A Life Beyond...
by Michael J. Hallowell

As a writer who specialises almost exclusively in the paranormal and alternative spirituality as subject matters, I can say with some authority that the question of whether there is life after death still hangs on the lip more than any other.

Literature on the subject abounds, although rarely do two authors agree on what happens when, with either great reluctance or passive acceptance, we shuffle off this mortal coil. Too many divines and soothsayers are quick to wax lyrical about the detail of the afterlife, whilst many people still remain unconvinced that there is an afterlife at all.

I used to be a cynic myself, in my younger days. Death, I believed, was the gateway to oblivion. Not now, though. No Sirree Bob. Now, I truly believe that death is merely a step into another room, a crossing to the other side of the road. The evidence is overwhelming, I think, if we have the courage to examine it objectively.

Thousands – nay, millions – of people claim to have been contacted by those who have passed over to whatever lies on the other side. A percentage of these experiences hit the headlines, particularly where there seems to be a degree of subjective proof attached to them. The vast majority though, even if they find their way into print, are quickly forgotten; their details becoming as wispy and intangible as the spectres themselves.

Yet, it is in the less breathtaking tales and largely forgotten stories where, I would opine, the best evidence lies. The spectacular accounts become embroidered, and it is difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. The more the experience is recounted, the less reliable it becomes. Hence, it is amongst the less well-known accounts of life after death where I prefer to do my hunting.

During World War II, Robert Sadler lived in North Shields with his brother John. During a bombing raid John was killed, and Robert subsequently moved to Edinburgh.

After the war, Robert attended a séance in Edinburgh organised by a medium from Glasgow. As was common at the time, a "psychic trumpet" was placed in the centre of the floor for any forthcoming spirits to speak through. The lights were then extinguished.

After a while, and without human assistance, the trumpet rose, floated through the air and tapped the startled Robert on the knee. Somehow he managed to retain his composure – they breed 'em tough in North Shields – and promptly engaged an otherworldly visitor in conversation.

"Thank you, friend. Who is it?"
"It's John – your brother John".
"Do you remember where you lived?"
"Yes, North Shields".
"What was your trade?"
"And where did you sail to?"

All of which was true, but unknown to the medium at the time.

Of course, the use of a "psychic trumpet" seems incredibly quaint, now; a technique for speaking to the departed which had its origin in the Victorian era. To moderns it seems incredibly wacky, but even back in the 1940s it was a highly-respected method of spirit communication. It was the ethereal equivalent of the Internet, if you like.

Eighteen months later, after Robert had again relocated to Southsea, John came to him once again in a séance.

"It's a long time since we've spoken", said Robert.
"Yes", replied, the discarnate John, "It was in Edinburgh. I spoke to you through that thing on the floor, remember?"

Robert Sadler never capitalised on his experience or attempted to sell it to the papers. He just recounted what had happened, and left it at that. He became convinced, however, that there truly was a life beyond this mortal existence.

And, for the very same reasons, so am I...

©Mike Hallowell, 2009

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