This soldier has just been killed. He will think that he is still alive for a little while.

The next part of Johnson’s message came a few days later:

O. K., it’s working.  I’m fine.  I would so much like to finish my story.  Good, well, as I was saying, Sandy appeared inspired, I can’t find another word, and suddenly, he’s the one who seems to be our leader;  on his side, the Captain was conscienciously obeying his orders.  As the forms around me gradually became more distinct, I was losing contact with the living;  the dead were looking more real to me.  Then there was the attack from the Boschs who seized the gun, but we weren’t touched.  A German went through us, without appearing either to see us, or hear us, unlike us who even had the smell of his sweat in our nostrils.  This smell suddenly appeared so repugnant to me, although it was familiar, that I felt almost ill.  Then I saw that Sandy and the Captain had moved away.  I got Jock up and said to him:

“Above all, let’s not lose those two, otherwise we’ve had it.”

Jock agreed, but once we were standing, I discovered that we couldn’t keep our feet on the ground.  It was laughable and it was difficult for us to advance.  Jock and I were sort of floating.  I proposed:

“What if we hold hands to stay on the ground”,

with the result that we floated even more.  It took us ages to catch up with Sandy and the Captain.  They weren’t paying any attention to us anyway, as they were totally occupied with someone who had joined them.  The stranger was not wearing a uniform and, for a few seconds, I asked myself how a civilian had been able to get here.  He looked Arab.  When he turned toward me and looked at me, I felt as if I had been re-created by him.  I kneeled and murmured:

“Christ”

with all the respect of a child.

“No, not Christ, but one of his messengers”

said the man before whom I was bowed.

“He wants you.”

He wanted me!

“But why?”

I asked in a wobbly voice.  He raised his eyes toward the others, but as for me, I saw nothing more than a glorious light.  It filled my head and burned something that was holding me in this place.  Then the voice made itself heard again:

“By your sacrifice, you have reached the crown of fortitude.”

Then I don’t remember anything.  That was my last moment on Earth.  I would like certain fellows to know how we go.  It’s marvellous.

I’m tired now and I can’t finish.  Thank you.

Johnson.

***

The cover of Lord Dowding's book.

We cannot talk about these messages as if they were ordinary texts.  The means by which they have come to us (automatic writing) is not accepted by everybody and their readers are divided into two categories:  those who snigger and those who are troubled.  The first declare that these “communications” come from Mrs Gascoigne’s subconscious.  And they could be right.  The others, on the other hand, think that they are prodigious documents on what awaits us in the immediate After-Life.  And it could be that they are not wrong…

***

These texts were published by the most famous person in the Royal Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding (of whom it has been said that he was the Churchill of the Air) in a work entitled Many Mansions.

***

All those who met Mrs Gascoigne and her daughter affirmed that they were very intelligent, cultured and full of common sense.

***

It is possible that they were prone to fabulation.  But knowing that they were in good mental health, that they did not make a business of their activity, that they sought neither publicity, nor notoriety, we could ask with what aim they would have invented all this.

***

It is true that many people are animated by pulsions which remain incomprehensible to common mortals…  But if we accept this hypothesis, there remains to explain how these two women, who lived in England, could have had knowledge of things which had often unfolded thousands of kilometres from their home and of which there was confirmation sometimes long after the war.

***

Without knowing it, Group Captain Peter Townsend, here in his Spitfire, must have followed flight patterns and combat methods which came from the After-Life.

Lord Dowding absolutely believed all that Mrs Gascoigne and her daughter recounted.  It must be said that he had himself been in contact with pilots who had died during the Battle of Britain…

Lord Dowding openly talked about it.  He even wrote a book on the subject, prefaced works dealing with spiritism and confessed in an interview that he had been helped in his combat against Germany by British pilots who had been killed by the Luftwaffe.

Lord Dowding declared to the journalist Jean Potter in 1963 [I have translated back to English from the French version, so a few words might differ]:

“I entered into contact more than twenty times with pilots who had died during the Battle of Britain.  They recounted to me how they had been brought down and I drew lessons from their stories to give advice to my fighter crews.  I was able to avoid the death of a lot of my men in this way.  This is what contributed to the final victory!”

***

Messerschmitt pilots would have been astonished to learn that their RAF adversaries were guided by ghosts.

Lord Dowding had these dialogues with dead pilots through the intermediary of the wife of a Wimbledon doctor, who was a medium.  The messages that he obtained through her, offer numerous points of similarity with those received by Mrs Gascoigne and her daughter.

“Thanks to my conversations with my invisible correspondents, I was able to get an idea of the life that they led in the After-Life.  Death came so suddenly that they didn’t know how it had happened.  Still in a state close to the Earth, wandering between a physical state and an astral state, they didn’t realize that they were dead.  For these poor boys, the situation was terrible.  They saw people in the streets, tried to stop them, but the passers-by continued to walk in the midst of them.”

And he added:

“Ghosts that the Earth retains try to obtain help to liberate themselves from the Earth.  This is why they try to communicate by all means available to them”…

With the aim of helping them, Lord Dowding created a little circle of spiritists, but was himself unable to hear or see anything whatsoever.  On the other hand, the female medium saw the dead who came to them and described them to him.

“Our first task was to talk to them as if they were alive.”

And he adds with humour:

“How can you tell a boy:   I’m sorry old man, but you’re dead?”…

***

Lord Dowding tells us, speaking about those who came, attracted by his medium:

“After a while, they had the impression that we were disappearing.  They asked:  ‘Why are you glowing with a little shimmering light?’  This was a good sign.  It meant that they were going away from the Earth and that they had stopped seeing our physical bodies, to see only our astral bodies.  Our task had ended.”

Sometimes, Lord Dowding was obliged to use subterfuge so that the pilots understood their new state.

“I asked them to give me a slap on the back.  Of course, their hand passed through me and they started to understand…”

***

Lord Dowding and his medium were able to identify some of their correspondents.  The young woman described the uniforms, the badges, the insignia which corresponded to those of the pilots of missing aeroplanes.  She also gave details about their physical appearance, indicated the colour of their hair and their eyes and left out no distinctive sign.  All of these precisions were later verified and all were recognized to be exact.

***

Sometimes the “ghosts” gave their names, and the medium carefully noted them.  Which allowed Lord Dowding to know before everybody else that one of his bombers had been shot down and that the seven members of its crew had just died in Germany.

***

Suspecting that certain people in his entourage might think that he was a bit “strange”, he declared one day with humour:

“It’s not so bad to be a bit ‘cracked’;  sometimes, it lets the light in”…

***

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