Darrell Standing, a university professor serving life imprisonment in San Quentin for murder, defies the will of prison officials who try to break his spirit with "the jacket," a canvas jacket which can be tightly laced so as to tortuously compress the whole body. To survive, Standing discovers how to enter a trance state in which he walks among the stars and experiences past lives.
n a surge of anger, obsessed by that catastrophic red wrath that has cursed me down the ages, I killed my fellow professor. The court records show that I did; and, for once, I agree with the court records.
No; I am not to be hanged for his murder. I received a life- sentence for my punishment. I was thirty-six years of age at the time. I am now forty-four years old. I have spent the eight intervening years in the California State Prison of San Quentin. Five of these years I spent in the dark. Solitary confinement, they call it. Men who endure it, call it living death. But through these five years of death-in-life I managed to attain freedom such as few men have ever known. Closest-confined of prisoners, not only did I range the world, but I ranged time. They who immured me for petty years gave to me, all unwittingly, the largess of centuries. Truly, thanks to Ed Morrell, I have had five years of star-roving. But Ed Morrell is another story. I shall tell you about him a little later. I have so much to t
I found this book fascinating. The idea of forced entrance to past lives to escape this one touched my interest in the occult. Seances were all the rage during this period.(WWI.) This interest in past lives seems very much a part of the many interests of Jack London. An excellent read for juveniles and sci-fi and fantasy types.