The Afterlife Experiments, Breakthrough Scientific Evidence of Life After Death, by Gary E. Schwartz with William L. Simon, Pocket Books, 2002.

Summary (from book cover) "An esteemed scientist's personal journey from skepticism to wonder and awe provides astonishing answers to a timeless question: Is there life after death?

Are love and life eternal? This exciting account presents provocative evidence that could upset everything that science has ever taught. Daring to risk his worldwide academic reputation, Dr. Gary E. Schwartz, along with his research partner Dr. Linda Russek, asked some of the most prominent mediums in America -- including John Edward, Suzane Northrup, and George Anderson -- to become part of a series of extraordinary experiments to prove, or disprove, the existence of an afterlife.


This riveting narrative, with its electrifying transcripts, puts the reader on the scene of a breakthrough scientific achievement: contact with the beyond under controlled laboratory conditions. In stringently monitored experiments, leading mediums attempted to contact dead friends and relatives of "sitters" who were masked from view and never spoke, depriving the mediums of any cues. The messages that came through stunned sitters and researchers alike.

Here, as they unfolded in the laboratory setting, are uncanny revelations about a son's suicide, what a deceased father wanted to say about his last days in a coma, the transformation of a man's lifelong doubts about the afterlife, and, most amazing of all, a forecast of a beloved spouse's death. Dr. Schwartz was forced by the overwhelmingly positive data to abandon his skepticism, reaching some startling conclusions.

Compelling from the first page to the last, The Afterlife Experiments is the amazing documentation of groundbreaking experiments you will never forget."

Key Results

Part I. You Don't Find a Mission--a Mission Finds You

This part describes the personal and professional evolution of Dr. Schwartz that brought him to his current position as professor of psychology, medicine, neurology, psychiatry and surgery at the University of Arizona and director of its Human Energy Systems Laboratory. Secret pilot research was conducted with Linda Russek on the living soul hypothesis beginning in 1993. They participated in early experiments with two mediums, Suzy Smith and Laurie Campbell, involving apparent communications with the spirit world and telepathy. These results were quite interesting and motivated conduct of further experiments.

Part II. The HBO Dream-Team Experiment

Experiments for an HBO documentary on the afterlife brought in some of the top mediums in the country, George Anderson, John Edward, Anne Gehman, Suzane Northrop, and Laurie Campbell. The results of these experiments, besides appearing in the HBO documentary, were described in a scientific paper with the following abstract:

Accuracy and Replicability of Anomalous After-Death Communication Across Highly Skilled Mediums, by G.E.R. Schwartz, L.G.S. Russek, L.A. Nelson, and C. Barentsen, Human Energy Systems Laboratory, The University of Arizona. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Volume 65.1, January 2001.

Abstract: When multiple mediums attempt to receive After-Death Communications (ADC's) from a single individual (the sitter/subject) who has experienced multiple losses, will accurate and replicable ADC information be obtained? Five highly skilled mediums were flown to the Human Energy Systems Laboratory for research on ADC. An Arizona woman, unknown to all of the mediums, who had experienced six significant losses over the past ten years, served as the primary subject. She filled out detailed pre-experimental questionnaires about her losses. Each medium met individually with the sitter. There was no communication between the mediums about the sessions. Two chairs were placed side by side, a few feet apart, separated by a screen that eliminated visual cues. Except for an initial greeting, the only communications allowed from the sitter were simple yes or no responses to possible questions from the mediums. Nineteen channels of EEG and the ECG were recorded simultaneously from both the mediums and the sitter. Two video cameras recorded the sessions. Verbatim reports were obtained from complete transcripts of the sessions. A second sitter was tested with two of the mediums. The mediums average accuracy was 83% for sitter one and 77% for sitter two. The average accuracy for 68 control subjects was 36%. In a replication and extension experiment, medium's average accuracy in an initial ten minute period that did not allow yes-no questioning was 77%. The data suggest that highly skilled mediums are able to obtain accurate (p less than one in ten million) and replicable information. Since factors of fraud, error and statistical coincidence cannot explain the present findings, other possible mechanisms should be considered in future research. These include telepathy, super psi, and survival of consciousness after-death.

This part contains extracts from the medium/sitter communications, which provide the essential flavor of a world-class medium's ability to draw information through a "noisy" channel from entities who apparently have previously lived on earth.

Part III. The Miraval Silent-Sitter Experiment

This experiment involved four mediums, John Edward, Anne Gehman, Suzane Northrop, and Laurie Campbell, and 10 sitters. Each reading was in two parts--the first being total silence on the part of the sitter, who could not be seen by the medium, and the second a conventional interactive session with yes and no answers from the sitter. A very impressive part of this experiment was the mediums' accuracy score, 77 % during the silent period, compared with 85 % during the yes/no questioning period. Another very interesting result was the possibility that the recent death of the husband of one of the sitters, who was the primary sitter during the previous experiment, may have been forecast previously during a session with John Edward during the HBO experiment.

 A scientific paper written by Dr. Schwartz and others describes the experiments of Parts II and III and is also found in Appendix C of the book.

Part IV. The Canyon Ranch Totally Silent Sitter Experiment

 Three mediums, Laurie Campbell, Suzane Northrop, and John Edward, participated in this experiment, together with 5 sitters. In this experiment the sitter was totally silent. The first part of each reading consisted of messages received by the mediums without any communication from the sitter, who was totally visually obscured from the medium. The second part was conducted with "yes/no" responses relayed by the experimenters based on head movement of the sitter. The results of this experiment showed that the mediums were able to bring forth information in a way that was significantly higher than chance, but with only about one-half of the very high results obtained in the previous experiments. One factor which lowered the mediums' scores was the spiritual messages that were intended for other people at the experiment site than the immediate sitter, but which were treated as a miss.

A journal article on this experiment is found in Appendix D of the book.

Part V. Discovering the Larger Reality

 The author described his disillusionment with the HBO editing process, which provided an entertaining documentary but which removed much of the scientific content, and with another network which conducted very biased misrepresentation of the video evidence they obtained to support a skeptical perspective. Professional skeptics, he asserts, depend upon the belief that all mediums are "pretending" in order to maintain their reputation and livelihood. (A spirited exchange between Dr. Schwartz and the skeptic James Randi, not contained in the book, can be found here.)

A further experiment was described, the so-called White Crow readings, with Laurie Campbell as the medium. Three sitters were used, in various locations, and available by phone. Prior to a phone call, the medium would meditate in seclusion, and develop impressions received. Then the sitter and medium would be connected by phone for 10 minutes, but with both ends on "mute" while the medium voiced received impressions. Finally, a normal medium/sitter dialogue would take place. In one reading, with another medium George Dalzell as a sitter, very high results were achieved in all three periods, and a number of facts brought forward which were only verified to be true after post-reading investigations by the sitter. This single session, a "White Crow" which showed that all crows were not black (or that communication with the spirit world was possible), avoided questions of prior knowledge of the sitter's background by the medium, statistical coincidence, visual cues, rater bias, and telepathy accounting for all of the results. A journal article on the Campbell "White Crow" readings is presented in Appendix E of the book and in an abstract here.

The author examines the potential earthly impact of the "living soul hypothesis", discussing the profound changes which would result from its acceptance, in material striving, exhaustion of planetary resources, kindness and compassion to other humans, deceit, inventions, legal implications, marriage vows, suicide, medical practices, and religious institutions.

As a summary of the total evidence developed during the experiments reported on in this book, the data show that skeptic concerns with fraud, cueing, selective memory, vague information, lucky guesses, experimenter biases or mistakes, medium motivation, mind-reading, and medium imagination are without merit. The hypothesis that consciousness continues after death accounts for all the data and is elegant in its simplicity.

Appendix A. Integrating Science and Spirituality

 This appendix discusses the living soul hypothesis from the standpoint of dynamical energy systems theory in which energy and information persist in the vacuum of space.

Appendix B. The Energy is Love

This appendix discusses love as a bioelectromagnetic energy, the role of love in motivating people to seek contact with a departed loved one through a medium, the importance of the heart and cardiac energy, and the nature of love and its role in the universe.


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