1. News & Issues
Book Review:
"The Afterlife Experiments"
Has science finally proved, through rigorous experiments, that human consciousness survives death? If you're not convinced of life after death, this fascinating book just might change your mind. 
 More of this Feature
• Page 2: Answering the Skeptics
 
 Join the Discussion
"I want to know if any of you have fear of death. I know death is a natural process and that it is like birth (since I believe in reincarnation), but I'm kind of scared of it. It's pretty hard for me to leave this plane of existence. Perhaps it is the fear of the unknown ... perhaps I don't have faith ... perhaps I find it hard to believe that there is a better world after this... "
Read more or add your comments
 
  Related Resources
• Deathbed Visions
• Life Before Birth
• The Mystery of Past Life Recall
• The Past Lives of Children
 
 Elsewhere on the Web
• A Lawyer Presents the Case for the Afterlife
• Can Science Uphold the Belief in Rebirth?
 
 

If there were scientific evidence that human consciousness survives after death, how would you live your life differently?

The Afterlife ExperimentsThat is just one of the provocative questions raised in Gary E. Schwartz's fascinating new book, The Afterlife Experiments. The book chronicles a series of laboratory experiments conducted with a group of well-known mediums - including John Edward - to see if their claims of contact with "the other side" could be scientifically measured and documented. The results of those experiments are intriguing, to say the least, and profound, if considered seriously. Schwartz is convinced enough of the findings to subtitle his book, "Breakthrough scientific evidence of life after death."

Schwartz is no New Age pitch man or a guy who's thrown himself into the subject because of a near-death experience. Rather, he is a professor of psychology, medicine, neurology, psychiatry and surgery at the University of Arizona and director of its Human Energy Systems Laboratory; his credentials include a doctorate from Harvard and a professorship at Yale - an impressive background he carefully lays out at the beginning of the book. The point is to show his intention of approaching the subject with objectivity and scientific scrutiny. His intent at the outset was not to prove or disprove the existence of life after death, but to determine whether the successes that many mediums claim could stand up to the scientific method.

Working with his research partner, Dr. Linda G. Russek, Dr. Schwartz devised experiments that, as best they could, would eliminate the possibility of cheating or fraud of any kind. They were able to enlist the cooperation of such well-known mediums as John Edward, Suzanne Northrup and George Anderson, who to their credit placed no conditions on the experiments; they would participate exactly as directed by the scientists.

The early experiments were conducted much like John Edward's "private sittings," if you've seen his popular TV show "Crossing Over with John Edward." In this situation, the medium sits facing a "sitter," whom he or she has never met, and proceeds to apparently receive information from a deceased friend or relative of the sitter. The medium is often able to relay initials, names, dates and specific incidents relevant to the sitter and the deceased. In Schwartz's tests, each medium had a session with the same sitter, and the experiment was repeated with several sitters. The sitters were instructed to reply to any questions from the mediums with either a yes or no, with no elaboration. All "messages" from the deceased were carefully recorded - videotaped, in fact (some of the sessions were shown on a program for HBO) - and then later analyzed, point by point, for accuracy. Accuracy was scored on a hit-or-miss scale in the range of -3 to +3:

  • -3: a complete miss
  • -2: a probable miss
  • -1: a possible miss
  • +1: a possible hit
  • +3: a definite hit

How well did the mediums do? The results showed that the mediums ranged from 77 to 95 percent accuracy! Their average for +3 hits was 83 percent!

But is this proof of contact with consciousness that exists after death? Or are the mediums just good guessers? 

Next page > Astonishing results and answering the skeptics > Page 1, 2


Have You Had a
Paranormal Experience?

Send me your true tales of strange, unexplained
and paranormal experiences. E-mail them to me
for inclusion in a future article or story archives.
Or post your stories and comments about this article on the Paranormal Phenomena Forum.

Subscribe to the Newsletter
Name
Email

Previous Features

You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.