Sunday, February 19, 2012

Stumbled upon a good book...

that is the perfect antidote to all the crap I've been trying to read lately. It was published in 1914, and written, exactly, one hundred years ago. It's in the public domain, and thanks to the industry of Google (who embarked on a mammoth task of scanning and digitizing old, obscure books back in the mid-aughts), it's free to download from Google Books. It's called "Letters From A Living Dead Man," purportedly channeled by a minor author of the time, Elsa Barker. I can't find out much about Ms. Barker, but there's a good Wikipedia article on her, and, interestingly enough, the Wikipedians don't bother to debunk her story. (As always, when I run across "channeled," "received," or otherwise unofficially obtained information, I seek out the debunkers--to see if they can successfully deconstruct the story.)

This book impresses me on a number of levels. First, the writing and philosophy is surprisingly contemporary (allowing for the fact that I'm a bit of an old fogey). It lucidly and succinctly sets forth a number of clear metaphysical ideas, and it does a better job of it than all the New Age drivel that you have to pay good money for nowadays to assaulted by. It answers a couple of questions that have been raised (but not answered) by contemporary New Age tomes... Specifically, something that I've noticed in both "Seth Speaks" and "The Key": that certain souls are "pulled" unconsciously from the non-physical world, back to the physical, to be reborn. (I had always assumed that reincarnation was a deliberate, carefully planned choice. Apparently, it's not, in many cases, and this book explains why.) There are specific warnings against invoking spirits, and the real dangers involved. There is a wealth of detail about how the non-physical world interacts with the physical, all very interesting, and much (but not all) of it consistent with everything I've read from authoritative modern sources.

As Theosophy and Spiritualism fell out of favor in the Modern and Post-Modern era (not to mention the excellent debunking work by prominent skeptics like Harry Houdini), much of this psychical research has been forgotten. I think that the "channelers" of the past few years are simply picking up where the Edwardian thinkers left off... But in many respects, they are retracing the same ground, and not doing as thorough a job of it as the Edwardians did.

The question is, is modern "channeling" (when it's valid) a continuation of the same investigation into real phenomena, or is it simply a revival of pseudo-scientific and discredited Nineteenth Century ideas? I lean toward the former, but I am open to being proven wrong.


  1. I really am enjoying this book, been reading it at night. It isn't all-encompassing but it's very gripping & realistic from the perspective of the guy being channeled. I like what he's saying too. Of course one has to analyze & not take it all as truth but very interesting find nonetheless. Thanks so much! I'll let u know what I think when I'm done.

  2. Just finished the book tonight. I have to say it's had a strong impact on my thinking. There were a couple of chapters that were a bit disorganized to me but overall I think the book is highly valuable. I could feel the heartfelt emotion of the man who wrote the book (not Barker but the man). He & Barker probably had the same entity, hence the ease in communicating IMO. Love the idea of being a philosopher on the other side & love how he talked about negative spirits existing there too. Very interesting. And I agree too with what he said about physical habits, I think they will follow us into the afterlife. Best to become free of them now lest we take them with us. I also like how he said there were gods on each planet, and souls living on each planet. A beautiful book - thanks so much for recommending it. I might never had read it in my life had it not been for this blog. Marlon