A psychomanteum is a room set aside for communication with those who have died and are believed to have passed to the world beyond. It is specially designed to promote an altered state of consciousness that facilitates such contact. Essential to the décor is a mirror into which the person wishing to communicate with a deceased loved one gazes. The use of the psycho-manteum is traced to the ancient Mediterranean Basin, where its use is described in various writings and to the sleep temples of the followers of Asklepios.
The modern use of the psychomanteum had been advocated by Raymond Moody, a physician most known for his study of the near-death experience. Moody had noted that having an apparition of a loved one who had recently died had a healing effect on many people. They were given a sense of peace by knowing that their loved ones were alive and in a better place. They were also, on occasion, to complete their grieving process by resolving a broken relationship that had been present at the time of the death of the other party.
Following the publication of his highly successful books, Life After Life and Reflections on Life After Life, Moody constructed a psychomanteum and developed a simple process of inducing apparitions that including sitting inside the mirrored room and sending telepathic messages to the person with whom contact was desired. He discovered that the great majority of the people who went through a process of preparation for the psychomanteum actually saw an apparition within the room or later in their bedroom. Moody reported on his research in his 1993 book, Visionary Encounters with Departed Loved Ones.
The successes of the initial attempts at encounter have led Moody to train facilitators to spread the psychomanteum work. In his book, he offers instructions on constructing a psycho-manteum. He has also initiated a research program to quantify the results of contacts made within the psychomanteum. Moody believes that it will provide further evidence of communication between the living and the dead.
Moody, Raymond, with Paul Perry. Visionary Encounters with Departed Loved Ones. New York: Ballantine Books, 1993.