Letters to the Editors
THE AFTERLIFE. (Editorial)
It is likely that we may have come by a belief in the
afterlife through being members of Communities of Faith, and hearing
their scriptures; through prayer and meditation, and through a sense of
Spirit being our home.
But is there a way of objectively confirming that life
after death is a fact?
We can turn to Psychic Research, hardly ever publically
referred to by the churches, strangely ignored by theologians and
Biblical scholars, and treated with near contempt by the materialists.
[The Anglicans and Catholics have not in fact forbidden
psychic research. Read about The
report of the committee
appointed by Archbishops Lang and Temple. And see
Fellowship for Psychical and Spiritual Studies. The Spectator (8/2/03
p16) writes of Bishop Hugh Montifiore: "Since his retirement he
has collected evidence of ghosts, exocorcisms, telepathy, precognition,
near-death experiences and religious visions, and has published The Paranormal: A Bishop Investigates
-a great book."
Catholics have been more encouraging: 20
the 1970s the Vatican has continued to
sponsor extensive research into all areas of parapsychology]
21 Retired lawyer of the
Australian Supreme Court, Victor Zammit, produces a weekly web site Victor Zammit, a Lawyer Presents
the Case for the Afterlife where he presents excellent short
summaries of serious Afterlife research. Readers are recommended to
download his The Book, at this site. There, from many
sources in many fields, he assembles evidence for the Afterlife that
can only be described as stunning. With his permission we have quoted
extensively from his work.
Victor Zammit, as the lawyer he is, punches hard at his opponents.
"Sparky and interesting," wrote a correspondent. The material he refers
to and cites is provided by trustworthy academic researchers using
acceptable methods of investigation. Zammit also provides extremely
valuable links to many other first-rate sites, including the sceptical.
Zammit's adversarial stance can be defended. An insistence in
the name of science, that one only investigate phenomena that can be
replicated everywhere in laboratories, results in the total ignoring of
a huge mass of impressive personal experiences. "Your experiences do
not fit in with the framework that I have decided on. Therefore they do
not exist, are illusory, are imaginery, fabricated, deceptive, and
should be ignored."
Should this story be ignored?
Flight 811 Aeroplane Disaster
Michael Cocks reports personal experiences related to him by
"Several people have reported seeing loved ones seemingly well
and clothed appearing to them, bidding them farewell, and disappearing.
This at about the time that they had died in a distant hospital. Once,
a young vestryman made an appointment to discuss a life-changing event.
Early that morning, it seemed, his "dead" grandparents (on his father's
side) appeared to him. At first he was frightened, and prayed for help,
but then talked with them in an increasingly relaxed and friendly way
for half an hour. They then disappeared. It was a life-changing
The "Laboratory" and the "Lawyer" approaches.
The "laboratory" stance dismisses these happenings from
consideration as "anecdotal" evidence, as stories someone tells, with
no scientific significance. It is like saying that if people report
that they have met a bear while walking in the woods, that we should
take no notice of them, because we cannot repeat the happening at will
in a laboratory.
The "laboratory" stance is claiming to be impartial and
scientific, but has in fact judged in advance that the bear (psychic
event) does not exist, and is refusing to look at evidence that it may.
An honest and open-minded scientist would be prepared to look at these
anecdotes and think out what possibly testable hypothesis there could
be, which would make sense of them.
This is where the "lawyer" stance comes into its own. The
lawyer (either for the prosecution or the defence) marshalls evidence
that would enable a judge and jury to make a determination whether or
not they met that bear in the woods, given that there seems to be no
bear around right now. The lawyer would seek evidence about the
standing and the credibility of those reporting the bear. Were they
drunk or sober, were they awake or asleep, did other people normally
trust them, could they be reporting a fiction to gain attention to
themselves, were they hoping for some pecuniary advantage, were they
credulous people who conjured up a bear out of the shadows, because
someone had sown the idea in their minds that there might be a bear,
were they capable of giving a clear and trustworthy report? After the
evidence about these matters had been presented, and confirmed by
reliable character witnesses, the jury might consider the evidence at
length, and then come up with the determination that the evidence
pointed to acceptance that they had indeed seen a bear (had a psychic
Thus with the stories related by Michael Cocks, all these
questions and more could be asked about him, and the people who related
these anecdotes to him, and thus we could determine what degree of
credence we could accord him, and the people he mentions.
The "lawyer" approach surely has its place alongside that of
Near Death Experiences
Almost everyone has heard of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
and her work with the dying, and amongst much else, how she wrote down
many of her patients' Near Death Experiences, with impressions of going
down a tunnel into a place of light and love, where deceased loved ones
are there to welcome. The details of course vary. But the comfort and
confidence afforded by these Near Death Experiences (NDEs) to those
having them, and the changed lives and much deepened spirituality of
those patients who survived, convinced Elizabeth of the reality of the
Case of Pam Reynolds and her NDE. A
Seemingly convincing as accounts of NDEs are, and the very positive
effects they have on those who experience them, it has always been open
to the sceptic to assert that one has these experiences before one is
technically "dead", just before losing consciousness, or just after one
is revived from technical "death" i.e. the period of time when the
heart was stopped, and the brain was not functioning. But on January
12, 2004 I watched a TV production, "THE DAY I DIED" [Produced and
directed by Kate Broome, a BBC/TLC production. BBC Bristol, 2002.],
recorded it, and made a transcript from which this is an excerpt.
Palm Sunday Case (C) Copyright 2003 by Troy Taylor. All Rights
"Although no longer studied much these days, cross
correspondences were used predominantly between 1901 and 1932 as a way
to test and validate the powers of mediums who were being studied by
psychical researchers of the time. Although largely forgotten now,
these compelling experiments may have actually offered worthwhile proof
of paranormal powers. The correspondences were made up of information
that was purportedly delivered to mediums by discarnate entities while
the mediums were either in a trance state or through automatic writing."
When you have The Palm Sunday Case
on screen, click on the link "automatic writing" to read about
the Fox Sisters, and Mrs Piper. These and other
articles also will be of considerable interest.
"There are many cases on record of adults and children
speaking and writing languages which they have never learned. Sometimes
this happens spontaneously but more often it occurs while the person is
under hypnosis or in an altered state of consciousness. In some cases
it is only a few words remembered but in other cases the person becomes
totally fluent and able to converse with native speakers sometimes in
obscure dialects which have not been in use for centuries.
• Dr Morris Netherton reports one case of a blond,
eleven year old boy who under hypnosis was taped for eleven minutes as
he spoke in an ancient Chinese dialect. When the tape was taken to a
professor at the Department of Oriental Studies at the University of
California it turned out to be a recitation from a forbidden religion
of Ancient China (Fisher 1986: 202)"
From Victor Zammit's The Book.
The Committee appointed by Archbishops Lang and Temple decided:
Victor Zammit, in his Afterlife Book, p.54 writes:
"John G. Fuller, a respected journalist who investigated the
evidence on mediumship, points out the problem created by its sheer
On examination, it is so persuasive that it points to a
rational conclusion that life is continuous, and that articulate
communication is possible. One problem is that the evidence is piled so
high that it is boring and tedious to go through it. Like the study of
mathematics and chemistry it requires painstaking labour to assess it
(Fuller 1987: 67-68).
He points out that it took a committee of the Church of
England two years to assess the great volume of the evidence on
mediumship. The Committee was specially appointed in 1937 by Archbishop
Lang and Archbishop Temple to investigate Spiritualism. Its
investigations included sitting with some of the leading mediums in
England. At the end of that time, however, seven of the ten members of
the Committee—against enormous pressure— came to the
the hypothesis that they (spirit communications) proceed
in some cases from discarnate spirits is the true one (Psychic
This report was considered so dangerous by Church
conservatives that it was stamped 'Private and Confidential' and locked
away in Lambeth Palace for 40 years before it was leaked to the media
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The Vatican supports Psychic research
From Victor Zammit's The Afterlife book pp.23-27
The Vatican supports EVP
Unknown to many ChristiansCatholics, Protestants and
Fundamentalists— the Catholic Church has been actively positive
encouraging towards investigation of the Electronic Voice Phenomena.
• Two of the earliest investigators were Italian Catholic
priests, Father Ernetti and Father Gemelli, who came upon the phenomena
by chance while they were recording Gregorian chants in 1952.
• Father Gemelli heard his own father's voice on the tape
calling him by a childhood nick-name saying 'Zucchini, it is clear,
don't you know it is I '.
• Deeply troubled by Catholic teaching in regard to
with the dead the two priests visited Pope Pius XII in Rome.
• The Pope reassured them:
Dear Father Gemelli, you really need not worry about this. The
existence of this voice is strictly a scientific fact and has nothing
to do with spiritism. The recorder is totally objective. It receives
and records only sound waves from wherever they come. This experiment
may perhaps become the cornerstone for a building for scientific
studies which will strengthen people's faith in a hereafter (Italian
Journal Astra, June 1990 quoted Kubis and Macy, 1995: 102 ).
• Pope Pius' cousin, the Rev. Professor Dr Gebhard Frei,
co-founder of the Jung Institute, was an internationally known
parapsychologist who worked closely with Raudive, a pioneer in the
research. He was also the President of the International Society for
Catholic Parapsychologists. He himself is on record as stating:
All that I have read and heard forces me to believe that the
voices come from transcendental, individual entities. Whether it suits
me or not, I have no right to doubt the reality of the voices (Kubris
and Macy, 1995:104).
• Dr Frie died on October 27, 1967. In November 1967 at
numerous taping sessions a voice giving its name as Gebhard Frei came
through. The voice was identified by Professor Peter Hohenwarter of the
University of Vienna as positively belonging to Dr Frei (Ostrander and
Schroeder, 1977: 271).
• Pope Paul VI was well aware of the work being done from
onwards on the Elecronic Voices by his good friend, Swedish film
producer Friedrich Jurgenson, who had made a documentary film about
him. The Pope made Jurgenson a Knight Commander of the Order of St
Gregory in 1969 for his work. Jurgenson wrote to Bander, a British
I have found a sympathetic ear for the Voice Phenomenon in the
Vatican. I have won many wonderful friends among the leading figures in
the Holy City. Today 'the bridge' stands firmly on its foundations
(Ostrander and Schroeder, 1977: 264).
• The Vatican also gave permission for its own priests to
conduct research into the voices— Father Leo Schmid, a Swiss
theologist, collected more than ten thousand of them in his book When
the Dead Speak which was published in 1976, shortly after his death.
• Another Vatican-approved researcher was Father Andreas
who as well as conducting his own experiments began courses in
Parapsychology at the Vatican's school for priests in Rome (Kubris and
• In 1970 the International Society for Catholic
Parapsychologists held a conference in Austria and a major part of that
conference was concerned with papers on the Electronic Voice Phenomena.
• In England in 1972 four senior members of the Catholic
hierarchy were involved in the famous Pye recording studio tests
conducted by Peter Bander.
• Father Pistone, Superior of the Society of St Paul in
England, said in an interview after the tests:
I do not see anything against the teaching of the Catholic
Church in the Voices, they are something extra-ordinary but there is no
reason to fear them, nor can I see any danger (Bander 1973: 132).
The Church realizes that she cannot control the evolution of
science. Here we are dealing with a scientific phenomenon; this is
progress and the Church is progressive. I am happy to see that
representatives of most Churches have adopted the same attitude as we
have: we recognize that the subject of the Voice Phenomena stirs the
imagination even of those who have always maintained that there could
never be any proof or basis for discussion on the question of life
after death. This book and the subsequent experiments raise serious
doubts, even in the minds of atheists. This alone is a good reason for
the Church supporting the experiments. A second reason may be found in
the greater flexibility of the Church since Vatican II, we are willing
to keep an open mind on all matters which do not contradict Christ's
teaching (Bander 1973:103).
• His excellence, Archbishop H.E. Cardinale, Apostolic
to Belgium, commented:
Naturally it is all very mysterious, but we know the voices
are there for all to hear them (Bander 1973: 132).
• The Right Reverend Monsignor Professor C. Pfleger
Facts have made us realize that between death and resurrection
there is another realm of post-mortal existence. Christian theology has
little to say about this realm (Bander 1973 : 133).
• Bander's book (1973: 133) contains a photograph of the
Reverend Mgr. Stephen O'Connor, Vicar General and Principal Roman
Catholic Chaplain to the Royal Navy, listening to the playback of a
recording on which a voice had manifested claiming to be that of a
young Russian naval officer known to himself who had committed suicide
two years earlier. Dr Raudive had recorded the message independently at
an earlier session.
• Since the 1970s the Vatican has continued to sponsor
extensive research into all areas of parapsychology including
Electronic Voice Phenomena.
• Recently Father Gino Concetti, one of the most
theologians in the Vatican, said in an interview:
According to the modern catechism, God allows our dear
departed persons who live in an ultra-terrestrial dimension, to send
messages to guide us in certain difficult moments of our lives. The
Church has decided not to forbid any more the dialogue with the
deceased with the condition that these contacts are carried out with a
serious religious and scientific purpose (printed in the Vatican
newspaper Osservatore Romano— cited in Sarah Estep's American
Association Electronic Voice Phenomena, Inc Newsletter, vol 16 No, 2
Clearly, the Catholic Church realizes that science is making
enormous, inevitable, irreversible and cumulative progress which nobody
is in a position to stop.
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