Jane Katra, Ph.D.
Jointly Sensed Messages from the Afterlife
Sylvia Hart Wright, Professor Emeritus, City University of New York
 Jane Katra, PhD, former Adjunct Professor of Public health, University of Oregon, Eugene

Few paranormal events offer more convincing evidence for survival of the spirit than those spontaneous contacts called after-death communications. ADCs don't involve mediums; they happen when the perceiver is healthy and is not consciously seeking to hear from the deceased. Data from around the world document that ADCs occur most frequently in the first year after a death and that widows and, to a lesser degree, widowers are more likely than not to experience them. They are particularly noteworthy when they are perceived by two or more people at a time, especially when at least one of the witnesses was not closely related to or even well acquainted with the apparent communicator.

Charles Gray, a sociologist and the husband of this paper's first author, died of cancer on July 8, 2006, after a brief, intense illness. As this article is written, ten weeks after Dr. Gray's passing, the authors believe that Charles already has reached out to them and to at least one other person. This article will focus especially on two times when an extraordinary light phenomenon signaled his presence. Each time, his widow seems to have been his primary target but at the same time another woman was present to confirm the reality of what Sylvia was seeing. On the first occasion reported here, her companion and fellow witness was her friend Jane Katra, co-author of this article. Both women have written widely on the paranormal. Jane, now a professional healer and an educator who focuses on the connection between spirituality and medicine, is considerably more psychic than Sylvia.

On July 24th, Sylvia and Jane traveled together to the Oregon coast, some sixty miles from where Sylvia lives, so she could scatter some of her husband's ashes near the Pacific Ocean in places that he had loved. Together they hiked a short trail down to a scenic beach. Here is what Sylvia reported the next day to an email discussion group on survival. The original text has been abridged slightly. Additional details supplied in retrospect appear in brackets:

As Jane and I started down the trail, I scattered a few ashes around but had no sense of Charles's presence. [Jane, however, told me that she sensed that Charles was near.] Suddenly at a turn in the trail I stopped, overcome, doubled over with emotion, sobbing uncontrollably. "He's here," I managed to say. [My sobbing fit came over me before I felt any awareness of spirit presence. Only after the fact did I sense that something large was nearby, slightly above me and to my right. I don't recall looking toward it. I remained doubled over, still I perceived it as opaque, blocking out light yet unfrightening.] I rarely cry. When I do, my tears usually pass in a matter of seconds but this time I cried and cried. [For three or four minutes I felt incapable of moving from the spot.] After a few minutes we started back down the trail. I no longer sensed his presence, though of course it was thrilling to know he'd contacted me this way. I also sensed that he had made his transition safely and happily. But here's the topper.

Later that day, Jane and I returned to my house. We were sitting in the living room talking. From the living room I could see into my kitchen, but Jane's back was to it. Gradually I realized that something remarkable was happening in the kitchen, bright sunny light seeming to flash on and off rhythmically, pulsing, exceedingly bright and regular in its rhythms, about half a second very bright, half a second less bright, steadily repeating. I got up and rushed into the kitchen, blurting out, "There's something happening." Jane followed me. Together we witnessed this remarkable light phenomenon, brilliant sunny light pulsing on and off (though even "off" was sunny) for several minutes. The light seemed to be coming from a closed window that looks out on a small, shady yard and carport. There was no way such brilliant light could be coming from a natural source outside, particularly given the regular on-off pulses. Also, for a time the curtains at the window fluttered inward, although the window was closed.

Charles, of course, was familiar with my work on after-death communication and had promised to contact me after death. We'd also had joint ADC experiences in that very room because on a few occasions the light over our kitchen table had seemed to respond to something I said. As I've reported elsewhere, after I was widowed in 1983, my previous husband started contacting me, often using electrical phenomena to do so. Charles, far more of an outdoorsman than my previous husband, seems to have decided to go him one better using the appearance of natural light rather than electricity, and waiting until a fellow parapsychologist was there to witness this ADC with me.

Here in abridged form is how Jane Katra described this same series of events to the email discussion group mentioned earlier:

Sylvia Hart Wright asked me to accompany her as she walked along the Hobbit Trail to the beach. I let Sylvia lead the way and stayed behind her ten feet or more. As I was taking note of tree roots in the path, I began to feel warm pulsations on my neck and back. They were similar to tingly vibrations that I have experienced on numerous occasions over the past four years and have come to associate with communications from [two] deceased friends, but these vibrations were not the familiar signature vibes of [these two friends]. I stopped walking to be able to accept the experience fully. At the same time, the face of a smiling, healthy, invigorated and radiant Charles Gray appeared in my mind's eye. He greeted me, and I was surprised to be mentally viewing a much younger version of Charles than he had been during the years he was married to Sylvia.
Sylvia had stopped walking up ahead and I assumed she was waiting for me. As I joined her, I told her that I really felt Charles's presence with us. She continued on ahead of me and disappeared around a bend in the trail. As I came around the bend, I found Sylvia at a standstill in the middle of the path. She was moaning and crying out that Charles was with her, declaring that she was so grateful for the amazing experience. After a time, we both felt that the palpable presence of Charles was no longer with us. The most amazing experience of Charles was yet to come, though.

We drove back to town, arriving at Sylvia's modest house at about 6:45 p.m. We sat facing each other in her living room. I sat on a sofa facing the east wall of her house and she sat in a chair about six feet in front of me, facing the western wall of the living room, which is about three feet behind the couch on which I was seated. On the other side of the west wall behind me was the kitchen. At the northwest corner of the living room, in front of Sylvia and at her right, is an open doorway 33 inches wide that leads into the kitchen. (She took measurements for this report, finding the rectangular living room's dimensions to be 14 feet 3 inches north to south and 17 feet long east to west.)

I was noticing the house's front door in the southeast corner of the room behind her because the door was dark-colored and [contrasted strongly] with the rest of the room. Also on the east wall I faced, about five feet to the left of the door, was a four foot square window that had heavy thermal blinds over the panes, to keep out the near 100 degree [Fahrenheit] heat of the day. The room was dimly lit with no electric lights on. [Nonetheless] I noticed a bright light flashing on and off, on and off, onto her dark front door. I thought to myself, "Why is someone flashing their car's headlights on and off so much at this time of day?" And then, "How could headlights look so bright at this time of day?" And "Why is someone on this quiet street flashing their headlights directly into Sylvia's windows?" And finally, "How could such bright headlights be flashing inside onto the door when the windows in this room are all covered?" Just then Sylvia exclaimed, "Wait a minute!" She rose from her chair, never taking her eyes off the kitchen doorway, and headed for the kitchen exclaiming, "There's something happening."

When I turned around I saw bright light rhythmically pulsating on and off in the doorway to the kitchen. I got up and followed Sylvia into the kitchen. She was standing in the center of the room, in the midst of the extraordinary flashing light. We both felt it was Charles flashing us. We each thought he was having fun with us and saying, "Sylvia knows all about anomalous electrical occurrences that people associate with communications from deceased people. But I'm a nature boy, and I'm going to let her know I'm here by using natural light!"

Sylvia sat down at the dining table, facing west, and the bright light continued to flash rhythmically, and seemingly right at her. Still standing, I said in a joking way, "Now the logical explanation for this is that the wind outside is blowing tree leaves and branches up and down, blocking and unblocking the sunlight shining in through the window." The window I was referring to is in the southwest corner of the kitchen. [It starts 46 inches above the floor, and is roughly 28 inches high by 22 inches wide. The kitchen table was positioned slightly north or to the right of it.] We both noted that the light was continuing to pulsate in a steady rhythm with each flash seeming to be of the same intensity, which was very unlike an effect of wind moving tree branches. Also, the light never seemed to me to be flashing in through the window. Rather, it seemed to come from inside the room itself. I sat down at the table until the pulsing light stopped, then we both got up to survey the scene.
Just then, as if to psychically answer our unspoken question, "Could this have been due to wind and sunshine?" I noticed that the lacy curtain to either side of the windowpane began to blow in towards the room a few times, at the same rhythm as the pulsating light. I pointed this out to Sylvia and she said, "Yes," she could see the curtains swaying. We went to the window and checked to see that it was securely closed, with no wind coming in. Then we both went outdoors to the west side of the house, to see if there was any wind, and to see if there were tree branches waving in such a way as to create bright flashes of sunlight through the window. I noticed that the time was 7:10 p.m., that I could not feel any wind, and that there were some gently moving leaves about 100 feet away from the window that were too far away to create the flashing effects. The position of the evening sun low in the sky and behind the trees made it unlikely that sunlight coming in the window would be very bright, even without rhythmic pulsations. When we went back inside, I stood where we had stood previously, and I waved my arms about to try and get the curtains to sway, but they didn't move, and the sunlight filtering into the kitchen was dim with no flickers or flashes.

Afterwards, Sylvia told several people about this extraordinary experience. One person she told was Judy, a relatively new acquaintance in her fifties, who in past years has had ADCs of her own, apparently involving contacts from her late husband and a deceased close friend. On September 13th, Judy visited Sylvia's house, then started to leave so she could attend a vigil against the current American war in Iraq. It should be noted here that throughout his life, Charles Gray was a dedicated nonviolent activist for peace and social justice. As the two women stood in Sylvia's living room saying their goodbyes, Sylvia noticed that bright light was flashing on and off in her office, an adjoining room that was clearly visible through a wide archway whose doors were open at the time. All the blinds in her office were drawn. Here is how Sylvia recorded what happened next in a journal entry she made the following day:

Wordlessly I pointed toward the other room and Judy immediately got the point, got excited and elated, saying "He's doing it again!" She and I checked to see if anything remarkable was going on outside the windows but nothing was. The light definitely glowed inside the room without an external source, coming and going at brief, slightly irregular intervals. This phenomenon didn't go on as long as it did when Jane was here but it certainly got our attention, almost immediately. All the more so since I'd told Judy about my earlier experience with the light flashing in the kitchen. Judy saw this manifestation as encouragement for her anti-war action, which Charles certainly would have endorsed. But I sensed also that Charles was communicating to me his feelings about a personal decision that I was struggling with at the time.

Both the incidents described here involve psi communication by way of a bright light behaving in a rhythmic fashion. They bring together two not uncommon ADC phenomena more commonly found separately: that is, the perceiver may describe seeing a bright or "golden" light coming from a paranormal source, or the perceiver may report hearing mysterious rhythmic tapping or seeing the rhythmic swaying of an object such as a coat hanger. What is more remarkable about these incidents is that, in both cases, the recently bereaved widow had a companion with her to witness them with her. Perhaps we may venture to speculate that, because in life Charles Gray was himself a dedicated and ingenious researcher and was well acquainted with his wife's work on after-death communication, he has reached out to her from the spirit realm in a particularly complex and convincing way.


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