I was not sure what to expect from this book, when I received it for a review. Annamaria has contacted me in August 2007 and told me the book was about “researching survival of consciousness” and that she would arrange a review copy for me when the book publishes in January 2008. I’m interesting in this topic very much, so I, naturally, agreed. But let me tell you, although this book deals with the subject of research of consciousness, it is much more than that.
About the structure of the book. The book is divided into 3 sections. Each section has an introductory chapter, followed by a number of personal stories. There are 16 such personal stories in the book. The sections are:
Near-Death Experiences – Not the end but a new beginning (5 stories)
Dying to experience Life (4 stories)
Birth, death and rebirth: A continuum of consciousness (7 stories)
In the first section, there’s an introduction into NDE (Near Death Experience). Annamaria covers the subject from a historic perspective, by describing historic writings, such as Republic by Socrates and the Myth of Er by Plato which also touches the subject of dying and the world beyond. From historical accounts she moves into modern era research, such as those conducted by Dr. Pim van Lommel, Dr. Michael Sabom, Dr. Peter Fenwick and others. It is a good introduction into the subject of NDE, OBE and related research. The five personal stories tell different accounts of NDEs, including the personal background, the NDE experience itself and its effect on the life of the person. From the story of Reuben who wanted to commit suicide, through story of Tiffany, who was struck by a lightning, all the accounts are very interesting and in all of them the experience changes the lives of the people in a very strong way and in the positive direction.
The third section (I’ll return to the second) deals with the subject of the spiritual world, the continuum of consciousness, mediumship and other aspects of spirituality. The personal stories following the introductory chapter, are very touching as they usually deal with the deaths of close ones and later contact with them, either through mediums or some other way.
But the stories in the second section are those that made me cry when I read the book. There is nothing supernatural in these stories, except maybe the almost supernatural compassion that people may feel after being touched by the death of the loved ones. These 4 stories alone are worth the entire book, even you have no interest in NDE’s, spirits etc. Take the story of Joanne Cacciatore who gave birth to a stillborn and how this experience changes her life into a life of great compassion as she established the Kindness Project. She also befriend Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and then continued her work of teaching people to come to terms with the dying process.
Story of Peter Samuelson whose almost random act of helping a child dying from cancer to fulfill a dream turned him into establishing several philanthropies to help ill children pulled a lot of tears from my eyes. Other stories are very emotional as well and they give a small glimpse into the lives of some great people who after seeing death changes their life to help others in very remarkable ways. I believe these are the stories that tell about how to live and die consciously.
This is one of the more interesting and touching books I’ve read in a long time. Being interested in NDEs and the survival of consciousness I found the book very inspirational and thought provoking. It is not a scientific book, although it cites scientific work, and it is not written in such a manner. The book is written by a woman and it can be felt in the writing. It was much more emotional than I expected a book on NDE to be.
I can wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone. Even if you don’t take the subject of NDE and life after death too seriously, the stories are interesting and touching nonetheless. And if you are interested in these subjects then your enjoyment of the book will only be larger and more complete.
I have written about Miroslaw Magola, the Magnetic Man, including my interview with him. Miroslaw has been telling me about his contacts with James Randi and Randi has several times written about him as well on his site. Now, Miroslaw Magola wants to publish the following article. I publish it verbatim as he sent it to me, except for some minor editing for spelling and presentation.
The true story about Mr. James Randi and me, Miroslaw MAGOLA, the „Magnetic Man“
Our first contact dates to 1996 when I learned that my „human bio-magnetism“ ability (magnetism not in the original physical sense) may fall into the area of the JREF prize organised by James Randi http://www.randi.org/.
Although so far I have not applied officially, and although James Randi keeps a list – „I have a little list“ http://www.randi.org/jr/031204busted.html – of 178 applicants as of 2004 (in which he includes my name), he thought enough of my internet publications that he dealt with me in two further publications (twice in 2004 – http://www.randi.org/jr/032604why.html as well as in http://www.randi.org/jr/082704gluton.html – and latest in March 2008 – http://www.randi.org/joom/swift/swift/swift-march-14-2008.html).
These are the things that I can do. How do you choose to call them, is up to you. I call it „human bio-magnetism“
Several reputable scientists have conducted research in this area. To name few: Prof. Dr. Ruhenstroth-Bauer and Dr. Friedbert Karger of the Max-Planck-Institut in Germany, Prof. Alex Schneider Msc, Dr. U.E. Hasler of Switzerland, Dr. Alexander Imich , Barbara G. Koopman of USA, Prof. Dr. Konstatin Korotkov, Professor of Physics at St. Petersburg State Technical University in Russia.
Getting back to Mr. James Randi and me.
He doubts my abilities and thinks they are down to „trickery (i.e. like adhesive, glue etc.)“. I can reassure and prove to you that adhesive or glue do not play any role, neither does suction with the help of humidity such as „natural perspiration“ or „the natural skin oil“, or any other similar things. These suspicions are also a reason why he suggests to „dust [my] skin with talcum powder before such a test“. With regards to his thoughtful concern that „perhaps Magola is allergic to talcum powder“ I can put your mind to ease – I won’t need medical assistance any time soon. If you look closely at the photos and videos you will see that in these demonstrations I use talcum powder and even rubber gloves (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJaJWA5o_t4&feature=related¸ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTMekYqvbVA&feature=related).
To precisely define the terms:
My abilities are not about „drawing physical force“, but instead about bio-magnetic power producing movement of objects wchich stick to a part of my body even when dusted with talcum powder.
Furthermore, I am appalled by Mr. Randi’s allegation in his article „That Pot Head Man“ (http://www.randi.org/joom/swift/swift/swift-march-14-2008.html#i14, 14 March 2008) where he accuses me of bad hygiene ; I see this as a personal attack of the lowest kind.
I understand that Mr. Randi „has no urge whatsoever to travel across the world to see yet another ‘sticky skin’ demo“ (“A sticky person“, http://www.randi.org/jr/032604why.html). Therefore, I’m willing to accept his conditions to coordinate a meeting in a place and time convenient for Mr. Randi, where I would be able to demonstrate my human bio-magnetic abilities on a public forum through a television program or any other way Mr. Randi would agree to. We can establish before hand the type of materials ,their weight and any other details necessary, including „a few grams of talcum powder“.
I also assume that Mr. Randi carries his cheque book when he travels.
There’s a new video on You-Tube which shows the exam for a 3rd-level Nei-kung by the first westerner student of John Chang, the Magus of Java, who is teaching the Mo Pai school of kung-fu. To pass 3rd level a student must demonstrate certain telekinetic abilities by using his yin chi.
You can read more about Nei-Kung, John Chang, his amazing abilities and his school in the book The Magus of Java: Teachings of an Authentic Taoist Immortal by Kosta Danaos, another student of his. I’ve read it and highly recommend getting it, if you’d like to read first hand account with this rare man.
The description to the following video on Youtube.com site tells the following:
It was just last year I found this person. He is the first Westerner to ever be admitted into the ancient school of Mo Pai. About four or five other Westerners have become students, but all have failed for one reason or another. There has never been another Westerner to have ever reached the 3rd level.
This person is currently in training to go on to the 4th level of nei-kung which is different from chi gong, despite what other alleged, pseudo authorities say.
The short segment is his testing for the 3rd level when he passed in 2000.
Notice that the boxes are against a wall, and they fall forward and not backward as if there was something blowing them backward from the front. There are two methods of either pulling them forward or pushing them backward. The distance between his hand and the boxes is over 9 feet; a tape measure is seen on the floor.
As you can see in the video, along with the Wester student is the world famous master/teacher, John Chang and his son.
I think the video speaks for itself, although the quality is quite poor, since for some reason the put the camera against a bright window, which washed out much of the detail. What do you think of this video?
On 3 March 2008, Sanal Edamaruku, who is the president of an organization called Rationalist International, challenged India’s tantrik (a black magician). The tantrik is thought to be the most powerful in India. Sanal has challenged the tantrik to kill him using black magic during a live TV program. The tantrik, Pandit Surinder Sharma, agreed. Sharma claimed during an earlier TV discussion that he could kill any person within 3 minutes using black magic. This has started because one of India’s former politicians, Uma Bharati, accused her opponents of using tantrik magic to hurt her, following a series of negative events in her life.
During the challenged, the tantrik chanted his mantras for a lot more than 3 minutes but it had no ill effect on Sanal whatsoever. In fact, Sanal Edamaruku only laughed all the time. The tantrik moved onto more “powerful” techniques and started to wave a knife and touch Sanal with it.
Only after two hours of this show, which overrun all other programs at that time on the channel, did the anchor declare the failure of the tantrik. The latter tried to explain it away with the thought that a very powerful god was guarding Sanal, to which he replied being an atheist.
The tantrik then said that his most powerful magic works only at night. Sanal has challenged him again. Under an open might sky several hours later they gathered for the ritual. The tantrik warned that once it is started there’s no way back and Sanal would get crazy and then scram in pain and die. Sanal laughed and they started.