UPDATED: 10:19 AM EST March 4, 2004
CLEVELAND -- What happens after we die -- do we continue on or is this life the end?
Many of us hope there is an afterlife, and now some Arizona scientists say they have proof through their afterlife experiments.
There are many people who say they have died and come back to life. They claim to have experienced an afterlife, even if for only a short time.
Scientists at The University of Arizona have done extensive research, and say that they have the proof that when we die we continue to live beyond our physical bodies.
"Almost anyone who sees the data says there's something real here," said one of the researchers.
Allison Dubois is a spiritual medium, or someone thought to be able to communicate with the dead.
Christine Vettore was brought in for a reading with Dubois, who attempted to contact Vettore's dead relatives.
"I'm hopeful that there's an afterlife so I can see everybody I've lost already," said Vettore.
It doesn't take long -- within seconds, Dubois says Vettore's daughter is coming through.
It is a gift Dubois says she's had her whole life, but it comes with a lot of criticism.
"I think there are some people that are Charlatans, and with any profession there's going to be some bad apples, so I mean that just goes with the territory, so the ones that are accurate and are legitimate just have to prove themselves," said Dubois.
This reading is part of a science experiment -- Dr. Gary Schwartz, of the University of Arizona, is observing.
The Harvard-trained doctor looked for what he calls hits and misses, or the accuracy of the reading.
He's building on his hypothesis that there is life after death, and that mediums can talk to those who have died. After Vettore's daughter is contacted, Dubois contacted Vettore's brother and mother. She is able nail facts, giving details about the relations that she could not have known beforehand.
For instance, Dubois tells Vettore that her mother knows there's a carrot cake and a bowl of peanuts in her house.
"None of those things do I ever have in my house. I have those things in my house this month, carrot cake and peanuts, so that was weird," said Vettore.
The accuracy is amazing to Vettore, because she had never met or talked to Dubois before. She said Dubois was accurate in 80 to 90 percent of everything she said.
Skeptics say that Dubois is just guessing, but Schwartz says it is impossible for someone to guess and be that accurate.
For the past seven years, he has been testing mediums and other things tied to death, using science to explain what happens when we leave our physical bodies.
"Saying that this is against the grain with academia sort of puts it mildly," said Schwartz.
Schwartz has done multiple experiments under very controlled conditions. One of the most intriguing studies included five of the most respected mediums in the world, hooked up to monitors and computers.
In the experiment, 10 people were read by the five mediums. In lab conditions, a medium sat down with an individual and there would be a divider between them.
When that medium finished, the next would come in, until all five mediums had given a reading for the individual.
Schwartz and his staff would then compare the readings. They were astonished to find that in most cases, the mediums would bring through the same people and the same messages, with an 80-90 percent accuracy rate.
"There are so many people that are going to try to find holes in what we've done … there is not a hole to find when we agree, or get a final protocol done," said Schwartz.
The scientists call their findings survival of consciousness -- meaning our physical bodies die, but we continue on.
The research continues with studies that include near-death survivors.
Schwartz says near-death experience research completely dovetails and supports what's coming from the mediums.
He says he will continue his research, and that the data doesn't lie.
"When you look at the totality of the data from our laboratory, the simplest explanation is actually that survival of consciousness is real," said Schwartz.