Saturday, 3 December 2016


Oh gold, thou pest of earth, a lasting curse;
For thee men will their honour sacrifice—
For plunder, fraud, or murder, which is worse,
Until their guilty spirit onward flies 
Unto a world where it can never sleep;
But shall with anguish groan and sorrow weep,
Till it has passed the first immortal sphere,
And to its Maker then is drawing near;
Where all its sorrows end in joy and peace,
And from all worldly cares it is released.


This declaration consists of the experience of death and immortality from the spirit of a man who, whilst living, was well known to be a hoarder of wealth or riches, and who would lend money on extortionate interest; he would, also, exact from those who had the misfortune to be in his power, the last farthing they possessed and, thereby, sink them into the bitterest poverty and wretchedness to assuage his lust for the glittering dross, which he worshipped as the only idol of his heart.

I am the spirit of Daniel Reives, who departed from mortal life to immortality in the month of November 1822, and the greater portion of my life was spent in the collection of gold to the detriment of those with whom my business transactions occurred. At the age of 65, I was confined to my miserable abode in the locality of Manchester where, after several weeks of severe suffering, I felt that the period of my existence was nearly ended. As I lay upon my bed of rags, my avarice for wealth having deprived me of even necessary comfort, I reflected and thought with the bitterest fear over my hidden treasures, which lay concealed beneath me, fearing lest those about me might detect its hiding place while I yet retained life. I had determined, however, that no relative should enjoy it, as they had treated me with contempt and disgust, thinking, on account of the wretchedness of my abode, that I was poor. Nevertheless, I had been enabled to lend money in secrecy to persons in need from whom I extorted enormous interest, and which, on account of my secrecy, remained unliquidated, haunting and harrowing my soul to the last moments. Yet, in a paroxysm of rage, I wrote a paper, consigning all I was worth to a person, between whom and myself no tie of relationship existed, who visited me in kindness, thinking I was poor. This was signed by my own hand, and by another person who visited me prior to my death. The person who signed and he who received are now living and can bear witness to these assertions. As the night approached, my sufferings increased, and, without any person near me, I felt the terrible sensation of a certainty that death was at hand. My treasures appeared, as it were, dancing before my eyes, as if taunting me in triumph at its passing into another’s hands. I continued in this manner without giving or being enabled to make any alarm, partially through hope and partially through fear of calling for assistance unnecessarily, thinking that my fear of death was a delusion, and hoping that I might recover. At length, I felt a cold twinging sensation run through my frame; my limbs then shook convulsively, and then stiffened as with cramp; my breast appeared as if burning with fire; a giddy sensation took possession of my brain; a noise—as the booming of heavy artillery—filled my ears; an explosive sensation occurred within my breast; my eyesight left me, and the next moment all was still—all pain had ceased, all care had vanished, and I felt perfectly conscious that the pang of death had passed, and wondered within myself what cause there was to fear it. How long I remained in this manner I am unable to say, but at length, as if awakened from a dream, my eyes opened, and I found myself gazing with horror upon the heap of lifeless mortality before me. I then understood my real position, knew I had experienced death, and smiled at the assertions of men; feeling that all worldly pain and trouble had ceased. With these thoughts, my gold recalled my attention to its hiding place. I tried to seize it, but its touch was as of coals of fire, which acted as an electric shock upon me. I, then, with my will, endeavoured to move the members of my body, but in vain, still knowing that they had obeyed its dictates. I then wept bitterly, and, as I still felt perfect, wondered what experience would next reveal. With these thoughts, I was torn from the room as if by magic, undergoing the same experience as others have described; suffering the taunts and reproaches of those whom I had injured whilst living. Returning to my wretched abode, I witnessed the interment of my body, and the strife between my relations in endeavouring to obtain my wealth; whose thoughts, though unconscious to themselves, mingled with the thoughts of others whom I had injured and hurled into poverty by my avarice, smote me with violence, and rebounded from off me with the most indescribable torment. After suffering thus for years, exposed to every species of remorse of conscience and torment from those who were still living, I was then passed through the most loathsome darkness, amidst the yells, screams, and howlings of myriads of beings, who appeared occupied in inflicting torture and torment upon each other, passing with the velocity of whirlwinds around the atmosphere of the globe, each enduring sufferings impossible to be described, at the hands of those whom they had injured in life, who departed before and after them; all inflicting and all receiving the most horrible torture; all accusing and all being accused; all empowered to retaliate, but none alleviating their sufferings thereby in the least. Alas! there are few on whom I have power to retaliate; nor is retaliation any alleviation to my sufferings, and though I frequently visit the scenes of life, which at the time appear happiness, yet they add to the mental torture. Therefore, declare to the world that the sufferings after death, in their mildest form, are beyond all earthly comprehension, and that tyranny, hypocrisy, murder, drunkenness, usury, infidelity and suicide all suffer in equal proportions, and can describe what I have been commanded to do. This is the extent I am permitted to reveal, and let man take warning from these words, and remember that to hoard wealth is to deprive their fellow creatures of that which the Lord of All has created for them, and that all who have suffered hunger or want at their hands whilst living will be to them instruments of torture after death. Let all men learn there is an everlasting existence in immortality in which all must suffer according to their deeds, and in which all must dread the future, even after death. Farewell! Take warning! My mission is now complete.

A Message from the World of Spirits, J. G. H. Brown, Holyoake & Co., London, 1807