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harold & martha sherman
Articles and controversies
pdfForum Data and Apocrypha
Appendix of The Sherman Diaries, Vol. 2
The Forumites
compiled by Saskia Praamsma
pdfHow the Papers Came Through
Chapter 8 of Sherman Diaries, Vol. 2
The 1942 Petition
Presented to Dr. Sadler by 48 Forumites
pdfForum Days
from How I Found the Urantia Book
533 Diversey Parkway
compiled by Saskia Praamsma
pdfChildhood at the Forum
by Mark Kulieke (SGH, August 1993)
pdf"I Remember the Forum"
Early HIFTUB stories with pictures
pdf"Until We Meet Again"
Compiled by Saskia Praamsma
pdfPlan for the Urantia Book Revelation
by Carolyn B. Kendall 
Major Growth Steps in the Urantia Movement by Meredith Sprunger
How I Found the Urantia Book
Compiled by Saskia Praamsma
My Own HIFTUB Story
by Saskia Praamsma
The Split - A Blessing in Disguise
by Saskia Praamsma
What is the IUA?
Descriptions from two official sources
No Urantia Church - Not Yet!
by Saskia Praamsma
onlineA History of the Urantia Papers
by Larry Mullins
Open Letter to Larry Mullins
from Niann Emerson Chase (2003)
Three Histories
by Matthew Rapaport
pdfSeparate Publishing of Part IV
Is Harry McMullan breaking copyright laws?
pdfThe Jesus-A New Revelation Debate
Readers' pro and con viewpoints
A Box of Chocolates
by Phil Geiger
The Value of an Accurate History
by Saskia Praamsma
Harry J. Loose
Mysterious Forumite and Sherman mentor
Harold and Martha Sherman
and their relation to the Urantia work
Part One: Book Publishing
Sherman's 1942 suggestions for Dr. Sadler
Part Two: Organizations
Sherman's 1942 suggestions for Dr. Sadler
The ARA Messages (1941-42)
Sherman's TA communications
"Pipeline to God"—Chapter V of How To Know What to Believe by Harold Sherman
onlineRebuttal to "Pipeline to God"
Clyde Bedell's lengthy response
onlineResponse, "Pipeline"/HTKWTB
Meredith Sprunger's comments 
Editor's Note for Sherman Diaries
Saskia Praamsma
The Sherman Diaries
Editors, Saskia Praamsma, Matthew Block
pdf Letter from Ingo Swann
Friend of the Shermans shows appreciation
pdf Editorial, The Sherman Diaries
Review by Larry Mullins
Postscript to Urantia, The Great Cult Mystery Martin Gardner, 2008
Translation histories  
[English] The Italian Translation Project
[Italian] La Storia de Il Libro di Urantia
pdfJ.J. Benitez: J.J. The Baptist?
by Rosey Lieske and Olga Lopez
pdf Translations 2010
Urantia Foundation News
Coming soon  


Harold Sherman considered Harry Loose his spiritual mentor and has written extensively about him in several books, including You Live After Death (1949) and How to Make ESP Work for You (1964). The account of their meeting and relationship with regard to the Urantia phenomenon is told in How to Know What to Believe (1976). Here are excerpts:

* * *

There is an old mystical saying: "When the pupil is ready, the teacher appears." This seemed to have been borne out in our case because, in July, 1921, while serving as newspaper reporter on the Marion, Indiana, Chronicle, I was assigned to cover the Redpath Chautauqua Program and to review the lecture on "Crime and Criminology" by the Chicago policeman and detective Harry J. Loose.

There was nothing in what he said on the platform to indicate that Mr. Loose possessed any unusual psychic powers, but when I felt strongly impelled to call at his hotel that evening and seek a personal interview with him, he astounded me by calling me by name and stating that he had known he was to meet me at this time for the past three weeks! He then explained that a highly spiritual woman, ninety-six years of age, who resided near Boston, had given him the equivalent of a college education while he slept at night; and that she was attracting young people to him on this lecture trip who had a potential for psychic development, who needed encouragement. He said she could "tune in" on the minds of such people as she mentally surveyed the towns he was to be in—and transmit to the ones she wanted him to meet the impulse to seek him out. According to Harry, he had been waiting in his room for me to appear!

There followed three of the most remarkable and inspiring hours I have ever experienced on this planet, during which Harry told me more about myself than I had been aware: He predicted that I would go to New York City in two years or so in pursuit of a writing career; that if I kept up my interest in the higher powers of mind, we would likely meet again in this life; but that it might be as long as twenty years, because he had a "mission" to perform and would be dropping out of sight for a time after his lecture tour was completed.

At midnight Harry asked me to excuse him for the next half hour as he always communicated with: Mrs. Loose from twelve to twelve-thirty. He said he would receive for the first fifteen minutes and send the last fifteen; that "Mother Loose," as he called her, opened his mail in Chicago and would make a list of other matters he needed to know about. As he received information, he would make a note of it and take care of what commanded his attention.

Harry had been stretched on his bed in his BVDs when I came in, this hot July night, and had drawn up a chair, on which I was now seated, beside the bed, as though expecting company. I sat watching him, fascinated, as he lay on his back, commencing to draw deep breaths, eyes closed. Occasionally, during the first fifteen minutes, he would raise up and make some notes on a that he had placed on the bedside table. After a time pushed the pad away and remained unmoving. Finally, almost exactly at twelve-thirty, he opened his eyes, smiled at me, and said, "I have been permitted to let you see this little telepathic practice of mine. You and your Martha should be able to do this in time—if you continue to work at it." (We have never become this accomplished, but we have accurately sensed each other's thoughts for years.)

When I left the presence of this most unusual man that night, deeply moved, I could hardly wait to get home and report to Martha. As he shook my hand in a clasp that conveyed a feeling of indescribable warmth and assurance, Harry's last words had been:

“Harold, your development is all up to you. Up to now, your mind has been filled with wonderment and doubts. You and Martha have been asking yourselves, 'Could these higher powers of mind really exist? Could it be mostly imagination or hallucination or wishful thinking? What can you really believe or accept as the truth?' It's a long journey and you'll have many disillusionments, but when you may be assailed with doubts, perhaps you will remember this night and take new heart. Goodbye until we meet again!”

The impact of that great personal adventure made as deep an impression on Martha as it had on me. It carried us through almost the next twenty years; our change of residence from Marion, Indiana, to New York City, as Harry had predicted; my struggles to gain a foothold in the writing profession, first as juvenile sports-story author, with its many ups and downs; while devoting much of my spare time to a study and practice of telepathy, as we sought greater and greater knowledge concerning mysteries of the mind. During this time we tried on several occasions to make contact with Harry Loose, but letters addressed to the Chicago Police Department and Redpath Chautauqua Circuit were returned, marked "no forwarding address" or "whereabouts unknown," seeming to confirm Harry's statement that he would not be available for a time, while on a "mission."

* * *

In the late 1930s Sherman in New York and explorer Sir Hubert Wilkins in the arctic conducted mind-to-mind experiments, detailed in their jointly authored book, Thought Through Space (1942).

* * *

With the finish of these experiments and with time to study and evaluate them, it became clear to me that I had, in my way, been able to receive specific and detailed impressions of events from Wilkins' mind, comparable to the type of communication that Harry Loose and his wife had apparently demonstrated years before. I had never doubted the validity of what I had witnessed that night in the Marion Hotel, and my memory of it had given me the faith that if I persisted, I would hopefully, one day, acquire the ability to duplicate what the Looses had done.

Thinking of them so strongly renewed my desire to make contact with Harry again. . . . Wilkins and I received some 10,000 letters from people all over the world, following publication of a feature article in the March 1939 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine, telling about the success of our long-distance telepathic adventure. We divided the mail between us and set out to try to reply to all the interested correspondents, a task which took some months.

As I was writing Walter D. Germain, head of the Crime Prevention Department, Saginaw Police Force, Saginaw, Michigan, I suddenly had the feeling that he might know the whereabouts of Harry J. Loose; so—acting on impulse—I added a postscript: "Would you happen to know the present address of Harry J. Loose, former Chicago policeman and detective in charge of Hull House? If so, I would greatly appreciate your sending it to me."

By return mail came Loose's address! He had retired and was now living at 123 Elizabeth Street, Monterey Park, California. I wrote Harry at once, filling him in on our family background and a few highlights on what had happened since our first memorable meeting. I also sent him a copy of my little book Your Key to Happiness to acquaint him with the philosophy of life Martha and I had evolved up to that time.

An immediate reply came from Harry, indicative in every way of the unusual nature and character of the man as I had remembered and been inspired by him. [This was] the first of many treasured communications we were to receive from February 4, 1941, until the time of his passing, November 21, 1943.


May I thank you for your letter. I was not given to expect it until later in the month.

With a good wife and two beautiful and dutiful daughters, you are very fortunate. . . . I am pleased with your writing success. I congratulate you. You have been helped—as you helped yourself.

I live on a very modest income, in an old brown house in a small and humble suburb of Los Angeles. I drive downtown in twelve minutes. My lot is large but I am a sad farmer. My time is not occupied physically.

Intelligences with whom I am in contact have accomplished much in service to this atom of a world. I serve in a very humble capacity. My mission has not been completed. I have progressed but had hoped for release and much greater progress before this. Much has been done in regard to the crisis looming for this nation, but the forces in opposition are of tremendous psychic power. An untaught, untrained mind could not comprehend. [We were within a few months of the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the outbreak of the Second World War.]

Long-distance telepathy—or short-distance—is much in use and operates perfectly. It has been in operation for thousands of years amongst certain groupings in all periods. Its method is very simple when once understood. Time or space is nothing. There is nothing else real but mind. "It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing."

I do not know your present development. I have to be careful. I do not want to talk over your head and be misunderstood.

Remember to watch for a tremendous book which will be published in about two years. It has been now thirty-five years in the building. It is not mine but I had something to do with it. You will recognize it when it appears. It will clarify so very much that is already in our present-day Bible. It is a true spiritual revelation to this age written by intelligences who have never been earthbound and who have to do with the governing of this tiny earth in this very limited part of the universe. Please believe every astonishing word. It is the truth. I know.

I talked with you on the night of July 21st, 1921, in my room in the old Marion Hotel. I knew so little myself then. Life is all an individual proposition—whether there will be growth or not. No one can grow for you. This applies hereafter just as much as here. You will not be satisfied to sit on a damp cloud and play on a four-string harp forever. You would get very tired of it after the first few hundred years. You will find that you will be kept very busy instead of cloud-sitting.

With every good thought to surround and support you and yours—Sincerely, Harry J. Loose.

This was the start of a flow of astounding letters, each one an individual revelation in itself, as Harry informed and instructed us, step by step, giving us an enlarged vista of life and the universe; a broadened concept of the Creator and creation; a beginning grasp of our purpose on this planet; and the suggestion that each human creature comes into this life with a potential mission to perform in service to humanity.

This idea of each person being born with a mission—a debt, so to speak, to society—which he or she was given the free-will opportunity to pay, was new to us. It was new and yet it appealed to our sense of logic and rightness. It helped give us a feeling of rhyme and reason behind all things observing as we did the interrelatedness and interdependence of all forms of life, one upon the other.

At the time Harry Loose came into my life again, I had been writing a play, which had been arousing much interest, based on the life of Mark Twain. The Broadway producer who had taken an option on the play died suddenly and I was left with feelings of uncertainty concerning it. However, Harry Loose assured me that Hollywood would buy the play and I would soon be coming to the coast. There didn't seem to be any immediate prospect at the moment, but an unexpected long-distance phone call from Warner Brothers and the then-famous producer, Jesse Lasky, put me on a plane for Hollywood to negotiate a deal.

As exciting and as important to my writing career as this development was, my number one interest was a reunion with Harry, whose one-time meeting so many years ago had had the greatest influence on Martha's and my life. But there was more, much more to come, not the least of which was to be our association with the "tremendous book" to which Harry referred in his first letter to us

During our stay in Hollywood while I worked on the screenplay, "The Adventures of Mark Twain," for Warner Brothers (in 1941 until May of 1942), Martha and I spent each Sunday afternoon and evening in the presence of Harry Loose, either in his modest home in Monterey Park or in our Canterbury apartment in Hollywood.

Harry, in his seventies and afflicted with a heart condition, insisted on making the drive to Hollywood on alternate Sundays, despite the heavy traffic through downtown Los Angeles in the days before freeways. We could hardly wait for each weekend to come, so filled with knowledge and inspiration were the sessions with this highly developed man.

Harry constantly stressed to us how little he knew, how much there was to be known, what a wonderful, boundless universe into which we had been born—and the glorious fact that we could never die out of it, once having evolved into an awareness and possession of our own "I am I" identity. As we bombarded him with questions about the higher powers of mind and how to develop them and what he felt our true relationship to God, the Great Intelligence, was, Harry kept saying that he must be careful not to overfeed us, that this was the difficulty countless seekers after truth encountered—"They wanted to go too far, too fast.

"You do not learn and absorb spiritual knowledge overnight," he would say. "Flowers first have to bud before they can enfold at full bloom, and when we first awaken to the possibilities within us, it takes time for this awareness to take root and grow." . . .

At different times during our visits together, Harry referred to the Great Book—to be known as The Urantia Book—which he hoped we would, one day, be able to read in manuscript form; and he hoped that we would have opportunity to confer with the doctor in charge of this extraordinary revelation, as well as to get acquainted with members of the Forum studying the papers in residence in the city of Chicago. We began to make plans to do just that.

* * *

Excerpts from Loose's letters are included in the chapter "The Wisdom of Harry J. Loose" in How to Know What to Believe and they are published in their entirety in The Sherman Diaries, Volume One: Dawning Revelations.

Of the three major figures in this first volume, Harry Loose is the most mysterious. The following information about his life and his involvement with the Urantia Forum has been gleaned from various sources. 

Loose was born in Springfield, Illinois, either in 1869 or 1880, depending on the source. In a letter to Harold dated April 30, 1941, Loose says: “I was born September 13, 1869. I will be 71 years old this coming September 13.” Yet his Chicago Daily News obituary of November 22, 1943, states that he was 63 when he died, making 1880 the year of his birth, which is the date given in Martin Gardner’s book, Urantia, The Great Cult Mystery. In any case, Loose was appointed to the Illinois State Police in 1901, served for four years, and became a Chicago police officer in 1906.

He authored one book, The Shamus: A Real Detective’s Story (1920), which was described in a promotional notice as “a true tale of thiefdom and an expose of the real system of crime,” written by “Detective Harry J. Loose . . . a man of virile character, of keen and analytical mind” who is “exceptionally well qualified to write upon this subject.”

Precisely when Loose became involved with Dr. William S. Sadler and the Urantia phenomenon is uncertain. In a 1941 letter to Harold Sherman, Loose says, cryptically, “. . . please remember when reading [the Urantia Papers] and I am not here anymore, that although I had nothing to do with the writing of it, I have had other things to do with it for now over thirty-five years.”

Loose certainly knew Sadler as early as 1917, because in a letter dated February 15, 1917, Sadler recommends Loose to the president of the International Lyceum Bureau as a man of “splendid ideals, lofty principles, and high moral character.” Between 1917 and 1922 Loose traveled the Chautauqua Redpath Circuit, lecturing seven nights a week every summer on the causes, prevention, and nature of crime, which he attributed mainly to “getting away from God and the church.”  At the same time, the Sadlers toured the circuit with talks on health topics.

At some point, perhaps in the mid-1910s, Loose became a patient of Dr. Sadler’s. A passage from Sadler’s 1936 textbook, Theory and Practice of Psychiatry, describes a man who may well be Harry Loose:

A good illustration of how an anxiety neurosis can affect one is afforded by a patient I have had under observation for more than twenty years, a former police officer of Chicago, long assigned to plain-clothes duty on the detective force. He has looked down the “business end” of a gun but assures me that he has never known what it is to be afraid. Nevertheless, I have seen him on many an occasion atremble from head to foot, cold sweat standing out on him, and with quivering voice expressing himself as “all in” and “afraid I won’t be able to carry on for another day.” During these anxiety-neurosis panics he feels he is suddenly going to collapse. Something—he never is certain just what—is going to happen. Although he has never fainted, he is quite sure he is going to topple over on the street unconscious. It has required a dozen years to convince this man of the validity of the diagnosis [pp. 592-593].

Excerpts from the Diaries explain:

[August 7, 1942]: Dr. Sadler [said] that Harry . . . had come to him as a patient being nervously upset over attempts of his buddies in the police department to frame him. Harry was a man of great physical powers but had been shot through the abdomen and had had a serious operation some time before, which had no doubt contributed to his nervous condition. Dr. Sadler stated that it required several years for Harry Loose to be straightened out. . . .

Referring to the early days when he was investigating this phenomenon, Dr. Sadler said he called in several fellow physicians as observers and also the well-known magician Thurston in an attempt to get some plausible explanation of what was occurring. These men were as confounded as Dr. Sadler. It was during this time that Harry J. Loose came to him as a patient and was introduced to this phenomenon by Dr. Sadler. When asked a point-blank question as to whether Harry Loose had actually witnessed the human instrument through whom the phenomena was being performed, Dr. Sadler declared he could not answer. He had taken an oath not to do so. When reminded that he had told us Mr. Thurston had seen the phenomena, [Dr. Sadler] said, “Yes, but Thurston is now dead, and as long as any of the individuals who have been associated now live I can tell you nothing.” He did say, however, that Harry Loose often reassured Dr. Lena by saying, “Don’t worry about the chief. He’ll come around. He’ll believe in this,” indicating that Harry was “sold” on what was happening long before Dr. Sadler himself became convinced.

[Marginal note, circa July, 1942]: Mrs. Kellogg stated Harry J. Loose never was present when subject produced information. Both Mr. and Mrs. Kellogg stated they [the Kelloggs] were always present. . . .

[June 12, 1942]: Martha and I had Bill and his wife over for dinner Tuesday night and accomplished a great deal. I have never had opportunity to sit down and tell Dr. Sadler my own story in detail of how I was led to this Forum. I could tell this would have been unwise, and so I got opportunity to recite the amazing tale to Bill, under pledge of secrecy, and he was profoundly impressed. He said to me, “Harold, I have always felt, confidentially, that my dad was holding out on me in some particulars. I don’t believe he and Harry Loose directly correspond. I think there’s a reason behind this. They may have agreed not to, and I have a hunch that Harry has played a bigger part in this development than is indicated on the surface.”

When the Forum was organized in 1923, Loose and his wife, Emily, were among the members. Loose remained in Chicago studying the Urantia material until 1933-34. He worked as a plainclothes detective assigned to Jane Addams’ famed Hull House and later as head of the police staff at the Chicago Daily News, after which he retired to California. Loose and the Shermans corresponded from 1941 until Loose’s death in November, 1943.

* * *

In many of his letters, Loose imparts teachings about God, humanity, the universe, and similar subjects. Often these teachings parallel those found in the Urantia Papers; almost equally often, they deviate from them. Considering that Loose had been away from the papers for several years before he began corresponding with the Shermans, it is conceivable that his deviations from the Urantia teachings were the result of faulty recall. Or, perhaps Loose colored his representations of the Urantia material, either intentionally or unintentionally, to reflect his own beliefs.

Still another possibility is that he was accurately relating information he’d read in an earlier version of the Urantia manuscript, information which was later removed or revised before the papers were finally published in 1955. It is impossible to know exactly how much modification took place; the Diaries report that changes were being made well into the 1940s. It is therefore left to the reader to decide how accurate Loose was in representing the Urantia teachings he’d been exposed to. We have footnoted many of his statements with comparable or contrastive passages from the Urantia Book.

--Saskia Praamsma

Photos above and below courtesy Chautauqua archives

Photos above and below courtesy Marcia Sherman Lynch