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Radford University offering independent study course in communicating with the dead

October 17, 2012|Orlando Salinas | WDBJ7 Reporter

RADFORD, Va. — At Radford University, like most colleges, there are some very unique courses being covered.

In fact, there is a bedroom on campus that has been converted into a chamber, where students have been calling up the dead, for class credit.

It's almost always dark inside the first room on the left.

A recliner is in the center of what was once a bedroom. Black drapes seem to smother 19-year-old Kaitlyn Rankin.

"I think it's very interesting. It interests a lot of people. It's supposed to help you with grief and when you lose someone you want to reconnect with them and this gives you that possibility," Rankin said.

Radford University students are taking part in an independent study course that's quite different - learning about the afterlife by reaching out to the dead.

Students built a theatre of the mind chamber on the cheap. They call it the psychomanteum.

It is a simple setup inside an old apartment complex that has been turned into the Religious Studies Advising building at RU.

"Right now the doors open so it’s not bad,” Rankin said. “But usually it has its own energy everyone that comes in says it’s like there is some feeling when you come in. It has its own vibe."

The room is a 2-by-3 ½ foot mirror that seems odd. Two large black sheets hang from the ceiling, and a lamp is on the floor.

"For people who are coming in here they are using an ancient ecstatic teaching that’s been used in ancient Greece and elsewhere to contact the dead," Susan Kwilescki, a professor of religious studies at Radford said.

The department secretary told us she wouldn't go near that room. She even offered this reporter a key to get in.

Ryan Waide is a junior. He helped build the chamber. He says it works.

"I've had a ghost encounter in here,” Waide said. “There was a girl sitting in the chair and she said that she saw a shape outside the curtains and she thought it was me or Kaitlyn messing with her but we’re not messing with these people.”

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