Today I’m proud to present my interview with medium Marcel Cairo. I’ve known Marcel for several months now through his active involvement in the internet community on the topics of mediumship and skepticism. Marcel also hosted an internet radio show called AfterLifeFM.
As a disclaimer I must say that several months ago Marcel performed a short reading for me over the phone. In this reading Marcel had a hard time of establishing a confirmation for the spirit that appeared to him. After we dropped this and focused on the message instead, I found it to be more to the point about what was going on in my life. So, although I wouldn’t consider this reading as overly successful from my point of view, I’ve heard positive testimonials from Alex Tsakiris and Science is a method, not a position blogger, Matthew. Of course, one or even three testimonials can’t substitute for controlled testing, but they do give you a small window into the type of work Marcel does, and so hopefully will this interview..
I hope this interview will give you a better look into Marcel’s character and plans for the future of his shows.
Good day, Marcel. I want to concentrate on three things in this interview, if you don’t mind. One is your own mediumship. Second is your radio/podcasts on the internet (AfterlifeFM) and third the interaction between skeptics and mediums and what can be done about this. Is this OK?
Please tell what being a medium means to you? What kind of a medium are you?
Good question. Most people assume that you become a medium because you somehow are driven or asked to help others. For me, choosing to be a medium is primarily an attempt for me to understand myself in a deeper and more profound way, and somehow elevate my own personal struggles beyond my own ego… if that makes any sense.
To answer the second part, I am an evolving medium. At this point in my life, I would like to be the equivalent of what Richard Wiseman is to social psychology… a spokesperson and a researcher. I am far from this dream, but I am projecting that at least to myself.
So, have you learned this skill or did it just “appear” in your life?
Being a father of two amazing little imaginations, you learn not to make these type of distinctions. Where does creativity really come from? What is the origin of curiosity? I don’t know, but observing my kids, I see how little conscious control we have over becoming ourselves. I can remember as a child just being in touch with this incredible source of creativity and inspiration that was a playground for whatever it was or is that I am to become. More importantly, I was never discouraged or criticized as a child. I just played. To me, this freedom was and is everything.
But being a medium is not just “curiosity”. I am, too, curious about this subject yet this doesn’t make me a medium.
You’re right and you are wrong. There is no way you can become a really good medium without curiosity. Curiosity is a cousin to trust. Curiosity allows you to peek into the dark room knowing that there is a chance you may get swallowed up. Somewhere on the path, I met a traveling angel. I feel that I was hand picked to be mentored. Not because I was gifted in anyway, but because I exhibited a willingness to struggle in my curiosity.
My mother is really the key to everything. If anyone can claim any credit to nurturing this skill in me, she is the one who wins the trophy. She is a doctor and a great mind. Though I often disagree with her conclusions, she embodied what the scientific method and the skeptical mind should be – open observers and willing participants in the quest for truth.
My mom created an environment in my house which many family and neighbors criticized – a circus of geniuses and freaks constantly streaming in and out of my house.
Some of those people would sit around the dinner table talking about consciousness, magic numbers, UFO’s, Atlantis, spiritual contact, etc… I wanted to be like these people… aware of mysteries.
My curiosity and desire, magnified by my environment, unleashed a flood of spiritual contact that almost drove me mad as a 9 year old child.
How does mediumship affect your own life? Whether and how do you use these abilities for you own good?
Firstly, I have to agree with George Hansen in recognizing the existence of the trickster character and its disruptive force. Mediumship is a double edged sword. As much as it lifts me up, it has also torn me away. I have lost friends, loves and careers because of it. Yet, I can’t seem to let go.
Perhaps, there is a little bit of an Herculean Hero in all of us if we just let it out. Each of us in our own way set out on this personal quest of trials that bring us face to face with the vitality and volatility of life. The hope is that at the end of the day, we will be victorious. I think we all want to feel victorious in our lives, don’t you?
So, I am still fighting the good fight. It has almost cost me my sanity and at times, my marriage, but somehow I feel like I have made it through the worst of it.
And that really brings me to my next planned question: How does you wife accept your gift?
My wife is a godsend. She is 100% supportive, even though she can’t really understand all of it. I would be homeless and hopeless without her, really.
When I first told her I was medium, we weren’t even dating yet; we were courting. Her brother who had died three years earlier came to me while I was on the phone with her, and I said, “oh well, I’m going to have to tell her sometime.” At first, she was like “Oh cool.” When she married me, she was like “Oh crap.” It’s different when you invite spirits to live with you at home.
She has actually come along way with her own communication, but she would never try to do it for anyone else.
You have children, right?
Yes, two, an 8 month old boy and a 2.8 year old girl.
What will you teach your children about the issue of life and death when they grow?
Good question, but above and beyond what to teach them about death, is what to teach them about religion and what their Daddy does. I am hoping to teach my children to love the mystery and magic of life. To not look for categories or dogma, but to let experience and curiosity teach you the best way possible. Of course, I will let them sit in on readings and see the evidence for themselves. Coming to understand that death is merely a transition of consciousness takes time to understand, sometimes a whole lifetime. I want my kids to discover that in their own time and in their own way.
What do you, personally, believe happens to us after we die?
In general terms?
I can only answer this question from the empirical evidence I’ve gleaned from doing 1000s of readings.
I believe that consciousness must be elsewhere other than the brain. Now whether this is a copy or the original consciousness, I do not know.
When we are in the physical, we are afforded all types of fantasy and fiction to protect ourselves and to be able to compete and survive. It’s part of the physical experience. The consciousness experience is altogether different.
Over and over again, spirits who present themselves, do so with some of the similar personality traits that they left with (good and bad). However, the one big story they tell (every time) is that on the other side, one can only live in truth. Truth being, how they loved and didn’t love, how they lived and didn’t live. There is no way to feel life in any way that is not truthful.
So, when you put all these individual narratives together, what you hear is a story of responsibility and accountability to the way you learn about love, compassion and forgiveness and how you expressed it. I know that might sound a bit moralistic, but from my experiences, it is how it is – even if Richard Dawkins wants to laugh at this conclusion.
Interesting. Which other mediums do you hold in high regard?
Definitely John Edward. He is the Elvis Presley of the modern medium world. As with Elvis, he broke a barrier that mediums had yet to pass through in a successful way – mainstream America.
I also hold esteem for mediums who don’t try to impress you, but who work hard to do the job – bring forward evidence in an honest and positive way. Now, if you’ve read my website, you can figure out who I think is the worst medium on the planet. ￼
Now, let’s move on to your internet shows.
You did a series of internet radio shows called AfterLifeFM. The format included interviews and live readings. After about a dozen shows there’s been no show since September. First, I’d like to know what is the status of the show and, second, what did this experience teach you?
Hmmm… The show had a very direct aim, which was to bridge a gap between the intellectual and entertainment aspects of mediumship. My conclusion is that I failed to achieve this. The reasons for that are many, but primarily it was due to lack of funds and research resources. Many people, like yourself, who are eager to build non-commercial communities for psi or parapsychology enthusiasts run into this problem. You look at a website like Zaadz, and you can see what it takes to succeed in new media. Most of us don’t have that time or money to invest, so we do what we can.
As far as the future of the show, I’m taking it day by day. To ease my own stress and self-criticism, I’m beginning to think of these shows like raves – they’ll happen when we can make them happen. Hopefully some people will show up.
Yes, I agree that it’s hard to make your voice heard in today’s crowded space in the vast landscape of the web without funding.
Yesterday you did a first interview in what seems like a new podcast series, called AfterlifeFM profiles. You’ve interviewed George P. Hansen, author of the book The Trickster and the Paranormal. How did the interview go? Are you planning to interview more people in the coming weeks? Can we know who the upcoming guests will be?
Interviewing people for podcast is a bit tricky because in the end, it is an entertainment medium. You need to be relevant, but brief. I’ve noticed with George and with others who spend their hours deeply entrenched in consciousness studies that “brief” isn’t a readily available trait.
With AfterlifeFM Profiles, I am able to free myself from the “live” venue of AfterlifeFM and edit. The final interview with George Hansen ran about 42 minutes long, but the real interview ran over an hour. Chopping those 15+ minutes can really determine if people come back to your show.
To touch a little bit more on the Live show, I think it is important to hear an unedited reading, even if it is a small reading. So many skeptics and debunkers cry “cold reading” (with just cause), that I really want to put myself out there in a way that perhaps won’t always be easily dismissed with these wide sweeping criticisms.
So will you continue with this? With the interviews, I mean.
Oh yes… I have spoken with Dr. Dean Radin and Dr. Gary Schwartz and they both have tentatively agreed to come on my show. There are a couple of other researchers and authors in the works, but nothing to promote just yet.
What’s nice about AfterlifeFM Profiles is that I have set up a toll-free question line, and anyone can call in and tape their question ahead of time. If I ever get to the point where I have too many questions, I will obviously take the better ones.
In our online community there’s a lot of debate about skepticism. Alex Tsakiris, whom you also interviewed, is obviously one of the leaders of this debate on the internet with his interview series podcast, Skeptiko. In the Skeptiko forums there’s always a lot of heated debate between skeptics and psi-believers. I know you are also interested in this debate. And these new shows seem to confirm this.
What are you thoughts on this whole situation and do you have any ideas how, in your opinion, this “unfortunate” situation can be improved upon?
I think what Alex started out doing with Skeptiko is just great, but if you listen to the most recent podcast, you can kind of hear him admit a bit of defeat. The skeptics are entrenched, and they are not going to cede an inch willingly.
Alex and I had a very heated phone conversation about this very topic. We both want the same thing, but our methodology is quite different. To be honest, I wish Alex all the luck in the world with his replication of Sheldrake’s psychic dog experiment, but I don’t think it will make an iota of a difference, and I don’t think James Randi will be dancing naked and handing over the million dollar prize.
My attitude toward the battle between psi and science is that we (the psi community) need to define clear and attainable goals that can be achieved with a strategic and focused marketing plan. Yes, go mainstream with the message. A lot of people are not comfortable with that, because it means that people like Victor Zammit, Whitley Strieber, Mark Macy and some of these other fringe personalities will have to be sacrificed in the process.
My goal was and still is, is to bring the consciousness survival debate to college campuses, but it needs to be just that. A scientific debate about consciousness, not a discussion of angels, UFO’s, Bigfoot, reincarnation, morality or anything else. We need simplification to gain any ground.
Somehow I get the idea that general public has high belief levels in “paranormal”, including the survival of consciousness. Yet, until the mainstream media will proclaim the “scientists in the university of … proved …”, I believe it’ll be hard to convince the unconvinced.
Yes. However, we don’t even have to reach a level of “proving”. Even if we can hear the mainstream media comment on how, “a joint research effort by Yale, Duke and Cornell Universities has found interesting anomalies in controlled experiments of mind intention on random number generators…” that would be a great victory.
And then there will be James Randi present in the studio to remind everyone of his trick with Stanford in the late 70ies. Project Alpha, I think, it was called.
Yes, and there will be a Yale professor thanking Randi for his contribution to experiment modification and improvement.
Randi cannot win because the experience of psi is widespread and much bigger than his media machine.
Well, Marcel, thanks for this interesting interview. It was a pleasure and I hope that you’ll be able to achieve your goal above, for the benefit of us all.
And likewise, thank you for the blood, sweat and tears you’ve invested in the mind-energy.net website. I think you’ve achieved something wonderful with the Skeptiko forum… a lively debate that really educates us all on how difficult it really is to shift the paradigm in a significant way.