Deathbed Visions: Dr. Erlendur Haraldsson Discusses His Research
Dr. Erlendur Haraldsson, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Iceland, asked approximately 700 physicians and nurses what they had heard from their patients concerning deathbed visions.
Many people, shortly before they died, reported seeing deceased friends or family members who said they were there to help them pass to the afterlife. The dying patients would often become happy to go and their fears dissipated as a result of the visions.
It was Haraldsson’s first major study. In 1977, his book “At the Hour of Death,” co-authored with Dr. Karlis Osis, was published. Now in his 80s, Haraldsson looks back on a long career of similar research—including studies on people who claim contact with the dead, past-life memories, and supernatural abilities.
Are Deathbed Visions Real?
“Technically speaking, they were or are hallucinations,” he said during a Skype video interview from his home in Iceland. He spoke calmly and cheerfully amid book-lined walls, with copies of his own books at hand to hold up to the camera as he discussed them with Epoch Times. “We define hallucinations as visions that are not seen by others. … So from a technical point-of-view, they are or may be hallucinations. But from another point-of-view … in some ways they were also realistic.”
The deathbed visions are realistic in that they involve real people the patient knew. The visions are also clear, rational, and surprisingly uniform.
“In Haraldsson’s study, almost 500 terminally ill patients in the United States and India reported similar experiences of being offered help to the other side.”
In Haraldsson’s study, almost 500 terminally ill patients in the United States and India reported similar experiences of being offered help to the other side. The experiences were the same independent of cultural influences and independent of the types of illnesses or medications administered.