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Kenneth Ring papers

Identifier: MS-0078

Scope and Contents note

Audio cassette tapes, case files, correspondence, journals, lecture files, manuscripts, photographs, proposals, recommendations, research notes/files, transcripts, and other materials pertaining to the professional and personal life of Kenneth Ring.


  • 1975-2018


Conditions Governing Access note

Patient data (sequestered in boxes 148 and 149) closed until July 1 2052; please contact us (special at with access requests. On a case-by-case basis, it may be possible to offer redacted data or brief summaries of the content.

The remainder of the papers are open to the public.

Conditions Governing Use note

Kenneth Ring retains all rights during his lifetime. Upon his death, rights transfer to the University of West Georgia.

Biographical/Historical note

Kenneth Ring was born in San Francisco on December 13, 1935. In 1963, he graduated with his Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Ring took his first teaching position as an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut, where he remained as a faculty member until 1994. Though he retired from teaching at this point, he continued to work at the university as a Professor emeritus until December of 1996, at which point he moved back to the Bay Area of California, where he has resided ever since.

Upon his arrival at UCONN, Dr. Ring was hired as a social psychologist. However, towards the end of the sixties, his interested began to shift towards transpersonal psychology. This shift of focus came to a peak when he discovered Raymond Moody’s best-selling book Life After Death, which galvanized his interest in near-death experiences (NDEs). Noting Moody’s philosophical approach to the investigation of NDEs, Ring concluded that this phenomenon could benefit from greater scientific scrutiny than was then currently being offered in the field. Thus, beginning in 1977, Dr. Ring set about studying NDEs with the aid of graduate and undergraduate students. This period of about a year’s worth of research led to Ring’s first book on NDEs, Life at Death, published in 1980. It was with the release of this book that Dr. Ring declared that “there was no turning back,” he had committed himself to the lifelong study of NDEs.

Ring and other early NDE researchers had formed an organization with the goal of professionalizing the study of these experiences, called The International Association for Near-Death Studies. By the end of 1980, Ring was asked to take over the organization and expand it.

Ring’s main research interest remained NDEs until 1987 when he became interested in UFO encounters, which, he believed, bore striking similarities with the typical near-death experience, especially in terms of the aftereffects following both phenomenon. In 1992, Dr. Ring published his research findings in The Omega Project, which emphasized the similarities he found between NDEs and UFO encounters and suggested reasons for the commonalities between the two phenomena.

Dr. Ring then turned his interest back to NDEs, publishing and lecturing until the year 2000, when he published his “farewell address” to the NDE field in The Journal of Near-Death Studies.

Since 2000, Ring has collaborated on a screenplay and has written books on classical music and his memoirs. In 2010, after becoming interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Dr. Ring collaborated with a Palestinian colleague to publish a book on the contemporary lives of Palestinians based on collected stories. Most recently, Dr. Ring has been assisting several authors writing their own NDE-themed books, acting as kind of “combination editor, mentor and soi-disant agent.”

Ring has authored numerous books including: Life at Death (1980), Heading toward Omega (1994), The Omega Project: Near-death Experiences, UFO Encounters, and Mind at Large (1992), Lessons from the Light: What We Can Learn from the Near-Death Experience (1998), Mindsight: Near-Death and Out-Of-Body Experiences in the Blind (1999), Psychological Perspectives on Camille Saint-Saëns (2002), Letters from Palestine: Palestinians Speak Out about Their Lives, Their Country, and the Power of Nonviolence (2010), and Waiting to Die: A Near-Death Researcher’s (Mostly Humorous) Reflections on His Own Endgame (2019) Quotations in this biography are from Ring's website:


65.91 Linear feet (149 boxes)




Papers of Kenneth Ring, noted research in near-death experiences.

Arrangement note

Series I: Correspondence Files - Alphabetical; Series II: Correspondence Files - UFO; Series III: Correspondence Files - Miscellaneous; Series IV: Talks and Workshops; Series V: University of Connecticut Files. Series VI: Omega Project Research Files; Series VI: Omega Project Files; Series VII: NDE Research Files; Series VIII: Life at Death Interviews and Tapes; Series XI: Heading Towards Omega Files (Book Chapters); Series XII: NDE Books – Original Papers; Series XIII: TOP Files & Miscellaneous Professional Files; Series XIV: Genealogy and Music Files; Series XV: Professional Files & Letters; Series XVI: NDE Files; Series XVII: Miscellaneous Professional Papers & Records; Series XVIII: Omega Project Questionnaires; Series XIX: Audio Visual Materials. Series XX: RESTRICTED Patient Data.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gift of Kenneth Ring, May 2018.

Processing Information note

Ring papers processed and finding aid written by Galen Roehm. Jennah Marston completed the final inventory of the audio-visual materials. Review of materials for HIPPA and confidential information was conducted by Blynne Olivieri and Lalah Manly in July 2019. Processing was completed in July 2019.

A portion of the collections - sequestered in boxes 148 and 149 - pertaining to patient data are CLOSED until July , 2052. Please contact Special Collections for further information.

Guide to the Kenneth Ring Papers MS-0078
Finding aid prepared by Galen Roehm
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English

Repository Details

Part of the University of West Georgia Special Collections Repository

Special Collections, Ingram Library
University of West Georgia
1601 Maple Street
Carrollton GA 30118-2000 United States