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Needing Another Fix To Overcome My Skepticism

Becoming A Knower Is A Process And Not An Event

By Bob Olson

Part I

For my birthday, my wife, Melissa, gave me a blue baseball cap that had red and white letters on it that spelled “Red Sox.” It was in memory of my father because he loved the Red Sox; and, according to Vicki, he is now an even more devoted fan in the spirit world. Considering the unexpected reunion with my father just four months prior (at my first reading), this baseball cap was the most meaningful birthday gift I received that year.

A couple weeks after my birthday, Vicki sent me an email expressing some guidance from my father. It was not uncommon that he would visit her when he had a message for me. At the end of her email she wrote, “Did your father used to wear a hat?” The question just hung there without any explanation, so it appeared nonsensical. I was certain that Vicki was confused, as my father was not one to wear a hat. So I dismissed the question without a response.

Two weeks later, Melissa and I traveled to Maine and had dinner with Vicki and her mother, Nancy. Since Vicki’s accuracy had been uncanny throughout our, now, five months of telephone conversations and email correspondence, the hat snafu was still bugging me. So I challenged her on it.

“Okay Vicki, what’s all this talk about my father wearing a hat? Because, except for a cowboy hat that he occasionally wore while driving a truck, he wasn’t one to wear hats,” I contested.

Vicki went into her semi-trance mode right there at the restaurant table, that state of mind where she’s obviously tuning in to some beacon of information which is indiscernible to the rest of us. “Oh, oh…” she begins, with a halting speech pattern that indicates to me that some message is coming through. “Your father keeps showing me this hat he’s wearing. He keeps taking it off and placing it back on his head. He was doing this while I was writing that email to you last month. It’s a blue baseball cap with red and white lettering that spells ‘Red Sox’ across the front.”

Melissa and I just sat in dead-silence for about twenty seconds. I recall cocking my head to the side while looking at Vicki, like a dog might do when you play a harmonica or whistle a tune. Vicki and Nancy just smirked at one another knowing Vicki had, once again, struck an impressionable chord.

I hated to admit it, but I needed these “baseball cap” moments to further deepen my faith. I wanted to buy into the conclusion that my initial three-hour reading in January was enough to convert me from stone-blind skeptic to unshakable knower; but, in retrospect, I discovered that becoming a knower is a process, not an event.

My first reading with Vicki catapulted me to a new level of enlightenment, but even at this level I was still a freshman who needed to grow accustomed to my new paradigm shift. The truth was that I needed to ripen spiritually before I was ready to begin writing this book. At the time of this baseball cap moment, it would be another year-and-a-half before I would put my fingers to the keyboard. So much for my lightning bolt enlightenment. I guess I’m a slow learner.

Accordingly, my process required many “baseball cap” moments. My intellect continuously fought what I knew to be true. With the passing of days, weeks and months after an incredible reading, my intellect slowly brainwashed me into questioning what I once thought would be undeniable experiences. But denial is a powerful force. The result of this inner-conflict was that my beliefs were very shakable, and periodically needed reinforcement in the form of additional evidence. If it were not for Vicki’s assistance, I suspect my spiritual growth may never have traveled fast enough to fly, but rather, would have crashed and burned on the runway.

Being blessed with such a gifted friend, I often made use of Vicki’s talents when my newly found belief-system grew frail. One day, while I interviewed Vicki by phone, I was engrossed by an eerie scene before me. I was walking through my living room because I’m a pacer—I pace while I talk on the phone. As I looked out my sliding glass door, the neighbor’s cat, Scrapper, was walking up our brick walkway toward the living room where I paced.

Now, Scrapper is a beastly creature. I think he was squashed by an eighteen-wheeler and came back to life—he’s not a pretty sight.  And he’s got a temper to suit his appearance. Once, when I lowered my defenses to try patting him, he taught me that if a cat looks like a rabid beast, I should take that as a warning. Since this momentary lapse of reason resulted in scars that lasted for months, it was a lesson I only needed to learn once.

Scrapper has always respected my space as much as I respect his, and he has never come up on our porch. He’ll sit on the brick walk and meow for my own cat, Pesky, to come out and play. But he does this at a safe distance. This particular day, however, I just knew Scrapper was heading for the porch. I sensed it in his stride. And he did. He came strolling down the walk and right onto our porch directly in front of the sliding glass door. As he stood there, staring me square in the eye, he meowed. I couldn’t hear him because the door was closed, but I could see his mouth moving. It was so unusual and out-of-character for Scrapper to do this that it was spine-chilling. Looking into his vacant black eyes, I got the creeps so bad I had to leave the room and retreat to my office.

Once seated at my desk, and trying to forget about this bizarre Scrapper incident, I continued interviewing Vicki.  After gathering the nerve to test her once again, I asked Vicki which spirit-guide was presently watching over me. I always felt guilty testing her, but I needed a boost this particular day as my faith was fading from having a troublesome week. She informed me, without delay, that “Etheria” was by my side helping me write this book. Etheria is a penetrating soul who is Vicki’s principal spirit-guide. Prying, I asked, “How do I really know Etheria is with me right now?”—feeling somewhat ashamed of my doubtful challenge.

After a short hesitation, as if someone in the room was talking to her, Vicki nonchalantly replied, “Is there a cat meowing at your door right now? This isn’t your cat, but another cat?”

I was awestricken. I looked out my office window to see if Scrapper was still there, and he was, still meowing at the door. All I could say to Vicki was, “Okay, that’s enough proof for me.” I had my evidence fix and was good-to-go for another few months.

Without exception, I found I needed an additional layer of evidence to reinforce my beliefs every couple months during the first ten months of my journey. It was these “baseball cap” and “Scrapper” type episodes that sustained my process for spiritual growth, empowering my faith and reaffirming the miracles I had slowly begun to question over time. Time seemed to have a way of diminishing my convictions, making me question myself and my memories of all the prior evidence. Similar to the way time diminishes the pain of a loved-one’s death, after a while it feels less like reality and more like a dream. Vicki, along with the spirit-guides who worked with us, always remained patient with my periodic testing of Vicki’s abilities. In the end, I don’t know precisely when it occurred, we eventually pierced my final layer of skeptical skin.

I’m not sure exactly how much evidence was required to end my inner-conflict between faith and intellect. All I know is that about ten months into my research and investigation of psychic mediums, my belief became a “knowing.” The change was subtle and slow, but I now realize this is a life-long change that I own. Further, this knowing runs deeper with every new day. It’s like learning to walk. One day you realize you are doing it without thinking about it. I guess it’s the difference between memorizing information and absorbing it subconsciously through experience. Once the foundation of knowledge is laid, experience is always the better teacher.

Part II

Recently I was asked to give a speech regarding mediumship. As part of the speech, I spoke about knowing and how it becomes adopted through a process and not an event. I decided to include this short speech below. Sometimes saying the same thing in a different way deepens one’s understanding of it. Here is the excerpt from that speech:

Before I ever began researching and investigating psychics and psychic mediums, I was a “skeptic.” My mind was closed. And I saw exactly what I expected—nothing.

Then, after my first reading with a genuine psychic medium, I became a “believer.” Not one of those naïve believers who accept everything that is thrown at them, but a cautious and questioning believer. Because of certain undeniable evidence that I had witnessed in my first reading, my mind was now opened to the possibilities.

Finally, I became a “knower.” After several months of research and investigation, the evidence that was laid before me was so overwhelming that there was no more question, no more doubt that psychic mediums can communicate with the dead. I finally knew that we survive death. I knew that my father, my grandmother and other friends and relatives had not died, but rather, crossed-over to another dimension where they continue to live on.

But knowing is a process, not an event. Knowing requires many events over time, not just a single reading, a single public demonstration or any single moment of enlightenment. Knowing is the result of insight acquired from several such events. It’s a lot like driving an automobile. You don’t know how to drive in one or two lessons. But after a series of driving experiences, one day you discover that you know how to drive without thinking about it.

The first experience that tore down my walls of skepticism was a three-hour reading that provided undeniable evidence of spirit communication—that is, undeniable to me. The event absolutely blew my mind. And yet, a couple months later, I needed to have another fix. My intellect began to question the reality of what I experienced two months prior in that three-hour reading. “Did I imagine some of it?” I would ask myself. “Is my mind playing tricks on me?” “Is it possible I was duped by a clever con artist?” One event was not enough to fully break down the limiting beliefs I had acquired over a lifetime. I needed more events, more experiences, to become a knower.

Eventually, my experiences with psychic mediums allowed me to witness spirit communication so many times that I no longer needed any more fixes. In fact, today, watching any psychic medium demonstrate is about as exciting to me as watching someone talk on the phone. Now that I “know” their gift is real, I’m no longer listening for how many hits or misses the psychic medium gets. The testing is over for me. I know the psychic medium is communicating with spirit, just like I know when someone is communicating on the telephone with someone.

Since knowing is a process and not an event, private readings and psychic medium demonstrations are only single events within your process. Your first event might be hearing a friend tell a story about their experience with a psychic medium. Then, you might read an article or book about mediumship. Next, you might tune in to a psychic medium demonstration on television or on the radio. One day you might attend a live demonstration, which might lead you to desire a private reading.  Finally, your private reading might be the event that pushes you over the edge into knowingville. The difference between the first event and the last is simply an accumulation of evidence, the necessary evidence required to overcome a lifetime of learned skepticism.

This leads us to wonder how much evidence is required to become a knower. The answer is different for every individual. The key word here is “evidence.”

Evidence is different from “proof.” In court proceedings, attorneys provide evidence so that a jury will decide if there is enough of that evidence to prove someone is guilty. Offer the same evidence to two different juries and you may get two different verdicts. One jury of 12 people may agree that the evidence proved the accused is guilty. Another jury of 12 people may agree that the evidence proves nothing.

So it is with evidence of the afterlife or evidence of spirit communication. Some people will walk out of a psychic medium demonstration convinced that the evidence they witnessed was proof. Others will seek more evidence before making that decision. Both verdicts are okay. Evidence and proof are subjective. I don’t expect anyone will ever offer undeniable “proof” that psychic mediums are communicating with spirits—at least not in my lifetime. It certainly is not my goal to prove it. Spiritual enlightenment is an individual journey. There are no right or wrong paths. There are no time limits. There is only individual interpretation of personal experience. My goal is to tell you about my own experiences in order to open your mind to the possibilities. Once your mind is open, it will lead you down your own path toward spiritual enlightenment.
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BOB OLSON is a former private investigator and skeptic who began using his investigation skills to research psychics, psychic mediums and the afterlife in 1999. This research led him to establish www. OfSpirit.com Magazine (2000), www.AfterlifeTV.com (2011), www. BestPsychicMediums.com (2001) and www. BestPsychicDirectory.com(2007), three of the most trusted and influential sources for understanding and locating trustworthy psychics and psychic mediums.

Today Bob Olson has tested hundreds of psychics and psychic mediums around the world and has become a leading authority on the subject with TV, movie and documentary producers, journalists, book publishers, event promoters, as well as law enforcement agencies and private investigators. Bob’s achievements in psychic and psychic medium investigation and testing has further allowed him to evaluate and isolate the key components that set apart the best psychic medium readings from the mediocre—leading him to create his famous (although secret) 15-point test.

Bob has documented his findings in a multitude of articles. He has authored the Forewords for three books: The Complete Idiot's Guide To Communicating With Spirits, Consult Your Inner Psychic and The Complete Idiot's Guide To Divining The Future. Bob has also been quoted as an expert in How To Get A Good Reading By A Psychic Medium and Empowering Your Life With Angels.