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I would also include the research on mental mediumship done by Dr. Gary Schwartz et al. For those who are not familiar with this currently ongoing research work here are some links:
The Veritas Research Program at the University of Arizona
http://veritas.arizona.edu/
A recently published article on Explore Journal on the results of their triple-blind protocol.
http://www.explorejournal.com/article/PIIS155083070600454X/fulltext

Hi Michael,

Excellent overview of the evidence. I would also add to that list the subject of precognitive dreams. When I began realizing that many of my dreams were giving me extremely specific, otherwise unknowable chunks of information about the next day, my materialistic mindset softened a great deal.

Two wonderful books on this topic are the little-known "Dreams that Come True" by David Ryback, and the classic "An Experiment With Time" by J. W. Dunne.

I would also add Xenoglossy, The Scole Experiments, DD Homes, Electronic Voice Phenomena, Instrumental Transcommunication, Remote Viewing, Fountain Pens Case, Proxy sittings, Poltergeists, Drop In communicatos, The Chatnam Case, The Willet scripts, patience worth case, tausch case, the pereliguine case., dark notebook case, the blanche abercromby case.

Who knows maybe david thompson's seances are real

Ok I found this forum there is a guy named Dr.Lewis on there he said he has been to David Thompson's Seances before and was very impressed.http://www.itcbridge.com/forum/view_topic.php?id=157&forum_id=11

I have to agree with Bruce Siegel in regards to precognition in dreams. My own experiences in this have been extremely convincing, but the death apparition of my father some 20 minutes before word of his death reached me was the event which forged my conviction into certainty.

Michael, I agree. As Lodge and others have said, it is the cumulative evidence more than any single case.

Another very intesting case that should be on the list with the R-101, although not as sensational is "The Widow's Mite." Isaac K. Funk's 1911 book, "The Widow's Mite and Other Psychic Phenomena" has a wealth of information besides the story of the widow's mite. New reprints of the 554-page book are available. I'd have to rate this among my top three books on psychic phenomena. Funk is the Funk in Funk & Wagnalls. He was a very skeptical researcher

Hi Michael (Tymn),

http://www.archive.org/details/widowsmiteotherp00funkiala>The Widow's Mite is also available as a freely downloadable book from archive.org. Gotta love having keyword searchable texts...
;)

Kind regards,
Greg

I'd like to add one more thing to your list of evidences. Death Bed Visions. I can't think of one evolutionary reason for them to exist and they in no way increase the fitness of the individual. I'm not sure I can explain exactly why I find them so evidential, but there is something miraculous about them that I find uplifting, comforting, and fill me with hope that one day I'll be reunited with my loved ones that have gone on before me.

Death Bed Visions by Sir William Barrett:
http://www.survivalafterdeath.org/books/barrett/dbv/contents.htm

>also available as a freely downloadable book

Thanks, Greg!

>Death Bed Visions by Sir William Barrett

It's on my list. Item #8.

Great list, but I have to dispute your inclusion of NDEs and OBEs, Michael. There are just too many problems with NDEs: not enough veridical cases where the information could not have been gained another way, many possible alternative conditions that could produce such complex cognitive experiences, lack of understanding about how other areas of the brain (such as the brain stem) could produce electrical activity undetectable by an EEG, and the uncertainly about the timing of NDEs (whether they really occur during cardiac arrest and brain shutdown or are assembled by memory afterward).

This doesn't invalidate NDEs as a fascinating area for study, nor as possible evidence for psi or survival, but it does call them into question. I'm with Steven Braude, an exceptionally careful, skeptical investigator who, while he has come to cautiously support survival based on other evidence, doesn't consider NDEs to be strong evidence, at least not yet. The many physiological possibilities would have to be ruled out, and given how few scientists are willing to study such a "risky" thing, that could take decades.

And as an aside, I don't think many more skeptical or knee-jerk anti-religion people will ever believe in survival, despite all the evidence, until it can be separated from religion.

Great list, but I have to dispute your inclusion of NDEs and OBEs, Michael. There are just too many problems with NDEs: - Tim
___________________________________________

No one has ever been able to adequately explain away to me the amazing and mind boggling parallels or corroboration between near death experiences and the holographic paradigm as described by Michael Talbot in his book. They talk about overwhelming feelings of oneness and connectedness, time and space not existing, having "all knowledge", during their life review feeling the emotions and feelings of those they interacted with during their lives, 360 degree vision, being everywhere in the Universe at once, etc. The life review is a holographic experience extraordinaire. What it tells me is that something miraculous happened to those people. It's like going to a murder trial and there are two witnesses who tell the exact same story and have never met each other. I've read thousands of NDE's that say things that sound like they are straight out of Talbot's book. - Art
-------------------------------------------
from Mark Horton's NDE:
"This was very pleasant and comforting and went on for microseconds or billions of years, I have no idea since time just wasn't an operative construct and had no meaning or relevance to existence. I literally had the feeling that I was everywhere in the universe simultaneously." http://www.mindspring.com/~scottr/nde/markh.html

compare to this quote from The Holographic Universe:
"If the apparent separateness of subatomic particles is illusory, it means that at a deeper level of reality all things in the universe are infinitely interconnected. ... ... At its deeper level reality is a sort of superhologram in which the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously." http://www.earthportals.com/hologram.html#zine

from Kelly K's NDE:
"The next thing I recall was being shown the universe. I remember thinking, "So, THAT'S how it is! I was in awe. It was like a huge net, or chain link fence, everything in the universe is connected." http://nderf.org/kelly_k's_nde.htm

excerpt from Arthur's NDE:
"I saw the car pass through the scene, it did not swerve, it did not turn. It passed directly through, leaving my wife and my body untouched. Instantly after that I found myself laying on the ground, back inside my body writhing in pain. This story can be confirmed! Teresa, who was my wife at the time can confirm it." http://nderf.org/arthur_w's_nde.htm

I could go on and on posting excerpts from NDE that have a totally holographic flavor to them. Okay, one more and I'll stop.....

from Cara's NDE:
"Time lost all meaning. The odd thing was I had clear vision, and I am legally blind w/o my glasses. I also was able to see in many directions at once. ... ... I was part of a collective consciousness, the universe. everything was connected." http://nderf.org/cara_m_nde.htm

Art, I'm not arguing that these are extraordinary experiences. Of course they are; they have the power to change lives. What I am saying is that the causative forces behind NDEs are too ambiguous for them to be very good survival evidence at this time. That may change with more research, or research may prove that they are purely brain-based experiences. Who knows? The point is, the transcendent quality of the experience has nothing whatsoever to do with the empirical clarity of their cause. The brain is capable of some astonishing feats.

Also, if the brain does continue to function in some way we don't currently know about, that doesn't invalidate NDEs as a paranormal phenomenon. After all, one theory of consciousness has some part of the brain functioning as a kind of receiver for a larger reality of Mind.

The only way to solve this may be to come up with some kind of fMRI technology that can be placed above ER and ICU beds and activated automatically when a patient goes into arrest. That kind of technology isn't even close to development as far as I know, and I can't see ER teams saying, "Wait, let's roll him into the MRI machine before we try to save his life!"

I disagree Tim.

I think veridical NDEs are among the best evidence for consciousness not being limited to the brain. For most, this is the biggest leap for the survival hypothesis. And there are many cases, although relatively few have been carefully studied and corroborated. Those that have are highly evidential.

The truth of the matter is that positional "skeptics" have simply nothing meaningful to say about things like the Pam Reynolds case. The fact that people can accurate have extremely specific and accurate visual-type perceptions when their bodies are unconscious, eyes taped shut is a death blow for the skeptical interpretation. All the spin and nonsense about whether the person's brain is really shut down, etc. is totally irrelevant when a person whose eyes are taped shut on the operating table can describe in great detail their surgical procedure in the OR. Case closed.

Come on, Matthew. Case closed? Even the authors of "Irreducible Mind" said the Reynolds case was "not perfect." Saying that any one case settles the NDE issue is as bad as a pseudoskeptic saying all NDEs are bogus. Brain function is very relevant, and unless we can determine that there was no other way for the NDE experiencer to get his or her information, we can't call any veridical perception conclusive.

I'm not trying to debunk NDEs. I'm just saying that since they are (to me) so ambiguous, we need to be as tough and skeptical in our inquiry as we are with the David Thompsons of the world.

I read the Pam Reynolds case, and I think saying it's "ambiguous" is just hand-waving dismissal. If there is a conventional explanation of how she gave visual details of her surgery while her eyes were taped shut, I'd like to hear it.

Thank you Ginny. I'd also love to hear the "skeptical" explanation for the Pam Reynolds case. Perhaps the entire case is just a conspiracy cooked up by the surgical team, who only pretended to conduct the operation at the behest of their lizard-man alien controllers!

Well I spent a few years reading about NDE's and what impressed me was that on rare occasions the person's consciousness left the room and could observe what was going on in the waiting room or in the next room. Not sure this proves life after death but it does suggest that consciousness can leave the physical body. Kevin Williams website is a great source of stories about NDEs.

Have not heard one ultra skeptic explain away to any degree of rational how this person could know things that occurred in another room while experiencing an NDE.

I had to move away from NDE's as they seemed to be experiences that related to the persons beliefs which may make sense as like appears to attract like on the other side.
What is interesting is that NDE's eliminate most people’s fear of death where hallucinations don’t seem to have this affect.

Fredrick Douglass stated if there is no struggle there is no progress and this statement appears to apply to the evolution of our consciousness.

Now you're just being sarcastic. I'm on your side as far as survival. I think it's likely, even if as a true skeptic I won't flat out say, "Yes, I'm 100% sure it's true." But I won't sign on to some overly credulous explanation of a field that I find fraught with very questionable science, through no fault of some very well-intentioned investigators.

NDE cases are always based on personal account, which puts some doubt on them. I'm not just talking about the Pam Reynolds case but all Is it possible that Reynolds learned her information some other way? Yes, even if it's unlikely. What I'm saying is that the nature of NDEs (people in arrest or in extremis medically) and the nature of their investigation (interviews with people whose memories may be faulty) hurt their viability as evidence of survival. I don't think you can reasonably deny that fact. There are many ways to interpret NDE results, which I don't think you can say about other areas of psi. I mean, the Ganzfeld results, after many replications, are pretty unambiguous as to the existence of psi. I don't see that in NDEs.

There's nothing wrong with that, either. But I think we do the cause of furthering survival research a grave (pardon the pun) disservice by blinding and emotionally accepting NDE stories as absolute evidence without acknowledging that they are, as a careful, skeptical researcher like Braude has said, not the best evidence. Perhaps that will change when someone comes up with a new way of investigating them, but I'll leave that to finer minds than mine.

In closing (and I won't be posting more on this subject because of this), I have to say that the tone here is uncomfortably similar to what I see in pseudoskeptical forums when a member "goes to the dark side" and gets cut down by the members, like Sam Harris did by James Randi. Step away from the orthodoxy and out comes the snark with comments like conspiracies and alien controllers. I expect better than that from a group dedicated to open-minded, skeptical, rational thinking about the paranormal.

Art, I'm not arguing that these are extraordinary experiences. Of course they are; they have the power to change lives. What I am saying is that the causative forces behind NDEs are too ambiguous for them to be very good survival evidence at this time. - Tim
____________________________________________

Whoosh! Right over the head. And still no answer as to why or how near death experiencers often make comments about how the Spiritual Universe has holographic qualities; they say stuff that sounds like it's straight out of Michael Talbot's masterpiece: The Holographic Universe. - Art

>If there is a conventional explanation of how she gave visual details of her surgery while her eyes were taped shut, I'd like to hear it.

I don't think there is a non-paranormal explanation, but since Pam was not clinically dead at that time (just sedated), one could argue that she received her impressions via ESP. This would not establish anything about life after death.

Personally I think that NDEs, in general, do provide evidence that consciousness continues when the brain shuts down, but in the Reynolds case all of her verifiable observations were made while her brain was still functioning.

"but in the Reynolds case all of her verifiable observations were made while her brain was still functioning." - Michael Prescott
____________________________________________

Am I mistaken in believing that she was tilted up and all the blood was drained from her head? Didn't they stop her heart, chill her body down to 60 degrees, tilt her up, and drain the blood from her head? That's about as close to dead as your going to get without actually being dead. Any deader and your "stinking rotten dead." I think that's about as good we're going to get on this side of the veil. We're allowed "hints" but never given the "100% absolutely for certain" evidence that we want. Perhaps for a reason. If we knew absolutely for certain that there was life after death it would lose a little of it's power over us, and when our loved one's died, if we knew absolutely for certain that one day we were going to be reunited with them in the Spiritual Universe, death would cease to be the powerful lesson in separation that it is. I'm am firmly convinced that this life is all about experiencing separation. I see it everywhere I look. - Art

Here is Roslyn's response to my email to him regarding David Thompson & spoon bending...

Hi thanks for getting in touch,

First of all the spoon bending. I have done much research on spoon bending and everything that I've seen so far can be duplicated by physical means. In fact, many magician friends of mine create much more realistic bends than those who I've seen do it using so called psychic methods. If you know of someone that can actually bend metal with the power of their mind please do let me know, I'd be VERY interested to meet with them and see what they do.

Now, on to David Thompson. I have not claimed in any way that I will duplicate his séance in full. What I have said is that I CAN escape from the zip ties and also place myself back into them so that it looks as though I have not escaped.

I also believe that by using this method it would be possible to recreate the phenomena that David Thompson manages to produce in his séances. Whether or not I would be able to reproduce them I do not know. Since I am not a magician, I am an escape artist, producing the séance phenomena once out is not my area of expertise; however once out of the restraints it is of course possible to manipulate the objects un seen by the others. Especially since it is pitch black and no-one can see anything anyway.

But my area of knowledge is in the realm of escapes and it is this knowledge that has allowed me to answer the question posed on the magic cafe of whether or not it would be possible to escape from the bonds holding Thompson. I've found that it is indeed possible to do so. It is this that I've managed to recreate.

However, I do see your email as a little challenge and since my summer season is coming to a close and I've a little more time on my hands I think I may just see exactly what I personally can recreate. It maybe that I can do all of it, some of it, or maybe none of it at all. But I am intrigued at just what can and can't be done, so I think I'll do a few little experiments and see what I can do.

I wasn't going to bother trying to reproduce the whole séance, but then I do enjoy a challenge. So I guess thanks is in order for putting this in my mind.

I hope this answers any questions you had and once I've done a few trials I'll be posting my findings on my site, so please do check back often.

Thanks again for getting in touch.

Take care and kind regards,

Roslyn Walker

www.roslynwalker.com
roslyn@roslynwalker.com

Tim,

I'm not mad at you or trying to shout you down. I just think you are wrong about whether veridical NDEs are good evidence for some kind of non-material aspect of consciousness. Mostly because they happen in "normal" circumstances, to normal people, and sometimes there is good data on the veridical information provided.

The alternatives of seances, parapsychology, etc. can all be dismissed as woo nonsense generated by true believers. But NDEs cannot, since they happen to lots of ordinary people from all walks of life. So I think it is important to focus on veridical NDEs that are well corroborated, which blows the materialist "explanations" for the NDE out of the water.

As for Braude, I like and respect him, but I don't always agree with him. And his specific point about the NDE is that it doesn't prove survival, not that it doesn't prove psi functioning.

I don't think we need to prove survival -- proving psi functioning is "most of the way" to proving survival.

I don't think there is a non-paranormal explanation, but since Pam was not clinically dead at that time (just sedated), one could argue that she received her impressions via ESP. This would not establish anything about life after death.

I agree, veridical NDEs do not, by themselves, prove life after death. But proving ESP is probably 3/4 of the way to making life after death seem possible. It is impossible according to the standard materialist notions of consciousness.

> I don't think we need to prove survival
> --proving psi functioning is "most of the
> way" to proving survival.

> I agree, veridical NDEs do not, by
> themselves, prove life after death. But
> proving ESP is probably 3/4 of the way to
> making life after death seem possible.

Exactly! The first step is to shift the currently dominant reductionist-materialist paradigm into some something else (idealism, dualism, neutral-monism, or whatever) which would allow the survival of consciousness to be accepted at least at a hypothesis within mainstream science.

Tim said:

[quote]
There are just too many problems with NDEs: not enough veridical cases where the information could not have been gained another way, many possible alternative conditions that could produce such complex cognitive experiences, lack of understanding about how other areas of the brain (such as the brain stem) could produce electrical activity undetectable by an EEG, and the uncertainly about the timing of NDEs (whether they really occur during cardiac arrest and brain shutdown or are assembled by memory afterward).
[/quote]

Hi Tim, I profoundly disagree that NDEs do not constituent good evidence for the survival hypothesis. Not good scientific evidence certainly, but good evidence nevertheless.

You say they might be false memories, which I take as meaning that people did not actually undergo any experiences whatsoever, whether a fabrication of the brain or not. However this is flatly contradicted by deathbed visions which is precisely the same phenomenon as an NDE except the patient actually dies. They vocally report seeing dead loved ones, religious figures etc shortly before death. So they can't be a false memory. It has even been reported that on rare occasions these visions are also perceived by the living who are in attendance to the dying.

Also one of the more cogent arguments for extinction is the notion that, as we approach death, our conscious awareness steadily diminishes until at the moment of death it reaches zero. Such an argument can no longer be upheld as people have reported that during the NDE state they are more conscious than they have ever been in their lives. This despite the fact that in some cases no activity can be detected in their brains. This needn't imply there is no activity, but there seems to be a difficulty in the notion that one is more conscious than one has ever felt, and yet no brain activity is able to be detected.

I was going to write some more, but I've just started my own blog and might as well write an essay on NDEs on there rather than fill up Michael Prescott's blog!

>Am I mistaken in believing that she was tilted up and all the blood was drained from her head? Didn't they stop her heart, chill her body down to 60 degrees, tilt her up, and drain the blood from her head?

All of that happened later in the procedure. During the time when she perceived what was happening in the O.R., she was sedated, her eyes were covered, and her ears were blocked, but she had not yet undergone hypothermia. This important fact is unfortunately often misreported or left unclear in accounts of the event.

The "Dentures Guy" NDE/OBE in Lommel's Lancet study I think is pretty impressive:

“During night shift an ambulance brings in a 44-year old cyanotic, comatose man into the coronary care unit. He was found in coma about 30 minutes before in a meadow.

When we go to intubate the patient, he turns out to have dentures in his mouth. I remove these upper dentures and put them onto the ‘crash cart.’ After about an hour and a half the patient has sufficient heart rhythm and blood pressure, but he is still ventilated and intubated, and he is still comatose. He is transferred to the intensive care unit to continue the necessary artificial respiration.

Only after more than a week do I meet again with the patient, who is by now back on the cardiac ward. The moment he sees me he says: ‘O, that nurse knows where my dentures are.’ I am very surprised. Then he elucidates: ‘You were there when I was brought into hospital and you took my dentures out of my mouth and put them onto that cart, it had all these bottles on it and there was this sliding drawer underneath, and there you put my teeth.’

I was especially amazed because I remembered this happening while the man was in deep coma and in the process of CPR. It appeared that the man had seen himself lying in bed, that he had perceived from above how nurses and doctors had been busy with the CPR. He was also able to describe correctly and in detail the small room in which he had been resuscitated as well as the appearance of those present like myself.

He is deeply impressed by his experience and says he is no longer afraid of death.”

The key thing here is that he was already comatosed when he was arrived in the ER, so his ability to correctly recount, in detail, the surroundings and goings-on of his resuscitation is quite remarkable, I know coma patients are sometimes able to hear what is happening around them but how does one "hear" a specific nurse taking out your dentures and putting them in a specific drawer on a specific cart?

OK, so I lied. I'm back. A lively, respectful, open minded discussion is all I was after.

I agree with some points others have made and disagree with others, and that's what all this is about. But what I'd like to bring up is what I find one of the most intriguing aspects of NDEs whose evidentiary value is often overlooked in favor of tennis shoes and dentures. And that is this: if NDEs are hallucinations, why do the vast majority of them share so many similar elements?

I have a little experience with psychotropic substances in the context of Native American vision quests, and I have spoken with shamans who have decades of experience with hallucinatory drugs and hallucinations, and they all say the same thing: everyone's vision is unique to them. Most psychologists will say the same: some hallucinations might share contextual elements due to shared culture, but they will vary infinitely. There are probably as many different kinds of hallucinatory experiences as there are humans. So why do most NDEers have experiences with the same elements? That should not be the case.

I find that very interesting as an evidentiary element. And by the way, Matthew, Braude is firmly in the pro-psi camp, as am I. In fact, he's been a proponent of the super-psi hypothesis (or as I call it, the super-psi cop-out) for some time before conceding survival was slightly more likely.

Psi is likely to be occurring in many NDEs; the question is, is the person having the psi experience in or out of his or her body at the time? It is also possible that some unknown area of the brain that is responsible for psi functioning is activated when the conscious mind goes blank during arrest or some other trauma, leading to a powerful remote viewing experience that has nothing to do with survival. Just another hypothesis.

In any case, more tough-minded, innovative inquiry is called for.

but how does one "hear" a specific nurse taking out your dentures and putting them in a specific drawer on a specific cart?

The fact that all of this information is so routinely dismissed by the scientific establishment tells us a great deal about how human beings are driven by belief systems much more than a dispassionate examination of the evidence.

Psi is likely to be occurring in many NDEs; the question is, is the person having the psi experience in or out of his or her body at the time? It is also possible that some unknown area of the brain that is responsible for psi functioning is activated when the conscious mind goes blank during arrest or some other trauma, leading to a powerful remote viewing experience that has nothing to do with survival. Just another hypothesis.

Sure. Like I mentioned above, veridical NDEs are not proof of survival, but they are proof that standard reductionistic no-psi assumptions are not tenable.

As for notions of being "in" or "out" of the body, I would suggest that consciousness does not have a location. Rather, bodies, personalities and the like are among the phenomena that manifest within the "ground of being" of consciousness. However it seems clear that accurate and veridical "visual-type" perceptions sometimes occur from a perspective outside the body, especially during NDEs.

Well, to be fair, a lot of the skeptics readily acknowledge the reality of veridical perception BUT they they don't consider it to be anything "paranormal," simply a case of the brain constructing an image based on various channels of input:

"The answers include prior knowledge, fantasy and lucky guesses and the remaining senses of hearing and touch." - Susan Blackmore

And then there is the residual brain-energy theory:

Perhaps consciousness still exists during clinical death because it works like a battery. In that case, it might have enough energy left to continue functioning for a limited amount of time. After death this energy might finally be lost resulting in the extinction of consciousness.

Obviously, both theories are an incredible leap of faith but because they are within the realm of theoretical possibility and wouldn't seemingly "violate" any natural laws Occam's Razor gets invoked and as we well know any naturalistic explaination, no matter how far-fetched and improbable, is favoured over a much simpler but "paranormal" one.

And by the way, Matthew, Braude is firmly in the pro-psi camp

Yes, I did say that in my own previous comment about Braude.

In fact, he also feels that veridical NDEs also display evidence for psi, but that their evidence for survival is on shaky ground WRT veridical NDEs alone. And I am in agreement with him there.

Yes, the problem for "skeptics" is to explain veridical visual perceptions during NDE. How is hearing a bone saw supposed to tell you it looks very much like an electric toothbrush, or how can noises tell you that the surgeon is pointing around the operating room with his elbows?! The only remaining appeal lies with "exceedingly lucky visual hallucinations", and that becomes an absolutely preposterous explanation the more carefully-researched veridical NDEs you read about. . .

"The fact that all of this information is so routinely dismissed by the scientific establishment tells us a great deal about how human beings are driven by belief systems much more than a dispassionate examination of the evidence."

that is the power of paradigms. science has become a religion.

“There are things that we do not understand, and Science to its eternal shame is making little attempt to understand them.” Harry Price legendary English ghost hunter

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