College to Host Institute for Religion and Science Lecture

David J. Hufford of the Samueli Institute to Lecture

Release Date: Wednesday, March 21, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA – David J. Hufford, senior fellow at the Samueli Institute presents the lecture, “Near Death Experiences, After Death Contacts, and the Spirits of Sleep Paralysis: The Scientific, Spiritual and Clinical Interface” on Wednesday, March 21, at 7 p.m. at the Commonwealth Chateau, SugarLoaf campus. This lecture is sponsored by the Institute for Religion and Science at Chestnut Hill College.


Hufford will speak about how visions have been interpreted differently in modern times than how they were interpreted in ancient history. His talk will also describe how research over the past 35 years has revealed that some kinds of visionary experiences are common and apparently normal and may even contribute to psychological health, and how these findings raise fascinating epistemological questions regarding folk beliefs about spirits found all over the world.


Hufford’s research is focused on spiritual experiences, incorporating concepts from neuroscience to anthropology and psychiatry, including the differentiation of intense spiritual experience from psychotic symptomatology. His inquiry has focused on the experiential grounds for spiritual beliefs and the role of reason in their development and persistence. He has also sought to understand the widely held notion that science and spiritual belief are contradictory. His publications have primarily been concerned with describing the grounds for spiritual belief, showing their reasonableness, and challenging the assertion that, beginning with the Enlightenment, science has made religion outdated and not rationally defensible. His book, “The Terror that Comes in the Night,” considers beliefs about spiritual evil that are found all over the world within the context of scientific research on sleep paralysis.


The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Kathleen Duffy, SSJ, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Religion and Science at Chestnut Hill College at