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wonderful story. thank you.

Michael,
I would just note that when Myers’ son Leopold Hamilton Myers published in 1907 an abridged edition of the book “Human Personality and Survival of Body Death” four years after the original two-volume set of approximately 1400 pages was first published he left out the case of Mrs. Crans and Mr. Wiltse among many others in his effort to reduce the price of the book and “dimensions”, making the “future issue [470 pages] of a more popular edition not improbable”.

That’s unfortunate because those two cases you selected, apparently from the original publication, seem to be two of the better, if not more interesting, cases. - AOD

Michael,
I think the Wiltse case is interesting because, in contrast to the modern NDEs, Wiltse apparently died quietly in bed rather than as a result of surgery or some other traumatic event but still came back to tell the tale. “Four hours without pulse or heartbeat” is a long time compared with modern reports of several minutes out of body. Perhaps he was without a detectable pulse or heartbeat as determined by a not-always-reliable stethoscope or other unreliable means in 1889. He was reported to have “gasped” several times during that period. Apparently he was not really without pulse or heartbeat for four hours.

These old stories are interesting but I take them all with a grain of salt. - AOD

\\(“I never saw that street more distinctly than I saw it then. I took note of the redness of the soil and of the washes the rain had made“).//
-----------------

The reason he saw more and more distinctly is because his mind or soul was making contact with "all information"... as in the case of a hologram or holographic film where all the information is interconnected and one, and nothing is separate from anything else. Each piece contains the whole and everything interpenetrates everything else.

Our physical bodies actually limit our access to information and here in this life we only "see in part." There is a whole lot of information in this life we aren't privy to simply because our bodies can't access it. For instance our eyes only see a very small part of the light spectrum when in fact the electromagnetic spectrum is much bigger than what we can see which is why people who have NDEs say they were able to see "more colors than normal" or "colors that we don't have here."

It is also the reason they are able to communicate telepathically on the other side because they have access to all information and why they only had to think about a subject to gain access to everything about it. In a hologram everything is interconnected and "one" whereas on this side what we experience is separation in all it's myriad forms.

We think we are seeing "all that is" but the truth is that our bodies are able to access only a very small portion of what is out there but after we die and our soul leaves the body we will have access to all the information available instead of only a small part.

Excerpt from The Universe as a Hologram, "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." http://www.earthportals.com/hologram.html

AOD,
" Perhaps he was without a detectable pulse or heartbeat as determined by a not-always-reliable stethoscope or other unreliable means in 1889."

I don't think it matters if he was "at death's door", was 99.99% dead, was dead by modern standards or any other standard. Michael is proposing that when the "frequency" that one is tuned to, changes, perception and reality itself, changes (a proposal with which I totally agree).

I see no problem with the idea that a serious illness that reduces one to a periodically gasping lump on a sofa with a pulse so faint that it is not detectable by people that know how to detect it, could cause a shift in the frequency of the tuning of one's awareness. Indeed we know from people that have survived serious falls and similar events, that actually being dead isn't necessary to experience many - and sometimes a large number - of the phenomena also reported by NDErs. It is the threat to the ego/body awareness complex that counts; not actual death.

In fact, to take it step further, there is no death. So how can death be a factor? As Michael outlined in the previous excerpt post, nothing is leaving the body during an OBE or death, merely the awareness shifts away from the body. Furthermore, Wiltse reported a silver cord connecting him to his body (probably a symbolic interpretation) that his awareness was still at least loosely tied to the awareness frequency in which one has a meat body - and that is why he was able to fully return to meat body awareness. I don't think anyone is claiming that he was completely disconnected from meat body awareness as we normally think of it (wherein the meat body begins to decay like a memory in physical time/space reality).

Very interesting Michael. I wonder if the apparent contradiction regarding the choice to return is perhaps more that although he wanted to cross the barrier, he knew that he had not completed his work (whatever that was).

Like Eric, I'm not particularly concerned about how close to death Wiltse was. "Clinical death" is hard to pin down even with modern technology. But clearly, Wiltse was in very bad shape at the time. And people have reported NDEs in cases where they were perfectly healthy - e.g., mountain climbers who fell from a height but landed safely in a snowdrift. It seems to be the expectation of imminent death that often brings about the experience.

It doesn't bother me that both Dr. Wiltse's and Mrs. Crans's accounts are old stories. Actually, I often find the old stories to be more compelling because there is less chance of contamination by mass media memes. Someone reporting an OBE or NDE today can be accused of having subconsciously appropriated the imagery from innumerable TV shows and movies. This is less likely in the 19th century, although it can't be totally ruled out, since Spiritualist texts were available then.

Paul, I agree that the higher self is the one who makes the decision to return. The ego doesn't really decide. Perhaps the option of making a decision is a test for the ego, or a chance to assess one's life. Or perhaps it's only a ploy to make the experience more palatable. NDEs reported in India rarely involve a choice; instead the experiencer is a pawn in a somewhat inefficient bureaucracy. I doubt that's literally true either. Perhaps Westerners are more accustomed to make their own decisions, and Indians are more accustomed to following bureaucratic rules?

Michael Prescott wrote:
"And people have reported NDEs in cases where they were perfectly healthy - e.g., mountain climbers who fell from a height but landed safely in a snowdrift. It seems to be the expectation of imminent death that often brings about the experience."

and

"NDEs reported in India rarely involve a choice; instead the experiencer is a pawn in a somewhat inefficient bureaucracy. I doubt that's literally true either. Perhaps Westerners are more accustomed to make their own decisions, and Indians are more accustomed to following bureaucratic rules?"


Both of these quotes to me imply an extremely subjective -- and not objective -- experience. Which I find troubling, as someone who wants to believe in an afterlife.

To Eric Newhill, who wrote that nothing actually exits the physical body at death, there are many reports of people seeing the process of a spirit or mist exiting at death, often from the lower extremities, like the feet.

Also, I'm reminded of this sad and unusual picture, snapped by a Minnesota police officer at the scene of a fatal car crash in the 1980s in which a teenage boy with brown hair died:

https://i.ibb.co/Kj7BPJG/ghost-boy-minnesota-3.jpg

Art,
You might find the theories of Nassim Haramein interesting as his theories provide mathematical support for a holographic everything-is-connected universe. Nassim Haramein has produced a very entertaining and beautiful video "The Connected Universe" discussing his theories. - AOD

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADQ90Q2exHI

"Both of these quotes to me imply an extremely subjective -- and not objective -- experience. Which I find troubling, as someone who wants to believe in an afterlife."

But what is an objective experience? Experience by its nature is processed by consciousness. If we think in terms of Kantian epistemology, as mentioned in an earlier excerpt, all of our experience is limited and defined by mental categories like space and time, which may not apply outside of our experience.

For the two-dimensional inhabitants of Flatland, the experience of physical shapes is limited to the perception of length and width. They can't imagine the third dimension of height, because they have no mental category for it. They would have to expand their consciousness in order to accommodate a 3D experience of the world. As their "subjective" mental processing evolves, their experience of the "objective" world evolves with it.

Another way of looking at it is to imagine a world unprocessed by consciousness. This is not actually possible; the closest we can get is the world described by physics. In that world, there is no color, only frequencies on the electromagnetic spectrum that can be translated into colors by eyes and brain. There is no sound, only frequencies that, when interpreted by ears and brain, can register as sounds. There is no solidity, only collections of atoms that produce an electrical field that repels other electrical fields, creating a boundary.

Going deeper, there is no space, since entangled quanta will continue to interact over any distance. There is no time, since it's possible to cite experiments in QM where the effect precedes the cause, or in which time effectively stops. There is no such thing as an atom, which is only a cloud of subatomic particles; and the particles themselves are not really particles but only probability distributions, a spread of potential outcomes. And is there even this much, or are all these frequencies and fields and probabilities ultimately only ideas that exist in the mind?

Michael,
I hope the last two paragraphs in your January 25th comment will be included in your book. They are very thought provoking. - AOD

Ro - "To Eric Newhill, who wrote that nothing actually exits the physical body at death, there are many reports of people seeing the process of a spirit or mist exiting at death, often from the lower extremities, like the feet."

It's all a matter of interpretation. Seeing something/a soul leave the body could be a mundane translation of the process of the mind of the dying person changing the focus of awareness from the frequency where there are physical bodies to the frequency where there are not.

I'm not saying we don't survive "death".

I guess what I find so disheartening about your first quote, Michael, is that it implies to me that many NDE experiences that are initiated by the "expectation of dying" -- whether it's Steve Jobs saying "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow" on his deathbed, or even a gazelle that goes limp a half second after being pinned by a lion, -- is that one WANTS to tie those transcendent "spiritual" experiences to what happens after physical death. But your observation that they seem to be initiated by the mere EXPECTATION of death removes them from any connection with a consciously experienced after-death realm, and places them purely in the realm of normal physiological functioning.

Regarding your thoughtful comment about subjectivity/objectivity, you wrote "But what is an objective experience? Experience by its nature is processed by consciousness."

Objective reality as in the things that would seem to have independent existence outside the perception of one person. Objective reality as in the 99.9% of the observed world around us that we all experience daily and more or less agree upon...as opposed to the 0.1% of the world that is anamolous and that there's widespread disagreement upon, like personal (subjective) experiences of ghosts, NDEs, OBE, alien abduction experiences, religious experiences, etc.

Michael, if you are arguing that reality is completely subjective, only limited to what one's consciousness is perceiving, I would have to strongly disagree. I believe there is an underlying objective reality that exists even when it's not being perceived.

Why do I say that? Because during meditation or sleep, when the physical senses are disengaged and a person's consciousness is deeply focused somewhere else (whether that's dreaming, meeting with spirit guides, having OBE, etc.) you can STILL get a rock thrown through your window. Your house can STILL catch fire -- with you in it, totally unconscious of what's occurring! To this very point, I read an article years ago about a man who was sleeping in his bed, was shot in the night by a stray bullet that came through his window, and slept through the whole thing. In the morning he was flabbergasted to discover the bloody wound. He went to the hospital and was treated, and the perpetrator of the drive-by shooting-gone-awry was apprehended. A less extreme example would be mosquito bites: they will still attack me while I'm asleep on a camping trip, even though I'm asleep and have no awareness of them whatsoever.

So yes, I would say there is an over-arching objective reality that we exist within that is independent of our own consciousness/focus/directed awareness.

Just my 2 cents. Love the blog and your excerpts are amazing. :-)

Thanks, AOD. I intend to include a lot of this discussion, in one form or another, in the finished book. For one thing, it’s now clear to me that I have to talk at much greater length about the nature of consciousness and its relationship to what we call “objective reality."

Ro wrote: "But your observation that they seem to be initiated by the mere EXPECTATION of death ..."

It’s not just my observation. So called "fear-death experiences" — cases where a person had a near-death experience when he was not actually facing physical death but only thought he was — are pretty common. So it’s something that has to be accounted for in any theory.

The most famous example is a collection of near-death experiences reported by mountain climbers who thought they were falling to their death but ended up landing safely. These NDEs are indistinguishable from classic NDEs, even though the reporters were not in any actual danger, as it turned out. They just thought they were. So clearly a full-fledged NDE can be triggered by the simple expectation of death, even when death is not actually imminent.

Here’s the first example I found online:

https://www.nderf.org/Experiences/1selly_fde.html

"But your observation that they seem to be initiated by the mere EXPECTATION of death removes them from any connection with a consciously experienced after-death realm, and places them purely in the realm of normal physiological functioning."

Ro, A lot I could critique about that, but first, what is normal "physiological functioning" and how does it relate to the focus of awareness?

Michael, thank you for the info & link.

Eric, by normal physiological functioning, I just meant that the transcendent, NDE-type experiences of those expecting physical death could be seen as a naturally occurring process generated by the physical brain. For example, it's been shown that physically stimulating certain areas of the brain can cause "spiritual" experiences. If one expects to die imminently, might not that extreme visceral, internal panic (or extreme, absolute resignation, perhaps) give rise to a specific and unique response within the brain that generates the transcendent, spiritual experience? Perhaps to soothe and lessen the panic or unpleasantness of the genuine dying process.

How can one extract any reliable info about an actual afterlife from these physical-brain generated experiences -- especially given the second statement I quoted by Michael about the experiences differing based on culture/region, which implies to me that they are, at the very least, adulterated by the experiencer's own cultural expectations/experiences.

Obviously, this issue is very much wrapped up with the debate over consciousness: is consciousness generated by the brain, or is it present outside the brain and the brain merely acts as receiver and interface between consciousness and physical body?

By the way, I do actually believe in life after death, even if I might seem hostile to the idea. I've read a lot about it starting in childhood, and I believe there's sufficient evidence to support the idea of survival. But still, I'm a questioner/skeptical by nature.


"I hope the last two paragraphs in your January 25th comment will be included in your book. They are very thought provoking. - AOD"
Completely agree with AOD. After I read them, I just went "WOW".

Ro,
The answer - or one of them - to your question is veridical evidence. Please see Michael's latest post, Book Excerpt Part 4.

I think you are also making some fundamentally incorrect assumptions. For example, that the afterlife is an objectively real physical place. That cross culture NDEs describe somewhat different descriptions of the afterlife troubles you because it violates your assumptions. The afterlife isn't an objective physical realm anymore than this world is. In fact, far less so. It is a place where one meets one's own mind, as in dreams, with only a little influence from the minds of others (a reverse of this world).

I dispute that stimulating parts of the brain create a "spiritual experience" that is akin to non-artificially induced spiritual experiences. Some guy in a ab coat defining his subjects' experience as "spiritual" doesn't make so. It's lab coats interpretation and defining and I doubt he has done the research (or had personal experience) to enable such a comparison. It's word games.

Your arguments are not original. We've heard them all before and they reflect a lack of thorough knowledge of the evidence and/ or lack of deep thought about it. I don't mean that as insult. This is a topic where a less than in depth study and much contemplation gives rise to false conclusions. It just is what it is.

"After I read them, I just went WOW'."

Thanks, but in fairness, our frequent commenter Art has made basically the same point many times, so I can't claim any originality.

||Both of these quotes to me imply an extremely subjective -- and not objective -- experience.||

Situations of apparent danger trigger NDE or that some content of the NDE is culturally dependent do not imply that the NDEs are caused by the brain, since these experiences can be under apparent danger and experience other situations after bodily death. Nor do they imply that the NDEs are not caused by the brain, but noticing the verifiable content and not obtainable through known senses or memory, and other types of psychic phenomena, I would say that there is probably a post-life. Also there is the idea of Summerland, a reality even less shared by its inhabitants.

\\"Furthermore, Wiltse reported a silver cord connecting him to his body..." Eric//
-------------------

Reminds me of something my wife told me in connection when my father-in-law (FIL) when he was in the process of dying back in January, 2012. His heart was failing him and he had C-diff (it kept coming back), and the doctor told my mother in law that if they put FIL in a nursing home he'd be dead in 2 months so they just decided to let him die. (He didn't want to eat or drink anything.)

So, in the last few days before he died he said to his family (who were gathered around his deathbed) "if you just shoot that vine over there it will all be over. I don't know how I know it but I know it's true."

I think my FIL was referring to the silver cord that was holding him to his body? He could see it (but we couldn't) and something was holding him or tying him to his body? He died the day after his birthday. I think he was waiting for his birthday because I think he was proud he had lived to be so old?

Anyway if I had just had a gun I guess I could have shot that vine "over there" so he could go on ahead and cross over into the light? {grin}

Eric,

It sounds like it is you who is making some fundamentally incorrect assumptions -- about me.

I do not think of the afterlife as a physical place at all, I don't believe it can be located in space or perceived with magnetometers.

As for thinking of the afterlife as objectively real, I have actually argued in a comment on this very blog (in one of my rare bursts of de-lurking) that the afterlife is very much connected to dreaming, and that the reported communities that exist in the afterlife/Summerland which are supposedly formed by the "collective desires/expectations" of the community's inhabitants are most likely a figment of the subjective imagination of the one reporting it -- including the supposed inhabitants themselves. I still think of this as a strong possibility. I dream of certain celebrities often, but I don't think that means I'm actually interacting with that individual on "the astral." The true extent of interaction between two individual & independent consciousnesses in the afterlife state is a fascinating topic.

You know...we're all trying to look at the available data from NDEs, Dr. Ian Stevenson's work, ghosts, past life regression cases, mediumship, etc., to put the pieces of the puzzle in their proper place and figure this whole afterlife thing out. You speak like you have the proverbial keys to the kingdom and have it all figured out. Well, good for you. But you don't have to make rude comments toward others who may have a different standard than you. If my arguments are trite, then so be it. I'm glad to hear they've been put forth before -- it means there are others who are considering all possibilities instead of defaulting to a fundamentalist belief in an afterlife, or a belief in one that definitely looks like (x).

Thanks for providing the Wiltse account, Michael. I don't think you provided a link allowing the original account to be read online. The account can be read by using the link below, and scrolling to page 180:

http://iapsop.com/archive/materials/spr_proceedings/spr_proceedings_v8_1892.pdf

Read my blog post below for excerpts from four other near-death accounts of the nineteenth century that had characteristics of modern near-death experiences:

https://futureandcosmos.blogspot.com/2019/04/four-near-death-experiences-of.html

Thanks for the links Mark. - AOD

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