A psychomanteum is a specially built room
which is used to help a person enter an altered state of
consciousness and make contact with someone in the afterlife.
Dr Raymond Moody learned how this worked
by studying mirror gazing. He learned that in Ancient Greece
people who wanted to contact someone who had died spent
a few days in darkness and then would look at a shiny surface.
Moody created a process for people to spend a whole day in
a quiet relaxed setting, thinking about the person they wanted
to contact. At sunset they would go into a specially prepared
room with only a little amount of light and sit looking into
a mirror angled away from them so that they do not see their
Dr Moody claims that 85% of his clients who
go through a full day of preparation do make contact with
someone who has died. In most cases this occurs in his specially
build laboratory but in 25% of cases it happens later in their
own homes—often the client wakes up and sees the person
who died at the foot of the bed (Moody 1993: 97).
All of Moody's clients insist that this contact is real not
imagined—there is clear two-way communication, in some
cases physical touch.
He also says that the people who go through the experience
become 'kinder, more understanding and less afraid of death'
Moody gives full instructions on how he created his psychomanteum
in his book (1993 Ballantine Books New York by Raymond Moody
with Paul Perry):
He set aside a special room in an old
At one end of the room a mirror four
feet tall and three-and-a-half feet wide was mounted on
the wall. The bottom edge of the mirror was three feet
above the floor.
A comfortable chair was prepared by removing
its legs so that the top of the headrest was about three
feet above the floor.
The chair was placed about three feet
from the mirror and inclined slightly backward. This was
done to so the person looking into the mirror does not
see their own reflection.
A black velvet
curtain was hung behind the chair from the ceiling on
a curved curtain rod.
Directly behind the chair was placed
a small stained glass lamp with a fifteen watt bulb. This
was the only source of light in the room.
Dr.Rebecca Merz in
Sarasota has been doing some work on it.
Professor Arthur Hastings of the Institute of Transpersonal
Psychology in Palo Alto, California created his own psychomanteum.
He and his research team took 27 people through a three hour
session to contact a friend or loved one who had died.
The people began by talkingabout the person
who had died and then sat in a darkened room gazing at a mirror.
During the mirror meditation, 13 (out of 27) people felt they
had a contact from the persons who had died, including messages,
visions, touches, and a feeling of presence.
After the experience almost all the individuals had significantly
less grief, guilt, sadness, loss, and need to communicate
compared to their previous feelings. Half of the participants
said they had felt the presence of the person they wanted