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Posted on 29 July 2013, 15:33

“ for many of us, ego had dominated soul for lifetime. It had the grip of a vice rusted shut, clamped tight upon his psyche unto his last breath and heartbeat.”

So writes Dr. Stephen J. Iacoboni of one of his dying patients in his book The Undying Soul.  After reading just the first chapter of this book, I was in such awe of the author’s writing and message that I assumed the book would be near the top of the best seller list, right up there with Dr. Eben Alexander’s Proof of Heaven. I didn’t realize at the time that the book was published in 2010.  I had assumed it was a very recent release, and I was surprised to see that it was not highly ranked at However, I reserved further judgment until I was able to finish reading the book, after which I shook my head in bewilderment, still wondering why the book has not been a best seller.  As I see it, it should be the first book read in every college philosophy and religion class.  It should be required reading for every medical student, for every cancer patient, for every hospice patient, for every skeptic, for every pseudoskeptic, for everybody.  I believe it goes to the very heart of the chaos we have in the world today.

Iacoboni (below) is an oncologist, who at the time of publication, had 28 years of experience and had witnessed many thousands of deaths, the majority of them people dying in a state of despair.  He began his medical career as a hardcore atheist, commenting that “discussing a concept like soul was unthinkable.”  Fresh out of medical school, he wanted “to prove that science and logic could triumph over anything – even cancer.”  However, after establishing himself in his career, he began to realize that something was missing. Neither he nor his colleagues were able to offer any real comfort to those who had exhausted all medical treatment and were deemed terminal.  He observed an “unspoken conspiracy of silence” relative to imminent death among his colleagues and patients.  The medical approach to the spirit side of things was “not science, not our job.”  As a result, many patients expired whimpering and with gnashing of teeth.


Iacoboni found that many cancer patients had unrealistic expectations and didn’t want their hopes dashed.  They pleaded for or demanded a cure.  While trying not to extinguish what little hope there might have been, Iacoboni tried to be more honest with them than other doctors.  Most of the terminal patients were, however, unable to accept the truth of their condition and lived their remaining days in a state of despair.


“Never did we look for or try to save the soul of our patients,” Iacoboni offers.  “We were supposedly among the most brilliant medical investigators in the world, and yet we had no knowledge of or interest in that which mattered most.”

As Iacoboni came to see it, the real enemy is the fear of death – “a fear that can only be overcome by recognition that we each have a soul that will never die.”  He devotes separate chapters to different patients, using pseudonyms, of course, beginning with those who most feared death and died in anguish, before discussing several patients who quietly accepted their fate and departed with a puzzling serenity, seemingly even with eagerness and wonder. 

Phillip, one of the patients in the first category, was 60 years old and had just retired from a career in computer technology when he was diagnosed with an aggressive case of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  “Like me, Phillip had long before abandoned religious faith in favor of modern science,” Iacoboni writes. “Unlike faith, however, science provides no refuge when hope is gone.” As Phillip’s condition deteriorated and he marched toward the abyss in “utter isolation,” Iacoboni felt helpless, unable to offer him any comforting words. It was Phillip’s spiritually-deprived death – so like many others he had attended – that prompted Iacoboni to search for answers outside of mainstream medicine. But he was so locked into the dogma of science that he didn’t know where to look. “It wasn’t so much the fact of their deaths that bothered me,” Iacoboni explains.  “Rather it was the fact that they died without the comfort of finding peace with their hearts and souls before they passed on.”

He observed that so many people, so wrapped up in the “materialists’ narrow, spiritually crippling world view” had dismissed God in all the hustle and bustle of their everyday lives, then when facing imminent death, were desperate but didn’t know where to turn.

It was a man he calls Pavel from Ukraine who was to put Iacoboni “on the path toward discovering the undying soul.  All through his treatment for leukemia, Pavel displayed a certain grace and serenity.  “I had known other Christians who had faced their deaths fearlessly, but only a handful,” Iacoboni says, referring to Pavel, “Unfortunately, the majority of patients I’d watched die from cancer did not seem to derive significant comfort from their faith at the end…”  But Pavel remained upbeat, happy and gracious right up until the time his physical body expired.”  Moreover, Pavel rejected any sedatives, something Iacoboni had never witnessed and which he found “more mesmerizing than ten thousand ocean sunsets whereupon light fades to black.”  As Pavel withdrew from his physical body, Iacoboni witnessed a “celestial” apparition, a manifestation that was very convincing to him.

Iacoboni goes on to tell of several other patients who died “mystically.” The evidence that he received was very subjective – he refers to it as “other-worldly” – and probably won’t be all that meaningful to most readers.  What is meaningful is Dr. Iacoboni’s initial despair, his quest, his observations, his conversion and all of the wisdom that grew out of his spiritual awakening. 

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die is published by White Crow Books. His latest book, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife is now available on Amazon and other online book stores. 

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Next blog post: August 12


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Amazing Phenomena that Exceed the Boggle Threshold

Posted on 15 July 2013, 15:22

The search for Truth calls for the spiritual seeker to wade hip-deep through very dense swamplands while enveloped in heavy fog.  Most people – those referred to by existentialist philosopher Soren Kierkegaard as “philistines” – don’t even go there, seemingly content in their mundane world. But those curious and courageous enough to enter the swamps find it so complex and demanding that they continuously flounder, often falling or getting sucked into some quicksand pit. Every now and then, however, someone treads out of that gloomy quagmire and breaks though the mists to “see the light.”  That light is so dazzling that the benevolent person wants to share his or her discoveries with other people, hoping that they, too, will find comfort and peace of mind in the discovery while being aided in their desire to see beyond the material world.  The discoverers usually realize that what they have seen or experienced will be difficult to express in everyday language and even more difficult to reconcile with accepted scientific ideas, but they feel an obligation to their fellow humans to at least attempt to share the experiences. 

Word gets back to those still wallowing in the swamps as well as those who have never entered the swamps that someone has made it out and has discovered a much better and brighter reality.  Many welcome the news and are encouraged to continue on, but there are always those who have limited imaginative faculties, shallow minds, and with egos so inflated that they cannot believe that others have done what they have been unable to do.  They arrogantly go on the attack – scoffing sneering, and cynically claiming that the reports by those seeing the light are false, that they have been deluded or are intentionally attempting to mislead others in order to sell books or otherwise profit.  These debunkers or pseudo-skeptics viciously twist words, distort facts, take things out of context, make irrelevant statements, spread unfounded rumors, and apply terrestrial standards to celestial matters, whatever they believe it will take to defame the person who has seen the light and discredit his or her message. They wave the banner of science and fancy themselves defenders of science.  Had they lived a hundred years ago, they would have had a good laugh at the idea of the Internet and other modern technology that was not yet conceived by science.  “Science is incompetent to make comprehensive denials about anything,” wrote Sir Oliver Lodge, a leading physicist of yesteryear and one of the few respected scientists to speak out against the scientific fundamentalists of his day. “It should not deal in negatives.  Denial is no more fallible than assertion.  There are cheap and easy kinds of skepticism, just as there are cheap and easy kinds of dogmatism.”

Dr. Eben Alexander, whose best-selling book, Power of Heaven, tells of the “light” he discovered after breaking out of the mists, has been under attack by some arrogant philistines recently.  They seem determined to discredit him.  Dr. Martha Barham, a Honolulu psychologist, knows what Alexander must be going through.  She and her late husband, Jay, a trance medium, were once the subjects of vicious rumors and ignorance resulting from a failure to understand that so much of the spiritual realms is beyond human control and understanding. .   

When I first read Dr. Barham’s books, Bridging Two Worlds and The Silver Cord, 15 or more years ago, the whole subject of mediumship was fairly new to me.  By that time, I had overcome my skepticism and accepted that genuine mediumship exists, but my study at that time had not gone much beyond the evidential type messages that come from deceased friends and relatives.  I remained highly skeptical when it came to “channeled” messages purportedly coming from advanced spirits, including some famous names from history, like Jesus, Socrates, St. Augustine, and Swedenborg.  The skeptic in me said, “And, yes, Cleopatra, too.” 

And then there were names like Patience Worth, Seth, White Eagle, Silver Birch, Ramtha, Imperator, and others in which there was no way to confirm that such a person ever existed.  Nevertheless, there was so much penetrating wisdom coming from these entities, Silver Birch being my favorite, I figured there must be something to it.  I couldn’t believe that a charlatan posing as a medium could spontaneously produce such sustained profound verbiage.  Nor could I accept that the subconscious minds of uneducated persons, as so many of the mediums were, could offer such deep and insightful information. As an example, Pearl Curran, the medium for Patience Worth, had no more than an eighth grade education and had never traveled more than a few hundred miles from her home in St. Louis, and yet the writings of Patience Worth were compared with Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Spenser, while her wisdom seemed to significantly exceed those men. 

Many of these advanced spirits have provided a wealth of information about the meaning of life, the nature of the afterlife, and other complex issues which have stymied both science and religion.  The two aforementioned books along with Barham’s latest book, 47 Billion Years of Evolution: A Case Report, boggle the mind with information about the creation of the universe, the evolution of man, the development of free will and religion, and the true meaning of many passages in the Bible.  All this wisdom is provided by spirit entities, the two primary ones calling themselves Aenka and Mario, who materialized through Jay Barham’s mediumship, and lectured Barham and the small group of which she was part for 2-3 hours at a time for nearly 30 years. 

My first reaction was, “Mario?  Come on, no advanced spirit would have a name like Mario. Aenka, maybe, but not Mario. How ridiculous!”  And when I saw pictures taken of Mario and Aenka I really shook my head in disbelief, at least skepticism   Aenka looks too lifelike, almost like a prankster, while Mario looks like something out of a cheap Hollywood science fiction movie.  However, I believe I now understand the dynamics of spirit materialization, including why so many of them look “hokey”  (the subject of a prior blog).  It’s a no-win situation when it comes to photos of spirit entities.  If they look too lifelike, they most certainly are frauds, and if they appear too unlifelike, they are ridiculously fraudulent.

Dr. Barham with Mario behind her.

Although much of what Aenka and Mario had to say appeals to reason, it went beyond my boggle threshold when I read the first two books.  It still challenges that boggle threshold now, even though I have since then come to accept the reality of physical mediumship, which involves ectoplasm and materialization.  Moreover, in all the other reports I have read about materialization, the spirit entities are able to hang around in the earthly vibration for no more than a few minutes, maybe 10-15 at most.  Yet, Aenka and Mario visited for two hours at a time, speaking eloquently while their words were recorded on tape by members of the group.  I finished the first two books with a “Wow!” but still shaking my head with some uncertainty.  After reading Barham’s latest book, I gave a double “Wow!” 

Some of it conflicts with known science and general religious beliefs, but, to my knowledge, none of it can be shown to be false.  For example, the title of the book will no doubt turn away those who accept the theory of mainstream science that the universe is 13-14 billions years old, not 47. However, recent observations put the edge of the observable universe at about 46-47 billion light years away.

Before his death, Jay Barham was asked what it was like when he was in a trance state and in the unobstructed universe.  “I don’t think there is any way at this point that my physical mind could articulate or translate the things that I have experienced,” he responded.  “It would be impossible for me to find words in my limited vocabulary….  You can experience in three to five minutes out there the equivalent of five lifetimes of learning…But it’s also like our physical body can’t tolerate that energy.  You have to be in a spiritual form to experience it because of the brilliance of it, and if you weren’t it would be like looking into a welding arc…”  . 

Shortly after reading those first two books by Dr. Barham, I encountered some of those vicious rumors about Jay Barham.  They sounded like rumors based on lack of knowledge as to how physical mediumship works, but I couldn’t be sure.  I now feel certain that this is not a case of fraudulent mediumship or pure fiction.  I have met the author, a respected psychologist, and the editor, Dr. Elaine Heiby, a respected university psychology professor who knows the author well.  Moreover, there were numerous other witnesses to the phenomena over the years.  It makes absolutely no sense that a man could dupe his wife and educated friends a couple of times a week for 30 years, lecturing to them for two or three hours at a time on subjects far outside his education and everyday knowledge.  One such message delivered by Aenka read:

“If you rely upon an empirical method for belief in our existence you will never attain it because it falls out of the scope of the dimension to which your five senses operate.  To seek knowledge of the truth through the witnessing of phenomena, or even through what I might hope to teach you, is not possible.  It must come from a personal experience gained through an inward searching and a trusting of one’s self to recognize the truth when it is presented.  Many minds say, ‘But Christ offered proof through the performing of miracles.’ Indeed He did.  And most continued to be skeptical and suspicious.  He performed demonstrations in front of thousands. Yet at the time He was crucified there were only a handful of supporters who had glimpsed the truth within, and had gained the inner strength necessary to carry on under adversity.”

On another occasion, Aenka talked about hell and satan:
“Unfortunately time has not seen the eventual elimination of the concepts of hell and satan.  The religious leaders have continued to compromise.  As intelligent as the scholars of spirituality and religion are, even though they know hell and satan do not exist, they skirt around the issue.  It would be a great risk to rise in a pulpit and insist that people give up their thinking about satan and hell.  It would be like stripping them nude and asking them to walk down main street.  To drop the concepts abruptly would be too threatening to the people as a whole, so religious leaders try to make their points in ways that people will not be too threatened.  Until you can convey to a significant degree that it is safe to make a change of concept, people will cling to the past.”

Many who attended the sessions during those 30 years of teachings rejected them.  “Some in our group said there were evil entities but the entities say there is no such thing,” Barham explained in a recent interview. “Many people do not disclose experiences with materialization out of fear of being judged as crazy.  Mario warned us that once we go public, people would turn against us.  And some did.  We never solicited participation but were approached by people interested in joining.  We would ask the entities and if they agreed, we opened the group to them.”

So what to believe?  Aenka answered that question by saying: “If you are going to believe it, you are going to believe it.  If it is positive for you, you will take advantage of it and apply it to your personal growth.  If you doubt it you will continue to try to prove that it does not exist.  You could bring in all of the CIA and FBI and continue to research, and every positive factor that you prove about its existence, its positive existence, there would still always be that scientific unknown that you would need to do more research on before you could really believe it.  So would you prefer that we turn ourselves into a laboratory for examination or would you prefer that we continue with our intent – and that is to try to contact individuals that are truly interested in their personal development, and help them gain that without putting them in a goldfish bowl?”

It is with such an approach that one might best read Dr. Barham’s latest book, the appendix of which includes Bridging Two Worlds and highlights of The Silver Cord.  My guess is that even believers in a spirit world will have difficulty with some of it, especially the very humanlike attributes of Aenka and Mario, and the representation that they appeared to many for some 30 years and yet are virtually unknown.  The scoffers, in their self-righteousness, can have a field day with this book, if they so choose, but those striving to get out of the mists may very well find their way into the light. 

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die is published by White Crow Books. His latest book, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife is now available on Amazon and other online book stores. 

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Next blog post: July 29

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Spirit Communication Problems Further Explained

Posted on 01 July 2013, 14:08

No doubt, a big reason why mediumship is rejected by mainstream science is because of the many distortions, anomalies, inconsistencies, and incongruities in the messages received from the spirit world. The debunkers, in all their shallowness, point out every little glitch, as if they expect it to be like a two-way telephone conversation.  Even many parapsychologists believe that it is all coming from the subconscious of the medium.

The problems encountered in spirit communication have been discussed in previous blogs here, but in recently rereading Volume I of The Life Beyond the Veil, a 1921 publication authored by G. Vale Owen, (below) I came upon the best explanation I have yet read from the spirit side.


An Anglican priest, Owen (1869 – 1931) explained that his wife first developed the power of automatic writing and through her he received requests that he should sit quietly, pencil in hand, and take down any thoughts which came into his mind, projected there by some external personality and not from his own brain. Although he initially resisted, he eventually concluded that they were good influences and decided to sit in the vestry each evening to see if he could receive messages.. “The first four or five messages wandered aimlessly from one subject to another,” he explained.  “But gradually the sentences began to take consecutive form, and at last I got some which were understandable.  From that time, development kept pace with practice.”  On only two occasions did Owen have any idea as to what the subject was to be.  That was when the previous messages had been unfinished. “At other times I had fully expected a certain subject to be taken, but on taking up my pencil the stream of thought went off in an altogether different direction.”

The result was many messages explaining the spirit world.  They came to the attention of Lord Northcliffe, a leading British publisher, and were printed as a series in the Weekly Dispatch. Books followed, becoming popular in the English-speaking world and translated into French, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, and Portuguese.    Unfortunately, the Church of England did not take kindly to such “occult” messages and Owen was forced to resign from the clergy. After touring the United States, he returned to London and became a Spiritualist minister.

Most of the early messages came from Owen’s mother, but it was made clear that she was being assisted by a spirit named Kathleen, who relayed the messages from his mother.  Moreover, many of the messages were not from his mother alone but from a group of entities.  This is consistent with a number of other messages indicating that “group souls” are communicating rather than individuals.  Perhaps the best known is the Imperator “band of 49” which communicated through W. Stainton Moses and later through Leonora Piper.

Owen asked the communicating spirit in one session why they sometimes addressed themselves as “I” and other times as “We.”The reply came, in part: “When “we say “I” we speak as in the name of the leader of the whole band of thirty-six, so as at present numbered.  When I say “We” I am speaking for the moment on behalf of the other six of this detachment.  And now there is something for you to think on: how unity and diversity, how the singular and the plural can be so interchanged and with such ease as in these messages is seen.”. 

At another sitting, on November 16, 1917, a more detailed explanation was given:

“Only in part are we able to make in anywise clear to you the method we are employing in this particular case.  And that we will so far as we be able.  First, then, here we stand a group to-night of seven – sometimes more, at others less.  We have already broadly settled what we will say to you, but leave the precise wording till we sight you and sense your disposition of mind.  Then, we take our stand a little distance away lest our influence, the emanations of our several minds, reach you in detail, and not as one stream but as many, and so confuse you. But from the little distance at which we stand they merge and mingle, and are focused into one, so that by the time our thoughts reach you there is unity and not multiplicity of diction.

“When you sometimes hesitate, doubtful of a word or phrase, that is when our thoughts, mingling in one, are not quite perfected into the special word required.  You pause; and, continuing their blending together, our thoughts at last assume unity, and then you get our idea and at once continue on your way.  You have noticed this, doubtless?” (Owen responded that he had noticed it but did not know the cause.)

“No, well, now to continue.  We think our thoughts to you, and sometimes they are in such words as are too antique, as you say, for you to grasp them readily.  This is remedied by filtering them through a more modern instrument, and it is of this we now would speak. That instrument is your little friend Kathleen, who is good enough to come between you and us, and so render our thoughts available for you.  This in more ways than one. First, because she is nearer to you in status than we, who, have been longer here, have become somewhat removed from earth.  She is of more recent transplanting, and not yet so far away that when she speak you cannot hear.

“For a like reason also she comes between.  That is, by the words that form her present store.  She can still think in her old tongue of earth, and it is more modern than our own – though we like it not so well, since it seems to us more composite and less precise.  But we must not find fault with what is till beautiful.  We have, no doubt, still our prejudices, and insularity; when we come down here we cannot but take on anew some of those traits we once had but gradually have cast aside.

“The little lady Kathleen is nearer you than we in these respects, and the stream of our impelling we direct on y our through her for that reason.  However, we stand a little apart from you, because the presence of us combined should overmatch you.  You could not write down what we would give, and our purpose in coming is to give you such narrative of words as you and others may read with intelligence.

“You glance at the dial of your timekeeper.  You call it a watch. Why?  That is one little instance of our preference for our older way of speaking Timekeeper seems to us more explicit than the other word.  The meaning of your glance is clear, whatever we call the thing on which it fall.  So we bid you good night, good friend.

“We find sometimes, when we read what message we have given, that much which we tried to impress is not apparent there, and some lesser quantity of what we had not in mind appears.  This is but a natural consequence of the intervention of so thick a veil between the sphere from which we speak and that in which the recorder [ i.e., Mr. Vale Owen].lives his life The atmosphere of the two spheres is so diverse in quality that, in passing from one to the other, there is always a diminution of speed, so sudden and so marked that a shock is given to the stream of our thoughts, and there is produced, just on the border-line, some inevitable confusion.  This is one of the many difficulties we find.

“Here is another.  The human brain is a very wonderful instrument, but it is of material substance, and, even when the stream of our thoughts reaches and impinges upon it, yet, because of its density, the penetration is impeded and sometimes altogether brought to a stop.  For the vibrations, as they leave us, are of high intensity, and the fineness of their quality is a hindrance to their effecting a correspondence in the human brain, which is gross by comparison. 

“Once again: there are many things here for which there are no words in any of the earth languages to express their meaning.  There are colours which your eyes do not see, but are present in your spectrum; there are more colours which are of higher sublimity than could be reproduced by the medium, which shows both the earth colours to you and registers those invisible to you, but present withal.  There are also notes and tones of sound of like nature, and too fine for registration by the atmosphere of earth.  There are forces also, not available with you, not able to be expressed to you.

“These and other matters are interpenetrating all our life and forming our environment.  And when we come to speak of our life here, or of the causes, we see in operation, of which you behold the effects alone, we are much perplexed and strive continually to find just how to say it so that it shall be both understood of you and also not too wide of a target as known to us.  So you will see that we have a task to do in speaking into your sphere from this of ours which by no means easy.  Still, it is worth doing of it, and so we essay our best and try to rest content.”

The communicating spirits sometimes referred to a “Presence Form” and explained what they meant:

“A presence form is the form in which a person becomes localized and visible in form at a distance from himself essentially.  The form is not an empty sign or symbol, but is alive with the life of the person it so manifests, action and expression being responsive to the thought, will, action, and spiritual state of its original.  The personality is projected and becomes visible in any place where God (or those of His angels who are so authorized) wills the manifestation to take place. 

“By this method the wishes, prayers, thoughts, and the whole spiritual state of any one in the earth life, or in any of the regions of the spiritual world, may be manifested in any place or sphere at any moment when those to whom this high gift is entrusted shall will that it be so.

“A person is not always so manifested in the same presence form, which, from time to time, may be given a different aspect and take a different shape.  Under whatever aspect he manifested, however, that form is, for the time being, his real self projected.”

For the debunkers and cynics – those stuck in the dogma of scientism and restrained by ego – all of that is just so much hogwash, but for the open-minded person who takes the time to study and analyze spirit communication, the distortions, anomalies, inconsistencies, and incongruities associated with mediumship begin to make sense..

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die is published by White Crow Books. His latest book, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife is now available on Amazon and other online book stores. 

Next blog post: July 15    .


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The Only Planet of Choice: Visitations – Many people use the word ‘Alien’ to describe a visitor from outer space. Extra terrestrial is another word, which is rather more user friendly. For the sake of the question and answer format, the word used by the questioner has been left, though even Tom questions our use of‘Alien’. Should we wish to foster openess between all beings of the Universe perhaps we should also look at our vocabulary? In a discussion between Andrew and Tom many years earlier, Andrew had asked Tom about UFOs and whether they were created manifestations. Tom had replied: “Many of the flying things that you call UFOs come from our place, but they come from other places also, and they do come in physical form. But many of them are not physical. They are like your movie screen”. Read here
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