After-Death Communication: Evidence That Life and Love are Eternal

Author: Bill Guggenheim and Judy Guggenheim

Have you been contacted by a loved one who has died? After-death communication (ADC) experiences are not a new phenomenon. These spiritual experiences are extremely common, and in many other parts of the world, they can be discussed openly and freely with relatives and friends.

Between 1988 and 1995, we interviewed 2,000 people who live in all fifty American states and all ten Canadian provinces. Ranging in age from children to the elderly, they represent diverse social, educational, economic, occupational, and religious backgrounds. We conservatively estimate that at least fifty million Americans have had one or more ADC experiences – and the actual numbers may be closer to double these figures!


Clouds, HeavenPhoto courtesy of Pixabay.


We collected more than 3,300 firsthand accounts of ADCs from people who have been contacted by a deceased family member or friend. These are spontaneous and direct communications that may occur anytime and anywhere, but no third parties such as psychics, mediums, hypnotists, or devices of any kind are involved. Based on our research, the following are the twelve most frequent types of after-death communication people report having with their deceased loved ones:

Sensing a Presence: This is the most common form of contact. But many people discount these experiences, thinking, "Oh, I'm just imagining this." It's a distinct feeling that your loved one is nearby, even though he or she can't be seen or heard. Though most often felt during the days and weeks immediately after the death, you may sense his or her presence months and even years later.

Hearing a Voice: Some people state they hear an external voice, the same as when a living person is speaking to them. However, the majority of communications are by telepathy – you hear the voice of your relative or friend in your mind. When you have two-way communication, it is usually by telepathy. In fact, it's possible to have an entire conversation this way.

Feeling a Touch: You may feel your loved one touch you with his or her hand, or place an arm around your shoulders or back, for comfort and reassurance. You may feel a tap, a pat, a caress, a stroke, a kiss, or even a hug. These are all forms of affection, nurturing, and love.

Smelling a Fragrance: You may smell your relative or friend's favorite cologne, after-shave lotion, or perfume. Other common aromas are: flowers, bath powders, tobacco products, favorite foods, and personal scents. 

Visual Experiences: There are a wide variety of visual experiences, which we have divided into two broad categories: partial visual and full visual ADCs. Appearances range from "a transparent mist" to "absolutely solid" with many gradations in between. You may see only the head and shoulders of your relative or friend, or someone you love may make a full appearance to you, and you will see the entire body as well, which will appear completely solid. Loved ones virtually always appear healed and whole regardless of their cause of death. Verbal communication may take place but not always. 

Visions: You may see an image of a deceased loved one in a "picture" that is either two-dimensional and flat or three-dimensional like a hologram. It's like seeing a 35 mm slide or a movie suspended in the air. Visions are usually in radiant colors and may be seen externally with your eyes open or internally in your mind. Communication may occur, especially during meditation. 

Twilight Experiences: These occur in the alpha state – as you're falling asleep, waking up, meditating, or praying. You may have any or all of the above types of experiences while you are in this state of consciousness.

ADC Experiences While Asleep: Sleep-state ADCs are much more vivid, intense, colorful, and real than dreams. They are very common. Both one-way and two-way communications are typical. You usually feel your loved one is with you in person – that you're having an actual visit together. These experiences are not jumbled, filled with symbols, or fragmented the way dreams are. Sleep-state ADCs are similar to those that occur when you are wide awake. Your relative or friend can come to you more easily, however, when you are relaxed, open, and receptive, such as while you are in the alpha state or asleep.

Out-of-Body ADCs: These may occur while you are asleep or in a meditative state. They are dramatic experiences during which you leave your body and often visit your loved one at the place or level where they exist. These are extremely vivid, intense, and real – some say, "more real than physical life." The environments usually contain beautiful flowers and butterflies, colorful bushes and trees, radiant lighting, and other lovely aspects of nature – that are filled with happiness, love, and joy.

Telephone Calls: These ADCs may occur during sleep or when you are wide awake. You will hear a phone ringing, and if you answer it, your loved one will give you a short message. Two-way conversations are possible. Their voice will usually be clear but may seem far away. If you are awake, you will probably not hear a disconnect sound or a dial tone when the call is completed.

Physical Phenomena: People who are bereaved often report receiving a wide variety of physical signs from their deceased relative or friend, such as lights or lamps blinking on and off; lights, radios, televisions, stereos, and mechanical objects being turned on; photographs, pictures, and various other items being turned over or moved; and a long list of "things that go bump in the night."

Symbolic ADCs: People frequently ask a Higher Power, the universe, or their deceased loved one for a sign that they still exists. Many receive such a sign, though it may take some time to arrive. Occasionally these signs are so subtle they may be missed, or they may be discounted as mere "coincidences." Common signs include: butterflies, rainbows, many species of birds and animals, flowers, and a variety of inanimate objects such as coins and pictures.


Fallen Hero display at TAPS seminarPhoto: TAPS Archives


According to our research, the purpose of these visits and signs by those who have died is to offer comfort, reassurance, and hope to their parents, spouse, siblings, children, grandchildren, other family members, and friends. They want you to know they're still alive and that you'll be reunited with them when it's your time to leave this physical life on earth – and they'll be there to greet you when you make your transition. You may be asked to give a message from your loved one to somebody else. We urge you to write down the message verbatim and to deliver it, if possible, because it may help the recipient far more than you realize.

Nearly all ADCs are positive, joyful, and uplifting encounters that reduce grief, provide lasting comfort and hope, and accelerate emotional and spiritual healing. We encourage you to trust your own experiences and to accept them as being real for you. Unfortunately, some people react with fear when they have an ADC. This is usually because they are startled by the suddenness of the event, or they may have never heard of one happening to anybody else. Such people may assume they are "losing their mind and going crazy." And others find it difficult to reconcile after-death communications with their philosophical or religious beliefs.

Not all people are contacted by their deceased loved ones. We don't know for certain why some are and some aren't, but it seems that fear, anger, and prolonged heavy grief inhibit the possibility of having an ADC. Based on our research, we suggest the following: Ask for a sign that your relative or friend continues to exist. Pray for them and others who are affected by their death, including yourself. We recommend that you learn how to meditate, especially if you are currently bereaved or have unresolved grief. Meditation will enable you to relax and soften any fear or anger you may have. It will reduce your depression, improve your ability to eat and sleep, and facilitate your healing process. These deep relaxation exercises will also allow you to unfold your inner, intuitive senses. In fact, you may have an ADC experience while you are meditating.

Our research indicates that after-death communications are a natural and normal part of life. Therefore, we feel ADCs deserve the same public awareness and acceptance that near-death experiences (NDEs) have already received. For most people, an after-death communication from a deceased family member or friend is valued as a sacred and profound experience that will be cherished for a lifetime. ADC experiences usually expand one's understanding of life and offer a deeper awareness of life after death. They consistently communicate an essential spiritual message: "Life and love are eternal."


Bill Guggenheim and Judy Guggenheim are co-authors of Hello From Heaven! (Bantam Books, 1995). For more information visit: after-death.com.