The Henry Gratton Scripts of 1942
At the sitting of April 10, 1940, Dawn had been in an unusually deep trance when an unfamiliar control spoke these words:
"Yes! Yes! We will write! Three new persons will join your writing group. Stead wants to rewrite some of the things he wrote in life. He will take charge of the first writings. Give us paper and pencils . . . What is written . . . is written again.”
Here we had a clear, definite statement outlining a proposed course of action leading to certain desired results. Who the three new writers were to be, what they would write about. what Stead wanted to rewrite, and what was meant by the phrase, “what is written is written again,” no one had the slightest notion. Hopefully the group continued to sit regularly, waiting for something along this line to appear, but for some unknown reason there were no writings. Presently, growing tired of unproductive seances, Dawn withdrew, the sittings were discontinued, and the writing experiment was held to have been a failure. But our unseen directors were not so easily put off.
In 1920, at the start of my father’s investigation of the Poole mediumship, Myers and Stead came together. Through table-tilts they made three claims: one, that the Allegory in Book 10 of Plato’s Republic set forth in symbolic language the nature of the next stage of life; two, that Lodge was an inspired religious teacher who should be followed; and three, that Stead would help in our investigations. And we had strong reason to believe that Myers and Stead had been the guiding minds behind the work with Mrs. Poole from 1921 to 1927. They came when Dawn joined the group in 1928. Now they were to show themselves again.
One day in August, 1941, Dawn telephoned my mother to tell her that the night before, soon after she had retired, she had a psychic experience. Standing near her bed she saw a tall, dark-eyed man whom she took to he Robert Louis Stevenson. She said, “What can I do for you, Robert Louis?” The man replied: “I am not Robert Louis Stevenson. I am Frederick William Myers and I have come to ask you to go on with your work.” Then he vanished.
Obviously deeply impressed by this experience, Mrs. Marshall at once offered to sit for this new work, whatever it was to be. Needless to say my mother, delighted at this turn of events, lost no time in contacting Mr. Reed and Mr. and Mrs. Wither. In a few days the group reassembled.
This time Stead spoke through Dawn. He asked my mother to tell Dawn that they urgently wanted her to go on with her work, that they planned to continue with the writings, provided that they could be sure of two things: her willing cooperation and a trance state sufficiently profound to allow their thoughts and phraseology to be clearly expressed. A week later Stead followed up this plea in the automatic writing:
“For a long time I have awaited this opportunity, and now it has been given me . . . Automatic writing is a wonderful work, and a true way of testing mediumship.” (signed) "W.T.S."
Nor was this all. At a sitting in late December, 1941, “Walter” stated that Oliver Lodge was present. When the trance writing was studied, it too was found to be a declaration of intention. Presented in a style so different from Dawn’s usual straightforward manner of talking or writing, so Lodge-like in choice of vocabulary, in noble sounding phrases and concepts this script immediately impressed us with the thought that inspiration from a Lodge-like mind, for a few moments at least, must surely have dominated the organism of the entranced automatist.
THE LODGE SCRIPT OF DECEMBER, 1941
“Which is more essential, spirit or body?
Is spirit permanent and the body transitory?
Is the body the important thing and the soul and mind mere ephemeral?
The question of death appeals to every mind, its processes, the sensations which they cause in the human being, body and mind; what it brings to humanity—consciousness or oblivion; what, if anything, lies beyond. These are all contained in one profound inquiry: What is death? This series will reveal the truth.” "O.L"
Going back to the words spoken on April 10, 1940, the three statements need further explanation: “Three new persons will join your writing group.” “ Stead wants to rewrite some of the things he wrote in life.” “ What is written is written again.” When the series was completed in 1944 and there had been time to study them, the meaning of these three statements became quite clear:
(I) Three new comunicators did join the group of writers. The first, signing himself “H.G.” at the beginning, and in his final script “Henry Gratton,” wrote some of the scripts of May and June, 1942; the second. “ Peter Campbell,” was apparently the author of a single script in October 1942: and the third "T.G." or “T.G.H.” wrote a long series in 1943 and 1944.
(2) Stead did rewrite some of the things he had written in life, although it took us some time to verify this statement.
In Stead’s lifetime possibly his most widely read book had been, After Death, sub-titled, Letters from Jula. It was more popularly known by the sub-title. Stead had received it through his pronounced gift for automatic writing as “letters“ from his deceased friend, Julia Ames, in 1892 and 1893. Two years after Steads death by drowning, when the Titanic went down in mid- Atlantic after striking an iceberg, his daughter, Estelle Stead, brought out a new and enlarged edition of Letters from Julia.
In the early 1920s my parents read this book. After my mother had studied all the Dawn scripts she found that some of the ideas and descriptions they contained were vaguely familiar. So she read again the Stead-Dawn scripts side by side with Letters From Julia. She discovered that not only did the Dawn writings contain many direct quotations, but also many rephrasings or paraphrasings of whole sections of Letters From Julia. Thus Stead rewrote some of the things he had written in life.
At once the question arises: how much did the sitters and our medium know of Stead and the “ Julia” letters? Could the Stead quotations have been picked out of the sitters’ minds, in some telepathic fashion by our medium in her trance state, and woven into the fabric of the scripts? Speaking for the sitters, I can say this: none of them, except my mother, knew of the Julia letters.
And as for the conditions under which the scripis came, the sittings were held in complete darkness. The medium became entranced before the writings were done. She had no memory of doing the writing, much less of what had been written. She was never told, until years later, what her hand had written. No one knew which communicator would be doing the writing. No one asked ahead of time that any one particular subject be discussed in the writings. The communicators varied from week to week.
Thus the group had no way of anticipating who was coming. or what was to be given; we took the scripts as they came. Only much later, long after all the scripts had been put through, were they rearranged in a logical order. As for Mrs. Marshall, this letter (which she wrote to my mother as a reply to the request “Tell us what you know about psychics, and about Stead and Lodge “) speaks for itself:
“May 15, 1945
“Dear Mrs. Hamilton:
I do not know that 1 have really read any book on psychic. I had a book called Raymond given to me many years ago since that time I have given it away I also got the loan of one from a friend of mine I forgot what it is called I read it one night returned it next day as she wanted to send it to a friend about Mr Stead I know he went down in the Titanic and he was born in England and was editor or several papers he was on a peace mission to America of some kind when the Titanic went down she struck an iceberg I also know he was interested in spiritusm and that he wrote books about it but I never read any of them I dont even know the names of any of them all I ever read about spiritusim was in the two worlds years ago when I lived in England and I used to attend the meetings on sunday during the last war then I came to Canada with my husband and family I went to a meeting at 671 Main street I went there quite a few times then I met Dr and a few other’s
I hope this answers yours questions I dont know anything else I can tell you about the writers of Phychic books as I dont read them and I have never borrowed any from any one except the one I borrow from Mrs Dewar on Hart Avenue
(3) “What is written is written again.” As my parents’ interest and participation in psychic exploration began to expand, more and more books on the subject began to find their way to our library. Like Letters From Julia, one other book acquired at that time was later found to have a special significance and to have played an important part in the Dawn trance writings. It was Letters From A Living Dead Man.3 As she studied the assembled Dawn-T.G. scripts of 1943 and 1944, my mother had the feeling (as she later told me) that she had read some of the material before, but where? Acting on a hunch, she read again Letters From A Living Dead Man, then compared it with the “Julia “ letters and the T.G. scripts.
She found that just as Stead had worked into his Dawn scripts many parts of the original Letters From Julia, so T.G. had skilfully incorporated into his scripts not only material making reference to Letters From Julia, but also material making reference to many parts of Letters From A Living Dead Man. In the Oliver Lodge scripts we came upon several lines from The Ring, a very famous poem by Tennyson, Poet Laureate of England in the nineteenth century, which must have held particular significance for Lodge. in our reading we discovered he had quoted them several times in certain of his books and lectures.
R.L.S. also contributed his share. In his scripts we found abbreviated quotations from his personal letters, his poems and, in one instance, an obscure poem reproduced almost perfectly through Dawn, and finally a quotation from a minor English poet. All these points will be explained fully in later chapters.
Thus, one by one, and each in his own way, the unseen writers fulfi!Ied the statement of April 1940, “ What is written is written again.” And perhaps this whole complex business may become somewhat less complex if I in turn paraphrase that sentence and say, “What has been written in the past, has been written again,” for that is exactly what happened.
While all our writers claimed to be deceased personalities (and two of them had been known to us as established communicators for many years) I realise, of course, that this claim cannot be substantiated on a fully conclusive basis. Nevertheless both the subjective and the objective evidence for the survival of these individuals was profoundly impressive.
The cumulative effect of fact piled on fact over a long period of years was such that, in the end, one was forced to admit the probabilities were very great indeed that these souls were living, and communicating with us by means of the various channels opened to them by the Hamilton inquiry.
In short, we found it impossible not to believe that the writers of the scripts were the people they claimed to be— W. T. Stead, R. L. Stevenson, T. G. Hamilton, Oliver Lodge and the others. And it follows inevitably that it is from this point of view that these Dawn scripts are now offered.
As far as we have been able to discover, never before in the annals of psychical research had it been possible to show with such certainty the depth, height and width of the mental influence of extremely literate minds on a mind that was almost completely non-literate. Our automatist, I repeat, was an unlearned. non-reading woman who, under any circumstances whatsoever could not possibly have written the scripts which came through her hand during her trance state.
The literary ability shown in the many well-constructed sentences, the subject matter, the abstract philosophical concepts, all these were completely beyond the reach of her knowledge and intellectual development. For her in her normal state of consciousness they simply did not exist.
That the teachings found in these scripts agree in the main with teachings recorded in earlier revelatory writings (particularly parts of Letters From Julia and Letters From A Living Dead Man) in no way detracts from the revelatory value of these later writings. Rather now is the emphasis reversed. Because the Dawn scripts show inspiration to be a fact, where the earlier writings through other automatists agree with the Dawn scripts, these earlier efforts now stand on this new and strengthened foundation of supernormality.
It would appear that these survived friends deliberately set out to prove inspiration by greatly transcending our medium’s power of thought and self-expression; that they strove to have us glean from their output the tremendous fact that life for them had objective reality; that they strove to impress on us that they were human beings who remembered, who searched the records dealing with life beyond death, and who, where they found truth there placed their imprimatur.
Thus we find Stead placing his stamp of approval on certain sections of Letters From Julia, which he had written automatically during his lifetime. We find Stevenson condensing certain passages from Letters From Julia and quoting other writers whose ideas concerning death appeal to him, and we find T.G.H. making use of selected passages from Letters From Julia and paraphrasing certain sections of Letters From a Living Dead Man.
Each writes from his point of view in his original way and, as well, each skilfully incorporates into his account many quotations taken from these writings of an earlier period, but so rearranged or requoted as to give new and telling emphasis. Issuing from the hand of the sleeping Dawn, the old and the new were made one. In her normal state Dawn had absolutely no memory of what her hand had written while she was entranced. She was never told until years later that the older teachings and writings had been used in this fashion.
To emphasise that we did not stand alone in regarding these Dawn scripts as being truly phenomenal. I offer the following letter from the late Rev. W. R. Wood, a well-known minister of the United Church of Canada, who wrote this testimonial in 1946:
“I know the work that Mrs. Hamilton has in hand at the present time (May, 1946) and have studied with some care the scripts which she has received through the hand of the psychic Dawn.
“Dawn was for a fairly long period the most powerful medium in the Glen Hamilton group. During those years when they were obtaining materialisations, which have been the most distinctive feature of their researches, she was constantly engaged in this work, going into trance, speaking for the main controls, and in many ways showing herself to be an exceptionally gifted medium.
“Like Dr. Hamilton’s first medium Elizabeth M. (Mrs. Poole) Dawn was of Scottish birth, of good character, a good wife and mother, but possessing a very elementary education, and wholly unread in all types of literature, including the psychical. There is no reason to believe that at any stage of her life she had even a fragmentary acquaintance with the writings of such men as Lodge, Stead, or Stevenson. I cannot think that she would ever have attempted to read for herself any of their works.
“It is this that makes supremely wonderful the production of the things we find in these scripts. Their range of thought, their literary form, and the writers’ intimate acquaintance in some cases with certain books and poems, and the skill with which selected passages have been incorporated into the scripts, are features which simply cannot be associated with the mentality of the medium.
“I have had more or less continuous Opportunities of estimating the range of Dawn’s thinking, and have no hesitation in giving as my considered opinion, that these writings on a whole, are in every sense beyond her capacity, so far as mental power is concerned. In my judgemerit they constitute quite incontrovertible evidence of a process of inspiration.
“I am impressed too, with what appears to be the fact that some of these writings constitute a new phenomenon: the reissuing, in modified paraphrased form, of parts of earlier communicated writings, with a view, apparently, to fresh emphasis on their truth, is something I have not heard of till now. Such phenomena will, I am sure, prove highly significant to many thinkers, and make more rational our concept of the survived personality— a personality which in many instances would appear to retain a natural interest in our physical existence and in aiding man’s progress upward toward knowledge, goodness, and beauty, and thus toward God.”
(Signed) “W. R. Wood.”
In May and June, 1942, we received a number of scripts signed with the initials “H.G.,” and the final script bore the signature “Henry Gratton. No such communicator had ever manifested in our researches. No claim is made that “H.G.” was Henry Gratton, the Irish parliamentarian who died early in the nineteenth century and who was famed for his literary style.
"H.G." was introduced by Stead as one of the new writers promised in April, 1940. These scripts display a clear authoritative style, and speak with forceful utterance on a number of matters in a fresh and invigorating manner.
Woven into the text we found quotations and paraphrases of material from Letters From Julia. Where these occur, I have enclosed them in single quotation marks, and indicated the pages in Stead’s book where the references may be located, if any reader wishes to examine Letters From Julia along with the Dawn scripts. The captions at the beginning of each section were devised and added by my mother, and are not part of the original Dawn scripts.
THE “H.G.” SCRIPTS OF MAY AND JUNE, 1942
“One short sleep past, we wake eternally, and death shall be no more; Death, Thou shalt die! “—-John Donne, in Death, Be Not Proud.
The Great Gift
“Nothing with which you are familiar on your side is more generally misunderstood than death. Of all the gifts which our dear loving Heavenly Father has bestowed upon us, it is the best. It is the crowning proof of His divine love. Death is but a rebirth into another life where, for those who seek good, there is a broader freer life than the one which they have left behind. “There is great scope for development in a life where you obtain a deeper realisation of tile great love of our Father God. It is joy unspeakable in serving! And how real it is! And what a joy to come back and find our loved ones, and although unseen by them, to help them carry on, and to fill their minds with the thoughts of the fuller life beyond the grave where there are hosts of ministering angels who help you to find your place! My dear friends, make no mistake! The grave is not the last word, and thank God it is not!”
“But what of all those who are being hurled over by the awful conflict that is going on at the present time? Some may well ask. Our loving Father never planned that any should go on before they had lived the full life. I can tell you of what I have been privileged to witness. Sometimes I have been transported to the battlefields, and there with others, and hosts of angels caring for the wounded and dying, have seen the angels bearing away those who had been killed— not their mangled corpses, but their spirits, untouched by shot or shell.”
The Need For a Quickened Faith
“There is much sin and sorrow in your material world. We see them and for you we feel much sadness. We try to remove them, but often we do not get the co-operation that we can use. The desire for the help that will remove them, oppresses; hut not as it once did, for we see the other side, and we know that God still loves the sinner but hates the sin.
“We need a religious revival to take place, but which Church would profit most by a revival? The Churches are being pushed into darkness and despair even while the great Spiritual Light of the World is burning for them. In ordinary times men’s spiritual knowledge generally comes to them through sickness or grief, those things (which) shut out the breeze and clamour of passing events, and open the heart and ears to the silent forces which really control their being. Now this great sickness, this sickness of the war, converts thousands daily. One can hardly find a man who does not feel the silent forces around him.
“The Churches have lost the knowledge of the meaning of death and the conditions beyond. It is a spiritual illumination that the Church needs today, a great Pentecostal outpouring, galvanising its orthodoxy into an exuberant life, and opening its eyes to the New Life!”
The Nature of the New Life
“Before entering into the New Life the new spirit has a period of sleep which varies in its length, sometimes hardly necessary at all; at other times this sleep may extend over many weeks and even months. The length of time is regulated by the amount of trouble or mental preoccupation of the life. Many remain in slumber for many years. Children need no such interval.
“Death does not transform us into a saint or a sinner. We awaken to consciousness with the same ideas firmly fixed in mind. To all intents and purposes we are just as we were on the earth plane. They (the survived) have the same impulses and desires produced by the mental activities as before.”
“The most wonderful things that came to you here are when you find your friends, and when (you discover) the difference between what you thought of yourself and what is the real self. It certainly gives a new meaning to the old adage, “Judge not,” for the real self is built up by the use we make of the mind, not the use we make of the body.’ ‘Thoughts have a much greater reality than you imagine.’
I find it hard to explain how we spend our time. Of course you know that we do not count time as you do on earth. We never get tired and we never sleep. We have nothing to tire us of a physical nature. We do not need to eat or drink; these things are only needful for the material body.’
“Spirits pray and they ‘die’ in their new sphere before entering another. There is much music and pleasure. There are no rich or poor. Spirits live in families and in communities; married people do not necessarily meet again, but those who truly love each other do meet again. There is no darkness. ‘There is peace, love and joy, beauty everywhere! Love is the secret! God our Father is Love! When you are lost in love you are in heaven with those ho are found of God!"
“Why are mediums necessary? Why cannot I myself obtain messages from the Great Beyond? Surely if my loved ones would return to anyone they would return to me rather than to some stranger of whom they never heard or had seen when on earth.
“Well, the answer is a very simple one. Mediums are peculiarly constituted individuals. They possess that peculiar quality or make-up which enables them to perceive or receive messages from the Other World, while this is lacking in most people. A great medium is certainly as rare as a great artist or a great poet. Their genius runs to psychical sensitiveness in the same way that genius runs to poetry or art. And the ability to communicate may be just as rare.
“Not everyone who wishes to send messages from our side, even assuming that they continue to persist and long passionately to do so can transmit his message through a psychic or medium. The ability to impart messages in this manner is just as rare a gift as mediumship (is) on your side; and only when two kindred souls get into touch with one another under the most advantageous circumstances, can clear messages come to you from this side. This explains why more messages have not been sent.”
Intercommunication a Very Complex Process
“There are many difficulties which must be taken into account: cosmic difficulties; the difficulty of controlling the brain, the nervous system of the medium, of influencing the mind of the medium; the tendency of the medium to lapse into a dreamy confused mental state while being controlled. Sufficient to say that there are great difficulties, so great indeed that many cannot overcome them at all, and only certain individuals, in certain conditions, succeed in overcoming them completely and in forcing a message through to their loved ones.
“Until the newly arrived has studied the subtleties and difficulties of communication (for himself or herself) and learns how to manipulate and overcome them, he or she will not be able to transmit anything in the way of writing or giving a longer message. Many here use short telegraphic messages, and even here seemingly find it difficult to realise and grasp the intricate processes. Much depends on the conditions.”
Some Criticisms Answered
“We are told that the messages coming through are contradictory, and that others give no information, and that others again are unreliable. If people took the trouble to stop and study human nature they would understand how contradictory humans are upon many points. Take, for instance, if each one were to write a story of their life on this earth, how contradictory they would be. The life of one would flow smoothly and without worry; the life of another would be a recital of hardships, frustration, and struggle against circumstances. Some live in the country, others live in the city, some underground in mines, others fly in the air.
“Yet there are basic principles to which all lives conform: we all have to eat, to breathe, to drink, sleep, and clothe ourselves; to make friendships, experience disagreements, to travel, to pass through storm and sunshine. It is very much the same on this side. We start here from the exact point of mental and spiritual development (at which) we left off when we made the change.
“One passes on after a long and tedious illness in which the sense of pain and weakness (had) gradually grown on the mind; another is struck down in the prime of life. One passes out of this life in the fullness of youth; another lives to old age when long life and worry upon earth had made him tired and weary of physical existence. Everyone, when he or she passes over, is like a patient in a hospital; each one is attended separately.
“There are many people who tell you that our facts are not true. Others again tell you that it is forbidden ground and that you have no right to see into the Beyond, and that it should be left alone, that our Father God has given us no powers at all which are under any circumstances to be used. But the very fact that you possess the power to see, to hear and write, makes it your bounden duty to develop (these powers). It is true that these powers, like any other powers, may be abused if we lose our sense of reason. But I repeat that the possession of them is strong reason why it is lawful that they be used.”
“Some folks discountenance communication upon the grounds that it hinders the advancement of the departed. There has never been any evidence of this. The spirits are entirely to the contrary, and they have been helped and strengthened by the touch of those whom they love.”
“I should like to add a few practical words. Enormous new developments, the greatest in the history of mankind (are beginning). How are you going to use them? You are bound, I think, to state your own belief, especially to those who are in trouble. Having stated it you should not force it, but leave it to a higher wisdom than our own.
“When the call comes for help, it may come from someone who has lost a loved one and wants to re-establish a connection. Be careful not to overdo this. Having got in touch, be moderate in your demands. Do not be satisfied with anything short of the best. Having got this, wait for a short period, when both will be united again.
When I think of the ideas I had when on this earthly plane, and the life I am now living, I marvel at their hopeless inadequacy! The reality is so much greater than ever you could imagine! It is a New Life, the nature of which you could never fully understand!’
Now, dear friends I feel somewhat sad within me at the thought that this may be the last time I may have the opportunity of communicating with you.’ My friends, I thank my medium for giving me the opportunity to use her. I will be back with you some other time. Someone else will take my place, and I hope he will find conditions as good as I have found them. Goodbye, and may the blessing of our Father God be with you and your work.” “Henry Gratton.”