Experiences with the deceased

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White Crow Books recently republished a skeptical book on the evidence for postmortem survival, The Philosophical Possibilities Beyond Death by Brooke Noel Moore. I'd never heard of it and only found it because I check the White Crow website for new stuff periodically. Moore's bottom line is that there is too little evidence for survival relative to the masses of people who have died throughout human history. In essence he asks why we don't have more survival evidence when there should be so many spirits out there trying to communicate. He concludes that this relative lack of evidence favors the view that survival doesn't happen.

I find this to be a pretty bad argument because I've read a number of surveys of populations finding that apparently anomalous experiences of the deceased are very common. That is despite the fact that the researchers who conduct these surveys typically claim that the experiences are substantially underreported. Strong evidence may be comparatively rare, but that evidence requires good investigations, and considering how few serious and competent researchers of paranormal phenomena there have been, and that proper study only began in the 19th century, that situation doesn't seem too surprising to me.

But anyway this led me to do my own test so to speak. I figured if experiences with the deceased are common, it shouldn't be hard to find someone in my family who's had one. I've had barely anything in the way of anomalous experiences btw, and I'm not sure the ones that I'm inclined to think were anomalous really were. The first and so far only person I asked is my mother. I asked if anything unusual happened when and after her parents, my grandparents (obviously), died. She reported the following:

1. After her father died she often heard his voice for some years. The voice seemed to be in the environment, and she felt she heard it with her ears. It wasn't experienced as an internal or mental thing in other words. The voice would sometimes refer to her with an affectionate name her father occasionally used for her when he was alive. In more recent years she doesn't hear his voice as often.

2. In the past couple years, now quite some time after his death and my grandmother's death, while in bed but wide awake, my mother has felt someone sit on her bed, at times when no one else is in the room. The nights when this happens, she has distinct dreams about her parents.

3. When her mother died, my mother discovered that a picture of her mother had fallen over, such that the picture was down facing the top of the piano it was on. In the paranormal lit there are many reports of pictures and portraits of deceased persons falling from walls or being knocked over at their time of death, and similarly clocks stopping, light bulbs going out, and such coincident with death.

4. Not in the same category, but my mother's grandmother, who lived into her 90s, would have fainting spells toward the end of her life. She reported that while unconscious, she would encounter Jesus, who intended to take her to heaven. Her grandmother would ask for more time and then revive. In this period her grandmother lived alone. My mom's aunts were concerned about her ability to look after herself and made plans to put her in a care home. Her grandmother was adamant about not going. Not too long after she was found dead over her stove. My mother believes that her grandmother had another fainting spell, but, not wanting to go to the care home, accepted that it was time to leave this life when she met Jesus then.

5. Nothing unusual happened at her father's deathbed.

I find the experiences described in point 2 very interesting, because they're happening so far on now, that it's completely implausible to try to account for them as bereavement hallucinations. I guess I should mention that my mother is to all appearances in very good health, drinks less than the average person, has a good career in the medical profession - basically there's no sign of any organic pathology or other natural condition that would explain what she's reported.

It was surprising to get all of this from the first "interview" I attempted. But it leaves me even more confident in the results of those surveys I mentioned earlier. Anomalous experiences consistent with survival probably are very common. So I stand by my impression that Moore's argument isn't a good one. Skeptics can dismiss a lot of those experiences as grief-induced hallucinations. But that's a different argument, and one that's not at all conclusive. I'd find it very weird to complain about the lack of signs of communication from the deceased and then wave away the fact that such signs are reported frequently.
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It's great you asked and were able to receive all this information! Terrific. You raise a lot of good points and I very much agree with what no. 2 says given this is long, very long after grief/bereavement.
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(2023-07-17, 01:58 AM)RViewer88 Wrote: White Crow Books recently republished a skeptical book on the evidence for postmortem survival, The Philosophical Possibilities Beyond Death by Brooke Noel Moore. I'd never heard of it and only found it because I check the White Crow website for new stuff periodically. Moore's bottom line is that there is too little evidence for survival relative to the masses of people who have died throughout human history. In essence he asks why we don't have more survival evidence when there should be so many spirits out there trying to communicate. He concludes that this relative lack of evidence favors the view that survival doesn't happen.
It's a pretty strange book - I just looked at a short sample on Amazon and many topics are covered such as head transplants and the philosophy of Daniel Dennett. These to me are abstractions, what seems relevant is the evidence - naturally the sample is too brief to touch upon that. There are as yet no reviews available. I really don't know where the book is heading but from its breadth it is implied that the coverage of evidence itself might be brief - it would take a different book to focus primarily upon that.

Quote:But anyway this led me to do my own test so to speak. I figured if experiences with the deceased are common, it shouldn't be hard to find someone in my family who's had one. I've had barely anything in the way of anomalous experiences btw, and I'm not sure the ones that I'm inclined to think were anomalous really were.

Thanks for this - it is good firstly that you found people willing to talk about the topic. The accounts are very useful in confirming that it is not so hard to find first-hand reports.

For myself, I may have had some prior expectation of something, but things I experienced after the passing of each of my parents - a long time ago now - was still a surprise in the forms it took. What I experienced was different in these two cases and surprised me in different ways. Some of the occurrences were in the immediate hours or days after death, but others have been many years later.

I prefer not to share these things publicly, though I may have mentioned some of the things here and there in the past.
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The book is originally from 1981?

I think this would need quite the update to keep up with, say, everything the Esalen Group has published about evidence and the rise of consideration about the Hard Problem.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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(2023-07-17, 04:41 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: The book is originally from 1981?

I think this would need quite the update to keep up with, say, everything the Esalen Group has published about evidence and the rise of consideration about the Hard Problem.
Can you tell us more?  I would love to stay at Esalen and have dinner at Nepenthe.  I don't know of a Group or of recent work?
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(2023-07-17, 07:15 PM)stephenw Wrote: Can you tell us more?  I would love to stay at Esalen and have dinner at Nepenthe.  I don't know of a Group or of recent work?

I was just thinking of the role members of the Esalen group played in collection Survival & Psi evidence as published & discussed in Irreducible Mind and Beyond Physicalism.

More specifically re: Survival I'd think of Edward Kelly among others who've collected evidence of NDEs and the like.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(2023-07-17, 11:37 AM)Typoz Wrote: I prefer not to share these things publicly, though I may have mentioned some of the things here and there in the past.
Thanks. I'd be delighted if you ever wanted to share those experiences.
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