Mediums and More at the Afterlife Conference
By Mary Montgomery
An interesting thing happened on the way to writing the column I had originally planned for July. I had a last-minute opportunity to attend The Fourth Annual Afterlife Conference June 5-8 in Portland, Oregon. Since I’m in the midst of writing a book about a topic that is greatly informed by afterlife research and experience, I seized that opportunity – and now I’m sharing it with you.
The Afterlife Conference, also known as The Afterlife Awareness Conference (www.AfterlifeConference.com), is sponsored by The Afterlife Education Foundation (AEF), an organization that was founded in 2010, when a group of renowned spiritual teachers, afterlife researchers, psychics, and grief counselors recognized the need for a national conference on the afterlife. The need stemmed from the observation that there definitely is continuation of consciousness after death wasn’t adequately represented in traditional forums such as scientific or bereavement conferences.
The tone for the conference was set by AEF Founder and President Terri Daniel. “The experience of grief and loss is what moves a lot of us to start exploring other realms of consciousness and after-death communication and mediumship,” she stated. “So, a lot of the presentations that you are going to see here offer tools for dealing with grief in a new way . . . We do this by reshaping the way we think about human experience, particularly trauma and loss.”
Terri was speaking from personal experience. She had lovingly nurtured her son Daniel during his eight-year struggle with a degenerative disorder that transformed him from an active, healthy seven year-old into a wheelchair-bound teenager who’d lost the ability to speak, and required full-time care. When Daniel died in 2006, he began communicating with his mom on a regular basis. The essence of this communication is detailed in Terri’s first book, A Swan in Heaven: Conversations Between Two Worlds.
Indeed some of the most poignant and heartfelt moments of the conference came during gallery-style readings by the well-known mediums featured at the conference. You could clearly see the relief, joy, and easing of grief that many experienced as they reconnected with their loved ones. The three mediums I had a chance to observe firsthand were Suzane Northrop (https://suznor.dreamhosters.com/com), Hollister Rand (http://www.hollisterrand.com), and Roland Comtois (www.rolandcomtois.net). Due to space considerations, I will focus this month on Suzane Northrop.
Suzane Northrop’s amazing gallery-style audience readings have earned her the title of official “house medium” for the Afterlife Conferences. If you’ve read The Afterlife Experiments, you’ll know that Suzane was one of the mediums who participated in the scientific investigation of mediumship conducted by Dr. Gary Schwartz (www.drgaryschwartz.com). During the 2014 conference, we were treated to an evening session that featured Dr. Schwartz as the keynote speaker, followed by Gary and Suzane demonstrating the mediumship testing method used during the investigation. That was topped off by Suzane’s gallery-style readings. Wow! To actually be there and experience all this was memorable to say the least!
Dr. Schwartz set the stage for the mediumship testing demonstration by talking about his own personal journey to a belief in the afterlife. “I was raised that it was ashes to ashes, dust to dust, case closed,” he stated. “In fact, when I began this research because I knew there were fake mediums, I did not want to be fooled, and I didn’t want the skeptics to think I was being fooled… I read secret books on how to be a fake medium. I took a secret course on how to be a fake medium . . . I learned the tricks, consequently we could design the research that would minimize or eliminate those effects.”
The results of Dr. Schwartz’s experiments not only convinced him of the existence of an afterlife, but of the higher purpose of all that research. “So what is this work about?” he asked. “Well, it’s ultimately all about love . . . It is the love we have for those in our immediate families, and their love for us.”
During the mediumship testing portion of this session, Suzane Northrop read two conference participants who, although they had been pre-selected and pre-interviewed, were unknown to either herself or Dr. Schwartz. The order in which they were read was determined by a coin toss. On stage, Suzane was seated facing away from the participant. The first half of the demonstration consisted of Suzane reading the subject without any visual or auditory cues. During the second half she was allowed to turn around and face the person, and to ask yes or no questions. I haven’t seen the final results, which will be tabulated by comparing the readings with information gleaned during the pre-interviews. However, the reactions of the subjects indicated that those results will be impressive. Subject #1 indicated that 80% of part one of her reading was accurate, and scored part two at 90% accurate. Subject #2 only scored the accuracy at 30 and 45%. However, when I ran into that woman the next morning after she had time to think, she said she revised her estimate to a whopping 95%!
The energy in the room during Suzane’s gallery-style reading was nothing short of electric. You can experience some of that same energy by purchasing the Live-stream Video Broadcast of the conference. I’ll use one of the readings as an example. As I sat in the audience, I happened to notice a woman behind me who seemed to be praying intently for a reading. “She seems to really need this,” I thought, as I added my prayers for the success of her request.
Suzane first came to the lady sitting next to this woman. “I want to know, who was into guns,” asked Suzane. “Oh my gosh! It’s my husband’s grandfather who killed himself with a gun,” came the reply. “Who lived near a pond or had a pond?” asked Suzane. “We have a lotus pond,” was the reply. “They hang out at the pond with you,” said Suzane, about all the loved ones she had connected with for this lady.
This led to a question that answered my prayer. “Did you know her husband?” asked Suzane pointing to the lady next to the woman, the person who I had been praying for. “Yes,” was the answer. “He stands between… You must be a good friend of hers,” said Suzane, “because you do well by her, and he thanks you.” Suzane then had a message about a wedding band, from the lady’s husband. “Is that from him?” asked Suzane indicating the ring on the lady’s finger. “No,” said the lady. “You remarried,” stated Suzane. “He’s saying that’s OK. Sometimes we think we need permission, although we don’t need it. He says you always think about this.” The lady, with tears in her eyes, nodded yes. “I do, because I have love from both realms,” she said. “It’s nice to have lots of love, isn’t it?” stated Suzane. “And there is a lot of it in this room, I have to tell you!”
The presentation by Dr. Gary Schwartz and Suzane Northrop incorporated both science and spirituality. Of course, the coming together of science and spiritualty on the topic of afterlife was brought up by a number of speakers at the conference—and not all of them agreed with each other. During his Thursday night keynote address, for example, Dr. Raymond Moody
(www.lifeafterlife.com), expressed doubt over the ability of science to prove or disprove the existence of afterlife. He thinks that the proof will be found instead in the logic, which is the cornerstone of philosophy. Dr. Moody is using those tools to develop new methods of examining the question of afterlife. “Anyone who tells you in 2014 that ‘We know what consciousness is, a product of the brain function’ is just generally an immature person,” stated Dr. Moody. “That [consciousness and the afterlife] is a philosophical question that can’t be decided by science.”
Others, like Dr. Gary Schwartz and Dr. Eben Alexander (www.ebenalexander.com), are actively working on scientific models and research that are not only validating the existence of an afterlife, but are getting to the heart of consciousness itself.
Dr. Schwartz pointed out that we sometimes need to go into the dark to see the light. “That’s what mediums do,” he said. “We learn how to quiet our minds and our emotions so we can see the subtle energy and information that is there… Contemporary science, and there are many examples, all pointing in the direction that our energy continues like the light from distant stars.”(sic) Dr. Schwartz is so enthusiastic about the role of science that he envisions a day when technology will be so advanced that we all have soul phones. “Imagine the day,” he said, “. . . we will be able to text our loved ones, or even use face time.”
Neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander is the author of the bestselling book, Proof of Heaven, which chronicles the profound NDE which led him from scientific skeptic to the frontiers of a spiritual solution to the hard problem of consciousness. He states that a lot of scientists are getting it at a deep level that the brain does not create consciousness. “It actually dumbs down consciousness which pre-exists, and is the origin of all in the universe,” said Dr. Alexander. “And it limits it down to this trickle that is apparent here and now… consciousness comes into us, and our brain actually limits expression of consciousness.”
For Dr. Alexander it is all about science and spirituality coming together. He believes that this coming together will bring us tools like the revolutionary brain entrainment audio meditations he has developed with Karen Newell (www.sacredacoustics.com).
He points to Eternea (www.eternea.org), an organization he cofounded with the goal of helping create a better future for Earth and its inhabitants by promoting an understanding of seven postulates concerning the nature of reality, predicated on evidence from contemporary research in science and medicine. He shared a quote from Nikola Tesla (1856 – 1943): “The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.” Stated Eben: “I believe we are entering that decade even now.”
Oh dear, I’m running out of space—and there is still so much to tell you about. I guess that means that I’ll be writing more about The Afterlife Conference in my August column.
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with these beautiful words given to Dr. Eben Alexander during his NDE by his beautiful female guardian on that butterfly wing:
You are deeply loved and cherished forever. You have nothing to fear.
My Advice: As you can see, I am only touching on a fraction of the tremendous amount of valuable information and experience that was available at The Afterlife Conference. While at the conference, I subscribed to the Live-Stream Video Broadcast that captured the keynote sessions, and a few of the other presentations. I also purchased the mp3 audio files for all the sessions that were not taped. I’m so glad I did. As I worked on this column and viewed or listened to the sessions, I realized that these recordings and videos are taking me to an even deeper level of knowledge and understanding. For those who didn’t attend the conference: My advice is to go to: www.beyondword.com/afterlife-awareness-conference-2014/index-RM.html for the Live-Stream Broadcast. Also go to: http://backcountryrecording.com/collections/afterlife-awareness-conference-2014 for the mp3 files. (Editor’s note: When I tried this link, I received this result: “No products found in this collection.” They did have previous years’ mp3s.) By doing this, you, too, will experience the depth and expansive power of this journey into afterlife awareness. Oh! FYI: The Fifth Annual Afterlife Conference will be held June 4-7, 2015 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. I hope to see you there!