In honor of her life’s work, which brought joy to some and rankled others, A&U is taking a look back at what Sylvia Browne foresaw as the future of the pandemic.
Sylvia Browne offers A&U’s Dann Dulin her predictions on the future of AIDS, her healing remedies for those who are positive, and her clash with George W. Bush, Falwell, and Reagan
Who can’t listen when Sylvia Browne speaks?! A commanding voice, a charismatic presence, an approachable demeanor—and, oh, did I mention that she has psychic powers? Browne has been helping others with her spiritual power for over fifty years. She has long been affiliated with AIDS causes and continues to lecture and write about the epidemic.
Dann Dulin: Sylvia, what comes up for you when I say the word, “AIDS”?
Sylvia Browne: It’s the cruelest thing that can ever happen [she poignantly states in her typically low, raspy voice.] Also, the prejudice bothers me. I’ve said this on television. God loves everybody. And where in the hell did Christ ever say anything about loving a select few?! He didn’t. And it isn’t a gay disease; it’s a heterosexual disease, too.
I know, so many misinformed people out there. How many people have you known who have died from this disease?
I’ve lost five close friends. It’s too painful, Dann.
Losing anyone is painful. How do you deal with that?
Well, I just know that they’re going to a better place. My faith [she corrects herself], my knowing, is very strong. I know my friends came down here to make things better.
And just what is that “better place”?
We all go to the Other Side and have a wonderful time. It’s just a place very much like this. It’s beautiful, has Romanesque columns, gardens, fields, art galleries, and libraries. We all just go home. I like to put a spin on life and death, and reverse it. I see death as life.
I often do that clever reversal, too. What a concept, huh? I understand that you believe the dead contact us, right?
Oh, yes. They’ll drop pennies, they’ll ring the phone, they flick lights. They do give us signs. People are just so blindsided they don’t notice.
Sylvia holds an M.S. in English Literature. She’s a trained hypnotist, as well as a trance medium. For eighteen years, she was a Catholic schoolteacher. Born Sylvia Shoemaker, her powers manifested themselves when she was three-years-old in her hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. In 1974, she founded The Nirvana Foundation for Psychic Research, which today is known as The Sylvia Browne Corporation. In 1986, she established The Society of Novus Spiritus (New Spirit) whose beliefs are anchored in Christian Gnostic Theology which rejects guilt, sin, and retribution. Browne lectures, teaches, and counsels worldwide, sharing her belief that the soul survives death. She also donates time to local police, and various charities, such as multiple sclerosis organizations and Make-A-Wish Foundation. One of her current projects is building hospices for PWAs.
Why do you think AIDS came about? Is there a purpose?
I think that everybody who has died from AIDS has been almost like sacrificial lambs. Their souls chose to come down here to teach us not to be smug. People will take on the mantle of deciding what the world should focus on. We’re not impervious. Look at what we have now. This bird flu. Who they gonna blame that on? The gays?! [She giggles mischievously.] Like everything else, let’s sweep it under the carpet.
There’s an elephant in my closet but I don’t see it. Yep, I know. When did you become aware of AIDS, Sylvia?
When I was going to marry a gay man. Bob and I met in 1974 and he died [years later] from AIDS. We loved each other so much. We were like an Abelard and Heloise. I’ve written about him. He said to me once, “You’ve never asked me which side of the street I walked on.” I said, “I don’t give a damn.” There’s such a thing as loving someone’s mind. He could live his life and I could live mine.
My god, relationships are not only about sex! C’mon. It’s all about companionship.
Dann, I’ve had orgasms of the mind that equal anything that I’ve had physically. When we all get to the Other Side nobody’s going to care if we have a penis or a vagina. We’ve all been everything!
If you’ve never read any of Sylvia’s twenty-two books, you probably have witnessed her powers on The Montel Williams Show. Her current book, Phenomenon, hit The New York Times Best Sellers List (her thirteenth appearance) soon after its release and, believe me, it’s one gripping read. This prolific writer has seven more books in the hopper! Browne’s talents have been profiled on the tube, on such shows as Unsolved Mysteries, That’s Incredible, Larry King Live, and the CBS special, Haunted Lives.
2006 is nearly here. What is coming about for the epidemic in the New Year?
I think we’re really homing in on it. I wish other countries would [do the same]. I see another—I don’t want to call it a protease inhibitor—but it’s going to be something that’s just going to stop AIDS dead in its tracks. I only hope that it will spread out to all the other countries, like Africa and Jamaica, where it’s more than an epidemic. [She releases a deep, disturbed sigh.] It’s like everybody is wearing blinders. This epidemic is worse than the Black Plague, and that wiped out two-thirds of Europe.
Speaking of the Plague, is there something cyclical about this epidemic in terms of other civilizations in the past?
Oh, yeah. I’ve been around the world and archeologists wonder what happened to these people. Well, there were epidemics all the time. Some people are so callous that they say it’s the world’s cleansing. I know people are charted [have “a blueprint of the major events you want to experience”], but I think it really means that God wants us to care for others. What makes me so mad is it was always known as a gay disease and I said, how many years ago, it never came from that. It came from the green monkey. I’m more convinced of that than I’ve ever been of anything. [There is a short silence.] I don’t know if we’ll ever get the world out of ignorance.
That’s a major request, Sylvia. Maybe you can work a little of your magic! [We both chuckle.] Can you specify which countries will be hit the hardest with the AIDS epidemic over the next few years?
Africa’s high infection rates will continue to escalate. It’s horrible. I’ve been to South Africa and Kenya. People lie in the streets and others just walk over them. I mean, they don’t have any facilities to help them. There’s not enough education. [She clears her throat.] And those damn missionaries: “Let’s not practice birth control” [she mocks with indignation].
Utterly insane reasoning. Simply asinine. Do you see some connection to the pandemic in relation to what is happening environmentally, for example, global warming, hurricanes, pollution, etc.?
Oh, yeah. I’ve never been too doomsday; honestly, Dann, but I’m telling you that Mother Nature is having her revenge. We keep worrying about terrorists. What about Mother Nature turning on us? There are no terrorists that have killed as many as Mother Nature has here in America. And look at what we’ve done to our environment. We’ve thrown cigarette butts and beer cans in the streams, we’ve shot missiles in the air, and we’ve had smokestacks polluting the air. C’mon, it’s going to turn on us. If you don’t take care of your house, it falls down. You don’t take care of your body, it gets sick. Why can’t we understand it’s the same with our planet Earth?
I’ve always believed that it matters what you put into your body, the respect you have for it, for others, and the ecosystem. It’s just so logical.
Have you ever noticed that the most simple solutions are sitting right in front of us? People run around, abuse their bodies, and they get all pissed off, pardon the expression, when it doesn’t run right. Well, if you run your car without oil, what do you think will happen to it?
Say, Sylvia, can you recommend any healing remedies for those who are living with HIV?
High protein diet, amino acids, and antioxidants. I have a person living with AIDS working on my staff. He’s thirty-five and an angel. I’ve literally kept him alive by him eating more protein. I tell all my patients this. A high-protein diet is a cell builder. Also [eat] low carbs. You can’t eat [high intakes of] sugar and expect your body to keep going. [She pauses, then blurts] What is this thing about no condoms, for Chrissakes?! Can you believe Catholicism?!
I honestly can’t. I’m a recovering Catholic.
I hope this new Pope’s got some brains, unlike that creepy Falwell. A while back, I heard that he was on his deathbed but I think he’s all right now. God doesn’t want him either!
[Laughing] AIDS began during the Reagan administration. What did you think of our fortieth President?
Reagan was nothing but a big liar. He didn’t give a damn about AIDS. He was like an ostrich. And this Bush administration is taking us to hell in a handbag. They’re eroding our human rights, little by little by little. I keep screaming about this, but nobody seems to listen.
I hear you! And agree with you. What more could the Bush administration do to help in this battle of AIDS?
[She snidely sniggers] I don’t think they’ve done anything. I mean, AIDS should be a priority. Look at what happened to New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina. That wasn’t a priority; that was a disgrace. It’s like everyone walks around, Dann, with a cloak over their face. “Well, if it doesn’t happen to me I’m not going to get involved.” That [attitude] makes me crazy!
For the New Year, Sylvia will be giving lectures and workshops around the country and on cruises. She continues her Spiritual Salons and weekly Web radio show. Her first DVD, Tools For Life, is currently in production, and a movie about her life is in development. Her son, Chris Dufresne’s new book, My Psychic Journey, will be released in April.
So you said America is getting closer to having a handle on the epidemic; do you have any predictions about the extent of the epidemic here on our soil?
It’s a horrible thing to say, but I think it’s going to hit in gigantic proportions. But I’ve always said a vaccine will come in the next few years.
[Excited] Who will discover it?
It will come out of some lab in Cleveland. People make the mistake of thinking that we have AIDS contained, but we don’t.
Correct. Complete myth. And will more famous people have to die from AIDS before people perk up?
Unfortunately, yes, and that will bring more attention to the epidemic.
Throughout our time together today, you’ve mentioned more than once how people are wearing “blinders.” Indeed, AIDS has taken a back seat in the media. So what can we do to bring it forth?
We have to have as many voices as possible. I talk to 10,000 people a month and always mention this. But you see, people forget in five minutes. [She takes a deep breath.] And while we’re not talking about it, a whole population can be wiped out….
• We visit the Other Side at least three times a week when we’re asleep.
• Science fiction writers are actually infusing and pulling their ideas from another time period.
• Every great idea you have isn’t yours. It’s your [spirit] guide who’s sending you messages all the time.
• People with the same spiritual beliefs will continue to come together. You’re never alone.
• Nightmares are normal, as they are a way to release negativity.
• There will be a cure for herpes in four years, and this will be an offshoot of chicken pox.
• Why do we need to label people? “Hi, I’m Democrat. Hi, I’m gay.” Oh, shut up. You’re people!
• In 2006, the East Coast is going to get slammed and slammed again [with tumultuous weather conditions].
• The way of all peace is to scale the mountain of self. Loving others makes the climb down easier.
On A Personal Plane
Is there any earthling that especially impresses you?
Lots of them. My grandmother; Maya Angelou. There’s so many people that I love. We need people to impress us. I even liked Clinton. I didn’t care what he did with his personal life. What did he do any different than anybody else has done?
What book are you reading right now?
One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez. His writings are so rich that you just want to salivate over them. His book, Love in the Time of Cholera—you just want to eat the book!
Who impresses you from history?
Eleanor Roosevelt has always been my hero.
Name your favorite movie of all time.
Strange as it may seem, The Night of the Iguana [1964, Richard Burton, Ava Gardner]. I love that one line Deborah Kerr says, “Nothing in human nature really, really disgusts me that much, especially if it’s not with malice.”
What animal do you identify with?
Where is your favorite place to disappear to?
Expand your mind—check out Sylvia’s schedule and get spirited at her Web site, www.Sylvia.org.
Dann Dulin is Senior Editor of A&U.