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The Truth in the Light: An Investigation of over 300 Near-death Experiences Paperback – January 1, 1997
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About the Author
Dr Peter Fenwick, MB B Chir (Cantab), DPM FRCPsych Dr Peter Fenwick is a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and a neuropsychiatrist with an international reputation. He holds appointments as Consultant Neuropsychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital, the foremost psychiatric teaching hospital in the UK, the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, and at the Broadmoor Special Hospital for Violent Offenders. He holds a research post as Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry in London. He is also Honorary Consultant at St Thomas's Hospital, London. Dr Fenwick has a longstanding interest in the mind/brain interface and the problem of consciousness. He is Britain's leading clinical authority on the near-death experience, and President of the British branch of IANDS (The International Association for Near-Death Studies). He has contributed to numerous radio and television programmes on this topic, and letters written in response to these have enabled him to create an unparalleled data base of near-death experiences. Elizabeth Fenwick, MA (Cantab) Elizabeth Fenwick, who is married to Peter Fenwick, is a professional writer on health and family matters and has written many books on these subjects. She has also produced books on pregnancy and childcare for the Family Doctor Publication Division of the British Medical Association. In addition she has worked as an agony aunt advising on sexual problems on radio and in Company magazine. She is involved in sex education programmes in various schools in London, and also works as a telephone counsellor for Childline, a helpline for children of all ages. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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"The Truth in the Light" by Peter Fenwick was written in 1995 so this book is over 20 years old. Still it answers some questions. It also asks a lot of questions that skeptics would ask.
Some of the considerations include whether or not consciousness is limited to the brain. The author also asks whether the mind can function separately from the brain. There are some very thoughtful discussions about reality.
As the author says, the near-death experience is a highly subjective experience. Each story in this book is a little different although many experiencers say they went through a tunnel towards the light.
I felt this book had some of the best recollection I've ever read although there is not much about heaven besides talk of gardens.
The author is very good at analyzing the experiences although he doesn't always come to the right conclusions. He doesn't seem to believe in an afterlife although he's been presented with a ton of evidence. He does however seem to indicate that he'd be open to calling near-death experiences a mystical experience.
This book is mostly positive with only one chapter dedicated to negative near-death experiences. There was no typical hell experience or even anything close to biblical descriptions. This may give readers a false sense of security.
Other books I can recommend include:
Imagine Heaven: Near-Death Experiences, God's Promises, and the Exhilarating Future That Awaits You
Done.: What most religions don't tell you about the Bible
The Imagine heaven book gives more details about heaven than are in this book. And the Done book tells you how to get to heaven.
~The Rebecca Review
He wrote in the Introduction to this 1995 book, "The experiences described in this book are all first-hand accounts from people who wrote to me or to David Lorimer, chairman of the International Association of Near Death Studies (UK) after a television programme, radio broadcast or magazine or newspaper article made them aware of our interest in near-death experiences... We asked 500 of those who wrote to answer a detailed questionnaire about their experiences... Over 350 people replied... It is from this database that the statistics quoted in this book have been drawn, and the accounts given to me by these people and by others who have written to me since then form the basis of the book." (Pg. 2, 4)
He suggests, "Many people believe that in the NDE we are given glimpses of Heaven (or Hell). But it is just as reasonable to assume that it is the NDE itself which may have shaped our very ideas about Heaven and Hell." (Pg. 1) Later, he records, "In most NDEs people have no difficulty in recognising friends and relatives quite easily, but in a few accounts people seem unable to describe the faces of the people they meet, or they describe them as faceless." (Pg. 203)
He notes, "Most experiences occurred during illness. The illnesses varied very widely but were usually severe though not always life-threatening." (Pg. 3) Later, he adds, "As well as being such a common feature of the near-death experience, OBEs also occur on their own, quite frequently and quite spontaneously, to people who are not near death at all. They can be induced by drugs (LSD and other psychedelic drugs, for example)." (Pg. 36)
He observes, "Although the 'being of light' always has spiritual significance, it is only seldom that people describe seeing a particular religious figure such as Christ. Even those people whose Christian faith is strong don't always see Christ." (Pg. 62) By contrast, "these [East] Indian experiences seem to have more in common with each other than they do with most Western experiences. None of the Indian subjects had an out-of-body experience and viewed his own physical body. Neither did they describe going down a tunnel. Instead, the subject is taken by 'messengers,' and... is finally brought or pushed back." (Pg. 161) He concludes, "Cultural differences undoubtedly exist, but on the whole they seem little greater than the individual differences due to personality, circumstances and religious beliefs... The common ground... is that the NDE seems to be an 'awakening' experience, often arousing a sense of spirituality and a stimulus for personal development." (Pg. 168)
He argues, "We have to postulate that the brain CAN retain the capacity for making images in unconsciousness and with the visual cortex damaged, and that when the memory circuits are 'down,' memory can be retained by some other means, as yet undiscovered." (Pg. 208) He adds, "There is some evidence to support the view that endorphins may be involved in the NDE. The people who have near-death experiences are often in great pain or under great stress---exactly the situations in which you would expect high levels of endorphins to be produced. So we can make a good case for the involvement of the endorphins." (Pg. 217)
This book will be of keen interest to anyone seriously studying near-death experiences.
Fenwick allows the experiencers to speak for themselves, while at the same time offering background information regarding their illness or death or traumatic circumstances. He also suggests interpretations without being dogmatic and his analysis and discussion are presented from an objective yet highly empathetic perspective. The result is that this is one of the best books on the topic but perhaps not that well known, at least here in the US.
The most fascinating is the case of Allan Pring, air traffic controller who had a very complex and deep NDE. It is movingly described in his own words. I would have liked even more detail.
The book arrived very quickly and in very good condition.
The one difficulty: there is an updated version of the book that was released in 2007. This is the original, published in 1995. The new version was offered on the site. However the original is an excellent book and I am satisfied.
A great deal of significant and profound work has been done in this field since 1995 and Dr. Fenwick is in the vanguard of those who are doing outstanding work. He has answered some of his own questions posed in this book in the years since. The work goes on.