The afterlife or hereafter as it is sometimes called is the paranormal belief that after a person has passed away that their soul is taken to another existence that is beyond the perception of our world. While the body remains behind, the individual still exists with the memories and experiences stored within the soul. The afterlife is usually associated with a spiritual realm that is shared by others who have passed on as well.
Some cultures believe that a person has the choice in the afterlife to come back and be reborn to the Earth again, forgetting all the previous memories and past experiences. This view, generally known as reincarnation, can occur multiple times and people die, pass to the afterlife and then are reborn to the Earth.
Much of our views of the afterlife are shaped by religious beliefs such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hindu and other religious faiths. The plane of existence that the afterlife is based will be occupied by the god or gods that will then offer divine judgment on one’s life and make the determination for their fate. Different faiths have different ideas about how the process will occur and there are even divisions within faiths that do not fully agree on what events may take place in the afterlife.
The realm of the afterlife is centered in the paranormal belief system and has no scientific grounds in which to exist simply because that no current means of scientific study can determine either the existence or non-existence of an afterlife, which conversely is granted to religious institutions as a means of having faith that goes beyond the realm of this world.
The belief in an afterlife predates modern religions and has been traced back as far as the ancient Egyptians who believed in the god Osiris who would rule over the dead and protect them. They also believed in reincarnation if the body was properly mummified and certain rituals performed, which were usually done on Pharaohs. There was even a Book of the Dead which gave instructions and descriptions of what lied on the other side of existence.
The afterlife also existed for ancient Greeks and Romans whose mythology was filled with tales of what happened to souls after they passed from the Earth. Hades or Pluto ruled over the dead in their underground kingdoms. Those who lived a good life would enjoy their afterlife in the Elysian Fields which is somewhat reminiscent of Christian descriptions of Heaven. Other myths and religions have also offered their views on the afterlife, most of which are well grounded in their own cultures.
In any case, the afterlife is something that definitely exists in the realm of the paranormal and cannot be proved scientifically or otherwise. However, the belief in the afterlife goes back almost to the dawn of humans walking on the Earth as they have wondered if there is something beyond their normal existence that they could aspire to and enjoy once they have passed from the Earth.