Toward the Light
Some Psychic Experiences and their results
Written by Michael Agerskov
First published in Copenhagen in 1922
(Page references apply to the 1979 printed book)
My wife and I have received many requests to write of our psychic experiences and of the guidance given us through the years during which the three mediumistic works that I have published were produced. I have therefore decided to describe those experiences that can be made public.
I cannot include all our experiences, for they are too numerous and many of so private a nature as to be of little interest to others. I shall present, then, only those events which clearly demonstrate that we followed a spiritual leadership—often along strange paths—toward previously established goals. I also include some experiences that should prove irrefutably to the logical mind that the human personality survives death, and that behind the visible world stand invisible intelligences able to intervene effectively in the visible world.
I find it difficult to begin immediately with the events that gave us the first definite proof that the human personality survives the death of the body, and so I prefer to begin with some experiences from our childhood and youth, which, in a way, prepared us for that to come. Though these experiences may seem to many of minor importance, nevertheless they form the first links in the chain of events that led to the results already made public.
From her earliest childhood my wife, Johanne, remembers only one incident that she cannot explain in the usual way, such as imagination, the subconscious, telepathy, etc., but which makes sense if seen as phenomena originating with some spirit, probably Earth-bound.
Around age six or seven, Johanne had the habit when put to bed at night of pressing her forehead against the bars of the bed. As a result, the bars left deep imprints on her forehead. Her foster mother often scolded her, placed her in the middle of the bed and told her to stay there. But as soon as her foster mother left the room, habit reasserted itself, and she again pressed her forehead against the bars.
One night while lying awake1 in her favorite position, her eyes closed, she felt someone suddenly pull her nose. Startled, she called out: “Don’t!” and rose in her bed in order to pounce on the offender. She thought it must have been one of her two younger sisters, who shared the bedroom with her. But to her surprise she saw that both were fast asleep in their own beds. Since the room was lit both by the moon and the bedside lamp, she could clearly see her sisters. As the bedroom was rather large, with the other beds by the opposite wall, quite a distance from her own bed, neither of her sisters could possibly have pulled her nose and returned to a sleeping position during the second that passed from the moment she felt the strong pull until she sat up in bed. She heard no one about, but called to her sisters, thinking they pretended sleep. But there was no response, and she sat for a long time wondering who could have done this to her.
In the morning she told her foster mother’s sister, who at that time was replacing her foster mother, away on holiday. Johanne was, of course, accused of having invented or dreamed the episode; but her nose remained sore for a long time afterwards, and she was careful thereafter not to press her forehead against the bars. Even as an adult it often happened that when she found herself lying near the bed’s edge she would move back with an involuntary start, and not until afterwards remember her childhood experience.
How can this phenomenon be explained if the theory of the existence of spirits is not accepted? That Johanne had been “dreaming” is refuted by her sore nose, and since she was wide awake and lay quite still she could hardly have struck herself against the side of the bed. I see no other explanation than that the author of her experience had to be some spiritual being able to materialize a hand so as to pull her nose in order to teach the child a lesson.
|Michael and Johanne Agerskov - photo taken prior to their marriage in 1899. Copyright: The Royal Library in Copenhagen|
I will continue with episodes from later years.
When, at age 17, my wife lost her father, she experienced another phenomenon that left an even deeper impression on her than had her childhood experience. And she was equally unable to explain it to herself, since at that time she had not the slightest knowledge of spiritualism.
The day after her father had passed away, she was standing alone in a room at home, gazing out into the garden with her back turned to the entrance to the room. She had loved her father deeply and was thinking of him, and of how sad it would be never to see him again. Thus absorbed in her sorrowful thoughts, she suddenly heard her father’s voice say, clearly and distinctly: “I am not dead, I am alive!”
With sudden joy she turned about, fully expecting to stand face to face with her father—but the room was empty. She had distinctly heard his voice and was bewildered when she saw no one, and she thought that he had not really died (he had experienced heart failure). Although she had not heard the door open or close, he must have left the room again to tell the other members of the family, she thought. But as there was still deep silence all about, and neither her step-mother nor her sisters appeared, she went to her father’s study, where his body had been laid, hoping to meet him on the way. But no one appeared, and when she opened the study door, she saw her father’s body lying motionless and peacefully where she had last seen it.
She was so moved by this experience that she dared tell neither her stepmother nor her sisters. Not until several years later did she speak to others about this.
I now come to an experience from my own childhood that left an indelible impression upon me and for which I could find no explanation, either then or for many years afterwards.
One day—I must have been about nine years old at the time—I was near my home, the customs inspector’s house in the village of Rorvig, walking along a path that led up to the sand dunes of Hojesand that stretch from north of the village to Dybeso, close by the Kattegat.
Suddenly a little girl stood at my side. I did not know her, she did not tell me her name and I did not ask, but I immediately felt a great liking for her. She put her hand in mine and together we walked along the path toward the dunes. We stayed there for some time before turning for home. I do not remember what we talked about, but we had much to say to each other, and she made a deep impression upon me, vivid still to this day.
Then she was gone, as suddenly as she had appeared.
I made a few inquiries in vain about the little girl, but otherwise confided in no one.
When my future wife, Johanne, came for the first time to Rorvig at age 15, she was surprised that the dunes of Hojesand seemed familiar, while the rest of the village and its surroundings appeared strange. Johanne often remarked that she could not understand her familiarity with the dunes, and since she had never before been in any place where there were dunes, heather or the like, her knowledge could not have come from any similarity between Hojesand and some other place.
It occurred to neither of us then, nor during the first years of our marriage, that the explanation could be found in the fact that Johanne was that little girl, and that while she had been in bed with a fever at her home in Copenhagen she had for a short time during a sleep release been my playmate at Rorvig. But 30 years after my experience as a nine-year-old boy, when we had come in contact with my wife’s late father, the Reverend R. Malling-Hansen, we were given an explanation to us fully satisfactory, but which might appear to those ignorant of occult phenomena as sheer fantasy and raise questions about my sanity. My wife’s father explained as follows:
Before we were incarnated, my wife and I had pledged to try to find each other during earthly existence so that, as husband and wife, we might become the much-needed intermediaries between the earthly and the transcendental worlds (Toward the Light, page 237). In order to establish a psychic bond between us, Johanne’s guardian spirit had brought her spiritual self to my home during her illness, and with the aid of the radiations of the Light materialized her so that she could appear before me as a living being, as a child like myself.
My wife had no recollection of this metamorphosis—apart from the aforementioned impression of the landscape—and when I met her at age 15, I did not connect her with that experience although I immediately felt attracted to her.
|Johanne Agerskov(behind) together with her two younger sisters, Karen(tot he left) and Marie. Photo: Private|
|Michael Agerskov together with his brother and sisters. From the left: Henriette, Anna, Christian and Michael. Photo: The Royal Library in Copenhagen|
|Michael Agerskov's father was a custom's inspector at Rørvig, Sjælland from Michael Agerskov was born in 1870 and until 1880, when he was transfered to the city of Nykøbing not far away. The picture to the left is painted by Michael's cousin Kathinka Agerskov in 1879, and showes the landscape of Rørvig. The drawing to the right showes the customs building at the harbor of Nykøbing - it's the low building in the middle.|
Already in her youth, my wife was highly receptive to thought-influence. Time after time she had premonitions that someone would come visiting during the day, and when they did she would exclaim to her stepmother or her sisters: “I knew it already!”
It also often happened that when she and her sisters drew lots for some reason, she knew who the lucky one would be. When she was proven right, she would again say: “I knew it already!”
She was often teased about this, and being rather shy about her strange premonitions she did not speak of them beforehand. But she herself became more and more aware of this phenomenon, which she was of course quite unable to explain.
After her home broke up with the death of her stepmother, Johanne stayed awhile with an older sister. She and I were by then engaged, and she had confided in me some of her experiences. We had also shared a number of experiences, but these could be explained as telepathy, and since they could be of interest to us only I will not discuss them here. But I had often said to her: “You should write down what you know before it happens.”
One day, while busy with some household chores, Johanne heard an unfamiliar voice say: “Next Wednesday, Michael’s number2 will be drawn for the prize of 1000 crowns.” (Crown, Danish unit of currency.)
Having learned from experience, Johanne at once wrote down the words on a piece of paper and placed it in her desk drawer, but mentioned it not to her sister or to me.
This happened on a Monday. The first drawing of the Lottery took place Wednesday, and the published list of prizes showed that my number had won 1000 crowns. I went straight to Johanne with the news. She appeared not the least surprised. Again, as so often before, she said: “I knew it already! But look! This time I wrote it down so that you and the others can see that I’m telling the truth”, and she showed me the paper on which she had written the words.
I admit I was taken by surprise, and though I had no reason to doubt her honesty I could not help thinking that, like myself, she must have already seen the list of the prize-winning numbers, for the evening newspaper had not yet been delivered. Since Johanne’s sister was teaching school at the time, I asked the housemaid if Johanne had been home all morning. The girl, startled, answered immediately: “Yes, both Miss Johanne and I have been at home the whole time.” I had to yield to the facts, as I have had to do on so many occasions since.
|The Royal Institute for the deaf-mutes, where Johanne Agerskov's father was the principal from 1865 to 1890. The family had their private residence in the building. To the right, the view from the living room to their private garden on the back side of the building. Both photos: Sverre Avnskog|
|The last photo of Johanne Agerskov's father - taken only a few months before his sudden death. Photo: Private|
|Johanne Agerskov(to the right) and her younger sister, Karen. Photo: Private|
I cannot recall any special experiences of an occult nature during the first two years of our marriage. I was by that time already well versed in the literature of spiritualism and related subjects, of which my wife had only scant knowledge. She knew enough, however, to be aware that experiences of the kind she had encountered could be explained as originating with spirits, but she showed no special interest in these matters.
However, when our daughter Inger was about two-and-a-half years of age, there began a series of occurrences, some of which I will describe.
We noticed the child would now and then walk over to a small embroidered stool in a corner, curtsy, reach out her hand and say “Hello!” and then dance about with joy. Sometimes she would take her toys over to the stool and chattering eagerly she would hold them as if showing them to someone. Now and then, while at play on the floor, she would leap up, clutching a toy, and shout: “No! No! That’s Inger’s!” One morning, when my wife had sat her on our bed while dressing her, she heard her cry out excitedly: “Little girl not to touch Inger’s toys!” while pointing toward her own bed. Johanne tried to calm the child, explaining there was no other little girl. But she would not be calmed until Johanne had fetched the playthings and put them by her side. A little later, when the child had been dressed and brought into the next room, but without her toys, my wife saw her open the door which stood ajar, stamp angrily on the floor and shout: “Little girl not to touch Inger’s toys!” Then she ran to the bed and gathered her playthings, still chattering that they were hers.
At dinner one day, some time after I had lost my father, the child suddenly climbed down from her chair exclaiming: “There’s grandfather!” and rushed into the parlor. Then she stopped abruptly and looked about, in disappointment. We both went in to her and my wife tried to explain to her that her grandfather could not be there because he was up in Heaven with God. But the child insisted that “grandfather was sitting there”, and she pointed to the sofa.
Our little girl had always loved her grandfather, and he had always been fond of her, so it is quite understandable for us now to believe that my father really had been there in our home when the child saw him.
Another time, when Johanne was busy at the kitchen stove and the child was romping on the floor, Inger suddenly stood quite still, looked at her mother and exclaimed: “Look! I’ve got two mommies!” She ran forward a little and put her arms around some being, invisible to my wife, and then went over to her mother and embraced her with the same movements. She ran back and forth several times between her mother and the invisible being, always stopping some distance from the kitchen table, as though some material being really stood there.
My wife gradually came to understand it was no use reasoning with the child when such phenomena occurred, since this would merely upset her. She pretended to ignore the incident or to go along with the child’s fantasies. When we later moved to another apartment with a small garden adjoining, she acquired a “live” playmate, and the invisible one departed.
To my wife and I, who witnessed these phenomena and were impressed, so to speak, by their simplicity and innocence, the only possible explanation is spiritualistic. In her loneliness, the child had been sent a little playmate, invisible to us but visible to her.
|Johanne's mother, Cathrine Georgia Heiberg, 1841-1876. Photo: The Heiberg Museum in Norway|
|Johanne's stepmother, Anna Steenstrup, 1842-1897. Photo: The Royal Library in Copenhagen|
|The Malling-Hansen sisters; Engelke, Juliane, Zarah, Karen, Emma. Johanne and Marie. Photo: The Heiberg Museum|
Two Danish advocates of spiritualism
In the spring of 1908, my sister-in-law, Mrs. Danckert, introduced us to a gentleman by the name of Sigurd Trier, since deceased, who at the time was enthusiastically seeking converts to the cause of spiritualism.
Mrs. Danckert had for a number of years been an ardent advocate of spiritualism every time the subject came up in conversation between us. On her initiative we attended, as spectators, some of Mr. Trier’s séances, held at her home. At these affairs, Mr. Trier himself acted as the medium for a spirit calling himself Appius Claudius.
Johanne and I had no sympathy for these rather disquieting trance séances, but we were certainly impressed by the speed with which Mr. Trier wrote down various poems on suggested topics. And despite the fact they were often written down within a few minutes and against a background of lively conversation, many of the poems were of outstanding quality. Since Mr. Trier never demanded any say in the choice of topic but accepted whatever was suggested, we had to concede that his assertion that he acted purely as the intermediary for unseen intelligences sounded plausible.
Our interest in psychic phenomena gained new momentum through our attendance at these séances, so that we were not completely averse to becoming active participants after Mrs. Danckert’s repeated requests.
What prompted us to become active participants rather than onlookers was actually brought about by two incidents, the first arising quite spontaneously with no desire or forethought by us.
One evening my wife was alone at home, reading at the parlor table on which stood a lamp with a brass base. She was startled suddenly by three ringing metallic sounds, seeming to come from the lamp’s base. It sounded as though a small hammer was striking the base. The sounds rang through the room with a short interval between each.
When the first three chimes had died out there was a pause, then came three more chimes.
While these rang out, Johanne arose and looked at the lamp in dismay. Again a pause. When the chimes began a third time she exclaimed loudly: “Stop it! I’ll hear no more!” As she spoke, a second but weaker chime rang out, and when she fell silent a final, faint little chime sounded, like an echo of the preceding ones. Then—only silence.
My wife told me of her experience when I came home. Had she asked who or what it was—perhaps someone who wanted to speak to us? “No” she answered me, “I was much too frightened to ask; besides, I want no part in things I don’t understand.” But we both pondered the possible meaning. We were convinced there was some connection with spiritualistic phenomena, but we did not know how to interpret it.
A couple of days later as I sat wondering about the matter, it occurred to me I might inquire by thought. And I thought as follows: if any spiritual intelligence is present, I request it to pluck a string on the piano.
But there was not a sound. I waited a few minutes for an answer—but still no sound, and so I began my work.
A moment later my wife entered the room and sat down in an armchair next to the piano, and within a couple of seconds a vibrant metallic sound rang through the room.
Johanne leaped up exclaiming: “One of the piano strings broke!” For that is how it sounded to us both.
At once I went over and played through the entire keyboard, but all the notes sounded equally clear, no strings were broken.
Then I told her about the wish I had just expressed. The answer had thus been given, but not until Johanne was near the piano. We were soon agreed that someone or something must have produced the sound—but who, and how?
|Michael's mother, Andrea Louise Stephensen(1835-1908). Photo: Private|
|Michael's father, Henrik Michael Agerskov(1824-1902). Photo: Private|
|Michael and Johanne Agerskov and their daughter, Inger Agerskov, 1900-1968. Left photo: The Royal Library in Copenhegan. Right photo: Private|
A short time later Mrs. Danckert visited us and we told her of our experience. She was convinced someone from the beyond wished to make contact with us. Somewhat clairvoyant, Mrs. Danckert said she could see a number of the spirits from Sigurd Trier’s circle and she said I should make an immediate attempt through their influence to write down poems as well.
After some discussion, I produced pencil and paper and Mrs. Danckert suggested a topic. My wife looked at the watch I had placed in front of me and in a few minutes, without any corrections, I had written down a poem in the style of the “spirit” Appius Claudius. We tried again, and within an hour eight poems had been taken down.
This first experiment was soon followed by more, and we grew so interested that we decided to form a séance circle. Since my sister, Mrs. Lindahl, and her husband were also interested in such phenomena, the circle came to include Mr. and Mrs. Danckert, Mr. and Mrs. Lindahl, my wife and myself.
Mrs. Danckert and I after that acted as mediums for the circle. Numerous poems, claimed to originate from the more diverse spiritual intelligences, were produced. Mrs. Danckert described the spirits and gave their names. A number of the poems were quite similar to those produced at Sigurd Trier’s circle in their form and mode of expression, and signed with the same names.
Mr. Danckert desired that we also hold table séances, but neither my wife nor I felt so inclined. Johanne was more inclined to ridicule the whole thing, feeling it absurd to communicate thus with the beyond. Nor did she believe the production of poetry in this way constituted any real proof since I was, myself, able to write poetry.I had to concede this point, although there happened to be not the slightest resemblance between my own work and the poems that came forth at the séances.
When I look back upon these poems—about 200 were produced—I can only maintain my conviction that they did indeed stem from invisible intelligences. The rapidity with which they emerged, the fact that my writing commenced immediately upon a topic being suggested with no forethought on my part, that it continued without pause and virtually without correction, that the frequently animated conversation in the room caused me no distraction, and last but not least, the fact that I was overwhelmed by the most diverse emotions while writing down these poems, all this proves to me that I was in any case not solely responsible for these compositions. What part of the work should be attributed to the invisible, and what not, is clearly impossible to determine.
Examples of these compositions can be found in the Addendum.
|Johanne Agerskov's oldest sister, Juliane Danckert(1866-1920) was the one who persuaded the Agerskov's to take part in spiritistic séances. Photo: Private|
|In the home of Sigurd Trier(1876-1920) Johanne and Michael Agerskov first experienced the contact between an intermediary and the discarneted spirits. Photo: The Royal Library in Copenhagen|
In the late summer of 1909 we made the acquaintance, again through Mrs. Danckert, of Christian Lyngs, who was Sigurd Trier’s successor as editor of the spiritualistic periodical Sandhedssogeren (Seeker of the Truth). My sister-in-law had introduced us in the hope we would attend a table séance under the leadership of Mr. Lyngs.
We were not too enthusiastic about this, especially when Johanne heard that the séance should preferably be held in a darkened room. It was a dark might, and Johanne insisted a lamp be placed in the adjoining room and the door left open so that a broad shaft of light fell across the floor. A small table was placed near this light, and Mr. Lyngs, my brother-in-law and Johanne seated themselves around it, their palms resting lightly on its surface. I squatted on the floor to ensure the séance proceeded with no improper “assistance” from the participants. Mrs. Lyngs and Mrs. Danckert were passive spectators.
We had not waited many minutes before one leg of the table was lifted some distance with no apparent help from any of the visible participants, thus tilting the table toward Johanne, who seemed displeased with this movement and would have liked to push it back. But Mrs. Lyngs advised her not to do so, and said that the fewer her movements the better the communication would be.
Mr. Lyngs asked the identity of the invisible presence and drew the response that it was his spiritual guide, “I”. A number of questions posed by Mr. Lyngs were answered as he recited the alphabet and the table leg knocked on the floor as the appropriate letter was reached. “Yes” and “no” tapping was also employed. By this means a message gradually emerged to the effect that my wife was a medium, and that intelligences on the other side desired that she make contact with them.
My wife was not thrilled with this message, but Mr. Lyngs gravely advised her to comply with it.
Although Mr. Lyngs and I parted ways a few years later over certain differences of opinion, my wife and I still owe him our thanks, for it was he who in fact brought us into contact with those who so eagerly sought our help to commence the task planned before our incarnation.
I hereby confirm and certify the truth of the foregoing statement, that my late husband, at a table séance in the late summer of 1909 at Mrs. Danckert’s house, brought Mrs. Agerskov the message that spiritual intelligences wished to make contact with her.
22nd March 1922
I confirm that the foregoing account is in accordance with the truth.
30th March 1922
Before continuing, I shall briefly explain what actually occurs at a table séance, hopefully to correct a misconception by many, ignorant of the facts, that the spirit is “inside” the table leg.
The spirit that wishes to manifest itself stays close to the table, and by the power of its will and with the help of the invisible radiations of the séance participants it raises the table leg in a manner similar to that in which we on Earth can, for example, turn a wheel or lift an object by means of steam power or electricity. It is not mysterious, it is simple, and easily carried out by all spiritual intelligences, whether these belong to the powers of Light or of the Darkness.
|Chr Lyngs(d.1921), the successor of Sigurd Trier as the editor of Seeker of the Truth. He urged the Agerskovs to answer the call from the spirits. Photo: The Royal Library in Copenhagen|
|A poem written down by Michael Agerskov. The poem is dated 22/1-11 and Mr. Agerskov has written 5 Min(probably because it took him 5 minutes to write it down) and the name "Lilian F" is written.|
The recovered papers
Having received notice through Mr. Lyngs’ spiritual guide that beings in the invisible world wished to make contact with us, we decided to try to achieve a communication by means of a table séance, in the manner learned from Mr. Lyngs.
One day when we were at the home of my sister, Mrs. Lindahl, wife of the dentist, K. Lindahl, we agreed to make an attempt.
We seated ourselves around a small table, hands lightly atop it. We sat for a long time, waiting more than half an hour, but the table stirred not. We detected not the slightest movement or vibration. Fatigued, we broke off for a short while, then tried once more, with the same negative result. Finally we abandoned the attempt, concluding that table séances were but fraud and deception.
After such an unsuccessful beginning, we were little inclined to continue; but two days later my sister came to us to say that since it was Johanne and I who had been requested to make contact with the beyond, it was perhaps intended the séance should be held in our home. This sounded quite plausible, and we fetched a small three-legged table and seated ourselves around it. We had only been sitting for a few minutes when one leg lifted with a little jerk, and the table tilted toward my wife.
The movement was so sudden, so unexpected that all three of us quickly withdrew our hands, looked at one another and exclaimed in unison: “Was that you?” Each knew he or she was not responsible for the movement, but, momentarily startled, each assumed it must have been one of the others.
We repeated the attempt after again assuring one another of our innocence. Besides, none of us could have rocked the table since the séance was held in daylight and our hands had barely touched the tabletop.
At the second attempt the table moved almost at once, and when I asked if any spiritual intelligences were present, the reply was three powerful knocks on the floor by the table leg. The table tilted, that is, and fell back to the floor three times.
I now asked the invisible visitor to spell out his name for us by letting the table knock when I spoke the letters of the alphabet that would spell his name.
In this way we soon spelled out the name of a young man, “X”, who had passed on a few years earlier, but with whom my wife and I were only slightly acquainted, and whom my sister had never known. The name was a complete surprise, since all three of us had deceased relatives whose manifestation would have been plausible, whereas we had given no thought to the spirit who was now in contact with us.
When we asked if he had anything in particular to tell us, he spelled out an odd sentence: “Seal a paper”. We wondered about its meaning and asked for more information, but with no result—the table never moved in the least.
After further discussion, my sister remarked that since she had not known him, he might be reluctant to give further information in her presence.
The following evening my wife and I seated ourselves at the table3 with no one else present in the room. The same spirit, “X”, made contact again, and through various questions also answered by reciting the alphabet and by subsequent table tappings, we learned he wanted us to search among some books he had left behind, and to burn some papers which for various reasons he wanted destroyed. Ever since his death, he had been thinking continuously about these papers, not wishing them to fall into the hands of strangers. The conversation was difficult since his answers were confused, and several times he gave contradictory instructions as to where the books could be found.
After a week of nightly conversations with “X” we had learned only that the papers intended for destruction could be found in a blue note book labeled “Arithmetic”, and that the papers also included a list of the contents of the note book. But the instructions for finding his books were vague, and since Johanne had already once searched in vain at the place indicated, we were on the verge of losing patience and giving up.
Then Johanne remembered that her late father had known this “X” who now manifested himself, and it occurred to her that her father might be behind these manifestations, and that by addressing ourselves to him we might satisfactorily solve the problem.
We asked “X” if Johanne’s father was or could be present, and the answer came: “He is here!”
|The Agerskov family, pictured in the beginning of the 1890's. Michael Agerskov(1870-1933) is number two from the left. Beside him is his sister Anna, later married Lindahl(b 1873), who took part in the séanses that lead to Toward the Light. On the other side of Michael stands his brother Christian(1859-1928) who was an ingenieer. He made an invention to be used in steam engines, wich was sold world wide. The couple on the right side of the picture, is Michael's other sister Henriette(1862-1946) and her husband Halfdan Kongsted(1857-1894), and the children are both theirs - Torkild(b 1889) and Andrea Elisabeth(b 1891). The older couple is the parents, Henrik Michael(1824-1902)and Andrea Louise Agerskov(1835-1908)|
We immediately noticed a distinct difference in the movements of the table. Clearly and quickly, almost before we could ask our questions, the answers came with firm, strong taps. The spirit now in control of the table gave his name through the alphabet by tapping. He spoke with deep emotion and feeling, especially to my wife, and in such a way that she immediately recognized her father in the words he spelled out and by the manner in which he formed his sentences. He concluded by saying: “You are on the right road. God be with you.”
He then gave us clear and concise instructions on where to find the books “X” had left behind. At the same time he informed us that in addition to the specified exercise book labeled “Arithmetic”, there should be half a sheet of paper lying loose in another book. “X” no longer remembered which one. My father-in-law therefore asked us to search through all the books until it was found.
We cannot pursue this matter further, since on being approached with the request to verify this account, the lady who at the time had helped us locate the relevant papers now disclaims all knowledge of any blue notebook labeled “Arithmetic”, or any loose half sheet of paper. She does, however, remember bringing us a small notebook in the belief that it was the one we were seeking. At the time we pointed out to her that its contents did not tally with the description given by “X”, but she now writes that: “. . .the first book I found was a small notebook. . .which could well have been blue. . .” It was in fact pink in color, and in any case not a notebook.The reason she had remembered the notebook but forgotten about the other papers is presumably that “X” had used the expression “my own book” in connection with the blue notebook to distinguish it from the printed books. Of course, he might well also have referred to the notebook as “my own”; but the fact remains that this was not the book in question. In any case, our own account of these proceedings was rejected, and she claimed to remember nothing of the two salient facts of the matter. However, in her last letter to us she wrote that: “. . .even if your presentation of the affair had been correct, I should not have signed my name to it. . .”
I must therefore respect her wish that her name not be made public, and will refrain from explicitly describing the further course of events in this connection. Suffice it to state, however, the relevant papers were in fact found and in due course burned.
But I should add that immediately after finding the papers, my wife and I told some of our relatives about this incident and mentioned both the note book and the loose half sheet of paper, though without revealing any of the contents. Since then, we have often spoken to others of this experience, always stressing the two main points.
Thus: either my wife and I have distorted the facts from the beginning, in our first account of the matter—or the lady has forgotten the essentials and remembered only the inessential details.
Thus, our version stands against hers.
Although this experience is not presented in full detail and cannot be proven to the reader, I have included it because it forms the basis for our conviction that spiritual intelligences are able to make contact with human beings.
It must have been some time around 1910 that Michael and Johanne Agerskov came in contact with the spirit of Johanne's late father, Rasmus Malling-Hansen(1835-1890). Johanne later refers to him as Leo, his spiritual name. And he called his daughter Bettina. Photo: The Heiberg Museum in Norway
Table séances, photography and clairaudience
Had we previously been at a loss to explain the phenomena we experienced, we were by now absolutely convinced that they must stem from spiritual intelligences. Nor did we doubt that my wife’s father had indeed made contact with us, but we also understood that he had not sought our help merely to find some papers that should be destroyed. There must have been other reasons.
We asked, but received only the answer that we could be of help in many ways, that it would all gradually become clear to us if we but had faith in him and trusted that God was our Supreme Leader and remembered that He would always support us in our work.
Our séances now assumed a somewhat different character. Although I continued to write down poetry, we were also able to receive answers to our questions through table tapping.
Apart from the regular séances of our circle, Johanne and I also held our own private séances at her father’s request. To these he and other high spiritual intelligences brought many of the so-called Earth-bound spirits—human beings who had violated in various ways the divine and human laws while embodied on Earth, and who now after death felt bound by their feelings of guilt, and were therefore unable to return to their homes in the spheres (Toward the Light, page 203).
We tried to reason with these beings and make them acknowledge their sins, first before us and then before God. Often it was only a question of making them realize that their earthly bodies had expired, for in their imagination they still “lived” in the familiar earthly surroundings. As soon as they realized they no longer had a physical body but that their spiritual self had survived “death”, the high spirits were able to lead them to their homes, to peace and rest. It was for us an exhausting task, since all communications from these “dead” had to be spelled out letter by letter, a slow and tedious process.
When two members of our circle suggested that we should experiment with “spirit photography”, we asked my wife’s father whether we should engage in such practice. He answered that we could of course try but that he was not at all certain any of the participants possessed the special radiations necessary for such purpose. We might, if we would follow his directions, obtain some results—but he could make no promise.
He gave the following directions: we should cover the end wall of our living room with black cloth. A few feet from the wall, an aqua-green, transparent gauze should be stretched across the room in such a way that none of us were between the gauze and the wall. My wife’s desk stood to the left in this space. A lamp with a red shade should be on the desk, and in front of the gauze, a lamp with a yellow shade. Since both were paraffin oil lamps they were of course placed at a safe distance from the flammable gauze. The photographic plates should be developed in a darkroom illuminated by a green light rather than the usual red. He then gave us the formula for a developer in which to immerse the plates for ten minutes. The formula was: eight drops of phosphoric acid, three drops of sulphuric acid, a level teaspoon of kitchen salt and a quarter liter of surgical spirit. The plates should first be put in an ordinary developer, then in the solution here given, and finally in a fixing bath.
The members who had photographic experience objected to this procedure, saying the green light would spoil the development, nor were they too confident in the ingredients of the formula given.
We made an attempt all the same, and to our surprise the green light did not spoil the results. To the contrary, it seemed to all of us that the formula and the green light had improved the sharpness of the resulting pictures‚ but, alas, no spirits were to be seen in any of them.
We tried again and again, but always with the same negative results. Once, it seemed to all of us that there was a faint suggestion of the face of my wife’s father on one of the plates; but this plate was accidentally broken, so that we could not obtain a print.
Before we abandoned these experiments, however, one strange thing happened. All the plates clearly showed Johanne’s desk, with the lamp and all the other objects, except for one plate. On this plate—one among six in a cassette all exposed at the same session—the only discernible image was of a photograph of my mother-in-law that had stood on the desk; everything else had disappeared—the desk, the lamp and all the smaller objects. We kept this plate as a curiosity.
Our photographic efforts thus failed to achieve the desired result. Perhaps we had not been patient enough, or none of us had the necessary radiations that my wife’s father had mentioned.
We had held table séances in the ordinary manner for some time when my wife began to notice that when one of our invisible guests was laboriously spelling out a sentence, she sometimes knew long beforehand what would be said. She tried sitting at some distance from the table while someone else took her place, but the same thing happened.
One evening in the spring of 1910, at one of our private séances, we talked by means of table tapping with a deceased relative of whom my wife had been very fond. She told us about her home in the spheres, and Johanne noticed more clearly than ever that evening that she knew what was going to be said. Suddenly the manifesting spirit said: “Why don’t you say it? You can hear very well what I’m trying to tell you!” Momentarily rendered speechless, Johanne then quickly repeated aloud the words that had been spoken.
Anyone can imagine our relief, for now we could conclude our conversation quickly and easily, and from that evening all our exchanges with the inhabitants of the invisible world took place through Johanne’s clairaudience. Thenceforth the table was only used to confirm by “yes” and “no” tapping that Johanne had heard correctly and accurately repeated what she had heard. This proved an invaluable help during our séances with the Earth-bound spirits, who could now speak directly of matters that obsessed them.
The prediction of an illness
In the autumn of 1910, my sister, Mrs. Lindahl, decided to move temporarily to a town in the provinces on account of her child’s delicate health. Her husband would stay in Copenhagen to look after his dental practice.
At a séance one evening in October, while her husband was traveling abroad, some deceased relatives urgently advised my sister to abandon her plan, as it would prove harmful to both her and her husband.
This made a painful impression on my sister, since such a temporary arrangement would apparently have benefited all. She would not be persuaded to change her mind, she said, without being given specific reasons. She was then informed that her husband would suddenly fall ill in the near future (though he appeared in good health at this time). The illness would be serious, and life and death would depend on her presence in their home.
We were all disheartened by this message; we asked when it would happen, and that our informant write the answer with Johanne’s hand4 in order to give us visible proof of the time when the illness would occur. The informant then wrote slowly and distinctly with my wife’s hand: “Three months is the time.” The nature of the illness was not given, but we considered appendicitis a possibility, since it is often fatal without an immediate operation.
My sister was understandably distressed and unhappy at having to change her plans, but she dared not disregard the warning.
When her husband returned from his travels she told him of the warning given her, and showed him the writing. He brushed it aside, noting that he was in good health and anticipating no illness. However, my sister did remain at home.
Exactly three months later, at the beginning of January, 1911, her husband suffered an attack of bronchitis, followed by renal hemorrhage, and the fact that his wife was at home and could give him the proper care presumably saved his life, in view of the previous warning.
Since my brother-in-law had not believed the prediction and since he was struck by an infectious disease, anxiety could have played no part, especially since neither the bronchitis and the ensuing kidney disease were what we or my sister had anticipated.
How can this be explained? None present at the séance could have known anything about what would happen three months later. Would it not be reasonable to interpret what happened as follows: that one of our relatives who was a high spirit of the Light knew of the serious nature of the impending illness and had received permission to issue a warning in order to prevent a tragedy. It would seem natural to me to accept the fact that the warning stemmed from some spiritual intelligence.
I hereby confirm that the foregoing account of the prediction of my illness is in accordance with the truth.
Copenhagen, 26 March 1922
I hereby confirm that the foregoing account of the prediction of my husband’s illness is in accordance with the truth.
Copenhagen, 26 March 1922
At one of our séance evenings, on December 6th, 1910, we had a strange, deeply moving experience.
On that occasion I was the medium for the spirit Appius Claudius, and while I was taking down a poem my spiritual communicator suddenly paused, whereupon the following sentence flashed through my mind: “Appius is silent—the Most High, standing at my side, bids me be silent.”
Without thinking, I began writing this down as a continuation of the unfinished poem, when Johanne suddenly exclaimed: “I am being called upon!” Finishing the sentence, I showed the words to the other participants and we all understood that no ordinary or casual interruption had occurred. Some exalted being was present, who had interrupted Appius Claudius in the middle of his poem, and at the same time called upon my wife.
Johanne sat down with some of the other members at the small table in order to confirm, by the usual “yes” and “no” tapping, that she had correctly repeated what she had heard.
Since none of us had been prepared for this unexpected visit of a strange spirit, we didn’t think to write down his words; we remember the substance, but are unable to repeat the successive sentences in detail, except for the concluding words, which we all remember vividly. Only these can therefore be quoted.
The spirit who now communicated with my wife through thought-inspiration called himself Gabriel, the Harbinger of the Lord. He brought us a greeting from God and said that he spoke in His name. He bade us stay together and not disband our circle, since it had been chosen as the instrument through which great things should go forth. He closed with these words: “Three Golden Fruits will fall into your lap, Bettina,5 share these fruits with your fellow human beings, but keep the seeds6 yourself.” He then took his leave from us, and there was deep silence after his words.
We hereby confirm and certify that the foregoing is a true account of the events that took place at the aforementioned gathering.
M. Danckert, K. Lindahl, Anna Lindahl
Copenhagen, 26 March 1922
At that time certain differences of opinion existed within our circle. Two members wished to hold séances in darkness and to witness materializations, and wanted my wife to experiment as a trance medium. She felt an instinctive aversion to manifestations of this sort, and had consistently refused to contemplate such proposals. But, faced with repeated requests to experiment in this direction, she appealed to her father at one of our private séances and asked his opinion. He replied that she should never dabble in such phenomena because they were all under the control of the powers of Darkness. By falling into trance, he said, the personality of the medium would be abandoned to one of the spirits of Darkness and would risk lengthy and depraving possession by such spirits. The medium would thereby be rendered completely unsuitable as an intermediary for the powers of the Light.
After this conversation with her father, my wife was still more determined not to indulge in any such experiments.
The words spoken to us that evening by the Lord’s Harbinger were thus a request that we should all keep together and not let our circle end over divergent views and wishes.
It is now clear that his words also foretold the task that awaited us, which was to result in the three works that I later published (see The Doctrine of Atonement and the Shorter Road, page 38), but at the time we understood not the significance of the words.
At a séance of our circle in late November. 1910, a spirit who gave his name as Fatis, made contact with us. He told us that around the year 5,000 B.C. he had lived in Egypt as a royal prince and that two of the members present had been incarnated at that time as his son and daughter. He addressed himself directly to the two, explaining that he had transgressed gravely against them and had still not obtained their forgiveness for these transgressions. He had permission to relate now what had happened in those long gone times, whereupon he spoke eloquently of his own and of their lives in the land on the banks of the Nile, closing his account with a moving plea for their forgiveness.
Unprepared for his presence, none of us thought to write down his words. As we were all deeply moved by his beautifully composed account, we asked if he would repeat it so that we could write it down. He said he would, but since my wife was fatigued after rendering his speech sentence by sentence, he asked, for her sake, to be allowed to postpone the writing until the next meeting.
Fatis kept his promise. At the following séance the beautiful, descriptive words sounded to us again and as quickly as they could, two of the members wrote down the entire speech; and to the best of our judgment, it was an exact rendition of his previous account. (It was published in January 1911, in the periodical, Seeker of the Truth.
At the following meeting another spirit made contact with us, calling himself Kharru. He had been the brother of Fatis at the time Fatis was incarnated in Egypt. Kharru was the Pharaoh then. He said he would describe an episode that had taken place in a civilized realm of the remote past, where he and the two previously mentioned séance members had been incarnated at the same time. This civilization was the precursor of the later Egypt (Toward the Light, page 198).
Taught by experience, we asked and were at once granted permission to write down his speech.
Kharru then spoke graphically of a catastrophe—a volcanic eruption—that befell and completely destroyed this ancient civilization. (This account was published in the February, 1911 issue of Seeker of the Truth.)
The day after we had received Kharru’s account, we were again visited by the spirit Fatis, who offered to present us some drawings of idols from the realm that had perished. We gratefully accepted his offer.
After several preliminary attempts, he drew, with my wife’s hand, four idols as well as a symbol for the highest deity. The symbol was a large triangle bordered by tongues of fire. Inside this triangle were smaller triangles, symbolizing the all-seeing star-eyes of the deity. One idol that represented a woman sitting with a cobra in one hand, a fan in the other and wearing a headdress in the shape of a throne with a half-moon, seemed familiar to Johanne; but the others were entirely unknown to her. All resembled Egyptian figures to some degree, but their form was not as rigidly stylized. Because Johanne had fallen ill, we did not receive the actual drawings until some time after the preliminary attempts.
These drawings were also published in the February issue of Seeker of the Truth, with an explanation of their origin. We have shown them to many persons but have not yet learned if figures or images similar to them have ever been found. Perhaps they will be one day.
A gentleman of our acquaintance was convinced he had seen at least one of the images, a figure—half lion, half man—with a headdress crowned by a large and by a small fire-spouting crater, and with a tongue of fire issuing from his jaws. But this gentleman’s views conflict with those of a Norwegian lady who visited my wife in the spring of 1916. She was an Egyptologist herself, and assured us that she had never seen any similar reproductions of drawings or figures. However, she felt they could well be prototypes or forerunners of Egyptian art.
Perhaps the future will throw some light on this question.
At a séance in late December 1910, a Spirit named Muribad spoke to us. We had been told at an earlier séance that he was the guardian spirit for one of the members. He addressed himself to a man in the circle, saying they had met in northern India around 1000 B.C and that, ever since, he had tried in vain to obtain forgiveness for the wrongs done this man. He wished to relate what had happened at that time and had come with the permission of the Most High to try, in this way, to obtain the forgiveness he so much desired.
We asked if we might write down his words, but we immediately felt that our request pained him, and the answer came hesitantly. He explained that the moment was so solemn for him that he would much prefer his words not to be written down as he was speaking, but that if he succeeded in achieving his purpose he would attempt to repeat his account at a later séance.
Muribad’s account made, if possible, an even deeper impression upon those present. In exceptionally beautiful language, he vividly recalled the tragic event of so long ago. The individual to whom Muribad spoke naturally remembered nothing of this event, but since he felt no animosity toward the speaker he took this as proof that he had in reality already forgiven Muribad, or could do so when they met in the beyond. Muribad seemed content with these words; in any case, he promised to repeat his story later.
Not until February 14th, 1911, was he able to fulfill his promise, since the illness that had befallen my sister’s husband, Mr. Lindahl, occurred shortly after Muribad first gave his account, thus postponing further séances for a time.
When our séance circle re-assembled, we considered the possibility that Muribad would not be able to keep his promise, for so much time had passed that it might prove difficult for him to repeat his story identically. But to all appearances his second account was the same, although it seemed to some of us that he passed more lightly over the tragic ending. The first time he seemed to have told it in stronger terms, while now it was as if he drew a veil over the final, horrible scene.
My brother-in-law, Mr. Lindahl, was especially impressed by the close correspondence to his first account that Muribad had achieved, and he took the manuscript and asked if Muribad would be able to continue any sentence chosen at random upon hearing only the opening words? Muribad said he would attempt it. Mr. Lindahl then chose a sentence in the middle of the narrative, spoke the opening words, and Muribad continued to quote a long paragraph, my wife repeating, in the usual manner, word for word what our invisible guest said to her. Muribad’s repetition of the paragraph was identical to that written down.
The experiment was repeated several times. Mr. Lindahl held the manuscript before him and followed each word, sentence by sentence, as Muribad spoke the exact words that had been written down, an accomplishment we all viewed with awe.
We hereby confirm and certify that the experiment with Muribad’s account proceeded as described.
M. Danckert, K. Lindahl, Anna Lindahl
Copenhagen, March 26, 1922
In the chapter that follows, I shall return to Muribad’s account; it is reproduced there exactly as received that night.
If one compares these three incarnation accounts (that may at some be published along with a fourth account from ancient Assyria) one is immediately struck by the apparent similarity of their archaic forms of language, in contrast to the great disparities that exist between modern languages. A closer study will, however, reveal a surprisingly marked difference between the various cultures and their level of civilization. The observant reader will especially notice how Kharru’s fairly stilted rhythm and choice of words contrast with the rich and melodious language of Muribad.
Indian incarnation account7
A temple scene from ancient India
Three thousand years before your days lived Muribad in Brahma’s temple.
The temple stood where the waters merge, of holy Ganges and Brahmaputra.
Brahma’s temple was splendid.
Idols of many hues adorned Holy Brahma’s abode—idols graven in wood and in bone.
Golden, glittering ornaments, bright and brilliant stones bedecked the idols.
Within the temple were mighty, many-columned halls, were many small chambers, hung with woven cloth of velvet.
Brahma’s young handmaidens lived in the small chambers.
Muribad was Brahma’s servant.
Muribad wore the Brahminic robe of white, wore the white band of Brahma about his dark brow.
Muribad was handsome, Muribad was young.
The somberness of the temple, the austerity of the temple, oppressed Muribad’s heart.
Muribad yearned pensively for the land beyond the holy banks of Ganges.
Muribad’s yearnings soared high over the snow-clad Himalayan peaks.
Muribad’s searching thoughts streamed with the swift currents of Ganges and Brahmaputra toward the unknown depths of the sea.
Muribad led the song of Brahma’s maidens, led their graceful dance.
Foremost in the ranks of the women stood Iriva, Muribad’s beautiful daughter.
For 15 parched summers, Vishnu’s burning torch had shone over Iriva’s glistening locks.
Unknown, was Iriva sent to be the serving maiden of Brahma.
Only the many eyes of Brahma followed Muribad, Iriva’s unknown father.
Muribad was young.
The somberness of the temple, the austerity of the temple, oppressed Muribad’s heart.
Muribad loved Iriva, Brahma’s young handmaiden.
Muribad stood high on the temple stairway.
Muribad saw many men in rich attire cross the plain before the temple.
The men stopped at the foot of the temple.
Foremost stood Iphisus, tall and proud.
A white robe cloaked his noble body.
Golden ornaments were hung about his throat, were wound upon his dark brow.
Iphisus’s eyes were kind.
Iphisus’s countenance was noble.
Iphisus bowed. Iphisus spoke:
“Iphisus comes from the land beyond the sea that receives the rushing waters of Ganges and Brahmaputra.
Iphisus’s father is prince.
The wrath of Brahma is upon Iphisus’s father.
Iphisus journeyed by many toilsome roads to Brahma’s temple.
Iphisus promised to bring the prince water from the holy Ganges.
Iphisus promised to temper the wrath of Brahma.”
Muribad raised his hands.
“Iphisus! Muribad brings you Brahma’s greeting.
Brahma’s being, Brahma’s presence, is within you.
Brahma’s spirit is one with your spirit.
Brahma’s body is one with your body.
Brahma’s life-giving breath is breathed into the smallest part of your body.
Brahma lives, Brahma lives within you.
Iphisus, bow before Brahma!”
Muribad pointed to the temple.
Iphisus strode up the temple steps, he entered the inner temple.
Muribad followed Iphisus to Brahma’s many-headed image.
Iphisus bowed before Brahma.
Brahma promised to temper his wrath.
Muribad followed Iphisus to the temple’s columned halls, to the small chambers of the temple.
Iphisus saw the beauty of Brahma’s young handmaidens.
Iphisus wished to see the women dance.
Brahma’s handmaidens gathered in the mighty, columned hall of the temple.
Naked were the maidens’ bodies.
Golden bangles embraced their slender ankles, bangles of gold embraced their supple arms.
Broad golden bands supported their arched bosoms.
The white lotus of the Ganges wreathed their hair.
The folds of their green veils did not conceal the beauty of their bodies; did not conceal their fiery dark eyes.
Foremost in the ranks of the women stood Iriva, Muribad’s beautiful daughter.
Muribad raised his hand.
The sound of enchanting, alluring song filled the temple hall.
The veils were raised, the veils were lowered, the feet danced over the stone-paved floor.
The bodies swayed softly to the rising and falling song.
Muribad’s yearning eye followed Iriva’s swaying dance.
Muribad’s listening ear followed Iriva’s alluring song.
Iriva’s radiant eye dwelt upon Iphisus’s noble countenance.
Muribad’s hands clenched.
Muribad’s eye dwelt upon Iphisus.
The song’s enchanting, alluring melody filled the hall of the temple.
The veils were raised, the veils were lowered, the feet danced over the stone-paved floor.
Wildly, more wildly, the bodies swayed; the bodies swayed softly to the rising and falling song.
Muribad’s eye dwelt upon Iphisus.
Iphisus came closer.
The singing ceased.
Iriva stood before Iphisus.
Muribad spoke: “The dance is ended. Brahma’s handmaidens go to their chambers.”
The women passed from view behind the rows of columns.
Alone stood Iriva.
Iphisus’s hand rested lovingly upon Iriva’s lowered head.
Iphisus sought Iriva’s radiant eyes.
Iphisus took Iriva’s slender hand.
Muribad came closer.
“Iriva, come to the land of Iphisus!
Iriva come with Iphisus!
Iphisus loves Iriva!”
“Iriva never go to the land of Iphisus.
Iriva never leave Brahma’s temple.
Brahma’s handmaiden go to her chamber.”
Proudly, Iriva raised her lowered head.
Iriva’s eye flashed Indra’s bolt of anger upon Muribad’s pale countenance.
Iriva turned away.
Iriva bowed before Iphisus.
“Iphisus! Iriva dance for you.
Iriva sing for you.”
Enchanting, alluring song flowed toward Iphisus.
The veil was raised, the veil was lowered, the feet danced over the stone-paved floor.
The body swayed softly to the rising and falling song.
Muribad’s eye dwelt upon Iphisus.
Iphisus’s enraptured eye followed Iriva’s swaying dance.
Iphisus’s listening ear heard Iriva’s alluring song.
The enchanting, alluring melody flowed toward Iphisus.
The veil was raised, the veil was lowered, the feet danced over the stone-paved floor.
Wildly, more wildly, the body swayed; the body swayed softly to the rising and falling song.
Muribad’s eye dwelt upon Iphisus.
Iphisus came closer.
Iriva flung the veil’s green folds upon the stone-paved floor.
Iriva stretched her hands toward Iphisus.
Iriva’s radiant eye dwelt upon Iphisus’s countenance.
“Iphisus! Iriva danced for you, Iriva sang for you.
Iriva go to the land of Iphisus.
Iriva loves Iphisus!”
Iphisus reached gently for Iriva’s uplifted arms.
Indra’s fury flared in Muribad’s trembling heart,
Muribad flung himself at Iphisus.
Muribad’s hands crushed Iphisus’s body, crushed Iphisus’s throat.
Iphisus faltered, Iphisus fell.
Brahma withdrew his life-giving Breath from Iphisus’s body.
Muribad’s wild eyes saw Iriva’s trembling body, saw Iriva’s uplifted hands, saw Iriva’s deep terror.
Muribad flung himself at Iriva.
Wildly, Muribad crushed Iriva’s trembling body.
Muribad broke Iriva’s beautiful flower.
Muribad’s fierce embrace crushed Iriva’s young heart.
Brahma withdrew his life-giving Breath from Iriva’s body.
Muribad saw Iphisus.
Muribad saw Iriva.
Deep, remorseful terror awoke in Muribad’s heart.
Muribad lifted Iriva in his strong arms.
Muribad strode up the temple steps to the temple’s pinnacle.
Muribad plunged with Iriva deep into the Ganges’ rushing waters.
Brahma withdrew his life-giving Breath from Muribad’s body.
Muribad awoke in Brahma’s high heaven.
Brahma’s judgment was stern:
“Muribad took Iphisus’s life; Muribad will follow and protect Iphisus, follow until Iphisus forgives!”
For thousands of years, Muribad followed Iphisus’s changing lives on Earth.
When Muribad and Iphisus met in Brahma’s high heaven, Muribad offered Iphisus his hand, Muribad asked Iphisus to forgive.
Iphisus turned away.
“Iphisus never forgive!”
Thousands of years ago, Muribad won Iriva’s loving forgiveness.
Iriva rose to Brahma’s unknown abodes.
Iphisus, follow Iriva!
Iphisus, you have delayed your journey toward the glorious heavens, hatred bound you.
Iphisus, follow Iriva!
Thousands of years have passed.
Thousands of years have passed from the day when Iphisus and Muribad met by the holy banks of the Ganges.
Still the rushing waters merge, of Ganges and Brahmaputra, where Brahma’s temple stood.
As the holy Ganges is ever renewed by the hidden springs of Himalaya, so the many days and years are ever renewed from Brahma’s secret springs of mercy.
Still stream the rushing waters of Ganges and Brahmaputra toward the unknown depths of the sea.
Still stream the many days and years toward the infinite sea of the ether.
Still has Muribad not won the full forgiveness of Iphisus.
Some time after I published Greetings to Denmark in 1915, I was visited by an English scientist, a Mr. Havell, who had lived in India a number of years and was acquainted with ancient Indian literature and art. Mr. Havell was interested in occultism, and when he had seen the aforementioned pre-Egyptian drawings he asked if we had received by occult means anything relating to India.
We then gave him a copy of Seeker of the Truth, the periodical in which the Indian incarnation account had been published. Mr. Havell seemed interested, but made no comment.
However, a few days later Mr. Havell returned and told us that he had now studied the incarnation account in great detail, and had been surprised to see how “Indian” it was in its entire form and manner of expression. Thus, he said to my wife, among other things, “Even if you had read all the books I have written about India, you would still not have been able to write this. Never have I seen any literature produced outside India as ‘Indian’ as this.”
Mr. Havell then went through the details of the contents with us:
1) The stanzas gave a good impression of the ancient Sanskrit songs of the Brahman priests.
2) Indians regard the triangular piece of land at the confluence of two rivers as holy ground. The place where the holy river Ganges was joined by the Brahmaputra would therefore almost certainly have been especially hallowed.
3) It was known that a Hindu temple had in the remote past stood on the site described in the account.
4) Indian mythology told of a heavenly dancer, Ira, who danced for the gods. The name of the young temple dancer, Iriva, was a correct derivation of the Sanskrit noun “Ira.”
5) The name “Iphisus” (or, more correctly, “Iphisos”, for it was almost certainly a Greek name) indicated that the young prince, “who comes from the land beyond the sea that receives the streaming waters of Ganges and Brahmaputra”, was from Lydia in Asia Minor, which at that time might well have had trade connections with northern India. (In a letter a few days later from Mr. Havell, he wrote that Lydian coins had indeed been found in northern India, though admittedly dating from a time about two centuries later than the time of the account, or in other words, from around 700 B.C.)
6) The spirit of Muribad’s greeting to the young prince was quite in keeping with ancient Brahman religious thought.
7) The description of the women’s dance, their green veils, the golden bangles for their arms, ankles and bosoms was correctly rendered.
8) Since Brahma was the Creator, the sentence: “Brahma withdrew his life-giving Breath from Iphisus’s body”, most appropriately expresses Indian conceptions of this subject.
9) The sentence: “The many days and years still stream to the infinite sea of the ether”, referred to the ancient Indian concept of the ether as a milk-white sea into which the earthly days and years streamed out and were absorbed.
All that Mr. Havell told us was entirely new to both of us. It was naturally of great interest to my wife and to me, since it confirmed that the spiritual intelligence who had given the account did in fact stem from India.
However, Mr. Havell was rather unhappy about the name Muribad. He said that no such name existed in Sanskrit, nor was there any word from which it could have derived. My wife did remember that when the spirit gave his name, she had exclaimed: “I cannot pronounce it the way you do. Do you mind if I call you ‘Muribad’, it sounds almost like that to me?” Since the spirit had accepted this suggestion, we had not pursued the matter.
At Mr. Havell’s request we renewed contact with the spirit in question and asked for further information, including, if possible, the Sanskrit spelling of his name. The spirit replied that he was willing to give his name phonetically but was unable to write it in Sanskrit. The pronunciation was then given as “Myoorivart”.
This result still did not satisfy Mr. Havell. He claimed that the phonetic combination “Myoo” did not exist in Sanskrit, although the name was quite correct in other respects. But the spirit insisted that a “y” sound, however weak, preceded the “oo” sound.
Mr. Havell has since told us that he had learned through a well-known English scholar of Sanskrit that at the time Muribad was presumed to have lived, there was no written form of the Sanskrit language. The name of the Brahman could therefore not be given in Sanskrit characters.
When the spirit gave his name phonetically, he also informed us that remains of the ancient temple could still be found at the place where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra merge; he especially mentioned some steps that were now below the water level.
When we gave this information to Mr. Havell, he believed that he remembered having seen some steps under the water at that place. He had often sailed past, but had never investigated.
I hereby certify that the foregoing material regarding Muribad’s Account is in accordance with the information that I have supplied to Mr. and Mrs. Agerskov.
February 2, 1922
The powers of Light and Darkness
Johanne’s guardian spirit was the “spiritual leader” for the table séances that were arranged after we had come into contact with my wife’s father, who was present at these séances to represent the powers of the Light. With the help of his companions, he constantly strived to form a protective circle around Johanne during the séances so as to prevent as far as possible the powers of Darkness from intervening and dominating the leadership.
As related in Toward the Light, page 235, multitudes of Earth-bound spirits gathered at those places where spirits of the Light sought contact with human beings. Many of these unfortunates were attracted to séance circles the world over in hopes that human beings might release them from their dreadful existence through their compassionate prayers of intercession. Many came merely to play tricks and to deceive us, and many malicious spirits came only to cause harm.
Because of the great numbers of Earth-bound spirits, the representatives of the Light were always in the minority at the séances. Whether the powers of Darkness or those of the Light gained victory in the struggle for domination of the séances, depended mainly upon the moral strength of the medium.
According to my wife’s father, it was always extremely difficult to lead our séances, because the spirits of Darkness knew their power was in jeopardy. If Johanne could be guided safely past all dangers, so that she could truly become the long sought intermediary for the spirits of the Light, the dominance of the spirits of Darkness over humans would be broken and finally destroyed.
At the time, we knew nothing of the struggle going on among these beings who were invisible to us; but eventually we came to feel its effects in many ways. We began to have grave misgivings, mystified because much of what my wife’s father told us during our private séances proved on closer inspection incorrect or false. Johanne at the time was also disturbed because she could not understand why she often felt an unease when her father announced his presence at our séances; sometimes it was as though a wall of ice stood between them, at other times she was overcome by a violent anger for no apparent reason.
For a long time we suffered many unpleasant episodes of this kind, though we also experienced much that was good and true. There were similar occurrences at the séances of our circle, though not to the same extent as at our private séances. However, I shall here describe a few of these episodes
The previously mentioned incarnation accounts had quite naturally aroused an interest of the members of our circle in their former lives on Earth, leading to a number of questions on the subject for our invisible guests. These were always answered promptly; but my wife did not greatly care for them, since there was no way to verify if the information given in reply was true or false.
On one occasion, we were given details of a relative’s previous lifetime on Earth—a lifetime recent enough to make it possible to investigate the authenticity of that incarnation at the locales involved. We agreed to try to confirm these details, and my sister, Mrs. Lindahl, undertook an investigation. But all her research proved fruitless. None of the information given was found true, and so we abandoned all further questions on previous incarnations.
On another occasion, an American Indian spirit, an ancient Inca, presented himself and gave a vivid and quite fantastic account of life on Mars. He described the advanced culture of the inhabitants, and so forth. A question of mine concerning the tone intervals of Martian music seemed to disconcert him for an instant, but then came the answer: “They stand on edge.” Quite understandably, we laughed at this absurd response and, having heard enough of that kind of nonsense, we told him: begone!
From time to time it also happened that before drawings in the State Lottery we would be told that we were going to win larger or smaller prizes. And since, as already related, we had previously had one spontaneous experience in connection with a lottery prize, we were at first quite happy to trust in the truthfulness of these messages. However, in due course we learned a thorough lesson in the falsehood of such predictions.
As a result, my wife began to weary of such experiences, which at one moment would be quite impressive in their truthfulness, only to consist of some utterly depressing message at the next. She often said: “I cannot understand what is behind all this. Something must be wrong!” If we asked her father, he would always reply that we were surrounded by evil beings and should, for ourselves, try to understand what was happening.
Finally, on a particular occasion, it all came to a climax—and thereafter we were no longer plagued by these unreliable messages. One day when Johanne was alone, her father came and said that he needed her help, and that if she would listen carefully he would explain what he wished her to do. He spoke to her of a number of human beings who had presented a deceitful outer facade to others in order to conceal their true inner nature. The spirits of these human beings were not Earth-bound, for they lived in their homes in the spheres. But they felt constantly oppressed by the memory of their deceptions during life on Earth, because they had left their friends and relatives with an entirely false impression of their innermost selves.He then went into details about each individual whom he named, and asked if Johanne would intercede for them that they might be released from their oppressive memories by talking through him to at least one human being. Johanne consented, but asked her father to be present as she could not possibly remember all the names or all the details relating to each individual.
When the time had come for Johanne to pray for them and she felt the presence of her father, she heard him exclaim suddenly and loudly: “Everything I have said is a lie!"
Naturally, Johanne was for the moment bewildered and thought: “What is all this about?” She then heard a beautiful, solemn voice say: “There is no harm in praying.” “Indeed,” she thought, “that is true! How can I possibly know if these people have actually done what I have been told? If they have, I may be doing them great harm by not praying for them?” And then she prayed for them all as she heard her father mention their names and their transgressions. Once more the same beautiful, solemn voice sounded, saying: “All is forgiven, all is blotted out!”
The next day, she told me of this experience and it naturally made a deep impression on us both. At a subsequent private séance, we asked her father why he had said that his message was a lie, for Johanne believed that it was he who had spoken. He answered that he could not explain, that she would herself have to find out what had taken place; but he expressed his joy that she had taken the right course despite the call she had heard. We spoke at length with him, and he sought to encourage us in every way and to strengthen our trust in him and in God.
When our séance had ended, and as we were discussing this matter, Johanne’s father—it seemed—again called and said something to her. She did not repeat what he said, as she normally would have, but sat motionless a moment. Suddenly she turned pale, struck the table and exclaimed: “I will not listen to that lie—if you can repeat what you said in the name of God, I will believe you, otherwise be gone and never return!”
We waited awhile, but the table stirred not—and the words were not repeated. She then heard her father say: “I shall explain to you what has happened!”And since Johanne felt overjoyed in the presence of this spirit, she promptly consented to give ear, and her father explained—for now it was actually him—that anyone who wished to serve as an intermediary between the world of Light and human beings must from within learn to distinguish clearly between the powers of Darkness and those of the Light.It would have been to no avail had he constantly said: now you are confronted with a spirit of Darkness, now with a spirit of theLight, for then she would never learn to make this distinction for herself. He explained that her love for him and her trust in his integrity had brought her victory. And he revealed that a spirit of Darkness had for a long time tried to imitate his voice and mode of speech, and that she had sensed the deception without understanding what was actually happening.But the moment her own truthful nature reacted against the lie and with the full strength of her will she demanded to have it repeated in the name of God, she had broken the power of the evil spirit, who would never again interfere.
From that time on, my wife was gradually introduced to the great work that awaited us both. Without the slightest indication of what was to come, or of the demands that would be placed upon her, Johanne let herself be guided by the invisible powers of the Light.
I must now go back a little in time, and tell of an event that took place in the winter of 1910.
At one of our séances the theme of “Eternity” was proposed, and it was decided that as many of our invisible guests as were willing and able should be invited to “write” on this subject. Three very diverse poems were produced through me as the medium. After the third had been written down, we asked if anyone else wished to express themselves on this theme. A moment later the following sentence passed through my mind: “To explain the mystery of eternity to humanity is just as impossible as to explain steam power to a dog”, whereupon the name Jesus emerged clearly and distinctly in my thought.
Mrs. Danckert expressed the opinion that Jesus could not possibly be present because, according to her knowledge, the spiritualists held the view that a circle of high spirits (the circle of Jesus, or Christ) often delivered his messages, but that he himself was never present. I maintained the contrary view that none had the right to use his name without at the same time making it clear that it was only a message that was brought in his name. When we questioned our spiritual leader, the answer was that Jesus himself was indeed the originator of the sentence I had written down. However, we could not agree within our circle, and the matter was put aside with no further inquiries.
About a year later, in the spring of 1911, I was reading in the New Testament one evening when I came upon a sentence that, although I had read it before, now suddenly struck me as containing words that Jesus never could have spoken as written. Turning to my wife I said: “I wonder what Jesus really meant by those words?” Johanne answered: “Well, someone is telling me that you may indeed receive an answer.” We sat down at the little table in the position usually adopted for our séances, and at once made contact with the spirit who had spoken to Johanne. He gave his name as Christ, spoke with calm authority on the subject in question, showing us how the words had become distorted, although in essence they had originated with him.
When he had spoken, he asked us if we would trust his words, for then he could assist us greatly and could sustain us; but we must answer from our inmost feelings and with a firm conviction that he was indeed Christ.8 I said to him that spiritualists generally held the view that Christ did not address himself to human beings in such direct manner, but only through a number of high spirits. To this he replied9that he could not be guided by what human beings thought that he did, but could only act under the directions10given by his and our God and Father.
My wife and I felt quite convinced of the truth of his words, and we expressed these feelings to him. He answered that we should then show this in our actions. We asked him whether it had been he who had given me the previously mentioned words on “Eternity”, and he definitely affirmed that it had been him.
At a séance a few days later, he again called and addressed himself to our circle through Johanna, saying that he wished to speak to us, that he would not say who he was, but that we should recognize him from his words. He then gave us the parable, “The Two Brothers”. (Toward the Light, page 141).
When he had told the parable, he asked: “Know you now who I am?” I replied: “You are Christ”, and the other members of the circle concurred. In the name of God he then spoke a most beautiful and moving blessing upon us and upon our mission. To what extent individual members of our circle may have doubted his words I cannot say; but my wife and I were convinced of their truth.
On an earlier occasion, my wife’s father had told us that the spirits of the Light did not actually speak to Johanna, but instead conveyed through thought what they wished her to say. Their thoughts passed through her brain, and the more passive she herself could remain, the easier for them to convey their thoughts correctly.Some of the high spirits presented their thought so clearly that she was also able to hear their thinking in the form of words. This happened especially when Christ announced his presence. When he manifested himself, Johanne spoke more rapidly and with unusual fluency, while through the other spirits her repetition of what was thought or spoken was inconsistent—sometimes faster, sometimes slower. For this reason also, we were aware that it must have been a very high spirit who had given us the parable of “The Two Brothers”; and we were quite convinced of one thing—that a high spirit of the Light would never give himself any other name than his own.
Thus at all events my wife and I had accepted Christ, and were ready to comply with whatever he might desire or demand of us. From that evening, on Johanne’s father took over from her guardian spirit as the spiritual leader of our séances.
No more than two evenings later our spiritual leader and Christ came to ask our help. We were informed that Christ had brought with him a number of deeply fallen spirits of Darkness, and that he wished Johanne to interpret his words to them. He explained that he had brought them from the Hell-sphere, that he had only been able briefly to manifest himself there that they might see him and hear him, and that he had been unable to obtain sufficient influence over them, since he could endure the Hell-sphere for only a short time on any single occasion.
The episode that now occurred was so strange and moving that my wife and I shall never forget it.
With inexpressible patience and boundless love, Christ spoke through my wife to these deeply fallen and miserable beings, and not a single one declined to follow him. All surrendered to his love and compassion. For a long time, evening after evening, we helped Christ and our spiritual leader, as well as other high spirits, in reasoning with these poor wretches; and as soon as Christ saw that his efforts to awaken their grief and remorse were beginning to bear fruit, they were led away to their homes in the spheres.
After working in this manner for a time, it happened one evening that the task of reasoning with the fallen spirits was handed over to me. Even though I had learned a great deal by listening to Christ, this task was indescribably hard for me, for I possessed not his measure of patience and love; but whenever I could make no progress at all with them, I was always supported by our spiritual leader.It was most difficult to make these beings reveal the personality that they had manifested in their most recent life on Earth. Some of the stories with which they tried to deceive us were quite incredible (I spoke to our invisible guests, and my wife repeated their answers); but having a good knowledge of history, I succeeded in most cases in eliciting their proper names, thus giving me a starting point.
I shall give an example here of the help we received. We were dealing with an especially malicious individual who constantly tried to deceive us; I finally lost patience and declared to the spiritual leader that I could make no progress. At once my wife heard a clear and resonant voice speaking to the spirit in question. She first heard the voice speak the spirit’s name, and then it continued: “You liar, murderer and ravisher of women, would you deceive those who seek to help you?” The spirit, addressed thus by a being whom he could not see was so terrified that he immediately admitted that the voice had spoken his rightful name, and he then became amenable to reason.
Even though these séances were extremely exhausting and took place at a time when I had a great deal of work to do, and while my wife was still weak from an attack of bronchitis, our energy was always increased in extraordinary measure so that when we arose from our task we felt stronger and less fatigued than when we had begun.
“Greetings to Denmark”
When my wife and I discussed the poetic writings of the spiritual intelligences given through me, she often said that in reality it was impossible to establish the identity of the poets taking advantage of my mediumism, because they usually were unknown to us through their earthly lives. Moreover, I was an author myself, having written and published several collections of poetry. For this reason it was difficult to see how any authentic proof could be produced through my own mediumistic efforts, even though—as commented previously—there was not the least similarity between my own work and the mediumistic poems. My wife therefore often said that we should receive poems from well-known personalities only, and furthermore that they should come through her, for she had not the slightest poetic talent. Johanne had never learned the first thing about meter and had no real interest in or understanding of how to write poetry, as I have had ample occasion to experience.
Then, one day in the spring of 1911, Johanne was informed that a number of deceased Danish poets had received permission to each attempt the production of a poem through her, so as to give authentic proof in that way of the survival of the human self after death. But they would first have to experiment with various methods, and then choose the one that would most clearly demonstrate the individual style and character of each poet.
Those who made the initial attempt did so in the usual way, seeking to convey their poetic material through Johanne by the method of inspiration, Johanne writing down what came into her thoughts. The result was rather unusual. It was not verse, but a kind of prose, yet the authors were easily recognizable from their characteristic choice of words.
This procedure thus had to be rejected, but it did furnish definite proof of Johanne’s lack of poetic talent.
Other procedures were then tried, producing three or four more or less incomplete poems in which the authors were easily recognizable, especially in the last one, “The Woodcut”, by Christian Winther.
Johanne was then told that these experiments indicated that she could only be employed as a medium for conveying poetry if she would consent to disembodiment during sleep (not trance), in order to learn by heart the poems to be offered from the transcendental side as proofs. Each poet would write out his poem for Johanne to memorize, then each would call forth the poem in her physical brain the following day, so that she could reproduce it. (See Preface to Greetings to Denmark).
In this manner were produced the 15 poems that were published in the year 1915, at the request of the poets concerned, under the title Greetings to Denmark.11
As a literary man I can testify that all the poems, in form and content alike, give expression to essential aspects of the personalities of their authors, and thus fulfill their purpose: to supply authentic proof of the survival of the personality after earthly death. The poems are not all equally outstanding, but some (by Molbech, Paludan-Muller and Hertz) are equal in merit to the best of their work produced while the authors lived on Earth. One poem, by Christian Winther, seems to me to surpass anything he wrote while in this world.Various persons have expressed dissatisfaction that many of the poems lack any religious content, but this objection is beside the point, for how—one may ask—could Christian Winther’s work.12 for example, be recognized if he had produced a psalm? And, of course, some persons maintained that the poems too closely resembled their authors’ earthly work, while others, naturally, were unable to find any likeness whatsoever.
Regrettably, this collection of poetry has not met with the response and the understanding that one should rightfully expect. Although the book was sent to all our literary figures and to many poets—in all to around 425 people—no literary expert has to my knowledge offered any opinion publicly on this work. However, we have received many expressions of interest and understanding from other quarters—and especially from non-spiritualists. But a number of quite absurd attempts have been made by certain persons to belittle the value of these poems. First came slanderous allegations that I myself was the author. (The thoughts and expressions of the poems are so masculine that no one, as yet, has accused my wife of being the conscious author.) Next came accusations that I had conveyed the poems telepathically to my wife, who then wrote them down, and finally that my wife’s “subconscious” was the author. But can a woman have a masculine subconscious?
When one knows from one’s own experience how much mental labor must precede the production of a poem, such assertions can only seem outrageous and absurd.
Had I myself been the author of Greetings to Denmark, I should with the greatest of pleasure have put my name to such an exceptional pastiche, my wife likewise. Why should I freely have chosen the modest role of publisher of spiritualistic literature, when I could have won fame as the author of such a brilliant imitation? And why ever should I have given to others the honor for what I myself had produced? The answer seems to me self-evident.
The theory that I had “telepathized” the poems to my wife is just as absurd.
Since the poems were produced and written down at times of the day when I was fully occupied by my work at the school, it would have been impossible for me firstly to have composed the poems in my thought, and secondly to have sent them to Johanne through concentration of will. Can one in fact simultaneously teach in a school classroom and transmit poems by telepathy? I should be at my wit’s end to explain such a theory, advanced by many otherwise sensible persons merely to avoid admitting the awkward fact the poems are actually composed by the poets named.
And as for the theory of the “subconscious”! Can this remarkable subconscious, without any preparatory thought, without a conscious process, produce poetry of lasting value—poetry that would demand of a competent poet a great deal of thought before the desired form could be achieved? There is no scientific proof to the contrary. The poems have cost my wife no other effort than to write them down. Why does she not continue this work? If her subconscious can by some kind of sorcery conjure up such poetry, why not continue to exploit it? No, the plain fact is: neither before nor since has Johanne ever produced a single poem.
And why have not any of the poets to whom the book was sent bothered to refute my claim for its origin by themselves writing 15 poems in the same spirit and style as those in Greetings to Denmark? It is six years since the collection was published, and to date I have not been sent any poetry that disproves my contention; nor, as said before, have I seen any documented critique from any really qualified literary person’s hand.
An old proverb says: “Silence gives consent”. If my wife and I may not rest content that the aforementioned proverb applies also in this matter, then altogether different means must be employed to disprove that the poems originated with the poets named in Greetings to Denmark.
We still await such refutation.
An indirect proof
During the time we spoke with the many Earth-bound spirits, they became audible to us in various ways. A strange sound was thus heard daily for some years, seemingly coming from the door between the dining room and my study. The sound was best described as if someone was using the door as a nutcracker. At times it was quite irritating, especially when I wished to rest. It was often as loud and persistent as if it were a deliberate attempt to disturb my rest. We had several times asked my wife’s father if the disturber of our peace could not be escorted back to his home in the spheres, but the answer was always: “Not yet, but his time will come!”
At a séance in the summer of 1911, when my wife’s father and some other spirits of the Light were present, a number of our questions relating to religion were answered by the invisible participants. One question, as I recall, went something like this: “Was the body of Jesus actually resurrected from the tomb?” The answer was a definite “no”, and the spirit who so answered then described in general what had happened to the body of Jesus after his death—an account found in Toward the Light, page 65. It naturally was rather difficult for us immediately to accept this explanation, and we asked our informant if he could be permitted to give us some sign or proof that his account was true to the events of nearly two thousand years ago? He replied that he could not, of course, give us direct proof, but that we would be given it indirectly. He then reminded us of the aforementioned sound, noting its regular occurrence and how we would “miss” it if it were suddenly to cease. We both confirmed this; we had often talked about it and speculated on its origin. He then said: “From this evening on the sound will cease, never to be repeated. This shall be my proof to you that my words are true.”
Time after time we listened for the sound, but heard it not again during our remaining year and a half in that apartment. Never again did it disturb my rest, and never again did our daughter have occasion to say: “Listen, somebody’s cracking nuts in the door again”, as she so often had done.
Assisted by the spirits of the Light, we had that evening spoken with some of the Earth-bound spirits, among whom, unknown to us, was the disturber of our peace; and the noises that he had previously caused in order to attract our attention could now cease.
The cessation of this sound was thus employed by the high spirit as an indirect proof of the truthfulness of his words.
The sorting of some scientific papers
In the summer of 1911, two young scientists inquired, through a relative of my wife, if her older sister might entrust them with the papers her father had left behind, so they could be studied and preserved. My wife’s father then called upon Johanne and asked her not to surrender his working papers among which, he said, were drafts for a work not completed before his death and lacking supporting material. Persons unfamiliar with the thoughts on which this highly specialized work was based might easily draw wrong conclusions for which he did not wish to be the cause.
Johanne tried to prevent the surrender of these papers, only to meet ill-feeling and opposition from her relative.
In order to avoid dispute within the family, my wife’s father said he would agree to hand over of the papers if, under his direction, we would sort out material not intended for others to use as a basis for further work.
After conferring with my wife’s two elder sisters, it was decided that the boxes containing their father’s papers should be brought to our home and opened in the presence of the four of us. Since my father-in-law’s death in 1890, the boxes had been stored in the attic of the Royal Copenhagen Institute for the Deaf and Dumb.One box had been securely nailed, the other padlocked. None of the family had ever had access to the boxes or examined the papers, which had been collected after his death by my wife’s mother and another of her daughters.By the time the boxes were brought to our home, my wife’s mother and the sister who had helped to collect the papers had both passed on.None of the four of us present at the opening of the boxes—my wife’s two older sisters (Mrs. Danckert and Mrs. Wiberg), and Johanne and I—had thus witnessed the packing of the papers.
When Mrs. Wiberg and I had removed the nails and the lid, Mrs. Danckert,13 Mrs. Wiberg and Johanne seated themselves around the parlor table, though not in the usual position as for séances.
First we sorted out14 a large number of note books—close to 200—with covers of various colors, each bearing a white label showing its contents. I took up the books and laid them stack by stack before my wife, who did not touch them until her father gave his instructions. Johanne repeated her father’s words aloud, for example: “Count off four and give them to Enga, put the fifth aside; count off eight and give them to Enga, and put the ninth aside; count off two for Enga and put the third aside. . .”In this way we sorted through all the note books in a surprisingly short time, and it turned out that all the note books that Johanne had put aside according to instruction bore the same wording on the label, while those passed to Mrs. Wiberg all bore other inscriptions.In her stack was not a single note book bearing the same label as those Johanna had laid aside.15
Some large rolls of papers were then sorted out in the same manner. One by one Johanne drew the sheets of paper out of the roll, put them aside in accordance with her father’s instructions, and passed the remainder to Mrs. Wiberg. After sorting through all the papers in this way, we could see from marginal notations on those extracted that they corresponded in content to the stack of note books previously put aside. Finally, some bundles of manuscript were sorted through with similar results.
Anyone can surely understand the deep impression this experience made upon us all. Calmly and precisely, my wife repeated her father’s words. Although the whole procedure took place quite rapidly, the note books and papers were sorted into two stacks without a single mistake. All that was handed over to Mrs. Wiberg was entrusted to the two gentlemen who wished to continue the work of my wife’s late father, while the remainder was later burned at his express wish. During his lifetime, my wife’s father had personally destroyed a number of working papers relating to his published monographs on the formative years of children. The papers left behind were therefore already incomplete, and we thus felt fully justified when, as was his wish, we withheld those papers that only he himself could have completed satisfactorily.
This experience cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be explained as telepathy from living persons. The two who had collected the papers and stored them in the boxes were deceased; but even had they still been alive, they could not possibly have recalled the order in which they had packed the papers. Clearly they had not followed any plan, for the contents of the boxes lay in a jumble of rolls and bundles.
Since Johanne’s oldest sister, Mr. Danckert, has since passed on, only Mrs. Wiberg can confirm the foregoing.
I hereby declare:
that I was not present when my late father’s papers were put into a box to be stored in the attic at the Royal Copenhagen Institute for the Deaf and Dumb;
that the nailed box, together with a larger box containing printed books and charts and secured with a padlock that had to be broken off, was on my initiative brought from the said institute to the apartment of my father-in-law, Michael Agerskov, at Grundtvigsvej 15;
that I witnessed the opening of the two boxes and participated in the immediately following process of sorting the papers; and that the foregoing account of the sorting of my late father’s papers is in accordance with the truth.
Copenhagen, 6 March 1922
The Earth-bound spirits
One evening in the autumn of 1911, we received through my wife’s father the message that all the Earth-bound spirits had been called home to their spheres (Toward the Light, page 101) and that our help on their behalf would therefore not be needed in future. He told us also that the “Hell-Sphere” had been annihilated and most of its fallen inhabitants taken to distant globes, but he also asked us to assist the spirits of the Light for a time longer by talking with some of those who were the deepest fallen and who had awakened to an understanding and acknowledgment of their fall and their transgressions.We promised to do so, and came to experience yet again a number of difficult séances with these spirits; but the intervals between the séances grew longer and longer until they ceased after about two years.
It was an inexpressible joy for us to hear that the astral plane of the Earth had now been purged of these unfortunate beings, that they were all now receiving in the spheres the care that they needed, and that they were being informed in various ways of what had happened and the reason for their long and restless Earth-bound existence among living human beings.
But, as related in Toward the Light on page 249, some years after the removal of the Earth-bound spirits a new lower class of spirits threatened to appear on the plane of the Earth; for many who had lost friends and relatives, especially during the war years, adopted the spiritualistic teaching that any who wished were permitted to seek contact with their departed ones. The strong and yearning thoughts of human beings, especially of mediums, called the “deceased” back to the Earth, and large numbers of spirits gathered at every possible séance in order to manifest themselves. For this reason the majority of these human spirits felt themselves bound to the living humans who had called upon them, and therefore constantly besought the spirits of the Light to help them return to their homes in the spheres, or to give them greater strength to resist the desire to return to the bereaved. However, some of the “deceased” came only to partake of earthly pleasures in various ways through the mediums.
After a few years the situation therefore became quite intolerable, even though the spirits of the Light always brought those home who so requested, and those who suffered during their stay on Earth. Finally, they prayed directly to God for help in resolving a situation that had gradually become quite unendurable. The result was a number of measures to assist them in their efforts, and rules were established to provide automatic penalties for those who, despite the measures and despite all help, still departed the spheres in order to participate in spiritualistic séances on Earth.
The matter is fully discussed in Toward the Light (pages 249-251), but raised here again because our contemporary spiritualists show a complete lack of understanding on this subject. They cannot or will not understand that it can be of no benefit whatsoever to the deceased to be drawn away from their home spheres down into the earthly Darkness, with its disturbing and binding effect upon the spiritual self. The many spiritualistic séances held the world over are quite impermissible under the divine laws; and if the living were aware of the suffering brought upon the departed ones by drawing them to the Earth, I am convinced that all séances would cease of their own accord. And in order to give warning, at least to those who read these lines, I shall quote here part of a message that we once received from our spiritual leader on this subject: “. . .While the spirits whose homes are in the first four spheres can no longer visit the Earth, due to measures taken, those who dwell in the fifth sphere and in the lowest planes of the sixth sphere will for a long time yet still be drawn to the Earth, despite their efforts to remain in their homes.And so long as the warnings given in Toward the Light are not generally known, there will be no change in this situation. These spirits who thus without permission respond to the beckoning calls of mediums, always feel confused, wretched and despondent in the Darkness of the Earth. And when they find themselves in earthly surroundings, their earthly memories immediately awaken and in most cases they then remember not their existence in the sphere whence they came.They feel almost like human beings who are plagued by distressing dreams. Upon returning to their spheres, their remembrance of the stay on Earth in the medium’s neighborhood is as of a nightmare, as of a sinister dream. Daily, thousands of these spirits are drawn to earthly séance circles, and, daily,spirits of Light bring them back.
These words will naturally make unpleasant reading for spiritualists, especially since the proponents of spiritualism have always maintained the permissibility of such communications with spirits. From the information given in Toward the Light it is, however, easy to see that this kind of communication has never been permitted, though God did allow His own emissaries—the spirits of the Light—(Toward the Light, page 96) to seek contact with human beings in order, among other things, to expose and eliminate this false teaching. And now that the transcendental world has sought to restore order to this chaos, all spiritualists should acknowledge the fact that no kind of séance is permitted whose object is to make contact with the dead.
And one thing the spiritualists must not forget is that many of the Eldest (the fallen spirits), still incarnated among us, can be present at séances during nocturnal disembodiment, perhaps impersonating other spirits. This is a circumstance difficult for mediums to prevent, since the spirits of Light no longer make their presence known at séances in order to warn against the spirits of Darkness. Mediums now have only their conscience to guide them, and if they once begin to hold séances under subdued (red) lighting or in complete darkness, or begin to dabble in trance materializations, they will already have attracted so much spiritual Darkness about them that it will be difficult for the guardian spirit—the conscience—to exert any influence.
At this point I should like to make it clear that my wife and I have long since dissociated ourselves from the prevailing form of spiritualism; we have in every way followed the guidance of the spirits of Light, and from the moment we were told that the Earth-bound spirits had all been brought to their respective spheres, we discontinued that part of our work, and never since have beings of that kind been brought to us. We know it is best for the departed ones to remain in their homes, that they receive there all the help they need, a better help, by far, than can be offered by human beings—even the best of us.
May these lines help the spiritualists to recognize and to understand their great responsibility toward the “dead”. I must in any case express the hope that unprejudiced and understanding spiritualists will in the future teach those of lesser enlightenment that the traditional maxims of spiritualism are outmoded and devoid of value, and cause far more harm than good.
The spirit who had fallen the deepest
Throughout the winter of 1911, and into the spring of 1912, we received from Christ the other parables that have been included in Toward the Light.
Our circle held séances at somewhat irregular intervals that winter, partly because neither Mrs. Danckert nor my wife could tolerate the damp night air, and partly because two of the participants began to lose all interest in psychic phenomena. They could not understand why my wife persistently rejected all proposals for trance séances, or for holding them in darkness; nor were they especially interested in the questions concerning religion that our spiritual leader wished us to ask so that we could be guided in the direction desired by the spirits of the Light. However, our private séances were still held fairly regularly, at such times as specified by our spiritual leader.
One evening, at one of our private séances in the beginning of March 1912, Christ called upon us to intercede for a fallen spirit. His words were as follows: “I, Christ, your elder brother, speak to you—hear me! Help me pray that our Father may grant peace and salvation to the brother that I have brought to you. Have compassion for him; for so deep has he fallen that none can fall deeper; for so much has he sinned that none can sin more, and he suffers greatly!” (Toward the Light, page 102).
Then the spirit, known to human beings by so many names—the Devil, Satan, Lucifer, and so forth—spoke to us.
At first we were almost terrified by the presence of this visitor among us, for neither my wife nor I had ever believed in the existence of a devil in personal form. For that reason we had never inquired of our spiritual leader if there was actually such a being. That there were demons or fallen spirits we knew from our own earlier experiences, but this we had not expected. When his words to us gave witness of the deepest despair, a desperation so oppressing that it was actually even felt by us, and when in the name of God he repeated to us that he was indeed Satan—the adversary of God—so much dreaded by human beings, then we were compelled to believe both his words and the words spoken by Christ. And out of the deep compassion that we felt for him and for his suffering, we forgave him from deep in our hearts for that which he had sinned against us, and we prayed our Heavenly Father—in the name of humanity—to forgive him his fall, and to forgive him the evil that he had done toward human beings.
With profound happiness and in deeply moving words, Christ conveyed God’s answer to us (Toward the Light, page 103).
We ourselves were also profoundly moved by this experience, and we sensed further, with an intuitive certainty, that this event was—both for us and for all humanity—of infinitely greater significance than we could comprehend or explain at this time.
We know that some who have read Toward the Light are unable to understand what has occurred. To them it is inconceivable that God, out of His boundless love for all His created beings, could forgive the son who had fallen so deep. But who can claim that they have plumbed the depth of God’s love? Dare any human being lay down rules for God’s conduct?If we can but grasp that the nature of God’s love for His children is love to an infinite degree, then we should also be able to see that He must always be ready to forgive even that being for whom the majority of human beings feel only abhorrence and horror; and that if there were but a single being whom God could not fully and completely forgive in His paternal heart, then He would not be perfect; and how could He then represent for human beings the ultimate example of love and compassion?
But even though God has forgiven His child, has forgiven the one who had fallen deeper than any other being, such forgiveness is not enough. Human beings must also, out of the deepest sympathy and sorrow for his sufferings, themselves forgive that which he has sinned against them in the course of millions of years. That many will find it difficult to grant him forgiveness from their hearts, I understand only too well; but could it not be that such people diminish God in their sight and place themselves too high? It is no exaggeration when I say that if every human being could understand the sublimity of such a forgiving thought, it would, spiritually speaking, raise mankind to a world of greater truth, purity and love than that in which they live at this time. At least those who for many reasons have much for which to seek God’s forgiveness, should well understand the import of such a forgiveness; from their own yearning for forgiveness should they be able to understand and forgive he who has sinned infinitely much more than have they themselves.
Finally, I shall refer to the words of Jesus given in Toward the Light on page 41: “Be compassionate toward all who come to you; for as you show compassion, so shall your Father show compassion toward you also. Forgive your enemies and all who sin against you; for as you forgive, in the same measure shall your Heavenly Father forgive you when you repent of your sins against Him.” Let us indeed be compassionate toward those who come to us and ask our forgiveness! And through Toward the Light, God’s deepest fallen son has come to human beings to plead for their compassion and their forgiveness.
Although the following account cannot be verified by others, since for private reasons I prefer not to reveal the names of those who played the main parts, I include it because it clearly shows the absolute trust in our spiritual leaders that was demanded of us, as well as how difficult it often was for us to have such absolute trust.
On a certain occasion I was asked for a loan of 200 crowns (Danish unit of currency), but because of certain unforeseen expenses I had to refuse. I did have the money, but it was laid aside for our apartment rent, due two weeks later, and I knew the loan could not possibly be repaid within that time.
That evening my wife’s father called upon us and asked if I, despite my reservations, would make the loan anyway. He assured me that I should not be short of money. But since everyone must, of course, fulfill his obligations, I replied that unless I could be told whence and in what manner the money would be repaid, I could not possibly make the loan.To this he said: “I give you my word, in the name of God, that you shall receive the 200 crowns when you need them.” My wife and I then agreed that we had to comply with his request, and the money was duly delivered, although we had no idea how or from whom it would be returned to us.
The days passed—and nothing happened. The evening before the rent was due, the money had still not arrived, and I must confess that I now doubted very much that it would. And since memories of previous deceptions were still fresh in our minds, we feared we had once again been in contact with a being who would lead us astray, and although the promise had been given in the name of God, we agreed that I should now take steps to borrow the money for the rent until my own money was returned.
No sooner said than done, for the same evening I telephoned a relative and borrowed the money. But this was not at all the solution that we had expected, for it had been our understanding that the money would come back to us with no effort on our part. In other words, we were not particularly satisfied with this outcome. But—then came the resolution of the matter as promised.
The following day, shortly before I was to pay the rent, I received, as a gift, the sum of 200 crowns from a person who neither knew nor could have known that I was in immediate need of precisely that amount. And I should hasten to add that we had no reason to expect a gift from anyone, especially since that day was neither my wife’s birthday nor my own. In other words, the gift was “like a bolt from the blue”—entirely unexpected.
It is difficult to describe our feelings, but it goes without saying that we felt quite abashed at having shown such little faith in the given promise. When we spoke to my wife’s father, he said that promises given in the name of God by spirits of the Light to their charges would always be kept, and also that it was quite unthinkable that he would have given a false promise. He explained that he had known we should receive a gift on the day we had to pay the 200 crowns, and that it was for this reason he had assured us we should receive the money when we needed it.
My wife and I cannot possibly accept the explanation of this experience as a telepathic phenomenon. We had no idea where the money should come from, and the person who gave it to us did not, and could not have had the slightest knowledge of our private affairs; indeed could not possibly have known that we had made a loan of our rent-money and thus left ourselves without available means. To us, the only possible explanation is the one given by my wife’s father: that he knew what was to come and had permission to tell us of it, so that we could help another who was in a difficult situation.
Toward the Light
Late in the evening of March 3, 1913, my wife’s father called upon her and said he was accompanied by a spirit who wished to give us a message that should be written down.16In view of the lateness of the hour, I asked if I should write it down during its dictation to my wife by the spirit concerned. The response was that my wife and I should seat ourselves at the table in order to verify—through the usual “yes” and “no” tapping—that she had repeated the given message correctly, and that the message should be written down by another, my sister, Mrs. Lindahl. At this request, I telephoned my sister who consented to come without delay.
The spirit who now manifested himself gave his name as Ardor, and he dictated the first pages of Toward the Light. Upon inquiry, we were told that Ardor was one and the same as that spirit known to human beings as Lucifer, or Satan; and he, at the request of God, had come to us on the anniversary of his return to God in order to give mankind, through my wife, an account of his fall, of his sins, and of his salvation. Neither Johanne nor I happened to remember that it was one year to the day, March 3, since we had interceded for him; but we did remember that it had been late in the evening when Christ had brought him to us. A search through our papers established that the date was indeed correct, a circumstance naturally of great interest to us.
We then embarked upon a task of extreme interest to us, but also a strenuous and lengthy one that made especially heavy demands upon my wife. Since an explanation is given in Toward the Light (page 337) of how this work proceeded, I shall only mention here the patience that had to be shown by Johanne in order to serve as intermediary while Toward the Light was being produced.
Shortly after the first séance, we were given to understand that the spirits of Light wished to add a commentary to Ardor’s Account, but that the value and comprehensiveness of the answers given in this commentary would depend upon the questions posed by the members of the circle, as they gradually became acquainted with what had been presented by Ardor. We were also told that the main burden of this work would fall upon my wife, and our informant asked her to be especially vigilant and to put as many questions as she possibly could, so that everything could be explained as clearly as possible. Her spiritual leader would then try constantly to evoke in her thoughts the subjects that should be treated in the Commentary. It was not until the work on the questions for the Commentary had begun that Johanne fully realized how heavy the demands upon her would be. She soon learned that she could work best with her spiritual leader when she remained in the quiet of her home. She therefore gave up all social life, never went to the theater and never attended concerts, since all such activities had a disturbing effect upon her spiritual communication. The explanation of this phenomenon is most likely that when my wife’s thoughts were preoccupied with what she had seen or heard, in other words when they were subject to external influence, it was difficult for her to put all this aside and make her inner self receptive to the thought-inspiration from the spiritual intelligences. In any case, once she had voluntarily retired from all disturbing influences and devoted herself exclusively to her task, the work proceeded with greater ease than in the beginning, and was brought to a conclusion to the satisfaction of the spiritual intelligences. She was never under the slightest coercion to include or exclude any of the answers that were given for use in the Commentary. If Johanne objected, because she felt that a given answer might arouse anger, indignation or misunderstanding, her leader always said: “Leave it until you understand that it should be included.” And when, having discussed the matter, we were both agreed that our modest opinions should not decide the issue, the given answer was inserted where it belonged. A similar situation arose in April, 1918, when our spiritual leader asked Johanne to include a passage on mediums, the Earth-bound spirits and séances, which he then proceeded to convey to her (Toward the Light, page 247, footnote 2).Once my wife understood its implications, she immediately exclaimed: “Now we shall also have the spiritualists against us.They will never accept this—it is their Alpha and Omega!” But it was precisely for this reason that it should be included, for the spiritualists should also realize that some of their teachings were false and should be set right. In this case, it was a long time before my wife could bring herself to include this passage; she felt that it was too much to also have the spiritualists as adversaries; but when she had talked with some of the spirits who had themselves suffered by being drawn to spiritualists’ séances against their wish and against their will, she understood that the request of her spiritual leader was justified, and the passage was then inserted.
In contrast to Ardor’s Account, to the Speech of Christ and to the Speech of God’s Servant—all given as a continuous narrative through consecutive séances—the Commentary was produced more in the fashion of a mosaic. The answers were written down on separate sheets of paper, and Johanne made no attempt to collect or arrange them in any given sequence. When a number of the answers had been written down, they were arranged in the desired order under the direction of our spiritual leader.The result was a very brief Commentary.But our spiritual leader pointed out to my wife that this was only the beginning and that a great deal more would be added.We then continued with the questions, which came from all the members of the circle, but mostly from Johanne.When we had again collected a great number of answers, these were also inserted at the right places under the direction of our spiritual leader, and thus the work proceeded until Johanne stated categorically that she herself at least had no further questions.
The Commentary was then concluded in the form in which it appears in Toward the Light, with the exception of the previously mentioned passage on mediums, etc., which was inserted on a later occasion at the wish of the leader.
Everyone should be able to appreciate how painstaking the work was for my wife, for this method of writing the Commentary meant that she was constantly rearranging the given subject matter. It requires great patience indeed, not to grow weary of such constant rewriting. This seems to me the best proof of all that the work originated not with my wife; for had she herself been the author, she would have worked to a plan as one normally does, and not ventured upon so overwhelming a task in the aforementioned manner.Indeed, my wife’s general comprehension of the answers was so limited that she was unable to find the right places for the new insertions. Our spiritual leader always had to point out exactly where each belonged; and as a rule, the insertion would fit so perfectly into the existing text that in only a few cases was it necessary for him to add a few lines in order to link the new text to that already written.
Since many of the thoughts in the Commentary were unfamiliar and unknown to my wife, and since both she and I again and again had to read through, not to say study, the answers in order to understand them and be able to explain them to others, it is utterly impossible that these thoughts could have stemmed from our own conscious selves.Yet our opponents have also on this point advanced the most incredible views in order to explain their origin. And, of course, telepathy and the subconscious play the same role as they did in the attempts to explain the production of Greetings to Denmark.But in this case a new and, at least, a strange theory has been advanced: that some genius somewhere on Earth has broadcast his brilliant thoughts to anyone who was able to intercept them and write them down! This at least eliminates my own humble self as the “telepathizing” author; but what can one think of people who in all seriousness put forward such assertions?Could one possibly imagine a genius voluntarily hiding his light under a bushel, and leaving it to chance whether his brilliant thoughts will be received by others and thereby published as a collected work?In any case, my wife and I hereby invite this extraordinary individual to come forward. It would, indeed, be a pleasant experience, not only for us but also for others, to make the acquaintance of this unique person. But I doubt whether our inquiries will lead to much success.
In accordance with the wishes of the transcendental world, Toward the Light was published in the spring of 1920. Copies were sent to all the bishops and to about 60 ministers, deans and other theologians. It was received with official silence.
After a few months, two provincial newspapers published favorable reviews, one of which was followed by a debate in which a clergyman took part. His contribution clearly showed that even though he had read some of the text, he had neither studied nor considered the message in its entirety, and hence there is no reason for us to take note of his observations.
A review by Dr. Kortsen, a Doctor of Philosophy, appeared in one of the metropolitan newspapers, but neither in this case shall I waste many words, since this critic had clearly set out with the sole purpose of ridiculing the message.I can only regard it as a witticism, when his fantasy strays so far afield as to produce the following gibberish in summarizing one of the chapters in Toward the Light: “Right angles are drawn from the radius of the Central Sun (God’s kingdom); diagonals are drawn from the sub-suns (?) to the concept of being, which is located as the locus of the invisible centers.” It should be quite unnecessary for me to quote further in order to demonstrate the spiritual earthquake that must have taken place in this philosopher’s mind!However, reviews of this kind do not attack the work, they only rebound upon the reviewer himself.
Now, after two years, no scientific review has yet appeared, and with the exception of the aforementioned ill-considered attack by a clergyman, we have heard nothing from the theologians.
How are we to interpret this? Does the proverb quoted earlier—”Silence gives consent”—also hold true in this case?Or how else should this silence be understood?Should it not be the duty of the leading theologians to warn their congregations against this message if they find that it conflicts with their conception of the divine? Should they not at least have warned the impressionable minds of the young, in order to help them steer clear of this message that so sharply opposes the traditional dogmas? But to my knowledge, no such warning has been issued by the theological authorities.
On the other hand, I do know that many young people have accepted the thoughts expressed in the message and have understood its teachings, which are clear and just and abound with love. What a responsibility the theologians, and especially the bishops, have incurred toward these young people, whom it is their task to guide and not mislead! If they feel that the teaching of Toward the Light is of the evil, what will they answer our God and Father when, in time, He asks them why they remained silent? This is a question of conscience that only they themselves can answer. And we await that answer.
But one thing the theologians must surely understand: that if they will not accept Toward the Light for what it is—a gift to humanity from God—then they must clearly demonstrate that the teachings presented in this work are poorer than the teachings they themselves proclaim.They must clearly prove that the God whom they profess is more just and shows greater love and more compassion for human beings than the Divinity who emerges in Toward the Light. They must clearly establish that God can now no longer give human beings more or greater revelations as He could in the past.They must show that God cannot communicate with human beings through His emissaries and give them answers to the questions of where they came from, for what reason, and where they are going—questions that have been answered in Toward the Light. They must prove that their teachings, in contrast to those given in Toward the Light, are in accordance with the facts, prove that God can neither think nor act otherwise than in accordance with their conceptions.
But I can safely say that this is utterly impossible. A god who allows his thoughts and actions to be tied and bound by human dogmatism is not God.My answer to all that the theologians might say in defense of their position is that my wife and I know that the truths given in the message are divine truths, but phrased in human words so as to be comprehensible to human beings. We do not “believe”, nor do we “presume”, nor do we “suppose”; no! we know that what is given in Toward the Light is the truth!All open-minded and independently thinking persons who study the thoughts presented in this message and compare them with the traditional dogma can see for themselves who is right. All human beings must from their inmost selves strive to understand that God is infinitely higher, infinitely more just and more loving than human beings have hitherto imagined.
And one thing is certain: on the basis of Toward the Light, it is possible for all religious beliefs to become united. All who quarrel over worthless dogmas, can agree on this: that God is love and justice. I can imagine a day when humanity will no longer have to witness endless quarreling among the theologians—among those who should set a shining example for the rest of us! I wonder if I imagine too much?
Toward the end of May 1914, my father-in-law asked Johanne to write out two copies of Ardor’s Account and of the Speech of Christ, both by then having been completed in their final form through the previous séances. He also asked to have two copies made of all the material for the Commentary that had been produced up to that time. At his direction, these copies were to be placed in the keeping of my sister-in-law, Mrs. Wiberg, and of my brother-in-law, Mr. Lindahl, respectively.
My wife and I had planned a visit to Germany during our summer holiday that year, and we therefore assumed the copies were to be made as a precaution against possible damage to the manuscript in our absence. But we had also been away from home the previous year, and even though the manuscript was less voluminous at that time, we still felt it rather strange to be asked to do this.It would be a tedious task for my wife, who would have to write both copies herself, since I was fully occupied by my work as examiner at the school and would not be able to help her. But my wife’s father insisted that even though we might not at that time understand why he wished this to be done, we should fully understand later. We had no choice but to comply; the copies were written, and at the beginning of July, a few days before my wife accompanied me on a journey to Jutland, they were placed in the keeping of Mrs. Wiberg and Mr. Lindahl.
Upon our return from Jutland, my wife suffered a severe attack of bronchitis and our visit to Germany was postponed a few days. Meantime, the war broke out and our trip was thus canceled altogether, causing my wife to remark: “Well, so I need not have written those copies after all!”
Later, we did of course fully realize that Denmark had appeared at risk of possible involvement in the war, and that our spiritual leaders had been aware of this, and, with the possibility of a bombardment in mind, had taken precautions to have the manuscript—so invaluable to them—stored at three different places in the city, hoping at least one would escape harm.
I hereby verify that at the beginning of July 1914, I received a package of manuscripts from my brother-in-law, Michael Agerskov, for safe-keeping.
April 15, 1922
I hereby verify that at the beginning of July 1914, I received a package of manuscripts from my brother-in-law, Michael Agerskov, for safe-keeping.
The Doctrine of Atonement and the Shorter Road
About two months after the publication of Toward the Light, in the middle of June 1920, my wife was requested to write down—through thought-dictation—a treatise on the Doctrine of Atonement, a discourse by Christ, and a discourse by another high spirit of the Light. Johanne complied, and with about two hours of work each day, The Doctrine of Atonement and the Shorter Road was produced within a few days.
At that time I was over in Jutland, supervising the teachers’ examination. I therefore take it for granted that in this case no one will allege that I am the author of the book, or seriously suggest that I conveyed it to my wife through “telepathy”. I also take it for granted that neither will anyone accuse my wife of being the author (so far no one has), since this obviously would require a theological education, which neither Johanne nor I have ever received.
Christ’s discourse, in which he especially addresses the clergy, is characterized by a deep, personal sorrow because no one has come forward to help him in his efforts to guide humanity, and time and again he calls upon those of his brothers who belong to his circle and who, like Christ himself, are God’s emissaries.This discourse, filled with love and deep sorrow, shows us an aspect of Christ different from the one revealed in his discourse (“Speech of Christ”) in Toward the Light, wherein he authoritatively informs human beings of God’s laws and speaks as their mentor and their leader. But in this second discourse he stands before us as a friend, as a brother who grieves over his brethren, since rather than help him remove the heavy burden of divinity, they turn away and refuse him the help that they had promised before their incarnation. It is inconceivable to me that any minister of the church can read his sorrowful words without feeling profoundly moved—and without responding forthwith and offering his help.
When we first published and sent forth Toward the Light, we had not the slightest idea that we should be entrusted with the publication of another book, and so we destroyed the list of names of the theologians to whom Toward the Light had been sent. We were therefore unable to send The Doctrine of Atonement and the Shorter Road to all who had received the main work. It seems to me that this constitutes added proof17 that neither Johanne nor I had planned this book, but we never know, of course, what we may be accused of. Perhaps this work was also produced by our subconscious, as we have so often been told in the past.
The Doctrine of Atonement and the Shorter Road was met with complete silence. To my knowledge, it has never been reviewed—either in the newspapers or in the theological journals. We interpret this silence to mean that, for this book as well as for Greetings to Denmark and Toward the Light, we have many anonymous sympathizers among the theologians; for although our list of names was incomplete, we did send a copy of The Doctrine of Atonement and the Shorter Road to most of them.
In this case also, we await pronouncements by the theologians. If none are forthcoming, we may rest content that our interpretation is correct.
Looking back on what I have written about our psychic experiences and the leadership to which we submitted, I can see that some of these occurrences need further explanation. I refer to the ringing metallic sounds that frightened my wife in the quiet of the evening.
My wife’s father has explained this phenomenon as follows: When Johanne had pledged, before her incarnation, to become the intermediary between the spirits of the Light and human beings, it was decided with God’s permission to call upon her three times from the transcendental world, when the time was reached during her earthly life that she was deemed sufficiently mature to undertake the mission. Permission to call three times was given because the method to be used was difficult and quite exceptional, and because no one could know if Johanne’s guardian spirit would succeed in guiding her so that she would acquire a thorough knowledge of spiritualism, a knowledge that was essential as the basis for the plan to be followed.
When the time came that her guardian spirit deemed that Johanne had acquired some understanding of spiritual communication, her father was given the task of calling upon her, and in such a way that there was every hope that she would respond in the proper manner. Her father knew that in her childhood and youth she had always loved to hear the church bells “ringing the sun down” in the quiet summer evenings, and that she had often said how pretty were the chimes that followed. He therefore chose to call upon her by producing three ringing sounds three times, so as to let her know that the caller wished her no harm, and thus if possible to make her understand that it was he who was calling. However, this only resulted in frightening Johanne. She is of a strong will, and when she so firmly bade the invisible guest be silent, it was impossible for him to complete all the strokes with the same clarity and volume—he had to yield before the will that bade him cease.
Later, when I prayed in my thoughts for proof that spiritual intelligences were present, her father obtained permission to give such proof but had to wait until my wife had entered the room in order to show that it was she in particular who was being called upon.
This second attempt also failed to awaken her full understanding. The third attempt was therefore made as a direct request, as described on pages 11 and 12. This time Johanne did understand, and although she had no great wish to do so, and almost felt an aversion to the idea, she nevertheless complied with the request.Had she ignored this third approach, she would never again have been called upon, and would not have been the one chosen for the great mission of serving as intermediary between the spirits of the Light and the human beings. Christ and his helpers would then have had to continue their search until another intermediary was found.
I hope that this will establish the fact that my wife was not the only chosen one; many others had given the same pledge before their incarnation, but my wife and I are obviously grateful that she did follow this last request, and although these have been difficult years for us in many ways, through our daily communion18with the spirits of the Light we have gained a knowledge and a conviction that cannot be challenged or taken away from us by anyone else.
Concerning knowledge of the transcendental world, my wife and I have become experts in that area. Not one of the 1800-million people on Earth has as much knowledge on that subject as do we; and I may add that the information given in Toward the Light is only part of the knowledge given to us. We have learned much that cannot, and will not, be revealed to humanity through us; but so as to be prepared in every way for the task required of us, it was necessary for us to possess knowledge that others did not need.
Finally, let me mention that a number of people who have not understood Toward the Light have expressed the opinion that if Satan (Ardor) has in actuality returned to God, and has received His forgiveness, then human beings should have experienced an immediate betterment, as they were no longer under his influence. Thoughtful people have of course understood that this could never happen all at once. First, because until now so few have forgiven Ardor, and only those able to forgive him are thereby released from his maledictions and thus freed to some extent from the influence of Darkness (of evil, that is) and raised spiritually to a purer atmosphere;next, because human beings have their own base inclinations to contend with; and last but not least, because many of the emissaries of Darkness remain as yet incarnated among human beings and will in many ways be able to hinder the progress of humanity toward the Light for a number of years to come. Only gradually, through coming generations, will an improvement become discernible; and not until the emissaries of Darkness have finally departed from the Earth will progress become apparent.
The struggle that has been waged for millions of years between the powers of Light and Darkness has ended in the spiritual world with victory for the powers of the Light. But the final struggle must be fought here on Earth between the incarnated emissaries of the Light and of the Darkness.We do not know how long or how short this struggle will be. It depends upon how soon the emissaries of the Light come to understand their mission, and how soon they are able to come forward. But if God’s emissaries among the older generation lack the courage to step forward now to defend the cause of the Light, then the world must wait for the younger generations. Thus we do not know how prolonged this struggle will be, but we do know that since the powers of the Light have been victorious in the spiritual world, they will also be victorious on Earth.
We know that many people have fully accepted Toward the Light, and we have received many requests to form a Society to promote the thoughts of this book, but that is not the road desired by the transcendental world; that road is clearly indicated in The Doctrine of Atonement and the Shorter Road, page 30. Toward the Light is not intended to divide; it was given in order to unite all human beings on a common foundation. Our mission is not to create a new religious sect to be added to the many already established on various interpretations of the Bible.Mankind has had enough of religious schisms, mutual resentments, malice and condemnations. Now that Ardor has returned to God, it should cause no wonder that the spirits of the Light do their utmost to give human beings a symbol of unity, a solid foundation, which cannot be shaken and which cannot shift.
We have the highest hopes for the future, and we know that those who choose the proper path will walk under the leadership of our God and Father, as we have done.
The following examples of poems were produced through me as the medium. See page 10.
Images, I see, of pain and sorrow through countless centuries, nights and days changing in unbroken succession;
your many earth-lives were heavy and torn by sin;
yet, you strove onward, slowly casting off Karma’s burden.
Of happiness you knew little, but much of pain;
defiance, pride, and fear of the Most High, filled your thoughts,
oppressing your mind, haunting it with unspeakable terror.
Muribadshall unfold before you the tragedy of the past;
soon you shall meet and brighter days will come.
You must atone for much, but no transgression condemns forever;
you have delayed your radiant journey toward the high heavens,
there, in places we cannot comprehend, should be your home.
Appiusis silent—the High, standing at my side, bids me be silent.
This poem was produced on 5th December 1910. The time for its production was not recorded because of the strange interruption. See “The Message”, page 22. The poem is allegedly due to the Spirit, Appius Claudius, and was addressed to one of the séance members. Also see commentary to “Indian Incarnation Account.”
Love and heavenly beauty shone wondrously forth from the young maiden’s gentle visage; I beheld in it all the vibrant colors of life.
It spoke of love and tender kindness,
it shone with virtue and sweet innocence;
her hair was gold—golden her attire,
golden and white.
Song was in her easy, rhythmic steps,
the tones swirling about her radiant figure;
blithely she sang in soft,
Yet, sorrow lay hidden in her visage,
sorrow in her deep, sparkling eyes;
longing and pain dreamt deep in her glance,
tempered by love.
Her eyes dwelt upon you—the handsome youth,
the lovely maiden spoke only to you.
May you meet some day in the high,
This poem was produced at a séance in February 1911. It was written down in seven and a half minutes, and no corrections were made. This poem was also allegedly due to Appius Claudius, and was addressed to the same member of the circle to whom the previous poem was addressed. In an earlier incarnation he bore the name “Iphisus” and was the person with whom Iriva was in love. See “The Indian Incarnation Account”.
Alone I walk in the Halls of Eternity,
gazing at the distant world of earthly life,
yearning for the world bounded by time,
longing and dreaming.
Dreaming of you, living within its bounds,
yearning for you, so far, far away,
knowing we shall meet in the
mighty Halls of Eternity.
I wave to you, yet you know it not,
I stand beside you, yet you cannot see me,
I kiss your hand, yet you believe it not.
The Sphere of Eternity
conceals me from your searching eyes,
veils my thoughts from your open ears,
but some day you shall know eternity,
Claudia, my beloved.
Streaming waters, surging waves!
Foam and vanish, River of Time!
Generation after generation follow your crest,
flowing toward the Eternal Sea.
Away among reefs, among stones and cliffs,
sweeps the rushing, seething stream!
It never ceases, never abates,
yet all the journey is but a dream.
On and on, the waters must hasten,
some day, reaching the Land of Eternity,
the foaming waves come to rest;
then, the answer they shall receive.
Human lives, bounded by time,
those are the rushing waters;
forever onward the waves are dawning,
again and again, under the vault of Eternity.
You small, tiny world,
stretching at my foot;
once all my life
centered only on you,
Strong, profound thoughts
my struggle did not know;
one walks from day to day
on the paved road of life.
Greater depth and strength
I may now have attained,
But my mind dwells not
on the unfathomable Darkness.
No one knows eternity,
all there is to learn;
here, as Well as down below,
no one knows all it holds.
True, there are other Spheres
I cannot comprehend,
learning nothing about them
on the road I travel now.
These poems were produced at one séance. The date was not recorded. (See Christ’s answer to my question, page 40). They were written down without corrections in five, eight, and seven minutes respectively. The poems are allegedly due to the spirits Appius Claudius, Lillian Forster and Kurt v.d. Esche. It seems to me that the difference between the solemn Roman, the sentimental Englishwoman and the rather “brusque” German, is quite characteristic.
Finally, a sonnet allegedly by the Italian Renaissance man, Cesare Borgia. It was produced at a séance, July 19, 1909, in five minutes, with a minor correction in the third line. Both I and the members of the circle were impressed that a poem of so difficult a stanza could be produced in such a short time.
With rounded cheeks, wavy tresses,
her blue eyes smiling softly,
with slender limbs enshrouded,
her hands daintily cupped,
she stands, the young maiden. The
rays of the fading day shine golden,
enchanting her graceful figure as the
sun measures the last hours of the day.
Oh, sweet dream! Fair Beatrice!
Look upon me! See your slave kneel!
Grant him one glance, one, only!
The depth of my love I shall show you;
my love—hopeless deep—embracing
your being, you shall behold!
Following the completion of this book, Dean Martensen-Larsen has published a work titled Spiritismens Blaenddvaerk (The Illusion of Spiritualism), in which the three mediumistic books published by me are mentioned. However, this mention is so superficial and incomplete that I have no reason to modify in any way the opinion that I have stated on page 66, regarding the responsibility of the theologians for the evaluation of the religious content of these books.
One further comment:
The author of the aforementioned work asserts that my three books were produced by automatic writing. This is completely wrong, as is explained with all possible clarity in the Preface to each book and in the Postscript to Toward the Light. But when the premises are false, then the conclusions must of necessity be in error. Dean Martensen-Larsen is hereby requested, in any future edition of his work, to remove the titles of the books that I have published from the chapters, “The Witches’ Cauldron” and “The Magic Forest”, and to place them where they rightfully belong—among the Revelations.
1) As a child she suffered from insomnia.
2) Refers to the Danish State Lottery. —Translator's note.
The recovered papers
3) All our séances were held in bright lamplight or in daylight.
Prediction of an illness
4) Johanne had also experimented with automatic handwriting, but the results were unsatisfactory because the procedure was too slow for her.
5) Our spiritual communicators called my wife by this name.
6) The Doctrine of Atonement and the Shorter Road, page 38.
Indian incarnation accounts
7) Muribad's words are given in full detail, omitting only a greeting and an expression of gratitude to Johanne.
8) See Toward the Light, pages 95-101, for an explanation of Christ's ability to attend these séances.
9) Since this conversation was not written down, I am only able to repeat the main points.
10) Toward the Light, page 96.
Greetings to Denmark
11) These 15 poets all belong to the so-called "Golden Age" of Danish literature, which spans the 18th century.—Translator's note.
12) Christian Winther is known for the worldly and other sensuous content of his poetry. —Translator's note.
Sorting of some scientific papers
13) Since Mrs. Danckert was of delicate health, she sat and observed the proceedings without taking active part.
14) The smaller, nailed box contained my wife's father's papers, the larger one with the padlock, for which the key was missing, contained only printed material and a few rolls of wall charts.
15) The colors of the note books could not have given Johanne any hint of their contents, since all the books that were laid aside were of different colors.
Toward the Light
16) By that time the regular séances of our circle had been discontinued on account of Mrs. Danckert's illness.
Doctrine of Atonement and Shorter Road
17) We learned for the first time through Ignatius Loyola's discourse (The Doctrine of Atonement and the Shorter Road, page 38) that the words: "Three Golden Fruits", spoken by Gabriel, had been given as a prediction of the three works: Greetings to Denmark, Toward the Light, and The Doctrine of Atonement and the Shorter Road. Therefore, at the time we received this message, God knew that Johanne would follow the proper path.
18) This "daily communion" has, of course, ceased long ago, but when necessary, my wife receives all the help she needs in order to answer any questions regarding Toward the Light.
|The two other couples participating in the séances together with Johanne and Michael Agerskov. Left: Karl and Anna Lindahl on a private photo from 1931. Above: Juliane and her husband Maximilian Danckert. Photo: The Royal Library.|