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Retired Naval Architect Tells of His NDE

Posted on 21 March 2016, 9:03

When Dr. Alan Hugenot (below) had a near-death experience in 1970, it didn’t have a name and he was reluctant to talk about it.  But he now says “the best thing that ever happened to me was when I ‘died’ in a motorcycle wreck.” 


It wasn’t until 2006, as he approached retirement from his career as a naval architect and marine engineer, that he began seriously exploring consciousness, including mediumship.  Now, 10 years later, Hugenot is an evidential medium, serving as a test medium for the Consciousness Research Laboratory at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, where he works with Drs. Dean Radin and Arnaud Delorme. 

After growing up in North Hollywood, Calif., Hugenot served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War.  He then studied mechanical engineering at Oregon Institute of Technology and began his career in the design department of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Washington.  He eventually worked at “nearly every shipyard” in the country, on all three coasts and the Great Lakes.  Along the way, he earned a Doctorate of Science in mechanical engineering.

Although “retired,” Hugenot, who is married to Gale and lives in San Francisco, serves on a number of engineering standards writing committees and as chairman of the Motor Yacht and Service Craft Panel of the Small Craft Committee for the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers.  He is frequently asked to write and deliver papers on various aspects of naval engineering for other organizations.  He also works occasionally as an expert witness in maritime cases. 

I had the opportunity to interview Hugenot for the February issue of The Searchlight, a publication of The Academy for Spiritual and Consciousness Studies and i am pleased to offer that interview here. 

Alan, please summarize your NDE.

“It was during May 1970 when I was attending college after serving in the Navy.

Briefly, I was severely injured in a motor cycle accident, lapsed into a coma for 12 hours, traveled out-of-body where I communed on the other side with a Being of Light. After returning to the body, and regaining consciousness, I remained hospitalized for 33 days.

“This was five years before Dr. Raymond Moody published his book, Life After Life, in which he coined the term ‘near-death experience.’ Back in those dark ages, the standard medical procedure was to treat all NDEs as delusions. Consequently, the resident psychiatrist, after attempting to reason with me but finding he was unable to convince me of my error, decided that if I would not conform to his version of reality he would commit me to the insane asylum. This ‘punishment’ was for merely making such insane claims about, ‘having died and then come back to life.’”

I gather you didn’t keep the experience to yourself as so many people do.
“Yes, and one of the questions the psychiatrist put to me was, ‘Just where do you think such a place as the afterlife could exist?’  I didn’t help my case any by responding, ‘Doctor, I respect all your learning and degrees, but it is like I’ve been to Mexico and you haven’t, and I want to tell you about my experience. But, instead of listening to me, and discovering a new country, you are telling me that based on your superior knowledge and training that you’re sure that Mexico is impossible and so cannot exist, and that I must therefore be mistaken.  Isn’t that a little closed minded?’

“Luckily, my orthopedic surgeon, was not so backward in his medical technology, and so discharged me from the hospital a few days early, just ahead of the psychiatrist completing the papers to have me committed.”

Why did it take you some 40 years to start talking about your NDE and writing about it and related topics?

“Early on, after the NDE, burdened with visceral personal knowledge of an inconvenient truth, and being unable to reconcile it with society’s standard model of reality, I quickly learned to be quiet about what I knew. Instead, and unlike the other SET (Science, Engineering & Technology) students, I began to also study philosophy, history, logic, meta-physics in evening classes, beginning a research odyssey which has now spanned 46 years, investigating multiple scientific disciplines, collating data and verifying the science supporting what I knew.

“When an event or experience occurs, which has no explanation within the current scientific framework, it is considered an anomaly. By being killed and coming back I had myself become a scientific anomaly. But, it is such anomalies which stubbornly refuse to go away that eventually act as the catalyst for a new advance in science. Today, I am welcomed as a featured speaker.”

What were your early religious or spiritual views?

“I was raised in a fundamentalist Baptist home. My own views were discounted by my parents, and so when I left for the Navy I investigated all the various religions with Navy chaplains.  I later became a Lutheran (Missouri Synod) because they seemed to actually study their Bible rather than carry it around like an anchor without opening it. But, prior to the NDE, if you had asked me what I thought happened after death I would have said, ‘My church believes there is a heaven and a hell, but I’m not so sure what happens.’

“Today, my sister thinks that because I am an evidential medium I have gone the way of the devil. And so she refuses to talk to me. But, while receiving readings from mediums who do not know me, my mother has come through from the other side with excellent evidential information, to tell me that she is sorry for both her fundamentalism, and also for leading my sister astray.”

So how have your views changed?

“The primary lesson I learned while out-of-body was that we are not physical beings, but are instead eternal spirits temporarily occupying physical bodies.

“The NDE moved me toward eastern meditative traditions, the Unity School or Practical Christianity and finally, as I became a medium, into Spiritualism. But I do not believe in a hell or retribution, and I do believe in universal salvation (everyone has eternal life).

“I came to realize that the Newtonian box I had been trained to use in my work as an engineer is only a fragment of the story of the conscious universe.  In a larger sense, I also learned that our 350-year-old paradigm of classical Newtonian physics, limited to three dimensions plus time, did not include everything. In fact, it fell far short and only included a very small corner of a much larger universe. I realized materialist science was deeply flawed in its world view.

“I believe that the only scientific way to understand mediumship is to do it yourself, so I took a correspondence course in mediumship from the Morris Pratt Institute, and then later attended the course in evidential mediumship at Arthur Findlay College in England.  I now know unequivocally that we continue after death in alternative dimensions of existence, but I want to better understand the precise physics and biology behind it all.”

To what extent have you developed your mediumship?

“All I can do is point to the evidence. Once, while working on the platform before a Spiritualist church, I brought through five spirits in a row, related to three sitters.  I gave their accurate names and relationships without guessing. When you look at the statistics just on the names, the odds are 320 billion to one of getting all of them.  But, if you take into account the fact that I also gave their correct relationships to the sitters, with odds of say one in 12, (mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, cousin, grandma, grandpa, great grandma, great grandpa, friend), the odds become astronomical, roughly 79.6 quadrillion to one.  So, I have to ask…how did I get that information?  How can it not be spirit talking to me?”

Some parapsychologists would say you received it telepathically from the sitter or, if it is information the sitter didn’t have, that you accessed it from a relative or friend of the sitter on the other side of the country.

“I can’t prove that is not the case and there is no science to prove it one way or the other, but it makes much more sense to me that it is spirit talking to me rather than getting it through telepathy or remote viewing of some kind.  I think Occam’s Razor favors spirit communication over telepathy or remote viewing, especially when you are talking about tapping into the consciousness of someone not even present.  How did I find that person and how did I extract that bit of information from his consciousness?”“ 

Your background is in a scientific discipline and you certainly believe in the scientific method. When a scientist says that survival of consciousness at death is impossible, how do you answer him or her?

“I tell them to stop hiding from the data. I point out that materialism which assumes that the paranormal is impossible has itself been proven false by quantum electro-dynamics (QED), fully 90 years ago. I point out that all the “first principles” of materialism are proven false by QED and non-locality. And, that although the religious dogma of materialism is that the paranormal is ‘impossible,’ there has never been any proof whatsoever, so it is just a materialist superstition. I state that any true scientist would look at the data, and anything less is stupid and not science.”

What if the skeptical scientist asks you how consciousness can go on without a functioning brain?

“Same answer. I state that this can only be true for someone who believes the brain creates consciousness. How could a cold dead universe develop life? And how could that life develop consciousness? Isn’t that a miracle that even Jesus could not produce?

Therefore, the universe must have already been conscious. And, everything even those ‘dead’ stones are made of consciousness. This is what materialism can’t quite believe, but it is no problem for QED and biocentrism.”

I understand that you have authored a new book which will be published early this year.  How will it differ from your first book?

“Everyone wants me to talk about the science of the afterlife, which was scrunched into just one chapter of my 2012 book, The Death Experience, so my upcoming 2016 book, The New Science of Consciousness Survival, which has a Foreword by Dr. Gary Schwartz, discusses how the sciences of quantum electro-dynamics, near-death experiences, biocentrism and the sciences of consciousness survival have already replaced Newtonian materialism, at least for those scientists with the intellectual honesty and scientific rigor to examine the extensive and overwhelming data and to pay attention to what it means.

“When we can’t discern 96 percent of what exists in our universe, there is plenty of spare room for all kinds of unknowns – much more than just the afterlife’s ‘undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns,’ but entire undiscovered galaxies, alternative dimensions, multi-verses, etc., etc.

“Hopefully, this book will make all this easily understandable in a simple way, showing how materialism has always been merely speculation based on several untrue presuppositions, and also how the evolving scientific world view based on quantum electro-dynamics allows the existence of psi, the para-normal and consciousness survival, to all be valid.”

Do you sometimes feel like you are preaching to the choir, that no real progress is being made in getting your message across?

“No, actually I see great progress.  Forty-six years ago they wanted to put me in the nut house, but now I am the featured speaker at numerous organizations. Materialism is on its last legs and the meta-paradigm is shifting.”

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. His forthcoming book Why the Afterlife is Beyond Science will be published later in 2016 by White Crow Books.

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A President Who Was a Medium

Posted on 07 March 2016, 8:36

The following words were penned in 1910 by a man about to become president of his country.  However, they seemingly apply just as much, if not more so, to today’s world. 

“As for the less evolved spirits who comprise the great majority of the earth’s inhabitants, for the most part they live without thinking of eternal life, ignoring the objective for which they have come into this world.  For such people, evolution is more difficult than for those who know the destinies of the soul beyond death and the reason for incarnation.” 

He also wrote this in the Introduction of his book published in 1911, just before he assumed the presidency: 

“Thus we intend this work for those workers who also have pure hearts, and whose consciences have not yet been polluted by materialism.  Here they will find the foundations of a very lofty philosophy to satisfy their most noble aspirations, and explain the meaning of life, the reasons for their sad situation, and which will show them the law of retribution, open their minds to new and vast horizons, make them understand that our lives do not play out in the miserable patch of an earthly existence, but for time they have Eternity, for space, the Universe; and finally, it will put them in a better condition to sustain their struggle for life, a struggle ever more ferocious given the selfishness of the rich and the ignorance of the poor.”

He was Francisco I. Madero, (below) the leader of the 1910 Mexican Revolution and 33rd president of Mexico, serving from 1911 until his assassination in 1913, at age 39.  The fascinating story of Madero, called the “Apostle of Democracy” in Mexico, is told by C. M. Mayo in her 2014 book Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution, which includes her English translation of Madero’s book, Manual espirita (Spiritist Manual).


Born into a wealthy family – one involved in banking and ranching – Madero was educated by the Jesuits in Mexico and further studied in the United States and France.  It was while in France that he was introduced to the writings of French educator Alan Kardec and became a devout believer in Spiritism.  After returning to his home in Mexico in 1893, “his every move was motivated by his Spiritism and even precise messages he received from the dead,” Mayo writes, adding that modern history books gloss over or ignore Madero’s association with Spiritism, “as it simply does not chime that an educated man could be sane and at the same time believe in tables rising from the floor without human agency or hearing messages from invisible entities.”

While adding to his family’s business empire in Mexico and building a personal fortune, Madero found time to study homeopathy and become a healing medium.  He also developed the ability to do automatic writing, receiving messages from his brother, Raul, who had died as a child in 1887.  He dedicated himself to charitable work and, along with his wife Sara, operated a soup kitchen.  When, in 1907, a fellow Spiritist criticized Theosophy, Madero wrote:

“...I believe the only enemy we should take seriously is materialism.  The other religions with more or less zeal, try to encourage good works, and right there, that’s everything we the true Spiritists are about.  It’s the same with Theosophy… .  I have always believed that Theosophy and Spiritism must eventually arrive at the same thing, for they have the same foundations, that is, the soul’s unending progress by means of evolution and the conviction that each is responsible for his acts and only by his acts will he owe his progress.”

According to Mayo, “many of Madero’s followers never imagined that his beliefs were anything but a typical Mexican gentleman’s Catholicism.”  He wrote his Spiritist articles under pseudonyms and otherwise exercised discretion in discussing his beliefs, which he summarized in one message:

“We are not our physical body; we are spirits, and as such we are immortal and we are destined, lifetime by lifetime, not by any ritual intermediated by clerics, but by freely chosen good works, to evolve into ever higher levels of consciousness and so return to God.” 

Between 1904 and 1908, Madero became increasingly active in politics and began formulating a plan to become president and end the autocratic tyranny in Mexico, substituting a democratic rule for that of Porfirio Diaz, who had served as Mexico’s president since 1876.  Much of Madero’s inspiration, according to Mayo’s research, came from instructions from the spirit world, primarily from his deceased brother Raul and from a spirit giving the name Jose.  One message coming from Jose read:

“You bear an enormous responsibility. You have seen…the precipice your country is about to fall from.  A coward you will be if you do not prevent it… . You have been elected by your Heavenly Father to accomplish a great mission on earth… It is necessary that, for this divine cause, you sacrifice everything material, everything earthly, and dedicate all your efforts to its realization.”

Madero’s 1909 book, La sucesiὀn presidencial en 1910 (The Presidential Succession in 1910), the first step in his presidential campaign, was well received by the Mexican populace and paved the way for his election to the presidency. Before the book was published, however, Madero wrote to his father, seeking his approval to pursue the presidency.  Addressing it, “Dear Daddy,” he wrote:

“Although you may be a convinced Spiritist, you have never studied it in more depth in order to discover the mysterious laws it reveals to us, or that we can discover through it.  So: it is good that you know that among the spirits who populate space there is a group that is intensely concerned with the evolution of humanity, for its progress, and every time there is an important event in any part of the world, a large number of them incarnate in order to bring humanity forward, to save this or that people from the yoke of tyranny, or fanaticism, and to give them liberty, which is the most powerful means by which people can progress…”

After much struggle, Madero became president of Mexico on November 6, 1911, but his inability to meld democracy with old guard politics and the ambitions of various military leaders led to his assassination on February 22, 1913, believed to be at the direction of General Victoriano Huerta, who then assumed the presidency.  In spite of the fact that he served as president for only 15 month, Madero apparently was able to achieve certain reforms and is considered a hero to the Mexican people today.

After completing his first book, Madero was told by the spirit Jose, that he should write a second book, Manual espirita.  While the first 150 pages of Mayo’s book set forth the thoroughly researched history of Madero’s life, the last 120 or so pages provide the English translation of Spiritist Manual.  It was authored under the pseudonym Bhima, the name of a Hindu warrior in the Bhagavad-Gita.  No doubt some of his beliefs would have been frowned upon by the mostly Catholic populace, the Church hierarchy and the more educated.  “Mediums, scoffed most scientists, were ‘vulgar tricksters,’ maestros of inflatable bladders, wire dummies, trick mirrors, and muslin painted with phosphorous to create the shiny extrusions of what Charles Richet termed ‘ectoplasm’,” Mayo describes the era.  The Spiritist Manual, published just before his election, was intended, according to Mayo, “to be a beam of light, to heal Mexico and the world with its consoling concepts of nature and meaning of life.” 

Metaphysical Odyssey 

When I listen to the crude, bombastic, and maniacal remarks of the leading candidates for the U.S. presidency, I wonder if the spirits mentioned by Madero – those who are concerned with the evolution of humanity – have been defeated by the lower spirits or if they are just working in different and strange ways.  It would be great if some of those influencing Madero would come out of retirement and become active again.

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.
His latest book Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I is published by White Crow Books.


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