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Life After Death Essay, Research Paper

Is this the beginning, middle, or end of our existence? Have we lived before in

another time, another place? What awaits us when we die? Is the physical being all there

really is to our existence; or is the spirit or soul what really makes us who we are? There

is an abundance of case studies that suggest there is some sort of life after we die. Some

from the not-so credible sources and others that seem much more believable. We will all

find the answer when we die. Can we find the answer while we still live?

I remember the day that death really hit home with me. It was November 1, 1991

at 6:25am. This was when I watched my father take his last breath. This was no ordinary

breath. It was like the body knew it was going to be the last. The inhale was very deep as

if the lungs were trying to take in the most amount of air possible. The exhale was equally

unusual, slow in fact, as if to say let me savor this one last drop of life. Then the body

sat up. The face began to gruesomely convulse as if in tremendous amounts of pain. The

tongue thrashed about wildly within a gaping mouth. The eyes seem to stare off into the

abyss, seeing something not of this world. Then, as quickly as it began, it ended. The

body went limp, the face no longer convulsed, all movement simply stopped. His

distraught wife of 33 years, my mother, wept uncontrollably as she lay the body back

down on the bed in the prone position.

I didn t realize it then, but as I reflect back on the exact moment before his body

went limp, I was given a sign that something awaits us after we take our last breath. It

was the look in his eyes. Here I was no more that three feet from him and his eyes pierced

right through me focusing on something beyond this world. I can only ponder what that

something was. The power and intensity displayed in his eyes was something like I have

never seen before or since. Do we have the ability to see what lies ahead before that final

moment? Was that intense look one of finality, excitement of what lies ahead, or simply

fear? The Bible states that when we die we simply return to the dust of the earth but our

souls are reborn in heaven (Eccle. 3:20). Do our souls get reincarnated and sent back to

an earthly existence at another time and place only to repeat the whole process of life and

death for eternity? Have some of us been able to tap into the next world with Near Death

Experiences or After Death Communications?

Different religions have different beliefs about what happens to our souls after we

die. For instance, Jehovah s Witnesses believe that we simply return to dust and upon the

day of reckoning as described in the book of Revelations, our souls will be reborn, judged

by God and 144,000 souls will join him in heaven. The remainder will spend eternity on

earth. Earth however, will not be as it is now; it will be a paradise. The Catholic religion

believes in the hall of souls wherein our souls get recycled and sent back to earth to

live again in another bodily existence. Does this somehow tie into the widespread belief in


Do we all have even the slightest amount of ability to see what lies beyond, but

either don t understand it or don t know how to harness the power? There are numerous

accounts of people having visions or some sort of contact with a deceased loved one.

Consider the following testimonials:

A nine-year-old boy, named Edward Cuomo, was hospitalized with a fever that

lasted thirty six hours. When the fever broke, he told his parents that he was with his

guardian Angel. In addition, he stated that he saw several of his deceased relatives

including his older sister. His parents were insistent that he did not see his sister because

she was alive and well attending college in another state. The little boy persistently stuck

to his statement of seeing his sister. So persistent in fact, that his parents were beginning

to become very upset. The following morning, the parents decide to call the college and

check on there daughter. The college stated that their daughter had been killed in a car

accident the night before and that they had been trying to reach them (Steiger 42-6).

Where does the soul begin? Perhaps this answers that question while opening


A four-year-old boy had drowned and been resuscitated. After his near-death

experience he told his mother that he had been to the other side and saw his brother. The

boy s mother told him that he didn t have a brother. The boy stated Yes, I do, Mommy.

He was pulled from your tummy when you were only fourteen. The mother had an

abortion at the age of fourteen and never told anyone (Steiger 118-19).

How can anyone state that these children did not have these experiences? In both

cases the children had contact with a dead sibling that they did not know was dead. There

is no other possible explanation for the phenomena other than the reality that their souls

were somewhere not of this world. Was this a glimpse of heaven? Jesus said Do not let

your heart be troubled; trust in God, trust in me also. In my Father s house are many

rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for

you (John 14: 1-2). There are also many accounts of people having been contacted by

Angelic beings or even Jesus himself.

Steve Cosette, an investment counselor living in San Francisco, battled a life

threatening case of scarlet fever as a nine-year-old child in Oklahoma. Doctors were

unsuccessful in curing the little boy. One evening little Steve, believing he was going to

die, prayed to God asking for forgiveness of his sins and to be healed. Then, a figure

surrounded by a soft blue light, began to take shape at the foot of his bed. The figure

became as solid as the furniture in the room. It was an Angel kneeling in prayer. At this

moment, everything went black, the little boy thought he had gone blind. Off in the

distance he saw a bright light and began to float towards it. He heard the Angel s voice


Most Merciful Lord of Hosts, allow this child to continue his life

on Earth. Enrich his knowledge and his understanding so that he

might prove to be a better servant of thy word and thy truth. Keep

him ever steadfast in the Light and keep him always from the dark-

ness. Most Divine Lord of Heaven and Earth, remove the sickness

from his body and return him anew to his full life span (Steiger 83).

While the Angel was in prayer, he began to be pulled away from the light and

returned to his bed. The Angel slowly began to fade in the same manner as it appeared.

The boy slept. The next morning the fever was gone, the little boy was healthy once again

(Steiger 78-84).

Jesus said that we all have the ability to move mountains with faith (1Corin. 13).

Peter Fadden, an architect from New Jersey, battled a deadly case of rheumatic

fever when he as eleven. On his deathbed, with his mother at his side, Peter said aloud

that he saw a nun and a priest also standing at his bedside. Peter thought that his mother

had called them to give him his last rites. His mother screamed frantically that her boy

was dying, for there was no one else in the room, she had not called anyone. Then

everything went black. Peter awoke in what he compared to a three-sided hospital room.

He could see vast meadows filled with flowers, butterflies and animals. The nun and priest

were standing against a wall and asked him how he was feeling. Peter immediately asked

the priest who he was and where he was. The nun simply stated that they were friends and

they were in a kind of heaven. Peter then sat up and noticed that all of his pain was gone.

The priest laughed and said to Isn t it wonderful? They then told Peter that he had not

yet been pronounced dead. Peter then asked why he was here. The priest stated that they

were merely messengers and could not answer that question. Peter began to put it all

together and exclaimed that the pair were Angels. The nun then stated that her name was

Maureen and the priest s name was Henry. She went on to say that they had been

watching over him since he was born. They offered the little boy some fruit. He was

astonished at the fact that it tasted so real. When they had all satisfied their hunger, Henry

picked up the bowl and it vanished. They went on to explain that in this dimension

nothing is wasted, everything simply returns to it s source. They began to give Peter a

tour of his surroundings. They came across and area where dozens of children were

being instructed by Angels. Maureen and Henry told Peter that this was the children s

nursery. They said that the souls of children come here to grow as they would have on

Earth. Henry told Peter that if it was decided that he was to stay, this would be his

heavenly home. Then Maureen told Henry that Peter had to go back to his physical being.

Henry took the boy by the hand. Maureen assured Peter that they would always be with

him (Steiger 85-96).

Diana, an equestrian instructor in Pennsylvania, lost her four-year-old daughter

from unknown causes. Shortly after the funeral while lying in bed a shape began to appear

in the left-hand corner of her room. It was of a man sitting on a stool, clothed in a white

robe tied with a hemp belt. She described him as having gray and black hair and being the

color of every man! She said her daughter was sitting on the lap of Jesus and he asked her

Would you have her back if you could? She could clearly see that her daughter was

happy and remembers thinking How could I want Lisa back when I see how happy she

is? (Guggenheim 357-8).

These cases and many other similar cases definitely suggest that there really is a

separation between body and soul. This belief is the first step in the theory of

reincarnation. If you believe that the soul is separate and goes to another dimension upon

the death of the physical body then it might be possible for the soul to return to the

physical dimension in yet another body at yet another time. Dr. Corcoran, the president of

the International Association for Near Death Studies is currently conducting extensive

research on reincarnation (Corcoran).

Edgar Cayce pioneered the study of reincarnation beginning in the early 1900 s.

His works are the most documented of their kind and are now located at the Association

for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.) Library in Virginia. For over forty years he

would go into a trance like state twice a day and recount the building of the pyramids in

Egypt, the lost city of Atlantis, Astrology, how to heal the human body using techniques

unknown to the medical community. It should be noted that Mr. Cayce was also a Sunday

school teacher who read the bible on a regular basis. So regular that he read it in it s

entirety once for every year that he lived. One can not help but wonder that perhaps Mr.

Cayce became so close to God that he was permitted to have these special abilities

(Sparrow 2-12).

If a soul could be reincarnated. Could it take an even broader leap and return to

Earth and inhabit a body that has not yet died; in essence trade places? This theory has

been labeled Walk-Ins and the following case study is known as the Watsek Wonder

and dates back to July, 1877.

A thirteen-year-old girl named Lurancy Vennum from Watseka, Illinois, had a high

fever and seizures beginning on July 11. On occasion, following a seizure, she would

enter a trance-like state. Coincidentally another member of their community named A. B.

Roth had lost his daughter 12 years earlier under these same conditions. Mr. Roth

sympathized with the Vennums and introduced them to the doctor that treated his

daughter, Dr. E. W. Stevens. Dr. Stevens went to the Vennum home on January 31,

1878. Lurancy entered into a trance-like state. Dr. Stevens began to converse with her

during this time. Lurancy claimed to be a sixty-three-year-old woman named Katrina

Hogan. A short time later she identified herself as Willie Cunning. Dr. Stevens began to

speak to the ever-changing spirits, asking if one and only one, would come forward and

speak through Lurancy. The spirit began to list the entities that would like to come

forward. Then the voice said that the Angels have chosen one – Mary Roff. The next

morning Lurancy woke up claiming to be Mary Roth. She did not recognize anyone in the

household. The Roth family came to visit and Mary pleaded with her father, Mr. Roth, to

take her home. She also addressed her sister by her pet name – Nervie. Mary was the

only person to address her sister in this manner. On February 11, Mary was allowed to

move to the Roth residence. She recognized every person, and could recall numerous

incidents that occurred prior to her demise. Then just as it had began, in May, 1878, Mary

told her mother that Lurancy was coming back for a while. She entered into a trance-like

state and when she awoke, she was Lurancy once again! Mary had been living in

Lurancy s body for several months. Now, Lurancy was upset because she did not

recognize any of her surroundings. A few minutes went by and Lurancy was gone, Mary

returned to once again inhabit the body. One afternoon, Mary said that her brother,

Frank, should be watched because he will become gravely ill and could possibly die.

Frank was described to be quite healthy and not suffering from any illness. Dr. Stevens

visited the Roth family that evening and told the family that he would be visiting another

patient in Old Town. At two a.m. Frank went into convulsions. Mary told the family

members to go to Mrs. Marsh s home, who also lived in the neighborhood, and get Dr.

Stevens. The family told Mary that Dr. Stevens was not there, he was in Old Town.

Mary was not only persistent but she was correct. Mary did not wait for the Doctor, she

began to treat her brother. During this time, Dr. Stevens arrived. He noted that Mary was

treating her brother correctly and allowed her to continue. One day Mary stated that

Lurancy is coming back. She even went so far as to give the date and time that it would

happen. She began to say good-bye to friends and relatives. Mr. Roth and Mary were

enroute to Lurancy s home on that planned day when Lurancy returned to her rightful

existence. Lurancy later married, moved farther west and gave birth to a child (Steiger


It must be noted that although this account occurred some time ago, it is

considered by many to be a well documented case of a Walk-In . Neither family had

anything to personally gain by fabricating these events. If this were to happen in today s

society, one would be a bit more skeptic. The media blitz would be phenomenal, with

million dollar movie offers, etc. thereby discounting the story s credibility.

These few cases, taken from thousands of life after death experiences are indeed

indicative that something exist after our physical beings cease to. One does not

necessarily have to be religious to realize that. These were ordinary people not unlike you

or me. There must be something after this life, whether it s good bad or indifferent.

Statistics show that eight out of ten people believe in life after death (Greppi 1). Death is

not frightening. It is more frightening to view this life as the end. Is working our entire

lives to earn financial rewards all there is? What a boring existence. It almost seems

robotic, to be born, live, and die. There has to be a more specific purpose or meaning to

our lives for it to count and make some sort of sense. We perceive immortality as living

in our earthly body for eternity. Perhaps we are immortal, in a spiritual sense, and like the

blind can not see. What a heartwarming feeling to think that we will go on living for

eternity. Another story, another time, another place.

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