March 26, 2019

Reporting On The Psychic World
by Jon Stevens

Exclusive Interview With Author Jess Stearn*

Jess Stearn outside his beach house in Malibu, California

His observations, steeped always in a healthy skepticism, have earned him the reputation as one of the leading authorities on metaphysics and psychic phenomenon worldwide. His books include Edgar Cayce: The Sleeping Prophet, The Door To The Future, Yoga Youth And Reincarnation, The Miracle Workers, A Time For Astrology, The Power Of Alpha Thinking, and Soul Mates. In this candid exclusive interview, author Jess Stearn reveals his innermost thoughts concerning the metaphysical world.

The retracing of a career spanning some forty years was more an exercise in nonchalance than an exhortation of memory for the distinguished gentleman. His manner was self-assured, his deep blue eyes penetrating but soft, as he spoke comfortably from his easy chair. Backdropped by large picture windows which overlook the Pacific Ocean at his beachfront home in Malibu, California, author Jess Stearn reminisced about his early days as a writer.

"I was about 28 or so, sort of known as the boy editor on the New York Daily News. I was the kind of fella that if anyone mentioned they were a fortune teller, I'd think they were a little nutty ..."

Such a predisposition would seem unlikely for a writer of esoteric interests, yet he was drawn into the field of psychism as if fate had destined it for him. His first serious introduction came about at a supper club in New York called Armado's. He was there picking up the owner, a friend of his, to attend Frank Sinatra's opening night at the Copa Cabana. His friend had'nt yet arrived, so he withdrew to a waiting area upstairs. Suddenly it happened.

"How about a reading, big boy?" The pungent invitation came from a darkish woman sitting at a table off to the side— words that were to change the course of his life forever.

"What kind of a reading?" he inquired.

"Oh, about your past, present and future—"

"You must be a fortune teller."

"No, I'm a sensitive," she replied.

As he turned to go out, she called after him, "Well, I can understand your being upset and all, because you've just gone through a divorce. But you have two lovely children to show for it, haven't you? The boy is the older—the girl is the younger?"

"Yes, that's true," said the writer, looking around to see if anyone was nearby, feeding her information.

"You're thinking of marrying somebody, but you're never going to see her again."

By this time, the newspaperman was intrigued enough to sit down with the woman, who turned out to be psychic Maya Perez.

"She described everything that was going to happen to me in the next thirty years," Stearn admitted in retrospect. "She told me my son would go into the law. He went into the N.Y. Police Department and was head of an anti-crime movement. She told me my daughter was going to go into healing. She's a doctor now up in Wyoming. They weren't even teenagers at the time. She told me I was going to get married in eight or nine years to a golden-haired blonde, which happened."

The psychic went on to describe how Jess would become involved in 'this field.'

"What field?" inquired the reporter.

"My field." "What kind of field is that?"

"The metaphysical field." "You're going to write about me."

As she continued the reading, Maya Perez made some very definite predictions about the reporter's future, things which he couldn't have possibly known at the time. She mentioned, for instance, that Jess' third book would be a bestseller which would subsequently take him out of the newspaper business. His eighth book, she foretold, would become a bestseller which would be sold all over the world.

All of these predictions came about with startling accuracy. As foretold, Jess detailed his incident with Maya Perez in his first book, The Door To The Future. His third book, The Sixth Man quickly became a bestseller, established his career as an author, and took him out of the newspaper business. Edgar Cayce: The Sleeping Prophet, his eighth and most well-known book, is still being sold all over the world today.

"I had no way of knowing at that time that all these things were going to happen," Jess observes, "but it did make me very much aware of something I had not even known existed before— this metaphysical world, this world of the occult. I had heard enough to make me realize as a reporter that there was something here tangible. She [Maya Perez] keyed in very tangibly on the [then] present situation, the things I knew about."

The incident with Maya Perez and other subsequent experiences involving psychism had made a profound impact upon the young newspaperman, so much so that they became a formative influence in his life.

"People that I talked to at that time sensed an openness about me that wasn't there before."

One of those people who noticed his new-found openness was the legendary Grace Kelly. Jess interviewed the actress for the New York Daily News when she was twenty-five, then at the peak of her acting career.

"We got along so famously talking about this field that I saw her three times instead of one time," Jess recalls. "She kept inviting me back to talk to her."

It was during one of those visits that the movie actress shared with Jess the story of a psychic reading she had received years earlier when she was a little-known model. The psychic's name was Rava, a Russian Baroness who told the young girl that one day she would become the most famous movie star in the country, possibly the world.

'Well, anyone looking at you could make that guess," Jess commented. "You're so beautiful—"

"No," Grace told him, "she was very specific. She told me all these things— who I was going to be with, who I was going to work with— but she made one preposterous prediction."

"What was that, Miss Kelly?"

"She told me I was going to be a princess one day. I can't think of anything more ridiculous— me, this little girl from Philadelphia."

"I thought of it a year later," Jess recalls, "when she met the prince, got married and became Princess Grace."

A sometimes overlooked fact that it was through Stearn's first book, The Door To The Future, that psychic Jeanne Dixon first came to national attention. It was concerning the prediction she had made about John F. Kennedy's assassination.

"It took everybody by surprise," Jess remembers. "Carl Betz in New York said they could have sold fifty thousand copies in one day. The book was held up by NBC saying in this book the prediction was carried."

One of the hallmarks of Stearn's success has been his willingness to take a progressive stand, choosing topics that often intimidated other authors. He reported on the psychic field when few authors would take the subject seriously. His third book, The Sixth Man, a journalistic treatment of homosexuality in America, was written at a time when talking openly about the subject was considered taboo.

Unlike Stearn's two previous books, The Sixth Man was not received very well in literary circles. A article in the Saturday Evening Review was unsympathetic, calling the book 'unintelligent.' This was contrary to all expectation, for Stearn had frequently reminded himself and the publisher, Doubleday, about the prediction made years earlier by psychic Maya Perez.

"I told them they had better get the third book out, because this woman has never been wrong," he recalls. "The third book has to be a bestseller."

In the lack of literary acceptance for The Sixth Man, Stearn sensed a death knell for his book writing career and for psychic investigation as well. "After reading the write up in the Saturday Evening Review, I thought to myself, 'I better start looking for a job'."

A week later, however, Jess received a call from Lee Barker, then editor-in-chief of Doubleday.

"We don't know what's happening, Jess," the editor informed him. "The bookstores are reporting that people are coming in, buying fifty books at a time and sending them all over the world. Also, it's on the New York Times bestseller list."

It stayed there for a year. Needless to say, the future of his book writing career was assured, and he had firmly established himself as an author. Talking about what makes for an author's success, Stearn himself is quick to point out, as if talking from hard-earned experience, "it's not the quality of a book that counts, it's the quantity."

As an author, Stearn has put his many years' experience as a newspaperman to good use. Never wavering in journalistic integrity, he has consistently written as a reporter of the facts as he saw them.

"I know that what I have explored and what I have researched meets the regulations and requirements of what any skilled reporter would require in order to write any kind of a story."

While a feature editor for the New York Daily News, Jess demonstrated in at least one instance his desire to further public awareness of the psychic field.

"I decided that since I was not only the editor but the reporter as well, that I would write a series of articles."

The series, which was to run all week in the nation's largest newspaper, would cover ESP, psychic phenomena and the whole metaphysical field in general.

When a copy of the first article of the series reached the higher-ups at the newspaper, Jess was called into the managing editor's office.

"What are you, crazy running a series like this? the managing editor accused him.

"What do you mean crazy?" replied Jess.

"I want you to scrap that series. What is this, some kind of lunacy? People predicting the future, people healing— We're a general newspaper, not an esoteric publication.... What have you got to run instead?" Jess replied he had nothing but then added, "Well, you don't understand. We're also going to expose them later on."

"Well why didn't you say that?" replied the managing editor.

As a final installment in the series, Jess did an expose on a few of the charlatans and some of the questionable practices going on in the field. On the whole, however, the incident reflected the reporter's desire to bring ESP and psychic phenomena into greater public acceptance,a desire which later on would become one of the trademarks of his career as an author.

"Psychics would tell me I was instrument, that whenever I wrote something that wasn't psychically involved, it would not be successful. It turned out to be true. It was only when writing about the psychic field or some branch of it like yoga, astrology or reincarnation, that the books were successful."

A common theme underscoring many of Jess' experiences is what he calls 'synchronicity—' the idea that all things are interconnected in some way.

"It's like Jung, all this synchronicity, all this coming together— one name leads to another name, leads to another— in my life."

The phenomenon of synchronicity was never in greater evidence than when Jess was researching material on Edgar Cayce for his book, The Door To The Future. Jess had first heard about Edgar Cayce from a man named David Cahn, a manufacturer of television equipment from New Jersey. They met in a health club in New York. Upon hearing that Stearn was doing a series of articles on ESP and psychic phenomena, Cahn inquired, "Are you getting any Cayce in there?"

"Cayce who?" asked the reporter. "Edgar Cayce, the greatest mystic who ever lived."

After such a testimonial, Jess decided Cayce would be a man worth learning more about. He followed up on a phone number given him by Cahn to the Edgar Cayce Foundation in Virginia Beach. When Jess later made a trip to the foundation to do research on his book, he found the people there unusually accommodating. The organization normally couldn't afford to stay open on weekends, yet they opened their library for him and gave him two assistants besides.

"I knew this was quite unusual," Jess recalls. "I couldn't understand it."

The matter was cleared up the following day when Hugh Lynn Cayce, Edgar's son, was showing Jess some transcripts of his father's readings. "Here's one you might be interested in," spoke Hugh Lynn, handing him the transcript of a reading given in 1931. The transcript read: "Be good to Stearn when he comes down from New York. He'll be a financial help to the organization."

"Well now I know why they're being so nice to me," Jess thought to himself, "but there are a lot of Stearns from New York. Maybe there were other people involved with that name."

The next transcript Hugh Lynn showed him was not so easy to explain away. "My stomach kicked over when I read it," recalls Stearn. "It made a believer of me at that stage."

The transcript read: "Have Dave Cahn tell Stearn about the work. He'll be of great service to the organization." The transcript was from a reading Edgar Cayce had given years before the reporter ever met Cahn.

Further evidence of synchronicity was the chain of events surrounding the writing of his book, Edgar Cayce: The Sleeping Prophet. Jess had been contemplating writing the book on Cayce for some time but wasn't sure how it would be received. One evening in his apartment in New York, he finally made the decision to write the book and started gathering up some of the residual Cayce material left over from his research for The Door To The Future.

He was going to retire at about one A.M. when he received a call from a well-known psychic and medium named Madame Bathsheba. "Jess, Edgar Cayce came to me," she told him. "He's very pleased you're going to be writing this book about him." This startled the writer, for he had not as yet told anyone about his decision.

"He's pleased and he wants you to know how you should write it," she continued. "First of all, you should call it The Sleeping Prophet." "Wait a second," Jess interrupted. "I'llget a pencil and write all this down."

Madame Bathsheba proceeded with the directives given her by Cayce. "You should get into the life readings, reincarnation. You should get into Dr. Ketchum, the earth changes, predictions, health readings and cover the philosophical range of his work. If you do all that, the book will be a bestseller. Edgar will be there to help you if you need any help. You will write it very rapidly."

'Very rapidly' was an understatement. Jess completed the writing of the book in three weeks, a time frame, he observes, "that I have never even come close to before or since on any book."

Encountering a problem in one of the chapters, Jess remembered what Madame Bathsheba had said about Cayce always being nearby.

"Well, Edgar," the writer thought to himself, "here's your chance to establish yourself."

"I meditated like she [Bathsheba] had suggested," he recalls, "and wrote the chapter in a couple of hours."

The wheels of synchronicity grind closer to home as well, allowing colleagues and friends to share ideas and suggestions. Jess remembers when Shirley MacLaine, also a Malibu beachfront resident and neighbor, had asked his opinion about the book she was writing on reincarnation called Out On A Limb. She had expressed the concern of her friends who said that it would ruin her career if she had the book published.

"I want to say quite the contrary," Jess remembers advising her. "...I think the world is ready for a book on reincarnation by somebody that has your proven integrity in another field. There's a Gallup poll that shows that twenty-five percent of adults in America accept reincarnation. You could probably double that by people unwilling to commit themselves. You're going into a fertile field.... I think you're going to find great acceptance, and it will add an extra dimension to your life, as I see it."

The spectacular metamorphosis of MacLaine's career since writing Out On A Limb speaks for itself. Whether or not the actress was influenced by Jess' advice, his appraisal of her situation had proven surprisingly accurate.

What inevitably comes up in any discussion of the psychic field is the aspect of spirituality. Jess' feeling here is quite uncompromising. "I think it's not only the most important aspect, but the only aspect. Without that, there's nothing. What else is there?"

So committed an attitude was not always forthcoming in the author, who for years had fit into the typical journalist mold as worldweary skeptic.

"It was a gradual evolution with me.... I noticed as a newspaperman I was getting a little more compassionate. I was getting more into being aware of the spiritual aspect of the psychic. I began to realize there was a spiritual element that was an important part of this thing."

An experience which greatly influenced him in this respect was working with Marsha Moore in Concord, Massachusetts as part of the research for his book, Yoga, Youth And Reincarnation. It was during the summer, and the presence of all types of bugs became a constant nuisance to people doing yoga exercises outdoors.

"Why don't you get rid of these things?" Jess suggested.

"Oh well, we can't destroy these creatures," spoke one of the people there. "They're life that God put on earth."

"I thought 'life that God put on earth'," Jess recalls, "but it was awful trying to do a headstand for the first time and having some mosquito on your nose."

As Jess proceeded with his research there, he gradually saw their point of view— barely in time, however, before they actually did bring in the exterminators.

"Then I felt kind of guilty," he recalls, "all that life sort of wiped out.... Now if I see a fly or a bee around here, I try to open the door and get rid of them that way— shoo 'em a little bit. So, if you're going to treat insects like that, you certainly ought to treat people as well, right?"

Through his many books dealing with the psychic field, Jess Stearn has chronicled much of the evolution of Man's consciousness into the New Age as perhaps no other author. As he comments on the future, not only of metaphysics, but of Mankind as well, he speaks with the authority of a veteran journalist, his perception keen to our present situations and to our future dilemmas:

"My feeling is that we're headed for rough times. Edgar Cayce predicted this toward the end of the century, the millennium. What I think is needed right now is some awareness of the dangers that we're facing. For the first time in the history of the world that we know of, Man is capable of blowing himself up. It might have happened in Atlantis as Cayce said it did. He says history is repeating itself here....

"In the old days, in the prehistoric days, the cave man was psychically attuned. He wouldn't wander into a cave if he knew something bigger than himself was in there. We see it all the time with animals— they know when it's dangerous and when it's not dangerous. They know all that very intuitively and instinctively. A gazelle knows when it can go up to a lion and bump noses with it— the lion isn't to bother him.

"Our senses are going to have to be honed and sharpened a little bit, in order that we can become aware of this greater danger. That's what seems to be happening right now. I say it seems to be happening because I'm a skeptical man. This coming awareness is going to lead to a certain brotherhood, I think. It doesn't seem apparent, but it's sort of simmering underneath all the time. There is a stronger feeling among the people themselves that we're all in this thing together. I think that's what it's all about...."

*Reprinted with permission, Better World Magazine

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