THE HAND ON THE MIRROR by Janis Heaphy Durham


A True Story of Life Beyond Death
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A widow contemplates the supernatural world after an unexplained series of occurrences.

In 2005, on the one-year anniversary of her agnostic husband Max’s death from esophageal cancer, retired newspaper publisher Durham discovered a “soft, white, powdery substance” on her bathroom mirror in the form of a handprint. Though mystified, as the daughter of a hypercritical mother and a Presbyterian minister who taught her the value of modesty and character, the author dismissed it, claiming that “entering the unknown was intimidating.” Previous unexplained and less-reliable incidents included a clock stopped on the exact time of Max’s death, flickering lights, pulsing walls, knocks on doors and ethereal “silky golden threads sailing horizontally in front of my face,” yet still Durham (together with son, Tanner) retained a natural skepticism until she saw the handprint—which she removed. Attempting to both comprehend her grief and adapt a fresh spiritual perspective, the author writes casually of entertaining New-Age literature and a holistic, energy-healing conduit. Upon subsequent anniversaries of Max’s death, “powdery images” and more handprints appeared on the same mirror (which she again removed), but Durham attempted to move forward in addition to dating a new beau, retiring and relocating from California to central Idaho. None of that mattered, however, once she discovered the rug she’d brought with her from Sacramento had begun to shift on its own and footprints appeared on the living room furniture. Her varied attempts to solve these personal mysteries brought her face to face with parapsychologists discussing multitiered consciousness and a phantom expert who believed the “conscious spirit” of Max might be responsible. Though ably chronicled, skeptical readers will remain frustrated at Durham’s lack of credible scientific follow-through into the mirror images, despite the book’s centerpiece of photographic evidence.

A haunting and ultimately exasperating memoir leaving more unanswered questions than resolutions.

Pub Date: April 28th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4555-3130-1
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2015


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