This study will examine the fifteen different kinds of experiences described by Raymond A. Moody, Jr. in Life After Life: The Investigation of A Phenomenon---Survival of Bodily Death. These experiences are features of the dying experience. Moody's book depends on the accounts of individuals who have "died" and returned from that experience. Therefore, it cannot be seen as a scientific work. Moody admits that a "proof" of these experiences are not "presently possible" (xvi). If the reader is to get anything out of the book, he or she must open his or her heart and mind to the possibility of the near-death experience.
Moody wants to try to answer the question "What is it like to die?" (1). For such an answer, he goes to people who have had, or who claim to have had, an experience in which they have physically "died" and come back to life. They are the only ones who can tell us of such an experience, if anybody can. Moody notes that there are two possibilities---one is that nothing survives death, and the other is that some sort of spiritual consciousness survives. The experiences of the people in his book suggest the latter possibility. There are certain common features to most of the experiences of these people, and Moody has found fifteen such features.
The "common stages or events of the experiences of dying" begin with the ineffability of the experience. This means that the person experiencing the near-death phenomenon has a difficult time putting into words the nature of that experience. It is such a powerfully emotional and/or spiritual experience that "They just don't make adjectives and superlatives to describe this" (22). At the same time, obviously, it is necessary that these people try to describe the experience if it is to have any meaning for people who have not had such an experience. Also, their descriptions help researchers such as Moody see the common features of the experience.
The next feature, "hearing the...