Near death experience: Wikis

  
  

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A near-death experience (NDE), refers to a broad range of personal experiences associated with impending death, encompassing multiple possible sensations including detachment from the body; feelings of levitation; extreme fear; total serenity, security, or warmth; the experience of absolute dissolution; and the presence of a light, which some people interpret as a deity.[1] Some see NDEs as a paranormal and spiritual glimpse into the afterlife[citation needed].

These phenomena are usually reported after an individual has been pronounced clinically dead or otherwise very close to death, hence the term near-death experience. Many NDE reports, however, originate from events that are not life-threatening. With recent developments in cardiac resuscitation techniques, the number of reported NDEs has increased. Many in the scientific community regard such experiences as hallucinatory,[2][3][4] while paranormal specialists and some mainstream scientists claim them to be evidence of an afterlife.[5][6][7]

Popular interest in near-death experiences was initially sparked by Raymond Moody's 1975 book Life After Life [8] and the founding of the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) in 1981.[9] According to a Gallup poll, approximately eight million Americans claim to have had a near-death experience,[10]. Some commentators, such as Simpson[11] claim that the number of near-death experiencers may be underestimated, mainly because some such individuals are presumably afraid or otherwise reluctant to talk about their experiences.

NDEs are among the phenomena studied in the fields of parapsychology, psychology,[12] psychiatry,[13] and hospital medicine.[14][15]

Contents

Characteristics

Gustave Doré's depiction of the highest heaven as described by Dante Alighieri in the Paradiso

The phenomenology of an NDE usually includes physiological, psychological, and alleged transcendental aspects.[16] Researchers have identified the common elements that define near-death experiences.[17] Among the general features of the experience one may find subjective impressions of being outside the physical body, visions of deceased relatives and religious figures, and transcendence of ego and spatiotemporal boundaries.[18] The most intense NDEs are reported to have an awareness of things occurring in a different place or time, and some of these observations are said to have been evidential.[citation needed] The experience may also follow a distinct progression, as illustrated below.

The traits of a classical NDE are as follows:

  • The notice of a very unpleasant sound or noise.[19]
  • A sense/awareness of being dead.[17][20]
  • A sense of peace, well-being and painlessness. Positive emotions. A feeling of being removed from the world.[17][21][20]
  • An out-of-body experience. A perception of one’s body from an outside position. Sometimes observing doctors and nurses performing medical resuscitation efforts.[17][21][22][20]
  • A "tunnel experience". A sense of moving up, or through, a passageway or staircase.[17][22][20]
  • A rapid movement toward and/or sudden immersion in a powerful light. Communication with the light.[21][20]
  • An intense feeling of unconditional love.[21]
  • Encountering "Beings of Light", "Beings dressed in white", or other spiritual beings. Also, the possibility of being reunited with deceased loved ones.[17][21][22]
  • Being given a life review.[17][21][20]
  • Being presented with knowledge about one's life and the nature of the universe.[21]
  • A decision by oneself or others to return to one’s body, often accompanied by a reluctance to return.[17][21][22]
  • Approaching a border.[20]

Kenneth Ring (1980) subdivided the NDE on a five-stage continuum. He stated, that 60% experienced stage 1 (feelings of peace and contentment), but only 10% experienced stage 5 ("entering the light").[23]

Clinical circumstances associated with near-death experiences include cardiac arrest in myocardial infarction (clinical death), shock in postpartum loss of blood or in perioperative complications, septic or anaphylactic shock, electrocution, coma resulting from traumatic brain damage, intracerebral haemorrhage or cerebral infarction, attempted suicide, near-drowning or asphyxia, apnoea, and serious depression.[24] Many NDEs occur after a crucial experience (e.g., when a patient can hear that he or she is declared to be dead by a doctor or nurse) or when a person has the subjective impression to be in a fatal situation (e.g., during a close-call automobile accident).[citation needed] In contrast to common belief, attempted suicides do not lead more often to unpleasant NDEs than unintended near-death situations.[25]

Some people have also experienced extremely distressing NDEs, which can manifest in forewarning of emptiness or a sense of dread toward the cessation of their life.[citation needed]. The distressing aspects of some NDEs are discussed more closely by Greyson and Bush.[26]. The content of near death experiences may vary by culture [27] Children, who typically do not have enough time to develop strongly toward one faith, had very limited NDEs. Examples of this include a boy simply having talked to his brother in his NDE and a girl having a conversation with her mother.[27][28]

Research

Contributions to the research on near-death experiences have come from several academic disciplines, among these the disciplines of medicine, psychology and psychiatry. Interest in this field of study was originally spurred by the research of such pioneers as Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, George Ritchie, and Raymond Moody Jr. Moody's book "Life after Life", which was released in 1975, brought a lot of attention to the topic of NDEs [17]. This was soon to be followed by the establishment of the International Association for Near-death Studies, IANDS, in 1981. IANDS is an international organization that encourages scientific research and education on the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual nature and ramifications of near-death experiences. Among its publications we find the peer-reviewed Journal of Near-Death Studies, and the quarterly newsletter Vital Signs [9].

Later researchers, such as Bruce Greyson, Kenneth Ring, and Michael Sabom, helped to launch the field of Near-Death Studies, and introduced the study of Near-Death experiences to the academic setting. The medical community has been somewhat reluctant to address the phenomenon of NDEs, and grant money for research has been scarce [9]. However, both Greyson and Ring developed tools that can be used in a clinical setting. Major contributions to the field include the construction of a Weighted Core Experience Index [29] in order to measure the depth of the Near-Death experience, and the construction of the Near-death experience scale [30] in order to differentiate between subjects that are more or less likely to have experienced an NDE. The scale is also, according to the author, clinically useful in differentiating NDEs from organic brain syndromes and nonspecific stress responses [30]. The NDE-scale was later found to fit the Rasch rating scale model [12]. Greyson [31] has also brought attention to the near-death experience as a focus of clinical attention, while Morse and colleagues [22][32] have investigated near-death experiences in a pediatric population.

Neuro-biological factors in the experience have been investigated by researchers within the field of medical science and psychiatry (Mayank and Mukesh, 2004; Jansen, 1995; Thomas, 2004; Fenwick and Fenwick 2008). Among the researchers and commentators who tend to emphasize a naturalistic and neurological base for the experience, are the British psychologist Susan Blackmore (1993) and the founding publisher of Skeptic Magazine, Michael Shermer (1998).

In September 2008 it was announced that 25 UK and US hospitals will examine near-death studies in 1,500 heart attack patient-survivors. The 3-year study, co-ordinated by Dr Sam Parnia at Southampton University, hopes to determine if people without heartbeat or brain activity can have an out-of-body experience with veridical visual perceptions.[33] This study follows on from an earlier 18-month pilot project.[34]

Among the scientific and academic journals that have published, or are regularly publishing new research on the subject of NDEs, are: Journal of Near-Death Studies, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, British Journal of Psychology, American Journal of Disease of Children, Resuscitation, The Lancet, Death Studies, and the Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Variance in NDE studies

The prevalence of NDEs has been variable in the studies that have been performed. According to the Gallup and Proctor survey in 1980-1981, of a representative sample of the American population, data showed that 15% had an NDE.[35]. Knoblauch in 2001 performed a more selective study in Germany and found that 4% of the sample population had experienced an NDE [36]. However, the information gathered from these studies may be subjected to the broad timeframe and location of the investigation.

Perera et al., in 2005, conducted a telephone survey of a representative sample of the Australian population, as part of the Roy Morgan Catibus Survey, and concluded that 8.9% of the population had experienced an NDE.[37] In a more clinical setting, van Lommel et al. (2001), a cardiologist from Netherlands, studied a group of patients who had suffered cardiac arrests and who were successfully revived. They found that 62 patients (18%) had an NDE, of whom 41 (12%) described a core experience.

According to Martens [38] the only satisfying method to address the NDE-issue would be an international multicentric data collection within the framework for standardized reporting of cardiac arrest events. The use of cardiac-arrest criteria as a basis for NDE research has been a common approach among the European branch of the research field [15][39].

Biological analysis and theories

In the 1990s, Dr. Rick Strassman conducted research on the psychedelic drug Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) at the University of New Mexico. Strassman advanced the theory that a massive release of DMT from the pineal gland prior to death or near-death was the cause of the near-death experience phenomenon. Only two of his test subjects reported NDE-like aural or visual hallucinations, although many reported feeling as though they had entered a state similar to the classical NDE. His explanation for this was the possible lack of panic involved in the clinical setting and possible dosage differences between those administered and those encountered in actual NDE cases. All subjects in the study were also very experienced users of DMT and/or other psychedelic/entheogenic agents. Some speculators consider that if subjects without prior knowledge on the effects of DMT had been used during the experiment, it is possible more volunteers would have reported feeling as though they had experienced an NDE.

Dr. Karl Jansen, a New Zealand-born psychiatrist, claims to have reproduced the effects of NDEs through the use of ketamine, thus giving potential evidence of a biological cause of the experience.[40]

Critics have argued that neurobiological models often fail to explain NDEs that result from close brushes with death, where the brain does not actually suffer physical trauma, such as a near-miss automobile accident. Such events may however have neurobiological effects caused by stress.

In a new theory devised by Richard Kinseher in 2006, the knowledge of the Sensory Autonomic System is applied in the NDE phenomenon. His theory states that the experience of looming death is an extremely strange paradox to a living organism - and therefore it will start the NDE: during the NDE, the individual becomes capable of "seeing" the brain performing a scan of the whole episodic memory (even prenatal experiences), in order to find a stored experience which is comparable to the input information of death. All these scanned and retrieved bits of information are permanently evaluated by the actual mind, as it is searching for a coping mechanism out of the potentially fatal situation. Kinseher feels this is the reason why a near-death experience is so unusual.

The theory also states that out-of-body experiences, accompanied by NDEs, are an attempt by the brain to create a mental overview of the situation and the surrounding world. The brain then transforms the input from sense organs and stored experience (knowledge) into a dream-like idea about oneself and the surrounding area.

Whether or not these experiences are hallucinatory, they do have a profound impact on the observer. Many psychologists not necessarily pursuing the paranormal, such as Susan Blackmore, have recognized this. These scientists are not trying to debunk the experience, but are instead searching for biological causes of NDEs.[41]

According to Engmann[42], near-death experiences of people who are clinically dead are psychopathological symptoms caused by a severe malfunction of the brain resulting from the cessation of cerebral blood circulation. An important question is whether it is possible to “translate” the bloomy experiences of the reanimated survivors into psychopathologically basic phenomena, e.g. acoasms, central narrowing of the visual field, autoscopia, visual hallucinations, activation of limbic and memory structures according to Moody’s stages. The symptoms suppose a primary affliction of the occipital and temporal cortices under clinical death. This basis could be congruent with the thesis of pathoclisis – the inclination of special parts of the brain to be the first to be damaged in case of disease, lack of oxygen, or malnutrition – established eighty years ago by C. and O. Vogt.[43] According to that thesis, the basic phenomena should be similar in all patients with near-death experiences. But a crucial problem is to distinguish these basic psychopathological symptoms from the secondary mental associated experiences which may result from a reprocessing of the basic symptoms under the influence of the person’s cultural and religious views.

Some research has suggested that unconscious patients can overhear conversations even if the hospital machines are not registering any brain activity. Research conducted at Sheffield University led to a finding that the release of adrenaline caused by tissue damage during surgery may cause this.[44] Recent findings have also shown that people diagnosed in a "persistent vegetative state" can communicate through their thoughts, as detected by an fMRI.[45][46]

REM state

It is suggested that the extreme stress caused by a life threatening situation triggers brain states similar to REM sleep and that part of the near death experience is a state similar to dreaming while awake. People who have experienced times when their brains behaved as if they were dreaming while awake are more likely to develop the near death experience. Further stimulation of the Vagus nerve during the physical and/or psychological stress of a life threatening situation may trigger brain conditions where the person is in a dream-like state while awake. [47] [48]

Lucid Dreaming

Some sleep researchers have noted that NDE experiences are similar to many of the experiences reported during lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming occurs when the individual becomes lucid and realizes they are in a dream. Often these states are so realistic as to be barely distinguishable from reality. People report to be able to feel very realistic textures and experience orgasm during sexual intercourse, despite not physically doing so.

In a study of fourteen lucid dreamers performed in 1991, people who perform wake-initiated lucid dreams operation (WILD) reported experiences consistent with aspects of out-of-body experiences such as floating above their beds and the feeling of leaving their bodies.[49] Due to the phenomenological overlap between lucid dreams, near death experiences, and out-of-body experiences, researchers say they believe a protocol could be developed to induce a lucid dream similar to a near-death experience in the laboratory.[50]

Other similarities include seeing oneself from the outside (an out of body experience), floating or flying, heightened awareness, and feelings of joy or peace. Some researchers believe this is caused when the mind is deprived of the majority of its main five senses and relies on the expectational processing. In this regard one experiences what one would expect to happen in their current circumstance. This explains experiences caused by mental trauma such as a near miss accident in which the mind may close itself off at least partially to the senses and ones caused by physical trauma in which again the mind closes itself off to the world.[citation needed].

Computational Psychology

Modeling of NDEs using artificial neural networks has shown that some aspects of the core near death experience can be achieved through simulated neuron death [51][52][53][54][55]. In the course of such simulations, the essential features of the NDE, life review, novel scenarios (i.e., heaven or hell), and OBE are observed through the generation of confabulations or false memories, as discussed in Confabulation (neural networks). The key feature contributing to the generation of such confabulatory states are a neural network's inability to differentiate dead from silent neurons[56]. Memories, whether related to direct experience, or not, can be seeded upon arrays of such inactive brain cells.

Effects

Near-death experiences can have a major impact on the people who have them, and they may produce a variety of after-effects. Many of these effects are associated with changes in personality and outlook on life.[17] Kenneth Ring has identified a consistent set of value and belief changes associated with people who have had a near-death experience. Among these changes one finds a greater appreciation for life, higher self-esteem, greater compassion for others, a heightened sense of purpose and self-understanding, desire to learn, elevated spirituality, greater ecological sensitivity and planetary concern, and a feeling of being more intuitive. Changes may also include increased physical sensitivity; diminished tolerance to light, alcohol, and drugs; a feeling that the brain has been "altered" to encompass more; and a feeling that one is now using the "whole brain" rather than just a small part.[17] However, not all after-effects are beneficial[57] and Greyson[58] describes circumstances where changes in attitudes and behavior can lead to psychosocial and psychospiritual problems.[59] Often the problems have to do with the adjustment to ordinary life in the wake of the NDE.

Matthew Dovel, author of My Last Breath, having had two near-death experiences, discusses the side effects associated with having had a NDE (empathic, telepathy, clairaudience, clairvoyance, precognition, remote viewing, communication with animals, children, and the failure of timepieces).[60]

Spiritual viewpoints

Many view the NDE as the precursor to an afterlife experience, claiming that the NDE cannot be adequately explained by physiological or psychological causes, and that the phenomenon conclusively demonstrates that human consciousness can function independently of brain activity.[61] Many NDE-accounts seem to include elements which, according to several theorists, can only be explained by an out-of-body consciousness. For example, in one account, a woman accurately described a surgical instrument she had not seen previously, as well as a conversation that occurred while she was under general anesthesia.[62] In another account, from a prospective Dutch NDE study [2], a nurse removed the dentures of an unconscious heart attack victim, and was asked by him after his recovery to return them. It might be difficult to explain in conventional terms how an unconscious patient could later have recognized the nurse.

Dr. Michael Sabom reports a case about a woman who underwent surgery for an aneurysm. The woman reported an out-of-body experience that she claimed continued through a brief period of the absence of any EEG activity. If true, this would seem to challenge the belief held by many that consciousness is situated entirely within the brain.[62]

Many individuals who experience an NDE see it as a verification of the existence of an afterlife [63]. This includes those with agnostic/atheist inclinations before the experience. There are examples of ex-atheists, such as the Reverend Howard Storm[64], adopting a more spiritual viewpoint after their NDEs. Storm's NDE may also be characterized as a distressing near-death experience [65].

Greyson claims that: "No one physiological or psychological model by itself explains all the common features of NDE. The paradoxical occurrence of heightened, lucid awareness and logical thought processes during a period of impaired cerebral perfusion raises particular perplexing questions for our current understanding of consciousness and its relation to brain function. A clear sensorium and complex perceptual processes during a period of apparent clinical death challenge the concept that consciousness is localized exclusively in the brain."[66]

A few people feel that research on NDEs occurring in the blind can be interpreted to support an argument that consciousness survives bodily death. Dr. Kenneth Ring claims in the book "Mindsight: Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind" that up to 80% of his sample studied reported some visual awareness during their NDE or out of body experience.[67] Skeptics however question the accuracy of their visual awareness.[68]

There are many religious and physiological views of near-death experiences. The NDE is often cited as evidence for the existence of the human soul, the afterlife, and heaven and hell, ideas that appear in many religious traditions. On the other hand, skeptical commentators view NDEs as purely neurological and chemical phenomena occurring in the brain. From this perspective NDEs are the result of purely physiological and neurobiological mechanisms. The imagery in the experiences also varies within cultures.[69][70][71]

There has been recent research into afterlife conceptions across cultures by religious studies scholar Dr. Gregory Shushan[72]. The study analyzes the afterlife beliefs of five ancient civilizations (Old and Middle Kingdom Egypt, Sumerian and Old Babylonian Mesopotamia, Vedic India, pre-Buddhist China, and pre-Columbian Mesoamerica) in light of historical and contemporary reports of near-death experiences, and shamanic afterlife ‘journeys’. It was found that despite numerous culture-specific differences, the nine most frequently recurring NDE elements also recur on a general structural level cross-culturally. This suggests that the authors of these ancient religious texts were familiar with NDE or something similar (e.g. shamanic-type experiences). Cross-cultural similarity, however, can be used to support both religious and physiological theories, for both rely on demonstrating that the phenomenon is universal.

See also

References

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  59. ^ The diagnostic label of "Religious or spiritual problem" is included in DSM-IV under the category of "Other conditions that may be a focus of clinical attention". See American Psychiatric Association (1994) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association (Code V62.89, Religious or Spiritual Problem).
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Further reading

  • Atwater, P.M.H. (2007) "The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences: The Ultimate Guide to What Happens When We Die". Hampton Roads Publishing. ISBN 978-1571745477
  • Blackmore, Susan (1993) Dying to live: Science and Near-Death Experiences. London: Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0879758707
  • Blanke, Olaf; Ortigue, Stéphanie; Landis, Theodor; Seeck, Margitta (2002) Stimulating illusory own-body perceptions. The part of the brain that can induce out-of-body experiences has been located. Nature, Vol. 419, 19 September 2002
  • Britton WB & Bootzin RR. (2004) Near-death experiences and the temporal lobe. Psychol Sci. Apr;15(4):254-8. PubMed abstract PMID 15043643
  • Carey, Stephen S. (2004) A Beginner's Guide to Scientific Method. Third Edition. Toronto: Thomson Wadsworth
  • Cook, Emily Williams; Greyson, Bruce; Stevenson, Ian (1998) Do Any Near-Death Experiences Provide Evidence for the Survival of Human Personality after Death? Relevant Features and Illustrative Case Reports
  • Corazza, Ornella (2008) Near-Death Experiences: exploring the mind-body connection. London & New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-45519-0
  • Cowan, J. D. (1982) Spontaneous symmetry breaking in large-scale nervous activity. International Journal of Quantum Chemistry, 22, 1059-1082.
  • Delog Dawa Drolma: Delog - Journey to realms beyond death, Publisher: Padma Publishing (March 1, 1995), ISBN 1881847055 (10), ISBN 978-1881847052 (13)
  • Dovel, Matthew: - My Last Breath, two near-death experiences by one man, a heavenly experience and a hellish experience comparison, Publisher: PublishAmerica (November, 2003), ISBN 1413701949 (10), ISBN 978-1413701944 (13)
  • Father Rose, Seraphim (1980) The Soul after Death. Saint Herman Press, ISBN 0-938635-14-X
  • Fenwick, Peter and Elizabeth (2008) The Art of Dying. Continuum Books, ISBN 978-08264-9923-3
  • Greyson, B. (2000) Some neuropsychological correlates of the physio-kundalini syndrome. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 32, 123-134.
  • Jansen, Karl L. R. (1995) Using ketamine to induce the near-death experience: mechanism of action and therapeutic potential. Yearbook for Ethnomedicine and the Study of Consciousness (Jahrbuch furr Ethnomedizin und Bewubtseinsforschung) Issue 4 pp55–81.
  • Jansen, Karl L. R. (1997) The Ketamine Model of the Near Death Experience: A central role for the NMDA Receptor. Journal of Near-Death Studies Vol. 16, No.1
  • McCormick, Carol (2006) A Bridge for Grandma. Beaver's Pond Press, ISBN 1-59298-162-3
  • Moody, R. (1977) Reflections on Life After Life: More Important Discoveries In The Ongoing Investigation Of Survival Of Life After Bodily Death. New York: Bantam
  • Moody, R. (1999) The Last Laugh: A New Philosophy of Near-Death Experiences, Apparitions, and the Paranormal. Hampton Roads Publishing Company
  • Morse, Melvin & Perry, Paul (1992) Transformed by the Light. New York: Villard books
  • Morse, Melvin (1990) Closer to the Light: Learning From the Near-Death Experiences of Children. New York: Villard books
  • Mullens, K. (1992) Returned From The Other Side. Publ. Kenneth G. Mullens
  • Mullens, K. (1995) Visions From The Other Side. Publ. Kenneth G. Mullens
  • Peake, Anthony (2006) "Is There Life After Death?" (Chartwell Books in USA & Arcturus in UK)
  • Pinchbeck, Daniel (2002) Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism. Broadway Books, trade paperback, 322 pages
  • Pravda (2004) Reanimators try to grasp the afterlife mystery. Pravda article 21.12.2004. (Article translated by: Maria Gousseva)
  • Raaby et al. (2005) Beyond the Deathbed. Norwich: Jarrold Publishing.
  • Rapini, Mary Jo with Harper, Mary (2006) "Is God Pink? Dying to Heal". Baltimore:Publish America. www.maryjorapini.com
  • Rivas T. (2003). The Survivalist Interpretation of Recent Studies into the Near-Death Experience. Journal of Religion and Psychical Research, 26, 1, 27-31.
  • Rodrigues, Linda Andrade (2004) Ex-atheist describes near-death experience. Standard Times, Page C4, January 31, 2004
  • Shushan, Gregory (2009) Conceptions of the Afterlife in Early Civilizations Universalism, Constructivism and Near-Death Experience. New York & London, Continuum. ISBN 9780826440730
  • Rick Strassman, DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences, 320 pages, Park Street Press, 2001, ISBN 0-89281-927-8
  • Thomas, Shawn (2004) Agmatine and Near-Death Experiences. Article published at www.neurotransmitter.net
  • Kinseher Richard (2008), "Verborgene Wurzeln des Glücks - selbstbeobachtbare Gehirnfunktion." BoD, ISBN 978-3-8334-7378-4, German Language, (A new theory: During a Near-Death-Experience, a person can observe the scan of the own episodic memory. These stored experiences are then judged by the topical intellect.)
  • Tulku Thondup: Peaceful Death, Joyful Rebirth: A Tibetan Buddhist Guidebook with a CD of Guided Meditations",Publisher: Shambhala; Pap/Com edition (December 12, 2006), ISBN 1590303857 (10), ISBN 978-1590303856 (13)

Personal experiences

  • Return from Tomorrow by George G. Ritchie, M.D. with Elizabeth Sherrill (1978). George G. Ritchie, M.D. held positions as president of the Richmond Academy of General Practice; chairman of the Department of Psychiatry of Towers Hospital; and founder and president of the Universal Youth Corps, Inc. He lived in Virginia. At the age of twenty, George Ritchie died in an army hospital. Nine minutes later he returned to life. What happened to him during those minutes was so compelling, it changed his life forever. In Return from Tomorrow, he tells of his out-of-the-body encounter with other beings, his travel through different dimensions of time and space, and ultimately, his transforming meeting with the Light of the world, the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Ritchie's extraordinary experience not only altered his view of eternity, it directed and governed his entire life, and provided a startling and hopeful description of the realm beyond. Ritchie's story was the first contact Dr. Raymond Moody, PhD (who was studying at the University of Virginia, as an undergraduate in Philosophy, at the time) had with NDEs. It inspired Moody to investigate over 150 cases of near-death experiences, in his book Life After Life, and two other books that followed.
  • Saved by the Light by Dannion Brinkley. Brinkley's experience documents one of the most complete near death experiences, in terms of core experience and additional phenomena from the NDE scale. Brinkley was clinically dead for 28 minutes and taken to a hospital morgue.
  • Placebo by Howard Pittman (1980). A detailed record of Mr. Pittman's near-death experience.
  • The Darkness of God by John Wren-Lewis (1985), Bulletin of the Australian Institute for Psychical Research No 5. An account of the far-reaching effects of his NDE after going through the death process several times in one night.
  • Anita Moorjani, an ethnic Indian woman from Hong Kong, experienced a truly remarkable NDE which has been documented on the Near Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF) website as one of the most exceptional accounts on their archives. She had end-stage cancer and on February 2, 2006, doctors told her family that she only had a few hours to live. Following her NDE, Anita experienced a remarkable total recovery of her health. Her full story can be read at www.nderf.org titled "Anita M's NDE".
  • Goldie Hawn, while giving a speech at the Buell Theater in Denver, Colorado, reflected upon her near-death experience. When she was younger, and starting out as an actress, she and a group of friends were in a severe car crash together. While she was unconscious, she remembers looking over herself while the paramedics were trying to revive her. She also mentioned seeing a bright light and being told it was not her time soon before she awoke.
  • Kiki Carter, a.k.a. Kimberli Wilson, an environmental activist and singer/songwriter, reported a near-death experience in 1983. The day after the experience, her mother, Priscilla Greenwood, encouraged her to write it down. Priscilla Greenwood published the story in September 1983 in a local metaphysical journal. For 24 hours after the experience, Kimberli had an aftervision which was a catalyst for her interest in quantum physics and holograms. The article was scanned and can be retrieved online at [3].
  • 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper, is Piper's account of his own near-death experience. Though EMTs on the scene determined Piper had been killed instantly after a semi had swerved into his lane, crushing his car, a Baptist preacher who had stopped to offer help began to pray for him as he lay lifeless under a tarp, still in his car. But Piper was unaware of the chaos swirling around his body on earth—he knew only that he was surrounded by loved ones and friends, magnificent light, a sense of pure peace and the most glorious music he had ever heard. Piper had a very difficult and painful recovery and has started a ministry based on his experiences. The book is the most popular near-death experience book as of September, 2009 according to the Examiner.com Near-Death Examiner.

Fiction

  • In Passage, a 2001 novel by Connie Willis, the principal storyline centers around a researcher who has developed a technique for inducing an experience very much like a natural NDE. By studying the effects and comparing them with real NDEs, she hopes to find a biological basis for NDEs.
  • In the end of Scorpia, 5th installment in the Alex Rider series, Alex Rider, the protagonist, is shot near the heart by a sniper, collapses and sees his deceased parents appear before him in bright light, before losing consciousness.
  • The novel Fearless (1993) by Rafael Yglesias is about an architect that survives a planecrash. His near-death experience starts a period of fearlessness and existential concerns which puts him in conflict with both his family and the surrounding culture. The book was later adapted to the screen by director Peter Weir, starring Jeff Bridges as the main character, Max Klein. See Fearless (1993 film).
  • The French novel Les Thanatonautes by Bernard Werber is about a group of scientists trying to study life after death by using drugs to throw them into cardiac arrest. It is the beginning of a successful trilogy including L'Empire des Anges and Nous, Les Dieux.
  • Another French novel, Le Serment des Limbes by Jean Christophe Grangé, deals with negative NDE and its impact on devil worshipping.
  • The movie Flatliners (1990) is about a group of medical students who want to study the near-death experience. They volunteer to clinically die and be revived by their fellow students. However, their experiment begins to go awry.
  • In the movie Stay (2005) the character of Henry (Ryan Gosling) has an NDE that lasts throughout the entire film. As he lies dying after a car crash that killed the rest of his family his mind wanders between life and death. Henry's final minutes of his life extended into a dream that lasts several days in his mind. He sees the illusion through the eyes of the man who is trying to keep him alive (Ewan McGregor).
  • In The Matt Zander Journals, a 2008 novel by Gary Denne, the main character has a near-death experience after he is shot during a bungled robbery. As he recovers, he begins a road-trip journey to find his place in a world he no longer understands.
  • In the game Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Naked Snake undergoes an NDE after falling into the river, almost drowning in the process.
  • In the movie White Noise: The Light (2007), the sequel of White Noise (2005), the main character Abe Dale (Nathan Fillion) has an NDE after his suicide attempt. His spirit separates from his body. His consciousness then floats through a grey tunnel at the end of which there is a bright light to be found. It shines upon his murdered wife and child who are already expecting him. His astral body is pulled back into his physical body after a successful resuscitation.
  • In the Christian film Escape from Hell, a man attempts to prove Heaven's existence by purposefully placing himself in cardiac arrest. After a view of Heaven (a bright, sunny country) he finds himself in a completely different place: Hell (a lake of fire).
  • At the end of the computer animated film Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, the saber-toothed squirrel character Scrat, in perpetual sisyphean pursuit of an acorn, dies and goes on to a shimmering ethereal place abundant with acorns surrounding one very large one, as if in final reward for his patience, but just as he is about to sink his teeth into it, he is pulled out of the place back to earth where he has been revived by the character Sid, who is baffled at his anger instead of gratitude at finding himself back alive.
  • On the medical show Grey's Anatomy, the main protagonist, Meredith, drowned during a mass casualty incident and had a near-death experience with former deceased patients.
  • On the animated cartoon show The Angry Beavers, the beavers, Norbert and Daggett Beaver, experience a life review during the episode "Mission to the Big Hot Thingy", as their space ship goes into the sun, and the heat becomes unbearable, resulting in them almost dying from suffocation. After this NDE, they resolve in saving themselves.
  • On the medical show House, M.D., the main character, Gregory House goes into cardiac arrest and sees three of his patients and their outcomes after his diagnoses and subsequent treatment, in the episode 'Three Stories'. When asked why he thinks what he experienced [the visions] was not proof of an afterlife, rather "chemical reactions that take place when the brain shuts down", he replies, "I find it more comforting to believe that this [life] isn't simply a test."
  • In the Smallville episode "Void", two college students use Kryptonite to create the "Limbo drug", which, when used, induces near death experiences and allows the user to visit deceased loved ones in the afterlife. Lana Lang, having long missed her late parents, quickly becomes addicted to the Limbo drug, but manages to kick the habit by the end of the episode, while the co-creator of the Limbo drug eventually dies from an overdose and repeated usage.
  • Two episodes of the science fiction show Star Trek: Voyager directly discuss NDEs; in the third-season episode "Coda", Captain Janeway has a limited NDE (without full life review), but finds at the end that it was an hallucination by a malevolent entity who implies that he and his species are responsible for NDEs throughout history. In a later episode, the fourth-season "Mortal Coil", Neelix dies in a shuttle accident; but is brought back to life. He then spends the rest of the episode questioning his belief system and cultural ideas about the afterlife.
  • The character Mugen from the anime series Samurai Champloo suffers two near death experiences: at one point, he is drowned when a ship he is on is destroyed with a bomb. He sees the line to the underworld, but refuses to enter, saying he isn't ready to die yet, and subsequently washes up on the shore and wakes up. The second time is during the last episode of the series: he defeats a former merchant who he ruined before the series, only to be shot by the merchant's elder brother, who then detonates a bomb under his wheelchair, seemingly killing them both, though Mugen survives.

External links

General

As an afterlife experience

Neutral

As a physiological and psychological experience

Interviews


Simple English

A near death experience (NDE), is when someone almost dies, but lives. NDEs were made mostly famous by the making of Raymond Moody's Life After Life in 1975.

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