What really happens when we die? Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? A surprising number of people have died and lived to tell the talean estimated 15 million Americans and 4 to 5 percent of the global population have had a near-death experience. The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences is the encyclopedia of this phenomenon, including crucial research regarding the experience, its aftereffects, and the implications for all of us who someday will shed this mortal coil. This book explores the possibility of the soul, God, other worlds, heaven and hell, the afterlife, religion, and the purpose of life. It investigates and reports on the power of changed lives, the expansion of normal faculties, and the importance of spirituality. With drawings, cartoons, and sidebars from experts, The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences is also simple and accessible, designed for the busy reader who wants quick little nuggets of wisdom. If you want to know what lies ahead, this book gives you a road map while exploring and affirming the presence of a spirit and the ultimate power of love.
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About the Author
P. M. H. Atwater, L.H.D., is one of the original researchers in the field of near-death studies, having begun her work in 1978. Her research base now covers nearly 4,000 adult and child experiencers. Some of her findings have been verified in clinical studies, among them the prospective study conducted in Holland and published in Lancet medical journal, 12-15-01. Her The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences, was featured in an online version of Newsweek Magazine, and remains the only encyclopedia of the entire phenomenon worldwide. She has received many lifetime achievement awards and travels the world speaking on all aspects of the near-death experience, transformations of consciousness, and the evolution of the human species. Near-Death Experiences: The Rest of The Story is the summation of 33 years of research, highly controversial because of its frankness and revelatory nature. Her book Future Memory expands the subject of changing consciousness into new areas, and reads like walking through a labyrinth. Keenly interested in children and evolution, her in-depth work with child experiencers is detailed in The New Children and Near-Death Experiences; updated to include the surprising characteristics of normal children born since 1982 in Children of the Fifth World. A real departure for her is Dying to Know You: Proof of God in the Near-Death Experience. This is not a research book, nor a personal story, nor an opinion piece. Rather, this is the first book yet written that sums up the voice of the many: the collective, speaking in their own voice, about the collective experience. Bold, blunt, daring –Dying to Know You speaks directly about Mission, God, Soul, Life, Death, Heaven, Hell, the Big Picture, Revelations, Truth. And us tells about eternity, our real home.
Table of Contents
IntroductionPart 1: The Experience/The Experiencer
1. The Resurrected
A Brief History - What is the Near-Death Experience? - A Closer Look at Some Near-Death Scenario Features - But What's Typical? - The Birth of a Controversy2. Types of Experiences
To Each His Own - Problems in Communication - A Common Range of Patterns - Some Examples of Each Type3. Near-Death Look Alikes
Near-Death-Like Experiences - The Unpredictability of Near-Death-Like Episodes - Indirect Near-Death-Like Events - Empathic Experiences - Near-Death Scenarios as Guided Visualizations4. The Innocents
Child Experiences: A Breakthrough in Understanding - A Guide at Death's Door - Womb with a View - Choosing Genes and Physical Characteristics - Typical Behavior after the Experience5. Suicide Enigmas
A Picture Too Pretty - What Those Who Attempted Suicide Say - Depression and Suicidal Tendencies Afterward - The Challenge with Children - Trying to Cause a Near-Death ExperiencePart 2: Afterward
6. Lives Turned Upside Down
Feelings after Being Revived - A New You - A Strain on Relationships - Lifestyle Switcheroos - Deity Reigns7. The Undeniable Aftereffects
Connecting the Dots - Common Psychological Aftereffects - Common Physiological Aftereffects - The Need Factor8. Startling Differences between Child and Adult Experiencers
Don't Assume Anything - Jump-Starting Intelligence - Far Apart - Talking About It9. Blocking Out the Experience
Why Adults Tend to Remember and Kids Tend to Forget - You Be the Judge - A Child's View - Aftereffects Can Take a Backseat - Tips to Identify Child Experiences Who Can't Remember10. Medically Speaking: A Challenge to Health-Care Providers
Please Believe Me - So You Said You Wanted Evidence - Suggestions for Healthcare Providers - Unique Health Issues - Help at LastPart 3: Time Out for Questions
11. Are the Dead Really Dead?
Real Tales from the Crypt - The Newly Dead Who Greet the Newly Dead - As Dead as You Can Get - When Two or More Die Together - Symbols Surface
12. Heavy on Research
Russell Noyes, MD - Raymond A. Moody Jr., PhD, MD - Kenneth Ring, PhD - Michael Sabom, MD - Bruce Greyson, MD - Margot Grey, PhD - PMH Atwater, LHD - Melvin Morse, MD - Arvin S. Gibson, BSME - Peter Fenwick, MD, FRCPsych - Cherie Sutherland, PhD - Pim van Lommel, MD - Groundbreaking Early Projects13. Scientific Naysayers
It's All in the Brain: Biological/Physiological Causes - It's All in the Mind: Psychological Causes - Having an Experience Is Not Proof - A Lack of Agreement among Researchers - So, Where Are We?14. Debunking the Debunkers
It's All Subjective - But I Don't Want to Die - Who's That Knocking on My Head? - Mr. Sandman, Send Me a Dream - The Dying Brain Theory - A Few Extras - Hi-Ho, Forward We Go - Proposal for Research Instruction Packet15. Religion's Got a Gripe, Too
It's in the Bible - Repercussions - The Devil's Handwork - We Got Here First - The Forgotten and UnderreportedPart 4: Taking a Leap Beyond
16. Viewing Storylines in Different Ways
Sometimes We Can Mix Things Up - How We Can "Stage" Storylines - Another Look at the Need Factor - The Teachings of Swedenborg - A Back-Glance at Shared Experiences - Other Cultures--A Major Challenge17. Some Striking Effects
Poof! Go Limitations - Poof! Go Illnesses - Poof! Goes Death's Sting - The Unexpected from Violence - The Unexpected from Death Dreams - Gustave Dore's Painting18. The Importance of Otherworldly Journeys
Exceptional Human Experiences - The "Other Worlds" of Myth and Legend - The Four Levels of Otherworldy Imagery - Feeling Alien19. The Possibility of Alternate Realities
Is There an Afterlife? - Is There Research on After-Death Communication? - I Came, I Saw, I Was Born - Why Do I Feel Like I've Been Here Before? - An Altered View of Reality - A Spectrum of Realities20. Transformations of Consciousness
A Larger Genre - Higher Consciousness - Turbulent Transformations - Tranquil Transformations - The Crown Jewel of Enlightenment21. The Lights of Enlightenment
Is God Light? - The Light of God/The Devil's Dark - Three Types of Subjective Light - "The Darkness That Knows" - More of Light's Mysteries - The Energy Charge of EnlightenmentPart 5: Back Down to Earth
22. Brain-Biology Link
Brain Shift - The Limbic System and Emotions - The Theories of Melvin Morse, MD - The Importance of "Future" - Adaption or Evolution?23. But Are All the Claims True?
Don't Rock the Boat - The Mighty Sword of Scientism - No Saints or Angels Here - "I Was God. God Was Me" - Testing the Spirits - What About the Ceiling?24. Integrating the Near-Death Experience
For Adult Experiencers - For Child Experiencers and their Parents - How a Family Transformed - For Significant Others - Integration's Four Phases - Creative Approaches to Therapy25. Redefining How Life is Viewed
Implications from Near-Death States - The Animating Force That Drives Us - The Reality of Spirit - The Big Picture - The Law of Grace - The Return to Things Spiritual26. Message for the Twenty-first Century
An Agent of Change - Evolution's Next Step - The Global Village - Social Justice and Human Rights - What's the Near-Death Experience All About? - Wrap-up: Thirty Years and GrowingAppendix A Glossary of New Words
Appendix B International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS)
Appendix C Further Reading
Appendix D Websites
Appendix E Getting in Touch
Special Thank-YousLong ago and far away this book originally existed asThe Complete Idiot's Guide to Near-Death Experiences(Alpha Books, 2000). Randy Landenheim-Gil was my editor then and David Morgan my assistant. Both were invaluable helpmates in assisting me in my creating thing, the very first "encyclopedia" about near-death experiences, their aftereffects and implications. My thanks to them is everlasting. The version you have before you now, though, is larger, more thorough than the previous, and a lot more fun and informative--an update of classical proportions. A "cast" of thousands made this book possible--perhaps millions, as it contains the results of more than thirty years of concerted effort in researching near-death states. To everyone involved and especially the experiencers themselves, I offer this sincere thank-you. You are the heroes here; I, but your humble servant--an experiencer turned researcher. Half of every royalty check on sales for this book will go to the International Association for Near-Death Studies. At the end of five years, they will inherit full ownership and I will bow out. This book is not mine. I am clear about that. It belongs to the people it speaks to.Terry Atwater, my patient husband, gave unwavering encouragement throughout this project. Bruce Greyson was ever-ready to answer endless questions. Kevin Williams fact-checked websites and articles, and my webmaster Steff Wiltse proved to be worth her weight in gold for all she did with myriad extra tasks. To each and all, thank you--a million times over!
IntroductionThe purpose of this book is to provide you with the most complete, 360-degree look at the entire near-death phenomenon in all its positive and negative aspects. I've created it for the widest possible audience--a book that can fascinate gentle readers like yourself, and, at the same time, prove to be a major source of information for teachers and students alike, medical personnel, fellow researchers, and the religious community.The book is divided into five parts:Part 1: The Experience/The Experiencersets the stage by covering what we know of the early history of the subject, while bringing us up to date with some enormous changes that are now happening in the field of near-death studies. The early model of what constitutes a near-death experience has not proved to be useful in the medical world, so a new standard of criteria is being developed. In this section, we look at the four different types of episodes people generally have, along with variations reported by both adult and child experiences.Part 2: Afterwardgoes much deeper into the phenomenon and its pattern of physiological and psychological aftereffects--a pattern that affects child and adult experiencers alike. How this challenges individuals who can have a more difficult time than adults dealing with the experience, and who are six times more likely to repress what happened to them than are their elders.Part 3: Time Out for Questionsopens the door to skepticism and some questions that really need to be asked. For instance, are the dead really dead? How is death determined? Is there another explanation? We jump right into the fray here by giving the debunkers a fair hearing, then debunking them as we admit that near-death experiencers--as a good job as they have done--still have a long way to go with investigations of the phenomenon.Part 4: Taking a Leap Beyondstretches our minds as we consider different ways of interpreting experiencer storylines. We also tackle the entire subject of transformations of consciousness--the traditions and aftermath of unusually striking changes people undergo who are consumed in a sudden burst of light that brings with it new knowledge of a higher order to life--and the spiritual dimensions of the soul. The three types of inner light people experience are also discussed.Part 5: Back Down to Earthreturns to the regular world of everyday people who must grapple with the challenge of making sense out of what can be learned from near-death experiences, and to what extent they can use that knowledge in their lives. This includes the experiencer, too, for he or she is faced with integration what happened--the incident and its aftereffects--into daily life. Emerging from this challenge are messages for the twenty-first century that can make a dramatic different not only in your life, but for society as well.And if this all isn't enough for you, I've included five appendices, each one chock-full of information that will enable you to have a hands-on opportunity to explore even more.One more thing--you'll find short bits of information appearing in side boxes scattered throughotu the text. These kernels highlight extra material and meaningful new words in a style that is quick and easy to grasp, and should prove most helpful as you read along. All of this was done to make your journey through the puzzling yet awe-inspiring world of near-death experiences as enjoyable as possinle. Have a great read!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It does not attempt to prove, but allows the reader to determine the validity of the near death phenomenon. Extensive research.
Great read! There is a lot of research and information that was put into near-death expirences.