William Peters has dedicated his life to the study of end-of-life phenomena. He holds master’s degrees in education and counseling psychology, and is the founder of the Shared Crossing Project, an organization that educates people about mystical happenings during the dying process. He sat down with Mysterious Ways to discuss the Shared Crossing Project’s research into a type of end-of-life phenomena known as the shared death experience and what it teaches us about our enduring connection to each other and the mysterious journey from this life into what lies beyond.
What is a shared death experience?
A shared death experience, or SDE, occurs when a living person observes the transition of a person who is dying. They experience the initial stages of the afterlife together. During an SDE, living experiencers are allowed to witness a dying person’s journey from this life into what lies beyond.
An SDE can happen to caregivers, loved ones and bystanders —seldom between total strangers. They occur between people who may not know each other well, such as a dying person and a nurse, when the experiencer was often a source of comfort for the dying person in the final stages of life.
How did you become interested in studying SDEs?
In 1979, at 17 years old, I was in a skiing accident and had a near-death experience, or NDE. I went out of my body, saw my life in review and went toward the light. I asked God to go back. After I recovered, I had no language or context for my experience and told no one about it.
In 1993, a blood disorder nearly killed me. I had another out-of-body experience, in which I floated over my body in bed. After that, I realized how profound these experiences were and became more curious.
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