The Blue Island
- in The Blue Island, by W. T. Stead (december 1922, Hutchinson & Co. [UK])
- in The Blue Island, by W. T. Stead (n.d., Rider & Co. [UK])
- in The Blue Island, by W. T. Stead (n.d., Psychic Book Club [UK])
Letter from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Hutchinson & Co, 1922)
Dear Miss Stead,
I found the narrative most interesting and helpful. I have no means of judging the exact conditions under which it was produced, or how far subconscious influences may have been at work, but on the face of it, speaking as a literary critic, I should say that the clear expression and the happy knack of similes were very characteristic of your father. We have to face the difficulty that the details of these numerous descriptions of the next spheres differ in various MSS., but on the other hand, no one can deny that the resemblances far exceed the differences. We have to remember that the next world is infinitely complex and subdivided — "My Father's house has many mansions" — and that, even in this small world, the accounts of two witnesses would never be the same. If a description were given by an Oxford don, and also by an Indian peasant, their respective stories of life in this world would vary much more than any two accounts that I have ever read of the world to come. I have specialised in that direction — the physical phenomena never interested me much — and I can hardly think that anyone has read more accounts, printed, typed and written, than I have done, many of them from people who had no idea what the ordinary spiritualist scheme of things might be. In some cases the mediums were children. Always there emerges the same idea of a world like ours, a world where all our latent capabilities and ah our hidden ambitions have free and untrammelled opportunities. In all there is the same talk of solid ground, of familiar flowers and animals, of comfortable homes, of human pleasures, of congenial occupations — all very different to the vague and uncomfortable heaven of the Churches. I confess that I cannot trace in any of these any allusion to a place exactly corresponding to this Blue Island, though the colour blue is, of course, that of healing, and an island may be only an isolated sphere — the ante-chamber to others. I believe that such material details as sleep, nourishment, etc., depend upon the exact position of the soul in its evolution, the lower the soul the more material the conditions. It is of enormous importance that the human race should know these things, for it not only takes away all fears of death, but it must, as in the case of your father, be of the very greatest help when one is suddenly called to the other side, and finds oneself at once in known surroundings, sure of one's future, instead of that most unpleasant period of readjustment, during which souls have to unlearn what their teachers here have taught and adapt themselves to unfamiliar facts.
Good luck to your little book.
Arthur Conan Doyle
Ad in Light (6 january 1923)