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I DO NOT EXIST. I learned this in the first grade from Mary Sue Smythe, the prettiest and most popular girl in the entire universe.

One day, out of the blue, Mary Sue and her band of merry followers surrounded me in the schoolyard, pointed their little fingers in my face and chanted, "You're not here! You're not here! You're not here!" Then they quickly ran away.

Mesmerized, I wondered what the heck was happening but soon found out because from that moment on, Mary Sue and her circle of trendsetters proceeded to totally and purposefully ignore me. Everyday at school, I'd hand in my homework, raise my hand, answer questions, go to the board, eat lunch with my friends, play in the school yard, and do all the things that the other kids were doing, and thereby seemed to be there like everybody else. However, whenever Mary Sue and her followers appeared on the scene to make a show of ignoring me, I would actually start to feel like a non-entity. For the goddess had spoken: In her reality, I did not exist.

Then one day during recess, while in the midst of a game of ringolevio being played in ordinary reality—the St. Mark's schoolyard on East 18th Street and Avenue Z in Brooklyn, New York—I was running around like a madman, dodging enemies and charging toward the "jail" to free my friends. Suddenly I tripped and fell to the concrete, tearing my slacks and scraping my knee. A crowd of excited kids gathered round as I got up, lifted my pants leg and examined the bloody wound. Ooooos, gasps and eeks filled the air, but one girl's screeching "Ewwwwwwww!" pierced thru the cacophony. I looked up in time to see that the screacher was none other than the goddess herself.

Well I just had to laugh. Mary Sue had noticed me. I did exist after all—even in her world!

In contrast to the fabricated world of make-believe that Mary Sue had created, there actually do exist other levels of reality. Some of us have been there, especially as children, but were often told that we were dreaming or letting our imaginations run away with us. However, any child who has ever had an invisible friend, talked to a deceased relative, or seen a ghost, etc., actually may have been in touch with what may be referred to as the Mystic—that expanded state of awareness where we can connect with Spirit,[1] and experience other realities. For the Mystic has been available to us from the very beginning, and we as children were much more capable of having mystical experiences. It's just that we tend to lose our spiritual capabilities over time, as we stray from the innocence and openness of childhood. We can, however, reclaim the true magic of our youth by following a spiritual path and seeking ultimate reality, and thereby becoming mystics in the process.

"Why the hell would you want to bother doing that?" my Brooklyn brethren from the street corners of yesteryear might ask.

"To care for the soul," would be my answer, "and feel... complete."[2]

I'll try to explain how in the stories that follow—true experiential stories[3] to which I hope you can relate, from which I trust you will benefit, and within which resonates the idea that our ultimate consciousness is only temporarily housed in the bodies that we, as souls, inhabit. And so when life finally does leave our physical bodies, we, as souls, will live on. For at our own truest nature, we are all spiritual beings having a human experience. It is the soul, not the body, that is created in the image and likeness of "God,"[4] as an indestructible life force existing beyond the bounds of time.

My True Story

SEEKERS OF ULTIMATE REALITY may be inspired to walk a mystical path for a variety of different reasons. This inspiration may come as a result of being born into a spiritually-minded family, hearing a charismatic speaker, or reading a special book. Oftentimes, however, a traumatic event can trigger the incentive—be it a serious illness, a near-death experience, or the passing of a loved one.

For me it was the tragic death of my infant son and a visit from his soul some fifteen years later that inspired me to walk a spiritual path. I first related the facts and circumstances surrounding this event in Dino's Story,[5] which begins Chapter Six in Everything Happens For A Reason, a book by Suzane Northrop,[6] the renowned psychic medium.

I had become acquainted with Suzane thru a series of events that began in the fall of 1996 when Dave, a friend of mine at work, handed me a copy of Suzane's earlier book, The Séance.[7] I had never heard of Suzane at that time but took the book from Dave and read the cover. I judged immediately that the book wasn't for me, and told Dave so, but he insisted that The Séance was worth the read, explaining that he "just happened to catch" Suzane on the radio while he was away on vacation, and thought she was incredible. In fact, Dave had gone to a lot of trouble to track down the book, which was then somewhat hard to get, and pretty much unavailable in bookstores. I appreciated all that and so accepted Dave's copy of The Séance, basically so as not to offend him. I put the book on a shelf in my office, figuring I'd retrieve it for him someday, dusty and unread.

In late December 1996, Aunt Lena—my mother's sister and my godmother—passed away. I drove in the funeral procession with the extended family to the Calverton National Cemetery, which for Brooklynites is "way out on Long Island." Calverton also happens to be where the body of my two-week old infant son had been buried fifteen years before. Shut down emotionally, I had never visited Ryan's grave, but during my aunt's burial services I felt a real energetic pull to do so.

I resisted the pull that day and for a few days thereafter. However, I soon started having spontaneous visions of an entity, someone or some thing, beckoning me to pay a visit to my son's burial place. The entity I was "seeing" (in my mind's eye) was some sort of tiny little being, about the size of a three-year old child, and I speculated that it was my son beckoning me to his grave.

Simultaneously, for some reason, I also began envisioning my son on "the other side" with a little girl his own age, protecting or helping her, and I could not help but wonder what the hell that was all about as well. At this point in time, mind you, I was not into mystical happenings, spirit guides, spirit helpers, what Suzane calls "DP [dead person] contact," or anything like that, and so hadn't a clue as to what might be going on within me or without me. In fact, I began to seriously question my own sanity. Nevertheless, I resolved to visit my son's gravesite.

Soon thereafter, on a rainy Friday night, I purchased a gravesite flower arrangement from a florist in my Bay Ridge neighborhood and drove up to Calverton very early the next morning. It was almost dawn when I got there. The fog was dense and eerie, like out of a Stephen King movie. Nobody else was around.

Over, around, and in between the graves I walked, following the cemetery markers on the approach to my son's gravesite, fifteen years of repressed emotion coming to the fore. As I neared Ryan's marker, the entity that had beckoned me to the cemetery manifested itself in my mind's eye as an elf-like adult, and disappeared off to the right, skipping happily along the way—his job apparently over. I realized at that moment that this entity was not my son at all, but intuitively thought of it as a "spirit guide" of some sort.[8]

I walked over to my son's grave, read the marker epitaph and started to cry violently, apologizing out loud over and over for not visiting him sooner. I set the flowers down near the marker and turned to leave, but felt that "pull" again, this time coming from the left of my son's grave. I followed the pull and two markers over discovered the grave of a girl named "Jennifer" [no surname] who, the marker indicated, had been born two days before my son was born, and who had died on the same day of her birth. I somehow knew that Jennifer was the little girl I had "seen" with my son, and that they were together, and that he was caring for her.

I tried to leave again but was overpowered by a need to stay. Distraught, with the tears still pouring from my eyes, I returned to my son's grave and resumed apologizing to him for not visiting sooner. Suddenly I "heard" a young man's voice say "What's the matter, Dad?" and simultaneously "saw" Ryan appear out of what I can only describe as infinity. He looked to be regal, a prince of the Cosmos,[9] and seventeen years old—two years older than he would have been had he survived his two-week ordeal on Earth—but I knew it was him.

"I'm sorry I never came to visit you," I cried.

"That's alright, Dad," Ryan answered compassionately. "That's alright. Don't worry."

And with that, I felt true forgiveness.

Totally spaced, I hung around a bit, composed myself, and left.

Soon I was in my car driving home, and again seriously questioning my own sanity. The more I analyzed the events, the more insane I thought I was.

At work the following Monday, I was drawn to and picked up Dave's copy of The Séance and started to read it that night. Suddenly I didn't feel insane anymore. All I was reading hit home, especially the part where Suzane mentions that our children who have crossed over, actually grow up on the other side,[10] which really struck a chord and confirmed the validity of my own vision and experience. That's why he was a teenager when I saw him, I realized.

Soon thereafter I learned that Suzane would be holding a seminar in nearby Newark, New Jersey. I went and was intrigued by every aspect of the event: the lecture, the questions and answers, the guided meditation, the mini-readings, and of course, by Suzane herself. I later attended a second Suzane seminar in Manhattan, and another one a few months after that back in Jersey.

By the third event, I pretty much knew what to expect and had become very comfortable in that setting. At the first couple of seminars I actually had feared that Suzane would read me, but by now I had completely relaxed, figuring that she never would.

During the mini-readings portion of the third seminar, Suzane came charging over to the area where I was seated, and in her direct manner and ultra-fast speech pattern asked, "Who lost a child over here?" Still figuring that I would not be read, I didn't answer. Nor did anyone else. "Come on," Suzane said. "Somebody here lost a child. This is very strong." Again I didn't answer, and again no one else claimed the DP coming thru. Trying to leave, Suzane walked away but quickly came back saying, "He's not gonna leave me alone...Is it Brian?...It's Brian. Who knows a Brian?"

That wasn't my son's name. But no one was claiming Brian, so I finally answered, "Is it Ryan?"

Suzane snapped her fingers as her face lit up. "That's it!" she said, and proceeded to tell me that Ryan wanted me to know (apparently to make me aware of the sacrifice he had made, I would later discover) that it hurt him to be born the way he had, but that now he was alright. Thru Suzane, Ryan added that his sister with the K name "won't let him go." The K identification was right on for my older daughter Kristen, but I was still somewhat skeptical for I no idea whether she could "not let go" of her brother.[11]

Suzane continued, "He also visits his sister with the M name," and whether the visitation part were true or not, again I didn't know, but my younger daughter Mallory does indeed have an M name. Then Suzane stood right in front of me and asked, "Did he die of cancer?" I indicated not. Suzane said, "Then why is he showing me this?" as she tied an imaginary rope around her neck and lifted it up as if she were being hung.

A strange calm had hold of me. I replied, "That's because he choked to death on the umbilical chord." And in that moment I knew, not just believed, but knew that there was life after death, and that my son was indeed okay on the other side.[12] The remaining grief and guilt I still was harboring vanished in an instant, and the questions I had about my own sanity also disappeared, for the most part.

"You have a very strong son," Suzane told me afterwards at the book-signing session, and I was just so happy to hear that stated in the present tense, that I very much wanted to hear it again.

So I asked Suzane, "What?"

She looked me in the eyes knowing I had heard her the first time, and repeated sternly, "You have a very strong son."

I thought, Yes, I do. Have, not had. Have.

Soon after that magnificent mini-reading, I became a participant on Suzane's interactive internet message board, going by the name of Dino. Later I would get to know Suzane a little better and become her board administrator, helping to provide a safe haven for discussion and sharing of experiences among those who believe in communication with the dead, mediumship, shamanism, spirituality and the like. Over the years, I've gone to many of Suzane's seminars and workshops, plus one séance, and the results are always staggering not only for me, but also for the people I bring with me, and so many others in attendance. I've also helped at "the door" for some of Suzane's events, and even gotten to emcee and work the mikes[13] at others.

I ask myself, Was it by mere coincidence that Dave just happened to catch Suzane on the radio, buy The Séance, and—acting a guide of sorts—urge me to read it? And that I in turn would find such a complete degree of healing from the book and Suzane herself that I would become very active on her board and in my own circles, working to help others achieve the same kind of healing from Suzane and her teachings that I have experienced? Was this all just mere coincidence? And the answer I get is, "No. No coincidence," which is in line with what Suzane often says, "There are no coincidences."

But then there emerges this question regarding any seeming coincidence—If it wasn't a coincidence, what was it?

In my case, I think that the experiences described above were all part of a series of mystical experiences designed in part to present me with an opportunity to walk a spiritual path. It's not something my conscious mind would have chosen to do, for I would trade every single one of my spiritual experiences in a New York millisecond to have my son survive the fate that did befall him, and be okay here, in the flesh. But it appears that the forces of the Universe—be it "God," my own oversoul, my spiritual committee acting in concert with the oversouls and spiritual committees of everyone involved, and/or whatever else—have arranged otherwise, and there is no trade to make.

I have come to accept that the souls who incarnate here on Earth and die as children are often spiritually advanced, and that their brief stays afford those of us left behind an opportunity to advance spiritually and achieve soul growth in the process—soul growth being the main reason we all incarnate on Planet Earth to begin with. Which is in large part why, after my son had visited me in the graveyard, and then once again thru Suzane at her seminar, I felt compelled to journey into the Mystic.

Along the way, two events that had occurred weeks before my son was born, but which I did not at the time recognize as anything profound, came to mind.

The first event happened while I was riding the subway home one evening after work, before Ryan was born. I was leaning against the back door of a middle car of the F train, as it pulled into a station under the streets of Manhattan. On board came a middle-aged White woman cloaked in black. She seemed to glide onto the train, and stood right in front of me. Curious, I eyed her witch-like outfit in an intense search for some article of clothing or accessory that was not black. There was none.

As I was glancing towards this mystery woman—with her blank expression and totally black witch's outfit that looked to be designed for some sort of occult funeral—she gently held out her arms, palms up, as if cradling a baby that was not there. The huge sleeves on her cloak slid down to her elbows revealing pale white arms, which were blotched and reddened by an apparent flush of blood beneath the surface.[14]

At the time, I simply thought, Huh! That's weird, even for the subway. But following my son's after-death visits, I came to see in retrospect that this woman's appearance was an omen. I would wonder later whether I could have saved my son from his death had I understood the omen when it appeared.

I would wonder also if I had missed an even-clearer second warning that came one night soon before Ryan was born. I had just parked my big old Chevy Caprice on Ryder Street off Ocean Parkway, when I felt an energetic force move my head and direct my attention to the bicycle lock and chain that I had rigged thru the Chevy's hood and bumper (to prevent the battery from being stolen, again). The power forcing my eyes' attention onto the chain was so strong that I actually yelled out loud, "What? What is it?" while thinking, What are you trying to show me? I had no idea with whom or what I was trying to communicate. There was no reply.

In retrospect, it seems that the message was coming from my son's soul, who was directing my attention to the oddly positioned chain as a way to let me know that the umbilical chord was (or would be) similarly misplaced. I could not help but feel later that he had been trying to get me to realize what was going on, so that I could help him... save him. But, I did not realize this at the time, and ended up kicking myself for years over this failure.

Those with whom I've shared this story say with honesty and compassion that there was no way I could have understood the symbolism except in retrospect. But for the longest time I could not help but feel that my son had reached out to me from the interlife,[15] and that I had failed him.

These two failures to recognize signs that might have helped me save my son from a traumatic death would belatedly prompt me to delve further into the Mystic. It took years on this journey for me to realize, with maybe a 95 percent degree of certainty, that my inability to see those signs and save my son was understandable, given the circumstances. Even though there still is that 5 percent doubt, I have come to forgive myself for this possible error.

And I have moved on, living life as happily as I can, feeling quite strongly that learning to re-experience joy is one of the things we all need to do, following the loss of a loved one.[16]



1. The term "Spirit" (when capitalized herein), is used generally to encompass all of the benevolent inhabitants of the Spirit World who are active in the affairs of humans.
2. A more thorough answer would include the idea that by following a spiritual path, we can get to know ourselves, and maybe "God" in the process. For "to know oneself, at the deepest level, is simultaneously to know God," according to the Gnostics (an early Christian sect—see The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels, Vintage Books, 1989, at page xix). For me personally, this concept dovetails nicely with the perception that what we think of as "God" may in fact be, for each of us, our own personal oversoul (or "higher self"). See Spirit Medicine, by Hank Wesselman and Jill Kuykendall, Hay House Inc. 2004, at pages 16-19, and pages 55-57. Their website is
3. Although the stories are true, names and locations have sometimes been changed.
4. The word "God" is often used in quotes herein, to reflect the fact that there is no uniform definition of "God" among the people and religions of the world. Indeed, one could reasonably argue that the world may need a new definition of "God." If so, perhaps "God" could be defined as the "ultimate source" of creation and life. However, this "ultimate source" would not be the same vengeful "creator god" of the Old Testament who punished all of humanity for all time because Eve and Adam took bites out of an apple, and whom the Gnostics viewed as a tyrant and demiurge who had lost his way. See The Gnostic Gospels, by Elaine Pagels, Vintage Books, 1989, at page 37 et seq.
5. "Dino" is a name I would later come to use on Suzane Northrop's message board, which is part of her website at
6. See Everything Happens For A Reason, by Suzane Northrop, Northstar 2LLC, 2004, at page 157 et seq.
7. See The Séance, by Suzane Northrop, Dell Publishing, 1994.
8. Technically, the term "spirit guide" usually refers to that one senior or master guide assigned to a soul since the soul was first created, and who may or may not have a second "spirit guide" as an assistant. Herein, the term "spirit guide" is at times less technically used (by myself and others being referenced) to include "spirit helpers" (or "spirits") in their various forms, e.g., power animals, guardian angels, departed loved ones who maintain contact with those still incarnated on Earth, etc.
9. In Gaelic, the name "Ryan" means "little king," I learned later from my friend Gretchen—a long-time assistant to medium John Holland—whom I met thru Suzane Northrop and with whom I have worked at Suzane's seminars. Synchronistically, Gretchen also has a son named Ryan who (synchronistically again) like me, was born on October 16th. These and a host of other synchronicities led both Gretchen and me to conclude that each Ryan incarnated from the same oversoul source—which is really what reincarnation is all about, i.e., incarnating from the same oversoul. We are never truly the same person in any one life as we were in a previous life, since every time we incarnate we are born unto different parents and carry different mixtures of soul energy—mixtures which depend in part on the lives and the number of lives lived before.
10. See The Séance, by Suzane Northrop, Dell Publishing, 1994, at page 60.
11. "Not letting go" occurs when we grieve too long over the loss of a loved one, and he or she isn't able to move on in the Spirit World or tend to anything else but us out of concern for our emotional well being. The thing to realize is that we don't need to hold onto grief to maintain a connection with our DPs. By letting go of the excessive grief, we give our DPs the freedom to advance in the Spirit World and connect with us on an as-needed basis. The connection will always be there. Love never dies.
12. This leap from believing to knowing is akin to experiencing the Gnostic concept of gnosis. See the discussion of gnosis discussed throughout The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels, Vintage Books, 1989. Suzane Northrop often draws this distinction between believing and knowing at her seminars, and has agreed with me that this knowing is experienced on a cellular level.
13. "Working the mikes" involves taking a wireless hand-held microphone and holding it near (or passing it to) the person being "read" by Suzane during her mini readings, so everyone at the seminar can hear what that person is saying in response to Suzane's comments and questions. During those times when I find myself in that area in between Suzane and the person being read, I feel I am in a sacred space (a shamanic term), and honored to be there.
14. Years later, a spiritually minded friend would suggest that this mysterious woman clad totally in funeral black might have been an avatar, generically defined here as a spirit who takes human form specifically to deliver a message. Only the designated recipients of such messages can actually see the avatar, according to folklore. I don't recall seeing anyone else on the F train take notice of this strange woman, and so cannot rule out the possibility that she was indeed an avatar.
15. Herein, the words "interlife" and "afterlife" are used interchangeably. There is a subtle difference, however. The word "interlife" inherently implies a life between lives on Earth (and/or elsewhere), whereas "afterlife" could be interpreted as being that state of being that occurs after your current and only life on Earth ends. But if you believe in reincarnation (as I do), the words afterlife and interlife tend to take on the same meaning.
16. Of course, we all need to process grief in our own time, and in our own way.


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