DES. BEYOND has drawn fire from different quarters for different reasons. The International Skeptics have accosted me because “communication with so-called spirits of the dead is not scientifically provable. Therefore the claim is nothing more than deceit. We do not condone deceit.”
While respecting and even supporting their right to stand up for sincerely held beliefs, I pointed out that sub-atomic physics is an accepted scientific discipline in which one hypothetical or theoretical construct supports another which supports another which supports another – and so on. Not a single premise or model can stand alone on a bedrock which is scientifically provable. That is, the whole theoretical infrastructure lacks scientific validity in terms they refer to. Is deceit being exercised? Perhaps science as an absolute and observable authority has limitations.
Many ordinary people point out that in a world of space travel and other breathtaking breakthroughs, “a preoccupation with some Victorian fancy called spiritualism is just a wee bit silly”. Again, these people are to be admired for saying what they believe. They owe it to themselves. Why should we not respectfully agree to disagree with one another?
It could be pointed out, however, that science has caught up with Victorian spiritualism. Several years ago I came across the work of Dr Francine Shapiro, a Senior Research Fellow at the Mental Health Institute in Palo Alto, California. She developed a trance technique called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). During replicated government research, it was discovered by the psychologists and research scientists involved, that a certain percentage of entranced subjects – themselves psychologists – encountered deceased individuals. The neurological trance state apparently pushed the subjects through a critical threshold and into a different environment. Disbelieving and even indignant, the researchers repeated the programme with different personnel. Same result.
The project was then taken up by another psychologist, Dr Allan Botkin, who adapted and refined the technique and wrote a book on the subject, Induced After Death Communication [IADC]: A New Therapy for Healing Grief and Trauma. As the Director of the Centre for Grief and Traumatic Loss in Libertyville, Illinois, he went on to conduct workshops around the world on IADC.
I have since been in touch with Allan, when we compared notes on trance therapy and its various techniques. This came about because I further developed IADC and integrated it with self-hypnosis. Two years of on-again, off-again empirical research followed, carried out on myself, after which I spent several years using IADC and EMDR as well as hypnotherapy, counselling and other modalities with clients. In 2007 my wife of 40 years died, following three years as a tetraplegic able to move nothing but her eyes. Why not accompany her and share her journey? I did so. BEYOND describes my experiences in detail. Its Foreword was written by Allan Botkin.
Undoubtedly the most fervent critics of mediumship are those who see the Bible literally as their authority. An example can be found in Deuteronomy 18:9-14. “There shall not be found among you … a medium or necromancer or one who enquires of the dead, for they are an abomination to the Lord.” Personally I consider such a statement is coming close to inciting hatred. A further example among many is Exodus 22:18. “You shall not suffer a witch [or a woman who practices magic] to live”. In other words, God instructs you to murder them.
We are all drawn towards a particular belief structure because of our needs. We all have different emotional and therefore philosophical needs, we believe in different things, we all embrace one religion or another, one denomination or another, one stream or another. Or none at all. There is no single truth. We must seek out and create our own reality, and in turn be created by it.
Perhaps we should avoid the temptation of trying to browbeat other people into believing what we believe. We should settle for wearing our own face. The Bible tells us whatever we want to find within its pages, so of course it supports my personal opinion as well: Luke 17:20-22, “Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you”. In other words, search your own mind for your own truth.