Friday, 2 December 2016

Revelations as given by the spirit of a murderer

Further revelations on the mysteries of immortality, as given by the spirit of a murderer

Whosoever shall take the life of their fellow creatures by violence,
Or cause life to be taken by authority of worldly law,
Is a murderer, and the murderer shall have his portion in the world to come
With the tyrant and the hypocrite, 
Whose sufferings shall be terrible and indescribable,
To fit them by progressive purification for the entrance into eternal bliss.


I am William Saville, who was executed in Nottingham on the morning of the 7th of August, 1844, for the wilful murder of my wife and children in a wood, in the parish of Colwick, near Nottingham, the circumstances connected with which are well known in this part of the country. But having permission to stay only for a short time, I have received commands from the Higher Powers to declare to the world all my experience on leaving life up to the present period in immortality, that my declaration may deter men from pursuing the paths of folly and vice. Therefore, on the morning in question, at the appointed hour, I was warned to prepare for the solemn event, though I passed a restless night, suffering the most intense anguish and dread of my pending fate, fearing the revelation of the mysteries of immortality. At length, however, composure and reconciliation came over me, and I walked to the fatal scaffold, which I ascended with firmness, accompanied by the officers and other functionaries. I viewed with horror the immense assemblage which had collected to witness the last penalty which the law could inflict upon me for my crimes, and recognised several persons of both sexes in the crowd. The sensation of the operation performed by the executioner in adjusting the fatal rope can be described by none but those who have experienced it. At length I found myself blufted from the light of the world, and, after the usual words from the functionary on such occasions, I felt the horrible sensation of tottering and trembling on the verge between life and immortality—a sharp and momentous click which ran through my frame with indescribable horror, and the next moment I felt myself drop for several feet. At the same instant, indescribable pain convulsed my whole frame, and a noise as of many heavy carriages passing over the paved streets filled my ears, and my heart felt as if seized by a hand of ice, which forbade its functions. My limbs then appeared to be set fast; a deathlike faintness came over me, and the same moment I experienced the sensation as of a sleeping vision, and all pain, all cares, and all troubles had left me. My eyes then appeared to open, and I felt conscious of what had passed, heard the screams which ascended from the crowd below, and felt to secretly smile at their belief of my being dead. I could now see in every direction, and appeared as if passing through the air with terrible rapidity, and found myself in the most horrible darkness, where I heard indescribable tumult and anguish, which reminded me of the assertions I had heard respecting hell and torment, and I then felt aware of my exact position. How long I continued there I cannot tell, but I shortly found myself again beside my body, which hung listless and motionless, and upon which I gazed with horror, knowing it to be my own, and yet I too felt substantial, and at a loss to understand my real position. But at this juncture, I was tom from the spot by an unseen hand, and the next moment found myself face to face with my murdered wife and children, whose ghastly wounds reproached me for my past deeds, and their sufferings experienced through my conduct taunted me in a manner impossible to be described. I endeavoured to flee from their presence, but the effort was in vain. At every turn fresh miseries awaited me, and fresh tortures accumulated about me. The thoughts of those who are living fell upon me as missiles which rebound backwards and forwards, leaving me without one moment’s pause from the most horrible torture. Again and again the thoughts of her whom I deceived by my duplicity haunted me, and others whom I had wronged followed me in every direction, heaping upon me tortures which the mortal mind can have no power to comprehend. And in this manner I suffered until I again passed the boundaries of darkness, where fresh tortures awaited me which I cannot attempt to describe; but at every turn the wounds of my murdered wife and children are present to my view, with numbers whom I have injured whilst living. And still, with all this, and much more suffering, the future still haunts me, and we dread every moment’s experience, for a year is no more to us than an hour is to the world when passed. Still, however, to look forward it appears an unspeakable and indescribable time, for none are permitted to know what next shall follow. Therefore, I am still in this condition, with others whom I can recognise, but none are permitted to communicate with each otherthough all suffer and cause suffering, yet none are relieved from their own suffering by these means, and though at times permitted to visit the scenes of life and impart warnings to friends, it only increases the anguish and misery of such individuals. Let the world, therefore, take warning and refrain from tyranny, hypocrisy, murder, and all evils which are oppressive to man or displeasing to God, and thereby avoid or decrease the manifold miseries I have here faintly described. Let this be made public, and rest assured that, though each grade of suffering vies with the other in magnitude and misery, yet each individual believes his own sufferings to be the greatest, and has no knowledge when this suffering will cease. The tyrant, the hypocrite, the murderer, the drunkard, the infidel, the usurer, and the suicide, are all classified, and each are employed in heaping taunts and reproaches on the other for wrongs and injuries committed and experienced in the fleshand happy are they who avoid these evils, for a wide gulf is between us; but even they suffer, though their sufferings have no comparison with ours. I am commanded to declare this, that all men may know there is none good, but that all must be purified or punished according to their deeds. My mission is now complete. Farewell! misery awaits me.

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