As they approach the moment of death and the brain fires its mysterious synapses into the gathering dark, many people report unusual perceptions and experiences. We often refer to them as near-death experiences and death bed visions, but they have also been described, at one time or another, as hallucinations.

Other people have described these moments as mystical experiences – altered states of consciousness that offer spiritual understanding and provide an elation and joy that can be difficult, even impossible, to describe. For some, these experiences – lights, sound, warmth, however they may play out – are conclusive proof that God awaits us in the beyond. What are we to believe?

In this talk Alan Kellehear, who has written extensively on death and our social constructs around dying, will provide an outline of the main features of these experiences, discuss their worldwide prevalence, and offer a critical evaluation of the explanations we receive about them from medicine, neuroscience, psychology, and New Age writers. Join him for a fascinating journey into the undiscovered country.

About The Academic

Allan Kellehear

Professor Allan Kellehear is a medical and public health sociologist with interests in death, dying and end of life care. He received his PhD in sociology from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia and is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. He has conducted major sociological and social psychological research on the human experience of dying, and has also developed public health models for care of the dying, the bereaved and caregivers.