In honor of Martin Luther King; an interview with MLK, Hoover and Gandhi on the Flipside

These are excerpts from the book “Backstage Pass to the Flipside 3.”  In the book, Jennifer Shaffer and I have weekly conversations with whomever shows up to chat with us.

On behalf of Dr. Martin Luther King, I’m excerpting a few of the passages where he made an appearance.  In this first instance, we were interviewing Muhammed Ali, when Jennifer said “Martin Luther King showed up a few minutes ago.”  It was the end of our session, so I took that last minute of it to ask him a few questions.


My questions and comments are in italics, and Jennifer Shaffer's answers are in bold. We've been conducting these interviews for five years now on a weekly basis.  In this case, because it was MLK's birthday I decided to see if he was available to converse with us.

In the construct of this class, I "ask" my friend Luana Anders on the Flipside if he can join us in the classroom. Then when I go to see Jennifer I ask her if "anyone" has come to class.  Often she mentions the name of the person I've requested.

I ask the same questions "who was there to greet you?" in order to start a conversation before getting into difficult areas.  However, in Hoover's case, I just went to the questions I was curious about. In Gandhi's case, how could I not ask him some questions if he stopped by our class? I've been in his home, some of his ashes are scattered near our home in Santa Monica - and I've been to the shrine in Delhi were he died.

During an interview with Aretha Franklin from "Backstage Pass" where she spoke to us about her handwritten will and to reach out to her niece (who it turns out is the executor of her estate. As noted in the book, the niece did "not think we were communicating with her Aunt" but allowed that she speaks to her mother on the flipside often. 

In this instance, Prince has shown up along with Dr. King. Prince mentions something about my guitar playing, which is always amusing when he does so. It's usually said the day after I was playing something or working on a tune.  But after saying hello, I asked:

Rich: Dr. King; who was there to greet you when you crossed over?

Jennifer: He showed me a child running to him.

A child you had in this life, or a previous life?

Doesn’t feel like one of his children – doesn’t feel like a child from his wife. But a child of his.

What do you miss if anything about being on the planet?

He says “Rumbling.” 

(Note: I have never heard someone refer to argument as a rumble – but Merriam Webster and Collins dictionaries both list is as a “form of argument.”)

He says, “I miss talking...” - he shows me fighting for peace, but not fighting – “rumbling for peace” but being peaceful with it.”

Did you know you were going to pass away at a young age?

He showed me himself as a young boy and how he always knew he’d die early. He says, “And that knowledge, it’s what made him live every single day as if knowing he was going to die young.”

What do you want to tell your family and friends?

He says, “To not give up fighting for peace... and then showed me (the current/soon to be former administration.) To keep fighting.”

Whenever I hear your voice speaking, it freezes me in its tracks.

(Note: In high school I was in a play where I got to recite the “I have a dream” speech. Always gives me a chill when I hear it)

“It was the frequency you’d recognize.”

The frequency of compassion, unconditional love?

“A knowing that things were going to be okay; it was a frequency that gave people comfort.”

What do you miss about being here?

He says “Being on separate busses? I don’t miss that.” (Laughter) He says “I miss music. I miss the innovation to stand up for yourself. You’re doing that now.”

What’s it feel like to be an inspiration to folks?

He’s showing me all the presidents – He says, “Everybody was... they were all inspirations.” He just showed me the good foot guy... the guy with the big hair...

James Brown?

(Jennifer nods)

The concert that calmed Boston - James Brown

There he is... he showed me James Brown. He says, “They’ve having fun.” That’s what I got.

Well, thank you Dr. King, Muhammed Ali, James Brown, Jennifer’s got to run but we’ll catch you in a future meeting.

Note: James Brown addressed an angry Boston crowd after the death of Dr. King on April 5th, 1968. It was a concert he insisted on performing as he felt his voice could help calm people.  That speech is credited with “saving Boston” on that day.

Some time later, Dr. King made another appearance in our “class.” 

(From “Backstage Pass to the Flipside 3” Homina Publishing, All Rights Reserved.)

Backstage Pass to the Flipside 1, 2, 3


Rich: Hi class, here we are with Jennifer. Luana, who is here in class that wants to talk to us in class today?

Jennifer: First person that came through is Prince. He’s showing me you playing the guitar... that’s his way of showing that you were playing music...

Well, I referenced him yesterday because the sky had gone “Prince.”

It was gorgeous.

Purple.. but Prince, today is a national holiday for someone we’ve met in class.

Martin Luther King.

We’ve met him briefly. Prince, do want to bring your friend forward so we can talk to him?

He’s talking about the government shutting down. There’s a lot of people concerned about not being paid and abuse of power.

Can we talk to you Dr. King for a couple of minutes?

“Yes.” He’s talking to the guy with big hair.

(Note: We’ve filmed enough of these interviews for me to understand what Jennifer is saying even when obscure.)

James Brown?


Martin we’ve spoken briefly before, we do share an alma mater.

He said, “Yes.”

Dr. King, why did you choose Boston University to go to college?

He said, “He wanted to be closer to people who were going to change things... and there was family there.” I think he brought his family.

He did. What do you remember about Boston?

He said, “It was cold!” He says, “It was opening up, thinking wise... a different way of thinking.” Um. I don’t think he felt he was going to have more support from Boston, but (more like) “Boston needed his support.”

(Note: Boston is one of the windiest cities in the U.S. Nothing quite like walking across the B.U. bridge in winter.  Boston went through a revolution in the 1070’s with bussing as one of the lightning rods that created riots when I was in school there. Neither one of these details Jennifer would be familiar with.)

I would offer that getting your Doctor of Theology in Boston gave people a different perspective of you.

He says, “Absolutely.”

We’ve asked about who was there to greet you when you crossed over, and you mentioned a child. Who else?

I think his younger brother... and his mother.

(Note: MLK’s younger brother was Alfred Daniel Williams King, born 1930, died July 21st, 1969 from accidental drowning (His family wasn’t sure how he died, but was found in the pool). Martin’s mother was alive when he died, so I asked the following:)

Your brother and mother or someone like your mother?

He said, “It wasn’t his mother; it was his grandmother.” I got mother first, I’m asking Luana to help so I can hear him better... “It was somebody who raised him, felt like someone who raised him. I presume it was his grandmother.” He says “Everybody raised me.”

Who were you surprised to see on the other side if anyone?

He says, “He was surprised to see a lot of different people.” I’m seeing President Kennedy… it felt like he had... (Jennifer listens) He says “Just the different multiracial people who were there – there wasn’t color – there was no color.”

Did you say JFK was one of the people who came to greet you?

(Jennifer aside) That was the first thing he said, but in my head I’m thinking “Did JFK die after him?”

Try not to judge it. What did you and John have to say to each other?

He says, “Thank you... and... that was a hell of a trip.”

We’ve spoken briefly to JFK; He died in 1963 and MLK in 1968.

(Jennifer aside) I must look silly to not know these historical dates.

Well, it just shows that you’re not trying to piece something together, you know? Martin can we go to the last day on the planet you were here?


That fateful day in 1968

Who was this guy who shot you? Was this just one angry guy or some overall group?

He says, “It was an overall group.”

Can you point to one person in particular?

It looks like Ku Klux Klan... (Jennifer aside) I’m seeing a (white) hat.

Are you seeing a Klan hat? Was this a political thing?

He says, “It was a political thing.”

So, you were very aware of the shortness of your lifespan, because you spoke of it often in your speeches “I may not get there with you.”  Let me ask, when it finally happened, what was the feeling? Some people say “It’s a relief?

He said, “(It was a) Relief. Yes.”

I don’t mean that in a negative way, just observing that the last ten years of your life were under constant threat.

“Correct” he said.

Let me ask you to address something... Hoover had a burr up his ass about you Martin... Martin, have you talked to him since you’ve been over there?

He says, “They do it every time they come to earth. They switch roles.”

(Note: This is not a controversial thing to say in light of this research, people do report “switching roles” in different lifetimes. But it is controversial nonetheless, when speaking of such iconic figures.  For the record, I ask Hoover to step forward briefly to answer the same questions.)

Luana, can you bring Hoover forward? Just briefly?

J. Edgar

He just said, “All the President’s Men.” He’s smoking. (There’s) A lot of cigar smoke.

(Note: Not a fan of Hoover, and getting straight to the point to see how he might respond.)

You were notoriously a cross dresser; what was that about?

He says “He just thought it was kind of fun.” I feel like he did it since he was little.

No judgment here; was that just a crossdressing thing, and/or were you gay?

He says, “I was.”

I want to ask you about a young Chicagoan – a guy named Fred Hampton. When he was he killed by the Chicago Police, were you involved?

He says, “They did it to protect him.”

Who, Hoover?

“Yeah.” He says, “He didn’t pull the trigger...”

Right, the Chicago Police pulled the trigger ... Did you order them to? Or did the Chicago PD just do it on their own, as they were trying to eliminate the Black Panthers?

He says, “Yeah. They blamed him (Hampton), that kid for something he didn’t do.”  (Jennifer aside) I don’t know anything about this.

Can we bring Fred Hampton forward Lu?

Um. I’m not getting a yes or a no.

Okay, very good, at a later date. Let’s table that for now. I’ve been working on a story about him, but I’d really like to get a thumbs up or down from him.

I’m getting a thumbs up.

(Note: I know that Jennifer knows nothing about the assassination of Fred Hampton, a young Chicagoan who fell into the job as the local head of the Black Panthers.  He started free clinics for poor people and food banks, and the Chicago Police executed him as a result.  I wrote a script about him, showed it around to a few people, but ultimately was thrilled to hear that the director of “Black Panther” has produced a version soon to be coming out. In the search for the truth, I was happy to hear that at least “someone made the story.”)

Fred Hampton "Power to all the people"

J. Edgar, who was there to greet you on the other side?

His nanny or his care giver. He’s telling me that Susan B Anthony was one of them.

What? Did you know Susan B Anthony?

He’s showing me what feels like a mother son relationship.

(Note: Susan B Anthony, the famous suffragette, died when Hoover was 11. For Jennifer to pull a “Susan B Anthony” reference during an interview means there’s likely something that connects them. (Perhaps he liked her clothes?) Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Listen, it’s long been rumored, there may even be evidence of it, but you’re assistant, Clyde Tolson, is that accurate to say he was your lover?

He says, “Yes. Abraham Lincoln had the same.”

Wait a second, you’re outing Abe? We’ve had that discussion already with Abe and he specifically said that while he did have a male adjutant that he slept with while traveling, the idea of crossing the sexual line wasn’t something he would have done. He says he was honorable with the people he worked with.

He said, “He’s very honest, Abe is. Very honest.”

(Note: This is quite unlike Jennifer to make this kind of a sarcastic comment.  But she said it without any prompting, so we’ll credit it to J. Edgar.)

Very funny J. Edgar. Although you were less so – what was your life review like?

(Jennifer aside) He showed me me – then he showed me his mind, how it wasn’t normal.

While he was on the planet?

He’s showing me that as a result of something being wrong with his mind, that’s part of the reason he did the things he did.

(Note: She appears to be reporting that from the perspective of the higher self,  the “higher Hoover” knew something was off about his brain. Could be paranoia, any host of complaints about the man that Lyndon Johnson was about to fire, and then after their meeting made him “FBI Director for life.”  Many have surmised that Hoover showed Johnson the amount of dirt he’d dug up on him over his lifetime.)

I’m sorry Dr. King, to interrupt our conversation to speak to Mr. Hoover, since he was responsible for so much stress during your lifetime. I understand that was his role, and part of his role – but let’s go back to you Martin for a moment. What do you miss about being on the planet?

He said, “He missed grapes.” He showed me wine, (Jennifer aside) I’m not saying he drank wine, he’s showing me that as a metaphor; “He misses the ability to taste and smell.”  He says, “He misses the banter.”

Between friends? Or adversaries?

He said, “Both. Just knowing that you can do something about something horrible.”

Out of all the people you met in life, who most impressed you? In terms of demeanor, honesty, stature?

He said, “His wife.”

(Note: I didn’t mean to lob him a softball he could smack over the fence, had no idea what he would say, but it’s as profound as any I’ve heard.)

Dr. King and Coretta Scott

Good answer. Let me ask you, there’s someone we’ve chatted with that you paid a lot of respect to; a particular person in our class.

Muhammed Ali and one of his daughters

(Jennifer aside) Was it Muhammed Ali? That is who he showed me.

(Ding!) Yes. Could you bring him forward? What do you guys talk about?

He said, “Our next plot for our next “go round.” Martin wants to be the boxer, and Ali might be taking on his role.”

(Note: It’s a small detail, but the only time I’ve heard “go round” mentioned before is in professional bull riding.  In the film I shot 2nd unit, “Cowboy Up” they call the next bull ride, “the next “go round.” It may be in other sports as well, but that’s the only place I’ve heard it.)

Muhammed Ali was quite the preacher, and a poet.

He says, “They both had the same sarcastic love and loyalty to one another.” (Jennifer listens, responds “Yes.”) They’re saying “They would die for each other.”

Why did you say “yes” just now?

He was just telling me how much he loved Martin, and how they’d die for each other...

Who was there to greet you when you crossed over?

(Jennifer aside) I think it’s a daughter. A daughter he lost in life. I think she was a baby when she died.

We’ve heard that often – people are greeted by the child they lost. A child who was there to greet you when you crossed over?

He says, “Yes.”

You spent the later years with Parkinson’s.  You were still pretty funny – your punchlines were hilarious.

He said, “I always had it going on. “Just do it” was my motto!”

Nike stole that from you?

He says, “Yes.”

I remember the story of how you had a teacher who told you that you wouldn’t amount to anything... and how you used that insult to fuel your boxing career.

“Hell yeah!” he said.

What are you doing over there? How do you entertain yourself?

He says, “He dances a lot – he’s showing me when he was young and dancing.” He says, “He talks to Prince...” (Jennifer listens:) hold on... he hangs out with John Kennedy. They’re all planning their next... venture. They’re showing me what they loved – they know what they loved, I’m sorry – he just showed me all the curves of women. ...........


Let’s skip back to Martin, are you still here?

He’s talking to James Brown, Muhammed Ali, Tom Petty.

There is someone we’ve spoken to who had a profound influence on you Martin? I’m thinking of someone who’s life and journey influenced you...

Was it President Lincoln?

Like him, but someone else.

He’s showing me – Gandhi.



(Note: Jennifer and I have been doing this for a long time. It’s not that I’m thinking of someone and she’s picking up on it – I know having worked with her for five years that I can refer to someone, and the person I’m thinking of will show up on the flipside. Or – they’re already on the flipside waiting for me to introduce them.)

Have you talked to Gandhi since you’ve been over there?

He says “He talked to him while he was still alive.”

(Note: I didn’t follow this answer up – but I assumed he meant that he “prayed” or asked for guidance from Gandhi in the darkest hours of the Civil Rights Movement.)

We spoke to you Gandiji – you told us the first words in the afterlife were “Hey Rama...”

He showed me all the lights that came towards him.

Can we ask Gandhi some questions on Martin Luther King day?

He says, “Yes.”

What was it about nonviolence? Was it something you thought was effective or part of your journey?

He says, “All of it. Humans just shouldn’t be abused. Humans... shouldn’t be...” (Jennifer aside: show me that again... He’s very charming by the way.)

How do you see him? Young or old?

Like in his 30’s – he showed me a picture that my girlfriend has of him.  His voice is just very peaceful.

Who was there to greet you when you crossed over?

He says, “It was everyone that he’s ever helped. All the lights were coming towards him.”

What do you miss about being on the planet if anything?

He’s giving me the sense of walking in the dirt barefoot. Also hot, crisp air. He misses his mother’s cooking. His mother was there to greet him. He’s showing me she was there often (visiting him after she crossed over), like he was going there and coming back. He’s showing me something like rice and seashells and corn.. bread... I wanted to say like um... like jambalaya.

I’ve been to your home in Mumbai, Gandhiji, and have walked around the museum of your home.

The back room – was it all white? It was his meditation room?


(Note: One day while making a Bollywood film (“My Bollywood Bride”) I wandered off to visit his home. It was a hot day, the museum was empty and I found myself alone in the back room where they had the spinning wheel where he made his own clothes.)

Yes, where he used to make cloth – it was all white.

He’s showing it to me.  “That was his favorite room,” he says; “That and the kitchen.”

Is there anything about that lifetime you regret that you didn’t do or wish you had done?

He says, “He wishes he wouldn’t have been idolized. He wishes he could have helped more.”

You helped a lot of people.

He says, “I know.”

From your perspective now, people have to go through things?


So those journeys of suffering...

He showed me Maverick again. (John McCain.)

Maverick and an old friend Joe

(Note: As we’ve learned people can learn a lot about life through suffering, and McCain saw a lot of learning. In our interview with him, the suffering he experienced as  POW, the trials and tribulations of his career, and later the cancer that took his life – all forms of difficulties he powered through.)

So Gandiji – have you reincarnated since, are you thinking about it?

He says, “No; they’re getting a plan together.”

How about you Dr. King – have you thought about where you want to be in your next life? Who are you going to be in your next life?

He’s showing me a place, a desolate place like North Korea. A place where people would need someone like him to help. What he’s trying to show me, he’s going to remain the same kind of person, but he has to go through different...

To change it... If you’re someone who loves to get into the battlefield,  you choose the most difficult playing field?

“Yes.” He’s saying, “It’s difficult to get others to join him.”


This excerpt is from “Backstage Pass to the Flipside 3” written by Richard Martini, Homina Publishing. Copyright Richard Martini 2020. All Rights Reserved. Do not copy or publish this excerpt without permission from the author.

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