Anderson, George(religion, spiritualism, and occult)
George Anderson is the youngest child of George and Eleanor Anderson, who lived on New York’s Long Island. His brothers and sister are Alfred, Dolores, and James. At age six, George Jr. had a near fatal bout with chicken pox that led to encephalomyelitis (inflammation of the spinal cord and brain). He was temporarily paralyzed and unable to walk for several months. Perhaps this illness in some way brought about George’s psychic and mediumistic abilities, for it was shortly after his recovery that he correctly predicted the death of a friend’s grandmother.
Anderson attended a parochial Roman Catholic school on Long Island, where the nuns were aghast as he began to display his psychic powers. One nun reportedly threatened to “beat him insane,” and there was talk of committing him to a psychiatric institution. He was misdiagnosed as a passive schizophrenic but quickly rejected the sedative medications pushed at him.
After leaving school, Anderson worked for a while as a switchboard operator. In 1973 he joined a local psychic group, and he gradually allowed his mediumship to mature. In 1978 a good friend, Eileen Maher, encouraged Anderson to commit seriously to developing his psychic and mediumistic abilities and to work more with the general public. This he did. He was also encouraged and counseled by his friend Monsignor Thomas Hartman. Anderson worked seriously at his calling for eight years. In 1980 he met Joel Martin, host of a successful late night radio show, and appeared on the show in October of that year. Martin had been introduced to Anderson by a young production assistant who worked at the radio station., who pleaded with Martin to have Anderson on the show. Though Martin felt sure he would simply expose the man as a phony, he was greatly surprised when Anderson began to give him intimate details of his life—things which no one else could possibly know.
Over the next several years Anderson and Martin worked together compiling records of tests they did of Anderson doing both public and private readings. All readings done on the radio shows involved anonymous callers, who limited their responses to no more than “yes” and “no.” In Martin’s words:
“Invariably the results are the same: George reveals to his subjects information—about events, experiences, trivia, even nick-names—for which the only possible source is the living consciousness, the spirit, of the deceased. In some cases, the spirits give forth information about events that occurred during and after their own physical death, or that will occur in the future.”
The two men kept notes, and audio and video tapes, with full details from the day they first met. This information eventually developed into a book written by Martin with a co-author, Patricia Romanowski, and published in 1988 (We Don’t Die, G. P. Putnam’s Sons). The book was an immediate success and was followed three years later with a second book (We Are Not Forgotten) and other subsequent titles.
As Martin noted, “People need to know not only that their loved ones continue to exist in some form and dimension, but that they still play a role in their lives here on earth.” This is the essence of Spiritualism. Information received by mediums, from the spirits of the deceased, show that there is continuation of “life” after the transition known as “death.” These experiences invariably provide details that are far from earth-shattering in themselves but that prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, to the sitters, that the spirit coming through is indeed the same person they knew and loved when alive. Verification that the spirit is truly who it claims to be brings tremendous comfort to the sitters. On the television show Larry King Live, on March 6, 2001, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach asked of psychic medium James Van Praagh, “Aren’t you a bit surprised that the only message that the dead seem to be able to give us is someone had a nickname Miss Piggy? And they can only tell us that, you know, I had a heart condition?…. I want to hear just one of the psychics today tell me when is there going to be the next bus bombing in Tel Aviv so we can avoid going on that bus.” Obviously the good Rabbi had not thought through what he was saying. If a psychic gave such a prediction, there would be no reason for the Rabbi, or anyone else, to pay him or her any heed. Where would be the proof? But when the deceased indicates to a bereaved relative information that may seem frivolous to the Rabbi or others, details such as a family nickname or the specific details of a medical condition, the experience is incredibly evidential to the bereaved, proving beyond doubt that the spirit is present and that life does indeed continue beyond death. George Anderson and other such mediums work with anonymous sitters to obtain this verification through correct information known only to the sitters and the deceased relative. Occasionally the deceased reveals information that even the sitters don’t know, and research is necessary to the accuracy of the message. In such cases, the possibility of telepathy between medium and sitter is ruled out as an explanation.
After the appearance of the first book, Anderson did a nationwide tour. He also demonstrated his abilities on such television shows as Donahue, Live with Regis & Kathie Lee, and Larry King Live, plus numerous regional shows on both television and radio. Many of the shows aligned him with dyed-in-the-wool skeptics who would never be convinced no matter the weight of the evidence. As Martin put it, “George decided that sparring with skeptics, convincing reporters and talk show hosts that he is for real, and seeking out the next scientist with the next theory about what makes him tick stole time from helping the bereaved.”
At the end of the year’s tour, therefore, Anderson concentrated on doing readings that would bring comfort to those who had lost loved ones. In 1991 he published his second book with Martin and Romanowski, in 1994 the third, and in 1997 a fourth, all of which have now been translated into many different languages. Anderson found himself in constant demand for readings. Today he works tirelessly at comforting the bereaved. He is popular throughout Europe and in South Africa and parts of Asia.