Incontrovertible Scientific Proof of NDEs?
"I have read a few of your books with great interest ("Beyond the Light," "Future Memory," and "The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences"). I was brought up to believe there is more to life (and the afterlife) than can be experienced with the five senses, but as time goes on, I find that increasingly difficult to believe.
"I have lost many loved ones to death, starting with my mother when I was eight years old. I used to believe (and, of course, would love to believe) that living creatures, including human beings, survive death in some shape or form that preserves consciousness.
"Nonetheless, in spite of the evidence put forward in your books, I find it extremely hard to believe that people who 'die' and have NDEs are really truly dead. Is it not possible that on some deep level, unmeasurable by current scientific instruments, their brains are actually alive and the NDE is being produced by a distant corner of their (still living) brain/mind?
"A few years ago, I watched a documentary that detailed the experience of a woman whose brain - if I understand it correctly - was rendered completely inactive by doctors while she underwent brain surgery. It appeared that they had somehow stopped blood flow to her brain. She had a profound NDE. But how was her brain made totally inactive without killing her or rendering her brain-dead?
"In trying to find answers to questions of life and death, I have encountered charlatans - cold-reading mediums, for example - and increasingly feel that grieving people are a wonderful, if utterly immoral, target market for people unscrupulous enough to exploit their pain by offering apparent - but untruthful - comfort that their loved ones are still around in another dimension.
"If you have any references that provide incontrovertible scientific proof that near-death experiencers are, in actual fact, dead when they have NDEs, I'd be very interested to read them. I so want to believe in the truth of an afterlife but I don't want to put my faith in a chimera."...Mary
There is no such thing as incontrovertible proof of life after death. Doesn't exist. So, let's move past the impossible and look at what does exist.
The case you are referring to is that of Pam Reynolds. Yes, it is true, she was virtually killed by her doctors. I mean that. Nothing was working nor could it work. It is a very risky surgery that was performed on her. To my knowledge, this surgery has only been performed a few times. The risk is - what if they cannot bring her back and in tack without brain damage? Pam took that risk. The surgery was successful. What is amazing about her case, not just that she had a near-death experience and could see and hear what was going on in the surgery room, but that she evidenced CONTINUOUS CONSCIOUSNESS during the entire time of her surgery. This is unique to the near-death phenomenon. Many are clinically dead, as dead as anyone can tell, when they later revive and tell what happened to them. (Refer to your copy of "Beyond the Light" and the case of George Rodonaia, and Ricky Bradshaw, and Mellen-Thomas Benedict, and Margaret Fields Kean - all stunning cases with ample third-party verification of details.)
I have no doubt that parts of the brain are involved in near-death states, not as causal, but as participatory in setting up the process itself. How can this be if the brain has flat-lined? This is where the issue becomes utterly fascinating. It is my sense, from my own work, that somehow conditions are preset or set up before actual death ensues. I say this because of what I have personally noticed about tracking brain function - not as a thinking brain - but with parts of the brain - the way the limbic system and pre-frontals, temporal lobes and pineal gland act. I know there's something going on here, and this is exactly what I will be discussing in-depth in the book I am now writing - my 10th and last book about my near-death research, where I complete my theoretical model and tie things together. So, I cannot be more specific at this time. Sorry about that. But I do want to emphasize, the brain is not causal in near-death states. That "something else" that is involved is the soul. And that "something else" must be broached. We must talk about the soul. If we don't, we will be tossing away one of the most important causal happenings present.
Can people see the dead as alive or at least highly mobile. Yes. I can. So can thousands of others, especially child experiencers. I have often threatened to put up a sign on our front door that would read: "Welcome, whether you wear a body or not." I haven't done it yet, though. Maybe someday I will. Thus, to me, seeing the dearly departed is nothing new nor is it unusual. It is my life. I can't imagine this to be any different. It does not happen often, only when appropriate. What happens more often with me is seeing energy beings, or just the energy fields themselves. That for me is an everyday occurrence. And it is valid - what I see and feel and hear and taste and touch. Most near-death experiencers come back with enhanced abilities of various types. I am no exception. The IANDS Conference held in San Diego in October of 2009 was the first time the organization has tackled the subject of enhanced abilities in a public venue. I delivered a paper on the subject while there, that is now posted on my website in the Article Section.
Do people take advantage of enhanced abilities to make money? You bet they do, and even some near-death experiencers. (My paper addressed this and it talks about discernment.) Most mediums do give out a little here and a little there - seldom more than just enough to imply truth. I have yet to see a medium, especially stage mediums, who do anything remarkable. What sells the public is their mystique, and sometimes their giving nature. I give readings myself (not as a typical psychic or medium). You can read up about what I offer on my website in the section on Consultations. I am very practical, down-to-earth, and make it clear to my clients that I do not have a crystal ball. All I can offer is another viewpoint to their questions, and give trends, suggestions, ideas, and dialogue. If they want a medium, I advise them to go somewhere else. The readings I have given, paid for my research (that's where the money I used came from), and they gave me an opportunity to serve the Higher Good. I am a Prayer Chaplain (no charge for my services), and I am devoted to the healing possible in every moment and the joy available to those who are willing to accept the truth of their being.
No one can convince you of anything. Nor would I even try. You can only see for yourself, cross-check, search, cross-check again, then traverse those 18 inches from your head to your heart and see what you find when you get there. Just consider me a scruffy, honest researcher who chooses to work with both halves of my brain, not just one.
Blessings, always. PMH
If you are not signed up for my free Newsletter service, you might consider doing so. Just get on my website at www.pmhatwater.com and scroll down to the bottom of the Home Page. You sign up there. Simple. This list is not used for anything else, so relax about having your address tossed about. There is no schedule for the newsletters. I only send them out when there is something of note I want to share with you. In the last month, though, I've sent out three (that's unusual). Of the last two, one was about some terrific 2010 calendars plus some comments on 2010; and the other was about the new DVD "Dying to Live" - very well done, about one woman's near-death experience, what she learned, and did about it. Thanks, PMH