Beyond the Light


Author P. M. H. Atwater knows what it's like to die. And the ...

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Author P. M. H. Atwater knows what it's like to die. And the experience so changed her life that she has devoted years to researching the phenomenon of the Near-Death Experience. From her own encounter with life-after-death and from interviews with hundreds of others, she presents this remarkable and reassuring vision into a world beyond the one we know:

  • What it feels like to die

  • What awaits us after we see the light

  • Why many who are rescued from death don't want to come back

  • Why some people encounter hellish experiences

  • How life changes after a Near-Death Expenerience

And much more!

Going beyond the bestselling Embraced by the Light and Saved by the Light, near death survivor and researcher P.M.H. Atwater presents the most in-depth look at a variety of near death experiences, their after effects and their implications.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380725403
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/1/1995
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 4.19 (w) x 6.89 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Near-Death

Death is our eternal companion. It has always been watching you. It will until the day it taps you.

-- Carlos Castaneda

Death surprised me when it came to call.

Twice in January of 1977 and once two months later I passed through death to The Other Side and returned to speak of it. I've never been the same since. How could I? When you know what death is, when you have glimpsed its secrets, your concept of life alters radically.

My first death was caused by a miscarriage and severe hemorrhaging; the second, two days later, by a major thrombosis in the vein in my right thigh. The clot dislodged and was followed by the worst case of phlebitis the specialist had ever heard of, let alone seen. Then, on March 29, 1 suffered a complete physical, mental, and emotional collapse. Each time death came to call I had a near-death experience, and each was different, yet each one seemed somehow to lead into the next, as if the experience were progressive. I was not seen by doctors until after the fact-our family doctor first, later a specialist who was able to diagnose what happened to me by the condition I was in. The specialist felt the worst was over, so I was allowed to convalesce at home. Hindsight reveals the folly of that judgment, for, that fall, I had three major relapses, one of which was adrenal failure. My blood pressure registered sixty over sixty when I was examined by William G. Reimer, the Naturopathic physician who literally saved my life. When symptoms could finally be controlled, I was challenged to relearn how to crawl, stand, walk, climbstairs, run, tell the difference between left and right, rebuild my belief systems, as well as train myself to see and hear without distortion. This means I wound up remodeling an old house-my body and me with it.

Since I was never hospitalized, I lack clinical proof that I actually died. It was the specialist's opinion that I did die, however, and that is my opinion as well.

The following year, I encountered Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, and she described the near-death phenomenon to me and identified me as a near-death survivor. Our talk at Chicago's O'Hare Airport was my turning point. I had never heard of Raymond Moody, Jr., M.D., who had originated the term near-death and popularized the phenomenon in his bestseller Life After Life. All I knew was that I was a medical miracle, a woman three times dead who was now alive.

Elisabeth's description helped, but it was not enough. I wanted to know more. I had to. My response to this inner need was characteristic of the way I had lived my entire life: Go out and do your own research, deal direct, go to the source. I did, sometimes even door-to-door. I usually found other neardeath survivors in the audience whenever I gave a talk about what I had gone through. Yet just as often I simply "bumped" into people like me during the routines of daily living and, later on, because of the employment I had accepted, which required constant travel. Thus I met near-death survivors in every possible locale--a truck-stop near Macon, Georgia; the streets of Minneapolis; an intersection in Washington, D.C.; the lobby of a hotel in Miami, Florida. These survivors must have "smelled" me coming, for no sooner did I meet someone than we would be deep in conversation about that person's near-death scenario. Me, popping questions as fast as I could; them, reveling in the attention they almost never received. It was uncanny how this happened.

And so it went. I asked more questions than I had ever thought I could. Not only did I learn a lot from doing this, I was also able to view my own experiences reflected back to me in the eyes of over three thousand near-death survivorsspread out across most of the states and including experiencers from Canada, England, France, Belgium, Mexico, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Haiti, and Kenya.

Let's make no mistake here. I had no idea my quest to understand what had happened to me would develop into a fifteen-year-long, nonstop, day and night, all-consuming research project. Initially, I was just trying to save my sanity. That first time, a deliriously happy encounter with two other near-death survivors who gathered after a talk I had given the week before Thanksgiving, 1978, in Middletown, Virginia, set the pace for how I would conduct myself as a researcher: Invite the individual to share his or her experience while listening intently; probe further with lots of "ands" and "oh, reallys" and "tell me mores"; carefully note the individual's body and eye movements; observe how interested others respond to the individual, and note their body language as wen as their words; whenever possible visit in the person's home so family members can be interviewed, maybe friends, coworkers, and health-care providers, as well. Instinct drove me to examine the phenomenon from many diverse point's of view.

Kenneth L. Johnston, my police-officer father (now retired), trained me in the fine art of observation from the time I was a third-grader. I still tend to function like a "cop on the beat" when I'm investigating anything, a skill honed by years of analytical employment and as a professional writer/reporter.

"Don't take anyone's word at face value," Dad would often say to me. "Double check, cross-examine, seek out witnesses, double-check again, cover every lead-and be alert. Then balance your observations with what your gut tells you. Intuition is a tool-use it." I learned a lot from my father. Frankly, he gave me no other choice.

I tell you this because many people have questioned how I...

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