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22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, KStJ, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

Army Spiritualists

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Army Spiritualists is an article published in the Daily Mail on 28 april 1919, including a part of a speech by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Army Spiritualists

Daily Mail (28 april 1919, p. 3)

Greeting the Dead.

Sir A. Conan Doyle and the Scoffers.

At the Albert Hall last night a "National Memorial Service" for those fallen in the war was held under the auspices of the Spiritualists' National Union. Some thousands of people were present, special hymns were sung, and Mr. Keeling, of Liverpool, made an invocation during which he addressed the spirits of those who had made the great sacrifice.

Mr. Owen, president of the union, who presided, said thousands of spiritualists had gone into khaki and hundreds had gone under, but a larger proportion than usual came back unscathed. Lord and Lady Glenconner and others had written apologising for their absence from that gathering and expressing their complete agreement with it. "We want to call the attention of the whole world," Mr. Owen said, "to the fact that life is a continuous thing and that its continuousness is provable."

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said spiritualism had recently been passing through a crisis of contention and of argument, and many of the more sensitive souls felt it very much that a matter so delicate, which concerned those they had lest, should be exposed to the unseemly levity with which their opponents had attacked them. None the less, they were out to fight. "There is a whole Hindenburg line of ignorance and prejudice and plenty of theological barbed were in front of us, but we shall go straight through it because we have a cause that cannot be beaten. (Cheers.)

"We are here to greet our dead heroes — those who have cut short their earthly life in order that ours may be more tolerable. Many tens of thousands of our dead are attracted down to us to-night by that spiritual law of sympathy and love. They come to be congratulated, and we, representing those who love them, congratulate them, and they will go back to their other world and high duties in another sphere. This is not a memorial meeting; it is rather a joyous reunion."


Sir Arthur recalled how Admiral Togo during the Russo-Japanese War invoked his dead seamen. "When we have got to the level of Japan in psychical civilisation," Sir Arthur said, "it will not be ignorant civilians like ourselves, but the great chiefs of the Army and Navy who led these men to battle and death who will welcome and thank them for their services. The Army contains many who believe our doctrine, and it may not be long before such a thing takes place. I know one army corps commander who world rejoice to stand here and address his vanished men."

Sir Arthur related the dialogue of a soldier from the spirit world at a séance held after the commemoration service to the First Seven Divisions. In reply to questions, the friend who lost his life thus described the meeting: "There was too much ceremony and we felt out of it. They praised the dead. We are not dead, though they did not see us. I was disappointed. Many felt we were there, but they were swamped by the scoffers and unbelievers. Most of those who passed away in the Seven Divisions were there."

No fault of that kind, said Sir Arthur, could be found by their friends on the further side that night. They knew their love, respect, and admiration was the one thing in the universe that would bring them there. No doubt at that moment, if only their eyes were sufficiently developed, they would realise that that was a double meeting and that they were the smaller part of it.