A Brief History of the SoulPhone Project


Be bold in what you try, and cautious in what you claim.
     Professor Neal Miller, PhD, Yale University

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
     Professor Carl Sagan, PhD, Cornell University


Introduction – Theory and Research with Evidential Mediums

When Dr. Gary Schwartz was a professor at Yale University in the early 1980’s, he developed a mathematically derived theory called systemic (feedback) memory which integrated contemporary quantum physics with general systems theory.  Systemic memory theory predicted that all systems that had feedback – and all systems do, from subatomic particles to superclusters of galaxies, and everything in between – (1) had memory, (2) showed learning, and therefore (3) evidenced fundamental qualities of life.


This mathematical theory explained many seemingly anomalous and controversial findings in science including (1) near-death and out-of-body experiences, and (2) survival of consciousness after death.  The formal equation also provided the core scientific theory which predicted the development of the SoulPhone.  This early history of the development of the theory and its applications is provided in his first book for the general public, The Living Energy Universe (1999).

In his second book, The Afterlife Experiments (2002), Dr. Schwartz explained how the discovery of systemic memory theory provided the scientific foundation for initiating research on the topic of survival of consciousness with evidential mediums. In this book, he included a chapter which predicted the application of specially designed technology to make it possible for motivated “post-physical beings” (i.e. spirits) to be seen holographically.  These hypothesized spirit beings could, therefore, potentially serve on advisory boards to companies and foundations they had created when they were alive in the physical. He used the term “Soul Phone” to describe this predicted future development.

Dr. Schwartz was aware then of the pioneering research of individuals working on “instrumental transcommunication,” and had the privilege to come to know some of its creative leaders.  However, unlike most of these individuals who had little or no formal training in mainstream mathematics and science, he was educated in electrical engineering as an undergraduate student at Cornell University, and received graduate training in psychophysiology and experimental psychology as part of his PhD program at Harvard University. The formal development of the systemic memory theory at Yale University was made possible by this combination of undergraduate and graduate education.

A layman introduction to a core component of systemic memory theory as applied to survival of consciousness and the SoulPhone is contained in his June 2015 Keynote Address to the 40th annual conference of the Academy of Spiritual and Consciousness Studies (ASCS) meeting in in Chapel Hill, North Caroline.  A paper based on this presentation was published in the ASCS 2015 Proceedings (reprinted as Appendix I here).  You will see that this presentation employs a five factor (additive criteria) model for adopting “responsible beliefs” and explains how the plausibility of developing the SoulPhone successfully passes the “five finger test” (summarized in Figure 1).

Figure 1 - Five Factor Model for Adopting Responsible Beliefs
Working Closely with an Evidential Research Medium


It was not until Dr Schwartz met and married Rhonda Rae Eklund (now Rhonda E. Schwartz) in 2006, and she developed the ability to see hypothesized spirits a few years later, that it became practical for his laboratory to conduct systemic research on the detection of hypothesized collaborating spirits (HCS.)  Rhonda’s transformation from (1) a person who developed the capacity to communicate with her deceased mother beginning in 2001, to (2) a person who was able to see and hear distinguished scientists, lay persons, and entertainers in spirit – all of whom were devoted to helping create a practical SoulPhone – is revealed in the last two chapters of the new edition of her book Love Eternal (2017), plus a detailed Afterword written by Dr. Schwartz.

Strongly committed to the conservative scientific quotations that introduce this brief history of the SoulPhone, it took a few years of systematic investigations with Rhonda for Dr. Schwartz and Rhonda to become convinced that much of what Rhonda was experiencing could not be explained as being produced by her personal expectations or imagination (what Rhonda refers to as her “monkey mind.”).

Based on six categories of complementary evidence summarized in Table I below, Dr. Schwartz concluded that Rhonda was often accurate in seeing selective spirits and receiving evidential information from them.

Table 1 - Six Types of Evidence for Verifying Seeing Spirit

Rhonda discussed the six types of evidence and included a version of this table as part of her June 2015 presentation at the ASCS conference.  Her paper “How to see spirit: A personal and scientific investigation” was published in the ASCS Proceedings and is included here as Appendix 2 (to be supplied). 

Although multiple evidential mediums have participated in some of the SoulPhone experiments, Rhonda has been the primary evidential research medium.  See Appendix 3 (to be supplied) for a paper describing one of the members of Rhonda’s team of hypothesized spirits. 

Using Advanced State-of-the Art Technology
Figure 2 - Dr. Schwartz Analyzing Data in the Lab




Dr. Schwartz began exploring the use of advanced optical science technologies for detecting the presence of hypothesized spirits during the period of time that he directed a four year NIH funded Center for Frontier Medicine at the University of Arizona (2002 – 2006).  Although some of the equipment he used in the early SoulPhone research was purchased by the Center for conducting approved mainstream experiments (e.g. biophoton imaging of plants and humans), the actual funding of the spirit communication research was provided by private foundations plus individual donors.

The original conceptualization of what Dr. Schwartz calls REAP (Real-time Event Averaging Programs) employed in the current SoulPhone research occurred during this period.  Dr. Schwartz discussed this early technology research in his book The Sacred Promise (2011).

In 2010 and 2011, Dr. Schwartz published important proof-of-concept experiments demonstrating that specific hypothesized collaborating spirits (HCS’s) could be detected using (1) a state-of-the-art silicon photomultiplier (costing $2,500 per sensor) cooled to -22 degree centigrade that can detect single photons of light in a pitch black environment (published in the peer reviewed journal EXPLORE, 2010), and (2) a state-of-the-art low light CCD camera (costing $40,000) typically used for deep space imaging in astronomy (published in EXPLORE, 2011).  

The silicon photomultiplier experiments included: (1) research documenting that individual HCS’s could be detected with statistical significance, and (2) a skilled HCS could use the technology to produce statistically significant YES and NO responses (i.e. the first step toward developing a practical communication technology).

After replicating these proof-of-concept findings (1) using a photomultipier tube housed in a sound and electrically shielded chamber at the California Institute of Human Science (data recorded by Dr. Gaetan Chevilier, an engineering physicist), and (2) using a second silicon photomultiplier system at the Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness and Health at the University of Arizona, Dr. SchwartzI became convinced that the feasibility of creating a functional working prototype of a SoulPhone was not only possible, but given appropriate resources, highly probable.

From 2010 – 2017, his team has explored the use of nine different state-of-the-art technologies.  One technology is shown in

Figure 3.  

Figure 3 – Rhonda in Subliminal Sound Laboratory








The nine technologies are listed in the order they were investigated in Table 2 

Table 2 – Nine Different State-of-the-Art Technologies

Each of these technologies, to various degrees, has produced positive findings with specific HCS’s.


To date, however, none have gone from proof-of-concept to practical working prototype.


The reason is simple: lack of essential resources to make this breakthrough.

A Wright Brothers Moment and the SoulPhone Foundation


The SoulPhone is metaphorically at the stage that the Wright Brothers were when they first demonstrated the feasibility of powered flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903 and 1904.  Not only was their aircraft unreliable – for example, it required the right conditions, including an appropriate breeze, for the plane to take off, but it was impractical as well – for example, it could not fly very far, it had no windows or seats, etc. 

Following the multiple trials at Kitty Hawk, the question was no longer, “Is powered flight possible?” but rather, “What will it take to develop the airplane into a practical technology?  Who has the vision, and what will it cost?”

A similar situation now applies to the SoulPhone.  The question is no longer, “Is spirit communication technology possible?” but rather, “What will it take to develop the SoulPhone into a practical technology?  Who has the vision, and what will it cost?”

For more information about the SoulPhone, go to www.soulphone.org.