Paranormal Yakker with your host Stan Mallow

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Season 2 Episode 1

Mark Mirabello. Author of A Traveler’s Guide to the Afterlife.
Doctor Mark Mirabello is a Professor of History at Shawneee State University in Ohio. He has appeared on the History Channel, where he discussed deadly cults in the Ancient Alien series and appearing in America’s Book of Secrets. He is the author of Handbook for Rebels and Outlaws: Resisting Tyrants, Hangmen, and Priests, The Odin Brotherhood, and, The Cannibal Within. In his interview with Stan Mallow, the Paranormal Yakker, Professor Mirabello discusses his latest book, A Traveler’s Guide to the Afterlife: Traditions and Beliefs on Death, Dying, and What Lies Beyond. He details how various cultures from the beginning of time viewed the afterlife and what happens to the physical body when it leaves the earth plane. Professor Mirabello also talks about how different religions and cultures view the soul. This includes where the soul came from, what happens to it when we die, and the possibility that some people may indeed be soulless and if there is a connection between the physical body and the soul; or, are they totally separate.
Further, Professor Mirabello speaks about the belief that some people have that we are all in a dream state at this very moment and that, in reality, we are dead. The drug Ketamine is discussed, and how some people, when taking it, claim that they can see dead people. The Professor also reveals three words that some people believe, if uttered, would send that person to paradise after death.

Transcript of video Interview

Stan Mallow
Hi everyone, I'm Stan Mallow. Welcome to "Paranormal Yakker." My guest on today's show is distinguished history professor and author, Mark Mirabello. We'll be discussing his book, "A Traveler's Guide to the Afterlife: "Traditions and Beliefs "on Death, Dying, and What Lies Beyond." Professor Mirabello, welcome to "Paranormal Yakker."
Mark Mirabello
Well, thank you for the opportunity. It's an honor to be here.
Stan Mallow
Now, as you all know, the world is now in the midst of a devastating pandemic. As a result, many people, including young people who rarely think of death, I mean, they think there'll be here another thousand years, they do have it on their mind. Your book answers to questions people have about death and gives them much food for thought. What motivated you in the first place to write it?
Mark Mirabello
Ironically, there were several factors. One was the death of my own father. And secondly, this is the ultimate question. I'm always disturbed that in modern West, America in particular, people are obsessed with income, buying the latest house, where this is the ultimate question. There's a great line from the Buddha that someone who doesn't consider these issues is like a man who's fallen off a cliff who simply decides to enjoy the trip down. We have a brief time here. And as my book explored, in fact, I tried to do it globally and across all historical era. There are many different doorway to the other world. Regrettably in the West, we always think, well, the Hindus say the beginning of error is one. We always think there's only one way to do something. If you don't have an immortal soul, there is no afterlife. If there is no God, there's no afterlife. If your religion is incorrect, there's no afterlife. If you're not a good person, there's no afterlife. As I explore in the book, there's actually a possibility we live forever, even if there's no God. There's a possibility that we can live forever even if there's no soul. For example, I discuss the eternal recurrence that Friedrich Nietzsche resolved. If matter can only arrange itself certain number of ways, if time is eternal, this is called the turnover occurrence. So we've already done this interview endless number of times before, and we will do it an endless number of times in the future, as the cycle of time repeats. Again, I explore all these possibilities. And if I may interject, I remember what rather surprised me. When I published the book, for example, there was a reviewer in the U.K. He seemed to think because I gave so many different ways of surviving the afterlife, that somehow I was discrediting the afterlife. Again, he was thinking, if there's all these different ways to do it, it's not real. And that was not my intention. And then there was another reviewer I remember reading about. It was again a cancer patient in the United States. And he was alarmed by the fact that I gave different, like what Hinduism discusses, Buddhism, various Christian groups, Islam, traditional religions. We've spent 99% of our time as hunters and gatherers. So I even look at that. And this man seemed disturbed that I just didn't discuss one technique, but there's a number of different ways. The Buddha says there's over 108,000 paths to the other side. So that's why, I didn't do all of them, but hopefully I covered enough.
Stan Mallow
I think so. Now, when I have conversations with people about death, two areas seem to be of top concern. One is what happens to their physical body. The other is what happens to their soul. I would like now to address those concerns separately. So here goes. What do different cultures, religions, believe happens to the physical body when it leaves the Earth plane?
Mark Mirabello
Well, rather curiously, again, we have so many different possibilities. In the case of traditional Christianity, there's a resurrection of the body. Although not all Christians believed in this. In the case of the ancient Egyptians, your body was not simply discarded, you mummified it. Because they believed in what's called imitative magic. Things are always connected. That's also called contagious magic, another element. If your body decomposed, your soul got weaker and weaker until it passed away. Now I should mention, if you just wanna talk about the biology of death, oddly enough, it's a mystery. There was a Russian named Fyodorov who lived in the 19th century. And he was such a materialist, he was convinced, since he thought there's no such thing as soul and that life was not something really abstract, but it was a function of the body, that if a dead body is properly repaired, it should come back to life. Much like if you repair a radio, it works again. And in fact, his logic is impeccable. But if we repair the body of someone recently dead, we can't bring them back to life. And in fact, oddly enough, and I'm actually plagiarizing, I forget her name. It was the widow, she now passed away herself, of Carl Sagan. She was a biologist who said that we still can't tell, biochemically speaking, a live cat from a dead cat. Everything in a living human, when the person dies until he decomposes, all the elements are there. We're approximately six major elements with a few others. What has left? Why are we no longer alive? Now again, modern science always tends to think that life is generated by the body. But in Eastern lore, it's called non-dualist thought, they actually say, for example, that the mind is generating the body itself. This is all a dream. In some versions, we're having our own dreams. In others, we're in the dream of a god. And I suspect, in fact, Sir, was his name, Jeans. I forget his first name. He was a noted cosmologist in Britain in the 20th century. I think it was James Jeans. Said, near the end of his life, he was a scientist and cosmologist, that, "more and more, the world is looking "like a great thought, not a great machine." So we don't really know what death is. In the modern West, we think if we describe something, we understand it. But we don't. Why? For example, if you go the reverse birth, you take a fluid, and it's put in a human womb. And then nine months later, an intact, whole child emerges. Imagine if you took some fluid, put it in a pot, put the lid on, waited nine months, and a baby crawled out. We'd be fascinated and shocked. But the same thing happens with birds. So death is a mystery. Although I should mention, hope I don't go on too long with this. We're designed to self-destruct, which is really odd. The Genesis story that we have to die seems to be true. We have something called the Hayflick Limit, our cells only multiply so many times. That's why we die. Yet cancer cells can multiply forever, which is curious. Healthy cells cannot, cancer cells multiply forever. In fact, some years ago, there was a fringe thinker in Australia who suggested that we have cancer. I have cancer. We have cancer because we're slowly evolving into immortals. Well, our regular cells would be replaced by pure malignancies, if you will, and will someday, thousands of years from now, be immortal. But what's curious, if you look at biology, where sexual reproduction occurs, death occurs. Bacteria are essentially immortal. Like pagan gods of of the old Norse mythology, they can be killed, but they don't grow old and die on their own. That's how bacteria is. Or I guess I should say, are. And you can kill them with Lysol, but they replicate. There's no mother-daughter, they duplicate and go on and on and on. But once sex enters into the great chain of being, death occurs. And that can't be a coincidence. Which is why, curiously enough, when rabbis read the Old Testament, they're doin' it in Hebrew. And they note that the verb to know is the same as to have sex. That's why an Abraham knows his wife. That's literally a literal translation. So, and the Tree of Knowledge is involved with death. Once they taste the Tree of Knowledge, they're expelled. Now they don't have the Tree of Life, so they die. But, and by the way, while we're talking about this, in some cultures, we are not by definition immortal, like the ancient Egyptians. You have to take certain steps. They had salvation by magic. If you do absolutely nothing, you die. And that's why I think it's important for the readers, listeners here tonight, watchers, there are simple steps to take to survive. And in fact, I end the book with a paraphrase of Blaise Pascal, the father of probability. I changed what he said. He talked about belief in God. And he said, "What would the gambler do?" I change it to afterlife. If the atheist, or I should say the skeptic, is correct, and there is no afterlife, he's in no way better off than the believer. We all go to the same place, extinction. But if there is an afterlife, and you prepare for it, you're way ahead of the skeptic who does nothing, who potentially just faces extinction. And indeed in a lot of Eastern cultures, the worst thing you can be, for example, Diamond Vehicle Buddhism in Tibet, is to disbelieve, because they believe you encounter, because everything is from our minds, you encounter what you expect. So if you are a disbeliever, you'll be in darkness. You can't realize you're still surviving death. So you think you're in some kind of horrible nightmare or you're in a coma somewhere. And I have to confess, I tend to think that perhaps since there are so many versions of the afterlife that we encounter what we expect. So belief is important.
Stan Mallow
Now, what do different religions and cultures believe about the soul? Does everyone have one? Is it possible some people are soulless, 'cause we often hear the expression, "That person is soulless." And if there is a soul, where did it come from, and what happens to it when we die? And is the soul and the physical body somehow interconnected, or are they totally separate?
Mark Mirabello
That's a really interesting question. And by the way, it's again, a complex answer. Most cultures that are polytheistic believe we have multiple souls. In fact, people don't realize it, because the way we, shall we say, mistranslate the Bible, we use the word soul and spirit as synonyms. But in fact, they're not. The spirit in the Greek and also in the Hebrew is your life force. There's, in John, Jesus appears and breathes on the apostles. And we translate that as "receive ye the Holy spirit," like it's part of the Trinity. In fact, it's the life force. Romans, when they died, the eldest son would breathe the last breath of his dying father to keep the life force in the family. Then you have the soul. We think it's different from the spirit. Spirit keeps you alive. That's how they explain how someone could be still alive in a coma. His spirit is there, but his soul is gone. And the soul, rather curiously, I'll now go to the Ancient Greeks, the soul that survives, they called your dream soul. It's what you are when you're dreaming at night. Their soul can fly. It can do wonderful things. You think something, and you're there. It's called the psyche. In fact, oddly enough, psychology means literally study of souls. Most psychologists don't realize that. And that's what survives. And it's separate from your life force. And now in other cultures, they'll have an element, like the Egyptians had multiple souls. The ba is the one that seems to be important. And while I'm on it, the way the Egyptians believe, you don't actually go anywhere permanently to the afterlife. If you survive death through magic. Well, they reason by analogy. They thought every morning, the sun, God, was born in the womb of his mother, the sky goddess, Nut. And he traveled across the celestial Nile. They thought he was in a boat. We think there's space out there. They thought there was water out there. And by the way, that's in the Bible as well. The firmament of Heaven separates the waters above from the waters below. And then he travels across the sky, and he ages. And by nightfall, he's an old man, and he dies, or an old god. He dies in the arms of his mother, the sky goddess. And then he takes a journey across an underworld. 19th-century scholars thought it was Hell that was being described. Budge, an archeologist, famously published a book, "Heaven and Hell of the Egyptians." But in fact, it's not the hell. What you have to do is you journey through either 9 gates or 12 gates, it varies. You must know magic passwords and various activities to pass through the gates. And you join the sun god in in this quest. Now, in the morning, they never thought the morning would happen automatically. He had to survive the trek. And if we're with him and survived the trek, we come among the living. The Egyptians thought the dead, during the daylight, were among us. And that night, they continue the journey. So in ancient Egypt, it was an endless journey. It was not a destination. And, oh, incidentally, they used to say the Egyptians were the first ones to have an ethical component to the afterlife. That one thing that's really important. We automatically assume in the West that if there is an afterlife, you have to be good to get in there, and bad people go to Hell. That's not how it works globally. Hell, well, first of all, underworlds are unknown among, with a couple exceptions, hunters and gatherers. Underworlds seem to be a development of the farming cultures. And in hunting cultures, everyone goes to the same place. Including, well, the good and the bad. And it tends to be in the west is the location of the dead. But once civilization develops, it's the farmer. They not only invent the underworld and the heaven, they put an ethical component on it. And that makes it a bit suspicious, because ethics seems to be for social control. People are told in the towns, "The reason he is rich and evil, "well, he'll be punished someday. "And you're poor, sick, and miserable, "but you'll be rewarded." So it keeps people in line. I'm not trying to criticize ethics as a factor, but it's a bit suspicious because ethics are defined differently in different cultures. And the Dayaks in Borneo, the person who has the best status in the the next world is the most successful headhunter. Well, put that in a Christian context. It doesn't work. And we forget that our modern ethics are based on people living in crowded communities. That's why humility, cooperation, and love are important. But if you're hunting band of 50 people, you want people who can kill, hunt animals, and fight enemies. Those cultures, the Comanche of the Great Plains, South Plains. Violence was an act of religion. Killing people, hunting bison, and torturing people were actually religious acts. Modern accounts often sanitize that. They just don't want to believe it. But that's, we have many cultures. The Vikings were that way. The Inuit, called Eskimo. You couldn't find a wife, typically, among Inuit, unless you killed somebody, committed murder. So ethics varies. I think the Greeks had it right. Ancient Greeks thought that there were no commandments from Mount Olympus. Ethics are rules humans work out so they can live together. And the rules change. That's why we're having these current decisions. I just recently heard that someone was ousted from a program because of their positions that were, the person was accused of being sexist and homophobic. But frankly St. Paul was that. So do we throw him out of the Bible? But the rules change. That's why I think ethics are unimportant. And when I was talking about the Egyptians, it's not an ethical judgment they really went through, because there was Spell 125 that could actually get you through that test. And you denied committing certain sins, even if you were guilty of them because you were interested in magic. So you pass the test by denying the sins, even if you committed them. So again, I'm all over the map here, but the variety is just so enormous.
Stan Mallow
Oh, it's fascinating. Now, has the existence of an afterlife ever been scientifically proven? And if so, how is that done?
Mark Mirabello
Well, first of all, one of the problems with science. Now, in the 19th century, if science had continued to develop the way they were then, it probably could have been done, because even Darwin attended a seance. That's unthinkable today. With George Eliot, the novelist, and the modern science, I'm plagiarizing, actually, the work of Charles Fort, he was kind of an American. Fortean phenomena comes from him. What science is, is a half-truth, it's true, parading as the whole truth. Modern science dismisses any possibility of spiritual forces. And even if they were seeing the evidence, if a person who's dead comes back to life, and talks to them, and then dies, they won't believe it. It's called pathological disbelief. They're afraid of being laughed at. There was a 19th century, again, I'm using a Russian scholar who said that in the West it's timid rationalism. People are afraid, scholars, academics. That's what peer review is for. They want other people to accept what they're saying. They're not too daring because they're afraid of being laughed at. Now, in the late 19th century, there was an M.D. named Wiltsey, and he died. He was dead for several hours, and he was pronounced dead. And he could actually experience the people around him, even though he was dead. And he describes what he encountered. And then came back to life. And he was able to publish in an academic journal a description of his post-death experience. That would be absolutely impossible today. They would reject your manuscript. Moody, who was the fellow down in the South with the M.D. and the PhD, Raymond Moody. He wrote the famous "Life After Life." And he actually recorded what people who had been clinically dead describe. But again, he didn't get academic credentials from this. This was just a best-seller. The general public would read it, but the academics think it's just simply a hallucination caused by lack of oxygen. But having said that, I should mention, when we study near-death experiences in the West, we may be making a mistake. Sorry, that's my clock going off.
Stan Mallow
Oh, okay.
Mark Mirabello
"For whom the bell tolls," sorry. Although it adds-
Stan Mallow
That's okay.
Mark Mirabello
Kind of adds to the atmosphere a little bit here.
Stan Mallow
Yes.
Mark Mirabello
Any rate, I was talking about, Moody describes this. And a lot of people do. They're clinically dead. And they describe this wonderful light and beauty. But if the Tibetans and Diamond Vehicle Buddhism are correct, that's actually, we're misrepresenting what's happening. They say, and by the way, "The Tibetan Book of the Dead," that's how it's called in America, in the West, in translation. I have a section in my book where, 'cause there's so much confusing material in it. I trim it down to the main, it's kind of Cliff Notes for the dying. And all the main points. What you'll experience from "The Tibetan Book of the Dead." And they say that when you die, you enter the clear light of the void. And if you merge with it, your endless rebirth, remember, they believe in transmigration of souls, stops, and you're in Nirvana. But most people will shrink back. And that means your quest continues. And then there's a secondary encounter, and most people shrink back. But then the next few days, you'll encounter these beautiful beings. So a dead Westerner may think he's in heaven. There're these beautiful creatures. They look like angels, gods. Beautiful creatures. The Tibetans say the creatures you see will be based on the content of your own mind. So a Christian will see angels. A pagan will see pagan gods. A Tibetan will see what he's expecting to see. But then after so many days, if you haven't escaped the cycle of rebirth, you start to encounter what looks like monstrous beings. And you may think you're in Hell. And that goes on for several days. And "The Tibetan Book of the Dead" says do not. In the East, it's always about being calm. Do not show emotion or fear. Do not become attached to the glorious beings. Do not be repulsed by the dangerous beings. Because one can't help you, and the other one can't hurt you. And they describe this at length. And then if you haven't escaped by this point, you enter one of six possible, you're starting to head for rebirth, one of six possible realms. And for example, this is what intrigues me, in Tibetan Buddhism, you can come back as a god in your next life. We forget in the East. Also Hinduism has this. There's always the god Shiva, but someone has become Shiva. And then, after you've exhausted your karma that got you there, you'll be a god for millions of years. But eventually, you're corrupted by the power and bliss. In your next life, you will fall. You won't be a god in your next life, typically. And vice versa. If you ended up in a hellish route, you've been a really horrible person, and you're in Hell, in the East, it may last a few hundred million years, but it ends. The karma that got you there will be exhausted, and you can come back and be something much higher. In Jainism, another Indian religion, they have these pathfinders that instruct the human race. There are 24 of them each cycle of history. The future pathfinder is presently in Hell. He committed, but he'll be purged of his crimes. And the next time in his birth, he'll be this great leader that'll teach us. In the East, it's never forever. In the West, most people don't realize this, that, you know, in Judaism, for Jews, Hell lasts one year. That's it. And you get the Sabbath off. You're allowed to go to a mountain of snow to cool. Now, this is for Jews only. They're not discussing the gentile afterlife. They're just discussing their own. They have four Jews in all history that go to hell forever, but I won't get into that. But all Jews typically go to hell for a year at most. And then they have the idea of the Garden of Eden they can go to and also rebirth. 'Cause that comes from the Kabbalah. So again, a wide variety. Now, the Mormons teach you can come back as a god, literally. In fact, that's what the temple ceremonies are about. That is so bizarre to Americans. When the Mormon missionary's knockin' at your door, they won't tell you that. They actually instruct their missionaries, "Give milk before meat." But if you go through certain steps. In fact, George Romney's already done it. Including marry forever. You marry a woman forever. You will be a god in the in the highest heaven. As God is now, you will be. And they give you the techniques to become a god. Also the Mormons, they have a hell called the outer darkness. You can get out of Hell. If you accept the gospel, you can leave Hell. So it's again, not forever. It's interesting how Orthodox Christians view the Mormons, it's really bizarre. But if you study world religions, nothing they say is bizarre because you find it elsewhere. In fact, I have a class on alternate religions at Shawnee State University where I teach. And I always try to emphasize that anything can look ridiculous if you don't understand. Speaking of which, there was an evangelical minister I'll plagiarize. He actually rightly points out, modern science teaches that hydrogen, given a long, long, long time turns into humans. And it's actually true. If you talk about the Big Bang Theory, the primal atom explodes, and then the primitive elements like hydrogen are formed, and then eventually stars are formed. And then the stars somehow create planets, and the planets, all on their own, cool, and somehow lifeforms are spontaneously generated, microscopic. Then eventually it becomes more elaborate through natural selection. And you get vertebrates and you get higher creatures. Then you get primates and you get humans. And it's all on its own, hydrogen turns into human beings. You know, it makes it look ridiculous if you see it that way. But when they lecture on it in universities, it's got a solemness about it, this is how it happens.
Stan Mallow
Some people, professor, believe that right now, at this very moment I'm speaking with you, we are really in a dream state, and that in reality, we are dead. Do you know why they would believe something like that? And is there a possibility, even a remote one, that it could be true?
Mark Mirabello
Yes, it's very possible we're dead and we think we're alive. One of the oddities about humans is we tend to forget our dreams, but remember the day-to-day living. If it had been reversed, if we remembered our dreams, but forgot the day-to-day, we would get confused as to what's real and what's not. But it is very possible that that we are dead now. In fact, even Charles Fort, I'd mentioned earlier, he was probably being whimsical, suggested we're dead now. And that when we die, we're actually coming to life. We're in the afterworld now. What's curious in many cultures. Emanuel Swedenborg, who was an 18th-century seer, a really curious man. He was a scientist and a baron, aristocrat. His mid-50s, began to see very clear visions, he thought, of God and the afterlife. He's a Christian. But his interpretations of what he was seeing are really unusual for Orthodox Christianity. A church formed after his death called the Church of the New Jerusalem. Helen Keller famously, the deaf-blind person, was a member. William James's father was a minister in this church. Well, any rate, Swedenborg says. Now again, I can flip this. He says, when we die, the afterlife is so similar, we think we're still alive. In many cultures, the other side is an exact replica of this one. And it would be hard to tell which side we're on. Now, in the various Siberian cultures, they suggest it's a mirror world. Everything's reversed, but it looks exactly the same. But when it's winter here, it's summer there. And when we have a virus here, they're healthy there. Euripides, a Greek writer, suggests we're dead now and don't realize it. And I should mention it's possible, since death is unpleasant, that's actually a birth process going on. But again, we could never prove. In fact, we can't prove, "Is this a dream?" It'd be impossible to prove. There's a classic, not to get on. I used to love that classic, the old "Twilight Zone." And Dennis Weaver, the late Dennis Weaver, is in a wonderful episode. It opens with, he's being condemned to death at a trial. He's the defendant, and he's told to rise. And the judge gravely announces he's guilty and he's gonna be executed. And he starts to laugh hysterically, disturbing everyone in the courtroom. Well, as the episode unfolds, he's trying to explain to the district attorney that none of this is happening. Every night, he dreams he's sentenced to death. And then when he's put in the chair, and they turn on the juice, he wakes up. And he says, "When I wake up, all of you people disappear." Near the end of the episode, he finally convinces the district attorney maybe we should keep this man alive because we're part of his dream. But then of course, it's too late. The call from the governor comes too late. And then he goes back into the dream. But everybody changes. The man who had been on death row with him is now the judge. The district attorney is someone else. Which is again why the Tibetan view, they say that when we generate these dreams, it's from the contents of our mind. Which is why it's important to, again, have content to begin with. Too many of us in the modern world, it's all about sports, pizza, and beer. And there's a lot more to, we're on a serious quest, and information is important.
Stan Mallow
Many people have had near-death experiences. And as a result, they found themselves on the other side. Is there a consensus of what they saw? Was their religion and belief system a factor in what they said they saw and experienced?
Mark Mirabello
Exactly. And that's why the skeptics, they think it gives them a weapon to attack belief. Because it is true. You will encounter what you expect. And again, that's what the Tibetans are discussing. So a skeptic will say, "Well, that's just your imagination." But not necessarily so. If everything is thought, you will literally, in fact, I kind of gravitate towards this personally. There's a Hindu. Now, by the way, I should mention, it confuses Westerners because Hinduism has multiple explanations of what's going on. We think there's only one answer to things. And we think when there's multiple explanations, it's somehow false. But they have one particular thought school that says specifically, in fact, they even give a story about a woman. She misses her husband. And she asked a goddess for a boon. She wants to experience what he's experienced in death. He has died. So the goddess gives the boon. And then the woman suddenly discovers, when her mind is temporarily placed in the mind of her husband, that he thinks he's still king and she is by his side. He thinks this is what's happening, because it's all generated by mind. And again, it's confusing to the West. But if you are an elderly lady who believes that Heaven will be a choir, and you're dressed in white, and you'll be young again, you will experience that. If you're, again, the Comanche on the South Plains and you think the next side is hunting bison and drinking wild cherry juice, you will experience that. If you're an Odinist and you think the next side is Valhalla, and you will eat pork and drink mead with the gods, you'll experience that. It's possible it's all, and you're just going towards what you believe. Again, this notion of one path is the source of all our problems. By the way, even in science, because it uses Occam's razor. The simplest explanation is viewed as the only explanation. Even if, for example, evolution is correct, it's possible that other things go on as well. Evolution does occur, but other things are occurring. Perhaps creationism and evolution occur. One doesn't rule out the other. But we always think it has to be one way and one way only.
Stan Mallow
You write about the drug ketamine. And to my knowledge, it's used to put people to sleep for surgery and prevent discomfort. However, people have been known to hallucinate when taking it, some claiming, when in that state, they see dead people. Is this possible? And how would you compare ketamine to say other psychedelic-type drugs such as LSD?
Mark Mirabello
Well, curiously. By the way, LSD is just. Now, I should mention for the audience, I've kind of a Puritan myself. I've never even done alcohol. I don't smoke. I've never done drugs. Ketamine was discovered in the 1960s in Michigan. In a university, I forget which university it was. I mean, it was Wayne State, I believe. It was originally used as an anesthetic and was used in the Vietnam War. And it's quick acting. But some of the soldiers had an out-of-body experience, not only seeing the dead, but thinking they would see their own body on the operating table. Now, you use the word hallucination. And I should mention, this is a kind of, in a spiritual context, or I say, a religious context, kind of a poison. The West thinks that if it's not material in our consensus reality, it's all in your head. It's not really happened. Traditional cultures think if a man sees. We're in a room, and one man sees a god standing in the corner, but nobody else does. In the West, we say, "Well, the man seeing the god is mentally ill." In traditional cultures, they say the man seeing the god is special. He has powers most of us lack. And I think there's a level of reality out there that we cannot perceive. The horror fiction of H.P. Lovecraft deals with this. Like, he talks about things we can't see normally and experience. And remember, when they discovered various radio waves and so forth, they would open up their eyes. And there were things we can't perceive, infrared, ultraviolet and so forth, radio waves. But back to ketamine, the skeptics say it's causing hallucinations. But some people think it's possible that what keeps your mind in your body, ketamine weakens that bond and lets the mind leave the soul. And it's real. Again, the skeptics would counter. It is rather curious, when you dream about yourself, like right now, I can't really see myself. I see my hands. But when I dream about myself, it's like watching myself on television. Everybody does this. You'll see yourself walking across the street, opening the door, jumping in a river. And this again, leads the skeptics to say, "Well, it's just imagination." But it's similar to, well, dreaming. Remember, I think I mentioned earlier that traditional cultures think that, they see sleep, maybe I didn't say this, but sleep and death are similar. What you experience in sleep is what you'll experience in death. And I guess I did refer to it slightly with the Greeks and the death, the dream soul. It's possible that ketamine allows your mind to leave. Modern science can't accept that. They think the mind is generated by the brain, period. There was a psychologist named Lorber in late 20th-century England, I think it was University of Sussex. He was stunned that he found a math student with a high IQ, I think it was 126, but virtually no brain. They discovered dozens of people this way. And William James, who's the founder of modern psychology, he actually thought the brain did not have a productive function. It wasn't producing the mind. It had a transmissive function. In his time, the high technology was the transatlantic cable. You could communicate with London and New York instantaneously with this cable. He suggested that what the brain is, it allows the mind to link with the body. And I tend to go this direction, that our mind is not in our brain. The brain is how the mind accesses the body and that the mind can exist outside the body. People who think they have astral flight and soul projection claim to be doing this. Now again, modern psychology would say it's hallucination. Oliver Sacks wrote a work called, I think its title is "Hallucinations." He passed away recently. And this guy was a big disbeliever in all the hallucinations. He just dismissed them as in your head. But he has this wonderful, he didn't seem to see the humor in it. He describes a case of a man who had a really serious accident and lost the ability to smell and taste, brain damage. And he was told he would never be able to smell and taste again. Years go by. One morning, he wakes up, and he could smell bacon, coffee. And he rushes in the kitchen. He could taste it. Goes to the doctor's office, the hospital, announces the good news. And they said, "No, your brain is damaged. "You just think you're smelling and tasting." I mean, you know, if he's tasting it in his mind, who cares? Hope I'm not running over. I see.
Stan Mallow
Oh, this is fun. This is quite interesting. Now in your study and analysis of different traditions and beliefs about death, did you find a thread that connects them? If so, what is that thread?
Mark Mirabello
I'm sorry, could you repeat that? I was thinking about.
Stan Mallow
What connects them? Like, different traditions related to death and dying when you pass over, many different people's religions have different views. Are there any common denominators that they agree on? Do you see there's a thread that binds them together?
Mark Mirabello
Actually, no. I have to say that it's the wide variety that I always saw. And what we tended to do in the West is, if they're too unusual, we ignore them. And for example, the monotheistic religions share some ideas, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. And also I should mention. Well, again, if you go back. Well, I should say this clearly. Everything the human race has ever thought of about the afterlife, religion, you'll find an India under the rubric of Hinduism. There's such a wide variety of beliefs within the same religion. So in that case, yes. In fact, the Hindus, for example, talk about, I'll give you an example, Bhakti yoga. This is for a person who is very emotional, and he can gain a kind of paradise through devotion to a loving deity or entity, such as Krishna or devotion to Vishnu. Well, that's very similar to Evangelical Christianity, born-again Christians. That in Hinduism, Bhakti yoga, and even if you're a sinner, you can still go to a paradise through the grace of this deity. Well, that's what born-again Christians say. That even if I'm a sinner, I can still, through the love of Jesus, the Christ, gain a paradise. And then if you go to Buddhism, they have what's called Pure Land Buddhism. Japanese. I'm butchering the Japanese. to your audience. If you say that once in your life, once, you go to a paradise when you die. They have the Amida Buddha, it's called the Buddha of Infinite Light. He's not the historical Buddha. There are thousands of other Buddhas. And they believe in Buddhism, Pure Land Buddhism. If an individual achieves Nirvana and then decides not to enter Nirvana until the entire, sentient beings, all thinking beings are there as well, this supreme act of generosity creates a paradise called Pure Light. And that by calling upon this Amida Buddha or a Buddha, you can enter it. So you see the similarities. The paradise. And it's always through devotion through an entity. So they're very similar, but they're also very different. And then you get into the problems where, I was teaching this in a class. And I'm in Southern Ohio, which is a really conservative area. And a young lady got really upset. 'Cause I said to everybody, I was partly in jest. I said, "I'll guarantee everyone goes to paradise. "Just say this." Everyone in the class repeated it. But this girl said, "I'm not gonna say it. "That's a heathen religion, and I believe in Jesus." Which is okay. I don't doubt that. But it shows how the East is comprehensive and the West is exclusive. So you can see similarities, but see, I'm excited by diversity.
Stan Mallow
Totally fascinating. Now, professor, should my viewers want to order your book, "A Traveler's Guide to the Afterlife: "Traditions and Beliefs on Death, Dying, "and What Lies Beyond," or your other extraordinary books "Handbook for Rebels and Outlaws: "Resisting Tyrants, Hangmen, and Priests," "The Odin Brotherhood," or "The Cannibal Within," how do they go about doing it?
Mark Mirabello
Well, the easiest way. Now, you'll find, especially "The Traveler's Guide," in some bookstores. I've got a bigger publisher. That was again, a larger press. But the others, probably the easiest way to find them would be online. And of course, everyone always recommends amazon.com. But frankly, barnesandnoble.com has it. Booksamillion, you can order it, .com. And I always recommend, there's a really curious, although oddly enough, Amazon bought it, called bookdepository.com. It's in England, but it'll ship around the world for free and no sales tax. So all the books can be found there. My website is my name, markmirbello.com. We have links to how to buy the books and so forth. So that would be available as well.
Stan Mallow
Beautiful.
Mark Mirabello
I've got all kinds of podcasts I've done, and radio, and a couple of film and television shows. So it's probably the best place to start is there, markmirbello.com.
Stan Mallow
Right, 'cause I wanna make sure people get to know about you and your different works. And my pleasure to promote it. Now, Professor Mark Mirabello, I thank you for being my guest on "Paranormal Yakker." It's been a pleasure and honor interviewing you. I look forward to interviewing you again when your next book is completed.
Stan Mallow
Hi, everyone. I'm Stan Mallow, host of "Paranormal Yakker," an exciting, free YouTube series that explores everything from ghosts to UFOs. To view this series, just click on any of the photo thumbnails below. I would greatly appreciate it if you subscribe to my free YouTube channel. All ya have to do is click on the Subscribe for free button at the top of this page. Thanks.