Saturday, November 16, 2013

Credibility of NDE Testimony

QUESTION

"First of all, I would like to just thank you for immensely rich work in the field of NDE research and what your books and other writings (on your blog) have meant to me. I live and work as a psychologist near Montreal, Quebec; and in January 2011, I 'discovered' NDEs and NDE research through a spiritual quest. This has definitely changed my life and perspective.

"Since then, I've devoured dozens and dozens of NDE testimony and research books, joined IANDS, and have been also catching up on a lot of other spiritual "paranormal" topics (ADCs, deathbed visions, children's past life memories). I've read four of your books (Coming Back to Life, Beyond the Light, The New Children and Near-Death Experiences, We Live Forever), which have all been very meaningful and informative to me; and have three others queued up on my reading list. I also attended a talk you gave in Montreal this July at the IIIHS/ SSF conference (which is in my backyard but did not know it even existed!). I was too shy to come and greet and say thank you.

"My question regarding Mellen-Thomas Benedict is because I post as Ninshub on Alex Tsakiris' Skeptiko forum (I am one of the 'proponents' obviously, not a skeptic). I've known about his experience, and I know you have mentioned it oftentimes in your blog in regards to different important aspects it highlights. Recently I've heard some people cast doubts as to the credibility of Benedict's NDE testimony and story about recovering from terminal brain cancer, by alleging various moral flaws in his character and business dealings/a lawsuit. I was wondering if you would be inclined, given that you're so central in the field and I've presumed must have met him often or heard him talk, to share any thoughts about this: whether he is the genuine article basically. I assume it is the former, but any of your words on the matter would be highly valued. (I have not had the privilege to hear him speak in person myself.) If you prefer not to share, I respect your decision and if you do, please tell me whether you would allow me or not to share them with the forum. In any event, I'm only glad to take this opportunity to contact you and share my appreciation of your work and commitment. We Live Forever is my favorite book of yours so far! God/Source bless you."....Ian


ANSWER

Ian, as a professional, you MUST read The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences. There is a specific chapter in the book for medical people. Also read Near-Death Experiences: The Rest of The Story, as it is a summary of three decades of my work, plus another decade spent back in Idaho, before the near-death experiences that turned my life around. You could scroll through my website and gain even more information, check my blogs, and subscribe to my free monthly newsletter (you do this on my website at www.pmhatwater.com). I do everything I can to make reasonable and sound information easily available.

Mellen-Thomas Benedict was part of my original research base. My husband and I personally journeyed to his home (then in Fayetteville, North Carolina), and spent a great deal of time with him, some with his mother and then girl friend. I've followed his work ever since - his creations and his mistakes, the lawsuits against him, and the difficulty he has had taking his inventions (most of them coming from his near-death experience), testing them, manufacturing them, and then selling them to the public or to medical institutions. I can say point-blank that his near-death episode is genuine. I have viewed the before and after X-rays of his brain. The tumor was clearly there before he died; it disappeared after he revived. His is certainly not the only such case - of instantaneous healing after a near-death experience. There have been many. Some far more dramatic than his. He was one of those who was given to understand, during his near-death state, how to invent certain items and design systems (both mechanical and cultural). In that sense, his case differs from the average, as his passion now addresses the human family and how to improve things and systems on our planet. Yes, there are personal elements to his experience, so personal he has great difficulty discussing them. That may change in the future, depending on his readiness and willingness to share more deeply.

When you read about or consider near-death experiences, you must also realize that there are aftereffects. . . a pattern of physiological and psychological changes that for the vast majority, child or adult, become lifelong. This is what throws professionals like yourself when trying to deal with them or engage in any type of counseling or guidance. That means what we're talking about here is the near-death phenomenon that consists of both an experience and a pattern of aftereffects. You cannot separate one from the other and be honest or know what you are talking about. It takes a minimum of seven to ten years to integrate one of these experiences. No short cuts. It really does take that long - longer for child experiencers (20 to 30 years), as they do not connect the "dots" between what happened to them growing up, how they differed, with their childhood episode. There are so few professionals as yourself who even know about this, much less are trained to handle it or even take appropriate action with such a client or patient.

Having said this, I want to go back to Mellen-Thomas. I believe his ventures into the business world were innocent, sincere, and honest. Those who came forward to develop and market his products may have been less so. He endured clash after clash. Hence, the rumor-mill has run wild about his dealings. The controversy is over now. His chosen path hence forward is presenting multimedia shows and skype workshops that focus on today's facts (like over-population) and what he learned about this on "the Other Side." Since he was a gifted multimedia professional before he died, I suspect anything he does along that line will be superb. Whatever mistakes he made in the past have been more than corrected and repaired. People are quick to forget how advanced his healing lights are, and what a gifted and unbelievable inventor he still is. I hope someday he returns to systems work, as well. We need his genius.


Blessings, PMH

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20 Comments:

At 2:14 PM, Blogger STH said...

Hello Ms. Atwater,

I just came across the name of Mellen-Thomas Benedict today. I read his story (or a version of it), and became fascinated. His philosophy is quite lovely and inspirational.

I have no information to cast doubt on his story, but as I an open-minded skeptic - the first thought that occurred to me was, “wow… this incidence of a spontaneous curing of brain cancer is verifiable! Terrific!”

However, as I Iook around, I can’t find any verification. My search led me here where I see that you have seen the X-rays of before-and-after.

My father died of terminal brain cancer, and I can tell you that if I could see a before-and-after X-ray, it would go a very long way to irradiate my doubts about Mr. Benedict’s story.

Do you know of a place where I can see this? Is there testimony from Medical doctors anywhere that I could read? Surely if there are X-Rays then medical records exist, yes?

BTW - as you know Mr. Benedict, you might make mention of this to him. His web site is vague on details. A Jpeg of his 1982 X-Rays would be worth far more than a thousand words.

Thanks very much,

Steve

 
At 10:12 PM, Blogger PMH said...

There are many cases of spontaneous remission after a near-death experience, and one of AIDS/HIV remission. Mellen-Thomas lost the X-Rays. Yes, I really did see them, both before and after views. I asked him if I could keep them for my files, and he said no, he'd like to keep them. Now he's sorry that he said that. He's moved several times and they got lost in the moves. I felt no need at the time to speak with his doctors, as I had ample proof in my hands. You would have to speak to Mellen-Thomas yourself and ask him if he has anything written from his physician.

Whether he still had those X-Rays or not, there would be no way he could show them to you, unless you actually flew to his home and made arrangements to meet with him. Since he is a very private person, I doubt that such a visit could ever happen, anyway. He went through a great deal and has been generous with the public about all the details. To expect him to do more, even to post a Jpeg of the X-Rays seems somehow inappropriate to me and unnecessary.

Sorry. Many blessings to you, PMH

 
At 10:31 PM, Blogger Ian said...

Hello again,

Thank you so much for answering my question! I'm really grateful for the light you've shed on MT Benedict here.

By the way, since I sent you that message, I HAVE read those two books of yours you suggested! :) I particularly enjoyed The Big Book of NDEs. I thought at first it would be a very general introduction for a wide audience (which it is, and a very good one at that), but it also includes a lot of interesting information you don't find anywhere else - like the "taboo" subject of the percentage of NDErs who do eventually commit suicide.

Regarding mental health professionals' knowledge of NDEs (or any "survival" or psi research): it's been a subject of continuing sorrow to me to see how little awareness of it there is. However, therapist/minister/medium Dr. Marilyn Rossner, whom you know!, told me she could see that a day will come when psychologists will have a completely different awareness and attitude than they do now. That gives me hope!

Thanks again for all the work you do.

Blessings back to you.

Ian

 
At 7:49 PM, Blogger Giselle Freude said...

Ian, how is it inappropriate to ask Mellen to post a picture of the before and after X-Rays? His story is pretty outrageous. He can't just expect everyone to take him at his word. He needs to provide proof.

 
At 4:21 PM, Blogger PMH said...

I personally saw both before and after x-rays myself. Thus, I am able to validate his claims, plus I interviewed family and friends, as well as Mellen, to check on his story. The hospital cannot replace what was lost, as they only keep x-rays for a relatively brief period of time.

My puzzle here is why are people “ganging up” on Mellen? He is only one of many such cases of spontaneous remissions after a near-death experience. Another one is in The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences, pages 322 and 323. If you want “miracle” cases that were validated by third party testimonials, read my latest book Dying to Know You: Proof of God in the Near-Death Experience. For that matter, read any of my books. You cannot talk about near-death experiences, any of them, without having to face everything you thought was impossible. That’s why so many people still today have trouble facing what they absolutely refuse to believe.

Blessings, PMH

 
At 12:57 AM, Blogger Katarina Rose said...

People are not "ganging up" on Mellen-Thomas, they are merely needing something tangible so that they can appreciate his NDE account, and perhaps even change their views about God and about existence based on his word. That's huge. Your saying that he validated his claims to YOU, is not going to make people go "Whew! Now I know this is true, because a friend of his says it's so!"

I read Mellen-Thomas's account of his death experience and I thought it was the most insightful NDE I have ever read. It made an impact on me, and I wanted to immediately pass on the information to everyone I know.

I did a search, but to my dismay, found that the man offered no proof of his medical condition. If he was told that he was going to die in 6-18 months, there would be medical records. If he was in hospice, there would be records of his time there. If he had a caretaker, then she could surely vouch for his medical condition and his death experience.

You say that it is "inappropriate" to ask for, and "unnecessary" for him to give medical proof of his terminal cancer and impending death. I find that attitude irresponsible. It is TOTALLY appropriate and necessary, given the fact that by sharing his experience with the public, he is supposedly trying to enlighten us... only, it's enlightenment on his terms, without any supporting evidence! He is sharing an experience he says he had, while dead, with the Creator of the Universe... and has nothing to offer us in the way of proof.. just his word. That, my friend, relegates his words to "story" status. It's a nice story, but not enough to hang our hopes or beliefs on.

If I had died and come back with information from the God-Consciousness, I would do everything in my power to offer proof, otherwise, what's the point? If the point is to enlighten, not perpetrate a hoax or make up a story for capital gain, then the necessity for proof is a no-brainer! I'm not calling him a fraud. His wonderful story may very well be true. But it's fairly useless if he can't even get a letter from his physicians or the hospice, with names, on letterhead, to validate his claims and give his readers a reason to take his message to heart.

 
At 12:23 PM, Blogger PMH said...

Very few near-death experiencers have proof of what happened to them medically. Some have what their physician shared, or maybe a nurse, loved ones, but that’s about it. You must realize the majority of near-death experiencers do not come back with any thought about saving the world. They are busy taking care of themselves and trying to make sense of what they went through and experienced. That means that their physical trauma takes precedent. Later on, some may go back in a hunt for records. Also, consider that only about 12 to 26% were every in a hospital to begin with, so what records could there be? The near-death experience is more a product of emergencies, doctor offices, and families who are traumatized. These people are not actors, not saviors, not “servants of God.” They are everyday people who went through a crisis or something like a crisis and then, later on, were faced with what else happened to them. The idea of giving the world evidence of what happened is ridiculous.



In my own case, I died three times in three months in 1977, each time experiencing the phenomenon, and each was different. My mission was made clear and loud, I was to do the research. Never once did it ever occur to me that I needed records from anyone to prove that I died and went through what I did. My only thought was to carry out the research I have now done for nearly 40 years. The doctors in my case have all died, my records with them. My aftereffects, though, are without question. And it is the pattern of physiological and psychological aftereffects that validate the experience, not the other way around. So you produce records. What records? Of what value are they? So they prove you were near death or died. They do not prove you had a near-death experience.



You are asking for something that very few people could ever give you. You might check with Anita Moorjani. She has records, lots of them, and her doctors are refusing to validate her experience. They are back-pedaling, even though proof is black and white, including her aftereffects, including the miracle of her healing. All of it recorded. All of it still denied. So what are you saying?



To me you are crying out for something that meets your criteria of what you want. Sorry, dear. Life doesn’t work that way. If these people’s stories are not good enough for you and what proof they can offer – with their lives and their health and how much they have changed – then no one and nothing can ever meet your expectations.



Blessings, PMH Atwater

 
At 8:40 PM, Blogger Katarina Rose said...

You misunderstand, or maybe it was the way I presented my thought. (Probably the latter). I totally believe that people are having valid NDE's. Dr. George Ritchie's account was my favorite. I'm not "crying out for something that meets my criteria" of what I want. I'm not one of those people that think people who have metaphysical or paranormal experiences are fakes, or who demands proof.

I am realistic enough though, to know that there are some people who will make up stories just to get attention, or to make money. So, if someone has proof of a terminal illness being cured, then we can enjoy the information they gleaned from Spirit much more fully than we can those that don't. Not having proof doesn't negate their story, but having some kind of record or statement is a big plus.

My issue was with a remark you made to someone, about the medical records being unnecessary, or words to that effect, and questioning why they are questioning. For some reason I thought that Mellen-Thomas had, or could access, the X-rays or medical records. If this is something that happened many years ago, then sure, physical proof is long gone and nothing can be done about it. I guess what made me think he had something tangible, is that he had something he was able to show you. He showed you the X-rays.

I'm just trying to make the point that if a person CAN get his medical records, X-rays, or even a statement from his doctor or caretakers, that they would be a most valuable tool if the NDE Experiencer's reason for sharing is to enlighten people. IF he has, or can get some tangible proof of his miraculous cure, then he is defeating his own purpose of educating the public, by keeping the records to himself. One couldn't ask for better supporting evidence than to show before and after proof of terminal cancer vanishing virtually overnight, completely. THAT would serve to change a lot of non-believers into believers, or at least be a great start to opening up one's eyes to the awareness of existence beyond the physical plane.

Imagine a chemistry teacher TELLING her class about the consequences of combining two different chemicals... as opposed to a chemistry teacher SHOWING her class the reaction of the two chemicals. I felt like you were saying "Why would anyone need to see the experiment when they can just be told about it?" Obviously, if the chemicals and beakers are not on hand, then the class will just have to take the teacher's word for it. That doesn't mean that I think the teacher is lying. That's not what I was saying. I was merely trying to say that if Thomas HAD X-rays (or whatever), which I thought he did since he showed it to you, then how can you not understand why people would want him to share them? If, on the other hand, there was nothing to show, then I agree with you that proof is not an issue here.

 
At 12:46 PM, Blogger PMH said...

I do understand what you want. But in this case, the X-rays are gone and there is nothing anyone can do about it. I saw them, tried to get Mellen to give them to me for safekeeping, he refused – wanted them to prove it all to himself, then he moved cross-country and promptly lost them. I visited him in California shortly after his move, they could not be found. At the time of my husband and I being in Fayetteville to visit Mellen, meeting his companion and mother for even more verification, Mellen was dealing with a lot of personal issues and what to do with the scientific “inventions” that were beginning to pour from him. I saw the scissors he invented for cutting glass with little or no hand-fatigue – really amazing. He was being assailed with such things. I have yet to meet any near-death experiencer who could deal with the experience, the aftereffects, and how that had complicated their life, during the first three years afterward. I have met a lot who thought they were, but none who really did. That’s why I can understand Mellen’s choices and what he did. Proving anything to anyone, besides himself, at that point in his life was a non-issue. I understand that.

The verifications I found were more than enough for me to consider his case valid. If you cannot accept my word, then there’s nothing more I can say. Blessings, PMH

 
At 11:02 PM, Blogger nancy kisich said...

I discovered Mellen on YouTube a couple years ago. I was particularly moved by his story. At the time I was at a low point health-wise and I became interested in Ultraspa, his light device. I ordered the device for $784.09, including tax. It is April 2016 as of this writing and I never received my order or my money back. I am still paying back my credit card.

 
At 5:53 PM, Blogger PMH said...

Mellen recently moved and then right afterward was badly injured in a fall. He is now recovering. I will send your note to him. Hopefully he can reach you and make things right. If you do not hear from him within the next 30 days, let me know. Blessings, PMH

 
At 9:33 AM, Blogger nancy kisich said...

Sorry to hear Mellen hurt himself. Thank you for reaching out to him.

 
At 7:14 PM, Blogger PMH said...

Mellen has since contacted the woman who bought one of his lights but did not receive delivery. This matter is being taken care of. As part of “getting well,” Mellen is revamping his business, the progress of his inventions, and his ability to share with others in seminars and teaching sessions. Give him about a year or less, and I think you will all be delightfully surprised at what he has to offer. Blessings, PMH

 
At 9:03 PM, Blogger Kimsworldnow said...

I also purchased an ultra spa and did not receive it as of today, December 1, 2016.

 
At 7:12 AM, Blogger Monica Quinn said...

Katerina, you either believe him or you don't. It is as simple as that. Why do you want proof? Give up your search and live your life. If what you have read combined with your beliefs is not enough then you have to take that on as your responsibility. He is not obliged to say one single word. You may as well ask why everyone who dies doesn't come back to tell us. Work that out, I mean really really think about it. I had an NDE 37 years ago. I was completely sledge-hammered mentally. When I spoke to people, including my husband about it, their eyes glazed over. I was dismissed. I only started reading a lot about it in the last few years. People I know still don't want to hear about it. One man could not believe why God should choose one person over another to have an NDE. I cannot work that one out. But there is change I believe. There is more enquiry into consciousness and a willingness to combine belief in Science with belief in God. Either YOU take the leap or you do not. It won't affect the outcome. End of story. Monica

 
At 7:29 AM, Blogger Monica Quinn said...

Hi again Katerina. A teacher has a responsibility that a recounter of an experience does not. I could easily have gone back and got medical proof that I had died. I don't need to. I know what happened. Who would I have to prove it to? ...as opposed to tell it to? You do not 'hear' what is being said with your heart. You want the science I think. There are writers about that too if you research a bit. Reading your reply above I still think you choose not to take responsibility for what you believe. You absolutely cannot say what you would do if you had an NDE. Everyone lives and deals with their experiences after any event, not before. Monica

 
At 7:31 AM, Blogger Monica Quinn said...

These are business affairs with all due respect. You have to pursue these according to your wishes and your pocket.

 
At 1:01 PM, Blogger PMH said...

Mellen died 3-31 this year. The Coroner believes it was a heart-attack. He was virtually bankrupt, and still dealing with the injuries he suffered when he hit his head on his washbasin in his home. I make no excuses for Mellen’s business dealings, but I do know he was cheated by so many, it’s no wonder he was unable to finally make good on all his promises. Thanks, PMH

 
At 3:13 PM, Blogger nancy kisich said...

Regarding recent news of Mellen's passing.
This is truly shocking and sad news. I am so sorry to learn. Though I did not know him, he was an inspiration and thanks to Mellen, I learned about the health benefits of light. Xoxo Nancy

 
At 1:55 PM, Blogger PMH said...

His passing is sad for all of us, and what he left behind I am quite certain we will be hearing about for years to come. His friends are overwhelmed with the amount of work of his that is unpublished.

Blessings, PMH

 

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