The Afterlife of Billy Fingers: How My Bad-Boy Brother Proved to Me There's Life After Death

BOOK: The Afterlife of Billy Fingers: How My Bad-Boy Brother Proved to Me There's Life After Death
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Praise for
The Afterlife of Billy Fingers

The Afterlife of Billy Fingers
is an extraordinary example of extended after-death communication. It's one of the most powerful, liberating, and healing books on ‘life after death’ I've ever read. In fact, you may have a spiritual experience while reading it that will transform your beliefs about life, death, and the afterlife. I cannot recommend it highly enough to everyone who is grieving the death of a child, spouse, parent, or any other loved one.”

—Bill Guggenheim, co-author of
Hello from Heaven!

“Having read
The Afterlife of Billy Fingers
, this world appears more deeply drenched in the sacred, and death feels like an adventure to look forward to. In this quirky, luminous account of the conversation between an introspective artistic woman and her dead bad-boy brother, Annie Kagan and Billy Fingers manage to collaborate on a work of transcendent wisdom, irreverent humor and sublime beauty.”

—Mirabai Starr, author of
The Interior Castle
Dark Night of the Soul

The Afterlife of Billy Fingers
by Annie Kagan is a wholly believable story that never loses its grounding in the daily life we all know. The voices of the narrator and her deceased brother never strike a false note. This is not a story that asks you to believe anything, but simply to listen with an open mind and heart. I think you will find yourself transfixed.”

—Rev. Susan Varon, ordained interfaith minister

The Afterlife of Billy Fingers
is one of the best books I've read on the subject of life after death. So much of what the author describes jives with my experiences of both being with dying people at the moment of their deaths and in two long, extended near death experiences I've had myself. The book strikes chords of truth again and again and again. The excellent writing and the story itself hold the reader's attention beautifully. Skeptics will keep reading to ‘find out what happens next.’ And whether you're a skeptic or a true believer, the book will powerfully engage you. Part of the book's premise is Annie's questioning whether her communication with Billy is real or her own craziness, and that mystery keeps us reading and seeking answers. We want to find out for ourselves what the source of this communication really is. Along the way, what Billy tells Annie is inspiring, enlightening, and insightful. The book works. It's a good read with an appealing and controversial message.”

—Hal Zina Bennett, author of more than 30 books including
Write from the Heart
The Lens of Perception

Copyright © 2013 by Annie Kagan

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from Hampton Roads Publishing, Inc. Reviewers may quote brief passages.

Cover design by Fisher

Cover photo by Irving Cohen, edited by Justin Smith

Interior designed by StanInfo

Lyrics from Mahler's Eighth Symphony reprinted with permission from William Zauscher, YouTube, accessed September 6, 2008.

Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.

Charlottesville, VA 22906

Distributed by Red Wheel/Weiser,

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ISBN: 978-1-57174-694-8

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication data available upon request

Printed on acid-free paper in Canada


10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

To S.M.
I will forever love you

To my brother Steve
The Super Royal Radiant King




Part One: Still Billy

One: The First Thing That Happens

Two: Still Billy

Three: The Divine Nature of All Things

Four: They Can't Take That Away from Me

Five: Ain't No Sunshine Without the Sun

Six: Hologram

Seven: Rescue Mission

Eight: First the Pleasures, Then the Pestilence

Nine: Billy-Dust

Ten: Vincent

Eleven: More Proof

Part Two: Even the Soul Changes

Twelve: Becoming the Universe

Thirteen: Two Universes Passing in the Light

Fourteen: I Don't Know

Fifteen: New Body

Sixteen: Blue-White Sphere

Seventeen: Quantum

Eighteen: Supra World

Nineteen: Saga of the Pearl and the Oyster

Twenty: Book of Life

Twenty-One: Soul Tribes

Twenty-Two: Patty Malone

Twenty-Three: Cosmic Sound

Twenty-Four: The Billy Box

Twenty-Five: Tex

Twenty-Six: The Grace Coin

Twenty-Seven: Stream of Life

Twenty-Eight: Sacred Scripture

Twenty-Nine: The Funeral

Part Three: From Soul to Spirit

Thirty: The Death of Memories

Thirty-One: Shvara Lohana

Thirty-Two: Parade of Souls

Thirty-Three: The Archway

Thirty-Four: Golden Lotus Cave

Thirty-Five: White Light Brothers


his fascinating book may initially surprise and baffle some readers. After all, the events it recounts may seem completely unbelievable and far beyond reality. Therefore, I am grateful to Dr. Kagan for asking me to write this foreword, because it gives me an opportunity to talk about one of my favorite subjects—the incredible world of the ancient Greek philosophers.

The average American will probably find Dr. Kagan's narrative of her other-worldly adventures with a deceased brother hard to believe. That is too bad, though, because the Greek philosophers who founded Western thought knew full well about the remarkable phenomenon she describes. In fact, Greek philosophers even had a name for the people who were somehow suspended between this life and the next life. They called such people “walkers between the worlds.”

The walkers between the worlds had important social functions. As the early Greek philosopher Heraclitus put it, they “watch over the living and the dead.” In about 600 BCE, one of the earliest of these figures, Aithalides, was reputed to be able to pass back and forth at will between the physical world and the afterlife world. In Ancient Greece, walkers between the worlds served functions that in modern Western society are carried out by individuals who have neardeath experiences. Specifically, they were mediators, intermediaries, or messengers between the realm of the living and the realm of the dead.

The philosopher Menippus was another famous walker between the worlds. Menippus visited the afterlife dimension, returned, and then wrote a book about his journey. Menippus was sent back from the afterworld and charged with the task of monitoring what was happening among humans on earth. Then he would report back to his superiors in the world beyond to keep them apprised of humanity's progress.

Menippus dressed the part. He sported an incredibly long gray beard and wore a long gray cloak tied at the waist with a scarlet sash. He carried a wooden staff carved from an ash tree. He wore a strange hat inscribed with the signs of the Zodiac. He was serious about his mission.

The experiences Dr. Kagan relates are completely consistent with the kind of role walkers between the worlds played in antiquity. And that is no surprise to me. I think that such experiences are part of the collective psychological heritage of humankind—not artifacts of any one culture.

I suspect there are plenty of other people like Dr. Kagan. However, Westerners have developed an utterly false impression that experiences like hers are impossible—or even pathological. Hence, the many people to whom such things happen simply don't report them for fear of being judged or ridiculed. Accordingly, I salute Dr. Kagan for her courage in writing this book.

In 2006, I conducted a seminar on grief for professionals and hospice workers. A middle-aged businesswoman who worked for the organization asked me about something that happened to her when she was almost killed. She was severely injured in a car crash and left her body at the scene. She immediately saw an old man in a gray robe standing beside the road. The man had an extremely long gray beard, carried a staff, and wore an odd hat. And she felt he was there to carry her across to the afterworld. Incidentally, I hadn't mentioned Menippus or other walkers between the worlds during my presentation. The woman spontaneously related her experiences out of her own curiosity. I suspect such encounters have been with us for thousands of years and no doubt occur to quite a few individuals.

Dr. Kagan's thought-provoking account is an excellent example.

Dr. Raymond Moody

his is a true story. Some names, places, and other identifying details have been changed to protect individual privacy. The timing of some events has been compressed to facilitate the telling of the story.


hanks to my friends Steve Wander, Caroline Fierro, Brian Keane, Laura Stein, Bobbi Shapiro, Jessica Gormley, Anna Kiersnowska, Eve Eliot, Cathy Gandell, Ruth Washton, Sophie LaPaire, and Pamela Millman.

Gratitude to my book angels, Dr. Raymond Moody, Mirabai Starr, Elise D’Haene, Katharine Sands, Hal Zina Bennett, Howard Kaplan, Stacey Donovan, Michele D’Ermo, Teresa Kennedy, Ashley Womble, Jillen Lowe, and Sallie Randolph.

Thank you Deena Feinberg for my author photo, Justin Smith for his magic on Billy's cover photo, and William Zauscher for permitting me to use his magnificent translation of the lyrics to Mahler's Eighth Symphony.

Blessings to Barbara, Danielle, and Samantha from Poppy Bill, and to the rest of the crew, Mems, Rocco, JimBob, Leslie, and Steven.

Special thanks for joining me on this odyssey to Michele Tempesta, Ann Patty, Claire Gerus, Jill Mangino, Tex, Stephen Gorad, my publisher Jan Johnson and the team at RWW, and to the Cherry Boy, je t’adore.

All my love to my family: my mother, Florence, whose dark beauty and goddess-like strength have taken up residence as the lioness of my heart; my father, Irving, my handsome, charming Rhett Butler, who always looked at me like I was the greatest miracle on earth; and Billy, my bad-boy-Buddha-brother.

Part One
Still Billy

The First Thing That Happens

he Miami Dade Police left a message on my answering machine at nine in the morning. “If you know William Cohen, please contact Sergeant Diaz at 305 . . . ”

Oh no! Billy must have been arrested. Not prison. Not again. Not this late in his life.

It still made me queasy to think about the time my brother was arrested almost thirty years ago; the thud of the gavel, the words “twenty-five years to life,” my mother crying in my arms, begging the judge to change his mind. The day I watched the police handcuff Billy and drag him off to Sing Sing for selling cocaine was probably the worst day of my life.

BOOK: The Afterlife of Billy Fingers: How My Bad-Boy Brother Proved to Me There's Life After Death
10.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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