Howard Storm TV Interview – Jewish Voice Today: “Life Beyond the Grave”

TV Show – Lessons Beyond the Grave, Jewish Voice Today TV Show    AIR DATE:  11.17.2014

My role:  Selected, pre-interviewed and cast Howard Storm for special TV series on the Afterlife. Co-wrote script with producer.  One in 7-part series.  (Actual script posted in separate password-protected post)

Writers: Jenni Keast and Rebecca Fortune Cohen

ACTUAL PASSWORD-PROTECTED SCRIPT CAN BE FOUND HERE:   Howard Storm – Jewish Voice Today Interview

Read my “Twilight Zone” narrative on Howard Storm’s testimony that I wrote as chapter intro for a book that I’m writing:

Future Shock: How an Atheist Dies

Lying helpless in a Paris hospital, suffering from a grave abdominal condition that had come upon him like a sledgehammer, 42-year-old Howard Storm had only one thought: How long it would take him to die.

Howard wasn’t particularly afraid of what lay beyond the veil.  Like many of his fellow atheist professors, he knew with 99% certainty that when his soul “slipped the surly bonds of earth,” he would simply cease to exist. God, Heaven, Jesus…those, of course, were just fairy tales—paternalistic lies fed to weak human beings who, unable to cope with the harsh realities of life, clung to fanciful childhood myths.

And so, confident of his final fate, and weary of the fight, Howard said goodbye to his weeping wife, closed his eyes and waited for sweet oblivion to sweep over him.

In making the decision to die, his body a willing accomplice, little did Howard know that he was, in the words of Rod Serling, “ about to enter another dimension…to the shadowy tip of reality: on a through route to the land of the different, the bizarre … the unexplainable.”

Awakenings

A moment later Howard—much to his shock—awoke. Not only was he very much alive, strangely, his body was no longer lying prostrate on his hospital bed; rather, he was standing by it. Simultaneously,  like a human child captured and “harnessed” by an alien in Spielberg’s cult TV show, Falling Skies, each one of Howard’s senses had suddenly become super-charged:  he could hear his own blood rushing through his veins; smell the chlorine on the sheets and feel every slight movement of air against his skin.

It was neither pleasurable or unpleasurable, Howard noted with his customary degree of academic attachment.  It just was.

Much to Howard’s surprise, this new “aliveness” also brought with it a new, pain-free existence—pain that just moments before had been excruciating enough for him to want to die. While initially euphoric over his “incredible lightness of being” within moments Howard began to feel something altogether different: a gnawing feeling of apprehension.

Something wasn’t right. How could one moment he lay dying, and the next moment be standing by his bed?  Why was he suddenly feeling not only very much alive, but “super alive”?  And why was his wife, Anne, ignoring him?  From the moment he discovered that he was still alive he had tried repeatedly to communicate to her.  Yet despite even shouting at her several times, she never looked up, never responded to his pleadings to talk to him. Instead, she remained glued to her chair, her head bowed, softly crying—seemingly oblivious to his existence.

His efforts to communicate with his wife proving futile, Howard looked down at the bed next to him only to discover that there, lying in his hospital bed, was another patient—his or her face partially covered by a sheet. Perplexed, by what sick person could have so quickly taken his place, Howard took a step closer so that he could get a better look at the motionless figure.

Lifting the sheet, a sudden shock of recognition at the frozen, expressionless face that stared back at him, gave way to pure horror:  “Dear God, that’s me!  Howard gasped.

“It’s impossible,” he reasoned to himself.  “It can’t be me! It must be a wax replica. This has to be some sort of weird French psychological test hoisted on unsuspecting American tourists,” he thought to himself.

Now in full-blown shock, Howard braced himself against the hospital room wall.

That’s when he heard them…the hushed voices. At first, he was unsure of where they were coming from. But as he walked towards the door, he realized they were coming from down the hallway…even more bizarre, they were calling his name.

“Howard, Howard…come out here,” they whispered to him. Howard couldn’t help but notice that the voices spoke perfect English…with absolutely no trace of a French accent.

Suspicious, but elated that someone was finally responding to him, Howard peeked out of his hospital room. Way down at the end of the dull-grey colored—almost misty—hallway, he vaguely made out the outline of four or five shadowy figures.

“Howard, come on…we’ve been waiting for you for such a long time…we can help you,” they beckoned softly—their long fingers motioning him to follow them.

Unsure at first what to do, Howard teetered at the doorway—anxious about leaving the security of his hospital room. After about a minute, he took the plunge and started towards the voices. Fighting a gnawing sense of dread, Howard chided himself: “Get a grip…who else could they be but hospital staff taking me to get my long overdue operation?”

Despite his attempts to reassure himself, with each step forward, Howard’s sense of foreboding increased.  The voices, sensing his hesitancy, became impatient—even, he noticed with not a little concern—a bit surly.

“Howard, you have to come with us…now!”  they now began to shout.

At that point all Howard wanted was to retreat. He wanted to wake up from this whole unsettling dream. Except somehow—he didn’t know how—he knew he couldn’t. He had had strange dreams and he had “far out” drug trips and this—whatever “this” was neither of these things.

And so, Howard kept walking—fearful, but also, he had to admit, strangely fascinated by the voices that beckoned him. Whatever strange force that was compelling him, it was drawing him like a magnet towards these elusive figures.  Inexplicably, the longer he walked, the more shadowy the hallway seemed to get––away from the bright light that had filled his room.

“Man, can’t they afford any lights in this place?” he muttered to himself as he groped the walls to help steady him.

Strangely, during all this time—in what seemed to be miles—Howard could never seem to get closer than 10 ft. to the indistinguishable figures that beckoned him. Just as strange, no matter how far he got away from the hospital door, he could still look back and see inside his room—viewing his “wax figure” body, with his wife hunched over it…sobbing.

“I just have to stop thinking about that,” he scolded himself. Doing so made him feel more frightened … and alone.  That was his worst fear.

Then in a flash—he didn’t know how or why—the thought came to him that it was all a ruse. Those voices, those people, were not there to help him. They were there to hurt him.

Before he could even process that thought, Howard suddenly stumbled as the hallway took a slight dip. A pitch-black inky darkness instantly enveloped him.

What happened next, Howard would later describe as “an experience that would defy even Stephen King’s dark imagination.”

Something Wicked This Way Comes

As quickly as Howard stumbled into the darkness the subterfuge ended.  The once beguiling voices turned ugly….bombarding the professor with a barrage of the foulest language he had ever heard. Far worse, the voices were now hurling cruel and degrading personal verbal attacks—vile, condemning  words that could only come from an intimate knowledge of every wrong and shameful thing he had ever done, every insecurity he had ever felt.

Realizing his horrible mistake, Howard quickly turned to go back. It was futile. There, in the pitch-black darkness, he could feel their solid bodies pressing against him—only now, instead of a few, there were hordes of them…jeering at him, as they surrounded him like a pack of wild dogs. Trying to defend himself, he swung back like a wild man.

Then the unimaginable happened. The hands that once beckoned him to the promise of comfort and safety, now had him pinned to the ground—their long nails and sharp teeth biting and tearing at his flesh.

To his horror, he realized that he was being taken apart and eaten alive.

And that’s when he knew.  The nihilists, the atheists, the humanists…they had all been wrong—dead wrong. There was no was no oblivion, no annihilation, and no end of existence when a person left this world.

There was only darkness…and pain…and unspeakable evil.

And that body, that “wax figure” on the bed back in his room that now felt as it were a million miles away? That was no longer Howard Storm.  The man he thought he was,  he wasn’t. That man was here. And “here” was Hell.

Most terrifying of all, he knew he was right where he belonged.

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About seekandfind

I'm a strategic storyteller/copywriter who is divinely wired to be idea-driven, strategic minded & cause motivated.

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