writer who specialises almost exclusively in the
paranormal and alternative spirituality as subject
matters, I can say with some authority that the question
of whether there is life after death still hangs on the
lip more than any other.
Literature on the subject abounds, although rarely do
two authors agree on what happens when, with either
great reluctance or passive acceptance, we shuffle off
this mortal coil. Too many divines and soothsayers are
quick to wax lyrical about the detail of the afterlife,
whilst many people still remain unconvinced that there
is an afterlife at all.
I used to be a cynic myself, in my younger days. Death,
I believed, was the gateway to oblivion. Not now,
though. No Sirree Bob. Now, I truly believe that death
is merely a step into another room, a crossing to the
other side of the road. The evidence is overwhelming, I
think, if we have the courage to examine it objectively.
Thousands – nay, millions – of people claim to have been
contacted by those who have passed over to whatever lies
on the other side. A percentage of these experiences hit
the headlines, particularly where there seems to be a
degree of subjective proof attached to them. The vast
majority though, even if they find their way into print,
are quickly forgotten; their details becoming as wispy
and intangible as the spectres themselves.
Yet, it is in the less breathtaking tales and largely
forgotten stories where, I would opine, the best
evidence lies. The spectacular accounts become
embroidered, and it is difficult to separate the wheat
from the chaff. The more the experience is recounted,
the less reliable it becomes. Hence, it is amongst the
less well-known accounts of life after death where I
prefer to do my hunting.
During World War II, Robert Sadler lived in North
Shields with his brother John. During a bombing raid
John was killed, and Robert subsequently moved to
After the war, Robert attended a séance in Edinburgh
organised by a medium from Glasgow. As was common at the
time, a "psychic trumpet" was placed in the centre of
the floor for any forthcoming spirits to speak through.
The lights were then extinguished.
After a while, and without human assistance, the trumpet
rose, floated through the air and tapped the startled
Robert on the knee. Somehow he managed to retain his
composure – they breed 'em tough in North Shields – and
promptly engaged an otherworldly visitor in
friend. Who is it?"
"It's John – your brother John".
"Do you remember where you lived?"
"Yes, North Shields".
"What was your trade?"
"And where did you sail to?"
which was true, but unknown to the medium at the time.
Of course, the use of a "psychic trumpet" seems
incredibly quaint, now; a technique for speaking to the
departed which had its origin in the Victorian era. To
moderns it seems incredibly wacky, but even back in the
1940s it was a highly-respected method of spirit
communication. It was the ethereal equivalent of the
Internet, if you like.
Eighteen months later, after Robert had again relocated
to Southsea, John came to him once again in a séance.
"It's a long
time since we've spoken", said Robert.
"Yes", replied, the discarnate John, "It was in
Edinburgh. I spoke to you through that thing on the
Sadler never capitalised on his experience or attempted
to sell it to the papers. He just recounted what had
happened, and left it at that. He became convinced,
however, that there truly was a life beyond this mortal
And, for the very same reasons, so am I...
©Mike Hallowell, 2009