A Journey in Other Worlds
The Spirit's Second Visit
Accordingly, the next morning they concentrated their minds simultaneously on the
spirit, wishing with all their strength that he should reappear.
"Whether he be far or near," said Ayrault, "he must feel that, for we are using the entire
force of our minds."
Shadows began to form, and dancing prismatic colours appeared, but as yet there was no
sign of the deceased bishop, when suddenly he took shape among them, his appearance
and disappearance being much like that of stereopticon views on the sheet before a
lantern. He held himself erect, and his thoughtful, dignified face had the same calm
expression it had worn before.
"We attracted your attention," said Ayrault, "in the way you said we might, because we
longed so to see you."
"Yes," added Bearwarden and Cortlandt, "we felt we MUST see you again."
"I am always at your service," replied the spirit, "and will answer your questions. With
regard to my visibility and invisibility"--he continued, with a smile, "for I will not wait
for you to ask the explanation of what is in your minds--it is very simple. A man's soul
can never die; a manifestation of the soul is the spirit; this has entity, consciousness, and
will, and these also live forever. As in the natural or material life, as I shall call it, will
affects the material first. Thus, a child has power to move its hand or a material object, as
a toy, before it can become the medium in a psychological seance. So it is here. Before
becoming visible to your eyes, I, by my will, draw certain material substances in the form
of gases from the ground, water, or air around me. These take any shape I wish--not
necessarily that of man, though it is more natural to appear as we did on earth--and may
absorb a portion of light, and so be able to cast a shadow or break up the white rays into
prismatic colours, or they may be wholly invisible. By an effort of the will, then, I
combine and condense these gases--which consist principally of oxygen, hydrogen,
nitrogen, and carbon--into flesh, blood, water, or anything else. You have already learned
on earth that, by the application of heat, every solid and every liquid substance, which is
solid or liquid simply because of the temperature at which you find it, can be expanded
into gas or gases; and that by cold and pressure every gas can be reduced to a liquid or a
solid. On earth the state of a substance, whether solid, liquid, or gaseous, depends simply
upon those two conditions. Here neither thermal nor barometric changes are required, for,
by mastering the new natural laws that at death become patent to our senses, we have all
the necessary control. It requires but an effort of my will to be almost instantly clothed in
human form, and but another effort to rearrange the molecules in such a way as to make
the envelope visible. Some who have been dead longer, or had a greater natural aptitude
than I, have advanced further, and all are learning; but the difference in the rate at which
spirits acquire control of previously unknown natural laws varies far more than among
individuals on earth.