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Charles "Sonny" Liston now Enlightened
Sonny telepathically told Barbara:
"I took the dive, but known only to a few, those who dared not to say, I bless them still, for their silence kept my family from a fate of ill will."

Paul's Validation of what Sonny said to Barbara: Apart from Sonny's wife, Geraldine, Joe and Martha Louis, Ash and Marilyn Resnick, and Emile Griffith, I don't know of any of his friends or relatives who knew why he took the dive. He wouldn't even tell his sister, Alcora, what happened when she asked him, and they were very, very close. Sonny knew he had nothing to gain and everything to lose by talking about it.

A portion from The Immense Release: statements Sonny made to Barbara, validated by Paul Gallender

Eighteen: Validations

by Sonny Liston biographer Paul Gallender


"Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't."

  • Mark Twain


Seventy-one communications Sonny made to Barbara about his career and life were validated in this detailed appendix by Paul Gallender. The formatting of Sonny's writings:

B: This is Barbara speaking. Barbara expressed Sonny's feelings. Sometimes, he gave her pictures to put into words.

S: Barbara wrote Sonny's words verbatim.

P: Paul's validations were based solely on his thirty-plus years of research.

The numbers in this section correspond to the numbers next to Sonny's writings in the book. Paul has never heard Sonny speaking from the Spirit Realm or anyone else from the Light. When Paul repeats statements that Sonny made while alive, he uses quotation marks.

I don't know Paul's favorite statement by Sonny, but I feel this quote Sonny made while still in the physical body revealed who he really was: "Favors aren't special. You do them from the way you feel in your heart, and you don't tell about them. You do a friend a favor; you don't brag."




P: "It was Beauty Killed the Beast" is the title of Part Two of my Liston biography, and I believe that's why Sonny made that particular statement. Nobody ever used the word beauty to describe Sonny, though the same can't be said for the word beast. "Sonny was a beast," said his friend, Barney Baker, "but he was a good beast."


2) B: Sonny softly said William and Dolores' names when he first revealed himself to me.

P: William Wingate, who died in 2019, is the only one of Sonny's children I met. Bill's mother's name was Dolores.


3) S: I would use my voice in different ways with different people. My voice carried a message just as my size or the look on my face. I knew exactly what I was conveying most, if not all, of the time.

P: It was pretty easy to discern Sonny's mood by the sound of his voice and the look on his face. With kids, Sonny's voice and ever-present smile conveyed gentleness and innocence. Unlike adults, children were not afraid of Sonny. He often entertained his friends by repeating the routines of comedians like Redd Foxx and delivered them with the same timing and inflections as the original. At press conferences, Sonny used his voice to discourage asking certain questions. Everyone in the gym knew if he was displeased with any part of his training routine. Sonny's niece, Helen Long, was in the room one day when Sonny spoke to her mother, Alcora.  Her stepfather, who Sonny did not like, wanted to know what he was saying. "Sonny said, 'Shut up, I ain't talking to you,' real loud like he was gonna beat him up, and that was the end of that. My stepdad didn't say anything else. I really thought Sonny was gonna beat him up, judging by the tone of his voice."

4) S: I never missed an opportunity to size up someone and then respond as I thought I needed to.

P: Liston was always on guard and did not suffer fools gladly, which is why he always initiated eye contact. The only person to ever outstare him was Eartha Kitt in a Houston nightclub. Father Edward Murphy of Denver insisted Sonny was a good judge of character. Robert Riger described the first time he met Liston. Sonny watched him as he walked across the gym to introduce himself. By the time he reached Liston, Riger was confident that Sonny already knew everything he needed to know about him. Carlos E. Russell of Liberator Magazine interviewed Sonny at his home in Chicago. As Sonny came down the stairs, Russell said, "He leaned over the stairway, his eyes fixed on me. He said not a word, but I saw the intensity of his eyes. I knew then as I tried to return his stare why men feared him." When Sonny approached Russell, the champ extended his right hand and said, "I'm sorry, I just got up."

5) S: I drank because of what I went through, what I didn't want to remember, and out of sheer frustration about my place in life.

P: Sonny had a severe drinking problem, though it wasn't common knowledge. He never drank in front of the people he admired most. Seven people close to Sonny confirmed Sonny's drinking problem, six of whom were his friends—Henry Winston, Tommy Manning, Ash Resnick, Lem Banker, Davey Pearl, and Henry Page, his nephew. The seventh person was Truman Gibson.

Sonny gave me a tremendous amount of information, but this is one of my favorites. He has a poetic side when he describes his experience of leaving his physical life behind and embracing what was to come, something we will all do one day.

The Immense Release

Light all around me, vanquishing and transmuting anything unlike itself. Peace as soft as a rose petal and just as sweet washed over all that was, and I let go a deep breath as something far more powerful seemed to fill and envelop me. What it was, I could not know at that moment, other than it was not my own breath, which I drew back into whatever I was becoming. The feelings were exhilarating, the smells intoxicating, and they drew me into thoughts of tranquility and grace.

I let go once again to move more deeply into that freedom and bring with it feelings which I had long since forgotten from eons of lifetimes gone by. Colors so bright and luminescent that each one had its own life force of energy and sound, but more than sound, music unheard of on Earth. Moving as if in slow motion, then without what seemed a moment's passing of time, suddenly, intricately, they began blending one hue into the other. And each color had a personality affecting, anointing, and precipitously vanishing without forewarning of what could be to follow in its place.

What were the sensations when all instantaneously left—was it none other than consciousness? A sensing from somewhere within that seemed both foreign and familiar in the same millisecond of, what was that, time? No, no sense of time, only consciousness of belonging and being and yet not being as much as an is-ness without form. 'How could there ever again be an I?' raced through my thoughts, when instantaneously, the recognition of being 'We' began taking what I was and transforming the me into a We which was filled with humility and, again, that peace, so often longed for and even longer since forgotten. Could I begin to even define to myself what peace felt like to me? Who was I? What was me? Peace took over the identity and the duality, and with it came an expansion of being and knowing beyond comprehension.

The Immense Release from the physical to the super-real, energetic, electric awakened senses in death that life could not and never did capture. Not with drugs, nor alcohol, sex, nor seconds of fame did the 'I' ever, ever break from the pain, shame, and illusions of what was in limited knowledge thought to be life. Life was a prison with shackles upon my soul that, no matter how much effort was employed, still, they held tightly as if meant to turn the screws more securely and dig deeper and deeper into the flesh until it bled tears of shame. Shame flooded the mind with grotesque reminiscences of how that life was lived and regrets, excruciating to all that I was, for how forsaken the truth was from the beginning of that existence.

Off in the distance were pillars, glowing statuesque in appearance and seeming to have no density to them whatsoever. Such materials of shimmering opalescence were not known to Earth. Others gathered around as if my coming to this sacred place was known to them all. Words were not spoken but rather heard in thought and felt in the heart of hearts. Not an organ of flesh and blood, oh no, for that hadn't any form in this place. This heart was of Light, vibrations, and almost a whimsical sensation of pure and unadulterated joy.

But now, the heart sensed only love, a love that never passed my way upon Earth. Love was a great many things with expressions too costly, and yet they bore no resemblance to love, the energetic component of oneness. On Earth, love takes many forms—from a token to purchase what one senses they need from another to a reward for behaviors given merit or the predators in search of what might bring fulfillment. Love given and withheld, as children are pounced upon in their innocence, as one might seize the moment to take without ever giving thought to what was being shattered. Love, when it was given for comfort and without request, given for its own sake because the one giving could do no other thing but give of itself, came closest to love accompli Divinity.

Upon approaching the Pillars of Light and with the others beside me, I began to recall lifetimes when I wrote in prose and paid my way with words to bring grace and good to all. After leaving the earthly life and when first I arrived, I was drenched in sorrows, feeling the pains of those whom I had pained. One after another, they came, and I felt as if I were drowning in a tsunami of despair. It seemed there would and could be no end to the stench of life, not death, but what had been life.

Then, as if I had an inner knowing as to what would come next, I felt each one's essence and bowed my entire being in what was beyond remorse, and it ceased its unrelenting review of what had been. And now, now this has come to take its place, more than revealing, for it was as if reliving what my many, many books of life were. Artist, defender of the poor; for cowardice had its time, and now I was shown when my bravery served others to give, not take life. And love, which for so many upon Earth is given as a poker chip, a coin, or a coveted thing when actually captured by the heart of one's goodness for moments in time.

Always there are those who live for love, to give and receive love without knowing what is driving them. Is it the force named God, or the drive to be good, or better, or selfless, or to simply belong? Love speaks to all, and all answer its call, but each one in their own limited capacity to grasp eternity, or simplicity in complexity, or gentleness in strength, or being able to have freedom in attachment. For in attachment, there is too unceremoniously a labeling for a need to be disinfected, for fear that it breeds compulsions and corruptions. And yet, attachment to your Divine Spirit always was original cause for the drive to love, and yet, to love is not attached to Divine Spirit by the multitude. And so it was upon this Earth that when I left, that I became the We, speaking now through one who has lived for love and in its many distortions, in limited life, suffered as the multitudes have, wars and scars, only to search ever deeper for its truest essence. So now, here We stand among you, all of you, ready to whisper gently into the ear eager to hear, willing to raise the ones ready to abandon the unreal for the real and be the Light of Love.

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