I was pleasantly surprised this week to note that a new book about near-death experiences, Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences, had shot into Amazon's Top 10 (and is comfortably sitting within the top 100 a few days later). The book is written by Paul Perry and radiation oncologist Jeffrey Long, who is on the board of directors of the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS), and is an active researcher in the field of NDEs. Dr Long set up the Near Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF) website more than ten years ago, which provides information about this fascinating phenomenon, and also requests that NDErs report their experience through a form on the NDERF website. The data collected through this form has been compared and analysed by Dr Long, and he believes it shows evidence that human consciousness survives physical death:
Evidence of the Afterlife shares the firsthand accounts of people who have died and lived to tell about it. Through their work at the Near Death Experience Research Foundation, radiation oncologist Jeffrey Long and his wife, Jody, have gathered thousands of accounts of near-death experiences (NDEs) from all over the world. In addition to sharing the personal narrative of their experiences, visitors to the website are asked to fill out a one hundred–item questionnaire designed to isolate specific elements of the experience and to flag counterfeit accounts.
The website has become the largest NDE research database in the world, containing over 1,600 NDE accounts. The people whose stories are captured in the database span all age groups, races, and religious affiliations and come from all over the world, yet the similarities in their stories are as awe-inspiring as they are revealing. Using this treasure trove of data, Dr. Long explains how medical evidence fails to explain these reports and why there is only one plausible explanation—that people have survived death and traveled to another dimension.
No doubt helping the success of the book was Dr Long's appearance on The Today Show last week, which I've embedded below:
However, it does show that interest in this subject is high, as long as people are pointed in the right direction. While this book, with national publicity, has shot to the upper regions of Amazon's charts - indicating that people are open to the idea - other authoritative works on the topic such as The Handbook of Near Death Experiences (which Long is a contributor to) remain languishing in purgatory. Meanwhile, other works with perhaps even more importance from an evidential point of view, such as Robert Crookall's The Supreme Adventure(which looks at the the crossovers between early NDE accounts and descriptions of the afterlife 'through' mediums), aren't even available for sale.
Perhaps, with the original publication of Raymond Moody's seminal Life After Life being 35 years ago, new generations are only now discovering that there is in-depth research being done on this topic...and that, despite what skeptics say, it is worthy of consideration. I'm hopeful that is the case, as I think thus far (apart from the blip occasioned by Life After Life), the topic of afterlife studies is one that has been largely ignored by scientists and the public alike.
Previously on TDG: