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Speaking with the Dead Is an Effective Way of Mourning

When a loved one passes, the grief can be overwhelming. But your bond doesn't necessarily end there.

It is best-known for the scene where Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore caress a potter's knob while she wears a completely craft-inappropriate white shirt, but new research suggests the 1990 film Ghost was psychoanalytically ahead of its time.

An academic study into "after-death communication" has found people's reported experiences of speaking to the dead can be akin to therapy. Writing in the Journal of Near-Death Studies, Massey University's Dr. Natasha Tassell-Matamua and her PhD student, San Francisco-based Brigid McCormick, said the experiences of the mainly female participants were positive, life-affirming, and assisted with the grieving process.


These included feelings of calm and peace after being cuddled by deceased loved ones, a woman who resolved a complicated relationship with her mother from beyond the grave, and another who gained closure after a visit from her labrador. "The overall feeling was one of warmth," one participant recounted. Another reported that the experience "gave me the strength to go on. It made me a searcher of truth and history. It changed my internal world."

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