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Guarding Against Premature Cremation

Posted on 14 February 2017, 9:48

After recently rereading the account of Dr. George Rodonaia’s 1976 near-death experience, I paused to remind my wife that she should wait one week before having my remains cremated.  I hope that my consciousness will have separated from my physical body well before one week, within a day or two, but I see no reason to take any chances. 

Apparently, the KGB decided to eliminate Rodonaia, a Russian neuropathologist who had dissident views, and ran him down as he crossed the street. His death was confirmed at the hospital and his corpse was placed in cold storage.  When the autopsy began three days later, Rodonaia regained consciousness.  He first went out of body and saw his physical body lying in the morgue.  On top of that, however, he was able to “see” the thoughts and emotions of his wife, Nino, and of those who killed him.  After being revived physically and when able to speak again, he told his wife how he saw her picking out a gravesite for him.  But he also read her mind and saw that she was thinking about three different men as her next husband.  She even made a list of their qualities, pro and con.  When Rodonaia told Nino, who later confirmed it as accurate, of “seeing” all this, even reciting the list to her, she was totally shocked and kept her distance from him for a year as she felt she no longer had the privacy of her own mind. 

Rodonaia also recalled being drawn to a nearby hospital, where the wife of a friend had just given birth. With x-ray like eyes, he was able to see that the baby’s hip was broken during delivery when the attending nurse dropped the infant. When he came to, he alerted the doctors to the fracture.  They had the baby x-rayed and confirmed his diagnosis. 

The evidential parts are mentioned only to give some credibility to the story that he was “dead” for some three days before being revived, or at least they thought he was “dead.”
Whether he was clinically dead or not is irrelevant; the fact is they thought he was dead.  Numerous accounts of other people having come back to life have been reported, although nearly all of them are within a few hours of the supposed death.

Coincidentally, within a day of rereading the Rodonaia NDE, I was watching a segment of the British Midsomer Murders detective series in which a man was within seconds of being cremated alive.  It was chilling enough that I again reminded my wife to wait seven days. And then that same day, I came upon a Fox News Science item on the Internet, headlined, “2 days after death, some life continues in body.”

In his 1998 book, Light & Death, Michael Sabom, an Atlanta cardiologist, cites an article by Dr. Linda Emanuel, who comments that life and death are viewed as non-overlapping, dichotomous states, whereas in reality there is no threshold event that defines death. “Several scientific observations support Emanuel’s argument that loss of biologic life, including death of the brain, is a process and does not occur at a single, definite moment,” Sabom writes.  He goes on to mention that 10 organ donors diagnosed as “brain dead” showed an average increase in blood pressure of 31 millimeters of mercury and in heart rate of 23 beats per minute in response to surgical removal of the organs. He also refers to a study at Loyola University Medical Center in which it was found that 20 percent of patients diagnosed as brain dead had persisting EEG activity up to seven days after the initial diagnosis.

More recently, cardiologist Pim van Lommel, in his 2010 book, Consciousness Beyond Life, notes that when brain death has been diagnosed, 96 percent of the body is still alive. He further comments that most people are unaware that when an organ is removed from “dead” patients, it usually requires general anesthesia of the individual because of the so-called Lazarus syndrome – “violent reflexes by the certified dead organ donor.”

Of course, the concern here is whether the consciousness has separated itself from the body in spite of the persisting activity within the body.  If it has achieved separation, there seemingly should be no concern.  However, no medical doctor is qualified to say that consciousness has separated.

“The moral state of the soul is the condition which determines the ease, or the difficulty, with which the spirit disengages himself from his terrestrial envelope,” Allan Kardec, a pioneering French psychical researcher, wrote.

“The strength of the affinity between the body and perispirit (spirit body) is in the exact ratio of the spirit’s attachment to materiality; it is, consequently, at the maximum in the case of those whose thoughts and interests are concentrated on the earthly life and the enjoyment of material pleasures; it is almost null in the case of those whose soul has identified itself before with the spirit life.”

Various metaphysical teachings refer to “magnetic currents,” which should not be confused with the so-called silver cord, the connecting link between the physical body and the spirit body.  As I understand it, the silver cord will have been severed at the time of physical death, liberating the spirit body, but the magnetic currents can still keep the spirit body close to the physical body. Moreover, cremation does not undo the gravitational pull of a materialistic life, but it at least mitigates the pull.

As physicist James Beichler sees it in his 2008 book To Die For, when consciousness is less evolved and the mind is more focused on the material/physical world of common four-dimensional space-time alone, those making the transition from this life to the afterlife in the non-material but still physical five-dimensional space-time may be faced with a very big gap, thus not recognizing that they are dead.  If the person had achieved a higher level of consciousness while occupying the material/physical body, “then the mind would already have memories of five-dimensional experience and would then merge with less difficulty into its new state of being,” he explains, adding that this mind can remain stuck in its four-dimensional material reality without any real material existence because it does not have any reference points in the higher-dimensional non-material world. 

I read somewhere that Buddhists monks ask to wait three days before cremation. But when Sir Oliver Lodge, the renowned British physicist, asked his discarnate son Raymond about it, Raymond suggested seven days.  Raymond told his father that the body doesn’t start mortifying until the spirit has left it.  He went on to say that he had witnessed a scene several days earlier in which a man was going to be cremated two days after the doctor pronounced him dead.  “When his relatives on this side heard about it, they brought a certain doctor on our side, and when they saw that the spirit hadn’t got really out of the body, they magnetized it, and helped it out,” Raymond explained through Feda, Leonard’s control.  “But there was still a cord, and it had to be severed rather quickly, and it gave a little shock to the spirit, like as if you had something amputated.  But it had to be done.”  Raymond then suggested that there should be a seven-day waiting period before cremation.  “People are so careless,” he added. “The idea seems to be ‘hurry up and get them out of the way now that they are dead.”
Silver Birch, the eloquent and apparently “high” spirit who spoke through the entranced British medium Maurice Barbanell for some 50 years, was asked if cremation is the preferred method of disposal.  “Yes, always, because essentially it has the effect of putting an end to the idea that the spirit is the physical body,” Silver Birch replied.

“Cremation always means that the spirit entity looses certain chains that might otherwise tie him to earth,” a spirit entity known as White Feather, guide to the medium Thomas Wyatt, replied in response to a similar question put to him during a séance.

“By the use of fire, all forms are dissolved; the quicker the human physical vehicle is destroyed, the quicker is its hold upon the withdrawing soul broken,” medium Alice Bailey recorded what she came to understand from communication received. She added that mummifying, as practiced in Egypt, and of embalming, as practiced in the West, have been responsible for the perpetuation of the spirit body, sometimes for centuries in earth time, especially for those who of an evil nature.

Hopefully, three days is enough, but there is really nothing to lose in waiting seven days, except perhaps for extra storage charges. 

Next blog post: Feb. 27

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife, and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.




Mark 9:43-48 and Luke 16:19-31

Richard Thompson, Mon 20 Jan, 04:07


Thanks for sharing, but I do hope you don’t get those tattoos.  Just give good instructions to those responsible for taking care of your remains.

I’m not certain, but I believe that the blood is drained from the body before cremation, so that there is no question that the person is “dead.”

Embalming is another subject, but indications are that it is not in the best interest of the soul, at least the spiritually challenged soul. Embalming supposedly makes it more difficult for the soul who doesn’t fully grasp the fact that he/she has died to detach itself.

Michael Tymn, Tue 7 Aug, 09:26

I’ve just read most of “Premature burial, and how it may be prevented, with special reference to trance catalepsy, and other forms of suspended animation” One can find the book on

Absolutely freaky.

The book was written over 100 years ago, but it is horrifying to see that this continues to happen.

And one can guess that very few of these current stories are ever discovered.

My Mother is still alive but when I was a child suffered from a catatonic episode for nearly a month.

Reading about catalepsy freaked me out hard.

I’ve been very disturbed about premature death since my boyfriend’s Dad died in April.

The circumstances surrounding his death are highly disturbing.

To wit, he developed a lung clot while recovering from a broken ankle.

He then developed community acquired pneumonia in the ICU.

A Doctor from India who apparently purchased his Medical Degree from Ukraine’s utterly corrupt #odessamedicalcollege urged my boyfriend’s Mother to send him to Hospice just 6 days into his recovery treatment for lung embolism.

Amazingly, this happened in DC ‘burbs. This Doctor, who couldn’t answer the simplest of medical question by my boyfriend is somehow in charge of a Pulmonology division.

I just had to sit by helplessly as BF’s Dad was sent suddenly to hospice.

Just before he was given morphine and sent to hospice he told his wife to shut up and stop nagging and let him rest.

But the wife was in charge and sent her husband off to hospice.

He was pronounced dead within an hour of arriving at hospice.

I know that his body was then transferred to the funeral home.

My boyfriend asked the Funeral home to collect DNA from his Dad in order to do an Ancestral DNA test sometime in the future.

But they stated he was already embalmed within 24 hours and it was too late.

The viewing was very troubling as my boyfriend’s Dad looked angry in his open casket.

The whole thing bothers me.

One reason I stumbled upon all these stories of premature burial/autopsy/embalming.

Wonder how much it happens in for profit Hospices in America….

Anyway, I’m so freaked out that I will probably get my only tattoos ever.

Probably will request pin through heart and/or back of neck.

Plus since my Mother experienced catalepsy and I have fainted before, I will also get a medical ID bracelet to that effect.

I’m a very solid and calm person, but woah reading that book has left me wide eyed in horror.

To end this comment on a happier, I noticed that two stories of Indians reviving before they were buried/cremated/eaten by vultures (the latter being the best scenario since carrion only eat the Dead) stated that they had spiritual experiences they recounted.

One was a 10 year old girl who shared that an old woman on the other side told her she wasn’t needed yet and to return back to life.   

Really old NDE stories!

So that was cool to read at least.

Ariel Skye, Tue 7 Aug, 02:06


You know more about psychics than I do, but I wonder how anyone would know that the psychic is correct in her or his conclusion.  Even if there were some way to certify psychics for such work, I doubt there would be enough of them to go around. 

Other questions that come to mind:
1) Does the consciousness all leave at once or does it leave gradually? 
2) Does the consciousness leave and then come back, such as during sleep?
3)  What are the implications here relative to organ removal for organ transplants?

Michael Tymn, Sun 8 Jul, 21:40


I can’t think of anything more terrifying than the idea of those scratch marks inside the coffins!  If anything, even worse than the thought of being cremated while conscious, because the torment would last so much longer.

So much of this, including what poor Jahi’s family went through, could be avoided or at least mitigated if we would have competent psychics check out the situation and see whether any part of the person was still active in the body.  It would not be difficult, honestly.

Elene, Sat 7 Jul, 21:53


My guess is that Jahi’s soul, her real self, left her physical body when she became “brain dead.”  She may have reattached to the body now and then, but for all practical purposes her soul had left her body long before the body “died.”

Michael Tymn, Thu 5 Jul, 09:41

Mike, what’s your take on Jahi McMath, the girl that was declared brain dead almost 5 years ago. Her parents refused to accept her death and had her moved from Oakland CA to NJ where her body lived on almost 5 years until she died at age 17. Meanwhile thru brain death she went thru puberty and certain bodily functions were reported as still occurring.
The word I see in the image below is “shot85”.

Dale, Thu 5 Jul, 04:33

Thanks, Elene, for pointing that out and for sending me the additional reference at

Yes, most of them seem to have been discovered in hours, but the case of Dr. George Rodonaia comes to mind as one that took 2-3 days.  And there seem to have been countless cases in England where coffins were dug up for one reason or another and scratch marks observed on the inside covers of the coffins.

Michael Tymn, Wed 4 Jul, 22:51

The cases referenced in Mike’s last comment were of people who “woke up” hours after being declared dead, not days.  No one would be cremated within a few hours.  It’s typically days.

Having said that—these are very scary cases to consider.  Even just putting the not-dead person in the fridge for hours could kill them, especially if they are in a fragile condition.

Elene, Wed 4 Jul, 19:10

one more reason to wait at least three days.  See

Michael Tymn, Wed 4 Jul, 07:47

One more case of someone declared dead coming back to life.  See

Michael Tymn, Mon 15 Jan, 09:42

I came upon this news item today.  It is about a baby pronounced dead and then coming to life at the crematorium before dying again. See

Also, I have since learned that 48 hours is about the average time after death before cremation is carried out.

Michael Tymn, Thu 6 Apr, 08:57

On the more positive side, Victor Hugo reported a communication from André Chénier, a French poet, who was executed at the guillotine on July 25, 1794.  He tapped out the remainder of the poem he had been working on just before his execution.  It was in the same style as his work when living.  While there is apparently an opposing view holding that it was more in Victor Hugo’s style, it was recorded that Victor Hugo was not present at that particular séance.  Chénier also produced new poems in the highest literary style, joining together a number of the poems he wrote when alive.

Chénier told of his last moments on earth, seeing the slop basket swaying beneath his head, half-filled with blood from those executed before him, and, suddenly, hearing the odd creaking sound above his head.  After the sensation that his head was falling into the slop basket, he found himself far above his headless body, his soul body being enveloped in a diaphanous sheath.  He then felt the presence of his mother and mistress.  He observed a luminous line separating his head from his body as his head rolled into the gutter and his body was dragged away.

Michael Tymn, Tue 21 Feb, 06:33

I humbly send these points for your consideration.
Let’s not forget the words of Jesus…the greatest medium that ever lived upon the Earth….
He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm.                                                  —Matthew 8:26 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
We are only partially aware of the mechanics involved with the physical death of the body and
the spirit’s detachment from it, we don’t know everything. But, where is our faith, that Jesus spoke of, regarding the Creator?
Other factors to consider:
- In The Spirits Book published by Kardec the superior spirits mentioned what they called the “vital fluid” separate from the physical body and the ethereal body. It was considered the material used to provide physical body movement, not the spirit or ethereal body (or as Kardec calls it, the perispirit).
Could it be that this vital fluid, although the spirit may have already left the body, this energy could still be within the organic body causing movement?
- The Divine laws of cause and effect based on the freewill actions made by each individual
determine merit and/or suffering…which applies to every aspect of material AND spiritual life.
Including, its transitions - BIRTH as well as DEATH.
Therefore, a person can make whatever arrangements they will, but if due to the law of cause and effect a person is to suffer during the separation of their physical body/spirit at their death, nothing can prevent it.
The reverse is also true. If they are NOT meant to suffer, they will not.
Why would the Creator make someone suffer for no just cause? The average person who does not make special arrangements for their death.
- Also, to be considered if someone is NOT to suffer…let us not forget the beneficial influences of the superior spirits who can intervene preventing any suffering if it is not deserved.
We cannot forget also the power of prayer.
And, good intentions are rewarded, as it would be in organ donation, for example.
Finally, the Creator knows past, present and future….and what must be, comes to pass, we must have a reasoned faith in the Creator and the Divine Wisdom…being able to take into consideration any eventuality.
Bottom line, we reap what we sow.
Yvonne Limoges
Spiritist and medium of over 40 years

Yvonne Limoges, Sun 19 Feb, 19:45

I had an interesting experience regarding this with my own father. I discussed this issue with the undertaker, and he informed me that state law required cremation within two days, however the law also required that I sign off on the process before it could happen, and that he couldn’t make a move until I did, so if I forgot to finish the paperwork, there was really no way the cremation could happen on time. As it happened, my father died on a Thursday, and there was no way I could get the paperwork back before Monday, even if I had wanted to.

Michael, Sun 19 Feb, 15:05


I think you missed my point.  My concern is with those “rare” cases in which the person in not physically dead, or brain dead.  The question is really a matter of how rare they are.  Indications are that they might not be as rare as you think.  I am not concerned with the materialistically bound soul who is physically dead.  That is a totally different matter. You might check Cardiologist Pim Van Lommel’s recent book, “Consciousness Beyond Life” (pages 334-343), for his concerns about when someone is really “brain dead.”

Michael Tymn, Fri 17 Feb, 20:36


The question about chickens is extremely interesting.  Here’s an article on the headless chicken phenomenon, including the famous case of (would you believe) Mike the Headless Chicken, who lived an additional 18 months with only a brainstem.

I don’t know why the headless chickens don’t run into things, though.  A major issue here, that probably no one fully understands, is the consciousness of the body itself, the aggregate of all the cells and organs, plus the parasites and the microbiome, vs. the consciousness of the “person,” the part that leaves the body upon death.  They seem to be two separate but intertwined things.  I don’t yet know what to say about that.  I’ve begun to see myself, that is, the part I identify as “I,” as the captain of a cruise ship filled with incredible numbers of passengers and crew who are all making the ship function and be able to sail, while I decide where it goes.

I have some vague understanding of what can happen when a person dies of natural causes and it takes a while, but I’m wondering if a person who is killed quickly in an accident, in war, etc. (or by having their head cut off) also goes through the same steps, only more quickly?

To the best of my knowledge blood is not drained from the body except for embalming.

Elene, Fri 17 Feb, 20:07

An email from a friend suggests that I am unnecessarily frightening people with this post and even discouraging organ transplant donors. However, in the absence of any clear-cut information on the subject, I do believe it is worth some consideration and discussion.   

The link referenced by Wendy certainly highlighted my concern, although I am not sure that being buried alive is much less inviting. I believe that blood is drained from the body before embalming, so there is no question the person is physically dead; however, I don’t know if blood is drained when the person is not embalmed or cremated. 

Again, I think the distinction has to be made, as Kardec pointed out, between the severance of the silver cord and the cutting of all the magnetic binds to the material life.  The severance of the silver cord might be much more immediate than the more gradual severance of the magnetic ties.  If the physical body is indeed extinct, it would certainly not be a physical sensation involved in premature burial or cremation, but rather a “fire of the mind” or like a bad dream.

I recall that during World War II, my family began raising chickens because of the shortage of poultry and eggs.  I witnessed my father decapitate the chickens on a number of occasions and further observed the headless chicken run all over the yard for 20-30 seconds or so after losing its head. I don’t recall the headless chicken running into any fences or other obstacles.  It seemed to steer clear of them. Is there consciousness in the headless body of a chicken so that it avoids running into things? It is all very curious and my apologies to anyone who is frightened by it all.

Michael Tymn, Fri 17 Feb, 04:40

I trust my own observations more than I trust what someone says, even if he’s written a lot of books.  I have zero fear of being cremated.

Why should it be a problem for a Jew, Muslim or anyone else to be buried within 24 hours (except in those very rare cases where the person was not truly dead)?  The body is not embalmed—now, THAT would be a shock if the person were still aware in the body, no less than cremation!—so if the spirit happens to still be attached for a while, it can do whatever it needs to do the same as if the body were above ground.  It’s not like that body needs to breathe, for heaven’s sake.

While we can give a mystical explanation for the rule of burying within the day, there is also a practical one.  Bodies lying around without refrigeration, especially those who have died of communicable disease, are a public health menace.  Jewish and Muslim culture were much better about hygiene in past centuries than Christian societies.

Regarding getting longer-term storage for one’s body before cremation: I think the only difficulty would be whether the mortuary had space.  Otherwise, you would simply pay extra and they’d likely have no problem with that.

Elene, Thu 16 Feb, 18:08

Thank you, very interesting.

w becker, Thu 16 Feb, 02:01

Michael, this is such an important topic. My husband and I have already had this talk, and we had settled on a 3.5 day postmortem waiting period prior to cremation (because that is the Rosicrucian recommendation). but after reading this post we are adjusting that to 7 days.

The thing is - where would storage take place? It would have to be in a very cold room, which would likely be uncomfortable (not to mention lonely) for the soul. In addition, I don’t know of anyplace but a morgue or mortuary where a body could be stored for that length of time, and I can just imagine the reaction such a request would produce.

There is also the issue of whether or not strangers (most of whom would probably not share these beliefs) would treat the body with respect.

Packing the body in ice at home would be feasible for 3 days, but 7?

These kinds of details drive me crazy, because we want to do what’s right and compassionate for our loved ones. It is important to have plans in place while we’re still alive and conscious, because no one will be thinking clearly when death actually occurs.

Thank you very much for this blog post.

Bonnie, Tue 14 Feb, 23:10

That’s an interesting question, and I can give you one concrete answer that only applies in one case.

My mother died at the age of 92 on Sunday, January 22, after having a stroke on the 12th.  She was very ready to go. By the middle of Friday night, she had mostly detached from her body; I observed the event.  There was a kind of band or ribbon (it didn’t look like a silver cord to me but maybe others would have seen it that way) still connecting to her body, but the connection was tenuous, and there was no sense that she was really present inside it.  By the time her body went through the full process of shutting down, my experience was that she was entirely out of there and was busy embracing me rather than being very involved with the unpleasant stuff her body was having to do.  This certainly made the whole thing a lot easier for me and I assume for her as well.  So there was no question about having it be OK to cremate her body, but that didn’t happen for a few days anyway so it would likely have been “safe” one way or another.

In the midst of this, during that Friday night, I stayed at the hospice and for a while I was in contact with Fryderyk (spirit guide).  I asked him what he perceived was going on, and expressed some fear that my mother might pass when I wasn’t there and I would miss the moment.  He said, “If you wait to see it, you will already have missed it.”  He conveyed the idea that death is a series of steps, not just one discrete event.  From what I was able to observe after that, this seemed very true, and it was very much what Linda Emanuel was talking about in the quote you mentioned.

My mother has been around quite a bit, including during her memorial service last Friday.  I am deeply grateful for my small abilities as a medium through all of this.  It astonishes me more than ever that anyone questions whether we live beyond our bodies.  It seems so obvious.  It seemed just as obvious that the “light” had gone out of my mother’s body and no one was home anymore.

I was a little saddened to think that all the individual cells, which might have been quite healthy in themselves, would soon have to die, and that the same would be true for the legions of bacteria and other tiny creatures who inhabit and travel along with us.  But that is the way of things.

I’m working on a blog post about all this.(see

Elene Gusch, Tue 14 Feb, 22:24

Hi Mike,
Great article and thoughts. Guess I have to have a little talk with my wife too.
Totally agree with the dangers of organ transplants and made even a short video about it.
Thank you again.

Hans Wilhelm, Tue 14 Feb, 19:31

Mike - The Tibetan author, Tuesday Lobsang Rampa made a point in one of his many books that creamation in Tibet should not occur until 48 hours after death.

Paul Hauser, Tue 14 Feb, 18:12


Interesting article. A friend of mine who was Jewish died in Houston. His parents went to great trouble (and expense) to get his body back to London the following day for burial. It made me wonder why the Jewish tradition insists a body is buried within twenty-four hours. I looked it up and this is what I found.

Jews normally bury the dead within 24 hours, however, there are exceptions. A funeral could be held up for a day or two if it would save a mourner the additional pain of missing the funeral. Second, we do not bury people on the Sabbath or any of the holidays on which work is prohibited.

Why do Jews do this? The most straightforward reason is that the Torah says so. In discussing capital punishment, the Torah says the body must be buried before nightfall. And if a murderer deserves that much, so ought any deceased person.

But this isn’t enough? Why might there be this commandment? It’s considered disrespectful toward the dead to leave the body unburied. Perhaps it’s because it means people will witness the body’s decay, or see and remember something that seems like the person, but is inanimate and without fears or dreams.

There is a second reason, based on kabbalah. During the course of a lifetime, a soul forms an attachment to the body. Part of the punishment for sins committed out of a pursuit of the physical is the subsequent disillusionment with the body and with the values that lead to that pursuit. This is called “chibut haqever” (attachment to the grave).

Burial hastens the end of this punishment, by bringing the soul “closure” in its relationship to the body. It is therefore merciful to the deceased to bury as soon as possible.

Jon, Tue 14 Feb, 13:56

Hi Mike,

Very interesting post. One of the reasons people feel uncomfortable about organ donation. And it worries me that Moslem burials are usually held within 24 hours of death.

Are you aware of mystic Jozef Rulof’s teaching about cremation? Pretty horrific

Wendy Zammit, Tue 14 Feb, 10:56

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“Life After Death – The Communicator” by Paul Beard – If the telephone rings, naturally the caller is expected to identify himself. In post-mortem communication, necessitating something far more complex than a telephone, it is not enough to seek the speakers identity. One needs to estimate also as far as is possible his present status and stature. This involves a number of factors, overlapping and hard to keep separate, each bringing its own kind of difficulty. Four such factors can readily be named. Read here
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