Encyclopedia of the Unseen World by Constance Victoria Briggs - Read Online
Encyclopedia of the Unseen World
0% of Encyclopedia of the Unseen World completed



An A-Z encyclopedia of the unseen and the unknown world of psychics, channeling, mediums, mystics, near death experiences, prophets, shadow people, death bed visions, astral projection and more. The Encyclopedia of the Unseen World includes concepts as well as descriptions of the spiritual world that have been extrapolated from a number of sources including: Ancient and Channeled Writings, Cultural Beliefs, Mediums, Mystics, Near Death Experiences, Psychics, Prophets and Visionaries, Scriptures and more.
Published: Red Wheel Weiser on
ISBN: 9781609251642
List price: $19.95
Availability for Encyclopedia of the Unseen World by Constance Victoria Br...
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.


Book Preview

Encyclopedia of the Unseen World - Constance Victoria Briggs

You've reached the end of this preview. Sign up to read more!
Page 1 of 1


The Ultimate Guide to

Apparitions, Death Bed Visions,

Mediums, Shadow People,

Wandering Spirits,

and Much, Much More



First published in 2010 by

Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC

With offices at:

500 Third Street, Suite 230

San Francisco, CA 94107


Copyright © 2010 by Constance Victoria Briggs. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC. Reviewers may quote brief passages.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Briggs, Constance Victoria.

Encyclopedia of the unseen world : the ultimate guide to apparitions, death bed visions, mediums, shadow people, wandering spirits, and much, much

more / Constance Victoria Briggs.

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references.

ISBN 978-1-57863-465-1 (alk. paper)

1. Future life—Encyclopedias. 2. Spiritualism—Encyclopedias. I. Title.

BF1311.F8B75 2010



Cover design: Stewart Williams

Text design: Donna Linden

Typeset in P22 1722 amd Perpetua

Illustrations on pages 48, 79, 123, 180, 221, 225, 230, 242, and 252 © Miss Mary LLC; Illustrations on pages 14, 22, 32, and 59 © The Peppin Press; Illustrations on the cover and pages 11, 17, 18, 26, 29, 30, 35, 38, 41, 42, 44, 50, 53, 57, 60, 64, 66, 68, 73, 74, 80, 82, 84, 87, 91, 95, 97, 99, 103, 105, 107, 111, 113, 114, 120, 128, 131, 133, 134, 139, 140, 143, 147, 149, 150, 155, 156, 160, 164, 170, 172, 177, 183, 185, 187, 192, 197, 200, 204, 207, 210, 213, 232, 236, 240, 244, 248, 254, 256, 260, 263, 265, 267, 271, 273, and 276 © Dover.

Printed in the United States of America


10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials Z39.48-1992 (R1997)

To my father, Wilfred, who from the other side

validated everything I have learned.

Thank you.


The Encyclopedia of the Unseen World is devoted to explaining the fascinating yet sometimes complicated subjects involved with life after death and the spiritual world. I feel that when we are seeking answers to questions such as the existence and state of our loved ones that have crossed over, it is particularly important that we understand the meaning of terms that have now become mainstream. I also believe knowing what others have experienced and are still experiencing is vital to our own spiritual growth, knowledge, and understanding. By gaining knowledge about the spiritual world, we can understand better what is ahead for each of us.

It is interesting to note that even though there are now studies being done to prove that there is a spiritual world, that there is indeed life after death, the information being discovered is basically the same as that which has been revealed to us for centuries by the ancients, whose firsthand accounts sparked whole religious movements on the one hand and disdain and disbelief on the other.

This book takes us on a journey through time, as we meet people that have received communications from the spiritual realm firsthand. We learn of people from ancient times through today that have actually crossed over to the other side and back in out-of-body experiences, and realized that they were seeing and reporting the same things as those that have journeyed into the next world and back in modern near-death experiences. We meet people that in the face of skepticism and ridicule stood up and said, Yes, it does exist, I have seen things, felt things, and heard things that prove that we are not alone and do not cease to exist once the physical body perishes.

A relative of mine, once he found out what the subject matter of this book is, asked me if it was scary. It is not scary. Only Hollywood can turn something this interesting and enlightening into fear. It is, in a nutshell, comforting to know that there is more to our existence, to our universe, to our being, than what we have been taught. It is not scary to step outside of our limited knowledge of things and explore. It is not scary to think that one day I will be able to once again meet people that I once knew, but who are no longer residing on earth.

The book is written in easy to understand terms. It is sorted in an A-to-Z format with highlighted cross-references. I have tried to include a variety of beliefs surrounding the spiritual world, from ancient times through today. I have incorporated people that have had experiences with the other side across the ages, so that we get a better view of what has been happening in this area of belief worldwide and for so long. Unfortunately, because of space constraints, the stories are only touched upon, but they are enough to get you started on your own spiritual path, your journey into the world that Shakespeare once called the undiscovered country. That country, by the way, is no longer undiscovered.

I also use the terms spiritual world and other side. Both are terms for the nonphysical world where souls exist after the death of the physical body.

Once you finish here, you can use the references in the back of the book to continue your research.

Good luck.

I wish you well on your journey of discovery and enlightenment.


"The dead don’t bear a grudge nor seek a blessing.

The dead don’t rest uneasy. Only the living."

—Margaret Laurence, The Stone Angel



A river located in the Epirus region of northwest Greece. In Greek mythology it is a river connected to the spiritual world. The word acheron when translated means river of despair. In ancient Greece it was believed to be one of the five underworld rivers, through which the souls of the dead were transported by Charon (ferryman of the dead) to Hades, ruler of the underworld.

ADC (After-Death Communication) Project, The

Headed by Bill and Judy Guggenheim, this is an in-depth project on the subject of communication from the spiritual world. Bill and Judy Guggenheim are the co-authors of Hello from Heaven!, which contains 353 after-death communication accounts. The ADC Project was started in May, 1988 and was the first thorough study on the subject. During their research, the Guggenheims interviewed two thousand people living in the United States and Canada. They were able to compile 3,300 accounts from people who had been contacted by a loved one from the spiritual world.


A strong dependence on a substance (or practice) that may have negative effects upon the participant. People that have serious, problematic addictions on earth and do not overcome them may still have the addiction after they pass on. Those existing in the spiritual world who passed on with this type of addiction may find themselves either earthbound or in the lower realms, unable to move on until they let go of their habit. This addiction can pose a severe problem for a person after death because it can hinder their spiritual development. People that have had near-death experiences have reported witnessing addicts who have crossed over. One observed a person in spirit attempting to inhabit the body of a living person who had the same addiction. Once a person in spirit lets go of the addiction, they are then able to move on with their spiritual journey and move into a higher spiritual dimension.


A name for guides in the spiritual world that greet the newly deceased persons arriving from the physical dimension. According to a number of sources, ancient and modern, when we cross over to the other side, there are guides to greet us and help us adjust to our new surroundings. These guides can be any number of people or entities, including loved ones from our most recent incarnation, loved ones from previous lives (that we have forgotten while on the earth plane), or even angels and beings of light.

Advanced Souls

Souls that have had a number of physical incarnations on the earth or elsewhere. In the spiritual world, advanced souls are often assigned to be spirit guides to help those still existing in the physical world. In addition, advanced souls may incarnate on earth to assist humanity in spreading goodness and light to the world. When on earth, advanced souls quietly go about their business doing good work and finding self-fulfillment in improving the lives of others. Advanced souls are apt to focus less on institutional matters and more on enhancing individual values, and tend to possess great patience and tolerance. They also display extraordinary coping skills and wisdom. Even from childhood, these souls have an air about them that makes others feel that they are somehow wiser than their time on earth would allow. Advanced souls are not motivated by self-interest; they often disregard their own physical needs and comforts for those of others. At death, an advanced soul that has had many previous lives knows immediately that it has been set free from the limitations of life in the physical realm, and that it is returning to its original home.


The Aeons are great spiritual beings in ancient Gnosticism. They were believed to be the first beings created by God and number somewhere around 365. According to ancient Gnostic beliefs, some of the aeons turned away from the Supreme Being when they became fascinated with human sexuality. This belief parallels a story in the Bible’s Old Testament (Genesis 6:1-4), which speaks of angels becoming attracted to human women and coming to the earth to take them as wives.

After-Death Communication

A communication from someone that has crossed over to the spiritual world. In most cases the recipient is a family member or friend. In the spiritual world, people’s thoughts are so powerful that they can communicate easily with each other, as well as with people still existing in the physical world. When offering a communication to someone still in physical life, the person in the spiritual world often intends to comfort the individual or bring closure to unfinished business.

This communication is achieved through the use of telepathy. Research shows that the communication can come in a number of different ways and may occur in the waking state, the meditative state, or the dream state. Common forms of communication from the other side are:

Auditory Communication (hearing a spirit’s voice). Verbal communication may be received in two ways, outwardly (hearing through the ears) or inwardly, as a thought coming into the mind.

Visual Communication (seeing the spirit). A person on the other side may appear to one or more living persons. Visual communication is spontaneous and can occur anywhere and at anytime. The deceased can be seen either fully or partially. When appearing fully, the spirit of the deceased usually appears solid and often with light surrounding it. Usually, the deceased person appears younger and in better health than before he or she crossed over. The living person may see an image of the deceased in the form of an outward vision (as if the experiencer is watching a film) or an inward one (as if the living person is having a daydream). Bedside visual visitations are common; spirits often appear beside the bed or at the foot of the bed.

Dreams. The deceased person may appear to a living person in a dream. It is believed that this is one of the easier methods of after-death communication for a person in spirit. Usually, the recipient of the dream is certain that the contact was made and is able to rest easier because their grief and worry over the deceased is assuaged. The dreams are often experienced as real events, as if the dreamer were there with the deceased, and sometimes the dreamer is given a message. In addition, the deceased may interrupt an ordinary dream. This interruption can be likened to the dreamer watching a movie that the deceased suddenly appears in.

Feeling a Presence. In this case experiencers feel the presence of their loved one. They have the feeling that the deceased person is in the room with them or that they are being watched by their loved one. This feeling is often accompanied by a feeling or sense of tremendous love and tranquility.

Touch. In some instances people can feel a touch, such as a caress, a kiss, or even a hug, from the deceased loved one. The touch often comforts the living person’s grief over the individual’s death.

Apports (appearance of favorite items). An item that the deceased person loved or admired may be shown to the recipient in a vision or a dream, or the solid item itself might appear where the recipient will notice it in waking life.

Smell. Here the experiencer smells a distinct fragrance—such as the scent of perfume, cooking food, air fresheners, or soaps—that is associated with a deceased loved one.

Telephone Calls. Sometimes a person in spirit will use the telephone as a means of communicating a message to loved ones left behind. This call usually startles the recipient, who sometimes quickly hangs up. Usually the person on the telephone sounds far away.

Electronic Manipulation (e.g., lights going on and off, televisions turning on automatically). It seems rather simple for those on the other side to make their presence known by making electronic equipment, such as lights, computers, televisions, and radios, go haywire. In addition, the deceased may leave an audible message on a tape recorder, answering machine, or even computer (a form of communication also known as electronic voice phenomena).

People respond in a number of ways to after-death communications. If someone has had experience with such phenomena or are at least aware of the possibility that the loved one who has crossed over may contact them, this communication is perfectly normal. For others it may come as a shock and may even be a frightening experience. However, the after-death communication is a gift to the recipient and is usually viewed that way by those who experience it. More often than not, the person that has crossed over is trying to comfort their loved one and convey the message that they survived death and are fine. They are trying to convince their loved ones to not worry about them, and to reassure the living that they are in a better place.

The return communication tends to be problematic for many recipients. Often people feel the need to contact a third party, such as a medium, to relay a message to the deceased. However, a third party is not needed to relay a message to the person in spirit, because the person is still alive in every way while in spirit form. Their hearing, sight, and personality are all intact. Only their form has changed. Those of us living in the physical realm cannot see and hear those in the unseen spiritual world; because most people’s spiritual senses are not developed, we cannot perceive those existing on the other side. This makes communication between those in spirit and those in the physical virtually impossible. However, the person in spirit can still hear and understand the messages spoken out loud by their loved ones. Therefore, if a living person has a message for a relative or friend that has crossed over, talking aloud is a simple way of conveying the message. In addition, if a living person has a question for someone that has passed on, an answer may come in one of the communication forms listed above. Therefore, one must be receptive, keep watch, and have a mind open to the possibility of communication from the spiritual world.

After-Death Experience

A term sometimes used when referring to a near-death experience.

After-Death Vision

A vision of a deceased individual. After-death visions have been reported since ancient times. According to historical accounts, those that have passed on sometimes visit the dying to bring them messages and/or comfort. An after-death vision is given by the deceased to the recipient to reassure them that the deceased survived death. The vision can be that of an apparition, in which the deceased may appear fully formed, or be seen in the mind’s eye (as if the recipient is watching a movie of the deceased). These visions often occur soon after a person crosses over into the spiritual world at death and more often during the first three months after the death. The vision can be seen by one or more persons in the same or even different localities and sometimes occur simultaneously. An after-death vision can be experienced by anyone.

After-Death Visitation

A visitation from a loved one that has crossed over into the spiritual world. After-death visitations most often occur soon after a person’s death, but can also happen years later. They often happen to let a loved one know that the deceased is still in existence. The deceased may also come to bring a message or warning to a living individual. These visitations can occur when the recipient is in a waking or sleep state. In the sleep state they may be confused with a dream. One can discern the difference by how real the dream seemed. There is often a sense of feeling that the visitation was real and a message was conveyed. The visitation may also come in the form of an apparition.


A general term used to refer to the continuation of existence after the physical body has permanently died. The term afterlife is also another name for the spiritual world. The afterlife is essentially another dimension where living beings that are involved with the cycle of spiritual advancement and reincarnation are able to study, rest, and learn in preparation for their next incarnation. It is said to be a place of emotional and spiritual euphoria, where all enjoy a state of perfect health. Any unhappiness, problems, difficulties, and ailments a person suffered during their physical lifetime are gone. Although the afterlife is said to be in close proximity to the physical world, it cannot be perceived by the physical senses.

Just what goes on in the afterlife has been a matter of debate and speculation throughout the history of humankind. Finally, in the modern era, due to a great deal of study, research and comparisons with stories of near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences, and ancient writings, a picture is beginning to be painted of this mysterious otherworld.

The afterlife is evidently a place of learning, growth, and activity. It is a busy existence, and the goal is for beings to evolve and grow spiritually. It is a time of analyzing one’s spiritual development and soul’s journey. There, we are able to review our life as we lived it during our most recent incarnation. We also remember and examine our past lives, lessons learned, and missions fulfilled. Important decisions are made, such as whether or not to continue incarnating on earth (or another world) or move on into the higher spiritual realms.

Exactly where a person goes within the afterlife realms depends upon the kind of person they were and the kind of life they lived while on earth. Inhabitants of the afterlife are called souls and/or spirits. Popular terms used when referring to the afterlife are the other side, spiritual realm, and astral plane. In certain religious beliefs the afterlife is known as heaven and paradise.

Living in the Afterlife. According to the majority of the world’s religious and spiritual beliefs, the kind of existence experienced in the afterlife is one of peace and love. Most believe that this is the life that awaits honest, loving, kind people who cross over into the afterlife. It is a world of happiness, recreation, spiritual growth, and learning. There, people are involved in activities that they take pleasure in, and they associate with people much like themselves and that they enjoy being around. The skills, interests, and abilities developed in their most recent life on earth are reflected in the roles chosen after death. People in the afterlife go about their activities much as we go about ours here in the physical world.

In the afterlife, there are opportunities in art, science, music, and many other interests. Much of the information mentioned here has come to light in our modern era and was derived from research of the afterlife and near-death experiences, as well as out-of-body experiences (also known as astral projection). In addition, information about life after death can also be found in ancient scriptures and writings including the Bible, the Koran, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Books of Enoch, and the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

In the Books of Enoch, there is an account of the biblical prophet Enoch visiting the spiritual world and witnessing many amazing sights. Among them were spirits, whom Enoch referred to as angels, studying and working. 1 Enoch states:

The men (angels) brought me to the sixth heaven, and there I saw seven groups of ‘angels’. Some of these ‘angels’ study the movements of the stars, the Sun and the Moon and record the peaceful order of the world. Other ‘angels’ there, undertake teaching and give instruction in clear and melodious voices. Others are responsible for recording the fauna and flora in both the Highland and the Lowlands. There are ‘angels’ who record the seasons and the years, others who study the rivers and the seas, others who study the fruits of the lowlands and the plants and herbs that give nourishment to men and beasts. And there are ‘angels’ who study mankind and record the behavior of men and how they live.

The beauty of the afterlife is said to be unimaginable. In addition, living conditions are similar to those on earth and include such aspects of earth life as homes to dwell in, places to go, and friends to see. There are also many places for learning and mental and spiritual growth.

Location of the Afterlife. For thousands of years people thought that the afterlife realm was somewhere up above the earth and that the soul ascended to this place after death. Evidence shows that this is not the case. According to modern afterlife research, the afterlife exists in the same space as the physical world. It is another dimension that overlaps with the physical plane. If we were to open our spiritual eyes, we would be able to see into this world. Occasionally, we can get a glimpse into it by happening upon a spirit from the other side. What separates the spiritual world from the physical is the fact that the former is a different dimension vibrating at a higher frequency.

After Life

A 1998 movie by Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda, starring Arata, Erika Oda, and Susumu Terajima. The film has an afterlife theme about death and memory. The movie tagline asks, What is the one memory you would take with you? In the film, after people die, they spend a week with spiritual counselors who help them choose one memory. They describe the memory to the staff that works with a crew to film it and screen it at the week’s end. As soon as a person views their memory, he or she vanishes into the afterlife, taking only that single memory with them into eternity. In the film, twenty-two people, including an elderly woman, a rebellious high school dropout, a teenage girl, and a seventy-year-old war veteran, arrive in one week and are assigned to three counselors and a trainee. In preparation for the movie, Hirokazu interviewed five hundred people, from all walks of life, about their memories. These interviews are interwoven throughout the film.

Afterlife Communication

See After-Death


Afterlife Experiments, The

A book by Gary Schwartz (who is also the co-author of The Living Energy Universe). The Afterlife Experiments documents groundbreaking scientific experiments that lend testimony to the existence of life after death. Session transcripts take the reader into a controlled laboratory environment where contact with those in the spiritual world is made. In these experiments, mediums and sitters worked together to establish a connection with the spiritual world, which they did on a consistent basis.

Age of Souls

Metaphysical and New Age thinkers, as well as a number of spiritual groups and religious teachings, hold to the theory that human souls are immortal. According to some prominent psychics and people who have had near-death experiences and experienced after-death communication, people on the other side appear many years younger than they were when they were alive on earth. This is because in the afterlife people’s appearance can regress or progress to their best age. This age is generally believed to be around thirty years old. Popular author Dolores Cannon writes in her book Between Death and Life, All souls have been around for the same degree. Some of us have chosen, for our own personal reasons, to incarnate into the body more than others. That is where they get the term old or young soul. In an interview in the Internet magazine The New Times, medium Rosemary Altea writes, I have seen young men twenty or thirty years old who had died at five or six.

Akashic Records

A spiritual library of knowledge, located on the other side. The Akashic Records are also known as the Records of Life. They are said to