Elsa Barker was an accomplished author in the early-1900’s when in 1913, something extraordinary happened. She began hearing the voice of a friend, the Judge David Patterson Hatch in her head. Barker was unaware of it at the time, but Hatch had just passed away—and had begun speaking with her from “heaven.”
The voice startled Barker but she began dutifully jotting down what she heard. It turned out to be a compelling first-hand report of what happened to Judge Hatch after he died. He had moved on to what he called “a lower heaven,” though he also had access to a higher heaven which was not his cup of tea. And while Hatch warned Barker many would not believe her tale, what she put down on paper has the ring of truth to it.
The man who went to heaven was no ordinary magistrate. Hatch was deeply interested in philosophy. At one point in mid-life, he left his law practice for the mountains of British Columbia, living in solitude for 5 years. Here, he sought a deeper understanding of the nature around him and his own inner nature. He later wrote several spiritual and philosophical books under the pseudonym Paul Karishka—and became acquainted with Barker after they both published similarly themed books about Jesus.
Hatch’s main message: “the soul survives after the bodily change called death.”
Hatch was able to create a “telepathic rapport” with Barker’s mind and his message was meant not just for Barker but for a wider audience. He eventually asks Barker to publish his words in a book. He believes he can offer valuable advice “about the life out here which may be of use to others,” hoping that his insights will “make the change easier, the journey less formidable.”
The lawyer and judge tells us “there is nothing to fear in death,” and that it is “no harder than a trip to a foreign country.” While he does not mention seeing family members, he does run into friends and acquaintances. And he seemingly has the ability to travel, through sheer willpower, to places he has been before as well as some he has never seen, including many idyllic settings. He explains:
In this world, we can make real for the moment whatever we imagine. Objects are as real and substantial as they are in your world. But here is the possibility of creation. We desire a place and we are there.
Elsa Barker’s transcriptions were released in book form in 1914 under the title Letters from a Living Dead Man. It’s important to note that she did not identify Hatch when the book was published, simply referring to him as X. A year later, Judge Hatch’s son, Bruce Hatch, revealed in an interview with the New York Sunday World that X was in fact his father, as Barker had passed on several personal messages to him. There was absolutely no doubt in his mind that Barker’s tale was true.
What follows are lightly edited excerpts from the book which I’ve put into 3 categories. I’ve used a more recent edition of the book which was republished in 1995 as Letters from the Light: An Afterlife Journal from the Self-Lighted World. It is credited to “David Patterson Hatch, through the hand of Elsa Barker.”
Thoughts Upon Entering the Afterlife
- Things seem easier to me now than they have seemed for a long time. I carry less weight, I could have held on longer in my body, but it did not seem worth the effort.
- I found almost no darkness. The light here is wonderful, it is a self-lighted world, far more wonderful than the sunlight of the South.
- Your rate of vibration changes as you come into this world. You see things that exist, or have existed, in the material world. You do not see anything in this world which does not have a physical counterpart in the other. We just live on a different plane, moving at a different rate of vibration. This side is an extension of life on earth.
- This is not a place where everyone knows everything. Most souls are nearly as blind as they were in life. They have not changed much in passing through the doors of death, wasting their lives on this side as they did in the previous. But there are also brilliant and magnetic people, whose very presence is rejuvenating.
- I believe that old people grow younger here until they reach their prime again, and that they may then stay at that stage for a long time. The tendency is to grow young in thought and young in appearance. But other souls go back very soon, with little rest and little change.
- I am able to close my eyes and travel inward, deeper than thought, to a place where the soul is face to face with itself and the wonders of its own past. I can find everyone who I ever loved. They smile at me, and I understand the mystery of them, and why we had been drawn together.
Reincarnation is Real
- You are a being without beginning and without end. In life, what we call ourselves is not our real immortal soul.
- I have memories of my former lives on earth. Others do not know that they have lived many times in the flesh. But if a person understands that their recent sojourn on earth was merely the latest in a series of lives, and they focus their mind, they too can recover memories of their past lives.
- I am going back over my previous lives and assimilating what I learned in them. I believe I can bring back much of this knowledge when I am born again.
- When I look back on these lives, I realize the why behind the last one. I now see its purpose and that I laid the plans for it when I was last out here.
- Already I am laying plans for my next coming, though there is no hurry. I have earned my vacation. The labor will come again. I am not going back until I have had my fill of the freedom and enjoyment of this existence here.
Advice for the Living
- On earth, you work too much—more than is really necessary. The mass of needless things that you accumulate around you, the artificial wants that you create, the breakneck pace of your lives, seems absurd and rather pitiful to us.
- If you have sinned, accept the fact with courage and resolve to not do it again. Set up good actions more powerful than your sins. Those who dwell upon their sins in their last hours will live them over and over again in the state beyond the tomb.
- Get acquainted with your own soul. There are surprises in store for the person who deliberately sets out on the quest of his soul. It is not something to be ignored. The soul is a beacon light to steer by and avoid the rocks of materialism and forgetfulness.
- Live in the moment while preparing for a long journey. Don’t exaggerate the importance of momentary failures and disappointments.
- Watch for the high tides and float up with them. When the inevitable low tides come, meditate or rest. Once you arrive here, you will see that the lights and shadows were all necessary to your life. It all happens for a reason.