Paschal Beverly Randolph.

After death: or, Disembodied man online

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seldom wish themselves back, and to wish so is to be there.

jDo not forget my definition of a human spirit ; for on a clear
understanding of it depends your knowledge of that which is to
follow. I, therefore, ere launching out upon the broad and mag-
nificent ocean of truth, the shores of which we are rapidly coasting,
repeat the definition : A human spirit is necessarily indestructible,
because it is the very quintessence of matter held in absolute
coalescence by the highest and most absolute force in nature,
under God, — the Lex Supreme*, — the law of fusion. Man's
body is fibrous, liquid, granulated. No two atoms thereof touch
each other ; but the spiritual, or rather the ethereal, body is a sub-
stance homogeneous — that of this earth-form heterogeneous. It is
an essence, tenacious, indivisible-— one. No liquids enter into its
composition, nor solids, but only fluids, aeriform, for not even the
rivers of that fair land are liquid, nor are any of the human
" secretions " or " excreta." Thus the spirit.

Now, a human soul is a different thing. It is the thinking,
knowing principle in man, and dead or alive, it has its seat and
throne in the centre of the head. Soul may be defined thus : As
being the final and supreme crystallization of substance or spirit,
as that is the final sublimation of matter. In the human spirit all
essences find their culmination ; in the soul all laws and principles
are focalized.

Question. — "Are any human beings non-immortal? and if so,
what ones? What becomes of all the idiots, stillborn children,
abortions, maniacs, thieves, harlots, murderers, hypocritical
preachers, all other criminals and suicides ! What of monsters?"

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Reply. — Here are vital questions to be responded to ; and,
1st. As to idiots. All human beings born with perfect heads
are thenceforth deathless in the higher sense, and that, too, not-
withstanding the intellectual spark may be so extremely dim and
flickering as scarcely to be perceptible. A Cretan or full idiot
labors under a physical, and very seldom a psychical disadvantage.
The same reasoning applied on a former page to the maimed or de^
formed is equally applicable here* No man can work with his
hands tied, nor without proper tools. When an idiot exists, it is
not that he has no spirit, but because some physical obstruction
has either prevented his soul from locating at the proper point in
the brain, — if the head be well shaped, — thus preventing the
spiritual forces from their due circulation through the cerebral or-
gans ; or else the foetus has not been able to collect sufficient of the
right kind of substance from the mother whereof to build up the
right amount of brain in the proper spot in the head. Hence the
low foreheads we often see. But understand : If, in the process
of gestation, that office be suspended or arrested, or deflected at a
point where the brain has not ascended beyond the animal plane,
then there can be no personal immortality for that creation. Every
observer must have noticed, more or less, the marvellous resem-
blances between certain persons and various animals, as the hawk,
eagle, lion, wolf, cur, bull-dog, cat, weasel, monkey, tiger, snake,
vulture, rat, and others. Well, all this means much more than ap-
pears upon the surface.

2d. "It is an indisputable fact of the science of embryology,
attested in thousands of instances, that the human being, in ut&ro,
is at first but a mere point of jelly, — and so were the first forms
of animal life upon this globe ; then it assumes a reptilian out-
line, — a tadpole-looking thing, with a large point and a small
one, — a sort of compromise between fish, lizard, and snake. Who-
ever has visited a hospital where this science can be studied,
has. verified these facts over and over again ; and there are old
women — nurses — who can attest them easily from their personal
observations. The foetus now rapidly passes through a series of
strange mutations, successively resembling bird, beast, and simia
(apes), until finally the strictly human jilane is reached, and
more or less strongly marked ; and if the mother understands her

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business* it is in her power just as easily to produce a giant of
mind as an intellectual pigmy !

Now if the foetus dies before it has reached the strictly human
body, it dies forever, and its monad escapes, because it requires the
chemical and other properties of the human body to properly
elaborate the human spirit and fashion it for eternity. But if that
human shape be reached before it dies in the womb, then that is a
time child, and is, of course, immortal, for it, though weak* sur-
vives the physical death, and is taken and cared for by those gentle
ones from the other side who have the love of babies " large."
[See page 47, Dealings with the Dead;]

3d. No matter how idiotic a child may be, provided it has two
halves to the cerebrum and cerebellum — however small the former
may be, it will live beyond the grave. For this reason the pro-
curation of abortion at any stage of foetal growth is murder ! En
passant, I will answer another of your questions, and say that
monsters, if such be possible, with only one human parent, are not
immortal; nor is an entirely brainless thing, although both its
parents be human.

4th. Maniacs, lunatics, the insane. These, like other sick
, people, are specially provided for, and nursed back into health
and soundness in some one of the many sanitoria of the sunny
shores of Aidenn. But there are various kinds of madness.

(1st.) A person may, from causes operative antecedent to his
birth, come hither with such a peculiar cerebral conformation that
it will be impossible for him to think right on any given subject.
Such soon get sound ; for they will speedily get rid of all their
transmitted or inherited disabilities of that sort, if those disabil-
ities result from physical causes. One insane from a blow on the head
belongs to the same category. as the last. (2d.) There are others
whose insanity is the result wholly of psychical causes : — loss of
property, remorse, violent passion, disappointed affection, un-
answered longing for love ; insanity — the worst — produced by
a crime against self, denounced in Genesis ; personal excess ; the
love of gold, ambition, too profound study too long continued ;
the madness that follows the offspring of cousins, or other forms
of incest ; that from religious excitement, — these, all these, are al*
most invariably long sufferers in the spiritual realms ; and there
'are maniacs there of^two centuries' standing. Indeed, there arq

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societies, millions strong, without a sane man or woman among
them, except those whom a merciful code of laws provides to care
for and to cure them.

5th. Murderers — God help them ! — and criminals of all sorts
and degrees, if not utterly debased, are still (and in any case) re-
garded as human beings, and treated as such, in the upper country.
Murder is mainly done when a man is crazy ; rarely when he is
sane. When there is one of the latter sort, he generally is for a
long time incorrigible ; and, instead of trying to become better,
gr6ws desperate daily.

Within a few miles of where I wrote the first edition of this
work there lives one Pierre Bergereaud, a planter, who, before the
war, regularly tortured his slaves for amusement. He would bury
pregnant women to their waists, and then flog their shoulders and
breasts till they were raw. Scores have died under the lash ; and
in more than one instance has he put negroes in an oven and roast-
ed them alive. Well, it will go hard with such a wretch for manyi
a long qentury,* because he must expiate his crime. No one can be
happy there who is unforgiven by the victim, and some victims
have very long memories, and are hard as adamant to be softened.
Conscious crime — crime that could have been avoided — tells
heavily against a man hereafter, because like any other well-rooted
disease, it has distorted the man^ who must grow morally straight
ere he can be Happy ; and to do that requires time. An evil deed
wholly the result of organization, of an inherited abnormal bias,
is an illness, and. not always a purposed violation of the man's
moral nature, for that frequently lies dormant until some tornado
or earthquake of the soul awakens it from its slumber.

There is no need of a brimstone hell, even on the supposition
that a soul could — which it cannot — be burned with material
fire ; and you might just as well attempt to scorch a shadow as to
sing6 a spirit. For the flames of remorse, shame, loss of self-
respect and that of others ; the consciousness that everybody ,
knows you to have been a villain, swindler, thief, or murderer, and
that you are avoided (until reparation is made) by all the good
and pure, is itself a hell of ten thousand degrees of fervent heat ;
and just as the spirit is higher, finer, and more sensitive — more
keenly alive to pain than the mere body, so is the hell of a man up
there worse than even the fanciful Gehennas of Gautama Buddha

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58 AFTBB death;

or the last new Methodist parson. It is supremely dreadful, and
there's no escape from its inflictions. Talk about wishing for
rocks and mountains to fall on and crush you ! Why, when a
man is fangecf by the relentless lashes of remorse, up there, he
would exchange situations with the most tortured soul in brimstone
hells, were that possible, and give a myriad of years to boot.

There is a class of people there, who, when here, were mastur-
bators and Onanists, whose agonies are so dreadful that I had
rather endure the punishment for murder than their torture. It is
fearful beyond description ; and the only hope such tjan have of
happiness when there, is to rally break and cure the habit here : —
a task not half so hard as the poor victims imagine, but one
which if not done, entails misery so dreadful, that death by fire
were preferable thereto.

Reader, just as certain as that God lives, are these words very
truth ! Many of those who suffer most up there, are suicides.
But there are grades of even these. Those poor French, and in-
deed, other girls, and some mei\ and children, who shuffled off life
. from disappointed love ; from loss of friends ; from penury, — those
who rushed into the other world because they could find no loving
arms in fhis, — are immediately taken to a proper sanitorium and
tenderly cared for until they are well again ; until the lost is found •;
the friendship discovered, and the yearning, loving heart, meets its
holy desire. These sfce all fine-strung people, in whom love, not
passion, pulsed and thrilled. Such have endured their hell on
earth ; and yet they suffer in another sense : —

1st. The painful consciousness that they have infracted one of
the highest laws governing the universe, — that of self-conserva-
tion. No one, it matters not how fearful be their misery, has a
right to, or is justified in, suicide. The fact that they have done
so is patent to every inhabitant of Aidenn, — every citizen of the
upper country. They can neither hide it from themselves or
others. True, friends endeavor to conceal their knowledge of, but
the individual can never forget it. True, they become eventually
happy, but it will be a long time before they can think of it with-
out a shudder.

2d. No one has a right to shrink from duty ; and our duty is to
'suffer — if we can't help it ; and be strong — or at least try to be.
We were born to die naturally, and when the measure of our years

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is full. If we are harried out by war, murder, accident, or dis-
ease, while in our prime, we shall lamentably fail to be what we
might have been, had we lived on till old age gave us up to God
and death ; but if purposely, and by our own aet, we rush on to a
plane of being for which we are unfitted, then our law-imposed
sentence is that we must hover about the earth ; learn all we can ;
make our lean souls fat with knowledge ; and our moral natures
plump, by the good deeds we do to embodied people, in various
ways ; from the awakening of the sense of immortality, by noises
made and feats performed ; cautioning some wrong-intender in a
dream, or otherwise ; prompting, subtly, some sensitive to good
deeds ; suggesting noble thoughts, comforting some poor mourn-
ing soul ; frightening the murderer from, or warning his intended
victim ; to thundering God's gospel into the ears of the multitude,
through the brain and lips of some medium. In this way must the
balance of the time be passed until that day in which your bodily
dock would have naturally run down, had you not, by suicide,
have snapped the cords asunder. ,

You have asked, what -becomes of the harlots? This question,
covers a great extent, and embraces a great many people, — more
than perhaps might be suspected. Now, it seems to me, there
would be none such were there no patronage ; and I do not hold
the woman more guilty than the man. I think these people do
wrong ; but they are not to be damned, for all that. I can tell
what became of one; and Jesus might tell what happened to
another, — one Mary Magdalen. Attend ! Let me carry you
back, two thousand years, to a scene enacted upon the stony
heights of Calvary : —

" Eloi ! Eloi ! Lama Sabachthani ! " groaned the dying Christ,
as he hung upon the crosfc to which he had been tied and nailed by
the " chosen people of God," yet who coolly swore away the life
of an innocent man, and one of the best the earth had ever pro-
duced ; but he groaned only to be mocked and derided, even at
the awful moment when the terrible death-agony swept in relent-
less pain-billows over his quivering frame and rack-tortured nerves.
And even thus, " My God, my God, why las thou forsaken me ? "
comes up through many a pallid lip, comes welling, surging up
from many a poor girl's heart, as she feels and realizes that she
stands tottering upon the brink of some terrible danger, ready at

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60 AFTER death;

a touch to topple over the verge into a gulf of endless misery —
and the fright and agony are none the less real and fearful in that
she is the victim of an old and idle superstition, and has been
taught to value her perishing body at a great deal higher price
than is set upon her viewless and immortal spirit. But this is the
fault of the past, that the present will check, and the future en-
tirely correct. Yet she feels ail the horror possible, while her
" lover " (?) — picture it, think of it, her lover — stands pleading
with her against herself, and does not fail to rack the logic of
hell, heaven, and earth, for argument, wherewithal to carry his
point, ruin her, and put out another light. " Ah, my God !" she
cries, " what shall I do?" and then, poor thing ! unable longer to
withstand the triple tide and storm of passion, love, and impor-
tunity, she bows her head upon his shoulder, and yields to what
she was wholly unable to resist. Well, the pure, dear, delicious,
tender-hearted world says she has " fallen ;" but I say, by the
eternal tiruth of God, that the " world" lies ! for not one fleck of
dust hath fallen on her soul, t£ mar its immortal beauty here or
hereafter, as she roams down the sylvan glades of Jehovah's star-
ry islands. Sin, if there be any, is a transgression of our moral
nature; is a thing of soul ; and in "falling," that poor child's
error is justly chargeable to the tempter, not the tempted. It
is him who danced, and somewhere, at some time, he is bound to
pay the music, not her. Something might even be said for him, —
especially in view of the fact of his age, the age, and the social
falsehoods of the era. All " sin " is the result of bad conditions ;
when these are removed, all badness will go also. As for the
" devil," whom all Christians so belabor, I'm sure I cannot see but
that he is their best friend, for what would priests and parsons do
for bread, suppose the people should suddenly find out that Luci-
fer was all smoke, and should burst into a universal guffaw at dis-
covering how they* had been " sold"?

Once fhere was a woman of the town who nursed me into health,
when all the world forsook me. And again, in 1865, another,
whom I had taught to read and write, heard that the terrible fever
that ravages New Orleans, where 1^ was, had stricken me down.
It was true ; and of all the hundreds, white and black, whom I
knew in that city, only she, and a poor old black servant of hers,
offered the slightest assistance. Again was I saved by a u bad

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woman." When the pestilence recently scourged Chicago, I be-
lieve, or some Western city, the most 'tireless, faithful, generous
volunteers at the bedsides of the sick and needy were these self-
same outcasts from society, and I never yet saw or heard of one
of» them whose heart was not soft and tender, and hands ever open
to relieve genuine suffering and distress. But I have seen many a
high-born lady turn the starving beggar from her door, and shrink
with holy horror from even distant contact with God's suffering
poor. Out on such, I say. Let us give even the devil his due,
and forget not that souls — not their shells — are immortal !

Once again in my career, I became acquainted with a young
woman, who had been " deceived " by a inarried member of a
church in Western New York — " deceived " by the agency of her
own toothache and his chloroform. Part of the facts leaked out,
because they could not be hidden; she was expelled from the
church (where sinners ought to be sated), and hooted from the
town and State by the elders of that branch of Zion ! was driven
to the heartless metropolis, there to rise, if she could, — at sewing
shirts for ten cents each, -^ or to sink into a hideous walking pesti-
lence, if she could not. She had no money. Board was three
dollars a week, and by eighteen hours' of hard daily labor she
could manage to earn two dollars and a half ; her rascally employer
offered to make up the balance " on conditions." She refused ;
was turned out upon the wintry street, and then — ah, then!
Well, it is the same old story of forced error.

One day, they told me a woman was dying. I went. Lauda-
num ! — Stomach-pump ! I saved her, and learned her story. Be-
hind her lay as pretty a prattling crower of four months as ever
my eyes had seen ; and to me both mother and child were as pure
and unsullied as spotless snow. Would to God that I had been
half as good as that poor, tender, wayworn, and suffering soul, —
so true, so forgiving, so noble at heart, and so aspiring, yet so
• sensitive and wretched ! And yet, had the world heard the tale
she poured into mine ear, as the hot tears of her telling fell thick
and fast upon the floor, and there mingled with the tears of my
manhood's hearing, doubtless that ctiflste and holy world would
have said she was impure, not virtuous, with more unco' righteous
cant of the same sort ; and why ? Because she had loved both
wisely and well, — gust like God is said to have done, — loved her

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child so well that she freely sacrificed herself upon the altar of
shame, that it might live and not die of starvation and cold. A
God could do no more ! And yet there are hundreds of similar
cases ; and no one can tell the deep agony concealed beneath the
flaunting colors and tawdry smile of the courtesan.

The chloroform' practitioner will have a long bill to settle just as
sure as heaven smiles above us ! I listened to the tale, and cursed
the hypocrisy of a Christian world, and " civilized society," which,
with a vast deal, — whole mountain ranges of "preach," and
44 talkee, talkee," has so very little practice. Now when, as it
does, society affirms such a woman not virtuous, and that, too, of
the loftiest order, I again tell it that it lies I for if the word virtue
(a moral attribute) means anything at ail, it means the intent
to be and do good ; to give it and receive it. Many a woman,

like poor Maggie S , is compelled by poverty to submit to

things — most infamous wrongs, and crowds of them — from which
she instinctively recoils in horror — both in and out of " mar-
riage," in exchange for current coin, or what it will bring. Fool-
ish men think, in both cases, that they have bought her. Sad
mistake ! She has rented her cloak, she not being therein at all ;
and I apprehend there's no more virtue in a cloak than in a fila-

Well, after listening to the woman's story, I went home and to
bed, pondering on the general subject ; and, as is usual when my
spirits are at ebb tide, soon felt the soothing magnetic wafbings of
my dear departed mother, or some other ethereal one, who knew,
and, therefore, loved me. We are all loved when we are really
understood, — and I was quickly transported on the fleet pinions
of the Sleep-Angel to the happy Land of Dreams. Awaking
therefrom, in the middle op the night, lo ! there came a wonderful
change, vision, and experience. I was in the spirit ; my soul was
free. A divorce, temporarily, had taken place between me and my
earthly body ; and up, up, up, will-borne, in a thought-shallop,
through the star-flecked azure, I sailed, until I reached the roseate
Plains of Vernalia, in the Golden Morning Land, and, stepping
forth, took my stand hard b *a shining gate, near which stood the
veiled Judgment-Seat of the Infinite, Eternal, Over Soul, and my
spirit was, wrapped in clouds of awe. Soon, a mighty voice said,
44 Sound the Trumpet ! " and straightway the chief of the Antar-

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phim blew a* blast, and instantly ten million echoes awoke the still-
itudes of the vast universe, with the startling summons, "Arise,
ye dead ! and come to judgment ! " and then I trembled, for I
knew that many a " sin " had left sad marks upon me ! that, having
been thrice robbed of all I had on earth, by black-hearted, pretend-
ed friends, I had, in my agony, bitterly cursed them, and consigned
all my foes^to eternal perdition ; and now, albeit I had forgiven
all these Wrong-doers, was yet doubtful of a speedy and safe
deliverance. While thus standing, and calculating the chances
whether I, or those who had been the cause of all my trouble, and
most of /my sin, would be eternally damned, I suddenly beheld a
vast spectral army, — all the dead nations, marching up to where
sat the Recording Angel, with the Book.

Presently, the Emperors, Kings, Princes, Generals, Popes, Car-
dinals, troops of Priests, Ministers, Lawyers, Judges, and Phi-
losophers, — wise and otherwise, with cohorts of Editors and Re-
porters, Critics, some of whom had no^ been bought, marched up,
full of confidence, as if their toll were already paid, and essayed
to pass through the Golden Gate into the pearly meads beyond.
But in this, to their intense astonishment, they were foiled, for the
Voice, in tones of thunder, said, " Stand back ! The weakest
first ! " And so they filed away to the right hand and the left,,
and stood back, and made way for a crowd of world-weary souls, —
unfortunate authors, slaves, beggars, and many a poor thief! And
as these went tremblingly up, the Angel selected the feeblest and
most woe-begone, asked their name, ran his eye over the Book till he
found them, and then, with a " strong in purpose ; weak in exe-.
cution by reason of circumstance ; " or, "victim of conditions;"
" erred from external pressure ; " " sinned by reason of physical
disease ; " " went astray from the influence of hereditary bias ; "
" foul without, but pure within," ordered the servitor to swing
wide the Gates of Glory, and bade the mournful throng pass in,
which they joyfully did forthwith, to the infinite surprise and dis-
gust of the aristocratic philosophers, and .others of the lofty ilk,
who could scarcely credit their senses as they beheld the scene,
and looked as if they would like to lave appealed from Almighty
God's decision, if they but knew how ; yet, nevertheless, they had
to submit, but with a very ill grace.

I now began to understand how and why Deity is no respecter

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64 AFTER death;

of persons, and that in his sight hearts, not purses, souls, not
position, carry the most weight in the scales of Justice, and the
Court of Heaven !

At last came the woman, Maggie, "the fallen one," with whom

Online LibraryPaschal Beverly RandolphAfter death: or, Disembodied man → online text (page 6 of 26)