The spirit of Montague Keen watched helplessly as his body was loaded into an ambulance. His wife, Veronica, stared blankly into the distance, tears flooding down her face. Her friends whispered words of hope, but in her heart she knew her husband was dead.
Moments before his, Montague was engaged in a passionate debate on the paranormal at the Royal Society of Arts in London. But then a massive heart attack felled his mortal body in the blink of an eye.
As his life slipped away, the 78-year-old reaffirmed the pact he had made with his wife. Both promised that whoever died first would work from the spirit world to prove that life continued after death. It was a romantic pledge on an epic scale and one that Monty was determined to keep.
And now, scientists in America appear to have found compelling evidence that Montagues soul has indeed survived physical death and is working from the spirit world to fulfil his promise to Veronica.
Monty still exists, says Professor Gary Schwartz of the University of Arizona. He is passing information to us through mediums. Its clear to me that Monty is continuing his work from the other side.
Montague Keen died on January 15 2004 following a massive heart attack. Although he earned his living as a gentleman farmer and journalist, his first love was the paranormal. He was a member of the committee of the Society for Psychical Research for many years and investigated many strange phenomena such as crop circles and life after death.
Because of his track record, many researchers believed that if anyone could return from the spirit world with evidence of life after death, it would be Montague. They did not have long to wait.
Just six days after his death, the first tentative evidence of his spiritual survival appeared. During his wake, the medium Dinesh Solanki apparently saw Montague standing next to a TV set with a huge smile on his face. Dinesh says that Montague was hugely enjoying his wake. Moments later, a picture came crashing down off the wall.
Over the following days and weeks, mediums around the world started receiving messages from an unknown spirit. At first the messages were a little fuzzy, almost out of focus. The words were a little garbled, as if a child was learning to talk for the first time. But very quickly the thoughts and messages became clearer and sharper. It was obvious that a powerful mind was at work.
One of the first mediums to receive a coherent message was Dinesh.
Monty came through loud and clear, says Dinesh. He said that he wanted Veronica to convert his ashes into a diamond which was to be worn as a necklace. I was a little shocked because it sounded a strange thing to do.
Veronica was stunned by this insight: Monty and I were discussing this in bed the night before he died. Dinesh could not have known this. It was known only to me and Monty. For me, this was the first concrete evidence that Monty had indeed survived death.
Shortly afterwards, the Irish medium Christine Holohan received a message for Veronica from Montague. It was simple and to the point.
He wanted to remind me to plant the spring barley, says Veronica. As a former permanent secretary to the parliamentary committee of the National Farmers Union, it was certainly a subject close to his heart.
It was pure Monty to worry about getting the crops planted in time, laughs Veronica.
Shortly after Montague had honed his communication skills, mediums around the world started receiving messages for Veronica. Psychics from Britain, Germany, New Zealand and the US contacted her to say that Montague still passionately loved her and that she should continue her work trying to prove that the soul survives physical death.
People assume that only the young can love this deeply, says Veronica. That only the love of the young is so deep and passionate that it can reach out through death. But thats just not true. We are soul mates that should never be apart. We are still connected emotionally and spiritually.
All of this spiritual chatter from Montague eventually caught the ear of Professor Gary Schwartz of the University of Arizona. Professor Schwartz is one of the worlds foremost academic experts on the paranormal, with an enviable roster of scientific papers under his belt. He immediately saw the value of trying to make contact with Montague.
Professor Schwartz moved swiftly to begin a rigorous scientifically controlled study of Montagues apparent return. When the first results were analysed, they were amazing to say the least. Professor Schwartz says that over 80 per cent of the information transmitted by Montague to the medium proved to be correct. During a second study, the success rate was greater than 90 per cent.
Montagues spirit was able to accurately describe his death and where it happened. He also described the manner of his fathers death in World War II.