SECOND LIEUTENANT RAYMOND LODGE
SOUTH LANCASHIRE REGIMENT
14TH SEPTEMBER 1915 AGE 25
BURIED: BIRR CROSS ROADS CEMETERY, YPRES, BELGIUM
And how had Raymond helped many to know that death is not the end? By speaking to his parents through a spirit medium and describing the world he now found himself in with enough detail about his past life to be able to convince them that it was really him.
Second Lieutenant Raymond Lodge was killed in action on 14 September 1915. On 25 September his mother (M.F.A.L.) "who was having an anonymous sitting for a friend with Mrs Leonard, then a complete stranger, had the following spelt out by tilts of a table, as purporting to come from Raymond: - TELL FATHER I HAVE MET SOME FRIENDS OF HIS.
M.F.A.L. - Can you give any name?
Frederic Myers, 1843-1901, was a founder member of the Society for Psychical Research of which Raymond's father, Sir Oliver Lodge, was also a member. But Sir Oliver was no ordinary credulous bereaved relation, he was a senior scientist, a physicist who had done extensive research in the fields of electromagnetism and radio. He had been Professor of Physics at University College, Liverpool from 1881 to 1900 and was now Principal of Birmingham University.
The war saw a huge growth of interest in spiritualism, the belief in the survival of the human personality after death and the ability of the living to communicate with this personality. Those interested in the subject included people with genuinely scientific enquiring minds, as well as the superstitious, the ignorant and the flagrant deceivers. They did not believe they were cranks but open minded, free thinkers as opposed to closed minded traditionalists. After all, magnetism, electricity and radio waves were all various forms of long distance communication which had been unknown until recently so why not telepathy and communication with the dead.
A year after his son's death, Sir Oliver wrote a book about his communications with his son called 'Raymond or Life and Death with examples of the evidence for survival of memory and affection after death'. It was a best seller and ran through many editions but was also ridiculed by many of Sir Oliver's colleagues in the scientific community. Despite this, some years later when the permanent cemeteries were constructed and the Lodge's got their chance to choose a headstone inscription for Raymond, which looks as though it was in 1922 seven years after his death, they reiterated their belief in Raymond's survival:
Raymond who has helped
Many to know
That death is not the end