Accepted paper:

Departed among the living: an investigative study of afterlife encounters


Erlendur Haraldsson (University of Iceland)

Paper short abstract:

Research into experiences of the deceased suggests the importance of questioning the Enlightenment inspired separation between life and death.

Paper long abstract:

The European Values Survey indicated that 25% of the population of Western Europe had „felt as though they were really in touch with someone who had died“. In Iceland, Italy and USA this figure was even higher. What is it that people experience and interpret as an encounter with someone who has died? How are the deceased perceived, who are they, and under what circumstances do such experiences occur? Over 400 in-depth interviews were conducted with persons who reported such experiences. They revealed interesting patterns and characteristics. Two-thirds are visual, about half are of deceased relatives, they are more common of males than females, relatively common of those who suffered a violent death and often without the experiencer knowing that this has died. Attempts are made to interpret the results, the various findings are discussed, also in other areas of research, in particular what may be supportive of the survival of death hypothesis.

panel P69
Designing death: fashioning ends of life and beyond