The Persistence of the Soul:  Mediums, Spirit Visitations, and Afterlife Communication, by Mark Ireland
Inner Traditions, 9781644117187, 288 pages, October 2023 

Mark Ireland’s book, The Persistence of the Soul:  Mediums, Spirit Visitations, and Afterlife Communication, marks his journey from the death of his 18-year-old son to the creation of a group to support grieving parents called Helping Parents Heal. Ireland is the son of famous psychic Medium Richard Ireland, who was a medium to the stars in Hollywood. Ireland grew up going to many of his father’s meetings and appointments. After the passing of his own son, Ireland decided to do research and learn more about psychic phenomenon and after-death communication. 

This is his second book on this topic; he has also published a manuscript written by his father.  He runs a medium certification program where he tests mediums in blind studies. You can learn more about this at his website.

In his “Note to Readers” Ireland does a great job of laying out the book, offering several different ways to enjoy the material. He lets you know that the book is about real people and real situations and that real names have been used. He begins the Introduction with his son Brandon’s story and shares his journey of grief. He also shares a story about his conversation with a woman who came to him during her grief:

“I explained that I had written down my feelings, visited with close friends and relatives, and openly shared my emotions with other people. I told her that writing about my son and telling people about his nature as a person, allowed me to purge my feelings–fully exposing them and embracing the essence of my grief. Family members, Brandon’s friends and I each wrote a letter to him, explaining what we loved about him and how much he meant in our lives.”1

Ireland goes on to say that he wrote Brandon’s eulogy and began writing a series of emails that became the basis for his first book. Soon he began to share these practical tips as well as refer people to mediums that he knew and trusted. In 2011, he founded the group Helping Parents Heal, which now has 24,000 members.2

This book has a little of everything, ranging from research and history to personal stories of people that have lost children, siblings, or other friends and family members. The chapter titled “Psychic Phenomena and Mediumship in Religion and History” is a chronicle of everything you need to know about this subject. Within this chapter he hopes to “address the fear and apprehension that some people harbor towards psychic phenomena and spirit communication as a result of their religious upbringing.”3 It was interesting to learn that his father never really understood the fear and negative connotations of mediumship. Ireland is interested in not only understanding this fear but also dispelling it for the grieving people that he ministers to.

In another chapter, Ireland presents his thoughts on reincarnation and includes a personal story of a conversation he and his dad had when he was between three and four years old. In this conversation Ireland recounts a past life where he lived a full life and died at 83.

Ireland also sprinkles in information about research and scientific studies regarding mediumship. Early in the book he quotes Julie Beishel, Ph.D. who is director of the Windbridge Research Center. The results of her study indicate that mediumship readings may be helpful for grieving people. Beishel relates:

“The combination of traditional psychotherapy and mediumship readings may prove to be more beneficial than either intervention separately. … Spontaneous and induced ADCs (after-death communications) can have tremendous impacts on the grieving process, and my observations as well as pilot data we collected at Windbridge suggest similar positive effects after readings with mediums.”4

My favorite chapter is the one entitled “Robin’s Flight”. Ireland tells the story of his sister Robin– her diagnosis with pancreatic cancer and the journey they took together before her death. Although he had only previously read about deathbed visions and near-death experiences, he came to know first-hand about both through his sister and her passing.

I love the structure of the book and the personal stories of actual people that are woven throughout the narrative. With the Table of Contents, the reader has a great way to refer to chapters or passages of interest. He also includes a nine-page index with additional ways to find information, people, or stories. Additionally, Ireland includes a section called “References” which is a type of bibliography, where you can go to find more specific information. The book is easy to navigate and easy to read. It is written in a conversational style that is almost like sitting across the desk from Ireland himself.

The Persistence of the Soul is great for anyone who is interested in mediumship or after-death communication. It would also be a comfort for someone who is grieving a loss. The stories that Ireland shares of hope and optimism are very encouraging. I plan to give this book to a friend of mine who is beginning her training to become a psychic medium. I feel that the book will inspire her on her journey to learn how to support those who are grieving.