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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


Ron Cecchini seems to have forgotten that a few hundred years ago the commonly accepted “scientific belief” was the world was flat.  If one said otherwise, was he really guilty of spreading “bunk.”  If he really used critical thinking regarding the true nature of our eternal soul, he may find that commonly accepted science has usually been slow in accepting what truly exists - anywhere.

On the contrary, I am pretty well aware of the history of science, the philosophy of science, and the scientific method.

And I am well aware that getting something accepted as “scientific fact” is a very slow process—AS WELL IT SHOULD BE.

That said, as someone who is on *THIS* SIDE of the “afterlife debate”, I’ll repeat or rephrase my general point:  If your goal is to gain some kind of scientific credibility, or garner interest from the mainstream scientific community in “afterlife” research, THEN IT BEHOOVES US not to put forth the most conspicuously ridiculous and bogus examples of “evidence” of the afterlife.  I think we are better served by the likes of, say, the IANDS folks and their generally sober minded and meticulous research of NDEs—research which strongly indicates that mind does not equal brain and that something of us survives physical death.

Ron Cecchini, Wed 11 Sep, 21:08

Ron Cecchini seems to have forgotten that a few hundred years ago the commonly accepted
“scientific belief” was the world was flat.  If one said otherwise, was he really guilty of spreading “bunk.”  If he really used critical thinking regarding the true nature of our eternal soul, he may find that commonly accepted science has usually been slow in accepting what truly exists - anywhere.
Gavin Doyle states he hasn’t read the books, but is quick to assume that accusations against Jay Barham had good cause.  He obviously hasn’t done any research on that either.  Dr. Kubler-Ross refused to endorse the accusations, which, more than likely were due to the accidental contacts made between the materialized spirits and some of the people in the same BLACKED OUT room.  The people were unable to see in the dark and the room was originally kept dark as light has a negative effect on materilized spirits.  We still have a policy of innocent until proved guilty, which never happened.
Philemon’s comments about someone else’s comments about Dr. Kubler-Ross are just as erroneous as Gavin Doyle’s.  Instead of relying on a critic who wants to sell books, check out Dr. Kubler-Ross (who has transitioned) and you’ll find nothing demeaning the Barhams.
Finally, Fenriz seems to be looking to get a laugh by expressing ignorance of the parties identities.  Not exactly critical thinking.

Paul Hauser, Mon 9 Sep, 02:34

Exceeds the Boggle and Bunk Thresholds.

I realize mediumship is your thing, Michael - and you are indeed a top expert on the history of mediumship - but I’ll just state my peace on this (as I’ve done in the past) and be gone:

This *stuff* (to put it nicely) only hurts any efforts to disseminate information about our true natures as eternal consciousness.

It does not help one bit.

This *stuff* requires you to turn off all critical thinking, disregard astrophysics, geology and biology, and accept as gospel the words of some goofball in a crappy costume. (The only thing missing is a strand of cheesecloth running from the woman’s nose to her pal behind her.)

It’s nauseating and plays right into the hands of the pseudoskeptics.

Eh, sorry to get riled up. (I have been much better about ignoring mediumship in general and concentrating on the really good stuff: ADCs, NDEs and OBEs.)  I guess feel free to believe these folks if you really want to. My main point is that - if you’re not going to use your critical thinking and call bunk *bunk* - then just realize that there’s no way this helps anyone trying to educate the masses about the “afterlife”. The masses will laugh—as well they probably should.

Ron Cecchini, Thu 5 Sep, 06:32

I’d like to reply to a number of comments.  I am the Editor of Marti Barham’s book “47 Billion Years of Evolution: A Case Report”.  I am also an academic clinical psychologist with over 100 scholarly publications, so I am well-practiced in evaluating the credibility of information.  I did several years of research before concluding that the content of this book is an important addition to the world literature. 

I also researched the accusations against Jay Barham and concluded they had no substantiation, as did the officials who investigated them years ago.  So Gavin and Philemon, the case has been “cleared up”. 

In addition, I interviewed Jay (who transitioned in 2009) and about six of the regular sitters.  Jay was a kind, simple, uneducated, and inarticulate man.  There is no way he could have generated the words spoken by the materialized entities Aenka and Mario.  The sitters confirmed that Jay went into a trance and did not speak or move out of place during their sessions unless the entire group took a break. Marti’s response to people who take accusations about Jay seriously is “believe what you want to believe”.

“Evolution” is the only book I have found that involves extensive teachings of materialized entities.  If you know of other teachings by materialized entities, please let me know.  For me, the teachings of materialized entities are the most convincing because they bypass the physical mind of the medium.  Research by Gary Schwartz and Julie Beischel demonstrates that mental mediumship reflects about 15% distortion, most likely reflecting the medium’s ability to relay information in linear language as well as the vocabulary base and biases of the medium.

“Evolution” includes information that complements other spirit communications, particularly the information on the creation of our galaxy 47 billion years ago, the creation of life on our planet 47 million years ago,  how the human animal evolved over the course of 40 million years,  the endowment of the human animal 7 million years ago, and spiritual evolution since then.  The book also provides converging evidence of many spirit communications in Appendix B, such as there being 7 steps of spiritual evolution, the purpose of life, and the nature of the afterlife. 

To Victor,  I mailed you a copy of this book. I ordered it on July 14, 2013 from Amazon.  So I hope it arrives soon!

Marti still has many of the audiotapes.  Some are worn but others are quite clear.  I know she has been seeking a company that could transfer them to disks and I will ask her if she has had any success.

Elaine Heiby, Sun 28 Jul, 02:54

I have not read Dr Barhams book yet but there seems to be a lot of disparaging information concerning her husband Jay who I believe was investigated by the police concerning sexual accusations. I dont think i can blindly dismiss such accusations as people may have been badly scarred emotionally. Maybe there is nothing to it but it leaves a bad taste. There is plenty of good clean information out there and I just dont feel the need to enter into this whole tainted area.

Gavin Doyle, Thu 25 Jul, 15:22


After I posted my comment, I found myself muttering the name “Barham” over and over in my head, as it seemed familiar. Then I realized I had read about the Barhams in Steve Volk’s “Fringe-ology.” Without going into depth regarding the claims made in Fringe-ology - a book that was on the whole pro-psi - it’s pretty clear there are some criticisms about the Barhams that need to be cleared up. For those interested in following up on this, please see Volk’s chapter on Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, on page 47.

Philemon, Thu 25 Jul, 07:13

Wow is right! Thanks for this, Michael. I’ll be reading Barham’s books now, thanks to you.

Philemon, Thu 25 Jul, 06:51


Thanks for your comment.  I understand that Dr. Barham still has tapes of many of the sessions and would like to convert them to CDs, but it is not clear at this point that there is enough interest in the tapes to justify the expense.

Mich, Thu 18 Jul, 03:21

Michael, you are doing a great job, no doubt about that, but sometimes the wish is father to the thought…I mean come on…omniscient Aenka and Mario…seems to me more like gypsy siblings of incest origin - especially looking at that picture smile))
Oh wait…it´s not Aenka but Dr. Barham with Mario…my bad smile
But Jay Barham being Mario…that could explain a lot…
What a case…I´m lost smile)

fenriz, Wed 17 Jul, 21:02

I had often complained that channeled entities had pretentious-sounding names that made it harder to accept them as real.  Well, when I first took a channeling class, I found myself in contact with a being who said his name was Larry.  Part of what I wrote about him was: “As I was taking leave of Larry, I embraced him again, and could see/feel a scruffy, stubbly sort of salt-and-pepper beard.  Larry seemed to be the kind of guy who could be found sitting around in his undershirt, drinking a beer, watching the game.  If Orion is from the Pleiades, Larry must be from Cleveland.  I wanted unpretentious, and I got it.”

Elene Gusch, Wed 17 Jul, 03:43

These books are new to me, yet from your report I can see there is much in common with my own experiences of physical mediumship, including my own. The Risen have indicated to me, many times, that the Earth is much, much, much older than our scientists are currently capable of detecting or even understanding. Although I like to think of myself as many years past the mind-boggling stage, I would welcome more boggling, which would further open my mind’s door of understanding.

August Goforth, Tue 16 Jul, 20:16

“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.”
^^^^^ There it is, straight from spirit. smile. why bother with pseudoskeptics, materialists and closed-minded buffoons.

I don’t. Apparently, neither does Aenka.


P.S. Are the tapes available for listening? Wouldn’t that be something!

Frank, Tue 16 Jul, 07:19

Thanks Michael for the information about Dr. Barham.  I haven’t read any of his books but I will now. Excellent post!  I always like it when you include your personal experiences and views in your writing.

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 16 Jul, 04:20

Absolutely fascinating. I read her two earlier books and must get a copy of the last one.

Wendy Zammit, Tue 16 Jul, 03:34

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“Life After Death – The Communicator” by Paul Beard – If the telephone rings, naturally the caller is expected to identify himself. In post-mortem communication, necessitating something far more complex than a telephone, it is not enough to seek the speakers identity. One needs to estimate also as far as is possible his present status and stature. This involves a number of factors, overlapping and hard to keep separate, each bringing its own kind of difficulty. Four such factors can readily be named. Read here
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