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Taking Your Toys With You At Death!

Posted on 03 June 2024, 7:16

An aging friend who appears to be nearing the end of his life has become a very angry man recently.  There was a time not long ago when he was very jovial as we talked over coffee or tea about such trivial matters as baseball and football, as if they are the most important things in the world.  When I occasionally attempted to change the subject to spiritual concerns, he was quick to reject the topic and return to the real weighty stuff.  I learned over time not to make any attempt at discussing spiritual matters and we recycled the sports topics over and over again.  I don’t know how many times he told me how great Mickey Mantle was or the distance of his longest homerun, but I know I don’t have enough fingers on which to count them.


I offered my friend a copy of my book, The Afterlife Revealed, but he reacted with a sneer.  The nature of his anger is difficult to identify, but I sense that he is mad at the world because he knows he is dying.  As he has no real spiritual foundation, he apparently sees himself marching into an abyss of nothingness, i.e., total extinction, or perhaps into the humdrum or horrific afterworld offered by orthodoxy, and I suspect all that goes to the root cause of his anxiety and anger. Although most psychiatrists are apparently grounded in materialistic behaviorism and don’t really seem to be familiar with it, my friend appears to be suffering from a disorder known as “existential angst.”  While his consciousness continues to strive to be one with his toys, his subconscious is nagging his conscious self to find some meaning in all of it, while driving across the point that he can’t take his toys with him when he dies.  It’s that nagging that is bringing on the subtle and undiagnosed anxiety and anger.

No, I am not a psychiatrist or psychologist, but I’ve had enough experience with aging relatives, friends and acquaintances over my 87 years, along with extensive studies in psychical research, to have some clues as to what is happening.  They are clues, nothing more. I may very well be wrong. I’ve come to the conclusion that absolute (100%) certainty on anything, including consciousness surviving death, is contraindicated for optimum mental health and that some doubt is necessary for us to deal with our challenges and progress in this lifetime.

All that is not to suggest that we should be lifetime skeptics and sit on the fence our entire lives, as so many insist on doing. I believe that seeking, searching, studying, striving, struggling, sacrificing, surrendering, and serving come before solving and soaring.  Such a pursuit often leads from skepticism to conviction.  Conviction does not mean absolute certainty, but it provides a confidence that borders on certainty and permits some peace of mind relative to life’s meaning while avoiding much or all of the existential angst that seems to be affecting my friend.   

I doubt that most of the clues are even discussed in psychology classes. Such discussions would border on religion, a no-no subject in a scientific approach to mental health and well-being.  Modern medicine wants none of that, nor does academia or the media.  They don’t grasp the difference between the dogma and doctrines of organized religions and the indications from psychical research. Moreover, the media, clearly not understanding the difference, does not want to upset readers with “unscientific” subjects or even conflicting religious views.  Better not to discuss the subject at all than risk censure by angry readers who are unable to reconcile such views with either their nihilistic or religious worldviews.

Being Philistines

As existentialist philosopher Sǿren Kierkegaard saw it: “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 insignificant, if a bottomless void never satiated lay hidden beneath all – what then would life be but despair?”  Kierkegaard referred to those who took no interest in the subject as “philistines,” and opined that they are in despair even if they don’t realize it.

Or to again quote the famous French philosopher, Michel De Montaigne: “They come and they go and they trot and they dance, and never a word about death.  All well and good. Yet, when death does come – to them, their wives, their children, their friends – catching them unawares and unprepared, then what storms of passion overwhelm them, what cries, what fury, what despair!”

Actually, there is considerable anecdotal evidence suggesting that you can take your toys with you when you die. It’s likely, however, that you won’t know you are “dead” when you play with those toys. It’s said to be as if you are stuck in a monotonous never-ending dream world. Those who scoff at such an idea might ask themselves if they know they are “alive” when they are dreaming at night. Such consciousness is clearly little understood by mainstream science, but many maverick scientists and scholars have studied the evidence for survival and to some extent what happens immediately after death.  They include Alfred Russel Wallace, co-originator with Charles Darwin of the natural selection theory of evolution, Sir William Crookes, a world-renowned chemist of yesteryear, Sir Oliver Lodge, a physicist and pioneer in electricity and radio, on up to current near-death experience researchers such as Drs. Raymond Moody and Bruce Greyson, to name only a few.  Unfortunately, their views are suppressed by the mainstream. When they dare publish their unconventional or non-conformist findings, they become outlaws in their professions.

Believe it or not, there is even a little anecdotal evidence suggesting that there are “beings” in the afterlife environment who don’t believe that humans or “earthlings” exist. Such weirdness boggles the mind and invites even scoffs from those who assume that other dimensions of reality must resemble ours or believe that reductionistic science has it all figured out. 

Many have abandoned beliefs about an afterlife because they assume that an old man with whiskers is calling the shots and allowing all kinds of bad things to happen to good people. They conclude that no loving “God” would permit such atrocities. They haven’t stopped to consider that this life seems to be a small part of the larger life – one which is all about exercising free will in learning lessons by overcoming adversity.  Nor do they consider that it is not necessary to have proof of God before accepting the evidence for survival.  If there is a God overseeing it all, great, but if there are ballistic missiles headed our way, the president doesn’t need to know their origin before ordering them shot down.  Identifying the country of origin is secondary to accepting that they are headed our way. The same goes for the survival and God issues. 

Even though psychical research, the subject of seven of my eight published books, as well as about a dozen other books to which I have contributed, has nothing to do with religion, or even a belief in God, some of my non-religious friends think I am a “religious nut.”  I tell them that the books are essentially about consciousness and research strongly suggesting that consciousness survives death in a greater reality than the one we are now experiencing. However, the distinction between consciousness research and religious dogma is slow to sink in for most of them.

Agent of Satan

At the other extreme, some of my religious friends consider me an agent of Satan.  Even though psychical research supports about 97 percent of their religious beliefs, especially the most critical one, life after death, it conflicts with some seemingly insignificant beliefs adopted by church authorities over the centuries, and these conflicts, they have been told, mean that it’s all the work of the devil.  Those researchers are all wolves in sheep’s clothing, they claim. 

I’ll never make it on any best-seller list, but I’m satisfied with about 12,000 or so sales of the books.  My best seller is The Afterlife Revealed, which is approaching 6,000 sales and now has 165 reviews at I’ve had a number of people tell me that the book has made their terminal years much more endurable than it might have otherwise been had they been looking ahead to an abyss of nothingness.  Some of my non-religious friends react with “one life at a time for me.”  I agree with them, but as the renowned psychiatrist Dr. Carl Gustav Jung put it, “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.”  The problem is that most people don’t recognize the loss until they are within shouting distance of what they think of as the abyss, at which point they scream in despair. 
Even Sigmund Freud, who was not spiritually inclined, was concerned that one’s attitude toward death has a bearing on his or her psychological health.  “Is it not for us to confess that in our civilized attitude toward death, we are once more living psychologically beyond our means, and must reform and give truth its due?” he asked, while also reportedly telling a friend that if he had his life to live over again, he would pursue psychical research rather than psychiatry.
If I am interpreting those and other great thinkers correctly, the conscious self wants pleasure and luxury, but the subconscious (the soul) wants peace of mind, and that comes only with seeing this life as a part of a much larger one.  Therein is the conflict that goes unrecognized by presidents, politicians, and the media.  It is much easier for them to say that people are angry than to say they are in existential despair.  If they suggest that people are in such despair, they have to explain what they are in despair over.  It would not be politically, journalistically or scientifically correct to say that their materialistic lifestyles have detracted from their spiritual values and pursuits and that they have lost sight of the larger life. It is so much simpler to blame it on anger over economic deprivations and social injustices than to say it results from the pursuit of pleasure and luxury, the very things we think we want. 

But back to the important stuff.  I agree that Mickey Mantle was a great player, but Willie Mays was a bit greater.  Just my opinion. 

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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Next blog post: June 17


I would just like to say that I find it really useful at times when contributors include links in some of their replies . It is very helpful when you have limited knowledge of a particular topic.
Best wishes

Pete Marley, Mon 10 Jun, 20:02


To reiterate what I said in my email to you, Swedenborg apparently didn’t have the ways and means to communicate in the 80 or so years after his death.  According to the Imperator group, which communicated through Stainton Moses, it was Benjamin Franklin and Emanuel Swedenborg that figured out how to communicate with the earth realm by means of raps, taps, and table tilting.  They apparently figured it out 20 or so years before the Fox sisters, but it didn’t catch on until the Fox sister.  Swedenborg and Francis Bacon then communicated nearly a thousand pages of   information (two volumes of the book) through the mediumship of Dr. George Dexter, as set forth in the 1853 book “Spiritualism,” authored by Judge John Edmonds and Dr. Dexter. Nearly everything that has come to us through spiraling mediumship since then was communicated by Swedenborg and Dexter in that book.

Swedenborg was said to be one of the 49 advanced spirits making up the Imperator group, which communicated through Stainton Moses.  He also is said to have been one of the advanced spirits that Alan Kardec recorded. 

The information coming through Cora Scott Richmond is said to have come from 12 advanced spirits making up a “group soul.”  I don’t recall that their names on earth were ever given, but I suspect that Swedenborg was one of the 12. 

I don’t recall the human names of Imperator, Rector, Mentor, and others in the Imperator group, but several of them were said to be from the early days of Christianity.  One might ask why they waited for Stainton Moses to communicate. In addition to not having the mediumistic means, it may be that we just weren’t ready for it until then.  Indications are that most people still aren’t ready for it.

Thanks for your participation.

Michael Tymn, Mon 10 Jun, 05:45

To Bruce’s question “why the interest in Cora?” my reply ran to a length more appropriate to a blog post than a reply here .

To Bruce’s second question “Does it take about one hundred years to get a suitable medium?” Time is not so much a barrier to contacting a medium as is affinity. I believe that Dr. Dexter may have the distinction as the first medium on record to have channeled Swedenborg, as conveyed in Judge Edmond’s classic book Spiritualism published in 1853. And, as to finding a medium for the purpose of “correction of their writings” Swedenborg said through Dexter, as though speaking of his incarnate self in the third person, “…I imagine you gleaned the idea from one Swedenborg, who wrote many foolish things on earth, which he is willing to rectify in spirit.”

David Chilstrom, Sun 9 Jun, 22:50


Thank you for expanding my knowledge, as I had no knowledge of Cora. I visited your excellent website and especially liked “To get you started, here is the exceptional little booklet of a talk given by the spirit of Emmanuel Swedenborg. It’s one of Cora’s finest.”

I am a spiritualist medium and I look at the organisational side of the after life. I would think that it is not using a hit and miss as a strategy to communicate. Far too many smart people for such a random approach. I have thought that there are two or more reasons for such contact by those who were interested in life after death whilst embodied, such as Swedenborg.
(I was slightly connected with his church The New Church as I collected his works searching for insights. Swedenborg was a mining engineer while I was an electrical engineer both with seer abilities.)

There are two main reasons for famous spirits to establish contact. One is the continuation of their work and the other correction of their writings. Stainton Moses had a correction or two.
This is the part where I speculate. How do they find a suitable medium? Is there a database of mediums to contact or are the communication techniques the key?

My first question to you is why the interest in Cora? She started with automatic writing at 11(Summary of Cora L. V. Richmond’s Life) and then moved into trance. Spirits controls were “A. A. Ballou, son of the religious leader Adin Ballou and “Ouina, claimed to be the spirit of a Native American woman who died centuries earlier”.
So how does Swedenborg (died 1772) communicate in July 1878 Pathway of Angels (thanks for ebook)? Does it take about one hundred years to get a suitable medium?

I am amused that Michael gets called the spawn of Satan. What would someone who talks to the dead get called? Crazy is fairly standard. Cora started with slate writing at 11 from her mum’s sister. It was fortunate that her mother believed in her. ( ).


Bruce Williams, Sun 9 Jun, 03:52


Many thanks for your efforts of the Cora (Scott) Richmond material.  She is one of my favorites.


The short answer for Bret is that it’s a “thought world.”

Michael Tymn, Sat 8 Jun, 01:51

How could you play video games when you are dead?
How could you do anything when you are dead?

Obviously your not dead!

Bret Robinson, Fri 7 Jun, 07:28

Thanks, Amos.  I know what you meant, but it was the lower back, not the knees, that made it difficult to stand up.  All that said, my fingers are as fast as they were in high school when I hit 70 words per minute.  I think I can hit at least 80 now.  Then again, the computer key boards are much faster than those old Remington Rand typewriters.

Michael Tymn, Fri 7 Jun, 06:07

For the AI curious amongst you, I have put the (near complete) works of Cora Richmond into a single Google Notebook that can be queried using Google Gemini. In addition, I’ve taken the lectures from the book “The New Science and Spiritual Ethics” and split that into 3 notebooks (there is a current limit of 20 documents per notebook.)

Over time I plan to make all of her books that I have converted from PDF scans of the originals available in Epub format, but there are various issues to sort out regarding distribution, etc. In the meantime, I’ve created a web page that links to the Google notebooks and a couple of exceptional pamphlets in epub format that will give you a taste of Cora if you aren’t already familiar with her.

David Chilstrom, Thu 6 Jun, 22:17

My previous comment is an example of typing in the dark, on a dirty keyboard, a low contrast monitor, without my glasses and having a mini panic attack all at the same time. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 6 Jun, 15:12

Michael ,
The cost of a new knee in Hawaii is &17;,596 You are amazing Michael. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 6 Jun, 13:23

A little paradox came to mind today.  It’s not quite related to this blog but to the extent that all of life seems paradoxical I thought I would summarize it here.

Because the cost of painting my house was 5 times what it was seven years ago, I decided to paint it myself.  It was a two-month project, interrupted by heavy rain at times, but I finally finished yesterday.  My wife and friends kept warning me about climbing up the ladder to do the overhead eaves, which mentally was the most difficult part.  Physically, however, the most difficult was doing the bottom portion of the house, as it often meant going to my knees and not being able to get back up again without something to hold onto.  I think that’s a paradox. I saved about $12,000, but I hope that doesn’t make me a materialist.

Michael Tymn, Thu 6 Jun, 08:18

A skeptical friend sent me an email saying he has no toys to take with him. However, I reminded him that at our last lunch he was constantly checking his phone and that most certainly is his number one “toy.”

Michael Tymn, Wed 5 Jun, 02:33

Interesting thoughts, Michael.  I don’t understand how some people can be uncurious about whether there is life after death.  I have often heard skeptics respond that “there is no evidence” for life after death, and when I suggest there is plenty, they just haven’t looked, they scoff - yet show zero curiosity for exploring the issue.  They have already made up their mind, so any evidence must be bogus.

On the subject of psychology…  Back in the early days, it used to allow talk of the transcendent or supernatural.  Jung, Maslow, Frankl, the transpersonal psychologists.  Heck, one of the founders of psychology, William James, was big into spiritualism, as I know you’re aware.  Unfortunately, all that got blotted out around the 80s or 90s.  The profession was straining for scientific credibility, so that “woo woo” stuff had to go.  I’m a retired psychologist myself, and I miss the old days.  Things are somewhat more rigorous now, but a lot more dry, flat, and uninspiring. 

About “taking your toys with you,” I heard one astral traveller say there were videogames in the afterlife.  You could sit there and play videogames after you were dead.  I play videogames occasionally myself, but I can’t for the life of me understand why someone would want to do that in the afterlife.

Oh, and regarding book sales, I wanted to mention that I heard recently that 90% of books sell under 1000 copies.  This was behind-the-scenes information from Penguin, from a legal deposition in a court trial.  The same source also said that 50% of books sell about a dozen copies or less - something I find a little hard to believe, but may be true.

Which is to say, your books are doing a lot better than average.  It’s tough to make a dent in such a flooded market.

Thanks for your work.  I have a few of those 12K copies on my own shelf.

Ed Anderson

Ed Anderson, Wed 5 Jun, 02:15

Anthony,  see my blog of May 11, 2020 for anecdotal stories about spirits who don’t believe earthlings exist. There are others, but I can’t come up with the references right now.

Michael Tymn, Wed 5 Jun, 00:30

Thanks, Amos, for the comment.  Maybe I’ll do a book on how the 10 S’s overcome the 10 D’s. 

Also, thanks to Rick.  As for how I can be friends with those who consider me an agent of Satan, I guess the answer has to do with the definition of friends. Most are more acquaintances who see me as misguided.  But they are hopeful that I’ll eventually see the light.

Michael Tymn, Tue 4 Jun, 00:29

Congratulations to Michael Schmicker on his latest book, “What Comes Next? An Investigative Journalist Uncovers Quantum Physics’ Hidden Afterlife Hypothesis”  Mike’s book clearly offers the best explanation of this complex subject for laymen, or is it laypersons, whatever.

Michael Tymn, Tue 4 Jun, 00:24

Great post! And I’m really fascinated by this:
“Believe it or not, there is even a little anecdotal evidence suggesting that there are ‘beings’ in the afterlife environment who don’t believe that humans or ‘earthlings’ exist.”

Can you say more about that?

Anthony, Mon 3 Jun, 21:11

I’ve come to the conclusion that absolute (100%) certainty on anything, including consciousness surviving death, is contraindicated for optimum mental health and that some doubt is necessary for us to deal with our challenges and progress in this lifetime.

This is an important issue. It has been said that, outside pure mathematics, there is no such thing as absolute proof. Science has made countless discoveries that appear to be undeniable facts: all the available evidence tends to support and nothing seems to cast doubt on them.

Then come new observations that shake up the previous “facts.” Not much more than a century ago distinguished physicists assured people that the smallest building blocks of matter were atoms, and simple they were, just protons and electrons. Needless to say the current picture is far more complex.

In trying to understand the mysteries that follow graduation from the earth plane, most of us sooner or later have to admit we can’t be sure of any indications. Even seemingly authentic sources like some spirit communications don’t always agree with one another on details.

So we can’t eliminate doubts. And still we feel frustrated or unsuccessful because of having them. Learning the truth about survival is so important! How dare God or the universe leave us partly ignorant despite all our best efforts?

Conviction does not mean absolute certainty, but it provides a confidence that borders on certainty and permits some peace of mind relative to life’s meaning while avoiding much or all of the existential angst that seems to be affecting my friend.

Aye. We can allow ourselves some anxiety-relieving conviction without the hoped-for definite knowledge.

At the other extreme, some of my religious friends consider me an agent of Satan.

If you mean that literally, how can you be friends with those who think you’re doing Satan’s work? And how can they be friends with you?

Rick Darby, Mon 3 Jun, 20:34

Mike T.
Good blog. I had to smile when I read your record -breaking, ten “s” word alliteration sentence. Before you end your writing career and head off into the afterlife, I want to see a blog with a round dozen 😄🍷👍
Mike S

Michael Schmicker, Mon 3 Jun, 19:51

Excellent post Michael.  I think you are always better when you speak for yourself as you have in this post.  Alliteration of the S-words makes writing fun as it should be.  You’ve still got it, Michael! - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 3 Jun, 17:15

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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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