Cardiologist Michael Sabom is one of the leading authorities on near-death experiences (NDEs). He has spent more than twenty years collecting and analyzing patients’ accounts of such experiences, and in 1994 he initiated the Atlanta Study, an in-depth examination of cardiac-death NDE cases that compared each subject’s experience with what medical personnel observed about it. The Atlanta Study also compiled information about each subject’s religious beliefs, level of education, and occupation. Interestingly, when Sabom first became involved in NDE research in 1976, he did not believe it was a real phenomenon. He had been asked to act as the medical expert during a church-group discussion of Raymond Moody’s popular book about NDE, Life After Life. In preparation for this event, Sabom talked to patients in his hospital who had, in a clinical sense, died and been brought back to life, and he discovered that many of their stories echoed those in Moody’s book. Sabom’s own research sought to find a reason for this, and after examining and rejecting several ordinary explanations for the phenomenon—such as the notion that the patients were dreaming or hallucinating—he decided that the mind separates from the body after death. Sabom wrote about his research in several works, including Recollections of Death and Light and Death.
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena – written by Patricia D. Netzley © 2006 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning