The mind – the thing that is "you" – your "soul" if you will – carries on after conventional science says it should have drifted into nothingness. –– Dr. Sam Parnia, Southampton General Hospital, London, England, and the University of Southampton
You know that you are your mind that goes through the day using the brain and the body as it creates realities. The physical world is the scenery for the plays you create. But you are not the scenery. You know that your mind isn’t in the brain. No neuroscientist can locate it there; the brain couldn’t hold all of your life memories; stimulating the brain doesn’t result in a single mind function; and people have sensory experiences without using the brain at all. You aren’t in the brain. You’re mind is outside of the brain.
That leads to a remarkable conclusion. When the body stops functioning, your mind must still be there. Your mind simply continues as it was when it was using the body, just as when you take off your overcoat and leave it in the closet, you walk into the living room and hug your loved ones without a thought for where your coat is. We know that’s true from all the evidence we’ve accumulated over the last two centuries. The mind, that continues after the body dies, is your real self.
If your self is a mind apart from the brain and the body, then what are you? You are an eternal being having a physical experience. This chapter explains that fact.
As a note for Christians taught that it is sinful to speak to people who have crossed over to the next plane of life or that people go into a long sleep after death, those things are absolutely not true. For more, link to http://ebook.youreternalself.com/chapter2.htm.
If we had been reared to understand that we’re not the body, today we would just assume that is true. Many people don’t believe that today because they were taught, by model and example since childhood, that we are just the body. Our culture has a desperate fear of death, as though death were somehow a bad thing—the end of existence. Most of the money spent in healthcare today is expended on the last two weeks of life trying to keep the body alive just a few days longer, even though, at times, the mind is gone. And so, people prefer living in a vegetative state for a few extra days, in pain or comatose, hooked up to monstrous, expensive machines instead of dying peacefully, with loved ones, a few days or weeks earlier at home. When people want to remember a loved one who has died, they go to the cemetery and stare at the ground, as though the person were the body buried there. It’s no wonder that children walking beside their sobbing elders across the cemetery lawn learn to fear death and feel the body is all there is to life.
The problem arose because humankind matured intellectually over the past two millennia, but spiritually remained backward. Belief in the tribal gods held sway at the beginning of the first millennium BCE. Then, during the Axial Age (c. 800 BCE – 200 BCE) and the times of Yeshua (Jesus), Muhammad, and other luminaries of the first millennium CE, humankind was repeatedly given insights into the greater self we each are that is not confined to a body. Our ancestors should have used the knowledge to mature away from the harsh, militaristic, partisan tribal gods toward a spirituality of peace, love, brotherhood, and confidence in our eternal natures. That’s what the spiritual teachers were describing.
These words we’re just coming to understand today were spoken by Yeshua ben Yosef1 (Jesus' Aramaic name that he and his family used) in the first-century CE:
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. – Yeshua ben Yosef
In the first century CE, Yeshua knew that he would not die when he stopped using the body and knew that he would continue to be with his followers and even appear to them. That is a perfect description of what we today know to be true about death, the afterlife, and our oneness with each other and the Higher Power. But the people who came to assume control of spiritual affairs reinterpreted all of Yeshua’s teachings to fit their assumptions and perspectives, eventually developing an organized religion that preferred the more primitive religious beliefs: exclusivity, intolerance, tribal hierarchy, power, judgment, death as separation until a distant heaven for the obedient and eternal punishment for the disobedient, and wealth for them.
Gradually, a huge organization with opulent cathedrals and an autocratic, wealthy ruling class evolved; religion gave no freedom of thought to the people and would not encourage them to learn about the mind of God that was continually communicating with them. Yeshua’s understanding of the afterlife, the Higher Power, and the need for love, peace, brotherhood, and servanthood was overshadowed by the powerful, wealthy religious organization that eventually developed after his death. The religious functionaries told the people that their beliefs were naïve and untrustworthy, that the inner voice they heard was demons and delusion, and that only the religious leaders understood the Divine truths. Over the centuries, humankind came to believe those falsehoods. Many people still believe them today.
In the end, the beliefs that only religions can know the truth of the universe, and the Higher Power will speak unique truths only to ministers or priests, are agnostic or atheistic; they reveal an implicit belief that the Higher Power either doesn’t exist or disdains to communicate to people directly.
The result is that over the two millennia since the Axial Age, humankind has been in a spiritual dark ages. Religion punished anyone who spoke about spiritual things not sanctioned by the religion. During that time, our species became intellectually mature, but remained spiritually retarded. For most people today, the term "spirituality" means going to church and swearing allegiance to a set of doctrines. But neither has anything to do with spirituality. This misconception illustrates the depth of our ignorance about spiritual realities.
And so, when bright people in the seventeenth century began to learn about the material realm through a rapidly evolving science, humankind declared its independence from religion. The intellectuals of the time felt they no longer needed to have a religious interpretation of life and the mind because they believed both were accidents in time, governed by natural laws, not a god’s laws. God became superfluous.
But abandoning religion left humankind with no spiritual foundation. Today, most people don't know what spirituality is or how to learn about spirituality and their own spiritual selves. Many have shunned religion, God, and spirituality altogether, while others, especially in the United States, have adapted their beliefs to the current secular trends that require no real thought about an inner spiritual life, just membership in and attendance at some church. For their beliefs about life and the universe, they have turned to materialistic science because it has a ring of authoritative truth and its assertions can be proven on demand, unlike the statements about the inner self made by the great spiritual teachers.
Materialistic science became the twenty-first century religion and scientists became its priests. Humankind has exchanged the God of legalistic religions, which kept people ignorant about personal spirituality and the inner self, for materialistic science, which promoted the premise that discussions of the inner self and personal spirituality are naïve, primitive, and ultimately meaningless. While at funerals they talk about a distant heaven, the real fear for most is that the mind is in the brain and the death of the brain is the end of existence for the mind.
So the odd belief that humankind evolved from rocks is a very recent belief that developed because humankind was not able to grow spiritually for two millennia and had little on which to base its beliefs as confidence in religions fell away. Today, we are rediscovering the truths about the universe, life, God, and humankind that have always been there, but were shrouded by religion. We’re learning from each other what we always knew to be true by listening to each other’s accounts of our natural, everyday encounters with the afterlife. We just haven’t been sharing our convictions with confidence because of a society formed by the centuries-old religious beliefs and the current scientific disdain for such conversations.
Today, we’re gaining a perspective on the odd mythology about man being a soft rock; people are learning that it’s just profound ignorance produced from the lack of spiritual growth by humankind and a demonizing of the inner voice that speaks the truths about life. The result of this rediscovery of the self will be a revolution in science. As Peter Russell wrote in From Science to God: A Physicist’s Journey into the Mystery of Consciousness, "Our inability to account for consciousness is the trigger that will, in time, push Western science into what the American philosopher Thomas Kuhn called a 'paradigm shift.'"2
There might have been more skeptics about the afterlife among scientists in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when science had not turned to learning about the mind and the survival of consciousness, but today the landscape has changed. Scientists are the ones making the discoveries about who we are physically, psychologically, and spiritually. Now, a steadily increasing number of scientists and other educated professionals are becoming convinced of the reality of the afterlife from the emerging scientific data; the number of skeptics is shrinking.
Here’s why new discoveries are at first opposed by a herd of hard-nosed skeptics. At the emergence of every new worldview or paradigm shift in humankind’s intellectual history, a group of highly intelligent, well-educated men and women has stubbornly refused to look at or be convinced by the data. They are as consistently a presence in humankind’s progress as are the pioneers who persevere and eventually have their new understanding adopted. If humanity listened to the herd of skeptics present during most of our intellectual advancements, we’d still be living in caves using stone tools. Thankfully, the discoverers always eventually emerge victorious, although sometimes not until after their deaths and at other times with deep wounds from the gauntlets they had to run to have their discoveries understood and accepted.
Usually, these skeptics speak from simple ignorance. In January 1905, more than a year after the Wright brothers had flown at Kitty Hawk, Scientific American ridiculed the notion of manned flight using machinery. At the time, they were called "The Lying Brothers." The author wrote,
If such sensational and tremendously important experiments are being conducted in a not very remote part of the country, on a subject in which almost everybody feels the most profound interest, is it possible to believe that the enterprising American reporter, who, it is well known, comes down the chimney when the door is locked in his face—even if he has to scale a fifteen-storey skyscraper to do so—would not have ascertained all about them and published them broadcast long ago?3
The writer just didn’t have the facts, but that didn’t deter him from writing that the statements by the Wright Brothers and others were lies.
Sometimes their resistance is from fear. The trouble Galileo had in convincing people that the Sun, not the Earth, is at the center of the solar system came from the professors who feared his ideas would undermine the Aristotelian principles they were teaching. He was nicknamed "The Wrangler" and had to leave his medical studies because the professors made life so miserable for him. I believe many of today’s neuroscientists who still dismiss the data about the mind being outside of the brain do so because of fear; what would happen to their discipline, their prestige in the field, and their book in progress if the data were proven to be true?
But most often, the herd of stubborn skeptics resists any new conceptions coming from outside their ranks from pure elitist arrogance. They believe their understanding of reality and the universe must be correct because they’re the learned scientists, and others don’t have the credentials to suggest or understand scientific truths. In 1772, the prestigious French Academy of Science studied cases of stones falling out of the sky presented by many ordinary people. After a lengthy examination of undeniable reports and the remarkable stones themselves, they asserted, against all the data, that stones falling from the sky were delusions because all scientists agreed there are no stones in the sky. It wasn’t until 1803 that they conceded there are such things as meteorites.
Virtually all important discoveries were maligned by a herd of skeptics when they were first advanced:
· Penicillin wasn’t accepted by the medical establishment for ten years after it was discovered.
· Pasteur’s suggestion that germs cause disease was called "a ridiculous fiction."
· When Ignaz Semmelweis urged physicians to wash their hands before surgery to deter infections, he was so ridiculed for his suggestion that he ended up in a mental hospital and his ideas weren’t accepted until after he died.
· One British geologist wrote of Darwin’s evolution theories, "I laughed till my sides were sore," and a British ornithologist wrote, that he had "utter contempt" for Darwin’s theory.
· Wegener, who developed the theory of continental drift, was so ridiculed that he died an outcast from the scientific community in 1930, 20 years before he was proven correct.
· Bell’s telephone was turned down by the U.S. Post Office and British Post Office as ridiculous.
· Peyton Rous’ suggestion that some cancer is caused by viruses was proven clearly in research, but wasn’t accepted for nearly 50 years.
· Roentgen’s x-rays were described as an "elaborate hoax."
· Edison’s light bulb was called "a completely idiotic idea."
· The military tank was called "idiotic and useless."
· John Baird, inventor of the television camera, was called a swindler.
· Chandrasekhar, who won a Nobel Prize for discovering black holes, was so viciously attacked by the scientific community when he suggested they exist that he couldn’t continue his career in science in his native England.
· Doppler’s discovery of the Doppler Effect wasn’t accepted for two decades because it conflicted with the prevailing notions of science.
· Faraday, the pioneer in electricity, was called a charlatan by his fellow scientists.
· The discoverer of an influential, revolutionary form of geometry (non-Euclidean geometry) kept it secret for 30 years out of fear of ridicule and his work wasn’t published until after his death.
· The discovers of a microscope with atom-scale resolution eventually received a Nobel Prize, but initially were greeted with hostility, shouts, and laughter in scientific meetings when they described it.
· The idea of sending rockets into space was called essentially impracticable.
· "Space travel is bunk," the Astronomer Royal of Britain wrote before the first successful manned launches into space.
· Ken Olson, president, chairman, and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation wrote in 1977, "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
· IBM turned down the newly invented photocopier asserting that the market for it was likely no larger than 5,000 businesses.
· Julius Mayer, who conceived the Law of Conservation of Energy, couldn’t get an article about it published by any physics journal.
· The work of George Ohm, the pioneer in electricity who developed the now familiar Ohm’s Law, was called "a tissue of naked fantasy" and wasn’t accepted for 10 years after he advanced it.
The list could continue through all revolutionary ideas advanced in the history of humankind. The skeptics are present at every one of these advancements, and remain simply uninformed, misinformed, arrogant, and closed-minded until they are passed by and the new ideas are adopted.
Max Planck, the German theoretical physicist who originated quantum theory, wrote,
A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.4
New discoveries that matter to humankind will never come from the herd of skeptics. They are prisoners of their paradigms.
When you examine the evidence for the afterlife, listen to either ordinary people who experience things they have no reason to fabricate and who speak with genuine excitement and candor, or to the educated intellectuals who acknowledge themselves to be open minded and willing to let truth be found wherever it lies, even if that is outside of their present understanding. If you are willing to listen to these genuine, open-minded people and not the ever-present herd of uninformed skeptics, you will become convinced of the reality of the afterlife. The evidence is incontrovertible. If, instead, you shrink back from the light of newly emerging truth, you will be destined to live huddled in darkness with the skeptics.
Below is just a sampling of the vast amounts of information that intellectual advancements and science have provided that prove to everyone who just reads the literature that we are eternal selves having a physical period of our existence. If someone doesn’t believe the afterlife is as real as this life, they just don’t know or won’t believe the literature.
The widespread accessibility to information today has resulted in a sharing of knowledge unprecedented in humankind. As people compare their experiences with the afterlife, they are discovering that what they individually always felt to be true is shared by most other people. Emboldened, they’re willing to state their beliefs. These aren’t hallucinations or superstitions; they’re the discovery of truths apparent to most people that have been described throughout the history of civilization. The afterlife is as real as this life.
In 1970, 77 percent of Americans polled said they knew the reality of the afterlife. But in a 2000 poll, 82 percent of Americans said they knew the reality of the afterlife. Among Jews, 19 percent said they knew the afterlife is real in the 1970s. Then, 56 percent said they were convinced of it in the 1998 poll.5 Humankind is growing out of the superstitions of both religion and science about the afterlife by becoming more knowledgeable about it.
Experiencing the presence of loved ones who have died is very common. In a study reported in the American Journal of Psychiatry, two-thirds of those surveyed in the U.S. reported having sensed the presence of the person who passed on.6 The experience can hardly be called unusual.
In 1987, the Gallup Poll organization published the results of a survey designed to find out how many people had after-death communication experience of any kind in Britain. The survey showed that 48 percent of those asked felt they were personally aware of this kind of experience in their lives.7
A broad range of studies of after-death communication have shown that after-death communication is very common.8
Harroldsson, in a national survey in Iceland, reported that 31% of respondents reported visual encounters with the dead.11
Kalish studied adults in Los Angeles and found that 55% of blacks, 54% of Mexican-Americans, 38% of Anglo-Americans, and 29% of Japanese-Americans reported such encounters.12
These experiences have also been reported in traditional Hopi Indians.13
The fact that these experiences are so common has led one investigator to advocate abandoning the word "hallucination" to describe them.14
In 1988, Bill and Judy Guggenheim began The ADC Project, in which they interviewed 3,300 people who had experienced after-death communications. The accounts were emotional, heartwarming, and at times startling. They described them in their book, Hello from Heaven15 that includes 353 of the actual stories they heard. Reading the clear, heartfelt stories by ordinary people who insist they communicated with their deceased loved ones cannot help but convince all but the most hardened skeptics that our loved ones are alive and well after death, just in a different form and a different place that is close by.
The number of people who have had such experiences with deceased loved ones is increasing, in part because of the openness to the phenomena today. Communication with deceased loved ones is a common, everyday occurrence. To deny it is to suggest that most people in the world today are insane, delusional, or lying. A common phenomenon like this is as real as seeing total eclipses of the sun. We wouldn’t deny the reality of total eclipses of the sun even if we had never seen one because so many millions of people have experienced them. The same is true of after-death communication. It’s simply a common fact.
People just don’t talk about their after-death communication experiences because of the odd notion in our culture that if we talk about such experiences, we’re delusional. But if you bring up the subject of near-death experiences or after-death communication in a group and let people know it’s OK to talk about them, the stories will start to roll out.
The same is true for psychotherapists and physicians, who care for people at times of crisis. They often hear accounts of psychic activity and the afterlife, and many have themselves had such experiences. They often don’t feel comfortable talking about the experiences because of the criticism they fear they would receive from colleagues. But when they’re given the opportunity to speak about them in a safe group, the stories abound.
Dr. Elisabeth Lloyd Mayer, psychoanalyst, researcher, clinician, author of groundbreaking papers on female development, the nature of science, and intuition, professor of psychology at UC Berkeley and UC Medical Center, studied and spoke about clairvoyance. She wrote about the common reaction from physicians and psychotherapists when she spoke about her own psychic experiences:
As word of my new interest [in psychic events] spread, my medical and psychoanalytic colleagues began to inundate me with accounts of their own anomalous experiences, personal as well as clinical. . . . the stories they shared with me were often ones they’d never revealed to another professional associate. Their accounts—by e-mail, snail mail, at conferences, in seminars, in hall corridors, or at dinner—made as little sense to me as they did to the colleagues telling me about them. The stories were all about knowing things in bizarrely inexplicable ways. . . . I was particularly fascinated by how eagerly my colleagues shared even the most weirdly personal stories with me. Their eagerness puzzled me, until I realized how badly people wanted to reintegrate corners of experience they’d walled off from their public lives for fear of being misbelieved.16
The same reluctance to speak, but great desire to share their experiences, is true for healthcare professionals who have seen evidence of the afterlife in their own lives and their patients' lives.
Examples of these common contacts with those continuing to live in the afterlife follow.
It is common for someone having an after-death communication to receive messages about things the person could not have known if the messages didn’t come from the deceased.
This account of an after-death communication came from a patient of Dr. Allan Botkin, formerly a psychotherapist with a large Chicago area VA hospital, with whom I co-authored the book, Induced After-Death Communication: A New Therapy for Grief and Trauma.17 It illustrates the striking reality of the communication for the experiencer, and the fact that those experiencing after-death communication often learn things they could not have known.
Jerry had come to see me for psychotherapy about an unrelated matter, but after developing some trust in me, felt he could tell me his spontaneous ADC story "without being labeled a nutcase." Jerry was living in the Midwest and his ex-wife was living on the East Coast with their three children. One night, he experienced the clear image of his ex-wife while he was asleep. "She looked beautiful, peaceful and happy," he said, "and she wanted to tell me about something of great concern to her." Jerry said she told him that he needed to start playing a more important role in rearing their children and even offered very specific suggestions about each child. Jerry said his experience was much clearer than a dream.
Jerry awoke right after his experience, baffled by its remarkable clarity. He could remember the entire experience, and for him it felt like a real conversation with his ex-wife. After lying awake a while trying to make sense of his experience, he managed to get back to sleep.
The next morning as he was making coffee, the phone rang. It was his ex-wife’s sister. Tearfully, she told Jerry that his ex-wife had been killed in a car accident during the night.
Suddenly, the meaning of his experience became clear. Since then, Jerry’s ex-wife has appeared to him five times in spontaneous ADCs, each time offering further advice about their children. "Every time," he said, "she did all the talking." And after each experience, Jerry followed her advice closely. In all instances, the advice turned out to be very helpful.
As he told me [Dr. Botkin] the story, Jerry laughed at one point and said "She hasn’t changed much. She was always hyper-verbal and bossy." When I asked him if he thought that his wife had really visited him after she died, he said defiantly, "I am sure of it. I am as sure of it as I am that I'm looking at you right now. Nobody can ever tell me that it wasn’t real, not you or anyone else. I don’t care what other people think about this because they really don’t know. I didn’t believe in this stuff before it happened, but now I have no doubt whatsoever."18
In another case, a woman’s life was saved by the appearance of an apparition, and she learned about the identity of the apparition later:
In some cases people appear apparently with the express purpose of saving loved ones from danger. This happened to Elaine Worrell who lived with her husband Hal on the top floor of an apartment building in Oskaloosa, Iowa. One day she saw a young man in her hallway who led her downstairs into the apartment of a young widow whom she barely knew. She found the young woman collapsed on a bed after having slashed her wrists. After she recovered, the young woman showed her a photograph of her late husband; Elaine recognized it immediately as the young man who had led her downstairs and into the apartment.19
Everything we know about the afterlife tells us that the Higher Power has set up life so the transition into the next plane of eternal life is as easy as possible; the universe is filled with love and compassion. Pre-death visions are an example of that preparation for a gentle transition.
Pre-death visions are visions of deceased loved ones patients commonly have in the weeks before they die. Deathbed visions are the visions dying patients have in the days or hours immediately preceding death. Both help the person prepare for the transition. They are God’s counselors, bringing reassurance to those about to cross over.
Dr. James L. Hallenbeck, director of palliative care services with the Veterans Administration Palo Alto Health Care System, estimates that these pre-death visions or deathbed visions of deceased loved ones occur for at least 25 percent of deaths.20
Stephen Wagner estimates the number of people who experience deathbed visions as even more. He explains that only about 10 percent of dying people are conscious shortly before their deaths, but between 50 and 60 percent of those conscious experience deathbed visions.21
Children are truth-tellers because of their youthful naiveté, and when they experience such visions, they describe them matter-of-factly. In Closer to the Light, Dr. Melvin Morse describes children’s deathbed visions, explaining that they are astonishing scientific proof of the validity of the near-death experience.22
Dr. Diane Komp, a Yale pediatric oncologist, described a 7-year-old girl who sat up in bed just before her death from leukemia and said "The angels, they are so beautiful, can't you hear them singing Mommy?" A boy dying of leukemia said that God spoke to him and that he asked God to live another year so he could explain his death to his 3-year-old brother. Amazingly, against medical odds, the boy lived one more year.23
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross described a healthy 4-year-old girl who had a vivid dream she described to her mother. She said she saw a beautiful golden heaven and that it was "really, really, real," with gold angels, diamonds, and jewels. It was a fun place. There, she met Jesus. She told her mother not to worry because Jesus would take care of her. She then went out to play and sadly was murdered only hours later.24
In 1959, Karlis Osis, Ph.D., psychology professor at the University of Freiburg, and Erlendur Haraldsson, Ph.D., psychology professor at the University of Munich, studied deathbed visions in the U.S. and India by interviewing doctors and nurses who had been present when people died. They mailed out questionnaires to 5,000 physicians and 5,000 nurses, providing information on over 35,000 observations of dying patients. Over 1,300 dying patients saw apparitions and almost 900 reported visions of an afterlife.
They found the following consistencies:
1. Some dying people reported seeing angels and other religious figures, but most reported seeing familiar deceased people.
2. Very often, the friends and relatives in these visions communicate that they have come to help take them away.
3. The dying person is reassured by the experience and expresses great happiness with the vision and is quite willing to go with the deceased greeters.
4. The dying person's mood and health change often when they have such a vision. During these visions, a once depressed or pain-riddled person is elated and relieved of pain.
5. During the vision, the dying person is acutely aware of their real surroundings and conditions, not immersed in a fantasy.
6. The experience and reactions afterward are the same for all experiencers, whether they believe in an afterlife or not.25
They reported their findings in a book titled At the Hour of Death, concluding, in typical researcher-scientific language,
In our judgement, the similarities between the core phenomena found in the death-bed visions of both countries are clear enough to be considered supportive of the post-mortem survival hypothesis.26
In other words, the deathbed visions seem to be real communication with the afterlife provided in preparation for the person’s death.
Carla Wills-Brandon, MA, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist, is author of nine books exploring addiction, self-esteem, sexual trauma, death, the afterlife, and spirituality. She describes her husband’s experience of a deathbed vision before the death of his father. Her husband told her the story the morning after he sat up all night with his father in the hospital. He said to her,
"Tonight while snoozing in the chair in his room, I had a wonderful dream about Da. In this dream he said to me he was going soon, but that he would always watch over us. Upon awakening, I looked over at Da as he slept and noticed he was very at ease. Suddenly, I saw something rise from his body. It was absolutely beautiful. A whirl of pastel color, vibrant in not only appearance but also movement, was leaving his chest area. It was so comforting." The following week, Da gently passed away in my husband's arms.27
Wills-Brandon includes other experiences described to her by caregivers who had been at the bedside of someone passing in her book, One Last Hug Before I Go: The Mystery And Meaning Of Deathbed Visions.28 She explains that countless hospice workers have seen a wisp of "something" leave the body at the moment of death and that the patients commonly describe visions of deceased relatives, angels or celestial beings of light.
The caregivers themselves often describe receiving visits during dream time from deceased relatives or even the dying person. Wills‑Brandon describes one caregiver’s account. She had just returned home, exhausted, from caring for her dying mother at the nursing home:
My mother had been very ill for sometime. . . . After dinner with my husband and children, I went to bed. During the middle of the night, I awoke from a very deep sleep. I had dreamed my mother had come to visit me. In this dream, she was with my father who had passed 5 years ago. Both of them looked happy and healthy. My mother blew me a kiss. Then she and my father turned around and walked off, over a hill. When I awoke, tears filled my eyes, but I also felt a sense of peace. My parents had looked so joyful. I looked at the clock and noted it was 3 a.m., then lay back down and went to sleep. The next morning my brother called to tell me my mother had left us. When I asked him about the time of her death, he replied she had passed at 3 a.m.29
Dr. Peter Fenwick, neuroscientist and fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, describes the account of a woman who witnessed the spiritual image of her husband’s death:
Suddenly there was the most brilliant light shining from my husband’s chest, and as this light lifted upward, there was the most beautiful music and singing voices. My own chest seemed filled with infinite joy, and my heart felt as if it was lifting to join this light and music. Suddenly, there was a hand on my shoulder, and a nurse said, ‘‘Sorry, love. He’s just gone.’’ I lost sight of the light and the music and felt so bereft at being left behind.30
The deathbed visions are quite common and aren’t explained by any medical or psychological influence. Apparently, those on the next plane of life are helping the dying person make the transition into the afterlife.
The word "hallucination" is often used by people who are unable to bring themselves to realize the reality of the afterlife in order to dismiss the millions of reports of people communicating with their deceased loved ones. However, the communications don’t have any of the characteristics of drug-induced or psychological hallucinations.
In the 1959 article cited earlier, Karlis Osis, Ph.D., psychology professor at the University of Freiburg, and Erlendur Haraldsson, Ph.D., psychology professor at the University of Munich, found over 1,300 dying patients who saw apparitions, with almost 900 reporting visions of an afterlife. The researchers examined the patients and data carefully to rule out hallucination and other factors. They concluded the following:
The typical deathbed vision experience was of a shorter duration, more coherent and more related to the situation of dying and an afterlife than the rambling experiences of a sick brain. . . .
Most of the visions did not exemplify the normal characteristics of ordinary hallucinations. The patient was rational, logical and well oriented in all respects except his insistence that he was seeing something real. . . .
Delirium was not the basis for the deathbed apparitions; the apparitions seemed to have an external source and were not mere projections of wishful thoughts or unfulfilled desires. . . .
Two-thirds of the apparitions seen by the dying were of deceased people; only one-third were of living persons. The opposite is typical of hallucinations by persons in normal health.
Of the apparitions seen, 83 percent were of relatives: mothers, fathers, spouses, siblings and offspring. This contrasted sharply with hallucinations of the mentally ill who most often conjure up strangers or bizarre characters.
The majority of patients who saw apparitions described the mission of the apparition(s) as aiding them in making the transition to the Other World. . . .
The predominant reaction of patients who see apparitions coming to take them away is that of serenity and peace.31
Osis then carried out two more studies in the next two decades. The conclusions of the researchers after all the studies were that the visions were not due to medical or psychological problems:
· There was no acceptable evidence that drugs were generating the afterlife visions. Those patients who received drugs (e.g. morphine and Demerol) did not have a greater frequency of afterlife visions than other patients.
· There was no acceptable evidence that brain disturbances were generating the afterlife visions. Brain disturbances caused by disease, injury or uremic poisoning decreased the afterlife vision phenomenon or did not affect it at all.
· The presence of a medical history suggestive of hallucinogenic factors did not increase the frequency of afterlife visions.
and Haraldsson had a separate search of medical literature done for them to
· Such factors as stress, patient expectations of dying or recovering, or a desire to see someone they loved did not affect how often people had death-bed visions. No evidence was found from the data to suggest that psychological factors encouraging hallucinations also encouraged afterlife visions. Patients didn’t automatically see in their visions people they specifically wanted to see; and people who didn’t expect to die also saw death-bed visions. These results noted Osis lent support to the hypothesis that the people seen in the visions were not just wishful projections of the patient.
· Patients often saw something that was "unexpected, untaught and a complete surprise to them"
· Afterlife visions often did not conform with religious beliefs about the afterlife. Among Christian American patients, there were many reports of visions of heaven; visions of hell and devils were almost totally absent. Christian ideas of "judgment," "salvation" and "redemption" were not mirrored in their visions. In India, basic Hindu afterlife beliefs like reincarnation and dissolution in Brahma were never mentioned in their visions.
· Eleven core phenomena suggestive of an afterlife were found to be common to both Indian and American death-bed visions. Similarities outweighed the differences by a large margin, indicating a universal human experience rather than a culturally-produced experience.32
The deathbed visions were not due to any medical or psychological influences. They could be explained only as visions of deceased loved ones helping the dying person through the transition process.
James L. Hallenbeck, assistant professor of medicine at Stanford University and director of palliative care services with the V.A. Palo Alto Health Care System, describes the one disease he knows of that mimics pre-death visions, but explains that they are quite different:
The one disease process I know of that can mimic these predeath visions is Parkinson's disease, especially when associated with Lewy bodies dementia. These patients also have visual hallucinations, usually of people. The distinction is that usually the people in visions are unknown to the patient. Initially, the Parkinson patient may be aware that these people are not real; they may be only shadow figures. When turned to, they disappear. As the disease progresses, the patient usually becomes more paranoid and very disturbed by more persistent and troublesome visitations.33
Deathbed visions are consistently of people the person knows, are clear and rational, contain reasonable, uplifting messages, and are always calm and never disturbing.
Jennifer Hammargren, a chaplain for VistaCare Hospice Services in Salt Lake City, Utah, explains that when dying people see visions of their deceased loved ones, they bear no resemblance to hallucinations:
Some patients [reacting to drugs] describe bugs crawling on the walls and seeing things that aren't pleasant, which Hammargren often finds is a reaction to the drugs her patients are being given. But those experiences are vastly different in description and "feel" than the ones that happen with loved ones, she said.34
Carla Wills-Brandon explains why deathbed visions could not be hallucinations in her book, One Last Hug before I Go: the Mystery and Meaning of Death Bed Visions. Some skeptics suggest that they are hallucinations created by the dying brain, but Wills-Brandon explains that is not a plausible argument because in some situations, the dying did not know that the relatives who were visiting in the visions were already dead. A dying brain would not be able to limit visions to people who are dead when the dying person felt these relatives were still alive. She also explains that medications would not give rise to such visions because people on medications are not coherent and the visions of these people who have the visions are quite coherent even if they are on medications.35
The fact that deathbed visions are not due to drugs, fever, or the illness is explained also in a publication by the staff of the University of Virginia Health System, Division of Perceptual Studies:
Furthermore, the little research that has been done suggests that such visions may not be related to the hallucinations that drugs, fever, and certain illnesses can produce, and that drugs and fever may even inhibit rather than generate them.36
The deathbed visions are of people who had passed away at the time of the vision. A compelling reason the deathbed visions could not be hallucinations or imagination is that some people have a vision of someone he or she could not know had actually died.
In 1926, Sir William Barrett, a Professor of Physics at the Royal College of Science in Dublin, studied as many accounts as he could find of deathbed visions and published his summation of his findings in Death Bed Visions. Barrett found accounts of deathbed visions of people the dying person didn’t even know had passed away.
On the night of January 12, 1924, Lady Barrett rushed home from the hospital to tell her husband about a remarkable deathbed vision seen by one of her patients, Dora, who delivered a child safely but died after the delivery. As Dora lay dying, she suddenly looked across the room and broke into a radiant smile. When Lady Barrett asked what she saw, Dora replied, "Lovely brightness—wonderful beings." Dora was fully and intensely absorbed in the vision. Then she announced to Barrett that she saw her father who was indicating to her how glad he was that she was coming to join him. When the nurses brought Dora her newborn baby for her to see, Dora wondered aloud whether she should stay for the child’s sake, but then announced that she couldn’t turn her back on the beautiful world she was seeing in her vision. She wanted to go there.
It must have been an extremely real and attractive vision for a mother to willingly give up her own baby, and her life as well, to embrace it. But such complete and total belief in the reality of her death-bed visions by the dying is not uncommon. What makes the case so strong is what happened next. Dora turned to Lady Barrett with a puzzled expression. "He has Vida with him," she said.
. . . Vida was Dora’s sister, who had died three weeks before. Because her family was afraid it would upset Dora’s fragile health, Dora had not been told that Vida had died. Thus Dora’s surprise at seeing her sister with her deceased father.37
Barrett found two compelling reasons to believe the deathbed visions were real visions of deceased relatives:
1. It was very common for the dying people who saw these visions to identify friends and relatives who they thought were still living, but in each case, it was later discovered that these people actually were dead. Communications in 1926 were quite slow, and it often took weeks or even months to learn that a friend or loved one had died.
2. Barrett found that children quite often expressed surprise that the "angels" they saw in their dying moments did not have wings. If the deathbed vision were just a hallucination, a child would see angels as they are most often depicted, with large, white wings.38
Michael Tymn summarizes a report from Dr. Minot J. Savage, a Unitarian clergyman and author, published in his book, Life Beyond Death (1899). Two young girls, Jennie and Bessie, ages 8 and 9, were close friends, and both contracted the usually fatal disease diphtheria at the same time. Jennie died, but Bessie’s family did not tell her because she was very ill and there was no need to upset her. Realizing she was about to die, on the day of her death, Bessie began to tell brothers and sisters which of her belongings she wanted them to have. She included some items she wanted to go to Jennie, showing that she didn’t realize Jennie had died.
Savage described what happened later in the day as Bessie approached death:
. . . she began seeing deceased grandparents and others gathered around her bed. "And then she turned to her father, with face and voice both expressing the greatest surprise, and exclaimed, "Why, Papa, why didn’t you tell me that Jennie had gone? Why didn’t you tell me of it?"
Bessie still had no way of knowing Jennie had died unless she genuinely saw her in her deathbed vision.39
Victor Zammit, B.A.(Psych.), Grad. Dip.Ed.(UTS), M.A. (Legal Hist.), LL.B.(UNSW), Ph.D., a retired lawyer of the Supreme Court of the New South Wales and the High Court of Australia, cites40 records from the Society of Psychical Research in which apparitions of dead relatives have appeared at the bedside of dying patients and have been seen by more than one person there:
There are many cases on record with the Society of Psychical Research where the apparitional visitor has been seen by others at the bedside of the dying person, sometimes by several persons simultaneously:
· In one well documented case a deathbed apparition was seen by the dying woman, Harriet Pearson, and three relatives who were caring for her.41
· In another case of a young boy dying, two witnesses independently saw his recently deceased mother at the child's bedside.42
These accounts of people in the room with someone about to pass away seeing the same vision also provide further proof that the visions could not be hallucinations. Hallucinations are individual. However, deathbed visions have occurred that are seen by others around the dying person.
Deathbed visions seem to be genuine contacts from deceased loved ones preparing the person for death. Those on the next plane of life are continually in contact with loved ones on the Earthly plane and help them with this transition into the next plane of their eternal life.
Accounts of people appearing at the moments of their deaths to people hundreds or thousands of miles away are very common. The founders of the Society for Psychical research began their studies by collecting and studying cases of telepathy, apparitions, and other psychic phenomena. They were most impressed by the visions people saw of people at the moment of death, even though the dying person was hundreds or thousands of miles from them. This is one of their reports from an experiencer:
I sat one evening reading, when on looking up from my book, I distinctly saw a school-friend of mine, to whom I was very much attached, standing near the door I was about to exclaim at the strangeness of her visit when, to my horror, there were no signs of anyone in the room but my mother. I related what I had seen to her, knowing she could not have seen, as she was sitting with her back towards the door, nor did she hear anything unusual, and was greatly amused at my scare, suggesting I had read too much or been dreaming.
A day or so after this strange event, I had news to say my friend was no more. The strange part was that I did not even know she was ill, much less in danger so could not have felt anxious at the time on her account, but may have been thinking of her; that I cannot testify. Her illness was short, and death very unexpected. Her mother told me she spoke of me not long before she died. . . . She died the same evening and about the same time that I saw her vision, which was the end of October, 1874.43
They reported another case described by a puzzled teacher:
About fourteen years ago, about 3 o'clock one summer's afternoon, I was passing in front of Trinity Church, Upper King Street, Leicester, when I saw on the opposite side of the street a very old playmate, whom, having left the town to learn some business, I had for some time lost sight of. I thought it odd he took no notice of me; and while following him with my eyes, deliberating whether I should accost him or not, I coned after him by name, and was somewhat surprised at not being able to follow him any further or to say into which house he had gone, for I felt persuaded he had gone into one. The next week I was informed of his somewhat sudden death at Burton-on-Trent, at about the time I felt certain he was passing in front of me. What struck me most at the time was that he should take no notice of me, and that he should go along so noiselessly and should disappear so suddenly, but that it was E.P. I had seen, I never for one moment doubted. I have always looked upon this as a hallucination, but why it should have occurred at that particular time, and to me, I could never make out.44
In some cases the deceased person was even seen by more than one person, as in the following example:
Some years since, when living at Woolstone Lodge, Woolstone, Berks, of which parish and church, etc., etc., my husband was clerk in Holy Orders, I left the fireside family party one evening after tea, to see if our German bonne could manage a little wild Cornish girl to prepare her school-room for the morning. As I reached the top of the stairs a lady passed me who had some time left us. She was in black silk with a muslin "cloud" over her head and shoulders, but her silk rustled. I could just have a glance only of her face. She glided fast and noiselessly (but for the silk) past me, and was lost down two steps at the end of a long passage that led only into my private boudoir, and had no other exit. I had barely exclaimed "Oh, Caroline," when I felt she was something unnatural, and rushed down to the drawing-room again, and sinking on my knees by my husbands side, fainted, and it was with difficulty I was restored to myself again. The next morning, I saw they rather joked me at first; but it afterwards came out that the little nursery girl, while cleaning her grate, had been so frightened by the same appearance, "a lady sitting near her in black, with white all over her head and shoulders, and her hands crossed on her bosom," that nothing would induce her to go into the room again; and they had been afraid to tell me over night of this confirmation of the appearance, thinking it would shake my nerves still more than it had done.
As chance would have it, many of our neighbours called on us the next morning—Mr Tufnell, of Uffington, near Faringdon, Archdeacon Berens, Mr Atkins, and others. All seemed most interested, and Mr Tufnell would not be content without noting down particulars in his own pocket-book, and making me promise to write for inquiries that very night, for my cousin, Mrs Henry Gibbs. She had been staying with us some time previously for a few days, and I had a letter half written to her in the paper case.
I wrote immediately to my uncle (the Rev. C. Crawley, of Hartpury near Gloucester) and aunt, and recounted all that had happened. By return of post, "Caroline is very ill at Belmont" (their family place then), "and not expected to live"; and die she did on the very day or evening she paid me that visit. The shock had been over-much for a not very strong person, and I was one of the very few members of the Drawley or Gibbs family who could not follow the funeral.45
One account, told to me by Mike Thompson, an acquaintance of mine, was of the unexpected appearance of his ex-wife’s Uncle Neely. Mike had been divorced from his ex-wife for seven years and hadn’t seen her family since the divorce. One day, driving alone down a highway, he felt that someone was sitting next to him. He looked at the passenger’s seat and there sat his ex-wife’s Uncle Neely, whom he hadn’t seen since the divorce. Mike was shaken because he had been driving alone. His ex-wife’s uncle said to him, "Mike, the mass is over. Thanks be to God." That was an old joke Mike had with Uncle Neely. Mike converted to Catholicism for his wife, but hated going to mass. When the family attended mass together, Uncle Neely would smile at Mike as they walked out after mass and say, "Well Mike, the mass is over. Thanks be to God," with the double meaning, "Happily, the mass is over!"
Mike glanced forward, and when he looked back to the passenger seat, Uncle Neely was gone. When he arrived home, Mike was upset and worried; he thought he might be losing his mind, so he didn’t tell anyone about the strange event. About an hour later, his son came into the room and said, "Dad, Mom called. She said she had some bad news. Uncle Neely died today." As Mike found out later, Uncle Neely had died at the moment he appeared in Mike’s car.
Victor Zammit describes five other such apparitions:46
. . . Second Lieutenant Leslie Poynter . . . was killed in action. At 9 p.m. on the evening of his death he appeared to his sister in England, walked into her bedroom, bent over and kissed her and then, smiling happily, faded from view. It was not until two weeks later that the family received a telegram informing them of his death earlier in the day on the same date.47
. . . Mrs. Pacquet’s . . . brother Edmund appeared to her six hours after he had drowned at sea and acted out how he had been caught around the legs by a rope and dragged overboard.48
. . . Mrs. Gladys Watson . . . was awakened from a deep sleep by someone calling her name. On waking she saw her paternal grandfather who told her "Don't be frightened. It's only me. I've just died." When she woke her husband he refused to believe it and telephoned the family home only to learn that the grandfather had died unexpectedly a few minutes before.49
. . . Lord Brougham, an English peer . . . was traveling in Sweden. He suddenly saw an apparition of a university friend he had not seen or thought about for years. Later he received a letter confirming that the friend had died in India at the exact time of the apparition. While at university the two had often speculated on the question of survival and had drawn up an agreement written in their blood that whichever of the two died first would appear to the other.50
. . . Mrs. Arthur Bellamy of Bristol . . . made a similar agreement with a school friend whom she had not seen for years. A night after the friend's death a lady was seen by Mr. Bellamy sitting on the bed beside his sleeping wife. He later identified her from a photograph as the same friend.51
Dr. Minot J. Savage, a Unitarian clergyman, describes an incident in which a young boy received a visit from someone who had just passed away, as reported by Michael Tymn:
Savage . . . relates the case of a small boy who had befriended a judge of some prominence living in the neighborhood. After the boy was put to bed one night, his parents heard him crying. They rushed to him and asked him what was wrong. "Judge says he’s dead! He has been here and told me that he is dead!" the boy sobbed. The next morning the parents found out that the judge had died at about that time the night before.52
Physicians work with dying patients regularly. We would expect them to know something about death and the afterlife from their experiences. In fact, a 2005 survey of physicians found that 76 percent believe in God and 59 percent believe in some sort of afterlife.53 Those beliefs are in the face of strong sanctions within the community at large against speaking of belief in God or the afterlife, a result of the materialistic ignorance from the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries that is now falling away.
Interestingly, among members of the National Academy of Sciences in the physical sciences, most of whom work with only matter and energy (not people, life, and death), 79 percent do not believe in God.54 That discrepancy between the beliefs of professionals who work with people, life, and death, and those who work with matter and energy only suggests that a reason for skepticism among some in the herd of skeptics is simply from not being exposed to the realities of life and death.
Some striking examples of such physicians whose experiences and research have confirmed the reality of the afterlife follow.
Dr. Janis Amatuzio – Dr. Janis Amatuzio, a practitioner in forensic medicine for nearly 25 years, has come to be known as the "compassionate coroner." In her work, she has heard extraordinary stories from grieving family members, patients near death, police officers, clergy, and colleagues – stories of the spiritual and otherworldly experiences concerning the transition between life and death. She wrote, "I have come to realize that for some experiences there is no explanation, just a deep knowing that I have encountered the Divine."55
Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross – Dr. Kübler-Ross was an internationally renowned physician, author, speaker, and expert on death and dying, listed as one of the 100 most important thinkers of the century by Time magazine in 1999, and receiving 20 honorary degrees for her achievements. She was included in the International Biographical Centre’s list of the foremost women of the twentieth century. This is her conclusion after decades of study of death and dying:
Many people are beginning to be aware that the physical body is only the house or the temple, or as we call it the cocoon, which we inhabit for a certain number of months or years until we make the transition called death. Then, at the time of death, we shed this cocoon and are once again as free as a butterfly to use the symbolic language that we use when talking to dying children and their siblings.56
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Conan Doyle was a physician turned writer, knighted for his service as a historian during the Boer War. He is best remembered as the creator of Sherlock Holmes stories. Conan Doyle was highly skeptical of mediums and the afterlife when he began investigating psychic phenomena in 1886. After he studied the evidence for the afterlife, he became a strong believer.
Dr. Enrico Morselli – An Italian neurologist, Director of the Clinic of Nervous and Mental Disease at the University of Genoa began as a bitter skeptic, but after investigation of the afterlife, changed his belief.
Dr. Gustave Geley – Professor of medicine at the University of Lyons, studied evidence for the afterlife and became so convinced that he gave up his practice as a teacher and physician in 1919 to become director of the Institute Metaphyschique International in Paris to investigate mediumship.
Dr. T. Glen Hamilton – A graduate of Manitoba Medical College, Hamilton had a private medical practice while also teaching clinical surgery at Winnipeg General Hospital. He became interested in psychic phenomena in 1918 and conducted extensive studies on Canadian mediums. These are his conclusions:
. . . we hold the survival theory to be valid in accounting for every fact known in regard to the trance personalities. It accounts for their stated opinions that they were indeed deceased (discarnate) individuals. It admits of the possibility that they, as discarnate persons, shared some manner of inter-communication, which enabled them to plan, to co-operate, and to commit themselves to organized activities in the séance room, activities which extended over a period of many years.57
He had mediums come to his laboratory where, under strictly controlled conditions, he had a battery of fourteen electronically controlled flash cameras set to photograph any apparitions the mediums could summon. He invited four other physicians, two lawyers, an electrical engineer, and a civil engineer to observe and corroborate anything that happened. He summarized the results in this sentence: "Time after time, I saw dead persons materialize."58
Dr. Barbara R. Rommer – A founding member of the Holy Cross Medical Group in Fort Lauderdale, Rommer practiced medicine from 1974 until her death in 2004. She was also a researcher of near-death experiences, authoring two books on the subject, including Blessings in Disguise, published in 2000. Based on her research, she concluded,
I believe that the only part of us that dies is our physical body, once referred to as our "husk" by a Catholic priest who related his own near-death experience to me. The body is physical matter but is not our true essence. Our true essence, our soul, our spirit, our life force, and our very being, that part of us which has a personality, most probably does not die. I must admit that I have received what I consider to be confirmation of this from my husband, Salvatore (Sonny) Pepitone, who entered his spirit form on June 25, 1997.59
Dr. Robert Bridges – A physician who became poet laureate of England, wrote,
Man is a spiritual being: the proper work of his mind is to interpret the world according to his highest nature, to conquer the material aspects of the world so as to bring them into subjugation to the spirit.60
Dr. Michael Schroter-Kunhardt – German psychiatrist, who conducted a comprehensive review of the scientific literature about the survival of consciousness. He concluded that the paranormal capacities of the dying person suggest the existence of a time-and-space transcending immortal soul.61
People today who still are not able to accept the abundant data that the afterlife is as real as this life have not read the evidence or participated in medium activities. They assume that the mind is confined to the brain, so evidence of the mind outside of the body couldn’t be valid, and that justifies their not reading it. Because they haven't read the evidence, they assert that there is no evidence, and since they are not themselves aware of any evidence to the contrary, they are assured that the mind must be confined to the brain and that reinforces their belief that any evidence of the mind outside of the brain must be invalid. That circular reasoning leaves them in an ignorance of their own making.
Instead of looking to the uninformed and closed-minded for any understanding of life, the universe, and the eternal self, we need to look to those researchers who have taken the time to study the afterlife and mediums, especially those who began their studies as skeptics determined to review the evidence objectively, to participate in rigorously controlled medium sessions themselves, and to expose any fraud they found.
The eminent scholars who have participated in medium activities and have studied the literature have come to the undeniable conclusion that the afterlife is as real as this life. A small sampling of them follows.
Victor James Zammit, B.A.(Psych.), Grad. Dip.Ed.(UTS), M.A. (Legal Hist.), LL.B.(UNSW), Ph.D., is a retired lawyer of the Supreme Court of the New South Wales and the High Court of Australia. He has devoted his life to critical examination of the evidence available for the afterlife, accepting only evidence that "would be legally admissible in the highest courts," based on his extensive experience in the court system. He became so convinced from his research that he wrote a book presenting the evidence (A Lawyer Presents the Case for the Afterlife62) and has offered $1 million to anyone who can rebut the evidence we now have proving we are eternal beings. After eight years, not one scientist, researcher, theologian, philosopher, or other professional who has examined the research has been able to, or even attempted to, rebut it. The evidence is simply incontrovertible.
Some of the vast library of research now available that proves the afterlife follows in this chapter.
Distinguished Scientists Become Convinced of the Reality of the Afterlife When They Study the Evidence.
A growing number of hard-nosed, skeptical scientists who have taken the time to study the afterlife and mediums seriously have become convinced of the reality of the afterlife from their encounters, often after they began their research with the goal of debunking mediums. A list of some of the scientists follows. There are, of course, many other scientists who have come to the same conclusion—this is just a small sampling of some of the most prominent. Most came to the study of mediums and the afterlife as skeptics. That makes the testimonies of their conclusions after extensive research especially credible.
Ron D. Pearson – British scientist, university lecturer and engineer in thermodynamics and fluid mechanics. Dr. Pearson wrote "Survival Physics," in which he asserts that survival of death is a natural fact of physics and that efforts to discredit evidence of survival after death are in error:
Since survival can be shown an essential and integral part of physics, the hope must be that the efforts still being made to discredit all evidence of survival will soon come to an end. This theory has achieved publication in Russian conference Proceedings65,66 of 1991 and 1993 respectively, and in the peer-reviewed scientific journal "Frontier Perspectives"67 in 1997. Furthermore Prof. Peter Wadhams, Professor of Ocean Physics at Cambridge University, supported the theory during a joint broadcast on the American Radio Shows in 2001.68
Dr. Jan Vandersande – Physicist, holder of three patents on thermoelectric materials, consultant to NASA, manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, professor at Cornell University, and President and CEO of Mountain Province Diamonds. After investigating materializations of those appearing from the afterlife for over eight years, he became convinced that the materializations are people from the afterlife and that the afterlife is a reality.69
Thomas Alva Edison – Inventor of the phonograph and electric light bulb, was a Spiritualist and experimented with mechanical means of contacting the dead.
Sir Joseph John Thompson – Discoverer of the electron, professor of experimental physics at Cambridge, and winner of the 1906 Nobel Prize in physics asserted that people continue to live after the body dies.
. . . he gave [Michael] Roll numerous monetary contributions from his own pocket, as well as a sizable grant from the Foundation, to help him spread the word of these exciting discoveries that verify the truth of ongoing life beyond the physical level.70
Sam Nicholls – Researcher into subatomic phenomena believes that people in the afterlife are composed of slightly different atomic components, and that they exist in and share the same space with people on the Earth plane.
Professor Augustus De Morgan – Considered one of the most brilliant mathematicians of the 19th Century, wrote about his own first-hand experiences with mediums:
I have seen in my house frequently, various [mediums]. . . . I am satisfied of the reality of the phenomenon. A great many other persons are as cognizant of these phenomena in their own houses as myself.71
Dr. Robert Hare – Emeritus professor of chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania and world-renowned inventor, set out to prove that the messages from the dead were either hallucinations or unconscious muscular actions on the part of those present. After extensive, critical study, he concluded,
I sincerely believe that I have communicated with the spirits of my parents, sister, brother, and dearest friends, and likewise with the spirits of the illustrious Washington and other worthies of the spirit world; that I am by them commissioned, under their auspices, to teach truth and to expose error.72
Professor James J. Mapes – A professor of chemistry and natural philosophy at the National Academy of Design in New York and later at the American Institute. After investigating many mediums in an effort to debunk them, Mapes changed his views. Afterward, both his wife and daughter became mediums. He concluded his study by writing,
The manifestations which are pertinent to the ends required are so conclusive in their character as to establish in my mind certain cardinal points. These are: First, there is a future state of existence, which is but a continuation of our present state of being. . . . Second, that the great aim of nature, as shown through a great variety of spiritual existences is progression, extending beyond the limits of this mundane sphere. . . . Third, that spirits can and do communicate with mortals, and in all cases evince a desire to elevate and advance those they commune with.73
Experience gradually made known many other varieties of the mediumistic faculty, and it was found that communication could be received through speech, hearing, sight, touch, etc., and even through direct writing of the spirits themselves – that is to say without the help of the medium’s hand or of the pencil.74
Dr. Alfred Russel Wallace – Co-originator with Charles Darwin of the natural selection theory of evolution, a naturalist who provided Darwin with his parallel theory, including the "survival of the fittest," before Darwin went public with their two theories. Wallace was a hard-core materialist until he began investigating mediums. He soon became one of the afterlife’s greatest proponents:
My position is that the phenomena of Spiritualism in their entirety do not require further confirmation. They are proved quite as well as facts are proved in other sciences.75
Sir William Crookes – Physicist and chemist who discovered the element thallium and was a pioneer in radioactivity. He invented the radiometer, the spinthariscope, and a high-vacuum tube that contributed to the discovery of the x-ray. Crookes set out to drive "the worthless residuum of spiritualism" into the "unknown limbo of magic and necromancy." However, after thorough investigations of mediums Daniel D. Home and Florence Cook, he changed his views:
[The phenomena] point to the existence of another order of human life continuous with this, and demonstrate the possibility in certain circumstances of communication between this world and the next.76
Sir William Barrett – Professor of physics at the Royal College of Science in Dublin for 37 years, who developed a silicon-iron alloy important to the development of the telephone and in construction of transformers. He was knighted in 1912 for his contributions to science. His study of the afterlife brought him to this conclusion:
I am personally convinced that the evidence we have published decidedly demonstrates (1) the existence of a spiritual world, (2) survival after death, and (3) of occasional communication from those who have passed over.77
Sir Oliver Lodge – Professor of physics at University College in Liverpool, England and later principal at the University of Birmingham, pioneer in electricity, the radio, and spark plug, knighted in 1902 for his contributions to science. He sat in on and studied extensively the séances of Leonora Piper and Gladys Osborne Leonard. He concluded,
I tell you with all my strength of the conviction which I can muster that we do persist, that people still continue to take an interest in what is going on, that they know far more about things on this earth than we do, and are able from time to time to communicate with us. . . . I do not say it is easy, but it is possible, and I have conversed with my friends just as I can converse with anyone in this audience now.78
Professor Camille Flammarion – A world-renowned astronomer, Flammarion founded the French Astronomical Society, was known for his study of Mars and was a pioneer in the use of balloons to study the stars. He investigated psychic phenomena, including mediumship, for more than 50 years and concluded,
I do not hesitate to affirm my conviction, based on personal examination of the subject, that any man who declares the phenomena to be impossible is one who speaks without knowing what he is talking about; and, also that any man accustomed to scientific observation – provided that his mind is not biased by preconceived opinions – may acquire a radical and absolute certainty of the reality of the facts alluded to.79
Dr. Charles Richet – Professor of physiology at the University of Paris Medical School, Richet was considered a world authority on nutrition in health and in disease. He won the Nobel Prize in 1913 for his work on allergic reactions. While convinced of the reality of mediumship, he remained publicly agnostic toward survival. According to Sir Oliver Lodge, his good friend, Richet accepted survival before his death. He wrote,
It seems to me the facts are undeniable. I am convinced that I have been present at realities [medium sessions]. Certainly I cannot say in what materialization consists. I am ready to maintain that there is something profoundly mysterious in it which will change from top to bottom our ideas on nature and on life.80
Dr. Robert Crookall – Lectured at Aberdeen University before joining the staff of the Geological Survey of Great Britain, specializing in coal-forming plants. His research into the afterlife was so compelling to him that he resigned from his geological work in 1952 to devote the rest of his life to psychical research. He wrote,
The whole of the available evidence is explicable on the hypothesis of the survival of the human soul in a Soul Body. There is no longer a "deadlock" or "stalemate" on the question of survival. On the contrary, survival is as well established as the theory of evolution.81
Dr. Raynor C. Johnson – A physicist, Johnson was educated at Oxford and received his doctorate from the University of London. He lectured in physics at King’s College, University of London, before becoming master of Queen’s College at the University of Melbourne in Australia. He studied survival in depth to judge whether it was true. He concluded,
For myself, I can only say that my intuition, such as it is, supports [Frederic] Myers, and my attempt to evaluate the data of psychical research and form a critical judgment leads me to conclude that if survival of death is not rigorously proven, it is nevertheless established as of that high order or probability which, for practical purposes, can be taken as the same thing.82
John Logie Baird – Inventor of the television and infra-red camera. Baird stated that he had contacted the deceased Thomas A. Edison through a medium. He confirmed the contact: "I have witnessed some very startling phenomena under circumstances which make trickery out of the question."83
Dr. George Meek – Scientist, inventor, designer and manufacturer of devices for air conditioning and treatment of waste water. Meek referred to himself as a "natural skeptic" who felt that the talk of an afterlife just didn’t make sense. To study the concept, he traveled the world interviewing top medical doctors, psychiatrists, physicists, biochemists, psychics, healers, parapsychologists, hypnotherapists, ministers, priests and rabbis. He concluded that people are immortal, and wrote his findings in his book After We Die What Then?84
Professor Archie Roy – Professor Emeritus of Astronomy in the University of Glasgow, Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Royal Astronomical Society, and the British Interplanetary Society, and head of the Advanced Scientific Institutes for NATO. After extensive study of psychic and medium activity, he wrote,
I myself have been interested in psychic phenomena for well over 30 years and what with my personal experiences and my study over the years, I am convinced now of the reality of such phenomena.85
Dr. A.P. Hale – A physicist and electronics engineer, conducted careful tests of electronic recordings of voices coming from the afterlife. He concluded: "In view of the tests carried out in a screened laboratory at my firm, I cannot explain what happened in normal physical terms."86
Sir Robert Mayer LL.D., D.Sc., Mus.D. – After studying electronic recordings of voices coming from the afterlife, he concluded, "If the experts are baffled, I consider this is a good enough reason for presenting the Voice Phenomena to the general public."87
Psychologists have learned about the afterlife through studying mediums and through after-death communication experiences with patients.
Dr. William James – Considered one of America’s foremost psychologists, Professor James wrote widely in psychology, philosophy, and religion while teaching at Harvard for 35 years. His Principles of Psychology (1890) became the seminal work in the field. His Varieties of Religious Experience is also a classic. After his investigations of the afterlife by sitting with medium Leonora Piper, he concluded,
One who takes part in a good sitting has usually a far livelier sense, both of the reality and of the importance of the communication, than one who merely reads the records. . . . I am able, while still holding to all the lower principles of interpretation, to imagine the process as more complex, and to share the feelings with which Hodgson came at last to regard it after his many years of familiarity, the feeling which Professor Hyslop shares, and which most of those who have good sittings are promptly inspired with.88
Dr. Allan Botkin – Dr. Botkin discovered, in 1995, that he could induce after-death communications (IADC™). He is very cautious about the interpretation of the source of the communication, but virtually all of his patients who have the after-death communication while sitting in his office are certain they have had communication with the deceased person for whom they are grieving. Now, over three dozen other psychologists are also inducing after-death communication in their offices. A list is included on the Web site dedicated to the therapy method. You can link to it from http://ebook.youreternalself.com/chapter2.htm. In the book he and I co-authored, he wrote these words:
I believe that if there is an afterlife, then IADCs™ are true spiritual experiences. I cannot imagine that if the afterlife is a reality, IADCs™, ADCs, and NDEs are hallucinatory aberrations produced by our brains that lead us into misunderstanding.89
Dr. Cesare Lombroso – Professor of psychology at the University of Turin and Inspector of Asylums for the Insane in Italy, Lombroso was a pioneering criminologist. He became known worldwide for his book, The Criminal Man.90 He began investigating psychic phenomena in 1891 and as a result of his study concluded,
I am ashamed and grieved at having opposed with so much tenacity the possibility of psychic facts – the facts exist and I boast of being a slave to facts. There can be no doubt that genuine psychical phenomena are produced by intelligences totally independent of the psychic and the parties present at the sittings.91
Dr. Bruce Greyson – Formerly a professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut, now Bonner-Lowry Professor of Personality Studies in the Department of Psychiatric Medicine at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, has been researching and conducting studies on near-death experiences for over 25 years, and has written an abundance of articles on the subject for leading science and medical journals, including Journal of Scientific Exploration, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Psychiatry. Dr. Greyson concluded that "the survival hypothesis is the most parsimonious explanation for the growing database of near-death experiences."92
Dr. Julian Ochorowicz – Professor of psychology and philosophy at the University of Warsaw, helped establish the Polish Psychological Institute in Warsaw and served as a director for the International Institute of Psychology in Paris. His study of the afterlife and mediums prompted him to conclude,
I found I had done a great wrong to men who had proclaimed new truths at the risk of their positions. When I remember that I branded as a fool that fearless investigator Crookes, the inventor of the radiometer, because he had the courage to assert the reality of psychic phenomena and to subject them to scientific tests, and when I also recollect that I used to read his articles thereon in the same stupid style, regarding him as crazy, I am ashamed, both of myself and others, and I cry from the very bottom of my heart. "Father, I have sinned against the Light."93
Baron (Dr.) Albert Von Schrenck-Notzing – A forensic psychiatrist and member of the German aristocracy, became interested in psychical research in 1889. He collaborated with Richet, Lombroso, Lodge, and others in many investigations for over 30 years. While he was reluctant, apparently out of scientific conservatism, to link valid mediumship with survival, he was nonetheless convinced of the reality of mediumship.
Finally, in the case of many phenomena, the nature and evanescence of their appearance, their flowing, changing and fantastic shapes and their mode of development until they reached their final form, argues against any possibility of a fraudulent production of them– even if one would assume that one of those present would have tried to deceive his fellow observers.94
One hundred well known scientists, all profoundly skeptical, and some openly hostile, declared themselves, without exception, completely convinced after having worked under the direction of Dr. Schrenck‑Notzing with his medium Willy Schneider.95
Dr. Carl A. Wickland – A member of the Chicago Medical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and director of the National Psychological Institute of Los Angeles, specialized in cases of schizophrenia, paranoia, depression, addiction, manic-depression, criminal behavior and phobias of all kinds. His wife, Anna Wickland, was a trance medium, and his direct experiences led him to conclude that spirits on the next planes of life communicate with and affect people on the Earth plane.96
Dr. Gardner Murphy – While at Harvard, Murphy accepted the Hodgson Memorial Fund research grant. He served as president of the American Society for Psychical Research for 20 years. He taught psychology at Columbia University and served as chairman of the psychology department at City College of New York. After studying the records of medium sessions, he wrote,
It is the autonomy, the purposiveness, the cogency, above all the individuality, of the sources of the messages, that cannot be by-passed. Struggle though I may as a psychologist, for forty-five years, to try to find a "naturalistic" and "normal" way of handling this material, I cannot do this even when using all the information we have about human chicanery and all we have about the far-flung telepathic and clairvoyant abilities of some gifted sensitives. The case looks like communication with the deceased.97
Dr. Gary Schwartz – After receiving his doctorate from Harvard University, Dr. Schwartz served as a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Yale University. He then became director of the University of Arizona’s Human Energy Systems Laboratory, where he conducted extensive research with mediums. His book, The Afterlife Experiments,98 published in 2002 detailed these experiments. He concluded,
I can no longer ignore the data [on research into the survival of consciousness] and dismiss the words [coming through mediums]. They are as real as the sun, the trees, and our television sets, which seem to pull pictures out of the air.99
Dr. Jon Klimo – Professor of graduate-level psychology for more than 30 years, most recently at the American School of Professional Psychology, Argosy University. He has done extensive research, writing, teaching, and presentations in psychology, parapsychology, consciousness studies, new paradigm thought, metaphysics and the transpersonal domain. He concluded,
I personally choose to believe that we do meaningfully survive death and can communicate back through mediums and channels . . .100
Dr. David Fontana – Professor of transpersonal psychology in Great Britain, a past president of the Society for Psychical Research and a fellow of the British Psychological Society. He has done extensive survival research and is the author of many books, including Is There an Afterlife?101 published in 2002. He wrote,
Ultimately our acceptance of the reality of survival may not come solely from the evidence but from personal experience and from some inner intuitive certainty about our real nature. We are who we are, and at some deep level within ourselves we may be the answer to our own questions. If your answer is that you are more than a biological accident whose ultimately meaningless life is bounded by the cradle and the grave, then I have to say I agree with you.102
Dr. Brendan – Director of the Institute of Psychology Dublin. After investigating electronic voice recordings of deceased speaking to the living, he concluded,
I have apparently succeeded in reproducing the phenomena. Voices have appeared on a tape which did not come from any known source.103
What happens after death is so unspeakably glorious, that our imagination and feelings do not suffice to form even an approximate conception of it. The dissolution of our time-bound form in eternity, brings no loss of meaning.104
Professors of the Humanities Researching the Afterlife Become Convinced of It.
The same conclusion the physicians and scientists willing to study the afterlife and mediums come to has been voiced by professors of the humanities. A small number of the many who changed their views after examining the evidence follows.
Frederic W. H. Myers, Esq. (1843-1901) – Graduate of Cambridge and lecturer in classical literature while inspector of schools at Cambridge. Myers developed a theory of the subliminal self. Professor Theordor Flournoy wrote that Myers completes the triad of geniuses who most profoundly revolutionized scientific thought, with Copernicus and Darwin as the other two. After studying mediums and the afterlife, he concluded:
I will here briefly state what facts they are which our recorded apparitions, intimations, messages of the departing and the departed, have, to my mind actually proved: a) In the first place, they prove survival pure and simple; the persistence of the spirit’s life as a structural law of the universe; the inalienable heritage of each several soul; b) . . . they prove that between the spiritual and the material worlds an avenue of communication does in fact exist; that which we call the dispatch and the receipt of telepathic messages, or the utterance and the answer of prayer and supplication; c) . . . they prove that the surviving spirit retains, at least in some measure, the memories and the loves of earth."105
Dr. Richard Hodgson – After earning his M.A. and LL.D at the University of Melbourne, Hodgson taught poetry and philosophy at University Extension, then the philosophy of Herbert Spenser at Cambridge. He and William James decided to witness a number of séances to, as he wrote, "discover fraud and trickery." After hundreds of sittings with medium Leonora Piper over 18 years, he concluded,
Frankly, I went to Mrs. Piper with Professor James of Harvard University about twelve years ago with the object of unmasking her. . . . I entered the house profoundly materialistic, not believing in the continuance of life after death; today I say I believe. The truth has been given to me in such a way as to remove from me the possibility of a doubt.106
Dr. James H. Hyslop – After receiving his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1887 and his LL.D. from University of Wooster, Hyslop taught philosophy at Lake Forest University, Smith College, and Bucknell University before joining the faculty of Columbia in 1895. He authored three textbooks (Elements of Logic (1892), Elements of Ethics (1895), and Problems of Philosophy (1905)) before becoming a full-time psychical researcher. His research brought him to conclude,
Personally, I regard the fact of survival after death as scientifically proved. I agree that this opinion is not upheld in scientific quarters. But this is neither our fault nor the fault of the facts. Evolution was not believed until long after it was proved. The fault lay with those who were too ignorant or too stubborn to accept the facts. History shows that every intelligent man who has gone into this investigation, if he gave it adequate examination at all, has come out believing in spirits; this circumstance places the burden or proof on the shoulders of the skeptic. 107
Dr. Hamlin Garland – A Pulitizer Prize-winning author of 52 books, Garland was intimately involved with major literary, social, and artistic movements in American culture. In his book, Forty Years of Psychic Research, Garland states that he was an agnostic and student of Darwin and Herbert Spenser when he began his investigation of mediums:
I concede the possibility of their [spirits'] persistence, especially when their voices carry, movingly, characteristic tones and their messages are startlingly intimate. At such times, they seem souls of the dead veritably reimbodied. They jest with me about their occupations. They laugh at my doubts, quite in character. They touch me with their hands. 108
Maurice Maeterlinck, Esq. – Winner of the 1911 Nobel Prize in literature, Maeterlinck, a Belgian, was primarily a poet, author, and playwright, but he was also a psychical researcher. Based on his research, he concluded,
Of all the explanations conceivable, that one which attributes everything to imposture and trickery is unquestionably the most extraordinary and the least probable. 109
Professor William R. Newbold – Professor of philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania when he was appointed to the advisory council of the American Society for Psychical Research, Newbold had numerous sittings with medium Leonora Piper.
Until within very recent years, the scientific world has tacitly rejected a large number of important philosophical conceptions on the ground that there is absolutely no evidence in their favor whatever. Among those popular conceptions are those of the essential independence of the mind and the body, of the existence of a supersensible world, and of the possibility of occasional communication between that world and this. We have here [in Mrs. Piper], as it seems to me, evidence that is worthy of consideration for all these points. 110
Dr. C. J. Ducasse – The French-born American philosopher came to the United Stated as a teenager and eventually became chairman of the Department of Philosophy at Brown University. He had many sittings with mediums and lectured extensively on psychical research. He concluded,
Some of the facts we have considered suggest that the belief in life after death, which so many persons have found no particular difficulty in accepting as an article in religious faith, may well be capable of empirical proof. That the occurrence of paranormal phenomena does appear to have such implications, is, I submit, sufficient reason to give them far more attention and study than they have commonly received in the past. 111
Dr. Hornell Hart – Professor of Sociology at Duke University and author of several important books on social and psychological problems reviewed the literature on the afterlife and concluded,
Human personality does survive bodily death. That is the outcome which I find emerging when the strongest anti-survivalist arguments and the strongest rebuttals are considered thoroughly, with passionate open-mindedness.112
Colin Brookes-Smith – British engineer who joined a group to study the afterlife and psychic phenomena. As a result of his experiences, he stated in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research that survival should be regarded as a sufficiently well-established fact to be beyond denial by any reasonable person. He described it as "a momentous scientific conclusion of prime importance to mankind."113
Arthur Balfour – British Prime Minister (1902-1905), Secretary of State, and author of A Defence of Philosophic Doubt.114 Balfour studied the afterlife and mediums and felt sufficiently convinced to write elaborately about them in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research.
Attorneys who review the evidence for the afterlife are convinced of its reality.
Edward C. Randall, Esq. – A prominent Buffalo, New York, trial lawyer who served on the board of directors of a number of large corporations, Randall began studying the direct-voice mediumship of Emily S. French. He had more than 700 sittings with French over 22 years. He wrote,
Hundreds, yea thousands [of spirits], have come and talked with me, and to many whom I have invited to participate in the work – thousands of different voices with different tones, different thoughts, different personalities, no two alike; and at times in different languages. 115
Victor James Zammit, B.A.(Psych.), Grad. Dip.Ed.(UTS), M.A. (Legal Hist.), LL.B.(UNSW), Ph.D. – Retired lawyer of the Supreme Court of the New South Wales and the High Court of Australia. After examining the evidence for the afterlife, he wrote,
After many years of serious investigation, I have come to the irretrievable conclusion that there is a great body of evidence which, taken as a whole, absolutely and unqualifiedly proves the case for the afterlife. . . . I am stating that the evidence taken as a whole constitutes overwhelming and irrefutable proof for the existence of the afterlife.116
Judge John Worth Edmonds – Circuit judge, state Supreme Court judge, member of the New York assembly, and colonel in the militia. Confused about death and the afterlife, and with no confidence in either the church or mediums, he launched an investigation into the activities of mediums. He visited a variety of mediums and evaluated their sessions using various devices. As a result of his investigation, he wrote this about the voices he heard in medium sessions:
After depending upon my senses, as to these various phases of the phenomenon, I invoked the aid of science, and, with the assistance of an accomplished electrician and his machinery, and eight or ten intelligent, educated, shrewd persons, examined the matter. We pursued our inquiries many days, and established to our satisfaction two things: first, that the sounds were not produced by the agency of any person present or near us; and, second, that they were not forthcoming at our will and pleasure.117
Edward C. Randall – Distinguished lawyer and businessman from Dunkirk and Buffalo, New York. He was one of the leading industrialists, CEO of various companies, and president of a number of corporations. He began as an open-minded skeptic, but after investigating the afterlife, came to accept the evidence. He heard, first hand, incredible voices that came in the presence of direct voice and materialization medium, Emily French. He and his wife spent twenty- two years recording sittings with her and he became a major writer on the afterlife.118
Judge Dean Shuart – Prominent judge from Rochester, New York. He attended the same circles Edward C. Randall did, conducted a variety of "exacting experiments," and became equally convinced of their reality and validity.119
Dr. Aubrey Rose OBE, CBE – Leading British Human Rights lawyer. After empirically investigating transmissions made by one of his colleagues through direct voice medium, Leslie Flint, he stated that without doubt the voice came from the afterlife, and was that of Judge Lord Birkett, who had crossed over some time before.120
Clergy Become Convinced of the Nature of the Afterlife Described by Mediums, not a Distant Heavenly Realm
Members of the clergy have an especially difficult time in voicing their convictions about the afterlife described by mediums because of the narrow views of most religions. However, those who do study the imminent afterlife become convinced of its reality as the mediums describe it, not as religion teaches it.
Dr. Isaac K. Funk – After serving 11 years as a Lutheran minister, Funk turned to editorial work and co-founded the publishing firm of Funk and Wagnalls. He was the editor-in-chief of the Standard Dictionary of the English Language. After hearing a report from a physician who had had an out-of-body experience, Funk wrote,
I have the absolute assurance that when the something we call death comes, it will only mean a new and larger and more complete life. I do not expect to convince any one of the truth as I see it merely by making those statements, because I have the feeling that one must realize these things for himself; but when once such realization comes, there is thereafter no power on earth that can disturb it."121
The Rev. Charles Drayton Thomas – A graduate of Richmond Theological College, Thomas was a Methodist minister who served on the Council of the Society for Psychical Research in London for 19 years. Beginning in 1917, he had more than 500 sittings with Gladys Osborne Leonard, probably England’s most famous medium.
Perhaps it will be asked what benefit may be expected from a general acceptance of this evidence for survival. I think it will do for others what it has done for me. It has supplemented and reinforced my faith, both in times of bereavement and in the prospect of old age and death. Also, it has further emphasized the value of personal religion.122
Father Pere Francois Brune – Catholic priest, member of the Catholic Institute in Paris and Biblical Institute in Rome , theologian, and professor in a number of leading seminaries, wrote that the Catholic Church’s attitude about communication from the afterlife is changing:
I believe that, as several of these messages assure us, we in fact are never alone. Some deceased, once they have arrived in the Beyond, appear to have the wish of continuing their life through us, and come to sponge on us. 123
In another statement, Brune wrote this about the changing position of the church on the afterlife:
We do not have to do with an official change of the Church’s position. But it is in fact an evolution that without any doubt is due to the realization that the phenomena exist, and that they – how complex they ever may be – indeed correspond very often to an authentic communication with our dead.124
Dr. Peter Bander – Senior lecturer in religious and moral education at the Cambridge Institute of Education. Bander is a psychologist and Christian theologian. He began his investigation of the afterlife stating clearly that it was impossible for people who are dead to communicate with the living, that it was not only far-fetched, but outrageous to even think about it.125 However, after participating in a study of electronic voice production (EVP), he concluded: "I noticed the peculiar rhythm mentioned by Raudive and his colleagues. . . . I heard a voice. . . . I believed this to have been the voice of my mother who had died three years earlier."126
Bander conducted more experiments and came to believe that the deceased communicate with the living through electronic voice devices.
A Church of England Committee Studying Mediums Concluded They Speak with Those in the Afterlife.
A committee of the Church of England studied mediumship records for two years, analyzing a great volume of the evidence on mediumship to investigate Spiritualism because it was so popular in England at the time. Its investigations included sitting with some of the leading mediums in England. At the end of that thorough investigation, seven of the ten members of the Committee—against enormous pressure—came to this conclusion: "The hypothesis that they (spirit communications) proceed in some cases from discarnate spirits is the true one."127
Dr. Hereward Carrington – After moving to the U.S. from Great Britain in 1899, Carrington served as assistant to Dr. James H. Hyslop at the Society for Psychical Research. His first of many books on psychical phenomena was published in 1907 and explained the fraudulent practices of physical mediums. However, Carrington came away from his investigation of Eusapia Palladino convinced of the reality of some of the phenomena. He wrote,
I myself have observed materializations under perfect conditions of control, and have had the temporary hand melt within my own, as I held it firmly grasped. This hand was a perfectly formed physiological structure, warm, lifelike, and having all the attributes of the human hand – yet both the medium’s hands were securely held by two controllers, and visible in the red light. Let me repeat, this hand was not pulled away, but somehow melted in my grasp as I held it.128
Dr. Harry Price – Debunker of fraudulent mediums, he came to believe in genuine psychic phenomena and founded the National Laboratory of Psychical Research, later the University of London Council for Psychical Research. About his research, he wrote,
The fact that I have devoted many years of my life to experimentation; have studied thousands of reports dealing with the subject; have traveled thousands of miles all over Europe for obtaining first-hand experience of "phenomena"; and have spent a fortune in seeking the truth or otherwise of psychic manifestations, must surely entitle me to a sympathetic hearing. And if I were not convinced of these things, I would not waste another moment of my time or penny of my money in further research. . . . The greatest skeptic concerning paranormal phenomena is invariably the man who knows the least about them.129
The mental mediums, those who receive messages from individuals on the next plane of life and convey them to people in readings, provide accurate details about people’s lives. They convey them from living people on the other side, who communicate as though they were speaking through a translator. The messages mediums receive are not from a psychic knowledge about people—they are from living people who are residents of the afterlife. The conversations are animated, with questions and responses, notations about things going on in people’s lives, and even humor. The mediums and those communicating through them both assert that the living person is there communicating. Psychics don’t claim that the living person is speaking during a standard reading, and if the person does come through, there is a change and clear impression such as "She’s telling me . . ."
Dr. Robert Crookall, B.Sc. (psychology), D.Sc., Ph.D., principal geologist with the Geological Survey of Great Britain, resigned from his geological work in 1952 to devote his life to psychical research. During the next nine years, he collected and analyzed medium communications from every country he could, including Brazil, England, South Africa, Tibet, Europe, India, Australia, and the Hawaiian Islands. He found that in all countries, among all cultures, people described the same characteristic accounts of out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, and communications with the deceased through mediums. He concluded that his findings were strong evidence for the existence of an afterlife because an intellectually consistent set of statements came from many independent sources.
In 1961, Crookall wrote The Supreme Adventure: Analyses of Psychic Communications130 describing the findings of his research. His descriptions of the afterlife that came from his many sources are identical to the descriptions of the afterlife that have come from direct-voice mediums before his research and since.
In an effort to run a controlled experiment to determine whether mediums do receive accurate information from the deceased, Gary Schwartz, Linda Russek, and Christopher Barentsen conducted a study for the Human Energy Systems Laboratory at the University of Arizona testing three talented mediums: Laurie Campbell, John Edward, and Suzane Northrop.131
The study did reveal that the mediums identified details about the deceased loved ones at a rate much higher than chance, leading the researchers to conclude that "The findings appear to confirm the hypothesis that information and energy, and potentially consciousness itself, can continue after physical death." However, the statistics don’t adequately show the remarkable accuracy of the mediums and the personal nature of the communications with a deceased loved one. For example, in that study, one medium, John Edward, reported that he was receiving information from a deceased grandmother for one of the people being read. He reported that the grandmother brought daisies to the person’s mother’s wedding, the grandmother had a large black poodle and large white poodle, and the white poodle tore up the house. Those and other details were perfectly accurate. John Edward had 70 percent perfect hit scores for that person.
But when the next person came in for John Edward to read, he received a zero hit score because the grandmother of the previous person persisted in coming through and he couldn’t read for the next person. He kept hearing the songs On the Good Ship Lollipop and Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
After the zero hit reading was over, the experimenter took the person being read back to the waiting room and there was the woman whose grandmother kept coming through to John Edward, still waiting for the next medium. The experimenter asked her whether she knew anything about On the Good Ship Lollipop or Sabrina the Teenage Witch. She emotionally told the experimenter that she had curly brown hair as a child and sang and danced Shirley Temple songs with her grandmother; one of the songs was On the Good Ship Lollipop. Also, her name was Sabrina and when she was a teenager, some children teased her about being "Sabrina-the Teenage Witch" and she went to her grandmother for solace. John Edward knew nothing about the girl, including her name or gender.
A Second Study Also Concluded that Mediums Are Able to Identify Details About the Deceased in Readings.
A second study was performed by Gary Schwartz with three other researchers from the University of Arizona Human Energy Systems Laboratory for a video-recorded HBO documentary on the afterlife. The study used five well-known mediums: George Anderson, John Edward, Anne Gehman, Suzane Northrop, and Laurie Campbell.132
In this study, two people were subjects for the medium sessions, one of whom had experienced six significant deaths over the previous ten years. Before the readings, each person wrote descriptions of the people who had died to provide objective data that could be compared to the mediums’ readings. The mediums had no knowledge of the two people. Each subject sat behind a screen so the subject couldn’t be seen by the medium giving a reading. The person was able to give only “yes” and “no” answers. Two video cameras recorded the sessions and verbatim scripts were made.
The result was that the mediums’ average accuracy score was 83 percent for subject one and 77 percent for subject two. To test whether guessing could achieve the same results by chance, 68 control people were asked to guess details about the deceased loved ones of the two subjects. Their scores averaged 36 percent hits by chance. In other words, the accuracy of the mediums’ details was far beyond chance guesses.
In the Miraval silent-sitter experiment, the mediums were Suzane Northrop, John Edward, Anne Gehman, and Laurie Campbell. 133 There were ten subjects. The study involved two parts for each reading with each subject. The first was a “silent” part in which the medium described details about the deceased without receiving any responses from the subject. In the second part, the medium was able to receive “yes” and “no” answers from the subject.
In this study, the mediums’ accuracy score was 77 percent during the silent period and 85 percent during the “yes” and “no” questioning period, showing again that the mediums were far more accurate than would be expected by chance (based on the 36 percent accuracy rating in the previous study’s control group).
More Stringent Studies at the University of Arizona Yielded the Same Results.
Gary Schwartz, Ph.D., and Julie Beischel, Ph.D., of the University of Arizona performed another study134 under even more stringent, triple-blind conditions with more mediums. It is apparent that the mediums are learning information about the deceased, but the question arises whether the medium is just using telepathy or clairvoyance to learn information from the person being read rather than really hearing from the deceased. This study added a condition to eliminate that possibility. In this later study, the subjects weren’t present for the reading. Another person sat in as a "proxy sitter." The readings were conducted by phone to eliminate even the presence of the proxy sitter with the medium. Eight mediums were involved to increase the validity of the data.
Transcripts of the readings were made and the subjects, whose deceased loved ones were to come through, rated the readings on a scale of 0 to 6, with 0 being no accuracy and 6 being perfect accuracy on all details. They were given transcripts of both readings intended for them and readings intended for other subjects, without knowing which was which, to see whether they would score the reading intended for them as being more accurate than a random reading for some other person.
The result was that the average summary rating for the readings actually intended for the subject was 3.56 on the 6-point scale. The average summary ratings for the readings not intended for the person (that were actually readings for someone else) was 1.94. For three of the best-performing mediums, the summary scores were in the range of 5.0 to 5.5 out of 6, meaning they were dramatically accurate.
In other words, the study showed that mediums in controlled conditions that included not even speaking on the phone with the person being read resulted in communication with the deceased.
A list of recommended, legitimate mediums, some of whom do phone readings, is at http://ebook.youreternalself.com/chapter2.htm.
The fact that mediums receive information from those who have crossed over to the other side was acknowledged by British government officials startled by the truth of the information.
Helen Duncan was a Scottish medium in the twentieth century who gave hundreds of séances, with those attending describing them with superlatives such as "astonishing." In January 1944, while World War II was raging, Helen Duncan held a séance at 3:30 p.m. one afternoon in Edinburgh, Scotland. Brigadier Firebrace, who was the Chief of Security in Scotland, happened to be at the séance. During the séance, Duncan, in a mediumistic trance, reported that the British ship HMS Hood had been sunk that day in the North Atlantic. No one, of course, could have known that at the time. Immediate announcements of calamities in televised newscasts didn’t exist and there was great secrecy about military movements and events during wartime.
When Firebrace returned to his office that afternoon, he called the British Admiralty saying he had heard a rumor that the HMS Hood had been sunk, asking whether that was true. The British Admiralty denied that the HMS Hood had been sunk, possibly not even knowing it themselves. However, later that day, as Firebrace was leaving his office, he received a telephone call from the Admiralty confirming the sinking occurred at 1:30 p.m., just two hours before the séance.
The astonishing revelation worried the British Admiralty. They could find no explanation for it. Then six months later, at another séance, a young man materialized saying he had been severely burned and died in the sinking of another British warship, the HMS Barham. The editor of Psychic News, Maurice Barbanell, was at the séance. He called the British Admiralty after the séance, asking why information about the loss of the HMS Barham had not been divulged to the parents and families of those who had perished. The British Admiralty admitted that, in fact, the HMS Barham had been sunk, but that they had kept it secret because they feared that its loss would have had a serious impact on public morale.
After the two uncanny revelations of information she couldn’t have known, the alarmed British Admiralty had Duncan arrested and charged with witchcraft under a law dating to 1735. She was imprisoned for nine months. Prime Minister Winston Churchill was outraged, calling the conviction "tomfoolery." The ancient law against witchcraft was not repealed until 1951. In spite of an effort in 1998 to have her posthumously pardoned, the British government refused to pardon her—implying the British government still maintained that Helen Duncan had been performing witchcraft.
[At her trial], some forty-one witnesses with the highest credibility, including a Royal Air Force Wing Commander, stated in court on oath that Helen Duncan was a genuine materialization medium, explaining in detail their psychic experiences with her. . . . Not one of [these] defense witnesses was "broken" in cross examination.135
The alarm of the British Admiralty, their acknowledgement that she couldn’t have gotten her information from any Earthly source since there was no way it could have been communicated that quickly or within that level of secrecy, and the fact that they had to convict her using a 1735 law against witchcraft, not for receiving information from the enemy or another source, demonstrated that they knew she had received the communication from the deceased who had been on the ships that had sunk. They had to silence her until the war was over. The British government, in fact, provided official acknowledgement that Helen Duncan was communicating with the spirits of people who had passed away.136
Medium Readings Have Revealed Information that Could Not Be Known by the Person Being Read.
It is very common for medium readings to include information unknown to the observers or the person being read. The information is later verified to be true, showing that the medium is receiving information about the deceased and it is not coming from reading the living people's minds.
In one account, an extended chess game was played by a living grand master (Viktor Korchnoi) and a deceased chess master (Maroczy) through medium Robert Rollans. At one point, the researcher decided to ask the deceased Maroczy about a detail he had researched to verify that it really was the deceased chess master coming through. He found an article stating that Maroczy had played a match against a player listed as Romi in 1930. With that information, at the next séance, the researcher asked Maroczy through the medium whether he had defeated an Italian named Romi in a match. Maroczy replied that he didn’t recognize that name, but he did defeat a man named Romih spelled with an "h" on the end of the name. The researcher delved further and found an actual program from the match. The name was, in fact, Romih, not Romi.137
Family Members Have Verified that Medium Readings are Genuine Conversations with the Deceased Loved One.
In the thousands of séances that are on record between a living person and a deceased loved one with a genuine, verified medium, the living person is always adamant that the person with whom he or she communicated was the deceased. Three of the hundreds of thousands of examples on record today will serve as illustrations.
A deceased young man who gave his name as Peter William Handford Kite came through at a Leslie Flint séance asking that his parents be contacted at an address he gave and invited to come to a séance. The parents were contacted and did come to a second séance at which their son came through and spoke for nearly forty minutes. The parents confirmed that it was Peter’s own voice. During the séance, he told them many facts that his parents confirmed to be true, such as the following:
· He had made a joke before he died about buying an Alsatian.
· His mother had put a photograph of him and photographs of his grave in Norway in her bag that morning.
· He liked the cherry tree in the memorial garden they had planted for him.
· His bedroom had not been changed in the six years since he died.
· He had not liked the wallpaper in his bedroom.
· His father was still driving his car although it was a too small for him.
The young man's parents both affirmed emphatically that they had a conversation with their son.138
A young man named David Cattanach, who died at age 18, made many visits to the Leslie Flint séances over a period of 10 years, speaking with his mother at several of them. Gordon Smith, who knew the mother personally, wrote this about her and the séances:
I know her personally and she is someone I would describe as very astute, someone who would not easily be fooled, especially when it came to her son, and she had no doubts that she was hearing his voice.139
A man named Michael Fearon, killed during WWII, was also a frequent visitor to the Leslie Flint séances, at which he often spoke with his mother. You can hear the conversation between him and his mother at http://ebook.youreternalself.com/chapter2.htm. The British Broadcasting Corporation arranged a broadcast during which they played a tape of a séance in which Mrs. Fearon was speaking to her son. After the tape played, the moderator asked her, “Mrs. Fearon, as Mike’s mother, what makes you so sure that it’s your son’s voice that you hear?” She answered, “Well, Mike was twenty-seven when he died and I’d been with him all that time . . . and I ought to know at the end of that, oughtn’t I?”140
Since the nineteenth century, when mediums could hold séances without fear of retribution, a number of capable mediums have held thousands of séances. The most talented attracted the most attention, of course, and as a result were the most tested by skeptics and debunkers. That offers us a vast storehouse of records of rigorous, repeated testing and testimonies by credible witnesses, many of whom were avowed skeptics before the testing. There have been frauds, just as there have been fraudulent doctors, counselors, police officers, and stock brokers. As Allen Spraggett wrote,
Many people judge this aspect of Spiritualism [physical
However, the fraudulent mediums were winnowed from the genuine, and the result is a list of highly talented mediums who were found to be speaking to the eternal selves no longer using bodies.
Following are brief summaries of a small number of mediums’ accomplishments and results of their testing by credible witnesses, including government officials, scientists, and royalty. Enough is included, with citations, to demonstrate that they communicated with eternal selves living on the next plane of life and that rigorous, repeated testing found no fraud or deception in their activities. The people they were communicating with are alive, just not using bodies.
For over forty years Gladys Osborne Leonard’s mediumship was studied exhaustively by members of the Society for Psychical Research. The tests always confirmed that her communication was with the deceased. In none of the many tests was there a hint of fraud.
The Rev. Charles Drayton Thomas, a Wesleyan minister, and member of the British Society for Psychical Research (SPR) sat with her over 100 times to test her abilities. Thomas’ own father came through and offered to assist in the tests. Drayton Thomas had an extensive library. The deceased father told the son, through Mrs. Leonard, to go to the lowest shelf in his library and take the sixth book from the left. On page 149, three-quarters down, he would find a word conveying the meaning of falling back or stumbling. When Drayton Thomas went home, he located the book, found page 149, and looked at the words three-quarters down. There, he found the words, ". . . to whom a crucified Messiah was an insuperable stumbling-block."
Over a period of 18 months' experimentation, the deceased father was able to pick up more and more words and numbers even more accurately, both in his own library and in a friend’s library. The words were all verified.
They decided to try having Drayton Thomas’ deceased father provide information from newspapers and magazines not yet printed. On January 16, 1920, the junior Thomas was told to examine the Daily Telegraph the following day and to notice that near the top of the second column of the first page the name of the place Thomas was born,Victoria Terrace on Victoria Street in Tuanton. When Thomas checked the paper the following day, he found the word "Victoria" exactly where his father said it would be.
Mrs. Leonard was able to satisfy every test she was subjected to, and the researchers were convinced she was indeed speaking with the living individuals who were simply not using a body anymore.142
Leonara Piper was a nineteenth century medium who was also tested repeatedly by a wide range of skeptical observers. The Society for Psychical Research conducted several thousand sittings over two decades with carefully controlled environments to preclude fraud. The sittings were remarkably accurate and those who knew the deceased acknowledged that the contacts were with their loved ones, based on the unmistakable content and detail.
Piper was studied repeatedly by Richard Hodgson, one of the leading members of the Society for Psychical Research. He started out as a skeptic determined to expose Piper as a fraud. In the end, he had no doubts that she was speaking to eternal selves living on the next plane of life. His report is 300 pages long, with detailed descriptions of the controls he used to prevent fraud. Leonora Piper was never caught in trickery and her achievements were described as "baffling."143
One of the many case studies of her remarkable mediumship follows. It was experienced and recorded144 by Hodgson.
George Pelham, a lawyer and acquaintance of Hodgson, died in an accidental fall at age 32. Pelham had followed Hodgson’s work with Piper and was skeptical about a future life, calling it inconceivable. But he told Hodgson that if he died, he would try to contact Hodgson. Five weeks after his death, Piper sat in a séance with John Hart, a close friend of Pelham, and Hodgson. She announced that George Pelham was there to speak.
The spirit of George Pelham provided a long list of details about himself, his early life, his friends, and his family that could be researched and verified to prove he was indeed George Pelham, still alive on the other side of life. For example, when Pelham had died, his father had sent his friend John Hart (who was sitting in this séance), some shirt studs of Pelham's to keep as a memento. Hart happened to be wearing the studs that evening and Pelham, through the medium, identified the studs Hart was wearing as formerly his. He also told Hart how his mother had chosen the studs and how Pelham’s father delivered them to Hart.145
In another sitting, Pelham told Hodgson he had seen his (Pelham's) father take a photograph of the deceased Pelham to an artist to have it copied. After the séance, Hodgson contacted Pelham’s mother to see whether that had been true. She said that, in fact, Pelham’s father had taken a photograph to an artist to be copied.146
Schmicker explains what happened as a result:
Pelham’s father eventually wrote to Hodgson, "The letters you have written to my wife giving such extraordinary evidence of the intelligence exercised by George in some incomprehensible manner over the actions of his friends on earth have given food for constant reflection and wonder. (My) preconceived notions about the future state have received a severe shock."147
In another sitting with family members who verified that the communication was with their real loved one, still living in the afterlife, Mrs. Piper was asked by the Reverend and Mrs. S.W. Sutton if she could communicate with their recently deceased little girl. The account of the séance is now in the archives of the Society for Psychical Research. This is Victor Zammit’s record of what happened:
Mrs. Piper was able to establish contact between the Suttons and their very much-loved little girl from the afterlife. The information left no doubt whatsoever that the little girl was actually communicating from the afterlife with her mother and father still living on the earthplane.
She confirmed that she used to bite buttons. She identified her Uncle Frank and a friend who had died with a tumor and made reference to her brother by his pet name. She made reference to her sore throat and paralyzed tongue and that her head used to get hot before her death. She referred to Dinah her doll, to her sister Maggie, and to her little toy horse. She also sang two songs, the same songs she had sung immediately before she died. The Suttons had no doubt that they had made contact with their little girl and were especially happy when she reassured them: "I am happy . . . cry for me no more."148
Dr. James Hyslop, a professor of logic and ethics at Columbia University, initially a skeptic, was converted to accepting the afterlife after he studied Mrs. Piper, who repeatedly produced high quality evidence for the afterlife. In Life After Death149 he wrote,
I regard the existence of discarnate spirits as scientifically proved and I no longer refer to the skeptic as having any right to speak on the subject. Any man who does not accept the existence of discarnate spirits and the proof of it is either ignorant or a moral coward. I give him short shrift, and do not propose any longer to argue with him on the supposition that he knows anything about the subject.150
Eugene Osty, MD, was the director of the Metaphysic Institute in Paris. Intent on understanding the remarkable abilities of a young medium, Rudi Schneider, he set up controlled conditions and was able to produce genuine physical phenomena without fraud. During Schneider’s séances, people on the next plane of life would move objects placed on tables while the room was dark. Osty tested Schneider by placing objects on a table to have Rudi Schneider’s spirits move them and setting up a sophisticated arrangement of infra-red rays and cameras to "catch" any human that touched objects during the séance. This is how Hereward Carrington, a British spiritualist and investigator of psychic phenomena, described the experiment:
Dr Osty placed the objects to be moved upon a small table. Across the top of the table he passed a beam of infra-red rays. These were, of course, invisible to the eyes of those present, but the apparatus was so designed that if any solid object was interposed in the path of the rays, cutting off as much as thirty per cent of them, a battery of cameras would be exposed, flashlights ignited and the pictures taken of the tabletop at that moment. This would happen if any material thing tried to move the objects — say a human hand. A series of photos would at once reveal the fraud.
In the sittings that ensued objects were moved on numerous occasions, flashes were set off, and the plates developed. What did they show? Nothing — that is, nothing abnormal. They just showed the table top. But something had nevertheless been moving about over the table because the beam of infra-red rays had been interfered with and the objects had been displaced.151
Osty also set up controlled conditions to see whether the researchers could detect changes in the atmosphere that would show that some entity was present. This is Carrington’s description of the experiment:
The second stage was to locate and identify the presence of the intelligence. To do this the experimenter devised an apparatus, a galvanometer, by means of which it would be possible to register the oscillation or the vibration rate of the intelligence once the experiment commenced. As soon as the experiment commenced, the intelligence began to move things around indicating that he was present; then something quite spectacular happened — the galvanometer began to register the "pulsation" of the invisible intelligence. As Carrington states: "It was somewhat like taking the pulse of an invisible being standing before them in space!"152
Eileen Garrett was a medium who held séances in the early twentieth century. One séance was interrupted by a man who identified himself as Flight Lieutenant H.C. Irwin of the Airship R101. Those at the séance later learned that Airship R101 had crashed three days before, but the government had not revealed it to anyone yet.
During the séance, the deceased Irwin described the airship’s destruction in great detail. The account was presented to the Air Ministry Intelligence, who were startled and impressed at the accuracy and the details they had not known that were revealed in the séance. They were sufficiently convinced of the authenticity of the source that Major Oliver Villiers, of the Air Ministry Intelligence, arranged seven additional séances with Garrett to hear the deceased Irwin describe more details about the crash. The major learned about technical subjects Garrett could not have understood, using technical vocabulary such as "useful lift of the airship," "gross lift," "disposable lift," "fuel injection," "cruising speed," "cruising altitude," "trim," "volume of structure," and other jargon.
Irwin also described top-secret information about a classified experiment the ministry had been engaged in. They had been attempting to use a mixture of hydrogen and oil in airships, but the information was strictly protected. The ministry officials agreed that the information that came from Irwin through Garrett was completely accurate, even to the town the airship passed over before it crashed and the locations of hidden diaries crew members had kept that revealed their fears about the secret project.153
Direct-voice mediums have voices come from the air around the medium and at various places in the room. The room must be darkened, so skeptics have devised tests to ensure that the voices are not coming from the medium. Such tests were used to authenticate the voices that were recorded during séances with Australian medium, Shirley Bray. The voices of three people on the next plane of life who regularly manifested through her were tape recorded. These taped voices were then put through the high tech voice-recognition machine used by the British police. It was the same technology used in the investigations of serial killers. This is the account of the results:
The voice machine can measure variables such as pace, rhythm, accents etc. The machine showed that all taped voices from the medium Shirley Bray were those of totally different individuals. Scientists stated in unequivocal terms that because the machine registers the person's breathing pattern while speaking it would not have been possible for one person to produce the three voices on the tape. This is because the voice pattern-vibration for each individual is just like a fingerprint — different from person to person.154
Another ingenious test of medium authenticity was devised by a history professor named Charles H. Hapgood. He tested medium Elwood Babbitt using an electroencephalograph (EEG) to measure changes in brain-wave patterns when Babbitt was "taken over" by deceased people during trances. Hapgood measured the brain wave patterns when Babbit was out of trance and during the trances. If the EEG patterns were the same in both instances, it would indicate that Babbitt was consciously creating something resulting in the voices. These were the results:
Hapgood took EEGs of Babbitt while three different intelligences were allegedly in control of the medium. The EEGs of each of the three were found to be completely different from each other and from the EEG of Babbitt not in trance. An EEG expert, Dr Bridge, noticed that the EEG's were characteristic of people of different physical age and could not belong to one person.155
D. D. Home (pronounced like "hume") was a well-known medium of the middle of the nineteenth century. His mediumship demonstrates the reality of communicating with those on the next plane of life because the feats were attested to by well-known people who experienced them. In 1855, his mediumship was witnessed in France by Prince Murat, Napoleon III, and the Empress Eugenie. This is an account of the séance with Napoleon and the Empress:
. . . Napoleon followed every manifestation with keen and skeptical attention and satisfied himself by the closest scrutiny that neither deception nor delusion was possible. His and the Empress' unspoken thoughts were replied to and the Empress was touched by a materialized hand in which, from a defect in one of the fingers, she recognized that of her late father. The second séance was still more forceful. The room was shaken, heavy tables were lifted and glued down to the floor by an alteration of their weight. At the third séance a phantom hand appeared above the table, lifted a pencil and wrote the single word "Napoleon" in the autograph [handwriting] of Napoleon I. As Prince Murat related later to Home, the Duke de Morny told the Emperor that he felt it a duty to contradict the report that the Emperor believed in spiritualism. The Emperor replied:
"Quite right, but you may add when you speak on the subject again that there is a difference between believing a thing and having proof of it, and that I am certain of what I have seen."156
As a result of the hundreds of carefully controlled examinations researchers conducted without finding a hint of deception, even skeptics unsympathetic to mediumship were forced to acknowledge that nothing fraudulent could ever be found in his medium sessions.157
Leslie Flint conducted séances in which thousands of people spoke to deceased loved ones and the deceased responded in normal conversations. The people whose loved ones came through all expressed with certainty that the voices were their loved ones' and that they had had conversations with the real, living person, although they had been dead, at times for decades.
Flint had the remarkable ability of having people from the next plane of life speak audibly using a voice box they created in the air from a substance that came from the medium’s body (ectoplasm). They did not use their own voice boxes because they were moldering away in the ground somewhere or reduced to ashes in a funeral urn. The voices, however, were clear and authenticated by people who knew the speakers, especially their immediate families who carried on conversations with the deceased during the séances.
Flint was described as the most tested medium in all of history. In one instance, to ensure he hadn’t been doing the speaking, "He held a certain amount of pink water in his mouth. Then his mouth was sealed by an adhesive strip. After the séance, he returned the entire amount of water—quite a difficult achievement!"158
The creativity of his testers was remarkable: "He was bound to a chair, his mouth sealed with tape. At other experiments he wore a throat microphone to detect possible vibrations in his vocal organs. He was observed through an infra-red viewer."159 At no time did sound come from his mouth. In no tests by qualified, skeptical scientists, was anything found to be fake or deceptive.
A report of the stringent tests performed on Flint appeared in the Psychic News, February 14, 1948:
. . . one experiment where he conducted a séance with elastoplast pressed over his lips, bandages over the elastoplast and his hands and legs tied to a chair. The observers concluded that in spite of the above restrictions the voices were soon speaking with their usual clarity, even shouting. Some twelve persons in the room all heard more than enough to convince the most obdurate skeptic that the sealing of Mr Flint's lips in no way prevented the unseen speakers from saying anything they wished. At the conclusion of the experiment they found the plaster and the cords intact and undisturbed.160
The voices continued to come through in all circumstances: hotel rooms, halls, apartments—anywhere Flint would sit and wait for the voices to come. Many evaluated Flint thoroughly, using all manner of controls. Professor William R. Bennett, Professor of Electrical Engineering at Colombia University in New York City, tested Leslie Flint at length. After completing his exhaustive investigation, he thoroughly vouched for Flint's authenticity:
My experience with Mr. Flint is first hand; I have heard the independent voices. Furthermore, modern investigation techniques not available in earlier tests corroborate previous conclusions by indicating that the voices are not his. But to be thorough, one should consider the possibility of live accomplices. This suggestion became untenable for me during his visit to New York in September 1970, when, in an impromptu séance in my apartment, the same voices not only appeared but took part in conversations with the guests.161
You can hear some of the audio recordings of people in the afterlife speaking during Leslie Flint séances by clicking on the links on the page at http://ebook.youreternalself.com/chapter2.htm.
David Thompson is now conducting séances in Australia with voices of the deceased coming through in the séances and materializations of those in spirit in the presence of a variety of people with careful, rigid controls. One of those is Victor J. Zammit,lawyer and author of A Lawyer Presents the Case for the Afterlife.
Montigue Keen was head of the Parliamentary and Legal department of the National Farmers Union of England and Wales, journalist, magazine editor, and secretary of the Society for Psychical Research Survival Research Committee. Keen investigated David Thompson's physical medium abilities on October 25, 2003, using tight controls that prevented the medium from uttering a sound or moving. In spite of the strict controls, the medium was transported, with the chair to which he was taped, to a different part of the room, the medium's cardigan was reversed on his body while the straps binding him were intact, and four distinctive voices were heard. These were his conclusions:
The voices themselves could not have come from the gagged medium. The only other "regulars" on whom suspicion might rest were Bianca, his wife, Paul the leader who was seated next to me, and whose voice and location would have clearly identified him, and DF, the host, who was seated at the opposite end of the room from the medium. Any of these possibilities would have easily and immediately detectable by those present, as well as likely to be defeated by listening to the tape recording.162
You can hear some of the audio recordings of people in the afterlife speaking during David Thompson séances by clicking on the links on the page at http://ebook.youreternalself.com/chapter2.htm.
For six years, a group in Norfolk, England, conducted experiments of contact with the afterlife. The following professionals participated in the experiments: David Fontana, Arthur Ellison, Montague Keen, Dr. Hans Schaer, Esq., Dr. Ernst Senkowski, Piers Eggett, Keith McQuin Roberts, Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, and Professor Ivor Grattan-Guiness. A group of NASA scientists participated, as well as professionals from the Institute of Noetic Sciences.
The experiments resulted in communication with a variety of deceased people, revelations of information that nobody but the deceased could know about, appearance of objects that came from nowhere, voices of the deceased heard by all experimenters in attendance, and materialization of people who had died. Rolls of film were placed in locked boxes by experimenters and images appeared on them. Video cameras recorded the appearance of deceased people.
A scientific report titled "The Scole Report" was produced by the Society for Psychical Research based on the experiments. The conclusion was, "None of our critics has been able to point to a single example of fraud or deception."163
A stage magician, James Webster, was brought in to see if any magic tricks could produce the phenomena. Webster had more than fifty years experience in psychic research applying his knowledge of magic tricks to such phenomena. On three occasions he attended sittings with the Scole group and published this conclusion in an English newspaper in June 2001: "I discovered no signs of trickery, and in my opinion such conjuring tricks were not possible, for the type of phenomena witnessed, under the conditions applied."164
The mediums and those in their circles explain that a substance called ectoplasm comes out of mediums and sitters in the séance to form voice boxes and manifestations. Since it comes out of the medium and sitters, it would be reasonable to expect that the medium and sitters would lose weight when the ectoplasm was outside of the body. Studies were conducted to see whether that was true.
Professor W.J. Crawford, a lecturer in mechanical engineering at Queen's University Belfast, conducted meticulous studies of the mediums and ectoplasm. He set up controlled circumstances in which the weight of the medium was measured during the entire séance. At the times when the ectoplasm was creating a spirit materialization, the medium’s weight dropped from 120 pounds to 66 pounds, in itself a remarkable occurrence.165
George Meek, 1991 award winner for contribution to new sciences by the International Association for New Science, found that during a materialization séance, there is a temporary weight loss from both the medium and the sitters as a substance is withdrawn from their bodies. Fifteen physicians, psychologists, and others made up the research team. The researchers found a shared weight loss of 27 pounds—about 10 kilos—among the medium and physicians, psychologists, and others who made up the research team.166
Perhaps the most remarkable evidence of the continuation of life after the body dies is the materializations that have been observed and verified by a large number of professionals, royalty, scientists, and others whose testimony is above question. These are not "ghosts" or "apparitions." They are full appearances of people who carry on conversations and have been hugged by loved ones. One example follows, from Victor Zammit’s book, A Lawyer Presents the Case for the Afterlife,167 describing materializations with a materialization medium named Mirabelli:
At a well-attended séance in Sao Vicente the chair on which the entranced Mirabelli was sitting rose and floated in the air two meters above the floor. Witnesses timed its levitation for 120 seconds. On another occasion Mirabelli was at the da Luz railroad station with several companions when he suddenly vanished. About fifteen minutes later a telephone call came from Sao Vicente, a town ninety kilometers away, stating that he had appeared there exactly two minutes after he had disappeared from da Luz.
At a séance conducted in the morning in full daylight in the laboratory of the investigating committee in front of many people of note including ten men holding the degree of Doctor of Science [the following happened]:
· The form of a little girl materialized beside the medium.
· Dr. Ganymede de Souza who was present confirmed that the child was his daughter who had died a few months before and that she was wearing the dress in which she had been buried.
· Another observer, Colonel Octavio Viana also took the child in his arms, felt her pulse and asked her several questions which she answered with understanding.
· Photographs of the apparition were taken and appended to the investigating committee's report.
· After this the child floated around in the air and disappeared, after having been visible in daylight for thirty six minutes.
· The form of Bishop Jose de Camargo Barros who had recently lost his life in a shipwreck appeared in full insignia of office.
· He conversed with those present and allowed them to examine his heart, gums, abdomen and fingers before disappearing.
At another séance conducted at Santos at half past three in the afternoon before sixty witnesses who attested their signatures to the report of what had happened [the following events occurred]:
· The deceased Dr Bezerra de Meneses, an eminent hospital physician, materialized.
· He spoke to all of the assembled witnesses to assure them that it was himself.
· His voice carried all over the room by megaphone.
· Several photographs were taken of him.
· For fifteen minutes two doctors who had known him examined him and announced that he was an anatomically normal human being.
· He shook hands with the spectators.
· Finally he rose into the air and began to dematerialize, with his feet vanishing first followed by his legs and abdomen, chest arms and last of all head.
· After the apparition had dematerialized Mirabelli was found to be still tied securely to his chair and seals were intact on all the doors and windows.
· The photographs accompanying the report show Mirabelli and the apparition on the same photographic plate.
At another séance under controlled conditions Mirabelli himself dematerialized to be found later in another room. Yet the seals put upon his bonds were intact as were the seals on the doors and windows of the séance room.168
Helen Duncan is one of the best-known materialization mediums of all time. She reunited thousands of people with their deceased loved ones. These are some of the accounts verified by witnesses and the families of the deceased (cited in Victor Zammit’s book169):
· Nurse Jane Rust testified on oath at the Old Bailey, among other things, that she, through Helen Duncan, actually met a loved one again—her husband who materialized from the afterlife and kissed her. "'I have never been more certain of anything in my life before"', she said. She stated that she had been enquiring for 25 years as a skeptic but it was only when she met Helen Duncan that she was able to actually meet her loved ones including her mother who had passed on.
· A high ranking Air Force officer, Wing Commander George Mackie, stated on oath that through Helen Duncan's materialization gifts he actually met his "dead" mother and father and a brother.
· James Duncan (no relation), a jeweler, testified that both he and his daughter had seen his wife materialize on eight different occasions, in good light. Duncan had seen her close up at a range of 18 inches and they had talked of domestic matters including a proposed emigration to Canada that they had previously kept secret. He had, he said, not a shadow of a doubt that the voice was that of his wife. He also claimed to have seen materializations of his father, who was about his own height and bearded, and his mother.
· Mary Blackwell, President of the Pathfinder Spiritualist Society of Baker Street London, testified that she had attended more than 100 materialization séances with Helen Duncan at each of which between 15 and 16 different entities from the afterlife had materialized. She testified that she had witnessed the spirit forms conversing with their relatives in French, German, Dutch, Welsh, Scottish and Arabic. She claimed that she had witnessed the manifestation of ten of her own close relatives including her husband, her mother and her father all of whom she had seen up close and touched.170
Some years later a team of magicians headed by William Goldston—founder of the Magicians Club —carried out an experimental sitting with Helen Duncan. Goldston and his colleagues were astounded when their dead friend, the magician "The Great Lafayette", materialized and spoke to them in his own voice. Goldston wrote a report on the event for The Psychic News in which he confirmed that Helen Duncan's mediumship was genuine and that no magician could possibly duplicate the phenomena that he and his fellow magicians had witnessed.171
Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross was an internationally renowned physician, author, speaker, and expert on death and dying. She was listed as one of the 100 most important thinkers of the century by Time magazine in 1999, and received 20 honorary degrees for her achievements. She published 20 books on death and dying, and her book On Death and Dying172 was named one of the 100 most influential books of the century. She was included in the International Biographical Centre’s list of the foremost women of the twentieth century.
In her renowned book, On Life After Death,173 Dr. Kübler-Ross described her visitation in a physical form by someone who had passed away two years earlier:
I was at a crossroad. I felt I needed to give up my work with dying patients. That day, I was determined to give notice and leave the hospital and the University of Chicago. It wasn't an easy decision because I really loved my patients.
I walked out of my last seminar on death and dying towards the elevator. At that moment, a woman walked towards me. She had an incredible smile on her face, like she knew every thought I had.
She said, "Dr. Ross, I'm only going to take two minutes of your time. If you don't mind, I'll walk you down to your office." It was the longest walk I have ever taken in my life. One part of me knew this was Mrs. Schwartz, a patient of mine who had died and been buried almost a year ago. But I'm a scientist, and I don't believe in ghosts and spooks!
I did the most incredible reality testing I've ever done. I tried to touch her because she looked kind of transparent in a waxy way. Not that you could see furniture behind her, but not quite real either. I know I touched her, and she had feeling to her.
We came to my office, and she opened the door. We went inside, and she said, "I had to come back for two reasons. Number one, I wanted to thank you and Reverend Smith once more for what you have done for me. But the real reason why I had to come back is to tell you not to give up your work on death and dying. Not yet."
I realized consciously that maybe indeed this was Mrs. Schwartz. But I thought nobody would ever believe me if I told this to anybody. They really would think I had flipped!
So my scientist in me very shrewdly looked at her and said, "You know, Reverend Smith would be thrilled if he would have a note from you. Would you terribly mind?" You understand that the scientist in me needed proof. I needed a sheet of paper with anything written in her handwriting, and hopefully, her signature.
This woman knew my thoughts and knew I had no intention to ever give her note to Reverend Smith. However, she took a piece of paper and wrote a message and signed it with her full name. Then, with the biggest smile of love and compassion and understanding, she said to me, "Are you satisfied now?"
Once more, she said, "You cannot give up your work on death and dying. Not yet. The time is not right. We will help you. You will know when the time is right. Do you promise?" The last thing I said to her was "I promise." And with that; she walked out.
No sooner was the door closed, I had to go and see if she was real. I opened the door, and there was not a soul in that long hallway!174
Dr. Neville Whymant, a British professor of linguistics, was a specialist in languages who knew 30 languages. He attended a séance at the home of William Cannon, a New York City lawyer and judge, performed by medium George Valiantine. In the séance, a man came through speaking ancient Chinese. Whymant knew modern Chinese and knew the literature of ancient China, so he was able to interpret it as perfect ancient Chinese. He learned that the speaker was Confucius, whose writings Whymant knew well. He asked the speaker, in Chinese, about poems people had puzzled over for centuries that Confucius had written. Before Whymant could finish the poems, the spirit spoke the remaining words. Confucius then explained the errors in copying that had occurred after his death, solving the puzzles.175
In another case, reported by Dr Morris Neterton, a blond, blue-eyed eleven-year old boy, under hypnosis, was audio taped for eleven minutes speaking an ancient Chinese language he could have no knowledge of. When the recording was given to a professor in the Department of Oriental Studies at the University of California, he identified it as a recitation from a forbidden religion of Ancient China.176
Dr. Ian Stevenson, Director of the Division of Perceptual Studies and Head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia, reported the documented case of a 37-year-old American woman who, under hypnosis, experienced a complete change of voice and personality into that of a male. She spoke fluently in the Swedish language—a language she did not speak or understand when in the normal state of consciousness.177
In 1931, a young English girl named Rosemary began to speak in an ancient Egyptian dialect under the influence of the personality of Telika‑Ventiu who had lived in approximately 1400 BCE. In front of Egyptologist Howard Hume she wrote down 66 accurate phrases in the lost language of hieroglyphs and spoke in a tongue unheard outside academic circles for thousands of years that was verified by Howard Hume. The accounts are in the files of the Society for Psychical Research.178
Pearl Curgen, a medium from Saint Louis who was barely literate, began to write in astonishingly accurate Middle English. Under the guidance of a spirit entity, she produced sixty novels, plays and poems, including a 60,000 word epic poem.179
Mediums are clearly not doing psychic readings, meaning getting information from a vast storehouse of information about life and people in the greater reality. The people who converse are personalities, alive and fully functioning. They carry on dialogues.
Psychic readings contain very different information. As far as I know, 100 percent of the psychics say they’re getting psychic information, not communication from the deceased, and 100 percent of the mediums say they’re getting information from the living people on the other side, not simply psychic information. You would expect that some psychics would feel confusion or doubt about the source of their information, and some mediums would similarly express doubt about whether these are real people they’re talking to. But neither the psychics nor the mediums have any doubt about their different sources of information.
Most importantly, relatives of the deceased attest to the fact that they have been speaking with their deceased loved ones. This statement was made by Professor James Hyslop, Columbia University, after speaking with his deceased relatives:
I have been talking with my (dead) father, my brother, my uncles. . . . Whatever supernormal powers we may be pleased to attribute to (the medium) Mrs. Piper's secondary personalities, it would be difficult to make me believe that these secondary personalities could have thus completely reconstituted the mental personality of my dead relatives.180
More objective proof that the mediums are speaking to living people in the afterlife comes from the research called "cross correspondence" that has been carried out to ensure that the information mediums receive isn’t simple psychic knowledge. In cross correspondence, a series of messages are given by someone in the afterlife to different mediums in different parts of the world. Individually, the messages are not meaningful. Together, however, they have a clear message. That means a single medium couldn’t be receiving psychic information. Instead, the deceased has carefully planned to give the messages to a number of mediums. That requires a living person in the afterlife to plan and execute the communication.
The Myers Cross-Correspondence is the best known example of such a study.181 Frederick W.H. Myers was a Cambridge Classics scholar and writer in the nineteenth century who was one of the founders of the Society for Psychical Research. He originated the concept of cross correspondence.
After Myers died in 1901, over a dozen mediums in different countries began receiving incomplete scripts through automatic writing that were all signed by Frederick Myers. The scripts were all about obscure classical subjects (that would be known to Myers, a Classics scholar at Cambridge). When all the scripts were assembled, like a jig-saw puzzle, they formed a complete message. Frederick W. H. Myers, living in the afterlife and communicating through the mediums, had planned and executed the writings so they proved no single medium was receiving psychic knowledge rather than communication from a deceased person.
Later, two other leaders of the Society for Psychical Research died: Henry Sidgwick and Edmund Gurney. Soon after each of their deaths, fragments of messages came to mediums around the world from them, and the Myers "study" was replicated successfully. Over the next thirty years, more than three thousand such scripts were transmitted to mediums around the world, some as long as 40 typed pages. They now fill 24 volumes of 12,000 pages. As investigators involved in the research died, they joined the study on the other side by communicating incomplete messages through a number of mediums around the world that formed complete wholes when brought together.182
Hundreds of other accounts of such cross correspondence are recorded in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research.183
Another proof that the contact in medium readings and séances is with the actual, living person on the next plane of life comes from "proxy sittings." In a proxy sitting, someone comes to the medium reading or séance for a reading for someone else, not for himself or herself. The proxy sitter knows only the name of the deceased and the name of the person wanting to have contact with the deceased. That decreases the likelihood that the medium is just doing a psychic reading of the person, without really receiving communication from the loved one speaking from the next plane of life.
The Reverend Charles Drayton Thomas, a Methodist minister, repeatedly acted as a proxy sitter investigating the mediumship of Gladys Osborne Leonard for the Society for Psychical Research. For example, from 1936 to 1937, Thomas went to four sittings with Leonard as a representative for a woman about whom he knew only her name, Emma Lewis, and that she wanted to contact her father, Frederick William Macaulay. With those two pieces of information, Leonard provided seventy items of information, which Thomas recorded and conveyed to Emma Lewis. She confirmed, beyond a doubt, that they came from her father because of the unique content only he would have known.184
In another example of such proxy sittings, Professor Eric R. Dodds, a Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford University, and president of the Society for Psychical Research, supervised a series of proxy sittings with medium Nea Walker. He concluded, "The hypothesis of fraud, rational inference from disclosed facts, telepathy from the actual sitter, and co-incidence cannot either singly or in combination account for the results obtained."185
The only word I seem to be able to use to talk about that place is beautiful. . . . As I stood there in the middle of this lush green field, I could see animals, flowers, and trees. . . . I saw children playing. God, it was beautiful.
– from Kenneth G's near-death experience186
Today, medical science is able to revive people who are nearly dead, with little or no brain functioning. When they come back from the brink of death, many have remarkable accounts of feelings of calmness and peace, moving upwards through a tunnel, meeting deceased loved ones, encountering a being of light, seeing a life review, and feeling a return to the body, often very reluctantly. These are near-death experiences (NDEs). The data indicating that the NDE occurs when the mind separates from the body were presented in Chapter 1. The information in this chapter focuses on the data showing that the NDE is evidence of the afterlife.
Those who have studied NDE accounts conclude that the phenomenon cannot be explained as a purely physical event. Cardiologist Dr Michael Sabom at the Emory University School was skeptical about the NDE experience. With an associate, Sarah Kreutziger, he interviewed patients in his own hospital. The results were, "Having been on both sides of the argument, I now believe that the near-death experience is not simply the result of misfires within the dying brain, but that it is a spiritual encounter."187
Michael Schroeter-Kunhardt, MD in psychiatry, conducted an extensive study of near-death experiences. He concluded, "The large body of NDE data now accumulated point to genuine evidence for a non-physical reality and paranormal capacities of the human being."188
Dr Fred Schoonmaker, a cardiologist from Denver, produced a survey of over two thousand patients who had suffered cardiac failure, many of whom reported other-worldly experiences. He suggests that up to 60 percent of those who experience a cardiac arrest will report an NDE.189
Dr. Sam Parnia, leader of a research team studying near-death experiences at London’s Hammersmith Hospital, has come to this conclusion:
To be honest, I started off as a skeptic but having weighed up all the evidence I now think that there is something going on.
It’s not possible to talk in terms of "life after death." In scientific terms we can only say that there is now evidence that consciousness may carry on after clinical death. Our work will prove one way or the other whether a form of consciousness carries on after the body and brain has died.190
One of the most compelling pieces of evidence that the near-death experience is real is that the people insist they experienced a real-life event, not a hallucination or dream. They say they could tell the difference between a real occurrence and a dream, and what they experience was as real to them as any waking event. NDE experiencers who have also been in comas at some time say what happened during their comas was quite different. The NDE was a real-life event; the visions or hallucinations going into or coming out of a coma were clearly hallucinations. As a result, they say emphatically that the NDE changed their views of life and death.191
Experiencers sometimes learn information about deceased loved ones they could not have known if they had not seen or met them while in the NDE. Bruce Greyson, formerly a professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut, now Bonner-Lowry Professor of Personality Studies in the Department of Psychiatric Medicine at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, described the following case at the Esalen Center for Theory & Research Conference on Survival of Bodily Death, February 11-16, 2000.
The author Maggie Callanan in her 1993 book, Final Gifts, wrote about an elderly Chinese woman who had an NDE in which she saw her deceased husband and her sister. She was puzzled since her sister wasn't dead, or so she thought. In actuality, her family had hid her sister's recent death from her for fear of upsetting her already fragile health.192
In another study, the researchers recorded the account of an NDE case with information the patient had no knowledge of and didn’t understand until ten years later. During an NDE, a patient reported that he saw his deceased grandmother. Standing next to her was a man he didn't recognize, who was looking at him full of love. More than ten years later he learned that he was born out of wedlock with a Jewish man during WWII. This man was deported and killed. When he was shown a photo of his biological father he recognized him as the man he had seen ten years before during his NDE.193
Purely Physiological Explanations for the NDE Accounts Have Been Shown to Be Insufficient to Account for Them.
People who insist the mind is in the brain and the afterlife doesn't exist have advanced a variety of physical explanations for the accounts given by near-death experiencers. However, all have been demonstrated to be implausible. The most prominent suggestions and the reasons they have been found to be invalid follow.
People who have near-death experiences report being hyper-alert, often remarking, "I saw clearer than I’ve ever seen." They remember in great detail things that happened around them and in adjacent rooms while their brains showed no activity. They report conversations with deceased relatives and seeing scenes very clearly. The reports are of sensations and consciousness that are more lucid than normal, an effect opposite to that of a brain clouded by drugs.
Michael Sabom, a cardiologist on staff at Northside and Saint Joseph’s Hospitals in Atlanta, Georgia, studied the experiences described in NDEs and concluded that they are quite different from hallucinations induced by drugs.194
Melvin Morse, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington, came to the conclusion, after an extensive study of seriously ill children, that drugs were not related to NDEs:
In the case of the suggestion that mind-altering medication causes the NDE, Melvin Morse has produced a study where a group of one hundred and twenty-one children were seriously ill, but had less than a five per cent chance of dying, and yet none had an NDE [because they had not been near death]. Of another thirty-seven children who had received many forms of mind-changing drugs, again, there were no NDEs. However, in another group of twelve children who had suffered a cardiac arrest, eight of these recalled having an NDE. A considerable amount has been written by medical professionals that demonstrates that medication cannot be the cause of the NDE.195
For a short time, there was an explanation prominent among skeptics that the near-death experience was due to oxygen deprivation. That explanation was never given credence by anyone who knows anything about the brain’s functions. When the brain doesn’t receive sufficient oxygen, the condition is termed anoxia or hypoxia. Anoxia or hypoxia result from smoke or carbon monoxide inhalation, being in high altitudes with thin oxygen, strangulation, anesthetic accidents, poisoning, or dying. The result is that the victim is stuperous or comatose, with very poor or no brain function.
However, people experiencing NDEs describe their senses as being more acutely aware than they had ever been. They describe calm and confidence, not stuper. When they are revived, they have vivid memories of the experience, unlike people who suffer from oxygen deprivation who are unable to remember anything of the experience.
In addition, some who have NDEs are being administered oxygen at the time and thus are not suffering from anoxia. Dr. Fred Schoonmaker, a cardiologist from Denver, had by 1979 carried out investigations of over 2,000 patients who had suffered cardiac arrests, many of whom reported NDEs. His findings showed that NDEs occurred when there was no deprivation of oxygen. In fact, in a cardiac arrest, the patient is actually supplied with oxygen, and any anesthetic being used is stopped, meaning this cannot be the cause of the NDE in such cases.196
There has been a suggestion that the NDE is a hallucination from a dying brain. However, that explanation is not viable. Dr. Ian Stevenson of the University of Virginia, and his colleagues, wrote in The Lancet197 that if the physical brain were really necessary for all thought, one would therefore expect the trauma of the dying brain would result in impaired cognition. However, in NDEs, quite the opposite is true. The person is more aware than normal.
The researchers also noted these factors showing that the NDE could not be from a dying brain:
1. In the cases where brain disturbances were evident on the patients’ EEG scans, NDEs were less common. [The brain was active but not functioning well, unlike the conditions during NDEs when brain functions stop.
2. In delirium, the person tends to see events occurring at a distance, whereas, in NDEs, experiencers are close to many parts of what is experienced.
3. The effects of delirium brought on by trauma vary widely in content, but NDEs are remarkably consistent across virtually all experiencers regardless of age, nationality, religious background, and all other demographics. 198
Marshall, Lazar, and Spellman wrote in the journal, Brain, that brain physiology is such that many parts of the brain must be coherent for lucid experiences to occur. A disorganized, dying brain couldn't produce the experiences described by near-death experiencers:.
Cerebral localisation studies have indicated that complex subjective experiences are mediated through the activation of a number of different cortical areas, rather than any single area of the brain. A globally disordered brain would not be expected to support lucid thought processes or the ability to "see", "hear", and remember details of the experience. Any acute alteration in cerebral physiology leads to confusion and impaired higher cerebral function.199
Dr. Peter Fenwick, a British neuropsychiatrist and fellow of the Royal Academy of Psychiatrists, explains that the NDE experience could not be the result of a dying brain because a dying brain has confusional and paranoid thinking:
Cerebral damage, particularly hippocampal damage, is common after cardiac arrest; thus only confusional and paranoid thinking as is found in intensive care patients should occur. The paradox is that experiences reported by cardiac arrest patients [during NDEs] are not confusional. On the contrary, they indicate heightened awareness, attention, and memory at a time when consciousness and memory formation are not expected to be functioning.200
Michael Sabom, MD, a cardiologist in Atlanta, Georgia, monitored the brain waves of his patients using an electroencephalograph (EEG) and was able to show that some who had reported NDEs had been clinically dead, meaning they registered no electrical activity in their brain. A lack of EEG activity is accepted as constituting death in many places in the Western world, including America.201 In other words, the NDE occurred after the brain had already passed the dying experience.
Why NDEs Could Not Be from the Other Physiological Problems Advanced as Possible Sources
Other physiological explanations have been advanced for NDEs. However, none are viable. Dr. Michael Sudduth, professor of philosophy at the University of Hartford, St. Michael’s College, Calvin College, and San Francisco State University, explains why none of these are viable:
NDE type experiences induced in these ways involve several qualities not present in putative NDE cases.
1. Release of endorphins relieves pain for a longer period of time than NDEs.
2. Temporal lobe seizures produce various illusions, hideous hallucinations, and feelings of despair. The overall negative experiences are not consistent with positive NDEs.
3. Brain Hypercarboa (high doses of carbon dioxide) tends to produce a sense of bodily detachment, perception of bright lights, revival of memories (much like NDEs). However, they also produce perceptions of geometric figures, animation of fantasized objects (e.g., musical notes floating by), a compulsion to solve mathematical puzzles, and horrifying images. The latter are not compatible with NDEs.
4. Brain Hypoxia (produced by deprivation of oxygen to the brain) tends to produce greater degrees of impairment of cognitive faculties, mental lethargy, and mental confusion. This seems inconsistent with the clarity of perception in NDEs.202
Psychological Explanations for the NDE Accounts Have Been Shown to Be Insufficient to Account for Them.
Some skeptics have suggested that the NDE experience results from psychological abnormalities: mental instability, psychiatric pathology, attempts to cope with the experience of dying, hallucinations, or religious or cultural expectations being fulfilled. These have been shown to be unsatisfactory explanations for NDEs.
Why NDEs Could Not Be from Mental Instability
To learn whether people who describe NDEs are less mentally stable than the general population, Gabbard and Twemlow administered a psychological test called the Profiles of Adaptation to Life (PAL) to NDE subjects. They found that the NDE subjects were actually significantly healthier than psychiatric inpatients or outpatients, and somewhat healthier than college students.203 The authors didn’t explore whether the NDE had anything to do with the greater mental health.
Melvin L. Morse, MD, formerly physician in pediatrics at Seattle Children's Hospital, summarizes the research and commentary about whether NDEs represent psychiatric pathology:
There is little evidence or reason to believe that these experiences represent psychiatric pathology or dysfunction, according to German psychiatrist Michael Schroeter.204 They can be easily distinguished from hallucinations of schizophrenia or organic brain dysfunction.205,206 NDEs are predominantly positive and lack the paranoid ideation, distortions of reality, negative imagery, olfactory elements, and aggressive and hostile elements of drug-induced hallucinations or other transient psychoses.207,208 They represent an acknowledgment of reality, whereas intensive care unit psychosis usually represents a denial of reality.209 They occur to people in excellent mental health, who have a similar capacity for fantasy, as well as similar repressed anxieties as the typical population.210 To explain NDEs as depersonalization or regression into the psychologic state before ego differentiation ignores the clinical experiences of the subjects, which are experienced with intact ego identity.211
Why NDEs Could Not Be from Defense Against
Thanks for reading.
I really want this book to help people realize they're eternal beings having a physical experience. Any comments, positive and negative, will help me.
1 "Yeshua" is the Aramaic name mistranslated "Iesous" in Greek, "Iesus" in Latin, and finally "Jesus" in English. His followers and family never uttered the name "Jesus." The letter "J" wasn’t even in the English language until after the sixteenth century, so before that no one ever pronounced the name "Jesus."
2 Russell, 2004.
3 "Skeptics who declared . . ." 2007.
4 "Max Planck quotes," 2007.
5 Morin, 2000.
6 Vargas et al., 1989.
7 Hay, n.d.
8 Morse, 1994.
9 Rees, 1971.
10 Holden, 2005.
11 Haraldsson, 1988-1989.
12 Kalish & Reynolds, 1973.
13 Matchett, 1972.
14 Stevenson, 1983.
15 Guggenheim & Guggenheim, 1995.
16 Mayer, 2007.
17 Botkin with Hogan, 2005.
18 Botkin with Hogan, 2005, p. 158.
19 Holzer, 1963.
20 Moore, 2006.
21 Wagner, 2007.
22 Morse with Perry, 1990.
23 Komp, 1992.
24 Kübler-Ross, 1983.
25 Osis, 2007.
26 Osis, 2007, page 192.
27 Wills-Brandon, 2007.
28 Wills-Brandon, 2007.
29 Wills-Brandon, 2007.
30 Fenwick, 2007.
31 Osis, 1998.
32 Osis, 2007.
33 Hallenbeck, 2003.
34 Moore, 2006.
35 Wills-Brandon, 2007.
36 "Types of Experiences We Study," 2007.
37 Barrett, 1926.
38 Barrett, 1926.
39 Tymn, "A Veridical Death-Bed Vision," n.d.
40 Zammit, 2006, p. 148.
41 Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 1904.
42 Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, Volume 6, p. 20.
43 Gurney, Myers, & Podmore, 1886.
44 Gurney et al., 1886.
45 Gurney et al., 1886.
46 Zammit, 2006.
47 McKenzie, 1971, pp. 116-117.
48 Rogo, 1993, pp. 16-17.
49 Spraggett, 1974, pp. 45-46.
50 Johnson, 1982, pp. 198-199.
51 Bennett, 1939, pp. 131-132.
52 Tymn, "A Veridical Death-Bed Vision," n.d.
53 Easton, 2005.
54 Larson & Witham, 1998.
55 Amatuzio, 2007.
56 Kübler-Ross, 2006.
57 Hamilton, 1942.
58 Hamilton, 2007.
59 Rommer, 2000.
60 Rowse, 1993.
61 Morse, 1994, p. 190.
62 Zammit, 2006.
63 Tymn, "Distinguished Researchers . . ." 2007.
64 Zammit, 2006.
65 Pearson, 1991.
66 Pearson, 1993.
67 Pearson, 1997.
68 Pearson, 1990.
69 "Conversation with Victor Zammit . . ." 2007.
70 Snyder, 2007.
71 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
72 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
73 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
74 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
75 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
76 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
77 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
78 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
79 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
80 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
81 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
82 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
83 Baird, 1988.
84 Meek, 1998.
85 Archie Roy, in a letter to Michael Roll, May 19, 1983.
86 Bander, 1973, p. 132.
87 Bander, 1973, p. 132.
88 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
89 Botkin with Hogan, 1995, p. 168.
90 Lombroso, 2006.
91 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
92 Greyson, 2000.
93 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
94 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
95 Geley, 1927.
96 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
97 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
98 Schwartz & Simon, 2003.
99 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
100 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
101 Fontana 2005.
102 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
103 Bander, "Voices from the Tapes . . ." p. 132.
104 Jung, 1973.
105 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
106 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
107 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
108 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
109 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
110 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
111 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
112 "Hornell Hart (1888-1967)," 2007.
113 Murphet, 1990, p. 64.
114 Balfour, 1879.
115 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
116 Zammit, 2007.
117 Doyle, 1926, p. 129.
118 Randall, 2004.
119 Zammit, 2006.
120 Zammit, 2006.
121 Tymn, "Physician Travels Out of Body," 2007.
122 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
123 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
124 Brune, "The Rediscovered Beyond," n.d.
125 Bander, 1973.
126 Bander, 1973.
127 "The Church of England and Spiritualism," 1979.
128 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
129 Tymn, "Distinguished researchers . . ." 2007.
130 Crookall, 1961.
131 Schwartz & Simon, 2003.
132 Schwartz et al., 2001.
133 Schwartz & Simon, 2003.
134 Beischel & Schwartz, 2007.
135 Zammit, 2006.
136 "Helen Duncan: The Official Pardon Site."
137 Tymn, "Ghost loses chess match" n.d.
138 Zammit, 2006, pp. 123.
139 Smith, 2004.
140 Rogge, n.d.
141 Spraggett, 1973.
142 Tymn, "Proof Positive of Spirit Communication" n.d.
143 Blum, 2006.
144 Hodgson, 1897-1898, p. 297.
145 Schmicker, 2002, pp. 249-250.
146 Schmicker, 2002, pp. 250-251.
147 Schmicker, 2002, p. 251.
148 Zammit, 2006, pp. 116-117.
149 Hyslop, 1918.
150 "James Hyslop 1854-1920" n.d.
151 Carrington, 1973, p. 54.
152 Carrington, 1973, p. 54.
153 Schmicker, 2002, pp. 252-253.
154 Bray, 1990, p. 15.
155 Hapgood, 1975, pp. 224-227.
156 "Daniel Dunglas Home (1833-1886)," n.d.
157 Oppenheim, 1985, p.11.
158 Flint, 1971, page 94.
159 "Paranormal Voices Assert: Death No End," n.d.
160 Zammit, "The Direct-Voice Mediumship of Leslie Flint," n.d.
161 Flint, 1971, p. 220.
162 Keen, 2003.
163 Keen & Ellison, 1999.
164 Zammit, 2006, p. 75.
165 Butler & Butler, 1947, p. 78.
166 Meek, 1987.
167 Zammit, 2006.
168 Inglis, 1984, p. 226. Cited in Zammit, "10. Materialization Mediumship."
169 Cassirer, 1996, p. 103. (as cited in Zammit, 2006, p. 95).
170 Cassirer, 1996, p. 103. (as cited in Zammit, 2006, pp. 95-96).
171 Cassirer, 1996, p. 115. (as cited in Zammit, 2006, p. 96).
172 Kubler-Ross, 1997.
173 Kübler-Ross, 1991.
174 Kübler-Ross, 1991.
175 Fodor, 1934.
176 Fisher, 1986.
177 Stevenson, 1974.
178 Lazarus, 1993, p. 85.
179 Lazarus, 1993, p. 119.
180 Zammit, 2006, p. 12.
181 Zammit, 2006, p. 127.
182 Zammit, 2006, p. 128.
183 "Cross-Correspondence," n.d.
184 Zammit, 2006, p. 131.
185 Dodds, 1962.
186 Currie, 1995.
187 Sabom, 1982.
188 Schroeter-Kunhardt, 1993.
189 Schoonmaker, 1996.
190 Penman, n.d.
191 Sabom, 1982, p. 183.
192 Greyson, 2000.
193 Van Lommel et al., 2001.
194 Sabom, 1982.
195 Morse & Perry, 1991.
196 "An Introductory Analysis of the NDE . . ." n.d.
197 Stevenson, Owens, & Cook, 1990.
198 Stevenson, Owens, & Cook, 1990.
199 Marshall, Lazar, & Spellman, 2001.
200 Fenwick, "Dying: a spiritual experience . . ." n.d.
201 Sabom, 1982.
202 Sudduth, n.d.
203 Gabbard & Twemlow, 1984.
204 Schroeter-Kunhardt, 1993.
205 Blackmore, 1986.
206 Greyson, 1983.
207 Bates, 1985.
208 Lisansky, Strassman, Janowsky et al., 1984.
209 Latz, Agle, DePalma et al., 1972.
210 Schroter-Kunhardt, 1990.
211 Morse, 1994.
212 Greyson, "Near Death Experiences as . . ." n.d.
213 Sabom, 1982.
214 Zaleski, 1987.
215 Grey, 1985.
216 Giovetti, 1982.
217 Counts, 1983.
218 Pasricha, 1986.
219 Zammit, 2006.
220 Sabom, 1982.
221 Sabom, 1982.
222 Hertzog & Herrin, 1985.
223 Gabbard & Twemlow, 1984.
224 Morse, 1994.
225 Becker, 1993.
226 Fenwick & Fenwick, 1996.
227 Fenwick & Fenwick, 1995, p. 47.
228 Botkin with Hogan, 2005.
229 Botkin with Hogan, 2005, pp. 82-84.
230 Botkin with Hogan, 2005, pp. 84-85.
231 Botkin with Hogan, 2005, pp. 86-87.
232 Botkin with Hogan, 2005, pp. 87-88.
233 Botkin with Hogan, 2005, pp. 88-89.
234 "Fate of the Universe>Anthropic Principle," n.d.
235 "Fate of the Universe>Anthropic Principle," n.d.
236 Gonzalez & Richards, 2004.
237 Bryner, 2007.
238 Schroeder, 2001, p. 58.
239 Gonzalez & Richards, 2004.
240 Gonzalez & Richards, 2004.
241 Richards & Gonzalez, 2004.
242 Corey, 2007.
243 Heffern, 2003.
244 Happold, 1991.