Today I have the pleasure of sharing a recorded interview with Julie Beischel, Ph.D., the author of
Dr. Julie Beischel is the co-founder and director of research at the Windbridge Institute, and following the suicide of her mother and an evidential mediumship reading, Dr. Julie Beischel forfeited a potentially lucrative career in the pharmaceutical industry to pursue rigorous scientific research with mediums full-time.
She is currently a member of Parapsychological Association and the Society for Scientific Exploration.
Dr. Beischel has generously offered the gift of a Windbridge Institute membership to one lucky PBI commentor……scroll down to find out how to participate!
You can listen to the two-part audio or read the full transcript below.
Angela: Dr. Beischel welcome. I loved reading your bio. You have such an accomplished background and such a fascinating one especially since you are studying mediumship. It is a pleasure to have you. I reached out to you because of the book that you published in January. “Among Mediums”, and it’s abook that you were gracious enough to send me. I read it and loved it. It was fun because your voice was just so funny. I found myself entertained while I learned a lot as I read it.
Readers of Powered by Intuition would really love to know a bit more about you since you are someone who is leading a way in researching mediumship.
De.Beischel: My Ph.D. is in Pharmacology and Toxicology with some minor in Microbiology and Immunology. While I was in graduate school my mom committed suicide and I went through my normal grieving process and a few years later “The Crossing Over, With John Edwards” show was on TV and that was sort of my first interaction with the medium.
My family is of German decent, very Catholic, I went to Catholic high school and I had never heard of medium before. It wasn’t something that I was familiar with but here was this guy on TV and it looked real, and often the people looked authentically moved by what he was saying and the things they were told were very specific. I decided I would like to see that myself as a scientist and collect my own data, so I had a mediumship reading.
It was very evidential. I read a little bit about cold reading beforehand, and what kind of things a cold reader would say, but it wasn’t general at all. It was very specific, very you know, things that would not be true for other people’s moms. I sort of took that experience back to my lab and shared my experience. Some professors said things like “Oh wow, interesting, I don’t know anything about that but that sounds interesting”. But some were saying “No that’s all in your mind, he was cold reading you and he picked all that up.” And I thought, no I was there, I collected this data, I know what happened.
That really made me angry that people were dismissing an entire phenomenon without experiencing it themselves and they were just saying “No”. I thought that’s terrible. These people need a voice. This medium needs a voice because they are just trying to help people and they are just being who they were, doing what comes naturally to them so, they need an advocate, and they need a scientist.
So oddly enough, I had the opportunity to do a post-doctoral fellowship studying mediumship full time. When the funding ended for that position, my husband Mark Boccuzzi, and I founded the Windbridge Institute in order to keep doing the research and we are about 5 years old now. So I have been doing Mediumship research full time for about 10 years.
Angela: Mediums are always getting a bad rap. It can’t all be cold reading. When someone tells you something so specific and many times even the sitter won’t know something and they have to go to somebody else in their family for validation, how can that be a cold reading?
Dr. Beischel: Exactly. In our research, the protocol we use is quintuple blind; it has five levels of blinding. So in our research readings when the mediums do a phone reading, I’ve never even been in the same room as some of the medium that we work with our team. And its just the medium and me on the phone and all we have is the first name of the dead person and then I ask them specific questions about that person, so the sitter is not even on the phone. Its just me and the medium so its entirely blinded and when the sitter does the scoring they receive two readings, their own reading called the “Target” and someone else’s reading the “Decoy.” They cant tell which one’s the target and which one’s the decoy. So even the sitter is blinded in our protocol and it still we are seeing things that are significant in the difference between the scores given to the target reading and scores given to decoy reading.
Angela: I read somewhere that if you took studies on people who had heart attack who were later given aspirin—
Dr. Beischel: It’s actually aspirin in prevention of a heart attack. A statistician, Jessica Utz, did a meta analysis where you had a bunch of studies and you collect the data as if it was just one giant study and she looked at the data for the evidence that aspirin prevents heart attacks. She did the same thing with the meta analysis of all of the research for the existence for psy-ablity, precognition and the evidence for psi was stronger the the evidence for aspirin preventing heart attack.
Angela: Yet it’s given routinely as a protocol around the world I mean, at least in western countries. Sure take an aspirin a day to prevent a heart attack.
Dr. Beischel: Exactly, If you ask anyone on the street if aspirin prevents heart attacks, people will say yes but if you say is psi real they will say, “No there is no evidence that psi is real.”
But it is. So it’s the politics, not the research that keep that knowledge down. So that’s why I can’t break into a main stream science, they are never going to listen to me, so instead I tried to bring it to the people with my book “Among Mediums.” That way people can get the real story right from the researcher’s mouth and make a decision. I am not trying to change anyone’s mind, from the information I gathered, they can make their own decisions about whether they think that that’s enough to decide they want further study on this topic.
Angela: The data speaks for itself. People might say “Oh well, psi is only 60% accurate but that’s light year more statistically significant then the data on taking aspirin to prevent a heart attack. Those numbers are something like 0.00003 or something very miniscule and yet it’s gospel. Just take a little aspirin you won’t get a heart attack.
Dr. Beischel: Right, right.
Angela: I wanted everyone to know more about Windbridge Institute. Tell us who can join and what you do there and if they want to become a member, what types of information they get from you.
Dr. Beischel: The Windbridge Institute is a independent research organization. Our mission is “To investigate the capabilities of the mind, body and spirit and investigate what kind of things the mind, body and spirit can do and how can that knowledge best server all living beings.” Our main focus, at this time is research into the survival of consciousness. So my focus is with mediumship and Mark is interested in the use of technology and how to potentially interact and detect the deceased and so that includes EVP (electronic voice phenomena) and those sorts of things.
My focus is on mediumship. We receive funding from private institutions; most of our grant money comes from overseas. First, we need money to fund specific studies but we also need money to pay the electric bill and for printing, and for that we rely on public support so we sell memberships for $19.99. You can buy annual membership or you could pay a $100 and become a lifetime member, and we wont bother you for money ever again.
What members get is quarterly e-newsletters. Our newsletter is called winds of change and we have guest articles and sometime mediums write articles and updates about where will be speaking or their the findings. Our member are the first to hear the news.
We also have the email list people can sign up to. They can learn more about memberships on our website which is www.windbridge.org . If you sign up to our email list, you get several automatic emails in coming for weeks after you sign up. These give you the overview of the things you should know about us and there is sign up for free access an article called, “How to get most out of your mediumship reading”.
I think that’s more important now-a-days then it has been previously because people are seeing mediums on the TV. They have a lot more assumptions now about how mediumship works then they used to.
Angela: If Windbridge were fully funded and had all the money coming in you wanted what kind of study, or what would be your dream study be?
Dr. Beishel: Oh wow! I would do a study about grief and mediumship. People who receive mediumship readings are almost like night and day before and after they receive their readings. Anecdotally people who had readings, understand how that works but, there is no data to support this.
I designed study to look into this just as if I were doing a drug trial except that instead of drug, it’s a mediumship reading. I have the study, the clinical trial, randomized control group design and I have submitted it but it has not found a home with the funding organization. So instead we are bringing it to the people through “crowd funding.” I think people who have had readings, understand that its important. I like to say I wont rest until Insurance companies pay for mediumship readings.
The meta-analysis was published in 2000. It analyzed some grief intervention studies and found that traditional psychotherapy is not necessarily beneficial in the treatment of grief. You can’t treat grief with antidepressents because grief is not depression so there is not a whole lot that we can offer people who are grieving. But there is a lot of data about spontaneous experiences of communication with your lost loved ones [being healing] and so this indicates that induced communication through mediumship reading may have the same effect as the spontaneous experiences of personal communication.
So we want to work at that so I designed a study about it. If people visit www.afterlifescience.com they can learn more about how to support that through crowdfunding. This study is the first step in a future in which the therapist can work with mediums to help the grieving. We really can help people we really can change the grief in this country if this very simple study goes through but we do need support for that. So again, people can go to afterlifescience.com to learn more about that crowdfunding initiative.
And then If I really had all the money, like in a fantasy world, I have a number of ideas about FMRI, Functional Magnetic Resonance Imagining studies that I’d love to do. FMRI studies are expensive though. I hope to be able to do some FMRI studies because you can’t call is cold reading if the brain is doing something that the medium cannot hide. You cant hide her brain from from the FMRI.
Angela: If you can find certain parts of the brain that lights up only when a mediumship reading is performed in a consistent number of mediums you might have found the “mediumship spot” in the brain! That is fascinating.
Grief is usually the reason that people get a mediumship reading just like you did with your mother but doing so won’t legitimize mediumship for skeptics. Having a practical application like grief therapy where insurance companies pay the bill would be awesome.
What you would say has been the most surprising thing that you ever learned or happened since you started studying mediums?
Dr. Beischel: I was surprised to learn that dead people are not scary because the popular culture will lead you to believe that they are. They are just people with no bodies. Its just people still and they still have their faults. I learned that, “oh when you die you don’t become immediately self actualized.” If you had issues, you had personalities quarks and you were kind of pain, you are still kind of pain even though you are dead. You still continue to grow and learn even though you don’t have a body anymore so you are not perfect when you die, and you are not scary when you die so that was the most surprising thing that I learned.
Angela: Yes, I think that is the huge misconception that people have. It probably comes from all the movies they’ve seen where right away you just become an angel looking down smiling down serenely even if life you were a bitch.
Dr. Beischel: One of the questions that we ask when we do a research readings is: Does the discarnate [deceased] have any comments, questions or requests for the sitter. We’ve gotten responses like, “Where the heck is my headstone? Why it isn’t there?” And we have to say well, “The ground is so frozen and they can’t put it up yet.”
One time I did a research reading and the medium said, “Can you call me back after the reading because I am getting something for you from your mother.” So I called her back and she said your mother is showing me this one thing over and over. The words: Dr. Julie Beischel, Dr. Julie Beischel. Then the medium asked me, “Are you thinking about changing your name?” And, at the time she didn’t know this but I got engaged and so we were talking about whether I should change my name or not. So I am getting advice from my mother to keep my name, even from the other side. But again, when you die you aren’t perfect though. You don’t have to listen to that anymore then you would have to listen if your mother were giving you advice and she were still alive.
Angela: What other practical application are there for mediumship?
Dr. Beischel: That’s our main focus. Our full name is Windbridge Institude for Applied Research. Aside from studies on grieving we are interested how mediumship could assist Law enforcement. Mediumship readings can be used to find missing person or solve murders. Perhaps someday mediums could speak for murder victims in a court of law.
Clearly there are law enforcement persons using mediums that are not coming clean and being public about this but its happening. More research needs to be done because everything that comes out of a medium’s mouth isn’t always accurate and the medium can tell which things are accurate and which things aren’t. We don’t know why that happens. So we think that research is necessary in this area.
Angela: Years ago one of the first psychic development courses I took, and I am going back now probably about 25 years, there was a police detective in the course and he drove down from Massachusetts. I took the course in New York. He didn’t want anybody to know that he was taking this course but he said he was quite intuitive and he wanted to see if he developed it could it help him solve cases. Now that was the first time I had ever heard of anything like that and I was like Wow that’s really awesome!! I don’t know what happened to him but it was really amazing
Dr. Beischel: And that’s what I have heard is that people in law enforcement don’t want to be make fun of. They use the psychic off the books without telling their colleagues, and then once that person is solving cases repeatedly and then department aks how are you getting leads and they tell them and then they can get behind it.
Angela: S0 aside from publishing your book what else is you working on?
Dr. Beischel: We just received funding to study the hematology and psycho-physiology of medumship. We take the medium’s blood before and after reading and see what kind of blood components might change because it seems that, mediums have the threat of higher health risks then the rest of the population. And again if you can show physiological components to this, it supports the reality that it’s not psychopathology or that they are just delusional.
Angela: When I read about this in your book I got little upset. I don’t want to have any health issues.
Dr. Beischel: It’s not a 100% but as a population, we have seen higher rates of autoimmune disorder. My theory is that because you are sort of interacting with the energy of the people so often that may be the body becomes confused about what’s self and what’s other. So that’s, I have no data to support but that’s my hypothesis,
Angela: That makes sense.
Beischel: So the other thing that we are working on is, my husband and I are writing a book called “Psychic Intimacy.” People can visit psychicintimacy.com to learn more about it. Mark and I met at a parapsychology two week parapsychology summer program. We were on a camp and we were hearing from experts and we were doing demonstrations of para-psychological research experiment and that’s where we met. We participated in an experiment where our physiology linked up even though we were strangers in two different buildings. My physiology was reacting to Mark’s physiology even though he was in the different building and so we got married. [LOL]
So through our relationship as, you know we are both scientists and we are never ‘not’ scientists. In our everyday life we try to do experiments in our house. We try and demonstrate our non local connection and we thought there must be other couples who would benefit from it. It brings people closer together to know that even mentally you are connected even if you are in two different cities or countries.
So we are writing this book called “Psychic Intimacy a Handbook for Couples.” And it will include real world exercises that people can use to demonstrate their connections to each other even if not in the same room. Lots of people have experiences where their partners so we are collecting stories from people.
You know, that sentence like meeting someone for the first time but feel like you have known them for a long time.
Angela: Yes, that’s happened to me. I recall a Dean Radin experiment where there were couples they were in different room.
Dr. Beischel: That’s the study he was doing at the time. He told us about it and we said that’s really interesting and we said why not try it> So we acted like we were a couple in his study though we were strangers. It was called the “Love study” That was the code name they used. One of the spouses had cancer and they looked to see if the body of the other spouse linked up and it did.
Angela: Is this the same Dean Radin experiment where he was showing things to one of the spouses and the other spouse reacted in the other room?
Dr. Beischel: The way we did was, I was in the room with a camera and mark was in another building with a TV and sometimes the camera would be pointed at me and sometimes he could see me on the TV and sometimes he couldn’t and so when he could see me his instructions were to try and get my attention from the other building. He would be going, “Julie Julie Julie,” and my blood pressure would go up.
Angela: So your body was reacting even though you weren’t consciously aware of what was going on. See that to me is such a proof for psi. I can’t imagine how anyone could refute that.
Dr. Beischel: Once I got into the field it really opened my eyes. I realized that everything I learned isn’t the whole picture. Its arrogant to think that we understand everything in the universe so, it make you really open to thinking that, “Okay maybe these other things are possible too.” And as a good scientist you have to stay open minded. Unless you have data to refute something you can’t say it can’t happen.
Angela: Who is to say that what we see as our reality is only the tiny tip of the iceberg. We really don’t know what’s really under there.
Dr. Beischel please tell readers where they can connect with you.
Dr. Beischel: People can visit Windbridge.org . All our peer viewed papers are available on the Windbrige page and people can sign up to receive emails. They can also become members to get the quarterly e-newsletter – that’s a members only newsletter.
They can visit afterlifescience.com for information and to contribute to the crowdfunding about the grief clinical trial that I want do.
They can also visit psychicintimacy.com where we are actually not doing studies. Its really just the collection of exercises we have developed in our own house and in our own relationship and where we think might be helpful to people. We are collecting stories about psychic connections that they have had and, it doesn’t have to be romantic partner either. We have a friend who is an author and she has a connection with her writing partner. They are not couple but they can communicate across time and space. So it doesn’t have to be a romantic couple, just things that lots of people share. Go to psychicintimacy.com we are collecting stories and sign up to a different email list to be notified when that book comes out.
Angela: Dr. Beischel you have generously offered a special gift to Powered by Intuition readers. You are giving away a free membership to the Windbridge Institute to one lucky reader who leaves a comment about why supporting a controversial research is important.
When you say “controversial research” is it because the scientific community puts their nose up in the air?
Dr. Beischel: Yes. Almost any other thing that you want to study in this country, the government has a grant for but there aren’t any government grants available supporting mediumship studies.
What questions do you have for Dr. Beischel? Why do you think it’s important to support controversial research studies such as mediumship? (Enter the contest for a free WB membership by leaving your comment).
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P.S. Please pick up a copy of Dr. Beischel’s book, “Among Mediums” and help support the research at the Windbridge Institute.
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