Deathbed Visions from India: A Study of Family Observations in Northern Kerala

Sandhya P. Muthumana, Meena Kumari, Allan Kellehear*, Suresh Kumar, Feroze Moosa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


This is an interview-based study of 104 families and their observations of the last weeks and days of a dying family member. Forty families reported “unusual experiences and behaviors” from the dying person in their last period of life. Thirty of these dying persons displayed behavior consistent with deathbed visions—interacting or speaking with deceased relatives, mostly their dead parents. There were six cases of reported premonitions of death and five possible confusional states with one patient reported to have had both a deathbed vision and confusional experiences. Socio-demographic factors such as gender, age, occupation, or cause and place of death were not found to be significant. Hindu patients appeared to be more likely than Muslim patients to report these experiences. Use of opiates (or not) did not appear to influence reports. The findings are discussed with reference to past studies of deathbed visions as well as their implications for the future pastoral care of dying people and their families.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-107
Number of pages13
JournalOmega: Journal of Death and Dying
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes

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