Contacting Famous Dead Persons: Unscrupulous and Harmful.
*This article denotes a very personal belief regarding the place of ghost box ITC in pop culture and due to this, it strays away from the neutrality this site tries to maintain regarding the ghost box in modern ITC culture. I stand completely by what this article states and its editorial nature. – Tim Woolworth
Most of the readers of ITC Voices are probably aware that we lost two persons who were well known throughout the paranormal field. I am speaking of course about Mark and Debby Constantino. They had a way with EVP that few people have and they were quite famous because of it. Their dynamic personalities landed them on television shows and they were conference stalwarts. I had the pleasure of meeting them a few times and investigating with them once few years back in the spring of 2010 when I introduced them to the Minibox Plus in Gettysburg. Their untimely demise was a tragic result of domestic violence and mental instability and they both passed through the veil on September 22, 2015.
This rocked the paranormal community. Everyone who knew them, or knew of them, were in a total state of shock. Two of our tribe had left the world in a horrible fashion. A grand outpouring of grief and sentiment was to be found in emails, phone calls and on social media. Friends were lost, way too soon, and they weren’t coming back.
Lo and behold, it took only a couple hours, not days or weeks, before several opportunistic persons in the paranormal field claimed to have contacted them on the other side. In my mind, there is nothing more vile. Sadly, this wasn’t the first time this kind of disrespect has happened.
Mediums have long been known to claim contact with dead celebrities. There is a reason for this; headlines like “Channeling Michael Jackson,” automatically draws in readers hungry for more information about the other side, especially readers who are not well versed with the paranormal nor the nature of mediumship. With mediums, you have to take their readings as only an interpretation and never at face value since they interpret feelings, emotions and audio/visual stimuli. Some are spot on with their interpretations while others are partaking in a grift to make money off the bereaved.
More recently, we have had another type of individual in the paranormal field that has tried to benefit off of the death of known individuals: the ghost boxer. Ghost boxes offer tangible evidence of things that mediums cannot, namely audio from the session where supposed contact was made with known individuals. Until my dying day, unless better technology comes along, I stand by the affirmation that ghost boxes offer the best and most complete method of reproduceable two-way contact with the Others.
It is only natural in the order of things that ghost boxers would try to reach people they knew, or knew of, on the other side. I have done sessions where I reached out to friends, family or ITC pioneers over the years, but there is a stark difference between reaching out to these types of individuals that have been on the other side for several months, years or decades versus trying to contact them a mere couple hours after they’ve passed. I have never published any of my sessions where I reach out to an individual, nor due I anticipate ever doing so unless the need arises. This has become an unwritten code of ghost boxers that for the most part, we all follow. Yet there are people in the field who do not agree with these assertions and openly speak against this unwritten policy.
That is why I am writing this today.
Making contact with the Others is a true gift. It took ITC researchers over fifty years to achieve the far-from-perfect two-way communication we have today.
There are a few in the field of ghost box ITC who are blessed to have built a great contact field with the Others. That comes from time and perseverance. When a contact field has been expanded enough, it becomes possible to reach out to certain individuals on the other side. This is a perfect recipe for reaching out to the Others for the living they left behind who request that contact be made. I know many researchers who do this free of charge. The expansion of a ghost boxers contact field also allows for deeper research with known contacts on the other side and can even help to solve crimes. It truly is a gift that anyone who puts in the time, effort and respect due to the Others will eventually obtain. It is not limited to a select few as some of the ghost box heavyweights would have you believe.
That being said, contact field abuse can happen as well. There are ghost boxers that are charging for sessions or even worse, exploiting the Others and the contact field that has been built. The specific type of exploitation (there is more than one type) that I am referring to in this editorial is contacting known persons who have passed very recently.
Over the last year or so, sessions trying to contact dead celebrities have popped up. Most of these sessions occur right after the news of a celebrity’s bodily death ripples through the watchful public. As a result, you can find umpteen Robin Williams sessions alongside sessions with Joan Rivers, Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe and even BB King. It seems that no dead celebrity is off limits for those who elect to contact them.
In my eyes, partaking in and publicizing these sessions is at best tabloid journalism; at worst, it is exceptionally damaging to the integrity of the field. Headlines that proclaim contact and irrefutable results with salacious headlines on the videos made from these sessions. These types of sessions are a thinly veiled attempt to drive in new visitors from a public that hungers for more information than the traditional media can provide.
After a celebrity death, radio stations are awash in chatter about the deceased and radio stations play interviews conducted with the dead celebrity. Any scrupulous ghost boxer would immediately rule out any communication regarding a celebrity for weeks afterwards due to the continual coverage from the time of death, to the autopsy, straight through to days after the funeral.
Sadly, ghost boxers publish these sessions and it makes the entire field look bad as a result because they are so easily dismissed.
Yet these types of sessions pale in comparison to the events we’ve borne witness too by some individuals in the field. To the horror of everyone that knew the Constantinos, these individuals felt it necessary to try to contact them within the span of a couple hours after their untimely demise.
Worse yet, an influential person in the field proclaimed that the best communication can only ensue within twenty four hours after the demise of a person. This was a supposed statement of fact and this individual recommended that every one of his followers attempt the same thing when the need arises. This individual went on to post that communication drops off after a few days and becomes harder, if not impossible, so ghost boxers should really target their sessions as close to the time of death as possible.
I do not pretend to speak for the field, only myself when I say that this is utterly reprehensible and damaging for several reasons.
First and foremost, there is no regard given for the grieving family of those who have passed through the veil. Even those who are lifelong students of theology, the paranormal and the esoteric still grieve. Loss triggers emotions and emotions trump logic. That is why those who make the afterlife studies their passion still grieve when a loved one is lost to the other side even though we know that death does not exist; conscious souls persist in another vibrational state unseen and unheard by most.
When ghost boxers, mediums or EVP practitioners post “evidence” promptly after the demise of someone known, little thought is given to the effect these types of sessions may have on the bereaved. I cannot even begin to comprehend the conflict that Robin Williams daughter would have if she were to stumble across one of the sessions posted online. That most horrible day in her life would have to be relived.
The same goes for the tragedy yesterday. Mark and Debby still have living family that follow social media. What if they were to stumble upon the claims that contact had been made a couple hours after their death? If I were in that position it would rip my heart to pieces again and again and delay necessary healing.
When loved ones die, there is always a swirl of uncertainty regarding their fate. Heaven. Hell. Astral. Lost. Saved. The questions are endless as are the belief structures we carry as an afterlife ideology. The grieving family may not have the same belief structure of someone who studies this field. For example, the idea of a ghost contradicts most theological teachings. If a living relative who was very religious came across one of these sessions or claims regarding their departed loved one, they may think that their loved one is in hell or worse.
Second, these types of sessions are certainly exploitation of the other side. As explained above, a contact field with the other side is built upon trust. Using that field to gain fame or money is a violation of that trust and it amounts to exploiting the other side for personal gain. Luckily the vast majority of this field is in it for self-edification of a phenomenon they desire to understand more fully.
Ghost boxers, mediums, ghost hunters…this type of exploitation is no stranger to the field. Historically, whenever someone of note passes, mediums have always been the first to proclaim contact has been made. This raises their position in the public eye and these mediums can then charge more money for their readings. Sometimes, their readings are off-base and border on criminal activity, as in the Sylvia Browne reading about Amanda Berry. Browne proclaimed that Amanda spoke to her and she delivered the news that Amanda was dead to her parents. That is a case that cast all mediums in a bad light as Amanda is alive and well.
Now a few ghost boxers are heading down this same path. When individuals begin to proclaim that they are the best at contacting the other side, then something is amiss and one should overly scrutinize what is being said by that individual – especially when that individual begins to proclaim things as fact.
That leads me to the third reason why these types of session are detrimental to the field as a whole: uneducated assumptions labeled as fact.
When I saw that an individual posted that contact must be made within twenty four hours for it to be of the best quality, my jaw hit the floor. This “fact” was posted to a huge following via social media and the ramifications of this are dangerous for the field.
Simply put, we have not a single concrete answer regarding the communication we receive. It has been posted on this site since day one, we do not know with who, or what, we are communicating with. The only thing we know is that we are communicating with a sentient consciousness that wills itself to communicate with us using our instruments of communication. Beyond that, everything is suspect. Who is to say we can even believe what is being said through the boxes or that we are even communicating with a dead individual?
Where this “twenty four hour” fact comes from is beyond me for it flies in the face of generations of after-life research. Contact has been made via automatic writing, scrying and trance mediumship with the other side for centuries. ITC is a new field as the first ITC studies were published in 1959 and the term ITC didn’t arrive until the late 1980’s. As a lifelong student of the metaphysical and paranormal, I have never once encountered anyone stating a twenty four hour rule.
Instead, most people in this field generally agree on a basic concept of the afterlife – that the soul with all its thoughts and perceptions it had when it embodied a human body still persists as an individual despite its lack of physical form. There is no time limit on this.
In every way, what happens after death is exceptional speculation and nothing more. There is over a century and a half of recorded contact with the other side in various forms as a serious study. As a result, we are starting to get a fuller picture of what the death transition may be like.
We, as a field, have generally agreed since at least the late nineteenth century that there is a light and that one can enter the light or remain behind “earthbound” only to enter the light at a later time. Depending upon who you read, whether you go back through the publications of the SPR members, the Theosophists, Edgar Cayce, right up to works of modern scholars, authors and mediums like John Edwards, James Van Praagh, Raymond Moody, Pim van Lommel or Mary Ann Winkowski, there are some essential viewpoints about after-life studies that are generally accepted. None of these contain a twenty four hour rule. Neither will this rule be found in the works of ITC pioneers like Friedrich Jürgenson, Konstantin Raudive, George Meek, Sarah Wilson Estep, et cetera.
What I am certain of is that the proclamation of such a rule and telling people that they must make contact as soon as possible is a huge injustice to the ignorant public and novice researchers who seek to learn new techniques to build their own contact fields. It is also a huge injustice to those on the other side.
I will explain my reasoning, based off my personal beliefs on the subject. You may choose to agree or disagree, but as with all things ITC, I will not ever try to represent this as a fact because we simply cannot know. I base my ideas on the knowledge gained by reading and studying the works of countless predecessors in this field in addition to six years of EVP and ghost box work. I do not go into this explanation half-cocked. I am very passionate about this field, but even I realize that I possess a far-from-complete understanding of the workings of the afterlife despite all of my studies, just like everyone else.
I subscribe to the belief that upon death, there is a time of transition. It is a time of shock for the soul. At one moment, they exist on our plane and at the moment of death, they don’t. It has been written by several mediums that at the time of death, there is no addition pain, only the pain produced during the final throes of life. The transition is an easy one most times. Upon transitioning, the soul being still carries with it all the emotional baggage of life. This baggage is what weighs you and I down everyday: loved ones, finances, business left unfinished, etc. Unfortunately in times of violent death or suicide, the emotional baggage weighs substantially more.
The other side, much like our side, is built upon vibration. Everything you see, everything you know is due to vibrating particles. As with everything in the physical world, the soul has a vibration. When a being exudes peace and confidence and does the most good, that individual is at what is termed a “high vibration.” There are people who elevate your vibration and you should strive to be around these people as much as possible. Then there are souls on the opposite end of the spectrum that have a low vibration. They are uncertain, anxious, fearful and these things can further degradation of the soul over time in a positive feedback loop.
The soul-being has to process its new state for the transition is abrupt. If a soul-being has a lower vibration, then this transition towards understanding the other side could take much longer than the normal individual. There are loved ones that await the soul-being, but the soul-beings may not notice them due to the emotional baggage of death that exacerbates a low vibrational state. James Van Praagh wrote of a sailor in Ghosts Among Us who needed help crossing over. This sailor was of such a low vibration that he didn’t even comprehend that he wasn’t dead. His mother, on the other side with him, was sitting right next to this sailor but the sailor couldn’t see her because she had a higher resonance in her vibration. Once the sailor was informed that his mother was right beside him, he looked and saw his mother on the other side for the first time and he was on his way towards a full transition.
In death, there is no time. We see time because we base it upon the Earth’s rotation around the sun. It is easily measured. We see time linearly. Many of those who have written about the other side mention how there is no time, all time exists at once. I believe that the access the Other have to moments of “time” depends strictly upon their vibration at any given moment.
As you are probably aware, the light is omnipresent after we transition. Some souls are of such a low vibration upon death that the light is very dim so they do not transition as expected. There are others who actively choose not to transition towards the light due for several reasons, including but not limited to: waiting for family to meet them, looking after unfinished business or loved ones, confusion, and fear of religious judgment. All will eventually find the light, but not all will be able to do so in an expedient fashion.
Those that cannot are what we call earthbound souls, although it is a misnomer of sorts. These individuals need to raise their vibrations to move through to the next phase of the souls transition towards the source. This can require living through traumatic sequences and life events again and again until a broader understanding of their place in the afterworld is open to them. Eventually, all will find the light, and there are many of us who help these earthbound souls find those that can help them into the light via ghost box sessions, EVP and mediumship. It has often been written that a soul, once transitioned, can only go through the various layers of shedding the emotional baggage of humanity when ready. The soul can always come back down at any time to a lower level of the afterlife, but cannot surpass the state at which it currently resonates. The Theosophists laid out the souls progression wonderfully, but George Meek encapsulated it best in this chart.
With all this being said, it is time to return to the initial point of this digression: how the twenty four hour proclamation affects the field and the other side.
We, as researchers, reach out to the other side every time we turn on our instruments. They find us, not the other way around. They are in control of what comes through, not us. We can simply turn our instruments off and on while doing the best to record the Others with the hope placing the received communications into a bigger context than ourselves – namely what all humans go through after death and what their communications reveal.
Some humans leave this plane tragically and may need more time to get acclimated to their current state in the natural order, especially in times of traumatic death. How can they be expected to heal if the living are pestering them? How is that part of the natural order? This was outlined wonderfully in the book Hello From Heaven: A New Field of Research-After-Death Communication Confirms that Life and Love are Eternal where hundreds of after-death contacts (ADC’s) were classified and written about in great depth:
Throughout our research, we found that many ADC accounts contain passionate pleas from deceased loved ones to “let me go.” Apparently, our emotions of prolonged sadness and heavy grief can hold them back, almost magnetically, from progressing in their new life.
(Guggenheim, Bill; Guggenheim, Judy. Hello from Heaven: A New Field of Research-After-Death Communication Confirms That Life and Love Are Eternal (p. 134). Random House Publishing Group. 1996.)
We are supposed to grieve, it is what humans do. They hear our grief on the other side. They are also aware of when they are in our thoughts.
So when someone preaches fact about a twenty four hour contact period being the most efficient way of contact, this can be quite damaging to those souls who need healing most. The only time attempted contact with the newly departed should happen is when those who are on the other side agree to such contact being made before their death. Imagine being inundated with requests of dozens, if not hundreds, of random strangers wanting you to come talk to them right after death at a time when you are most vulnerable. If there is a hell, that must be the very definition of it.
The Constantinos were ITC researchers. They left the earth in the most traumatic way imaginable. Their absence has left a void that affects many in the field emotionally as they were confidants, acquaintances, friends and a loved member of the extended parafamily.
If you only take away one thing from this article, please let it be that the newly-dead should remain unmolested by upstart “researchers” trying to make a name for themselves. They need time to heal. If they want to make contact, they will when the time is right. Even doing a simple EVP session with named individuals on the other side lets them know you are attempting communication. Please keep the Constantinos, and any other celebrity out of your mind when doing a session. Let them adapt to their new soul’s state; and let the living grieve in peace. As an ITC researcher, whether you choose to follow this advice or not, please do not go bragging that you made contact with an individual directly after death. You cannot guarantee that your contact was genuine. Additionally, it is exceptionally disrespectful and publicizing these sessions says a helluva lot more about you and your intentions than your session ever will.