Who looks through your eyes?

“That’s the one with the beard,” Katie told her mother.

Katie was only 7 when she drowned in a swimming pool in 1982. No-one knew how long she had been underwater, but she was no longer breathing when she was eventually noticed and rushed to a nearby hospital.

Based on the report by ambulance personnel, she had been clinically dead for at least fifteen minutes. Probably more.

Fifteen minutes! Clinically dead!

A CAT scan revealed massive swelling to Katie’s brain. With no gag reflex and an artificial lung machine to breathe for her, no-one expected her to survive, least of all the young paediatrician who attended her, Dr. Melvin Morse.

Remarkably, Katie made a full recovery within three days. Even more remarkably, she was able to recall a number of events that had occurred throughout the period of her ‘death’.

On meeting Dr. Morse for the first time, she told her mother: “That’s the one with the beard. First there was this tall doctor who didn’t have a beard, and then he came in.”

Morse confirmed this, and agreed that subsequent statements made by Katie were also uncannily accurate.

How is this possible?

We all look at the world through our physical eyes. We take this for granted, but evidential accounts like Katie’s – and there are thousands – suggest that our eyes are merely a camera lens, a tool we use to view this dimension.

Neuroscience tells us that our brain interprets what we see with our eyes. But if the brain dies with the body – and we know it does – how do those who have NDEs interpret what they see through eyes they no longer have, by a brain that is physically dead?

Who or what is looking out through our eyes?

The strange experiences of New York radio broadcasting president, Robert Monroe, may provide some clues.

In 1958, Monroe developed a strange malady. Whenever he tried to sleep, his body began to shake and vibrate for about five minutes. He subjected himself to a series of medical tests, all of which proved he was perfectly healthy.

Confused but relieved, he took his doctor’s advice to “stop trying to resist it and see what happens.”

These vibrations continued intermittently for several months until one night, while waiting for them to pass, he tried to distract himself by thinking about his hobby. An avid glider, Monroe was looking forward to an upcoming gliding trip and imagined himself soaring through the skies.

Lost in these thoughts, he felt something pressing against his shoulder. He reached behind and felt a smooth surface. Had he fallen out of bed? Looking around, he noticed there was no furniture surrounding him.

It wasn’t the floor!

Monroe looked down (which he initially thought was up!) and saw his bed. He was bouncing gently against the ceiling! To his horror, he noticed another man in bed with his wife! He willed himself to zoom in and take a closer look.

The ‘other man’ was himself!

Monroe insisted on a second series of tests, but again these revealed nothing abnormal. He sought the advice of a psychologist friend, Dr. Bradshaw, who suggested he repeat the experiment if possible.

Shocked, Monroe declared that he wasn’t ready to die.

“Oh, I don’t think you’ll do that,” Bradshaw stated calmly. “Some of the fellows who practice yoga and those Eastern religions claim they can do it whenever they want to.”

Monroe wondered why anyone would voluntarily choose to have such terrifying experiences. He asked his friend what “it” was.

“Get out of the physical body for a while.” Bradshaw explained. “They claim they can go all over the place. You ought to try it.”

monroe2

Still concerned he may have a mental illness, Monroe searched libraries and bookshops for information. The only books he could find on the subject were religious. These advised him to “pray, meditate, fast, go to church, and absolve sins.”

This merely added to his confusion. Did he qualify for sainthood, or was this the work of the devil?

The next time it happened, Monroe later wrote: “I smoothly floated up over the bed, and when I willed myself to stop, I did, floating in mid-air. After a few seconds I thought myself downward, and a moment later found myself in bed again.”

Finding he had some control, Monroe began experimenting, and took notes after each experience. His book (see below) became a multi-reprinted best-seller and is now considered a classic. It contains numerous verified examples of his travels, along with his efforts – usually successful – to validate each experience.

Monroe (and many more like him) did not have to die to experience this phenomenon, but Burris Jenkins did. Following an explosion on his cruiser in 1957, Jenkins was rushed to hospital. He promptly left his body, looked back at the person occupying his bed, and was most indignant that “the patient tried to identify himself as me!”

“I shuddered away from the thought and ignored it.” He later stated.

This is a common reaction by NDErs when viewing the body from beyond it. An accident victim told Dr. Moody: “I could see my own body all tangled up in the car … I knew it was my body but I had no feelings for it.” (Life After Life)

When Dr. Wiltse died of typhoid fever in 1889, his doctor declared him to have been clinically dead for half an hour and was “as fully as I ever supposed anyone to be dead.”

Remarkably, Wiltse recovered and later recalled that during his ‘time-out’: “the body and I no longer had any interests in common.”

As a medical doctor himself, Wiltse paid close attention to the process of leaving his body, and I’ll be including many of his insights in my upcoming book, Heaven Knows.

The experiences of Dr. Wiltse and others again prompts the question: if we are not our bodies, then who are we?

In an effort to find answers, Robert Monroe collaborated with consciousness researchers including Stanislov Grof, Edgar Mitchell (the 6th man to walk on the moon) and Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, and in the early 1970’s employed professionally qualified scientific and engineering people to help him conduct research acceptable to other scientists.

As a result, the Monroe Institute was established as a non-profit education and research organization.   During its first thirty years, over 20,000 people attended its residential program. These included a group that one might not immediately equate with consciousness research – the US military!

The former director of the Intelligence and Security Command of the US Army confirmed in the Wall Street Journal in 1994 that they had sent officers to the Monroe Institute in 1978 and 1983 for out-of-body experience training

The purpose of this would later become known as Remote Viewing – a form of distant surveillance.

Today, the Monroe Institute comprises several buildings in Virginia (US) where it continues to research non-physical realities, out-of-body experiences, and human consciousness.

Perhaps one day we will all recognize that we are not our bodies, but that we merely occupy them in the same way a deep sea diver occupies a diving suit.

Have you had a validated out-of-body experience? If so, I would love to hear about it.

Cheers, SandyC

monroe

References:

Closer to the Light, Melvin Morse, 1990

Journeys Out of the Body, Robert A. Monroe, 1971

Halfway between two worlds

Oh Arline, it’s so strange here.” Arline’s mother commented as she lay dying. “I’m in a never-never land. I’m halfway between two worlds.”

What are we to make of this? Could a dying brain provide Arline’s mother with hallucinations simply to ease her fears? If so, what clever brains we all must have!

Near-death experiences have been the ‘flavor of the month’ for 40 years, yet deathbed visions, which also provide strong veridical evidence, are rarely discussed.

Could it be that dying for real is more threatening for most than the prospect of spending a few minutes checking out heaven during an NDE?

It wasn’t too long ago that family members were shunted out of hospital rooms when their loved ones began making their transition. While I  understand the reasoning for this – it was considered far too confronting to witness the dying process of a loved one – such enforced separation not only robbed them of some sense of closure, it also deprived many of the opportunity to share profound insights.

In the nineteenth century and earlier, people appear to have been more aware of the significance of this mystical moment. In those days, most died at home surrounded by loved ones, and their dying words were often written in diaries or bibles and shared with family members who were not present at the time.

When ten-year old Daisy was dying of scarlet fever in 1864, her mother wrote down every word her daughter uttered and published it as a book in 1894.

In Daisy Dryden: A Memoir, we learn that Daisy often spoke of (and to) her deceased brother, Allie:

I do wish you could see Allie,” Daisy said to her mother on one occasion. “He is standing beside you. He says you cannot see him because your spirit-eyes are closed, but that I can, because my body only holds my spirit … by a thread of life.”

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Such deathbed statements are not unusual. One of the first books on this subject – appropriately called Death Bed Visions – was a collection of historical accounts gathered by Sir William Barrett, a scientist who was appalled by the Spiritualism craze sweeping the world at that time.

In everyone’s life, however, there comes that moment when beliefs and attitudes are put to the test. Barrett’s moment came when his wife – a distinguished surgeon and gynaecologist – attended Doris, who successfully gave birth but owing to a serious heart condition, could not be saved.

Lady Barrett later related Doris’ final words to Sir Barrett:

“Oh lovely, lovely.” Doris had said, looking up at the ceiling and smiling. When asked what was lovely, she replied:  “Lovely brightness, wonderful beings ….”

Doris’ baby was brought to her and she questioned whether she should stay for the baby’s sake, then quickly added “I can’t – I can’t stay. If you could see what I do, you would know I can’t stay.”

While this is typical of death-bed visions and proves nothing, Lady Barrett related one further comment by Doris:

Why, it’s Father!” she announced. “Oh, he’s so glad I’m coming. He is so near!” Then, with a puzzled expression, she added: “he has Vida with him.”

Doris’ mother later confirmed that Doris’ sister Vida had recently died, but the family had agreed not to tell her due to her weakened condition.

This intrigued her skeptical husband and he spent the last two years of his life collecting other accounts from around the world. His  book was posthumously published in 1926.

osisMany assume these visions are merely hallucinations caused by a dying brain, but Karlis Osis,Ph.D, would not agree. Osis conducted research in the late 1950’s and found that when healthy people hallucinated people, they saw living ones, while the visions of the dying were of those who had previously passed. (Deathbed Observations by Physicians and Nurses, 1961)

The highly esteemed psychiatrist and thanatologist, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, made a similar observation. She asked hospitalized children aged five to seven who they would most love to have with them if they could choose, and not surprisingly, 99% replied that it would be their mothers or fathers.

If deathbed visions are merely the mind’s way of providing comfort in the dying hours, then one would expect that these children would hallucinate visions of their parents.

kubler-ross Ah, but then Dr. Ross dropped her bombshell: “In all the many years that we have collected this kind of data,” she wrote in On Death and Dying (1969), “we have never met a child who, in the imminence of their own death, mentioned a person in their family that had not preceded them in death, even if only by a few minutes.”

Ross provided many outstanding examples to illustrate this. One poignant account was of a young girl involved in a tragic car accident with her parents and siblings. The girl suffered life-threatening injuries and Dr. Ross sat beside her to provide comfort as she died.

Suddenly, the girl announced that “everything is all right now. Mummy and Peter are already waiting for me.”

Prior to this, Dr. Ross had neither the courage nor the opportunity to tell the dying girl her mother had been killed in the accident. As the girl’s brother, Peter, had been taken to another hospital, Ross had no information about his condition.

A short time later, Dr. Ross received a call from the other hospital. Peter had died ten minutes before his sister passed.

This experience of being greeted by someone thought to be still alive but later found to have died is so common that it has it’s own label. It is known as a ‘Peak in Darien’ experience. But that’s another story, probably for another blog.

I have collected so many veridical accounts over the years, I could write a book.

Oh, wait a minute, I AM writing a book!

But I can’t resist including just one more intriguing account. This one concerns the second president of the United States, John Adams, who, with life-long friend and occasional adversary, Thomas Jefferson, drafted the Declaration of Independence in 1779.

Once retired, Jefferson lived in Virginia while Adams resided in Massachusetts, but the two men kept in regular contact through letters.

johnadamsIt is sufficiently remarkable that John Adams died on July 4th, 1826 – on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration he had drafted with Jefferson.

But wait, there’s more!

Moments before taking his last breath, Adams’ eyes opened wide. He stared intently at the foot of his bed, and in the presence of those gathered around he announced:

“Thomas Jefferson …. survives!”

jeffersonIt was not known until later that Jefferson had chosen that same auspicious day to depart this world, beating Adams into the afterlife by just a few minutes.

Had John Adams’ old friend been at his bedside to welcome him over?

What do you think?

You are welcome to leave a comment. The comment link is at the top of this post, just below the title.

Cheers,

SandyC

Let me count the ways

 

Is it possible to find evidence for survival after death? Just let me count the ways!

Note: I say ‘evidence’, not ‘proof’. As any lawyer will confirm, evidence does not necessarily mean proof … unless, of course, sufficient evidence is gathered to make a case difficult to dismiss.

One area of compelling evidence is the veridical perception which often occurs during a near-death experience.

What is veridical? According to the Concise Oxford dictionary, veridical means ‘truthful of visions, and coinciding with realities.’

Yes folks, we actually have a word for visions which prove to be factual!

The “shoe on the ledge” account is considered veridical. For those who don’t know the story, here’s a brief summary: Maria – a Mexican crop-picker visiting Seattle in 1976 – suffered a heart attack and was rushed to hospital. While there, she had a cardiac arrest. Maria was successfully resuscitated, but then became very excited, insisting she had observed a shoe sitting on a high ledge outside one of the hospital windows … while she was flat-lining! She desperately wanted someone to verify this.

To humor and calm her, social worker Kim Clark Sharp peered through windows on every floor. Eventually – and to her amazement – she found the shoe just as Maria had described it.

This veridical NDE is one of many, but it is often brought out and dusted off when debating the validity of NDE’s. However, I recently came across a similar one which occurred almost half a century earlier – in February, 1930.

This account was carefully investigated, and many years later was included in the peer-reviewed Journal of Scientific Exploration (vol.12, no.3, 1998) with the catchy title: ‘Do Any Near-Death Experiences Provide Evidence for the survival of Human Personality After Death?’ by Emily Williams Cook, Bruce Greyson and Ian Stevenson.

Linda McKnight was rushed to hospital for an emergency operation, but died shortly after admittance. She left her body and wandered over to the window.

Her distraught husband leant over her body. “Linda, why do you leave us?” he asked. Linda later recalled thinking how odd it was that he spoke to a figure on the bed instead of looking at her.

The doctor quickly administered heart stimulants by hypodermic, but Linda had no interest in this procedure. She remained by the window watching activities in the street four stories below.

On returning to her body, Linda was intrigued. She needed to prove – if only to herself – that it had really occurred, but she was too weak to leave her bed. She asked the nurse to describe the view out the window, then quickly added: “Don’t tell me. Let me tell you!”

Linda told the nurse there were sheets flapping in the wind, and a Christmas tree on the balcony below.

A Christmas tree? In February?

The nurse needed to open the window and lean out to see these, but was able to confirm both tree and drying sheets, just as Linda had described.

“Then I knew I had died and came back again.” Linda said.

Veridical accounts by children too young to understand death, let alone NDE’s, offer another source of compelling evidence.

Dr. Melvin Morse begins his book, Closer to the Light (1990), with the 1982 account by ‘Katie’ (real name: Kristle Merzlock).

Kristle was 7 when she was pulled from a public swimming pool and rushed to hospital. The report by ambulance personnel indicated she had been clinically dead for at least fifteen minutes, probably more.

With no gag reflex and an artificial lung machine to breathe for her, no-one expected Kristle to survive, least of all attending paediatrician Dr. Morse. Remarkably, she made a full recovery within 3 days and was able to recall a number of events that occurred while she was ‘dead’.

On meeting Dr. Morse for the first time after the incident, she told her mother: “That’s the one with the beard. First there was this tall doctor who didn’t have a beard, and then he came in.”

Morse confirmed this. Subsequent statements made by Kristle were also uncannily accurate.

“First I was in the big room, then they moved me to a smaller room where they did x-rays on me,” Kristle said, adding that there was “a tube down my nose”. Morse was amazed. Intubations were normally done orally, but Kristle had, indeed, been given a nasal intubation.

Veridical accounts gathered by scientifically-trained researchers have used a variety of methods to validate out-of-body states during flat-lining.

For example:

  • Highly esteemed thanatologist, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler Ross, collected numerous veridical accounts of people who, shortly before death, were surprised to be greeted by loved ones they believed were still alive, yet it was later confirmed that these ‘greeters’ had since died.
  • Dr. Kenneth Ring’s book – Mindsight (2008) – details veridical NDE’s by people born blind or severely sight-impaired, yet who have later accurately described doctors, procedures, equipment – and even their own bodies – while they were clinically dead.
  • Dr. Ian Stevenson traveled the world collecting past-life memories of children, then carefully researched them to prove their validity. Since his death in 2007, others have continued this remarkable research. Dr. Stevenson’s book – Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation – is well worth a read if you can find a copy.
  • Dr. Michael Newton devoted many years regressing people to the time between lives, before training accredited therapists to carry out his unique method. His first two books – Journey of Souls (1994) and Destiny of Souls (2006) – are highly recommended.
  • Dr. Gary Schwartz – Professor of Psychology, Medicine, Neurology, Psychiatry, and Surgery at the University of Arizona – spends endless hours in his laboratory scientifically testing mediums using double-blind and triple-blind techniques, and reports outstanding results. His procedures and findings are revealed in his book, The Afterlife Experiments (2002).
  • Dr. Alan Botkin has helped countless battle-weary soldiers overcome post-traumatic stress with the help of a hypnotic procedure which allows them to communicate with those left behind on the battlefield. This remarkable technique invariably provides rapid recovery when years of counselling failed to do so. Dr. Botkin’s book, Induced After Death Communication (2005) makes fascinating reading.

I could go on, but if I don’t stop now this will become another book instead of a brief blog! I’ll provide more details about these and other evidence-producing techniques in future blogs.

Cheers, SandyC

Sorry skeptics, he didn’t invent nde’s

Those who  report nde’s are just parroting what they’ve already read or heard.”

WAIT!!! Before you jump through my computer screen, that’s not what I believe!

But it was. Once.

Near-death experiences became such a familiar concept after Life After Life was published in 1975, that these days, phrases like heavenly tunnels, life reviews and beings of light roll of most tongues with ease. It’s tempting to agree with the skeptics and assume that those who say they had an ‘nde’ were already familiar with the concept.

OK, but what about before 1975? Did people have near-death experiences before these accounts were gathered, labelled, catalogued, examined, and subsequently published as a best-selling book?

You betchya! Sorry, skeptics, but we can’t credit Dr. Raymond Moody with inventing near-death experiences!

Ah yes, you say, but were accounts prior to 1975 similar to modern-day accounts?

Absolutely! Throughout history, survivors have described whizzing through tunnels, seeing a bright light and being prevented from entering it. Some were told to “go back, it’s not your time!”

Let’s take a moment to think about this. How likely is it that people who were separated by thousands of miles could make up eerily similar stories? There were no google searches, few if any telephones, and not a lot of local bookshops where they could buy paperback books on the subject!

To satisfy my own curiosity that modern-day nde’s are not merely copycat accounts, I have spent half a lifetime gathering pre-Moody near death experiences, and I am currently writing a book about them. Following are just a few examples I found – can you put names to any of them?

  • A world-renowned psychiatrist who died of a heart attack in 1944. In his 1965 memoir, he recalled finding himself high in space and described how the earth looked from his vantage point. Thirty years after his experience, astronauts described identical views.  (hint: his name is very youthful – with an accent)
  • A high profile American author who was hit by numerous pieces of shrapnel during the first world war. In a letter reproduced in a 1962 biography about him, he described how he felt like “a pocket handkerchief” as he left his body. The incident so deeply affected him that he later had a character in one of his most famous novels have the same experience. (hint: his way was to be a determined writer!)
  • A famous admiral and intrepid explorer who died of carbon monoxide poisoning in the 1920’s. He struggled to climb over a wall in a desperate attempt to gain access into heaven. His account was featured in his autobiography, published in 1938.  (hint: he made many feathered friends during his shivery journeys)
  • A nineteenth century admiral whose nde occurred as a result of almost drowning, and included a detailed life review. His experience was carefully documented by the personal physician to King George IV and was later included in an 1847 memoir by a knighted naval administrator.  (hint: the wind scale he invented was named after him, and it is still in use today)

Perhaps the most exciting references to pre-Moody ‘nde’s’ came to my attention when I thought I had exhausted all possibilities. These actually made news around the world this century!

In 2004, Dr. Phillippe Charlier was browsing in a Paris bookshop and came across an old medical book. Published in 1740, ‘Anecdotes de Medecine’ had been written by French military physician Pierre-Jean du Monchaux.

Dr. Charlier purchased it for the equivalent of one dollar.

This battered old book had held its secrets for almost three centuries. One was an account by a man the author referred to as M.L.C and who was described as “one of the most famous apothecaries of Paris.” (Perhaps, like many nder’s today, M.L.C’s fame prompted him to request anonymity for fear of ridicule.)

“M.L.C. had a bad fever in Italy” Monchaux wrote, and he was “cured by French doctors and surgeons using bleedings. After the last bleeding, which was very abundant, he remained unconscious for such a long time that the doctors were worried.”

The patient later declared that “after losing all external sensations, he saw a light that was so pure and strong, he thought he was in paradise. He perfectly remembers this sensation, the most pleasant and beautiful he ever felt in his life.”

Almost 300 years ago, the author compared accounts he collected with those reported by others who had similar experiences, and stated: “Many people of all ages and gender claim to have felt a similar sensation in the same conditions.”

The book’s purchaser, Dr. Charlier, was intrigued. A medical doctor himself, he followed Monchaux’s example and compared these accounts to modern-day reports. Like the original author, Charlier discovered many similarities – indescribable peace, a light so pure and strong it seemed like paradise, pleasant and beautiful sensations, and a clear recall of the event.

Charlier published his findings in the peer-reviewed Journal of Resuscitation.

Were all these people, including M.L.C., merely parroting what they’d heard or read?

If you know of other accounts of near-death experiences published before 1975, I’d be delighted to hear about them – the comment tab is at the top of this blog, under the title.

Cheers, SandyC

The Father of the Near Death Experience

“Would you have a copy of Life After Life by Dr. Raymond Moody?” I asked the young man at the local bookshop. I was doubtful. More than a decade had passed since it was first published.

“Certainly!” he smiled and pointed to a shelf at the far side of the shop. “You’ll find it in the ‘new age’ section.

Uh oh. The New Age section hardly inspired confidence. It would be somewhere among books about chakra balancing, reincarnation, aura cleansing and channelled messages from Atlanteans!

“Oh, I thought the author was a doctor.” I said dismissively.

“Raymond Moody? He is a doctor. Now. When he wrote Life After Life he was still just a struggling medical student.”

The bookseller was correct. Raymond Moody had, indeed, been a medical student when he wrote his first best-selling book. But he was hardly a struggling one.

He began life as a gifted child, and took his overwhelming thirst for knowledge into adulthood, gaining two doctoral degrees before the age of thirty. His first led to a career as a Professor of Philosophy. He later switched to psychiatry, and on graduation from medical school became a forensic psychiatrist which included dealing with the criminally insane

youngraymond

Eventually, Moody became a prolific author and world-famous lecturer, and came to be affectionately known as ‘The Father of the Near-Death Experience’.

When it came to the existence of an afterlife, Raymond Moody was a skeptic in the truest sense. The  word ‘skeptic’ is of Greek origin and means one who suspends judgement while questioning the truth – a far cry from those who label themselves as such today!  Moody did not discount the possibility of an afterlife, but he was doubtful.

In 1965, however, his life changed dramatically.

As an undergraduate student of philosophy at the University of Virginia, he was intrigued when one of his professors mentioned psychiatrist and colleague, George Ritchie, who had been admitted to hospital with pneumonia during world war 2. The professor related that Ritchie had been declared dead for 9 minutes, and during that time, he had an ‘interesting experience’.

Shortly afterwards, Ritchie addressed a group of students about his experience, and Moody was in the audience. He found the lecture fascinating and had no doubt Ritchie was an honest person who genuinely believed he had visited the ‘other side’. Nonetheless, he felt certain it must have been hallucinatory.

In a  lecture he gave 26 years later, Moody confessed:

“I grew up assuming that death was just an elimination of consciousness. I believed that when you died, it was like the lights go out and you go into an impenetrable blackness and it was like turning off your consciousness, which was very threatening to me because I really do enjoy thinking. I’m a thinking and information junkie to a severe degree.”

Four years later, Moody was teaching philosophy at a university in East Carolina when a student approached him and asked if they could discuss life after death in one of his classes.

“Why would you want to talk about that?” he asked, slightly bemused.

The student explained that he had a bad accident a year earlier, and had died. Then he added: “I had an experience that totally changed my life, and I haven’t had anybody to talk about it with.”

Moody listened with growing excitement for over an hour. The student’s experiences were almost identical to those Dr. Ritchie had described. Was it possible both men had truly taken a glimpse of the other side?

In his autobiography (Paranormal: My Life in Pursuit of the Afterlife, 2013) he recalled thinking: “What are the chances that Raymond Moody would hear the only two cases that exist in the world?”

On the other hand, he considered, was it possible there were others?

Have you ever experienced a moment when a random thought, a chance meeting, a rash decision or a simple change of mind took your life in an entirely different direction to the one you had planned?

For Raymond Moody, that one thought was his moment.

He let it be known he was open to hearing about other heavenly experiences, doubting there would be any response. Imagine his surprise when around one hundred and fifty people – students, parents of students, teachers and friends of teachers – came forward to tell him their stories, all in strictest confidence. Most admitted they had never told anyone for fear of being considered crazy. The few who had tried to discuss it had quickly clammed up after receiving negative responses.

Moody chose fifty of these people for in-depth interviews, and was amazed to hear more commonalities. Many told him they  …

  • felt peace and serenity at the point of death
  • viewed their bodies from above
  • traveled rapidly through a tunnel towards a bright light
  • experienced a panoramic life review
  • were greeted by deceased loved ones, and
  • were told they must return, or chose to return

A meticulous researcher and self-confessed “information junkie”, he began to categorize the various stages of what he termed the “near death experience”, or “nde”. When he considered the implications of the information he had gathered, he knew it was time to put his findings on paper.

Years earlier, my bookseller had dismissed Moody as “just a struggling medical student”, leading me to believe it was a sensationalized book written merely to make a quick buck. The truth was very different.

The first publisher Moody approached demanded it be re-written as fiction to make it more sensational.

“That’s not going to happen!” Moody stated emphatically, and took it to a small publisher. The owner of Mockingbird Press happily accepted it, certain it was going to be a big seller. “I’ll bet it sells as many as ten thousand copies!” he told Moody excitedly.

Moody later wrote in his autobiography ‘Paranormal: My Life in Pursuit of the Afterlife‘: I had stars in my eyes at the thought of ten thousand people reading my book!”

This “innocuous little paperback” hit the bookshelves in late 1975. To everyone’s surprise, the printers could not keep up with the overwhelming demand for copies.

  • The Mockingbird Press edition of Life After Life was reprinted four times in six months.
  • The Bantam edition followed in 1976 and required no less than thirteen reprints within four months of publication.
  • The book was translated into multiple languages.
  • It rapidly climbed onto every bestseller list in the world, remaining there for over 3 years.

lalSince its initial publication, Life After Life has sold in excess of thirteen million copies.

 

Moody later wrote:

“Why this took place can be answered in one word: vacuum. Up to this  point, the subject had been considered one that belonged to the world of religion and therefore it had received little if any examination by medical science.” (Paranormal: My Life in Pursuit of the Afterlife)

Moody began this work as a skeptic. In his book’s introduction he wrote: “I am not trying to prove that there is life after death. Nor do I think that a proof of this is presently possible.”

He was still of that opinion 16 years later when, in a 1991 lecture, he added:

“I think the reasons for that are derived just as much from limitations of the scientific method as they do from limitations of these experiences.”

Dr. Moody finished this lecture with the following words:

“Having now interviewed over two thousand five hundred people, personally I am convinced. I have no doubt whatsoever in my heart that these folks do get a glimpse of the beyond.”

“Was it possible there were others?” he had paused to ask himself in 1969.

From that brief moment, his life would be forever changed.

oldmoody

Cheers, SandyC

An Innocuous Little Paperback

In 1976, an innocuous little paperback created quite a stir when it hit bookshop shelves around the world. Everywhere I looked, people were reading it, or intended to read it, or had recently finished reading it, or were recommending that everyone else read it. People who had already read it would stop strangers who were reading it while travelling on trains or eating lunch in cafes and would enter into animated conversations about it.

This phenomenon had also occurred a few years earlier with a book called Chariots of the Gods by Eric Von Daniken. I was 20 when ‘Chariots’ shot to the bestseller list, and because I didn’t want to be the only person in the world who hadn’t read it, I purchased a copy.

I tried to read it. Whenever I removed the little paperback from my handbag in a public place, gushing strangers would rush up to me and make comments like: “Isn’t it wonderful? It never occurred to me until I read it that instead of apes, our ancestors might have been aliens!” Or they would ask me questions like “Now tell me, honestly, has it or has it not changed all your ideas about religion?”

Frankly, I didn’t have any ideas about religion. I didn’t even think about religion. Neither had I seriously considered the possibility that I’d descended from apes, so switching to aliens was hardly a giant leap. Besides, I felt a little intimidated by these people’s profound interpretations of Von Daniken’s findings. Unlike them, I hadn’t “oohed and aahed” my way through the book, pausing occasionally to think “well, well, little green men must really be our ancestors, and doesn’t that now throw a whole new light on our bible’s teachings!”

Frankly, I thought I’d been reading a book about recent archaeological findings!

Seven years passed, and the Von Daniken scenario happened all over again. This time, it wasn’t about Martian ancestors. This time, it was a book about life after death by Dr. Raymond Moody. Dilemma. Should I purchase a copy so I could enter into deep and meaningful conversations with total strangers in public places, or was I now far too mature to need peer-group approval?

The title – Life After Life – suggested another life awaited us after this one. This smacked of reincarnation, and I knew (didn’t everyone?) that reincarnation was total nonsense. Coming back to life as a sacred cow in India did not excite me.

However, it had recently occurred to me that one day – sooner or later, one way or another – I was going to die! It may seem strange that the inevitability of death could have escaped my attention for 27 years, but it had. As the only child of a mother who was also an only child, and of a father who had deserted us two decades earlier, I wasn’t blessed with an array of elderly aunts and uncles or even aging second cousins who might have been inclined to demonstrate their mortality for me.

The shocking realization that I was mortal threw me into deep depression. I spent the next few days hugging my knees on the back doorstep, staring into space and demanding answers from the universe. What was the purpose of life? Why did we do anything? Why did we learn, love, talk, laugh or cry? What did any of it matter? Why did we accumulate possessions, change jobs, make friends, cook meals, make plans, read books and clean out cupboards? If we were all going to be snuffed out like a candle one day,  wasn’t life pointless?

The universe chose to ignore my pleas, so I tried to discuss it with friends and workmates. They left me in no doubt they’d rather be anywhere else, talking to anyone else, about anything else. Some became aggressive and accused me of being morbid. Others pointed out that it was a subject polite people didn’t discuss. A few shuddered and uttered phrases like “ooooh, I don’t want to talk about it! I don’t even want to think about it!” Most simply avoided me.

In 1976, death was a taboo subject, except for those few who quoted biblical references and insisted that the afterlife was reserved for those who had been saved by embracing the one true religion – theirs! When I encountered this reaction, I was the one who politely excused myself.

Desperate for answers, I purchased a copy of Life After Life, took it home, placed it on my bookshelf. Twelve years later, I finally got around to reading it and wondered what all the fuss had been about. This innocuous little paperback was nothing more than a collection of anecdotes about anonymous people who purportedly told Dr. Moody they had died and had been resuscitated, and that during their “time out” they had travelled through tunnels, encountered bright lights and enjoyed reunions with deceased loved ones.

How wonderful would it be if all this was true, but how could I believe accounts from nameless, faceless people? It was far more likely, I decided, that the accounts were all so similar because they had been written by the same person – the author himself. He even stated in his book: “I am fully aware that what I have done here does not constitute a scientific study.”

I spent the next 27 years trying to disprove Dr. Moody’s research. I failed miserably!

Since 1975, Life After Life has sold more than 13 million copies around the world. Have you read it? If so, did you embrace it enthusiastically, or dismiss it as nonsense? Did it change your life, or did you use it as a harmless missile one night to silence at a howling cat?

I hope you’ll join me in the coming months as I document my challenge to the universe to “show me the evidence!”

Cheers, SandyC