November 29, 1982 12:00 PM

Wanna reach out and touch someone? Ma Bell can help here, but when it comes to the hereafter, Gabe Gabor is the guy to call. He runs Heavens Union, an 11-month-old Los Angeles outfit that sends messages to the dead—for $40 for 50 words or less and $60 for 100 words. His “messengers” are described as folks “who, through an unfortunate act of nature, will soon be joining those no longer with us.” They’re terminally ill patients who read the communications and vow to pass them on after they themselves pass on. Paid $10 per missive, most take on several and one messenger carried 100. When the patients die, Gabor gives a $100 gift to cancer research and sends the Heavens Union customers concerned a notice of the messenger’s “time and place of departure.”

Is Gabor serious? Dead serious. “Heavens Union allows man to communicate with man, spirit with spirit,” he says. His firm has handled some 4,000 messages. Most are directed to departed friends and relatives, though not always with love. A woman who discovered her late hubby’s infidelity, wrote: “I’m aware of what you’ve done. The children miss you but I hope they never find you up there to give you this message.” Notables get lots of traffic. John Kennedy, John Lennon, Natalie Wood and Marilyn Monroe have all been big. John Belushi has had only one message—but then, says Gabor, “I’m not Saint Peter but I would question whether heaven was open to him.”

A 1956 immigrant from Hungary who has been a lighting company owner and real estate investor, Gabor got the idea for Heavens Union after the 1978 death of his mother. On an impulse, he asked a dying friend, “When you see my mother tell her how much I love her.” Not only did the friend think that possible, he says, but “I believed it, and I felt a lot better.” He rejects criticism from clergymen that he’s exploiting not only his customers but his messengers too. “We give them a sense of mission,” he protests. “How could anybody attack that?”

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