Should ghosts die

"There are no evil spirits"

Pascal Voggenhuber from Sissach BL is the best-known medium in Switzerland. In the interview he talks about the spiritual world, his recipe for enjoying life and why there are no evil spirits.

Pascal Voggenhuber, next week you will give a lecture in Brig. How will you feel when you travel to Valais, where Catholicism is still known to be of great importance?
I will travel to Valais with positive feelings. That might surprise you at first. However, I have made the experience that people in regions where religion is still very important, for example in Austria or Poland, generally have a much stronger relationship to the spiritual and the spiritual world than in urban areas Regions is the case. That's why I find it almost easier to get to people in such places. It certainly benefits me that I am in no way critical of the classical religions, on the contrary, I include them in my work and, thanks to my training in England, I am very familiar with the Bible.

However, you also have many critics. If you read something about you in the media, there is always talk of an "alleged" or "self-appointed" medium. Does that annoy you?
Sometimes it's a bit of a hassle. However, I also know how the media system works. Journalists are taught not to take a stand, even if they may be fully convinced. Therefore they protect themselves with such expressions as "alleged medium" and so on. But I also have to say that I've been doing my job for eleven years. In doing so, I learned that you can't convince critics anyway, no matter how much evidence you provide. A trick is always suspected. I've learned to live with it.
That means that you gave up

Wanting to convince critics?
You could say that. But I also have to say that I have relatively few critics compared to many professional colleagues. The critics that I have are those who have never met me or have never participated in one of my events and therefore don't know anything about my work. I therefore find criticism from such people unanswerable. It used to be different, when I actually still had the claim to convince critics. But like I said, I've learned that this is a fight against windmills that you can't win. The only thing that matters to me is that I and the people I work with know what the truth is. In addition, criticism is the best advertisement for me (laughs).

Your work as a medium includes communication with the deceased. Why don't you explain how such a "conversation" works.
The deceased use image-feeling language for communication. It's not like the deceased are whispering things in my ear. This type of communication can best be compared to when people make the acquaintance of other people by shaking hands. It is often the case that at this very moment you already know whether you like the other person or not. However, many people don't listen to their gut instincts. Communication with the deceased works in a similar way, whereby I have learned to interpret the smallest and finest impulses so that I can feel whether someone has died in an accident or of cancer, for example.

Who usually makes the desire to communicate? From the deceased or the relatives?
It is very, very rare for a deceased person to want to clarify something. Therefore, it is not the case that the deceased come to me all the time so that I can make contact with the relatives. It's not a game for me either, although I think: “Hey cool, I can talk to the dead” and that's why I do it all the time. When I communicate with the deceased, the focus for me is on the relatives' grief processing. It is these who often want clarification, for example when there is a suicide. So the desire for communication usually comes from the living. However, the deceased usually do not refuse this communication. If there is a "telephone connection", they also use it.

They say that the dead exist in the "spirit world". Can you explain this principle?
The principle of the "spiritual world" is actually not very different from the concept of "heaven", which classical religion knows. But for me the "sky" is not somewhere far away or up in the clouds. The "spiritual world" and with it the dead surround us. I think, however, that “heaven” is well suited as a strong and understandable linguistic image, especially for children. I also say to my five-year-old son when he asks where the deceased are going: "They are going to heaven".

They say that there are no evil spirits. Where does this belief come from?
To do this, you have to go back a bit. The principle of the evil spirit is closely linked to the idea that one has to atone for a bad life in hell and spirits that should actually be in this hell are then considered to be evil spirits. However, in terms of religious history, the principle of heaven and hell is still very young. It was only through the sale of indulgences in the 16th century that a hell became necessary, since this was the only way to demand money from believers in order to escape a life in eternal damnation. Before that it was believed that the dead come to Hades, which means "the place where the dead are". Purgatory was used for purification and was not a place of eternal torment. So I don't believe in hell, nor do I believe in evil spirits.

One hears again and again of spooky phenomena and poltergeists. Aren't these evil spirits?
Spook is not bad. But when such phenomena occur, it is frightening. Not least because we are shaped by relevant films and literature. Most people make the mistake that when a loved one dies, they ask for a sign that the deceased has not left them.

"Unfortunately in my industry a lot of money is made with fear"

Now how does a deceased want to show that he is still there? He does this with exactly those actions that we know as ghosts and of which we are afraid. However, the deceased does not want to scare anyone, but only to show that he is there and that he is fine. The problem is different.

Which would it be?
In such situations, many people pick up the phone and call some fortune tellers and so on, who then advise them to smoke out the spirit or otherwise send it into the light. Unfortunately, a lot of money is made from fear in my industry. Parents who have lost a child and are then persuaded that the child's soul is stuck in an in-between world are of course particularly susceptible to such moneymaking. I firmly reject that, which of course earned me some criticism in my industry. In any case, the deceased are fine and I am upset that attempts are being made to make money from people's vulnerability.

But that also means that you don't have to pay for a bad life.
You have to pay, and I am convinced that everyone has to review their life at the moment of death. For most of them, that's hell enough. Death is the moment in which you have to deal with yourself and your life in a completely unbiased manner. This then results in a process of knowledge that is not always easy.

If you look around your lectures or read comments on your work on the Internet, you will notice that your “fans” are mainly women. Why is that?
When it comes to spiritual issues, it is indeed the case that the proportion of women is relatively high. I think that's because women are stronger emotions than men. They feel more and can therefore follow my explanations better than men, who find more access to topics through reason. For this reason I have started to include more scientific knowledge in my lectures. Today I don't want to prove to anyone that I can speak to the dead, I want to show that there is life after death. This is also a topic that preoccupies many scientists. Since I've been incorporating scientific knowledge into my lectures, more men have come. I always find the nicest thing when men come to me after my lectures and say: "Actually, my wife made me come along, but in the end it was entertaining and also logical."

You will be presenting two books in Brig next week. It is all about self-confidence and how you can enjoy your life. How do these themes fit in with the "man who speaks to the dead"?
We know from brain research that humans cannot help whether they are happy or unhappy. Much depends on the character and environment. At the same time, however, research has also recognized that targeted exercises can make you happier. For example, by consciously enjoying the little everyday conveniences. The brain creates new connections, which leads to more satisfaction. You can learn to be happy as well as learn to be confident. That's the message. The connection to the contact with the deceased is that through my work as a medium I experienced many situations in which there were things to be clarified that would not have arisen with a little more happiness and self-confidence. The question of life and death is one thing. The other for me is: "How can I live my life in such a way that it can also be called life."

Martin Meul