I totally understand the skeptics perspective on anything paranormal.  I get it–where’s the “proof”?  

For most of my life, I was in their camp.  There is no rational explanation for many extraordinary experiences people have or the uncanny ability of mediums to describe our deepest connections with those who have died.  I guess where I depart from my scientific colleagues who deny the reality of such occurrences is that I have heard too many to discount them, to label them hallucinations, or fabrications.

 Basic principle 101– people don’t make up stories about their deceased loved-ones.  They have no reason to do so.  Rather the contrary—-they risk the ridicule of others.  I know this is so.  They have confided this to me.

 In his book What Is Death? biologist Tyler Volk battles with this issue.  He sides with the materialist–monists.  Our mnd is the creation of our physical brain.  There is no such entity as the soul.  Physical death is the end of existence.  That ‘s his mantra and he is sticking by it.

 Ironically, he places a footnote in his book which challenges that very belief. On page 232 he reports an experience of “one friend, a professor of sociology and biology” who had a paranormal experience. Interesting that he introduces the story by offering credentials and therefore credibility to his friend.

 Volker writes He traveled in his mental, astral body from his hotel bed to his house in West Virginia.  Floating above his mother, he watches her on the couch, reading a magazine with the television on, until she put the magazine down and fell asleep.  He floated down close enough to note the article she had been reading.  He was enough of a scientist to want to verity his experience.  When he returned home, he asked his mother whether she ever read such-and-such an article.  She told him she had been, but didn’t finish because she fell asleep. He even found the magazine in a stack on the living room coffee table, where he had seen her lay it.”

 Hmmm.  Interesting how Volker places this in a footnote near the end of the book and does not comment further on it. He even uses the term “astral body” without explanation.

I would have used this anecdote to open the book up!   It is an incredible experience from someone who clearly had credibility in Volker’s eyes.  Yet he can’t deal with the cognitive dissonance.  It doesn’t fit into his materialistic, science based dogma.  How unfortunate.

 To me, these experiences are illuminations of a deeper more complex and transcendent reality.  Why marginalize them? Why deny them because they don’t fit the pre-conceived paradigm?  It is not even scientific to deny facts that don’t fit.  Einstein would have never made his breakthrough discoverie of realtivity if he had been motivated to fit his observations to existing beliefs.  Quantum theory remains scientifically valid yet philosophically and cognitively extremely difficult ot undertand.  That doesn’t mean we should deny their reality outright.

 Mystery abounds in the universe.  Dark energy and dark matter are science based descriptions of the universe, accounting for more thatn 90% of “everything”.  We understand and perceive less that 5% which is the energy and matter we think we know.

 My wish is merely this.  Remain openminded about the nature of reality.  Don’t discount what you can’t explain.  Be skeptical but not dogmatic.  Remember, absence of proof is not proof of absence.  Enjoy the journey to discovery.

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