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As a former hospice worker and director of the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Center, Dianne Arcangel was certain that visitations from beyond death provided comfort and hope for loved ones still grappling with their loss. As a researcher, however, she was unable to find specific data to measure that comfort and hope. To remedy this lack of information, she created the Afterlife Encounters Survey, a five-year, international survival study. Afterlife Encounters reveals the results of this landmark study and, for the ...
As a former hospice worker and director of the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Center, Dianne Arcangel was certain that visitations from beyond death provided comfort and hope for loved ones still grappling with their loss. As a researcher, however, she was unable to find specific data to measure that comfort and hope. To remedy this lack of information, she created the Afterlife Encounters Survey, a five-year, international survival study. Afterlife Encounters reveals the results of this landmark study and, for the first-time, offers a systematic categorization of such encounters, explaining when these encounters are most likely to occur and what type of apparition is likely to appear.
Afterlife Encounters presents not only the data, but also the stories beyond the numbers, as friends and family members relate their visitation experiences in their own words. Included are amazing stories of the dead returning to tell loved ones that they had been murdered and who it was that killed them; apparitions revealing where family treasure was buried; even one spirit who provided a remarkable account of the tragedies of 9/11—weeks before those events occurred.
The stats and stories that Arcangel shares are certain to stay with you for a long time, as will her eye-opening conclusion: afterlife encounters provide real, lasting comfort and hope to an astounding 97 percent of those loved ones who experience them.
The Door Opens
There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
A door to the afterlife opens, revealing a whole new world of intrigue, hope, and wonder. The possibility of heaven captures our imagination. Some people occasionally peek through the portal to satisfy fleeting bursts of fascination. Others step inside, only to discover a lasting, and sometimes all-consuming, adventure. I, however, was propelled through on my very first day of school.
"Hello, I'm Mrs. Apple, your first grade teacher," she said as she ushered each of us to our seats. When every desk was taken, she stood in front of the room with her hands on her hips. "Listen, boys and girls. Shhh, I want to tell you something." Mter the bustling had subsided, she leaned over and reached into a bag beside her desk. Then up she popped with a cockeyed grin and an apple in her hand. "My name is Mrs. Apple, just like this," she said, pointing to the piece of fruit. We all laughed at her animation. "I'm your teacher this year. This is where I'll sit," she said, placing the edible on her desk. "My son goes to school here too, just down the hall. He's in the second grade. Now I want each of you to stand up, say your name, and tell us something about you and your family."
A boy in the first row jumped up and down in his chair, "Me! Me! Me!" he yelled. Although he was the smallest child in our class, his enthusiasm pulsated throughout the room. "Okay, okay," Mrs. Apple said with a giggle, "you go first."
"I'm Jimmy!" he exclaimed, jumping to his feet.
"Good, Jimmy," Mrs. Apple encouraged as she sat behind her desk. "Continue."
"My grandpa died and then he came into my room and went by my bucket of—"
"Who came into your room?" Mrs. Apple interrupted, leaning forward in her chair.
Protruding his chest proudly, Jimmy answered, "My grandpa!"
"But you said he died," she inquired.
"Yes ma'am. But, but, but ... he came to my room."
Mrs. Apple wrinkled her nose, "Huh?"
"You know ... I'm talking 'bout his ghost," he explained.
"Oh, don't be silly," she scolded, twisting her mouth to one side.
Jimmy's eyes grew large. Dropping his head, he murmured, "But I'm not being silly. He was in my room by my bucket of—"
"Sit down," she snapped with her brows furrowed.
Jimmy sank to his chair. Oh ... look at him, I thought, as I watched him trying to fight back tears. Why was she so mean to him? And besides, I wanted to hear what happened. Why wouldn't she let him talk?
But talk, Jimmy didn't. He did not utter a word, not for the rest of the morning or even while moving through the noisy, chattering, cafeteria lunch line. He appeared so downtrodden that I made certain to sit beside him. My numerous attempts to engage him in conversation seemed to be going nowhere, but then he leaned his shoulders toward me. "I really did see my grandpa," he murmured, keeping his eyes on his tray of food. I inserted my head between his face and plate, giving him no choice but to look at me. Flashing a half-tooth smile, I asked, "What happened?"
"Well," he whispered, "I was in my room when I saw my grandpa by my bucket of toys. He smiled and waved at me and I smiled and waved at him. Then he left."
Along with Jimmy, I relived his brief encounter, trying to imagine what it would be like to see a real ghost.
That evening, as usual, my family and I were gathered around the supper table, eating and leisurely discussing our day. Tonight was special, however, because this had been my introduction to school. My parents eagerly cast questions about the teachers and students. Their excitement fell to a hush, however, as I recounted Jimmy's attempt to describe his afterlife visitation during class and then our private lunchroom exchange. My sister chastised, "That's so weird—you're so weird—just plain old weird." Dad glared at her, then smiled at me. With that, we went on to other subjects—that is, until later.
Similar to other children, I concluded my evenings with a bedtime story. Unlike other parents, however, my dad never read stories from books. Instead, he either created spontaneous tales or narrated actual events from his life. This night Dad recounted a true story that involved his sister and her husband, Harry.
Your mother, Aunt Lu, Uncle Harry, and I drove to the Chicago World's Fair in the summer of 1933. In those days, the fairs introduced the latest gadgets and inventions. We listened to music from strange new instruments, and we tasted food we'd never heard of. There were displays, and rides, and light shows ... well ... we couldn't do it all if we'd stayed a week. We were having a grand old time when the darnedest thing happened.
There were these fortune-tellers lined up along the boardwalk. Your mother and Lu started giggling and teasing each other, "Go get your fortune told!"
"After you, little missy!"
"You first, dearie."
They were getting the biggest kick out of those fortune-tellers. We kept on walking along, but this one started yelling at us as we passed her, "Hey! You! Come here! I've got an important message for you!"
The girls elbowed one another, laughing, "What're ya waiting for?"
But the woman was serious ... and was looking straight at your Uncle Harry. "Please. Please, sir," she said, "Listen to me. I've got an important message for you." Lu pulled at the back of Harry's shirt, trying to get him to turn around. She said, "She's talking to you Harry. Go on over there. See what she's got to say." But Harry ignored her and just kept walking down the boardwalk.
Then the fortune-teller yelled, "Your wife's calling you, 'Harry ... Harry,' she says." We didn't know what to think. Lu said, "Harry, how can that woman be calling your name?" Harry didn't even look at your Aunt Lu, so she ran around in front of him. "You know her?" He shook his head No and kept walking. But the fortuneteller yelled louder, "Your wife and little baby are here. Their eyes and hair and skin are dark; beautiful, both of them ... and she wants me to tell you, 'Harry, it's me, Ernestine. Harry, I'm so sorry.'" Your Uncle Harry didn't say one word—he just turned around and went back to the fortune-teller's table and sat down. Well, we had to know what was going on, so we followed him and sat down at the table too.
The woman said, "She's giving me a message—I'll give it to you. 'Harry, I'm fine now and so is Andrew. We're together. Oh Harry, I'm so sorry for what I did, especially for taking our son with me. I was wrong. Can you ever forgive me? I didn't know what I was doing. I wasn't thinking straight. I was wrong. I'm so sorry. Please forgive me.'"
I could see your Uncle Harry was shook up. He just sat there, looking straight at the fortune-teller. She asked him, "Do you have anything you want to say to her?" Harry never moved a muscle, so she said, "She's saying, 'It wasn't your fault, Harry. You didn't deserve what I did. We didn't deserve it. I loved you and always will. I'm so sorry. Forgive me. We're happy here, and we want you to be happy too. Please forgive me.' She needs you to forgive her ... for yourself."
Harry stood up and walked out. I saw his eyes were glazed over, so I was worried about him, but Lu just kept laughing about how ridiculous that was. "Ha, ha, you've got a dark-eyed, dark-haired, dark-skinned baby? Is she blind? No child of yours could have dark anything!" Harry walked to the front of the fair, not even looking at us. The only thing he said was that he wanted to go home.
I drove us back to Michigan that night. We pulled into Harry's drive just before dawn. While the girls were busy taking Lu's suitcase out of the trunk, Harry leaned his head inside the car and whispered to me, "Come back at noon, but don't tell anyone. Lu won't be here and I've got something I want to show you."
When I went back to Harry's that day, he was waiting. He nodded and then motioned for me to follow him. We walked downstairs, into their basement. "We need to get to that trunk," he said, but I didn't see any trunk. All I saw was an old chest of drawers and boxes covered with dust. He said, "Help me," and we started trying to move the chest. I'll tell you ... I was an athlete, tossed 150-pound weights around like they were feathers, but I thought I was going to bust a gut trying to get that chest moved. So he grabbed hold of the bottom drawer and gave it a good yank. Steel tools flew across the floor! Harry got on his knees and elbows, and reached into the very back of chest. He pulled out a key and put it in his shirt pocket. After we moved the chest and everything out of the way, I could see a blanket covering something, and when he pulled it off, there was a beaten-up old trunk. Harry kneeled down, took the key from his pocket, and put it into the lock. But then he stopped and got the blanket and spread it on the floor with the dusty side down. That's when I knew something really good must be in that trunk.
Well, when he opened it, all I saw were clothes. He picked up a woman's dress and said, "This was Mother's ... most of these were hers." He started emptying everything onto the blanket—more clothes, a few baby things, a jewelry box, and other stuff. But when the trunk was empty, he leaned over, way to the back, and lifted up the bottom lining. There was an envelope. He picked it up, turned around, and sat down on the floor, so I sat too.
He opened the envelope and handed me a picture. He said, "That's Ernestine, my first wife." I couldn't believe my ears. He said they were only 16 when they got married and a year later had a beautiful baby boy named Andrew. He pulled out a locket and broke down crying when he opened it. On one side was a picture of his wife—she had long, shiny black hair and dark eyes. On the other side, across from her picture, was a tiny piece of hair—also shiny and black. Your Uncle Harry pointed to it and said, "Andrew's. One day when he was several weeks old, I got a bad feeling while I was at work. I kept thinking that something was wrong at home—to go check on my wife and son. By the time I got all the way back, it was too late.... Ernestine left a note saying that life was too painful and she couldn't bear the thought of her child living in this world. She had killed herself and our baby. After that, I left Canada. I was going as far south as I could, because I never wanted any reminders. But I was running low on money, so I stopped here to work until I could get enough to move on. That's when I met Lu. I've never told anybody about my wife or son. All I wanted was to leave them behind, but no matter where I went or how hard I tried, I couldn't. At the fair—that had to be Ernestine."
I thought there had to be some logical explanation, so while Harry was putting everything back in the trunk I asked him if the fortune-teller could've been from Canada or knew someone who knew him. But he said they lived outside a tiny settlement—only a handful of people—where everybody knew everybody. They didn't have a funeral parlor or any of that, so he and the neighbors buried his wife and son. No one but a midwife, the neighbors, and Harry had ever seen the baby.
As we headed up the stairs, I asked Harry if the fortuneteller could've seen pictures of them. He said the only picture of Ernestine was in the locket, and it had been hidden away since she died. There weren't any of the baby. He said, "Even if that woman had heard my name or what happened, she couldn't have known what we looked like. That was them all right. I just know it." Harry and I never talked about it again, but I noticed how much he started to change.
Your mother noticed too. She kept saying, "What's gotten into Harry?" He'd always been so glum and hardly ever laughed or said anything. You see him now—he's always cheerful.
Well, your mother kept talking about Harry and about how much he was changing. Then one day we were at Lu's when he came home from work whistling. Ha! Your mother got suspicious—thought he might be up to something no good, so I told her what happened. She just couldn't believe he'd keep something like that to himself. She said, "No wonder he was always so sad."
If someone had told me a story like this before it happened to us, I'd never have believed it. Your mother and I have gone over it many times and wondered—How could that've happened? I don't know. Did the fortune-teller really talk to your Uncle Harry's wife? I don't know. Did your friend's grandpa really visit him? Could be. You see, Honey, no one knows what happens after we die. No one knows what's possible. But the important thing is that Harry got his life back. He wasn't haunted by his past any more.
I wanted to hear Mother's version of the story, so days later I carefully approached her, asking. "Do you remember going to the World's Fair?" Her big-eyed, "Oh yes!" was followed by, "It was Chicago, 1933." Mother told me an almost verbatim recount about the boardwalk fortune-tellers, the one calling out Uncle Harry's name, and the details of his encounter. "Your daddy and I used to wonder why Lu married Harry. He was always so sullen and withdrawn, but he sure changed after that," she said.
My parents believed that Uncle Harry's afterlife encounter catapulted him from a life of sorrow and despair to one of peace and forgiveness. As for me, the possibilities his story posed were forever etched into my psyche.
The most significant communication between people transpires below conscious awareness, in our deepest psyches. That seemed to be the case with my silent fascination with the afterlife, because schoolmates adopted me as a sounding board for their encounters. The accounts I heard carried a similar ring—that is, they were meaningful and comforting.
"I found this watch from Grandma!"—Jerri's Story
Jerri and I had been classmates since elementary school. By appearance and personality, we were as opposite as a photograph and its negative. Whereas she had dark hair, skin, and eyes, I was blonde, blue-eyed, and fair. She was an introvert and never interested in extracurricular activities; I was extroverted and in the middle of everything. Our similarities, however, were our basic values. We both were remarkably involved in our church and wanted to be missionaries. Like mine, Jerri's formative years were in the arms of an adoring grandmother.
I was delighted to see Jerri waving at me from the other side of our high school's campus after the Christmas break. She ran up to me. "I found this watch from Grandma! I found this watch from my grandma!" she squealed, holding her wrist in front of my eyes. Jerri pulled me away from the concourse and began again.
I have to tell you. My grandma ... she had a heart attack and ... ah, she ... ah ... you know ... passed away before Christmas. We were all so sad that we hardly had any Christmas at all.
But that night, Grandma came to me in a dream and told me to go get my present from her. She said she'd wrapped it and hidden it away. The next morning, when I told my mom and grandpa, Mom said, "It was just a dream." My grandpa teased me, "What? She'd better've gotten me something too." He was laughing about it, but it seemed so real to me.
I looked and looked everywhere but I couldn't find any present, so I knew Mom was right—it was just a dream. I was looking out my window that night, trying to sleep, and I could've sworn I saw my grandma shining through the top of the trees, coming from the moonlight. That may sound weird, but then I heard her say, "Go get your present before something happens to it. It's a watch. Look in the bottom of my big sewing box in the back of the closet, in the spare bedroom. Dump all the material out. You'll see it—it's wrapped in a red and green box." Next morning when I told my mother, she said, "'Oh go on," just like that. She didn't even look up from her newspaper. But my grandpa said, "Let's go see!" He was laughing again, running in front of me, to the back bedroom closet. We took all her scraps out of the box, and sure enough, there it was just like she told me, wrapped in red and green paper. You should've seen the look on my grandpa's face—and my mom! Oh my gosh!
Then, holding up her arm to display the slim wristwatch again, she said, "I'm so proud of it.
Isn't it beautiful?"
"Oh, Jerri, it's elegant, just elegant." I answered.
Although the simple gold watch would have held little value in the marketplace, the joy it brought her was immeasurable.
This encounter, similar to the others I heard, brought comfort. Jerri's offered more, however. It provided evidence for life after bodily death. Only her deceased grandmother knew about the watch and its whereabouts; therefore, the apparition provided accurate information—known only by the discarnate.
Our small town was built on wild strawberry fields, but the annual harvesting was put aside in preparation for the upcoming high school graduation festivities. My mother, a bit of a psychic, wandered into my room, saying, "Honey, have you ever noticed that just when you're strolling along, thinking how wonderful life is, the old devil jumps up from below and grabs you by the heels? Something's going to happen." Days later, before our commencement celebration, Mother's premonition struck our close-knit community.
Excerpted from AFTERLIFE ENCOUNTERS by DIANNE ARCANGEL. Copyright © 2005 Dianne Arcangel. Excerpted by permission of Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted September 25, 2005
This is a brave book, well written by a careful and experienced person. Because of her knowing and understanding that over the centuries - indeed the millenniums - humans have experienced and continue to experience interaction and communication with those on the ¿other side¿, she did the study and wrote the book. In the US we have become a society seeking spirituality ¿ unfortunately we also remain a society filled with high levels of skepticism¿ some people still think it is cool to be a skeptic. But, this book, which has just too many stories for anyone to have created on their own and the 5 year study upon which the book is based includes people from all walks of life and from all over the world, along with the research done over the years by others that is sited, should quiet most skeptics. Read this book. Listen to the wisdom. Get beyond the fear of being labeled ¿weird¿. Do your own thing. Read the evidence here. Value what you know in your heart to be true. When you ¿open up¿ and begin talking about these experiences you will find out for yourself what Andrew Greeley in his book ¿Religious Change in America¿ (published in 1989 by Harvard University Press) found ¿ that ¾ of Americans believe in an afterlife. So, join the crowd who are experiencing the powerful and transforming afterlife encounters that go beyond the cultural and organized religions¿ taboos. Find the wonder of these afterlife encounters for yourself. I enjoyed the book.
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Posted January 29, 2006
Paranormal phenomena, such as survival of bodily death, can be difficult to swallow without personal experience. The very mention of such personal experiences in polite conversation is often met with suspicion. While doing hospice work, the author worked with many people who received visits from newly departed loved ones. Though most found these experiences comforting, some were taken aback by their seeming unreality. The book was written to validate such experiences so that people can focus on the comfort rather than the excoriating self-doubt and fear of going crazy. The backbone of the book is her study, which categorizes different kinds of apparitions, the circumstances in which they occur, and personality profiles of people experiencing them. Her wealth of anecdotal examples weaves through and animates the entire book. Ms. Arcangel takes special care to rule out more mundane poo-pooing tossed out by ¿skeptics¿ to trivialize and poo- poo these phenomena. What makes these visits even more believable to me is their extreme specificity and personal nature, though my skepticism is softened by my own personal experience with such visits. She describes different kinds of mediums and documents her own conversations with some of them. Her writing is clear and easy to read, and backed by solid scholarship. My only complaint is the vaguely written subject heads in the table of contents, which necessitates reading it from front to back rather than nibbling away at it, as I am so wont to. Interested above all in her analysis, I found myself skipping some of the examples. This book is useful both for parapsychology novices and for people well versed in this field.
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Posted November 17, 2005
Encounters with those who have passed into the next dimension or life are analyzed and explored by Diana Arcangel, a former director of the Elizabeth Kubler Ross Center. She created a five year study/survey which she called, Aferlife Encounters Survey. Arcangel, a doubtful and skeptical investigator when she began the study developed the six categories to weigh the responses. Her stories as reflected from the perceiver sound real and genuine. Arcangel¿s six categories applied to each interview give authenticity to her interviews. She discusses profiles of typical perceivers and also discusses the many charlatans who pretend to be able to perceive and some of their methods Her descriptions of Mediums, their success and failures and her categorizations of encounters with the dead are interesting and revealing. She specifies methods of interviewing in order to get facts plus observations of those interviews. Archangel¿s explorations of these phenomena are important and one of the most urgent topics facing modern science. Acquiring information that affects so many makes this book a very important one to everyone who has the interest and forethought to read it.
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