We labour under the delusion that the Spiritual world is subject to the same physical laws as our own. This is a frequent mistake with those who come from the earth plane into the Spirit world. They think that it will be dark every twelve hours and that they must provide against heat and cold. This is not the case. We think that because there is a spiritual counterpart to the matter on earth that, therefore, there is a spiritual counterpart to the gaseous products of the earth but this is not so since the gaseous products of matter are themselves in the nature of spirit. Hence, they are unable to possess a spiritual counterpart. The Spirit World has, therefore, no fog, smoke, mist, clouds or other gaseous matter or vapour. There is a spiritual counterpart to water but not to rain, which is vapour and, therefore, does not come under the Spirit World's category of matter; neither does it have any counterpart of fire, which appertains only to our world. When we read of spirits seeing flames, vapour, fog, etc., we may assume that it is entirely subjective and denotes the inner condition of the seer.
Spirits do not perceive such appearances because they belong to a higher sphere and, therefore, have no objective reality. If they wish to penetrate into the inner state of unhappy spirits, they can see, by sympathy, the appearances which they are cognisant of. They see our fires, it is true, just as we see them, so far as regards the materials they consume but the products of combustion have no existence in the spirit world, neither do they perceive any heat from fire or any cold from frost. Frozen water appears the same to them as to us. Thus, we see they lose a great many of the disagreeables as well as the agreeables of our life. People coming from our side of life find the spiritual world at first very enjoyable; the change from darkness, fog, rain and cold being rather delightful. We speak here, of course, of those who see things as they are and who are not morally insane or hallucinated. They find themselves in the same locality they previously resided in but all is changed as regards its climate. In their eyes, the sky is ever cloudless, the sun is always shining, if not always visible, for, of course, it disappears below the horizon and the streets are free from fog, smoke, and rain and they feel neither thirst nor hunger. They soon miss the variety which those changes of the atmosphere afforded and, perhaps, some would have preferred the old state of things. For their part, however, they think it is a blessing that we who dwell on the earth plane are not, in addition to our other troubles, distracted by a perpetual struggle with nature. We think the appearance of a town must be very bright and agreeable but we would be sadly disappointed if we could see our own clean, well swept city as they see it. Instead of nice, well kept pavements, we would see masses of decaying spiritual substances everywhere, which no one takes the trouble to clear away. The town looks, indeed, like a veritable city of the dead with no one to take any pride or interest in it. There are no trim houses, no neat windows and no well kept gardens.
It is true spirits see the exact counterpart of what we see, in the same colours and with the same distinctness in every respect but they see a great deal more than we do, just as they also see all the same people that are visible to us and many more unsightly ones besides, of whom we are not cognisant. So they see also the old spiritual debris removed from houses that have been rebuilt or repaired after fires and displaced more or less by the new buildings but never removed; the sweepings of our houses and the abandoned spiritual belongings of spirits. These debris being invisible to our eyes remain where they were left, it may be centuries ago, thus giving our towns the appearance of being in a state of siege, when no one has had time to remove the remnants of ruined houses. We are the only persons who do anything of this kind, who unconsciously remove things that impede the movements of our spirit bodies. Thus, when we go along the street, having a solid spirit body, we must necessarily displace everything that comes in our way in the shape of spiritual matter. This seems incomprehensible to us, for, if the spirit matter which the spirit body thus comes in contact with is material in relation to the latter, then the spirit body must, we think, be constantly damaged by collisions. This is not the case, however, for the spirit body is in a partially changed condition whilst the material body is awake. In the latter case, the spirit body, being unconscious, partakes more of the properties of the material body than of our spiritual bodies. To spirits' senses, the physical body is transparent and spiritual, not material at all, and it is we who appear to them to be the ghosts. When, therefore, the body is awake, the spirit is asleep and partakes more of the attributes of the material body in its relation to spiritual substances, being entirely unconscious and insensible to pain; thus, it can pass through or around anything in the spirit world that comes in its way without being in the least degree damaged. It is, however, not transparent to spirits' eyes, but solid, though less so, perhaps, than when awake in the spirit world, that is, when we sleep. If, therefore, we should encounter a spiritual obstruction, for example, a chair disconnected from its material counterpart and, therefore, invisible to us, our spiritual body must either displace it by contact or else (where there is resistance) pass completely through it. In this case, the spiritual obstruction would be severed as by the blow of an axe but our spirit body would not receive the slightest injury.
We think that to see people unconsciously walking through obstructions of this kind without evidencing any personal injury must make life in our streets very like the comic business in a pantomime but we may rely on its being familiar enough to all spirits. At first, of course, it causes all fresh observers from our world considerable amusement and astonishment but the novelty soon wears off. We ought to observe here that the spirit body is not so solid as inanimate spirit matter, that is, it is not with spirit relatively as solid as our material bodies are when coming in contact with our matter. Hence the spirit body may be treated in a manner which our material bodies could not be subjected to without being injured. For instance, one spirit could not injure another spirit by striking him with an axe or other weapon. The blow would simply glide off because the will power of the person assailed would be sufficient to ward off the blow and prevent him from being injured. If, however, he were taken unawares, he could by his will power also restore himself to his former condition without the aid of external remedies. Should he not exercise his will power or be too weak to do so, he might suffer some injury but such cases are very rare since the law of self-preservation would call forth sufficient will power to shield a man from any serious consequences and, in any case, the injury, as compared with the damage to the material body, would, comparatively speaking, be a very slight one.