Is Spiritual Well-Being
a Prerequisite for a
Long and Happy Life?
Is spiritual well-being important for you?
Is it even important?
Here at Spirit Today we aim to be a little different by celebrating the people who have done great work and wonderful service in the world of survival. Combining this great work and wonderful service with a healthy dose of open-minded scepticism and an interest in psi phenomena is today’s guest, 94-year-old Mr George Barker B.Eng., M.I.Mech.E., from Afterlife Essays. George is a fine colleague of mine and has pretty much seen and done it all. I wanted to get to know him better so I asked him if he’d be kind enough to write up ‘George Barker’s Story’ for us and he generously obliged. Surely if anyone knows his onions , it’s George! So without further ado..
I was born on Sunday, 14th July, 1918, in Prestbury, Cheshire, still a pretty village in spite of now being besieged by the mansions of footballers and bankers. When I was aged about two I found myself in Whitley Bay, from where my father commuted to his work in Newcastle upon Tyne, so I was brought up a ‘Geordie’. Ships were still built on Tyneside and many of my school friends were apprenticed to Swan and Hunter, North-Eastern Marine, etc and later became seagoing engineers, but I became an RAF aircraft apprentice in 1934 and learnt how to maintain airframes and engines, passing out from RAF Halton as Fitter-rigger grade II.
I also directed (on alto sax) the Halton Orchestra both as pit orchestra for shows and as a dance band, and I also played trombone in the station band.
In 1937 I joined No 26 (Army Cooperation) Squadron at Catterick and was proud to be given a fitter’s mate and a Hawker Audax biplane to look after. We were soon re-equipped with Hawker Hectors and then with Westland Lysanders, which we took to Abbeville in northern France in October 1939. I am on the right of this group at the tail of a Hector.
Whilst we were at Catterick a group of us held experimental séances and one member turned out to be a trance medium. We chatted with a spirit group who, like us, were experimenting. They seemed to be people who had been over there a long time and had lost interest in who they had been on earth, because we could not get any of them to give details of their earth life, whilst they were chatty about their current life. They didn’t actually refuse but the question didn’t seem to mean anything to them! It’s a long time ago now, but I can remember asking how they travel so fast from one place to another and one said that when we travel from A to B we have to pass through the intervening space whereas they travel from a to B without doing so. When talking about music one said their music didn’t have any bar lines. When time is different there this seems to make sense and I’ll be interested in checking this when I arrive there myself.
In this photo I’m the corporal on the left and the one on the right is my best friend J G Cooke who was killed in action in a Pathfinder Squadron Lancaster.
Not long before we went off to join the BEF we tried out a meeting in an Andersen shelter thinking the new ambience could be advantageous and the spirit leader said conditions were extremely good and did we have any special requests. I said it would be interesting to talk to one of the old scientists and they managed to get Galileo Galilei to speak to us. He said nobody had asked for him before so he was quite interested. I asked how he felt about the way he was treated. He said he was not badly treated but, believing what he had been told about what life in Heaven was like he was not looking forward to it. Then a great surge of joy was felt by us as he said how he had found with delight that he could carry on with his experiments with improved instruments. Of course one has to admit one can’t prove the spirit wasn’t an impostor, but if it was he was extremely clever.
When the blitzkrieg started on 10th May 1940, our squadron was ordered back to England, all eighteen Lysanders having first to launch an attack on the enemy and then land in England – three didn’t make it. My three (I was a corporal by then) were full of bullet holes and one had the top rudder hinge completely shot away, its duty having been taken over by the control wires. My lorry was strafed by a noisy Stuka but the bullets missed us by a few feet.
As happens in war I rapidly rose to Sergeant, Flight-sergeant and F/O Engineer Officer. During some training in Edinburgh early in 1944 I went to a séance with Helen Duncan, and had a sitting with a medium at the psychic college there. The Duncan phenomena were heads with the faces of the communicators in the ectoplasm. As far as I can remember there was as it were a little sea of ectoplasm, like mist but more ‘solid’ from which projected a head-sized portion on which faces appeared. The attempts to materialise faces were not all successful, including my father’s, and in desperation, as a little evidence, he said, “There were five in the family”, which was correct. I thought my father was very enterprising to try to make the huge effort to communicate. I didn’t think Helen looked very well, which was not surprising in view of her horrible experience earlier in WW2. Naturally there were many occasions when the phenomena Helen produced through the help of her etheric team were much clearer and better. This is often related to the quality of the sitters and if the vibrations were not quite right, it could throw everything thing off. This also happens when the medium in question is not feeling well, and as is well known, Helen’s health wasn’t the best. All who have knowledge of this area are fully aware that in order to produce something of note our ‘instruments’ (bodies) must be in fairly good condition.
After WW2 I studied for a B Sc (Engineering) – now called B Eng – degree and later joined ICI and maintained and designed chemical plants for most of the next thirty years. The last ethylene plant on which I was senior project engineer is still running, but no longer owned by ICI. First Huntsman took them over and then SABIC, so we must have done something right!
I augmented my income from playing sax and clarinet in dance bands until an aunt gave me her viola and I took it up and played in amateur orchestras and in string quartets.
After I retired at age 61 with a tiny golden handshake we bought a flat in Fuengirola, between Málaga and Marbella, and stayed there for four months in the winter, which was enjoyable. My wife Mavis sadly developed Alzheimer’s disease and died in 2006 after five years in my care and another five years in a nursing home.
We have four children two of each sex, nine grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren at last count. My younger daughter is a professor in the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. In October 2001 I had a balloon flight in their annual Balloon Fiesta.
I took up computing and was persuaded to be secretary and webmaster of the orchestra of the Bournemouth Philharmonic Society, in which I play viola. Since I quite liked making simple websites I initiated ones for the Bournemouth Spiritualist Church, and the now defunct Parkstone Spiritualist Communion, which I handed over to experts as soon as they were available. I do one now for the Ringwood Christian Spiritualist Church, the New Forest Aviation Group and my January 1934 intake at RAF Halton, 29th Entry.
I have got to know a number of mediums and a friend is a brilliant psychic surgeon who is assisted by aliens. Although involved in the healing, she can talk with you, tell you what is going on and describe the appearance of the spirit surgeons present, some of whom are observing the operation. She is in demand for healing horses too. She is a very private person and doesn’t advertise herself on the Internet or in the press.
Although I have sympathised with Michael Roll’s disapproval of Spiritualist religious sects, each with its own creed, I do not avoid them because they still do some good. In particular the Bournemouth (Bath Road) Spiritualist Church is a pleasure to visit and it has an excellent library. I have a foot in both camps.
My current interest in the afterlife is two-fold. I am curious about what the afterlife is like, and how many and what bodies we have, and I own and read books by Michael E Tymn, Robert Crookall, Oliver Lodge/Raymond Smith, Robert Fontana, Roy Stemman, Arthur Findlay, Anthony Borgia, Ursula Roberts, Brigitte Rix, and others. Some books deal with one or only a few areas of the hereafter, but the three Lodge/Raymond Smith books have a wide coverage and are to me the most fascinating, along with Crookall’s extremely detailed review of the dying process and the bodies we have. I know that we are told that accurate afterlife facts cannot be stated in earthly language so I confine my mental picture-building to the lower spirit levels. Even when we get there I am told there are many closed doors which you have to be qualified to open.
I am also interested in spreading the word, how it can be done and whether the knowledge will make much difference to our shabby backward planet. I have been to several Bill Meadows physical sittings which don’t use ectoplasm and I can see that if the clever spirit people organising these phenomena could build a shield against wreckers so that such sittings could be on stage instead of just to thirty chosen safe people it could convince at least some people. According to Zerdin Phenomenal this is being worked upon but it could be a long time-scale project. Michael Roll’s idea of a film of materialisations is also hopeful. My own idea is to try to interest media people in the sheer quantity of good evidence for an afterlife so that they cease to think we are all nut cases.
The first chapter of my new website called Afterlife Essays was written last year, 2012, as a compact display of the sources of evidence for such people, who, pressed by the daily necessity to write their columns, find their news, think up subtitles, and redact don’t have much time to study what their built-in prejudices tell them is nonsense anyway! I am not in a rush to get it known – I would like to write another chapter first.
I often wonder whether making our knowledge more available will do much good. After all, most Victorians when presented with the evidence seemed to treat ‘getting messages’ as an amusement rather than an inspiration to do good and persuade others accordingly, and there are many people of that ilk today, as well as billions with hate filled religious beliefs set in concrete. However, nil desperandum, we have to do our best on multiple fronts to change things for the better.
I think that there is a fallow field out there. Most of the people I have come across are spiritual to varying degrees. Whatever they did or didn’t believe about the afterlife, religious or non-religious sects and so on, they helped others in trouble, brought up their offspring to be good citizens and radiated love and kindness. This giving of service as Silver Birch put it is the basis of spirituality as I see it and it comes naturally to many people, although we are well aware that others are motivated by self-gratification and hate. The other aspect of spirituality that I see is becoming less attached to sensuality and more aligned with those spiritual environments we shall find in the hereafter. I don’t think it is at all easy to work at this part.
If only those people who are to some extent spiritual and receptive to notions of a sensible earth/afterlife concept could be convinced by one way or another of its reality, it would make a good start towards improving our world. This is what 94 years on this Earth plane has taught me. Being spiritually well means a positive engagement with others, with self and with our environment. It is not always easy, but because adversity gets our attention, keeps us focused and forces us to think, we grow. Thank you.
Written By George Barker, B.Eng., M.I.Mech.E., from Afterlife Essays.
What a remarkable man! I wish there were more gems like you around George, thanks for sharing your interesting journey with us. I admire your energy and joie de vivre.
There is more about George in this BBC article from October 2010.
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