Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Life After Death

I dare say that one of life's greatest mysteries lies in what happens after we die. Yes, our body is worthless at that point, but what about our souls? Since this can only be answered in death, it will always be ambiguous to those residing in this dimension. Those on the “other side” must surely laugh at our ignorance.

All living humans fall into one of three categories: religious, agnostic, or atheist. Where one falls will determine their outlook on life and death. I’m not a church-goer, but I do believe in God, and talk to him frequently—cussing not included. I have escaped too many brushes with death to be a non-believer. I also know too many “ghost stories” to deny their existence. Perhaps that’s why I include occasional references to other realms in some of my stories. After all, good fiction always raises questions.

I’m not foolish enough to discuss specific religions since it has spawned continuous wars since man first uttered spiritual words. However, I am intrigued by the possibility of communicating with ghosts, and how they may affect our lives. Are there really people who can converse with spirits, or is this a fabrication intended to ease the pain of grieving for their loved ones? Is it possible to have Guardian Angles watching over us? Can people be reincarnated? Beats me, since I haven’t crossed over yet, but when I do, I’ll send you a note. Hopefully you’ll receive it.

France’s Duke of Chantilly was so convinced that he would return as a horse that he built a horse barn that rivals Versailles. (See photos.) I suppose it’s possible that the duke is still a resident there—assuming that once you’re a horse, you keep coming back as a horse. Or perhaps the duke had his shot as a horse, and now he’s a barn cat. One thing’s for sure—no animal came up to me speaking French, so if the duke was there, I didn’t meet him. Then again, it’s a big place, so maybe he missed me. How ironic would it be if the horse the duke is riding in the statue outside of his horse barn was actually him in his next life? That could make an interesting story, don’t you think?

There are so many questions about the afterlife that it’s clear every culture ponders it. Consider Zombie folk lore; do the dead really rise, or are they just doped-up believers wondering around—like Zombies? Did Egypt’s pharaohs continue their lives in another dimension as they believed they would? Again, I don’t know, but one thing is for sure; our fascination with the next dimension is bound to continue for as long as we live. And therein lies the mystery.


Jean Henry Mead said...

Excellent article, Mark. Have you read any of Sylvia Browne's books about the "Other Side?" Fascinating reading. I'd also like to return as a horse, although I was told by Sylvia's son that this is my 38th and last life here on Earth. I wonder if they have horses on Mars? :)

Mark W. Danielson said...

I haven't read Sylvia Browne, but I do love Dean Koontz' Odd Thomas series. Odd is just an average guy with the gift of the sixth sense. As such, ghosts seek him out to help solve their murders. If you enjoy reading ghost stories with witty humor, you would probably enjoy this series.

Beth Terrell said...

Tim Hallinan spoke to our Sisters in Crime group last night. One of the things he discussed was how almost all of the Thai people he knows sees (or has at some time or another seen) ghosts. This sensitivity to spirits is an interesting thread in his books, though he handles it very delicately; the reader can decide if it's a reflection of reality, imagination, spirituality, or psychology.

Mark W. Danielson said...

Beth, there will always be believers and non-believers. I received the following from a very credible friend last night, and thought I'd share.

"I enjoyed reading your blog and I agree with your viewpoints. I think there are Guardian Angles -my sister has a good team of them! And I can't explain what went on when Joe [not his real name] died, but I believe the soul moves on. He died a little after midnight [in the company of my friend and I.] Hospice asked for us to wait an hour before calling (to make sure he was dead) We waited an hour. My friend called [her husband] at 1 AM and he called the family and hospice. [This is where it gets interesting.] "Joe's" sister told my friend that when he called, she had received a call from Joe's mother. About 12:30 AM the mother reported that Joe had visited her. He sat with her on the couch and they talked for about 30 minutes. The mother called Joe's sister several times during the visit. She was very happy to visit with Joe. Joe's parents were unable to travel to visit Joe before he died. They had health problems but were fine mentally. Joe talked to his dad everyday on the phone. But Joe would not talk to his mother on the phone and I had no idea why."

Was Joe's appearance a figment of his mother's imagination? I don't think so, but there will always be skeptics.

Pat Browning said...

I'm one who believes in ghosts or "sprits." At any time, I think they are elbow to elbow with us -- a room can get very crowded. (-:

An interesting thing happened after one of my cats had to be put to sleep. His name was George and he was a orange striped cat that I had from the time he was born.
My husband and I loved him dearly and he had the run of the house for years.

After my husband died, George got sick and I finally had the vet put him out of his misery. A friend buried him for me, and I cried for days.

One day I was sitting at the breakfast counter, drinking coffee,feeling down in the dumps, and staring out at the deck, when George walked across the deck. He stopped, stretched -- a looong stretch -- and walked on and disappeared.

It happened so fast, but I ran outside and called him. He was gone, and I never saw him again. I have always believed that George showed up just to say, "Hey, don't worry. I'm fine."

Pat Browning

Pat Browning said...

Ooops. I meant "spirits" not "sprits." (-:
Pat B.

Mark W. Danielson said...

After Dean Koontz's dog Trixie passed away, he received so many letters describing events similar to Pat's that he compiled them into a book that he hopes to release in 2009. As with all of Trixie's books, any proceeds will go to animal organizations.

I believe such manifestations are not the result of wishful thinking, but rather momentary crossovers to reassure us that all is well. Regardless of what one chooses to believe, there is no question that our pets bring us unconditional love. The motto on a Carraba's Italian Grill bag says, "There is no love more sincere than the love of food." I disagree. To me, there is no love more sincere than our pet's.

Mark W. Danielson said...

I'll add my own oops -- that should be Dean Koontz', not Koontz's. My apologies, Dean