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Science and the Afterlife Experience

Evidence for the Immortality of Consciousness

Published by Inner Traditions
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

Reveals the evidence of life beyond death

• Examines 125 years of scientific research into reincarnation, apparitions, and communication with the dead showing these phenomena are real

• Reveals the existence of higher planes of consciousness where the souls of the dead can choose to advance or manifest once again on Earth

• Explains how these findings have been ignored and denied because they are incompatible with materialist doctrines

In this book, Chris Carter shows that evidence of life beyond death exists and has been around for millennia, predating any organized religion. Focusing on three key phenomena--reincarnation, apparitions, and communications from the dead--Carter reveals 125 years of documented scientific studies by independent researchers and the British and American Societies for Psychical Research that rule out hoaxes, fraud, and hallucinations and prove these afterlife phenomena are real.

The author examines historic and modern accounts of detailed past-life memories, visits from the deceased, and communications with the dead via medium and automatic writing as well as the scientific methods used to confirm these experiences. He explains how these findings on the afterlife have been ignored and denied because they are incompatible with the prevailing doctrine of materialism. Sharing messages from the dead themselves describing the afterlife, Carter reveals how consciousness exists outside the parameters of biological evolution and emerges through the medium of the brain to use the physical world as a springboard for growth. After death, souls can advance to higher planes of consciousness or manifest once again on Earth. Carter’s rigorous argument proves--beyond any reasonable doubt--not only that consciousness survives death and continues in the afterlife, but that it precedes birth as well.


Chapter Six
Strange Visits

Reports of apparitions come from virtually all societies of which we have records. It is said they are portrayed on Egyptian papyri, and St. Augustine wrote about them as familiar occurrences. Accounts presented as genuine also appear in classical literature.

Pliny the Younger tells the story of Athenodorus the philosopher, who one day heard that a house was going cheaply in Athens because it was haunted by the specter of an old man, described as skinny and dirty with fetters on his legs and clanking chains on his wrists. Considering the house a curious bargain, the philosopher decided to rent it. The first night, as he sat reading a book, he first heard the chains, and then saw the figure. It beckoned him into the garden, and the philosopher followed. After pointing to a spot on the ground, the specter suddenly vanished. Athenodorus marked the spot with some grass and leaves, and on the next day had the local magistrates dig there. A skeleton in chains was found and given a proper burial. From that time on, we are told, the haunting ceased.

Ghost stories of this kind continued to be reported down through the centuries, and reports of apparitions are not as uncommon as one might think. In 1975 psychologist Erlendur Haraldsson asked a representative national survey in Iceland “Have you ever perceived or felt the nearness of a deceased person?” Thirty-one percent of respondents replied with a yes. In 1979 John Palmer surveyed the residents of Charlottesville, Virginia, and found that 17 percent of 622 respondents claimed to have had the impression of an apparition, and about three-quarters of these acknowledged more than one experience.

Apparition reports are not necessarily visual; people may say the apparition was only heard, or somehow “sensed” as a presence. About half of the reports seem to be visual: 46 percent for Haraldsson, or 14 percent of the original sample; and 44 percent for Palmer, or 7.5 percent of the total sample. However, Green and McCreery’s study found that 84 percent of experiences were primarily visual, with about a third of these cases also having an auditory component; only about 14 percent of their cases were entirely auditory.

As mentioned earlier, apparitions typically appear real and solid, so much so that they are frequently mistaken for actual living persons. Green and McCreery state that only 46 percent of their sample realized immediately they were experiencing an apparition; 18 percent realized this before the experience ended, 6 percent as it ended, and 31 percent only after it ended. In other words, over half did not immediately distinguish the apparition from a living person, and nearly a third thought they were seeing an ordinary person throughout the entire experience.

There are several reasons for this perceived realism. Apparitions may cast a shadow or be reflected in a mirror. They typically show awareness of their surroundings, avoiding furniture and people, and they may turn to follow a person’s movements. Some are reported to speak, although this is not common; if the apparition does speak, there are usually only a few words. However, in other respects apparitions do not resemble ordinary living persons: they may appear and disappear in locked rooms; vanish while being watched, or fade away in front of the percipient; pass through physical objects; and be visible to some people in a room, but not to others. Most attempts to touch an apparition are unsuccessful, but most who do report their hands simply passing through the figure. Only rarely do people report apparitions that are capable of being felt. Sometimes a feeling of cold is reported, especially when the figure is nearby. Typically, they leave behind no physical traces such as footprints. At the end of the experience the figure usually vanishes instantly, although it may fade gradually, or simply walk out of the room.

In Haraldsson’s survey, most apparitions were of persons recognized by the respondents. Almost half, or 47 percent, of the apparitions were of deceased persons related to the experient; 24 percent were recognized as acquaintances; and the remaining 29 percent were complete strangers (some of whom were later identified).

There are also reports of apparitions of animals. In Celia Green and Charles McCreery’s study of apparitions, the great majority of animal apparitions were of dogs and cats. The following case is an extremely unusual report, because it involves much more than a mere sighting.

I had made good friends with the next-door neighbor’s dog “Bobby,” a large black mongrel. Before I went in the army, we had grown very fond of each other, and an outsider would have thought he was my dog. I volunteered for the Army to be a Regular Soldier, but my attachment to the dog was so great, that I almost didn’t “join up.” Nevertheless, I did, but don’t mind admitting I suffered a lot of emotional upset over the dog.

On the night in question, I arrived home at about 2 a.m., and sure enough, as soon as I opened the side gate, “Bobby,” who normally slept in a kennel outside the house, bounded up to me, and made a terrific fuss of me, nuzzling and licking my face. I stayed with him for some ten minutes or so, and then went indoors. There is no question in my mind, to this day, that I played with “Bobby” for that short time. I knew and loved him so well, that there couldn’t possibly be any mistake about his identity. As he left me, he disappeared out of sight into my neighbor’s large dahlia bed, and that was the last I saw of him.

The following morning I made my usual visit to my neighbor, the dog’s owner, who was a very great friend of ours. I told him about meeting Bobby the previous night, and remarked quite casually that he was out of his kennel. My neighbor was thunderstruck, and said, “Bobby died three months ago, and is buried in the middle of the dahlias.”

About The Author

Chris Carter received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Oxford. He is the author of Science and Psychic Phenomena and Science and the Near-Death Experience. Originally from Canada, Carter currently teaches internationally.

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Raves and Reviews

“Chris Carter addresses the question that is, or should be, the single most important question for any being that considers himself—or suspects himself to be—mortal. He argues that this is not the case. If he is right than this is not only the single most life-transforming realization for a mortal or perhaps immortal being, but also one of the most potent realizations that could prompt such a being to enter on a better path during his or her known life. And a better path is one that people now absolutely need to enter upon now if they are to thrive as individuals, and if humanity is to survive as a species.”

– Ervin Laszlo, Ph.D., author of The New Science and Spirituality Reader and Science and the Akashic F

“The evidence in favour of an afterlife is vast and varied. The evidence from near-death experiences and deathbed visions was described in two previous books by Chris Carter. Science and the Afterlife is the final work of his trilogy, and one will see in this wonderful book that we do indeed have strongly repeatable evidence for the continuity of consciousness after physical death, based on children who remember previous lives, reports of apparitions, and communication from the deceased. What all these cases show is that human personality survives death and, by implication, human consciousness can exist independently of a functioning brain. When one has read the overwhelming evidence as described in this excellent book it seems quite impossible not to be convinced that there should be some form of life after death. Any continuing opposition to the evidence is based on nothing more than willful ignorance or ideology. Highly recommended.”

– Pim van Lommel, M.D., author of Consciousness Beyond Life

“Chris Carter’s Science and the Afterlife Experience is a vigorous, detailed exploration of survival following physical death. It is a withering rebuttal of the perennial, timeworn, anemic arguments of skeptics. This book is extraordinarily important-for, as Jung said, ‘The decisive question for man is: Is he related to something infinite or not? That is the telling question of his life.’ This brilliant book is an antidote to the fear of death and annihilation. It will help any reader find greater meaning, hope, and fulfillment in life.”

– Larry Dossey, M.D., author of The Power of Premonitions and the New York Times bestseller, Healing W

“…evidence that consciousness survives bodily death is overwhelming for those with open minds. Chris Carter has presented some of the best evidence offered by the near-death experience. In this book, he astutely examines impressive and irrefutable evidence coming to us from the study of reincarnation, apparitions, and mediumship. It’s informative, interesting, intriguing, and inspirational.”

– Michael Tymn, author of The Afterlife Revealed and The Afterlife Explorers

“This clearly written book, by one of the world’s few experts on what evidence actually bears on the survival question, points to some kind of survival. If that fact doesn’t grab your attention and make you want to know more – you’re not thinking.”

– Charles Tart PhD., Professor Emeritus of Psychology University of California, Davis; a Senior Fellow

“The third volume of Chris Carter’s trilogy may be the best. Reincarnation, ghostlike visions, and messages from the dead make for some very stimulating reading. As an historical chronicle alone this would be a valuable work. But Carter’s historical treatment also combines philosophy and analysis into an always interesting and well–organized treatise.”

– Robert Bobrow, M.D., Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine, Department of Family Medicine,

“‘Survival of human consciousness past the point of biological death is a fact.’ That will seem an extraordinary claim to some, and they may reasonably demand extraordinary evidence to support it. Carter has both made the claim and provided the evidence.”

– Guy Lyon Playfair, author of This House is Haunted, If This Be Magic, and Twin Telepathy

“Scientists and philosophers who have seriously studied the phenomenon of mediumship have concluded that there are only two hypotheses that, if true, would account for all the observed empirical data: either (i) human consciousness survives the death of its body or (ii) human consciousness possesses extraordinary abilities known as super–ESP. In Science and the Afterlife Experience, Chris Carter presents the data supporting survival with remarkable clarity and shows that the so–called “super–ESP” hypothesis is pseudo–science, and that its “purpose” is not to advance knowledge but rather to block an otherwise straight–forward inference from empirical data to the hypothesis of survival. With the “super–ESP” hypothesis disposed of, Carter boldly (and correctly, in my opinion) concludes that the survival of consciousness after the death of the body is a scientific fact, as well established as any other scientific fact.”

– Neal Grossman, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of Illinois at Chicago

“Addiction to the materialistic paradigm has wreaked immense havoc upon the world over the last few centuries. Many believe it has brought us to the brink of an apocalypse. Chris Carter opens this marvelous book with a statement of concurrence with philosopher David Griffen on the current dire predicament wrought by this addiction, and how it has reached a crucial juncture. Coming to know that our souls do not die with our bodies but they have a much grander role on the stage of eternity, offers a glorious reprieve from this ignominious fate that is the inevitable result of limited materialistic beliefs. This book proceeds through a detailed review of reincarnation, apparitions and messages from the dead. In my opinion, he establishes the existence of the afterlife beyond a reasonable doubt. I congratulate him on such a solid synthesis of the relevant data and arguments, both for and against.”

– Eben Alexander III, M.D., Director of Research, The Monroe Institute, Faber, VA, author of Proof of

“Those who think they already know the answers don’t need to waste their time with this book. For the rest of us, it is a gem. We should drop the pretense that the question of survival is not worthy of the attention of really smart people. It is and always has been the key question of humans throughout history. Thank you, Chris Carter, for shedding light on this, the Greatest Question.”

– Larry Dossey, MD., author of The Power of Premonitions and Reinventing Medicine

“[Chris Carter] presents something for everyone in a finely researched package that comes to its conclusions in a way that utilizes the scientific method.”

– Jennifer Hoskins, New Dawn, January 2013

“An intriguing dissection of consciousness and what it means to the history of our lives and world, Science and the Afterlife Experience is a strong addition to metaphysical spirituality collections, recommended.”

– Midwest Book Review, March 2013

“Carter has seemingly touched all the bases in thoroughly and effectively examining the evidence for life after death.”

– Michael Tymn s., Fate Magazine, June 2013

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