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Are They Really ‘Signs’ from the Other Side?

Posted on 29 April 2019, 8:30

If I happened to be thinking about my deceased brother, Dennis, and came upon a coin on the sidewalk with his birth year on it, I would be amazed and astonished, even flabbergasted, whatever that means, but I would not assume that his spirit somehow read my thoughts and manipulated matter in order to let me know that he was looking in on me. I would accept it as possibly synchronistic but most likely a coincidence.  That is not to suggest that I don’t believe my brother survives in a larger life, but that my boggle threshold isn’t high enough to believe that he is capable of materializing a coin with the year 1941 on it and depositing it in a place for me to find at the very time I am thinking about him.

However, based on the stories in his latest book, Signs from the Other Side, Bill Philipps, a psychic medium, would likely see it as a sign from my brother. His book is a collection of such “signs” – seeing a license plate with a loved one’s initials and birthdate while grieving his loss; hearing the loved one’s favorite song on a car radio just after reminiscing about him; having a certain number associated with a deceased person come up over and over again in different ways, and other strange coincidences and synchronicities.

I had not heard of Philipps before, and when I searched for information about him I was immediately put on guard when reading a 2015 interview in which he stated he did not see Donald Trump winning the presidency.  While I understand that precognition comes in fuzzy shades of gray and that psychic abilities and mediumistic abilities are two different things, his credibility was immediately in question.  To his credit, however, he apparently foresaw a conflict between the popular vote and the electoral college vote, even though he resolved the conflict against Trump.

Nevertheless, my further research turned up many five-star reviews of his first book, Expect the Unexpected, and indicated that he had many fans, a number of them attesting to evidential readings with him. I decided to read that book first and found it extremely interesting and informative.  His credibility as a clairvoyant medium, if not as a psychic forecaster, was restored, and I returned to the second book.

I found the first section of his second book, about how he became a medium and how he received messages, very interesting, but when I got to the stories about the “signs,” my skeptical side got the best of me and I tossed the book aside, less than halfway through it.  In spite of all I had read about the paranormal and spirit world over the past 30 years, I could not bring myself to believe that spirits can see so clearly into the future, well enough for a person to see a meaningful license plate that would give her the answer to a question on her mind or that they can arrange for a person to hear a meaningful song on the radio at an opportune time, or control birds to act in a certain way day after day.  Perhaps the higher self can arrange it all or maybe it has something to do with a “universal mind,” but those are beyond my comprehension.

I have had many synchronistic experiences during my lifetime. In fact, I experienced one within 24 hours of typing the rough draft of this blog.  While I was reading a report on a baseball game on my tablet, and as I came to the words “right at home,” I heard those same three words coming from the television – not a second before or second after. This happens quite often, although I can never find any meaning to these random word coincidences and am therefore reluctant to call them synchronicities. (Within three or four seconds of typing the last sentence, before I even saved it, we experienced a power outage that lasted for only about five seconds, the first power outage we’ve had in several months.  Unlike other power outages, there were no high winds.  Should I assume that it was a “sign” to suggest that there is meaning to the random word coincidences?)
I had no sooner given up on Philipps’s second book when my wife Gina and I decided to watch a Netflix movie, “Five Flights Up,” about an aging couple who were selling their apartment in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York, because the building had no elevator and they were finding it more difficult to climb the five flights of stairs.  The movie brought back memories of my grandfather’s fifth-floor apartment in the same Williamsburg neighborhood.  Specifically, I recalled visiting my grandfather in 1949 and racing my brother, Dennis, up those five flights of stairs on several occasions.  As he was a few years younger, I’d give him a one-floor head start before I gave chase.  I don’t think I had ever recalled those races up the stairs until watching the movie.
When the movie showed a subway scene, I recalled the time Dennis and I took a subway from the Marcy Ave. station in Brooklyn to the Polo Grounds to watch the Brooklyn Dodgers play the New York Giants, and I wondered if kids only twelve and seven would ride the subway alone these days. Other fleeting memories flashed in my brain during and after the movie.

The following day, I received an email and did not recognize the email address. The subject line read “Childhood Memories – How times have changed.”  The message simply read, “Aloha, Dennis” and was followed by a dozen or so photos from the 1940s and ‘50s.  As the only Dennis (other than my brother) who came to mind was my wife’s cousin, a former Hawaii resident now living in Ohio, I assumed the email was from him, even though it was not the same email address we had for him.  After determining that it was not from my wife’s cousin, I sent an email to the mysterious sender and determined that it was an old sportswriter friend from Hawaii, also named Dennis, who now lives in Oregon. I had not heard from him in several years.  Since he is not a believer in spiritual or psychic matters, I did not attempt to quiz him on why he thought to send me that particular email at that time.

The possibility that an old friend named Dennis was somehow influenced by my brother Dennis in spirit to send an email to me with the subject line “Childhood Memories” and with pictures from the 1940s and 1950s, within hours of having childhood memories of him from that time period, at the same time being signed simply, “Aloha Dennis,” occurred to me, but it is too much of a stretch for me to accept.  However, it was enough for me to return to Philipp’s book and read it to the end. There were more interesting stories, but I continued to favor coincidence as an explanation for nearly all of them.

“Everything I have discussed and every story you have read in this book comes down to awareness,” Philipps concludes in the book’s Epilogue. “Each of us has an antenna that can pick up energy and information from the spirit world all day and every day. The issue is whether we tune out the distractions of this world, and tune in to and recognize that information and energy the antenna is attracting. We all have the capability to tune in at a deeper level, but we need to have that awareness to do it….”

Apparently, I have to work on tuning in at a deeper level.

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife, and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.

Next blog post:  May 13



Thanks for sharing.  It is difficult to discount such signs, and I hope that is what it was. But even if it wasn’t I do believe your daughter lives on in a greater reality.

Michael Tymn, Tue 28 May, 08:53

Shortly after the death of our daughter by suicide, I started to take an interest in the after life. I bought the book"After Death Communication” by Guggenheim. and read the different kinds of adcs that some people believe they receive. Over several years, I had several instances in which I saw a wild animal a deer, bear or moose, shortly after asking my daughter for a sign. My husband described the vision he had of his parents meeting our daughter at her last viewing at the funeral parlor. He had never read the book himself, but it was very similar to the one described in the book. One day I was letting our cat in the house in the morning when I noticed a rainbow that seemed to be hovering directly over our house.  I thought to myself that it was winter and early in the morning, not a time one usually sees rainbows. I went inside and turned on the computer. The first email was a poem that began with the words ” I send you a rainbow”. The person’s name who sent it was Cathy. I never identified who it was , but our daughter’s name was Catherine/

Ann McGarity, Mon 27 May, 20:00

Thanks to all for the comments.  They are very much appreciated.

When it comes to synchronicity, I am left with the advice of Carl Jung:  “If there is something we cannot know, we must necessarily abandon it as an intellectual problem…Therefore, I must drop this question as a scientific or intellectual problem.  But if an idea about it is offered to me—in dreams or in mythic traditions—I ought to take note of it. I even ought to build up a conception on the basis of such hints, even though it will forever remain a hypothesis which I know cannot be proved.

Michael Tymn, Thu 9 May, 05:03

Mike, thank you for the opportunity to share one of the significant events that bolster my belief in synchronicity, particularly between my husband (who transitioned in 2013) and me. I will describe one of my favorites.

I contacted a medium for the first time in my life in early 2018. Almost immediately I realized Mark Christopher Nelson was in contact with my husband. But then, one sentence threw me off. My husband said, “You know me better than anyone else in the world.” I thought that was so obvious that it didn’t even make sense. I mulled it over and could not understand the significance. Exactly a week later, a car cut in front of me and I noticed the license plate—UKNOWME—For some time after that, I saw license plates with our initials and significant dates.

Joyce Sorensen, Sat 4 May, 03:38

Mike, you are perhaps aware of the novel by Douglas Adams entitled ‘The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ which was really big in the UK many years ago because the BBC made a very entertaining and popular radio play based on it. In it a huge, powerful, wise computer is consulted on the meaning of ‘Life, the Universe and Everything!’. After long cogitation the computer finally comes up with the answer, which, it says, is ’42’.

We all have synchronicities and coincidences. When my partner and I have them, she often asks what it all means. The only thing I can come up with is that it is a message from the Universe telling us that reality is nothing like what we assume it is.

Keith P in England, Fri 3 May, 21:26

A week or so after my father’s transition, my sister and I were driving home from the supermarket, both in tears, discussing how hard it was to function. She said, “We are just lost.” As we cintinued down a suburban street, a car parked in a driveway had a license plate with the word LOST on it. We were stunned. When we got to the house, I heard my mother call from upstairs to pick up the kitchen phone; someone wished to speak to us. I fairly snarled back “I don’t want to talk to ANYBODY.,” to which she replied “You’ll want to speak to THIS person.” Confused, and irritated, I picked up the phone. It was Jane Caruso, an angel of a woman who was the Oncology gatekeeper at Morristown Memorial Hosputal, who was always lobbying for my father to receive his platelets more promptly. We had developed a closeness with Jane as a result of her kindness and her deep fondness for my father. When we spoke, she explained to me that, earlier that day,  she had seen my father, sitting in the waiting area, with his baseball cap on. She confided having seen him to a wonderful nurse, Laura (to whom my father would often bring his homemade anise biscotti). Laura whispered to Jane: “I thought I saw him too.”  This was one of many miraculous events that occurred in the first few years after his ascension, but as we sat in the car en route to the house after seeing the license plate, I had privately, desperately, asked my father for a sign. Does it matter that the visitation Jane and Laura experienced happened earlier in the day, and that my plea went out after sundown? I would say that time may not be a factor in these cases, but a skeptic might point it out as evidence there was no connection.

John Joseph, Wed 1 May, 01:27

I had an Australian Shepherd named Woody who succumbed to the ailments of old age and I had to have him euthanized.  Woody was more human than dog and he went everywhere with me.  Actually he lived with me and I loved him.  He was intelligent to the extent that he knew many English words, knew his left from his right and was keen of mind and otherwise a brilliant consciousness and companion.  When he died I was heartbroken and on the way home from the vets,  as serendipity would have it I happened to get behind a car with the license plate “Woody 3” on it which I followed for some distance.

Believing what I do, I thought that maybe that was a sign of some sort.  That Woody or somebody else acknowledged my grief.
During the following year I looked for other cars with license plates with “Woody” embossed on them.  But to no avail.  I saw none even though I looked, at least for a while, every time I drove the car.  On the one year anniversary of his death, May 1, I renewed my quest looking for license plates with “Woody” on them, maybe “Woody 4” would be nice but as the day went on, I saw nothing.  After work I went to the nearby hardware store for some trinket and had forgotten about Woody.  I paid the cashier and exited the store for my car in the parking lot.  I don’t know why but as I walked toward my car I looked back over my shoulder toward the exit doors of the store and there on the wall by the doors was a large 5 by 5 foot plastic advertisement in full color for “Woody’s Hotdogs” with “Woody” and “Dog” written 5 or 6 times all over the sign.  Needless to say, I was overwhelmed!

Now, what should I make of this!  Certainly there was meaning for me.  Was it coincidence?  It seemed like more than coincidence to me.  After all it was the one year anniversary of Woody’s death, the exact date.  The sign had Woody’s name on it and ‘dog’ many times.  It was as if someone was saying” Is this enough.  Does this satisfy you now?”  I had looked consciously for a sign for a whole year and saw nothing.  I looked all day on May 1 and saw nothing even though I was thinking about it the whole day and looking for a sign from Woody. So if I were generating the sign myself, it had taken a whole year and a whole lot of effort to manifest it. There were too many meaningful coincidences for me to believe that there was not some intent behind it, either mine or someone else’s.

Was the sign a ‘sign’ from another reality, fulfilling my wish to see a ‘sign’ from my ‘dog’, ‘ Woody’?  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 30 Apr, 13:47

When the psychic realm opened up for me 23 years ago I almost had a nervous breakdown with the bombardment of dreams, synchronicities and psychic happenings. I count myself fortunate to have found Jung’s work early on and then A Course in Miracles a few years later. The very second lesson in the Course states that I give everything the meaning it has for me. While the ego could take that and milk it for all its worth, as it often does in the LOA approach, what I have come to understand is that in the final analysis it is my choice as to how I interpret anything. Its whole approach is in line with Jung’s concept of individuation, ie that the journey is in becoming more conscious and more whole and in that process we also become more conscientious and holistically minded rather than more egotistically minded. To me now the psychic realm is almost a seamless whole with the physical world and there are just as many distractions int that realm as this and just as much diversity. The more conscious I become, especially of the limitations of my point of view, the better decisions I am able to make about what I give attention to and what I can safely ignore. I understand now that a lot of what I gave credence to as ‘signs from above’ was a form of wish fulfilment that at the time was an aid to navigating grief. As such it was helpful and therefore a good thing but as with all good things they can outlive their usefulness. I suspect this is a stage that most people must pass through on the way to psychological and spiritual maturity.

Gloria Oelman, Tue 30 Apr, 01:41

I too was reminded of the remarkable Dean Radin synchronicity story. I am convinced that type of thing occurs when there are serious pre-birth agreements. Although I appreciate your skeptical take on coincidences, I felt the incident where your friend, Dennis, sent you the photos might well have been prompted by a 3-way communication between you (unconsciously), Dennis, and your brother. I believe it happens quite often.

Suzanne Carter, Tue 30 Apr, 01:25

Is there any objective way to assess whether a coincidence is meaningful or meaningless? Probably not—in the end it’s down to individual interpretation. One criterion might be helpful: does the event seem to violate natural laws?

“Yes” would include, for instance: the appearance of animals not normally seen in a particular environment; apports of historic coins or other artifacts; multiple electrical failures for which there is no technical reason. Randomness doesn’t seem to fit these.

I’d be inclined to be skeptical about “signs” that could occur normally: seeing and hearing the same word, for example; hearing the favorite song of a loved one (unless it’s really obscure); catching sight of significant names or numbers. In these cases the mind is likely to be primed to notice any parallel while ignoring other stimuli.

For those with well-developed intuition, that may be the best guide.

Rick Darby, Mon 29 Apr, 22:50

Coincidentally or synchronistically, I just came upon this William James quote while looking for something else.  His words seem to have some application here.

  “The whole drift of my education goes to persuade me that the world of our present consciousness is only one out of many worlds of consciousness that exist, and that those other worlds must contain experiences which have a meaning for our life also; and that although in the main their experiences and those of this world keep discrete, yet the two become continuous at certain points, and higher energies filter in.  By being faithful in my poor measure of this over-belief, I seem to myself to keep more sane and true.” 

Michael Tymn, Mon 29 Apr, 21:41

Apr 29, 2019 Mike Tymn blog on coincidences: and a book review –

Philipps concludes in the book’s Epilogue. “Each of us has an antenna that can pick up energy and information from the spirit world all day and every day. The issue is whether we tune out the distractions of this world and tune in to and recognize that information and energy the antenna is attracting. We all have the capability to tune in at a deeper level, but we need to have that awareness to do it….”

Dictionary definitions:  “Coincidence” an accidental and remarkable occurrence of events ideas etc. at the same time in a way that sometimes suggests a causal relationship as their meeting on the train was pure coincidence.  Chance, fortuity. Casualty. concurrence. harmony. agreement – coincident taking up the same position in space at the same time.  Happens at the same time – coinciding.

Synchronize – to move or occur at the same time or rate to have the same timing to be synchronous.  To assign (events, etc.) to the same date or period; to represent as or show to be coincident or simultaneous. 

I like the Dean Radin words below: 

Dean Radin because he was trying to get hold of him - the video can be found on YouTube.  His hypothesis: that when two or more agents are focusing on mutually beneficial needs the chances of that synchronicity increases.

Mike one of the things you could do is have a reading with a medium and have medium see if your brother would come in and see if he’s trying to contact you.  That would be fun!  Blessings and thanks for this, Karen

Karen Herrick PhD, Mon 29 Apr, 21:36

Wonderful article Michael. Of course, you know these are “after-death communications” when you receive synchronistic “signs” relating to deceased loved ones. Carl Jung’s work with physicist Wolfgang Pauli lead him to believe that such “signs” are evidence that you are quantumly “entangled” and connected with the “Unus mundus” (one world) which underlies all reality of which our deceased loved ones are also connected.

My family began receiving “signs” from my mother just days after she died in a car accident in 2001 for which I have documented on my website. My family continues to receive ADCs regularly throughout the decades with the latest one occurring in 2018. These ADCs mostly involve her favorite song “Moon River” made famous in Truman Capote’s 1961 movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

In 1978 while I was in college, I happened to attend a lecture by Truman Capote. Days later, I attended a college fraternity party just three miles away from where my mother would die in a car accident 23 years later in 2001. Months before she died, I created a music CD for my mother with her favorite song, Moon River, at the top of the list. Two days after she died, she appeared to my sister and I in similar lucid dreams on the same night. My mother told me in my lucid dream about her giving my brother Glenn a message related to his memory of him singing Moon River with her when he was a child. My brother later told me it was on that same day he decided to sing Moon River at her memorial.

At the memorial, my sister was surprised to hear my brother sing Moon River because a few days earlier, she remembered the song for the first time since childhood but couldn’t remember the lyrics. Then about a week later, I woke up and turned the television on, and by pure coincidence Truman Capote’s movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” came on and the song Moon River began to play. This was the most profound ADC synchronicity I had ever experienced in my life at that time. A few weeks later, my father heard on his car radio discussing a news item by Paul Harvey about the real Moon River—how the Moon River sign at the river keeps getting stolen.

Then on the death anniversary of my mother in November 2003, I published these “Moon River coincidences” on my website. On the same day, my brother heard Moon River played on the television show “Sex and the City.” My sister Debbie coincidently watched Andy Williams sing Moon River on a cable TV biography of him. Around the same time, my other brother Steve and his wife Sandy were browsing around in a mall music store when she picked the first CD she saw on the shelf at random; and it was a Barbara Streisand CD with the song Moon River listed on it.

My father and I made a deal that whoever died first would let the other know from the “Other Side” that there is an afterlife. Then in 2009, while my Dad was in a coma dying from lymphoma, he experienced “terminal lucidity” when he woke up from his coma and gave me a great big smile just before he died. It was evidence to me that he had seen the Other Side. Then months later, he appeared to me in a lucid dream which I understood to be the actual evidence to me that there is an afterlife. Then a few days after his death anniversary in 2010, I stumbled across the beginning of the TV show “The Andy Williams Moon River and Me Show.” Another profound sign. About a week later, I was watching an infomercial for Time-Life’s “Golden Age of Pop” and heard Moon River played by Henry Mancini from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The next day, my step-mother told me how she also stumbled across “The Andy Williams Moon River and Me Show” on TV. A few days lat6er, I stumbled across an A&E Biography of Truman Capote. The next day, I learned on the Internet that the actress Patricia Neal from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s died.

A day after the July 2011 death anniversary of my Dad’s death, while doing a Google search on the Internet I stumbled across an unrelated article about “The Moon River Brewing Company.” It was just another of a stream of “Moon River synchronicity” from the Other Side.

Finally, on October 1, 2018, I participated in the first meeting of the Sacramento IANDS Group where I spoke about the Moon River and Truman Capote synchronicity which provided evidence of the afterlife. A local news station covered the event which I watched on TV later that evening. Minutes after watching the news event on TV, a news story about Truman Capote appeared. Seeing my book with my picture on TV, then hearing about Truman Capote minutes later on the same program, was the biggest synchronicity in my life—and the biggest evidence to me that my Mom and Dad was watching the event as well.

I have the complete story here:

Kevin Williams, Mon 29 Apr, 21:32

Pamela, interesting that you would bring up the number “42,” as that has been my “lucky” number since my youth when I adopted Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers as my sports idol.  His number was 42.  It didn’t occur to me until a few years ago that my April 2 birthday converts to 4-2.

Gordon, I agree, but I don’t have the patience or whatever it takes to overcome those limitations.

Maryam, Thanks for the comments and references. I do recall Dean Radin’s experience from his book.

Dave, I sense there is a slight growing interest but not enough to reverse the seemingly downward trend in our hedonistic way of life

Michael Tymn, Mon 29 Apr, 21:32

synchronicities happen constantly but many people are unaware of the meaning.  For some its 222 , 333, 444,555 on the clock we look at the time. This happens to me every day.  I am aware that my guides are in contact with me so I ask a question and get an answer!

jessica E Taylor, Mon 29 Apr, 20:53

Super interesting, Mike….and thanks as well for the other links.

I continue to find it remarkable the amount of literature and videos on the Spirit world and related topics which I knew nothing about even early on when this subject interested me.  Only from following a continuous thread of curiosity have I discovered more and more documented material.

Even more remarkable is how all this information seems so separate from mainstream information.  Friends who have no interest in the subject are completely unaware of this body of information.  I often wonder how they’d feel about it if they read some of this.  No doubt, there would still be the deniers.

I just took a class on consciousness.  It would have been more interesting if the teacher had included reading material from the spirit world as an added dimension in the discussion.  I forced the conversation in that direction via the double slit quantum experiment as a test of “what is reality” and the class discussions got very interesting.

Do you sense there’s a growing interest in this subject?  Better yet, is there anyway of knowing if general population levels of awareness are expanding, contracting, or staying pretty much the same?  Are there any metrics on numbers of published books, videos, etc. on the subject of the spirit world?  Maybe that could point to trends?

David Daughters, Mon 29 Apr, 19:17

I share your incredulity at some level, but from experience I’m convinced that synchronicity exists.  Synchronicities being meaningful coincidences.

I have also recently finished reading Dossey’s One Mind and he gives many examples of the evidence for the existence of the interconnectedness of psyche.  So synchronicities could be another way that we experience the interconnectedness.

Bernie Beitman MD is the author of Connecting with Coincidence and he talks about a psychosphere that connects all information. I like some of the examples in his book too. 

What some people think is communication with the deceased over a synchronicity is difficult to validate.  I certainly don’t think everything should be classed as that.  Afterall many synchronicities happen with no relationship to any deceased or living person.  So it could just be one’s own mind tapping into the connections. But in certain cases, I wonder if the deceased receives your message or senses your feelings, why couldn’t both minds influence that event?  Perhaps that creates a stronger synchronicity.

Dean Radin describes a very strong multiple synchronicity he once had when he moved offices and found out that his neighbour had exactly what he needed as a lab, and that the neighbour had been mentally focusing on Dean Radin because he was trying to get hold of him - the video can be found on youtube.  His hypothesis: that when two or more agents are focusing on mutually beneficial needs the chances of that synchronicity increases.  Now to extend that idea, the two agents don’t need to be both in the physical.  Thoughts?

Maryam, Mon 29 Apr, 19:08

Michael, when you write that the Higher Self and the universal mind are “beyond your comprehension” you are limiting yourself unnecessarily.
  For example, your research has shown you that the lower astral realms exist for those who need them or feel that that’s all they deserve, and that the beautiful summerlands exist for those who are ready to accept them.  The literature, especially that of the 19th century, is replete with examples of heaven dwellers going on rescue missions to the lower astral hell realms and not being believed by the residents that there are better worlds to go to.  Just as materialists have convinced themselves there is no spirit world, and limit themselves to this plane, lower astral residents carry that same self-limitation to the afterlife. 
  I have worked, while obe, with residents of the heaven worlds, trying to show them that the next step is to give up the body completely and be a free spirit with no identifying form.  Some will not beleive me at all, arguing that resurrection has already been effected, and others are fearful of giving up their beloved personality, even though it has fulfilled itself completely and is ready to be discarded.  I try to encourage them to experience this transition consciously, rather than going through it in the pleasant coma-like dream state that will overtake them eventually, when the joys of heaven have exhausted themselves, completed their mission as it were.  Self- limitation is abehaviour pattern that repeats itself all through our cycles of incarnation.

Gordon Phinn, Mon 29 Apr, 18:01

And just about an hour ago I was wondering the same thing, about those synchronistic things that happen to me all the time (like hearing the same word on tv just as I am entering the same word answer on a crossword puzzle, or just this morning when I was reading something and came upon the number 42, and just then heard my coworker say “42”), and now I read your post about the same kind of thing!  It sure is something to think about, isn’t it?

Pamela Minick, Mon 29 Apr, 16:56

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