Chapter 1 - Personal experiences in the field of spiritual apparitions

- 37 - undergo a slight purification before reaching the eleventh sphere; he will not be required to pass through the tenth. In life he was one of those who truly are and were children of God.” Then, speaking through the medium who stood with his hands raised aloft, the spirit pronounced the prayer: “Heavenly Father, be merciful to us! Turn Thy countenance upon us! Give comfort to him who sits here in sorrow and anguish, mourning the loss of his friend. Send him peace and cheerfulness, so that he may conquer his anguish. Let the departed, who was an example among men, come to Thee in Thy mercy. Receive him into Thy circle that he may develop quickly and confer mercies and blessings upon mankind. Father, he whom Thou hast chosen is coming to Thee; let him then fulfill the task Thou hast allotted to him. Be merciful, Father, and give them both Thy blessing. Amen!” In the services that followed, Mrs. Niemann, acting under the influence of my departed friend, wrote things of which she as a human could have no knowledge; among others, she wrote of a walk that I had taken, years previously, with my friend through a little valley in the Hunsrück Mountains. On that occasion we had spoken of God and of the great questions of a future existence. I myself recalled the incident only when I saw it set down in Mrs. Niemann’s mediumistic writing, in which the valley in question was called by its proper name, known only to people of the locality. Even in the years when my friend was still alive I received from him such powerful evidence of the truth of what I had learned in my communication with the spirit world, that it would have been sufficient in itself to convince me. When, in consequence of my spiritistic experiences, I was obliged to alter my religious beliefs radically, I feared that I would also lose this dear friend of mine, who was a good Catholic. When I expressed this fear at one of the meetings in Germany to the spirit that manifested itself there, I was assured: “Your fear of losing your friend is groundless. We ourselves will instruct him and you will not find it necessary to make any explanations.” It was not long before my friend looked me up and related to me some remarkable visions he had had. In them he had been shown a number of fundamental truths at variance with his creed as a Catholic, above all the truth, revealed in a vision that had come to him in a churchyard, that also the souls of the damned would one day be pardoned and that all would be returned to God. He had also had visions showing the different fates of the spirits of the departed, and at the same time had received instruction bearing on the subject. He was even informed of the life task that had been assigned to me personally. These experiences, which could fill a whole book on their own, had convinced him so thoroughly that I felt it unnecessary to go beyond confirming the correctness of his visions.