Visits From the Afterlifeby SYLVIA BROWNE, Lindsay Harrison
New York Times bestselling author Sylvia Browne recounts her encounters with ghosts and explains this spiritual phenomena in the same way she explained the spirituality in dreams with SYLVIA BROWNE'S BOOK OF DREAMS. In VISITS FROM THE OTHER SIDE, she visits haunted homes, explains the meanings of visions and nightmares, considers why ghosts exist and decodes… See more details below
New York Times bestselling author Sylvia Browne recounts her encounters with ghosts and explains this spiritual phenomena in the same way she explained the spirituality in dreams with SYLVIA BROWNE'S BOOK OF DREAMS. In VISITS FROM THE OTHER SIDE, she visits haunted homes, explains the meanings of visions and nightmares, considers why ghosts exist and decodes messages from The Other Side. This is an astonishing and inspirational book that will resonate with readers everywhere.
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Visits from the Afterlife
By Sylvia Browne
New American LibraryCopyright © 2004 Sylvia Browne
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTHE TRUTH ABOUT GHOSTS AND SPIRITS
I believe in ghosts, and in the real and magnificent presence of spirits among us from The Other Side.
I believe because, like so many of you, I've seen them, heard them, been startled by them, even smelled the faint familiar fragrance of a lost loved one, urging me to notice, to embrace their assurance that they're not gone at all, they're right here, not some trick of my imagination or wishful thinking, if I'll just open my eyes, ears, mind, and heart and pay attention.
I believe because, surrounded by so much overwhelming evidence of their existence during my sixty-six years on this earth, I'd be insane not to believe.
Most of all, I believe because I know to the core of my being that the majority of the world's great religions are right-we are all eternal, every one of us, as our birthright from God who created us. Our spirits always were and always will be. Our physical bodies are only temporary housing for the essence of who we are, that divine part of us that feels joy and sorrow and love and reverence and holds our truth and our timeless memories and our wisdom intact. Death will take our bodies sooner or later, but it can never, ever destroy us. God promised us everlasting lives, and He doesn't break His promises.
And it's precisely because I take God at His word that I can't imagine not believing in the existence of ghosts and spirits among us. If our spirits really do transcend death, if they're immortal as we know they are, that means they never cease to exist. So why on earth would we disbelieve the existence of something we agree never ceases to exist? In fact, why not recognize that the presence of ghosts, and of spirits from Home, is actually comforting, even worthy of celebration, proving as it does that eternal life is a beautiful, sacred, God-given certainty?
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that the unexpected appearance of a ghost or a spirit can't be scary. You'll read stories throughout the book in which many of you have been frightened, and I'll openly admit to moments of fear during my own stories as well. Some combination of surprise, a cultural insistence that anyone who sees ghosts and spirits is either crazy or lying, and a lack of understanding of what's happening can add up to very real jolts of panic in even the most rational among us.
But please take my word for a few important truths about ghosts and spirits:
For one thing, knowledge really is power. The more I've learned and the more I continue to learn about the spirit world, the more my fear has been replaced by curiosity and fascination, and you'll find the same is true for you; I guarantee it.
For another thing, as so many of you are already aware, it's not just us psychics and other "weirdos" who routinely have perfectly valid encounters with ghosts and spirits. "Normal" people in every corner of every country on earth have come face to face with visitors from the afterlife. These people know what they've experienced, they know they're not crazy, they know the experience was real, and they don't need me or anyone else to validate it for them. And they'd agree with me on this, I'm sure. Just as any scientist would be a fool to get the same result from the same experiment over and over again and refuse to believe it, all of us who have seen, heard, and felt the presence of the spirit world would be just as foolish to refuse to believe what our five physical senses, our minds, and our hearts would swear to.
Finally, as momentarily frightened as I've been by some of my encounters with residents of the afterlife, I can assure you, I've never met a ghost or spirit who could do a fraction of the physical and emotional damage human beings can do. Give me a choice between a confrontation with the world's orneriest ghost or the world's most cunning human sociopath and I'll choose to take on the ghost every time. So while this journey into the spirit world we're about to take together will lead us into territory we might occasionally find scary and unnerving, don't spend one instant wondering whether or not you have enough courage to take the trip. You were brave enough to choose another lifetime as a human being on this rough, confusing, beautiful earth, which makes you brave enough to meet ghosts and spirits, especially since we've all been those ghosts and spirits before and will be again when this lifetime ends.
THE SPIRIT'S JOURNEY AFTER DEATH
In order to understand what spirits and ghosts really are and where they come from, it's essential to understand what happens to our spirits when our physical bodies die. I've written about this in great detail in previous books, particularly Life on The Other Side, so rather than repeat myself at length, I'll limit this discussion to a few relevant specifics.
When the spirit leaves the body that's provided it with temporary housing for another visit to earth, there are basically three different places it might go. And make no mistake about it, which of those three places the spirit travels to is our decision, not God's. He never stops loving us, never turns away from us, and would never condemn any of us to an eternity of banishment from His presence. It's only when we stop loving Him and turn away from Him that we take such foolish chances with the health and well-being of our souls.
The vast majority of us, who love God by whatever name we call Him and try our best to honor His love while we're here, immediately transcend to The Other Side, that sacred, exquisite, perfect world we came from, where we live joyfully among the Angels, the messiahs, our Spirit Guides, our soul mates and loved ones from an eternity of lifetimes both on earth and at Home. Residents of The Other Side are called spirits, and their appearances in our midst on earth are called visitations.
A much smaller percentage of humankind, those dark, remorseless souls who choose evil over God, travel to an unspeakable unholy void called the Left Door, from which they horseshoe right back into an earthly womb, to be reborn into another Godless incarnation. The Dark Side, as we call those travelers through the Left Door, don't communicate with us or appear among us while they're in vitro.
And then there are those poor trapped souls who, for their own often confused reasons, refuse to acknowledge the very real tunnel leading to The Other Side, illuminated by God's brilliant white light, and remain earthbound. Earthbound souls are called ghosts, and their appearances in our midst are called hauntings.
Understanding the differences between spirits and ghosts, between visitations and hauntings, can help turn an unexpected encounter with the afterlife from frightening to comforting. It can help us tell an earthbound intruder from a beloved visitor from Home. It can answer questions about where a departed loved one went after leaving their body, how they are, and whether or not they're happy. And it can certainly give us fascinating glimpses into the possibilities that lie ahead for us when our current incarnations are complete.
But before I go into any further detail about the brilliant, complex spirit world we're about to explore, I want to address an issue that came up in several of the hundreds upon hundreds of letters my clients and readers were kind enough to send. Antonio, for example, wrote, in the midst of a description of coming face to face with a ghost in his house, "I was especially confused because I knew what I was looking at was absolutely real, but I'd been taught all my life that ghosts and spirits and things like that came from the devil and were to be dismissed." And after telling me about a really gorgeous visitation from her deceased father, Cynthia added, "I confided in my aunt about it, and she admitted that a lot of people in our family have had similar experiences, but she didn't want to talk about it because this sort of thing is evil and it's conspiring with the devil to believe in spirits."
If you know anything about me, you know that I'm passionate about my religion, Gnostic Christianity, and about religions throughout the world, which I've studied all my life. My faith in God is as essential to me as the air I breathe. It empowers me, comforts me, inspires me, sustains me, brings me joy, and diminishes my fears. There's not a doubt in my mind that God wants our reverent devotion to Him to come from adoration, not from intimidation or terror of His wrath, and there's also not a doubt in my mind that nothing He created is or ever could be evil. Evil is a creation of humankind, not of God. Since God, not some mythical devil, created us with souls that are eternal, and ghosts and spirits are manifestations of those eternal souls, the illogic of equating the spirit world with evil really mystifies me.
In fact, depending on which of the twenty-six versions of the Bible you read, Jesus Himself appeared on earth in spirit form between six and ten times after He ascended. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, for example, in the Revised Standard Edition, Chapter 15, verses 3-8, reads, "... that Christ died for our sins ..., that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day ..., and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time.... Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles.... He appeared also to me." With these and other Biblical accounts of the earthly appearances of a Spirit who had very definitely transcended to The Other Side, how and why would someone get the idea that encounters between humankind and the afterlife are evil? I'm certainly not about to give credit to a supposed "devil" for Christ's visitations to this world after His crucifixion, are you?
So, please, whatever your beliefs, whatever you've been taught, whatever you're told, by me or by anyone else, don't accept anything as truth that doesn't make sense in your heart. Just because we don't understand something, or something frightens us, doesn't make it "evil." Think. Learn. Knowledge really is power, don't ever doubt that.
All that having been said, and thanks for letting me get it out of my system, let's explore the worlds of spirits and ghosts who, by their very presence among us, prove our God-given eternity to be an absolute, indisputable fact.
As I mentioned earlier, when our bodies die, most of us experience the brilliantly lit tunnel, not descending from some faraway place in the sky but actually rising from our own bodies and leading much more "across" than "up," at about a twenty- or thirty-degree angle. We travel with gorgeous, weightless freedom through this almost sideways tunnel, never for one instant feeling as if we've died but instead feeling more thrillingly alive than we could ever imagine here on earth. All our worries, frustrations, anger, resentment, and other negativity melt away, replaced by the peace and all-loving, unconditional understanding we remember and are about to reunite with at Home. God's sacred white light waits to embrace us at the end of the tunnel, along with loved ones from every lifetime we've ever lived. Even our pets from every lifetime are there to greet us, so eager with the joy of seeing us that the human spirits have to wait their turn to get to us. And once we've arrived on The Other Side, we resume the busy, active, exquisite lives we temporarily left behind to further our spiritual education in the tough school earth provides.
There's a simple, logical reason that the legendary tunnel takes us more "across" than "up"-our destination, The Other Side, that paradise for which we're Homesick from the moment we leave it until we return, is another dimension located a mere three feet above earth's ground level. This very real, idyllically beautiful place exists at a much higher vibrational frequency than we do here, which is why we don't perceive our intimate proximity to it, any more than the normal human ear can hear the extremely high-frequency pitch of a dog whistle. If you've had encounters with spirits from The Other Side, or talked to or read accounts from those who have, you've noticed that very often the descriptions include the impression that the spirits were "floating" a few feet above the ground. While that's often exactly what it looks like through our eyes, what's really happening is that the spirits are simply moving on their ground level at Home, three feet higher than ours.
To truly understand how to recognize a spirit visitation, and how to distinguish it from other experiences with the afterlife, you have to keep in mind that by the time they've come back to say hello and let us know they're still very much alive, they've already transcended to and been living in a place of emotional and spiritual bliss, not to mention perfect physical health. Any unhappiness they experienced during their latest lifetime on earth, any negativity they carried around, any illnesses or infirmities or injuries they suffered, have all been resolved. What that means is that any entity we encounter who seems to be sad or angry or mean or negative in any way, or who shows any signs of wounds or pain or disease, is something other than a spirit from The Other Side. What it also means, by the way, is that we never need to spend a moment wondering if our deceased loved ones at Home are well and happy. In the blessed perfection of Home, they can't possibly be anything less.
Spirits at Home live in a world unobstructed by our earthly limitations, so there are qualities about them that set them apart from any other kinds of visitors. Because their minds and thoughts are so powerful they can communicate brilliantly with each other, and with us on earth, through the use of telepathy-the immediate transference of information from one entity to another without the use of any of the five physical senses. One of the most common observations you'll hear from people who've had visitations from spirits is that the spirit talked to them without using words or even making a sound. Another talent spirits have that we'll often experience from them, and that we have to look forward to when we're spirits again, is that they can bi-locate, i.e., be in two places at the same time. It's not unusual for family members or others who were close to a deceased loved one to receive simultaneous visits from that loved one on opposite sides of town or opposite sides of the world, with both visits being completely real and completely unique.
Excerpted from Visits from the Afterlife by Sylvia Browne Copyright © 2004 by Sylvia Browne. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
JEANIE HACKETT has played lead roles on Broadway and has worked extensively off-Broadway and in major regional theaters. TV credits include The West Wing, NYPD Blue, Judging Amy, Boston Public, Chicago Hope, and many others. She is the co-artistic director of L.A.'s Antaeus Company, and has written two books on acting.
LINDSAY HARRISON has written several bestselling works with hypnotist and psychic Sylvia Browne.
SYLVIA BROWNE is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Two Marys, Psychic Children, The Mystical Life of Jesus, Insight, Phenomenon, and other bestsellers. She has been working as a psychic for five decades and appears regularly on The Montel Williams Show. She has also appeared on Larry King Live, Good Morning America, CNN, and Entertainment Tonight. She lives in California and works alongside her son, Chris, who has inherited his mother's psychic abilities.
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