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The Most Profound Near-Death Experience Ever?

Posted on 18 November 2013, 13:18

Although the near-death experience (NDE) was not so named until the 1970s, by Dr. Raymond Moody, reports of the phenomenon go back many years before Moody began researching them. It would be difficult to find a more dynamic NDE than that reported by Cora L. V. Richmond (below)  in her 1923 book entitled My Experiences While Out of My Body.  “The possibility of the spirit ‘leaving the body’ for a time and then returning to its usual activities has been demonstrated many times,” she wrote more than 50 years before Moody’s classic book Life After Life,  going on to point out that the separation can be caused by accident or illness (NDE) but sometimes by “voluntary absence,” referred to as simply an out-of body experience (OBE).


“These visits to ‘heaven’,” she continued, “would be sometimes tinged with the religious bias of the subject, but this is not strange in view of the fact that spirit states are conditions of the mind and spirits experiencing them.” . Nearly a century later, skeptical scientists are making this same observation as if it is something new and offering it as evidence that the experience is nothing more than a hallucination.

In addition to several NDEs, Richmond seems to have been adept at departing her body voluntarily.  It is not entirely clear from her book,  but the primary experience reported on appears to have come during a serious illness, when she was near death for a number of days several years before her actual death at age 82, in 1923, the year the book was published.  However, she claimed to have had many out-of-body experiences and it is sometimes difficult to discern if everything she reports in the book resulted from that one NDE during her serious illness or whether some of it came from other experiences.

She begins the book by stating that it is impossible to adequately convey in human language what she actually experienced, especially in the higher states of the afterlife environment, and that the best she could do was make an attempt at offering some glimpses of her experience.  She recalled a great sense of relief – of being set free from the limitations of the body and did not expect to return to it as she had previously done.  “There was a perception of great Light, a consciousness of Illumination, an awakening to the vastness, the unlimitation of this Realm of Spirit,” she explained. “All else was swallowed up – eclipsed by the wonderful experiences that came – the Beloved Presences – the vistas of luminous Spirits!  This was a state of Super-Consciousness; the awakening of faculties and perceptions before unknown, of being aware, almost without limitation; of KNOWING!  Whatever is the nature and state of the real Ego this seemed as near to the Absolute as one could well conceive!  There was so much of me!  There was so little of me!  There were so many and such surpassing spirits!  How one shrinks in the presences of the mighty ones!  How one expands in the Knowledge of the Infinite: His Image!”

Deceased loved ones welcomed her. “The Best Beloved, those who had preceded me into this wondrous life, came thronging around, by degrees,” she wrote, “to welcome me: not all at once, but first those who were by tenderest ties the nearest and the dearest.”. She learned that spirits of kindred thoughts, perceptions, and aspirations are attracted to each other and form groups who work together for others.  “I saw them ‘moving upon’ the minds of those in Earth-forms whom they could reach, sometimes singly, some times in groups, as the conditions might require.”  .

Her guide took her on a tour of the spirit world.  She witnessed scenes in which spirits were attempting to minister to those humans under their guidance but failed because of earthly barriers, primarily selfishness and not being open to spirit influence due to false education, both theological and material.  She saw those recently deceased and not yet fully awakened to their new state existing in the thought-forms and scenes of their recent earthly lives as they lacked the spiritual awareness to fully recognize and appreciate their new states.  “As the Spirit unfolds, the thought-forms change and then disappear as perception takes the place of limitation by the senses,” it was explained to her. Many of those reproducing familiar scenes of their earth conditions seemed satisfied, some even happy, “not even knowing that this similitude was the result of their own thought-forms instead of being inherent or organic in the ‘spirit land’.”  But, there were many others whose thought-forms were of the “shadowed kind” and apparently not especially pleasant.

Richmond went on to say that she became more and more aware that she could perceive and receive more perfectly the answer to every question, even before its formulation in thought.  “Formulation is a process of limitation, sometimes of hindrance,” her spirit guide told her, explaining that prepared senses are the result of prepared minds; that is, minds prepared by the awareness of spirit while in the material life. 

She prayed that she would not have to return to her physical body, but her guide informed her that she still had work to do and must return.  She was taken by her guide to view her body and observed it still breathing while also seeing a “psychic cord” connecting her spirit form to it.  The guide told her that although she would not immediately return to her body, that it was necessary for her to keep her spirit “en rapport” with the body.  Thus, during the experience over “many days” of earth time she was required to return to the body to keep the ”vital spark”  alive.  She likened the idea of returning to visiting dear friends in a place of beauty and enchantment and then having to return to one’s daily routine. 

She was taken by her guide to witness those “working with themselves.”  One such soul she recognized as a person who had been considered “eminent” in the art world whilc in the material life.  He was cutting, carving, and breathing upon an image of himself.  She asked the guide what the man was doing.  “Removing the angularities and errors of his own nature: jealously of other artists, the deepest scar; selfish love of human praise – that overweening desire for adulation; unwillingness to accord to others the appreciation of their true merits,” the guide explained. 

“Spirit states are as varied as are the personal states of those composing them,” Richmond observed. “The knowledge – or lack of it – possessed by the person IS the spirit state, i.e., knowledge of spiritual principles.”  In effect, the more we come to understand relative to spiritual principles in the earth life, the better off we are after transitioning to the spirit world, assuming that we live by those principles.
“Time does not seem to be a factor in the realm of spirits except as related to people and events in the human state with which spirits have connection,” she further explained. “Our human phrases, and even our usual thoughts seem superficial , weak, and puerile when endeavoring to describe the divine realities of the Spirit.”

Her tour of the higher or more celestial realms was completely beyond description.  “No human language is in the smallest degree adequate to portray the ecstasy produced by the vision, contemplation of perception of this all-glorious state,” she went on.  “Orb on orb of transcendent beauty, sphere on sphere of celestial splendor!.” And while spirits in those higher realms were more unified in purpose, they retained their individuality.  “This Individuality is Eternal; is the Ego of which the small personality of earth and even of the spirit states is but a fragment of manifestation.”

Richmond asked her guide why knowledge of the spirit world is not made more available to humans and was told that it was a matter of growth, unfoldment, waiting and working. In other words, most people are not yet ready for it.

In concluding the book, Richmond mentioned that some eminent men of science had made headway in helping humans understand the future life.  She named Hare, Mapes, Denton, Wallace, Crookes, Varley, Zollner, and Flammarion, but she placed Sir Oliver Lodge, an esteemed British physicist, at the top of the list, as one whose mind was best prepared to receive spiritual truths..

There is so much more to the story of Cora L. V. Richmond than her NDEs and OBEs.  She was perhaps the most amazing medium of the 19th Century, possibly the greatest medium in 2000 years.  Beginning in 1851, at age 11, as Cora Scott, she would go into a trance state and vacate her body, permitting various advanced spirits to speak through her vocal cords, lecturing to thousands of people in the United States and England on various subjects pertaining to their spiritual welfare, including philosophical, social, political, and reform matters.  (See my blog of September 23 about Professor James Mapes to read his comments about her. More about Cora L. V. Richmond in my next blog post in two weeks.)

Cora Richmond’s books can be obtained from or phone 510-479-4792
Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die is published by White Crow Books. His latest book, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife is now available on Amazon and other online book stores. 

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Next blog, 2nd December.

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Spirit Survives in Ireland

Posted on 04 November 2013, 9:51

After looking over the contents page of Emerald-Spirit, an intriguing book about Ireland by David Stang, (below) I was especially anxious to read the chapters dealing with Irish spirituality and mysticism.  I questioned whether I should skip the early chapter about the weather in Ireland. How interesting can weather be?  But I decided to bite the bullet and read it anyway.  At the conclusion of that chapter, I wondered if Stang had won a Pulitzer Prize or some other award for his writing.  That chapter alone was worth the price of the book.


“...the Irish skies – I would be willing to bet – have had a lot to do with shaping Irish spirituality,” Stang, a retired Washington, D.C. lawyer who has owned a second home in Ireland for many years, offers.  “The cloud layer is often quite low and can take the form of mist or fog. The effect is to bring heaven, or the home of the gods. so close to the earth that you can not only see it but feel it touching your face.” 

Stang goes on to point out that the dark days instill in the Irish a certain melancholy, while the bright days induce an almost manic state of bliss,  As a result, the Irish “monocosmic consciousness” is constantly being reinforced by its kaleidoscope skies.  “When you cast your eyes towards the horizon and see, streaming through the cloud cover, majestic rays of light, you can only begin to suspect that the Deity, or at least a mighty host of angels, is close at hand,” Stang explains the phenomenon.  “The majestic rays of light are as plentiful as rainbows in Ireland. And everyone knows about the spiritual magic of rainbows.”

And then there’s the landscape.  “There is something magic about the landscape, the way it changes from minute to minute,” Stang continues.  “The visible suddenly becomes invisible, then returns again as if under the control of spirit beings.  If you relax and let the panorama phantasmagoria speak to you, your consciousness may click into a realm of fantasy where charms, magic, and mystery all dwell contentedly together.  This allows your rational mind to let itself lapse into a semi-stupor so your child’s mind can awaken and listen. The child’s mind is fuelled with curiosity and a belief that all things are possible.”

In a chapter titled “Religion on the Rocks,” Stang observes that many have left the Church or remain only nominal parishioners.  The reason is much the same as in other countries – various clerical scandals and disagreement with certain Church teachings.—but there is perhaps a bigger reason.  “Through watching American and British movies portraying the glories of a materialistic culture, and by being bombarded with advertising, a growing number of Irish are beginning to believe that they are what they buy,” Stang explains.  “They are learning to measure their self-worth by the clothes they wear, the houses they live in, and the cars they drive.  The more they have, the better they tend to feel about themselves.”

This materialistic mindset seems to be especially prevalent among those under 35, the consciousness of hard times tempering somewhat the spending habits of those over 50.  An increasing number of Irish, Stang further notes, believe that they are losing their Irishness and no different now than Yanks or Brits.  “Their mistake is in assuming that their belongings are the principal means of demonstrating their collective identity,” he offers.  “Many appear to forget that social and cultural identity are shaped by more than material possessions alone.”

Stang, who teaches a course in philosophy and spirituality to graduate students at American University, wrote the book before the current economic recession or depression, however it is classified.  Asked how things have changed, if at all, he replied that during his residence in Ireland this past summer he found many people, including some of his best friends “steeped in their dark sides – morosity, begrudgery, depression, pessimism, cynicism , suspicion, distrust and victim identity.”  He says it is as if “the Great Famine of the 1840s has returned and won’t leave and they are becoming more bitter every day. Economic hard times seem not to be improving. In one sense this is driving them back to before they became manically materialistic, but on the other hand their having feasted on the Celtic Tiger has caused within them a hunger to return to the easy money days again.”

Nevertheless, in spite of the decline of religion and the influences of materialism, there are still – at least in rural Ireland – thousands of Irish whose spiritual roots have not been deadened by the materialistic quest to be ONE with one’s toys.  “There are still many Irish people who believe in other-worldly inhabitants and there are quite a few who say they are in communication with them, or at least able to observe and identify such entities,” Stang states, going on to say that thousands of Irish pilgrims journey to sacred places in Ireland and abroad each year.  Especially important to them are those associated with Marian apparitions.

Stang interviewed a number of women who claimed to have witnessed Marian apparitions and concluded that each one believed that what she saw was much more than a vision.  It was an actual appearance.  “They also tend to believe that it is not any inherent capacity on their part that enables them to have visions, but that they were chosen by Our Lady or Our Lord to witness such appearances,” he adds.

Death, Stang says, is a very big thing in Ireland.  “Rural and small-town Irish often curse their neighbours behind their backs, but the moment the neighbour is dead, they say, ‘God rest his soul; I’ve never had any unkind word to say about him.’  Life-long enemy or not, they go to his funeral – sometimes it seems, as a form of penance to avoid retribution for unkind words and deeds previously inflicted on the now dead man.”

There is a concern, at least in rural Ireland, that even though the body is dead, the ears, eyes, memory, an soul of the deceased person is still lurking close “Unspoken, but apparently felt by the members of each community in rural Ireland is a concern – half-conscious, half-subliminal – that though the body may be dead, the ears, eyes, memory and soul are lurking close by and are probably able to detect even the most secret thoughts of anyone who approaches the coffin.” 

The person calls upon the dead person’s family, expresses condolences, sends a Mass card and joins in the Rosary prayers. doing whatever necessary to help the still-lurking soul make its way into the afterlife. “Before the Mass, you shake hands with any family members standing at the door…You are certain to be on our best behaviour and think only the purest of thoughts, because the dead man’s soul may well know what is running through your mind, and God himself – present in the Blessed Sacrament – certainly does.” 

As Stang sees it, the Irish have heart-centered souls.  It is a soul filled with empathy and compassion and one that feels with intensity. “When they live out of their heart, and soul, it shows,” he concludes.  “They exude a reverence for being alive, humility, kindness, compassion, graciousness, sociability, cheerfulness, and humour.”.

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die is published by White Crow Books. His latest book, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife is now available on Amazon and other online book stores. 

Emerald Spirit by David Stang is available from Amazon.

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Next blog post: November 18 .


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