• Paranormalia is written by Robert McLuhan, a journalist and author based in London. Please contact me at robertmcluhan@gmail.com

« On the Non-Existence of France | Main | Some Reflections on Children’s Memories »

March 16, 2014

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c6d8553ef01a51186b712970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference What’s It Like On the Other Side?:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Along with other aspects of the purported afterlife, the whole timelessness thing..or past present and future existing at once...has always boggled my mind somewhat by creating more questions than it answers.

Two immediately come to mind. Firstly, if time has no meaning/all exists at once there, then surely that means my spirit...the one that's going to go there, future tense, when I die is in reality already there. Permanently in effect...which then begs the question why are people apparently visited by reassuring apparitions of their dead relatives? Why not just visit yourself,which would be even more reassuring!? Or why don't the friends and relatives pass on any relevant message to the spiritual you with whom they're already sharing the other world, instead of popping into your earthly life while spiritual you is doing something else?

I'm not being facetious..the questions just naturally sound that way by the very nature of the subject.

The second, related, conundrum would be: if I'm already/permanently in that timeless place where the future is as present as the past is, what does it mean to opt to live this or that new earthly life in order to learn or experience some different lesson? Because after all the experiences of that next life, and all the ones after it, will have already been had, their details fully remembered anyway...wouldn't they?

In my opinion the question about reincarnation and timelessness is well explained by Jane Roberts in the Seth's books.

The Neville Randall book is very interesting. From recollection I can't think of any of the communicators reported as speaking through Leslie Flint who refer to an existence that wasn't broadly similar to what we experience in the physical world today.

There was certainly reference to other stages of development beyond them but most people seem to have found themselves in a world that made sense to them. No one seems to have mentioned instant access to the wisdom of the universe or sudden insights into the meaning of life etc. no one rode butterflies or fed unicorns. In fact in many instances it was so mundane and ordinary that some people didn't realise they had died.

There were certainly references to phenomena we don't see on earth such as instantaneous travel, communicating without speech, colours beyond those we experience on earth but none of it struck me as hard to conceive.

I find it difficult to construct a consistent model of the afterlife that incorporates reports from NDEs, mediums and direct messages.

The Neville Randall book is quite untypical. I think the focus on the material aspects - dwellings, occupations, etc - is partly because the people communicating tended to be quite uneducated, and short on religious, scientific or philosophical sensibilities. So this was what they noticed.

But even so, they understood enough about the spiritual/moral source of what they experienced to wander off into vague sermonising. The researchers had to work hard to bring them back to the subject.

One gets the feeling eventually that it was the researchers who were missing the point. The reality *is* the spiritual stuff, not the subjective reality it gives rise to.

Yes that's a good point Rob. The people mentioned in Randall's book were pretty ordinary, although many of Flint's other ostensible communicators were certainly not.

The sermonising you mention almost sounded to me like they were repeating what they had been told by others sometimes. Not unlike many people in general here 'on earth' really no? :). Oddly perhaps this 'ordinariness' added to its credibility for me.

I wonder if anyone here has read "My Son and the Afterlife", by Elisa Medhus, MD. I'd be interested in comparisons between it and some of the sources mentioned in this comment thread.

They say "Our Time here on the Other Side is completely not relevant to your Time there. This is where the worlds disconnect.", and you comment "But if past, present and future are all wrapped up in a simultaneous sort of being, how does that fit with past lives?".

On the 'other side' they say there is "no time". But there are certainly before and after, one thing and then another, a life review and then thinking about the life review, etc. None of these successions would be even possible if the time there was "a simultaneous sort of being"!

I think the general theory should be that, rather, the spiritual beings have 'succession of states', but no 'clock' or 'regular' time like the physical world. There is no fixed number of things that can be done between any two events: 'spiritual time' is very flexible (and varies a lot according to states of love, etc).

There is some exposition of this at http://www.theisticscience.org/books/hh/hh18.html

Re Corbin's comment above I wanted to provide the following link to the website behind the book mentioned, so those more knowledgeable than myself could go and compare and contrast

http://www.channelingerik.com/

Thank you Frances. I have to say that a lot of what's going on at that website is on the far side of my boggle threshold, but I'm not one of the knowledgeable people you mentioned, so I'll refrain from judgment.

I have read so many NDE's that describe what they experienced in terms that sound very "holographic". It parallels what I have read in Michael Talbot's books about the holographic universe. They talk about an overwhelming feeling of oneness and connectedness, time and space not existing, 360 degree vision, communicating telepathically, more colors than normal, realer than real, or more real than what we experience here, being able to experience any time or space simply by focusing their attention on it. Sort of like Hiro Nakamura on Heroes, being the master of time and space. Whatever you think about, that is what you see. Thoughts are things and consciousness creates reality. So you aren't limited to just one time period or place like we are here. You can go backwards or forwards in time, experiencing everything about that time. Also because of the oneness and connectedness you have "all knowledge", all the information is downloaded into your consciousness, as a bolus of information. You don't get the information sequentially like here but instead it all comes into our mind at the same time. Like the entire page off the encyclopedia is instantly downloaded into your mind - all at once.

Hello Art, I remember you talking about this on Michael Prescott's blog, and thinking I really must reacquaint myself with Talbot's ideas. So thanks for reminding me! The holograph is of course a primary image for grasping this new reality.

Hi Art, Yes: those abilities to find anyone are described at http://www.theisticscience.org/books/hh/hh22.html as

194. For the same reason, again, any one in the spiritual world who intensely desires the presence of another comes into his presence, for he thereby sees him in thought, and puts himself in his state; and conversely, one is separated from another so far as he is averse to him. And since all aversion comes from contrariety of affection and from disagreement of thought, whenever in that world several are together in one place they are visible [to one another] so long as they agree, but vanish as soon as they disagree.

You say, "Whatever you think about, that is what you see." So we have next to consider what it is which determines what we do think about!
And that thing is love and states of love. Such states of love cannot be arbitrarily taken on or put off, because they depend on our whole previous life. Varying thinking is easy, but varying our loves is not.

I'm fascinated by all this kind of stuff. But the problem I have with Leslie Flint is that all his communicators seem to speak with a London accent of one kind or another. And they weren't all under educated. Wasn't one a past president of the SPR? From what I recall, even Madame Blavatsky appeared to speak no Russian when she communicated through Flint and was, I believe, speaking in a peculiar broken english. Is there any one here who knows of evidence to the contrary?

It depends on your perspective Julie. You might find his biography interesting. What is perhaps of more evidential interest is a) how the voices were produced and b) the evidential content for those who knew the purported communicators. Simply listening to a sample of recordings won't convince I don't think.

You may also find "psychic adventures in New York" by Neville Whymant interesting, though not based on Flint.

Julie, as presented in the Neville Randall book, cited earlier, most of the communicators do come over rather like every 1940's posh person's idea of the typical cockney sparrer….’cor blimey, guv, the queen mum, gawd bless er etc. etc.’ I re-read that book recently, after many years, and I have to say that that aspect of it really made me cringe.

Oscar Wilde puts in an appearance and contributes some (merely – for him) pithy comments. But it’s rather difficult to make a judgement from recordings quoted verbatim in a book.

I’ve heard quite a few recordings of Flint séances over the years, though, and I don’t remember being struck that the communicators sounded THAT stylised. But that did seem, to me, to be a big (and rather irritating) aspect of SOME direct voice séances I’ve attended with other mediums.

One could put forward various difficulties that communicators might face. More than once I heard complaints to the effect that ‘…you lot don’t understand how hard this business is’. And I’m sure that when someone once played back a recording of one of Colin Fry’s Controls (‘Magnus’) back to him, Magnus expressed amazement that the recorded voice sounded nothing like he remembered.

At the end of the day, it all rests on information in support of identity and, too often, that was not forthcoming because few bothered to ask for any.

Hi Steve - I think this is where George Woods and Betty Greene really missed a trick to be honest. I can't recall them asking a single evidential question. A shame really.

Thanks Paul and Steve. I'll look up the books you suggest - in fact I read quite a lot about him some years ago and was quite impressed. It was only when I heard the recordings that I became rather less convinced. The audible breaths bother me a little bit. If the voices are not actually speaking through Lesley Flint then why do they need breath? They're non-physical entities, aren't they?

Hi Julie

Apparently they spoke via a materialised voice box. If that is the case, presumably it would need air to operate as it would physically exist and would need to create the sounds which are subsequently recorded on tape.

I am totally guessing though.

I *really* want Flint's work to be a genuine phenomenon - if only because there was a chap came through by the name of George Wilmot who claimed his horse had come to meet him on the other side. I would sooooooo much like to know that we really do meet our animal friends in physical form on the other side. :)

I never sat with Flint, Julie - regrettably. Although I do know people who did, including someone who knew him well.

Although I was not present, I was told by someone (the former acquaintance of Flint) that their recently deceased Golden Retriever materialised at a Fry séance. You may be interested in this: -

http://www.amazon.co.uk/When-Your-Animal-Sylvia-Barbanell/dp/085384111X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1395738567&sr=1-1

Paul: you're correct re the alleged method of voice production. One thing I noticed with a couple of mediums when making recordings of DV (stereo pair of mic's a few feet either side of the medium's chair) was that the 'spirit' voices were very unstable in the stereo image - i.e. would pan abruptly from side to side. That could, maybe, happen if the voice was actually coming from the medium's mouth and they were moving their head abruptly from side to side. But, I don't feel that's very likely - for reasons I won't go into. I've still got a few old recordings of this, so will have to look into it further.

Also, often - with Fry, in particular. As each communicator finished, there would be a loud gurgling sound - rather like someone choking, combined with the sound of water disappearing down a plug hole. Still have recordings of that too. I don't ever remember ever hearing that with Flint. There were various other effects that were quite puzzling. Lot's to ponder, even decades later!

Thanks Steve. Do you have a blog/website where you discuss this material? I really would like to know more about your experience with Fry. Also is there any reason in particular why you recommend the Barbanell book? I ask because there are several available on the same theme - some of which I already have and, while interesting, don't give me that intuitive 'yes' feel. The only two that have, so far are 'The Scole Experiment' and 'The Boy Who Saw True'. The reason is that in each there was mention of the 'spirit light' phenomenon of which I have personal experience. But I don't suppose there's anyone who truly understands such phenomena.

Hi Julie. No, I don't have any online presence like that. Don't have the time, really.

I just mentioned that book because it's the only one that sprang to mind - I've haven't read it myself, but I've heard others speak highly of it.

I think that there are people who 'understand' many aspects of the various phenomena of mediumship - mental and physical. The problem is, as I see it, that people get confused between a personal, or received, understanding and a 'scientific' one. And I think that ‘believers’, ‘skeptics’ and free-floating ‘sceptics’ have been prone to that at times.

Just read some of the thread back and found this from Art: "Also because of the oneness and connectedness you have "all knowledge", all the information is downloaded into your consciousness, as a bolus of information"

I've had that experience, it happened when I was around 9 - 10 years of age. Someone, but (frustratingly) I can't remember who, described it as an 'information bomb'. It only happened to me the once, but I have never forgotten it.

The Sylvia barbanell book is good IMHO. I have revisited it when I have lost pets.

In her book, "When Your Animal Dies", Sylvia Barbanell, says: "I have attended many direct-voice sittings held by Mrs Estelle Roberts, the famous medium, whose psychic gifts have done so much to convince sceptics of the truths of Survival.

"At one of these séances I heard a 'dead' retriever named Lon greet his owner, Dr. Margaret Vivian, by barking through the trumpet.

From the same book we are told: "Mr R. H. Saunders, a Spiritualist of considerable knowledge, who has now passed on, has told many interesting stories of animal survival.

In "Psychic News" he wrote: “When Mrs Blanche Cooper, who is a great animal-lover, was giving séances at the British College of Psychic
Science, it was quite a common incident for dogs and cats to materialise, and to be handled for a few minutes.”
"He also told of his collie dog which over fifty years ago had to be destroyed. Once, it manifested at a séance.
Mr Saunders wrote, 'It gave a joyful bark when I called out its name and, as I fondled it, I felt its coat gradually melting under my hands...' "

We read that at a séance with Mrs Etta Wriedt, one of the sitters was told by the medium's guide: " 'There's a horse here belonging to one of you,' at which there was a laugh.

"The guide, with some asperity, said, 'You may laugh, but let me tell you that people here have their horses, dogs and pets. Ah! you little know the spirit world.' . . ."

In his booklet "Animals in the Spirit World", Harold Sharp, the well-known medium says:

"When I was six years old we had a dog named Hector - a big lumbering dog.

It knocked me over many times and then would tug at my jacket trying to pull me up again.

If he had been a man instead of a dog I fear that he might well have become a drunkard. I never knew a dog with such a thirst.

He seemed to thrive on drinking at every bucket of water, puddle of water, the water in the horses' drinking troughs, dripping taps and so on.
If none of these were available he would pull at my mother's skirt and draw her towards the pump.
Hector had been 'dead' for twenty years.

I had almost forgotten his existence until one evening in a physical circle, at the home of Glover Botham in Golders Green, Hector, in full view of everybody, materialised.

There was a large blue china bowl of water on the floor in the centre of the circle as this is thought sometimes to add power to aid various manifestations.

The materialised Hector, unmindful of the purpose for which the water was supplied, set to and very noisily lapped up the whole of it. Then he barked loudly as though to say, 'Wasn't that clever.'

Later we heard that his bark had been heard by the two ladies living next door."

Mr Sharp continues with an interesting account of the return of a bird:

"At about the same time I was at another séance when a lovely blue-green budgerigar materialised in a room, which was in strong red light.

There were eight people present.

Gradually a blue-green mist began to move over the sitters' heads and from this ectoplasmic formation there flew a budgerigar.

It circled around the room then settled on a man's shoulder. He had owned the bird two years previously but it had been 'killed' by a cat.

It evidently recognised its owner, for in a very clear voice – as though appealing to him it said, 'I want a cigarette.'

This made everyone laugh.

It appears that its owner was a chain-smoker and had so often made this remark that the budgie had learned to mimic him."


Thank you so much for posting those excerpts, Zerdini. I've now ordered a copy of the book.

I so wish I could believe my own intimations in such matters, but I'm far more likely to accept them only if others have experienced them too. Perhaps that's the way we are conditioned as children: to seek reassurance with regard to our level of sanity. And, on balance, perhaps that's not such a bad idea.

Hi Zerdini

Further to an earlier question by Julie, I understand that sometimes Leslie Flint's ostensible communicators did indeed speak in foreign languages - am I correct?

i want to know about vegetation and architecture.

Hi Paul

You are quite correct, Paul.

Over a period of more than ten years, sitting with Leslie Flint on a regular basis, I heard a number of communicators speaking in foreign languages.

I remember, on more than one occasion, Leslie saying "speak English friend - we can't understand you!"

I agree, Julie.

Zerdini

I think you lot are lovely. And, what's more, I now feel confident that Lesley Flint is genuine. :)

And how strange is that, that I should be talking about 'lovely' on an intellectual blog? It just doesn't happen ;)

Having decided yesterday that Lesley Flint is genuine I now find myself floundering about again. If anyone here has the time, please go to the following website:

http://www.leslieflint.com/recordings2.html

and listen to the Sir William Crookes recording. Then go listen to the William Randolph Hearst recording. I'd Be interested to know what any of you think. Also, is it not so that Hearst was an American?

Ps. No need to listen to the entire recordings. Just compare the voices and speech patterns.

I'd suggest doing some detailed research really Julie, simply listening to recordings of people you don't know isn't going to give you a firm basis for deciding whether Leslie Flint was genuine or not.

I don't need to know them to decide whether I think they are English, American and/or exactly the same, Paul.

Well, Julie, then you can make you're own mind up. I'm not sure what you're looking for but if it's a simple answer about the genuiness of Leslie Flint's mediumship you won't find one. The way to gain a view is to research widely and do some reading around the subject. Then form your own view.

Good luck.

Yes, you're right in a sense, Paul. Indeed, I have done just that with many aspects of the survival evidence. And it seems to me that there is a very high probability that the afterlife is real. But I find the evidence for physical mediumship very interesting and would like to know what others think regarding the same. So, if anyone here cares to listen and compare those two recordings I would be very interested to hear their views. On subjects such as this I feel happiest comparing notes. :)

I think some of the recordings don't sound very convincing, others such as Lilian Baylis are, to me, quite astonishing. However they sound, what matters I think is how they were produced.

It is not possible to determine how they were produced by simply listening to them. I can think of a number of reasons the voices might sound similar if they were produced by the method claimed by Flint. There is also the possibility that the voices are fraudulent. It wouldn't be reasonable to my mind to infer fraud for certain without assuming that the independent direct voice is impossible.

If the Independent voice is impossible then it seems to me the only explanation is fraud. If we consider that the independent voice is at least possible, or are open to the idea, what other explanations could there be for unconvincing voices?

Well fraud is still one possibility, others might include; using the same materialised voicebox rendering voices similar; communicators sometimes said they have difficulty in remembering how their voices sounded; many in the past used a kind of 'standard accent' meaning perhaps many voices sounded similar; communicators occasionally mentioned how difficult it was to concentrate and maintain communications using the 'apparatus'; perhaps other entities posed as genuine communicators. Who knows?

What seems certain to me is that simply comparing recordings doesn't give much basis for forming a view as to whether they were what is claimed for them.

"What seems certain to me is that simply comparing recordings doesn't give much basis for forming a view as to whether they were what is claimed for them."

Well, it's a start. :)

It's only what I have said from the beginning. I'm out of this conversation. I will leave you to it.

Each to their own, Paul. Each to their own.

My copy of The Afterlife Interviews arrived this morning and (as is my wont) I read the last chapter first. It deals with the subject of evil, and I was somewhat surprised to find that it coincides with my own feelings on the matter.

In particular, the discussion of frequency ranges from 0 - 10 at which consciousness vibrates, is suggestive of the levels of psychological health as outlined by Robin Skynner in 'Life and How to Survive It' and by M. Scott Peck in one of his books. It has always seemed to me that psychological health equates with spiritual development.

Also, the fact that we are each psychlogically healthier is some areas of our lives/thinking than others, might explain why we sometimes attract people and situations into our lives that are, on the surface, incongruous with our overall state of being. In short, it offers a plausible description of how we attract 'evil' into our lives.

The brasilium médium Francisco Candido Xavier (1910-2002) has provided us with very rich descriptions about the afterlife. Of course, those books have been published in Portuguese but some of them have been translated into English.

The comments to this entry are closed.

ORDER ONLINE!

  • SOME REVIEWER COMMENTS
  • ‘A brisk, bracing look at this continuing controversy, exhaustively researched .. a must-read for anyone with a serious interest in parapsychology and its critics.’
  • ‘‘Packed with accurate information while at the same time surprisingly engaging and fun to read.’
  • ‘‘This is one book that gives a completely objective review of skeptical debunking, and spells out in detail a clear pattern of chicanery which pervades a well-funded and organized campaign against all psi research.’

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

  • ‘These disturbing phenomena seem to deny all our usual scientific ideas. How we should like to discredit them! Unfortunately the statistical evidence, at least for telepathy, is overwhelming. It is very difficult to rearrange one’s ideas so as to fit these new facts in.’ Alan Turing, computer scientist.

  • ‘I have noticed that if a small group of intelligent people, not supposed to be impressed by psychic research, get together and such matters are mentioned, and all feel that they are in safe and sane company, usually from a third to a half of them begin to relate exceptions. That is to say, each opens a little residual closet and takes out some incident which happened to them or to some member of their family, or to some friend whom they trust and which they think odd and extremely puzzling.’ Walter Prince, psychic researcher.

  • When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. Arthur C. Clarke

  • ‘Science seems to me to teach in the highest and strongest manner the great truth which is embodied in the Christian conception of entire surrender to the will of God. Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.’ Thomas Henry Huxley

  • We can always immunize a theory against refutation. There are many such immunizing tactics; and if nothing better occurs to us, we can always deny the objectivity – or even the existence – of the refuting observation. Those intellectuals who are more interested in being right than in learning something interesting but unexpected are by no means rare exceptions. Karl Popper, on the defenders of materialism.

  • If we have learned one thing from the history of invention and discovery, it is that, in the long run - and often in the short one - the most daring prophecies seem laughably conservative. Arthur C. Clarke.

Become a Fan