Dr. Harold Widdison
and Dr. Craig Lundahl's Near-Death Experience Research
Harold A. Widdison earned a Bachelors degree
in Sociology and a MBA from Brigham Young University.
He received his Ph.D. in Medical Sociology in 1979
and taught at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff,
Arizona for thirty-one years before retiring in
2003. Dr. Widdison became interested in the subject
of death, grief, and bereavement two months before
his marriage when his father suddenly died in a
car a accident. He later created and taught one
of the first courses on these subjects in a university
setting. He also had several family members share
their experiences with him one uncle had an NDE
(near-death experience) on the operating table and
an adopted daughter had a visit from her dead grandfather.
Dr. Craig Lundahl, Dr. Widdison documented their
research in their classic NDE book entitled,
The Eternal Journey. Dr. Craig Lundahl is chairman
emeritus of the Department of Social Sciences and
emeritus professor at Western New Mexico University.
He is one of the pioneer NDE researchers and the
A Collection of Near-Death Research Readings.
Meticulously researched and exhaustively compiled,
The Eternal Journey divulges mesmerizing eyewitness
descriptions of the hereafter's City of Light, incredible
portraits of existence in the ensuing dimension,
and enlightening information on angels in this world
and the next. Dr. Widdison's latest book,
Trailing Clouds of Glory, is the result of seven
years of interviewing, researching and collecting
of first person accounts. The following is an excerpt
of their book The Eternal Journey which deals with
the various dimensions of the afterlife.
gleaned from individuals who have visited or been
permitted to see the next world suggest that this
otherworld has two major divisions. The first division
has been named "Cities of Light" by
and others. The other division has been variously
labeled "a realm of bewildered spirits"
by Moody, a place "devoid of love" by
George Ritchie, a place of "earthbound/lingering
spirits" by Eadie, and the "sphere of
wasted, elusive, and misused opportunities"
who have had an extensive visit to the otherworld
report that its structure is very complex. In the
previous chapter it was noted that individuals acquired
new senses in the spirit world, one of which is
the ability to "know" others' thoughts
and desires. This enhanced sense seems to be a factor
in the ultimate placement of each individual in
the spirit world.
evidence that a type of judgment occurs at the time
of death. This judgment involves a review of a person's
life and results in their placement in the spirit
after the judgment the person is assigned (in many
cases this assignment is self-imposed) to a specific
place or level in the other world - a place where
his or her spirit feels most at ease. Eadie "understood
that there are many levels of development, and we
always go to that level where we are most comfortable."
This observation is supported by Barbara Ross, who "died"
while being operated on after an automobile accident.
father looked like he had looked the last
time I saw him, pretty much in the prime
of his life, calm and in control. Grandmother
looked harassed and harried, kind of tense.
I remember her being that way before she
died. I got the feeling that she wasn't
at as high a level of spiritual development
as my father was. She had come from a different
part of the afterworld, from a group of
people who were unsettled as she was, less
distinct in their appearance, and not as
much in control as my father. He was benign
and calm, like he had been in life."
after meeting many friends and relatives, wondered
why some were missing. When asking about them, he
began to experience less light and a haze, less
brilliant colors, a heaviness of his body, and earthly
thoughts. This impressed him to believe that he
was being shown a lower sphere, where he saw those
he asked about.
evidence of multiple levels in the otherworld. For
example, one individual saw every man and woman
in the otherworld organized into several different
grades. Another individual discovered that:
were spheres above, whose occupants could
and did visit us, and we could always recognize
these higher natures by the virtues which
possessed them, and were apparent to us
as they passed beside us. But we could not
visit their spheres until we had perfectly
qualified for it.
there were of course spheres below us, where
those who had not repented of their evil
ways still had to work out their redemption.
in the lower spheres could not have been
happy in this higher kingdom until they
qualified themselves by a change of heart
This individual went on
to observe that although individuals in each sphere
are aware of the others' existence, they cannot
see, let alone visit, without significant preparation.
living on the higher realms of the city
radiate the brightest light, being so resplendent
that their glory must be cloaked so others
of lower degree can look upon them. Visiting
the higher levels is possible, but the spirits
of lower realms must be prepared or covered
so they can stand in the presence of greater
to the placement of individuals at judgment, the
next world is efficiently organized to help individuals
adapt to their new home. Infants are taken to a
place where they are nurtured and taught and where
they mature. Some new arrivals are taken to a place
of orientation where they rest, adjust to their
new condition, and prepare to take their place in
the City of Light. Daisy Dryden, the young ten-year-old
child mentioned earlier, had been conversing with
her six-year-old brother, Allie, who had died of
scarlet fever six months earlier. Daisy could not
travel into the spirit world, but Allie could and
would supply Daisy with some answers to specific
questions. For example:
who had lost her father a short time previous, wanted
to know if Daisy had seen him, and brought his picture
to see if she could recognize him. Daisy told her
she had not seen him and that Allie, whom she had
asked about him (Mrs. W.) had not seen him, but
that Allie had said he would ask someone who could
tell him about him.
In a moment Daisy said, "Allie is here
and says, 'Tell Aunty her father wants her
to meet him in heaven, for he is there.'"
Mrs. W. then said, "Daisy, why did
not Allie know at once about my father?"
replied she, "those who die go into
different states or places and do not see
each other at all times, but all the good
are in the state of blest."
others are being prepared to enter the City
When told that a very close
family friend - Dr. John Macgregor - was still working
hard as a physician, the individual assumed he was
working with people on Earth.
you're quite wrong," he said. "We
have hospitals here full of injured and
crippled souls - the result of their hard
faring on Earth - who need nursing back
to health and building up into full stature
before they can start their work up here."
The reports of many individuals
who have been permitted to see or visit the next
world tell us that it is located right here on our
physical Earth. If our spirit eyes were to open,
we would discover we are surrounded by those who
have preceded us in death. But not everyone goes
to the same location in the next world. We will
be acutely aware of everything we have done or failed
to do in our lives. We will also know the lives
of those around us and they will know ours. Therefore
we will seek out those who "think" the
same way we do, who "value" the same things
we do. We will gravitate toward those we feel at
ease with, who are like us. Judgment is more a process
of self-evaluation than the product of a heavenly
tribunal. The next world is segmented into spheres
organized around qualities of love, service, and
When Lorenzo Dow Young apparently died,
he was met by a heavenly messenger who was
to be his guide. Lorenzo asked for permission
to speak to his wife and sister before he
left (they were grieving his death) but
was told no. His guide said, "Now let
seemed annihilated. Apparently we went up,
and almost instantly were in another world.
It was of such magnitude that I formed no
conception of its size. It was filled with
innumerable hosts of beings, who seemed
as naturally human as those among whom I
had lived. With some I had been acquainted
in the world I had just left. My guide informed
me that those I saw had not yet arrived
at their final abiding place. All kinds
of people seemed mixed up promiscuously,
as they are in this world. Their surroundings
and manner indicated that they were in a
state of expectation, and awaiting some
event of considerable moment to them.
my guide said, 'Now let us go.'
a moment were at the gates of a beautiful
city. A porter opened it and we passed in.
They city was grand and beautiful beyond
anything that I can describe. It was clothed
in the purest light, brilliant but not glaring
people, men and women, in their employments
and surroundings seemed contented and happy.
I knew those I met without being told who
guide would not permit me to pause much
by the way, but rather hurried me on through
this place to another still higher but connected
with it. It was still more beautiful and
glorious than anything I had before seen.
To me its extent and magnificence were incomprehensible."
visited three unique places, a place where people
were yet to reach their assigned place, a city of
light, and a second city of even greater grandeur
beyond the previous city of light. He pleaded with
his guide to remain and was told he was "permitted
only to visit these 'heavenly cities,' for I had
not filled my mission in yonder world; therefore
I must return and take my body.
John Powell had a similar
experience when, in his words:
personage came and said, 'Come!' My spirit
left my body and went with my guide who
took me to the next planet. Here I beheld
the inhabitants. The houses and trees were
beautiful to behold. I was so amazed and
delighted that I requested my guide to permit
me to stay and dwell there, for all things
were far superior and in advance of this
world that I had come from. He answered,
'No,' and said, 'Come.'
then took me to the next kingdom which so
exceeded the first in beauty and glory that
I was again amazed and requested permission
to stay. I cannot command language to describe
the beauty of the inhabitants and scenery,
but my guide said, 'No, come!'
then took me to the next kingdom which was
far more beautiful in glory and order than
the former two. The beautiful flowers, trees,
gardens, people who were dressed in pure
white, and so pure that I was overwhelmed
with joy and most earnestly implored my
guide to allow me to stay, but he said,
'You cannot go any further, for this is
next to the throne of God.' He then said,
then brought me again to this Earth. When
I saw my body lying on the bed I did not
want to enter it again for I felt so happy
out of it that I could not bear the thought
of entering it again, but he said, 'Enter,'
and I had to obey."
[a] man who was electrocuted when his home was struck
by lightning, found himself moving toward lights.
As he drew closer to the lights he realized they
were "cities" and that the cities were
built of light.
reported seeing children playing in big golden "cities"
and seeing busy people in "cities," from
which it is possible to infer there is more than
one city in the spirit world.
as well as the Swedish scientist
each observed multiple levels in the hereafter.
Rev. Howard Storm
had an extensive experience in which he also observed
multiple levels in the otherworld.
American chief White Thunder, during his visit to
the world of spirits, was shown by his spirit guides "various
areas of the spirit world - some containing happy
spirits and others peopled by unhappy evildoers."
was also permitted to visit the spirit world and
discovered, much to his surprise, that even the
worst in heaven exceeded the best on Earth.
Pettersson the world of spirits resembled the material
world. There were many countries, or "Kingdoms."
There were cities and villages, temples and palaces,
flowers and animals of great beauty and variety.
The people were very busy. Some were preaching on
street corners and in assembly halls, and all had
they?" Herr Pettersson asked (referring
to the preachers)?
his guide answered, "belong to the
church of the First born, and they have
been sent here to be ministering spirits
to those who shall yet becoming heirs of
am afraid," stammered Herr Pettersson, "that
I do not comprehend you. Are we not in heaven?
How can the world of salvation be preached
brother!" the guide replied, "We
are not in what mortals call heaven! This
was ultimately permitted to visit "heaven"
and its indescribable beauty. While there, he discovered
that heaven also has multiple levels, and inhabitation
of each level is contingent on one's diligence on
Earth and in heaven.
But no matter
what level or city a person qualifies for, each
city is so superior to any on Earth that it is indescribable,
and each succeeding realm is indescribably better
than that immediately below it. It seems that the
assignment to a specific city is contingent on the
actions and attitudes of the individual while on
Earth. The key that opens the gate to a specific
city of light is the ability to dwell in the light
of that city, and this evidently depends on behaviors
during Earth life.
Trailing Clouds of Glory
by Harold Widdison
The author provides answers
to the great question: "Where
did I come from?" Widdison
intersperses an insightful review
of pre-mortal existence with
first-hand accounts bearing
on premortal life.
The Eternal Journey: How Near-Death
Experiences Illuminate Our Earthly
by Harold Widdison and Craig
Focusing on the "eternal"
nature of our existence, Lundahl
and Widdison share their quest
to understand "the purpose
of life and the meaning of death."
This book incorporates NDE case
studies involving pre-Earth
life encounters, making this
an up-to-date work on the entire
journey of the human soul.