The Goddess of Memory, Mnemosyne and the Flipside

Something odd happened to me yesterday....

(How many posts start this way?)

...related to the flipside.
Goddess of Memory by Rosetti

As mentioned in yesterday's post, I was having lunch with Jennifer Shaffer near her office in Manhattan Beach when it appeared that Michael Newton had shown up while we were chatting about making it easier for people to access the flipside. 

But as I was leaving our lunch, I checked my cellphone for texts, and a word appeared on my instant message app:


I've never used this word before, had to look it up. You'd think at my old age, most words would have come into our view, and we've used or dismissed them. But this word means a couple of things; it's related to memory.  The original word in Greek means "mindful."

It's often used in terms with a "Mnemonic Device" - which is like a place holder for a memory.  Like "Every Good Boy Does Fine" to remember the notes on the treble clef. But it can be a phrase, a visual, or any kind of "place holder" to help us with our memory.

Jennifer and I had just been talking about remembering our loved ones.  Could this be a message from the flipside with regard to how to do it? Or how to make it easy to do?

Michael had suggested that my method of trying to help remember people - like toasting them in present tense - or taking a photograph out and imagine how and where the photograph was taken, and then to ask that person questions you don't know the answer to...  it was amusing that Michael replied "keep it simple."  As in KISS - "Don't make people think they have to work to remember their loved ones, just allow it to happen when they speak their name aloud or in their mind."

A tree we planted in Paul Tracey's memory,
Billy Meyer and Mark Caplis. Now only
Mark remains. (Billy and the tree are on
the flipside)
Isn't that a version of a Mnemonic?  I also noted - as I tried to reproduce the word on my phone to see if it would appear with two letters - MN - I remembered that whenever I wrote about Michael Newton on my blackberry, by typing MN I got another phrase.  "Auto spell" is like a Mnemonic. It takes your symbols and turns them into phrases.  And the word itself begins with his initials. Michael Newton.

It turns out my phone needs the first four letters M N E M to automatically make that word appear.  Did my pocket type MNEM?  Not sure how it could have, I had my cell in my hand, took it to the table, walked it into lunch, set it on the table, walked it back to my car, looked at it and saw the word had appeared.


Pronounced like "Demonic" but with an N. (amusing)

So I looked up the word. Where does it come from?


It comes from the Goddess of Memory.   That's Mnemosyne (good luck pronouncing that without a key) - but it's "Nee - moz - a - nee."  And it turns out she's one of the most famous Goddesses of all time, but has been ignored by authors for centuries.

Because her name was invoked before every Greek play.  They would stand in front of the audience and ask for Mnemosyne - Neemozanee - to help  them with their memory because plays are memorized, and they'd ask the Goddess of Memory for help "in getting it right."
Statue de Mnémosyne du parc du château de Compiègne

Which relates to how epic stories were told through human history.  People like Homer would recount stories that had been repeated to him - aloud - in the old tradition - and people would ask for help in making sure they got all the details correct.  This is how human history was carried for millenia before we started writing (and re-interpreting it) for others.

Mnemosyne was a Titan.  Her mom was Gaia - the mother of all mothers - and her dad was Uranus. Here's her Wikipedia entry:

Mnemosyne (/nᵻˈmɒzᵻniː/ or /nᵻˈmɒsᵻni/; Greek: Μνημοσύνη, pronounced [mnɛːmosýːnɛː]), source of the word mnemonic,[2] was the personification of memory in Greek mythology. A Titanide, or Titaness, she was the daughter of the Titans Uranus and Gaia. Mnemosyne was the mother of the nine Muses, fathered by her nephew, Zeus:
Calliope (epic poetry)
Clio (history)
Euterpe (music)
Erato (lyric poetry)
Melpomene (tragedy)
Polyhymnia (hymns)
Terpsichore (dance)
Thalia (comedy)
Urania (astronomy)
     In Hesiod's Theogony, kings and poets receive their powers of authoritative speech from their possession of Mnemosyne and their special relationship with the Muses.
       Zeus and Mnemosyne slept together for nine consecutive nights, thus birthing the nine Muses. Mnemosyne also presided over a pool[3] in Hades, counterpart to the river Lethe, according to a series of 4th century BC Greek funerary inscriptions in dactylic hexameter. Dead souls drank from Lethe so they would not remember their past lives when reincarnated. Initiates were encouraged to drink from the river Mnemosyne when they died, instead of Lethe. These inscriptions may have been connected with Orphic poetry (see Zuntz, 1971).

Similarly, those who wished to consult the oracle of Trophonius in Boeotia were made to drink alternately from two springs called "Lethe" and "Mnemosyne." An analogous setup is described in the Myth of Er at the end of Plato's Republic."

Okay - there were two springs... one was "Lethe" which you drank TO FORGET ALL YOUR PREVIOUS LIFETIMES (before coming here).

It's the "drink" we take before we come to the planet.  On your way in, stop, get a slurp of Lethe, and voila - no memory of your previous lifetimes.

But on your way back?  Another pit stop, get a slurp of the Mnemosyne spring and voila - YOU REMEMBER ALL YOUR PREVIOUS LIFETIMES.

So - was Michael Newton trying to put a word onto my cellphone that related to his life's work?  That he actually was a version of Mnemosyne - helping us to remember our past lifetimes? That reading "Journey of Souls" "Destiny of Souls" "Life Between Lives" and "Memories of the Afterlife" was like taking a drink of the spring of Mnemosyne?
Modern day Mnemosyne MN

By the way, if you want to take that drink, I highly recommend visiting the Newton Institute website - they have trained hypnotherapists who have learned the technique from the master himself.  They have a searchable database to find someone trained near you.  I recommend getting reviews from others, and speaking to the therapist first, before you go in, to see and hear what might be in store for you on your adventure.

Scott's the fellow on the right

If you're in California, I highly recommend my pal SCOTT DE TAMBLE who is in Claremont, CA, whose website is "" - who I've filmed 35 adventures with, and every single one of those that I've filmed he's been able to take people not only into a past life, but into the life between lives. (And when someone did not go into the life between lives, it was explained by this person's spirit guide why that wasn't going to happen.) Here's Scott giving a lecture in May of Last Year.

Scott is a virtuoso.  Full stop.  If you're reading this sentence and you're considering going on a between life adventure and you have the means to get into his office, do it.  Bring a camera, film it, show it to your friends.  That's what I've been doing for the past 8 years. (Flipside is a small sampling of those sessions)

Here's a talk the three of us did together last year.

But back to this discussion of the Goddess of Memory - she is the mother of the 9 muses.  ("Spirit council" perhaps?  When people have a near death experience, or a guided meditation, or a hypnosis session, or some rare individuals who remember these events, say that they saw themselves "standing before a council.")  

In Newton's work that council was between 6 and 12 individuals, and each member of the council represented some quality of learning that the person had achieved during their "successful" lifetime.  So, if asked "who is on your council and why are they there?" a person might answer "I see that person represents selflessness because I learned that profoundly during that lifetime, and there's one who represents music, and then there's another who represents courage..." etc.  

(Note: I know this experience because I've had it myself, thanks to Scott.  "Rich, go back to a previous time you were in front of your council - count how many people are there.  Now go into the most recent trip to your council, is there anyone new there who you can identify?"  I clearly saw the "new council member" and described why she was suddenly in my circle of advisors.)

So maybe the person who first wrote the story of Mnemosyne was someone who met her on his or her council. And counted the other 9 folks in the room and identified who they were.  In the Goddess of Memory's case, she has Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Euterpe (music), Erato (lyric poetry), Melpomene (tragedy), Polyhymnia (hymns),Terpsichore (dance), Thalia (comedy), Urania (astronomy).

Look at these various talents; Epic Poetry (narrative story telling), History, Music, Tragedy, Hymns (Music with spirituality), Dance, Comedy, Astronomy, and Lyric Poetry (songs with emotional or spiritual content that are sung.)  It may seem oddly foreign to us - but if we examine the time frame, let's say its 2500 years ago - we're talking about 25 hours ago. (I had one person describe ten minutes on the flipside like 25 years of here - if you do the math, 2500 years may be like 10,000 minutes - or ABOUT A WEEK on the flipside.  So perhaps not so hard to remember those who've gone before from that time frame.

I spoke with Scott and Jennifer about doing a joint project together.  And I think it's going to revolve around something like this - the three of us in a room with someone who is willing to do hypnotherapy, then speak to people on the flipside while I pepper them with questions, while Jennifer downloads, unpacks what they're experiencing.  How cool would that be?

One other note - the last time that Michael "showed up" while we were having lunch, he said that from his side, he was doing a version of "noetic science" about how people on the flipside could communicate with us back here. Neither I nor Jennifer knew what the term meant.

"Noetic science" refers to "In philosophy, noetics is a branch of metaphysical philosophy concerned with the study of mind as well as intellect. Noetic topics include the doctrine of the agent/patient intellect (Aristotle, Averroes) and the doctrine of the Divine Intellect (Plotinus)." wikipedia

The Institute of Noetic Sciences is The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) is an American non-profit parapsychological[1] research institute. It was co-founded in 1973 by former astronaut Edgar Mitchell,[2][3][4] along with investor Paul N. Temple, and others interested in purported paranormal phenomena,[1] in order to encourage and conduct research on noetic theory and human potentials.[6][7]
The institute conducts research on such topics such as spontaneous remission,[8][9] meditation,[8] consciousness, alternative healing practices, consciousness-based healthcare, spirituality, human potential, psychic abilities, psychokinesis[9] and survival of consciousness after bodily death.[10][11] 

The institute maintains a free database, available on the Internet,[2] with citations to more than 6,500 articles about whether physical and mental health benefits might be connected to meditation and yoga.[8] Headquartered outside Petaluma, California, the organization is situated on a 200-acre (81 ha) campus that includes offices, a research laboratory and a retreat center (originally the campus of World College West).[12] Its current director is Cassandra Vieten."

I don't know much about the institute, but will check it out. 

So the words of the day (from Michael Newton) are "noetic" and "mnemonic."

Worth thinking about.

And finally... I sent someone a copy of the film "Flipside" today to a grieving parent, someone whose loved-one checked off the planet, and reached out to let them know they were still around via a "medium."  I sent the film to show the background of my work in this area and added this note, which is my way of trying to express what it is that I'm doing.... and that I'm not trying to "sell anyone" on this information. It's tailored to those who have a compelling interest in the topic.  In case anyone was wondering;

"I'm a film guy, about ten years ago started a documentary because my close pal died and came to visit me. I was trying to figure out how that could be (saw her, we traveled together, etc). Took me awhile, but stumbled onto the work of Michael Newton (Journey of Souls) which led me to DOPS at UVA and near death experiences.  And I was seeing the same info coming from people under hypnosis, as well as people experiencing near death events.  Which then led me to the science behind esp (Gary Schwartz Phd, Mario Beauregard PhD, Dr. Sam Parnia, Dr. Bruce Greyson - all consciousness investigators) and finally to mediums.  

And in my case, I worked with mediums that I knew of their work, and focused my attention on talking to one person on the flipside, through three different mediums to see if their reports were similar.  (in many cases identitical)  

Not all mediums are the same, everyone is different as you know - but when you get a consensus of opinion, the architecture of the flipside becomes a little bit clearer. as I try to point out in my blog these reports appear to be tailored (by those on the flipside) to not upset the world order, or to alter someone's path - they're so specific that only the person hearing them would be convinced beyond a shadow of doubt that they're coming from their loved ones. 

Others hearing the same info will remain unconvinced, skeptical - which is okay, because apparently we all choose our paths, and that may include a life in a closet... which is okay too, because "we're not in any hurry to get to the flipside."  Check it out - if it rings true to you, then (it's worth pursuing this research.)

My two cents.


A Recipe for Talking to the Flipside

Had a lunch with my pal Jennifer Shaffer today.  We talked about a recent case that she worked on, it was difficult for her to relate all the details because of the tragedy involved.  Sad story all around, but she was able to help some very distraught parents, and a family in the midst of the most difficult days they've ever experienced.

Medium/Intuitive Jennifer Shaffer (.com)
It's a gift to be able to communicate with those on the other side, and of course it's also a stressful thing to be able to do.  It's much easier to be able to speak with our loved ones who've lived to be old and ancient, and are still able to communicate with us. 

Then we get the chance to focus on all the fun things that happened in their lives, and we don't spend too much time thinking about how tragic it is that their lives have been cut short.

But since we're talking to people on the other side, we can ask them questions, and we can observe that their lives continue on - just NOT WITH US.  So that's a source of consternation - especially when we're so used to taking care of our loved ones.  Who's going to take care of my loved one when they're out of my sight?

The answer is that they're okay.  They're not gone. They're just not here.

Easy to say, hard to accept. I know.

But while speaking with Jennifer today, a friend showed up again at our table.  Because Jennifer and I were talking about doing some project together - either to be filmed, or to be written, whichever comes first - but the idea of doing a project about how to help people communicate with the other side.

Michael Newton

As noted here earlier, Michael Newton appeared to come to our table a few weeks ago, and to talk about his working with "that side" of the veil, taking notes on how to help people "on the flipside" communicate with people on "this side."

So I asked him to give me a "one, two, three" process for communicating with folks on the other side.  Recently I've been recommending to people that they take out a photograph of a loved one and to meditate on that photograph, to think about the person in the present tense and to address them that way... 

And he said that was a waste of time.

He said, "Yes, that's fine,that can work for some people, but most people get confused at the word meditation, as it implies some kind of work they have to do, which is just another way of putting up another partition to keep us from seeing that it's not difficult at all to reach out to this side."

That's when I asked him to give me a "one, two, three" recipe that I could pass along.

He said "Just think of them. Say their name and they'll appear."  I asked "Say it aloud?"  He said "No, you can think it.  Just picture them, ask them a question and they'll answer it."  I asked "How do people differentiate between what they're going to see as their imagination or wishful thinking and their loved ones actually speaking with them?"  He said "Write it down.  You'll hear the answer before you can think of what the answer can be. And when you write it down you'll have a heart connection to what's been said, and from that you'll know that it's true."

Michael was (and is) a no nonsense kind of guy.  He was famous for not consulting with other people in the "past life" community - he did all of his research over 30 years on his own, using his own powers of intuition and discovery.  And his four books make for an excellent primer in how to do that.

So I wasn't surprised to hear him tell me to "not waste people's time" with getting them to meditate on their loved ones, as the word itself requires some thinking and practice in order to feel comfortable getting them to appear.  His attitude was to "keep it simple."  

Just think of your loved one. Say their name to yourself or out loud. Ask them some questions. Write down the answers. See which ones resonate with you.
Wise advice from a wise fellow
That's pretty simple.  And I share it here not because I'm claiming that it came from Michael Newton - who also thanked me for talking about him in my books - Jennifer has never met the fellow other than through my books - but she's quite specific about her answers when I ask questions.  I filmed the interview, it's about ten minutes long and will either post excerpts, or excerpt it for my next book.  But am posting it here first, so those who need to hear it can hear it!

Elle Magazine article about a medium and a woman who heard from her husband on the Flipside

Here's some interesting reading... a pal asked me if I'd seen this article, I'm excerpting it here for those who might be interested.  Basically, a writer finds solace in speaking to her husband via a medium.  I don't know any of the players involved, but if you're familiar with my work, it dovetails other stories I've reported.

Reprinted from Elle. All rights reserved to Elle Magazine.

Losing My Husband―and Finding Him Again Through a Medium
The medium delivered the message that eased her unrelenting grief. Then the doubt set in. Lisa Chase went searching for the truth and found life and death merging and converging in ways unforeseen.

Author Lisa Chase and Medium Lisa Kay Photo: KATHERINE WOLKOFF
OCT 5, 2015 

..... (excerpted) My dreams were invaded regularly by Peter in the first months after his death, with an insistence that woke me at four in the morning almost daily. Frankly, that's how he was in life. If he called me and I didn't pick up the phone, he'd call again. And again. And again. And again. He didn't really care what I was doing that might be keeping me from calling him back; when he wanted to talk, he wanted to talk. Davey, then nine, was dreaming of him, too. One morning, he said, "Last night Daddy and I had fun."

"What'd you do in the dream?"

"We went to Game 7 of the Yankees–Red Sox World Series," Davey said.

"Who won, Boo-boo?"

"The Yankees."

"What was the score?"

"Eight hundred and three to zero."

It was Peter's sense of humor…and his idea of heaven. There's a pretty obscure film clip of him at 23, having talked himself and his younger brother, Rob, into the Yankees locker room after they won Game 6 of the 1977 World Series. Peter stands there, pretending to take notes, but he's really just gazing prettily into the camera—he was a beautiful boy—pleased for the world to see that he's in the red-hot center. In these days, Davey was sure he was communicating with his father. On New Year's Eve, as we walked down our silent suburban block, coming home from a friend's, he said, "This is the gateway to next year, Mommy. Next year at this time, we'll still be sad, but maybe we won't have the crazy thoughts in our heads."

Then he said, "Daddy is with us now. He says he wants you to hold his hand."

Peter, Davey, and the author in 2006.

I was holding Davey's hand in my right, with my keys in my left—an old habit from living in the city: When walking home late at night, have your keys out. Again, Davey asked me to do it, and so I put the keys in my coat pocket and held out my left hand in the cold air.

You may be wondering what this has to do with the para- and the meta-, and I'm getting to it right about now. Because at this point, the coincidences began to occur. You may be able to explain some of them away, but not all, I'll wager. It started on Christmas Eve, when we flew to Seattle to see Peter's brother Rob. The car in front of us on the way to the airport was the same color, make, and model as Peter's, and the license plate was nearly identical to his—off by one number. The flight attendants were pouring out Aquarius water. A few weeks later, Peter's daughter Caroline got her first big break as an actor on a new TV show called Proof, about a group of people trying to determine definitively whether there's life after death. Around this time, Davey, his friend, and I were waiting in the high school hallway for baseball tryouts. Davey and the other boy were talking about what year their dads graduated from college. He asked me about Peter as he was bending down to pick up a couple of pennies he'd spotted on the floor. 

"Well, Dad was supposed to graduate in 1976, but he actually graduated in '77," I said. The dates on the pennies were 1976 and 1977. On the evening of February 10, 2014, which would have been Peter's sixtieth birthday, I went out to dinner with the kids and two good friends. Because I was with everyone I wanted to talk to, I left my cell phone in my bag. Three weeks later I discovered a text, sent from my phone number to my phone number, dated February 10, 8:18 P.M.: "Lisa I cannot believe I'm funny I sent you the message love you see I." 

....In the first three to four months after he'd died, I couldn't escape the feeling that Peter was calling, calling, calling, until I picked up. I had two friends who'd faced unspeakably horrible deaths: One lost her fiancé in the war in Afghanistan. The other lost a child. Both had called a medium named Lisa Kay, and I'd known of their remarkable conversations. So on a Saturday morning in March 2014, I dialed her number and left a message: "Hi, my name is Lisa Chase. I'm a friend of X and Y, and I know you've worked with them. My husband died, and I'd like to make an appointment to talk to you."

I hung up and then walked next door to my neighbor's to borrow some sugar; when I got back, there was a missed call from a Manhattan number on my phone. I called it, and Lisa Kay answered. "I don't usually work on Saturdays," she said, "but I felt compelled to call you back now." I also knew, from others who've called her, that she usually makes a phone appointment for a couple of weeks out and then asks you to send her a check.

But on the line with me now, Lisa all of a sudden sounded a little peeved and said, "I don't like to do it this way."

"What do you mean, 'I don't do it this way'?" I was confused.

"He's here," she said. "He wants to talk now." Then, as if she were talking to someone else: "I like to get paid first." Then, addressing me, "Can you even do this now? Are you free?" Terrified and exhilarated, I said yes. This is how it began:

Lisa Kay: Who's David? Who's David? He has grown. He says, "He has grown." Testing, trial control. He's talking about goldfish. And marzipan. He doesn't like it.

Lisa Chase: I have no idea what that means….

LK: Acknowledging James. He's acknowledging someone named James. Are you writing this down? You should write this all down. Even if it doesn't make sense now, it will later.

James, of course, was Peter's brother. I was running around my house, looking for scraps of paper to write on. I found a bill from a local stationery store, forms sent home from Davey's school, a confirmation for a flight to Atlanta. I was frantically scribbling on the backs of all of them, grateful I knew how to take shorthand notes from my years as a reporter, because she was talking so fast, her melodic voice—she once thought about pursuing a career as a singer—stopping and starting, darting from subject to subject.

LK: He's talking about a ball. He says, 'Find the signed ball in the bag and give it to David.'

While Peter was in the hospital, a good friend, knowing he loved the Yankees and particularly Joe Torre, their longtime manager, got Torre to sign a baseball—a talisman. But the day I brought it in, Peter shook his head. "I can't," he said. "Put it away." I didn't know why it upset him, but I put the ball in his closet, in a canvas bag that I'd packed with his clothes and toiletries to bring to the hospital.

LK: He's showing me blood. Did he die of a blood clot? Something about blood. I'm seeing the word 'genetic.' She said it in an almost staccato fashion: Ge-net-ic.

LC: He died of a blood cancer. And his doctors told us it was probably related to the lymphoma his father died from.

LK: The reason—David will not get it. That's what he's telling me. Good for you, Peter! I like this guy. [In a different voice]: 'You can call me Pete!'

He says, 'Go ahead. You can have the red wine.'

I began to laugh. For the first time, I felt some relief from the cruelty of the way he died. This call had begun to do for me what the best antianxiety medicine and therapy had not been able to, which was pull me out of the whirlpool and see the beginning of a way out of my sadness.

Lisa would be talking to me directly, then talking to…Peter? And sometimes it was if she were Peter, talking to us both. Channeling would probably be the best verb. Sometimes she said things that made no sense to me. Maybe a third of what she said could apply to anyone who'd lost a spouse; things like, "I want you to marry again," and "It's okay that you cried in front of me." But there were many more specific things she said that she couldn't have known or Googled, as several people have suggested to me.

Anyway, try Googling the name of a person you know nothing about. It takes a lot more than five minutes to navigate to the page with the right information and absorb it all—the names and details and events.

LK: He says he controlled too much. He says, 'Take the good with the bad. I had my faults.' He's learning to be better at not criticizing.

Then she said something that shocked me.

LK: 'I'm a lucky guoy. I got the better end of the deal.'

What was amazing about this was the way Lisa pronounced it: "guoy," not "guy." It was precisely the way Peter said it, with an exaggerated Brooklyn accent. He'd use that expression when we were making up after a fight: I'm a lucky guoy…to have you. At this point I began speaking directly to him; I couldn't help myself.

LC: Peter, you weren't lucky! You died!

LK: I hear a dog barking. There's a dog with him. Did you have a dog?

LC: Yes, we did. Gracie was our dog. She died of Lyme disease. Peter felt super guilty about it—

LK: [In a grouchy tone] 'It was our dog, but it was MY dog.'

Was he social? Because people are calling out to him over there. Someone's yelling 'Pete! Peter!' I gotta calm him down.

He says, 'I was lucky to have someone so pretty and young.'

LC: I was lucky to have someone so handsome.

LK: 'That's true.'

Even in the afterlife, I was competing with others for his time. But I was weirdly comforted by the joking and grouchiness and grandiosity. It felt like my husband.

Lisa's cell phone started to die, so she gave me her home number, and I called her back. We'd been on the phone for about 45 minutes.

LK: Who met you?

LC: What?

LK: I'm asking Peter; who met you? Mom. He says mom. But he was clearly met by his father. He was starting his transition that last week.

'Did you touch my face? I wasn't in my body when you did.'

Until that last week, I hadn't been able to touch Peter's skin with my fingers or lips for three months; I wore rubber gloves and kissed him from behind a mask. A stem-cell transplant takes a patient down to zero immunity; a kiss from a wife with even a nascent cold sore can be deadly. But once we knew he was not going to survive, I took off the mask and gloves, climbed into the bed with him—he was in a morphine sleep by this time—and I did touch his face. After he died, I kissed his face and tried to close his eyes.

LK: He says, 'You did what you knew was right. I am well here.'

LC: Do you swear, Peter?

LK: 'No. But you do.'

A joke! It's true; I swear like a sailor. He hardly ever did.

LK: Who's Boo-boo?

At this I shrieked loudly enough that Davey ran into the room to make sure I was okay. Then I told Lisa that Boo-boo was Peter's baby name for Davey.

LK: He was a seal-the-deal kind of guy. He says, 'XOXO.'

LC: He didn't do that! I did that. I do that.

LK: He said, 'That's one for you.'

We'd been on the phone for a little over an hour. I thanked her and took down her address to mail a check for her $350 fee. I asked her if people ever called for another reading, and she said yes, but that she didn't encourage it. She didn't want people to become dependent; they had to move through their grief and maybe learn to recognize the signs themselves. We were hanging up when she said suddenly, "Who's Paul? Who's Paul? 'Give a hug to Paul.'"

Wherever Peter was—and let's say for the sake of argument that he was—the dog was barking, and his sense of humor was intact, as was his self-regard, and I was still trying to get his attention. The picture of life, or death, or whatever state it might be that Lisa was depicting, felt incredibly familiar. It was funny. It was almost earthy, not profound, not woo-woo. I could not shake the notion that after we hung up, he was off to a gathering with his friends Eric and Sarah, and Lem and Clay, his dad and mom. Abraham Lincoln? George and Ira Gershwin? Ava Gardner? Peter loved history, and he loved meeting famous people, and it occurred to me that the ranks of the dead could make up the best cocktail party ever. In the immediate aftermath of the call, I was filled with euphoria and flooded with an intense wave of love for him.

I began to tell people about the reading. "Wait, he's still learning not to criticize?" my friend Shonna said. "Don't you think it's weird to think of him still learning?" I called psychotherapists to try to get some kind of plausible explanation—something rooted in psychology rather than parapsychology—for why this call made me immediately feel so much better. Sameet M. Kumar, PhD, who counsels dying patients and then, afterward, their families (this is brilliant; why don't more therapists work with both the dying and their families?), and who wrote a wondrous little book called Grieving Mindfully, listened to me cast around for reasons that didn't involve spirits in an afterlife and then gently said, "Are you trying to get me to tell you that I don't believe in this? Because I do…. I've heard hundreds of these stories over the years." Another, a very respected psychiatrist, confided (though not for attribution) that he'd had his own experience talking to his father via a medium.

Peter and I had become friendly with a young physician's assistant on the lymphoma service at New York-Presbyterian. I wrote her and asked if she or anyone there had an opinion about life after death. I half expected to never hear from her again. But the next morning, this was in my inbox: "I love that you asked this question. At risk of possibly sounding 'out there' or 'psychedelic,' I absolutely believe in some form of afterlife and/or spirit activity. I think I believed in it before I started working here, but over the past 2 years, my awareness has only become heightened, as I deal with more and more life-to-death transitions. I asked some of my colleagues too and they all agreed—there is definitely something after death, but no one is sure exactly what. Some spirits of my patients are more 'active' than others, I've noticed. Not quite sure why that is either."

Lisa Kay works only over the phone, she says, in part to keep the reading "more pure," to avoid the "distractions" of an in-person reading. But precisely because I'm a left brainer, because I've spent my professional life as a journalist, I became determined to meet her, to report her out, to use one of my profession's terms of art. I was convinced that if I observed her body language, looked her in the eye, that if I grilled her about her job and how it works, I'd know if what had happened between us was real. I wanted to demystify the mystery.

I called her and invited her to lunch. Somewhat reluctantly, she agreed.

We met in an Upper East Side Manhattan restaurant Lisa picked; I told her what kind of bag I'd be carrying and she spotted me first. She was not the New Agey lady I was expecting. She was attractive, well-coiffed, and beautifully turned out in pink cashmere, black pants, and flats. I'm guessing that she's a few years older than I, but her age remains a state secret.

"I knew you'd call again," she said as we sat down among all the ladies who lunch and ordered a salad Niçoise and a frittata. How did she know?

"Well, I'm a medium." She giggled.

I began to ask her about how it works, the mechanics of reading, of seeing spirits.

"First," she said, "I don't talk to dead people. I don't see dead people. I hate that." It drives her nuts. "Spirits are energy—energy can't be destroyed, just read the quantum physicists. Max Planck. They're just on a higher vibrational frequency, and I have to tune in to that."

What did she do to prepare? "I meditate. I quiet my mind. I connect to my heart, set an intention to read. I make sure I'm well hydrated. I leave my problems at the door, making myself completely available to be a receiver." What happens when the signs, or "hits," as she calls them, start to come? "Sometimes it's a little movie. Sometimes a picture. A symbol. Sometimes it's just one sign—a smell." Or a sharp, fleeting pain in her head if, say, the deceased had a brain tumor.

She says she gets some of her best hits in the shower: "Water conducts energy." And at Bloomingdale's! She's quite funny. "I'm joking, but truthfully, I will go to Bloomingdale's when it's empty and walk around, and I get some of the biggest hits that way."

.............But I was getting to know Lisa. One day it occurred to me that she was more or less in the same cycle of grief as I. Because 11 weeks before Peter died, her brother Patrick had died suddenly. "I'm human, too," she's said more than once. "Sometimes people say to me, 'Oh, you can just talk to Patrick anytime you want.' It doesn't work that way."

I decided to report out Patrick. I felt sneaky and deceitful. But it seemed to me that if there were any untruths in that story, it would cast doubt over everything. One day I gingerly asked Lisa, "What record company did he run?" Gotham Records, she said. Another time, "What was his last name again?" I asked her how old he was when he died: 41. Then I Googled him.

What emerged from the Internet—and this took a lot longer than five minutes—were images of a young man with wire-rimmed glasses, a gregarious smile, and close-cropped sandy hair, his strong arms wrapped affectionately around the other people in the pictures.

Patrick Arn was the founder and president of Gotham Records and Vital Music. I listened to a podcast interview with him about his innovations at his label; he was figuring out ways to place his artists' music in video games, movies, commercials—a creative business model in a time of iTunes and Spotify disruptions. He sounded smart, scrappy, principled, vibrant. He died, at the age of 41, on September 7, 2013, from a seizure in his sleep. I found his death notice in the New York Times, and read, "Beloved son…adored brother…an inestimable, crushing loss."

Everything Lisa had said about him and her family was true. But there was something about the last phrase, in the tiny agate type of the Times, that put an end to my questioning. Lisa lost her kid brother. She says she feels some guilt that she couldn't prevent it. What a terrible burden that must be.

"Peter brought us together," Lisa says, and she means it literally. But I think that it was our shared grief, that most terrestrial of emotions, that kept us connected.

Last April her number popped up on my cell while I was grocery shopping one Saturday morning. She said, "I'm calling you because I got a sign from Peter." It was the only time she'd done this in our yearlong acquaintance. "He keeps saying the word wife. Very emphatically. Does that make sense?"

I'd always referred to Peter as my husband. What I hadn't told her was that he and I were together 17 years but only married the last 11 months of his life. He'd resisted getting married a second time. He liked calling me his girlfriend. He thought it was sexier. But I always wondered, and worried, if part of him just wanted the out. We got married, in the end, out of hope, when we thought he was at last cancer free. Not that some of the old ambivalence wasn't in effect: He was 45 minutes late to the ceremony.

"He says, 'Wife. Wife. Wife.' He wants you to know you were his wife," Lisa said.

In our early days of grieving, my son said something that I've often thought about since. We were sitting at our kitchen table, and he was heartbreakingly sad. "I wish we lived in a magic world," he said, "where science wasn't the answer to everything."

He was thinking about miracles and medicine and death. But from this distance, I think it's a lovely theory of everything.

This piece originally appeared in the October 2015 issue of ELLE.


A Flipside email via Vegas

Got an unusual "Flipside" email recently... and it involves my pals Jennifer Medlyn Shaffer and Prashant Solomon.  Jennifer was in Colorado recently where a group was honoring her for her pro bono work with law enforcement cases using mediumship, and one of the parents she helped wrote the following: 

Jennifer Shaffer and Scott De Tamble

"Hi Rich. Something happened last night that I wanted you to know.  It is a validation of something Jennifer told me over the weekend while we in Denver, CO. She asked me "What important thing is happening on October 6th?"  I told her nothing that I'm aware of.  She said she was getting that it was important. (It DID!)  

My son's girlfriend overheard me asking my husband about that date when I returned from Denver. Then on the 6th she was at a casino (in Las Vegas) and heard a man behind her talking about “the Flipside.” She started asking him questions.  He told her about this man 🙂 Rich Martini, how he had met him and was going to publish his book "Flipside." He gave her a copy of the book and said, “I don’t know if this book is meant for you or someone you know, but I know I am supposed to give it to you.”  

My daughter told him that I knew a medium named Jennifer and Jennifer had told me the 6th was an important date.  She didn’t tell him Jennifer's last name and had no idea about her connection to you or that my husband & I had met you (in Jennifer's office in Manhattan Beach). When I told my daughter that I knew you and your book, she was doubly shocked -- said she believes this was a sign -- she will read the book and so will my son.  Can you believe it!!!?"  

Prashant Solomon
And here is Prashant's reply:

Prashant Solomon Rich this is so amazing! Yes I did meet a young lady at the Encore in Vegas on October 6 and there was this immediate resonance between us. We got to chatting over a drink and we're talking about spirituality, the afterlife and how everything that happens was meant to be and not just meant to be, but meant to happen at a particular time and place. 

We talked about our spiritual missions and she told me that she had been told by somebody with mediumistic abilities that something would happen on October 6. She would meet somebody who would change her life forever. 

The moment she said this, I knew from the depths of my soul that apart from this wonderful conversation we were having I had to give her a copy of Flipside, which I am so honoured and humbled at the same time to be the publisher of. 

To add another interesting detail, I was supposed to meet another old friend of mine in Vegas and give him the copy of Flipside, but somehow we didn't meet up and instantly I knew and told the young lady that that this book was brought by me to give to her, written in the stars from the time of creation.. What an amazing and wonderful chain of events! 

Rich Martini, you and me and our friendship, spiritual siblinghood and unconditional love for each other is a testament that the universe moves us where we are meant to go, to meet who we are meant to meet and do what we are meant to do. It is also proof that miracles do happen!


Well, actually, I do. I no longer believe in coincidence and in this case, since there's only one person on the planet who's publishing my book (in India). Prashant Solomon is from New Delhi, writes for the Times of India, and we met for a 4 hour coffee in Santa Monica, where he told me some amazing stories about his life, and that he wanted to publish the book in India. Prashant appears in "Hacking the Afterlife" (as does Jennifer) - the idea that he would run into Jennifer's friend's daughter and feel compelled to give her a copy of the book... well, that's about as normal as my life gets these days. 

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