This is the voice of Alfred Higgins,
a painter and decorator who died in hospital
after a fall from a ladder at work.
He explains how he first tried to communicate
with his grieving wife and how he made a visit,
with a new Spirit companion, to see his 'mates down the pub...'
I wasn't killed outright,
but I was unconscious and I died in hospital. Of course, this is quite a few years ago now. I was a painter and decorator.
You come from the Brighton area, don't you?
Yes I do.
I lived in the Brighton area, for a time.
START OF TAPE
Yes? Whereabouts in Brighton?
It's a good many years ago now, and it's like so many places, it's changed quite a bit, hasn't it? At the back of the Old Steine, there.
At the back of the Old Steine?
Mr. Higgins, can you tell me your reactions on passing over? How you found yourself.
How I what?
How you found yourself - your reactions when you did pass over.
Well, when I first sort had any sort of realization or consciousness
of what had happened to me, I was lying on a sort of bank overlooking
I thought this... I remember when I first saw him I thought, "Oh dear" when I realized that he... or at least I thought he was a monk, I thought, "He's a young man, a young person to be a monk".
As a matter of fact, quite frankly, I thought to myself at the time that he looked just like Jesus. At least what I'd seen pictures of Jesus. But I realized, of course, that it wasn't afterwards. And he came and stood beside me and spoke to me.
He said, "Ah, you've arrived."
I says, "Arrived? I don't quite know what you mean."
He says, "You don't realise then that you're here, where you are?"
So I says, "No. All I know is I don't recognize this place. It's very beautiful."
And he says to me, he says, "You're dead, you know."
I says, "What?!"
He says, "Yes. You're... you're dead."
says, "Ah! I'm not dead. How can I be dead? I wouldn't be able
to see." And I felt myself. I says, "Look, how can I be
dead? Look, I'm solid," you know. He
says, "Ah, a lot of people seem to think on your side that when
they're dead they're either nothing at all or if they're dead that
they go to heaven or they go to some other place like hell. There's
no such place as heaven and there's no such place as hell. You are in
a condition of life which is as real - as you can see for yourself -
as anything you've ever known before.
Life beyond what you call death is a state of mind. Your condition at the moment is perhaps a little bewildered. But you're not unhappy and certainly you seem, as far as I can tell, quite at ease. You seem quite calm and placid. You're not over anxious about anything in particular are you?
I says, "No, but now I'm beginning to realize what you say is so, I must admit I'm a bit concerned about my people. It must be a terrible shock for them, you know. I have no recollection of dying. I don't remember anything bar falling. At least I had a feeling I was falling and then I don't remember no more."
And he says to me, he says, "Well, of course, you died in hospital you know." So I says, ''Oh, did I?"
So he says, "Would you like to go back for just a little while to see your people? Do you think that would help you?"
So I says, "Well, it would be interesting, wouldn't it? I would like to see them."
But he says, "They won't take any notice of you, you know."
So I says, "Well, why not?"
He says, "Well, they won't realize that you're there because they can't see you and they won't hear you if you speak to them."
So I says, "Well, not much point in going then, is there?" And he says, ''Well, it's up to you," sort of thing, you know.
And I says, "Oh well, I'll go. It's possible that Ada - that was my wife - she might - I'd like to see how she's getting on, anyway."
So he says, "Alright. Let's go." So I says, ''Well how do we get there then?" So he says, "You just come with me. We'll just walk up this road." And I climbed up the hillside and onto the road. We walked along and he says, "Just take my hand."
I felt a bit peculiar, you know. I thought it sounds a bit silly me holding someone's hand like this. But still he said hold his hand so I held it. So I just held his hand and... I don't know, it seems so strange, but as soon as I touched his hand it's just as if everything went sort of peculiar. It was as if everything gradually seemed to disappear. It was as if I was sort of - I don't know - going to sleep I suppose in a kind of way and yet it wasn't like sleep. It was just a sort of lacking of understanding and realization of things around and about me. I became sort of unconscious, I suppose.
The next thing I knew I was standing in our kitchen and I was watching my wife. She was standing over the sink peeling some potatoes and I thought, "Well, this is funny." So I thought, "Well I don't know, I wonder if she knows I'm here," and I called her name. She didn't say nothing. She didn't hear me, obviously.
So my friend says, "She won't hear you, you know." So I says, "Well I don't know. What could I do?"
So he says, "There's nothing you could do. But she may sense your presence. You never know. Let's just wait a little while."
So I just stood there and I concentrated.
He says to me, "Concentrate your thought on her. Just think hard, you know. Think as hard as you can. Think her name."
And I did and all of a sudden she stood up and she dropped down the... dropped down the knife and the potato she was peeling and she looked round. Looked proper bewildered, she looked. She looked almost scared and I felt rather sorry in a way that I'd scared her, because I realized it must have been me trying to get at her, you know. Anyway, oh, she just flew out of that kitchen. She opened the door and then she sort of shut it again and then she sat down and then she put her head on the table and started to cry. And I felt awful about this. I thought, "Oh dear, now this is terrible."
And he says to me, "Don't worry. She senses. She feels. She knows in herself. She doesn't understand yet, but she knows in herself that you're near her."
So I says, "Well, if I'm going to make her miserable like this, there's not much point, is there?"
So he says, "Don't let that worry you. This often happens to people. They don't know with any certainty. They've never been told about life after death. They've never been told about the possibility of communication and all that sort of thing. But she'll come ... she senses ... she feels and she in herself, deep down inside, she knows."
I says, "Well, isn't there nothing I can do?"
So he says, "Nothing. This is not the time. You must wait. Later on, perhaps we'll be able to do something."
So I says, "Well what do we do now?"
He says, "Well, I don't think you can do much more good here. I think the best thing for us is to go back."
So I says, "Oh, alright. But I'd like to go to one or two other places before we go back, if I may."
And he says, "Well, where do you want to go?"
So I thought, "Well, be interesting... since... you know, I'd like to see various friends and that."
So he says, "Well, alright."
So I says, ''Do you mind coming into a pub?" He laughed when I said that. I says, ''You don't mind do you? It seems a strange request for me to ask you, an angel, to come into a pub."
He says, ''Ha! We often go into the pubs and places. And I'm not an angel."
I says, "Well, I was under the impression that since you've been
here, like, and highly respectable, like, and all that, you must be.
But I noticed you ain't got no wings"
And he laughed again. He says, "Of course you don't have wings. That's the old idea that a lot of religious people get on Earth about angels having wings. That's because they always think that people, when they die - that is good people - fly up into heaven. And in the early days they used to think the only way to get up in the sky was to sprout wings like birds. That's another one of the kinky things they get into their nuts, you know." Of course he didn't put it quite like that - that's my way of putting it.
Anyway, he had a wonderful sense of humour and I felt so sort of settled with him. So I says, "Well, I would like to go to this pub."
So he says, ''Alright."
So I thought to myself, "Well, this is going to be a bit awkward, because he obviously wouldn't know where the pub is and I don't know how to get there on my own, not as I am now situated, you know, with no physical body as you call it."
So he says, "I know what you are thinking. You just think of the place, close your eyes, and we'll be there."
So I thought, "Well, this is alright." So he put his hand out towards me. I thought, "Oh well, I suppose I put my hand in his again," see, so I did. The next thing I knew I was standing in the bar of this pub, see, and there were three of my old mates there. I went and stood up beside one and I remembered what I'd been told to do about the wife - to concentrate, think hard, you see. And he'd got this mug of beer up to his mouth and I was thinking to myself his name, see, and all of a sudden he plonked that down on the counter, you know. And he looked quite bewildered. He looked round, and then he said to his mates, my other two friends, he says, "That's funny. I felt sure I heard... I felt sure I heard ..."
So the others said, "Heard what?"
So he says, "Didn't you hear nothing?"
And they said, ''No, we didn't hear nothing."
And I thought "Well I've made him..."... He thought, I suppose, he was making a bit of a fool of himself.
So he says, "Oh. It's nothing."
So they sort of laughed and said, "What's up with you mate? You got the jitters?" You know, and they had a bit of a lark about it.
But he heard me alright. But it was done by my thoughts. One of the first things I realized was that you don't have to talk to be heard. You've got to concentrate hard. It's a matter of thinking all the time that you want to get into touch or you want to do something, and then it's possible. You just can't do it by sort of speaking out in the old way, you know. It was my first sort of lesson in this sort of thing.
later on I was taken to a church - a spiritualist church. And I
thought to myself, "Well, if I could only get a message over to
my wife," see, but she never went to those sort of things.
So... of course, by this time I'd got on quite a bit and my friend - this gentleman I've been telling you about - I realized and knew a lot more about him after a time. I realized that he was a leader of a vast group of people over here and he was a teacher and I learnt a great deal at the time, you know, from him, like. And later on he did say to me, "The only way, of course, that you can ever hope to get into touch with anyone connected with yourself on Earth is to go to a spiritualist church."
I said to him, "Well, I've heard all about spiritualist churches and all that sort of thing but I've never ever been to one. I think the missus did go to one, years ago, but she wasn't that keen about it, you know, and I never encouraged it."
Anyway, I thought, "Well, that's one way. So the obvious thing to do is to go to a spiritualist church." So I tripped off to a spiritualist church which is not so far from where we used to be and, of course, my missus wasn't there. And I went several times and she wasn't there. So I thought, "Well the thing is to try and impress her to go to a spiritualist church."
So I started visiting the missus again and started to impress her to go to a church. This must have been, oh, about 18 months after I'd conked out, you know, and come over here, like, you see. So anyway, after a time, I got the idea into her head to visit a Spiritualist church. Anyway, she wouldn't go on her own. She got her sister Floss to go with her, see.
So, one night I was at the church. I knew I'd got her to decide to go because I'd been working all day on her. In fact, I had been working on her several days before. Anyway, she did go on this particular occasion with Floss. And they were sitting at the back, and a medium was on the platform. I took one look at her and I thought, "Oh blimey, it would be my luck to get one like this." She didn't strike me as being much cop, you know. I'd seen them good and bad you know, and this one seemed a bit on the holy, holy side and she talked about things which was alright for them that likes it, but she wasn't so hot on the evidence, and she didn't seem to be able to describe very well.
So I thought, "Have a go Joe," you know.
Anyway, when she started to give the old messages, I thought, "Well, I've got to get in here somehow," you know. I thought, "I'll have to do something." So I concentrated like mad on her, you know, and eventually she picked it up. (He pauses)
Come along Alfred, that's lovely... (Silence)
...Mr. Higgins, are you still there?
(Coughs loudly a couple of times)
It's alright. It's awfully good.
Come along Alfred... (Silence)
...Oh, has he gone?
I was trying to think...
... you know, what I could, make her, you know, sort of get over to her, see?
Well, this 'ere medium, she wasn't so hot. But anyway, she did pick me up. She got certain things that I was trying to get to her. I got her to talk about... She kept getting a ladder. Of course, she got it all bugger... mixed up (excuse me). But she got it mixed up, you know.
She says, "I don't know, my dear, if you're going to have a bit of luck, but I see a ladder with you." And I thought, "For crying out loud, this is getting on fine, this is!"
Anyway, of course, the missus did realize that after a while I'd had this accident on a ladder. So my missus says, "Well, I do place the business of the ladder."
And, of course, the medium got it all confused. She says, "I think as how there's something going to be very good for you, my dear. I see you rising, going up this ladder towards success."
Of course this wasn't what I was telling the damn silly medium (with all due respect), but it's her interpretation, you see. I thought, "Oh blimey!"
Anyway, eventually I was able to get a few bits over and then I was able to get my name through. That was an 'ard bit: getting my Christian name through, see. Oh, and then my wife says, "I think I understand all this very well." And then she says - of course I could have kicked my wife afterwards - because she says, "My husband was killed on a ladder, and his name was Alf."
I thought, "Well, I did get that over after a style," but the medium mucked it up a bit. Still, anyway, so why worry.
Anyway, and then I thought, "Well what can I say that'll really clinch it?" see. So I thought to myself, "Now I've got to get something real hot here," you know.
So I says... at least I concentrated on the medium to say... (I says "I says" but actually when I'm trying to get through it's as if you're saying it through the medium but you're thinking it, see. It's all very difficult.)
So I says - I impressed the medium to say, "That ring that you have on, that is not the ring, not the same ring," you see. Now this didn't seem to make no sense to anyone, I suppose, but it had a great deal of significance to my missus, because what actually happened here was my wife lost her wedding ring and she tried not to let me know she'd lost it knowing that I'd be upset about it, so she'd gone and bought herself another one which was to all intents and purposes identical, you see. So I thought... well I knew about this, you see - because I'd learnt that since I'd been over. That may sound odd to you...
... but it was in my wife's mind about this, that she had this wedding ring, new wedding ring, without my knowledge when on Earth. But I knew, of course... since I've been over here, like, and I've been in touch with my wife, there's not much that I didn't know that went on. So I thought, "Well, that'll shake her," you know. So I thought and said about the wedding ring, you see, about not the original wedding ring and about buying a new one, you see. Of course, she went quite white, but she says, "Well, how could my husband know that? I'd never told him, I'd kept it from him," and all that, you see.
So, of course, the medium preened herself - you know how they do, some of them. "Well, of course," she says, "you know it's proof from your husband, isn't it my dear, you see?" You know. She went all “la la.” She was getting it over posh, you see. She felt good that night. Of course, I was very glad for her sake, too, to give her a bit of a kick, you know. Some of these mediums, they get a bit down in the dumps if they get a bad start at a meeting. They need something to buck them up and I was glad I was able to do it. And my wife was getting a little bit through too, you know. It was nice for everybody. I was really happy about that. Anyway, my wife, she became very interested after that and she went to several meetings. Of course now, by the way, she's here with me.
Ah, I gathered that, yes...
(Interrupting) But, um... I'm talking about thirty odd years ago, you know.
But I've had some laughs, you know.
Some of the spiritualist meetings, you know. It is a shame because a lot of these people are very nice, very sincere. They're well meaning. But half of them are half-baked, not really developed properly and a lot of it is their imagination. Occasionally they do get something through. I mean, we're able to get something through their skulls, you know, and get it out. But I think the trouble is that a lot of old dears, you know, they like to sort of get up there and, you know, sort of appear important to the rest of the congregation and I suppose I shouldn't say this - they're well meaning - but often they do a lot of harm, you know.
I'll never forget that first time, getting through to that medium. I don't think she'd ever done so well in her life. She was thrilled to marrow. She really got, you know, very thrilled about it all. Of course, I'm going back a long time.
Mr. Higgins, or Mr. Higginson, isn't it, what are you doing on the other side now?
What are you doing on the other side now? How are you spending your time?
Well, I'm very, very happy in the various things that I do. I know it sounds crazy to you, but I can't help it if it does or it don't (but certainly a lot of people wouldn't understand this), but I get a great deal of pleasure in looking after other people's houses, and helping them get settled when they first come here, and doing little things for them.
see, people get this idea in their head that places over here are not
the same as on Earth. Well, in a sense, that's true. They're not
quite the same, but people like a home. They like things around them
that they've been used to.
They like colour in their home and beauty. And often you get some poor old soul come here that, perhaps, had a little one, little... little back room and always wanted to have a nice little place, perhaps shall we say, in the country surrounded... have, perhaps, a pet dog or cat or some companion, you know. And here we're able to help those dears, you know, who...
People just don't realize on your side the unhappiness that there is in the back streets away... tucked away. People see little of what really goes on. Most people are so interested in themselves and their own lives that they either don't think or they don't want to know about what goes on among so many people.
Here, when they come here some of these poor old things, they're lonely people some of them, perhaps. Some of them have been living on their own for years.
I'm always interested in the old folk. And, of course, most of them, it's true, have their own people, relations here who welcome them and all that. But I like to feel that I can help them with getting set in their home. And I do little jobs and help generally.
do decorate. People think this sounds so silly but, you see, I'm
talking about the conditions of a life which in some ways are very
like the Earth. The world in which we live is very, very, similar in
some respects and very natural. And that's a good thing it is.
Because who wants to come from your world who's just been an ordinary
person, a kind person, not particularly bright or clever or talented
perhaps - they don't want to suddenly become angels and go into a
state of being which would make them feel most uncomfortable. In any
case, even if they began to realize it they would really appreciate
it because the condition of life that some people talk about as if
it's the sort of life over here that they should expect, it's so
ridiculous; it's so far fetched and so...
Well, I mean, it springs from - obviously - from the old idea of things that if you've been very good you go to a beautiful world and you sort of become and angel and you become holy, holy and all the rest of it: that's not living that's a sort of state of mind which really when it's analyzed amounts to nothing.
Ours is a real world in which there's all kinds of actions and all kinds of thoughts predominating, like. And we have our houses, we have our places that we go to where we have wonderful music and we can entertain our friends and they visit us and we visit them. We have educational centres. We have great libraries where there's wonderful books you can read, and places you can go to where you can see wonderful . . . I suppose you'd call them films, although they're not really films as you understand it, but that's the nearest way I can describe it, in which you can see depicted all manner of things appertaining to Man and his development, and life, and how the evolution of nations and peoples have evolved.
here we live together in peace and harmony. And colour and
nationality mean noting to us. We're all seekers, we're all children
of one God developing and progressing together in love and in
harmony. There's none of this nonsense that you get on Earth and none
of this narrow-mindedness and this pettiness. There's no friction
like there is in your world between religions and organisations and
political parties and all that sort of thing. Here we understand,
here we realize that we are all truly part of God's kingdom, we're
all part of his handiwork and that we're all striving to develop and
to better ourselves mentally and spiritually. And
we're very human.
A lot of people seem to think from your side that as soon as we come here we cease to be human beings, we cease to be the same people. Of course, we're the same people, but we're a little bit wiser, and a little bit more sensible, and a little bit more understanding, a little more tolerant. I would say a lot more tolerant. We just don't have the old silly ideas that get taught year in and year out on your side: all this narrow creed and all the rest of it. That doesn't help God's children. It separates them. All, all God's children have the same opportunity of survival in the highest sense, spiritually and mentally. You know I wish I could explain things better.
You have very well.
... but um... I'm sorry your dear friend isn't with you because I think he's a very nice man. Perhaps he'll come another time.
He'll be very pleased with this tape, Mr. Higgins.
Well you tell him I wish him well.
Yes. Mr.... (Pauses)
I can't hold on much more, dear.
Oh alright then, don't worry.
What was it you was going to say?
You have your wife with you, you're living in a house with your wife now...?
We have a very nice little place that suits us, quite near... quite near a big... I suppose you'd call it a town. It's just on the outskirts of a great gathering of people who live in a... well, I can only say it is a kind of town, although it's not exactly the same as you would call it a town but... community, if you like.
a wonderful, wonderful thing. Oh I wish I could explain what life is
really like. No-one need fear dying. It's something to look forward
to, believe me. I
must go, but all my blessings. Goodbye.
Goodbye and thank you very much.
Goodbye Mickey and bless you.
Love to George.
I will my dear and thank you very much Mickey.
(Coughing) Mmm. That was quite interesting wasn't it?
It was very good... lovely. Can't grumble at that, Leslie !
No. It's... it's well, it not unusual exactly but it's... nice, isn't it? (Coughing)
Sorry about the coughing...
That's alright... you have a bad cold haven't you ?
Well... I had a sort of cold, this last fortnight, which is not...
END OF RECORDING