• Gregory Shushan

The Near-Death Experience of a Victorian Psychic Medium (Leonora Piper)

In celebration of being named a recipient of the Parapsychology Foundation's 2021 Rogo Award for Parapsychological Media, the Historical NDE of the Month for July was from the famous psychic medium Leonora Piper. It's the only example of an NDE account from a Victorian medium as far as I know.



As with many NDE accounts (and mediumship claims, for that matter), there are some aspects of it that raise doubts about its authenticity. But it interestingly combines NDE imagery with typical Victorian afterlife conceptions of an idealized mirror-image of Earth, squarely aligned with the Spiritualist beliefs of the day. I discuss this further in my forthcoming book The Next World: Extraordinary Experiences and the Origins of the Afterlife. The book explores afterlife descriptions not only in mediumship, but also in reincarnation "intermission" memories (of a state between death and rebirth), shamanism, and of course near-death experiences. While the all share similarities, there are also major differences between the afterlife as described from these varied experiences. The Next World explains why.


Piper's account will also be included in my forthcoming Historical Anthology of Near-Death Experiences - but if you'd like to read it now in its entirety, it's accessible to anyone who supports my work through Patreon. One of the various benefits is access to the Historical NDE of the Month, which features not only full accounts of rare NDE narratives, but also my thoughts on the historical background and significance of the account. Because there are so many historical NDE accounts, many will not be included in the anthology. This means that becoming a Patron is the only way of accessing some of these rare NDE accounts.


You can become a Patron for as little as $1 a month, helping to ensure that I can continue providing high quality cutting-edge research that is wholly unique in the field of NDEs, religious studies, anthropology, or anywhere else. As an independent scholar, I rely on small institutional grants and private support from people like you. Some of the other benefits for Patrons include

  • An acknowledgement in the "thank you" page of the Historical Anthology of Near-Death Experiences

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