© Ian Lawton 2019

Before we start, you’re going to want to know how I can dare to suggest I can give you definitive answers to the questions in this book. Are they based on my own beliefs, and on experiences of my own? Or on the teachings of Jesus, or Mohammed, or Buddha, or of any other prophet or guru, ancient or modern?

The answer is no, none of these. This may surprise you because we’re all so used to discussions about religion, the afterlife and so on being based on people’s beliefs. Yet it’s crucial that you understand these answers absolutely aren’t… instead they’re based entirely on evidence.

So what sort of evidence am I referring to? In the modern world we have three types available to us, none of which rely on the supposed wisdom of religious or mystical figures, but rather come from the first-hand testimony of ordinary people.


Ever since the 1890s a huge variety of discarnate spirits who have passed over to the ‘other side’ have communicated in great detail exactly what happened as they made their transition into the afterlife, and thereafter. How have they done this? By selecting talented human ‘mediums’ who are able to act as a ‘channel’ for such messages by putting themselves into a relaxed state – one not dissimilar to meditation or self-hypnosis – and clearing their mind completely.

Their messages are most often transmitted via ‘automatic writing’, which typically involves the departed spirit effectively taking over the hand of the medium, who has pencil and paper at the ready. Usually they remain entirely unaware of what they’re writing until after the session is over, and have an assistant on hand to replace the paper as each page is completed. Even more compelling is that they usually write fast, in handwriting that’s invariably not at all like their own. Indeed if a medium channels more than one departed spirit the handwriting tends to be different in each case. The alternative method is for them to speak what they’re hearing in their head out loud, and for an assistant to record the information that comes through.

It is important to emphasise that this isn’t the same as what happens in typical spiritualist settings, in which a medium will attempt to communicate with the departed loved ones of a ‘sitter’, or of selected members of an audience. That is not to say that such sessions can’t furnish us with important evidence of the continuation of the spirit, because as we’ll see they can. However their context is entirely different, the main aim being to provide comfort that the loved one is ok – as opposed to them furnishing us with details of the environment in which they find themselves.

Quite often multiple spirits communicate via one medium, with their testimony compiled into one or more books. But equally often one individual may dictate an entire book containing their own experiences.

Although the majority of these departed spirits are ordinary people with no claim to fame, one of the finest is actually TE Lawrence of Arabia, who transmitted his Post-Mortem Journal via the medium Jane Sherwood in the 1950s. In the afterlife he finds himself engaging in extensive introspection about his earthly life, and his honesty and insights are completely devoid of human ego – and, I’d suggest, argue strongly for the total authenticity of his memoir.

Intriguingly, in another book Sherwood provides examples of the automatic handwriting of each of her three main communicants. Although she herself had no interest in the evidential side of things, I was drawn to compare Lawrence’s with an example from his earthly life – and was excited to discover the extent of the similarity.

Nor do all these channelled sources date back many decades. The most recent are from the 2010s, and their messages are entirely consistent with the older material.


This comes from a host of pioneers who have learned how to deliberately and repeatedly project their awareness into other planes of consciousness – which turn out to be exactly the same as those we encounter when we pass on. This evidence is almost always ignored when researchers are compiling testimony about the afterlife, yet it turns out to be incredibly important – because it absolutely corroborates the messages from our channelled sources.

Again the earliest OOB pioneers started to record their experiences in the late nineteenth century, but their numbers have grown exponentially in recent decades as the subject has attracted increasing interest. So many of our sources are highly contemporary.

There are myriad ways of achieving an OOB state and, since they’re described in multiple books on the subject, we won’t go into them now. Suffice to say that again it involves clearing the mind and that, while it can be attempted at any time of day, it’s during the onset of sleep that these experiences are most easily initiated.

For those who might be sceptical about this phenomenon, the evidence suggests we all take our awareness OOB when asleep at night, and operate in what most researchers refer to as our ‘astral body’. This is because we’re having experiences in the ‘astral plane’, which is the one most closely connected to our earth plane – except that it operates at a slightly higher level of energy vibration or frequency. (A description of the various planes, as per my ‘Astral Routemap’ model, is provided in the Appendix.)

There are higher, mid and lower astral planes, with myriad different levels within each, while beyond these lie what are often referred to as the ‘mental planes’, in which we’re operating in our ‘mental body’. We will return to all this in due course, but for the moment it’s important to understand that these various realms aren’t ‘up’ or ‘down’ – instead they’re all around us, just operating at different frequencies.

Some people do very little of any real value during their OOB projections when asleep. But a significant proportion of us will be having fascinating and useful experiences – useful because they’re actually preparing us for the afterlife, whenever it comes.

Of course it’s now commonly understood that dreams allow the brain to process the events of the day. But we need to be clear that these aren’t the only ones we have, and there’s an obvious distinction between processing-type and genuine OOB dreams. The former are usually disjointed and entirely unrealistic. By contrast, if we have even fragmentary memories of more realistic episodes – particularly, for example, of meeting with loved ones who have passed on – these are almost certainly memories of what we’ve been up to while OOB in the astral plane.


This is when someone nearly or even actually ‘dies’, but only temporarily – for example, during cardiac arrest or a serious operation. Often when they return to normal consciousness they recall their awareness having shifted OOB so that they floated above the scene, sometimes hearing and seeing events ‘on the ground’ exactly as they transpired.

They also commonly describe travelling through some sort of tunnel into a light, where they’re met by deceased family, friends or spirit guides, who at some point tell them they have to return. Because of the deep sense of love and peace they experience in the light this is very often against their will, however much they may have loved ones back on earth.

More important for our current purposes, in a smaller number of cases the subject is taken on a tour of the afterlife planes by a guide. However we should be clear that, unlike OOB pioneers who visit them repeatedly, NDE subjects only experience them once – so their reports tend to be more subjective.

A common symptom is that of being absolutely convinced they’ve met Jesus or some other religious figure, when other evidence suggests very strongly that they’ve merely encountered a spirit guide. Yet the level of energy vibration of even a relatively humble guide is so far in advance of our basic human vibration that they can easily come across as ‘god-like’ to the inexperienced traveller. Nevertheless, once these inevitable distortions are removed, NDE evidence provides some useful support for the other two types.


At this point a sceptic might be thinking that this is all just so much bunkum and that, for example, these various sources have just been trying to take money from the gullible. In other words that deliberate fraud and an element of copying had to be involved for them to come up with such incredibly consistent testimony. So let’s have a serious think about this possibility.

I have accessed the accounts of more than fifty human sources across the three different types of evidence, spanning well over a century. Yes some of them have made some money from book sales and speaking appearances, although some have then given the proceeds to charity. But plenty of others have made little money, while others still were sufficiently financially comfortable that fraud seems unlikely, unless they just wanted attention. Yet, for example, quite a few of the mediums for our channelled material were incredibly reluctant to publish for fear of ridicule.

It is also the case that most of them were writing at a time when there was no internet for information sharing, and many of their books swiftly faded into obscurity, even if they did attract attention for a while. So if anyone wanted to copy from someone else the relevant books weren’t always widely available or well-known over the period in question.

Meanwhile I personally know a number of the OOB pioneers. I can tell you these people are not frauds. Indeed I would suggest they’re at the very forefront of consciousness exploration, which as we’ll shortly see is arguably the most important area of human scientific research – and the one where we have most to learn.


So far I’ve provided very little in terms of details of sources or references to back all this up, and this will continue to be the case throughout the rest of this book. That is because this is deliberately intended to be a simple guide to the afterlife. However, it’s important for me to establish that everything herein is backed up by the extensive research I put into a far more scholarly and extensive book called Afterlife: A Modern Guide to the Unseen Realms, published in mid 2019. It is Volume 3 of the ‘Supersoul Series’ of which this book also forms part.

At over 500 pages it’s the result of more than three years of research. It contains details of all the sources and their various books, extensive quotes about their experiences in different planes, and a full references section containing more than 900 endnotes. So if at any time you’re interested to learn more about anything you read here, that’s the source to which you might want to refer first.