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The Spirit World Is Calling
Nighttime radio is the perfect confessional. Every night as the host of Coast to Coast AM, I hear it all: meetings with the dead, out-of-body journeys, encounters with aliens and entities, prophetic dreams, miracles—you name it about the strange, we get it nightly.
One of the most popular topics that people cannot seem to hear enough about, or talk enough about, is contact with the dead. Almost everyone has a story about a time when they felt visited or contacted by someone who had passed over. Perhaps the experience was comforting; perhaps it was unsettling. Either way, it was definitely unforgettable, and maybe even life changing.
On this night, Rosemary Ellen Guiley has joined me in the studio in Sherman Oaks, California, to talk especially about communication with the dead and take calls on Open Lines. We both know it’s going to be an active night. Some nights are just like that—you can feel a charge in the air, like the Coast to Coast audience has linked up in a peculiar, energized group mind. My producer, Tom Danheiser, can feel it, too. Tom screens the calls. Sometimes the phone lines are “hot” before we even start taking the calls.
After we talk for a few minutes about Rosemary’s latest research in spirit communications, we open the lines. They are already full with people waiting to tell their stories about talking to the dead.
“Beth, east of the Rockies,” I said to the first caller. “You’re on the air.”
“George?” Beth sounded hesitant.
“Go ahead, Beth; you’re on the air.”
“Yes, okay, thank you. I’m so glad you’re doing this subject, and I want to tell you and Rosemary what happened to me.” There is a brief pause, and we can almost hear Beth taking a big breath to plunge ahead on what must be a difficult topic.
Beth continued, “My dad died several years ago in a car accident. It was a big shock to everyone in our family, and”—her voice broke with emotion—“I had a hard time dealing with it.” She took a moment to compose herself. “But here’s the weird part: about three weeks after he was gone, I think he called me on the phone!”
Rosemary nods to me in the studio. We’ve both heard these types of stories many times.
“He called you on the phone?” I said to Beth. “Tell us what happened.”
“I was at home by myself one day; it was in the afternoon. The phone rang and I thought it sounded strange. I mean, it didn’t have its usual ring. It sounded kind of distorted. I thought maybe there was something going wrong with the line.
“When I picked up the receiver and said, ‘Hello,’ I could hear a lot of static. It reminded me of how long-distance calls used to sound, you know, like they were coming from very far away, with lots of interference on the line.
“I didn’t hear any voices at first, and I said, ‘Hello,’ two or three times. And then this voice called out, ‘Beth … Beth … is that you?’ And it sounded just like my dad! I’m not making this up! I’d know his voice anywhere!”
“What did you say back?” I asked.
“I was so shocked I couldn’t say anything. He repeated, ‘Beth, is that you?’ I said, ‘Dad! Dad! Is that you?’ I was practically shouting. He just repeated, ‘Beth … Beth … Beth.’ The static sound got worse and his voice got fainter and fainter and then it just stopped. I kept shouting into the phone for him to come back, but there was nothing but static, and then the line just went dead, like someone pulled the cord out of the wall. I hung up the phone and then picked it up again, and the dial tone was normal. I was pretty shook up for the rest of the day. In fact, I still am, if I think about it. I keep telling myself it was a fluke call, a wrong number, and it was a man who just sounded like my dad. But he called me by name.”
“Rosemary, what do you make of this?” I said. “Do you think Beth might have really talked to her father—and he was calling from the Other Side?”
“It’s quite possible,” she answered. “There is a phenomenon literally called phone calls from the dead, or Anomalous Telephone Contacts, and it has been documented just about as long as the telephone has been in existence. Under certain circumstances, the dead seem to be able to access our phone technology and make calls to the living. Many of them are just like Beth described—they are full of static, but the voice of the dead person is recognizable, and it may just repeat a name or a phrase or sentence, almost in robot fashion. The calls either terminate abruptly or the voice simply fades away and the call ends. Most phone calls from the dead are very short—less than a minute—although a few longer ones have been documented, and I can think of one from the parapsychology literature that was reported to last about thirty minutes.”
“Thirty minutes!” I said. “You mean someone could be talking to a dead person for half an hour and not know it?”
Rosemary laughed. “Well, in that case, the person had died and the recipient of the call didn’t know it. She thought she was talking to someone who was still alive. Later she tried to call the person back, and was informed that the person had died before the call was made.”
“That’s amazing. Do we know how they can do this?” I asked. “Do they just pick up a telephone on the Other Side and punch in our number?”
“No one really knows how it happens, or even why it happens,” Rosemary said. “If it were easy to do, we would expect to see phone calls from the dead more often. Wishing for one does not seem to make a difference in terms of whether a person gets such a call or not. The barrier between the world of the living and the world of the dead is hard to penetrate. But it can be done, as we have seen throughout history, and the barrier is broken through every day. People have all kinds of experiences communicating with the dead, and increasingly so with technology.”
“Let’s go to first-time caller Wilma.”
“Oh! I’m actually on the air?” said a startled voice.
“We’re glad you can join us tonight. What’s your question? Have you had a phone call from someone who has died?”
“I’m glad you’re talking about this, George,” said Wilma. “I don’t know for certain, but I think my mother called me right after she died.”
“Tell us what happened.”
“Well, she had been sick for a long time—she had cancer. She was in the hospital, and we all knew she was going. It was just a matter of time. I never could sleep very well because I was always worried that I would get a call in the middle of the night. That’s exactly what happened, but it wasn’t the hospital calling. The phone rang a few minutes before three in the morning—I remember because I looked at the clock before I answered it. I said, ‘Hello,’ and heard this voice on the other end. It sounded like someone was trying to talk but was making only garbled sounds. There was a lot of static. I thought maybe I’d gotten a wrong number, so I hung up. Then a little while later my sister called. She had gotten a call from the hospital—she said Mom was gone. She died at about the same time that I got the call! I always thought that call was some sort of ‘wake-up call,’ if you know what I mean, to let me know Mom was going. But listening to your topic tonight, I’m wondering if it was Mom herself?”
“Here again the evidence points to it being possible,” she said. “Wilma has plenty of company. We have a long history of documented experiences in which people who are dying or who have just died communicate with the living—sort of a final farewell. Sometimes the living get what we call a ‘crisis apparition,’ a vision of the dead person. In other cases, it seems that technology is the easiest way to make a connection, and we get a mysterious phone call. We don’t know how it happens, or why it only happens in certain cases—but it seems the dead can call us on the phone when the conditions are right.”
“If I had stayed on the line, would she have been able to talk to me?” Wilma asked. We could hear the distress in her voice that she might have missed an opportunity to talk to her mother one last time.
“That was probably the best that could come through,” Rosemary said. “These calls don’t seem to last very long, a few seconds. It’s amazing that they happen at all. If you had stayed on the line, the call probably would have either ended abruptly or just faded away.”
“I suppose if the dead could call us easily on the phone, we would have more of these calls,” I said. “How common is this? Do a lot of people get phone calls from the dead?”
“More than most people might think,” Rosemary answered.
“But how do we really know we are talking to the dead and it’s not just our imagination—or some cosmic trickster playing a joke on us?”
“We have to rely on the testimony of witnesses,” Rosemary said. “The record is very convincing. There is quite a bit of evidence that we have been getting mysterious communications ever since the telephone was invented, and even before that, in Morse code. In the 1960s, two paranormal researchers, D. Scott Rogo and Raymond Bayless, heard about phone calls from the dead and were quite skeptical about them. They investigated, collected dozens of cases—and con...