Friday

Finding Peter

Peter Beard on a Summer night in Montauk | I was feeling nos… | Flickr
Under the Martini sign in the Hamptons
I was distressed to hear that my old friend Peter Beard had gone missing.  The headlines were disturbing, reported as having dementia and that he had wandered away from his home a few days ago.

I've been up to his home a few times, having dinner in his back patio once with his wife and a neighbor, courtesy of my friend Jan Sharp who made a documentary about him. That was nearly a decade after I met him courtesy of an odd sequence of events, that I will report in context of the following interview.


I was a recipient of many fun evenings, filled with laughter, insight and Peter's unique view of all things Africa. Mostly at the behest of our mutual friend Peter Tunney, the former gallery owner turned artist who helped launch the second act of Peter's artistic career.


Front door

Peter Beard new everyone, photographed them all,  knew Karen Blitzen, had his "Hog Ranch" in Africa - and they had a pipeline where Peter Tunney would ship prints to Hog Ranch, and local artisans would add artwork to the canvas, then Peter Beard would put on the finishing touches back in NYC.  
The day he was trampled

I was around when Peter Beard was trampled by an elephant (referenced in this podcast) and Peter Tunney sent a 727 hospital plane to bring him back to put him in the care of Doc Feldman (a pal who works with the Knicks and other sports teams.)  

From all accounts, including from Peter Beard, Doc Feldman saved his life with multiple operations.  It didn't seem to slow Peter Beard down an inch. He limped a bit after that, but he also had a laugh and a smile. He was pals with everyone, I recall all walks of life would approach him for a smile and a great story, including a night with David Copperfield.
Doc Feldman

Sometime after that, his art became a skyrocketing market, which ultimately split up the partnership of "the two Peters." I have no opinion on their court case or its resolution - just wasn't a topic of discussion - other than to report, in life its inevitable when giant amounts of "paper printed with green ink" show up in people's lives.  I saw them both after they split up, and both seemed to move on with grace and wit.

Peter Beard, Ele in front of Kilimanjaro, 1964. | Peter beard ...
In front of Kilimanjaro 1964 (note painting around edges)

Peter Beard over the past 20 years continued to paint and was taken care of by his wife Nejma and daughter Zara. All I can say is knowing him, it must have been a full time gig.

Everyone who knew Peter Beard will talk about his joie de vivre (Robert Towne said "He was a lively fellow" when I asked his impression of him this morning). All who traveled in Beard's orbit recall his his wry smile, his unique, sometimes contrarian view of how the planet works, and his amazing work in Africa. He was the artist who brought the tragedy of Tsavo to the world's attention (thousands of elephants starving to death) but was adamant about stopping poaching. (So much so that it reportedly landed him in prison in Africa for an event that included a poacher which is also mentioned in this chat.)

Peter Beard was/is beyond legendary; (I sincerely hope they find him sitting in a bar in Brooklyn, having a drink with someone he's never seen before) one of my treasured gifts was a painting Peter Tunney sent me, signed by Peter "To Martini, love Peter Beard and Liz Taylor" - which was a page of one of his diaries with a photo he took of Liz Taylor blown up to giant size.  (I had to let it go years later during an economic downturn via his dealer in LA David Fahey). So it's out there somewhere - like Peter - and truthfully the flipside research shows a photo (like those we know and loved) is a form of captured time. 

So it will always exist in my mind, and Peter captured a lot of time with various people and he will always be part of their lives.


Peter Beard - artist, news & exhibitions - photography-now.com
A very popular Peter Beard print

In terms of this flipside interview, he reminded me "that we met on a film set" - which I didn't realize until the next day. We did meet on the Croisette in Cannes while he was shooting a filmed segment with model Sasha Glavatsky. He reminded me that we met in the frenzied chaos of a street scene - a 35 mm camera filming him in action.  I had forgotten the moment until he reminded me in this interview.

Later, in Montauk at the Warhol estate, filmmaker Renny Harlin started a documentary of sorts about him - shooting for two weeks while we all stayed in the historic property... But that's another story for another time.


When I heard that Peter was missing, I sent a text to my pal, the medium Jennifer Shaffer (JenniferShaffer.com) who assists law enforcement nationwide in missing person cases.  I normally avoid treading into her law enforcement work -  but in this case, suggested we might chat with him about his disappearance.

She called me immediately and gave me some of her instant impressions. 
Peter Beard | Kenya Bull Elephant Reaching for the Last Branch on ...
Andy Warhal in his home in Montauk. While
staying at Warhol's home, I woke to find Peter asleep on the stone
floor. Later he told me "It's more comfortable for me with my bad back."

But this is a long preamble to this podcast.  

I determined early on that I wasn't going to try to "find" Peter unless he wanted to be "found."  I've been verifying the existence of the afterlife for years now in my 8 books, two documentaries and online postings. So I'm not interested in proving something ineffable.

I have been doing this long enough to know that we all have a "higher conscious mind" that is always on the flipside. (Reports indicate we bring "about a third" of that mind to a lifetime.) I am posting this to demonstrate how people with dementia, Alzheimer's - don't have that issue when they're on the flipside.

In a previous post here on this page, we interviewed a friend of mine's father who was in intensive care, dying from dementia, and Jennifer and I spoke to him prior to his departure.

That is - we spoke to his "higher self."  

He said "It felt like ten percent of his consciousness was still back in his body (which was in a hospital at the time) and 90% of him was "already back home."   This is reported consistently in this research. They may seem "out of it" here - but "back home" they're aware of everything.


Peter working on his diaries while being chewed upon.

So when you consider a relative who has dementia - allow for the possibility that they are "aware" of everything that is being said to them, but they are aware of it "on the flipside" more than back in their body.  

They prepare themselves for departure - know they are going to departing soon - and spend some time getting acclimated to "being back home." They may not know who you are when they see you here - but you know who they were (and their conscious self knows precisely what you're expressing to them.)

It's as if to say "Peter's higher self" was aware of what was happening.  

In this report, I include two contrary readings - two things were shown to Jennifer that were in conflict with each other - initially he showed Jennifer an old home, and that where his body was located, was ".7 miles from his home."  That he had gone to visit an "old barn" - where horses were kept, and 'he fell." He said he could feel the smoothness of the stone on his face where he had fallen, and that his "head hurt."

Now - in terms of logistics, I've taken the time to locate where that might have been - "two structures away" from his home, there are a series of sheds, that may or may not have been horse barns in the past.
Note the two green sheds along the dirt path. There's a third one further along that path.
And we did that on the initial call, but then in this interview (done the next morning) he gave her a different visual.  He was showing her that he was remembering things differently when they occurred. 

For example, the "home" he was referring to, was the home he was remembering before it burned to the ground (a detail I had forgotten, but mid interview remember) and that the structures (when it was associated with horses, or could have been before it was torn down) was a memory form awhile ago.  So in essence, Jennifer was getting a "different picture" from him - showing her his old home as it once looked, near the ocean - since she had never seen it, she didn't know that was where it was.

In essence he was now showing her that it was possible that he was "seeing one thing" while experiencing another.  That is - in his mind's eye, saw the old home, the old barn - but in reality was remembering how it used to be, and then (perhaps) fell off a cliff and washed out to sea.

For those keeping score, that might be reason enough to "give up" or "throw in the towel" in terms of "using a medium to find a body" - (as I'm fond of saying, "now's the time to get off the flipside bus") because on one hand, he's showing her his memory of what happened (and at the time his memory was impaired) but that his memory of what happened may not be what happened.  

I tried to pin it down to help those in search of him (asking him directly "Is your body indoors or outdoors?") but he doesn't give a definitive answer.

He says in essence "You don't need to look for me."  (We've heard that before - I heard it from Amelia Earhart in "Hacking the Afterlife."  She added the sentence, "because I'm here, I still exist, my bones aren't worth bothering to find, because you've actually found me.") In essence he's saying "I'm fine. Don't worry about me. I've got my mind back."

And that is the point of this exercise.  It's why I introduced our podcast this way - we are not trying to demonstrate "where Peter can be found" - but demonstrating "the process of finding a person on the flipside."  

That is - you, anyone reach out and contact their higher self - and ask if they "want to be found" (It's their path and journey and the answer may be "no") - and ask specific questions like "where are you physically?" "how can people find you?" or "what do you want to impart to loved ones?"

As Jennifer notes, it's particularly difficult in her line of work to ask questions to someone who has or had dementia, because they may show her images which were "altered reality to begin with." They're in charge of what they want to impart or say - the most we can do is ask.




In this case - Peter is saying he walked out the door to his home, got distracted and wound up hurting his head in a fall.  And that he will be found. I reached out via an email to his wife, to pass along the raw details and notes of this conversation, prior to Jennifer and I asking him direct questions on the flipside.


The house it at the top, the structures are along the dirt path (sheds)
But during the interview I recalled being at the site of the fireplace,
which marks where Peter's old home was and burned down.
If you have a missing person in your life, Jennifer works with a number of mediums who are part of a network that helps law enforcement, and she can be reached at JenniferShaffer.com - for fans of our "Backstage Pass to the Flipside" books, they know that the reason we "chat with celebrities" (and many who are just old pals of mine) is because we can.  Our friend Luana Anders on the flipside facilitates those conversations.

I wanted to share a demonstration of how one might do such a thing in the future.  Once one sets aside the "disbelief" or "allows for the possibility that there is an afterlife" then they can parse the best way to glean new information from loved ones on the other side. 

I sincerely hope Peter's okay, will be found sitting in the backseat of someone's car who picked him up hitchiking and who is listening to his stories about his amazing lifetime.  I would find that equally fascinating and worth reporting. 


Peter and his wry smile.

But in the meantime, here's  "Finding Peter."


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