This is the project I discussed with UC-Irvine neuroscientist, James Fallon. The related article can be found here.
EXT. SIDEWALK - DAY
The sky is overcast as Seth walks with his hands thrust in
his pockets, lost in thought.
As he passes a cafe, he notices a BEAUTIFUL YOUNG GIRL with
very short hair. He admires her as she sits at a table
reading a book. Her head is bent, the line of her neck
As he stares, he realizes there's something unusual about her
neck. The vertebrae are JUTTING through her skin, like a
column of jagged white rocks puncturing the surface of a
A large TRUCK rumbles by, distracting him, and when Seth
turns back to the girl, the appearance of her neck is NORMAL
Seth gives himself a shake before continuing on, but stops
short when the door of a SHOP opens and a WOMAN exits in
front of him.
He remains standing there after she walks away, staring into
Books line the walls. A YOUNG WOMAN sits at a table behind
several candles and a deck of cards.
Seth takes a deep breath then pushes the door open and goes
INT. BOOKSTORE - MOMENTS LATER
The young woman, CARRIE, early 20's, looks up with a smile.
Are you here for a reading?
I don't know. I've never done
anything like this before.
Tell you what. I'll give you ten
minutes for free. If you don't
like what I have to say, there's no
obligation. If you do, I go on the
clock for twenty more minutes.
Seth hesitates near the door.
He looks outside. Cars and people pass by, anchoring him to
what he knows.
Come on. I happen to be between
clients so I figure this time slot
was meant for you.
Seth steps forward and slips into the chair across from her.
Oh, what the hell.
Carrie SHUFFLES the cards and chooses several from the top of
the deck, setting them down systematically.
You've had a pretty rough year,
You could say that about most
You could, but not everyone's been
in a plane crash.
Watch a lot of news, do you?
Not everyone sees their dead
Seth freezes. He's speechless.
What did you say?
Your dead sister. She's been
How did you know about that?
They don't call me a psychic for
She flips another card.
Lots of changes for you. You're
changing. Physically, of course,
but also spiritually and
emotionally. Your spiritual
experiences are changing you so
much that you are almost
unrecognizable from your old self.
Seth is leaning forward now.
Your experiences are real. Don't
listen to the doctors. They
worship science, but without the
spirit, they are limited in their
ability to understand the whole
nature of reality.
Seth's eyes fill with tears. He struggles to speak, but
Don't worry. You don't have to say
anything. I know that's why you
came here. You wanted an answer to
He can speak at last, his voice husky with emotion.
Carrie leans back, studying him carefully.
Your ten minutes are almost up, but
the rest of this is on me, Mister.
I don't think I've ever seen anyone
need a reading so badly before.
She reaches for her purse and removes a pack of cigarettes.
But first, I need a smoke. Care to
join me outside for a chat?
Seth nods, still finding it difficult to speak.
EXT. SIDEWALK - MOMENTS LATER
A plume of smoke hangs over Carrie's head as they talk.
Not exactly. Ex-smoker. Reformed.
So how can I know my experiences
How can science know they're not?
The doctors said they're caused by
chemical changes in my brain due to
the head injury.
Well, sure. I don't doubt there's
What do you mean? You can't have
it both ways.
Just because they're caused by some
abnormal firing in your brain cells
doesn't mean they can't still be
real. Maybe those little chemical
changes are the thing that allows
you to see a deeper reality.
Holy shit! I never thought of it
Carrie takes a long last drag on her cigarette, then crushes
it out, dropping it in an ashtray.
Yeah. Don't beat yourself up. I
don't think they did either.
As they turn to go back inside, she thrusts out her hand.
I'm Carrie, by the way.
INT. COFFEE HOUSE - LATER
Seth and Carrie sit over some coffee, intent on their
So what about my negative
experiences? Are they real too?
I think it's highly likely. Life
isn't just for shits and giggles.
It's full of suffering too.
Great. So expanded reality is just
like normal reality.
Only far more psychedelic.
You can say that again.
Look-- if we didn't suffer and die,
we wouldn't appreciate life or
have the understanding and ability
to value the good things when they
happen. Death and suffering help
us define life and the positive
events in it. There is union in
the duality. And vice versa.
Good God. You're all of what--
How does someone your age become so
Nursing school, I guess. And
She lifts her cup.
Lots and lots of coffee.
You're in nursing school?
Yeah. The psychic gig helps pay
the bills while I get through it.
Do you ever sleep?
Well, I predict a bright future as
a full-time psychic if the nursing
thing doesn't pan out.
Oh, it will. I'm psychic,