Tag Archives: out of body experience

212 – Miracle Worker? Faith Healing with Josh Tongol

The first thing I think of when I think of faith healing is psychic surgery, a form of bloody theater where a practitioner digs into a body without the use of tools and pulls out what’s ailing the patient. It was popular in the mid-20th Century in the Philippines and Brazil and even comedian Andy Kaufman underwent a 6-week psychic surgery regimen before he died of lung cancer in 1984 (how much he did it for show versus actually hoping to be cured is unknown.) It’s an unusual tradition that’s been called a “complete hoax” by the Federal Trade Commission. 

The Amazing Randi performing psychic surgery on The Tonight Show

The first thing Wendy could think of is Steve Martin in the movie Leap of Faith, where he plays a traveling huckster preacher going from town to town to “heal” people desperate for a little bit of holiness in their lives.

I’ve always thought the idea that God could heal you and just chooses not to completely absurd. I’ve always had a materialist bent and in this area particularly because it’s so easy for people to take advantage of the desperate and the sick, much like Steve Martin in the movie. 

But then I thought a little more about it. Faith healing is humanity’s oldest form of medicine. Before a shaman could figure out medicines, before there was chemotherapy, before there were even leeches(!) there was just the basic belief that you will get over your sickness and return to normal. There was the faith that you were going to get better. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t, but isn’t that belief part of what helps you get better?

Even Dungeons & Dragons has clerical healing.

My father grew up in the Christian Science tradition and we all know the stories about how Christian Scientists don’t go to Doctors (which would be a good follow-up episode to this one) and the “laying of hands” was a Christian as well as Jewish faith healing tradition for centuries. According to a Gallup poll in 2013, 39% of Americans go to church every week. And when you’re in church you pray for people that are sick. Even if we’re not believers, we know that good wishes probably can’t hurt them and a positive attitude might help. Now, I’m not making excuses for charlatans, but I am saying that while it might be different verbiage, a lot of us deal in “faith healing” a lot more than we think we do.

I think about a study that was done when I was in college in the 1990s where we were told about kids with cancer playing a video game that would fight their illness and how it had promising results. That was actually the aspect of the field that I was most excited about. But isn’t faith healing just another form of psychological therapy to go along with modern medicine?

Joshua Tongol

Our guest in this episode is Joshua Tongol. While he comes from a Filipino family that was raised in a Christian tradition where they believe in miracles like you would have seen at Steve Martin’s church in Leap of Faith. Josh was born missing a hand and all his life he prayed to be healed. He went to Christian revivals and services when he grew up in California purposely trying to heal himself, he truly believed that God would re-grow his hand. 

It didn’t happen and Josh found himself at odds with his faith. That is, until he started seeing healing in his own life that neither he nor his doctors could explain. Josh’s journey might have taken him away from the church of his youth, but it brought him towards a new understanding of spirituality. In this conversation, we talk about:

  • How Josh’s life was ruined by debilitating sciatica 
  • What transformed in his life that made him a believer again
  • The first steps anyone can take in using their belief to help them heal
  • More than healing, astral travel and how Josh started having out-of-body experiences as well

Josh Tongol has a podcast called The FlipsideRethinking Spirituality and is the author of two books, So You Thought You Knew: Letting Go of Religion and The Secret to Awesomeness: Creating the Life You’ve Always Wanted. He currently resides in the Philippines and you can visit him at his site. JoshuaTongol.com.

For this week’s song, we were inspired to sing about the televangelists of our youths. Guys like Jim Bakker and Oral Roberts were always making promises if they just got a little bit more money. God would provide more for you if you provided for them. And since we were hearkening back to the 80s, we went with some classic 80s’ Heavy Metal style. Here’s Sunspot with “Miracle Worker”.

You say I’ve gotta God Complex,
I don’t think you understand
there’s a millions who know the truth,
they’ve seen my bleeding hands.

The more you believe
the more you will be healed
the more you accept
the more it is real
Faith in mysterious ways
How much can you pay?
Miracle Worker

I feed on trust, maybe placebo
Some use anesthetic, I’ve got the opiate of people.

The more you believe
the more you will be healed
the more you accept
the more it is real
Faith in mysterious ways
How much can you pay?
Miracle Worker




163 – Flatliners: Hollywood and the Near Death Experience

Looks like there is no intellectual property that the great minds of Hollywood are afraid of resurrecting. Twenty seven years after it originally premiered, they’re bringing back Flatliners as a quasi-reboot / stealth sequel. They’re probably getting the message that us geeks are getting tired of rebooting properties when they could basically create a new story with new characters while keeping it in the same universe and even just some kind of nod to the original can satiate fans who are looking for a continuation of the story.

Joel Schumacher made one of the 1980s most stylish and inventive horror films with The Lost Boys (a film we’ve talked about on this podcast a hundred times) and he took the main heavy from that film (a little actor by the name of Kiefer Sutherland) and made him the lead of his next movie, Flatliners.

Flatliners is a film about medical students who create Near Death Experiences for themselves (the flatline of the title) and then get resuscitated back to life. They’re looking for the last frontier, what happens after we die, what Shakespeare called “the undiscovered country from whose bourne no man returns”, well, unless you’re Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, Billy Baldwin, Oliver Platt, or Julia Roberts.

What they find is a cosmic justice waiting for them, an accountability for their sins in life waiting for them. And those sins can now come back to haunt them in our world, brought back through the portal of the Near Death Experience. That’s the gist of the story and it’s still an effective horror film. We’ll see about the remake starring Ellen Page and Diego Luna (who are usually pretty great) and directed by the original The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo director, Niels Arden Oplev (and written by the dude who wrote Source Code which is a solid Twilight Zone episode of a movie!)

Anyway, when you think of a Near Death Experience, you think of your life flashing before your eyes, a tunnel with a light at the end, and sometimes an Out of Body Experience where your spirit leaves your body and you watch what’s happening to you.

Well, science seems to have an answer for some of those aspects of NDEs, there are others that consistently confound modern science, including Out Of Body Experiences during clinical death (cardiac arrest at least) that are not quite explainable and in one case, seemingly impossible.

Then we go into celebrity Near Death Experiences, from Kiefer Sutherland’s own father Donald, to Johnny Cash, Gary Busey, and many more.

You know theyre father and son, right?
You know they’re father and son, right?

This week’s song is based on Dylan Thomas’ classic poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”, with our own track about raging against the dying of the light. Here’s a headbanger about going out with a fight form our own flatline, “Pre-Emptive Strike”.

And when I’m hanging by a thread,
Tied to machines and half-dead,
and when you think it’s my final act,
don’t pull the plug,
I’m coming back.

Hey!
The strength of my will protects me from harm,
I’m not going out with a needle in my arm.

I’ll not go down without a fight,
my will is my pre-emptive strike,
I’ll not go down without a fight,
I’ll not go gently into that good night.

And when you think I can’t go on,
And when you think I’m not that strong,
I will not die by my own hand,
I’ll hold my ground, I’ll make my stand.

Hey!
The strength of my will protects me from harm,
I’m not going out with a needle in my arm.

I’ll not go down without a fight,
my will is my pre-emptive strike,
I’ll not go down without a fight,
I’ll not go gently into that good night.

56 – Have an Out of Body Experience: With Luis Minero

Out of Body Experiences (OBEs) are one of the least talked about paranormal phenomena, a lot of people have so much invested into the idea of your consciousness leaving your body at the time of death, that we forget that some people claim that they can leave their body and travel while they’re alive! 

It’s been called astral projection and spirit walking as well, and it’s something we talked about in the episode with Garnet Schulhauser and his spirit guide, Albert.  There’s an excellent cinematic representation of an out of body experience with Jake Busey and Michael J. Fox in Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners (which if you haven’t seen, you should probably go check it out, because it’s a great movie.)

But it’s also part of the Kevin Bacon/Kiefer Sutherland/Julia Roberts paranormal “classic”, Flatliners. That’s a decent one to watch if you’re interested in some late 80s/early 90s nostalgia. I thought it was pretty scary in Seventh Grade too, if that makes it more enticing.

Neuropsychologists call this “leaving of the body” a Doppelgänger experience, where you feel an illusory body leave your physical sense. Scientists have used these disassociative experiences to learn more about how the human mind constructs its sense of self. People experience this state through meditation, extreme physical duress, episodes of being near death, and  hallucinogenic substances. But others claim that its nature is more mystical, that our souls and consciousness can leave our bodies and  we have conversation in this episode is with Luis Minero, who’s the head of the International Academy of Consciousness, which is an organization dedicated to investigating the mysteries of psychic phenomena and human potential.

Luis first had an out of body experience as a adolescent, he was laying down in his room and all of a sudden he felt that he was on the other side of the room. This started happening to him on a consistent basis afterwards and he became fascinated with the paranormal.

Luis details one of the ways to have an out of body experience.

  1. Get into a quiet room and put yourself in a comfortable spot where you can meditate.
  2. Focus your concentration on different points of the body (focusing your concentration = energy) and start moving that concentration from your head to your feet slowly.
  3. Increase the speed of moving the energy from top to bottom until it feels like your body is vibrating quickly.  Okay, we’d love for anyone to give this a try and see what happens. I’ve never had an out of body experience (my sister has though and we’ll have to ask her about that on a future episode) and I’m definitely going to give this a shot in my meditation exercises sometime.

If you’d like to learn more about the subject and more of Minero’s techniques, check out his book, Demystifying the Out-of-Body Experience: A Practical Manual for Exploration and Personal Evolution right here.

The song for this episode is “Push” by Sunspot.

Hot breath on my neck
I shut my eyes
turn all the way inward,
go deep inside.
and my face is wet,
how I want this to be
anyone but me
someone else’s body

to push push push away and out of here
I need to push push push away and out of here

From up on high
I can see where I lie,
Some kind of fantasy,
pushed right out of body

I went so far inside
that I lost my mind
I came out the other side
that’s where I hide.
that’s where I hide.

I’m watching myself now,
somewhere outside my brain,
free of the terror,
free of the pain.
Turn away from the scene,
I set off on my own,
into infinity,
beyond divinity.

to push push push away and out of here
I need to push push push away and out of here

From up on high
I can see where I lie,
Some kind of fantasy,
pushed right out of body

I went so far inside
that I lost my mind
I came out the other side
that’s where I hide.
that’s where I hide.