Interview with Mark Ireland
1. What was your prime motivation and inspiration for writing and sharing "Messages from the Afterlife : A Bereaved Father's Journey in the World of Spirit Visitations, Psychic-Mediums, and Synchronicity"?
After my first book, Soul Shift, was released it became apparent that there was a need for information pertaining to evidence supporting the possibility of an afterlife. Bereaved parents indicated that the book was a “life preserver” and some even told me that they had shelved suicidal thoughts after reading it. Messages from the Afterlife, continues with the same personal narrative, including experiences evidencing the afterlife, but that is where the similarities end. Messages is a more multi-faceted book, endeavoring to educate readers about afterlife evidence—especially mediumship. One professional reviewer, Jane Katra, PhD, used the term “scholarly book” when describing Messages, so it seems my efforts were not lost on her. My goal was to convey complex information to the layperson in a clear, relatable, and credible manner.
2. Could you go into what life was like after your son’s passing and how it propelled you in the direction of finding answers?
As the son of a prominent psychic-medium, Dr. Richard Ireland, I was probably better prepared for this than most people, yet the shock of losing a child is overwhelming for any parent. No matter what a person believes or feels they know the pain of physical separation is overwhelming. So I desired my own connection with Brandon after his passing, not so much for “proof” but for the comfort brought by communing with my child. I was not a disbeliever—I’d seen far too much evidence growing up for that. I just wasn’t particularly interested in the field or following in my father’s footsteps when I was young. But I always remembered his psychic capacity, and ability to deliver messages from spirit with startling specificity and accuracy. This helped me after Brandon passed. It also drove me to more deeply investigate a field that was important to my father, so I started carrying his work forward and embarked on my own as well.
3. Would you share with us some knowledge and evidence you gained from psychic mediums?
First, it is important that a person desiring a reading (or a “sitting” as they are also called) consult only credible mediums. There are frauds who want to take people’s money, not to mention some well-intentioned individuals who are deluded in thinking that they have mediumship abilities.
But when you find a credible, gifted medium—a topic addressed in my new book—you’ll want to enter the reading sharing as little about your situation as possible. A good medium doesn’t need to know anything about you or your deceased loved one and it’s actually detrimental to the process if you share too much. Not only does it hinder the medium from being completely objective, struggling to separate information they learned from you and more subtle impressions coming through, it will also make you more skeptical about what you’re told.
With those forewarnings in mind, a session with a good medium can be immensely healing for a bereaved person. You can expect to receive messages that you’ll recognize as coming from your loved one because of the specific information relayed, including tidbits that no one else would be able to know or research. As an example, medium Laurie Campbell read for me in a single blind test taped for a Discovery Channel feature called, “One Step Beyond”. In this session Laurie was given no information about me or my deceased son and she could not see me, nor was I allowed to speak to her. Despite these controls, Laurie accurately revealed that my son had immense difficulty in breathing at the time of his death (he died from a severe asthma attack), that he had thrown up (a fact confirmed by Brandon’s best friend who was with my son at the time of his death), and that a tree and plaque had been dedicated to my son (his high school planted a tree behind a sculpture with a plaque dedicated to Brandon). Additionally, she shared that the sitter (me) was writing a book about the deceased person—a reference to my book Soul Shift, published three years later.
4. What can you tell us about your interactions with consciousness survival research scientists?
First, those involved in this type of research are very dedicated and are really sticking their necks out to do this work. Because the existing materialistic paradigm in academia is accepted dogmatically and is not to be questioned—like a set of religious beliefs—brave researchers delving into the exploration of unusual phenomena are typically underfunded and often put their careers at risk to do this kind of work.
The single blind test I noted above was conducted at the University of Arizona’s “Human Energy Systems” lab, which is no longer in operation. Dr. Julie Beischel, who I know and who worked at the lab, continued this research independently at the Windbridge Institute. She has published several papers in science journals and one of her conclusions is that, “…Qualified mediums are able to report accurate, specific information about deceased people—tied to a living sitter—without any advance knowledge about either party and sans all sensory feedback.”
In 2007, I was privileged to serve as a sitter in a multiple-blind mediumship experiment conducted by Dr. Emily Kelly of the University of Virginia’s Division of Perceptual Studies. Dr. Kelly is presently pursuing an article in a science journal and revealed that she was enthusiastic about the results from this experiment, describing them as “embarrassingly good.”
More recently I conducted an experiment of my own with assistance from Tricia Robertson of the Scottish Society of Psychical Research and Dr. Don Watson, a neuroscientist. My new book includes a detailed account of this experiment which involved a secret message left behind by my deceased sister. The contents of this message were unknown to any living person and remained sealed in an envelope until responses had been received from a group of qualified mediums who sought to decode the contents.
5. In your own personal perspective, why do you think there is life after death?
From an objective perspective there is a lot of evidence from mediumship studies, near-death-experience accounts, reports of after-death-communications, not to mention reincarnation research that when viewed as a whole provide a very compelling mosaic. But ultimately there is nothing as convincing as personal experience and I’ve had so many evidential occurrences that I can I am satisfied. I am confident that we are more than a physical body and that some aspect of us (perhaps the core of who we are) continues on after physical death.
The two of the most compelling pieces of personal evidence were:
My son Brandon’s visitation to my wife, where she felt his presence and saw his shape as a shadow figure out of her peripheral vision. The very next day we received a phone call from a musician friend who had borrowed Brandon’s bass guitar for a song he was recording. Without any knowledge of my wife’s experience, the friend, James Linton, described having the exact same experience—including feeling a presence and seeing a shadow figure through his peripheral vision. James then asked out loud, “OK Brandon what do you want?” After verbalizing this, James felt pushed to re-shape the song he’d been working on and subsequently offered it to us as a gift from our son.
Medium Tina Powers delivered communication to me in my son’s exact tone and intonation, as if she had become a direct channel. While in this “zone” she spoke to a very specific issue that she could not have known about. It was like chatting directly with my son.
6. Why do you think we come here if the afterlife is so great?
Why shouldn’t the process of evolution be just as applicable to a spiritual realm as the physical realm? I see physical life as an opportunity for the soul to be refined and honed through the process of living in a world like ours. As I wrote in Soul Shift, “It occurs to me that life in a physical realm is bound by finite limits, whereas life in a spiritual realm is more likely infinite. In a world of limited resources your true nature is tested and forged. You get to discover and become who you are. If there is a finite supply of food, water, money, and other valued commodities, your true character is revealed in how you relate to others who may have more or less than you. This is obvious but profound.”
7. This is a wild card question. Any info you’d like to share with our readers from the book?
In Chapter One I share an example of compelling evidence indicating that mediumship truly is facilitated by communication with deceased persons. This case involved a friend in California named Linda whose brother had just died in a motorcycle accident. I’d learned about this situation a short time prior to meeting with a medium friend, Debra Martin, who I was visiting to discuss a book project. Upon arriving at Debra’s home I told her it seemed ironic that I should be visiting her at this time because a friend had just lost her brother. (I did not elaborate on the cause of death or anything else my friend had shared.) Debra responded by telling me it was no coincidence that I had come at this time because she needed to help my friend. A short time later Debra sat down to relay what was coming through and asked me, “Did this involve a motorcycle?”
On the heels of that Debra delivered a great deal of specific information, including a couple things I knew to be correct from my conversation with Linda and many other items I knew nothing about. I spoke to Linda later on and found that all of the pieces of information I relayed proved to be accurate and relevant. Debra couldn’t have culled this information from me telepathically, as I knew nothing about these other items. Later that evening Debra called Linda and gave her more information—all of which was accurate according to Linda.
Linda’s subsequent response to this experience really touches on the main reason why I’m doing this work and writing about these kinds of experiences, “I spoke with Debra and she was right on the mark on everything! There were so many things she told me, things that no one would know. I had been feeling so sad and grieving so much that I started to question if I even believed in the afterlife…then you sent me Debra. It is like a huge weight was lifted from me because I know my brother is here with me. I feel so much comfort and peace.”
8. Would you share some thoughts on synchronicity with us?
Yes, Renowned Psychologist Carl Jung coined the term synchronicity, defined as “temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events” or more simply “meaningful coincidence.”
As I stated in Messages, “An implication of synchronicity is that the universe operates in a harmonious manner and that life has meaning. Such a model stands in stark contrast to the view of those who assert that everything happens by chance and any notions of purpose are whimsy.”
I’ve seen some radical examples of synchronicity, with odds so long that it is laughable to try and pass them off as cases of mere coincidence.
The most extreme example I’ve seen involved a woman named Denise from New Mexico who had lost a son. A short time after we came into contact, Denise attended a national conference for a bereaved parent’s organization. While at the conference Denise met another mom, Kristen who’d lost a daughter. After meeting Kristen, Denise wrote me and noted that Kristen was deeply distraught and attended the conference only in hopes of gaining ideas on how to move on with life—devoid of any hopes of ever seeing her daughter again. I then offered to send Kristen a copy of my first book and Denise furnished her address.
I sent the book a short time later and included a note to Kristen. Having realized that Kristen lived in the same Florida city as another bereaved mom I knew, named Kim, I suggested that it might be good if they were to meet one another. Kristen wrote me a few days later via email, thanking me for the book. But in that note she also shared that she already knew Kim, but that their relationship was strained. Kim’s older son had apparently been traveling in car which collided with the car in which Kristen’s daughter had been riding. This was the fatal accident that took the life of Kristen’s daughter.
Flabbergasted by the long odds of this situation I replied from the gut, telling Kristen that I wasn’t sure how or why we came together this way, but that I suspected it had something to do with healing. While there had been tension between the two women, six months later they were working together helping other bereaved parents in local support group meetings. A great deal of healing had indeed taken place.
9. What are you up to next book wise or projects wise? Also any links you’d like to share?
My next project will likely include more of my dad’s writings and also talk about what it was like for me to grow up with a psychic father. I’ve also been journaling about my own developmental experiences and will share some of those stories too. In the meantime I’m booked to speak in many venues across the United States in 2014 and on various radio shows. For those interested in knowing more about my story or to attend one of my events, please visit my site www.markirelandauthor.com
Brought to you by North Atlantic Books