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Dr. Mark Ireland και Αποδείξεις περί Μέντιουμ


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Dr. Mark Ireland και Αποδείξεις περί Μέντιουμ | διάρκεια 37:13 λεπτά

Ο Dr. Mark Ireland, γνωστός Βρετανός παραψυχολόγος, μιλάει για το περιεχόμενο του βιβλίου του Soul Shift και την αναζήτηση του για αποδείξεις περί της ψυχικής επικοινωνίας των μέντιουμ με νεκρούς ανθρώπους. Επιπλέον, περιγράφει το προσωπικό του ταξίδι στην προσπάθεια του να επικοινωνήσει με τον νεκρό του γιο με τη βοήθεια μέντιουμ, κάτι που τον οδήγησε σε μία ιδιαίτερη προσωπική πνευματική μεταμόρφωση.
Πίσω από το μικρόφωνο και στη θέση του δημοσιογράφου ο Ελληνικής καταγωγής Alex Tsakiris, host του διαδικτυακού αγγλόφωνου ραδιοφώνου Skeptiko.com και ιδρυτής του OpenSourceScience.net, ενός μη-κερδοσκοπικό project για την οικονομική υποστήριξη πρωτοποριακών και αμφιλεγόμενων επιστημονικών πειραμάτων.
(για περισσότερα, διαβάστε τη συνέντευξη του Alex Tsakiris στον Νικόλαο Κουμαρτζή και το metafysiko.gr)

Παρακάτω η απομαγνητοφώνηση της συνέντευξη στα αγγλικά…
On this episode of Skeptiko, Mark Ireland, author of Soul Shift:
“As I was saying, he put the tape on and then three black blindfolds over it and then more tape, and people would write messages and send them up from the audience. And he would answer them and often go off of what was on the paper and tell them many other things. One of the other specialties he had was people would sometimes send up a bill, a dollar bill, a five, ten, whatever, and they would record the serial number and then ask him to recount the serial number. He would get it right about 99 times out of a hundred.”

Stay with us for Skeptiko.

Alex Tsakiris: Welcome to Skeptiko, where we explore controversial science with leading researchers, thinkers, and their critics. I’m your host, Alex Tsakiris, and on today’s episode of Skeptiko, I have coming up a very interesting interview with Mark Ireland, someone whose life was affected very tragically by the loss of his son while he was a teenager. This tragic loss led him to a real spiritual journey that has many interesting twists and turns in it, not the least of which is Mark’s re-discovery of the work of his father, Dr. Richard Ireland, who as you’ll hear, was quite an accomplished psychic medium. So it’s a very interesting book. It’s called Soul Shift and Mark Ireland is coming up on Skeptiko right now.

I’m joined today by Mark Ireland, who’s written a book entitled Soul Shift. Now Mark has a fascinating story that has many, many facets to it. I think we’re going to have a very interesting dialogue. I think this story starts as the book starts, very tragically with the loss of your son, Mark. Do you want to kind of just jump right in there and tell us a little bit of background about you and how this story begins, your journey?

Mark Ireland: So, Alex, my story begins going back to January 10, 2004 when I lost my youngest son, Brandon. He and his buddies had decided to go on a hike that particular day to the top of the McDowell Mountains, which is a mountain range in North Scottsdale, Arizona, behind our home. I was concerned about it. For one thing, it was a windy day and secondarily, it was a very challenging hike. It was a steep hike and somewhat treacherous. So it was probably late morning when he and his friends took off, and simultaneously my wife and I went to the other side of town to visit my brother and his son who was appearing in a rodeo at the time.

But I worried about Brandon all day long, and it was later in the afternoon I received a phone call that I was hoping was from Brandon to tell me he was back from his hike. But it was actually from my older son, Steven, who had received a call from the other boys who had been hiking with Brandon on the mountain, telling me that Brandon was in trouble and that they needed help. So that’s when I knew that things were going haywire and I called 911 and tried to get some assistance up there by helicopter. From that point, we drove home across town and by the time we were driving up kind of the base of the mountain, we could see fire trucks, ambulances, helicopters – it was just a nightmarish scene. Probably within 30 minutes of that we were notified that our son had passed.

Alex Tsakiris: And, I’m sorry, your son Brandon had an asthma problem, right? A pre-existing problem with asthma?

Mark Ireland: Yeah. The interesting thing was that he had asthma but it was fairly mild. He never had a really severe attack or anything like that and he’d been on medication. He’d taken Advair, which is kind of a preventative medicine. But he also had an inhaler that you would take during an attack to lessen the symptoms. But what was interesting that day, we didn’t really know the cause of death. Brandon’s best friend — his name is Stu — had described symptoms that seemed unlike any other asthma attack. Rapid heartbeat, numbness of limbs, things we were unfamiliar with.

Alex Tsakiris: Uh-huh (yes). So it was really a mystery at this point. And I can’t even begin to you know, approach understanding as a parent myself, how you must have felt, and just the shock wave of trauma that must have gone through you and your entire family. It sounds like from reading your book, this was also the beginning of a very interesting journey that this sent you on, so I guess that’s the next point of this story. What did you do after this, after you tried to kind of pick up the pieces and…

Mark Ireland: Well, as you say, once the shock of being told your son has passed hits, then kind of the next thing after that you’re wondering, is am I going to be able to go on? What meaning will life have for me and my family? Will I ever feel joyful again? So you go through a lot of emotions. But one thing I had going for me that I felt I could rely on or go back to was my family lineage, which is rather unusual. My father was a psychic medium years ago, and although my father had passed in 1992, my uncle was still alive and he had similar abilities. So one of the first people that I called was my Uncle Robert, and he asked if he could do anything for me. And I just said, “Yeah. You know, if you get anything pertaining to Brandon that you can share, I would really appreciate it.”

Alex Tsakiris: Now Mark, you know, I have to interject here because one of the things I’ve found interesting in your story and again, I just read your book so I don’t know your life, but this is a personal story so I guess I have to ask personal questions. It almost seemed from reading your account that you had just an extraordinary upbringing with your father because he was not just a medium or a stage magician/mentalist.

He was quite famous, both in the spiritualist church where he was a minister, and in shows all across the country and Las Vegas. I mean, he was a big, big deal on all the night-time TV shows and all that. But the other part of that story that I found so fascinating is, that you had been exposed to all that as a kid but it seemed like as an adult that wasn’t really a big part of who you were, either spiritually or I guess, on a day-to-day basis, having any kind of connection with any psychic abilities. Fill in the blanks there for me?

Mark Ireland: Well, it’s kind of like this. I guess if you grow up and your father has this presence and people around him all the time, and I didn’t want to be my dad, I guess. I wanted to be my own person. And so my identity was someone more practical and more – I don’t want to use the term worldly, cause I did have I guess, a spiritual side to my feeling about who I was – but at the same time I was more interested in going to college, getting a degree, getting into the business world. I did all those things and had a family. And my father was proud of me for succeeding in that vein as well.

Alex Tsakiris: That’s really great and I guess what is remarkable to me in reading this story, and I guess we have to go back and tell people what your dad did, because it’s an amazing, incredible story about him having an accident at an early age and developing or coming to appreciate this incredible psychic gift he had. And then repeating that psychic gift over and over and over again, both from a spiritual setting inside of a church and also on stage as a performer. So can you tell us about what your dad was able to do and what you saw him do just over and over again?

Mark Ireland: Sure, and I’d like to eventually do a biography on him. I’ve captured a lot of stories from people that are just mind-blowing. But going back to his beginning, at the age of five he went into the Columbus, Ohio Children’s Hospital for surgery on his eyes because he’d been born cross-eyed. So after the corrective surgery had taken place, his eyes were cupped and bandaged so that he couldn’t touch them. He was actually restrained in a bed. And this particular nurse felt sorry for him and said, “I’ll let you up out of the bed if you promise me not to mess with the bandages.” He agreed. So she went strolling around the hospital and came back later only to find him bouncing a ball against the wall and catching it.

She immediately assumed the bandages were taken off so she freaked out, but then she checked him and saw they were still intact. So then she was even more freaked out. After that she called in these doctors to say, “Look at this kid. What’s going on here?” Then they ran a series of kind of experiments of their own making there. Put him in bed and one doctor would stand at the foot of the bed while another would throw a voice from, say the doorway, and ask who was standing in front of him. He would get it right every time. So that was kind of the early beginnings of it.

I spoke to my grandmother about his early childhood and she said she noticed this kind of on-and-off all the time, but it wasn’t until – I think it was the age of 12 — when my father stumbled into a spiritualist church in a suburban town outside of Columbus and actually saw a man who was able to do what he later did.

What it was, was it’s called “blindfold billet” in the spiritualist circles. In his case I know that from what I’ve heard there are people who say, “Okay, anyone who uses the blindfold, here’s the technique, and whatever.” But my father, his was a very thorough process that would not fit any of those explanations that a skeptic might come up with. He used ten strips of Johnson & Johnson medical tape, sealed his eyes completely with this over the bridge of his nose and he would have skeptics that would inspect this. So…

Alex Tsakiris: As you recount in the book, he had many, many, many skeptics during his life and during his career come and challenge him and he had them apply the blindfolds. He was open to every kind of scrutiny available. And the other part that you relate that I found fascinating is, it gets into his career when he took this into show biz. He would go to these venues and the folks would say, “Okay, hey, on the sly, what kind of setup do you need for your trick?” “I don’t need any setup. It’s not a trick. I really do this.”

Mark Ireland: Right. There’s this gentleman here in Phoenix named Tony DePrima who later became my father’s attorney. So as I was saying, he’d put the tape on and then three black blindfolds over it and then more tape, and people would write messages and send them up from the audience. Again, this is the technique that he first saw demonstrated by this man in 1944 when he stumbled into this church. That man had predicted my father would later do this, too. He also gave him a secret code message from a buddy of his that had died, and that really stirred him to think about this.

But back to his process. He would have all these blindfolds and tape on. People would write down messages or questions and he would answer them and often go off of what was on the paper and tell them many other things.

One of the other specialties he had was people would sometimes send up a bill, a dollar bill, a five, ten, whatever, and they would record the serial number and then ask him to recount the serial number. He would get it right about 99 times out of a hundred. Well, Tony DePrima, who I mentioned earlier, he and two of his partners wanted to test my father so on three different occasions they actually took a 20 dollar bill, wrapped it in aluminum foil, and sent it up with their message. In each of these cases he still got the serial number correct.

Alex Tsakiris: Yeah, that’s incredible. And do you want to just real quickly tell the Steve Allen story? I mean, it’s way old-time TV but those of you who don’t recall can quickly find out that Steve Allen was the pre-cursor to Johnny Carson and Jay Leno. Tell us a little bit, quickly, that story.

Mark Ireland: Well, first off, people can actually see that in video. I’ve put it on YouTube.

Alex Tsakiris: Oh, great!

Mark Ireland: And it’s also on…

Alex Tsakiris: I want to see that!

Mark Ireland: So it’s on my Web site as well, which is soulshiftbook.com. But essentially, he did this demonstration on live TV in 1969 and these questions were sent up and he answered people. I guess what I’d like to do is talk about what skeptics might argue. One is they might say, “Well, those are plants in the audience.” Well, in an average demonstration he might have 100 people in an audience. He’d answer 50 of them. So it’s a little untenable to say that you’d have 50 plants out of 100 people.

But in the Steve Allen case, he was answering these people and during the middle of the show Steve Allen brought up a series of questions that he and panel members had written because they were impressed. Apparently they were not going to send them up initially, and they changed their mind. Well, while he’s standing up there, my father actually said, “What’s this?” And he reached into Steve Allen’s pocket and pulled out a five pound note.

Alex Tsakiris: Because Steve Allen was trying to set him up a little bit. Steve Allen was a skeptic about the whole thing, right?

Mark Ireland: Yeah, completely. So it was a set up between their drummer on the show and Steve Allen to try and trick my dad. I guess he was going to pull it out himself later and ask him what kind of money it was. Well, my father headed him off at the pass by reaching in his pocket, pulling this out, identifying that it was a five pound note, and pretty much blew them away. Then in addition, he gave a message to the panel members who had dropped off cards later on, too. So that was rather interesting. I mean, if it was a setup then everybody was in on it, including Steve Allen.

Alex Tsakiris: So back to our story. You have this remarkable, amazing father and in turn you had a pretty remarkable upbringing yourself. You saw your dad probably hundreds of times on stage, and in the book, we can’t go over all the stories, but you have a very heartwarming story about your first date with the woman who then becomes your wife. And there’s a lot of very interesting reading there. But let’s pick up the story back as it kind of turns now to you trying to come to some understanding of what has happened to Brandon, your son who has passed away, and how you might connect with him.

Mark Ireland: Yeah, so the first source of comfort I had, I guess I would say, is just recalling my childhood and not only the psychic demonstrations that my father did but he also demonstrated mediumship as well. He started out in the spiritualist church but later formed his own non-denominational church because he wasn’t a real dogmatic person. His church was more, I would say, based on the teachings of Jesus but not so much the dogma of Christianity. But anyhow, drawing on that, the first thing I thought of was contacting my uncle, and as I mentioned earlier, I called him and asked him to share anything he might get.

It was a day or two later and I was at the mortuary and my uncle called me and he said, “I want to share something with you.” I said, “Okay.” And he said, “Well, last night I tried to get something. I tried really hard and I got nothing. But this morning I was doing my meditation and your father came to me. He told me to let you know that when Brandon passed, he was somewhat confused but he was there to help him adjust. He wanted you to know you are the best parents he ever could have had.” Now every parent wants to hear that. But what he said in addition to that was that, “Your dad said that Brandon died due to a lack of oxygen that caused his heart to fail.” Now keep in mind, at the time we had no idea what the cause of death was.

Alex Tsakiris: Right.

Mark Ireland: But it was later that week I spoke to the autopsy physician who had told me that Brandon had died of a severe asthma attack that in fact had reduced his blood oxygen level to the point that his heart failed. So my uncle hit the nail on the head with that. And then after that I kind of embarked into some other areas of exploration on my own.

Alex Tsakiris: Well, let’s talk about that. So now you’re in the process – we can only imagine you’re still with this tremendous grief and dealing with all these things. You’re maybe stirring up some old embers inside of you in terms of this spiritual connection with those who have passed away through this other dimension. How does that then lead you to the next phase of your journey in terms of trying to connect directly with Brandon through some medium?

Mark Ireland: Well, initially, for the first few weeks I was actually trying to do more meditation on my own and see if I could have any sort of direct connection, if you will. Not that I had my father’s ability, although I’d seen flashes of it through my life here and there. But not anything like my father had. So I tried that and I had some things that I would say were significant to me, but not necessarily worthy of sharing here on the air.

But after that, I guess the first significant event happened about six months later. My wife and I, along with our older son and Stu who had been Brandon’s best friend, went on a Mexican cruise.

The day that we came back my wife was sitting at the foot of our bed and she felt Brandon’s presence to her side and actually saw a shadow figure out of her peripheral vision. So a skeptic might say, “Well, it’s a hallucination or wishful thinking.” But interestingly, the very next day we got a call from a musician friend.

Now this particular friend was someone we later learned had been hiking on the same mountain as Brandon and came up upon Brandon when he was on his back, and tried to help but it was too late. So anyhow, this musician friend, when we left for our cruise, he asked if he could borrow Brandon’s bass guitar. Brandon was a bassist.

And this gentleman, James Linton, was a guitar player and singer. He needed a bass to do this recording. So Jim calls my wife, again the next day after her vision, and says, “Susie, I’ve got to tell you something, but I don’t know how to tell you.” And she’s assuming he’s going to say, “Well, I dropped the bass and broke it,” or something. But he said, “Well, I was doing this recording of this song and while I was in there doing this, I felt like there was someone in there with me. And I saw a shadow figure out of my peripheral vision. And then I saw like flashes of white light in front of me and moving around. And I thought, okay, I need some water, I’m dehydrated.”

So he went and drank water. And he’s like, “I need something to eat. I need to take a shower.” So he did all these things but he came back and he kept feeling the presence and seeing that. Then eventually he felt pushed to take the song he was doing and totally revise it. In the end he felt like he had brought through an inspired song that was a gift from our son to us. So that was rather remarkable to hear of back-to-back accounts that were so similar of having this peripheral vision view.

Alex Tsakiris: Right. Especially inside the larger context of how many times stories like that have been reported and you have to go no further than like Diane Archangel who’s a hospice worker and has collected, along with her hospice colleagues, literally tens of thousands of stories that match perfectly, exactly with what you’re saying. So there’s a large body of collected accounts of that type. So please go on.

Mark Ireland: So that was I guess, the first really significant thing that I can bring up. Now, going back to February of ’04, which is just a month after Brandon’s passing, something happened that enabled me to get a reading with Allison DuBois in August of 2004, and this is the real-life person that the show “Medium” is based on.

Well, in February I get a call from one of my father’s old friends, a man named Jerry Conser, who had worked with my dad back in the 1980s. Actually my dad had helped him find some oil and do some wildcat drilling based on where he told him oil was located. So anyhow, Jerry said, “I know what you’re going through and I think I know somebody who might be able to help you.”

And he says, “Her name’s Allison DuBois and she can give you a reading,” blah, blah, blah. And interestingly, it was just one night earlier that I’d seen a feature about Allison in a lab experiment that she participated in at the University of Arizona prior to that time. So I thought, wow, this is just too coincidental for me to get a call the day after seeing that, when I was impressed with what I saw in the clip. So I called and got on a wait list for a reading with her, which happened in August of 2004.

It was the first of a series of four readings, three of which I facilitated on my own independently, and put as many controls in place as possible to keep the medium blind to anything about me or my circumstances. In the fourth I actually got into the Human Energies Systems lab at the University of Arizona. That was in early 2005.

Alex Tsakiris: Great. So you also in the book do a very good job of telling the story about those readings and I think you did a very reasonable job of applying those controls. That’s something we’ve talked about on the Skeptiko show in the past, for anyone who is interested. You know, it really isn’t very hard — and maybe you can comment on this — to discipline yourself to have a reading and apply those kinds of controls and not answer questions. You may not get as good a reading as you would otherwise, but it really is highly evidential I think, for most people to see that this information really comes out of nowhere with no cues. That’s basically what you found, right?

Mark Ireland: Right. And you know, in the case of Allison I’d also verify with Jerry that he had not spoken to her and she didn’t know anything about me. She did know that I had a father who was a psychic but that’s all. She even told me that she wanted to know nothing in advance and wanted to have me come in blind. Then the other people were pretty much completely blinded. But I think the key thing is to understand some of the techniques that skeptics would point out as being reasons aside from fraud.

One is cold reading or that’s the most predominant explanation which is you know, you’re dealing with someone who’s astute at reading body language and cues of your emotions and then asking some kind of general questions and seeing how you react. And then narrowing that down into something that seems meaningful but it’s more of a manipulation than it is factual information. But so many of the things that I was told were highly specific and there’s no way that cold reading could apply.

In addition, I had some validations that overlapped. Something that was very specific, but I got it from multiple mediums as well.

Alex Tsakiris: Right. Right, that is interesting that you were able to receive the same message from multiple mediums. And I have to say, you know, we just wrapped up a show and I’m not sure it will air before this one or not, where we did an on-air demonstration of a medium reading – a very profound medium reading – and I acted as the proxy sitter, passing information back and forth. There was no information back and forth.

I gave you know, the first name and the month and day, not even the year, of the person’s birth, and it was highly, highly evidential. So this notion of cold reading really needs to be challenged and anyone who claims cold reading needs to be able to prove it. Because at this point there hasn’t been a good demonstration of how someone would get this kind of real specific information through cold reading techniques. It doesn’t make any logical sense. It certainly hasn’t been demonstrated that anyone is able to do that.

Mark Ireland: And I had a really good example with my father because what he told me was, one of the real measures of how good a medium is, is that you should just be able to go in and sit down and they should speak to you and tell you everything for an hour and then at the end you ask any questions that may be left. In his case, people usually didn’t have anything left that he hadn’t already touched on. So that’s kind of what I looked toward and expected.

Alex Tsakiris: Right. So Mark, tell us after going through this process, tell us where you’re at now, today. You’ve written this book and tell us who you’re trying to reach with the book. And also, where you see your journey taking you from here on out.

Mark Ireland: Sure. I guess I would say first off, I’m trying to reach lay people. I’ve tried to take more I guess, scientific concepts and also personal experiences and put them into a format that the average person could read and understand. They may have no experience with understanding anything about psychic phenomenon or mediumship. Really, what I’ve been told, it’s interesting, I don’t know if you’ve heard of Debra Martin. She’s a fairly prominent…

Alex Tsakiris: Sure.

Mark Ireland: …medium down here in Phoenix who has been tested by Julie Bichon and been accredited or certified. She’s now referring a lot of people to my book, especially men, because she’s finding like fathers who have lost kids or whatever. In general it seems men are more skeptical than women on the whole. I’m not trying to cast off a generalization there, but that’s what I’m seeing, based on the feedback. She mentioned that as well.

She’s found that my book is really helping reach people who maybe wouldn’t necessarily be convinced by a book written by a medium, and may not be interested in reading something that’s too scientifically oriented or too complex, or not kind of an enjoyable read. This being a first-person account of someone who has lost a child and they can relate to, but approached it more in a pragmatic and logical way, but yet an open-minded skepticism. And that, I think, I’m really trying to reach a broad audience. I’m also trying to make people think that science and this are compatible and that we just need to broaden our horizons a little bit in terms of the investigations that we do into these phenomenon.

Also, I touch on some things in there where I’m trying to bridge a gap with people of a more traditionally religious background to say, hey, this isn’t necessarily bad or evil stuff, taking into consideration some passages or whatever in scripture that they might look at and say, “Okay, well maybe this stuff is okay and I shouldn’t be afraid of it or think that it’s bad.”

Alex Tsakiris: Well, that’s an interesting topic. It’s one that I’m not sure we can cover to any depth here because it really deserves its own show. I plan on doing a show on that. The whole issue of spirit communication in the Bible, as you point out with some of your references, there’s quite a religious tradition inside the Bible of spirit communication.

Mark Ireland: Yeah, it’s very true. I mean, one example is the transfiguration story where two deceased individuals, Moses and Elijah, are said to have appeared to Jesus and he communicated with them. The disciples recorded having seen this. There are many others. An example of clairvoyance is when Jesus is said to have spoken to a Samaritan woman at a well and told her things that no one else knew, and she confirmed those to be true.

And then some people of a traditional bent might say, “Well, that’s Jesus doing that, not you.” But there is a passage in John where he says, “All the works I do, ye shall do and greater works than these.” So not to go down that path, but I just wanted to open it up so people wouldn’t be afraid or think this is wrong or bad. I think that’s more a cultural thing that’s tied to the evolution of Christianity going back to probably the Second Century…

Alex Tsakiris: Absolutely.

Mark Ireland: …and the initial divisions between what we now call Gnostic Christianity and what evolved as the predominate form of Christianity.

Alex Tsakiris: Absolutely. And that’s what I was going to interject. I mean, you’re kind of doing the nice, Sunday School version of it there. The more hardcore history — one of my favorite podcasts by theway — version of it is that all this stuff was in there and then it was pulled out because it didn’t conform with what they thought would be a good, saleable, controllable religion going forward. And that’s really just the direct reading of the archaeological evidence that has come up in the last 50 to 100 years.

Mark Ireland: Yeah, and I’ve done similar reading, too. Even the four gospels, if you know and you’ve read about this, the oldest of the four is Mark, but it wasn’t written until about 40 years after the crucifixion. And then the others – Matthew’s considered by most to be the next oldest then Luke and John. John was written they think around Year 100, which is almost 70 years after the crucifixion. So you could also say okay, are these the literal words that were spoken? And you can’t prove that.

Alex Tsakiris: The whole Bible thing is just too – there’s too many tentacles to try and corral them all in and get them into a conversation. And as soon as you do, you just have a lot of people who just shut down automatically. I’ve said it before on the show, I’m not a Christian, I’m very spiritual and I embrace a lot of the fundamental teachings of Christianity, but that’s not my thing. So we don’t even need to go into it.

Mark Ireland: No. And really, all I was trying to say is that I was trying to defuse some of that for people that are of that background, so they might read it in an open-minded fashion. In the Eastern traditions, they’re very open to these sorts of things. It’s rather interesting to see the dichotomy there.

Alex Tsakiris: Right, right. And tell us a little bit about your involvement in research in this area and where you see that going in the future.

Mark Ireland: Well, again, I’m not a scientist, but I have an interest in research, and actually conducted one experiment on my own that I’m going to have a summary of in a second book that I’m working on now. But I worked with Dr. Don Watson, who’s a retired professor from the University of Kansas, who helped me facilitate this.

What it involved was my sister Robin had passed back on the evening of Thanksgiving in 2006. Prior to her passing, I talked to her and said, “Would you like to try and do something that might be able to help other people?”

And the concept was essentially like the Houdini experiment of sharing a secret coded message and then finding a medium who could relay the message. But in her case, what I’d suggested after reading that, and the flaw in it really seemed to be that any living person knew what the message was. Because then allegations – some people believe in psi phenomenon and telepathy, but not necessarily mediumship, so they might say, “Well, since you knew that, the person could have read your mind.”

So what she did was, she wrote a secret message, put it in an envelope, sealed it, and no one saw it. And then I sent that envelope off to Dr. Watson and we held it for a period of time, reached out to a number of mediums and got responses back. What I would say, and I don’t want to ruin the story when I get it out there in detail, but in general I would say it was a partial success, a moderate success. There’s not an outright success.

Alex Tsakiris: So, Mark, is there anything else that we haven’t covered in the book that you feel we might want to talk about?

Mark Ireland: Well, I just didn’t know if people would want examples of some of the hits, but I could touch on a few of them just briefly, to give you a feel for the type of information. One thing that two different mediums got was that my son was relaying “Happy Anniversary” to us and it wasn’t just “Happy Anniversary,” it was “Happy 25th Anniversary.” In the case of Allison DuBois, that reading occurred just 45 days approximately after my 25th anniversary. Then about five or six months later I had a reading with Jamie Clark, who shared the same thing, “Happy 25th Anniversary.”

Lori Campbell, in a single blind lab experiment had shared a number of things. She described my son’s cause of death in immense detail. In addition, she said a number of other things that were right on the money, one of which was to make mention of the fact – she was asked, “What would the deceased person –in other words, Brandon, my son — have to say to the sitter — being me — that would identify him as being tied to the sitter?” She had mentioned, “Well, I feel like there’s a book being written, and it’s about the deceased and it’s being written by the person sitting behind me.” And in fact, the book that you just referenced is the very book that I was writing at the time.

Jamie Clark had mentioned to my wife that my son had been with her in the grocery store the day before and he saw her digging for something in her purse and it was like she couldn’t find her credit card or something. Well, lo and behold, she had mentioned that she’d left her debit card at home and she was at the grocery store at the checkout line and was digging for this and couldn’t find it.

Allison DuBois had mentioned a feeling tied to my son’s death that was like a drowning or like an asthma attack, and she had said that it just felt like the lungs were filled with fluid. As it turns out, the autopsy physician had made mention of the fact that Brandon’s lungs had been nearly touching in the middle, which only occurs in cases of severe asthma or drownings. So even the description there was rather interesting.

Back to Lori Campbell, one last thing and I’ll make this it because I want them to read the rest of the book, but Lori Campbell had thrown out the names Shirley and Linda, Linda, Shirley. Well, Shirley’s my mother and Linda is my aunt, who’s my Uncle Robert’s wife. Now my Uncle Robert by the time of this experiment had passed. So it was rather interesting to hear the names of both my father’s and my uncle’s wives mentioned at that.

Alex Tsakiris: The other thing that we should mention is that your father comes through in these readings, as well, particularly in the reading with Allison. So there’s some interesting tidbits and connections there that I think folks will find interesting.

Mark Ireland: Yeah, and kind of the message in all of this is that this is kind of my path, to actually through this to be able to reach out and help other people cope with this information and provide this sort of evidence. It’s really been very fulfilling in my life. I still have a regular day job, but I’m doing more and more work around this and now I’ll actually be working with a medium, Jamie Clark, speaking to people in Laguna Hills, California on June 6th.

Alex Tsakiris: Great. Well, I don’t know if we’ll be out before or after that on this broadcast, but I’ll try and get it out before then so that people can check it out if they’re interested. That’s right in my backyard. Maybe I’ll come up there and see you.

Mark Ireland: Yeah, and I’ll make sure that it’s on the Events page of my Web site which again is soulshiftbook.com.

Alex Tsakiris: Soulshiftbook.com. We’ll have a link in the show notes as well, and encourage everyone to check it out. Mark, thanks again so much for joining us.

Mark Ireland: Thanks for having me, Alex.

Alex Tsakiris: Thanks again to Mark for joining us today on Skeptiko. If you’d like additional information about Mark’s book and also a link to that video clip that we talked about of his father appearing on “The Steve Allen Show,” please visit the Skeptiko Web site. That’s skeptiko.com. You’ll also find links to all our previous shows, a link to our forum, and an e-mail link where you can drop me a note.

I appreciate all the great, kind words of encouragement I’ve received. Please tell as many people as you feel appropriate about Skeptiko so we can get the word out there. That’s going to do it for this time. Take care. And bye for now.