THE MUSICAL MEDIUM

… an organised group of musicians who have departed from your world are attempting to establish a precept for humanity, i.e. that physical death is a transition from one state of consciousness to another wherein one retains one’s individuality. (Franz Liszt, 1970)

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Rosemary Brown might be described as having been as normal as anyone could be.

Well, apart from the fact that she regularly entertained long-deceased people in her home!

As a child, Rosemary presumed everyone saw ‘dead people’. They were always quite solid, and for young Rosemary it was easy to confuse them with living people. She recalled one occasion when she woke to see the figure of a very tall man standing beside her bed and thought it was a burglar. She was terrified, but as she sat up the figure vanished. She shrugged and thought “oh it’s only another old ghost,” then turned over and went back to sleep.

liszt1When she was seven, a very old man with long white hair and wearing what Rosemary thought was a long black dress (she later learned that it was a priest’s cassock) appeared beside her bed and told her that when he had been in this world, he had been a composer and pianist. Rosemary had no idea who this old man was, but she remembered him because he was the only ‘ghost’ to have spoken to her.

“When you grow up I will come back and give you music,” he told her.

Over forty years later, Franz Liszt kept his promise.

Those forty years had not been easy for Rosemary. An only child, she was born in Clapham – an inner suburb of London – on 27 July 1916, and grew up in humble circumstances. The family’s income had barely met their basic needs. As a young teen, she had begged her parents for piano lessons, but funds didn’t stretch to such luxuries. Undaunted, she tried to teach herself on the old piano inherited from her grandparents. It had a few dud keys and was kept in a big drafty sitting room, so in winter her fingers were so cold and stiff she could hardly move them. She persisted for a year, then ran errands to earn enough money to pay for 2 terms of lessons.

As if the family’s circumstances were not sufficiently dire, world war 2 meant six years of rations, while sirens sent everyone running to the nearest bomb shelter, hoping their home would still be standing when the all clear siren sounded. When her father died before the war ended, life became even more difficult.

In 1951, at the age of 36, Rosemary married widower Charles Brown and produced two children. Alas, Charles was often unwell and unable to work. At one time, Rosemary even tried to sell the old piano to make ends meet, but could find no-one to buy it. She was later to understand why she was meant to keep it.

Although she regularly brought through highly evidential messages for Charles from his previously deceased wife, it’s interesting to note that during these lean years it never occurred to her to offer private readings to help make ends meet, although she did conduct a few later in life.

In 1960, Rosemary’s mother died, and the following year, after just 9 years of marriage, Charles also succumbed to his illness, leaving Rosemary penniless and with two children to raise. She found work as a cleaner at the local school, but not long after starting, she slipped in the school cafeteria and broke two ribs.

liszt2One day while recuperating, she was tinkling at the piano when suddenly, Franz Liszt appeared. He slipped his hands over hers as though his were a pair of gloves, and she found herself playing music she’d never heard before.

After several sessions, he began to speak. “I have come to fulfill my promise.” He reminded her. “Do you remember me coming to see you all those years ago when you were a little girl?”

She remembered, and commented that he looked so much younger now.

Liszt began talking more after that, and she would sit and listen intently as he spoke about the music he was giving her. She wished she could write the compositions down so others could hear them, but her musical education was limited and she knew that remembering and sorting out the correct notes on the keyboard would be far too difficult.

rosemary7Nothing, it seems, was too difficult for Franz Liszt. By 1964 he had devised a way to dictate his music so she could write it down. It was a slow and painstaking process as both were learning how to do it and looking for the best way to communicate the music.

Liszt warned her, however, that if she agreed to do this work, she would be subjected to a great deal of ridicule, jealousy, and harsh skepticism. He told her that people would try to exploit her and attempt to suppress the music.

Rosemary was undaunted and unhesitatingly agreed to continue.

Liszt was to become the organizer and leader of a group of famous composers – Chopin, Schubert, Beethoven, Bach, Brahms, Schumann, Debussy, Greig, Berlioz, Rachmaninov, Monteverdi – all of whom began visiting Rosemary regularly to dictate their new music to her.

Over the many years until her own death, these celebrated composers dictated over 500 pieces of music.

In 1968, the BBC interviewed Rosemary, then produced a documentary about her. Shortly afterwards, she was offered a recording contract with Philips. (Thanks to Sandra Champlain, host of You Don’t Die podcast, here is a link to the documentary): https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mX477Zo7otg

musicalseance

The LP subsequently produced by Philips – A Musical Séance – described each composition as having been “inspired” by the named composers – Chopin, Liszt, Beethoven, Schubert, DeBussy, Brahms, Grieg and Schumann.

As Liszt warned, Rosemary Brown was subjected to much criticism and skepticism. As she often pointed out, she would need to be a musical genius to have written all these pieces – and all in very different but easily recognizable styles.

However, she has also received accolades from those with ears highly attuned to the styles of the great composers. British composer Richard Rodney Bennett once told how he had been having trouble with a composition of his own. “Mrs. Brown passed along Debussy’s recommendation,” he commented. “It worked!”

“If she is a fake, she is a brilliant one,” Bennett added in an interview for Time magazine, “and must have had years of training. Some (of the music) is marvellous. I couldn’t have faked the Beethoven!”

rosemarybrown3Rosemary Brown did not have ‘years of training’, nor was she brilliant. During the time she worked with the coposers, she was a reclusive, middle-aged housewife who worked part-time as a cleaning lady.

Why did these composers feel the need to bring new musical compositions to the world anyway? Didn’t we have enough music already?

henrywood“There is more in all this than perhaps meets the eye,” British conductor Sir Henry Wood stated in 1970, 26 years after his death. He was speaking through the mediumship of Leslie Flint. “It’s not only the music we are interested in … we are anxious to change if we can your world; change the thoughts of man. By the efforts of many souls here, we should be able to bring man to a greater realization and understanding of the purpose of life.”

Rosemary Brown died on November 16th, 2001, aged 85. No doubt she now has a far greater understanding of the purpose of life – at least the purpose of her own life!

This amazing medium’s legacy not only included over 500 compositions dictated to her by a crowd of long-deceased composers, she also wrote 3 wonderful books …

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MORE AFTERLIFE MOVIES

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other NDE movies and AFTERLIFE movies

This is one of my all-time favorites! After a plane crash, a young therapist, Claire, is assigned by her mentor to counsel the flight’s five survivors, who begin to open up and share their recollections of the incident.  But one by one, these survivors begin to mysteriously disappear. Claire becomes determined to uncover the truth … no matter the consequences. But the truth is far more than she bargained for. A compelling and thought-provoking movie.

 

 

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The Discovery is a grim movie, to be sure. It’s about a scientist (played by Robert Redford) who uncovers scientific proof that there really is an afterlife, but this revelation prompts many to take their own lives. Some loved this movie, some were bored with it (including me for a while as it does tend to get bogged down due to its  jumps between past, present and future) but I felt the final scene brought it all together beautifully and made it worth the effort.

 

 

 

sixthsense

Who HASN’T seen The Sixth Sense? When it first came out in 1999 (wow, that long ago?) everyone was talking about it and saying “don’t give away the ending, it’s such a surprise!” So I rushed out to watch it, and I confess, I predicted what I thought was the ending within the first 5 minutes, but knew there had to be a bigger twist than I expected. There wasn’t, so to me it was a bit of a let-down. But when I watched it again years later, I enjoyed it far more because I wasn’t trying to figure out what the twist would be, and I appreciated it far more. It’s a classic ‘afterlife’ movie.

 

 

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The ending to THIS  one, however, I didn’t anticipate! A woman (played by Nicole Kidman) lives in a darkened old house with her two photosensitive children and becomes convinced that her family home is haunted.  I thought it was going to be just one of your run-of-the-mill haunted house movies. How wrong I was. Loved it!

 

 

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Sorry, but I confess that I just didn’t get this one. Perhaps it’s my sense of humor – or lack of. It certainly falls within the category of afterlife – in fact, it’s a “life review” movie. Yuppie Daniel Miller is killed in a car accident and goes to Judgment City where he must prove in a courtroom-style process that he successfully overcame his fears.  Written, directed and starring Albert Brooks (and Meryl Streep).  If you love Brooks’ work, then you’ll probably love this movie.  I just hope it’s not how it works in real life … er, I mean in real death!

 

 

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This is a thriller about a young girl who was murdered and who watches over her family – and her killer – from purgatory. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal. It’s a little slow and may not be a movie to watch so much for the story-line as for the experience.  It didn’t get rave reviews from most viewers, but it’s a hauntingly beautiful and thought-provoking movie.

 

 

 

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Now, here are two “oldies-but-goodies”. (Stairway to Heaven was made in 1946.) Peter Carter’s plane crashes. It was his time to die … but ‘they’ couldn’t find him in the fog. By the time they do, his life has changed, and he must plead his case in heaven. Sounds a little like “Defending Your Life”, but this one isn’t a comedy. However, it IS a bit soppy, as old movies often were. A nice romantic one for a rainy Sunday afternoon.

 

 

 

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I searched high and low for this 1944 movie for many years and believe me, it wasn’t easy! I remembered seeing it so long ago but couldn’t remember its title or even who was in it! But I eventually tracked it down and loved it all over again. It’s about passengers on an ocean liner who can’t recall how they got on board or where they’re going, but it soon becomes apparent that they all have something in common.  Now this is how I intend to travel to the other side!

(Be reminded: old movies can be a big soppy!)

 

 

I still have so many more movies to share with you, so I’ll put another collection up in a few months. In the meantime, if you want to go back and check out those I’ve already mentioned months ago on this blog, you can find them at:

NDE movies and AFTERLIFE movies

I’d be really interested to hear your opinions on the movies listed – did you love something I didn’t enjoy, or didn’t enjoy something I loved? Please feel free to share your thoughts with me and this blog’s other readers through the comments box.

heaven-knows-3d-coverIn the meantime, I want to thank all those who have written such lovely reviews on Amazon about my book, Heaven Knows, and encourage those of you who have read and enjoyed it (or even if you didn’t enjoy it) to write a review. My purpose for writing the book was to help those who are grieving or living in fear of death, and reviews always help potential buyers make a decision.

Cheers, SandyC

COINCIDENCE or COMMUNICATION?

I was recently asked by a reader of HEAVEN KNOWS whether our departed loved ones really do respond to our requests for confirmation that they made it safely to ‘the other side’.

“Aren’t these just coincidences that we read too much into because we want to believe them?” this borderline skeptic asked.

Perhaps. Sometimes. But put yourself in the shoes of a departed loved one who is trying to let you know they made it and are safe and happy. How might you get such a message through? I’m constantly amazed at the creative ways such messages come through, and often disappointed that a skeptical little voice in our heads can dismiss them so easily.

When my 94 year-old aunt heard about the book I was writing, she told me a story she had never shared with anyone. Over 60 years ago, she sat by her mother’s bedside and held her hand as she passed, then silently asked a question: “what happened to you, Mum? Are you still alive somewhere, in a place I can’t see?”

She then felt compelled to go outside and sit by herself to tearfully process what had just occurred. While there, she happened to glance down at her feet and noticed what appeared to be a cocoon having convulsions. It was a strange place for a cocoon as they are usually attached to branches of trees or some other safe place above ground.

coccoonMy aunt was so intrigued that her tears ceased as she watched a beautiful butterfly slowly emerge from its cocooned prison.

A few moments later, after spreading its wings to dry, the butterfly took flight, circling around her head once before it flew away.

Had this merely been a coincidence?

A few years ago, a close friend who is very much a non-believer in the afterlife lost her husband to a debilitating illness that had limited his movements for months. A few days later, she told me how she had awoken that morning with a song playing over and over in her head – a song she had not heard for many years.

Believe it or not, I’m walking on air

Never thought I could feel so free.

Flying away on a wing and a prayer

Who could it be?

Believe it or not it’s just me!

(theme song from the TV show The Greatest American Hero)

We all get ear-worms occasionally, but they can usually be explained by having heard a song on the radio recently. This verse seemingly came out of nowhere!

Or did it?

Readers of Heaven Knows may recall Murielle, a friend who is mentioned in the book. Murielle’s brother in law, Bill, was a world-renowned medium, and Murielle was a firm believer in the existence of the afterlife.

Even so, when Murielle’s husband died a few years ago, that nagging little skeptic in all of us prompted her to beg for a sign. “Just let me know you’re ok and that you made it safely.” Murielle begged while meditating one evening.

The following morning, she walked outside to get into her car and noticed that the previous night’s rain and wind had covered her windscreen with leaves and twigs, so she returned to the house to fetch a bucket of water. Once she had cleaned the windscreen, she took the bucket and sponge into the house, then made her way back to the car. What she saw made her knees go weak. In the few moments she was gone, and without rain and wind, three twigs had returned and adorned the windscreen she had just cleaned. They formed a large A. Her husband’s name was Arch!

When I heard this, I silently reprimanded my recently-deceased mother. “If Arch can do it Mum, YOU can do it. Come on! Send me a sign. Let me know you’re ok. Find a way to send me a large capital P (for Phyllis).

My mother and I had always loved reading a column called In Black and White in the daily newspaper. It featured interesting and humorous anecdotes and always provided us with a few giggles to start the day. The morning after Arch’s amazing windscreen signature and my request for one of my own, I opened the newspaper and as usual, began to read the In Black and White column.

Here’s what greeted me:

inb&w

 

 

Notice that the name Phyllis appears FIVE times (4 times in text and once in a heading) and belongs to THREE different people! (And it’s not a name one hears often these days!)

So much for a capital ‘P’ !!

The headings are also interesting:

“Boy, it’s tough” suggests that providing messages from that side to this isn’t an easy task.

“Phyllis bows out” is self-explanatory. She had!

The Phyllis in the first story was “now 88”. My mother was 88 when she died!

The only anecdote that did not include her name was the one about the Ceylon Tea Rooms in the Block Arcade, Melbourne.

Ah, but sometimes there are messages within messages that the eye and brain doesn’t  recognize!

When I told my aunt (the same one who watched the butterfly emerging from the cocoon) she read the column and then reported back to me.

“That’s amazing!” she said. “But, you missed one of the messages!”

Then she told me something I had no way of knowing!

“When my mother and my aunt left Tasmania and came to Melbourne around the turn of the (20th) century,” she explained, “they worked as waitresses. Where? In the Ceylon Tea Rooms in the Block Arcade! The very same tea-rooms mentioned in the column!”

Then she added: “No doubt Phyllis is letting you know she’s having a nice cup of tea with Mum and my aunt!”

I think she was probably right!

Have you ever had an ‘uncanny coincidence’ that left no doubt in your mind that your loved one was sending you a message? I’d love to hear about it, as I’m sure other readers of this blog would, so please feel free to leave a message in the comments box.  You are also invited to click on the ‘about’ button at the top of this page and read a few pages of my book, Heaven Knows.

Cheers, SandyC

UNSEEN REUNIONS

“There is no river, there is no curtain, there is not even a line that separates this life from the other life. It is all here and it is there. I know it is so, for I can see you all, and I see them there at the same time.”

These words were spoken by ten year old Daisy Dryden in 1864 as she lay on her deathbed.

According to Callanan and Kelley in their wonderful book, ‘Final Gifts’, most hospice nurses know when death is imminent by the symbolic language, veiled predictions and unseen reunions that occur to many in the final stages of transition.

deathbedvision‘Unseen reunions’ can provide considerable comfort to loved ones by confirming that those who have ‘gone before’ are standing by to help the dying person make the transition and to welcome them into the afterlife.

Sadly, nurses are often the only witnesses to this phenomena. Throughout the latter part of the twentieth century, visitors were invariably ushered out of hospital rooms when death neared, as doctors feared that being present at the moment of death would be too traumatic.

L0021975 The last moments of HRH the Prince Consort.In previous centuries, however, family members would gather around their loved one’s deathbed, and often, one member of the group would keep a record of every word uttered by the dying person.

daisydrydenDaisy Dryden’s account is perhaps one of the most poignant accounts of such ‘unseen reunions’. It was recorded by her mother and was published in 1894 by Boston Colonial Press.

Daisy was born in California in 1854 ,and in 1864 she contracted typhoid fever. She fought courageously for five weeks, but during her final three days she was unable to retain food, water or medicine.

“Her mind was very active and remarkably clear,” Mrs. Dryden wrote, adding that “although emaciated to the last degree, her voice was remarkably strong and her enunciation clear, and she recognized every individual who came, and spoke to them, and answered their questions intelligently.”

Daisy’s six-year old brother Allie had died of scarlet fever just seven months earlier, and throughout her final days she conducted a regular dialogue with him.

When asked questions she could not answer, Daisy would say: “Wait till Allie comes, and I will ask him.” Her mother wondered how she could be conversing with her brother when she showed no signs of conversation, but Daisy replied with a smile: “We just talk with our think.”

On one occasion, her mother asked if it would be possible for Daisy to visit after she crossed over, and she replied: “Allie says I may go to you sometimes. He says it is possible, but you will not know when I am there.”

Then she added: “But I can speak to your thought.”

Mrs. Dryden wrote that Daisy had been a good child, possessing ordinary good sense, but that “in no way was she more remarkable than many other children” adding that “her dying experience, therefore, was not the outgrowth of a life highly spiritual, nor was it one which had been educated in the least degree on the lines of mysticism or modern spiritualism.”

Indeed, Mrs Dryden asserted that Daisy did not see spirits with her natural eyes, but confirmed that for the last three days of her life, she held regular communion with departed ones.

When the Sunday School Superintendent visited, he tried to comfort her by saying that soon she would be “over the dark river.” When he left, she asked what he meant by the ‘dark river’, and her father tried to explain. “It is all a mistake,” she said. “There is no river, there is no curtain, there is not even a line that separates this life from the other life. It is all here and it is there. I know it is so, for I can see you all, and I see them there at the same time.”

When asked to describe how that other world looked, she simply replied: “it is so different, I could not make you understand.”

Daisy’s sister, Lulu, often sang to her during her final days, and on one occasion her song was about angels with snowy wings. When she finished, Daisy exclaimed “Oh Lulu, is it not strange? We always thought the angels had wings! But it is a mistake, they don’t have any.” When Lulu remarked that they must have wings, else how could they fly down from heaven, Daisy replied “Oh but they don’t fly, they just come. When I think of Allie, he is here.”

When asked how she saw the angels, Daisy explained “I do not see them all the time, but when I do, the walls seem to go away and I can see ever so far and you couldn’t begin to count the people; some are near, and I know them; others I have never seen before.”

Friends and neighbours came to visit in the last few days of her physical life, and Daisy was able to provide comfort for them by relating messages from their deceased loved ones who had also gathered around.

“Dear Mamma,” she said at one time, “I do wish you could see Allie, he is standing beside you.” Involuntarily, her mother looked around, but Daisy continued: “He says you cannot see him because your spirit-eyes are closed, but that I can, because my body only holds my spirit … by a thread of life.”

She described her brother as having about him “a white, beautiful something, so fine and thin and glistening, and oh, so white, and yet there is not a fold, or a sign of thread in it, so it cannot be cloth. But it makes him look so lovely.” Her father offered the quote “he is clothed with light as a garment” to which Daisy quickly responded “Oh yes, that’s it!”

A few hours before she died, Daisy said “this body of mine is about worn out. It is like that old dress of Mamma’s hanging there in the closet. She doesn’t wear it any more, and I won’t wear my body any more, because I have a new spiritual body which will take its place … you will lay my body in the grave because I will not need it again. It was made for my life here.”

Then she added: “Before another morning I shall be gone.”

At eight-thirty that evening, Daisy revealed that Allie would come for her at half-past eleven. She then rested her head on her father’s shoulder and said “Papa, I want to die here. When the time comes, I will tell you.”

“Just as the hands of the clock pointed to the half-hour past eleven,” Mrs Dryden later wrote, “she lifted both arms and said: ‘Come, Allie’ and breathed no more.”

“There was a solemn stillness in the room.” Mrs. Dryden recalled. “We could not weep, and why should we? And as we stood there gazing on the face of the dear one, we felt that the room must be full of angels come to comfort us, for a sweet peace fell upon our spirits.”

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AFTERLIFE MOVIES

At the beginning of this year, I listed all the movies that included – or were about – NDE’s. At least, all those I knew about! But someone recently told me of another  I’ve never even heard of, called A Near Death Experience. I haven’t seen it so can’t comment on its content, but I’d be interested to know if anyone reading this has seen it and if so, what you thought of it.

aneardeathexperience

 

Made in 2008, it stars Amy Acker and Bronwyn Booth. Following a near-death experience, Ellie Daly is terrified to realize she is able to see and speak with the dead. Returning home, she’s approached by the angry ghost of a dead woman, who accuses Ellie’s mysterious and handsome new neighbor of her own brutal murder.

 

One I did neglect to include last time was the classic 1990 movie, Flatliners, starring Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon and Julia Roberts.

flatliners

Medical students begin to explore the realm of near death experiences, hoping for insights. Each has their heart stopped and is revived. They begin having flashes of walking nightmares from their childhood, reflecting sins they committed or had committed against them. The experiences continue to intensify, and they begin to be physically beaten by their visions as they try and go deeper into the death experience to find a cure.

 

Tonya S. Haynes left a comment on my January movie blog that another one, also called Flatliners, is due out soon. On checking, I see it is expected to be released in September of this year (2017) and is also about medical students experimenting on “near death” experiences that involve past tragedies, until the dark consequences begin to jeopardize their lives. (Perhaps a re-make of the old classic?)

This time, I’d also like to list a few movies about the afterlife, but as I sit here looking at my dvd collection, I see have 16 – and they’re only the ones I know about!  So I’ll just mention 6 of my favorites this month, and list the remaining 10 next time I do a movie blog.

always

One my all-time favorites is the Spielberg movie, Always. Released in 1989, it’s an oft-overlooked gem. It stars Richard Dreyfuss and Holly Hunter, with a cameo appearance by Audrey Hepburn.

They couldn’t hear him. They couldn’t see him. But he was there when they needed him… even after he was gone.  

 

 

astral city

One amazing movie is known in English as Astral City: A Spiritual Journey. Be warned, it’s in Portugese so there’s lots of subtitles to read, but once you get into it, you forget you’re reading and just enjoy the experience.  The book on which this movie was based was written by the amazing Brazilian medium, Chico Xavier. (By the way, this incredible man wrote 469 books about the afterlife and spiritual growth!) The original title of the movie is Nosso Lar – in English, Our Home, and is about … well, it’s about heaven!

 

whatdreamsmaycome

Another excellent movie about the afterlife is one most people know and love – What Dreams May Come, starring Robin Williams and Cuba Gooding Jnr. After Williams’ character dies in a car accident, he is guided through the afterlife by his spirit guide, Albert. His new world is beautiful and can be whatever he imagines. Even his children are there. But, when his wife commits suicide and is sent to hell, he ignores Albert’s warnings and journeys there to save her.

 

motherandchild

Speaking of Robin Williams, he also appears (briefly) in another movie in a very intriguing scene about death and the afterlife. Watch out for it in the 2009 movie, Mother and Child, starring Naomi Watts, Annette Bening and Samuel L. Jackson.  Note: the movie is not about this subject, but it’s an excellent movie all the same and worth watching, even if just for William’s brief scene … on a bridge (and that’s ALL I’m saying!)

 

Now, here are two movies that maybe a little tongue-in-cheek, but both are well worth mentioning:

fieldofdreams

 

The 1989 movie, Field of Dreams, stars Kevin Costner and Amy Madigan. Most will know this wonderful old classic, so all I’ll say is:

“Build it and he will come!”

 

heart&soulsHeart and Souls is a fun little 1993 romantic comedy starring Robert Downey Jnr. A businessman is reunited with the four lost souls who were his guardian angels during childhood.  All have a particular purpose – to get home to the afterlife.  There are a few laughs and even a fun rendition of The Four Seasons’ Walk Like a Man, but there are also many poignant reminders about why we’re here.

 

That’s it for this month, but in my next movie blog I’ll list 10 more titles, including two very old movies (both from the 1940’s), that I saw when I was very young and spent many years searching for – without even knowing their titles! (Bless Google)

blogpixI also invite you to click on the ‘ABOUT’ link at the top of this page and check out my book, Heaven Knows.  If you’d like to, you can even read some of it by clicking on FREE PREVIEW.

The ‘Leave a comment’ link is just below the title of this blog if you’d like to make a comment – about movies, near-death experiences, the afterlife or Heaven Knows.  I’m always delighted to hear from readers of my blog.

Happy viewing,

SandyC

ARE WE BORN INTO DEATH?

Those of you who read Heaven Knows may remember Julia Phillips Ruop who became seriously ill in the 1930’s and needed urgent thyroid surgery. In those far-off days, only a local anaesthetic was available for most operations, and during her surgery the doctors had to keep Julia talking and singing so they could locate her vocal cords!

Can you imagine that? I don’t even like going to the dentist, so I don’t want to think about how terrifying it must have been to carry on a conversation with your surgeon – let alone sing to him – as he operated on your throat!

She was doing quite well at this daunting task, however, when suddenly she found herself looking down at her physical self. She could clearly see the group gathered around the operating table from a short distance above their heads.

“Doctor, her pulse is going!” the nurse exclaimed.

Julia was initially amazed at this strange perspective, but quickly calmed down as she began a long journey through a dark passageway. “This must be what they call dying,” she thought.

I did not include details of Julia’s other-worldly travels in Heaven Knows, so here they are:

“I emerged into an overwhelmingly wide space of light,” she later recalled for Guideposts Magazine in 1963. [It was] “a pulsing, living light which cannot be described in words. Here my body felt light and free and for a little while I drifted about with no apparent destination.”

Eventually, Julia found herself sitting on what seemed to be a cloud, or some kind of heavenly island. She was looking into an enormous convex window which she described as resembling half of a huge crystal ball.“I knew that it was not glass,” she explained, “for I could easily have stepped through to the other side.”

What Julia saw there made all earthly joys pale into insignificance for her. “I longed to join the merry throng of children singing and frolicking in an apple orchard. The air had a brilliant clarity that made small details stand out in a new light – the orchard in translucent white and pinks, startling shades of greens, reds, yellows and russets. There were both fragrant blossoms and ripe red fruit on the trees.”

“My heart yearned to become a part of this beauty,” she recalled wistfully, “but somehow, I could not bring myself to go through the window.” She became aware of a loving but invisible presence, and was conscious of the fact that “an invisible, tenacious restraint pulled me back each time I leaned forward with that intention.”

By this time, she had lost all memory of her identity. Even her name no longer mattered to her. “All I needed to do was to keep my eyes wide open and step through the window to be a part of what I saw.”

Instead, she found herself closing her eyes, and as she did, she receded further and further away from the window.

After another long journey through the passageway, she returned to the room where doctors and nurses were working frantically over her motionless and limp body.

“Why must I return?” she wondered. “Do I have to come back?” She received no answer, but she knew intuitively what the response would have been. She also knew that she had ties on this side, although she couldn’t remember who or what they were.

“Reluctantly,” she recalled, “I entered [my body] through what seemed to be the natural door, the former soft spot at the top of my head.”

Once in the body, Julia tried again to remember who she was. She tried to alert the doctor that she was back, but doubted she had enough strength to make the weakened physical shell she had entered move so much as a muscle. All the same, she made a valiant attempt and managed to wiggle one finger. A nurse exclaimed: “Glory be, she’s coming to!”

Julia had been ‘gone’ for fifteen minutes!

In her drowsy state, she tried again to remember her name, but it still wouldn’t come. Suddenly, the names of her beloved husband and four-year-old son came back to her, and when that happened, she instantly knew she was Julia.

“The rest of that day and the next,” she wrote, “that other world was far more real to me than the one to which I had returned.”

The lure of that heavenly place she had glimpsed was so strong that she had to fight the inclination to escape once more to its glorious freedom. She begged her husband hold her hand day and night, and when he needed a break, her sister took his place. Julia sensed there was a mysterious link between her soul and the palm of her hand and felt that without this connection, she would drift away, back to that “real world” where peace, beauty, serenity and overwhelming love had surrounded her.

Julia later wrote: “While I was hovering between two dimensions of life, all the meanings of life and death seemed to pass before my inner eyes. Awareness came strong that the dying of the earthly body was not a calamity. Death was a natural transformation into another phase of living, where one could go right on joyfully progressing, if ready. One graduated from this room of learning to another, just as real and important.

This recognition brought another intuitive breakthrough: “… there is a comparison to be drawn between birth of the spirit, and childbirth. We know that if the infant has ready the equipment for breathing … then he is able to live in a world of air. However, if the fetal development is incomplete or faulty, he is unprepared for a world where breathing is a necessity.”

She recognized that in the same way, if the soul or spirit remained undernourished or underdeveloped, it could not enter into – or function freely – on the other side.

“It came to me with certainty, then, that one began there in the next world where he leaves off in this life. And if one is unprepared or unable to breathe the atmosphere of that state, or bear the light of a more intense or luminous quality, then one would have to go through a period of waiting or adjustment.”

This breakthrough provided her with a deeper understanding of the purpose of suffering, and to the value of everyday relationships.

“Not to grow spiritually,” she concluded, “seemed to me then, and still does, the real death of the individual.”

All comments are welcome!

Cheers, SandyC

 

AN INTERESTING OLD NDE

Much has been written about NDE’s since the late 1970’s, following Dr. Raymond Moody’s ground-breaking book on the subject, ‘Life After Life’.

Many have wondered if the reports describing tunnels and lights are genuine experiences, or if they spring from an over-active imagination coloured by previously recorded accounts. This is one of the reasons I set out to research and write my own book, Heaven Knows, which features many pre-Moody accounts.

During this research, I came across an old (pre-Moody) book called ‘Psychic Odyssey’ by Percy W. Cole, in which the author describes his own NDE in 1935. His account includes a feeling of intense exhilaration and joy, the presence of a guide and other souls, a bright light, a desire to remain on the other side, and of particular interest to me, a two-way tunnel!

Mr. Cole was an Englishman residing in Australia. He had made arrangements to have all his teeth extracted. However, a few nights before his appointment, a lady called Dorothea (who was no longer “of this world”) visited him in a dream and warned him that the anaesthetic he was to have for the operation presented a major risk.

While he doesn’t say so, it would seem that Cole dismissed this as nothing more than a strange dream.

When the day for surgery arrived, the dentist and doctor gathered at Cole’s home to perform the operation. (Remember, this was 1935, and in those days it was not unusual for such an operation to be performed in the patient’s own home.)

A mask, sprinkled with ether, was held over Mr. Cole’s mouth and nostrils in preparation for the operation.

While I have included excerpts of this NDE in Heaven Knows, what follows is the full account in Percy Cole’s own words …

Suddenly a doubt came into my mind. Had I done the right thing in having a general anaesthetic instead of having local injections? After all, I had been warned about it. I tried to tell the doctor, but found I could not make him hear. So I closed my eyes and let myself go.

The next time I woke up, I found myself completely out of my body. There were others in the room now, besides the doctor and the dental surgeon. One of these was the lady of my dream, Dorothea.

Realising that I was out of my body completely, I had a feeling that for many years I had not experienced. It was a sensation of intense exhilaration and joy. I can best describe it perhaps, in terms of youth and buoyancy; it was like the early morning on my far-away school holidays, when as a schoolboy waking up prepared to go to school but with reluctance, the faint murmur of breaking waves on a distance beach would steal into my sleepy ears, and I would suddenly remember that I was on holiday. Then the whole morning would take upon itself a new and radiant aspect and it was a pleasure to get up and dress before racing down to the beach.

That was the feeling, that “holidays” were just beginning.

Looking round the room, I stood between the two men, the doctor and the dentist. I could hear their spoken conversation as well as knowing what they were going to say before the spoken word was uttered. It was as if I knew by some process of telepathy.

They were discussing the price that a man, known to the three of us, would get for his house, which he had put up for sale. A certain sum was mentioned, and I took the opportunity to interject with “he won’t get it.” Neither man appeared to hear me.

Dorothea turned towards me and said, “We warned you about this.” Then she went on to say that now that I was on the “other side” she was not at all sure that I would be able to get back again.

I had a look into my own open mouth, as I walked round the table, and saw that the dentists had taken out all the teeth that I wanted removed. Looking at my pallid features, the doctor said that I looked as though I had had about as much as I could stand. Glancing at my corpse-like face, I felt that had there been much more to come, it would certainly have been too much.

At some time when the operation was getting near to its end, I stopped breathing. I could see the concern of the doctor. More than that, I could see what he thought, for all at once it appeared to him that I might slip through his fingers. He said nothing to the dentist but shouted “Breathe, breathe, Mr. Cole”.

I was not in my body but standing at its head, yet somehow I managed to make it breathe.

A great bright light shone on my left, for although the summer sun was shining in at the window from a cloudless sky, it was not nearly as bright as that other light. Near to the door, two people were standing. I could not see them clearly or else it is that I cannot recollect them, but I had the impression they were my deceased parents.

Turning to me, Dorothea told me that it was time I got back. She wasn’t sure, she said again, that I should be able to go back, but added with a smile “You can stay here with us, if you like.”

For a moment only I hesitated. The world and its work seemed so very far away. It would have been lovely to have stayed, but – just at this critical moment – our dog Patch barked as she ran across the lawn below the open window. The sound of that bark from close at hand brought me back to a sense of my responsibilities. I thought of all the trouble I should bring upon my wife and son, if I did not come back.

“No, I mustn’t stay,” I replied, and turned to go.

“You’ll have to put up a fight for it, if you are going to get back,” Dorothea said.

So I turned away from the light, into the darkness of a kind of tunnel. I fought my way against the stream, for a stream of shadows pressed against me as they passed on towards the light.

How long this kept on, I do not know, but at last I saw in the distance a tiny light, just a mere glimmer far away. Struggling against the stream, I pushed my way towards it.

When at last I got there, I found myself in bed, with my wife sitting by my side.

Postscript:
Many years later, Percy Cole returned to England.
While there, he visited a psychic artist.
The resulting portrait of Dorothea was precisely as he remembered her.

(extract from ‘Psychic Odyssey’ by Percy W. Cole, published by Regency Press, England.
No publishing date, but our copy signed and dated by the author on March 14, 1959)

OH WOW!

Near-death experiencers often say they met deceased loved ones or saw stunning landscapes while they were flat-lining. If they really do take a peek across the veil, shouldn’t one expect that those dying permanently (if there really is such a thing as ‘dying permanently’) have the same or similar experiences?

One should. And yes, they DO!

There’s one major difference. While NDErs cannot reveal what they saw until they return to life, those who are going through the process of dying often describe what they see as they’re seeing them!

Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley each spent more than a decade specializing in the care of the dying, and their excellent book on the subject, Final Gifts, was published in 1992. While countless books have been written about – and numerous research conducted on – near-death experiences, Final Gifts is one of the few devoted solely to deathbed visions, or as they termed it, Nearing Death Awareness.

“A near death experience happens suddenly,” they wrote, “[while] … Nearing Death Awareness develops in people dying slowly… Rather than being in this world one moment, gone from it the next, then jerked back to life, the dying person remains inside the body but at the same time becomes aware of a dimension that lies beyond … [and] apparently drifts between the two.”

During my lengthy research into near death experiences, I came across a few examples of the dying being able to move between two worlds simultaneously. In The Waiting World, (by Archie Matson, 1975) Arline Herrick revealed that her mother said she felt like she was being cradled in love from this world and the next.

“Oh Arline”, she told her daughter, “it’s so strange here, I’m in a ‘never-never’ land. I’m halfway between two worlds.”

Arline reported that her mother lapsed into a coma for three days, but regained consciousness a few hours before she passed and spent those hours talking with her deceased sister, Margaret. Then she turned to Arline and said: “Ma and Pa are here and I can see them, but I can’t see you any more.” She died later that day.

Another woman explained that her husband seemed to be in two worlds at the same time. “He was not only aware of me and talking to me,” she stated, “but he greeted by name some thirty or forty friends and relatives who were waiting for him. The last one was John Moreland, the poet, who had been the best man at our wedding and who had died, unbeknown to him, just two weeks before.”

In the late 1950’s, Dr. Karlis Osis carried out extensive research into the visions of the dying. His study involved 10,000 general practitioners, hospital staff physicians, interns and nurses, and the results were published in his 1961 book, Deathbed Observations of Physicians and Nurses. He discovered that around eight out of every ten dying patients (78.6%) experienced visions during their final days or hours.

The majority of these patients saw deceased loved ones who were waiting to assist them across the divide. In other words, the dying saw dead people!

Of those who were able to communicate the identity of their visitors, almost seven out of every ten (67%) reported being that the visitor was a deceased spouse or a relative – mother, father, child, sibling or other family member. Interestingly — and perhaps not surprisingly — mothers were the most dedicated greeters, outnumbering fathers by five to one. Spouses came in a close second. Two in ten saw religious figures, while the rest welcomed deceased friends, other relatives, or occasionally, strangers.

Shortly before my own grandmother died, she was visited by her long-deceased family doctor who announced that she was dead from her feet to her hips and from her head to her chest. She related this to me in a very matter-of-fact way while sitting in a chair watching a cricket match! She added that he promised to return and collect her when ‘they’ met in the middle.

Presumably, ‘they’ met in the middle a few weeks later when she died peacefully in her sleep. Perhaps some of us still need to make doctor’s appointments in heaven!

Others – both NDEr’s and those who were dying – spoke of seeing heavenly landscapes or ethereal structures!

“The individual may find himself in a meadow or see unusual physical-like structures,” Ring explained following his 1970’s study of near-death experiences. One woman he interviewed tried to describe a building with no walls.

Imagine that, if you can!

During his nde as a result of a heart attack in 1944, world-renowned psychiatrist Carl Jung encountered a temple and observed a Hindu man in a white gown sitting on a stone bench outside the building’s entrance.

Osis reported that a six-year-old boy who was dying of polio spoke of seeing flowers and hearing birds singing. How intriguing that in Dr. Ring’s NDE study, 5 experiencers also reported beautiful flowers, and 4 others recalled lovely music.

Twenty-eight NDE survivors saw a landscape of scenic beauty, but few could find words to describe it. If the following quotes are any indication, the dying have the same difficulty.

As a poet, one might expect Elizabeth Barrett Browning to have an extensive vocabulary, but as she lay on her deathbed in 1861, words apparently failed her. All she could say was: “It is beautiful!”

Carrie Carmen’s dying moments were recorded in an article by her pastor: “…she gazed upward and also exclaimed: Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful!”

The wife of the great scientist, Thomas Edison, revealed that her husband whispered from his deathbed, “It is very beautiful over there.”

Moments before the Governor of Massachusetts, John Brooks, passed in 1825, he gradually extended his arm. When asked, “what are you reaching for?” he whispered, “a kingdom!”

Perhaps the final words belong to Apple founder, Steve Jobs. Shortly before he slipped away, Jobs opened his eyes, stared straight ahead, and – according to his sister who was at his deathbed – excitedly uttered:

“Oh wow. Oh Wow! OH WOW!!”

Have you ever been with a dying loved who revealed – either with words or through gestures and facial expressions – that they were seeing or experiencing something? I’d love to hear about it, as my next book will be about deathbed visions and other deathbed-related phenomena. You can leave a comment on this blog, or email me at heavenknowsbooks@gmail.com

Next month, I have a few more movies to bring to your attention. I still have lots more to recommend, so I’ll probably need to include a few with each blog over the coming months … or perhaps even throughout the next decade

In the meantime, my book is available for your kindle (or as paperback) at Amazon

Cheers, SandyC

frontcover

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NDE MOVIES

Happy New Year! I hope 2017 brings you health, happiness and success in all your endeavours.

I thought I would do something a little different this time. Someone recently asked on facebook about movies that dealt with near-death experiences.  Yes, there are many, but  listing them on facebook means they’re “here today, gone tomorrow”, so, I decided to list those in my own collection. That way, I can always refer people to this page.

It’s interesting to note how many more movies are being made on this subject recently!

miracles

MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN (2016)

Based on the incredible true story. When Christy (Jennifer Garner) discovers her 10-year-old daughter Anna has a rare, incurable disease, she becomes a ferocious advocate for her daughter’s healing as she searches for a solution. After Anna’s freak accident (falling INTO a tree, no less!), an extraordinary miracle unfolds in the wake of her dramatic rescue that leaves medical specialists mystified and the community inspired.

 

90minutes90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN (2015)

This one is also based on a true story from the book written by Don Piper. Following a car crash in 1989, Piper was declared dead and was without a pulse for an hour and a half. When a pastor arrived and began to pray for him, Piper was miraculously returned to life. Yet, following his amazing journey to heaven, he is distraught that he was sent back to a life of incredible pain. As he fights against his recovery, he wonders if there is really any purpose to life and to his return.

 

heavenisHEAVEN IS FOR REAL (2014)

Another one based on the best-selling non-fiction book (and no, this is NOT the book that was declared a fraud! Many confuse it with the book called ‘The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven’). Four-year-old Colton Burpo claims to have visited Heaven during a near death experience. When he recounts the details of his amazing journey and speaks matter-of-factly about things that happened before his birth, things he couldn’t possibly know, his father – a local pastor – is challenged to examine the meaning of this remarkable event.

 

hereafterHEREAFTER (2010)

Love this one! French journalist Marie has a near-death experience during the 2004 Tsunami (and wow, this movie is worth a viewing even if only for the amazing action scenes at the start!). The experience really shakes Marie’s reality. Meanwhile, George (played by Matt Damon) is a blue-collar American with a special connection to the afterlife, and Marcus is a London schoolboy who loses the person closest to him and desperately needs answers. Each one of them is on a path in search of the truth. Their lives will intersect and as a result, be forever changed.

 

dragonflyDRAGONFLY (2002)

What a beautiful movie! It stars Kevin Costner as a skeptical doctor whose pediatrician wife dies tragically on a mission of mercy in the jungles of South America. Soon, not only do mysterious events make him believe his wife may be trying to contact him from beyond, a few of his wife’s young patients who survived near death experiences return with cryptic messages for him. While he tries to decipher these messages, down-to-earth neighbour Kathy Bates tries to keep his feet on the ground by dismissing them all as nonsense.

 

savedbySAVED BY THE LIGHT (1995)

Most of us who are interested in this subject know Dannion Brinkley’s story, and here it is in a movie starring Eric Roberts. Brinkley was a mean, loud-mouthed town bully. While talking on the phone one night during a lightning storm, a bolt of lightning struck a telephone pole, traveled down the phone wires and electrocuted him. After being dead for 28 minutes, Brinkley awoke in the morgue and had an amazing story to tell. This is a moving account of what happened to him during his near-death experience, and how it changed his life forever.

 

 

resurrectionRESURRECTION (1980)

Now here’s an obscure little movie you may not have heard about. This one focuses on the intriguing transformations that occur to people following NDE’s. It stars Ellen Burstyn as a woman who experiences the afterlife for a brief time following a car accident. As she begins the long process of physical healing, she discovers she has returned with an ability to heal physical infirmities. While most people simply accept her gift, one man (played by Sam Shepard) becomes aggressive because she refuses to place the healings within a religious context.

I have many more that are not specifically about near-death experiences but the afterlife, and I’ll detail them in a later blog. But there’s one more I want to include in this selection … is it a movie about the afterlife, or is it about a near-death experience?

5peopleTHE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN (2004)

Written by Mitch Albom (author of Tuesdays With Morrie) this delightful movie stars Jon Voight and Ellen Burstyn. On his 83rd birthday, Eddie (Voight) — a war vet and a maintenance worker at the Ruby Pier amusement park — dies while trying to save a girl who is sitting under a ride that’s about to fall. When he awakens in the afterlife, he encounters five people who help him understand the meaning of his life.

 

 

heaven-knows-sandy-coghlan

 

That’s it for my collection of near-death experience movies. Maybe one day (in my dreams!) they’ll make a movie about my book, Heaven Knows.

 

 

Do you know of any other movies that include nde’s? I’d be delighted – as I’m sure others would – to hear about them. (You can enter your comment at the very bottom of this page under ‘Leave a reply’.)

In my next blog, I’ll list my collection of afterlife movies (there’s lots!), and perhaps (eventually) those on reincarnation as well.

Happy viewing,

SandyC

 

Heaven Knows…it’s been a long journey

Early in 2013, I wrote the first paragraph of a book about the afterlife, near-death experiences, about people who had died and been resuscitated prior to Dr. Moody’s ground-breaking 1975 book, Life After Life and the research that has been going on in this field for decades.

It was a book that had been conversing with me inside my head for almost a year. Fortunately, no-one knew this, otherwise I might have been invited to become a resident of the Sunny Valley Home for the Chronically Bewildered, and the book would never have been written. (Although it’s possible I’d have remained considerably saner if that had occurred!)

The truth is, I almost discarded the whole project after two psychics gave me the bad news!

Months before I wrote the first line, I had removed 30 or 40 dusty old books from my bookshelf, re-read each one carefully and scrawled copious notes. By the time I’d finished, every book was fringed with yellow post-it tabs and my scribbled notes filled three lined notepads.

At last, I was ready to start writing.

The words came tumbling out and my fingers could barely keep up. Sometimes. At other times, I spent hours searching through notes to find ‘just the right quote’ or details of a specific incident.

Day after day, month after month, I kept going, and it was almost finished when an old friend, Rhonda, phoned. Now, those of you who have read my book will already be well-acquainted with my amazing psychic friend, Rhonda.

“The book’s not ready!” she told me in the middle of a conversation about something altogether different. “It’s not finished.” Rhonda never ceased to amaze me – she didn’t even know I was writing a book!

“Er…no, it’s not yet, but… um, almost.” I stuttered.

“Nowhere near!” she insisted. “Lots more to do.”

“But Rhonda, I…..”

“Two years!” She interrupted. “It won’t be ready for two years.”

Two years? I’d spent almost a year on this book and it was already way longer than I’d planned. I couldn’t possibly add more!

“You can research, you can collate, but there’s a lot more to add. And don’t ask me what. You know I only repeat what ‘they’ tell me.”

“Hmmm, ok.” I said with a sigh, determined to complete it in the next few weeks, regardless of her grim counsel.

For the next few days, my mind kept replaying those words. “It won’t be ready for two years.” Rhonda had always been eerily accurate with her predictions.

The step at the back door had always been my ‘thinking-place’, so I positioned myself there that evening and begged the universe to provide confirmation—or hopefully, otherwise— of Rhonda’s warning.

The following day, an acquaintance welcomed a new facebook friend to her timeline. Shirley described herself as a psychic. “Hmmm,” I thought. “I wonder.” Apart from Rhonda, I had never been very trusting of psychics. I made the decision to dismiss her presence on my computer screen as mere coincidence if she lived more than a few miles away.

She lived less than a few miles away! I made an appointment.

At the end of my amazing reading with Shirley, the book had not even been mentioned. Well, that was hardly surprising. Apart from Rhonda – who only knew because ‘they’ had told her— very few people were aware I was writing it. This time I was desperate enough to ask outright while also taking care not to give too much away.

“And … the book?” I almost whispered.

Shirley sat in silence for a few minutes. Then she said: “Not yet.”

I find it amusing, daunting and amazing to listen to the recording of this reading today. Her ‘not yet’ is followed by a long period of silence and I can still feel the emotions pulsing through me at hearing those words, still recall how my mind was spinning as I tried to decide whether to pursue the matter.

Eventually, I asked “How long?” More silence followed before Shirley said “They’re telling me two years.”

The loud thump of my fist slamming down on the table can be easily heard on the CD. Thanks, universe!

I spent the following week staring at a blank computer screen, wondering what else I was meant to write. Whatever it was, it would apparently take a further two years! What I had written so far— what I thought was a complete book— had taken less than a year! I decided this book must be destined to become the biggest book in the history of publishing!

As a distraction, I started cleaning out my study. Let’s face it, almost anything is better than staring at a blank computer screen. In the process I found my old journals! I hadn’t seen my journals since I’d packed them away before moving house sixteen years earlier.

Not only am I a regular journaler, I’m also an incurable hoarder. This meant I had years and years (and even more years) of journals stacked in a box. And – as almost anything also beats cleaning up a room instead of looking at a blank computer screen – I took time-out to sit down with a coffee and flick through them.

When I came to the journal labelled 1987, I almost skipped it. 1987 had been a distressing year. It was not one I wanted to dwell on, but something compelled me to open it. As I began to read bits and pieces, I realized that finding these journals was no accident.

I spent the next few weeks reading everything I had written over a ten year period.  When I’d finished, I knew how the book needed to be changed. I returned to my computer, removed 21,000 words, put them aside for book 2, and started all over again, including many of my journal entries about my own doubts and fears.

Shirley’s reading took place on May 15, 2014, Rhonda’s a few days earlier.

In August, 2016, I finished my book. Either I was three months late, or Rhonda and Shirley were both three months out in their predictions.

On November 5, 2016, Heaven Knows, sub-titled A Personal Journey in Search of Evidence, was loaded to Amazon.

blogpixTomorrow I start on book 2.

Hey, I’m not getting any younger, and there are at least three more books on the subject rattling around inside my head. (It’s a busy place in there!)

And they say writing a book is easy! Ha!

Cheers, SandyC