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Observations placeholder

MacLaine, Shirley - Kevin 01



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Out on a Limb – Shirley MacLaine
My doorbell in Malibu rang at six-forty-five the following evening. I opened it not knowing what to expect. Looking at me under a slouched beige hat was a young man, about twenty-nine years old, with direct, kind, deep blue eyes. He was wearing a beige suit to match the hat, a beige vest, and beige shoes and beige socks. He wore an overcoat (also beige) slung over one shoulder and smiled directly into my face. His smile was innocent and gentle.

Ironically, he didn't seem to be aware of his amusingly theatrical garb. Looking at him made me want a huge slice of beige coconut cream pie.

"Hello?" he said. "I'm Kevin."

His tone went up at the end of the sentence as though he had just asked me a question.

"I'm Kevin Ryerson." He gave the impression of being a little uncertain, yet relaxed somewhere way underneath.

"Yes, Kevin."

I opened the door and ushered him in. "Please come in and sit down."

I watched him closely as he walked through the door, unaware that his beige coat was dangling nearly off his shoulder. He moved smoothly, though with a slouch, planting his heels down first as he walked.

"May I leave my vehicle where it is outside?" he asked.

"Your vehicle?" I said. "Oh, you mean your car. Yes, sure. It doesn't matter."

“Thank you," he said. "My lady may drop in to meet me. I'd like her to be able to directly recognize it. "

“Your lady?"

"Yes," he said, "we were just recently wed and we had planned a celebration dinner later tonight depending on the time periods we would be occupying?”

I hesitated a moment not knowing how to react to his use of the English language. It sounded so affected. Combined with the way he walked and the way he dressed, it made me wonder whether he could be taken seriously.

“Oh, sure," I said perfectly casually. "I don’t know how long a session like this will take. You would very likely know better than I."

Kevin walked into my living room and sat down rather formally in one of my chairs.

"Yes," he said, "you direct your questions to the spiritual guides and they will determine the length of time required."

Kevin seemed strangely out of time, anachronistic. Or maybe I was just reading such an impression into his odd formality. Maybe that was what happened when you were with a trance medium. I asked him if he would like a drink or a cup of coffee or something.

"No,” he said, "'alcohol inhibits my accuracy. But tea would be fine."

I fixed the tea, telling myself firmly not to confuse the message with the messenger. "So, you've just recently gotten married?" I asked, making small talk and wanting to know what it was like to be living with a trance medium.

"Yes," he said, "I pretty well did in the bubble gum brigade before deciding to settle down."

I laughed out loud. He seemed to swing back and forth between the Knights of the Round Table and the rock generation.

"Hmm. And will you be having children do you think?" I asked.

"No," he said, "my lady and I would like to go out and change the world, but we can’t afford a babysitter."

I served Kevin the tea.

“Are you familiar with trance channeling?” he asked.

"Well, slightly," I answered. I told him about Ambres in Sweden and about other people who had described their experiences to me. I said I was familiar with the Edgar Cayce material.

Kevin said modestly that he was an expert on Cayce and admired him very much. “A great soul," he said. 'I have several Cayce books that are impossible to find. You're welcome to them."

We chatted on about Cayce and spiritual guidance and medical diagnosis through the phenomenon of trance channeling.  We discussed Sir Oliver Lodge's research with the British Society for Psychical Research in England, and his experiments in contacting the soul of his dead son. We discussed the case of Mrs. Piper in Boston and how her information always checked out to be infallible. Kevin talked in a relaxed way, appeared to be well read in metaphysical matters, articulate, and surprisingly humorous with his intelligent assessments of some of the circumstances he found himself in as a result of his psychic and metaphysical talents.

"I didn't know what was happening to me either when this all first started," he- volunteered. "Spirit came through during one of my meditations. I didn’t even know it. But someone ran and got a tape recorder and got the whole thing. When they played it back to me I freaked. I knew nothing about the medical information I had channeled through. I didn't know the voices that came through me either, and I certainly didn't make up the past-life information while fabricating a phony voice."

It was difficult for me to accept what he was saying at face value. Why should I believe that he couldn't or wouldn’t fabricate strange voices and intricate stories about past lives? I thought of Ambres in Sweden. If I had understood or spoken Swedish I would have asked him more questions too. Well, I'll just keep listening I thought. I folded my arms.

"I couldn't explain it in any rational way," Kevin continued. "I just knew that I must be channeling spiritual guides. My sister can do the same thing. And it always freaked out our parents who just plain didn’t understand any of it. Then I began to read about other people who found themselves capable of the same thing---even kids eight and nine years old, channeling through languages they didn't speak, and stuff like that, so I relaxed and just let it happen, and it's helped a lot of people."

I looked at Kevin, quietly sifting what he'd said through my mind, remembering all the other case histories I had read. He sipped his tea. He seemed so modest, so unpretentious, even though he was dressed as though he had come straight from Western Costume. I had always trusted what a friend of mine described as my built-in "bullshit detector"-that inbred sense of skepticism. But I decided against questioning him about his garb for fear of intimidating him.

I wondered what my ideal impression of a credible trance medium would be. Each- individual was just that-an individual. What would a "typical" trance medium sound or look like? What would a typical psychiatrist or doctor or lawyer be like? Were there trance mediums who faked ninety percent of what they did, just as there were practitioners of other professions who made mistakes or were careless on ‘off' days or who really didn’t give a damn any day of the week?

Didn’t one, in any case, have to judge pretty much by results? Was invisible reality something that could ever be proved? And, for that matter what was invisible reality? It was, quite simply, something one believed to be true.

Praying to a deity called God was investing faith in an invisible reality: when a baseball player made the sign of the cross before stepping up to the plate, he was invoking a higher invisible reality; when a basketball player crossed himself before attempting a tie-breaking foul shot, no one in the bleachers laughed at him; there were supposed to be no atheists in foxholes, and the moving spectacle of loved ones praying to an invisible God in a hospital emergency room was all too familiar. Millions of people spent every Sunday participating in the invisible reality of worshipping something they could not prove. None of this seemed to require skepticism in order to be credible. The invisible reality was accepted and had been for centuries. No one questioned it. In fact, faith in an invisible reality was what reverence was all about.

“Well," said Kevin finally, "whatever one thinks of channeling invisible spiritual guides, it is an individual decision. People usually just 'know' whether it feels reasonable or not. I don't try to convince anyone. I just try to understand it and learn as I go along. I feel quite guided by.my spiritual friends and continue to develop my metaphysical talents. You'll have to make up your own mind."

I thought about what he said, wondering if my having a session with him actually constituted believing in what he was saying. Was it a way of asking to be convinced? I found myself analyzing my own "open-mindedness" in a new light. Was open-mindedness an act of gullibility?

I sipped my tea.

The source of the experience

MacLaine, Shirley

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps