Types of Parapsychological Phenomena
Scroll below for definitions of different phenomena or click the links above.

Near-Death Experiences (NDE)

People who are clinically dead for a short period of time experience this type of phenomena. They report a similar sequence of events in the majority of the cases reported and includes:

  • Hearing a buzzing noise.

  • Having a sense of peacefulness.

  • Leaving one’s body.

  • Traveling through a tunnel towards a bright light.

  • Meeting dead relatives, friends, and/or religious figures.

  • Seeing one’s life pass quickly before their eyes.

  • A feeling that this is a truly wonderful experience which they don’t want to end.

  • Anomalous electromagnetic effects after the experience.

  • Individuals who experience deeper NDEs no longer fear death and become more spiritual.


The interesting thing is the main core aspects of the experience seem to be similar across different cultures.


For additional information:

Near Death Experience Research Foundation 

International Association for Near Death Studies 

University of Virginia Medical School – Division of Perceptual Studies 


End of Life Experiences (ELE)/Deathbed Phenomena and Shared Death Experiences (SDE)

These experiences occur in people near the time of death and includes End of Life Dreams and Visions (ELDV) and Shared Death Experiences (SDE). The experiences include:

  • Seeing or sensing deceased friends and relatives.

  • Seeing or sensing religious figures.

  • Seeing or sensing deceased pets or other animals.

  • Hearing different sounds and music.

  • Clocks stopping.

  • Object movement.

  • Light phenomena.

  • Strange animal behavior.

  • Feelings of being touched.

  • Strange out of place smells.

  • Peak in Darien experiences (seeing people who at the time are not known to be deceased, but it is later learned they had passed away prior to the experience).

  • Alternate reality.

  • A smoke of mist leaving the body.

  • Life review.

  • Visiting or seeing a beautiful place.


SDEs happen to people who are physically close to the individual who is at or near the time of death. They spontaneously share the ELE experiences of the dying. These are people who are generally not sick and do not expect to have an experience. There are seven main elements that Raymond Moody has identified:

  • Change in geometry of the physical location.

  • Mystical lights.

  • Music and musical sounds.

  • OBEs.

  • Co-living the life review.

  • Experiencing other worldly or heavenly realms.

  • Seeing a mist leaving and/or around the body at the time of death.


Other SDE experiences that are interesting include learning information that was unknown (veridical) at the time, sensing a force/electrical surge leaving the body, telepathic communication and only able to share the experience to a certain point of which the living cannot cross.


For additional information:


Moody (2010). Glimpses of Eternity. Guideposts. New York, NY.


Terminal Lucidity

Terminal lucidity is the return of normal mental abilities prior to death in those who were unconscious and/or mentally impaired. Impairments include, but are not limited to: brain abscesses, tumors, strokes, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia. In the majority of cases (>80%) this phenomenon occurs within seven days of death.

For additional information:

University of Virginia Medical School – Division of Perceptual Studies 


Out-of-Body Experiences (OBE)

OBEs are very similar to clairvoyance and remote viewing except that the person having the experience feels as if they leave their body. This enables them to view their physical body as well as the rest of the world around them. In the metaphysical world, this is called astral projection and the reports are very similar, except those describing astral projection report being tethered to their body by a silver cord.


OBEs have the following characteristics:

  • Hearing a percussive noise before leaving one’s body.

  • Feeling vibrations in the physical body.

  • A short period of blacking out.

  • Observing the physical body.

  • 90% are visual experiences.

  • Extremely vivid.

  • Just under half of the people claim they can control the experience.

  • 80% occur naturally and spontaneously.

  • Information obtained by the experiencer can be later confirmed (veridical).

  • An ‘apparition’ of the person having the OBE is seen/experienced by others.

  • There are some reports of the OBE experiencer affecting the physical environment.


For additional information:


University of Virginia Medical School – Division of Perceptual Studies 

After-Death Communication (ADC)

After-Death Communications include anomalous experiences when someone is contacted directly and spontaneously by a relative or friend who has died. Approximately 90% of the experiences occur within 24 hours of death, half within one year and three quarters before the end of the fourth year. Anomalous experiences include:

  • Dreams of the deceased that seem very real and are extremely vivid.

  • Apparitions.

  • Electrical effects.

  • Object movement and/or the disappearance and reappearance of meaningful objects.

  • Strange lights.

  • Voices.

  • Smells.

  • Feeling of presence.

  • Sense of being touched.

  • Communications received in a foreign language is later verified.

  • Experiences involving people not known to have died.

  • Collective experiences, which includes people in the same location having the experiences as well as those in separate locations.


For additional information:

After-Death Communication Research Foundation  

After-Death Communication Experiences 

A Systematic Review of the Research on After-Death Communication (ADC) - Jenny Streit-Horn, MS, LPC, NCC – PhD Dissertation  

Psychology Today 

Induced After Death Communication (IADC)

A new therapy discovered by Dr. Allan Botkin, which is used by psychologists as a therapy to reduce trauma, stress and grief, could be a new area for survival-related research. It involves using eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). Dr. Botkin revised the EMDR and called it ‘core-focused EMDR.’ Dr. Botkin discovered that during the core-focused EMDR that patients could be induced to have an IADC by following a specific sequence of events. The IADC allows people to deal with their grief by enabling them to communicate and reconnect with their dead loved ones. Experiencers feel better about death and the grief is normally resolved.


Experiences during an IADC include:

  • Experiences can be visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory or any combination of these.

  • Seeing the deceased.

  • Seeing the deceased with other deceased relatives.

  • Seeing people not known to have passed away at the time of the experience (Peak in Darien).

  • The deceased can appear as they were when they died, or younger and healthier than they were when they died.

  • Deceased children appear as still young or older.

  • Seeing the ‘spirit’ of the deceased rise from their body when reliving the death during the experience.

  • Communication by telepathy.

  • See the deceased surrounded by light.

  • Experiencers receive unwanted messages and/or information.

  • The deceased relay information to other living people through the experiencer.

  • See pets who have passed away.

  • The passing of time is different.

  • Beautiful landscapes that include bright colors, vividness and projects peace and serenity.

Dr. Botkin has pointed out that IADCs have much in common with NDEs and spontaneous after death communications (ADCs). Even though the paranormal nature of IADCs is uncertain, it does provide yet another avenue for exploring the possibility of life after death.


For additional information:


Induced After-Death Communication

Mediums and Channeling

Mediums can be differentiated into three different types. The first include the physical mediums, which are able to receive verbal messages from the dead and produce physical disturbances during their sessions. The physical disturbances can be levitation, object movement, and knocking or rapping.

The second category of mediums are the mental mediums. These mediums speak with the dead mainly by going into a trance and becoming ‘possessed’ by the dead person’s spirit and a control entity.

The third and final class of mediums are the psychic mediums. These are similar to but slightly different than the mental mediums in that they do not go into a trance and remain fully conscious during their communications with the spirits. Well known psychic mediums include John Edwards, James Van Praagh, and Sylvia Browne.

Some of the interesting phenomena and experiences associated with mediums (mental and physical) include:

  • Receiving information from the deceased that can be verified.

  • Ability to ‘read’ a sitter/participant.

  • Drop-in communicators that relay accurate information (veridical).

  • Xenoglossy (properly speaking in a foreign language that the medium could not possess by normal means).

  • Cross-correspondence.

  • Object movement, disappearance and reappearance.

  • Apparitions.

  • Various physical manifestations.

  • Examples and instances of ESP.

  • Levitation.

  • Unexplained lights.

  • Hearing music.

  • Being touched.

  • Physical manifestations of hands, feet, heads, etc.

  • Automatic writing.


For additional information:


University of Virginia Medical School – Division of Perceptual Studies  


Apparitions are the ghosts, spirits, souls, dead guys or whatever you want to call the part of the human consciousness that survives bodily death. The identifying characteristics of apparitions are:

  • They display some sort of intelligence and interact with the percipient.

  • Object movement is rare but can occur.

  • They are usually visual but can also be a voice, smell, sound or sensation.

  • The duration can vary.

  • The apparition looks like a person. Sometimes they are solid and sometimes see-through.

  • It is common to not realize one is witnessing an apparition until it disappears.

  • People sometimes report the figure to have fuzzy edges.

  • Age and physical appearance can vary.

  • One person, a few people, or all people in a group may perceive the apparition.


G.N.M. Tyrell describes four types of apparitions:

  1. Apparitions of the dead (those dead for more than 24 hours). These are also known as ‘post-mortem’ apparitions.

  2. Crisis apparitions. These are the result of a dangerous or crisis situation.

  3. Apparitions of the just dead (12 to 24 hours) or dying. They appear to people who have some sort of emotional attachment to them.

  4. Apparitions of the living. Some refer to these as doppelgangers or bilocation. The spontaneous cases are when it just happens with no effort by either the sender or percipient. Then there are the experimental cases. This not only includes the formal lab setting but also those when someone tries to project himself or herself. Out-of-body experiences (OBE) are also of the experimental type, but only when the OBE sender is perceived by the percipient.


Though this classification scheme is rather old, it still holds up well today and all cases of apparitions can be classified in one of the above categories.


For additional information:

Tyrell (1943). Apparitions. Society for Psychical Research. London, UK

Public Parapsychology   

Public Parapsychology Apparitional Experiences Primer 


Reincarnation involves the soul or disembodied consciousness of someone who died being reborn in another person. Reincarnation is a strongly held belief in Eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. The strongest evidence for this is when very young children remember a past life of which they should know nothing, and have not been exposed to the information. This phenomenon is studied by collecting information from the people who claim to have been reincarnated and then trying to verify the facts of the case.

Some interesting aspects of reincarnation include:

  • Individual recalls the details of a past life.

  • Can provide accurate information of a person’s past life and that information can’t be acquired by normal means.

  • Individual has a phobia that is associated with the cause of death.

  • Onset and occurrence is spontaneous.

  • Past life is associated with a violent death.

  • Birthmarks occur in locations of injury.

  • Xenoglossy (properly speaking in a foreign language that the medium could not possess by normal means).


For additional information:


University of Virginia Medical School – Division of Perceptual Studies