Reading Curriculum Related to the Scope of Research at DOPS

Emily Williams Kelly, PhD

Our esteemed colleague, Dr. Emily Kelly, currently on sabbatical, has authored many publications on research into the survival of consciousness post mortem. She was a close colleague of our founder Dr. Ian Stevenson, and has been a researcher at UVA Division of Perceptual Studies for over thirty years. Dr. Kelly has developed a self-paced reading curriculum for those wanting to become more familiar with the scope and the background of the research being conducted at the Division of Perceptual Studies.

Self-directed Reading Curriculum into the Question of Survival of Consciousness

The following syllabus is intended to provide the framework for a self-directed course of reading about research on the question of survival of consciousness after death, the primary focus of research at the Division of Perceptual Studies, University of Virginia, since 1967. We have tried to provide material that is not only reliable and important, but that is accessible.  The books listed are either still in print or are available on used-book websites.  The articles listed are all available in PDF form.  Additional reading on these topics may also be found on our recommended reading page.

General Background

Gauld, A. (1968). Founders of Psychical Research. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Kelly, E. W. (2013). Science, the Self, and Survival after Death: Selected Writings of Ian Stevenson. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

James, W. (1890-1897) What psychical research has accomplished. In G. Murphy & R. O. Ballou, William James on Psychical Research, pp. 25-47.  London: Chatto & Windus.

Kelly, E. W. (2007). F. W. H. Myers and the empirical study of the mind-body problem. Chapter 2 in Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century, pp. 47-115. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Beloff, J. (1990). The study of the paranormal as an educative experience. In The Relentless Question: Reflections on the Paranormal, pp. 48-56. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Broad, C. D. (1953). The relevance of psychical research to philosophy. In Religion, Philosophy, and Psychical Research. New York: Harcourt, Brace.

Kelly, E. F. (2015). Parapsychology in context. Ch. 2 in Parapsychology: A Handbook for the 21st Century. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Introduction to Spontaneous Case Studies

Gurney, E., Myers, F. W. H., & Podmore, F.; Sidgwick, E. M. (1962). Phantasms of the Living (version abridged by Mrs. Sidgwick). New Hyde Park, NY: University Books.

Kelly, E. W., & Tucker, J. B. (2015). Research methods with spontaneous case studies. Chapter 5 in Parapsychology: A Handbook for the 21st Century. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Stevenson, I. (1968). The substantiality of spontaneous cases. PA Proceedings 91-128. (pdf)

Stevenson, I. (1987). Why investigate spontaneous cases? JASPR 81:101-109. (pdf) 

Stevenson, I. (1982). Cryptomnesia and parapsychology. JSPR 52:1-30.m (pdf)

Introduction to Survival Research

Stevenson (1977). Research into the evidence of man’s survival after death. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 165:152-170. (pdf)

Gauld (1982). Mediumship and Survival: A Century of Investigations. London: Heinemann.

Braude, S. (2003). Immortal Remains: The Evidence for Life after Death. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Near-Death Experiences, Out-of-Body Experiences, and Death-Bed Visions

Kelly, E. W., Greyson, B., & Kelly, E. F. (2007). Unusual experiences near death and related phenomena. Ch. 6 in Irreducible Mind, pp. 367-421. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Fenwick, P., & Fenwick, E. (1997). The Truth in the Light: An Investigation of Over 300 Near-Death Experiences. New York: Berkley Books.

Holden, J., Greyson, B., James, D. (2009). The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Cook, E. W., Greyson, B., & Stevenson, I. (1998). Do any near-death experiences provide evidence for the survival of human personality after death? Relevant features and illustrative case reports. Journal of Scientific Exploration 12:377-406. (pdf)

Greyson, B. (1989). Can science explain the near-death experience? Journal of Near-Death Studies 8:77-92. (pdf)

Greyson, B. (2010). Implications of near-death experiences for a postmaterialist psychology. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality 2:37-45.  (pdf)

Greyson, B. (2015). Western scientific approaches to near-death experiences. Humanities 4:775-796. (pdf)

Cases of the Reincarnation Type and Related Phenomena

Stevenson, I. (2001). Children Who Remember Previous Lives. (Rev. Ed.) Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Stevenson, I. (1997). Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Tucker, J. B. (2005). Life Before Life. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Tucker, J. B. (2013). Return to Life. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Stevenson, I. (1977). The explanatory value of the idea of reincarnation. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 164:305-326. (pdf)

Stevenson, I. (1993). Birthmarks and birth defects corresponding to wounds on deceased persons. Journal of Scientific Exploration 7:403-410.  (pdf)

Tucker, J. B., & Keil, J. (2013). Experimental birthmarks: New cases of an Asian practice. Journal of Scientific Exploration 27:263-276. (pdf)

Stevenson, Pasricha, & McClean-Rice (1989). A case of the possession type with evidence of paranormal knowledge. Journal of Scientific Exploration 3:81-101. (pdf)

Stevenson & Pasricha (1980). A preliminary report on an unusual case of the reincarnation type with xenoglossy. JASPR 74:331-348. (pdf)


Mackenzie, A. (1982). Hauntings and Apparitions. London: Heinemann.

Stevenson, I. (1995). Six modern apparitional experiences. Journal of Scientific Exploration 9:351-366. (pdf)

Stevenson, I. (1982). The contribution of apparitions to the evidence for survival. JASPR 76:341-358. (pdf)

Gauld, A. (1982). Mediumship and Survival. Ch. 14 (Out-of-Body-Experiences and Apparitions), Ch. 15 (Apparitions of the Dead), Ch. 16 (A Theory of Apparitions), pp. 215-260. London: Heinemann.

Tyrrell, G. N. M. (1943/1953). Apparitions. London: Duckworth.


Gauld (1982). Mediumship and Survival , Chapters. 1-10.  London: Heinemann.

Broad, C. D. (1962). Lectures on Psychical Research, Section C (Studies in Trance Mediumship), pp. 253-383. New York: Humanities Press.

Kelly, E. W., & Arcangel, D. (2011). An investigation of mediums who claim to give information about deceased persons. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 199:11-17. (pdf)

Kelly, E. W. (2010). Some directions for mediumship research. Journal of Scientific Exploration   24:247-282.  (pdf)

Implications and Theories

Beloff, J. (1990). Parapsychology and radical dualism. In The Relentless Question, pp. 165-174. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Gauld, A. (1982). Memory and the brain. Ch. 13 in Mediumship and Survival , pp. 188-214. London: Heinemann.

Broad, C. D. (1962). Epilogue: Human personality, and the question of the possibility of its survival of bodily death. In Lectures on Psychical Research, pp. 387-430. New York: Humanities Press.

Kelly, E. F. (2007). Toward a psychology for the 21st century. Chapter 9 in Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century, pp. 577-643. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Kelly, E. F., Crabtree, A., & Marshall, P. (2015). Beyond Physicalism: Toward Reconciliation of Science and Spirituality. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.