Book Review: Paranormal by Raymond Moody, MD

February 21, 2012 at 8:09 pm 1 comment

I was sent a copy of Raymond Moody’s latest book Paranormal: My Life in Pursuit of the Afterlife to review, and found it an interesting read. Moody previously published Life After Life, in which he coined the phrase “near-death experiences” and examined that phenomena in a purely factual manner. I wasn’t aware of his work before reading Paranormal, but that didn’t lessen my enjoyment or interest in his memoir in the slightest.

Moody was raised atheist and assumed, like his father, that there was no afterlife. He explains in Paranormal how his views changed over the course of his life, starting with the seed planted by a story his father told him. Moody’s father was a surgeon and he came home one day with the story of how he had opened up a man’s chest and hand-pumped his heart back into action though the man was dead for several minutes. This was Moody’s first encounter with the idea of something existing beyond death.

Raymond Moody

Moody goes on to explain how his fascination with philosophy, especially with Plato, and near-death experiences grew throughout his adolescence. By the time he entered college, he started collecting the stories of near-death experiences, and soon had created the body of work he published as an undergraduate in Life after Life.

Though Moody still didn’t believe in an afterlife or past lives at the point of that book’s publication, he was convinced to attempt past-life regression after a woman admonished him after a lecture to not dismiss the idea out of hand. He went into hypnosis and experienced 9 past lives, but still wasn’t sure what to make of the experience except as a powerful took for therapy.

Soon he became interested in the idea of scrying to communicate with the dead – largely through his reading about Greek psychomanteums (which he describes as “specially designed caves to experience facilitated apparitions” pg. 190) – and  he approached this from a practical point of view as a psychologist, rather than a spiritual one. After witnessing the powerful effect the experience had on himself and on hundreds of patients, Moody began to broaden his viewpoint of reality.

Soon Moody began to study shared-death experiences, in which living persons experience a collective spiritual change at the point of a loved-ones death. Still desiring to find the logic behind all of these events and methods, Moody’s viewpoint on God and the afterlife had changed completedly.

This was a fascinating story of someone who very rationally explored aspects of people’s minds and experiences that most scientists ignored before his research came out. Moody’s life-long sense of curiosity and love of logic lead him on a great adventure that is truly worth reading about. He provides stories told by those he encountered as patients, lecture audience members, and volunteers. Moody also outlines the common elements of near-death experiences, past-life regression, and shared-death experiences. I would recommend this to anyone interested in those topics.

You can buy it now on Moody’s website.


Entry filed under: reality, spiritual. Tags: , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Heather J. @ TLC  |  February 25, 2012 at 3:02 am

    Sounds like this was a fascinating combination of personal experience and science, wrapped up in a compelling narrative. Glad you enjoyed it!

    Thanks for being on the tour. I’m featuring your review on TLC’s Facebook page today.


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