What I am doing is a personal search for spiritual truth. Therefore, I should clearly define my terms, as I use them, in order to avoid semantic confusion insofar as possible.
  • I define spirituality as "belief in those aspects of reality that are not of this world or this material universe", and I contrast it with the limiting disbelief imposed by this-worldly ideologies such as materialism and humanism. I believe life in all its forms, even in this world, can only be properly understood and appreciated from the larger perspective that spirituality provides. Thus I consider it to be, first and foremost, a point of view.

  • Truth is opinion that conforms to reality. Reality is that which is so whether anyone knows it or not and whether anyone likes it or not. Thus, truth is based in reality, but reality is independent of opinion. The modern notion expressed as "my truth, your truth" I automatically translate as "my opinion, your opinion," and the assertion that we each create our own reality is an example of what I refer to as "fantasy".
The subtitle of this collection is "an exploratory, experimental approach"
  • Exploratory means that I do not know in advance what I may find, or what paths I may follow, or what the outcome may be. But it also means that I search, look into, investigate, and examine carefully whatever I encounter. Exploratory procedures are always journeys into the unknown, or unfamiliar territory, but unlike blind faith, they are open-eyed attempts to gather more information and thus expand the scope of one's knowledge.

  • Experimental refers to a scientific method based on experience rather than on authority or theory. It emphasizes the testing of opinions to see if they are true, or how true they are. Therefore, it does not apply to the scope or quantity of knowledge, but to the relative accuracy and thus the reliability of what we think we know. Reality testing is another name for this empirical method of scientific inquiry.

  • Approach is a type of motion--in this case, from where I am, and not from the hinterlands of my own or other's speculations, toward a more comprehensive and hopefully more reliable understanding of spiritual reality. For me, this is not merely an intellectual exercise. To know is to be. Therefore, I take the responsibility for what I am becoming, as well as for what I am learning.
Although I know this seach is open-ended, because I designed it that way, the results to date have exceeded my expectations. There are many kinds of spirituality. Some of them are good for us and some are not, and there is an area in which they overlap, run together, share common properties, in what amounts to a sea of confusion. That area is communication between human beings and disembodied spirits. It includes prayer, mediumship, and sorcery.

Communication with spirits is a matter of record throughout the history of the human race. Either personal experience or open-minded research in this area can provide answers to some of our most fundamental questions: Are spirits real? Is there life after death? Is there anything substantive in religion?

My personal background in communication with spirits is as follows:
  • I am interested in prayer and have been ever since I was a boy. I tried to pray, but I didn't know if anyone was listening, so it seemed rather a waste of time.

  • Eventually it occurred to me there wasn't much I could tell God that He didn't already know, so it would be better for me to learn how to listen to Him.

  • I read in the Bible about people who received messages from God, but I did not find any clear answers to these two questions: How did they listen? And when they received or thought they received, how did they know that it came from God?

  • I asked ministers and priests and members of monastic orders, but except for a Franciscan who said "Keep searching" and an old Yogi who said "Your next step is to stop thinking," most of the answers were like doors slamming shut: "That's a mystery. God speaks through the Bible. Meditation is dangerous."

  • Nevertheless, I tried to listen to God. I sat still and meditated until my arms and legs were so numb I could hardly get the feeling back, but nothing happened, so I got discouraged and was about ready to give the whole thing up as a bad job.

  • In the spring of 1964, I had a different sort of opportunity to investigate communication with spirits. I viewed it as an experiment. And because I did not assume they came from God, I evaluated each spirit--as good or harmless or bad--just as I would a human being. I learned some things from this experience, including the fact that spirits are real, and proved to myself that the standards by which I evaluate people also apply to spirits.

  • Since then I've continued my own private quest toward communication with better and better spirits, using as my criteria the requirement that they must prove to be kinder and wiser than I am. That's a moving target, because I use those same criteria to evaluate my own spiritual growth, and because I continue to search for spirits who prove to be kinder and wiser than the ones I converse with now. Along the way, I encountered some spirits who are not only kinder and wiser than I am, but also a lot more gracious, so I added that to my list of criteria.
Do I expect anyone to believe all this? No. I was told by a spirit, "Most people will not accept your testimony; only their own experience will convince them." That message has proved to be true (reliably predictive). And that's Okay with me. I am also cautious about accepting anyone else's testimony--whether they happen to be in a physical body or not.