In all cultures people who are dying start talking to loved
ones who have already died in the days before they die.
Sometime they say that they can see beautiful places in
the spirit world and hear beautiful music.
There are many cases on record with the Society of Psychical
Research where the spirit visitors were seen by others at
the bedside of the dying person, sometimes by several persons
at the same time:
• in one well documented case a death-bed
apparition was seen by the dying woman, Harriet Pearson,
and three relatives who were caring for her (Journal of
the Society for Psychical Research Feb 1904: 185-187)
• in another case of a young boy dying,
two witnesses independently saw his recently deceased mother
at the child's bedside (Proceedings of the Society for Psychical
Research, Volume 6 p.20 ).
Deathbed visions are consistent with and
support the other evidence for afterlife. Of those who will
experience conscious death, fifty to sixty percent will
experience a vision of the afterlife.
These "deathbed visions" were
rarely mentioned in the scientific literature until the
late 1920's, when they were studied by Sir William Barrett,
a professor of physics at the Royal College of Science,
He became interested in the topic when his
wife, a doctor, arrived home one night and told him about
a woman who had died at the hospital that day after having
a baby. Just before she had died the woman, Doris, sat up
and become very excited about seeing a wonderful place and
said that her father had come to take her there.
What was most amazing was the fact that
the woman was surprised to see her sister with her father.
It seems that the sister had died only three weeks before.
Since Doris had been so ill, she was not told that her much
loved sister had died.
This story was so interesting to Professor
Barrett that he undertook a systematic study of death-bed
visions. His was the first scientific study to find that
the mind of the dying patient is often clear and rational.
He also reported a number of cases in which the doctors
and nurses or relatives present could also see what the
person dying saw.
His book, published in 1926 was called "Deathbed
Visions". In it he noted that:
• many times at the moment of death
people would see a friend or relative at their bedside whom
they thought was still living
• in all cases when it was checked
out, the person they saw had already died.
• dying children often expressed surprise
that the angels they saw waiting for them didn't have wings.
In the 1960s Dr
Karlis Osis of the American Society for Psychical Research
did a pilot study of deathbed visions that confirmed the
findings of Barrett. His finding were:
• the most common type of vision was
of people who had died before them
• the visions usually lasted a short time, five minutes
• the dying patients stated that the visitor had come
to take them away
• it made no difference if the dying person did or
did not believe in the afterlife
• most of the patients in the study had not received
drugs which could confuse their minds.
In 1977 Dr Osis and his colleague, Dr Erlenddur Haraldsson,
published "At the Hour of Death". This book extended
the original study and included reports from over 1000 doctors
and nurses in India as well as the United States. In all
it reported on the deaths of more than one hundred thousand
people. These studies all found the same things as the earlier
According to the information provided to
him by nurses and doctors:
• only ten per cent of people are
conscious shortly before their death
• of this group one half to two thirds have near death
• these people see their loved ones, see scenes of
the next world and suddenly are very happy and excited for
no medical reason.
In his book "Closer to the Light—Learning from
the Near-Death Experiences of Children", Dr. Melvin
Morse says that death-bed visions are 'a forgotten aspect
of life's mysterious process' and that they can comfort
and help the dying patient and the family (1993: 65).
He talks about several cases where dying children began
to see visions of the afterlife during the last few days
of their lives. They described amazing colors and beautiful
places and relatives they sometimes had not known existed.
The importance of deathbed visions
In his book "Parting Visions"
(1994) pediatrician Melvin Morse says
• family members who know about the
visions of the dying are known to spend more time at the
dying person's bedside.
• spiritual visions empower the dying patients making
them realize that they have something to share with others
• spiritual visions remove all fear of dying in the
patient and are enormously healing to the relatives
• they can prevent burnout on the part of nurses and
• if attended to they can dramatically reduce wasteful
medical procedures that are often painful to the patient.
He claims that 30-60% of the American health care dollar
is spent in the last few days of a person's life and 'most
of it is spent in useless procedures that do nothing to
prolong life' (Morse 1994: 136).
Dr. Peter Fenwick Consciousness and Dying- Interview with
Iain McNay Author of several books including
'The Art Of Dying,' 'The Truth In The Light' and 'The Hidden
Door' neuro-psychiatrist Peter Fenwick talks about his research
into End of Life Experiences and deathbed phenomena and what
these mean in the greater picture of who we really are. www.conscious.tv
DR. JOHN LERMA
Dr. John Lerma is a hospice director from Texas.
He claims to have interviewed more that 30,000 people on the
verge of death and that there are predictable spiritual experiences
that precede dying. These , he says, start with visits by
spirit people up to four weeks before death. He is the author
of 'Into the Light: Real Life Stories About Angelic Visits,
Visions of the Afterlife, and Other Pre-Death Experiences'.
Here he talks with psychic medium Marla Frees. Essential
Carla Wills-Brandon M.A. LMFT, PA is a Licensed
Marriage and Family Therapist and author of 13 published
books, became interested in deathbed visions when her own
son had one when he was just three years of age. Visited
by an other worldly visitor who shared that he was there
to take his grandfather with him, her son was confident
his ‘Da’ was all right. In 3 of her books, One
Last Hug Before I Go: The Mystery and Meaning of Deathbed
Visions, A Glimpse of Heaven: The Remarkable World of Spiritually
Transformative Experiences, and Heavenly Hugs: Comfort,
Support, and Hope From the Afterlife, she not only re-examines
the research of Barrett and Osis, but also takes a look
at many recent experiences. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTAZDS2B2ZA
Shared Death Experiences
There are many reports that people
who are sitting at the bedside of a dying person experience
going into the spirit world and meeting relatives who have
already died with that person.
Onlookers at the bedside of the dying often have profound
spiritual experiences. The onlookers interpret their experiences
as an empathic co-living of the passing away of a person
who actually died. In terms of their core elements, shared-death
experiences are indistinguishable from classic near-death
Therefore, shared-death experiences seem to call into question
materialist neurophysiological explanations of near-death
experiences. For the onlookers are not ill or injured, yet
they report the identical phenomena reported by survivors
of cardiac arrest or severe life-threatening illness. This
analysis discusses shared-death experiences in terms of their
(1) phenomenology (i.e., common characteristics) and (2) implications
for rational study of the question of life after death. http://www.eternea.org/SDE_definition.aspx
In his recently-released
book "Glimpses of Eternity", Dr. Raymond Moody
explores the area of deathbed visions and shared-death experiences.
In one chapter, Moody discusses a strange mist that is sometimes
reported over a deathbed. “They describe it in various
ways,” he writes. “Some say that it looks like
smoke, while others say it is as subtle as steam. Sometimes
it seems to have a human shape. Whatever the case, it usually
drifts upward and always disappears fairly quickly.”
* RAYMOND MOODY Shared Death Experiences: An Analysis
of the Characteristics and Implications
THE STAGES OF DYING
* MATTHEW O'REILLY "Am I dying?" The honest answer.
Matthew O’Reilly is a veteran emergency medical
technician on Long Island, New York. In this talk, O’Reilly
describes what happens next when a gravely hurt patient asks
him: “Am I going to die?”
* REBECCA BROWN TALKS ABOUT HER WORK WITH DYING TEENAGERS
AND YOUNG ADULTS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXe0bCceXqw
Rebecca Brown challenges our American discomfort with death
by sharing experiences from her work with hospitalized adolescents
and young adults who are suffering or dying. She suggests
that our "pornographic" relationship with death
creates fear, anxiety, and loneliness for those who are dying,
and that for the living, the illusion that death is avertible,
unnatural, and obscene. Brown is the founder and director
of Streetlight, a support program that partners premedical
and healthcare students with young people who are living with
a chronic illness or fear of an early death. Preliminary research
reports the experience to be transformational for both patient
and the healthcare student.