Dec 02, 2019

An Invitation from Dr. Kenneth Ring

This will be Ken Ring’s last blog for the University of Heaven. He says he is giving up waiting to die, having proved an abject failure at it, but may well continue to write further “Notes from the Ringdom” on other subjects as an independent blogger. 

He’d like to know how many of you might be interested to continue to read his blogs.  If so, just reply to this notice at [email protected] with some kind of expression of interest or even with just a  .

We wish Ken well on his further adventures and thank him for his witty and wise series Waiting to Die and his important contributions to the study of near-death experiences.

Raymond Moody & Lisa Smartt


I admit it.  I am a triskaidekaphiliac. 

Perhaps you are not familiar with that formidable term.  Suppose I were to tell you that I was born on Friday the 13th, and because of that, I have always considered 13 to be my lucky number. So now you have presumably divined my psychiatric condition.  I have an inordinate fondness for the number 13.

Actually, that’s not my only confession.  But since this will be my last essay in this series, I reckon I had better take the opportunity now to fess up to some of my other sins.

For one thing, do you remember that last essay of mine that I entitled “Eighty-Three and Counting”?   Well, actually, that was written last year when I was turning eighty-three.  And to confess...

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Nov 08, 2019

No. No, no, no, no, no. Not me. Uh-uh. No. Never would I believe it

if someone told me I’d be sitting here talking to you about my

relationship with a dead creative genius: my muse, Anthony Newley.

That’s crazy. Maybe other people have experiences like that but not me.

And yet I look back upon my life and see that following my inner

guidance has led me into some strangely luminous, numinous places.


Performing on Broadway was my only goal in my early years. I don’t

exactly remember when I became familiar with the work of Anthony

Newley, but he instantly mesmerized me. The songs he wrote. The way

he sang them…his voice, his hands. If I could be like anyone on stage, I

wanted to be like him. He lit the fire that blazed my way to Broadway.



And I did have an early career there, performing in seven Broadway

shows before the age of twenty-four. It may have been where I started,

but it sure isn’t where I finished. Because AIDS struck. Before my eyes,

friends and associates in theater began dying. Virtually an entire

generation of directors, choreographers, sound and lighting designers,

actors, singers, and dancers were cut down in their youth. For the arts,

it was devastation.


I left Broadway, moved to Florida, opened a school of the arts, closed a

school of the arts, began doing dinner theater, then started singing in

Palm Beach nightclubs. AIDS followed me. Soon my friends were dying

there, too. When AIDS took my pianist and musical partner, I finally

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Nov 04, 2019

It is good to have an end to journey toward;

but it is the journey that matters, in the end.

-- Ursula K. Le Guin

I’ve just turned eighty-three.  Of course, I’d prefer to turn back, but so far I haven’t been able to locate a reverse gear.  Still, I must confess I had a good time this year.  My birthday actually has become something of a national holiday over the years and goes on for well over a week during which time I enjoy receiving greetings from near and far from my misguided friends, family and a stray fan or two.  And then there are various celebratory lunches with local friends and more and diverse pleasures with my girlfriend, Lauren, the nature of which my innate modesty precludes me from disclosing.  Well, I could go on, but then I’m sure you would justifiably accuse me of an undue level of rodomontade.   

Now if I can manage to live to be 1000 months old, I’ll be 83 and 1/3. A good time to die.  And did you know that the hero of my admittedly callow youth, Sigmund Freud, also died at 83 & 1/3 – at exactly 1000 months.  You could look it up. Hey, I’d be in pretty stellar company, right?

And look at some of the other famous people who died at 83:

David Lean

Lord Alfred Tennyson

Edgar Degas

Gene Wilder

Thomas Jefferson

Victor Hugo

Gene Kelly

Paul Newman

Henry Ford

Samuel Beckett

Ted Williams

Leonard Nimoy

Andrew Carnegie

I sure wouldn’t mind joining that 83 club, even if I lack any celebrity credentials of my own, though I can always hope to achieve some measure of posthumous...

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Oct 28, 2019

An event took place here in the United Kingdom at the end of this school year in
July. I read in the online Daily Mail the report of a young student
attending a Catholic School in the County of Surrey.

The time was leading up to summer break and children of 14 and 15 years of age were waiting at the local railway station to go home. So there was a lot of excitement, I imagine,  about their plans for the holidays. But beneath that anticipation, stood a boy who to all seemed to be going along with the flow, but he handed his bags/books to a mate and stepped down onto the railway line and laid down.

Panic and distress set in, and his pals begged him to get up, but he stayed 
where he was and the train went over him. A wave of shock rolled across the onlookers. A young woman who I understand had First Aid abilities, stepped down to investigate. What she must have seen made the blood draw from her face so that she was utterly pale, and  her petite hands were shaking.

When investigations took place, it revealed that this young man had been

I reacted strongly to this report and wrote to the Headmaster.
Of course, he may not have read it until return of the new school year,
but no note of thanks for my thoughts and prayers. Was it because he was
so inundated with reactions himself or my commiserations were not
appreciated, as I had learnt of this in public press? I thought too of
the "bullies." Are they sorry for the events they triggered into play?
Are they and the witnesses being supported and counseled?

This is such a trying world we...

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Oct 28, 2019

Dr. Kenneth Ring writes, :"Earl Thor's Dragon of God is a superlative spellbinding thriller."

Today, we’re hosting author Earl Thor, who shares an excerpt of his book The Dragon of God. Thor artfully weaves a tapestry of research and characters based on true-to-life NDE research and researchers. 

We’re also offering Kindle copies as giveaways (see link at the end). 

What if a series of NDEs reveal an understanding of heaven that contradicts Christian fundamentalist beliefs? The implications are staggering. In this mystery novel, 60 Minutes plans to air a story about this new "revelation", but an unknown avenger is prepared to kill to prevent the broadcast of this potentially heretical information. 


Oscar Johnson

Sierra Nevada, CA

Day 1, 12:30 PM 

Hiking alone in the Sierra Nevada always came with risks. Oscar Johnson knew this well, and while the protests from his daughter were never enough to dissuade him from doing one of the things he loved, the sixty-seven-year-old had consented to take trails that had cell phone reception at occasional points. He figured this was enough of a concession to safety. Besides, his doctor had said hikes would strengthen his heart.

The early-afternoon sun filtered through branches of lodgepole pine and white fir overhead. Johnson climbed a series of switchbacks that led to his favorite destination, Devil’s Fall. The spectacular viewpoint overlooked a precipitous fifteen-hundred-foot drop-off to the valley below. He always exercised caution when he approached such...

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La Famiglia e gli altri sulla strada verso la morteĀ 

Sep 30, 2019

All right, yes, I am in an Italian mode today.  I’m afraid you’ll have to deal with it, even if not for long (though you may have to put up with me longer).  Besides, it’s good to stretch your brain every once in a while, and at this point in my life, it’s about the only part of my body I can stretch without its hurting.  In any event, if you’re not up to doing the translation, you’ll see soon enough where this is heading.  Right now, it’s to my mother who was not Italian, though when she was young she was as beautiful as a madonna in a painting by Raphael.

However, by the time she was close to the end, her beauty had long been gone and she was eager to get on with it.  At that point, I thought I might be of some help to her, but as you’ll see, I was left only with a rueful smile after my mother responded to my offer to advise her about what she would be in for when she died.

My mother had a sad life and a long and slow descent toward the edge of the cliff of her death over which she toppled at the age of almost 89 in June of 2001.  Her last years were spent in a nursing home in Berkeley where, until her last year or so, I was accustomed to pushing her around the neighborhood in her wheelchair.  She was, however, lucid to the end, even though she was by then hard of hearing and generally very passive.  She did not like to be touched, and mostly she was taciturn, too.  I tried to entertain her by recounting my latest adventures and sharing family news.

“You talk too much,” she said to...

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Aug 30, 2019

These days as I cope with a condition I have sorrowfully come to realize is one from which I shall never recover – I am referring to old age, which I don’t recommend (though I am still searching for a reverse gear on eBay) – I have come to realize that I am also living on a kind of island.  Around me are the waters of my own incapacity comprised of all the things I used to enjoy doing or at least could do that are now off-limits to me.  Mostly the terra firma of my daily life is located in my own home and the nearby bike path where I still occasionally saunter, sometimes with a tread of steely determination, though more often with a sullen trudge.

Even at home, where on occasion of an evening, I entertain myself with a movie on streaming video (praise be to Netflix and Amazon Prime), I am reminded of my island.  For example, when I see a film that is situated in a city abroad, I am aware that I will never see one again and even if I could travel there, I couldn’t deal with the crowds and the hurly-burly of swarms of pedestrians.  And with my poor vision, I would be a candidate for my instant demise if I were ever able to attempt to cross a busy intersection. Can you imagine me trying to traverse the streets circling the Arch of Triumph on the Champs-Élysées?   Monsieur Magoo would soon be a pancake.

Most men my age, or at any age, might amuse themselves with a hobby of some sort – woodworking, golf, having a clandestine love affair, etc., but being Jewish I have never been clever with my hands.  You know...

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Aug 13, 2019

Dr. Debra Diamond has written several blogs for us and also shared her insights during our NDE FORUM 5 about the aftereffects of NDEs based on her research, summarized in her book Life After Near Death. She is not only a researcher but is also a psychic and medium. In today's post, she answers : What is the difference between a psychic and a medium?


People are often confused about the difference between psychics and mediums. This is complicated by the fact that all mediums are psychic - but not all psychics are mediums, and that sometimes both psychic and mediumship readings are offered in the same session.

Since I am both a psychic and a medium, I’ll describe the differences to you.  They involve different responsibilities and a different set of skills.

The Difference Between Psychics and Mediums

Here’s the difference between a psychic and a medium:

A psychic retrieves information about such things as relationships, career, money, love, life path, and health. Psychics may also use their skills to receive information about a sitters’ past, present, future, or all three. They may do this by using a variety of tools including tarot cards, astrology charts or runes, or they may employ alternate methods of divination such as scrying or reading auric fields.  Some psychics, like myself, do not use tools, since I receive the information spontaneously. Psychic readings may offer guidance, insight, a fresh perspective, or approaches for dealing with challenges.

Mediums are different than psychics. Mediums are about the...

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Aug 06, 2019

Today, we’re hosting journalist and author Alicia Young, who joins us to share an excerpt of her book Visit from Heaven: A Soul’s Message of Love, Loss and Family. Alicia recounts her transformative out-of-body experience in which she was visited by Bobby, the soul of a little boy. He had a powerful message from the Other Side for his grieving parents. We’re also offering copies as giveaways (see link at the end). Alicia, over to you.


Thanks for this opportunity, Dr. Moody and Lisa. And thank you, too, for reading the book yourselves. I’ve selected a few passages from early chapters. I also welcome questions at [email protected].



This is not the book I set out to write; it is the one I feel compelled to share.

I don’t say that from a point of ego, but from a place of service. I offer this experience for the comfort I am told it brings others.

You see, I’d initially planned a book on a different topic altogether. Yet even as I began to outline that other title, something else kept gently nudging its way in: an experience I had some years ago. I resisted; it persisted.

I was reluctant to put my name to even a lightspiritual book. As a journalist, I had always kept my faith and work separate. I was trained to report a news story in such a way that you as a reader, viewer, or listener could take it on its merits; my personal opinions were deliberately sidelined.

I tied myself in knots trying to preserve my privacy in writing this book, as I was certain it would finish my career in journalism. (It still might.)...

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Aug 06, 2019

The blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up.  

 -- Matthew, 11:5

Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there's a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.

-- Helen Keller

A middle-aged man, with a paunch, is sitting on a doctor’s examining table waiting anxiously for the doctor to return with the results of his latest examination. 

The doctor comes in, looking solemn.

“I’m afraid it’s your body,” he intones.

I am that man. Surely Yeats did not have me or my body in mind when he wrote his immortal lines, “things fall apart, the center cannot hold,” but they are apposite, I’m afraid.  Somatic entropy is icumen in.

I don’t want to bore you with a list of my various infirmities and debilities since I already regaled you with those woes in the very first essay in this series, which I wrote in December, 2017.   I’m tempted just to write something along the lines of, “suffice it to say, they have all grown worse.”  But I will resist that temptation if you will indulge me for a few moments in order to give you some specifics.  Besides, as usual, I have an ulterior motive for mentioning some of them, which will shortly be revealed.

To begin with, I now list.  That is, these days when standing or walking, I am no longer an orthogonal being. Instead, following my political proclivities, I tilt to the left.  Generally, I am not aware of this...

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