Having truly enjoyed PMH Atwater’s book We Live Forever, when a publisher to offered to send me a review copy of her newest book, Near-Death Experiences: The Rest of the Story, I jumped at the chance. For those of you who are not familiar with her, PMH Atwater is one of the leading researchers of the near-death phenomenon. She has been working in this field for over thirty years and has interviewed over three thousand experiencers.
I have read a lot of books about near-death experiences so, when I picked up this book, I already had a good idea about how the experiences work and what the experiencers typically remember from them. As soon as I started Near-Death Experiences: The Rest of the Story, though, I knew that it would go beyond the scope of the typical near-death experience book.
Throughout the entire book, Atwater presents the reader with little-known, but extremely interesting facts about the near-death phenomenon. What I love about this is that, although I was incredulous of a lot of the facts at first, Atwater has provided readily available data to back up her finds. After seeing her research, it is extremely difficult to question her findings.
Amongst the many interesting facts featured in this book is the sensitivity of near-death survivors to light. Often, what was, before their experience, a normal amount of light, becomes unbearable to them afterwards. Many survivors also have the tendency to wake up between 3:00-4:00 AM for no apparent reason. Another strange change in near-death experiencers is that their bodies begin to reject conventional medication. It is amazing what Atwater’s diligent research has been able to unveil. Her research has also created many new questions about how and why these changes occur.
Atwater also goes into the effects, both short-term and long-term of having a near-death experience. She explains that one never knows exactly how a person will react, which is why it is impossible to classify spiritual experiences as positive and negative. For example, a man who experiences a heavenly realm may commit suicide and thus end his spiritual growth in this life, while someone who encountered a hellish realm in his experience may turn his life around and progress greatly.
Besides physical and emotional effects, the books discusses the spiritual after effects of such experiences. Atwater tells the reader that there are two main spiritual changes that come from a near-death experience: the experiencer knows that a Higher Power exists, and the experiencer loses all fear of death. These two things are perhaps the greatest psychological proofs that such experiences are valid spiritual events.
Overall, I would say that this book is not for those who are beginning to research the near-death phenomenon. It would be better to begin with a book that goes through the tradition understanding, effects, and parts of the typical near-death experience, and then move on to this book. Near-Death Experiences: The Rest of the Story is, however, a must-read for anyone interested in near-death experiences and is highly recommended for those who have already begun to research this phenomenon.