Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death.
By Deborah Blum. Penguin Press.
384 pages. $24.95.
|©New Oxford Review
On January 29, 1996, my mother Mildred lay dying in Calvary Hospital in the Bronx with end-stage thyroid cancer. She had taken a turn for the worse and was in a coma. Her breathing was steady and unlabored. She looked like she was just sleeping. My sister Carol had called my brother William and me the day before and advised us to come as soon as we could. I arrived on the evening of January 28, but my brother the surgeon had patients scheduled and could not leave until the afternoon of the 29th. He was on active duty in the Army, stationed in El Paso. My sister and I were at Mom's bedside just before noon when the phone rang. It was my brother's wife, Jisa. She asked us in an excited voice, "What's the matter with Milly?" My sister answered, "Nothing. She's sleeping." We then both looked at Mom, and I noticed the color drain from her ear. She had no pulse and no respiration. My sister-in-law, who was over two thousand miles away, had known the exact moment of my mother's death before those of us who were standing right next to her. Jisa later told us that just before she had called she had felt an arm go around her shoulders and had heard my mother's voice say, "I am leaving now."