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For your discernment:


Judging from the heavy response to an article, many are those who in some way have felt the presence of deceased loved ones -- whether just a sensation, or a familiar fragrance, perhaps a touch, or a dream.

We will have a number of articles covering various aspects of this. We are not speaking about necromancy (communication with the dead) -- which is forbidden. We're speaking about spontaneous "signs" that seem to come from the other side, whether to console, to send a message, to seek prayers, to warn, or simply to present the awareness that the deceased still love those left behind.

Airplanes have been in the news of late and from Peg Christopher in the Charlotte, North Carolina area, we hear that, "In 1983, I was on a plane (Eastern Airlines Flight 855 -- May 5th) that lost all three engines and fell approximately 13,000 to 16,000 feet.

"After the pilot said, 'Ditching is imminent,' and we were in crash position, I visually and spiritually perceived the presence of my mother as she moved onto the plane from the window and passed in front of me -- settling next to me on the left, near the aisle. I felt a tremendous sense of peace and the overwhelming fear left me. My mother had died in 1979.

"Some very unusual things happened with regard to the pilot who miraculously managed to safely land the plane. He later won an aviation award for this.

"From a more logical perspective, I always wondered if the sense of peace and my mother's presence was related to brain chemicals associated with overwhelming fear (do brain endorphins create a type of dissociation to protect a person psychologically during a major trauma?) or a very primitive memory, perhaps from my infancy when she would have passed in front of my vision and stood next to my crib (she was younger in her presence than she had been at her death).

"Some have suggested that hyperventilation and trauma caused a dissociation.

"Your article suggests another alternative -- one that those who are less scientifically oriented suggested to me -- that my mother really was there to help during a time of major crisis."

That's precisely what we would suspect.

We can't see any way the crash landing in New York last week could have been accomplished without the help of God. While the media focused on the pilot (who was indeed magnificent), more emphasis needed to be placed on the many passengers who prayed for a miracle and received it.

Beyond "feeling" loved ones, what about "seeing" -- actually observing those in other realms or experiencing visions? We'll take a vision first. Recalls Susan McCrady of Bremen, Ohio:

"When I was eight years old, my identical twin sister was killed in a freak accident at the local town swimming pool. She had a fence pole come down on her and she fell and hit the back of her head.

"This was in 1971. She died at the local hospital. I can't remember if it was the night of the accident or a night or two after, but before the funeral, I was in bed and not quite asleep and I can not really explain what happened since it was outside my experience and I was only eight years old, but my twin sister came to me (mentally), not in a dream, but not a vision either. She appeared to me as she was, meaning she looked like my sister, but only her face, the rest of her appeared white, body, arms, etcetera, like she was wearing a white robe. At any rate, she told me not to worry about her, that she was okay and that she was with God.

"For some reason I never mentioned this to anyone at the time. I told my husband just a few years ago and finally told my mother. I guess I didn't think anyone would believe me at the time, I don't know. I think my mother was naturally quite depressed (over it) and my brother spent most of his life being mad at God. My father never talked about it. I was the only one not greatly affected by my sister's death -- largely in part I think to my knowing she was okay."

When we see something mentally it is a vision. An apparition is when something is seen with the eyes.

"I lost my beloved son at the age of 42 on November 15, 2007," we are informed by
Rosemary Russo of White Plains, New York. "He left a wife and eight-year-old daughter. 

"The July before he died, his daughter, and my sonís wife, and I went to see the July Fourth fireworks at a local park. He was feeling very ill that night and we left before the fireworks because he was too weak to remain. 

"The July after he died, his wife, daughter, and I went back to that park for the July fourth fireworks and we stayed to see them. He had been very upset that his daughter missed them because of his illness. We all felt a strong sense of his presence. 

"That night I took my granddaughter home with me to sleep over. She had fallen asleep in my bed and I was sitting on the edge of the bed. I heard a whooshing sound and turned around and I saw a white figure, cloudlike, rising above her. I could see the head and arms, which were outstretched, and the rest of the figure was cloudlike and bright but not outlined. It was like a mist. I knew unmistakably that it was my son; I recognized his profile. His head was turned to one side. I felt a sense of calm and peace. The whole corner of the ceiling was bright white around him. It dissipated and I lay down and went to sleep. I was not asleep. I didnít dream it. I know that was him."

Again, we are not to seek this -- especially through a medium. That's dangerous. But who is to deny what may be allowed by God as a manifestation? As for consolation:

"When we were able to visit our dwelling for a twenty-four hour period after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina, I approached my house where there was devastation to my patio covering and the roof of my home, along with a broken window that had been totally torn away by debris," says Valerie Powers of Marrero, Louisiana. "When my nephew and I were trying to patch up the broken window so no further rain-wind could damage the interior of my house -- my mother Rose, who had passed away just three years earlier -- well, her presence was surrounding us. I could actually feel her with us, standing right behind us to observe and help. It moved me so much that I just literally could not stop crying."

At times, it seems, loved ones come with symbols that relate to our or their situation. For this we go to Melody Deyle of Laurel, Montana, who recalls that, "In 1989 Christmas Day, I was extremely ill, running a very high fever. I was lying in bed, having trouble breathing, I kept crying out for help, but even though there were people in the house, they did not hear me. I attempted to get out of bed, and fell to the floor instead. I tried for what seemed like hours (I am sure it wasn't) to try to get back into bed.  I knew beyond a shadow of doubt that I was dying.

 "I remember hanging onto the edge of the bed, trying to pull myself up, and I could not. Finally I gave up and said, 'God please just take me, I know I want to be here for my children, but I can't do this by myself anymore; please protect my children, but take me and stop this suffering!'


"I made a confession of my sins, asked for forgiveness, then told Him I was ready to come home.


"Within moments, the scene changed in my room. One second I was hanging onto the edge of the bed, the next I was in a raging river, hanging onto the edge of the shore ó  nearly drowning, unable to get out of the river.


"I remember looking seeing a large log racing downstream.


"As this log got to me, it seemed to slow and stop in the middle of this raging river. As I watched I saw an arm was draped over the log.


"Suddenly the log rolled over and my son, who died three years before, was hanging onto that log. He looked at me and smiled, and said 'Momma, I was sent to tell you it is not your time to die yet. I know you asked, but Momma you must fight, you must fight this now momma. It is not your time. Fight Momma, fight.' After he said this, he smiled at me, waved, and the log rolled back over in the water and continued downstream. And somehow, after this, I was back in my room still hanging on to the bed but I was able to find the strength to get back into the bed almost instantly! A short while later someone came and checked on me, and got help.


"The doctor found that I had severe pneumonia. I had only a quarter of one lung that was not filled with fluid. I really was drowning in a raging river of fluid. He was amazed I was still breathing and moving. Medical intervention was started immediately, and needless to say, I am here today.


"The memory of that river and the log and my son has never faded from my memory. It is as fresh today as when it was happening. God truly hears and answers us in our hour of need.


"It may not be the answer we expected, but He always answers."


[resources: The Other Side]

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