It is a question that we humans cannot help but ponder: what happens to us when we die?
A group of international researchers, neuroscientists and therapists will join psychologists and health practitioners this weekend at the 'Australian Afterlife Explorers Conference' in Melbourne to grapple with the dying question.
The conference has been designed to challenge perceptions of how we view death and how we best live out our lives.
"From a psychological point of view, people would like to have a feeling of assurance that in the end, when you pass away, things don't just stop; that there is a greater purpose in life," neuroscientist Vladimir Dubaj told The Huffington Post Australia.
“There are also physiological suggestions that consciousness might survive outside of the body."
Over three days, speakers and attendees will discuss the link between afterlife science and spirituality. This is a field attracting research that sets to challenge both mainstream science and sceptics.
“Scientists sadly often ignore and ridicule reports of strange phenomena from those who have approached, and in some cases gone beyond, the threshold of death... even though such experiences have a profound effect upon those who undergo them," conference organiser Mick Turner said.
Dubaj, also the founder of The Australian Institute of Parapsychological Research, will present his most recent findings on ghost and hauntings research. He says science and spirituality are not mutually exclusive, and can be blurred to understand the correlation between an individual experience's of the afterlife and their living environment.
"It is important to take a step back and say, 'I acknowledge that something is occurring and I want to understand what conditions this phenomenon manifests.'"
But he calls for a grounded analysis and understanding of research.
"What I would like to do is inform the general public to be critical of the evidence that is put to them... to see the genuine phenomena through the noise, because there is generally a lot of noise in the data," said Dubaj.
"Mainstream science and sceptics alike want to dismiss the phenomena, and by doing that, you’re sweeping a lot of useful information under the carpet."
Whether you're a believer or a sceptic, this is certainly food for thought.Suggest a correction