Considering Anomalous Events during Bereavement as Evidence for Survival

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapter


It has been noted that experiences of perceived interaction with the dead are common for the bereaved. Surveys have reported that around 50 – 60% of individuals will report that they have had such an experience following a significant death. These reports are spontaneous by their very nature and can involve a variety of experiences, from sensing the presence of the dead, to dreaming about them, seeing apparitions in the waking state, witnessing poltergeist type phenomena, and others. Even so, it is acknowledged that instances of alleged reincarnation where a young child may relay information from a deceased individual have been noted, and sought phenomena such as sittings with mediums and therapy induced experiences suggestive of interaction with the dead could produce information pertaining to survival. However, this
chapter will focus purely on spontaneous anomalous experiences occurring following loss.

The question remains, what are the ontological roots of such experiences? Mainstream opinions have conceptualized such reports as purely pathological and typical bi-products of a grieving mind. However, is there a case for something more at work? To answer this, we not only need to understand the psychology of bereavement, but indeed the parapsychology of
bereavement as well. This chapter will consider the place of anomalous bereavement experiences in the debate of ‘consciousness and its survival beyond bodily death’ (aka, the survival hypothesis), and what evidence exists from such events which may add weight to the debate and goes beyond current conventional understanding.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContinuing Bonds in Bereavement: New Directions for Research and Practice
EditorsDennis Klass, Edith Maria Steffen
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781315202396
ISBN (Print)9780415356206, 9780415356190
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

Please change the published date to 2018.


  • Anomalous experiences
  • Bereavement
  • Survival


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