Sunday, May 31, 2015

"The Magic of Stonehenge" Season 1 Episode 24

The episode "The Magic of Stonehenge" first aired on September 10, 1977 . It was written by Deborah Blum and produced by Alan Landsburg and J. Francis Hitching.

Well I've been waiting for this episode ever since the earlier episode about "America's Stonehenge" and here we have it!

Nimoy teases us with the magic and mystery of Stonehenge. How was this created and for what purpose? This immense circle of stones on the Salisbury Plain in England has been known about and wondered about for centuries. Stonehenge, as it is known, continues to provoke interest.

Nimoy says that recent evidence suggests that Stonehenge is a complex machine with a simple purpose. Some theories were that it was a temple of the dead, or sacred site for sacrifice.
In the mid-1960's Astronomer Gerald Hawkins offered a new theory. He wrote a book called Beyond Stonehenge that outlined his ideas. Hawkins examination of the structures led to his belief that the structure has more to do with the placement of heavenly bodies and seeing those bodies in the sky at certain time so fthe year. In a sense, he believes it is a type of calendar.

Now for some history. Nimoy takes us back to the world of 2500 BC, roughly the time Stonehenge is believed to have been built. Most people in this part of Europe lived in caves and had crude weapons and tools. The Great Pyramids were being built in Egypt and the Sumerians were just inventing writing in modern day Iraq. He does a nice job of giving us context for the people of England in 2500 BC.

Stonehenge was built at this time, but no one knows why. Hawkins indicates the stones were quarried and explains how we know this. So how did they get from the quarry to this spot? Further, Nimoy tells us the stones can only be found place in the world, the Preseli mountains. The mountains are not that close to Salisbury Plain, so how did they get there? Next we are introduced to investigator Francis Hitching.

Hitching believes that for the ancient inhabitants of Britain, the countryside was alive with spirits. They believed the rocks themselves were alive magical powers. Legends of the "Devil's Heel" abound in the area. Locals believe the devil left his footprint on a massive stone. This is not unique to England. Locals in Maine now the story of the Witch's Foot which is very similar.

(Witch's Foot in Bucksport, ME)
 Nimoy says another local legend near Stonehenge tells of 9 maidens who were frozen into stone. To this day 9 oddly placed very large stones are still visible. Legends to explain the random placement of theses rocks or spirits at work? Nimoy tells several other stories including the one of the Stanton Drew circles, stones which could supposedly cure children of the pox. Hitching seems to believe these stories are true and the secret to that power was known to the ancient people and those secrets have since been lost. How else could the stones have been moved? Those powers may be the answer. An experiment was conducted to move a stone 1/50 of the stones at Stonehenge, and it was extremely difficult. Legend also contends the magician Merlin cast a spell to make the stones light for movement. Back to Hawkins who believes it took millions of manpower hours to move the stones.

Nimoy now introduces us to the Druids. They claim a religious connection to the site. However, they have no knowledge of the history of the stones. So they are not helpful in determining the origins of the stones. But do their beliefs about the stones gives clues?

Hitching points us that some 300 similar circles exist throughout Britain. Professor Alexander Thom has spent time studying these circles. Thom was convinced that these stones have a design that is purposeful. He was the first to discover a connection to the alignment of planes and other heavenly bodies in the night's sky. Hitching explains that some theorize the power of the stones may be connected to the theory that Britain is criss-crossed with ley lines. These lines supposedly link all ancient sites and locations were chose because of the power. This implies a knowledge and ability to communicate among the ancients that would be difficult to imagine. Hitching says we can use tools to measure anomalies in the Earth's magnetic field in these locations. Did these people truly possess magic, or did they have an advanced knowledge of magnetic powers and electromagnetic energy?

Hawkins and a computer, were able to prove that Stonehenge is a type of calendar. The heel stone points at the rising sun at dawn in the middle of summer. Is this the only purpose? And still, who put up these stones? Throughout history, Caesar and others assumed it was the ancient Druids who built the stones. Hitching tells us that the Druids who exist today are a 19th century invention. The ancient Druids are not really closely connected. Hitching concludes the druids are not the architects of Stonehenge. But then, who did it? Someone with an interest in astronomy and a knowledge 500 years ahead of its time. Hawkins speculates that these people may have been worshipping time when they built Stonehenge.

"Stonehenge is not alone as a riddle of ancient design. In the thick jungles of the Yucatan peninsula, an ancient observatory called the Caracol charted the phases of Venus as accurately as 20th century telescopes. Buried deep within the same jungle a Mayan pyramid was aligned to the mid-summer's sun. Six thousand miles away Egyptian pyramids mapped the rising and the setting sun on the same day. And in the distant past of India Holy men gathered to watch the sky. For what were they waiting?"

I really liked this episode. There was a bit more creepiness than the previous episode, and just as much history and mystery. anytime you see people in white sheets walking slowly around massive stones, its just creepy. There was the right amount of evidence and speculation so as not to get too weird.

"We can speculate that our ancestors were possessed of knowledge that was somehow lost to succeeding generations. Or, perhaps... they had help." That was the closer I was waiting for! Way to imply that maybe aliens gave them help right at the end! This sets up the later TV series Ancient Aliens nicely. Good quality way to end the first series of "In Search Of... ". I suspect and I hope season two will be even better!

You can watch this episode "The Magic of Stonehenge" below.

"Inca Treasures" Season 1 Episode 23

The episode "Inca Treasures" first aired on August 11, 1977 . It was directed by H.G. Stark and it was written by Robert Long.

This episode will focus on the Kingdom of the Inca and stories of vast treasures, known more commonly as the lost city of El Dorado. Nimoy tells us that men are still searching for this supposed lost treasure of the Inca. What stands out to me initially is the stylish look Nimoy is sporting.

Nimoy is taking us to the Andes mountains in present day Peru. Many have been exploring this region and have found historical artifacts of value and interest that give us a sense for the ancient people who live in this area known as the Inca. Nimoy tells us that for some, these finds are not enough.

 Nimoy tells us that this region has drawn people to it for centuries. Due to the nature of the mountains, there is a feeling of being cut off from the rest of the world. Now for a little history lesson. Nimoy tells of ancient civilizations in the region with advanced technologies and an almost modern way of life. He uses the example of the Fortress of Saksaywayman as an example of skill they had in building.

"Even in death, the Inca were a proud and disciplined race." Much of what is known from the Inca, have come from studying their graves. We next see scientists in Lima studying an ancient Incan mummy. Nimoy is very good here, pointing out how magical it is to see and touch things that were considered important to a people who lived so long ago. Why were these things so important? Fascinating stuff! Nimoy give us the bad news. Those looking for knowledge must compete with those who are greedy. a thriving black market in antiquities has big influence on this work.

We are reminded that a big moment in the Inca past was the arrival of Spaniard explorer Francisco Pizarro in 1527. To magnify the almost absurdity of what happened, Nimoy tells us that the mighty Incan Empire was driven into oblivion by 180 Spanish soldiers in rusty armor.

The Inca who survived fled their civilization for the jungle. In the early 20th century, Yale Archaeologist Hiram Bingham was one man who decided to trace their route. Bingham reasoned they took whatever treasures that remained with them. He spent over a year in Peru looking. In July 1911, he thought he found the last city of the Incas. He found temples and buildings, but no gold. This is the ruin known as Machu Piccu.

Bingham wrote about his awe in what he had found. Temples devoted to sun worship, and exquisite masonry. The road to the ruin was a tough one to traverse. Bingham was wrong about this ruin, it wasn;t the last city of the Inc but it doesn't change its beauty! Nimoy takes us to Professor Edmundo Guillen who is the world's leading expert on Incan culture. In 1976, Guillen's work made headlines around the world. Remarkably, the "In Search Of.. " cameras were there. We are shown the expedition taken by Guillen and others to Machu Piccu. Nimoy details how difficult the journey is.

Guillen wants to set the record straight on the final chapter of the Inca Civilization. The popular conception of what happened is that Pizarro's murder of the Inca King Atahualpa brought the Empire instantly to its knees.

(King Atahualpa)
Guillen is hopeful that he will find the city of Vilcabamba that was mentioned by later Spanish explorers in letters they wrote home. This will show that the Inca did have another city after Machu Piccu. Perhaps here is where the gold is? He has researched these letters extensively. Guillen and his men find a cave entrance on their journey and a crypt inside that has been hidden for a long time. Guillen believes it may be a burial of importance. They move on for now, but will return later to excavate the site. Guillen eventually finds Vilcabamba, and "In Search Of... " documents this discovery.

Nimoy explains how Guillen confirms that the masonry here is identical to the Inca masonry at Machu Piccu. Vilcabamba is much larger than Machu Piccu and was built after the death of Atahualpa. Based on letters from Spaniards and the construction evidence, they conclude that it was built closer to the 17th century. Guillen's work shows the city was carefully planned and had many advanced technologies. Guillen concludes the Temple of the Sun at Vilcabamba was faced with solid gold at one time. Remarkably they understood higher mathematics, but never invented the wheel! The discovery proves the Inca were not immediately conquered, but continued to survive for many years after. Is this the mythical city of gold? Or is that city still hidden in the jungle? Guillen believes this is the city and that the Inca dumped the gold in the river to avoid it falling into Spanish hands.

"When Edmundo Guillen marched into Vilcabamba the gold was gone. He believes the Inca may have dumped into one of dozens of nearby lakes to prevent it from falling into Spanish hands. But Guillen discovered a treasure nevertheless. His was the treasure of satisfaction and achievement. The treasure of writing a new chapter to history of a proud and brilliant people called Inca."

I enjoyed this episode despite the complete lack of creepiness. It seems that "In Search Of... " is not entirely sure what it wants to be. Is this a show that is built around evidence and mainstream science, or is it going to take leaps into conjecture? Not much creepy here, but I liked how they used history and the quest for knowledge. It was also really cool that they were present when Guillen discovered Vilcabamba. This was much better than the last episode on Voodoo. Yet this is not the kind of story I remember seeing in syndication. I think in syndication, decisions were made to only show the creepy episodes or at least the ones that were a little more weird.

You can watch this episode "Inca Treasures" below.

Monday, May 25, 2015

"Voodoo" Season 1 Episode 22

The episode "Voodoo" first aired on July 26, 1977 . It was directed by H.G. Stark and it was written and produced by Alan Landsburg.

I'm going to try and watch this unbiased, but the title troubles me. A show about Voodoo in the 70's could very easily be a caricature of Carribbean culture and beliefs. Sure enough, a brief history lesson gets us right into Haiti and a discussion of its poverty.

(Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic)

Nimoy declares that Haiti is the only country to go from "slavery to sovereignty in one bloody step". What are you implying Leonard? He tells us a bit more about Haitian culture. We learn about the Creole Language and that most Haitians are Catholic. Nimoy tells us that unofficially most practice voodoo, despite being officially Catholic. They follow the teachings of the Houngan and they introduce us to one. Papa Joie (not sure of the spelling) is identified as a local Houngan.

Papa Joie is a Voodoo priest, and supposedly one of the most powerful. We get to visit his Parish which is on a hillside near the Haitian Capitol of Port Au Prince. It is an area lacking in modern conveniences. But Voodoo is thriving here. Nimoy says that Papa Joie's teaching in Voodoo is deeply connected to the fortunes of the poeple living there. Nimoy next tells us that what their cameras have captured has rarely been seen by anyone who is not part of the Voodoo practices. Way to tease us!

Nimoy describes what we are seeing and is a bit creepy. Nimoy explains that Papa Joie has made no formal announcement. He just starts draw intricate patterns with a white sand on the gorund and the people begin showing up.

Drums are next brought in to summon spirits who will bring good health and good tidings.

A priest's power is measured by how successful they are in drawing in the spirits. So there is a lot of pressure on Papa Joie to get this right.

Now for a few minutes of drumming. We are told they are summoning the best spirits, and the harder they drum and with skill, the better the spirits. Even children are participating. It was a little creepy to start, but now it just looks like a typical dinner out at a Carribbean-theme Club. But we are only getting started. Papa Joie gives signals that the spirits are on their way. Chanting and dancing commence.

Not much is said over the next few minutes. But the dancing and singing are pretty cool to watch. We are told there is no set time. This goes on for as long as Papa Joie decides. Nimoy tells us they are looking for a "possession" which is the moment that a spirit enters and takes over a body. Within moments Nimoy announces as "a possession has occurred" while we witness a girl collapse and writhe in agony while others help.

I remember watching Jim Bakker on TV and seeing someone collapse in a similar fashion. Is Voodoo all that different from some other religions? Nimoy tells us the only danger in this is when the spirit leaves the body and takes the soul with it, leaving behind a zombie. Luckily this won't happen tonight because they have summoned good spirits. But he warns us the angry spirits will come tomorrow night "when anything can happen". Nimoy tells us that in many ways traditional Voodoo practices have been tainted by those practicing in the "Dark Arts". The Petro ceremony is coming later when angry spirits will be called forth and anything can happen. Papa Joie is preparing himself for this. He is often called on to banish demons, and heal the sick by the locals. We next get to see his sanctuary, in which elements of Catholicism have blended with Voodoo traditions. Nimoy tells us about the zombies who haunt the nightmares of Haitian children. Papa Joie uses talismans and cards to intrepet dreams and cast spells. He sometimes uses finger nail clippings and locks of hair to protect people. According to Papa Joie, spirits with maliscious natures must be appeased, if they are not satisfied it is dangerous for all involved.

"Occasionally the 'In Search Of... ' camera ventures into a world where few have been privileged to travel. The Petro Ceremony is one. Such a place is not for the timid. Sacrifice is part of affirment. So is fire. So is possession. It is a ceremony tainted by blood and enveloped by noise." Creepy lead in to what is about to come from Nimoy!!

Nimoy talks us through what we are seeing as darkness falls and the people start their ceremony. Interestingly they pray a traditional Catholic prayer during the ceremony and even use the cross.  A strange connection between the two religions. There is an animal brought in for the ceremony and everyone touches it. It's hard to tell if its a cow or a deer? Dancing and singing whip the people into a frenzy.

Apparently its a horse! As the person is being possessed by the spirit or "Loa", their spirit leaves the body to be carried by the horse. When the possession is over, the Loa may reenter the original body, which is the desired outcome. If that doesn't happen, the body becomes a zombie, Walking Dead style! Nimoy even uses that term and further explains they are cursed to live for eternity without feeling or thought. Over the next few minutes we witness a possession as the dancing and singing continue. We are told the spirit that specializes in communication is present. A possessed person writhes on the floor as Nimoy tells us that they will remember nothing of the possession.

Apparently Papa Joie has led them through the dangers and they now feel safe. The cereomny appears to be winding down. The spirits have been appeased, for now. The ceremony is over until it is needed again.

"The crowded, noisy, ragged world of Haiti breeds the Demons of Voodoo. But there are those who contend that the spirits that are set loose in the Rada and Petro are the very center of an enobling religion." Considering we saw no actual zombies and no one get hurt, I think he's probably right. Interesting how in the 70's I'm sure many people had stereotypical views of these people and probably saw Voodoo as akin to Black Magic or Satan worshipping. If nothing else, this episode took some of the mystery. and hopefully fear, away. I didn't really care for it though. The production quality was maybe the worst so far. I know it was shot in Haiti and its the 70's, but it was so dark you could hardly see what was happening. There were a few creepy moments, but mostly because I read the book The Serpent and the Rainbow when I was a teenager and so I knew some parts of this culture can be creepy. Maybe it would have felt creepier in the 70's with that stereotypical view of Voodoo in mind? Overall, it was a yawner and didn't do much for me. In fact it felt a little like making fun of their religion at times. This is definitely a dated episode and the first one I've ssen that I would advise skipping other than the pilot episode. I am hoping with two episodes left, they can end the first season on a stronger note!

You can watch this episode "Voodoo" below.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

"UFOs" Season 1 Episode 21

The episode "UFOs" first aired on July 13, 1977 . It was directed by H.G. Stark and it was written by Robert Long.

Something about Nimoy's tone and the eerie 70's background music, and this opening had the hairs on the back of my neck standing! After the opening in which Nimoy scares us into wanting to know more about the mysterious phenomena, he dives into the story of Kenneth Arnold. In 1947, Mr. Arnold was flying a plane when he reported seeing 9 objects flying near Mt. Ranier much faster than humanly possible. He is famous for coining the term "flying saucer" in reference to a UFO.

Nimoy draws a connection to this incident and an increase in reports in the years to follow. Nimoy focuses on an encounter a whole family had in Mellen, WI in March of 1975. The Baker family is interviewed, and they walk around their home in sort of a reenactment of the incident. The music, and the humility of the family all lead to a very eerie feeling as they describe what happened. The whole family saw an object land in the road near their house. They describe the size and unusual shape. They called the sheriff, and before they could do more there was a loud noise and the object was gone. They discuss fearing ridicule and so they didn't tell their story at first. It sounds like the torment of having seen this object and having no proof was worse than the actual sighting. Nimoy also interviews the sheriff and he tells us he believes they actually saw something that night. The sheriff says they received several reports from others that had seen objects in the sky. The sheriff and his deputies ended up seeing lights in the skies themselves after investigating the Baker incident.

Another incident is described by Carroll Kritchfield of West Virginia. He describes seeing a UFO and finding marks in the ground that could have been from the craft. They show us the folks who gave Mr. Kritchfield a polygraph test. According to them, he passed the test about bright lights, a diamond-shaped craft, and charred earth that he spotted in 1975.

 It's not clear if the polygraph test we see is a recreation or the original, but the whole test is showed to us in an effort to fill time or lend authenticity to it, or maybe both? Nimoy wants us to believe its almost impossible to fool a polygraph case. It's not easy, but we know that people can train themselves to fool polygraph machines. We next hear from Ted Phillips, who is an amateur scientist and UFO investigator, He claims to have evidence of 900 unexplained UFO sightings. He also demonstrates how he collects soil samples from landing sites.

Dr. Edward Zeller of the University of Kansas Aerospace Science Laboratory analyzes samples and states that ignoring UFOs is unscientific. Ignoring them might be, but Next, Janet Kay of Medford, MN, as well as her brother and mother describe the UFO they saw land on a football field. There is something about the way they always sort of re-enact their encounters and that strange 70's music in the background that always creeps me out.

Kay describes the burned spot they found in the spot where the UFO landed. Dr. Zeller says the charred soil contains luminescent properties and that it was exposed to high doses of radiation. Certainly this is strange. Kay and her mother discuss their fears and hopes for a normal explanation. So much for that! Kay's Mom says in a very believable and relatable way that if she hadn't seen it herself she wouldn't believe someone telling her they had seen a UFO.

"In a recent Gallup poll fifteen million Americans claim to have seen a UFO. Fifteen million. The same poll showed that fifty one percent of the adult population is convinced that flying saucers are real." Nimoy seems almost persuaded himself as he says this. He then shows some of the creepy drawings which dramatize the recollections of Carroll Kritchfield, the Baker family, and the Kays.

This was a good episode. I'm not sure what to think of UFO's in general. I believe that many folks are seeing strange things at times. But I'm not convinced they are alien space craft. The Government tests some secret things and I am guessing this is more likely the explanation. Either way, the stories told here were strange, creepy, and at least somewhat believable. This make for a good episode and one that I enjoyed.

You can watch this episode "UFOs" below.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

"The Loch Ness Monster" Season 1 Episode 20

The episode "The Loch Ness Monster" first aired on July 6, 1977 . It was directed by H.G. Stark. Story by J. Francis Hitching and written by Robert Long.

Nimoy teases us to start that there is "new evidence" to suggest a beast of unknown origin lives in Loch Ness in Scotland. This episode feels a bit different already. "Hello, I'm Leonard Nimoy. Few of the great mysteries we will explore in this series are as compelling as the accound of the unknown beast which lives in a picturesque Scottish lake." This is the first time he has introduced himself. He seems almost excited by this new eivdence.

We get a brief description of Loch Ness. Then we see some folks in a boat on the lake preparing to do some investigation. Some scientists from MIT in the US have come to investigate, along with others. There is an Abbey on the Lake that was founded in the 6th century and still inhabited by Monks today. According to Father Gregory, it was St. Columba who started the legend of the Loch Ness Monster.

Gregory tells us the story of how St. Columba saw a man swimming in the lake and saw a great beast swim near the man and that the man was able to scare it away. Nimoy then tells us of a modern photo that may be the only image of the Monster ever captured. Other than the Patterson Film of a Bigfoot, this may be the most famous paranormal visual not yet completely debunked as a fake.

Nimoy explains the photo was taken in 1934 by a physician with an impeccable reputation. He follows with a few other fuzzier images taken at different times. We are lead to believe that these photos have been viewed by many as positive evidence of a large beast in the lake. We next meet Sargent Henderson who is a local Constable. With a pleasing Scottish brogue, Henderson recounts his own sighting of the monster. Now we meet Alex Campbell who is described as a "waterman" who has worked on Loch Ness most of his life. His accent is even tougher to decipher. But I gather he was fishing on the lake when he had a fairly close encounter with a creature that had a large neck and he estimated was 30 feet long.

Campbell tells us how another boat coming nearby sent the creature into the depths. We are shown a drawing that seems to match the most common descriptions of the beast.

Yes most feel the monster is a prehistoric type creature long thought extinct. Nimoy reveals that hundreds of cameras have been trained on the lake, including one from the folks at "In Search Of... ". During the summer of 1976 there were three major expeditions on the lake to try and capture evidence of the creature. Rober Rines from the Academy of Applied Science has been chasing this monster for a while. He caught a glimpse of the beast in 1972 and has been looking ever since. Adrian Shine is also looking, but at a nearby lake where monsters have also been seen called Loch Morar. Mr. Shine thinks this is a better bet because the water is clearer.

Mr. Shine shares his techniques and the cameras they are using to try and find evidence of a monster. The National Geographic Society is working to find evidence on Loch Ness. Because the Lake was created by a glacier, there are deep channels on the lake. The theory is that maybe the monster spends much of it's time in the channels. Again more technology and techniques. Theories are bandied about and help to explain their approach. Nimoy has hinted that there is new evidence, yet no sign of it with only 4 minutes left in the episode. Then they hit us with it. As underwater microphones were recording an unusual sound, the "In Search Of... " cameras recorded a trail of bubbles on the surface of the water.

 Nimoy points out similar sightings in other countries, but at the same line of latitude, may confirm the existence of the creature. Dr. Nicholas Hutton of the Smithsonian discusses the theory that it might be a giant eel. He does say he doesn't think there is anything in Loch Ness, but he thinks that theory is the best of all of them.

"We now have volumes of data on the Loch Ness Monsters. And none of the investigators involved disputes the probability that a creature lives in Loch Ness. And all of them agree that the intensive effort may soon turn up the monster of the lake."

I'm not sure if its just the recording, but this is also the first episode in which we have heard this somewhat generic closing statement from Nimoy, accompanied by images from other episodes. "Lost Civilizations, extraterrestrials, myths and monsters, missing persons, magic and witchcraft, unexplained phenomena. "In Search Of..." cameras are traveling the world seeking out these great mysteries. This program was the result of the work of scientists, researchers, and a group of highly skilled technicians." Not sure why they included this. Concerns about the validity of the program? I wonder what type of criticism they were receiving?

This epsiode was ok. I was hoping for more creepiness. So maybe there is a big fish type thing in the lake? Let's call Jeremy Wade from "River Monsters" to catch it! Otherwise, who cares? I find it interesting that in today's world where everyone has a camera in their pocket, we have no better visual evidence than they had in 1977. To me, that says it all. Still, in 1977, a show like this had to address the Loch Ness Monster in some way. So nice try Nimoy, I just wasn't too impressed.

You can watch this episode "The Loch Ness Monster" below.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

"Life After Death" Season 1 Episode 19

The episode "Life After Death" first aired on June 29, 1977 . The story was by Charles Panati and it was written by Deborah Blum.

We open with a hospital scene and Nimoy narrating a "code blue". We learn that this means someone has died in a hospital. We are introduced to Dr. Thomas Rockwell. According to Nimoy, he is on intimate terms with death. He worsk at Santa Monica Hospital in California, and works with up to 90 patients a day who are close to death. The medical deifnition of death has been challenged by science and medical advances. "In the past death was idenitfied as the point in which the heart stopped beating." New technologies are challenging this idea. Some cells in the body can live on after th ehear stops. There are times when the hear can be restarted. I certainly see this is a big issue in 2015, so I'm guessing this may have been a cutting edge idea in 1977. "What is it like to die?" Nimoy poses the question and reminds us that man has asked this question for centuries.

With an eerie introduction, Nimoy reveals we will be hearing not from Doctors or scientists, but from people who have experienced death. This remind me of the old "Faces of Death" series that was made just after the "In Search Of... " series. I agree with Nimoy, the accounts of people who have died and been brought back to life are very interesting. Nimoy describes an example of a story where a person feels like they are falling and then floating above the scene of the accident they just experienced. There is another account that describes strange sounds and lights, and again the floating above. In most cases a strong feeling of euphoria seems to overtake the person. These stories in themselves aren't scary, but the way Nimoy tells them gives a bit of a creepy feeling. Its no wonder that many are reluctant to share these stories.

Now a personal story from the mouth of one person who had such an experience. Catherine Heyward had Hodgkins Disease and was told she was dying. She started getting weak and ill in early 1973.

Catherine tells a creepy story of watching herself die and again the feeling of floating over herself watching people tend to her body. She describes turning toward a tunnel and a bright light accompanied by the euphoria and a feeling moving upward. She saw a figure that she says she knew was God. While this is happening the Doctor who was on call at the time describes the methods use to bring her back. Catherine tells us that "God" told her to go back and that she had a task to do. Also, that if she did it, she would return to him. The extreme measures the Doctors were going through ended up bringing her back to life. Catherine discusses the anger she felt at being brought back. Its an interesting and creepy story that leaves no reason to doubt it. Especially since she miraculously recovered from Hodgkins Disease without reason.

Next we are introduced to Psychiatrist Dr. Charles Garfield. He has been working with patients who are dying and studying the psychology of death, He is still around working on the same topic! Garfield describes a story of a patient who had an advanced lung cancer and his work with this person. As a result of this experience, the patient decided to counsel cancer patients. This man is named Ruderman and he tells us how he had been given less than two years to live.

Garfield tells us that about 15% of the people he works with seem to accept death. The overwhelming majority get angry and emotional when faced with death. Ruderman tells us how the operation he had seemed to give him a new lease on life.
(Ruderman looks a bit like Abraham Lincoln)
Ruderman discusses how his mental imagery carried him through the surgery and he seems to imply that this is what cured him. Its a bit weird and I'm not entirely sure what his point is, other than what he experienced was quite strange.

Garfield analyzes the event for us and draws the conclusion that the will to live for his family is what drove Ruderman to heal himself. Yes, Garfield is implying the mind can heal the body. Very interesting, and more than I expected this episode to address.

"Independent accounts of the out of body experience are remarkably similar. What they tell us about the nature of human consciousness may have great significance. The fact that the experience cannot be adequately explained by science has led many to question the finality of death." I can't help but think about Nimoy and what he experienced just a few months ago when I started this blog. Did he remember this episode?

I'm not sure what to think of this episode. It was interesting, and a little creepy. I have no reason to doubt that these folks had these experiences. My own Mother tells similar stories of when she had a heart attack and died for a few moments in 1991. But there does seem to be an element to these stories that feels contrived to me. I believe something happened to these people, but I'm not convinced it was heavenly, supernatural, or anything other than a hallucination. Either way, it was a good episode to get the old mind thinking! Its also a bit different form some of the episodes that came previously.

You can watch this episode "Life After Death" below.