1. What motivated you to investigate and write about mediumship and afterlife evidence?
Although my father was a gifted Psychic-Medium and Minister, I didn’t have the same level of interest in his field until the passing of my youngest son, Brandon. This event served as the catalyst to spark my curiosity and revisit my father’s work. I immediately recalled some of the miraculous things I’d observed growing up and they gave me hope, but I wanted more. So I sought to educate myself about Mediumship and psi phenomena in general; my journey then evolved into one of self-discovery as well.
2. Can you share examples of some of the most compelling evidence you’ve encountered in support of the survival of consciousness and personality after physical death?
My two books, Soul Shift: Finding Where the Dead Go and Messages from the Afterlife provide dozens of high-quality examples of such evidence, but since we have limited space here I am going to share a single compelling case to give people a sense for what I’m talking about:
Several years ago, I’d scheduled an afternoon meeting with a Medium friend, Debra Martin in her Scottsdale, Arizona home to discuss ideas for a Foreword to a book I was about to have published. But shortly before leaving my office to meet Debra, I received an urgent email from a co-worker. The co-worker, Linda had read my first book and was aware of my interest in afterlife research. Her message said, “I need your help”.
During my drive to Debra’s home, I called Linda and we spoke for about thirty minutes. She explained that her brother had just been killed in a motorcycle crash in Sacramento, California and that he’d died instantly. Linda also shared that her brother had left behind kids and she was concerned about their well-being. She didn’t give me any details about how many children were left behind or their ages, nor any other information.
After arriving at my destination, I told Debra that I had just concluded a conversation with a distraught friend who was grieving the recent loss of her brother. I shared no other details. I then mentioned how odd it seemed to have been engaged in such a discussion while on my way to the home of a medium. Debra followed, “It’s no coincidence that you’re here right now—I need to talk to your friend.”
After visiting for an hour, conversing about other matters, I asked Debra if she was ready to speak with my friend. Time was running short and she needed to pick up her daughter from school, so Debra said she would first like to try to connect with the brother.
After picking up a pad of paper and a pen, Debra asked for my friend’s name.
“Linda,” I said.
“What is her brother’s name?” she queried.
“I don’t know,” I responded.
Within just a few seconds, Debra asked, “Did this involve a motorcycle?”
She had clearly dialed in. Debra then followed, “He died immediately— he wants her to know that his soul left his body instantly and he didn’t suffer.”
I then affirmed the accuracy of Debra’s statement about the brother’s instantaneous death, based on the information Linda told me earlier.
“There were kids left behind, “the little kids”, he says. He feels that his sister is concerned about them.”
I then confirmed that the brother had kids, but that I didn’t know any specifics about them.
Debra continued scribbling on her pad and said, “He wants me to bring something to his sister’s attention that has to do with a bath or bathtub.” This meant nothing to me so I pleaded ignorance.
Debra then mentioned, “He’s showing me something red, like a ribbon or banner, at the funeral—possibly used to cover the casket.”
Again, this statement meant nothing to me but it made me wonder if there was any significance to her last few statements. I would have to wait to find out.
Debra then said that the brother had specifically mentioned something about a little boy. I assumed this must be a reference to one of the kids she’d mentioned earlier, but I didn’t know for sure.
It was now time for me to leave, and I promised to share the information with Linda. Debra asked me to have Linda call back later that evening for a gratis reading.
I started driving home and began sharing Debra’s information with Linda—first reiterating her comments about the brother’s death being linked to a motorcycle. I then shared Debra’s statement that Linda’s brother wanted her to know that he died instantly and hadn’t suffered at the moment of his death. Linda was stunned with the accuracy of what had been shared thus far and was anxious for more validations.
Next, I mentioned Debra’s reference to “the little kids.” Linda explained to me that her brother had encountered some personal problems many years earlier and that she had raised his children during that timeframe. And even though the kids were now older, Linda and her husband still referred to her brother’s children as “the little kids,” something her brother had known.
I was really getting curious about the relevance of Debra’s other comments, seeing that she’d been on the mark with the things I knew about. I mentioned the “bath” and “bathtub” references. Linda explained that during the time when she was raising her brother’s kids, their favorite activity was bath time. She would put them all in the tub at the same time and they would engage in what she called “water wars.” This took place when the kids were between the ages of three and eight years. She’d fill the tub with bubble bath and toy boats, put the children in, and laugh as they splashed the water about—trying to sink one another’s ships. I then asked about the reference to “the little boy.” Linda shared that this was a clear reference to her brother’s grandson, recently born to an older stepdaughter named Lindsay—i.e., not one of the “little kids.”
It also turned out that Debra’s mention of a “red ribbon or banner over her brother’s casket” was meaningful. Linda told me that a red banner had indeed adorned his coffin. It was a gift from his motorcycle-riding buddies, intended to signify their camaraderie.
At the end of our discussion, Linda expressed deep gratitude for everything I’d passed along and was amazed. Her voice was quivery and all she could do was thank me over and over, saying, “Now I know my brother is okay.”
Later that evening Debra gave Linda a reading over the phone and furnished more information. In this session, Debra accurately identified the brother’s favorite food as pizza. She also passed along a “thank you” to Linda for changing the music at the service—from country-western, which he hated, to the hard rock that he loved. Debra said that the brother shared the phrase “Live, Love, and Laugh.” Linda told me that her brother never said these words to her during his physical life, yet she confirmed owning a piece of art with this very inscription—as well as the fact that she intended to get a tattoo with this exact phrase to honor him.
There’s even more to this account, but I need to move on and answer the other questions!
3. Have you received feedback from other bereaved people about your work—and have they indicated whether the information you’ve shared helped them better cope with grief?
Absolutely, through my books and talks, as well as the “Helping Parents Heal” organization I co-founded, I knew that I’d contributed something meaningful. People began reaching out form all around the world, saying that I’d given them hope and made them want to live again. Some even indicated that the information I shared kept them from taking their own life.
4. Can you tell me a little about your father, who was a prominent psychic-medium in his day?
My father’s abilities were multi-faceted and he demonstrated them not only in his church, where he served as a Minister, but also in public venues, nightclubs, and even Las Vegas showrooms. He felt that his gift was God-given and that he needed to go to people of all walks of life, appealing to them at a level they could accept. So when he’d conduct a psychic demonstration presented as “entertainment”, his hope was to open minds and make people think more deeply. His aspiration was to get people to contemplate the possibility that they were more than just a physical body and a brain; rather, that they were a soul just having a human experience. During his life, my father counseled celebrities like Mae West, Glenn Ford, Darrel Zanuck, as well as the Eisenhower family. He appeared on radio shows, like Regis Philbin and Joe Pyne, and TV shows like Alan Burke, Steve Allen, and Merv Griffin.
5. What are some of the most evidential stories you can share about your dad’s abilities?
I saw my father deliver messages from deceased loved ones on many occasions, sharing highly specific information including first and last names and other validations known only by the recipients. Witnessing these things gave me confidence in the afterlife from a young age. But my favorite story is actually not about life after death; rather it is one that stretches our thinking about the nature of time.
This story was relayed to me by a woman in Phoenix, Arizona, Norma Poling, who had come to hear me speak a few years ago. Norma felt compelled to relay her account, which she told me and then handed me a printed copy. In her own words:
“The first time I had the opportunity to see a presentation by Dr. Richard Ireland was in May of 1963. The spring luncheon of Good Samaritan Hospital Auxiliary had engaged him to be their featured speaker.
The audience was amazed when he was able to “read” serial numbers from many dollar bills while blindfolded. He offered the audience an opportunity to send questions to him and, without being able to see the questions, he answered them quickly.
During this session, I actually had two questions and could not decide which one to write. My questions were: 1) would I receive my Master’s degree? and 2) would I have a fourth child? I decided to only send the one about my degree.
The program was coming to an end and his blindfolds were being removed, so I thought he would not get to my question. But while this was happening Dr. Ireland said, “Oh, by the way, Norma, you will get that degree.” I was delighted and even though I was not sure it would happen, I left very encouraged. [Norma did later confirm to me that she earned the degree]
We saw him again while were on vacation in Arizona. We had moved to Ohio from 1965 to 1969. I sent one question to him but do not remember the question. When he started to answer, he said, “Oh, you did have that fourth child.” I nearly fell out of my chair because I had not asked that question. I only thought about asking it at the hospital auxiliary luncheon years earlier. He had answered the question I had thought about asking several years ago but did not ask.
6. Have you or other family members had experiences of connecting with your son, aside from meetings with mediums?
Yes, I had a very vivid dream visit that was more real to me than waking reality. During this experience, I encountered and spoke with Brandon in what appeared to be a three-walled, brilliant white room. Where the fourth wall would have been was an opening to the entire Universe. It was an incredibly touching experience that I will never forget.
My wife, Susie also had a highly compelling experience about six months after Brandon’s passing that provided exceptional evidence of a real connection. We’d just returned from a cruise, and while sitting at the foot of our bed, Susie saw a shadow figure out of her peripheral vision. Aside from what she saw, Susie could also feel that it was Brandon and had no doubts about it.
The icing on the cake came the very next day when Susie answered a call from our musician friend, James Linton, who had borrowed Brandon’s bass guitar. We had come to know James because he had been hiking on the mountain where Brandon transitioned—and tried to help but was too late.
When he called Susie, James said that he had something to tell her but he didn’t know how to do so. He then proceeded to share that while writing and recording a song, he felt a strong presence near him. James also noted seeing a shadowy figure out of his peripheral vision and flashing white lights in front of him. [Keep in mind that at this point, James knew nothing of what Susie had experienced the night before].
James initially thought he was hallucinating, so he drank water, ate some food, and took a shower, but each time he returned to his studio the presence was even stronger. At that point James yielded, asking out loud, “Okay Brandon what do you want?”
After doing this, James felt guided to re-write the lyrics to the song as well as the bass line. This process made him break down crying several times but when he was done James told us, “That is the best song I’ve ever written, but I didn’t write it”. The song, “On the Other Side” speaks to the importance of seeing through the work we need to complete during our physical lives and the need to have faith in his well-being and ongoing presence.
*6a. What information did you receive from mediums that made you believe you were connecting with your son?
There are quite a few so I’ll just share a handful of those that impacted me the most: The first one I’d like to share occurred while I participated as a sitter in a mediumship experiment at the University of Arizona, filmed for a Discovery Channel feature. The medium, Laurie Campbell, was unable to see me and I was not allowed to speak to her. Rather, a Proxy asked questions about my deceased son, Brandon to which Laurie responded.
She was asked how Brandon passed and Laurie responded, “I feel like the air is sucked right out of me in my chest, and I feel like I want to throw up”. Brandon died from a severe asthma attack, so Laurie’s description of what he likely experienced was very precise. Also, Brandon’s best friend who was with him at the time told us that Brandon vomited just before passing out.
Laurie also mentioned a tree that had been planted as a memorial to Brandon, along with a plaque. Indeed, his school, Saguaro High planted a tree as a memorial with a plaque at the base, featuring his name and a line from a song by Pink Floyd, a band that Brandon loved.
She then said, “I feel like I’m writing a book. But it may not be him [Brandon] doing the writing; it could be the person sitting behind me who is writing the book. I feel like it’s a kind of documentary on him [Brandon] or his memories. He also keeps showing me the mountains. Laurie had no way of knowing that I was writing a book, let alone a book where Brandon is a central figure. As for the McDowell Mountains, he loved them; that is where Brandon spent his final moments on Earth.
Speaking about me, the sitter, Laurie said, “Inspiring many is important, and many people will be moved.” Since the time of this controlled reading, thousands of copies of my books have been read, one of my talks has received more than 52,000 views on YouTube, and the Helping Parents Heal organization I helped co-found has experienced exponential growth. HPH now has 90 affiliate groups worldwide, two private Facebooks page with 17,000 members in total, and will be hosting a second (sold out) conference with 600 people attending.
I’ve had a number of other very high quality Mediumship readings, but the one I cherish the most came from Tina Powers in Tucson, Arizona. Not only did Tina furnish an impressive number of specific hits, she actually took on my son’s persona at one point—emulating his manner of speech to a tee, including Brandon’s intonation, tone, and sense of humor.
7. Can you share a little about your two books, Soul Shift and Messages from the Afterlife, as well as how they differ?
Soul Shift is a memoir that takes the reader on my journey of self-discovery. I reflect on my childhood, growing up with a remarkable father, then becoming an adult and starting my own family—only to suffer the jolting loss of my youngest son, Brandon. But then through a series of remarkable experiences, I am able to connect with Brandon, bringing a renewed sense of hope and joy. Through this process, which was essentially a metamorphosis, I changed and grew, becoming someone different than I was before.
Messages from the Afterlife is a scholarly work that typically appeals more to academic types. While the personal stories and experiences are still present, Messages also includes research that touches on controversial topics such as the compatibility of Psychic Phenomena and Mediumship with Religious traditions. I also expose the type of skepticism that is actually just cynicism. Skeptics of this type are closed off from considering evidence that calls into question the validity of their nihilistic worldview.
8. Your second book, Messages details an experiment you conducted after the passing of your younger sister. Can you explain that process without completely giving away the outcome?
Before she passed, my sister, Robin wrote down a secret phrase and placed it in a sealed envelope. No one but Robin knew what was written. A few months after her passing, I reached out to a number of Mediums to see if they could connect with Robin to obtain the phrase. After receiving responses from the mediums, the envelope was opened by Dr. Don Watson, a Neuroscientist who assisted me with the experiment. The results were quite interesting.
9. You also include a chapter about psychic phenomena and mediumship in Religion and History. Why did you choose to go there?
Living in a predominantly Christian culture, I often hear people express concerns about Mediums. This apprehension is usually tied to a belief that communication with the deceased is forbidden and/or that such activities may be influenced by malevolent entities.
Many people expressing such beliefs come to this view by virtue of what someone else told them, not from personal knowledge of scripture. While the Old Testament does contain admonitions against Mediums, the same books state that slavery is an acceptable practice and they also encourage people to take their rebellious sons to neighboring towns so they may be stoned to death. Today, it is hard to conceive of such edicts as emanating from a loving God.
Conversely, the New Testament offers many stories that imply Psychic Phenomena and Mediumship are not only acceptable but are to be embraced. One instance has Jesus speaking to Moses and Elijah, who were deceased. And the Apostle Paul asserted that “the ability to distinguish between spirits” is one of the “Gifts of the Spirit.” Ultimately, one must look at the “fruits” of such communications and ask if they are positive or negative. In my observations, a quality reading from a legitimate Medium can bring healing to the bereaved, which is a very positive thing.
10. What do you plan to write about in the future?
I’m working on a book about what it was like for me to grow up with a renowned Psychic-Medium for a father—and how those experiences shaped my worldview.
11. What advice would you give to people who are afraid of death or that the afterlife might not exist?
When it comes to believing anything, there is no substitute for personal experience. So my advice is to first read as much as possible on the topic of the afterlife. You want to familiarize yourself with the various forms of evidence, including mediumship, near-death experiences, reincarnation, death-bed visions, etc. Once you’ve done that you may consider a reading with a vetted Medium, or learning to meditate so you may induce your own direct experience. Alternately, if you’re in extreme grief, you may want to try “Induced After-Death Communication”, a process discovered accidentally by Dr. Alan Botkin. Here are some references related to the things I mentioned above:
Vetted Mediums: http://www.findacertifiedmedium.com/
Induced After Death Communication: http://www.induced-adc.com/trained-therapists-directory/
For more information about Mark, please visit his website at https://www.markirelandauthor.com