Read Afterlife Online

Authors: Colin Wilson


First published in Great Britain in 1985
by Harrap Limited

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Wilson, Colin, 1931–

“A Dolphin book.”
Bibliography: p.
Future life.
BF1311.F8W54      1987      133.9′01′3      86-23950
eISBN: 978-0-307-80533-1
Copyright © 1985 by Colin Wilson
All Rights Reserved


Simon Scott
with affection and gratitude

Analytical List of Contents
Voices in the Head

Adam Crabtree’s patients who heard ‘voices inside their heads’.
Julian Jaynes and auditory hallucinations.
The case of Sarah Worthington.
‘Possession’ by a grandmother.
The case of Susan: ‘possession’ by a sexually obsessed father.
Apparent possession by a living woman: the case of Art.
Julian Jaynes and his theory of ‘voices’ from the right brain.
Split-brain research.
The person you call ‘you’ lives in the left brain.
Voices described by mental patients.
Wilson Van Dusen on ‘the Presence of Spirits in Madness’.
Talking directly with the patient’s hallucinations.
The two types of ‘voices’: the ‘higher order’ and the ‘lower order’.
‘… the purpose of the lower order is to illuminate all of the person’s weaknesses’.
The similarity between all hallucinations.
Van Dusen’s discovery of Swedenborg.
Swedenborg’s description of ‘possession’ by spirits — similarity to Van Dusen’s patients.
‘All of Swedenborg’s observations … conform to my findings.’ ‘Angels possess the interior of man.’ Crabtree’s case of the girl who was ‘possessed’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
Alan Vaughan is possessed after playing with an ouija board.
His precognition of the future.
Brad Absetz establishes contact with his ‘other self’.
Swedenborg’s views on life after death.
Bertrand Russell on ‘survival’.
What is personality?
Alfred Sutro’s ‘psychic’ experience.
The Rev.
Bertrand’s near-death experience on a Swiss mountainside.
A typical apparition from
Phantasms of the Living
The near-death experience: ‘passing down a tunnel’.
The death of Dr Karl Novotny, as described through a medium.
How far can we trust the evidence of mediums?
The emergence of an ‘overall pattern’.

2: The World of the Clairvoyant

Darwin arrives in Tierra del Fuego.
‘A certain blindness in human beings’.
We are blind to things that do not interest us.
The clairvoyant as a different species.
Rosalind Heywood’s experience of ‘nature spirits’ on Dartmoor.
Development of Rosalind Heywood’s psychic abilities.
She reads
The Riddle of the Universe
‘… the universe was a soulless mechanism’.
Telepathy with a sleeping patient.
A patient who saw dead relatives.
Rosalind Heywood’s ‘Orders’.
Her powers of precognition.
Her son’s dreams of the future.
‘Being in two places at the same time’.
‘White Me and Pink Me’.
Her experiences of contact with the dead.
The case of Julia.
The case of Vivian Usborne.
‘… he now had scope, freedom and
opportunity beyond his wildest dreams’.
Information from spirits?
Her susceptibility to beauty.
‘Those presences’.
Jaynes’s theory of how man became a ‘left-brainer’.
Ramakrishna’s experience of ‘samadhi’.
The magic of primitive man.
The porpoise-callers of the Gilbert Islands.
How we lost our psychic powers.
Rosalind Heywood and ‘The Singing’.
Lethbridge’s theory of apparitions as ‘tape recordings’.
Mrs Willett’s experience of ‘two minds’.
The soldier who found himself ‘outside his earthly body’.
The near-death experience of Sir Auckland Geddes.
A-consciousness and B-consciousness.
Sir Alexander Ogston’s out-of-the-body experience.
Rudolf Steiner’s fourfold division of man.
Hans Driesch’s experiment with the sea urchin.
Harold Burr’s ‘life fields’.
The Kahuna theory of the ‘three selves’.
‘Nature spirits’.
Adam Crabtree’s case of ‘possession’ by a non-human entity.
Rosalind Heywood’s experience with the ‘evil spirit’.

3: Invasion of the Spirit People

Catherine Crowe’s
Night Side of Nature
Seeress of Prevorst
How Kerner came to accept that Friederike Hauffe was a genuine ‘seeress’.
Out-of-the-body experience of a banker.
Jung-Stilling’s story of travelling clairvoyants.
Mrs Crowe on hypnosis.
Volgyesi’s evidence for ‘battle of wills’.
Does hypnosis involve a mental force?
Why the Victorians were sceptical about ‘the occult’.
Feuerbach and the new religion of atheism.
The haunting of Willington Mill.
Dr Drury sees a ghost.
The Hydesville affair.
The Fox family and the beginning of spiritualism.
The Davenport brothers.
Jonathan Koons and the ‘spirit room’.
Mrs Hayden goes to London.
The life of Allan Kardec.
The Spirits’ Book
The split in the spiritualist movement.
Why spiritualism aroused such hostility among the intellectuals.
Thomson Jay Hudson and the ‘two minds’ theory.
His rejection of spiritualism.
Steiner: ‘The spiritualists are the greatest materialists of all’.
The Fox sisters confess to fraud.
Reichenbach and ‘the odic force’.
Joseph Rodes Buchanan and the ‘nerve aura’.
The birth of psychometry.
The life of Daniel Dunglas Home.
A seance in a Parisian drawing room.
Home’s career in Europe.
Lord Adare’s experiences with Home.
Home’s ability to change his height.

4: Psychical Research Comes of Age

The scientists revolt against spiritualism.
The chatter of old women and curates’.
Alfred Russel Wallace hypnotises a schoolboy.
Mrs Guppy flies through the air.
Lewis Carroll: ‘… trickery will
do as a complete explanation’.
Robert Dale Owen’s
Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World
Myers and Sidgwick go for a starlit walk.
The founding of the Society for Psychical Research.
Why the SPR was not taken seriously.
The Florence Cook scandal.
The exposure of
Rosina Showers.
The Creery sisters admit to cheating.
The confession of the Fox sisters.
The inefficient cheating of Eusapia Palladino.
The death of Edmund Gurney.
The Portsmouth hoax.
Myers is taken in by Ada Goodrich-Freer.
The real achievement of the SPR.
Assorted cases.
Prince Duleep Singh sees his father looking out of a picture frame.
The wife of a railway worker has a vision of an accident.
Rider Haggard and his daughter’s retriever Bob.
Mrs Spearman sees her dead half-brother.
Lieutenant Larkin sees a ghost.
The Chaffin will case.
An apparition delivers a warning.
The red scratch case.
Sir William Barrett’s case of a death-bed vision in a maternity hospital.
Sir Oliver Lodge and the Raymond case.
The ghost of the chimneysweep Samuel Bull.
‘Death is the end of all’.
The red pyjamas case.
Jung: ‘… the spirit hypothesis yields better results than any other’.

5: Rediscovering a Masterpiece

Sarah Hall sees her own ghost.
The problem of the ‘psychic double’.
Goethe sees his ‘doppelgänger’.
Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death:
‘probably the most comprehensive work ever written on the subject of the paranormal’.
A German vampire.
Multiple personality.
The case of Louis Vivé.
The case of Ansel Bourne.
The case of Clara Fowler — ‘Christine Beauchamp’.
Myers on genius.
Calculating prodigies.
The ‘subliminal mind’.
‘Our powers are far greater than we realise’.
A ‘double’ goes to church.
Strindberg ‘projects’ himself to Germany.
The Verity case.
The Rev.
Mountford sees a carriage before it arrives.
Sabom’s case of ‘astral projection’.
Can personality survive death?
The mystery of multiple personality.
Sybil, The Three Faces of Eve
and the Billy Milligan case.
Psychic powers of primitive peoples.
Dr Wiltse’s near-death experience.
The case of Michael Conley.
The Rev.
Stainton Moses.
Spirit Teachings
Moses disagrees with the spirits.
William James and Mrs Piper.
Richard Hodgson investigates Mrs Piper.
The case of George Pellew.
James’s ‘white crow’.
Are ‘spirit controls’ sub-personalities?
How to deceive the spirits.
Myers and the ‘Cross Correspondences’.
Mrs Willett joins the group.
‘Myers’ communicates with Geraldine Cummins.
The problem of the ‘bad telephone line’.
Swan on a Black Sea

6: Dr Steiner and the Problem of Reincarnation

Dr Steiner introduces himself to the Berlin Theosophical Society.
Steiner’s overnight success.
The ‘new religion’.
Steiner’s death.
Madame Blavatsky.
Aunt Tekla ‘communicates’.
The Gordon Davis case.
The downfall of Madame Blavatsky.
Rudolf Steiner sees a ghost.
Steiner’s vision of spiritualism as ‘access to inner worlds’.
‘Inwardness’ is the beginning of spiritual life.
Steiner’s intercourse
with the dead.
What happens after death.
Whately Carington’s fourth-dimensional theory of life after death.
‘We encounter the Dead at the moment of going to sleep.’ Thomson Jay Hudson cures an elderly relative.
Steiner and reincarnation.
Myers and the ‘group soul’.
The case of Lurancy Vennum.
Lurancy Vennum ‘becomes’ Mary Roff.
The Alexandrina case.
The Pollock twins.
The case of Shanti Devi.
The case of Swarnlata.
The case of Jasbir Lal Jat.
The case of Edward Ryall.
Why Ian Wilson rejects it.
Coleridge’s case of the peasant girl who recited in Latin, Greek and Hebrew.
Wilder Penfield and the ‘flashback experience’.
The case of Blanche Poynings.
The Bridey Murphy case.
Arnall Bloxham regresses a swimming instructor.
The past lives of ‘Jane Evans’.
The pogrom in York.
Joe Keeton and Kitty Jay.
The case of Sergeant Reuben Stafford.
Arthur Guirdham and the Cathars.
Group reincarnation?

7: Decline and Rebirth

Sir Oliver Lodge and
Whiskies and cigars in heaven?
Conan Doyle is converted to Spiritualism.
Bligh Bond and the dead monks of Glastonbury Abbey.
Archbishop Lang orders an investigation into Spiritualism.
The return of Lawrence of Arabia.
The case of Drayton Thomas’s father.
The decline of Spiritualism in the 1920s and 1930s.
Houdini denounces mediums as ‘human vultures’.
The decline of the SPR.
The High ’n Dries.
Carlos Mirabelli.
Rhine and the new methods of research.
Basil Shackleton foresees the future.
‘The sheep and the goats’.
Helmut Schmidt makes cheating impossible.
Karlis Osis asks doctors and nurses for their death-bed observations.
Visions of beautiful imagery and deep happiness.
Elizabeth Kübler-Ross.
The ‘death-denying society’.
The forgotten work of Albert Heim.
The observations of Noyes and Kletti.
George Ritchie’s death-bed experience.
Raymond Moody’s
Life After Life
The ‘Core experience’.
Visions after ‘death’.
The ‘vision of knowledge’.
Plato’s myth of Er.
‘Institutions of higher learning’.
Kenneth Ring on near-death experiences.
The sceptical view: ‘It is an expression of individual and collective anxiety about death.’ Ring’s conclusions on near-death experiences.
The sceptical view: ‘I felt as if I had suddenly come alive for the first time.’ ‘Right-brain experience’.
Margot Grey’s near-death experience.
Is the near-death experience a ‘defence mechanism of the brain’?
Primary and supportive evidence.
How life arose.
Dawkins’s ‘replicator molecule’.
The philosophy of vitalism.
Does life exist apart from matter?
Colonel Dudgeon goes fire walking.
Driesch and Bergson.
How Adam Crabtree became convinced.
The case of Anna Ecklund.
Ralph Allison’s case of Carrie.
The case of Elise.
‘Possessing spirits’.
The case of Sophia.
The aim of this book.

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