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Gee Michael, have you reprinted the whole book here. Will try and read and absorb it all a bit later. In the mean time, if there are any spirit Auto Mechanics out there that are continuing their occupation, I'd appreciate a bit of help with a couple of old Landrovers that require some long overdue TLC.

The repetitions are what make this more persuasive. Who would do all of the above for the purpose of an unrewarded elaborate fraud? Its too much work.

"All creeds should be set aside and we should seek the simple truth of life. Love God above all things and your neighbor as yourself. There would be great rejoicing if everybody tried to live up to that teaching; then there would be true happiness. Creeds and dogmas interfere and make us selfish, and selfishness is the root of all evil."

Pretty profound stuff. Also, the rejection of reincarnation is cause for pause. I've gone back and forth on the issue a great deal. In all honesty, I'd rather not reincarnate. However, I've also been inclined in recent years to accept that it occurs for most people on account of a need for further growth (and, if I'm entirely honest, also due to a hope that if it is true, that I can get some things right another time around...).

I wonder what Chris Carter would think of Wickland's view on reincarnation, especially considering he uses Stevenson's research on reincarnation as a pillar in his argument for survival.

"I wonder what Chris Carter would think of Wickland's view on reincarnation, especially considering he uses Stevenson's research on reincarnation as a pillar in his argument for survival."

I don't know, but whether the cases are explained as reincarnation or spirit obsession, they still count as evidence for survival.

Dr Wickland also wrote another book "The Gateway of Understanding" published in 1934.

"The Gateway to Understanding" is a comprehensive overview of the experiences & beliefs held by the Wicklands re: the spiritual realm - most of which were obtained through their research with those suffering from spirit obsessions (where an earthbound spirit literally latches on to a person's aura, and impacts the way they think & act).

Anna Wickland died on 3rd March 1937 after a nine-months illness.

Carl Wickland died November 13, 1945.


Interesting reading.
This may be the book that will sway me. Any details of who the publisher is? With my lousy 3Gig per month wireless internet allowance, I probably couldn't download it even if it was available online.

@snorkler

You can read it PDF style here :http://new-birth.net/booklet/30_years_among_the_dead.PDF


Also for more "sober" analysis of the evidence of survival check out these collections of essays and field reports by scientist and parapsychologist who got their hands dirty by doing some street level research.
http://www.survivalafterdeath.info/articles.htm

To clarify I meant that as a counter to your objections to VZ

Thank you Ray. quite a bit of reading before bed time.

Things mentioned here can also be explained in Jungian Archetype terms quite as well.

It's difficlt to define these as survival or generated by the creative use of the Unus Mundus.

"I don't know, but whether the cases are explained as reincarnation or spirit obsession, they still count as evidence for survival." -MP

Very true, but Carter does defend reincarnation itself. As an aside, I've been following the Eben Alexander case pretty closely. On his website, he lists a number of books he has found helpful to him in the wake of his NDE. One of these books is "Why Jesus Taught Reincarnation" by Herbert Puryear. I got hold of it through an interlibrary loan and have been perusing it the past couple days. The book mentions Stevenson, addresses some of the so-called rational objections to reincarnation, but then focuses greatly on a biblical argument for reincarnation, such as Jesus' statements about John the Baptist being Elijah returned, etc. It's kind of frightening to think that the closer you get to a belief in reincarnation, the more it may have to do with spirits trying to obsess you.

A skeptical thought occurred to me in regard to the Wicklands being in touch with these celebrities, but in particular, H.P. Blavatsky. What could be more helpful to your viewpoint (which happens to conflict with a very influential person at the time) than to claim you're in touch with them beyond the grave and that they recant the position that conflicts with yours? - In this case, reincarnation. It feels a little suspicious, no? Ditto on the unnamed "theosophist" who also rejected reincarnation after the fact.

Which brings up another thing. These accounts make dead people sound pretty stupid - and simple. What was up with the one who wanted to sing hymns? If the theosophist was able to come to his/her wits about things and think clearly enough to change their mind about reincarnation (apparently without their spiritual eyes being opened), why could these other ones hardly think at all?

The whole "lower astral" idea is starting to feel a good deal more compelling to me - that it's filled with the likes you'd find in the corner bar and the types who like to go on talk shows - a bunch of histrionic sorts who are incapable of subjugating their wild emotionality to a more focused sort of life.

@Tony
As I recall, Jung was also directed towards his work by an NDE and was fairly involved in the occult at the time. I would not be surprised to see connections between the archetypes based on his work and other occult topics.

@Philemon
Therein is the problem. How do we know if they're talking to a spirit at all? And if they are, how do we know its actually who they say it is? We're still stuck debating possibility with little research actually going to any question other than such.

I'm always frightened about why not all people have NDE's. Could it be that not everyone is chosen for survival?

@Joshua

"Therein is the problem. How do we know if they're talking to a spirit at all? And if they are, how do we know its actually who they say it is? We're still stuck debating possibility with little research actually going to any question other than such."

How do you know that the person you talk to on the phone is who they say they are?

The answer to that question is the same as the answer to the question you pose.

'A skeptical thought occurred to me in regard to the Wicklands being in touch with these celebrities, but in particular, H.P. Blavatsky. What could be more helpful to your viewpoint (which happens to conflict with a very influential person at the time) than to claim you're in touch with them beyond the grave and that they recant the position that conflicts with yours? - In this case, reincarnation. It feels a little suspicious, no?'

True. Wickland was also opposed to Christian Science, and on more than one occasion its deceased founder, Mary Baker Eddy, purportedly showed up to recant some of her views.

There is an element of theatricality to the sessions. They can seem overly dramatic and artificial. And yet apparently many otherwise incurable patients were helped, and veridical information was obtained. So there is fodder for both skeptics and proponents.

Snorkler, IMO it's a mistake to think that any one book will convince you. Usually conviction arises from prolonged study of many cases (or from a dramatic personal experience). I also think it can be counterproductive to try too hard or to want 'proof' too badly. I certainly understand your desire to come to terms with your personal tragedy, but sometimes it's better to let time pass and put your mind on other things. The mind can become a tyrant, tormenting you with memories and doubts and fears, but distraction can work wonders. Going out with friends, watching a funny movie, or taking up a hobby can quiet the mind and shut off the flow of bad thoughts. Grief counseling and support groups are also very valuable. It might be best to pursue these avenues for now, and return to the subject of life after death when you're in a better place emotionally. Just a thought.

"The whole "lower astral" idea is starting to feel a good deal more compelling to me - that it's filled with the likes you'd find in the corner bar and the types who like to go on talk shows - a bunch of histrionic sorts who are incapable of subjugating their wild emotionality to a more focused sort of life."

I agree Philemon. Mostly, the spirits just aren't interesting or creative enough to be whole souls.

@ Ray | October 19, 2012 at 03:34 AM

http://www.survivalafterdeath.info/articles.htm

I really miss that website.
I am hoping that someone made a copy of all the articles on a dvd.
I would be happy to pay $50 for a copy

@Jack

Click on it, it actually works, it has not "dematerialized".

Ah yes, here we are in that murky world where we wonder what's really real.

I would say the majority of psychics and mediums would never encounter spirit obsession at all. But it seemed to be this couple's "thing." It may have been a case of finding what they were looking for.

I have no doubt that genuine psi and mediumship was at work--at least part of the time. Who knows about all of it, however. There's no reason why the real can't be mixed with the unreal.

I am also quite wary of the famous people making appearances to confirm their belief system. The BS meter starts to tingle.

Overall, I don't like fear-based stuff of this type. To me, it seems as though if you start in a place of fear, you'll confirm your fears. My overall view is that spirits that are "stuck" are typically, by dint of their low vibration, not empowered to do much. My guess is that spirits able to take over others' lives are quite rare.

@ Ray
Thanks. I know it works *today*, it used to work some years ago. Then it stopped working.
I feel that it is a valuable assortment of psychic knowledge. (and perhaps I really don't trust computers to always work!)

@Joshua - Anybody thats done any serious evp work will soon realise the voices tend to act how you want them to - they act like Archetypes, Spirits, non local interaction from the experimenter and people around you, Abstract sounds.
And even messengers from the future.
The Collective may have been given us by a creator so we can tap into it. Or is it simply generated by all our thought's?Maybe our Spirit is outside all of this?

@zerdini
I listen to their voice tone and what they say, and the way they behave. In many mediums we do not have this voice tone, so its a case of passing messages by whisper. Furthermore even if there is a voice, I've answered the phone for another before and the person calling couldn't tell the difference between our voices.

@j9
I put forth the idea that since many NDEs revolve around imminent danger (or are in very fatalistic scenarios), the experience is something of an artifact of spirits/the universe stepping in and making an adjustment. A lot of NDE accounts I read have the survival chance to be low, or the impending danger to be traumatic, and the NDE appeared in conjunction with a serious 'bad event' being... well, deleted.

Thanks Michael. Distractions? I've tried them all short of taking a lover.Always come away feeling worse, and even a bit guilty for trying to enjoy myself.
But I do take your point and will try to moderate my obsession in trying to seek confirmation of something that is proving to be impossibly elusive for me.2 weeks ago a friend of my wife from her mutual support group had a heart attack in hospital. In his words his heart stopped and he died twice, before being successfully revived.In answer to my question to him about any recollection of NDE, he said no. just like falling asleep without dreaming. I just cannot get a break!
In the interest of balance it is probably best i visit a couple of sceptic blogs to weigh up the evidence both for and against.
Thanks to all for your compassion and advice these past weeks.
Bill.

I do not agree with all the ideas you have in your post. They are very convincing, and certainly will work. Also, the post is a short novice. You can extend them a little from the next? Thank you to share …

@Michael There is an element of theatricality to the sessions. They can seem overly dramatic and artificial. And yet apparently many otherwise incurable patients were helped, and veridical information was obtained. So there is fodder for both skeptics and proponents.

I actually own an old, dusty, worn copy of this book (and I, like you, have had a hard time getting through it). As for what you said about the veridical information obtained (this is me being about as skeptical as I get) do we have any recourse to the third parties mentioned to see that they truly occurred? Otherwise, isn't this a bit like Pat Robertson telling us that Bobbie McDoogle and Billy Bly wrote emails in to tell the viewers of the 700 Club that their stomach ulcers went away via prayer power. The source of our information regarding these other parties is the book itself. We need outside verification that is outside of this book.

@Joshua Therein is the problem. How do we know if they're talking to a spirit at all? And if they are, how do we know its actually who they say it is? We're still stuck debating possibility with little research actually going to any question other than such.

You got me! I have additional paranormal burdens to bear that the folks strictly looking at spiritualism/spiritism don't have to cope with - I have to also consider claims coming from occultists like Dion Fortune and Israel Regardie. These folks tell us that a lot of what we're hearing from the spirit realm are "elementals" putting on the discarded "astral sheaths" of the deceased, who left them behind in the "second death" in their ascent through the planes. I mean, how do you evaluate a claim like that!?

@Kevin
I don't think we really can. I don't think we even have a good grasp on what happens during regular death; let alone if a second (or further) death is an awakening or a literal destruction of being. Some text suggests the energy for those bodies is reclaimed, others suggest higher planar beings can wrap themselves in a new body to stay down a level for a while.

There's a lot of fuzz between what is a person's spirit, consciousness, whether what you're talking to is them or if they are projecting a familiar face (some text suggests the consciousness assumes a familiar appearance to comfort the deceased, but can have any appearance it finds appealing.)

@zerdini
I listen to their voice tone and what they say, and the way they behave. In many mediums we do not have this voice tone, so its a case of passing messages by whisper. Furthermore even if there is a voice, I've answered the phone for another before and the person calling couldn't tell the difference between our voices.

I am not talking about the medium's voice (although they are recognisable) but the spirit communicator's voice which is loud and clear.

We obviously have had different experiences regarding communication with incarnate and discarnate voices (not whispers!) so we will have to agree to differ.

As I have stated on here before, during more than fifty years of experience with spirit communicators, there has never been a problem in recognising voices of the discarnate.

'There is an element of theatricality to the sessions. They can seem overly dramatic and artificial. And yet apparently many otherwise incurable patients were helped, and veridical information was obtained. So there is fodder for both skeptics and proponents.'

Wow, Michael! Thanks a million for this. I think I shall now make a better fist of understanding Dean Radin's Entangled Minds. Re-reading begins instantly.

Speaking of Mediums - as Physical mediumship bit the dust. Like the Felix Experimental Group??

Professor Stephen Braude recently investigated the reported and filmed some classic physical seance phenomena and will publish his findings but I don't see much evidence in the way that points to survival. Lots of ohs and ahs with trumpets and ectoplasm (I find the trumpet phenomenon a little stale, cant the other side think of another game to play) but not a lot of veridical evidence by any spirits.

A least they are willing to be tested unlike some other physical medium that has been mentioned on this blog just a few times :)

Seems to me that most physical mediums have been caught with their pants down and out of their tye wraps!

Julie Beischel's work with mental mediums seems quite interesting - she's interviewed by Dean Radin on the Neotic's Site

One thing about 30 Years that bothered me was that the spirits all started sounding very much alike. Not just in terms of the content or message (which were of course the same core story), but more with respect to their manner of speaking. There was a certain style associated with the majority of correspondents. A generous interpretation would be that Wickland reconstructed the spirit conversations from notes and paraphrased much of what was actually said in his own words. That might not have been true of course, but that's the way it *sounded* to me. Maybe it's just my ears.

"One thing about 30 Years that bothered me was that the spirits all started sounding very much alike. Not just in terms of the content or message (which were of course the same core story), but more with respect to their manner of speaking."

Good point. I have to assume the sessions were, at the very least, abridged. Perhaps they were revised also.

"But I do take your point and will try to moderate my obsession in trying to seek confirmation of something that is proving to be impossibly elusive for me."

Sometimes you can try too hard. You know the old Zen saying, "When the student is ready, the master appears"? Some things can't be rushed. Things happen in their own good time. It may be necessary to let more time pass and to let go of your memories a bit before you can profitably explore afterlife communications.

If you haven't tried grief counseling and/or a support group, you may want to consider it. I don't think mediums etc. should be used as a substitute for emotional healing. They can be an adjunct to healing in some cases, but not a substitute or a shortcut.

If reading about evidence for life after death is helpful to you, by all means continue. But if it's making you feel worse, give it up for now. There's no deadline to meet and no obligation to "find the answer."

One book that might interest you, of you choose to pursue the subject further at this time, is Induced After-Death Communication, by Allan Botkin. You can find my post on it by using the Google search box on the left side of this page (keyword: Botkin).

Botkin's website: http://induced-adc.com

@zerdini
I have yet to have an encounter through an actual medium, so I'll defer any further commenting on that line until I have found a way to do so.

@tony
Indeed. Beischel seems to have decent lab results so far; she seems to be straddling a half-way line between leniency for the medium and protocol requirements. Some of the others change mediums (Rob-Roy), seem to hold no regard for them (Wiseman), or such. It will be interesting to see if she can maintain those good ratings with a larger sample size, especially since they're now tracking how specific the overall reports are to guard against the force-choice causing false positives.

"@zerdini
I have yet to have an encounter through an actual medium, so I'll defer any further commenting on that line until I have found a way to do so."

Very sensible, Joshua.

@Soldier
That wiki seems to be a back-patting nexus for skeptics. Here's a fun quote:

"[..]but has not actually done any experiments or investigations into parapsychology other than read books on the topic."

That's funny; how many skeptics have done experiments or investigations, compared to how many run around the JREF touting a single Wiseman or Randi situation as ultimate law? Not many.

I wrote the wiki off as trash when they blasted Skeptiko for being a "pseudoskeptic." In the recent Eben debacle, a skeptic who was lambasting the doctor was invited to talk to the doctor directly and made up excuses not to. It's easy to sit on an anonymized wiki and trash talk, it's apparently less desirable to talk directly to a person involved.

I'd love to see the objective guidelines on how to look at data objectively. I'll be sure to follow those. :/

Also as a rational wiki entry I would expect to see sources to back up the claims, and there is not one citation in the reference section. There is classic sceptical misdirection on this as well. The person who wrote this must have attended a workshop hosted by Randi on how do character assinate to build your case. He lists Michael as having "some success" as an author, an attempt to marginalize his influence. He has more than some success.

The author of this also claims that Michael accepts every claim made by mediums which anyone who has spent 5 minutes on this blogs knows that he is sceptical of some mediums that others find genuine, another Randi tactic to build credulity.

Also you cant have it both ways. Sceptics mostly do arm chair debunking and hardly do feel research yet this is used as a critique of MP.

This is an absolute embarrassment to rational thinking and would get an F in any intro level college course for the above reasons. If that is what it means to be rational I will have no part in it.

Ray,

Hyup. One thing one may never expect from skeptics is any form of self-policing of or shame about their own level of rationality. It's truly a comedy of errors, and they don't even know it.

Geez, Michael, that rationalwiki article crosses the boundary into downright slander. What do you have to say about the allegation that you're from New Jersey?

Actually, I'm from New Jersey, too--Teaneck. What part are you from?

Also, I couldn't help but check out their article on NDEs. Here's a quote from it:

"Proponents also claim the observation that blind people see images during NDE's is evidence of their reality. However, it may be that blind people see what they expect to see."

Now that's the sort of high-powered analysis we need more of on this here blog. Blind people see what they EXPECT to see!

Haha, Bruce!

Funny stuff. I didn't mind the Wiki thing. It's always nice to be noticed.

Bruce, I was born in Passaic. It was a lot nicer back then.

There seems to be a pattern of self-fulfillment here. The Wickland accounts were obtained by a husband/wife team who were fully invested in their view that the "lower astral" is populated by wayward spirits trying to possess the living, and that this accounted for many serious mental conditions. They consistently found what they were looking for. Similarly, Michael Newton looks for and expects his hypnotic regression subjects to find between-lives memories, so sure enough many of his subjects come up with such memories. Past-life therapists believe that many serious mental and emotional problems are due to buried past life traumatic memories, and sure enough, many of their patients come up with past life traumatic memories that seem to explain their problem. Sometimes this process even seems to resolve the problem. Then there is Alan Botkin and his Induced After-Death Communication for treatment of PTSD, using special eye movement therapy to induce apparent communication with the dead. Then there was Helen Wambach, who used low level hypnotic induction of large groups of people to get statistics on the patterns of past lives in the population over several thousand years. She hoped to get results correctly reflecting population statics developed by historians, and, sure enough, the reported past life characteristics fit the historical data.

In all these examples the common thread is that a charismatic expert therapist or other expert believes they have found a powerful new cure, therapy or technique. Their subjects know this and hope or expect to be helped. Conveniently, the patients tend to come up with the results expected by both them and the therapist. Often the results decline drastically when other therapists try the same techniques.

It seems to me that this is a pattern of self-fulfillment and suggestion that puts in doubt the underlying truth of any of the theories adopted by the originators. It is too much as if the "subliminal mind" (to use F. W. H. Myers' term) is all too willing to come up with whatever a charasmatic expert suggests will solve the problem.

I don't know what happened to my name in the comment above. It should just be David.

David, I don't agree with you write, because if these researchers found what they were searched, is because other researchers before they found similar phenomena without having searched.

There are other cases where investigators found some strange phenomenon that they were not searched, such as: Friedrich Jürgenson, when he was recording birdsong seems he heard the voice of her deceased mother, giving birth without having searched at what we know as EVP. And Brian Weiss hypnotized a patient and he found without having searched the patient seemed to remember a previous life. Look here:

http://www.brianweiss.com/

So although these phenomena appear are not searched. Pointing to its reality. So it is normal to be real, to be found by later researchers.

David said: It seems to me that this is a pattern of self-fulfillment and suggestion that puts in doubt the underlying truth of any of the theories adopted by the originators. It is too much as if the "subliminal mind" (to use F. W. H. Myers' term) is all too willing to come up with whatever a charasmatic expert suggests will solve the problem.

It seems to me that David is looking for a pattern of self-fulfillment that will explain away any positive results obtained in a wide range of experiments and, by golly, he found it. It's all wishful thinking. In any event, wishful thinking only tells us about the motive of a person believing that a statement is true. It tells us nothing about the truth of the statement itself.

It is certainly much more than mere wishful thinking. The phenomena obtained by these investigators/therapists that I used as examples are to a large extent real and paranormal, with many veridical and evidentiary aspects, that can't be just explained away with skeptic materialist arguments. This certainly applies to Dr. Wickland's work, though in his case it is just him and his writings - there is no group of credentialed investigators with a lot of credibility and objectivity as there was with the Leonora Piper mediumship for instance. We just have to take his word for it, though we don't have any substantive reason to doubt the accounts.

Anyway, the underlying mechanism(s) seem to be complicated. The prevalance of lower astral plane spirits trying to possess or obsess the living are generally not mentioned in the mediumistic communication literature. Neither is the prevalence of reincarnation. Yet therapists and doctors like Wickland successfully treat patients apparently "tuning in" to entities or to previous lives. There seems to be a disconnection here. The effect of suggestion and need is ignored in just naively assuming that the source(s) are what they represent themselves to be.

There is some evidence that hypnosis enhances psi abilities. Perhaps when Newton or others hypnotize their patients, they unwittingly allow the patients to establish a psychic connection with them. The patients could then unconsciously feed the hypnotist whatever he wants or expects to hear.

In the Wickland case, it's conceivable that the electric shocks administered to psychotic patients to drive out the obsessing spirits actually served to effect a cure, as electroshock therapy sometimes does today. The tales of spirit obsession may have been unconscious dramatizations by Mrs. Wickland combined with psi. However, this wouldn't explain healings conducted at a distance for people they'd never met (assuming these stories are true).

@Joshua - Yes some intersesting protocols.
Dean Radin put forth the idea of a few mediums trying to read the same descarnate rather than just one - to try and find out what's being communicated with?!

@Tony
I want to say there was someone (SPR?) who actually did that. It would be interesting if you could get the spirit to agree to it, I will admit, though we have no idea how busy or bored they are to sit around for some scientists.

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