Doctor Who Wrote About His Near-Death Had A Message: 'Time Now Is Very Short'



By Michael H. Brown


How do we get to Heaven? What's the best way to conduct ourselves?


Reported in [Spirit] online news paper. If you listen to Dr. George G. Ritchie, a medical doctor who "died" in 1946, at the age of 20, and recounts it in a book Return from Tomorrow, crucial is that we "die to self." Just as he supposedly encountered Jesus when he physically "died" (during a severe bout with pneumonia), so do we encounter Christ once we have gotten rid of our ego and self-centeredness and died to selfishness.

The afterworld he was shown before he revived in a Texas army hospital [see previous story] can be both infinitely brighter than this world -- or infinitely more savage and terrible. In his book Dr. Ritchie describes Jesus taking him to various places in the afterlife and showing him at one level how countless souls were earthbound. Though invisible, they were still mingling on our plane because they had sins to purge or were overly attached to earth through their pride, avarice, and obsessions.

Was this what Catholics call purgatory or was it hell? Ritchie does not get into distinctions. We believe he glimpsed aspects of both purgatory and hell. In one case he said he saw discarnate spirits filling a seedy bar and trying to grab drinks or enter the bodies of drunken soldiers. He said these spirits were bound to that situation because they had not yet purged their alcoholism. This reflected on the Scriptural passage from Christ that warns, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth! For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also!" Others were in a place where they were writhing, gouging, or punching each other -- yet causing no real effect because they were already dead.

"Although they appeared to be literally on top of each other, it was as though each man was boxing the air," wrote Ritchie, a psychiatrist who later became president of the Richmond Academy of General Practice in Virginia. "At last I realized that of course, having no substance, they could not actually touch one another. They could not kill, though they clearly wanted to, so they hurled themselves at each other in a frenzy of impotent rage."

These were souls attached to violence, attached to anger. Creatures seemed locked into their habits and destructive thought patterns. In the afterworld, said Ritchie, no thoughts are secret. As soon as a soul has a thought, it materializes in a way everyone can see. Thus, purity of mind -- constant, all-pure thinking -- is another key to paradise. "Those with negative thought patterns may flee the light of God at death because they are too ashamed or too afraid to have their inner thoughts and negative natures revealed to everyone," he says.

Ritchie describes seeing thousands of "non-physical" beings inhabiting normal space. This ties into the famed mystic St. Padre Pio's recollection of souls doing their purgatory on earth and also the testimony of mystic Maria Esperanza -- who says that many souls are earthbound because they have not yet found the Light.

In one house, says Ritchie, a younger man followed an older one, begging for the forgiveness of the older man. "I'm sorry, Pa!" he kept saying. "I didn't know what this would do to Mama!" It was said endlessly -- yet of course the living father could not hear his deceased son. Others were likewise trying to make up to the living. "They are suicides, chained to every consequence of their act," came a thought from the Light of Jesus, Who was allegedly accompanying Dr. Ritchie.

There was a common denominator, says Ritchie, between all the bad places. "It was the failure to see Jesus," he noted. "Whether it was a physical appetite, an earthly concern, an absorption with self -- whatever got in the way of His Light created the separation."

How did Ritchie see Jesus?

As strong, as the most powerful Man he had ever seen, as tremendously masculine. But also overwhelmingly compassionate. "Above all, with that same mysterious inner certainty, I knew that this Man loved me," Ritchie writes. "Far more even than power, what emanated from His Presence was unconditional love. An astonishing love. A love beyond my wildest imagining."

"This love knew every unlovable thing about me -- the quarrels with my stepmother, my explosive temper, the sex thoughts I could never control, every mean, selfish thought and action since the day I was born -- and accepted and loved me just the same.

"When I say He knew everything about me, this was just an observable fact. For into that [hospital] room along with His radiant presence -- simultaneously, though in telling about it I have to describe them one by one -- had also entered every single episode in my entire life. Everything that had ever happened to me was simply there, in full view, contemporary and current, all seemingly taking place at that moment."

Ritchie says he relived his own birth -- viewed the scene in the delivery room -- and for the first time, saw the mother who had died giving birth to him! He also viewed other important junctures of his life: himself as a toddler, his relationship with relatives, receiving his Boy Scout Eagle badge. There were scenes, hundreds, thousands of them, in this place where time as we know it ceased to exist.

In Ritchie's retelling, what he had thought important -- the Eagle badge, the acceptance into medical school -- were not a big deal to Christ. That glorified you, came the words from Jesus. "I started to point out my pre-med courses, how I was going to be a doctor and help people," says Ritchie, "but visible alongside the classroom scenes was that Cadillac car and that private airplane -- thoughts as observable as actions in that all-pervading light."

The same was seen of his smug attitude toward religion. He saw the way he thought he was superior to others because he had a perfect church attendance record. It wasn't really Jesus Who was judging, says Ritchie; he was judging himself! He saw all the times he had the wrong thoughts. He felt his effects on others. He saw where he had been self-centered. He realized that souls not yet in Heaven were souls that had fled the Light because they did not want to be seen for their darkness.

Yet not even those bound to dismal parts of the world, those who were writhing, had been abandoned by Jesus. At higher levels Ritchie claims he saw an impossibly large "library" that contained "all the important books of the universe" and souls wearing loose-flowing hooded cloaks that put him in mind of monks. They were souls that were still evolving but had lost the sense of self and "clamoring ego." At a distance he caught glimpse of an incredible city that it was made known to him was a high reach of Heaven.

He never got there, but he came back with a critical message. "As for what we'll find in the next world, I believe that what we'll discover there depends on how well we get on with the business of loving, here and now," Ritchie wrote in a little book we highly recommend. "God is busy building a race of men who know how to love. I believe that the fate of the earth itself depends on the progress we make -- and that the time now is very short."