to my left, and in front of him was a table. On top of the table was an approximately thirty-inch high cement sculpture of a menacing looking gargoyle. The gargoyle was turned at an angle such that it faced me. Throughout the meeting both of the men unrelentingly glared at me. I do not recall what the meeting was about, but these HOA meetings were frequent, far too frequent, and usually all the owners in the community attended. In this case there was just the three of us with two other owners on a conference call. Eventually I ceased going to any of the meetings. They were for the most part unnecessary and the behavior of the participants was very strange – like out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
As the owner of the real estate company was leaving he stated that his partner and I still had some things to discuss. Once he was gone, the man began telling me he had recently attended his high school reunion where he caught up with his high school sweetheart. He told me a little story about the two of them which ended with him saying slowly and methodically, “I told her that everybody is watching … everybody is watching … everybody is watching … ” and as he was repeating this, each time he would roll his eyes in the direction of the windows off to his left. When I later contemplated the gargoyle I deduced that the gargoyle was the owner; his menacing spirit.
Note: For those readers not familiar with the rest of the incidents reported on throughout this website (see references and links below) this real estate company managed 1,600 university student housing units (according to their website at the time) yet they were members of organized crime involved in prostitution and pornography. And now we have an idea of their recruiting, their menacing, tactics. I can only imagine how many influential individuals (not members of organized crime) in Boulder County knew much of this.
“People of the Lie, The Hope for healing Human Evil” by M. Scott Peck, M.D.
The book “People of the Lie” was aptly described in “The Washington Times” as a daring study of evil. The psychiatrist M. Scott Peck (b.1936 d.2005) is also quite renowned for his exceedingly popular books “The Road Less Traveled and Beyond” and “Further Along the Road Less Traveled” the first of which I also read and was quite impressed with. His intent in writing this book was that he felt in order for humankind to heal and rid itself of evil, it must first be acknowledged and identified. He is a Christian and includes some, not too much, of his religious beliefs in his narrative. For example, he refers to St. Augustine’s advice to hate the sin but love the sinner. That would take a far more saint-like person than I, and I got the impression he felt that way at times too.
I read this book years ago while still living in Boulder and was constantly confronted by what I considered to be evil persons and their physical, material and psychological assaults. What Peck wrote I had been observing for around six years (very subtle at first but far more apparent as time went on). And his findings perfectly describe my observations of these people. I am now reviewing the book, specifically the highlights and notations I had made, for I believe his findings are of considerable value here.
Below I will give a brief summary of some of his descriptions of evil persons, their characteristics, motivations and tactics, but first I shall mention a synchronicity associated with Peck’s book.
Above, in the section titled “I Will Always Love You” I mention four synchronicities I had experienced recently while reading a book about dreams and miracles, two of which I state brought tears to my eyes; one one of which I wrote about. The other (which I had not planned on including in this piece) refers to a statement made to me about not harming a hair on my head by a mafia hit man who was romantically interested in me. I shall add that the evil use fear to get others to act as though they revere and love them.
One of the first sentences I highlighted in Peck’s book years ago is where the author states emphatically that evil is about killing, yet he does not restrict it to corporeal murder. Evil is also that which kills the spirit and he adds that “we may break a horse or a human being without harming a hair on their head.” This man took me up into the mountains for a hike. By this time, I was convinced these people were going to murder me; it was just a question of when and how. When we arrived at our hiking destination and he parked the car I asked him if he was going to kill me. I wasn’t frightened at this point, just feeling a bit depressed and apathetic. He responded, “I wouldn’t hurt a hair on your head” though I’m not sure he didn’t consider killing me during the hike and he clearly at one point wanted to frighten me.
I had recalled that incident just prior to opening the book on dreams and miracles and came upon an essay titled “Every Hair on my Head” referring to the last sentence of the essay where the author states, ” … proving that God really did care about every hair on my head.” [The synchronicities: my recalling the incident in the mountains, the same idiom “every hair on my head” appearing in the miracles and dreams book which brought tears to my eyes, and now repeated a third time in Peck’s book]. Like the author of the essay who made the statement about God’s caring for her I truly felt I got divine help during the hike. When the man led me to two openings to old and abandoned deep mine shafts the sky broke open with lightening, thunder and rain and we ran from the mine shafts back to the trail. The atmospheric effects were sudden and not at all subtle. The hit man even said something about it. And, as Peck stated, these members of organized crime were trying to break me, like breaking a horse, and kill me perhaps. Anyway, synchronicities are always meaningful; as in divine help.
Peck refers to Erich Fromm (b.1900 d.1980) a German-born American social psychologist, psychoanalyst, and philosopher who asserts that the intention of the evil to break a human being is based on their desire to control others, foster their dependency, discourage their capacity to think for themselves and diminish their originality so as to keep them inline by robbing them of their humanity thus transforming them into obedient automatons. Obviously these insidious objectives are not limited to organized crime. For example, Adolph Hitler and the Nazis, Joseph Stalin the Russian communist dictator, and Mao Zedong the Chinese communist leader, each whose leadership along with their obedient followers resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of people. Peck states that evil seeks to kill life whereas goodness seeks to promote life.
The evil appearing as ordinary human beings
The author claims that the only valid reason to study evil is to heal evil wherever we can, and where we can’t, we need to learn how to heal evil in specific instances. He says that healing is a function of love and wherever there is love there is healing. And, its methodology must be submitted to the love of life (light, joy, service to and caring for others) but also to love of the truth. He posits that evil has both physical/biochemical and emotional roots. And, as well, the supernatural must be considered. Peck notes that evil human beings appearing as quite ordinary persons is not uncommon.
For example, he describes a case where a school had referred to him a young boy, named Bobby, who was becoming increasingly depressed and his grades, which were previously high, were falling. His older brother had committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. For a while afterwards it seemed the boy was getting better, then his psychological state began to dramatically deteriorate. As Peck was interviewing the boy he learned that his parents had given him the very gun his brother killed himself with for a Christmas present. He also had learned that the boy did have a relative, his aunt, that he was fond of and who seemed to be fond of him.
The parents were blue collar, clean and tidy in appearance and professed to be quite concerned about the boy’s depression and failing grades. The mother claimed to have no idea that the older boy was so depressed and spoke of her many tears for both her sons. When challenged about the gun they claimed that any boy would give their eye teeth for such a gift and that that they were just ordinary working class people who could have sold the gun and made money. But instead kept it wanting to give Bobby a good Christmas present. When Peck asked them if they considered that giving Bobby his brother’s suicide weapon was like telling him to walk in his brother’s shoes, like telling him to go out and kill himself too. They responded that they did not think about that. They were not educated people like him that learned all kinds of fancy ways of thinking. Rather, they were simple people that can’t be expected to think of all these things, and so on. Peck stated that his stomach was feeling queasier moment by moment during the interview. He was repelled by them and grew increasingly tired. As I read the conversation, though never disrespectful, angry nor descriptive of anything frightening or gruesome, it was nonetheless chilling. He didn’t know what the couple felt but they certainly didn’t seem to feel guilty. The boy was placed in the hospital during which time the doctor arranged for him to be removed from his parents’ custody and live with his aunt a considerable distance away.
The evil like to engender in others confusion, and lies confuse, thus “People of the Lie.”
The criminals I was exposed to would constantly lie and even when it made no sense to. Had I not observed this behavior myself I’m not sure I would have believed that it existed to the extent it did and amongst so many. Though having read Peck’s book I learned that the evil utilize lying to confuse the person they are lying to. For example, at a Homeowner’s Association meeting I would refer to something someone had just said and all would deny that the individual had said that. Or, once when I mentioned to another I could not make that night’s meeting they responded that there was no meeting scheduled then. One might suggest that I got my facts wrong, but this was ongoing and applied to nearly anything and everything I made reference to. Often in these cases their facial expressions suggested I was off my rocker. There were other times at these meetings, and elsewhere, when another would get unduly angry with me for having made an incorrect statement which was not incorrect, problematic nor offensive in anyway and they all acted as if the rage was appropriate. Another game they played was if I began to speak they would all speak at the same time over me. I amused myself with this by continuing to speak louder as they also did in response until the speaking grew to a crescendo and they grew tired of the game. Another mind game they played is to all together laugh, clearly feigned laughter, at something I had said that was neither amusing nor ridiculous. I suspect that these are mind games that gangsters partake in wherever one might encounter them. I observed this in persons (whom I suspected were members of organized crime) other than these individuals and in other towns even.
In a social situation a woman whom I had just met was telling me about her and her boyfriend having just returned from a trip to San Francisco. I lived there for over twenty years and what she said about where they went and what they did in San Francisco suggested that she hadn’t been there. She spoke of other circumstances in her life and while doing so it continued to be apparent she was merely telling inconsequential lies. A man who knew the woman joined the conversation and he was the same way. If you meet someone that you suspect is full of lies, they may be more than just liars, they may very well be dangerous, evil persons.
Along slightly different lines, there was another time when I encountered a party of three, two men and a woman, in the lobby of a very nice hotel and they then had an expensive bottle of wine brought to them. Then one of the men’s disposition went from friendly to hostile toward me. The woman didn’t say much but she too became possessed of a rather mean demeanor. Here’s an example of their nastiness: at one point when my eyes were turned away the hostile man had tossed a pen on the floor then pointed it out to me and angrily demanded to know why I threw his pen on the floor and told me to pick it up, which I did. The other male was young, clean-cut and friendly. I later thought perhaps he was being led on by the other two (by their showing off their supposed affluence) to unwittingly be recruited into the local mafia. I’ve seen that more than once, and knowing my own circumstances I find it tragic. In my case, at least I’m not so very young thus better enabling me to choose to resist and expose them and their activities to law enforcement which has cost me the possibility of a happy life these past ten years, and maybe even a life at all in the world; a choice I’m not sure I could have made when I was young with so many years before me.
The most frightened of people
The author professes that the evil are forever fleeing the light of self-exposure and their own conscience. He adds that they are the most frightened of people consigned to a living hell of their own making. One they could walk right out of if they wished if not for their values. However, I do not think that the mafia lets members go so easily, if at all. In fact, I was told that the menacing tactics utilized on me are also used on those who attempt to quit the mafia, including young wives that had unknowingly married a gangster and want out of the marriage.
A man I had met who was a security specialist (he installed security systems for airports, the FBI and CIA offices, etc.) and also was somewhat familiar with the mafia had told me that he had been inside a couple of vacated mafia homes. He said that the extraordinary extents to which they go to in order to protect themselves in their homes is unbelievable. I took pleasure in thinking that for all the fear they inflict on others the most they inflict is on themselves. He also mentioned that you get to where you recognize them which I had just recently noticed about myself. For one, their manner of conversing, some of which I have cited above is a giveaway.
Peck discusses sociopaths (without a conscience) and narcissists (exceedingly self-serving) and I felt I observed these characteristics amongst some of these people. The criminal organization as a whole is narcissistic. On a couple of occasions, I heard one reverently acknowledge another gang member as “someone who was used to getting their way.” To an adult possessed of a healthy psychology this would seem to refer to a spoiled child. He goes on to say that they intensely desire to appear good and that they go to great effort to maintain an image of respectability not only to deceive others, but more so to deceive themselves. It is true, he says, that the evil appear not to suffer deeply for they cannot admit to weakness or imperfection in themselves. Rather they must appear to themselves as on top of things, in command. Their narcissism demands this. Yet their competence is a pretense. Rather than being in command of themselves, it is their narcissism that is in command, always demanding, whipping them into maintaining their pretense of heath and wholeness.
They are terrified that the pretense will break down and they’ll be exposed to the world and to themselves. They are continually frightened that they will come face-to-face with their own evil. The evil live their lives in fear and it is a terror and a suffering interwoven into the fabric of their being such that they may not even feel it as such. And, even if they did, their omnipresent narcissism will prohibit them from ever acknowledging this. Even if we cannot pity the evil for their inevitable ghastly old age and last days of their lives, or for the state of their souls after death, surely we can pity them for the lives they live of unremitting apprehension, he suggests.
Peck advises that society must make every effort to rescue the evil from their living hell. Here I’ll add that it was my impression any effort to save them would be taken advantage of, and the well-intended individual laughed at if not outright despised. However, Peck does add that raw power is the only effective means for they do not respond, in the short term anyway, to gentle kindness nor spiritual persuasion that he was aware of.
Dr. Peck regards evil as an illness or disease defined as such: any defect in the structure of our bodies or personalities that prevents us from fulfilling our potential as human beings. The central proposition of his book is that the phenomena of evil should be subjected to scientific scrutiny. We need to move from our present state of ignorance and helplessness toward a true psychology of evil.
The most frightening of people
There was a man whom I crossed paths with at a public event that I had met briefly in the past. He’s a doctor and rather attractive. He took down my phone number and we agreed to catch up at a later date. Initially, I thought of him as a potential romantic partner but soon that ceased to be a consideration. He would invite me to lunch and include other males for me to meet and consider getting to know better. Two of which I was quite interested in and it seemed they were interested in me. But I began to suspect he was what I would call a facilitator for the local mafia, therefore I wanted no favors from him. He also took me to the university where he spoke with a professor there who reported to him of his satisfaction with his new position at the university. There was another occasion when I was waiting for him at his office after hours and he contacted a man by phone. When the man answered, the doctor angrily said,”I understand you had a birthday party and you didn’t invite me,” then he hung up on the man. It seemed so childish I laughed for I couldn’t believe he was serious, at which point he looked at me most grievously as if to say it was no laughing matter. It became apparent to me that if the doctor did you a favor of any kind you were indebted to him in both personal and professional matters. If I had gone on to date any of these men, not only would I have been indebted to the doctor, but I believe they would have interfered with my objective.
There were two occasions when we were to cross at an intersection. He jay walked ahead of me saying “come on!” as he did. I stayed right where I was and in both cases a car sped through the crosswalk. I would have been hit had I followed him. When I caught up with him on the other side of the street it was apparent he was angry with me. I told him I needed to be left alone for a few months (not knowing what better to say at that time). Then, a couple of months later he stopped by my home uninvited and I let him in. He told me of a professional opportunity I might be interested in. Also, during our conversation he repeated something I said to the hit man that he should not have known about. I won’t say what it was for it was pitifully stupid and not true. I was frightened and I said what I did thinking maybe these thugs would feel sorry for me, leave me alone and let me live. They have no pity for anyone. Then he mentioned he had lunch with two psychiatrists and they deduced that my spiritual beliefs and my beliefs in the paranormal and supernatural are signs of a particular mental disorder (I don’t recall the name of the disorder) and just cause for institutionalization. I showed him to the door and followed up by sending him a post card telling him never to contact me again, which he hasn’t.
Possession and Exorcism – Spiritual Warfare
Peck got a great deal of criticism for this part of his book. For, there are many who simply cannot accept the possibility of an order of existence beyond the observable universe; especially of or relating to God, a spirit, the devil, the supernatural, or the spiritual. Yet, he states that genuine possession by evil spirits, or the devil (which he claims to have personally observed) is real, though very rare, whereas human evil is not.
He was involved in two cases of genuine possession. He does not go into detail about the cases in his book for to do so would imbalance the whole of the material in the book. To adequately report of the possessions would fill a book in itself. He adds that on the basis of the two cases alone he is not able to provide an in depth scientific presentation of the subjects of evil spirits, possession and exorcism. He does state that exorcism teams invoke, through prayer and ritual, the power of God in the healing. It is God who does the healing and thus the purpose of the prayer and ritual is to bring the power of God into the fray. In exorcism one is dealing with very high voltages, Peck adds. The whole purpose of an exorcism is to uncover and isolate the demonic (which can have tremendous power) within the patient so that it can be expelled. It is spiritual warfare won through loving means. Loving is the key word here; only love can heal.
The first and easiest exorcism required a team of seven highly trained professionals to work (without payment) four days, twelve to sixteen hours per day. The second involved a similar team of nine men and women who worked twelve to twenty hours a day for three days. He says it is not usually such a massive undertaking, but these were cases of Satanic, not spirit possession. He could not imagine how else the patients could have been healed and writes that both are alive and well today.
From both these cases he concluded that possession is not an accident, that he doubts that somebody can go walking down the street one day and have a demon jump out from behind a bush and penetrate them. Possession is a gradual process in which the possessed person repeatedly sells out for one reason or another. In these two cases he states that both began at an early age and that they both were victims of human as well as demonic evil.
My own observations
These possessions that Peck refers to are far more dramatic cases than what I am about to describe, and may not even qualify as possession. Regardless, it is appropriate to mention them here.
The incidents occurred on perhaps a half dozen occasions with different gang members with whom I would be in a conversation with. At first they seemed most receptive and friendly then during the conversation their facial muscles began to totally relax, displaying no expression, during which they would stare at me with their eyes wide open as if dazed. They would maintain that vacant expression, which I suppose could appear as a look of fascination and complete absorption with what I was saying, though it surely was not. Then abruptly they would stiffen, their entire facial expression would change to one of anger and hatred which was followed up by saying something caustic and insulting. After observing this a couple of times I began to perceive their blank wide-eyed expression as a vacancy preceding an evil spirit taking them over. It seemed like that anyway.
What I also encountered, while still in Colorado, was the many individuals whom I thought would be concerned (along with those obviously not at all concerned) that considered such evil a fact of life and me no less than a fool for thinking otherwise and trying to contribute to a correction of the situation; a gangster asked me if I fancied myself as an Erin Brockovich (a 1980 PG&E whistle blower) and another listed the names of a number of female heroines that were murdered. Desperate to talk to someone who might offer some sort of solace, or better yet useful advise, I arranged for a meeting with a minister of a local church that was quite popular. As I was describing my circumstances, suddenly his demeanor changed (he looked demonic, there’s no other was to describe it) and he said, “Leslie, there’s always been snakes in the grass!” This startled me and having observed the the expression on my face he then softened his expression and his response. The meeting ended soon thereafter. That, the responses of local law enforcement officials, along with family and friends thinking I had gone mad or wanting to distance themselves from me and the danger (I don’t blame them in the slightest in either case) made my situation seem hopeless. It was also clear at one point that I could have reversed my position, sold out; the menacing would have ceased and I would have found myself in a most comfortable situation (materially, not psychologically nor spiritually). I will say emphatically, I’m made this way, it may even be genetic, like my artistic talent.
I’m going to go a bit further out on a limb here. There were two spirits that clung to me. One during the time I owned the condominium in Boulder and the other once I had moved to Niwot, Colorado. The Boulder spirit was that of a young black woman, in her late twenties or early thirties who had been murdered, how (although I suspect by a gun shot to her head) and by whom I do not know. She had been a prostitute and pornography performer. She desperately wanted me to stay on task exposing the illegal activities of my neighbors to law enforcement. She was concerned I would give up and I repeatedly told her not to worry, I was not going to quit. Once I moved out of the condominium I did not hear from her again. The other spirit, the one in Niwot, was a young man around the same age. He would appear in the passenger’s seat of my car as I was driving. He was immaculately dressed in beige slacks, a collared shirt and a beige casual jacket. He had beautiful strawberry blond hair that was perfectly coiffed in a pompadour. His body was emaciated, anorexic. I did not know what he wanted nor how to be of help to him. Eventually, after the fourth or fifth appearance, I told him “I can’t help you, I don’t know how, you have to go” and I never saw him again after that.
In both cases their presence was palpable and their physical identity appeared in my mind’s eye. The male’s spiritual appearance was particularly clear yet he was not able to communicate with words. The woman, on the other hand, communicated very clearly yet her physical appearance was more general – her sex, age, and ethnicity. There were three other times at the condominium and one at the townhome when images of evil spirits would flash before me. Two of which I could associate with persons in the neighborhood and one I knew not of its identity. The visions were very clear and memorable. None of this frightened me; in fact, I found it interesting. Actually, that’s not entirely true, one tersely spoke saying, “No, you’re not crazy, you soon will be though” which unnerved me a bit. Regardless, the physical individuals in my neighborhood and elsewhere terrorizing me were a far greater concern.
Peck’s Christian beliefs as expressed in his book
Peck is a religious man and his Christian beliefs are, as far as I can tell, traditional and adheres to biblical teachings. He considers Satan as the antichrist. In one case when the satanic being was successfully exorcised the team asked why it was the antichrist. It answered because “Christ taught people to love each other.” When further questioned, it replied “I want people to work in business so that there will be war.” Queried more it simply said to the exorcist, “I want to kill you.” There was nothing creative or constructive about it.
Peck claims the biggest problem in Christian theology is the question of Satan who initially was to enhance the spiritual growth of humankind through testing and temptation. And, the reason why God didn’t simply destroy him once having rebelled, Peck replies that God being love can but create, not destroy. Christ was born as an example of His love and an example to live by. He sent his only Son to live and die as one with us. Peck adds Christ usurped Satan both in function and in God’s heart. Note: These are Peck’s religious views, not mine though I consider myself a Christian.
Although Satan has a real power (which he says can only be exercised through a human body) Satan also has glaring weaknesses, according to his and others’ observations. Its extraordinary pride and narcissism overcome its intelligence, so that the demon is also a showoff. If it had been thoroughly clever, it would have left the two patients long before their exorcisms. But it could not allow itself to lose. It wanted only to win. So in both cases it hung in there until the bitter end – with the result that I (that being Peck) and others have exposed its reality today. In the past they were aware of such spirits and exorcisms were an accepted practice.
The author goes on to say that it is vitally necessary that we struggle against evil with all the power at our command; that being for God, not against evil (my italics and bold). Here I’ll contribute that I’ve personally found that greater creative power is available when one is for rather than against something (i.e. for freedom rather than against oppression). But the crucial victory occurred around two thousand years ago according to Peck. Necessary and dangerous and devastating though one’s own personal battles may be known to us, they are but mopping-up operations against a retreating enemy who has long since lost the war. Let’s hope!
We’ll conclude here on this from Peck’s book: “The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in one solitary and even humble individual. This is known to the genuinely religious. It is for this reason that no possible activity is considered to be more important than the salvation of a single human soul. This is why the individual is sacred. For it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged and ultimately won or lost.”
[For additional accounts, and links to the MFA chapters, of the events involving members of organized crime in Boulder, Colorado reported of throughout this website scroll down to the very bottom of this page.]
So what becomes of the evil? Read on ….
A WANDERER IN THE SPIRIT LANDS
This work here is the abridged version of the book “A Wanderer in the Spirit Lands” by A. Farnese. Though it is roughly one quarter the content of the original, it is nonetheless, in my opinion, just as complete in its message and inspiration as the whole of the book. Three chapters describing the physics of the spiritual realms in the original text are not included in the abridged version [chapters 29 thru 31: The Formation of the Planets, Materialization of Spirits, Why the Spheres are Invisible]. Should the reader wish to read these chapters, or the book in its entirety, I’ve included a link to a pdf file of the book [below]. Also of note, in the abridged version subtitles are used which are different (as are the page numbers) than the chapter titles in the original text.
The book is purported by many to be fiction. However, to my knowledge, the author, A. Farnese, has never claimed such and the story suggests otherwise. This, to me, contributes to its enchantment for it is not certain that it is not based on actual events in real and existing places leaving the reader to ponder: is it true? is it not? is it plausible even?
Link to “A Wanderer in the Spirit Lands”:
Boise, Idaho – August, 2018
The following narrative was written more than a year ago, and in giving it to the public I do not claim to be its author, since I have only acted the part of an amanuensis [transcriber] and endeavored to write down as truthfully and as carefully as I could, the words given to me by the Spirit Author himself, who is one of several spirits who have desired me to write down for them their experiences in the spirit world.
I have had to write the words as fast as my pen could travel over the paper, and many of the experiences described and opinions advanced are quite contrary to what I myself believed to be in accordance with the conditions of life in the world of spirits. The Spirit Author Franchezzo I have frequently seen materialized, and he has been recognized on these occasions by friends who knew him in earth life. Having given the narrative to the public as I received it from the Spirit Author, I must leave with him all responsibility for the opinions expressed and the scenes described.
I now ask these dwellers upon earth to believe that if these weary travelers of the other life can return to warn their brothers yet on earth, they are eager to do so. I would have them understand that spirits who materialize have a higher mission to perform than only the solacing of those who mourn in deep affliction for the beloved they have lost. These spirit wanderers are permitted by the Great Supreme to go back and tell them the fate of all who outrage the laws of God and man. I would have all, even the idle and frivolous, to pause and think whether Spiritualism be not something high, holy and noble through which a flood of light is being let in upon the dark places of earth and of the Nether World—signs that those who have gone before do now return to earth to warn their brethren.
As a warrior who has fought and conquered in those dark regions I look back upon the scenes of those battles and the toils through which I have passed, and strove, and I seek now but to point out the better way to others who are yet in the storm and stress of battle, that they may use the invaluable time given to them upon earth to enter upon and follow with unfaltering step the shining path which shall lead them home to Rest and Peace at last.
Franchezzo, a wanderer in the spirit lands.
I was talented, highly gifted both in mind and person, and from my earliest years the praise of others was ever given to me and was my sweetest fragrance. No thought ever came to me of that all self-sacrificing love which, in the true love for others, there is no thought, no happiness, other than in securing the happiness of the beloved ones. In all my life, and amongst those women whom I loved, it was but a passion too low and base to be dignified by the name of love. For in everyone I found something to disappoint me. They loved me as I loved them—no more, no less. The passion I gave won but its counterpart from them. Thus I passed on unsatisfied, longing for I knew not what.
And then it was that I met one woman. Ah! what shall I call her? She was more than a mortal woman in my eyes. I called her “The Good Angel of My Life,” and from the first moment that I knew her I bowed down at her feet and gave her all the love of my soul, of my higher self, a love that was poor and selfish when compared to what it should have been, but it was all I had to give, and I gave it all. For the first time in my life I thought of another more than of myself, and though I could not rise to the pure thoughts, the brightness that filled her soul, I thank God I never yielded to the temptation to drag her down to me.
And then! there came for me an awful and unexpected day with no warning to awaken me to my position when I was suddenly snatched from life and plunged into that gulf; that death of the body which awaits us all.
Yet, I knew not that I had died. I passed from some hours of suffering and agony into a deep, dreamless sleep, and when I awoke it was to find myself alone and in total darkness. I could rise; I could move; surely I was better. But where was I? Why this darkness? I arose and groped as one does in a dark room, but I could find no light, hear no sound. There was nothing but the stillness, the darkness, around me. Then I thought I would walk forward and find the door. I could move, though slowly and feebly, and I groped on, for how long I know not. It seemed hours, and in my growing horror and dismay I felt I must find someone, some way out of this place! But, to my despair I seemed never to find any door, any wall, anything. All seemed but space and darkness surrounding me.
Overcome at last, I called out aloud! I shrieked, and no voice answered me. Then again and again I called and still the silence; no sound from my own voice even. I thought of her I loved, but something made me shrink from uttering her name there. Then I thought of all the friends I had known and I called on them, but none answered me. Was I in prison? No. A prison has walls and this place had none. Was I mad? Delirious? What? I could feel myself, my body. It was the same. Or was it? No. There was some change in me. I could not tell what, but I felt as though I was shrunken and deformed. My features, when I passed my hand over them, seemed larger, coarser, distorted. Oh, for a light! Oh, for anything to tell me even the worst that could be told! Would no one come? Was I quite alone? And she, my angel of light, Oh! where was she? Before my sleep she had been with me. Where was she now? I called her by name to come to me. Then, I felt a terrible sense as if I had lost her and I called again, and again wildly! Then, for the first time my voice had a sound and rang back to me through that awful darkness.
Then, from far, far away, came a tiny speck of light like a star that grew and grew and came nearer and nearer till at last it appeared before me as a large ball of light, in shape like a star, and in the star I saw my beloved. Her eyes were closed as of one in sleep, but her arms were held out to me and her gentle voice she said in those tones I knew so well, “Oh! my love, my love, where are you now? I cannot see you, I only hear you calling me, and my soul answers to yours!”
I tried to rush to her, but I could not. Some invisible force held me back, and around her seemed a ring I could not pass through. In agony I sank to the ground, calling upon her to leave me no more. Then she seemed to grow unconscious; her head sank upon her breast and I saw her float away from me as though some strong arms had borne her aloft. I sought to rise and follow her, but could not. It was as if a great chain held me fast, and after some fruitless struggles I sank upon the ground in unconsciousness.
When I awoke again I was overjoyed to see that my beloved one had returned to me. She was standing near but looking pale and sad and all dressed in black. The star was gone and all around was darkness; yet not utter darkness, since around her was a pale, faint glow of light by which I could see she carried white flowers in her hands. She stooped over a long low mound of fresh earth. I drew nearer and nearer and saw that she was silently weeping as she laid the flowers on that low mound. Her voice murmured softly, “Oh, my love! Oh, my love, will you never come back to me? Can you be indeed dead, and gone where my love cannot follow you? Where you can hear my voice no more? My love! Oh, my dear love!”
She was kneeling down now, and I drew near, very near, though I could not touch her, and as I knelt down I, too, looked at that long low mound. A shock of horror passed over me, for I knew now, at last, that I was dead, and this was my own grave.
Dead! Dead!” I screamed. Oh, no, surely no! For the dead feel nothing more; they turn to dust, they rot to decay, and all is gone, all is lost to them, they have no more consciousness of anything. Unless indeed, my boasted philosophy of life has been all wrong, all false, and the soul of the dead still lives even though the body decays. As I looked, the solid mound grew transparent before my eyes and I saw down to the coffin with my own name and the date of my death upon it, and through the coffin I saw the white still form I knew as myself lying within. I saw to my horror that this body had already begun to decay and become a loathsome thing to look upon. Its beauty was gone; its features none would recognize. I stood there, fully conscious, looking down upon it and then at myself. I knew I was dead, and yet I lived. If this were death, then those priests must have been right after all. The dead lived, but where? In what state? Was this darkness hell? For me they would have found no other place. I was so lost.
And yet, as I thought thusly, I looked again upon my beloved and I knew she could never come to hell, not even to look for me. She seemed mortal enough, and if she knelt by my grave surely I must be still upon earth. Did the dead then never leave the earth at all, but hover near the scenes of their earthly lives? With such and many similar thoughts crowding through my mind I strove to get nearer to her I so loved, but found I could not. An invisible barrier seemed to surround her and keep me back. I could move on either side of her as I pleased, nearer or farther, but her I could not touch. In vain were all my efforts. Then I spoke and I told her that I was there; that I was still conscious, still the same (though I was dead) yet she never seemed to hear, nor see me. She still wept sadly and silently; still tenderly touching the flowers and murmuring to herself that I had so loved flowers; surely I would know that she had put them there for me. She then slowly and sadly went away.
I strove with all my might to follow her. In vain, I could go but a few yards from the grave and my earthly body. Then I saw why; a chain as of dark silk thread, no thicker than a spider’s web, held me to my body and no power of mine could break it. As I moved it stretched like elastic, but always drew me back again. Worst of all I began now to be conscious of feeling the corruption of that decaying body affecting my spirit, when a fresh horror filled my soul.
A voice as of some majestic being spoke to me in the darkness, and said, “You loved that body more than your soul. Watch it now as it turns to dust and know what it was that you worshiped, and ministered and clung to. Know how perishable it was, how vile it has become. Now look upon your spirit body and see how you starved and cramped it for the sake of the enjoyments of the earthly body. Behold how poor and repulsive and deformed your earthly life has made your soul, which is immortal and to endure forever.”
And I looked and beheld myself as in a mirror held up before me. Oh, horror! It was beyond doubt myself, but oh! so awfully changed, so vile, so full of baseness did I appear; repulsive in every feature, even my figure was deformed. I shrank back in horror at my appearance and prayed that the earth might open before my feet and hide me from all eyes for evermore. Ah! never again would I call upon my love, never again desire that she should see me. Better, far better, that she should think of me as dead and gone from her forever. Better that she should have only the memory of me as I had been in earthly life than ever know, how horrible a thing was my real self. Alas! My despair, my anguish was extreme, and I called out wildly and struck myself and tore my hair in a passionate horror of myself. My outbursts exhausted me and I sank senseless and unconscious of all once more.
A spark of hope.
The voice returned, the same voice I had heard at my grave, and spoke, “Son of grief, is there no hope on earth for those who sin? Does not even man forgive the sinner who has wronged him if the sin be repented of and pardon sought? And shall God be less merciful, less just? Hast thou repentance even now? Search thine own heart and see whether it is for thyself or for those thou hast wronged that thou art sorry?” And I knew as he spoke that I did not truly repent. I only suffered. I only loved and longed.
Again I heard my beloved speak and ask me that if I were there and could hear her, to try and write one word through her hand that she might know I still lived, still thought of her. My heart seemed to rise into my throat and choke me, and I drew near to try and move her hand, touch it even. But, lo and behold, a tall spirit came between us and I was forced to draw back. He then spoke and said, “Give your words to me and I will cause her hand to write them down for you. I will do this for her sake, and because of the love she has for you.” A great wave of joy swept over me at his words, and I would have taken his hand and kissed it but could not. My hand seemed scorched by his brightness so and I bowed myself before him for I thought he must be one of the angels.
My beloved spoke once more and said, “Are you here, dearest friend?” I answered, “Yes,” and then I saw the spirit put his hand on hers, and when he did so her hand wrote the word “yes.” Slowly and unsteadily it moved, like a child’s learning to write. Ah! how she smiled, and again she asked me a question, and as before her own hand traced out my answer. She asked me if there were anything she could do for me, any wish of mine that she could help me to carry out? I said, “No, not now! I would go away and torment her no more with my presence. I would let her forget me now.”
My heart was so sore as I spoke, so bitter. But ah! how sweet to me was her reply, how it touched my soul to hear her say, “Do not say that to me, for I would ever be your truest, dearest friend, as I was in the past. Since you died my one thought has been to find you and to speak with you again.” And I called out to her, “It has been my only wish also!” She then asked if I would come again, and I said “Yes!” For where would I not have gone? what would I not have done for her? Then the bright spirit said she must write no more that night (he made her hand write that also) and that she should go to rest.
I felt myself now drawn away once more back to my grave and to my earthly body in that dark churchyard, but not to the same hopeless sense of misery. In spite of everything, a spark of hope had risen in my heart and I knew I should see and speak with her again.
Franchezzo sees other spirits surrounding his beloved.
Then I saw three other forms beside her. I knew they were spirits, yet how unlike myself. These spirits were bright, radiant, so that I could not bear to look at them; the sight seemed to scorch my eyes as with a fire. One was a man, tall, calm, dignified-looking, who bent over her to protect her as her guardian angel might. Beside him stood two fair young men whom I knew at once to be those brothers whom she had so often spoken of to me. They had died when in their youth with all its pleasures before them, and their memories were enshrined in her heart as those who were now angels.
The two spirits who were her brothers now spoke. I shall not state all they said but, suffice it to say they pointed out how wide was now the gulf between their sister and myself, and asked if I desired to shadow all her young life with my dark presence. If I left her now she would in time forget me except as one who had been a dear friend to her. She could always think tenderly of my memory, and surely if I loved her truly I would not wish to make all her young life lonely and desolate for my sake. I replied that I loved her and could never bear to leave her loving her as I did. Then they spoke of myself and my past and asked if I dared to think of linking myself with her pure life? How could I hope that when she died I should meet her? She belonged to a bright sphere to which I could not hope for a long time to rise, and would it not be better for her, and more truly loving of me, to leave her to forget me and to find what happiness in life could yet be given to her.
I said faintly I thought she loved me. They said, “Yes, she loves you for she has idealized your image in her mind, and as she in her innocence has painted your picture. Do you think if she knew all your story she would love you? Would she not shrink back in horror from you? Tell her the truth, give her the choice of freedom from your presence, and you will have acted a nobler part and shown a truer love than in deceiving her and seeking to tie her to a being such as yourself. If you truly love her, think of her and her happiness and what will bring it and not of yourself alone.”
Then the hope within me died out and I bowed my head in shame and agony. For I knew that I was vile and in no way fit for her, and I saw as in a glass what her life might still be if freed from mine. She might know happiness yet with another more worthy than I had been. While, with my love, I would only drag her down into sadness with me. For the first time in my life I put the happiness of another before my own. I then said to them, “Let it be so, then. Tell her the truth and let her say but one kind word to me in farewell, and I will go from her and darken her life with the shadow of mine no more.” So we went back to her, and I saw her as she slept exhausted with her sorrow for me. I pleaded that they would let me give her one kiss; the last that I would ever give. But they said no, that was impossible, for my touch would snap forever the thread that held her to life.
I then became dimly conscious that there were other beings like myself flitting about near me in the darkness, though I could scarcely see them. They awoke her and made her write down their words while I stood by and heard each word fall as a nail in the coffin where they were burying my last hope forever. She, as one in a dream, wrote on till at last the whole shameful story of my life was told. I said adieu to her then I turned and left her. How, I know not, but as I went I felt the cord that had tied me to my grave and my earthly body snap, and I was free; free to wander where I would, alone in my desolation!
What then? Ah, me! While I write these words the tears of thankfulness are in my eyes again, and I almost break down in trying to write them. She, whom we had deemed so weak and gentle that we had to decide for her, called me back with all the force of a love that none dare oppose! She said she could never give me up so long as I had love for her. “Let your past be what it might; let you be sunk now even to the lowest depths of hell itself. I will still love you, still seek to follow you and claim my right to help and comfort and cherish you till God in his mercy shall have pardoned your past and you shall be raised up again!”
And then it was that I broke down and wept as only a strong proud man can weep. I went back to my love and knelt down beside her, and though the spirits would not let me touch her, the calm beautiful spirit who was her guardian whispered to her that her prayer was answered; that she should indeed lead me back to the light. And so I left my darling, and as I passed away I saw a white angel’s form hover over her to give her strength and comfort, she who was my angel of light. I left her thus with those spirits and went forth to wander till her voice should call me to her side again.
The spirit medium.
After the short troubled sleep into which those bright spirits had put her, my darling awoke the next day, and prompted by those spirits watching over her, she searched out a man who was known as a healing medium. He told her that if she tried, she could write messages from the so-called dead. During their discourse that man spoke such kind words to her that from my heart I thanked and still thank him. He gave me so much hope as he pointed out to my dear love that though the ties of the earth body are broken at its death, I was free to love her and she was free to return that love. He told her that she, better than any other, could in truth help to raise me, for her love would give me comfort and hope as nothing else could and would encourage my path of repentant effort. He also helped me to tell her of what excuses there had been for me in the past (though nothing can truly excuse our sins) and, that in spite of all the wrongs of my past, she had been to me as one most sacred.
The Brotherhood of Hope and the Home of Help.
In the spirit world there are many strange places, many wondrous sights, and many organizations for helping repentant souls. But I have never seen anything more strange in its way than this Home of Help, conducted by the Brotherhood of Hope, to which I was now taken. In the then feeble condition of all my spiritual faculties I was not able to see what the place was like. I was almost like one who is deaf, dumb and blind, Also when I was with others I could scarcely see or hear them, or make them hear me. And although I could see a little, it was more as though I was in a perfectly dark room with only one small feeble glimmer of light to show me where I went.
As a spirit wandering on the earth plane I had not felt this so much, for though all was darkness I could both see and hear enough to be conscious of those near me. That time of darkness was so awful to me that even now I scarce like to recall it; I had so loved the sunshine and the light. I came from a land where all is sunshine and brightness, where the colors are so rich, the sky so clear, the flowers and the scenery so beautiful, and I so loved light and warmth and melody. And here, as elsewhere since my death, I had found only darkness and coldness and gloom; an appalling, enshrouding gloom from which I could in no way free myself; an awful gloom that crushed my spirit as nothing else could have done.
I had been proud and haughty on earth. I came of a race that knew not what it was to bow before anyone. In my veins ran the blood of its haughty nobles. Through my mother I was allied to the great ones of earth whose ambitions had moved kingdoms to their will; and now even the lowest, humblest, poorest beggar of my native streets was greater, happier than I, for they at least had the sunshine and the free air whereas now I was in the lowest, the most degraded of conditions.
A tiny light of hope.
There were those who aided the recently interned, the working Brothers of Hope, as they were called, and each were provided with a tiny little light-like a star whose rays illuminated the darkness of the cells they visited. They carried this light of hope wherever they went. I was at first was so great a sufferer that I used simply to lie in my cell in a state of almost apathetic misery, watching for this spark to come glimmering down the long corridor to my door and wondering how long it would be in earth time that it would come again. During this time, I lay so utterly prostrate in my misery, as I was suffering keenly both in mind and in my spirit body, for in the lower spheres the spirit is conscious of bodily sufferings. My bodily sufferings grew very great, for the strength I had been so proud of and had used to so bad a purpose made me suffer more than one who had been weak. Yet, as a spirit grows more advanced the suffering becomes more purely mental and less material. And the less material envelope, of the higher spirits even, makes them, at last, insensible to anything like material pain.
Spirits returning to earth then back again to the Home of Hope.
As my spirit body’s strength grew so did my earthly desires revive and cause me so much torment that I was often tempted to do what many poor spirits did — go back to earth in search of the means to satisfy them through the material bodies of those yet on earth.
Many of those who had dwelled in the House of Hope with me would yield to the temptation and go back for a time to haunt the earth, whence they would return exhausted and degraded even below their former state. All were free to go as they desired and return when they wished, for the doors of Hope’s castle were never shut upon anyone, however unthankful or unworthy they might be, and I have often marveled at the infinite patience and tenderness which were ever shown for our weaknesses and our sins. It was indeed only possible to pity these poor unfortunates, enslaved by their base desires such that they could not resist them and were drawn back time after time till at last, satiated and exhausted, they could move no more.
A visit to his beloved and a kiss.
One night when I had watched her sink into sleep after a weary time of weeping I, who could have wept too in my grief for us both, was suddenly touched upon the shoulder and looking up beheld her guardian spirit who had first helped me to speak with her. He told me that if I would be very quiet and self-restrained he would allow me to kiss her as she slept. And I, wild with this new joy, most eagerly promised. Then, taking my hand in his, we passed together through the transparent wall surrounding her that, to me alone, had been so impervious. While bending over her the guide bade me to touch her very gently. She was lying quietly asleep with one hand rested against her cheek. I took it in mine, so gently, so tenderly so as not to awaken her. Her hand closed half consciously upon mine and a look of such joy came into her face that I feared she would awake. But no! The bright spirit smiled at us both and said, “Kiss her now.” And ah! I stooped over her and touched her at last and gave her the first kiss. I kissed her not once but half a dozen times, so passionately that she awoke and the bright spirit drew me away in haste. She looked round and asked softly, “Do I dream, or was that indeed my beloved one?” I answered, “Yes,” and she seemed to hear, for she smiled so sweet a smile. And again she repeated my name softly to herself as she drifted back to sleep.
His new dwelling in the Twilight Lands.
Eight or nine months had elapsed since I had died, and I had grown strong and vigorous once more. I could move freely over the great sphere of the earth plane though I now resided in the Twilight Lands. My sight and my other senses were so far developed that I could see and hear and speak clearly. Here, the light around me now was that of a faint twilight, or when the night first begins to dawn into the day. To my eyes so long accustomed to the darkness, this dull light was very welcome, though after a time I grew to long for the dawn that this dull twilight grew most monotonous and oppressive. In those lands which are situated in that which are called the Twilight Lands, it is thither that those spirits pass whose lives had been too selfish and material to allow their souls to reach any higher state of development. Yet, even those spirits are a degree above those haunting spirits of the earth plane who are literally earthbound to their former habitations.
Possessing spirits and temptations that draw mortals into sinning.
And now I found the value of the teachings and the experience I had gained during my stay in the House of Hope. Temptations that might once have attracted me did so no longer. I knew well the satisfactions such pleasures give, and their terrible price. Thus, in controlling a mortal, as I often had to do, I had strength against the temptation of using another’s body for my own gratification.
Few people yet in their earthly envelopes understand that spirits can, and very often do, nefariously take such complete possession of the bodies of mortal men and women that, for that time, it is as though that earth body belonged to the disembodied spirit. In my wanderings upon the earth plane I had learned the many ways in which a spirit can still work mischief to those he hates who are still in the flesh. Far more power is ours than you would dream of.
I could detail many terrible cases I know of as having actually taken place–mysterious murders and strange crimes committed, none knew why or how, by those on earth whose brains were so disordered such that they were not themselves responsible for their actions; but were the tools of a possessing spirit. These and many kindred things are known to us in the spirit spheres where circumstances often appear very different from the one shown to you. Many cases of so-called temporary madness are due to the controlling power of very low spirits of evil desires, or mere frivolity, who are put into complete rapport with the embodied spirit whose body they seek to use. Amongst many ancient races this fact was acknowledged and studied whereas now, we of the nineteenth century believe we have grown too wise for such nonsense.
The great Brotherhood of Hope is but one of a countless variety of societies which exist in the spirit world for the purpose of giving help to all who are in need. Their operations are carried on everywhere and in all spheres, and their members are to be found at the very lowest and darkest spheres to the very highest which surround the earth, and even extend into the spheres of other solar systems. A message would be sent to the Brotherhood that help was required to assist some struggling mortal or unhappy spirit and one of the brothers as was thought to be most fit would be sent to help. Such a one of us would be sent as had in his own earth life yielded to a similar temptation, and had suffered all the bitter consequences and remorse for his sin.
Franchezzo’s work as one of the Brotherhood of Hope.
This controlling or overshadowing of a mortal by an immortal is used in many ways, and those who foolishly make themselves liable to it, either by a careless evil life, or by seeking out a mischievous spirit in their mere curiosity to search out mysteries too deep for their shallow minds to fathom, often find at their cost that the low spirits who haunt the earth plane, and even those from much lower spheres, can often draw them into sins for which they are but partly willing. Sins for which indeed those controlling spirits who have thus made use of these weak mortals, will be held responsible just as will the mortal sinner himself. For thus tempting and using another’s organism, those evil spirits will have to render a terrible account since they have been doubly guilty. In sinning themselves and in dragging down another soul with them, they thus sink themselves to a depth from which many centuries of suffering cannot free them.
Yet, in my work I have had to act the part of a controlling spirit many times. But, I was sent to do so only in order that I might impress the mortal with a sense of the terrible consequences of yielding to sin, and also that I might, when not actually controlling the mortal myself, act as guard and watchman to protect him from the control of the wandering tempting spirits of the earth plane. My work was to raise the barrier of my strong will-force against these spirits, keeping them back, so that they could not come sufficiently in contact with my charge and control him.
When I was not helping someone yet in the earth body, I was sent to work amongst the unhappy spirits of the earth plane who were still wandering in its darkness just as I had at first done. And to them I went as one of the great Brotherhood of Hope, bearing in my hand the tiny star-like light that is the symbol of that order. Its rays would dispel the darkness around me, and I would see poor unhappy spirits crouching on the ground two or three together, or sunk in helpless misery in some corner by themselves, too hopeless, too unhappy to heed anything.
When my period of work in any place was finished, I used to return to the Twilight Land to rest in another large building which belonged to our brotherhood. It was somewhat like my previous place in appearance only not quite so dark, nor so dismal, nor so bare, and in the little room which belonged to each there were such things as we had earned as the rewards of our labors. For instance, in my room, which was still somewhat bare-looking, I had one great treasure; a picture of my love.
On a mission Franchezzo goes to the Land of Misery.
One place, The Land of Misery, was a great valley of grey stones, with dim, cold, grey hills shutting it in on every side and with the dim twilight sky overhead. Not a blade of grass, not one poor stunted shrub was to be seen, not one touch of color or brightness anywhere, only this dull desolation of grey stones. Those who dwelt in this valley had centered their lives and their affections in themselves and had shut up their hearts against all the warmth and beauty of unselfish love. They had lived only for themselves, their own gratification, their own ambitions, and now they saw nothing but themselves and the grey desolation of their hard selfish lives around them.
There were a great many beings flitting uneasily about in this valley, but strange as it seems, they had been so centered in themselves that they had lost the power to see anyone else. These unhappy beings were invisible to each other until such time as the thought of another and the desire to do something for someone besides themselves should awaken, they would then become conscious of those near to them. And through their efforts to lighten another’s lot they would improve their own, till at last their stunted affections would expand and the hazy valley of selfishness would hold them in its chains no more.
The wretched houses or dwellings of this dark Land of Misery were many large spacious places, yet all were stamped with the same appalling look of uncleanness, foulness and decay. They resembled large houses to be seen in some of our slums; once handsome mansions and fine palaces, the abodes of luxury, which have become the haunts of the lowest denizens of vice and crime. Here and there would also be great lonely tracts of country with a few scattered wretched houses; mere hovels. In other places the buildings and the people were huddled together in great gloomy degraded copies of your large cities of earth. Everywhere squalor and dirt and wretchedness reigned; nowhere was there one single bright or beautiful or gracious thing for the eye to rest upon in all this scene of desolation, made thus by the spiritual emanations from the dark beings who dwelt there.
Amongst these wretched inhabitants I wandered with my own little star of pure light, so small that it was but a bright spark flickering about in the darkness as I moved, yet around me it cast a soft pale light like a star of hope that shone for those not too blinded by their own selfish evil passions to behold it. Here and there I would come upon some crouched in a doorway or against a wall, or in some miserable room, who would arouse themselves sufficiently to look at me with my light and listen to the words I spoke to them, and would begin to seek for the better way, the returning path to those upper spheres from which they had fallen. Some I would be able to induce to join me in my work of helping others, but as a rule they could only think of their own miseries, and long for something higher than their present surroundings. Yet even this, small as it seems, was one step, with the next one being their thinking how they could help others forward would soon follow.
A brief sojourn to earth.
I was again called upon to go to earth upon a mission of help, and to leave for a time my wanderings in the spirit spheres; and it was then that the greatest and most terrible temptation of my life came to me. In the course of my work I was brought across one still in the earth body, whose influence over my earthly life had done more than aught else to wreck and spoil it. And though I also had not been blameless, far from it indeed, yet I could not but feel an intense bitterness and thirst for revenge whenever I thought of this person and all the wrongs that I had suffered; wrongs brooded over till at times I felt as if my feelings must have release in some wild burst of passionate resentment.
It so happened to me then, that when I came once more, after long years of absence, across this person whom I so hated that all my old feelings of suffering and anger revived, but with tenfold more force than is possible in earth life. For, a spirit has far, far greater capabilities of suffering or enjoyments, of pleasure or pain, love or hate, than one whose senses are still veiled and deadened by the earthly envelope.
Therefore, when I once more found myself beside this person, the desire for my long-suspended revenge woke again, and along with the desire a most devilish plan for its accomplishment suggested itself to me. And lo, my desire of vengeance drew up to me, from their haunts in the lowest hell, spirits of so black a hue, so awful a type, that never before had I seen such beings or dreamed that out of some nightmare fable they could actually exist! These beings often rise in response to an intensely felt anger, as in some great revolt of an oppressed people in whom all feeling but that of their suffering and anger has been crushed out. The bitter wrath and thirst for revenge felt by the oppressed will draw around them such a cloud of these dark beings, that horrors similar to those witnessed in the great French Revolution and kindred revolts of down-trodden people, will take place, and the maddened populace are for a time completely under the control of those spirits who are truly as devils.
The Land of Unrest.
Such miserable hovels were in this land! Such ragged, repulsive, wretched-looking people, like tramps or beggars, yet many had been amongst earth’s wealthiest and most eminent in fashionable life, and had enjoyed all that luxury could give! But because they had used their wealth only for themselves and their own enjoyments, giving to others but the paltry crumbs that they could spare from their own wealth yet hardly notice that they had given anything. And because of this, I say, they were now here in this Land of Unrest, poor as beggars in the true spiritual wealth of the soul which may be earned in the earthly life alike by the richest king or the poorest beggar. And without which those who come over to the spirit land, be they of earth’s greatest or humblest, must come here to dwell where all are alike impoverished in spiritual things.
Here some of the people would wrangle and quarrel and complain that they had not been fairly treated in being in such a place, seeing what had been their positions in earth life. They would blame others as being more culpable than themselves in the matter, and wake a thousand excuses, a thousand pretenses, to anyone who would listen to them and the story of what they would call their wrongs. Others would still be trying to follow out the schemes of their earthly lives and would try to make their hearers believe that they had found means (at the expense of someone else) of ending all this weary life of discomfort, and would plot and plan and try to carry out their schemes, and spoil the plans of others as being likely to interfere with theirs, and so on would go the weary round of life in this Land of Unrest.
Here I found nothing that I could do. Only one solitary man listened for a brief moment to what I had to say, then I did my best to relieve his sufferings by methods I had learned in the House of Hope and, after a time, the poor fellow was able to speak and tell about himself and how he came to be in that dark country. He was, it seemed, but recently from earth life, having been shot by a man who was jealous of his attentions to his wife, and not without reason. The one redeeming feature about this poor spirit’s story was that he did not feel any anger or desire for revenge upon the man who had hurried him out of life, but only sorrow and shame for it all.
The young man, whom I shall call Raoul, told me, “When I knew that I was truly dead and yet possessed the power to return to earth again, my first thought was to fly to her and console her if possible, or at least make her feel that the dead yet lived, and that even in death I thought of her. And how do you think I found her? Weeping for me? Sorrowing for him? No! not one atom. Only thinking of herself and wishing she had never seen us, or that she could blot us both out from her life by one coup-de-main, and begin life again with someone else higher in the social scale than either of us had been. The scales fell from my eyes, and I knew she had never loved me one particle. But I was rich, I was of the noblesse, and through my help she had hoped to climb another rung of the social ladder, and had willingly sunk herself into an adulteress, not for love of me, but to gain the petty triumph of queening it over some other rival woman. I was nothing but a poor blind fool, and my life had paid the penalty of my folly.”
“And now, oh! unhappy friend,” I said, “would you now seek the path of repentance that would lead you back to brighter lands and help you to regain the lost inheritance of your manhood and your higher self?”
“Alas! it is too late,” said Raoul. “In hell, and surely this is hell, there is no longer hope for any.”
“What, no hope for any?” I answered. “Say not so, my friend, for I can testify that even in the darkest despair there is forever given hope. I too have known a sorrow and bitterness as deep as yours; yet I had ever hope, for she whom I loved was as the pure angels, and her hands were ever stretched out to give me love and hope, and for her sake I work to give to others the hope given to myself. Come, let me lead you and I will guide you to that better land.”
“And who art thou, oh! friend, with the kind words and still kinder deeds to whom I might say I owe my life; but had I not learned that in this place one cannot die for we have passed beyond death. So, would it be we must live through an eternity of suffering? Tell me who you are and how you come to be here, speaking words of hope with such confidence. I might fancy you an angel sent down to help me, but that you resemble myself too much for that.”
Then I told him my history, and how I was working myself upwards even as he might do, and also spoke of the great hope I had always before me, that in time I should be fit to join my sweet love in a land where we should be no more parted. From that time Raoul and I worked together for a little in the dark land (which he has since ceased to dwell in) and from day to day he grew more hopeful. By nature, he was most vivacious and buoyant, a true Frenchman, full of airy grace and lightness of heart which even the awful surroundings of that gloomy spot could not wholly extinguish. We became great friends and our work was pleasanter from being shared. Our companionship was, however, not destined to last long then, but we have since met and worked together many times, like comrades in different regiments whom the chances of war may bring together or separate at any time.
The Frozen Land.
I was next sent to visit what will indeed seem a strange country to exist in the spirit world. The Frozen Land is where all those who had been cold and selfishly calculating in their earthly lives were interned.
Great statesmen were amongst those whom I saw dwelling in this land, but they were those who had not loved their country nor sought on behalf of its good. Only their own ambitions, their own aggrandizement had been their aim, and to me they now appeared to dwell in great palaces of ice and on the lofty frozen pinnacles of their own ambitions. Others, more humble and from different paths in life I saw, but all alike were frozen by the awful coldness and barrenness of a life from which all warmth, all passion, was shut out. I had learned the evils of an excess of emotion and of passion, now I saw the evils of their entire absence.
There was one man whom I saw who appeared to be enclosed in a cage of ice; the bars were of ice, yet they were as bars of polished steel for strength. This man had been one of the grand inquisitors of the inquisition in Venice, and had been one of those whose very names sent terror to the heart of any unfortunate who fell into their clutches; a most celebrated name in history. Yet, in all the records of his life and acts there was not one instance where one shade of pity for his victims had touched his heart and caused him to turn aside, even for one brief moment, from his awful determination in torturing and killing those whom the Inquisition got into its toils. This man, known for his own hard austere life, had no more indulgence for himself than for others. Cold and pitiless, he knew not what it was to feel one answering throb awaken in his heart for another’s sufferings.
To my mental query as to whether this man was ever released, an answer was given to me by that majestic spirit whose voice I had heard at rare times from the time when I heard it first at my own grave. On various occasions when I had asked for help or knowledge, this spirit had spoken to me, as now, sounding to me as like the voice spoken of by the prophets of old when they thought the Lord spoke to them in the thunder. This voice rang in my ears with its full deep tones, yet neither the imprisoned spirit nor those haunting him heard it; their ears were deaf so that they could not hear, and their eyes blind so that they could not see.
And to me the voice said, “Son, behold the thoughts of this man for one brief moment—see how he would use liberty were it his.” And I saw, as one sees images reflected in a mirror, the mind of this man. First the thought that if he could get free his spirit would make its way back to the earth plane. Once there, he could find some still in the flesh whose aspirations and ambitions were like his own. Then, through their help he would forge a still stronger yoke as of iron to rivet upon men’s necks, and found another crueler tyranny, an even more pitiless inquisition, if that were possible, which would crush out the last remnant of liberty left to its oppressed victims.”
The Caverns of Slumber.
On my way back from the Frozen Land to the Twilight Land, I passed a number of vast caverns called the Caverns of Slumber, wherein lay a great multitude of spirits in a state of complete stupor, unconscious of all around them. These, I learned, were the spirits of mortals who had killed themselves with opium eating and smoking, and had thus been deprived of all chance of development. And, so had retrograded instead of advancing and growing just as a limb tied up and deprived of motion withers away. And now they were feebler than an unborn infant and as little able to possess conscious life.
These caverns, in which kind spirit hands had laid them; spirits who had themselves passed through a similar state from opium poisoning in their own earth lives, were engaged in giving what life they could pour into those comatose spirit bodies which lay like rows of dead people all over the floor.
By slow degrees, these wretched beings would awake to consciousness and all the sufferings experienced by the opium eater when deprived of his deadly drug. By long and slow degrees, the poor spirits would awaken, sense by sense till at last, like feeble suffering children, they would become fit for instruction. They would then be sent to institutions where the dawning intellect would be trained and helped to develop and those faculties recovered which had been all but destroyed in the earth life.
Franchezzo’s lifelong guardian spirit.
There was another teacher or guide whom I sometimes saw whose influence over me was even greater, and from whom I learned many strange things. But, as he was in a much more advanced sphere, it was but seldom that I could see him as a distinct personality. His teachings came to me more as mental suggestions or inspirational discourses in answer to some questioning thought on my part. This spirit I shall not now describe to you, for at this time of my stay in the Twilight Land I saw him but very dimly and only clearly when my progression had carried me into a brighter state.
Though this man was not fully visible to me I was often conscious of his presence and his aid, and when later on I learned that he had been my principal guardian spirit during my earthly life, I could easily trace many thoughts and suggestions, many of my higher aspirations, to his influence. It was his voice that had so often spoke to me in warning or in comfort when I struggled on almost overwhelmed with my terrible position on first entering the spirit world. In those days of darkness, I had been faintly conscious of his form flitting in and out of my little cell and soothing my terrible sufferings with his magnetism and his wonderful knowledge and power.
On returning to the Twilight Land from the aforementioned darker spheres I had visited, I felt almost like returning to my home there, bare and shabby as my room looked, and small and narrow as it was, it yet held all my greatest treasures: my picture mirror in which I could see my beloved, and the rose, and the letter she had sent to me. Moreover, I had friends there, companions in misfortune like myself, and though we were as a rule much alone, meditating upon our past mistakes and their lessons, at times it was very pleasant to have one friend or another come to see you. And since we were all alike men who had disgraced ourselves by our earthly lives and were now seeking to follow the better way, there was even in that, a bond of sympathy.
In this land there was always around us this twilight, which was never varied with dark night or bright day, and which was most especially trying to me in its monotony. I so love light and sunshine. To me it was ever as a life-giving bath. I had been born in a land of earth where all is sunshine and flowers. Though we usually walked about the building and the surrounding country much as you do, we could float a little at will, though not so well as more advanced spirits do, and if we were in a great hurry to go anywhere our wills seemed to carry us there with the speed almost of thought.
Another strange thing was our dress—which never seemed to wear out and renewed itself in some mysterious fashion. All through this period of my wanderings and while I was in this abode it was of a dark, a very dark, blue color with a yellow girdle round the waist and a yellow anchor insignia on the left sleeve, with the words “Hope is Eternal” below it. The robe was long and such as you see penitent brotherhoods or monks wear on earth, with a hood hung from the shoulders, which could be used to cover the head and face of any who desired to screen their features from view. And indeed there were often times when we wished to do so, for suffering and remorse had made such changes in us that we were often glad to hide our faces from the gaze of those we loved. The hollow eyes, sunken cheeks, wasted and bent forms, and deep lines suffering had traced upon each face told their own story but too well. Many of us as had dear friends on earth, or in the higher spirit lands, still grieving for our loss, and we often sought to hide from their eyes our disfigured forms and faces.
Some had been there many years I learned. For, to them, the lessons were hard and slow to be learned. Others, had broken away and gone back to the life of the earth plane so many times that they had descended to the lowest sphere at last, then gone through a course of purification in that same House of Hope where I had first been. Though they had appeared to go backward instead of forward it had not been, in truth, a retrogression, but only a needful lesson since, eventually, they were thus cured of the desire to try the pleasures of the earth plane again.
A few, like myself, who had a strong and powerful motive to rise, made rapid progress and soon passed on from step to step, but there were, alas! too many who required all the hope and all the help that could be given to sustain and comfort them through all their trials; and it was my lot to be able, out of the storehouse of my own hopefulness, to give a share to others less fortunate who were not blessed, as I was, with a stream of love and sympathy flowing ever to me from my beloved on earth; cheering me on to fresh efforts with its promise of joy and peace at last.
Spirits eager to communicate with loved ones on earth.
The spirit world is full of lonely souls, all eager to return and show that they still live, still think of those whom they have left, still feel an interest in their struggles, and are as ready, and often more able, to advise and help than when they were on earth, were they not shut out by the barriers of the flesh. I have seen so many, so very many spirits hanging about the earth plane when they might have gone on to some bright sphere, but would not, because of their affection for some beloved ones left to struggle with the trials of earth.
Could these but communicate as do friends on earth do when having to go to a distant country and leave the other behind, there would not be such hopelessness of sorrow as I have often seen. And although years and the ministrations of comforting angels will soften the grief of most mortals, would it not be a happier state for both mortals and spirits could they but still hold sweet communion together as of yore?
There is no despair on earth, great as it often its, equal to the despair a spirit feels when first he realizes in all its force, the meaning of the barrier which death has placed between him and the world of mortal man. Isn’t it then wonderful that on the spirit side of life all means are being taken by those who seek to help and comfort the sorrowing ones, both on the earth and in the spirit land, to roll back these barriers and to open wide the doors that men and angels may walk and talk together upon earth, as in the days of old when the world was but young?
If there is much that is trivial, much that seems silly and foolish, and even vulgar, or grotesque and terrible, in the manifestations witnessed through many mediums and in many such circles. If there are fraudulent mediums and credulous fools or vain and conceited egotists in the movement, is it not so with all great but unrecognized truths struggling for acknowledgment? And should not all these things be excused in view of the fact that they are all attempts, clumsy and foolish though it may be at times, yet still attempts to open the doors and let the light from the spirit world in upon a sorrowful earth?
Find fault with these false or misdirected efforts if you will, but also seek for knowledge to direct them better, and you will help on those who are trying to climb to higher things. Do not simply sneer them down and crush and stifle them. Rather, recognize them for what they are—the efforts of the unseen world to lift the veil that hides your beloved dead from your eyes.
To these meetings for materialization I was always accompanied by that majestic spirit of whom I have already spoken, and whom I now knew by his name, Ahrinziman, the Eastern Guide and as I was now beginning to see him more clearly I will describe him to you.
He was a tall, majestic-looking man with long flowing white garments bordered with yellow, and a yellow girdle around his waist. His complexion was that of an Eastern, of a pale dusky tint. The features were straight and beautifully molded, as one sees them in the statues of Apollo, though their peculiar Eastern cast caused them to vary a little from the perfect Grecian type. His eyes were large, dark, soft and tender as a woman’s, yet with a latent fire and force of passion in their depths which, though subdued and controlled by his strong will, yet gave a warmth and intensity to his looks and manner, and from which I could easily believe that in his earth life he had known all the sweetness and all the passion of violent love and hate.
I retired to my little room in the Twilight Land, and throwing myself upon my couch, I sank at once into a profound dreamless slumber like into the unconscious sleep of death. In this state of unconsciousness I lay for about two weeks of earthly time. During which my soul passed from the disfigured astral body and came forth like a newborn child, clothed in a brighter, purer spiritual envelope which my efforts at overcoming the evil in myself had created for it. In a state of perfect unconsciousness my newborn soul was born with the help of attendant spirit friends into a higher state until the time came for my awakening.
The discarded astral envelope I had left was, by the power of attendant spirits, dissolved into the same elements of the earth plane, just as my earthly body left at my first death would decay into the earthly material from which it had been taken. Thus did I, my immortal soul, pass through my second death and awake to the resurrection of my higher self.
Upon my awakening for the second time from a sleep of death to consciousness in the spirit world, I found that I was in much pleasanter surroundings. There was daylight at last, though it was as that of a dull day without sun. Yet, what a blessed change from the dismal twilight and the dark night!
The Land of Dawn.
I was in a neat little room, quite like an earthly one, lying upon a little bed of soft white down. Before me was a long window looking out upon a wide stretch of hills and undulating country. This region was called the Land of Dawn, and truly the light was as the day appears before the sun has arisen to warm it.
At last, I turned away from the window, and seeing what was like a small mirror near me, I looked to see what change there might be in myself. I started back with an exclamation of joy and surprise. Was it possible? Could this be as I appeared now? I gazed and gazed again. Is this myself? Why, I was young again! I looked a man of about thirty or thirty-five and I beheld myself as I had been in my prime on earth! I had looked so old, so haggard, so miserable in that Twilight Land that I had avoided looking at myself. I had looked twenty times worse than I could ever have looked on earth had I lived to be a hundred years old. And now, why, I was young! I held out my hand, it was firm and fresh-looking like my face. I was in all respects a young man again in my prime of vigor, yet not quite as I had been; no! there was a sadness in my look, a certain something more in the eyes that showed the suffering through which I had passed.
While I yet mused upon the change which had passed over me, the door opened and a spirit glided in dressed (as I now was) in a long robe of a dark blue color with yellow bordering, and the symbol of our order on the sleeve. He had come to invite me to a banquet which was to be given to myself and others who were newly arrived from the lower sphere.
“All is simple here,” said he, “even our festivals, yet there will be the salt of friendship to season it and the wine of love to refresh you all. Today you are all our honored guests, and we all wait to welcome you as those who have fought a good fight and gained a worthy victory.”
Following a most welcoming speech, at a signal we, the new arrivals, many of us almost overcome by these kindly words and this mark of honor, drew near and kneeling down before the Grand Master, he d placed upon our heads laurel crowns which the youths handed to the Master.
When the last of us had received his crown, such a shout of joy went up from the assembled Brothers, such cheers! They then sang a most beautiful song of praise with so lovely a melody and such poetic words that I would, if I could, reproduce it all for you. When this was over we were each led to a seat by an attendant brother and the banquet began.
Franchezzo is greeted by his father.
In all my wanderings since my death I had never once seen any of my relatives nor the friends who had passed before me into the spirit land. But one day when I came as usual to the earthy plane to see my beloved, I found her full of some mysterious message she had received, and which she was to give me herself. After a little she told me that it was from a spirit who had come to visit her who said he was my father and that he wished her to give his message to me. I was so overcome when she said this that I could scarcely speak; scarcely ask what his message was.
I had so loved my father upon earth, for my mother had died when I was so young that she was but a faint tender memory to me. But my father, he had been everything to me. He had had such pride and joy in all my successes, such hopes for my future. Then, when I had made shipwreck of my life, I knew I had broken his heart. He did not long survive the crushing of all his hopes with my death, and since his death I had only thought of him with pain and shame of heart.
Ah! how I cried out to my beloved when I heard those words, and how I longed to see that father again and be taken once more into his heart as when I was a boy! And as I turned away I beheld his spirit standing by us, just as I had seen him last in life, only with a glory of the spirit world upon him such as no mortal eyes have ever seen. My father, so long parted from me, and to meet again thus! We had no words to greet each other with but “My father” and “My son.”
The great system of divine help.
Besides the Brothers of Hope from the Land of Dawn there were spirits who had themselves been rescued from the Kingdoms of Hell and who were therefore best fitted to aid these poor wanderers in need. There were other similar bands from other brotherhoods always being sent down to the dark spheres, these expeditions are, in fact, part of the great system of help for sinners ever being carried on in the name of the Eternal Father of all, who dooms none of his children to an eternity of misery.
The friend, Hassein, whom Ahrinziman sent to accompany and instruct me, appeared to my eyes as a youth of about five-and-twenty to thirty years of age, judging by earth’s standard in such matters, but he told me he had lived to upwards of sixty years on earth. His present appearance was that of his spiritual development, which alone constitutes the age of a spirit. As a spirit grows more highly developed in his intellectual powers, the appearance becomes more matured till at last he assumes that of a sage, without, however, the wrinkles and defects of age in earth life, only its dignity, its power, and its experience. Thus, when a spirit has attained to the highest possible development of the earth (or any other planet’s) spheres he would possess the appearance of one of its patriarchs, and would then pass into the higher and more extended spheres of the solar system of that planet, beginning there as a youth again since his development compared to that of the advanced spirits of those higher spheres would be but that of a youth.
Hussein advises on séances and reincarnation.
Hassein informs Franchezzo that there are the real dangers to guard against during séances, and it is only by the increase of knowledge amongst the true and noble mediums incarnated in the earthly body that it will be successfully done. For, then mortals and spirit workers will labor in unison, and mutually protect the spiritual movement from fraud and from the mistakes of the well-meaning but half-ignorant spirits and mortals who are doing good work in directing the attention of mankind to the matter, but who often do harm both to themselves and others. They are like ignorant chemists and liable to bring destruction and harm upon others as well as on themselves in their experiments in search of knowledge.
“Then you would not advise the indiscriminate cultivation of mediumistic powers by all mortals?”
“Certainly not. I would have all men use the powers of those who have been carefully developed under wise guardians, and I would have all assisted to cultivate them who are truly anxious to develop their powers as a means of doing good to others. But when you consider how manifold and how selfish may be the motives of those mediumistically endowed, you will see how exceedingly difficult it would be to protect them.”
Hussein adds that there are any number of astral beings some living and some not (being but projections of the thoughts of certain humans). Some hover around drunkards, not to experience the effects of inebriation, but to draw from their human life force thus further draining the life from the already weakened soul.
“Do you, then, hold the doctrine of reincarnation?” I asked.
“Not as an absolute law under which all spirits must pass, but I do believe that in the experiences of many spirits reincarnation is a law of their progression. Each spirit or soul born into planetary life has spiritual guardians who, from the celestial spheres, superintend its welfare and educate the soul by which means as seem best to them in their wisdom. These spiritual guardians, or, as some term them, angels, differ in their methods and their schools of thought. For there is no sameness anywhere, and no absolute path upon which all must walk alike.”
The approach to hell.
I would have liked to ask Hassein a great many more questions about the astral plane and its many curious forms of life, but we were now fast leaving it behind and passing downwards through those lower spheres which I had partly explored before. We were traveling through space at a wonderful velocity, not quite with the rapidity of thought but at a speed difficult for the mind of mortal to conceive. Onward and still onward we swept, sinking ever lower and farther away from the brighter spheres, and as we sank a certain sense of awe and expectancy crept over our souls and hushed our talk. We seemed to feel in advance the horrors of that awful land and the sorrows of its inhabitants.
We, along with several other members of the Brotherhood of Hope were to be scattered as missionary workers over the dark country, to save and help such as we found willing to accept our aid. To my surprise I found that a change had passed over me which acclimatized me to the atmosphere and surroundings in which I now found myself. I seemed to have put on, or, as it were, clothed myself in a certain amount of the specially coarse materiality of that sphere. My body was more dense, and when I attempted to rise and float as I had done before, I found it was only with great difficulty I could do so. A certain portion of sustaining essences, sufficient to last during our sojourn in this lowest sphere, was given to each of us, and then a few final directions and warnings were addressed to us by our leader.
Hassein now bid me good-bye and added, “I shall come from time to time, to give you news of your beloved, and of your other friends, and you can send a message to them at such times, by me. Always remember that you will be surrounded by every species of deceit and falsehood Your thoughts they may guess, but they will not be able to read them clearly, since you are above them in spiritual development.”
In these regions there are men who were amongst the greatest intellectual powers of their age, but whose awful careers of wickedness have sunk them to these spheres where they are even more despotic tyrants now than they were upon earth. Beware then, and heed all the warnings we have given you. Now and again you will receive help and encouragement from your sincere friends until your mission shall have been accomplished, and you return, let us hope, as a victor in a good cause. Hassein bids Franchezzo adieu and asks that the blessings of the Great Father of all be with him.
The companion who was assigned to me in this expedition was a spirit, Faithful Friend, who had been in this sphere before, and who was therefore, well fitted to act as my guide on entering this Land of Horrors. After a short time we were to separate, he told me, and each to follow his own path. But, at any time either of us could, if needful, summon the other to his aid in case of extremity.
We drew near what appeared like the crater of a vast volcano; ten thousand Vesuvius’s in one! Above us the sky was black as night, and but for the lurid glare of the flames we should have been in total darkness. Once we reached the mass of fire I could see that it was a fiery wall surrounding the country, through which all who sought to enter or leave it must pass.
“See now, Franchezzo,” said Faithful Friend, “we are about to pass through this wall of fire. But, do not let that alarm you, for so long as your courage and your will do not fail, and you exert all your will-power to repel these fiery particles, they cannot come in actual contact with your body. Like the waters of the Red Sea they will fall apart on either side and we shall pass through unscathed.”
The Imperial City.
Next we were traversing a wide causeway of black marble. On either side were deep, dark chasms of which it was impossible to see the bottom from the great clouds of heavy vapor that hung over them. Passing and repassing us upon this highway were a great many dark spirits, some bearing enormous heavy loads upon their backs, others almost crawling along on all fours like beasts. Great gangs of slaves passed us wearing heavy iron collars on their necks and linked together by heavy ropes and chains. They were coming from the first gate of what was evidently a large fortified city whose dark buildings loomed through the dense masses of dark fog in front of us.
The style of buildings, the causeway, and the appearance of many of the spirits made me feel as though we were entering some ancient fortified city of the old Roman Empire. Only here everything gave one the sense of it being foul and horrible, in spite of the fine architecture and the magnificent buildings whose outlines we could dimly trace. The second gateway was finer in appearance than the first, and with the gates being open, we passed in with the stream of spirits hurrying through it, and as before we seemed to pass unseen.
“You will perceive,” said Faithful Friend, “that here there is a life in no way different from the earthly life of such a city at the time when (the one of which this is the spiritual reflection) was in the full zenith of its power. The particles from which all this was formed were thrown off from its earthly material life and drawn down by the force of attraction to form this city and these buildings; fit dwellings for its spiritual inhabitants. You will also see in the more modern appearance of many of the buildings and their inhabitants how the city has been added to from time to time by the same process which is going on continuously.”
“You will also notice that most of the spirits here fancy themselves still in the earthly counterpart and wonder why all looks so dark and foul and dingy. In a similar manner, this same city has its spiritual counterpart in the higher spheres to which all that was fair, good and noble in its life has been attracted. For, in the lives of the cities, as well as of men, the spiritual emanations are attracted upwards or downwards accordingly as there is good or evil in the deeds done in or by them.”
We were now in a narrow street, such as it must have been in the earthly city, then a short distance farther brought us into a large square surrounded with magnificent palaces. Before us towered one more splendid in design than all the others. A great wide flight of marble steps led up to its massive portico, and looming through the dark cloudy atmosphere we could trace its many wings and buildings. All was truly on a magnificent scale. Yet, all of it appeared dark, stained with great splashes of blood and covered with slimy fungus growth which also hung in repulsive-looking festoons, like twisted snakes, from all the pillars and cope-stones of the buildings. Black slimy mud oozed up through the crevices of the marble pavement, as though the city floated upon a foul swamp. Fetid vapors curled up from the ground and floated above and around us in fantastic and horrible smoke wreaths like huge phantoms of past crimes. Everywhere there were dark spirits crawling across the great square and in and out of the palace doors, driven onward by other stronger dark spirits with lash or spear. Such cries of execration as broke forth from time to time, such fearful oaths, such curses and imprecations. It was truly the pandemonium of the lost souls in these infernal regions! And over all hung those black night clouds of sorrow and suffering and wrong.
Far away to the earth my thoughts traveled back to the days of the Roman Empire and I saw, reflected as in a glass, this city in all the splendor of her power, in all the iniquities of her tyranny and her crimes weaving down below, from the loom of fate, this other place of retribution for all those men and women who disgraced her beauties by their sins. I saw this great city of Hell building atom by atom till it should become a monstrous prison for all the evil spirits of that wicked time.
“I cannot enter with you, Franchezzo, because I have already visited the dark spirit who reigns here. Therefore, my presence would at once excite his suspicions and defeat the object of your visit, which is that you may rescue an unhappy spirit whose repentant prayers have reached the higher spheres, and will be answered by the help you are sent to give him. You will find the person you seek without any difficulty. His desire for help has already drawn us thus near to him and will draw you still closer. I must now, for a time, part from you because I have my own path of work to follow. But we shall meet again before long. If you but keep a stout heart and a strong will and do not forget the warnings given you, no harm can befall you. Adieu, my friend.”
On a great throne sat the Emperor himself, a most foul and awful example of degraded intellect and manhood, in all that vast crowd of degraded spirits. Stamped upon his features was such a look of cruelty and vice that beside him the others sank into insignificance by comparison. I could not but admire, even while it revolted me, the majestic power of this man’s intellect and will. The kingly sense of power over even such a motley crew as these, the feeling that even in Hell he reigned as by a right, seemed to minister to his pride and love of dominion even in the midst of his awful surroundings.
Looking at him I beheld him for but one brief moment, not as I saw him and as he saw the disgusting creatures round him, but as he still appeared in his own eyes. Even after all these centuries, he perceived not his true grotesque state, his real self. I saw him as a haughty handsome man, with cruel clear-cut features, hard expression, and eyes like a wild vulture, yet withal possessing a certain beauty of form, a certain power to charm; when all that was repulsive and vile was hidden by the earthly envelope and not revealed as all is in the nakedness of the spirit. I also briefly saw his court and his companions change back to the likeness of their earthly lives, and I knew that all were alike unconscious of the horrible change in themselves, yet perfectly conscious of the change in each of their companions.
Were all thus unconscious? No! not quite all. There was one man crouching in a corner, his mantle drawn over his disfigured face, whom I perceived to be fully conscious of his own vileness as well as the vileness of all who surrounded him. And in this man’s heart there had sprung up a desire, hopeless as it seemed to himself, for better things, for a path to open before him which, however hard and thorny, that might lead him from this night of Hell and give him, even at this eleventh hour, the hope of a life removed from the horrors of this place and these associates. And as I looked I knew it was to this man that I was sent, though how I was to help him I knew not.
I only felt that the power which had led me so far would indeed show me the way. While I had stood thus gazing around me the dark spirits and their ruler became conscious of my presence, and a look of anger and ferocity passed over his face. Then with a voice thick and hoarse with passion he demanded who I was and how I dared to enter his presence.
I answered, “I am a stranger only lately come to this dark sphere and I am still lost in wonder at finding such a place in the spirit world.” A wild ferocious laugh broke from the spirit, and he cried out that they would soon enlighten me as to many things in the spirit world. “But since you are a stranger,” he continued, “and because we always receive strangers most royally here, I pray you to be seated and partake with us of our feast.”
“While I fully appreciate the motives which prompt you to offer me the hospitality of your place, I must still decline it, as I have no desire to either eat or drink anything.”
At this rebuff his eyes shot gleams of living fire at me and a deeper shade of anger crossed his brow, but still he maintained a pretense of graciousness and signaled to me to approach yet nearer to him. Meanwhile the man whom I had come to help, aroused from his bitter meditations by my arrival and the Emperor’s speech with me, had drawn near in wonder at my boldness and alarmed for my safety. For he knew no more of me than that I seemed some unlucky new arrival who had not yet learned the dangers of this horrible place. His anxiety and a certain sense of pity for me created a link between us, which, unknown to either, was to be the means whereby I would be able to draw him away with me.
“Approach, stranger! Have you no manners that you keep an Emperor waiting? Behold my chair of state, my throne, seat yourself in it and try for a moment how it feels to be in an Emperor’s place.”
I looked at the throne he pointed at and saw it was a great chair with a canopy over it. Two immense winged figures in bronze stood at the back of the seat, each with six long arms extended to form the back and sides, while upon the heads of these figures the canopy rested as upon pillars. I had no thought to sit in such a place; its late occupant was too repulsive to me to desire to go any nearer to him. Had even curiosity made me wish to examine the chair the sight I saw would have effectually prevented me for, the chair seemed suddenly to become endowed with life, and before my eyes I beheld a vision of an unhappy spirit struggling in the embraces of those awful arms which encircled it and crushed its body into a mangled writhing mass.
“I have no desire to place myself upon your level, and must again decline the honor you would do me.”
He then broke into a tempest of rage, and cried out to his guards to seize me and thrust me into that chair and pour the food and the wine down my throat till they choked me. Then immediately there was a rush made towards me and the man I had come to save threw himself before me to protect me. In an instant we were surrounded by a seething, fighting mass of spirits, and for that moment, I confess my heart sank within me and my courage began to fail; they looked so horrible, so fiendish, so like a pack of wild beasts let loose and all setting upon me at once; only for a moment, however, for the conflict aroused all my combative qualities of which I have been known to possess my fair share.
I threw out all my will to repel them calling upon all good powers to aid me while I grasped firm hold of the poor spirit who had sought to help me. Thusly I retreated to the door, step-by-step. The whole crowd of dark spirits followed us with wild cries and menacing gestures, yet unable to touch us while I kept firm my determination to keep them off. At last we reached the door and passed through it whereupon it seemed to close fast and keeping in our pursuers. Then strong arms seemed to lift us both up and bear us away into a place of safety on the dark plain.
My rescued companion was by this time in a state of unconsciousness, and as I stood by him I saw four majestic spirits from the higher spheres making magnetic passes over his prostrate form. Then I beheld the most wonderful sight I had ever seen. From the dark disfigured body which lay as in a sleep of death there arose a mist-like vapor which grew more and more dense till it took shape in the form of the spirit himself; the purified soul of that poor spirit released from its dark envelope.
Next I saw four angelic spirits lift the still unconscious risen soul in their arms, as one would carry a small child, and then they all floated away from me up, up, until they vanished from my sight. At my side stood another bright angel who said to me, “Be of good cheer, oh! son of the Land of Hope, for many shalt thou help in this dark land, and great is the joy of the angels in Heaven over these sinners that have repented.” As he finished speaking he vanished and I was alone once more on the bleak plains of hell.
Away before me stretched a narrow path, and curious to see where it would lead I followed it sure that it would somehow lead me to those whom I could help. Before me was a gigantic dungeon-like vault, its rocky roof half hidden by the masses of lurid smoke and flames which arose from an enormous fire blazing in the middle of the cavern. Around it were dancing such a troop of demons as might well typify the devils of hell. With shrieks and yells of laughter they were prodding at the fire with long black spears while dancing and flinging themselves about in the wildest fashion. In a corner huddled together were a dozen or so miserable dark spirits towards whom they made frantic rushes from time to time as if about to seize and hurl them into the fire, always retreating again with yells and howls of rage.
Then the same deep mysterious voice that had often spoken to me in my wanderings now spoke to me.
“Son! they are living souls whom in their earthly lives doomed hundreds of their fellow men to die a dreadful death and knew no pity, no remorse, in doing so. Their own cruelties have kindled these fierce flames of hatred and vengeance in the breast of their many victims, and in the spirit world these flames have grown till they are now fierce enough to consume the oppressors. These fires are fed solely by the fierce cruelties of those they now consume. Do not shudder nor marvel that such retribution as this is allowed to be. The souls of these spirits were so hard, so cruel, that only sufferings felt by themselves could make them pity others.
Franchezzo observed a particular man in Hell surrounded by those he had wronged and was haunted by the empty wraiths (lifeless yet animated figures) of those who were too good and pure to come to this place of horror or to wish for vengeance on their murderer. Yet, if he could have doomed his victims to death a second time he would have done it. In his heart there was neither pity nor remorse, only anger that he was now so powerless.
These demons of the wronged I had beheld were the last and fiercest of his victims in whom the desire for revenge was even then not fully satisfied, while those I had beheld crouching in the corner were some who, no longer desirous of tormenting him themselves, had yet been unable to withdraw themselves from beholding his sufferings and those of his accomplices.
And now I beheld that spirit with the newly awakened thought of repentance and returning to the city to warn others of his Jesuit fraternity to try to turn them from the path of his own errors. He did not yet realize the many, many years that had elapsed since he had left the earth life, nor that this city was the spiritual counterpart of the one he had lived in on earth. In time, I was told, he would be sent back to earth to work as a spirit in helping to teach mortals the pity and mercy he had not shown in his own life. But first he would have to work here in this dark place, striving to release the souls of those whom his crimes had dragged down with him. Thus I left this man at the door of the building which was the counterpart of his earthly house, and passed on by myself through the city.
And as I wandered on I had a waking dream, and saw the city as it had been on earth before the white man had set his foot upon its soil. I saw a peaceful primitive people living upon fruits and grains and leading their simple lives in an innocence akin to that of childhood, worshiping the Great Supreme under a name of their own giving, yet none the less worshiping him in spirit and in truth. Their simple faith and their patient virtues were the outcome of the inspiration given them from that Great Spirit who is universal and belongs to no creeds, no churches.
Then I saw white men come thirsting for gold and greedy to grasp the goods of others, and these simple people welcomed them like brothers, and in their innocence showed them the treasures they had gathered from the earth; the gold and silver and jewels. Then I saw the treachery which marked the path of the white man; how they plundered and killed the simple natives, how they tortured and made slaves of them, forcing them to labor in the mines till they died by the thousands. I saw how all the promises were broken by the white man till the peaceful happy country was filled with tears and blood.
Then I beheld, far away in Spain, a few good, true, kindly men whose souls were pure and who believed that they alone had the one true faith by which only man can be saved and live eternally; they who thought that God had given this light to but one small group of select people on but one small spot on earth thus leaving countless millions to perish for this light had been denied to them.
I thought that these good and pure men were so sorry for those who, they thought, were in the darkness and error of a false religion. So they set forth and crossed that unknown ocean to that strange far-away land to carry with them their system of religion, and to give it to those poor simple people whose lives had been so good and gentle and spiritual under their own faith, their own beliefs. I saw these good but ignorant priests land on this strange shore and beheld them working everywhere amongst the natives, spreading their own beliefs and destroying all traces of a primitive faith as worthy of respect as their own. These priests were kind good men who sought to alleviate the physical lot of the poor oppressed natives and while they labored for their spiritual welfare there sprang up missions, churches and schools.
I then turned my attention back to a particular spirit whom I recently passed by one crouched in a corner most tired of his vengeance. I touched him upon the shoulder and said, “Friend, I know why you are here, and all the cruel story of the wrongs done to you and your wife and child. I am sent from her, whom you still love most dearly, to tell you that in the bright land above she awaits you, wearying that you do not come and saddened that you can find revenge more sweet than her caresses. She bids me, through earnest prayer, to tell you that you chain yourself here when you might be free.”
The spirit started as I spoke, then turning to me grasped my arm and gazed long and earnestly into my face as though to read there whether I spoke truly or falsely. Then he sighed as he drew back saying, “Who are you and why do you come here? You are like none of those who belong to this awful place, and your words are words of hope, yet how can there be hope for the soul in hell?”
“There is hope even here; for hope is eternal and God in his mercy shuts no one out from it, whatever man in his earth-distorted image of the divine teachings may lead to. I am sent to give hope to you and to others who are, like you, in sorrow for the past, and if you will but come with me, I can show you how to reach the better land.”
I saw that he hesitated, and a bitter struggle went on in his heart, for he knew that it was his presence which kept his enemy a prisoner; that were he to go the other would be free to wander through this dark land, and he could hardly let him go. Then I spoke again of his wife and his child; would he not rather go to them? The strong passionate man broke down as he thought of those loved ones, and burying his face in his hands wept bitter tears. I put my arm through his and led him, unresisting, out of the prison and out of the city. Here we found kind spirit friends were awaiting the poor man, and with them I left him that they might bear him to a bright land where he would see his wife from time-to-time till he worked himself up to the level of her sphere, where they would be united forever in a happiness more perfect than could ever have been their lot on earth.
In this hell Franchezzo tells of the many more spirits interned there (in some cases for centuries) for their evil deeds during their life on earth, yet now repentant. He then advises those whom we had rescued to do all they could to help others in this land of darkness as a return for the help given to them.
Having given them what advice and help I could I started once more upon my pilgrimage. There was one however, a pirate, who seemed so very unwilling to part from me and so together we pressed onward. I shall not attempt to describe all whom we sought to help in our wanderings for, were I to do so, this narrative would fill volumes and probably only weary my readers. So, I shall pass over what seemed to me like weeks of earthly time following which we both felt somewhat discouraged with the results of our efforts to help people. Here and there we had found a few who were willing to listen and to be helped. But, as a rule our attempts had been met with scorn and derision; while not a few had even attacked us for interfering with them and we had some trouble to save ourselves from injury.
The pirate, having proven himself, was then taken by the members of the Brotherhood of Hope to the Home of Help as Franchezzo was taken so many earth years ago. Now Franchezzo wandered alone through the Forrest of Desolation and the Great City of Entertainments where he saw many terrible places and beings in search of more wanting to be rescued that he could be of help to.
The Palace of His Ancestors
He arrives at The Palace of His Ancestors where he finds many spirits of his noble ancestors among others familiar to him. And here again he meets up and partners with Faithful Friend.
Just outside the palace seated upon the parapet of one of the smaller bridges we found a man, wearing the dress of the Brothers of Hope; a dark grey robe such as I had myself worn in the earlier stages of my wanderings. His arms were folded upon his breast and his face was so far concealed by the hood that we could not see his features, but I knew at once that this was the man we had come to see. I recognized his identity as that of a celebrated Venetian painter whom I had known in my youth, though not very intimately. We had not met again and I was ignorant that he had passed from earth till I saw him sitting thus upon the bridge in this city of Hell. I confess the recognition gave me a bit of a shock, recalling as I did those days of my youth when I also was a student of art with all the fairest prospects in life before us, and now to see him and to think what his life must have been to bring him to this pass.
He did not see us, so Faithful Friend proposed that we should turn aside for a little while he told me this spirit’s history, following which we could approach him together and speak to him. It seemed that this man (whom I shall call by his spirit name of Benedetto, since his earthly life is better to be forgotten) had risen rapidly into fame after I knew him and had been fairly successful in selling his pictures. But, Italy was not then such a rich country and Benedetto’s most wealthy patrons were the English and Americans who came to visit Venice. And, it was through one of them that Benedetto met the woman who was to overshadow his whole life with her baneful influence.
“He was young, handsome, talented, highly educated, and of an ancient though poor family, and therefore naturally received by all the best society in Venice. It was to this lady who belonged to the higher ranks of this social sphere that Benedetto lost his heart, and dreamed in his youthful and romantic foolishness that she would be content to become the wife of a struggling artist with nothing but his brains and a growing reputation. The lady was scarce twenty when they first met, very beautiful, perfect alike in face and form, and endowed with all the charms which can enslave the heart of man. She encouraged Benedetto in every way, so that, poor youth, he believed her love to be as sincere as his. But, with all the passionate thirst of her nature for admiration and love she was cold, calculating, ambitious, and worldly; incapable of either understanding or returning such a love as she inspired in a nature like Benedetto’s, which knows love or hate only in extremes. She was flattered by his attentions, charmed by his passionate devotion, and proud of having made conquest of one so handsome and so gifted. Yet, she had no idea of sacrificing anything for his sake, and even when she was most tender, she was but striving with all her arts to become the wife of a middle-aged Venetian nobleman, whose wealth and position she coveted, though she actually despised the man.”
“The end of Benedetto’s dream came all to soon. He ventured to lay his heart and all his prospects at the feet of his inamorata, pouring into her ears all the love and devotion of his soul. And she? Well, she received it all very coolly, told him not to be a fool, explained to him how impossible it was that she could do without money and position, and dismissed him with a calm indifference to his sufferings which nearly drove him mad.”
“He fled from Venice, went to Paris, and there plunged into all the dissipations of that gay capital, striving to bury the recollection of his unfortunate passion. They did not meet for some years when Benedetto’s fate took him back to Venice once more, cured, he hoped, and prepared to despise himself for his folly. He had now become famous as a painter and could almost command his own price for his pictures. He found that the lady had duly married the Marchese and was reigning as a society beauty and a queen of fashion often surrounded by a crowd of admirers (whom she did not always feel it necessary to introduce to her husband). Benedetto had resolved to treat the lady with cool indifference should they meet. But, this was not her intention. Once her slave, always so, for no lover should dare to break her chain till she chose to dismiss him. She devoted herself once more to the subjugation of Benedetto’s heart, and, alas! that heart was only too ready to surrender when she told him, with every accent of feeling in her voice, how she now regretted the path she had chosen.”
“Thus Benedetto became her unacknowledged lover, and for a time he lived in a state of intoxication of happiness. But only for a time. The lady tired of everyone after a little; she liked fresh conquests, new slaves to do her homage. She also liked excitement, and Benedetto with his jealousy, his eternal devotion, grew tiresome, his presence wearisome. Moreover, there was another admirer, young, rich, handsome also, and the Marchesa preferred him. She bade Benedetto be gone for the second time. His passionate reproaches, his violent protestations, his vehement anger all annoyed the lady greatly and she grew colder, and even more insolent towards him. He threatened, he implored, he vowed he would shoot himself if she proved false to him, and finally after a violent scene they parted and Benedetto went home.”
“When he called next day he was told by the servant that the Marchesa declined to see him again. The insolence of a message thus given him, the heartlessness of the Marchesa, the bitter shame of being a second time trifled with and flung aside like an old glove, were too much for his passionate fiery nature, and he went back to his studio and blew out his brains.”
“When his spirit awoke to consciousness it was to all the horrors of finding himself a prisoner in his coffin in the grave. He had destroyed his material body but he could not free his spirit from it, till the decaying of that body should liberate the soul. Those loathsome particles of that corrupting body still clothed the spirit thus the link between them was not severed.”
“Oh, the horror of such a fate! Can anyone hear of it and not shudder to think what the bitter weariness and discontent of life, and a reckless desire to be free of it at any cost, may plunge the soul into? If those on earth would be truly merciful in the case of a suicide (though on rare occasions it is quite understandable) and earnestly pray for the soul, the sooner the spirit is freed from such a prison.”
“And it further maddened him to think of the sufferings he had brought upon himself for the love of this woman. At last all thoughts became merged in the one thought of how he could find the means to drag her down from her position, how to strip her of all those things which she prized more than love, or honor, or even the lives of those who might be called her victims.”
“And he succeeded! For spirits have more powers than mortals dream of. Step-by-step he saw her come down from her proud position; first losing wealth, then honor, stripped of every disguise she had worn, and known at last for what she was; a vile temptress who played with men’s souls as one plays with dice, careless of how many hearts she broke, how many lives she ruined, careless alike of her husband’s honor and even her own fair reputation so long as she could hide her intrigues from the eyes of the world and, all the while, rise a step higher in wealth and power upon the body of each new victim.”
“And even in his darkness and misery, Benedetto was comforted to think it was his hands that were dragging her down and tearing the mask from her beauty and worldliness. She wondered how it was that so many events all tended to one end, her ruin. How it was that her most carefully laid schemes were thwarted, her most jealously guarded secrets found out and held up to the light of day. She began at last to tremble at what each day might bring forth. It was as though some unseen agency, whose toils she could not escape, was at work to crush her.”
“Then she thought of Benedetto and his last threats that if she drove him to despair he would send himself to Hell and drag her with him. She once had considered he might murder her perhaps but when she heard he had shot himself and was dead, she felt relieved and soon forgot him. And now, here she was always thinking of him! She could not get away from the obtrusive thought and she began to shudder with fear lest he should rise from his grave and haunt her.”
“And all the time there stood Benedetto’s spirit beside her, whispering in her ears and telling her that this was his revenge come to him at last. He whispered to her of the past and of that love that had seemed so sweet and that had turned to bitter burning hatred, consuming him as with the fire of Hell whose flames should scorch her soul also and drive her to a despair as great as his. And her mind felt this haunting presence even while her bodily eyes could see nothing. In vain she fled to society, to all places where there were crowds of men and women, in order to escape. Yet still, the haunting presence was with her everywhere. Day by day it grew more distinct, more real, a something from which there was no escape.”
“At last one evening in the dim grey of twilight she saw him, with his wild menacing eyes, his fierce passionate hate expressing itself in every line of his face, in every gesture of his form. The shock was too much for her overwrought nerves and she fell dead upon the floor. Benedetto then knew that he had succeeded and had killed her, and that from henceforth the brand of Cain was stamped upon his brow.”
“It was in this place that I found him,” said Faithful Friend, “and was able to help the now repentant man and to show him how he might best undo the wrong he had done. He now awaits the coming of this woman he so loved and hated, in order that he may ask her to forgive him and that he may forgive her as well. She has also been drawn to this sphere, for her own life was very guilty, and it is in this spiritual counterpart of that city which saw the history of their earthly love that they will meet again, and that is why he awaits her upon this bridge where, similarly on earth, she had so often met him.”
“And will she meet him soon, askes Franchezzo?”
“No, oh no! she will be also helped to progress, but their paths will lie widely asunder. There was no true affinity between them, only passion, and pride and wounded self-love. They part in this sphere to meet no more.”
Benedetto is eventually freed from this palace in hell. Yet, Franchezzo is told the two of them shall meet again much later once Benedetto has much evolved and when Franchezzo is given a new and beautiful home in a brilliant land once he is worthy of such a life.
Before then however, Franchezzo goes on to describe, for example, the music in hell that sounds of the screeches of the tormented. And of seeing a terrible spirit warfare where, after the war was fought, the victors set upon killing one another. Faithful Friend, who was still beside him, pointed out the numerous stars of light which had gathered on that field of pain and explained that these lights were carried by those of our Brotherhood who were, like themselves, drawn here on their mission of love and mercy.
Eventually the writhing, moaning forms had sunk into unconsciousness and a short time after I saw a sight that was both strange and wonderful indeed. Over each silent form there arose a faint misty floating vapor, such as I had seen once before in the case of a spirit we had rescued, as I have already told. Gradually these vapors took shape and solidity and assumed the form of the released spirit, or soul, then each was borne away by bands of bright ethereal spirits, who had gathered above our heads, till the last was gone and our work and theirs’ was done.
Next I perceived that those Brothers of Hope, whom, like myself, had been assisting the poor wounded spirits, all belonged to the same company as myself, and we were all collecting together; the little starry lights we each carried looking indeed like emblems of hope in darkness. Faithful Friend and I joined the others and we were soon interchanging greetings and congratulations, like a brigade of soldiers about to return home after a successful campaign.
Once all were assembled the leader of the Brothers gave a victory speech [the end of it here below]:
“What we can see, what we do know and may grasp, is the great and ever present truth that hope is truly eternal and progression is ever possible even to the lowest and most degraded and sin-stained soul. It is this great truth we would have each of you to preach both to mortal and immortal man when you return to the earth planes and to your work there. And as you have been helped and strengthened and taught, so do you feel bound by the obligations of gratitude and the ties of Universal Brotherhood to help others. Let us now bid farewell to this Dark Land, not in sorrow over its sadness and its sins, but in hope and with earnest prayer for the future of all who are yet in the bonds of suffering and sin.”
As our great leader concluded his speech we took our last look at the Dark Country and, as we descended the mountain, we passed once more through the Ring of Fire, which, as before, was by our will power driven back on either side of us that we might pass through in safety. Thus ended my wanderings in the Kingdoms of Hell.
Later, upon our return to the Land of Dawn, or Morning Land, we met with a right royal welcome from our Brotherhood, and a festival was given in our honor.
On entering our own little rooms each of us found a new robe awaiting him. It was of a very light grey, an almost white color, with a yellow girdle and on the left sleeve was the insignia of our order; an anchor and a star in deep golden yellow. I greatly prized this new dress because in the spirit world the dress symbolizes the state of advancement of the spirit, and is esteemed as showing what each one has attained. What I prized even more than this new dress, however, was a most beautiful wreath of pure white spirit roses which I found had clustered around and framed the magical picture of my beloved; a frame of flowers that never withered, never faded, and whose fragrance was wafted to me as I reposed on the snow white couch and gazed out upon those peaceful hills behind which there shone the dawning day.
My next task was once more upon the earth plane, in those cities whose spiritual counterparts I had seen in Hell. I had to labor among the mortals and the spirits who thronged there and impress upon their minds a sense of what I had seen in that dark sphere far below. I knew I could only make them dimly conscious of it, only arouse a little their dormant sense of future retribution for their present misdeeds. But even that was something and would help to deter some from a too complete abandonment of themselves to selfish pleasure. Moreover, amongst the spirits who were earthbound in those cities I found many whom I could assist, with the knowledge and strength which I had gained in my journey.
A sojourn to the Land of Remorse then back to earth where he encounters his mortal enemy.
Following that he was sent to the Land of Remorse where again he encountered many great challenges and dangers. With the help of Ahriziman, his great and wise spirit guide throughout his life, who suddenly appears, Franchezzo prevails.
Following that trial he again visits earth briefly and comes upon his great nemesis which brought forth old feelings of hatred and revenge. Yet says he, time passes on for spirits as well as mortals and brings ever new changes; fresh progressions. And thus while I was working to help others, I too was gradually learning the lesson which had proved most hard for me. That lesson being that entire forgiveness of our enemies will enable us to feel that we not only desire them no harm but that we even wish to do them good; to return good for evil cordially. It had been a hard struggle to overcome my desire for revenge, or wish that some punishment should overtake the one who had so deeply wronged me, and it was as hard, or harder even, to desire now to benefit that person.
Time and again while I was working on the earth plane I went and stood beside that one, unseen and unfelt save for the thoughts of me that would be awakened in him. And each time I perceived that my enemy’s thoughts were to the full as bitter as my own. There was no love lost between us. Standing there I beheld time after time the events of our lives blended together in one picture; the dark shadows of our passionate hate accumulating as storm clouds over a summer sky. Yet in the clearer light of my spiritual knowledge I beheld where my faults had lain, as strongly or more so than I beheld those of my enemy. And from such visits I would return to my little cottage in the spirit land overwhelmed with the bitterest regrets, the keenest anguish, yet always unable to feel but bitterness and anger towards him whose life seemed only to have been linked by sorrow and wrong to my own.
At last one day while standing beside this mortal I became conscious of a new feeling, almost of pity, for
this person who was also conscious of regret in thinking of our past, and a wish had arisen that a different course towards me had been followed. Thus was there created between us a kinder thought, which though faint and feeble, was yet the first fruits of my efforts to overcome my own anger, the first softening and melting of the hard wall of hatred between us. Then there was given to me a chance to assist and benefit this person just as the chance had come before to me of doing harm. Now I was able to overcome my bitterness and to take advantage of this opportunity, so that it was my hand, the hand which had been raised to curse and blight that was now to help instead.
Franchezzo then meets again with Hassein who in the next three chapters titled “The Formation of the Planets” and “Why the Spheres are Invisible and Spirit Photographs,” the “Materialization of Spirits,” specifically the science behind the work of mediums which is how, we recall, this book was produced; Franchezzo’s spirit conveying the information to an A. Faranese in 1896. These three chapters provide an in-depth teaching of the physics of the spiritual planes which, for the sake of brevity, I will leave it to the reader to seek the chapters out on their own should they be sufficiently interested.
Franchezzo’s new home in the Land of Bright Day.
Through the gates of gold to his new home in the Land of Bright Day he meets up with both his parents and the artist Benedetto who also has greatly progressed.
I was always fond of watching the clouds float over the sky and shape themselves into pictures suggested by my thoughts. Since I reached the second sphere of the spirit land my skies have always had clouds floating over them, lovely light fleecy clouds which shape themselves into a thousand forms and take on the most lovely shades of color, sometimes becoming rainbow hued and at others of the most dazzling white, and then again vanishing away altogether. I have been told by some spirits that in their skies they never see a cloud, all is serene clear beauty; and no doubt it is so in their lands, for in the spirit world our thoughts and wishes form our surroundings. Thus, because I love to see clouds they are to be seen in my sky, at times veiling and softening its beauties and making cloud-castles for me to enjoy.
Now, sometime after I obtained my little home in the Morning Land I began to see between myself and my cloud-pictures a vision which, like the mirage seen in the desert, hovered on the horizon, distinct and lifelike, only to melt away as I gazed. This was a most lovely ethereal gate of wrought gold, such as might be the entrance to some fairy land. A clear stream of water flowed between myself and this gate, with trees so fresh, so green, so aerial, they seemed like fairy trees, arched their branches over it and clustered at the sides.
Again and again did I see this vision, and one day while I was gazing at it my father came unnoticed by me and stood by my side. He touched my shoulder and said, “Franchezzo, that gate is inviting you to go nearer and see it for yourself. It is the entrance to the highest circle of this second sphere, and it is within those gates that your new home is waiting for you.”
Through the gates the waving branches of the trees bent over me in loving welcome as I passed, the flowers seemed to turn to me as greeting one who loved them well, at my feet there was the soft green sward, and overhead a sky so clear, so pure, so beautiful, the light shimmering through the trees as never did the light of earthly sun. Before me were lovely blue and purple hills and the gleam of a fair lake, upon whose bosom tiny islets nestled crowned with the green foliage of groups of trees. Here and there a little boat skimmed over the surface of the lake filled with happy spirits clad in shining robes of many different colors; so like to earth, so like my beloved home there, and yet so changed, so glorified, so free from all taint of wrong and sin!
As I passed up the broad flower-girt road a band of spirits came to meet and welcome me, amongst whom I recognized my father, my mother, my brother and a sister, besides many beloved friends of my youth. They carried gossamer scarves of red, white and green colors, which they were waving to me, while they strewed my path with masses of the fairest flowers as I approached, as they did they sang the beautiful songs of our own land in welcome, their voices floating on the soft breeze in the perfection of unison and harmony. I felt almost overcome with emotion; it seemed far too much happiness for one like me.
And then my thoughts, even in that bright scene, turned to earth, to her who was of all the most dear to me, where all were so dear. I thought, “Alas that she is not here to share with me the triumphs of this hour; she whose love more than to any other I owe this.” As the thought came to me I suddenly beheld her spirit beside me, half asleep / half conscious, freed for a brief moment from the earthly body and borne in the arms of her chief guardian spirit. Her dress was of the spirit world, white as a bride’s and shimmering with sparkling gems like dew drops. I turned and clasped her to my heart, and at my touch her soul awoke and she looked smilingly at me. Then I presented her to my friends as my betrothed bride, and while she was still smiling at us all, her guide again drew near and threw over her a large white mantle. He lifted her in his arms once more, and like a tired child she seemed to sink into slumber as he bore her away to her earthly body, which she had left for a time to share and crown this supreme moment of my joy.
My villa was upon the top of a hill overlooking the lake which lay many hundreds of feet below, its calm waters rippled by magnetic currents and the surrounding hills mirrored in its quiet bosom, and beyond the lake there was a wide valley. The room from which I could see this view of the distant earth was my music room, and in it were musical instruments of various kinds. Flowers festooned the walls and soft draperies the windows, which required no glass in their frames to keep out the soft zephyrs of that fair land. A honeysuckle, that was surely the same sweet plant which had so rejoiced my heart in my little cottage in the Morning Land, trailed its fragrant tendrils around the window, and on one of the walls hung my picture of my darling, framed with its pure white roses which always seemed to me an emblem of herself.
The next apartment was filled with beautiful pictures, lovely statues, and tropical flowers. It was almost more like a conservatory than a room; the pictures being collected at one end of it and the statues and flowers forming a foreground of beauty that was like another and larger picture. There was a little grotto with a fountain playing, the water sparkling like diamonds and rippling over the sides of the smaller basin into one larger still, with a murmuring that suggested a melody to me. Near this grotto was one picture which attracted me at once, for I recognized it as a scene from my earthly life. It was a picture of one calm and peaceful evening in early summer when my beloved and I had floated on the quiet waters of an earthly river.
There were also many pictures of my friends, and of scenes in the spirit world. From the windows I could behold another view than from my music room. This view showed those lands which were yet far above me, and whose towers and minarets and mountains shone through a dim haze of bright mist, now rainbow hued, now golden, or blue, or white. I loved to change from the one view to the other, from the past which was so clear, to the future that was still dim, still veiled from me. In this picture salon there was all which could delight the eye or rest the body, for our bodies require repose as well as do yours on earth, and we can enjoy to rest upon a couch of down earned by our labors as much as you can enjoy the possession of fine furniture bought with gold earned by your work on earth.
Another salon was set apart for the entertainment of my friends, and here again, as in the lower sphere, there were tables set out with a feast of simple but delicious fruits, cakes, and other agreeable foods like earthly foods, only less material, and there was also the delicious sparkling wine of the spirit world which I have before mentioned. Another room was full of books recording my life and the lives of those whom I admired or loved. There were also books upon many subjects, the peculiarity in them being that instead of being printed they seemed full of pictures, which when one studied them appeared to reflect the thoughts of those who had written the books more eloquently than any words. Here too, one could sit and receive the inspired thoughts of the great poets and literary men who inhabit the sphere above. It is here I have sat, and inscribed upon the blank pages of some book laid open before me, poems to her who filled the larger half of all my thoughts.
The third room was for myself, my own room, where I would retire when I desired to rest and to have no companion but my own thoughts. As we entered, the thing which attracted me most and filled me with more astonishment that anything I had yet seen, was the bed. It was draped in snowy white gossamer, bordered with pale lilac and gold, while at the foot were two angels, I could but vainly try to describe, carved out of the dazzling white alabaster. They were much larger than myself or any spirits whom I had seen. Their heads and extended wings seemed almost to touch the roof of my room, and the pose of these two most lovely figures was perfect in its grace. Their feet scarcely touched the floor and with their bending forms and half-outstretched wings they appeared to hover over the bed as though they had but just arrived from their celestial sphere.
They were male and female forms; the man wearing on his head a helmet and bearing in his hand a sword, while the other hand held aloft a crown. His figure was the perfection of manly beauty and grace, and his face with its perfect features so firmly molded, expressing at once strength and gentleness, had to my eyes a look of calm regal majesty that was divine.
The female figure’s face was full of gentle, tender, womanly purity and beauty. The eyes large and soft even though carved in marble, the long tresses of her hair half-veiling her head and shoulders. On her head she wore a crown of pure white lilies. In her left hand she held a harp with seven strings. The look upon her face was one of such exquisite sweetness, such maternal tenderness, it might well have served for that of the Virgin Mother herself. The attitudes, the expressions of both were the most perfect realization of angelic beauty I have seen, and for some moments I could but gaze at them expecting them to melt away before my eyes.
“My son, these lovely figures are the gift of your mother and myself to you, and we would fain think of you as reposing under the shadow of their wings, which represent in a material form the protection we would ever give you. They are shown with wings because that is the symbol of the angelic spheres, but if you will look closely at them you will find that these wings are like a part of the drapery of the forms, and are not attached to the bodies at all as though they grew from the shoulder in the fashion earthly artists represent them. These wings, moreover, express the power of angelic beings to soar upon these outstretched pinions into Heaven itself. The shining helmet and the sword represent war, the helmet the war of the intellect against error, darkness and oppression. The sword, the war man must ever wage against the passions of his lower nature. The crown symbolizes the glory of virtue and self-conquest.”
“The harp in the woman’s hand shows that she is an angel of the musical sphere, and the crown of lilies expresses purity and love. Her hand resting on the man’s shoulder is to show that she derives her strength and power from him and from his stronger nature, while her attitude and looks as she bends over your couch express the tender love and protection of woman’s maternal nature.”
“In some representations of the angels of men’s souls they are made of equal size and stature to the women’s, because in those characters the masculine and feminine elements are both equal, both evenly balanced. Here, however, in compliance with your nature, the male angel typifies power and protection. The female angel purity and love. Together they show the eternal dual nature of the soul and that one-half is not complete without the other. They also are the symbolical representation of the twin guardian angels of your soul whose wings may be said, in a spiritual sense, to be forever outstretched in protection over you.”
As excellent as all was, I sometimes would sit in my lovely rooms and sigh to myself, “Ah, if I had but someone to speak with, some congenial soul to whom I might express all the thoughts which crowd my mind.” It was therefore with the greatest pleasure that I received a visit from Faithful Friend and heard the suggestion he had to make to me.
“I have come,” said he, “on behalf of a friend who has just come to this circle of the sphere, but who has not yet earned for himself a home of his own and therefore desires to find one with some friend more richly endowed than himself. He has no relatives here and I thought that you might be glad of his companionship.”
“Most truly, I would be delighted to share my home with your friend.”
Faithful Friend laughed. “He may be called your friend also, for you know him. It is Benedetto.”
“Benedetto!” I cried in astonishment and delight. “Ah! then he will indeed be doubly welcome. Bring him here as soon as possible.”
“He is here now; he awaits at your door; he would not come with me till he was sure you would really be glad to welcome him.”
“No one could be more so,” I said. “Let us go at once and bring him in.”
So we went to the door and there he stood, looking very different from when I had last seen him in that awful city of the lower sphere, then so sad, so weighed down, so oppressed, and now so bright, his robes, like mine, of purest white. And though his face was still sad in expression, there was peace and there was hope in the eyes he raised to mine. I clasped his hand and embraced him as we from the southern land [Italy] embrace those we love and honor. It was with much pleasure that we met, we who had both so sinned and so suffered, and we were henceforth to be as brothers. Thus it was that my home was no more solitary. For, when one of us returns from our labors the other is there to greet him, to share the joy and the care, and to talk over the success or the failure.
When at last I alighted upon the summit of a high mountain from which I could behold the earth and its lower and higher spheres revolving below me. I also saw that sphere which had been my home, yet it appeared to lie far below the height upon which I stood. Then, as in a dream, beside me was Ahrinziman and I heard his voice speak to me, “Behold, son of my adoption, the new path in which I would have you labor. Behold earth and her attendant spheres, and see how important to her welfare is this work in which I would have you take part. See now the value of the power you have gained in your journey to the Kingdoms of Hell, since it will enable you to become one of the great army who daily and hourly protect mortal men from the assaults of Hell’s inhabitants. Behold this panorama of the spheres and learn how you can assist in a work as mighty as the spheres themselves.”
Ahrinziman added, “Is there no need here for the means of communication between the living and the so-called dead so that the sorrowful ones on both sides may be comforted? And also, is there no need for communication informing sinful, selfish men of the dark beings hovering around them who seek to drag their souls to hell?”
I then beheld other mortals whose spiritual sight was partly unveiled and whose ears were not quite deaf, and they spoke of the spirit world and its wondrous beauties. They felt great thoughts and put them into the language of earth. They heard the wondrous music and tried to give it expression. They saw lovely visions and tried to paint them, as like those of the spirit world as the limits of their earthly environments would enable. And these mortals were termed geniuses for their words and their music and their pictures all helped to raise men’s souls nearer to the God who gave that soul; for all that is highest and purest and best comes from the inspiration of the spirit world.
Yet with all this beauty of art and music and literature, with all these aspirations, with all the fervor of religious feeling, there was still no way opened by which men on earth could hold communion with the loved ones who had gone before them into that land which dwellers upon earth have called the Land of Shadows.
Then I turned from this sad sight and beheld many new doors opened where mortals stood, mortals whose hearts were pure and unselfish and unsullied by the desires of earth. And through these doors poured such a flood of light upon the earth. These doorways thronged by spirits, beautiful bright spirits, and others whose raiment was dark and their hearts sad because their lives had been sinful, but in their souls was a desire for good. There also were spirits who were fair and bright, but sorrowful, because they could speak no more with those whom they had left on earth. As well, I beheld the sorrowful and the sinful spirits alike comforted and helped through these means of communication with the earth. Thus in the hearts of many mortals there was joy, for death’s dark curtain was drawn aside and there was news from those beyond the grave.
What Franchezzo has learned about The Divine.
I have in these pages sought to show what has been the true experience of one whom the churches might deem a lost soul, since I died without a belief in any church, any religion, and but a shadowy belief in a God. My own conscience ever whispered to me that there must be a Supreme, a Divine Being, but I stifled the thought and thrust it from me, cheating myself into a sense of security and indifference akin to that of the foolish ostrich which buries its head in the sand and fancies none can see it. Yet, in all my wanderings, though I have indeed learned that there is a Divine Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe—its upholder and sustainer—I have not learned that He can be reduced to a personality, a definite shape in the likeness of man, a something whose attributes we finite creatures can argue about and settle on. Neither have I seen anything which would incline me to believe in one form of religious belief rather than in another. What I have learned is to free the mind, if possible, from the boundaries of any and every creed.
During the infancy of the race of planetary man, when his mental condition resembles that of a child, may be called the Age of Faith, the Mother Church supplies for him the comfort and hope of immortality and takes from his mind the burden of thinking out for himself a theory of First Cause, which will account to him for his own existence and that of his surroundings. Faith steps in as a maternal satisfier of the longings of his imperfectly developed soul. Among the early tribes of savages the more spiritualized men become the mystery men, and then the priests, and as age succeeds to age the idea of an established church is formulated.
Next comes the Age of Reason, when the development of man’s intellectual faculties causes him to be no longer satisfied with blind faith in the unknown, the mother’s milk of the churches no longer assuages his mental hunger, he requires stronger food, and if it be withheld he breaks away from the fostering care of Mother Church which once sustained but which now only cramps and cripples the growing and expanding soul. Man’s reason demands greater freedom and its due share of nourishment, and must find it somewhere, and in the struggle between the rebellious growing child and the Mother Church, who seeks to retain the power she wielded over the infant, the faith that once sufficed as food comes to be regarded as something nauseous and to be rejected at all cost, hence the Age of Reason becomes a time of up-rootal of all the cherished beliefs of the past.
Then comes another stage in which the child now grown to be a youth who has seen and tasted for himself the joys and sorrows, the penalties, and pleasures and benefits of reason, and has thereby learned to put a more just value on the powers and limitations of his own reasoning faculties. He looks back at the faith he once despised, and recognizes that it also has its beauties and its value. He sees that though faith alone cannot suffice for the nourishment of the soul beyond its infant stage. Yet, reason alone, devoid of faith, is but a cold hard fare upon which to sustain the soul now becoming conscious of the immeasurable and boundless universe by which it is surrounded, and of the many mysteries it contains; mysteries reason alone is not able to explain. Man turns back to faith once more and seeks to unite it with reason, that henceforth they may assist each other.
Now Faith and Reason are the central thought principles of two different spheres of thought in the spirit world. Faith is the vitalizing principle of religion or ecclesiasticism, as reason is of science. These two schools of thought which appear at first sight opposed to each other, are none the less capable of being blended in the mental development of the same personality; the properly balanced mind being that in which they are equally proportioned. Where one predominates over the other to a great degree, the individual—be he mortal or disembodied spirit—will be narrow-minded in one direction or the other and incapable of taking a just view of any mental problem.
Blind ignorant faith is no safeguard against error. The history of religious persecutions in all ages is surely proof of that. The great minds of earth to whom great intellectual discoveries are due have been those in which the moral and intellectual powers are equally balanced, and the perfect man, or angel, will be the one in whom all the qualities of the soul have been developed to their highest point.
Evil is caused by the lack of development of the moral attributes in certain souls and the over-development of other qualities. A man may be thoroughly conscientious in his desire for truth, but if his intellectual as well as his moral faculties have not been equally developed, his mind will be like a highway blocked by huge masses of error.
In the sphere where I now dwell there is a magnificent and beautiful palace belonging to the Brotherhood of Hope. This palace is the meeting place for all members of our Brotherhood, and in it there is a fine hall built of what is the spiritual counterpart of white marble. This hall is called the Hall of Lecture, and in it we assemble to listen to discourses delivered to us by advanced spirits from the higher sphere. At the upper end there is a magnificent picture called “The Perfect Man.” That is to say it represents a man, or rather angel, who is relatively perfect. I say relatively perfect, because even the utmost perfection which can be imagined or attained, can only be relative to the still greater heights which must be eternally possible for the soul. Unlike Alexander who mourned that he had left no more worlds to conquer, the soul has no limits put to the possibilities of its intellectual and moral conquests. The universe of mind is as boundless as that of matter, and as eternal. Hence none can use the word perfect as implying a point beyond which progress is impossible.
Such then is the knowledge I have gained, such the beliefs I have arrived at since I passed from earth life, but I cannot say I have seen that any particular belief helps or retards the soul’s progress. Except in so far as this, that some creeds have a tendency to cramp the mind and obscure the clearness of its vision and distort its ideas of right and wrong, thereby preventing those who hold those beliefs from possessing the perfect freedom of thought and absence of prejudice which can alone fit the soul to rise to the highest spheres.
I have written this story of my wanderings in the hope that amongst those who read it may be found some who will think it worthwhile to inquire whether, after all, it may be, as it professes to be, a true story.
There may also be others who have lost those who were very dear to them, but whose lives were not such that they could be counted amongst those whom the churches call “the blessed dead who die in the Lord”—those, dear friends, who have not died in the paths of goodness and truth. I would ask those mourners to take hope and to believe that their beloved but erring friends may not be wholly lost, not utterly beyond hope, even though some may have perished by their own hands and under circumstances which would seem to preclude all hope. I would ask those on earth to think over all that I have said and to ask themselves whether their prayers and their sympathy may not be able to help and comfort those who need all the help and comfort that can be given to them.
From my home in the Bright Land, so like the land of my birth, I go still to work upon the earth plane and among those who are unhappy. I also help to carry forward the great work of spirit communion between the living of earth and those whom they call dead thru such mediumship. I spend a portion of each day with my beloved, and I am able to help and protect her in many ways. I await with a grateful heart that happy time when my beloved one’s earthly pilgrimage shall be finished, when her lamp of life shall have burned out and her star on earth has set, and she shall come to join me in an even brighter home, where for us both shall shine eternally the twin stars of Hope and Love.
Throughout this website I have referred to what I consider my spiritual ground state; the teachings in “A Course In Miracles” (also a transcribed work). I have even dedicated a MFA chapter to the book. Appropriately enough, I just now arrived, while finishing editing this piece, on ACIM Lesson #325 which states:
“… from forgiving thoughts a gentle world comes forth for the holy Son of God to offer him a kindly home where he can rest awhile before he journeys on and help his brothers walk ahead with him, and find the way to Heaven and to God.”
For accounts (and links to the chapters) of the events involving members of organized crime in Boulder, Colorado reported of throughout this website:
Chapter (A) MIRACLES and scroll down to the posts titled Divine Message – A Most Difficult time, page 22, then Downtown Art Studio, page 23, and next “Visions of Menacing Entities,” pages 24 & 25 [above]. Following having read these posts, the reader should next go to chapter (C) MIRACLES and read the first post titled A Most Difficult Time (organized crime and pornography) pages 53 & 54. Then on chapter (F) “The Varieties of Religious Experience” – Part I, pages 27 and 42 [above], and from there chapter (G) “The Varieties of Religious Experience” – Part II, pages 71 and 72 and chapter (H) “The Varieties of Religious Experience” – Part III , on pages 93, 111 & 112, and 142 & 143,more on chapter (P) “Everything is Going to be Alright …” page 6 [above] and on the 2nd chapter (P) Evil recognized, identified, its effects …” then on chapter (Q) “Part I – New Information, Miraculous Events and Book Reviews”: post dated February 9, 2017 – Gang Stalking and FBI FOIPA Report, and post dated March 8, 2018, page 3 – The Paranormal, Organized Crime and “A Course In Miracles”
Links to the chapters referred to above (the links are different colors but they all work):
(A) MIRACLES – https://miraclesforall.com/mira
(C) MIRACLES – https://miraclesforall.com/mira