Zoe Richmond’s brother Joe continues his account of
rescue work at the end of World War I.
“Those who are killed quite suddenly – shot
through the heart or head, or suddenly stunned with a
concussion from which they don’t recover, or simply in
the physical sense are blown to nothing by a shell –
come over with the feelings and thoughts which they
had just before. Often it is these who still think
they have to go on fighting, and have to be calmed;
often they think they must have suddenly gone mad,
because the scene has changed. That is not surprising
if you can imagine in what a tremendous state of
tension, almost like madness, the actual fighting is
carried out. Then they often think they have been
knocked over in the battle without knowing what
happened, which is actually the case, only they think
they are now in a base hospital and want to know what
did happen to them.
We have to humour them at first and only
gradually explain to them what the hospital means.
Sometimes they are profoundly glad, those who have
come to the limit of endurance, and rejoice to be free
from the world of wars. Sometimes, with those who
have very strong home ties, we have to let them
realize as gently and gradually as possible; most are
so weary in spirit that they worry over little, and
are soon ready to settle down to their rest.
Others have foreseen that they must be killed,
they have seen the shell or bomb about to explode, and
have known that when it explodes they must go. These
sometimes tumble straight into their period of sleep,
because their idea of death was simply obliteration,
and the rest period links up with the idea at once.
They need nothing explained until their rest is over,
but sometimes they sleep a very long time if their
conviction that death is the absolute end was very
ZOE Did you go straight to sleep?
JOE No; I’d got the idea of it first that I had
to have treatment. I’d known I was wounded, and I
knew I was going out. I wasn’t quite sure whether it
was a dream or what it was at first. It seemed a
pleasant sort of dream having such expert treatment
all at once. Then I began to get the hang of it a
bit, but they just had me in what seemed a very
comfortable hospital ward, and after a time when they
had got rid of the pain and pulled the blinds down,
they said it was time for us to go to sleep. Then
when I woke up I somehow knew it was the other world
at once. I think they had more or less told me
before, at any rate I’d got the hang of it.
ZOE Were you pleased then?
JOE In a way, yes. Got to get used to the wrench
of course, only then there is everybody to help you.
After the sleep there is a difference. Before, there
is always a certain amount of the illusion that you
are still just the same person that you were in the
earth life. That illusion doesn’t get dispelled
before the sleep; only the SPIRIT gets enough
quieted, enough reconciled to feel the sense of
In that sleep a great deal happens that you can’t
explain. You wake up with the realization that we are
really surviving spirits and that we are really on
another plane of experience. We are curious and have
a very strong desire to explore and understand
further. You begin to realize that all the things
around you are really thought forms, memory forms, and
that it is arranged like that so as to make the
transition easy from material life to spirit life.
You learn a great deal simply by finding out what you
can change by changing your own thought about it, and
what you can’t change, because it’s not only your
scene, it belongs to lots of other spirits too. You
can change any little thing, when the change won’t
affect anybody else.
There is talk and interchange of ideas with
others who are in the same stage of development. Then
there is the further help that we need, and get, from
rather more advanced spirits who come and talk with us
and explain things. That is the particular job I am
doing at present. It comes just a step beyond helping
people before their sleep. We don’t lecture them,
just answer their questions, just as much as they can
take in yet. We tell them that they will not get on
until they are fit to go back and help other chaps
through the first stage before the sleep. That makes
them keen to shove forward a bit, because it does not
do if they get dreamy and just play about with their
little thought forms and nothing else. After they
have had enough rest and play, they begin to want
work, and they are keen when we come along and tell
them that there IS work, and explain to them how to
get at it.
Halls of knowledge, rather like universities, are
in a region where it is not absolutely necessary to
have the illusion of concrete buildings and rooms, but
where at the same time it is helpful to use those
earthly symbols. It is not that the buildings are
necessary for any idea of shelter, or the rooms for
any idea of dividing one group from another for fear
of a confusion of voices. We realize that these
practical needs are superceded but there remains the
sense of the atmosphere and dignity of the building,
something that is expressed by its architecture. All
that atmospheric sense of dignity and beauty we cannot
yet get hold of as a thing in itself, so we still have
the symbolism of building and beautiful architecture,
and in that sense the buildings are real to us. It is
partly, also, that by keeping to this extent the easy
sense of a building to represent an idea, our mental
forces are freed for concentration on the purer, more
immaterial ideas that we learn to work out within the
halls of knowledge. Don’t confuse these with the
temple symbolism. These are places for the development
of understanding, not of the higher mediumship. It is
difficult to explain just what is taught here. I will
try and give you a picture.
It is in the central hall that all the members
congregate. There is a high Gothic vaulting, in a way
it is churchlike but not wholly. But the lines of the
vaulting have in them that sense of purity and
aspiration which belonged to the genius of the Gothic
at its highest. But don’t get too much the picture of
a cathedral in your minds, but rather the picture of
an ideal lecture hall. For the lecturer your best
picture will be one of those whom you know as guides.
Thought and speech merge in a telepathic way. Words
are used for their beauty, rhythm and cadence. The
teaching could flow as a thought stream alone, but
words are still used, not so much to convey the
thought as to give a kind of illustrative pattern and
artistic embellishment to the thought, like the
language of the greatest poets. But through and behind
what they say there shines a meaning far beyond that
of the words, and with that meaning we see a radiation
of colour. We learn simply by learning to feel that
one shade of meaning is represented by one shade of
colour, another shade of meaning by another shade of
colour. This is an elementary step. Then you begin to
realize that certain personalities radiate certain
colours. This is beginning to be understood on earth
now. The halls of learning represent the study of
light and colour.
You will realize that the life of learning is
only part of this development in spirit.
The other side is the life of service, of two kinds,
the “hospital” type of rescue work, [leading to
awakening after rest], and that represented by the
temple symbol, the highest end of the world of spirit,
[leading to wisdom and enlightenment]. The
intermediate service is to those who have passed out
of the earth life but who have not yet begun to
develop in spirit. We do occasionally help those with
whom we are in touch on earth, but mainly we help
those here in spirit who would not listen to higher
teachers, but who can be induced to take those first
small steps outward from their own little narrow
circle. [An illustration of this is given in one of
Dowding’s cases, Leopold Phibs, below]. That is a
very bald summary of the task [I am engaged in] which
is very difficult but highly interesting in its many
Now, in conclusion, here are a few extracts from
two more cases from amongst the many included in Hugh
Dowding’s last book, “The Dark Star.”
Here is Leopold Phibs communicating:
“I was a bringer of evil in the horridest way to
my own children, for I liked my own bright thoughts,
and thought my children must like them too. So I made
them think this was the only true thought, and they
could not have any hope for themselves in this spirit
world unless they believed the things I told them.
This I did not understand was the exact opposite
way I could help them to be happy in heaven, but I had
no imagination, and did not try to think how such
things could be true, that a god who loved could damn
those who failed to believe the things their father
taught them; especially when this father was only a
stupid beer-drinking fat man who like his own comfort
more than any real love, or even belief. This is the
real description of myself.
This time of which I tell was a time of peace
before any thought of great wars came. This I thought
would never happen, and made a bright boy of mine be a
bringer of this war nearer by being a fighter in his
trade. This he hated, but I said he could only be a
true lover of me if he obeyed his father. This he
did, and became a truly unhappy man who hated his
work, and hardly enjoyed living his life at all.
This I knew, but was too stupid to understand, and
thought he could be provided for this way, and mad a
brave lad that people admired. So I made this foolish
plan for him with no freedom for him to choose.
Then I became old, and made the discovery that I
myself had nothing to hold on to and was terribly
afraid to die. This was a true condition, for my
belief was a hollow inheritance, not even a true
belief of my own.
Then I was in misery, and tried to find some way
to be assured that this life I was going to was in
truth the life I expected where a god would himself
welcome me, and I should have a throne and a crown and
all sorts of good things. But I had no assurance.
Then I died. This was in truth a terrible event.
This dread I had was a real foreshadowing, and must
have at least loosened my mind a little. For the
shock I had was terrible for I was simply lost.
No one met me that I could see, for I did not
look for love, only for a holy welcome.
This had a dreadful effect on me, for I then
looked down to see how I could be helped by men.
This was terrible, for I could find no help, though I
tried to make them hear my cries of longing for help.
This lasted long, but I did not know it was long. It
seemed truly brutally horrible to me that I who
believed so much should have been so deceived. But so
it was; I had deceived myself, and had to discover
that I had only believed a hollow sham.
This came by degrees, for I had to find it out by
watching people who professed as I did, and people who
professed nothing, but loved their children and their
friends, and left them free to be the people GOD meant
them to be.
Then I tried to see my own children, and they
were loaded with chains that I had put on them, and
had no freedom or help to loose them, for they tried
to be the good things I had made them to be, and not
question anything. I had a horrible despair that I
had damned them too, and had a love for them that
hated myself. This lighted my mind, for then I found
a true parent waiting to lead me. I had no love for
him, but thought him a bad father as he had not
believed these things, and had never taught me to
believe them, for I had only been my own gaoler.
This parent led me to a place of haven for my
tired heart, and comforted me by trying to show me my
mistake. This I now had already seen, but not as this
kind parent knew was still necessary. I did not wish
to be further instructed by him as he had never known
the truths I knew; so I had a thought that perhaps my
heaven was a true heaven, but I was lost in some
unfortunate way, but now could be the revealer of
bright truth to my father.
This I proceeded to try to do. I made an
illusion of some bright place with psalm singing and
harps, but it was hollow, and I could hardly bear to
be in it myself, and my helper did not wish to come
into such a foolish place. He had a truly honest wish
to help me, but I tried not to be helped and went to
my heaven and tried to be in happy bright love there.
But this was no possible, for love is a truth
that can never be found in illusion, and this found me
the key; for I tried to consider that God was loving.
This was the truth, but only a little of it, but
it helped me, for I looked for love, and saw love
everywhere. This made me see that perhaps this was a
thing I had half expected. This truth that God is
love then came to me, for I had thought this was a
truth that I had believed; but I had never believed
it, for I did not understand the breadth or height or
depth of even an earthly love. This love that I now
began to see was only spirit love, but it became the
beautiful thing that helped me to be loving at last.
I longed to help my children but could not make
them hear me, for I was dead, and must not be thought
of as approachable, for this was a thing I had thought
and taught as forbidden, to meet the dead, or even to
pray for them. This was a truly strange belief, for I
believed that all were one. This really had no
meaning for me, but was just a form of words that I
had made my hard rule.
Then my mother, who had never had a true love of
this type of thought I had, but who had been led by
me, attempted to be in communication with me. This
was a truly curious attempt, for this true lover of
her child was an old frail woman in a little home that
had small comfort but had to do for her. Then this
true love of hers became a light to her mind, and she
asked me to help her to die as she was afraid, and
thought I could lead her to my heaven. I did not know
how to lead her, but asked my father how I could be
this leader. He told me that only love can lead, but
since I loved her I could perhaps try to lead her.
But it did not help me, for I had no place to lead her
Then I tried to be truer in mind, and became a
learner to find some place to which I could bring my
tired old mother who looked for help to me. This was
a real help, to have to help this love that loved me.
Then I found help that showed me a true place of rest
that was there all the time, but not visible to me,
for I had not looked for simple love that helped each
other. This they now showed me helps all who look by
being loved, that love creates the rest and loveliness
that the spirit needs for its bright haven of refuge
that the child can enjoy and the old man lead him to,
but all are the same in love.
This kind home that this father had led me to now
became my home that I led my mother to, for she had
asked me to lead her. This came as a true surprise to
me by now as I had begun to know how unfit I was to
lead. But I was asked, and I led. But I had no home
of my own to lead her to, only her old love’s home
where she had never been happy, for he had not loved
This then was the best home to take her to, and
she had a feeling that all was different from her
expectations, and that I had changed and had no bright
heaven to welcome her to. This was true; however she
was tired and glad to find a home that made her
welcome who had been so alone. My life had been the
only true life of her life.
This is a help, to be the loved son of a true
mother. This was the love that made me free.
To be patient is to be the possessor of the true
kingdom in the spirit. This is to be the patient
helper of people. I am this patient spirit at last.
But I could not again try to be patient to wait till
my children found release from the chains I had put on
them. I tried in every way to be their helper not to
be patients, but to be truly rash and free and hold
their own lines that had had little chance against my
patience, for this was the line I had imposed on them
though I had hardly recognized it myself.
I think I thought it high to be patient, so
perhaps I had to a small extent known it; but now I
tried to waken them to rebel, for this was so
necessary to help them to free themselves.
Then this true love of the boy that had to be the
fighter tried to tell me he could not be patient in
this trade, but must leave it. This pleased me for I
hoped he could then be more free. Then I tried to
help his mind to think to be led to a high idea of how
to be himself. This he heard, but of course he did
not know I told him, but almost feared he became a
traitor to me. But he tried to be true to hold this
ideal of being true to the highest he could see.
Then he became the truly inspired man who found the
reason for his own life, and became a true teacher of
boys in the loving way that led them to find their own
line that each had.
I think I was truly proud of this loving work,
for I loved this man that I had tried to chain. This
true being became the helper of his brother that was
also chained, and both were loving beings that had
reason to be bright spirits.
I think this is all I can tell. I am the
truly brutal man that had the name Leopld Phibs.
Now, finally, here is Lilian Lightfoot:
“I was a tired woman in a home for the old and
feeble, and this seemed to be a bad thing to me as I
longed for someone to care to be with me, and hear me
tell of old times.
But it interested no one, and it would have
helped me little, for it was old times I had given up,
and to be ready to understand the idea that there is
more before than behind, and that a true time of
preparation was a boon to be accepted thankfully.
I did not understand any of this, but on looking
back to see how I found my line, I think it is true
that I found it by being made to think I was alone,
and would have to die.
I tried not to think, but to be interested in
those of the Home. They all wanted a listener, and I
tried to be such a listener, but I had no interest in
these stories of past details and pettiness, and
willed to know why I had lived at all. And I thought
I could see a kind of light in me that tried to lead
me to love these old people, and make them think a
human love is a truth in action, and is not just a
thing that is given and taken and nothing remains.
I had a true feeling that this was a fact, and
worth believing, and tried to hear the stories with
love for the tellers, instead of a feigned interest in
Then a light came to me that I was LOVE, and
therefore a bit of GOD, and I hoped I thought truly,
for this almost had a flavour of blasphemy to me, and
I did not dare to say such a thing, and only hoped,
for it made me happy and warmed my heart so that I
felt no loneliness any more, for I was a part of LOVE,
and could not be alone.
It made me a help in the Home, as the old women
told me their stories, and I listened with love to
them, and it made them happier, and helped them to
look to be more contented to die as I thought it was a
happy thing to do.
This I found was true, for I lay ill, and
suffered pain, and one day I found I had no pain, but
had got up, and helped to be a bearer of cups of tea
to the old women. And then I saw they seemed sad and
wept, and I asked what it was, and they said I was
I thought a little in fright that perhaps this
was true, but then I found I could see light all round
where these women loved me, and it showed a long-lost
loved one that I hardly remembered before, holding out
hands to lead me. I loved to hold this hand, for this
was a true grasp of love that I felt, and no hand of
flesh, which is a shadowy thing to us, for it does not
fully reveal the love that it feels.
I held this hand with joy, and went away to a
place with trees and flowers and little animals which
were not afraid, and found time to rest and grow
strong and young again. It was such a lovely place,
for it all seemed like a home that I had loved before;
and so it was, for I had a long think of old dreams,
and it lay in these dreams; but not in the fringes
that I had thought were my whole dreams, but in this
lovely reality which lay outside the life I had been
shut up in.
I was in a heaven of happy living things, in
freedom from fear or oppression of one another, and
this made me love to be with them, and hear them laugh
and sing. This is true; every animal can laugh and
sing inside, if it is happy, as it ought to be.
This rest lasted a time, till I was ready to see
what lay beyond, and found a place in a hill, of light
bright long trees, like an avenue of aspens in light,
that led to a sort of temple, as it was a pillared
building in a bright stone that seemed to be shining
in itself. And it was the thought of those who loved
old people, but it is not easy to describe, for it is
not a building as you know it, but form of home built
I tried to enter, but found I was unable to climb
the steps – or it looked like this in thought to me –
so I looked to see if I could get help, and found a
host of people all ready to help as soon as I looked,
for I could not see them till I looked.
I tried to talk to them, but I could not speak
words. I found instead that I was making pictures in
the air in the manner of a picture show, but much more
truly lovely and living in effect. It was like the
best of the bits of dreams you can remember, for the
real dreams are in the spirit only.
I tried to think of my old friends, and at once I
could go in, and then I could see their spirits
reaching out to me so I could tell them that I could
see and love them still. I held a light to them, in a
spirit sense, and it was a true help, for I knew they
felt it, and did not cry for me any more.
I loved to be a bearer of cups of comfort to them
still, for I heard them longing for love, and trying
to know I loved them, and it truly was a help, for I
often saw a smile on the faces of their spirits –
which are like the expressions on their human faces,
but much more dramatic and expressive.
It is difficult to write, but I long to tell of
how I tried to help one of them to die. This is a
She was ill for long, and lay unhappy and unaware
of any love, for only of a great longing for a bright
love to hold her hand and be her leader. I came and
loved her to be the true spirit I knew she could be,
for I could see a shape of her spirit [her aura],
larger than her spirit’s face, and I found I was
trying to help her to be bigger in heart, and she
tried to hope more to be a bigger heart, and bear her
troubles without complaining.
But it was too hard to bear, and she presently
became, as you would say, unconscious. This helped to
give me a chance to prepare her to look for help; for
it is at such times that the spirit is free to meet
other spirits, and be spoken to in words, or a sort of
thought that seems like words and the language of
dream symbolism that spirits use.
I spoke to her and tried to tell her of a love
that is eternal, and which could not let her fall, for
its arms are everlasting, and that I knew because I
had found this true, and now could come to lead her to
find a rest and a place for thought of love and beauty
She had had little of these bright things in her
life, and hardly thought they were true, as she was
always working for food and clothes, and had no time
for enjoyment of earth.
I told her to be ready to look to my love to help
her, and then she died, and she did look to be helped.
If she had not been ill and unconscious I could not
have led her to look for help, for she had no other
thought of looking.
This is true, and shows how our bits of comfort
and love can help each other, and it is a great help
indeed if we can lead each other to die gladly, with a
thought of looking to be led, for then it is easy to
be led and to see help.
Otherwise the spirit is lost, and wanders
unhappily trying to be led by human hands which do not
feel its entreaties.
Love all, and your love can light any who wander
near you. They can see a light which is not human,
and it encourages them to look to see if there is more
such light, and they begin to see there is.
I was a lady by birth, but lost all I had, and
tried to forget this was a loss, so it became a gain.
I loved to think I could work too, though I did
not receive an education in youth. But I had a happy
childhood; this was a great wealth. I was in London
in both wars. My name is Lilian Lightfoot.
At this point in July 2006 I thought I had come to the end of the series. I wrote:- " Not that the work is ever finished or
complete. Life is an ongoing, progressive,
continuous process, and we all contribute, helping one
another along as best we can, both here on earth, and
on the further spiritual planes which we are
discovering as we continue our soul’s journey. These
extracts have been a mere introduction to the work,
and if the reader is interested to investigate
further, he or she can take up the references to
researchers and mediums and read the complete original
documents and books. Many of them are to be found on
this site and its links, and others with similar
archives, and in libraries, bookstores and in private
Air Chief Marshal Lord Hugh Dowding and Air
Marshal Sir Victor Goddard both contributed immensely
to gain public support for, and interest in,
Spiritualism, by their intelligent investigations and
because of their authority and professional standing
as Senior Air Force Officers. Both had films made
about them (“The Battle of Britain” and “The Night My
Number Came Up”). Both officers were experts on
Strategic Air Defence and wrote a book each about it:
“Twelve Legions of Angels” by Hugh Dowding, 1941,
and “The Enigma of Menace” by Sir Victor Goddard,
1959. Lord Dowding also supported his wife’s work in
the movement against cruelty to animals, while Victor
Goddard was the father of Ufology.
All work with spirit is inter-related, and this
series has just tried to bring out the connections of
the past with the present, and to show that we work to
help one another on both sides of the veil, and the
more we become aware of this and contribute actively
through genuine concern, compassion and love, the more
joy we bring to diminish the suffering here and there
brought about by ignorance and selfishness."
Since that time, I have come across much more about Spirit Rescue and Release work. In addition, mental health practitioners are providing effective therapies as they recognize the whole world of spirit lying beyond the "normal" everyday understanding, or "paradigm," of modern science and medicine. In the worlds beyond, at different levels there is information coming to us about helpers, counsellors, teachers, angels and saviours there who help in the negotiating with the operation of spiritual law, where the individual soul, and groups of souls, have been given the free will to create new forms and realities. This creativity seems to need some supervision. These higher philosophical and ethical considerations concerning free will, destiny, synchronicity and a host of other tendencies and possibilities are beyond our comprehension. "Rescue" is a small part of this, and the further information I have been able to find, coming from different levels, hopefully adds a little to our basic understanding. Richard R. September 2010
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