Monday, December 5, 2016

The death of Michael Newton and the rehabilitation of Melvin Morse

Michael Newton passed away in September; something motivated me to check, which led me to his Wikipedia entry, which led me to the obituary. He wrote several seminal books about the afterlife, compiled from his own method of regressive hypnosis. The use of hypnosis as a diagnostic tool for recovering hidden memories is controversial. I am not informed enough, medically, to have a firm opinion on it, except to argue that if hypnosis is used, it should be used by a licensed medical professional, for obvious legal and ethical reasons. This is where Newton fell into a gray area. Several online critics questioned Newton's credentials. I did a cursory search and couldn't find any proof that he had a "real" PhD, as he claimed, but this is not unusual. I don't know how to find out if anyone has any degree, without contacting the candidate's school--and in Newton's case, I never could find out. The online obits did not identify the schools, except to say that he "graduated from the University of Arizona (1953) and later earned advanced degrees from California colleges."

So, unless someone embarks on a Michael Newton biography, we may never know.

Today I was surprised to receive an email from Dr. Raymond Moody's email list updating everyone on a new collaboration between Dr. Moody and Dr. Melvin Morse, who has recently been released from prison on a "misdemeanor" (though if he has been in prison for more than 364 days, it's likely a felony charge). This of course led me to Wikipedia (my one-stop shop for the current conventional wisdom), which is updated with new info on his recent child endangerment conviction. The current Wikipedia edit seems to suggest that Morse's actions were overblown and not as heinous as early reports suggested (specifically, that he had waterboarded his stepdaughter to induce an NDE).  Again, I'm really not sure that I have an informed opinion on this case. Despite claims that it was all overblown, however, I'm not sure that Americans are being routinely sentenced to prison on trumped-up charges just yet. (This may soon change, however.) For now, anyway, a felony is a felony.

My basic opinion still stands, however... if we are presuming to instruct people on what to believe on spiritual or metaphysical matters, we (and our research) should be beyond approach, even in our current post-fact reality.