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The afterlife has always perplexed man. Ancient civilizations believed in the afterlife and although their beliefs were different, their thirst for this connection was unquenchable. The ancient Greeks and Romans all had different opinions on where their souls traveled. For instance, the Romans believed happiness awaited them after death, as long as they were productive citizens. The Greeks accepted the existence of the soul after death but saw the afterlife as meaningless and as a dark place. However, many religions believe in the soul's existence when they pass. There are varying beliefs in Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam on what happens to the soul of a person. Death in Hinduism comes with a rebirth and they believe in reincarnation. In Islam, the soul moves into another world, while Buddhist don't think of death as a continuation of the soul, they believe you're reincarnated. For Christians, we believe that the soul will go to Heaven and will be raised up again on Judgment day. But people question what happens to the spirit of a person between the time of passing and Judgment Day. With mounting evidence of people having experiences and encountering those who crossed over, maybe things are not as black-and-white. Nearly 1-in-5 "U.S. adults (18 percent) say they’ve seen or been in the presence of a ghost," according to a Pew Research Center survey. An even greater share said they "Felt in touch with someone who has already died." For those in mourning, or for those who are curious, they want to know if they can communicate with the dead. There are a variety of ways to connect with friends and family members from the beyond. Some humans have succeeded to go into another realm to talk with the dead, while others still wait for a sign. If you want to communicate with a departed one, considering the following concepts.

Sometimes they come to you.

One woman experienced talking to her dead relative after almost dying during delivery. She left her body and watched the doctors work on her. Then a bright light was all around her and she heard the voice of her great aunt who was dead. The aunt told her that her husband wouldn’t be a good father and that he wouldn’t be faithful and that she needed to remain on earth. Loved ones can also come in dreams to bring comfort. The reason for this is when you dream you access your subconscious side of the brain. According to powerofpositivity.com, there was a review of 20 after-death communications who reported having encounters with the deceased helped people to cope with grieving. "One of the ways that these visions helped people to cope was that people felt that their spiritual beliefs were supported by the contact with their deceased loved one."

Start asking questions.

Most Americans believe in the existence of the afterlife and 3 out of 4 people believe there's a distinct probability of connecting with the dead. Dr. Elisa Medhus never believed this until she encountered her deceased son. She started with yes-or-no questions and designated a hand as being a "yes" and the other as being a "no." You can also turn your palms up to feel the change in temperature to see if they answer. You may feel a tingling, a burning, or a numbing sensation as well. Her son told her, in this case, he was safe through this method. "If you don’t get anything, ask them to make it stronger until you’re satisfied that you feel a change," Medus added. However, just don't speak into the air, hold an object of the person and focus on it and direct your communication to him or her. This needs to be done when the mind is clear from distractions.

Not everyone can connect.

Echo Bodine is a medium and shared with Beliefnet not everyone can connect with loved ones. It's not easy because we are all used to talking to people in a physical form and an "Audible voice-so for people to suddenly go from that kind of communication to the kind of communication with a deceased person is very difficult." Due to this, spirits may choose to speak through a medium. Sometimes people are not ready for this step and may not be able to handle communicating verbally. 

Sometimes it won't be verbal.

Sometimes our loved ones communicate with animals, flowers, numbers and small objects like feathers and dimes. They will select something that will be common enough to get to you. Many believe a red cardinal or a butterfly is a sign that a loved one is near. These are more subtle signs, but take note of them when it happens.

Start praying.

As mentioned, many of the major religions include beliefs of the afterlife and what happens to the soul after they leave the earth. Reach out and ask that your loved one receive your message and ask them to answer. Pray for a sign and be open to what they may respond with. You may not get what you want as the spirit world doesn't operate like we do on earth. Bodine suggested to give yourself time because after a passing emotions are raw and we need to let the other person get used to their life on the other side and for you to get used to your new life. "Don't start doing it right away, like after the funeral goes home and just sit and wait for a sign because you're both really raw and you're both going through your own changes. At some point when you're feeling better and they're feeling better, then the two of you can try to communicate with each other."

Can you talk to the dead? Well, you can, but you also need to be aware that you can be deceived by other spirits masquerading as a loved one. Communicating with loved ones is necessary for healing and a sense of closure. Is it wrong? It depends on what beliefs you hold. But rest assured, man will continue to ponder the mysteries of the afterlife.

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