The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Veredical NDE's

Does anyone know of any credibly veridical NDE accounts?

(And has the Pam Renoyld’s case been debunked by the timeline analysis?)

Hi Michael,

Are you familiar with the following by Keith Augustine? … HNDEs.html

Whether or not you agree with his analysis and conclusions, I believe NDE accounts are a very shaky foundation on which to base one’s hope for a post-mortem existence. As Christians, I think our reason for believing in a post-mortem existence for ourselves and loved ones should be firmly grounded in the fact of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, for it was through this historical event that “life and immortality” was brought to light (2 Tim 1:10). To me, there is no evidence for “life after death” more compelling or verifiable than this.

Thank you Aaron.

I would argue (and have argued) that the New Testament documents are historically reliable, and there’s no way to account for the rapid rise of Christianity (amid severe persecution) without the resurrection of Christ.

Kamakisi pilots and Islamic terrorists bear witness to the willingness of people to die for false beliefs, but people don’t willingly die for what they know to be a false belief–and the Apostles would have known whether the resurrection was some kind of hoax.

I believe it’s reasonably well established that they died martyres, and inspired others to follow their example within 30 years of the crucifixion–so I see your point.

But while I would argue this (and I believe this), I’m also aware of counter arguments.

The most obvious is that Christianity arose over two thousand years ago, and the only evidence we have that the first Christians believed in the resurrection of Christ (or even an empty tomb) is from 3rd and 4th century texts of the New Testament, the Church Fathers, and Josephus.

These same texts also provide the only evidence we have that the Apostles actually died for their faith in the resurrection of Christ.

A true skeptic would say that the Resurrection of Christ was no part of the original Christian message, and the “myth” somehow evolved along with the tradition that the Apostles were eyewitnesses who died for their faith.

(Note: He would have no evidence to support this conclussion, and would base it solely on the assumption that a historical Resurrection of Christ is impossible–but this would be his counter argument to all the evidence we could present.)

In conclussion, please forgive me if I have some interest in the verifiability of more recent evidence of human survival after death.

I just can’t help being interested in all evidence right now.

P.S. How would you explain this? … ws&id=1631

Well assuming the nurse recounting the 1979 event is sincere and not perpetuating a story that he knows was never entirely accurate to begin with, it’s always possible that he is simply mistaken concerning some of the details of that night (which apparently was not without some “confusion,” as the dentures were never recovered by the patient), such as when exactly he removed the dentures from the patient during the resuscitation process, and the patient’s conscious state at the time the dentures were removed. I don’t see how that’s any less probable than the idea that the patient’s consciousness inexplicably left his brain and was floating around somewhere in the emergency room where it could “see” everything going on as well as “feel” the pressure of the nurse sitting on him and the pain of the heart message pump. Moreover, even the author of the article concedes that “a case like this can never be airtight, especially after so much time has passed.” But I suppose those who are already inclined to believe that we possess an “immortal soul” which can leave the body before or after we die will be somewhat less skeptical.

Anyway, that’s just my thoughts.

Here’s an interesting debate between Keth Augustine (of the infidel web site you liked us to) and Gary Habermas.

How would you explain the little girl who knew what her mother was making for dinner?

I think this was probably the case that Gary Habernus was refering to. … 8589952865

Here’s Dr. Mose’s account. … lism.shtml

And here’s his web site.

Hi Michael,

I admit that this is an intriguing example of an NDE! However, without further details and information regarding this particular case (such as testimony from other doctors, as well as Katie’s family), I’m unable to see this anecdotal evidence from Dr. Melvin Morse as supporting the idea that our consciousness continues to exist after death in a disembodied state. According to Dr. Morse, this event took place during his internship, before his residency. Unless what Katie told him after her recovery was recorded by him and can be confirmed, for all we know Morse’s recollection of what exactly was said by her may not be entirely accurate. And while he states that one of his initial questions to Katie was an “open” one (i.e., “What do you remember about being in the swimming pool?”), it is possible that he may have subsequently asked more leading questions to gain additional information, or helped her “fill in the gaps.” While I wouldn’t go so far as to accuse Morse of completely fabricating anything that he claims was said by Katie (although that’s a possibility), it’s still possible that Morse - perhaps without consciously intending to do so - “embellished” some of the details, as well as left other details out of his account which might be inconsistent with the particular interpretation of the facts that it was his intention to promote in his book. Morse may have simply heard what he wanted to hear, and filtered what Katie told him through his own desire and hope that human consciousness continues unbroken after death.

But assuming that, a week after her recovery, Katie disclosed the same or similar information as described by Morse, her knowledge of what took place in the hospital could simply be a result of her not having been in a fully comatose state at certain points (appearances notwithstanding). And nothing she says regarding what her family was doing at home necessitates a belief that she was drifting around her house in a disembodied state with her “guardian angel.” From my understanding, Katie was in the hospital for three days, so for her to correctly identify what her family had for dinner one of those nights is not all that remarkable, especially if roast chicken and rice was a common meal at her home. And if her brother usually played with his GI Joe toys, and her sister usually played with Barbie dolls and sang along with rock songs she liked, then it’s not unlikely that they would have been doing this while she was in the hospital. At any rate, similar anecdotal evidence which has been understood by some as conclusive proof that our consciousness survives death has, I believe, been pretty well debunked (see, for example,, and I’m confident that a more thorough examination of the facts concerning this particular case would most likely yield similar results.

Moreover, while this doesn’t make Katie’s story necessarily false, I think it’s curious that much of what she says about her mystical experience in heaven is exactly what one would expect a girl raised in a Mormon home to think a heavenly experience would be like. For example, she spoke of seeing the “Heavenly Father” (which is exactly how Mormons speak of God), and she also saw and conversed with the pre-existent souls of two young boys who had yet to be born (which is also consistent with Mormon belief). In short, she went to a thoroughly Mormon heaven during her alleged NDE - which is not at all surprising considering that her family was Mormon. I also think it’s interesting that the same kind of anecdotal evidence that leads many to believe in the survival of the consciousness immediately after death is used in support of a belief in both human pre-existence and reincarnation:

Hi Aaron,

You don’t have to be a Mormon to believe that some souls await re-birth.

If life begins at conception, and this experience on earth is at all necessary, it would seem an anavoidable conclussion that some souls (of aborted fetuses and the still born) await a true eathly incarnation (which they never really had.)

As for Dr. Morse, I’ve visited his web site, and read a great deal of what he’s wriiten on a veriety of subjects, and he doesn’t strike me as someone who’s biased in favor of the survival of human consciousness.

While he seems to have believed in the possibility of out of body experiences since his encounter with Katie, he also seems to have gone out of his way (for years) to avoid interpreting this as evidence that human consciousness can exist apart from the human brain.

Read this carefully and you’ll see what I mean.

Though he seems to have changed his view since he wrote the above paper, it discribes nde’s as “real” only in the sense that they’re a natural part of the dying process we can all look forward to, and he tries to attribute it all to the brain (and to interprete any real out of body experience as some kind of projection of human consciousness originating in the brain.)

That seems a very odd interpretation for someone who was trying to promote the survival of the human soul after the death of the body.

In addition to that, for someone with his intelligence and education (and a professional reputation to protect), he seems remarkably unrestrained in his paranormal interests and speculations–and this is exactly what I would expect from a doctor who encountered something in his residency that he couldn’t explain to himself (and not from someone interested only in promoting a certain belief.)

For these reasons, I find Dr. Morse a very credible witness (and let’s not forget this important part of his testimony** “Katie clearly remembered me. After introducing myself, she turned to her mother and said, ‘That’s the one with the beard. First there was this tall doctor who didn’t have a beard, and then he came in.’ Her statement was correct. The first into the emergency room was a tall, clean-shaven physician named Bill Longhurst**.”)

Hi Michael,

Sorry for the delayed response; I had to do a little extra research on this topic, and (unfortunately) I don’t have as much time for that sort of thing anymore! :frowning: But hopefully after reading this response you’ll have a better understanding of why I don’t find “veredical NDE’s” (at least, the ones referred to in this thread so far) quite so veredical.

Now, you wrote:

That’s true, but my point was that Katie’s family was Mormon. Dr. Morse makes this clear in both his book Closer to the Light and in his original 1983 Pediatrics journal article (which I purchased for $30 from the following website: There, he states, “The parents were active Mormons, and the patient attended church and Bible school once a week.” Later in the same article Morse writes:

So it’s not surprising that Katie, being raised a Mormon, would “see” things during her NDE (or at least “remember” seeing things) that are very much consistent with Mormon beliefs. In fact, considering her Mormon upbringing, it’s not at all surprising that she would claim to have had an NDE in the first place. Here’s an excerpt from an interesting article I found about Mormonism and NDEs (emphasis mine): … um=1&id=16

It would seem from this that the “near-death experience” is not only not foreign to Mormon belief, but it is something a Mormon brought to the brink of death would expect (and be expected) to have. And the fact that “Mormon teachings of the afterlife are more detailed than normative Christianity” means a Mormon brain (even a young one) would likely have an abundance of imagery from which to choose and play around with when oxygen-starved.

Now contrast these facts with what follows in the same paragraph:

So after spending “hours” in conversation with Katie’s “active Mormon” parents and a “devout Mormon at the hospital,” Morse could find “little similarity between Katie’s experience and any of her religious teachings”? Really? Even when her experience involved going on a mystical journey with an angel named “Elizabeth,” seeing and conversing with the souls of her dead relatives (who her parents had assured her she would see again when she died, according to the 1983 article), as well as the pre-existent souls of “two young boys” who were “waiting to be born” (“Andy and Mark”), and then finally Jesus Christ and the “Heavenly Father?” Even the fact that she claimed to have died and had a mystical experience at all is consistent with Mormonism (and yes, she did believe she had died; this is noted in the original article, which I will quote again later). Something just seems amiss here. Either both Katie’s Mormon parents as well as the “devout Mormon at the hospital” were all woefully ignorant of Mormon beliefs, or they were not asked the right questions by Dr. Morse. Or perhaps, Dr. Morse was simply trying very hard to “distance Katie’s experience from potential cultural conditional as part of his thesis that children’s NDEs are less culturally polluted than adult NDEs” - even if that meant downplaying or misrepresenting some of the facts. And while the author of the above Mormon article seems to give Morse the benefit of the doubt by attributing the inaccurate information he received from his Mormon “informants” to “the weaknesses of current educational materials,” I think the latter is most likely. And even if both Katie’s parents and the “devout Mormon” were less knowledgeable of certain aspects of their own Mormon “spiritual heritage,” it’s likely that Katie would have picked up on a lot of things at her weekly Bible school (which Morse says she regularly attended) that she might not have heard at home. Evidently, Morse didn’t consider that possibility (or if he did, he never made it known).

I should also add that, in addition to the points I made previously regarding how there need not be anything supernatural about what Katie allegedly said about her family, there seems to be something amiss about the account itself. What was the girl’s family doing at home while she was in the hospital at the brink of death? According to Morse, Katie’s mom was cooking roast chicken and rice, and her brother and sister were playing with their toys and singing songs. If they were aware of her critical condition at this time, then such behaviour seems bizarre. And during her mystical journey with her guardian angel, “Elizabeth,” it would seem that Katie thought her dad was aware of her condition, for (according to Morse in his book) Katie saw him “sitting on the couch staring quietly ahead” and she “assumed he was worrying about her in the hospital.” But it seems equally inexplicable to think that Katie’s family wasn’t aware of what had happened to her. According to Morse, Katie was at the YMCA when the incident took place. One would think the family would have been notified immediately by the YMCA as soon as Katie was found unconscious in the pool. We know Katie wasn’t immediately taken to the emergency room because (according to Morse’s original 1983 article), a physician was present at the scene, and she was intubated and given CPR and sodium bicarbonate before being taken to a nearby hospital (incidentally, after arriving at the emergency room, Morse notes that Katie “initially had spontaneous respiration, pupils midpoint and reactive to light, and intact brain-stem reactions”).

But let’s assume that Katie’s parents were not made aware of what had happened to their daughter until sometime after she had arrived at the hospital (this is, after all, what Gary Habermas states in the radio discussion with Keith Augustine). If Katie’s description of her family is from the same day that the incident occurred, then Katie likely already knew what kind of clothes her family members were wearing, because she would have seen them earlier that day (perhaps only an hour or two before she fell into the pool). And perhaps she also overheard her mother talking about dinner plans at some point earlier in the afternoon as well. And by the time Katie actually disclosed to Dr. Morse what he says she claims to have witnessed at her home during her NDE (which, as I will show later, would have to have been at least 3 weeks after the drowning incident!), her family may have simply agreed with her description regarding where exactly they were sitting, what exactly they were wearing, and what the kids were playing with (etc.) because they likely wanted very much to believe that Katie had experienced something special and extra-ordinary. If both Katie’s family as well as Dr. Morse wanted (on some level) to believe that Katie had in fact had a remarkable, paranormal experience after her near-drowning (and I think there’s good reason to believe that they did), then it’s likely that anything she said about her experience weeks after it took place would have been, for them, confirmation of this.

I’d say that this experience on earth is necessary for those who experience it. For those who don’t, it’s not.

If what Morse says in the first paper you linked is inconsistent with the “out-of-body experience” interpretation of his popular account regarding Katie (in which he claims she was “completely comatose and most likely without any brain function whatsoever” but still able to see things happening in her home while traveling with her “guardian angel”) then, evidently, what actually took place at this time (e.g., what was actually said by Katie immediately after her recovery) was not all that compelling - or at least it was not compelling enough in the sense that it would lead necessarily to the conclusion that human consciousness can exist apart from the brain and survives death. In other words, if he could look back on the facts concerning this event that took place during his internship and interpret them in a way that doesn’t require a belief that consciousness survives death, then the facts must not have been compelling enough to demand this interpretation in the first place.

Another way of understanding Morse’s obsession with NDEs and psychic phenomena which (according to him) began with his experience with Katie in 1981 is that, although an agnostic at the time, it’s possible that he really wanted to believe that there was more to life than this mortal existence, and that, after his first encounter with someone whose experience could be interpreted in a way that is consistent with his desire for “something more,” he allowed himself to indulge in the hope that what he wanted to believe might actually be true after all. In other words, I submit it’s quite possible that he was looking for an escape from his agnosticism regarding the existence of God and of a transcendent reality that gives meaning to this existence, and he found it in the unexpected words of a Mormon child whose life he helped save. And because he wanted to believe (as well as convince others to believe), he later embellished parts of the account (perhaps without even fully realizing he was doing so) to give it more credence for those whom he wanted to persuade. Is there evidence that some of the facts of the case were altered for questionable reasons, and perhaps embellished? I think so.

In the popular account that appears in Morse’s 1990 book Closer to the Light ( … &q&f=false), Morse says (emphasis mine):

First, in the above 1990 account of Katie’s first follow-up examination (which, in the original 1983 article, Morse says took place two weeks after her recovery in the hospital), Morse makes it sound like Katie said more to him than the mere statement about visiting and meeting the “Heavenly Father.” But in the original 1983 article, Morse states:

That’s significantly different from Morse’s later 1990 account (I’ll be bringing this up again later). Morse goes on to say in the 1983 article (right after the heading “Follow-up Interview With Patient”):

So according to the earlier account, Morse states that the first thing Katie claims she did with Elizabeth was walk to heaven and meet dead people, including two adult women named “Heather and Melissa,” who were “waiting to be reborn.” But in Morse’s 1990 book, we read,

Morse also states in the book:

Wait a sec. In the earlier account from the 1983 article, Katie is said to have met two adult women named “Heather and Melissa” who were waiting to be reborn, and that she frequently asked for them in the hospital. But in the later account from the 1990 book, Morse states that Katie was introduced to “two young boys” named “Andy and Mark” who were “souls waiting to be born,” and who looked like her “schoolmates.” Why the discrepancy between the original 1983 account in the medical journal and the later 1990 account found in his popular book? Is Morse trying to protect the identities of “Heather and Melissa?” Of course not; that’s absurd. Then what is Morse up to here? Here’s what I think: Morse knew that the idea of two young boys around Katie’s age “waiting to be born” would most likely be more easily acceptable to his reading audience than the idea of two adult women waiting to be re-born. He’s altering the details of the account to make it more palatable (and thus more compelling) to his readers. But regardless of what one thinks the reason is for the discrepancy, the fact is that there is one. And we’re not talking about two separate witnesses seeing the same thing from a different perspective; this is the same man writing both accounts of the same girl’s “supernatural” experience.

What’s even more shocking (to me, anyway) is the complete lack of anything said in the original 1983 article that is considered such an “evidential” and “veridical” aspect of his later account! For instance, in the later 1990 account (which I already quoted above) Morse writes:

Not only does Morse mislead the reader into thinking that, during her first follow-up examination, Katie said more than that she had simply met the “Heavenly Father,” but he adds a number of things that in the first account are nowhere claimed to have been said by Katie during the follow-up interview (which, again, took place one week after the first follow-up examination). Whereas in the original account, Morse simply states: “Finally, she claimed to remember seeing me in the emergency room, but could not supply any other details of the three-day period during which she was comatose.” How do we explain such a discrepancy? Answer: probably in a similar way as we would explain the one above regarding “Andy and Mark.” In order to make his anecdotal evidence more compelling to his readers, Morse “remembered” (or perhaps, “fabricated”) some very remarkable details that were missing from the first account, such as the part where Katie not only remembers seeing Dr. Morse in the emergency room (which is not all that compelling of a claim), but states the order in which Dr. Morse and the other physician entered the emergency room! And not only that, but she was able to “accurately describe” “many other details” as well! Amazing.

Even more shocking is the later inclusion of the bit about Katie traveling to her family’s home with Elizabeth after she “died.”

Where and how any of the above “facts” fit into the original account is beyond me. Again, Katie’s experience in the original account is described as follows:

In view of the facts, I’m inclined to see the extra details in the later account as simply embellishment by Dr. Morse. Instead of saying anything about Katie “shocking” her family with her knowledge of events going on at her home while she was comatose, in the original account Morse states that Katie “first discussed her experience with her mother about one week after returning from the hospital, but in vague terms.”

So we should just take his word for it? How can we really know that this is what Katie said? Is there a way to verify Morse’s later account as accurate and not partly embellished? If there is, he certainly isn’t telling. In his 1983 article he states that Katie “refused to be tape-recorded and would only discuss her experiences after first drawing pictures of what she had experienced.” How convenient; she refused to be tape recorded, so there’s no possible way to know what she said except for what Morse says in his obviously altered and embellished 1990 account. I just don’t see any reason to uncritically accept everything Dr. Morse says as completely accurate and reliable information. And I can’t help but conclude that if this is one of the most “evidential” cases of an NDE, then the evidence that anything supernatural or paranormal is going on is sorely lacking.

"If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’” 1 Cor 15:32

I meant to provide the name of Morse’s 1983 article that I reference in the above post. It’s entitled, “A Near-Death Experience in a 7-Year-Old Child.” Interestingly, on Morse’s website it isn’t included in the list of the research papers he’s written: (click on the “SPIRITUAL SCIENTIFIC” link and then “Dr. Morse’s Articles”).


Another way to explain the discrepancy regarding Katie’s two heavenly friends who were “waiting to be born” (or “reborn”) in the earlier and later accounts is that it was “Andy and Mark” who were actually a part of Katie’s NDE (I would say “hallucinatory NDE”). But because Morse, in the 1983 paper, discloses that Katie and her family believed that there is “both a pre-existence and a hereafter” and that “earth is but a stopping place,” he took liberties to change the two young boys waiting to be born into two adult women waiting to be reborn (“Heather and Melissa”) in order to further “distance Katie’s experience from potential cultural conditional as part of his thesis that children’s NDEs are less culturally polluted than adult NDEs” (to use the words of the Mormon article quoted earlier). But because many in his target audience for his 1990 book Closer to the Light would have found the idea of full-blown reincarnation something of a stumbling block, he chose to use “Andy and Mark” in the later account, and simply made no mention of the fact that Katie’s family believed in pre-existence (as he did in the earlier account). But again, regardless of how this particular discrepancy is explained, the fact remains that there are discrepancies between the earlier and later accounts.

Paul’s point is that if the dead are not raised, Christ is not raised, and his readers have no reason to believe the Gospel he and the twelve preached.

That point has no direct bearing on whether there’s some intermediate state between death and resurrection, and the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (however one interprets it) proves at least two things.

1.) Some Jews in the time of Christ believed that there was.

2.) Christ was willing to accept that premise (without disputing it), and use it as the backdrop of a parable (that pictured Lazarus and the Rich man as living in some intermediate state, while the Rich man’s five brothers were still alive on earth.)

The Rich man asks Abraham to send Lazarus to his five living brothers to warn them of God’s judgement, and Abraham replies that "they have Moses and the Prophets. If they will not heed them, they would not believe even if one were to return from the dead.

Whatever Jesus is teaching in this parable (if it is a parable), He’s picturing Lazarus and the Rich man as dead, and the Rich man’s brothers as alive (and the conversation could only take place in some intermediate state.)

Futhermore, He does this without the slightest suggestion that belief in an intermediate state is false.

The only scriptural evidence that there is no intermediate state is dependent the Psalms (that could be speaking of the inability of the dead to prase God among the living), the words of a king who had been delivered from death (which could mean the same thing), and the logical conclussions Solomon drew from what he could see “under the sun.”

The reason the Sadducees denied the resurrection was because there’s no clear promise of any life after death in the Torah, and unless the book of Job was written before Ecclesiastes, that (and what he could see under the sun) was all Solomon had to go on.

He doesn’t know if there’s any conscious existence after death, although he seems to conclude that “God will bring every action into judgement” (which would at least imply that God isn’t done with us, given his own repeated observation that things don’t always balance out in this life.)

In the New Testament, Paul clearly allows the possibility of conscious existence apart from the body.

He does this by questioning whether he was “in the body, or out of the body” when taken to paradise.

… I shall go on to tell of visions and revelations granted by the Lord. I know a Christian man who fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of it, I do not know- God knows) was caught up as far as the third heaven. And I know that this same man was caught up into paradise, and heard words so secret that human lips may not repeat them. About such a man as that I am ready to boast; but I will not boast on my own account, except of my weaknesses. (2 Corinthians 12:1-5)

As Paul was once stoned and left for dead, he may be questioning whether he was in fact alive or dead when he says “whether in the body or out of it, I do not know- God knows.”

Hi Michael,

I decided to respond to your last post on a different thread, since the discussion has gotten kind of off-topic and I thought it deserved its own thread: The Intermediate State of the Dead