"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
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.