by Ida Craddock
The Sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair;
and they took them wives of all that they chose.
It has been my high privilege to have some practical experience as the earthly wife of an angel from the unseen world. In the interests of psychical research, I have tried to explore this pathway of communication with the spiritual universe, and, so far as lay in my power, to make a sort of rough guidebook of the route. For not all wives of heavenly bridegrooms travel the same path at first. There are roads running into this one from every religion and folklore under the sun, since the pathway of marital relations on the Borderland was once, and still is, as I hope to show, one of the main thoroughfares connecting our world with the world beyond the grave. This thoroughfare, along part of which I hope to conduct the reader in imagination, is marked with signposts, many crumbling under the religious storms of centuries, others preserved as sacred trellises upon which to train a rank growth of flourishing superstition, and still others fresh with modern paint and gilding. Part of this thoroughfare runs straight through the Christian Church, or, to speak more accurately, the foundations of the Church are laid upon this very principle. For Jesus himself is said to be the child of a union between an earthly woman and a heavenly bridegroom who (however godlike, and whatever the details of the relation) certainly seems to have manifested to Mary on the occult plane. If it be objected that Mary's Borderland spouse was not an angel, but God himself, and therefore Borderland laws could be laid aside in His case, I reply that modern philosophy holds apparent miracles to be no violation of natural laws, but to have happened in accordance with some law as yet unknown to us; for God never breaks His laws, and if He became a Borderland spouse to Mary, it must have been in accordance with Borderland laws. And we, as made in His likeness, are bound by the same natural laws as God. Moreover, as Mary and me are sharers in a common humanity, she and me are bound alike, sharers in the glorious possibilities of Borderland. [Missing portion of original manuscript] ...abraded survivals of an ancient religious teaching of marital purity and self-control of so lofty a type that it has been obscured by the fogs in the lowlands of modern sensuality. Enlightened by my experiences as the wife of my unseen angel visitant, I wrote a defence (from a folklore standpoint) of the Danse du Ventre, which was published in the New York World. This I afterwards added to, and issued in a typewritten essay for private circulation. As the essay showed that I wrote from experience, as I was still "Miss" Craddock, and as my social standing had hitherto been above suspicion, I deemed it only prudent to state to my readers that I had acquired my knowledge from a spirit husband. This I did on a little slip of paper pinned to the last page of the essay. The persecutions which in consequence of this straightforward effort to tell the truth simply and clearly I suffered at the hands of those who deny the possibility of angelic communication, need not be dwelt on here. Suffice it to say that, while my non-occultist readers who did not know me personally pooh-poohed the idea of a spirit husband, declared that I must surely speak from an illicit experience, my non-occultist friends, who knew my habits of life from day to day, could find no explanation for the essay but that I must have gone crazy; and two physicians made efforts to have me incarcerated as insane. One of the latter remarked: "Had that essay been written by a man, by a physician or by any other scientist (and the paragraph about spirit husband ommitted), it would have been alright; but coming from an unmarried woman, neither a physician nor a scientist, and with that claim of a spirit husband, there is no explanation possible but (1) illicit experience, which is denied by all who know her, or (2) insanity." That is to say, because I had, by means of knowledge gained through channels of which he was ignorant, given utterance to what would have passed unquestioned if coming from a scientist, therefore, I must be insane! To put it more tersely a diamond of truth is to be considered genuine only when discovered by A or B; if the same diamond be discovered by X, Y, or Z, it is to be considered paste. My worst offence, however, in his eyes, seemed to be that, as a woman, I was out of my province in openly preaching marital reform, however high the ideals advocated; and, as my sense of duty did not conform with his conventional prejudices, he felt justified in seeking to incarcerate me until I should recant my heresy. The factors in this case were: 1st. An unmarried woman of known reputation and integrity. 2nd. An essay written by that woman dealing with the marital relation along lines not known to one married couple in a thousand. 3rd. A claim by the essayist, that she wrote from an experience gained as the wedded partner of a ghost. To ignore any one of these factors in arriving at a theory to explain the other two, is to invalidate that theory. Now, there is one creed to which all genuine Freethinkers are faithful. It is to seek the truth, wherever it leads, and whatever the traditional belief upon the subject under investigation. This being so, I feel that I may confidently appeal to Freethinkers to consider carefully the evidence herewith submitted as to the world-wide extent of marital relations on the Borderland. Last, but not least, I appeal to Spiritualists, Theosophists, and Occultists generally. Psychics and sex, Laurence Oliphant has shown, are so interwoven that you cannot take up one wholly separate from the other. Only an occultist--and somewhat experienced occultist, at that--knows anything of the perils which await the developing psychic on the Borderland. The Middle Ages are strewn with wrecked lives--mainly those of illiterate women who, beginning by dabbling with magic in an empirical fashion, ended by confessing themselves as witches, devil-haunted in body as well as in mind, and pledged to sins against nature. Within the sheltered precincts of the most conservative of all Christian churches the Roman Catholic--really good and pious nuns have come under the sway of what the Church calls "Congressus cum daemonis". And among the non-churchly practisers of modern occultism we too often find a tendency, on the one hand, not only to justifiable freedom, but also to unjustifiable looseness of life; or on the other hand, to a rigid asceticism and unnatural suppresion of the sex instinct as impure. All these things point to the necessity for some teaching as to the fundamental principles of sex morality on the Borderland--all the more, as spirit bridegrooms and spirit brides are much more frequent than is generally supposed. Between the witch who held diabolic assignations as a devil's mistress, and the psychic who has been trained to self-controlled and reverent wedlock with an angel, it must surely be admitted, there is a wide stretch of road. Nevertheless, both are on the same road, and the downward grade is very slippery. In so far as I have been able to explore this road, therefore, I think it my duty to map out its perils and its safeguards, as to help my fellow occultists. For, no matter on what obscure by-path a psychic starts, he or she can never be sure of not coming upon this road unexpectedly, since it is, as I have said, one of the main thoroughfares of occultism. To all three classes, then--to Occultists, Freethinkers, and Christians--I respectfully offer this treatise for consideration in the hope that each may find in it something of interest and, mayhap, of profit.