(Frank Hodson is my father.  I recently found these pages and read them for the first time as I typed them.)
 
CHAPTER ONE

In 1891, in Preston, England, my birthplace, where the people were predominantly Catholic, as our parents were, we, a family of five girls and two boys were much upset when our father turned away from his faith to become a spiritualist. It was not easy for the children to adjust to the new thought as we were confirmed in the old faith. Years later, I asked my father why he made such a drastic change in our lives and he gave me the following information.

At the time of the change, he said, a spiritualist medium came to town who declared she could contact departed spirits. My father had a friend who was a practicing magician. They decided to go to the meeting and expose the trickery. The medium went to different people in the audience and described the spirits around them. Dad and his friend waited until the meeting was over, then went to the medium and told her she ought to be ashamed of herself to tell such obvious lies.

She replied that she really could see these departed people, and after a long and heated session she said: “I see, Mr. Hodson, that I can never convince you and your friend by talking, but will you and your friend give me a chance to prove my gift tonight? Both of you go home and be alone at half-past ten, and sincerely pray that you will be able to see a spirit?”

They agreed. My father did his part faithfully and did see the spirit form of a young lady. He was greatly surprised and thought it was some black magic. He said to himself, “If I can go to the window, open it, look out to see if I am my normal self, if she is still here when I turn around, I will always believe.”

He said he went to the window, opened it, and all outside was as usual, then turned around to find the spirit still there but fading away. Then and there he decided to open a church and preach the doctrine of spirit return. Later he opened his own church and for seven years he invited mediums from other towns to come to his church and speak. My father attributed his luck in seeing his first spirit to the fact that the medium had promised to pray at the same time that he would be successful, because he was so sure that it could not be done.

As growing children we witnessed many seances in our home, where the mediums would come for supper after the service in the church. At times they would hold hands and sing hymns until someone would be controlled by someone dead and speak in a strange voice. It was a common thing in the evening for mother to ask Dad to let the white man speak through him, because now he had found out how to let the dead speak through him. He also had an Indian guide who could speak through him, but mother did not understand his poor English. Then Dad would sit for a time quietly, shake himself, and get up and speak in better words than my normal father ever used. Later he would return to his normal self.

Sometimes he had what they called physical mediums come to the church, and the large table had many ups and downs.  I remember when my father told me and my brother to get on the table to hold it down, but the table did rise a little.

Years later, coming home from the First World War, Second Division of the American Army, to Bridgeport, Connecticut, I married a good Catholic girl but I never forgot the spiritualist past.  I found myself, when I had five children, a little envious of the gifts my dad seemed to have attained.  Here I was in Bridgeport, with a family and no spirits to attend me.

CHAPTER TWO

I decided to pray and ask God to let me leave my body to prove to myself that there was a part of God within.  So I prayed, did some deep breathing to give me more courage, then said, “Now, God,  please give me proof.”  I found myself in a spirit form standing before a lovely endless heaven of azure light.  I found I was desirous of entering this astral world, but looking down my new spirit form of light, I found a round transparent chain of gleaming vibrating particles of light from my body center that emitted a glow of spiritual fire as they opened partly and then partly closed again.

The cold atoms of fire stretched from my new spirit center to the center of my body that I could still see.  Then I had the thought that if I wanted to enter the celestial home I would have to desire to break the chain of life.  Thinking about my wife and children needing my help I found the desire to enter this heaven of light lessen.  Desiring to go back to my earth body I found myself together again in my bedroom and quite shaken up mentally for some time later.

I seemed to have gone beyond the limits of self-seeking to find God in man, and I thought, “Never again!”   Later I began to read the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and was so much impressed by his thought that I wrote the book, Emerson’s Way of Life, and had it published.   I did not mention my astral journey in this book because it seemed too unusual to be believed.  At that time I had not read of any similar occurrence.  I wrote to Readers’ Digest and to the Science of Mind magazines, hoping that they had some record of a similar case, but got no reply then.  Years later, the Science of Mind published a case involving Robert Monroe of Charlottesville VA who had convinced some great scientists of his many similar experiences.  I wrote to Mr. Willis Kenneer, Editor of that publication, protesting his lack of mention of my report many years before.  He answered that Mr. Monroe’s case was believed by many scientists and could, therefore, be published.  I said he was sorry but hoped I would understand his position.

This astral journey made an indelible impression on my mind and since that time I have been able to return my memory to those events.  The atoms or cells vibrating with spiritual fire that I saw in the chain of life reminded me we all have these atoms of life within and we can make them more conscious to our mind by attention.  All searching for truth must be done slowly and prayerfully.  Treat the mind as a sacred area.  Let the attention flow to all parts of mind and body.  I found I was intensely alive with no harmful after-effects. Read the rest of this entry »