Book Review: Visions, Trips, & Crowded Rooms

There is a really, really, really big elephant in the room. It is made of light. Your dying loved one might be the only one who can actually see it, but you’re there to witness that something real is happening just beyond your eyesight. In Visions, Trips, and Crowded Rooms: Who and What You See Before You Die, David Kessler documents stories from medical professionals who have seen it all. Well, almost all. They have seen enough to know that there are things that have yet to be explained by modern medicine.

This is where we get to dig into the topic of immortality. Kessler grapples with the big questions. What happens when we die? Is there an afterlife? What are deathbed visions? Kessler clearly does not have all the answers, but neither does science. That doesn’t mean there is nothing to talk about. Through years of first-hand experience with the dying and through talking with other professionals who work with the dying, Kessler found some patterns. He noticed that there are three common experiences that many dying people describe:

  1. They see visions of their loved ones who have already crossed over. They might also see religious figures. These types of visions have been depicted in art throughout history, making them even harder to dismiss.

  2. They prepare for a trip. They talk about packing bags and getting ready to go but they don’t realize they are preparing to cross over the threshold of death.

  3. They see lots of people. They ask why the room is so crowded and sometimes they realize they are seeing people who already crossed over.

What I find fascinating is that people have described their visions as clearly seeing people. Not ghostlike beings, but people. They wonder why others in the room cannot see them. They give messages from the deceased people to the living people. And there is a sense of peace and matter-of-factness. The fear dissipates.

"Everyone should be able to talk openly about what they see and feel at the end of life without fear of what others may think. I invite you to reflect on the stories often told behind closed doors, and only after all of the guests have left." - David Kessler

I also find it fascinating that these stories are often shared in whispers. Kessler describes medical professional conferences where there are no official sessions addressing these phenomena. Instead, after the formal discussions have come to a close and people gather in the evenings, they can be found telling stories of the strange and amazing things that happen in the hospitals and hospices where they work.

I went to a grief support group recently and the topic was broached by one brave woman who asked, furtively, “has anyone ever gone to a psychic to connect with your loved one?” This opened the door for the rest of us to feel comfortable talking about some of our most impactful experiences with dying. One woman had seen her son three times since his passing. How cool would it be if that could be celebrated openly? How would that shift our discomfort in talking about death? How would it shift the awkward silences when we don’t know how to comfort someone?

In my intro blog I said, “I prefer to see magic, universal guidance, or synchronicity” instead of “coincidence” (or in this case, “hallucinations”). I prefer to #AllowAllPossibilities and believe that our loved ones dance around us, help us through hard times, and greet us when we cross over. I could choose to ignore the really, really, really big elephant of light in the room, but that would make my life much less exciting. If you need a little excitement, hope, and awe, please read Kessler’s book.

Please share, ask questions, leave comments, suggest topics, and tell stories! I want to hear about your moments of magic, miracles, and synchronicity.

Dare to be immortal.


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