by John G. Fuller
Reviewed by Theresa Welsh
A CHRONICLE OF MESSAGES FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE
Two Tragedies of Long-Distance Flight
John G. Fuller does remarkable research and investigative work in examining two cases of air disasters that are linked through paranormal contacts with the deceased. Like his book, The Ghost of Flight 401 (which I also recommend), Fuller brings to life the story of ace flyer Raymond Hinchcliffe, who hoped to be the first to fly across the Atlantic, from Europe to America (Lindberg had already done it the other way). To add spice to the story, a rich young heiress funded his flight and insisted on going with him, figuring to grab some glory for herself as the first woman to cross the Atlantic in an airplane. But it was not to be.
At the same time period (the late 1920s), Great Britain was working on a program for air travel to facilitate getting around the empire, which was worldwide. But they were not thinking of sending passengers on long-distance trips in the cramped cockpit of a biplane. They were betting on another form of air travel that the Germans were successfully using - the lighter-than-air machine; in this case, a dirigible labeled the R-101. It was a huge cylindrical machine filled with giant bags of hydrogen, and a sizable team of workers were tasked with getting it ready for a virgin flight to India. Lord Thompson had set a date for its flight based on a conference he had to attend, but the engineers, architects and pilots who knew it intimately believed the R101 was not ready for such an undertaking. Like Hinchcliffe's ill-fated flight, the R101 made headlines worldwide when it crashed in a field in France during a rain storm. All but six aboard were killed.
Contact With the Dead
And it's the story of what happened after these tragtic deaths that makes Fuller's book so fascinating. First messages were received from Hinchcliffe through a oija board and later through the brilliant medium, Eileen Garrett. Hinchcliffe was concerned for his wife and small children, but also sent messages about what has happened to his flight along with ominous predictions about the R101 flight to India ending in disaster due to poor design. Later, the deceased crew of the dirigible sent messages through mediums, and two men, each unaware of the work of the other, received communications through medium Eileen Garrett. Later, the communication received by each was available to investigators, who, in every case, concluded that communication with the deceased was the only viable answer to how these messages could have come about.
Forgotten Aviation History
The information received through the medium was often highly technical, dealing with terms, equipment and techniques that only someone who was involved with the dirigible project could have known. The book includes many verbatim exchanges. Of course, these were the result of someone taking shorthand transcription or writing very fast notes. All of these events ocurred before personal tape recorders were available, and the author discusses the methods and their limitations at length. Besides being an interesting account of an important subject (do we survive death?), the book is also a fascinating look at another era. Anyone with an interest in aviation will enjoy reading the stories of both the Hinchcliffe flight and the making of the R101. It indicated to me that big government projects had the same problems then as they do now - the R101 project was full of political considerations trumping common sense, people afraid to stand up to powerful politicians and finally - after the expensive airship was reduced to a pile of rubble in a field in France - an investigation and apparent cover-up!
If I have a criticism of the book, it is the swing between whether the story is mainly about the tragic events involving aviation in the late 1920s, using the mediums to fill in what is known from history, or whether the book is mainly about proving that we, in spirit form, continue to exist after death. I think Fuller certainly got caught up in the story of the airmen, but he also wanted to continue a subject he tackled in The Ghost of Flight 401, which also produced excellent evidence for survival. This is an old book (the copyright is 1979) and Fuller himself has now passed on. But his excellent books are still available if you look for them, and they are still very worthwhile reading.
For a more recent take on contact with the dead, I suggest Bonnie McEneaney's book, Messages: Signs, Visits, and Premonitions from Loved Ones Lost on 9/11, about the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy, as survivor's felt the presence of those who died on that day. This book is well-written and includes first-hand stories from many different people who experienced some type of what they believe was contact with their lost loved ones. See below for links my review and the books's Amazon page.
Click this link to go to the amazon.com page for this book: The airmen who would not die
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