by Tom and Lisa Butler
Published in the Winter 2003 AA-EVP NewsJournal
World events are very unpredictable these days. If we think about it, this is often the case, as we never really know what tomorrow will bring. One thing that is of great comfort to most of the members of the AA-EVP is the knowledge that we don’t die. Now we are finding that more people are joining the ranks of the AA-EVP who share our belief in survival. Some of these people, you may be surprised to know, are respected scientists.
In the last couple of years we have seen an increase of the public interest in mediums and survival, due in a large part to the success of TV programs like that of John Edward and James Van Praagh. These mediums bring in messages that are very evidential and millions more people today are learning about survival through their television sets then were just two years ago.
Dr. Gary Schwartz, at the Human Energy Systems Laboratory in Tucson, Arizona conducted a series of experiments to test the validity of mediumship. Schwartz’s experiments were conducted using carefully designed protocols and provided credible evidence for survival. As you might expect, they created considerable controversy, especially with the skeptical press.
The International Association for Near-Death Studies held their Fourth Esalen conference on Survival of Bodily Death, in May of 2002. Researchers from the fields of psychiatry, anthropology, psychology and physics concluded that three areas of research provided strong evidence for survival. Near Death Experiences (NDE) was at the top of the list. Reasons sited were, accurate observations of medical operating procedures made by clinically dead patients, reported encounters with deceased persons even though the experiencer did not know the person was dead and accurate reports by blind experiencers. Reincarnation was cited as a strong proof for survival based on examples, such as children accurately recounting previous lives and birthmarks corresponding to lethal wounds experienced in a previous lifetime. Mediumship was also noted as strong proof of survival because of the veridical messages often delivered by mediums.
Dr. Sam Parnia is one of two doctors from Southampton General Hospital in England who has been studying NDEs. The work is very significant in that it shows that a group of people who were clinically dead had well-structured, lucid thought processes with reasoning and memory formation, even though their brains were shown not to be functioning. Parnia was quoted as saying, “The possibility is certainly there to suggest that consciousness, or the soul, keeps thinking and reasoning even if a person‘s heart has stopped, he is not breathing and his brain activity is nil”
Near-death experience in survivors of cardiac arrest: a prospective study in the Netherlands was published in volume number 358 of The Lancet. The Lancet is one of the world’s most respected medical journals and publication of this article caused quite an uproar in the medical community. The article cites a study by Dr. Pim van Lommel and colleagues of Rijnstate Hospital in Arnhem. The results showed that medical factors could not account for the occurrence of NDEs. Although all patients had been clinically dead, most did not have an NDE. The researchers noted that, “If purely physiological factors had caused the NDE, most of our patients should have had this experience.” The paper states that induced NDE experiences are not identical to spontaneous NDE experiences. It questions, “How can clear consciousness outside one’s body be experienced at the moment that the brain no longer functions during a period of clinical death with flat EEG?”
A National Science Foundation report based on interviews with 1,574 people across the country found widespread and increasing belief in what it terms, “pseudoscience.” It also cited several other polls with similar conclusions. Among those was a Gallup survey last year that showed belief in ghosts, haunted houses, witches and the ability to communicate with the dead, all increased by double-digit percentage points in the past decade alone. Belief in ghosts and haunted houses is now around 40 percent, and communicating with the dead is nearing 30 percent. Eight of 13 such phenomena included in the Gallup report showed significant increases and only the belief in devil possession declined. The Science Foundation survey showed that sixty-percent of the people surveyed believed that some people possess psychic powers or ESP.
Those of us who are doing research in EVP and ITC, not only have the advantage of knowing that consciousness survives but we also get to hear and see our loved ones. For instance, in our last Video ITC experiment, we asked for the first time to have a relative appear. We called on Tom’s father and asked him to appear in the middle of a frame. Amazing enough, he came through in the center of the frame as requested. Interestingly, his pose is the same as that in a picture Tom keeps at his desk. When we saw the paranormal picture we immediately grabbed the picture off Tom’s desk for the comparison. As you can see in the accompanying picture, the nose is distorted and enlarged. Also, from the nose down the face is mostly lost in the noise that is created with the Video ITC method. However, you should be able to make out the similarity of the eyebrows, high temple, distinctive widow’s peak and nose.