Monday, March 7, 2011

The Afterlife Experiments: Breakthrough Scientific Evidence of Life After Death By Gary E. Schwartz

The book reports on scientific findings about consciousness after death from the University of Arizona Laboratory of Gary Schwartz, former Yale and Harvard professor. He works with mediums, who are "superstars of mediumship" including Jonathan Edwards.

The findings are based on data the mediums report based on their contact with people on "the other side" who are associated with "sitters" who are volunteers for these experiments.

For example, if a person says to a sitter that she had a grandmother, that's not impressive. If the medium says the grandmother loved the sitter very much, that's not too impressive either (My grandmothers died before I was born so it would be a wrong answer in my case) But if the sitter said that the grandmother is talking about daisies and her wedding-- well, that stands out. And if the medium reports that the daisies were in the sitters hair.. That's pretty amazing. Schwartz's research takes hundreds of items like this and then has the trained sitters rate them for accuracy. The mediums never meet, never see or hear the sitters, except when the medium hears the sitter in the next room sob, if the medium really nails a connection.

This work has evolved as a logical step in Dr. Schwartz's research into human energy systems and energy medicine, and from ideas that he first developed and reported with Lynda Russek in the book Living Energy Universe.

This research is very controversial, and while exciting and comforting to some, it is upsetting to some of the science skeptics, like James Randi, who seems to have made Dr. Schwartz his number one target recently. I've read his attacks though, and the attacks are personal and subjective, and if Randi submitted his own statements about Schwartz to the same requirements he expects of others, well, we wouldn't be hearing from Randi. I expect that I'll get more than the usual number of negative feedbacks on this from people who are skeptics, regardless of what the content of the review is.

The findings in this book are fantastic and call for further research and replication. And Schwartz is bravely continuing to do just that. Hopefully, as his research reaches broader audiences, other scientists will be encouraged to come out of the closet (there are plenty who believe, based on existing data) and start publishing and researching more on these and related parapsychology topics.

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