Photo by Micky White on Unsplash

Professor Seward’s Foray from the Beyond

John Townley

In the 1970s, I was on an astrological lecture tour and spoke to a spiritual group in Pennsylvania. Afterward, the group leaders, a man and a woman who did channeling, invited me to attend a séance. Not my cup of tea, but as the guest of honor, I couldn’t refuse.

In the circle, the principals spoke in seemingly phony voices. He claimed to be the spirit of the Marcus Aurelius, she an American Indian princess. They gave each person advice that sounded like watered-down Theosophy.

Finally, they came to me. “Someone is trying to reach you,” they declared. “An astrologer who has something to tell you.” It was supposedly a “Professor Seward” from the early 20th century.

Back home, I was at the library going through a large index file, looking for information on astrological cycles and mapping techniques. Out of curiosity, I searched for Professor Seward, to no avail. Before closing the drawer, I randomly stuck my finger into the drawer and pulled the first card. It was The Zodiac And Its Mysteries — by Professor Seward! I asked for it at the desk, but it was missing.

The next day, I asked my publisher about the book. They said they’d check and get back to me. That night I had a vivid dream. An older man sat behind a carved oaken desk. On it were a brass armillary sphere, brass telescope, and other instruments. Behind him was a wall of leather-bound books.

I asked about my astrological mapping problems, and he brushed me aside. “You need the zenith, the azimuth, the local horizon. Here’s how to do it.” He showed me overlay templates to put on a graphed version of a horoscope that would reveal it all.

When I woke, I noted what he had said. I found the new approach to be useful, something I would never have conceived myself.

Two days later, I got a call. “We found the book you were looking for.” Paging through it, I found a picture of Professor Seward in his office. There was the carved oaken desk, the armillary sphere, the telescope, the leather books, and the exact fellow from my dream! I was speechless…

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