Is the Afterlife Real?

A question many ponder is, “Is there an afterlife?” Afterlife means something different to everyone, especially when religion comes into play. For example, in many denominations of Christianity, the afterlife is considered a physical place. Heaven is an abode for the righteous dead in the afterlife, before the resurrection of the dead, and the saints return to the earth. While the afterlife means something different to everyone, Thomas Lynn Bradford could not find a satisfying answer. 

Who Was Thomas Lynn Bradford? 

Thomas Lynn Bradford was a man in the Detroit area in the early twentieth century. He was just 48 when he took his life. During World War II, many people had lost their belief in God and turned to philosophies, theologies, and theosophy to explain existence and non-existence. Many people in the Western World were interested in the notion of there being some sort of afterlife. However, Bradford was  willing to give his life in hopes that he could communicate from the other side with a living collaborator. 

What Were His Plans?

Thomas Lynn Bradford placed a local ad in a Detroit newspaper in the hope of finding someone to help him with his experiment. A woman named Ruth Doran volunteered to be the potential recipient of any post-death message. On February 5th, 1921, Bradford committed suicide. 


On February 12th, 1921, Ruth claims she heard Thomas say to her, ‘“I am the professor who speaks to you from the Beyond. I have broken through the veil. The help of the living has greatly assisted me […] I find no great change apparent. I expected things to be much different. They are not. Human forms are retained in outline but not in the physical. I have not traveled far. I am still much in the darkness. I see many people. They appear natural.  There is a lightness of responsibility here unlike in life. One feels full of rapture and happiness […] My present plane is but the first series. I am still investigating the future planes regarding which we in this plane are as ignorant as are earthly beings of the life just beyond human life’” (Chan-Wyles).

While this act was brave, it doesn’t confirm Judeo-Christian religious views of the afterlife. The question is, is this all real or a hoax? The answer to the question may never be known.

 Citations for Further Reading

Chan-Wyles, Adrian. “Thomas Lynn Bradford (1873-1921) Explorer of Consciousness.” THE SANGHA KOMMUNE, 22 Feb. 2018,

“Heaven in Christianity.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 17 Sept. 2019,


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