A Flipside chat with Cass Elliot and others


A Flipside chat with Cass Elliot and others

In honor of Cass Elliot’s passing fifty years ago — here’s a reprint of Chapter Thirty from BACKSTAGE PASS TO THE FLIPSIDE BOOK 3 where we interviewed Cass on the flipside. This was published in 2020.


Cass Elliot, Wikipedia

Jennifer Shaffer and I met 8 years ago. She called me up about my book IT’S A WONDERFUL AFTERLIFE and suggested we chat. I wasn’t familiar with mediumship, but when she said she helped law enforcement with missing person cases, I asked “How’d you like to work on one of the most famous in history?” She said yes — and I filmed her for three hours speaking directly to people offstage — those initial interviews are in the book HACKING THE AFTERLIFE. (Homina Publishing 2016)

Since then, we’ve been meeting up weekly to have “conversations” with people on the flipside — courtesy of my friend Luana Anders who passed in 1996. Jennifer and I have four books BACKSTAGE PASS TO THE FLIPSIDE 1, 2 and 3, and TUNING INTO THE AFTERLIFE with transcripts from our weekly meetings. A couple of years ago, we put the meetings online as a podcast HACKING THE AFTERLIFE.

As usual we begin our meeting in a restaurant in Manhattan Beach, California, where Jennifer and I chat with folks offstage. Luana Anders, my pal who passed in 1996 is the moderator of this group on the other side. She helps people offstage to communicate with us — more specifically Jennifer Shaffer, who can “hear” “see” or “sense” visuals, sounds, messages from people offstage. ( Jennifer works with law enforcement agencies nationwide helping with missing person cases, so I know how effective she can be.

At this point we’d been doing this for four or five years every week. By virtue of the fact we’ve been at it for every week for all this time, we tend to speak in shorthand. I begin by referring to our “class” on the flipside. It was Tom Petty who gave us the idea for the title of the books, when he showed up one day, I said “why are you here?” He had a message he wanted us to pass along to his family — which I did.

After doing so, I heard from a family member who said “I wish every day I could speak to my father, and I don’t believe you or Jennifer is doing so.”

Which as I’m fond of saying, makes sense, absolutely logical, and I’ve held up my end of the promise to try to reach out to them. When they do show up to pass along messages, I always suggest they do so directly with a family member who not only can confirm what they are saying, but that it’s much better hearing it for themselves. (But I do recommend anyone can do so, and Jennifer is someone who can help them do that.)

In reply, Tom said “you have no idea how long the line is to get into this group to talk to you two. It’s like your friend Luana is the bouncer at the velvet rope that leads to the VIP lounge backstage. If you’re not on her list, you don’t get in.”

That’s a pretty funny image. Having worked as a music critic for Varity for a number of years, I instantly got the irony. So we named the books BACKSTAGE PASS TO THE FLIPSIDE.

So here’s an excerpt from the third in that series. I’m sharing it because Cass Elliot’s daughter has written a book, and this interview may find it’s way to her. Again — we’re not claiming this is word for word accurate, Jennifer is translating what she’s getting and I’m asking questions based on my knowledge of events that occurred, or I heard occurred. So any part of it could be inaccurate.

However, what is accurate is that they don’t disappear — that 25 years on earth feels like 5 or 10 minutes ago, and from Cass Elliot’s POV, her leaving the planet from a heart attack happened ‘like a record album ago.” For more information; see the films FLIPSIDE, TALKING TO BILL PAXTON or HACKING THE AFTERLIFE on Amazon. Or the forum on Quora “Hacking the Afterlife” or our podcast of the same name.

They are not gone. They just are not here.

If this does find it’s way to her daughter Own, congratulations on writing your story MY MAMA CASS, A MEMOIR and telling her story. It is a bit like the film Coco — the longer we speak of and listen to our loved ones, the easier it is to communicate with them before we see them again.

Here’s the chapter from our book “Backstage Pass to the Flipside Book 3” in honor of Cass Elliot.


As usual, something sparked my attention prior to our meeting. I had seen a film that starred “Mama” Cass Elliot, and knew my longtime agent Joel Gotler had been pals with her. (He’s read this chapter, and says they never had a romantic relationship, were just friends, but “for the most part is accurate.”)

Rich: Hi class. Well, I saw two documentaries this weekend…

Jennifer: “One was boring,” they said.

I agree. One was “Echo in the Canyon” a concert masquerading as a documentary; Jakob Dylan interviewing all the original bands from Laurel Canyon.

They’re saying “We should do that (film) about the other side.”

We should interview people on the flipside the way Jakob Dylan interviewed people? That’s a good idea. Then I went to see that documentary about David Crosby, “Remember My Name.”

I got that it was more about his drugs.

That’s right, (much about) his heroin addiction. So class, what did you guys think of that?

Roger Ebert just showed up. (Jennifer aside: “I know you don’t like him.”)

(Note: Roger gave my film “Limit Up” a “thumbs way down.” Years later, after doing this work — it’s reported in FLIPSIDE: A TOURIST’S GUIDE ON HOW TO NAVIGATE THE AFTERLIFE” both Roger and Gene Siskel “apologized” for their negative review. “You were ahead of your time” Gene said. (Was he joking? I don’t know))

I have no beef with Roger now, I’m always glad to see him. Thumbs up dude.

He just gave me the chills. He says “It’s going to hit more people because of the addiction — it was hidden, something hidden about it — people didn’t know how bad it was — he (Crosby) played Russian roulette every single time… (he did drugs).

After seeing the film, I sent him a note on social media. In the note, I mentioned Crosby’s girlfriend Christine Hinton who died at 21.

When you said her name, “Christine” I (just) got an image of all these robots. She’s 21, so I don’t know why they showed me this — they showed me red lipsticked girls from the Robert Palmer video “Addicted to Love.” That’s what showed up, but I don’t know where this is going.

You mean like a groupie thing?

Yeah; but they’re all robots.

Are you saying Christine was more like a groupie?

No. I think there were too many groupies that got in the way. The robots represent the groupies, it’s like he (Crosby) feels bad because he feels responsible for her death — they had a fight, she was crying, and went to meet someone…

They didn’t mention that in the film, but makes sense.

She said she caught him several times (with groupies) — I know the crash wasn’t her fault… hold on. I saw a tree… and she’s showing me it was her fault. Something about (it being) her fault.

In the film, they showed a news report, a horrific crash.

She says “No one did a toxicology report on her.”

So it may have been drug related? Well, either way, she died in a car accident, I think it was in Marin.

She showed me something with a tree. Felt like a tree lined street, a street like Laurel canyon — curves in the road.

My point was that she’s still with him, and I think she was with him every step of the way — but I don’t know if she was as in love with him as he seemed to be with her.

It’s timeless. This (relationship) has been going on for awhile, they keep trying to get it right. Remember when we spoke to Junior Seau and he told us that every lifetime we’re trying to chase the other lifetime when it didn’t work, to make it work? She’s saying “They almost had it — I felt like she was told not to go but she did.”

On the other hand, his music wouldn’t have happened without her loss.

Which will then catapult him in the next life… hold on. Because he’ll want to do more music, that angst will be there so they have a better shot at it (next time around.)

He seems pretty driven in terms of music; it appears it’s the only thing that keeps him going. He’s lost all his friends because he’s a pain in the ass. I was thinking about Cass Elliot who appears in the film. Luana, do you want to bring Cass in?

(Jennifer aside) I don’t know who that is. She’s really tall isn’t she?

Well she may be over there. Does she seem tall or big?

Maybe I saw someone looking up at her. She may have been big here — She showed me that girl from “The Mamas and Papas.”

That’s correct. (Ding!) That’s her.

(Jennifer aside) What? It is? I don’t know anything about them, or “The Mamas and Papas” but that’s what I got from her. She was in that band?

Yes, Cass Elliot. Funny she would show you the band — she is that band.

She’s very much different over there… now.

How to you perceive her there?

Flamboyant, like with peacock feathers; if she was wearing an outfit it would be with peacock feathers, sunglasses, crazy hair — “A lot taller over there,” she says.

(Note: The image in Wikipedia is her in peacock feathers, which I’ve never seen until uploading it for the book.)

Well, you appeared in three movies this weekend Cass; in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Echo in the Canyon” and “Remember My Name.” David Crosby talks about you with great affection.

Feels like he was a father figure to her.

They were close friends.

She says “Everyone was jealous of their relationship… they all thought…” She says “She for sure wanted to sleep with him.”

He said in the film “No one loved her the way she wanted to be loved.”

She says “That’s correct.” She was like “I don’t care, I wanted to sleep with him anyway.” It might have been daddy issues — Was he older than her?

He is now… she was much bigger, like a big person.

She’s showing me she’s not big anymore. She’s funny. She showed me “I look like the girl in Mamas and Papas…” and she was that person!

Michele Phillips is the other female member, I met her on that boat trip. She’s still on the planet, the other girl from the band. In Echo in the Canyon she reveals she had affairs with a lot of folks — and says “I really enjoyed myself in the 60’s!” But I didn’t know how Cass had died, and Crosby implies it was heroin. My agent Joel knew Cass.

She said “He was a lovely fellow… but he can be a pill.”

(Laughing). I’m sure he’s a pill to more people than me.

(Note: I’ve known Joel for a long time, never a pill to me, she’s being sarcastic.)

“That will change,” she said.

Okay, Cass, thanks for the note of confidence.

It feels like they she was in love with him when she was young.

You want to talk about that, Cass? Why did you check out so early?

“To get a new body,” she says (Jennifer laughing.)

Cass, who was there to greet you when you crossed over?

Her cat or dog at first… then her grandmother… on her dad’s side. She was there to greet her. She’s telling me she had thyroid issues, there was something wrong with her heart; that’s why she gained all the weight — it felt more like (it was) alcohol that killed her.

I don’t know — Crosby implied it was heroin.

She said “You could say that.” (Jennifer aside) I asked her “Was it heroin?” and she showed me a bunch of things — “Wrong place, wrong time, wrong drugs,” she said.

Who are you hanging out with over there?

“Jimi. (Hendrix) We’re planning our next lifetime.”

Who else?

She said “Luana. That’s why she’s here.” (Jennifer aside) Oh. That’s interesting. She showed me 7 different groups of lights — she showed me something profound… but just said “If you keep talking it won’t be.”

(That’s a reference to me to stop talking… I zip my lip)

She showed me (packets of light) all the musicians hang out together, then all the (people from the) medical field hang out together, all the industrial people, all the business minded people, all the great minds… they’re together.

And scientists?

She says, “Yes. There’s a philanthropy group which includes the scientists — she’s showing me 7 groups and there are subgroups.”

7 groups? Are they in our class or just in general?

I’m hearing “It’s related to seven dimensions.” I’m asking “But can’t you cross back and forth between dimensions?” They’re telling me “You have to have a pass for one that takes you to different ones.” They’re saying “The class in and of itself has a lot of ones within these groups; Stephen Hawking, Carl Jung and then our musicians, so you (Jennifer and Rich) have passes… that’s funny — like the title of our book is “Backstage Pass!” You have (to have) a pass depending where you want to go. At this moment, they all have the intention of talking to you, so they’re (all here) together. But they’re saying your idea to interview them over there is brilliant!

(Note: A lot to unpack in this answer. To paraphrase, “there are multiple dimensions.” I recently noted that Paul the Apostle claimed during his near death experience he went to “seven heavens” and saw various people from his lifetime. Some have noted different realms during their near death experiences, some have noted them during deep hypnosis sessions.

In her session with hypnotherapist Scott De Tamble, ( Jennifer saw herself on the “7th realm” coming down to “work on the 5th realm” and reported that we exist “in the third realm.” In “My Life After Life” by Galen Stoller he talks about visiting different realms that are mental constructs. This is the first time we’ve heard anything about “having a pass” to access them. Not sure who doles out the passes (we know it’s Luana to get into this class) but interesting to hear.)

So you prefer hanging out with your groups over there?

She says, “It’s way more powerful hanging out together.”

But some claim they exist on the flipside by themselves, so why do those hang out alone?

She says, “Because they may irritate (the others) and piss people off. So you avoid being in your group, then you realize you miss them and go back.”

(Note: This sounds more like a Cass Elliott answer than something from Jennifer. First I’ve heard of people “going off by themselves” to avoid interacting with their “soul group.” But makes sense.)

What dimension would you prefer to hang out in?

She said, “The spiritual dimension.”

Flying around?

From what I’m getting, I don’t know if I’m interpreting this correctly; but “the top one,” without a sense of hierarchy. I asked Luana “Where do you go?” and she showed me different dimensions, she showed me that’s the highest one (the “spiritual one”) — you get access and you are suddenly there, it’s not like you have to go anywhere to get there… but the most fun though, the dimension that is the most fun for her is the one with musicians and actors she says… I’m asking “What would you call that group?” “The Entertainment Group” she says. She says, “We help people to have memories.”

(Note: That’s also funny because that was the name of the company the man who produced our films, Jonathan Krane called his first company. “The Blake Edwards Entertainment Group.” Also, in the 16th century there was a portrait done of the “10 Heavens” and they referred to “being with fellow spirits on the top or tenth heaven.”)

(The Ptolemaic system. Ptolemy, a 1st century Roman author, drew this map of the “heavens.” From University of

How so?

She says, “When you use music as part of your memory, when the memory is about music, so like when you see your first concert, or you hear a song that jogs a memory, it tags you to whoever you were during that point in time.”

Like frequencies in music? The same frequencies stimulate the frequency of the memory?

She says, “Like your piano playing on the Millennium cruise boat created a music memory for many.”

One of our classmates, Penny Marshall was there.

She said, “She’s over there, yes.”

(Note: An unusual reference. I may have mentioned it to Jennifer in the past, but she’s referring to me being invited to “play the piano” on a 2K cruise ship with billionaires (Bob Shaye, Ted Turner, etc) and their celebrity pals. I had sent a fax to Bob Shaye when I heard about the cruise, saying I was “available to play piano.” I was surprised when invited for two legs of the cruise. However, when I arrived on the ship, people I knew were shocked, asking “What the hell are you doing here?” as if I’d interloped on an A-list party. Francis Coppola said “Why is it whenever I go to great party, you’re always there?” (Luana Anders had introduced us).

As I walked away from hearing these guffaws, I heard Luana’s voice in my head “This is why you’re here. To turn those opinions around.” Various celebs had me accompany them as they sang or danced; Penny Marshall, Richard Perry, Francis had me act in a play he directed, Phillip Noyce and I met a 125 year old woman in Dominica; I scattered some of Luana’s ashes in whatever port we sailed to. No idea if I changed any opinions, but it was amusing.)

Anything you want to tell your friends Cass? What should I tell Joel?

She said, “Tell him — to get seeing glasses.”

You mean better reading glasses?

She says, “Not glass — but glasses to see things etherically.”

All he’s got to do is read this books.

She’s saying “He can’t hear people either, he can’t hear anything from the flipside — but he means well.” She says he’s going to help you. He needs to be.. “You are prodding him and he feels that if he opens himself up to this research, he’s going to miss a lot of people — like the guy who told us that it’s too hard to realize there is an afterlife because how sad it made him feel.”

Yes, that was Harry Dean Stanton. Said he was an atheist because the alternative was too painful. So it’s too painful for Joel to open up this door?

Jennifer taps her nose. (for “yes!”)

Cass, what is one thing can I tell Joel?

She’s showing me a drink. I don’t think he drinks any more.

You mean some health drink?

I’m trying to get something from back there — I’m trying not to judge it… hang on!


She says “She loved being lost with him.” I don’t know what that means.

You mean physically, like being in a car?

I asked that — she said “He’ll know what that means.”

Okay. Who else wants to talk…

Oh. Billy. (Paxton)

I heard that too. (Meaning, Bill Paxton came to mind.)

He showed up. We were talking about Texas and getting guns and cowboys… might as well.

As I was driving over Bill is the person who popped into my head.

He’s telling me about a birthday of his wife — might be a big one, like 60? Give me his last name again, sorry.

Paxton. His wife is Louise.

“Like Thelma and Louise,” he said. I think she might have had a big birthday… but he says “He was there.” She may have felt him brush by her. He says “She looks better than she’s ever looked; he’s like “Yeah, I still love her.”

Has she looked at the letter or film I sent her? (“Talking to Bill Paxton”)

“She put it aside, she wasn’t ready.” She has a hard time believing he’s around. He’s showing me like shouting at her that he’s there.

Anything you want me to pass along?

Something with her tooth needs to get checked.

How do I pass that along to her?

Somebody that’s connected… like a cousin. I just saw Tyler Henry the (Hollywood) medium. I think Tyler’s going to read her. I think it will inspire her to go back to what you told her.

Is that what you wanted to tell us?

“Yes. She’s going to go back and look at the letter.”

She may reach out at some point in the future?

“After a reading.” Why do I keep getting shown Dr. Drew? hold on. Showing me Dr. Drew and you — doing a show or something — like a late night show we talked about.

Could be the thing we’ve done — that 15 minute interview, where I walk Dr. Drew into the flipside on YouTube.

That’s it.

(Note: That in the film HACKING THE AFTERLIFE on Amazon. I went on Dr. Drew’s wife’s podcast, and asked Dr. Drew if he wanted to “take a walk into the flipside” with me. He didn’t believe in an afterlife, but in 15 minutes we were accessing a past life (that I was able to forensically verify) and a visit to his council, that was similar to other people’s trips to their councils, and is reproduced in the book “Architecture of the Afterlife.” But the clip is online.)

So what does he mean, he wants me to repost that?

Repost on your blog about it.

Okay, I can do that I’ll give you credit for it Bill.

And Luana she just went like this (stepped in front of him) She wants credit too. I actually asked her to help me with my “Wine and Spirits” group on Monday; it was the best; I got a standing ovation; they were like “Oh my gosh!” Our class helped make me feel comfortable.

Good job guys.

And she watched the movie “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood with me” and she showed me that too.

What did she think about that film?

Luana said “Boring… but fascinating.” She said it was more fun watching people in the audience trying to figure out if was okay watching a film about the Manson murders.

Okay, but what made you think of that? Is there someone associated with that film that you want us to talk to?

(Note: Luana was invited up to the house where the Manson murders took place along with her close friend Robert Towne. Both of them passed. Luana had dated a hairdresser in Gene Shacove’s salon, a fellow named Richard Alcalla (mentioned in an earlier book) so she was familiar with Jay Sebring, one of the people killed by Manson’s followers. I had thought about interviewing Jay, but she wanted to talk about someone else.)

I’m seeing Jimi Hendrix again. Was he in that film?

No. But hang on, let’s unpack this. You’re seeing Jimi Hendrix. That’s probably a reference to the Monterey Pop festival where Luana drove with Harry Dean Stanton and Fred Roos to see Jimi. It just so happens that fifteen minutes ago I wrote an email to Fred about the budget of her film, as a studio is interested.

That’s it. She had to go through that to get to this.

She wants to talk about Fred who was with her at the Hendrix show; an hour ago I got an email from the studio asking what the budget of our film should be. Luana? What should it be?

I heard her say “It’s priceless….”

It is, but everyone can weigh in. Question is not what I can make it for, what should I tell the studio?

She says “Tell them (a number) and they’ll give you (a number).

Tell them one number and they’ll give me part of that?

She says “They’re going to scramble it in your head between those numbers.”

Did I unpack that correctly? Jimi Hendrix leads to Fred? Because Luana knows that you don’t know what Fred Roos looks like, so she gave you a reference point instead.


I’d like to ask about the session I did the other day where we spoke to Jesus on both days. Anything you want to weigh in on my conversation?

They said “It was amazing.” They showed me it was limitless. They showed me you breaking the velvet rope. That’s a good name for a chapter.

(Note: That’s the name of the chapter in “Architecture of the Afterlife.”)

One council told me to be cautious, I replied that the people who aren’t supposed to understand it will not. In the same breath she said “They’re telling me “You’re the bridge. What you’re doing is bridging the different realms.

Luana is saying “Jennifer is the cell tower; you’re the bridge. You provide comfort. I can’t take away people’s grief or sadness the way that you do; you actually help people with their grief.”

I got that advice from your dad; turn grief to nostalgia, lest we forget. So my conversations with Jesus were accurate?

They were, but they’re like “Rich, what do you think?” I’m a skeptic too, but they showed me how exhausting it is when we doubt what they’re saying. They’re saying “we can reserve so much energy if you would just fly with us.”

Is there anything I missed in the conversation?

They showed me you hearing it correctly.

Okay, Luana, who else wants to come through?

Thank you Billy.

I think it’s cool that I heard his name and then you saw him.

I just know not to negate; he always comes through as such a funny, bright person. It was a great entrance, talking about guns in Texas, and he was like “Yo, let’s just get after it…?

What about our Junior Seau/Paul Allen/Dave Duerson film?

Remember the hockey player I said who came forward to tell me he died from CTE? Try to connect it to someone who is a doctor who is dealing with this.

You mean like scientists dealing with CTE. I should reach out to them?

“Privately — a couple of times,” they said. Why am I getting Jack Nicholson? Luana says you need to call him.

It was wild, Jack showed up in one of my non hypnosis sessions. I was talking to someone on the flipside, a council member and I asked “Are you familiar with my work?” And he said “Yes, through Jack.” And I asked “Jack who?” And she said “Jack Nicholson.” This woman has not read any of my books, her council member was telling her that he was aware of my work by connecting to the “higher consciousness” of Jack. Let’s ask Luana; was this correct?

She says “Yes.”

The only way I can explain is that Jack’s higher self and you were in touch with this fellow; is that correct?

Hold on… I’m talking to Luana…

How is it that Jack’s higher self is aware of my work?

I got “Hot Lips” (Sally Kellerman) and all the people you’re connected to.

It was odd, I met this woman at a screening, she invited me for coffee, I helped her access her dad on the flipside, we visited her council — she’s never read any of my books — and as I had her access her council, this lead council guy said “Tell him I know of his work through Jack. He’ll know who I mean.”

She’s saying “It is definitely Jack.” She wants you to talk to him about it.

And how would I do that?

Call him. She said “He has nothing else to do, remind him of the letters (that he wrote to Luana) and tell him there’s something else Luana wanted to give him. She says a punch. I just want to make sure I’m getting this right. They’re making fun of me. They’re saying he’s afraid of talking about the flipside, it reminds him more of his character in the Shining. She’s saying by talking to him about it, you’re going to soften his eventual landing on the flipside, when he finally returns home — Like Luana did for Harry Dean by showing up with that car. She’s saying you need like three weeks with him.

What’s the sentence I should say? “Luana wanted me to reach out to Jack and I need to talk to him about something?”

Yes, the assistant will think she’s alive.

(Note: I did call him, and the assistant did think she was alive, asking me to spell her name. Jack called me back, we had a lovely chat about Luana, about the film, and he confirmed something that Harry Dean Stanton told me to tell him. It’s not something public, something private, that only Jack would know. I told him what Harry had said and Jack said “He’s right Richard.” Not something I could have known, something that Jennifer could have known — but Harry did. It doesn’t make it any easier to lose close friends, but it can give us solace to realize they aren’t very far away.)

Jack’s got some of Luana’s ashes up there in his home. Is this call going to help him?

I think he may be worried about his legacy as well.

He’s privately, quietly helped so many of his friends.

But nobody knows. Maybe it’s telling the Luana and Jack story and all those in between. They’re showing me he’ll be excited about it. All those back stories — like Luana and the hairdresser story.

Well, I’m doing my best to get her story right.

She showed me coins flying into the air

What’s that mean?

The money doesn’t matter. You’re already famous up there. Just be creative with the story. And then Amelia popped in.

Well I’ll make the Amelia story after that, as it will open that door.

I have to run. Bye class!

We love you.

(Excerpt from BACKSTAGE PASS TO THE FLIPSIDE: TALKING TO THE AFTERLIFE BOOK THREE (Homina Publishing 2020 All Rights Reserved.)

NOTE: During the pandemic, Jennifer and I put these talk online in the podcast HACKING THE AFTERLIFE. We do it the same way we’ve always worked together — I have no idea who might show up, or I do have a first name of someone I’d like to speak with.

For a private session with Jennifer: — She and I will be doing a public podcast, taking questions from the audience at the CONTACT IN THE DESERT conference ( this coming Saturday June 1st at 10:30 am.

All are invited.

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