I had been here some
time before I noticed one of the most marked peculiarities of this world.
One night as I was passing slowly along, I saw a group of persons
approaching me. It was very light where they were, because there were so many of
them. Suddenly, as I saw this light, a thought came to my mind, a saying from
one of the Hermetic books: “Where the light is strongest, there are the shadows
deepest.” But on looking at these men and women, I saw that they cast no
I hailed the nearest man—you must remember that this was soon
after I came out, and when I was still more ignorant than I am now—and I called
his attention to this peculiar phenomenon of a shadowless yet brilliantly
lighted world. He smiled at my surprise, and said:
“You have not been here long, have you?”
“Then you are not aware that we light our own place? The substance
of which our bodies are composed is radiant. How could our forms cast shadows,
when light radiates from them in all directions?”
“And in the sunlight?” I asked.
“Oh,” he answered, “you know that in the sunlight we can not be seen
at all! The light of the sun is coarse and crude, and it puts out the light of
Does it seem strange to you that at this moment I can feel the
warmth of that wood fire by which you sit? There is a magic in burning wood. The
combustion of coal has quite a different effect upon the psychic atmosphere. If
one who had always been blind to visions and insensible to the finer feelings
and premonitions of the invisible world would try meditating before a blazing
wood fire for an hour or two every day or night, his eyes and other subtler
senses might be opened to things of which he had theretofore never even dreamed.
Those Orientals who worship their God with fire are wise and full of
visions. The light of burning wax has also a magical effect, though different
from that of a wood fire. Sit sometimes in the evening with no light but that of
a solitary candle, and see what visions will come from the “Void.”
I have not told you anything for a long time
about the boy Lionel. He is now much interested in the idea of choosing a family
of engineers in which to be born again. The thought is one to which he is always
“Why are you in such a hurry to leave me?” I asked him, the first
time he mentioned the subject.
“But I do not feel as if I should be leaving you altogether,” he
replied. “I could come out to you in dreams.”
“Not at first,” I told him. “You would be prisoned and blind and
deaf for a long time, and you might not be able to come out to me here until
after I had also gone back again to the earth.”
“Then why not come along with me?” he asked. “Say, Father, why
shouldn’t we be born as twins?”
The idea was so absurd that I laughed heartily; but Lionel could not
see where the joke came in.
“There are such things as twins,” he said, seriously. “I knew a pair
of twin brothers when I lived in Boston.”
But, when I return to earth, it is no part of my plan to be
anybody’s twin; so I tell Lionel that if he wants to enjoy my society for a time
he will have to stay quietly where he is.
“But why can’t we go back together?” he still
asks, “and be cousins or neighbours, at least?”
“Perhaps we can,” I tell him, “if you do not spoil everything by an
It is strange about this boy. Out in this world there is boundless
opportunity to work in subtle matter, opportunity to invent and experiment; yet
he wants to get his hands on iron and steel. Strange!
Some night I will try to bring the boy to pay you a visit, so that
you can see him—I mean just before you fall asleep. Those are the true visions.
The ones which come in sleep are apt to be confused by the jarring of the matter
through which you pass in waking. Do not forget the boy. I have already told him
how I come and write with your hand, and he is much interested.
“Why couldn’t I operate a telegraph in that way?” he asked me; but I
advised him not to try it. He might interrupt some terrestrial message which had
been sent and paid for.
Occasionally I take him with me up to the
pattern world. He has a little model of his own there with which he amuses
himself while I am examining other things. It is the model of a wheel, and he
sets it going by the electricity of his fingers. No, it is not made of steel—not
as you know steel. Why, what you call steel is too heavy! It would fall through
this world so fast that it would not even leave a rent behind it.
You must understand that the two worlds are composed of matter not
only moving at a different rate of vibration, but charged with a different
magnetism. It is said that two solid objects cannot occupy the same space at the
same time; but that law does not apply to two objects—one of them belonging to
your world and the other to ours. As water can be hot and wet at the same time,
so a square foot of space can contain a square foot of earthly matter and a
square foot of etheric matter.
No, do not quibble about terms. You have no terms for the kind of
matter that we use here, because you do not know anything about it. Lionel and
his electric wheel would both be invisible to you if they were set down on the
hearth-rug before you at this moment. Even the magic of that wood fire would not
make them visible—at least, not in the daylight.
Some evening—but we will speak of that at another time. I must go