Kaiyum reviews Annie Kagan’s intriguing book.
The Afterlife of Billy Fingers: How My Bad-Boy Brother Proved to Me There’s Life After Death
Have you ever heard a story that purports to be true, yet you have a nagging hesitation to believe it, despite recognising your deep desire that it be true?
Annie’s story of her brother Billy definitely falls into this category. Ever since mankind started to probe the mysteries of life there has been an unceasing interest in and fascination for everything relating to ‘life after death’. The newer Western religions deny or ignore reincarnation, while most have definite concepts of a heaven and a hell. The most ancient religions, however, integrate the incarnated life into a broader picture with an eternal soul or spirit. What is presented in this small but intense book serves to confirm and expand on this second view of life where ‘the traveller changes his clothes and continues his journey’.
We meet Annie in a quiet chapter of her life in a small house by the bay on the eastern tip of Long Island. At the age of sixteen, she was already working for Columbia Records and well embarked on a career in music. In her twenties, however, she continued her studies, eventually creating a successful chiropractic practice on Manhattan’s East Side. Attracted to Eastern spiritual traditions, she studied yoga and, following her inner voice, she relinquished her hectic life in the city to meditate, write music and start writing a book. That’s when she joined Tex’s book-writing club, and that’s where this book begins.
Billy Cohen, her beloved older brother, disappeared early from her life yet they maintained a tenuous connection. Annie tells of her brother’s many adventures in various countries, including the drug addiction that in the end leads to his death. Later it becomes clear that Billy’s death was a planned transition that he was aware of in earlier, lucid moments. Compare with Michael’s carefully staged demise in Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land or Donald Shimoda’s death in Richard Bach’s Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah.
Voice from the other side
Annie at first resists the ‘reality’ of hearing her dead brother talking to her, but slowly, slowly begins to accept the truth of what she is experiencing. Time and again, Billy gives proof by the ‘coincidences’ that he creates. He tells Annie, for example, to call someone and tells her to take a specific Bach Flower Remedy; she calls, and that person is at that moment in a shop with just that Remedy in her hand. Numerous such instances are woven into this exciting and intriguing story.
As Annie transcribes Billy’s words, she realises that she is being given an amazing gift: true insight into the events after physical death. For some reason, Billy has been given permission to help Annie create this book, to share his experience of the glory of the universe beyond. Rich descriptions of light, love, luminescence, tranquillity and expansion into eternity provide a deeply supportive confirmation for the reader who is already open to ‘life after death’ reality. For this reader, the book is definitely non-fiction.
The foreword is by Dr. Raymond Moody, whose 1975 book Life After Life changed many people’s lives and turned ‘near death experiences’ into a ‘respectable’ subject. Additional quotations from other recognised writers in this field add weight to the credibility of this book by Annie and Billy. As Billy says:
If I could give you a gift it would be
to find the glory inside yourself,
beyond the roles and the drama,
so you can dance the dance of the game of life
with a little more rhythm,
a little more abandon,
a little more shaking-those-hips.
Kaiyum, Osho News
Related discourse by Osho
Barrier Between Past and Present Life