Set me a seal upon your heart,
As a ring upon your arm;
For love is as strong as death...
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
A flame of the Eternal.

Song of Songs viii 6-7

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Sunday, May 29, 2011


A Note from the Author: long after the bizarre "book-flying" phenomenon occurred, I performed a proper statistical analysis of this real event with amazing results, i.e., way beyond statistical significance! Although the numbers have not been included here in my blog, the statistical analysis, results, interpretation, and review of this 5/8 phenomenon will be included in my upcoming book, The Hope and the Knowing. I promise!

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the story, below, upon which the analysis was based.

Yours very truly,
Mandy Berlin
Writer and Statistical Consultant of 24 years

Journal Entry
Saturday 05/08/2004
Around 4:00 p.m.

I had such success with my last meditation that I decided to do it again. Better not wait too long, I thought, or I might lose some je ne c’est qua – whatever I’d already learned how to do. So I returned to Sylvia’s CD as discussed in my May 1st entry. Based on Ms. Browne’s guidelines, I decided to use my meditation time to find out what I could, or perhaps should be doing with my life right now.

But first, to underscore the upshot of today’s incredible event so it makes sense to the least and most circumspect alike, I must first backtrack and tell you a bit about my lifelong situation.

As a youngster, my IQ tests revealed above average ability in the Mechanical Domain. In spite of that, I must say that I have no experience with anything of a mechanical nature. In fact, it is probably closer to the truth to say that I have no desire to work on anything mechanical like changing an oil filter or even installing kitchen drawer handles. That is, I could do it, but would I? Probably not.

Zero patience, you see.

I admit one of the few mechanical things I’ve taken any time to do is to pummel nails into walls. I enjoy hanging pictures so, out of necessity, had to learn how to wield a hammer. Such as it goes…. I won’t tell you what Max had to say about my veteran hammering skills.

Taking into account this factor alone, I knew I had married the complementary man for me – the one and only Max Blau – a guy who liked puttering around the house, repairing cars, troubleshooting computer systems, fixing electronic equipment… you get the picture. To beat all, Max whistled while he worked. Maybe I liked that most of all. And when you consider his intellect and a bunch of the other traits he possessed, well it didn’t take long for this girl to fall in love.

Perhaps you can see that there were other losses that accompanied the greatest loss of all – the loss of my dear friend and husband.

Now, to add insult to inconceivable injury, this woman who is admittedly all thumbs, owns a home she is unprepared to maintain. Common widow’s lament? I do believe, though it was probably a more frequent cry in my mother’s day. As a group, the women of today are probably more proficient at repairing almost any broken contraption they encounter… cars, computers, perhaps even cranes. (Admittedly though, that would scare me to death!)

Now I find myself just “getting by” when it comes to doing anything mechanical. Sure, I change light bulbs and last month I broke down and installed a new air filter. I even did some patch painting. Hey, really something there. But when the toilet broke, well, that’s when I said, “Okay, time to find that handyman coupon in the kitchen drawer...”

Of course I used it, with no compunction at all.

Well, after hearing this pitiful bit of history, you might think today’s event is not that big a deal. But I will tell you this, it freaked me out. Even as I go back and edit my entry, I tell you:
I am still freaked!


I’m able to offer no natural nor scientific explanation for what happened at about four in the afternoon. I was sitting on the sofa, going into my meditation, breathing in and out, and following Ms. Browne’s instructions. Before long, I drifted into a kind of meditative stupor – that wonderful, harmonious state of relaxation and bliss. Then, several minutes later, with Sylvia’s promptings, I popped my intended question: I’d like to know what I ought to be doing with my life right now – what should I focus on?

Thoughts and images swirled around in my head – perhaps I’ll go to a day spa, or even get a new job, or write another book, or travel to England or Egypt… Eyes closed, feeling relaxed and free, I continued with the deep-breathing process.

Yet, never in my life did I expect to get a response so quickly… so outrageously.


No more than about ten seconds after I pose my question, I begin to hear just audible noises rising up in the background. At first, I think the sounds are coming from Sylvia’s recording. I feel composed, in control, breathing in and out as images of the pyramids float around in my head….

Then, without warning, comes a long, low series of rumbles that build into a crescendo, like a fine drum roll gone wild. Out of the blue, I hear it TRIP, THUD and POP into a thunderous BOOM!!!! Chills whisk at the back of my neck like icy fingers. “It’s in the dining room!” I scream. Jumping up, I run like a fool… no place to go… nowhere to hide. “What am I doing? I have no clue!”

Still, curiosity soon gains momentum like a colossal cat sitting on a fencepost on a moonlit night… overshadowing all my fears. Nose pressed up against the front door, I whip around and storm like a half-crazed sprinter into the dining room.

Skidding on slick ceramic, I stop short at last.

“Whut the heck?” For there, in the middle of my dining room floor “sits” a book long since abandoned. No, the tome is not “setting” on the floor, it’s “sitting” there as if it owns the property, as if it’s saying: Now that I have your undivided attention, Madam ~~ TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT ME !

I stand speechless, rapt in disbelief as an awesome reality becomes apparent. For, in less time than you can say whiz-bang, I know that this book did not just “fall off” the shelf.

Humor me. Allow me to explain how I know this and to reveal what it implies.

I had never read the book that is “staring up” at me from its Machiavellian place on the floor. But I do remember that about seven or eight years ago, Max read quite a bit of it. He said he found it very practical for his work and hobbies as well. Regardless, I never even looked at the book, except to check out the Table of Contents. And after reviewing that, well, I had no desire to read it at all. So I dusted it off and put it on the bottom shelf. “For future reference,” I said.

And I forgot all about it.

Now I see that the books on the bottom shelf are, of course, tilting into the slot where I’d placed the forgotten volume so long ago. And, as I move and breathe, I realize the book was ejected by force – by some energy that caused the popping and booming sounds as the book “flew” off the shelf. You see, I found it in the middle of the dining room floor, over three and a half ceramic tiles away from the bookcase!

I surmised that if the book had simply “fallen” off the bottom shelf, which is three inches from the floor, it would have landed near the bookcase, i.e., closer to the empty slot. But the book did not land anywhere near the shelf. In fact, this tome appears to have ”flown” across the room, after having been expelled from the bookcase by some inexorable force – a force powerful enough to generate all the weird and wacky noises I heard from the time of the rumble until the book hit the tile floor!

One thing I can say for sure: no earthquake, tremor, thunderstorm, tidal wave, monsoon, or automobile accident occurred anywhere near my home today, and my cats were sunning themselves in the back bedroom at the time. That is, no creature nor human (not even me) had been anywhere near my dining room when the book flew off the shelf. I should qualify that by saying: “… no ‘one’ or ‘thing’ that I was able to detect in a visible way.”

So, what is the name of this dilapidated old book?

How to Fix Damn Near Everything *

I just stood there, stunned, afraid to pick it up. Nevertheless, I soon heard a voice, the one in my head: makes sense… of course… my God. And, as the title of the book registered in my brain, I did the only thing any rational human being could do. I got down on the floor and doubled up, tears of laughter streaming down my cheeks.

Never did I believe what Max used to say when something mystifyingly funny would happen. “Mandy, God is a joker,” he’d cry, sometimes with a little tear of joy in his eye. Though I’d often laugh with him because of his delight and passion for the weird and wonderful, I held no conceivable archetype of my own.

I just didn’t believe it.

Until now.


* Franklin Peterson, How to Fix Damn Near Everything (New York: Wings Books, 1977).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Journal Entry
Saturday, 05/01/04
Around 4 p.m.

I can’t seem to recall the date this wonderful event occurred, but I believe it was on or around May 1st. I know it happened at about four o’clock because I usually meditate around that time of day, at least when I’m home. I’d been meditating a lot the past month and plan to continue with this practice. The deep breathing clears my mind, tends to alleviate grief, and in consequence, helps me sleep. Because of a health issue, I did some research and learned that meditation is a great way to retain the health we have or to return an ailing body, mind and spirit to healing mode.

Mandy’s motto: an ounce of prevention is worth a shot. So I ordered more meditation CDs; so happy to find they arrived on time for the weekend.

Well, after doing the Saturday chores, I glanced down at the mystifying stack of disks I’d arranged on the end table. Hmmm, I thought, let’s try this one, “Spirit Guide Meditation” by Sylvia Browne. I’ve never attempted to contact a spirit guide,” I said to Tiggi, my tiger-striped confidante. “So what have I got to lose?”

“Maybe I’ll learn something!” Swiftly, Tiggi’s tail shot up and curled in approval.


So I sit up straight on the sofa and attempt to keep my feet flat on the floor. Soon, with Ms. Browne’s recorded guidance, I slip into the deep-breathing process of meditation and begin to feel pretty relaxed. Sylvia then calls to mind several pathways that I’m now visualizing in my mind’s eye: a lovely field, a gazebo, and so on.

Before long, I’m slipping away and I hear her say that it is time to make my request.

So I clear my throat. “Okay, here goes….”

I say it aloud with confidence. “What is the name of my spirit guide?” For some reason, I believe I will have to wait awhile. Not so….

For truly, no more than a few seconds elapse when I am thunderstruck to find the colors shifting in my field of view. Waves of violet, green and gold surge before my closed eyes. Then, at once, I hear a gentle voice as clear as the crystal chimes ringing on my patio! There is no mistaking his name:

“Charlemagne!” he says.


Please note: During my meditation, I learned that Charlemagne is my spirit guide. In addition, I received some more interesting information: Charlemagne is a spirit entity not to be confused with Charles the Great, the Frankish king of old. At the end of this session, I became infused with the knowledge that my spirit guide and King Charles are not related in any way.