Is There Life after Death? Fifty Years of Research at UVA
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Is There Life after Death? Fifty Years of Research at UVA


MARCIA DAY CHILDRESS:
Good afternoon. I’d like to welcome you to
this Medical Center Hour. This is a program entitled,
Is There Life After Death? Fifty Years of Research at UVA. I’m Marcia Day Childress from
the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities, and
we’re delighted to produce the Medical Center Hour and
bring it to you each week during the academic semesters. I would quickly ask
that there are a few– a couple of seats still left. Anybody sitting on
the stairs, I would encourage you please
to find a seat, because the Fire
Marshall who sometimes visits us doesn’t approve of
people sitting on the stairs. Does some aspect
of our personality survive bodily death? Long a philosophical and
theological question. In the 20th century,
this became the subject of scientific research. 50 Years ago this year in
1967, Dr. Ian Stevenson then Chair of UVA’s
Department of Psychiatry within the department a
research unit now known as the Division of
Perceptual Studies to study what, if anything,
of the human personality survives after death. Dr. Stevenson’s own
research investigated hundreds of accounts
of young children who claimed to
recall past lives. In our Medical
Center Hour today, one of our History of
the Health Sciences lectures, faculty from the
Division of Perceptual Studies highlights this unit’s research
initiatives since its founding. They will also preview the unit
priorities and partnerships for its second half century. We are delighted to
welcome four presenters to cover this span of studies. On my immediate
right, Jim B. Tucker, who is the Bonner-Lowry
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and
Neuro-behavioral Sciences. He’s also the director
of the Division. Next, is Bruce Greyson, Chester
Carlson Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and
Neuro-behavioral Sciences. Third is Kim Penberthy, the
Chester Carlson Professor of Psychiatry and
Neuro-behavioral Sciences, and finally, on my
far right Ed Kelly, Research Professor of Psychiatry
and Neuro-behavioral Sciences. They will be presenting
in this order. By way quickly of some
historical background, I’ll mention that the Medical
Center Hour in past years often addressed the Division
of Perceptual Studies research, especially Ian
Stevenson’s internationally known studies of children
with possible past lives. And indeed, Ian presented here
multiple times about his work. His research, like that of his
successors in the Division, is I think especially
noteworthy for scientific rigor with which it was performed. Indeed, Dr. Stevenson is
standard for impeccable science was extraordinarily high, and
it even continuously challenged him in his own work. I’d like to say that
today’s program is co-presented with Historical
Collections of the Health Sciences Library and with
the Department of Psychiatry and Neuro-behavioral
Sciences here at UVA. All of the speakers
have completed disclosure forms and
none had conflicts of interest to disclose. So we’ll start with Dr. Tucker. Welcome. [APPLAUSE] JIM TUCKER: Thank you very much. As you have heard,
we are going to try to cover a fair amount today. I’m going to start by telling
a little but about the history of our Division, and
then we’ll each talk about one particular
area of research. And mine will be this
work that Marcia mentioned that Dr. Stevenson began
with young children who report memories of past lives. As she said, we do
not have anything to disclose as far as
conflicts of interest. So the story begins
with Ian Stevenson, and he came here to be the
Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry in 1957. At that point, he was in the
middle of quite a successful mainstream career. He had nearly 70 publications
to his credit at that point. But he also had an interest
in para-psychology. And after he had
been here a while, he heard about these
cases of children from various parts of the
world who described memories of a past life, and he decided
to go investigate those cases. He was able to fund that
travel with the help of Chester Carlson, which is a
name you’ve already with people on the
Chester Carlson Chair. Chester Carlson invented
the Xerox machine. So he was quite wealthy, and
he became a big supporter of Ian’s. So in 1967 with
Carlson’s help, Ian was able to step down as
chairman in the department and establish the– what we now
call the Division of Perceptual Studies. So this year marks our
50 year anniversary, and we’ve been going
strong ever since then. And most of the time
we were– our home was this old clapboard
house on Wertland Street, which is now student housing. A few years ago we moved
to our current home, which is near the downtown
mall, and we certainly don’t occupy the
entire building. But we do have the Ian Stevenson
Memorial Library there, which has over 5,000 books in it. And we also have a
neuro-imaging lab. And as for Ian, once he
established the Division in 1967, he spent the
bulk of the next 40 years focused on these
cases of children reporting past life memories. He published numerous books
and papers about them. One of his books was
reviewed in JAMA, and it’s actually reviewed
by the book review editor who wrote, “in regard
to reincarnation, he has painstakingly
and unemotionally collected a detailed
series of cases from India. Cases in which the evidence
is difficult to explain on any other grounds. He’s placed on record a large
amount of data that cannot be ignored.” So to tell you a little
bit about his phenomenon, we had now studied over
2,500 cases around the world. They are easiest
to find in cultures with a belief in reincarnation. But they have been
found wherever anyone has looked for them. They have been found on all the
continents, except Antarctica. And they typically involve
very young children who spontaneously start
talking about a past life, and a recent ordinary past life. These kids are not claiming to
be Cleopatra or Julius Caesar or anything like that. Just describing somebody
who lived and died. The one part of the life that’s
often out of the ordinary is how the previous person died. In over 70% of the cases,
the previous person died by unnatural means meaning
murder, suicide, accident, combat, that sort of thing. And often the kids in most
cases that we’ve investigated, the kids give enough
details so that people have been able to confirm that
somebody did actually live and die whose life matches the
details that the child gave. Now along with the statements,
that children often shows emotional or behavioral
features that seem connected to the material
they are describing, and I’ll give you an
example of that in a minute. In addition, some children
even had birth marks or birth defects that match
wounds, usually the fatal wounds on the
body of the previous person. And Ian studied a
lot of these cases. One was a little
girl who remembered the life of a man who got
his fingers chopped off as he was being murdered,
and the little girl was born with her hands
looking like that. There was a boy who
remembered the life of a boy in another village who had lost
the fingers of his right hand in a fodder chopping machine,
and the second little boy was born with his hands
looking like that, which is quite an unusual defect. And then there was
a boy who remembered the life of the man who had
been killed by a shotgun blast to the side of his head,
and the little boy was born was born with just a stump for
an ear and underdeveloped right side of his face. Ian also listed 18
cases in which children were born with two
birthmarks, ones that matched both the
entrance wound and the exit wound on the body
of a gunshot victim. Now in recent years, we have
focused more on American cases. And we can now
say with certainty that this is not purely a
cultural phenomenon that takes place in areas with
belief of reincarnation, because we know lots
of American cases. And most of them take
place in families who have never believed
in reincarnation before the children started
talking about a past life. So I want to give you
an example of a case, and then I’ll turn
things over to Bruce. This is a case that got some
publicity a few years ago. It’s a little boy
named James Leininger. Well, he’s not so
little anymore. But James was the son of a
Christian couple in Louisiana, and his dad, in particular,
was quite opposed to the idea of reincarnation
before all this started. But around the time of
his second birthday, James started having horrible
nightmares multiple times a week in which he would be
kicking his legs up in the air and screaming airplane crash on
fire, little man can’t get out. And during the day, he would
take his little toy airplanes, and he would say
“Airplane crash on fire,” and bam, he would slam them
in the family’s coffee table. He did this over and over again
and his parents are apparently tolerant people, because
their coffee table had dozens of scratches and dents
from “Airplane crash on fire,” bam. So when you add that
play to the nightmares that he was having, he really
looked like a traumatized child. But he had not experienced any
trauma, at least in this life. And then a little while
after his second birthday, his parents were able to have
several conversations with him during the day in which he
could talk about those things. And he said how his plane
had crashed on fire, and how he had been shot
down by the Japanese. And he said that
he flew a Corsair. Now I’d never heard
of Corsair, but it was a special plane that was
developed during World War II. Then when he was
28 months old, he said one day that his plane
had flown off of a boat. And his parents asked
him the name of the boat, and he said Natoma,
and it turns out there was a USS Natoma Bay that
was stationed in the Pacific during World War II. Then when he was 2
and 1/2 his father bought this book on Iwo Jima
to give his own father, James’ grandfather for Christmas. And he was looking through it
one day when James came and got in his lap. And they were thumbing through
it, and they got to this page. And James’ pointed at the
picture and said “That’s where my plane was shot down.” And his dad said, “What?” And he said, “My airplane
got shot down there daddy.” And that just floored his dad
that his 2 and 1/2 year old was talking like that. And then he learned
that, in fact, that Natoma Bay did take part
in the Iwo Jima operation. Then James got old
enough to draw, he drew dozens and dozens of
pictures of planes and battle scenes, and he always
signed them James III and said that he
was the third James. Well, eventually, with
all this going on, his dad begin to wonder if he
was remembering a past life. So when James was 4 1/2, he
went to a Natoma Bay reunion. And he learned that one, and
only one, pilot from the ship had been killed during
the Iwo Jima operation. This was a young man
from Pennsylvania named James Huston. So what we can do is
compare was James Leininger said to James Huston’s life to
see how well that they match. Now James’ parents said that he
also talked about family life before the war, but we
don’t have documentation of those statements
that was made before Huston was identified. But what we do have
here, this is a list of items where we do have
definite documentation named before anyone knew anything
about James Huston. So James signed his
drawings “James three.” Huston was James Jr.,
which would make James Leininger the third James. James said they
flew off the Natoma. Huston was the pilot
on the USS Natoma Bay. James said they flew a Corsair. Huston had flown a Corsair. He was actually flying
a different plane when he was killed,
but he was part of the squadron that tested
the Corsair for the Navy. James said he was shot
down by the Japanese, and Huston was shot
down by the Japanese. James said, he died in Iwo Jima. Huston was the one and only
Natoma Bay pilot killed during the Iwo Jima operation. James said one day quote, “my
airplane got shot in the engine and crashed into the water,
and that’s how I died.” Eye witnesses reported that
Huston’s plane was quote, “hit head on right on the
middle of the engine.” James had nightmares of his
plane crashing and sinking in the water, and Huston’s
plane crashed in the water and quickly sank. And James said one day that his
friend, Jack Larson, was there. And Jack Larson was
the pilot of the plane next to Huston’s on the
day that he was killed. James is now 18 years old. He graduated from high
school last spring, and he has now joined the Navy. So with that, I will turn
things over to Bruce Greyson. [APPLAUSE] BRUCE GREYSON: Thank you, Jim. A lot of the
phenomena that we’ve been studying at the Division
of Perceptual Studies or DOPS for the past 40 years
have been new death experiences or NDEs. Many people when they
come close to death report unusual and
profound experiences in which they appear to
have left their bodies and claim to have moved
beyond the boundaries of time and space. These NDEs have been recorded in
a variety of ancient cultures. You can find them in the
writings of Cleo, in the Bible, in writings from Tibet,
India, Egypt, China, Japan, and in the folklore of the South
Pacific and Native Americans. The interpretation
of these experiences varies from culture to culture,
but the basic phenomena remain the same across the
globe and across the centuries. These experiences
near death were recorded in medical
literature and journals in the 19th century. And they were described as
a discrete syndrome in 1892 by Heim. They were written about quite a
bit in fresh academic journals in the 1890s when Victor
Egger gave the term near death experiences. That term became
popular in English in 1975 when the
book was written by a UVA intern named Raymond
Moody called Life After Life. There remained some controversy
now about what causes NDEs, and what there
ultimate meaning is, but there’s no question
about there incidence or their impact on people. A variety of studies here at
UVA and in Europe and the UK suggests that they
occur in about 20% of people who have a documented
cardiac arrest in study after study. We at UVA have developed a
model of the NDE and a scale to quantify the
depth of NDEs that’s been used in hundreds of
studies around the world. It basically looks at
NDEs as being composed of component parts, changes
in thought processes, changes in emotional
states, apparently paranormal phenomena,
and what seem to be otherworldly phenomena. The changes in thought
processes include a sense of time being distorted. People often talk about having
a sense of timelessness, thinking, being faster,
and clearer than usual, having a life review or
panoramic memory where your entire life flashes
before your eyes, and a sense of sudden
understanding or revelation where everything
becomes crystal clear. The changes in feeling include
a sense of peace and well-being, feelings of joy,
a sense of oneness or cosmic unity, an
encounter with what seems to be a loving,
warm being of light. The apparently
paranormal features include extraordinary
sensory vividness. People report seeing colors
they have never seen on Earth, hearing sounds they’ve
never heard before, having what seems to
be frank extrasensory perception of things
going on elsewhere, visions of the future,
and a sense of leaving the physical body. The otherworldly
features include being in an otherworldly realm,
an unearthly or mystical realm. Encountering some mystical
being or presence, seeing deceased spirits
or religious spirits, and coming to a point of
no return beyond which you can’t come back. Now most NDEs, in fact, have
a combination of all four of these elements
to varying degrees. As an example, let me give
you a report of one woman who had the following experience. She said, during the war I
was very ill in the hospital. One morning the nurse came
in and found me showing no sign of life whatever. She called the doctors to
whom I also appeared dead, and I remained so they
told me afterwards for at least 20 minutes. I became aware of a brilliant
light and felt drawn toward it. It seemed that time was
different or nonexistent there, wherever there was. The light was
beautiful to look at and projected feelings of
unconditional love and peace. Looking around, I found
myself in a beautiful green, undulating country. I then saw a young officer with
a few soldiers approaching. The office was my
favorite cousin, Albin. I did not know that
he had died, nor had I ever seen him in uniform. But what I saw of him was
confirmed by a photograph I had seen many years later. We spoke for a few
minutes happily, and then he and the few
men with him marched off. Then a presence
beside me explaining that these soldiers were
allowed to go and greet others who were dying and
help them meet their death. My next vivid
recollection after this was of looking down from
about ceiling height onto a bed on which laid
a very emaciated body. There were doctors
and nurses around it. I yelled out to them, but
they couldn’t hear me. I could see everything
clearly and felt warm, safe, and peaceful. In a few moments, I
was looking up at them and feeling sensation of
intense disappointment. I had come back from something
so lovely and so utterly satisfying. Two days later, the doctor told
me I was lucky I didn’t die. I told him that I did. He looked at me in a
strange way and scheduled me for psychological evaluation. I learned to keep my mouth shut
about that from that time on. Now one of the problems
we have in researching near death experiences is
that for the most part, they’re retrospective. We’re getting
accounts from people who had the experiences
sometime in the past. That leaves open the question
of how reliable memories of NDEs really are. Some authors have
speculated that memories are embellished over the years. In particularly, that the
sense of well-being and peace and the pleasantness
of the experience gets embellished over time. Because we’ve been studying
these experiences for four decades now, we’re able
to address this question. Starting in 2002,
I started trying to reconnect with
people I had interviewed in the 1980s about their
near death experiences and asked them to describe
their NDEs for me again. What we found– oops, I’m
going the wrong way here– is that the NDE scale scores
measuring the depth of the NDE were the same now in the 2000s
as they were in the 1980s. And that held true for all
four of the components, changes in thinking, changes in feeling,
paranormal, and transcendental. So memories of the NDE are,
indeed, reliable over yea. And that’s in just that
retrospect to research is also reliable. Another important question about
retrospective reports of NDEs is whether they’re influenced
by cultural beliefs. We know that people’s cultural
beliefs influence how they interpret their perceptions. We see what we expect. For example, near
death experiences of third world
countries do not talk about entering a tunnel
the way Americans do. They would talk about
entering a cave or a well. One truck driver
who I interviewed talked about
entering a tailpipe. So you have to use
whatever cultural metaphors at your disposal to
describe the phenomenon. So our NDErs just
reporting what they expect to happen when
they come close to death. The image of NDEs that
most people have nowadays is the one described by
Raymond Moody in 1975. Now we’ve been collecting
NDEs here at UVA since 1960s, years before Moody’s
book came out. So we compared 24 experiences
we collected in the 1960s with 24 recent experiences
that were matched with the original ones in terms
of age, race, gender, religion, cause of death and
proximity to death. What we found is that the
features that Moody reported, were reported just as
often before the experience and experience. No matter what we looked at,
the out-of-body experience, the feeling of peace, meeting
others, a being of light, noises, or life review
all reported before we Moody had described them
as often as they are now. And they also hold true
for the after events that Moody reported, attitude
changes, loss of fear of death, difficulty telling
others, belief in survival after afterlife,
and corroboration of extrasensory
perceptions, or as often before described them as after. So report do not
seem to be influenced by the widespread public
knowledge of NDEs. Although the interpretation
of the phenomenon maybe influence by culture,
the actual experience appears not to be. But even though these
memories of NDEs are reliable and
consistent over decades, that doesn’t establish
that their memories are real events rather than memories
of fantasies or hallucinations. To test that possibility, we
use the memory characteristics questionnaire,
which was designed to differentiate
memories of real events from memories of
imagined events. This memory characteristics
questionnaire taps into the five
aspects of memories that reliably
differentiate memories of real from imagined events. It includes the clarity
of the memories including the visual detail, sensory
aspects, like sound, smell, taste, in the memory,
contextual features, like the memory for location
and spatial arrangements, thoughts and feelings
during the recalled event, and the intensity of feelings
both during the event and now remembering it. We asked people who
had come close to death to rate their memories of that
event, and also of real events that happened around the
same time in their lives. And also about an imagined event
from that time in their lives. What we found is that for
those people who had NDEs, the near death
experience was remembered with more clarity, more detail,
more context, and more intense feelings that real events
from the same time period. NDEs were recalled as
realer than real events to the same degree that real
events remembered as realer than the imaginary events. On the other hand, people
who did not have NDEs reported there close
brush with death to be as well as other real
events, but not realer. So NDEs are remembered with
great consistency over decades, and they’re recalled
as realer then real. How do we explain them? There are no variables
that we found yet that can predict whether
someone’s going to have an NDE. Neither age, race, gender,
religion, religiosity, or mental illness. There’s been lots of speculation
about physiological variables that may be involved in
NDEs, but the bottom line is that it’s hard to reconcile
enhanced mental function, thinking and perception being
clearer and sharper than ever before with the
impaired brain function as you have in deep
anesthesia or cardiac arrest. So why are near death
experiences of interest to health professionals? One reason is that there’s
a consistent pattern of after effects from
near death experiences. Changes in beliefs,
attitudes, and guidance, and it’s even corroborated
with long term studies and interviews with
significant others. We see increases
in spirituality, a sense of concern or
compassion for others, appreciation of life, a
sense of meaning or purpose, confidence and flexibility
in your coping skills, and a belief in
postmortem survival. And along with these
we see decreases in fear of death, the
decreased interest in material possessions, decreased interest
in status, power, prestige, and fame, and decreased
interest in competition. A second reason that
NDEs are important to us is what they suggest about
survival of bodily death. As Dr. Tucker
mentioned, our Division was founded to explore the
possibility that something may survive after death, and
NDEs do provide some evidence on that question. For example, we have
enhanced cognition when the brain is impaired,
such as by anesthesia or cardiac arrest, which
suggests that the mind is not just what the brain does. Second, we have
accurate perceptions from an out-of-body perspective. A recent review of over
100 published cases of people who had left
their bodies during an NDE and reported seeing things,
showed that greater than 90% were 100% accurate. Further evidence of potential
independence of mind and brain. Third, we get
accurate information that’s imparted by deceased
visitors in the NDE, such as the location of an
important document or a hidden treasure, which is evidence
that these were encounters with interactive beings not just
mental images of the deceased. A shocking example of this are
NDEs in which the person meets in the experience someone
who was not known at the time to be dead. An example with the
experiencer I mentioned before, who saw her cousin, Albin,
who she had known had died. Of course, she did know that
he was a soldier, so it’s conceivable she could have
imagined that he had died. But that’s not always the case. We also have the NDE from a
young girl, an only child who almost died during
heart surgery and said that in her near-death
experience during surgery, she needs someone who identified
himself as her brother. When she told her
father about this he was so moved that
he confessed to her that he had had a son
she didn’t know about who had died before she was born. We have identified dozens
of cases of this type. Some going back
to ancient Greece. The bottom line is
that our culture tends to talk about
death as if it’s the end. The end of all existence. But NDE suggests that it may
be more like a change of state. I’m going to turn things over
now to Dr. Kim Penberthy. [APPLAUSE] I’m happy to follow
the snow men. Well, thank you. I am Kim Penberthy, and I am
the newest member at DOPS, and I feel very honored to be
part of this esteemed group bring with me what
I’m going to talk about now, which is some of
the directions we’re moving in. As you heard, there’s
been an extensive history of research in the area
of near-death experiences in children who
remember past lives. That’s not all that we are
doing, though, or have done. And so I’m going to describe
to you a little bit, very briefly some of
the work I’m doing, and then my colleague,
Dr. Kelly, will finish up. So the areas you heard
of are important, because of the main question
and mission that DOPS has. This idea of survival. This idea of the
relationship between what we call the mind and the brain,
and are we more than just the bodies that we inhabit. Additional research this
builds in that area, which would make sense. So the areas of research
that we’ve strategically outlined and planned and,
sort of, begun to collaborate include areas that build upon
this, including continued work in areas you’ve heard about. We’re also looking to expand
and focus our research in the area of end of life. I work in the cancer
center as a clinician. I am a clinical psychologist
working with palliative care, and we have a lot of questions
about all the experiences of people while they were
dying, the experiences of people who were working with
the dying, and we’ll hope to launch
research in that area and begin hopefully this fall
with a big event that we have. We also have a strong background
in the neuroimaging field and have specific dedicated
researchers to look at this. So the folks you’ve just
heard about, and you’ve heard alluded to, we can
look at their brains and look at what is going
on with various imaging sort of strategies, including
EEG, other imaging capacities that we have. And we have brilliant
people doing that work. So we’re always
looking for individuals where we can, sort of,
use these techniques and develop our
hypotheses and test them. We also are looking
at the phenomenon that exist where we can experience
some of this ability without having the
near- death experience or a memory of a past life. These are some
extreme examples that promote these things that Dr.– that Bruce was talking about. And one of the areas
of research for me is how can we
achieve these sorts of states of minds, this
level of consciousness with intentionality. So not all of us will have
a near-death experience. Not all of us will
remember a past life. Does that mean we’re
excluded from this realm of understanding? And I don’t believe that’s
necessarily the case. So my interests fold into
what we’ve talked about. This idea of the– this optimistic idea
that we can achieve this. So one area of
research that I have is looking at
intentional strategies to develop these and
understand this relationship between consciousness
and the physical world. So I have currently
got funding to look at the development
of these skills, and how they may be
associated to people who are practicing
mindfulness, meditation, various forms of yoga. And I’m collaborating
with my colleagues at the Institute of Noetic
Sciences in California where we have some
preliminary data to demonstrate that there
seems to be an association. And the reality is– I mean this is what some of
these practices developed for are to enhance these abilities. And we often in our modern day
research don’t ask about them. So we might teach someone
how to meditate and measure their blood pressure and see
that their blood pressure went down, which is pretty darn
amazing in and of itself. We don’t ask them,
however, did you notice if you were more
intuitive, or that you’ve had any kind of other
extraordinary experiences. And if you– it turns out
if you begin to ask people, many of them we’ll report that. So we’re now currently looking
at prospectively monitoring this in cohorts here
and in California, and looking at it again
in the tradition of DOPS in a scientific way, what
we can find in that area. I have researched
looking at developing a mindfulness-based intervention
for people with lupus. There have been very
few developments in this area for
decades, and we were charged with this task
of looking at can doing a mindfulness exercise
not only reduce the stress, improved fatigue,
but can it actually change biological markers. Markers of mental logical
functioning or inflammation, IL-6, these sorts of things. And again this is
a big deal, if we can look at
intentionally developing these skills in order to
help ourselves that way and help other people. So through the
research at DOPS, I would just like
to emphasize what we do is we strive
to challenge some of the entrenched
mainstream views that may be held in medicine even. And evaluation empirical
evidence regarding consciousness, and
its relationship to the physical world,
including our body and our– and the mind and the
brain and looking at whether they are indeed
distinct and separate. This is the work we do. And I’m going to hand
it over to my colleague to discuss this a bit
further, because it’s important to understand
the ramification of what this might mean not
just for ourselves, our health, our ability. But I would challenge
you to think about for the future of our
death and our people as a race. So thank you. [APPLAUSE] So I’m to try to explain in
the next five or six minutes the implications of
those two large books. Yeah, I’ll just stay here. Obviously, it’s going to
have to be very telegraphic. But we put out
brochures both down here and on the table outside
where you can find us, on your way to
our website, which contains lots more information,
and the real justification for some outrageous things
that I’m now going to tell you. My career, kind of, brackets
what goes on at DOPS. A little different
background, I started out as an experimental psychologist
studying psychology and language and
cognitive science at Harvard in the 1960s. This is when we were
recovering from the dark ages of behaviorism. Beginning to realize that
there are things like minds and consciousness and so on. And I mean I had absorbed the
view that most scientists held then and most do now, which
is that basically mind and consciousness are generated
by physiological processes going on in brains. Well late in the– late in the piece when I was
working on my dissertation, I became interested in
experimental parapsychiology. This had to do with
some experiences involving my sister, and
I learned to my amazement that there was a vast section
of Widener Library devoted to the subject of
psychical research, including a lot of
experimental research that I’ve never heard of before. And so I began reading
it, and eventually decided well this stuff
looks really interesting, and if it really
happens, something’s fundamentally wrong with our
basic scientific outlook. And so I decided to sign up with
JB Ryan down at– in Durham. He had been at Duke
most of his career, but had moved off campus. And so I started there at
the usual $400 a month, six month trial period, and the
lots of idealistic young people who clambered to
occupy those few slots. Within a month, I
met a guy who erased any doubts I still had
about the existence of the basic phenomena
that Ryan was studying. This guy could do basically
anything we asked him to do. He succeeded at
controlled psy task at prodigious levels of
statistical significance. So the first take home lesson
is, whether we like it or not, psy-phenomenon exist
as facts of nature, and science is going to have
to come to grips with that fact somehow. I had also gotten interested,
because of some things we found out about this guy,
and the possibility of measuring brain waves in relation to his
performance in these tasks. And I won’t go into
that in any detail, but I’m happy to say that even
though it, kind of, petered out at that time, this was in
the School of Engineering, Electrical Engineering
Department where I encountered my colleague Ross
Dunseath over here. Raise your hand. We spotted him. He was an undergraduate
at the time. He’s been with us ever since. Anyway, the group was there. We made some headway,
but the technology really was not up to it. We laid the, kind of, conceptual
technical foundations, but couldn’t do many of
the things we hoped to do. We now have established at
DOPS a really first class neuroimaging facility,
and can begin to do things now
that we could only dream about back in the 1970s. OK, but now we come to the
other part closer to this. I had to give up psycho
research for a long time. I worked in neuroscience
at UNC Chapel Hill. All the UVA enemies,
right, the core. And we did some
good things there and continued to develop our
EEG techniques, and so on. But I was anxious to find
a way back into the field, and actually married one
of Ian’s long time research collaborators, Emily
Williams, in 1998 and retired early and
moved here in 2002 so that we could work intensely on
the first book, Irreducible Mind. Now the way that came
about was that Mike Murphy who you may know as a
co-founder of Esalen Institute out in Big Sur, California,
which is now an island apparently, by the way
due to the recent storms. He– I mean, he’s an
amazing man much like Ian. In fact, we dedicated
our book to Ian and Mike jointly even though they
never met in the flesh. They are both, kind
of, the descendants of the original founders
of psychical research that is in the breadth of
their scientific vision. Mike was well aware
of the prevailing view in neuroscience, and
if that view is correct, there can be no survival period. That’s an inescapable fact. If mainstream view of production
of mind and consciousness by psychological processes
in the brain is correct, there can be no survival. That’s the fundamental
biological objection to survival, and it’s
been elaborated ad nauseam in a reason recent book called
The Myth of an Afterlife. Anyway we started by
just reviewing evidence for survival, which Mike
was very interested in. But we gradually
realized that we needed to undertake a much
bigger project in two stages. Irreducible Mind is
the first stage where we assembled in
one place a whole lot of empirical evidence
that we think disproves the conventional
view of mind, brain relations. We incorporated all the
experimental parapsychology and survival research
by reference. We want to make a book
about science survival, but we wanted to
use that evidence, so there’s a big annotated
bibliography in there. But we then went on
to describe a variety of other well-documented
empirical phenomena that are difficult or
impossible to explain from a conventional
point of view. And I won’t go through it. They include things like
extreme physiological influence. The manufacturing of things like
stigmata or hypnotic blisters. Even blisters having a
specific geometrical form. They include, in particular,
cases of this sort that Bruce talked about. Near-death experiences
under conditions such as deep general anesthesia
and or cardiac arrest. And those are crucial,
because these things are happening under conditions
that 99% of contemporary neuro scientists believe are– the conditions which
neuro scientists believe are necessary
for conscious experience have been abolished. And that can be
shown categorically. The way we know that they had
the experiences during the time of unconsciousness is
that they can sometimes report things correctly, things
that happen during that period. And there are several
arguments about all that, but that’s the basic idea. Anyway, the end result
of this whole exercise, and I have to finish within
the next minute or two was to show that the
correlations that exist between mental events and
physical events, which we all accept that’s just
how it is, can be interpreted in a different way. That it is that mind,
consciousness, or something inherently larger than we
normally know that overflow the organism in some sense
would operate the condition by the behavior of the
brain and the sense organs and all the rest of it. Now to me that totally
changed the landscape of the conceptual territory
of this survival discussion, because now we have
a way of thinking about the mind, brain connection
that allows for the possibility that mind can operate
separately from the organism. To me that eroded the
biological obstacle to survive. OK, well now we’ve
got that far, and so in psychological way, what
does it all mean in terms of our fundamental worldview. That was a second
much harder job, and we struggled with
it for a long time, but finally put together
a book that’s remarkable at least for its authorship,
because we have physicists, scholars of religion,
and philosophers all under the
covers of one book. And to cut to the bottom
line, the basic picture is one that seems to convert
the currently popular view of the relation between the
physical and the mental. We have begun to think
we’re being driven towards some kind of an
idealistic picture in which mind is not derivative
from matter, but if anything the
other way around. So it has fundamental
implications for our basic vision of
reality and our place in it. So I think I’ll stop there,
and we start questions. [APPLAUSE] MARCIA DAY CHILDRESS: Thank you. Thank you for four
wonderful presentations. I daresay this is
our mind expanding. And we are open to your
comments and questions. We have a couple of mics we
can bring to those of you who have questions. I would ask that you
please identify yourself before you make your comment
or ask your question. And you may direct your question
to any or all of the presents. So who would like to start? AUDIENCE: I’m Bob Reynolds, a
retired professor of medicine here and used to be
a vice president. And I find this material
absolutely fascinating and mind boggling. I’m reminded of a book made
into a recent movie called Heaven Is For Real. And it tells the
story of a three or four-year-old boy who
has a ruptured appendix, and I presume had a
near-death experience. And as he gets older,
he tells the family about what he experienced. Would you categorize this as one
of your near-death experiences, and the story that came with it? BRUCE GREYSON: Well, I would
certainly characterize it as a near-death experience. There are a lot of questions
about this particular case. He was a four-year-old boy
as I said– as you said. And his parents were
quite religious. In fact, the father
was a pastor. And there’s a lot of suggesting
that his account was, kind of, filtered through
the parents belief system. That does not, of course, change
the phenomena that he reported. He did, in fact, encounter
deceased relatives that he didn’t
know, and so forth. So there are some
phenomena that classify as his legitimate
near-death experience, although the trappings may be
colored by his family’s belief system. AUDIENCE: Hi, I’m Anita Regal. I’m a retired
nurse practitioner. First, I want to give a shout
out to Dr. Tucker’s books for anybody who
hasn’t read them. They’re really
extraordinary, and I think it underscores the
rigor of the research. But I have a question
for Dr. Greyson. When I was a nurse practicing
in the coronary care unit, I had a few patients that
I can recall that had or that talked
about what sounded like near-death experiences. But there was one
patients in particularly that was so disturbing,
I mean I still remember his name
and the vision, because it was
really unsettling. It was not a
pleasant experience. It was very– he actually
saw on a rainy day, he had– it was during a cardiac arrest. He talked about being up in the
room being able to see things going on that were confirmed. But then he talked
about his experience where he actually
saw his funeral. It was a horse drawn carriage. It was very, very
unsettling to him. So it was not that peaceful,
sort of, calming effect. Have you come across any
experiences like that? I don’t know if it was a
near-death experience or not, but it was just very different
from anything I’ve ever heard. BRUCE GREYSON:
There certainly are a number of experiences that
seem to qualify as near-death, but they are not pleasant. We don’t know how
many there are, because it’s hard to get people
to talk about these things. Most people who have
studied the phenomena say that between 1
and 10% of people who have a near-death experience
will have an unpleasant one. Although again,
it’s hard to say, because they don’t
talk about them. Nancy Evans Bush, who herself
had a terrifying experience, wrote a book about it
called Dancing Past the Dark, in which
she describes not only a range of unpleasant
near-death experiences, but how to deal
with them, and how to make them into creative
positive experiences. Most mythological
hero’s journeys, include travels through
terrifying travails to get to get the final
enlightenment or goal. And she, kind of, interprets
in times– in terms of that. That some people need to go
through these horrible things to get to the point. Because we don’t have many of
these experiences to look at, we don’t know what goes into
making a near-death experience pleasant or unpleasant. For some people we know that
what makes them unpleasant is the difficulty in letting go. And people who are very rigid
personalities find themselves out of their bodies and are
terrified by the experience. So instead of embracing
the experience, they fight against, and that
itself makes it terrifying. MARCIA DAY CHILDRESS: Hi, I’m– I’m sorry there’s one
right before you sir. So sorry. AUDIENCE: Hi, I’m Mary
Stack, and I very much believe in what you’re talking
in reading things on it. And I remember, so Oliver
Sacks, in his Hallucinations, he’s poo pooing. What is your response
to what he says. Oliver Sacks presents the
standard materialistic position that the brain
creates in the mind. And he pretty much discounts
all of phenomena that we look at and credit. And I don’t know what
his rationale was for this discounting those,
except that they don’t agree with his world view. Interestingly, he started one of
his books, Musicophilia, which then– with a
near-death experience of Tony Cicoria, who was
an orthopedic surgeon in Rochester, who had a
near-death experience when he was struck by lightning, and
then had a total personality change. He started composing classical
music, which he had never been involved with music before. Totally changed his life. And yet Sacks interpreted
this as just an artifact of his brain being fried
by the electricity. So I know that he knows of
our work, and he has read it, and just thinks it’s not
worth paying attention to. AUDIENCE: I’m Greg Patterson. I’m the Gamma Knife Nurse
Coordinator here at UVA. Is your institute
using anything to study isochronic or binaural
acoustic waveforms to alter mental status? Such as in a lot of
the popular literature, they’re using theta
waves, delta waves, to elicit out of
body experiences, healing, changing
brain chemistry, things of that nature. EDWARD KELLY: We’re certainly
interested in that subject. One of the implications of the
kind of psychological model that I sketched is
that we potentially have access to all
kinds of capabilities that normally we can’t access. Sometimes people
blunder into it, through having a near-death
encounter of some sort, some through meditating
for decades, maybe there are all kinds of ways of
accessing these things that we haven’t found out about yet. Some kind of stimulation,
whether electrical or magnetic stimulation of
the brain directly, or sound of one sort or another. I don’t think anybody
has discovered anything like that yet that is
really all that effective, but the possibilities
are definitely there. AUDIENCE: I’m Anna Tate. I’m one of the abdominal
transplant nurse practitioners here. I had just a quick question. When you’re talking about these
near-death experiences that involve cardiac arrests or these
anaesthesia, sedative states, does that include
studying patients that have been in prolonged
comas, or ICU sedative states but have normal brain activity? BRUCE GREYSON: We have
not studied people in prolonged coma,
simply because we want people who have an acute
event that we can look at before, during, and after. Some people are. Steven Laureys at the
University of Liege in Belgium– who has done a lot
of the important work with people who seem to be in
a persistent vegetative state, and if you talk to
them they can show these electrical
responses– he is now very interested in
near-death experiences. Some of his grad students
are working with me in collaborative research. AUDIENCE: Hello. I am Victoria. I’m a UVA student. I have a question. Is there a scientific
explanation why people who experience
clinical death have this– some parts of their
brain are activated or they have external powers? For example, in
Russia, there are a lot of psychics
who see the future, but the majority of them,
they’ve had other trauma, or they had a coma. Do scientists explain
what happens in the brain that after experiencing
death, they have these powers? KIM PENBERTHY: That’s you. [LAUGHTER] BRUCE GREYSON: I don’t think
we have the answer to that yet. We certainly have a lot
of anecdotal evidence that people claim all sorts
of abilities after the NDE that they didn’t have before. It’s difficult to study
these with neuroimaging, for example, because
a lot of them can’t do these things on demand. There have been a
few people to be studied in the lab who
claim to be able to do these things on demand. But to do most
neuroimaging techniques, you have to be physically still
while you’re being imaged. And a lot of these people
have trouble doing that. But we are still
looking for people who can manifest these
abilities at will, that can do it in a way that
we can do neuroimaging with. AUDIENCE: Hi. My name is Libby Rexrode. I’m a nurse coordinator
in the surgery department. I’m just curious how
you find your subjects. Do they come to you, or are you
made aware of these incidences, or how do you come
about finding them? JIM TUCKER: Well, these
days they find us. They go online if their child
is talking about a past life, or if somebody has a
near-death experience, or extraordinary abilities. Then they find Ed’s lab. It would be very hard to
go out and find people, but fortunately, it’s very easy
these days for them to find us. EDWARD KELLY: If I
could add to that, though, it’s the
hardest part of our job, is finding suitable people
to work with in our lab. So if anybody knows of
anybody who has recently– [LAUGHTER] Still send them our way, please. AUDIENCE: Dan Grogan. Unless I missed something, the
only percentile correlation you looked at was, or mentioned,
was cardiac events and trauma, suicide, war. Does that aspect– I assume you were looking
at the highest correlations. But connecting cause of
death with NDE percentages, does that area lead you
in any other direction? Or is there some– what’s the current theory about
why those areas correlate? And then, I’d also be interested
in your view of the young man of James III, and his
personality in the Western context, rebirth or
re-incarnated folks– what they bring to society after
that in the arc of their life. BRUCE GREYSON: I’ll
take the NDE part first. We have studied– we have
files on more than 1,000 near-death experiences. About a quarter of those
are from cardiac arrest. Most of them are from
other causes of death. The problem with a
lot of these cases is that it’s hard to know
how close they were to death, because they happened in a
car accident or some place where they are not
being monitored. We like to study cardiac
arrest, because we know exactly what’s going
on with them, so we can get nice figures about that. Because with people who
were in a car accident, we don’t know what the
baseline is, so we don’t know how many of them have NDEs. So it’s neater to do
research with cardiac arrest, but we study other
people as well. In fact, we have not found that
the way you come close to death has any impact on that type
of near-death experience that you’re going to have. There are some
exceptions, like people who were intoxicated at the time
or under the effect of drugs tend not to have as many NDEs,
or to have shallower, quote, NDEs than people who were
mentally clear at the time. JIM TUCKER: So as far as the
question of what children who remember past lives,
what they then take with them into their life– most of the
children, by the time they get to be six or seven,
stop talking about this stuff, and they just go on with their
lives, as far as we can tell. Now, some of them as adults
say that it did give them more of sort of a spiritual outlook. But for the most part,
they seem to be pretty much like the rest of us. They’re certainly not little
mystics or anything like that. They’re just kind
of typical kids. We’ve done psychological
testing with stuff some of them. The only thing that
really showed up is they tend to be
quite intelligent. But otherwise, they’re pretty
much just like everybody else. MARCIA DAY CHILDRESS: So
we’ve come to the end of hour, but obviously, not to the
end of your questions. So you’d be welcome to come down
and talk with the presenters following the program. We invite you to join us next
week, March 1st, at 12:00 noon, please, because we’re combined
with Medical Grand Round. We have Gerard
Clancy here with us, who’s president of the
University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He’s also a psychiatrist. He will be talking
about a story of success in reversing urban
health disparities. So please join us then
at noon next week. Please now join me
in thanking members of the Division of
Perceptual Studies. [APPLAUSE]

89 thoughts on “Is There Life after Death? Fifty Years of Research at UVA

  1. I am from nepal believe me I am always excited about this things,… hope in future science will able to find out the mystery beyond life…. I want to be part of this research 😍😍 but I Don't know the way here in nepal people are still 100 years backward hope in next life when I will reincarnate at USA 😉😉 and be the part of such valuable research…. good job all

  2. Ive had phscosis a few times and hallucinations were rampant. Several things I saw came true soon after the visions. Like ibsaw my wife bring the truck home and park I garage which she nwver does. Then later she pulled in garage exactly how I halkucianted it

  3. We all hope this fascinating game (to be living) continues after death. We all hope that catastrophic perspective of losing individual conscious and becoming nothing, only due to the lack of knowledge about that process.

  4. Please visit Indian experiences which were well documented as well from living sages at Himalayas. One example is from Ramana Maharshi's experiences in his scriptures.

  5. Indian "Bhagavat Geeta" by Lord Krishna says about soul neither be created nor be destroyed. Only it takes different shapes of biological life.

  6. Fascinating, the good work should be supported…
    But there are realities outside materialism which science focuses on. But science is the gatekeeper of truth in today's society. Millennia of knowledge has been sidelined today and can only be recognised when appropriated by material science.

  7. I think I had hallucinations when I was a kid. I would see fish swimming on the walls around. At night I would wake up terrified and there would be a mesh of yellow light inter spread with darkness closing in on me with a high frequency hum. I would see creatures with long faces and teeth like cooked noodles oozing out as they grinned. This was repeated night after night and I would see the nightmare even when awake. Any rhythmic sound such as the ticking of a clock would become louder and louder as it would fill my head and there would be this high frequency hum drowning my senses. I was really scared. I have tried to understand this dream which I had till I was 6 or 7. I do not know when it started. I hated the nights in my mother’s ancestral home where a loudly ticking ancient clock would become part of this nightmare of light and sounds

    Now, while writing this I correlated it with my treatment for Primary Complex, childhood TB. Yes, some of these medicines cause hallucinations and psychosis.

  8. Iam a hindu from india who firmly believes in reincarnation I had a neighbour poor average middle class guy his daughter when she was 2 years old started speaking in english and the parents ignored her talk as some gibberish but as she became fluent in native telugu language she still went on talking in english when she went to sleep and when her parents were perturbed by her condition asked her what her problem was and after much cajoling she came out with the story that in her previous birth she was the daughter of a rich white man and she when she was 20 years age driving a car was killed in an accident and she asked her present parents to take her to.washington so she could meet her father but her parents in Bangalore Karnataka India being poor and without an understanding of what was happening to their daughter simply solaced her and by 6 years age she forgot her mastery of english her previous birth and was a normal indian child just like any other and now well educated and happy now coming to the ne point I my self had that ne are years back some food got stuck in my gullet I was not able to breathe fell down is topped breathing and then I had an experience of complete peace and inexplicable happiness and I felt removed from the physical body but my son who was near lifted me up by pressing and pulling my back and the food in my food pipe spilled out and my breathing restarted but that experience of a minute or second I still remember also I have had many dreams if floating in the air looking down upon my body and iam so light I may escape into space and go away but at the last moment iam back in my body and awakened from sleep sweating profusely my summation about incarnation us this the soul is independent of brain mind and physical body and it does not wait for judgement soul being a particle if god super soul reincarnates repeatedly and either suffers for suna if previous births are enjoys the fruits of good deeds done in previous birth in the new body and this is logical rather than the christian logic of souls of saints and murderer's waiting together for judgement does those souls wait in their graves in air or where and when is the judgement day is it's exact date given in the bible l laughable so let us laugh and clap in unison

  9. The Jews have something called kabbalah and they have everything figured out regarding this subject.
    They are called parallel worlds and Jewish sages have traveled between them and the very few are left who did it .
    I know of someone(he's a holy rabbi, and has fasted and prayed to be granted passage) that did it couple of times but then couldn't do it anymore because it's extremely difficult these days to do it.
    There is a God and the Jews claim all this for thousands of years, they have thousands of holy books about it but I guess these scientist are not working with kabbslist rabbis.

  10. Reincarnation is the wrong interpretation of a human experience. Our body is the biological memory of our ancestors. That is why we think, in certain cases, that we have lived other lives. Yes, we have, but not any life out of the line of our ancestors. That is a proof that our conscience have an important role modeling our body, and not only natural selection. Our body is the sum of millions of experiences and memories, and how those things are ordered in time and space. The remembrance of past lives is the crystallization of a certain memory codified in our body that presents to our conscience in a way that we interpret it like the memory of another person. It is not, its a certain memory of all the memories that forms us.

  11. So if the brain recognizes it is in a terminal condition, it initiates the conditions for a painless shutdown.
    Yeah, that will do for me.

  12. There are way too many examples of people who died and then saw their body, other people in the room, people in other rooms, objects on the roof of the building, family members they didn’t know existed, and people they didn’t know died for it to just be a coincidence. People can scream DMT all they want, but that doesn’t explain how a person knows what is going on in the room or in other rooms when they are dead. There appears to be some sort of life after death, but I’m not sure how it works. I don’t know if it’s similar to religious texts where all the good people go to one place and bad people go to another, but something seems to happen when we die. And these experiences are all the ones we know about. There may be some who had similar experiences, but just don’t remember when they woke up. I also find it creepy that there have been experiences where people find out about dead relatives when they die. I heard this story where a kid had a NDE and while he was dead, he experienced what he felt was heaven and saw his sister there. She said something about him having to go back. The parents didn’t know what to think and when they went to call her, they found out she did indeed die. Again, that can’t just be a coincidence or chance that he just happened to dream that. This isn’t even a wishful thinking post or me hoping for some kind of afterlife. I’m looking at documented cases where things don’t add up and seem to point to their being one. I’ve always found it interesting how so many people like to shoot these things down and try to say there is no God or chance of an afterlife. It’s one thing to be skeptical, but it’s another to completely dismiss something just because you can’t see it or don’t want to believe in it. This isn’t even a religious post either. I just think that when there are countless experiences like these, there has to be some truth to it. Call me an idiot all you want, but it doesn’t change the fact that there are things in this world we don’t understand and may never understand.

  13. Congratulations for your research! whereas , you could have saved all the money and time and put that for hungry child, education and to reduce poverty. If you really want to understand something like this! Start meditation and attain enlightenment. All your research and its questions will be answered. Stop doing a research like this which involves so much money and time.

  14. Although I don't believe in life after death, since personally I think we are just smart Chimps. Anyhow; I once was driving in a thick fog almost 'whiteout' conditions at 5mph with full beams on and following the Yellow line trying to keep the car on the road, when what I can only describe as a 'translucent silhouette' in the fog of an old lady crossed in front of the car. I would not have believed my own eyes except my passenger also saw it. So I do believe after someone dies in some instances they can leave something equivalent to a photo negative image behind.

  15. These people who came back may have had cardiac arrest but they didn't have neurologic death so they didn't die. im not surprised they hallucinated.

  16. No Life in Heaven would let you into Heavens, because you are not a citizen of it. You have no friends there, You have no connections. You don't know the Lord who is in Charge and He will not let you in. Jesus is the person you must get acquainted with, to know His home.

  17. That's why I mentioned Moslem are genius, becuz they need no such a research of life after death, they even know about beyond it…we call it as hell and heaven, my suggestion stop doing such a research, and just prepare ur self for the after life, becuz being realized or not we are marching towards death…may Alloh AW guides and forgives us all

  18. For what it is worth.My Wife was absolutely fine,And was ready to go and meet her friends to go to a WI Carol concert.Four minutes later she died in my arms.I said to her I’m calling 999, (This is the UK.)The last words she said was “NO” and tried to snatch the phone from my hand.The paramedics arrived and could do nothing.I honestly believe that she did not want to come back.It was her time.And she was in that place where she wanted to be.Despite the love that we had for each other.This is the first time I have shared this on the internet.but this site is absolutely right.

  19. Life after death is not that you find under microscope, this is in your belief, as you can’t find hate and love under microscope

  20. It's not Morphine, or lack of Oxygen, and DMT (Hello Sam Harris) DMT has not be found in the human brain, yet, post mortem, nor is produced in the human body in sufficient quantities to cause hallucinations. DMT is common to many plants and animals, but it serves other functions, than making humans high, anthropocentric notions common to New Age Religions have to be rejected if we are to follow the scientific method. All of these hypotheses can be too easily shown to be incorrect. NDE is clearly is a biological mechanism of its own, it serves an evolutionary function, or it wouldn't be this important for the neuron colonies in the brain to preserve and encode for millennia, in order to reproduce in dire, life-threatening circumstances. One important detail I noticed was that the dead relatives and friends during one's NDE always say "it's not your time yet" . I have never seen one report where they would be begging the individual "to stay" and die. Another detail is that children are more likely to report THE LIVING people talking to them during NDE – which makes sense as they do not yet know many people who died. And this may be the crux of it. Think cold weather, think hypothermia, think intra-hemispheric chatter, think Right hemisphere issuing "verbal commands" to the Left in this weird form. I haven't worked out all the hows and whys yet, but I have a vague hypothesis how this NDE mechanism may have evolved. Whether or not one believes in afterlife, this is the hypothesis that requires further research. The evidence presented today is anecdotal, extremely weak, and in all likelihood – cherry picked. Wherever you go – you can always find people who match the description of some "past life", in every town of even 2-10 000 individuals there will always be a deceased person the main (rather vague) points of whose biography or circumstances of death will match the description. I read Ian Stevenson's studies, they lacked adequate controls. Children were asked leading questions, and the whole approach seems to be the example of Subjective Validation, opposite of the Logic of Hypothesis Testing in science. Present experimental evidence under controlled conditions, have it replicated by others, and then you grab not just the attention of someone like me, you grab the attention of the entire community of cognitive scientists, I guarantee it.

  21. I would like to help you understand this issue.
    Let’s start with a glass. A glass holds water.
    You know it, you have no doubt about it. There are no current research panels that have studied glasses for 50 years to determine if they hold water – you benefit daily from glasses and you know the answer.
    Similarly, though transistors May escape your detailed understanding, you are aware of radios. Now just ask yourself if you have this same kind of knowledge about any brain information persisting after the biological rotting of a brain. Ask yourself if you benefit daily like you do with a smart phone, from brains being in the cloud and having communication with the dead. Ask if dying is anything like living – where you have thoughts, eat food, communicate with loved ones. Now get real and recognize that we are our brains and in death we perish forever.
    If an accident messes up your brain, you are screwed – you do not laugh it off and say oh well, my thinking was all done in the cloud or in spirit land.
    Reports of past lives are interesting and I do not want to discount the possibility of esoteric mechanisms, but I want to point out that the average person is not benefiting from
    this the way they do from a glass, a radio or a smart phone. So you need not believe anything until it becomes as clear to you as how a rubber ball bounces.

  22. The Buddha said who tell death already reborn it wrong who said death don't reborn wrong all the life it to happen by effects.

  23. In India, many children were born with two heads and four arms and legs… The people there
    see them as Gods/Goddesses. like their past diety. To me, this explains their gods, which I think where only children born with these oddities. If you KNOW there is no such thing as MAGIC, then you cannot believe that the trick you see is magic. If you do believe in magic many things will appear as magic. Have any of these situations been studied in a scientific situation? They are all hearsay and stories. It is the same way a "Clairvoyant" in a room with 200 people will say: Does the name Cynthia mean anything… And a person will stand up…Was she your mother? Yes, How did you know… People see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear. My answer about the boy pilot is the possibility that he heard a radio program with most of this info. I would ask the father if he listened to the radio at all and if his son could hear it and go to the station he listened to and ask if they ever had a show with this info. No one did that, did they?

    Just a small point which means nothing , but… Why did the speaker say that he didn't know what a Coursier was. It has nothing to do with the story. It is just the name of a Navy plane. It is not special except it was one of the first to takeoff and land on a carrier. All planes ahve numbers and names. It just sounds like "Something Special as he said. It was NOTHING SPECIAL.

    Remember: Dr. are humans with personal opinions. My position is… Just as thousands believe there is a bigfoot and UFOs are alien ships that visited Earth thousands of years ago, and those who believed the Earth is flat and people who believe that today and also believe the Sun is only 3,000 miles from Earth and that the Earth was the center of the universe and the 5 planets were carried around the Earth by angels (Which you can say EVERYONE BELIEVED, a few hundred to a thousand years ago…My UNIVERSAL ANSWER is: We don't know. We can not know. And it really doesn't matter except to the people who get attention and/or profit from these discussions and articles. To add: If the soul is not conscous and has no body and no mind it is just energy, then why are people so interested in what will happen to them after death. They will never know.
    Relax and live your life and don't believe in the beliefs of others. Make your own way. Then you will die your own death.

  24. The human defense system and imagination are amazing. Try it this way: The reason allmost
    all people have a belief in a God is because we see/feel these kind of these things moreso than we see/feel these things because there is a God. All of these discriptions are very short and in
    a person who just died or almost dead. If the stay dead, really dead then they cannot report anything. I explain them as part of the nature of our brain. I have never experienced any near death experience but I do have all of the "Qualities" in 24:-28: except the increase in Spirituality and the Post Mortum Survial and ALL of the second list, and have been this way all of my life of over 70 years. An example: They remember what they do because it is a life and death experience. For example: When we dream we think it is real. We usually don't remember them because we no longer think of dreams as so important. If we did see dreams as VERY IMPORTANT we would remember them more and discuss them more. None of these Drs. said or asked for the religion of these people and how deeply religious they are. I wonder why. Do people who strongly believe in God have a different experience, or what?

  25. Like most titles on YT, you use a "Startiling Statement" as a title, which you do not answer the title question, but give stories and examples where you had little or NO contact with any of the people. You had NO OPPOSING people on stage and dismissed the one with less than a few words. This is a waste of time. I could have gotten a better panel if you were all Priests. I can now see why I wasn't interested in university teaching, in general. Just DUMB wasful NONSENSE. PITY. DEATH is DEAD. End of story. The stories you tell are just as unexplained as the unexplained UFO sitings and aliens, and Bigfoot and why people think the Earth is flat and the sun is 3,000 miles from Earth.

    You all are more interested in attention have a good job and apperaing as experts.

  26. This one was OKish but it doesn't match Monty Python's definitive discussion of Is There Life after Death ? between a panel of 4 extremely distinguished dead experts ? Since the distinguished dead experts are obviously much much much older than the geezers here they are much much much more knowledgeable.

  27. I don’t need a panel to determine life after death😳. Call me crazy but I have had many varied “visits” of those who have passed along with some beautiful visual signs. I sense the veil is thinning between our world and the afterlife.

  28. Not only is there life after death there is life before birth too. I have vivid memories of being with my parents one week before I was born. I'm pushing 80 now and they have not faded. They're real. I know it. I won't relate details here nor will I report on all the many attempts to debunk over the years. I am the world's biggest skeptic. I have tried and tried but those memories are valid. It's funny to consider that every one of us will know the answer moments after death. That fact doesn't seem to help much now though.

  29. Everybody finds in researches what others say! No one asks him/herself : With what kind of Machine are we Observing all these! What is Brain? What is Brain capable of? …….Brain is lazy and it’s experts in creating illusions! Specially when under pressure! …..Don’t forget!!

  30. Hindus and Buddhists definitely believe in reincarnation…all the people around us were in some form or the other in previous lives

  31. My friend died of a heamorrage . Her soul left her body . When she was revived she told us everything . She remembers floating up to the ceiling and looking at the patterns on it then she saw the medics working on her body below.
    This suggests to me that we have soul . That was obviously her soul that floated up .
    She didnt go through a tunnel of light because she wasnt dead long enough . But her soul or life force did leave her body .

  32. Gbr to all Greetings:I can convey to you what comes from Our Creator Holy Spirit but nothing from my imagination Here is what it is:Our Creator has a precise GOAL to form SPIRITUAL HELPERS MANAGERS OF THE ENTIRE CREATION THE MULTITUDE OF THE GALAXIES CREATED; HE CREATED ANGELS LUCIFER SENT TO A TESTING PLACE LUCIFER REBELLED 1/3 OF THE ANGELS REBELLED THEY REMOVED THEMSELFES WITH NO PERMISSION FROM THE TESTING PLACES CREATED DAMAGES IN THE CREATION OUR CREATOR SENT A SUPER STRONG SPIRITUAL TEAM OF FIGNTERS BEAT THEM DOWN TO THE EARTH ALL THE ANGELS GOOD AND BED DISQUALIFFIED THEMSELVES TO BE MANAGERS OF THE CREATION SO LUCIFER DISQUALIFFIED. The entire angels plan was stopped but for the Divine Plan on this Earth was created flora fauna and the first MAN ADAM(the one with red blood) Adam was intelligent has a language and he named all the domestic and wild animals but please pay ATTENTION TO THIS: HE WAS A SPIRITUAL INDIVIDUAL IN A TEMPORARY HUMAN BODY TO BE TESTED,HE WAS A SPIRITUAL INDIVIDUAL IN A FLESH HUMAN BODY MADE FROM WATER CARBON CALCIUM ETC/The bibles said his wife was EVE but not so her name was CAVAH the one who brings life When human body dies the SPIRITUAL INDIVIDUAL WHICH RECORDED ALL OPEN AND SECRET LIFE DOES NOT DIE AND IS KEPT IN A AN INACTIVE STATE TO THE END OF THE 7,000 years DIVINE PLAN FOR TESTING RECORDING OF HUMANS/AT THE END OF THIS PLAN(we are now close to the first 6000 years) all dead will be resurrected plus those alive and THEIR LIFE RECORD WILL BE EXAMINED BY OUR CREATOR TO DECIDE WHO WILL BE IN ETERNAL LIFE SPIRITUAL BODY AND WHO WILL VANISH FOR EVER AS NEVER EXISTED/So the answer is this AFTER THE DEATH OF THE BODY THE LIFE DOES NOT CEASE TO EXIST IT CONTINUES IN AN INACTIVE FORM BUT AFTER THE FINAL JUDGEMENT ALL REJECTED WILL LOOSE THEIR LIFE FOR EVER AND ONLY THOSE IN SPIRIT WILL EXIST/This is an EXTRAORDINARY DIVINE INTELIGENT PLAN SO LIVE YOUR LEFE AFTER THE ORIGINAL SCROLLS WHERE THE DIVINE LAW IS WRITTEN/It is not easy to comprehend Our Creator Plan and the multitude of the translated bibles do not present the content of the Original Scrolls but combining min 7 versions of the bibles with prayers you can come close to the truth/With all due respect and love GBR an Our Creator Minster for Special Operations/GBR TN USA/over// And this is a Message from Our Creator Holy Spirit do not delete//

  33. I had a dream about my daughter who accidentally committed suicide. I asked her where she was, expecting her to say heaven or something. She said she was “ on the Emerald Isle at the top of the continent. “ I’ve wondered since then if she had reincarnated in Ireland.

  34. The reason I’m on the fence with all of this is because I am a temporal lobe epileptic and all of these things can happen during a seizure. Isn’t it possible the temporal lobe might glitch upon death and the experience drawn out by the microtubules of the brain which function for several minutes after brain death ?

  35. What a waste of tuition money. These “professors “ should be ashamed to participate in something like this. Money for repeating stories. This is not academic work, it is ghost stories being told by “professors “ collecting a pay check for producing nothing. These people are not experts, they are close cousins to TV evangelists.

  36. UVA Medical Center Hour
    even though your study involved children for the last 50 years, I'm surprised to hear you say others in the field say 1 and 10% NDE's are not pleasant in nature because it's hard to get people to talk about these things. You state don't know what goes into making a NDE pleasant or unpleasant, although you do know for some it's the difficulty of letting go and people who are very rigid have a terrifying experience. So they don't embrace the experience, they fight it. Wouldn't you? I'm curious what each of you in the video personally believe goes into making a NDE pleasant or unpleasant. That would be a great discussion on the side. But the few conclusions you hold about negative negative NDEs are vague at best and not in tune with the reality and dynamics of negative NDE's. I say this in part because Dr. Kim Penberthy discusses Mindfulness and the hopeful ability to reach altered states of gaining a meaningful life as if one had a positive NDE without having to ever had died. She asserts that research through DOPS challenges mainstream views about the relationship between the physical world, our consciousness and 'whether or not they are indeed distinct and separate'. She goes on to say it's important to understand the ramifications not only to ourselves individually but also about the future of our death and people as a race. But she missed the important point. If you want to learn more about NDE's and its effects on the future of ourselves and planet, then you must also include a study of negative NDE's. If you knew the actual percentage of people who had, have and will have negative NDE's, it would indeed unpleasantly catch you off guard. It needs to be studied in order to bring further knowledge to Dr. Penberthy's unknown ramifications about the future of our death and people as a race, and there are several ways to accomplish it.
    As for living life as though one had a positive NDE without ever having had one, able to transcend one's life into those ways of altered states of well being, not just for a while but for the rest of one's life, it happens, more than you know.

  37. This is essentially the opposite of science. Absurd that a university would actually sanction this non-sense.

  38. These people are morons. They don't know what science is. You can't study life after death. They are idiots. What a bunch of fools. Wasting our tax dollars.

  39. This is a very important topic that influences just about everything in our lives. Having done spiritual energy healing work and regression hypnotherapy for many years as well as working with a variety of intuitives and mediums, the concept that our consciousness is eternal and transcends the physical realm is something that became irrefutable for me. When I first became interested in these subjects many years ago I would find all the books I could on reincarnation, NDEs, OOBEs, and other topics relating to consciousness and metaphysics. Coming from an academic background it helped to find accomplished researchers writing about these subjects and bringing some scholarly perspectives to the topics. It is good to have academic researchers collecting evidence in the field of parapsychology to help those who are caught in a materialist science worldview to begin taking the subject of consciousness and spirituality more seriously.

  40. I can record spirits giving intelligent answers virtually anywhere and at any time. If I do a video in my house that’s 1 minute long I will generally have at least three spirit voices in it saying hello, my name, etc. I’m not making this up and almost anyone I show the video to can also hear them.

  41. There is an unbreakable Universal and Dimensional Law that encompasses Space, Time, The Microcosm and the Macrocosm, it is at once a Simple Law and a Profound one. The Law is this. There is No such thing as "Nothing" Science is Slowly moving towards this Truth.

  42. I am one of the many who remember our past generations. Our body dies but the spirit lives on for 7 generations.

    We do meet heavenly souls but earthly people do not and will not believe it.

    So we shut our mouth and sit quite. 🙂

  43. There is life after deaths with ALL animals, not just humans. Again, humans are not that special in this entire universe. We are as intelligent as a bug to other far more advanced life forms in the universe, as a bug is to humans.

  44. When we brought our child home after being born , only 4 days later when he was sleeping on a nightly occurrence he would be smiling and actually laughing at times during his sleep . A child at this age has no concept of anything comical regardless if adults try to make them laugh , hearing and eyesight has still not developed, letter know the concept of laughter . I have 5 boys and this happened with 3 of them .

  45. And he (i.e. man) presents for Us an example (i.e. attempting to establish the finality of death) and forgets his [own] creation. He says, “Who will give life to bones while they are disintegrated?” Say, “He will give them life who produced them the first time; and He is, of all creation, Knowing.” [It is] He who made for you from the green tree, fire, and then from it you ignite. Is not He who created the heavens and the earth Able to create the likes of them? Yes, [it is so]; and He is the Knowing Creator. (Quran, 36:78-

  46. What balderdash and waste of money this all is. So funny how intelligent or seemingly intelligent people can give themselves so completly to such futile research.

  47. Extremely interesting and important document. Well done, @UVA. And I would like to know who these 613 morons are (as of today) who disliked this great documentary. Surely dull heads. Pumpkin brains. Fools.

  48. I don't have time to even watch this video, I just know that there is life after death, positively. I have passed on (and revived) many times due to my health problems and have been to the spirit world each time. I already know if there is life after death. There is, period. There is a God also.

  49. Believe me, there is no life after death. Nothing remains when a person dies, it is THE END. What you have read in the religious books like bible etc . are all myth. There is no such a place like heaven and hell.

  50. Yes there's a life after death it's been proved 50000 year back by ancient Hindu veda , Rigveda, so no need to do any research only become Hindu

  51. It is not death. A message from the other side as a collective whole: "Not time, space or distance can keep us apart. Souls NEVER separate, only the flesh is gone."

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