Seven Dimensional Spheres: A Visitation
by James Martin Peebles
“I am now leaving my body four hours each night, and listening to medical lectures in one of the most magnificent pavilions that study the spirit world. I also have a class that I am teaching in a sphere below the one in which I am a pupil.” ~ Dr. A. P. Pierce.
Souls build the bodies they inhabit. The will moves them. Intelligent motion implies mind.
The soul, a conscious entity, related to the infinite Soul, God, somewhat as spark to flame, is the mechanic, the spiritual form with its nerve-forces is the machinery, and the physical body the external building that covers mechanic and machinery. And why should not the thinking, conscious mechanic occasionally step out of his building for specific purposes, leaving, of course, every door and avenue well guarded?
Accompanied recently by Mrs. Taylor, of Brooklyn, N. Y., a personal friend of Miss Fancher, the psychological wonder, I was permitted to visit and enjoy a most interesting conversation with this young lady, who virtually subsists without food, and enjoys sleep only when in the trance state. During the interview she spoke freely, not only of her sensitiveness, her trances and visions, “but,” said she, “I sometimes leave my body and go away, — oh, so far away! — meeting my mother and other dear friends, with scenery too beautiful to describe. I traverse fields, and walk in gardens of flowers and fountains, and I listen to the most heavenly music. You cannot think how it rests me; and I feel so sad when I am asked to return again to my earthly home.”
It is a well-established fact in my mind that, while human bodies are in a comatose condition analogous to death, only that the magnetic life-thread is not severed, souls leave their bodies, and, accompanied by guardian angels, traverse the spirit spheres of infinity. My belief in this phenomenon rests upon the following testimony:
I. Individual experience. I know many substantial, clear headed persons who affirm in the most positive manner that they have been temporarily released from their physical bodies; that they were at the time conscious of being in this freed condition; that they saw the bodies they had left; saw the silvery electric cord still connecting them with their bodies; saw spirit friends whom they had known on earth; visited the supernal home of these friends; and were conscious of reasoning about returning and re-entering their bodies.
II. Spirits, the more wise and exalted, controlling mediums unconsciously, have repeatedly informed me that in consequence of a peculiar organization, coupled with wisely-directed magnetic preparations on the part of spirit guides, certain persons may and do leave their bodies temporarily, traveling both in the hells and the higher table-lands of immortality.
III. Independent clairvoyants, while in their superior conditions, have frequently seen individuals of earth in the world of spirits, yet sympathetically connected with their bodies by this magnetic life-cord. Whenever this is severed, death follows. The physical body (the matter of the body) is raised again only in the sense of reappearing in grasses, grains, and forest-trees.
Filling a lecture engagement in Troy, N. Y., a few years since, I went down to the hospitable home of Dr. G. L. Ditson, Albany, to see Dr. E. C. Dunn. It is a cozy, comfortable place to visit. Retiring to our apartment for the night, Dr. Dunn, as usual, was entranced. The subject of conversation was the inter-relations of body, spirit, and soul. Aware that the doctor had not been in my apartment in Troy since occupying it, I said, when leaving in the morning, “Come as a spirit to Troy tonight, and write me tomorrow what you see in my room.”
“Most certainly,” was the prompt reply, “if my spirit guides will help me.” The next evening I received a letter describing my room at Mr. McCoy’s, the locality of the bed, the furniture, the books, the pencils, the open Bible, etc., closing with these words:
“I took especial notice of my body, after leaving it, as it lay in bed at Albany. A part of the circle guarded it. I had a very pleasant time with Aaron Knight, who acted as my guide while absent from the body. The sensations were all pleasant except the terrible dread which always comes over me when returning to my body.”
The description of the room, the books, garments, pictures, open Bible with photograph in it, and other objects in my apartment, could hardly have been described with greater precision. Similar visits of exploration, and traveling out of and away from the physical organism, have been of frequent occurrence, giving unmistakable evidence to my mind that the doctor, as he positively asserts, was absent from his body.
Prophets and apostles of old had analogous experiences. Paul, when caught up to the third heaven, did not know whether he was in the body or out. Plotinus, more philosophical than Paul, knew when he was out of the body, and returning to it, remembered who of the Platonic teachers he had met while traversing the higher spheres. Many mediums and seers have had similar experiences to those above named. And so the marvels of history repeat themselves.
“I am now going away,” are the opening words of our seer. “Am now crossing the river I have seen before. Oh, if mortals only knew; they would not care for the voyage; they would only care for what they should carry with them.
“I am now passing through a somewhat extended darkness; but do not feel troubled, for I am conscious that friendly supporters are near at hand. Now I see strangely-shaped buildings. They seem to have no foundations. I think they must fall, so patched and poorly braced are they in their lower parts. They are the homes, I am told, of those who on earth were unfortunately cursed with excessive self-esteem. One of these now stands before me. He seems beginning to be conscious of his mistake and to long for its correction. And this ungainly-shaped and tottering building which now serves as his abode, is made unto him a daguerreotype, as it were, of his actual character; and thus he is able to study its defects and gradually through effort and persistent struggle to bring his spirit-home — ever a reflex of character — into shapes of order and beauty. ‘I am glad,’ I said to him, ‘to see you go to work so earnestly and wisely. Will you let me come and see the inside when you have got your house in order? ‘ I received no reply.
“Now I see a spirit who does not seem to care for a home. He is satisfied to lie down and lazily go into a stupid sleep. But see! A thunderbolt seems to strike him; and he is aroused into mute amazement, while a voice exclaims, ‘We have no idlers here!’ He seems to think this rather hard, as he had never succeeded in having much of such lazy comfort while on earth, and thought he might now have his fill undisturbed. But he is told by spirits that only action, and much of it for others, can give him real comfort! And so finally he is induced to make an effort to help some who are lower than himself, when — lo! a new consciousness begins to awaken within him; and he not only gains the peace of self-approval, but finds also that the very effort made tends to remove the morbid accumulation of crude magnetism with which he was laden, and thus to make other efforts easy and pleasant. . . .
“I now find myself in an assembly of teachers and pupils; and here I am allowed to witness the methods of instruction in spirit-life. Old and young I see occupying the same classes, and, strange to say, those of the same average ability, who have not had what is called an education on the earth, here promise the most rapid progress. The reason is that the others have many errors to unlearn before they are prepared to see and acknowledge the new truths; for here, truths are clearly seen by the more intuitive-minded. For it is not theories concerning truths, but the truths themselves, that are here set before the pupils. The method is more like what we of earth call ‘object teaching’ than any other system of our instruction.
“A conspicuous example of the false method of earth now stands out before me in the person of a self-conceited teacher, recently from her earthly labors. She does not seem at all to like the methods here pursued, and is quite free to criticise what is going on. She is not yet ready to take her proper position among the pupils, but expatiates quite freely on the worth of the old methods of her earthly life. The spirit-teacher does not seem to be in the least troubled or discouraged at the blindness and perversity of this self-opinionated novitiate; but rather encourages her to go on and expose the shallowness of her mental condition, which is soon seen by all, but particularly by a bright and beautiful boy of not more than fourteen years of age, who can hardly restrain him self from prematurely setting her right.
“At length, the spirit-teacher gives her what seems to be a delicate spray of fern-leaf, when to her opening vision there appear to be beauties and marks of wisdom in it that no book of botany ever named; and she begins to see and acknowledge the superiority of this method over the one heretofore so firmly fixed in her mind. Other similar experiments follow, until at length she is fairly transformed into a promising pupil of the spirit-instructor, at which the bright-minded boy appears especially to rejoice, — in sympathy, however, not in triumph.
“I leave now,” said the seer, “and go again.” . . . “O the water, how pure and peaceful it looks as it gurgles along in its course. It seems to speak of contentment, purity, and joy. And the modest and lovely flowers I see along its banks; and the leafy shrubs; and the tapering trees with their spiral leaves pointing upward as if in conscious gratitude to the Giver of life — all these leaflets and flowers, all living things here, turn themselves steadily and earnestly to the light! Should it be less so with man; should he of all else seek the way of darkness rather than of the light? I now meet three weary travelers. They are toiling on beneath burdens, not of things of value, not of choice gems of truth and beauty; but of the dry sticks of a worn-out theology which was fastened upon them by an unprincipled and arbitrary priestly rule while they were yet in the earth-life. True men were these, even in their darkened earthly condition; for they saw not the iniquity of the power that held them in blind and slavish submission. They worked faithfully and self-sacrificingly to carry out the designs of those, who, though ever ready to impose heavy burdens upon others, would hardly lift a finger to do the work themselves. And now I see that one of these pilgrims begins to awaken to a sense of the folly of his course in thus continuing to bear his wearying and worthless burden when the higher and clearer light of the spirit-world is around him. He feels the inspiration of high and noble spirits not far from him, and thus urged on, he throws off his grievous burden, and stands up a free and happy soul! The others, incited by his example and by the inspiring power which they also feel, do likewise.
“And now, the same active zeal which was once used to uphold the rule of a false and corrupt system, is turned with all its force to overthrow the falsities that once so oppressed them. In their invisible forms they revisit old confessionals, and whisper to presiding priests of the lives they are leading, and of the terrible penalties of their oppressions. They even penetrate to the head-center of ecclesiastical power, and make their searching whispers heard by him who sits upon the Papal throne itself.
“It was a martyr’s life these sincere men lived upon earth; and it is a martyr’s crown they are now receiving in doing their telling work of undermining the false and upbuilding the true in the lands of their former toils and sufferings.”
Spirits occupying the same sphere of sympathy and unfoldment in the spirit-world, travel with the velocity of thought. Especially is this true after they come to understand the fluids and psychic forces of spirit-life; but to advance from one person to another who is higher, from one society to another, from one zone of existence to another more beatific, there must be preparation, interior changes in the state of the mind, and corresponding progressions and etherealizations of the spiritual body.
There continues to reside in Boston, Mass., Dr. A. P. Pierce, having still, as in the past, an extensive medical practice in what is denominated the ” higher circles” of society. While his healing gifts are truly wonderful, his trance experiences, connected with his travels in the different societies and spheres of spirit-life, are among the most marvelous in history.
The most remarkable of his trances commenced on the 27th day of November, 1856. This continued twenty-one days, during which time he was out of his body. Previous to this, and while under spirit-influence, he foretold the hour when the entrancement would commence. At 8 o’clock, the time appointed, he felt a heavy pressure over the eyes, and requested that some friends be invited to witness the change necessarily occasioned by the departure of the spirit from the body. The guests now present, some fifteen or more in number, he knelt down and prayed to God that the “cup might pass.” And while in the act of prayer he fell into a trance. His face brightened up; his body became rigid as though dead; and in this condition he fell upon the floor. The controlling intelligence now said that he and “others had taken the body in charge, and would give instructions from day to day as to its management.”
During the time of Dr. Pierce’s absence from the body, several different spirits possessed, or controlled it; which spirits, owing to their magnetic connection with the body and their sympathetic relations with Dr. Pierce temporarily in spirit-life, served as mediums to describe the doctor’s experiences in the various societies and spheres through which he passed.
1st Sphere — “There are here many circles and conditions. It seems dark and gloomy. Spirits are as low as the very lowest in the body. They dispute, wrangle, and have all the passions they had on earth. Some return to their old associates, and re-enact the scenes of earth. Some remain here a very long period of time before light reaches them. It is terrible to contemplate.”
2nd Sphere. — Entering this, the doctor’s spirit took on new conditions. The atmosphere was more rarefied, the elements more ethereal. Appearances corresponded largely to the better conditions of earth. He saw “spirits preparing spiritual food from spiritual elements and auras.” Those in the higher circles of this sphere were instructing the lower. Most of the objects seemed natural yet new.
3rd Sphere — Passing into this condition, or zone of spirit-existence, he beheld spirits entering from the mortal state to receive the welcome and the care of those who had passed from the earthly life before them. They seemed to class themselves according to the laws of affinity. He saw them engaged in mental telegraphing, studying the principles of chemistry, and in various ways adorning their habitations. Here were animals of the higher order, and birds, as well as Indian hunting-grounds and attractive lodges.
4th Sphere — In this sphere the garments of the spirits seemed brighter and of a much finer texture. Instead of being in isolated homes, they lived in groups and associations. Spirits from the fifth and sixth spheres teach them. “I see birds, flowers, and a lemon-shaped fruit, rich and juicy. I do not know its name. I see these spirit-people constructing musical instruments, and trying to control the elements for various purposes. All are industrious. They have extensive grounds well laid out, tastefully arranged buildings, in a room of one of which were nicely arranged paintings on the walls, and flowers neatly placed around the windows; the furniture is soft and pliable, and constructed by a combination of the elements; lakes on which the swan gracefully moves to and fro. They propose to change spheres by going through three degrees of education, receiving their instruction from spirits of the sixth sphere. The Indians have also their lodges here. Their food is like that in the other circles, growing on vines which trail along the ground. For musical instruments the harp is used, to which they dance and sing, and are very happy — far more so than in the circles.”
5th Sphere — Here “the light is still brighter, and the spirits seem more calm, serene, and self-balanced. They have walks tastefully arranged around their dwellings, with flower beds, groves and lawns with shade-trees; lakes much larger than those in the fourth sphere, with boats of corresponding size playing backwards and forwards. They have places where they congregate to study the fine arts, and colleges for astronomy and mathematics; also schools for instruction in mechanical arts and spirit-agriculture. The fruit grows on delicate bushes, something like the pear. These inhabitants are clear in their expression of spirit understanding. They vocalize and play upon musical instruments, and are joyous and very happy.
“Their clothing is very light and spiritual. In the fourth circle of this sphere the light is like the setting sun to your earth, very genial and bright. Here are mountains and rivers made attractive by beautiful scenery. The spirits have laboratories and factories for purifying and clearing the elements; lakes with vessels, and ponds with boats on them, as well as wild geese and ducks, but they are more refined than those upon the earth. On the margin of a lake is an Indian encampment. Here I meet the spirits of three Indians, who greet me and invite me to visit their lodges, where they have a talk about the pale-face Pierce, whom they knew on the earth.
“The houses of these spiritual inhabitants are symmetrical and tastefully arranged inside, with paintings, drawings, and fine furniture, which are tangible to the spirit; the pianoforte is also here, upon which they play, accompanied by singing and dancing, which constitutes a part of their spiritual enjoyment, and is done to the honor and glory of God. They have walks adorned with shade trees, on which are richly-plumaged birds singing their lays, making the elements vocal with sweet music; their fruit grows in arbors and bowers, and is shaped like the apple, but more delicious to the taste and strengthening to the unfolding spirit as it is passing on to the higher circles of progression in knowledge. I meet with one of my friends whom I knew on earth, John S. Gilman. They converse of earth-life and spirit-life, showing that memory, like pure love, is immortal.”
6th Sphere — Do not understand that these spheres are absolutely separated the one from the other. They interblend, and shade off into each other, something as do rainbow hues. In the “first circle of this sphere, light dawns with great brilliancy. Here I saw a magnificent observatory. Newton was teaching. They have rivers, extensive plains, and lakes clear as crystal. They are building boats of a singular structure. They have scientific institutions for designs and new inventions, all of which, when perfected, are to be impressed upon the minds of the sensitives of earth, and then outwrought into practical use. The avenues are laid out with shade-trees for walking.
“The climate and influences are more congenial to the spirit. They have gardens arranged with choicest fruit-trees. The apple, pear, apricot, and fruit such as I had never seen, are beautiful and spiritual. They arrange their houses in groups, and have a kind of railroad to go from one group to the other. They are very refined in their manners, very loving and affectionate.
“In the third circle of this sphere the spirits have vast educational places for assembling together, in one of which is the Poet’s Hall, where the risen poets of earth are preparing poetical versions of the heavens. They have plain yet elegant churches for spiritual culture. Whitfield is preaching to them upon the necessity of spiritual purity and perfection. They have here observatories. Herschel is teaching, and other noted astronomers have classes. Here also they are traversing the ether spaces in aerial cars, which will ultimately descend to earth. I see many fountains around their houses, and flowers too beautiful for description. The food, exceedingly ethereal, is nutritious to the spiritual body. They have spiritual mansions, where spirits meet in sacred fellowship. I entered one, where I was received in fellowship. These spirits are very congenial to each other, and happy.
“In the ‘higher circles of this sphere light dawns in brighter effulgence.’ The spirits have large colleges to receive youthful minds as they come from earth, where sportive children are instructed in the higher truths of the heavenly life. Here also is a magnificent music hall; Mrs. Hemans, Hannah More, and others are here, rehearsing the lyrics of the heavens. Here too are colleges for preparing teachers to come to earth to instruct and inspire mortals. William Penn, Roger Williams, and others, are here teaching. Youthful minds are their students. Also a university of music, where it is taught in its various methods. Places of worship for the adoration of God. Milton and others are here teaching, and they are also teachers of earth. Here, in amazement, I beheld the higher birth of several young spirits out of their earthly bodies. They were received with singing and words of welcome to their new home. The scenery is beautiful, with sloping hills and undulating plains. Flowers in rich abundance perfume the air, and warbling birds commingle their music with the spirits. Their houses are laid out in large circles, twelve houses in a circle, with walks and grounds around them, with trees and shrubbery; various kinds of fruit are grown for their own nourishment; joy and harmony pervade everywhere. As they live in higher scenes or conditions, they are consequently the more highly spiritualized. Here the Indians have homes on one side of the river-bank, unique, yet beautiful. Luna, an Indian girl, Pocahontas, and others, are here happy and joyous, all commingling together in purity of spirit and in the love of God. . . .
“In this circle the atmosphere is exhilarating to the spirit; the houses are in circles of six, with more extended grounds, and the flowers more variegated and richly perfumed; the spirits have arbors, with vines running round them, with fruit like the grape, but larger and purer. The spirit brightens after partaking of it. Mountains rise in the distance, with extended plains, with water-powers, and clear, transparent lakes. They have colleges of design with landscape paintings. Hannibal, Chambers, and others are here in the capacity of teachers. I meet here three sons of Samuel Haynes, of Belfast, who are receiving instruction. The spirits have buildings for instruction in music, embroidery, and the composition of flowers, in their higher formations. Here I meet one by the name of Helen A. Pierce receiving instruction. Children are receiving instruction, and are learning to sing and play on the harp. Congeniality of spirit reigns prominent here. The young assemble in classes for the cultivating of flowers and the spiritual development of their minds, and all is done for the good of others and the glory of God.”
7th Sphere “Light now dawns with celestial brilliancy! The scenery is grand; the teachers are from the celestial spheres. Unity of feeling and love universally pervades this divine realm. They have vast universities. In one of these were surgeons from various parts of the world — America, England, France, Russia, Prussia, China, Japan, and other countries of the globe.
“The studies here were anatomical, psychological, and spiritual; also great attention was given to the laws of mesmerism, magnetism, impressional and inspirational influences, that they might by influx become better understood upon earth. . . .
“In this circle they, do not seem to have fixed habitations, but when they need a covering, it is immediately improvised from the elements; they talk with each other by looks — being transparent, they see each other’s thoughts; when they wish for refreshment they compound it out of the elements, and from etherealized fluids; they telegraph by thought of the spirit. The air is melodious with warbling notes of gaily- plumaged birds. These spirits visit by thought and will. They descend to the other circles and to the earth to teach. Here are children descending in groups from the celestial heavens, covered with flowers, and bearing baskets of fruit on their arms, to be taught in wisdom and music, and the composition of flowers, to be prepared to visit other spheres and earth, and gather knowledge. They are very noble in stature, symmetrical in form, and pure in spirit, constantly joining together in singing, praise, and worship, and they manifest great joy and congeniality of mind. . . .
“Each acts up to his ideal — and labor is a work of love. I see in this celestial sphere no insects or lower forms of animal life. I see multitudes of spirits coursing their way through the elements, visiting and commingling with each other in different parts of the circle, and visiting the earth and spheres and then returning. . . .
“The joy here is ecstatic. Thousands of happy children assemble to greet with music and messages of love those who arrive from other spheres as visitors or explorers in the realm of thought. Their very motions are musical, and they converse by looks and facial expressions. Oh, could you connect with this vital cord and ascend up here and behold the glory and joy that reigns, you would not wish to return. I shall soon be with you again, but do not desire to stay, but must, so they say, return and take up the body. I want you to prepare while living to ascend to the celestial spheres, and live with these joyous and happy spirits.” . . .
On the 11th of December the previous guides retired, giving place to a higher order of spiritual intelligence, among which, it was said, were Josephus, Samuel, the prophet Daniel, and others. . . . The body of the medium having received but a very trifle of nourishment since the beginning of the entrancement had become exceedingly weak. And yet, under the direction of spirits, who on earth were physicians, the medium’s body had received the most careful attention from Mrs. Pierce and other anxious friends. . . . There was now a cessation of the communications for several hours. This, the attendants were informed, was necessary while the spirit, away from the mediumistic body, was being prepared for the conditions that pertained to the sensitive states in the higher and more heavenly spheres.
Commencing the communications again at seven o’clock, from the first circle of the celestial spheres, the medium reporting down through the spheres below him, says: “The scenery and surroundings here are too glorious for delineation. No poet can describe them, no artist put them upon canvas. The rays of light seem to descend from the great central sun of the universe. The atmosphere is warm, mellow, and golden. Breathing is living. All is calm and peaceful. The clothing of the spirits is ethereal and shining in their whiteness. The dreams of paradise are here more than realized. Humility is the gem, truth the pearl sought for, love the law obeyed, and wisdom the purpose of the soul’s perpetual search. Everything moves in perfect harmony, because near the great Ruling Spirit of the universe. . . .
“Now a vast assembly of spirits meet me, and I am led to a large pavilion prepared for my reception. Heavenly music greets my ears, and the delicious odors of flowers are cast over and around me. Now six beautiful spirits approach me, clothed in shining garments, and girt about with golden girdles. Samuel, the ancient prophet, steps forth, facing me, having in his hand a golden horn. And another spirit approaching, removes my outer garments, placing them upon a cushion of white flowers, and Samuel, in the name of God the Father of us all, anoints me with holy oil. The influence of this, poured upon my head, penetrates to the very depths of my being. It seemingly expands and vivifies my whole spirit form. He now places upon my head a crown of mingled thorns and flowers, symbolizing the mission that I have yet to fulfill upon earth. Though illumined, I feel that I have thorny paths to tread; but sweet-scented flowers will bloom along the pathways of my life. They now place upon me another spiritual garment, bright and more ethereal, praying that I may never soil it.” . . .
Very soon after this spiritual anointing and heavenly baptism, Dr. Pierce saw, surrounded by a halo of golden light, — a light almost unapproachable — the great Mediator — Jesus of Nazareth. . . . Conducted by these ancient spirits, this medium visited other planets, describing them so far as he could find appropriate language so to do. Still traversing these divine abodes, he at one time exclaimed: “These spirits about me now have bodies more transparent, if possible, than purest crystal. When they need sustenance they condense ethereal essences, and appropriate them by absorption. In the most perfect purity of spirit they live together in one great family, passing and repassing at will to the different planets that dot the immensities. They are humble and reverent, continually worshiping God in purity. Through the perfection of the elements their motions fill the air with sweetest music. In my earthly body clothing is for concealment and comfort, but these beings are so pure that only a gauze-like covering drapes their spirit forms. They live and bathe in an atmosphere of purity and love.” . . .
This medium had been absent so long from his physical body — absent save the connecting cord of sympathy — that it was with the greatest difficulty that he could re-enter and re-possess his organism. Not only was he blind and over sensitive at first, but be could neither use his vocal organs to speak, nor make use of his limbs to walk. Some other symptoms, not necessary to name, were exceedingly alarming. But the sensitiveness gradually disappeared, and the physical and spiritual forces, after a few days, assumed their wonted equilibrium.
On December 23rd he was weighed, and it was found that he had lost eleven and a half pounds of flesh during the twenty-one days’ entrancement.
If I rightly comprehend these marvelous experiences, of which I have subjoined a condensed report, they teach that the medium, Dr. Pierce, being previously prepared, and then aided by a sympathizing band of intelligent spirits, literally left his body, — save the magnetic life-cord, — and roamed through many of the societies, circles, and spheres of intelligences that dwell in the many-mansioned realm of immortality. While out of his body, other spirits did not enter into it, but they held a charge over, ministering to, and controlling it psychologically. The full history of this remarkable and very strange twenty-one days’ trance has been related to me, not only by Dr. Pierce and his excellent family, but by several other witnesses. The doctor is a resident of Boston, and a practising physician.*
*The seven spheres above described are properly included within the “Ultimate Heavens” mentioned by Swedenborg and other seers. Above these, according to these writers, are the “Spiritual Heavens” and the “Celestial Heavens,” each of which are again subdivided into a seven-fold series. The more interior visions, or spiritual journeyings, of the seer just quoted, probably relate to the Spiritual Heavens.
Excerpt from Immortality, and Our Employments Hereafter: With What a Hundred Spirits, Good and Evil, Say of Their Dwelling Places
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