The Second International NDE Conference in, Marseille, France

30 Mar

On March 9th and 10th the second international conference on Near-Death Experiences, organised by Sonia Barkallah of S17 Productions, was held at The Palais de Congress, Marseille.

It was a privilege to be able to attend, meet French researchers and to present a paper to such a massive audience of approximately 2000 people. This highlights just how many people are becoming interested in this very important subject.

The interconnectivity of life was made apparent as soon as I arrived in Marseille. The first of a few synchronicities occurred when I got off the plane in Marseille. The lovely lady who met me at the airport and took me to the hotel, Meilya Devlin, was from Marseille but she told me she had lived in the UK for about 10 years. It transpired that of all the places she could have lived, she had lived in Swansea – where I live! A big thank you to Meilya for being so kind to me and for translating into French the few sentences that I spoke at the beginning of my presentation.

It was great to meet up with Dr Raymond Moody, Dr Eben Alexander, Dr Jeffrey Long and Jody Long again and hear all of their excellent presentations.

Once again when Eben described his NDE there wasn’t a dry eye in the audience – that’s the second time I’ve cried listening to his experience.

Thankfully the venue had headsets available so that all of the talks could be translated (for me into English and for others from English into French).

Before my presentation I was really daunted by the size of the venue and the amount of people present. When I got up on the massive stage it seemed to take forever to walk over to the podium in front of such a huge audience. Then my nerves just disappeared and I enjoyed every minute of it. I think the thing that really made it worthwhile to me was what happened after. Over lunch a husband and wife came to talk to me – luckily they could speak English. They both said that my talk had been a revelation to them. The lady had previously had a distressing spiritual experience but had never really understood it as she was not close to death at the time. I had described in my presentation about distressing spiritual experiences that can occur in the absence of life threatening circumstances. To see the looks on the faces of both the husband and wife was so rewarding for me, they both had tears in their eyes and it was as if they had just let out a huge sigh of relief. It was as if the final piece of a jigsaw had just been found for them. This just reiterates to me how important it is that we research the distressing NDEs further. There are clearly many people out there who really don’t understand them and would welcome support in coming to terms with them. I also spoke with a man who had experienced a hellish NDE. He only spoke French and my French is not good so I was unable to understand what he was trying to tell me but he is going to send me an account of his NDE and I will get it translated. I’m looking forward to reading about his whole experience.

There were many debates about NDEs and the very important therapeutic benefits were also discussed by Dr Eric Dudoit, Eliane Lheureux from the Department of Medical Oncology and Palliative Care. They discussed how NDEs can be used as therapy for patients. Dr Olivier Chambon spoke a few times throughout the conference and particularly mentioned the work of Dr Kenneth Ring and how he valued the life review aspect of NDEs and used this in his work.

Dr Jean-Pierre Postel and Dr Jean-Jacques Charbonnier and Annie Babu discussed their own work in the clinical area. Dr Jean-Pierre Postel is conducting research similar to my own. He has put images generated by a cell phone which is concealed in a gift wrapped box and also images concealed in envelopes. In some OBE cases it is reported that physical barriers such as the ceiling disappear as was reported by Patient 10 in my study (he said the ceiling disappeared). Dr Postel’s research is one way of exploring this further but is could also give further information regarding the transmission of images in a telepathic way. If no one in the clinical area is aware of these images yet patients correctly identify the image then this could indicate that telepathy does not have a role to play in OBE cases. However, all of this kind of research is still quite new so I would estimate many years of data collection before any firm conclusions can be drawn.

Dr Postel described the case of an OBE he had investigated. (Please bear in mind that I am reporting this from my memory and I didn’t take notes at the time so this may not be 100% accurate in the way I am reporting it. The proceedings of the conference will be available in DVD format in the future so this can be checked again by watching Dr Postel himself describe it). The blind female patient recalled an OBE – her eyes had been damaged in a previous accident so she was blind from the time of the accident. She recalled being in the emergency room and having an OBE where she viewed the staff attending to her removing her jewellery and putting them into the pockets of their tunic. On recovery she asked for her jewellery but it was not amongst her possessions. She instructed the staff to look in the tunic pocket of the staff who had attended to her when she had been admitted and the jewellery was found. During the time that she was experiencing her OBE her medical notes had documented that she was blind and her retinas had been destroyed. This case features in the DVD called False Start made by Sonia Barkallah (the organiser of the conference).

It was so great to meet Xavier Rodier. He was such a nice person and his English was much better than my French so we were able to understand what each other was saying. He is a great example of an NDEr. At the age of twenty four, he was a very successful, self-taught company manager. He was accomplished and happy in his role, then his life was transformed forever after having a revealing experience during a NDE. He then started a new life, returning to study to become first an auxiliary nurse, then a trained nurse, and obtained a degree in pediatric nursing. To date he is the only

nurse in France to have had completed his state diploma with a dissertation on work with NDEs: Nurses dealing with situations of NDE accounts – IFSI Émile Roux, AP-HP, 1996. I am so grateful for Xavier for giving me a copy of his work, I will be getting a friend to translate for me. Xavier Rodier is back at university pursuing a doctorate in psychology. I wish him continued success with his studies and hope we can keep in touch.

Many of the audience members were nurses, doctors and physiotherapists who all acknowledge how important it is to address NDEs in healthcare. I spoke to a psychiatric nurse called Catherine Louvel who was inspired by the conference to undertake her own research project with NDEs. It is so wonderful to see that others are so inspired. I wish her luck, I’m sure her work will be very successful.

There were many short DVDs of people speaking about their NDEs and these were fascinating to watch in between the different talks and the whole conference flowed extremely well.

There was a DVD of an interview with philosopher John Martin Fischer of UC Riverside, California who was granted $5 million from the Templeton Foundation – he said that the money would be divided up and used in various different ways. Approx 1.25 million would be devoted to NDE research. Excellent news!

One really interesting talk was given by a practitioner called Bernard Dubreuil who discussed how he had accidentally discovered a way of relieving phantom limb pain in patients who had amputated limbs. While treating a patient (who was lying face down and could not see what he was doing) he slowly massaged the area where the limb would have been had it not been amputated. It was highly effective and the patient commented immediately. Bernard then began to tickle where the man’s foot would have been and the man started pulling away as if being tickled for real. He then tried pinching where the heel would have been and the man yelped and pulled away which indicated that the patient was in some way able to feel what Bernard was doing despite the limb not being physically present.

It was so lovely to talk to members of the audience too and the whole two days had a very positive and uplifting energy. I would have been so much easier if I could speak French as there were so many people I wanted to speak to in greater depth but I could not understand them and they couldn’t speak English. I met Corinne Musitelli who works as a teacher and as translator for Sonia. She also runs a centre that facilitates talks on NDEs in Dijon, France. She spoke very good English so it was very helpful that she was able to explain so much for me.

There was a lady who had a very deep and intricate NDE many years ago – her book has been published in French her name is Nicole Drone. I asked her to describe a bit of her experience and she gave such a good answer (someone translated for me). She said that to translate such a deeply intense spiritual experience into her own language was virtually impossible so to try to further translate the experience into English would diminish it even more. What an important point she made.

I also spoke with Rajaa Benamour from Casablanca, who spoke much better English than I did French. She had a really fascinating NDE which she described during one of the debate sessions. Her NDE occurred when she had a bad reaction to an anaesthetic. When she was talking to me she explained that she was wearing sunglasses indoors because since her NDE (like many NDErs I have spoken to) she had developed light sensitivity and the light was hurting her eyes.

Her NDE wasn’t described in full as I suspect it may have taken the full two days of the conference to communicate all that she experienced. She is in the process of writing a book on her experience but she estimates that it will be in three volumes because of the depth to which her experience took her. What she experienced was incredible. Her description sounded as if she had tuned into the collective unconscious and experienced the birth of the universe. She also experienced things at a quantum level. Since her recovery she has acquired intellectual abilities she did not have before and she has begun studying quantum physics at university level. What was really interesting to me is that her tutor from the university (I think he was a Professor of Physics) was interviewed for the conference. He stated that Rajaa had come to him with some papers she had written about quantum physics and he was shocked by her knowledge as she had not previously studied this. He went on to say that this knowledge could not have been attained through undertaking a booster course in this subject. In fact in some of Rajaa’s papers he did not understand what she had written but later discovered newly published papers which supported her work. Rajaa continues to study quantum physics. I hope her book is translated into English because I was really fascinated when listening to her account.

It was also very interesting to speak with Dr Nobumi Matsuda, a lovely ophthalmologist from Japan who had come to France for the conference. He told me that his grandfather had a NDE and had actually been pronounced dead but regained consciousness in the funeral parlour. When he spoke he said that he had been dead and that he’d been in a beautiful place with trees and streams. I can’t recall any more details of what he told me as I didn’t take notes and it was totally sensory overload for the whole two days. But I did remember the next bit – he said he had been sent back to life as he was too early and his house was still being built and it would take another month to complete. The man lived for another month then died as predicted during his NDE.

It was most interesting to see how all of these scientists, from different parts of the world, having studied NDEs for so long are coming to the same conclusions that death is not the end.

I want to say a big thank you to Sheherazade and Laurent Fruchart who were very kind to me and translated for me and drove me back and forth between the venue and hotel. On the first evening, it was such a gift to go to dinner and sit at the same table as them and Dr Cristina Lazaro and Professor Pedro Castejon from Murcia, Spain. The five of us had great fun that evening – and lots of good wine!

I feel really honoured to have been invited to participate in the conference and it was so exciting to meet so many people who share the same interests as me. It is an experience I will always be grateful for and something I will always remember. A big thank you to Sonia Barkallah for inviting me to attend.

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155 Responses to “The Second International NDE Conference in, Marseille, France”

  1. Zelda Hall March 30, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

    Thank you for this account of the conference Penny. It is a pleasure to read. I like the warmth and compassion that is evident in your writing. Wonderful story about the couple who were so relieved when they gained a new understanding of the wife’s spiritual experience through your presentation. Very fulfilling. I am very intrigued by Rajaa Benamour’s story! And would love to hear more. My French is very minimal though so I would hope that her account will eventually be translated into English!

    • Dr Penny Sartori April 1, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

      HI Zelda, thank you for your comments. It was so great to be at the conference. Yes, Rajaa’s NDE is absolutely fascinating and I really want to find out more. I’m patiently waiting for her book which may be a while. Hopefully it will be translated into English as this is such an important case.

  2. Hanan March 31, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

    Was there any discussion about Dr. Parnia or his latest research?

    • Dr Penny Sartori April 1, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

      HI Hanan, no there wasn’t a formal discussion about Dr Parnia’s research and there were no DVD clips of him either. It was concentrating more on the French research. There was such a lot packed into the two days.

  3. Joss Morisson April 1, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    Hi Penny,
    I’m so glad you enjoyed the conference and its surroundings. It seems everybody had a wonderful time. I feel sorry I hadn’t more time to talk with you, but I was kind of in a hurry for two days, still enjoying it all.
    The “lady with the jewellery” that you mention is in Sonia’s documentary (False Start? not sure). In fact she was not blind from the accident that caused the NDE, but from a prior accident. The masso-therapist who works with fantom limbs is Bernard Dubreuil. And the lady who had a profound experience and is well-known in France is Nicole Dron.
    I work with Sonia, so let me know if I can be of any help. I hope we’ll have further opportunities to meet. Keep up the good work.
    Thanks,
    Joss
    Jocelin Morisson

    • Dr Penny Sartori April 1, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

      Hi Joss, great to hear from you. Thank you so much for your input on this and clarifying things for me it is a big help. The conference was so amazing and it was lovely to meet you. It certainly was intense and packed full of interesting discussions. There was a lot of information to take in. The success of the conference and the fact that there were so many people there is a sign that people are really acknowledging these very important experiences. I’m sure we will have an opportunity to meet again in the future.

    • tim April 1, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

      Thanks for your report, Penny, Very interesting. Joss, Hi, is there any way of getting the facts of the story of the woman with the jewellery. I would have thought that the Doctors tunics would have been very quickly washed after the surgery…so that sort of rather rules out finding it there, doesn’t it ?
      I accept these type of reports but that seems a little hard to make sense of, any ideas ?

      • Joss Morisson April 2, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

        The men were stretcher-bearers from what I recall, not doctors. Or maybe one of them was the radiographer. The lady was having a scan indeed. The case is very solid and is documented in the film. Dr Postel did find the medical record attesting the blindness at the time of the experience. I’ll try to post more details here.

      • MitiL April 4, 2013 at 12:45 am #

        Very interesting case! Did that lady have a cardiac arrest?

        And were those guys arrested/testified?

      • Dr Penny Sartori April 5, 2013 at 11:39 am #

        HI MitiL, I’m not sure if the lady had a cardiac arrest. Hopefully it will be written up by Dr Postel and we will know more details.

        I don’t think the guys intended to steal the jewellery, it seems more of an oversight. When someone is admitted during an emergency situation things have to be done quickly so I guess they absent mindedly just put them into the pocket and completely forgot about them. I know from my experience of working as a nurse how easy somehting like this can happen. I’m not sure though.

  4. Stuart April 1, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    Is there going to be papers issued summarising the conference or it is just the DVD. Tried to look at the conference readings on its website but I do not speak French at all and google translate was not of much help unfortunately.

    • Dr Penny Sartori April 1, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

      HI Stuart, I think there is just going to be a DVD. I think it will be translated into English. Sonia and her team have done a really great job with finding very interesting people to interview and people doing research into NDEs. To watch excerpts of some of the interviews she has recorded was very helpful and interesting. It’s great to get an understanding of what is going on in France.

      • tim April 1, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

        Hi again, Penny.
        Sorry I posted above so without repeating myself, do you have any more detail of the case of the lady with the jewellery ? As I said to Joss, wouldn’t the tunics be washed straight way ? Therefore ruling

        out finding it in a pocket etc.

      • Dr Penny Sartori April 2, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

        Hi Tim, I’m not sure of anymore details. I can only remember a little of what was described by Dr Postel. Good point about washing the tunics but it depends on who the staff were – if they were nurses or doctors then yes, I would expect the tunics to be washed. However, it may have been radiographers (I think the lady was having a CT scan or x-ray). If it was a radiographer then they may not necessarily have washed the tunics as they may have just been a white coat to protect their clothing and they may be hung up in a changing room between shifts. I’m not sure on this but I’m sure there would be more details in the DVD. It is a very intersting case.

  5. Joss Morisson April 2, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    An english version of the DVD and the proceedings will be issued, hopefully before summer. I am also writing an article in french for the S17 production website, which will possibly be translated.

    • Dr Penny Sartori April 2, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

      Great, thanks for this Joss. It would be really good to have your article for the S17 production website translated into English. I can put a link to it from my blog as I’m sure the followers of the blog would be very interested in reading it.

      • Joss Morisson April 3, 2013 at 9:52 pm #

        Sorry, I realise I used a term which might be out of context in my answer to Tim above. Although the case goes back to 1972, I meant people from the staff, who wheel the patient from a unit to another. In french we refer to them as “brancardier”, although it is no more accurate. Anyway we are urging Dr Postel to write a scientific article about this case. And the woman herself is writing a book because I can tell you that she saw other things and that the nurses freaked out when she told them. Sorry again, Sonia’s documentary is not available in english for commercialisation yet, although an english version has been made.

      • Dr Penny Sartori April 5, 2013 at 11:36 am #

        Hi Joss, thanks for this. I think the staff you are referring to were porters. Yes, that makes sense. It is procedure to remove jewellery from patients when they are admitted to hospital especially if they are going to have a scan. In 1972 I doubt that they had the policies of listing the jewellery and locking it in a safe. In an emergency situation it is easy to forget about putting jewellery in the tunic pockets.

        It would be great if Dr Postel could write up this case. I would also be very interested to read the lady’s book when it is published. It would be good if Sonia could broadcast her documentary on television. She has done such a great job with her work, it would be good for the whole world to see it.

  6. tim April 3, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    Thanks Penny and Joss.
    Even if it was the radioographer though, you’d still think that they would feel the ‘presence’ of the jewellery in their tunics when they turned up for their next shift the following day.
    That’s only speculation of course 🙂 I’ll wait and see. Thanks again.

    • Dr Penny Sartori April 5, 2013 at 11:19 am #

      Hi Tim, yes thats a good point. Sometimes though there are several different white coats / tunics hanging up in the changing room so it could have been there for days before someone else put it on. I don’t know the full details yet so this is just speculation.

  7. tim April 3, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    There is such a lot in your report, Penny it would take me days to ask all the questions I’d like to. So I won’t do that. This comment is interesting :
    “It was most interesting to see how all of these scientists, from different parts of the world, having studied NDEs for so long are coming to the same conclusions that death is not the end.”

    This is amazing really but do you not think there will be a tremendous kick back from the materialists to try to stamp out such belief ?

    • Dr Penny Sartori April 5, 2013 at 11:29 am #

      Hi Tim, I think we are learning so much so rapidly now due to many different reasons such as advances in our technology, more people being successfully resuscitated and increased interest in consciousness. I always remember one of my PhD supervisors, Dr Peter Fenwick, say that when he tried to investigate consciousness as a medical student there was simply no reference to what consciousness is. We have come a long way since then and consciousness is a recognised phenomenon but not properly understood. The more NDE research and consciousness research that is being undertaken it is suggesting new ways of understanding consciousness.

      Whereas before it was logical to presume that consciousness was a by-product of the brain, now we are beginning to refine that view in light of such research. Our science has been so important to how we have evolved and that science is now making new discoveries which can no longer be ignored. To me this is a very exciting time but some people may not agree. I think it is vital that we all remain open minded to new possibilities and continue to further our developments and understanding of consciousness.

  8. tim April 5, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    Thanks for the reply, Penny.

    “To me this is a very exciting time but some people may not agree”

    I do agree, it’s quite remarkable really. It’s hard to know what’s going to happen but it’s possible in a few years time that the text books will have been re-written. And would we need to live as we do now with all our efforts rooted in self preservation? It sounds so trite but we could actually have a more peaceful world.. maybe 🙂

    • Dr Penny Sartori April 5, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

      Hi Tim, yes there are so many possibilities for the future. I think the fact that people are taking NDEs seriously at last is a big step in the right direction. Not only are NDEs giving us insights into, and helping to further our understanding of consciousness they also have a very powerful and positive message.

      My forthcoming book is exactly about this. The message of the NDE is one of love, peace and interconnectivity – how at the end of the day we are all one. There is no doubt that NDEs occur and they have very real effects on the people who have them. Many NDErs become more compassionate, more altruistic, have greater interest in looking after the environment and become less materialistic etc. Just through studying and engaging with NDEs I feel as if my life has been greatly enhanced and my values have drastically changed. Imagine if everyone had a NDE? I guess the world would be far more peaceful. What a lovely vision for the future.

      • Lulla27 April 9, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

        I’m not sure that I believe he’s saying that consciousness only survives until “irreversible” death. I think Parnia is suggesting that he only has EVIDENCE that consciousness may survive for the first while after clinical death:
        ” It seems that when consciousness shuts down in death, psyche, or soul – by which I don’t mean ghosts, I mean your individual self – persists for AT LEAST those hours before you are resuscitated.” (Emphasis mine)
        I wonder how, if “mind” can survive without brain for any period of time, what might stop it from surviving without brain indefinitely?

      • Dr Penny Sartori April 10, 2013 at 10:45 am #

        HI Lulla27, you make a very good point. You ask a very good question and I think this is something that more research may, in years to come, give us more insight.

  9. tim April 6, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    “Imagine if everyone had a NDE?”

    Indeed, Penny. I fancy one like Eben Alexander had (without the first bit) !!

    Thanks for replying.

  10. Hanan April 8, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

    New Parnia interview here.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/apr/06/sam-parnia-resurrection-lazarus-effect

    I think this the money quote for all people here.

    ::::All I can say is what I have observed from my work. It seems that when consciousness shuts down in death, psyche, or soul – by which I don’t mean ghosts, I mean your individual self – persists for a least those hours before you are resuscitated. From which we might justifiably begin to conclude that the brain is acting as an intermediary to manifest your idea of soul or self but it may not be the source or originator of it… I think that the evidence is beginning to suggest that we should keep open our minds to the possibility that memory, while obviously a scientific entity of some kind – I’m not saying it is magic or anything like that – is not neuronal.”

    Does he have a religious faith?

    “No,” he says, “and I don’t have any religious way into this. But what I do know is that every area of inquiry that used to be tackled by religion or philosophy is now tackled and explained by science.::::::

    The way I understand him: Consciousness lives on…..but only until you die, permanently.

    • Dr Penny Sartori April 9, 2013 at 9:26 am #

      Hi Hanan, thanks for this. Very interesting. I guess the only way we are ever going to understand that fully and for definite is at our own death.

      However, the more research that is conducted is continuing to expand our understanding. Its still early days in consciousness research and there is still a lot more to explore and understand. Very exciting…

      • Afterlifer April 10, 2013 at 8:03 am #

        If I remember well, in Coast to Coast AM interview dr Parnia told that if consciousness persists 6 hours after death, there’s no reason why it should vanish after this period of time. Unluckily that interview is no longer on youtube. At the beginning I was disappointed by Parnia’s way of speaking, but now I think he has a very scientific approach. If he started to say enthusiastically that he has “proof of heaven”, skeptics would destroy him.

      • Dr Penny Sartori April 10, 2013 at 10:50 am #

        Hi Afterlifer,
        Yes, you make very valid comments about this.

    • Stuart April 10, 2013 at 12:31 am #

      From reading a bit of his book The Lazarus Effect it seem that Dr Sam Parnia is indicating that the mind does continue for a short while at least after death, while at the same time not committing himself to letting the mind continue indefinitely although it appears that he is open on the issue from looking at the book. It looks like he is approaching the matter in a slowly slowly kind of way and maintains a sense of ‘reasoning’ doubt in relation to saying the mind continues or not, probably due to his scientific background and therefore the idea of falsification is probably always maintains in anything he does I am sure. Maybe anyhow.

      • Dr Penny Sartori April 10, 2013 at 10:46 am #

        HI Stuart, you make very valid comments.

  11. John Scovell April 9, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    With Dr Parnia I guess that is as far as he can go ie no one really knows what happens on fully brain death. On the other hand if, as he says, brain is acting as an intermediary to manifest your idea of soul or self but it may not be the source or originator of it… I think that the evidence is beginning to suggest that we should keep open our minds to the possibility that memory, while obviously a scientific entity of some kind – I’m not saying it is magic or anything like that – is not neuronal then that would suggest the possiblity that consciounsess continues in some form after total death? Would you agree? I remember reading abouth the NDE where the patient had a meet a dead relative and passed on a message which contained info that the patient could not have known. That again would suggest the possiblity that death is not the end? I myself am sceptical becasueI am a bit cynicla but I try and keep and open mind and I think there is a lot of evdience that suggest the possbility that death is not extinction.

    • Dr Penny Sartori April 10, 2013 at 10:41 am #

      Hi John,
      Yes, I agree its important to keep an open mind. It is very interesting to see how new information is giving up more to think about. I think there is still a lot more to learn and thankfully consciousness research is now a growing and developing area of study.

  12. john scovell April 10, 2013 at 1:01 am #

    At this stage Dr Parnia probably only has enough evidence to say that consciousness continues for at least a short while after clinical death. But the fact that he is saying that the brain is acting as a channel for consciousness rather than the source is surely a massive leap in scientific thinking? Does it not also suggest that consciousness may continue not just for a short while after clinical death but indefinitely?

    • Dr Penny Sartori April 10, 2013 at 10:49 am #

      Yes, this is a massive leap for scientific thinking but it seems that this is the way that the scientific research findings are pointing to. We are living in very exciting times and making new discoveries all the time.

    • Keith April 10, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

      I agree with you John, when listening to his interview on coast to coast AM, he seemed to accept the possibility of continuation of consciousness even beyond the stage where the patient can not be resuscitated,the data he has gathered indicates the brain is a transmitter or filter of consciousness not a producer, that was my take on his statement anyway.

      • Dr Penny Sartori April 10, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

        HI Keith, yes that makes sense to me too.

  13. tim April 10, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    I think Sam is possibly sitting on dynamite. I emailed him with a couple of questions about the OBE’s …but he wouldn’t be drawn to discuss them (fair enough) . He did answer another question though. I asked him if Mr A (page 241)had actually heard the Automated defibrillator TWICE. He confirmed it.

    • Dr Penny Sartori April 10, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

      Thanks for this Tim.

    • Stuart April 11, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

      Hi Tim,

      Did he actually say the patient heard it cause in the book he said he saw it? A bit confused by that.

      Thanks

      Stuart

      • Stuart April 12, 2013 at 12:25 am #

        Hi Tim,
        I initially read just page 241 but I continued on and read that part on 254 or so from what I can remember.

        Thanks again

        Stuart

    • Hanan April 12, 2013 at 1:08 am #

      What does this mean Tim? Sorry 😛

  14. john scovell April 10, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    Penny, what is the title of your book and when will it be published? I have thought about ordering your Ph.d via inter library loan.

    • Dr Penny Sartori April 10, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

      Hi John, my forthcoming book is called The Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences: How Learning How to Die Can Teach Us How to Live. It will be published by Watkins Books in February 2014. I’ll be posting more about it on the blog in the coming months. It’s a much easier read than my PhD thesis and also draws on my experience of working as a nurse as well as my PhD research.

      • MitiL April 10, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

        Very intriguing. Will be there any oximetry (NIRS) data, or some veridical OBEs?
        Anyway, I wish you good luck!

      • Dr Penny Sartori April 12, 2013 at 11:34 am #

        I haven’t got anything planned for the immediate future but it is something that I am considering so haven’t quite decided which aspects to study next. I’ll keep you posted.

  15. tim April 12, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

    @Stuart,
    Hi, sorry I didn’t see your post sooner. He heard the two separate commands to “shock the patient”. And he observed events from above. According to neuroscience this is not possible.

    @Hanan,
    Hi, could you be more specific, Hanan and I’ll try to answer your question.

    • Hanan April 15, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

      Hi Tim,

      You said:

      “I think Sam is possibly sitting on dynamite. I emailed him with a couple of questions about the OBE’s …but he wouldn’t be drawn to discuss them (fair enough) . He did answer another question though. I asked him if Mr A (page 241)had actually heard the Automated defibrillator TWICE. He confirmed it.”

      I guess I am out of the picture but what is the implication of hearing the automated defibrillator?

      • tim April 19, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

        “I guess I am out of the picture but what is the implication of hearing the automated defibrillator?”
        Hi, Hanon, the patient was dead when he heard it.

  16. Tony April 14, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

    Penny, in the conference, were any of the french researchers doing any interesting OBE research similar to, but independent from Aware such as signs up above?

    • Dr Penny Sartori April 15, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

      Hi Tony, yes Dr Jean Pierre Postel is doing similar research. He is using targets which are in a sealed envelope and also images on a mobile phone which are in wrapped boxes. Many OBErs describe solid objects disappearing – for example Patient 10 in my study felt that he was higher than the ceiling and that the ceiling had just disappeared during his OBE. So I guess Dr Postel is interested in exploring this aspect further. He’s only been doing it a short time and from what I can gather he too is finding it very hard work and very unpredictable. It takes a lot of perserverence. I’m sure he will still have some very interesting findings to contribute to the NDE literature.

      • Max_B April 16, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

        Ah, so the box’s did have a lid on?

      • Dr Penny Sartori April 18, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

        Hi Max, yes the box did have a lid on – as soon as I realised this in the conference I thought of you.

        I can’t find my copy of George Ritchie’s book – I must have leant it to someone and not got it back. I’ve hunted everywhere for it. If I come across another copy I will check out chapters 4 and 8.

      • Joss Morisson April 18, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

        Hi Penny, In fact the idea of the hidden target (box or envelope) is from Dr Jean-Pierre Jourdan, currently Iands-France’s president. He proposed the concept from his 4th space-dimension model, which allows perception through matter, as it seems to be the case in many accounts. He published several papers in english on that, and a great book (in french: Deadline).
        My account of the Marseille event is to be published soon on conferences-emi.com, in french. Maybe someone would like to translate it in english, or hopefully we will have it done later.
        One last thing to apologize about the “blind lady” case, Mrs Badini, who was indeed blind from the same accident that caused the NDE. Sorry for the mistake.

      • Dr Penny Sartori April 19, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

        Hi Joss, thanks for this. I will look up Dr Jean-Pierre Jourdan’s work. I had a case in my research where the patient described an OBE and he believed that he was higher than the ceiling yet could see through it. It was as if the ceiling just disappeared so it is good to investigate this aspect.

        Thanks for letting us know about your article. If there is anyone who follows the blog who would like to translate it please let me know – I would very much like to read it.

        Thanks for clarifying about Mrs Baldini, it is a very interesting case. I hope Dr Postel will write it up.

      • Max_B April 18, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

        Postel’s experiment did seem like it had a lid on from what I could read of the proposals… I guess even you might have had a little surprise with the workability of that idea.

        I can’t say that I recall any verifiable NDE’s where the patient claims to have seen the contents of a sealed container/space, that no one else had knowledge of…?

        Ritchie’s book has gone walkabout just when it’s needed…

      • Dr Penny Sartori April 19, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

        Hi Max, yes this is an interesting way of researching the OBE. Joss has just commented that the idea is from Dr Jean-Pierre Jourdan and is from his 4th space dimension model. Patient 10 in my research described being higher than the ceiling and that the ceiling seemed to disappear so I guess this research could explore that a bit further. I think the sealed envelopes take it that step further again.

        Yes, typical I can’t find the book. I can’t even think who I would have leant it too!

      • Max_B April 19, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

        Thanks, I found one of Dr Jean-Pierre Jourdan’s papers published in The Journal of Cosmology, “Near Death Experiences and the
        5th Dimensional Spatio-Temporal Perspective”, and gave it a read.

        His quotes from patients recalled experiences, which are obviously chosen to support his ideas, are somewhat difficult to judge when taken in isolation.

        However, I think its much more likely that the visual effects Jourdan describes (seeing through things etc.) are a result the experiencer’s brain trying to make sense of third party/parties visual awareness.

        Like this example which I’ve taken from his paper…

        “During the excision of a vesicle in September 1972 and during the anesthesia I found myself…well, floating on the left of the ceiling and looking down on the people operating. I was surrounded by medical personnel, at least 6 people who seemed to be working on my body. I had the time to see, to see…well…I had a very sharp vision and saw through a section of the table. I saw through the operating cloth which is around the operation…the shoes of…of one of the resuscitation team probably…One of them had untied shoe laces. Well, I went through the fabric and so…I came to the conclusion that they were actually resuscitating me. I therefore had the time to realize that it was my body and off I went into the tunnel. (F.U.)”

        In my opinion, this is better explained be the patient attempting to unify one or more third party ‘fields’ of conscious visual awareness.

        So I would say that at least one third party in the room is looking at the operating table, and perhaps another had just noticed a shoe lace which was undone. Both these synchronised fields of conscious visual awareness are then incorporated by the experiencer, as their own temporarily dysfunctional brain is resynchronised by these external fields.

        In the last couple of weeks I’ve moved away from verified OBE’s picking up what somebody else is ‘seeing’, as I now feel it is what they are actually ‘visually aware’ of.

        As an example… As I write this sitting at the desk in my office, my visual awareness is actually on a small part of the LCD monitor where the cursor is. The second I think about where my hands, torso and legs are, these pop back into my visual awareness. However, just before I thought about them, they were not in my visual awareness, even though my eyes could see them all the time.

        I finally feel this offers a really good explanation as to why I was unable to see an arm which opened the rear yard gate, or any legs whilst looking down and as I crossed the kitchen threshold, during my own verified OBE.

        We actually seem to be aware of a great deal less than our eyes are actually seeing at any one time, and sometimes incorporate a good deal more than what is in reality, actually there.

      • Dr Penny Sartori April 23, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

        Thanks for this Max, I’ll look up Dr Jourdan’s papers. I’ve been a bit busy lately.

        I’m very intrigued by what you have written. It does make sense and until you had mentioned this (in your postings on the blog), I had never thought about this as a possible explanation. The more I think about it the more I think it is an avenue to explore further. I will certainly keep this in mind when undertaking further research.

      • Max_B April 23, 2013 at 11:49 pm #

        Crick & Koch’s 1990 paper “Towards a Neurobiological Theory of Consciousness” makes really good reading, despite its age.

        http://papers.klab.caltech.edu/22/1/148.pdf

        They concentrate on visual consciousness, which makes their work highly relevant to the OBE. Much of what they say makes sense to me, but like everybody else, they hit the ‘binding problem’…

        How does the brain bind together in a mutually coherent way, all those neurons distributed throughout the brain, which are actively responding to different aspects of a perceived object.

        It seems reasonable to me, that the solution is probably implicated as being partially responsible for these verified OBE’s.

        There is another great paper here showing just how far we’ve come since the 1990’s, and just how powerful unconscious processing may be:

        http://freud.tau.ac.il/~domi/Mudrik_Breska_Lamy_Deouell_2011.pdf

        It doesn’t take much to extrapolate further implications for the role of consciousness due to this research. Then, try putting it all together with Daryl Bem’s Retrocausation studies which I’ve mentioned before.

        Although it sounds a little off the wall, I do sometimes wonder about the use of the word ‘time’ in the commonly reported NDE statement “Go back, it’s not your time”?

      • Dr Penny Sartori April 29, 2013 at 8:05 am #

        Thanks for all these really useful references and points Max. As usual you have given me a lot to think about. I’m going to copy and paste all of your comments into a document and go through them step by step (when I find some time!) as I think its something worth exploring in greater depth.

      • Max_B May 7, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

        That sounds good 🙂

        I’ve often wondered what sorts of simple research/experiments could be conducted on a ‘shoe string’ budget – relevant to my ideas?

        How small an amount of funding can you get away with? Where could you get the most bang-for-your-buck? What types of experiment might reasonably obtain ethical approval? …and if the research was undertaken in a hospital setting – just how much of an intrusion would the management and staff be willing to tolerate…?

      • Dr Penny Sartori May 7, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

        Hi Max, most NDE research to date has been conducted on a ‘shoe string’ budget because until recently most funding agencies have declined to provide funding in this area. As long as there is a dedicated researcher who is willing to put their life on hold and devote all of their time and energy to the project then it could be done quite reasonably.

        If hospital research was undertaken then it would have to go to the Ethics Committee and the research question would have to be related to patient care. A full proposal would have to be devised and then presented to the Local Research Ethics Committee. The other costs involved in the study would be things like time of the researcher, cost of a supervisor, costs for data analysis, costs of transcriptions of interviews, costs for data collection and storage, cost of equipment, room hire for follow up interview of patients, travel expenses for patients who agree to return for interview etc etc

        With regards to intrusion in the hospital environment you make a relevant point. When I did my research it made it so much easier for me because I was a nurse who worked in the department where the research was being undertaken. I knew all of the staff very well and they were all very supportive and helpful to my work. I was also well aware of my limitations as I was a nurse foremost and researcher secondary. Therefore my clinical skills were useful in my assessment of the patients prior to interview and indeed I was able to ascertain if it was appropriate to continue with an interview if a patient appeared to be getting tired. Also, hospitals are extremely busy and I think it would be much harder to undertake such research at the present moment.

        However, I’m sure some research could be devised to incorporate and explore your ideas. Maybe there is a researcher following the blog who may be interested.

      • Max_B May 7, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

        Thanks Penny, that’s a very useful personal insight which you’ve provided. However from what you say, other than my ideas, the only practical help I guess could offer is financial.

        I remember reading a very poignant section in chapter on electromagnetism within one of Feynman’s textbooks, where he points out that amongst the many phenomena studied by the Greeks were two very strange ones… if you rubbed a piece of amber you could lift up little pieces of papyrus, and a strange rock from the island of Magnesia which attracted iron.

        He thought it was amazing to think that these were the ‘only’ phenomenon known to the Greeks in which electricity or magnetism were apparent – due to the near perfect precision of the balancing of charges which effectively hides the electrical force from view.

        Considering the world around us today and how easily we exploit electromagnetism, I too find it a sobering thought… but it gives me great hope that the strange little subjective phenomena we discuss here today, may in the future lead to a major revolution in our thinking.

        Should proof of our inter-connectivity ever appear, I’ve always felt that it would have a very profound effect on the human condition. Perhaps in some way – unconsciously – we already know the answer… but fear to go there at present, because we do not understand it.

      • Dr Penny Sartori May 8, 2013 at 10:05 am #

        Hi Max, I like your thinking! Your mention of electromagnetism made me sit up when I read your comment. Many people who have a NDE are left with disturbances in their electromagnetic field which I find particularly interesting. So I think this is an aspect which could be investigated much further. I think you have a really good point about these discussions on subjective phenomena leading to a major revolution in our thinking.

        In 1935 Einstein, Rosen and Podolsky published their results of experiments with electrons which showed (in my very brief words) that electrons that had been in close contact were sent off at infinite distances apart. If the spin on one electron was stopped then the spin on the other electron stopped at exactly the same time despite being a great distance apart. There is no known mechanism for this as there should be some sort of time delay. Einstein called this ‘Spooky action at a distance’ and today it is called Quantuum Entanglement. This could be explored further as a possible explanation for empathic death experiences as well as for the interconnectivity described by NDErs.

      • Max_B May 8, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

        Are you currently looking at ways that you might be able to research these changes to peoples EM fields?

        Regarding Quantum Mechanics, I think Penrose’s ideas are interesting, and I find his arguments persuasive on the subject of unifying QM and Classical physics theories… QM is a difficult subject I know, but he’s done some interesting lectures which are available on YouTube to explain his position, this is a tiny 7 minute taster…

      • Dr Penny Sartori May 11, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

        Hi Max, yes I have a real interest in the electrical field changes of some NDErs. I’ve been a bit pre-occupied with preparing lectures for the modules I teach but in the future I would like to explore this aspect a bit further.

        Thanks for the clip, I will check it out. I have his book but have never got around to reading it so maybe its time to pick it up again.

  17. Stuart April 15, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

    Hi Penny and everyone,

    Does anyone have any links to any English versions of Dr Postels work as all I can find is French versions and google translate does not come out great for it.

    Thanks

    Stuart

    • Dr Penny Sartori April 15, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

      Hi Stuart, I don’t have any links to an English version. However, Sonia Barkallah, the organiser of the conference is coming over to Swansea to do some work with me in May. I will ask her about the possibility of something in English and I’m sure she will have more information on further research going on in France. As Sonia doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak French it is quite difficult to communicate all this via email. She is bringing a translator with her so I’m sure I’ll have a lot more information to report after her visit. Sonia has done really great work in France raising awareness of NDEs so it is really exciting to have made the connection with her. I’ll keep the blog posted of further developments.

      • Tony April 19, 2013 at 10:29 pm #

        I have to say it is a strange way to study ndes. I know that Nders say they can look through walls or ceilings as you’ve shown in your study. But we don’t know the nature of this type of “vision”. Since the experiencers claim to see in true vision or hyper vision is light required? If so could they see inside a closed box? And would they be interested in doing so to begin with?

      • Dr Penny Sartori April 23, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

        Hi Tony, yes it is unusual. Thats a really good point about light being required to see the images – I would assume that light would be necessary. It will be interesting to see what sort of findings they come up with in the research. If someone does see an image in the hidden box then this would give a whole different perspective on sight. Also, conversely, if many people don’t see an image this would also suggest that it is not possible to see through the box. Either way, if there are enough cases of good quality veridical OBEs this could give some very interesting information which could point future researchers in other directions. It is all very exciting to me as there are so many possibilities for furthering our understanding. It’s also very helpful to get everyone’s suggestions through the blog as you are all making me think a great deal.

  18. john scovell April 23, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

    Have there been any cases of people going outside of the hospital while experiencing an OBE ?

    • Dr Penny Sartori April 29, 2013 at 8:02 am #

      HI John, yes there are a few cases in the literature and I have spoken to a few people who experienced this. Unfortunately, these cases had occurred many years before so there was no way of investigating them.

      I didn’t come across any patient in my study who reported this.

  19. john scovell April 23, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

    How do we know that what we are experiencing now is real?

  20. Heron Saline April 25, 2013 at 6:06 am #

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience of this conference! I am a practicing Holistic Hypnotherapist and teacher and a NDEr (1977, age 19).

    In regard to this story:

    “One really interesting talk was given by a practitioner called Bernard Dubreuil who discussed how he had accidentally discovered a way of relieving phantom limb pain in patients who had amputated limbs. While treating a patient (who was lying face down and could not see what he was doing) he slowly massaged the area where the limb would have been had it not been amputated. It was highly effective and the patient commented immediately. Bernard then began to tickle where the man’s foot would have been and the man started pulling away as if being tickled for real. He then tried pinching where the heel would have been and the man yelped and pulled away which indicated that the patient was in some way able to feel what Bernard was doing despite the limb not being physically present.”

    Do you know about Kirlian photographs of energy fields? If you do a google image search for them, there are some beautiful photographs now available documenting invisible-to-the-eye electromagnetic energy fields around human bodies and other animal and plant beings, as well as non-biological objects.

    One photo that is well-known is of a tree leaf’s energy field, photographed after the top of the leaf has been snipped off with a scissors. Although the leaf is now cut, the energy field of the intact leaf remains: this seems likely pertinent to your above related story of the person with the amputated limb “feeling” stimulation to the no longer physically extant limb.

    with much appreciation for your contributions to this field in general, and to their benefit to me personally in lessening my isolation as an NDEr, big thanks,

    Heron

    Heron Saline, CHT CMT
    http://www.guidedmindtour.com
    415/706-9740 (California, USA)

    • Dr Penny Sartori April 29, 2013 at 8:12 am #

      Hi Heron, thank you so much for your lovely comment. I am fascinated by Kirlian photography and yes I agree there does seem to be a link between this and what Bernard Dubreuil found with his patient. It is really exciting to be making these discoveries as our science seems to be advancing to a greater level which is begining to incorporate these very interesting findings.

      If you’d like to share your NDE with me privately, I’d be very happy to hear more about it. You can email me at: drpennysartori@yahoo.co.uk

  21. Chelsea April 26, 2013 at 5:02 am #

    Hi Penny, here is a great interview with Sam Parnia. I thought you and your readers might be interested. http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-04/25/consciousness-after-death

    • Dr Penny Sartori April 29, 2013 at 8:12 am #

      Hi Chelsea, thanks for this I’ll check out the link. I’m sure the followers will be interested too.

  22. Sheila April 29, 2013 at 6:23 am #

    Glad conference went well. Did you learn much about hellish/terrifying near death experiences. Mine of 2001 has turned out to be a learning experience of just how dangerous it is to indulge in negative religion.

    • Dr Penny Sartori April 29, 2013 at 8:15 am #

      HI Sheila, I’ve learned a little more about the distressing NDEs as a few people in the audience have since contacted me about their experience. The language barrier makes it harder for me to understand but it is most apparent that there are many people who have experienced a distressing NDE but simply don’t wish to talk about it publicly (which is most understandable). I’ll keep you posted of any developments.

      • Sheila May 5, 2013 at 6:51 am #

        And further to my last comment. Get caught up or brought up in fundamentalist religion and the negative deities will hound you for life. Eleven years after my negative near death exp, i’m still having to spend a great deal of time fending off the christ, holy spirit and angels just to do simple things like send an email

  23. Kinseher Richard May 5, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    Dear Penny
    With Google [“What Science Really Says about the Soul”] you can find a paper by Stephen Cage at skeptic.com
    Especially for you, the hint about people might be of interest – where the brain is partially damaged. When consciousness is independent/separated from the human body/perception (Pim van Lommel´s external consciousness), then no damage should be visible

    • Dr Penny Sartori May 6, 2013 at 10:12 am #

      Hi Richard, thank you very much for this. I will check it out, it looks very interesting.

    • john scovell May 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

      I had a brief look at the article. At first glance its saying when ppl have brain damage etc they can’t function as before etc and asks how to explain that if we have a soul Who knows. I think there are many things we can’t explain and don’t understand but I think even conventional science accepts some things it can’t understand or explain at this time. Maybe death is the end but then we have the evidence of OBEs where ppl ‘see’ what is going on when they are clinically dead and the brain can’t function. Who know where it will lead to. I think I gave an example of my yoga teacher who found himself out if his body and in a friends flat. Explain that

      • Dr Penny Sartori May 7, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

        Hi John, thanks for your comment. I’ve replied to Richard below. Yes, there are still so many aspects of NDEs that we can’t explain. Some things may seem to be explained by neurological functioning, as Stephen Cave suggests, but NDEs are such a highly complex experience that such explanations are incomplete from a wider picture. Indeed, how can your yoga teacher’s experience be explained? There is so much that we have yet to learn about consciousness.

  24. Kinseher Richard May 5, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    Sorry, a mistake: the name is Stephen Cave

    • Stuart May 6, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

      Think this is the article. You need to scroll down to read it.

      http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/13-03-20/

      It seems to me the author argues that on looking upon cases that are not NDE and the impact they have on the brain then the NDE must only be a brain activity also. But it seems Stephen Cave only argues these points without actually examining NDEs directly. The part I found most intriguing was the part when he talked about NDEs and blindness. Would be interesting to note his take on Jeffreys Longs research.

      • Dr Penny Sartori May 7, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

        Hi Stuart, thanks for your comment. You make very good points. I’ve replied to Richard in more depth below.

    • Dr Penny Sartori May 7, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

      HI Richard, I’ve just had a read of the article. I think Stephen Cave raises some good points but doesn’t demonstrate a thorough in-depth knowledge of NDEs and their associated complexities.

      He makes the point If either your eyes or the optic nerves in your brain are sufficiently badly damaged, you will go blind. This tells us very clearly that the faculty of sight is dependent upon functioning eyes and optic nerves. However, he fails to relate this to OBEs reported by blind people. There is a particularly interesting case of Mrs Bladini whose optic nerves were medically noted to be non-functioning yet she reported an OBE where she was able to see where the hospital staff had put her jewellery while she was having a scan. This is reported more in-depth in the DVD by Sonia Barkallah of S17 Productions in France (more news on this DVD in a future post).

      Another good point that Stephen Cave makes is But if the soul can see when the entire brain and body have stopped working, why, in the case of people with damaged optic nerves, can’t it see when only part of the brain and body have stopped working? In other words, if blind people have a soul that can see, why are they blind?. This is an excellent point and this too highlights how little about consciousness we currently understand.

      I think that Stephen Cave also mixes consciousness with the concept of a soul. Not all NDErs believe or would consider their experience as being evidence of a soul and NDE researchers do not necessarily advocate a soul. I personally prefer to investigate NDEs from a perspective of gaining a greater understanding of consciousness.

      I discovered some very interesting cases of near death experiences during the course of my research and Stephen Cave’s article, although interesting and making good points, does not explain some of my findings such as how Patient 11 gained information during unconciousness that he could not possibly have known about.

      I believe it is still early days for NDE research and there is still a lot to improve on and a lot more data needs to be collected. However, we have come a long way since NDEs were first popularised by Dr Moody in 1975. It is a growing and valuable area of research which to me is extremely important to making new discoveries which have benefits for healthcare with regards to improving resuscitation techniques and for helping us to understand the dying process and enhance care of dying patients.

      • Hanan May 7, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

        >I think that Stephen Cave also mixes consciousness with the concept of a soul

        But he is just being logical. I mean, what is the point of severing consciousness with the soul? So your consciousness might live on but you don’t have a soul? I am not sure that makes sense. When everyone talks about consciousness living on they are obviously referring to something like a soul.

      • Dr Penny Sartori May 8, 2013 at 9:55 am #

        Hi Hanan, to me it is very important to keep investigations of NDEs as scientific as possible. When we start talking of a soul it could be construed as having some religious connotations. I think consciousness is far more than just an individual soul and rather than consciousness living on, as you have mentioned, what about the possibility that consciousness is always there but we are simply not aware of it.

        There is still much to learn about consciousness but it is exciting that there is so much debate about this subject.

  25. Afterlifer May 7, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    Hi Penny! I have a very “simple” question. Do you think that the number of scientists who believe that consciousness is not only a product of our brain is growing? Or maybe are they’re just a small group of people sistematically debunked by skeptics?
    It was nice to read about that patient (if I remember well he was from Morocco) who has learnt a lot about quantum physics during NDE. Is there more information about him?

    • Dr Penny Sartori May 8, 2013 at 9:49 am #

      HI Afterlifer, yes I think more scientists are becoming more open to the possibility that consciousness may be more than a mere by-product of the brain. However, the belief that consciousness is created by the brain has been considered scientific fact for so long that it is difficult to accept anything that questions this. To me it makes more sense to be open to other possibilities if we truly want to investigate consciousness thoroughly and have a greater understanding. To simply dismiss non-local consciousness without further investigation because it disagrees with current belief could be detrimental to developing our understanding.

      Yes, the case you are referring to is a lady called Rajaa Benamour from Morocco. She had a very interesting NDE and she is currently writing about her experience in a book. Her experience was so intense that she believes it will have to be written as a series of three books. I hope they will be published soon and translated into English and many other languages.

      • Andre May 10, 2013 at 9:34 am #

        Hi,

        it is quite hard for me to put my thoughts into science related englidh but i will take a try. With the current findings in quantum physics and NDE related investigation i get the impression that consciousness, thoughts and impressions are seperated phenomena.

        In my impression it is more like a sea of consciousness of which we take a cup of once we get born. This seperated cup is influenced by the mind and the capabilities of the 5 wits.

        It seems like a cup of water in which we palce some flavour like tea or coffee. Once we die we put that cup back into the sea.

        This would not explain the still intact feeling of “ego” people still do have in their NDE /OBE but it could exists because of the still not entire “frequence” integration in the “sea” of consciousness.
        Just like the tea which is poured back from the cup into the sea and the time it takes to difuse entirely back into the great ocean.

        Such a consciousness is some kind of fuel from a great pool thesis with getting flavour from being saperated from the pool and loosing this flavour later after being put back makes some sense in the great fiew of physics and logic.

        This also suggests that we will lose ego and and wits related impressions at some point after the death. The great black or light but omnipresent “we” feeling a lot of people experience.

        Furthermore it suggests that if we get resuscitate the “cup of energy” which get’s trapped back into the body does not need to be the same as it was prior to the “death”. As the entire energy cloud contains all information and a lot from the person is produced by the body consiting of the mind and wits. the energy gets flavored again with “being alive” again.
        Many people changed somehow after taht event but are still themselfs.

        Sorry for this attemp to write science english as a none native english speaker.

      • Dr Penny Sartori May 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

        Hi Andre, thank you for your really great comment. I really like your analogy of the sea of consciousness. In fact, I had a meeting with my publisher on Thursday and I described my idea of consciousness to her in a very similar way so when I read your comment it was a nice synchronicity! You have explained this in a really great way, thank you.

      • Afterlifer May 10, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

        I’m really happy that Rajaa Benamour is writing a book about this experience. I think it’s a really important NDE cause it seems she was able to remember what she learnt “on the other side”. Very often skeptics dismiss those kind of experiences (learning unknown facts about the deepest sense of the universe during NDE) as a sort of hallucination.

      • Dr Penny Sartori May 11, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

        Hi Afterlifer, yes it will be really good to read about Rajaa’s NDE in depth. I was really fascinated by the comments made by her university professor, that were shown during the conference, as he said she has such a knowledge of quantum physics that shouldn’t really be possible for someone who has never studied it before.

  26. Kinseher Richard May 8, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    Dear Penny
    A1) stimuli activate senses
    A2) the senses produce signals which are sent by nerves to the brain
    A3) then these signals are processed by the brain into experiences which can be used for our perception (direct, or as recall from the memory)
    This 3-step activity (A1,A2,A3) is the basis of our perception; so we have learned it at school. Therefore, the idea that a conscious experience/a soul could be possible without this 3-steps is completely unfounded. > This is the statement of Stephen Case.
    And – Dr. Moody wrote already 1975 in his book ´Life after Life´ that it is possible to perceive/observe the sourrounding environment PARALLEL to a NDE.

    To think or only to consider, that a conscious perception of the environment (e.g. in OBEs) could be possible without this 3-step activity is very doubtful. > to think, that we could perceive something without activated senses/nerves/brain is very strange – because this would mean, that we can have conscious perception without our body > that we don´t need a body > that our body is unnecessary.

    • Dr Penny Sartori May 11, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

      Hi Richard, yes I understand your point but that explanation does not explain many aspects of NDEs thats why I believe we have to expand our thinking and consider other explanation for consciousness. Have you ever considered that what we were taught in school is not correct?

  27. Hanan May 8, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    >I think consciousness is far more than just an individual soul and rather than consciousness living on, as you have mentioned, what about the possibility that consciousness is always there but we are simply not aware of it.

    You lost me 🙂

    • Dr Penny Sartori May 11, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

      Hi Hanan, ok sorry if I haven’t explained myself very well. I have just had a really great comment from Andre that I will post next. He gives a lovely analogy which explains my point.

  28. André May 11, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    Dear Richard,

    the modern society is moving away from scientic research the more and more.
    During my study i learned that stagnation in a system is bad and we need to keep evolving and have to question things we know as fact each single day.

    Rome got destroyed because of stagnation. I will do everything i can to keep the people around me curious and eveolving.

    A scientist has to make observations read as much as he can about other people observations and question known facts. This entire area of science is pretty biased by religion and wishfull thinking from both sides. To destroy any research is also a dogmatic none scientific approach.

    We do make obersavations like NDE /OBE, we do collect data from different fields of science and more NDE/OBE data. create a therory and collect more data.

    Currently my point of interest is the energy preservation rule and the theory of “energy trapping” within microtubuli of a nerve cell by electro magnetic fields.

    these disturbances in a persons electro magnetic field during an nde. The energy inetraction of energetic fields of beiings and the “war of black holes” along with many more theories , oberservations makes me curious. This curiousity is good and should not be crushed by dogmatic behaviour. there is to much dogma within the scientists of my home country. the stagnation in system is getting to a bad state.

    Is my research of an use? Maybe not but it is just a research and i feel good if i wasted my life with this kind of waste 🙂

    Once more back to my sea of concoiusness 🙂 The observations about the magnetic fields along with the reminder about wits and data storage “mind” not rpesent i wonder in how far the trapped energy and the not trapped energy still has access to each others data. Furthermore i’m interested in some more data about the early life. The blank body system which just started to gather data.

    • Dr Penny Sartori May 13, 2013 at 10:53 am #

      Hi Andre, thanks for your very interesting comment. I am very intrigued by your comment about electro magnetic fields as I am particularly interested in the changes of the electro magnetic in some NDErs. This is an apsect of NDEs that I want to pursue in more depth.

  29. john scovell May 11, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

    According to the theory of conscious being like a sea would that mean we would lose self awareness?

    • Dr Penny Sartori May 13, 2013 at 10:57 am #

      Hi John, mmm… although nothing is certain at this point I think it seems reasonable that eventually we would lose our self awareness and individual identities and kind of merge with this eternal sea of consciousness. However, these are just my personal thoughts at present and my thoughts and beliefs do change as I learn more. I guess it is the mystery that keeps me curious and motivated to learn more.

      • Stuart May 13, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

        Hi Penny,

        Just in relation to the idea of a sea of consciousness and that one would lose their self awareness and self identity it is in contrast to the beings of light that NDErs meet, with these beings of light identifying themselves as deceased relatives etc and passing on specific pieces of information. Surly this indicates that these beings of light have their own individual identities and retain self awareness and therefore the possibility of NDErs in the finality also retaining their own individual identities and self awareness.

        Stuart

      • Dr Penny Sartori May 15, 2013 at 8:52 am #

        Hi Stuart, you make a really good point and the honest answer is that I don’t know. I’m exploring various different possibilities. I’ve just copied and pasted my reply to John who made a similar point to you.

        I like Carl Jung’s theory of archetypes and the collective unconscious. It may be possible that during a NDE the experiencer is perceiving archetypes and interpreting them according to their personal cultural filter. This could account for why some people in India, for example, may see Yamdoots (messengers of Yama the God of the dead) whereas people in England, for example, are more likely to see Jesus or dead relatives. As the sea of consciousness is eternal and contains all knowledge, it could be perceived that it is a dead relative that is giving them the message as opposed to tuning into the universal knowledge. I don’t know but these are just possibilities that I am exploring.

  30. Kinseher Richard May 12, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

    Dear Penny
    We have learned at school, that senses, nerves and brain activity are necessary when stimuli are translated into conscious experience/perception. If a person has other ideas, he/she have to proof it. Statements without step-by step explanation are bungle. To make statements about extrasensory perception/experience is nothing else than telling fairy tales, when no arguments are published which are accessible for a scientific examination.

    It might be also useful to read the book ´hallucinations´ by Oliver Sacks. He describes some types of hallucination and explain what these strange experiences can explain about brain´s working – but every hallucination is still the result of brain activity, no supernatural experience

    • Dr Penny Sartori May 13, 2013 at 11:10 am #

      HI Richard, yes I take your point but I have witnessed things and interviewed patients during the course of my research that simply can’t be explained in the way you have described. It is one thing to read about NDEs but to be present while a NDE is occurring and to have a patient report what occurred when he was deeply unconscious cannot be dismissed or explained away.

      I have read some of Oliver Sack’s work (which I find very interesting and informative) but it is not an explanation as to, for example, how patient 11 gained information that he did not know, while he was deeply unconscious.

      Prospective NDE hospital research is relatively new but it is revealing cases of NDEs which simply cannot be ignored. This is just the beginning of finding new ways to explore consciousness. There are only a few prospective studies to date but the more studies that are undertaken the more information will accumulate which can guide us on how to develop new ways to understand consciousness.

      I don’t think NDEs are supernatural – if consciousness is understood from a different perspective then I consider NDEs to be quite natural experiences.

      If we reflect on history and scientific advancements, it was once considered a scientific fact that the earth was flat until further scientific discoveries led to our understanding of the earth actually being round. Similarly, it was once considered a scientific fact that the earth was the centre of the universe. Copernicus was considered a heretic for proposing that it was the sun that is the centre of the universe. It was over a hundred years later that further scienntific advancements led to the confirmation of Copernicus’s theory that indeed the sun is the centre of the universe and not the earth.

      • Tony May 13, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

        Well said Penny. True skeptics look at the data wherever it takes them. When one looks at all the data its not so easily dismissed. Certainly the Nde is an anomaly that needs explaining. Perhaps one day we may have a conventional explanation of what is going on. Or more likely I think the Nde will add to our conventional understanding of how consciousness works. I find it interesting that many researchers start with an interest in Nde research and are on the fence regarding its reality until they are involved in the study. At that point they are convinced that something is going on. We see that now with Parnia, who once was quoted as saying it most likely is a trick of the brain, and now speaks with more conviction about survival. I’m curious about you Penny. Before your study were you generally in doubt of its reality?

      • Dr Penny Sartori May 13, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

        Hi Tony, thanks for your comment. I think being in close patient contact especially when they have experienced a NDE (as happened with Patient 10 in my study) gives a whole different perspective.

        Before my study I’d never really given any kinds of experience like this much credibility. I was always a little curious but never took them that seriously. I remember when my paternal grandfather was dying (when I was a student nurse) he would point to the doorway and say someone was there when there wasn’t. I just considered it a hallucination and didn’t pay any attention even though I had seen patients behave the same in work since beginning my nurse training. With hindsight I wish I had explored this more and asked him questions about who he could see etc.

        My nurse training had also taught me to ‘ground patients in reality’ if it appeared that they were hallucinating. I recall looking after a lady for ten days in a row and on the final day she told me that she had been to heaven when she was in the coronary care unit. She described what I now know to be a NDE but at the time I just listened and didn’t think anything of it except that it was some kind of hallucination.

        Then when I got interested in death (because I became very upset after a patient I was looking after died) I read all I could about death then came across NDEs. I was fascinated and they really caught my attention but I kept getting drawn back into my conditioned way of thinking that these were just hallucinations. However, the more I read about NDEs the more I was able to see how complex these experiences are. Thats when I began to get really curious and decided to undertake my own study. Since conducting my own study where I had to undertake all of the data collection myself it meant that I had unique first hand experience of actually being present during one NDE and in the vicinity where other NDEs had occurred. I interviewed all of the patients myself and was later able to confirm with my colleagues details of experiences that were reported to me by the patients. I realised that there were some aspects that I encountered during my study that simply can’t be ignored or explained away. Just because NDEs don’t fit in with our current understanding of consciousness does not mean they should be explained away. Although my study is the UK’s largest prospective study to date, there is still so much more research to be undertaken in the clinical area that can help to further our understanding of consciousness. This is a very exciting time as it is just the beginning of exploring new ways of understanding consciousness.

  31. Max_B May 13, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    Hi Penny, there seems little research on EM effects following an NDE… I did find one dissertation on it from 2008 which was somewhat interesting…

    http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9054/m2/1/high_res_d/dissertation.pdf

    a) he seemed to find a possible correlation between depth of NDE, and increasing problems with electromagnetic devices.

    b) his study showed EM effects following an NDE decreased over time, which is different from a previous study that found it to increase (Ring, 2000).

    c) he found that NDErs in the study retrospectively reported more EMEs before their NDE. Additionally the greater the retrospectively reported EMEs were before the close brush with death, the reportedly deeper an NDE overall and its affective and transcendental components during the close brush with death. Possible reasons for these results (which include sampling error, memory reconstruction, and pre-existing EME/NDE sensitivity) are discussed in the paper. I suppose we can add retro causal effects to this discussion?

    Also… Re the belief in a flat earth… there is good documentary evidence to show that this is almost certainly a 19/20th Century myth, and that the spherical nature of the earth was accepted all the way back to ancient Greece.

    http://www.asa3.org/ASA/topics/history/1997Russell.html

    • Dr Penny Sartori May 15, 2013 at 8:38 am #

      Hi Max, yes this work is really interesting. I’d read an article the author had published in Journal of Near-Death Studies but I haven’t read the dissertation yet so thanks for finding that and giving me the reference. I’ll have a read of it.

      The findings you mention are interesting – with regards to point b) I have found a similar decrease with the NDErs I have spoken to. With point c) it could be suggestive that pre-existing EM sensitivity is a predisposing factor for a NDE. It will be great to expand on this kind of research in the future.

      Ah…I didn’t realise that the belief of the earth being flat is a 19/20th century myth.

      • Stuart May 15, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

        Hi Penny and Max,

        What are your thoughts on the relationship between that of EM and NDE. Is it causation or correlation between both them? Is EM the source of NDEs or just a added knock on effect from them?

        Also the idea of the flat earth depended on where you were from. whereas in classical greece it was dismissed it was widely believed in China until the later half of the 2nd Millenia.

        Thanks

        Stuart

      • Dr Penny Sartori May 19, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

        Hi Stuart, I’m not sure but it seems (according to Max’s previous comment from the thesis that he pointed out) that people who report electrical sensitivity prior to a NDE are more predisposed to having a NDE.

        It could be that the NDE in some way changes the electrophysiology of the brain – how it could do this I don’t know but it would be an avenue of research worth pursuing in the future. This aspect really does interest me a lot.

        Ah, thats interesting about Greece dismissing the earth as being flat but China believing it was flat until the later half of the second Millenia – thanks for that.

      • Max_B May 19, 2013 at 11:48 pm #

        Hi Stuart, I honestly don’t have any thoughts about cause or correlation. The paper which I linked to above, is about the first thing I’ve ever read about EM ‘effects’ on electrical equipment following an NDE.

  32. john scovell May 13, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    If individual self awareness is lot in a sea of consciousness then how can the case of someone receiving a message from a dead relative be explained?

    • Dr Penny Sartori May 15, 2013 at 8:50 am #

      Hi John, mmm…you ask a really good question. I don’t know the answer to be honest. I like Carl Jung’s theory of archetypes and the collective unconscious. It may be possible that during a NDE the experiencer is perceiving archetypes and interpreting them according to their personal cultural filter. This could account for why some people in India, for example, may see Yamdoots (messengers of Yama the God of the dead) whereas people in England, for example, are more likely to see Jesus or dead relatives. As the sea of consciousness is eternal and contains all knowledge, it could be perceived that it is a dead relative that is giving them the message as opposed to tuning into the universal knowledge. I don’t know but these are just possibilities that I am exploring.

    • Max_B May 15, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

      Me neither… I’m unable to understand what is happening in the latter part of the NDE…

      However, my own belief at present is that our conscious awareness is somehow correlated with a field/s that bind together in a mutually coherent way, all those neurons distributed throughout the brain, which are actively responding to different aspects of a perceived object (i.e. visual/sensory binding fields?).

      The only way I can currently understand it, is that this field forms a spatial and temporal 3D pattern. Intersecting our brain, as a feedback loop (i.e. we are sensitive to our own field).

      My idea is that similarly shaped 3D field patterns of conscious awareness from the past (or something analogous to that) can resonate with our present conscious field shapes. The more closely they are aligned the easier it is for them to affect our conscious awareness. However, they don’t tend to breach into our immediate conscious awareness unless they were also accompanied with strong feelings in the past, and/or, when our own field is weaker or dysfunctional.

      For example, when we look at a beautiful vase, and become consciously visual aware of it, only the the neurons in the brain that describe the vase appear to fire in synchrony, and this synchronous firing is somehow related to consciousness (perhaps the neurons merely correlate to the microtubule function – perhaps they create an interference pattern – who knows?).

      This sounds a bit wacko… but I suspect that if other people have looked at the same vase in the past, we might become somewhat ‘closer’ to them on an informational/field level at the same moment they are also looking at the vase, and consequently they to us.

      Clearly the fields we will resonate most with are our own, so our past and future fields perhaps lead and direct us. So on one level, we could consider that although we exist in reality in this moment in time, both our past and future fields are influencing us, with the immediate past, and the immediate future being most influential, in effect our fields (information) would transcend the limitations of our current concept of time.

      We would also resonate with our relations, our loved ones, those we respect, and others who share similar ideas… where we don’t share someones upbringing, experiences, ideas (i.e. similar field shapes) it’s harder to understand, relate to, or perhaps sometimes to become close to them. ‘Not on their wavelength’ seems somehow apt…

      This is the only way I have of trying to incorporate much subjective human experience into a single theory… whether its apparitions, so called ‘time slips’, OBE’s, emotions, precognitative effects, issues of heredity and learning etc.

      If the brain generates and reads fields in a feedback loop, as it seems to, then surely the brain must be vulnerable to similar fields…

      • Dr Penny Sartori May 19, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

        Hi Max, sorry for my delayed reply, I haven’t had much time to spend on the blog this week.

        As usual you have given me a lot to think about. I like what you have said and it is something that should be explored in more depth and borne in mind for future research. A lot of what you are saying touches on quantum physics and I think there is going to be a lot more interesting findings of quantum physics which will help explain consciousness.

  33. André May 14, 2013 at 7:37 am #

    There is a lot lot of work been done in the ORch-OR Model research.
    Penrose & Stuart Hameroff’s work has started a lot of controverse idea’s and further research.

    These models are still in the beginning but there are several more quantum scientists offering models and theories which resolve around the idea that the data is stored not within our brain.

    The phrase “not within our breain” is not to be taken by word. It is more that nerve cells store data in a quantum level entrapped by em fields.

    Some more research tried to test effects of em fields on test persons.

    For more info i suggest reading the puplished scientific articels by
    hamerrof, penrose, Stapp and Umezawa.

    Unfortunetly quantum biology is growing quite slowly as there is only a single university in my home country teaching biology on a binary level for computer science and implementation of neuronal networks.

  34. Afterlifer May 15, 2013 at 6:28 am #

    Hi Penny! Has anybody studied brain activity of people with strong ESP (for example using MRI)? Is there any cortical activity? I was thinking about your “best” patients and suddenly I realized that the only aspect that could rule out the hypothesis of a consciousness existing out of the brain is some kind of super-extra ESP. How could we explain the fact that awareness and consciousness seem to increase when brain stops? I always thought that the reducing valve/tv set hypothesis was the best one (it can explain almost every phenomenon related to our brain/mind), but super ESP could rule it out.

    • Dr Penny Sartori May 15, 2013 at 9:03 am #

      Hi Afterlifer, I’m not aware of any work that has been done to study ESP using MRI but it would certainly be very interesting to see this work being done. At present, I think it is very difficult to explain these things but as our technology advances maybe some kind of measuring device will be of help in this kind of area of research.

  35. john scovell May 15, 2013 at 11:18 am #

    I once had an experience where I was filled with endless compassion for everything, with no judgment involved at all. , I wonder if that is what the ‘sea of consciousness ‘ is like,? Assuming there is such a thing of course.

    • Dr Penny Sartori May 15, 2013 at 11:51 am #

      That sounds very similar to one aspect of what people report during a NDE. It seems as though you did access that altered state of consciousness. Its almost as if our senses act like a filter. We have thousands of thoughts each day and sensory input is continuously being interpreted by the brain. However, at times of sensory deprivation or disruption of such thoughts and sensory inputs getting to the brain it seems that this altered state of consciousness can be perceived more readily.

      • john scovell May 15, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

        I post some fuller detail of the experience a bit later. Also had experience where someone saw my life ‘through my eyes’

      • Dr Penny Sartori May 15, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

        That sounds really interesting and I’d love to hear more about it when you get chance. If you prefer to keep it private (some people feel these can be deeply personal experiences and prefer not to discuss them publicly) you can email me on drpennysartori@yahoo.co.uk

      • john scovell May 15, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

        Its ok I write it on the blog.

      • Dr Penny Sartori May 19, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

        Thats great thanks John. I’m sure the followers of the blog will be really interested to read about your experience too.

  36. Michael Duggan May 16, 2013 at 4:10 am #

    Dear Penny, on this thread from the Skeptiko forum, http://forum.mind-energy.net/skeptiko-podcast/5168-parnia-aware-if-3-years-no-hits-ndes-probably-hallucinatory-phenomenons.html there is mention of an interview with Jean-Jacques Charbonier on a well respected French educational radio program, in which he recalls an interview with Parnia. During the interview, Parnia states that without a verified veridical “hit” within three years, he would consider the NDE an hallucination based brain state. We don’t know how recent Charbonier’s recollection is, but I doubt it’s recent, given Parnia’s upbeat media interviews. What are your thoughts?

    • Dr Penny Sartori May 19, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

      Hi Michael, thanks for the link. I think that Dr Parnia’s statement that without a verified hit within three years that the NDE would be a brain based state was a bit presumptious for two reasons. First, I think he assumed that he would have lots of data from many hospitals and a large database of cardiac arrest survivors but the reality of it, as he has written in his book, is that follow-up of patients has been very difficult. Therefore the expected amount of interviewed patients has been a lot lower than he anticipated and now, he mentions in his book, patients are going to be interviewed retrospectively and sent questionnaires in the mail and then a follow-up interview arranged. This highlights just how much hard work studies like this are to sustain.

      Secondly, the quality of OBEs reported can vary as I found out with my study. Out of the 8 OBEs reported over a period of five years, only two of them were of veridical quality where they were in a position to view the hidden symbols. Both of these patients were more interested in what was going on around their body than looking on top of the monitor. So even if many OBEs are reported during the AWARE study then there would have to be many cases, and they must also be of veridical quality where they are able to view the hidden symbols, before any conclusions can be made.

      • Stuart May 19, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

        Jean-Jacques Charbonier statement was possibly taken after the conference in Marseille as much as I can gather Uploaded on 5th of May 2013 ( http://www.franceculture.fr/emission-les-racines-du-ciel-les-experiences-de-mort-imminentes-avec-jean-jacques-charbonier-2013-05 ). As far as I am aware Sam Parnia say something about the 3 year limit at the very early stages of the Aware Study, so maybe this was what Jean-Jacques Charbonier was referring to. Surly if Sam Parnia had reported something different it would have been in media circles now. Also this was a recent interview on the 29th of April Sam Parnia did ( http://www.cuatro.com/cuarto-milenio/programas/temporada-08/t08xp33/Doctor-Sam-Parnia-personas-llevaban_2_1596030005.html ). So something would need to emerge between the 29th of April and 5th of May for this to be so.

      • Dr Penny Sartori May 20, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

        Hi Stuart, thanks for this. I think Jean-Jacques Charbonier must have been referring to a comment Sam Parnia made when AWARE was first launched. If it was a recent comment from Sam then it would have been more widely reported by now.

      • Stuart May 22, 2013 at 12:37 am #

        Hi Penny and Michael. I contacted Dr
        Charbonier about what he said via goggle translate from English to French and from French to English again and from what I can gathered Dr Charbonier stated to me in French to translated English “The early conclusion of San Parnia was published in 2013 during a media interview.” which does not really help with the answer but it could be down to language difficulties. Nonetheless by looking at Dr Charboniers website in English translation and go to news pat and stroll down to when you see a French Culture Symbol he is stating that the radio interview that was released on 5th of May was recorded on the 2nd of April. However since then it seems that Dr Parnia has appeared on Spanish TV in late April the 29th and I can only imagine that it was not recorded before the 2nd of April although it may have been. In the Spanish TV interview he appeared to be more of the “pro” side of NDEs as far as can find. This leads me to belief that Dr Parnia saying something about the 3-year limit at the very early stages of the Aware Study, so maybe this was what Jean-Jacques Charbonier was referring all right and not a later statement.

        http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=http://www.charbonier.fr/&prev=/search%3Fq%3DJean-Jacques%2BCharbonier%26safe%3Doff%26client%3Dsafari%26rls%3Den

        Perhaps Penny you could contact either of the Doctors next time you speak to them to clarify the matter.

        Thanks

        Stuart

      • Dr Penny Sartori May 22, 2013 at 8:55 am #

        Hi Stuart, thanks for this. I’m not sure exactly which interview Dr Charbonnier was referring to but from recent comments from Dr Parnia I would think it is from a much earlier interview – presumably from the outset of the AWARE study. When I speak to either doctor I will ask them to clarify this.

      • Dr Penny Sartori May 23, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

        Hi Stuart, the comment was made by Dr Parnia at the launch of the AWARE study in 2008. This was clarified by Joss who provided the press release for me to see.

      • Stuart May 23, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

        Thanks Penny

  37. Max_B May 16, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

    Anybody read anything written by H.S. Burr and Leonard Ravitz, and their ideas about their so called ‘L-Fields’?

    I’d like to read their books, particularly Ravitz’s (which are out of print) or any free access papers, but secondhand the books are hideously expensive!

    Wiki appears to claim the authors measured increases in electrical energy on a galvanometer during emotional activity. Ravitz also apparently claimed that the L-field as a whole disappears ‘before’ physical death.

    We know emotions have a very strong effect on our perception of time, and it’s been postulated that clock speed of the brain may alter and partly be responsible for this perception change. But I’ve seen nothing about an increase/change in energy output before?

    The idea that a persons electrical field may decline ‘before’ death is also intriguing…

    …but I’d like to read this data before deciding whether it is valid or not.

    • Dr Penny Sartori May 19, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

      Hi Max, I’ve never read anything by the authors you mention and never heard of L-Fields but I must admit I am intrigued by your comment. It would be interesting to read more but I’m not sure how credible their work is. Maybe someone following the blog can give more information.

      I need more hours in the day to read everything I want to, I’m still working my way through a stack of about 20 books.

      • Max_B May 20, 2013 at 12:15 am #

        Well I’ve bought Burr’s book for a ridiculous sum… If it’s any good I’ll get Ravitz book which costs even more…

        Burr’s theories on ‘life fields’ (L-Fields) seem similar to Sheldrake’s.
        However Sheldrake references him but once in his ‘New Science of Life’, and that is only to make the distinction that his theory is very different from Burr’s.

        In which case, I don’t think I can have properly understand Sheldrake’s Morphic Field ideas.

      • Dr Penny Sartori May 20, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

        These books sound interesting, let me know what you think of Burr’s book when you’ve read it. I’ll see if I can get it from the library.

      • André May 20, 2013 at 3:31 am #

        I recently found an interview with eban Alexander where he Talked about Self awareness.

        “EA: I was a “speck of awareness”…. There was no remnant of “Eben” as a person who had lived on Earth (no ego or “self”)…. My personal identity and destiny were veiled from me during the experience. Emotional presence was very powerful there, much more so than in our earthly realm (emotions there are more “pure” and unfettered). But none of it attached to my personal “Eben” identity until I saw [my 10 year-old son] Bond’s face…. I did not recognize him in terms of remembering his name or that he was “my son” (I had no linguistic notion of a father and son at that point), but there was a…powerful bond of love between us that [served as] the catalyst that forced my return out of a sense of his need for me, and my responsibility to be there for him–that was the key to unlocking my temporary amnesia that had allowed for such a deep journey. The only true terror I felt during the entire journey was [upon] recognizing his face, because my only defense up to that point was that I had no attachments or responsibilities, that my existence could continue or cease, and that it did not matter. Bond’s face told me that it did all really matter, because of my love and responsibility to him—that I had to comprehend it all, and somehow survive to be there for him.

      • Dr Penny Sartori May 20, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

        Thanks for this Andre, this is really interesting. Many people report on how overwhelming this emotional presence is during their experience.

  38. john scovell May 19, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    Hello Penny, re what I mentioned earlier, here is more info. The first experience I had was when I went for a reiki treatment. It was very relaxing and I felt some heat coming from the healers hand which what ppl tend to experience when they receive reiki. But more than that I went into a kind of meditative state and it compassion was flowing through me. People who had done nasty things to me in the past came into my mind and I just felt the most amazing compassion for them. The feeling was the sweetest feeling I had ever felt. At the end of the treatment I felt chilled out for about a week and nothing made me angry in that period. When I was in receiving the treatment I did not in any sense feel I had left my body or lose self awarness. The other experience was after I was attuned in reiki, and started attending reiki shares. On this occasion we were divided into pairs to give each other a treatment. As I received my treatment strange symbols came into my mind and I fell in very light altered state of consciousness. At the end the woman who gave me the treatment said she had seem me, through my eyes and gave personal info about me that she could not have known about. I had never meet her before. It seemed to tie in with the alterted state I had and the symbols. I’ve a few more experiences I can tell u about
    .

    • Dr Penny Sartori May 20, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

      Hi John, thanks for sharing your experiences. These are really interesting to me. I talk a lot about compassion on the course that I am currently teaching so reading your first experience fits in so well with what I am teaching. Would you mind if I use this as an example for my students? Out of curiosity, do you have any problems with electrical items or watches? Some NDErs do after their experience and I’m wondering if it is linked to intense states of compassion.

      The second experience is fascinating too as you and the lady had a kind of empathic experience and this was confirmed to you by the personal information about you that she could not have known. It seems that when people access this altered state of consciousness they have access to knowledge that is usually not available through the senses.

      I would be interested to hear more experiences you have had as I learn a great deal from these reports. Thank you for sharing them.

  39. john scovell May 20, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    Please feel free to use what I have written. I don’t think I had an NDE as I had no sense of being out my body or being unconscious. I don’t really have problem with electrical items or watches

    • Dr Penny Sartori May 20, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

      Hi John, thanks for letting me use your example. I agree, it seems that you accessed an altered state of consciousness but didn’t have a NDE. This type of experience has also been reported by people in deep meditative states and similar states. I’m wondering if these kinds of experiences can also lead to changes in the electromagnetic field.

  40. john scovell May 20, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    Trying to remember how I was thinking in that first experience. My thought did not stop as such but was different as I just experienced this sweet feeling of compassion running through me. Did not think or worry about the usual everyday things. Guess u could say I was in a state of being rather than doing. Also interesting I know thought of certain ppl who would normally male me angry came into my mind and I just felt compassion for them. I know ppl might say why should I feel compassion, well it was such a lovely feeling, so sweet

  41. Lulla27 May 22, 2013 at 2:11 am #

    Looks like Parnia has new support. Nice!
    http://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/15075

    • Dr Penny Sartori May 22, 2013 at 8:57 am #

      Thanks for the link. This is excellent news, it is great that some funding is finally being provided for all of these really important studies. I look forward to the results of all of the studies. Very exciting.

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