William Norman Birkett (Lord Birkett)
The Lord Birkett and Lord Birkenhead séances
Read the full transcript below, as you listen...
Present: Leslie Flint, Betty Greene, George Woods
Spirit Communicators: Lord Birkett, Lord Birkenhead
We would like to make it clear before you hear this tape or read the transcription, that during the seance the tape jammed and the machine had to be switched off, but the voice continued although we were unable to record, it. Unfortunately, up to that time no name had been given. During the remainder of the seance, which lasted for a further half hour, we both remember the voice saying very distinctly;
“ I am Birkenhead.” But whether he was the Spirit communicator before the tape jammed, we could not say, but we assumed that it was Lord Birkenhead.
Towards the end of the seance we
also heard him say: “I realise you have been having trouble
with your tape, and as the subject is so important, I am going to
come through again at your next sitting.”
However, since the recording of the
whole of this tape, which combines two séances, Lord Birkenhead has
been through to us again, and he has explained that on the very first
occasion Lord Birkett was with him and also spoke, and it is Lord
Birkett who speaks about having had to pass the sentence of death.
But of course, also in the first part of this tape, Lord Birkenhead
could easily have spoken as well.
The similarity of voice is due to the fact that the same voice box is being used, and the Spirit voice has to be transmitted by thought.
March 29th 1962
[Good morning] friends. [You must] excuse me if I do not speak perhaps as well as some of those who come to you from time to time, but I am, in comparison to them, an inexperienced communicator.
Well you're doing very well...
I have come this morning because there is something that I very much wish to discuss, something which I feel is very vital and important to your work, and to the work of all those who are indeed conscious of the brutality and the pointless use of the penalty - the death sentence.
I do not think it is possible for any one in your world to imagine the terrible conditions that are to be found in the case of an individual who suffers the death penalty. When I was on your side, it was my duty often to pass sentence...
and it is because of this that I
particularly wish to come and speak to you today. Because no one has
a more right to discuss this tremendous issue than myself, with the
possible exception of my fellow Judges who themselves had the unhappy
duty to do this to another human being. I know of the many
arguments that are brought forward in regard to this subject - this
the vital matter of the taking of human life by law.
I had the very unhappy task, on more than one occasion, to pass the death sentence, and as I come here and speak to you in this room, unseen by you, but nevertheless, is full of souls who came here to our side of life through the execution of the law. And I realise more than ever, the utter futility of this act. It has been on my [conscience] for a very long time, although I acted as I felt at the time, in good faith, doing that work which I had to do, and at times feeling more than justified in passing the sentence, knowing the full facts of each individual case, at the time I felt in most instances, justified in giving forth that sentence of death. I know there are hideous crimes committed, sometimes in cold blood, where there is no justification, or so it seems, for mercy, but in spite of this I realise no matter what the crime, that capital punishment is not the answer.
There are various very good reasons for
this. Firstly, no matter what the crime, or the condition
under which it was executed, the death sentence in itself cannot
restore to life the unhappy victim. Secondly, taking the life
of one who has committed a crime, does not solve nor prevent many
other crimes of a similar nature taking place. To take the life of a
human being is not at any time justified, whether it is in law, or
outside of law.
Death is a tremendous thing in itself whether it be for the victim, or for the one who has committed the crime, or for the ordinary human being who passes under normal circumstances - whether it be by accident, whether it be by war, or whether it be by passing through the result of illness. The tremendous change called death is, in itself, so vitally important, particularly from the point of view of we on this side who see the reactions of the individuals who come here.
Those who pass naturally, for them it is perhaps more gentle, more easy and more happy. For those who pass suddenly whether by accident or through the cause of murder, it is tragic and the impact for them is tremendous, and often they are Earthbound, and in many instances they seek only the companionship of those left upon the Earth, and not always those that are near and dear to them.
But in the case of those whose lives are taken by the law, the slow process of the law, the hideousness of the act in itself of the cold premeditated destroying of life, the preparation, the tremendous thought force that is generated, not only from the individual, the murderer, but from all those who are, to some extent, affected by it - those in the prison, the warders, the hangman, the peoples who read about such cases in the newspapers. No one is free from the taint, from the atmosphere, of this cold premeditated murder by law. It serves no good or useful purpose, it creates terrible conditions, not only on our side, but on yours. If you could see as I have seen since I have come here, the reactions of such people who have been hanged, you would understand why I am speaking to you in this fashion.
Beside me now, are two souls whose
lives were taken in this way, by the so-called 'justice' of the
country. And as I look back on their unhappy lives, I realise they
were the victims of a passion and a power stronger than themselves.
I do not suggest for one moment, that this absolves them in any way for what happened, but if we cannot have compassion, if we cannot have the realisation within ourselves, that under certain conditions such as this, such as they themselves went through, how do we know that we ourselves might not also have found ourselves in the dock ?
These two souls, the world cannot consider and neither do I, that they were innocent. That which was done, was done by the man in a moment of passion. In a moment when he himself was really not responsible for his thoughts or his actions. This was not a cold-blooded, calculated murder. This was one of those things which happen in human lives every day. Where two men and one woman are involved in the eternal triangle.
The woman herself, many people at the time thought drove the young man to do this terrible deed - that she incited him. Indeed, in her letters she suggested to him that she had endeavoured to do away with her husband. There was no fact in this at all. It was all highly romanticised.
She was endeavouring to hold on to the man whom she loved. She was trying to prove to him that he was, to her, more important than anything else. Even if it meant sacrifice she was prepared to take the risk, her own life. But this was, to a great extent, just nonsense and the point of view of the fact, that she had any intention whatsoever of doing away with her husband. Bywaters and Thompson was a classic case many years ago, which you may recall, and it was a most unfortunate thing that the boy, Bywaters, had kept this woman's letters. Anyone who has read those letters, anyone who studied the case, anyone who saw the woman, as I did in the dock, would know full well that this was a case of a woman, who lived a great deal mentally within herself. She romanticised everything, she created as it were, a whole aura of romance and passion. She led a very dull, drab, uninteresting life...
It was at this point that the tape jammed, and the machine had to be switched of. However, three weeks later, on the 19th April, 1962, we had another sitting with the Medium, and Lord Birkenhead did come through again, as he had promised, and the following tape is really a continuation of his first talk.
April 19th 1962
There was difficulty with your machines. This no doubt, was a great disappointment to you, and [it] certainly has given me the opportunity in the meantime of making myself a little more familiar with the particular method of contact with your world and also to revise, to some extent, some of the things that I had to talk to you about - not that I have changed substance, but in various things that I have to say to you. I am very conscious of the fact that, in certain quarters it will not be very acceptable, but that is to be expected.
Some long time ago, when I was on your side I wrote a book. In this book I recorded my impressions, my findings, my opinions, regarding various famous trials. Certainly those trials I have every reason to believe, were very well conducted and very fair, and typical of British justice. But I have, since being here, been able to acquaint myself with further facts, further knowledge in regard to certain cases, and of course I have seen, as I think I told you last time, the effects upon individuals who are sent here through the...
...justice is a word which often is misused, and indeed one could so easily say, that justice in itself is something which is very rarely justified. This may sound perhaps, an odd remark, because I would not suggest for one moment that criminals in your world should go unpunished.
I realise only to well that if this
were so, life would be intolerable, and of course it would be an
impossible situation for the mass of humanity. But at the same time,
justice in itself, does not necessarily solve the problem or the
problems of society. Quite often because the interpretation of
justice is not always correct, or humane, or sensible, or spiritual,
or Christian. When man sins against society, society is outraged and
society immediately is on the defensive, and invariably in
consequence commits a crime, often as bad as the criminals, and
sometimes even worse. I am of the opinion that there must come,
eventually, many changes in criminal law, and the most outstanding
and the most in need of change, obviously, is the cutting off of life
by law. Whether it is through the hangman's noose or whether it is
brought about [by] some other method. The law as it stands today is
truly an ass. I can't remember whether it was Gilbert that once said
in one of his operettas, that the law was an ass.
But there is no doubt about it, that in is this particular respect it is an ass, because nothing justifies the taking of life - outside the law or inside. Indeed, one might almost say that sometimes there is more justification for the taking of life outside the law than in it, because that which is done in the heat of the moment, in the fit of a temper, that which the person commits in that mad moment, almost insane moment – I do not say it's justified of course – but there at least is some excuse. But there is NO excuse for the cold-blooded, calculated murder which, of course, is what happens when the law decides to take a life.
These views that I now hold, are quite opposed to the views I held when on your side, but I have seen the effects on this side, of the law's sending over unprepared souls, people whose minds are in such torment and turmoil, and some whose thoughts are full of revenge and hatred and malice, bitterness, intolerance. In other words, souls are often sent here unprepared, unready, and they linger close to the Earth, Earthbound, desirous of revenge upon society. And in my opinion many of these repetitious crimes that you have, are caused through the influence brought to bear by souls from this side, Earthbound, impinging themselves upon individuals in your world who often, in themselves, are mentally unstable, causing them to commit the self-same crime. I think if society knew more, indeed much more, about what happens at death society would arrange and alter many things in it's society.
We see the effects of the deeds done by men on Earth, quite often men of goodwill, men who are Christian in their principles and character, in many instances admirable men and women. But so much is done in ignorance, the same as the crime that is often committed by the criminal in foolishness, in ignorance, in a moment of anger. So we see the same thing committed over and over again by the state, by the law. When one thinks of the innumerable thousands upon thousands of souls that are sent here before their time, unprepared, unready. These souls that are brought to bear arms against their brothers, in whose heart there is no malice, no hatred, only that which is whipped up by governments and public press, who are sent out to so-called defend their country.
They are the little puppets that have no control, they have but to obey, and they are like instruments used in the hands of unwieldy surgeons. We are ever conscious on this side of the hypocrisy, of the foolishness of the few who bring about the tragedies of human lives, the miseries that come into your world by those in authority. The ordinary man, the simple man, the man whose one desire is to live at peace with his neighbour in the world, who desires only his own little plot of land, his own fireside, to bring up his children in peace and quietitude. He is the puppet, he is the poor piece of clay that is molded and shaped by those who take upon themselves the responsibility of the sculptor, often who has no imagination and no consideration, and thinks not in terms of peace.
I speak as I do speak, because I feel
so intensely the wrongs of society. I feel so intensely the wrongs
that are committed, often in the name of justice, and what even makes
it worse, the so-called Christian outlook and upbringing. I am
reminded over and over again of the simple teachings of the Christ.
When they were about to stone the unfortunate woman, 'let him who is
without sin cast the first stone.' And not one threw a stone.
I know these problems are very big problems, particularly today in your world which seems to become more and more vicious, more and more full of hatred and intolerance, in a world in which fear predominates, and youth seems to have the attitude of mind, 'let us enjoy today, for who knows what tomorrow may bring.'
And how right they are, the youth of your day, to say in return, to retaliate and say; 'this is the world which you, our fathers have created, can you blame us if we want to enjoy ourselves today ? You are the ones who created the havoc and the mess, and there is no certainty in this uncertain world.'
Often I know your youth of today is criticised, and though I understand the feelings of my generation of peoples, one cannot blame the young for having little faith, for what is this world in which you find yourselves today ? This chaotic state of affairs in which you find yourselves, each day more perplexed, more puzzled, more uncertain, more unsafe. After two world wars you find yourselves in the same position as before, in a world of fear and uncertainty. Hatred breeds revenge, intolerance breeds all those things which are happening in your world today. There is no faith, no trust anywhere.
You have this terrible, terrible arms
race. Nation pitting its wealth against nation, using that wealth not
for the welfare of the human race, but for the
destruction, and the excuse is always that we must be prepared,
because otherwise we are like a house without
protection, and any burglar may enter and steal our
If only one could make you understand in your world, that some day, somehow, some one nation, big nation has to learn to trust and have faith. If this present state of affairs is allowed to continue, we all know what the result would be. Whatever politicians may say to you, you can be assured that if this arms race continues, the ultimate issue is too terrible to think about.
There is no justice, no true justice in your world. Today Man lives by fear, and ultimately this fear shall destroy him. Man has no faith. Man feels that to protect himself he must kill - whether it is in the court, or whether it is in the outside world of politics, or even in religion. We see this terrible seed that each and every aspect, that the ultimate end is destruction.
We have those in authority who would take the life of someone, thinking that they are doing right and protecting society. If they did but know it, they are not protecting society. There are other ways, better ways, more sane, more sensible, more humane, more Christian ways of defending society. These unfortunate people who are often anyway, quite insane, who commit murder and so on, could be put to useful work in some way. They could be made to serve society and be the given the opportunity to work out their own salvation and repentance. Society has no right to take that life.
And if they could see the effects from this side, as we see them, they would hesitate to change the law as it stands. And then again, we have the same thing in a wider sense, of the nations taking life by organised rule and regulation, regimentation of human beings, turning them into mass murderers.
Is this not - is this not even more cruel, more insane ? I say to you that the time must surely come, and I would have thought that the power and the fear of 'atomic warfare' would have brought humanity to its senses, that governments and nations would have seen the utter futility of going on, as they are going on - day in and day out.
I know that nations come together, at least heads of nations come together, and they discuss the whole of this problem, but they never reach any agreement. No solution is found because of this terrible fear that one nation may be that much more powerful than another. And so they go on trying to overcome the other one's superiority. More money and weapons are brought into being. Society seems bent on destroying life.
When I was on your side, I had many opportunities and advantages given to few. I saw every aspect that it was possible to visualise and to see, of all types of humanity - and to some extent I learnt from those experiences. But I realise as I see now so clearly, that I learnt very little.
I do not think I was an intolerant man, but I realise that I might have done so much more, and this is the cry that springs from the hearts of pretty well every soul that comes here. Looking back, how differently I might have done this or that, how differently I might have acted under such a situation. [If] only I had been a little more considerate, a little more patient, a little more understanding, a little more humane, and if you like, a little more Christian.
Religions, fundamentally, have so much in common, but their differences are many. Though they are now perhaps, a little more polite than they used to be in the centuries gone by, it does not alter the fact that there is this sort of, arms race in a different sense, even among the religious bodies.
There is no unity, there is no true Christian brotherhood, no true understanding. The simplicity of the teachings - the reality of the teachings of Christ - seldom exist among those who preach them. We see Christ crucified from this side every moment of your living day, by those in the church, and those outside it, and there is some excuse for those outside the Church, but there is no excuse for those inside it. And the higher you go in the ranks, the more apparent it becomes.
Here and there are sincere souls,
devout Christians who endeavour and do the will of God. There are so
many in high places, in my opinion, who are very un-Christ like. What
an appalling state of affairs it is, when we look into your world and
see into the hearts of men. How little like Christ they are within
themselves. Truly how few there are. How often do we see the Pilates
among them !
I say to you my friends, that the things I say and the work that you endeavour to do, will be most unpopular. [But] take comfort in the fact that all the great teachers, all the great prophets, all those who've endeavoured to bring truth into the world, all those who have endeavoured to do God's will, truly do God’s will, have been persecuted. Christ was persecuted during his lifetime, but believe me Christ has been more persecute by his followers since, than ever he was during his lifetime.
This great country of ours, this
England, with it great history, its great background, has done much
for the welfare of the human race. Like all great nations it has had
its setbacks, and possible today, it is no longer considered the
great nation that is was, but it alters not the fact that here in
this country, there is more opportunity, true opportunity, for
progression, than any other country in the world. I know that England
has made its mistakes in the past, and there are many offences in the
eyes of God. But nevertheless, this nation, this country has done
much, but I feel it could do more, so much more, and I feel that has
a golden opportunity at this moment to set an example to the world,
but it will need all the faith that it is possible to have, to do it.
It will need all the support of the so-called Christians, and the
Christian movements and the Church in particular, to do it.
There are some souls in your world, and they are as usual the ordinary people, who are trying desperately to start to do something, to set an example, But as usual they are persecuted by the law, by the states, by society, they are misrepresented - deliberately often by the Press.
But I say to you that this could be a great moment, if this country would stand firm for peace, in the truest possible sense. You have seen and suffered too much from the effects of war, to ever desire or want or condone another, and I say to you that this is the opportunity to set the example, to show the path, to have faith in God and his will and his purpose. I know now easy it is to side with one's neighbour, because it is easier to be with the herd, it is always more comfortable to be with the herd.
If only it were possible to show you that there is no death, only that which seems so. We live, and we constantly try to inspire you. I ask you, I beg of you, I plead with you, to do all in your power to bring this great and glorious truth of survival to all humanity.
You are living in a doubting world. You are living in a world that has failed miserably, but with this Truth, with this knowledge, with this realisation, with this tremendous one-ness of spirit that we try to implant within you, with this barrier called death broken down, truly we can overcome the evils within Man. We can put back his feet on the path of spiritual progression, we can turn back, as it were, from the evils of war, intolerance, bitterness. We can implant within Man the truth, and that truth shall make him free, and he shall learn to live and to dwell in peace and in harmony one with another, all nations under one God.
The Churches have a great responsibility. They have failed so utterly in the past, and they know it in their hearts, though they may not admit it. For if truly Christianity had held sway, many of the evils of your world would have disappeared and certainly, war would have been a thing of the past. The Church must not support war, the Church owes it to humanity, for they are the shepherds and humanity are the sheep. If the shepherds do not lead right, then the sheep will stray from the fold - and indeed many have strayed.
I say to you, my friends, that in this
great and glorious truth of the resurrection of every human soul,
lies the answer to the world's problems. When Man realises that
your life is not the end, but it is merely, as it were, the
schoolroom in which your lessons must be learnt, then surely when
people realise the importance of your life in its true perspective,
that it is a preparatory school for that which is to come -
then they would think more deeply, more surely and act
We come to help you, we come to guide you, to uplift you, to inspire you, and if possible, in all our efforts to bring you the peace which you so desire. That peace which can come if you will but help us to make it possible.
There are many things I, and others, wish to talk to you about, but we must be patient, we must do what we can, as best we can, under the circumstances that are given to us. I myself, am grateful to you, because I know that you are desperately trying to help others, to open their eyes that they may see that light which comes from the spheres, that will guide them gently, but surely on, out of the darkness.
And in this world of darkness of yours
today, how desperately it needs just this glimmer of light. You my
friends, have a great responsibility placed upon you, but I know you
cannot fail, because that work which you do is greater than
yourselves by far, for it is the work of God. There will be
those who will try and persuade you otherwise. They will say it is
not so, it is not true, or if it is, it's of the Devil, 'because
the things they say don't agree with us, and we’re of the Church,
we're of the truth, we know ! '
They will try and persuade you otherwise, because we do not necessarily say always the things that they would like us to say, but we are not going to tell half-truths; we are not going to lie to please a few. We are here to speak truth, and where we see those who fail, we shall not be afraid to denounce, but we do it in all kindliness, in all sweetness of humility, because we love all God's children, irrespective of who they may be, or what their position, or lack of it. We are only concerned with the unification of the human race, the harmonising of nations and peoples, and the bringing, truly to the world, Christ's teachings - following his footsteps, and endeavouring to fulfill his work. And therefore if we see error, we shall point it out, and where we see that which we can praise, we shall praise.
My friends, go on in strength and have no doubts that you are being helped, guided, and blessed in all your efforts. Do not feel, as sometimes indeed you must feel, that the task is too immense, too impossible, because the little that it seems to you that you do, spreads. And others will join and others will do the same as you, making the same efforts. You will be amazed how your work will spread and be blessed in consequence.
I'll come and talk to you again on another occasion.
Please, please - before you go, will you put your name on the tape for us ?
say I am Birkenhead. I was once Chancellor of England and that’s a
long time ago now. Goodbye.
END OF RECORDING
This transcript was taken from the original Trust website. It has been edited by K. Jackson-Barnes