Mary K. Baxter Gets the Grand Tour

Question from E:

What do you think about Mary K. Baxter who apparently saw heaven and hell in dreams for night after night straight for a long time. First hell then heaven I think. How is this possible?

Answer by SmartLX:

In a few really easy to imagine ways. One is a recurring dream, one is a series of lucid dreams in someone who doesn’t know what those are, one is fabricating the whole story.

This isn’t one of those supposed visions that’s accompanied by a real-world miracle; we only have Baxter’s word for what she saw in her sleep. Some of it matches scripture, some is so different from it that certain theologians warn against believing it. This is consistent with someone who’s very familiar with the Bible but doesn’t know it back to front, or has her own personal preferences for what the afterlife should be like. These preferences could come through in her subconscious as she dreams, or in the usual way as she makes up a story from whole cloth.

Baxter’s testimony is a set of claims for which there is no more evidence or reason to believe them than any other part of Christianity, and probably less. Christians might find it all reassuring but it’s worthless to those who don’t already believe.

From Hollywood to Hell: “I was on my knees and I was like, ‘God’, I was like…”

Question from Vlad:
I am currently battling with my fear of evil spirits/demonic beings, when I came across this video. It is about a former Victoria secret model who lived in LA, was into hanging out with the wrong crowds, non religious etc. One day, she experiences an episode.

It’s only 7:05 to 13:00.

I just really want some opinions of atheists, this video has given me problems sleeping, because it seems so genuine, and I don’t think the girl is lying. She doesn’t mention any drugs, so it seems nothing could have caused her to have this episode. Please please please leave me your opinions, I need this!

Answer by SmartLX:
Sorry it took so long to get to this in the circumstances, Vlad.

I wouldn’t guarantee she’s not lying, even after she says all those times that she’s not (seriously though, the direct segue into the hard sell for her book doesn’t help her case), but I’m willing to accept that she might believe what she says. The important thing to remember is that people who aren’t lying aren’t necessarily right either.

The woman had a whopper of what you rightly call “an episode”. (The additional word “psychotic” comes to mind, though it may or may not apply.) Others thought so at the time, because she was eventually admitted to hospital, passed out and woke up on a white bed. We hear nothing about what the doctors told her about her physical or mental condition, what drugs she was on and what any drugs were for, etc. (Particularly important point: she doesn’t deny the influence of drugs, she just doesn’t mention them.) All this and it was also nine years ago, which is time enough to convince oneself that just about anything was real, especially if one’s faculties at the time were impaired.

This was, no one would argue, a well-rehearsed story if nothing else. Whatever impact it’s meant to have, it’s been refined to hit that mark squarely, and from what you wrote it sounds like it has. A story about going to Hell while possessed by a demon is going to trigger your imagination to conjure the worst possible images you can of these things, using your own brain against itself. Immerse yourself in something else before considering this again; you cannot reclaim your objectivity while you’re in the depths of this thing. Just try to climb out for a while.

Moon Riders

Question from Skyla:
What does it mean if i saw men riding horses at the sky and disappeared as they approached the full moon? Well, it happened when i was a primary school child, and at that time (around 5am), i washed my face to prepare for school. While im washing my face, the earth suddenly became dark, and turned to normal. it happened over and over again until i curious what was happened actually. When i look up to the sky, i saw men riding their horses and entered the full moon. As they approached the moon, the earth getting dark and then slowly turned to normal. This condition happened again as all of them entered the moon. As i remembered, the full moon was exactly above my head, and i wonder if this kind of situation happened only when the full moon is above our head. What were they? Men that riding the horses?

Any response from you i will accept it and thanks for giving your time to read this.

Answer by SmartLX:
I couldn’t hazard a guess at what it meant if it were a dream, let alone if it really happened.

I think a thing or two may be off about the non-supernatural parts of the story. You say the moon was directly overhead at 5am, but a full moon is only directly overhead around midnight, and sets at dawn, for fairly simple reasons. You say you saw the shadows of the riders and looked straight up at the moon, but were you washing your face outside at five in the morning? (Perhaps you lived on a farm, or your bathroom had a skylight.)

Leaving the moon aside, we have large objects resembling horses and riders “entering” the full moon. If it was windy, I suppose fast-moving clouds might have looked that way to a child. I doubt aircraft would have done the trick, because you’d have heard them, unless they were hot-air balloons. Bats or birds would be too quick.

I’m just spitballing here. What you have there is a genuine unsolved mystery, and a great story. What you choose to read into your experience is ultimately up to you…just don’t take it as a mystical sign that you should do something incredibly specific and then go get yourself killed or arrested or something like that. I figure that if a supernatural being can’t get a simple message across to humans in a simple way, it probably hasn’t got anything worthwhile to say.