Witches can be some of the best paranormal investigators and researchers says J. Allen Cross. He explains why on our show today.
In part two, psychic medium Echo Bodine talks to us about stuck souls and having a happier afterlife.
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J. ALLEN CROSS: Witches are perfect to be kind of the referees between the two, so we connect as ambassadors or referees or connectors that can help us all coexist peacefully and figure out what’s going on.
JIM HAROLD: That’s J. Allen Cross on how witches are uniquely qualified to deal with the paranormal. That and much more, up next on the Paranormal Podcast.
This is the Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold.
JIM HAROLD: Welcome to the Paranormal Podcast, and let me be the first to wish you happy Halloween. I think the gloves are off now and we can say “Happy Halloween,” and thank goodness that we can. So happy Halloween.
Today we’ve got a great show. We’re joined by J. Allen Cross to talk about his book, The Witch’s Guide to the Paranormal. Great discussion with him. Next, we’ll have Echo Bodine talking about how to live a happily ever after life. You’re listening to the Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold, and here it is.
An interesting book came across my desk a few weeks back. It’s called The Witch’s Guide to the Paranormal: How to Investigate, Communicate, and Clear Spirits, and we’re going to talk about it today.
J. Allen Cross is our guest. He’s been on the programs before. He’s a practicing Folk Witch and paranormal investigator. He serves as a psychic medium and occult specialist on a well-known investigative team out of the Portland Metro Area. He enjoys working as a consultant for other teams and spiritual workers, exploring haunted and abandoned places, and writing about the paranormal. His new book, as I mentioned, is called The Witch’s Guide to the Paranormal, and we’re so glad to have him on the show. J. Allen Cross, thank you for joining us today.
J. ALLEN CROSS: Hi. Thank you so much for having me back.
JIM HAROLD: What was the inspiration for this guide?
J. ALLEN CROSS: This was one that’s been in my brain for years and years. I grew up practicing the witchcraft, getting to know how to interact with spirits in that capacity. I also grew up as a medium, so it gave me a unique view of how to cross the two. In my mind it’s very helpful to come at the world of paranormal investigation from a witchcraft perspective because I feel that we have a lot to offer and we have a lot we can do. As far as witches, we can move energy, we can change energy, we can interact with things in a different way than most folks. Through these techniques, we can do things like, instead of just observe a haunting, we can actually interact with it and help fix it, which is really helpful as well.
I really wanted to teach people what I’ve been doing for years and what I’ve found effective so that they can then go out there and try out what I’ve been doing and then maybe learn a little bit and develop their own techniques and teach others. I wanted this to start a little bit of a chain reaction in the paranormal community where we can get people a little bit more help than just observing the phenomenon.
JIM HAROLD: Let me put it to you this way – and I don’t mean this in the wrong way or an insulting way, but some people almost think of witches as the paranormal, not that you would be addressing the paranormal. Can you speak to that? Because it occurred to me some people think of witches in that way – that they’re basically the paranormal incarnate.
J. ALLEN CROSS: I do like that, actually. That’s a great way of looking at it, and that’s also one of the reasons why I feel like witches are a really great demographic to enter the world of paranormal investigation, because we are people, but we are also a little supernatural, a little paranormal, you’re right. So I think that makes us the perfect people to be a bridge between the two worlds of the regular living people and the spirits.
I always joke that witches are perfect to be kind of the referees between the two. We can act as ambassadors or referees or connectors that can help us all coexist peacefully and figure out what’s going on.
JIM HAROLD: In terms of this book, The Witch’s Guide to the Paranormal, is it simply for witches? Or is this something where non-witches can use these same principles?
J. ALLEN CROSS: It’s absolutely open to everybody. I actually really hope that a bunch of people who maybe don’t consider themselves witches but do consider themselves investigators will pick up the book as well and maybe learn some things. This isn’t anything that you have to be born with very special gifts or anything like that to do. In fact, I give a lot of hacks in the book for like, “Okay, if you can’t just psychically sense this, here’s how to use a pendulum to assist you” and all those things.
So even if you don’t consider yourself a magical practitioner or a witch, I cover all the basics starting from scratch in the book. I cover not only paranormal investigation basics, but also witchcraft basics, and I cover mediumship basics as well. Even if you’re not someone who’s necessarily calling themselves a witch or hasn’t been practicing for years and years and years, you can really jump in on this and learn some techniques that can be helpful in all kinds of investigations.
JIM HAROLD: I’ve got to ask you this. I’m sure you’ve seen the paranormal TV shows, and maybe you’ve observed teams that you’re not necessarily involved in going out and doing investigations. When you know how to do something and you’re knowledgeable in something and you see somebody do something that’s probably not the best thing, it kind of makes you pull your hair out. It’s like when I listen to a podcast – not that my podcast is perfect; there’s always room for improvement, but there’s certain things you do and you don’t do. Some things that I hear technically, it’s like, “Oh no, don’t do that! That’s wrong!”
Do you have that same reaction with certain things you see from paranormal teams, whether they’re just Joe and Bill from down the street or the ones on TV, where you go, “That’s just not the way to do that”? Do you have certain pet peeves in that regard?
J. ALLEN CROSS: Occasionally, yes. But they’re very different depending on whether it’s TV or real life, because in real life when I’m working with other investigation teams, I don’t find that they do the things you see on TV where they’re antagonizing the spirits and yelling at them and challenging them to a fight or whatever, which is one of my biggest pet peeves with watching television.
If it’s on TV, no matter how good a job they’re doing at trying to capture real investigation, it’s still first and foremost entertainment. So it very much differs from what you would normally find out there. As far as TV is concerned, that’s something that bothers me – the antagonizing the spirits.
And that’s something, too, that I’ve found with this book. When I started promoting this book, a lot of people whose only contact with paranormal investigation had been from television were very worried about my book because they thought I was going to be trying to convince a lot of people to go out there and fight the spirits. [laughs] Which is very much not what I’m suggesting in my book. Quite the opposite, a lot of the time.
As far as real life goes, I don’t find that real-life teams actually go out there and antagonize spirits. Most of the teams I’ve run into actually have very strict rules against doing that. On my team especially, that’s grounds for immediate dismissal. So I don’t find it something that I run into a lot in real-life investigation.
But one of the pet peeves and the reason why I wrote this book is people would contact me from across the U.S., and I couldn’t get to them because they’d be so far away. So I would contact their local paranormal investigation team and be like, “Hey, can you go to this person’s house and help fix whatever’s going on or try to calm down the activity?” And if they’d respond to me at all, the response would often be, “No, we can’t help, but we’d love to come and take photos.”
That’s not exactly helpful in a lot of these cases. Going on safari in somebody’s home while they have a very violent haunting is not going to really do what they think it’s going to. It’s not going to help the family. So that’s one of my pet peeves in real life – the inability to help sometimes. That’s another reason why I put out this book, so we could get that information out there so that investigative teams could do both.
JIM HAROLD: That’s an interesting phrase you use, “going on safari.” Do you find that – and I want to get back to the book – just your opinion – I guess everybody that’s done anything like this, it’s like, “Ooh, it’s cool, I got an EVP or a great picture” or whatever, but that’s more like trophy hunting in a sense. But really, in your view, paranormal investigation, especially in a private home, should be about more, right?
J. ALLEN CROSS: I definitely think it should be about more. And I don’t want to discount the interest in and the importance of getting what we would call evidence of the afterlife, but I think the paranormal community does need to be honest with themselves. How it’s set up currently, we could get the most amazing evidence of the afterlife and it wouldn’t be believed. It would be immediately debunked because right now, the standard for debunking simply is “Oh, that could have been faked, therefore it doesn’t hold up.” If anyone’s seen the last Avengers movie, New York was decimated by aliens, so anything can be faked at this point.
I think we need to just swallow the fact that the evidence hunting is great, that’s something that’s important, but we’re never going to get where we think we’re going to get with it. So I would like us to shift focus more to helping people while collecting evidence along the way.
JIM HAROLD: That makes sense. You start here with some basics in the book you talk about witchcraft basics. What are some of the basics things that you would like non-witches to know – maybe people who don’t understand witchcraft or maybe have particular stereotypes about it?
J. ALLEN CROSS: I come at the craft from a slightly different direction than some folks. I practice mostly folk magic, which is a more common type of magic. It’s a little less scary. Since folk magic essentially is the magic of the people throughout time, it’s really matched whatever religion was predominant in these areas. A lot of people who see witchcraft from the outside are worried that it’s all Satanic. I’m actually a practicing Christian, which confuses a lot of people when I then talk about the witchcraft.
I want people to know that if they’re going into this but they’re worried that it’s devil worship or something like that, it’s very much not. In fact, a lot of the spirits I work with are things like saints or things that people are very much familiar with, or more comfortable with. So I don’t want them to think that in order to do the work that’s in the book, they have to sell their soul to somebody or whatever.
Also, a great deal of the magic in this book is not complicated. When you’re out in the field, in someone’s basement, wherever you are, you don’t always have everything with you. So a lot of the spells, a lot of the work that is presented in the book is stuff that you can do either with your mind or with your own personal will, and I walk you through all of that. It’s a lot simpler than people would think, and you don’t need a chicken’s foot or a frog’s eyeball or anything like that. You just mostly need yourself, your intention, and your mind, and you can do a lot more than you would think.
JIM HAROLD: When you talk about a haunting, you have a whole section in here about different types of hauntings and so forth. How many different kinds of hauntings do you talk about in the book? Residual hauntings and so forth and so on. What are the main categories in your view?
J. ALLEN CROSS: The way I’ve presented it in the book is that there are four different types of hauntings. Those are a residual haunting, an earth-bound human spirit or what we’d call a ghost, a poltergeist, and an inhuman entity. What’s funny is out of all four of these, only two of them actually have spirits, and those would be the earth-bound human spirit category and the inhuman entity.
Inhuman entity is actually very broad. When people hear the term “inhuman entity,” they immediately go to demons or evil things. But all kinds of things fall into this category, from forest spirits to fairies, all kinds of stuff that you could possibly run into out there.
Then the other two, a residual haunting doesn’t have a spirit because it’s just a memory, essentially, that is trapped in a place and being repeated over and over again, so there is no active spirit.
And a poltergeist is often very misunderstood because people have long believed that a poltergeist is a ghost or a huma spirit that’s agitated. But what we’ve come to understand more recently is that poltergeist phenomenon is actually caused by living people who are throwing off enormous amounts of psychic energy for one reason or another that’s manifesting as paranormal activity in the home.
So those are our four main types that we learn to identify and work with in the book.
JIM HAROLD: You also talk about a magical toolkit. What do you mean by that? Because I think people get a lot of images in their head, the hackneyed stereotypes – the “eye of newt,” whatever it might be. In reality, though, when you’re talking about a magical toolkit, what are you talking about?
J. ALLEN CROSS: The magical toolkit section is one of my favorites in the book just because that’s when you really get to – it’s a chapter that’s full of everything that you may need that I really like, so people can have it. A great bulk of that is things like spells. Things like “Here’s how to lay down a boundary, here’s how to protect a home psychically and magically.” It has all these different kinds of spells, most of which you can do with very little tools or no tools. It also walks you through ones where you do use tools, and it also has things like recipes for oils that you can make ahead of time and then carry with you in a bag.
When I show up at places to do the work that I do, I have kind of a little doctor bag that I carry with me that has some candles, some oils, some things I think I might need that I bring with me. I teach them how to build their own, and I give them the recipes that I’ve used for years that have been effective.
Basically, it’s a toolkit for both your mind, so that you know things like prayers and rituals and things like that, and then actual physical things that you can make and bring with you, which can be helpful while you’re there but also don’t take up a whole lot of space.
JIM HAROLD: Our guest is J. Allen Cross. We’re talking about The Witch’s Guide to the Paranormal, and we’ll be back right after this.
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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 in to Jim Harold’s Campfire today. Now, we return to the Paranormal Podcast.
JIM HAROLD: I would like to go a little more in-depth on some of the kinds of hauntings because I think it’s really interesting. For example, the idea of earth-bound spirits. That’s one that has always bothered me. If you talk about the different things in the paranormal, that’s one that bothers me because I like to think on some line, we’re living in a just universe, and if people are good people generally, they will get some kind of reward, or at least there won’t be bad things happening to them.
But then I think of the poor person – and I know that experts I’ve spoken to before say typically when you have an earth-bound spirit, it might be someone who was surprised that they passed or someone who’s afraid to go across to the other side; they might be afraid of going to hell because that’s what they were raised with, or whatever the case might be. People are afraid to go to the other side, they don’t know they’re dead, those kinds of things.
That bothers me because that seems pretty unjust and unfair. This has happened to these people through no fault of their own. What are your thoughts on earth-bound spirits?
J. ALLEN CROSS: It’s such a difficult idea because while I do agree with you that it does seem unjust and unfair, part of the reason why at least I believe it works this way, where they can get stuck here, is because of this idea of fairness.
One thing that keeps coming back over and over again is this idea that we have free will, and we are in charge of what happens to us. As much as I would like to say that everyone has this perfect transition over, I think part of the crossing over process is actually making the deliberate choice to do so as opposed to having that choice taken from us and just getting pulled across the other side.
For instance, someone who would be afraid to go through the light because maybe they took their own life or they did something unsavory and they’re worried that they’re going to go to hell, that would be a very terrifying experience to die and then just be tractor-beamed, UFO, into the light. So they’re given the choice. If you’re not ready, you don’t have to come through yet, but whenever you are ready you can.
And most people do go through very easily, very quickly, but it’s up to the spirit and they’re given that opportunity to not. Which I think is a big deal, and I think even though it does sometimes create problems with people getting stuck on this side, I think the gift of having the choice, always, even in death, is something that’s important and can’t be taken from us necessarily.
JIM HAROLD: The question here is the idea of poltergeists. I’ve talked to a lot of people on the Campfire show, for example, who kind of like their ghost. They live in a haunted house and they have a peaceful coexistence and maybe even get a kick out of it. It’s like the friendly ghost kind of thing.
But when something starts throwing things at you and moving things and causing destruction in possibly the most extreme cases, that could be quite frightening. What are your thoughts on poltergeists? What’s behind that? And also, is there a human element? Because we see it a lot of times with adolescents. It seems to happen where there’s a lot of energy in the house. What are your thoughts?
J. ALLEN CROSS: Poltergeist phenomenon is, as we understand it right now – a textbook, garden variety poltergeist is often, like you were saying, caused by someone who’s in the middle of adolescence, or as I call it, in the throes of it. Puberty starting is a very tumultuous time. Usually people who are what we call a poltergeist agent or the one who’s actually causing the poltergeist will often be a very bright individual. Usually thought to happen more commonly in female children. Not always, though.
One of the things that’s very standard is you’ll often find they’re under a lot of pressure. Maybe they’re being put under a lot of academic pressure by their parents; maybe there’s some upheaval in the family, like the parents are going through divorce. Whatever it is that is causing this pressure on the child is going to really cause a huge uptick in all this energy that they are throwing off because they can’t express it through normal means.
And then you get poltergeist activity. You get things moving on their own. You get objects that are stacking on their own.
Now, while that’s the most common definition of it that you’ll find out there, I have found that poltergeists can be caused a couple of different other ways as well. It does happen in adults. Adults who are going through very traumatic things or who are under a lot of pressure and are maybe already predisposed to causing poltergeist activity or having maybe a little bit of a psychic leg up than others will cause poltergeist activity as well.
There tends to be a difference between the two that you can notice in the activity as well. Poltergeists caused by children tend to be very mischievous; they’ll do weird things like stack things or do comedic things like smear things on the wall that spell out rude words and all of that, whereas those caused by adults tend to be a lot more sinister. Might have voices, might be a little more violent. Those ones tend to be a little more frightening.
I have also seen them caused by whole groups of people. We once went to a home where we were trying to talk with the family who was experiencing the haunting, and no one in this family of five people sitting across from us could get out more than two sentences before somebody else in the family would jump in and argue, and then they would get fired up and everyone would be yelling and screaming at each other.
Over and over again, this happened. We had to keep having them calm down and then it would start over again. It was no wonder they were having a problem because they were creating so much energy in the home that it had to go somewhere, and it was developing as paranormal activity. We as people have a lot more power than we understand a lot of the time, and we can create our own phenomena.
JIM HAROLD: Another one I’d like to ask about is this idea of spirits that aren’t human, that are maybe negative in some ways. Talk to us about those, because I think that to me seems way more frightening than human activity.
J. ALLEN CROSS: You’d be surprised. Some days I come across human spirits where I’m like, that’s way more uncomfortable than something inhuman I found last week, but it depends on the case.
I talk about a type of inhuman spirit that I just refer to as a negative entity, which is an umbrella term for any inhuman entity that seeks to harm or prey upon the living people in one way or another.
I find that a lot of them function mostly as predators that are looking for food and a little less things that are just evil and out to get people, because I don’t think that way of framing it is super helpful. I understand why people want to categorize things in good and evil, but I don’t think it’s quite that simple a lot of the time.
These entities often are looking for food, but they don’t want to necessarily harm the people as much as they want to scare them, because what they are feeding on, in my experience, is the fear energy that people put off. Some of them also will feed on things like sadness or anxiety, so they might be drawn to people who are having some issues with depression or anxiety and maybe will come around and make them worse occasionally in order to receive that food sustainably.
It’s a little less about something being good and evil versus this is just how they function. Doesn’t mean that we want them in our houses, though. So when it comes to negative entities, they’ll often be very scary because that’s their whole job, to instill fear so that they can get that food. The best thing we can do is deprive them of that by not being afraid. That causes all kinds of problems for them.
JIM HAROLD: In your view, does witchcraft do that? Does it empower the individual to stand up against this?
J. ALLEN CROSS: I definitely think that it does, especially once you know how to protect yourself and you learn the rules of how the spirit world works so that you can understand how to – you can play the game as well. It’s not just them knowing all the rules while you’re left in the dark. Once you get that education, you know how it works, you know how to defend yourself, you know what they need from you, and you can deny them that.
Through witchcraft, we can manipulate and move energy, so through that we can also do things like push them out of spaces, we can remove them from spaces, we can call in spirit allies that are going to help us as well. It really gives us a lot more agency and a lot more tools as opposed to just having something that you don’t know what it is, you don’t know how to defend yourself. Witchcraft can definitely be empowering.
JIM HAROLD: Another thing that’s always fascinated me about the paranormal is this idea of portals. Maybe in some cases you get a glimpse back in time and those sorts of things, or maybe a gateway or portal to another realm. Can you talk to us about that? You cover it in the book.
The thing is that I think most of us think ghost, dead people. And then maybe if we’re being really esoteric, a residual haunting that’s a replay. But I think sometimes we don’t think about things like portals or doorways – as you put them, highways. Can you talk about that? Because I think that’s interesting.
J. ALLEN CROSS: Absolutely. I learned a long time ago that the truth is definitely stranger than fiction when it comes to the paranormal. [laughs] I have come across many strange things, including things like what I call portals and highways.
Portals are like these little doorways – essentially what you think of when the term “portal” comes up is pretty much what it is. You go in and it will pop you out somewhere very different. These are used by spirits for transportation. You go into a portal and you get shot out somewhere else. It’s very convenient for them.
But when it’s in your home, that can cause problems. Especially if it’s a portal that is dumping into your home versus a portal that is taking things out of your home, it will definitely cause a lot of issues. When people come to me and they’re like, “I have a haunting” and I’m asking them to describe it, they’re like, “Well, it was like this old man that was in there that we kept seeing, and then he went away and it was this young girl, and then she went away, and then for a while we had these little gremlin things.” When the activity is so varied like that, things are coming and going, that’s when I often go, “I’m betting you have a portal somewhere.”
In the book, I teach you how to change these portals, work with them, close them if you need to, open them if you need to. Then we have other things that I like to call spirit highways, which is currents of energy that help, again, with spirit transportation. I often talk about them like when you go to the airport and there’s those conveyor belts on the floor that you can either stand on and they’ll take you, or you can walk across them and they speed you up really well. I love those things. It kind of works like that in a similar way.
One of the really common ones is if there’s underground water running beneath the home, that will create an energy current that will pull spirits along. Spirits will often travel along those. But if your home is directly over that, they’ll be traveling through your home, so you may often have varied activity. Your home may also become a little bit like a bus stop along that line sometimes. There’s not a whole lot you can do if you’re just placed there, but I do offer a solution in the book that’s a little strange, but I did once have success popping a spirit highway up above someone’s house so they were going over it instead of through it, and that did seem to help quite a bit.
JIM HAROLD: In closing here, it seems interesting to me – if you go into a home and you’re doing an investigation for someone, people probably watch TV shows and they’ve seen EMF meters, they’ve seen possibly having a psychic along, cameras, recorders those types of things. Can you talk to us about the conversation when you say, “One modality here that we use is witchcraft”? What is that conversation like?
J. ALLEN CROSS: That’s an interesting one. I don’t tend to outright say it too much unless they ask me. A lot of the time when I’m brought to a house, they don’t really care what I do as long as once I leave it’s done with, it’s fixed. [laughs] So they don’t ask too many questions. They assume I’m probably going to be doing some weird stuff like ringing bells and burning herbs and stuff, which quite often I actually do. It’s not so much a surprise, but I don’t necessarily show up and go, “Hello, I am a witch. I am here to do witchcraft in your home.” They just know that someone’s there to fix it and they’re not going to question it.
So I don’t have to often explain myself; however, if I am asked, I am honest. A lot of the time people are very accepting of it simply because I think we’re having this big reawakening and a whole lot of people are either getting interested in witchcraft or they have a friend who practices. Especially in the area I’m in, it’s very destigmatized, so I don’t often get a lot of pushback. Sometimes people get a little bit nervous, but I can talk with them about my personal practice. It often helps that I identify as Christian. That often puts people at ease a lot of the time. And the fact that I’m often using prayers like the “Our Father” in the home will put them at ease as well.
Luckily, with the path that I walk, I can do both for people. If I’m in a pagan house, I can be real pagan for them, and if I’m in a Christian house I can do that as well. The flexibility and the adaptation is really important when you do this work.
JIM HAROLD: It’s interesting because you think a lot of things are very accepted and we don’t even think twice about them, like burning sage and things – but that’s essentially witchcraft.
J. ALLEN CROSS: A little bit.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah. It’s interesting, people put labels on things. It’s an interesting thing. What is your hope for this book? How do you hope to progress things with this book?
J. ALLEN CROSS: I’m really hoping that, number one, I can get quite a few more people doing what I do. I know I’m definitely not the only one out there doing this type of work where we’re actually fixing the hauntings and removing the negative entities, but some days it does feel like I’m the only one a little bit. [laughs] So I would like to get this education out there so more people can be doing this.
I would also like to really empower witches to change the way that they think about paranormal investigation. If they’re worried that paranormal investigation is something they view as harmful, I would like to empower them to go out there and join and be the change that they wish to see, and maybe they will be surprised to get out there and realize that there isn’t as much change that needs to happen as they thought originally, which would be great.
I just want everybody to feel very empowered, learn some new tools so that we can help both the living and the spirits, and we can all coexist a little happier together.
JIM HAROLD: The book is available, The Witch’s Guide to the Paranormal: How to Investigate, Communicate, and Clear Spirits. Where can they find it?
J. ALLEN CROSS: They can find it all over the place. It is available on Amazon. You can go to Llewelyn’s website, the publisher, and you can buy it from them. I don’t have any copies direct yet, but I might put a few signed copies up in my store. They’re pretty much everywhere at this point. I think you might be able to get them on bookshop.org as well. So just google The Witch’s Guide to the Paranormal and it should show up all the different places.
Also, if you’re interested in maybe getting it from my store, you can find my Instagram, which is @oregon_wood_witch. Make sure it’s all spelled correctly, and there aren’t extra underscores, because a lot of people are trying to pretend to be me online right now, which is an ongoing issue.
JIM HAROLD: I’m sorry.
J. ALLEN CROSS: Just know that I will never DM you to offer you a reading. If somebody does, they are scamming you.
JIM HAROLD: Yeah I’ve seen that kind of thing going around with various guests I’ve had, and I think it’s so sad that there are those scammers out there. Very sad indeed. Give them your website address again, please.
J. ALLEN CROSS: My Instagram is @oregon_wood_witch.
JIM HAROLD: Excellent. Thank you so much. The book is The Witch’s Guide to the Paranormal: How to Investigate, Communicate, and Clear Spirits. It’s always great to speak with J. Allen Cross. Thank you so much for joining us today.
J. ALLEN CROSS: Thank you so much for having me.
JIM HAROLD: What an interesting discussion. I love getting the perspective of different people from different belief systems and having them chime in on the paranormal. It makes you think. Very interesting stuff from J. Allen Cross. Check out his book by all means, and we appreciate his time today.
Next up, we have an equally fascinating guest. I’m talking about Echo Bodine. She’s going to talk to us about how to live a happily ever after life. Sounds good to me. Right after this on the Paranormal Podcast.
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You’re listening to the Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold.
JIM HAROLD: We have a guest – well, we had her on, we were just discussing, about eight years ago. It’s been too long. But it’s so good again to talk to Echo Bodine. She is internationally known for her work as a spiritual healer and writer. She has appeared on numerous TV shows nationally, including the Sally Jessy Raphael show and NBC’s Later Today. She’s the author of a number of books, including her latest, How to Live a Happily Ever After Life: Stories of Trapped Souls and How Not to Become One. Echo Bodine, welcome to the program today.
ECHO BODINE: Thank you very much, Jim. It’s great to be here.
JIM HAROLD: I love the artwork on your book. There’s clouds and a door and everything. But I’ve got to say, it scares me a little bit. Let me explain why. I’ve been doing these shows – I know you’ve been doing this stuff much longer. You’ve been in your field much longer than I’ve been in my field and in paranormal podcasting, but I have done it for 17 years, and I must say this is almost a subject that scares me more than scary ghosts and creepy things that people talk about.
I’ve always worried about the idea of people getting stuck, whether that’s a loved one, someone you know, people in general, because it seems like a horrible thing – or, God forbid, yourself. So I think this is a very interesting thing, but also in a way kind of scary. You’re here to tell us that people can, unfortunately, really get trapped?
ECHO BODINE: Yes, they can. They can, Jim. The reasons are so human. All the scary stuff with the ghosts and the monsters and the demons and blah, blah, blah, when it boils down to it – whenever my brother and I have done a ghost busting job, we always ask the ghost, “Why are you here? Why don’t you go on the other side?” That’s what the book is about. It’s their reasons why they don’t want to go to the other side.
And these are all reasons that are easily fixable. It’s like, oh my goodness. I’ve said to some ghosts, “Really? You would rather hang out here in this tanning parlor until eternity because you never want to see your sister-in-law again?” They’re like, “Yep.” Really, the reasons very interesting.
One day I was out mowing the grass, and it was like somebody or something said to me, “You need to let people know why ghosts are staying here instead of continually creating this scary feeling around ghosts. Tell them the truth. Tell them what’s really going on.” I started thinking about, what reasons have they told us? I pulled it all together and that’s what has created this book.
Jim, really, honey, the reasons they stay – like I said, they’re so human. They’re such normal stories of people who – well, they don’t want to see somebody on the other side. Someone has died and they don’t want to ever see them again. Oh gosh, I met one ghost – her name was Cheri, and she didn’t want to go to heaven because her boyfriend had murdered her, and then he committed suicide. She said, “I don’t want to go anywhere where he is.”
Really, all I needed to do was talk to her and let her know heaven is a really big place. You’re not going to walk right in the door of heaven and there’s going to be your former boyfriend. It doesn’t work like that. You can tell the guides, the angels – there’s actually greeters on the other side – I said, “You can tell them you don’t want to see him ever again.”
Their perception of heaven is so small that they think, “Of course I’m going to run into them as soon as I get there.” It’s really been about people’s beliefs, what they think heaven is going to be like, what they think death is going to be like.
The other folks that get stuck a lot – what would I say? There’s the astral plane, but these ghosts that we talk to are folks who are just still here on the earth plane. A lot of them don’t believe in life after death.
JIM HAROLD: So not believing, being skeptical about an afterlife, could cause you to be stuck, potentially?
ECHO BODINE: Right, Jim. I’ve talked to people who say, “No, I don’t believe there’s anything after I die. Everything’ll be dark and I’ll no longer exist.” I say to these folks, “Oh my goodness, you couldn’t be farther from the truth.” They’re like, “Nope, that’s the way it is.”
I’ve seen these ghosts who say, “I died, and I don’t understand what’s going on. I don’t understand why I can still see people and hear people. I don’t understand it.” It’s almost like they get stubborn about opening up their mind to the possibility. Almost like they don’t want to admit that maybe they were wrong. It’s crazy. It’s craziness in that it’s just human stuff.
JIM HAROLD: Right. One thing you mention, I believe, in the book is the fact that maybe they don’t realize they’re dead. For example – and again, I hate to spoil any TV or movies for people, but it’s been a long time – The Sixth Sense. In that movie, the Bruce Willis character doesn’t know he’s dead when, actually, it was pretty obvious, if you watch closely, that he was dead. How could you not know you’re dead? How could that be?
ECHO BODINE: I have to say, I think I’ve only ever met two ghosts – I’m sure there’s quite a few more, but two ghosts that didn’t know they were dead. You know why? Because, again, they don’t have much of a belief of afterlife. One lady that I met committed suicide. Jim, it was so strange. When I went to her funeral, I was looking for her, because I always see the soul at their funeral. I looked for her, and it was so odd to me that she wasn’t at the funeral.
I was just sitting at the funeral and I opened up psychically and I said, “Where is she?” I saw a picture of her in her kitchen at home. Her funeral was in a different state than the state that she died in. She died in Ohio. I said to her psychically, I communicated with her and said, “Hi, what are you doing?” She said, “I’m just waiting for everyone to come home and have dinner. I don’t know where they’ve been. They haven’t come home for days.”
I thought, wait, what? That’s when I realized she was not accepting that she had actually committed suicide. She was not accepting that she was deceased. I just found that so interesting.
Then this other young man that I met was haunting this lady’s house. You know what it is, Jim? It’s a case of denial, really. They will not accept. Like with this lady that committed suicide, I checked in on her three months after she died; she was still in her kitchen, and she was still wondering when everyone was coming home for dinner.
JIM HAROLD: Do they not have a sense of time? She said days, but this could’ve been months or years. Do they have a sense of time?
ECHO BODINE: No. The other guy, Kenneth – Kenneth I write about in the book because that was really strange to me. I had never seen a ghost that looked like they did when they died. So this was really strange to me. When this Kenneth came into the room, the ghost, he had on a military uniform, and he had a hole blown right through him. Jim, I was really startled. It’s like, oh my God, what is this?
I said to the ghost, “What’s your name? Why are you here?” This was in like 1992, so I said to him, “What year do you think this is?” He said, “This is 1968.”
JIM HAROLD: Ah, Vietnam.
ECHO BODINE: Yeah. He said, “I just came home from Vietnam” – these are exactly his words – “and this bitch is living in my house.”
JIM HAROLD: Ooh.
ECHO BODINE: Yeah. He said, “I want her out of here.” I asked my spirit guide, “I don’t get this.” He said, “Echo, he’s not accepting that he’s dead. He doesn’t realize he’s dead.” I’m like, what? That was a new one. I hadn’t had that before, so I didn’t even know how to think about it. But I said to my guide, “How do I do this?” He said, “You’re going to have to tell him he is deceased.” I thought, oh my God, really?
So I did. I told him, “Kenneth, this is 1992.” He started yelling, “It is not! It’s 1968 and I just came home from Vietnam, and I have to get this bitch out of my house!” It’s like, oh my God. Honestly – you’re going to think I’m making this up, but I am not – it took four hours of just sitting there, because he would leave the room. He would leave the house, and I would sit and wait, and 20 minutes later he’d come back in and he would act like he hadn’t seen me before.
So we’d go through this over and over. Then finally, I said to him, “Kenneth, we need to talk. You are deceased, and you need to move on to the other side. You’re stuck.” Finally, he decided to listen to me, and I just talked to him about heaven and what a great place it was, and probably by know his family was over there, and they were probably really missing him. He finally said, “Okay,” and he went on to the other side. But it took a long time. He did not want to be dead. He just didn’t.
JIM HAROLD: Another thing that I believe causes this situation is if somebody believes they’re going to go to something like hell. Do you find that is part of the picture?
ECHO BODINE: Jim, that is the number one reason that we have found. They are so afraid if they go on to heaven, they’re going to get sent to hell. Honestly. They have a much stronger belief in hell than they do in heaven. They say to us, “No, I’m not going to the other side. I just know God’s going to send me to hell because I did some bad things in my life.” That’s what they say. How sad. They’re just so stuck.
So we talk to them about heaven and that God is a very forgiving God and that God doesn’t hold grudges against people, that they really need to go on to the other side and set themselves free and talk it over with God. But don’t decide you’re going to hell.
We have found out from the guides – and I know people that are listening to this, probably some people are going to get really upset that I’m about to say this – but the guides have told us that there is no such place as hell, that God would never send any of his children to a place where they would burn until eternity. They’ve said that’s just ridiculous. It was created by religion to keep us all in line. So we talk to the ghosts about that too, and that “Come on, no, you’re not going to a place like that.”
But I’ll tell you, Jim, some of them are so convinced that they just want to hold on to that idea. It’s almost like it gives them a sense of importance that they’ve been so bad that they’re going to go to hell. Some of the bad people that we have seen, people that are mean and they’ve done mean things, are so arrogant, they don’t think they’re going to hell at all. Again, we’re dealing with people. That’s what’s important for people to understand.
JIM HAROLD: We’ll be back with more with Echo Bodine, talking about how to live a happily ever after life, right after this.
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JIM HAROLD: We’re back on the Paranormal Podcast indeed. Our guest is Echo Bodine.
I’ve known people through my life who are extremely – they’re really against change. They don’t want to change a thing, even when situations change and you almost have to change. They’re very resistant. They’re saying, “I’m not going to change.” Is that a part of the picture as well?
ECHO BODINE: It sure is. I can’t tell you how many ghosts I’ve seen in people’s closets or attics who say, “No, I don’t want to go someplace else. I want to stay here. I want to be in my own house. I want to be in my own neighborhood. I am not going to change.”
I met a ghost – I don’t think this guy is in my book because I think I forgot about this, but doing these interviews has reminded me. I was somewhere out of town – I think I was in Nebraska, and they had asked me to go to this haunted house. I walked through the house, and to tell you the truth, I didn’t find anything. It was just normal noises that a house makes. But when I was outside of the house and I walked by an old ’64 Chevy, there was a man, a ghost, living in the car.
I had never seen that before. “Did I just see a man?” So I walked back to the car, I looked in the car – yep, a ghost. He was sitting in the backseat of the car. I said to him, “Why are you sitting in this car?” He said, “This is my car and I’m not leaving it. I love my car.” I was like, oh my God. I said, “Do you live here?” He said, “Yeah, this is where I lived, but this is my car.” I was just shocked.
When I went back in the house, I said to his wife, “There’s a ghost, a man living in that ’64 Chevy.” She said, “My husband loved that car more than he loved any of us. I’m not surprised that he hasn’t moved on.” It’s like, what? But yup, here he was in the car.
JIM HAROLD: One thing I read in the book that was really amazing to me – and this wasn’t something I ever thought about, but some people might not want to pass over to the other side because they think it’s almost like it’s too much like church.
ECHO BODINE: Yes. That is – oh boy, I swear every time I do a home that has a haunted teenager, that is their excuse why they don’t want to go on to the other side. They think it’s going to be boring. Some of them have said, “You go over to the other side, you get angel wings. Then you have to play a harp. You have to get serious. No more partying.” That’s why they don’t go over to the other side.
So it’s mainly teenagers that I have gotten that answer from that heaven is going to be really boring, there’s not going to be any more fun. I tell these kids, “No, heaven is a very busy place. Heaven is just like Earth, and yes, you can have parties on the other side.” I did a high school – I asked this one teenage ghost, “How many of you are here?” He said, “36 of us are here.”
JIM HAROLD: Wow.
ECHO BODINE: I said to him, “Why do you guys stay here?” He was the one that said, “Oh man, it’s so boring over there. It’s just got to be boring.” When teenagers pass on, they come and congregate at this school. They go and hang out with other kids their age because they think heaven’s going to be boring.
JIM HAROLD: That’s interesting.
ECHO BODINE: Isn’t that interesting? Boy, the answers we get from these people. Really interesting.
JIM HAROLD: This might be an off-the-wall question, and I’ve had a few over the years: how do we know that our relatives have had a safe passage? You might worry about someone who maybe had some of these traits, like somebody who’s afraid of change or maybe someone who thought the afterlife is a bunch of bunk – you were a believer and they were not a believer. What if you’re a person here on this side and you’re concerned about a friend, a loved one, family member who has passed? How can you be assured that they’ve passed over to the other side? Or can you?
ECHO BODINE: People can sense a loss when their loved one does move on to the other side, and some people call and say, “It doesn’t feel like my loved one moved one.” So I’ll check in to see. And what I’ve found often is that the loved one, yes, is still here, but they say to me, “I’m just here for a few days. I just want to make sure my family’s okay. Once they’re okay, once I know they’re going to be okay, then I will move on to the light.”
This year I’ve met a few people, friends of mine who have died, and I’ve checked in on them. One of them went straight to the light, and another one, yeah, he went right to the light, and then there were two others who said, “No, I just need to know my family’s going to be okay. Then I’ll go over to the other side.”
What people can do, Jim, is when their loved one dies, they can say to their soul, “Move on to the other side. Go towards the light.” That would be a really sweet thing for them to do instead of what a lot of people do is they beg their loved one, “Please don’t go. Please don’t leave me. Please, I need you. I can’t get through life without you.” I’ve seen where that really causes trauma for the deceased person because they don’t want to abandon their loved ones. They don’t want their loved ones to feel alone. So they get really torn.
I met a grandfather who was still living when I met him, and he had been in a bad car accident. His grandson called me and asked me if I’d come to the hospital and do healings on him. When I came to the hospital, I saw the grandfather – holy smokes, this guy was really beat up, and he was like 83 years old. I opened up psychically and I said, “I would like to talk to your soul.” His soul came out of his body, and I said to him, “Your grandson wants me to heal you so that you can live longer.”
He said, “Yeah, I’m really torn. I mean, look at me. I’ve got a broken leg, a broken arm. I’m bruised everywhere. I’m 83 years old. I just want to be done. I just want to go over to the other side. But I just feel awful about leaving my grandson because I raised him.” I said, “What can I do for you?” He said, “I have to figure this out.”
There was another person that had been in the accident – actually, the person that had caused the accident was down the hall in another room. That person wasn’t even – oh my God, his arms were broken, his legs were broken, his teeth were wired shut. He was a mess. It was actually the old man’s son that had caused the accident. So I chatted with him for a bit. He was so full of guilt. Oh, God, he was really messed up.
Then I went back down to the grandpa’s room and I saw his soul. His deceased brother was now there with him, and his deceased brother said to me, “I am going to convince him to come over to the other side. He just needs to be peaceful with it.” Then the grandpa told me, “I’m going to go in 24 hours.” Is that what he said? 17 hours? It was some odd number. He said, “Tell my grandson I’m going to go in 17 hours.” That’s what it was. “And tell him I’m really sorry, but I just don’t have the energy to put up with all of this.”
So I told the grandson, and he was very upset. Very upset. “No, no, no! You have to heal him!” I said, “No, he wants to go.” “No, no, no, you can’t let him go.” I said, “It’s not up to me.” When we beg our loved ones, “Please don’t die, please don’t die, please stay here with me,” that makes dying a lot harder for them.
I hope I say this in the book – I was interviewing an undertaker. I guess that’s what they’re called. A mortician. I asked him, “Is there any one thing that you hear from almost everybody still living?” He said, “Yes, there is one thing I hear all the time. They say that they sat with that person night and day, the whole family, everybody was there. And when everybody left the room for one reason or another, that’s when the person died.”
I tuned in psychically because I wanted to understand that, and they said that it’s a lot easier for the soul to leave the body when nobody is sitting around, begging them, praying to God for a miracle, begging them not to leave, “Don’t die, I can’t live without you.” They said it’s a lot easier for a soul to go when they are alone.
JIM HAROLD: That’s an interesting observation. I remember when my mother-in-law passed, at the time she was very ill; she was at home in hospice, but we thought we had a couple weeks left or something. I remember – and this was, gosh, almost exactly 21 years ago, right before 9/11. It was in August. Our oldest daughter was our only daughter at the time; she was very small, a couple years old. My wife wanted to stay longer that particular evening. She’s like, “No, you go home. You need to be home with Jim and Cassandra.” She was almost pushing her away. And then later that night, she passed away. It was almost she wanted to be alone.
ECHO BODINE: Yes, that’s right. You know, Jim, my mom too, the day before she died, she called me that morning and she said, “Honey, please tell your brothers and your sister not to call me today. I had a bad night last night and I’m very, very tired. I just want to sleep all day.” I said okay. Ugh, it was really hard. We knew that she was near the end, but it was really hard. But none of us called her. We were like, “Okay, we’re going to honor what she wants.” She died the next day before any of us were able to call her that day.
I just know, Jim, it was because she didn’t want to leave us, we didn’t want her to leave us. It was hard for her. But without us sitting there, staring at her, holding her hand, saying, “Mom, Mom, Mom, you can’t die” – I mean, can you see why it would be so hard?
JIM HAROLD: Yeah, it’s one of those things – and I always say this on the show – to me, the afterlife is the most fascinating subject in all the different subjects we cover. We cover UFOs and cryptids and all matter of supernatural things, but to me, this is the most fascinating one because it’s the universal one. There’s an old country music song that a line goes, “No matter how I struggle or strive, I’ll never get out of this world alive.” [laughs]
The point is that regardless of what you, meaning the people out there listening, think happens after it, we all go through this process. Now, what happens after it? Everybody has their right to have their belief. But we all go through this, and it is truly – as I often say, we might not all see a ghost, we might not all see a UFO, we might not all see Bigfoot, but we’re all going to go through this death process.
So here’s a question: we are among the living as of now. How can we prevent ourselves from falling prey to this getting trapped and, per the title of the book, live a “happily ever after life”?
ECHO BODINE: I think what’s most important for all of us is to look at our beliefs about the other side. That’s one thing I’ve really discovered. Whatever we think heave is going to be like, that’s what we see when we get there. What I’ve seen of heaven is that it is the most beautiful place, and it’s a very laidback energy, no pressure. But a lot of people have a lot of misconceptions about heaven.
There was a book written a few years ago by a pastor who had a near-death experience. In the book, he said that when he went to the other side, he was so happy to see that what we do in heaven is sing God’s praises all day. That’s what we do. Now think about all the people that have read that book and think, “Oh my gosh, once I get to heaven I’m just going to sing God’s praises all day? Eww!”
I mean, come on. First of all, God is not an egomaniac. God does not require us to sing his/her praises all day. But this is where people get these goofy ideas, and that’s when they say, “I don’t want to go to heaven and just sit and sing God’s praises all day. That’s going to be really boring.”
So I suggest to people, read up on good books about the other side. Talk about it with your friends. Talk about it with your family. What do they believe? Do they believe in life after death? We have to start talking about death. It’s so interesting; when we listen to people talk, they don’t say, “When I die…” People always say, “If I die…”
JIM HAROLD: Yeah, there’s no “if” about it.
ECHO BODINE: So just even changing the way we look at it – and also, in each one of the chapters in the book there’s exercises at the end of each chapter to help people look at – for example, the person who doesn’t like change. I have a friend in my life who’s had the same breakfast every day for the last 35 years. They wear the same clothes. They go to the same job. They can’t stand change.
Well, this person needs to learn about change because they can cause themselves to get stuck when it comes to moving on to the other side. And what kind of an existence is that? There are exercises at the end of each chapter just to help you take a look at, “Do I believe that? What do I believe about heaven? What do I believe about life after death?” and come to terms with it. If people think there is no such thing as life after death, my question to them would be, why? Why do you believe that? Where did you get that idea? Why is it that you believe that way but other people around you probably don’t believe that way?
We just have to look at what our beliefs are and prepare ourselves, prepare our attitudes, really, because we all are headed there someday. It’s a real thing. People say to me, “I’ll deal with it when I get there.” “Really? You don’t want to think about it now?” “No, I don’t want to think about death.” “Well, okay…”
That’s another thing. I have met people who don’t believe in it, they don’t know what to think, and they think, “I’ll just deal with it when I die.” But again, I’ve seen these folks who, because they don’t know what to do – even when their spirit guides or their deceased loved ones come from the other side and say, “Come on home, Charlie! It’s a great place!”, it’s like, “You’re trying to trick me. What is this?” They’re very mistrusting.
So, again, I say to people, look at why. Why are you so mistrusting of this? What would happen if you believed in life after death? Just getting a conversation going about it is I think something really important for people to do.
JIM HAROLD: This theme is interesting to me because in my teenage years, my parents sent me to a school, and honestly, they didn’t really investigate very well what these people believed in. These people were very much fire and brimstone. My parents were always of the Christian faith – I’m of the Christian faith – but these people were like, “If you don’t do A, B, and C, you’re going to burn in the devil’s hell.” That was literally what you were told as a teenager.
And some of that stuck with me. But I will give you this: this is my hope, two things I’d like to see in heaven. Two things I’d be really interested in. And also some singing would be good because I love to sing. [laughs]
ECHO BODINE: Singing happens in heaven.
JIM HAROLD: But the other two things would be, first of all, I would picture a family reunion. I would love a family reunion, like a picnic where you could sit for maybe 100 years, and the people you love, you could interface with them and have a hot dog and talk over old times. Or maybe even “Uncle Fred, you never got to meet this guy over here! He was my boss years ago. He was one of my favorite bosses and I just wanted you guys to meet.” To me, literally, like in a little pavilion in a park, that would be fantastic.
And then after 75 or 100 years, you might get a little tired of the loved ones; you want to give it a few hundred years’ rest. And then I’d like to go off and learn about all the mysteries of the universe, all the stuff we’ve been exploring on these shows, and finally get the straight scoop. That would be pretty cool to me.
ECHO BODINE: I can guarantee you that both of those things will happen.
JIM HAROLD: Excellent.
ECHO BODINE: The only thing is, honey, I don’t know if your picnic will last 75 years.
JIM HAROLD: [laughs] Maybe I don’t want it to last 75 years. Maybe that’s a little exaggeration.
ECHO BODINE: [laughs] But yes, those reunions take place all the time. Oh yes. It’s a really cool place. It’s just so sweet. Yes, you can have in heaven whatever you want.
JIM HAROLD: Excellent.
ECHO BODINE: But like they say, try to get all those things you want while you’re still here on earth so that you can fully embrace your death when it comes.
JIM HAROLD: Echo, please tell us where we can find the book, How to Live a Happily Ever After Life, and where we can connect to everything you do.
ECHO BODINE: The book is everywhere. It’s in Barnes and Noble, it’s on Amazon. They can always order it from the publisher. It’s Hampton Rhodes. My website is echobodine.com. On the homepage, there’s a lot of stuff there about Zoom classes that I’m teaching. I tell you, Zoom has just changed everybody’s life, hasn’t it? Wow.
JIM HAROLD: Yes.
ECHO BODINE: So there are classes coming up, and people can find out all about them. Just scroll that whole homepage and all the info is there.
JIM HAROLD: The book is How to Live a Happily Ever After Life: Stories of Trapped Souls and How Not to Become One. Our guest has been Echo Bodine. Echo, thank you so much for joining us today.
ECHO BODINE: You are so welcome. I hope we talk before eight years is up again.
JIM HAROLD: Let’s do that. Thank you so much for joining us today, and thank you for tuning in to the program. If you enjoy the Paranormal Podcast, we are in spooky season, so while you’re listening, please hit “Share” on your phone and text or message an episode to a friend of yours, a link, so they can listen and enjoy as well.
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