Despite the “love and light’ culture pervasive in new-age literature, one cannot ignore the darker side of near-death experiences and the afterlife experiences of spirits relayed through channeling and mediumship. Recently, I pieced together information from a dozen different books containing out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, life-between-life regression and spirit communications and wrote two out of three parts of “The Multidimensional Afterlife“, of which Part Two details the dark, depressing and hellish regions of the afterlife. The interesting hypothesis that emerged from all of these disparate sources suggested that the afterlife is a flexible thought-based environment that responds to our state of mind, ensuring that all souls are automatically attracted to afterlife environments that suit them. Dark souls filled with rage end up on the lower levels, surrounded by others of the same ilk until they begin to embrace love and forgiveness; their ticket upward into more beautiful climes.
Not included in the inventory of self-imposed hells that our own deeds can create for us, are descriptions of experiences in the enigmatic Void, a space of dark nothingness in which a soul is accompanied only by the quality of their character. While the lower astral realms, with its dismal reality seems to be a semi-permanent residence for some spirits, the Void seems to be a temporary stop-over after death before the spirit is consigned to their corresponding afterlife dimension.
Rarely, some experience the Void as a healing space; a place of quiet contemplation where an exhausted soul can rest after a difficult and painful life. On the other end of the spectrum, souls may experience the Void as an endless stretch of agony and torture. The purpose of the Void seems to be a space that amplifies thought and emotion. For spirits with unresolved negativity and a stubborn unwillingness to receive help, the Void forces spirits to confront and work through their anger and obsessive thoughts. Spirits may see others in the Void, but their purpose there seems to illustrative rather than communicative.
Does the Void really exist? Is the Void meant to punish, heal or instruct? I’m not sure. But the Void has shown up occasionally in different descriptions of the afterlife from the Victorian era to the present day, and may even correspond to the ‘outer darkness’ mentioned in the bible. I feel its worth investigating.
Near-death experiencers have often encountered the Void and describe it in varying ways:
This is an excerpt of a near-death experience by Angie Fenimore after she committed suicide as a teenager:
“Where was I? I was immersed in darkness. My eyes seemed to adjust, and I could see clearly even though there was no light. The darkness continued in all directions and seemed to have no end, but it wasn’t just blackness, it was an endless void, an absence of light. It was completely enveloping. I swung my head around to explore the thick blackness and saw, to my right, standing shoulder to shoulder, a handful of others. They were all teenagers. “Oh, we must be the suicides.” […] Suddenly, as if we had been waiting for a kind of sorting process to take place, I was sucked further into the darkness by an unseen and undefined power, leaving the teenagers behind. I landed on the edge of a shadowy realm, suspended in the darkness, extending to the limits of my sight. I knew that I was in a state of hell, but this was not the typical fire and brimstone hell that I had learned about as a young child. […] worse was my growing sense of complete aloneness. Even hearing the brunt of someone’s anger, however unpleasant, is a form of tangible connection. But in this empty world, where no connections could be made, the solitude was terrifying.”
By comparison, This near-death experiencer had a positive Void experience:
“I had traveled to another realm of total and absolute peace. With no physical body my movement was unencumbered. Thought was the avenue for travel. I floated up through blackness where there was no fear, no pain, no misunderstandings, but instead a sense of well-being. I was enveloped by total bliss in an atmosphere of unconditional love and acceptance. The darkness was warm and soft, a blanket of velvety love, stretching endlessly. The freedom of total peace was intensified beyond any ecstatic feeling I’ve ever felt on Earth. In the distance, a horizon of glorious white, golden light beckoned me forward”
Edgar Cayce, the famed psychic gives this description of the Void:
“After death, we may enter a region that is Void of love, life, and light, Void of everything. For some, this region is approximately their wish come true. Here they are truly alone with themselves. For some souls, this is a pain that is unbearable. In the absence of truth, love, gentleness, and kindness, some souls fill the Void with an irrational and unbelievable amount of pain and fear. It is so dark in the realm of outer darkness that the darkness hurts and panic grips them without knowing why. There are various degrees of darkness to this realm, and it is darker and denser at the center than at its outer fringes. The closer we are to the outer edges, the more interaction there is with others in the realm. The closer to the center, the darker and more painful is the solitude. Those who find themselves in outer darkness cannot travel across this dimension. They must grow through the levels of this realm. After death, one may find themselves in a particular degree of darkness that most closely corresponds to the degree of the absence of love in one’s life. Outer darkness is not a punishment. It is a region which operates lawfully for the benefit of those who are there. This region is not a realm which was created for any soul to experience, but one which came about as a consequence of the negative activity of souls in creation. So great has been the desire for self, so monumental across time and space has been the selfishness of some of God’s creatures, that this realm is the creation or manifestation of their own collective activities. Outer darkness and the reality with which it is associated were created and are held in place by collective self-interest.”
The most terrifying Void experience I read, however, came from the new book ‘Heaven and Hell: Updates from the World of Spirit’ by Dr. Stafford Betty. Below is a summation and an excerpt, but I highly recommend picking up this book and reading the entire chapter yourself.
The story is related by a spirit named Marie and told through medium James Lees through his control Aphraar in the late 1800’s. Marie’s story appears in Chapter 10 of ‘Heaven and Hell’ called: “The Law of Karma: A Woman in Hell”
The story begins, as Marie tells it, with her upbringing and the deeds committed in her life that sealed her fate in the afterlife. Not the so-called sins she committed, however, but the lack of understanding, love and remorse for her actions is what lands Marie in the torturous Void after death.
Marie is a young, rich, spoiled American young woman during the Victorian era. Her wealthy parents dote on her, giving Marie all that she desires. She soon learns to use her status and privilege to manipulate the people around her, especially the desires of young men. She develops a rather shallow friendship with Sadie, another child of wealth and status, though Marie thinks of herself as superior to Sadie. She and Sadie enjoy playing games with the young men of their town, stepping in to wreck relationships and break off engagements by shamelessly flirting with any available suitor. When the now smitten young men vie for their attention, they are met with laughter and scorn as Marie and Sadie move on to their next victim. The game is enjoyable not because they wish to have the attention of these men for themselves for they hardly entertain them, but only for the mean-spirited heartbreak of rival girls whose one chance at a decent match is now ruined.
Marie and Sadie agree that they should continue the game, neither girl taking on a husband for the time being in order to continue their ‘play’ as long as possible. When Charlie, a very eligible young bachelor from a family of wealth and good standing comes to town, all of the unengaged girls vie for his attention. Marie and Sadie decide also that they will play up their charms in order to deny the ambitions of any of the other girls in town. Marie and Sadie agree to keep to their game, planning to gain the young man’s attention before shunning and humiliating him.
Marie and Sadie played off one another well, but the young man truly falls for Marie and makes her a formal proposal for marriage. Marie tells us here that she was also quite secretly in love with the man, but for the sake of the mean game she was playing, she humiliated him for his offer. Even as the man enlisted the aid of her parents, Marie refused to budge. Marie was also quite sure that Charlie would continue to woo and fight for her, and thought that her game of ‘hard to get’ would “bring out the hero in Charlie”.
Days passed, however, and Charlie didn’t appear at Marie’s doorstep. When she questions Sadie, she learns that Sadie hasn’t seen Charlie either. Circumstances then prevent Marie from seeing Sadie for a month until the day of her birthday party. When Marie arrives, she finds that Charlie had proposed to Sadie, and Sadie accepted. The two are now engaged to be married.
“I stood speechless as a statue. In a moment my blood boiled and dashed through my veins in cataracts of maddened fury. Jealousy and disappointed love devoured me; my brain reeled under the strain; I fell and remember no more.”
In Marie’s zeal for mean-hearted manipulation of others and her absolute certainty that anything she wanted would be hers, she never thought she would lose Charlie, and especially not to her so-called friend Sadie. Sadie, of course, wizened up and accepted Charlie’s proposal when it was offered, but for Marie, the betrayal and jealousy filled her with an unreasonable hatred.
On the day of Sadie and Charlie’s wedding, Marie was hovering near death with a condition she calls “brain fever”. During her fever, she continually curses Sadie and Charlie. Marie survives her bout, and vows to never speak of them again. In her heart, however, was the white-hot desire for revenge. Sadie and Charlie had left town though, and Marie’s first task was to track them down.
“I would find them if I had to travel the world; I would return her betrayal fourfold and take him for her even if I died in the hour of my triumph.”
It would be years before Marie would find a link to Charlie, through an old college friend living nearby. She makes plans to visit and accidentally runs in Charlie. It wasn’t part of her initial plan, but better – she is alone with Charlie for the first time in years. She realizes that Charlie still has affection for her, and she plays it up. They begin to meet secretly in places and although she felt that she loved him, her real thrill was stealing Charlie away from Sadie. Within a month, Charlie abandons Sadie and their children and travels east with Marie. Marie knows she can’t be his wife, but that means little to her. She’s won, and is reveling in her victory. Marie’s revenge is complete.
Soon after, Marie again falls ill. She is ill for two years before her father finally tracks her down and reproached for the shame she has brought on the family name. Charlie is chased away by Marie’s father as a scoundrel and is threatened with his life should he return to see Marie. Marie’s father tells her that Charlie has abandoned her as he did with Sadie, and Marie – in a fit of fury – dies from her illness.
Marie, having died without remorse for her actions and little understanding at the cruelty she displayed toward others has already created the afterlife that she is soon to experience. In her retelling of the story, she laments of what she has done, admonishing others to avoid her torment by doing good works in their life. Even Marie will agree that what she experiences in the Void was necessary in order to see the folly of her ways and come back to the light. The Void teaches Marie by confronting her with her own obsessions, cruelty, jealousy and hate. It is a lesson that hopefully most of us will not require, but Marie was particularly stubborn.
Meanwhile, Marie has perished but doesn’t know it yet. The last thing she remembers is lying in her bed, dying with her father admonishing her about Charlie. The next memory is blank, then she awakens in total blackness:
“When I awoke it was dark, horribly dark. I could almost touch the blackness, and I was lying on a bare floor, cold as a block of ice. I called Charlie – my father – my nurse! But there was no response except the echo of my own voice, which seemed to mock and rejoice at the terror I felt creeping over me. Where was I? Great God! Was it possible I had gone mad, or that I had been placed under restraint to keep me from following Charlie?”
Marie is alone with her own thoughts in the darkness. She tries to move, to explore this new place of sheer black nothingness, but cannot. She has no strength. She simply can do nothing but lie there.
“I was a prisoner in the frigid domain of despair, beyond the reach of help, or rest, or pity; the playful toy of all the remorseless machinations that accompany such a state. I was slowly converted into a block of frozen – yet living – flesh, and my abnormal sense of feeling heightened as the infernal transformation went on. Why was it? Where was it? Where was I? Who were my relentless persecutors? How long before the morning would break? Would the day bring me relief, or wake me from the agonizing dream? […] Eventually my feet, my hands, my head, my eyes, my tongue, my heart, my brain were ice-bound. Then the furies boiled in my blood and sent it in maddened cataracts through my veins to top off the excruciating pain, which I could only suffer while lying motionless.”
Marie remains in this state, clueless to her own death for a very long time, ruminating on her misfortune, pining for Charlie and feeling persecuted. She eventually is able move and recovers some strength, but she remains in the inky blackness, alone with only her hateful thoughts.
Finally she sees something- a light, just a small pinpoint of light in the darkness. Marie moves toward it, flying at increasing speed and yet dreading what new persecution it might bring. Just on the precipice of the light, she stops. The light surrounds the one person she “had sighed, wept and groaned for.” It was Charlie.
Marie has a feeling that her ability to be with Charlie has something to do with his desire to see her, though she still doesn’t yet know that she is dead. She is overjoyed that she is reunited with Charlie even after all of “her father’s opposition and strategy”.
She walks into the circle of light and notices that Charlie has changed. His hair now is lined with silver, his strong back bowed and bent slightly. Marie stands next to Charlie and feels him thinking of her. Lost in thought, he doesn’t see her standing there. Of course Marie is a ghost, invisible to his eyes, but she is none the wiser.
Marie tries to shake him; to get his attention any way possible. She thinks Charlie has gone mad because she is standing right in front of him, and yet he is looking past her. She yells at him, “Charlie, Charlie! Don’t you know me? Speak only one word, and tell me so. I’ve been ill, but I’ve never swerved in my love for you. If you think I’ve done wrong, oh! my love, forgive me, and let me nurse you back again to health. We will be happy yet. Come, let’s go away. Say you know me and I’ll be content. Charlie! Just one word, dear; say you know me!”
Charlie, of course, doesn’t see or hear her. He picks up a book, seemingly ignoring her entreaties. “Marie recoils in amazement, dumb-founded.” She doesn’t understand why Charlie, her love, would treat her this way. Why wouldn’t he speak to her?
Marie, not knowing what else to do, simply stands in front of Charlie and continues to watch. Finally, he turns to someone and says “Will you tell your mamma I want to speak to her?”. Marie can’t see the child – Charlie’s child; she’s only focused on Charlie and the prospect of another woman.
“What was any other woman to him when I was present? Was is possible he had gone back to Sadie after all and wished her to be at hand to witness my humiliation? All my old jealousy was around at the thought, and a sudden frenzy carried me past all restraint in anticipation of the coming scene. I felt a stranger enter but couldn’t see or hear who it was, a fact adding to the mystery and terror that possessed me. Was I equally invisible and inaudible to her? It seemed so, for a while I heard every word Charlie spoke, and saw every movement he made, and could understand that the conversation made no reference to myself, I was ignored as completely as if I had no existence.”
Marie hears Charlie call this new woman, “Wife” and begins to suspect that Charlie and his new lover were playing a game at her expense, intentionally mocking her by pretending that she didn’t exist. Marie believes that Charlie knows that she is there and is choosing to ignore her, something that drives Marie to exquisite anger and jealousy.
Just when it couldn’t get much worse for Marie, a ghost standing invisible in the same room with Charlie and his new wife, Charlie and his wife decide to become intimate.
“He had brought me here so I might witness his happiness with a rival who had supplanted me, as I had taken him from Sadie – that he might laugh as he saw how the knowledge of it would torture me. This was too much. The certainty of his desertion maddened me; but to witness his love passages with a rival goaded me into a diabolical frenzy, and I made up my mind to kill him before her eyes. Alas! Before I had time to move, the light that surrounded him expired, and I was left again in that Egyptian blackness, afraid to stir because of the terror that came along with my blindness.”
There is worse to come for Marie, for even in the Void, she is left to listen to their love-making.
“Still I could hear him – worse, I could hear her; heard, without the power to stop my ears, or prevent my knowledge of what she said and called him. Rage and jealousy tormented and mocked my helplessness, until I prepared to follow the sounds and wreak my vengeance by laying them dead side by side! Horror! As soon as I made up my mind to kill them, I found I was as powerless to move as to see, and I had no choice but to stand and listen to his monstrous behavior, unable to make a sound to drown out the echoes of his caresses.”
Marie continues with fiery language to describe her torment in the Void. She realizes that she is somehow chained to Charlie and made to endure what she calls “indescribable chastisement, with every nerve quickened to a degree defying description.”
Forced to deal with her own obsession of possessing Charlie and faced with the hatred and jealousy she feels, Marie is truly in a hell of her own making. She cannot sleep, she cannot leave, she cannot find mercy or pity in the Void. She can only be; alone with her thoughts and emotions. As she says, “I was in all the agonies of hell without the poor consolation that I was suffering in company.”
Finally, in utter exasperation, she cries out to the darkness:
“Oh, God or devil! Any being of pity or remorseless cruelty, hear me, and end my torments! Take me, tear me, or destroy me. Drown my reason past all hope of restitution or, by one tornadic blast of torture, put an end to feeling and terminate my agony. Hell! Hell! In mercy take pity on my condition; open your gates and let me bathe my sufferings in your fiery lake. Hell! Hell! I say in mercy open and let me in!”
With that, Marie collapses. With her final plea of mercy, she frees herself from the Void and wakes in the company of her spirit guide, who begins Marie’s process of spiritual healing.
Marie was a despicable person to be sure. She felt no remorse that Charlie abandoned his wife and children for her, and spent her life in cruel manipulation of others. Even in death, Marie could only focus on Charlie and the wrong-doing and betrayal she felt. Because she was so hyper-focused on Charlie, she was able to temporarily descend back to earth when he thought of her, and yet she did not understand her own condition. She thought Charlie was trying to humiliate her, and she planned to kill him and his new bride. Marie spent 20 earth years in the Void. When she saw Charlie, he was much older and remarried, though to Marie who did not know of her own death, it had been as if no time had passed, so complete was her obsession.
Marie’s 20 years in the Void was self-imposed; a prisoner of her own negativity. It is only when she calls for help that she is open to the loving spirit guide, Azena, who has been with her the entire time, trying to break her laser-like obsession with Charlie and relieve her from the trap that her hate and jealousy have kept her in. Marie could not before see Azena for she was not open to love, charity or understanding at that point.
Marie is finally free of the Void, and is healing with her spirit guide. Part of her process of healing is to relate her story as a warning to others, now that she understands the error of her ways. Marie’s story is dramatic and terrifying, but every telling of it helps Marie’s soul through its warning to others. I encourage you to read it in its entirety.
If the void truly does exist in the afterlife, then its purpose is to hold a mirror up to those who refused to judge their own evil behaviors while on Earth. Even though Marie, through her status and wealth escaped punishment and chastisement in her earthly life for the cruelty and evil she doled out to others, she certainly did not escape the result of these deeds in the Void. The “affluenza defense” doesn’t work in the afterlife. Marie was selfish and self-centered, obsessed with Charlie beyond all reasoning and bent on revenge until she died. Marie’s spirit was a vengeful revenant who, when all of the bodily and material embellishments were stripped away, had only her hollow character to embody her. Marie’s story reflects the purpose of the Void; to amplify one’s thoughts and emotions without distraction. When used against her, Marie’s thoughts and emotions became a hell for her, one that she endured until her hate was exhausted and she was ready to receive help.
Marie’s story was told in the 1800’s, but the Void continues to be mentioned in near-death experiences and spiritual descriptions of the afterlife even today. If there is any lesson to be learned from negative experiences in the Void it is this: Tomorrow, when you wake up to another day on earth, be sure to look in the mirror – gaze deep into the character of your soul. Whatever lies within you lives also in the Void. Would you appreciate the company that you keep there?
“And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” – Matthew 25:30