Life After Death Essay, Research Paper
Is this the beginning, middle, or end of our existence? Have we lived before in
another time, another place? What awaits us when we die? Is the physical being all there
really is to our existence; or is the spirit or soul what really makes us who we are? There
is an abundance of case studies that suggest there is some sort of life after we die. Some
from the not-so credible sources and others that seem much more believable. We will all
find the answer when we die. Can we find the answer while we still live?
I remember the day that death really hit home with me. It was November 1, 1991
at 6:25am. This was when I watched my father take his last breath. This was no ordinary
breath. It was like the body knew it was going to be the last. The inhale was very deep as
if the lungs were trying to take in the most amount of air possible. The exhale was equally
unusual, slow in fact, as if to say let me savor this one last drop of life. Then the body
sat up. The face began to gruesomely convulse as if in tremendous amounts of pain. The
tongue thrashed about wildly within a gaping mouth. The eyes seem to stare off into the
abyss, seeing something not of this world. Then, as quickly as it began, it ended. The
body went limp, the face no longer convulsed, all movement simply stopped. His
distraught wife of 33 years, my mother, wept uncontrollably as she lay the body back
down on the bed in the prone position.
I didn t realize it then, but as I reflect back on the exact moment before his body
went limp, I was given a sign that something awaits us after we take our last breath. It
was the look in his eyes. Here I was no more that three feet from him and his eyes pierced
right through me focusing on something beyond this world. I can only ponder what that
something was. The power and intensity displayed in his eyes was something like I have
never seen before or since. Do we have the ability to see what lies ahead before that final
moment? Was that intense look one of finality, excitement of what lies ahead, or simply
fear? The Bible states that when we die we simply return to the dust of the earth but our
souls are reborn in heaven (Eccle. 3:20). Do our souls get reincarnated and sent back to
an earthly existence at another time and place only to repeat the whole process of life and
death for eternity? Have some of us been able to tap into the next world with Near Death
Experiences or After Death Communications?
Different religions have different beliefs about what happens to our souls after we
die. For instance, Jehovah s Witnesses believe that we simply return to dust and upon the
day of reckoning as described in the book of Revelations, our souls will be reborn, judged
by God and 144,000 souls will join him in heaven. The remainder will spend eternity on
earth. Earth however, will not be as it is now; it will be a paradise. The Catholic religion
believes in the hall of souls wherein our souls get recycled and sent back to earth to
live again in another bodily existence. Does this somehow tie into the widespread belief in
Do we all have even the slightest amount of ability to see what lies beyond, but
either don t understand it or don t know how to harness the power? There are numerous
accounts of people having visions or some sort of contact with a deceased loved one.
Consider the following testimonials:
A nine-year-old boy, named Edward Cuomo, was hospitalized with a fever that
lasted thirty six hours. When the fever broke, he told his parents that he was with his
guardian Angel. In addition, he stated that he saw several of his deceased relatives
including his older sister. His parents were insistent that he did not see his sister because
she was alive and well attending college in another state. The little boy persistently stuck
to his statement of seeing his sister. So persistent in fact, that his parents were beginning
to become very upset. The following morning, the parents decide to call the college and
check on there daughter. The college stated that their daughter had been killed in a car
accident the night before and that they had been trying to reach them (Steiger 42-6).
Where does the soul begin? Perhaps this answers that question while opening
A four-year-old boy had drowned and been resuscitated. After his near-death
experience he told his mother that he had been to the other side and saw his brother. The
boy s mother told him that he didn t have a brother. The boy stated Yes, I do, Mommy.
He was pulled from your tummy when you were only fourteen. The mother had an
abortion at the age of fourteen and never told anyone (Steiger 118-19).
How can anyone state that these children did not have these experiences? In both
cases the children had contact with a dead sibling that they did not know was dead. There
is no other possible explanation for the phenomena other than the reality that their souls
were somewhere not of this world. Was this a glimpse of heaven? Jesus said Do not let
your heart be troubled; trust in God, trust in me also. In my Father s house are many
rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for
you (John 14: 1-2). There are also many accounts of people having been contacted by
Angelic beings or even Jesus himself.
Steve Cosette, an investment counselor living in San Francisco, battled a life
threatening case of scarlet fever as a nine-year-old child in Oklahoma. Doctors were
unsuccessful in curing the little boy. One evening little Steve, believing he was going to
die, prayed to God asking for forgiveness of his sins and to be healed. Then, a figure
surrounded by a soft blue light, began to take shape at the foot of his bed. The figure
became as solid as the furniture in the room. It was an Angel kneeling in prayer. At this
moment, everything went black, the little boy thought he had gone blind. Off in the
distance he saw a bright light and began to float towards it. He heard the Angel s voice
Most Merciful Lord of Hosts, allow this child to continue his life
on Earth. Enrich his knowledge and his understanding so that he
might prove to be a better servant of thy word and thy truth. Keep
him ever steadfast in the Light and keep him always from the dark-
ness. Most Divine Lord of Heaven and Earth, remove the sickness
from his body and return him anew to his full life span (Steiger 83).
While the Angel was in prayer, he began to be pulled away from the light and
returned to his bed. The Angel slowly began to fade in the same manner as it appeared.
The boy slept. The next morning the fever was gone, the little boy was healthy once again
Jesus said that we all have the ability to move mountains with faith (1Corin. 13).
Peter Fadden, an architect from New Jersey, battled a deadly case of rheumatic
fever when he as eleven. On his deathbed, with his mother at his side, Peter said aloud
that he saw a nun and a priest also standing at his bedside. Peter thought that his mother
had called them to give him his last rites. His mother screamed frantically that her boy
was dying, for there was no one else in the room, she had not called anyone. Then
everything went black. Peter awoke in what he compared to a three-sided hospital room.
He could see vast meadows filled with flowers, butterflies and animals. The nun and priest
were standing against a wall and asked him how he was feeling. Peter immediately asked
the priest who he was and where he was. The nun simply stated that they were friends and
they were in a kind of heaven. Peter then sat up and noticed that all of his pain was gone.
The priest laughed and said to Isn t it wonderful? They then told Peter that he had not
yet been pronounced dead. Peter then asked why he was here. The priest stated that they
were merely messengers and could not answer that question. Peter began to put it all
together and exclaimed that the pair were Angels. The nun then stated that her name was
Maureen and the priest s name was Henry. She went on to say that they had been
watching over him since he was born. They offered the little boy some fruit. He was
astonished at the fact that it tasted so real. When they had all satisfied their hunger, Henry
picked up the bowl and it vanished. They went on to explain that in this dimension
nothing is wasted, everything simply returns to it s source. They began to give Peter a
tour of his surroundings. They came across and area where dozens of children were
being instructed by Angels. Maureen and Henry told Peter that this was the children s
nursery. They said that the souls of children come here to grow as they would have on
Earth. Henry told Peter that if it was decided that he was to stay, this would be his
heavenly home. Then Maureen told Henry that Peter had to go back to his physical being.
Henry took the boy by the hand. Maureen assured Peter that they would always be with
him (Steiger 85-96).
Diana, an equestrian instructor in Pennsylvania, lost her four-year-old daughter
from unknown causes. Shortly after the funeral while lying in bed a shape began to appear
in the left-hand corner of her room. It was of a man sitting on a stool, clothed in a white
robe tied with a hemp belt. She described him as having gray and black hair and being the
color of every man! She said her daughter was sitting on the lap of Jesus and he asked her
Would you have her back if you could? She could clearly see that her daughter was
happy and remembers thinking How could I want Lisa back when I see how happy she
is? (Guggenheim 357-8).
These cases and many other similar cases definitely suggest that there really is a
separation between body and soul. This belief is the first step in the theory of
reincarnation. If you believe that the soul is separate and goes to another dimension upon
the death of the physical body then it might be possible for the soul to return to the
physical dimension in yet another body at yet another time. Dr. Corcoran, the president of
the International Association for Near Death Studies is currently conducting extensive
research on reincarnation (Corcoran).
Edgar Cayce pioneered the study of reincarnation beginning in the early 1900 s.
His works are the most documented of their kind and are now located at the Association
for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.) Library in Virginia. For over forty years he
would go into a trance like state twice a day and recount the building of the pyramids in
Egypt, the lost city of Atlantis, Astrology, how to heal the human body using techniques
unknown to the medical community. It should be noted that Mr. Cayce was also a Sunday
school teacher who read the bible on a regular basis. So regular that he read it in it s
entirety once for every year that he lived. One can not help but wonder that perhaps Mr.
Cayce became so close to God that he was permitted to have these special abilities
If a soul could be reincarnated. Could it take an even broader leap and return to
Earth and inhabit a body that has not yet died; in essence trade places? This theory has
been labeled Walk-Ins and the following case study is known as the Watsek Wonder
and dates back to July, 1877.
A thirteen-year-old girl named Lurancy Vennum from Watseka, Illinois, had a high
fever and seizures beginning on July 11. On occasion, following a seizure, she would
enter a trance-like state. Coincidentally another member of their community named A. B.
Roth had lost his daughter 12 years earlier under these same conditions. Mr. Roth
sympathized with the Vennums and introduced them to the doctor that treated his
daughter, Dr. E. W. Stevens. Dr. Stevens went to the Vennum home on January 31,
1878. Lurancy entered into a trance-like state. Dr. Stevens began to converse with her
during this time. Lurancy claimed to be a sixty-three-year-old woman named Katrina
Hogan. A short time later she identified herself as Willie Cunning. Dr. Stevens began to
speak to the ever-changing spirits, asking if one and only one, would come forward and
speak through Lurancy. The spirit began to list the entities that would like to come
forward. Then the voice said that the Angels have chosen one – Mary Roff. The next
morning Lurancy woke up claiming to be Mary Roth. She did not recognize anyone in the
household. The Roth family came to visit and Mary pleaded with her father, Mr. Roth, to
take her home. She also addressed her sister by her pet name – Nervie. Mary was the
only person to address her sister in this manner. On February 11, Mary was allowed to
move to the Roth residence. She recognized every person, and could recall numerous
incidents that occurred prior to her demise. Then just as it had began, in May, 1878, Mary
told her mother that Lurancy was coming back for a while. She entered into a trance-like
state and when she awoke, she was Lurancy once again! Mary had been living in
Lurancy s body for several months. Now, Lurancy was upset because she did not
recognize any of her surroundings. A few minutes went by and Lurancy was gone, Mary
returned to once again inhabit the body. One afternoon, Mary said that her brother,
Frank, should be watched because he will become gravely ill and could possibly die.
Frank was described to be quite healthy and not suffering from any illness. Dr. Stevens
visited the Roth family that evening and told the family that he would be visiting another
patient in Old Town. At two a.m. Frank went into convulsions. Mary told the family
members to go to Mrs. Marsh s home, who also lived in the neighborhood, and get Dr.
Stevens. The family told Mary that Dr. Stevens was not there, he was in Old Town.
Mary was not only persistent but she was correct. Mary did not wait for the Doctor, she
began to treat her brother. During this time, Dr. Stevens arrived. He noted that Mary was
treating her brother correctly and allowed her to continue. One day Mary stated that
Lurancy is coming back. She even went so far as to give the date and time that it would
happen. She began to say good-bye to friends and relatives. Mr. Roth and Mary were
enroute to Lurancy s home on that planned day when Lurancy returned to her rightful
existence. Lurancy later married, moved farther west and gave birth to a child (Steiger
It must be noted that although this account occurred some time ago, it is
considered by many to be a well documented case of a Walk-In . Neither family had
anything to personally gain by fabricating these events. If this were to happen in today s
society, one would be a bit more skeptic. The media blitz would be phenomenal, with
million dollar movie offers, etc. thereby discounting the story s credibility.
These few cases, taken from thousands of life after death experiences are indeed
indicative that something exist after our physical beings cease to. One does not
necessarily have to be religious to realize that. These were ordinary people not unlike you
or me. There must be something after this life, whether it s good bad or indifferent.
Statistics show that eight out of ten people believe in life after death (Greppi 1). Death is
not frightening. It is more frightening to view this life as the end. Is working our entire
lives to earn financial rewards all there is? What a boring existence. It almost seems
robotic, to be born, live, and die. There has to be a more specific purpose or meaning to
our lives for it to count and make some sort of sense. We perceive immortality as living
in our earthly body for eternity. Perhaps we are immortal, in a spiritual sense, and like the
blind can not see. What a heartwarming feeling to think that we will go on living for
eternity. Another story, another time, another place.