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Michael, your suggestions re. Newton's work and the Wickland's are along the lines of what I have been suspecting. Unfortunately, as as has been noted before, the phenomenon refuses to be unambiguously pinned down. These ideas could be classified as versions of super ESP-type "explanations". The problem is that there are many good reasons to dismiss super ESP as a viable explanation for the best cases of mediumistic communications, apparitions, reincarnation memories and behaviors, and other phenomena. The reasons have been well presented by Chris Carter in his book "Science and the Afterlife Experience", and by yourself.

So this seems to result in an uncomfortable condition of cognitive dissonance. Or perhaps super ESP is indeed the explanation, but only for certain types of paranormal experiences apparently indicative of survival. In particular the Wickland type, and various types of therapy using low-level hypnotic induction, where the nature and extent of the veridical evidence is within reasonable bounds, and where the needs and desires of the deep subconscious appear to be operating. Unfortunately there are come Wickland cases which stretch super ESP too far, such as the channeled "play" in Russian-Slavonic language, not spoken by Mrs. Wickland. This ambiguity and self-contradiction and overall complexity in the paranormal and survival evidence may be inevitable, or even intended by "the powers that be".

@Joshua - Yes i think the after life communications from Frederick Myer may have used a few mediums, but not sure?

First, has it occurred to anyone that some, perhaps the vast majority of attempts to influence humans from various levels of the “other side” may be intended to be helpful. Only a small minority may be motivated by mischievous, troubled or malevolent entities.

During a particularly dark period of my life I may have received such help from a spirit ( a spirit, not a soul, I’ll go into that later) who seemed to have moved in for a while, helped me immensely, then moved on.

I first realized something strange was happening when some of my lifelong faults such as poor posture improved without any effort from me. Then I noticed strange memories that seemed more about what Michael Newton calls Life Between Lives that my normal past life memories I’m familiar with.

Mind you, at the time I’d never heard of Michael Newton or Life Between Lives.

Anyway he (he saw himself as a young cavalry officer) was a great help and as I came to know him better I realized that he was somewhat different from me-in-this-world, or even the me of my OOBEs. He more resembled the beings Michael Newton describes.

Which brings up the second issue: The pattern of apparent self-fulfillment David talks about. I’ve noticed myself that if you research from the view point of a medium, a past-life therapist or a life between lives researcher you get different but overlapping answers, kind of like the three blind men and the elephant.

Well, what if it isn’t self-fulfillment, what if it is that asking different questions about different parts of the afterlife elicits answers from different entities?

I’ve seen references to ancient beliefs that humans consist of three beings/sub-systems, body, soul and spirit. The best summing up of this I’ve seem was in a recent documentary when a Greek was explaining temple ruins and tapped his body saying “body”, his heart saying “soul” and his head saying spirit.

There is also evidently biblical quotations that can be read as supporting this. Unfortunately, the borne again mob seems very into this, so I bet that would turn a lot of people off.

Yes, I know modern people want a simple model of immortality, this three part business doesn’t even seem like true immortality, but it would sure explain this result of rather different answers depending on how you ask the question. In short, if you use a medium to specifically ask a deceased human you get to talk to a human soul (if you are lucky). However, ask about past lives, or especially Life Between Lives, and you get a spirit, which is a rather different sort of being with a very different after life habitat, immense mobility between bodies in different worlds, but, going on what Michael Newton says, is perhaps a bit… well… shallow in some ways.

I mean, like my guest priding himself on his long since past human appearance and needing a little lecture about "bodies are not important to us, we move from body to body" when he was asked to help out an older, less attractive living person.

Hey! I’m not criticizing , I’m very grateful for his help.

Then again, perhaps it is both simpler and far harder to understand: Notice how in quantum physics a photon is a wave if you squint (so to speak) one way and a particle if you squint the other? Worse, you can easily devise tests that indicate that it didn’t flip when you looked, rather it always was whatever you finally observe, even if it came from a Quasar a billion years ago.

Just try making sense of that.

Anyway, apply that to paranormal investigations and you have the rather horrid possibility of the same underlying phenomenon presenting as rather different entities depending on how you ask the question.

One wonders whether the Wickland cases are confined to her period of time. Do the things quoted excerpts occur today? If not, why not? I'd imagined spirits filled with hatred and bent on revenge still issue.

So, what modern day equivalents do we have of "spirit obsession"?

Hello John.

Modern psychiatry would consider that apparent spirit obsession cases are really cases of schizophrenia, as reported on this page:

Hi Juan,

It seems that the psychiatrist on the page you referred me to believes in the afterlife and that some schizophrenic cases might be matters of possession.

Nevertheless, it seems to me that Wickland's spirit obsession cases are confined to her, her time and her geographical location. You see these purported cases claimed independent verification of the obsessing spirit. How come that doesn't happen any more- the verification of obsessive spirits that confess to a medium such as Wickland?

I'm thinking it's a delusion or fraud.

John, there is little difference between possession and obsession.

But what matters is that you are right in that cases of apparent spirit obsession require independent verification in order to be taken seriously. I think the Thompson-Gifford case could have independently verified:

Has anyone read, "The Spiritual Doorway in the Brain," by Kevin Nelson? I haven't, and I am wondering if it destroys any or all ideas that there is life after death?

Hi Judith.

I have not read the book "The Spiritual Doorway in the Brain" by Kevin Nelson, but I've read reviews of this book on Amazon and I think I can get an idea of what you're asking.

Nelson just study what happens in the brain when occurring mystical experiences, out of body experiences or near-death experiences, but he does not deny that these experiences relate to a real object, that is, he does not say that their research deny the existence of the afterlife or God. And he's right, because to deny the existence of God by the fact that something happens in the brain when someone has a mystical experience is like denying the existence of the external world by the fact that something happens in the brain when we have a perception. Neurologists study the brain during perception or mystical experiences, but this tells us nothing about the existence of God or of the external world.

And also occurs to me that Nelson's book is biased because only addresses the features of out of body experiences and near-death experiences that neuroscience can explain, not addressing those features of NDE and OBE that can not explain any particular brain-based model, such as hyper-lucidity while brain activity collapses and veridical extracorporeal experiences. The features that make NDEs and OBEs in evidence of the afterlife.

@ John - I am not sure I follow your logic which, if I read you correctly, is that because you cannot lay hands on an example of the Wickland phenomena today - it must have been fraud or delusion (sorry if I misinterpreted it).

Most of the phenomena reported which, if genuine, implies the possibility of survival cannot easily be witnessed today or on demand. Even at the time such phenomena were not widely available. Does that mean it was probably fraud or delusion? I don't think that would be a reasonable presumption, though of course in many cases it is a possibility.

In the absence of direct personal experience, we are confined to making an assessment of the evidence that is available.

As for modern psychiatry, if the general medical presumption is that there is no survival after physical death and that it is therefore impossible for those who have died to influence or control the living, why would possession even be considered? If on the other hand such possession or obsession is a possibility, then in some cases modern psychiatry might only be treating the symptoms and not the underlying cause.

@Juan - I am not sure why you say there is not much difference between obsession and possession, unless you mean it is simply a matter of degree.

My own reading seems to make the distinction pretty clear, although perhaps it is all a continuum with subtle influence one end and full-on control at the other.

"not addressing those features of NDE and OBE that can not explain any particular brain-based model, such as hyper-lucidity while brain activity collapses and veridical extracorporeal experiences. The features that make NDEs and OBEs in evidence of the afterlife." - Juan

And addressing the connection between NDE's and quantum physics and the holographic univerese principle.

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