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, June 25, 2012


       Death Is Not “The End”:  One Agnostic’s Journey on the Bumpy Road to Belief is a journal of real paranormal and supernatural events.  Three hours before the Christmas Eve of 2003, 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 family, grief-stricken on hearing 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 another.  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 for twenty-five years as a statistician in health care, education and government, I remained, as ever, a curious person.  So, when these events began to happen, I knew I had to write down the details if I wanted to investigate further.  Then, for validation purposes, I sent written “reports” to those who kindly took 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 soon became a party to some unimaginable incidents – in places like my home, restaurants, cafés, gardens, and even during my first trip to England!  As these mind-boggling occurrences began to “hit home”, I sat at my computer to flesh out the stories – those of our loved ones – and now mine.  Before long and without much effort, I had a document for each event that I’d previously logged on paper and saved in a calendar.  Despite the strange goings-on, I kept track of most dates and times of the events.  My background in psychology and years of logging research study observations had certainly come in handy.  Nevertheless, as you will see, my journal is written not in clinical form, but in story form. 

            In Death Is Not “The End” unusual phenomena – the explained and unexplained – are called events.  The story begins with the mysterious events of December 23, 2003.  It ends with the eye-opening revelation I experienced on December 23, 2004 – on the first anniversary of Max’s death.

            Through research conducted following the fifty-odd incidents and encounters (and odd they were), the happenings 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; telepathy; 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 stories, I discuss and sometimes further examine an event or review subject matter related to the event.  Therefore, post scripts, as discussed below, are reserved mainly for post-event commentary and research.  Although many of the events in the book are left unexplained, potential explanations are offered wherever achievable, with respect to key events.  Interpretations are then made wherever possible.

            The timeframe of Death Is Not “The End” is December 23, 2003 through December 23, 2004.  Nevertheless, the supernatural, mystical and synchronistic happenings have gone far beyond the boundaries of one journal year, changing my life forever.  Then because of the rare and often 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 supernatural events didn’t stop simply because one journal year ended.  No, not in any sense of the word!  Consequently, I continued logging significant events from 2005 onward.  On the other hand, my focus shifted because of a tremendous increase in synchronistic events, intuitive perceptions, signs, and several communications from Spirit which came to pass.

            As my intuitive side became clear, I sought to further understand and develop this ability under the guidance of Sunny Dawn Johnston of Sunlight Alliance.  In 2006 while watching a television news program, I learned of Sunny’s incredible intuitive work at Sunlight Alliance in Arizona, with Hay House of California, and all over the country.  I contacted Sunny immediately and began taking her intuitive classes, such as her Angel and Mediumship classes.  Sunny, who is my mentor, also conducts personal conferences in her office and by telephone. 

            Unfortunately, in 2007 I suffered an illness affecting my physical vision, i.e., my intuitive vision remained the same.  Nevertheless, to my chagrin, I was unable to continue with my work as a consulting statistician, i.e., the mathematics, spreadsheets and long columns of numbers – essentially my job.  Still, I could write from time to time, with eyes closed or while keeping my eyes off the screen.  Now I am happy to report that I found a doctor who has been treating the illness successfully for over a year.  Because of this wonderful news and the phenomenal happenings I have experienced since 2003, I am gaining in energy and perseverance every day.  Thankfully, I have kept my detailed notes from “time immemorial” – tomes yet to be formalized beyond this journal!  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 often 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! 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 beautiful encounters happened subsequent to the writing of this journal and will be revealed in an upcoming book.  Nevertheless, a few of the exchanges did take place in 2004 when I was first “introduced” to my spirit guide.  I am pleased to present these stories in Death Is Not “The End”.

            Journal Entries.  My journal contains seventy-one entries, beginning with the events of December 23, 2003 and ending with the unparalleled event that happened on December 23, 2004.  Consequently, this volume contains stories concerning over fifty paranormal events, spanning a year and one day.  The last day is simply too mind-blowing and personally meaningful to exclude from my account.  Indeed, it is the sine qua non of the book!  Even so, many more events occurred in 2004.  “Over fifty” refers to recurring events because I did not document each type of event more than once.  If an event happened several times, I told the story just once.  The most repetitive events were “The Hair Dryer Affair”, Max “curling up” on the couch, “The Toaster Trick” and Max’s appearance in the church gardens.  Though I described the toaster trick in the first month it happened, this incident occurred approximately two or three times a week for many weeks in 2004, and on into 2005.  I witnessed the phenomenal “toaster trick” at least twenty times – a conservative estimate.

            My journal entries are based on uncanny, at times unnatural and often extraordinarily meaningful events, such as mental, physical and spiritual messages from Max, coincidental electrical events, and the untimely deaths that occurred in proximity to Max’s passing.  In this sense, my journal is episodic in nature – unlike a diary or a journal of daily activities, thoughts, and concerns.  The overall narrative and the accounts of others were written in the past tense.  However, the paranormal and supernatural experiences I observed were written in the present tense to “glue the reader to the scene” as I revealed my thoughts and feelings about the awesome happenings of the day.

            Event Recording.  Due to a meticulous bent brought on by working with numbers, I included a date and, if possible, a time at the top of each journal entry.  In this way, associations and interpretations can be drawn for a better understanding of a particular event.  Then because the moon has an effect on nature, I also included phases of the moon.  At the start, I hadn’t made the decision to chronicle every observation or to keep track of dates.  Later on, as I began to record the dates and times, I expressed my apologies for being unable to recall a few of these particulars.  In these instances, an estimated date or time was supplied, i.e, for example, 1/xx/04 or Wednesday Afternoon.

            All of the paranormal and supernatural data and information were first logged as events and then told in story form.  However, some 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 excluded.  Likewise, I have excluded two separate accounts received in early 2004 from two of Max’s dear friends, a man and a woman.  They are friends of mine as well.  Since then, I have been unable to reach either of the two for corroboration.  So I decided it would be best to remove what they had first described to me over the phone.  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” while watching the house.  The nature of the details surrounding each of these events is somewhat fuzzy so I must unfortunately exclude them.  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 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 she witnessed the paranormal event.  Now I am unable to reach her at all.  Though my friends tells me not to wait, I miss her and have hopes she’ll call me someday, perhaps when I least expect it.

            Despite all that has happened, I still bring a pen and a large pad of sticky notes with me wherever I go.  While writing the first draft of Death Is Not “The End”, 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 it because the happenings were either so beautiful or so wacky that I felt compelled to put my observations down on paper.  Keeping track like this, I would then be able to tell my mother and friends what had happened.  All the same, I soon found myself “fleshing out” the stories on my laptop – before work, after work, on the Wednesdays of my four-day work week and on weekends too.  In that sense, I was confident I wouldn’t be relying on old memory. 

            Before long, a book was born.  Lives were forever changed.  Especially mine.

            Song Lyrics.  The awesome 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 related events, had a synchronistic quality and became a fundamental part of the experience.  Even today, as I recall seeing Max’s spirit on January 3, 2004, I can still hear “Unchained Melody”.  This beautiful song was an integral part of my supernatural experience because the song and the movie, “Ghost” were on television.  That’s right.  Approximately five minutes after Max appeared on the arm of my sofa, I changed the television channel and heard the song, “Unchained Melody”.  There before me was the movie, “Ghost” as Max’s spirit hovered just above the arm of the 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 described.  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 relay to the best of my ability the unbelievable phenomena witnessed by my friends and me.

            Because of activities that are “linked” like these, the inclusion of one or two lines of lyrics tends to give people a more complete picture of the experience.  The reader can then visualize and perhaps even “feel” what happened from the perspective of the one who experienced it – perhaps even “hear” the song as the observer heard it that day.  Observing the required standards for abridgement, these songs are an integral part of my journal and my journey.  They add the dimension of sound to my journal stories, i.e., the recollection of meaningful lyrics and melodies.  Music lovers might even enjoy listening to the tunes online as they read certain passages.

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

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

  • My comments and questions concerning an event
  • Paranormal and supernatural definitions and descriptions
  • Key information from theories of consciousness
  • Key information from quantum theory; for example, where an event seems to connect with, or have roots in, a scientific model (such as string theory, m-theory and parallel universes)
  • 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 information on quantum physics and “The

Theory of Everything” as related to rare phenomena.  Journal Entry 59 concerns “third eye”


            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 my journal.  Some incidents are brief and appear to be self-explanatory, in terms of typical conjectures set forth to make sense of the event.  Although I have attempted to describe every event in detail, some events simply defy description and adequate 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 the phenomena to your satisfaction.  This is half the fun and joy of the book.  The other half is the incredible stories! 

            Please note:  Due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter and as a protective measure, names were changed in the narrative sections of the book, i.e., not in the Acknowledgments section.  Nevertheless, the real names of a number of people are in the narratives, as requested.  I retained my pen name and that of my deceased spouse, Max Blau, for my journal.  No person, place, nor story is fictitious.  Every happening hereby documented is true to the best of my ability to capture the quintessence of a paranormal event.  Some events have truly 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 2011.  However, there is more than enough to tell – based solely on what happened soon after my beloved Max died.  I humbly present my story to you, my readers, in Death Is Not “The End”:  One Agnostic’s Journey on the Bumpy Road to Belief.

Sincerely yours,

Mandy Berlin


Meditation -- Charlemagne and Max

Journal Entry 33
Wednesday 06/23/2004
Around 5:00 p.m.

            In light of all the rare and heartrending events that have taken place this year, it occurred to me that I ought to be meditating more.  So, as daylight turned to dusk, I settled down for the night and put on one of Sylvia Browne’s discs, similar to the one I played back when.
            As I become engrossed in the meditative process, my patio chimes start to ring.  Yet, they are not so much ringing as clanging now.  Is it the wind?  It would seem so, but I don’t bother to check because I’m already immersed in deep breathing.  Then several minutes into my meditation as I follow along with Sylvia’s instructions, I hear not only the chimes but an amazing communication as well.  The words seem to be coming from Charlemagne, my spirit guide.  I can hear him very well.  Not only that, but I am also able to see his pronouncements in my mind’s eye, like so:

Cloud pole 

Smart spirit 

Thanks for coming to help!
            I have no context for these words, except for the phrase “smart spirit”.  Sounds like an entity who thinks quite well of himself.  Or is he, perhaps, referring to the spirit in me?  In any case, I am so in awe of his visit that I prefer to think it’s the former.

            So, I say:         
Hello Charlemagne 

Thank you for coming! 

I wonder if you can tell me how Max is doing

            Spirit response:                                         




            The reference to “Charlie” is interesting in light of Charlemagne’s name.  Nevertheless, these words sound more like something Max would say.  Because of his military training, he often used the NATO phonetic alphabet [1] especially when talking on the phone.  For example, if the other party seemed unable to decipher his words, he’d usually resort to code:  “Alpha” stands for the letter “A”, “Bravo” for “B”, and so on, with a unique code word signifying each letter of the alphabet. 
            Well then, Spirit sent me the words “Echo, Bravo, Charlie.”  If we resort to the NATO phonetic alphabet, these words stand for the letters E, B, and C.  And although these three letters are just one letter away from Max’s old employer’s name, they are not exactly right.  So, at this point, I am unable to determine the meaning of this message.  Yet, I would like to think that Spirit is saying Max is doing great.

            Then, before ending my meditation, I ask my guide the following question:  

Charlemagne, what is my purpose here? 

            No more than a moment later, I receive the following response:        




 Now this is starting to make more sense to me.  I enjoy writing letters and stories, and I hope that my writing will bring sunshine and a sense of hope to others.  My first book, a memoir and family scrapbook, contains a few of the letters Max and I had sent each other, along with our poetry and prose (reference Journal Entry 5).  Though I published that first manuscript not long after Max died, the first several sections contain some (hopefully) comical elements.  Perhaps our humor in this second book will bring a sense of joy and hope as well to readers all over the world.
            This was my first effort at interpreting today’s communications.  Perhaps these messages have other meanings too.  For example, I live in sunny Arizona.  Is “sunshine” a reference to my locale?  With respect to the phrase, “thanks for coming to help,” I wonder how I might possibly be helping; through my writing?  With this means of expression, we are potentially able to reach millions.  Yet, maybe I’m helping in other ways.  I have come to understand that time, as we know it, has no meaning in the spirit world.  Perhaps my “coming to help” resides in some future set of circumstances.  In any event, I have recorded and will retain all the communications I have received, and might as yet receive, in hopes that these connections will come to have even greater meaning over time.  Regardless, the value I have already derived from these mind-blowing encounters truly surpasses all experience!

Post Script 1
            No doubt someone will set forth a plausible question like this:  are you just “hearing” your own thoughts? 
            At times, it is difficult to decipher the words that arise from Spirit versus those I bring to consciousness of my own volition.  However, I find that Spirit words have a distinct murmur and often arrive with a spectacular visual flash.  Most of the time, such words are transmitted in a strident “voice” permitting me to determine the source at once.  At other times, the prominent words, numbers and symbols arrive in motion, as if emerging from a great distance.  With eyes closed, these objects increase in size as they “fly” to the forefront of my visual field.  When this happens, I am generally able to determine the words because the text and background tend to appear in contrasting colors, i.e., red text with a yellow background, dark blue against pink, and so forth.
            Yet I have more difficulty discerning what I call pure thought transmissions.  These are not visual, nor prominent, nor do I perceive any word movement.  However, the thought transmissions I do receive tend to have a murmuring quality which facilitates discernment.  As a rule, I am able to ascertain that a thought has been transmitted from an external source if it is uncommon, eccentric, or even fantastic – a thought I would probably not have entertained – not even in a bizarre dream.
            I feel especially confident that Spirit is sending me a pure thought transmission if some corroborating evidence arrives contiguous in time with the communication, i.e., if something synchronous happens when the transmission occurs.  My journal entry of January 1st offers the ultimate instance of this idea.  My dear husband’s spirit hollered at me, “Pull your socks up, mate!”  In a flash, I knew he had come to console me in his own inimitable way.  And after several attempts at grasping his words, I actually did “receive” his entire communication.  However, despite Max’s characteristically persistent posture during his first appearance, I’d been unable to comprehend the exact meaning of his words.  This is because my mind would never have constructed this strange sentence – an alien concept to me.  Nevertheless, in time I came to learn and understand the true meaning and value of his paternal greeting!
            Along with Max’s heartfelt words on that phenomenal New Year’s Day, came the most astounding thing – his ethereal image that appeared like a hologram in my field of view.  Given my newfound ability to discern, his words had no visual impact.  But his ghostly reflection came just after I heard him say, “Pull your socks up, mate!”  That is, Max’s image arrived contiguous in time to his words.  This synchronicity, the vivid vision of Max along with my mind-blowing auditory experience, solidified the whole encounter forever in my mind, and in my being.  No matter what others might think or say, you reach a point where you just know, and the knowing becomes the cornerstone of your existence.

Post Script 2
            Concerning the phrase, “cloud pole”, I realized while editing this entry that my spirit guide might have been referring to the ramada on my back porch.  The sturdy beams of the ramada hold the wind chimes that rang wildly as I received his communication in time and space.  The ramada columns serve as upright supports; albeit posts rather than round poles, but the idea is similar.  When I think of my home and the cloud pole concept, I think of a ramada beam.  On the other hand, Charlemagne may have been referring to something else.  I encourage spirit sleuths to come up with their own interpretations.
            In retrospect, I think that the “movement words” differ from simple thought transmissions in the intensity of the delivery.  That is, the words I “see” in my mind’s eye seem to be sent with greater force.  As a result, I am able to see them clearly.  Then again, perhaps the deeper I go into meditation, the more I am capable of receiving thought transmissions and seeing words and numbers in motion.  So, is it the sender or the receiver?  Perhaps it is both.

[1]  The NATO phonetic alphabet is formally called the international radiotelephony spelling alphabet.  It is the most widely used spelling alphabet for the intelligibility of voice signals by radio or telephone. “NATO Phonetic Alphabet.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. N.p., 29 Aug. 2011. Web. 29 Aug. 2011.