More excerpts from A Venture in Immortality, by David Kennedy. I'm finding this book very worthwhile. Yes, it's true, as Amos Oliver Doyle pointed out in the previous comments thread, that all these stories tend to blur together after a while. But it's also true, as Art observed in the same thread, that if we don't remind ourselves of the uncanny accuracy and specificity of these narratives from time to time, they will lose their persuasive power.
Anyway, here are more reported after-death communications from David Kennedy's wife, Ann.
While Kennedy was riding on a train with the medium Albert Best, there was this spontaneous communication:
Albert put down his book and in his excited typical stammer which I had come to recognize as the indication that he was getting something, he said, "Ann is just behind me, she asked me to tell you about the slipper". I said nothing and Albert paused for a few seconds as he often does while getting a message right. Then in more confident tone and slower and louder voice, "When your wife's personal effects were brought back from hospital were there blue slippers. No wait. There was only one blue slipper, the other was missing."
He continued in his confident tone as he seemed to see things more clearly, "Your wife is giving this as evidence, you understand? In your wife's toilet bag she says there were three complete sets of dentures which came back from hospital. She is also saying, Teresa. The same toilet bag had a blue container of talcum powder and a triangular small bottle of toilet water." Albert continued, "Your wife was with you this morning when you took out a large silk handkerchief and used it to wrap something in. This morning before you left the house". "Now," said Albert, "she is singing a song which you should recognize. She is singing 'C'est si bon'. She is going now but says as she goes she knows about the Royal Stuart tartan."
Here indeed is concentrated evidence. Nothing vague but precise facts, one after another. First the blue slipper. This evidence was completely accurate. One blue slipper only came back in Ann's effects from hospital, the other was missing.
There were precisely three complete sets of dentures in Ann's toilet bag returned from hospital.… I should also say I was completely unaware of how many sets of dentures she took to hospital or how many were in her plastic toilet bag.… [Kennedy had to check in order to confirm the report. He had been understandably reluctant to go through his late wife's personal effects.]
The name, Teresa, is Anna's mother's baptized Christian name. She has never used his name since she was married.…
The blue container of talcum and triangular bottle of toilet water was [sic] in the bag as described.
At nine o'clock that same morning, in my home alone, I took out the only silk handkerchief I possess, a large white silk handkerchief and used it to wrap the microphone of my pocket tape recorder to protect it when I placed it in my traveling case. Albert had never seen this handkerchief at any time. "C'est si bon" was one of Anne's favorite songs which she used to hum. Finally, a week earlier Ann's mother and sister had brought had bought a Royal Stuart tartan large traveling rug as a cover for the sofa.
Kennedy is at pains to point out that he is "not on close personal terms" with Albert Best. "During the last six weeks I have only spoken to Albert Best by telephone and then only when he telephoned me. In many of these telephone calls Albert Best asked me for information or advice, particularly in relation to orthodox churches. [Kennedy was a minister.] ... Although Albert Best telephoned me, I very rarely telephoned him, unless it was for the purpose of trying to arrange a private sitting for someone. From the very beginning I made a point of guarding against the danger of being on familiar chatting terms with Mr. Best because I was always conscious of the over-riding necessity of reducing to a minimum the possibility of conveying information to him. After over twenty-five years experience of psychical research, I am at least aware of the danger of saying in someone's company such remarks as 'Anne and I loved that tune' or 'We had a wonderful holiday there, once'. It may sound calculating, but I have throughout this period and before it, always been aware that the unique mediumship of Albert Best would be the keystone of much of the evidence of survival which I hoped to make available to others. Thus the necessity of keeping myself aloof from this gifted medium, not to cloud the value of the evidence."
While Best was performing a healing procedure on someone else, he spoke to Kennedy, who happened to be in the room:
Once again, in trance and while healing, Albert Best said, "Who is Mrs. Murray, East Kilbride," addressing me. I replied, "That is my wife's sister". "Ah, yes!" replied Albert Best. "Your wife was talking about her. She says that she was with you when you posted a postcard to her sister when you were in London. You posted two postcards at the same time, on Monday of this week. She also says that she was with her sister when she got your postcard."
After a short pause, "You had fish before you came out here, sole, and it wasn't Dover sole. Your wife says you cooked it in a pot and you didn't clean the pot properly. Clean it again when you go home, will you?"
All of this was accurate, including the poorly cleaned pot, which still had traces of fish clinging to it. His wife had been a stickler for cleaning the dishes.
Here is a possible example of EVP, electronic voice phenomena. It comes up in a sitting with another medium, Mrs. Findlater, who says:
"When you bought that new recorder," (I had bought a new cassette pocket recorder a few weeks previously) "you relaxed and spoke into it. Your guide was there and when you played it back you heard a word spoken twice which startled you because you didn't remember saying that word. The word was OM – OM or God." This again is startling. I did speak a little poetry and some nonsense into my recorder and thought it curious that I had spoken the word OM twice. I concluded that I must have said this word out of my subconscious without being aware of saying it. Yet the voice did seem strange. Yet here almost a month later a woman, Mrs. Findlater, claims that my wife is speaking to me and that a group of those on the other side were responsible for this word which startled me on playing back what I had spoken into my recorder. No living soul knew of this except myself.
Kennedy remarks on "a curious piece of evidence in this series of communications…. This is, in the case of the mediumship of Albert Best the lapse of two months before the first sporadic messages from Ann begin to come through. I would describe Albert Best as pathetically eager to be able to bring me the comfort of a solid reassuring item of evidence from Ann in the two months following her passing and yet he was perfectly honest with me. 'I simply get nothing at all, not even a sense of her presence.'… Now if the telepathy hypothesis is a valid one, or if the more elaborate and speculative theory that somehow a gifted medium has access to the forgotten memories of anyone who ever had any contact with Ann [i.e., super-psi], be correct, the question arises, why should this extended telepathy or access to a universal pool of knowledge not operate from the moment of Ann's death? Why should there be eight blank weeks following Ann's death, when there is complete silence on the part of this gifted medium?… On the telepathic hypothesis this delay is unaccountable. On the other hand in terms of descriptions given by our loved ones and others from the other side, this delay is understandable and consistent."
The delay, as he goes on to say, is normally explained by spiritualists as the time necessary for the recently deceased person to adjust to afterlife conditions and recover from the trauma of dying, as well as from any lingering medical conditions that may obsess the mind. In Ann's case, she apparently continued to feel a shortness of breath – a condition that plagued her in her final months on earth – even though, in her postmortem existence, it was all in her mind.
Though I'm quoting some (but not all) of the best evidence in this book, I'm not able to include the author's extended ruminations on the relationship between spiritualism and the Christian church, his analysis of philosophers like Kant and Heidegger, and many other interesting subjects. The book, though sadly out of print, is worth seeking out.