Over the past month, I’ve been attending a Wednesday night meeting at a local Unity Church (http://www.westsideunity.org/) As luck would have it, another new person started showing up the same exact day as me. He’s an interesting character for sure. He has a lot to say on a variety of topics (politics, science, current affairs, etc.)
What he often brings to the discussions is a background in science and the need for proof in spiritual matters. Last night he challenged the idea that people who die do not transition out of the body. That death is the ultimate end. He said there should be some proof if the body lost energy, in the form of mass. I was reminded of the efforts of Duncan MacDougall. Duncan was a medical doctor who weighed people in the process of dieing. He concluded that the patients who died on his scale, lost about 21 grams. More information on his study can be found HERE. It is generally regarded as a false test, and other methods to test this with better equipment have not been able to show his same findings.
Why I Believe
So MacDougall’s experiment is proven false…. None the less, I believe.
“Why?” said the scientist. Why believe if you can not prove it? Personal experience I suppose. In my life, I have had several experiences that were “paranormal.” One such case keeps coming to mind. In college, I was approached by a friend of mine to prove spirit’s existed. He said he was agnostic (but really he already had a forgone conclusion that no spirit existed – therefore he was more of an atheist) and said he wanted to perform an experiment. We discussed various methods of trying to evoke a spirit, and we settled on one particular methodology.
At first I was reluctant, but the more I thought about this endeavor the more excited I got. This was a chance to have participants who could verify any information seen and heard. So Chris (the agnostic) and I decided, that I would collect the necessary items and some day we would perform a series of ceremonies as experiments to validate the results of spirit communication.
I surprised Chris. I was so excited about this, I procured all the necessary items the very next day and met with him. We checked out various places to perform the experiment, but none had enough privacy for our comfort. We decided instead to visit his nearby home. We brought with us an observer (my reluctant girlfriend Anjanette.) Anjanette was my girlfriend at that time. She was also Muslim. This wasn’t something she wanted to witness (on the grounds of her religion, as well as her comfort level)… however, after some prodding we convinced her to come along as a witness.
I knew that it would be unlikely to make contact in one try. I believed in spirit communication, but felt it was rare to make that connection. We set up in his living room and I began our ceremony to make a connection with something. I had hoped for something pleasant and peaceful. But as time went on, Chris grew bored and angry. He began to mock and revile the work. He spat curses at spirit and told me he preferred we evoke the spirit of someone who burned alive in the holocaust.
His anger and frustration worried me, and his idea of who we should contact bothered me even more. I told him to be respectful. I told him he was not right in this. But he persisted… and in that frame of mind, something happened.
It started with a feeling. I felt the room was different. The benign energy in the room was replaced with anger. The energy of anger seemed to radiate all around us. I, however, was the only one who felt this. It was at this point, I was starting to grow concerned and mentally was offering apologies to any spirit that was upset with Chris.
There in my mind I saw the image of a old woman. I also saw an image of a old fashioned radio. Numbers came to me. It felt like whatever this was, wanted us to tune the radio to a certain radio station. What a bizarre thing to do. At first I was too ashamed to say “Chris go turn the radio to…” I mean if nothing happened I’d look like a fool. Somehow I got the courage to make the suggestion, and I told Chris to turn on the radio to a specific station. He started laughing. To Chris, I was whistling in the dark. We spent the better part of an hour with no activity and now I’m suggesting we turn the radio on to a local hip hop station. He laughingly agreed. I saw him go over, turn on the radio and flip through the channels to get the specified station.
That’s when it occurred.
The music just stopped. I glanced back at Chris and saw he was two feet from the radio, caught in mid-stride back towards me. He stood frozen in the middle of his living room. The silence in the room lasted about three or four seconds. Then, a voice came over the radio. The voice was loud and immediate. Like someone screaming at you. It was much louder than the music that had previously been playing. The voice was angry, hostile and barking words. As I recall this lasted roughly eight to ten seconds. People often ask, “What was said?” I wish I knew. You see the language of the words was not in English. It was a gutteral in sound, but it wasn’t German. Perhaps it was Hebrew, if you can imagine Hebrew being screamed in rapid succession.
Chris’ eyes met mine. He had a look in them I had never seen before – fear. He looked like he was about to collapse. He just stood there, scared out of his mind – completely frozen. Anjanette was freaking out on the couch and she was witnessing all of this.
The voice stopped as quickly as it started, there was silence again for a few seconds… and then the hip hop music returned.
Chris immediately ran to me, packed up all my materials and told me to leave his house. I was confused. “We just made contact! Let’s not quit now!” that’s what I was feeling. But he was feeling, “This is my house and what the hell was that??” Smiling at Chris, I asked if he now was a believer. His response was simply, “I don’t know. I need time to think about what just happened.”
I joked about leaving the equipment in his house and he got upset with me. He demanded I remove all of it, and so I did. Back home I was pretty proud of myself. We did an experiment and it worked. We made contact, and proved something to him that he said couldn’t occur.
But I learned an even more valuable lesson in the weeks to come….
Closed Minds Stay Closed
As time went on from this incident Chris began to doubt what occurred was “paranormal.” He first came to me a week after our experiment suggesting we actually heard a airplane broadcast that must have crossed over to the FM station. It was an absurd notion. Having been a shortwave radio operator, I knew the clarity and strength of the voice would have to be transmitted with a lot of watts from a very close location. It wasn’t practical to assume an airplane. Also the language was angry, hostile, and not in English. It didn’t have the SSB (single side band) voice characteristics of pilot broadcasts.
After hearing my frustrated response, he retreated from me. A week after that he approached me with another crazy hypothesis. Chris was reaching for anything that could give him an answer that wasn’t spirit related. He lost his sense of fairness and scientific experimentation. He was now trying to force himself to believe anything other than what we heard.
I lost my temper with Chris. I told him if he couldn’t accept what happened, I still had all the ceremonial equipment and we could just start up a weekly ceremony in his home and see if it occurs again. He wouldn’t agree to it. He refused. I asked, “What’s wrong Chris? Why not repeat it? Unless you know something happened…” Chris left and never spoke of it again.
There’s nothing wrong with healthy doubt. But when you doubt in the face of an answer to your question – you no longer have healthy doubt. Instead you are acting in a way of Fundamentalist Faith. The same faith that drives a person to say “God created humans 10,000 years ago!” is the same faith that says, “This couldn’t be a spirit we heard… No way…. Science is all there is, what we can prove right now!” It’s a belief against the physical evidence of observation.
Such faith based doubt is a danger. It’s dangerous to be around because it can infest you. If you receive enough of it, you’ll begin to start doubting as well. Doubting for no better reason than to doubt.
My naysayer friends have said to me, “what’s wrong with me criticizing your path?” What’s wrong, is that criticism and cynicism is a disease. It spreads. You’ll find after being around people like that, you drop out of your spiritual practice, begin to fall further away… and one day ask, “why did I stop believing?”
It’s a tricky thing, to know how much to allow someone into your mental space. Their disturbances of peace, their doubts, they can infest you. But you don’t want to be off putting. You want to help… So there’s a balance that needs to be stuck, hence the adage: Do not throw pearls (of wisdom) before swine (mockers and doubters.)