What happens when we die? It’s a question all of us wanted answered and that the world’s religions have attempted to resolve since the dawn of time.
Colm Keane, author of thirty previous books, including several on the subject of Near Death Experiences (NDEs), tackles this great mystery in his latest book Journey’s End.
His books on NDEs had already offered considerable evidence that consciousness can survive independently of the physical body. He recounted hundreds of cases involving Irish people who had been revived after being declared clinically “dead”, and who went on to describe how they entered a heavenly realm and met deceased loved ones and family pets, or found themselves floating above their hospital beds or the scene of an accident, looking down nonchalantly at their prostrate bodies.
Claims that NDEs are just hallucinations or delusions brought on by trauma or drugs don’t stand up to scrutiny, he argues, especially when they happen to people whose brains have shut down in addition to their hearts stopping for the duration of the NDE, and Colm enumerated scores of such well documented cases… experiences by people from every walk of life.
Journey’s En d widens the inquiry into the possibility of human survival of death, exploring the beliefs of the various religions; how, despite their obvious and often contentious differences and divisions they agree on the essential point that we go “elsewhere” after we draw our last breath here on earth.
It might be called Heaven, the Spirit World, Nirvana, Paradise, depending on one’s culture or religious upbringing, but whatever name we give it there is, he argues overwhelming evidence that there’s more to life than our brief spell down here.
Apart from religious belief, which is central to the lives of most people, one must also consider the countless tests conducted under the strictest “laboratory” – like conditions that revealed paranormal happenings pointing to survival. There is Electronic Voice phenomena (EVP), the recording of voices on tape that have no explainable origin, and mediumistic messages from the “dead” that couldn’t have been obtained by fraud or trickery.
The Scole Experiment, organized in the English town of that name in the early 1990s, involved mediums being observed and studied by scientists. The researchers were astounded by the accuracy of the information relayed by the test subjects concerning people that the mediums had never met and who were kept at different locations where the mediums couldn’t see, or hear from, them.
The author also alludes to the science of Quantum Physics, which has largely relegated 19th century materialism to the scrapheap. It has given even the most hardened atheists food for thought, as it postulates the existence of other dimensions, parallel worlds, and spheres of reality beyond our narrow earthy frames of reference, breathing life back into ancient belief systems that might have been way ahead of their time in strongly emphasizing that physical death is not the end.
The book deals with the copious myths and distortions that have marred the quest for information about the afterlife: how some religious teachings have frightened the living daylights out of people instead of offering hope or confirmation of survival.
But he also points out that, from the evidence of NDEs in particular, there appears to be some form of judgment awaiting us on the “Other Side”. People who return “from the brink” recall a life review that resembled a rewinding video that showed them all the highlights of their lives, the good, the bad… what what might have been…and how their actions have affected others.
Many NDEs have also left people with a powerful desire to change their lives for the better, to avoid causing hurt and to strive to make the world a better place.
So, whether we belong to an organized religion, are skeptical about an afterlife, or rapidly atheistic, it makes sense, the author suggests, to stay on the “path of righteousness” while we occupy these frail mortal bodies of ours.
Colm Keane made his own final journey before this enlightening book was published, but I’m sure he’s somewhere “out there”, feeling quite pleased with the reception it’s getting from his many loyal readers and newcomers to the subject, all of them anxious to know what happens to us when our race is run…
Journeys End is published by Capel Island Books.