'Dimensions beyond dimensions'
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Dr. Eric Scott Pearl speaks during the panel discussion about spiritual healers and human energy research at the University Medical Center's DuVal Auditorium Friday night. University of Arizona scientists organized the panel discussion with a dream team of psychics and spiritual healers who are involved with their research.
Arizona Summer Wildcat
While scientists rarely dabble in the realm of the spirit, the world beyond the grave stole center stage Friday at the UA.
University of Arizona scientists organized a dream team of psychics and spiritual healers to push the limits of human energy research, and unveiled the panel to an audience at University Medical Center's DuVal Auditorium.
"Energy has a kind of an immortality," said Gary Schwartz, a UA psychology professor. "What would it mean if survival of consciousness was true, 100 percent fact, as true as the starlight that continues in the sky forever? How would that change our lives, how we practice medicine?"
With each beat of a person's heart, electromagnetic energy is released, and that energy continues onward, past the body, like the light from a distant star.
Studying this energy, Schwartz has been able to detect the presence of one person's heart beat in another person's brain activity during experiments. This could be the link between science and psychic activity, Schwartz said.
Six spiritual mediums, including authors, healers and one who referred to herself as a former "cynical journalist," presented some of their beliefs and experiences to a crowd of about 200.
"Death is an illusion," said Anne Gehman, who some consider among the top psychics. "I have seen the other side."
Gehman said she has seen evidence of the continuity of life, and has dedicated her life to serving others through spiritual mediumship.
She said she has communicated with the spiritual world since a near-death experience at the age of 14, and has seen "dimensions beyond dimensions beyond dimensions."
"I've rarely met an individual who didn't share with me an experience that gave them the awareness of something in the beyond," Gehman said.
Once during a psychic reading, she spontaneously spoke Greek, a language she has no familiarity with, to communicate as a medium between a man and his deceased relative.
"The language of the soul is love, thought and feeling," Gehman said.
Laurie Campbell, a medium who has worked with Schwartz and his research partner Linda Russek for a year and a half, said she started seeing colors during meditation in 1994, and has since had telepathic communication with the other side.
Campbell called herself a "scientific research medium."
She has assisted Schwartz and Russek at the UA's Human Energy Systems Lab. Their study brought together what Schwartz called the "Michael Jordans of the mediumship world," and tested them under scientifically controlled conditions.
"For everyone, the proof is different in the way it comes," Campbell said. "We've come together as a group to bring this to humanity."
Schwartz said research of this nature has never before been attempted.
"In a major medical school, in an academic setting, bridging these worlds - for me to be witnessing this as a participant is a tremendous gift," Schwartz said.
The research will be presented as an HBO documentary titled, "Life After Life," which is set to air in October.
"Often in the past, mediums have been uncomfortable to work with scientists," Schwartz said. "The UA is doing something that is truly forward."
Diane Golden, a former journalist, was a complete skeptic until she researched a story about a woman who developed spiritual abilities with a Hindu guru. She remained doubtful, but became compelled by spiritual healing.
"Not only do I think it is possible to develop the ability of spiritual healing, I think most of us already have the ability," Golden said.
She wrote a book on her research titled, Infinite Grace: Where the Worlds of Science and Spiritual Healing Meet.
Golden spoke about one form of healing in particular, called resonance, in which the healer lays hands on the subject and the two spiritually merge.
"The healer is ultimately becoming more coherent and more conscious," Golden said. "What if people always connected to each other on that level?"
Dr. Eric Scott Pearl, who worked as a chiropractor for 18 years, said he had an experience six years ago that was "more than a little odd."
Pearl had a psychic reading at a beach in Los Angeles and later, at the pressure of a woman friend, went to see the psychic twice more.
Shortly after his last visit, Pearl was working in his office and said he knew something was very different, so he began to experiment with spiritual healing.
After working with one man, his hands were covered with small blisters, but they were gone in two hours.
Pearl also said he received several spiritual communications that told him he is "bringing light and information onto the planet."
Suzanne Northrop's journey into spiritual mediumship began at the age of 13, when she spoke with her dead grandmother.
"I had a very hard time with this death thing," she said. "My grandmother looked better dead than when she was alive and I wasn't sure what that meant."
Northrop said she has been talking with dead people her whole life.
"Absolutely the dead talk to us," she said. "Do we listen? That's another story."
Northrop said Schwartz's research is highly unique.
"Scientists and mediums are the two weirdest groups of people in the world, and they're trying to find a common ground," she said.
Northrop said it is a grand privilege to be able to connect dead people with their loved ones.
"Everybody knows love is the greatest force on Earth," Northrop said. "That force of love is so damn strong that nothing can stop it."
John Edwards, whose background is in health care, said he is interested in "validating the validation" of the mediumship world.
His book, titled One Last Time: A Psychic Medium Speaks to Those We Have Loved and Lost, tries to demystify the work.
"Energy is around people," Edwards said. "Everybody can have that one last time."