Rosicrucian Writings Online

My Personal Experiences

By H. Spencer Lewis, F. R. C.
[From The Rosicrucian Digest September 1931]
(NOTE--This series of articles will present the strange and mystical experiences which may come to one who has gradually attuned himself to the higher or more subtle forces existing around us. Perhaps some of our members have had identical experiences and the explanation given by our Imperator in connection with the ones he has had will help our members to understand some of the laws that are possibly involved. These experiences will be presented in the form of one complete story in each issue for the next few months. Many points connected with each of these experiences are difficult to explain and still remain in the realm of the unknown. You may take the Imperator's partial explanation and accept it or you may reject it. He is merely offering his personal opinion while he still holds an open mind and is seeking through tests and experiments to determine the exact nature of whatever principles or laws were actually involved in these experiences. Incidentally, these experiences show what may come into the life of a person who is Cosmically or psychically attuned and who is in constant contact with conditions, persons, and places throughout the country, and while holding the position he holds in relation to the work of this organization--Editor.)
Number 2--The Strange Packing Box
IN this second incident of my series of peculiar psychic experiences, there are a number of points of special interest to those who are fond of psychic research.
A few months after I had moved my home to a large city in Florida in 1925, with the intention of remaining there a few years to assist in building up our work in that part of the country, I was called on the phone one evening by a very close neighbor who asked if I would come quickly to his home and investigate something that had been tormenting his wife and himself throughout the evening. It was a little after midnight when I was called, and I had not yet retired. It was early in the spring and the sky was very dark but clear and there was a warmth in the air plainly indicating that the warm summer period had made a good start.
The homes in this city of Florida were all large and spacious, the ceilings especially being very high in order to allow a large amount of free air circulation throughout the summer months. Every house of this kind had many large windows, well screened, and when I say well-screened, I do not mean with a loose portable fly screen or a large one on the outside of the windows that flaps loosely or is easily removed, for the great winds that often sweep over Florida necessitate the construction and fastening of screens in a manner that will protect them against being torn from the building suddenly and completely. Furthermore, the city was on the highway, traversed most frequently by tourists from the north, and was generally filled each day with motorists and those begging free passage along the way, and there had been so many attempts at robberies and intrusion, that the owners of homes had taken every precaution to see that every downstairs window and door was tightly secured before retiring at night. The second stories of such homes very often consisted of one or two enclosed bedrooms and three or four sleeping rooms or open air porches. My neighbor's house was a wooden bungalow with a second story consisting only of two sleeping rooms entirely surrounded by windows that could be opened and with only the tightly fastened screens would become typically an open air sleeping porch. The hallway and stairs by which these two upper rooms were reached were at the rear of the house. Just between the dining room and an adjoining den room and library a flight of stairs ascended for about six feet where there was a small platform at right angles with another flight of stairs rising for six more feet to the second floor. Here there was a small hallway on either side of which were located the two sleeping rooms, to which I have referred.
My neighbors had moved into this house but two or three months previously, and had had it redecorated inside and out in a very thorough manner. Only within the last few days had they furnished one of the upper bedrooms, for during the first two months of occupancy of the house, it was cool enough to permit them to sleep in one of the downstairs bedrooms.
From the very first night of their occupancy of the upstairs bedroom, they had been awakened from eleven o'clock onward with peculiar sounds in the hallway outside of their upstairs sleeping room and in the adjoining bedroom, which was unfurnished and was used for storage of unused pieces of furniture and packing cases of various materials and articles. For three or four nights, they believed these noises to be due to the winds which often become very strong after midnight or late in the evening, or possibly to mice or to the flapping of a radio wire connecting the antenna on the roof with a set in the den room below. It appears, however, that the young couple occupying this house had generally retired after midnight, and on only one occasion had been in their bedrooms before eleven o'clock. They had, therefore, heard the sounds only after twelve-thirty or one in the morning.
When I reached their home on this particular night, I found both of them in bathrobes or dressing gowns seated in the den room downstairs and frightened out of their wits. The story they told me was as follows:
That they had retired just about eleven o'clock in the upstairs room and closed the door as they had always done; that shortly after the lights were extinguished in their room and they were at rest in the bed in the far corner, they heard footsteps in the outer hall and a bristling noise as though some paper was being rattled. Both of them remained awake listening, but each was unconscious of the fact that the other was listening. The young man happened to be in a position where his face was turned toward the closed door on the opposite side of the room. The faint light from the arc lamp on the street illuminated the room sufficiently for them to see the outline of the door and the pieces of furniture in the room.
Listening for a while to the footsteps, the young man was suddenly frightened by hearing the door-knob of the door rattled and turned. The door-knob was one which stuck, and required more than the usual amount of pressure to turn it, and after being rattled for a while and turned, the door gradually opened. You can imagine the sensation this created in the mind of the young man, but he was able to restrain himself and lie quietly in his bed and watch. The door opened to the extent of eight or ten feet, and then moved no further. He waited to see if there would be any attempt on the part of anyone to enter the room, but there were no further sounds for a few moments, and nothing else to be seen. Then suddenly the footsteps in the hall were heard again, much louder this time because of the door being open. Then another door-knob was rattled and turned, and the creaking door on the opposite side of the hall giving entrance way to the unused bedroom indicated that whoever was causing the disturbances had stepped across the hall. The second door finally closed and as the young man listened he heard the movement of some heavy articles on the floor and then the rattling of paper as though large sheets of stiff wrapping paper were being shaken, and finally the noise of a hammer hitting against nails or wood.
Thoroughly alarmed he turned around to awaken his wife, only to find that she too had been listening to the entire procedure and believed that he was asleep. They compared their impressions and then arose and turned on the lights, and rushed out into the hallway with a gun which the young man always kept in his room. They found the door of their bedroom open, but the door of the bedroom on the opposite side of the hall was closed. They examined every part of that room carefully, including a little door that afforded entrance way into part of the attic adjoining these two bedrooms. No one could be seen and nothing found to give any explanation of the noises they heard. After searching around downstairs and making sure that every window was still closed tightly and every door locked, they returned to their room, and before they could possibly get to sleep, similar noises were repeated. Always the same rattling of large sheets of paper, the handling of pieces of wood, and the hammering of these together as though nailing up a box or crate.
Just why the young man and young woman interpreted the noises as the nailing up of a crate, they could not explain. It is a psychological fact that we try to associate every noise with some commonplace incident or something with which we are familiar. In looking at my notes from which I am dictating the report of this experience, I find that in my usual manner I made very careful notations of everything that was told to me, and everything that I observed myself, for I do not like to depend upon memory in regard to such experiences. Years of research and investigation have trained me in making copious notes in notebooks, and filing these away under various index classifications. I find one notation which deals with this very point. I asked the young couple several times why they believed that the noises had anything to do with the packing of a large wooden crate, and their answer was that it sounded just like the noises they had made themselves when they packed some of their crates and unpacked them in the processes of moving to their present home. I found, however, that very often the Cosmic Mind or the psychic mind within the individual gives a clue to the nature of the noises, and that this is more dependable than the mere association of ideas. However, we were all agreed that the noises heard had something to do with the handling of wood, paper, nails, and a hammer.
After hearing the same noises a second time, they decided to stay up the rest of the night and partly dressed they went downstairs into the den room on the first floor, which was almost directly under the bedroom in which they had been trying to go to sleep. With all of the lights on in the house, they could still hear footsteps on the floor upstairs and every now and then they would hear one of the two doors open and close, and then there would come the rattling of paper and the hammering. They even heard the footsteps descending the stairs as though coming down to the lower hall and entering the very room in which they were seated. After listening to all of this for over an hour, they finally asked me to call.
After making a search all through the house and finding nothing that would give any clue, I sat down in the den room with them and waited. In a little while we heard the footsteps, the creaking boards, the turning of door-knobs, the creaking hinges, the rattling of the paper, and the hammering. There was no mistaking the noise of the paper, and there certainly could be no mistake of the noise of hammering. Whether the hammering was upon a packing box or on the floor I could not determine. Every attempt to go up the stairway while the noises were distinct resulted in an immediate cessation of the noises. However, one time I stood at the foot of the stairs with the lights all turned on and distinctly heard the footsteps coming down the steps toward me until they were within three or four feet of me.
Deciding that I would make one of my usual materialistic tests, I took a sheet of thin tissue paper and stretched it out on one of the steps half way up the flight. Then we waited for the footsteps to come down the stairway again. As the noise of the footsteps began and approached me we waited for the invisible footsteps to reach the piece of paper. Suddenly, we saw the thin sheet of paper pressed downward against the wooden step just as though some foot had stepped upon it. You may realize that a piece of thin paper lying on a carpeted step will lie very lightly and will not fit tightly against the carpet. However, the paper was suddenly depressed in the center and gave every visible evidence of some light weight upon it. Then the noise of the footsteps ceased.
Wishing to carry my investigation a little further I went up the stairs to the upper floor and sat down upon a chair midway between the two bedroom doors and then extinguished the lights. The young people remained downstairs in the den room. Finally I heard the footsteps ascending and looking down the stairway I could see the haze and the bluish white aura of a figure. It came closer and closer and finally passed right by me, and through the partly opened door into the bedroom that was not being used. Then the door closed just as definitely and decidedly with all the noise and clicking that one hears when a door is closed by a physical hand. Waiting a moment I heard the rattling of the paper again and finally the very loud pounding of the hammer. Pushing the door open I found a large, white, hazy figure much like an oval form of white fog standing in the middle of the room and then floating in the space of the room in a horizontal position it wafted out through the upper part of the open window passing through the metal screen just as though there was nothing to interfere with its passage. It was the first time in my experience that I had ever seen a figure of this kind hasten away from me. In nearly every instance of psychic research such figures whenever of genuine psychic nature become passive and remain long enough in my presence to reveal to me the nature or purpose of their mission.
I closed the door of the room and seated myself on the edge of a trunk and waited in the faint light that came from the street lamp for any further developments. Suddenly my attention was attracted to the little door that gave access to the attic. This little door was about eighteen inches wide and possibly thirty inches high, and was cut into the wooden paneling of the room in a hidden manner with just a little brass catch on it to keep it closed. It was not intended for any use except possibly for electricians or repair men to get to the attic when absolutely necessary and since the attic was very low and unfinished, the little door was kept constantly closed. Early in the evening I had looked at this little door and noted that the spring catch on it was working properly and that the door was securely fastened. Now I was surprised, however, to see the spring catch on the door actually open and click and permit the door itself to open to the extent of eight or ten inches. I suppose that many would consider it an uncanny thing to sit in the center of a room and watch a small door apparently open of its own accord. Looking through the dark opening of the door I could see in the center of the attic a small bright light much like a ball of luminous paint. It had a very hazy outline but the center of it was brilliantly white. As I concentrated upon it I saw that it was moving toward me, and as it moved it widened in area until finally it was at least two feet in diameter. Then I saw it squeeze or condense itself through the little open doorway and rapidly expand into a large oval of misty white luminosity. This appeared to be the identical oval form that I had seen float out of the window. It came closer to me, passed in front of me, and went to another corner that was very dark. Here it stood and gradually changed its shape from an oval figure to the form of an old man. I plainly saw the gray hair and gray beard, and the bright eyes, and even the trembling lips. Slowly he raised one of his hands and enabled me to see that in this hand he held an odd shaped hatchet. Pointing with this hatchet over toward the opposite dark corner, I was surprised to see there a large packing box made crudely out of odd pieces of wood. The top of it was partly closed and alongside of it stood a number of pieces of wood, which evidently were intended for the closing of the top of the box. I was just about to ask some questions when the wind blowing against one of the shades or something else caused one shade that was pulled all the way down against a closed window to suddenly flap and spring upward. As the shade wound itself rapidly around the roller, making a terrific noise, the figure in the corner trembled and turned into a misty haze again of a deep red color, and seemed to condense into nothingness right where it stood. Even the vague packing box in the corner disappeared also.
After I had made sure that the figure had entirely disappeared, I examined the window where the shade had caused all the disturbance and could find no reason for this incident, which certainly interrupted what might have been an interesting conversation.
The young folks downstairs had heard the noise of the shade, and had heard me spring across the room, and were quite concerned. They stood at the foot of the stairs and called to learn if anything was wrong, and to pacify them I had to go down and explain that merely a shade had played a trick on me. They were thoroughly frightened, however, and explained that they would not go to bed as long as there were such noises in the house, and the young wife even threatened to prepare to move the next day. I had to assure them, therefore, that I would intercede for them and see that the magic spell that had been cast over the house was neutralized or extinguished for all time. We all three proceeded then to sit in concentration while I attuned myself with the Cosmic forces and pleaded that this sort of psychic manifestation should discontinue inasmuch as I had received sufficient explanation from what I had seen to eliminate any further necessity for a continuance of the visitation.
I did not attempt to trace this completely and to learn the details of the story back of it. Whatever details I would have learned would have been unimportant from a mystical or psychic point of view. For instance, I am not concerned even today as to the identity of the old man or what his position or place in life had been. It is quite evident to me from what I saw that the old man had lived in the house at one time either as a permanent resident or a guest, and that just before his transition he had engaged in packing something or many things in a large box, which he had crudely constructed out of various pieces of wood, and intended to ship this packing box to some place or leave it for some one person to possess with all of its contents. Transition, however, overcame him before he completed his work and evidently the contents of the box had gotten into wrong hands or were in danger of getting into wrong hands, and the personality of the old gentleman was undoubtedly disturbed and uneasy, and desired to complete the protection of the things that had been placed in the packing box.
Such strong desires in the heart and mind of a person at the moment of transition often cause them to return to the earth plane or to be held earth bound on the earth plane for days, weeks, or months after transition. It is just as though after transition they found themselves floating in space as a being, but with their mind and thoughts centered upon and held fast by some little problem that they considered exceedingly important. Through their mind being concentrated upon the problem and the location and character of the problem, their personality projects to that place and they perform in a sort of mental visualization those acts or those things that they would have liked to have done before transition. These mental pictures project themselves to the place being thought of and become visible. If you can convince such a projected personality that the message they wanted to give or the thing they wanted to do is being taken care of, and that everything is all right, they will immediately abandon their restlessness about it and forget it completely, and this at once releases them from constant contact with some earthly place.
Nearly all cases of the return of a personality to some former habitation is for the purpose of giving to someone a message, pointing something that is hidden, lost, or undiscovered, or to attempt to cause some little act which weighed heavily upon their minds at the time of transition. The turning on of lights, however, and the brusque manner of dealing with these projections and manifestations often frightens away the personality only to return again at some quiet moment. The quickest way to end this sort of thing is to sit by peacefully and sympathetically and ask the vision before you what it is it desires to convey or what it wishes to have done, and listen to what is said or watch what is shown, and thereby bring the matter to a permanent close.

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