Joe recounts his experience of dying and soul condition in Spirit when he arrives.

June 17th, 1915.

Received by:James Padgett

Washington D.C.

I am here, Joe Shellington:

Well, I am glad to be able to write to you, and let you know that I am in the land of the living. I have waited a long time to write to you but, as your band would not consent to my writing, I had to wait until it was agreeable to them, as well as to you.

I am in a state of semi-darkness and am suffering somewhat from the recollections of my life on earth, but thanks to your wife, I am commencing to see the light and to learn the way out of my sufferings.

When I found myself dying, I thought that I was going to sleep and that my body was resting from the cares and pains which my sufferings had caused; and when my spirit was separated from my body, I hovered around for a long time expecting that when my body should feel refreshed I would go into it again and continue my life on earth. But after waiting a long time and failing to see my body awaken, I commenced to wonder what had taken place, and, at last, came to the conclusion that I was a dead one, and that no more would I walk on earth as a mortal. Well, as soon as I realized that fact I looked around and saw my mother and father, and several others that I knew on earth, and they told me that I had died, and was then a spirit, and would never more go into my body. And I commenced to ask questions, and wanted to know where I was and what place I was in. They told me that I was in the spirit world, and in what is called the earth plane, and that my future home would be in that plane until I had by repentance and suffering, progressed to a higher one.

My mother, who is a very beautiful spirit, tried to comfort me, and told me that I must now think of the things that belong to the spirit world, and not let my thoughts run on the things that I had been interested in while a mortal. But while I considered her advice and was impressed with what she said, yet I could not follow her advice, as I was compelled by something which I did not understand to give my thoughts to the affairs of earth, and especially to my wife and daughter. I was with them nearly all the time for many long days, and tried to speak to them and advise them what they should do, but they would not pay any attention to me. Of course, I know now that they did not know that I was present and did not hear my voice; but at the time I thought it very strange, for they were just as real and unchanged to me as when I was with them in the body.

I never fully realized what my position was until long months after I died, and I could not think of anything but them at first, and was with them all the time. I saw them sorrowing and weeping because of my death and tried so hard to comfort them, but all to no purpose. I, at last, saw that it was utterly hopeless for me to make them feel that I was with them, and so I sought for light or information among my spirit friends, and sought from them to know how I could reach my dear ones; but I could get no consolation, as they told me that it was only through the instrumentality or help of some earth medium could I ever be able to communicate with them or let them know that I was still alive, and loved them just as I did when on earth.

So one time in my wanderings I entered the circle of the medium where you heard me talk to you, and then I was happy because I thought that now I would be able to reach my wife and daughter. But I was disappointed, for you never told them that I had talked to you, and wanted them to know that I was anxious to talk to them. I suppose you thought that they would not believe, and so neglected to tell them. But you were mistaken in this, as they would have believed you had you told them.

My wife knows something of spiritualism, though she has not much faith in it, and while she may not absolutely have believed, yet she would have had interest enough in it to have sought for the opportunity to learn more, and if possible to hear me speak to her. So while you disappointed me, yet I cannot altogether blame you.

But, old friend, do not fail to let her know that I have written to you tonight, and if not too much trouble, I would like for you to send her a copy of this message.

I still love her and am with her very often, and try my best to make her feel my presence, and realize that I am doing my best to comfort her. If she only knew how dear she is to me and that my whole heart burns with love for her, she would be happier, for I believe that she will be mine when she comes over, and through all eternity. So do not fail to send her a copy of this message.

When I passed over I was not one particle afraid and while I was not just in condition to know what was taking place, yet there was no dread or apprehension of my being in any way harmed. I arose, as I have said, from my body, but did not leave it, and stayed with it and with my loved ones even until it was buried and then continued with my dear wife.

After I realized that I was a spirit, I found myself in a dark atmosphere surrounded by dark spirits who, I supposed, were like myself. My mother, while she often came to me, did not live with me, but, as she told me, in a higher sphere where much happiness exists.

I was not happy and I suffered very much from my recollections of my earth life, and had no fixed home. All spirits in a condition like mine have to roam about with no place that they can call home. Often have I longed for a home but found none, and even now I have one that is not very beautiful; but I am progressing and light is coming to me and my sufferings are decreasing. I rather expected to find myself in hell, as I was not a Christian, and as I was taught that all who are not Christians and believe in Jesus must go to hell. But I have not seen that hell, and I do not believe that there is any such place. Yet the sufferings which we all have creates a hell enough for any spirit who wants such a hell.

Well, I am now learning to pray to God and to believe in His Love, and the more I pray and the stronger my belief becomes, the more light I see and the less I suffer. Your wife came to me at about the time I spoke to you at the medium’s, and tried to help me, and she has been with me many times since, and has helped me very much. She is a beautiful spirit and seems filled with the Love of God, as she says.

So I am seeking that Love, and I believe that I will soon get enough of it to get out of my present condition. I thank you so much for this opportunity, and when it is agreeable I will come and write to you again.

I will not take up more of your time tonight.

So with my kindest regards and many thanks, I am

Your old friend,

Joe Shellington