Pre-Death Apparitions

Pre-Death Apparitions October 6, 2019


The second temple in Utah Valley, in American Fork
The Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple, in American Fork, Utah, in Utah Valley (


A passage that I gathered for one of my manuscripts-in-progress and that I thought some might perhaps enjoy on this Sabbath day:


“To find out if apparitions occur independently of the patient’s desires and expectations,” write Karlis Osis and Erlendur Haraldsson,

we asked our respondents to identify whom the patients had desired to see the day before the visions occurred.  Sometimes there had been a very strong desire to see a loved one who lived far away, such as an absent son.  Only an insignificant part (3 percent) of our cases were explainable by hallucinations of persons the dying patient desired to see and who had not visited him.  There were thirteen cases like that in all.  Of those persons who had visited the patient, only nine were hallucinated.  Apparently such desires did not create the vast majority of apparitions.  Furthermore, there was no indication in the data that persons recently seen by patients also appeared frequently in their hallucinations.  In addition to this, we also asked about preoccupations and worries expressed by the patient on the day prior to the apparition. . . .  [A]nxieties and inner conflicts may be projected outwardly in the form of a hallucination.  The phenomenon of seeing apparitions, however, was not significantly related to preoccupations of worries of the patient in either the American or Indian samples.

Another powerful factor that might shape hallucinations is the patient’s expectation of either dying or recovering from his illness.  Those who expect to die, we reasoned, might indulge in otherworldly fantasies in order to assuage their fear of dying.  As for those who expect to recover, needless to say, seeing an apparition coming to take them away to the realm of the dead would be contrary to their expectations.  We would therefore not expect them to create hallucinations of another world.  Nevertheless, both samples showed that these expectancies were not significantly related to the purpose of the apparition.  It seems that apparitions show a purpose of their own, contradicting the intentions of the patients.  This suggests that they are not merely outward projections from the patient’s psyche.

Several medical observers expressed amazement and surprise when confronted with cases in which patients died—after seeing apparitions call them—despite good medical prognoses.  For example, a Hindu patient in his sixties was hospitalized because of a bronchial asthmatic condition.  The doctor’s prognosis predicted a definite recovery.  The patient himself expected to live and wished to live.  Suddenly he exclaimed, “Somebody is calling me.”  Afterward he reassured his relatives, saying, “Don’t worry, I will be all right,” but the “call” seemed to have been more potent than he himself thought.  The patient died within ten minutes.[1]

[1] $Osis and Haraldsson, At the Hour of Death, 88-89.



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