I’ve never told anyone about this before, but while I was in Sarasota Memorial for my recent open-heart surgery, I died and left my body for several minutes. I remember gradually fading into unconsciousness on the operating table, then slowly awakening in a giant crib, the size of a tennis court. I was lying on my back, with my arms and legs up in the air, like a dying cockroach. In the distance, through plate glass windows, I could see aliens operating monitoring machines. I screamed feebly to get their attention. But they didn’t seem to notice.
For a long time I assumed that this was some sort of drug-induced hallucination. But now, after reading famed psychic Sylvia Browne’s new book, Afterlives of the Rich and Famous, I realized I was being "cocooned." That’s the part of the afterlife where they take difficult people, like Alzheimer’s patients and drug addicts, and, through a "compassionate, loving, and expertly devised and executed process" help them make a peaceful transition from earth to the Other Side.
Even though my death didn’t seem to "take" and I am now back at work at Sarasota Magazine, I have certainly learned a lot about what happens when we die from reading Ms. Browne’s new book. First of all, she pinpoints exactly where the Other Side is. It’s precisely three feet off the ground. The reason we can’t see it is because it exists in another dimension "whose vibrational frequency is much higher than ours." Imagine—right at the level of my bathroom vanity, next to my Head & Shoulders and Polident—that’s where Heaven is. A story like that’s just got to be true.
The afterlife sounds an awful lot like Plymouth Harbor. There are all sorts of classes and enrichment activities you can take, not to mention endless socializing. They have stadiums, tennis courts, ski resorts (only non-contact sports are allowed). The weather is always calm and clear and 78 degrees. There is no day or night, just an eternal "now." Everybody looks as he or she did at 30 years old. You can live wherever you want, and you decorate by "simple thought projection." Just about the only drawback is that there’s no food.
And here’s a good piece of news—there’s no hell. True, there is something called the Left Door—or "mean heaven," as Sylvia’s granddaughter calls it. This is for people who are misguided or genuinely lost. They enter here and head right back in utero for another incarnation that’s likely to be as destructive as the one they just completed.
The Other Side is our Home. The earth is just someplace we go to every once in a while, sort of like high school, where we are tested and given challenges that we learn from. We can decide if we want to be reincarnated or not. Some people do it as many as 50 times. Some do it only once or not at all. Elvis, by the way, was reincarnated back in 2004 and is now being raised in a vineyard in France. This time he has blond hair and blue eyes. He is planning to become a monk, and will work with the poor in and around Perpignan.
Like so many others who have glimpsed the Other Side, I no longer fear death. In fact, I welcome it, or I will after I get my fill of candy, rich sauces, chocolate cake and pickles. I am already planning my house—I want one of those mansions at the Lake Club in Lakewood Ranch—and am figuring out who I want to hang out with throughout Eternity. Here’s my list so far: Matt Orr, Eleanor Roosevelt, Geoffrey Chaucer, Molly Schechter and Fatty Arbuckle. I really wanted to hang out with Princess Diana, but I hear through the grapevine that Her Highness is just a little too special for the rest of us and prefers to meditate rather than socialize. All I can say, is—she’d better watch it. I’d hate for her to accidentally open the Left Door. A couple of lifetimes as a peasant in Mongolia might teach her a thing or two about returning my calls.
What are your favorite dead celebrities up to?
Here’s what Sylvia has to say.
Rock Hudson: "Rock’s home is made entirely of windows, which overlook his vast hydroponic gardens. He’s one of our most prolific and charming hosts, and during the course of a party he can always be counted on to sing one of his favorite songs, Send in the Clowns, accompanied on the piano by his frequent sidekick Martha Raye."
Chris Farley: "He is a gifted and very popular classical dance teacher and swimming instructor. He and John Belushi love performing rock and roll with a variety of other musicians, including Buddy Holly, Janis Joplin, and Otis Redding, with Chris on drums."
Eva Gabor: "She lives in a Tudor house filled with animals and surrounded by a swimming pool that circles the house like a moat, where she continues swimming laps. Merv Griffin is teaching her to play tennis, and the two of them are popular lecturers on the subject of business ethics for those who are planning to reincarnate and become corporate managers."
Albert Einstein: "When he emerged from the tunnel his mentor, Isaac Newton, was there to shake his hand. Albert has also reunited with his friend Johannes Brahms, whose music he adores. They perform at small salons throughout the Other Side, with Johannes on the harpsichord and Albert on his beloved violin."
Ray Charles: "Ray regained his eyesight the instant he entered the tunnel. He is involved in developing something to do with advancements in computer software that involve composing and transcribing music in Braille. His greatest regret is that he didn’t say ‘no’ more often, particularly when it came to heroin."