What is a near-death experience (NDE)?
What are near-death experiences ? Who has never heard of it: People who almost died had experiences which at first sight may look strange and crazy, but follow a very characteristic pattern: during this experience people go out of their own body, float near the ceiling and see their own body below. Often they see things in the room or in adjacent rooms that they normally could not be able to see. Then they go through a kind of tunnel towards an extremely bright and warm light that leaves a great impression and that can not be compared with any known light. Some say the light is brighter than the sun and yet does not blind them. Before or after the tunnel experience they see their own lives passing once again before their eyes like a movie. Some have even felt their life situations and evaluated them from a different angle. They are in a world without time and space, time and space playing no role for them. Many then meet deceased relatives and communicate with them in a non-verbal way, a kind of telepathy. In some cases a person or a group of persons tells them that they must return to Earth. This experience leaves a lasting impression, unlike a dream. They completely changed their attitude to death, perceiving death as something beautiful and they have no more fear. Many of them then change their lives and try to give more meaning to their lives.
Mostly it’s situations with risk of death, e.g. a cardiac circulatory arrest with resuscitation. Typically, clinical death had occurred. In these cases often people observed quasi from an aerial perspective, from the ceiling, what the doctors and paramedics have done and talked (and sometimes even thought) during the resuscitation and could describe this later correctly even though they were medically unconscious during this time. There are also cases where such experiences occur without near death, in a state of deep relaxation.
Explanation of terms
The term “Near-death experience” (= NDE) was coined by Raimond Moody in 1975 in his book “Life after Life”. Strictly speaking it refers only to cases where indeed death was near. The somewhat awkward sounding term “Near-death experienced” stands for people who have made a near-death experience, and has naturalized by some studies about this topic.
If only the first part occurs, so only the soul floating over the body without tunnel and light experience, then it’s called out-of-body experience (OBE). Such experiences are also known under the name of “Astral travel” or “shamanic journey” and can be generated willingly by some people by meditation techniques.
Examples of near death experiences
Who has not yet dealt with this, I invite him to read a couple of experiences on the Internet or to see some videos or read one of the relevant books about it. It is very impressive and leaves some traces of wonder on everybody!
Here you will find some examples of such experiences.
I’m sorry, but I have to say this warning because such incidents have indeed already happened: The world which is portrayed by near-death experiencers is so beautiful and harmonious, that one could get the idea to jump out of the window to enter into this world. But the described NTE’n were not caused deliberately, and only about 18% of the re-animated experiencers had such experiences. I can only warn against such “suicide by curiosity”. Life is not a game, and neither is the hereafter. We live here to perform a specific task, and who escapes it by suicide, must according to some reports from the beyond start anew in some way, and that will by no means be easy! A suicide will not automatically have the same experience described in the reports, but may rather have a negative near-death experience. Example1 Example2 Example3
Examples of history
The earliest near-death experience handed down to us is the one of the soldier “Er” in 10th book of the work “Politeia” of the greek philosopher Plato, about 400 BC. In our age, the geologist Albert Heim in 1892 first published a report on his own near-death experience in a crash in the mountains in the Yearbook of the Swiss Alpine Club and then collected 30 similar near-death experiences of mountaineers.
Raimond Moody has collected and discussed numerous cases in 1975 with his bestseller “Life after Life” and started a big ball rolling.
Jeffrey Long has started with his website of NDE (NDERF.org – near death experience Research Foundation) in 1998 a huge Internet collection of near-death experiences in dozens of languages, and from dozens of countries of around the world. He first published a study about his first 413, then 613 cases, and in his book ‘Evidence of the Afterlive‘, he got a view of 1300 cases. Today (2016) 4000 cases in the English language are available on his website. His results include: NTE are similar around the world, regardless of culture and religion, and NTE is also available at atheists!
Scientific studies of near death experiences
According to a survey in the United States, 5% of people in the course of their lives have a near-death experience, in Germany there are approximately 4%.
Dr. Pim van Lommel, cardiologist, since 1995 has systematically investigated near-death experiences in Arnhem (Netherlands) and in 2001 published his study in the medical-scientific newspaper “Lancet”. Of 344 patients with cardiac arrest, 62 (18%) reported an exceptional experience with greatly expanded awareness and could report details of their resuscitation, even though they passed out during this time.
The near-death experiences include the following elements:
- floating out-of-body experience, over their own body
- Look back on their own life, life film
- Passage through a tunnel
- detached time and space, experiencing dimension without time and space
- contact with other beings, contact with deceased relatives
- feeling of happiness, regret to have to return back to the earthlylife
- Sustainability of the experience: modified life orientation, towards more charity, more sentience
not every near-death experience includes all these elements, but most contain at least half of these elements. No one was reviewing just what has happened in his last day as it usually happens in a dream in the form of psychological symbols. Jeffrey Long examined these 12 elements in his study.
Amazingly, during the out of body experience observations about our reality could be made, that in the normal way would not have been possible:
The case of Pam Reynolds is especially well documented. 1991, a brain surgery (removal of aneurysm) was performed at her in Phoenix, Arizona. An artificial circulatory arrest was created in the brain, and her body was cooled down to 20°, so to have time of half an hour for surgery in the bloodless brain. The brain waves were measured during the entire time using EEG in different places in the brain stem, that’s all documented to the minute preciously. She had a near-death experience and could describe exact details about the operation, e.g. technical details of the used surgical saw. Based on the timing of its description, it can be shown that during most of the time of their near-death experience there was a zero line in her EEG.
Another woman from the study of P. v. Lommel could report accurately where they had put her teeth during the resuscitation (quoted from Prof. Dr. Günter Ewald “Ich war tot.” page 5)
“Mary’s shoe”: in 1984 in Seattle a woman named Maria suffered from a severe heart attack and was taken to the hospital. There she had a cardiac arrest, was reanimated and told her social worker Kimberley Clark that during her NTE she had seen from outside the hospital a tennis shoe on the third floor in the North Wing of the building, which was worn in the place of the little toe, a shoelace was trapped under the heel. The social worker Clark has checked immediately afterwards and found actually exactly that single tennis shoe on a window ledge of the third floor. This incident is described by Jeffrey Long in his book “Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences.” (p.110 german edition) and more detail by Kenneth Ring in his book “Lessons from the Light: What We Can Learn from the Near-Death Experience” (chapter 2, section “Investigations of the truth”) .
K.Ring describes even 2 more cases: a patient described to a nurse single red shoe he had seen during a NDE on the inaccessible and closed roof of the hospital, and she verified this. In another case, a reanimated patient could recognize an unknown clinical trainer, who had been present only a few minutes during the reanimation, and described her clothing to the earlier “The yellow upper part yet was much better to you”.
Doctor Penny Sartori 2004 examined the observations on their resuscitation of eight near death examiners. These observations were always totally correct, while tales of a control group with reanimated patients whitout near-death experience were highly inaccurate.