IANDS Conference 2019 Review
amanda linette meder
On Friday, August 30th, I had an opportunity to attend the annual International Association for Near-Death Studies Conference, hosted in the King of Prussia neighborhood right outside of center city Philadelphia.
For those not familiar with King of Prussia, this is the same area many know as Valley Forge. It's considered to be one of the more historic and prominent parts of the region.
I moved here six years ago and have enjoyed studying the spiritual history of the area, and having access to all the philosophical resources, not to mention the food.
Home to one of the largest malls in the area, King of Prussia is where a lot of the people of Philadelphia do their shopping, mingling, and have their conferences.
The International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) is a 501(c)3 that started over 30 years ago. It's been producing conferences annually since the 80s, but it only comes around the east coast once every blue moon.
And this year, it was my moon.
Originating in 1978 after the Vietnam War and Raymond Moody's work, Life After Life, the IANDS primarily focuses on and studies near-death experiences.
Near-death experiences are positive transformative events where the soul detaches from the body, usually before or during a traumatic incident.
Dr. Diane Corcoran, who is the current president of IANDS, got involved with the group while she was a nurse in Vietnam.
She started working with near-death experiences before any literature was published on the topic when veterans of that war began coming to her with the things they experienced spiritually, off the battlefield.
Other founders of the group, such as Bruce Greyson, are doctors. So, to say the veteran, academic and medical community presence at this event was large is an understatement.
The conference's talks were full of people in the medical community, sitting next to people who had personal, soul-body experiences, right next to metaphysicians, so the variety of perspectives and experiences were in abundance.
If anything, the IANDS conference is a fantastic display of tolerance, listening, and sharing of ideas in an entirely civil, thoughtful, and insightful way.
In other words, it's exactly something the founding fathers of Philadelphia would have approved of.
By the facts, the conference is a 4-day experience filled with lectures, panel discussions, crisscrossed with evidence-based data reports and personal reports, everyone having a seat at the table.
One of the first talks of the day I attended was with Suzanne Giesemann, an evidential medium, and a formal Naval Commander, who gave a powerpoint presentation complete with:
Greek mythological lore
And it was as thorough as it sounds. If you ever have a chance to hear Sue talk, I highly recommend it.
There were medical doctors and students behind me completely enthralled with not only the level of detail of her report but the level of evidence. I was also taking notes as fast as I could.
If you ever have a relative say to you about your gifts, "Well, where's the evidence?" I honestly feel we would all be served by calling Sue into the investigation room.
Imagine her opening up a binder at your dining room table, because that’s the scene I see.
After that, I attended a panel titled, Helping Souls Cross Over, where:
A Hospice Volunteer, Michael A. Quinn
A Catholic Priest, Father Nathan Castle
And a Fire Captain, Bill Letson
All discussed their experiences crossing over souls.
In case you are wondering, I am discussing earthbound spirits here.
This was a discussion on how to help people release the fear of death before they die, so these types of spiritual situations of suffering can be both avoided and transcended on both sides.
I needed some time to think about this. So after these two talks, I went to the bookstore, and then down to the healing room.
The Healing Room
The Healing Room for the event was set up by Rebecca Austill-Clausen. Rebecca later hosted a talk on After-Death Communication Techniques. She was both loving and kind.
The space she created would be one any energy worker would be proud to share.
You could feel the love in the healing corridor.
Throughout the conference, participants or presenters could sign up for healings with some of the most talented in the area.
Healings were not part of the conference price, and available at $18/20 minutes, with all proceeds going to the organization.
I was gifted a session that afternoon with healer Christie Kragness who works out of Soulful Journeys in Nazareth, PA.
Saying it was incredible is not the right word to describe it, but I am still trying to find those words. Perhaps I never will.
The conference theme
The IANDS conference focuses on a different theme every year, and the 2019 conference theme was The Power of Love and Consciousness. I will say I did feel it was a loving, conscious conference.
After I attended the event, I walked around the whole next day in disbelief.
Only a day prior, military, law enforcement, and doctors were all around, and here, they were the ones talking about the sensitive stuff before I even opened my mouth.
No one tried to diagnose me, wanted to break me apart, nor did I have to bother explaining clairvoyance to a single soul.
Aside from that, I've never been to an academic conference this civil and understanding.
I've been to other conferences on topics with less embedded trauma, that were far less civil with far less at stake, that I was in disbelief the whole way home.
What a day.
All in all, attending this conference is worth your time, especially if you:
Are in the Veteran Community.
Are in the Medical Community and work in trauma.
Are in the Metaphysical, Medical or Veteran Community and want to stay abreast of emerging consciousness research in any of those fields.
Have had a near-death or other similar type of spiritual experience.
Provide support to those who have gone through trauma incidents.
Work in an area where people have questions about the afterlife.
Work in an area where you are supporting people who have gone through transformative life events (in fiction this is called turning point four on the hero’s arc).
Are a first responder to trauma scenes.
Work in hospice.
Next year’s conference will be in Salt Lake City, Utah, from September 3-6.
If you missed this year's conference, but still want to listen to the talks, which were compelling, fascinating and diverse, you can access the live streams at the IANDS website:
If you want to get an idea of the type of talks you might be able to expect next year, check out this year’s agenda here:
If you are a Veteran, and you have had an out of body or consciousness experience, and you believe no one will understand, know that people do.
There are other Veterans, such as Reverend Bill McDonald, who were also present at the event and they can help.
If you aren't a Veteran, but nervous of the medical community, and still want to learn, all I have to say is that I was a little shy of the doctors, too.
As a former kid who sees things before it was widely accepted, you learn to skirt around doctors, not really ever providing the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, due to the very real consequences at stake for doing that.
The truth is really only best delivered amongst the care of compassionate hands where all feel safe.
And, I’m happy to report, this is what you will find at this event.
So to recap:
Lots of resources available for all walks of life.
Expect a large medical community presence.
Plenty of people talking about their Spirit Guides too.
Energy, healing work, and trauma support is available on-site for those to receive soft care in a safe, supportive environment.
All attendees I met were interested in experiencers in a loving, non-exploitative way.
All in all, it was an extraordinary meeting of minds, the best of all worlds. I learned about medical research, mediumship research, and mental health research all-in-one place.
The only thing I wish is that more of the doctors and presenters at this event would get on the blogs. Many of them were presenting fascinating information, but it was hard for me to find internet links for some of it.
One final note
Most people who have had spiritual experiences are afraid of being judged for sharing what they have seen, heard, and felt with others. This keeps pertinent important information locked away for far too long.
Sharing those experiences may have already manifested as real-life consequences such as institutionalization, job loss, or excommunication from a group. So I get the reasons for not sharing with others.
However, please know that some of those others have had experiences too, and they are out there. They may even be looking to speak with you.
They may have scientific evidence to back up your claims, or you may have circumstantial evidence that can back up their theories. And some of these people, I will tell you, are at the IANDS conference.
So for anyone looking to get more information on the intersection of the afterlife, the professional fields that cover it, and the world between them, I highly suggest this event.
This is a safe place to go if you need support, validation, or want to meet other people who do believe you on either side of the board.
And who knows, it could be a Catholic Priest or a Naval Commander.
The Universe is weird.
But it's not that weird, when you remember we're all in this together.
IANDS 2020 Save The Date
Salt Lake City, UT
Amanda Linette Meder
Special thanks to Nancy van Alphen and Rebecca Austill-Clausen for inviting me to attend this gathering, and Lilia for the advance forwarding of materials.
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Last Updated: 2019.09.14 23:03 ET