Eve Veritas had married Logan Hunter almost five years ago, just two years after her former husband Duncan had passed away. Duncan had been fixing a leak in the roof, at Eve's insistence, when he had fallen and broken his neck. It had been awful and difficult, but Eve had finally managed to move on when she met Logan.
Logan was a scientist for EdenCorp technology, as was Eve. While he was working on cures for various infectious diseases, Eve's focus had been EVP. Electronic Voice Phenomenon had been an interest of hers since the day her mother died, when Eve was just fifteen years old. Right out of graduate school, Eve was hired as a research assistant at EdenCorp, where she researched and developed special sound equipment to pick up the voices of the dead. For decades, scientists had been trying to understand and utilize this phenomenon, but it was Eve and her research partner Dr. Adam Lightman, who finally had a breakthrough. The two of them had developed a machine that picked up frequencies of sound and light waves that had previously never been known to exist. This discovery had a huge impact on the technological world, as well as the spiritual. With this device, which Eve and Adam cleverly called the Deus Ex Machina, one could see and hear the spirits of the dead.
Soon after, Eve and her team - now consisting of a dozen new faces since this unexpected progress - were able to harness and compact this technology into simple contact lenses, which they called HFR lenses. In earlier tests, Eve and Adam had communicated with a man named John Christianson, who had died at age 49 of heart failure in 1854. Adam, who had been an avid atheist for as long as anyone who knew him could remember, asked Christianson right away to confirm his suspicions.
"So, God's a myth, right?" he asked. "I mean, you're standing right here and, sure you're a little...translucent, but I mean you're obviously not off in heaven or hell, so..."
"No, I'm not anywhere but right here, am I?" Christianson replied somewhat absent mindedly. "I've been dead for many years - for centuries, as you've now informed me - and in all that time I've been right here. I've seen no God, no Buddha, no Zeus, no pearly gates, no fiery pits...only the world here on earth. My...how things have changed since my day..."Christianson trailed off and his eyes glazed over, as if he were staring intently at something that was no longer there.
"I told you," Adam gloated. "I knew it. Those religious freaks are all full of shit. There's nothing after you die."
"But you're wrong," Christianson interjected. "There's not nothing when you die, there's everything . Everything you knew when you were alive, every land you've seen or always wanted to see, it's all here. I've been everywhere, now. Every place I could think of and some I never even knew existed. When you die," Christianson continued, a look of wonder in his eyes, "you don't go anywhere; you're just no longer on the same plane. At least, that's how I see it."
Eve was baffled at these revelations - everything she had ever heard about the afterlife was being challenged.
"So, you're saying that when someone dies, they just stay here on earth? They just walk around but no one can see them?" Eve asked. She was recording the conversation on her computer, and she was determined to get as much information from him as shoe could before something went wrong, like it always had in the past.
"That is precisely what I'm saying, my dear," Christianson replied smugly. He seemed to enjoy having all of the answers, feeling a sense of power over these young scientists in their pretentious lab coats. "We dearly departed souls wander the earth just like you living folks do, except we have things a bit easier. No longer bound to our physical bodies, we no longer rely on mortal means of transportation."
"I'm sorry...what does that mean?" Adam asked. He was listening intently now, intrigued.
"What it means," Christianson replied, in a tone like that of a kindergarten teacher speaking to a particularly oblivious pupil, "is that we, the non-living peoples of the earth, just think of a place we'd like to be, and then we are there. No means of machinery necessary."
"Have you been to Mars? Or Venus?" Adam asked, clearly jealous of the dead man's knowledge.
"As a matter of fact I have. I've seen all of the planets - of which there are hundreds, by the way - and all of the stars, all of the galaxies in the universe. I found I like things best here on earth. We have television here, and music, and people- so many people..."
"Wait a minute," Eve interrupted. Speaking to this man who had died centuries before was baffling enough, but the things he was saying ...it was almost too much.
"So, if our spiritual selves stay here when we die, does that mean that the world is completely overrun with spirits? Given the number of people who've been born and died since the dawn of time, I mean...that's just...that's too many." Eve looked stunned, like Wile E. Coyote had finally dropped that anvil and it landed right on her head.
"Well, no. Not everyone decides to stay here," Christianson replied, an air of sadness about him now. "Some choose nonexistence, when they realize that this, here, is all there is."
"Nonexistence?" Eve repeated. "You mean that they just...stop. They're just gone?"
The man nodded sadly. "Yes, we all feel it, lingering at the edges of our minds. This...emptiness. Many of us choose to stay here and explore the world as we never could before, others move about in space and spend their time watching as stars are born and die. But some - a great many, I'm afraid - some just decide they don't want it any longer, and they...they just fade away."
As Christianson finished telling his troubling truths to Eve and her team, each of them stared, slackjawed, amazed, at this man who knew all they could ever hope to know. The team decided it would be best to get a second opinion, from another spirit. And then a third, and a fourth...All of them confirmed everything the first had told them about life after death. The reason, Eve and the others were told, that they could not see just any spirit with the machine was that spirits had to want to be seen. If the dead wished to remain secret and unnoticed, then no machine in the world could change that.