It is an updating of a book I have loved deeply all of my life, Dickens’ a Christmas Carol.
I wrote it because of a lifelong love of Dickens, but also because I have a very new vision of what he would have called the spirit world, but one that I think he would have found deeply familiar.
I always worry that my fans and people who follow this website will dismiss my fiction as irrelevant and ignore it. Please don’t make that mistake. If you want to know what it is actually like to have a relationship with the visitors–what they consider important and how life with them unfolds– READ MY FICTION. The Christmas Spirits, for example, dislcoses the whole moral universe of the visitors as I have lived it, as well as the incredible link between what we know as the spirit world and what we know as aliens.
When I was a child, my great-grandmother, who was a spiritualist and a Swedeborgian, used to spin tables. We’d all gather round the enormous living room of my grandparents’ country house and she would touch her fingers to the top of the great table in its center. After a few moments, the silence would be broken by great cracking sounds, and, every so often, the table would leap and shudder a few times, eliciting a round of polite applause from my quite reserved family.
Table spinning was a popular spiritualist undertaking in the 19th Century, and my great-grandmother, who had been born in 1868, had been doing it since she’d read about it in, of all things, a magazine story about Charles Dickens, who had also practiced it. Dickens died in 1870, but my gran-gran lived until the glorious old age of 106, dying in 1974. When I was a boy, she used to say to me, ‘after I die, listen to the wind whispering in the trees. It will be my spirit calling to you.’
I still listen, and I still hear. In that sense, I suppose that I am still very much a child of the past, which is perhaps why I feel such an affinity for Dickens and his interest in spiritualism, ghosts and the afterlife. After his beloved sister-in-law Mary Hogarth died at the age of just 17, Dickens never ceased to seek some sign of her continuing presence in an afterlife. For many years, he had a recurring dream of her, and believed that she was somewhere “sentient and conscious of my emotions.”
In our more hardened and less innocent age, the spirit world and the afterlife have fallen into disrepute, but not for me. On the contrary, I have had a lifetime of contact with a vividly alive spirit world, and I see this life not as the beginning and end of existence, but rather as a condition of being that is embedded in a much greater and more vivid reality.
This is one of the reasons that an author like Dickens speaks to me so eloquently. His spiritualist leanings may now be generally considered quaint, but I see them as a more precise and accurate vision of reality than the rigid secularism of our era. I see us as having been disoriented by the speed and extent of change in the modern world, and turned away from spiritual reality by the sheer horror of the 20th Century.
I am not so sure that we are wrong to turn away from the idea of an omnipotent god. Over our history, there has been so much divinity conjured, but it has remained maddeningly silent. I suppose that I’m in the ironic position of being dubious about deity, but convinced of the supernatural—or rather, that there are aspects of the natural world that we don’t yet understand. In this context, it’s worth remembering that you probably could never have convinced an ancient Roman that a radio was not an occult machine, no matter how carefully you explained it to him.
So when I wrote the Christmas Spirits, I was not really speculating, but rather trying to portray a level of being that I believe is entirely real, and to describe its interaction with us as I have lived it. The enigmatic beings I have faced in my life have approached me from precisely the same moral position that Dickens’ spirits approach Scrooge in a Christmas Carol.
To me, my Christmas Spirits are at least as real as anybody who walks the living earth, and perhaps more so. I suspect that Dickens was just as convinced of the reality of his Christmas Ghosts—and that we are both, in some deep but little understood way, entirely right in our convictions.