Thomas Lynn Bradford

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Ruth Starkweather Doran and Thomas Lynn Bradford

Thomas Lynn Bradford (died February 6, 1921) of Detroit, Michigan, is best known for committing suicide in an attempt to ascertain the existence of an afterlife and communicate that information to a living accomplice, Ruth Doran.[1] On February 6, 1921, Bradford sealed his apartment in Detroit, blew out the pilot on his heater, and turned on the gas, which was successful in killing him.[2][3]

Some weeks earlier, Bradford had sought a fellow spiritualist in a newspaper advertisement and Doran responded. The two agreed "that there was but one way to solve the mystery—two minds properly attuned, one of which must shed its earthly mantle".[4] The New York Times ran a follow-up under the headline "Dead Spiritualist Silent."[5]


  1. ^ Roach, Mary (2005). Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife. W. W. Norton. ISBN 0-393-05962-6.
  2. ^ Roach, Mary (18 November 2006). "The Big Questions: What happens after you die?". New Scientist (2578).
  3. ^ Roach, Mary (10 August 2009). "Proof". Radiolab Podcast Short (Interview). Interviewed by Jad Abumrad.
  4. ^ Alfano, Sean (October 30, 2005). "The Afterlife: Real Or Imagined?". CBS Sunday Morning News. p. 3.
  5. ^ "DEAD SPIRITUALIST SILENT.; Detroit Woman Awaits Message, but Denies Any Compact". The New York Times. Detroit. February 8, 1921. p. 3.