Deathbed Visions May be Evidence for Life After Death

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“It’s very beautiful over there.” –final words of Thomas A. Edison

Deathbed visions or deathbed visitations are phenomena that scientists really didn’t take notice of until the early part of the 20th century, yet these visions may reveal important evidence of life after death. According to Carla Willis-Brandon, Ph.D., “DBVs [Deathbed Visions] can be found throughout historical literature and lore, but they were rarely mentioned in the scientific literature until the late 1920’s. At this point in time they were studied by Sir William Barrett, a physics professor at the Royal College of Science in Dublin.”

Deathbed Visions

An Intriguing Deathbed Vision Story

Willis-Brandon writes that Barrett was not interested in deathbed visions until his wife, an obstetrical surgeon, told him about a specific case that occurred on the night of January 12, 1924. A patient named Doris was dying from a hemorrhage after giving birth, and she reported seeing “‘Lovely brightness” and “wonderful beings.'” Then Doris recognized her father in her vision and saw her sister, Vida, along side him.

What made this deathbed vision astonishing to Barrett was the fact that Doris had not known her sister, Vida, had previously died three weeks before. Her family had kept the information secret because of Doris’s delicate pregnancy.

Doris’s experience before she died inspired Barrett to undertake the first methodical study of deathbed visions. He concluded that the minds of the dying are often rational and lucid and not a form of “wish fulfillment” as many experts believed at the time. Barrett become convinced through his research that people do survive beyond death.

Deathbed Visions

In 1926, the year after his death, Barrett’s book Deathbed Visions was published. In his book, Barrett discusses a number of intriguing cases of deathbed visions including some involving a dead relative or friend who had previously died without the knowledge of the person who was experiencing the vision.

Statistics on Deathbed Visions

Even though many books have been published on life after death experiences or near death experiences, out of body experiences, and after death communication, relatively few have been published about deathbed visions. Yet, statistics show that even though only approximately 10 percent of people are conscious shortly before their death, of this group 50 percent to 67 percent experience deathbed visions (Willis-Brandon).

Deathbed Visions Books

While Barrett’s work is one of the best known on deathbed visions, the earliest author on the subject was probably D. P. Kidder whose Dying Hours of Good and Bad Men Contrasted was published in 1848.

Books more recently published on the subject include Willis Brandon’s One Last Hug Before I Go: The Mystery and Meaning of Deathbed Visions (2000) and David Kessler’s Visions, Trips, and Crowded Rooms (2010).


Willis-Brandon, Carla. “One Last Hug Before I Go: The Mystery and Meaning of Deathbed Visions.” Proceedings (Academy of Religion & Psychical Research. 2003. Pg 61-73.

In you’re interested in finding more information and stories about deathbed visitations, here are some affiliate links for books about Deathbed Visions and passing over:

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