2006 Houston

NDEs throughout History and across Cultures 

Allan Kellehear, PhD
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Is there a "core" near-death experience that encompasses Western and non-technological societies? For the past 30 years numerous studies have been made of Western near-death experiences, their aftereffects and implications.  Some researchers claim there is a "core" experience that is part of mankind's spiritual heritage. In this presentation, Dr. Allan Kellehear, an Australian sociologist and director of palliative care, delivers a challenge to the assumptions drawn by white, Anglo-European cultures with his survey of non-Western accounts, including numerous studies of hunter-gatherers and Pacific islanders, as well as the growing literature on Asian experiences. Dr. Kellehear analyzes all accounts of non-Western near-death experiences published through 2005 to determine what, if any, features appear to be universal. The features he examines are the tunnel, the out-of-body experience, the life review, and the presence of supernatural beings and a supernatural world. He concludes that some features seem cross-cultural, some appear to be culture-specific, and, in some cases, the question of universality of the feature remains ambiguous.

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