Life After Death

Throughout history, people have attempted to provide answers to questions about an afterlife through religion and spirituality. Relatively recently (since the late 1800’s), researchers began using science to address the survival of consciousness hypothesis (“survival” for short) which proposes that at least part of an individual’s personality, identity, or consciousness continues to survive after the death of the physical body.

The Windbridge Institute is interested in all areas of survival research but is, at this time, primarily focused on studying mediums (i.e., individuals who experience regular communication with the deceased), investigating technologies that may be useful in enhancing interaction and communication with the deceased (i.e., instrumental transcommunication or ITC), and addressing reports of haunting and apparition phenomena using both field and laboratory methods.

Click on a topic area for more information or scroll down for the full list.

Mediumship

Instrumental Transcommunication (ITC)

Ghosts and Hauntings

Afterlife Cosmology


Mediumship Studies

Mediumship research at the Windbridge Institute has several foci:

Information Research Program This program examines the type and accuracy of information reported by mediums.

Operation Research Program This program includes research on mediums’ phenomenology, psychology, and physiology.

Application Research Program This program explores socially relevant uses for mediumship readings and information.

For general descriptions of studies with mediums at the Windbridge Institute, see Among Mediums by Dr. Julie Beischel, Director of Research, or watch her talk at the 2009 Society for Scientific Exploration meeting.


Mediumship Information Research Program

 

Anomalous Information Reception (AIR) II

Status: Complete

Description: This study collects evidence during quintuple-blinded readings regarding Windbridge Certified Research Mediums’ reception and reporting of accurate and specific information about discarnates in the absence of any feedback; without prior knowledge about the discarnates (beyond their first names) or about the living sitters associated with them; and without using deception, fraud, or cold-reading. It is an extension of a previously published study involving claimant mediums and triple-blind readings.

Funded by: The Bial Foundation and Windbridge Institute Members.

Resulting Publications/Presentations:
The following paper describes the research methods used during this study: Beischel, J. (2007). Contemporary methods used in laboratory-based mediumship research. Journal of Parapsychology, 71, 37-68.

Beischel, J., Biuso, M., Boccuzzi, M., & Rock, A. (2011, June). Anomalous information reception by research mediums under quintuple-blind conditions: Can the mind exist without the body? 30th Annual Meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration, Boulder, Colorado.

Beischel, J., Boccuzzi, M., Biuso, M., & Rock, A. J. (2015). Anomalous information reception by research mediums under blinded conditions II: Replication and extension. EXPLORE: The Journal of Science & Healing, 11(2), 136-142. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2015.01.001

AIR by Mediums Regarding Non-Human Discarnates

Status: Complete

Description: This study employs established, published methods from mediumship research to determine if Windbridge Certified Research Mediums can report accurate and specific information (that is, accomplish anomalous information reception or AIR) about the deceased companion animals of living sitters.

Funded by: Survival Research Committee of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR)

Resulting Publications/Presentations:
Beischel, J. (2012, June). Anomalous information reception by credentialed mediums regarding non-human animal discarnates. Presented at the 31st Annual Meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration, Boulder, Colorado.

Full paper and report in progress.


Mediumship Operation Research Program: Phenomenology

 

Phenomenology I: A Quantitative Investigation of Mediums’ Phenomenology comparing Mediumship Readings and a Control Task

Status: Complete

Description: During this study, certified research mediums completed the Phenomenology of Consciousness Inventory (PCI), a 53-item questionnaire that quantifies 26 dimensions of consciousness, after a mediumship reading and after a control condition in which no discarnates were contacted. Significant differences between the two conditions were demonstrated for several dimensions of consciousness establishing that the mediumship condition is an altered state of consciousness.

Funded by: Peter Hayes and Windbridge Institute Members

Resulting Publications/Presentations:
Rock, A. J., & Beischel, J. (2008, March). Quantitative phenomenological analysis of mediums’ purported communication with discarnates. Presented at the 28th Annual Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness Spring Conference, New Haven, Connecticut.

Rock, A. J., & Beischel, J. (2008). Quantitative analysis of mediums’ conscious experiences during a discarnate reading versus a control task: A pilot study. Australian Journal of Parapsychology, 8, 157-179.

Phenomenology II: A Qualitative Investigation of Mediums’ Phenomenology comparing Psychic Readings and Ostensible Communication with the Deceased

Status: Complete

Description: In this study, certified research mediums were asked to describe their experiences during mediumship readings for the deceased and psychic readings for the living. We found a number of similarities among different mediums’ responses as well as differences between their descriptions of the two types of readings.

Funded by: Windbridge Institute Members

Resulting Publications/Presentations:
Rock, A. J., Beischel, J., & Cott, C. C. (2009). Psi vs. survival: A qualitative investigation of mediums’ phenomenology comparing psychic readings and ostensible communication with the deceased. Transpersonal Psychology Review, 13, 76-89.

Phenomenology III: Quantitative Investigation of Possible Relationships between Claimant Mediums’ Phenomenology and Reading Accuracy

Status: Complete

Description: During the eight-step certification screening procedure, prospective Windbridge Certified Research Mediums (WCRMs) completed the Phenomenology of Consciousness Inventory (PCI; see above) after each of their Step 5 test readings. The study did not identify any phenomenological variables that were correlates of mediums’ abilities.

Funded by: Bial Foundation

Resulting Publication:
Rock, A. J., Beischel, J., Boccuzzi, M., & Biuso, M. (2014). Discarnate readings by claimant mediums: Assessing phenomenology and accuracy under beyond double-blind conditions. Journal of Parapsychology, 78(2), 183-194.

Phenomenology IV: A Quantitative Investigation of Mediums’ Phenomenology comparing Psychic Readings and Ostensible Communication with the Deceased

Status: Complete

Description: This study used the PCI to quantitatively assess certified research mediums’ phenomenology under blinded conditions during readings for deceased targets and readings for living targets. In a significant proportion of the readings, the mediums’ impressions accurately reflected the status of the target. An interesting post hoc result involved a significant difference between reading types for the dimension of love.

Funded by: Bial Foundation

Resulting Publication/Presentations:
Beischel, J., Rock, A., & Boccuzzi, M. (2013, June). The source of mediums information: A quantitative phenomenological analysis. Presented at the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration, Dearborn, Michigan.

Beischel, J., Rock, A. J., & Boccuzzi, M. (under review). Somatic psi and survival psi: Quantitative phenomenological analyses of blinded mediums’ experiences of psychic readings and communication with the deceased.

Other Publications and Presentations discussing Phenomenology Research

Beischel, J., & Rock, A. J. (2009). Addressing the survival vs. psi debate through process-focused mediumship research. Journal of Parapsychology, 73, 71-90.

Beischel, J. & Rock, A. J. (2010, April). A phenomenological pathway to an empirically driven distinction between survival psi and somatic psi by research mediums. Presented at Toward a Science of Consciousness 2010, Tucson, Arizona.

Beischel, J. & Rock, A. J. (August, 2009). Addressing the survival vs. psi debate through process-focused mediumship research. Presented at the 52nd Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association, Seattle, WA.

Beischel, J. & Rock, A. J. (August, 2008). Toward a process-focused approach to mediumship research. Presented at the 3rd Annual Alternative Expressions of the Numinous Conference, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Queensland.


Mediumship Operation Research Program: Psychology

 

Mediums’ Unique Personality Characteristics

Status: Complete

Description: During the eight-step certification screening procedure, prospective Windbridge Certified Research Mediums (WCRMs) complete several personality and psychological questionnaires (Step 2). This study compares their results to published norms and looks for relationships between personality/psychological characteristics and mediumistic ability (determined during Step 5 test readings).

Funded by: Windbridge Institute Members

Resulting Publications/Presentations:
Beischel, J. (2008, March). Distinctive traits of those who ‘speak with spirit’: analysis of claimant mediums’ unique personality characteristics using three standard questionnaires. Presented at the 28th Annual Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness Spring Conference, New Haven, Connecticut.


Mediumship Operation Research Program: Physiology

 

Hematological and Psychophysiological Correlates of Anomalous Information Reception in Mediums

Status: Complete

Funded by: Bial Foundation

Resulting Publications/Presentations:

Publication in progress. 

Beischel, J. (2015, May). Assessing hematological and psychophysiological correlates of anomalous information reception in mediums. 34th Annual Meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration, Rockville, Maryland.

Cortical and Autonomic Responses associated with Accurate Intuition

Status: Complete

Funded by: Bial Foundation

Collaborating Organizations: Institute of Noetic Sciences; University of California, San Diego

Description: This study investigated electrocortical (i.e., EEG) activity in six Windbridge Certified Research Mediums to explore two research questions: first, correlations between the accuracy of mediums’ statements and their brain electrical activity were examined; and second, differences in mediums’ brain activity were studied when they intentionally evoked four subjective states: (1) Recollection (thinking about a living person known to the medium), (2) Perception (listening while an experimenter describes details about a person unknown to the medium), (3) Fabrication (thinking about a person imagined by the medium), and (4) Communication (interacting mentally with a deceased person known to the medium). The study’s findings suggest that the experience of communicating with the deceased may be a distinct mental state that is not consistent with brain activity during ordinary thinking or imagination.

Resulting Publications/Presentations:
Delorme, A., Beischel. J., Michel, L., Boccuzzi, M., Radin, D., & Mills, P. J. (2013). Electrocortical activity associated with subjective communication with the deceased. Frontiers in Psychology, 4: 834. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00834


Mediumship Application Research Program:

 

Grief I: Potential Therapeutic Benefit of Mediumship Readings in the Treatment of Grief

Status: Complete

Description: The absence of effective treatments for grief and the trends from exploratory survey data warrant further study into the potential therapeutic benefits of mediumship readings.

Funded by: Windbridge Institute Members

Resulting Publications/Presentations:
Beischel, J., Mosher, C. & Boccuzzi, M. (2014-2015). The possible effects on bereavement of assisted after-death communication during readings with psychic mediums: A continuing bonds perspective. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 70(2), 169-194. doi: 10.2190/OM.70.2.b

Mosher, C., Beischel, J., & Boccuzzi, M. (April, 2010). The potential therapeutic benefit of mediumship readings in the treatment of grief. Poster presented at Toward a Science of Consciousness 2010, Tucson, Arizona.

Grief II: Bereavement And Mediumship (BAM) Study

Status: In Progress

Description: Researchers are conducting a randomized clinical trial examining the potential clinical benefits of personal mediumship readings. The project is called the BAM (Bereavement And Mediumship) Study.

Funded by: William H. Donner Foundation & Corwdfunding


Instrumental Transcommunication (ITC) Studies

 

The Open ITC Project

Status: In Progress

Description: The goals of this ongoing research and development project are (1) to evaluate methods of capturing ITC under highly controlled conditions and (2) to develop new applications for ITC. The outcome of this project will be an Open Source ITC appliance.

Funded by: Windbridge Institute Members

Resulting Publications/Presentations:
Research Brief: Interacting with the dead using technology? Instrumental Transcommunication Research

Investigating Possible Electronic Interactions with Discarnates (the “Equipment Study Part I”)

Status: Complete

Description: This laboratory study is an outgrowth of research Mark Boccuzzi has been conducting during field investigations of allegedly haunted locations since 1999.

Funded by: Helene Reeder Memorial Fund for Research into Life after Death

Resulting Publications/Presentations:

Publication in progress.

Boccuzzi, M., Beischel, J., & Gebhart, R. (2012, August). Invited ostensible discarnate interactions with electronic equipment: A pilot study. Paper presented at the 55th Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association, Durham, North Carolina.

Investigating Possible Electronic Interactions with Discarnates (the “Equipment Study Part II”)

Status: In Progress

Description: The project is to replicate and extend of Ostensible Discarnate Interactions with Electronic Equipment Part I. The new study will focus on completing more trials, collecting more information about the source of the effects, and will also test an Infrared Absorption Detector (IRAD).

Funded by: Helene Reeder Memorial Fund for Research into Life after Death

Objective Analyses of Real-time Audio ITC

Status: Complete

Description: This study attempted to objectively detect ITC in sessions collected by an experienced operator using EVPMaker software producing a random stream of allophones (short speech elements). Several aspects of Active Sessions were examined: (1) the distribution of the allophones generated; (2) independent, blinded listening panel interpretations of session samples; (3) content analysis of questions posed by the operator and her perceived responses; and (4) automated interpretation of session samples using speech recognition software (SRS). For analyses (1) and (2), ITC-free Control Sessions collected by the investigators were used for comparison, and it was determined that no differences existed between the Active and Control Sessions regarding: (a) the allophones present and (b) the proportions of participants who recognized words in the samples. Analysis (3) revealed that the responses perceived by the operator did not consistently contain information that logically matched her questions, and analysis (4) demonstrated that SRS was unable to detect the phrases perceived by the operator. Future studies may wish to focus on the psychology and motivation of ITC operators; the impact of the perceived communication; and the potentially psi-conducive effects of using EVPMaker to acquire veridical information.

Funded by: Sarah Estep Memorial Research Fund of the Association TransCommunication (ATransC) [formerly the American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena (AA-EVP)]

Resulting Publications/Presentations:
Boccuzzi, M., & Beischel, J. (2011). Objective analyses of reported real-time audio instrumental transcommunication and matched control sessions: A pilot study. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 25, 215-235.

Empirically Addressing a Proposed Mechanism behind Orbic Photographic Artifacts (the “Laser-Orb Study”)

Status: Complete

Description: Although the photographic artifacts known as ‘orbs’ are most likely the result of reflections or dust very close to the lens, discarnate interaction may occur elsewhere as part of this phenomenon. To test whether the deceased can move dust into positions that would result in orbs when photographed, we photographed a green laser beam in a darkened room during active periods in which the deceased were invited to push dust into the beam as well as during control periods. Software was then used to quantify the amount of dust highlighted by the laser in the photographs. We found that there was significantly more dust in the beam during control periods than active periods; this is the reverse of what was requested. The possible explanations for these results include: the dust was moved out of the target area by the deceased; the dust was moved out of the target area through psychokinesis by the experimenters; decision augmentation affected experimental design and/or timing; and artifact or chance. The study is currently being replicated.

Funded by: Windbridge Institute Members

Resulting Publications/Presentations:
Boccuzzi, M. & Beischel, J. (2010, June). Empirically addressing a proposed mechanism behind orbic photographic artifacts. Poster presented at the 20th Annual Conference of the International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine (ISSSEEM), Westminster, Colorado.


 Ghosts and Hauntings

 

Field Investigation of Reported Haunt Phenomena Using the C.O.R.E. Method

Status: In Progress

Description: Collaborative Observation and Research with Experiencers (C.O.R.E.)

Funded by: Windbridge Institute Members

Global Haunting Observation Study and Tracking Network (the “GHOST Net” Project)

Status: In Progress

Description: This exploratory project utilizes existing reports of haunt activity combined with data collected from certified field teams to create a comprehensive database of global haunt related phenomena. Data are analyzed thematically, temporally, and geographically then compared to other existing datasets (i.e. social, economic, environmental, etc).

Funded by: Windbridge Institute Members


 Afterlife Cosmology

 

The V.I.S.T.A. Project

Status: In Progress

Description: This exploratory project is attempting to collect information about the nature of the afterlife.

Funded by: Forever Family Foundation and Windbridge Institute Members

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