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by Rev. W. Stainton Moses

This book, Spirit-Identity, by William Stainton Moses, is a replication of a book originally published before 1902. It has been restored by human beings, page by page, so that you may enjoy it in a form as close to the original as possible. This book was created using print-on-demand technology. Thank you for supporting classic literature.


It is now four years since my mind was so greatly vexed on this question that I determined to satisfy myself, or to abandon any further attempt at intercourse with the world of spirit as vague and unsatisfying. I had not had sufficient evidence of personal identity of spirits to enable me to build on it a firm argument. No doubt I had had some, which has since had its due weight in my mind, but the mass of my communications had been of an impersonal character, with spirits who preferred to rest their claims to my attention on the matter and tendency of their messages, rather than on the authority of any name, however great that authority might be. They had passed out of the sphere of individuality, and chafed at being recalled to it. I, on the contrary, pined for something definite, tome evidence that would satisfy me that I was dealing with the spirits of my kind. The Angelic was. "too high for me. I could not attain to it."

For a long time I failed in getting the evidence I wanted; and if I had done as most investigators do, I should have abandoned the quest in despair or disgust. My state of mind was too positive; and I was forced, moreover, to take some personal pains before I obtained what I desired. Bit by bit, here a little and there a little, by steps which I do not detail here, that evidence came, and as my mind opened to receive it, some six months were spent in persistent daily efforts to bring home to me proof of the perpetuated existence of human spirits, and of their power to communicate with me and give evidence of their unimpaired individuality, and of the unbroken continuity of their existence.

Some of those who so came I had known during their life on earth, and was able, not only to verify their statements, but also to note the little traits of manner, peculiarities of diction, or characteristics of mind, that I remembered in them while in the body.*

Most were unknown to me, and came, always in obedience to the controlling spirit who arranged everything, to give their evidence, and go their way when the task assigned them was done. Of these some came from the most unlikely sources, and gave me and my friends no little trouble to verify their statements.

Some came, at the time of death. At that time, it would seem, the spirit finds it easy to manifest its presence, and the facts that it can give are readily capable of verification. Some had been long dead, as men count time, and came back in a dazed and awkward fashion to revisit the old scenes of earth, cramped and straitened, as it were, by taking on again the old conditions.

But wherever they came from, and however they communicated, one and all bore with them an air of sincerity and earnestness, as of those who were themselves impressed with the deep significance of the work they had in hand. And all, without a lonely exception, told the truth about themselves, so far as we could verify their story. Many statements were from their nature not capable of proof; a vastly greater number were minutely accurate; and none suggested any attempt at deception. I cross-examined these invisible witnesses in every conceivable way, and with a pertinacity that left nothing untried to elicit facts. Many of my queries were unanswered, for I am afraid I asked many unreasonable questions; but I failed to shake their story, or by the most cunning suggestio falsi to lead them into mistakes.

I refer for evidence of this to my records, kept during all this period with scrupulous regularity day by day, minute in detail even to recording temperature and atmospheric conditions, and checked by independent records kept by another member of the circle in which these facts were communicated. Any gaps in my own narrative, such as would be caused by my being, as I frequently was, in a state of unconscious trance, are thus filled up, and my own record is checked by independent observation.

Referring to these records, I find that from New Year's Eve to January 11, 1874, during which time I was staying at Shanklin, Isle of Wight, the guest of Dr. Speer, we had a continuous chain of testimony at our daily sittings, all bearing on the question of the identity of spirit. The evidence was given in various ways, principally through raps on the table, many of these raps produced entirely without contact of the hands of any person present. Some facts were given by direct writing on previously-marked paper; some by automatic writing; some through clairvoyance, or clairaudience. In a few cases corroborative evidence was drawn from all these sources.

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