Newspaper Articles


 The Irish Examiner Wednesday, 23rd October 2002

They are dead certain of an afterlife”


Evelyn Ring

speaks to a man whose popular weekend workshops may

lay to rest our fears of mortality


THOSE who live in fear of shuffling of their mortal coil are beating a path to Europe's first afterlife workshops in the heart of Co Meath.

Run by the' Tara-'based Institute for Afterlife Research, the workshops are conducted through lectures, group discussions and videos, and are designed to examine afterlife evidence in an inspiring and uplifting way.


The weekend workshops, which started in August, are now held once a month and attract a growing number of people who find they help them overcome the fear of death.


Director, Mike Pettigrew, established the institute last April, and believes the fascinating stories told by people who have had a near death experience (NDE) are proof that an afterlife exists. Descriptions of an NDE are usually of floating above the physical body, feeling peaceful whilst moving through a tunnel which ends in bright light, and meeting with deceased relatives.


Last December The Lancet, a highly respected international medical journal, published the results of a 13-year study of NDEs

in 10 Dutch hospitals. The results suggest that human consciousness can actually survive physical death. Chief investigator, cardiologist

Pim van Lommel said their results showed that medical factors cannot account for the occurrence of NDE.


In the past some scientists asserted that NDE must be simply a hallucination brought on by the loss of oxygen to the brain after the heart stopped beating. The study cast doubt on that theory. All of the 344 patients tracked by the Dutch team suffered a cardiac arrest, but only 18% had some memory of their period of unconsciousness. They argued that if NDE was caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain, then all the patients would have hallucinated.


Mike's own story goes back to the mid-70s when he read Dr Raymond Moody's book Life After Life, a best seller that introduced NDE to the world. And interest in the afterlife is still out there: the institute's website ( has received over 60,000 hits since its launch six months ago. But Mike is not making money from his new venture yet.


"The commercial aspect is not important to me. Sure, I have to make. a living, but I am more concerned about helping people to overcome their fears; to learn about life and death and find their purpose."


Mike believes people get stuck in this world if they have unfinished business but, generally, they pass on to, another life. He also believes the afterlife is all around us: "It is not heaven or hell, but a state of consciousness."


Mike points out that people with no religious beliefs have also reported outer body experiences. One such woman, technically dead on the operating table, reports the following experience.


She says when she floated up through the ceiling of the operating theatre and onto the roof, she saw an old shoe. After resuscitation, she asked a nurse to check the roof. The nurse did so, and found the shoe.


The Irish Examiner Wednesday, 23rd October 2002