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Retired Naval Architect Tells of His NDE

Posted on 21 March 2016, 9:03

When Dr. Alan Hugenot (below) had a near-death experience in 1970, it didn’t have a name and he was reluctant to talk about it.  But he now says “the best thing that ever happened to me was when I ‘died’ in a motorcycle wreck.” 


It wasn’t until 2006, as he approached retirement from his career as a naval architect and marine engineer, that he began seriously exploring consciousness, including mediumship.  Now, 10 years later, Hugenot is an evidential medium, serving as a test medium for the Consciousness Research Laboratory at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, where he works with Drs. Dean Radin and Arnaud Delorme. 

After growing up in North Hollywood, Calif., Hugenot served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War.  He then studied mechanical engineering at Oregon Institute of Technology and began his career in the design department of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Washington.  He eventually worked at “nearly every shipyard” in the country, on all three coasts and the Great Lakes.  Along the way, he earned a Doctorate of Science in mechanical engineering.

Although “retired,” Hugenot, who is married to Gale and lives in San Francisco, serves on a number of engineering standards writing committees and as chairman of the Motor Yacht and Service Craft Panel of the Small Craft Committee for the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers.  He is frequently asked to write and deliver papers on various aspects of naval engineering for other organizations.  He also works occasionally as an expert witness in maritime cases. 

I had the opportunity to interview Hugenot for the February issue of The Searchlight, a publication of The Academy for Spiritual and Consciousness Studies and i am pleased to offer that interview here. 

Alan, please summarize your NDE.

“It was during May 1970 when I was attending college after serving in the Navy.

Briefly, I was severely injured in a motor cycle accident, lapsed into a coma for 12 hours, traveled out-of-body where I communed on the other side with a Being of Light. After returning to the body, and regaining consciousness, I remained hospitalized for 33 days.

“This was five years before Dr. Raymond Moody published his book, Life After Life, in which he coined the term ‘near-death experience.’ Back in those dark ages, the standard medical procedure was to treat all NDEs as delusions. Consequently, the resident psychiatrist, after attempting to reason with me but finding he was unable to convince me of my error, decided that if I would not conform to his version of reality he would commit me to the insane asylum. This ‘punishment’ was for merely making such insane claims about, ‘having died and then come back to life.’”

I gather you didn’t keep the experience to yourself as so many people do.
“Yes, and one of the questions the psychiatrist put to me was, ‘Just where do you think such a place as the afterlife could exist?’  I didn’t help my case any by responding, ‘Doctor, I respect all your learning and degrees, but it is like I’ve been to Mexico and you haven’t, and I want to tell you about my experience. But, instead of listening to me, and discovering a new country, you are telling me that based on your superior knowledge and training that you’re sure that Mexico is impossible and so cannot exist, and that I must therefore be mistaken.  Isn’t that a little closed minded?’

“Luckily, my orthopedic surgeon, was not so backward in his medical technology, and so discharged me from the hospital a few days early, just ahead of the psychiatrist completing the papers to have me committed.”

Why did it take you some 40 years to start talking about your NDE and writing about it and related topics?

“Early on, after the NDE, burdened with visceral personal knowledge of an inconvenient truth, and being unable to reconcile it with society’s standard model of reality, I quickly learned to be quiet about what I knew. Instead, and unlike the other SET (Science, Engineering & Technology) students, I began to also study philosophy, history, logic, meta-physics in evening classes, beginning a research odyssey which has now spanned 46 years, investigating multiple scientific disciplines, collating data and verifying the science supporting what I knew.

“When an event or experience occurs, which has no explanation within the current scientific framework, it is considered an anomaly. By being killed and coming back I had myself become a scientific anomaly. But, it is such anomalies which stubbornly refuse to go away that eventually act as the catalyst for a new advance in science. Today, I am welcomed as a featured speaker.”

What were your early religious or spiritual views?

“I was raised in a fundamentalist Baptist home. My own views were discounted by my parents, and so when I left for the Navy I investigated all the various religions with Navy chaplains.  I later became a Lutheran (Missouri Synod) because they seemed to actually study their Bible rather than carry it around like an anchor without opening it. But, prior to the NDE, if you had asked me what I thought happened after death I would have said, ‘My church believes there is a heaven and a hell, but I’m not so sure what happens.’

“Today, my sister thinks that because I am an evidential medium I have gone the way of the devil. And so she refuses to talk to me. But, while receiving readings from mediums who do not know me, my mother has come through from the other side with excellent evidential information, to tell me that she is sorry for both her fundamentalism, and also for leading my sister astray.”

So how have your views changed?

“The primary lesson I learned while out-of-body was that we are not physical beings, but are instead eternal spirits temporarily occupying physical bodies.

“The NDE moved me toward eastern meditative traditions, the Unity School or Practical Christianity and finally, as I became a medium, into Spiritualism. But I do not believe in a hell or retribution, and I do believe in universal salvation (everyone has eternal life).

“I came to realize that the Newtonian box I had been trained to use in my work as an engineer is only a fragment of the story of the conscious universe.  In a larger sense, I also learned that our 350-year-old paradigm of classical Newtonian physics, limited to three dimensions plus time, did not include everything. In fact, it fell far short and only included a very small corner of a much larger universe. I realized materialist science was deeply flawed in its world view.

“I believe that the only scientific way to understand mediumship is to do it yourself, so I took a correspondence course in mediumship from the Morris Pratt Institute, and then later attended the course in evidential mediumship at Arthur Findlay College in England.  I now know unequivocally that we continue after death in alternative dimensions of existence, but I want to better understand the precise physics and biology behind it all.”

To what extent have you developed your mediumship?

“All I can do is point to the evidence. Once, while working on the platform before a Spiritualist church, I brought through five spirits in a row, related to three sitters.  I gave their accurate names and relationships without guessing. When you look at the statistics just on the names, the odds are 320 billion to one of getting all of them.  But, if you take into account the fact that I also gave their correct relationships to the sitters, with odds of say one in 12, (mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, cousin, grandma, grandpa, great grandma, great grandpa, friend), the odds become astronomical, roughly 79.6 quadrillion to one.  So, I have to ask…how did I get that information?  How can it not be spirit talking to me?”

Some parapsychologists would say you received it telepathically from the sitter or, if it is information the sitter didn’t have, that you accessed it from a relative or friend of the sitter on the other side of the country.

“I can’t prove that is not the case and there is no science to prove it one way or the other, but it makes much more sense to me that it is spirit talking to me rather than getting it through telepathy or remote viewing of some kind.  I think Occam’s Razor favors spirit communication over telepathy or remote viewing, especially when you are talking about tapping into the consciousness of someone not even present.  How did I find that person and how did I extract that bit of information from his consciousness?”“ 

Your background is in a scientific discipline and you certainly believe in the scientific method. When a scientist says that survival of consciousness at death is impossible, how do you answer him or her?

“I tell them to stop hiding from the data. I point out that materialism which assumes that the paranormal is impossible has itself been proven false by quantum electro-dynamics (QED), fully 90 years ago. I point out that all the “first principles” of materialism are proven false by QED and non-locality. And, that although the religious dogma of materialism is that the paranormal is ‘impossible,’ there has never been any proof whatsoever, so it is just a materialist superstition. I state that any true scientist would look at the data, and anything less is stupid and not science.”

What if the skeptical scientist asks you how consciousness can go on without a functioning brain?

“Same answer. I state that this can only be true for someone who believes the brain creates consciousness. How could a cold dead universe develop life? And how could that life develop consciousness? Isn’t that a miracle that even Jesus could not produce?

Therefore, the universe must have already been conscious. And, everything even those ‘dead’ stones are made of consciousness. This is what materialism can’t quite believe, but it is no problem for QED and biocentrism.”

I understand that you have authored a new book which will be published early this year.  How will it differ from your first book?

“Everyone wants me to talk about the science of the afterlife, which was scrunched into just one chapter of my 2012 book, The Death Experience, so my upcoming 2016 book, The New Science of Consciousness Survival, which has a Foreword by Dr. Gary Schwartz, discusses how the sciences of quantum electro-dynamics, near-death experiences, biocentrism and the sciences of consciousness survival have already replaced Newtonian materialism, at least for those scientists with the intellectual honesty and scientific rigor to examine the extensive and overwhelming data and to pay attention to what it means.

“When we can’t discern 96 percent of what exists in our universe, there is plenty of spare room for all kinds of unknowns – much more than just the afterlife’s ‘undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns,’ but entire undiscovered galaxies, alternative dimensions, multi-verses, etc., etc.

“Hopefully, this book will make all this easily understandable in a simple way, showing how materialism has always been merely speculation based on several untrue presuppositions, and also how the evolving scientific world view based on quantum electro-dynamics allows the existence of psi, the para-normal and consciousness survival, to all be valid.”

Do you sometimes feel like you are preaching to the choir, that no real progress is being made in getting your message across?

“No, actually I see great progress.  Forty-six years ago they wanted to put me in the nut house, but now I am the featured speaker at numerous organizations. Materialism is on its last legs and the meta-paradigm is shifting.”

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. His forthcoming book Why the Afterlife is Beyond Science will be published later in 2016 by White Crow Books.


Thank you so much for this illuminating interview. I just finished Dr. Hugenot’s book and found it enormously helpful in understanding what actually happens when we “die.” I eagerly await Dr. Hugenot’s next book.

Bonnie, Sat 9 Apr, 23:11

Interesting article Michael. But not one that interests your usual commenters, it would appear !

William, Tue 5 Apr, 06:47

Glad to see that educated and thoughtful people can come out of the orthodox closets even later in life.
Hugenot’s book sounds like a must read for those of us who like to see the connection of science (and social science)to spirituality and the powerful evidence for life after the death of the body. Thanks Mike!

Paul Biscop, Ph.D., Anthropology, Tue 22 Mar, 02:47

Excellent work Michael.

DR. ALAN HUGENOT, Mon 21 Mar, 13:56

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