How do you get to 'the other side?' Go to the Readers and Writers Festival

Milford. The festival's popular "Afterlife" panel will this year bring together a medium and a neurosurgeon to discuss the profound avenues that connect the living and the dead.

| 03 Sep 2019 | 03:03

When Jennifer Ziegler proposed a panel on the paranormal for last year’s Readers and Writers Festival, she got a tepid response from the program committee, and a small venue to match.

But she wasn't surprised when the room was overflowing with people -- all riveted by what was happening before them. The interest in the “Afterlife” panel was overwhelming.

So for this year's Readers and Writers Festival, Ziegler put together a new panel of paranormal experts for “Life in the Afterlife,” which will be presented from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept 21, in the 300-seat Milford Theatre.

George Anderson, medium

George Anderson, author of the New York Times bestseller "We Don’t Die," has built a bridge to the world of the hereafter by communicating hopeful messages from souls who have passed on to their loved ones on earth. For more than 40 years, Anderson has performed over 35,000 private readings for grieving families, giving them solace that their loved ones are okay. Ziegler’s mother suffered the loss of a child and was inconsolable until she found Anderson’s book. She was assured that her daughter “was still around and not in any pain.”

Anderson was severely ill after a bout with chicken pox that caused muscle paralysis. After he regained his mobility, he began to have paranormal feelings and visions. His very religious Catholic family thought he was mentally ill and tried to have him committed. Fortunately, one of the psychiatrists who examined him said he was fine.

Anderson doesn’t consider himself a psychic, that is, someone who can tell a person about their future. He is a medium, a person who communicates with departed souls and translates their thoughts to their loved ones.

He asks clients not to tell him about the departed person they have in mind. Instead, he tells them the name of the person coming forward.

“Is that right?” he asks. “Understood?”

He says it’s like focusing on a photo before you snap it.

Anderson can be seen doing these sessions on You Tube. One scene is of a neuroscientist monitoring his brain while Anderson is talking with a mother who lost her teenage son.

His work is a unique form of grief support. The souls he talks to only ask that we do the best we can over here.

Dr. Eben Alexander, neurosurgeon

Dr. Eben Alexander was a practicing neurosurgeon who had a near death experience (NDE) when he was put into a medically induced coma after a bout with spinal meningitis. As a doctor and scientist, he did not believe in NDE's. But when he actually experienced it, his life changed completely.

His first book, "Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife." touched people around the world. It was translated into 43 different languages and was on The New York Times bestseller list for several years. He described the out-of-body experience as a multi-layered journey with lots of bright light.

“It was a beautiful scene with thousands of butterflies and a young woman with extremely gorgeous, clear, piercing blue eyes," he said.

She took him by the hand and said, “You are loved. You are cherished. All is well.”

Alexander, who was adopted, later found out that this woman was his birth sister, Betsy, who died at 36. The experience had a profound effect on him. In addition to realizing that our souls are eternal, he feels it made him a nicer person. He believes the telling of this experience will help the world to be a much better place.

Alexander’s most recent book, "Living in a Mindful Universe," with Karen Newell, explores the true nature of consciousness and how to cultivate a state of harmony with the universe.

Megan Smith Harris, moderator

Megan Smith Harris is the moderator of the panel. As an actress, editor, director of the Ridgefield Independent film festival, and a documentary film maker, she will bring a documentary perspective to these very different approaches to the afterlife.

She will, in this way, use her many talents to bring "The Afterlife" to life!

For more information on the Readers and Writers Festival, visit