The Life After Death Project (TV Movie 2013) Poster

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It's about the journey, not the destination. . .
elysiumfilms17 May 2013
I was disappointed to see the other reviewer who took the film to task for not being scientific enough, thus disqualifying it—by this person's standards—from being a real "documentary". Not to be glib, but I'm uncomfortable with another person appointing them self arbiter as to what is, and what is not, a real documentary.

A good documentary documents real life occurrences. Simple. This film is not a project that sets out to prove via hard science whether or not there is an afterlife. To approach the film from that perspective, which is what it appeared our first reviewer did, would completely invalidate the experience of the film.

The film is a personal journey. It is about a man who, after the death of a close friend—legendary editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, Forrest J Ackerman—finds odd things happening to him, things he is unable to put into the category of normal, everyday happenings. This man, Paul Davids, attempts to find meaning in these strange events through both science and mysticism, while also consulting with some of the preeminent genre writers, men who have given a great deal of thought to the otherworldly, men like writer Richard Matheson (Hell House, What Dreams May Come) and Whitley Strieber, whose book Communion left an entire generation with a bad case of insomnia.

To look at this film as some authority on the science of the soul is to do it a great injustice. The film is ultimately a buddy story. It is about a sweet man who wants nothing more than to chat with his friend one last time. It is a film that gives hope to all those who have lost someone dear.

So at the end of it all, was I convinced that Paul had actually been contacted by Mr. Ackerman? I will say that it was a fun ride. There were some truly strange events. When it comes right down to it I'm much like Fox Mulder: I want to believe.
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10/10
The Life After Death Project was very well done.
firebird-689-18834219 May 2013
After decades of personal experience in the world of the paranormal and reading and viewing thousands of works in such field by others I have grown for the most part jaded by yet another film in most fields regarding the paranormal. That said I have to say that this work of producer Paul Davids was well done indeed. His meticulous documentation of multiple synchronism's regarding the apparent attempts of Forest J. Ackerman to contact living friends after his death, were very thorough.

In the world of courts and the law, I would say this film went far into proving its case by the legal concept of "a preponderance of the evidence." As multiple venues were explored, from scientists with impressive credentials who examined some of the evidence to using psychics to gain information without knowing about whom or what so that it was like a scientific blind study.

In my lifetime of looking at paranormal works, I have not seen one on ghosts or afterlife communication as well done as this one. It is a standout. And again if this were the evidence presented in a court of law this film would more than make the case for its premise to any reasonable jury.

Barbara Finney
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10/10
Intriguing use of real time data collection in chemistry labs and in a laboratory working on communication with "departed hypothesized co-investigators"
DeborahPainter85517 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
In "The Life After Death Project" we get to see real time research on psychic phenomena by a serious scientist, Dr. Gary Schwartz, seeing the data gathered in the laboratory, something one rarely gets any access to in a televised documentary. I cannot say if this info is a "spoiler" or not, but I became interested in learning more about Dr. Schwartz' work when I saw this film so I looked him up on the Internet and found that a paper on this experimental regimen and some results was published in Explore, volume 6 number 3, May 2010. Explore is a peer reviewed scientific journal. Dr. Schwartz invites "departed hypothesized co-investigators" to participate in the experiments using a device that is currently used in biomedical imaging. Basically it's a device that detects minute amounts of light at the level of one or two protons, then graphs the light variations that are detected in the device when questions are asked. It's the device shown in this documentary.

The work Dr. Schwartz was carrying out in apparent communication with Forrest J Ackerman's spirit or mind, if you will, is intriguing enough but that was not the only interesting part, by any means. A strange inkblot that inexplicably showed up on an otherwise ordinary document at the filmmaker's house is what really started his whole quest for answers. The inkblot was to be analyzed by two top notch forensic chemists.

I liked the way Paul Davids hand delivered the document to the chemists as shown in the documentary.

Over the years I've read in various books accounts of odd paranormal occurrences that defy explanation like "blood stains" that will reappear after repeated scrubbing on the floor of a house where a murder allegedly took place, pastel paintings that lose their hues for no apparent reason, said colors then reappearing later, et cetera, but none of these were subjected to any rigorous scientific investigation that I can find and read for myself or see in a film and unfortunately I took them with a very large grain of salt for that very reason.

In "The Life After Death Project" we see scientific experimentation conducted upon something that would seem to fit that general class of occurrences: pigments that appear mysteriously and defy ordinary explanations.

Some other highlights include discussions with authors Richard Matheson and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and accounts of odd phenomena other friends of Forrest J Ackerman experienced. Skeptic Michael Shermer offers his own opinions on the matter of survival of consciousness. "The grownups are in charge" in this film, and there is no sensationalism at all.
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8/10
Thought provoking and fascinating documentary on Life After Death
Rackateer16 May 2013
I found this documentary captivating. It unspooled like a mystery and I was caught up in the investigation of a seemingly small incident that had major ramifications leading to many unusual incidents and a fascinating exploration into the after-life. I liked the mix of people interviewed, from experts in all fields to lay people who have had unexplainable experiences. The main thrust and focus of the documentary is on Forrest J. Ackerman, an interesting and eccentric man, best know to people interested in horror as Sci-Fi random. In fact Forry coined the term Sci-Fi. I guess he was a devout atheist, which makes what occurs even more interesting. None of us will truly know what lies on the other side of death until it is our time. No scientific investigation or any "expert" can tell us whether there is life after death or not, and people who are waiting for that type of confirmation will be waiting for a long time. Well, at least until they die themselves. This film was interesting and thought provoking, and for me it was After-Life Affirming. If you're interested in this type of thing, I think you will enjoy the ride.
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9/10
Well done documentary that focused on the subject, not the hype.
gstad-128 May 2013
This documentary proves that you do not need to fabricate evidence to keep the viewers attention. The focus is on the events that occurred, not the potential for dramatizing unrelated events and piecing together a flimsy story to substantiate vague claims. It is an intelligent telling of an intricate story that is worth watching even if you are not interested in the subject matter. The story takes seemingly unrelated occurrences and ties them together weaving a tapestry of events that must be seen to be believed. The use of scientific research is unprecedented and if more paranormal investigators worked this way, we would be gaining ground exponentially.
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10/10
a memorable journey...
rdr-937-74616618 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Does this film bring something new to the age-old argument between debunkers and believers in life after death? Definitely.

Is it of greater significance than the television paranormal onslaught? Absolutely.

It may not please the naysayers, and it may not warm the hearts of those who are convinced we go to one of two places when we die. Personally I believe that whatever a person feels deeply and honestly, is their truth. I also believe this director is credible when he explains that he made this film only because very strange things began happening to him, and kept happening, after the death of a great, aged friend.

This documentary seeks out scientific analysis of the evidence of a possible "message," which involves tests with top forensic chemists whose credentials you can confirm.

Yes, he also turns to some mediums, but it's on the recommendation of a university professor who taught at both Harvard and Yale, who had studied mediums for years and felt some really do have genuine gifts.

It was awesome the way the director also includes Dr. Michael Shermer, head of the Skeptic Society and Publisher of Skeptic magazine. And yet NO ONE in the film can explain the strange phenomena that happened.

My own personal experience has sealed my conviction that there truly is life after death. My beloved son passed away from a terrible cancer in 2009 and he has been sending me messages ever since. Before my only child died he said, "mama, when you see 11:11 on the clock, that will be me thinking of you".. I see 11:11 out of nowhere, without searching for it, at least once a week. I even had a receipt for 111.11 on the eve of his 1st anniversary of his passing, while shopping with his friends for his meditation garden. So we ALL experienced it. I'm not just a grieving mother reaching for straws. I know it for a fact!

This documentary does a wonderful job revealing many after life happenings and for me, it was a very memorable journey, and very much worth the trip.
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9/10
Interesting Variety of Psi Phenomena
robert-687-8371616 May 2013
This film was not intended to be an exploration of scientific psi research. Spontaneous phenomena are not easy to capture on demand, and filmmakers must rely on anecdotal evidence to build an interesting project. Instead, this film gives a good overview of the experiences that so many have but keep to themselves. It includes interesting examples of psychokinesis, near death experiences, electronic voice phenomena, mediumship and other modes of non-local consciousness and communication. I am sure that the producer's goal was to open minds to the possibilities, and not to lecture or provide proof of an afterlife. The pattern of seemingly independent coincidences gets woven into a logical and entertaining framework for belief that we are much more than our physical bodies.
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10/10
Revealing insight into life after death based on real evidence.
garyhousley16 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
As the former Online News Producer for Montana's largest newspaper publication, The Billings Gazette, I took up the study of the paranormal after interviewing two local librarians whom together authored a book detailing the haunted places of Billings, MT. The librarians are educated, well mannered professionals, not the type of folk one may envision as believers of the paranormal. This peeked my interest however skeptical. Since then I have uncovered a treasure trove of evidence in the form of EVP, photographs and personal experiences. There are spirits, this is a fact, not science fiction. They do communicate in the way the documentary painstakingly exposes. It is verified fact as far as I'm concerned, beyond refutation. If one needs to be convinced try doing the work, investigate for yourself. Don't rely on others to do it for you. This doc is superb in it's presentation. Highly recommended. Stephen Hawking's quote mentioned in the film can be taken to literal by some well meaning folk. True once your body dies it has no life thus Hawkings statement claiming there is no life after death is true in a sterile and confined context. Hawking did not say that there are no spirits. A spirit is without a body of life yet a spirit lives a life in many ways outside what a human can usually see, hear, touch, or smell. This is in my opinion the best documentary I have watched on the subject. Perhaps it would be better said, Spirit after death. In any case a life is what, a body? I used to think folks that talked about ghosts were nut cases, I have learned so much more by doing the research myself. Now I know what I know.
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10/10
An Impressive Piece of Work!
SeriahAzkath5 February 2014
This is a fascinating, and ultimately, compelling piece of work. I've seen mixed reviews of it, and with most things like this, I went in skeptical. By about halfway through, however, I was starting to soften up on the whole thing, and by the end, I think what Paul Davids has here, is rather significant. At the heart of this, is the life and death of Forrest J Ackerman, a huge name in Sci-Fi circles. Ackerman was an Atheist, but said if there was something more beyond death, he would try and communicate back. Forest is not the first to make such claims, Harry Houdini being the most famous, but in that case, the relevant attempt at contact seemed to be primarily a séances at the anniversary of his death. This happened far more spontaneously.

One of the things that has been coming up more and more in this type of research is the role of synchronicity. For those that are not familiar, a synchronicity is a meaningful coincidence. A lot, but by no means all, of the evidence here are synchronicities. To some, that is reason to dismiss this. I think, though, that maybe this is just how it works. Not in some grandiose fashion, with a spectral form screaming out your name, but in the subtle workings of reality. Coincidences happen. But the sheer number of coincidences that would need to be accommodated here to dismiss it is absurd. And these synchronicities revolve around many people, not just Paul Davids.

Beyond that, you have mediums, who communicate very accurate information about Forest without knowing anything at all. You have a fascinating scientific experiment involving light photons and chemical analysis on a mysterious block of ink, which is really where the whole story starts.

Then there is a second DVD, which talks to various people about life after death, not directly related to Forest for the most part, although there are some updates. All in all, if you are looking for some mind blowing, in your face proof of life after death, you will not find that here. If, however, you look at this with an open mind, and with no preconceptions, there does seem to be something significant here. Maybe we have been looking at the Life after Death issue in the wrong way. Maybe it's the subtle flux's that we should be paying attention to. In the end, I suppose, it's personal. The people who these events happened to, know they happened. They present their stories and evidence clearly and concisely. A hardcore materialist will just chock it all up to coincidence or deception, but that is not an honest view of this. An honest view says something odd is happening to these people, and it may very well be explained by Forest J Ackerman communicating with them in his own way.
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10/10
Educational, Enlightening and Heartwarming
robertegbyauthor8 August 2013
Scientists, academics, skeptics have long cried out to metaphysical people, "Show us contact with spirits in the afterlife that can be repeated." Paul Davids "The Life After Death Project" shows it being performed in a university laboratory—and it is repeated. It blows away all those so-called ghost-busting hunts around haunted prisons, hotels and castles that never seem to come up with any full blown evidence on film. The Life After Death Project should tickle the heart of movie-goers, skeptics and ardent believers alike. When he was alive Forrest J. Ackerman became a legend for his Famous Monsters magazine that followed luminaries such as Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, George Pal and that host of space movies such as The Day the Earth Stood Still, War of the Worlds, etc. Ackerman, a constant wit coined the phrase "Sci-Fi" and became known as "Mister Sci-fi." An artist once did a portrait of him with a clock behind that showed three minutes to twelve. That's the exact time Ackerman died on December 4th 2008. If Ackerman became a Hollywood legend in his physical life he is sure starting to create legendary status as an active spirit. A self- proclaimed non-believer in the afterlife his spirit comes back with a light hearted and provable vengeance. When Paul Davids started the Project four years ago extraordinary events started happening while the camera was recording. A clock that had not worked for ten years sounded the hour. In a professional science lab a computer mysteriously switches itself on. A line on a business document is deliberately inked out in exactly the precise style used by Ackerman. A College of New Jersey specialist in forensic ink analysis says the ink is a mystery substance. While Davids was filming an internationally known researcher in electronic spirit communication with two independently operated cameras, both suddenly recorded severe electronic interference. The film rolls like an intriguing well-plotted detective story in fact the last thirty minutes is a "must see" for any believer or non-believer in the afterlife. At the University of Arizona during a scientifically controlled experiment Spirit not only answers simple questions but the experiment is repeated again and again. The Life After Death Project movie is fast moving, well edited with great photography and clear irrefutable evidence that life exists after death. There is a second movie in the DVD package called "Personal Encounters" This is a collection by Davids of fascinating interviews with many people from all walks of life who have experienced life after death firsthand. Surely a valuable documentary both for students of the Afterlife and Paranormal and also those doubters who need re-affirming that some form of active life exists after their final moments on Earth. It's educational, enlightening and heartwarming.
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9/10
Wonderful, Inspiring Film
ronin-698-68475529 May 2013
Fantastic! Wow! Truly an incredible piece of filmmaking which will become historical literally breaking the bridge between life and death! I value that the film takes a scientific approach when possible, but it does not exclude evidence of other kinds that point to messages from departed friends and loved ones. By other kinds I mean both credible mediums who have participated in university-sponsored research programs and astonishing synchronicities -- those simply one-in-ten-million things that happen after someone dies that connect you directly to specific memories of that person. I think you all know what I mean. It's happened to so many of us. In my case, I am convinced that I've heard from my late husband repeatedly since he passed, and there are so many others like me. Why does contemporary science have such a hard time investigating these kinds of evidence and assigning credibility to it? How many cases does it take for mainstream science to wake up -- and by wake up I mean begin supporting this kind of research instead of stomping it out. Science goes only where research grants can be found. There are carrots and sticks. If the carrot isn't there -- i.e., the funding for research is absent -- and if there's a nasty stick -- meaning that ridicule and disgrace will follow all your footsteps and you will be ostracized from the academies of your scientific brethren if you take this "stuff" seriously.... well, then nothing advances. The paranormal remains buried with the label of "woo-woo" phenomena. They'll keep playing the "Twilight Zone" theme song every time you bring it up. What this film can contribute to changing all of that is, as I said at the beginning, historic. The credibility of the people in this documentary is top-notch.
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A very unusual documentary..
russellmaynor19 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I saw an early preview of this film and it had a profound effect on me. The scientific work of Dr. Gary Schwartz is innovative, brave and shocking for it's revelations on the nature of consciousness and the implications for stretching our current constructs of reality. The theme is broad and heady, and as you watch the film, you can almost feel the electricity crackling around your brain as you witness first hand scientific experiments that push through the boundaries of religion, tradition and superstition and into the realm of revelation. All the talk of photons and holographic reality might leave us drowning in scientific jargon if it weren't for the quirky personality and mischievous "spirit" of the late (?) Forrest J. Ackerman, a man whose imagination sparked the creativity of legions of today's filmmakers. Ackerman, who made no secret of his atheism and disbelief in an afterlife, famously promised to "come back" and tell us if he was wrong. It seems he has kept that promise. Diverse eyewitness and strange clues abound,and a number of phenomenon that happen as the cameras are rolling, in real time, before our eyes. I would highly recommend Paul David's earlier documentary on Ackerman, "The Sci-Fi Boys", as a primer. That film is a fascinating and entertaining exploration of the very unusual life of "Forry", and puts the current phenomenon in a historical perspective. You will also see what an influence this man has had on the film industry and his historical impact, with or without the current phenomenon.

If you approach the "Life after Death Project" with an open mind, you will see that the science is there, the experiences are happening and ongoing, and that there are quite possibly ".. more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
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10/10
Excellent documentary!
guitarslim_5418 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Last night I watched this fascinating documentary for the second time. It follows the investigation into an inexplicable event that leads the film maker to contact scientific researchers, psychics, and friends of the subject, Science Fiction expert #1 and former editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine (and avowed atheist)Forrest J Ackerman, who allegedly has made contact from The Beyond with those closest to him in life. "Forry" Ackerman was a mentor and major influence for countless Hollywood film makers, makeup artists, writers, FX specialists and fans of Sci-Fi (his coined term) fantasy and horror. Much has been written about him, and he has been the subject of interviews and another documentary (Famous Monster),but this film takes his story a step further.

As the film progresses, much like a mystery tale, the experiences of others related to the subject become part of the investigation. It is an engaging, touching, and at times astounding film. The interviews are fascinating. The interviewees all highly intelligent and well respected. Often the results are uncanny. Whether one knew who Mr. Ackerman was, or if one is an avowed naysayer regarding the persistence of personality after death should not deter one from enjoying this documentary, as it raises questions, provides compelling evidence, and leads the viewer down an interesting rabbit hole of events. At times I had shivers up my spine. Sometimes repeatedly in succession. It is also very touching as we all have to face the fact that loved ones may some day not be with us anymore, so we can all relate to Mr. Davids' emotions during the course of events. I look forward to purchasing the DVD to add to my collection, and will return to view it and share it time and again.
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8/10
Perhaps in Israel, university scientists are considered kooks. Warning: Spoilers
I assume I saw the same movie as did a previous reviewer, "amirrunoron from Israel," and yet, it appears we may have watched two entirely different films. Amirrunoron said the movie started on a good note, "showing us scientists with credentials..." and then it supposedly goes downhill from there. Amirrunoron then suddenly refers to them as "scientists." To put quotation marks around a word like that strongly implies that these individuals are not, in fact, real scientists. Amirrunoron, how did you come to that conclusion? Did you do an in-depth investigation of the three scientists in the film and determine that they were "psychics, kooks and charlatans"? From your comfortable position as an armchair critic, did you ascertain that these individuals were lying about the work they've done that led them to consider there might really be something to this Ackerman-speaking-from-the-grave possibility? If you haven't done the legwork yourself that proves these scientists are wrong or lying or both, then your opinion in this matter carries no weight or validity. This documentary is an excellent eye-opening attempt to open the Pandora's Box of possibilities that can lead us to some amazing and life-changing paradigm shifts on this planet. Let's try to not incorrectly judge people, simply because it's often easier to bury your head in the sand rather than staying open to new ideas.
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10/10
Outstanding
splundy6128 July 2013
On 12/4/08 at age 92, we lost Forrest J Ackerman, author, actor, historian, literary agent, Esperantist, editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, & creator of the term "sci-fi".

"Forry" was a generous friend & an inspiration to many people all over the world. He was a friend to Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Bela Lugosi, Ray Harryhausen, Ray Bradbury & many, many other authors, filmmakers, artists and entertainers. He inspired the careers of George Lucas, Cassandra (Elvira) Peterson, Stephen King, Steven Spielberg & John Landis, again to name but a few.

More specifically, Forry was a great friend & mentor to "Monster Kids" like myself who were often misunderstood for enjoying horror, fantasy & science fiction. "Uncle Forry" gave us a place to feel safe, told us it was okay, told us WE were okay & free to enjoy this magical obsession. I'm fortunate to have met & shared a casual, yet delightful acquaintance with Forry Ackerman.

The Life After Death Project was more informative & insightful than I had anticipated. While I personally require no convincing, I highly recommend this to the skeptic & believer alike, & to anyone who appreciated Forrest J Ackerman.
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2/10
Dreadful Drivel
splumer21 December 2015
It's hard to go through life without something weird happening to you. We've all had strange coincidences or things that seem meaningful. We were thinking about someone at the moment they call, or we had a dream that came true the next day. Yet we forget all the things in life that aren't coincidences. Pattern-making like that is part of what makes us human. It's part of the survival instinct bred into us by evolution.

However, it takes on a different tone when we hunt for those coincidences and correlations. Then it is known as "clutching at straws." This film is 90 minutes of straw-clutching. For example, the filmmaker has a sheet of paper on which a mysterious ink smear appears. He has it analyzed, but glosses over the part where the analyzer tells him it's essentially printer ink, and focuses on how the analyzer can't quite explain how it happened. I'm in IT and I can't explain why printers and computers do some of the weird stuff they do, too.

It's one thing to have a weird, unexplainable thing happen to you. It's quite another to take that leap and call it supernatural. Instead of watching this doc where they play tiny bits of an interview with Michael Shermer, you'd be far better off reading his book "Why People Believe Weird Things."
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psychics, kooks and charlatans. not a legit documentary.
amirrunoron16 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I watch these movies, in a hope that maybe someone will give proper documentation of any unknown phenomena that might change my mind about death. This movie started on a good note, taking it slowly and showing us scientists with credentials, leading us to believe this might be a scientific movie. what actually happens is that these "scientists" are actually few and in between. most "professionals" are actually psychics, writers, and people that believe in the supernatural. psychic readings with cuts in between, showing no "bad hits" only the "good hits", that have been edited cannot be proper scientific evidence. i guess i cannot put into words my disappointment. only one thing is actually believable in this movie. the quote that says that "stephen hawking says that there is no life after death" is good enough for me, and can replace this lame attempt at persuasion.
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