By LAUREN LaROCCA
The Frederick News-Post
MIDDLETOWN, Md. (AP) — Jack Farrell never considered himself a believer in the supernatural and metaphysical, much less that he’d write a book about it.
But during his 20 years as a prison psychologist, the Middletown resident heard countless stories from inmates describing mystical accounts — out-of-body experiences, ghosts, dreams of their victims.
He wrote the book “Mystical Experiences: Wisdom in Unexpected Places From Prisons to Main Street” (Park East Press, 2011) to expound upon some of these stories, which also include some experiences of his clients outside of prison.
“I wanted to show there’s more to the material world — that spirits exist, and people can have ESP,” Farrell said.
Thirty years ago, he visited a psychic, at the request of a journalist friend who was working on a story on ESP. What the medium told him about his past and present was dead on, and then she predicted his next job, working for the state. After this encounter, he was more open to clients’ stories of paranormal events and began keeping notes.
Many drug dealers had dreams wherein an old buddy who got killed would return with a message: to get out of the drug game.
He recounted a story a friend had once told him, when she saw little gray men on the road in front of her as she was driving. She knew it was fatigue. It was fragmentary, there wasn’t much detail, he said. In another case, an inmate saw another man in his cell and recognized it as a hallucination.
“People kind of know when it’s a hallucinatory image,” he said.
A prisoner, for instance, told Farrell of a time when he woke in the middle of the night because his bed was shaking off the floor.
“That a ghost could make a bed shake just shocked me,” Farrell said. “They’re able to do some physical things, apparently.”
While working with inmates, he did short-term counseling due to the nature of the program.
“I tell them spirituality is a part of mental health,” he said.
He encouraged prayer (“My own view is that prayer works,” he said.) but didn’t push anything religious on them.
“There seems to be a trend these days towards atheism,” since the discovery of the gene that gives us a religious feeling.
Through his work as a psychologist, Farrell has discovered that the world is intensely spiritual. In the introduction to his book, he outlines four spiritual truths he’s found:
The soul or spirit survives the death of the physical body.
We receive help from spiritual beings far more often than we realize.
People are interconnected. Our thoughts and feelings have the power to affect others, even at a distance.
The world is far more mysterious than we realize. Time and space are flexible.
Farrell retired from his full-time prison work in 2008 and now has a small private practice in Frederick and works on a contract basis with the prison system.
“I think these stories show there’s more than the material world,” he said. “Since writing this, all kinds of people have been telling me about experiences they’ve been having.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)