Tag Archives: Frank DeMarco

Afterlife Conversations With Ken Kesey (and Others) by William Bedivere resonates as an authentic, luminous and inspired conversation with the famous deceased author

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Review by: KEN KORCZAK

This is a slim volume of about 100 pages but is has the impact of a book perhaps 300 or 400 pages. It’s a major challenge to review because so many issues present themselves, sometimes even in a single paragraph.

In fact, I’ll go as far to say that there is “hidden” information encoded within certain tracts of this document – but am I going to discuss that? No way. (I’ll reserve that for the advanced class, another time).

Let me try to zero in here on a few things:

So this is a book in which author WILLIAM BEDIVERE has made contact with the afterlife personality of the writer Ken Kesey, most famous for his novels One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Sometimes a Great Notion. Both books were adapted to popular Hollywood films. Cuckoo’s Nest was a huge critical and financial success, winning the Oscar for Best Film in 1975, and several other Academy Awards.

Of course, Kesey’s other fame was that of counterculture icon status fueled by his high-profile LSD-soaked exploits that became a central element of the Hippy generation of the 1960s.

Kesey died in 2001 at age 66.

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Ken Kesey, photo by Brian Lanky

What’s utterly fascinating about this book is how the “Kesey Personality” at first comes on strong and feisty, spouting lots of groovy, wavy gravy pronouncements typical of hallucinogen-informed concepts and representing Kesey’s (early) lifetime personality.

He raves about the “War On Drugs,” framing it as a power struggle between the forces of evil (it’s the usual suspects: the government, CIA, establishment pigs, fearful fundamentalists, take your pick …) against those courageous Consciousness-O-Nauts who would dare smash the status quo by cracking the Collective Cosmic Egg of humanity with a selected line-up psychotropic kickers.

But then as the pages melt by, the Kesey Personality gradually recedes, giving way to a consciously expanded, yet softer Group-Mind Entity that continues to hold forth with mellower, yet profound transcendent concepts.

This transition is highly significant and provides an important insight into what all of us need to understand about the nature of our existence, who and what we are, the nature of the afterlife — and I’ll expand on this more in a bit.

But first, the big issue that must always been dealt with for manuscripts which purport to offer information coming from the dead is the question of authenticity. This is especially true for those readers who are new to what traditionally has been called “spirit writings” or “automatic writing” but in our New Age is more often called “channeling” or maybe just “after-death communications.”

This document conveys all the tell-tale signs of authenticity – that is – I’m satisfied that the author is in no way a charlatan spinning tails of pure imagination, or simply attempting to leverage his familiarity with Kesey’s works to create a narrative that merely parrots what a deceased version of the author might have to say.

One such marker of the bona fides is a measure of the author’s agony. In this case we can feel the nagging pain of Mr. Bedivere dripping off the pages. A plodding kind of existential angst smolders throughout, and even more so, a plaintive longing for … for … what is beyond … and for meaning.

Those famous lines from that George Harrison song comes to mind:

Now, I really want to see you

Really want to be with you

Really want to see you lord

But it takes so long, my lord

When you combine this painfully urgent need to know, to understand, to seek, to find, to discover, to explore – with the one of the worst sufferings of them all – self-doubt – then you get some measure of the intellectual courage it takes to take on these kinds of tasks, and where you find courage, you’ll find authenticity.

Again, the author demonstrates all of the above. (As novelist Rita Mae Brown said, “A writer cannot hide on the page”). So, I am impressed with an overwhelming sense that what we have here is a genuine afterdeath contact and dialogue with, yes, the “real” Ken Kesey – although I beg the reader not to over-simply who or what the “real” Ken Kesey might be.

After our physical body dies, the consciousness that is the ego-based personality survives. NASA physicist and early MONROE INSTITUTE research pioneer TOM CAMPBELL calls this a “Free Will Awareness Unit.” (FAU) (I’m borrowing a couple of Campbell’s terms here because he has coined some of the most lucid and descriptive jargon for all of this).

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Tom Campbell “It’s all just data.”

The FAU is part of or an aspect of an Individuated Unit of Consciousness (IUC) – this is the aspect of the person who “operated” the FAU while it was “alive” in physical 3-D reality. The ICU is not in physical reality, but in the nonphysical realm composed of Consciousness.

The IUC in turn is almost certainly a part of a larger organized system of consciousness that we might call an “Oversoul” (a more traditional term, not Campbell’s). The Oversoul if a kind of “group mind” being that encompassed dozens, hundreds, but most likely thousands of “people” or individuals that also once manifested in our 3-D physical reality as Freewill Awareness Units (people) here on our planet Earth.

And I could continue going “up the ladder” to higher and more complex organizations of consciousness, indeed, all the way to “The One” or “All That Is” – but that is a long journey indeed, so let’s stop here.

So when a medium, or someone like our writer William Bedivere, makes contact with a specific individual, in this case the famous Ken Kesey, he can at times be communicating with:

• That which was the Freewill Awareness Unit that was Ken Kesey.

• That which was is the IUC, the Individuated Unit of Consciousness that operated the FAU of Ken Kesey.

• Both the FAU and IUC at the same time.

• The Oversoul of Ken Kesey

• Those continuing upper levels of “Group Consciousness” organizations to which all the “lower” Ken Kesey elements belong.

• All of the above.

What is clearly demonstrated in this book is how the author comes to get a sense of this larger multidimensional nature of the Kesey personality. The “Greater Ken Kesey Consciousness Organization” (my term) slowly reveals itself as the pages go on from beginning to end of this book.

There is something important to point out here:

If we want to, we can focus our conversation with a deceased individual on communication that is strictly limited to just the Freewill Awareness Unit, or that which was the ego-based consciousness once manifested in 3-D, physical matter reality.

But can it be said that this “version” of Ken Kesey is the actual Ken Kesey?

The answer is mostly “Yes!” but it comes with this critical distinction, or perhaps acknowledgement:

The “real” Ken Kesey” has actually moved on to other, higher realms of consciousness. His mission on earth is done. He has little no reason to just hang around for years on end merely in the event that someone like William Bedivere (or anyone) wants to have a conversation with him.

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However, we can still have a perfectly legitimate communication with that individual we once knew as Ken Kesey, as he once was. That’s because we can connect with the sum total of the “data” that was once Ken Kesey – Tom Campbell calls this a “supremely complete probability record” of Ken Kesey.

This “supremely complete probability record” might be compared to a computer file that has been saved, but it is an utterly complete file that contains absolutely everything that Ken Kesey once was down to the very last atom, electron, neutron, quark – everything! So in essence, IT IS KEN KESEY – albeit a perfect “saved copy” of the original.

Let me emphasize, even though the “real Ken Kesey” has moved on, this “supremely complete probability record” that we can now communicate with is in fact Ken Kesey because it is an absolutely total, perfect and “supremely complete” copy of what was once the “real” Ken Kesey.

(Note: For an excellent discussion about the legitimacy of a “perfect copy” of a human being after death and “resurrection,” see this book: The Physics of Immortality, by Temple University Professor of Physics, Dr. Frank Tipler).

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Note that because the “real Ken Kesey” has moved on, the “Perfect Copy” of Ken Kesey that was once his Freewill Awareness Unit no longer has free will – although it can seem like it has free will because it can answer our questions based on an almost infinite number of probability choices.

For example, we can ask a question in 10 different ways with 10 different intents, and the FAU of Ken Kesey will respond differently to each one based on the nature of our intent and the way we ask the question. But left to itself, the FAU of Ken Kesey cannot innovate on its own because the “real” Ken Kesey has moved on and the FAU is now a “closed system.” However, innovation and free will awareness can“bleed” into the responses we get if higher aspects of the FAU get involved.

A spectacular example of this is the work of author FRANK DEMARCO He has engaged in extensive afterdeath conversations with the deceased writer Ernest Hemingway. It’s proper to bring DeMarco into this conversation here because Mr. Bedivere acknowledges DeMarco as the inspiration for his work with Kesey.

Bevidere is a reader of DeMarco’s blog, where he engages in ongoing conversations with a variety of afterdeath personalities. (Find DeMarco’s blog here: I OF MY OWN KNOWLEDGE.)

This includes an in-depth conversations with the deceased Hemingway. DeMarco has also published a book of his conversations with the great American author titled, AFTERLIFE CONVERSATIONS WITH HEMINGWAY. (See my review of that book HERE.)

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In my opinion — and perhaps DeMarco himself may not agree totally – the bulk of the information DeMarco is channeling from “Hemingway” is that “saved copy” of what was once the Hemingway Freewill Awareness Unit – although from time to time, “higher aspects” of the Multidimensional Hemingway do come forth to further inform (and innovate with free will) the communications between DeMarco and Hemingway.

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Frank DeMarco

However, most of the time it seems to be DeMarco’s intent is to keep his communication with Hemingway focused as close as possible with only the ego-based Hemingway we know from history. That’s because DeMarco is fascinated with commentary on the life and times of the “real, physical” Hemingway, and the specifics of his body of literary works, his politics, beliefs, etc.

If DeMarco “intended” more or otherwise, he could certainly “climb the Multidimensional Hemingway ladder, so to speak. (And sometimes he does, I speculate).

The case is similar with this book on communication with Ken Kesey.

Another example I must mention is that of Jane Roberts, author of the famous Seth books. Roberts also channeled a book-length document in cooperation with a great deceased personality, that of philosopher and proto-psychologist William James, producing, The Afterdeath Journal of an American Philosopher. The book is a masterpiece.

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What’s interesting to note is that Roberts was highly circumspect about just who or “what” she was actually communicating with. She speculated that she was not so much having a conversation with the “real spirit” of William James, but rather the existent and detached “World View” of William James, which was somehow stored out there in the greater realms of the Conscious Universe – this sounds an awful lot like Campbell’s model, the Freewill Awareness Unit.

ANYWAY …

Anyway, I have rambled on far too long, and yet, have not touched on even a fraction of the rich load of material and implications suggested by this intriguing manuscript.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that Mr. Bedivere’s book is well written. And don’t be quick credit for the lively prose to Ken Kesey – far from it! I can guarantee that the credit belongs to Mr. Bedivere, but if I try to explain why, I’ll be off and running through several more pages.

I should also mention that are instances of true hilarity! In a couple of cases, Mr. Bedivere sees fit to ask his transcendent connection with an ascended great author incredibly mundane questions – such as what to do with a problem he is having with his taxes! Ha, ha! It’s great!

On another occasion, Bedivere asks for advice on what to do about some very typical marriage problems his daughter is having – and here Kesey coughs up:

a) A bit of non-advice, and,

a) b) A dollop of sensationally bad advice!

Oh man, it’s so funny!

Never discount humor as an important marker of authentic afterdeath communication, or the channeling of legitimate transcendent information. I’m reminded of philosopher Bertrand Russell who said that he was troubled that the Bible seemed to contain no humor, and at least for him, that cast doubt on the legitimacy of the Holy Book.

Ahhhh … I wish I could go on and on … but it’s past time that I pull the chain (as they say in the Hood). Suffice it to say I consider this small book a gem, and authentic example of afterlife communication that bears reading and rereading, each time delivering a different set of insights to the open-minded, yet skeptical, but always intuitive-oriented reader.




Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

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‘Babe In The Woods’ by Frank DeMarco: Destined to be a cult classic on par with David Lindsay’s ‘Voyage to Arcturus’

babeReview by: KEN KORCZAK

I experienced a minor synchronistic “mind blast” while reading this book.

Sometimes an author’s style will remind me of another writer, but I can’t put my finger on it right away. In this case, it had been nagging at me for some 250 pages, like a steady itch. Then suddenly on page 255 it crashed into my mind: CLIFFORD SIMAK! That’s it! Ahhh! The itch was scratched!

But now the “mind blast”: I finished reading page 255 and at the bottom of page 256, lo and behold, I find this sentence:

“I though, unexpectedly, of Clifford Simak. Years ago, when I was a kid, I read one of his science fiction stories …”

Woo-hoo!

I don’t mean to make too much of it, but it was just one of those tiny “That was a neat feeling!” moments of synchronicity when you get buffeted unexpectedly by a wave on the ocean of Universal Consciousness.

Anyway – after 250 pages of  BABE IN THE WOODS  – I think anyone would become more in tune to transcendent wavelengths. This book not only gives you an idea of what it is like to tap into expanded consciousness, but dishes out insight after insight – it actually makes you feel what it might be like to push yourself to the edge of higher consciousness – a rare literary feat.

It tells the story of an ordinary group of people from widely divergent walks of life and professions who come together to challenge themselves – to open up their minds, to reach for new concepts, to expand what it means to be an “ordinary” human being in our dreary world calcified by scientific-materialism.

The model for the situation is a real-life program offered by THE MONROE INSTITUTE of Faber, Virginia. The Monroe Institute is an organization founded by the late ROBERT MONROE who became famous after publishing his first book about his experiences with out-of-body travel.

“Journeys Out of Body” came out in 1971. It was an unlikely bestseller, and was followed up with two more books, “Far Journeys,” and “Ultimate Journey.”

Perhaps no other books on astral travel have been more influential. Part of the reason is that Robert Monroe had never been a mystic or associated with any of the established traditions (such as Theosophy, for example, or Eastern religions) which trucked in arcane dabblings like “soul travel” (which also had scary occult overtones for many mainstream folks).

Monroe was no-nonsense, successful businessman who had made a considerable fortune in the burgeoning 1940s-50s world of radio. He was an entirely grounded, nuts-and-bolts kind of guy. However, in the late 1950s, he began to undergo unwanted spontaneous out-of-body experiences. This prompted the pragmatic Monroe to launch into an intense study of what was happening to him.

The eventual result was the establishment of the Monroe Institute. Its original purpose was to study the OBE and all of the mind-boggling implications which fall out of the possibility that our physical bodies are not “all that there is,” and indeed, that what we perceive as physical-material reality is not nearly all there is to consider.

The Monroe Institute developed a number of methods, mostly centered on sound technology that was designed to help any person achieve a state of higher or altered consciousness. These sound technologies leveraged something called binaural beats – and I won’t go into detail here about them, except to say that it was demonstrated that when people listened to binaural beats through headphones while in a highly relaxed state and in a supportive environment, the result could be an out-of-body experience, or some kind of realization of transcendent thought – in short, an expansion of the mind.

So this book, Babe In The Woods, takes us through a group of people who have decided to put themselves through the paces of a Monroe Institute program – except here it is thinly fictionalized as the “Merriman Institute.” Robert Monroe himself is fictionalized as “C.T” and his famous book, Journeys Out of Body is renamed “Extraordinary Potential.”

This is an incredibly ambitious book because it necessarily must employ a large group of characters – some two dozen people involved in the program – whom the author is tasked with not only introducing us to, but must rely on the reader’s patience as he builds them into believable characters of some depth, enough so that we can care about them and learn from them later.

The viewpoint character is modeled on the author himself — DeMarco is a veteran of several Monroe Institute programs.

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Frank DeMarco

DeMarco’s fictional incarnation is Angelo Chiari, a reporter with the Philadelphia Inquirer. The premise is that his editor sends him to the Merriman Institute to do some stealthy investigative journalism – and hopefully come out with an expose that might blow the lid off the weird snake oil the Institute is most likely selling to gullible people with enough money and desperation to seek answers to life anywhere.

But these journalist are professionals – both editor and reporter are not out to do a pre-determined hack job. Rather, they intend to get the story in a fair and objective manner. They’ll go where the facts lead them. If reporter Angel Chiari finds a legitimate program – he’ll write about that. If not, it’s blast away with both journalistic barrels. He very much expects it to be the latter, however.

The Chiari character is a classic example of what Henry Thoreau meant when he said: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

Chiari’s career is okay, but on cruise control. His work has long since become bland and meaningless. The heat of his decades-long marriage has cooled to a husband and wife more akin to roommates. His relationship with his children is shallow and distant.

Chiari holds no particular cherished beliefs. He’s a rational-materialist cog in the post-modern machine. He gets up every day and goes through the motions, running out the time clock on his life. His existence is like a tasteless block of tofu.

Perhaps it’s his training as a journalist that saves him – his fundamental dedication to objectivity leaves the door open just enough for Chiari to approach the Merriman program with an open mind and reserved judgment. That small crack in that door is enough for the Larger Consciousness System (to borrow a term from physicist Tom Campbell) to send Chiari tantalizing, subtle clues to convince him that, by golly, there might be something more to his existence – something remarkable..

This is the fourth Frank DeMarco book I have read. His writing style puts me in the mind of not only Simak, but also Sinclair Lewis (winner of the Noble Prize for Literature). That’s because there is a certain workmanlike doggedness to the way DeMarco hammers out his themes, and the way he develops and cobbles together his messages.

DeMarco somehow leverages the necessarily mundane and uses it to fetch glimpses of the transcendent. He is like a grounded, unspectacular Prometheus stealing fire from the gods, but bringing it back to us with the stolid work ethic of a UPS delivery truck driver.

Because of that, the insights we gain ultimately feel deeper and more authentic. DeMarco’s works are characterized by a  persistent and worrisome expression of doubt – the uncertainty of a person who knows he is threading a fine line between making sense of highly original and novel forms of information — while ever cognizant of the innate capacity of the human mind to fool itself with egoic delusions and struggles with Freudian “wish fulfillment.”

I’m guessing that Babe In the Woods, published in 2008, has since found only a small audience, but I can imagine it developing an ardent cult following – much in the same way that A VOYAGE TO ARCTURUS by Scottish writer DAVID LINDSAY has persisted and moved people since it was published in 1920.

You might be wondering how I can compare the syrupy surrealism of Lindsay’s ‘Voyage’ with DeMarco’s more staid ‘Babe,’ but I would challenge the reader to read both — tell me if you don’t see that, in a weird way, both works have the same heart.

Clifford Simak, Sinclair Lewis, David Lindsay — Frank DeMarco stands with guys like these in the literary world – and that’s not a bad place to stand, indeed.

Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

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The ghost of Ernest Hemingway: Still eloquent in the Afterlife

51fl3+IFDmL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_KEN KORCZAK:

This is the second FRANK DeMARCO book I’ve read. The first was “A Place To Stand,” and I think anyone who reads both of the above will be sufficiently impressed that here is a guy who not merely another frivolous New Age writer raving from the fringe, or some person seeking to capitalize on the name of Hemingway merely to sell a book.

This is an intelligent book of substance that should intrigue long-time Hemingway fans, and give us pause to consider the implications of what it might really be like to have a one-on-one chat with an American literary giant.

There is ample historic president for these kinds of books, in particular, Jane Robert’s (author of Seth Speaks), “channeling” of the American philosopher William James. That book came out in 1977; James died in 1910.

Another famous example: Emily Grant Hutchings and a medium using an Ouija board took “dictation” from the spirit of Mark Twain to produce an entirely new novel, “Jap Herron.” It was published in 1916, six years after Twain’s death.

In 1869, a medium “downloaded” a fresh novel written by the deceased Emily Brontë; It’s presented in a book called “Strange Visitors” edited by an esteemed legal scholar, Henry J. Horn.

So DeMarco is backed by solid tradition, and the precedent of others who have written amazingly high quality books in this way.

Beginning in 2004, DeMarco, using the time-honored, method of automatic writing, made psychic contact Hemingway and engaged in a vigorous post-death conversation with Hemingway. The dialogue resulted in this book.

In it, Hemingway clears the deck on dozens of misconceptions he says numerous biographers and academics have besmirched upon his life, work and legacy over the years.

Not that he’s particularly angry or blames living biographers who, after all, only gave it their best shot. It’s just that, Hemingway says the game is rigged. Writing a truly accurate biography is fundamentally impossible. The deceased Hemingway tells DeMarco:

“To write a true biography you would need to do impossible things, such as:

* See and feel and think and react as the subject would have done.

* Contain within yourself all the subject’s background, including people, places, books he’s read, the news of the day (day by day), the daydream he had, the talents and aversions and every aspect of his personality.

* Know everything that had ever happened to him and some that happened only around him, and from multiple points of view.

* Know every strand that operated within him, and in what proportion and in what circumstances, including the tremendous amount he didn’t realize himself.

*Know at least something of why he came into life (or, you might say, what the potential or that particular mixture of elements was) and see how one thing could express only at the expense of others, and hence what tensions set up.”

That all makes sense, when you think about it. Certainly, the dead Hemingway has a knack for bringing an unclouded, common-sense kind of wisdom to vexing questions and thorny issues.

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Frank DeMarco

Another example: DeMarco asks Hemingway to explain something controversial the macho-man writer once said, that he would “rather beat someone up than read a good book.” (This in light of Hemingway’s well-known love of boxing and barroom brawling).

Hemingway, from his perch in the Afterlife, defends his statement this way:

“All right … who are you talking to? In this case I mean, what age Hemingway? The answer you’d get from a 20-year-old isn’t what you’d get ten years later, or thirty, or after-the-fact entirely … the whole point of living is not to be the same year by year, but to change — I didn’t prefer beating somebody up to reading a good book. Just count the number of people I beat up and the number of books I read!”

Still eloquent in death, Hemingway scores again!

DeMarco’s book is loaded with gems like these. Hemingway’s quips zero in like sharpened darts, hitting dead-on rhetorical bullseyes time and again.

If this is not the actual spirit of Hemingway speaking through DeMarco, then DeMarco himself is one clever wordsmith.

But wait a minute — DeMarco cautions us that just who is actually communicating here is a tad more complicated than you might think. Here is the way DeMarco struggles to define his trans-death connection with the deceased writer:

“I think you mean to say that Hemingway 1899-1961 and DeMarco 1946-20-whatever do not touch, and that I have been thinking that DeMarco-46 was touching the spirit of Hemingway-99, but it may be more accurate to say that the larger being of which DeMarco-46 is a part is communicating with the larger being of which Hemingway-99 is a part, and the two time-bound parts are having a sort of virtual conversation.”

In other words, most people assume that when you contact the spirit of a dead person, you are speaking to the exact person/ego-construct/personality of that same person when he or she was alive.

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Papa

But there is not a Person A = Person A situation vis-a-vis the live version of a person and the afterlife version of that same person.

After we pass over to the other side, we apparently expand our consciousnesses to embody the “whole self,” or perhaps “soul self.” We become aligned with the so-called Oversoul.

For the dead, the ego-self recedes into the background because the ego is actually an elaborate, artificial coping/defense construct designed to function in the environment of our earth-bound, physical matter reality. The ego is too often shaped by fears and desires, and is a reactor rather than an actor within a material system. Yet, after death, we can still operate from an ego-based platform if we want to …

What I really like about Afterdeath Conversations With Hemingway is that it reads not like the typical spooky and/or smarmy medium-channeled stuff, but as an insightful, intelligent and piercing series of observations by a savvy writer, who just happens to be positioned in the non-physical realm.

DeMarco’s book makes the extraordinary situation of speaking with the dead seem as commonplace as chatting with your Uncle Ned via Skype.

With dogged attention to detail, DeMarco combs through the issues that were the passions of Hemingway’s vigorous life — World War I, the Spanish Civil War, the American psyche, the artistic culture of Europe, big game hunting, deep sea fishing, writing and literature. Hemingway discusses what it meant to be an American, an emerging modern man in a nation straining to become the next superpower.

What about his suicide? Hemingway is actually rather blasé and dismissive of the whole issue. He called suicide “the family exit.” Hemingway’s father committed suicide, as did his brother, Leicester, and sister, Ursula. The dead Hemingway says of his suicide:

“When I left the body — when I blew myself out of that situation — I knew what I was doing, and why. I wasn’t emotionally distraught, I wasn’t out of my mind, and I wasn’t even depressed — once I figured out how to get out … the bad effects of suicide have a lot more to do with attitudes that with the given act.”

After his death, Hemingway tells DeMarco that he now manifests himself in the spirit world as a 30-something-year-old.

“I went back to being in my mid-thirties,” Hemingway said. “I was happy then. I’d taken my lumps and I’d already left Hadley, (first wife Hadley Richardson) which was a stupid thing to do but there you are, and I was in the prime of life.”

The bottom line: This is a marvelous read, well worthy of five stars, and gets my top recommendation.

Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

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A “Marco Polo” of consciousness exploration takes us along on far journeys

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Review By KEN KORCZAK

While I was reading his book I was thinking of documentary I was watching about how animals might evolve into new forms in the future. There was footage of an octopus near the shore of the ocean. It was struggling to make its way along some rocks among the shallow water — the octopus was half in and half out of the water, grappling to navigate an environment that was somewhat familiar, but also vastly different.

FRANK DEMARCO is that kind of explorer. He is daring to send his mind into those exotic areas that straddle our normal mode of mentally framing reality with more exotic ways of determining what’s going on. He’s attempting to expand the way we make sense of reality — and maybe even to find a different way to be a human being.

This book documents 10 sessions DeMarco conducted at the MONROE INSTITUTE of Faber, Virginia. The facility is named after its founder, Robert Monroe, who wrote three best-selling books about out-of-body travel. It was Monroe who really blew the lid off the OBE, a centuries old phenomenon that had long been relegated to mysticism and arcane eastern religious sects. Monroe brought if forward in a way that more Western, scientific minds could deal with it using a modern scientific approach.

Equally as important to this book is the man who facilitated the sessions with DeMarco, none other than FRED “SKIP” ATWATER. Atwater is a former U.S. Army intelligence officer who was the founder of Army’s top secret remote viewing unit. He was among an elite corp of men who were the Founding Fathers of so-called “psychic spying.” After retiring from the military, Atwater became the science director and later president of the Monroe Institute.

So in these sessions, DeMarco is resting in a kind of isolation chamber. He’s reclined in a waterbed, and he wears headphones through which he is fed a variety of sound frequencies containing something called binaural beats. I won’t go into details about what these are, except to say they have been shown to induce altered states of consciousness.

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Frank DeMarco

As DeMarco is sent into an altered state of consciousness, but he also holds onto a portion of his waking mind so that he can chat with and report back to Atwater via a microphone. Atwater sits in another room where he controls the tones and frequencies DeMarco hears. DeMarco is also wired with fingertip sensors which monitor things like his galvanic skin responses, body temperature and more.

DeMarco then sends his perceptions into other realms of consciousness and reports his perceptions. He finds two contacts from two other eras of time: An ancient Egyptian and a Medieval monk. He feels he is deeply involved in some kind of mutual project of consciousness manipulation with these two — this is not a simplistic reincarnational kind of situation in which DeMarco “trades notes” about past lives, or stuff life that.

DeMarco also interacts with a more advanced set of entities he simply calls “The Guides” or “Guidance,” and sometimes just “the guys.” To facilitate a greater connection with him, these higher entities encase DeMarco (or cause him to become) what he perceives as a crystalline structure. In this state he is able to receive a variety of novel concepts, expand his psychology, gain insights, and so on.

DeMarco then “debriefs” in an informal discussion with Atwater. Both the sessions and the debrief sessions were tape recorded, and DeMarco fills the pages of this book by basically giving us the raw transcripts of all that was said.

For me, this was a five-star read because it provides a fascinating “fly-on-the-wall” view of how people on the cutting edge of consciousness exploration are endeavoring to probe uncharted territories of the mind. They go places for which no road maps exist. The explorers are pushing the edges of perception, have no idea what to expect, and don’t even have a good way to recognize “things” when they encounter them.

But wait –I should backtrack that statement a little. There may actually be a few road maps: Over the years, Monroe Institute researchers have worked out a series of auditory frequencies which seem to match certain mental states which in turn correspond with certain kinds of nonphysical locations. They call them Focus 10, Focus 12, Focus 15, Focus 27, etc. Each of these states, identified by specific frequencies and brain states, would seem to match up with specific territories “out there.”

When people become immersed in Focus 27, for example, they will find themselves in a specific afterlife kind of location — a place where dead people gather after leaving their bodies. Here they create a kind of resting place, perhaps a peaceful cabin in a wooded area, where they can simply rest and get used to the idea that they no longer have a physical body. They can come to grips with the fact that they are physically dead, and now can contemplate their next stage in consciousness development.

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Focus 27 is a place of pure mind — that is, a cabin in the woods is not made up of physical lumber and nails — but a construct of the mind. Think of the way you might have a dream about a visit to a cabin in the mountains. While you are in the dream, the cabin would seem as real and solid as anything else. When you wake up, you would tell yourself: “Well, that wasn’t a real cabin. It was all being created by my dream mind!” The structures of Focus 27 apparently are a kind of group-mind creations of structures — buildings, parks, gathering places — which are collective construct by those who have passed on.

Anyway, I digress.

I should say that for some readers this book might be something less than a five-star read — you won’t get the exciting New Age, out-of-body wonder type of fireworks provided by such folks as Robert Monroe, Richard Buhlman or others who have written popular books about OBE adventures involving lively interactions with strange beings, exotic otherworldly locales, although there is a certain element of that here.

A PLACE TO STAND is more sober and less sensational. It doggedly plods along. DeMarco also displays healthy levels of skepticism and self doubt about his own perceptions, which adds to our feeling that he is an authentic guy who is endeavoring to bring back reliable information from strange places, rather than hyping it all up to make for an exiting New Age book.

Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS

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