Friday, May 06, 2011

"Setting the Record Straight"

If you have read lately, and the page for Near-Death Experiences: The Rest of The Story, you know about the biting criticism I received from Dr. Harold Widdison and comments by others that are misleading. Everyone has the right to say whatever they please. I honor that. Dr. Widdison is a wonderful man, and he is sincere in whatever he does, and this includes his attacks against me. Normally, I do not reply to such comments. This time I feel the need to set the record straight on some of the points that have been made.

1. I practice the police techniques as shown/taught to me by my police officer father. He was not a detective. He was a “gumshoe” who walked the beat or rode around in his squad car for many years, before being promoted. He never used a tape recorder or notepad that I ever saw, although he did fill out extensive reports and quite often. His advice was brief: a person’s body says more than his or her mouth does. He taught me how to observe, catch things quickly, and never, never use a word in advance of the witness. And he taught me how to cross-check everything. On pages 257-258 in my book, is verification of my protocol by one of the finest officers ever to wear a badge or teach police science. His name is Raymond A. Reynolds, and I am humbled by his support of what I have done and how I work. Unfortunately, Officer Reynolds died several years ago. He never lived to see his statement published in my book. I can only hope his family has, and that they are pleased with the recognition of his expertise.

2. I do not base my work on questionnaires. Frankly, I do not like them. Even the most scientific uses words in advance of individuals, and such words, even if cleverly chosen, put ideas in people’s heads. I have used questionnaires, though, three times, to cross-check previous findings and for no other reason. The first was mentioned in my book Coming Back to Life and was used to test first responses; the second on electrical sensitivity I put in the back of Beyond the Light, to show how the intensity of the near-death scenario was the leading factor with the incidence of electrical sensitivity - not length of episode nor exposure to etheric light; and the last to double check the responses of child experiencers - originally published in Children of the New Millennium, later in The New Children and Near-Death Experiences. I only published the findings of the questionnaire because it matched what I had previously established through sessions I had held with child experiencers of near-death states. Where percentages deviated, I said so in the text.

3. There have been, over the years, many complaints about my book Children of the New Millennium and rightfully so. I didn’t like it either. The original manuscript was on my editor’s desk one week before her company was bought out by another publisher and I was assigned another editor. About half my material was edited out, in an effort by the publisher to create a “fluff piece for new millennium fever.” I had no choice in the matter. As might be expected, the book did not sell well, so they returned my world rights to me and cancelled the contract. Some good resulted from the book, but mostly it left people hanging. Dr. Widdison stripped apart most of the book and me with it. The entire situation - who was complimentary and who hated the thing - is published on my website in the Article Section, and with the permission of all parties involved. Nothing is hidden from the public. The replacement book is truly a fine piece, which made up for the problems with the first. Few people know about it, however, thus sales have been low.

4. It is true that several of my peers have asked me to use “proper” protocol, like the rest do, so my work will not be subject to so much attack. I refused. The reason is simple, at least to me: my distrust of questionnaires, and my distrust of the so-called “classical model” that must be used for comparison if you want your work to be accepted. Please remember, I had never heard of Raymond Moody nor his book when I began my work. It was Ken Ring who told me about both after I had been conducting research on my own and for nearly four years. What I found deviates in some major ways from what is now “acceptable.” For instance, I was able to identify four patterns to the original model of scenario types, a pattern of both physiological and psychological aftereffects, four major phases of integration, and so forth. I was the first to uncover numerous things, and since then have had some of my findings verified in clinical studies, including the prospective study done in Holland and published in Lancet Medical Journal. What I have claimed in numbers, stands.

5. Only those who are not that familiar with near-death research would think this book has nothing new in it. Admittedly, I did start out “easy” in the book, carefully going over my previous work and then slowly adding more and more, going deeper and deeper with each chapter, until, in Chapter 16, I let go of “nice.” I did this on purpose to establish that the near-death experience is not some kind of anomaly after all; rather, is part of the larger genre of transformations of consciousness, no matter how caused. The second half of the book “grinds” this in by showing how near-death patterning is present in numerous other traditions, religious and mystical orders, psychological discoveries, and so forth. My call is for near-death studies to move up a notch or two and include the spiritual. Until we do, there will always be “missing” material that is crucial to making sense of the phenomenon. Up until now, researchers have only “tip-toed” around what they thought constituted things spiritual. Perhaps now they will be more brave.

6. My research of near-death is NOT metaphysical, nor is it “new age.” It is objectively done following a strict protocol. And I can say this: I have cross-checked my findings with experiencers and their significant others more than anyone else in the field, and for year after year after year. I did this to ensure that I was not kidding myself, finding only what I wanted to find, allowing my own near-death experiences to overlay what I was seeing in others, or misinterpreting what I was finding. Irrespective of what anyone else thought about what I did, I wanted to be able to live with myself and be honest about my work. I could not do that without this extra effort. I never chose to be a researcher. I became one because of what I was told to do in my third near-death experience. Anyone who actually chooses to do something like I have done, is nuts.

The upshot of this is, if you feel inclined to make a review comment on that
page of where my book is described, I will be forever grateful. Say what you feel led to say. Supportive or not, I appreciate the kindness of your time and effort.

Thank you for reading with this “special announcement.”

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