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The Medium Tackles the Afterlife


... then wrote a book which caught the eye of Latvian-speaking psychologist, ... In 1996, a Sudbury couple had contacted him about strange goings-on in their house. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Medium Tackles the Afterlife

The Medium Tackles the Afterlife
  • According to Gary Schwartz, PhD, its possible
    that there are multiple discarnates (dead
    spirits) when a medium opens up the channels,
    also referred to as cross talk in official
  • It is up to the sitter to pick out what his meant
    for him and her, and to disregard the rest

  • Sitters may also interpret the statements in a
    more loose manner, rather than being completely
  • Take for example what Allison Dubois said about
    author and researcher of Spook-Science Tackles
    the Afterlife, Mary Roachs mother
  • This is what was true of Dubois reading
  • Was an even mix of hits and misses
  • The hits were things that would fit a sizable
    percentage of the population (e.g., a cat in the
    sunny window, family gatherings were important)

  • The most striking thing about the reading was the
    difference between Roachs reactions and
    Schwartzs reactions
  • For example
  • Dubois at one point said she was getting the
    letter K as being connected to Roachs mother.
    Dubois said I dont know if she meant K as an
    initial, like Katherine or Kaye, but she is
    referencing K as connected to her. Roach had
    no idea what that meant. Her middle name was
    Catherine, but it appeared that the letter K
    was what was the discarnate was trying to get
    across. Later in the reading, Dubois came back to
    the letter K so finally Roach admitted that her
    middle name was Catherine, Schwartz then said
    about Roach, You are such a jerk! You expect it
    to be precise!

  • At one point, Dubois reported that Roachs mother
    was making reference to the man that still has
    the ring on his finger for her. This meant
    nothing to Roach because her father had never
    worn a wedding ring, or any ring for that matter.

Telecommunicating with the Dead
  • Thousands of Americans and Europeans believe that
    tape recorders can capture the voices of people
    whose vocal cords long ago decomposed
  • These utterances are referred to as EVP or
    electronic voice phenomena
  • One cannot hear voices while recording, rather
    they show up mysteriously when the tape is

  • If one does a web search for EVP, he or she will
    find dozens of sites with hundreds of audio files
    of recordings.
  • Though some sound like clearly articulated words
    or whispers, most sound garbled and echoey and
    mechanical sounding
  • EVP movement began in 1959, when Swedish opera
    singer turned painter, Friedrich Jurgenson, set
    up a microphone on a windowsill in a country home
    outside of Stockholm

  • Jurgensons intent was to tape record bird songs.
    However, according to Jurgenson, the bird songs
    were suddenly drowned out by a male voice who
    said something along the lines of bird songs at
    night. This man was then known as Volare.
  • At first thought, Jurgenson thought he had picked
    up part of a radio broadcast, since tape
    recorders can act as receivers for snippets of
    radio, CB or walkie-talkie transmissions,
    especially if the transmitter is close by

  • He concluded that this was unlikely, because soon
    the voices were talking to him by name and were
    also speaking to his dog, a poodle named Carino.
  • Jurgenson then wrote a book which caught the eye
    of Latvian-speaking psychologist, Konstantin
    Raudive, who ran with the idea of EVP
  • When Raudive had collected 72,000 voice-texts
    he published a book called Breakthrough An
    Amazing Experiment in Electronic Communication
    with the Dead,
  • With its publication, the popularity of EVP
    spread with the creation of EVP societies, many
    of which still exist today

  • Raudive did not tape record air, rather he
    developed his own technique which consisted of
    taping radio static, the hissing between
  • Like Jurgenson, Raudive thought the voices were
    speaking directly to him because they called him
    by name
  • David Ellis proposed to study EVP
  • One of the first things he did was to get Raudive
    and his EVP kit into a room that was said to
    block radio transmissions

  • Ellis did this, because on many occasions
    Raudives recorded voices were actually parts
    of radio broadcasts. What Raudive interpreted as
    I follow you tonight turned out to be a Radio
    Luxembourg announcer saying Its all for you
  • Raudive agreed to enter the screened room only
    once. No voices were recorded on this occasion,
    however it is possible that no discarnate
    entities had passed through the vicinity

  • Psychologists would nominate the verbal
    transformation effect (VTE) as being one possible
  • VTE is when listeners are exposed to a repeated
    sequence of brief vowel sounds and will
    experiences phonemic transformations and report
    hearing words and phrases that were absent in the
    original stimulus

  • B.F. Skinner once played nonsense sequences of
    vowels to subjects and asked them to tell him
    when they heard something with meaning. Not only
    did they hear words with consonants, they were
    quite convinced that they were correct
  • The mind is very good at turning nothing at all
    into intelligible sounds.
  • C. Maxwell Cede, secretary of Londons Society
    for Psychical Research described an experiment
    for David Ellis

  • This experiment involved having a group of people
    were handed a paper and pencil and asked to help
    transcribe what they were told was a faint,
    poor-quality recording of a lecture. The subjects
    offered dozens of phrases and even whole
    sentences regardless of the fact that the
    recording was of only white noise

  • Are there other explanations for these voices?
  • Telefunken, a German electronics giant,
    investigated EVP in the 1980s. Jurgen Graff,
    recently retired from the corporation, but was an
    engineer and a managing director. He describes
    something known as the ducting effect
  • The ducting effect happens when strange goings-on
    in electronic layers of the ionosphere create
    small ducts that allow fragments of radio
    broadcasts or walkie-talkie communications to
    travel thousands of miles.

  • For example, a taxi driver communication in New
    York could suddenly be heard for a couple of
    minutes in Europe
  • From a classical engineering point of view, this
    should not be possible as the power of a taxi
    transmission is extremely small.
  • Yet it happens. After a few minutes the ducts
    collapse and the phenomenon disappears. You can
    guess what is expressed about EVP from this!

  • Graff shows that many of the seemingly paranormal
    goings-on could be explained by electronic
  • Sometimes a gap between two pieces of metal, or a
    piece of metal and the ground, can set up a
    sparking that serves to demodulate a radio signal
    if a transmission is especially powerful or the
    tower is close by.
  • Graff recalls a hysterical East German woman
    whose roasting oven, she said would speak to her
    whenever she opened the door.

  • Another man in the same neighborhood was being
    talked to nightly by his heating system
  • Engineers dispatched to look into the reports
    identified the words as segments of the nightly
    Broadcasting in the American Sector broadcast and
    reassured the shaken citizens

  • Graff also shed the truth on another urban myth,
    that dental fillings could really pick up radio
  • He explains that if two metals are used side by
    side, say an old amalgam, covered by a gold cap,
    or braces and a filling, a small gap between them
    can foster whats called a semi conductivity
    effect. A jumble of low tones could indeed be
    heard, though probably only as far as your inner

  • Graff told a tale of a farmer who owned the
    fields around the mighty Elmshorn transmitting
    station where Graff used to work, just north of
    Hamburg. Hed be walking the fields, checking
    the fences, when all of a sudden he came running
    to the station manager, deadly pale, saying Sir,
    I heard the Holy Ghost speaking to me! It came
    from a piece of wire sticking out of the ground!

  • Graff and the manager followed the farmer out of
    to the wire, which was whispering and hissing
    when they arrived, and every now and again
    issuing an intelligible phrase. The manager
    leaned down and pulled the wire from the earth,
    silencing the Holy Ghost and leaving the farmer
    to more pedestrian concerns, like the effects of
    two-hundred-thousand-watt radio towers on farm

  • You can see and hear your own Holy Ghost if you
    visit the grounds of an exceptionally robust
    transmitter, such as the ones operated by the
    Voice of America. Wander up to the metal fencing
    around the facility after dark, Graff says, and
    you might be able to see pale glimmering sparks
    here and there along the metal. Lean in close and
    you may hear the sparks singing- or talking,
    depending on whats being broadcast.

Can electromagnetic fields make you hallucinate?
  • Located in Sudbury, Ontario, is the Consciousness
    Research Lab at Laurentian University
  • Michael Persinger is a neuroscience professor who
    runs the lab and has a theory about ghosts
  • This theory holds that certain patterns of
    electromagnetic field activity, both the earths
    natural kind and the man-made kind created by
    wiring and appliances and power lines can render
    the brain more prone to hallucinations (in
    particular the ones that involve an invisible,
    sensed presence)

  • In his study published in 1988, Persinger
    compared seven years of dated Fate magazine
    haunting reports with geomagnetic activity for
    those dates.
  • He found a nice correlation and wrote his
    findings in Neurosciences Letters
  • Three years later at the University of Iowa,
    psychologists Walter and Steffani Randall
    examined monthly fluctuations in solar winds
    (which influence the earths geomagnetics) to see
    if they mirrored monthly ups and downs in
    humanoid hallucinations culled from old Society
    for Psychical Research records

  • They found that both reports showed peaks in
    April and September with troughs in between
  • Persinger then turned his attention to man-made
    electromagnetic fields (EMFs)
  • In 1996, a Sudbury couple had contacted him about
    strange goings-on in their house. They heard
    breathing and whispering sounds and at one point
    felt someone touching their feet as they lay in

  • The man saw an apparition of a woman who appeared
    to move through the couples bed.
  • Persinger and two colleagues drove out to the
    house and set up equipment to monitor EMFs in the
    various rooms.
  • True to his theory, the house was an
    electromagnetic free-for-all. Wires were poorly
    grounded and circuits overloaded with electronic
    equipment. Not only were the EMFs most intense in
    the places where the couple had experienced their
    ghosts but they showed the telltale
    irregularities that Persinger has come to see as
    the hallmarks of haunt-prompting fields

  • Why would a certain type of electromagnetic field
    make one hear things or sense a presence?
  • The answer hinges on the fact that exposure to
    electromagnetic fields lowers melatonin levels.
    Melatonin is an anticonvulsive if you have less
    of it in your system, your brain- in particular
    your right temporal lobe- will be more prone to
    tiny epileptic-esque micro seizures and subtle
    hallucinations these seizures can cause

  • Persinger adds that the emotions of bereavement
    produce stress hormones that may serve to raise
    the likelihood of these micro seizures even
  • The results of Persingers lab work suggest that
    you can indeed evoke that haunted feeling in a
    lab using EMFs. Of the approximately one thousand
    people who have had Persingers signature
    electromagnetic bursts applied to their right
    temporal lobes, 80 have felt a presence

  • In 2002, Persinger published a paper on
    lab-generated hauntings in the Journal of Nervous
    and Mental Disease. Forty-eight university
    students were exposed to complex one microTesla
    electromagnetic fields over the left temporal
    lobe or right, or both.
  • A fourth group received sham pulsations.
  • Those whose right brains were exposed were more
    likely to report feeling fear and sensing a
    presence than were left hemisphere or sham
    exposures. Disappointingly, no other researchers
    have replicated Persingers work.

A psychoacoustics expert sets up camp in
Englands haunted spots
  • Vic Tandy believes that ghost experiences are the
    product of inaudible, low-frequency sound waves
    or infrasound which runs from zero to twenty
  • If the source is powerful enough, infrasound can,
    in addition to setting fencing foils aquiver,
    engender all manner of mysterious-seeming

  • Unbeknownst to audience members, infrasound
    pulses were sent out at certain points during a
    piano concert at Liverpools Metropolitan
    Cathedral in September 2002.
  • It was these points that concertgoers
    reported-via a questionnaire distributed before
    the concert began- physical effects, such as
    tingling on the back of the neck, and strange
    feelings in the stomach as well as an
    intensification of their emotions

  • Infrasound has also been reported to cause vision
    irregularities sometimes blurring, sometimes a
    vibrating visual field
  • The eyeball has a resonant frequency of nineteen
  • In the presence of nineteen hertz infrasound
    wave, your eye would start to vibrate along with
    the waves
  • Peripheral vision is extremely sensitive to
    movement, a helpful adaptation for dealing with
    predators that sneak up on you from the side
  • If the eyeball is dithering it will register in
    the peripheral vision

  • Infrasound would help to explain why reports of
    ghosts are often localized-why people sense a
    presence in just one part of the room. Infrasound
    tends to pool-it registers strongly in the
    spots where the peaks and troughs of sound waves
    overlap, and disappears where peak and trough
    cancel each other out
  • Infrasound can activate the fight-or-flight
    response and part of that response is a
    curtailing of blood to the extremities. Hence the
    chills (and racing hear, and thus it stands to
    reason, the unease).

  • Infrasound can, in a small percentage of the
    population, set off vibrations in the liquid
    inside the cochlea. These vibrations-which happen
    because of an uncommon anatomical weakness in the
    bone structure of the ear- could create a sudden,
    inexplicable feeling of motion
  • Infrasound can be produced by
  • A large church organ
  • Tigers, who have large territories to defend are
    thought to use infrasound

  • You can experience infrasound at home. Turn your
    speakers to full volume and go to , scroll
    down to the paragraph about roars and click on
    the speaker icon.
  • Roach recalls often feeling ineffable queerness
    in her chest during Sunday mass, which she used
    to think was God inside her, knowing that she
    wasnt listen. Now shes beginning to think it
    was the organ music.

A computer stands by on an operating room
ceiling, awaiting near-death experiencers
  • At the University of Virginia Hospital, doctors
    are performing a defibrillator insertion
  • The defibrillator will produce an electrical
    charge that will hit the heart at the crest of a
    specific EKG peak, derailing the beat and
    rendering the organ quivering (fibrillating) lump
    of tissue incapable of pumping blood

  • With no oxygen being delivered to the brain, the
    body will be clinically dead within seconds. (As
    long as a heart begins beating again within about
    four minutes, no permanent brain damage occurs.)
  • The defibrillator must jump-start the beat of the
  • The patients of this operation are ideal for the
    study of near-death experiences

  • In the hospital at the University of Virginia
    there is an open laptop computer placed near the
  • The computer belongs to Professor Bruce Greyson,
    who works in the universitys Department of
    Psychiatric Medicine
  • Greyson has been studying near-death experiences
    for 29 years.
  • Privately funded by various sources…

  • In a study that began early in 2004, Greyson
    hopes to interview 80 defibrillator insertion
    patients just after they come out of anesthesia.
  • If they mention a near-death experience that
    included an out-of-body experience he will ask
    them to describe everything they saw from up
  • Appearing on Greysons flat-open laptop during
    the operations is one of 12 images, in one of 5
    colors, randomly selected by a computer program

  • The objects depicted are simple and familiar- a
    frog, a plane, a leaf, a doll.
  • They are brightly colored and animated to help
    attract the patients eye (or whatever it is you
    use to see when youve left your visual cortex
  • Its an ingenious setup since the laptops
    screen faces the ceiling, the images cant be
    seen from below
  • So far, none of the subjects interviewed has
    reported any type of near death experience

Greysons results…
  • Greysons study was wrapped up and published late
    in 2006 in the Journal of Near Death Studies.
  • With approximately 50 subjects, no one reported
    any NDE experiences.
  • One of the best NDE studies to date found no
    evidence for a NDE.
  • Greysons position a survivalist, something
    survives after death.
  • He says he is not a materialist, not a dualist

  • Interestingly, cardiologists, not
    parapsychologists, have published the most widely
    read studies on near-death experiences.
  • A notable example was the study by Dutch
    cardiologist Pim van Lommel, published in Lancet
    in 2001
  • Van Lommel and his team interviewed 344 cardiac
    arrest patients in ten Dutch hospitals. All the
    patients had been clinically dead (defined by
    fibrillation on their EKG) and all interviews
    were done within a few days of resuscitation. 18
    reported at least one aspect of the typical near
    death experience

  • Van Lommel found that his subjects medication
    was statistically unrelated to their likelihood
    of having near-death experiences (on the topic of
    anesthesia as an NDE inducer, Bruce Greyson makes
    the point that people under anesthesia but not
    close to death have far fewer NDEs than people
    who come close to death without being under
    anesthesia so, as he puts it, its hard to see
    how the drugs can be causing the NDE.)

  • To avoid upsetting his subjects, Greyson was
    asked to remove the word death from the consent
    forms and study title
  • The holy grail of NDE research, then, the best
    evidence that what seemed to be an extrasensory
    perception was indeed extrasensory, would be a
    deaf and blind patient someone who sees things
    during a near-death experience that are later
    verified and that couldnt have been inferred
    from something he or she saw or heard- because he
    or she cant see or hear

  • Pam Reynolds, who in 1991, underwent brain
    surgery with her eyes taped shut, and molded,
    clicking inserts inside her ears. (Watching the
    brain stems responses to clicks is a way of
    monitoring function)
  • Despite this, and despite the fact that her EEG
    was flat, meaning all brain activity had stopped
    (surgeons were repairing a massive aneurism and
    had drained the blood from her brain) she
    reported having seen the Midas Rex bone saw
    being used on her skull

  • But why was Reynolds unable to describe any of
    the people in the room?
  • Because of weapon focus phenomenon?
  • Research has shown that victims of armed
    criminals are able to accurately recall the
    weapon used on them 91 of the time, and the guy
    holding the gun only 35 of the time
  • Perhaps this is a problem with anecdotes

  • Though there is no deaf-blind NDE study, there is
    a study of blind people who have had NDEs.
  • Psychology professor and International
    Association for Near-Death Studies cofounder
    Kenneth Ring and then psychology Ph.D candidate
    Sharon Cooper contacted eleven organizations for
    the blind, explaining that they were looking for
    blind people who had had near-death or
    out-of-body experiences.

  • They ended up with 31 subjects
  • 24 of these subjects reported being able to see
    during their experiences
  • Some saw their bodies lying below them some
    saw doctors or physical features of the room or
    building they were in others saw deceased
    relatives or religious figures
  • Strangely, the subjects who reported seeing
    these things included people who had been blind
    from birth individuals who dreams almost never
    contain visual images, just sounds and tactile

  • If you wanted to prove that its possible for
    some version or vestige of the self to exist
    independent of the body and brain you could try
    to set up some sort of detector in a room far
    away from one of these purported free-floaters
    and instruct him or her to head on over
  • In 1977, a group of parapsychologists undertook
    just such a project on the campus of Duke
  • The main author of this study was the late Robert

  • Morris and his colleagues worked with a single
    subject named Stuart Harary, who had participated
    in previous out-of-body experience projects at
  • Harary was instructed to leave his body and
    travel to one of two detection rooms, either
    fifty feet or a quarter of a mile away
  • To determine whether he could actually do this,
    Morris stationed people in the detection room and
    had them try to sense Harary while he visited

  • The results were no better than chance.
  • There were about as many reports of detection
    during control periods as when Harary believed he
    was out of his body
  • Surmising that animals might be more keenly
    attuned to extrasensory presences, Morris next
    did a series of trials using snakes, gerbils, and
    kittens as detectors
  • Morris eventually settled on a kitten that had
    seemed to show an affinity for Harary

  • The kitten was not caged but let loose in a
    corralled area with a grid taped out on the
    floor, in this case the behavioral measure was
    the number of squares entered per one hundred
    seconds and the animals vocalization rate
  • Disappointingly, the kitten seemed to be reliably
    less active when Harary indicated he was there
    leading some of the researchers to wonder whether
    theyd gotten the protocol backward
  • Perhaps Hararys presence wasnt stimulating the
    animal but calming it. Morris and his colleagues
    went through a half dozen methodological