Moody, Raymond Avery, Jr. (1944– )
Raymond A. Moody, whose 1975 book Life After Life helped
launch a new generation of research on life after death, was
born on June 30, 1944 in Porterdale, Georgia. He attended the
University of Virginia where he successively earned his B.A.
(1966), M.A. (1967), and Ph.D. (1969) in philosophy. While
pursuing his education, in 1966 he married Louise Lambach.
He joined the faculty at East Carolina University in 1969. He
left his university post in 1972 to pursue a degree in medicine
(his father was a physician), which he completed at Medical
College of Georgia in 1976. He completed his residency in psychiatry
at the University of Virginia Medical Center.
While completing his medical degree, Moody began to collect
accounts of people who had either died and come back to
life or come close to dying, what he termed near-death experiences.
These accounts became the basis of a best-selling book,
Life after Life (1975), and along with the work of Elizabeth Kübler-Ross,
provided the foundation for a generation of research
on survival of death and a new starting point for people
engaged in counseling the dying. While accounts of the neardeath
experience had been collected for centuries and had become
the subject of attention by psychical research, they were
virtually unknown to parapsychologists who had largely abandoned
research of life-after-death in favor of laboratory research
on basic ESP experiences.
The success of Moody’s first book freed him to continue his
research on near-death experiences and he wrote a best-selling
sequel, Reflections on Life after Life, released in 1977. He traveled
widely through the 1980s, teaching and lecturing on his work.
During the 1990s, his research has taken on a new focus toward
those who have lost a loved one. In this regard, he has explored
the idea of evoking apparitions of the deceased as a means of
resolving unfinished issues in a relationship otherwise ended
by the death of one party. To this end he constructed what is
known as a psychomanteum, a room especially designed to
produce a favorable alteration of consciousness and facilitate
the production of apparitions. This work became the subject
of his latest book, Reunions Visionary Encounters with Departed
Loved Ones (1994).
The psychomanteum was constructed at Moody’s private research
center, the John Dee Memorial Theater of the Mind,
named for the Elizabethan magician. Here he not only counsels
people on concerns about death, but carries on a program of
research and education, including periodical conferences for
professionals. Both his philosophical training and his research
have provided Moody with material for his mature reflections
on the afterlife which have appeared in his two books, Coming
Back A Psychiatrist Explores Past Life Journeys (1991) and The Last
Laugh (1998).
The Theater of the Mind is located in rural Alabama and
may be contacted at P. O. Box 1882, Anniston, AL 36202.
Moody has a website at
Montgomery, Ruth (Schick) Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
Moody, Raymond. Coming Back A Psychiatrist Explores Past
Life Journeys. World Publications, 1991.
———. The Last Laugh. Charlottesville, Va. Hampton Road
Publishing, 1998.
———. Life after Life. New York Bantam Books, 1975.
———. Reflections on Life After Life. Harrisburg, Pa. Stackpole
Books, 1977.
———. Reunions Visionary Encounters With Departed Loved
Ones. New York Ballantine, 1994.
Raymond Moody. May 20,
2000. June 20, 2000.