Tag Archive: World War II


Heather, aged 15, with her 13 year old sister.

Auntie Heather was born on 6 October 1918.  Her mother and father, my grandparents, had been courting for six years when they finally married on 5 January 1918.  This was because Pa (short for Papa, later for Grandpa) refused to marry while the other men were away at war.

Grandma had very nearly stood him up on their first “appointment” as she called their dates.  She had confided to a work colleague that she wasn’t really attracted to him and thought that she wouldn’t go.  Her colleague had encouraged her to meet him, saying “You never know, you might like him.”  Much later, she had confessed this hesitation to her husband, who had replied, “I knew where you lived!”

During the First World War, Australia’s soldiers were all volunteers.  Pa had volunteered but, although he passed muster on height and chest measurement, his request had been refused.  He wouldn’t say why.  Later, when the War dragged on and thousands of men were being killed or wounded, height and chest measurements were lowered and Pa thought that he might be accepted this time.  He was refused for the second time.  Grandma used to say that men who had volunteered and been refused should have been given some sort of badge to wear so that they didn’t receive dirty looks from passers-by in the street.  Pa played sport and looked like a strapping young man who just didn’t want to go to war.  After his death, Grandma found his application papers with CARDIAC written across them in red.

Heather at the beach.

So Grandma, who, at the age of sixteen had refused her first offer of marriage, finally had to wait until she was twenty-nine before being able to tie the knot.  Pa was thirty-five.

Their first child was born nine months and one day after the wedding, at home with the assistance of a midwife.  Grandma’s pregnancy had been a bit rough and so had the birth, but mother and daughter were doing well, even if both were very tired after the ordeal.  Grandma managed to say to the midwife, “I just saved my good name!”  To which the midwife snapped, “You would have saved your good name if she had been born three weeks ago!”

While Grandma was still weak, one of her husband’s aunts paid her a visit and enquired about the baby’s name.  Grandma replied that she was to be christened “Brenda”.  The aunt exclaimed, “Brenda!  Brenda!  Brindle!  Brindle cow!  If you call her Brenda, I’ll call her ‘Cowie'”  So Grandma, in her weakened state, agreed to change the name, and my aunt was named Heather Catherine.  Relatives sent white heather to her from Scotland the Brave.

Heather with her future husband.

When Grandma had recovered sufficiently to go for a walk with her baby in the perambulator (later shortened to “pram”) “an old biddy up the street” (Grandma’s words)  admired the little one, then proceeded to say insinuatingly, “My daughter had her baby one year after her wedding!”  Grandma rose to her full height of five feet two inches and replied icily, “Well, my daughter was born nine months and one day after my wedding!”  Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

The little girl had her mother’s blonde hair and blue eyes but her features were those of her father.  Later, a dark-haired hazel-green eyed sister came along and Pa, who would have loved to have fathered a son, refused to allow Grandma to risk her life a third time to try to have a boy.

Heather with her father and mother on her wedding day.

The girls grew up in a two-bedroom brick house, with a dog and an enormous aviary in the backyard.  The birds were Pa’s but the dog was everyone’s.  She was a black Pomeranian who loved to taunt the biggest dogs she could find on her walks, then, when chased by them, leap into Grandma’s arms and let her deal with them.  Grandma was not amused by this.  She wasn’t afraid of dogs, but an angry German Shepherd, still being insulted by the black curly bundle in her arms, was not a reassuring encounter.

The girls shared a bedroom and this arrangement displayed its limitations when the younger of the two went into a depression (known as a nervous breakdown then) and piled all the blame for her state on her sister Heather, who was twenty years old at the time.  Not only did young Heather have to assume the burden of her mentally ill sister at this time, the antagonism lasted for the rest of their lives.  Her sister continued to systematically blame her for everything that had gone wrong with her life and eventually stopped talking to her.  At the same time she did everything that she could to try to turn the rest of the family against her.  Fortunately, not always successfully.  Auntie Heather maintained a dignified silence through it all.

The family (left to right) Heather’s sister (my mother), me at 14, Grandma, Heather’s husband, her daughter at 10, and Heather.

Despite these problems, which hadn’t yet reached complete maturity when I was born, Auntie Heather became one of my godmothers.  She was consulted, including by her sister, my mother, for questions concerning the correct way to dress for a particular event.  The sisters even collaborated as a medical first-aid team during the Second World War.  Auntie Heather always knew what the text-book said to do and my mother always knew how to do it.  Things didn’t go as well when they tried to reverse the roles.  The whole family was on first-aid alert duty on the night that the Japanese attacked Sydney Harbour.  The siren was at the end of the street, a few houses away.  On the bus, on their way to work the next morning, the girls thought that people were joking when they heard them talking about the attack and the siren going off.  They had slept through the whole thing and could have been fined for it.

Same people, different places. We’re all a bit older.

Auntie Heather was the matriarch of the family.  She outlived her parents, her younger sister, her husband (a high-ranking Free Mason) and her only child, my cousin.  She died last Friday, 29 June, and will be cremated tomorrow, 4 July 2012, in Sydney.

She is survived by her four grandchildren and her son-in-law, but I am the only one left who knew her when she was a young woman.  Which is why I have written this.  All of the people in these photos, except for me, are now deceased.

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A few months pass by and Leon Millet has become, in the Order of the Croises des Temps nouveaux, Brother Marie Bernard, of royal blood.  In Lyon, a city that has always been devoted to mysteries and where Illuminism periodically flares up between the Saone and the Rhone, it is murmured that Pope Pius XII in person has promoted him to the singular dignity of “Lieutenant of the Sacred Heart in the Kingdom of France”.

Reverend Father Collin, who was the mysterious White Prince’s friend for a while.

All throughout 1942, the “White King’s Party”, as some call it, with less than a dozen subscribers in the beginning, develops and recrutes, carried forward again by Father Collin who goes on a pilgrimage, untiringly from parish to parish, a heavy silver rosary in his hand.  However, the small crowds which he approaches in the back-rooms of community centres or inside presbyteries, mostly talk to him about the White Prince, and when this young man appears, already displaying a great flair for effect, they follow him, galvanized, as far as the next town where rumour has already assembled a few more people again.

The day after the quasi insurrectional call that he made in the Valence Cathedral, which had so frightened Monsignor Pic, the Prince is famous in at least three departements of the Rhone.  While his desire for sacrifice and his vocation as France’s saviour are stronger each day, the means for accomplishing his mission suddenly appear to be lacking.  Cardinal Gerlier, by whom he has asked to be received, takes evasive action, and some Vichy Ministers, such as Jean Chevalier, show interest in him and assure him that they grant him a long immunity, but nothing else.

The German authorities in Lyon gave the order to arrest the White Prince by all possible means.

In March 1944, the region’s main subject of conversation is the appearances of the Holy Virgin in Montvendre, which he prophesied after a pilgrimage to La Sallette, and which are followed by such manifestations that the militia makes a monstrous raid, in which he is captured with his closest dignitaries.  All five of them are locked up in Valence Prison.  When, the next day, their cell is opened in front of the chief of the local militia, so that they can be interrogated, they have inexplicably disappeared.  Their trail is found a few days later in a property belonging to Madame de Champollon, who takes them in and assures them an incognito for a while.  Prayer, ascesis, macerations and anti-hitlerian white magic occupy them for a few days, but the Illuminated cannot keep still and soon goes to knock on the door of the Convent of the Compassion in Lyon.  This is a stronghold of Lyonnaise Resistance, whose Mother Superior, Elisabeth Rivet, would die in deportation after having been atrociously tortured.  The Prince has also become a man on the Gestapo’s hit-list, but this doesn’t stop him from coming and going among Mme de Champollon’s residence, the Convent and the many assembly points, now clandestine, which he visits for his faithful followers who see that each day which passes brings them closer to the one when the keys of the Kingdom will be given to him along with the Crown.

But 1944 advances, and Lyon is liberated before Autumn.  There, where militia men and Gestapists had failed for thirty months, the FTP of Charles Tillon succeeds the very next day after the entry of the Americans into the city.  They arrest the White Prince and lock him up in a subterranean gaol at Fort-de-Francais, quite decided to guillotine him so that no crown could ever be placed on his head.  He remains there for three days, up until the Festival of Our Lady of Mercy, patron saint of captive christians.  When the local chief of the FTP wants to have him taken out of his blockhaus, it is found that it is absolutely empty, as if the walls of iron and cement had absorbed the Prince’s substance.  His friends learn that he has taken on human consistancy at the home of General Marette, who has offered him asylum.  He announces there that he is breaking off relations with Father Collin, and while his popularity is at its highest point, and thousands of his faithful followers are hoping that the dream of Restoration which he has so brilliantly incarnated is going to come true, he disappears.

Up until 1950, his adepts would do everything they could to find him again.  In 1950, they learn that the Prince might be living in Rome where he could be exercising the profession of taxi driver.  A delegation rushes there and, taking advantage of the Holy Year, mobilises the religious authorities and the French pilgrims.  News comes to them that he is in the South of France, at the home of a friend of Mme de Champollon where he has been accompanied by a Roman Carmelite nun.  When they arrive at this lady’s home, only the nun is still present.  She refuses to say where the Prince has gone, and what his activities in the Eternal City are.  Before leaving too, she does however consent to give the address of her Roman Convent, where the Prince sometimes appears.  His former companions then immediately return to Italy and go to the address indicated.  They learn that there had once been a Convent there, but that it had been demolished at the end of the XIXth Century after a violent fire.

***

Since then, there has been no news of this King who wanted to be the saviour of a Kingdom of which he later refused to claim the Crown…

But perhaps his Kingdom was not of this world?

***

The White Prince wanted to group the different forces of the Resistance by creating a new monarchy. At the Liberation, Resistants arrested him.

Some think that the White Prince might have been assassinated at the end of 1944 by the “patriotic militia”, which was indulging in a savage “epuration” at this epoch.

However, there is no proof of this.  Even though the battle for power between the Communists and all of the others, not to mention vengeances of all sorts and settling of scores, made more than one hundred thousand victims in only a few months…

***

The White Prince seems to belong to the cohort of “Great Monarchs”, who were numerous in the first half of the XXth Century.  Just before the First World War, “Felix, Henri de Valois” was announcing in Auvergne the end of time, and in the 1930s, Charles de Gimel, Louis XIX for his faithful followers, was claiming France’s throne under the name of the “Hidden Pretendant”.  At the end of the Second World War, Leon Millet – if that is his real name – is therefore an avatar of these “unfortunate kings”, Jean le Bon, Charles VII, symbols of defeated France at Poitiers, at Crecy, and, invaded, but regaining hope with the miraculous arrival of Jeanne d’Arc.

The “last of the Valois” stems from the same thing.  He was Francois, Duke of Anjou, the last of the direct line of Anjou, who died in 1584 at the age of thirty, without children.  This Prince symbolises the end of a brilliant epoch, that of the Valois, during which the kingdom’s unity was accomplished by knight-kings, called the Good, the Wise, the Beloved, all “born in the Kingdom” and from whom the History of France really began.  Before the entry into the night of the Wars of Religion, and the outside dangers which would drain again, for a long time, the unity and the authority of the State.

***

The White Prince could be compared to Henri IV or General de Gaulle.  This young man knows how to take risks, in a critical moment of France’s History, where many think only to hide, to follow the old Field Marshal or sell on the black market.  He has a presence, a purety, a charisma which make many believe in him.  A prophetic charisma or clairvoyance, perhaps a charisma of bilocation…

Like Padre Pio and a few others, the White Prince is able to be in two places at the same time.  It is therefore only his double that the militia men of both camps arrest…  The charisma of glossolalia, in a certain manner, too.  That is to say, the gift of languages or tongues, his own anyway.  Leon excels in it, much more than an ordinary, or even very gifted, young man of twenty.

***

After the Liberation, Abbot Collin, reduced to the lay condition by the Holy Office, founded a church and became the Anti-Pope Clement XV.

He breaks off relations with Abbot Collin probably because the Reverend Father is beginning to smell rather sulphurous.  As soon as he arrives in Romans, Father Collin leads his little community toward mystical and visionary practices.  Then, he founds “The Latter Day Apostles”, with the perspective of a liberated France after a series of miraculous phenomena, of which he and his group would be the origin.  We see this when he wants to put Leon at the head of his Crusade.  Then he draws into his movement an authentic mystical clairvoyant named Madame Rivet.  She had prophesied, long in advance, the beginning of the great conflict and the invasion of France.  Before being arrested for acts of Resistance, she had also founded the feminine branch of the “Latter Day Apostles”…

***

Like Jean Moulin, she was betrayed.  Tortured for a long time, she is sent to Ravensbruck where she offers herself for the gas chamber to replace a mother.  As far as heresies go, Father Collin doesn’t stop there.  Immediately after the Liberation, he founds the “Congregation of Infinite Love” which is disavowed by the Bishop of Lourdes where he had returned.  The Holy Office confirms this sentence and reduces Father Collin to the lay condition.  Father Collin later becomes the Anti-Pope Clement XV.  He becomes famous for excommunicating the Cardinals of the Curia as well as his tax officer, who is taxing the donations that he receives a bit too much.  However, he always defends the image and the memory of the White Prince.

Even if nobody was ever able to find the White Prince again, no-one ever claimed that he was a mystifier, a crook or a madman, either.  All those who knew him and have been questioned are convinced of his good faith, his sincerity and the power of his charismas…

***

The charismas could have been the product of the epoch in which he lived.  They come from mysterious psychical forces.  Free gifts, of supernatural or supranormal origin, with often a temporary character.  It could be that the great return shock of the Liberation made them disappear.  After this, the White Prince, judging his task to be finished, might not have wanted to be only a shadow in a landscape where the light had returned…

***

The White Prince

At the beginning of Summer 1943, France is in shreds.  In the little town of Montmeyran in the Drome, there has never been so many people.  Today is the first Friday after the Octave of the Holy Sacrament, so it is therefore Jesus’ Sacred Heart which is being adored today.  Half the faithful present can’t fit inside the church.  Even the confessionals are crowded.

When the service ends, a considerable procession goes towards a calvary situated beneath the ruins of a castle.  In front of the cross, a little estrade covered in red carpet has been raised.  A very young man, with a pale complexion and of singular beauty, climbs onto it.  Over a sky blue shirt, he is wearing a white linen surplice which falls to mid-thigh and makes him look like one of those crusaders who left from here for the Holy Land, more than a thousand years ago.  The illusion is reinforced when someone hands him a heavy white standard, fleurdelysed in one corner.  In its centre, a blood-coloured heart, pierced with arrows and surmounted by a cross…

Slowly, the young man raises the emblem on high with his left arm, so that is is very visible to the crowd, then, impervious to the sun or fatigue, he holds it aloft for more than an hour, his face and torso dripping with agonizing perspiration, from the effort.  He imposes his right hand on the faithful as they file past him and gives them the flag to kiss.  The first to kneel are very young, only boys, sons of the local notables.  Afterwards, they assemble in the sacristy to enrol and become “crusading knights”, making a vow of chastity and swearing on the Missel that they would not return to their families nor take a wife, before the White Prince is established on France’s throne…

What is the aim of this crusade preached by the White Prince in the Rhone Valley, with a success which grows each day?  Kick the Germans out of France and seat himself on the throne of his ancestors, Saint Louis [Louis IX] and Charles V who was the last of the House of Anjou rulers…

A few days before this strange celebration, Jean Moulin, betrayed, had been arrested at Caluire, near Lyon.  Repression is getting worse everywhere, closed trucks unendingly take Resistants [called “terrorists” by the Germans] towards “the night and the fog”, and a few months later, 700 Patriots [still “terrorists” to the Germans] would be cut down on the slopes of the neighbouring Vercors.  It is therefore a desperate France which attempts to discern the end of the night on the white banner…

The Saint-Apollinaire Cathedral in Valence, where, in 1943, the White Prince preached a crusade to kick the Germans out of France and place himself on the throne…

A few days later, it is in the antique roman cathedral of Valence, consecrated by Urbain II, who preached the First Crusade, that the White Prince’s knights assemble.  Their chief is among them for a novaine which lasts the whole night.  For hours, he remains on his knees on the marble tiles, indifferent to the sufferings that this posture inflicts, still praying, very straight and motionless, while the most courageous of his companions have let themselves go, with no strength left, onto the benches…  This evening, he had announced a great day of mission which must culminate with a solemn service in the Saint-Apollinaire Cathedral in the presence of the Bishop of Valence…

A few days later, the cathedral is full.  Doubtless because there are never more religious people than in times of distress, but also because the whole of Valence knows that the Prince will be present.  He is sitting in the choir stalls, among the officiants, right beside the Bishop Monsignor Pic.  He rises and, wearing his white surplice, advances towards the pulpit.  Evidently, this was not supposed to happen, for the Bishop is seen to turn toward his Assessors and whisper to them.  The White Prince slowly climbs the steps which, in the centre of the nave, permit the predicator to dominate the audience.  For an instant, his blue gaze wanders tenderly over the assembly, then he leans forward and strongly grips the edge of the pulpit.  In a clear, carrying voice, he begins a sort of speech.  With such ease that at first it could be thought that he is reciting a speech learnt by heart.  But the tone, the elegance and the rigour of his words, which he underlines with appropriate, expressive gestures, soon indicate that he is a born orator.  Monsignor Pic is not happy:  he is seen to leave with precipitation his prie-Dieu and go towards the sacristy…

The inspired preacher, who is not yet twenty years old, having placed France under the protection of [the Archangel] Michael, its patron saint, assures that God is not insensible to the sufferings of the Church’s Eldest Daughter [France].  That clerics and laics, whatever their manner of interpreting Heaven’s music, must now give the Good God some help…

Then, his finger raised, like Saint Bernard calling Crusaders to attack the Infidels, he announces that the Virgin had appeared to him and that she would appear again soon in Montvendre, to announce the day of the Allied Landing.  The Bishop stands anxiously crumpling his stole in his hands.  His ordeal isn’t yet over.  With words of great elevation, the one whom the whole region now calls the White Prince or King, continues to speak of a France soon to be liberated and placed under the protection of a very christian monarchy…

Too fascinated by the young man’s extraordinary oratory talent, the audience has not seen Monsignor Pic approaching the pulpit accompanied by two priests…  But it is the peroration and, after a moment of intense silent prayer, the crowd sees the orator descend and go towards the sacristy escorted by three ecclesiastics…

The White Prince’s family is said to have spent the war at Lourdes.

It is, of course, fear of German reprisals which has led the prelate to have the prophet expulsed through the cathedral’s little door.  Thereby assuring him even greater popularity.  But from this day, the authorities begin to search for his origins and the stages of his notoriety.  It is noticed that no-one has ever succeeded in making him say where and when he was born.  His lieutenants think that his father is called Millet, although, speaking of his parents, he just says:

“My mother is of the nobility, her name is Placida de Baruete and she gave me the first name of Leon because my patron saint is the one who was able to stop Attila!”

Some think that the Millets come from Lorraine or from the Territoire de Belfort.  But the authorities, who investigate there, are unable to find the slightest clue on the Registers.  It is thought however that the White Prince’s family “retreated” to Lourdes in 1940 and that he then spent a lot of time in the miraculous grotto.  That he met there a priest, the Reverend Father Michel Collin, to whom a revelation from Heaven gave the order to found the Croisade du Rosaire et du Magnificat.  The future White Prince will be one of the first to enrol in the “Croises des Temps Nouveaux”, whose chief is Abbot Collin.  The Abbot leads his little association to Romans, where Monsignor Pic, impressed by the quality of his faith, puts the parish locality of Saint-Croix de Romans at his disposition.  The Sisters of Niederbronn are already camped there.  They have been evacuated too, and each evening public prayers are organized in the Community’s chapel.  One evening in November 1940, while the little group of faithful is beginning the Miserere, tears are seen to fall from the eyes of an alabaster Holy Virgin.  Leon is the most emotional, and Father Collin observes that, from this day on, his qualities of Initiate and Proselyte will become stronger.  So rapidly, that he thinks to make him the chief of the crusade which is going to be organized.

To be continued.

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”…

***

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

Extract from a message from a soldier killed during a skirmish in Libya

I wanted a drink so badly!  But for some reason, I couldn’t manage it.  However, I wanted it so much that I finally succeeded.  This will make you laugh.  But never in my life had I wanted something so much as that whisky and soda.  And it just appeared, like magic;  the soda sparkling and limpid!  I poured myself a glass and drank until I was no longer thirsty!  To start with, the whisky seemed good to me, but after a little while, I only wanted to taste the soda, pure and limpid.  My wish came true.  I hadn’t yet realized that my wishes were generating events.

29 January 1943.

***

Another message from Libya

O. K. it’s working.  I’m happy.  I’ve been trying to thank you for a long time, but it was impossible to make myself heard by you.

We arrived in Spring.  I came from Snodsbury.  I’ll give you my name later, but you probably wouldn’t remember me.  We were all separated and I was sent to Egypt.  It was something!  I never would have believed that I was going to go through all this.  You know what I mean.  I didn’t know that dying was like this.  I thought that everything was totally over and finished.  Sometimes it was so hard that I didn’t see how I could still hang on.  And then suddenly, it stopped – and I felt as fresh as anything.  The instant before I was exhausted and hot;  terribly hot, and thirsty, with a horrible headache.  The sound of the battle was literally tearing me to pieces.  Then, suddenly, I was feeling great, as cool and rested as anything.  I was watching what was happening and hearing the noise, but I wasn’t affected by it.  I couldn’t believe that I’d bought it.  I saw my body with holes everywhere, and I still didn’t believe it.  It seems to me that I tried to drag it away from the gun, but I couldn’t extract it from the mass formed by those who had fallen all around me, and even on me.  We had well and truly taken a direct hit.

The others weren’t there;  that seemed odd to me.  There was no-one.  Then I saw our Captain.  He came to me, and I made a sign in the direction of my body.  It took his breath away for an instant, then he declared:

“Oh well, I suppose that there is nothing more to say.  Funny planet, Johnson.  And I presume that it’s better to continue.”

I answered:

“Yes Sir, but what do we do now?”

“Load the gun of course you idiot”,

he said, just like before.  I obeyed him, but as strong as I felt, I couldn’t move the shells.  It wasn’t that they were very heavy, but I couldn’t hold them.  I said this to my Captain who came to help me.  He didn’t stop swearing.  We tried together, but did it move?  Not an inch.  We were there, two strong fellows, trying as hard as we could to lift a little anti-aircraft shell, and we couldn’t manage it.  In the end, I sat down and started to laugh.  I said:

“Well, have you ever heard of two dead chaps firing a gun?”

He was red with anger.

“Absolutely, and, not only that, we’re going to succeed.  We’re in good enough form, aren’t we?  Come on.”

I kept quiet once more, thinking that he had gone mad and it was better not to ruffle his feathers.  We tried again and I began to see, not the efforts we were making with our hands, you understand, but the Captain himself.  His tenacity was such that he seemed to project a force.  In my eyes, he was like what you imagine a radio station relay to be (if it’s possible to see one, that is), and the answer was going through, not his fingers, but through his whole body.

Lots of people with indistinct forms joined us and worked with us.  I can’t say that the gun was fired as such, but projectiles were launched from it.  The ‘planes that were flying back and forth above us suddenly started to lose speed, return to their base or crash.  I was stunned.  I’d never seen anything like it in my life.  In appearance there was no sound, the firing was silent.  We all however felt the gun’s recoil.  This encouraged us for what followed.  It was the weirdest experience.  This is when I saw Jock approaching.  He too had received bullets, but he hadn’t been with us until now.  Having recognized the Captain and me, he stood to attention.  The Captain was too busy to pay any attention to him, but Jock had always been a talker.  I hurried to shut him up:

“Wait a minute, my boy, the dead people in the gang are in the process of inventing a new operational tactic.  Come and join us then and try not to give up along the way.”

I stayed near Jock and got him to watch what the Captain was doing.

The Captain was a great fellow for sure.  His will seemed to retreat before nothing.  I was preparing to move when he glared at me, and said:

“Keep still and think – for the love of God, think with all your might, that’s what you have to do now.  We have our intelligence and our willpower, and if the three of us join forces we’ll manage to fire and protect our boys’ anti-aircraft shelter.  Don’t you see the men who are helping us?”

That’s when I saw Sandy, who had been killed last Thursday.  He was standing in the water which was up to his waist and was making funny movements with his arms.  I looked at his eyes.  They really were Sandy’s eyes, but they were different, bright like stars.  He seemed inspired, if you can say that…

I don’t think that I can finish this story today.  Can I stop now and come back?  I liked telling it to you a lot.  You understand, it’s my first real adventure.  Thank you.

Johnson.

***

To be continued.

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

Message from a soldier killed by the Japanese

I fell forward into the swampy mud of the jungle, and for a good moment I remained unconscious, in a sort of nightmare.  My body was holding on, while my spirit wanted to escape.  Never think that apparently unconscious people really are;  I wasn’t anyway.  I was conscious but paralysed.  It was a horrible feeling.  Then something snapped, freeing me, and I felt extremely relieved.

When joining my companions, I immediately understood what had happened, when I noticed that they didn’t see me any more;  but I was so preoccupied by there being so little change in me that I didn’t have time to think of anything else.  I wanted to tell them that they didn’t need to fear death and everything that followed, but it wasn’t possible.  Then I saw that the dead Japanese were helping their comrades;  the living Japanese could sometimes see them and hear them and were using the information given to them.  I felt that I should do the same thing.  After a number of useless attempts, for neither my warnings, nor my advice could be accepted by my companions’ brains, I went away, asking myself what I was going to be able to do.

It wasn’t that I wanted to abandon them, but there was apparently no other solution.  I walked in the forest.  For a while, I completely forgot the war and all the trials being suffered by my friends. I was so fascinated by the life that surrounded me!  I know the jungle well;  I had lived alone in it for months and months.  I was coming back to it looking for rest and peace after the torment of the war, and I found there all that I was seeking but better, oh yes, much better.

I discovered things that had been hidden from me throughout all of my terrestrial life.  I can’t describe the beauty of what surrounded me.  The jungle had always seemed to me to be rich in colour, in sounds and in magnificent trees, but never until then had I perceived the significance hidden behind each of these familiar manifestations.  A ray of light, or a sound, seemed to impregnate the very texture of jungle life…

I can’t explain.  I was happy, magnificently happy, and completely myself;  but this self had gained in understanding, and in capacity for happiness, right up to felicity.

Then a voice resounded in my ears, and little by little, I perceived a shining and beautiful form which said to me:

“You see here the country of beatitude, but you have left behind you a country of tumult and passion. Don’t you want to help others to find the key which leads to this place of joy?”

I was so taken-aback at the idea that I hadn’t thought of anyone but myself for ages, that I must have blushed like a young girl.  But “The Shining One” didn’t seem to notice.  I stammered that I hadn’t yet very well understood where I was, and asked him for his help.  He answered:

“No, you have found your path, and you must discover the rest by yourself;  but others might not be as lucky and need help.”

I didn’t want to turn my back on this magnificent place, but “The Shining One” promised to accompany me right to the end.  He explained to me that I only had to evoke this place, and want to return to it, to be back here.  Meanwhile, he told me, we both have to go back to the battlefield.

It’s with regret that I followed him.  We sort of transited, or rather, no, there was no transit point:  our environment melted away and another one took its place.  The jungle moved and dissolved, and another sort of jungle appeared, the one filled with men shouting orders and screaming in pain.  At first, this appeared unbearable to me, but “The Shining One” said to me:

“Come next to this man, he is going to come to us.”

A second later, a bullet tore his stomach, and he curled up at our feet moaning.  “The Shining One” leaned towards him and touched his head and his eyes.  His moans stopped instantly and I saw his spirit abandon his tortured body.  He joined us, pale and bewildered, in the dense vegetation of the jungle.  Before I was able to understand what had happened, we were back in the marvellous jungle;  it was magnificent…

The man who had joined us was one of our soldiers.  He was quiet, and had always seemed boring to me.  I barely knew him.  He never joined in our games, preferring to read.  When he saw me, he livened up:

“I didn’t think that I would find you here, I thought that I’d seen you dead a few days ago.”

I answered:

“You’re right, and a few minutes ago, I saw you dead.”

“The Shining One” looked at me and I understood that I shouldn’t have announced it to him so brutally.  But Burrows didn’t seem affected by the news;  he just said:

“Right, I was hit, wasn’t I?  It doesn’t matter, this battle is horrid, and we haven’t got much chance of coming out of it alive anyway.”

Then he asked:

“What’s it like here?”

I explained to him that it was superb and that he had nothing to fear.  Then, we walked in the jungle along with “The Shining One”.  He explained a lot of things to us.  We rapidly recovered from the shock in this way.  He took us back to the Front so that we could help our companions and introduce them to this life.  That’s what we’re doing now.  I wanted to go further, and learn to inculcate my ideas to those who direct the fighting.  I’m grateful to you for this first lesson.  It’s gone rather well.  But I feel tired, and would like to go back to my jungle, a refreshing source.  I understand that there are different places, all correspond to our state of mind.  It’s like we learned when we were children:

“The Kingdom of God is in you”.

Good night.

4 February 1942.

***

To be continued.

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

Two letters from a Polish pilot who had spent his last furlough at Mrs Gascoigne’s place

Yes, I was brought down.  I survived many combats, but not that one.  I’m wounded, I can’t control the ‘plane.  Hit on the leg.  It hurts.  The commands are no longer responding.  I’m falling.  I can’t get out of the ‘plane.  I’m completely aware of the fall.  I get up fairly easily and see my gunner.  He’s wounded too, but not too badly.  The Germans are coming to get us, but they don’t see me.  I run to hide.  But they’re not looking for me.  They take my friend with them.  I turn in circles for a while, I feel well and can’t imagine how I could crash without hurting myself.  My leg is healed.  I walk around.  I approach some French peasants to ask them for help, but they don’t see me.  I’m beginning to ask myself some questions.  I’m neither hungry, nor thirsty and I’m not particularly tired.  I begin to see things around me transforming.  There are colours everywhere;  it’s a sunset, or a sunrise.  The colours seem to be reflected just as much on the Earth as in the sky.  I lie down and watch the colours take form.  It’s like at the cinema when one image fades into another.  I’m astounded.  I don’t know where I am.  I ask, I pray, I forget that I’m not religious.  I pray for help and it is given to me.  Someone extremely bizarre, but in spite of everything very close to us, approaches me.  He tells me not to worry about the change.  It’s better for everybody and that I’m going to be very happy in these lands.  I don’t understand very well.  I imagine that I’m being taken prisoner.  Then he explains to me that there is neither prison nor prisoner, and I feel free again.  He leads me away and orders me to sleep.  He touches my eyes and I’m immediately asleep.  When I awake, he’s still there and I’m on Earth again, in occupied territory, with Germans all around.  I’m back in my body.  I’m finding it difficult to leave it.

The Air Force officers' messes where there had been a lot of drinking and playing around, were particularly haunted by dead pilots.

I don’t see any colours, but my new friend is near me, and he talks to me.  I don’t see him very well.  They are doing something to my body.  I’m very unhappy.  My friend tells me to concentrate all my attention on an event outside the war.  I therefore concentrate on the last time that I had a family life with you at H.  I see you all very well.  I wake you.  You feel my presence very near and you talk to me.  I ask you to keep me in the house, peaceful, far from the battle, until I can leave, and you answer “of course”.  So I stay, and now I’m beginning to feel happy again.  I’m between two worlds.  Help me to untie myself from that one and leave.  I want to continue.  I want to continue.  I think that I can.  Help me, please.

S. Z.

From the same person, several days later:

Thank you.  Yes, I’m well.  I don’t feel ready yet to leave your house.  I sometimes leave for short moments, but it’s good to be able to come back near you all.

When you sit on the same chair as I do, it gives me a funny feeling.  I’m both very near to you and very far from you.

From time to time, I go to Poland, but I don’t dare to stay.  I haven’t sufficient strength yet to help them, and they need so much of this strength!  I see my old friends, some are dying, others are already dead.  But I can’t do anything.  I’m tired and feel too ill to approach them.  We should help soon, but we are too weak for the moment.

Your father, or someone who looks like him, comes with me, and tries to help us.  But I’m good for nothing.  I want to help, but I’m like a child, I can’t.  It’s just that I never believed in anything;  I expected nothing after death.  I feel lost.  I don’t know anything.  Everything that I mocked is coming back to my memory.  I was a bad man, I neglected too many things, my prayers, my church.  But I don’t know whether it’s really important.  I had no faith.  Now I’m discovering that there is no extinction, I have to endure a sort of conscious extinction.  My thought and my senses are present, but I have no strength.

Here, you find what you were waiting for.  You construct your awakening.  Everything happens the way that you imagined it.  At least that’s what they told me.  I expected nothing, and nothing happened.  But now, I’m leaving the depressive zones, and I’m beginning to feel my strength.  Thank you for your help.

S. Z.

Message from a cavalry officer

Thank you.  I’m alive after all.  I thought that only extinction could follow such a hell.  On all sides, both British and German, it was a hecatomb.  The tanks, the hail of schrapnel and the ‘planes!  I had the impression that we were being exterminated by the machines that we had created.  They seemed so much more vindictive than the men they contained.  I think that it’s the war of the machines.  They are the ones leading us.  We are the slaves of a bad genie who has allowed their existence.  I feel the influence of evil so strongly.  I can’t wait to be faraway, and lie down on clean sand, and forget the horrors of this hell that Man no longer masters.

I prayed for help when we were bogged down and the firing started.  I prayed with all my soul, at the same time knowing that there was no escape.  But prayer gave me courage.  It seemed to me that nothing was really important, except that feeling about evil.  And even that went away a bit.  I can’t name it, or explain it.  It seemed to rise from the sand and spread all around the tanks.  I was feeling ill and pitiful.  Then these feelings disappeared and I found myself outside talking to my Colonel.  He didn’t seem to notice the schrapnel that was raining down on us without stopping.  I ran to take shelter, but he called me and told me not to take the trouble.  He seemed as young as a new recruit and appeared to be enjoying the battle.  He took me by the shoulder and said:

“Don’t you see, Kit, that we are dead, and yet we are more alive than the others.  We can continue to fight, to torment the enemy, to lead it astray, to inspire our leaders and take advantage of our invisibility.”

I saw perfectly well that he was serious, but he seemed mad to me.  I answered:

“Yes, Sir, but I’m so tired that I don’t think I can continue.”

He left me and I don’t know what happened, but I woke up here with just one idea in my head:  return to the battlefield and find him.  He wasn’t mad.  I was the idiot.

Your father let me write through you to allow me to take enough strength from the physical world to face the invisible world.  I’m leaving now.  Thank you very much.

4 February 1942.

***

To be continued.

This soldier has just been killed. According to spiritists, he will think that he is still alive for a little while.

Message from a New Zealander

You don’t know my family, they are faraway and could never understand.  I belong to the Colonial Troops and my name is Simson.  I come from New Zealand.  I was part of the losses suffered in Greece.  I should go back home now, but I can’t abandon my mates.  I could go as fast as thought itself, and come back just as rapidly, but time doesn’t matter any more now.  And if I let the contact that I have with the boys unravel, it would be difficult to find it again.  I have the feeling that we can do something here and now, and if this feeling is right, we must continue to fight.

Who is “living”, who is “dead”?  I don’t really know.  We look so much alike.  Except that the “dead” are much more energetic and don’t get tired.  My parents would not understand how much more alive I feel now.  Therefore, it’s not worth trying to tell them.

I am still doing the same work, under the orders of the same officer, and with a lot of my former mates;  we work for others, particularly while they sleep.  We sometimes lead raids against regiments of “dead” enemies, using the weapons of thought!  It’s a fantastic game.  We can do almost anything now.  The most extraordinary thing is that we are all happy.  On Earth, I wasn’t particularly good at being happy.  More than others, I worried, was tormented and inclined to boredom.  Here on the other hand, there is an easygoing atmosphere, and we haven’t time any more to get bored.  To have left my body therefore can’t give birth to any nostalgia for me.  I just stay here, that’s all.  Our boys, all of our boys are happy, too.  And the others are going through so many difficulties that it’s our duty to support them.

***

Question:

Can we help you?  Do you need our help?

***

Yes, we do.  It helps me considerably, it gives me more energy to get closer to my mates.  It would be even better if you could also talk to the others.  You give us confidence in ourselves.  It is most often impossible to see the result of our work.  Now I can see and feel your reactions, and, just like you, I suppose, this makes the work tangible.  It’s a result.  I think that’s all for the moment.  Good night.

***

Message from a Norwegian

Thank you.  Speaking to you seems funny to me, but it’s fairly easy.  I’m not English, not even British.  I’m Norwegian.  I lived in England for years, and I speak your language just as well as my own.

I was killed by the Germans at Trondheim.  I was a shopkeeper;  they fired on me.  I don’t like the Germans.  I could never like them;  and I am kept here by my hate.  I’m unable to rid myself of it.  Their acts of wanton cruelty still put me in such anger when I think about it, that I can’t free myself from it.  I beg you to help me;  your father led me to you so that I can get closer to it.  He tells me that I must forgive the Nazis, that they don’t know what they are doing, that they are like somnambulists;  and that as long as I haven’t forgiven them, I cannot free myself, and leave this inferior layer, so close to the Earth.

Here, everything that happens to you, you feel it more strongly, and we more and more execrate the German race.  When they join us in the astral body, they seem to us to be worse enemies than during our terrestrial lives.  It’s awful, this anger from which we cannot free ourselves.  Give me tranquillity and let me sleep.  I want to sleep and forget.  That would allow me to have a more equitable judgement and manage to forgive them.

I understand why Christ so quickly gave his forgiveness to everybody before leaving the Earth.  I see why and how much this is necessary, and with your father’s help and this contact with you, I should be able to escape.

***

Message from a Scot captured in Crete

It’s true, I was in Crete.  I come from the Highlands.  I was in the Navy and I stayed in Crete with others who couldn’t be embarked.  I saw the ships leave and I understood that it was useless for us to hope to escape.  That was one of the worst moments.  I was wounded in the shoulder, and I could do nothing else but allow myself to be captured.  They put me on a stretcher, and took me to hospital.  All they did for me, was give me a bed.  My wound got infected and became very painful.  I suppose that I was delirious.  They asked me questions, but I don’t think that they did anything at all for me;  perhaps they couldn’t do anything.  I don’t know.  Anyway, after having suffered interminably, I apparently sank into absolute sleep.  When I awoke, the pain had disappeared and I was outside.  I therefore thought that I had escaped, and I walked around, happy to be free, but incapable of understanding what had happened.  I couldn’t manage to walk properly.  I couldn’t keep my feet on the ground.  I was in a sort of fog.  I saw a place and people, and then, suddenly, everything changed.  I thought I was still delirious.  Now I know that I was seeing two layers at the same time.  I still hadn’t learnt to master my spiritual body.  Everything worried me.  Despair was creeping over me.  People approached me to help me, and when we started to understand each other, I had the urge to hide from the Germans.  It felt like torture.  And then people managed to join me, and I was able to sleep – the real sleep of the dead – the extinction of our life and the birth of another.  I don’t know much about it, but this life appears so natural, that I’m in a hurry to communicate with you to test my power in the physical milieu before returning to help those who have suffered like me.  I know that it’s possible and I don’t want to waste time.  It’s marvellous to discover that nothing has been spoilt.  I have all the capacities that I had dreamed of possessing on Earth.  It’s marvellous.  Good night.

***

To be continued.

This soldier has just been killed. According to spiritists, he will think that he is still alive for a little while and will be astounded to find out that he is dead.

Camille Flammarion, who investigated nearly one thousand people about post mortem phenomena, wrote:

“Wars are, alas, privileged fields of experimentation for those who study the problems of the immediate After-Life.  During the course of these massacres, most of the people who are killed – civil or military – enter into death in a brutal fashion and without being prepared for it.  So the messages that we have been able to obtain from these defunct people, either by automatic writing, or by tables, generally show the state of deep astonishment that they feel in learning that they are dead.  The passage is so sudden that certain ‘subjects’ firmly believe that they continue to live.  Therefore, this provides a field of study for the researcher which is totally exceptional.”

Maurice Maeterlinck wrote:

“The victims of violent death (due to an accident or a war) who find themselves brutally projected from Life into the After-Life where they have some trouble getting used to their new state, seem, according to witness statements from reliable sources, more disposed and more apt than others to enter into communication with the living.  Ties still bind them to this side of reality, which appears to facilitate the dialogue.”

During World War II, numerous spiritist centres entered into contact with soldiers who had died in combat.  The most important centre was the one previously created by Colonel Gascoigne.  This British officer, a hero of the Battle of Khartoum and former companion of Cecil Rhodes during the first years of Rhodesia, was passionate about spiritism.  He had studied everything touching on relations between the dead and the living in ancient civilizations, possessed on these subjects a library of extraordinary richness and was the inventor of a means of communicating with defunct people.

After his death, his widow and his daughter, using the method that he had taught them, regularly dialogued with him.  Then came 1940.  When Hitler began to attack England, the two women received from the Colonel some messages inciting them to “call” soldiers who had been killed by the enemy and question them.  They obeyed.  The answers that they obtained then – and for five years – were astounding.  Here are a few of them:

[Before delivering these texts to the reader, Guy Breton wishes to underline that Mrs Gascoigne and her daughter were very honourably known in London High Society and that they belonged to an austere milieu where even the idea of trickery was unthinkable…  I wish to add that I do not possess the original English version of what follows, so have translated it from French.]

***

Message from a sailor

I was on an oil tanker.  When our boat was sunk, we all drowned very fast.  I didn’t suffer, but I was extremely surprised to find myself in possession of a marvellous force which allowed me to push away all sorts of wreckage.  I progressed like this among the debris and after a moment, I realized that we were in deep water.  Everything was motionless like in a dream.  I remember the great facility with which we were moving and breathing (if we were really breathing, for, in thinking about it, I believe that it was another type of breathing).  Anyway, I freed myself, just like a few of my friends, and we went away, without really knowing what we were doing.  Then we discovered that there was a stranger amongst us.  His clothes were totally dry and he was walking as if the water surrounding us didn’t exist.  A little after observing this phenomenon, I mentioned it to him.

All this was so strange.  After having walked straight ahead for a very long time, I saw that we were heading towards what seemed to me to be a sunrise;  I had never seen a more beautiful one.  I was looking back, in the direction from which we had come, when the stranger put his hand on my shoulder and said:

“Not yet, you have to continue to the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  Only there can you turn back, if you so desire.”

I answered:

“Oh, I don’t care”,

and continued on my way, a bit shaken, until we arrived at a sort of garden.  I say a sort, for it was neither enclosed, nor well-defined.  On a hillside, it was filled with flowers, with beautiful flowers.  Even before arriving at this place, I had “realized” that we were no longer moving in water.  I was tired, I wanted to sleep and my feet were refusing to carry me.  The stranger suggested that we rest.  I sat down on the grass and immediately went to sleep.

You can imagine my surprise when, upon waking, I found myself in an unknown place.  At first, I couldn’t remember how I’d got there;  but, little by little, everything came back to me.  With the help of my comrades who were still with me, I was able to piece together the whole story.  For all this time, the stranger had remained with us, listening to us without saying anything.  Finally, I asked him where he came from, and why he had brought us here.  He answered:

“Oh, I’m a simple sailor, like you, but having been here for some time now, I thought that I could help you.”

It took us a certain time to admit that we were “dead”;  but everything was so different from what I expected that I couldn’t believe it.

It’s magnificent, really magnificent.  If only my mother knew!  This “land” is much better than the one that we’ve left, and all is well.  I would like her to be able to see me.  Dad came to join me shortly after this realization;  and we spent some marvellous moments together.  Calling him Dad seems strange to me for he is younger than I am now;  he looks it anyway.  We are soon going to work together, but I’m not in a hurry.

***

To be continued.

A knight from the past – part 2

The knight who appeared in the Mons sky in 1914 inspired poems, songs and even a waltz.

There is no explanation for the appearance of a mediaeval knight in the middle of World War I. It could not be a collective hallucination for the apparition was seen by two groups of men who were too far away from each other to correspond or suggest it to each other.  The English would have had to scream during the noise of battle – and in German:

“Oh!  Look at the beautiful blond knight in armour, with no helmet, on a white horse!…”

It is unthinkable!

***

 American physicists from Princeton suggest (prudently) that it could be a contact between the universe which is invisible to our eyes where everything continues to exist forever, that we call the Past, and a few instants of the “Here-and-Now” which lasts only the blink of an eye and which we designate as the Present.  A lucky, accidental contact, which led a mediaeval knight to irrupt into the space-time of 18 August 1914.

***

Let us recall what Einstein said about the person who lived a few hours with people who had died thirty years before:

“This man tripped on Time like others miss a step on a staircase…”

[See https://marilynkaydennis.wordpress.com/2010/08/05/a-strange-concert/ and https://marilynkaydennis.wordpress.com/2010/08/07/a-strange-concert-part-2/ ]

The Tommies and the German soldiers perhaps also missed a step…  Some parapsychologists claim as well that wars, for reasons still inexplicable, seem to create a favourable climate for this type of phenomena…

***

Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron's characteristic aeroplane was seen in 1940.

There are many other examples.  On all battlefields since the times of Antiquity, soldiers have seen prodigious things.  All chroniclers mention them.  Here is one example.  It dates from World War II.  In June 1940, an English aviator, Lieutenant Grayson, was on a night flight above Dover, in marvellous moonlight.  At one moment, he sees in front of him a bi-plane of a very old type.  Intrigued, he chases it, catches it and notes, astounded, that it is an old Fokker from World War I, entirely painted red and decorated with the Iron Cross.  Approaching even closer, he notices that this strange aeroplane bears an emblem on its fuselage:  a flying circus.  He could have fired then;  but – he would later say – this aeroplane seemed so weird to him that he didn’t dare.  Suddenly, the Fokker, which is flying ten metres ahead of him, disappears into thin air.  Very troubled, the Englishman returns to camp and recounts what he had seen.  His fellow pilots laughingly declare that it should be forbidden for RAF pilots to have whisky in their cockpits…

Years pass.  And one day in 1943, Lieutenant Grayson buys an old book on the Air War in 1914-1918.  He is astounded to discover the photograph of a red Fokker decorated with a “flying circus”.  Underneath the photo, it is explained that this was the bi-plane in which the Number One Ace of German Aviation flew during World War I.  He was the famous Baron Manfred von Richthofen, nicknamed The Red Baron because of the colour of his aeroplane.

Von Richthofen had been shot down with his Fokker on 21 April 1918.  What was he doing in a June 1940 fragment of space-time?

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Another phenomenon during World War I: the British saw archers from the XVth Century fighting beside them. It was later learnt that some Germans had been found with wounds "like those which would have been made by ancient arrows".

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