Research Paper

Audio Documentary


Photo Documentary


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Not in my seventeen years of living has a close relative, friend, or neighbor passed away. I have never been to a funeral, cemetery or morgue and have never seen a spirit or apparition. Although I am completely unexposed and inexperienced in dealing with the end of life, it strikes a chord of fascination inside me. No, this is not a phase of buying black clothes and wearing dark eye shadow while talking about my favorite death metal bands in a conveniently artistic monotone. This is more of a spiritual wonder, an interest turned obsession that I’ve been compelled to explore. What is death? This is the question to which I posed an answer in the form of a screenplay earlier this year: life is a long hallway with a blind turn at the end, that turning point is death. It is not an end, but it is the start of a new hallway where no one in ours has been. Perhaps the purpose of our present hallway is to ponder what lies in the next one, but for now all we know is that this is what we have. This life is our only guarantee right now; we are already here, so we should live to the fullest. To help us handle the reality of death, some of us need faith, others need religious text, and many don’t believe we continue after death. Because there is no proof on what comes after this life, do a person’s beliefs on afterlife affect the way they live their lives here on earth?

Charlie Cohen






I find it hard to think that when I die, pass away, or expire, I will just sit as ashes on my family’s fireplace, or lay in the ground, or inside a columbarium forever. I’m not religious, so I don’t have an explanation of what is supposed to happen to my soul after my body is gone. I don’t have a clue as to what happens to me, and I think that’s what lured me to this topic of other people’s views on death and the afterlife. Hopefully researching how other people feel about death, and what they think happens after you die, I can come up with an idea of my own, and have something to look forward to, not just this life and then nothing. People have asked me “ would you rather know you’re going to die, or have it be random?” Before I did this documentary, I wasn’t quite sure which one I would pick. When you know you’re going to die, you are able to tell your loved ones goodbye and finish any business you need to. On the other hand, I think I would be scared and depressed, because I want to live and I know that no matter what I do, I can’t change the fact that my days are numbered. I don’t think I’d want to die randomly either though. I wouldn’t be able to tell my loved ones goodbye and I feel like I would leave them with all of my unfinished business. In researching this question, I spoke to Dirk and Carol who knew Roy, a terminally ill man and Holley, whosebest friend Nancy, passed away at random.


Rachael Eichner