Frances Banks talks of her experiences on the other side, recuperating after death.
Knowing that there IS life after death is half-way to providing our own soul rescue in the future, if our spirit body and our non-local mind know that they have a destination and know what to expect. Then there is less likelihood of our being lost in Limbo or becoming earthbound, like the spirits haunting Helen Greaves Sussex cottage in 1971.
When Frances Banks passed in December 1965. she already had great spiritual knowledge, having been a nun and head teacher for 25 years before becoming a psychical researcher and prison reformer. So within three weeks of passing she was able to appear to her clairvoyant psychic friend Helen Greaves and talk about her own initial experiences on the other side and of other spirits who needed rescue or help over there, help which she was already trained to participate in. She contacted Helen several times over the next two years, before moving on to higher planes, and her accounts complement those of Stephen Ward, who was communicating at that time (between 1963 – 1973) quite independently through the Direct Voice medium Leslie Flint, about his own experiences in various regions of the spirit world.
It will one day be interesting to compare the experiences of Frances Banks, Nan the old servant and her Mistress, and Stephen Ward, with those from earlier accounts in books by Anthony Borgia, Oliver Lodge, James Lees and others. When there is the time and opportunity, I may start on that project. Meantime, here is what Frances has to say of her experiences, as she came back to talk with Helen Greaves, six years BEFORE the appearance in her Sussex cottage, towards the coast directly South of London, of Nan and her Mistress and other spirits. Helen’s husband Roger had died shortly after the close of World War II and in the 1950s and 1960s she was living in a cottage outside Guildford, Surrey, South-West of London. It was there in Guildford at that time, when I was living in various digs in Farnborough, Aldershot and Farnham, that I used to go regularly for organ lessons at the Cathedral church with Mr. Dussek, before the new Cathedral on the
hill was completed. That was one of the places where I might myself have met Helen Greaves, the other places being Kensington Gardens, and Lyons’ Corner House, both in central London. However, I didn’t move in the same “circles” at that time, nor did I have the same interests then, so that is one item from my catalogue of regrets and lost opportunities!
However, ignorance is, or was, bliss, and I am catching up for lost time now, and am glad to share what I find Frances Banks was able to communicate to her friend and colleague Helen Greaves. She had been in and out of a coma for two days before passing of cancer. When, three weeks later, she returned to talk with Helen, she had this to say about death:
Surrey, 5th December, 1965, 8.30 p.m.
Frances Banks –
I’ll try to tell you what happened: after the ‘Change’ was over and I was free of my earth ‘covering’ I ‘woke up’ here in this hospital of the Rest Home. My room had no walls and the sunlight seemed to flow over one all the time. I opened my eyes, or I came back to consciousness, and there was Mother Florence just as she used to be and as I had remembered her for so many years.
She took my hand, and said “So you have arrived safely?’
But I must have been very weary, for I can remember little more. I think I slept again. A long time later, it SEEMED a long time later, I found myself lying here gazing out at this tranquil and beautiful scene around me. Suddenly I ‘knew’ that someone was beside me. I looked round and gave my attention to this new idea. There was Father Joseph just as I had always remembered him. He sat down beside me and took my hand in his.
“Well, Sister?” he said. That was all. Just “Well, Sister?”, as if we were both back in my study in the college in South Africa. I felt such power and strength flow out from him. I think I must have wept, it was all too wonderful. He didn’t say much, or I was too tired to pay attention. For I must have drifted into sleep again. When I gathered my thoughts together again to speak to him – he had gone. But he’ll come again. Mother Florence tells me now that he comes quite often to see her patients. Oh! But I shall not be a patient here for long, you know!
As soon as I can re-orient myself sufficiently, I shall be teaching or tutoring again. It is the service I can give. I’m already learning so much. I have discovered that I can use telepathy BOTH WAYS, to receive and to relay. There are not the difficulties here that we experienced on the earth. This holds out all sorts of exciting possibilities. Indeed I am already able to contact your mind, and what is more important, to HOLD that contact so as to POUR IDEAS out to you! This has infinite possibilities. I’ll try to come to your group. I know that you are meeting. Everything, it seems, is known here. I must break off now. I will talk to you again. I begin to know you now in quite a different way. I see your ‘light’.
…..I have been able to come to you; your husband (Roger) over here has brought me. Yes. I know him well now. I always felt a kinship with him, even when I was on earth. Do you remember? I like him. He has a great sense of humour – a kind of irrepressible fun. You two must have enjoyed each others’ company.
I am in a kind of rest home now. It is run by the Sisters of the community to which I belonged when in incarnation. They are so kind and gentle with me. I am now lying in a bed, high up on a terrace, that looks out over a vast sunlit plain. It is a beautiful scene, and so restful. I am recuperating from the illness which brought disintegration to my physical body. I feel content and calm and at peace. I shall stay here. Indeed I have already told Mother Florence that I want to work with her here when I am ready.
Souls are brought here from earth and from other places when they are ready. They are ‘nursed’ and taken care of here, as am I. After I have become adjusted to this life I think I shall stay on here and teach with the Sisters, if they will have me! And if I can really be useful. You see how my ‘earth psychology’ will come in useful, together with the explanations of the further stages of progress, when I have learnt more myself. How I shall enjoy co-relating the two ‘psychologies’ in any classes I have, and in individual talks. It is going to be rather like a return to the prison work I did at Maidstone Gaol, only of course, on a different level. Here, there is no punishment, except what you mete out to yourself. You can come and go of course, but I realise already that you can only ‘go’ elsewhere when you are ready.
You remember that, when I was in the body, I once said to a prisoner at Maidstone, [following a discussion on the possibility of life after death]: “A minute after you die you will be exactly the same!”
You recall, also, that that very statement was the first psychic message you, [as a medium], gave me? You spoke the name of this prisoner who had died soon after my talk, without our meeting again, and you said “He wants me to tell you that the last words you ever said to him were absolutely true!”
Well, I reiterate this statement (now that I too have made the transition), in full agreement with all that was implied in it, FOR IT IS SO. As soon as I was able to bring myself to a conscious state of mind, after my withdrawal from my worn-out body, I knew that I was the SAME IN ESSENCE. True, I felt light, and there was a new sense of freedom that was bewildering. I was the same, yet not the same! With a flash of realisation I decided that I must be stone deaf, for I could no longer hear any of the usual sound of everyday life, the chatter and movement of human beings around me; the whistles of trains, the twittering of birds. There were no noises in this new consciousness. One of my first recollections was “I am still conscious. THE CHANGE HAS TAKEN PLACE, but I cannot hear, neither can I see!”
And for a space of time I seemed to lose my identity. I recall endeavouring anxiously to pierce through this new state to recall memory. “Who am I? What did I do?” It was a strange, almost eerie experience, for the name I had borne for over seventy years eluded me. At length I recall telling myself to “Give it up and go to sleep” and, in a way, this is what I must have done. At least consciousness went from me. I remembered nothing more. How long this went on I have no possible way of knowing, perhaps in earth time, for a very short space.
But when next I came back to consciousness I seemed to be pulling myself up out of a thin sea of silver. Those are the only words I can use to describe the experience. And the first face I saw was the smiling one of my dear Mother in religion – Mother Florence. I was so overwhelmed I couldn’t speak. From then on I remember that I seemed to be in and out of consciousness. But now I found that I was lying in an open porch with a vista of blue and silver before mer. This was beautiful beyond words and calming to my spirit. Trouble, anxiety and all sense of loss abated; a great feeling of peace enwrapped me.
“THIS IS IT!” I kept assuring myself in wonder, “I have made The Change!” I realised then that I could both see and hear as before, only now in a more INTENSE way. I thought immediately, “I wonder whether I can ‘get through.’ I must tell Helen about this.”
Later, as I grew more accustomed to this new consciousness I was able to ‘commune’ (I cannot explain this by any of our former terms), with both Mother Florence and Father Joseph. How delighted I was to meet them. And to know that Father Joseph was indeed the same splendid, wise soul I had known in my Community days. He was again able to help me much. He gave me confidence. I felt as if I was ‘convalescing’ as indeed I suppose I was, from the effects of my last painful illness.
[to be continued: Frances attends her own funeral]
Reviewed and excerpted from “Testimony of Light” by Helen Greaves. Neville Spearman/C.W. Daniel. 1969. Originally published by the Churches' Fellowship for Psychical and Spiritual Studies, [of which Helen Greaves and Frances Banks were themselves founding members back in 1953]. Obtaining a copy of the book is recommended for the full account of life after death, and the different kinds of rescue work that are carried out on the other side.
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