- Intense, pure bright light - Sometimes this intense (but not painful) light fills the room. In other cases, the subject sees a light that they feel represents either Heaven or God.
- Out-of-body experiences (OBE) - The subject feels that he has left his body. He can look down and see it, often describing the sight of doctors working on him. In some cases, the subject's "spirit" then flies out of the room, into the sky and sometimes into space.
- Entering into another realm or dimension - Depending on the subject's religious beliefs and the nature of the experience, he may perceive this realm as Heaven or, in rare cases, as Hell.
- Spirit beings - During the OBE, the subject encounters "beings of light," or other representations of spiritual entities. He may perceive these as deceased loved ones, angels, saints or God.
- The tunnel - Many NDE subjects find themselves in a tunnel with a light at its end. They may encounter spirit beings as they pass through the tunnel.
- Communication with spirits - Before the NDE ends, many subjects report some form of communication with a spirit being. This is often expressed a "strong male voice" telling them that it is not their time and to go back to their body. Some subjects report being told to choose between going into the light or returning to their earthly body. Others feel they have been compelled to return to their body by a voiceless command, possibly coming from God.
- Life review - This trait is also called "the panoramic life review." The subject sees his entire life in a flashback. These can be very detailed or very brief. The subject may also perceive some form of judgment by nearby spirit entities.
Wednesday, 9 November 2011
Near-death experiences (NDEs) are common enough that they have entered our everyday language. Phrases like "my whole life flashed before my eyes" and "go to the light" come from decades of research into these strange, seemingly supernatural experiences that some people have when they're at the brink of death. But what exactly are NDEs? Are they hallucinations? Spiritual experiences? Proof of life after death? Or are they simply chemical changes in the brain and sensory organs in the moments prior to death?
In this article, we'll discuss what makes an experience an NDE and who typically has them. We'll also explore spiritual, philosophical and scientific theories for why they happen.
Dr. Raymond Moody coined the term "near-death experience" in his 1975 book, "Life After Life." Many credit Moody's work with bringing the concept of the near-death experience to the public's attention, but reports of such experiences have occurred throughout history. Plato's "Republic," written in 360 B.C.E., contains the tale of a soldier named Er who had an NDE after being killed in battle. Er described his soul leaving his body, being judged along with other souls and seeing heaven [ref].
For the purposes of this article, a near-death experience is any experience in which someone close to death or suffering from some trauma or disease that might lead to death perceives events that seem to be impossible, unusual or supernatural. While there are many questions about NDEs, one thing is certain -- they do exist. Thousands of people have actually perceived similar sensations while close to death. The debate is over whether or not they actually experienced what they perceived.
Most NDEs share certain common traits, but not all NDEs have every trait and some NDEs don't follow a pattern at all. Here are the traits that "typical" NDEs share:
For more on NDE's visit: http://www.near-death.com/
Or for a more sceptical view: http://www.skepdic.com/nde.html