October 1, 1915
Received by James Padgett
I am here, your late friend, Perry.
I want to tell you that I am in a condition of great darkness and suffering, and I am not able to find a way out of the darkness or to relieve myself from my tortures.
I know that you may think it strange that I did not listen to Mr. Riddle when you brought him in contact with me a short time ago, but I could not believe what he told me, or understand in what way the darkness would leave me by merely praying to God and trying to believe that there is such a thing as Divine Love, which I might obtain by letting my belief in what he said become sufficiently strong to cause me to forget the recollections of my awful deed.
I saw that he was a wonderfully bright spirit and seemed to be so very happy in his condition of belief but, nevertheless, I was not able to believe that it was the result of what he told me and so I am in the same condition that I was when I wrote you last.
My friend, for such I believe you to be or you would not be able to interest yourself in me as you have, I want to tell you that if I only again could shoot myself and by that means end my existence, I mean annihilate my spirit and soul, so that they would go into nothingness, I would gladly and quickly pull the trigger and send the bullet into that spot which would bring about the desired effect. But I realize now that I must continue to exist and to suffer for how long I don't know, but it seems to me forever and ever.
Oh, why did I do such a thing. I had no occasion to take my life so far as earthly things were concerned, for I needed nothing of the material to make life satisfactory.
Well, I will tell you, as you may know, I was, as I thought, something of a philosopher on earth and to me life was a thing to retain or put off just as I might think it had served or not its purpose, and when I felt that I could no longer do any special good to the world or to those who were near to me, I thought that there was no reason why I should longer continue the life, which was one of monotony in a certain sense. And besides, I felt that I had arrived at the height of my mental powers, and that they were on the decline and the thought that I should decrease in what I had so striven to cultivate and display to my acquaintances caused me to believe that the object of my creation had been fulfilled, and that I would gradually become not only an encumbrance, but a person to be looked upon with a kind of pity which would cause me much unhappiness.
To have others point their finger at me and say: "There goes poor Perry who used to be such a brilliant and capable man, and who is now a mere wreck of his former self intellectually. Isn't it a pity that such a man should come to a condition that he has come to."
These are some of the thoughts that entered my mind and, in addition, as I have told you, I thought that death was the end of all, and that in the grave I would know nothing and sleep in utter oblivion.
These thoughts I fed on some little while before I decided to die and the more I thought, the greater became my condition that what I had said would prove to be true. Just before I fired the fatal shot, I thought intensely of all these things and saw that what I supposed would be an end to everything was the true solution of life's decay and to mental as well as to physical decrepitude. And when I prepared to do the deed, I was never more calm in all my life. It did not require any courage on my part for conviction of the correctness of my conclusions was so strong that the question of courage was not a part of the equation.
Men may think that courage is necessity to commit suicide, but I tell you, I believe that courage or the want of courage forms no part of a man's condition of mind when he commits that deed. The mind forms its own conclusions as to the necessity or the desirability of doing the act and every other consideration or reason is ignored. The suicide is not, as a general thing, at the time of the act, a coward. I have no doubt though in bringing his mind to the condition that I have spoken of, that is in feeling that the burdens of life are too great, or that he cannot further bear the things which duty calls upon him to do, he may be and often is a coward.
I must not write more on this theme now. I am more interested in finding a way, if possible, out of this intense darkness and suffering.
I have not seen Mr. Riddle since my first interview and I do not think that I would be benefited by seeing him because, for one thing, the great contrasts in our conditions only intensifies my sufferings and, hence, I prefer to remain to myself or among spirits like myself.
You know that on earth the poor are much happier with the poor than when thrown into the company of the rich, and this because of the apparent greater happiness of the latter. And so with me. When I see Riddle in his happiness, I feel that my misery is the greater.
No, I did not see your grandmother at that time and I do not know her now. But why do you ask that question? Well, if what you say is true, I should like very much to meet her and listen to her, and if you will tell me how I can meet her, I will make the effort. I will certainly take advantage of your invitation and be with you tonight and hope that I may meet your grandmother.
How I wish that I may find what you tell me and feel the influences that you speak of. Oh, for such a consummation. Why, my dear friend, if what you promise me shall come true, I will never cease thanking you for your kindness and help.
I am astonished at what you say, for I never really believed in Jesus as you tell me of him. I could not when on earth believe in him as a God, and I thought that he was really an ideal of progressive human minds, and that as to his actual historical or earthly existence, it was a mere fable. But now you tell me that he really exists and is working in the spirit world to help the fallen and dark spirits, and that he comes to you and tells you of his love and work. Well, I won't say that I can't believe you but, I prefer to wait until I see him myself, and then if he appears to me as you say, I will be ready to believe what Riddle told me about prayer and the Divine Love. How wonderful all this is.
You surprise me more and more. Of course, I knew Ingersoll and read many of his lectures and in some things agreed with him, but when you tell me that he is now a believer in God and in Jesus and has been converted to Christianity, you again draw very strongly on my credulity, and I am afraid that if what you tell me is true, I will see so many surprising things that I will hardly know whether I am a spirit of hell or not.
I will ask him to tell me about his conversion and I will listen to him intently and will try to believe what he tells me, but when you describe it as you do, by the comparison you make with that of Paul, I am more bewildered than ever.
Tell me then, what kind of man are you to know all these things? I cannot understand you. When on earth I merely considered you as like the rest of us, but now I am told that you know things that I never thought any mortal could know. Well, astonishment upon astonishment and all, as you say, to help me and lead me to the light. Yes, that is what I want, light.
Only wait until I have had these experiences that you promise me, and I will come to you and write you a letter that you will tire of receiving. I must stop now, for you must be tired and I am. So my dear friend let me say that I thank you with all my heart and hope that I may be able to come to you again and say that what you promised me I have received.
R. Ross Perry