Latest podcast. I had not turned on the tv that morning, was not aware that there was the protest in DC at Dr. King's memorial, was not aware that there was a memorial service for George Floyd occurring as we spoke.
There's some controversial stuff in here - but as I note, most of the folks we speak to had come to visit with us before. Frank Sinatra, Dr. King, Nelson Mandela, Marilyn. When I say that "the night before the session, I asked Luana "Who needs to speak to us today?" and I got an image of a fellow - close up - and saw blue eyes. And I said... "Who's this?" And the words "Old blue eyes" popped into my head. So I assumed - at that point - based on doing this for years, that was who wanted to chat with us.
That morning, I asked someone "if you had one question to ask Frank Sinatra, what would it be?"
She said, without hesitation; "Who killed Robert Kennedy?"
So I asked in just that fashion. We weren't talking about it - Jennifer and I were not discussing it. As I note, when I thought/realized that it was "old blue eyes" who wanted to chat with us, I asked "what about? Is it a birthday, anniversary?" and I got an image of Nat King Cole.
The night before I had been writing something about Wendell Phillips high school in Chicago - which I attended briefly in a University of Chicago "exchange" program called "Project Wingspread" when I was in high school. Sam Cooke went there, Nat King Cole went there... and I experienced a semester there.
People used to ask me to play the piano. Elton John had just hit the city (1972) and I had learned some of his tunes "Take me to the Pilot" was one - "Holy Moses" another. I can remember getting stoned with these young south siders, seeing the first white person they'd ever seen in person (a few children rubbed my skin to see if it would rub off) - singing and playing rock and roll and some blues. I knew a few Muddy Waters tunes as well.
I can remember this as if it was yesterday. The faces of those kids smiling as I played. Oddly enough - the south side accent was so strong - and people from Chicago will know what I'm talking about - half of the things kids said to me went right over my head. I had a close friend, Frank Allen (Frank? Are you out there?) who we spent a lot of time hanging out. I stayed at his home in the projects Ida Be Wells lives! and he stayed with us up in Northbrook. (Mom would bring out the fine china when he dined, to this day I'm not sure why she'd do that - but it was funny at the time as well.)
I remember walking in the local grocery store with Frank, who's skin tone was a shade darker than blackberries - and another friend's mom "fainted" when she bumped into him. Frank couldn't have been kinder, funnier, more charming - and I say that because I saw myself in him. Everything about us was the same - same position on the footbal team, same political views, same hopes and dreams... and yet he had been born on the South Side and me on the North Side.
He called me once from San Quentin.
And I had the same reaction everyone has hearing that. "It's Frank.. I'm calling you from San Quentin!" I was like - oh shit, oh man, what happened?
He laughed. "Nothing happened. My brother works here as a guard." Completely fooled me.
I found his brother on facebook and reached out to him recently - and I couldn't express myself in any way that would allow him to respond. Either he's mad at his brother, mad at white folks, or just mad - he didn't reply. But I did track him down - using the details of Frank's life that I could remember or knew.
Last time Frank Allen called me, he said he was "living with a crack ho" (his words) and using a stolen phone. I said "You're joking." He said "No. I'm not. Just wanted to see how you are doing."
We choose lifetimes for odd reasons. I know why I chose this one. To be able to write that sentence.
So - about that question; "who killed Robert Kennedy?"
Jennifer says "I'm seeing a President." I had forgotten (honestly) but remember in that instant. She was talking about LBJ. And then the signal went haywire - but the last thing I asked was "Let's ask LBJ about that. Is that accurate?" And she said "He's saying he was only partially responsible."
Meaning members of his administration (or inner circle) were responsible. If true - and god knows I can't say it is - but it's reflected in deeper fashion in the book "Backstage Pass to the Flipside 3: Talking to the Afterlife with Jennifer Shaffer Book three" - the reference is to "members of his inner circle" who decided to eliminate the Kennedys and Marilyn - with the help of the Mafia and rouge members of the CIA.
I'm not making that claim - honestly - I'm just reporting. This is the second time I've asked - and the second time it's shown up.
I sent a transcript of the Robert Kennedy reports to a member of his family. I did so because - I kid you not - I heard Senator Kennedy's voice in my apt. one evening. "I understand you're the person I need to speak to, to get a message to my family." I've heard this before - but never in his voice. Startled, I said what I always say "Please seek out Luana, as she is our guide in this area, and if you want to speak to Jennifer, she can show you how."
And that following week we did an indepth interview with him.
There's no one in his family who is going to say (and his family has suffered immesurably being in the public eye) "I read this transcript and its accurate." But I sent it along to inspire them - or those they know - to investigate what was being said.
Consistently. Repeatedly. At the time, I referenced it in the podcast - I had made the comment about his death casually "That's old history. Who cares who killed someone 40 years ago? He's okay now, isn't he?"
And the following week I was excoriated by someone on the flipside. I mean someone I didn't ask to speak with, who had shown up once before, came forward to say "You are wrong about people not caring about who killed someone. To you it's ancient history, but to us it was yesterday and defines who we are. We are outside of your time, so what feels old to you may still be a wound to us. And ripping off those bandages can heal that wound."
Nothing quite like being scolded by someone on the flipside who is so famous I won't say her name. But not famous in the way that people like to think of fame - just someone in the public eye who lived over 180 years ago.
Anyways - see for yourself. I just ask the questions.