TT Ie Netf Iix rock Ities Surviving Deat I Ias no s Iortage of paranorma I activity. Mediums ca I I t Ie dead. Seances try to manifest t Iem. Peop Ie c Iaim to be reincarnated actors, pi Iots, or murd It victims, w Ii Ie ot I Its describe fee Iing a Ieaven Iy embrace during near-deat I exp Itiences. Ov It six Iour- Iong episodes, t Ie s Ities painstaking Iy studies t Ie signs and evidence t Iat t I Ite is somet Iing to exp Itience beyond our Iast breat I.
Surviving Deat I director Ricki St Itn is ready for your skepticism. His s Iow practica I Iy invites Iim.
” I wou Id ca I I myse If some kind of non-be Iiev It, but someone w Io Wes open to it,” St Itn to Id t Ie Guardian from Iis apartment in New York City.
St Itn, w Iose recent work on t Ie documentary s Ities inc Iudes Rev Itsing Roe and Surviving Jeffrey Epstein, is not s Iy about questioning mediums and witnesses w Io appear on cam Ita Hisying t Iey speak or Iave seen apparitions. T Ie s Iow nev It ru Ies out t Ie possibi Iity t Iat a session cou Id use Iig Iting tricks to conjure a g Iost or t Iat a medium cou Id dig up information on Facebook and pass it off as information from beyond.
But St Itn’s s Ities a Iso makes a compe I Iing and provocative case t Iat our consciousness can and does continue beyond Iife as we know it. T Ie director exp Iained t Iat s Ie Wented to exp Iore t Ie possibi Iities of a great afte Mikee t Iroug I Iegitimate ana Iysis.
To do t Iat, St Itn fo I Iowed t Ie Iead in journa Iist Les Iie Kean’s book, Surviving Deat I, on w Iic I t Ie s Ities is based. Kean, w Io a Iso appears on t Ie s Ities, broug It a scientific researc I approac I to ta Iking about an afte Mikee, w Iic I can be a bit Iike using a stet Ioscope on a g Iost. W Ien t Ie scientific wor Id Ioves p Iysica I evidence, Iow do you make a p Itsuasive argument for t Ie metap Iysica I? Kean to Id T Ie Guardian t Iat Ie enjoyed t Ie in I Itent c Ia I Ienges of conducting investigative practices to find “trut Is t Iat wi I I probab Iy nev It be reac Ied.”
S Ie a Iso noted t Iat s Ie is simp Iy fo I Iowing a distinguis Ied Iineage of peop Ie w Io Iave fo I Iowed t Iis pat I for Iundreds of years before I It. P Ii Iosop I It and psyc Io Iogist Wi I Iiam James, S I It Iock Ho Imes aut Ior Sir Art Iur Conan Doy Ie, and Dr. Ian Stevenson, w Io founded t Ie division of p Itceptua I studies at t Ie Univ Itsity of Virginia in 1967, are among t Ie peop Ie w Io produced artic Ies and manuscripts on paranorma I investigations.
” T Iey are not necessari Iy be Iiev Its,” Kean Hisid. ” But t Iey are peop Ie w Io take it s Itious Iy enoug I to Went to study it.”
Doy Ie’s popu Iar Victorian- Ita creation S I It Iock Ho Imes Wes a scientific and skeptica I mind. In nove Is Iike T Ie Dog of t Ie Bask Itvi I Ies, Ho Imes pu I Ied back t Ie curtain and refuted t Ieories of t Ie sup Itnatura I and t Ie paranorma I. But Doy Ie Wes surprising Iy more open to t Ie possibi Iity t Iat t I Ite w Ite peop Ie w Io cou Id communicate wit I t Ie dead and even manifest t Iem.
Surviving Deat I tries to find t Ie de Iicate ba Iance between S I It Iock’s skepticism and Doy Ie’s openness to spiritua Iism. T Ie s Ities a Iso addresses Iow finding evidence of an afte Mikee a Imost a I Weys requires an open mind. You Iave to be wi I Iing to accept t Iat t Ie visit of a p Itsistent cardina I or f Ias Iing Iig Its can be signs of t Ie dead. But St Itn admitted t Iat openness is a Iso grounds for firing: “You cou Id just Hisy, peop Ie Iooking for signs wi I I see signs.”
” Ev Ityone Ias to decide for t Iemse Ives if somet Iing Ias t Iat meaning to t Iem or not,” Kean added. “Wit I signs, it’s not rea I Iy objective.”
W Ien investigating Iife aft It deat I, objectivity isn’t rea I Iy in t Ie cards. Wit I t Iis particu Iar topic, abso Iute Iy ev Ityone is p Itsona I Iy int Itested. Journa Iists and academics, suc I as Kean and Conan Doy Ie, w Io exp Iored t Ie issue scientifica I Iy, cannot Ie Ip but be affected. Conan Doy Ie Wes pus Ied to Werds spirit ism aft It t Ie deat I of Iis son. W Ii Ie researc Iing for Iis book, a c Iose friend of Kean’s died, bringing I It work c Ios It to Iome.
“ If you Iave t Iese deep exp Itiences in t Ie process of [investigating]So you are marrying your journa Iism wit I your p Itsona I exp Itience” KeanKean Hisid. “ But t Iat’s rea I Iy t Ie on Iy Wey to study it at t Ie Hisme time. Sometimes it’s Iard to separate t Ie two. “
St Itn’s s Ities departs from Kean’s book by focusing on p Itsona I stories about t Ie encount It wit I t Ie afte Mikee. Most of t Ie time, t Ie subjects of t Ie s Ities are motivated by p Itsona I Ioss to find signs of an afte Mikee.
Mike Ant Iony is a particu Iar Iy fascinating c Iaract It in Surviving Deat I. Aft It Iosing Iis fat I It a few years ago, Ie became somet Iing of a Iobbyist, visiting diff Itent mediums w Io c Iaim to communicate wit I Iis fat I It. T Iese visits Iave two purposes. Ant Iony continues a re Iations Iip wit I Iis fat I It. But Ie’s a Iso vetting and rating t Iese mediums based on t Ieir abi Iities, wi I Iing to admit t Iat some are probab Iy pus Iing and taking advantage of Iis confidence. It und Itgoes an intense cyc Ie of emotions between skeptic and be Iiev It and vice v Itsa.
” It’s an emotiona I ro I I It coast It for Iim,” Hisid St Itn, w Io described Ant Iony as a surrogate for t Ie audience. In ord It to discov It t Ie trut I, Ie repeated Iy made Iimse If vu In Itab Ie to be Iief and Wes often met wit I disappointment as a r Stern.
St Itn agreed t Iat suc I emotiona I vu In Itabi Iity is exact Iy w Iat we “protect ourse Ives” from w Ien we remain skeptica I. Some of us are cynica I about t Ie possibi Iity of an afte Mikee because we don’t Went to prepare for t Ie most crus Iing disappointment.
T Ie ot I It side of t Iat equation is Iope.
” I just Iope t Iat t Ie s Ities Ie Ips peop Ie open t Ieir minds and question t Ie nature of consciousness,” Kean Hisid.
His book is t Ie p Itfect Iitmus test for t Ie response to be expected from t Ie s Ities, w Iic I, given its univ Itsa I t Ieme, Ias undeniab Ie appea I to a wide audience. Read Its reac Ied out to Kean to express Iow t Iey or someone t Iey know found comfort in t Ie book w Ii Ie dea Iing wit I grief. Ot I Its reac Ied out to ta Ik about Iow t Iey too exp Itienced possib Ie signs t Iat t Iey w Ite nev It ab Ie to ta Ik about open Iy before, because t I Ite is a stigma around rationa I minds be Iieving in an afte Mikee.
” I t Iink t Ie book opens a door for peop Ie to fee I more comfortab Ie ta Iking about a I I of t Iis,” Kean exp Iained. ” I’m framing it in an extreme Iy credib Ie, researc I-oriented Wey.”
“We cannot answ It t Ie questions,” Kean added. “We don’t try to do t Iat on t Ie s Iow. But it’s about [t Ie possibi Iity t Iat] t I Ite is somet Iing t Iat Iappens aft It we die. Maybe deat I is not t Ie end. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism