Current Research:
Life After Death

Introduction
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:

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: Completed

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: Portions of this study have been funded by Peter Hayes, 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.

The following presentation features study data collected to date:

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.

Additional Publications In Progress.

AIR by Mediums Regarding Non-Human Discarnates

Status: In Progress

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)

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Mediumship Operation Research Program:
Phenomenology

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

Status: Completed

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; 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: Completed

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: Further Quantitative Investigation of Mediums' Phenomenology comparing Mediumship Readings and a Control Task

Status: Completed

Description: During this study, claimant mediums completed the Phenomenology of Consciousness Inventory (PCI; see above) after a mediumship reading and after a control condition in which no discarnates were contacted. This study was run concomitantly with Phenomenology IV (see below).

Funded by: Bial Foundation

Resulting Publications/Presentations: Pending


Phenomenology IV: Quantitative Investigation of Possible Relationships between Claimant Mediums' Phenomenology and Reading Accuracy

Status: Completed

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. Correlation analyses determine possible relationships between their PCI results and the accuracy scores blinded sitters gave the respective readings. This study was run concomitantly with Phenomenology III (see above).

Funded by: Bial Foundation


Resulting Publications/Presentations: Pending


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

Status: Completed

Funded by: Bial Foundation

Resulting Publications/Presentations: Pending


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.

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Mediumship Operation Research Program:
Psychology

Mediums' Unique Personality Characteristics

Status: Completed

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.

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Mediumship Operation Research Program:
Physiology

Hematological and Psychophysiological Correlates of Anomalous Information Reception in Mediums

Status: In Progress

Funded by: Bial Foundation

Cortical and Autonomic Responses associated with Accurate Intuition

Status: Completed

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

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Mediumship Application Research Program:

Grief II: Bereavement And Mediumship (BAM) Study

Status: Crowd Funding

Description: Researchers at the Windbridge Institute, LLC, are raising funds in order to perform a randomized clinical trial examining the potential clinical benefits of personal mediumship readings. The project is called the BAM (Bereavement And Mediumship) Study.

Click here for more information.


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

Status: Completed

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. (in press). 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.

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.

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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 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

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

Status: Completed

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:

Pulication 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.


Objective Analyses of Real-time Audio ITC

Status: Completed

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: Completed

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.

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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

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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: Windbridge Institute Members

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