It was 1983, and I was twenty-three years old when my mother suggested we listen to the David Viscott, MD talk radio show upon which Dr. Peebles would be a guest, speaking through Thomas Jacobson. She joyfully announced that Viscott, a prominent American psychologist, was going to interview Thomas, "a man who allows a spirit to come into his body so that it can speak to people."
I was terrified! At that time I considered myself to be "born again"-a "good" Christian - something I had discovered during college in 1981 that might keep me safe from the demons that seemed to follow me everywhere. What my mother was describing was, by my determination, called "possession," and I was not about to give my energy to something that certainly came from Satan.
Nevertheless, my ever-charming, persuasive and open-minded mother dimmed the lights, lit candles, and managed to coax me to the couch where she wrapped me up in a cozy blanket assuring me that nothing bad would happen, but that if it did-"Wouldn't it be an interesting adventure?"
The radio squealed as she tuned it to pick up the station's frequency. I trembled.
Since I do not have actual transcripts of the recorded conversation, I will rely on my memory and perspective of what I heard.
Dr. Viscott calmly introduced Thomas who sounded so young, shy and normal when he spoke that I immediately felt my heart open wide to this courageous man. Dr. Viscott shared that he, himself, was interested in metaphysical phenomenon. He said that he was a healthy skeptic who decided to openly explore trance channeling on his radio program. He wanted to watch as Thomas went into trance, that he might study the channeling process from a scientific perspective. Clearly the assumption was that Thomas probably suffered from some sort of psychological delusions. I felt strangely comforted by this thought.
"Oh, this is a psychological study, not a study of the occult," I convinced myself, feeling greatly relieved. The procedure would be as follows: Thomas would go into trance, and anyone who wanted to ask the so-called "spirit" Dr. Peebles a question, could call the radio station. Silly, I thought. Plain silly.
The radio went silent as Thomas went into trance. I held my breath. My eyes widened as the seconds passed. The airwaves seemed to transmit the very large and loving energy of the spirit. Suddenly, this didn't feel like a joke anymore. There was an audible gasp as the spirit entered Thomas's body, and then a magnificent voice boomed through the speaker.
"God bless you! Dr. Peebles here! It is a joy and a blessing when man and spirit join together in search of the greater truths and awareness!"
I was immediately entranced. The room felt light, peaceful and serene. My mother and I listened intently, totally mesmerized for more than half an hour. Dr. Peebles answered each question from Dr. Viscott and his listeners' with astonishing clarity, accuracy, and unwavering and unconditional love. I settled deep into the couch, feeling safe and warm. I knew in my heart that God approved of this. There was no Satan here.
The session concluded with Thomas returning to his body with a loud groan. Dr. Viscott bubbled with enthusiasm. He vulnerably admitted to his listening audience that he had seen a puff of blue smoke above Thomas' head as Thomas went into trance. He said that he could not explain what had happened in scientific terms, but that the experience was so beautiful and loving, who cared anyway? The trance process was clearly a phenomenon to explore.
A phenomenon, indeed!
Here was this Dr. Peebles-not Archangel Michael, or Jesus, or aliens, or the usual cast of spiritual characters that seemed to pop through modern day channels. It was just Dr. Peebles: a really nice, unpretentious guy who happened to live a very fulfilling life on the earth. This was the spirit for me!