- ES’s VERIFICATIONS OF HIS CONVERSATIONS
WITH THE DEAD
ES never contacted the dead just to satisfy the voyeuristic curiosity of supplicants; rather, he had to be convinced that such contacts would benefit them spiritually. By his own admission, ES experienced hundreds of spectacular verifications of his gift of contacting deceased souls and angels in the spirit world. But he mentioned none of these in his prolific writings. The confirmatory incidents were all recorded out of the astonishment of the eyewitnesses. ES refrained from disclosing his verifications for at least two reasons:
(a) He believes that miracles have a coercive effect on belief that too often undermines the quality of free will in spiritual matters. In his view, impressive miracles tend to affect only the externals of belief. In time, the internal, freely chosen path comes to rule and even miraculous events are washed away and forgotten in the current of time. God has created us to FEEL or intuit our way to Him, not to THINK our way to Him. True, feelings can be shallow and unreliable. ES is referring to our higher-level feelings that are rooted in a truly loving impulse that can tune in to God’s loving essence. Even Jesus questions the power of miracles to convince skeptics to embrace spiritual truths in a life-transforming way (Luke 16:31).
(b) Besides, ES’s gift is ridiculed by many of his contemporaries. For example, consider this incident witnessed by Dr. Krohl. One day at a large social gathering, Bishop Troilius decided “to amuse himself and the rest of the company at ES’s expense.” He derisively posed this challenge to ES: “By the way, …tell us something about the spirit world. How does my friend Broman spend his time there?” ES answered instantly, “I saw him just a few hours ago shuffling cards in the presence of the Evil One, and he was only waiting for your worship to make a game of Tresett.” An embarrassed Troilius had not told ES that Broman was one of his gambling buddies and that their card game of choice was Tresett! Dr. Krohl notes, “The conversation…was thus brought to a close, and it is not difficult to see which of the two became the subject of the company’s mirth.”
Perhaps, ES’s allusion to “the Evil One” was meant tongue-in-cheek to knock Troilius down a peg. The ensuing 3 incidents seem even more compelling: (1) ES was once summoned for an audience with Swedish Queen Louisa Ulrica. She asked him if he could really converse with the dead. When ES said “yes”, she invited him and Count Sheffer to retire to a quiet spot where she asked ES to take a commission to her deceased brother. The queen and her brother had been separated because their countries were at war when he died. She did not really believe in ES’s abilities. Still, at his next audience with her, she lightly asked if he had a message from her brother. ES suggested that they speak alone. The queen was later described as in shock, so indisposed that she had to retire. She said later that ES had revealed what no living person knew about her brother. The message must have been intensely personal because neither ES nor the queen ever revealed it.
(2) Around 1770 a merchant from Elberfield visited ES after he had moved to Amsterdam. He convinced ES that he had a burning spiritual quest and asked him if he could visit a recent deceased friend and ask him about their last conversation. ES asked his friend’s name and then asked the merchant to return in a few days. Upon his return, ES smiled and said, “I have spoken with your friend; the subject of your conversation was the restitution of all things.” If ES had simply read the merchant’s mind, one might expect ES’s ESP to be limited to the last conversational subject in general. But ES then accurately expounded in great detail the different positions that the merchant and his deceased friend had defended. The merchant turned pale and asked, “Is he in a state of blessedness?” ES replied, “No, he is not yet in Heaven; he is still in Hades, and torments himself continually with the idea of the restitution of all things.” The merchant exclaimed, “My God! What, in the other world?” ES replied, “Certainly; a man takes with him his favorite inclinations and opinions, and it is very difficult to be divested of them. We ought, therefore, to lay them aside here.” The awestruck merchant then went back to Elberfield and shared his confirmatory story.
(3) A skeptic might try to explain incidents (1) and (2) in terms of ESP derived from the minds of the living. But our next incident seems to preclude that explanation. In 1761 a countesse M. de Marteville came to ES and explained that her husband, the Dutch ambassador to Sweden, had just died. He had given her a costly silver service just before he died and now the silversmith was demanding payment that she could no longer afford. Besides, she felt certain that her husband had already paid for it. She asked ES to contact her husband about the receipt. ES agreed and 3 days later he visited her and reported what her husband had told him. The receipt, it seems, was in an upstairs bureau. She protested that she had already searched that bureau. But the husband had told ES that she should look for a secret compartment behind a certain drawer. the woman promptly went upstairs with ES, and to her astonishment, found the receipt, together with other important papers. No one alive had known about this secret compartment.
- ES’s VERIFICATIONS OF HIS CONVERSATIONS
ES claims that everyone has both angels from Heaven and spirits from Hell with them all the time, normally two of each. He applies the term “angel” to discarnate humans in Heaven as opposed to Hell and the intermediary realm he calls “The World of Spirits.” His practiced mastery of discernment allows him to distinguish angels from the deceptive hellbound spirits. Lower-order spirits like to pretend that they can predict and even control the future, but they cannot. Modern astral adepts have seldom penetrated the heavens, and so, are often deceived by hallucinatory encounters with lower-order spirits. But the Lord, Heaven, and angels essentially transcend time. So anyone in contact with them can potentially read the past, present, and future, and even verify their contacts with the dead.
At first sight, some of ES’s clairvoyant revelations might be due to ESP gleaned from the minds of eyewitnesses. Consider these 2 cases: (1) Chris Springer was a Swedish politician and a close friend of ES. Springer had been a major player in the secret negotiations between Sweden and Prussia. After ES’s death, Springer revealed that ES had psychically gleaned detailed knowledge of these negotiations. ES discerned such details as who was present, what money was offered, what Springer had done, and why he had done it. (2) In the middle of a conversation at an Amsterdam party, ES lost his awareness of those around him and entered a deep trance. When he recovered, his dismayed associates asked him what had happened, but he initially refused to say. But after much coaxing, he soberly described how Emperor Peter III of Russia had just been strangled in a prison in Kopsha, Russia. He advised partygoers to note the date and his description, so they could later verify it from newspaper accounts. A few days later, the local papers confirmed his report.
Skeptics challenged his ability to receive such premonitions. His sister had died without his knowing it. When chided about this, he explained that he was emotionally distant from her at the time of her death and, in any case, had not asked his angels about her. When he did ask his angels to reveal when someone would die, he received accurate clairvoyance. Two episodes illustrate this:
(1) At a Stockholm gathering, ES was challenged by skeptics to a test: he was asked to identify who of those present would die first. ES immediately entered a profound state of meditation. After a while, he shared the angels’ reply: “Olof Olofsohn will die tomorrow morning at 4:45 AM.” This confident prediction transformed the mood of those present to one of anxious expectation. One of Olofsohn’s friends went to his house the next morning to test the prediction. En route, he met one of Olofsohn’s servants who informed him that his master had just died from a fit of apoplexy. The clock in his home had stopped at the very moment he had expired and the hand pointed to 4:45!
This episode reminds me of 3 deaths in the Long family in my Buffalo church. Nick Long died suddenly from a heart attack while a young man. His son, Nick, Jr., was later distraught over a failed marriage and hung himself while his mother, Eleanor, was attending a funeral at my church. Eleanor herself was killed in a fiery car crash a year later. Eleanor’s death hit me very hard because she was always very kind to me. A week prior to her death, she had a dream in which several deceased relatives visited her home. Her late husband came downstairs and asked her, “Honey, do you want to dance?” Eleanor would ordinarily never turn down her husband’s offer to dance, but she sensed that dancing was a symbol for her imminent passing. So she replied, “Oh no, I’m not ready yet!” These 3 deaths in the Long family had one thing in common with Ofofsohn’s death: the clock in teir living room stopped at the time of death for all 3 of the Longs!
(2) ES’s ability to receive accurate death premonitions from angels is dramatically corroborated by an exchange of letters with John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. ES wrote Wesley an unexpected letter, saying, “I have been informed in the world of spirits that you have a strong desire to converse with me; I shall be happy to see you if you will favor me with a visit.” Wesley received the letter in an English drawing room just as he and his followers were preparing for an extended speaking tour. Wesley told those present that he was indeed eager to meet ES, but had told no one about this. He wrote ES that their meeting would have to be postponed for 6 months until the completion of his speaking tour. ES wrote back, apologizing that he could not meet him at that time because he was to die on the 29th of the next month, which, of course, he did.
My Dad’s friend Helmut can attest that ES’s premonition about the exact date of his passing is not unprecedented. Helmut’s Dad always said he would die on his 91st birthday. When that day arrived, he had no obvious health problems and no one dared comment of the fateful date. He had a good breakfast and cheerfully announced he was going to take a nap. He passed away peacefully durng the nap just as he’d always predicted.
ES receives angelic clairvoyance of 3 accidents or acts of Nature, none of which can satisfactorily be explained in terms of ESP tapping the minds of eyewitnesses. (1) In ES’s day the uncertainties of wind and weather made it impossible to predetermine how many days a long sailing trip might take. Sea captains generally took his presence on a ship as a sign that the journey would be safe and swift. ES claimed he never feared these journeys because he had angels with him. Those angels demonstrated their presence in a conversation ES had with a Captain Dixon as they embarked on a trip from London to Stockholm. ES accurately predicted that the ship would arrive in Stockholm at 2 PM in exactly a week.
(2) On July 17, 1750, he and 15 others were guests of the prominent merchant William Castel in Gothenberg at his fine home on Canal St. At 6 PM, ES suddenly turned pale. When asked what was wrong, he described a fire burning out of control at that moment in distant Stockholm. in principle, he might have acquired this information by ESP gleaned from the minds of Stockholm’s residents. But the ESP explanation cannot satisfactorily account for his detailed knowledge of the fire’s course. He described where it had started and where it was burning, including the inceration of a friend’s house and the fact that the fire burned itself out just before it arrived at ES’s home. The next day the governor summoned ES and sought and received his report on the fire which was confirmed in detail the following day.
(3) In 1770, ES attended a social event in his honor in Gothenberg. he sat beside Bolander, the owner of extensive cloth-mills. During dinner, ES abruptly turned to Bolander and sharply instructed him: “Sir, you had better go to your mills!” Bolander was taken aback at his rudeness, but nevertheless left the table and hurried to his mills. A large piece of cloth had just fallen near the furnace and had begun to burn. He arrived just in time to prevent his property from being reduced to ashes. When he returned, he thanked ES. ES smiled and explained that he had spoken so abruptly because he had “seen” that the danger was imminent.