Mod+ What is the best evidence of survival review book...?

Ian Gordon

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#1
My full question is: what is the best evidence of survival review book to give to someone who is uninformed about this data, and is anxious or depressed about death because they presume annihilation (and possibly, though not necessarily, the meaningless of their life because of it)? (This can include "religious" believers who attend church but don't have any confidence or information relating to an actual afterlife).

I'm not thinking of something to convince "atheists", or even convince people in general, but just to show those anguished souls, if they're interested, that there's something out there other than: 1) what religion says, 2) what the rest of mainstream culture seems to presume and spread as a message.

I don't read all of these types of books because I prefer reading the source materials.

I'm also thinking of giving someone a title or two that aren't heavy, demanding reads, like Fontana's near-500 pages Is There An Afterlife?

I've read Craig Hogan's Your Eternal Self, which is pretty good. But I'm wondering how it compares with other similar books that I haven't read:
- Zammit's A Lawyer Presents the Evidence for the Afterlife
- Greg Taylor's Stop Worrying There Probably Is An Afterlife
- Patricia Pearson's Opening Heaven's Door

Are there others? (George Meek's After We Die, What Then?, I find, is too mediumship-heavy.) Ideally NDEs, ADCs, deathbed visions, evidential mediumship and past-life memory research would all get covered.

Chris Carter has parts 2 and 3 of his trilogy, but that's 2 books and I find that would be a little overwhelming for many folks.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

EDIT: There's also Braude's Immortal Remains: The Evidence for Life after Death, which I have but haven't read. I'm perusing it but it sounds a bit too scholarly for the average joe.
 
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#2
I think it depends on the person. Do they want to hear about experiences or read about research?

I'd say for your list Patricia Pearson's book would my first choice.

David Fontana's "Is There An Afterlife?" Is comprehensive but requires stamina and attention to detail.

I'd also recommend "Voices In The Dark" - Leslie Flint's biography. There are some fantastic older books that requires a bit of expenditure or a trip to the library.

"This Is Spiritualism" by Maurice Barbanell is very good for example.
 

Ian Gordon

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#3
I think it depends on the person. Do they want to hear about experiences or read about research?
Good question. I was thinking probably more along the lines of showing them there are experiences that are backed up by real science, and they're not just "stories" their fearful mind can quickly dismiss. Probably a mix of the two would be ideal. (?)
 

Ian Gordon

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Member
#4
I'd say for your list Patricia Pearson's book would my first choice.
Obi, have you read Greg Taylor's book and, if so, can you compare the two?

Also, my impression of the Pearson book is that it covers NDEs, ADCs, the "heavenly" stuff ;), but not past life-memories or evidential mediumship. Is that right?

Of course, I know just a book on one topic, say NDEs, for example, say Jeff Long's, can be powerful, but ideally if there are different areas covered the reality of survival as a possibility can become even more compelling.

A thought: maybe Alex's book, when/if it ever comes out, will do the job? :)
 
#5
My full question is: what is the best evidence of survival review book to give to someone who is uninformed about this data, and is anxious or depressed about death because they presume annihilation (and possibly, though not necessarily, the meaningless of their life because of it)?
I bought both of my parents Peter Fenwicks "The Truth in the Light", and Peter Fenwicks "The Art of Dying" as they are both in their 80's now... and they both really really enjoyed them, as I did.

I also bought them Patricia Pearson's "Opening Heaven's Door" which they found interesting, but they both complained that Patricia didn't seem to go anywhere with it.

I'm afraid, Fenwicks books ain't in your face about consciousness after death, but the door is well and truly opened on this issue, in particular that there is something more going on here that we don't understand.

I have to say that I found Celia Green's book 'Apparitions' (out of print but still available 2nd hand) as compulsive reading, it's not directly about your subject area, but it runs parallel to it.

I (and others) found Stevenson's books unconvincing so couldn't recommend them.

I (and others) thoroughly enjoyed the stories collected in Erlendur Haraldsson's Icelandic surveys "The Departed Among the Living - An Investigative Study of Afterlife Encounters".

I also loved the 'Ghost Hunters' DVD with William Wollard
 

Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
#6
Thanks Max, interesting thoughts. I didn't think all that much of Fenwick's The Truth in the Light, I preferred many other NDE books, but I loved The Art of Dying - it does cover ADCs, deathbed visions and similar material, in a very convincing way. Very good book.

I'll probably end up compiling a list of possible titles to give to people, but all of your thoughts are welcome.
 
#7
Obi, have you read Greg Taylor's book and, if so, can you compare the two?

Also, my impression of the Pearson book is that it covers NDEs, ADCs, the "heavenly" stuff ;), but not past life-memories or evidential mediumship. Is that right?

Of course, I know just a book on one topic, say NDEs, for example, say Jeff Long's, can be powerful, but ideally if there are different areas covered the reality of survival as a possibility can become even more compelling.

A thought: maybe Alex's book, when/if it ever comes out, will do the job? :)
Yes you're right Ian.

I haven't read Greg's book unfortunately so can't compare them. If you want everything covered in one book I'd suggest Fontana.

The Ghost Hunters series mentioned by Max is excellent.

Leaving Victor's style on one side, I'd say his book is a good overview too from dim recollection.
 
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#8
I don't recommend Braude's books.

Have you considered 21 days into the afterlife? That is the only review book I know about that might be considered light reading. You can read it free here first: http://drparisetti.com/sites/default/files/21Days.pdf, before geting a hard copy at amazon.com. (The English version of the pdf file is mislabeled as the Spanish translation on the web site. http://drparisetti.com/books/21-days-afterlife )

Studying the afterlife won't necessarily hurt, but if someone is anxious or depressed about death, they might also need to look for a solution in psychology. It depends on what is causing their distress. My observation from internet discussion forums is that information about the afterlife rarely helps in these cases. I don't know if that is representative of the general population. People who are depressed or anxious may have a chemical imbalance in their brain that affects their thinking and you can't necessarily cure that with knowledge. Sometimes you can only fix it biochemically even though the symptoms may make it seem like the cause is cognitive. Once you fix the underlying organic disorder, the fixation on death may go away. A session with a psychologist who can diagnose the cause of the problem and who also does past life regression therapy might be of more help than a book. However, knowledge of the afterlife does reduce the incidence of suicide in depressed people, and it can ease grief, particularly a reading from a good medium can work wonders for grief.

Knowledge about what it is like in the afterlife might be just as important as knowledge that it is real. Someone who is afraid of hell because they broke some bogus religious rule might not take comfort in evidence of the afterlife, but they might take great comfort in learning that most organized religions have it wrong. A review book about the evidence for the afterlife might not cover what it is like in the afterlife. Books by NDErs or mediums might have more information on that subject.

Other suggestions
The Afterlife Confirmed by Miles Edward Allen
After you read the amazon review look at the web site it is based on http://www.aeces.info/Top40/top40-main.shtml

If you are having problems finding light reading, you might try a biography of a medium or a book by a near-death experiencer. I've can recommend books by mediums John Edward and George Anderson, and by NDEr Betty Eadie. Eben Alexander's book might be good too but I haven't read it.

There are several of libraries of free on-line e-books on spirituality listed here:
https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/elibs
 
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#9

Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
#10
Have you considered 21 days into the afterlife? That is the only review book I know about that might be considered light reading. You can read it free here first: http://drparisetti.com/sites/default/files/21Days.pdf, before geting a hard copy at amazon.com. (The English version of the pdf file is mislabeled as the Spanish translation on the web site. http://drparisetti.com/books/21-days-afterlife )
Thanks Jim. I didn't know about that one. I had a quick look and that reads quite nicely! I like the conversation tone.

Studying the afterlife won't necessarily hurt, but if someone is anxious or depressed about death, they might also need to look for a solution in psychology. It depends on what is causing their distress.
A good point. But I was thinking of people for whom the thought of their annihilation is the thing producing distress (although, of course, there's usually other stuff going on too).

People who are depressed or anxious may have a chemical imbalance in their brain that affects their thinking and you can't necessarily cure that with knowledge. Sometimes you can only fix it biochemically even though the symptoms may make it seem like the cause is cognitive. Once you fix the underlying organic disorder, the fixation on death may go away.
I wouldn't reduce depression or anxiety to organic causes, for the great majority of people suffering from them, but that's another topic altogether.

Other suggestions
The Afterlife Confirmed by Miles Edward Allen
Oh yes. I've got "The Survival Files" by the same author, but it's not structured as a good introduction to the topic, IMO.
 
#11
There should be a somewhat of a manual, like;- "Afterlife - for Dummies - The book that gives you the lowdown of hereafter, and puts you right into business!!!"

I like reading Emanuel Swedenborgs account of the afterlife, and how he saw how souls, and part of one souls where handled in the afterlife, and some of the structure behind it all. I bet his P:O:V wont jive with others here, but at least, it is a full P:O:V


In his classic Heaven and Hell, Swedenborg leads the reader on a tour through the afterlife, describing the spiritual realms in vivid, personal detail. Our Life after Death is a collection of passages from Heaven and Hell that describe the soul’s journey from the moment of death through the stages of self-discovery in the world of spirits.

Swedenborg tells us that it is not God who judges and sentences souls to heaven or hell, but that it is we who judge ourselves. In this book Swedenborg reveals the process by which we confront who we were on earth, discover our true selves, and through that knowledge find our eternal homes in the afterlife.

An introduction by near-death researcher Kenneth Ring, PhD, draws parallels between Swedenborg’s observations and those of millions of modern people who have had near-death experiences. This book provides a brief but thought-provoking introduction to Swedenborg’s vision of the afterlife for those who want to delve deeper into this fascinating subject.
For those who are interested, here you have some links to his books (e-books for free) and a documentary, and a series of videos and interpretations of Swedenborgs books.

A documentary:
Splendors Of The Spirit - Swedenborg's Quest For Insight



Some of his books:
http://www.booksshouldbefree.com/author?author=Emanuel+Swedenborg


A series of six videos on Swedenborgs books and teachings (linked together in a playlist) I haven't seen these yet, but I believe them to be pretty good.

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgtFTXGqZdSmc533BG31I_1beIVVVQTQf

More where that came from:
http://www.youtube.com/user/offTheLeftEye/videos


The book "Our Life after Death - A Firsthand Account from an 18th‑Century Scientist and Seer"

http://www.swedenborg.com/archive/products/our-life-after-death/
 
#12
I don't know what kind of a person your friend is, Ian, and it may indeed be that s/he would respond best to an evidential approach. I'm just thinking that I myself am less concerned about evidence than about a coherent philosophy that indicates the existence and continuance of the soul, as well as demonstrates the flaws in materialism. Hence I would find something like Bernardo Kastrup's Why Materialism Is Baloney better for me or someone like me.

Maybe that's because I don't regard psi phenomena as definitive; even though I think they exist, I myself can't say I've experienced them, or that interpretations of them indicating continuing existence are water-tight (I suppose NDEs offer the most persuasive evidence if that's what one's after). I find a few spontaneous spiritual experiences I've had to be most indicative, but even without those, I would lean towards some form of life after death, because, like your friend, I can't see the point in anything if it's not true. It's up to the individual whether s/he regards that with optimism or pessimism.

As Jim indicates, and I think it's an important point, maybe there's a psychological/physiological element involved; after all, many people aren't depressed by the thought that this might be all there is. Maybe seeking medical help would be useful: hard to say without knowing your friend. Also, some people, like me in fact, are hypersensitive to alcohol, which is a known depressant. I've been practically tee-total for 25 years, and feel mentally a lot better for it. Additionally, it's possible that food sensitivities can affect mood; the biggest culprits are often the things one really loves to eat: for example bread, cheese, yoghurt, or anything that is fermented, especially in combination with sweet stuff, which can lead to chronic candida levels in the body.

Maybe your friend needs something to stop them brooding over this issue, and might be better off not reading anything at all, but seeking constructive distraction. Maybe engaging in exercise or other healthy and enjoyable activity in the company of people who aren't depressed would be helpful. It's not unknown in some spiritual traditions, e.g. Sufism, for the teacher to advise about lifestyle and nutrition, even lay off the spiritual focus completely until the person is physically better balanced. Mens sana in corpore sano, as they say.
 

Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
#13
Thanks for your thoughts, Michael. Actually it isn't for a friend, or a specific person. I'm thinking of several people I encounter, usually older but not always, for whom their presumed finitude (a result of the main cultural paradigm) is specifically a source of anguish or depression.

Kind of like this guy:

I used to empathize, but now get annoyed because this so-called "truth of death" flies in the face of the evidence, which is out there for anybody to see but has a hard time penetrating the wall of the cultural mainstream.

Now, whether or how a presentation of that evidence affects a particular person, we can't know in advance and is complex. But of course it has the power to significantly alter the perspective of many people. It did for me.
 
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#15
Accounts of crisis apparitions are convincing, and the more interesting ones appear outside the literature, as the internet gathers the dustier corners of family histories onto websites. For the bereaved such accounts may add to their sense of distress, and questions why their loved ones have not appeared. Death is not the time for studied appraisal of evidence, it's the time for prayer and positive thoughts. Anyone convinced by the materialist model over a lifetime is unlikely to find solace in a little light reading.
 
#17
I think the best advice is to read as widely as possible. It's such a broad subject. Superficial understanding is ok but not much of a foundation really and easily damaged.
 
#18
I think the best advice is to read as widely as possible. It's such a broad subject. Superficial understanding is ok but not much of a foundation really and easily damaged.
Another reason for reading widely is to find the information presented in a style which one can relate to. Recently I was re-reading an old book on NDEs which I found in my house. The material was very interesting but the author's editorial packaging of it was deeply irritating - to me. Now that says more about my own personal biases than anything else, but my point is that if this was the only book I'd ever read on this topic I might have rejected the subject in its entirety.
 
#19
Another reason for reading widely is to find the information presented in a style which one can relate to. Recently I was re-reading an old book on NDEs which I found in my house. The material was very interesting but the author's editorial packaging of it was deeply irritating - to me. Now that says more about my own personal biases than anything else, but my point is that if this was the only book I'd ever read on this topic I might have rejected the subject in its entirety.
Good point.
 
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