208. Dr. Julia Assante On Technology Training Us to Talk With Spirits


Interview with author, scholar, and psychic medium Dr. Julia Assante challenges our fear of death.

Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with Dr. Julia Assante author of, The Last Frontier: Exploring the Afterlife and Transforming Our Fear of Death.  During the interview Assante talks about the effects of technology on spirit communication:

Alex Tsakiris:   Let’s face it, we love this materialism we’re wrapped up into. We love our computers—we love our Internet, our Google, our Skype. So whether we wind up merging with the machine as Kurzweil predicts, it’s hard to deny this trajectory of technology.

Dr. Julia Assante:   I think we should really enjoy being in physical life. I think our technology is, in fact, the chief art of our era. And technology is also training us to think outside of the box, to think in terms of interdimensionality, and to think in terms of communicating with consciousness in other dimensions.

If you think, for instance, of the telephone that was an astounding invention when it was presented in Philadelphia by Alexander Graham Bell. He used Hamlet’s soliloquy, talking to a skull of all things, to demonstrate the phone in public. People were nervous and frightened. They thought he was conjuring ghosts.

So that kind of technology alone allows our paradigms to open and include discarnates, invisibles, crossing distances, all that kind of thing. The Internet is even doing more with the idea of cyberspace and collapsed space. I think that our use of electronics and digital systems are causing us to become more sensitive to subtler and subtler electrical impulses so I think technology is not at conflict with the so-called spiritual but is working with it as an analogy and as a training ground.

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Today we welcome Dr. Julia Assante to Skeptiko to discuss her new book, The Last Frontier: Exploring the Afterlife and Transforming Our Fear of Death. Dr. Assante is an Ivy League scholar in ancient Near East studies and–here’s where things get really interesting–a longtime practicing psychic medium who even while pursuing her Ph.D. at Columbia was talking to the dead.

So Dr. Assante, welcome and thanks so much for joining me today on Skeptiko.

Dr. Julia Assante:   Oh, thank you for inviting me. It’s a great pleasure.

Alex Tsakiris:   Your book has received very high praise from the likes of Dr. Dean Radin, Dr. Larry Dossey, who also wrote the Introduction, and other notables. So first of all, congratulations on this fine book.

Dr. Julia Assante:   Well, I’m really honored to have these people, and even Deepak Chopra whose endorsements are very restricted. He’s only allowed to do seven a year so I’m very privileged.

Alex Tsakiris:   Fantastic. Let’s jump into the book. From your website, www.juliaassante.com, you write, “Just as trillions are spent fighting aging and death, ten trillion has already been spent making atomic bombs to inflict death on someone else. This seems right to us (and here’s what I love) because we view death as life’s greatest failure. And we view life, no matter how devalued, as superior to death.” Talk a little bit about that.

Dr. Julia Assante:   You know, we are in the grip in our society of this fear of death. Partly it’s the fault of the news and entertainment industry, certainly the medical industries, and even government. Anything you can really name. Any institution. Even the way we teach what humanity is supports the fear of death.

We have these ideas that that’s the one thing we most want to avoid in life rather than it being a natural cycle, rather than it being something that you could embrace, like other creatures on this planet, that furthers the growth of the psyche. We will fight that growth; we will fight it to the teeth. All the expressions like “He fought cancer” and “A long battle against cancer,” all this kind of stuff, as an enemy or a pathology.

Alex Tsakiris:   And you do a nice job in the book of putting this cultural schizophrenia that we have into a larger context, both within the context of other cultures and within the context of our time. Talk a little bit about why we have this sense of schizophrenia about this and why we have it now.

Dr. Julia Assante:   Well, I spent a lot of time describing this schizophrenia in that we don’t talk about death at home. We don’t talk about death to the dying. It’s supposedly too stressful for them.

Alex Tsakiris:   And we used to. We used to do more of that, right?

Dr. Julia Assante:   Yeah. But on the other hand, we’re obsessed with it. Again, in the news and entertainment industry and even advertisements here in America in which you’re always being told you’re going to get such-and-such a disease. The body is a time bomb or the Mayan Calendar, that the whole world is going to be wiped out in 12/12. We’re always looking for it and we’re always describing to ourselves an unsafe world, an unsafe universe in which death gets you in the end.

Now that has a strong Judeo-Christian root, as well, because death is a destroyer of creation. It’s a punishment. It’s not part of a natural cycle. In that context, when you die you don’t reunite with the Divine. You’re gone, over with. That was the official early Judaic view, that there was no afterlife. Then Apocalypticism came along and you went to sleep until you were resurrected in the body. At the end of the day you end up with the greatest triumph of all, and that’s conquering death itself. You get to stay alive in your body on Earth in New Jerusalem. So all of these things express a deep and abiding denial of death.

Alex Tsakiris:   But it isn’t quite that cut-and-dried, is it? As you point out in the book, any popular survey will tell you that a wide, wide majority of Americans believe in the afterlife, believe in Heaven, and usually they don’t have quite that kind of bleak view of it.

That brings up an interesting point because one of the things I hear from skeptics, Atheist types who, when you really push them and make them say “uncle” on the survival issue with all the evidence pointing in that direction, they say, “What are you really advocating here? Most folks already believe in Heaven. What’s the big change that you’re talking about with this idea of survival of consciousness or understanding that this life isn’t what it’s all about?” How do you respond to that? Don’t most people already have an idea, a deep-seated belief, that there is more to this life?

Dr. Julia Assante:   Yes, that is true. I don’t like the dichotomy of the Heaven and Hell thing, so when you say “Heaven” you automatically think “Hell.” I try to avoid that word. But that’s absolutely true. On the other hand, we’re still afraid of death and we still fight it. In other words, the intruder belief system of knowing that somehow consciousness survives, which is what you’re referring to, and the way our society is run are in conflict. There’s no question about that.

Our industries, for instance our healthy industries and beauty, anti-aging industries, are all geared towards stopping that moment or delaying that moment of transition as long as possible. If we really allowed our intuitive beliefs of survival of consciousness to come into our society a lot of this would change, but we don’t. We keep them compartmentalized. We keep one in what I would call “the zone of the imagination.” We think we believe in it but we really don’t invest anything in it. We won’t, for instance, try to communicate with those who are already in that non-local reality of non-physical dimensions. That is also part of the schizophrenia and I’m glad you brought it up.

Alex Tsakiris:   I have to say, even as I bring it up I’m somewhat conflicted myself. Just the other day I was listening to Ray Kurzweil, who has a new book out, How to Create a Mind, and I was struck by how absolutely convincing he sounds on one level. I mean, let’s face it. We love this materialism that we’re wrapped up into. We love our computers—we love our Internet, our Google, our Skype, on which I’m talking with you today. And our YouTube.

Also, as he points out, we are living longer, we’re living better. There’s less violence on a global scale. No matter how you cut it, we’re just at the beginning of this technology change. So whether we wind up merging with the machine as Kurzweil predicts, with these farmed body parts and better robots, it’s hard to deny this trajectory of technology. So I know that I survive but I’m constantly reminded that there’s this other element that is very much in this materialism, stuff I’ve created, technology camp that pulls me in the other direction. Do you sense that?

Dr. Julia Assante:   I have a lot to say about that. I think we should really enjoy being in physical life. I think our technology is, in fact, the chief art of our era. And technology is also training us to think outside of the box, to think in terms of interdimensionality and to think in terms of communicating with consciousness in other dimensions.

If you think, for instance, of the telephone that was an astounding invention when it was presented in Philadelphia by Alexander Graham Bell. He used Hamlet’s soliloquy, you know, talking to the skull of all things, to demonstrate the phone in public. People were nervous and frightened. They thought he was conjuring ghosts.

So that kind of technology alone allows our paradigms to open and include discarnates, invisibles, crossing distances, all that kind of thing. The Internet is even doing more with the idea of cyberspace and collapsed space. Fundamentally I think since all perception is ultimately electrical—all perception whether it’s psychic perception or physical perception, it ultimately relies on electrical impulses that translate it into something in the brain.

I think that our use of electronics and digital systems are causing us to become more sensitive to subtler and subtler electrical impulses so I think technology is not at conflict with the so-called spiritual but is working with it as an analogy and as a training ground.

Alex Tsakiris:   You don’t know. That’s quite controversial, isn’t it? There’s a lot of mystics and other progressive New Age thinkers that would postulate just the opposite in that more primitive—I hate to say that word—but less culturally indoctrinated people are more sensitive to these kinds of communications. They’re part and parcel of their culture. We can go drink Ayahuasca with people in the Amazon Basin and they’re constantly in contact with this spirit world. It’s woven into their society in a way that we can’t even understand. So how do we square those two?

Dr. Julia Assante:   It makes sense for us to do it via technology, no? That’s the route we’re taking in the modern West. We are certainly a materialist culture but we have a lot of science that tells you that if we took all the space out of the atoms in your body you would be reduced to a mound of matter that is a very small, microscopic dot. So we know that. There’s even noise now in the scientific community that space as well as time may just be perceptual tricks. They may not exist. So we are getting there but we’re doing it in our own clumsy way and it’s going to have to have scientific support because that’s the culture that we live in. Still, it’s happening.

I’m having a 100% success rate getting people to do their own mediumship with those departed they love. That would not have happened even 20 years ago. It’s amazing how people are just popping out. You just give them the permission to do psychic work or after-death communication or whatever it is and they just go to it.

Alex Tsakiris:   It’s also interesting what you bring up, Julia, about the idea of this relationship we have with time not being what it appears to be. And of course, as you just referenced, science has been telling us that for the last 100 years. That’s what Einstein told us and everyone loves Einstein. But everyone just glosses that over because it doesn’t fit with our perception of reality.

I also think it’s interesting that we have some modern day research that points in that direction. I always like to cite Dr. Daryl Bem, a former guest on this show, who did this interesting research that blew up on the modern media and pointed out that he had students who were studying for a vocabulary test after they took the test and it showed improvement by doing that. So it kind of turns this whole idea of time on its head. Maybe there’s some reality to that.

You do that as well in your book in talking about simultaneous incarnations. Perhaps you want to tie that together and first tell people what you mean by that and how you’ve come to understand that as being some kind of reality.

Dr. Julia Assante:   I’ve come to understanding it because I am an academic I look at material that is presented either as published or in my own professional experience and try to make sense of it in somewhat of an objective way. What is this material telling me? And what you see time and time again is that if you’re working with after-death communication people when they die have an afterlife. No part of their personality dies nor do they leave the afterlife to come back into another incarnation. This is a hard thing for people to accept because we put incarnation in the spiritual evolution model as a cause and effect and a time-bound phenomenon. It’s not really what happens.

What happens is you have people who are alive and people who are dead co-exist. So your incarnations co-exist. All of your incarnations co-exist with you now. In fact, in alive and in death states if you eliminate time you can see this. In fact, you can have incarnations who are embodied now, who are contemporary to you, just in the same way that you can have several incarnations in one body. Consciousness is extremely elastic.

Alex Tsakiris:   How have you experienced this as a medium? Have you encountered this with people you’ve worked with?

Dr. Julia Assante:   Yes. Not only that. I know one extraordinarily strong incarnation of me who exists now, for instance. She came to me for past life readings and I was unable to do them because every single past life I uncovered in the reading was my own. We also have the same memory of a future incarnation whose name is Bernard. Very specifically, we met him 20 years apart. So I totally accept that she is and I am incarnations of each other. That we split up in more than one body. That’s not a problem.

I’ve also had after-death communication with a person who is in an afterlife from the Victorian Era and in the afterlife from the present era who came through in different after-death communications and was entirely different in the way he communicated. But it was the same person. In other words, from the same soul group or the same over-soul or however you want to call command headquarters in terms of how incarnations work.

The other is that for me following people into the afterlife, sometimes they present me with their other incarnations that they’ve met up with. It’s a matter of inclusivity. It’s what happens when you incorporate more and more of your own immediate experience through your incarnations and then it gets even broader. You just keep incorporating experience and knowledge and what people call learning. That word I don’t like when it’s applied to the afterlife, but it’s a process with expansion, of expanding your awareness, and it’s also a creative process. So that what happens in the afterlife is it’s not that you meet all your incarnations necessarily, but you can meet whichever ones you want.

Also I’ve worked as a past life therapist now since 1985 when I was certified. You see a lot a strange stuff going on there, too. It’s just very, very possible to call in a future life, for instance, who is alive as we sit. So all of these things are happening in simultaneous time. In our non-local reality the meaning of that being there’s no place and there’s no time. It’s like a radio that is capable of receiving broadcasts from everywhere but you only tune into one at a time. Yet we are capable of side-stepping that just to meet adjacent realities and seeing contemporary, future, and past life personalities in the after-death state as well as in the physical. To make contact with them. All of this is possible.

Alex Tsakiris:   Possible. Great. I’m open. I want to hear it all. But I’m still left grasping with what do I do with this? You paint a picture of all of this being explainable, accessible, and digestible. Here it is; here’s how it works. But will we ever really know that? Do we ever really experience that on a personal level? Are we meant to experience that? Are we meant to know? Or is our human condition somewhat meant to be keeping us in doubt and mystery and wonder? Are we supposed to…

Dr. Julia Assante:   Who would need you to do that? When we say, “Are we meant…” who’s determining what we’re meant to do and what not?

Alex Tsakiris:   That’s a good question. You talk in the book about God. You talk about God from a cultural perspective of what other people have thought about God. You also talk about it from a personal perspective. Your idea of a very, very big, big cloud God. Talk about that for a minute.

I love in the book when you talk about, for example, a Viking living in the 9th Century and their idea of the afterlife and their idea of the moral imperative, if you will. What God wants him to do versus what we think God wants us to do.

Dr. Julia Assante:   Well, I don’t imagine God wanting us to do anything. We are contained within this universal divinity, created by it and co-creating within it. There are no real directives. We’re not being directed by anyone. There’s a certain overall mass consciousness of humans in the body and these mass consciousnesses, of course, they change from culture to culture and from time and place. Therefore you have different constructions of an afterlife. When a person dies they bring their cultural bank with them so they reconstruct a Valhalla, for instance, if that’s what they deeply believe in and that’s what fulfills them. They probably get past that soon enough.

My reason for bringing up these Vikings is our model right how of the afterlife is a learning ground in which you attend classes and are told when you can reincarnate or move up the evolutionary ladder.

Alex Tsakiris:   Group therapy, I think is the phrase.

Dr. Julia Assante:   Yeah, the group therapy model is just a disaster. And more and more people in New Age communities are investing in that. This is, to me, apathetical to the whole spirit of the freedom and the impossible levels of creativity that go on when we’re out of body.

Now getting back to this idea of limitations, yes, we have consented or chosen to have experiences that have a lot of limitations but also have some great pleasures. Think of a toddler lying on the floor with his tongue wrapped around a table leg—that kind of exploration with his tongue, how deeply satisfying that is and how meaningful that can be to an infant.

That’s what this physical reality is about. We should be a little bit more playful and not worry so much about whether or not we’re spiritual. We are. We’re inherently that. That can’t go away. Relax a little bit. The focus on the material life is way over the top with what I call the “ego function” where we only operate within our physical senses, the reality painted by our physical senses. That is over the top and does need to be loosened up. But we’ve got literally all the time in the world to accomplish all of this.

Alex Tsakiris:   I have to say I think one of the reasons why people do move towards this learning model that you don’t like and I don’t particularly like either–the growing model, the group therapy model, and in particular, the God having a moral imperative, having a direction for us to go–is that we do get that information back pretty regularly and consistently from, for example, the near-death experience science research that we have. By our normal measures of science it looks pretty solid.

It’s cross-culturally consistent and there is this loving being, or if it’s not a being it’s a loving sense of connectedness. There is this sense of life review. There is this sense of good and bad. You did good here; you didn’t do good there. You didn’t expand love. Are you saying that maybe that is also culture-bound? And why would you say that?

Dr. Julia Assante:   Well, I think the way that you describe it is actually not that accurate. I’m sorry to say, first of all the life review does not always happen. It happens more culturally. When people die-die, when they’re permanently dead there’s rarely a life review. They have eons to do that. So yes, there’s a kind of manifestation of the divine, a kind of illuminatus fluid that we can actually access while we’re in the body. You don’t have to wait until you’re dead to feel immortality. That’s true.

But in terms of a God or the being of light being a god, I think only some people come to that conclusion. I would never agree that the being of light is God but a manifestation of perhaps your own super-consciousness. The idea that there’s a good and bad, no. I don’t see that at all in the material of near-death experience studies. The whole of the law is self-realization and once we get to that point of self-realization, good and bad are moral systems or whatever and you make your own choices about how you’re going to change.

Alex Tsakiris:   You know, it’s interesting you should bring that up. I think this topic of good and bad, evil, demonic, all that stuff is something that is of great interest to me because I think we have to process that as part of this whole discussion. If you process it in the way that you do, fine. If you process it another way, fine. Just bring your data points. Bring your evidence and let’s hash it out.

One of the guests we had on a while back is a woman named Nancy Evans Bush. She was a longtime near-death experience researcher and she was on to talk about her book, Distressing Near-Death Experiences, and how she had an out-of-the-blue, rather surprisingly, very negative encounter with negative entities, negative spirit-beings, whatever during her near-death experience.

If you talk to near-death experience researchers, a lot of them will tell you, “This is out there.” A lot of paranormal researchers in general will say this is out there, these negative spirits, negative entities, that we can encounter. What do you make of that?

Dr. Julia Assante:   Well, these are not core personality negative entities. These are thought-forms. There is a difference between a near-death experience and pre-eminent death. In pre-eminent death you can fall into hallucinations. You can have bad encounters. It depends on the mindset in which you died. So all of those things can exist but they are things that are by-products of the human mind. They are not inherently real in themselves.

Near-death experiencers, you might have noticed, have an enormous range of atmospheres and locales. These are things that are tailor-made by the person who’s having the near-death experience, not otherwise. They’re not going to a place in which there are demons or Angels. They’re going into a non-physical reality that is not yet in the afterlife. There are always these borders. They can’t cross them. You can have all kinds of experiences in those places. I’ve worked with people who after they died had a lot of trouble or were in denial about death or whatever when they see some of this stuff happening. But you can clear it up in a matter of minutes with them.

I’ve worked a long, long time in this field. I’ve done exorcisms. I have never seen any evidence for evil. I’ve only seen evidence for the belief in evil. I have done exorcisms on houses; I’ve worked with people who were picked up and slammed against walls, beds rising, all this kind of stuff, and at the absolute base of it all it’s really conflict, not evil. Human conflict, which is also what is called poltergeists.

Alex Tsakiris:   What do you mean by that? Before I ask you what you mean by that, this is a fascinating topic because I’ve talked to so many people and I’ve heard what you just said before several times from very highly-respected out-of-body experience  or paranormal experiencers, mystics, if you will.

But I’ve also heard the opposite. I had on a woman named Marilyn Hughes who actually joined me for an experiment on a mediumistic experiment we did where I was the proxy and we found this woman in Austin, Texas who had lost her teenage daughter to suicide. This reading was really quite amazing and was very, very healing to the mother. I have to say, as being the proxy, the intermediary who was trying to not pass any information before, I think the reading was highly evidential. So something was going on there.

But where it really gets interesting and where it contradicts what you’re saying is Marilyn’s understanding of what she does is travel into these other realms. The same kind of extended consciousness realms that you’re talking about. But she has a very different idea of the dark, evil forces and that sometimes people wind up in places where they don’t know how to get of and that she sees this more as an evolutionary learning kind of thing of getting out of that and going to the Light.

Now, tell us once more. Why do we want to look at it from your perspective? How is this person and so many other people like her getting this other perception from it? How do we—as someone who doesn’t have a psychic experience—how do we figure out who’s telling it like it is?

Dr. Julia Assante:   Well, it is an interpretive thing. This idea of there being lower realms, this is all very, very old-fashioned stuff and the invention of an over-arching evil is something that’s quite new, it’s 5th Century BC. It was not known before then. It started developing in Iran and ancient Judaism. So there was never really this kind of opposite of good and evil going on until then. So you have to look at that from a historical point of view as an invention.

In many ways the universal creativity thing is a little bit neutral with a tendency toward the benign. That’s a statement I can’t support with data but what I can say is that from my own experience, where I can be experiencing what this woman experienced, my interpretation will be entirely different. I would understand it more as a psychological process the person needs to go through.

I have really done a lot of rescue work in these situations of a person who has hallucinated Hell and can’t get out of it. It’s a purely hallucination based on his own ideas about the afterlife and his own ideas about what he deserves. He had to be sprung. His dead son came to me and asked me to help him with it. The son didn’t want to have any contact. And I did. It was really rather a simple matter.

I have worked with suicides who die, for instance, from a drug overdose, the so-called accidental suicides. They can also be in a lot of hallucinatory situations that many of which are not so pleasant. The afterlife is not about realms; it’s about consciousness. It’s not about places.

You know, you hear all this stuff about Earth-bound spirits and riding on people and forcing them to commit murder and all this kind of stuff and then these same authorities who write so strongly about all this, who are so convinced that there’s this whole underground world of demented souls, are people are also supporting how much better life is than death is because all these souls want to come back.

The second thing that amuses me to no end—actually it angers me, really—is that these same people, all they have to do is to get the attention of that soul and tell them that they’re really dead and then all of the murderous tendencies and their hold on humanity and other human souls where they suck the human soul into these horrible realms, disappears just on the words of these authorities. Now, come on. These things are thought-forms. They’re generated by our own consciousness whether we’re alive or dead and they can be quite powerful.

But that doesn’t mean that there’s anything core—that there’s a core evil. That I could never agree to and in certainly within my almost four decades of experience I cannot say I have ever encountered. I’ve encountered things that are standard, that look demonic, and actually when I worked with them they were kind of cute but were scaring the hell out of the people they were living with.

Alex Tsakiris:   Dr. Assante, you have a fascinatingly refreshing perspective on talking to the dead and you start out by pointing out that almost every study or survey we’ve looked at suggests that almost everybody does it. Grieving spouses do it; grieving parents certainly do it. Even most of us who are not grieving do it. As you point out in the book—and I loved—even skeptics and Atheists do it. What’s going on here? How can we bring that out into our general awareness that this is something we’re already doing? And then let’s talk about how we can do it better.

Dr. Julia Assante:   Well, that’s the first thing. You hit the nail on the head. To recognize that we’re doing it is really the first thing. Most of us think it’s just fantasy or imagination, wishful thinking. But truthfully, wishful thinking will not clear out post-traumatic stress disorder but real communication with the dead can and it can do it in one session. Even post-traumatic stress disorder that goes on for a full generation after say, war-time. So intrusive memory, suicide, longing, and night-time sweats and the whole business can get cleared up with one session with a pertinent deceased. So we can’t say that this is fantasy or wishful thinking. It’s simply very instrumental.

At the deathbed scene, in one area where we’re making a lot of progress is the acceptance of hospice nurses or hospice personnel that the deceased do come for the dying. More and more hospice personnel and paramedics are beginning to experience these deceased, too—just see them. They also are beginning to recognize the person who has just died comes back to thank them. They still feel their energy. More and more are having shared death experiences, including doctors, in which they actually watch the energy of the body leave a physical body upon death.

So we are getting there. Once it hits the medical field, as it’s doing now, it’ll trickle through into the popular sector. The news and entertainment industry is already at full speed, partly trained through the Internet. You know, a chat room and after-death communication are so analogous.

The first thing is to recognize how much we’re doing it and the second thing is when you suspect it’s happening, to maximize it. That really is about giving your full attention to whatever presence you are experiencing. That could be something that is a mental intrusion or song going on in your head that has something to do with someone you know who has died. The lyrics may be telling you something or the song is strongly associated with the deceased.

One of the main ways that people experience a real presence is with this kind of body tingling, similar to the feeling of inspiration, where a delicious chill goes down your back. I think inspiration is probably that there is a deceased there very often giving it to you. Grief waves can be a sign; a surge of grief can be a very strong sign. I elaborate on all of this in the book so it’s not a problem if anybody wants to know about the signs for spontaneous encounters and how to set up communication on your own. I have chapters on that in the book.

Alex Tsakiris:   In the book you actually have some how-to material in terms of how to connect more effectively with the dead.

Dr. Julia Assante:   How it looks and the various forms that the communications come in. A lot of the signs that people have, such as problems with a light blowing out or the phone ringing and there’s no one there have to do with the deceased trying to get through to us, but they can’t. Once you’ve made contact that phenomena will stop.

Alex Tsakiris:   Why can’t they?

Dr. Julia Assante:   Because culturally we don’t believe in it or we refuse it. You know, necromancy was punishable by pain of death by stoning. We’ve inherited this. It’s outlawed by the churches. It still has this sinister, dark quality to it which has been maximized by the entertainment industry as a dangerous thing. You hear all the time about how dangerous it is.

If you look at the actual records, it’s never dangerous. The hundreds and thousands of published records of people who worked with it as induced after-death communication therapist or whatever, there’s no record of real harm ever being done. It’s always well-intentioned. We have these ideas that it is. Even talking to the dead, even that sounds horrible—like you’re going to be pulled over into that dark realm. So we have very bad cultural attitudes.

Again, these attitudes are in conflict with the actual experience of meeting Uncle Harry bathed in light. Your body changes when this happens, when you have full after-death communication with something that transfigures in the electromagnetic field.

Alex Tsakiris:   So what should we do, then? To what lengths should we go to make these connections? What about psychedelics? What about Shamanic rituals?

Dr. Julia Assante:   None of that’s necessary. It’s so much simpler than all of that. You don’t have to rig anything up, really. All you need is genuine desire. That’s the first thing. It’s not about curiosity. It’s real desire to know how someone is or to correct a wrong or reconciliation or whatever. If you approach communication with someone you loved who’s departed, from your truth to motion is…

Alex Tsakiris:   What about the use of mediums? Psychics? Intermediaries?

Dr. Julia Assante:   Well, that’s of course wonderful and I do a lot of that as you know. My job is when the deceased appear, usually—not usually–always the person who’s come to see me immediately feel it. Usually it’s from tears and a sense of this tingling. My job is to get them to have direct communication because it’s more effective and it’s something you can do without a professional medium.

Studies show that working with a professional medium can be exhilarating initially but can also bring a person back into a sense of devastation and helplessness and grief. And grief and helplessness, in this case, almost equate with each other here. A lot of grief is about helplessness. So my thing is to get each person to recognize what they already have.

These skills are all telepathic. You can’t have that more clinically proven than it is. It’s just been proved over and over again in clinical trials with non-professionals. Everyday, average guy off the street having telepathic abilities. We couldn’t even have a culture without telepathy.

Understanding all the skills you need are inborn. Proceed from your strongest emotion and make contact. There are things you can do that can enhance the experience, like creating sacred space. I give all those things in detail in the book. It’s quite easy. That’s the crazy part. Also to recognize how often you’re already doing it. A prayer is a form of after-death communication very often when you pray to someone in the Beyond.

Alex Tsakiris:   Well, it’s certainly a well-constructed argument. Fascinating book. For anyone interested in this topic it’s a must-read. Again, the title is The Last Frontier: Exploring the Afterlife and Transforming Our Fear of Death. That’s really what the book is about.

Dr. Assante, it’s been a great pleasure having you on. Thanks so much for joining me.

Dr. Julia Assante:  It was a pleasure for me, too. Thank you.