Afterlife Convention and some NDE research

Some exciting news.. we're organizing the Afterlife Convention on Sept 28th here in Los Angeles.  The idea is to bring together people from a variety of disciplines to compare stories about the afterlife - about their research into it, with the hopes of helping people on this planet by sharing information about what happens to us after we're on it.  Gary Schwartz Ph.D is going to be one of our keynote speakers, yours truly will be speaking, along with Elisa Medhus MD, Ken Stoller MD and others.  We won't be the first convention of its kind, but we're aiming at something a bit less new age, and a bit more practical - as in "Ok, so we don't die per se. How does that affect my life now?"

The idea is that with the combination of studying the various modalities that will be represented - ESP, Near Death (NDE), hypnotherapy as practiced by Michael Newton (LBL), first hand accounts of being contacted by loved ones in the Afterlife - these accounts frequently report the same information.  So what is that information?  And how can it affect our lives here on Earth?  And further, how can it help change our mindset so that by considering that we may return here in the future, we leave the planet as clean healthy place to return to?

I note that it's interesting that the two most vocal groups against this research are from opposite ends of the spectrum - the religious right for lack of a better word (people who believe strongly in what their religion has taught them, and I'm not arguing whether it's accurate or not, it's just by way of identifying that group) and on the other spectrum what can be only describe as extreme left, atheists, or people who are convinced that the science community has no evidence for their being consciousness before, after (or by way of logic) during our lifetimes.  It's interesting to note that both sides of the coin find this kind of research "nutty" or "heretical" - but I can only state that in the interest of science - in the interest of humanity - we are forging ahead with the best tools that we have to examine this research.  Batten down the hatches, here we go!

Rich Martini
Conference Chairman

Author/award winning filmmaker Richard Martini explores startling new evidence for life after death.
Based on thousands who claim under deep hypnosis they experienced the same basic journey in the Afterlife, his book and film features "between life" sessions and interviews with Michael Newton ("Journey of Souls") and hypnotherapists trained in his method. Extensively researched, breathtaking in scope, the bestselling book (Amazon Kindle) examines research that ties up the various disciplines of past life regression, near death experiences, and between life exploration. In the words of  Ph.D author Gary Schwartz ("Sacred Promise") once you've read it, "you will never see the world in the same way again."

New Speakers Announced for Afterlife Convention

The Afterlife Convention will examine the research, the people, the experiences and the scientific evidence for life after death, a discussion that is increasingly part of the mainstream. The event will be held Saturday, September 28, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in beautiful Santa Monica, California.

Join us for this fascinating examination of a phenomenon that has thousands of people providing detailed descriptions of their experiences with unexplainable phenomena. The Pew Trust indicates that a quarter of Americans believe in reincarnation. Hear from people who have a deep understanding and experience with this journey.

Just Announced - Afterlife Convention Speakers

The Afterlife Convention will examine:
  • Near Death Experiences
  • Out of Body Experiences
  • Soul Groups
  • Personal Accounts of Meetings With Deceased Relatives
  • Past Life Memories
  • Between-life Council
  •  Life Planning Sessions
  • Why you Chose to be Who You Are
WHO SHOULD ATTEND? Those with a legitimate interest in exploring the evidence for a life after life, watching a demonstration and engaging with like-minded people who are not afraid to question the conventional wisdom. Unlike so many gatherings that explore similar themes, the Afterlife Convention will talk about fact-based realities based on eyewitness accounts.

WHO SHOULD EXHIBIT? Authors, filmmakers, publishers, agents, programmers and others interested in reaching a curious and engaged audience interested in learning more.Join us today at the early-bird price and reserve your seat at what will be one of the year’s most talked-about gatherings examining life after death.

If you would like to be an exhibitor, click here


Study finds NDE memories are not of imagined events

steven_laureys2Skeptics have long proposed that NDEs are dream-like memories of events that never happened or are altered memories of real events which are partly or fully imagined. A recently published study from the University of Liège in Belgium compared the memories of NDEs with memories of others who were in coma without an NDE. They found that memories of NDEs are significantly different from coma patients without an NDE. In particular they have significantly more characteristics, like visual details, memory clarity, self-referential information (being involved in the event) and emotional content.

The researchers propose that NDEs can't be considered as imagined events. which have significantly fewer characteristics. NDE events are really perceived but since the events did not occur in reality and likely result from physiological conditions (e.g., neurological dysfunction), the events are actually hallucinatory (see also ULg video). This conclusion is based on assumptions that are inconsistent with other evidence from NDEs. Other interpretations are possible.

Seven researchers from the University of Liège, led by Dr. Steven Laureys, published a report in the peer-reviewed scientific journal PLoS ONE on the characteristics of memories from near-death experiences compared with the memories from others who were in coma but did not report an NDE. The study also compared NDE memories with memories of real events and imagined events (e.g., past dreams or fantasies).
Skeptics, such as Susan Blackmore and Chris French, have long proposed that NDEs are dream-like memories of events that never happened or are altered memories of real events which are partly or fully imagined.
The researchers included 21 patients who suffered from an acute brain insult and coma. The patients were divided into three groups: those reporting an NDE (≥ 7 on the Greyson scale, N=8), those reporting memories during coma but without an NDE (< 7 on the Greyson scale, N=6) and those reporting no memories of their coma (N=7). These three groups were all similar in etiology of the brain insult (traumatic, anoxic, hemorrhagic, metabolic and encephalopathic etiologies), as well as age and time since insult. The 21 coma patients were also compared with 18 healthy control subjects.
The researchers measured the memory characteristics of patients using the Memory Characteristics Questionnaire (MCQ), comparing the target memories (NDE or coma memories) versus memories of real events and imagined events (e.g., past dreams or fantasies). The memory characteristics included sensory details (visual, auditory, etc.), memory clarity (e.g., mentally reliving the events when remembering), self-referential information (memories of being involved in the event) and emotionality (e.g., feeling the emotions of the event when remembering).
The researchers found that memories of NDEs have significantly more characteristics than both memories of real events and imagined events.
Furthermore, since it is possible that the core components of an NDE are neurophysiologically determined (e.g., temporo-parietal junction dysfunction or deficit), then "the subject really perceived these phenomena". However, since the perceived events did not occur in reality, the perceptions are hallucinatory. Indeed,memories of NDEs are likely 'flashbulb memories' of hallucinations.
CNN also published an in-depth news article on this study.
The researchers' conclusions are based on two assumptions that are inconsistent with other evidence from NDEs: (1) that the perceived events do not occur in reality and (2) that NDE phenomena are determined neurophysiologically. Therefore, other interpretations are possible.
The first assumption, that perceived events in an NDE do not occur in reality, is not consistent with the veridical perceptions that are reported by NDErs. In fact, nearly all "apparently nonphysical veridical perceptions" (AVPs) are verified when checked. Janice Holden (2009) reported that of 93 veridical perception cases in the NDE literature, 92% were completely accurate, 6% were accurate with some errors and only one case was completely erroneous. The AVPs are frequently of objects or events outside the NDEr's physical line of sight or at a distant location from the NDEr's physical body.
Furthermore, previously unknown veridical information received during the "transcendent" part of the NDE(e.g. meeting deceased relatives) is frequently later verified. For example, a man saw and interacted with an apparently deceased person and later found out the man was his biological father who had died in the holocaust (van Lommel, 2010, pp. 32-33).
Since the perceived events in fact occurred or accurately conveyed previously unknown information, one cannot conclude that NDE perceptions are hallucinations. If some parts of the NDE events were perceived accurately, where do the NDE perceptions become unreal? If a patient accurately describes the details of operating room events while he had no heart beat or blood pressure, at what point did the other parts of his experience (the tunnel and light) become an hallucination?
Eben Alexander's experience included both veridical perceptions and an episode of "ICU psychosis". During his recovery, he experienced intense delusions and very vivid dreams but both were completely different from the "astonishing clarity and vibrant richness—the ultra-reality" of his NDE (Alexander, 2012, pp. 117-118). His NDE memories are consonant with the results of this study but point out the stark difference between true hallucinations and NDE memories. The finding that NDE memories contain both more emotional and self-referential information than other target memories is more likely due to the hyperreal and veridical qualities of the experience than vice versa.
The second assumption, that NDE phenomena are neurophysiologically determined, is not consistent with the full spectrum of NDE cases. A number of physiological factors are generally cited in explanations of NDEs (Greyson et al., 2009). None of these factors is adequate to explain NDE phenomena, because (1) the reported physiologically-caused experiences bear only a slight resemblance to NDEs, (2) many NDEs occur under conditions without the suggested physiological factor, and/or (3) in cases where the physiological factor is present, NDEs are not reported in even a large percent of cases.
Furthermore, many NDEs occur during cardiac arrest which results in complete cessation of blood flow to the brain. In these cases, heightened, lucid awareness and thought processes are reported, the same kind of experiences as are remembered by patients in this study (van Lommel, 2010, pp. 159–176). In these NDEs, neurophysiological causes of the core components of the NDE could not have occurred because the brain was not functioning. Veridical perceptions of the onset of resuscitation efforts also establish the time of the experience to be when the brain had no electrical activity.
Robert Mays, NDE researcher
  • Alexander, Eben (2012). Proof of Heaven: A neurosurgeon's journey into the afterlife. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  • Greyson, B., Kelly, E. W., & Kelly, E. F. (2009). Explanatory models for near-death experiences. In J. M. Holden, B. Greyson, & D. James (Eds.), The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: Thirty years of investigation(pp. 213–234). Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger Publishers.
  • Holden, Janice M. (2009). Veridical perception in near-death experiences. In J. M. Holden, B. Greyson & D. James (Eds.), The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: Thirty years of investigation (pp. 185–211). Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger Publishers.
  • Thonnard M, Charland-Verville V, Brédart S, Dehon H, Ledoux D, et al. (2013) Characteristics of Near-Death Experiences Memories as Compared to Real and Imagined Events Memories. PLoS ONE 8(3): e57620.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057620.
  • van Lommel, P. (2010). Consciousness beyond life: The science of the near-death experience. New York: HarperCollins.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had a NDE in a sports accident I was under cut playing basketball and fell on my head I was unconscious for 40 minutes. I experienced an awesome sight the moment I hit the floor my spirit came up out of my body and I floated up above the rim of the basket. I was looking down through rim watching players pick me up.They laid me on a stage and kept playing. I watched for a short while then I saw other beings begin to gather round me dirty haggard looking men in robes. Then I saw other large figures 8 ft tall stood around me with their backs to me stood keeping guard and seem to run interference for me against them. They actually drew swords on the evil guys and when they struck them there was a flash Shortly a short individual came out of a group of bearded individuals he laid hold of me and he took me up the tunnel of light and I stood before the throne of Jesus I did not hear him speak but he seem to jesture to take him back he looked at me sternly. He was scarred as reported his hands looked scarred but he was looking quite royal surrounded by peoples waiting on him

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