The Eager Dead

Over one hundred years ago, the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) – with members from the top tiers of science – embarked on a search for evidence of an afterlife. Although largely forgotten by the public today, some of their research findings were compelling. Many people point to the sittings with mediums Leonora Piper and Gladys Osborne Leonard, as the most convincing. However, those who have studied the SPR’s research in depth also would probably raise another candidate: the ‘cross correspondences’.

[T]he Cross-Correspondences were fragments of information that came through different mediums and which in themselves meant nothing. However, when pieced together they formed coherent messages. The objective was for the communicating spirits to demonstrate that the messages were not coming from the conscious or subconscious of a single medium, or by means of telepathy from another human, or from some cosmic memory bank. It was as if the spirit communicators devised a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle with the pieces scattered in various parts of the world.

The obscurity of the cross correspondences is no doubt due to the sheer complexity of the communications and ‘puzzles’, which most lay readers don’t have time for. However, a recent book by Professor Archie E. Roy may offer the best insights yet. Titled The Eager Dead (Amazon US and UK, I’ve now heard from numerous people, in the know, who consider it a wonderful exposition of this difficult topic.

One of those is Michael Tymn, an expert in the history of psychical research (and who contributed a fascinating article to Darklore Volume 1. Mike wrote a glowing review of the book, commenting that not only did it discuss the scientific aspect, but also offered human insights into the relationships between the dead and living people involved. Filip Coppens too has just this week posted an article to his website about the cross correspondences, inspired by his reading of The Eager Dead. Both articles give an excellent overview of the case, so check them out when you get the chance. Better still, pick yourself up a copy of The Eager Dead.