Writer and academic Colin Dickey is a member of the Order of the Good Death, a collective of artists, writers, and death industry professionals interested in improving the Western world's relationship with mortality. In the first half, he discussed his latest work on the history of America through its paranoias and fears of secret societies, while seeking to explain why so many people continue to subscribe to conspiracy theories about them. Sometimes secret societies are defined and formally recognized, as with the Freemasons, he noted, while at other times these groups are more ambiguous and shadowy, like the Illuminati.
Often the organizations in question are related to government. Dickey related the story of Charles Chiniquy, a former Jesuit priest who hired a young Abraham Lincoln as his attorney for one case. After this brief contact with Lincoln ended, Chiniquy reported that the two men became the best of friends, and even published a memoir falsely claiming that Lincoln told Chiniquy that the Catholic Church was the driving force behind the Civil War. In some instances, like the Underground Railroad in America's slaveholding past, secrecy and illegality was not just justified, but admirable and necessary.
Fear and mistrust of certain secret organizations are justified, Dickey explained. In his view, the group of men who aided in President Nixon's crimes are a sort of secret society, for example. The Ku Klux Klan operated under the cover of secrecy to carry out their terroristic acts. And although he acknowledged that the Freemasons have made positive contributions to American history, Dickey also mentioned William Morgan, a Freemason who claimed he was being murdered by the group before disappearing forever.
In the second half, certified medium Michelle Clare revealed what it's like to have a near-death experience, and how it's helped her to discover the power of her soul in order to help others. Clare claimed to have had three NDEs in her life, the first occurring when she had a massive seizure one day. She awakened to find herself in the lap of her deceased grandmother, and standing next to them was a twelve-foot-tall angel engulfed in radiant light.
In her experience as a medium, Clare has learned much about the transition between life and death. Loved ones who have passed often gather around us as we cross over; "Nobody dies alone," she asserted. The characteristics of our individual encounters with the other side tend to match our expectations and desires: if we expect to see Jesus and beautiful mountains, for instance, that's what we'll experience. Even the form we take in the afterlife is determined by what we want and expect― we can exist as a physical body, or as a field of pure energy.