My post on Michael Shermer's anomalous experience has prompted the question: how can "the other side" possibly coordinate such episodes? What is the method?
I don't pretend to have any kind of definitive answer to this question. But I can hazard a couple of guesses, at least in regard to an experience of my own.
Shortly after my mother passed away, I was talking to myself out loud – a habit of mine – and I said (paraphrasing from memory), "I think life after death can be proven by the standards of civil court, even if not by the standards of criminal court. In other words, it can be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, even if not beyond reasonable doubt."
A couple of hours later, I had to change the batteries in my TV's remote control. To see if the new batteries worked, I used the remote to turn on the TV. I had no idea what channel would come on or what programming might be scheduled for that time of day. The show that appeared was a soap opera, and the first words I heard were those of an actor portraying an attorney. He was telling his client that there's a difference between the standards of evidence in civil and criminal cases. In civil cases, you need to prove your case only by a preponderance of the evidence, while in criminal court, you must prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt …
Although this could, of course, be dismissed as a chance coincidence, I found it very meaningful. Other anomalous events occurred during the same period.
But how could it possibly work? Are we supposed to believe that the "spirits" arranged for the television show to feature that particular dialogue exchange at precisely that moment?
Well, here are two notions about how it might have happened. The first does not involve "spirits" at all. It's simply a matter of psi – in this case, premonition. If I had a subconscious premonition that I was going to see that dialogue exchange in a couple of hours, it might have filtered through my subconscious and emerged as a thought about life after death, a subject that was very much on my mind anyway.
The second possible explanation is similar, but it involves "the other side." Here we have to assume that those who have crossed over can see at least a little bit into the future. Personally, I think that our whole idea of the "present moment" needs to be revised somewhat. It appears that most people have at least a subliminal impression of events that will happen one or two seconds in the future. What we think of as "the present" may be a somewhat elastic bubble of time encompassing the immediate past and the immediate future – perhaps a total of two or three seconds in all. Though we are consciously aware only of this immediate split second, on an unconscious or subliminal level we seem to be aware of more than that.
Conceivably, those who have crossed over have an expanded bubble of time and can see an hour or two into the future. I doubt they can see much further; long-term projections made by those on the other side seem to be generally inaccurate. But shorter term predictions may be more reliable. After all, there is no shortage of people who say that they received a supernatural nudge or warning that saved them from danger a few seconds, a few minutes, or even a couple of hours later. As just one example, the writer Dean Koontz has said* that he received a mysterious phone call the day before his mentally ill father attacked him with a kitchen knife. The phone call consisted of the warning "Be careful of your father," and the voice on the line sounded like that of his dead mother.
If we assume that those on the other side can see a little bit into the future, then we might imagine that somebody knew I was going to overhear those particular lines of dialogue on the soap opera later that day. Then it would be, perhaps, not an impossible task to subtly inject the same line of thought into my subconscious and prod it in the direction of conscious awareness.
Notice that in neither of these cases would it be necessary to actually affect the content of the television show itself. It's a matter of anticipating that I would happen to see that part of the show, and then using this random event as the basis for a synchronicity.
I realize that this conjecture does not answer the question of how Michael Shermer's radio could have suddenly started playing when it was apparently completely inoperable. Truthfully, I have no idea. I do recall reading an account of an EVP researcher who disabled a radio for a public demonstration and then received apparent communications over it, even though the device should have been rendered useless. But I haven't been able to track down the story online. And even if I could find it, it wouldn't explain the mechanism that was used. Conceivably, some kind of ability to directly influence the electromagnetic spectrum (as may have been the case in Koontz's phone call and other "phone calls from the dead") could be involved.
* The relevant comments by Koontz are found in the fourth-to-last paragraph of the linked article.