The Book 4th Edition
“Like the Ancient Greeks I had designed a psychomanteum,
to which people could come to consult with the spirits of
the deceased. It was clear that given proper preparation,
people could see apparitions of departed loved ones... instead
of telling a therapist how they feel about losing a spouse
or child they could talk to the loved one directly.”
Seeing an apparition—a form of a person not physically
present—is consistent with the argument that we all
survive physical death. Objective evidence for apparitions
is by way of case studies and laboratory induced apparitions.
A very common phenomenon
Apparitions are a recurring theme in the literature and
folklore of all countries and over all of recorded history.
They have been scientifically studied since at least 1882
and the results have consistently showed them to be very
widely experienced (Currie 1978: 17 Bayless 1973: 17).
The first systematic inquiry into apparitions was instituted
by the English Society for Psychical Research in 1882. The
result was embodied in Phantasms of the Living by Myers,
Podmore and Gurney. A further, far more detailed international
study, was commenced in 1889. Thirty-two thousand cases
of sightings of apparitions were received, 17,000 in English.
The report published in 1894 fills almost the whole of Volume
X of the Society for Psychical Research Proceedings.
Further studies by the American Society for Psychical Research
and by the French researcher Camille Flammarion who compiled
thousands of cases in his books The Unknown (1900) Harper
and Brothers London and New York and Death and Its Mystery
(1925) also found that after death communications were a
very widely experienced phenomenon.
In 1973 University of Chicago sociologist asked a sample
of 1,467 Americans if they had ever felt they had contact
with someone who had died. Twenty seven per cent answered
that they had (Greenley 1975). A similar survey in Iceland
(Haraldsson et al 1976) found that thirty-one per cent said
Dr W.D. Rees, a British physician found that of a sample
of widows in Wales, forty seven per cent had experiences—often
repeatedly over a number of years—that convinced them
that their dead spouses had been in contact with them (Rees
1971: 37-41). An earlier British experiment by Dr P. Marris
(1958) had found a figure of fifty per cent.
This study was repeated in Canada by Dr Earl Dunn (1977:
121-122) who also found that fifty per cent of widows and
widowers had contact experiences. Many of these people had
thought that they were 'going crazy' and had not previously
told anyone of their experiences as they expected to be
Children who die usually make contact
Several studies have found that a very high proportion
of parents of children who die can expect to see or hear
them and experience great consolation within a few months
of the child's death.
Dr Melvin Morse, a pediatrician who has done extensive
studies of death and dying, claims that they are so common
that it is rare for someone to lose a parent or child and
not see them again in a death-related vision (Morse 1994:
There are many reasons why these apparitions cannot be
regarded as hallucinations, wish fulfillment or the product
of the unconscious mind.
1. The normality of the witnesses.
In most of these cases the person was in a perfectly ordinary
state of mind, free from shock stress or elation. Also the
experiences were totally unexpected and took place in familiar
surroundings. Nor were the witnesses mediumistic or telepathic—it
was rare for witnesses to state that they had more than
one or two such experiences in a lifetime (Tyrrell 1963:
23). In many cases the witnesses were scientifically trained
people of high credibility.
2. Objective phenomena.
The appearance of an apparition often involves tangible
physical phenomena such as the movement or breakage of objects
and sounds such as footsteps that have been recorded on
tape. Apparitions have been observed to cast a shadow, be
reflected in a mirror, overturn furniture, leave a scent,
ask for a lift, in short, demonstrate all the qualities
of a real entity.
In some cases the apparitions even leave behind samples
of their handwriting. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a gifted
doctor who pioneered the study of death and dying, claims
that a former patient of hers appeared to her when she was
thinking of giving up her work. The woman, Mrs. Schwartz,
got into a lift with her and accompanied her to her office
where she told her not to give up her work on death and
dying. Kübler-Ross thought that she must be hallucinating
because the woman, Mrs. Schwartz, had died ten months earlier.
But when she asked her to write date and sign a note the
woman did so before disappearing (Kübler-Ross 1997:
3. Seen by more than one person
Many of the recorded cases have been seen by more than
one person. For example in a case investigated by the Society
for Psychical Research, nine people resident in a house
in Ramsbury, England saw the apparition of a man who had
died ten months previously, both separately and as a group,
from February until April. He invariably was seen beside
his dying widow's bedside with his hand placed on her forehead
and was visible for up to half an hour at a time (Holzer
Professor Hart in his book The Enigma of Survival (1959)
claims that between one third and two thirds of all apparitions
are seen by more than one person, and are seen differently
by each viewer according to the correct perspective.
4. Conveying information not known to the observer
In many cases the person who appears conveys to the observer
information about how they died, their place of burial or
other information not known to the observer. In one famous
case accepted by the American Courts—the Chaffin Will
case—a father who had died appeared and talked to
one of his sons and gave him details of how to find his
In some cases people appear apparently with the express
purpose of saving loved ones from danger. This happened
to Elaine Worrell who lived with her husband Hal on the
top floor of an apartment building in Oskaloosa, Iowa. One
day she saw a young man in her hallway who led her downstairs
into the apartment of a young widow whom she barely knew.
She found the young woman collapsed on a bed after having
slashed her wrists. After she recovered, the young woman
showed her a photograph of her late husband; Elaine recognized
it immediately as the young man who had led her downstairs
and into the apartment (Holzer 1963: 138-141).
Apparitions at the time of death
A very large number of apparition cases involve a person
who has recently died appearing to one or more loved ones
to announce the fact of their death. In many such cases
the death was unexpected and was later confirmed to have
occurred immediately before the apparition.
Several documented and confirmed examples from various
• the case of Second Lieutenant Leslie Poynter who
was killed in action. At 9pm on the evening of his death
he appeared to his sister in England, walked into her bedroom,
bent over and kissed her and then, smiling happily, faded
from view. It was not until two weeks later that the family
received a telegram informing them of his death earlier
in the day on the same date ( McKenzie 1971: 116-117 )
• the case of Mrs. Pacquet whose brother Edmund appeared
to her six hours after he had drowned at sea and acted out
how he had been caught around the legs by a rope and dragged
overboard (Cited in Rogo 1974: 16-17)
• the case of Mrs. Gladys Watson who was awakened
from a deep sleep by someone calling her name. On waking
she saw her paternal grandfather who told her 'Don't be
frightened. It's only me. I've just died.' When she woke
her husband he refused to believe it and telephoned the
family home only to learn that the grandfather had died
unexpectedly a few minutes before (Spraggett 1975: 45-46).
According to Bennett (1939: 282) about one in twenty of
the cases on the files of the Society for Psychical Research
involve 'death-compacts' where two people promise that whoever
dies first will endeavor to appear to the other. From the
evidence a large number of these agreements have been fulfilled
• the case of Lord Brougham, an English peer, who
was traveling in Sweden. He suddenly saw an apparition of
a university friend he had not seen or thought about for
years. Later he received a letter confirming that the friend
had died in India at the exact time of the apparition. While
at university the two had often speculated on the question
of survival and had drawn up an agreement written in their
blood that whichever of the two died first would appear
to the other (Cited in Johnson 1971: 198-199)
• Mrs. Arthur Bellamy of Bristol who made a similar
agreement with a school friend whom she had not seen for
years. A night after the friend's death a lady was seen
by Mr. Bellamy sitting on the bed beside his sleeping wife.
He later identified her from a photograph as the same friend
(Bennett 1939: 131-132).
Laboratory induced apparitions
Dr Raymond Moody, who became famous for his pioneering
studies of Near-Death Experiences, worked on ways of inducing
facilitated apparitions in a controlled setting. He took
as his model classic works from Ancient Greece which suggested
that when people wished to contact a deceased loved one
they consulted with an 'oracle' at a psychomanteum.
A psychomanteum is a specially built laboratory using mirrors
to help facilitate the psychic process. Part of the actual
psychic process includes the sending of telepathic messages,
sending vibrations, to the selected recipient in the afterlife.
Moody has reconstructed the process with astonishing results—85%
of his clients who go through a full day of preparation
do make contact with a deceased loved one—but not
necessarily the one that they are seeking to meet. In most
cases this occurs in his specially build psychomanteum but
in 25% of cases it happens later in their own homes—often
the client wakes up and sees the apparition at the foot
of the bed (Moody 1993: 97).
The psychomanteum phenomenon is still in the early stages
but is spreading steadily in the United States. People are
being trained to become psychomanteum facilitators. One
of the most exciting aspects of this is the opportunity
to continue to objectify the results. According to Dianne
Arcangel, an associate of Dr Moody, in some cases when contact
is made the person seeking contact is given information
that they did not previously know (Arcangel 1997). The potential
is enormous and the process is being refined all the time.
All of Moody's clients insist that this contact is not
hallucination—there is clear two-way communication,
in some cases physical touch. Moody himself expresses amazement
It became clear that the visionary reunions were being
experienced as real events, not fantasies or dreams. So
far almost all of the subjects have asserted that their
encounters were completely real and that they had actually
been in the living presence of loved ones lost to death
(Moody 1993: 97).
He also notes that all the indications are that the person
is experiencing a paranormal event which, like the Near
Death Experience, changes the subject's outlook on life
and leads them to become 'kinder, more understanding and
less afraid of death' (Moody 1993: 98).
Moody gives full instructions on how to create your own
psychomanteum in his book Visionary Encounters with Departed
Loved Ones (1993 Ballantine Books New York by Raymond Moody
with Paul Perry).
Induced After-Death Communication
Allan Botkin, a clinical psychologist, created
a new kind of therapy while using eye movement desensitization
and reprocessing (EMDR) with grieving Vietnam veterans.
In 98% of cases he found he could induce and experience
which allowed clients to feel they were having a vivid meeting
with someone who had died.
Initially Botkin thought that these experiences were hallucinations,
until he discovered that the observing psychologist could
"tune into" and observe the encounter (Botkin
2005, pp.91-99). Although it is still early days, the process
is repeatable, teachable and promises to be an interesting
new avanue for research, as well as an immediate benefit
to those who have lost loved ones and are overcome with
grief or guilt.
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