By Richard Rowley
The World Beyond – Gone With The Wind actor believes in survival after death.
Social and antisocial life and the consequences on many levels in the Spirit World.
Leslie Howard, one of the actors in the film version of “Gone with the Wind” (1939) believed in survival and probably talked with Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding about Spiritualism when consulting him about making the movie “The First of the Few,” which was released in 1942. He directed and played the part of R.J Mitchell, inventor and designer of the Spitfire, which played such a prominent part in the winning of the Battle of Britain in 1940. After his final retirement from the Royal Air Force in 1942, Hugh Dowding investigated Spiritualism and mediumship in particular, and published the first of four books on the subject, “Many Mansions,” in January, 1943. Leslie Howard must have read this before his untimely death on June 1st, 1943, when his aircraft was shot down in the Bay of Biscay. In two of his other films he had played the parts of adventurers risking their lives for a cause [John Buchan’s “ 49th Parallel” (1941) and “Pimpernel Smith” (1941) as well as more romantic leads, in Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion,” (1938) [later turned into the musical “ My Fair Lady”] and “Intermezzo” (1939).
However, he had read early in 1943 the unpublished manuscript of “The Country Beyond’ by Jane Sherwood, and had some important things to say to the author about the future of Spiritualism and Psychical Research.
He offered to write a preface for the book, but his journey abroad and its tragic ending prevented the carrying out of that intention. However, his conversations with Jane on two occasions, which she made a note of at the time, show us what he would have included in the preface. He told Jane: – It is not so important that people should make up their minds about these things as that they should be presented to them in such a fashion as to command respect from serious-minded men and women. So much of this type of literature is based on wishful thinking and exploits the bizarre and sensational. I myself do not regard any of these things as proven but I am aware that there is a mass of evidence, to cover which no adequate theory has been advanced. We are less than honest if we shut our eyes to this evidence. [my underscoring – Richard R.]
Moreover, materialistic theories are proving less and less satisfactory to thoughtful people and the time has surely come when we must look to science to outgrow its prejudices and to get to work in earnest on the field which is being opened up by psychic research…… I believe that we are on the verge of great discoveries in the realm of mind, and books like this may well act as stimuli to the launching of a new hypothesis of matter which will bridge the gulf between the materialist and the spiritualist. Who knows, perhaps in years to come we shall be saying ‘Do you remember how it all began?’
Well, what Leslie Howard predicted in 1943 has already taken place over the ensuing 60+ years. As well as churches establishing study groups, the disciplines of psychical research and parapsychology have become respectable and respected university courses, Frances Banks “Frontiers of Revelation (1962) and Alister Hardy “The Spiritual Nature of Man” (1979) published their collections of Religious Experiences, mediums are appearing frequently on radio, television and on the Internet, and scientists like Teilhard de Chardin and Jean E. Charon, Ron Pearson, Larry Dossey M.D. as well as mediums themselves are providing plausible theories in support of the eternal nature of our Spirit, and of Survival of the Personality after Death, for which earlier researchers like Robert Hare, Frederic Myers, Isaac Funk, James Hyslop, and Oliver Lodge had already provided ample evidence.
In additional to this, new branches of study have provided yet more evidence. Near Death Experiences, Out-of-Body travel, Dreamwork, Past Life Regressions and the development of EVP and ITC have all contributed to our knowledge of the wider reality of the Spirit World, which we are looking into in this series.
To continue with the accounts of the World Beyond, here is a further review of Jane Sherwood’s “The Country Beyond.” Which was eventually published a year after Leslie Howard’s death by Neville Spearman, London in 1944. Jane’s old family friend spoke about other people he met in the Spirit World, and about the varying levels of activity over there.
He said that to understand the social aspects of their life, certain factors have to be taken into account which we have not yet got into focus. We have to remember that these spiritual planes of existence have been in existence as long as the advent of humankind, and so have a long history. Earth events are very often the offspring of spiritual events, and the world of spirit is continually influenced by what is happening on earth [and vice-versa]. Conditions on earth tend to be reflected in the spirit world, and the leaders and originators of great movements on earth of course find themselves over there too. But in the first place, their great ideas invariably had their origin in powerful movements of thought on the spirit planes. So the interrelated web is woven between both worlds, so on our side we write our one-sided histories, while on the Spirit side they have their fuller records.
Human souls have always spent far longer on the spiritual planes than on the earth itself; the tenure on each plane has no set period. Those who develop quickly may pass on within a few years of their coming while others who mature more slowly may spend centuries on one plane. These planes are the true home of the human race. The earth, in spite of its importance as a preliminary training for another great cycle of living, is a kind of exile. The bulk of living experience both in numbers and time is done on the spirit planes. On the next plane beyond where Jane’s friend was at that moment, he said that there were less people, and as they went on upwards, he believed that the numbers continued to decrease, [or perhaps it just seems so, as souls join larger groups of like-minded spirits]. At each stage a certain number return to earth as they attain to the final development of which they are capable.
All our historical characters have to pass through these planes, [where everything is transparent, and spiritual laws are in operation] so these new factors in experience annul the greatness of some famous people, and enhance that of others. Where there has been true greatness in an emotional being, it makes itself felt again there, and this is so, whether the power is good or evil. But power exerted as evil destroys itself in the Spirit World. Its exercise is intolerable both to its wielder and to the world around him or her. The moral or spiritual law is now set anew as a physical law, and this makes the early years on that plane as chequered a story as on earth, even though the prosser forms of violence are left beyind. Where a man has power of an evil nature, he spreads such suffering around him and will attract such suffering to himself that life will be intolerable to him. He will be abandoned by all and become an isolated misery until he comes to himself. He will have to work out the inner conflicts which are at the root of his anti-social tendencies and only when they are resolved will he be sane and happy again.
[At the present time (April 2011) looking at the events in Africa and the Middle East, we can see a number of dictators clinging to power at the expense of the lives of thousands of their own people. If they don’t face justice here on earth, they most certainly will have to face themselves in the Spirit World].