Santa Fe, New Mexico. The year is 2007. Galen Stoller is 16 years old, and a junior in high school. He’s the average American teenager. He loves to read fantasy novels, hangs out with his friends, involved with theatre in both high school and in community groups, and volunteers training assistance and rescue dogs with Assistance Dogs of the West. In the last few weeks, he’s been rehearsing for his double-role of Fagan and Bill Sikes in Oliver! Galen had hoped to attend Boston Conservatory after graduation, and one day – he hoped to be acting on Broadway.
December 1st was a Saturday. Galen is driving through Santa Fe on his way home after visiting with his grandmother. There is something strange about the day though, Galen feels out of sync; disjointed.
“The hum of the engine, the whistle of the wind, and the rumble of tires all seemed disconnected as well, appearing to come from somewhere other than where such sounds originate.”
Galen approaches the railroad tracks which are obscured by vegetation and located around a blind curve. He rolls to a stop at the tracks and reaches for his iPod to adjust the music. He never sees the train that slams into his car, pushing it 1,700 feet. [read the news report]
“..Suddenly I heard the sound of metal, followed by a tremendous silence and utter darkness.”
Galen is killed instantly. He wakes up in the afterlife, and that is where his story begins.
“Eventually the lights and sounds returned, yet none seemed real. I could hear my name spoken every so often, but what was being said and by whom didn’t seem to matter.”
–Galen Stoller, from ‘Life After Life: A Posthumous Memoir’
On the very night Galen died his father contacted a medium, desperate to know that his son was okay. Their conversation is short, but Galen assures his father that he will be able to communicate with him directly in the future. Before the connection can be made, however, his father will need to work through the emotional wall that his grief has built around him. Galen, for his part, needs to learn more about this new world and about his own ability to shape energy using thought and intention before he can begin the process of communication with Earth.
Galen’s father is Dr. Kenneth Stoller, a physician and somewhat of a maverick in his field. Dr. Stoller espouses the use of unconventional therapies to treat patients and unlike most men of science, Dr. Stoller already has a well-developed spirituality and belief in the afterlife. It would be two years before Dr. Stoller could begin to capture his son’s words through both a personal mental connection and a medium he employed for that purpose. The book that resulted was My Life after Life: A Posthumous Memoir, published in 2011. Galen himself is credited as the author. According to the Dr. Stoller’s page, www.grief-sos.com, the book is the winner or finalist of several awards:
- Winner, Nautilus Silver Award 2012
- Pinnacle Book Achievement Award 2011
- Winner, Indie Excellence Award 2011
- Finalist, International Book Awards 2011
- Finalist, USA Book Awards 2011
- Finalist ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award 2012
Although Dr. Stoller knows he is putting his own reputation as a physician and scientist on the line by publishing this book, he says:
“While the pages that follow contain information that will change both my credibility and reputation as a physician, I have always stood in my truth when it came to what I saw as the ethos of my profession, and I will not waver from that in helping Galen bring forth this book.”
Dr. Stoller admits his ‘pathological grief’ after his son’s death, therefore skeptics would certainly accuse Dr. Stoller of inventing this entire story based on such grief. Dr. Stoller admits as much in his introduction, but invites the reader to decide for themselves.
Dr. Stoller explains that after a lot of practice, he could hear Galen’s thoughts in his head distinct from his own. Before you roll your eyes, you should know that this is exactly how mental mediumship works for those who are clairaudient. Dr. Stoller claims that he has made “every effort to keep the language as true as possible to the intention behind Galen’s works as [he] perceived them.” After each chapter, he worked with a medium to discuss chapters with Galen in order to make suggestions and modifications to the text.
If the book that followed those claims was a sappy, sentimental and overtly cliché tome, I would have dismissed it out of hand as the heartbreaking fantasy of a father lost to grief. But after reading this book (twice), I am inclined to believe that Dr. Kenneth Stoller was possibly in contact with his deceased son. Galen describes an afterlife familiar in other spirit communications, even those arcane communications from two centuries ago. When I read something that rings true to me, it is because I can cross reference it with details in spirit communications from other various and sometimes extremely obscure sources. At the end of the day, however, everyone has to use their own intuition to decide for themselves if something feels genuine to them. Even if you take this book as a work of fiction I believe it can be of some value. It is entertaining and enlightening yet definitely not as predictable as you might think for a book of this type.
There are some things that Galen describes about his afterlife that I’ve never heard of before; for example, that incarnational spirits (not souls) can be destroyed if entering an antimatter dimension. I’ve never read that in any other spirit communication, out-of-body experience, regression, or channeling that I have come across yet. But these are the pieces of information that I tuck away in the back of my mind. If I do come across it somewhere else, it becomes something of a validation for this work. I don’t file it into my belief system though until I see it repeated from multiple different sources and I feel reasonably sure it wasn’t simply copied.
Other pieces of information, such as the “hall of cups” where Galen is able to find the history of his father’s other lives, square nicely with what I’ve read in Dr. Michael Newton’s regression therapy where spirits reference a type of library or hall where they can review “past” lives. In Galen’s experience, each soul has a cup that contains the summation of their lives whereas in Dr. Newton’s cases, spirits have access to a library of books for the same purpose. Although skeptics might point to this and say, “It’s wrong – it’s not the same”, they are forgetting the flexible and subjective nature of the afterlife where our expectations, experiences and beliefs color our perceptions. These sources, and many others agree that souls have a place where ‘past’ lives are able to be reviewed, provided you are in a dimension where your soul evolution allows access to this information. Certainly in the “beginner’ afterlife dimensions, souls have enough to worry about reviewing the lifetime they just left.
Galen discusses the multidimensional afterlife which is based on soul evolution, something echoed by dozens of individual communications that I have come across, even as old as the mid 1800’s. Galen puts an arbitrary number on his level, “21”, though most souls don’t know how many dimensions or levels there really are. He meets a relative on what he terms ‘level 12’, a more basic and earth-like dimension where souls cannot change their surroundings at will or review their past lives. They are yet in training simply to understand the basic nature of non-physical consciousness. We may leave behind the earth and its woes when we die, but we never stop learning and advancing as souls.
Galen’s afterlife is more or less typical of the intermediate dimensions that souls may find themselves in after death. He quickly realizes that his environment reflects his mood, thoughts and state of mind. Although initially Galen’s environment reflects the ecologic environment of his Earth home in New Mexico – vast scrub-land and semiarid desert, he eventually does what I think any 16-year-old kid would do in that situation – he creates fun and amusing environments for himself.
“It didn’t take me long to recognize that there was much more to this dimension than I had realized, and with that understanding I actually started to see more – and then create more. For instance, I was able to create a rather cool-looking apartment for myself, which I redecorated a multitude of times. First it was a Manhattan flat, and then I turned it into a splendid baroque villa. I worked with crystalline material to the point where the apartment started to look like Superman’s Fortress of Solitude then suddenly morphed into the bridge of the USS Enterprise (of Star Trek). I had a lot of fun with this, and was able to sustain a structure without having to stand in front of it. I had a place to go instead of just going someplace. I could leave my home and when I returned it would be just where I had left it. this was the result of setting an intention and leaving it in place, and maintaining it without getting distracted. On earth this would be analogous to setting an intention to manifest something you wanted to do in your life, knowing it would be possible at the right time but without having to remind yourself about it every day.”
Eventually Galen creates a somewhat more modest home for himself with a bed that he can lay in so he can ‘feel more human’. He doesn’t sleep, but does lay down and rests his consciousness in a way.
Galen has several teachers and guides that he frequently confers with. After his death, the first teacher he meets looks like a larger version of himself; his ‘twin’ as he called it. Galen’s teacher explains this phenomenon as related to the way he perceived his environment directly after death. Without another frame of reference, Galen simply perceived his teacher as a larger version of himself. Later, when Galen has adjusted to his dimension, he perceives his teacher as an ordinary man with nondescript features.
Galen also has a guide who appears to him in the form of a dog named Andy. Galen was extremely fond of dogs on earth, and so this form of guidance is comforting for Galen. Naturally, Galen and Andy become very close, even participating in multi-dimensional travel together. Galen can also attend classes on his dimensional level that teach the inhabitants how to develop their skills with energy and how to lead a life of service when they return to earth.
Although the concept of attending classes in the afterlife and changing one’s environment at will is not new in my research, there were some other surprises in the book. For example, Galen meets two non-human beings from different dimensions that I have never heard of in any other type of spirit description of the afterlife. Then again, with an infinite number of possible afterlife dimensions, why would I? Galen’s experience, like any afterlife experience, is likely to be unique to Galen. It can be difficult for some people raised in religion to view the afterlife as a vast inter-dimensional space, since many of us have been taught that ‘Heaven is Heaven’ and ‘Hell is Hell’. As a child, Heaven was described to me as a place of clouds where everyone floats around spending all of their time singing hymns and worshiping God for eternity. I was privately horrified. My 10-year-old mind reeled at the prospect of an eternity of Church, but with angels and harps. Of course, it sounds ridiculous to me now as an adult, but my simplistic, one-sided view of the afterlife persisted well into adulthood. Although my conception of the afterlife now is still tentative and based on descriptions delivered through various paranormal and supernatural means, I am grateful that it isn’t a place that is designed and maintained by a jealous overload who demands constant praise, but a rather an infinite multi-layered space that evolves as the human spirits who live there add to it with their ingenuity and creativity.
Many people who read such descriptions of the afterlife wonder why in many cases it looks so much like Earth. Galen lives in a house, for example, attends classes in a classroom with desks, and his landscape looks identical to where he lived on Earth. It’s really a consequence of human spirits having multiple incarnations on earth, and bringing back their expectations with them to the afterlife. Certainly, the afterlife of stone-age men a millennia ago didn’t look like it does now, and in the future the afterlife will continue to change as the collective of human-incarnating spirits evolve. Similarly, I’ve heard it said that many of the technologies and advances in social construction don’t start on Earth, but rather they are worked out first in the spirit dimensions, then parroted on earth through some distant subconscious memory.
The idea that our technologies reflect our mass spiritual consciousness is something I will expand on in another post. But for now, know that Galen’s very earth-like experience is not at all unusual, nor unexpected. At least while we continue to incarnate on earth, we will form our experiences in the spiritual dimensions based on what we understand and expect. After our incarnational lessons are done, we will begin to move past the desire to replicate three-dimensional matter and form. Although information from the highest levels of consciousness and non-physical reality is scant, I’ve read that there is little physicality at all. Instead, consciousness exists in pure thought form shaping itself via intensities. It’s a hard concept for us to really wrap our heads around, and that’s okay. I don’t think I’m ready for it anyway. ‘My Life After Life’ is a book that reminds us that the afterlife is not a dreamlike, holy place – it’s a physical dimension just like ours, just with a completely different energy paradigm. One day, I believe science will even be able to detect and measure it (maybe it’s one of the 11 dimensions of string theory?).
Dr. Stoller has said his son is interested in writing a whole series of books about his afterlife experiences, called ‘The Death Walker Series’. Sounds very much like something a 16-year old boy who loved Harry Potter would come up with, doesn’t it? It’s nice to know we don’t lose our personality in death. As a fellow Harry Potter fan, I’m in. So far, Galen and Dr. Stoller have written a second book in the series, ‘Life Chapters: The Extraordinary Afterlives of people you’ve never heard of‘, detailing the afterlives of other people Galen has met on his dimension. Both books are interesting and entertaining though if you intend to read either, certainly you should begin with ‘Life After Life’.
At the end of the day, you’ll have to decide for yourself if you believe the communication is real between Galen and his father or if distortion and grief have gotten in the way. This is how we build an evidence-based belief system: through discovery, intuition, scrutiny and a little faith. I submit ‘Life After Life’ as one more piece of evidence for your consideration.
This is a video put together by Galen’s friends and family in memory of Galen’s life.
He was a talented youth actor with a bright future before the train accident that took his life in 2007.
A quick note to the reader:
Although I critique books about spirit communication with an analytical, maybe even cool detachment, I don’t ever forget that there are real lives behind the words. The video above is a poignant reminder that Galen Stoller was loved by friends and family who miss him terribly. Beyond the fascinating description of Galen’s afterlife -regardless of our opinion on its veracity- is the very real devastation of losing a child. Let’s never forget that the desired end result of ‘The Search for Life After Death’ is hope.