Matt Rouge pointed me to this intriguing story of after-death communication:
July 15, 2012 | Permalink
Wow. That one is pretty convincing. A quick internet search reveals that these doctors are real.
July 15, 2012 at 10:54 PM
This is what skeptics fear the most: people with prestige unabashedly coming out and saying, "I've seen a spirit." In this case, two MDs independently seeing the *same* spirit!
Uh, maybe it was a hallucination. Yeah. *rolleyes.*
Once the levy breaks and people of all classes and prestige levels are saying, "I believe it and I experienced it," the materialist gig is up.
Matt Rouge |
July 15, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Great story! Hard to imagine those two doctors are conning us. Someone should have a talk with that Dr. Cushman, though, about restraining his exuberance during interviews. :o)
Come to think of it, though, who am I to talk? The worst part of making my piano videos is how hard it is for me--almost impossible--to relax, smile, and just be myself when my face is onscreen.
Bruce Siegel |
July 16, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Yes, this is certainly intriguing. (and the Dr's are real ;-) )
Michael Duggan |
July 16, 2012 at 12:38 AM
I wonder which canned sceptical response will be used to explain this one away
1) They were both hallucinating at the same time
2) Human testimony is incredibly unreliabe- A favorite of Chris French, you usually hear this from him when he is the token sceptic on a documentary
3) They were living a shared fantasy- a favorite of Paul Kurtz, he used it to explain away the James Leininger reincarnation case
4) They got together to make this story up for a book deal to advance their careers.
5) It is anecdotal and cannot be considered evidence
Any sceptic who chooses to go with canned response 4 is not a true sceptic but a cynic. While I do have reservations myself about the motivations of others from time to time, this explaination has been belted out on numerous occassions and the reference and justification for it is the Amityville case.
The other Ray |
July 16, 2012 at 08:32 AM
This is pretty cool. I find it difficult to believe these doctors are doing this as a hoax. It would be pretty cruel if they were. Of course, I'm sure we'll hear all sorts of reasons to dismiss this, no matter how far fetched they are.
July 16, 2012 at 08:34 AM
Wow- now that is a wonderful story, except for the part about "if you are a Christian you will get into heaven. I didn't like that part so much.
July 16, 2012 at 09:59 AM
Please if you are reading this (and I know that you do sometimes ) could you help to sort it out, it's rather perplexing. Thankyou very much.
Duck soup |
July 16, 2012 at 10:49 AM
Susan, saying "if you are a Christian you will get into heaven" doesn't technically preclude us heathens from getting in too, although I like to think I'd find a better party than that one to attend.
July 16, 2012 at 01:48 PM
A relevant question seems to me why (a) the story came out after seven years (it happened in 2005), and (b) why the two doctors had not written it up in a good scientific journal.
As for the latter, it seems to me that not any serious scientific journal would have accepted it anyway.
Dear contributors, what are your thoughts on this?
Just to make sure: I believe this case is true.
But I try to imagine what doubters will think.
July 16, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Smithy, I agree no scientific journal would have published their reports. I can also see why the story didn't "come out" for a few years. People who have these experiences don't want to be regarded as kooks, so they keep quiet. They probably just told people close to them.
I found it interesting that one of the doctors said the apparition was illuminated. That was how it was with the apparition I saw many years ago. Like this apparition, he was quite peaceful and meant no harm. Of all the paranormal evidence, I find NDEs and then these accounts the most convincing.
July 16, 2012 at 06:56 PM
There is masses of evidence gathered by prominent well-respected scientists and doctors over he last 100 years or more eg Oliver Lodge, William Crookes etc. the scoftics dismiss that, often without consideration, why would this be any different?
July 16, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Since we're endlessly discussing life after death, maybe we should give some serious thought to the possibility that after death, there may be even more death?
Woman Wakes Up at Own Funeral, Dies of Shock
Bruce Siegel |
July 16, 2012 at 09:03 PM
A quick Google search shows that Dr Cushman at least seems to have some pretty 'far out' ideas. For example:
I'm sure any skeptics would be quick to point this out. Certainly, it could cut both ways (ie. 'psychically receptive' people would be more open to posting about 'far out' ideas), but it should also prompt some caution in accepting this account.
In short: skeptical until I see some independent investigation.
July 16, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Greg, in answer to you, we really don't know his beliefs as of 2005 when this occurred. And lets face it, most of the human population has some sort of spiritual belief or follows a religious system anyway, along with its devotions, magical thinking etc. So there is reason to discount most of us on that argument.
I think of note here is the fact that two people who had not communicated in any way, have independently verified the same thing.
I also feel if you need 'evidence', there is plenty out there.
Skeptics have still not accounted for the fact that the blind have been able to see in Near Death experiences. And adults/children have come back with knowledge, and seen people they could not know.
It has long been recognized in the psychological sciences, that much of human behaviour is unable to be tested in a lab. So it is simply the methodology that appears to be the problem, not the amount of data, which is readily available. Cheers Lyn
July 16, 2012 at 11:27 PM
I'm not sure what his "far out" ideas are. Most of his blog posts seemed to be soliciting for community service (i.e. helping terminally ill VA patients) or fully generic, non-controversial ideas. He posted about a comet, but he didn't really say he "believed" anything about that comet. And I'm sure all of us could be considered to have, at least at one time or another, pretty "far out" ideas. If you haven't had any, you're probably not thinking hard enough.
July 16, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Lynn wrote: "Greg, in answer to you, we really don't know his beliefs as of 2005 when this occurred."
Fair point Lynn, and well made.
Sleepers wrote: "I'm not sure what his "far out" ideas are."
The mention of the Munay Ki rite is a start, along with other Google discoveries such as his thoughts on the 'Boji Stones', and also his own Wordpress blog ( http://arthurcushman.wordpress.com/ ).
July 16, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Thanks for sharing that story Michael. I shared it with my facebook friends and with some of my church friends and our preacher. It actually happened here in Tennessee and the little video were our local News people that I see on TV every day. It was very uplifting and positive and brought a smile to my face. Thanks again.
July 17, 2012 at 12:50 AM
This man has a focal position in the community as a medical caretaker of the terminally ill, and his site encompasses "Lifestyle", "Wellness" and "Creativity". I applaud him for that.
As a health leader he would be invited to go to a number of different ceremonies and expected to 'recognize' their beliefs.
So really his site is an acknowledgment of that- the beliefs and cultures out there. And certainly if treating the terminally ill, you have to treat the whole person, the psychological as well as the medical.
I doubt he takes on each belief personally, but rather sees the value it has in peoples lives. With regard to the comet, I think he is saying- rather than being swayed by a leader or corporation, we are all individuals and need trust in ourselves. Lyn x.
July 17, 2012 at 01:07 AM
That should read "and need to trust in ourselves". Gosh, now I am even correcting my mistakes! Lyn x.
July 17, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Thanks for the links, Greg. I agree that Cushman's writings put a somewhat different spin on the story. I also agree that it's possible he is "psychically receptive," and that this quality may make him more willing to entertain a variety of offbeat ideas. Still, he's hardly your typical doctor, and part of the appeal of the story was that two supposedly no-nonsense medical types reported the phenomena.
Michael Prescott |
July 17, 2012 at 07:02 AM
Yikes his blog is pretty damning to the credibility of his testimony. I have to side with sceptics on that one. The only strong point it seems is that it was witnessed by 2 independent sources but I don't know the other doctors background. Thanks for digging into that Greg, it's a nice reminder that we do need to get beyond face value. I still think its a nice piece of evidence but it def is weaker.
July 17, 2012 at 08:17 AM
I agree that Cushman's blog is not so bad. He seems very interested in Native American / Maean / Incan beliefs. From an anthropological perspective I like his blog.
Here is the thing, if a spirit comes to you, you have to question everything you thought you knew, and it may lead to certain unconventional beliefs, especially if you feel disconnected from your medical colleagues and you need somewhere to turn.
Whay about the other doctor? If it were jusr Cushman, the story would not be intefesting.
July 17, 2012 at 08:33 AM
I like Cushman's blog. It's near and dear to my heart in some ways.
That said, IMO, it definitely plops a wet towel on the after death communication story as far as its viability as evidence to convince skeptics or fence sitters is concerned.
Also, I don't see much of anthropological value there either. It's kind of a pan Native American spiritual chop suey with some new age msg sprinkled in for extra flavor.
A nagual? That is straight out of the discredited fiction of Carlos Casteneda. Spanish speaking Native Americans will use terms like 'curandero(a)' for healers, or 'brujo(a)' for people that practice withcraft, but not 'nagual'. An Apache who uses 'Oso' for 'bear' in his name? Apache for 'bear' is 'shosh' and that is the word they use if 'bear' appears in a name and in the clan name (Apaches have societal breakouts into clans; bear clan, squirel clan, dear clan, etc).
These are just a couple of examples of little things that caught my eye that I find troublesome when trying to take Cushman seriously.
no one |
July 17, 2012 at 10:18 AM
no one |
July 17, 2012 at 10:20 AM
I think some of the commenters are being too rigourous with their demands. What exactly constitutes being normal and who amongst us, if they had their private lives examined would look perfect ? If Doctor Cushman chooses to spend his spare time looking at weird sci-folklore, that's up to him.
People have all kinds of weird hobbies and beliefs, Doctors are not exceptional in this respect. Some might be naturists or trainspotters, so ?
They are both Doctors and Doctor Willis's profile and reputation can be found here. By all accounts he's first rate. I don't see why he would lie or make it all up in cahoots with the other Doctor and the author.
Let's not give the sceptics ammunition they aren't entitled to.
Duck soup |
July 17, 2012 at 10:23 AM
Duck soup |
July 17, 2012 at 10:25 AM
Duck soup: I'm not giving ammunition, I'm just pointing out the ammunition skeptics *will have* if they are challenged by this particular story.
I don't disbelieve the story, it just makes me a little more hesitant in ascribing importance to it. As I said, it may just be that Cushman saw the recently deceased man precisely *because* he is psychically receptive in some way (for instance, he has a separate account of seeing a vision of some sort of angel/goddess in this account: http://apmagazine.info/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=140&Itemid=53 ).
I would simply urge caution in putting this account on a pedestal, and hope somebody is able to do an independent investigation of the case, because having two separate witnesses is surely a rare facet to these sorts of cases.
July 17, 2012 at 10:31 AM
A woman at our church, Geraldine, told me she saw her grandfather 2 days after he had died. She is about 70 now but it happened when she was a teenager.
Another man in our church, Cecil, heard a voice telling him to get out from under a tree that was fixing to be hit by lightening, he at first ignored it but the third time it was more insistent and he took off running and looked back and the tree was split in two by a huge bolt of lightening.
If you listen and talk to people these stories are not so unusual. It all depends on whether you open up and talk to people. Your mindset. They don't all have to be true. If even just one of them is true then it says something about life and who and what we are.
July 17, 2012 at 10:45 AM
From the link where Cushman describes seeing the angel, "He is the real Don Juan Mateus that Carlos Castaneda studied under."
Again with the Carlos Casteneda stuff.
I think Cushman is very gulible and very nondiscerning. I am wary of anything he says because I think he is so deep into "believing" that he sees and hears only that which confirms his beliefs.
no one |
July 17, 2012 at 10:58 AM
no one |
July 17, 2012 at 11:02 AM
Well I had a look at that, Greg and you're right, that is a wacky story. Doesn't mean it's not true of course but it doesn't exactly inspire me with confidence, I'll grant you. Then again look at the report of Lloyd Rudy, the incredible out of body experience he was a witness to and so were his colleagues. He has an impeccable reputation and still the sceptics won't listen.
What about Alan Hamilton, Eben Alexander and Tony Cicoria and Mary Neale and Ian Rubenstein...it wouldn't matter a jot whether he was a Doctor that attended Dawkins himself...as soon as you say you've withessed something, the pooh poohers say you've done no such thing.
What about the other doctor ?
Duck soup |
July 17, 2012 at 11:02 AM
BTW, good to hear from you again, Art.
Also, I am having a hard time accepting that the two doctors - treating the same seriously ill patient - never met. That stretches credibility way too far.
no one |
July 17, 2012 at 11:04 AM
The fellow that the apparition appeared to is definitely not in the “fruitcake” category. He is Dr. Arthur Cushman, a neurosurgeon here in the Tennessee area. The astounding fact is that the same apparition, bearing the same message, appeared to Dr. Carl Willis who is a hematologist and medical oncologist, also here in Tennessee. These two men have nothing to gain from revealing what happened to them other than possibly losing a lot of public confidence from both peers in the medical establishment and the public. That makes their testimony a bit more noteworthy.
Both men recognized the apparition as being Burke Aldridge, a man terminally ill with lung and spinal cancer at Baptist Hospital in Nashville. Both doctors had looked in on Burke occasionally in assisting with his fight against the disease. What both men did not realize, once they witnessed the apparition in the privacy of their homes, was that Burke had just died about 24 hours earlier.
Burke and his wife Faye are strong believers in the Christian faith; Faye sat by Burke’s bedside in the hospital for long periods of time, praying for him and generally trying to encourage him. Faye was expecting God to perform a miracle of healing, but her husband told her that his feeling was, God was taking him home to heaven. Burke promised her that he would “send her a fax from heaven” once he arrived there. About 21 days after that conversation, Burke died at the age of 53.
Dr. Carl Willis was sitting at home about a day later when he noticed a shimmering light off to the side of the living room. A translucent form appeared in the shape of a man and said, “I have gone to heaven to be with God. Don’t worry about me, I am OK.”
Dr. Willis recognized the voice as belonging to Burke.
Dr. Arthur Cushman was sitting at home that night when he saw a halo of white light appear in the room. Burke’s face appeared in the center of that bright light and said, “Don’t worry Slim, I’m all right,” and then vanished.
“Slim” was the nickname that Burke called Dr. Cushman at Baptist Hospital.
Both of these doctors inquired about Burke and found out he had died hours earlier. They then proceeded to inform Burke’s wife of what they had seen, completely unaware of the similar experience of the other doctor. Faye was so astounded she asked these men to send her a written copy of what they had seen; both men did just that and sent it to Faye via fax.
When Faye read the reports, she suddenly recalled her husband’s promise to “send a fax from heaven.” The record of these events was vouched for by Lewis M. Lamberthy Jr., the director of pastoral services at Baptist Hospital in Nashville.
Faye Aldridge eventually wrote a book containing these doctor’s experiences (along with several others) entitled “Real Messages From Heaven: And other True Stories of Miracles, Divine Intervention and Supernatural Occurrences.” Her book came out not long ago (Burke died in 2005), and that was what prompted the news stories about the event on so many TV stations.
I’ve heard similar stories all my life — stories that never made the TV evening news. It’s heartwarming to finally see one reported in the mainstream media with witnesses who are highly educated and well-respected in their medical careers. Kudos to these two doctors for exposing themselves to the risk of scorn from folks who think that this present physical human existence is all there is to life — when you are dead, you’re dead. They have also run the risk of being belittled by those who disdain the Christian viewpoint as being exclusivist or intolerant.
I found it ironic that the very day this story hit the TV news, another news story involving the Secular Coalition for America, a national organization of atheists, hit the evening news with their plans for lobbying Tennessee lawmakers on issues involving separation of church and state. They want to increase the political clout of local agnostics and atheists.
At the heart of their philosophical convictions is the belief that physical existence is all that this life is made out of — no life after death. I wonder how they process news stories like that of Burke Aldridge’s death and reappearance? I’ll bet it never even appears on their agen
Don't know if this helps or not...
Duck soup |
July 17, 2012 at 11:16 AM
"These two men have nothing to gain from revealing what happened to them ...."
I don't know. Cushman might want to confirm his world view, both to himself and to others. He may also think that he is doing the widow a favor by offering a comforting story that also confirms her world view. Note that she was firmly expecting expecting her prayers to be answered in the form of an afterlife communication.
There is also a book that has been written - so there is some possible financial motive.
no one |
July 17, 2012 at 12:09 PM
no one |
July 17, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Hi, no one.
"Cushman might want to confirm his world view, both to himself and to others."
He might but where is the satisfaction in kidding yourself ? Financial gains, no, I don't 'buy' that. He wouldn't be short of a nickle or two as a neurosurgeon and his cut from the sales of a book like that would be miniscule, hardly worth soiling his hands.
I believe him but of course the case is never likely to change anything, it never does.
These crisis aparitions are very common, they can't all be wrong. I have had quite a number of weird things happen to me and it's almost like it's our duty to dismiss or ignore them.
Duck soup |
July 17, 2012 at 12:43 PM
DS, I have had crisis apparitions myself as has my wife. My mother had one the night her father died (about 35 years ago). I remember her telling me in the morning that she was expecting a call from philedelphia (we were in Detroit) because her father had appeared to her, he actually sat on the edge of the bed, and told her he had died and that he was ok. Sure enough, the phone rang with that news a moment after she told me.
So, yeah, I am convinced these happen. My point is that I find Cushman to be a suspicious fellow - as I am sure any skeptic would - and that detracts from the value of this incident as "proof".
In my experience, some people that are as far into these things as Cushman appears to be, derive a lot of value from confirming and promoting their world view. It would not surprise me if Cushman attempted to cash in, himself, as advertising himself as some sort of new age guru. he seems to be well along his way in that direction.
The widow, being a devout christian, seems to be gaining from promoting the story both financially and by becoming more important in the christian community.
I will also note that the widow is a reasonably attractive woman, which may also serve as an incentive on Cushman's part to collaborate.
no one |
July 17, 2012 at 12:57 PM
That's a nice story, no one. Aside from that what about the other doctor, what is his motive ?
Personally I don't see why she shouldn't benefit financially after all she isn't a member if the clergy.
"I will also note that the widow is a reasonably attractive woman, which may also serve as an incentive on Cushman's part to collaborate."
You're a suspicious character, no one. I hadn't thought about the secret nooky aspect. :-)
You may be right, these devout christians are some of the worst for that kind of thing. It's all that self denial. Only kidding.
Duck soup |
July 17, 2012 at 02:28 PM
...Poor Arthur. I'll bet he wishes he'd kept his trap shut now... :-)
Duck soup |
July 17, 2012 at 02:39 PM
@ Matt and no one
Would you guys please shoot me an email so I can send one back to you? I have a private question to ask you both.
Just click my name below for contact info.
Bruce Siegel |
July 17, 2012 at 05:47 PM
no one |
July 17, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Done (part 2)!
Good to see you here!
I kinda see your point about the doc. To me, the fact that he wrote the comet post IN ALL CAPS was what seemed crazy to me.
The thing that skeptics don't typically recognize is that people seem "crazy" not really based on their belief system but on their behavior. A schizophrenic who can't focus on the conversation and who is hearing voices and has odd affect seems "crazy." A devout Roman Catholic (to pick on the religion that I was born into) who believes that the wafer becomes the Body of Christ doesn't seem crazy, however much we may find that belief itself (or his whole set of beliefs) to be crazy.
Writing in ALL CAPS *does* seem crazy. Does that mean that he is literally crazy? No. But skeptics can point to the ALL CAPS and his beliefs as a combination and say, "Is this the guy you're going to believe?"
Etc. etc. So point taken, fair or not.
Matt Rouge |
July 17, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Reading some of these sceptical comments – suggesting a liaison between Dr Cushman and Faye Aldridge, based purely on her attractiveness, or a financial motive simply because the account has been published in a book – makes me wonder why the two medical specialists ever agreed to tell their stories for publication, and appear on a TV news report.
True, we have to consider and test various alternative possibilities, but just making wild allegations without any corroboration shows how desperate some people are to rubbish such accounts.
I would argue that Faye Aldridge's story, based on the experiences of two independent and reliable witnesses, has far more substance than the speculative comments of individuals who seem more interested in trying to destroy the value of those testimonies by insinuation, than in evaluating them realistically.
Roy Stemman |
July 17, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Roy, OK. Maybe I was a little over the top, but I was just tossing out possibilities to show that they do exist without stretching the imagination too much.
The Carlos Casteneda fixation removes Cushman from the realm of "reliable", IMO.
Again, I find it difficult to believe that two Dr.s treating the same seriously ill patient would not have met and discussed the treatment. They'd almost be guilty of malpractice if they didn't.
no one |
July 17, 2012 at 08:54 PM
On a side note Roy your reports are fascinating and I appreciate you supplying the news on things I would otherwise have no knowledge of. Keep up the good work. It certainly has caused some good debate here. Would love to see you here more often !
July 17, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Sandy: Yeah, that party isn't for me either. I think being a heathen is okay if I get to eventually (after death) pull the rug out from underneath those who think they know the only way to God. I am not very good at being a heathen though. I really should practise more.
July 17, 2012 at 10:04 PM
In my opinion, we can't just stop at Cushman's religion, beliefs, what he does in his spare time, etc
we need to dig deeper. Has anyone ever died by Cushman's hand? Has he ever committed malpractice? Has he ever gotten a traffic ticket? Both parking and driving. Has he ever committing a crime? Has he ever missed a mortgage? When was the last time he drank coffee? is he sleep deprived? Has he ever cheated on a test? Was his first kiss/sexual intercourse pre or post wedding? Has he ever committed a crime? Filed a wrong tax report? Has he ever violated a city zoning violation?
Come on now, you guys aren't real skeptics. Dig deeper.
Because as we all know, the only person who can ever rely upon is a person with a clean record.
July 17, 2012 at 11:50 PM
About 7 years ago my sister's husband, Ed, died. He was 54 years old. A while after he had died I had a dream about Ed and in the dream Ed told me that after he left his body he had gotten lost and couldn't find his way back to his body. Now I thought this was an extremely weird thing to say because I was under the impression that after one dies that one had "all knowledge" from that connectedness-oneness thing. So, later on when I was visiting my sister Linda down in Athens, GA I told her about my dream and told her that Ed had told me he had gotten lost and couldn't find his way back. Linda laughed a little and said "
yeah, Ed had a horrible sense of direction. One time he had gotten lost on his way home when he was only 3 blocks from his house!" Now this was something I didn't know about Ed so I was amazed that I had dreamed what I had dreamed. It was like a validation that the person I had seen in my dream was real.
July 18, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Another interesting dream about Ed that my niece Heather (his daughter) had was in the dream she saw Ed and said to him "What are you doing here? You're supposed to be dead!" Ed said to her, "Oh I just missed you all so I came back for a visit." Ed also said to Heather, who is a High School Science Teacher and doesn't have that much interest in life after death, "That body that you found wasn't my real body and I'm in my real body now." Which I thought was interesting because I have read similar sentiments in NDE descriptions which there is no way Heather would know about it because she is bored and pretty much ignores my ramblings when I talk about life after death stuff.
July 18, 2012 at 12:23 AM
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