If you know a dead person, then you should read this book.
Now that I have your attention…
Seriously, though, Aardweg’s book is not simply an illustration of the merits of praying for the dead (a feature of Judaism and Catholic and Orthodox Christianity, long abandoned by our Protestant brothers and sisters). It is, in contrast, an interesting summary of the theology behind Purgatory and the benefits of praying for those who have died.
Besides theology, the reader can accommodate the 134 easy-to-read pages in about two days, accounting for DuckDuckGo searches to locate more information about the persons who have seen or been touched by the dead.
That Aardweg was able to generate 134 pages of text (and 20 pages of endnotes and a bibliography) based on only ten artifacts held in the Piccolo Museo del Purgatorio (the Little Museum of Purgatory) in Rome testifies to his ability to incorporate accounts of the various seers to substantiate his thesis.
Despite the praise it deserves for bringing to the attention of twenty-first moderns the instances of souls from Purgatory reaching out to living persons, the book has definite flaws, some minor and one major. Some sentences are not as mellifluous in English as they could be; perhaps these matters of diction can be attributed to translation deficiencies. The major flaw is, as is typical with many books published by TAN, the lack of an index. (What is it with that company that it produces books with no indices? Doesn’t the company know that faculty and students may want not only to read its productions, but also to use them for research?)
Despite these flaws, since Amazon collaborates with cancel culture zealots and bans conservative and pro-life material, purchase this book from TAN Publishers directly. At $5, the book is a steal: https://tanbooks.com/products/books/afterlife/purgatory/hungry-souls-supernatural-visits-messages-and-warnings-from-purgatory/.
“The prevailing cheap optimism holds that […] the life of practically everybody automatically ends up in a state of bliss” (x).
“Purgatory (to say nothing of Hell), penance, expiation, God’s holy justice: these do not fit in with today’s cheerfully cheap religiosity” (x).
“Yet on balance, the place or state of purification, of God’s fathomless justice, is at the same time a place or state of God’s mercy, of hope, inner peace, and joy” (xxi).
“Typically, ghosts, i.e., souls from purgatory, seem to wait humbly until their host questions them” (7).
“Some apparitions that present themselves as souls of the dead may indeed turn out to be demons in disguise, seeking to deceive the credulous” (17).
“Souls from Purgatory and Hell have one decisive point in common: they cannot be conjured up at will” (17).
“Reports of poor souls dwelling in churches are not exceptional; these souls seem to get more ‘rest’ in holy places and places of prayer than somewhere else” (22).
“The widespread age-old belief in reincarnation or migration of the souls (into newborns or even animals) was perhaps a degeneration of an originally more correct insight; at any rate, it contained the wisdom of the necessity of some purification after death” (29).
“Offering sacrifices for the dead is an extremely old and almost universal custom that at least hints at some awareness of Purgatory, and praying for the dead is so spontaneous and human a reaction that one can hardly believe that this habit originated only a few hundred years before Christ” (30).
“The notion of Purgatory and the belief that the living can come to the aid of the suffering souls there are anything but medieval inventions. Affirmations of the ancient Church Fathers show that the apostles themselves professed them” (33).
“It is furthermore remarkable that reports of apparitions of souls from Purgatory are highly consistent in the course of the centuries and vary but little from one historical period to another” (35).
“Terrestrial bonds of love continue after death” (36).
“The fire of Purgatory, which comprises the sufferings of the ‘pain of loss’ and the ‘pain of sense,’ is the fire of the love of God enkindled in the soul right after death” (40).
“Demons appear as repulsive creatures; if they disguise themselves as human persons, there is usually some abhorrent quality of shape or manners that puts the seer on his guard” (77).
“These apparitions clearly prove that it is the individual person and not some depersonalized, anonymous ‘soul matter’ that survives bodily death” (78; italics in original).
“It is not unusual for animals to perceive something physical, too: dogs may become scared, and cattle or chickens become restless” (78).
“The perception of a spirit cannot be reduced to a merely mental event, something internal in the seer; it is a manifestation outside of him. He can see the door opening or a strange light that makes the objects in the dark room visible; objects (such as a light-switch on the wall) cannot be perceived anymore during the time the phantom stands before it, but as soon as it is gone, the object is normally visible again” (78).
The Bavarian mystic Sister Maria Anna Lindmayr writes, “I have always been given to understand that: how you sin, so you must do penance” (79).
“It cannot escape us that the seers of souls from Purgatory are often reported to be especially good and pious persons” (80).
Regarding why more women than men are the seers of poor souls, “it might be explained by the motherly, caring, and more compassionate nature of the woman” (81).
The seer Eugenie von der Leyen recounts how the poor soul Old Heinz “threw himself upon me and strangled me so firmly by my neck that I thought I would suffocate. It didn’t last more than a second, to be sure, but it was horrible and totally upset me” (95).
The Bohemian widow who saw the dead, called “Ruth”, is told that the poor souls of deceased family members “stand at the door of their houses, of our former dwellings, and wait” (121).
The deceased father of a nun reports to her “that St Joseph was present at his judgment, that he had since repeatedly visited Purgatory in company of the Blessed Virgin to console him, and that he often saw his guardian angel, who came to comfort him” (132).
Chapter 5, endnote 1: “Apparitions of the dead are reported in most, if not all, pagan cultures before Christianity. In the light of the fact that some poor souls in recent apparitions manifest animal features, to express the vices they must atone for […], one may wonder if such apparitions didn’t occur in ancient times as well, giving rise to the confused idea that some souls come back (reincarnate) in animals” (140).
Chapter 11, endnote 9: “Look at the dehumanized figures of several poor souls who came to Eugenie von der Leyen. An exceptionally stark example was the soul that manifested itself as a snake” (145).
Chapter 13, endnote 4: “Some souls do not or cannot speak before reaching some minimal stage of purification, and when they speak, it is usually telegram-style, their answers being no more than a few key words that are all the more emotional and impressive” (147).
Chapter 13, endnote 26: “It may well be that demonic influences play a role in many cases of compulsive and obsessive needs and drives (which need not be precisely possessions proper, but rather partial possessions, or demonic obsessions and oppressions)” (148).
Chapter 17, endnote 5: “Family bonds of love and of responsibility reach over the grave” (150).