Life after Life: The Investigation of a Phenomenon--Survival of Bodily Death

Life after Life: The Investigation of a Phenomenon--Survival of Bodily Death

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by Raymond Moody

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In Life After Life Raymond Moody investigates more than one hundred case studies of people who experienced "clinical death" and were subsequently revived. First published in 1975, this classic exploration of life after death started a revolution in popular attitudes about the afterlife and established Dr. Moody as the world's leading authority

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In Life After Life Raymond Moody investigates more than one hundred case studies of people who experienced "clinical death" and were subsequently revived. First published in 1975, this classic exploration of life after death started a revolution in popular attitudes about the afterlife and established Dr. Moody as the world's leading authority in the field of near-death experiences. Life after Life forever changed the way we understand both death—and life—selling millions of copies to a world hungry for a greater understanding of this mysterious phenomenon.

The extraordinary stories presented here provide evidence that there is life after physical death, as Moody recounts the testimonies of those who have been to the "other side" and back—all bearing striking similarities of an overwelming positive nature. These moving and inspiring accounts give us a glimpse of the peace and unconditional love that await us all.

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Editorial Reviews

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
“It is research like Dr. Moody presents in his book that will enlighten many and will confirm what we have been taught for two thousand years -- that there is life after death.”

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HarperCollins Publishers
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5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.46(d)

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Chapter One

What is it like to die?

That is a question which humanity has been asking itself ever since there have been humans. Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to raise this question before a sizable number of audiences. These groups have ranged from classes in psychology, philosophy, and sociology through church organizations, television audiences, and civic clubs to professional societies of medicine. On the basis of this exposure, I can safely say that this topic excites the most powerful of feelings from people of many emotional types and walks of life.

Yet, despite all this interest it remains true that it is very difficult for most of us to talk about death. There are at least two reasons for this. One of them is primarily psychological and cultural: The subject of death is taboo. We feel, perhaps only subconsciously, that to be in contact with death in any way, even indirectly, somehow confronts us with the prospect of our own deaths, draws our own deaths closer and makes them more real and thinkable. For example, most medical students, myself included, have found that even the remote encounter with death which occurs upon one's first visit to the anatomical laboratories when entering medical school can evoke strong feelings of uneasiness. In my own case, the reason for this response now seems quite obvious. It has occurred to me in retrospect that it wasn't entirely concern for the person whose remains I saw there, although that feeling certainly figured, too. What I was seeing on that table was a symbol of my own mortality. In some way, if only pre-consciously, the thought must have been in my mind, "That will happen to me,too."

Likewise, talking about death can be seen on the psychological level as another way of approaching it indirectly. No doubt many people have the feeling that to talk about death at all is in effect to conjure it up mentally, to bring it closer in such a way that one has to face up to the inevitability of one's own eventual demise. So, to spare ourselves this psychological trauma, we decide just to try to avoid the topic as much as possible.

The second reason it is difficult to discuss death is more complicated, as it is rooted in the very nature of language itself. For the most part, the words of human language allude to things of which we have experience through our own physical senses. Death, though, is something, which lies beyond the conscious experience of most of us because most of us have never been through it. If we are to talk about death at all, then, we must avoid both social taboos and the deep-seated linguistic dilemmas, which derive from our own inexperience. What we often end up doing is talking in euphemistic analogies. We compare death or dying with more pleasant things in our experience, things with which we are familiar.

Perhaps the most common analogy of this type is the comparison between death and sleep. Dying, we tell ourselves, is like going to sleep. This figure of speech occurs very commonly in everyday thought and language, as well as in the literature of many cultures and many ages. It was apparently quite common even in the time of the ancient Greeks. In The Iliad, for example, Homer calls sleep "death's sister," and Plato, in his dialogue The Apology, put the following words into the mouth of his teacher, Socrates, who has just been sentenced to death by an Athenian jury.

[Now, if death is only a dreamless sleep,] it must be a marvelous gain. I suppose that if anyone were told to pick out the night on which he slept so soundly as not even to dream, and then to compare it with all the other nights and days of his life, and then were told to say, after due consideration, how many better and happier days and nights than this he had spent in the course of his life-well, I think that ... [anyone] would find these days and nights easy to count in comparison with the rest. If death is like this, then, I call it gain, because the whole of time, if you look at it in this way, can be regarded as no more than one single night.

This same analogy is embedded in our own contemporary language. Consider the phrase "to put to sleep." If you present your dog to a veterinarian with the instruction to put him to sleep, you would normally mean something very different than you would upon taking your wife or husband to an anesthesiologist with the same words. Others prefer a different, but related analogy.

Dying, they say, is like forgetting. When one dies, one forgets all one's woes; all one's painful and troubling memories are obliterated.

As old and as widespread as they may be, however, both the "sleeping" and the "forgetting" analogies are ultimately inadequate in so far as comforting us is concerned. Each is a different way of making the same assertion. Even though they tell us so in a somewhat more palatable way, both say, in effect, that death is simply the annihilation of conscious experience, forever. If this is so, then death really doesn't have any of the desirable features of sleeping and forgetting. Sleeping is a positive, desirable experience in life because waking follows it. A restful night's sleep makes the waking hours following it more pleasant and productive. If waking did not follow it, the benefits of sleep would not be possible. Similarly, annihilation of all conscious experience implies not only the obliteration of all painful memories, but of all pleasant ones, too. So upon analysis, neither analogy is close enough to give us any real comfort or hope in facing death.

Life After Life. Copyright © by Raymond Moody. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet the Author

Raymond A. Moody Jr., Ph.D., M.D., is a world-renowned scholar, lecturer, and researcher, and he is widely recognized as the leading authority on near-death experiences. He is the bestselling author of many books, including Paranormal: My Life in Pursuit of the Afterlife.

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Life after Life 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Moody clearly explained his views in such a profound and meaningful way throughtout his entire book. In the end of the book Moody says that everyone should not fear death after reading several people's experiences. He says that death should be an everlasting exerience that should be filled with joy and ever lasting life on the other side. You can either take his word or live life worrying when your time is going to come to move on. I strongly consider all people who are striving for a degree in the medical field to read this journey of death book. This book will make you want to keep reading to find out what else others have to say about their near death experiences. I hope you enjoy the book! It does not matter if you are a religous person because there are several people who give their experiences of near-death that are not religious. This wonderful book is about people's experiences with near death. Each and everyone of us will experience death in many different ways, in which Moody has shown throughout his book. He touches on the phenomenon of death, the experience of dying where people actually say they travel rapidly through a very dark long tunnel, parallels, questions, explanations, and people's impressions of the overall book.I do not believe that a human being's life is completely snuffed out upon death. Reading Raymond Moody's book confirmed my belief. I no longer wonder what happened to Mum, where she went or even where she is now - I am at peace about all that. All my life I have deeply feared the inevitability of my own death. Now, when I think of death, I am no longer anxious and afraid. Again, I feel peace.   
Guest More than 1 year ago
What is it like to die? That is the question Raymond A. Moody Jr. attempts to answer in his book Life After Life. It gives personal testimony of those who have either survived bodily death or have had a near-death experience. Through research and interviews, Dr. Moody discovered that the stories of these men and women are strikingly similar and contain many of the same concepts. Pulling information from over 150 people who had exposure to death, he found 15 distinct situations that seemed to repeatedly occur. Putting these situations in the order that they most often followed in subjects¿ recollections, Moody has offered a model that could closely resemble what truly happens when we pass into an existence beyond that which we live in now. Throughout the book, Moody seems to give an honest, unbiased representation of his subjects¿ experiences. Though they often fail to find words to explain their life after life experiences, together they give a vivid account of a possible immediate after life. And while being similar, each story is also unique and interesting. Extra details that appear in one person¿s story but not the next does not raise doubts in the mind of the reader, but only thoughtful questions to be pondered until our own physical deaths. Raymond A. Moody Junior¿s Life After Life is an interesting and thought provoking read that introduces a whole new existence to the reader. At a mere 125 pages, I believe its well worth the time of even the slowest reader.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading this book I now have faith that there is something out there. If you want to call it God then fine. I still don't beleive in heaven and hell or religion for that matter because it's all man made but now I don't fear death as much as I use to.
SuseNJ More than 1 year ago
A must read - actually critical reading for everyone: you should not continue to go thru life without knowing these things. Very easy to read. Very very interesting interviews with those who've experienced NDEs - this influenced me almost as much as Proof of Heaven by Dr. Eben Alexander. The NDEs of a big variety of people were all amazingly consistent with each other and made total sense. I now really believe I know what happens after we die, and it is something to look forward to.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had just lost my mother Nov. 30th, 2003. I was able to watch the tape/movie of 'life after life', and it left me feeling very much at peace knowing that she was in such a better place, a more loving place....
RHSTX More than 1 year ago
Life After Life, the original publication about the near death experience, is a compelling and persuading read. If you are racked with doubts or know others that are, I urge you to read or give them this book. I know it waylaid some of my doubts after my wife's death. It's a great book for those in grief who are seeking some sort of comfort in troubling times... The consistency of the near death experience across age, cultural, and religious lines is wonderful, and persuades faith in a way that no apology (defense of God) can. Look up Bosch's, "The Blessed and the Damned--Wings of a Last Judgment" from the Doges' palace, Venice to see a 16th century depiction of the 'tunnel of light"...
MCC_STUDENT More than 1 year ago
The book "Life After Life" by Raymond Moody is a wonderful book because it is all about what people believe will come after death and their feeling. It tell you all the experience that people had before while their spirit was out of their body or near death.It's a true story because most of them had the same experience and same feeling. Dr.Moody is a person that work in a hospital a smart person that is trying to figure out or find the puzzle of people being out of their body and near to death for few minute. He wonder what they see what their feeling, this book is great for people who wonder how the other side of the world feel like or if there going to be a life after life. GREAT TO HAVE IN THE LIBRARY!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a real eye opening to me. I learned how to deal with death and accept that there is a wonderful eternity waiting for us.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hi im Shawna and i read this book for a book report not looking forward to it. I'm not a huge fan of reading and i don't really like book reports...who does? I'm only 13 and I started reading it and i actually got into the book. I found it SoOoOo interesting, someone dies, then they come back to life...I could never even begin to immagine this happening to me and to read about it was so fascinating. I never knew this has happened to so many people, and some of the stories were really touching. It tells you all about what dying is like, altough no two cases where alike, i actually got an idea of what its like to die, and my biggest fear in life is dying..but not any more. Some people that died and came back said that it was very loving and comforting and that they liked it there and some of them didnt want to go back to reality. I dont know about you but i find that so comforting that dying doesnt hurt!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think it is awesome that someone has actually researched and documented dying experiences.
A professor of the philosophy of medicine, Dr. Raymond A. Moody published more than one hundred case studies of the phenomena of survival of bodily death. In search of ¿what it is like to die,¿ Dr. Moody shows his readers from a lay point of view, what happens at the point of death and the journey one takes immediately afterward. He answers his own question through exhaustive comparisons of each case study.

Each of the cases had remarkable similarities. There were several factors consistently recurring in the study. He noted these factors or elements and discovered that though no two cases were identical, each case study experienced some of these elements. Some of the more common elements are experiences such as traveling though a dark tunnel; seeing a being of light; or being out-of body.

Dr. Moody¿s philosophical background makes his work more credible to critics of this sort of research. Though he is of the Christian faith, Moody objectively discusses supernatural, scientific, and psychological explanations for his findings. He clearly points out that his intention is to ¿find some middle way of interpreting them [near-death experiences] - a way which neither rejects these experiences on the basis that they do not constitute scientific nor logical proof nor sensationalizes them by resorting to vague emotional claims that they `prove¿ that there is life after death.¿

Life After Life is clear and concise and most importantly `reader- friendly.¿ Moody systematically takes the reader from the phenomenon of death; to the experience of dying, to the parallels, the questions, explanations; and finally, his impressions.

It has been quite a while since I first read this book. In re-reading it, I found that I am still as much in awe as the first time. I find Moody to be very convincing in that the experiences of each case study were indeed `real¿ ones. He doesn¿t attempt to provide scientific proof, as such an attempt would be impossible. That would be as futile as trying to prove the existence of an all powerful, all loving, all-knowing God. Man from his first recorded existence has yet to provide such proof. Rather, Moody provides evidence that neither man nor science can disprove. My mother had a similar experience a few years ago. She will never be able to prove it, yet for her it was real. I was the first person she told immediately after her experience. I believed her then and always will.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fascinating accounts and research; this is a must read.
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StephanieR More than 1 year ago
Raymond Moody is a scientist and a skeptic, and that's good. He presents his findings in an organized way, and then he reports what he's heard: that so many people have experiences outside our "agreed upon" reality. If you've lost someone recently, and are in full on mourning, then this is a good book to begin to expand your own awareness about death and dying. Life After Liffe will lead you to many others. It's a journey of healing...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent book.I was very pleased by the way the author takes you into his investigation it is a masterpiece and a must read to someone that has lost a loved one. Thank you for your book Dr. Moody.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hi I am Nicole, I am 11 years old, befor I read this book I was tearified of dieing. But after reading this book I dont fell tearified any more! I recamean this book to everyone because it makes you fell better about a lose or yourselif.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Raymond Moody shares how inside each of us is an eternal nature/life that will never die. I have heard him speak at a conference on this subject, as well as, become familiar with Raymond Moody's writing. He is sincere, in that, he believes what he shares. This ability to live out what one believes makes his faith journey one to read about and share with others.