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New Age Near-Death Pioneer Arrested for Child Abuse

A pediatrician known as a pioneer in the New Age version of the phenomenon known as Near Death Experiences (NDE) was arrested in Delaware last week after his 11 year-old daughter accused him of repeatedly "waterboarding" her and holding her nose and mouth with his hand until she collapsed. is reporting that Dr. Melvin Morse, 58, and his wife, Pauline, 40, have each been charged with four felony counts of first-degree reckless endangerment and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, as well as felony conspiracy.

Master Corporal Gary Fournier of the Delaware State police say their investigation started on July 12 when state troopers received a 911 call from a neighbor who claims Morse was seen dragging his 11 year-old daughter by the ankle across a gravel driveway during a domestic dispute.

The girl later told detectives that Morse had used waterboarding on her as a disciplinary measure at least four times over a two-year period, saying he held her face under a running faucet, causing the water to go up her nose and over her face.

She also said that her father once told her she "could go five minutes without brain damage" during the punishments. The little girl admitted that she never knew what she had done to deserve such a punishment and that she would often run outside and cry afterward. He would then follow her outside and  “hold her nose and mouth with his hand,” police said in court records.

“He would tell her she was lucky he did not use duct tape,” police said in the documents. “He would not let go until she lost feeling and collapsed to the ground.”

The child's younger sister, age 5, said she had never been treated this way because Morse believed she was too young for it.

According to the children, their mother stood by while Morse was delivering these punishments and did nothing to stop him. As a result, she has also been charged in the case. 

Both children are now in the protective custody of the state Division of Family Services. Morse remains in jail after failing to post $14,500 bail and the state is in the process of revoking his medical license.

Melvin Morse became another player in the modern New Age NDE movement upon the publication of his book, Closer to the Light: Learning from the Near Death Experiences of Children. Although it was largely a serious scientific work, his metaphysical beliefs were later revealed when he was asked what he meant by the “spiritual needs” of his patients.

“For me the answer is simple,” he said. “NDEs are the way to join science and spiritualism . . . We will combine the essence of those ancient truths with scientific knowledge and create new rituals with which to heal our inner selves and society.”

He is one of several NDE researchers such as pioneer Raymond A. Moody, Jr. author of Life After Life, whose New Age beliefs continue to color the discussion about this phenomenon and what it reveals about the afterlife. For instance, in the New Age version of NDEs, there is never a hell and no judgment takes place. There is only heaven and a "light" who is never named Jesus and is put forth as a kind of generic being. This is in spite of the fact that other nonbiased researchers document plenty of evidence of hellish NDEs, even some that include encounters with Satan himself.

New Agers also like to claim that NDEs change people’s lives in a very positive manner but the opposite has also been found to be true. P. M. H. Atwater, who is deeply involved in the occult and mediumship, describes many unpleasant after effects of NDEs in her book Coming Back to Life. She found that many people who had NDEs later experienced family problems, divorce, the inability to hold a job and/or make a commitment to either a relationship or a vocation.

And, in Dr. Morse's case, the descent into criminal behavior.

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