Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Uncanny in our Lives

One of the finest things about listening to public radio - the CBC or NPR or BBC - are the great interviews that you "stumble upon".

I am a regular listener of the CBC show Tapestry, and caught a really interesting interview with journalist Patricia Pearson about her new book Opening Heaven's Door: What The Dying May Be Trying To Tell Us About Where They're Going.

Pearson became interested in the topic of Near Death Experiences and the uncanny after her father's death, when it seemed he had "visited" her very ill sister before she discovered he had passed away.

You can listen to the whole interview here and it is certainly thought-provoking.

What Pearson argues, and has convinced me of, is that our secular, scientific world has left very little room for unexplainable incidents. The book cites numerous academic studies aimed at isolating and then proving (or disproving) the individual's contention that they have been part of something that simply cannot be explained using traditional and conventional approaches. An interesting aspect is how almost all individuals who have one of these experiences - knowing that someone has died in advance of being told, seeing their lived one's soul exit the body, having their own near death experience - are almost universally afraid of sharing their story for fear of ridicule.

They are right to feel this way it would seem. One of the most interesting parts of the book for me was the fact that many doctors have experienced the uncanny when their patient dies, but felt they would be drummed out of the career if they shared the information.

Our lives are orderly and neat compared to the lives of our ancestors, but in many ways, we have completely isolated ourselves from the experience of death and dying. Pearson unpacks the issue well in her book.  This is no James van Praaghe or Long Island Medium kind of book (and that is not said with any disrespect), but a more academic approach to the issue, although one that is grounded with a lovely touch of believer by the end.

We all know people - our friends and family - who have experienced these kinds of things, and yet, they are often not spoken of save during late night conversations after a glass or two of wine. I know at least three family members who had unexplainable experiences, and always wondered if there was anything to it. Now, having read Pearson's thought-provoking book, I am more likely to believe than disbelieve.  It is truly a fascinating subject and Pearson handles it well.

How about you? Have you had any uncanny or unexplainable experiences related to those who are dead and dying?

Have a lovely Sunday!
xoxo wendy


  1. My immediate family are hard-headed, individualistic, secular pragmatists, and we often joke that we lack the "belief" gene. Even so-- My father was estranged from his father, a hardworking but abusive and erratic man who spent his time wildcatting for oil instead of running his contracting business. I was spending the night at my father's some years ago, and the phone rang about three a.m. The next morning my dad told me that in a dream he'd had a long and revealing conversation with his father, who at the end of their talk rose, dusted off his trouser legs, and said "Well, I've got to go to work." Then the phone rang, informing my dad of his father's death. Coincidence? Probably. I am a skeptic, but it's just enough to make one wonder.

  2. I'm a believer through and through. I've had a couple of friends have very close calls in surgery and both had spiritual experiences (and one was a logic-driven atheist.) Great post.

  3. Oh gosh, so many instances of this; I don't have any specific belief system any more, but I think there is something to the Universe sorting out our events. I was in the position to hear many many stories of felt presence of the recently deceased.

  4. We are at a juncture where science and the metaphysical are still so basic. Believe say they need to see it to believe it yet what about wifi and wireless. Sorry this might come out all wrong BC I'm on holiday but great post Wendy!

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  6. I'll tease by saying I have my own personal story. I'm saving it for the memoir, should I ever write one. That gives me a chuckle.

    I saw Anita Moorjani, author of Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing discuss her near-death experience. It was riveting. The drs and her family couldn't believe how much she knew about her condition and could describe what they were doing while she was under (in a coma?).


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