Dr. R. Craig Hogan discusses the evidence for Life after Death
Posted on 03 September 2012, 6:58
R. Craig Hogan, Ph.D., (below) is the author of Your Eternal Self (Greater Reality Publications, 2008), co-author of Induced After-Death Communication: A New Therapy for Healing Grief and Trauma with Allan Botkin, Psy.D. (Hampton Roads 2005), and co-author of Guided Afterlife Connections: They Come to Change Lives (Greater Reality Publications, 2011) with Rochelle Wright. He is the director of the Center for Spiritual Understanding and is on the boards of The Academy for Spiritual and Consciousness Studies, Inc., Association for Evaluation and Communication of Evidence for Survival, and American Society for Standards in Mediumship and Psychical Investigation. He is a business writing professor with his own online business writing school at businesswriting.com.
I recently interviewed Dr. Hogan for The Searchlight, a quarterly publication for The Academy for Spiritual and Consciousness Studies, Inc. (See http://www.aspsi.org/index.php for information about the Academy’s essay competition). A slightly abridged version of that interview is set forth here.
Dr. Hogan, what prompted your interest in this whole subject of life after death?
“I was drawn to it. Beginning in 1997, I started chancing upon psychics. I had never met one in my life before, and suddenly they were appearing at every turn. I befriended a woman named Greta Alexander, a psychic detective included in the book, 100 Best Psychics. I saw evidence of her accuracy and reasoned that there is more to reality than meets the eye, literally. I had a reading from a psychic who told me I have psychic ability. When I tried it out, I discovered that I can remote view, seeing objects on tables with my mind’s eye that are hundreds or thousands of miles away. I was able to hold playing cards face down on my palm and know the color, suit, and number. Later, I found I could predict future events. Reality wasn’t what I had assumed it to be.
“I began studying psychic phenomena and discovered Leslie Flint’s recordings of people in the afterlife speaking about themselves, the afterlife, and our eternal natures. I purchased all the recordings I could locate and listened to them voraciously. Their content became the primary basis for my understanding of the afterlife and afterlife connections. I had sessions with mediums and became involved in studying medium activity. That has continued to this day. I have now dedicated my life to afterlife studies and helping people have afterlife connections.”
In your book, Your Eternal Self, you state that there is overwhelming evidence that we are eternal beings. What do you see as the very best evidence?
“There are two forms of overwhelming evidence. For the individual, the best evidence is experiencing an NDE, spontaneous visitation, Guided Afterlife Connection, or other direct experience connecting with someone in the afterlife. Those who have such experiences most often change their perspectives on death immediately, and the change is stable over time.
“For those who haven’t had such experiences, the best evidence is in the recordings from direct-voice and physical mediums. The two whose recordings are most available are Leslie Flint and David Thompson. Leslie Flint was a direct-voice medium from the middle of the twentieth century. The perfectly normal, audible voices of people living in the afterlife came through ectoplasmic voice boxes generated from Flint’s body while he sat in darkness. Volunteers faithfully recorded the sessions, giving them freely to humanity. Hundreds of recordings of discarnates speaking in Flint’s sessions are available today. I have many on my website at adcguides.com. Thompson’s recordings are available on the Circle of the Silver Cord website.
“These recordings are the crown jewels of afterlife connections, but they have been neglected because they are so remarkable people have difficulty accepting their authenticity.”
Why do you think that the world is so slow to accept the evidence?
“Most of what we believe about life and the world comes to us through absorbing what people in our society believe, not from our direct experience. We then cling to the web of beliefs we develop from childhood because doing so satisfies three critical needs on Maslow’s needs hierarchy: the needs for safety, belonging, and self-esteem. Having a stable set of beliefs we are convinced is right and true gives the world predictability, satisfying the need for safety. When we share the beliefs with others in our group, they agree and join us in harmony, satisfying our need for a sense of belonging. And when people pontificate about the reasons they dismiss the validity of alternative data, the adulation they receive from the group satisfies their need for a feeling of competence and self-esteem.
“Society promulgates the beliefs that psi is trickery and afterlife communications are dark and occult. These beliefs inculcated by society and sub-groups such as religious fundamentalists and materialist scientists are quite stable and reinforced by society and the groups. To maintain their feeling of predictability and safety in the world, to continue to be accepted by the groups they value, and to be viewed as capable and sensible, not occult and cultish, people cling to the outdated beliefs, even in the face of contrary evidence.”
Then what will make people change?
“People can’t be made to change, but they can be allowed to change. When a new truth surfaces, the members of the group ridicule it because it doesn’t fit with their shared web of beliefs. In ridiculing it together, they satisfy each other’s’ needs for feelings of safety, belonging, and being thought competent.
“An increasing number of early adopters then begin speaking of the new truth as possibly true. Over time, the new truth becomes more familiar, resulting in more converts to its veracity. Over years, decades, or centuries, people hear about the new truth from others in their group they respect, see that it is becoming more commonplace to entertain it, and gradually feel their needs for safety, belongingness, and self-esteem are not threatened by the belief.
Finally, society and the groups actually reinforce the new belief by showing members they are safe in believing it, praising them for embracing it, and telling them they are wise or intelligent because they are among the believers. The new belief becomes the norm.
“None of that process is rational. Arguments and evidence won’t result in acceptance of the belief as legitimate. This glacially slow process of small changes in attitudes that allows individuals to advance slowly toward belief without having their needs threatened is simply a necessary process every time a new paradigm progresses from disbelief and ridicule to acceptance and legitimacy. We’re seeing that evolution now, but it has a long way to go. As Max Planck observed, probably psi and the afterlife will become accepted only when “its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”
Are you carrying on any research yourself?
“We have incorporated the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Center for Spiritual Understanding in Illinois. As it develops, the Center will follow a teaching-research hospital model. Mediums and Guided Afterlife Connections psychotherapists will meet with people by appointment to connect with loved ones on the next planes of life. Researchers will study the connections being made and develop new methods of communication the practitioners can try with clients. Other methods of connecting will be used and studied, such as psychomanteums, hypnosis connections, and guided meditation connections. Mediums and Guided Afterlife Connections psychotherapists will be trained to help people connect with their loved ones. Presentations and meetings will be held to educate the public about the afterlife and afterlife connections. Professionals who work with dying people (such as care givers, clergy, hospice workers, physicians, and counselors) will come for training to help their constituencies understand the afterlife, deal with grief and fear of death, and connect with loved ones.
“Today, the Center’s primary area of focus is on Guided Afterlife Connections. I have completed a study of Guided Afterlife Connections showing that in one session, people’s grief reduced from an average of 9.91 on a 10-point grief and disturbance scale at the beginning of the session to 1.41 by the end. We are continuing studies of the effects of Guided Afterlife Connections on experiencers.
“I’m also developing protocols to help individuals learn to make their own connections. I’m using hypnosis to develop a method that will teach people how to allow the subtle impressions to come from the subconscious into the conscious mind. We are also in the early stages of developing ways to connect with the consciousness of people with medical conditions that preclude communication, such as patients with Alzheimer’s, in a coma or vegetative state, and severely mentally retarded. We already have anecdotal evidence that shows we can do it. We now need to collect more controlled data.”
The recent conference in Washington indicates that you are in touch with a number of mediums. Do you feel that the present day mediumship is as dynamic as that of 75-150 years ago? If not, why not?
“No, present-day mediumship is not as dynamic as that during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I believe there are three primary reasons.
“First, people involved in the mediumship activities in those earlier times spent hours each day in quiet contemplation. There were no distractions such as the ubiquitous cell phones, radios, televisions, and the Internet that we have today. People had little to occupy their leisure time except conversation, reading, or quiet contemplation. That slowed their pace of life, raising their vibrations and enabling them to connect more easily. More direct-voice, physical, and trance mediums were able to emerge. I believe many potential mediums are alive today, but they are not able to emerge because of the distractions in our lives.
“Second, people today will not take the time to sit for physical mediumship. Everyone is too busy and harried. Circles in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries sat for years before anything of note happened. The Scole group, which eventually had very successful sessions with manifestations from the spirit world, sat regularly for three years before anything happened. Minnie Harrison, the famous trance medium of the mid-twentieth century, also sat with her circle every week for three years before seeing results. Leslie Flint, the remarkable direct-voice medium, sat with his circle for seven years before anything happened. Today, if a circle doesn’t have results in a short time, it becomes frustrated and disbands.
“Finally, to establish the clear connections that result in communication from the other side, we must raise our vibrations while they lower theirs to find just the right channel or “sweet spot” at which we and they can meet. They spend years trying to find that channel and refine the connection. Raising our vibration requires a harmonious, loving, spiritual atmosphere. However, the energy on the Earth plane today is very dense and negative. Those living on other planes of life describe coming into the Earth plane’s vibration as like trying to penetrate a deep, dark fog because of the conflict, hatred, greed, and violence in the world today. Instant communication today brings disturbing incidents and images into our lives daily that people in earlier periods might have witnessed once or twice in a lifetime, if at all.
“With the atmosphere today being so dense and heavy, our vibration levels are low and the generally dense spiritual or etheric atmosphere makes direct-voice, physical, and trance mediumship more difficult to attain. I believe these impediments are the reasons we’re being led to other ways to connect today, such as Guided Afterlife Connections. They’re being brought to us because the methods used in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are not so available to us. However, I am hoping that the Center for Spiritual Understanding will be able to discover other means of communication, and perhaps develop more physical, direct-voice, and trance medium circles.”
See Dr. Hogan’s web site at http://youreternalself.com/drhogan2.htm
Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After we Die, Transcending the Titanic, and The Afterlife Explorers Volume 1., published by White Crow Books and available from Amazon and all good online bookstores.
Next blog: September 17
I have learned the hard way that it pays to write the post in Word then cut an paste into the blog box. If it fails to go through for whatever reason, I still have the original text.
The Time Traveller
The Time Traveller, Tue 27 Nov, 06:21
we had a copy. Finally found it on the day I decided to reisgn and devote all my efforts to healing work. Right next to it on the shelf? The 7 Secrers of Synchronicity ! Just bought as used book that day. Already through first two chapters and enjoying it muchly. Many, many stories if synchronicity in my healing work Two just this morning. Thank you very much. And if you’re in Key Largo could you check on my house?
Trish, Fri 28 Sep, 23:17
Regarding your example at the end, I nearly spit my oatmeal all over the monitor…
Well, anyway, I get your point, and I know you get mine. So I won’t belabor it. (until next time…)
But there’s another good coincidence going on here given that this was an interview with Craig Hogan. I know I’ve said more than once that instead of mediumship I feel like better the “good stuff” is to be found with NDEs and ADCs. And, yeah, those stories are, by definition, anecdotal and not really replicable or amenable to scientific investigation. But recently I made the smartaleck remark regarding the Templeton $5 million thing that I think we’d be better off spending $10 and replicating Dr. Moody’s psychomanteum work or Dr. Botkin’s IADC work - which Craig Hogan co-wrote the book for.
I’ve read both the IADC book and the GAC book Hogan co-wrote. Personally, the IADC book was far better written and more compelling. I know he cites a higher success rate with GAC, but, I don’t know, I didn’t get that from his presentation (at a conference he presented at) or the book. For the most part, the accounts in the IADC book sounded indistuinguishable from the spontaneous kinds the Guggenheims wrote about. So that’s where I think (“if this is all true…”) that we could make great strides in *proving* that consciousness survives physical death. I mean, imagine being able to induce a full-blown, mind-blowing ADC in Michael Shermer or Joe Nickell or James Randi…
Ok, I’ll stop rambling now.
RonC, Wed 12 Sep, 23:11
Thank you for your comment, and thanks to all others. It would take a long essay to really address your questions and I am not prepared to do that right now.
To begin with, I never said I was a “fraud investigator.” I spent some 40 years in claims adjusting, supervision and management, including litigation management. There is considerable fraud in insurance claims, and I encountered some of it, but these days fraud investigation is a specialty separate from claims management.
Yes, there is laboratory science and court-room science, or exact science and inexact science. Clearly, the whole area of survival research is not in the “test tube” category and lends itself more easily to court-room science. Some of the early psychical researchers, such as Sir William Crookes, a world-renowned chemist, were criticized as not being qualified to investigate mediums because it was outside the scope of their expertise. There is no winning on that issue. The researchers who have first-hand experience are dismissed as “Spiritualists” and therefore not objective. I believe this is why so many modern parapyschologists and NDE researchers remain forever on the fence. If they come off the fence in favor of survival, they are said to be unscientific. They must forever remain “balanced” in their views.
Your last question would take an essay in itself to answer, but I will attempt to summarize it by saying that the history of mediumship suggests that harmony is essential. That is why they say prayers, sing hymns, etc. The harmony is disrupted by most researchers, especially those looking to debunk the medium. Also, it tends to put pressure on the medium to perform, but, as I understand it, mediums are much like athletes in that respect in that the harder they try, the more they fail. It has to come naturally rather than by forcing it and it just doesn’t come naturally when some skeptical scientist is there sneering at you and waiting for developments. Of course, there are exceptions—researchers who are sympathetic and patient, but when they proclaim that the medium is real the skeptics immediately claim that he/she is unscientific and biased, etc., and so no progress is made.
I always hesitate to use this example, but I think it is the best analogy possible. One of the early psychological researchers suggested it. The average male will have no problem having an erection in the privacy of his own bedroom, but if you put that average male on a stage in front of a bunch of skeptical observers and tell him that you will give him a million dollars to prove he can have an erection, a very large percentage of them will fail or appear impotent, because they are “trying” to do it without the necessary “harmony.” I gather that it is that way with mediumship.
Michael Tymn, Wed 12 Sep, 10:13
Michael, I was recently reading a 6/25/11 interview with you at Subversive Thinking:
In it you talked about being an insurance fraud investigator.
The first thing that struck me (and you have to remember that I love you, man) was how much of what you said appeared to me like you were jumping through hoops to explain the actions of mediums and the alleged behaviors of the spirits coming through them. I was hit by a delicious irony of sorts when you said, “I think Occam’s Razor easily favors the spirit hypothesis over Super ESP or Superpsi.” because at that moment I had been thinking that Occam’s Razor tells me that the actions of the mediums and “spirits” is more easily and parsimoniously explained by, well, fraud and human behavior then the convoluted twists and turns and leaps in logic you seemed to be describing.
But who knows… I’m open to the idea that what you described is exactly the way it really is.
ANYWAY, that’s not why I really wanted to write…
What I really wanted to ask you about was your background as a fraud investigator who, in your estimation, should hold the world record in applying the scientific method. My question is whether or not you think a background as a fraud investigator - or a background as, say, the one who determines what is or is not legally admissible evidence - makes you better equipped to assess evidence better than a rigorous (and honest) scientist?
I mean, I’ve heard a million times something like, “In a court of law, the evidence for an ‘afterlife’ would be more than adequate to prove its (legal) existence”, yada yada. My response (which was also the response of Raymond Moody, I was glad to find out, in person) was that evidence in a court of law has nothing to do with the rigor or critical thinking required to assess and describes what’s “really real”. I’m not sure I said that as clearly as I could, but you get the gist: passing the threshold of legal muster is not better (by a long shot!) or even the same as passing scientific muster.
Your thoughts on that?
Finally, again the physical mediums…
What are your thoughts on the claims that physical mediumship is the greatest proof possible of an afterlife, and that scientists are ignoring the physical mediums (for whatever reason)—and yet, when asked to investigate, the physical mediums and their handlers WILL NOT ALLOW the scientists to conduct their tests/examinations in any meaningful way? Certainly not in a way even close to what is required to rigorously determine the validity of what is being investigated. (I mean, really, it’s flippin’ ridiculous to say that scientists are essentially running scared from the physical mediums and won’t investigate them, when the conditions imposed by the mediums and their handlers is: you can’t move, see, touch, record or even THINK NEGATIVELY about the proceedings - otherwise you will interfere with the spirits and ruin the whole thing, yada yada. Give me a break…)
RonC, Tue 11 Sep, 21:38
Fabulous interview. I especially appreciated the remarks abut how all of our gadgets and distractions are pulling us (and particularly a medium) away from more direct contact. It is so commonly accepted that all this technology is good for us, and in many ways I believe it is true, but we should be aware of how it limits us, too. Great job.
Joshua Bagby, Sat 8 Sep, 19:14
Another excellent Interview!!!
Dr. Hogan has a depth of understanding and perspective that, in my experience, is quite rare… I have read his book, “Your Eternal Self”, which should be on everyone’s bookshelf. It is remarkable for its fascinating insight and perspective.
I, personally, would like to see folks like Dr. Hogan on the “evening news” on a regular basis ...
I noted that he has been on “Coast to Coast am” one time (August 12, 2008). The topics he presented were of such interest (to me, at least) that he should be invited back on that and similar programs, at least once a week.
Perhaps, his presentations are somewhat like “Crop Circles” - clearly revolutionary in content and scope, but the public is not quite ready to pursue, or even try to understand (?)
The work Dr. Hogan and group is doing at the “Center for Spiritual Understanding” in Illinois should be followed closely, and encouraged at every opportunity ...
Thanks again, Mike, for a great Interview, and continued best wishes to you and your group, Dr. Hogan ...
Richard Brannon, Thu 6 Sep, 16:55
Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 5 Sep, 19:17
This is the second time I have lost a long comment to you. When I send the comment I get a message that something is wrong, (in this case the email address was not accepted) but when I return to my comment, it is gone! As a writer I am sure you know writing is never as good the second time it is written as it was in the first version.
An excellent interview. Intelligent, accurate and quite encouraging to see the level of intellectual seriousness involved in such a vastly important area. Thanks for sharing!
Justin, Mon 3 Sep, 10:11
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