Rev. Linda Martella-Whitsett tells us a little story about Divine Audacity.
Imagine, you have met the love of your life. As a result, you have what every person desires, a wonderful relationship, passionate lovemaking, and a partner for life. You cannot fathom living life without this person, and wonder how you survived all the years on earth without them. Then tragedy strikes, and death rips this person from you. In a blink of an eye, the love of your life disappears forever. You feel as though you cannot ever breath again, let alone continuing on without them. It is a heartbreaking scenario, one that has been played out time and time again in popular movies such as the 1990 film Ghost…and tragically in real life. But, does life mirror art? Or should we I say, does the afterlife mirror art?
The movie Ghost, is a story that involves two lovers whose lives are turned upside down when the boyfriend is murdered. Finding himself in the spirit, unable to be seen or heard, the ghost of Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze) stumbles upon medium Oda Mae Brown (Whoopie Goldberg) who is able to hear him. With her assistance, he communicates with his beloved Molly Jensen (Demi Moore), and is able to convince her that he is indeed alive in the afterlife. The end of the story shows Sam entering into the spiritual world, but not before a moving goodbye to his loved one that he is leaving behind.
Although it is fiction, the movie had a very real feel of what happens on the other side of death when a loved one is left behind. For those of us that have lost a loved one to death, we wonder if the one that has passed on still love us, do they see us, hear us, can they contact us? Do they miss us as we do them?
If you have ever seen the movie, we know that Sam, after leaving his body finds himself in the afterlife and is exactly the same person he was before dying. He crossed over with all of his characteristics, personality traits, and a burning love for Molly. We watch him in fact desperately trying to reach her, and in the end using a number of ways to communicate with her, in order to help her to understand that he is still with her. At the end of the movie, Molly has a true sense that Sam is there, and will always be by her side.
As someone that has researched the subject of life after death, and who has had the experience of a loved one on the other side contacting me, I can tell you that no, our loved ones are not lost to us. Love is the most important characteristic in the universe. It transcends life and death.
When we crossover, we do not loose who we are inside. We keep our personalities, our characteristics and our feelings. Do we still carry torches for our lover left behind? You bet! Will our loved one that was snatched away in death wait for us? Very likely. Why? Because they are as eager as we are to be reunited. As time across the veil is different than what we experience here (there is none), we are moving forward here to the same inevitable reality. And that reality can lead us straight into the arms of those who we loved and loss when they crossed over to the other side.
Souls often travel in groups, so more than likely that very person that you loved but passed away, had been in your life before, and agreed to be with you when you came in, if only for a short time.
One interesting account that I recall from my book, The Encyclopedia of the Unseen World, is that of Elizabeth Taylor’s experience with who is said to be the love of her life, Mike Todd. In the late 1950’s, Taylor died on an operating table. She was clinically dead for 5 minutes. Taylor speaks of going through a tunnel, of seeing figures that she recognized, and seeing and feeling a white light, like the sun that was warm. She described it as being in liquid mercury and feeling weightless. There she saw Mike Todd, her third husband, who was killed in a plane crash in 1958. She wanted to stay with Todd, but he told her that she had work and life ahead of her. In an interview with A&E Magazine, she states, “I believe that the soul does not die. I went to that tunnel, saw the white light, and Mike [Todd]. I said, ‘Oh Mike, you’re where I want to be.’ And he said, ‘No, Baby, you can’t come over, you have to go back.’” Taylor said that it was Todd’s strength and love that brought her back. She has also stated that as a result of this experience, she has no fear of dying.
What I find interesting about this is that Todd knew she was coming, even referred to her in the affectionate, “baby” and she felt his love.
When I was working as a reporter in Alexandria, Virginia many years ago, I came across an interesting story that I named, “The Captains Lady.” There had been reports for years about a ghostly woman that was frequently seen wandering the hills and peering into the windows of people’s homes in the Potomac area. She apparently was quite striking with long black hair and dark eyes. After being spotted by one man unfamiliar with her story, he went outside after having spotted the woman peering inside of his home through a window. When he went out, there was no one there. It was explained to him later, by a neighbor, that this was the captain’s lady. Apparently, in the 1800’s in Alexandria, Virginia, when the Potomac River was a dock for ships coming in, the captain’s lady had waited eagerly for him to return after a trip out to sea. However, the captain had perished at sea during a storm. The captain’s lady, was so distraught at the news, that she committed suicide in the river. Shortly afterward however, she could be seen wandering around the hills, and the grounds of the house, where she and the captain resided. Her love for him surpassed death, as she was evidently searching for her beloved captain. (Unfortunately, what really happened was that she trapped herself on the earth plane through her distress, emotions and desperate act of killing herself. The captain however, more than likely crossed-over immediately to the other side). Did the Captain ever come to retrieve her? I believe that if he loved her, that yes, his love transcended his death as did hers and that eventually, they ended up together hopefully planning their next incarnation together.
Whomever you may be missing on this Valentine’s Day, rest assured that your loved one is thinking about you across the veil and smiling!
Happy Valentines Day!
Constance Victoria Briggs is the author of Encyclopedia of the Unseen World
Last weekend I finally went to see the movie Hereafter. It’s been out for a few weeks already and has been a disappointment at the box office – so I wasn’t surprised to find myself alone in the theater. It was a little creepy … but I digress.
The movie is a departure for director Clint Eastwood, whose signature films usually include healthy doses of grit and graphic violence. Eastwood is also known for eliciting stellar performances from his cast. This is certainly the case in Hereafter – the three characters each experience death from a different perspective: George Lonegan (Matt Damon) is a gifted psychic isolated by his ability, Marie LeLay (Cecile De France) is a journalist who is haunted by her own a near-death experience, and Marcus (Frankie & George McLaren) is a young boy who loses his twin brother and seeks answers to his wrenching grief. The actors fully embody the emotional lives of these characters, and although some have accused Eastwood of making a “soft” “new-age” film, the subject is treated with gravity and great respect. The viewer (at least this one) is left affected and questioning.
So, curiosity piqued, I asked author and metaphysical researcher Constance Briggs (Encyclopedia of the Unseen World) a few questions about how the film portrays the afterlife and psychic experience. Here’s what she had to say:
Ankhie: The afterlife experiences depicted in the film all conform to what has become the Western standard of bright light and shadowy figures of the departed. Is this a common afterlife experience for all cultures?
Constance: While the bright light is accurate, shadowy figures are not. In fact, I was not pleased at the depiction of the people on the other side in the film. In the “hereafter” there are not a lot of shadowy figures just standing around doing nothing. In fact, there are no shadowy figures! Once on the other side, we see people. We see beings of light! The shadow figures were simply the filmmaker’s vision of what it is like after we die.
If you are asking whether or not all cultures have the same or similar afterlife experiences, the answer is yes. In my research, I found that near-death-experiences are very much alike around the world. In fact, we also find similarities in such old writings a the Tibetan Book of the Dead, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Book of Enoch and others.
Ankhie: It’s interesting that you bring up the Books of the Dead and Enoch – definitely not part of the fundamental Christian canon. There is an interesting implication in the film that scientific proof exists of life in the hereafter – but that it has been suppressed by agents of organized religion and government. Do you think that there is any validity to this theory?
Constance: No, I don’t believe that there is a suppression of evidence…at least not in the US. Remember this was a French Journalist that made that claim in the movie. In the US, there are so many books, TV shows and movies on this subject, that no, I don’t believe that the government wants to keep it a secret. I also do not believe this of the religions here ( elsewhere, I am not certain about). There are even some universities in the US that are actively trying to prove that there is life after death. I do believe that there should be more interest and studies on the subject. I believe that the vast experiences with the other side of people from all walks of life, should be shared on a major scale. I think that we should be working harder to learn more about the “hereafter.” It is obviously there. The evidence is there. I don’t believe that it has to be a mystery. I think learning more about it can help in our evolution. Even Thomas Edison thought that there should be some sort of communication device to link the two dimensions. But, as a people, we are not there yet. The world cannot wrap their minds around the idea that there is a real place, with real people living and existing in another dimension, no matter how many times our worlds cross. We have come so far in our growth as far as technology. However, the majority of people still are not interested enough, or spiritual enough, to move past the point that this doesn’t all have to be a mystery; that we can learn more, if we try.
Ankhie: There’s a heartbreaking scene with the character of Marcus (the young twin) at an open meeting of a spiritualist society – preceded by many failed encounters with people claiming to have access to the other side. Despite these disappointments, Marcus persists. When finally he is able to sit down with George, the reading begins with broad claims, much as all the other readings do. Why would a legitimate psychic follow the formula that has become a hallmark of frauds? I have my thoughts but wonder about yours…
Constance: People that do this type of work (if authentic), have many different ways and means of opening a communication from the other side. The mediums or readers are attempting to relay information that they are hearing or seeing from another dimension. It’s not easy. There are no set rules or openings. Perhaps the film makers were giving the audience their version of what occurs during one of these sessions.
Ankhie: The pivotal scene in the movie (the scene that brings a resolution to the three story lines) involves publishing and the book industry – which of course made me very happy. But in fact, throughout the movie, books play a pivotal role – from George’s obsession with (one might even say dependence on) Charles Dickens, to Marie’s manuscript and publisher expectations. Which leads me to the broad question; how do writing and the printed word play into the history of spirit and spiritualism?
Constance: We have learned, through the written word found in the forms of ancient texts, scriptures and fictional stories that have been passed down through the ages, that there is a hereafter. It is because of the preservation of these writings that we know that the idea of life after death is not a new one, and that the amazing phenomena of seeing apparitions, spirits and of having out-of-body experiences (also referred to as astral travel) is as old as time. It is because of humankind’s need for knowledge and thirst for history, that we know that the hereafter has always existed. Our ancestors knew it, and we have a written account of their ideas and beliefs on the subject.
One of the earliest and most revered books, the Bible, has an interesting story surrounding the subject of life after death, mediumship and after death communication. It is the story of Saul and the Medium of Endor. Through this ancient tale, we learn that the dead can be contacted. There, Saul contacts the deceased Samuel, through the Medium of Endor. In addition to the Bible, the Koran tells the tale of Muhammad traveling to “paradise,” in what seems appears to be an out-of-body experience. Who would think that this type of experience would be found in the Bible or the Koran? They were written and handed down to us for our information. This also is the same situation in the Book of Enoch found in the Pseudepigrapha, where Enoch is taken to heaven and sees angels, spirits in classes, and returns with an enormous amount of information about the other side. There are also the Egyptian Book of the Dead and the Tibetan Book of the Dead, both of which serves as guides through the afterlife.
In addition, there is fiction, with Shakespeare being one of the best-known authors to write about the hereafter in his plays, most notably Hamlet and Macbeth. There is a ghost in Hamlet that appears several times. In Macbeth, we find a ghost, prophetic apparitions, a floating dagger and witches. These stories have been handed down through the centuries and have helped to influence people on the subject of the survival of the consciousness after death.
It was during the 19th century that spiritualism first became popular. If it were not for documentation of the events during that time, we would not have the means to compare the spiritualist events of that period with what is happening today. As a result of that door opening, there is a huge amount of books on the topic available today. These books of near-death-experiences, out-of-body experiences, ghostly encounters, after death communication, angels and spirit guides help others with their own personal encounters with the afterlife.
I find that books in general have been empowering in this subject matter and lent strength to those have experienced such things but had no one person to turn to.
Ankhie: So how did writing The Encyclopedia of the Unseen World change or affect the way you think about the hereafter?
Constance: Writing the book itself was an amazing experience; one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I wrote the book with the intent on helping others to learn about this fascinating subject. However, writing the book really opened my eyes to the wealth of information available on this topic. In addition, I believe that there is enough evidence out there to prove that there is indeed a hereafter. I also realized just how many people are having experiences related to the unseen world. Almost everyone that I interviewed had some type of other world experience to share; and if they didn’t have one, then they knew of someone who had.
So tell us readers – what are your experiences with the “hereafter,” and if you saw the movie, what did you think of it?
Afterlife Knowledge Guidebook by Bruce Moen
Afterlife Encounters; Ordinary People, Extraordinary Experiences by Dianne Arcangel
Kids Who See Ghosts; How to Guide Them Through Fear by Caron B. Goode
Messages; Evidence for Life After Death by George Dalzell
People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead by Gary Leon Hill
The Weiser Field Guide to the Paranormal by Judith Joyce
The Book of Enoch the Prophet by Robert Henry Charles
Dion Fortune’s Book of the Dead by Dion Fortune
Awakening Osiris; The Egyptian Book of the Dead by Normandi Ellis
The Tibetan Book of the Dead by Graham Coleman
Embraced by the Light, Betty J. Eadie
Fast Lane to Heaven, Ned Dougherty
The Other Side of Death, Jan Price
Saved by the Light, Dannion Brinkley