In the early part of 1966, Babbitt awoke one morning with a vision of a man he had never met. “I didn’t have any sound with the picture I saw. He illuminated in front of my face and I knew that he was going to come into my life. I also knew that I would recognize him from the vision,” Babbitt said. This man turned out to be Charles Hapgood of Keene State College, a noted professor of science and history who was on a courageous exploration of new paths in the study of archeology and geology. Although Albert Einstein wrote a preface for Hapgood’s first book, Earth’s Shifting Crust, Hapgood was scorned by many of his colleagues in the scientific community because he dared to veer from the directions of traditional inquiry. According to Herbert Bailey, Earth’s Shifting Crust, along with Hapgood’s subsequent work, Path of the Pole, “revolutionized man’s concept of the planet and its evolutionary development.” Bailey also cited another book by Hapgood, Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings, which he termed “Hapgood’s other monumental work.” In this book Hapgood presents evidence that the earth was mapped many thousands of years ago by an unknown race now lost in antiquity. Bailey added:
He (Hapgood) offers convincing proof that other highly developed civilizations preceded the ones we now think of as being ancient, such as the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Maya and the Phoenicians………..I have known Charles Hapgood for many years as an admired friend, having been privileged on many occasions to witness his courage in withstanding assaults from the “traditionalists” in science who wish to keep scientific inquiry limited to nineteenth century concepts.
Now at the age of 62, Hapgood was about to encounter the 44-year-old medium, Elwood Babbitt, to begin his 16-year study of what Bailey termed “a different sphere, the world of the occult, the psychic.” The union between Hapgood and Babbitt would lead to findings that Bailey said would be regarded by some as “exciting” and “engrossing.” Others would find them “incredible,” he added. “Yet Hapgood does not shy away from presenting what he believes to be the truth – and with a true scientist’s characteristic determination to publish the truth, no matter what the consequences,” Bailey stated. From the standpoint of reaching the masses with his spiritual message, Babbitt’s time with Hapgood would be the most productive of his life. Hapgood had no prior knowledge of Babbitt’s existence until a student in one of his anthropology classes told him about a trance medium in Northfield, Massachusetts who was channeling spirits. As an innovative teacher, Hapgood always encouraged his students to follow their instincts in the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom and truth. He was always willing to accompany them to wherever their curiosity led them so he agreed to travel to Northfield to see for himself although he was very skeptical that he would accept the concept of a medium channeling spirits while in trance. Babbitt remembered that Hapgood’s arrival at the farm created a comical scene. Babbitt roared with laughter as he recounted:
Emily and I happened to be in the house when we heard all manner of noises outside. We had received a telephone call from somebody who wanted a reading. I don’t recall that I had attached a name to that call but when all that commotion arose, I thought to myself, “Whoever it is has apparently arrived.” The dogs were barking one of their friendly welcomes while the chickens were clucking away. I looked out the kitchen window and this fellow was approaching the door with all of God’s cats, cows, dogs and chickens following him. I opened the door and beheld this smiling, heavy-set fellow with thinning hair and a heavy-jowled face. He was dressed in a suit and tie and he had a very authoritative and professional-sounding voice. “I am Charles Hapgood. I didn’t expect such an entourage to bring me into the yard. Are you Mr. Babbitt?,” he asked. I replied, “Yeah. Come on in.” I had to suppress a giggle because right away I noticed there was a comical little quirk to his movements. There also was a familiarity about him. It was then I became aware that this was the man I had seen in that vision. I motioned him in and said, “Sit down and have a cup of coffee. You’re going to have a reading?” He cocked his head and replied with all that professional charm, “Yes Indeed.” I handed him a cup of coffee and led him into the study. After he sat down, I handed him a small square-shaped sheet of paper which I call “a billet.” I said to him, “Now write down two brief questions you might want to pose to me and sign your name.” He handed the paper back to me and we went ahead and had that first reading together. It’s very interesting for me to look back on it now. That very first meeting was a test and he was testing me. The two questions he posed and the method he followed had merit. I didn’t probe much for information at that point because although I had seen him in that vision, I had no idea that this man sitting before me would do any more than have one reading with me. During that first little talk, Charles did say he was intrigued that some people believed in the continuity of life, that we all had a spirit that survived physical death. It was clear that he doubted that I could actually be channeling the spirits of people who had lived before. “I would have to have scientific proof,” he said. After that first reading and our brief discussion which followed it, we spent only a few moments during which we exchanged pleasantries. Then he left. There was a lapse of time before I heard from him again. I also remember his second visit when I became aware of why some time had passed. He wanted to spend some time discussing me with his students. When he returned that second time, he said, “I think I want to write a book about your work. I haven’t reached the point where I believe it but maybe somewhere along the way, I will.” So right then, he was beginning to write that first book and it led to all the things that Charles and I did together. Hapgood described his association with Babbitt in three books, Voices of Spirit-Through the Psychic Experience of Elwood Babbitt (Nordon Publications, 1975); Talks with Christ and His Teachers (Fine Line Books, 1981), and The God Within – A Testament of Vishnu, 1985. In the third book, Hapgood commented:
It’s no exaggeration to say that Elwood Babbitt is one of the truly extraordinary men of our time. I have now had the privilege of fifteen years of constant association with him. I have sat with him through over 300 sessions in most of which trance was used, but I have also questioned him so far as I could about the details of his everyday life. I early learned that he was not an intellectual. He is interested in no profession, in no career ……..he is interested only in spiritual teaching. He lives with another reality.
Hapgood said that at least 300 spirits manifested through Babbitt in his (Hapgood’s) presence and that “each personality remained distinct and self-consistent no matter how many times we talked.” Hapgood concluded that no human mind could possibly have produced it. He also decided that the theory of split personalities cannot be applied in Babbitt’s case. Hapgood conducted scientific tests and had Babbitt examined extensively by a psychologist. Tests were also performed by a medical doctor. While it is clear that Hapgood’s skepticism about the continuity of life was overcome from his own scientific findings, he emphasized that he made no claim to “final truth.” Hapgood said the spiritual forces speaking through Babbitt were limited “by our limitations of understanding.” He added th
at “where the energy enters areas beyond human knowledge we must call upon our intuition to grasp what the intellect cannot.” Recalling Hapgood’s intense study of him, Babbitt said Hapgood was always very kind and loving. He noted that the professor always had a little twinkle in his eye, that he was always low-key and never talked in a pompous way. Although Hapgood knew many noted scientists and celebrities, he was modest in discussing his relationship with them. Babbitt said he found it ironic that at one point during his teaching career, Hapgood was at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire where he (Babbitt) had gone for one semester after the war. “You know, Charles taught at several different schools because college administrators didn’t want to put up with his innovative methods for very long. He wanted to teach the way he wanted. They had set curriculums from which they refused to deviate and he clashed with them all the time,” Babbitt said.