I get so many questions emailed to my website that it is almost impossible to reply to them all. Below are some questions (emailed to me in January) along with my responses.
Question: I wonder if you might consider reviewing your NDE data to check how many patients recollect ‘seeing their own body’ during an OBE where there are no other persons present in the vicinity who can see them? I suspect that you will find few, if any.
I’ve considered whether during an OBE, the patient might be seeing/hearing things from another person (or persons) current perception or memory of the event? Therefore virtually all OBEs are in fact the patient’s own brain attempting to sort out one (or more) conflicting broadcasts from medical staff etc. who are looking at, or around the patient, and that this takes place when the patient’s brain is in a particular state that enables it to more easily pick up such broadcasts. (i.e. telepathy). I think this accounts for the uncontrolled and odd floating movements/positions some patients recollect during their OBE.
My answer: I had thought about the possibility of telepathy while setting up the research. For this reason, the symbols that I hid around the Intensive Therapy Unit were placed in the various locations and it was unknown to me which symbol was placed in which location.
All of the patients in my study who reported a NDE would have been observable by medical personnel within the vicinity. By nature of being in ITU, each patient has a nurse at the bedside 24 hours a day. Whether the patients were observed in a conscious way by the nurses or just from their peripheral vision while continuing with other tasks was not established as in some cases it was unknown exactly when the OBE occurred (some patients reported an OBE in the absence of cardiac arrest but during a period of unconsciousness).
It was apparent from the research that patients even when unconscious pick up on staff conversation and actions even if they cannot respond.
However, the things reported by the patients who had an OBE or NDE did not obviously appear to have come from the minds of those attending but, of course, this cannot be ruled out.
Question: A review of the patient’s previous history of paranormal experiences might be revealing? Also a record of which medical staff were present at the time of the OBE, might show – through a process of elimination over time – that they more generally occur when certain medical staff are present, and generally don’t occur when these same medical staff are not present?
I seriously doubt you will ever have any success trying to prove that a patient’s own consciousness’ has actually left their body I’m not at all convinced that this is what occurs.
My answer: I also asked the patients if they had any previous ‘paranormal’ type experiences and only one reported this in a very vague way.
A record of all medical staff present was kept but there are so many different staff and the cardiac arrests of the different patients occurred over a time span of 5 years so it was evident that different members of staff were present for each resuscitation.
I didn’t really set out to prove that anyone’s consciousness has left their body; my prime concern with undertaking the research was to have a greater understanding of death and the dying process so that the way that we care for dying patients and address their spiritual needs could be enhanced.
I agree it is extremely hard to prove that consciousness can leave the body. With my research I found that even those who reported an OBE the quality of the experience was not conducive to viewing the hidden symbols as some didn’t ‘rise high enough’ above the body, some ‘floated’ in opposite directions to where the symbols were and the few with good quality OBEs were more concerned with what was going on around their body than looking above the cardiac monitor.