Dave Schrader (email) was joined by reporter and novelist, Patricia Pearson, who discussed her journalistic investigation into Nearing Death Awareness, where people express foreknowledge that they will soon pass away. She attributed her interest in the topic to a strange event which occurred on the night that her father died unexpectedly. Pearson recalled that her sister felt a presence in her bedroom and hands cupping her head. Following that, she experienced an influx of energy which infused her with a sense of joy and healing for two hours. Upon getting up and telling her son about what had happened, she then found out about her father's death. Sadly, her sister would go on to also pass away nine weeks later due to breast cancer.
Intrigued by her sister's story and inspired to proverbially 'defend' her account of that night, Pearson turned to scientific research to learn how the medical community explains such phenomena. "That's when I discovered how little was actually known," she mused, "we tend to toss around these explanations but they're really just scientific theories. They're not based on a lot of evidence." Pearson lamented that because precognition of death is so difficult to study, scientists offer theories that cannot be tested or simply dismiss the stories altogether, regardless of how potent they are for those that witness them. "We're made to feel like we're making things up," she said, "when in fact these are some of the most real and powerful and extraordinary and sacred experiences of people's lives."
Based on her research, Pearson shared a number of indicators of Near Death Awareness that have been reported by hospice workers and nurses over the years. One profound clue, she said, is that a patient will begin talking about taking a journey of some kind. Additionally, Pearson cited a major study of people who were conscious in the hour before their death and these patients were reported to experience phenomena such as extreme elation or seeing a departed loved one in the room with them. While these behaviors may be expected from someone who is sick and knows they will die in the near future, she noted there are instances where people have been given a healthy prognosis from their doctors yet exhibit such intimations and then die unexpectedly thereafter.
In the first hour, lawyer and medium, Mark Anthony, weighed in on the horrific Slender Man stabbings which occurred in Wisconsin and Ohio earlier this week. He observed that it is "pretty terrifying stuff" that an Internet meme could so enrapture teenage girls that they are driven to "plot, premeditatedly, a brutal, cold-blooded murder" and express little remorse over their actions. Anthony suggested that the creator of Slenderman, nor the website where it became famous, are likely to be legally liable for the crimes, but the kids' parents may face scrutiny from authorities. Beyond that, he theorized that the second Slenderman stabbing was likely a copycat crime caused by mental illness. (related video)
While still years away from possibly ever being completed or executed, NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts department recently granted $100,000 in funding to a dozen exotic new projects. Amongst the recipients are a nanosatellite which would capture space debris and asteroids (seen here) as well as a new imaging system that would allow for probes to explore caves on the moon. Indicative of NASA's strong interest in Saturn's moon Titan, two unique concepts aimed at exploring the mysterious world were awarded funding: a balloon and a submarine. More on the story, including all 12 award-winning ideas, at Universe Today.