Robert & Suzanne Mays

Presentation title: Objective Confirmations of Near-Death Experiences and Related Experiences

Presentation description: The strongest evidence for the separation of consciousness from the physical body comes from apparently non-physical veridical perceptions (AVPs) during near-death experiences (NDEs). When a large number of corroborated veridical perception cases are considered, it becomes especially difficult to argue that these perceptions are due to hallucinations, fabrication or confabulation of information derived from other sources.

Certain types of AVPs, such as where the NDEr appears as an apparition to others, demonstrate an objective confirmation that the mind or spirit of the person in fact separates from the physical body during an NDE. Related experiences such as shared death experiences (SDEs) provide further objective confirmation and mutual corroboration of NDE phenomena. Indeed, physicalist explanations of NDEs that cover all aspects of all cases of NDEs become impossibly difficult in light of these cases.

BIO: Robert and Suzanne Mays have studied the phenomena related to near-death experiences (NDEs) together for over 35 years, although neither has had a near-death experience.

Robert and Suzanne Mays have studied near-death experiences (NDEs) together for over 35 years. They are interested particularly in the implications of NDEs and shared-death experiences (SDEs) for understanding consciousness and neurological function. Their theory postulates that the mind is an energetic entity that can exist independent of the physical body.

Web site:

Research areas

Phenomena connected with near-death experiences (NDEs) and shared-death experiences (SDEs) and their implications for understanding consciousness and neurological function, in particular:

  • The phenomena connected with the out-of-body component of the NDE, especially veridical perceptions during NDEs and SDEs, and apparent interactions during NDEs between the NDEr and physical reality.
  • Neurological evidence of the autonomous “self-conscious mind” during ordinary consciousness.
  • Neurological mechanisms for an interface between the “mind” and the brain.
  • Specific research on phantom limbs, focusing on perceivable interactions with another person’s body and measurable interactions with physical processes.
  • Verification and corroboration of specific veridical perceptions during an NDE, such as those of George Ritchie.
  • Mays, R. G., and Mays, S. B. (2011). A theory of mind and body that solves the "hard problem" of consciousness. Paper presented at 2011 IANDS Conference (Durham, September 2011).
  • Mays, R. G., and Mays, S. B. (2010). A theory of mind and body that solves the "hard problem". Poster presentation at theToward a Science of Consciousness conference (Tucson, Arizona, April 13-17, 2010).
  • Mays, R. G., and Mays, S. B. (2008). The phenomenology of the self-conscious mind. Journal of Near-Death Studies, 27(1), 5-45. 
  • Mays, R. G., and Mays, S. B. (2008). Phantom limb "touch" suggests that a "mind-limb" extends beyond the physical body. Poster presentation at the Toward a Science of Consciousness conference (Tucson, Arizona, April 8-12, 2008). 
Robert G. Mays received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and worked in software development at Eastman Kodak Company and later at IBM Corporation for more than 20 years, where he achieved the level of Senior Software Engineer. At IBM he specialized in software development process, software quality and software defect prevention. He was a co-recipient of IBM's first Corporate Quality Award in 1991. After leaving IBM, he taught high school chemistry for several years at different Waldorf schools in the U.S. and is now retired. 

Additional coursework:  Medical Neuroscience, Clinical Neurology, Biomedical Imaging, Fundamentals of Neuroscience

Other publications
Suzanne B. Mays received an Associate in Arts degree in medical secretarial science from Alfred State College (SUNY), Alfred, NY and is a Certified Music Practitioner with training through the Music for Healing and Transition Program. As a Certified Music Practitioner, she provides palliative care to patients at UNC Hospitals and Duke University Medical Center. She also teaches lyre privately and at the Emerson Waldorf School.

Robert and Suzanne have also extensively studied anthroposophy and the works of Rudolf Steiner, and were involved in founding the Emerson Waldorf School in Chapel Hill, NC.

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