Halloween and true death

Welcome home

Halloween keeps growing more popular. I see many more houses preparing for this holiday’s spirit. Some start decorating early in September. In my walks around various neighborhoods, I see more front lawns sprouting graveyards than ever. Great fear-mongering archetypes are used — headstones, skeletons, spiders and webs, bats, scaredy cats, and ghosts — to ratchet up the spook factor.

A major irony I notice is that through the Halloween entertainment filter, mainstream culture gets all excited about death. You could say that it honors and celebrates death. Ghosts, goblins, and ghouls become get embraced as quirkily beloved characters. In some places we even pay to get scared, like attending charity haunted houses or horror films.

As a student of death and afterlife, I am intrigued that the Halloween (and Hollywood) version of the afterlife — mostly of the haunting variety — is so popular. In contrast, many of those who eagerly celebrate Halloween want nothing to do with (okay, I’ll say it) real-life afterlife studies. Why do we honor gore and trauma in a holiday or at the movies but ignore what afterlife research suggests are the consequences of true death?

I think it’s the fun factor. Halloween has merged with that most awesome of forces: marketing, marketing, marketing. In this venue, death is peddled for its entertainment value. In contrast, “real” death is up close and personal, and it is primarily sold to us as sad, tragic, miserable, heartbreaking, definitely not delightful.

This creates an unusual (if you think about it too much) paradox: it’s OK to put a headless zombie on your front porch for entertainment value — nudge, nudge wink, wink. However, if a neighbor down the street gets murdered and decapitated, you must haul out plenty of righteous indignation, conspiracy theories, and speeches about law and order.


For years I have observed a strange relationship between good and evil. There is a difference between pretend evil and the real deal. Back in 1990 when I first went online, I noticed how flirting in a text-based medium invoked the idea that evil was sexy. People often added <evil grin> as body language punctuation for something naughty they said. Whenever I saw that, I thought to myself, “Is sex really evil?”

This followed a trend throughout the media that characterized sexuality as devilish or hellish. The delights of ooey-gooey sex were portrayed as a ticket to hell if you veered away from monogamous heterosexual marriage. In contrast, angelic beings seemed peculiarly disinterested in all things erotic.

I learned these stereotypes of devil and angel as a young child watching cartoons. I remember loving those scenes where the devil spoke from one side of a person and an angel from another. The devil was often depicted as the fun one. The angel was often portrayed as a snooty, judgmental bore.

So I learned that evil was wrong but fun. Carry that much, much farther down the highway of sophistication and we encounter the social paradigm that having a really good time requires bedding down with the devil. You have to rebel against sanitized social order and quit being such a damn prude. For example, really hot sex is frequently depicted as breaking the rules, usually rules initiated by religions that controlled the populace through fear and punishment. Evil, then, is often depicted as flipping the bird against oppressive religious dictates. That’s where <evil grin> comes from.

It’s not from evil like conquering another country and raping and torturing everyone.

Of course you may wonder what this has to do with Halloween where it’s fun to dress up as a serial killer. For fun I may dress up as celebrity serial killer Charles Sobhraj and get lots of happy chatter at a Halloween party, even though the real Charles Sobhraj murdered a real friend of mine.


In its glorification of the horror genre, Halloween seems to support the premise that evil is entertaining. Gore is fun, mischief is fun, anarchy is fun. (And you get candy, too!) But Halloween doesn’t celebrate the idea that real-life death is fun, nor does it acknowledge that ecstatic experiences are fun?

Like materialist science, Halloween turns a blind eye to ecstasy. Our whole mass media is anti-ecstasy.

Strangely, in mainstream culture, ecstasy is not taught. I would wager to say that most people who hear the term ecstasy these days are hearing about the drug, not the natural state of ecstatic consciousness. Sometimes they hear about it as the ecstasy of winning something or as a synonym for orgasm, but it is entirely too rare that ecstasy or bliss consciousness is described or depicted. Out of sight, out of mind.

We live in a world where it is more routine to wallow in conflict and misery than to mentally open ourselves to receiving bliss. When I have been in a funk and have wanted to find some media to re-set my state of mind, it has amazed me how difficult it is to find mood-enhancing media (especially before search engines were invented.)  Religion is commonly offered as a solution, but many places of worship seem to me to wallow in seriousness to the point of misery. Is religion supposed to occupy a no-joy zone? Are angels supposed to be zombies, cheerless cheerleaders for God? Don’t they like to laugh and party? Is laughter allowed in sacred spaces?

So in this atmosphere, Halloween comes along. While the holiday is geared towards children and much is designed around age-appropriateness, the holiday is still centered around the “trick or treat” concept. Dole out candy or get fear retribution. Isn’t that essentially what the billionaire (and the Mafia) class says, too? Trick or treat?


I know that many of you love Halloween. I am not trying to take that away from you.  I am trying instead to simply point out that there is a huge imbalance in our social approach to good and evil.


People who have returned from classic near-death experiences often describe the sheer ecstasy they felt on their journey. Nothing like it here. Many also say that words cannot begin to adequately describe this ultimate joy ride. Returning to business as usual often becomes a most dreadful challenge.

It sounds something like PTSD, but instead of trauma, they experienced bliss far beyond just having a good day. Beyond pleasure, beyond triumph, beyond a five-day-long orgasm. When they get back, they have to integrate this experience with all the hardships and pain of the physical world that does not accept “fairy stories” of other dimensions. Instead of having nightmares about the horrors of warfare, they feel deep loneliness and separation from the best world they have ever known.

Halloween symbolism includes very little of the fun of dying often featured in near-death experiences and afterlife research in general. Even though the holiday is all about having fun, the decorations are ghoulish, often focusing on mutilation and other manifestations of the macabre that you probably would not like to encounter in the middle of the night on your way to go potty.

Imagine having had a near-death experience that was entirely ecstatic, and then returning to a planet where many people thought of death as total misery. Then answer the doorbell on Halloween and see a bunch of happy kids dressed as corpses standing on your front porch, candy bags gaping wide. .


Ghosts and ghost stories play heavily into the lore of Halloween, but so-called ghost hunting is kind of a twister sister of afterlife research. Seeking to capture ghost presences with digital equipment is too often approached for kicks and grins and the occasional thrill ride panic attack. It is usually not approached as a serious, respectful, and humanitarian endeavor to help lost, wandering spirits. (See this excellent article.)

Halloween marketing, along with Hollywood business as usual, perpetuate ignorance about ghosts. Research suggests that ghosts are earthbound spirits tragically stuck in a twilight zone between earth and heaven. Sometimes they don’t realize they’re dead. Sometimes they are in shock, unwilling to move on, perhaps fearing a hell and brimstone place that religion and horror shows predicted.

Using ghosts as targets for “research” by recreation-seekers is like deliberately seeking out troubled souls on the street to pester and photograph. It usually doesn’t contribute to an understanding of the survival of consciousness. It’s usually approached with the prime objective of getting some exciting video footage, not helping humanity.

I believe that for every depiction of a peaceful death, the mass psyche endures thousands of depictions of miserable death. We are way out of balance on showing positive possibilities, such as the material that is so frequently shared at afterlife conferences.


In a different world, Halloween (or a holiday like it) might be set aside to celebrate the fun of dying. Author Roberta Grimes came up with the slogan for her book aptly named The Fun of Dying. It’s a nice counterpoint to the fear of dying.

The new Halloween might celebrate that we are all attending Earth School for the purpose of soul evolution. With advances in afterlife research including the soul phone, we might gain more of a picture of the relationship between lives on earth and lives in other dimensions, popularly known as heaven. The new Halloween might be more about gratitude and appreciation for the grand design of the cosmic system.

UPDATE 10/9/16

Some kind soul on Facebook reminded me of this little gem. It shows perfectly what I would like to see the spirit of Halloween be like. The animated short is 3:41, well worth the time to get a feel for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead.)




Age and invisibility


Little is more sexually humbling than advancing age. That creeping feeling of mounting sexual inconsequence, being invisible like a worn-out shoe strewn in the back of a crowded closet, the loss of being admired and desired in everyday flirtations, oh, yay. Bring it on.

If you ever wonder how pervasive sex appeal is in everyday life, even when sexual activity is not part of the agenda, try getting old. There’s much truth to the saying getting old is not for wimps.

Some people welcome this stage of sexual anonymity as a relief. They are happy to get beyond the era of sexual performance pressures. I am not one of those people.

But since I have reached the Medicare years, it is what it is, and it is actually not as bad as my fantasy previews told me it would be. Even when I endured the height of sexual loneliness with no lover on the radar, I found some interesting new awareness.

Much of my life over the last few years has been about unhooking. During that period I said good-bye to both my parents who were off to explore a heaven they weren’t sure existed. In large measure I also unplugged myself from TV, focusing my viewing instead on Netflix, YouTube, and HBO streaming. The course of life events also unplugged several important friendships due to death, estrangement, distance. In some ways it has been like a big time out, and suddenly I am five years older, five years closer to the end of the game.


In a strange way, having next to no physical sex (and I should add a minimum of hugs as well) in five years put most of my input in a virtual reality realm. I would talk or write about sexual relationships. I would sometimes have great experiences in my dreams. I would see sex in movies. Yet it was like being in some laboratory in a comfy form of solitary confinement.

While removed from sex by habit or as a relationship routine, I would look at what passes for sex in this culture and I would wonder how various foreplay activities even came into existence. For example, suckling nipples. I had gone so long without licking anyone’s body parts that the idea of doing it actually seemed strange. You do what? I found this fascinating, oral gourmet that I have been. Over the years, women friends have asked me what’s so compelling about female breasts, and now I was asking myself much the same question! There were days when that once-cherished and deeply familiar activity seemed like visiting a distant foreign country.

What’s so compelling? The answer sounds dull to explain it. Consciousness. The suckling activity opens an inner doorway to what for me is a spiritual connection. It’s like a walking meditation or some other sensual activity that begets an energy connection on a primal, intimate level with another person or with nature in general.

When consciousness is the reward, so much of the taken-for-granted old school standards of beauty seem to vanish. Looks pale in comparison to personality. I clearly feel my own disappointments of the changes that aging makes on my own body, so I get it when women express dismay over what they see as loss of (physical) beauty in them. Yet the sags and wrinkles and other lamentable changes do not matter to me, and sometimes are more attractive to me than the woman realizes or that the beauty culture assumes.

How? Why? It’s because I see both objectively and symbolically. I believe we all do. We see through the filters of our personal histories, our aspirations and desires, our fears and hopes. An aging woman’s body reflects back to me my own history, and I treat her as I wish to be treated. I love her for who she is in the here and now, and I hope for the same in return.

I’ve discovered that what most draws my attention to a potential lover (real or in fantasy) is mental and emotional. It’s consciousness. It’s the energy zap that we build together. Making bedtime deeply satisfying goes way beyond physical looks.


In the dominant youth and beauty paradigm, the young and the beautiful have all the advantages. Unfortunately, even when they have all the genetic advantages, their culture has not provided them with instructions about the soul of sex. The user manual comes primarily in the form of mass media indoctrination about all things physical, all the helpful products and services they should buy, marketing, marketing, marketing.
Very little about consciousness.

When I think of my most satisfying sexual memories, rarely has it to do with someone’s youth or beauty, how a body looked, etc. It was so much more about mental chemistry, what the encounter meant, the feelings that were stirred up, the fun we made for each other.

The deep satisfaction mostly came from the message “I care about you” expressed in a multitude of ways. Kissing that cares about me. Hugging and stroking that cares about me. Words and tone of voice that show caring about me. Facial expressions and glances that show caring about me. Caring about who I am and what I think and how we fit together. Even sexual hunger that shows caring about me like how a light bulb cares about its power source.

Society, as I probably do not need to tell you, is often cruel. As an example, Hollywood had ridiculous standards of beauty, rarely showing women my age in full sexual readiness, charmed and eager, unless it’s done for laughs. Well, guess what impact this has on old men, let alone old women? We become ashamed of our passions because society has put it off limits and made it a subject of ridicule. One reason it does this is society pushes sex as a physical pleasure, and omits the part about sex as consciousness.

Sometimes mean-spirited people or entertainment will insult someone’s looks by saying, “S/he has a great personality.” For me, personality really does matter more! Intimate sharing of personal stories, empathy, the willingness to be vulnerable, intelligence, and a fertile erotic imagination make for a more interesting bed partner than someone who looks delicious but whose brain is on perpetual stand-by.


Over the years, my most satisfying sexual experiences were ultimately not linked to my idea of physical perfection. Here are a few of my favorite sexual traits and you will notice that they do not require youth and beauty.

Mind play. When a lover plays well with my mind, anything physical enjoys the consequences. Communication during erotic play accentuates the joy. Mind play happens in different ways—surprises, revealing secrets, sharing juicy fantasies, stoking the fires of passion with a well-chosen vocabulary.

Attitude. Intimate times are markedly influenced by a person’s general attitude in life. Someone pessimistic and deep in victimhood will be different from someone optimistic and filled with happiness. One’s attitude about sex also plays a big part in how a meeting of minds and bodies goes. Harmony of attitude works so much better than disharmony.

Sensuality. While sensuality is primarily experienced as physical, the driver of sensuality is the mind. The mind chooses what to do and how to do it. A person with sensitivity and empathy will perform differently than a narcissist or someone just going through the motions. Similarly, the recipient’s mind controls how the input is interpreted, with eager delight or with defenses up.

Energy channeling. The practice of energy exchange during lovemaking is not well-known in our porn-saturated culture, but once you are familiar with it, nurturing it becomes a priority. Some people give energy and some people steal it. Building energy together is tremendously satisfying and paradigm-shattering, especially once you experience full-bodied energy orgasms. It re-set what I look for in a mate and re-defined my personal definition of beautiful.

Fun in bed. Are those times in bed enjoyable? True fun? Was there laughter?  Did time fly by? What happens sexually is secondary to the fun quotient.

This is not to imply that it’s wrong to enjoy physicality or that physical beauty is not worth appreciating. Rather, it’s noting that beauty manifests in different ways and it’s short-sighted how our culture largely ignores that. The over-emphasis on youth and beauty is a recipe for inevitable unhappiness in later life unless and until we liberate ourselves from that prison.


It both breaks my heart and infuriates me when I see snide remarks about how someone is aging poorly. I hate that so much of our media culture promotes this kind of mentality. It’s almost as if hurting people has become a new national pastime.

Yet I also know that there are people like me who see a different vision of aging. Sexual experiences can be beautiful and profound at any age. For me they become more delicious when it’s understood and appreciated how much of a role consciousness plays in creating deep fulfillment.



Coming Soon—Paradigms Shattered


In one corner of tantalizing prospects for the near future on Planet Earth, we have brewing the advent of the soul phone, a device that would let us connect the physical world with the spirit world. “Hello?”

In another corner of the brewery we have the impending disclosure that not only are UFOs real, but that we (which is to say a select few humans) have known about them (and the beings they carry) for decades.

Two major paradigm shattering events are said to be forming in the wings, waiting to debut on the world stage.

But, of course, this is not a top-secret surprise. It’s all there for anybody (even you) to watch at your convenience on YouTube.

Soul phone.



This is the funny world we live in right now. The Internet is oozing over with fascinating breakthrough froth that mainstream media doesn’t touch with a high-flying, laser-guided drone. And, of course, there are great conspiracy theories in place about why your favorite mainstream media outlets are skirting around any discussion of what, if true, would change everything.

Isn’t political protesting by millionaire football players really more worthy of our time than news about the invention of a goofy soul phone?

Isn’t the latest lunacy by the Donald more captivating than the idea that a fleet of aliens might build a wall around Planet Earth to keep us out of the rest of the Universe?

Isn’t another story about how hated Hillary Clinton is more worthy of our attention than coverage of all the lies and secrecy involved in keeping people ignorant about death?

The bottom line is that keeping people in the dark is good for business as usual.
So unless you enjoy woo-woo topics like I do, chances are you are not even aware of the soul phone or the Disclosure Project.


First, let me make this point: whether or not the soul phone or the Disclosure Project are real and true and happening and coming soon to a neighborhood near you, it is significant that the myths of these exist at all! So many people are waiting for a big game-changer. We latch onto these things because as Howard Beale said in Network, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

Second: if either one of them turned out to be true, it would be as Steve Jobs said on his deathbed, “Oh, wow, oh, wow, oh, wow.”

Even if they are myths instead of facts, they are popular among those who embrace them because they/we need hope. So incredibly little in American life is about hope and positive change. It’s as if the whole country has reincarnated into some high-tech, shoot-‘em-up Wild West.


It would definitely be a game changer if we could call Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, or Robin Williams on a soul phone or if some other race of humanoids landed in plain sight and offered us some nectar UFOed in from a distant planet. Either one would be the event of the Millennium.

Or is it just me?

I have never seen a UFO nor have I ever had an in-person chat with a dead person, so for me the fantasy of what it would be like to experience either event fills me with awe. How could the world stay the same?

Or, again, is it just me?

The war to end all wars didn’t end all wars. Millions of people still think that spending billions of dollars to build another Berlin Wall between the United States and Mexico will make America great again. How does that work? Well, the Donald is keeping that information tippy-top secret.

Would the mainstream media along with its thoroughly incompetent online imitators cover an ET landing or a call from heaven with more stupid pet tricks mentality? The movie Contact postulated how the world would react, and I suspect there is much truth there. It showed hordes of religious and New Age fringe groups showing off their banality of cringe-worthy antics turning contact with another species into a circus freak show. I could just see some TV host interrupting an ET describing interplanetary space travel for a commercial break.

Meanwhile, there are a slew of alleged psychic mediums on YouTube who conduct alleged interviews with alleged historical characters. While I have the utmost respect for authentic mediums and channeling, I find myself going nuts over the lame, insulting quality of questions asked of dead people as if the whole show is just a party game. If these spirits are real, Central Casting needs to improve on selecting interviewers.


In comments to YouTube videos, certain people call Dr. Steven Greer, the founder of the Disclosure Project, a fruitcake or a con man. I suspect that most who make comments like that are loose cannon speakers who prefer name-calling over the spirit of research.

I’ve watched several of Dr. Greer’s films on YouTube. I have to take on faith that the people speaking (or disclosing) in the films are who the subtitles say they are. Like many other YouTube viewers, I have no special access to any truth squad or fact-checking service. I cannot be 100% certain that it is not another Christopher Guest mockumentary. But that said, the line-up is pretty impressive and the accounts provided are both chilling and hopeful.

The over-simplified storyline presented in the movie is that hundreds/thousands of humans have had encounters with either UFOs (the crafts) or ETs (the beings) since the 1940s. Some crashed UFOs coughed up dead or even living beings along with technology that could be reverse-engineered. It is alleged that “we” already know how to take advantage of “free energy,” but that the secret cabal in charge of things (unknown even to presidents and other leaders) have guarded this information. Why? Because “old-fashioned” fuels keep humans more enslaved to the few in the penthouse. It seems diabolical that for so long this information has been kept secret, but then the Spanish Inquisition and the Third Reich were powerful, too. Fear is an intense motivator.

On one hand this scenario sounds to me like same-ol’ science fiction pitting good versus evil, just like in Star Wars and Star Trek. If there is a covert ruling class of ultra-wealthy human power brokers in control of planetary politics, the ETs don’t seem to mind playing along by their rules. (What?) Maybe I am just too idealistic thinking that highly evolved (compared to humans) ETs would not cozy-up to narcissistic, sociopathic evil doers.

Greer and others like him have taken up the gauntlet. They are applying whatever pressure and popular support they can muster to force the fullback of secrecy to fumble the ball of truth.


Meanwhile, research is supposedly taking place on the soul phone. Various presentations available online imply that the idea of a soul phone is not so crazy if in fact electronic voice phenomena (EVP) and instrumental transcommunication (ITC) are real. These technologies preview in bits and spurts what a soul phone might perfect.

A soul phone would prove once and for all that death is not the end of life. To me this would have far-reaching impacts. Roberta Grimes shared her view here.

While surely the impact of the soul phone and the social reactions to it are very much up for debate, I think the most interesting part about it would be how it could change everyday life. I look particularly at the view of life we get from the mass media—that depressing morass of conflict, strife, materialism, and callous mediocrity. A soul phone to spirit could be as life-changing to anyone as would a near-death experience be. You could no longer harbor so many of the negative myths and fantasies so deeply perpetrated by so many social forces, including religion and science.


I am not a scientist. I am not an insider with privileged knowledge about work on the soul phone or communication between ETs and humans. I am not a well-connected researcher. I am just an ordinary observer watching with great interest the drama unfold online. Time will tell if those tantalizing us with details of soul phone and UFOs are crackpots or way-showers.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your search engines.

Seeking Jordan

fishbowlSeeking Jordan is a short book written by Matthew McKay, PhD, a father with a scientific background searching to find his murdered son in the afterlife. Having made contact through various psychological methods, he and Jordan have been having what amounts to a virtual relationship.

Embedded within the book that is largely channeled (written through automatic writing) are some startling statements that are like answers to some of the questions I have frequently pondered. Those include:

  • Are wars on Earth actually planned in other dimensions?
  • Is monogamy the most spiritual lifestyle, the cosmic right way?
  • Why don’t we get more clear answers from spirit?

Seeking Jordan is not intended as a proof book. It does not offer up much evidence for its content. Rather, it is what it is, a father’s attempt to cope with the premature death of his son. In fact, the father deals with his own angst of not knowing if the material he was channeling originated from Jordan or from his own imagination. That said, to me the book reads like an appetizer that suggests that a much greater and complete story of the universe awaits explorers who dig deeper into the body of knowledge.

The statements on war and monogamy that I caught were little asides that were given during answers to other questions. But what was given in those tiny asides shattered paradigms. If true and if they became common knowledge, they could forever change the way that many of us perceive things.


In the book, Jordan’s father quotes his son as saying this: “For example, souls born in the 1920s and 1930s had an almost 100 percent probability of facing World War II. Where they lived and how the war might touch them wasn’t likely to change. But choices they made responding to countless life events could change their circumstances—even to the point of altering the likely span of their lives.” (Page 84)

This was just an aside. The conversation was more about life plans in general, and in particular, did Jordan’s life plan include his being murdered at age 23? Yet these words point to the idea that World War II was a planned event! The implications to humanity are enormous.

The majority of humans deal with whether or not their country (or tribe, if you will) will go to war. We spend trillions of dollars on war and preparations for war. The suffering due to war is almost beyond quantification, let alone comprehension. (Fifty-five million people died in World War II alone.) So the idea that war could be designed in the spirit world (for karma or whatever other reason) is horrific—yet potentially liberating.

It is a horrific idea that anyone (soul group or God) would invent such sufferable conditions within which free will operates. This argument goes along the lines of if God is so loving, why does he allow such suffering? The answer usually is, “God doesn’t create suffering; humans do.” Yet maybe warfare is part of the Earth School curriculum and wars are designed for reasons mortals are not yet privy to. And it’s not as if many humans don’t love to entertain themselves with war stories of all types, from Ken Burns’ documentaries to John Wayne to Hogan’s Heroes.

Why liberating? If humanity researched, then eventually accepted that war is part of an Earth School curriculum, we might more quickly reject war as a solution to problems. Maybe war would cease. I believe it would be much more difficult to motivate soldiers to suffer the wages of war if the common perception was that it’s all a cosmic-consciousness game. We might instead choose to deny the military-industrial complex and deal with our karma without making more corpses. Making peace among nations would be a solution that would balance the karma from wars past.

The major objection to reasoning like this is that mainstream society doesn’t know if there really is a spirit world. Is Jordan, or any other channeled spirit, credible? We don’t know if consciousness survives death—despite a couple hundred years of research and tons of literature by gifted mavericks who studied psychic phenomena and endured the ridicule from colleagues and family. Not conducting serious research on this matter means that we stay stuck with the old paradigms about warfare.

I remember the old saying, “What if they threw a war and nobody came?” I pondered this possibility in a fun piece about ecstasy. At some point and for some reason, people may give up fighting even as their rulers demand it.


Through his mortal Dad, Jordan wrote: “Monogamy doesn’t exist is the spirit world. Each relationship, each incarnated role, is entered for the purpose of learning. Rules such as fidelity—while important mores on Earth—have no bearing in the spirit world, where each soul has had countless partners from the ‘neighborhood.’” (Page 65)

This addresses a philosophical question I have had for nearly fifty years. If God loves everyone (or Jesus or any other iconic spiritual voice), why are ordinary people so generally limited (religion being a major braking force here) in their expression of love? To me it seems like God is the ultimate polyamorist.

For decades I have enjoyed fantasies about Utopian societies a la Shangri-La where love and even sexual boundaries are fluid. A tribal mentality would be devoted to including everyone in love. I have also wondered if my experiences either currently or between lives in the spirit world have fed me the notion that loving everyone is—or at least could be—a good thing.

While Jordan called fidelity an important moré of life on Earth, the idea that monogamy does not exist in heaven is fascinating. It suggests that normalcy changes when a person changes dimensions. It also shows diversity in action, meaning that the change-making universe likes to shake things up.

In the broad scope of things, countless lives in the physical world have been destroyed by people trying to deal with monogamy in one form or another, either for it or against it. Consequences have included jealous rages (including murder and child abduction), rampant insecurity, the guilt and shame of adultery, porn and sexting addiction, competition for mates (winners and losers), loneliness, rejection, stagnation, broken homes, jail terms, in some places execution, etc.

While there are practical reasons for many people to live monogamously in this physical existence, religion could well overhaul its fire and brimstone approach to non-monogamy if it were an accepted fact that spirits love differently. Meanwhile, polyamory in the spirit world (which simply means loving more than one) has implications far more than just physical sex. To me it goes hand-in-hand with the oft-expressed idea that we are essentially all one, individual but united like drops in the ocean being both individual and collective.

Until writing this piece, I did not know that Matthew 22:30 says much the same thing. “For in the resurrection they [people] neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” This takes “till death do you part” seriously.


Jordan made more of a point about uncertainty, devoting a chapter to it. He wrote: “Doubt lies at the root of hope, and it is the experience of hope that makes seeking possible, that drives the quest for new knowledge and wisdom. So doubt motivates learning, the quest to enter what is unknown, the determination to turn darkness into light.” (Page 91)

People often wonder, myself included, why there is so much mystery to so much of the communication from the other side. I have wondered aloud, for instance, why some mediums appear to converse so casually with spirits and yet seem unable to pin down some important specific facts like names, dates, and answers to direct questions. Readings sometimes take on the quality of guessing games. Barring that outright fraud is not being committed, could it be true that the earthly existence is actually designed to be mysterious?

We may look at this as a design flaw of the universe—why do we have to live with so many unknowns—yet isn’t doubt a mainstay of humanity? Don’t marketers of all stripes including politicians and leaders weave doubt into their narratives to hook customers and followers? Don’t they motivate us with doubt, like who or what will destroy us, torture us, kill us?

Humans seek to know answers so that they do not have to worry about things unknown. Seeking is often more like demanding answers. We buy products, services, and expert advice to feel as if we are safer from harm. So many people believe that the solution to all their problems would be to win the Lottery so that they could buy solutions to any doubt or need they had. It is a myth, however. Changes in any situation just bring new doubts to contend with.

Seeking Jordan is an interesting little book filled with gems to contemplate and explore. It is also an illustration of a path that a psychologist took as he grappled with the loss of his beloved boy. Along with so many other books and videos currently available, it paints a picture of a universe that is a lot more exciting, at least to me, than the version of reality peddled by materialists (and politicians.)

My conflict with conflict


Among the great and mighty rules that fledgling novelists and screenwriters learn is to fill their work with conflict. It is so baked into the bread of a writer’s life that this rule is rarely questioned, nor is this devotion to conflict recognized as a major contributor to massive social misery.

Whenever I walk into my neighborhood Costco, I get a brief yet palpable feeling of sadness when I see the line-up of TVs for sale. I have come to view TV as dispensers of bad news, which is to say, constant conflict. If the content that we put into our brains is mind food, then the high-definition TVs that we work into our living spaces act like junk food that may lead to mind poisoning.

We pay for the beautiful TVs and their glorious high-def pictures. We pay for the cable or satellite or subscription services that feed us mind food. Ultimately, without our being consciously aware of it, we may pay for it with our mental health, too.

I don’t think that many people have stopped to wonder what this saturation of media exposure is doing to our consciousness, both individually and collectively. TV is so ubiquitous to our culture as are movies and books that feature conflict (as the majority do) that we think of it as normal. We gorge on this stuff.

I come from the first generation that grew up with TV, the Boomers. Yet while most families had TVs, life was still fairly balanced with other activities. Boomers can remember a life before the saturation of computers, smartphones, Google, etc. From that vantage point, we can see more of the arc of social change that technology has created.

We can see how much more in your face conflict is because of the gadgetry that delivers it.


Sometimes when I go about my everyday business, I realize that I am being influenced by old stories of conflict. Let’s say that I go to a rustic park for a relaxing hike in the woods. Out of nowhere, I start wondering what could go wrong. Is someone waiting down the trail to mug me? Will I slip and fall and need help? Will some wild animal attack me? My mind seems to preview everything that could possibly go wrong, most of it based on stories of other people’s rotten experiences in the woods.

Last fall I drove myself from Oregon to Arizona via Idaho and Utah. I took many roads spontaneously, and especially when driving through Nevada, I found myself more out in the middle of nowhere than ever in memory. I chuckled when I saw that Highway 50 is known as the Loneliest Highway in the US. I believe it! But what struck me the most was how many times during my crossing of the wasteland did I wonder what would happen to me if my car broke down and there was no cell phone service. It was a thought I could not get out of my head no matter how many different songs I played.

Why do I automatically start thinking of all the things that could go wrong? Is it that in all of the stories I have ingested over my years of living, things go wrong all the time? Things going wrong is part of the formula. Was I born to be so fearful, or have I been conditioned after hearing so many stories about problems people encounter. I am not describing a phobia or a mental health condition. Rather, I am describing an awareness of tendencies of thinking and where those tendencies have come from.

The conflicts do not have to be life threatening or horror story fodder. Most of my life does not involve life-threatening situations. It could be something like being afraid to share an opinion for (a conditioned) fear of insulting, offending, or riling someone. That fear could come from having just seen a movie or read a book where someone got into deep doo-doo for expressing an unpopular opinion, such as authors a few generations ago who got imprisoned because they wrote things said to “excite lewd thoughts.”

It could be a fear of consulting a doctor, lawyer, therapist, contractor, or sales person because I had just been exposed to disaster story after disaster story about how some so-called professional abused a client. No, these fears don’t usually keep me from taking an action, and yet there is brain residue from dealing with all the distrust that has come to my consciousness from an external source.

Think about it. Think about how many stories you get exposed to hour after hour, day after day, that graphically illustrate conflict. Think of how many times you become outraged, hurt, or afraid as your first response to a story, even if you can intellectually steady the rocking boat. The story can be either fiction or peddled as non-fiction. The truth is that non-fiction stories, perhaps based on true events, are created using dramatic story-telling techniques aimed at hooking your emotions so you’ll keep watching or reading.


I have been thinking about the popularity of conspiracy theories, many of which suggest that Big Government, Big Business, and even Big Illuminati actually control life for the rest of us. They are always doing rotten things to enslave us peons to do their bidding while they bask in the wealth of anything money can buy.

An issue I see with conspiracy theories is that we seem to burn up a lot of energy attempting to solve the riddles rather than working to solve the issues. Did some part of the US Government plan 9/11? Is some tippy-top-secret agency hiding UFO news? Is Monsanto poisoning everybody? For that matter, what about Big Pharma?

Conspiracy theories, which at their core are conflict stories, goad us into fear. They are staples of any media entity in the business of attracting viewers, readers, clickers. The game now is to mislead people with dramatic techniques so they’ll pay attention. Day by day, hour after hour, people are being tempted to turn their attention to stories of conflict, many of which turn out to be manufactured gotchas!

I think that the importance of this is recognizing how we handle real conflicts that affect us personally. How many ordinary people are unconsciously taking the lead from the media and are themselves parroting these conflict strategies? How many people are making up their own conspiracy theories because this is what the media by example has taught them to do?

My Facebook feed has become a parade of nightmare scenarios about calamity. Between all the clickbait (misleading headlines that beckon clicking on the link), sob stories, and rants, Facebook has become the new National Enquirer.


I subscribe to Bookbub, an ebook service that offers cheap prices on selected ebooks. Every day in my email I get an announcement about books on sale. They come with a brief description. When I look at these blurbs day after day, I see so much written about conflict. It indicates to me how much we thrive on it.

For example, there is this: “This rich saga traces the rise and fall of the Malacouti family as they face betrayal, ambition, and a painful choice in the early 20th century. ‘A riveting portrait of family strife’ (People).”

And under that one, this one: “In this richly textured novel set against the Bangladesh War of Independence, a young Pakistani widow, Rehana, strives to keep her family safe from the chaos that surrounds her. ‘An immersive, wrenching narrative’ (Publishers Weekly starred review).”

And then: After a serial killer escapes from a mental hospital to hunt down psychic Laura Adderley, can reporter Harrison Frost get to the bottom of the real story?

We don’t seem to see immersive, wrenching narratives about yummy stuff.

“An epic saga of friendship where neighbors band together to assist one another in living the good life. ‘A riveting portrait of cooperation that raises the bar on fulfillment’ (Publishers Weekly)

“Just when Sandra thought she could take not another moment of ecstasy, she discovers that she can. ‘An eye-opening narrative on cosmic pleasure’ (People)

Even when books work their way to happily triumphant endings, the fact is that by design we’re still forced by the conventions of story-telling to go through the long and winding road of turmoil. We’ve apparently decided that conflict is more riveting than solution.


Certainly fear and skepticism have their places in our lives, and being prepared is always good. Yet I wonder what would happen to society as a whole if we did not cultivate so much doubt and dread, shock and awe as a normal business practice. In the end, would it create a healthier climate, or would it create a society of happy munchkins vulnerable to attack from any wicked witch flying by the neighborhood?

I like to nurture my mind. I’ve noticed that finding media that do not pander so eagerly to the conflict formula is a challenge. Inspirational, positive, solution-based media fare that feeds hope, love, and optimism is in relatively short supply. You can always find it if you specifically search for it, but there is a tsunami of conflict to deal with by contrast.

In times of personal struggle, it is good to have access to positive media. When I feel lonely, depressed, discouraged, or frustrated, I like to responsibly heal myself, a task made more challenging if I can’t find healthy input.

I believe that overexposure to messages of conflict is creating unnecessary turmoil. Garbage in, garbage out. There is so much mental cruelty being perpetrated in our information and entertainment media that I personally am not too surprised by all the violence in the world. Cause and effect seems pretty plain to me.

Often I like to fantasize about societies either in our future or on some other planet entirely where people grow up not so bombarded with messages of conflict. Maybe they grow up in a totally love-positive world where a tribe mentality dictates that no one should feel abandoned, no violence necessary, and cooperation is more important than competition. What would life be like in that world? What kind of problems would be eliminated from today’s normalcy if a few generations grew up with brains not filled with such a heavy influence of fear, violence, and losing?


Don’t take my word for it. Pay attention to what media mind food you ingest. Become aware of the messages of conflict streaming into your psyche. Once you begin to notice how people are selling you conflict, you might become more motivated to watch what your brain eats.


Woo-woo questions


I am an open-minded skeptic. The afterlife sounds magnificent, but you know what they say about things that sound too good to be true. I am fairly new to reading books and watching videos by and about mediums. Some of them seem silly and unbelievable; some of them are compelling and inspiring.

The more knowledge that I gain, the more questions that I have. I like to go beyond the elementary, Watson. I want answers more satisfying than superficial one-liners and spiritual small talk. Some of what I have seen convinces me that we as a society should look more carefully into the implications of survival of consciousness.

I decided that for my own exploration I would make a list of questions that I would like to see answered or topics more fully addressed. One goal is to separate “entertainment” from more substantial, sophisticated works. Another is to brainstorm areas that I am interested in pursuing in my afterlife research.

While some current practices among mediums seem strange or even distressing to me, the ultimate purpose of my questions is to discover the truth. I deeply desire healing for this planet.


Authenticity. In his book The Afterlife Experiments, Gary Schwartz explained how he designed experiments anticipating how skeptics might attack those experiments. If he could plug the gaps in any anticipated criticisms of his research methods, he would be doing more complete research. Similarly, I would like to see a medium explain how s/he validates the authenticity of the messages received. The better that a medium explains the mediumship process, the more seriously I take it. Ultimately, a medium is a window into a dimension beyond normal perception, and that excites me.

Afterlife researcher. How do self-proclaimed afterlife researchers validate their credentials? What kind of training do they have? (This is particularly noteworthy for cases where the term afterlife researcher is used to perpetuate a fraud by claiming that someone fully vetted a medium when no one actually did.) Similarly, self-proclaimed skeptics should also be required to put forth their qualifications. Many are highly skilled at arguing, nay-saying, and performing on talk shows, but do they even conduct research? Skepticism is often just show business.

Research. I would like to hear from mediums about the kind of research they would like to see to validate what they do. Trance-channel mediums, in turn, could channel about the best ways to conduct afterlife research as suggested from the other side. Conversations with afterlife researchers now in spirit would be especially valuable.

Methods. How does mediumship work? What can and can’t mediums do? Some mediums, for example, appear to have normal-sounding conversations with spirit, but then falter with names or specifics details. What is so hard about getting names? How does spirit or a medium explain this? (Skeptics explain it as fraud!) Of course, each medium will have a different skill and talent set, but some general expectations of what’s possible would be valuable for people considering a reading from a medium. (YouTube videos, for instance, show both the insipid and the intriguing.)

Medium’s preparation. Some mediums say that they meditate on a sitter to open the channel before the session begins. This sounds special. However, this does not seem to be necessary during group readings. Are there behind-the-scenes preparations that a medium doing public channeling goes through?

For entertainment purposes only. I wonder how we clients would feel about doctors and lawyers if a consultancy contract with them read “for entertainment purposes only.” Mediums and psychics often use disclaimers like this. Mediums who promote themselves on talk shows sometimes find their gifts played for laughs, particularly by comedy-minded hosts. If we are to take afterlife research and mediumship seriously, a paradigm shift seems needed. If mediums represent the idea that spirit does not die, then let’s get beyond the woo-woo party entertainment phase and move into treating it appropriately for serious afterlife research. (Yes, there is room for fun, but let’s respect the process of communicating with other dimensions.)

Dead Celebrities. Interviews with celebrities and famous historical figures usually suffer from lack of evidence. They sometimes yield good stories, sunbursts of wisdom, and entertainment value, but could not be considered authentic communication from spirit without verifiable evidence. I see great value in interviews with dead historical figures if intelligent, worthwhile questions were asked. Even without an airtight authentication of an identity, spiritually astute questioning of the entity could be enlightening if the conversation revealed a true depth of insight about a person, an era, or the cosmos.

Respectful communication. Some mediums suggest that recognizable icons from history (like Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Edison, Jesus, etc.) are eager to help humanity progress. These entities mean serious business. However, other mediums treat historical figures as novelty attractions for show business—wouldn’t it be fun to see what Marilyn Monroe is up to today? The conversations are casual; the questions are often silly and trite. If spirits truly wish to help evolve the planet, one wonders why they would tolerate and participate in circus-like videos, seminars, and marketing schemes. If these entities really wish to save humanity, shouldn’t they insist on a more respectful, serious-minded venue?

Rules of disclosure. Humans seeks to know answers to mysteries, and the departed are seen as having answers. However, are there rules about what information spirits can and cannot share with us? Easy examples would be all the common conspiracy theories. Was 9/11 an inside job? Who killed JFK? Are governments hiding ET encounters and technology? In general, what rules of disclosure apply to channeling? Is some information forbidden to pass along to humans? Who controls disclosure? What’s allowed and what’s forbidden? Why do so many interviews with historical characters dodge the direct, obvious questions?

The whole truth. Can spirits lie if you ask them a direct question? For example, could a spirit guide give you false information if s/he is guiding you to a crisis that was a soul contract? Do spirits have any motivation to lie? (Are they still human in that regard?) Could one spirit impersonate another one by lying about his/her true identity? When and how does dishonesty become untenable in spirit life?

One-way communication. Some mediums say readings are one-way. That is, the dead tell us things that they want to tell us, but it is not a two-way conversation. Then other channelers appear open for questions, such as Esther of Abraham-Hicks. Spirits/mediums who control or inhibit information seem similar to governments that censor and fill the media with controlled propaganda.

Buying answers. Some mediums and hypnotherapists talk about pre-incarnation life planning. We incarnate with amnesia about these life plans. But then guess what, we can go pay a medium or undergo an expensive past life regression, and suddenly we get access to all this secret information! While it can be argued that this is how free enterprise works in the physical world, buying answers seems to favor the rich. If amnesia serves a purpose, why does this work-around exist?

Negativity excuse. Mediums sometimes say that a sitter’s disbelief in a phenomenon creates a block to it. Mediums sometimes blame sitters for negative energy that squelches messages from coming through. This sure sounds like an easy fall-back position for a fraudulent medium to take to control a sitter who feels s/he is not being read accurately. What is the metaphysical truth about this, especially from a willing, open-minded sitter? How can a person be a healthy skeptic and open at the same time?

Compensation. Is a client paying for competence or for the medium’s fame and overhead? Highly visible mediums tend to be highly priced (assuming you think $300 an hour and up is high.) They are often promoted with active social media marketing. They take on high overheads to support and expand their business. It would be refreshing to hear mediums address this. Are they happy with this system? What are the ethics involved in their pricing? What kind of testing or accreditation should be involved, if any, to justify high fees? Does spirit concur with current pricing practices? Do different societies, say British versus Americans or Africans, approach compensation to mediums differently?

The ratings. In today’s world with the Internet, people can voice their opinions or review the service they got from mediums. This also opens up the possibility that a medium can plant good reviews and enemies or unscrupulous competitors can plant bad reviews. How does this affect mediumship? How do potential clients deal with what may not be true reviews, either good or bad?

Who’s on first? There seem to be different beliefs about what happens to the personality at death. Some mediums say we take our personalities to the other side. Others say we merge with the collective and no longer have individual personality. Some say we never fully incarnate with all of our energy; that a high portion of us stays in spirit while the other part incarnates. Sometimes there can be simultaneous incarnations; one soul incarnates into several people at once. What exactly is the entity that speaks through mediums at any given time? Is it the person, is it a higher self, is it a collective?

Continued growth. In light of the above, a medium could contact personalities (like Mark Twain) who (probably) have already gone on to other lifetimes as new people. Does this imply that any historical character (as with all of us) continues to evolve as that consciousness while s/he also grows as other people in new incarnations?

Change of character. Sometimes ornery characters on the earth plane start speaking from spirit as wise, loving, friendly beings who would have been a pleasure to hang out with. When and how does this change of character happen? How does a mean-spirited drunk suddenly become caring and loving? How about people who in physical life had no interest in metaphysics, yet suddenly sound like ascended masters from spirit?

Time. What is time like between the dimensions? How does time work when flesh humans are in one system that has time and discarnates are in another where time is different? Someone may have died ten years ago our time, but what is it in their time? Sometimes spirits who are “freshly dead” in our time have already gone through life reviews, reunions, and so on. They seemed to change personalities or may have even advanced considerably (of course, this also reflects the medium.)

Accents. Entities who come through via trance-channel mediums often arrive with foreign (to America) accents, or an accent different from that of the consciously awake medium. If two different mediums were to channel the same entity, how closely would the accent and personality follow? How is change of accent explained? (Having heard several trance-channeled iterations of Jesus, I have not heard a same-sounding accent come through from different mediums. They are all different.)

Soul Phone. Presumably, the invention of a soul phone would revolutionize human consciousness by proving life after death. A device capable of communicating with the so-called dead would be an amazing source of comfort and enlightenment. However, in this land of marketing and riches, would or could some corporation monopolize and then monetize the technology? Would or could spirits from the other side allow the soul phone to be lost to commercial interests or become too costly for many?

Psychic referral services. A referral business for psychic mediums may sound like a good idea, but what if it is more like an advertising service? What if the mediums are not vetted or certified as it is implied (until you read the small print?) If mediums pay a listing fee to be featured, then this is advertising with the main beneficiary being the advertising provider. A more comprehensive form of medium certification could help those mediums who are not of the show business mentality (the introverts) but would like certification.

Supply and demand. I find it odd when mediums have long wait lists for personal readings (like over a year) yet still promote their services through ordinary marketing practices. They continue building a demand that they cannot satisfy.

Frauds and karma. If mediums actually see spirits, hear voices, and so on, why would they commit fraud or willfully cheat to amass fame and fortune? Wouldn’t they of all people know that they are responsible for their actions and that physical death would bring them truth to bear? Or were they just acting a part in the Earth School curriculum?

Fraud damage. I think it is important to acknowledge the impact of grandstanding, fraudulent, or incompetent mediums. They feed fuel to skeptics. If they ultimately disappoint, discourage, or enrage clients, it brings dishonor upon the whole field. It makes being a legitimate medium that much more challenging.

Books. Mediums often say that a spirit guide instructed or inspired him or her to write a book. As a writer and as far as I can tell, spirit guides have not been lining up to dictate a book to me! In days past, publishing a book was a major event that involved a whole team of support professionals from a reputable publisher. Getting published was not easy. These days seminars teach how to write a book in a weekend and publish it the next day. Many self-published books today tend to more like commercials for a medium—advertising to create demand for readings—more than explorations of topics.

Vocabulary. As consciousness about death and afterlife evolves, vocabulary should evolve, too. Mediums today often speak to our current culture’s understanding of reality, yet if death is transition, not termination, and life is eternal and nonphysical reality is just another place to live, a new vocabulary should be created. Maybe words need to be re-defined or new words invented to represent new paradigms. Maybe ubiquitous phrases like “tragic death” can be altered to fit a new perception.

Pottymouth spirits. Speaking of vocabulary, over the last few years, more spirits have taken to conversational swearing—to the delight of some and to the head-shaking of others. One champion of the f-bomb is Erik from Channeling Erik, which has the various mediums who channel him swearing, too. While Erik generally offers astute spiritual wisdom with his “regular guy” pottymouth talk, other mediums claim that great spiritual teachers would not swear. (I have read dialogues from some so-called ascended masters who swear, at least via the words that come out of the medium’s mouth.)

Mediums and cults. Sometimes a cult will form around a medium. A cult is often characterized by isolation, secrecy, intimidation, financial blood-sucking, elitism, and narcissism. Is this fraud, devotion to a “low-level” spirit, or a religion? The lack of afterlife research from the mainstream world seems to make cults more powerful in their appeal to certain individuals.


Here are a few bonus questions not specifically about mediums, per se.

Nature. There paradigm in the nature kingdom is that we all eat one another in a food chain. Nature shows are filled with violence and cruelty, but it is regarded as “nature.” Why was this plan put into place? What was the design intent? Speaking of nature, what about those creatures that humans have described as pests, such as ants, mosquitoes, roaches? Is killing them a crime against nature? And what about plant life, especially that we cultivate as food?

Wars. Are wars pre-planned? If they occur on Earth for the purposes of karma or upgrading spiritual awareness, is there any point in trying to stop them? If we were to understand the karmic nature of warfare, what would be our exit strategy from choosing not to wage war? Is it even possible?

Diseases. Some authors/mediums claim that we choose exit points and manners of dying. This has huge implications for humanity. Currently we live in worry about how we will die and try to make our life as safe as possible from disease, accidents, and plagues of all kinds. If our death is actually planned in advance, we output vast amounts of energy worrying about various diseases as killers. Additionally, it’s often suggested that our health care industry is more concerned with profit than healing, which could include alternative ways to heal besides drugs and surgeries.

Earth School. On one hand, we are supposed to be in Earth School with a series of obstacles set in our path as learning experiences. So, ultimately, are we supposed to change Earth and make it a more loving place, or are we supposed to accept that this is Earth School where many obstacles are pre-planned?

Sex. In humans, sex serves more purpose than procreation. Over the years, however, culture as a whole has abused sexuality with such institutions as human trafficking, rape, abuse, exploitation, etc. Sexuality has been separated from spirituality when the two are much better merged. As a general rule, spirits don’t talk much about the purpose of sex as an agent of healing, bonding, and even friendship. Some spiritual sources indicate that in the spirit world, there monogamy does not exist. Sex there is energy/consciousness merging, and is beyond earthly comprehension. However, understanding it would probably help people in this plane rise above the mess that sex is in today.

Prayer. What is it exactly? Religions create specific rituals, but there must be a big picture, all-encompassing version of what praying is, one that might even satisfy those who do not accept a religious depiction of God. Can praying be non-religious?

Grief. How might the experience of grief evolve if it were conclusively proven that death launches consciousness into another dimension? Could the future of “death” become more of a celebration like graduation or a retirement party?

Hospice. If grief and the perception of death evolves, so could hospice. How might this excellent service from today evolve with changing views?

Death itself. For many of us, the vision of how death works comes from movies and books. It looks scary and painful. People who have had near-death experiences often reveal that dying was not painful—even if coming back into the body was! Is death painful?


I will add to this list either as I think of other things or people suggest them.

Proving woo-woo


I am a visionary writer and an open-minded skeptic. I like to daydream about how life could be for humanity if we re-invented ourselves into a more loving, caring species.

I have always loved the idea that we don’t stop living at death, that somehow in some form our consciousness goes on, caterpillar to butterfly, and that we pass to a much more fair, just, and loving universe. Yet I have grown up with enough analytical skills to want proof that I am not caught up in some sort of Utopian afterlife woo-woo fantasy that I am all too equipped to create. This became especially true for me when my parents crossed, both in their nineties and tired of dealing with their worn-out bodies. It would be nice to know how they’re faring.

However, if you are not well-connected, finding proof that there truly is an afterlife can be challenging. What do I mean by well-connected? Have you seen spirits or heard voices? Do you have some mystical experience that offers solid personal proof and removes the fear of death from your consciousness? Do you have access to a skilled evidential medium whose accuracy left you convinced that a loved one is still around?

Currently, my connections are in short supply. I have read plenty of books, watched dozens of afterlife-related videos, even attended an afterlife conference. Much of this has been very persuasive, yet I am still an open-minded skeptic. I still want to have my own big kahuna of personal breakthroughs to put me over the top.


I find it strange how slowly our society moves on afterlife research. While some researchers say there is more than enough evidence to conclude that soul survival is real, we the people are still nowhere near the tipping point of group consensus. With so much evidence teasing us in books, all over social media, YouTube, and alternative channels, I am still in frustrated awe at how slowly research progresses.

Here are a couple examples of afterlife-teasers from YouTube:

The Afterlife Investigations: The Scole Experiments is a fascinating look at phenomena which strongly suggest that consciousness does not die.

A prominent afterlife researcher Gary Schwartz PhD speaking at an Afterlife convention in 2013 shares his experiences and projects including his work on the so-called soul phone.

In contrast, just google something like “stupid research projects” and see how much money is being spent answering questions that hardly rock humanity as much as afterlife research would. Imagine if we took the kind of money we spend on weapons research and studied whether or not consciousness truly dies (including that of everyone killed in wars.) We would probably get enough change back from this research to end global starvation, and that does not include the change it would bring for our daily lives.

Until that time happens, those of us not well-connected go searching for answers in what I find to be a surprisingly tight-lipped culture (unless you’re buying what they’re selling.)


We seem to be in an era where stand-out mediums become like celebrity rock stars. This trend of blending our spiritual nature with ordinary show business disturbs me. It arguably makes personally meaningful research more challenging.

On one hand, celebrity mediums help draw attention to the afterlife in general, which is good. Brand name mediums fill many of us with wonder. That could lead to a popular demand for better afterlife research and more answers.

But then comes marketing, marketing, marketing—as happens with any celebrity. Mediums end up hiring a staff to deal with demand, then PR/marketing pros to increase demand for services to pay for the increased overhead. Up go the reading fees. Then comes the ordinary ego-driven, fear-based marketing techniques used to lure in customers. This then becomes a business like any other.

Celebrity mediums often have waiting lists for over a year and charge more than a good doctor, lawyer, or engineer. They often do this without any certification of authenticity. The customer usually pays in advance, and the sessions are conducted under the medium’s terms, which sometimes includes a “no questions” policy, which means that what they offer is not a two-way conversation with the deceased. Don’t ask us; we’ll tell you.

Celebrity mediums tend to be packaged as people with special magical powers. We turn them into gods and goddesses, and they often draw followers and worship. I think of them as cosmic government employees given special security clearances for top-secret contract work. They get to know more than ordinary people get to know. Knowledge is power.


In the YouTube-driven universe, we have great access to videos galore, a mostly unrestricted larder of mind food. Back in 2014 I encountered a video of the medium Jamie Butler channeling the late Robin Williams. (For some unknown reason, that video is no longer online.) I was fascinated by Jamie’s apparent ease in having free-flowing conversations with the other side. No problem seeing or hearing dead people. She also had the most infectious smile and sweet personality. To my eye she showed no body language sign of making this stuff up.

I watched other videos in the Channeling Erik series. Jamie had tete-a-tetes with Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Jesus, Buddha, Adolf Hitler, Jack the Ripper, etc.

This open-minded skeptic became very excited about the possibility that mediums could have such easy-going conversations with chatty dead people. I imagined all the incredible things we could learn from our ancestors if this was true.

But my wild optimism was tempered by logic. If Jamie Butler is the real deal, why hasn’t the afterlife research community descended on Atlanta, Georgia to do whatever it takes to employ her for serious research purposes? Does she not want to? Is she too expensive for research? Are researchers not watching YouTube to discover her? Are they doing research but it’s secret?

Jamie announced late in 2015 that she was no longer channeling Erik. Elisa Medhus, Erik’s mother, apparently sought out other mediums. The current mediums also display a similar conversational style as if they can see and hear Erik and others just fine. However, for me they are less believable than Jamie. It’s a feeling thing.

Too many mediums in general appear to be guessing, fishing, or pontificating. Sometimes they use cold reading techniques, a known magician’s trick. Sometimes they shotgun multiple items to see if one makes an impact. If the medium says “Your grandfather liked bowling, gardening, and travel” and only one was recognizable, was that a hit or was it 66% wrong?

For the average person, $500+ an hour for a private reading is cost-prohibitive. I call it a rip-off if the material received is like a platter of spiritual platitudes available in a $9.95 paperback. It’s one thing if the medium can demonstrate absolute authenticity through passing along details that only the physically-deceased would know. It’s another if mediums fill up the time with smoke and mirrors.

I am reminded of a schlocky estate lawyer my family had once. He charged a bargain $350 an hour! His bill included all the small talk. He essentially charged us to listen to all of his small talk which had nothing to do with the legal issue. Mediums sometimes fill up their readings with gratuitous talk that the sitter ends up paying for.

Skeptics have a field day suggesting how mediums commit fraud. I must say that I am just as skeptical of skeptics, especially professional celebrity skeptics like James Randi who make their living off playing the antagonist role. I don’t think it helps truth-seeking, which is the role of true skepticism, when skeptics become nay-saying pottymouths who seem more argumentative than truly inquisitive.

Yet on the other hand, the whole rock star medium scene displayed in many YouTube videos seems like a party game that screams “for entertainment purposes only.” Pretty pricey entertainment, too.


Many authors of afterlife books had compelling personal experiences that gave convincing-to-them proof of a hereafter. That turns out to be great for them, but until I have my own experiences, it means that I depend on someone else for insight. Not so good. Religion is like that, too. Religious faith is usually based on being inspired by someone else’s revelation of what the truth is.

Researcher Roberta Grimes (The Fun of Dying, the Fun of Staying in Touch, Liberating Jesus, The Fun of Growing Forever) had two childhood experience with the light. As a young man, researcher Gary Schwartz (The Afterlife Experiments, The Sacred Promise) had a life-altering mystical experience hearing voices warning him of an impending crash. Anyone who has written about a near-death experience relies on their own cosmic adventure for truth-seeking. Mediums like John Edward, James Van Praagh, George Anderson, Gordon Smith, Jamie Butler, Sylvia Browne, and others are/were all super-charged with conviction through their own talents and skills.

Those who’ve had intense spiritual experience that they relate in their books all seem to insist that we are never alone. They make it sound like there is a squadron of angels, guides, and family all eager to help us out at a moment’s notice. But some of us live in a darkened sound-proof booth without tangible evidence that this is so. We are left to faith. It is for us that a strong evidence-based case for the afterlife would be especially useful.


Recently I volunteered to be a sitter in a scientific study of mediumship. There was to be no contact between the medium and me. I sent in a fabric swatch that the medium used as a tool for psychometry. The researcher sent back written feedback from 7 readings the medium conducted from 7 fabric swatches. I was instructed to score each one for accuracy as if each one had been intended just for me. I knew that only one had been. After scoring, I was to send back the form and would then receive 7 drawn portraits, one of which had been based on a description of what the medium saw when doing the reading based on the fabric I had sent.

To my disappointment, none of the readings were recognizable as either the person I was hoping for contact from or from anyone else I knew. Maybe a 10% accuracy? One reading not intended for me seemed to be more accurate! When the portraits were sent to me, one of them had a small physical resemblance, but turns out it was not the one intended for me. I did not recognize the one intended for me.

A few weeks after that I had a mini-reading in a live streaming event with a medium I had seen in a public demonstration at an afterlife conference I attended. (I am intentionally not saying who the medium was.) Of the seven items mentioned as being for me, only one was semi-recognizable. By semi-recognizable, I mean that it was a broadly true statement but lacked enough specificity to be considered evidential.

One intriguing thing about the experience was that both mediums mentioned the same somewhat uncommon name, even though I did not recognize it as anyone I knew. I look forward to seeing if that name pops up in some meaningful way in the future.


As a visionary writer, I have already created for my own delight stories about the afterlife and multi-dimensional existence. I believe that I could write a convincing near-death experience account, which would be fiction. I could also probably write a convincing dialogue from spirit, which, given lack of proof that my guides exist, would also feel like writing fiction.

So I am definitely rooting for mediums who want to help humanity with their gifts. My skepticism only reflects that I want the best proof possible that mediumship is a legitimate avenue of evidence for the afterlife. As I have posted before, I personally believe that the future of humanity is at stake.


In a future post I will suggest what I would like to see in a book written by a medium that would be most helpful to an open-minded skeptic like me. I would like to see a book go to the next level besides the same ol’ Q&A. I have intriguing questions, and I hope they would have intriguing answers.