What happens when hardcore skeptics have an inexplicable encounter with the paranormal? Their eyes may open, their heart may soften, and their conviction in the rectitude of their own opinions may be forever shaken – providing they’re intellectually honest. The founder of Skeptic magazine clearly is an honest man; for when Michael Shermer had a close encounter of another kind on his wedding day last year, he let the whole world know about it in his monthly column in Scientific American.
Picture the scene: Shermer’s German-born bride-to-be, Jennifer Graf, misses her family. She most especially pines for her deceased maternal grandfather, Walter, who had been like a father to her but had died when she was in her mid-teens. Among the treasured keepsakes she retains from their life together is a 1978 transistor radio, which hadn’t worked in years.
Michael tries to coax it back to life. He checks the connections, replaces the batteries, even applies what he calls “percussive maintenance” – a smack against a hard surface. But still, the radio cannot be coaxed out of its silence. So it’s put away at the back of a desk drawer in their bedroom.
Several months go by and then, on June 25, 2014, the couple stands before his family and friends to exchange their wedding vows. Jennifer lovingly embraces her new husband and life – but carries the weight of loneliness in her heart. She asks Michael for a private word with her after the ceremony so they slip away from their company and walk toward the bedroom.
As they get closer, they hear romantic music playing. Searching for the source, they at first assume it must be coming from outside. But it isn’t.
Entering their bedroom, they consider whatever is feasible albeit improbable – checking to see if perhaps the computer printer happens to have a radio along with a scanner. Finally, when everything logical has been ruled out, Jeffrey writes –
“Jennifer shot me a look I haven’t seen since the supernatural thriller The Exorcist startled audiences. ‘That can’t be what I think it is, can it?’ she said. She opened the desk drawer and pulled out her grandfather’s transistor radio, out of which a romantic love song wafted. We sat in stunned silence for minutes. ‘My grandfather is here with us,’ Jennifer said, tearfully. ‘I’m not alone.’”
They soon learn from his daughter, Devin, that the music had begun playing just after they left their bedroom and headed out to join their guests for the marriage ceremony. And it continued playing beautiful, classical music all through the night. The next day, the radio stopped working and has not emitted a sound since then.
Michael Shermer, logical rationalist and professional skeptic concluded his article in September’s Scientific American with these words: “The emotional interpretations of such anomalous events grant them significance regardless of their causal account. And if we are to take seriously the scientific credo to keep an open mind and remain agnostic when the evidence is indecisive or the riddle unsolved, we should not shut the doors of perception when they may be opened to us to marvel in the mysterious.”
Given the nature of their paranormal experience it would be interesting to know how Michael and Jennifer might regard the book Conversations Beyond the Light: Communication With Departed Friends & Colleagues by Electronic Means written by Kurbris and Macy. It seems the overlap between etheric and electronic energy makes communication across dimensions possible. Thomas Alva Edison was one of the early explorers of this method for conveying audible messages from the dead to the living.
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