Deathbed visions |
In the book by Karlis Osis, Ph.D. and Erlendur Haraldsson, Ph.D.
"At the Hour of Death" the two scientists summarize a research project they
conducted in the USA and India in which they gathered cases of people who, at
the hour of death, experienced deathbed visions. The cases were related to them
by doctors and nurses who had been present when the persons died. Just before the
onset of death the dying patients would experience a vision or a visitation from
what seemed to be an otherworldly dimension. This vision generally had a very
positive effect on the dying; it made them more at peace and more willing to "leave".
The two researchers say in their introduction:
"Although most patients apparently drift into oblivion without awareness of it,
there are some, clearly conscious to the end, who say they "see" into the beyond
and who are able to report their experiences before expiring. They see apparitions
of deceased relatives and friends. They see religious and mythological figures.
They see nonearthly environments characterized by light, beauty, and intense color.
These experiences are transformative. They bring with them serenity, peace, elation,
and religious emotions. The patients die a "good death" in strange contrast to the
usual gloom and misery commonly expected before expiration.
Our investigation is, we feel, the first truly scientific research into the experiences of
the dying at the hour of death. First, we collected massive amounts of data through three
extensive surveys of physicians and nurses who attended the dying. Second, our research
was transcultural, drawing upon American and Indian medical people. Third, our data were
collected carefully and systematically through modern sampling techniques, including
questionnaires and probing interviews. Fourth, our data were subjected to elaborate
statistical, pattern, and content analysis through computer evaluation.
What we found is both surprising and hopeful. This book will offer new evidence, based
on observations by more than a thousand doctors and nurses, bearing on the question of
post-mortem survival. To anticipate our conclusion, we will state here that this evidence
strongly suggests life after death - more strongly than any alternative hypothesis can
explain the data. Neither medical, nor psychological, nor cultural conditioning can
explain away deathbed visions. Moreover, they are relatively independent of age, sex,
education, religion, and socio-economic status"
(Osis and Haraldsson: "At the Hour of Death", pages 2-3).
After examining the data from their investigations Karlis Osis and Erlendur Haraldsson come to
the following conclusion at the end of their book: "In our judgement, the similarities between
the core phenomena found in the deathbed visions of both countries are clear enough to be
considered supportive of the post-mortem survival hypothesis" (page 192).
This scientific study of deathbed visions clearly suggests that there is nothing
final about death. The study strongly supports the hypothesis that there is life after death,
but not only that. It also suggests that at the hour of death nobody dies alone. The dying
person seems to be met by relatives or friends from the other side and during the deathbed
visions he sees a world of "light, beauty, and intense color".