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Steven H Propp
- Published on Amazon.com
Ian Wilson is a prolific author of books such as Life After Death - The Evidence, Past Lives: Unlocking the Secrets of Our Ancestors (History/Journey's Into the Past), The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved, etc.
He wrote in the Introduction to this 1987 book, "The purpose of this book is to explore the central question of whether death is quite unequivocally the end of our experience, or whether, just conceivably, something of us---consciousness, spirit, soul, call it what you will---carries on, to experience, and be experienced, after death... Unlike popular gurus [like] Shirley MacLaine... I cannot promise you slick, sure-fire answers. But neither will I necessarily scoff at what may seem at first sight incredible." (Pg. 6)
While discussing reincarnation, he observes, "An additional difficulty... is that hypnotic regressions to past lives reveal no consistent rules for the theoretical reincarnation process. No regular pattern emerges as to whether or not a person's soul goes immediately on death into another body, or stays temporarily removed from the earth-bound state, in some form or limbo; or as to whether a soul is likely to travel widely between one incarnation and the next. The reincarnation 'rules' seem in fact to vary from one hypnotist to another according to the hypnotist's own ideas on the way rebirth is supposed to operate." (Pg. 41)
He states, "The inevitable objection to such [Near-Death] experiences is that they are mere hallucinations of a dying person's last moments, perhaps the result of depletion of the oxygen supply to the patient's brain, or of some natural opiate in the brain that eases the final paroxysms of death. But although [NDE researchers] considered this possibility, all ended up rejecting it on the basis of specific cases which seemed to rule this out; these were instances when the dying saw, as if 'beyond the grave,' individuals who they had not been told were dead." (Pg. 104)
He argues, "Yet another explanation ... is that of wish-fulfillment, or prior expectation of an afterlife on the part of the religiously inclined. Since both Doctors [Michael] Sabom and [Maurice] Rawlings's patients derive from the so-called Bible Belt southern sector of the United States, this is a possibility that has to be treated with due seriousness. Furthermore, since all the modern researchers have conducted their enquiries after the publication and huge media attention accorded to Moody's book [Life After Life], it must also be considered that some subjects' stories have been influenced by this." (Pg. 127) However, he later notes, "One of the several indications against this possibility is the now well-observed fact that even very young children who have suffered clinical death, and are most unlikely to have read books such as 'Life After Life,' have reported experiences similar to adults." (Pg. 162)
He also notes, "Dr. Richard Blacher... [suggested] that the near-death experiences derive from hypoxia, a sort of delirium brought about by a diminishing oxygen supply to the brain at the onset of the death process... A rather more plausible suggestion has been that the effect of pain-killing narcotics administered to the patients, or some natural opiates released during the dying process, may act in a manner akin to hallucinogenic drugs." (Pg. 127-128) He admits, "Perhaps one of the most interesting features is that even those without any prior religious beliefs have returned believing in a life after death." (Pg. 145)
This an excellent, wide-ranging and critical survey of Near-Death experiences, and will be of considerable interest to anyone studying the subject.