In a quite literally haunting article in the London Review of Books, author Richard Lloyd Parry has written about one stunning emotional and psychic toll of the 2011 tsunami: an epidemic of ghostly presences. He begins:
I met a priest in the north of Japan who exorcised the spirits of people who had drowned in the tsunami. The ghosts did not appear in large numbers until later in the year, but Reverend Kaneda’s first case of possession came to him after less than a fortnight. He was chief priest at a Zen temple in the inland town of Kurihara. The earthquake on 11 March 2011 was the most violent that he, or anyone he knew, had ever experienced. The great wooden beams of the temple’s halls had flexed and groaned with the strain. Power, water and telephone lines were fractured for days; deprived of electricity, people in Kurihara, thirty miles from the coast, had a dimmer idea of what was going on there than television viewers on the other side of the world. But it became clear enough, when first a handful of families, and then a mass of them, began arriving at Kaneda’s temple with corpses to bury.
Nearly twenty thousand people had died at a stroke. In the space of a month, Kaneda performed funeral services for two hundred of them. More appalling than the scale of death was the spectacle of the bereaved survivors. ‘They didn’t cry,’ Kaneda said to me a year later. ‘There was no emotion at all. The loss was so profound and death had come so suddenly. They understood the facts of their situation individually – that they had lost their homes, lost their livelihoods and lost their families. They understood each piece, but they couldn’t see it as a whole, and they couldn’t understand what they should do, or sometimes even where they were. I couldn’t really talk to them, to be honest. All I could do was stay with them, and read the sutras and conduct the ceremonies. That was the thing I could do.’
I found the entire article mesmerizing. The address is http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n03/richard-lloydparry/ghosts-of-the-tsunami –which works if you copy the url into your search, but does not work as a link from here. My apologies. Another mystery.
Many thanks to Robert McLuhan, who blogs at Paranormalia, for his “Post-traumatic Post-mortem,” which led me to the LRB original. As always, McLuhan’s discussion is as compelling as its source. (Paranormalia is one of my standard reads.) You can find his post here; you might even like to subscribe. (And from his site the link seems to work. Odd, that.)
It’s all quite exciting–from the UK, Peter Hulme has posted parts #2 and #3 of his in-depth review of Dancing Past the Dark. As our good friend Rabbitdawg has commented, this is the first thorough review the book has had in its year-and-a-half of existence, so this feels almost as good as an Oscar.
Enjoy! Your comments will be welcome (and they don’t have to be complimentary, just courteous).
This time I am sending you off to read other people–not that I have nothing to say, but they have really good posts on their blogs this week.
First, and self-explanatory, is a commentary on the dazzling news from the South Pole that the immensity of the universe seems just to have gotten moreso. Here is a wonderfully intelligent and readable-by-the-rest-of-us article by physicist and Episcopal Bishop of Rhode Island Nick Knisely. It is too good to miss. His blog, Entangled States, is a continuing marvel.
Second, and of obvious personal interest to me, is an in-depth review of Dancing Past the Dark–the first that actually discusses the book’s content! For those of you interested in knowing what somebody else thinks about the book, I am passing this along. The blog is Everybody Means Something, which I’ve just discovered, covering a wide range of interests. Fractals, anyone?
Should near-death experience researchers be held accountable for living to the standards envisioned in the experiences they write about?
On February 14, 2014, a Delaware jury convicted a man of waterboarding his companion’s daughter by holding her head under a faucet.
The man, as many of you will recognize, was the well-known near-death experience researcher and former pediatrician Melvin Morse (his license to practice was revoked following his arrest in 2012). He had been charged with three felonies, two for alleged waterboarding and one for alleged suffocation by hand, but was convicted of one felony — waterboarding in the bathtub — and five misdemeanors. His conviction could draw several years in prison. Sentencing is set for April 11. [Read more…] about Melvin Morse, Woody Allen, abuse, and the NDE vision
In celebration of our 100th blog post here at dancingpastthedark, here is an article I very much want you to read. It is, to my mind, the ideal conclusion to our months-long wondering about quantum physics and its relation to NDE and consciousness; but some of you will take one look and begin to whine. Therefore, let me make a one-paragraph speech and then turn you loose to read.
Massive changes are occurring around us, and whoever and wherever we are, as humans we are all trying to describe and understand the same shifts and the same universe. Whether we take the perspective of scientists, especially physicists, finding mathematics the best language, or the perspective of philosophers and theologians, working with words and stories—it is still the same universe. It should be no surprise to find commonalities coming from the two very different approaches. Most of us prefer one or the other approach, but we all need to know something about both. Whatever your perspective, and whether you consider yourself religious, atheist, or any point between or beyond, the linked article has something important to say about our life as part of Western culture in a time of immense change. I think that in this article, published some 15 years ago, Barbara Brown Taylor clearly describes part of the upheaval. If you say you hate math and science, please put away your objections and read the article. If you are still thinking that anyone using the word “God” is talking about a very large, supernatural humanoid somewhere in the sky, know that the author doesn’t think that, and plunge bravely ahead. In other words, whatever your objection, please put it aside for now. You can grumble to me after you’ve read her article. (Insert smiley here.) [Read more…] about Physics, faith, and a lot more including NDE