Now Available: New Book Explores, In Part, How Justice Always Prevails

Now Available: New Book Explores, In Part, How Justice Always Prevails

Nov 22

Caylee Anthony


Update: This book is now available via


Casey Anthony: What Really Happened to Caylee? And Why Truth Matters
By Wendy Murphy JD
With Charles Whitfield MD, and Barbara Whitfield RT

Description of book from

This is a must-read for anyone who believes in justice for children. The authors go below the surface to explore what really happened to Caylee. With a century of combined experience in child advocacy law, psychiatry, psychology, grief counseling and natural spirituality, the authors give us a compelling analysis of a trial that captured a nation. Filled with facts that were never discussed at trial, this new book raises important questions about evidence the jurors never heard, and that has been hidden from the public. In the final chapters, we learn about child abuse and neglect, and how we can better protect all children from harm. The book includes sections on grief counseling and near-death studies and offers insights about what we can do right now to find meaning in the death of Caylee Anthony.



Chapter 15: How Can We Make Meaning Out Of This Atrocity?
By Barbara Whitfield

As you read this chapter, you may wonder how this information applies to the Casey Anthony case. Bear with me while I describe academic research and my own experience through which I will bring together all this seemingly unrelated material and give us a different and new hope for justice for Caylee, and countless other abused children. As a researcher and author of near-death studies for more than 35 years, and as a person who had my own near-death experience (NDE), I have been engaged in a powerful Life Review that has percolated for decades. This is my first opportunity, and maybe even the first time in the literature that someone is applying the consequences of a Life Review to a murder case to show how justice can prevail in the end.

Most of us have experienced unacceptable events in our lives; events so traumatic, difficult and painful that we cannot possibly imagine how or why they happened. Add to that, the fact that this tragic case is filled with secrets, sealed photographs of Caylee and files the court has not released to the public. The absurd juxtapositions of truth and drama leave us feeling totally confused. Yet, even when we cannot make sense of things, it is possible to find clarity and truth. The following is a first person account of a Life Review during an NDE that demonstrates how one can cut through confusion and find clarity and truth:

“…It was like watching my life from start to finish on an editing machine stuck in fast forward. The review took me from my conception which felt like the blackness I experienced after my out of body experience, through my childhood, to adolescence, into my teens, and through my near death experience over again. I saw my life. I re-lived my life. I felt everything I ever felt before. When I say “everything,” I mean every cut, pain, emotion and sense associated with that particular time in my life. At the same time, I saw the effects of my life on the people around me…. I felt all that they felt and, through this, I understood the repercussions of everything I did, be it good or bad. This Life Review was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. And at the same time, the most horrifying thing I was ever to experience.”

— Neev, student, reporting to Professor Kenneth Ring from Lessons from the Light

What have we learned from the research on NDEs?

For six years I was research assistant to Bruce Greyson, MD at the University of Connecticut Medical School examining the after-effects of NDEs. The only comfort I found during the Casey Anthony Trial as I kept thinking about how and why Caylee died, is what my colleagues and I have heard over and over again in our interviews with near-death experiencers: no one dies alone. We learned this from hundreds, if not thousands, of interviews. My own NDE demonstrates this same principle. I was suspended in a Stryker frame circle bed after spinal surgery. A few days after the operation, I started to die. I had been an atheist until that moment, never thinking that there was an existence after death. Yet my grandmother, who had been dead for 14 years, was there somehow and she immediately comforted me as we moved through a tunnel.

Many children who report NDEs have told me about a beautiful lady with long blond hair who met them immediately, took their hand and walked with them. In several books on childhood NDEs, similar experiences are described that involve children being met by someone as they near death. In Todd Burpo’s Heaven is for Real, he tells the story of his 3 year-old son’s experience after a burst appendix. (Also see the writings of pediatrician Melvin Morse.)

Research into near-death experiences gives me a great deal of hope that Caylee had love all around her when she died. Even children who suffer trauma that does not cause a near-death event have told me about leaving their bodies during the trauma and watching from above, sometimes then seeing other realities and being surrounded by love. This is reported from adults as well, during traumatic events, or even in anticipation of a trauma that doesn’t happen. These so-called out-of-body experiences can be a natural reaction under extreme stress. If Caylee was abused during this lifetime, she may have had many such experiences. They would have helped her cope by, in a sense, taking her away from unimaginable horror. I hope that however she managed abuse during her short life, she was out of her body when she was murdered, and was surrounded by love at the moment of her death.

Can Justice and Resolution Ever be Achieved?

A week after my first NDE, I again left my body in the circle bed and had what we call the Life Review. For years I couldn’t find words to describe what I went through, but I was held by an incredibly loving Energy that I can only call God.‖ My Life Review enabled me to experience a linear sequence of my life, reminding me that I had been abused and neglected as a child. I saw and felt so many things about my life, all over again. This made me realize that we are all connected to each other and don’t end at our skin. It showed me that we continue to exist after our death. Our body may die but there is a part of us that continues. I learned that we are all connected in this dance of life and everything we do affects others, now and forever.

The most profound and practical part of this Life Review was that I could see I was becoming like my mother with my own children. She had taught me well just as her family had taught her. And I knew I needed to change so that my children would not have to go through what I did. It was time to break the links to an intergenerational chain of abuse and neglect. This may have occurred in Casey’s family from her parents to herself and then to Caylee — across three generations. I knew that the first thing I needed to learn was how to listen. In my family I saw that everyone manipulated and overpowered to control each other. No one listened. Everyone was talking at each other but not listening. Did any of these dynamics happen with Casey and her family?

I hope that one day soon, Casey Anthony will have a Life Review too. It could be a life-changing event for her that not only enables Casey to tell the whole truth about how Caylee lived and died, but also frees her to know what it feels like to feel true love between a mother and her child. Social Psychologist Kenneth Ring PhD calls the Life Review “The Cosmic Equalizer”. He argues that no one else sits in judgment of us. We watch ourselves, and are responsible for everything in all the scenes of our lives — and we don’t just feel our own feelings, we feel the feelings of others who are affected because of our actions.

NDE survivor Dannion Brinkley gives us this summary of his Life Review:

“When you have a panoramic Life Review, you literally re-live your life … and you watch your life from a second person’s point of view…When I finished the Life Review, I arrived at a point of reflection in which I was able to look back … and I was ashamed. I realized I had led a very selfish life, rarely reaching out to help anyone … my life had been for me and me alone. I hadn’t given a damn about my fellow humans.”

Brinkley has gone on to change his life by working to help further the causes of hospice. Those who know him say he has completely changed.

Dr. Greyson says:

“…people who were in very punitive or violent professions can be totally shaken up by the NDE and not be able to go back to their lives as they were before. There were a lot of people who had NDEs in Vietnam, who had been career military people. They just couldn’t go back to it … Having a near-death-experience is a profound event, from which most people come back changed. Criminals return ready to serve others.”

From my own Life Review, and from interviews with hundreds of other near-death experiencers, I have no doubt that justice will be served when the person or persons who did kill Caylee find a way to see and to feel everything they were responsible for in the abuse, neglect and atrocious death of a defenseless child.

Are we waking up in this Collective Life Review?

Our individual, public and collective reactions to the atrocity of this case have triggered and roused within us an awareness of the evil that each of us allows to happen when we turn our backs on child abuse and neglect. In a sense this case is taking us through a kind of Life Review and is waking us up to the need to name and then prevent such pain and damage from happening ever again to any other child. Could this be the gift that Caylee’s short little life has given us?

Could Casey’s apparent uncaring character mirror our own cavalier attitude toward child abuse and neglect? Have we been fearful of confronting child abuse head on because of fear that the problem is too large, or that we might uncover ugly things about our friends and neighbors? But in this big story, because of one little girl, we have somehow become unafraid. This is a gift. The outcry on behalf of a single child has been tremendous. The challenge now is to keep the momentum going, in a collective fight for the whole truth about why Caylee died, and to ensure that no other child suffers a similar fate ever again.



• Book: Casey Anthony: What Really Happened to Caylee? And Why Truth Matters
Pulse on Near-Death Experiences


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