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About The Book

From the scientific underground of psychic research comes a stunning report on the evidence for life after death. But all the proof in the world is nothing when compared to actual experience with the place beyond. This book takes the reader to the next level -- and offers a more personal kind of journey. If there is a "next world," it must be nearby, and the path leads through the gateways of our own minds. Philosopher Michael Grosso shows us how to open these passages -- or at least peek through a keyhole -- and glimpse what may lie beyond. This is the guidebook for an adventure that nobody can refuse.


Chapter One: Ecstatic Journeys

The discovery of the worm in the apple of my existence led, as I said, to my waking up, a heightened savoring of life. And I felt driven to discover something More, something Greater. The discovery of my mortality jolted me to seek enlightenment, to explore the mysteries -- it also threw a long shadow on my world. A shadow of "black bile," of melancholy -- the old term for that ill-humored state that nowadays we call depression.

It's hard to say just how many people suffer from depression. There are all kinds and grades of this affliction, running from occasional bouts of feeling "down in the dumps" to serious clinical depression and all the way to the kind of suicidal madness of depression described so graphically by William Styron in his memoir Darkness Visible. The causes of depression, no doubt many, are still hard to pinpoint in any one case, and Styron finds something disturbingly mysterious about it. Neurotransmitters play a role, as may genetics; and of course all sorts of life incidents, mainly centering on loss, could trigger the plunge.

"For the Neo-Platonist," according to classical scholar Charles Boer, "the soul does not want to be in the body, and melancholy is its cry for escape." The cause of melancholy may lie in our embodied human condition. We do not want to be in our bodies, according to the Neoplatonists, because our bodies are the cause of all suffering, pain, and fear, and the root of all our losses, including, it seems, the inevitable loss of our own existence. If so, the only cure for depression is ecstasy -- the experience of being out of the body.

An experience I had in my metaphysically agitated twenties may explain what I mean. It was my first out-of-body flight. I woke up one morning and realized I was floating above my bed, hovering before the bedroom window. The sun was streaming through a transparent blue curtain. The "I" I allude to was the same inner self I knew as me, except shorn of its usual bodily baggage. There I was! Ecstatic -- "standing outside" myself, a disembodied center of awareness. Exhilarated, self-contained, serenely poised to take off to parts unknown, I knew that I had only to will it, to think the thought, and I'd be off through the window on a galloping trip to Oz. But hold on, I reflected. What if I can't find my way back? The moment I had this thought, I snapped back into my body, like a paddle ball on a rubber string, my heart pounding like a jackhammer.

For a few memorable seconds I had tasted the elation of pure existence. My melancholy, born of being trapped in my body, had completely lifted. Still, something prevented me from going all the way. I held back. What I most needed, it now seems, was what I most feared. If being trapped in a mortal body is the cause of melancholy, leaving the body can cause terrible anxiety. It was an unfortunate paradox, a double bind not easy to escape. Luckily, there are exceptions, and some of us do escape.

Ecstatic Separation

A man was traveling to Damascus to arrest disciples of a Jewish prophet whom the Romans had crucified. Fourteen years later he wrote down an experience he had on the way. He had a vision and heard the voice of the man whose followers he was planning to arrest; he saw a blinding light and a voice said: "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" He said of himself in a famous letter: "And I know how such a man -- whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows -- was caught up into Paradise, and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak" (2 Cor. 12:1-4). This is perhaps the most famous out-of-body experience, for it converted Paul of Tarsus to the new Christian faith. It was the turning point in the apostle's life, an experience of ecstasy, which by its aftereffects changed world history.

Consider another, more recent but still well-known example. The Oglala Sioux warrior and medicine man Black Elk had a life-changing ecstatic experience when he was nine years old and very sick. He heard voices calling him. Lying down, and too sick to walk, the boy looked outside the tepee and saw two men descending from the sky toward him. They said: "Come! Your Grandfathers are calling you! Then they turned and left the ground like arrows slanting upward from the bow. When I got up to follow, my legs did not hurt me any more and I was very light. I went outside the tepee, and yonder where the men with flaming spears were going, a little cloud was coming very fast. It came and stooped and took me and turned back to where it came from, flying fast. And when I looked down, I could see my mother and my father."

Black Elk traveled in this visionary world, and met the "Six Grandfathers," wise old men who taught him spiritual secrets and warned of the coming destruction of the Indian way of life. "For the nation's hoop was broken like a ring of smoke that spreads and scatters and the holy tree seemed like dying and all its birds were gone." Returning to his body, Black Elk said: "Then I saw my own tepee, and inside I saw my mother and my father, bending over a sick boy that was myself. And as I entered the tepee, someone was saying: 'The boy is coming to; you had better give him some water.'"

Black Elk's vision differs notably from Saint Paul's. Paul's experience signaled the rise of the new Christian age; the apostle was guided by his dreams to bring the "good news" to Europe. Black Elk's experience was a funeral dirge for the native way of life in North America. Content and context aside, both men experienced an ecstatic separation of consciousness from the body, a journey beyond the melancholy of embodied existence.

A Widespread Experience

Not every out-of-body flight is a world-shaking event. Most are pretty mundane. I've been asking students about their out-of-body adventures for about two decades; in an average class of twenty, about two usually report having the experience. Not every one is as deeply touched as Black Elk and Saint Paul were, but some are sufficiently impressed to feel their customary sense of reality affected. The experience can undermine the belief that our minds are totally wed to our bodies. The implication is obvious: If we can separate from our bodies, maybe we can survive the death of our bodies.

I recall a student in his mid-fifties who had been working himself to the bone with three jobs, trying to make lots of money but not knowing quite why. He never enjoyed what he did and was generally miserable. One night, after a particularly stressful day, he dropped down on his bed, weary with despair: With pain in his chest, he blacked out, and found himself above his body, looking down on his pale, drawn face. (Later it was determined he had a mild heart attack.) In a moment of exaltation he saw what a lethal farce his life had become, and he made up his mind on the spot to reduce his workload and return to school.

Or this: "I was a United States Navy scuba diver at work off the coast of Florida and temporarily lost consciousness while performing an underwater operation. All of a sudden, I found myself out of my body, watching my wife who was at home miles away. I could see what she was cooking, and I heard the phone ring and watched her answer. After I was rescued and rejoined my wife, I told her what she was doing at home. I repeated some bits of conversation she had over the phone. I tried to explain my experience, but she was so upset that I knew what she was doing that she accused me of spying on her. For a while we went through some rough times because she refused to believe my story."

Finally, from a twenty-three-year-old woman: "One morning I was startled from a deep sleep by a loud sound outside my window. I raised my head, looked around, leaned back, and seemed to fall asleep. Suddenly I was floating near the ceiling; I looked down at my body, my face squeezed between two crumpled pillows. My mouth was open and I looked stupid. Feeling totally light, I looked around, and saw on the molding near the ceiling what looked like a small bug. Then I snapped back into my body. I wondered if it was a dream, so I got out of bed and climbed a small ladder to see if anything was on the molding. There was. I saw a small, dead spider."

The last two stories seem to have been, in some informational sense, objectively real.

The Core Phenomenon

In a sense, this experience is the core phenomenon of afterlife research: an experience of what it might feel like to exist without a body -- of what it might be like to be a "spirit." If there is a life after death, the out-of-body experience may give us a foretaste, a dress rehearsal for the final act.

Such experiences have powerfully shaped myth and religion, as we saw from the historic examples of Saint Paul and Black Elk. Ecstasy is also central to shamanism: "The shaman specializes in a trance during which his soul is believed to leave his body and ascend to the sky or descend to the underworld," writes Mircea Eliade, adding, "The ecstasy is only the concrete experience of ritual death." Shamanic ecstasy is a form of ritual death, a way of gaining power and knowledge of the next world by direct communication with the spirits. "'Seeing spirits,' in a dream or awake, is the determining sign of the shamanic vocation."

So we already have a model for experiencing the next world now. The traditional shaman understood this for whom leaving the body was, as Eliade points out, an experience of "ritual death." In the out-of-body state, you become like a spirit; you see and interact with actual deceased spirits. Figuratively speaking, it's like stepping into the "vestibule" of death. It represents a state of temporary disembodiment -- temporary death. In Part Four, we will describe some procedures for inducing this experience of entering the "vestibule" of death.

What's Really Going On Here?

Do people really leave their bodies? Really know true ecstasy? The consensus of mainstream science today may find this incredible, even meaningless, but in light of the data gathered by psychical research, shamanic claims of ritual death and soul travel acquire an added dimension of truth. Experiencers report changes in their perception of reality. They feel they now "know" that an Otherworld exists. As we explore the different kinds of afterlife evidence, we will keep returning to the idea of direct experience, which I believe is the key to tipping the balance toward resolving the afterlife enigma.

When thousands, if not millions, keep reporting the same kind of experience, it seems wise to pay heed. According to one survey, 95 percent of world cultures believe in out-of-body experiences, which may occur in perfect health, deep relaxation, acute stress, or near-death. Many well-known writers had the experience, for example, Goethe, Ernest Hemingway, and Guy de Maupassant. Jack London wrote a novel called Star Rover about a prisoner who learned to consciously induce these psychic voyages. London's star rover defies his cruel jailor to place him in a straitjacket and brags he can leave his body at will. The story was based on the real case of San Franciscan Ed Morell.

It would help to gain a sharper sense of what the experience is like. The main thing is that consciousness seems to become detached and located outside its customary bodily envelope. You might be sound asleep or near death, totally calm or wildly aroused, meditating on your navel or racing a motorbike. In fact, there are so many ways to slip out of our bodies that one wonders how we manage to stay inside them in the first place. The conscious mind certainly hangs around the body, but doesn't seem all that attached or terribly loyal to it. Consciousness, I think it fair to say, likes to wander.

Otherbodied Environments

Sometimes the out-of-body environment is perceived in a realistic way and everything appears perfectly normal. The clock is above the mantelpiece and the moon is shining through the window. But sometimes, on closer inspection, the environment seems more like a dream. Psychical researcher William Roll described his out-of-body experience in a moonlit room. Roll floated out of his body and found himself in a part of the room where moonlight cast shadows on the floor; he memorized the location of the shadows in relationship to the carpet pattern, returned to his body, got out of bed and examined the carpet. No shadows at the location he recalled. Roll concluded he hadn't really left his body; the experience seemed more like a realistic dream. But in a survey conducted by parapsychologist John Palmer, about 15 percent of people claiming to leave their bodies were able to verify their experience.

Otherbodied environments vary. Sometimes things appear transparent or suffused with light. In rare cases, the experiencer senses nothing in the environment, or finds himself afloat in a black void, but most of the time perception is detailed, realistic, and more vivid than usual. The environment often consists of the familiar world, but sometimes it takes on the appearance of a vestibule, doorway, or tunnel leading to another world.

The Out-of-Body Body

Most sacred traditions speak of a "subtle" body. Thomas Aquinas describes the speed, lightness, and translucency of the resurrection body, but let's see what modern research has to say. English parapsychologist Celia Green found that subjects may occupy a subtle body, a replica of the physical. The new body isn't bound by laws of physics, but passes through solid matter, is luminous and gravity-free. This sounds like the radiant body that Saint Paul and the Neoplatonists spoke of and that Aquinas made into Catholic doctrine.

Sometimes, the experience is "asomatic"; subjects sense themselves as points of light or luminous vapors. Some observe a so-called astral cord connecting them to their physical body, others don't. Some can control their out-of-body capers. In brief or emotionally disconcerting experiences, control is difficult. Loss of control may stop the experience, as in my first out-of-body transport. Some report being aware of leaving and re-entering. Now and then you hear of a person projecting to some location and appearing to others. A young woman wrote: "I had several out-of-body experiences when I was in my late teens. One night I fell asleep as soon as I hit the pillow and had a vivid dream of being at my girlfriend's house. I was standing outside her room watching her arrange her clothing on the bed. She looked up in my direction. Then the dream ended. The following day my friend phoned me to say she had seen me standing outside her room, looking at her." I have found other cases of people dreaming of places where they were seen. I guess you could call these examples of living ghosts.

Here is a case Saint Augustine described fifteen centuries ago. "I believe that a person has a phantom which in his imagination or in his dreams takes on various forms through the influence of circumstances of innumerable kinds. This phantom is not a material body, and yet with amazing speed it takes on shapes like material bodies; and it is this phantom, I hold, that can in some inexplicable fashion be presented in bodily form to the apprehension of other people, when their physical senses are asleep or in abeyance." And he gives a good example. "Another man reported that in his own house, at night-time, before he went to bed, he saw a philosopher coming to him, a man he knew very well. And this man explained to him a number of points in Plato, which he had formerly refused to explain when asked." Later, the man who saw the vision confronted his philosopher friend, and asked why he came to visit so late at night. The philosopher replied: "I did not do it; I merely dreamed that I did." Augustine concludes: "This shows that what one man saw in his sleep was displayed to the other, while awake, by means of a phantom appearance."

The Traveler's Inner State

What does it feel like to leave your body? In a November 6, 2000, New York Times story the English author Philip Pullman commented on the worldview that informs his novels: "I wanted to emphasize the simple physical truth of things...rather than the spiritual or the afterlife." He added: "That's why the angels envy our bodies -- because our senses are keener, our muscles are stronger. If the angels had our bodies and our nerves, they'd be in a perpetual state of ecstasy." I wonder how Mr. Pullman came to know all this. Fortunately, we do have some evidence from out-of-body experiencers who can claim to know what it feels like to be without a body.

Pullman thinks that without bodies and nerves, perception has to be dull and flat. But surveys of out-of-body experiences prove otherwise, revealing them to be vivid, intense, and ecstatic. Contrary to Pullman, one could say that being in a body is a drag on experience, and that any angel worth its salt would loathe being forced into one. My point is not to heap gnostic contempt on the body, but that certain facts point to possibilities at least worthy of our curiosity. We should be more open-minded about the possible range of human experience.

J. H. M. Whiteman, a mathematician and physicist who taught at the University of Capetown, besides being a scientist, was a psychic, mystic, and visionary, and was well suited to observe, classify, and analyze his extraordinary experiences. Leaving the body, he thought, is the first step on a scale that leads toward the mystic light and union with the Godhead. Whiteman's experience was triggered by a lucid dream. Lucidity implies something we experience only occasionally even in waking life, and that is being reflectively aware of what we're doing or thinking or feeling.

If you can become self-aware while dreaming, you might trigger an out-of-body excursion. "Then," according to Whiteman, "suddenly the dormant faculty of recollection having become stirred, all that up to now had been wrapped in confusion instantly passed away, and a new space burst forth in vivid presence and utter reality, with perception free and pin-pointed as never before; the darkness itself seemed alive. The thought that was then borne in upon me with inescapable conviction was this: 'I have never been awake before.'" Sorry, Mr. Pullman, but the most intense physical experiences seem pretty dull by comparison with these ecstatic journeys.

A Curious Experience

Is there a relationship between heightened self-awareness and the out-of-body state? According to Celia Green, reflecting on your personal identity can induce the experience. I can attest to this. I was a student at Columbia University, at home in bed reading a book by Jean-Paul Sartre, The Transcendence of the Ego. The ego is a product of reflection, says Sartre; unless we're reflecting and thinking about ourselves, consciousness is egoless, and lacks all sense of ownership.

Studious even in sleep, I dreamed about Sartre's ideas. In my dream, I began to wonder if I could stop thinking about my ego and experience pure consciousness; the moment I thought this I felt a whirlwindlike sensation of being sucked out of my body. I was drawn out through the nape of my neck into thin air. Shocked by the suddenness of this, I woke to my mundane bedroom, shaken. Again, the experience quit on me, probably because I was violently surprised and my emotions were too much aroused. So the experience takes many forms, and ecstasy comes in many colors. Just thinking very deeply about who you are may produce one of these surprising flights of consciousness.

Verifiable Flight

Can the experience be verified? The scuba diver claimed to have accurately observed his wife while out of his body, and the young woman verified the dead spider on the ceiling molding. Consider a well-known case from the early days of psychical research. In 1863, after eight stormy days, a Mr. S. R. Wilmot was sailing from Liverpool on the steamer, City of Limerick, to New York City. On Tuesday, October 13, he finally fell sleep and toward morning dreamed his wife came to his stateroom in her nightdress. After hesitating at the door and looking at the other man in the room, she stood beside him, bent over, and kissed him.

The other man was William Tait, a fifty-year-old librarian from Cleveland, Ohio. In the morning, Mr. Wilmot found Mr. Tait staring quizzically at him. Mr. Tait said: "You're a pretty fellow to have a lady come and visit you in that way." Mr. Tait was a "sedate and very religious man, whose testimony on any subject could be taken unhesitatingly." Wilmot, before leaving the ship, questioned him three times about what he saw; each time Tait repeated the same description of what Wilmot had dreamed. Mr. Tait seems to have seen Mrs. Wilmot's dreambody.

Upon arrival Mrs. Wilmot said to her husband: "Did you receive a visit from me a week ago last Tuesday?" She explained that she had heard reports of storms in the Atlantic, and was too anxious to sleep that night; then, at four in the morning, it felt as if she "went out to seek" him, crossed the stormy sea, found a black steamer, and entered her husband's cabin. There she saw another man on an upper berth staring at her, which caused her to hesitate before going to her husband's berth to kiss him. Mrs. Wilmot asked: "Do they ever have state-rooms like the one I saw, where the upper berth extends further back than the under one?" Although she never physically entered the ship, she accurately described the way the berths were arranged.

So here we have an out-of-body experience in which three people are reciprocally involved. The investigator Richard Hodgson interviewed the parties, except Mr. Tait who had in the meantime died. Tait did report what he saw to Mr. Wilmot's sister who was a passenger on the boat. "He said he saw some woman, in white, who went up to my brother." Tait's oral testimony was confirmed indirectly through Wilmot's sister. Researcher Eleanor Sidgwick concluded that the story "tends to show that Mrs. Wilmot was actually there in some sense other than a purely mental one." When three people have mutually confirming experiences of the same events, it's hard to dismiss their accounts as based on mere fantasy or hallucination.

A more recent example from the files of Celia Green: "I was in hospital having had an operation for peritonitis; I developed pneumonia and was very ill. The ward was L-shaped; so that anyone in bed at one part of the ward, could not see round the corner. One morning I felt myself floating upwards, and found I was looking down on the rest of the patients. I could see myself, propped up against pillows, very white and ill. I saw the sister and nurse rush to my bed with oxygen. Then everything went blank. The next I remember was opening my eyes to see the sister bending over me.

"I told her what had happened; but at first she thought I was rambling. Then I said, 'There is a big woman sitting up in bed with her head wrapped in bandages; and she is knitting something with blue wool. She has a very red face.' This certainly shook her, as apparently the lady concerned had a mastoid operation and was just as I described." Verifiable out-of-body experiences like this one are not rare. Since this is an important step in building the argument for postmortem survival, let's also look at some experimental studies.

Experimental Studies

California psychologist Charles Tart conducted a classic experiment. A Ms. Z claimed to have out-of-body experiences twice to four times a week. She typically did this during sleep; she agreed to be tested in Tart's sleep lab. Ms. Z spent four nights in Tart's lab and was closely monitored for physiological changes. She usually found herself floating near the ceiling, wide awake and out of her body; perhaps she could do it under test conditions.

Tart had to determine if her experiences were just fantasies or contained veridical perceptions -- crucial to the survival hypothesis. If her experiences proved to be nothing but fantasies, they would have no positive implications for survival. If during her out-of-body state she could identify the target correctly, that would mean she really did somehow exit her body, and would count as a step toward proving postmortem survival.

A target number was set up on a shelf five and a half feet above her head near the ceiling but not visible from where she lay in bed. Electrodes and cables attached to her body recorded brain waves and other physiological variables and prevented her from sitting up in bed more than two feet. If she at any time disconnected herself to sneak a look at the target, it would have been automatically recorded. If she left her body and saw the target number, she was to wake up and report what she saw through the intercom.

The first night was uneventful. The second night Ms. Z called out: "Write down 3:13 A.M. I don't see the number, but I just remember that." Ms. Z had floated out of her body, not high enough to read the target number, but high enough to read the clock. Next evening Ms. Z had a nightmare whose details corresponded to a murder that took place in the city. A suggestive anecdote. Third night, Ms. Z had a flying dream, in which she seemed to converse with her sister. Later, her sister reported that she dreamed of Ms. Z at the time of her flying dream. This incident resembles the reciprocal experience cited in the Wilmot story above.

On the fourth night Ms. Z floated out of her body during sleep and correctly called out the five-digit target number. "I needed to go higher because the number was faceup." Tart comments: "It should be mentioned that Ms. Z had expected me to prop the target number up against the wall on the shelf; actually, I had laid it flat on the shelf, which she correctly perceived." Could this have been a lucky guess? The chance of guessing the correct sequence of five digits is one in ten to the fifth power. So on the fourth night the evidence for a verifiable out-of-body experience was strongest.

What about brain waves and physiological variables? EEG was a mixture of Stage 1 sleep and alphoid activity, without rapid eye movements and cardiovascular and skin resistance changes -- a pattern not found in the sleep literature. William Dement, an authority on sleep behavior, confirmed Tart's assessment that Ms. Z's EEG was an unknown pattern, associated neither with waking nor any sleep stages. Alphoid -- lower alpha -- rhythms have been linked with sensory isolation and Zen states studied in Japanese laboratories. Absence of rapid eye movements shows she wasn't dreaming but in a brain state suggesting Zenlike dissociation from external stimuli. This landmark experiment confirms the reality of verifiable out-of-body experiences.

In 1980, Karlis Osis and his assistant Donna McCormick of the American Society of Psychical Research reported a series of out-of-body experiments. They were lucky enough to find a gifted psychic willing to cooperate. Alex Tanous was a Lebanese with unusually dark and intense eyes that reminded me of photos I've seen of Rasputin. I met Tanous several times and found him a little spooky. He once held out his hands before me. "It's through these," he said, "that I feel things." As a child he experienced the death of many friends and relatives, and his specialty was sensing death. Tanous also had the rare ability to will himself out of his body. The two abilities are most likely connected.

In the Osis experiment, Tanous was to project himself to a specified target area, an enclosed space containing an optical viewing-device that displayed randomly selected visual targets. To see the targets you had to be right in front of the viewing-device. Tanous lay down in the dark in a separate, sound-reduced room, relaxing and meditating as he prepared for projection.

The aim of the experiment was not just to prove out-of-body perception but to test the hypothesis that something gets out of the body, perhaps the same something that survives bodily death. It was a test for the existence of the "subtle" body. According to Rhine, "psi," or psychic capacity, have two sides, cognitive (ESP) and kinetic (PK), "information gain and kinetic action." In short, if the mind can get out of the body, it should be able to prove it by out-of-body information gain and out-of-body kinetic action.

To test for this "body," a device called a strain-gauge sensor was installed near the target. This would detect the slightest movements or vibrations of anything physical in the vicinity -- hopefully, Tanous's localized "subtle" body. To see the target in the optical device, Tanous would have to project himself to a point right in front of it. If he viewed the target correctly, the sensor should register his presence. Tanous was told nothing about the strain gauges.

In a series of 197 trials over twenty sessions, he succeeded 114 times. The extra chance factor was modest. What was important was that when Tanous correctly guessed the targets the strain gauges acted up, proving some kind of physical presence. Osis concluded that this correlation supported the hypothesis of a localized out-of-body entity, and claims to have caught Tanous's living ghost, so to speak, in a net of objective measurements.

This experiment repeats Tart's, for Tanous, like Ms. Z, correctly identified targets during his excursion. There is a detail in Tart's experiment that seems especially important. Ms. Z had to rise to a certain point near the ceiling to "see" the target number, which Tart laid flat on the shelf. It sounds like Ms. Z, in her out-of-body state, maneuvered her "subtle body" to the correct position above the shelf to observe the target. From her description, she occupied a localized "vehicle" that moved through space. In short, like the Tanous experiment, her experiment bolsters the view that something leaves the body.

I think I have said enough to give the reader a sense of the out-of-body experience. It is widespread in time and geography, a recurrent potential of human consciousness. There is reason to believe it has shaped the history of religion, especially the experience of shamanism, but also of mysticism, prophecy, and even philosophy. (Plato once said that philosophy was the practice of leaving one's body.) The experience is stunning for its mental lightness, clarity, and expansiveness, and qualifies for what Abraham Maslow called a "peak" experience. From a practical and emotional standpoint, it gives us a glimpse of what it may feel like to exist without a physical body and therefore of what it may feel like to survive death.

What are the implications of this experience for life after death? In the first place, verifiable out-of-body experiences are inconsistent with materialism, the view that persons are just material objects. If persons were just material objects, verifiable out-of-body perception should be out of court. But such perception doesn't prove survival because the person in the out-of-body state is still very much alive. However, if the consciousness of a living person can function physically at a distance from his body, it suggests to me a latent potential for survival. For if my consciousness can function outside and at a distance from my body, why not survive death without any body?

It may be objected that verified out-of-body experiences at best prove clairvoyance accompanied by the illusion of being located far from one's body. It has also been argued that the action on the strain gauges was an artifact and not evidence that Tanous got out of his body. Supposing all this were true -- and I'm not willing to grant that it is -- the sheer fact of clairvoyance would still be a significant step toward showing that consciousness can survive death.

Clairvoyance implies there is something about the mind of a person that can interact, mentally or physically, with things beyond the reach of the body. That is what we mean by an action or cognition being paranormal. Paranormal ability, however, by itself proves nothing about any particular person surviving death. At most, we can say it's a necessary but not a sufficient condition for survival. Now let's move on.

Copyright © 2004 by Michael Grosso

About The Author

Photo Credit: Louise Northcurt

Michael Grosso, PhD, studied philosophy from Columbia University. He has taught philosophy and the humanities at Kennedy University, City University of New York, and New Jersey City University. He is on the Board of Directors of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association. He is the other of five books.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Pocket Books (March 10, 2004)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781416500179

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