Death and Dying – Program 1

By: Dr. Kenneth Barker, Dr. Don Wilkins, Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, Dr. James White, Dr. Samuel Gipp, Dr. Thomas Strouse, Dr. Joseph Chambers; ©1984
How can a person’s view of the afterlife be dramatically changed by a near death experience? What are the three stages of dying?

Life After Death

A Discussion of Clinical Death Experiences

Program 1

John Ankerberg: Welcome. We’re glad that you’re with us tonight. On this program we have three distinguished guests: world-famous Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Dr. Maurice Rawlings and Mr. Dave Hunt. I’d like to start, Elisabeth, if I could, with you. I listened this last week to a very inspiring talk that you gave to a group of high school students at San Diego, California. You surprised them. After they sent you some letters, you went out and you talked to them. From the way the room sounded, it was just jammed out with students. The very first question that they asked you was: What happens to those who have experienced clinical death experiences? What I liked about you is that you didn’t beat around the bush, you answered their question.
I’m going to ask you a question about this, but I’d like to preface it by putting a few more things with it. In People magazine, October, 1979, they did an article on you. They said, “Ten years after publication of her bestseller on Death and Dying, her extraordinary views on the subject made her the center of a scientific and theological storm.” It seems like storms have been rolling around you all your life. It went on, though, “Now she is embroiled in a controversy again, in part because she claims to have talked to the dead; because she is unswerving in her belief in an afterlife; because she has said that she has experienced out-of-body experiences herself; that she lived during the time of Christ as Isabel, one of His teachers, and she has encountered materialized spirits called ‘entities.’” Even going so far as to have a tape recording that you have played at some of your lectures where they have sung for the audience. And there’s more. At the end of that article you said, “I would not risk my reputation if I were not 100% sure.” Now, tonight I would like for you to talk about why it is, how it came about that you became sure of those things, especially life after death.
Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross: In five minutes?
Ankerberg: In five minutes. We’ll come back.
Kubler-Ross: We’ve worked with dying patients for 20 years. And it started, really, by noticing the difference when you get very involved with your patients. And then the moment they die, it’s like an empty shell. And at that time I wasn’t interested in life after death, but we were very, very interested in the definition of death for many legal and promulgation-of-life kind of issues at the University of Chicago. Also what impressed me not only the subjective difference of communicating with the patient and then seeing that empty shell. What really impressed us is that even non-religious people started to talk to somebody we didn’t see and we weren’t aware of, and they were aware of them. And they were people who preceded them in death.
To just call this hallucination just didn’t make any sense. If you study people from different cultures, it would be odd that everybody would share the same kind of hallucination. So on the spur of the moment, very impulsively, I discussed these problems with the definition of death with one of our hospital ministers. We decided we were going to really find a new accurate definition of death. Our interest in the research started not being concerned about life after death, but what is death, so we don’t have the problems where to stop treatment, when to prolong life. That started the whole thing. And because he was a minister, and I always challenged a lot of ministers, I told him, “You go in the pulpit and you always say, ‘Ask, and you will be given.’ I’m asking now, how do you do research on death?” Later on, naturally, on life after death.
Ankerberg: And at this time you were, by your own admission, kind of skeptical about folks talking about afterlife.
Kubler-Ross: I was a wishy-washy Protestant at that time. I’m glad in a way, because I didn’t go out to prove what has been taught, to try to convert the whole world. Within five days I got the answer to my prayer. Within five days we had the first patient who had a near death experience, which is now widely published, but in those days nobody ever heard about. At least people like me, who were from a square, straight background, never heard the word “out-of-body experience.” You know, all that stuff that people associate with Californians. Within five… you understand how I mean that?
Ankerberg: Yes.
Kubler-Ross: I mean, that was very alien to me. Within five days we had the first near death experience. This minister and I dreamt about getting 20 cases, and then we would publish it in all the big medical journals and we would really change medicine. We hoped to publish those findings after that. Now we have 20,000. We never published it.
Ankerberg: But you didn’t believe all of that right away did you?
Kubler-Ross: No. I was a skeptic.
Ankerberg: So what brought you around? Where was the turning point for you believing? You said in one of your tapes that there was a time when you came to believe, then there was a time you came to know.
Kubler-Ross: I think you only know when you’ve experienced it yourself.
Ankerberg: Can you share one of those with us?
Kubler-Ross: You know, you can hear 20,000 cases from Aboriginals, Eskimos, Indians, all cultures, and it sounds convincing. But you either believe it or you don’t believe it. But once you have your own experience, they can hang you on your toenails and you know. And that makes a big difference.
One of my first out-of-body experiences was after a workshop when I was very exhausted. I headed towards my bed at 5:00 in the morning and at 7:00 I had to be up again. I was about this close to my bed when the nurse came in and said, “Oh, Elisabeth, I’m glad you’re up already.” And I made like this and I told her I really needed to go to sleep. And she said she wanted me to celebrate her birthday with her. I didn’t care about birthday or anything. She said she wants me to watch the sunrise with her, and it was a new beginning, and the whole big spiel. I was too pooped to listen to her and I made the mistake to say, you know “Be my guest. Watch the sunrise from my window if you’d care but I’m going to sleep now.” And I made the mistake to say, “I’ll be with you in spirit,” which meant absolutely nothing. It was just to be polite.
I went on top of the bed and fell deep asleep. But instead of falling deep asleep, which usually I do when I have very few hours to sleep, I went up and it was an incredibly beautiful experience. It was like a whoosh of air and I lifted up, and I was surrounded by… I didn’t see anything. I was just aware of beings pampering me, like seven car mechanics would have two hours to fix an old rusty car. I had a feeling that every one of them was a specialist in parts of me and that I would be pampered, and like rejuvenated and fixed up. I was aware that I would have a total overhaul. I was just loved and pampered and taken care of. It was fabulous!
At 7:00 I was back in my body and that California nurse was standing there and said in a funny way, “I presume you knew that you had an out-of-body experience.” And I resented to get a label, because it was like a holy experience for me. It was a very, very beautiful. I really waited for everybody to leave that day so I could dash to a library. And then I was glad that the nurse gave it a label because I wouldn’t know what to look up. Then I found the book by Monroe, Journeys Out of the Body, and I knew that this wasn’t so kooky. You know, that it was a real experience.
Ankerberg: Okay. Let me ask you to quickly define for us the three stages of dying—physical, psychic, spiritual—if you would. Those three levels.
Kubler-Ross: Of death?
Ankerberg: Right.
Kubler-Ross: When you’re here, you’re in a physical energy field and you have consciousness. Your brain has to function in order to have consciousness. When you shed your physical body,… and I work mainly with dying children, so I’m using the butterfly and the cocoon. If this is your cocoon, that’s a temporary house. That’s not really you. That’s like a temple that you live in temporarily or a shell. When your life is physically threatened to the point that you shed your physical body, then the butterfly comes out. Then you enter the psychic energy field. That’s still man manipulatable. That means it can be positive or negative. That’s God’s greatest gift to man is free choice, so we can make it horrible or beautiful. That depends on us.
So when you’re in that butterfly stage, you’re out of your body but you’re not dead. There are certain common denominators that all human beings experience. One of them is that you are whole again. You have like a perfected body but it’s not the physical body. My children who have lost their hair from chemotherapy have their hair again. Amputees have their legs again. A deaf mute can hear and speak and so on. If you have had a breast removed, you have your breast again. Then you become aware of everything. It’s not consciousness; it should be called “awareness.” That’s like a step higher because you’re also aware of what people are thinking of you. That’s very important for nurses to know who work with patients in comas, that people in comas, like Karen Quinlan, are in and out of their bodies and you watch your language and also your thoughts because they can tell you afterwards what was going on. Many have no—or not much—brain functioning.
Ankerberg: And the third stage?
Kubler-Ross: No, I’m not finished yet. You’re also aware that no human being can die alone. That’s very important to know, because once you’re out of your body, time and place do not exist anymore. That’s a physical phenomena. That means if a child dies in an avalanche in Colorado and Mom and Dad live in Chattanooga, Tennessee, they think of Mom and Dad. They are with mom and dad at the speed of their thought. And in this stage, also, those whom you have loved will come and you will be…
Ankerberg: Those that have passed on ahead of you.
Kubler-Ross: Yes, Like people you truly loved, or religious figures whom you have truly loved. You will always see the ones you have loved the most first. Like a Catholic child would see Mary. A Protestant child may see Jesus. And then your parents or a child you have lost.
Ankerberg: And then the next level?
Kubler-Ross: And then you go through something that’s a tunnel or a bridge, or in my case it was a mountain pass, a Swiss mountain pass with wild flowers, that’s created, again, with psychic energy and that’s culturally determined. What for you means a transition is what you’re going to experience: a pearly gate, or a bridge, or a tunnel or a mountain pass. That is all real but not reality. Everything in the psychic field is real but not reality. That’s very important to know. But after you go over the bridge or through the tunnel you get into the third stage, and that is spiritual energy. That is, thank God, not man manipulatable. That comes from God.
Ankerberg: We’ll come back to this, but just keep going there.
Kubler-Ross: And what you subjectively experience is a light. That is spiritual energy.
Ankerberg: You see this great light, this white light.
Kubler-Ross: Yes, but only about 10% of all the people get to there or are able to tell us afterwards. Once you see the light you will never again be afraid to die. That is all love, unconditional love. And that has different names depending on whom you talk to—Love, Christ, God, Light. And once you’ve had a glimpse of that light, if it’s a near-death experience, you have to return and you go back into your cocoon. And if you die, then the connection between the cocoon and the butterfly has to be severed. That’s really the moment of death. That’s as brief as I can describe it.
Ankerberg: Now, those that you have been a part of and those that you have experienced, your patients, little children and so on, I believe it would be true to say, that you have never had what is called a “bad” clinical death experience. Maurice, you, too, have catalogued people that have had death experiences or clinical death experiences. And as a heart specialist you have had people that you’ve been giving tests to right in your office that have all of a sudden had a heart attack and you’ve been in the process of resuscitation. And you have in your first book, Beyond Death’s Door,… why don’t you take us to the experience that actually was kind of a life changing event for yourself. Why don’t you give us the background and then tell us what happened and what you started to think about.
Dr. Maurice Rawlings: This experience was unique for me because I thought religion was all hocus pocus, nothing. The fellow that we were examining that day was having chest pains. It’s in the middle of your chest when you get heart trouble; it’s not over the heart. It feels like a heavy weight right in the middle of your chest. He was getting it running upstairs at home and doing activities. Instead of running him upstairs at home, we run him on a treadmill in the office. He was getting the pain while he was hooked to an EKG; and if it goes haywire, it’s his heart; and if it doesn’t, it’s not.
So, he dropped dead instead. That’s very inconsiderate. The front office clears out when something goes wrong in the back. It’s not good for your reputation. This fellow, I started resuscitating. I teach resuscitation as part of my living—mouth-to-mouth breathing, external heart massage, how to bring them back alive with your bare hands. You can do it. Half the people that die unexpectedly will come back if you know how to do it, bare hands.
So I was working on this fellow, doing external heart massage, mouth-to-mouth breathing, but he had a heart block. Sixty percent of our patients won’t live to get to the hospital because they get a rhythm disturbance and they die with heart stoppage before they get the heart attack. That’s what happened to him. So I had to pass a pacemaker wire down the collarbone vein into the heart, on the floor, so he could overcome the heart block and respond to the resuscitation.
So here I am trying two things at once, like rubbing your head and patting your abdomen. I wasn’t doing a good job. The nurses do better resuscitation even though I teach it. I’m more of a jerky type of resuscitator, a bed shaker. That’s not good. You need to massage the patient. It takes time to squeeze the blood out of the heart. This fellow, I’d reach for something, he would die once more. He would roll his eyes up, sputter, turn blue, stop breathing, heart stop beating, die clinically once more. I’d reach over and start him up again just like you can. It’s a clinical death. We’re talking about something you can resuscitate. We’re not talking about biologic death that will occur four minutes later without a heartbeat. The brain will die. Rigor mortis sets in. This is biologic death. This requires a resurrection. We “ain’t” resurrecting anybody; we resuscitate them.
So this fellow kept saying something that I didn’t expect. He says, “Doctor, I’m in hell! I’m in hell!” And what do you do if you’re the doctor? I told him to keep his hell to himself. “I’m busy saving your life.” I didn’t want to be contaminated with spiritual things, especially what the psychologists contaminate me with. No offense, Elisabeth.
Kubler-Ross: I’m not a psychologist.
Rawlings: The fellow kept saying, “I’m in hell!” He wanted to see his minister or his psychologist, not me. I’m a heart specialist. The nurses were eyeballing me. “Do something,” they were saying, I think. I did something. What would you do? I did it. It was a stupid thing, I said a prayer for him, because he says, “Pray for me to keep me out of hell. Every time you let go I go back to hell.” I told him that I didn’t want to be bothered. I said, “Say this prayer after me.” Here I am resuscitating, blood spurting. I said, “I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” He repeated it. “If I die, please take me to heaven. If I live, I’m yours, I’m on the hook forever.” I remember that part because I don’t say prayers well. And he’s been a strong Christian. I’m the weak one. But he has been on the hook ever since.
This little prayer, this amusing little prayer, this in some way was a religious conversion experience for this man on the floor, because after that he had subsequent clinical deaths and he wasn’t frightened anymore. You can tell somebody that’s in trouble. It wasn’t hair on end, writhing, pupil dilated, goose pimply type of reaction. He was quiet, peaceful. He was not afraid of dying anymore.
Death is painless, by the way. Elisabeth will confirm this. The moment of death, all my patients are afraid of dying, I haven’t heard one of them yet express a fear of what my patients see when they get there, judgment. I haven’t heard one of them say…. Everybody’s afraid of dying. This fellow, quiet, had a religious conversion experience. But the thing that I didn’t count on, this amusing prayer backfired and got me too. And that’s why this was written.
Ankerberg: What happened, Maurice? You went home and that got to you as you recognized what had happened. You started looking it up. What did you find out?
Rawlings: I got hold of all the Bibles I could get, hundreds of Bibles. And I can’t trust the minister—I don’t know if you’re a minister, Dave—or the guru, if I’m betting my life on what I believe. It’s my life. It’s the most important thing I have. All religions are based on life after death. So I’m going to find out. I went through all of them and find out that what the patients say, that “I’ve had the hell experiences,” when you’re there to resuscitate them, more closely resembles the Judeo-Christian Bible than all of the other Bibles. I said to myself that night, “My God, if all the Bibles are on life after death and this one is closest to what the patients are telling me, just suppose it’s not what I always thought it was, a history book. Just suppose, just for fun, that this is true word for word, and not a history book.” That changed my whole life.
Ankerberg: Subsequently, you became a Christian, a doctor that had been skeptical about this because of the evidence you saw. Now, let me ask you this, Maurice. Are you seeing both sides in your patients that are having these death experiences during resuscitation? Do you see people that are having the good experiences as well as the bad?
Rawlings: Oh, yes.
Ankerberg: Would you say there’s some kind of common denominator that has people having a good one versus a bad one?
Rawlings: As a doctor I didn’t try to judge who was running out on their wife. A lot of doctors do—not judging, but running out on their wife. Who should have a heavenly experience? I didn’t try to fathom this. Needless to say, the real summary of it, the bottom line, those that found themselves in the bad place and those that found themselves in the good place weren’t particularly surprised to find themselves where they were. They expected it.
Ankerberg: Alright. Now let me come back, because you in your book said that you were reading what Elisabeth was writing in her book, and she was talking about the same clinical death experiences and you couldn’t figure out why Elisabeth wasn’t seeing some of the bad ones along with the good ones, and you couldn’t figure out why you were getting some of the bad ones with the good ones. What conclusion did you come to?
Rawlings: I had read her books. And by far the best researcher in death and dying has been Dr. Ross, no question about it. Raymond Moody, Erlendur, Karlis Osis, many, they are all psychiatrists—again, no offense—but they don’t resuscitate anybody. And if you’re not on the scene, how in the world are you going to get the negative experiences, I asked myself, unless because they are going to deny them. They won’t even tell the family the next day.
Ankerberg: Run that by me again, now. You’re saying that resuscitation has something to do with it that Elisabeth is missing out on. Now tell me why you say that.
Rawlings: I think the psychiatrists—it’s not Elisabeth; it’s all a general group—have reported all good experiences. Heavens gates are open wide, eat, drink, be merry—I don’t know if this is your thoughts or not—that God is a wonderful God, not a judgmental God. And look what’s going to happen to you when you die. These 20,000 patients have had good experiences. There may be some bad ones of yours that had suicide, and Moody’s. But, anyhow, if they are not there on the scene at the time of the resuscitation, you’ll miss the bad cases, because I had missed them all the time. I’d tell patients—I’ve been in this work for years—“Don’t bother me with those good experiences, tell the psychiatrist, tell your minister;” until I started running across the bad cases. Then it occurred to me that the bad cases will be sublimated into the parts of the mind that are less painful within a day or two. They’ll remember the good experiences and want to tell everybody. I’ll tell you about my good diagnoses as a doctor, but I won’t tell about the bad ones. I won’t tell you about the F on my report card and neither will your little child when they come home if they can help it, nor will the patients with a hell experience. They’re going to keep it quiet.
Ankerberg: That fellow that had that first experience, is he here tonight?
Rawlings: Yes, he’s sitting over here.
Ankerberg: Where is he? Will you raise your hand? Okay. Now, he had that hell experience. What’s his name?
Rawlings: Charles McKaig.
Ankerberg: Okay, Mr. McKaig, we’re glad you’re here. I didn’t ask you this beforehand, but let me just ask you, did you remember your hell experience afterwards?
Charles McKaig: Just the thought of being somewhere that was so horrible that I just could not stand the pressure, that’s all.
Ankerberg: But otherwise you couldn’t remember that.
McKaig: No.
Ankerberg: How soon, Maurice, did he forget?
Rawlings: A couple of days after the episode I sat at his bedside with pad and pencil in hand and said, “Tell me about this hell that you scared us all about. Did you see the devil? Was there flames? Did he have a pitchfork? What’s down there?” He says, “What hell? I don’t remember any hell.” And then this corroborated my feelings: If he didn’t remember what scared us, how were the other patients going to remember if they have it. They’re not going to live with it. It’s so horrible they’ll have a conversion experience. As far as I can tell, I haven’t seen one that lived with it yet.
Ankerberg: Alright, let me, before I come back to Elisabeth here, I would like to ask you, since that time you have written in your book that other doctors are now—that you know and are acquainted with through AMA and so on—are also starting to keep records of this. And you have said that some of the other doctors in California and other parts of the country, they, too, have seen this and the same thing is happening. Can you give us one example maybe from one of your friends?
Rawlings: California? Los Angeles, Cedars of Sinai Hospital; one in New York, Montefiori Hospital.
Ankerberg: Okay, we’ve got a bunch of experiences. Give me an example.
Rawlings: A hell experience, like they saw? One fellow saw a lake of fire. They do not always see a lake of fire. No one was being thrown into it. They went through the same sequence of events….
Ankerberg: What sequence?
Rawlings: Well, in contrary to “near death” experience and “contemplation of death”—see the heavenly hosts, the grandmother’s dying, my friends that died before at the foot of the bed—this you can’t analyze. If they go through death’s door, like the name of the book, then you can analyze the sequence of events. And Raymond Moody, Dr. Ross, have noticed this. Out of the bodies (they) may see what goes on in the room, exit this world to another world through a tubular conveyance, maybe going the speed of light head over heels, exit into a beautiful environment, if it’s beautiful, or into a foreboding environment like this person did.
Ankerberg: Describe the environment that’s not beautiful.
Rawlings: Well, this was dark instead of bright. He didn’t have his life reviewed before him. He saw people that he had met in high school, somebody that was at work. Grotesque beings (were) here. None of them were being thrown in. It was a lake of fire. And the particular example I am giving is a Baptist Sunday School teacher. And that’s Baptist, the “good kind.” And he had three deaths from three separate fibrillations, three separate heart attacks, three separate hospitalizations. The first was a horrible experience; the second time beautiful, the third time beautiful; the fourth time he died with cancer of the rectum, something we don’t talk about too much, and I missed the diagnosis. By the time we got that diagnosis correct, we didn’t try to resuscitate him; we would do him no favor. And I never did find out in that early case—this was a personal case—what happened to this fellow and about religious conversion experience or what went bad to good. I’ve never seen good to bad.
Ankerberg: In other words, you’ve always seen the idea that they have a bad experience and if they are going to have a good experience it comes after the bad one.
Rawlings: Yes.
Ankerberg: But you’ve never seen it where a person has had a good one and then had a bad one.
Rawlings: No. And multiple deaths in the same individual are rare anyhow.
Ankerberg: Okay. Elisabeth, what do you make about this? Is it possible that something is happening at resuscitation that would change the research?
Kubler-Ross: It is very possible, what he shares; but my explanation of interpretation is different. I don’t think it has to do with psychiatrists, because I happen to be a psychiatrist who was many times at the death bed and I’m there when they die. And there are a few like me, not most psychiatrists. I think it has much more to do with whether you deal with a sudden death out of the blue sky and you do not anticipate death and you’re not prepared for death, and with your background experience how you were conditioned. If you have been conditioned with hell and brimstone and the punitive or judgmental God and suddenly you have a coronary, and it hits you that, “God, I could die and I have this girlfriend and I cheated my friend,” and, you know, all the old guilts and remorse and fear coming at the moment like this, very understandably then your fears are projected, your thoughts and fears are projected. It’s psychic energy. You are afraid the devil is going to get you. You can project the devil like you wouldn’t believe it. I mean anybody who has taken drugs can know how very real those things are, but it’s not reality.
Ankerberg: Okay. Maurice, are there people that you’re dealing with that aren’t coming from a Christian background?
Rawlings: Yes. In fact, I don’t think this is psychic energy at all—no offense again. Let me give an example. If I died, I think I would see the devil if I went to hell—and proverbially most doctors go to hell—with a pitchfork or something that had been inculcated in me from Halloween, or something else. I’d see the lake of fire from the Bible. I’ve been brought up on the Bible, as a Christian I thought, all the time before this experience. I think I would see something like a man in a red suit, cloven hooves, horns, something like that. None of these people of the 300 we’ve collected, and almost half of them are hell cases, none of them saw the devil. Why didn’t they? Except five, two of them doctors, themselves patients, themselves resuscitated, and sure enough, they had hell experiences, what they called hell, but they didn’t see the devil.
Ankerberg: You said you have collected 300 cases so far?
Rawlings: Yes.
Ankerberg: And half of those were hell experiences?
Rawlings: Not half. They’re getting that way. They’re hard to come by—the hell experiences—because they’re sublimated. You have to be on the scene. The person they saw was not something… like hell is something in your mind, you deserve to go there and you think of it ahead of time. I would think so, too, just like you said. But it isn’t so with the ones that I’ve collected. They saw something that they had never imagined before. I had never heard of it before because I am not a theologian. Everything I get out of the Bible I’ve got to dig out the hard way just like you do. These two doctors saw what three other patients saw; it was not the devil but probably Satan in some form. It was something Goya had painted; something worshipped in ancient Mendez of Egypt called a Baphomet, which is a human form with a goat’s head. Now, how in the world would somebody imagine that that had never heard of it before? I looked it up. King Phillip IV in 1307 got after the Knights Templar for worshipping the Baphomet. There are some of our social organizations now that have a Baphomet. And in the Bible I started reading something about the goats and the sheep, and you have some sheep at home—well, these are the goats in the Bible. If it were imagination, where is Satan? I don’t know.
Kubler-Ross: It can come disguised in many forms.
Ankerberg: The guy that’s sitting in the middle has not talked at all. Dave Hunt has been to 40 countries doing research into contemporary religious phenomena. Dave, you have come across this from all aspects of the world cultures plus the top scientific people at Duke, UCLA, Southern Cal, Stanford and so on, from parapsychological research background. I know that you basically are going to say something different than our other two guests, and so why don’t you just plunge in and tell us where you’re coming from.
Dave Hunt: Well, I’m sitting here, like everyone else, listening. And the first thing that troubles me about it is that we have a conflict. It’s like you had an accident and you’ve got one witness that says there were three cars involved and another witness says there were two cars involved. What are we going to do with this, you know? Number two, Elisabeth used the term “near-death experience,” and so that indicates to me, I think there’s a misconception by most people who read Raymond Moody’s book or her book that these people have somehow been dead to the other side. Now, Maurice says, “We’re not resurrecting anybody,” so I think we need to understand that. I don’t have any basis for thinking or believing or knowing, as Elisabeth says, that these people have really gone to the other side, as it’s called, beyond and back—somebody wrote a book like that—that they have really gone either to Heaven or hell and are literally able, as first-hand witnesses to tell me about it. Because they’re talking about near death, they’re talking about people who have been resuscitated.
Furthermore, we have, you know, all the bad things come from California—they’re weird people—but we have some researchers at California State University at Long Beach right now who have been doing research in this area. And they have found that under hypnosis you suggest to a person that they’re dying and they will come up with this whole thing. They will give you the very same sequence of events and everything. I’ve talked to people who on a drug experience or in yoga. Elisabeth, in one of the tapes I listened to, mentioned that she endured a thousand deaths of her patients, and yet she wasn’t dead, she was conscious. So since we have people who obviously are not dead, who have had the same experience, since there is a conflict involved, and since Elisabeth is telling us that whether you see the devil or whether you go to hell or what depends upon what you are prepared for—and I know in one of her books she mentions that the barrier, or whatever it is, in fact she said the pass she went through was a Swiss mountain with flowers, a mountain pass—that is culturally determined. All of this leads me to believe that we are not facing some objective reality; that there is another explanation beyond that, and I’m kind of between the two of them here.
Ankerberg: Alright, let’s hear your explanation because it “scared the pants” off of the doctor here basically and made the man come to God. This lady says she has really been there and experienced it. She heard all the studies and that didn’t persuade her, but the experience did. Now, you’ve got two people that experientially are sitting next to you saying, “Something really real happened to me.” What are you going to say?
Hunt: Well, you can have experiences under drugs, for example.
Ankerberg: But they weren’t on drugs.
Hunt: No. But I’m saying you can have experiences. You can have experiences under hypnosis. I believe Elisabeth has been hypnotically regressed into the birth to re-experience birth. I know a lot of people experience their birth under hypnosis or through breathing exercises. Now these are the doctors sitting on each side of me, but it is my understanding that the medical fact is that the myelin sheathing in the brain in the prenatal, natal and early postnatal infant is not sufficiently developed to carry memories. So they are coming up with a memory that certainly is not part of the brain.
Ankerberg: Elisabeth, is that correct, medically that a child of that age cannot….
Kubler-Ross: That’s very correct.
Ankerberg: Alright. We’ll come back. I don’t know where we’re going, but keep going, Dave.
Hunt: Now, you can regress a person under hypnosis into prior lives, allegedly. I personally do not believe in reincarnation. I believe that what they are talking about—unless I can get some more explanation from Maurice I’ll put him into the same category for the moment—but what they are talking about is part of what I consider to be a very clever deception that comes from a source beyond humanity….
Ankerberg: You’re not saying they are the ones that are deceiving. You’re saying that there is a deception going on spiritually at this point.
Hunt: Right! It’s part of a pattern that I have seen in interviewing many people around the world.
Ankerberg: Give us an example of what you’re talking about.
Hunt: Okay. I believe in the Bible for a lot of reasons. One of the reasons, we can back up and go right to Genesis 3. In Genesis 3 the Bible tells us that a serpent spoke to Eve. And the Bible identifies the serpent as the destroyer, as the enemy of man and God. Every other religion that I’ve researched identifies the serpent as the good guy, strangely enough, a symbol of wisdom. You can go to the Greeks, the Orphic egg, the symbol of the cosmos, you’ve got a serpent around it. You can go to the Oracle at Delphi on a tripod and around each leg of that are serpents. You can go to Hinduism and the most holy depiction of the Hindu gods is Vishnu lying on his back with a lotus blossom issued out of his navel, Brahma is sitting on it and they’re supported on the coils of Shesha, the serpent.
Now, the Bible says that the serpent introduced four lies that destroyed the human race and that Eve believed them. The Bible calls him a liar and a deceiver, and those are, very quickly—and we can come back to them later—Number one, that God is not personal, He’s a force. Number two, there is no death! I’m hearing this from Elisabeth, pardon me, I hear it from her patients. They come back and they say, “There’s no death; I don’t fear death. I have nothing to be afraid of.” The Bible tells me that death is an enemy and God said, “You’re going to die if you eat that tree. There are consequences if you disobey me.” And the serpent said, “Oh no, there is no death; don’t worry about it. We don’t die. This force is in everything. We just get recycled, you know. Reincarnation and so forth.”
And the third lie was: you can become a god. You eventually evolve up, you learn your lessons; you move on; you progress ever higher into higher dimensions and you eventually become God where you are in control. And the fourth thing was it’s in the tree of knowledge. The secret is, there’s nothing wrong with you, it’s the way you think. You’ve got to expand your awareness and be initiated into this secret gnosis, this knowledge, this enlightenment. I see that message coming through, whether it’s from a séance, from a Ouija board, from the alleged space brothers communicating from UFO’s by automatic writing, or in yoga, Transcendental Meditation, on LSD, marijuana, I see a common denominator here that I believe demands a different explanation.
Ankerberg: Okay. We’ve got a great discussion going here, and we hope that you will join us next week. We’ll pick it up right there.

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