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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Monday, October 31, 2011


Have you ever had a strange experience, one that you could not explain using common logic or natural law? In fact, your experience was so bizarre that you were hesitant to tell anyone, even a friend, for fear they’d think you were a crackpot or a fool.

Join me Halloween night on for: One Agnostic’s Journey on the Bumpy Road to Belief. I will be highlighting the paranormal and supernatural phenomena (over 50 happenings in one year) that I began to witness just days after the death of my dear husband. Several of our loved ones and friends had their own uncanny experiences too!

I am a retired research statistician who had no beliefs for over 30 years – until I virtually craned my neck so bad that I got “whiplash” from witnessing all the incredible paranormal activities in my home! This extraordinary experience, which began on January 1st of ‘04, changed my life forever.

Now I know that Death is not The End.

Just go to register and log on. Then go to the Home page, turn up the audio on your computer and listen! (My 10/31 interview starts at 10 p.m. Central time. "See" you there!

Happy Halloween everybody!!!

Mandy Berlin

Sunday, October 16, 2011

INTRODUCTION to my upcoming book!

The Hope and the Knowing is a chronicle of paranormal, mystical, and supernatural events. Three hours before the Christmas Eve of Two Thousand Three, the soul of Max Blau departed from a hospice in Tempe, Arizona. Yet, in Oxford, England, Christmas Eve had already arrived. There, in Max’s former home, sat his grief-stricken sisters and guardians who had received word that he died on their most beloved holiday. Yet, just hours after Max’s “purported” departure, strange things began to happen – in Oxford and in Arizona as well.

Despite the terrible sadness caused by the untimely death of Max, my husband and dearest friend in all the world, I soon realized that things were not as they seemed. During Christmas week alone, I began receiving telephone calls from loved ones and friends dear to us. Oddly, some of the callers sounded happy, if not downright joyful soon after Max had left us! In fact, his sisters and even a few of his close friends phoned to tell me their uncanny stories. From the outset, these incredible tales had a strange effect on me. You see, I was an agnostic then. I had no beliefs one way or the other. Nevertheless, after hearing these eerie tales, I decided to do what I did best – sit at my coffee table and take notes.

After obtaining an advanced degree and working as a consulting statistician in education, psychology, health care and government for approximately twenty-five years, I remained, as ever, a curious person. So, when these events began to take place, I knew I had to write down the details if I wanted to investigate further. Later, for validation purposes, I sent written “reports” to those who had kindly taken the time to tell me their stories. If there were any truth to these rare claims, my notes would have to be corroborated and the required corrections made.

Then, amazingly on New Year’s Day, two days after Max’s burial, I began to have experiences of my own. In fact, I was soon to become a party to some outlandish and baffling happenings – in places like my home, restaurants, cafés, gardens, and even during my first trip to England! As these paranormal and supernatural incidents began to “hit home”, I sat down at my computer to flesh out the details – those of our loved ones – and now mine. Before long and without much effort, I had made a document for each “event” which had been logged on paper initially and saved in a calendar. Despite the strange goings-on, I was glad I’d kept track of the dates and even the times of day. My background in psychology and years of logging research study observations had come in handy, to say the least. Nevertheless, as you will see, my journal is written not in clinical form, but in story form. I have also added post scripts to a number of the journal entries. These will be described below.

In The Hope and the Knowing, rare and unusual episodes – encounters with the explained and unexplained alike – are called "events". The story begins with the amazing events of December 23, 2003. It ends with the eye-opening display and revelation I experienced on December 23, 2004 – on the anniversary of Max’s ostensible departure.

Through research conducted following the fifty-odd incidents and encounters (and odd they were), the phenomena were later classified into some rather rare and interesting categories:

the shifting and displacement of physical objects in and around rooms; apparitions and other spirit encounters; synchronicities and extreme coincidences; automatic writing; numinous dreams, the movement of undated coins; intelligent haunts; residual haunts; uncanny telephone activities; electrical demonstrations, malfunctions and breakdowns; object alteration; “third eye” phenomena; spirit communications received through clairvoyance, clairaudience and clairsentience; soul travel; spirit guide communications; validation of “rare” events based on the frequency of repetition of the events; validation of rare events based on statistical hypothesis testing; and the discovery of a corroborating written record found after the occurrence of a supernatural event.

In the Post Script sections following key phenomenological activities, I discuss and sometimes attempt to examine an event further or to review subject matter associated with the event. Therefore, post scripts (as detailed below) are reserved primarily for post-event commentary and research. Although many of the events in the book are left unexplained, potential explanations are offered wherever "doable", with respect to key paranormal events. Interpretations are made wherever possible.

The timeframe of The Hope and the Knowing is December 23, 2003 through December 23, 2004. Nevertheless, the paranormal, supernatural and synchronistic happenings have gone far beyond the boundaries of one journal year, changing my life forever. Because of the rare and challenging life changes I experienced over a subsequent six-year period, I decided it would be a good idea to continue journaling. After all, the paranormal events didn’t stop simply because one journal year had ended. No, not in any sense of the word! Consequently, I have continued to keep a log from 2005 onward. On the other hand, my focus shifted somewhat because of a tremendous increase in synchronistic events, intuitive perceptions, signs, wonders, and even a few predictions which were later born out.

As my intuitive side became evident, I sought to understand and develop this gift under the guidance of Sunny Dawn Johnston, psychic medium of Sunlight Alliance. In 2006 while watching a news program on television, I learned of Sunny’s incredible work in Arizona, with Hay House of California, and around the country. I contacted Sunny immediately and began taking her intuitive classes, such as Angel classes, Law of Attraction classes, and a number of her Mediumship classes. Sunny, who is my mentor, conducts personal conferences in her office and by telephone.

Unfortunately, in 2007 I suffered an illness affecting my physical vision, i.e., amazingly my intuitive vision remained unaffected. However, to my chagrin, I was unable to continue with the mathematical work I performed as a consulting statistician, i.e., work with spreadsheets, long columns of numbers, and so forth. Now I am happy and thankful to report that I found a doctor who has been treating the illness successfully for a year. Due to this wonderful and most welcome development and the paranormal happenings I’ve experienced since 2004, I am gaining in energy and perseverance every day. Since I have kept all my phenomenological notes on file, these are tomes yet be formalized beyond The Hope and the Knowing! I look forward to the prospects with delight and appreciation for these renewed capabilities.

Since my dear Max went to the light, our poignant, bizarre and sometimes even comical communications have been rare. Nevertheless, he still visits the earthly plane of existence from time to time, most notably on special occasions. You see, Max loves parties and get-togethers. What a communicator he was and always will be! After the transition (death) the individual personality remains the same. I have found this to be true over and over again. You see, in the past seven years other spirit beings have visited me as well: my dearly deceased father, his parents, my step-father who recently passed at the age of ninety-five, angels as I prayed in church, spirit guides, and loved ones of classmates and friends. Most of these wonderful encounters have occurred subsequent to the writing of this journal and will be revealed in an upcoming book. Nevertheless, a few of these exchanges did take place in 2004 when I was first “introduced” to my spirit guide. I am pleased to present these stories in The Hope and the Knowing.

Journal Entries. This volume contains seventy-one journal entries, beginning with the events of December 23, 2003 and ending with the unparalleled event that happened on December 23, 2004. Consequently, my journal contains data and information concerning over fifty paranormal experiences, spanning a year and one day. The last day is simply too mind-boggling and personally meaningful to exclude from my chronicle of events. Indeed, it is the sine qua non of the book! Yet, many more than fifty paranormal events occurred in 2004. The “over fifty” refers to recurring events because I did not document or even count a particular event more than once in the book. The most repetitive paranormal events were “The Hair Dryer Affair”, Max “curling up” on the couch, “The Toaster Trick” and Max’s appearance in the gardens at church. Although I recorded and presented the account of the toaster trick just once, this incident happened approximately two to three times a week for many weeks in 2004, and on into 2005. I am sure that I witnessed the unbelievable “toaster trick” at least twenty times. This is a very conservative estimate. It may have happened fifty or more times, I just don’t know.

My journal entries are based on the occurrences of uncanny, sometimes mind-blowing, and often extraordinarily meaningful events, such as communications with Max, “coincidental” electrical events, and the unfortunate deaths that occurred in proximity to Max’s passing. In this sense, the journal is episodic in nature – unlike a diary or a journal of daily activities, thoughts, and concerns. The narrative was written in the past tense. However, the paranormal sequences were written in the present tense to “glue” the reader to the scene while revealing the observer’s thoughts and feelings about the phenomenon.

Event Recording. Due to a meticulous bent brought on by working with numbers, I have included a date and often a time at the top of each journal entry. In this way, associations and interpretations can be drawn for a better understanding of the paranormal incidents in question. Because I am aware that the moon has an effect on nature, I have also included phases of the moon. At the start, I hadn’t yet made the decision to chronicle every observation or to keep track of dates. Then later, as I began to include dates and times in the narratives, I expressed my apologies for being unable to recall a few of the dates and some of the times of day. To that end, I supplied estimated dates (such as 1/xx/04) and times of day like Sunday Morning or Wednesday Afternoon, at least whenever possible.

All of the paranormal and supernatural data and information were first logged and then described in detail in the The Hope and the Knowing. However, about ten percent of the information was subsequently removed from the book. For example, if I witnessed an event that I was later unable to recall in detail, the event was then excluded. This happened a few times. I have likewise excluded two separate paranormal accounts which I received early in 2004 from two of Max’s dear friends, a man and a woman. They are friends of mine as well. Since that time, I have been unable to reach either of the two to obtain detailed corroboration of their stories. So I decided it would be best to remove their narratives from the body of my book. However, I am able to state with confidence that the first event happened to the man while he was taking a walk in the woods about a week after Max died. The second event concerned a phenomenon that the woman said she witnessed in my home while I was vacationing in Sedona. She had been “pet-sitting” and watching my home. The nature of the details surrounding each of these events is still somewhat unclear so I must unfortunately exclude their accounts. However, I do know this: both the man and the woman told me their stories with great enthusiasm. They both appeared to have been stunned, to say the least, by what they had seen and heard. The dear man has since moved away and his phone has been disconnected. And despite my phone messages and invitations, my friend and confidante, the woman has not entered my home since the time she witnessed the paranormal phenomenon. Indeed, I have been unable to reach her for a long time. Though my friends tells me not to wait, I miss her and have hopes that she will return to say hello someday, perhaps when I least expect it.

Despite all that has happened (or not), I carry a big pad of sticky notes and a pen and take them with me wherever I go. While writing the first draft of The Hope, I never thought, as a few friends suggested, that “the recording of all that data” would be too tedious a task to stick with for long. Quite the reverse. I felt comfortable with the idea because the phenomena were often so awesome or wacky that I felt compelled to get my observations down on paper. Keeping track this way, I would then be able to tell my mother and friends the story. Nevertheless, I soon found myself “fleshing out” these accounts on my laptop – before work, after work, on the Wednesdays of my four-day work week, and on weekends as well. In that sense, I was confident I wouldn’t be relying on old memory. Before long, a book was born. Lives were forever changed!

Song Lyrics. (Please note: the song lyrics are primarily reserved for the book, i.e., most of the songs are not contained in this Blog). The paranormal events sometimes arrived with a song – on the radio, while drinking coffee in a café, through musak, or while working in my office. Quite a few of the songs, coupled with the associated paranormal phenomena, had a synchronistic quality and became a fundamental part of the experience. Even today, as I recall seeing Max’s spirit on January 3rd 2004, I can still hear “Unchained Melody”. This beautiful song was an integral part of my paranormal experience because the song and the movie, “Ghost” were on television. That is, approximately five minutes after Max appeared on the arm of my sofa, I changed the television channel and I heard the song, “Unchained Melody”. There before me was the movie, “Ghost” as Max’s spirit hovered just above the arm of my sofa. I was stunned!

People are incredulous when they hear this story, thinking it could not possibly have happened. It sounds surreal, they say – too perfect to be true. Objectively, I agree with them, to be sure. But I am here to tell you, to my absolute bafflement, it happened. And in all humility, it happened to me. Why would any person set herself up for potential derision by writing such a far-fetched story unless it were true? I certainly would not. My “Ghost” story happened as I described it. I cannot and will not delete this account from my journal simply because it is too fantastic for people to believe. That, in point of fact, would be a form of deception. I am only here to tell you to the best of my ability about the paranormal and supernatural phenomena I experienced.

Because of activities that are “linked” like these, the inclusion of one or two lines of lyrics tends to give people a better picture of the experience. The reader can then visualize and perhaps even “feel” the event from the perspective of the one who witnessed it – thinking and “hearing” the song as the observer heard it while the event was happening. Using the required standards for abridgement, these songs are an integral part of my journal because they add the element of sound (i.e., the recollection of the melodies) to the equation – bringing another dimension to the reading of the book. Music lovers might even enjoy listening to the tunes online as they read particular passages.

Post Scripts. The post script sections of this book fill an important need. Post scripts allow me to separate the paranormal events from comments and research concerning the events. In this way, no paranormal story is ever changed or manipulated beyond revisions for clarity, grammar, punctuation, style and the like.

As I rewrote my journal, I expanded on the post scripts. There was a need for more definitions, commentary, and further research on paranormal phenomena to shed light on the most baffling events and perhaps the least understood activities. Post scripts are primarily reserved for:

• My comments and inquiries concerning an event

• Paranormal and supernatural definitions and descriptions

• Key information from theories of consciousness

• Key information from quantum theory -string theory, parallel universes, etc.

• Post scripts providing new material, such as “Law of Attraction” concepts

• Logical analysis of an event

• Statistical analysis of an event, where possible

• Interpretation of key events

In addition to the post scripts, Journal Entry 34 contains quite a bit of information on quantum physics and “The Theory of Everything” as related to rare and unusual phenomena. Journal Entry 59 strictly concerns “third eye” phenomena.

I certainly do not pretend to have all the answers. In that sense, I do not attempt to analyze and interpret every event documented in The Hope. Some incidents are brief and self-explanatory, in terms of the typical conjectures set forth to make sense of the phenomena. Although I have attempted to depict every event logged in detail, some events simply defy description and explanation. I have provided post scripts after particular journal entries, as needed, along with comments, questions, research, analysis, and where feasible, interpretation of the event. I encourage readers to take a stab at it. Get together with your friends and mull over mysterious events. Try to analyze and interpret these phenomena to your satisfaction. This is half the fun and joy of the book. The other half is the incredible stories, all true!

Please note: Due to the paranormal nature of the subject matter and as a protective measure, names have been changed in the narrative sections of the book. Nevertheless, the true names of a number of people have been kept in the narratives, as requested. I have retained my pen name and that of my deceased spouse, Max Blau, for The Hope. I assure you that no person, place, nor story is fictitious. Every happening hereby recorded is true to the best of my ability to capture the quintessence of a paranormal event. I freely admit that some events have left me baffled. Yet, isn’t that what makes life fascinating?

I continue to keep records of rare and unusual events even into the year Two Thousand Eleven. However, there is more than enough to tell – based solely on what happened the year after my beloved Max died. I humbly present my story to you, my readers, in The Hope and the Knowing.

~Author, Mandy Berlin

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Dear Readers,

Now busy finishing the final draft of my book! So looking forward to getting my book proposal sent to an agent, i.e., the next step. Due to this process, I see that I neglected to make a posting to my blog around mid-September. To make it up to you, I just posted two happenings which took place while I was vacationing in England. These true stories set the stage for the mind-boggling supernatural event I encountered the week I went to see Max's old school in Wellington, England. I hope you like them!

As ever,
Mandy Berlin

PS - Plan to post the incredible Wellington incident around mid-October. Stay tuned....


Journal Entry 49
Thursday through Saturday
09/9 – 09/11/2004

The London and Oxford tours were conducted by my personal guide, Char. How lucky can I get? Then, Thursday we enjoyed a tasty Middle Eastern dinner with Char’s sister, Alicia and her daughter, Sandy. The next day, Char carted me off to the pastures for a “mixer” with Alicia, Sandy, and their beautiful horses grazing in a field greener than anything I’d seen since the Amish country. Just before sundown, we snapped a few shots, “manely” of the horses, of course. (Couldn’t resist.)

In the morning, we moved on to Hensley for lunch with Max’s cousin, Nate. After a few laughs, some who-do-you-knows, and an authentic shepherd’s pie, I unhappily said so-long to Char. Then Nate took over and drove us on to Surrey where he and his wife, Chloe, live with their lovely daughters, Carmella and Rianna.

On Saturday, we five motored to Windsor for a tour of the Queen’s Castle. Their knowledgeable staff provided us with an in-depth look at the royal family – the allure, the glamour, the joys, and the sorrows they have endured. Some would say, “What about the wealth? We don’t have what they have.” Yet, I came away with the feeling that the old adage, money can’t buy happiness, holds true for this family as well. (My Post Script highlights the subject of wealth, ponderings written years after my trip to England. I’ve included some information about The Secret which I first stumbled upon in 2006.)

After our tour of the beautiful castle, we hiked over to the gift shop to engage in some blatant browsing. In the end, I did get a few things. You see, I just had to buy some Windsor silver, four ornate towels, five boxes of fragrant soaps (they were small, really) and several calendar collectibles – gifts for Mom and a few of our friends. Then, being the record-keeping fool that I am, I bought and kept a Buckingham Palace calendar for my office.

Thoughts before traveling: how will this stuff ever fit in my suitcase?

We returned to Thorpe before dark, a little bushed but ready for dinner. Chloe’s spaghetti certainly had the effect of reviving my spirits. Then after her delicious meal, we revved up some more with high tea and conversation. What a time we had, remembering the humor, love, and joy our dear ones, Clyde and Max, had brought to our lives. Nate’s father, Clyde had passed away in March, not long after Max. This sad event occurred only a few months before my trip to England. I told Nate and his family how much I had wanted to meet Clyde – even more because Max and I had been corresponding with him for years. Although my travel plans had been in the making for months, regrettably, I was too late.

Yet Nate, Chloe and the girls had so many amazing stories to tell me that it was easy to paint a picture of their father (and grandfather) in my mind’s eye. He was a family man, a caring man, a gentleman – truly a gentle man. Somehow, on this extraordinary night of Saturday, 9-11, I had the feeling that Clyde and Max were there with us. I can’t help but believe Nate and Chloe felt that way too as we shared an evening of reflection, joy and love. I do not exaggerate when I say we had a night I will never forget. It is fixed in my heart forever.


Post Script

Concerning the subject of wealth, I have since learned that no matter how much money we may amass in life, happiness is truly a state of mind. As Rhonda Byrne, Mike Dooley and all the inspiring authors of The Secret say, “Thoughts become things. Think the good ones.” Isn’t this where wealth – the wealth of a full and meaningful life – begins? Perhaps we would do well not to underestimate the power of our thoughts. From birth to death, regardless of any outside forces that appear to impinge upon our lives, every thought we have is ours, every choice we make is our own.

The Secret says that we manifest or materialize all things (positive and negative) through the kind of energy we create with our thoughts, beliefs, feelings, emotions, and our inspired (or not-so-inspired) actions. As a result, according to The Secret and the law of attraction, we are the masters of our lives. Concepts from The Secret link ancient metaphysical notions with the scriptures and, most amazingly, with energy theories of quantum physics. This is where science, metaphysics, spiritualism, and religion join forces.

By the power of our minds, we possess the tools necessary to design what we want, i.e., using a “mental” pencil, pen, paper, crayons, brush, paint, and easel. But what are the internal tools necessary to create what we desire? Amazingly, these are just our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and the inspiration needed to “paint” whatever pictures we want to see: whatever we would like to do in life, whatever people we would like to meet, and whatever way we would like to live. As a result, we need nothing outside ourselves to bring into material existence the things we’d like to have, be or do. Stated differently, using our thoughts, beliefs and energy “vibes,” we “attract” specific people, places and things into our lives, which then become the “stuff” of our lives.

If you think about it long and hard, would you really want it any other way? The Infinite always provides for us in foolproof ways we never dreamed possible, if we but choose to learn, harness our knowledge and practice practice.

Though this review is geared more toward an upcoming workshop, I would like to emphasize that The Secret arrived at my door in 2006, like an enduring force in my life! From the video and audio teachings, I have since been learning how to attract wonderful people, places, events, and yes, even written checks, rings, and material things that have enhanced my life in so many unique and wonderful ways. Of course, I’m creating more all the time. It’s easy because, like gravity, the law of attraction is always in operation – whether we choose to think consciously with intent, and use our energy effectively; or not. In the last analysis, it’s a matter of learning how to use the law of attraction appropriately to generate the results we wish to achieve. Yet, it’s not so much the quantity as the quality of the end result that most appeals to me. I certainly don’t need another wardrobe filled with clothing, but a summer home would be nice. (The hundred-degree temperatures in Arizona have tested my faculties enough! I’m going to start using The Secret to picture my lovely home – way up in the pines.)

A life of abundance truly comes in different packages for different people. Thank the universe for that.

And thank yourself for thinking about it.


1. The Secret URL:


Journal Entry
Wednesday 09/8/2004
Oxford, England
Time Unknown

I met up with Char in London again and she drove us on to Oxford, her home. Because there was still so much to see, she decided to take more time off. This gave us the opportunity to tour Christ Church, Warwick Castle and some quaint shops in dreamy Oxford, not necessarily in that order. Knowing our time was short, we tried to cover as much territory as possible – that is, considering Mandy’s toasted marshmallow toe.

First, we stopped by Char’s house so I could spend some time with her parents, James and Wilma, and drop off my luggage. I hadn’t seen them since they had flown back to the states to visit Max and their daughter, Paulette, in Sonoita. Char said her folks weren’t well, but they were doing a little better than they had been for quite some time. Bless them, I was glad to hear that they were improving, at least. I so hope their progress continues this way.

Amazingly, as we pulled up to her home on another one of those sweet sunlit days, Char spotted something wiggling in the bushes. “Look, I think it’s a hedgehog!” she said, jumping from her car seat.

“Oh, where?” I said, hobbling around the other side. One time Max told me that when he was a lad, he had found a hedgehog somewhere in the brush. He said he tried with persistence to make a household pet out of the little fellow.

Char zeroed in, with me trailing behind. “Char, I don’t see him at all.”

“Shush, over here!” she whispered, pointing and tiptoeing into the brush by the house. Before long, I actually spotted the brown-barbed creature, quivering and darting about. “How cute he is!” But, alas, he scampered away, tunneling under the leaves and loam.

“Oops, maybe not so happy to see us,” Char said.

“I’ve never seen a pint-sized porcupine before. Let me have at him!” I said, lunging forward, forgetting that to touch the prickly animal would probably prove to be quite painful.

“Watch out, he might get you!” Char said. Leaves scattered as the miniscule hedgehog burrowed even further underground. Maybe he thought he’d be lunchmeat if he stuck around too long.

“Okay,” she smiled, “he’s buried.”

“Hey, come back here, little guy! Darn, he’s gone.”

“You’ll never get him now.”

Nevertheless, our little hedgehog encounter couldn’t have been a more auspicious way of welcoming me to the lovely home where Max had once lived with his guardians “and my sisters,” as he used to say. Though Max had been adopted sans records, he always called James’ and Wilma’s three girls his sisters. I liked that.

One time when Max was talking about his pint-sized playmate, he told me the hedgehog was the only pet he’d ever had as a child. And so, with a lump in my throat, I followed Char to the ivy-lined house where her parents stood waving and opening the screen door, ready to welcome us inside. On the way, I couldn’t help but think we were somehow playing a part in the delightful tale, The Wind in the Willows, with the hedgehog, Mr. Badger, Toady and the whole gang.

Of course I believe "The Toad" was there with us – if not in corporeal form, then surely in spirit.


1. Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows, abridged and illustrated by Inga Moore, (London: Walker Books Ltd., 2000).