I first met Aldous Huxley in California during the summer of 1963. I vividly recall how thin and tall he was, and his charismatic voice. Due to his impaired eyesight, he often was said to have an otherworldly look. That is true. At six-foot-four-inches, he was an imposing figure, and one of the most interesting and kind people you could hope to encounter.
Born in 1894, his death at 5:00pm on November 22, 1963 from cancer was overshadowed by the assassination of President Kennedy. But he continues to influence new readers from generation to generation with the remarkable writings he created, and left behind for all to share. Aldous Huxley was a man for all seasons.
Aldous Huxley was interested in numerous topics and investigated many subjects. He followed the path of Vedanta, he wrote of mysticism and spiritualism, he produced complex novels that dealt with ideals and in-depth characterization, he wrote of what he encountered, and he wrote of it honestly.
His last major novel, Island, was published during 1962. A novel of ideas, this book came to stand for Huxley’s visions of a humane future, where true spirituality could win out over technology and materialism. Among his prolific output are found the following books still being read today: Crome Yellow (1921), Antic Hay (1923), Point Counter Point (1928), Brave New World (1932), After Many a Summer (1939), Time Must Have a Stop (1944), The Perennial Philosophy (1945), Ape and Essence (1948), The Doors of Perception (1954), The Genius and the Goddess (1955), Heaven and Hell (1956), Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow (1956), Brave New World Revisited (1958), and Island (1962). A collection of Aldous Huxley’s classic writings on the visionary experience, Moksha, was available in 1999. Several recent biographical and literary studies of the man have also become available since his death.
A peculiar aspect of this memoir is the visitation of Aldous Huxley. The incident took place in the afternoon. My wife, Debra, saw the ghost of Aldous Huxley standing behind me on my left. He was wearing a gray suit, white shirt without tie, shoes, and round-rimmed glasses. We attempted conversation, but the figure vanished within several minutes. This incident took place ten years ago. But it was not until the year 2004 that Debra and I came across a photo of Aldous Huxley just as he appeared that day ten years ago.
This is the first time I have written about the ghost of Aldous Huxley in my life. It may not be the last.
Lee Prosser is Ghostvillage.com’s book reviewer and a regular contributor.