Gerhard D. Wassermann

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Gerhard Dietrich Wassermann (1919–2004) was a biologist, philosopher, physicist and parapsychologist who is most well known for his "shadow matter" hypothesis of life after death.


Born in Leipzig, Germany, he moved to Britain in 1936. As a biologist and philosopher, he graduated from Queen Mary College, University of London with first class Honours in Mathematics, and then obtained a Ph.D. in quantum mechanics from the University of London. In his career he did research in quantum Mechanics, theoretical optics, theoretical developmental biology, theory of evolution, biophilosophy, philosophy of science and philosophy of mind. He was also a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications and was elected in 1989 as a Fellow of the Institute of Biology and awarded a D.Sc. from the University of London.[1]

Field theory[edit]

In 1956 Wassermann published the article An Outline of a Field Theory of Organismic Form and Behavior in a CIBA Foundation symposium on extrasensory perception. He proposed the existence of "psi fields" surrounding organisms to explain biological mysteries and psychic phenomena.[2] This idea is similar to the morphic fields of Rupert Sheldrake.

Shadow matter[edit]

He developed a hypothesis of paranormal phenomena which was published in Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy[3] and later in book form as Shadow Matter And Psychic Phenomena (1993) and a sequel Consciousness and Near Death Experiences (2001). Wassermann proposed a shadow matter hypothesis for all living beings as having a twin body made of lighter shadow matter. According to his hypothesis in addition to the normal physical brain there is also a shadow matter brain which can leave the physical body and survive death into a shadow world of matter.

Wassermann's ideas were unpopular even amongst other parapsychologists. His hypothesis was based on what he described as "indirect evidence", mainly consisting of paranormal reports, so other scientists have not taken interest in his hypothesis as it has not been testable.


  • Consciousness and Near Death Experiences (2001)
  • From Occam's razor to the roots of consciousness: 20 essays on philosophy, philosophy of science and philosophy of mind (1997)
  • Keys to life: philosophy and new mechanisms of evolution and development (1996)
  • A philosophy of matter and mind: a new look at an old major topic in philosophy (1994)
  • Shadow Matter and Psi-Phenomena: Scientific Investigation Into Psychic Phenomena and Possible Life After Death (1993)
  • Neurological theory of psychological phenomena (1978)
  • Brains and Reasoning: Brain Science As a Basis of Applied and Pure Philosophy (1974)
  • Molecular control of cell differentiation and morphogenesis: a systematic theory (1972)

External links[edit]


  1. Gerhard D. Wassermann
  2. Wassermann, G. D. An Outline of a Field Theory of Organismic Form and Behavior. In G. D. Wolstenholme & E. Millar (Eds.), CIBA Foundation Symposium on Extrasensory Perception. Boston: Little, Brown, 1956.
  3. On a physical (materialistic) theory of Psi‐phenomena based on shadow matter