Sunday, October 4, 2009



This is the first anniversary of my writing about paranormal phenomena. Judging by the amount of e-mail I get, my blog is becoming quite popular. Although I have exposed a lot of frauds, the primary goal of this blog is to increase the awareness of people that there are a significant number of genuine, seemingly inexplicable, things in our world. My writing is an attempt to separate the genuine from the myths and the fraudulent and, whenever possible, explain them in a way most people will understand.

We live in a world where money reigns supreme. As a result, there are vast numbers of people who will do anything if it brings them a good financial return. Most people have a natural curiosity about such things as life after death, heaven and hell, etc. If someone claims they can “talk with the dead”, there are a lot of people who will pay him/her to talk to one or more of their dead loved ones. Being a Medium can be very financially rewarding. As a result, the number of phony Mediums abound. I have never met a Medium who convinced me of his/her ability to communicate with the dead.

In truth, almost all of the so-called Mediums use the cold-reading techniques I spoke about in my last blog. They are highly skilled actors who can speak in “general” terms, but make it sound like they are taking “specifically”, about your dearly departed. Then, there are some commercial Mediums who use “hot-reading” techniques: information garnered in advance about people who will be in their audience or attending their séance.

Probably the best-known present day Medium is John Edward, a fast-talking former ballroom-dancing instructor who is cleaning up on his proclaimed ability "to connect with energies of people who have crossed over." Died, that is. Indeed, his nightly TV show “Crossing Over with John Edward” was the highest-rated show on the Sci Fi network and is about to go into syndication. He has made appearances on Larry King Live, Dateline, an HBO special, Entertainment Tonight and other TV shows. Between his fees for individual appointments, tickets for his seminars and stage appearances, and sales of his books, audiotapes and videotapes, Edward seems to be one of the few growth industries in an otherwise lackluster economy.

Like other so-called Mediums, Edward relies heavily on the "cold reading" technique. It involves posing a series of questions and suggestions, each shaped by the subject's previous response. Mediums often begin, for example, by uttering a generality: "I sense an older father figure here," eliciting a response that leads him to the next question. "I'm getting that his death resulted from a problem in his chest". This is a statistically sound guess that could cover everything from lung cancer and emphysema to a heart attack. Should the subject answer no, the cold reader will often say, "Well, we'll get back to that," and quickly change tack. It's a sophisticated form of the game Twenty Questions, during which the subject, anxious to hear from the dead, seldom realizes that he, not the Medium or the departed, is supplying the answers.

A Time Magazine article written a few years ago by Leon Jaroff cited the case of Michael O'Neill, a New York City marketing manager, who had no preconceived notions about Edward but experienced what he is convinced was a "hot reading"--a variation on the cold reading in which the Medium takes advantage of information surreptitiously gathered in advance. Given an extra ticket by family members hoping to hear from his deceased grandfather, O'Neill attended a performance and was singled out by Edward, who received what he claimed were communications sent directly from the dead grandfather.
While many of those messages seemed to O'Neill to be clearly off base, Edward made a few correct "hits," mystifying everyone by dropping family names and facts he could not possibly have known.
It was not until weeks after the performance, when O'Neill saw the show on TV, that he began to suspect chicanery. Clips of him nodding yes had been spliced into the videotape after statements with which he remembers disagreeing. In addition, says O'Neill, most of Edward's "misses," both on him and other audience members, had been edited out of the final tape.
With all this fraudulent activity going on, should we assume (like Harry Houdini) that communication with the dead is impossible? In my opinion, all of the so-called showmen who claim to be able to talk to the dead relatives of complete strangers are as phony as a three-dollar-bill. Notwithstanding this, Communication with the dead is not only possible, but has very strong supporting evidence.

The evidence indicates that you can communicate with dead people who were very close to you in life. A brother, a mother…someone very close. Definitely not to strangers. Communication usually happens in dreams when the brain is sleeping and the mind/aura has taken over the body. At such times, the mind/aura approaches what we call an astral plane and the mind’s receptors are capable of telepathic thoughts. I have yet to meet someone who has spoken with the dead in voices that can be recorded. Communications from the dead are telepathic; for the obvious reason that vocal chords are a part of the dead body while the spirit/aura exists without a body. Even ghost-chasers who have tried to record spiritual voices in haunted houses had to admit that the sounds made by spirits are barely audible…much like the sounds of people talking who do not have a voice.

Among the growing number of scientists who believe in psychic phenomena, most seem to agree that the psychic’s mind has moved to an astral level where it is significantly more sensitive to telepathy.

There is a very interesting article by James Donahue: He went to classes where the spiritual part of his body was schooled. Soon he learned to astrally project. While astrally projecting, he saw his dead mother and telepathically communicated, in detail, with her. Donahue was not some religious extremist, but, rather, wrote about the experience objectively and dispassionately.

To me, this is not only possible, it’s logical. When we learn to project astrally, what we have learned to do is separate our mind/aura from our physical body. Our mind/aura can seek-out and communicate with other mind/auras of those very close to us. While this frequently happens by accident, you can teach yourself to do this:

There is an excellent article, online by Dr. Raymond Moody that tries to teach people how to communicate with dead loved ones. The principal behind Dr. Moody’s instructions are the same principals and techniques that can teach you to astrally project: separate your mind/aura from your body for brief periods of time.

To sum it all up, don’t waste your time (or money) trying to communicate with the dead through a Medium. Communication with the dead is not only possible, but it has significant support by evidence with extremely limited conditions: The only people you can communicate with are direct communications between you and a dead loved one and only on an astral level.

We’ll finish this series next week. In the meantime, if you’ve got questions, I’ve got answers.

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