What if Earth is Hell?

 

Scareguy

Think about it.

What if we are actually living in the place called Hell?

What if the idea of Hell was invented to control people—to scare them into submission? What if it is all just a sham of for-profit evangelicalism, a form of religious terrorism handed down from generation to generation?

Much of the spiritual literature I have read suggests that Hell is a human-made construct that only exists in our minds and in our myths. I think this idea may be forbidden fruit worth tasting.

What if Earth is the worst that it gets? What if all the ideas about “going to hell” are stories that keep us festering in a tormented mental state of worry—but in the end it’s just a story?

THE GROUND FLOOR

Spiritual teachers often say that physical Earth is like the ground floor, the bottom step of the stairway to the stars.

When we die we transform from flesh life into spirit life but we remain at a fairly similar vibration to how we are here. That is, we have much the same consciousness as before we died. We do not instantly become enlightened or angelic.

The natural laws in that next dimension, known as the astral plane, are different from the physical laws we knew on physical Earth. Nevertheless, people used to living in a dark and dreary consciousness on Earth still live in a dark and dreary consciousness in the astral.

If a person has done some spiritual work, however, he or she is more prepared to function in the new nonphysical environment that person now inhabits. Mentally and emotionally, people with spiritual insight are more flexible in coping with the change that crossing over presents. They can move out of the astral plane and into the higher planes.

MEDIA HELL

On Earth many people do things or do not do things to avoid going to Hell when they die. Religions for generations have taught that Hell is far worse than life on Earth. In is constant torment and eternal punishment without the possibility of parole. By contrast, for all its troubles, Earth is a cake walk. Yes, even with the Holocaust.

Our mass media continue this conditioning by concocting a flurry of scary stories about ghosts, ghouls, goblins, damnation, and eternal misery. Supposedly for our entertainment, these horror stories condition people to be fearful of the unknown. The sheer volume of angst over ecstasy in our media offerings makes me wonder if we aren’t already in the jaws of Hell.

When I watch movies, almost any movie, I am always impressed by how much conflict, dysfunction, and woe is paraded before us! Movie protagonists rarely experience ecstatic insights and mystical bliss; they’re too busy struggling. Our brains are fed far more visions about anguish and suffering than stories about  joy, success, and harmony. I hardly ever see an exposé about good stuff.

One reason why Earth seems like Hell to me is noticing how relatively difficult it is to find good resources for rising above misery. When I am feeling lonely, depressed, or troubled, my natural tendency is to seek my own way out of it. I often turn to media for a jumpstart. Too often I find rampant negativity and unrest. Unfortunately, many places like the news, social media, and the entertainment industry provide more what’s wrong than what’s right. We’re bombarded with conflict.

Society’s solutions for dealing with stress and angst are often not in our best interest. Drinking, smoking, doping, overeating, gambling, unloving sex are often used by people to help them get out of the doldrums, and usually they put us farther into the doldrums. Society proffers wealth as a solution for misery, but so often wealth just brings on a plethora of new problems including workaholism, rampant consumerism, and total keep-up-with-the-Joneses exhaustion. While you can turn to the church, a therapist, a doctor, higher education, and so on, these solutions usually include heavy time, energy, and financial commitments. They are not quick fixes.

It surprises me that humans have invented more ways to suffer than they have to share examples of life’s bliss. It makes me wonder if that’s by design. Is Earth School the actual Hell?

WHAT IS HELL?

The mythology of Hell is that it is a real place where real eternal torture happens. It even poses God as a co-conspirator in its creation. If you don’t obey God (as interpreted by humans), God will send you to the concentration camp of Hell.

R.C. Sproul wrote: “Hell, then, is an eternity before the righteous, ever-burning wrath of God, a suffering torment from which there is no escape and no relief. Understanding this is crucial to our drive to appreciate the work of Christ and to preach His gospel.”

People who have had near-death experiences (NDEs) and spirits channeled through psychic mediums often contradict views like those held by Sproul. A minority of people who have had NDEs did find themselves in hellish circumstances where they encountered demonic antagonists. However, many of these stories had happy endings. The victim was rescued from the pit and escorted to heavenly places before being sent back to Earth. The general conclusion that comes from these stories seems to be that Hell exists but it’s not the eternal fire pit that many religious teach. You can leave it if you choose to.

Many spiritual teachers say that Earth School is where our souls learn valuable lessons about love through our many incarnations. Some teachers say that as souls we deliberately choose to experience pain to learn about love. Obstacles are put in our path for us to overcome. If Earth School is Hell, it is so because it is for our spiritual training. Unlike the religious story, we are not cast in Hell because we were bad; rather, the nature of physical reality creates some hellish circumstances.

Several books out now offer the premise that some people suffer tragedies on purpose. People who have undergone hypnotic past life regressions sometimes talk about how a guide or their higher self arranged for a situation to occur. We consciously think of that event as awful, tragic, horrible, while spirit thinks it’s a golden opportunity for learning.

For example, a rape may be part of a pre-conceived lesson, not a random act of malfeasance. As ugly and bizarre as that notion sounds to the conscious mind, especially to victims of rape, it does suggest that life on Earth is not for wimps. Souls choose different life experiences much as a prolific actor will choose different parts to play, sometimes hero, sometimes villain. Perhaps the often-expressed idea is true that you cannot know great pleasure if you have not known great pain.

Religion, which often doesn’t support reincarnation, peddles the idea of Hell as roasting in eternal fires. It is a very dramatic, visceral kind of misery. But what about the slow din of a life lived without much joy, day upon day of loneliness whether in a crowd or in solitude, the anxiety of failure to find the good life? What about the leisure activity of watching TV or movies or reading books, and most of it is a tour of suffering and conflict?

Life on Earth appears to stick us in a system of social insanity (war, poverty, racism, sexism, violence, materialism) geared to sustain suffering. Where do people find off ramps from misery? How many social institutions can we point to in our world as being truly helpful?

IF THIS IS HELL

If Earth is the fabled Hell, that’s actually good news. First, it means that we pretty much know what the worst is. While there’s plenty of evil around, there are usually ways to cope. We can set our sights on rising above the chaos and the hatred. We can overcome.

Second, it means that Hell does not exist solely to punish. It’s here for rehabilitation—spiritual growth. It’s here to help us learn how to make better choices.

Third, it means that the world scares the shit out of us as part of our spiritual education. We can choose by how we process information how scared we want to be. This also begs the question of whether Earth School is always supposed to be strewn with conflicts, or if through collective free will we can eventually create Heaven on Earth.

Thinking of Earth as Hell is not intended to embrace the religious conception of Hell. It’s not a place of eternal torture and damnation. You don’t get here by being judged as a bad person for not following rules someone told you God made. I see most religion as a for-profit enterprise with a vested interest in bringing in followers. Religions have used propaganda, torture, fear, and manipulation to bring in the followers, and the religious version of Hell could be part of that.

Spiritual teachers suggest that Earth/Hell is the ground floor, the first stage, the foundation. It’s a boot camp for souls who want to learn all about love through contrasts. Like any school, you can achieve what you yearn for and what you earn.

I don’t know whether Heaven or Hell are real places or states of mind, but we do create them symbolically through our beliefs and behaviors. I know that for me to create a heavenly earth, I usually need to detach from media bombardment and negative people. I need to focus my thoughts on what’s good. When bad things happen, I look for the gifts. This helps balance my hurt and outrage.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

A little bit more about the idea that many events in our lives, especially the ones we would call tragic, may have been planned.

The book Seeking Jordan sheds more light on the idea that some tragedies are planned.

Part of the inspiration for this post involved my study of how the media sell conflict. While I did not use the concept of Hell in the piece, the bombardment of content about conflict helps us stay in a mental hell.

Also check out books and videos (YouTube) by Robert Schwartz and Michael Newton.

 

Death trap

Universe

I often think that if I (or you) could talk to dead people, as if it was second nature and no big deal, I (or we) would react a lot differently to life on this planet.

Our guiding lights would be re-set. We would have some personally verifiable experience to shape our conclusion that consciousness survives physical death. We would have evidence to back up the notion that the organic brain does not originate all consciousness—that consciousness (or mind) exists outside the body. Maybe there’s much more to life than the limited perspective of it pandered and promoted in so much of our mediocrity culture.

Mediums on TV or online sometimes surprise me. They don’t all seem to grasp the deeper implications of their own ministrations. Even though they talk to dead people for a living, they still cater to much of the same socially ingrained fodder presented in mainstream, materialistic media.

What does that mean?

If mediums actually talk with dead people, the very act is diametrically opposed to the depressing morbidity you’ll hear at the average doctor’s office or during the average newscast. It would mean that reality as we’re taught to perceive it is a false one. It’s a death trap. People don’t just stop living when they die, the mediums say. We the people go somewhere else to continue living.

If I knew for sure that I could talk to dead people, I would lead an entirely different life than if I thought death ended everything and we only had one shot at it. Immortality is a fundamentally different consciousness than mortality,, especially if lights out here means lights on somewhere else. If I knew I had much more living to look forward to, I would not regard death as the enemy. I would not embrace the meme that death is sad or tragic or horrible. I expect that I would be an activist against social and religious teachings that contradicted the reality I knew that “dead people” were partying hearty in another dimension—and oh, by the way, there is no hell.

GRIEF PARADIGM

Society has organized itself around the death and grief paradigm. For example, we commonly think of death as loss. Sorry for your loss, sorry for your loss. In a society that grew up with an entirely different paradigm, death might not be seen as a loss. It might be seen more like graduating with honors, getting a great new job, or some sort of miracle. Currently, we have thousands of hours of conditioning (religious, scientific, peer group, advertising, etc.) telling us that death is a tragic loss. Yes, it hurts like hell to lose a loved one, but I believe that much of that hurt comes from all the conditioning we get at how we are supposed to grieve.

When my mother died, and then my father 30 months later, I got the well-intended deluge of “sorry for you loss.” Both my parents were already incapacitated by then, my mother almost 93 and my father almost 96. Death freed them both from the confines of their worn-out bodies. Life was more an ordeal than a pleasure for them by then. “Loss” really did not fit the equation anymore. I envisioned them as being much happier where they were—a win for them. It surprised me how people acted as if my not playing the loss game translated into insensitivity or lack of love. They would come close to arguing with me that if I was a good son, I would display much more sadness.

I understand that many people die under far less than desirable circumstances. Their departures could be termed tragic. Yet we are groomed all through life to view death as tragic. Our resulting fear of death creates fortunes for entrepreneurs who capitalize on its emotional grip. The insurance business, the heath business, the funeral business, the therapy business, the spirituality business, the entertainment business, the war business—to name just a few—are all fueled by our conditioned fear and dread of death.

But mediums talk to dead people! Dead people are alive. Death did not kill them. Rejoice, for he is risen. (Well, sort of.) People who have had near-death experiences often report that death, or going into the light, is sheer ecstasy. Their common message is, “Don’t worry. Death is an illusion. I have been to that incredible place we call heaven. I know that life goes on and I am not afraid to die.”

Here is how one Facebook friend (a near-death experiencer) put it: “I always feel bad for those left here in pain after losing a loved one. But I never feel bad for the one who has moved on to the next exciting leg of their journey… I am one who can’t wait to get back there. I’ve never forgotten how confining and limiting it felt to come back here [to Earth.]”

Messages from spirits channeled through mediums report little in the way of pain. While the dying process is sometimes painful, death itself releases a person from physical pain. The entertainment industry shows us tortured, brooding souls in books and movies, yet mediums portray the dead as feeling little if any emotional pain. In Ghosts Among Us, medium and creator of the Ghost Whisperer TV series James Van Praagh wrote, “Not once when doing my work have spirits ever said to me that they wished they could come back to Earth and live again.”

Even most people who were murdered (often including those who killed themselves) harbor no resentments. Spirits don’t ruminate sadly over lives cut short. They know that life goes on both in and out of human bodies. They are stimulated by their new reality, which sounds something like an all-expenses-paid vacation to Shangri-la-on-Steroids. By heavenly standards, life on Earth is like laboring in a work camp.

Are mediums like James Van Praagh just making up this portrayal of heavenly bliss to sell hope via their books and readings? Or do they channel truth that heaven is off the clock from duality, conflict, suffering?

MEDIUMS AND MARKETING

A great irony of contemporary life is that culturally we make a big deal out of death while at the same time, we eschew afterlife research—more death trap. When another celebrity dies or a mass killing dominates the news, people take to social media and lament and vent their hearts out. We talk in terms of sadness and loss and outrage. Yet we don’t pay much attention to near-death experiencers and afterlife researchers and helpful mediums who have been steadily sharing evidence for soul survival. Culturally speaking, the drama of loss intrigues us more than winning with woo-woo.

I would love to see more mediums participate in afterlife research, gathering more data and using it to improve the quality of life here, but there is a problem. Mediums are too busy masterminding their careers. Science is not too keen on researching voices from heaven, and those few souls who attempt it are often ridiculed. Whether for self-protection or legal requirement, mediums are often compelled to note that their services are “for entertainment purposes only.”

Isn’t that reassuring? Your lawyer and doctor are not required to say that. Sometimes I think the services they render are for their own entertainment (or pocketbook) purposes only.

As a student of the truth, I have often been frustrated watching the dumbing down of metaphysical phenomena for public consumption. So many shows are more annoying than educational, such as the ghost-chasing shows. One of the best books I have read about the search for truth versus the culture at large is Steve Volk’s Fringe-ology. When we still treat woo-woo as an oddity, an amusement, or a vacation from reality, we are not advancing humanity.

MEDIUMS AND MEDIOCRITY

In my informal poking around Facebook, I see many mediums marketing themselves. Here is something one medium wrote on his page: “I never talk about, or compare myself to other mediums or psychics, but I can promise you this, none of them give as many messages as I do.”

So besides the fact that he just compared himself to other mediums, which he said he never does, he also highlighted what mediums sell: messages from dead people. People come to mediums because they are often grief-stricken, desperate to hear from a loved one they “lost.” So here’s the dilemma. For high-end mediums, a person generally has to wait (sometimes more than a year), pay hefty prices (sometimes more than $500 an hour), and then de-cipher cryptic messages from beyond. “What does rosebud mean?” Low-end mediums without a following often have untested, undocumented, unproven skills.

Society puts mediums in this position. We turn the rich and famous ones into celebrity rock stars, into show business icons. Science generally does not embrace them, and besides, a trendy medium is too busy to conduct serious research. Trendy psychics get thrown into the popular culture money-making miasma with books, movies, cruises, luxury retreats, and galas. They often reduce themselves to easy talk show and social media friendly sound bites to important questions that deserve exploring.

In turn, we often create culture wars: mediums versus skeptics. Professional skeptics like James Randi engage in culture wars against mediums under the guise of saving humanity from frauds and illusionists. They don’t do their skeptic schtick for free. Professional naysayers make hefty fees to play their roles and sell their own products. Career skeptics are no more likely to actually seek the truth than Darth Vader is to sing a love song. They are in it for the paycheck.

Under these circumstances, the search for truth is riddled with obstacles. The student of the afterlife is faced with a largely unresponsive scientific community on one side and woo-woo marketers selling easy but shallow answers on the other side. Personal experiences are the most empowering form of acquiring knowledge, but for many of us, they are as rare as seeing total solar eclipses.

We’ll never understand the insights mediums could offer us if we don’t open our minds to that potential and research the hell out of it. As this war between science and woo-woo rages on, I still have my questions.

 

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.

DEVIL OR ANGEL?

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.

EVIL IS FUN, ECSTASY ISN’T

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?

DISCLAIMER

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.

NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES

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. .

GHOST STORIES

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.

HALLOWEEN OF THE FUTURE

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.)

 

 

 

Coming Soon—Paradigms Shattered

ufo

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.

UFOs.

OOZING OVER

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.

HOPE AND CHANGE

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.

GAME CHANGER

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.

FRUITCAKES

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.

SOUL PHONE

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.

CRACKPOTS OR WAY-SHOWERS

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.

Woo-woo questions

Moonlight

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.

QUESTIONS AND TOPICS

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.

MYSTERIES

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

Nature. The 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, 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?

THE LIST GROWS

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

Proving woo-woo

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.

AFTERLIFE RESEARCH

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.)

ROCK STAR CULTURE

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.

CHANNELING ERIK

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.

AFTERLIFE LITERATURE

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.

MY READINGS

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.

OPEN-MINDED SKEPTICISM

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.

FUTURE POST

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.

Dying and not dying

soul phoneA linchpin in a major belief could fall within the next decade. It’s a belief that materialist science has promoted for centuries, but it is weakening as more research data pours in.

The belief, which currently gets the materialistic scientific seal of approval, is that the human brain is responsible for all consciousness. It is that the organic brain generates ideas. It’s responsible for all the brilliance that humankind has ever created. When the brain dies, there’s nothing left. All gone. Too bad, so sad.

But what would happen if something so compelling occurred that scientists would have to concede that they had been wrong about the brain? What if it were conclusively demonstrated that consciousness survives the physical death of the brain and body?

That demonstration could come in the form of the soul phone. This device would take electronic voice phenomenon (EVP) and instrumental transcommunication (ITC) to the next level. With a soul phone, we could all talk to dead people! This is not just a science fiction concept. It is being worked on in the lab, a collaborative project between scientists on the physical plane and scientists in spirit who communicate through mediums.

When the soul phone becomes a reality, people on Earth will be able to converse with people in spirit. The implications of this possibility are enormous. So many social systems have been set into place on the assumption that consciousness dies when the brain dies, and if this is proven not to be so, many sacred cows are likely to fall.

It might not happen all at once, but here are some highlights that I view as positive:

Religion. Ironic as it may seem, religion could be the first casualty of proof that life is eternal. For the most part, religions have been built on faith, myth, and mystical experiences, not on science. Imagine being able to call Jesus (and a bunch of other spiritual teachers) on a soul phone with your personal questions. You could check in with credible sources in spirit including people you trusted when they were in the flesh. Rather than depending on multiple translations and edits of sacred texts, truth seekers could call a soul phone hotline for answers. To keep up with the times, religions would change.

Murder. A soul phone would make it possible to chat with murder victims. Even if their testimonies were not admitted as evidence in a court proceeding — but who says that’s carved in granite? — it would help investigators. It would also help the bereaved. Killing people could become much less popular if it was well-known that secrets do not go to the grave and killers are responsible for their actions whether in the physical or spiritual worlds. Meanwhile, the death penalty could be exposed as us sending tortured souls into another dimension, perhaps to join an evil spirit collective that believes in revenge.

Terrorism. Absolute proof that we do not die could have a dramatic impact on terrorism. At the very least, potential terrorists might realize that they would have to confront the people they killed or tortured. More important, however, is that global conditions might be improved to the point where terrorism would not be such an attractive career choice.

Crime. Criminals believe that they can improve their situation through anti-social behavior. What if that belief is proven to be a fallacy? What if communication from spirit revealed that there are no secrets, no shadows for criminals to hide in, and even more important, that there is help for people in distress? Once connection with a spirit world is established, those forces that keep people enslaved in poverty and torment could change considerably.

Poverty. People who have had spiritually transformative experiences often turn away from materialism and status-climbing. They become more interested in loving and caring. If this  became a global epiphany, humanity would heal the worst of poverty. We would not stand by watching people starve or live without the basic necessities. Material wealth would have far less value in the new cosmic perspective provided by soul phones.

Health care. So much current health care is based on profit incentive of big pharma, health plans, hospitals, and others. In such circles, death is seen and depicted as the ultimate horror. That all changes when you can talk to so-called dead people and find out they’re doing great. Under soul phone influence, treatment itself will embrace energy healing technologies and consultations with doctors in spirit. Further, new health modalities and healthier living will likely evolve.

Secrecy. What would a world be like where you could call a spirit who sees everything in an environment where there are no secrets? What if the deception that thrives in the physical world suddenly had intervention from whistle blowers watching the action in the spirit dimension? Governing and corporate corruption against the people would have far less power and impact with the soul phone channel opened up.

Legal system. Wouldn’t life become interesting if the legal system embraced input from the spirit world? Spirits witness anything and everything. Could they witness in court, or at least add to investigations? Court cases might also start to consider soul contracts, karmic relationships, and so on. Today’s criminal justice system is primarily focused on punishment for crimes, but what if the focus changed to healing souls and facilitating spiritual growth? What if prisons because more like schools? Remember, everyone’s life will be improving and crime will not be as attractive.

Property rights. Would property rights, inheritances, and similar legalities change if spirit had a voice? If a human soul left the body but consciousness remained reachable by soul phone, how might that change the system? Could a deceased person intervene in probate, challenges to inheritance, and would in fact ownership continue to cease at death? Could inventors, artists, and others continue working on their intellectual property in the next world?

Redemption. Currently a most significant reason why people seek communication with spirits via mediums is dealing with leftover pain. This is a two-way street. Spirits also want the chance to redeem themselves. With soul phone technology, this process could happen much more frequently and commonly. Sessions with therapists and other helping professionals could include chats on the soul phone with key figures in someone’s life, sometimes including revelations of soul contracts.

Reincarnation. A most profound principle of reincarnation is that we come back in a variety pack of lifetimes as different genders, races, religions, classes, body types, and so on. We choose each lifetime to learn specific lessons for our soul growth. That said, we should be honoring and celebrating diversity rather than trashing those different from us. Soul phones would likely provide us access to our different lifetimes.

Sex. Massive sexual paradigms could shift under the influence of soul phones. For one, no sex crime, act of cruelty, or injustice goes unnoticed. Abusive behavior based on gender and lifestyle would be exposed, as would sexual exploitation. Sex itself could take on a more positive, spiritual context with more focus placed on love, energy exchange, mutual pleasure, and mutual respect. Knowing that we are only man or woman temporarily, we would be more compassionate to the other gender.

Politics. The abysmal political turmoil that characterizes so much about life on Earth today would change dramatically with a soul phone-informed populace. The fears and frustrations that motivate people to support political controversy would ebb. As personal lives improve, politicians will have to address these social changes. Leaders will rule with more integrity because a new form of checks and balances will be onboard.

Education. In this world, most people are raised to believe in the finality of death even when they believe in a religious flavor of afterlife. Education would be much different when soul phones prove that life is a continuum. With that simple paradigm shift, so many viewpoints change including sociology, history, psychology. Preparation for life will take on huge new meaning.

Science. Imagine the working life of scientists in a world where consultation would include soul phone calls with colleagues in spirit. Scientific research may no longer be so focused on profiteering, weapons, drugs, and market domination. Technology may merge with spirituality to achieve a better life for us all, not just the wealthy or national interests.

News. When soul phones are available, the freedom of information act will greatly expand. Spirits are much more flexible than physical humans. There are fewer obstacles to making contact with people there than in our world. The news will come to reflect that reality. News could actually revert from being a commercial enterprise driven by special interests into more of a true public service.

Grief. While it may never be easy when loved ones leave for invisible dimensions, a paradigm shift would occur with soul phone technology. When you miss someone, call. When death is viewed as metamorphosis, not finality, stories about death will change. In a nutshell, it will not seem as tragic. It will feel more natural. More of society will support that view when you can phone other dimensions.

Loneliness. Soul phones would wildly shift the belief that people walk the planet alone. This could both ramp up conversations with loved ones on the other side and facilitate new (and currently unknown) relationships between the dimensions. Meanwhile, more global compassion for Earth School lessons that people struggle with will open up more paths to companionship and healing. The world will not be as competitive and exclusive; rather it will be more cooperative and inclusive.

WOO-WOO SKY PIE

Sure, much of this sounds pipe dreamy. However, if you attend an afterlife conference or an IANDS group or some other afterlife research organization, you will see how differently people in those venues view the world than mainstream “realists.”

Meanwhile, while you have to dig a bit to find more information, the soul phone is being openly discussed by the likes of Gary Schwartz, Craig Hogan, and Roberta Grimes, they being afterlife researchers and authors. (I might add that they may not agree with my vision of what could happen when soul phones becomes a working reality.) And as mentioned previously, a soul phone would be an advancement of electronic voice phenomenon (EVP) and instrumental transcommunication (ITC).