Foreknowledge of this nature can also occur in different ways. A person may experience a vision of the deceased person, and receive a reassuring message from them, at the exact time of their death. For example, a vision of one’s ‘healthy’ parent, at the time of their passing, accompanied by the message of how much they love you and that they are okay. At the other end of the spectrum, there are reports of people sharing the physical experience of the dying person’s last moments which, when there is physical distance between them, provides foreknowledge of the person’s death.
Descriptions of SDEs experienced by those at the dying person’s bedside around the time of death include sensing unseen presences in the room, physical sensations, feeling an energy shift, temperature changes, feeling a change in time perception, hearing music, seeing a glow forming around the dying person’s body, light filling the room and experiencing visions of the dying person’s spirit leaving the body. This is often described as a white mist or light. The person who has passed may appear as a vision, often appearing younger, radiant and healthy. The presence of spiritual beings and deceased loved ones may also be reported. This is often understood as support for the departing spirit as they transition into the life beyond.
Some shared-death experiences are very expansive in nature and move beyond this. Those who experience them describe sharing a journey with the dying person, a journey that expands into the transcendental or other-worldly realms which, they believe, the dying person is entering. These experiences include a personal sense of having transcended the physical world with the dying person and being given a glimpse of what lies beyond. Those who report having journeyed this initial phase of their transition with the dying person describe this realm as beautiful, vibrant and filled with love and joy. Elaine refers to these expansive experiences with a dying person as shared transition experiences. To listen to Elaine saying more about these experiences please click here.
Life beyond death. After-death communication (ADC). ADCs appear to be remarkably common, with the majority of these contacts involving emotionally connected individuals soon after the loss of a loved one. Most people describe their ADC as reassuring, sharing that it has provided them with a distinct understanding that their loved one is alive and well, and their bonds of love continue. ADCs are spontaneous experiences with the predominant contact coming in the form of the bereaved sensing the presence of the deceased. These reassurances and visitation/s may also occur as telepathic communication and messages, visions and dreams, or personally meaningful and significant signs. ADCs may be visual, auditory, tactile or olfactory in nature and include elements such as seeing a vision of the deceased, hearing a message from them, feeling their touch or smelling a fragrance associated with them.
Those who are sceptical of these experiences suggest that they are simply grief-induced hallucinations based on wish fulfillment. This stance is undermined, however, when two or more people experience the same ADC at the same time. Furthermore, ADC may occur prior to bereavement in the form of foreknowledge of a person’s death. This was described as a shared-death experience in the previous section. In addition, ADCs can include previously unknown instructions for the grieving person, or give directives that protect someone, and these are found to be relevant and accurate. Occasionally, these instructions or messages have been sufficiently factual for TELERF to verify the message content.
Although many experiences of ADC occur soon after the death of a loved one, with the majority occurring within a year of the passing of the deceased, there are reports of ADCs occurring many years later. To read more about experiences of this nature and ADC click here.
Near-death and transient-death experiences. The near-death experience (NDE) is a profound psychological experience that occurs when an individual is, or feels, close to physical and psychological death. NDEs are associated with themes or impressions that are known features across these experiences, such as a sense of peace, seeing a light or a being of light, intense feelings of love, heightened clarity and speed of thought, as well as seeing deceased others. When reported, these experiences are also inclusive of recollections and interpretations that are unique to the near-death experiencer (NDEr).
Some NDErs report an out-of-body experience (OBE) during their NDE. In a limited number of these cases, the details of the OBE reported by TELERF’s research participants have enabled verification of these details. Within these cases, some NDErs were unconscious, under general anaesthesia and/or were experiencing a period of clinical death at the time of their experience. Within the current understanding of the mind-brain relationship the conscious awareness that is reported, as well as the acquisition and recall of experiential details, should not be possible.
Elaine coined the term ‘transient-death experience (TDE)’ to refer to a specific type of NDE, namely one that occurs when the experiencer is determined to be clinically dead. Transient-death experiencers (TDErs) are not ‘near death’ at the time of their experience they are, temporarily, within the first stage of the biological death process. They encounter a period of transient death, during which measurable brain activity ceases, breathing stops and death may be pronounced. Yet, for example, during this period TDErs remember the continued ability to see and hear, and some report both hearing and seeing the pronouncement of their own death. In the words of one TDEr,
I had been shot, seven times. I lost consciousness. Suddenly, from above, I saw myself lying in the back of the ambulance. I heard one of the paramedics say, “We are losing him!” Soon after that they stopped CPR and I watched as they covered my head with a sheet. I died that night and have never felt so alive (TELERF, 2014). Read more
To read more about near-death and transient-death experiences please click here.
Past Lives. Have you lived, and died, before? Apparent memories of a past life, and the death associated with that life, may surface spontaneously or be retrieved through hypnotic regression. The spontaneous memories of young children, under the age of seven, are of particular significance. The strongest of these cases suggest that memories, emotions and the impact of physical trauma, particularly trauma associated with death, can be carried over from a previous life in to the present. These cases add to the growing evidence that aspects of the self may survive beyond physical death and suggest that, at least in some instances, a young child may be influenced by their previous personality.
Apparent past-life memories retrieved through hypnosis, when verifiable, should also not be ignored and contribute as evidence for both the abilities and potential of the human mind. When past-life regression is introduced into the therapeutic environment the client’s access to apparent past-life memories, in particular those memories relating to the end of this previous life and subsequent post-death awareness, can result in rapid healing both physically and psychologically. Elaine stresses that although these memories are not necessarily verifiable the therapeutic impact can be highly significant.
One of TELERF’s objectives is to identify similarities across different types of exceptional end-of-life associated experiences. For example, a number of similarities have been identified between post-death awareness under hypnosis and experiences reported by NDErs. In addition, some NDErs report having had a clear awareness of a past-life, or past lives, during their experience. To read more about past-life recall please click here.
Share your own transformative experience with TELERF. The foundation is greatly appreciative of every research participant’s willingness to share their personal experience. This is not necessarily an easy task, and it requires time and effort, but without each individual’s highly valuable input no research progress can be made. It is your sharing that paves the way to a greater understanding of these experiences. To read more about this, and to share your own transformative experience with TELERF, please click here.
It is evident that Elaine loves her research and counselling work. Elaine has deep knowledge and is able to present this huge subject in a clear and professional way. Thank you Elaine for the enlightening work that you do (Kathy N.)