American artist Shannon Taggart became aware of Spiritualism as a teenager, when her cousin received a message from a medium that revealed details about her grandfather's death. In 2001, while working as a photographer, she began taking pictures where that message was received – Lily Dale, New York - home to the world's largest Spiritualist community. In the first hour, she discussed Spiritualism's mysterious process of the seance and its intersection with photography (view related images).
Spiritualism, based on the idea that spirits of the dead exist and can communicate with the living, "was the first religion that created its own iconography through photography rather than painting," she pointed out. Spiritualism also fascinated many scientists and academics, and was deeply important to the early women's rights movement, she added. Taggart also detailed the technique of "orb calling," where practitioners ask balls of light to appear and interact, which then show up in photographs.
In the second hour, author Mike Clelland spoke about his roller-coaster journey of doubts and fears as he wrestled with UFOs, missing time, synchronicities, and, oddly, owls, as he pondered whether he could be an alien abductee. He has run across a number of cases where people see an owl at night, then shortly afterward witness a triangle-shaped craft in the sky. While Clelland conceded that the owls might represent screen memories (placed in the abductee's mind by aliens to cover their tracks), he believes they also could be viewed as archetypal symbols of the transformational experience. He mentioned a strange triangular scar on his arm, featured on his blog, and how many readers contacted him to say they had similar markings.
In the latter half, dream expert Patricia Etlinge talked about the importance of remembering our dreams, and how looking closely at their meanings can be of great benefit to unraveling secrets of the unconscious, and understanding one's psychological landscape. Dreams, she said, are a backdoor entrance to our "sixth sense," another dimension that can add clarity to our waking lives and decision-making process. We can plant a seed while in the liminal state (between waking and sleep) to have certain kinds of dreams, she suggested, or by remaining in this threshold with eyes closed, we can better recall a dream we just had.
Etlinge, who believes that everything depicted in a dream is a part of ourselves, outlined how symbolic images function. She suggested they have a hierarchical structure wherein people or dream characters represent the most potent meanings, followed by nature, and then objects. Prophetic dreams, she explained, demonstrate that the subconscious mind is picking up cues and information we may not be aware of, and piecing them together. She offered analysis of classic dream situations such as being lost, flying, and falling. Intriguingly, she noted that when one dreams of dying, it can be a positive sign-- getting rid of an aspect of yourself you no longer need.