Is there life after death? Or do we just peg out and that’s it? Do ghosts and mediums offer evidence for an afterlife? Or is something else entirely going on?

The cemetery. The place you go when you die. Either that or you’re burned to a cinder at a crematorium. And end up in an urn on a family member’s shelf. Or your ashes get scattered at a place that meant a lot to you in life.

Either way, the grave awaits you. It’s just a matter of time.

But while your body might die, does some part of you live on? Like the soul or spirit, if either actually exists, that is.

Are we more than just our body, brain and mind?

Does consciousness somehow live on – is it immortal? And does it reincarnate and we live many different lives?

Or is there nothing whatsoever? When we die, that’s it. No afterlife. Our physical body returns to earth. And our brainwaves fizzle out as the electrical charges dissipate.

We are no more. And never will be again. Oblivion.

Of course, we humans all want answers. And thus the Zen student asked his master, “Is there life after death?” And his master replied, “I don’t know. I’m not dead yet.”

That may not have seemed the most helpful of answers. At least on the surface. But most likely it meant that it’s best to live live in the now. That’s all you can truly know, anyway. So make the most of each moment as it unfolds.

Very much as the alleged son of the alleged god reportedly said: “Live each day as if it were your last.”

Good advice.

Of course, you do live on in people’s memories – until, that is, there’s nobody left who remembers you.

But what about ghosts? Don’t they offer proof of the afterlife?

Well, for a start, ghosts might not be dead people – even if you recognise them as somebody you knew or as a historical figure. Seeing is not hard and fast proof.

What you’ve got with ghosts is a phenomena. People certainly see or perceive them. Though evidence of the actual reality of ghosts is lacking.

That said, when you get into quantum physics, evidence for the reality of anything – even an armchair or tree – is lacking too. Nothing is actually there. We create it all – or make sense of it with our brain/minds via the input of our senses.

And besides, ghosts could be a “recording” somehow embedded on the walls of a building or on some element of the landscape. And this recording gets replayed under given conditions that we don’t yet understand. Some researchers contend that this is the case.

So essentially ghosts aren’t hard and fast proof of life after death.

So what about mediums who claim to talk to the dearly departed?

Well, leaving aside those who do cold readings and basically read the living, you’re often looking at quite remarkable phenomena – such as orbs of light appearing, furniture moving, along with discarnate voices apparently from dead people.

Of course, you could say its all trickery. No more than a conjuring trick.

This could well be so in some cases. But not all.

Take Marcello Bacci of Grosseto, Italy, who, since the 1960s, has communicated with the dead through the loudspeakers of old valve radios.

The spirits apparently responded to questions and gave detailed information to loved ones – information it is claimed only the deceased person could have known.

Marcello adjusts the knobs on his radio sets and tunes into white noise on the shortwave band. And the spirits come through the speakers via the white noise. People in attendance often immediately recognised the voices of their loved ones. The communications ranged from a few seconds to around four minutes.

Could Marcello have been faking it?

It’s possible. But quite a few researchers have investigated his methods and concluded he is genuine. Or at least, they accepted that something inexplicable was going on, though whether it is actually the dead communicating is another thing.

The messages can be highly reassuring, saying things like:

“Life does not finish on earth when you die, don’t forget this. There will be a new world. Put away your uncertainties, your doubts, your anxieties. Dear children, look at me, I am alive here.”

Whatever is going on, you can’t help but see it as astounding. And Morcello has decades’ worth of recordings of his communications with the dead. Though to be fair, the communications aren’t typically all that profound. They’re often platitudes.

Personally, I don’t think Morcello’s communications with the dead are quite what they appear.

The whole idea seems too literal to me.

Remember, we create our world with our brains and minds via the input of our senses. We construct all we see, hear and feel.

Therefore, after we die, and become a spirit (if that’s what happens), then presumably we are going to be perceiving the entirety of existence. We will have gone way beyond words and language, and beyond our sensory systems.

The closest we can get to this when alive is to take DMT, or Ayahuasca…

DMT is an hallucinogenic concoction made up by shamans in South America. Take DMT and you get propelled into a realm way, way beyond anything we can conceive of. We appear to enter the vast, swirling weirdness of “true” reality (bearing in mind nothing is “true” as such).

As ethnobotonist and advocate of DMT, Terence McKenna said:

“What we call reality is in fact nothing more than a culturally sanctioned and linguistically reinforced hallucination.”

On the many occasions McKenna took DMT, this linguistically reinforced hallucination blew apart – as it does for all who take DMT.

Therefore, you’d think the spirits of the dead would be communicating like they’re on a massive DMT trip.

Terence McKenna
Terence McKenna

As it is, they sound all too human – somewhat prosaic, but often very reassuring about the afterlife (“reassuring” isn’t something most people report after a DMT experience).

So what is going on?

I’d say we humans are creating the dead (or rather their discarnate spirits). We are somehow generating the communications. Or more likely, certain unique individuals, like Marcello, are able to do this, probably unconsciously.

This is remarkable in itself. But essentially, we have created our whole reality – the linguistic hallucination of McKenna. And thus we created the weird and anomalous stuff too – like talking to the dead.

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