“When I’m 64”

I don’t know about you, but I like to do things my own way. I don’t need a bunch of people telling me how to behave, when to go to sleep, what to eat or wear, which movies to watch, and who I can choose for friends. I’m grown! So, because Tuesday was my birthday, and since we decided to go to my favorite seafood restaurant to celebrate, I decreed that everything should be “my way.” Naturally, I wore my camouflage shorts and Voices From Forever t-shirt, ordered two entrees for myself, spilled the wife’s soda (she’s so long-suffering), and over-tipped the busboy – all of which crescendoed into an over-stuffed food stupor with an order of pitiful groaning on the side. It was glorious! And I loved doing everything my way so much, I decided to make a list of some other things I’d like to do – maybe next birthday.

I call this list “My Paranormal Bucket List,” or “Ten Paranormal-related Things I’ll Probably Never Get To Do But Really Should Be Allowed To List.” Here goes, in no particular order.

1. Investigate Buckingham Palace. Who wouldn’t want to do this considering all the spirits in that place? Queen Elizabeth must not ever get a good night’s sleep. I want a full-on, no holds barred investigation, and I don’t care how many months it takes.
2. I want a brand new, top of the line, $40,000 color FLIR all to myself. In fact, make that two! ‘Nuff said.
3. Spend several days at Stonehenge, during the summer solstice – just me and 2 other investigators… Uninterrupted… All day, all night – catered.
4. I want to attempt to record John Lennon’s spirit voice. I’m not sure how I’ll do this just yet, but “with a little help from my friends…” (Old hippies will get the reference.)
5. I wanna spend the night locked in the Louvre with enough cameras to cover every nook and cranny. Just me and one other art-loving investigator who promises not to complain about the French Impressionists.
6. I want one of those nerdy safari vests with a gazillion pockets. Just sayin’…
7. Any investigation with Barry Fitzgerald will be just fine, thank you. It’s not exactly a spectacular item, and might be the most doable thing on the list, but I’m certain it’ll be the most enjoyable. P.S. I prefer my Barry Fitzgerald with a shaved head.
8. I want to artistically photograph any allegedly haunted place I so desire. I want total access and unlimited time so that my images will be breathtaking and completely express the true nature of each location. False praise of my final product is willingly accepted, of course.
9. I want the complete run of the Gettysburg Battlefield any time I like – especially after dark. Lets throw in certain select buildings in town as well.
10. I want the Kling brothers to give me the Ghost Lab. Of course the equipment comes with it! I’m actually not certain what all is in there, but it looks incredibly cool and sometimes that’s enough.

Thats it! Of course, none of these wishes will ever come true. I’m destined to end my days doing exactly what I’m doing now. That’s okay, of course, but a guy can dream, right? I feel a tad embarrassed that I didn’t include any charities on my list, and I probably should have said something about world peace or civil rights. But then, keep in mind that I’ve just recently consumed 3 lbs. of crab legs and a double portion of crab imperial – not exactly a testimonial for selflessness or common sense, so I’m probably not in my right mind just yet. Ain’t birthdays grand!
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Temporal Therapy

We’ve been anxious about the afterlife from our beginning. For thousands of years we’ve entertained a constantly evolving and intense curiosity centered around our own demise. What happens when we die? Where do we go? What about our soul? Can we come back? We seem plagued by so many questions that appear to have no definite answers.

Some of our inquiries find religious solutions or resolve themselves within the science of “the times.” These offer mechanisms of faith and knowledge that appear to provide both rejoinder and life-affirming action, but they have proven to be temporary, and over time, return for another generation’s consideration. In short, over the millennia we’ve come to very few correct conclusions, which is why we still spend so much time on the same old issues.

Today’s paranormal investigator seems to focus mainly on spirit communication. Of course that’s over simplifying a bit for the sake of brevity, but what used to be ancestor worship seems to have evolved into proving the afterlife through contact. Many of us might deny that is our signature interest, but in some form or iteration, that which follows life is at our core. Today’s paranormal is all about the afterlife. We don’t seem to mind not understanding the particle accelerator, but we are frantic to know exactly what happens when we die. If you think about it, that’s pretty significant. It truly helps to define us, and therefore, should lead us to a better understanding of our human condition. A worthy end indeed, and a valuable contribution to society, right?

But I think we get confused into believing that every problem actually has a solution, and that all we need to do is find the right one. There are so many theories, and many of them “feel” so right… Certainly one must be accurate, even though history has shown that incontestable truths become old-time foolishness soon enough. Our modern ideas fall by the wayside in the wake of new and better discoveries. We proclaim that our experience teaches us reality, that our careful research offers insight, and that spiritual understanding provides “the way.” But we’re not so bright. Even though we sputter and bluster and pontificate about thus and such, we still know nothing about the afterlife for certain.

I recently found myself trying to ease the very worried and heavy heart of a 94 year-old woman, as she pondered the uncertainty of what awaits her. And I lied. I told her all about the wonders and joy of a rich hereafter; about an eternal existence free from bodily failure and mental degradation. I told her how she and her lost loved ones would meander through time in peaceful bliss – without a care or worry; without so much as a single fly in the ointment of everlasting nirvana. I told her my favorite theories – those that spoke to me. I told her as if I knew them to be true, and they seemed to soothe her restless imagination. But I was wrong, and I knew it.

Words are usually only temporal therapy, but what’s so wrong about taking our death with a dose of the inevitably fabulous? Are the facts so sacrosanct that our only final certainty must be that we haven’t a clue? Isn’t it better to believe there will be a new, exquisite life emerge through that final exhale?

I don’t know. I think there are no honest answers – just more questions, but there comes a time when all we really care about is finding a calm and peaceful now, even if that “now” is no more than the final second of our final breath. It should be sufficient to know that whatever awaits us is worth waiting for, but can that be enough? Will that satisfy the itch? I doubt it, because this is not about who we are. It’s about who we will be and our instinctive need to move forward.
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Is That All There Is?

Let me just say that nothing in my life can ever communicate the adoration that comes with knowing my children, and that the impact their very existence has made can never be equalled. That said, I’ve been blessed to have done a great many other things during my time on this planet and plane. I’ve been a rose-grower, janitor, art director, web designer, a professional photographer, and even a musician – briefly. These are the tip of the iceberg. I was once fired from a detective agency because my voice wasn’t “sweet enough” when I answered the phone. I wrote a song that was stolen by a famous artist (don’t ask – I won’t tell).

I demonstrated for civil rights and against the Vietnam War, was hired to film Richard Nixon at a funeral, and saw both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones live. Janis Joplin and Ravi Shankaar as well. I actually had a “real” ticket to Woodstock, which I gave away. I helped occupy my college administration building in 1969, have been robbed at gunpoint twice, been punched in the face for looking “Jewish,” and I legally challenged and beat the draft. I was offered the job of lead sound engineer on a tour with Sly and the Family Stone, which I turned down. I put everything I owned in a VW microbus and moved to LA. Six months later, tail between my legs, I drove back in a first generation, 2-cylinder Honda car.

I have six fantastic children, six grandchildren, and my parents turned out to be right on most things. I play guitar, some keyboard, harmonica, and (shudder) accordion. I believe in both God and Jesus, but can not over-emphasize the intense spiritual catharsis I experienced reading the Bagivad Gita and The Upanishads. And still, we’re only touching the surface. All of these things are just what came to mind, and don’t even begin to indicate what a full and diverse life I feel I’ve had. I’m not finished yet – there’s still much more to experience. I see what comes my way as gifts, and I do not intend to waste them.

Outside of the personal relationships, none of this has come close to the life affirming revelation of hearing from the afterlife through EVP. Things paranormal seem to have somehow touched every sub-atomic spec of reality within me; taught me how to begin filling the gaps in living; allowed me to intellectually fathom the potential in eternity. Something just happened to me the day I truly realized that EVP was like hearing from the hereafter. It was as though nothing else could ever matter quite as much. Since then, for me, nothing else has so completely articulated the essence of humanity.

One single voice from beyond trumps every experience in a heartbeat. It teaches us that life is forever, and that the diversity of it proves every second of effort to be of tremendous value. Knowing that life continues ought to enhance our souls, and for me, it bestows new and significant ambition to the concept of our time on earth. A true believer in Chaos Theory, I am convinced that everything we do simply leads to the next, and that an eternity of living promises is nothing less than spectacular. A little melodramatic? Arrogant? Too much over too little? An EVP-crazed lunatic? Probably, but like I said at the beginning, I feel blessed, so a little passion seems in order. For those who live life and wonder “if that’s all there is,” my answer is always a resounding “Hell no!” You’ve only just started. All we have to do is listen.
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