Bessie Smith was a slave cotton picker from the fields of Alabama who never knew freedom when she was alive. When she passed away, she was free for the first time. At the end of the seance, Dr. Marshal, one of Leslie Flint's guides on the other side, comes through to explain that Bessie sounds like an illiterate slave from the South because she took on her Earth personality when she came to speak to the circle. However, she actually is a very advanced soul, now far from the Earth plane. He cautions that we on the Earth plane must be cautious about judging those who come through based on their speech and mannerisms; they are all lowering their vibrations to what they were when they were on the Earth plane.
In the seance, Bessie says she had a hard life, but has no regrets now. She is "teaching the wee ones" in her own school on the other side. When she passed over, she was very happy to be free because she had worked as a slave in the cotton fields for 45 years, her entire life. The owners were "pretty kind," she said.
When she crossed over, she was met by her "mammy," "pappy," brothers and sisters. She says,
I was so surprised I had got no wings! I sure did! When I realized where I was I felt behind my back, and I hadn't got no wings at all, you know! I didn't know what to think. I could see all them other people all around me, and no one had wings! And I thought well, am I in Heaven? Because no one's got no wings here? But I realized then that you don't have wings there. But I was always taught, you know, that when you went to Heaven you had great big wings, and the better you was, the bigger your wings was.
However, she was relieved to see that she wasn't in the other place.
Bessie says she knows about the work the Leslie Flint circle was doing. She says that George Woods is well known on the other side.
She is very proud of her clothing. She has a pretty blue dress that goes down to her feet. She made it herself. She has a beautiful headdress, with a star right in the middle of it, made for her because she earned it.
Bessie says that she is now living in a "wee place," a beautiful house with lovely scenery. She's there with her mother, father, brothers, and sisters. She says she'll be pleased to show them her place when they cross over. The world is like it was down South.
There are many animals there. She says she has a big "puss" (cat):
I calls her Matilda, that's what I calls her. I calls her so because she's a beautiful girl. She was a big cat when she was on your side, but she's three or four times bigger over here. . . . I guess it is love that makes her that big, you know. I talk to her. She talks to me too! But she don't talk with her mouth; she talks with her mind, and I knows what that girl thinks. We's inseparable, we is.
She says there are birds, but the birds aren't afraid of the cats.
She is quite proud that her hair is straight now. The white people on Earth had straight hair, but hers was "all frizzed up." Now she has straight hair and is very happy about that.
She says when George Woods crosses over, he'll be very happy. Bessie predicts that Betty Greene will have to do without George when he crosses over. However, that wasn't what happened. Betty Greene passed away in 1975 and George Woods continued the work until 1983.
You know what I got too? I got them dandy shoes, you ever did see! . . . They got good heels and they're pretty and very black and they got little balls. And my hair! Oh, if you could see my hair. I was so pleased with it. It's really nice and straight and long, you know. I look after the little ones. . . .
I had no education on your side of life, I got. But I am mad about education since I have been here. Oh boy, oh boy! There is not enough I couldn't find out about education. I wanted to know this and I wanted to know that and, you know, they tell me: "You want to know too much too soon, you do."
But, I says, well I've got to learn, I've got a lot of catching up to do.
She says she loves education. She still goes to school as regularly as she can. She learns things and goes back home to tell everyone what she learned. She loves to dance and teach people to dance.
She doesn't play instruments, but many of her family do. She says everyone is very happy.
She describes an afterlife much unlike what she expected:
I used to think you had to have wings and you's always gonna be prayin to the Lord. No, he doesn't want you to pray to him. He wants you to be happy and love and to love and do nice things to make people happy. Religion's what you feel and what you believe and what you know and what you do.
There are all kinds of people there, she says, all nationalities, and they're all one big family.
At the end of the seance, Bessie withdraws, but as the sitters are discussing where she came from, she comes back to say "Alabammy," meaning she was from Alabama.
Then Dr. Marshal, one of Flint's guides, comes through to explain that she has gone because the power has waned. She took much power because of her vitality. He describes the person with whom they just spoke as being very different from what she seems to be when she draws near to the Earth:
She's a remarkable character, and as she draws near Earth, she takes on her old personality extraordinarily well, which of course from your point of view is most interesting. And It's true that she is very active here. She loves people; she loves doing everything she possibly can.
And she's an estraordinary character. She so wants to know and to learn and to pass on information and knowledge. You see, She was so restricted on your side. And her knowledge was well . . . and she had no opportunity to learn, to be able to read and write. And she used to see others more fortunate than herself; and she always longed obviously to be educated and to know everything she possibly can.
So she's now a highly advanced soul. You must not altogether judge by her voice. You must realize that drawing near to Earth, she does takes on something of her old self. as she no doubt communicates as she will in the future, she will assert herself even more. And if you encourage her, as I'm sure you will, you'll find that she's very interesting and informative and amusing in a kind of of way. At the same time, she's a soul I think who can bring a great deal of interest and thought and idea to communication which will be of real value to others who may be fortunate enough to listen.
She doesn't of course understand anything about tape recordings. And that really doesn't matter. It's what she eventually may communicate us that is important that others may be benefit from hearing. Just be patient.