Life After Life by author Raymond Moody

My Journey Through Death and Back: Raymond Moody’s Fascinating Exploration of Near-Death Experiences


What happens when we die? This question has haunted humanity since the dawn of time. In his groundbreaking book “Life After Life,” Dr. Raymond Moody shares revolutionary research into the mysterious phenomenon of near-death experiences (NDEs). First published in 1975, this book highlights the author’s collection of over 100 first-hand accounts from people who were clinically dead, yet returned to life with astonishing memories of their glimpse across the borders of death.

As I dove into this seminal work, I embarked upon a thrilling intellectual quest to uncover truths about the great beyond. Skillfully weaving together case studies, philosophical reflections and scientific discussion, Dr. Moody’s framing of NDEs sparked my limitless curiosity. Let’s explore his trailblazing findings and why this visionary work still captivates readers nearly 50 years later.

Life After Life by author Raymond Moody

You can find Life After Life by author Raymond Moody on your favorite bookstore, including and Amazon UK.

About author Raymond Moody

Author Raymond Moody

Raymond Moody is a pioneering researcher and author best known for his work on near-death experiences and the afterlife. Since his groundbreaking 1975 book Life After Life brought the concept of the near-death experience into public consciousness, Moody has been considered a leading authority in the field of near-death studies.

Born in 1944 in Porterdale, Georgia, Moody’s journey into investigating near-death experiences began in 1965 when he was in medical school. A psychiatrist Dr. George Ritchie recounted his own near-death experience to Moody which sparked the young medical student’s interest. Moody went on to interview hundreds of people who claimed to have clinically died or almost died, discovering similarities in their extraordinary experiences which ran counter to the medical view of death as the cessation of brain activity.

Moody coined the term “near-death experience” (NDE) to provide a recognizable phrase which described this phenomenon. In his seminal work Life After Life, he outlined common features of the near-death experience like feelings of peace and joy, out-of-body experiences, meeting spiritual figures, seeing bright lights or entering otherworldly realms, life review experiences, as well as distressing experiences which later came to be called “hellish NDEs”. Moody presented these formerly unknown experiences as glimpses into the afterlife which had profound spiritual implications.

Life After Life was enormously impactful, becoming an international bestseller with over 13 million copies sold worldwide. The book brought near-death experiences into mainstream culture and shifted perspectives on death and dying. Moody is credited with advancing the concept that death may not be the end as was commonly assumed. Thanks to the wide exposure from Life After Life as well as appearances on TV shows like The Barbara Walters Specials, Moody became recognized as the leading expert on near-death experiences, though his work also met criticism from skeptics.

Raymond Moody has continued probing intriguing questions about life after death for over 50 years. He followed up Life After Life with several other popular books like Reflections on Life After Life expanding on his research into NDEs and making further connections between ancient religious and philosophical beliefs from many cultures about the afterlife and modern accounts. Moody’s groundbreaking early research brought the profound spiritual implications of near-death experiences into public awareness and his work laid the foundations for the field of near-death studies as it exists today.

Brushing Aside the Veil of Death

I don’t know about you, but I’ve often wondered what happens to our consciousness when we pass on. Do our souls float up to some divine eternal plane? Does our mind simply blink out like a candle flame? Are there pearly white gates where angels with harps await us?

After studying over 150 instances where people were revived from clinical death, Dr. Moody realized that many shared common memories and sensations from their brushes with the abyss. Intrigued, he delved into recording their experiences to unveil this mysterious phenomenon.

Greeted By Lost Loved Ones

One of the most ubiquitous memories from Dr. Moody’s subjects was being greeted by deceased friends, pets or relatives after they crossed to the other side. Imagine seeing your beloved childhood dog bounding over to meet you, just as jubilant and affectionate as ever.

Many claimed that communicators would appear suspended in a black void or against a brilliant light, often missing their old illnesses or disabilities from life. Meeting lost loved ones brought intense comfort and reassurance to revived subjects just entering the unknown frontiers beyond life.

Journeying Down a Tunnel to a Border Land

In addition togreetings from lost loved ones, Dr. Moody discovered another common theme from the many testimonies he compiled. Most near-death experiencers vividly recounted being beckoned by a mystifying light leading them into another realm. Many felt pulled through a tunnel vortex propelling them into an unfamiliar dimension humming with energy and intelligence.

While passing through this channel, many temporarily deceased retained control over when to advance forward or peer backward into earthly surroundings. Dr. Moody theorized this visual commitment to forge ahead reinforced changing planes into another state of existence.

Gaining Sudden Understanding and Knowledge

Upon reaching the radiant terminus of their voyage through the tunnel entryway, subjects gainedsudden enlightenment about untold secrets of the universe. Questions about human existence, God, the meaning of life and other profound mysteries became filled with crystal clarity for those who Returned “from the other side.”

Some testified to witnessing the entirety of their lifespan in panoramic instant replay. Others recounted flipping through a “book of knowledge” where all past and future human discoveries became unveiled. However, the frustration of retaining only slivers of this omniscience after revival proved common for Dr. Moody’s subjects upon restoration to limited corporeal understanding.

Impact Parallels Other Groundbreaking Research

As I read “Life After Life,” I was fascinated to discover the continuity Dr. Moody’s research bore with other pioneers probing the mysteries of death from scientific or philosophical perspectives. The similarities suggest overarching patterns woven through the tapestry of passing into unknown dimensions.

Aligns with Kubler-Ross 5 Stages of Grief

For example, Dr. Raymond Moody’s model mirrors patterns unearthed by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross regarding the 5 stages of grief suffered by dying patients: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. In particular, Dr. Moody noted that his subjects exhibited acceptance and even euphoria about their demise after moving through the oscillating tunnel toward loving reunions with deceased intimates.

Resembles Tibetan Book of the Dead

This lifelong work studying the stages of death also bears an uncanny resemblance to details found in the ancient Tibetan Book of the Dead. This seminal tome describes the progress of the soul through bardos – intermediary transition phases between incarnations. The blinding white light, visits from welcoming beings, whirling tunnel vortexes and life review contained in this guidebook strongly correlate with testimonies in Dr. Moody’s research.

Intersects with Kübler-Ross 5 Stages of Grief

Moreover, details found in “Life After Life” also share intimate parallels with the 1895 work of Frederic William Henry Myers entitled “Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death.” This scholarly Victorian researcher collected hundreds of channeled transcripts from mediums to build a composite sketch of the afterlife realms awaiting us just past the shores of death.

Why This Book Still Matters Today

Unlike chaotic fictional depictions of afterlife voyages, Dr. Moody brought academic gravity and investigative rigor to collecting these glimpses beyond the veil of mortality. By cross-referencing similarities in experience against patients of diverse backgrounds, he lends credibility to the notion of an accessible core structure behind crossing into the great beyond.

Shifted Medical Perceptions About Death

When originally published in 1975, this research radically transformed how the medical community perceived death. No longer was demise an abrupt off switch into nothingness, but rather a transitional gateway into another phase of existence. Follow-up research by Dr. Moody revealed how some patients revived from clinical death resented being wrenched back into wounded bodies rather than exploring the beautiful realms beckoning to them through death’s doorway.

Inspired Global Fascination with Life After Death

In addition to changing medical assumptions, this book ignited mainstream curiosity about what lies beyond our last breath. Newscasters, documentaries and magazines shifted focus to near-death experiences, ushering these once obscure first-hand accounts into household conversation. This cultural craving to decode death’s mysteries beyond ancient scriptures endures nearly half a century later.

Resonates More Deeply As Mortality Looms Nearer

While young people may casually study revelations within “Life After Life,” its message beams brighter for readers seeing death’s horizon drawing nearer themselves. Learning about the reunions with loved ones awaiting us just past the tunnel entryway resonates more powerfully among senior readers scanning for signs and reassurance about the frontiers facing them in life’s final chapters.

Lingering Questions Worth Exploring

While “Life After Life” raises “somebody up there likes me” moments for decoding the afterworld, Dr. Moody’s body of research also leaves provocative riddles still ripe for exploration:

  • If our departed loved ones come to usher us into a hereafter realm, what happens with more alienated souls without welcoming committees awaiting them?
  • How could ethereal beings exist suspended without a physical plane grounding their essence over time?
  • If we retain so little knowledge brought back from beyond, are NDEs cereal-box prizes granting us vacant glimpses denied upon full transition through death’s ultimate veil?
  • What other celestial languages and sentient species occupy alternative dimensional terrains traversable through exits opened by terminal illness, violence or risk?
  • Could advances in resuscitation science allow humans to plunge deeper into eternity without crossing the Point of No Return gateway?

Perhaps informed investigation into Near Death Experiences marks our first toddling steps as a species to crawl through the rabbit hole opening into humanity’s last true terra incognita frontier.

The Light This Book Will Kindle in Your Mind

In conclusion, Dr. Raymond Moody’s avant-garde clinical compilation of case studies probed daring psychosocial taboos about the final door we will all pass through one day in life’s appointed hour. By framing Near Death Experiences with academic rigor and investigative integrity across medical, theological and paranormal contexts, “Life After Life” reignited global imagination about what unfurls just past death’s event horizon.

I highly recommend picking up this trailblazing book to advance your own ovulation about the greatest of all human mysteries looming nearer for us all: what dreams may come when we at last shuffle off this mortal coil? This pioneering researcher’s assembly of testimony glimpsing across death’s forbidden sill suggests far more astonishing secrets await than any faith or fables shared thus far…

If you found this review helpful, check out these similar books exploring the intersection where science meets spirituality:

  • “Conversations with God, Book 1” by Neale Donald Walsch. This enlightening, thoughtful book shares a modern perspective on spirituality through a series of imagined conversations with God.
  • “Embraced by the Light” by Betty J. Eadie. A first-person chronicle of a Near Death Experience filled with elaborate passages through celestial cities alive with love and healing.
  • “The Eagle’s Gift: A Profound Teaching from a Shaman’s Medicine Wheel” by Carlos Castenada. A student of mysticism dives deep into the visions unlocked from ingesting native psychedelics to encounter interdimensional beings and awakened truths.
  • “Communion” by Whitley Strieber. Horror author Whitley Strieber unleashes his personal journals documenting his own alien abductions and paranormal experiments endured under hypnosis.
  • “Many Lives Many Masters” by Brian Weiss. A skeptical psychiatrist accidentally unlocks a patient’s past life memories under hypnosis, only to uncover his own previous incarnations in turn.
  • “The Afterlife Experiments: Breakthrough Evidence of Life After Death” by Gary E. Schwartz. A university professor documents years of laboratory tests where psychic mediums apparently channel personalities of the dead with uncanny accuracy.


What is the main idea of Life After Life?

Life After Life explores the phenomenon of the near-death experience (NDE) and what these experiences can tell us about life after death. Based on interviews with over 100 people who went through clinical death and were revived, the book investigates common elements of NDEs like the bright light, meeting spirits, and seeing one’s life flash before their eyes. Moody makes the case that NDEs provide evidence that something occurs after death.

What areas of research helped spark interest in near-death experiences?

Interest in near-death experiences emerged from developments in several areas of medical and scientific research. Advances in resuscitation science meant more people were being brought back from clinical death. Additionally, the 1960s brought growing interest in fields like comparative religion, parapsychology, and quantum physics that inspired new ideas about human consciousness.

How did Raymond Moody become interested in studying life after death?

As a doctoral student in philosophy in the 1960s, Raymond Moody was interested in human consciousness and made parapsychology one of his areas of focus. After hearing a psychiatrist lecture on strange experiences people reported after coming close to death, Moody started interviewing and documenting these near-death experiences (NDEs). This research eventually became his book Life After Life.

What common attributes do many near-death experiences share?

While no two NDEs are exactly alike, Moody identifies several elements that many share in common like having an out-of-body experience, being enveloped by a bright loving light, communicating with deceased loved ones, seeing scenes from one’s life flash before them, sensing a tunnel or door leading to the afterlife realm, and not wanting to return to one’s earthly body after the experience.

Does Moody think near-death experiences are spiritually dangerous?

Quite the contrary. While some religious leaders have expressed concerns that interest in NDEs could lead people away from their faith, Moody believes looking at these experiences rationally does not have to undermine one’s beliefs. He holds that NDEs point to there being something beyond earthly life, which supports most spiritual perspectives rather than conflicting with them.

What is Moody’s theory about what occurs after death based on NDE accounts?

Given so many NDE reports of experiencing unconditional love and having one’s life actions judged, Moody theorizes the afterlife is about spiritual awakening and growth – not reward or punishment. He posits that after death, souls review their previous lives and gain new understanding of themselves before eventually being born into new earthly bodies to continue learning.

Have medical experts successfully explained near-death experiences as hallucinations?

While some skeptics have attributed NDEs to being hallucinatory episodes triggered by physical trauma or medical conditions, Moody holds these explanations come up short. Because so many NDEs follow a fairly consistent pattern regardless of the person or circumstances, medical proofs fail to account for key parts of the experience like encountering lost loved ones or reviewing one’s entire life.

How have advances in resuscitation science impacted research into near-death experiences?

The development of CPR and other emergency treatment methods in recent decades has increased the number of documented near-death cases to study. These advances mean more people can be brought back from clinical death once considered irreversible. Having access to more confirmed NDE cases has given researchers like Moody additional insights and data points to analyze for common patterns.

How have near-death experiences changed people’s attitudes about death?

A key impact of many NDEs is they counter people’s anxieties about death being the final end. Meeting deceased loved ones and sensing they still exist even without a physical body leads most NDE survivors to lose their fear of mortality. Additionally, gaining a life review perspective shifts focus to looking more at one’s spiritual development rather than material success.

Why do some people not report having near-death experiences after being revived?

While his research focuses on those who do report NDE phenomena, Moody notes anywhere between 25-50% of those resuscitated from clinical death do not recount anything unusual. He hypothesizes some may simply have no memory of the experience afterward while others may perceive it differently based on their beliefs. Factors like cause of death and neurological changes likely also play a role.

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