Rex Ward does more rescue work. Astral phantoms, and a cat.
June 19th, 1916
Rex Ward in spirit told his brother Jack how he had
been searching for his Adjutant, killed in action, as
one of his tasks on the other side.
REX We found him still fighting fiercely, and you
should have seen the look of astonishment on his face
when he saw me. It made me laugh for the first time
since I died. Amid the turmoil it was impossible to
go into things, but after some little difficulty I got
him out of the fighting line. He thought at first he
would be running away from the battle, and it was only
my presence which made him realize that he must be
dead. He said, “Well, if I can talk with you, I must
be dead, for I know quite well you are. But it all
seems a fearful jumble up.”
Somehow we got him away, and the Officer took him
firmly in hand and I and uncle went with him. We took
him away behind the fighting line, and there he is
now, and we three are doing for him the work that
uncle did for me, only we have not, as yet, taken him
into the great solitude. I don’t know whether it will
be necessary in his case.
June 23rd, 1916
ADJUTANT Well, this is another surprise. I’m
getting them every hour now. To be able to talk to a
living man in this land of shadows! How goes the war?
Do you know anything of the old Regiment? Has our
JACK [after relating the progress of the war] But
while you naturally want to know how England’s doing,
don’t concentrate on that idea too much, or you will
become hopelessly earth-bound.
ADJUTANT What does that mean?
JACK [explains briefly, then turns to Rex] How have
you been getting on since last I saw you?
REX Famously. The Officer took the Adjutant away
for some time into the place of “Utter Silence,” how
long you would reckon it, I don’t know. Time is
measured differently here. Indeed, if it were not for
your periodic visits, I should have by now quite
forgotten about earth time. Reckoning by that, I
should think he was away for about three days. I
called your visits periodic. I do that because you
have explained to me that you visit me every Monday
and Friday, but the intervals between seem to vary in
June 26th, 1916
Jack gave the Adjutant more news of the war, and
then Rex continued his account of his experiences.
REX I’ve been having some experience with these
astral beings. I mean the non-human ones. I went out
by myself, and walked out into the country. Suddenly
I saw some delightful-looking little elves, just like
the fairies of our nursery stories. I WAS astonished,
and stood and watched them gamboling and skipping
about. Some had wings like those of a butterfly, and
others like those of dragonflies and bats. I even saw
one little fellow riding through the air on a broom.
I was enjoying myself immensely when a huge
monster suddenly appeared, and the “Little People”
vanished at once.
The newcomer was a most repellent creature. It
was the sort of thing I imagine drunkards see in
Delirium Tremens. It seemed about ten feet high, and
looked like a huge green crocodile in its upper part,
but its lower part was that of a naked man. The lower
half was not green, but dark brown.
As soon as it saw me it made straight for me. I
had nothing in the shape of a weapon, and I fled. Of
course, it was very cowardly of me, but, really, the
sight of the brute had thrown me completely off my
I hadn’t run far before I saw uncle hurrying
towards me. On seeing how the situation was, he rose
in the air and shot towards me at a great pace.
Seizing my arm, he turned me round and said,
‘Face it. The creature is less to be feared than the
prehistoric monsters you have already seen [Rex had
recently been led on a “life review” going back
through the different stages of evolution]. They have
real souls in them, and this has not. Now, attack
Even as we rushed at the monster its form began
to shake, and suddenly it broke in pieces, and these
appeared to be caught in some current of wind, for
they floated off in various directions.
JACK What was it?
UNCLE These are astral phantoms. They are a
common phenomenon here. It is difficult for me to
make you understand what exactly they are. The astral
plane is full of masses of astral atoms, and any
thought form which comes here might attract these
astral atoms to itself and clothe itself with them.
There are numerous other ways in which these creatures
come into existence, but I do not claim to be an
expert, nor even very interested in such matters.
The thing to remember, however, is that though, as a
rule, these have a very transitory existence, yet
there are some which succeed in obtaining a form of
life by battening on real men. They attach themselves
to some weak-minded person who is living on earth, and
suck up his vitality in a similar way in which an evil
person who is on the astral plane may obsess a living
person. Again, an evil soul which has lost its astral
form may seize on one of the astral phantoms and use
it for a time as an astral body. It cannot, as a
rule, hold it for long, but while it can it may do a
great deal of real mischief.
REX How can one tell the difference between an
astral phantom, a phantom which is battening on men,
and a phantom which is inhabited by a real soul which
is not its owner?
UNCLE Largely by intuition. You would recognize
at once there was a difference between them if you saw
them, though you might find it harder to describe
where the difference lay. Briefly a real soul in a
phantom behaves very much in the same way as people do
in the astral state. But the astral form is rather
obviously a borrowed garment and is always trying to
break up and decay. But while it is held, this group
shows an intellect at work. The first two kinds of
phantom are both lacking in this, and act by instinct.
In a phantom battening on living people, at times
this instinct has developed so far that it almost
appears to be on a par with the low cunning of a
madman on earth. Astral phantoms just drift round
aimlessly, acting on the slightest impulse and have no
very settled purposes. By this latter characteristic
they may be distinguished from the empty astral shells
of dead men, from which the souls of men have passed
on. These, so long as they continue to exist alone,
tend to repeat over and over certain acts of the
former earth life of the spirit which have become
firmly imprinted into their very beings. Thus, many
so-called family ghosts are merely empty astral
shells, which continue to act in “the haunted
chamber,” repeating again and again the murder they
committed there, or, perhaps, the task they used to do
there. There is nothing in them by which they can
know. That is why, when spoken to, they do not reply.
A ghost which can answer is not an empty shell. What
it is, is another matter, and one we will not now go
REX What were the fairies?
UNCLE There are many kinds of fairies, but the
kind you saw then were the thought forms or dreams of
children, which here had clothed themselves with
astral atoms. Your monster was of a very different
stock, and was essentially evil. It was the wreck of
the astral shell of a man and a crocodile, which were
casually brought together by the astral tides, and,
being both still very material, they re-united to form
the shape you saw, but, of course, could not survive
for long. [Jack and Rex’s uncle had died in January,
1914 at the age of 80, and had come down from higher
planes to lend a hand during the war rescue work. His
knowledge of the spirit planes was quite extensive].
June 30th, 1916
JACK [to the Officer] I have not spoken much to
you recently. How are you going on?
OFFICER Well. Very well. Very busy and very
happy. Two years ago I would never have thought it
possible. In those two years I personally have helped
over a hundred souls, all old soldiers. All were men
who were far from being saints, yet, of them all, I
have lost only six. Not bad, 94% brought safely
through the dangerous period when men first start on
the astral plane. These numbers don’t include the
large number with whom my organization has dealt.
JACK What is your usual way of helping those who
have fallen in the fight?
OFFICER Very much the same as the methods we used
first for your brother and afterwards for his
Adjutant. Occasionally we don’t have to take them
away into the great solitude. Sometimes we find they
have already fallen into evil hands and are being led
astray. This latter has caused us to set pickets
round the drink dens and similar resorts. Of course,
we do not always succeed in preventing men going to
them. Some men are so set on it that it is
impossible. When I came over I was that sort.
Still, we prevent a good many from being led into
Then, too, we have some spirits set aside to
shadow those evil creatures who try to tempt men to
obsess. As soon as one of these harpies gets hold of
a young fellow, and begins to suggest that he should
obtain earthly pleasures by obsessing, our spirit
warns him against doing so.
Then a great part of the work of helping the
newly slain is by getting them to help others, like
your brother is doing with the Adjutant. So we have
an ever-increasing band at work, and by Jove, we need
UNCLE Yes, we are always sending up requests for
more helpers, but, even in the sixth plane, they are
hard put to it. Never have so many countless
thousands been coming over before. Old habitués tell
me that the Franco-Prussian war hardly made any
difference, but that this war is quite another mater.
REX I have not had any very striking adventures
since I saw you last. The Adjutant and I have been
out and about several times, but nothing very exciting
has occurred. I expect soon I shall have to start
trying to help.
OFFICER Yes, but all in due season. You must
learn a little more first.
July 3rd, 1916
Jack heard bagpipes being played.
JACK What is it?
OFFICER A recruiting march. The idea has spread
like wildfire. It’s partly due to the news of the
great advance, which has already reached us by the
path of the newly dead. Someone declared that there
were thousands who had gone out of the fight, and
should be brought back into it, and, further, that
there were large numbers of men who had never yet
taken a hand, but with little training would make
useful [spirit] soldiers.
As if it makes any difference here who wins a
battle on this plane! If we could help our men on
earth it would be a different matter. [We have seen
how Lord Dowding and some of his former pilots were
doing exactly that, during World War II]. As it is,
it will throw back the spiritual progress of
thousands. Look at this fellow. See how all my good
work is being undone.
ADJUTANT Here come the English regiments!
A whole parade of different spirit regiments came
UNCLE Keep calm, my boy. You can do no good now.
All this is mere glamour, an empty show. It will be of
no help to our country, and will only undo all the
good we have done for you.
ADJUTANT I’m coming, boys! Come on, Ward! [He
rushed down the steps and joined up].
REX [does not follow]. I suppose it is nonsense,
but I feel a bit rotten not going with the others.
A column of more than thirty thousand spirit
troops marches off to ‘war.’
OFFICER The pity of it! If it were only of the
slightest help, but it is not.
Soon they will be at it again, and no one on
earth will be one jot the better for it, and countless
souls here will be dragged back again into the
whirlpool of passion and retard their progress for
years. And yet I cannot help admiring them. After
all, though they are wrong, and do it from ignorance,
the spirit is right. I wish I had fallen on the field
of battle in this war among my old companions.
[*The Officer who was acting as Rex’s helper is the
subject of Jack Ward’s first book, “Gone West”
published by William Rider in 1917. He had been a
drunkard and murderer, involved in political
intrigue, and after being killed by a motor bus when
walking in an intoxicated state in the Strand in
London, he went through many regions of hell [not
literally, but through his cruel, depraved state of
mind] before redeeming himself by taking part in
rescue work and finally joining a band of other
spirits working on the astral plane. There he hoped
to help many of the soldiers like Rex Ward who had
laid down their lives for their country during WW I.
He hoped to be able to guide and save many].
OFFICER Let us go in. We shall have to work hard
tonight to save your brother. He’s been in our hands
longer than the other fellow, or he’d have gone in
too. I wonder if I shall be able to get the Adjutant
UNCLE There are spirits who can and do help in the
real war, but they do it by inspiring our generals and
organizers with new ideas, not by fighting on the
July 7th, 1916
UNCLE There are an enormous number of men coming
over just now, but for the most part they are still
full of the battle fury and go on fighting. It will
take some time for that to wear off.
REX I wanted to go and help try and persuade these
men to leave off fighting now that they are dead, and,
in short, do the same for them that uncle and the
Officer have done for me. But uncle says I’m not
strong enough, and if I do shall probably relapse
under the influence of the excitement and throw away
all I’ve gained.
UNCLE Yes, Rex. But in a little time you will be
strong enough to do that work, and then you certainly
shall. Indeed, you will hardly be able to make much
more progress until you do.
July 14th, 1916
REX We’ve got the Adjutant back and the Officer is
JACK How did you get hold of the Adjutant again?
OFFICER Oh, by hard work. I kept following him
about until I was able to persuade him what a complete
delusion the whole of the battle was, and then he came
away. I brought back several others as well.
August 14th, 1916
Rex Ward told his brother Jack how he had
brought in a man from the battlefield, and the
Officer, who was just taking charge of him, was very
OFFICER See! How much nearer your guardian angel
has drawn to you.
Rex saw him, as well as Jack, and though the
figure vanished immediately after, he was delighted to
have caught even so fleeting a glimpse.
Rex told his brother how he had gone down into
the region near the fighting line with the Officer,
and there persuaded one of the officers of his
regiment to come away with him. He admitted he did
not like much having to do it.
REX However, the Officer said I must now help
someone who was nothing to me when I was on earth. I
had liked the Adjutant, but this chap belonged to a
different battalion. The Officer says I shall have
to help someone I hated. The worst of it is, I can’t
remember anyone I really hated on earth, except the
enemy in general!
Look, I’ve adopted a poor lost cat I found near a
house which was slowly rising from its ruins near the
JACK I suppose it was really being destroyed on
earth by gunfire?
REX Yes, I suppose so. Well, I found a poor
little tabby cat wandering about as if quite lost. It
had evidently just been killed, so I adopted it. See,
here it is!
As he spoke he pointed to a small tabby cat which
jumped down from a sofa and began to rub itself
against his leg. Jack distinctly heard its purr.
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