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Visions, Trips, and Crowded Rooms: Who and What You See Before You Die

AUTHOR: Kessler, David



If you want to explore the possibility that life holds more than we see around us, this book is a gentle entrée … sharing the experiences of those who are on death’s doorstep.

I got hold of this book and read it in a day.  It’s a captivating, easy and enjoyable read about common and amazingly consistent phenomena reported by those on their deathbed.

So, what’s THAT all about?

When people are approaching death, it’s not uncommon for “strange” things to start happening.  They can be confusing, sometimes to the one who’s dying, but more often to the family members who are at their side.

Yet these “strange” events have a consistency to them, from one person to another … here and across the world. 

Importantly, they give us insights into this experience we call “death” … and author David Kessler wants to bring awareness to these insights “to help provide comfort and understanding to those who are dying or afraid of death.” 

What kind of “strange” events are we talking about here?

The phenomena are headlined in the book’s title …  

  • Visions … apparitions appearing.  Yeah, real ones … literally seeing a friend or loved one show up … only they’re dead!
  • Trips … Emerging awareness of an upcoming “trip.”  The need to get things in order, pack, get to the bus station, train station, airport … get home … because it’s “time to go.”
  • Crowded Rooms … streams of spirit people making their way into the room of the dying.  Confusion settling onto the face of the loved one on their deathbed as they wonder aloud … “Why is it so crowded in here?  Who are ALL these people?”

Fascinating stuff!  And this isn’t coming from just Kessler …

No, the vast majority of this book consists of short stories relating first-hand accounts from a variety of people … doctors, nurses, diverse mental health practitioners, and clergy.  All super credible sources of the events that took place.

We get to share these experiences alongside them, as they relate their observations of a loved one or patient at the end of life, experiencing and describing these deathbed phenomena.

Who is David Kessler?

David Kessler is someone who is eminently qualified to write on this topic … a death and grieving expert, as well as an author and speaker. 

One of his claims to fame is being co-author of two books with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross … a giant in this field, named by Time Magazine in 1999 as one of the “100 Most Important Thinkers” of the 20th century.

But Kessler’s expertise in this arena extends much farther afield, having written multiple books himself on the subject … earning praise from Mother Theresa, no less.

Kessler has a fascinating background which propelled him into wanting to share this precious insight into the final stages of this life we live.

He describes himself as a “modern-day thanatologist” … yeah, I didn’t know what that was either, so I looked it up. 

A Google search told me it’s someone who scientifically studies death and its surrounding practices, including the needs of the terminally ill and their families.

As Kessler explains … “I don’t only deal with death in the hospital or hospice, but also at crime scenes, plane crashes, and even bioterror attacks.  I follow death wherever it calls me.”

Kessler describes his book as “simply a report from the front lines, featuring stories of average people, in their own words, experiencing extraordinary events.”

Bottom line?

From the very first page “A Note to the Reader” (yes, start here) through to the last … “Afterthoughts” (an author’s note from May 2011) … it’s a riveting, thought-provoking read.

Kessler adds a bit of context to the book by addressing whether or not communication from the dying should be considered reliable … and whether or not this is simply a “New Age” phenomenon.  But the rest is all about the stories.

As Kessler states, these stories, “culled from believers and skeptics alike, with no agenda,” are shared with the hope that readers will come away less afraid and with a deeper understanding about what happens in the final moments of life.

A worthy goal, if you ask me!

One last thought … if this is a subject that interests you, check out another book I’ve posted in this genre … Final Gifts by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley.  It’s also a winner!


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