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How Much Do We Remember After Death?

Posted on 29 January 2024, 10:19

While sorting through boxes of old papers and photos not long ago, I came upon a stack of letters I wrote to my parents between 1958 and 1961, while I was in the Marine Corps. My mother saved everything. In one of the letters written from Quantico, Virginia in 1958, I informed my parents that I had attended a football game with two friends and that I had car problems after the game, requiring me to call Triple A for service.  I was puzzled by the comment as I have no memory of attending any football game during my nine months in Quantico or of the mechanical problems.  I have a clear recollection of attending the horse races at Pimlico race track in Baltimore that same year, as well as the fact that I lost $12 that day, but the football game does not register. Why the horse races and not the football game? I had been to many horse races before that one, so it had no special significance.  On the other hand, I had been to a number of football games before 1958 and could picture the stadiums and name the home teams in all of them. Why not this particular 1958 game?


All that prompted me to wonder about the memories of spirits of the dead as they communicate with people through mediums. In the 1937 book, Personality Survives Death, by Dr. Florence Elizabeth Barrett (republished by White Crow Books), there is a record of much communication between Dr. Barrett and her late husband, Sir William Barrett (top left photo), most of it through the medium Gladys Osborne Leonard (top right photo).  Sir William, a renowned physicist when in the physical body and a pioneer in psychical research, attempted to explain the difficulties he had in communicating through the medium. “Sometimes I lose some memory of things from coming here,” he told Lady Barrett. “I know it in my own state but not here….In the Earth body we have the separation of subconscious and conscious. Consciousness only holds a certain number of memories at a time. When we pass over they join – make a complete mind that knows and remembers everything, but when one comes here to a sitting the limitation of the physical sphere affects one’s mind, and only a portion of one’s mind can function for the time being.”

If there is truth in Sir William’s statement, I should know the details of that football game I attended in 1958 after my subconscious merges with my consciousness following my departure from this realm of existence, but if I attempt to communicate the details of the game to someone through a medium, I’ll probably fail. Perhaps the question should be: How much of this earth life do we remember when still alive? Were it not for photographs, I would have very few mental pictures preserved from earlier years.  I have some flashbacks that might go to age four, possibly three, the most painful being having ether gas administered before a tonsillectomy. I can still smell and taste the gas and feel the struggle when the anesthesiologist placed the nose piece on my face. 

I can recall moments from my first day of kindergarten at 4 years, 9 months, but that is earliest event I can put an actual date on. I call them little mental snapshots.  I can picture my mother leaving me there at the door of my classroom and telling me that she would return and pick me up, then walking away.  It was a traumatic experience.

Baseball Memories

In further pondering on the football game, I began thinking about all the baseball games I had attended during my youth and realized that there was not a single play – not one home run, not one game winning hit – or moment in time that I could remember or call a mental snapshot, except for two, only one of them on the field. The off-field memory involves getting the autograph of Jackie Robinson, my boyhood idol, outside the ballpark in 1951, while the only on-field memory has to do with a game at the Polo Grounds in New York between the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants during 1949.  I was 12 at the time and sitting in deep centerfield right next to the exit players used to go to the clubhouse.  Don Newcombe (lower left photo) was pitching in his second game with the Dodgers and was relieved in about the seventh inning. As he left the field, he walked through the exit just below me with a very disgruntled expression. For some reason I took a mental snapshot of that moment and can still picture it today. I can also recall thinking that he was really a big mean-looking guy. That mental picture of Newcombe walking below me often popped into my conscious mind whenever I heard his name in the years following.

Then, about 1992, I met Newcombe and talked with him in my Honolulu office for an hour or longer (lower right photo). He visited with me a year or two later on another trip to Honolulu and we again had a long talk about baseball and the old Brooklyn Dodgers. I wondered if that vivid picture of Newcombe walking just below me at the Polo Grounds was some kind of cosmic consciousness in a timeless universe. My autograph book from my younger days includes some famous ballplayers, including Bob Feller and Larry Doby, but I have no recollection or mental pictures of them signing my autograph book. That mental picture of Newcombe is the only snapshot in my conscious mind from the dozens of baseball games I attended before 1960. Everything else is a very abstract picture, nothing specific, except perhaps for watching Ernie Lombardi, said to be the slowest man on the planet, lumbering to first base as my friend and I laughed at his laborious trot.  That memory is not as distinct as the Newcombe one. 

Malaysia’s Darkest Day 

In 1969, I experienced what has been called “the darkest day in the history of Malaysia,” a day in which around 200 people were slaughtered on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, the country’s capital.  I was in a movie theater with my two daughters and then-wife when rioters broke in the theater and started swinging machetes and bolo knives at people on the ground floor.  Fortunately, we were in the upstairs section and the attackers never made their way up the stairs.  They chased the ground-floor movie viewers out the front door to the streets.  Until a few days ago, I was certain that the title of the movie was “Three Faces of Eve.”  I would have bet my house on that title, and would have sworn so on a stack of Bibles, but I recently came across a link on the internet in which a journalist, Johan Fernandez, was in the same theater that night and reported that movie title was “Rachel, Rachel.”
As Joanne Woodward was the “star” in both movies, I can understand that I may have been mistaken, but, then again, there was a time when movie theaters would show two movies for the same admission price. I don’t recall if those days extended to 1969.  The fact that the “Rachel” movie was produced in 1968 and the “Eve” movie in 1957, makes it more likely that my memory failed me if there was only one movie shown that night.  I would have lost my house in the bet. So much for my conscious memory! 
I do have a snapshot in my memory bank of Omar, my driver in Malaysia, coming into my office with a large tank of propane on his shoulder.  I had given my office boy, called the office peon, some money and asked him to take it downstairs and give it to Omar to get “gas.”  I should have instructed him to get “petrol” for the car.  Gas to him meant propane. 

Sir William further explained that it was much easier for him to communicate an idea than a detached word, such as a proper name.  “When I am in my own sphere I am told a name and think I shall remember it,” he communicated. “[But] when I come into the conditions of a sitting I then know I can only carry with me – contain in me – a small portion of my consciousness. The easiest things to lay hold of are what we may call ideas; a detached word, a proper name, has no link with a train of thought except in a detached sense; that is far more difficult than any other feat of memory or association of ideas.”

Remembering Your Self-Image

One of the most intriguing aspects I’ve encountered in my study of mediumship has to do with one’s memory of what the spirit trying to materialize looked like when in the earth life. Researchers reported that some of the materializations didn’t look like the person it was supposed to be and therefore it was considered fraudulent. In one study a communicating spirit told Professor Charles Richet that he was unable to materialize because he did not remember what he looked like when alive.  However, he later materialized without a face.  In another case, the communicating spirit told the researcher he had to quickly visit his old home to view a portrait of himself there as he could not recall his face.  As I understand it, the materializing spirit had to focus on an image of his old self and project that thought into the ectoplasm if the materialization was to be successful.

Think about it.  Would you know what you looked like as a child if you never had photos or portraits of yourself to visualize?  It makes sense that materialization of people who lived before photography became popular in the late nineteenth century didn’t always look exactly like living people remembered them, as they didn’t have a clear picture of themselves while living.  I doubt that I’ll ever have a need to materialize for anyone once I transition to the larger world, but if I do, I hope I can recall the image of my 30-year-old self and not the one I saw in the mirror when I shaved this morning.

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 latest book, No One Really Dies: 25 Reasons to Believe in an Afterlife is published by White Crow books.

Next blog post: February 12
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Spirits, Science, Extraterrestrials & Uri Geller

Posted on 15 January 2024, 9:00

I don’t know what to make of Uri Geller and the somewhat bizarre reports concerning interdimensional beings surrounding him. Although I had heard and read a little about him over the years, primarily about his psychic spoon-bending and watch-stopping abilities, I saw him as not much more than a gifted psychic with psychokinetic powers that sometimes worked and other times didn’t. I never realized he might have been a potential ambassador for the interdimensional beings (which I’ll call ETs) until I recently read the book, Uri, subtitled Journal of the Mystery of Uri Geller, by Andrija Puharich (top right), first published in 1973 but recently republished by White Crow Books. 


Wikipedia refers to Geller as an illusionist and another website calls him a great prankster. He’s also referred to as a magician, psychic, showman, and television personality.  I recall that Geller failed to produce phenomena on a national television show during the 1970s, but I am well aware that psychic abilities are finicky and that lack of harmonious conditions or the failure of the psychic to achieve the necessary passive mindset can prevent them from manifesting. Even the great Japanese ballplayer Shohei Ohtani succeeds in getting a hit only once in every three times at bat, on the average.    Why do the skeptics and debunkers assume Geller should get hits 100-percent of the time? There are enough credible witnesses to Geller’s abilities that his failures do nothing to make me suspect he was or is still a charlatan.

There is so much more to Geller’s (top left) story than I had realized, and the evidence of his paranormal abilities as documented by Puharich, seemingly a very credible scientist, is difficult to refute, at least by an open-minded person. Among those observing Geller’s phenomena were Captain Edgar Mitchell, the famous astronaut, Dr. Wernher von Braun, the rocket designer for the U. S. space program, and distinguished members of the Stanford Research Institute, to name only a few. 

Puharich’s book and two related subsequent books, The Nine: Briefing from Deep Space by Stuart Holroyd and The Only Planet of Choice by Phyllis Schlemmer, are really more about Puharich than Geller.  “Everyone expected [Puharich’s book] to be another cautious and well-documented account of laboratory investigations into Geller’s powers,” Colin Wilson (bottom left) wrote in the introduction to Holroyd’s book, which picks up where Puharich left off in his book about Geller.  “[However] what actually appeared left everyone staggered and bewildered. According to Puharich, strange voices spoke out of Geller’s mouth – or from above his head – declaring themselves to be ‘space intelligences’ who had selected Geller to be their messenger in Chief to the human race.” 

Puharich’s connection with ETs actually began in December 1951, some 20 years before he encountered Geller, when he met Dr. D. G. Vinod, a Hindu scholar from India. When they met again a year later, on December 31, 1952, Vinod entered a trance state and began speaking in a sonorous voice unlike his own high-pitched, soft voice, and without his normal accent. The voice stated: M calling.  We are Nine Principles and Forces, personalities if you will, working in a complete mutual implication.  We are forces, and the nature of our work is to accentuate the positive, the evolutional, and the teleological aspects of existence. By teleology I do not mean the teleology human derivation in a multidimensional concept of existence. Teleology will be understood in terms of a different ontology. To be simple, we accentuate certain directions as will fulfil the destiny of creation. We propose to work with you in some essential respects with the relation of contradiction and contrariety. We shall negate and revise part of your work, by which I mean the work as presented by you. The point is that we want to begin altogether at a different dimension, though it is true that your work has itself led up to this…..

Impeccable Credentials

A native of Chicago and a 1947 graduate of Northwestern University Medical School, Puharich served as an officer in the United States Army during the Korean War. He completed his residency in internal medicine in California and is said to have made significant contributions to medicine, neurophysiology, mind sciences, and medical electronics. Among his colleagues and research associates were Aldous Huxley and Dr. Samuel Rosen, a renowned ear surgeon.  Of interest to those of us living in Hawaii, Puharich reportedly awakened his powers of consciousness while living in Hawaii in 1961.  He also studied the Brazilian healer Arigò during the 1960s and first became aware of UFOs in Brazil, where he witnessed and photographed a number of them.

“His academic and career credentials as a scientist are impeccable,” offers Holroyd in The Nine. “He has been prolific of invention and innovation in the fields of medical electronics, neurophysiology, biocybernetics, ESP research, and holds fifty-six U.S. and foreign patents for his inventions.” But Holroyd realized that most people might begin to question Puharich’s sanity when they read the preface of Uri, where Puharich states: “I had suspected for a long time from my researches that man has been in communication with beings not of this earth for thousands of years. This personal opinion comes from a close reading of the record of ancient religions and from my own observations and data. What is not clear is why such communication has been kept secret for so long.” 

Puharich goes on to say that for reasons unknown to him, Geller was selected to be the ambassador for an advanced civilization and that the “collegium of voices reaching man on earth,” (the words of the Nine ETs), are directly related to man’s concept of God.  He adds that the controllers of the universe operate under the direction of the Nine. 
While the phenomena produced by Geller are much more than I had imagined, they do not exceed my boggle threshold.  However, the involvement of extraterrestrials, as detailed by Dr. Puharich, does exceed that threshold and had my head spinning early in Puharich’s book.  At times, I wondered if mischievous earthbound sprits were representing themselves as ETs while playing games with Puharich and Geller. As I read the words of the ETs as recorded by Puharich, I was constantly struggling to incorporate their messages into the expanded reality I had already come to accept while also wondering if they were some early form of artificial intelligence. It was definitely mindboggling. 

Geller emerges as something of a philistine – often indifferent to his psychic abilities and more interested in having fun in the material world than in helping Puharich and other scientists understand the nature of reality and what was being communicated through him and other mediums. Puharich comments that in biblical times, Geller would have been honored as a prophet, but that today he was more “a show freak and a guinea pig for science.” He adds that Geller did not like being a “guinea pig” and therefore often resisted scientific testing. 

When Puharich asked one ET communicator about the nature of the soul, the response came: It inhabits different worlds at different times in its existence. When the physical body dies, it goes with all of its being to its own world. There it carries on with the next phase of its existence. It may go on to other spaces, or it may even return to an earth physical body for another round of existence – what humans call reincarnation may occur. There are higher powers that divide these people (souls), and that decide where they shall go. The purpose of all existence is to move toward God. However, no one can know God. We ourselves can only know God by reaching him as an idea – not physically.

During October 1972, one of the ET communicators, seemingly disappointed with their efforts, said that they had come to the conclusion “that only panic and disaster may appear when we land on your earth in a few years.” The ET further stated that “there shall be landings on earth. But the landings might be invisible, and only visible to you.”

Sir John Whitmore (bottom right), a British author who joined Puharich in 1974 for some research with trance mediums who also relayed messages on from the ETs, wrote the foreword to Holroyd’s book and quoted one of the ET communicators: “Until the nation of Israel has the ability to exist without destruction, your planet Earth is in turmoil, for the nation of Israel is a representation of your entire planet Earth.  It is difficult for many to understand that, but it is the micro of the macro and it is important that there is peace and harmony…”

Possible Explanations

Colin Wilson saw three possible explanations by Puharich’s critics: 1) Puharich had been hoodwinked by Geller; 2) Puharich was telling a tall tale that even ardent ufologists weren’t swallowing; 3) Puharich had gone mad. “Beyond all doubt, something very strange has been happening, and is continuing to happen, even as I write these words,” Wilson ended. “It would be absurd not to acknowledge that it could be a matter of genuine extraterrestrial communication. Yet on the present showing, there is simply not enough evidence to give real support to that possibility….Strange entities, claiming to be super-beings from ‘another dimension,’ warn us that the planet Earth is close to serious crisis, and that is why they have been forced to intervene so directly. Much of what they say strikes me as convincing, and all of it is interesting, far more so than the majority of ‘spirit communication’ of the past.” 

Wilson wrote those words some 50 years ago and nothing in the way of ET intervention seems to have happened since then.  It is not clear whether the ETs gave up on Uri Geller being their ambassador. One is left to ask:

• Is 50 years just a snap of the fingers in the greater reality?  Are the ETs still attempting to help us?  Have they already helped us avoid a third world war even though we don’t realize it? Have they already “landed” but we simply don’t perceive it with our human senses? 
• Are the ETs significantly limited in the ways they can help us?  Has human bias, greed, and materialism blocked them from assisting us? Are they now helping us in ways that we don’t grasp?  Have they given up in their attempts to help us?
• Were the alleged ETs actually very intelligent earthbound spirits playing games with Puharich and others. As mentioned, that was one of my initial reactions and then I later came upon Colin Wilson’s comment saying much the same thing.  He refers to them as possibly being among the “crooks and con men of the spirit world.”  If they are, they seem very benevolent. Is being benevolent part of their game?  To further quote Wilson: “Then what the hell is going on?” 

I’ve just started the Holyrod book and will then read the Schlemmer book before attempting to further analyze it, but Puharich’s book offers much to think about.

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 latest book, No One Really Dies: 25 Reasons to Believe in an Afterlife is published by White Crow books.

Next blog post: January 29 (note: comments section is working for some browsers and not for others)

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Existentialism 101 – Pondering on Life & an Afterlife, Part 2

Posted on 01 January 2024, 9:24

In my blog of May 23, 2023, I offered 37 quotes drawn from a hypothetical university class in Existentialism 101.  Here are an additional 25 quotes from that class to ponder on in 2024.  (Some references are listed for recent publications.)  Happy New Year!

Practicing Death: “Ordinary people seem not to realize that those who really apply themselves in the right way to philosophy are directly and of their own accord preparing themselves for dying and death.” 
– Socrates  (“Phaedo” of Plato)


Nihilism Exposed: “As you fear that life in this dimension may not count, may not have any real meaning, you relieve your anxiety by being especially scornful of the very thing that you wish for most, while underneath your writing desk you have your fingers crossed.”
– Ernest Becker, Ph.D. (1973 Pulitzer Prize winner, “The Denial of Death”)

Knowing Death: “In real psychological ways one must ‘know death’ in order to live with free imagination.”
– Robert Jay Lifton, M.D.  (American psychiatrist, “The Broken Connection”)

Smart Wager: “If I am mistaken in my opinion that the human soul is immortal, I willingly err; nor would I have this pleasant error extorted from me; and if, as some minute philosophers suppose, death should deprive me of my being I need not fear the raillery of those pretend philosophers when they are no more.” 
– Marcus Tullius Cicero (Roman philosopher, 106 – 43 B.C.)

Eternal Consciousness: ‘If there were no eternal consciousness in a man, if at the foundation of all there lay only a wildly seething power which writhing with obscure passions produced everything that is great and everything that is significant, if a bottomless void never satiated lay beneath all – what then would life be but despair?”
– Soren Kirkegaard (Danish philosopher, “Father of Existentialism”)

Suppression of Death: “Is it not for us to confess that in our civilized attitude towards death we are once more living psychologically beyond our means, and must reform and give truth its due? Would it not be better to give death the place in actuality and in our thoughts which properly belong to it, and to yield a little more prominence to that unconscious attitude towards death which we have hitherto so carefully suppressed?’
– Sigmund Freud, M.D. (Austrian pioneer in psychiatry)

Overcoming Death Anxiety: “A man should be able to say he has done his best to form a conception of life after death, or to create some image of it – even if he must confess his failure. Not to have done so is a vital loss.”
  – Carl Gustav Jung, M.D.  (Swiss pioneer in psychiatry)

Lack of Thinking People: “The need of living by the spirit is felt by no one, or almost no one.  Men who think are the exception.  If these researches [of psychical matters] lead us to employ our minds better, to find what we are here to do, on this earth, we may be satisfied with this work; for, truly, our life as human beings seems very obscure.”
– Camille Flammarion (French astronomer) 

Wider Outlook: “The belief in immortality is the keystone to the arch of history, or the pivotal point about which move the intellectual, the ethical, and the political forces of all time.  If science cannot protect our ethical ideals it will have to succumb to the same corrosion that has worn away the church. Something must put an end to doubt.  There are many situations in life that call for heroic measures, and skepticism on the outcome of life offers no inducement to the heroic virtues…We need to be in a position to see beyond the horizon, if the conflicts of the present life are to be met with patience and endurance.  The wider outlook will soothe many a pain or give it spiritual significance.”
– James H. Hyslop, Ph.D., LL.D. (Professor of Logic and Ethics)

Living in Eternity: “The luster of the present hour is always borrowed from the background of possibilities it goes with.  Let our common experiences be enveloped in an eternal moral order; let our suffering have an immortal significance; let Heaven smile upon the earth, and deities pay their visits; let faith and hope be the atmosphere which man breathes in; and his days pass by with zest; they stir with prospects, they thrill with remoter values.  Place around them on the contrary the curdling cold and gloom and absence of all permanent meaning which for pure naturalism and the popular-science evolutionism of our time are all that is visible ultimately, and the thrill stops short, or turns rather to an anxious trembling.”  (upper right photo)
– William James, M.D. (American pioneer in psychiatry)

Rediscovering the Soul: “When medical science has finally failed, my patients can only lie and wait. But now, for the first time in all of human experience, they wait without hope, without heart, tragically unaware of the reality of their undying souls. This ‘immaterial’ ingredient was sacrificed when we embarked on our perilous modern journey of materialism and scientific mechanism, of contingency and separateness. There can be only one solution. At all costs, our hearts must be retrieved, and our hope must be restored. There is only one way to do this: our very souls must be rediscovered.”
– Stephen J. Iacoboni, M.D. (Oncologist, “The Undying Soul”)

Uncertainty: There will always remain obstructions, which by their very definition lie outside actuality.” 
– Max Planck (German physicist & originator of Quantum Theory)

Eternal Love: “This truly is a fearful idea that man must live and die, then cease. How can men live such high-abnegating lives if they believe they have no hope of loving in eternity the love that they see here in their lives? It is the tragedy of Communism that it denies the eternity of love. This is the real denial of God.” (upper left photo)
– Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding (British War hero, “The Dark Star”)

Flawed Science: “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.      
– Alan Hugenot, D.Sc. (‘New Science of Consciousness Survival”)

Believing:  “It is impossible to be exposed to death-bed and near-death experiences and not be affected by them, but what I can say with certainty is after being privileged to have heard so many accounts of near-death experiences, I’m not afraid to die. What comes next, though, I really don’t know, but I believe something does.
– Laura Bellg, M.D. (“Near Death in the ICU)

Meeting Deceased Loved Ones: “I don’t know whether some kind of continued consciousness after death is the best explanation for NDEs (near-death experiences) in which experiencers see deceased loved ones no one knew had died.  But I don’t have any alternative explanation for the evidence. We may eventually come up with another explanation, but until then, some form of continued consciousness after death seems to be the most plausible working model.”
– Bruce Greyson, M.D. (Consciousness researcher, “After”)

Consciousness Persists:  “After sixty years of investigating the question like a detective, accumulating facts, circumstances, and raw exposure to those who have had very dramatic death experiences, I am unable to think of any plausible alternatives other than to say, ‘Our consciousness persists in another framework of reality after our physical bodies die.’ Yes, I am forced to say that even though I still stammer in incomprehension when I say it. I have not yet fully internalized the idea that there is an afterlife, even though circumstances compel me to say that yes, I definitely think there is a life after life.” (lower left photo)
– Raymond A. Moody, M.D. (psychiatrist, “Proof of Life after Life”)

Strong Evidence: “Indeed the wide variety of such cases are so evidentially strong that they support a challenge I made in print twelve years ago to any sceptic that if s/he believes no proof of a paranormal event has ever been produced they should submit in detail normal explanations for the long list of cases I gave. The silence from the sceptics has been deafening, a silence that reminds me of Sherlock Holmes’ chiding of Dr. Watson because of his non-appreciation of the significance of the dog that did not bark in the night. Or the trick of young children who, displeased with the real world, close their eyes and believe that by so doing, they have cancelled that displeasing world. Or the late Sam Goldwyn who allegedly shouted, “Don’t confuse me with facts! My mind is made up!”
– Archie Roy, Ph.D. (British astronomer, “The Eager Dead”)

Scientific Fundamentalism: “Back in my traditional science days, no one would ever refer to me as a ‘believer’ in the effect of a drug or a virus on the body, but if I were to announce that mediums can report accurate information about the deceased under blinded conditions (which I regularly do), I run the risk of being labeled a proponent or believer and viewed as some kind of zealot even though I am simply drawing the appropriate conclusion from the statistics performed on data collected using a properly designed protocol.  It is a strange position in which scientists in other fields do not find themselves.” (lower right photo)
– Julie Beischel, Ph.D.  (Researcher, The Windbridge Institute)

True Faith: “I am as convinced of continued existence on the other side of death as I am of existence here.  It may be said, you cannot be as sure as you are of sensory experience.  I say I can. A physicist is never limited to direct sensory impressions; he has to deal with a multitude of conceptions and things for which he has no physical organ – the dynamical theory of heat, for instance, and of gases, the theories of electricity, of magnetism, of chemical affinity, of cohesion, aye, and his apprehension of the ether itself, lead him into regions where sight and hearing and touch are impotent as direct witnesses where they are no longer efficient guides.”
– Sir Oliver Lodge, D.Sc.  (British physicist and pioneer in electricity)

Carpe Diem Fallacy: “The rapidity of the cancer science, and the nature of the statistics, meant I might live another twelve months, or another 120.  Grand illnesses are supposed to be life-clarifying.  Instead, I knew I was going to die – but I’d known that before.  My state of knowledge was the same, but my ability to make lunch plans had been shot to hell.  The way forward would seem obvious, if only I knew how many months or years I had left.  Tell me three months, I’d spend time with family.  Tell me one year, I’d write a book. Give me ten years, I’d get back to treating diseases.  The truth that you live one day at a time didn’t help.  What was I supposed to do with that day?”
– Paul Kalanithi, M.D.  (“When Breath Becomes Air”)

Solid Evidence: “In general I find much more support for survival than for God.  For me, there is ample empirical evidence for survival, so much from so many quarters that I regard it as proven.  But God’s reality is not so clear.  By that I mean I’m not very clear about what God is.  In particular, is God the kind of being that hears my heartfelt prayers?  And where do I meet God?  During deep meditation when I silence the inner chatter?  Is God in some sense the silence?  God to me remains something of a mystery, one I wish I could understand.  Mystical literature is a special help to me, and I share William James’ veneration of the mystic.  It does seem that the mystic makes contact with something utterly awesome.  I hope that’s God.”
– Stafford Betty, Ph.D. (“Heaven & Hell Unveiled))

Awakening Varies: “[My research] has proven conclusively that death is only a sleep and an awakening, the process of awakening depending largely upon the individual’s mental attitude, such as religious bias, unreasoning skepticism, or the willful ignorance of and indifference to life’s meaning, so prevalent among the multitude.”
– Carl Wickland, M.D.  (“Thirty Years Among the Dead”)

Skepticism & Debunking: “It is, of course, easy for the vociferous Sadducees of today to shrug their shoulders and assert that, as no evidence can establish such an impossible belief (survival of consciousness after death), they decline to waste their time in listening to nonsense.  They waive the whole matter aside with a superior gesture, confidently asserting that what cannot be explained by fraud, delusion, or subconscious memory is simply due to the ‘will to believe.’ But surely such agnostics might remember the ancient proverb: ‘He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him’.”
– Sir William Barrett (British physicist and inventor)

Exile and Return: “To sum up: we have enough trustworthy evidence to anticipate our survival of the change called death.  If our conception of the Self as a hierarchy is true in broad outline – as I believe it is – we have enough to anticipate a great deal more. For myself, birth and death seem to be respectively the great Exile and the great Returning Home.”
– Raynor C. Johnson, Ph.D. D.Sc. (“The Imprisoned Splendor”)

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 latest book, No One Really Dies: 25 Reasons to Believe in an Afterlife is published by White Crow books.


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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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