What happens after we die? Stephen Gray and Jason Pamer try to answer this question in their new documentary, After Death.
We talk to Jason and Stephen about what they learned, what they think happens and how doing this documentary changed their attitudes about the afterlife.
You can find the documentary at https://www.angel.com/tickets/after-death
In part two, we are joined by author Tiyi Schippers about her life as a medium. Tiyi, is also the storyteller behind the Campfire classic story, The Roadhouse Saloon.
You can find her book at A Liminal Life at Amazon: https://amzn.to/40D2ZSR
Thanks to Jason, Stephen and Tiyi!
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What happens after death and what’s it like to be a psychic medium? We talk about both questions on today’s Paranormal Podcast.
Announcer 1 (00:00:22):
This is the Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold.
Welcome to the Paranormal Podcast. I am Jim Harold. So glad to be with you once again, and we have a great double header. We do these from time to time where we have multiple guests kind of supersized for your listening pleasure. And today we’re going to start off with Stephen Gray and Jason Pamer and talk about their new documentary “After Death”, basically asking the question, “what happens after we die?” And then in part two, we’ll have our friend Tiyi Schippers. She is a psychic medium and she’s also the storyteller behind the best Campfire story ever. I think on our Campfire podcast, the Roadhouse Saloon, she happens to have these gifts and she’s written a book about it, “A Liminal Life”, and we’ll talk to her about that. But first, let’s get to Stephen and Jason about “After Death”.
There is a new documentary out and it seeks to answer the most universal question I guess we could ask, “what happens after we die”, and it is called “After Death”. And we have both the director Stephen Gray and the producer Jason Pamer with us today. Stephen Gray is a multidisciplinary filmmaker based out of Winnipeg, Canada. He’s currently producing a feature documentary for Amazon Studios. Now Stephen is very accomplished. He has created award-winning short films and commercials and having partnered with multiple brands like Target, Leisure Travel, Vans, Google, Pepsi. He’s been featured by Adweek Webby Awards, Forbes, MSN, and many others. Jason Pamer, he is the producer of “After Death”. He is also the co-founder and executive producer of Sypher Studios, a boutique full content studio with offices in LA and Seattle. Now he’s produced content with such luminaries, such as Steph Curry, Jada Pinket Smith. He’s worked with Academy Award winners and he’s produced multiple theatrically released documentaries with New York Times bestselling authors. And we are so glad to have him with us today. Stephen and Jason, welcome to the program.
Thanks so much for having us.
Thanks for having us.
So I mean, you can answer for yourselves individually, but why did you decide to tackle? Like I said, I say to people who listen, I say, look, we might not all see a ghost. We might not all see UFOs. Most of us are not going to see Bigfoot, but we’re going to have to make this journey. It’s totally universal, it’s the ultimate subject. It’s the ultimate question. But why did you guys decide to take curiosity to the step of making a movie about it?
So I’ve been a filmmaker for about 15 years, and most of my work prior to doing this, and the other feature is in the commercial space. But in 2012, my brother-in-law was killed in a car wreck. He was 36 years old. Here one moment, gone the next. Yeah. And so that caused me to ask questions about this reality. Is there something after or not? And I actually grew up going to church all my life, and so I was raised to believe that there is an afterlife, but at that point in my life, I wasn’t sure really what to make of it. It was very serious for me. All of a sudden I just needed to know is he, does he still live? Where is he or not? Right? So that’s when I came across these stories of people who had clinically died, had these experiences and came back.
And all those years ago, I hadn’t heard of it before. Obviously these books have been published and talked about for a few decades, but this is my first time coming across it and I was really intrigued, but I was also intrigued by the science behind it. I think there’s a lot of science behind exploring near-death experiences. So between story and science, I put together a short dock to tell one person’s story, Captain Dale Black. It’s a pilot who died in a plane crash in 1969 in Burbank, California with two other pilots and made the front headlines of the LA Times the next day because of the severity of the crash and where it happened. It’s one week before the moon’s landing and it was basically all across Southern California papers. So there was an NTSB investigation and all kinds of documentation that went around the plane crash itself. Told that one story. And then I connected with Jason Pamer and Jens Jacob from Sypher Studios who had, as you mentioned, they put a bunch of feature films out and I just wanted to talk about the potential reality of doing this feature. And they’ve been great partners to venture down this road.
Jason, why did you want to get involved?
When we saw the short that Steve and Chris sent, it was clear that there was vision for this highly creative, couldn’t believe what they pulled off on a shoestring budget. And I tell all young filmmakers, do that. Send a short, don’t describe the thing you want to make. Go show a version of the thing you want to make. And that’s what got us super excited back Steve and Chris. And then as a producer, the wise thing is to take a distinct story out to a distinct audience. That’s the wisest move as the producer. This film is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity to your earliest point. This thing touches everybody. The death right here is a hundred percent. And so most of us have touched grief and lost already. We’ve lost someone close to us, most of us. And if not yet, we will hit that line at some point. So the idea of is there something after or not is universal. So to be able to tell that story and then to tell that story on a big screen, and then the third largest release ever for a doc, it’s been like a dream.
Now to be clear, this is in theaters, right?
Yeah, it’s in theaters. Yeah. We came out on 2745 screens, which is again, I think it’s pushing top two all time, but top three right now. And it has a top 10 all time doc release of gross for opening weekend. And we’re moving into our third weekend and we’ll be on 1700 screens, which is still a wide release. So we think the fate of theater is only two weeks.
Yeah, that’s impressive. That’s impressive. And I think it’s partially because of just this is the universal topic. Now the thing that gets me, I hate to say it’s not really faith or anything, but I look at it as common sense. For example, the near-death experience, when you take a look at the near-death experience, people come back and report things they couldn’t possibly know. For example, they say this medical person, the person’s flatlining, but they’re able to describe what the medical person is doing to them. We had one doctor on who told a story about a near-death experience, and the person died and came back and said the surgeon in the operating room was flapping his arms like a chicken, and this doctor thought it was ridiculous. It’s like that makes no sense. Well, turns out that surgeon had a habit of pointing at instruments with his elbows to keep things sterile.
Like I want those sutures, I want this, I want that. And it made him look like he flapped his wings like a chicken. And to me, I know that the skeptics say, “oh, well the near-death experience, the tunnel of light, the feeling of euphoria, it’s all brain processes and chemicals, and it’s just to ease us into the dying process. And evolution has done this”. And I said, “Well, how do you explain the doctor and the chicken and the flapping and all the many, many stories like that.” What did you find most convincing about the accounts of people who have experienced near-death experiences?
Yeah, I mean we cover this in great detail in the film “After Death”. I think this feature documentary probably makes the strongest case for the reality of near-death experiences. We explore it from all sides, including from a leading neurosurgeon that doesn’t necessarily believe in near-death experiences, but is kind of trying to figure out what the process is of the dying human brain. But one of the cases that we explore in the film is Pam Reynolds, which it’s a famous case in near-death experience studies. But in our film we have Dr. Karl Greene, who is one of the neurosurgeons who was present during the surgery. He was learning under Dr. Robert Spetzler, who is the leading surgeon of that surgery. Both doctors are in the film. Dr. Karl Greene was actually the person who was present with Pam when she woke up in the post-op. And so he’s the first person that she begins describing the things that happened during the operation in extreme detail.
And that was cause for concern because for them, basically the surgery is that she’s, it’s an interesting procedure, but basically they have to kill her on purpose. They stop her heart, they drain all the blood out of her head, and they actually replace the blood in her body with a different substance, cools the body down. And they basically have machines that are keeping her breathing going, but the head and the brain are totally isolated and they have to monitor the brain activity during the entire procedure to make sure there’s no brain activity, otherwise they can’t proceed. So the entire time, I think over an hour, her brain is offline and that’s when she has this out-of-body experience. She has this view from over the shoulder of the surgeon and she’s seeing the bone saw, which to her looked like the handle of her electric toothbrush. And she talks about seeing the instrument tray that reminded her of her dad’s socket wrench set, the issues that they had with the veins in her legs and having to switch between one leg to the other, arguments that were happening between nurses and the surgeons.
And as well as she thought it was really offensive that they were playing this song, “Hotel California” during the operation. So it was really insensitive because the lyrics are pointing to that she’s going to be stuck there forever. So she brings all that up and they have to go back and look at the transcripts, make sure that they didn’t proceed when her brain was offline. And sure enough, they look at it and it is flatlined. So there’s not even blood in your brain to be able to say, let’s say anesthesia awareness, which does happen in some surgeries. But there’s also these clicks in your ears that over a hundred decibel clicks, that’s what’s measuring the brain activity. And so let’s just say hypothetically she was aware during this procedure and anesthesia didn’t work, while she would’ve permanent hearing damage, nevermind be able to hear and see the things that are going on during the surgery. So those things can be verified and surgeons themselves don’t even know what to make of it. So I think that’s probably one of the most interesting things about near-death experiences is that there’s elements that can be corroborated.
Do you find that Experiencers are comfortable sharing this? Are they a little reticent? Is it a mixed bag? Because I could see some people being afraid, “Well, people think I’m crazy or I’ve lost my mind or whatever.” But then other people I’ve heard say this has been life affirming, life changing. What did you find when you talked to Experiencers?
I was going to say it’s kind of both. They do feel that this has changed their life dramatically forever. They experience something that is more real than this life here, but a lot of them are reluctant to come forward and share that because for multiple reasons. One, yeah, like you say, I don’t think they feel like a lot of people aren’t going to believe them. And sometimes they have talked to their family or friends and they weren’t believed. So there’s a lot of reluctance to come forward and talk about this. It’s not a common thing to come forward and talk about.
Jason, you’re in the film business. It strikes me, I don’t know, I’m not involved in it, but it strikes me as a tough business. You got to be a tough businessman to be in that. But how did this picture impact you? Because it has to be probably very, very different from the other kind of projects you tackle.
No, no. It’s so easy. It’s the easiest industry. Everybody should try it, honestly. I’m kidding. It’s very difficult. To just touch on quickly, the last point about the reticence, this was one of the things that helped convince me these people weren’t just in it for profit or any other exploit, was that they were in industries, some of them, particularly Dr. Mary Neal, who it was not to her advantage to come back and share about this type of experience. She comes from an industry that is rooted and based in the material world. Anything immaterial or transcendent in that way, you’re going to get put into a bucket. So she was not incentivized to come back and maintain her career with that story. Howard Storm, who had a Hellish near-death experience in our film, came back and lost his family because of it. So again, you have all these examples in the film of people that they were not incentivized to do that.
And if you can find stories where the incentive is not there to tell the story, it does not necessarily mean it’s true, but it can directionally point you toward, you have a sense of trust here. Sure, that was important. In terms of the business, I mean, we did not expect to come out this wide. I mean, teaming up with Angel Studios, they have drastically disrupted the marketplace that came out with a top 10 all time independent film in the summer called “The Sound of Freedom”. And we were the next one up after that. And most docs don’t go to theaters much less wide. And I think it’s because the universal nature of the question and the way we explore it in the film as well, I mean, we’re trying to substantiate as much as possible with third party accounts. Steve talked about this already, but trying to get as many perspectives around these stories as possible.
Don Piper got run over by an 18 wheeler on a bridge. I don’t think I’d ever seen an interview with the trooper that was the first one on the site after where we got his interview, stuff like that. As verified as possible, as much documentation as possible, there are people that have infiltrated the overall NDE space with stories that are not real, that does exist. It’s not to discount the millions of stories globally that aren’t. And that’s the thing that really got me was the scale of story from many different types of cultures, say all cultures and religions, and then the uniformity of story, the amount of similar data points across these global stories that weren’t corroborating on a hidden Facebook group to go, “Okay, I’m about come out with my NDE story, you’re yours. Let’s make sure that we tie together that happening.” So that to me really gave me a lot of confidence.
We’re enjoying our conversation with Jason and Stephen and we’ll be back right after this. The Paranormal Podcast is brought to you by Nuts.com, and it is the perfect time of year as we go into the holidays for Nuts.com. And with Nuts.com, you will keep your snack stash stocked with all of your family favorites, your entertaining, just a perfect time of year for Nuts.com, because they have really, they’re kind of like Willy Wonka’s Candy Factory. They have tons of classic candies like Butterscotch Fudge and Licorice and so much more. Plus they have a great assortment of nuts. Now at the grocery store, you get, for example, pecans, regular old pecans, but you don’t get Bourbon Pecans, you don’t get Pecan Brittle or Butter Toffee Pecans or great specialized cashews, almonds, pistachios, dried mango, crystallized ginger, dates, jelly beans, jawbreakers, root beer barrels. You get the picture.
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Announcer 2 (00:19:11):
If you love the Paranormal Podcast, be sure to check out Jim Harold’s Campfire where ordinary people share their extraordinary stories of ghosts, UFOs, cryptids, and terrifying encounters. Find it for free wherever you listen to this podcast. Tune into Jim Harold’s Campfire today. Now we return to the Paranormal Podcast.
You talk about those common themes that come up from story to story, and I would be curious, which ones did you find? I mean, I know that there’s certain ones, the Tunnel of Light, the Life Review, those things were there. Talk about those, the ones that we all know. But was there one that surprised you, a common theme that you didn’t expect or more?
Well, I think one that we weren’t really expecting initially because time and time we hear stories of heavenly experiences, heavenly encounters, this peaceful realm seeing dead relatives and meeting maybe a god of light or a man made of light that knew them since before they were born and loves them unconditionally. But there was also these hellish near-death experiences, and that’s something that seemed to come up after doing a few interviews. And the people who were describing those encounters were a lot more reluctant to come forward and be open to talking about it.
Yeah, it’s nice if you’re floating on a cloud and everything is all hunky dory, but if you’re in total darkness like Howard Storm, you talked about him. I know that’s part of his story. I interviewed him years ago and yeah, that would be a little harder to get out there. What was the proportion of that? I mean, did you find that in a third of the stories, a quarter of the stories? What did you find? Well,
Well, there was a study that was done on, I think it was 1200, 1200 something patients who had near-death experiences. And of that study, I think it was 23% of those who came forward in that study had hellish experiences or distressing near-death experiences. So I think that the number is a lot higher than we want to really talk about. And it’s usually not talked about, it’s normally the quickest thing to be dismissed. It’s also as we’re finding, even in studies themselves, there’s some doctors that are starting to discount hellish experiences or distressing near-death experiences is something that chemically happens in the brain, but heavenly experiences are not. Heavenly experiences are actually something that’s true, potentially something that points to life after death, but hellish experiences aren’t, which I think causes even more hesitancy for people to come forward and talk about those experiences. So we interviewed 14 different people that are included in the film who had near-death experiences that had died between seconds to an hour and 45 minutes is the longest time that we have in the film. And of those, there was three people who had hellish experiences.
Now I’ve heard sometimes in the hellish experience, the person calls out to God and all of a sudden everything improves in some way or they’re brought back or whatever. Is that what you found usually something like that, somebody prays that never prays, that kind of thing?
Yeah, there’s two, I mean, that’s Howard’s story for sure, and that’s probably more of a commonly known account. There’s two out of the three people that had hellish experience that did call upon God. Howard met, he would call Christ, he would call Jesus who came to rescue him and pull him out of that place. Another guy, Paul Ojeda, he called out to God. He didn’t see anyone, but he could hear a voice or sense a light or presence that was speaking to him and telling him it wasn’t his time and that he needed to go back. And another guy just woke up in the hospital very thankful to be back and given a second chance at life. And his outlook at life is a lot more thinking of others, trying to, he actually volunteered in the army. He eventually became a chaplain in the army. And that’s the same though for all people who’ve had these near-death experiences. Most of them come back and their lives are pretty radically transformed. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they have a different career, but in some cases that does happen. Some people who are in the army, they find it difficult to continue in any conflict, it’s just something that they can’t do.
Yeah, I’ve heard that that many times. Did anything, go ahead Jason. I’m sorry.
Well, can I just add one thing? I mean, if these stories are true, the ones where you either grew up with no familiarity with this sort of universal being of light, God of light of love, that wasn’t in the vernacular in the house, sort of in the milieu, the way you were raised in some instances like Howard’s, it was not just that. It was the opposite of that. And so when this person gets to the end and then comes back and reports what they do, there has to be sort of a lingering question again at scale. Why and how is that possible? Why are they seeing that? Now again, it’s not every instance of a hellish near-death experience does this being of love rescue him out, but even if it happened X percent of the time across these stories where there was no sort of expectation that that would be experienced, to me, it’s like that’s a very curious thing and it’s something that we started to dig into in the film and we’re hoping to dig into it more in the series that we’re going to announce at the end of this episode for the first time ever, stay tuned.
Oooh! Breaking news, breaking news. That is awesome. How did it impact you personally? Because I know doing these shows and talking to people about this subject over the last 18 years has impacted me, and I think I always believed in the afterlife, but I think it’s really brought it home. And again, not even a faith thing, just a common sense thing in my case. How did it impact both of you?
I would just say I had a belief system going into the film that told me that there was an afterlife, but at the same time, if someone would’ve come up to me on the street and said, “Hey, I had this experience I saw and stuff out of body” I’d be like “Good for you.”, I would not have probably given them the credit or credence. But after doing this for five years, and again seeing the data, the volume of research, Dr. Long and our film has done a body of research around 4,000 globally sourced NDE accounts. Again, again, the volume in uniform is what I come back to. That’s what got me going. Okay. It confirms the belief thing. But I was going in as a skeptic being like, I’m not convinced that people are actually telling the truth. It’s got to be some other reasoning or rationale. And so that impacted me.
Dr. Mary Neal, the orthopedic surgeon in our film who went off the waterfall and stayed underwater somewhere between 25, 30 minutes. She describes this life review moment for her where she saw 30 degrees out from her life. She only knew degrees one and two, but she saw the impact of her life and her life’s choices, 30 degrees out, not 30 total people, 30 degrees out. And that to me was so beautiful and remarkable, got this butterfly effect to it. It’s like, man, I don’t think we quite understand how all of these seemingly small and mundane moments actually ripple out. I mean as small as you’re at an intersection, you’re driving, you make eye contact with the person across, and maybe for that person they had not had a kind face smile back at them in decades. I’m not trying to be overly dramatic for effect, but if you think about the ability to impact 30 degrees out, it’s got to be small moments like that throughout life that are before all of us. So I leave the film going, oh, I am going to try very hard, especially on the road, to be kinder to people and to be more present with my kids and to try to just be more present for the stranger, not knowing how my intersection with them and that time and space is going to ripple across the web of time and space either.
Right, right. Stephen?
Yeah, I mean it’s had profound impact on me. I think one of the highlights in making the film was being able to sit across the interview chair like you have Jim so many times interviewing people who have had near-death experiences and hearing their accounts, hearing their stories, and even hearing some of the things that they experienced. There’s a lot in that that we couldn’t get into the film and we hope to in a future series, but that’s left a profound impact. I think that’s something I’ll never let go. And to Jason’s point about a life review, that is a very common thing that people experience in their near-death experience is that this sort of 360 view of their life and then also in some cases they’re seeing the backstory of lives of people around them. So not just their life, but the people that were around them and the backstory of those people in their life.
So to me, it’s just kind of caused me to reflect on the life that we have here. I was profoundly impacted by the loss that I had gone through, that’s caused me to, the world continued on and my world had stopped and it was hard to go through that. But this film kind of has allowed me to push past that and it gives me hope that I can see him again, that I’m going to hopefully meet him again and have that reunion. And I’m hopeful that this film and these stories bring that hope to others as well.
Oh, I think that’s a great mission. And Jason, what you said about that 30 degrees out, I’ve never heard that before because I have heard you see the impact of what you do to other people and you see it from their side as well. I’ve heard that, but I’ve not heard the 30 degrees out. And that is so important because think about this, if you are nice to somebody one day and maybe somebody would’ve made the unfortunate choice to end their life and just that one smile made a difference and they didn’t do that, and then they go on to have children and their children, really it is true. It is the butterfly effect. It is the pebble effect. You put the pebble into the still pond and the ripples you don’t even realize. And I could go the other way too if you’re not nice to somebody. So it really is true. It’s very true. That’s a great point.
So well said. So well recapped. I think there’s two quick examples or further examples of this. Howard grew up with a very abusive dad. I think he even said every day of his life there was abuse for him and his siblings and his mom. And when he came back from this other side and had his life review, he ended up over time becoming best friends with his dad because then the life review, he saw the abuse and the life his dad had endured, which did not justify the actions of his dad, but gave him a perspective as to why his dad was the way he was, which allowed him over time to develop that relationship, which then further alienated from his family because they didn’t have that perspective. And then this guy comes back and now is befriending the abuser, it’s unfathomable. Mary had a similar instance where she saw her abuser, she was abused as a little girl, and saw the abuse that the abuser experienced.
Again, not to justify, not to push aside, but to give broader perspective, a peek behind the moment or moments of pain. To me that’s like if we can hold onto that truth that not every, because there’s so much hurt and pain in the world, so much evil, and it can become a place where you just become so despondent. What the hell is all this about? Why are we enduring what we’re enduring? And these stories give us a glimpse into there could be more at play than we have any knowledge of. And in the end end, which is really the beginning, we may get a perspective that may sort of stitch things together in a beautiful way, that again, doesn’t solve everything, but it’s just, it’s beautiful in its own way. I’ll leave it at that.
So in a way, this is not, I mean it’s about after death obviously, but it’s just as much about life and how we choose to live our lives and the people we choose to be.
I should have had you lead the marketing now. Yes.
I don’t know about that. You did pretty well. Now, let me ask you this. You talked about different cultures and I know in the US kind of Christian area, it’s a lot of people report seeing Jesus, for example. What did you find cross culturally, the differences, the similarities? If you look at places like Asia or Africa or did you get into any of that across maybe more non-Western cultures? What are your thoughts?
I feel like we just scratched the surface of it, but our 14 people, I want to say five or six of them came from non-Western countries. We also interviewed several people that they couldn’t be included in the film just because of time and production that we couldn’t get out to them. But we had the privilege of connecting with several people from very non-Western cultures, very foreign background and culture and religion in terms of their view of what the afterlife would be. Again, to our earlier point, it’s interesting the commonalities of what these people report in their near-death experience, not that they’re all the same, but there’s a lot of common descriptors of what they see or describe. And they may not all have language for it. So in some cases people come back and they’ll have an interpretation of what they experience that might match something that’s culturally relevant to where they are.
But when they leave it at just this description of what they said they saw, it’s typically something that it would be the same as what people describe in North America, which I think was probably the most interesting thing. We have a guy who was born and raised in South Korea, and when he grew up in South Korea, it was at a time where it was completely removed from Western influence. So just as an example, there’s no television screens in any homes. There’s no movie theaters down the street or in cities, and there’s no access to a Bible and there’s no street preachers around. So they’re not getting the typical American kind of cultural influence, right? Steve was Buddhist by default because that was the religion of the people that were in that culture at that time. And so his view would be something very specific and the monks that were training him in the temple would believe something very specific, which would be typically you can come back as an animal or a different species and you can encounter the afterlife many times over and grow and do all these different things.
And so his view was very specific, but what he experienced due to he inflicted a wound on himself trying to end his life and bled out and had this experience that when he stepped into that place, he said it’s like he stepped into eternity and he knew that in this place there’s a different set of rules. This is the way he describes it. In his words, he says there’s a different set of rules, there’s a different set of awarenesses. And so he could get philosophical on this end about what that is and what he could do in that world. But when he stepped into it, it’s like he doesn’t have agency or control like he thought he would, stepping into that place. So that was different because it’s very different than what he was raised to believe in terms of what that would look like and what he could do there.
And what he saw and what he experienced was very counter to what his faith had taught him in terms of that area. But then there’s also a lady who, she was an atheist in Israel who had an experience that was very, very different than what she was raised to believe. And it was difficult. A lot of these people come back and they’re in these areas that they feel so alone, no one to connect to, no one to talk to. And so, I mean, it’s the same in North America, but there might be more freedom here to come forward and talk about that. It’s not as talked about in these other places around the world. But yeah, we had the privilege of interviewing three people in India as well. One was a former atheist, two were Hindu. And again, it was important for us to kind of, because we’re asking that question, what happens after we die? We want to know around the world what are people experiencing?
Yeah, not just North Americans. I’ll ask you a very personal question and I’ll make a little confession myself. I’m afraid to die. And I think most people, if they’re telling the truth, have a fear of death. Whether it’s a fear of unknown, sometimes it’s a fear of pain. Sometimes it’s a fear of ceasing to exist. Maybe sometimes people are afraid to go to hell depending on how they’ve been raised. I know I attended a church in my teenage years where that was a major part of the talking points, don’t do what we say, you’re going to hell. Both of you personally, how has this impacted your fear of death or lack of fear of death?
Yeah, I don’t have a fear of death. I don’t, don’t know if I really had a tremendous fear of death growing up, but again, probably just from the loss and how much my life was turned upside down after loss, losing Marco and investigating this after so many different people and all the counts from around the world, like to Dr. Jeffrey Longs 4,000 reported accounts, all of that data just helped me, I guess reconcile that. I think that there is something after, and so that just gives me hope and faith. And I mean, I have a strong conviction that I’m going to see my brother-in-law in, and I have faith that for me personally, that gives me that security, I guess.
I think since becoming a dad, death for me is through the lens of leaving these littles and what they’ll go through in life without me there. So that is ever present, maybe too extreme, but it’s there for sure the concern, the fear, that’s for sure there. It confirmed in a beautiful way what I had always hoped to be true again, was raised to believe was true, but had not seen the medical or scientific arguments and literature to feel like it was fully true. And I think I got the end of this project going, okay, I can have confidence that there is an afterlife. There is this, I would define it as this creator figure designer, all encompassing love that’s for our good, humanity is good and wants us to realize how loved we are in the midst of the chaos and pain of all of our lives. So that for me got reaffirmed. And that may be a different takeaway for everybody. In fact, out of the tens of thousands of comments on social, it’s fun to see the sort of shotgun spray of reaction. Everybody has a reaction, which is awesome. Everybody’s got a perspective coming out of that theater on what they saw and what they should have seen and what they all that. So that’s been the fun part to interact with the audience.
Well, it’s a fascinating topic and again, I recommend everybody check out the movie. So to that point, two things. Where can people find the movie? This is going to be airing, let’s see, about the 13th of November. So where can people find the movie? And then secondly, you said you had an announcement to make and we love breaking news. So please tell us both things.
Well, if your folks go to angel.com/afterdeath and type in their zip code, they can find the local theater near them. We’ll be in theaters for about another week plus after the show comes out with you. So definitely when you hear this, go to angel.com/afterdeath, find a theater near you, go see it in the theater. We made it to be experienced in the theater. There’s epic drone footage from around the world with high aesthetic V effect, hot couple hundred shots, and the score is incredible. We’re biased obviously, but we made it for the theatrical experience. And to be sitting next to a stranger and in front of and behind somebody, you don’t know,
That’s a great point.
This universal thing next to somebody, you don’t know. It also creates something special in the room. So that’s where I would send people. Because of the thousands and thousands of comments and the container of 90 or 100 minutes, we could not go to certain places and do certain things that we desperately wanted to in the film. And so we are going to officially announce a series, AD the series, probably a few weeks after your show airs. But this, your audience will hear it for the first time.
There’s so much opportunity to get around the globe to get into the places, the cracks, the crevices across all cultures to find these NDE stories and to bring them unintended back to life.
No, that’s great. That’s great. Well, Congratulations on it doing so well. I think it’s a very, very worthy topic. And again, give us that URL where people can go find where it’s playing. I just checked myself, it’s playing several theaters in my area. Certainly got to check it out again. Give us that URL and tell people.
There you go. angel.com/afterdeath. Thank you both for joining us today and talking about this universal subject, what happens after death. Thank you gentlemen.
Thank you so much, Jim.
What an interesting conversation with Jason and Stephen. And again, I do believe it is the most universal of all topics that we cover. And after this short mention, we’re going to talk withTiyi Schippers about her book “A Liminal Life”. First I wanted to tell you about our Mausoleum of Merch. Now we recently built on a second wing, so to speak. We have our Amazon wing where you can get guest books, some limited merch from me and podcast equipment recommendations, stuff like that. So still a wing worth visiting, but we’ve really put a lot into our new Etsy shop and you can find both of those wings at jimharold.com/merch. That’s jimharold.com/merch. Now the cool thing is Krampus is coming, Krampus is coming, and we have limited edition Merry Krampus 2023 Merch limited edition, Merry Krampus 2023 merch. There’s an ornament with Krampus there looking out with Stay Spooky.
And then we have a full zip hoodie, a regular hoodie, a sweatshirt and a T-shirt, all that have this lovely red logo with Krampus and all his glory kind of snarling at you saying Stay Spooky and listen to Jim Harold’s Campfire. So check it out. It’s over at my Mausoleum of Merch. The easy way to get to it is just jimharold.com/merch and then you can click on the Etsy link. It’ll take you right to our Etsy shop. And Dar has done just a fantastic job and we tried, really looked at this and said, how can we make this very affordable for folks? So yeah, we have to make a profit, we are in business, but we tried to price things in such a way that we can make a profit and it’s affordable too, so please check it out. Also, autographed books there! Autographed personalized books of my books.
For a long time people asked “How can I get autographed books?” And there really wasn’t a good mechanism, but now there is. You can go over there and pick one of the books in the Etsy shop and I will be glad to sign it and personalize it. Again, we try to price that at a very, very reasonable level. There’s a little bit of added cost because we have to pack it up and we have to ship it, but we try to make that real real affordable for everybody. So get all of your holiday shopping needs done over at Jim Harold Mausoleum of Merch, jimharold.com/merch, jimharold.com/merch and your purchases support our shows. So thank you very much.
And thank you to Tiyi Schippers and just a great person. It’s a really good one. So I think you’re really going to enjoy it. We’ll talk about “A Liminal Life” and here it is.
And really over the course of doing our podcast over the years, you develop kind of favorites, favorite people, and one of those favorite people is on the line with us today.
I’m talking about Antoinette “Tiyi” Schippers. She has a new book out, it’s called “A Liminal Life, A Medium’s Memoirs”. Now, if that name Tiyi is familiar to you because it is a kind of unique name, she is Tyii of the Roadhouse Saloon fame, the most popular story in the history of Campfire, which has been going now, for my goodness, 13 years. I’ve told the story on numerous programs, had it on numerous best of, we even did a YouTube video on it where I got to meet Tiyi in person, which was a lot of fun and really just one of the greatest stories, the greatest story I think we’ve had in the history of the Campfire. And there’s been hundreds of stories by now, but it is only one small chapter in a life full of the supernatural, the paranormal, the spiritual. Tiyi was born in the Chicago area during the mid 20th century, is the third child of a family of 10.
She was raised in a rich culture of storytelling and quickly learned at an early age how to captivate an audience with vivid tales. She’s been an early childhood educator for 40 years and is an accomplished songwriter and traditional American music performer and has served as a city council member for nearly a decade in the small northern Michigan town where her and her husband have resided for the past 35 years. Tiyi is the mother of four children and she enjoys being a grandmother to five and we’re so glad to have her on the show to talk about “A Liminal Life, A Medium’s Memoir ‘, book two of her Gatekeeper series. Tiyi welcome to the show.
Thank you Jim. Thanks so much. It’s great to see you.
It’s very good to see you. We’re on video, you can’t see that since this is audio podcast, but it’s always nice to make that video connection.
And I always kind of put your, when I came up and visited you in 2019 and we did that YouTube video, that was one of the highlights right before the pandemic. I always say I didn’t go anywhere after that, but that was so cool to get to meet you in person. And as I often say, I believed you completely of that great Roadhouse Saloon story, which is included in this book as I understand it. I believed you even more once I met you. This happened, what it is, I don’t know what it was. Incredible story. So you’ll have to check that out in this new book, “A Medium’s Memoir”. So Tiyi explain to us the concept of the book “A Liminal Life”.
So my first book “Beyond Brick and Bone” tells the stories from my childhood home that a very haunted house by the way. So I grew up around spirits my whole life. And that book ended when we moved out of that home. So this book picks up after we moved out of the haunted house into an un-haunted house, which was such a delight. But because I had been awoken to spirit and made aware of it from my very earliest memories, I continued to encounter it throughout my life and just recognized things as I went along through my life. I had many unusual things that happened throughout my lifetime that are also in this book. So it’s stories of things that happened to me. It’s the story of how I continue to develop as a spirit medium.
Is it always a pleasant thing to be a spirit medium or sometimes can it be not as pleasant? Is it a mixed bag?
It is definitely a mixed bag. When I was younger as a teenager, I was often frightened by things. As I grew older and began to understand more what I was encountering and also feeling more confident in my own autonomy, my own ability to not be thwarted, affected, injured by that which I experienced around me, then it’s been not so frightening. I have not been really afraid for many years. Startled, absolutely cautious, definitely, but not scared like I was as a youngster
When I talked.. Go ahead. Go ahead.
Sorry. And not all the things that happened to me were scary. I had encounters with other things that were not necessarily ghosts, things that helped guide me and keep me on my path.
So I always like to ask when somebody’s a spirit medium, how do you, I mean some people are clairaudience, some people are clairsentient, people have different ways that they plug in. How does it work for you?
It’s pretty much the whole bag. It’s kind of weird, but I can hear things, I see things, I know things, I can sense things without before I see them. And then there are different ways that spirit communicates with me and I communicate with them. Very often, it’s just telepathically in a way where if I am going someplace to help someone who is dealing with strange things in their home and I encounter a spirit of a person and connect to them, I get their whole story. And it’s as if it’s a memory, it’s if it’s my own memory. So instead of seeing an incident from them telling me a story from beginning to end, all of a sudden I know the whole picture. If you think of trying to remember one of your experiences, you don’t start at the beginning of the experience, you know the whole thing. And that’s how that is. I’m able to shut it off. I’ve learned how to do that. How to just say, “Nope, I’m busy, sorry, I’m not helping you now.” And that has helped a lot for a while there when things were really peaking, I had no control over what was coming at me. And that’s very disconcerting. But there are ways to surround yourself to keep things from coming at you all the time.
And I guess that’s a question. I mean you’ve, aside from this, you’ve led a very active life. You’ve been a mom, a grandmother, an educator for years, a musician, active politically in your community. That’s a lot aside from the psychic spirit, medium piece of it. So how were you able to have those two worlds live peacefully side by side? And did the spiritual side help you with that? Was it sometimes a hindrance? How has that been?
Well, I have to say again, both it’s helped because my intuitive sense has helped me in teaching. I can sense where kids are coming from. I can feel their energy and I can help calm their energy just with my own energy. So it’s helped with my teaching, it’s helped with my work in the city and it’s been over 10 years at this point that I’ve been a city council member. And I can sense when people are stressed out or when things are really upsetting them. And it helps me to communicate because if somebody comes and has all kinds of baggage and background angst and is trying to problem solve, you have to deal with their feelings first. And so to be able to do that has helped. In terms of being a medium, I don’t, by the way, I do not have a medium business.
I do not charge any money anytime that people need my help. The way I see it, it’s like if I was a mechanic and had a toolbox in the back of my truck and if I had a truck, and I drove by somebody broken down on the road, I would stop and help them and I wouldn’t have them pay me. I would just help them. People sometimes just need help. And since it’s not how I make my living, it makes it possible for me to not have that pressure of delivering. I always say, I don’t know if this is going to do anything. I can’t promise anything, but I’ll see what I can figure out. And that has left things open for folks and for me and made it more possible for me to interact with spirit.
Now when you say spirit, different people may define that different ways. What do you mean when you say spirit? What is the range of entities or what are we talking about?
There’s a broad range of entities within spirit. Spirit is anything non corporeal, anything that is not made of blood and bone. This, it can be the dead, the recently dead, the long dead of humans who are for one reason or another still hanging out after they passed away. It could be elemental entities that have very specific, I don’t know, jobs or purpose within the natural and unnatural environment. It could be even angels, when I was very small, fairies, angels, all these things that are just not the people that you could go up and shake their hand, but they’re there and they’re present. So spirit just pretty much runs the gambit of all that.
Now these days, and by these days I probably mean forever. There’s always been, when you talk about spirit, there’s kind of the more soothing side and the idea that there might be spirit guides or angels or even departed loved ones who are looking over us. And then there’s the other side. People talk about demons and darker energies and those kinds of things. In your experience, what is the split? Have you found that most of the spirits that you’ve interacted with are positive or at least neutral? Or do you find that there is a more sinister side?
Well, sinister in that I’ve encountered beings who really do not care about us and they come across as being evil or being harmful because they’re going about their agenda without considering us. Like to a mosquito, when I slap my arm, I’m evil. So when there are things that we run into that have a purpose that contradicts the human purpose, they don’t care. And so often humans get hurt emotionally, psychically, sometimes even physically hurt.
And I have experienced that. It’s not all good and it’s not all bad, it’s just all there.
Could you share a little bit of a story where you have encountered, and don’t worry, I’m going to ask you about the flip side. I, always on my Campfire show, that you know very well, we get a lot of the scary stories, but I also like to spotlight the more heartwarming ones. So we will come through and ask you for one of the more heartwarming ones, but since we’re on the topic of these other energies that maybe aren’t looking for the human element and not really that worried about us, do you have one that you could share to some degree?
Well, of course there’s the Roadhouse Saloon, but everybody will know that one.
They know that one if they listen to me anytime at all.
Right? I had encountered an entity, actually very recently in the home of somebody who was feeling very anxious and uncomfortable and felt like neighbors. Very, almost paranoid because there were all these things happening, like vibration things and stuff. And myself and a couple of my friends with similar energy workers went to this house and found that there is something that is, lives, I suppose that’s the closest word, but that exists within this home in the basement and within the entire area. And this is in the town where I live. This place where I live was developed with logging. And so before that, the indigenous people, it was lakes, it was wetlands. It was a place where people did not stop and camp, but there were burial sites around the edge of my community. And then when the loggers came in, they cut down all the trees, they poisoned the water, they poisoned the land, they built up houses.
Meanwhile, there was an elemental entity that I believe the (indistinguishable) were well aware of that dwelt here. And now it’s underground in various places throughout my community. So Cadillac, where I live, has a lot of haunted houses. And I have a feeling that it’s because of this energy. When we encountered it, we could feel it through the floor and through the basement door. And so we were putting just little temporary fixes. You cannot make something like that leave. So just trying to protect the space for these folks who lived there. And as my friend was putting the protection around the grate and the floor, we all heard this audible growl through the grate and it got this thick, heavy feeling and had to just say, “Okay, we know you’re here. Stay here.” And when I came home, my son was very tuned in. He said, “Mom, be careful. This is really dangerous.” And he’s right. It’s really dangerous. You cannot go in and expect something that’s thousands of years old is what I suspect, to do what a human wants to do just because they think they can do it. You have to be extremely respectful and leave things where they are. My advice to these folks was given their circumstances, given their other issues in their life, that this is probably not a safe place for them to be. So someone, things will eat what we feed it, the energy that we feed it. So although these things exist in many places, if you feed something well, if you feed it positivity, it’s not going to grow more dangerous. But if it’s fed trauma, if it’s fed anxiety, if it’s fed fear or anger, these things get more powerful in that way. So this place could be perfectly safe for somebody else who’s either not in tuned or, but I have a feeling that things get stirred up by this entity.
Now let me ask you this. I mean, I think particularly with the popularity of the paranormal TV shows and those kind of things, if there is something in your house, I think that now most people think, “Ah, you’ve got to get rid of it. You’ve got to get it out of the house, you’ve got to cast it out.” Is sometimes the choice not to cast it out or simply if you can do it. And that’s easier said than done in many cases because housing is at a premium, interest rates are at all time high, rents are at all time high. So it’s easy to say, but sometimes is the better route to either A, leave sleeping dogs lie or B just get out if you can.
Well, first of all, I don’t think anything can really be cast out by us. There’s ways to quiet things and settle things down, but that’s the choice that whatever that entity is, makes. We have no control over either the dead or the never living. We really don’t. And so more often when I go to a place, often, if it’s a human ghost that’s there, there’s a reason. And if I can help them with what their issue is, then they leave. If I can’t or if they’re staying there because it’s a place that they loved and they just keep checking in, then I tell them to set up, we’re going to set up boundaries here like roommates and you’re not allowed to scare the people. Don’t show up in here, leave the kids alone, this kind of stuff, please do that. And then I tell them that I can make it very uncomfortable for you here. And there’s ways to do that. There are different things that you can do. You can exercise things.
I don’t like to do that. It’s very, very, very rare to do that. I see it as if things can be moved. If things can serve their purpose where they are and everybody can live together, then that’s the best story. But if you’re somebody who is super anxious and terrified all the time, then you shouldn’t be there. Those things like this entity at the house I just spoke of, is way bigger than the house. This is not something that lives in their basement. This is something that lives in the earth probably is huge throughout this entire area. So there’s no getting rid of that. So I think given that, it’s best for the people to move.
Let me ask you about this question because this is something that disturbs me about the topics that we cover on these shows. Something that’s always kind of haunted me, for lack of, no pun intended. I like to think that on the whole, at the end of the day, maybe not on this earth, but at the end of the day, we’re in a just universe. And if you’re a decent person, you try to treat people right, that things are not going to be horrible for you on the other side. Maybe that’s a simplistic way of looking at it, I don’t know. But that you would have a better experience. But then I hear about people talk about stuck souls. Either young people who have died, they don’t realize they’re dead, somebody that died suddenly, totally unexpectedly, maybe like a heart attack or something, heaven forbid, something like death by suicide, whatever the case may be, that they’re stuck souls and because of the nature of the death or the age of the person or something, they just can’t go over to the other side. And then I’ve heard other people say, well, if you run across a spirit like that, it is your duty to make them go to the light. Boy, that seems like a heavy duty for someone who’s doing this on the weekends. So I guess I would say to you, first of all, what do you think about that concept of the stuck soul? Does it exist or not exist? And if it does exist, what if anything should we do about it?
Well, what I’ve encountered is I have encountered the newly dead who are not aware that they have died. And I have helped them by explaining to them what has happened and giving them the option to move on. I don’t think we can send anyone to the light. We can give them, all we could do is give them information and then they go to wherever. It may look like a light, it may look like a tunnel. It’s not always the same thing for people. It may look like just lifting away. And I’ve had experience with all those different things. There’s also those who are being held by their own minds, by their own thinking. And more often than not, what I’ve experienced with this is people who need forgiveness, need to forgive themselves and need to forgive others perhaps, but mostly themselves. I have run into people who have died who are terrified of judgment because they feel like they were terrible people or they did something bad. Usually they weren’t terrible people. They did something bad in their life. And when I encountered that, I explain to them within what their beliefs are. Someone who is, for example, if someone’s a Christian when they were alive, and I had somebody like that who felt like he had caused the death of his child. Anyway, that’s a different story. But he kept saying, I’m a Christian man. And so I just reminded him that in his faith that Jesus died to redeem everyone.
And that’s you included, right? And so you are already forgiven. You just need to forgive yourself. You need to be able to let go, and then you can find peace. And that’s how I present it. Not that you can go to heaven or go to the light, just that you’ll find peace. Because it isn’t that what we all really seek is peace and to be able to have peace with the lives that we lived so that we’re ready for whatever the next thing is. And I don’t know what the next thing is. I know what things are transitionally, I’ve experienced that. But beyond that, I don’t know what the next thing is. But I think we first have to make peace with the lives that we’ve lived. And sometimes when people die without having done that, they stick around trying to figure out how to do that, or they’re not even sure that that’s what they have to do.
So it’s why I call myself a spirit medium because it’s talking to the spirits and also helping the living. That’s really, really important. Very often these spirits are attached to their living loved ones and are looking for resolution or forgiveness or understanding before they can move on. I’ve experienced that several times. And so by talking with spirit, letting spirit tell me what it is they want their loved ones to know, and then I can tell them, then everybody gets this release, this relief. And with peace comes release, and then we can move on. And it doesn’t mean, something that else that I found, and I learned this after the loss of my parents and mostly my mother first, is that sometimes people who have died can be with us. And they’re not stuck here. They’re still observing, aware of our connections that we have had with them when they were alive.
And so for example, I can be lying in bed and all of a sudden feel my mother and smell her presence and know that she’s there and she’s not stuck. She just shows up to say to me, to let me, to give me comfort when things are rough. She was around when my brother passed and when my sister passed very, very present. She was always the nurturer, but that doesn’t mean she’s stuck. She was just checking in. So I’m not sure how that works, if we go, I don’t think we go someplace. I think here’s the statement. I always say, when someone has passed first we’re here, then we’re everywhere. And I think that everywhere means it could be with us or not.
Now do you work with people in an instance, a lot of times when somebody passes, they’re not necessarily being visited by that person, at least that they’re aware of, but they say, “Well, I want to talk to mom, or I want to talk to dad, or I want to talk to my brother, my sister, my spouse, whoever it might be.” Do you have instances where you help people in those situations?
Yes, I have. I’ve done that both in person and through the pandemic. I’ve done it via the telephone, which I have no idea how that works. Just connecting with the person and then whoever it is that they want comes through. I’ve done that several times with different people and it’s just letting, because our loved ones are around us, I believe. And if someone really wants to ask their mother something or their uncle or who’s passed and did this really happen, this kind of thing that I can say to that person who has passed, I can see you. If you have something to say, let me know and I’ll share it.
It’s easier. I think it’s because when I do that, I get into a place where I change my own energy. This is also how I keep spirit from bothering me when I don’t want it to. I call it tuning in. And I think what happens is my whole mind and energy just changes. I hate the word vibration because it’s so woo woo, but it feels different. My senses are different and it’s, it’s very similar to when one meditates where everything just gets really calm and then you connect to other things. And so I get there, but it isn’t meditation exactly. It’s just changing. Letting that part of my brain that can perceive things that are unseen, waking that up. So if you’re doing math, you turn on your math brain. If you’re doing spirit, you turn on that brain and it changes. So I think that the way that my, I’m going to use vibration, even though I hate that term, I have to come up with a different term for that. My vibration changes enough to where it can connect to the vibration of those who are no longer physical. So I move toward them and they can move toward me. If that makes sense.
What do you think about signs? I’ll give you an example. I’ve had a couple stories over the years where I thought kind of odd things have happened out of the ordinary that very much connected me to someone who has passed. And then I had one that happened yesterday, twice in the course of one day, I ran into that very popular pop culture person in 2023, Lawrence Welk. Now Lawrence Welk was a favorite of my brother who was autistic. We grew up in the seventies and eighties when Lawrence was still around and was still on television for whatever reason. And it was so funny because my brother loved all kinds of music. He would watch Soul Train, which was a fantastic show. He would listen to country music, then he would like to watch Lawrence Welk, probably Lawrence Welk was his favorite, I don’t know. But anyway, he loved Lawrence Welk.
And I had one very poignant story that happened right after he died involving Lawrence Welk. I won’t go into that one. I’ve told it on the Campfire before. But yesterday, twice very front and center, I was confronted with Lawrence Welk. And the first time I didn’t even think about it. But the second time being, second time in the same day, Lawrence Welk popped up as I was actually flipping through the stations on SiriusXM, which I love for music. And it’s like twice in one day, Lawrence Welk, you got to be kidding me. It’s not exactly top of mind in 2023. And in fact, some young people that are listening may not even know who we’re talking about, which is kind of hard to believe, but true. So I guess my question to you is Tiyi, when we get signs like that, are we kidding ourselves? Are we just seeing what we want to see? Or is that an effort of those from the other just side to just kind of say, “Hey, I am here, I am here and I’m with you?”
Well, I think that I have experienced spirit communicating through symbols and through other things, but it’s also our awareness. One thing that the newly dead have told me is that when someone thinks of them, they’re all of a sudden in their presence. And so actually, there was a newly dead young man who was a veteran, an Iraq war veteran, and he was so confused. He had died of a drug overdose. And so first of all, wasn’t sure he was dead. And then he wasn’t sure if he had no idea what was going on. And all he knew was that he was going from one place to another to another. And it was every time someone was thinking about him, he would be in their presence. And I’ve heard this from others. So I told him, first you’re here, then you’re everywhere. You don’t have to go here, then there you can just be in the love of all those who love us. So when you heard the Lawrence Welk and when you heard it the second time and you immediately thought of your brother, of course he’s there, of course he’s there. And was there something significant yesterday that maybe it came from him bringing your attention to that, all these serendipitous things that get us to flip through the channels, or it isn’t that he made the Lawrence Welk song on Sirius Radio. It’s where you were and how you did that, and all the pieces come together and ploop, I’m still here.
Yeah. Yeah. Very neat indeed. Very neat indeed. You are a master storyteller. Now, we know the Roadhouse Saloon is in this book “A Liminal Life”, but is there another anecdote or story from it that’s one of your favorites that you could share with us?
Sure. So I asked my kids, I knew you were going to ask this, and there are two that are very, very pivotal to who I’ve became, and I think I’ll go with the first one. When I was 13, almost 14, I got very sick and I did not ever get well. It became a lifelong disabling illness that way later in my life, found out it was a misdiagnosis. But so when I was 15, I was told that I would not live through my thirties and that I would continue to get less and less able, in and out of wheelchairs. This has been my life turned out, thank goodness it was a misdiagnosis. So I’m still here and I’m now an old person. But when I was a teenager, shortly after this, hearing all that, and I’d had surgeries, they were doing surgeries on my legs to try to keep me walking.
And so I was in a theater group and my friend and I, Jenny, were working on the stage, and it was after surgery, so still I was able to walk, but I was moving slowly. And we had multiple encounters in this place. It was at a seminary, and the theater was a building built on the grounds of this Divine Word Seminary. That was all kinds of crazy energy there. I mean, anyway, so the theater itself had multiple spirits, and the first thing we encountered looked like a monk floating toward us. And we got scared and ran well, I glumped and she ran back to the director and said, we saw a ghost. Oh, save the drama for the play. So then we went to clean up dressing rooms. And when I opened the dressing door, this thing started manifesting again in that dressing room.
It was coming toward us and it was very, it didn’t look friendly. It was just very intense. And so we ran out and at the end of this long hallway was an exit door that took us out into the bright sunshine. It was the first Saturday in May when I was 15, maybe 16. And we just got out of there. We had to get out of that theater. This thing was not leaving us alone. And in the bright sunshine, all of a sudden we were in these dark theater areas and you can’t see anything. The sun is shining, it’s a beautiful day. And Jenny just keeps running down this path and I’m coming after her and she is way ahead of me calling, “Hurry up, hurry up, let’s go to the grotto.” And there was this underground grotto. And as I was getting there, I had to stop and rest.
I had to just take a break. My heart was beating fast and it was hard to keep moving. So I stopped at the foot of this tall, all white statue of a woman, and I think it was the blessed mother, I think it was, but it had no markings on it. It was just this woman that I looked up into this face, and as I was standing there catching my breath and looking up at this face, all of a sudden there was a wind blowing all around me. And it was rushing as if it was not coming from one direction. It was like going everywhere. And my hair was long and my hair was blowing in front of my face and I kept moving my hair away from my face and trying to see, because something was happening on the face of this statue. And what I saw was the face started to shift and change.
And you know that Michael Jackson video where one face just appears?
Yeah, Black or White.
Yes. That’s what started happening. And it was one face and then another face and then another face. At first it was slow and then it was going so fast. Meanwhile this wind is blowing and my hair is blowing and I’m totally confused and I’m trying to hold my hair back. So I could see trying to figure out what is going on. And all of a sudden the wind just stops and the face goes back to the stone face. And I hear with my ears and in my head and in the entire universe, a voice that it was like this androgynous voice, like either a very low female voice or a male voice. And it said, “There will be three.”
And I was like, oh, okay. And I felt really euphoric. I was no longer afraid. It’s like your post- adrenaline rush euphoria. And so I made my way to where Jenny was down in the grotto and was, the grotto was underground. It was hand stones laid by a former monk, and there was a life-sized statue of Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane the night before the crucifixion. And we were just standing there and there’s a skylight, so there’s light shining down on it, and all of a sudden this statue starts to morph and Jenny runs away. Well, we stopped it and we got out of there. And then when we left there, we were walking and it’s this big grounds. And all of a sudden Jenny goes running off and says, “Tiyi, come catch up, catch up. Look, look.” And in this field, off in the distance is this white horse.
And it was this beautiful white horse just running on the grounds of this seminary. And Jenny says, “Come on, let’s catch it. Let’s catch it.” Well, I couldn’t run. And I couldn’t go catch this horse and Jenny’s running off. And I felt really sad because I realized that what my friends’ lives were going to be was not going to be mine. And I could not run after a white horse. I could not keep up with them. And so feeling a lot of self pity, I walked around the path and here’s Jenny off to my right, running around with this horses, laughing gleefully. And there was along the path, the stations of the cross. And each one was like a stone diorama on a concrete pedestal. And they had small statues in each one. And I went and walked those stations of the cross. And the last one was when Jesus is taken down off the cross and the figure in the diorama was a small replica of the Pieta, Michelangelo’s Pieta, which is just a beautiful, every time I see it, the emotion as an artist myself. And I was an art student doing sculpture. We studied that. And I was just looking at it and looking at the beauty of it. And all of a sudden the face of the Christ figure began to change, like the face in the grotto. And I wasn’t scared, I was furious and said, how dare you serve something so beautiful. Get back. You have no power here. And it was gone.
And then I heard the same voice that said what was written on the pedestal of the grotto was a phrase that I couldn’t see because it was weathered and worn. So I took some dirt from the path and rubbed it on it so I could read it. And it said, “Great as the sea is my sorrow.” And then I heard that same voice that said, “Great as the sea is my sorrow, but no longer for thou art, clean and alive and reflect all I know.” And at that point, I felt I didn’t have the path that I’d expected. I had a different path and my path was not going to be running through fields. My path was going to be within this life that was given me and that I just needed to find my way along this very unusual path. And that’s what I’ve been. So that changed my life. And then later as I was writing the book and telling the story, my daughters asked me, “Was there something significant about that day? Did something…”. Well, what happened after that is I no longer felt sorry for myself. I just sallied forth. But there was something remarkable about that day, that day when we looked back to the year that I was that age. The first Saturday in May was May 1st, which is Beltane, which is Mayday.
Beltane has always been an initiation day for in my ancestry, my father’s ancestry. And I didn’t realize that until a couple of years ago, the significance of that. So that’s a very weird experience.
Indeed, indeed. And there are many unique and fascinating experiences in this book, “A Liminal Life, A Medium’s Memoir.” Tiyi, where can people find the book and read about “A Liminal Life”?
Well, you can find it of course online. You can also with this book, and this is always my recommendation, because as an author and someone who loves books, you could go to your brick and mortar bookstore and ask them to order it. It can be ordered by any bookstore in any neighborhood, and they’ll order it for you. It’s called “A Liminal Life” by Antoinette “Tiyi” Shippers. And the publisher is Parkhurst Brothers Publishing.
Well, I hope everyone checks it out and reads many of these interesting stories of “A “Liminal Life”. Antoinette “Tiyi” Shippers, thank you for joining us today on the program and giving us the gift of great stories.
Thank you so much. And you be well.
What an interesting conversation and really enjoyed that show. And we thank Tiyi and of course Jason and Stephen and check out Tiyi’s Book and Jason and Stephen’s documentary. And as we are in the month of American Thanksgiving, I just want to say I’m thankful for you. Thank you so much for supporting us throughout the year and please, we hope you continue to do so. Also, make sure to share the show with a friend. It’s so important as families get together this time of year. Sometimes I think that the spooky does come up and when it does say, “Hey, do you know about this podcast, the Paranormal Podcast or Jim Harold’s Campfire?” Tell ’em. And even better, if you’re together around a holiday dinner table, show ’em. Show ’em on their phone, say, Hey, it’s this easy. A lot of people are like podcasts? That’s difficult all the time. They’ve got about four different apps on their phones where they can listen to podcasts. People just have that idea sometimes it’s tough and it’s not really these days, at least not like the early days. But thank you so much. Please do that. That helps us probably more than any other thing you can do. So please share the show and we thank you so much and we’ll talk to you next time. Have a great week, everybody. Stay safe and Stay Spooky. Bye-Bye.
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