The Past Lives Podcast Ep201 – Piero Calvi-Parisetti

This week I’m talking to Piero Calvi-Parisetti about his book ‘Step Into the Light: Transform your fear of death by learning about life after life’.

What happens when we die? Is death annihilation – the end of everything as far as we are concerned – or is there an afterlife? And if there indeed is one, what does it look like? Instead of speculating philosophically or reviewing different religious beliefs, this book looks directly at the testimony we have from witnesses with a direct experience of death: those who’ve had a deathbed vision, those who’ve had a Near-Death Experience and those who have actually died and allegedly went on living in a nonmaterial dimension we call the spirit world. To begin with, the author engages you in a scientific “detective work” aiming to establish the credibility of these sources of information. He reviews all the alternative explanations which have been proposed for these phenomena, showing that not one of them is capable of accounting for the empirical evidence. The conclusion is that these sources are indeed likely to be what or who they claim to be, and therefore it is reasonable to trust them.

Then he systematically describes the process of dying and the various stages of life in the spirit world, based on (and extensively quoting) the coherent, consistent testimony received from these different sources. You will notice the striking similarities between accounts from different periods in modern history and from witnesses of different religious, social, economic and cultural backgrounds. You will also see how these accounts are almost invariably at odds with the teachings of most organised religions, further suggesting that they reflect real experiences rather than beliefs or fantasy. Step into the Light engages your rational mind, showing that the thought of death as annihilation is not consistent with the available evidence and aiming to transform your fear of death into reasonable hopefulness.

The author, Piero Calvi-Parisetti is a medical doctor and long-time university lecturer. A member of the Society for Psychical Research and the International Association for Near-Death Studies, his particular area of interest is applied psychical research, that is the practical application of research findings, in particular for the benefit of the bereaved and the dying. He has written four books on these subjects and produced an 8-hour video course with an accompanying cognitive-behaviour self-help manual. A much-in-demand speaker, he regularly lectures internationally.

Italian-born, Scottish author and speaker Piero Calvi-Parisetti is a medical doctor originally specialising in Public Health and Disaster Management. At the beginning of his career, employed by the International Red Cross and the United Nations, he worked in the management of large-scale humanitarian aid operations in Africa, Asia and the former Soviet Union. At the end of year 2000 he moved from field operations to the classroom, taking up a late academic career. Until 2015, he has been Professor of Emergencies and Humanitarian Action at the Institute for International Political Studies of Milan University (Italy) and a visiting professor at several other universities.

In 2004, a simple anecdote narrated by his wife triggered an intellectual interest, at first, and then a true scholarly passion for psychical research, especially for the study of scientific evidence pointing to the survival of human personality of bodily death.

By digesting some 30,000 pages of literature, attending international conferences and study days, interviewing the researchers and even training personally with one of his intellectual heroes, Dr Raymond Moody (the first physician to write about Near-Death Experiences in 1975), Dr Parisetti became convinced that mind and consciousness cannot be reduced to the activity of the brain, and, in a way which we do not understand, they survive the death of the body.

In 2008, he published his first book 21 Days into the Afterlife, hailed by NY Times bestselling author Michael Prescott as “The best introduction I have seen to the survival hypothesis”. The book received very complimentary reviews by specialists and lay public alike, was translated into six languages and went on to become a little Internet publishing success. His other books are Adventures in Psychical Research (2011) and Apparitions – Proof of Survival (2014).

As a medical doctor and a former humanitarian, however, Dr Parisetti’s main drive and motivation in life is to be of help to others. After 2010, therefore, his interests gradually shifted towards applied psychical research, that is the practical application of the research findings, in particular for the benefit of the bereaved and the dying. He formally trained as a cognitive-behaviour psychotherapist and developed an original counselling approach directed to those who suffer because of the loss of a loved one and those who are in fear of impending death (their own or a loved one’s). This approach aims to help the bereaved and the dying developing a rational belief in life after life – a belief based on reason, built upon the critical evaluation of evidence, rather than on faith.

In 2012 he produced a self-help workbook with an accompanying 8-hour video course based on this approach and donated it to the Forever Family Foundation, a nonreligious, not for profit organisation strong of over 12,000 members worldwide which is dedicated to furthering the knowledge of afterlife science among the bereaved.

Dr Parisetti is a member of the Society for Psychical Research and of the International Association for Near-Death Studies, two professional scientific research organisations. He collaborates with the Institut Suisse de Sciences Noetiques in Geneva, Switzerland.