Our research project on After-Death Communications (ADCs)
We are currently conducting a 5-year international research project on the phenomenology and impact of After-Death Communications (ADCs). The first part of the project was conducted from February 2018 to January 2020. The second part started in July 2021 and will end in June 2024.
On the project website www.adcrp.org you will find a lot of information about the project, including publications resulting from the project, our current surveys, the News, as well as many videos and podcasts, in several languages, of team members.
We carry out our survey by language groups. In the first part of the project, we conducted the survey in French, English and Spanish.
1’004 questionnaires were completed
French: 440 | English: 416 | Spanish: 148
→ More than 2 million words in response to the questionnaire
→ The most extensive multilingual survey of spontaneous ADCs worldwide
The results of this survey, illustrated by numerous testimonies, are presented in my book Spontaneous contacts with the deceased (John Hunt Publishing – IFF Books, in press) and in papers in several languages published in scientific journals. The results are also made available in booklets in English, French, Spanish and Dutch (see https://www.adcrp.org/publications).
For the second part of the project, the survey is currently open in German and Dutch. Other language groups, for countries located in several continents, will follow and will be announced on the project website. Further sub-projects are underway or in preparation.
Definition of ADCs
A spontaneous and direct After-Death Communication (ADC) occurs when a person, often but not always in mourning, unexpectedly perceives a deceased person through the senses of sight, hearing, smell, or touch. Very commonly, persons who have an ADC (called experients) simply sense the presence of the deceased person or perceive a contact during sleep, when falling asleep or waking up. The very fact that the ADC has occurred gives the experients the unshakeable conviction that their loved one has survived the death of the physical body.
ADCs are spontaneous, allegedly initiated by the deceased, without intention or solicitation on the part of the experient, and they are direct, without intervention of other persons (e.g. spirit mediums), use of devices (e.g. Instrumental TransCommunication, ITC), or an otherwise mediated contact.
ADCs are common. The literature indicates that 50-60% of people have experienced one or more spontaneous ADCs in their lifetime. Testimonies from all continents and for centuries suggest that this phenomenon is universal and timeless. Despite their widespread presence, ADCs have paradoxically been the subject of little research and are absent from the media and public discourse. As a result, experients generally have no frame of reference to understand, integrate and reap the full benefit of this experience, which does not seem to correspond to the conception of reality prevailing in Western societies.
ADCs occur frequently. Every day, a large number of people experience these contacts and do not know how to name them or situate them in their conception of reality. Given the frequency and nature of these experiences, it is time to stop calling them anomalous, exceptional, unusual, or even paranormal and to recognise them for what they are – common, normal and healthy human experiences. The widest possible dissemination of current knowledge on ADCs is essential, as much for the experients as for everyone, because we can all experience an ADC one day. Expert and diversified information will provide a common language and a shared knowledge of this so frequent and yet so little discussed phenomenon. A better understanding of their phenomenology and impact is essential, as these experiences offer a new perspective on death, and consequently on life.
Our first survey in French, English and Spanish clearly demonstrated a significant impact on the experients’ beliefs, their conception of death, their fear of their own death, and their belief in the survival of consciousness after physical death. The impact on the grieving process is also evident and intrinsically positive, as a majority of our respondents attested to an emotional healing as a result of the ADC.
Our research project aims to bridge the gap between science and spirituality by shedding light on this major societal phenomenon. ADCs are not an isolated phenomenon but are part of a wider context of other death-related experiences, such as Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) and End-of-Life Experiences (ELE), in particular visions at the time of death.
Our research project has three objectives.
Description of the circumstances of occurrence and the phenomenology of ADCs
- Who has an ADC?
- Under what circumstances?
- In what form (type of ADC)?
- How do these experiences unfold?
- What are the messages of ADCs?
- Who are the deceased persons having allegedly initiated the contact?
- What was/is their relation with the experients?
- Are there phenomenological differences between countries?
Analysis of the impact of ADCs on experients
- How do people experience ADCs?
- What meaning do they attribute to them?
- What is the immediate and long-term impact on experients?
- How do ADCs influence the grieving process?
- Does the national and social context influence individuals’ experiences?
Dissemination of research findings to the general public and the scientific community
- With this project, we aim to contribute to raising public awareness of the ADC phenomenon. By presenting the data collected about how ADCs occur and unfold, and by analyzing their impact on individuals’ lives, we make these findings accessible to people facing the death of a loved one and, more generally, to anyone interested in this topic. In addition, we participate in the dissemination of scientific data at the academic level.
In accordance with the professional guidelines set out by the British Psychological Society (BPS), the survey methodology has undergone a rigorous ethical review to ensure the confidentiality and protection of the data generously provided by our participants. The project received ethical approval from the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences at the University of Northampton, Great Britain, in July 2018.
In addition, in line with current standards of research transparency, the survey design and analysis strategy have been pre-registered with the Koestler Unit Study Registry at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
To achieve the objectives of the project, we needed a very detailed questionnaire. We developed 194 questions (including follow-up questions after affirmative responses) to cover all these aspects.
The survey in French, English and Spanish has been completed. We are using the same questionnaire for our current and future surveys for other language groups.
We first invited participants to describe their ADC in their own words in a free text dialogue box. If the participants had experienced several ADCs (which was the case for 80% of them), we asked them to describe only one contact, choosing the most significant one. The questions were then presented with multiple choice options. Many questions were combined with follow-up questions with a free text dialogue box.
Two to three hours were necessary to complete the questionnaire. Despite this significant time investment, very few participants dropped out along the way. We concluded that our participants appreciated being able to describe their ADC and its impact in a safe, non-judgmental space, knowing that it is not always easy to share this experience with friends and family. Experients often encounter disbelief or even skepticism when describing their experiences to their entourage. This is painful and frustrating, as they cherish the experience and wish to share their joy at having experienced this unexpected contact.
The questionnaire was presented in English, French, and Spanish on a secure online survey platform. It was available online in all three languages for a period of six months respectively. The survey was announced at the team members’ public conferences, on social networks, and information on the research project and the link to the questionnaire were posted on my website. All in all, we did little promotion of the survey. We were all the more pleased with the large number of people who completed our questionnaire.
We should like to gratefully acknowledge the kind support of the Bial Foundation (Award 169/20), the Society for Psychical Research Survival Fund, and an anonymous benefactor, which have enabled this research project to take place.
|Expert on death-related experiences, author | Switzerland||Project leader|
|Chris A. Roe||Professor, Lead Exceptional Experiences & Consciousness Studies Research Group, University of Northampton | UK||Principal investigator|
|Callum E. Cooper||Associate Professor, School of Social Sciences, Psychology, University of Northampton | UK||Team member|
|David Lorimer||Programme Director of the Scientific and Medical Network (SMN), Editor, Paradigm Explorer, France||Team member|
Professor emeritus Kenneth Ring, University of Connecticut, USA
Professor Peter Fenwick, M.D., F.R.C. Psych. Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College, London, U.K. Mental Health Group, University of Southampton, UK
Professor J. Kim Penberthy, Chester F. Carlson, Psychiatry & Neurobehavioral Sciences, Division of Perceptual Studies, University of Virginia, School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA, USA
 Ref: FHSRECSS00084
 https://koestlerunit.wordpress.com/study-registry/registered-studies/) – ref: KPU Registry 1046