Death and the Afterlife

Life after Death

Survival of the Soul — Scientific Investigation (Neville Randal — Daily Sketch correspondent) At some time in their life everyone is asked the question: Do you believe you will go on living after you die? Well, do you believe it? Consider the facts. Time after time people have reported that a dying person’s face is suddenly filled with happiness at the actual moment of death. Is it possible to know why? Yes. Through the people who have experienced “death” — and come back to tell the story. This enquiry begins with the documented evidence of a scientist. He has made the most careful study yet of what happens when people die. He is Dr. Robert Crookhall who lives in Dursley, Gloucestershire. He has probed and sifted through all the cases he could track down. Here are some of them: Case of the man who lost a bond acknowledging a debt of money. Without the bond he could not legally demand repayment. His debtor repudiated the claim. Then he almost drowned. Scene by scene his life passed before him — including the moment when he had hidden the bond in a secret place. When he recovered he went to his bookcase, took out a book . . . and extracted the bond. Case of Flight-Lieut. J. P. Wynton. He described to Dr. Crookhall how he experienced a timeless review of his life as he crashed in a plane and was almost burnt to death. But from the pilot and others Dr. Crookhall made a new and strange discovery. Time after time people snatched from violent death told him that as death approached they felt no pain. His theory was confirmed, for example by one: REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 21 Case of Leslie Grant Scott. “Dying is not such a terrifying thing,” said Mr. Scott. “I died and came back. I found death one of the easiest things in life.” Or again consider: Case of a man who fell from a tremendous height. He said: “When my body finally bounded against the rocks . . . I became unconscious without feeling any pain whatever. The moment I stood at the brink of the (new) life were the happiest I have ever experienced.” Dr. Crookhall also listened to the case of a doctor who fell a hundred feet, heard the noise when his head struck various corners of rocks, but stated: “In all this I felt no pain.” This only came later when he re-entered his body. Crookhall is a scientist. He has been demonstrator in botany at Aberdeen University and Principle Geologist to Her Majesty’s Geological Survey. He likes to go about things in a scientific way. He decided that we were looking for proof of survival in the wrong place. That if we wanted evidence about the next world we should look for it there, not in verifiable memories of this world. He began by collecting communications from the “dead” by whatever means they came •— through professional mediums or natural “sensitives.” He examined thousands of accounts of what these allegedly dead people said they experienced at, and soon after death. From these he was able to build up the first consistent and coherent account of how those who have been through death say they pass from this world to the next. This is the amazing picture which emerged: 1. In addition to his Physical Body, man also has a Psychical or Soul Body which we cannot see or touch but which has the same shape as the physical body. And there is another Spiritual Body, too, on a higher level still. 2. As a man approaches a natural death, at old age, his thoughts fly instinctively to friends who have died already. He summons them to help him over to the next stage. 3. Near the moment of death man experiences a detailed review of his past earthly life. 4. About an hour before visible death, when the heart stops beating and he ceases to breathe, a dying man has often already left his physical body and stands near by, conscious and happy. This is what we call pre-death coma. 5. Natural death involves no physical pain or fear. 6. Many of the newly dead do not, for a time, realise that they have shed their physical bodies. 22 SURVIVAL OF THE SOUL — SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATION 7. The psychical double that leaves the physical body at death usually floats for a while horizontally above the dead physical body, resembles it, and looks younger and brighter. 8. Many of the newly dead see immediately friends who have died already, especially those whom they have unconsciously called. 9. When he has severed the final links with the physical body, the average man who dies naturally has a recuperative sleep lasting for three or four days of our time. But the man who is killed in the prime of life tends to be awake at once. 10. The next world in which he finds himself is not, as is taught in some Churches, of a purely spiritual nature, or the Paradise of the Bible. That comes later. The next world for the average man is semi-physical in nature: intermediate between our earth and the “Heaven” of the Scriptures. It is earthlike and familiar. 11. During the period which follows, the newly dead man experiences a second review of his past earthly life. This time emotional, selective and responsible. It is the Biblical “Judgement”. 12. On the basis of this each person goes eventually to his own place in the spiritual or super-physical heavens. These cannot be described in normal language, but they are more real than the physical world. But what happens to people who die a sudden or violent death? They suffer from shock, says Dr. Crookhall. For them it is difficult to realise what happened. But with help, after a period of rest in special conditions after death, they are able to join the normal sequence. The first question Dr. Crookhall asked — as a scientist — was: “Does it make sense?” He found that it does. More than that, he found that the communications he tested were consistent with one another. Then he discovered something even more conclusive. It was possible to test the sensations said to be experienced by newly dead people by comparing them with the sensations known to have been experienced by people who have returned from near death to physical life. The communications from the dead said that they actually left their physical bodies about an hour before the heart stopped beating. During this period people who did return, and are alive today, have experienced some of the first stages of the transition from this life to the next. That’s where these cases we showed you at the start come in. For these experiences are similar, usually identical to those described by the dead. Many people who have “died” and come back have described how they left their physical body and looked down on it. And this has been corroborated by people who have never been near death themselves but have seen it happen while watching others die. Let us examine another case: SURVIVAL OF THE SOUL — SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATION 23 Case of an American doctor, R. B. Hout, of Indiana. At the death-bed of his aunt he saw “this astral body hung suspended horizontally a few feet above the physical counterpart. It was quite serene and in repose. But the physical body was active in reflex movements and subconscious writhings of pain. I saw the features plainly. They were very similar to the physical face except that a glow of peace and vigour was expressed instead of age and pain. . . . My uncle, the deceased husband of my aunt, stood there beside her bed. Also her son, passed away many years previously. This phase — the arrival of friends or relatives already dead —• has been corroborated by almost everyone who has seen death often. Time after time the dying person’s face is suddenly filled with happiness at the actual moment of death. Sometimes they actually speak the name of a friend or relation who has died before. Crookhall found that “there seems to be no single case on record in which a dying person claimed to see a living friend whom he erroneously thought to be dead. On the other hand there are many recorded cases of dying people who saw friends whom they supposed to be living and who were in fact dead.” Doctors are so used to this phenomenon that some have come to expect death soon after their patients appear to see friends who have died. And a nurse with twenty years experience has testified: “I noticed that often just before the end, the dying would seem to recognise someone who was not of those at the bedside and who was unseen by the latter. I have seen a woman who had been in a coma for hours suddenly open her eyes with a look of glad surprise, stretch forth her hands as though to grasps invisible hands outstretched towards her, and then, with a sigh of relief, expire. That at such moments the dying really see some spirit form — someone who has come from the other world to welcome them—I have never doubted.” Perhaps you are one of those who are in doubt. Everyone who believes in Christianity should, as an act of faith, believe that they will survive their own death. Yet recent surveys have revealed that more than half the people of Britain have no conviction at all. Faith and the evidence of the Bible are no longer enough. They want proof. Others like the nurse and Dr. Hout, of Indiana, who have come face to face with the evidence have no more doubts. And Dr. Crookhall in the face of the body of evidence he has amassed, is unable to doubt either. “The whole of the evidence,” he concludes, “is explicable only on the hypothesis of the survival of the human soul in a Soul Body. There is no longer a deadlock or stalemate on the question of survival. On the contrary survival is as well established as the theory of evolution.”