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Old Obituary of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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Post by Admin Wed May 09, 2012 6:32 am


I must admit I knew nothing of the scandal with the "Medium" Jay Barham until today.

Last edited by Admin on Wed May 09, 2012 11:46 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Admin Wed May 09, 2012 6:34 am

People magazine archives very luridly written Dark Seances strike again
October 29, 1979
Vol. 12
No. 18

Sex, Visitors from the Grave, Psychic Healing: Kubler-Ross Is a Public Storm Center Again

By Karen G. Jackovich

"Death is not painful," says the slight, graying figure, addressing an attentive audience of doctors, nurses, priests and nuns. "It is the most beautiful experience you will have."

The woman at the lectern is Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, the pioneering researcher who wrote the controversial best-seller On Death and Dying. Ten years after publication it is still selling briskly. Her extraordinary views on the subject made her the center of a scientific and theological storm.

Now, Kübler-Ross, 53, is again embroiled in controversy, in part because she claims to have talked to the dead, in part because of her association with a self-ordained minister accused of having sex with members of his flock.

The Swiss-born psychiatrist admits she is vulnerable to criticism. "Poor Kübler-Ross is slipping, has lost her marbles," she mocks herself. "But I'm convinced that what I am sharing is verifiable. I would not risk my reputation if I were not 100 percent sure."

The most bizarre charges stem from Kübler-Ross' association with Jay Barham, 50, a former sharecropper and aircraft worker who founded the Church of the Facet of Divinity four years ago. After meeting Barham in 1976, Kübler-Ross persuaded her husband to buy 40 acres near Barham's small ranch in the wooded hills northeast of San Diego. There she established a headquarters called Shanti Nilaya—"ultimate home of peace" in Sanskrit. Its purpose is to investigate psychic healing and administer "life, death and transition" workshops that involve psychodrama and such purging acts as beating a telephone book with a rubber hose. Barham and his wife, Martha, help conduct the five-day sessions (which are technically free, but a contribution of $285 is strongly suggested). Kübler-Ross says there is a waiting list of 1,500. She has also enthusiastically endorsed Barham's supposed ability to heal the sick and conjure up materialized spirits, which he calls "entities."

Appearing at sessions in darkened rooms at the Barham ranch, these "entities" have assumed human form and according to some reports engaged in sexual relations with church members. At first the entities were male, but later included women. Last week the Los Angeles Times asserted that several women were encouraged to pretend they were entities in order to provide sex to other members. People who have attended sessions said the entity in the room with them resembled Barham. "How is it," one asked, "that an entity, a pure spirit, has cigarette breath?" Once, when the lights were snapped on, they claim to have seen him clearly, naked except for a turban.

Barham denies having had sex with any of the women involved or ever masquerading as an entity. The San Diego district attorney's office investigated the reports, including one that a 10-year-old girl was molested, but dropped the case last month for lack of evidence. Never a target of the investigation herself, Kübler-Ross has been unshakable in her support of Barham. "He has so much integrity," she says. "The truth does not need to be defended."

Kübler-Ross is equally unswerving in her belief in an afterlife. Until meeting Barham, she says, she had encountered only one entity, named Willie, but has since met three others—Aenka, Salem and Mario. She sometimes plays a tape recording to audiences of a male voice talking and singing, and identifies it as Willie's. She also maintains she lived during the time of Christ as "Isabel," one of his teachers.

Kübler-Ross first became fascinated with the afterlife through interviews with patients who were revived after being pronounced dead. She says they all reported out-of-body experiences that were free of pain and anxiety. Last year she revealed she had undergone an out-of-body experience herself, with the aid of artificial sound pulses. "I'm a very skeptical scientist," she says, "but as far as I was concerned, it was true beyond a shadow of a doubt."

Kübler-Ross keeps up a hectic pace on the lecture circuit. Flying up to 250,-000 miles a year, she says she can accept only one of every 30 speaking invitations. She donates her $3,000 fees to Shanti Nilaya, which has set up branches in Rhode Island, Hawaii, New Jersey and Australia. At San Diego headquarters, she claims success in psychic treatment of victims of epilepsy and severe emotional problems. Here, too, she credits Barham. "He has done more healing in the last six months than in my wildest dreams," she says. "If people would get in touch with their spirits, they would be able to heal, emotionally and physically."

One apparent casualty of the past year or so has been Kübler-Ross' 20-year marriage to Dr. Emanuel Ross, a neuropathologist. She hopes to get Shanti Nilaya in the divorce settlement. Aware of the furor around her, she is almost blissfully confident. "Most people, especially those who have seen our work, have not only stuck it out with us," she says, "but have been strengthened by the storms." Among the messages she has received, Kübler-Ross told a colleague, is one from her four afterlife entities—a forecast of her future. A crucifixion—metaphorically speaking—awaits her, she said, but triumph lies beyond. Does she believe it, the colleague asked? "I don't think so," Kübler-Ross said firmly. "I know so."

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Post by Quiet Wed May 09, 2012 7:31 pm

Very interesting article. I can only remember her book (On death and Dying) being hugely popular when I was much younger.

Death was not in mind very much in those days so I didn't read the book. Despite the scandal, which many of us didn't know about, she was certainly a trail blazer and her ideas about death were ahead of their time.

As an aside, there is usually some kind of scandal attached to many famous people and one wonders how much of it is true and how much has been reconstructed with the retelling and the voracious need of the media for sensation.

I can think of a few examples.

In Tarot, there were scandals around Waite and Crowley. One of the most beautiful Tarot decks i know is the Osho Zen yet there are people who deride this Tarot deck because of the'cultism' they associate with Osho.

With all these classic Tarot decks, the art was done by women, not by the men associated with the decks, incidentally. In Tarot, the art and the symbolism is actually the most important part of the work.

I've seen criticism of Blavatsky and other early theosophists here and in other places. People often seem to focus on so-called scandals more than the ideas. We rarely know how real or circumstantial the so-called scandals are

In politics, look at Bill Clinton. Clinton was one of the best US Presidents of modern history yet the media focused on his sexual peccadilloes throughout the last years of his presidency. The Republican who led this charge was himself having a number of extra-marital affairs at the time.

These kinds of stories can go on for ever. We never know the truth. I've realised how easy it is to write off a whole person and his or work because off eccentricities, projections or a mixture of incomplete or poorly understood stories.


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Post by KatyKing Wed May 09, 2012 9:50 pm

Scandals sell newspapers and no one ever lost money by underestimating the public taste. Just finishing Philip Hoare's 'England's Lost Eden' about Mary Ann Girling [passed 1886] and the New Forest Shakers. Early trance mediums some of them. All sorts of rumours and scandals were put out about them. Anything out of the ordinary draws flack.
There's abusive personalities to be found in most big groups of people and some sects seem to attract those sorts more than other groups do but by and large, even though one is too many; I reckon proportionately Spiritualism has had fewer rotters than some movements.
'More sinned against than sinning'.
MoD used to say.

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