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"The To-Morrow Of Death"
by [?]

In view, however, of our author’s more striking and original disclosures, one would suppose that all this discussion of the physical conditions of existence on the various planets might have been passed over without detriment to the argument. After these efforts at proving (for M. Figuier presumably regards this rigmarole as proof) that all the members of our solar system are habitable, the interplanetary ether is forthwith peopled thickly with “souls,” without any resort to argument. This, we suppose, is one of those scientific truths which as M. Figuier tells us, precede and underlie demonstration. Upon this impregnable basis is reared the scientific theory of a future life. When we die our soul passes into some other terrestrial body, unless we have been very good, in which case we at once soar aloft and join the noble fraternity of the ether-folk. Bad men and young children, on dying, must undergo renewed probation here below, but ultimately all pass away into the interplanetary ether. The dweller in ether is chiefly distinguished from the mundane mortal by his acute senses and his ability to subsist without food. He can see as if through a telescope and microscope combined. His intelligence is so great that in comparison an Aristotle would seem idiotic. It should not be forgotten, too, that he possesses eighty-five per cent of soul to fifteen per cent of body, whereas in terrestrial man the two elements are mixed in equal proportions. There is no sex among the ether-folk, their numbers being kept up by the influx of souls from the various planets. “Alimentation, that necessity which tyrannizes over men and animals, is not imposed upon the inhabitants of ether. Their bodies must be repaired and sustained by the simple respiration of the fluid in which they are immersed, that is, of ether.” Most likely, continues our scientific author, the physiological functions of the ether-folk are confined to respiration, and that it is possible to breathe “without numerous organs is proved by the fact that in all of a whole class of animals–the batrachians–the mere bare skin constitutes the whole machinery of respiration” (p. 95). Allowing for the unfortunate slip of the pen by which “batrachians” are substituted for “fresh-water polyps,” how can we fail to admire the severity of the scientific method employed in reaching these interesting conclusions?

But the King of Serendib must die, nor will the relentless scythe of Time spare our Etherians, with all their exalted attributes. They will die repeatedly; and after having through sundry periods of probation attained spiritual perfection, they will all pour into the sun. Since it is the sun which originates life and feeling and thought upon the surface of our earth, “why may we not declare that the rays transmitted by the sun to the earth and the other planets are nothing more nor less than the emanations of these souls?” And now we may begin to form an adequate conception, of the rigorously scientific character of our author’s method. There have been many hypotheses by which to account for the supply of solar radiance. One of the most ingenious and probable of these hypotheses is that of Helmholtz, according to which the solar radiance is due to the arrested motion of the sun’s constituent particles toward their common centre of gravity. But this is too fanciful to satisfy M. Figuier. The speculations of Helmholtz “have the disadvantage of resting on the idea of the sun’s nebulosity,–an hypothesis which would need to be more closely examined before serving as a basis for so important a deduction.” Accordingly, M. Figuier propounds an explanation which possesses the signal advantage that there is nothing hypothetical in it. “In our opinion, the solar radiation is sustained by the continual influx of souls into the sun.” This, as the reader will perceive, is the well-known theory of Mayer, that the solar heat is due to a perennial bombardment of the sun by meteors, save that, in place of gross materialistic meteors, M. Figuier puts ethereal souls. The ether-folk are daily raining into the solar orb in untold millions, and to the unceasing concussion is due the radiation which maintains life in the planets, and thus the circle is complete.