Thomas Lynn Bradford (1873-1921) Explorer of Consciousness


Thomas Lynn Bradford was just 48 years old when he took his own life. At a time following the mass murder that was WWI, Europeans had lost their belief in a god, and instead had turned toward a number of other philosophies, theologies and theosophy to explain existence and non-existence. As a consequence, Bradford’s death was well documented in the US newspapers of the time, as was the alleged subsequent happenings. Many people in the Western world were interested in spiritualism and the notion of a disembodied after-life, as was Thomas Bradford himself. However, what was different with Bradford was how he was willing to give his life in an empirical experiment to see whether he could communicate from the ‘other side’, with a living collaborator. If he had been proven successful, the world of material science would have been turned upside down, but there are many who think that he was successful, and did communicate if not exactly an after-life, certainly the continuation of conscious awareness.

After placing an advertisement in a local Detroit newspaper, a woman by the name of Ruth Doran came forward and volunteered to be the potential recipient of any post-death message conveyed by Bradford. On the night of the February 5th (around 9pm), 1921, Thomas Bradford returned to his boarding house and is said to have ‘sealed’ the place prior to blowing-out the pilot light on the gas supply. This successfully led to the physical death of Thomas Lynn Bradford. For a time, Bradford became very famous for both the manner and purpose of his self-imposed demise. Many self-proclaimed psychics and mediums dubiously claimed to have communicated with Bradford, with each presenting a narrative that supported their own particular religious or philosophical view of the world. In other words, such individuals were putting words into Bradford’s deceased mouth in the hope of reinforcing this or that view for popularity reasons.

Ruth Doran took a different position, Although she had only recently met Bradford, she often described herself as his ‘friend’. As Bradford was married, there is no indication that he and Doran were romantically involved, but this might not have been completely out of the question. On February 12th, Ruth Doran claimed to have heard Thomas Bradford’s voice which stated:

‘“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 simply went to sleep. I woke up and at first did not realize that I had passed on. 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. Persons of like natures associate. I am associated with other investigators. I do not repent my act.  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.’

What I find interesting is that if Thomas Lynn Bradford was of sound mind when he decided to extinguish his own life, and there is no evidence to suggest he wasn’t, then what a brave person he was! This is a man with no wealth who wasn’t very well-known prior to his death, who attempted what might be described as an ’empirical’ experiment into the after-life. It is further interesting to note that his message did not confirm the Judeo-Christian religious view of the after-life, but does seems to be one very similar to numerous spiritualist movements or that view of existence as described by the theosophy movement. Assuming that Bradford’s brain was nolonger functioning, and that his body was in a state of decay, the best that could be said for his life processes was that they were in a ‘dormant’ state. This is an important observation from the position of Cryogenics, where it is possible to ‘freeze the body and brain upon death, and prevent any further tissue damage that would occur as the body structure breaks down through natural decomposition. The next stage in this theoretical process is the defrosting of the corpse and the re-animation of the bodily functions. Again, there is no reason in theory why an intact body cannot be re-activated and brought back to life. Science can deep freeze a recently deceased body (or body parts), and science can defrost the body (or body parts), but as of yet the final stage of restoring life cannot be achieved. My point is this, if one day ‘life’ can be fully restored within a previously dead body, and if the personality of the individual automatically re-emerges and communicates clearly, then it is obvious that there is no after-life, and that all notions of such a journey are the figments of the imagination. At physical death, the life processes become dormant and non-functional – they do not travel as a disembodied entity to some other plane simply because these life process are the product of biological function and not spiritual transmigration. As and when Cryogenics solves the riddle of existence, the theistic religious view will be finally proven wrong. A person cannot simultaneously be in a heavenly and realm and STILL in their bodies. If the body of Thomas Lynn Bradford had been frozen and kept on ice for decades, perhaps if he was defrosted and brought back to life he would say that ‘nothing’ happened when he died, and that he had no awareness or ability to send any message whilst in the dormant state.

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