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Copyright: Bruce A. Moen, All Rights Reserved

The church I grew up in described Hell as place of eternal, punishing suffering. If I broke the rules during my one and only lifetime, they said, my soul would spend the rest of eternity being tortured in Hell. Within the beliefs of most all religions of the world there are many variations on this theme and none of them pleasant. During one of my Afterlife voyages I met Max, a man who deserved to be in Hell if ever there was one. His Hell wasn't quite what I expected.

During his most recent lifetime in the physical world Max was a psychotherapist. From descriptions by some who knew Max, he could also be called an emotional sadist. You see he enjoyed inflicting mental and emotional pain and anguish on people. His education and practice as a psychotherapist meant he was really good at it. He knew how to find people's vulnerabilities. Knew how to probe someone's mind for their deepest, darkest secrets and fears. He knew how use those secrets and fears to inflict exquisitely agonizing mental and emotional torture. I'm not saying that's all he used his education and training for. He might even have done some good for some people. But his friends, loved ones and associates were often targets of his pull-the-wings-off-of-flies mentality. One of Max's favorite games was what I've heard called, "I want to watch you and him fight."

Over time, with subtle probing, Max would learn your darkest secrets and fears. He was a skilled psychotherapist and could gather all the information he needed in seemingly normal conversation. A little question here, a little question there. It didn't really matter how long it took him to gather what he needed, as long as he got it. Once he knew and understood the inner workings of your vulnerabilities he'd select someone else he'd already probed who would attack your weakness out of theirs.

For example, suppose he discovered it was your greatest fear that someone might find out you were gay. Not just ordinary concern you understand, but obsessive, anxiety provoking, deep seated, in your gut fear of being exposed. Maybe you worried constantly that your career in the government would be over if your constituents knew their Councilman's secret. In your case Max might arrange an encounter between you and a gay hating newspaper reporter who's deepest fear was that gays in the government were destroying the world. He'd choreograph that meeting so he could be present and watch the fireworks. Before the two of you met Max would drop hints to both of you to feed your anxiety and fear. His hints weren't always that subtle, after all he wanted to be sure the fight got started when you met so he could watch.

One more example will suffice, I think, for you to get a good understanding of Max's emotionally sadistic nature. In his polite, party conversation, after introducing himself as a therapist, he might steer the conversation to your deepest, darkest fears. It's all right, he's a doctor. You might have seen him at several house parties in your circle of friends. You've begun to trust him enough you think maybe he could help you deal with the fear only valium keeps at bay. Your fiftieth birthday was a few months ago and you obsessively, unreasonably fear growing old. The loss of your once youthful beauty spawns all sorts of thoughts that haunt you. Maybe one of your greatest fears is that some gorgeous young woman will make a play for your husband and he'll take the bait. In that case Max might plan to invite someone special to a future house party. She might be a gorgeous young woman who gets her kicks seducing husbands in front of their older, once beautiful wives and then hates herself for it. Max would of course set up your meeting in the most innocent of circumstances. But you can bet he'd have primed everyone involved with whatever hints would insure a really good fight. And if Max had his way this fight would be just the beginning of as many emotionally painful encounters as possible.

I realize I'm painting Max as a classic villain. What can I say, the guy was a mean-spirited, gifted, emotional sadist. To the best of my knowledge Max died unrepentant. By the rules of the church I grew up in he would have been a good candidate to be spending eternity in Hell.

Soon after Rebecca and I moved back to Colorado we had reason to try to find Max in the Afterlife. Earlier in her life she had known him and been a target of some of his shenanigans. We were going to see if there was anything we could do to assist him. By this time I was getting confident enough in my ability that I no longer felt I needed Hemi-Sync tapes to explore the nonphysical world. Truth was I hadn't needed them for quite a while, but sometimes it's hard to throw away your crutches and walk even when you know you can. In my interest of gathering more evidence of the reality of my Afterlife activities we went There nonphysically together and compared notes afterwards.

After briefly relaxing with my eyes closed the I entered the familiar 3D blackness. Waiting there for something to happen I moved toward the first dark swirl I saw. When I emerged from it on the other side I saw Rebecca standing in front of me. She was being held by the throat at arms length by a man I soon discovered was Max. That's the only time I ever saw a look of fright on Rebecca's face. Her eyes were wide open, telling her feelings of terror. Max was squeezing her throat very firmly.

"Rebecca, I'm standing right behind you," I said, quietly, but firmly, trying to get her attention. "Count to ten . . . relax. He can't really hurt you. Rebecca count to ten."

The look on Max's face had a wicked feel to it. He was trying to use something he knew about her to paralyzed Rebecca to his will. He held her for fifteen seconds or so, then his grip relaxed and let go.

Through impressions I began to get a picture of the world in which Max lived. It had rocks and trees, houses and cars. It didn't look much different than the physical world he'd lived in before he died. But as the impressions kept coming in I realized the world Max now lived in was different. It was a Hell made to order for him. Everyone living there with him, every man, woman and child, had the same emotionally sadistic personality he did!

In one impression I saw him laying the ground work for another of his schemes to inflict pain. He'd set up two of the other inhabitants of the place to meet at a restaurant so he could watch them fight. He'd told each of them something the other had supposedly said about them. The game he was running on them was intended to build anger and rage toward each other. He'd done a good job of setting them up. When their screaming insults and innuendoes erupted everyone in the room stopped to watch. Max had positioned himself at a table nearby to watch as their anger and rage escalated. He was smiling, very pleased with himself, long before the two men jumped up out of their chairs. With outright glee he watched their punching, kicking, roll-on-the-floor violent display of rage.

But Max wasn't alone in this world. There were others living there who'd developed and honed their art to a level he couldn't begin to compete with. In the next scene of impressions Max was sitting at a restaurant table with one of the previous combatants. This time someone I didn't recognize was sitting alone at a nearby table, smiling as Max's face flushed red and the veins stood out in his neck. This time Max was the one who'd been set up. It was so expertly done he had no idea the emotional pain he was feeling had been choreographed. He was just the dancer on display to another's ruthless desire to inflict pain.

This is the Hell Max lived in since he died, condemned to do in the Afterlife what gave him great pleasure throughout his previous physical lifetime. He was free to inflict the same anguish he'd sadistically enjoyed to the fullest of his capability to do so. Free to carry out his schemes and run his games as often has he could possibly arrange them. It's just that now the only targets for his schemes are others who share his delight for inflicting such agony. When he was living here in our physical world Max might have thought himself to be very good at what he was doing. He'd been a big fish in a little pond! Where Rebecca and I now found him living, I suspect Max is closer to the middle of the food chain. Think of history's most disgustingly, evil characters, some sadistically cruel beyond normal human imagination. In the pond where we found Max swimming, he's in with some real pros!

Now that doesn't really sound much different than the version of Hell my Sunday School teachers described. A little more detail perhaps, but it sure sounds a fitting Hell for the likes of Max. Yet as I continued to gather impressions I discovered it's not a place of eternal punishment. In fact it's not really punishment at all in the sense that some outside force put him in his Hell to suffer. Best I could determine Max's Hell is in Focus 25, the Belief System Territories. He was simply attracted to a place in the Afterlife in which everyone shares a common set of beliefs. It's my understanding there's a place in Focus 25 representative of every set of beliefs held by human beings since way back in the distant past. It was his own beliefs which attracted Max there and it's only his beliefs that hold him there. During this Afterlife voyage I realized that the moment Max turns his back on the beliefs that are holding him There he's free to leave. Somehow that struck me as perfect justice as the information came to me. Max's Hell is not punishment. It's exercise of his free will to choose to live in an Afterlife environment that supports his choice for as long as he desires it. It's a nonphysical environment by our standards, but that doesn't mean anything to Max. For him it's as real as the physical world he left. If he ever begins to question his choice of beliefs it will be the beginning of leaving his Hell. If he decides he doesn't like living as an emotional sadist, changing his mind will reduce his attraction to it. With his commitment to stop being an emotional sadist he'll fall out of the place and be free to leave. He can then pursue a life in accordance with his new set of beliefs.

The impressions of Max's Hell were still trickling in when I realized Rebecca was getting ready to leave. Her contact with him had been difficult and nothing she could say or do would have any effect on his situation. With a look of sadness on her face she pulled away from Max's Hell and I followed her out.

When Rebecca and I returned from checking in on Max we compared notes. She had indeed been gripped by fear and terror at first when he held her by the throat. She hadn't heard me telling her to relax and count to ten at first. Once she recovered from the initial shock of his move she'd been able to release her fear and he'd let go. Rebecca's impressions of the world Max lived in matched mine with, as usual, more detail. It was another example of evidence gathered that was at least consistent with another witness's account. Not totally convincing of the reality of all my nonphysical experience enough to wipe out all my doubt, but more evidence piling on top of evidence.

Since my one and only visit to Max's Hell I've thought a lot about his situation. When people who know about my Afterlife exploration ask me if I've ever found Hell There, I tell them Max's story. As I'm writing I'm feeling the desire to editorialize a bit about it.

First, let me stress I'm not trying to change anyone's beliefs about Hell. It's not my intention to replace anyone's belief about anything with mine. As I've stated in my prologue I believe a person's own direct experience is the only thing that can or should be responsible for such a change.

From the information I gathered while visiting Max's Hell I know he's not been put There by someone else as punishment. No one had to single him out, judge his life and sentence him to Hell. The system is more automatic than that. He is There because his energetic makeup, the sum total of his beliefs, attracted him to that area of Focus 25 like a magnet to iron. His free will choices of beliefs led him to live his most recent lifetime in our physical world as an emotional sadist. When he entered the Afterlife the energetic makeup of his beliefs pulled him into his own Hell with its matching energetic environment.

The information I gathered also says he's free to leave his Hell at any time. All that is necessary is that he change his beliefs. When his beliefs become different enough from the Emotional Sadist area of Focus 25, it will no longer exert an attractive force on him. When his beliefs oppose that area he'll be pushed out of his Hell by a repulsive force. Now that sounds good on paper, but it's not as easy as it sounds. Max is in pretty deep. During his most recent lifetime on earth other people around him displayed lives based on beliefs different from his. Not everyone in our physical world is an emotional sadist like himself. He had the examples of other people's lives to observe and compare with his own. He could observe how their choices led to pain or pleasure. In those comparisons he might have seen some positively reinforced reasons to change. When he died he left that environment. Now he's in a place populated entirely by his own kind. Every man, woman and child There is an emotional sadist like himself. They all support emotional sadism as a way of life. Examples of positively reinforced reasons to change are nonexistent.

In Max's Hell he is under constant attack by other emotional sadists. Although watching the two men fight as a result of his choreography gave him great delight, when he was a target he suffered. His life now is filled with painful suffering in a place that supports and demands retaliation. He's locked in a vicious circle of sadism. Again, this isn't much different from the Sunday School version of Hell. Max probably spends quite a bit of his time in anguish, wailing and gnashing his teeth.

It would have been easier for Max to change while he was living Here in our physical world. By observing the lives of others he might have easily picked up some clues. In Max's Hell it could be a very long time before a reason to change even occurs to him. No one There models a different set of beliefs. Like I said before, he's in pretty deep. If he was aware at all of his situation it could easily seem like eternal suffering in Hell.

Again, I'm not trying to replace anyone's beliefs with mine. Still, my visit to Max's Hell does suggest the wisdom of something else I remember from Sunday School. They called it the Golden Rule. Do unto others what you would have them do unto you. Max's Hell sure seems to embody that rule. Makes me wonder about Karma and Reincarnation. Makes me wonder just how many different kinds of Hell there are. Makes me wonder just what it will take for Max to get out of his Hell and how long he'll want to stay There.