A preliminary investigation and resource document on a little known topic
Abstract: This paper shows that there is mounting evidence for the existence of a sheath around our bodies, which under certain circumstances may be seen as an aura of blue light. Whereas in the past Christians may have fought shy of approaching this subject, because of the way in which it appears in spiritualistic literature, now it seems to be necessary to investigate it, because it is stated in the Bible, and in the testimony of a reliable Christian witness who experienced the death-state, and returned by the word of the Lord.
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It was around Christmas time in 1943. George Ritchie had died of double lobar pneumonia. But nine minutes later, armed with an unforgettable experience of eternity, he returned from the dead. He had walked and talked with Jesus through a series of experiences, some of which were enthralling, others terrifying. In 1978, as a practising doctor and psychiatrist, he put pen to paper, and told the tale of those amazing nine minutes. His book is entitled “Return from Tomorrow,” and is a must for every Christian. Even after two or three readings it still retains its sheer other-worldliness, and the powerful and loving influence of the Master as He walked with George in another land.
One of the experiences George had during those nine minutes (which to him seemed like hours) was that of watching the behaviour of human beings in a bar, in which there were also some disembodied spirits (like himself at that time.) Here is the extract from Ritchie’s book which deals with this scenario.
Gradua1ly I began to notice something else. All of the living people we were watching were surrounded by a faint luminous g1ow, a1most like an electrical field over the surface of their bodies. This luminosity moved as they moved, like a second skin made out of pale, scarcely visible light.
At first I thought it must be reflected brightness from the Person at my side. But the buildings we entered give off no reflection, neither did inanimate objects. And then I realized that the non-physical beings didn’t either. My own un-solid body, I now saw, was without this glowing sheath.
At this point the Light drew me inside a dingy bar and grill near what looked like a large naval base. A crowd ofpcople, many of them sailors, lined the bar three deep, while others jammed wooden booths along the wall. Though a few were drinking beer, most of them seemed to be belting whiskies as fast as the two perspiring bartenders could pour them.
Then I noticed a striking thing. A number of the men standing at the bar seemed unable to lift their drinks to their lips. Over and over I watched them clutch at their shot glasses, hands passing through the solid tumblers, through the heavy wooden counter top, through the very arms and bodies of the drinkers around them. And these men, every one of them, lacked the aureole of light that surrounded the others.
Then, the cocoon of light must be a property of physical bodies only. The dead, we who had lost our solidness, had lost this “second skin” as well. And it was obvious that these living people, the light-surrounded ones, the ones actually drinking, talking, jostling each other, could neither see the desperately thirsty disembodied beings among them, nor feel their frantic pushing to get at those glasses. (Though it was also clear to mc, watching, that the non-solid people could both see and hear each other. Furious quarrels were constantly breaking out among them over glasses that none could actually get to his lips.)
I thought I had seen heavy drinking at fraternity parties in Richmond, but the way civilians and servicemen at this bar were going at it beat everything. I watched one young sailor rise unsteadily from a stool, take two or three steps, and sag heavily to the floor. Two of his buddies stooped down and started dragging him away from the crush. But that was not what I was looking at. I was staring in amazement as the bright cocoon around the unconscious sailor simply opened up. It parted at the very crown of his head and began peeling away from his head, his shoulders. Instantly, quicker than I’d ever seen anyone move, one of the insubstantial beings who had been standing near him at the bar was on top of him. He had been hovering like a thirsty shadow at the sailor’s side, greedily following every swallow the young man made. Now he seemed to spring at him like a beast of prey. In the next instant, to my utter mystification, the springing figure had vanished. It all happened even before the two men had dragged their unconscious load from under the feet of those at the bar. One minute I’d distinctly seen two individuals; by the time they propped the sailor against the wall, there was only one.
Twice more, as I stared, stupefied, the identical scene was repeated. A man passed out, a crack swiftly opened in the aureole round him, one of the non-solid people vanished as he hurled himself at that opening, almost as if he had scrambled inside the other man. Was that covering of light some kind of shield, then? Was it a protectionagainst . . against disembodied beings like myself? Presumably these substance-less creatures had once had solid bodies, as I myself had had. Suppose that when they had been in these bodies they had developed a dependence on alcohol that went beyond the physical. That became mental. Spiritual, even. Then when they lost that body, except when they could briefly take possession of another one, they would be cut off for all eternity from the thing they could never stop craving.
We accept that George Ritchie was an honest observer, and that he was not mistaken in any way in what he saw during his out-of-the-body experience. Then it is clear that he was given the revelation for a purpose, and we do well to analyse it and ask the Lord why He wants us to know about these things just now. Our Lord would not have given him this experience for no reason. Neither would He have given it just for George Ritchie’s spiritual education. And as to Ritchie’s integrity, the book bears the stamp of a true child of God giving an honest testimony.
What he saw was a thin blue sheath of light that seemed to be an enclosure, a cocoon, a protective shell, in which the soul of the person resided. But under the influence of excessive alcohol, one or two men were seen to develop a split which started at the crown of the head, and travelled downwards to the shoulders. Clearly this was parallel to a gash in the flesh of a human, it was never intended to be that way, but brought about by disobedience, by men abusing their bodies in a manner never intended by God. This had allowed the ingress of spirit-beings, the souls of those who once had lived. The implications of this for all servants of the Lord involved in deliverance ministry are too great to be side-tracked. However, in these notes we shall not seek to draw conclusions, but rather to present facts.
The next question to ask is whether the Bible gives any further light on the subject. Like so many things, when you first start out, you get nowhere, and this often results from an inability to read and understand the original languages of the Bible. Translators have done their best to present the true meaning of original texts, but have never been wholly able to bring over the subtle nuances of meaning, neither have they always understood the point of what they were translating. This goes for all of us as well, even if we have a smattering of ability at Greek and Hebrew. The present writer has just a little, and finds it very useful, but relies mainly on the excellent works of Wigram, in the four volumes of Lexicons and Concordances in these two languages.
It seemed almost by chance that one day recently I was reading an ancient commentary on Daniel by Barnes, and the marginal note showed that in Daniel 7:15, it should read, “And I Daniel was distressed in my spirit in its sheath.” It was not ‘chance’ but clearly the leading of the Lord, particularly as it happened fairly soon after a second reading of Ritchie’s book. The Lexicon and Concordance produced the evidence. The Hebrew (and Chaldee) word for sheath only occurs twice, once in Daniel, and the other in Chronicles, as follows –
1 Chron.21:27 “And the Lord commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof.”
The Hebrew word for sheath is NADAN, and its Chaldee counterpart in Daniel 7:15 is NIDNEH. The sword in its sheath, or scabbard, is vital to our understanding of what Daniel said. It is most gratifying to find this other reference in the O.T. to help us in this study. Daniel makes it clear that he knows about this sheath, and expects his readers to understand because no further comment is made. It seems that in ancient days there was a much greater understanding of these things than we now possess, and if we are patient we may be able to have restored to us vital information about our own make up which could be of great use to all who act as ‘spiritual doctors.’
Another reference which gives us information about the sheath is Job 27:8. The word ‘sheath’ does not occur, but it reads as follows, “What is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God takes away his soul?” An examination of the Hebrew for ‘takes away’ yields a further clue. It should be ‘draws-out’. When God draws out his soul. It gives the impression that God is taking something out of a case. Is the case the body, or is it the sheath, or in some way that we do not properly understand, is it both? Ritchie could not tell us what happened to the blue cocoon when a person died. He was only allowed to see the live humans and the disembodied spirits. The Hebrew word is SHALAH, and it is noticed that in another inflexion it is used of the ‘afterbirth’. This is most helpful, because of the way in which the afterbirth is withdrawn from the womb. How interesting that the Book of Job is considered to be the earliest of the O.T. writings. The truth about the soul within its sheath was understood in very ancient times.
The next passage to consult is Ecclesiastes 12, the famous ‘geriatric poem.’ At the moment of death Solomon tells us that“The silver cord is loosed, the golden bowl is broken, the pitcher is broken at the fountain, and the wheel is broken at the cistern.” Some people speak of the silver cord as a ‘spiritual umbilical cord’. But what of the other symbols? Does anyone know what they mean? Are they just additional pictures of the same event, using perhaps four expressions current in those days? Or is there something else to learn? Finally we are told that the body returns to the dust, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
When Moses wrote Psalm 90, he gave us a further clue. After our ‘three score years and ten’ are over, and the day comes to depart this life, he says that we ‘fly away’. (v 10) Many of those who have had out-of-the-body experiences (after death) have spoken about the ease with which they float away to other places.
Maybe there are other references which would help us in this enquiry. It would be good to hear from those who read this paper, so that a fuller text may be prepared at a later date. Please keep us informed. [Feb.1999 note:- No one has ever communicated further information on this subject since writing these notes in Feb.1988.]
In the early fathers, there is a useful passage in Justin Martyr, in his first apology, chapter 20, which reads as follows, “Let even necromancy, and the divinations you practise by immaculate children, and the evoking of departed human souls, and those who are called among the Magi, Dream-senders and Assistant-spirits (Familiars), and all that is done by those who are skilled in such matters – let these persuade you that even after death souls are in a state of sensation; and those who are seized and cast about by the spirits of the dead, whom all call demoniacs or madmen – – – .” A footnote in the edition from which this is quoted tells us that Justin was not the only one in ancient times to believe that there was a form of possession, not by demons, nor by fallen angels, but rather by the ingress of departed human spirits. It should be added that because the above text is quoted without context, Justin is by no means ADVOCATING those practises he mentions, but merely using the existence of them to prove a point.
In passing we might recall that in the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16, after Lazarus died, he was CARRIED AWAY to Abraham’s bosom. The Greek word Apophero occurs elsewhere in the N.T. as follows, each reference helping us to understand a little more about the angels carrying away the spirit of Lazarus.
1 Cor.16:3 “And when I come, whomsoever you shall approve by your letters , these will I send to CARRY AWAY your liberality to Jerusalem.”
Rev.17:3 “So he CARRIED me AWAY in the spirit into the wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of the names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.”
Rev.21:10 “And he CARRIED me AWAY in the spirit to a great and high mountain and showed me that great city, the Holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.”
Finally, we are including information extracted from books and encyclopaedias, relating to the findings of scientists likeKirlian and Kilner which relate to the aura. By offering these notes to our readers, we are by no means saying that we agree with everything that is said, but it will assist further research if such material is at hand for those who wish to study the subject.
AN ARTICLE FROM “THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE.”
Auras are held to be of tremendous importance in diagnosis. The difficulty is that not everybody is able to see an aura, even some who have been working within the spiritualist field for many years. But then, as André Tardieu wrote: ‘Difficulties lie in our habits of thought rather than in the nature of things.’
Dr Kilner of St Thomas’ Hospital evolved what became called Kilner screens which enabled people to prove beyond doubt the existence of the human auras. We frequently see representations of saints and holy men whose heads reflect a halo or aura. These are found not only in the Christian religion, but in nearly all religious statuary regardless of the belief.
Clothing makes no difference to the emanation of the aura from the human body. Everybody has one; although many religious paintings show it only around the head (where it is easier to observe), it goes round the entire body. It is a light force, but unlike light in the purely materialist sense of the word.
Each aura is extremely personal, and reflects, in the colours which it shows, the character and disposition of the person.Phrenosophists call this the edge of the entity called Mind (with a capital letter this word means to them soul, intellect, etc.).
An aura comprises different layers, which on the accompanying diagram may be seen to be outermost, middle and innermost. These have different colours. These colours are, for a clairvoyant, indicative of the health condition as well as of the nature of the person from whom emanates the aura. A sensitive person will sometimes back away from a complete stranger, refuse to shake hands with somebody unknown. Have you ever been in a crowded bus, train, plane or building, and found yourself shuddering if an unknown person touches you? This is because their aura clashes with yours; if you feel like that, it is lower than your own.
Sometimes you will meet a person whom you admire, like, or even instinctively love, knowing that he or she comes into your life for only a brief spell but that you can never hold him (or her). Nevertheless you treasure that meeting, and never forget the warm feeling you had. This is because you have found somebody with a very highly developed aura whose presence near your own lifts you up spiritually, and who can teach you higher things if you are able and willing to learn. Beware of colours in your clothing; they cannot damage your aura, but wearing the wrong mixture may ‘tint’ your aura because it reflects your mood of the moment. Phrenosophists avoid wearing black, and usually avoid people who dress exclusively in black, since this denotes utmost materialism and an undeveloped spirituality. It is thought that wearing red or crimson and black together can predispose a person to illness. The interesting thing about aura diagnosis is that a tendency to disease shows up in the aura long before it shows up in the body.
AN EXTRACT FROM “AN A-Z OF ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE.”
(By Hafen & Fransden. Sheldon Press. 1984)
According to Lee R Steiner, “Kirlian photography is a high-frequency, high-voltage photographic process in which part of the human body is imposed directly onto film, which, in turn, reproduces the electrical field changes that emanate from the human body (or any other living thing, including plants and animals).”
The process was discovered by a Russian husband-and-wife team, Semyon and Valentina Kirlian, in the1940s. In an experiment, they found that a spark jumped from an electrode on the equipment they were using to a patient lying close by. By placing a photographic plate between the electrode and the patient’s hand, they observed that a luminescence followed the contours of the fingers, and that streams of energy emanated from the patient’s fingertips. The process was later refined by the couple, and Semyon Kirlian described the results of the photography: “. . . galaxies of coloured lines, shining, twinkling; ghostly lights, bright multi-coloured flares, dim clouds, blazing violet, fiery flashes.” From observing these phenomena the Kirlians found that the size, structure, brightness, and colours differed from patient to patient.
At first It was thought that this remarkable occurrence came from changes in skin temperature, but this theory was disproved in time. The colourful phenomena were later termed an aura or a corona, and it was theorized to have been caused by an electromagnetic energy field occurring in a unified organism. Later It was postulated that there are characteristic aura for different states of health. Various mental states had a marked effect upon the quality and intensity of the emanation of energy. Many times a break in the aura itself indicated the presence of a physical abnormality. A disease condition of a specific organ showed as a lessening and darkening of the aural light over the area suffering the breakdown. Thus theKirlians came to believe that the aura represents the “inner body” and is a reflection of the ills or well-being of the entire body and mind.
Others who use psychic diagnosis/healing believe that there is a psychic anatomy as well as a physical anatomy. This psychic anatomy is believed to exist in the form of energy emanations that surround living things, and it is often referred to as the aura. Those with psychic powers are able to use the aura to determine the overall condition of the patient A healthy aura, according to those who practice psychic diagnosis/healing, surrounds the entire body and is about a foot in depth. In contrast, the aura of a sick person has gaps in places and may manifest the predominance of one particular colour. One diagnostic method categorizes the colours and their meanings as follows:
BLACK represents death, destruction, depreciation, or a state that precedes a constructive phase of life.
GRAY: represents boredom, malaise, fear, or anger.
BROWN: represents one who exercises or has enhanced physical abilities or one who has a state of how energy
GREEN: represents one who Is undergoing change In the areas of attitude, belief, or way of life.
BLUE: represents creativity, Imagination, self-expression, repression, or the feminine.
YELLOW: represents Intellect, a change from the unconscious to the conscious, refinement, or a growth of the mind.
ORANGE: represents healing or the masculine.
PINK: represents Intuition or Instinctive knowledge.
RED: represents emotions, warming to life, intensity, or passion.
PURPLE: represents spirituality or devotion.
GOLD: represents pure Intuition, psychic prowess, self-knowledge, the masculine, cleansing or healing.
WHITE represents the highest spiritual attainment, purification, or enlightenment
These colours can be mixed, layered, blotchy, or chaotic in the diseased individual. Often an orange colour is seen going from the healer to the person being healed. This signifies a feeling of warmth and attests that a healing is taking place by the transfer of energy from the healer to the healee.
EXTRACTS FROM “EVERYMAN’ ENCYCLOPAEDIA”
Kirlian Photography, allegedly a process by which photographs can be taken of coloured EMANATIONS from living objects. It is named after a Russian electrician, Semyon Kirlian, who discovered it in 1939 while repairing an electrotherapy machine. The process involves a photographic plate being placed between the object to be photographed and a high-frequency electrical field. It is claimed that emanations from all living things can be photographed in this way, the resulting pictures showing brightly coloured patterns studded with streaks and dots. Furthermore, the brilliancy of the colours and the patterns change according to the mood and health of the subject being photographed. Using Kirlian photographic machines, research is currently being done in Russia concerning this phenomenon. An experiment conducted in Moscow, for instance, appears to have shown that for a short while after a piece has been taken from a fresh leaf, the image of the piece persists in a photograph, where the bright outline of the whole leaf is seen.
Aura, an emanation said to surround the human body, particularly the head, and which is visible to clairvoyants and other similarly psychic individuals. It has been described as a misty light, shot with colours which change according to mood and the circumstances operating at any given time. It is believed to be the prototype of, the HALO or nimbus. Various aids for seeing auras have been employed; one such consists of a pair of goggles fitted with special glass.
Astral Body, according to THEOSOPHY and other spiritual systems of religious thought, one of several normally invisible bodies interpenetrating and extending beyond the human physical body. The name derives from descriptions of it by clairvoyants in which it appears to sparkle with millions of small particles like star dust. It is believed to separate from the physical body during sleep and at death.
Astral Projection, a state, according to various spiritual systems of philosophy, which occurs when the astral body becomes temporarily separated from the physical body, although remaining attached to it by the astral or etheric cord. It is said to happen during sleep and at other times when there is a lack of consciousness, as in severe illness. It is one of the theories suggested as an explanation for the psychic ability to see at a distance.
Astral Spirits, animating principles of the heavenly bodies. Many of the major older religions, such as the Babylonian and the Mexican are permeated with astral beliefs, in which the heavenly bodies are held to be deities or powers, each with its own sphere but also exercising influence on human affairs. Moreover, not only religion and mythology, but also metaphysics, as it developed among the Greeks, saw analogies between the human soul and the astral divinities, using such analogies as the basis for a doctrine of immortality. European scholasticism, the renewed Platonism of Renaissance times, speculative thinkers like PARACELSUS, and mystics like Jacob Boehme inherited and elaborated this tradition.
Belief in astral spirits did not always easily accord with orthodox Christianity, and there were more popular notions accommodating it to, or contrasting it with, orthodoxy. Among these were the views that astral spirits were fallen angels, or human souls on their way to heaven, or demons. The astral spirit of a witch, for example, might appear in animal shape at some distance from her body. As physics developed from older (meta)physical notions of moving spirits that account for the motions of heavenly bodies, so also religious belief began to dismiss the idea of astral spirits.