Chesterton wrote that “Tradition means giving a vote to most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead.”
He went on to say: “Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death. Democracy tells us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our groom; tradition asks us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our father.”
In my family history there were relatives who were visited by or heard from these “dead”, to which Chesterton refers.
So I remember in particular a great grandmother, who would feel the toes on her feet being gently pinched at night until she roused herself from sleep and prayed for the souls in purgatory. Sometimes she had to keep praying “until they left her alone”, because they would “come back” if she had not prayed “enough” for them.
Yes, the ancient Catholic beliefs were held onto in those days, and children were taught the tradition that around this time of year, All Saints and All Souls’ Day, your much beloved, dearly departed family members were allowed to visit you, and you with them, whether you realized it or not.
The visit was a custom or rule of the other side, because the holy souls (even those still in the purging place) didn’t really die.
Death was just a transition for those who had been saved. Yes, even as a child, I knew how to explain to protestant friends that the word “dead” in scripture usually only referred to the damned.
Why didn’t everyone intuit this?
Wasn’t to be with God to be more alive than ever, as He was the Source, or Existence itself?
Isn’t it us still in the material realm whose insights are dulled so to speak, by our own, encapsulated skulls?
We were not a family of conjurers, but looking back, I can imagine now how our familial acceptance of interacting with loved ones who had passed on – might seem superstitious or strange to a Baptist. Some protestants I was told, also thought Catholics prayed to statues.
So funny, how much has changed.
It is not that I reject my religious heritage, but I see it in a deeper sense now, one that accepts that all religions and people of good will are simply like different, equally valid reflections and children of the same truth, and my hope is that my more fundamentalist friends realize this secret as well.
But in what seems like a lifetime later (yet somehow still only like yesterday), since my own dearly departed sweet Babci leaned her dear face close to mine, squeezing my hand in vivid dream impression, I still have the strangest discussions…
with my paranormal investigator friend.
At least they might sound strange by standards of current, polite society.
We discuss the norms or rules of the democracy of the dead.
He being the conscientious scientist, we discuss and we discuss until he insists he must leave “religion” out of it and I, the conscientious mystic, insist mysticism is not at odds with science. My hope is that we are both learning about the other side from each other, like different reflections of the same truth, which all people are to one another. For are not both scientists and mystics fascinated by, searching for, and examining truth? What does he know that confirms what I intuit; how the other side works, speaks, communicates, and what the other side desires?
And perhaps, just perhaps, what I see and hear can help guide or inspire objective and direct scientific inquiry.
I insist he is onto something big, the evolution of mankind’s spiritual progress and understandings, the direction predicted by reknowned pyschics, and the woman who sees angels, Lorna Byrne – for a potential, very possible, future reality.
He and I both believe from our own experiences and from the information collected from near death experiences, that the next realm contains a society of people, what used to be called a community of saints.
And since he is all scientist, no bias, no hype or sensationalism, he is a great man to be a leader in all this.
For just as there are fraudulent or dangerously corrupted psychics, there are paranormal investigators who are unethical, who fudge data, and I believe even fraudulent ghosts – some call them dark angels – who masquerade as one’s loved ones.
My guy is not one of them.
He is none of the above.
And he has authentic respect for the “dead”.
I don’t believe the dead are a freak show for children to masquerade as on Holloween night, bodily injuries depicted by way of grotesque costume, indicating the manner in which the dead were bludgeoned, or knifed to death.
No, the old Catholics had it right, when they taught their children to dress up as beautiful and brave, living saints instead, giving honor to those who had gone before, those whose passing will make our inevitable journey home – a non scary and welcoming one.
And my nonreligious paranormal investigator friend has it right as well, asking polite questions and not forgetting to thank spiritual entities, when he gets a response, especially evidence or indication of personhood.
And oh does he get such a response.
So much so in fact, anyone listening to the recordings on http://blog.maryland-paranormal.com/ cannot honestly rule out personhood existing on the other side, that living, society – of the dead.
Early this morning as I aroused from sleep, I hear something interesting as well. I had prayed the night before for enlightenment, I admit, clutching my tiny statue of the Christ child, in the palm of my hand. Call me superstitious, or not. But I think this message from the divine Infant, regarding the family of God in this realm and the next, was for Hiram.
My entire family thanks you
when he says goodnight to the ghosts.