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The Hand on the Mirror: A True Story of Life Beyond Death
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The Hand on the Mirror: A True Story of Life Beyond Death

3.22  ·  Rating details ·  333 Ratings  ·  74 Reviews

An unbelievably believable story about the afterlife, with documenting photographs from the former publisher of a major metropolitan newspaper.

In 2004, Janis Heaphy Durham's husband, Max Besler, died of cancer at age 56. The daughter of a Presbyterian minister, she practiced her faith as she struggled with her loss. Soon she began encountering phenomena unlike anything she
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 28th 2015 by Grand Central Publishing
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Mar 08, 2015 rated it did not like it
Won this from a first reads giveaway

I wanted to like this book. I tried to think outside the box, and I also tried to keep an open mind. But it just did not happen. I will not say this book was unreadable, as I made it through. was definitely not good. I am sure I will be one of the only ones giving this a one star rating, but this is what I won the book for. To read, and reflect. I am a HUGE fan of anything paranormal, mind you. I am not a believer, but the topic and study intrigues me.
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I really wanted to like this book. It's a great one for readers who know little to nothing about the paranormal or metaphysics. A lot of the information has already been covered by people a lot more learned and experienced than the author. Also, it's very hard to relate to the author as she is obviously rather well to do and there are frequent reminders of this fact such as: impromptu trips across country, multiple homes, her early retirement, luxurious preoccupation with aging and body image, a ...more
Maria Espadinha
May 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reflexões sobre Vida e Morte

Como encarar a cadeia de eventos que dá pelo nome de Vida?
Todos os desafios enfrentados!
Medos confrontados!
Batalhas travadas!

Serão alíneas dalgum Projecto para Desenvolvimento da Consciência?

E quando o corpo acaba?
Que sucede à Consciência trabalhada e refinada?
Morre com ele?

Mas a Consciência é imaterial!

Terá então uma existência própria? Independente do corpo?

Se assim é, para que necessita do corpo?

O corpo é o seu servo material!
Os 5 sentidos!
O instrumento de tra
Jun 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
I was completely disappointed by the book. Maybe it was me but I expected some scientific basis for her to back what she believes were experiences with her deceased husband Max in the afterlife but instead got (and I'm para phrasing) "windchimes but there was not wind" & "a heavy door opened/closed with no one there, it never had before", "a clock was stopped at the exact time of Max's death then there was a power surge and it started again", notes popping out of notes that must be messages ...more
Rachel Watkins
When Janis Heaphy Durham's husband dies, she is devastated. When she begins receiving messages from the great beyond, she instinctively kicks into reporter mode (she was the publisher of the Sacramento Bee) and begins investigating how and why he is contacting her. This is a logical, thoroughly researched, and scientific look at the messages she received. Our society doesn't talk about the afterlife enough and Durham discusses this as well. Read this to help you deal with loss. Read this because ...more
Raegan   Ralls
-Originally posted on The Reading Room-

-Disclaimer: I won this book for free through goodreads giveaways in exchange for an honest review.-

2.5 Stars

This book was interesting but a very slow read. I thought this book was going to be really fast-paced, but it was the complete opposite of what I expected.

Want a book on walls shaking?

Lights flickering?

Rugs walking? *cough* I mean sliding down the hallway?

And random hand prints and footprints appearing, appearing, and reappearing?

Then this i
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Ganhei este livro num passatempo de um blog "Páginas de uma Lua" ( ou
Confesso que quando ganhei este livro tinha a ideia da história ser uma coisa, e afinal foi outra, totalmente diferente. Trata-se portanto, de uma biografia sobre diversos acontecimentos paranormais, a sua divulgação bem como o que fez para tentar compreendê-los. Não foi um livro que me entusiasmou, de todo, aliás, estive por diversas vezes a deixá-lo de la
Jan 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: could-not-finish
Could not finish it. It was recommended to me since I recently lost my sister. I believe in signs, but this author is so self absorbed, selfish and narcissistic that I could not get past my dislike for her that I stopped halfway through.
May 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I almost didn't read this book, because I have read so many books about life after death that I didn't need to read any more about it. Still, I felt it calling me, and I'm glad I answered the call. With this book, Janis took an investigative approach to figuring out what happens after we die, speaking to myriad experts on all facets of parapsychology. The skeptical newspaper woman in her made her the perfect person to conduct this investigation as she came into it with no preconceived notions - ...more
Tracy Fleming-Swehla
I've never read a book about "ghosts" from a mostly scientific-proof viewpoint, so this was a new take on the idea of communicating with loved ones from the other side (for me). Janis is a retired news journalist & editor, and her writing and research was very thorough and well laid out, easy to follow. I had no idea there was such a thing as a Masters in parapsychology...she really did her homework and shared such interesting information about the science of studying beyond the tangible. Th ...more
Emily Dean
May 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own
I love this subject matter and am very open to paranormal experiences, as I've had quite a few myself. That said, this book was 95% the author patting herself on the back for being an excellent mother, wife, and solver of mysteries, 4% "paranormal activity" (like a door shutting...), and 1% justifying that she eats nothing but fruits and vegetables while her husband eats (gasp!) pancakes and Burger King! The chapter about losing a child was the most interesting part to me, as it was chock-full o ...more
May 27, 2015 rated it liked it
I really wanted to give more than 3 stars I just can't. If you want scientific facts then this is for you. However I was expecting a story and not a whole lot of story here just facts and people and their history. The " story" itself was about 1/4 of the book the rest was other info on research. Not for me. I have myself had several paranormal experiences and I wanted more story I suppose. It was a very slow read for me and a bit disappointing.
I received this book direct from the publisher for
Melissa B
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received this book through GoodReads First Reads.
I intended to read this book on a whim. Being a sceptic, I did not intend this to change my views of the afterlife, but was interested in other views. Wow! The events and the scientific analysis from several well-respected sources really opened my mind to other possibilities.
This book is very well written, well documented, and believable. My limited experience with the afterlife was reinforced as true-to-life. I highly recommend this book, It i
Tracy Robertson
Jul 28, 2017 rated it liked it
I felt confident that the author was an intelligent person, not by any stretch of the imagination a kook or nutcase. I found the book completely believable. I like these sort of books and I found the first half mostly engaging. The author seems like she is probably a very nice lady, but her constant pedigree dropping really got on my nerves. It seemed important to her that we know how intelligent she and everyone she deals with is. I suppose she wanted to be certain to ensure credibility, but it ...more
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thought the book was fascinating and a beautiful description of the events that came about after the death of her husband. I am a great believer in one's energy living on after the death of our bodies. I think the messages and signs of love shared with this author are amazing and her research into her questions well stated and addressed. I know and greatly respect someone who used to work with this author and he knew the deceased as well and how much he had adored his wife and lover during his ...more
Oct 09, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book for the wrong reasons. I read it with the mindset of it being a work of fiction. It definitely didn't pass my "sniff test" for any scientific or remotely scientific proof that what the author encountered was of another dimension.

The author attempts to legitimize her various mediums through their professions or higher education but that doesn't convince me. The most fervent religious and spiritual believers I know hold higher educations--proof of one's ability to learn isn't
Daeryl Holzer
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
A friend gave me this book soon after my husband died from Cancer. It was validating to read the author's accounting of contact with her husband's essence from the other side, as I was having similar experiences. Her book was a soothing balm to my sense of sudden separation, and gave me hope for my future during a time of loss and despair. Not just because of her ongoing connection to her deceased husband, but because of how she moved on and found new love, I highly recommend this book to anyone ...more
Joyce Peak
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book is about the paranormal experiences of a widow after the death of her husband. This is a true story. She took pictures of several phenomena her and her son, and then her and her next husband experienced. She was in charge of the Sacramento Bee for many years. She interjected facts about people who work in this field with her own story. That made this a very disorganized read for me.
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting perspective on this authors journey to seek answers that sometimes allude us our entire lives.... her thoughtful -seeking journey inspired me more than I anticipated.... and does trump all!
Wendi Dusseault
Dec 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Loved this book! The "science" got a little boring but her story is amazing, Told in a way that even the biggest skeptic would have to ne saying hmmmm. For anyone who has lost someone and doesnt believe that there's more once we pass, this book is a must read.
May 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Two weeks ago we had the exterior of our house painted. It was a long time coming. Our painter and his crew was fabulous. They dug around the perimeter of the house and painted as far down as they could, so that if the soil ever shifted, no one would ever see the old paint. When it the paint dried, the put the soil back in place.

It was after they pulled back the soil, but before they put it back into place, that I found what I thought was a baby cockroach on my pillow. (My husband was, of course
Ailin Skye
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
¿Qué es lo que sabemos del mundo del otro lado de la vida? Las ponencias no son nada serias, de hecho Holliwood nos ha llenado de muchas cosas interesantes. ¿Fantasmas? Dame un largometraje que toque fantasmas y vamos a salir gritando, viendo sangre correr por las paredes y el suelo, amores inconclusos, venganzas y maldiciones. La literatura nos ayuda a más de lo mismo (os recuerdo que adoro el mundo paranormal). ¿Podría encontrar un libro que tratase el tema sin querer venderme alguna tontería? ...more
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
I reall wanted to love this book. I wanted to be as fulfilled at the end of reading it as I was excited seeing a brand new copy in my local library and grabbing it as soon as I saw it. Unfortunatley this wasn't the case.

I am a very open minded and spiritual person although I dont have a religious undertone to my beliefs. I have read a lot of many different versions of paranormal, ghost stories, angel/spirit guide experiences etc over the years to get a sense of passion and contentment with an au
Margaret Butler
Jun 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
I am always amused that people who believe that the Bible and ministers and priests have all the answers regarding spirituality and fervently believe that solely on faith, without any scientific proof, yet they demand that this type of spiritual contact described in "The Hand on the Mirror" is not believable without scientific proof!

I've read books on life after life experiences, and non-traditional spiritual beliefs for over thirty years, and I am a Christian and I do have faith. When I heard
Janis Heaphy Durham loses her husband to cancer and on the first anniversary of his death strange things begin to happen, things that cannot easily be explained or forgotten. For three years, coinciding with the day her husband died, a mysterious, powdery handprint shows up on the bathroom mirror. Janis wasn't the only person to witness the phenomenon. It couldn't be her imagination but she did wonder if her grief was causing her to see and do things that were unexplainable. As publisher of the ...more
Sep 23, 2015 rated it liked it
I picked this book up at the library because it looked interesting. Ghosts and the afterlife seem to be a new interest of mine. Durham tells the story of her husband, Max, dying young from cancer. Before he died he promised to find some way to contact her from the afterlife. After he died, she begins to notice lights flickering, clocks stopping at 12:44 (the time he died), rugs moving, and handprints on the bathroom mirror. Durham becomes shocked and intrigued by all these occurrences. She takes ...more
Mary Kenyon
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
I tried to like this book; I really did. As someone who has seen "signs" from their deceased spouse, I should have loved it. However, I believe those signs can't be explained because they are all about faith. If you are a Christian, this book isn't for you, and I've read a dozen books that relate science to faith, so it isn't that. It is the whole "ghost" feel to it. I don't think the author had faith before her spouse died, and it certainly shows in how she approaches what might have been a sig ...more
J. Ewbank
This book by Janis Durham was an interesting book for me to read. I am a Christian and a Methodist one at that. I have noticed the increasing publishing by people who have become "spiritual" but not "religious" or rather "Christian."

I can really admire the time and effort she has put into her search for understnading. I can also agree with some of the psychological relities that we know from many of the studies at Duke etc.. because I was a college major in psychology and have followed up on th
Apr 29, 2015 rated it liked it
I won this book through Goodreads First reads in exchange for my review.

This isn't a normal genre that I read but I find it fascinating. I would recommend reading if you know little about the subject but it seems like it may be a bit elementary for those who have read or know a lot about life after death.

Because the author has a background in journalism that spans decades I believe her when she talks about her experience and being a skeptic at first. This wasn't the type of booked that sucked me
Sue Smith
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
An interesting book to be sure, but truly one based on conjecture. I do not doubt that Janis Durham experienced what she did, but it isn't completely conclusive of life after death, it's more of her experiences that had some peculiar oddities that had a little smoke-n-mirror qualities. I sometimes think that if you want something to 'be' , then it 'is'. Can't say it any better. Personally, if a weird hand print surfaced on my bathroom mirror, i'd be a little more freaked out.

All that being said
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“For the past thirty-nine years since I had graduated from college, I had called my parents on Sundays. They had expected and looked forward to the ritual. After Dad died, I still called Mom on Sundays. Most of the time I dreaded the call because she had become more and more insular and was full of complaints about the assisted living facility, the other residents, her health, everything. She had become narrow in her interests in life, more negative, more critical, and unhappier. I was reminded of something I had heard from a psychologist about what happens as we age. He said we become more of who we are, not less. Our energy to fight back the negative attributes we all possess is not as strong as we get older. So we can become more cantankerous, more irritable. I also remembered what my father had often said: “There but for the grace of God go I.” That Sunday I placed the” 0 likes
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