January 5, 1916
Received by James Padgett
I am a spirit who cannot tell you of the joys of Heaven, but I can describe the horrors of Hell. For just as these other spirits described to you their homes of beauty and happiness, I can describe my home of ugliness and torment. Do you wish me to do so?
Well, know then that when I lived on earth, I was a man of very considerable intellectual powers and acquirements and, also, of an intense animal nature; so much so, that it overcame my judgment and what moral qualities I had, and I became at last a slave to my appetites which were varied, especially my appetite for drink. I had many friends of position, social and otherwise, and I was considered a brilliant newspaper writer and had access to the inner political circles that were then in control of the government.
My weakness, or rather the effect of the strength of my animal nature, was known to many of my friends and they, in many ways, tried to help me and rescue me from my evil and destructive course of living; and, at times, I would succeed in reforming my conduct; but, alas, not for any great length of time, when I would again relapse into my deplorable habits and become the controlled victim of my destroying appetites.
Of course, human friendship and sympathy had their limits and, finally, my friends gave me up as lost and past redemption, and I surely and quickly sunk lower and lower in my moral condition and, at last, died a drunkard, unwept and unsung except for the evil that I had done. It was undoubtedly a relief to my friends and acquaintances when I passed over and forever relieved them of the shadow of my presence and the ghost of what I had been.
But such was my end and when I came to the spirit world, I found that I still was deserted by friends who had become spirits before me, except some who liked the flowing bowl as I did on earth, and who were inhabitants of the unattractive place that I found myself in when my habitation became fixed. I never, when on earth, thought much of the future life, except to convince myself that there was no Hell and if there was a God, He was not bothered about me, a mere man of many millions. But oh, the fatal mistake! And the unexpected realization of the fact that there is a Hell!
Whether there is a God I don't know, for I have never seen Him or felt His influence. But since I came to you tonight and heard the messages of those two spirits who described their wonderful homes and their condition of happiness and ascribed them all to the kindness and care of God, I have commenced to think that there may be a God, and that my mistake was greater than I have heretofore realized; but this is a digression from what I started out to write.
That there is a Hell; I know to my sorrow and sufferings. For I have been the occupant of one for, oh, these many years; and it is always the same place of horrors and darkness, except sometime it is lighted by the flame of lurid light that comes from the anger and sufferings of some unfortunate like myself.
In this Hell of mine, and there are many like it, instead of beautiful homes, as the other spirits described, we have dirty, rotten hovels all crooked and decayed with all the foul smells of a charnel house ten times intensified. And instead of beautiful lawns and green meadows and leafy woods filled with musical birds making the echoes ring with their songs, we have barren wastes and holes of darkness and gloom and the cries and cursings of spirits of damnation without hope. And instead of living silvery waters, we have stagnant pools filled with all kinds of repulsive reptiles and vermin and smells of inexpressible, nauseating stinks.
I tell you that these are all real and not creatures of the imagination or the out flowing of bitter recollections. And as for love, it has never shown its humanizing face in all the years that I have been here - only cursings, and hatred, and bitter scathings, and imprecations, and grinning spirits with their witch-like cacklings. No rest, no hope, no kind words or ministering hand to wipe away the scalding tears, which so often flow in mighty volumes.
No, Hell is real and Hell is here. We do not have any fire and brimstone, or grinning devils with pitch forks and hoofs and horns as the churches teach; but what is the need or necessity for such accompaniments? They would not add to the horrors or to our torments. I tell you my friend that I have faintly described our homes in these infernal regions and I cannot picture them as they are.
But the horror and pity of it all is that hope does not come to us with one faint smile to encourage us that there may at some time be an ending to all these torments and, in our hopeless despair, we realize that our doom is fixed for all eternity. As the rich man in Hell said, if I could only send Lazarus to tell my poor, erring brothers on earth of what awaits them, how gladly I would do so and save their souls from the eternal torment.
Well, I have written you a long letter and am tired, because it is the first time that I have attempted to write for many long years, and I find some difficulty in gathering my thoughts so as to be able to write in an intelligent and collected manner. So I must stop.
Well, I will say that you are the best friend that I have had since I became an outcast while on earth, and that I will do whatever you may advise, but you must not expect me to have much hope, not doubting your desire to help me, but merely your ability.
Well, I don't understand, but I will trust you and will try to believe what you say - only don't create in me that of which I have been deprived of for so long, I mean - hope - and have me disappointed. Well, I have looked, as you advised, and see some spirits who are so beautiful and so bright that I can scarcely look at them. Never before have I seen such spirits or imagined that such could exist. They must be gods, or why all the great happiness and beauty and love which they have. Tell me, what does it all mean! Is it a star of hope that has come to me from afar and bids me trust that these Hells shall not be my home forever? Oh tell me, I pray, you are they the spirits of real mortals who lived and died as I did?
Such love I have never seen; and they look at me with such encouragement and almost human eyes of love and beckon me to come with them. I have asked if Mr. Riddle is there, and one spirit comes to me and says yes, and that he is glad to have me come with him, as he knew me on earth and is acquainted with my sad life. And now I remember him, for he was a friend who lived in the same city as I did.
He says: "Come George, and I will try to show you the way to light and relief from your sufferings." And I am going, and as I go a beautiful, glorious spirit comes to me and lays her hand on my head and says: "God bless you my brother and may His Divine mercy be yours;" and she tells me that they all love me and will help me.
Oh, tell me what does it all mean! Am I dreaming? Are you real and are they real, or am I in one of the deliriums that I used to have on earth? Oh, so beautiful and heavenly. But they say no, that they are real spirits and once lived on earth - sinful mortals like myself.
How can I ever thank you? I am overcome and cannot write more, but I will come again. So my dear friend good night, for I am going.
My name is George H. Butler, and I died in 1899.
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Helen Writes to Confirm Mr. Butler's Message
I am here, Your own true and loving Helen.
Well my dear, you have had a variety of writings tonight, and I have been greatly impressed with the last message that you received, for the writer was a very intelligent spirit and seemed to be without hope in his soul. He was a very dark spirit and did not seem to have any love in his soul, but was the picture of despair and grief. He firmly believed that his position in Hell was fixed for all eternity and, hence, the hopeless despair in which he was.
I am so glad that he came to you and described these Hells, for he was capable; and no one can describe them as he who has lived in them for many years and suffered and experienced all their torments.
He seems to be very grateful, and I think that hope has come to him. He has gone with Mr. Riddle, who is much interested in him. We will all try to help him to progress. So you must pray for him now. We all will. It is late, and I will not write more.
Your own true and loving,