Phone calls from the dead?

Callum CooperIt’s more than 30 years since Raymond Bayless and D. Scott Rogo wrote their ground-breaking book Phone Calls From the Dead. What has happened since? Well, for one thing, telephones have changed radically and we also have various new methods of communication available to us – such as emails, texts and Skype. But people continue to receive anomalous messages on phones as well as these new forms of electronic media. It’s a phenomenon in which I have long had an interest so I was delighted to learn that Callum Cooper (right), who is pursuing doctoral research in psychology and parapsychology at the University of Northampton, England, has decided to reprise the subject and bring the work of Bayless and Rogo up to date.

Cooper presented some of his findings at a meeting of the Society for Psychical Research in London yesterday, based on his new book, Telephone Calls From the Dead.

I confess that when I first became aware of the Bayless and Rogo book, many years ago, I initially shrugged it off as a mass market paperback that would be sensational and colourful but short on facts. But when I realised that one of its authors was Rogo, a writer and parapsychologist whose approach to the paranormal had impressed me greatly, I bought the book and thoroughly enjoyed it, learning in the process that Rogo’s co-author was, if anything, even more demanding and sceptical.

Telephone Calls From The Dead coverWho better than these two dedicated researchers to delve into a phenomenon which many would dismiss as impossible? And who better than Cal Cooper to continue their studies, providing new material that reinforces the American parapsychologists’ findings.

In fact, some of that new material originated with Rogo but has never before been published. Rogo was murdered in 1990 and his papers were given by his family to the California Institute of Integral Studies.

Cooper contacted Rogo’s father, who was also a friend of Bayless, and he gave his permission for the Northampton University researcher to have access to his papers.

The institute’s library staff sorted through the files – no one else had apparently looked at them since they were gifted – and found a folder containing case studies that had come to light and been investigated after the book was published.

One of those cases, which Cooper shared with his SPR audience, concerned a man named Carl who took himself off to the coast in 1969 for a much-needed break. He found a cottage which had a room to rent. The woman who greeted him said he should call her “Grandma”. She then showed him to his room, which was full of antiques, including a wall-mounted 19th century telephone which had a crack handle on the side to call an operator and place a call. He paid little attention to it until one night, after spending the day on a beach, he was woken by its ringing at 11:13pm. He tried to ignore it but eventually picked it up. He heard his father’s voice saying:

“Ah, there you are Carl. Your mother will be trying to reach you. Call her up, she has a message for you.”

Wondering what the problem might be, the son responded, “Call her to the phone Dad, I’ll talk to her now.”

“I can’t, she is not with me,” his father replied.

“Where are you calling from?” Carl enquired.

“It’s a very beautiful place. Be sure you call your mother. Good-bye Carl.”

Concerned, he tried to call his mother but was unable to get the phone to work, so he decided to go back to sleep and try calling her in the morning. When he recounted the experience to “Grandma” at breakfast next morning she looked puzzled. She explained to Carl that the telephone in his room had been bought in an antique shop by her late husband. What’s more, it wasn’t connected to any wiring that would enable calls to be made. Handing him a mordern kitchen phone she told her guest he ought to call his mother immediately. When he did, she said:

“Carl, where on earth have you been? I’ve been nearly frantic, trying all night to locate you! Your father died last night of a heart attack at 11:13. Nobody knew where you were.”

Clearly, cases of this kind appear not only to suggest that in special cases the dead can make contact with the living by using electronic or telephonic devices, but that they can do so even when those objects are not functioning.

There may well be parallels with EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) in which discarnates appear to communicate with researchers using white noise on radios or similar devices.

Let’s hope that Cal Cooper’s research uncovers more recent cases. It’s certainly good news that a university researcher is focusing on phenomena relating to survival of death.

I discussed the phenomena of EVP and telephone calls from the dead, including Bayless and Rogo’s research, in my book Spirit Communication, and have been on the look-out for such cases ever since. The most recent, which I shared with Cal at the end of his lecture, comes from Maureen Lipman, a well-known and much-loved English actress whose husband of many years, playwright Jack Rosenthal, died in 2004.

Speaking to Daily Telegraph columnist Mandrake in 2011 (see below), Lipman revealed that she believes she was admonished by her late husband in a posthumous text message on her mobile phone. She does not indicate when this occurred.

“Our son, Adam, showed me the first draft of a novel he had been writing, and criticised it,” she explained. “One of the characters in the novel was called Enk and later that day I was fiddling with my phone and a text message popped up from Jack. It said, ‘The lad’s done well – Enk’.”

The actress added: “I couldn’t believe it. I don’t know how it happened, but there was Jack’s name. Of course, it could have been an old message he had sent me that I had kept that had got mangled, but God only knows. I felt it was Jack’s way of telling me – ‘Our boy’s doing alright. Leave him alone’.”

Maureen Lipman story in Telegraph

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