By Cheryl Knight, Managing Editor
Our first issue of 2009 focuses on the Near-Death Experience (NDE) and its possible causes and implications. And with several schools of thought on the issue, the debate rages on.
In Karen Frazier’s Special Report on NDE, she examines the factors most common during NDEs; brain-based, psychological, and transcendental NDE theories; and whether certain personality types are more likely to have NDEs.
And in our Cultural Beliefs recap, archaeologist Binoo’mukua discusses similarities and differences across cultures in the NDE phenomenon. Our Roundtable Debate, reader Personal Experiences, Recommended Reading list, and Reader Feedback, also focus on NDE.
Research into NDEs continues to expand. Doctors at 25 U.K. and U.S. hospitals will conduct a three-year study of 1,500 survivors to determine if people with no heartbeat or brain activity can have out-of-body experiences.
The study, coordinated by Southampton University, will include placing images on shelves that can only be seen from above. To test this, the researchers have set up special shelving in resuscitation areas. The shelves hold the pictures that can be seen from the ceiling.
According to Dr. Sam Parnia, who is heading the study, “If you can demonstrate that consciousness continues after the brain switches off, it allows for the possibility that the consciousness is a separate entity. It is unlikely that we will find many cases where this happens, but we have to be open-minded.”
Dr. Parnia and his colleagues will analyze the brain activity of the 1,500 cardiac arrest survivors and determine whether they can recall the images in the pictures. Hospitals involved include Addenbrookes in Cambridge, University Hospital in Birmingham, and the Morriston in Swansea, as well as nine hospitals in the United States.
The result of a study this large should answer many questions for those wondering if an NDE is the result of a dying brain or the consciousness getting a glimpse of the other side.
I also wanted to say thanks to paranormal investigator Shannon Sylvia, the focus of this month’s Investigator Spotlight. After Shannon appeared on Ghost Hunters International and Paranormal State, she went on to team up with Livescifi.tv. Make sure to check out page 10 to learn more about Shannon and her experiences researching and investigating the paranormal.