Kübler-Ross, Elisabeth (1926– )
Contemporary physician who has become a world authority
on the subject of death and after-death states. Born in Switzerland
on July 8, 1926, she worked as a country doctor before
moving to the United States. During World War II she spent
weekends at the Kantonspital (Cantonai Hospital) in Zürich,
where she volunteered to assist escaped refugees. After the war
she visited Majdanek concentration camp, where the horrors of
the death chambers stimulated in her a desire to help people
facing death and to understand the human impulses of love
and destruction. She extended her medical background by becoming
a practicing psychiatrist. Her formal work with dying
patients began in 1965 when she was a faculty member at the
University of Chicago. She also conducted research on basic
questions concerning life after death at the Manhattan State
Hospital, New York. Her studies of death and dying have involved
accounts by patients who reported out-of-the-body travel.
Her research tends to show that while dying can be painful,
death itself is a peaceful condition. Her 1969 text, On Death and
Dying, was hailed by her colleagues and also became a popular
In 1978 Kübler-Ross helped to found Shanti Nilaya (Final
Home of Peace), a healing and growth center in Escondido,
California. This was an extension of her well-known ‘‘LifeDeath
and Transition’’ workshops conducted in various parts
of the United States and Canada, involving physicians, nurses,
social workers, laypeople, and terminally ill patients. Much of
Kübler-Ross’s later research was directed toward proving the
existence of life after death. Her publication To Live Until We
Say Good-bye (1979) was both praised as a ‘‘celebration of life’’
and criticized as ‘‘prettifying’’ the real situation. She has also
dealt with issues such as AIDS and ‘‘near death’’ experiences.
In the mid-1980s Shanti Nilaya moved from San Diego County,
California, to Head Waters, Virginia, where it continues to offer
courses and short- and long-term therapeutic sessions.
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of
Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York Paragon
House, 1991.
Gill, Derek L. T. Quest The Life of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. New
York Harper & Row, 1980.
Kübler-Ross, Elisabeth. AIDS The Ultimate Challenge. New
York Macmillan, 1987.
———. Coping With Death and Dying. Edited by John T. Chirban.
Lanham, Md. University Press of America, 1985.
———. Living with Death and Dying. New York Macmillan,
———. On Death and Dying. New York Macmillan, 1969.
———. Questions and Answers on Death and Dying. New York
Macmillan, 1974.
———. To Live Until We Say Good-Bye. Englewood Cliffs,
N.J. Prentice-Hall, 1978.
———, ed. Death The Final Stage of Growth. Englewood
Cliffs, N.J. Prentice-Hall, 1975.

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