By Conor Mac Dari, Jr.
Discussions concerning after-death states usually end by the well-known pronouncementthat ³Nobody ever came back to tell about them.´In ³Gone West´ we have the answer to this because Mr. J. S. M. Ward, the author, did justthat. He visited the Astral Plane regularly, retained his consciousness while there, and his book isa fascinating record of his experiences among the so-called dead. He describes some of thedangers ever existing on the Astral Plane in the form of evil entities who endeavour to enticeoccupants, especially newcomers, to yield to the indulgence of liquor, sex, and other sensualvices in which they had participated while on earth. These evil entities, who are as a rule former earth inhabitants, urge all among whom they mingle to practice the obsession of mortals and thushelp to swell the ranks of the forces of evil.On the other hand, Mr. Ward tells of the opportunities open for spiritual development andthus provides the reader with the necessary information to make the correct choice of companions and the paths to follow for his betterment. (In this regard the undersigned stronglyurges the reader to direct his attention to ³The Officer´ Part II).The following, in Mr. Ward¶s own words from the introduction of another work on thesame subject will serve to make his position clear: ² ³In giving this narrative to the general public, I have been actuated by the desire to bring comfort to others in a similar position of loss.I knew that the dead die not long before my brother died, but of the manner in which they live Iknew only a little. Except for a brief account of the astral plane by W. A., and another rather specialized account by the Officer, my knowledge related mainly to the spirit plane. Of the astral plane under war conditions I knew nothing.³The interest Gone West aroused has been shown not merely by its sales, considerable asthese have been, but by the large number of letters I have received, which have been of thegreatest encouragement. Those of us who are endeavouring to spread the true knowledge of life beyond the grave, are doing so in the face of opposition alike from the ordinary man of the worldand from the ministers of established religions. Sometimes we are laughed at, whilst at other times we are called necromancers. Some of our opponents even go so far as to hint that we arenot quite sane, but this has always been the way in which new truths are received at first. Nevertheless, it may be of interest to my readers to know that I am a perfectly normal man ± onewho is earning his living in business and who has every day to deal with complex mundanematters. The fluctuations in the rate of exchange, sources of the raw materials of industry, theGerman methods of trade penetration, and trade statistics are a few of the subjects with which Iam concerned, and on all of which I have written articles and issued reports which are readilytaken by the trade journals.³I assure my readers that, from the financial point of view, it pays far better for me to writetwo or three articles on Openings for British Trade in say, South America, than it does to writesuch a book as this. I am not a medium plying for hire, as the daily papers would call it, and if you met me at dinner, unless I spoke of these things, you would find me no different from ahundred other busy men of affaires. Why, then, should the critics suppose that my ordinary clear business mind fails me when I turn to investigate psychical phenomena, or think I should wastemy time practicing a heartless fraud on my readers? After all, those are the alternatives. If I did