Lisa Smartt

Linguist Lisa Smartt, is the author of Words at the Threshold and the co-founder of The Final Words Project.

When Lisa’s father became terminally ill with cancer, she began transcribing his conversations. Once a skeptical man with a secular worldview, he surprised his daughter when he began describing angels, a beautiful new world and deepening peace as he approached the threshold. Smartt was also struck by his enigmatic language as it became increasingly metaphoric and paradoxical.

Intrigued by her father’s new perspective and unusual utterances, Smartt grabbed pencil and paper and tracked his final words. This led to her establishing The Final Words Project with Dr. Raymond Moody in 2014. Since then, The Final Words Project has collected and analyzed more than 2,000 utterances from over 200 people at the end of life. Smartt discusses the fascinating linguistic patterns that have emerged and how they offer a glimpse into consciousness at the end of life.

Michael Quinn, the co-author of The Journey Home: Inspiring Passages From Near-Death Experiences to Comfort the Dying, joins Lisa for her discussion. Quinn’s beautiful collection of near-death accounts also offers words as a bridge between worlds and brings comfort and insight to the dying and their caregivers. Through language, Quinn and Smartt touch the sacred, and widen the portal for the mystery to enter.

Find out more about Lisa and her research at or email her at