Revisiting Near-Death Experience with Dr. Ray Moody

February 17, 2024

Lecture and Meeting with Dr. Ray Moody  

I heard Dr. Ray Moody speak on the topic of near-death experience in 2014. Like many people in the audience, I had been influenced by Dr. Moody's first book, Life After Life, and  considered him an authority on near-death experience (a phrase coined by Moody himself).  

Written in 1975, Life After Life, is based on case studies of people who reported having had very similar, apparently spiritual experiences when very near death. The book became a runaway best-seller and near-death experience (or NDE) became a household word.

I found Dr. Moody to be a charming and articulate speaker. His presentation covered a range of NDE related topics which included history, philosophy and the nature of the NDE itself.  In this post I will touch upon some of them.

According to Dr. Moody, the common elements of the NDE included the experience of a hyper-reality which is largely indescribable, vivid color, a warm and loving light, the presence of deceased loved ones, a tunnel or passage, and a panoramic life review. In some NDEs a being of great compassion conducts the review and tells the individual that they must return to their former life. 

This was of special interest to me because I had experienced NDE like elements in my dreams. These included hyper-reality, ineffability, vivid color, beings of warmth and love, meetings with the departed and various passages (train tracks, board walks, halls). These were not NDEs obviously but I did receive information I hadn't known about before. In several such dreams in fact, I learned of the death of people I'd lost contact with through the dream.

While I was aware of some of the similatities between these dreams and NDE at the time, there was one connection I did not make then, but have only come to recently.

The Influence of Ancient Greece

Durung the presentation, Dr. Moody talked about the ancient Greeks, and their ideas about life after death. He was especially interested in the practice of necromancy in ancient Greece. Because of this interest he had visited the ruins of the oracle of the dead in Greece, at Ephyra. Ephyra was a place once thought to be the gateway to the underworld.

Upon returning to his home in Anniston Alabama, Dr. Moody set about constructing his own oracle of the dead (or necromanteion). In his book, Reunions, Moody shares his own experience with the dead in his necromanteion and gives instructions in how to construct your own. 

When I asked Dr. Moody for book recommendations at the close of the lecture, he gave me the names of two books on necromancy, The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation and Greek and Roman Necromancy. Both of which I bought.

One thing that stood out to me about the lecture then was something Dr. Moody said about a life almost wholly devoted to the study of NDE . Everything I have done in life, he told us, is because of my interest in ancient Greece.  

Not faith. Not science. Greece.

At the time, I was just begiining to learn about Greek culture. So, I loved the fact that Dr. Moody and I shared the same interest.   

Years later, the fact that Dr. Moody had recommended books on Greek necromancy made me uneasy. I even recorded a podcast saying that I was suspicious of NDE, due in part to it's connection to necromancy.

But my views have charged. An NDE is not necromancy, or at least not necessarily, and I am interested in the phenomena. 

My Changing Perspective

For me, the most significant information given in Dr. Moody's lecture was something that didn't seem especially meaningful at the time: Dr. Moody's (then) current research interest in shared NDEs. 

A shared NDE is when one individual's near-death experience is psychically shared by a second person, oftentimes a friend or family member of the dying. 

I had a dream experience that may have some elements in common with a shared NDE and this is definitely something I want to look into. I will be talking about this dream and what I learn in a future video or podcast. 

Where I'm at Now

I have been writing about dreams, spirits and psychic phenomena for thirteen years now and my thinking has evolved. I no longer accept everything the way I did when I first started out but I don't discount things out of hand (as I did in the early days of my return to the Faith) either. 

I'm now very interested in the possible connection between NDE and psychic dreams. My most important dreams have NDE-like  elements. This is something I want to explore further. So I decided to begin taking courses at the Rhine Research Center in order to do that.

I have just started my first course but I plan to continue with the study of parapsychology and eventually get my certificate. The name of this course I'm  taking now is Dreams and Altered States of Consciousness which is absolutely perfect. Just like God's providence.

As always. I will keep you posted!

 Dr. Moody and Me

Dr. Ray Moody is a lovely, gracious man who has made an amazing contribution to our understanding of NDE and I am honored to have met him!

Then felt I like some watcher of the skies 
When a new planet swims into his ken; 
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes 
He star'd at the Pacific—and all his men 
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise— 
Silent, upon a peak in Darien. -John Keats

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