After-Death Communication: A Typology of Therapeutic Benefits Page: 152
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JOURNAL OF NEAR-DEATH STUDIES
experiences of posthumous communication with the deceased can be
an ongoing process that extends beyond physical death.
Such communication has previously been described by a number of
terms, including: hallucinations of widowhood (Rees, 1971); idiophany
(Barbato, Blunden, Reid, Irwin, & Rodriguez, 1999); ideonecrophic ex-
perience (MacDonald, 1992); perceived presence (Datson & Marwit,
1997); extraordinary experiences of the bereaved (LaGrande, 1997;
Parker, 2005); afterlife encounters (Arcangel, 2005); and, post-death
contact (Kalish & Reynolds, 1973). For the purposes of the present pa-
per, we use the term after-death communication (ADC; Guggenheim
& Guggenheim, 1995) to refer to any "experience in which a living
person has a feeling or sense of direct contact with a deceased person"
(Streit-Horn, 2011, p. 1).
Accounts of ADC are common, with 35 studies conducted between
1894 and 2013 indicating an estimated 25-40% of the population re-
port an ADC at some time in their lives (Halman, 2001; Haralds-
son, 1988; Streit-Horn, 2011). No specific demographic characteristics
have been reliably correlated with instances of ADC, suggesting any
person of any age, culture, gender, ethnicity, education level, religious
affiliation-among other characteristics-may have an experience of
ADC (Streit-Horn, 2011). However, some evidence suggests that par-
ents and significant others of those who suffered traumatic deaths,
as well as professionals exposed to traumatic deaths, might report
ADC more often (e.g., Guggenheim & Guggenheim, 1995; Haraldsson,
2006; Kelly, 2002; Wiener, Aikin, Gibbons, & Hirschfeld, 1996).
ADC can be spontaneous or induced (see Botkin, 2000; Botkin &
Hogan, 2005), can manifest in a variety of forms, and may be single- or
multi-sensory. Visual ADC involves visually perceiving the deceased
as alive and physically manifest. Auditory ADC occurs when the liv-
ing person hears the voice of or sounds associated with the deceased.
Tactile ADC involves a feeling of being touched by the deceased or a
physical sensing of the person's body (e.g., feeling the weight of the
deceased sitting on the bed). During an olfactory ADC, a scent as-
sociated with the person who died or a particularly beautiful smell
may be perceived. Sentient ADC involves sensing the presence of the
deceased in the absence of other specific sensory impressions. ADC
can occur in any state of consciousness, including during a sleep state,
in which a particularly vivid, lifelike dream of the deceased occurs;
while falling asleep or waking up; while awake and alert or in rev-
erie; and during meditation, coma, or near-death experience. It also
can occur in any health condition, ranging from perfectly healthy to
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McCormick, B. M. E. & Tassell-Matamua, Natasha A. After-Death Communication: A Typology of Therapeutic Benefits, article, Spring 2016; Durham, North Carolina. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1125220/m1/2/: accessed March 29, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; .