In memory of those who drowned on the Titanic 100 years ago, a repost of some of the articles about passenger W. T. Stead and his messages from the Other Side. Here is the first, courtesy of Richard Rowley.
W.T. Stead appears in Chicago. As well as appearing in an Australian seance shortly after his death on the Titanic, Stead also came to Chicago to Mrs. Cecil M. Cook’s circle. Here is an account of this, and some rescue information narrated by her, and by the editor of her two books, “God’s World” (1918) and “The Voice Triumphant” (1931).
“Mr. Stead had taken passage on the S. S. Titanic that left Southampton Easter week, bound for New York, where he was to address the Men and Religious Congress on the subject of “Universal Peace.” The sinking of that mighty steamer resulted in the loss of about 1600 persons. It had been the purpose of Mr. Stead, while he was in America, to visit Mrs. Cecil M. Cook, who had a world-wide reputation as a Spiritualistic medium, and to induce her, if possible, to return with him to London to assist him in the conduct of :Julia’s Bureau,” at least for a time. [It had been running for almost three years, providing consolation for bereaved persons and the means of communication between them and their spirit-friends.]
The Titanic went to the bottom of the ocean on the 15th of April, 1912, and on the 18th of April, 1912, Mr. Stead appeared to Mrs. Cook in her séance-room and since that time has been the spiritual director of the work of The William T. Stead Memorial Center in Chicago, which later opened other W.T. Stead Centers of Soul Communion in several states as a non-profit religious organization.
Mr. Stead told us about the foggy night and the great speed of the Titanic, which was being urged to its utmost in order to establish a new record for its owners. This, of course, was in accordance with the maiden trips of other great ships. But in the early Spring of 1912, many icebergs had appeared in the North Atlantic. The officers of the ship felt that they were too far south to be in danger, nor did any one on the boat feel any particular alarm when its bow crumpled against a mountain of ice in mid-ocean.
With some of the women and children lowered in the lifeboats, the ship suddenly listed heavily. Mr Stead realized at that moment, as probably all of the others aboard realized, that the mighty vessel was doomed to almost immediate destruction. He made his way the best he could to his stateroom. In those few remaining moments, he pondered the question of life and death. His years of belief as a Spiritualist, his utmost faith in the continuity of life, stilled his fears. And yet, when it comes to the passing, most mortals dread the agony and the uncertainty of death.
Mr Stead asked his guides in spirit to relieve him of the torments of drowning. He tells us that he never felt the water touch his body. He says that the passing, which meant the taking of the spirit from the normal, healthy physical body that had not yet met injury, required not to exceed five seconds. He was standing on the surface of the Atlantic. He told us that he immediately recognized what had occurred, and after greeting his friends who were there to receive him he appeared outside the ship and found many souls, who had just passed over, dazed and wandering aimlessly about on the top of the waves or trying desperately to crowd into the lifeboats, not realizing what had happened to them. He set to work to try to help them understand. His previous knowledge of the Truth had prepared him for all this. Around and about him very soon gathered others newly released from the flesh. In the icy waters, hundreds of men and women were still struggling. One by one, they ceased their struggles and joined that multitude on the bosom of the water. To them, it was no longer night – it was perfect day.
Soon hosts from the spirit-world began to arrive – friends who had long departed, came to greet the newly arrived friends. Dear ones met dear ones. There was all the warmth and joy of recognition and love. Every personality was the same, and every person looked the same. Mr. Stead, as well as others on that ship, was prepared for the change. They knew that immortality was a fact and they were neither surprised nor shocked to find that their faith had been substantiated.
To illustrate the truth that there is no break in life in passing from the flesh into spirit, we shall cite one incident that should prove of interest.
Into the séance room, one Sunday evening in Chicago, along with many other persons, came a man unknown to any of the others present at the séance. Shortly after the room was darkened and the meeting had begun, Mr, Stead came in and immediately greeted this stranger, calling him by name and saying, “When last we met in London, neither of us thought that our next meeting would be like this.” This man had been a friend of Mr. Stead, and on hearing of the Stead Center, he had come to see if his old friend would greet him. He was not disappointed. In our séance room we talk frequently to spirits newly arrived on the spirit side of life. Many, who had paid no particular heed to the subject of Life in the spirit world, insist that they are still in this [physical] world. They see only what they saw before. They see no spirit world. They do see more persons than they saw in this life. They see those who, they know, passed through the change called death. That puzzles them. Later – maybe days or weeks or months later – these same spirits come to us and admit they know where they are – that they have become attuned to the change. And rarely can they refrain from commenting on how wonderful Life really is, and how vast is the goodness of God. We believe that, when they are ready for progress, they come into harmony with conditions that make possible their seeing the spirit-world. We do not know that they are taken on a journey, or that miles enter into the subject of the changes.
We look down upon the mortal remains of some friend, and say, “Now, he knows!” Perhaps he does not know – but is very curious to understand the nature of the change that has taken place. Just as we might hesitate to admit that death makes saints of some persons whose passing we note, so is it unreasonable to believe that the ignorant person who goes through death, suddenly comes into possession of infinite knowledge.
Nor have we the right to say that the person educated according to earth standards, has grasped immediately the full truth of the spirit-world when he enters those conditions following death. Normally, each twenty-four hours, about eight thousand persons pass through death’s portals into spirit. [ This was written in 1918. Since then the world population of up to 2 billion has trebled to around 6 billion. So we can say that 24 thousand people die ever 24 hours now, that is, a thousand an hour, or one person every 3 or 4 seconds, or every breath we take. If the population continues to increase, then a new person is born every 2 to 3 seconds!] Some of these persons who pass are prepared to progress; others are not. Some are making the journey for the first time; others are returning home, and recognize their Homeland as soon as they enter it. To place all beings on a parity of development is a wrong conception. Our progress in this world is slow.
We study much and learn little. We practise much and become indifferently proficient in one or two directions; rarely more than one. Is there anything in our experience to lead us to believe that we are qualified to pass into a state of sainthood and infinite wisdom simply because we die? It seems unreasonable to believe such could be the case. God asks none of us to believe the unreasonable, but only to struggle to develop and make our upward journey with reasonable effort.
Spiritland is busy. It has its work – more work than we have on earth. Its conditions permit of caring for this work with more expedition than is ours. Its strength is greater by far than earth-strength. Otherwise, how could the spirit-world control mortals?”