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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Q-and-A with Prof. Gary Schwartz

    Psychology professor Gary Schwartz wants to set the record straight about his communication with the dead.

    Wildcat: What degrees do you hold?

    Schwartz: I received my A.B. degree from Cornell in 1966. (I was) a psychology major and chemistry minor, and also pre-med. I received my M.A. in clinical psychology in 1969 and my Ph.D. in personality psychology in 1971, both from Harvard University.

    W: What classes do you teach at the UA?

    S: I teach Advanced Health Psychology (PSYC 484/584) and The Psychology of Religion and Spirituality Psych (PSYC 357).

    W: What research have you conducted recently?

    S: My laboratory conducts research that integrates mind, body and spirit. Current projects include research on energetic, psychological and spiritual processes in healing and health, and the possibility of survival of consciousness after death.

    W: Can you communicate, or do you have any relationship, with the dead?

    S: I am personally not a medium. However, my colleagues and I have scientifically tested more than 20 mediums, as described in two books, “”The Afterlife Experiments”” and “”The Truth about Medium.”” Like many people, I sometimes have personal sporadic impressions and intuitions, discussed, for example, in “”The G.O.D. Experiments.””

    W: How much do mediums charge for communicating with the dead?

    S: Most of the mediums we have tested do private readings. Depending upon the experience and fame of the medium, the price can range from $100 to $200, to more than $700 a reading.

    W: What kind of things do mediums find out about the dead?

    S: In our research, we seek various kinds of information, from cause of death and personal appearance to personality and hobbies. Often mediums will report messages supposedly from the deceased that often provide solace and hope for their loved ones, as well as predictions about the future.

    W: Do professional mediums communicate with the dead at specific times or places?

    S: Skilled mediums can obtain information from the dead at virtually any time and place. I have witnessed accurate readings take place even in restaurants.

    W: When does one discover the gift of communicating with the dead?

    S: Our research mediums vary concerning when they report first discovering that they could communicate with the deceased. Some report having experiences as young children, others not until they were adults.

    W: What are advantages and disadvantages of communicating with the dead?

    S: There are many advantages when mediums do this kind of work: It is a service for people who are grieving the loss of loved ones, it provides them with meaning and purpose in their lives, they can earn a living doing this kind of work and some of them become quite famous. There are also disadvantages, including mediums experiencing ridicule, if not scorn, by family, friends or certain members of society, distractions in one’s personal life, and sometimes great pain and sorrow experienced from the suffering of the deceased as well as their loved ones.

    W: Are you currently asking for funding to conduct further research?

    S: Occasionally, wealthy families contact me and ask how they might assist this work. I sometimes suggest that if they have the funds, they can consider creating an endowed chair/professorship in this area of research so as to enable the professor to work full-time in this area. I only spend a few a weeks doing mediumship-related research. Most of my research time focuses on energy and mind-body healing. An endowed chair costs a few million dollars to create. Presently, I do not know any families interested in creating an endowed professorship in this area. Endowed professorships are needed at universities across the country.

    W: If you do receive the funding, what will you do with it?

    S: I would focus on a few research questions, like what are the brain mechanisms involved in genuine mediumship versus fake mediumship? Can mediumship be taught? Do psychic abilities run in families, and if so, to what extent is there a genetic component? Also, how do personal sessions with responsible mediums affect the process of grief, and can laypeople learn to communicate with their deceased loved ones?

    W: Why should students take one of your classes?

    S: If students are interested in health psychology and/or the psychology of religion and spirituality, and how science addresses some of the deepest questions facing humanity – including the reality of spirituality – then they will likely enjoy and profit from these courses.

    W: What have you learned through your work and research?

    S: I have learned to be wary of people who have strong biases to believe one way or the other. I have witnessed a handful of skeptics, mediums and sitters (people who go to mediums) actively twist, if not misrepresent, the truth regarding our research and activities. Sadly, the media is often biased against this research, so the full and honest story is not told.

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