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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

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3.26  ·  Rating details ·  422 ratings  ·  88 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
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Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 28th 2015 by Grand Central Publishing
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Average rating 3.26  · 
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Sarah
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. But..it 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.
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Mark
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 from ...more
Samantha
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir, 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
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
Elaine
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
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
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Ann
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I found this book to be so uplifting. The author has some strange things happen after the death of her husband and it sets her on a journey to find out about life after death. She combined personal experiences with scientific study by interviewing respected researchers in the field. So many people, myself included, have had experiences that just cannot be explained. This book had me in tears at time and was a great comfort...and a reminder to keep my mind and heart open. Loved the last paragraph ...more
Kim
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.
Gemma
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
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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. That w ...more
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
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
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
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Jamie
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
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Jola Cora
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
A journalist experiences paranormal activities so she goes on a quest to understand and explain their nature. Despite confusing free will with will power, the occurence of speciesism (Jim is a hunter and they buy a breed dog instead of adopting) and the fact that the writing is not amazing, this book is of value because her research is scientifically driven. There's a lot of very important research mentioned that should be way more mainstream.
Joseph Young
Sep 26, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Lacking a clear sense of purpose, but written well enough to follow.
If you are a skeptic at all, I recommend you do not read this. This is a mix of biography and paranormal event hunter, with both sides not done justice, not enough details to be interesting to the average person. Thankfully, the book starts with the most significant event in the middle of the story, to give the barest of foundation, the Hand on the Mirror.

Regarding the paranormal parts, it felt very real, and not-embellished. U
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Dizsue
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
Teena
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
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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.
Rhea Reen
Sep 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Started slow but was gripping in the middle and the author lost me in the end. I have to admit was a little disappointed in the end. There was no concrete evidence that it was her deceased husband trying to communicate with her. She has quoted some valid sources and references from the field of paraphysics and metaphysics. But the book overall did not strike a cord with me. I did manage to read it till the end.
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.
Mshreeve24
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 truth....love does trump all!
Sonia Nogueras
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excelent book, keep your eyes on it all the time

Very interesting keep you on expectation and want to go to next. Its developed with respect and show facts the reader can conclude himself

Sandra Burns
Dec 23, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked this book, the beginning and middle were really good. Photos were fantastic. I know that this is true, always believed in that.
The rest, kinda boring, and a bit braggy......
Samantha Mostek
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. Thank you for sharing your experiences and research so we can all grow and learn from it!
Joan
Sep 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Very interesting read on how the dead might be able to communicate with us if we just take the time to observe. Each of us have had an “incident”, “feeling”. Follow through with it and believe
Avery Shoemaker
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
A dull story attached to an unlikable narrator.
Renee
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was a little different then I read but it helped me
mrs susan campbell
I so wanted to enjoy this book too but found it lack luster and became quickly bored by it
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