There is an extensive literature on the ostensible evidence for survival of bodily death and it will only be possible to touch on a very small part of it. A much longer, but still very incomplete, list of references is given by Gauld (1977). Among general surveys of the material the following may be especially noted: Myers (1903-the great early classic), Hart (1959), Salter (1961), Ducasse (1961), Beard (1966), Jacobson (1973), Gauld (1982), Lorimer (1984), Thouless (1984), Edge (1986), Almeder (1992), Coly and McMahon (1995), Paterson (1995), Roy (1996) and Griffin (1997) and Braude (2003).
It will be convenient to consider the more specialised literature under the two broad headings of ostensible evidence for survival and interpretations of that evidence.
An initial difficulty here is that it is by no means clear or agreed what does or could constitute evidence for survival. Some credulous persons accept almost any odd phenomenon, however trivial, as the work of 'the spirits', while others (to whom we shall come) hold, for various reasons, that no empirical findings whatsoever could constitute evidence for survival. Under these circumstances the simplest course will be briefly to mention those categories of phenomena that have most frequently been supposed to yield empirical evidence for survival, and afterwards touch on their possible interpretations. These phenomena may be taken under five headings.
'Mediums' are individuals through whose agency or through whose organisms there are ostensibly received communications from deceased human beings or other supposed disembodied or remote entities. The phenomenon of mediumship has been reported in one form or another from a large