The Life After Death Project really piqued my interest due to its unusual approach. Does all psychic investigation have to take place in a moldering cemetery or a former battlefield, as most of the ghost hunting TV programs appear to suggest? I think not!
In fact, so many variables are present in a cemetery (temperature changes, barometric pressure changes, light changes, etc.) that I should think that data gathered there is of marginal scientific value in the end. That could be why the scientists are not putting much emphasis on cemeteries or battlefields, nor are they publishing many papers on cemetery investigations in peer-reviewed journals! But they are carrying out other sorts of studies, and some of the best research is being shown in The Life After Death Project. The documentary shows laboratory experiments in which communication with "hypothesized deceased co-investigators" is being conducted by U. of Arizona research psychologist Gary Schwartz.
Dr. Schwartz talks about how he measures minute amounts of light in boxes using silicon photomultiplier systems manufactured for the purpose of bioimagery in the medical field. Combining the silicon photomultiplier systems with light-tight chambers in a controlled laboratory setting, Dr. Schwartz measures light emissions in the tens of protons which are generated from an unknown source within the light-tight boxes when questions are asked of the "hypothesized deceased co-investigators" invited to join the experiments. Forrest J Ackerman, or, his spirit, if you will, was one of those invited. It is very interesting, even thrilling, to see this happening in real time!
In March 2009, Mr. Davids was one of the celebrity speakers at a tribute held in Hollywood to honor Mr. Ackerman, the focus of the documentary. Just weeks after the tribute, Mr. Davids was alone in his and his wife's second residence in New Mexico where he printed out a listing of business contacts. It looked fine when he tossed it on his bed and left to take a break. But when he returned there was a strange blot of ink obscuring the line "Spoke to Joe Amodei". Joe Amodei was a producer whom Mr. Davids only met once... so what did all this mean? The connection with the late founding father of science fiction fandom, Forrest J Ackerman, came when Paul Davids spoke to a close friend of Forrest Ackerman a week after the incident in New Mexico. The close friend, Joe Moe, described a vivid dream in which Mr. Ackerman told him he liked the tribute to him. It then occurred to Mr. Davids that "Spoke to Joe Amodei" was a way of communicating "spoke to Joe Moe" and it was solid empirical evidence. Mr. Moe did not know about the inkblot when he told Paul Davids about the dream.
I liked the scene in which Paul Davids flew to Indianapolis, Indiana and hand delivered the sheet of paper to a prominent chemist at Indiana University. By the end of 2010 the ink blot had been analyzed by two forensic chemists. You cannot help but notice the peculiar way in which the ink evenly covered the words "Joe Amodei". The chemists and several graduate students have attempted to replicate the way the ink covered all the words and have gone on record in this documentary as saying they cannot, even three years later.
In the documentary the producers interview other close friends of Forrest J Ackerman and learn of odd things that happened to them as well.
The two DVD set has many good extras pertaining to Forrest J Ackerman on Disk 1. The second DVD disk, Personal Encounters, consists of interviews with hospice doctors and nurses who have in the course of their careers witnessed occurrences which they cannot explain, as well as interviews with New Mexico saloon/hotel owners who have seen and felt some peculiar phenomena, like doors that open on their own. Updates on the ink blot analysis are also included in Part Two.