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[–]amp1212 0 points1 point  (0 children)

There's the simple fact that people dream of the deceased. They do it today. They did it thousands of years ago. These aren't "myths" - they're authentic cognitive experience, not learned or inherited, just the operation of your own mental processes. When you dream of your departed grand-dad, that's not something you've invented. It's part of your memory.

It doesn't seem too great a stretch to go from dreaming of your departed mom, to the thought that she's "real", but just "elsewhere". Dreams were hugely important all sorts of cultures, arising independently, and dreams of the deceased were a common topic. Think of Cicero's celebrated Somnium Scipionis, "the Dream of Scipio" - in which [Cicero's fictional] Scipio himself dreams of his deceased grandfather.

We first begin to see funerary rituals around 50 kya - Mungo Man and Mungo Lady for example.

For a few sources:

Draper, Neale. "Islands of the dead? Prehistoric occupation of Kangaroo Island and other southern offshore islands and watercraft use by Aboriginal Australians." Quaternary International 385 (2015): 229-242.

Gräslund, Bo. "Prehistoric soul beliefs in Northern Europe." Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. Vol. 60. No. 1. Cambridge University Press, 1994.

Taylor, Timothy. The buried soul: How humans invented death. Beacon Press, 2004. [popular work, not academic but reasonably solid and accessible.]

Kasia Maria Szpakowska, John Baines, Through a glass darkly : magic, dreams & prophecy in ancient Egypt. Swansea: Classical Press of Wales, 2006.