Janice’s Review Blog

Archive for August 2012

Anita Moorjani shares her life, the events leading up to her battle with cancer, her near-death experience and the lessons learned and shared with others throughout the world in her inspirational memoir, “Dying to be Me.”

Anita Moorjani writes an inspirational memoir, "Dying to be Me."

Anita Moorjani writes an inspirational memoir, “Dying to be Me.”

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In the new book, “Paranormal: My Life in Pursuit of the Afterlife,” by Raymond Moody, M.D. and Paul Perry, Moody tells his life story and the fascinating and thorough research he conducts and records into near-death and past-life experiences.

"Paranormal" shares the life of Raymond Moody, M.D. and his research into the afterlife.

“Paranormal” shares the life of Raymond Moody, M.D. and his research into the afterlife.

At the age of 12, Moody listened as his father, a surgeon, apologized for being late one evening because he started a dead man’s heart. At the time, Moody wondered what the man experienced, but his father only worried that he saved the man.

Moody attended a school for gifted students and after graduation, he chose to go to the University of Virginia to study his passion, astronomy. He soon realized that his interests in philosophy and logic outweighed that of astronomy, and he became a student in the scholars’ program where he submerged himself in reading Plato’s “Republic” and learned about Socrates. Moody decided that he wanted to think like Socrates. Moody’s interest in the afterlife grew after reading the story Socrates told about the dead soldier, Ur, who came back to life and told about his journey.

While auditing a philosophical topics course, Professor John Marshall mentioned Dr. George Ritchie, a psychiatrist at the medical school and the survivor of a near-death experience. Moody found a way to meet Ritchie and hear about his near-death experience, and Moody found himself “hooked on death.” He and Ritchie became friends, and Moody decided to become a psychiatrist.

After graduating from UVA, Moody accepted a philosophy teaching position at East Carolina University. There while teaching a class, one of his students told him of a near-death experience. He changed the way he taught his class, and more students came forward with stories of near-death experiences. Moody began to interview and record these experiences, and he also began to speak about the experiences at various venues.

With his research on near-death experiences, Moody wrote his first book, “Life After Life.” He made sure to use corroboration from the medical community, and he left God and religion out of the discussion. Moody found that the medical community welcomed the book because they heard of these experiences, but didn’t know how to discuss the subject of death with patients.

Because of his research and the rise of “Life After Life” “onto every bestseller list in the world, where it stayed for more than three years,” Moody got to hear additional stories and worked with others interested in studying death like Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.

Moody continued to pursue other past-life phenomena and began to research past-life regression. Previously, Dr. Ritchie taught Moody hypnosis, so Moody used it in his past-life regression groups.

Through his past-life regression research, Moody listed 12 traits subjects might experience during regression. He published these traits in his book, “Coming Back: A Psychiatrist Explores Past-Life Journeys.”

And then when Moody accidentally knocked a book, “Crystal Gazing,” off a book store shelf, he became interested in scrying, which he says in general demonstrates “the ways in which other cultures created altered states of consciousness by gazing into crystals, mirrors, or other clear depths.”

This fascinating book shows how Moody becomes involved with each step of his afterlife research and the lengths he goes to in order to cover all angles of his subject matter. He presents the facts, the research and his observations, but he lets the reader come to their own conclusions.

I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in what happens at death and a curiosity of whether an afterlife exits.

Photo © 2012 Janice Semmel