The symbolic title for this book comes from the 1916 book, "Raymond, or Life and Death," by Sir Oliver Lodge, an esteemed British physicist. After Lodge's son, Raymond, was killed in World War I, during 1914, Lodge received various messages from him through several mediums. Although Lodge thoroughly analyzed the messages and their means with scientific acumen and was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that they were from his son, much of the scientific community guffawed at Lodge's conclusions. Still, Lodge remained steadfast in his beliefs and his book did much to promote the cause of Spiritualism, which might broadly be defined as the organized practice of communication with discarnate spirits.
While science lined up against Spiritualism on one side, religion was opposed on the other side, primarily because of Bible warnings relative to spirit communication. Many English citizens who had lost loved ones in the Great War turned to Spiritualism and away from the Anglican Church, which apparently did little to help them in their grieving. Seeing this "cult" as a threat, the Church hierarchy began to consider its own views on death, eternal life, and spirit communication. Finally, in 1939, the Anglican Church commissioned an investigation into Spiritualism,which had continued to flourish in spite of the fact it was caught between science and religion. After the committee report was submitted to Archbishop Cosmo Lang, it was suppressed, apparently because the committee findings to some degree approved of much of what Spiritualism had to offer. It was finally released in 1979.
Dr. Kollar, a priest and history professor at St. Vincent College and St. Vincent Seminary in Latrob, PA, dug deep into the archives of the Anglican Church to find out exactly what went on in the various exchanges among the Church leaders. Many of the letters between the archbishop and various bishops reveal numerous concerns they had about the needs of the faithful and how those needs were being filled by Spiritualism and not by the Church itself. Kollar finds clues as to what motivated the cover-up of the 1939 report.
This investigative report makes for an intriguing story.