While other people are compelled to collect stamps or antiques, I collect stories of near-death and afterlife experiences, particularly those that are quantified by scientists.
There is the work of Dutch cardiologist Pim van Lommel, who has quantified and published the experiences of those patients of his who have briefly died and then come back to tell the tale.
Of course, the similarity in certain of the experiences – ‘light, the tunnel, the life review’ – is undoubtedly interesting.
But what intrigues me most is that in nearly every instance, the people in question are fully conscious of what is happening around them during the time when they are supposedly ‘dead.’
Just think of the implications of this. If our body is run by the brain and the brain is a computer, this is the point where the computer is unplugged.
There was the story, among van Lommel’s case histories, of a man who’d been in a car accident and who was pronounced dead on arrival when the ambulance got to the hospital.
Nevertheless, an emergency team rushed him in, pulled off his clothes, glasses and false teeth, and began working on him. Sometime later, they brought him back.
The next day, when his doctor visited him, the patient smiled and said, ‘Would you ask that blonde nurse who removed my false teeth to please return them?’
Light after death
And then there is the work of Dr. Konstantin Korotkov, a physics professor at the Russian National University of Informational Technology, Mechanics and Optics.
Korotkov invented a Gas Discharge Visualization (GDV) device, which made use of state-of-the-art optics, digitized television matrices and a powerful computer – a blend of photography, measurements of light intensity, and computerized pattern recognition – to measure the faint light of biophoton emissions coming out of all living things.
Although raised an atheist in keeping with the culture of Cold War Soviet Russia in the 1950s and 60s, Korotkov was drawn increasingly to the larger questions of consciousness, particularly the question of whether this mysterious light lingers with the body after death.
In a series of experiments carried out in the late 1990s, Korotkov and a team of assistants had taken readings of dozens of newly dead men and women, and found that for many hours there was no principal difference between the gas discharge glow of live people and the cadavers.
Furthermore, the pattern of the light over time followed distinctly different patterns, which seemed to mirror the nature of their deaths.
When people died gently, so did their light, but when they died more violently, their light had more abrupt transitions.
Those who died a natural death had larger oscillations during the first 55 hours after death, which afterwards receded to gentler waves.
Although materialists would argue that the light was simply the residual physiological activity of muscular tissues transforming in the process of decomposition, the forensic medical literature made it clear that any electrophysiological characteristics of a newly dead body abruptly changed in the first few hours and either remained constant or created smooth curves.
Korotkov’s data did not resemble that at all. The only conclusion was that this light carried on after life had ended, evidence of some sort of transition.
Anybody still there?
Then there is Dr. Gary Schwartz, a psychologist and director of the Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness and Health at the University of Arizona ,who carried out the ‘Afterlife Experiments,’ a series of controlled studies, carefully designed to eliminate cheating and fraud, to test whether mediums in fact could communicate with the dead.
His batch of mediums turned out to have an accuracy rate of 83 percent, producing more than eighty pieces of information about deceased relatives, from names and personal oddities to the detailed nature of their deaths.
Schwartz went on to create triple-blind protocols and even, at one point in the series, setting up what he came to refer to as a ‘double-blind, double-deceased’ experiment involving a medium receiving information from one dead person about another.
This experiment also worked.
Besides the clear evidence that some form of consciousness persists after death, what also interests me is how these discoveries change the messenger. Korotkov wrote a book about his findings and privately became intensely spiritual, regarding this ‘energy-informational structure’ as analogous to what’s often referred to as the soul, connected to but ultimately independent of the human body.
And Dr Schwartz has created an experimental theater with instruments supposedly capable of ‘early phase spirit detection and communication technology’ – what he likes to refer to as a ‘soul phone.’
As for me, all these studies and case reports have convinced me – if I ever needed more convincing – that consciousness does not reside in the brain, but is out there, ever present, in the Field forever.