Unsung Heroes – David Duffield of Survivalebooks.org

Unsung Heroes – David Duffield of Survivalebooks.org

by Suzanne Carter

Survivalebooks.org is a website that contains over 40 FREE titles on the afterlife, complete with descriptions and links. All books are in HTML format and Winzip compressed for faster downloading. In addition, the list contains 28 titles to be added to the e-library in the future.  David Duffield was one of the founding members of SurvivalAfterDeath.info, created in 2002 with the aim of publishing articles, books, and photographs relating to survival after death and psychical research. SurvivalAfterDeath is now managed by Kevin Williams of www.near-death.com.  For the past 18 years, David has been compiling on his own and made the list available to the public in 2000. Given the amount of immense labor and love expended on this project, we decided to contact David and learn about his story of how this website came to be.

Tell us a little about your background, where you grew up, education, career choices, interests, talents, early influences, etc.

I was born in central West Virginia in 1953 and attended Braxton County High School, graduated West Virginia University in 1975 with a degree in Wood Industries Management. My great love however has always been to work in the woods, which I did until 2002 when I watched my best friend/partner Joe get crushed by a tree he was cutting that came back on top of him. He rose up with his shoulder hanging under his chin saying he thought his back was broken. His lungs filled with fluid and he was dead before I ever got him off the hill. Calling Joe’s mother and brother and telling them that Joe might be dead when I get back up the hill…and having to tell Joe’s 15-year-old son that evening that dad was dead – these were the hardest things I have ever done in my life. Not wanting to put my family through the worry that the next call that came in may be me, I ended my career in my beloved woods. I have since operated a small business making wood products that go with my roof support structures. I currently have seven employees.

How did you first become interested in the afterlife? Can you tell us about specific experiences or relationships that influenced you?

I first became interested in the possibility of survival in 1978 when my cousin, Wes, a 29-year-old conservation officer in southern West Virginia, was killed. This happened when he let a fellow (whom he had to take to cleanup some trash he dumped) go inside to get his coat on a cold November day.  When he didn’t come back out, Wes went inside and the guy shot Wes in the head with a 30-30 rifle. This traumatic event was the impetus for me to start searching for the possibility that Wes may indeed still survive somewhere. I was determined to find the evidence for that place if it existed. Ever since, I have been driven and inspired by other people’s experiences. When they trust you enough to not view them with the ridicule that mainstream science has tried to program us to believe, it is surprising what experiences people will relate to you.

A few examples among many:

– I have brother-in-law whose heart stopped from an allergic reaction to paprika. He says he walked through the emergency room wall and could see his mother crying over him in the lobby.

– A fellow I used to work with says his mother had been dead about a year when she walked into his bedroom while he was watching TV.  She had a glass half full of milk which she set on the dresser before vanishing. The glass of milk remained. His family scoffed but he said he knew what he had seen and no one was ever going to tell him any different.

– My deceased buddy, Joe, walked into his mother’s house about a year after his death. She felt a breeze as the door opened and Joe walked in saying “Hi Maw, how are you doing?” He walked over to the coffee pot then went out the door without closing it.

– I remember telling my mother of some similar experiences. She scoffed saying, “That was just people seeing what they want to see.” About a week before Joe’s death I was telling him of a scheduled trip to Camp Chesterfield to try to see if any contact with Wes could be made. He laughed saying, “When you’re dead you’re dead.” He and my mother both know better now.

Who or what has inspired you the most in your spiritual seeking?

After years of diligent research one is amazed at the sheer volume of evidence out there that the average person is abysmally ignorant about. I have made it my lifelong goal to try to spread this knowledge as best I can, given an opportunity. This is not without its drawbacks and conflicts. I have close family members with strong fundamentalist beliefs such as bodily resurrection which doesn’t allow for current communication. Any claimed spiritual communication they generally attribute to Satan’s demons, and they generally are not willing to look at any evidence.

I had a boy working for me whose grandfather has a small backwoods fundamentalist church. His father and grandfather both rode him constantly to quit working for me because I believed in spirits. His stepmother even made comments threatening my business. This created a big conflict for the poor boy, as he is a civil war rebel soldier reenactor. He and his comrades have often seen civil war soldier ghosts at battlefields they have camped at. He has had a near-death experience from heat exhaustion where he went to a very realistic realm. There he met his great grandfather in a civil war uniform, as well as his dog from his childhood days. He has seen a grey alien standing in a circle of light in the road under a UFO, an Indian spirit along the road in a buckskin suit and, on three occasions, a “dogman” type creature. He must keep these experiences to himself around his family and most neighbors.

What were some of the survival/ afterlife books that fueled your drive to preserve and share these books?

My primary interests are books on mediumship – materialization and direct voice. I am trying to obtain for my collection every book whose main subject is direct voice/trumpet mediumship:

  • The Dead Have Never Died – Edward C. Randall, 1917*
  • People From the Other World – Henry S. Alcott, 1875*
  • There is No Death – Florence Marryat, 1891
  • Rending the Vail series – William W. Aber. 1890-1910*

What was it about these books that made an impression on you?

Edward C. Randall was, like Arthur Findlay, a man of  prominence, yet he stated his convictions about a highly controversial and often ridiculed subject. Henry S. Alcott wrote about the Eddy brothers, illiterate backwoods farmers, who produced amazing feats that couldn’t be explained as anything other than genuine spiritualistic phenomena. William W. Aber was a materialization medium whose fascinating communications were dictated directly by fully formed materialized spirit beings over a twenty-year period.

Knowing what you know now, what books would you take with you to the proverbial desert island?

It would have to be the Rending the Vail series* (Rending the Vail, Beyond the Vail, The Guiding Star, and The Dawn of Another Life). I discovered these obscure forgotten books when I obtained a 44-page booklet off E-Bay published in 1899 “Professor William Denton speaks again”. It contained excerpts from the Rending the Vail series. I was able to find three of the books but it took two years before I found The Guiding Star in a bookstore in Utah ($125).  Kessinger Publishing has since offered reprint copies of these and a number of other rare books. I have wondered if they have used copies of my text as I have seen them accused of doing this in other situations. I really do not care if it spreads the knowledge more widely.

There have been other rare book discoveries. I found a copy of Montague Crane’s Spirit Voices* in Christchurch, New Zealand. It was self-published in New Zealand. I read a comment on the Internet that even family members did not have a copy.

This past summer I found a copy of The Voice of the Dead or Elizabeth Blake’s Phenomenon (available soon at Survivalebooks.org) written by her nephew, Ernest G. Williams, for $150 at a bookstore in Lexington, Kentucky. The only copy that had surfaced anywhere was in West Virginia University’s library. I tried to get it on an interlibrary loan but it was so rare they would not let it out the door.  Mrs. Blake could do “trumpet in the light” by holding her hand over one end of a double-ended trumpet and voices would emanate from the other end. Williams states that, over a 45-year period, she served 50,000 people who would  line up daily at her door hoping for a session

What are some of the biggest goals/objectives that are driving you now?

I would like for mainstream recognition and knowledge of the existence of the spiritualistic phenomena that had been so prevalent worldwide for over a hundred-year period. Most people I have talked to haven’t the vaguest idea of what a trumpet medium is. I am surprised that there has been so little interest garnering some publicity for this cause on popular daytime talk shows. A panel of knowledgeable and experienced guests would no doubt make for a very interesting show. What few shows I have seen over the years seem to always have a skeptic-for-hire type naysayer to counter any evidence in an attempt to make believers seem like incredulous dupes.  I would also like for it to be common knowledge that the afterlife and survival of consciousness in some form is a proven fact of the evolution of nature rather than something bestowed upon us by a deity.

What has the public response been to your efforts?

I have been asked to share books on many other web sites helping spread the knowledge which is my ultimate goal. I feel good about that.

Have you met any interesting people because of your website? Please tell us about them.

I feel honored to have worked with Tom Harrison promoting his “Visitors From the Other Side” video. I also worked with Tom’s wife, Ann, for over a year making available on the Internet their collection of 120 “Woods-Greene” Leslie Flint recordings which a number of other sites have since copied and made available. I also coordinated with Michael Roll of England getting English mothers, Gwen Byrne and Pat Jeffries, on Jeff Rense’s radio program telling of the materialization of their sons through the medium Rita Goold

Have you found that people seem more concerned about how something is said rather than what is said? 

I do believe that if one is knowledgeable that things need to be presented with an air of authority on a subject. How many times have we all seen articles by a neophyte with doubt words like “alleged” and “supposed”, etc. as if we are supposed to feel a bit foolish for our beliefs on the subject. We all know a writer’s slant on a subject can be a powerful persuasion tool.

What do you think about Instrumental Transcommunication?

I am eagerly awaiting for advances in ITC to reach the point where everyday communication is normal and survival has to be accepted by everyone and viewed as a scientifically validated part of reality. The skeptics will be forced to come on board or be on par with the flat-earthers. An interesting thought on this is what will be the ramifications to the legal system when “dead” witnesses can offer testimony in various situations.

*Available FREE at http://survivalebooks.org

Our Thanks

On behalf of the community, The iDigitalMedium team would like to thank Mr. Duffield for the selfless service he has expressed and for his passion that endures. It is this same spirit of service that will undoubtedly bring about the realization of the goals that he has expressed. Thank you David.


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