The following is an excerpt from Chapter 1 (Coming through the Mists) in  Through the Mist, a biography written by Aphraar (Frederick Winterleigh), who had passed when attempting to save a child from being trampled by horses. Ahraar’s life on Earth, as someone who spent time ministering to the poor and homeless on the streets of  London in the late 1800’s, is reflected in his condition and surroundings into which he passes. The following account is based on his experience of his own passing:

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“It was one evening, when on my way to visit some of these uncared-for people, that the great change overtook me. I was walking along a crowded footpath, engaged in the contemplation of the lights and shadows visible on the faces of passers-by, when I heard a scream, and saw a child in deadly peril among the horses in the road. He was not far away, so bounding forward – with no thought but for his safety – I reached and dragged him from his hazardous position, then turned and something touched me. I clasped the boy more firmly and stepped forward. The noise ceased, vehicles and street faded away, as if some great magician had waved his wand, the darkness disappeared, and I was lying upon a grassy slope in an enchanted land.

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Neither did all the changes lie in our surroundings. Few people would have been enamoured[3] of the ragged child I rushed to save, with his shoeless feet, matted hair, and unwashed face; but the angel I found lying upon my breast, would have driven an artist into raptures. For myself, in that instant, I had changed my morning suit for a loosely flowing robe, which somehow seemed to be a part of myself; and though I was fully assured of my own individuality, I was curious to know what had taken place, and by what means, in the interval of one solitary step, a transformation of such completeness had been effected.

The lad, though evidently conscious of the alteration, looked into my face with calm laughing eyes, void of any trace of fear; perhaps he expected me to give some explanation, but I needed that myself. Then he buried his head in my shoulder and fell asleep. I sat and nursed him, trying to answer the only question which occupied my mind – “Where are we?”

I was reclining upon the grass, of what can only be described as the auditorium of an immense but natural amphitheatre, with the arena occupied by a multitude, who appeared to be engaged in the reception of strangers, whom they were welcoming and congratulating. If only I could have understood it, the scene would have been as pleasing as it was brilliant, but under the circumstances, my feelings were more of curiosity than of appreciation. It resembled the performance of an elaborate tableau[4], of which I held no descriptive programme, being alike ignorant of the place, the players and the purpose. This was all that I could understand: – There were two classes of persons represented ‒ the one, evidently residents, attired in garments embracing almost every shade of colour with which I was familiar, and some, the like of which I had never seen before, and therefore have no means to make you understand. The other, by far the smaller of the two, gave me the idea of strangers, who having just arrived, stood in need of the help and assistance so freely proffered[5]. Where did they come from? I asked myself.

To this, I was enabled to find a somewhat satisfactory reply. Before me lay a plain, across which numbers were continually coming and going; at its further side, I saw a heavy bank of fog lying, the outlines of which were boldly portrayed, as if confined within certain limitations. The atmosphere was so unusually clear, that although the fog was perhaps some two miles distant from where I lay, I could easily discern that they entered the plain from that direction. I now became intensely interested in something, which baffled my powers to determine, whether it was real or an optical illusion. I noticed that the variegated colour of the dresses, worn by those who went from us towards the mists, gradually faded, until in the distance, but one uniform tone of grey was visible; on the contrary, as they returned, the original hues were as mysteriously restored. It seemed to me at length, as if some magical influence was exerted by that vapour, or that the plain was one, which might legitimately be called enchanted.

The moment I saw the fog, I was conscious of a cold chill running through me, not due to any change of temperature, which was warm and genial, but such, as one experiences at the thought of leaving a cosy fire, to become enveloped in the piercing mist of autumn or early winter. What caused this is more than I can say – perhaps it was sympathy with those I saw emerging from such surroundings; for many were so overcome, they scarcely had the strength to reach the open plain; while for some, the watchers plunged into the mists and carried them through; others being borne all the way across the plain, before they had the power to stand upon their feet.

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How long I was thus employed, I cannot tell, but suddenly my attention was attracted to someone standing beside me and I arose, for the first time becoming aware, that the slope whereon I had been sitting was occupied by many, evidently strangers like myself. This, however, did not interest me so much just then, as it would previously have done; all my mind being centred upon the person who stood beside me, in the hope that he would be able to solve the problem, so perplexing to me.

He divined my purpose, before I had time to frame a question, and stretching out his hands towards the still sleeping lad, said:

“There is someone coming, who will answer all your enquiries, my duty is to take the boy.”

“To take the boy?” I answered, scarcely knowing whether I ought to give him up. “Where? Home?”

“Yes!”

“But how shall we get back? How did we come here? Where are we?”

“You must be patient for a little while,” he answered, “then you will know and understand all about it.”

“But tell me, is this delirium or a dream?”

“No! You will find you have been dreaming; now you are awake.”

“Then please, tell me where we are, and how we came here; I am so perplexed to know that.”

“You are in a land of surprises, but you need not fear, it will bring for you nothing, but rest and compensation.”

“That only increases my difficulty,” I said entreatingly.

“But just now it was night in London, where I saved that boy from being run over. Then everything faded like a flash and I found we were here. Where then, is this place?What do you call it?”

“The land of immortality!”

“What! – Dead? – How?”

I was conscious of falling back a step, as the stupendous announcement fell upon my ears, but there was something so reassuring in his manner, that I instinctively returned and grasped the hand, he held out to give me welcome. Among all the theories by which I had tried to solve the mystery, this one had never suggested itself – it would not have been entertained for a moment if it had, while the unexpected surroundings, would have warranted me in dismissing it. I was astonished at the unquestioning faith, with which I accepted his declaration, while his sympathetic composure, absolutely forbade any sense of agitation, as the startling truth was fully comprehended.

“No! Not dead!” he replied, after a moment’s pause.

“Did you ever know dead men to talk, and be surprised? When a boy leaves home for school, or school to take his part in the more serious events of life,  when a girl leaves her father’s for her husband’s home, have you been in the habit of saying they were dead? Certainly not! Neither are you right in supposing you are dead, since passing through the change which has overtaken you.”

“But I have made an unmistakable exit from one world and an entrance into another; therefore while I am alive to this new life, I am dead to that which I have left behind.”

“You will now be called upon to enlarge your conceptions and ideas; as your homes on Earth are separate habitations, and nations form the dominions of different kings, so the various states and worlds in this life, become the many mansions in the universal kingdom of our Father ‒ God. Therefore you are only dead to Earth, in the same way as the schoolboy dies as a scholar, but has the greater power of a teacher; or as the girl ceases to be a resident and becomes a visitor.”

“I do not understand you,” I replied.

“Let me give you the outline of a parable, over which you may reflect, until someone else is sent to afford you clearer information. Children are coaxed to sleep on Earth by the singing of nursery rhymes, the fabulous heroes of which, become historical characters in the minds of the little listeners, until the realities of life dispel the illusion. So children of a larger growth, upon entering this life, find that even so have they been lulled to spiritual slumber, by the fictions of the nurses of their souls. It is the awakening to the truth of this fact, which makes this a land of surprises, as you will find it to be as you proceed. But now I must leave you and take our little brother to the children’s home, where you will meet him again presently.”

With a kindly salutation[6] he departed, and I was left alone to think on all he had said. His parable was pregnant with revelation, that the future alone could intelligently unfold, but one thing was evident – I had taken the irrevocable step – had solved the grand secret; yet what had I learned? I was merely waiting with the knowledge, that the act of dying had been unconsciously accomplished. What would be the result? Whatever it might be, I could not now go back; I had to meet my fate. One thing I had been assured: there was no need to fear. I did not – was not even anxious – I was content. So I waited and pondered.

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[1] Parable; moral or religious story

[2] Analogy: a comparison between one thing and another, typically for the purpose of explanation or clarification

[3] Enamoured; charmed, filled with love

[4] Tableau; picture, scene

[5] Proffered; offered, extended, volunteered

[6] Salutation; an expression of greeting, goodwill, or courtesy by word, gesture to someone

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