A Lawyer Presents the Case for the Afterlife


The Book 4th Edition

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16. The Cross Correspondences

“The most convincing proof of the reality of life after death ever set down on paper.”
Colin Wilson

"Ask any critic of the paranormal to account for the evidence of the cross-correspondences, and you can be assured of bewilderment or, at best, ignorant dismissal." Montague Keen

A recurring argument in psychic research is that the information produced by mediums as evidence for the afterlife could have come from the medium's own unconscious or from reading the mind of the sitter. However psychic has been most successful in showing that with genuine mediums neither telepathy nor their unconscious has anything to do with information transmitted from the afterlife.

The 'Myers Cross-Correspondences' have now become classic evidence for survival and are most influential and persuasive in helping many people come to terms with life after death. Frederick W.H. Myers (pictured left) was a Cambridge Classics scholar and writer late last century. He was also one of the pioneers who founded the Society for Psychical Research and was involved in investigation of the afterlife. When he was alive he was particularly interested to find a way of proving that information transmitted through mediums could not have come from their own unconscious.

The method he thought up was cross-correspondences—a series of messages to different mediums in different part of the world that on their own would mean nothing but which when put together would make sense. He and his fellow leaders of the Society for Psychical Research felt that if such a thing could be accomplished it would have very high 'probative value' and be a high level of proof of continued existence.

After he died in 1901 more than a dozen different mediums in different countries began receiving a series of incomplete scripts through automatic writing signed by Frederick Myers. Later there were scripts signed by his fellow leaders of the Society for Psychical Research, Professor Henry Sidgwick and Edmund Gurney, as they too died.

The scripts were all about obscure classical subjects and did not make sense on their own. But when the mediums were told to contact a central address and the scripts were assembled, they fitted together like the pieces of a jig-saw. In all, more than three thousand scripts were transmitted over thirty years. Some of them were more than forty typed pages long. Together they fill 24 volumes and 12,000 pages. The investigation went on so long that some of the investigators, such as Professor Verrall, died during the course of it and began communicating themselves.

The mediums used by Myers and the others from the afterlife were not professors of the Classics. They were not highly educated and all messages transmitted were outside their learnt knowledge and experience. On one occasion one of the mediums, Mrs. Coombe-Tennant, was conducting a discussion using 'automatic writing' between the spirit entity of Professor Sidgwick and his living colleague G. W. Balfour on the 'mind-body relationship', 'epiphenomenalism' and 'interactionism'. She complained bitterly that she had no idea what they were talking about and lost her temper that she was asked to transmit such difficult things.

Myers did say it was extremely difficult to transmit his messages from the spirit world across to the mediums. He described as being like:

…standing behind a sheet of frosted glass which blurs sight and deadens sound dictating feebly to a reluctant and somewhat obtuse secretary (Wilson 1987: 176).

The information transmitted in the Myers experiments was so accurate that it stunned the members of the Society for Psychical Research. At one stage those who were investigating the Myers Cross-Correspondences hired private detectives to put Mrs. Piper, one of the mediums involved, under surveillance. Her mail was opened, private detectives followed her, questions were asked about her friends and about those she spoke to. All the investigations proved her innocent of fraud or conspiracy or trickery.

The evidence is absolute. All the original documents are on file and there are at least eight complete sets of copies in existence for any investigator to study. For those who have initiative to investigate, sufficient information is available. And whilst for the investigator of the Myers Cross-Correspondences the information available is challenging, the rewards are evidentiary proof of the afterlife.

One person who took the time to study the Cross Correspondences in depth was the former secular-humanist Colin Brookes-Smith. After researching them he stated in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research that survival should now be regarded as a sufficiently well-established fact to be beyond denial by any reasonable person. Further he argued that this conclusion should not be kept in the obscurity of research records but should be presented to the public as:

a momentous scientific conclusion of prime importance to mankind. (Murphet 1990: 64).

The Willett Scripts

Another very convincing piece of evidence for the afterlife was provided by one of the mediums who had received some of the Myers communications. After her own death in 1956 at the age of 81 Mrs. Coombe-Tennant, using her pen-name Mrs. Willett, transmitted a long and detailed book of personal reminiscences containing incredibly intimate detail about her own life through the medium Geraldine Cummins, who had never met her or her children. Published as Swan on a Black Sea the Willett scripts, as they are sometimes also known, are considered by many, including Colin Wilson, to be:

The most convincing proof of the reality of life after death ever set down on paper (Wilson 1987:183).

Colin Wilson, himself a former skeptic and now a writer with an international reputation did investigate. He writes:

Taken as a whole, the Cross Correspondences and the Willett scripts are among the most convincing evidence that at present exists for life after death. For anyone who is prepared to devote weeks to studying them, they prove beyond all reasonable doubt that Myers, Gurney and Sidgwick went on communicating after death (Wilson 1987: 179).

The Myers Cross Correspondences have successfully showed using the experiential scientific method that what was transmitted from the medium was not from the medium's own unconscious.

On the Internet

Konstantin Oesterreich, The Cross Correspondences



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