Even as a child in Catholic school I was frustrated by how vague everyone was about this “life after death” thing. There seemed to be general agreement that our spirits survive after our mortal bodies give out. It was the “and then what?” part that inspired a lot of throat clearing and hazy, halfhearted answers; I often got the feeling it was the one question the nuns et al. were hoping no one would ask. From what I could piece together, when we die, some sort of tunnel apparently drops down from the sky like a big sparkling megaphone to kind of inhale our souls up to heaven. Alternately, we were offered a lot of lovely imagery about our souls floating away from our dead bodies and disappearing beyond the clouds. But after one or the other or something else happened, our immortal souls either ended up in heaven, which looked like who knows what, to live happily ever after with God, doing who knows what, or we were sent to hell for an eternity of fiery damnation—by a God who was always described as all-loving and all-forgiving.
Looking back, it’s no surprise that I wasn’t satisfied with those answers, or lack of them, particularly the ones that made no sense. But finally, between Francine’s generous, articulate expertise, a lifetime of study, including a degree in theology, and my own near-death experience at the age of forty-two, I learned the truth about “and then what?” and it’s far more sacred and exquisite than anything my imagination could have created.
There is a very real tunnel, it turns out, and it doesn’t drop down from the sky when our bodies die. Instead, it rises up from our own etheric substance, or energy field, angles across our body at about a twenty-degree angle, and delivers us to the Other Side, which is actually just three feet above our ground level, but in another dimension whose vibrational frequency is much higher than ours. It’s a perfect mirror image of the natural topography of our planet—our continents, our oceans, our mountains, our rivers, our forests, our deserts, our coastlines, every single feature of earth as it once existed before pollution, erosion, and human destruction came along. Because time doesn’t exist on the Other Side, nothing ages, nothing corrodes or erodes, and everything is eternally, perfectly new.
As we move through the tunnel we feel weightless, free, and more thrillingly alive than we ever felt for a moment in the finite, gravity-challenged bodies we left behind. No matter what the circumstances of our death, there’s a pervasive sense of peace in the awareness that we’re on our way Home, and we quickly see the legendary white light ahead of us, indescribably sacred, God’s light.
No matter where on earth we take our last breath, all tunnels lead to the same entrance to the perfect paradise of the Other Side: a breathtaking grassy meadow filled with flowers whose colors seem magnified a thousand times beyond anything we’ll ever experience here. Waiting in that meadow to joyfully welcome us are loved ones from all our lifetimes on earth and at Home as well as every animal we’ve ever loved from those same lifetimes. (Would it be paradise if there were no animals?)
Once we’ve experienced our reunions in the meadow, we proceed to the triumvirate of buildings—yes, there are buildings—that create the “hub” of the Other Side. You’ll read more about their specific purposes in the glossary of terms that follows, without which some of Francine’s celebrity comments will just be confusing, but for now, in brief, the first three buildings we see when we return Home are:
- The Hall of Wisdom: a Romanesque structure of gleaming white stone adorned with statuary and surrounded by fountains and fragrant flowers in constant bloom. Its most stunning feature is the infinite expanse of marble steps that lead to its countless entrances.
- The Hall of Justice: a pillared Greco-Roman building with a massive white marble dome. Standing guard at its entrance is a magnificent statue of Azna, the Mother God. Surrounding the Hall of Justice are its exquisite Gardens, impeccably designed and extending for as far as the eye can see, filled with sparkling waterfalls and fountains, meditation benches, towering trees and canopies of Spanish moss, crystal streams rushing through carpets of soft green grass, lush forests of ferns, and endless walls of jewel-tone bougainvillea.
- The Hall of Records: a vast edifice with spectacularly carved columns and a dome of sparkling gold. It is constantly bustling with “locals” and spirit visitors from earth alike. Inside stretch an infinite number of aisles, lined with an infinite number of shelves filled with an infinite number of scrolls, books, documents, maps, artwork, blueprints, and such, every shelf in perfectly kept order. One of the functions of the Hall of Records is to house every historical, literary, and artistic work ever written, drawn, drafted, sketched, or painted since time began, and it is revered as the sacred home of the Akashic Records, which are the complete written body of God’s knowledge, laws, and memories.
There are also the Towers, two identical monoliths of blue glass, glistening from the hushed waterfalls that flow down their facades and mist the forest of jasmine that lines the path to the Towers’ etched gold doors.
Through this “formal” entrance we resume the lives we chose to briefly interrupt for a trip to earth, in the divine world of the Other Side. And they don’t call it paradise for nothing. The weather is constantly calm and clear with a temperature of 78 degrees, except on the highest elevations, where the 30 degree temperature maintains a perfect snowpack. There is no day or night—no time at all, in fact, beyond an eternal “now.” The sun, moon, and stars are not visible, and the sky is always the pastel blend of a summer dusk.
The landscape is rich with magnificent libraries, research centers, schools, houses of worship of every denomination, concert halls and museums, not to mention stadiums, golf courses, tennis courts, and ski resorts—in fact, every noncontact sport is enjoyed on the Other Side.
Since money is nonexistent and unnecessary, there is no commerce and no reason to work for a paycheck. Most of us do work, though, for the sheer joy and passion of it. We also socialize, as much or as little as we choose, and because we have no need to eat or sleep, we literally have an uninterrupted eternity to seek out anyone and everyone we care to know, explore anything and everything we’ve ever wanted to see, research and learn about any and every subject and activity that’s ever intrigued us, attend every party, concert, play, and sports event that interests us, and generally bask in the bliss of limitless possibilities in a heaven of sacred universal love, respect, and peace.
We’re free of the earth’s limitations of space and gravity and the laws of physics. We have houses if we want, wherever we want, and we create the homes we want by simple thought projection, just as we travel wherever we want by simply thinking ourselves there.
And how’s this for something to look forward to: not only is our physical and mental health perfectly restored once we’re Home again, but on the Other Side all of us are thirty years old. Why thirty? As my Spirit Guide, Francine, replied when I asked her that question, “Because we are.” Mind you, the transitions to thirty and to perfect health are usually processes after we’ve arrived, rather than an instantaneous “Poof! You’re thirty!” effect the moment we emerge from the tunnel. And when we visit loved ones on earth, we’re easily able to take on whatever appearance will make us recognizable to them. After all, if we passed away as an infant or a very elderly person, how comforting would a spirit visit from a thirty-year-old really be?
I could go on and on about the joy that awaits us after we leave this world—the same joy we temporarily interrupted to come here for what I like to call “boot camp.” In fact, I have gone on and on about it, in a book called Life on the Other Side, so I’ll leave it at that for this discussion in the hope that these brief “highlights” will help Francine’s descriptions of the current lives of the celebrities in this book make much more sense.
But there are other available options for our spirits when our earthly bodies die, most of them the result of our own choices during our lifetimes, and since a few of the celebrities we’ll be discussing made those choices, we should briefly explore those options as well.
THE LEFT DOOR
Despite what most of us (including me) have been taught since we were children, there is no such thing as hell. The threat of hell implies a God so vindictive and unforgiving that He could turn His back on us and banish us to an eternity away from Him, and not for one minute is that a God I believe in. The God I believe in, worship, and have committed my life to is all-loving, all-knowing, all-compassionate, and all-forgiving; He would never turn His back on a life He created.
Sadly, we don’t have to spend much time on earth to learn that there are those who choose to turn their backs on God. And “choose,” by the way, excludes anything to do with mental illness or physiological chemical imbalances, which are completely involuntary. I’m talking about people who, given a choice between contributing light to this world or contributing darkness, opt for darkness—the deliberately cruel, amoral, remorseless sociopaths who view the rest of us as props for their amusement, to be used, manipulated, and in some form or other destroyed, either physically, mentally, or emotionally. Darkness can’t exist where there’s light, after all, so the Dark Side, as I call this segment of society, feels perfectly entitled to the destruction it inflicts. Its devotees know right from wrong. They just don’t care. Unlike the misguided or the genuinely lost among us, residents of the Dark Side can’t be rehabilitated—without a conscience to begin with, they have no conscience to be guided back to. They can feign charm, compassion, love, generosity, and often a devout faith in God, not because they mean a word of it, but because they know how seductive those qualities can be, and it’s so much easier to destroy someone whose guard is down.
There’s no such thing as action without consequence, for better or worse, and that’s as true for the Dark Side as it is for the rest of us. Remember, these dark entities have chosen a path that keeps their backs turned squarely away from God, and that arrogant rejection of Him prevents them from experiencing the perfect bliss and love of the Other Side when they die. Instead, they head straight to a nightmare called the Left Door (which my granddaughter Angelia used to refer to as “mean heaven” when she was a child).
The Left Door is the entrance to a joyless, godless world of nothingness, an abyss through which dark spirits briefly pass before heading right back in utero for another incarnation that’s likely to be as destructive as the one they’ve just completed. So when you come across those in this book who’ve gone through the Left Door, know that within a few months of their death they were born again on earth with a whole new identity, a whole new incarnation to live out, with no more of a conscious memory of their past lives than you and I have, and another opportunity to finally choose light over darkness.
And by the way, just as God doesn’t condemn any of His children to an eternity of hell, He also doesn’t condemn any of us to an eternity of recycling through the Left Door and back to earth again and again and again. Sooner or later (which in the context of eternity might mean hundreds of years), the spirits on the Other Side will retrieve a dark soul in that instant before it reaches the Left Door and return it to the healing peace of Home, where God’s unconditional love is always available, even to those who don’t reciprocate.
THE HOLDING PLACE
There’s a kind of anteroom to the Left Door, a desolate gray expanse filled with lost souls who’ve been separated from their faith, hope, and joy by oppressive depression. They shuffle silently around in no direction, heads down, eyes empty and lifeless, never acknowledging each other or the hopelessness that’s trapped them there.
The Holding Place is like the purgatory I learned about in parochial school, and it’s sometimes, but not always, the temporary destination of spirits whose death was caused by suicide. It’s simply not true—in fact, it’s a cruel lie—that all suicides lead to eternal damnation. Again, God would never inflict such vindictive judgment on any of His children. Some suicides are inspired by revenge; others are an ultimate mean-spirited demand for attention or an act of self-centered cowardice (the latter typical of murder-suicides). And those particular suicides can look forward to a quick trip through the Left Door and another immediate incarnation without enjoying a moment of the blissful peace of Home between lifetimes.
But as we all know, some suicides are the result of mental illness or untreated chemical imbalances that create severe, crippling, mind-altering depression, and in the perfection of God’s universal laws no one is held accountable for actions that aren’t their fault. (Injustice is strictly a human invention.) A great many of these blameless, unplanned, despair-induced suicides, I promise you, make it straight through the tunnel to the Other Side. Others, often confused throughout their lives on earth about their faith in God and their occasional attraction to the Dark Side, find themselves in the Holding Place, where, if they can overcome the desolation around them, they can still choose between the doomed cycle of the Left Door or Home, where God’s embrace will always be waiting for them.
And then there are those who, when their bodies die, refuse to acknowledge the tunnel or see it and reject it. This leaves their spirits stranded here, outside of their bodies, stuck between the lower vibrational level of earth and the much higher vibrational dimension of the Other Side, not one bit aware that they’ve died. And that’s how ghosts are created.
Ghosts, or earthbounds, are tragic, fascinating beings. As far as they’re concerned, they’re every bit as alive as the rest of us, and everything is exactly and perpetually as it was at the moment of their death, from their surroundings to their age, health (or lack of it), and scars, wounds, or visible signs of injuries that might have killed them. The one thing that’s changed, which often makes them desperately confused, if not downright cranky, is that because they’ve changed vibrational frequencies without knowing it, the people around them suddenly seem to act as if they don’t exist.
There’s nothing haphazard about some spirits’ determination to remain earthbound. Ghosts stay behind for a variety of misguided reasons—to care for a loved one, to protect a home or land they’re deeply connected to, to seek revenge, or, with sad frequency, to avoid facing God out of fear that He’ll turn them away (which is an impossibility).
No ghost is ever trapped on earth for eternity. Some of them are sent to the Other Side by people who are compassionate and educated enough, when they find themselves in the presence of an earthbound, to simply say, “You’re dead. Go Home.” (Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s worth a try.) Many more of them are eventually rescued by residents of the Other Side, who are well aware of them and can be counted on to perform persistent interventions for as long as it takes to pull these trapped, confused souls into the tunnel and on to the joyful peace that’s waiting for them in God’s outstretched arms.