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Taking up the Challenge

the story of one man's determination to find an answer to the question – Is there life after death?

Life After Death

Taking up the Challenge

By Eric Hatton

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'Taking up the challenge' is the story of one man's determination to find an answer to the question we will all ask at some time or another – Is there life after death? When Eric Hatton's much-loved brother was killed in 1946, he was determined to embark on his own investigation. Thus began a quest for evidence which has so far spanned more than six decades. During that time Eric has become one of Spiritualism's best-known figures, respected for his transparent integrity and the level-headed approach he brings to the examination of evidence for survival beyond death. An accomplished speaker and broadcaster, Eric has shared a platform with many of the greatest mediums the Spiritualist movement has produced. Though his experiences of the next world – some of them breathtaking – have left him with a complete conviction of the reality of the afterlife, his career as a successful businessman has meant that his feet have always been planted firmly on the ground. Eric's extraordinary story is at times challenging and at others heartwarming. Above all, it is the startlingly honest and inspiring account of a man who had to find out the truth for himself.

Product Details
  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Saturday Night Press Publications (30 Dec 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-0955705076
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.7 cm  (5.5” x 8.5”)

I was first privileged to meet Eric Hatton when he visited me in my office at Psychic News in March 2008, just a few weeks after I had been appointed editor.

For some years I had known the name of this man who was held in such high esteem within the Spiritualist movement, and had read much about him. I was therefore keen to meet him in person. As we shook hands I realised in an instant what so many have realised before me –  that Eric Hatton is unique.

After this first meeting I determined to do an extensive interview with Eric for Psychic News. On hearing my proposal he agreed with characteristic generosity and a few weeks later gave me a lengthy and frank interview covering a wide range of matters relating to Spiritualism.

Though this interview ran over two issues of the paper there was a large amount of material which was not included for reasons of space. In addition, during the course of the interview Eric and I had discussed many aspects of the movement, past and present, and found much common ground. There was more to be said – much more – and I began to ponder a means of drawing on his vast experience and knowledge for the benefit of a far wider readership.

By July 2008 I had a firm instinct that there should be a book about Eric's sixty plus years at the heart of Spiritualism. But there was a problem. His inherent humility and modesty had always prevented him from consenting to the writing of such a book and I knew it would be an uphill struggle to persuade him of the importance of it.

By this time Eric had become a trusted friend and adviser, someone who, I knew, would always give me an honest opinion on the changes I was then planning at Psychic News. Time and again he provided me with wise guidance, sometimes gently preventing me from taking a rash or unwise step. For me, as for many others, he has been a patient listener, truthful even when it was not what I wanted to hear.

Tentatively, I began to raise the issue of his memoirs. He did not rule out the idea but was decidedly reticent. Towards the end of 2008, he gave in to my pestering and agreed to collaborate with me in writing his story. Since that time, interrupted by periods of severe ill health, Eric has worked with me whenever possible to share his unique experiences, principally in Spiritualism, but also concerning his family and business life, and in numerous other aspects.

The process of working with Eric to produce the book you are now about to read has been a privilege for me. My respect and affection for him are boundless and I can think of no better role model for the Spiritualist than he.

I record here my heartfelt thanks to Eric for allowing this book to become a reality and I respectfully dedicate my small part in it to him, to his late wife Heather, and to my own beloved partner in spirit, Majo Topolovac.

Susan Farrow, 2010

How it all began...

Sunderland in flightWhen my brother would come home on leave from places such as Enniskillen in Ireland, Tenby in South Wales and Ayr in Scotland, he would speak about the experiences he'd had in some of the Catalina flying boats, which took off on water, and also in the Sunderland flying boats, which were very large planes. On one occasion he brought with him a New Zealand-born colleague named Dusty Miller and they spent a few days' leave at home with us. Most evenings they would go out and enjoy themselves over a few glasses of beer - indeed I think that sometimes it was probably more than a few!

I'm not sure how the subject came up, but when they returned home one night my brother related a strange tale. He told us that in some of the flying boats in which he had worked, both he and other crews members had 'seen' colleagues who had been killed in aircraft accidents. In essence it seemed that although these fellows were dead, they were actually walking along the gangway of the plane. Stranger still was the fact that one or other of these dead fellows would walk straight through my brother and Dusty Miller, and through various other crew members too, so my brother and his friend were not alone in having the experience.

As I've already said, I was somewhat steeped in the orthodox churches by then, so when I poured scorn on what they were saying, they challenged me that if I didn't believe them I should do some research and find out if what they were saying was true. …

Bert HattonBy 1946 he was working as a Flight Engineer on one of the vast Sunderland Flying Boats and was about to embark on his last flight before being demobbed and sent home. They were to take off at night from Singapore. Unfortunately, as the plane took off, things went badly wrong and it crashed into the water. We received a telegram from the Air Ministry informing us that Warrant Officer A. D. Hatton was missing, presumed killed. My parents, no less than my sister Laura and I, were absolutely devastated. …

Gordon HigginsonWeeks passed and we continued with our lives as best we could, though with many unanswered questions concerning my brother. Then, out of the blue, a letter dropped on to the door mat. Gordon lived in the town of Longton, near Stoke-on-Trent, and the letter had come from the secretary of Longton church, Billy Harrat. He wrote with the extraordinary news that my brother had manifested during one of Gordon's circles, at which a number of people had been present. Not only did he give my brother's full name - Albert Donald Hatton - he also gave the nickname that only my sister and I had ever called him - 'Kim'. In addition to all this we were given his full service number. As most of know, the chances of correctly guessing all six lottery numbers are slight in the extreme, yet here, remarkably, was my brother's eight digit number, relayed to us in its precise order. We were also given information about the circumstances of his death, the way in which his plane had crashed into the sea and the fact that he had not survived but other crew members had - details that had not been offered to us by the Air Ministry. …

Bert's death was a great tragedy in our lives, yet Gordon Higginson had given us enormous comfort through his remarkable evidence. For me it put the cream on the cake, and from that point on I became absolutely convinced of the continuity of life.

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