Evidence for the Afterlife / Terminal Lucidity

Hosted byGeorge Noory

Evidence for the Afterlife / Terminal Lucidity

About the show

Author and filmmaker Paul Perry has been on the front lines of near-death experience research since 1985 when he met Raymond Moody, an expert on near-death experiences (NDEs) and well-known lecturer and author. In the first half, they shared various reasons to believe in the afterlife, and intriguing phenomena associated with NDEs. One of the most remarkable things, Moody said, was numerous cases over the years that involved bystanders at the death of somebody else who "empathically co-live the dying life review of a person who was passing away." Intriguingly, this shared-death phenomenon does not occur only to loved ones of the dying. "Several years ago, my wife and I got a call from an ER doctor who had been called to the ER to resuscitate a patient he had never laid eyes on. And as this guy was dying, the physician saw that the patient's life springing up around him," Moody marveled.

Perry detailed how out-of-body experiences are a form of evidence that consciousness can survive physical death. For example, there have been cases of people on an operating table from a cardiac arrest, and their heart has temporarily stopped, but later, when they're brought back, "they can recount conversations in the hospital waiting room...They're able to convey accurate information about what the doctors were doing and what they were saying and the instruments they were using," he continued. Perry also cited how studies have shown that NDEs can be highly transformative events in a person's life-- they may lose their fear of death, have a greater zest for living, and "have at least four times the number of verifiable psychic experiences as people around them" (such as accurate precognitive dreams). The two also spoke about the use of a psychomanteum (a special darkened room with a mirror at an angle) to contact the departed, and the strange and unexpected experiences that have occurred with this.

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Director of the Viktor Frankl Institute in Vienna, Dr. Alexander Batthyány is one of the first scientists to look into the phenomenon of terminal lucidity (TL)-- the remarkable return of clarity and cognition that can happen to even the most profoundly impaired people at the very end of their lives. In the latter half, he opened a doorway into this provocative mystery, noting that these occurrences have been reported for centuries, but only recently have they been the subject of scientific studies. He described a typical case of TL as when a terminal patient has been unable to communicate for some time and may not recognize their relatives. At a certain point, their doctor realizes the person is near death and invites relatives to visit and say goodbye. The patient is suddenly able to greet loved ones, call them by their names, and have meaningful and moving conversations.

Typically, some 70-80% of the patients die on the same day as they've had their surprising cognitive return, he reported, and while TL is rare with dementia patients, it's more common with cancer and other types of illness. In most cases in his database, during an episode of TL, what is observed is a full return of the person with their personal memories, character, and warmth-- "the person who was always there, reemerges or comes back." Batthyány pointed out that TL and near-death experiences share certain similarities, though they come from different perspectives. They're both happening to people with brains that are not functioning normally, yet their experiences are insightful, lucid, and often peaceful.

News segment guests: Lauren Weinstein, Steve Kates

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