Life After Death and The World Beyond: Investigating Heaven and The Spiritual Dimension

by Jenny Randles and Peter Hough
Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., New York, 1996, 174 pp., paperback, $12.95.

Reviewed by Douglas Chapman

Life begins—when it ends. Or so say many religions, which posit better conditions in the afterlife.

Norse mythology has Valhalla, headed by the god Odin, where the residents play rough. Its Hall of the Slain has warriors fighting and killing each other during the day. Happily, all are brought back whole each and every evening.

Other “places” are more pleasant. Arthurian mythology has its Avalon, the Greek variety has its Elysian Fields, and so on.

Much mystery is commonly attached to the afterlife, as to all occurrences following death.

Brian Blessed, the extrovert British actor, told author Randles about something that once happened to him. During a filmic stint in a foreign country, he was rehearsing a scene and told the others present—including Kenneth Branagh—that Jozie Zimmerman, his mother-in-law, was—he felt— calling to him. A phone call was placed to England, revealing that the woman had just been felled by a heart attack.

Do the ex-alive contact in other ways? Some people believe that odd sounds on tape recordings can come from the dead, even though radio broadcasts can be the cause of extraneous speech on tape. EVP (electronic voice phenomena) is a popular study for many.

Some have purported to find something similar in television broadcasts.

The Cercle d’Etudes sur la Transcommunication (CETL), headed by a Luxembourgian couple named Jules and Maggy Harsch-Fishbach, showed photos of the famous—including Thomas Edison and George Cukor together—that had supposedly been taken at a “Timestream” sending station in the beyond.

Intriguingly, Edison was dressed in 1990s mode. Computer messages and phone calls are also claimed to be used by the dead to send their regards this direction. The world of Marduk that CETL claims to be in touch with resembles very much Philip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld series—especially *To Your Scattered Bodies Go*. It seems fairly obvious where the influence lies.

Life After Death... covers other mysterious events, including the claimed sightings of the Virgin Mary since 1981 in Medjugoreje, (former) Yugoslavia. Other Marian visions are also examined.

Spirituality comes in many forms, one supposes. In the United States, a medium wrote in the journal Voices from Spirit about the sixty-four motion pictures that Abbott and Costello had made in heaven up to 1993, and wanted to show in this world. (Talk about a Cosmic Joke.)

For further beyond-death studies, a handy guide to the astral planes is included, delineating everything from the First heaven to the Seventh—the highest being beyond earthly definition and “the goal of all individual souls.”

Mediumship past and present is also covered, as is the Noah’s Ark Society, which wants to prove physical mediumship real. Cameras have not so far been utilized in such studies, because of the feared “risks” to mediums,

Questions persist pertaining to all aspects of the afterlife. Why, in mental and other communications, do the claimed contacting dead seem so similar to their former earthly selves, when transformation beyond the material is so often thought to be the eventual goal? Why should this be? Doris Collins, a well-known British medium, has talked to Randles. The former told her about the similarities between the afterlife and the present one: “The kind of environment we enter after death is dictated by the life that we have led and the way in which we utilise the gifts that we have been given.”

This book asks what the mind truly consists of, and speculates: “But science now tells us that all reality is created in the mind. Perhaps after death that is what happens. The mind creates a new reality and we simply shift our point of awareness away from the here and now.”

This simplifies science, but is an appealing prospect. Life After Death... cannot help but assist its readers to come to terms with the terminal.

Return to Book Reviews Index  |   strangemag HOME