Sunday Shivers

Making a Vegas run?

clown motel

Sweet dreams.

Two Tickets to Heaven, Please

baby mummy

The mummy of a premature fetus is found tucked beneath the feet of a Bishop! How’s that for opening a can of worms? There’s a novel here.

Is Proof Possible?


TNT’s latest summer offering, executive produced by Kyra Sedgwick, has promise, provided that it’s offered the opportunity to grow. The life-after-death topic has not been edgy enough for prime time. In the past, audiences have responded more favorably to soap-opera drama, adult animation, and modern day fairy tales. And this subject often alienates conservative viewers with its less than glorious peek behind the veil. No saints at the gate or winged ushers to guide arrivals to the wizard in that great kingdom in the sky.

Being a realist, I am excited about this show and hope it will portray the real work doctors have done in researching the existence of an afterlife. Having studied the works of Professor Gary E. Schwartz, Ph.D., I know there is a mountain of material to support this theory. I am hopeful that some of the experiments conducted in The Afterlife Experiments and The G.O.D. Experiments will be brought to life on the small screen. Actual tests done with patients who flat-lined for a number of minutes who claimed to see and hear everything that occurred in the room after their heart stopped.

Proof follows a surgeon (Jennifer Beals) who has had her own unexplained life-after-death experiences since losing her teenage son. She remains a skeptic, as do most scientific people. But she is approached by a dying billionaire who promises to fund her disaster relief efforts should she employ her skills to aid his research. What happens to the consciousness after death?  Big money is too sweet a carrot, so she’s in, but unconvinced she’ll find much. Yet, she holds a kernel of belief that her son might not be completely gone. As long as she hangs onto that ounce of reasonable doubt that physical death is not the end, she can be propelled to consider ideas she once thought preposterous.

To my own mind, I don’t believe there is proof. Proof implies tangible, physical evidence. There is no such thing when dealing with the 21 gram “soul” that science has labeled as the weight of individual human consciousness. It is not physical matter.

My fingers are crossed that the producers can do right by the subject matter, and that it finds an audience open enough to give it a chance, at least for the ten episodes it has shot.

How Relevant Are You?


(Balloon Girl. Probably the most iconic image by British street artist Banksy.)

My apologies for being blog-less for a month. Computer problems had me locked out of my site.

Last week I overheard a conversation about Bruce Jenner’s transition to being female.Now, you have to hear this dialogue in a thick Southern accent.

“You seen Bruce Jenner?”

“Ah, yeah. I don’t know what he was thinking. And as his age?” Shakes head. “He is not a good lookin’ woman.”

“I know that’s right.”

“His daughter’s not doing too well with it. She’s having a hard time.”

“I hear that. My Daddy did something like that? Mmm hmm.”

Jenner had been a public figure since the seventies when he landed in history books as the World’s Greatest Athlete. He was then, and is once again, relevant.

So I asked myself, what gives a person relevance?

Visibility + Message + Right Timing (and a little luck) = Relevance

Let’s face facts. The current topic of the times is the LGBT community. I’m almost embarrassed to be straight in this decade. So the transition of Bruce to Caitlyn is relevant. Who is more visible that a former superstar who married a Kardashian, then decided to live the third act of his life as woman? That’s lightning in a bottle.

If we feel invisible, we feel like we don’t matter. Celebrities, sports stars, and politicians do visibility like the rest of us can’t. It’s part of their job, and very expensive. The public buys whatever they’re selling in product or opinion. Relevance often comes with a stiff price tag.

Take the British street artist known as Banksy.

In 2013, he spent a month planting works around NYC in a scavenger hunt style. Twitter followers ventured to parts of the city that they didn’t frequent (or ever see) for the opportunity to be part of a select group able to gaze upon a piece of statement art. Some pieces were white-washed over by the property owners who didn’t want the attention. Others were chiseled off the wall and carted away to be sold for big money, none of which made it to the artist.

Banksy hired a white-haired gentleman to sell some of canvas pieces on the sidewalk for $60 each. Only a handful sold. No one recognized the similarities in the work, and apparently, they were unsigned by the artist.

The art world appraised those pieces to be worth $250,000 each.

What made this artist relevant? Even though he hid his face, in one month Banksy created unique visibility for his art by using modern technology, and each piece sent a clear message to the public. His visibility on social media communicated, “Find my personal message, but you only have a limited time before it is removed or destroyed.”

Relevance is communication in action that requires good timing to be noticed in grand fashion.We all matter to someone. How relevant we become depends on our ability to show up and communicate ideas that resonate in that moment in time.

In the movie Gladiator, Maximus famously says, “What we do in life echoes in eternity.”

What do you do that will echo in eternity? Do you make yourself or your work visible? Most importantly, do you have something to say?   

I doubt Annie Leibovitz will photograph me any time soon. But if she does, I’d want that reason to be clear and relevant.

Interview with Steve Di Schiavi


Nice, no-nonsense interview from an open-minded skeptic. The key to finding the truth? Research.

Originally posted on Sheila Renee Parker:

Today I’m welcoming Steve Di Schiavi, co-host of The Travel Channel’s exciting show, The Dead Files. Thank you, Steve for stopping by!

Sheila ~ Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Steve ~ I was born & raised in Brooklyn, NY to 1st generation Italian parents…I served 3 years in the USMC after being asked to leave HS.. lol, honorably discharged and joined the NYPD, spent almost 22 years retiring from the Manhattan North Homicide Squad…

Sheila~ How did you get to become the co-host of the hit television series, The Dead Files?

Steve ~ ABC News filmed a documentary called NYPD 24/7 that was acclaimed and won an Emmy.. I was the featured detective in the 1st executive saw it and I was asked if I would be interested in doing television…

Sheila ~ What’s it like working with Amy Allan?

Steve ~ She amazes me every…

View original 320 more words

Chocolate Shamanism


On a friend’s recommendation, I attended a spiritual ceremony performed by a shaman who offered attendees what I can only describe as seriously potent hot cocoa. You drink it with the intention of bringing love into your heart to help heal the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual bodies.

Cacao is the basis of chocolate and is not a psychotropic like peyote. In its pure form, it is quite bitter. This particular batch had been grown and prayed over for the purpose of ceremony.

Chocolate and shamanism? Let the healing begin!

If you know me at all, you know that no matter how enlightened I grow to be, I’m still a skeptic at heart. But I’m also big on discovery – trying things to find what works. I’ve attended a lot of functions on endorsed by people who raved about their experience only to have mine fall short, or even flat.

What did I know going in? I was going to drink ceremonial chocolate, and it may or may not be a healing experience. The shaman said that once we had consumed the full dosage, we’d feel all kinds of emotional love. Did I need love and healing? Well, doesn’t everyone? I have a chronic backache and a past that has taken a few chunks out of me. So, I’m open to some heart chakra mojo.

After drinking half the dose (four ounces) of cacao, the shaman led the group in a short meditation. I can’t say the cacao offered any assistance, as my shamanic journey was equal to any I’d had without cacao. My head began to feel like someone had wrapped a quilted turban around it. My own voice sounded altered to my ears. But I can’t say the meditation felt different than any I’d done on my own.

Round two, another four ounces, another journey. The earth didn’t move, and I didn’t have any sort of trip. I wasn’t overwhelmed with emotion, spouting “I love you, man” or weeping uncontrollably like a couple others. Perhaps I’m too jaded, or put a wall of skepticism up. I enjoyed the energy of like minds coming together to heal. A couple attendees had just walked away from the rat race, a couple others were recovering from grief, and some were just curious and sought a deeper experience. Everyone was seeking love or healing through inner journeying after conventional methodology had failed.

On the two-hour drive home, I felt relaxed and satisfied that I’d had an enjoyable afternoon, but I can’t say I embraced the medicine of Mama Cacao. I didn’t feel any more loving toward myself (or other drivers) or feel as if the world should be in perfect harmony.

Then I got up the next morning.

Immediately, I noticed that my back was only mildly sore. After a four- hour drive, and another four hours of sitting on the floor, I should have been much stiffer and far less mobile, even hanging onto furniture to move through the room. I’ve had chronic back pain since I was ten. I’ve seen chiropractors, massage therapists, orthopedic doctors who have offered traditional methods that only provided temporary relief. This healing, too, was temporary, but strong enough to notice in a short period.

I also felt more empathic to the feelings and emotions of others. I, myself, was not more emotional, just aware of everyone else’s, even if they were not opening expressing themselves. The ceremony seemed to have had a longer lasting effect as it continues more than a week later.

Even though I didn’t have a moving experience at the time, the aftereffects have been noticeably clear. Chocolate and shamanism do go well together. Don’t knock it, till you try it.

Empire State Haunts

melrose hall

if you find yourself kicking around NY State, here is the latest list of haunted houses you might want to take a look at.

Booze with Boos?

Haunted Winchester Mystery House to Allow Overnight Stays (and Booze)!

In my opinion, booze is not a good idea. This is what gets Ouija board users in trouble. It only makes people disrespectful of the living and the dead. Plus the impairment of the senses will distort any paranormal phenomena experience. How would you know if you made contact or hallucinated?

To Believe or Not Believe

Religion 2

Why can’t we just agree to disagree?

This post follows on the heels of my last. I had forwarded the article on Jimmy Carter leaving his church to my FB feed without comment or opinion. A grave mistake on my part as it caused a war of words between two of my FB friends over beliefs.

The article was both religious and political, which is like lighting a stick of dynamite next to a chunk of C-4. I reserve my personal opinions for my blog instead of using a more public forum. But their fiery exchange made me ask: what causes people to get so wound up when someone opposes their belief system?

Intellect + Emotion = Passion

Passion can be expressed with kindness, courtesy, and objectivity instead of aggression. I’ve learned not to attack the belief system of another just because it doesn’t match my own. Everyone has the right to believe what they chose. So I was a little stunned to see two mature, respectable adults slinging mud at each other over someone else’s shifting belief system. Unbeknownst to them, these two people have much more in common that they’d care to believe. Both are from the same generation, the same country, both educated, kind, generous, creative people, who lost all objectivity when faced with a political and religious topic. I wish they would have been able to have a spirited debate without resorting to cheap shots and name-calling.

It was like a bad joke. A Christian and an Atheist walk into a bar. Had I been the bartender, I’d have hosed them down with the soda dispenser.

People have been battling over religion and politics since their inception. I wonder, what does God, (if he exists) think about that? Is he amused, binge watching the live theater of Earth with a bowl of popcorn? Or is he saddened that people spend so much energy focusing on differences failing to recognize their common ground? There is far more commonality in the world’s many religions than differences. As human beings, we would grow so much greater as a world community if we honored and respected each other instead of fought battles over who was right or wrong.

Aren’t there many paths to the same destination? Does God really care which route we took to get there? Will we have all these answers when we die? Because we’re all going to die.  And there are a million ways to go. Death is a very personal and individual experience. So why don’t we expect our every experience will be individual? Especially our belief systems.

What good does it do anyone to tear down someone else’s belief system? Is it good, kind, or necessary? Does it create peace and harmony?

I’ve heard people say to their kids, “What someone else thinks of you is none of your business.”

Okay. If it’s none of my business what someone thinks of me, then it’s none of God’s business what I think of him, right? And, therefore, it’s none of anyone else’s business either.  If God exists, isn’t he more evolved than us? I don’t think God wastes time thinking about what anyone thinks of him. So I don’t waste time on it either.

I’m married to someone whose beliefs differ greatly from mine. We are living proof that people of opposing beliefs can co-exist in harmony. We have stood in separate lines at the voting polls. We read and view news differently, keep our hot-button opinions to ourselves, and respect each other’s right to think and feel differently. We don’t criticize, attack, or judge each other for those differences. Our home is peaceful because we have plenty more in common than the couple things we don’t. I like to think we are passionate about the things we share, instead of the things we don’t.

Nobody likes being judged. It’s destructive. Seek to uplift and create, not destroy. Spend your energy on what is near and dear to you, and don’t worry about what other people think and believe. You want something to believe in? Believe in your ability to be tolerant and kind to others who hold opposing beliefs. The world is big enough for all of us.

Descent from Organized Religions

Pres carter

Former President Jimmy Carter has left his church because he believes in equality. For any white male to take a stand for women’s rights, this is huge.  I applaud anyone who stands up for their beliefs, especially against huge opposition. In the wake of the HBO released documentary on Scientology,interviewing leaders that left that church, I hope this becomes a trend.

I left organized religion at age 15, after being badgered into participating in one last rite solely to please my family. It pains me to see intelligent people push agendas because they blindly accept the claim that God is behind their actions. And they hold the Bible up every time.

Use your “God given” free will and stand up for you own beliefs instead of following the herd.

Here’s the article President Carter wrote:


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