A psychomanteum is a room set aside for communication
with those who have died and are believed to have passed to the
world beyond. It is specially designed to promote an altered
state of consciousness that facilitates such contact. Essential to
the décor is a mirror into which the person wishing to communicate
with a deceased loved one gazes. The use of the psychomanteum
is traced to the ancient Mediterranean Basin, where
its use is described in various writings and to the sleep temples
of the followers of Asklepios.
The modern use of the psychomanteum had been advocated
by Raymond Moody, a physician most known for his study
of the near-death experience. Moody had noted that having an
apparition of a loved one who had recently died had a healing
effect on many people. They were given a sense of peace by
knowing that their loved ones were alive and in a better place.
They were also, on occasion, to complete their grieving process
by resolving a broken relationship that had been present at the
time of the death of the other party.
Following the publication of his highly successful books, Life
After Life and Reflections on Life After Life, Moody constructed a
psychomanteum and developed a simple process of inducing
apparitions that including sitting inside the mirrored room
and sending telepathic messages to the person with whom contact
was desired. He discovered that the great majority of the
people who went through a process of preparation for the psychomanteum
actually saw an apparition within the room or
later in their bedroom. Moody reported on his research in his
1993 book, Visionary Encounters with Departed Loved Ones.
The successes of the initial attempts at encounter have led
Moody to train facilitators to spread the psychomanteum work.
In his book, he offers instructions on constructing a psychomanteum.
He has also initiated a research program to quantify
the results of contacts made within the psychomanteum.
Moody believes that it will provide further evidence of communication
between the living and the dead.
Moody, Raymond, with Paul Perry. Visionary Encounters with
Departed Loved Ones. New York Ballantine Books, 1993.