Philosophy Skepticism and NDEs

Skeptical Argument: The Only Real Proof is Out-of-Body Veridical Perception

Skeptical Argument: “Something amazing happens during a near-death experience. There are still profound questions, like, why doesn’t everyone who comes close to death have an NDE? And, is the NDE the brain’s final fantasy? Autoscopy (being out of body, looking down) is the sole trait of the NDE amenable to empirical validation. But even here, we must be careful. I must categorically reject out of hand anything that an experiencer says describing his environment, what people have said, what they were wearing, and so on. This isn’t enough! What I personally insist on is an accounting of what’s happening elsewhere, in a physical place far removed from the physical body of the experiencer. After all, one cannot rule out that sensory pathways are still active in the brain of the experiencer, accounting for their ability to hear and see and smell some things from their immediate physical environment. The only truly compelling proof of being out of body comes from very remote viewing.”

Dr. Kenneth Ring: “These are cogent objections, but there are in the literature on both remote viewing and NDEs many cases of the sort … where people appear to know things at a distance. (That is, demonstrate clairvoyance). I also consider some of these same objections in my book, Lessons From The Light, and Sabom treats them as well in the book of his I previously mentioned. As for why some people have NDEs whereas others don’t, I explored this question in depth in my book, The Omega Project (Quill, 1993).” (Dr. Kenneth Ring)

Dr. Jeffrey Long: “A number of experiencers describe out-of-body experiences (OBEs). These experiences frequently include visualization of their body from a vantage point outside their body. Much less commonly reported are visualizations of earthly events geographically far removed from their body. Michael Sabom, M.D, conducted an excellent study of OBE among experiencers. Dr. Sabom identified a group of thirty-two patients who had a cardiac arrest, experienced an NDE, and visualized their own resuscitation efforts during the OBE stage of their NDE.

“He found a group of twenty-three patients who had a cardiac arrest and did not have an NDE. Both groups were asked to describe their resuscitation. The NDE group was uniformly accurate, including correctly recalling readings on medical machines outside their potential line of vision. Twenty of the twenty-three patients who did not have an NDE were highly inaccurate in describing their resuscitation. This is verifiable and potentially reproducible validation of the OBE component of the NDE. Other researchers should attempt to replicate this important study. Anecdotal accounts continue to surface of experiencers with OBE experiences involving visualization far geographically removed from their body. Formal study of these accounts would be an important future area of research. For more information about an example of a verifiable OBE observation during an NDE, click on the link provided.” (Dr. Jeffery Long)

Dr. Robert Jordan: “The fact that some people who come close to physical death recall NDEs and others don’t could have several explanations that are either physical or nonphysical. Perhaps they are amnesic of the experience. Perhaps the physical process of the brain ceasing to function occurs too quickly or in the wrong sequence for a memory of the experience to be retained.” (Dr. Robert Jordan)

P.M.H. Atwater: “As long as you discount verifiable evidence that could not have been accessed through the regular senses and was indeed obtained remotely, you bias your own demands and outcomes. However, if you want to explore scientific proof of remote viewing, I suggest you contact Joe McMoneagle through his website. Joe just returned from Japan where, live and on television, he successfully demonstrated the validity of scientific remote viewing. Joe, by the way, is an experiencer.” (P.M.H. Atwater)

Kevin Williams, B.SC.: “I know of one event that came very close to providing scientific proof of autoscopy. The only reason it did not qualify as scientific proof is because the proper controls weren’t used at the time it occurred. Dr. Charles Tart was experimenting with a subject who would have spontaneous out-of-body experiences. A remote five-digit number was placed out of view of the subject. She had an out-of-body experience and successfully read the five-digit number. The subject was then able to return to her body and successfully tell Dr. Tart what the number is. This provides strong circumstantial evidence that consciousness can transcend the physical body.

There is also the NDE veridical perception case of Pam Reynolds. In 1991, at the age of 35, Pam Reynolds underwent a rare operation to remove a giant basilar artery aneurysm in her brain that threatened her life. The size and location of the aneurysm, however, precluded its safe removal using the standard neuro-surgical techniques. She was referred to a neurosurgeon, Dr. Robert F. Spetzler, of the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, who had pioneered a daring surgical procedure known as deep hypothermic cardiac arrest. It allowed Pam’s aneurysm to be excised with a reasonable chance of success. This operation, nicknamed “standstill” by the doctors who perform it, required that Pam’s body temperature be lowered to 60 degrees, her heartbeat and breathing stopped, her brain waves flattened, and the blood drained from her head. In everyday terms, she was put to death. After removing the aneurysm, she was restored to life. During the time that Pam was in standstill, she experienced an NDE. Her remarkably detailed veridical (i.e., verified) out-of-body observations during her surgery were later verified to be true. Her case is considered to be one of the strongest cases of veridical evidence in NDE research because of her ability to describe the unique surgical instruments, the surgical procedures used on her, and her ability to describe in detail these events while she was clinically brain dead

Dr. Stanislav Grof, another consciousness researcher, theorizes that consciousness may not even be localized in the brain as so many scientists assume. He theorizes the brain may be merely acting as a reducing valve for which our five senses can process the vast amount of information that bombard our senses and influences our consciousness.

“It may be asking too much of researchers to gather data that proves, beyond any doubt, that consciousness survives death. Science may never develop the tools necessary to quantify many aspects of the NDE. However, there is currently available a mountain of circumstantial evidence suggesting that consciousness does indeed survive death. Nevertheless, here are some articles providing evidence of out-of-body veridical perception evidence.

A. Journal of Near-Death Studies Articles on Evidence From Veridical OBE Perception in NDEs

  1. Kenneth Ring et al. “Further Evidence for Veridical Perception During NDEs” JNDS Vol. 11, No. 4 (1993) [PDF]
  2. Titus Rivas et al. “A NDE with Veridical Perception Described by a Famous Heart Surgeon and Confirmed by his Assistant Surgeon” JNDS Vol. 31, No. 3 (2013) [PDF]
  3. Penny Sartori et al. “A Prospectively Studied NDE with Corroborated OBE Perceptions and Unexplained Healing” JNDS Vol. 25, No. 2 (2006) [PDF]
  4. Janice Holden. “Visual Perception During Naturalistic Near-Death OBEs” JNDS Vol. 7, No. 2 (1988) [PDF]
  5. Janice Holden et al. “Near-Death Veridicality Research in the Hospital Setting: Problems and Promise” JNDS Vol. 9, No. 1 (1990) [PDF]
  6. Michael Potts. “The Evidential Value of NDEs for Belief in Life After Death” JNDS Vol. 20, No. 4 (2002) [PDF]
  7. Janice Holden et al. “Out-of-Body Experiences: All in the Brain?” JNDS Vol. 25, No. 2 (2006) [PDF]
  8. Robert & Suzanne Mays. “The Phenomenology of the Self-Conscious Mind” JNDS Vol. 27, No. 1 (2008) [PDF]

B. Other Journal Articles on Evidence From Veridical OBE Perception in NDEs

  1. David Rousseau. “The Implications of NDEs for Research into the Survival of Consciousness” JSE Vol. 26, No. 1 (pp. 43-80) (2012) [PDF]
  2. Bruce Greyson. “Seeing Dead People Not Known to Have Died: ‘Peak in Darien’ Experiences” Anthropology and Humanism Vol. 25, No. 2 (2010) (pp. 159-171) [PDF]
  3. Pim van Lommel. “NDE, Consciousness, and the Brain” World Futures Vol. 62 (2006) [PDF]
  4. Michael Nahm et al. “Terminal Lucidity: A Review and a Case Collection” Arch. Gerontol. Geriarr. (2011) [PDF]
  5. Enrico Facco et al. “NDEs Between Science and Prejudice” Frontiers in Human Neuroscience Vol. 6, No. 6 (2012) (pp. 1-7) [PDF]

C. Articles Refuting Skeptics Keith Augustine’s and Gerald Woerlee’s Arguments

  1. Veridical OBE Perception in Near-Death Experiences” – by Kevin Williams (
  2. Rebutting Keith Augustine’s Objections to the Near-Death Experience” – by Leo MacDonald (
  3. NDEs / OBEs: An In-depth Examination of Veridical Evidence” – by Eteponge (
  4. NDEs: Brain Physiology or Transcendental Consciousness? Or Both?” – by Kevin Williams (
  5. NDEs and Their Enemies” – by Michael Prescott (
  6. Who Will Watch the Watchers” – by Michael Prescott (

D. Other Articles on Evidence From Veridical OBE Perception in NDEs

  1. NDEs as Evidence for Survival of Bodily Death” – by Bruce Greyson (
  2. A Critique of Susan Blackmore’s Dying Brain Hypothesis” – by Greg Stone (
  3. The Survivalist’s Interpretation of Recent Studies Into NDEs” – by Titus Rivas (
  4. About the Continuity of Our Consciousness” – by Pim Von Lommel (
  5. Dr. Charles Tart’s OBE Research” (Autoscopic Evidence) – by Charles Tart (
  6. Debunking PseudoSkeptical Arguments of Paranormal Debunkers” – by Winston Wu (
Philosophy Skepticism and NDEs

Skeptical Argument: NDEs Should Be Demonstrated Empirically

SKEPTIC’S QUESTION: “Can we deny that something is going on, given the countless reports of near-death experiences, that some transpersonal reality exists? The NDE appears to happen in the Sylvian Fissure. If people really are out of their bodies and traveling remotely, why can’t this be demonstrated empirically? The answer, if autoscopy is actually happening, is that it can empirically be demonstrated.”

DR. KENNETH RING: “There have been many attempts – none of them conclusive – to demonstrate that there is a literal out-of-the body experience, that something actually separates from the physical body. Much of this research is found in the literature in parapsychology, particularly in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research (some of the research of Karlis Osis). Good summaries of these studies can, however, be found in books dealing with out-of-body experiences, such as Janet Mitchell’s Out-of-Body Experiences (McFarland, 1981). Of course, as you know, a good many such reports from the NDE literature are summarized in my own book, Lessons from the Light, Chapter 2 (Moment Point Press).” (Kenneth Ring)

DR. ROBERT JORDAN: “If a person believes in the traditional dualistic and religious notion that the soul is separate and distinct from the physical body, then out-of-body experiences can be explained by a non-physical reality that does not lend itself to scientific experimentation of explanation. Such a phenomenon could not be investigated scientifically because science measures physical phenomena. Of course, it is possible that there is some kind of physical manifestation of the out-of-body soul that either has not been yet measured because the appropriate scientific measures have not been applied to measuring it. (Has any scientist actually used existing scientific instruments to measure physical signs of the soul departing the body?) Alternately, from a scientist’s perspective perhaps we don’t yet even know of some physical forms of energy that correspond to the soul. Given the present astounding state of flux of the science of physics, I think that the second alternative is certainly possible.

“If the soul’s travel beyond the body is purely nonphysical, and it may well be true that it is, then we cannot decide such issues with scientific research. Even if many of the sensory phenomena associated with NDEs can be correlated with or explained by physical phenomena, the possibility that they occur in a dimension of nonphysical phenomena cannot be ruled out.” (Robert Jordan)

P.M.H. ATWATER: “You need only refer to The Complete Idiot’s Guide to NDEs, or my Brain Shift/Spirit Shift Model PDF icon. , for material that will prove helpful. The Sylvan Fissure, temporal lobes, limbic system, and other unique sections of the brain are highly charged during near-death states. There is no research at present, though, that links any of them to causal factors. Nor do any such claims address the entire phenomenon – only parts of it. In fact, there is no one explanation given by any scientist or researcher that explains near-death states. There already have been verified cases highly suggestive of out-of body states, some which simply cannot be denied. However, the type of repeatable scientific proof you refer to will not occur until researchers devise a test that applies to the subject. For instance, the digital single line board currently in use that has a nonsense message flitting across it is a waste of electricity. If you study near-death cases you will see why. Experiencers only pay attention to objects in the emotional field around them or whatever appeals to them emotionally. As long as you try to intellectualize experiencer response, you will miss the proof you want.” (P.M.H. Atwater)

DR. SUSAN BLACKMORE (NDE Skeptic): “We cannot deny that something is going on. Undoubtedly people all over the world and for many millennia have had similar experiences. This does not, however, allow us to conclude that there is some transpersonal reality. We need to approach the experiences with an open mind and try to find out just what causes them to be similar. Maybe it is because all our brains are similar in structure and organization. Maybe it is because there really is some other world to which people go. This is what the research is all about.” (Susan Blackmore)

KEVIN WILLIAMS, B.SC.: Support for the possibility of survival after death comes from the current string theory interpretation of the holographic principle of quantum physics. This principle defines our universe as existing as a hologram where all the quantum information perceived in three dimensions is stored. First proposed by the eminent physicist David Bohm (author of Bohmian mechanics and co-author of the holonomic brain theory along with Karl Pribram), a holographic universe can theoretically encode every quantized moment of our existence and experiences from the universe. Rather than a constant flow of experience, mental states can be broken up in intervals or time-quanta of 0.042 seconds, each of which make up one moment of neural substrate. Each state consists of a certain amount of quantum information which can theoretically be stored on a hard drive for example; and there is much progress ongoing in this technology. This holographic model of reality allows for phenomena considered “paranormal” such as near-death experiences, other phenomena involving life after death, and mental telepathy for example. The universe as a single hologram also solves the mystery of quantum entanglement which Albert Einstein called “spooky actions from a distance.”

Also, the materialist model of conventional science is based on the old paradigm of Newtonian classical mechanics and is fundamentally flawed. Conventional materialist concepts of reality have been falsified such as: (1) locality, (2) causality, (3) continuity, (4) determinism, and (5) certainty in the last century by the modern science of quantum electrodynamics. At the core of materialism, the fundamental component of existence — the nature of consciousness — is intentionally ignored even though the pioneers of quantum mechanics demonstrated and believed consciousness has a definite role in creating reality. Mainstream materialist theories of consciousness use classical mechanics in assuming consciousness emerged and is produced from “goo”. So they focus particularly on complex computation at synapses in the brain allowing communication between neurons. But because quantum vibrations have been discovered in microtubules in the brain, a theory known as Orchestrated Objective Reduction (Orch-OR), developed by the eminent physicist Sir Roger Penrose and anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff, M.D., allows for a person’s quantum mind to exist in the multiverse, has garnered significant support. At death, the quantum information processed inside these microtubules doesn’t disappear. Instead, it is retained in the fine structure of the universe and on the edge of the event horizon of the singularity from which our universe projected; thereby allowing the information to be retrieved after death.

There is also much evidence suggesting NDEs are actual afterlife experiences. Here is a list of some of the best evidence:

Some of the Best Evidence of NDEs as Actual Afterlife Experiences

  1. People have NDEs while they are brain dead.
  2. Out-of-body perception during NDEs has been verified by independent sources.
  3. People born blind can see for the first time in their lives during an NDE.
  4. NDEs cannot be explained by brain chemistry alone.
  5. Some people were dead for several days then revived.
  6. NDEs have produced visions of the future which later became true.
  7. People having NDEs have brought back scientific discoveries, some are scientific breakthroughs.
  8. The so-called “dying brain” theory of NDEs has major flaws and has been falsified.
  9. The vast majority of people having NDEs are convinced they saw an afterlife.
  10. People can experience other people’s NDEs.
  11. NDEs have been proven to be different from hallucinations.
  12. NDEs change people in ways that hallucinations and dreams cannot.
  13. Studies show that people’s memories of their NDEs are more real than normal memories.

You can read the rest of the 40+ other evidence supporting NDEs and the afterlife on this web page.

In conclusion, there is a new scientific paradigm emerging in quantum physics and medical technology which is yielding new discoveries concerning consciousness and the possibility of its survival after death. Skeptics and materialists rely mostly on the old paradigm, Newtonian physics to explain consciousness and the old explanation is becoming obsolete. New medical technology is bringing people back from death and providing research to validate out-of-body perception in NDErs.

Will science prove conclusively that consciousness survives death? Unless research laboratories become open to the idea of voluntary “flatline” experiments on a large scale to study veridical perception and long-term survival after clinical or brain death, I don’t see it. Until then, I consider myself to be the first to be on the list of volunteers.

Philosophy Skepticism and NDEs

Skeptical Argument: NDEs Are Scientifically Falsifiable

Skeptic’s Question: “One of the characteristics of a near-death experience is being out of body. This, mercifully, is scientifically falsifiable. Whether or not someone is out of their body can be experimentally determined. There are no ifs about it. It’s either a fact, or it’s not. Studies may already be underway to try to falsify it – I don’t yet know. But if not, rest assured that they will be.”

Dr. Kenneth Ring: “Much the same answer could be given here, but from the NDE literature, the work of Michael Sabom in Recollections of Death (Harper and Row, 1982) is especially relevant. Also my work on NDEs in the blind, as reported in my book, Mindsight (William James Center for Consciousness Studies, 1999), and summarized in Lessons From the Light (Chapter 3) could be cited in this connection. (Kenneth Ring)

Dr. Robert Jordan: “If I am understanding [the question] correctly, I disagree … that the phenomena of Soul awareness occurring in reality outside of the body is falsifiable. I don’t believe that it is falsifiable if the phenomena is nonphysical. This possibility would throw the whole issue back into the arena of theology and individuals’ personal beliefs.” (Robert Jordan)

P.M.H. Atwater: “Again, you must consider the emotional field of the experiencer, rather than the mental one, if you want verifiable evidence.” (P.M.H. Atwater)

Dr. Susan Blackmore (NDE Skeptic): “There have been numerous tests of whether anything actually leaves the body in an OBE. I document them up to 1982 in my book Beyond the Body and also in Dying to Live. Sadly this is not such an easy matter as your questioner seems to imply. There are many methodological difficulties in designing such experiments. In the end my own conclusion is that experiments have provided no evidence at all that something leaves the body. However, anecdotes continue to appear suggesting it does. None of these, so far, seems convincing to me. I think we will ultimately understand how out-of-body experiences come about by understanding how our brain perceives the world in other states of consciousness too – in other words by understanding ordinary consciousness better.” (Susan Blackmore)

Kevin Williams, B.Sc.: Dr. Jeffrey Long ( explained how NDEs cannot be explained by brain chemistry alone, how medical evidence fails to explain them away, and why there is only one plausible explanation: that people have survived death and traveled to another dimension. Dr. Long makes his case using nine lines of evidence including how NDE provide evidence of verified out-of-body perceptions. They are the following:

(1) Crystal-Clear Consciousness: The level of conscious alertness during NDEs is usually greater than that experienced in everyday life – even though NDEs generally occur when a person is unconscious or clinically dead. This high level of consciousness while physically unconscious is medically unexplained. Additionally, the elements in NDEs generally follow the same consistent and logical order in all age groups and around the world, which refutes the possibility that NDEs have any relation to dreams or hallucinations.

(2) Realistic Out-of-Body Experiences (OBEs): Out-of-body experiences are one of the most common elements of NDEs. Events witnessed and heard by NDErs while in an out-of-body state are almost always realistic. When the NDEr or others later seek to verify what was witnessed or heard during the NDE, their OBE observations are almost always confirmed as completely accurate.

(3) Heightened Senses: Not only are heightened senses reported by most who have NDEs, normal or supernormal vision has occurred in those with significantly impaired vision, and even legal blindness. Several people who have been totally blind since birth have reported highly visual NDEs. This is medically unexplainable.

(4) Consciousness During Anesthesia: Many NDEs occur while the NDEr is under general anesthesia – at a time when any conscious experience should be impossible. While some skeptics claim these NDEs may be the result of too little anesthesia, this ignores the fact that some NDEs result from anesthesia overdose. Additionally, descriptions of a NDEs differ greatly from those people who experiences “anesthetic awareness.” The content of NDEs occurring under general anesthesia is essentially indistinguishable from NDEs that do not occur under general anesthesia. This is more strong evidence that NDEs occur independent from the functioning of the material brain.

(5) Perfect Playback: Life reviews in NDEs include real events which previously occurred in the lives of the NDEr – even if the events were forgotten or happened before they were old enough to remember.

(6) Family Reunions: During an NDE, the experiencer may encounter people who are virtually always deceased and are usually relatives of the NDEr. Sometimes they include relatives who died before the NDEr was even born. If NDEs are merely the product of memory fragments, they would almost certainly include far more living people, including those with whom they had more recently interacted.

(7) Children’s Experiences: The NDEs of children, including very young children who are too young to have developed concepts of death, religion, or NDEs, are essentially identical to those of older children and adults. This refutes the possibility that the content of NDEs is produced by preexisting beliefs or cultural conditioning.

(8) Worldwide Consistency: NDEs appear remarkably consistent around the world, and across many different religions and cultures. NDEs from non-Western countries are incredibly similar to those occurring in people in Western countries.

(9) Aftereffects: It is common for people to experience major life changes after having NDEs. These aftereffects are often powerful, lasting, life-enhancing, and the changes generally follow a consistent pattern. NDErs themselves are practically universal in their belief that their experience of the afterlife was real. The following are more scientific evidence supporting NDEs and the Afterlife Hypothesis.

Experts Science

Barbara Harris Whitfield’s Near-Death Experience

Barbara Harris Whitfield,, is the author of many published articles and five books, The Power of Humility (2006), Full Circle: The Near Death Experience and Beyond (1990), Spiritual Awakenings: Insights of the NDE and Other Doorways to Our Soul (1995), and Final Passage: Sharing the Journey as This Life Ends (1998). She is a thanatologist (the study of death and dying), popular speaker, workshop presenter, near-death experiencer, and therapist in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. She has been on the board of Directors for the Kundalini Research Network and was on the faculty of Rutgers University’s Institute on Alcohol and Drug Studies for 12 years. Barbara spent six years researching the aftereffects of the near-death experience (NDE) at the University of Connecticut Medical School. She was a member of the executive board of the Kundalini Research Network and has sat on the executive board of the International Association for Near-Death Studies. She is a consulting editor and contributor for the Journal of Near-Death Studies. The following article is the first chapter from her book Final Passage where she gives her testimony of the NDEs she experienced and the profound aftereffects that followed.

Table of Contents

  1. Healing: Barbara’s Story
  2. A Need for Surgery
  3. Barbara Whitfield’s First Near-Death Experience
  4. Barbara Whitfield’s Life Review
  5. Following My Heart
  6. Processing My Life Review
  7. Starting to Wake Up
  8. Notes

1. Healing: Barbara’s Story

My work with dying people probably would have never come about if I hadn’t died myself. I know that sounds strange. How many of us die and get to come back and talk about it? Not many — we may think — but that’s not true. In 1984, a Gallup poll reported that one in every nineteen Americans has had an NDE. And these first numbers include only adults. Since that time we have acquired data on childhood NDEs, and they are almost as prevalent as adult experiences.

I want to share my own NDE with you, most importantly to tell you about what we call the life review. Our research shows that only in about 20 percent of NDEs is there a life review. Since my NDE over twenty years ago, I have focused my heart and my life on the knowledge I received from the life review.

Some NDErs report seeing their life review as if they are watching the pages in a book. Others describe it as a film. My life review appeared as a cloud filled with thousands of bubbles. In each bubble there was a scene from my life. I had the feeling I could bob from bubble to bubble, but overall it had the feeling of a linear sequence in which I relived all thirty-two years of my life.

During a life review, many of us experience not only our own feelings, but the feelings of everyone else — as though all other people participating in our lifetimes are joined. We can feel, then, how everything we’ve ever done or said affected others. The sense is that we don’t end at our skin. It is an illusion that we are separate. This deep review of our life shows us that at a higher level of consciousness we are all connected.

This new perspective totally changes our values and attitudes about the way we want to live. Materialism decreases and altruistic values become greater in most NDErs’ lives. Almost all of us talk about a sense of mission. If we were spiritual before, the shift in values and attitude is not as apparent as it is in someone like me. I had become an atheist when I numbed out at an early age. Subsequently, my changes have been obvious and profound.

2. A Need for Surgery

I was born with a deformity — a curvature in my lumbar spine called scoliosis. It never bothered me until 1973 when it suddenly became the focus of my life. The pain emanating from my lower back became overwhelming, and the drugs I was given to control it numbed everything out. I was hospitalized four times in the next two years, each time for two weeks and with traction and injections of Demerol to help alleviate the pain. Looking back on it now, like many other NDErs I believe that my life had gotten off track and my back pain was a metaphor for my life.

In 1975, at the age of thirty-two, I was admitted for the fifth time to the hospital. I underwent surgery — a spinal fusion. I awoke after the five-and-a-half-hour operation in a Stryker-frame circle bed. This strange bed looks like a Ferris wheel for one person. There are two big chrome hoops with a stretcher suspended in the middle. Three times a day the nurses would place three or four pillows over me and then another stretcher on top of them. They would strap these two stretchers together with me in the middle, like a human sandwich, and turn the bed on. It would rotate me up and then it would slowly move me around onto my belly. The pillows made it more tolerable because I was very thin. I had lost more than thirty pounds over the two years of pain and using Valium as a muscle relaxant. The surgery on my spine prevented me from any movement at all. I couldn’t move. The bed moved me. The reason for using this bed, and for rotating me forward and face down, was to drain my lungs and allow the skin on my back to breathe so I wouldn’t develop bedsores. I remained in this bed for almost a month, and then I was placed in a full body cast from my armpits to my knees.

About two days after surgery, complications set in and I started to die. I remember waking up in the circle bed and seeing this huge belly. I had swelled up. The swelling was pulling my incisions open and it hurt. I called for my nurse, and then I started screaming.

People in white came rushing in. It was a dramatic scene like you see on television. I had no idea what was going on because I hadn’t become a respiratory therapist yet. It seemed like everybody was pushing carts and machinery, throwing things back and forth over me. They hooked me up to all kinds of machinery, tubes, monitors and bags.

3. Barbara Whitfield’s First Near-Death Experience

Everything that was going on was loud and overwhelming. I lost consciousness.

I awoke in the hall in the middle of the night. The lights were dim. It was quiet. I looked up and down the hall and didn’t see anyone. I remember thinking that if they caught me out of the circle bed I’d be in trouble, because I wasn’t supposed to move. So I turned around to go back into my room and found myself looking directly into a public-address speaker. This isn’t possible, I thought. I remembered seeing the speaker when I was admitted. It was mounted on the ceiling at least three or four feet above my head. I moved into my room and looked down into the circle bed and saw — me. I heard myself chuckle because she looked funny with white tape around her nose holding in a tube.

I was out of pain. I felt calm — incredibly peaceful — in a way I had never felt before. So I hung out with her for a while, but I knew that wasn’t me.

Next, I was in total blackness. I don’t know how I got there. I was floating in darkness with a gentle sense of movement. I knew I was moving away from this life. I had left this life behind.

Then I felt hands come around me and pull me into lush warmth. I realized it was my grandmother. I used to call her Bubbie. She was pulling me close to her in a wonderful embrace. She had been dead for fourteen years, and I had never before thought of her existing beyond her death. But I knew I was with her.

I suddenly realized that what I had believed in the past might not be real. Maybe my belief systems were really messed up. Maybe this was real and everything else had been an illusion. As I was thinking about how off base my beliefs had been, and as I realized that my grandmother holding me was real, I felt like I released a load of toxic pain [1]. And as I experienced that release, there was a sudden replay of every scene my grandmother and I had shared during our nineteen years together in this life. It wasn’t just my memories of her — it was also her memories of me. And our memories became one. I could feel and see and sense exactly what she was feeling, seeing and sensing. And I knew she was getting the same thing from my memories. It was both of us together, replaying everything that we meant to each other. It was wonderful.

I can still replay each memory today, and they are as vivid as when they happened twenty-three years ago in my NDE. One of my favorite scenes is when we were cooking together. I was three or four years old. We were alone in her kitchen, but the whole family was going to come for dinner, so there was expectancy in the air. My Bubbie pulled over a heavy wooden chair from her kitchen table to the stove and picked me up and put me on it. She stood behind and very close to me to help and protect me. One at a time, she would put a little bit of mixture in my hand, and I would form it into a ball and drop it into this huge pot of boiling water. The pot was almost as tall as I was on the chair. The pungent smell of fish saturated the already humid air. I would put my hands to my nose and yell Yuk! And she would laugh. After we finished, she pulled the chair with me on it into the middle of the kitchen. I screamed and laughed because it felt like she was taking me on a ride. She wiped my hands with a wet cloth, but I smelled them and yelled Yuk! again. I watched her take a lemon and cut it in half. She rubbed a lemon half on my hands and then wiped them with her already stained and wet apron. Then she looked at me with such love in her eyes and said, Don’t move. Bubbie will be right back. She came back with her hairbrush and brushed my hair for what seemed like a very long time. It felt so good. Then she made me long curls, twisting each lock of my hair around her fingers. When she was finished, and she lifted me down to the floor, I ran into her bedroom and looked in the mirror. I looked just like Shirley Temple.

When the whole family sat down for dinner that evening, she told everyone I had made the fish. My aunts looked at me, very impressed. And as they tasted it, they nodded their heads in approval and told my mother what a good cook I was.

After our memories ended, I stayed with my grandmother for a while. I loved her so much. Then I started moving away. I had no control over what was happening, but it felt all right that I was moving away from her. I understood that she would be waiting for me to return again, and that this place she was in was eternal. So was I. My life had been a brief moment in eternity, and I had no concerns or doubts that as this bigger eternal reality unfolded it was perfect. Besides, the one I had just endured for thirty-two years was so painful and constrictive. This new reality felt like it would continually expand and flow.

At that time I wouldn’t have called where I was a tunnel, but later, as a researcher, I realized that tunnel is the closest word we have on this plane. Whatever it was that I was moving through started off totally black. Then I became aware that there was energy churning through the blackness. As I watched the energy move, shades of gray to almost white separated from the churning. Out of the darkness Light was coming, and the Light was moving way ahead of me. The Light and I were moving in the same direction, but it was far, far ahead.

My hands were expanding. They felt like they were becoming infinitely large. A gentle breeze was wrapping around my body, and I could hear a low droning noise that beckoned me. This unusual sound was taking me to the Light.

Suddenly I was back in my body, back in the circle bed, and it was morning. Two nurses were opening my drapes. The sunlight was startling. It hurt my eyes. I asked them to close the drapes. I tried to tell my nurses and then several doctors that I had left the bed. They told me that it was impossible and that I had been hallucinating.

4. Barbara Whitfield’s Life Review

About a week later I again left my body in the circle bed. I had been taken off the critical list, but I was still debilitated and sick. I had been rotated forward onto my face. I was uncomfortable. I seemed to have been left in that position for too long. I reached for the call button, but it had slipped away from where it was clipped on the bed sheet. I started to call, then yell, then scream frantically, but my door was closed. No one came. I wet the bed. I became hysterical. I separated from my body.

As I left my body, I again went out into the darkness, only this time I was awake and could see it happening. Looking down and off to the right, I saw myself in a bubble — in the circle bed — crying. Then I looked up and to the left, and I saw my one-year-old self in another bubble — face down in my crib — crying just as hard. I looked to the right and saw myself again in the circle bed, then to the left and saw myself as a baby — back and forth about three more times, then I let go. I decided I didn’t want to be the thirty-two-year-old Barbara anymore; I’d go to the baby. As I moved away from my thirty-two-year-old body in the circle bed, I felt as though I released myself from this lifetime. As I did, I became aware of an energy that was wrapping itself around me and going through me, permeating me, holding up every molecule of my being.

It was not an old man with a long white beard. It took me a long time to use the word God. In fact, I never used any word until I saw the movie Star Wars and heard about The Force. By then, I was already reading quantum physics, trying to figure out how I could explain what had permeated me and was me . . . and you . . . and all of us. Now it was here, and it was holding me. It felt incredible. There are no words in English, or maybe in this reality, to explain the kind of love God emanates. God was totally accepting of everything we reviewed in my life. In every scene of my life review I could feel again what I had felt at various times in my life. And I could feel everything everyone else felt as a consequence of my actions. Some of it felt good and some of it felt awful. All of this translated into knowledge, and I learned — oh, how I learned! The information was flowing at an incredible breakneck speed that probably would have burned me up if it weren’t for the extraordinary energy holding me. The information came in, and then love neutralized my judgments against myself. In other words, as we relived my life, God never judged me. God held me and kept me together. I received all information about every scene — my perceptions and feelings — and anyone else’s perceptions and feelings who were in the scene. No matter how I judged myself in each interaction, being held by God was the bigger interaction. God interjected love into everything, every feeling, every bit of information about absolutely everything that went on, so that everything was all right. There was no good and no bad. There was only me and my loved ones from this life trying to be, or just trying to survive.

I realize now that without this God force holding me, I wouldn’t have had the strength to experience what I am explaining to you.

I — we at this point, for we are one, a very sacred one — God and I were merging into one sacred person. We went to the baby I was seeing to my upper left in the darkness. Picture the baby being in a bubble and that bubble in the center of a cloud of thousands and thousands of bubbles. In each bubble was another scene in my life. As we moved toward the baby, it was as though we were bobbing through the bubbles. At the same time there was a linear sequence in which we relived thirty-two years of my life. I could hear myself saying, No wonder, no wonder. I now believe my no wonders meant No wonder you are the way you are now. Look what was done to you when you were a little girl.

My mother had been dependent on drugs, angry, and abusive, and my father wasn’t there much of the time and did little to intervene. I saw all this childhood trauma again, in my life review, but I didn’t see it in little bits and pieces, the way I had remembered it as an adult. I saw and experienced it just as I had lived it at the time it first happened. Not only was I me, I was also my mother. And my dad. And my brother. We were all one. Just as I had felt everything my grandmother had felt, I now felt my mother’s pain and neglect from her childhood. She wasn’t trying to be mean. She didn’t know how to be loving or kind. She didn’t know how to love. She didn’t understand what life is really all about. And she was still angry from her own childhood, angry because they were poor and because her father had grand mal seizures almost every day until he died when she was eleven. And then she was angry because he left her.

Everything came flooding back, including my father’s helplessness at stopping the insanity. If my father was home when my mother exploded into one of her rages, he would close all the windows so the neighbors wouldn’t hear, and then he would go outside and visit with them. Again I witnessed my brother’s rage at my mother’s abuse, and then his turning around and giving it to me. I saw how we were all connected in this dance that started with my mother. I saw how her physical body expressed her emotional pain. I watched as I grew up and left my parents’ house when I was eighteen. By that point I had watched my mother undergo twenty-six operations, twenty-five of which were elective. I saw myself as a child praying for a doctor who could help my mother. One part of her body or another was always in pain. She had two spinal fusions on her neck, two or three on her lumbar spine. Both knees, both elbows and one wrist were operated on.

As my life review continued, I again experienced my mother starving herself because she was told she had gotten chubby. Then she had to have several surgeries for intestinal problems and constipation, and during those stays in the hospital they would tube feed her because she was so thin. She even had her toes shortened. They called it hammertoe surgery. The real reason was because she had a huge collection of high-heeled shoes that were size four and one-half. (She always insisted on wearing spike heels even with her bad back.) Her feet were growing (as all of ours do as we get older) but she wanted them to remain a size four and one-half. I watched myself with her in a bubble as her orthopedic surgeon said, Florence, you have two choices. Get shoes a half size bigger or shorten your toes! He was laughing, but she chose the surgery. She was in plaster casts for six weeks, taking even more painkillers and sleeping pills.

I also saw her go through psychiatric hospitalizations. During one of these, around 1955, I couldn’t visit her for three weeks. I was about eleven and was sure I had done something wrong. In one bubble I could see myself finally being allowed to visit her. I looked big for my age and my five-foot-two-inch frame towered over her four-foot-eleven one. She weighed about eighty-eight pounds. I was chunky. She lived on black coffee, sedatives, painkillers and tranquilizers. I loved to eat.

In the bubble I was pleading with her to cooperate with the doctors so she could come home. She said, Oh, honey. This is like a job. I don’t need to be in here, but Daddy has three (health insurance) policies so I make us money when I’m here. Blue Cross pays all the medical expenses, and we get to keep the rest from the other two policies. I could now feel her saying that and she meant it. She believed it. I continued watching and realized that nothing could have helped my mother because she had no real understanding about why she was there. I could hear myself saying, No wonder, no wonder. And then the benevolent energy that was holding me would hold me tighter and with even more love.

We continued watching my mother in pain, always seeing doctors and always receiving prescription pain killers, sleeping pills and tranquilizers. My only feelings during this time were ones of loneliness. I felt so alone when she was in the hospital. Then I watched her abuse me when she was home. I could now feel that she abused me because she hated herself. I saw myself down on my knees by the side of my bed, praying for a doctor to help my mother. What I didn’t realize as a child, but was understanding in the life review, was that she didn’t want anyone to help her. She thought her job in life was to have doctors and be a patient. And she enjoyed being taken care of in the hospital.

I saw how I had given up myself in order to survive. I forgot that I was a child. I became my mother’s mother. I suddenly knew that my mother had had the same thing happen to her in her childhood. She took care of her father during his seizures, and as a child she gave herself up to take care of him. As children, she and I both became anything and everything others needed. As my life review continued, I also saw my mother’s soul, how painful her life was, how lost she was. And I saw my father, and how he put blinders on himself to avoid his grief over my mother’s pain and to survive. In my life review I saw they were good people caught in helplessness. I saw their beauty, their humanity and their needs that had gone unattended to in their own childhoods. I loved them and understood them. We may have been trapped, but we were still souls connected in our dance of life by an energy source that had created us.

This is when I first realized that we don’t end at our skin. We are all in this big churning mass of consciousness. We are each a part of this consciousness we call God. And we’re not just human. We are Spirit. We were Spirit before we came into this lifetime. We are all struggling Spirits now, trying to get being human right. And when we leave here, we will be pure Spirit again.

As my life review continued, I got married and had my own children and saw that I was on the edge of repeating the cycle of abuse and trauma that I had experienced as a child. I was on prescription drugs. I was in the hospital. I was becoming like my mother. And at the same time, this energy holding me let me into its experience of all this. I felt God’s memories of these scenes through God’s eyes just as I had through my grandmother’s eyes. I could sense God’s divine intelligence and it was astonishing. God loves us and wants us to learn and wake up to our real selves — to what is important. I realized that God wants us to know that we only experience real pain if we die without living first. And the way to live is to give love to ourselves and to others. We are here to learn never to withhold our love. But only when we heal enough to be real can we understand and give love the way love was meant to be.

As my life unfolded before my eyes, I witnessed how severely I had treated myself because that was the behavior shown and taught to me as a child. I realized that the only big mistake I had made in my life of thirty-two years was that I had never learned to love myself.

And then I was back, but not in my body. I was behind the nurse’s station. I saw a metal circle with pillows tossing behind glass. They were the pillows I had urinated on when I separated from my body. I was watching them in a dryer.

I heard two nurses talking about my case and about how my day nurse was so upset after she found me that they had sent her home early. Then they were saying that I was going to be in a body cast for six months, even though they had told me six weeks, because my doctors thought that I couldn’t handle knowing. So they were not going to tell me the truth.

Then I was back in my body, back in the circle bed. The same two nurses came in to check on me and I said to them, I left the bed again.

No, honey. You’re hallucinating, they said.

I was not on painkillers at this point, so I insisted, No, I’m not hallucinating [2]. I left the bed.

No, you’re hallucinating. You can’t leave the bed, they said.

Please call my day nurse and tell her I’m okay, I responded. Tell her I’m not angry with her. I know she was sent home early. And don’t lie to me by telling me I’m going to be in a body cast for six weeks. Tell me the truth. I know I’m going to be in a body cast for six months. And you should have washed those pillows before you put them in the dryer. I don’t care for myself, but I care for the next patient.

5. Following My Heart

A month after I came home from the hospital, my parents came over to visit me. They had taken care of my children for the month I was in the circle bed, so I understood why they couldn’t visit me in the hospital. However, I couldn’t understand why they weren’t coming to my house. I spent every day in bed. I weighed eighty-three pounds and the body cast weighed thirty pounds. I wondered when they were coming so I could tell them about my experience. Finally they came, and I blurted out how much I loved them and that everything that had happened to us was all right. I think I even told them that I forgave them.

They looked at me like I was really strange and quickly left. After that, I insisted on seeing a psychiatrist, hoping he would understand what I had experienced. The doctor I saw didn’t understand. No one understood NDEs back then, so I realized that I couldn’t talk about it. I spent the six months in the body cast, thinking about my NDE but not trying to tell anyone. Once I was out of the cast and went through some physical therapy to regain my strength, I decided to put the NDE away and follow my heart.

First, I volunteered to work in the emergency room of the hospital where I had been a patient. I had many opportunities there to be with and touch dying people. I felt real when I worked there. And everyone else was real, too. In a setting where life and death are on the edge every moment, only truth is spoken. My personal life, however, was at the opposite end of the spectrum. My husband, my friends and most family members were caught up in their own games. No one seemed to be communicating honestly. There was so much denial of feelings. I can’t deny that I too had been a part of it – part of the materialism and part of the numbness. But now I was different. It wasn’t their fault. I had changed. The only place I felt real besides the hospital was on a college campus.

I became a respiratory therapist working in the emergency room and the ICU, and my patients were telling me about their experiences as they were dying. And the ones who returned to their bodies told me about their NDEs. I started writing about all this, in those days calling my topic the emotional needs of critical-care patients. Surprisingly, I was being invited to speak at professional conferences and being published in respiratory therapy journals. The emotional needs of patients was a new and hot topic in healthcare in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Finally, I became a researcher and could look for the answers I so longed to find. Because my research was conducted at a university medical school, all kinds of new knowledge were available to me. I could frame and reframe not only the hundreds of experiences I was studying, but also my own personal one. The story of my NDE is in this book so we can have a foundation for the way I participated in and describe the other stories you are about to read.

6. Processing My Life Review

The NDE is never over if we invite it to continue to affect us. It can continue to grow in our lives if we nurture it. It continues to interpret for us what we are doing here, what life may be all about.

Before my NDE and life review, I knew I had been abused physically and emotionally by my mother and neglected by both parents. I remembered most everything. The problem was that those memories of abuse did not arouse any emotional reactions in me. In order to deal with the emotional and physical pain, I had numbed myself not only as a child going through pain, but also as an adult remembering it. I protected myself with my own emotional Novocain, so I couldn’t feel anything that had happened in my childhood. Unfortunately, the numbness continued in my adult life. Once I experienced my life review, I could remove the Novocain from my past and re-glue the pieces of my life together. I could begin to learn about all the new feelings that were coming up.

Psychiatry calls emotional Novocain psychic numbing. It is a common approach used by children to get through painful times. Once we grow up we have the choice of staying numb or remembering and working though all those buried but painful numbed-out memories. In my life review I also saw the beginnings of abuse in the way I was reacting to my children. For me it wasn’t just a choice of numbness or healing. I needed to break the chain of abuse. I needed to save my children from what I had been through.

7. Starting to Wake Up

I learned in my life review that the only thing that is real is love, and the only way to share love is by being real. Being real happens when we acknowledge our feelings and continually share our truth. When we feel our feelings and are real, we share our truth out of love. Then our relationship with God and our self is healthy.

My parents and the rest of my family and friends certainly weren’t the exception to the rule when it came to not understanding my new attitude. I facilitated support groups for the International Association of Near-Death Studies (IANDS) for twelve years and the biggest problem NDErs talk about is that no one understands us. We experience a profound change in our values and attitudes and need to talk about it in a support group. It is as though we had lived our lives in black and white and were suddenly shown colors. We no longer fear death. And this is just the first of many paradoxes: Because we don’t fear death, we don’t fear living. We love life in a whole new way. We are more willing to take risks to help others. We work with the dying because we get as much as we give by helping.

Our research also shows that a history of childhood trauma, abuse and neglect is more frequent among NDErs than among the control group. Many people I have interviewed who have had an NDE came from an abusive childhood steeped in addiction. We all have the same story. We talk about how every time our parents started drinking or taking pills … they were gone. Even if their bodies were still there, they were gone. And so we grew up numb. Because our parents had numbed out, so did we. But our NDEs brought us back. They reminded us of who we are. And to maintain our real selves we have to learn to feel our feelings, share our truth and give our love. I wrote in detail about the childhood abuse factor in my last book, Spiritual Awakenings. Childhood abuse or trauma has always been of interest to me because of my own history, and because I hear about it so often in support groups or when I give talks. Now it has been demonstrated statistically in the research [3].

I also wrote in Spiritual Awakenings that we should not blame anyone, but instead we should break the chains of abuse. When we die — if we re-experience our lives from everyone else’s perspective as well as our own — there is only information and feelings, perceptions and knowledge. We really can’t judge or blame others because we suddenly understand from where we and everyone else is coming. We only judge here in this earthly reality. Over there, with God, I was just learning about this. The knowledge of what had happened was pouring into me, and I was saying my no wonders! over and over again. I came to believe that God doesn’t judge but wants us to learn so we won’t make the same mistakes again. My experiences showed me that God wants us to extend love, not fear. If I can understand my childhood, and I can name, express and let go of the emotions I have held in since I was a little girl, I won’t repeat my past. My parents repeated their pasts because they didn’t know any better. Before my NDE and my life review, the old way of conflict and numbness controlled me. Suddenly, I was catapulted out of time and embraced by a whole different way. Just as fast, I was back here wanting to forge new ground. I have had a great opportunity and now I want to share it. But I don’t blame, and I certainly don’t want to judge anyone, including my parents.

And now, almost twenty-three years later, my parents have died — my dad in late 1992 and my mom in early 1994. My life review had set the scene for the way I helped my father die and the way I observed my mother die. In fact, my life review, what I learned in it and, even more importantly, what I experienced in it — that a divine energy connects all of us — have since orchestrated all my relationships. With each person I have attended in the dying process, I have also witnessed this spiritual energy. I have given talks for hundreds of hospice workers, and almost everyone agrees that this energy is present. Hospice workers often tell me their stories of God’s loving energy being present during a client’s death.

In all of the stories in this book, I feel connected to this energy through my heart. The prayer within my heart is constant and is the background music orchestrating my experiences. When we are connected to God’s loving energy, it is the most powerful force in the universe.

Chapter One excerpt from Barbara’s book Final Passage
All content copyright 2003, 2004 Barbara Harris Whitfield.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

8. Notes

[1] What I gave up was my old ineffective and even ignorant belief system, which A Course in Miracles calls the ego, and which is also called the false self by Charles Whitfield and the self-psychologists.

[2] Hallucinations are usually experiences of seeing things or hearing voices that are really not there, in this reality. We will see something scary, for example, in the physical space we are in. By contrast, near-death and other transcendent experiences happen in other realities or dimensions. We may begin here, but the experience quickly moves to other realities. Also, hallucinations are usually agitating and often transient in memory, whereas transcendent or near-death experiences are usually peaceful and benevolent, and we do not forget them.

[3] See Kenneth Ring and C. Rosing, The Omega Project, The Journal of Near-Death Studies 8, no. 4 (1990): 211239, and B. Whitfield, Spiritual Awakenings: Insights of the Near-Death Experience and Other Doorways to Our Soul (Deerfield Beach, Fla.: Health Communications, 1995).

Evidence Science

Some People Were Dead For Several Days

George Rodonaia (died 2004) underwent one of the most extended cases of a near-death experience ever recorded. Pronounced dead immediately after he was hit by a car in 1976, he was left for three days in the morgue. He did not “return to life” until a doctor began to make an incision in his abdomen as part of an autopsy procedure. Prior to his NDE he worked as a neuropathologist. He was also an avowed atheist. Yet after the experience, he devoted himself exclusively to the study of spirituality, taking a second doctorate in the psychology of religion. He then became an ordained priest in the Eastern Orthodox Church. He served as a pastor at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Baytown, Texas. Reverend Rodonaia is one of the NDE experiencers profiled on this page who was dead for days during his NDE. The following is Dr. Rodonaia’s experience in his own words from Phillip Berman’s book, The Journey Home: What NDEs and Mysticism Teach Us About the Meaning of Life and Living.

Table of Contents

  1. Reverend George Rodonaia’s NDE
  2. George Rodonaia’s Verified OBE Perception
  3. P.M.H. Atwater’s Tribute to George Rodonaia
  4. Other People Who Were Apparently Dead For Days

1. Reverend George Rodonaia’s NDE

Rev. George Rodonaia held an M.D. and a Ph.D. in neuropathology, and a Ph.D. in the psychology of religion. He delivered a keynote address to the United Nations on the “Emerging Global Spirituality.” Before emigrating to the United States from the Soviet Union as a political dissident in 1989, he worked as a research psychiatrist at the University of Moscow. 

“The first thing I remember about my NDE is that I discovered myself in a realm of total darkness. I had no physical pain, I was still somehow aware of my existence as George, and all about me there was darkness, utter and complete darkness – the greatest darkness ever, darker than any dark, blacker than any black. This was what surrounded me and pressed upon me. I was horrified. I wasn’t prepared for this at all. I was shocked to find that I still existed, but I didn’t know where I was. The one thought that kept rolling through my mind was, “How can I be when I’m not?” That is what troubled me.

“Slowly I got a grip on myself and began to think about what had happened, what was going on. But nothing refreshing or relaxing came to me. Why am I in this darkness? What am I to do? Then I remembered Descartes’ famous line: “I think, therefore I am.” And that took a huge burden off me, for it was then I knew for certain I was still alive, although obviously in a very different dimension. Then I thought, If I am, why shouldn’t I be positive? That is what came to me. I am George and I’m in darkness, but I know I am. I am what I am. I must not be negative.

“Then I thought, How can I define what is positive in darkness? Well, positive is light. Then, suddenly, I was in light; bright white, shiny and strong; a very bright light. I was like the flash of a camera, but not flickering – that bright. Constant brightness. At first I found the brilliance of the light painful, I couldn’t look directly at it. But little by little I began to relax. I began to feel warm, comforted, and everything suddenly seemed fine.

“The next thing that happened was that I saw all these molecules flying around, atoms, protons, neutrons, just flying everywhere. On the one hand, it was totally chaotic, yet what brought me such great joy was that this chaos also had its own symmetry. This symmetry was beautiful and unified and whole, and it flooded me with tremendous joy. I saw the universal form of life and nature laid out before my eyes. It was at this point that any concern I had for my body just slipped away, because it was clear to me that I didn’t need it anymore, that it was actually a limitation.

“Everything in this experience merged together, so it is difficult for me to put an exact sequence to events. Time as I had known it came to a halt; past, present, and future were somehow fused together for me in the timeless unity of life.

“At some point I underwent what has been called the life-review process, for I saw my life from beginning to end all at once. I participated in the real life dramas of my life, almost like a holographic image of my life going on before me – no sense of past, present, or future, just now and the reality of my life. It wasn’t as though it started with birth and ran along to my life at the University of Moscow. It all appeared at once. There I was. This was my life. I didn’t experience any sense of guilt or remorse for things I’d done. I didn’t feel one way or another about my failures, faults, or achievements. All I felt was my life for what it is. And I was content with that. I accepted my life for what it is.

“During this time the light just radiated a sense of peace and joy to me. It was very positive. I was so happy to be in the light. And I understood what the light meant. I learned that all the physical rules for human life were nothing when compared to this unitive reality. I also came to see that a black hole is only another part of that infinity which is light.

“I came to see that reality is everywhere. That it is not simply the earthly life but the infinite life. Everything is not only connected together, everything is also one. So I felt a wholeness with the light, a sense that all is right with me and the universe.

“I could be anywhere instantly, really there. I tried to communicate with the people I saw. Some sensed my presence, but no one did anything about it. I felt it necessary to learn about the Bible and philosophy. You want, you receive. Think and it comes to you. So I participated, I went back and lived in the minds of Jesus and his disciples. I heard their conversations, experienced eating, passing wine, smells, tastes – yet I had no body. I was pure consciousness. If I didn’t understand what was happening, an explanation would come. But no teacher spoke. I explored the Roman Empire, Babylon, the times of Noah and Abraham. Any era you can name, I went there.

“So there I was, flooded with all these good things and this wonderful experience, when someone begins to cut into my stomach. Can you imagine? What had happened was that I was taken to the morgue. I was pronounced dead and left there for three days. An investigation into the cause of my death was set up, so they sent someone out to do an autopsy on me. As they began to cut into my stomach, I felt as though some great power took hold of my neck and pushed me down. And it was so powerful that I opened my eyes and had this huge sense of pain. My body was cold and I began to shiver. They immediately stopped the autopsy and took me to the hospital, where I remained for the following nine months, most of which I spent under a respirator.

“Slowly I regained my health. But I would never be the same again, because all I wanted to do for the rest of my life was study wisdom. This new interest led me to attend the University of Georgia, where I took my second Ph.D., in the psychology of religion. Then I became a priest in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Eventually, in 1989, we came to America, and I am now working as an associate pastor at the First United Methodist Church in Nederland, Texas.

“Many people have asked me what I believe in, how my NDE changed my life. All I can say is that I now believe in the God of the universe. Unlike many other people, however, I have never called God the light, because God is beyond our comprehension. God, I believe, is even more than the light, because God is also darkness. God is everything that exists, everything – and that is beyond our ability to comprehend at all. So I don’t believe in the God of the Jews, or the Christians, or the Hindus, or in any one religion’s idea of what God is or is not. It is all the same God, and that God showed me that the universe in which we live is a beautiful and marvelous mystery that is connected together forever and for always.

“Anyone who has had such an experience of God, who has felt such a profound sense of connection with reality, knows that there is only one truly significant work to do in life, and that is love; to love nature, to love people, to love animals, to love creation itself, just because it is. To serve God’s creation with a warm and loving hand of generosity and compassion – that is the only meaningful existence.

“Many people turn to those who have had NDEs because they sense we have the answers. But I know this is not true, at least not entirely. None of us will fully fathom the great truths of life until we finally unite with eternity at death. But occasionally we get glimpses of the answer here on Earth, and that alone is enough for me. I love to ask questions and to seek answers, but I know in the end I must live the questions and the answers. But that is okay, isn’t it? So long as we love, love with all our heart and passion, it doesn’t matter, does it? Perhaps the best way for me to convey what I am trying to say is to share with you something the poet Rilke once wrote in a letter to a friend. I saw this letter, the original handwritten letter, in the library at Dresden University in Germany. (He quotes from memory, as follows:)

“Be patient with all that is unresolved in your heart. And try to love the questions themselves. Do not seek for the answers that cannot be given. For you wouldn’t be able to live with them. And the point is to live everything, live the questions now, and perhaps without knowing it, you will live along some day into the answers.”

“I place my faith in that. Live the questions, and the universe will open up its eyes to you.”

2. George Rodonaia’s Verified Out-of-Body Perception

The book entitled, The Self Does Not Die: Verified Paranormal Phenomena from Near-Death Experiences, by Titus Rivas, Anny Dirven, Rudolf H. Smit, Robert Mays, and Janice Holden, documents P.M.H. Atwater‘s research into Rodonaia’s extraordinary case of veridical out-of-body telepathic perception of an injured infant and George’s wife during his NDE from Atwater’s book Beyond The Light. The following is an excerpt:

“When Rodonaia thought of his body, he saw it lying in the morgue. He remembered everything that had happened. He was also able to ‘see’ the thoughts and emotions of his wife, Nino, and of the people who had been involved in the accident. It was as if they had their thoughts ‘inside of him.’ He then wanted to find out the ‘truth’ of those thoughts and emotions. By expressing a longing for greater knowledge, he was confronted by mental images of existence and thus became acquainted with thousands of years of history.

“When he returned to his body in the morgue, he was drawn to a nearby hospital, where the wife of a friend had just had a baby. The newborn was constantly crying. He examined the baby, a girl. His ‘eyes’ were like X-rays that could look right through the little body. This ability enabled him to draw the conclusion that the baby had broken its hip during delivery. He spoke to her, ‘Don’t cry. Nobody understands you.’ The baby was so astonished by his presence that she immediately stopped crying. According to Rodonaia, children are able to see and hear transmaterial apparitions. The child reacted to him, he believes, because he was ‘a physical reality’ to her.

“After three days, when the autopsy of Rodonaia’s body was just getting under way, he succeeded in opening his eyes. At first, the doctors thought it was a reflex, but Rodonaia appeared to have actually come back from the dead, even though his death and his frigid condition had both been confirmed. He was in poor condition physically, but after three days, the first words he spoke were about the baby that urgently needed help. X-rays of the baby confirmed that he was right.

“At one point, Atwater interviewed Rodonaia’s wife, Nino, who stated that during his NDE, Rodonaia had actually witnessed what she had seen. According to Nino, he had actually had telepathic contact with her. In an email dated July 28, 2015, Atwater wrote Rivas the following about this aspect of the case:

“George told me that as part of his near-death experience, among the many things he could do was to be able to enter the minds of all his friends and find out whether or not they were really friends. During this entry process, he also entered the mind of this wife, Nino. When he did, he both saw and heard his wife picking out his gravesite. As she stood there looking at the gravesite, in her head, she pictured several men she would consider being her next husband. She made a list for herself of their various qualities, pro and con, to decide which one would be the most suitable.

“After George revived and his tongue shrunk back to its normal size so George could talk (this took three days), George greeted his wife. He told her about the gravesite scenario. He described everything she saw there. Then he told her everything she thought about while there, the specific men she was considering to be her next husband and [the] list she was making in her mind about their various pros and cons. He was correct in every detail. This so freaked her out that she refused to have much to do with him for a year. I had no sense that this was telepathic, but real, physically real, as if George’s mind was physically inside his wife’s mind. He saw what she saw. He also saw what she thought.

“When I met Nino and both children, I asked Nino if I could talk to her about that incident at the gravesite and her list of qualities of the men she was considering marrying. She described the incident for me and that all of this was done in the privacy of her own mind. She only thought about the men and their various qualities. The list was her own. When her suddenly, newly alive, formerly dead husband talked about that personal moment at the gravesite, named the men she thought about, and then went on to ‘read’ the list back to her that she made for each man, she was utterly shocked at his accuracy and how he could even do this. This shock was felt as if an affront against her right to privacy, the intimate privacy of her own mind. I asked if it was true that she would have little or nothing to do with him for a year. She said, yes, it was true. She could not sleep in the same room with him. When I asked why, her answer was: ‘I no longer had the privacy of my own mind. This was very hard to take.'” (The Self Does Not Die, p.130-132)

Nino also confirmed what happened at the hospital, the first words he said after his tongue swelling went down, of his friend’s wife having just given birth to a daughter, he told the doctors to get right up to the maternity ward and X-ray that baby’s hip, that it had been broken by the attending nurse who had dropped the baby. George was a doctor himself and he described the hip break in detail. The doctors rushed up to the maternity ward, had the baby X-rayed and found the break exactly as described by George. They then confronted the nurse with what they found and she admitted to dropping the baby. She was immediately fired.

3. P.M.H. Atwater’s Tribute to George Rodonaia

“I knew George well; he was part of my research base and a brief version of his story is in my book Beyond the Light. I say “brief” because what happened to George is beyond the scope of books about the near-death phenomenon and could have easily been a book unto itself. George was a vocal Soviet dissident during the time when such a stance could get you killed. And that is exactly what happened – he was assassinated by the KGB. Because his case was highly political, an autopsy had to be performed. His corpse was stored in a freezer vault for three days until then. He revived on the autopsy table as he was being split open by the doctors, one of which was his own uncle. Of all the cases I have investigated in my 26 years of work in the field, his is the most dramatic, the longest, the most evidential, and the most soul-stirring. Now our beloved George Rodonaia has returned “Home” to stay. During the years afterward, he never failed to share his story and to help others every way he could. My only regret is, he never wrote his own book about his experience. Yet, perhaps he did, on everyone’s heart who ever heard him. Blessings, dear George, you will be missed.” — Dr. P.M.H. Atwater

4. Other People Who Were Apparently Dead For Days

The other NDE testimony is about a Russian man who was frozen solid for 22 days in a state of suspended animation resulting from an attempted murder and burial. The story was printed in the January 1999 online edition of the Russian newspaper Pravda. This remarkable event involved the man being revived after 22 days of being buried under the snow. The article is entitled, “Man Revives 22 Days After Being Killed and Buried” and here it is:

A stockman, named only as Granatkin, from a district food base in one of Russia’s towns, had to have a similar, albeit a more horrible experience in his life. A man named Mechnik attempted to kill the stockman: he hit him on the head, took the body to the forest and buried it under the snow. Lumbermen incidentally uncovered the frozen body and took it to the morgue. A local pathologist refused to do the autopsy – the body was too hard. The next day the pathologist said that the man’s eye pupils did not look like dead. Furthermore, the man’s nails turned pink after the doctor pressed them in his fingers. The man spent 22 days lying under a thick layer of snow, but it appeared that he was still alive. The pathologist diagnosed a deep lethargic sleep, which had been caused with a blow on the head. To everyone’s great astonishment, stockman Granatkin came to his senses and recovered. He was lucky to wear very warm clothes on the day of his murder; the snow saved him from severe frost too.

I found another article on the Internet about the above story but the text is in broken English although it is very readable. Here it is:

Much more complicated in the case of the Grodno district storekeeper product base Granatkin. Someone once tried to kill the Swordsman him struck storekeeper fatal blow to the head by some heavy object, took to the woods and buried in the snow. After 22 days the body turned into a “piece of ice”, accidentally discovered the loggers. The corpse was taken to the morgue, but the local coroner was unable to conduct an autopsy – the body was too hard. Decided to postpone the inquiry until the morning… In the morning, the surgeon noticed that the pupils of the eyes are not like the eyes of a dead person, the nails when you also slightly pink. These were signs that people had lain in the snow for 22 days without moving, without food or water, are still signs of life. However Granatkin was breathing, no palpable pulse. The doctor diagnosed a deep lethargy caused due to hit in the head. And soon the “dead” by doctors… woke up!

Granatkin saved from complete freeze that he was warmly dressed, and was covered with a thick layer of snow.

Evidence Science

Some People Receive Verified Visions of the Future

Near-death experiencers have received visions of the future, both personal and apocalyptic. Some were told the future is not predetermined because humans have the power to change it by enlightening the awareness of enough people to change current trends. In this respect, an apocalyptic prophecy that doesn’t occur is a prophecy that was successful. An apocalyptic prophecy that occurs is a failure. The reason that God does not intervene to prevent them from happening, is because to do so, would interfere directly with human spiritual and physical development. An example of this principle can be found when environmentalists refuse to interfere with nature so that evolution can continue unabated.

An example of the future being changed can be found in the NDE account of Karen Schaeffer. During her NDE, she was shown the future of her children, as it would happen, if she decided to remain in heaven. She was told that if she returned to life, the future she saw would not happen. Her decision was to return and, therefore, the future she saw did not happen.

Although God does not wish these apocalyptic prophecies to occur, God will allow them to occur for the purpose of instructing humanity. These apocalyptic prophecies are remarkably consistent. In general, they describe visions of global war and/or natural disasters of unimaginable capacity that threaten civilization. Experiencers were revealed the reason these catastrophes happen. It is because humanity is not in tune with nature because of war and environmental transgressions. For more information on prophecies yet to happen, read the NDEs and the Future web page.

1. Important NDE Visions of the Future Which Have Occurred

In 1975, the following prophecies were given to Dannion Brinkley during his NDE.

a. An actor will become president whose initials are R. R. and will project the image of being a cowboy to the rest of the world.

Shortly after his NDE in 1975, Brinkley told Dr. Raymond Moody that perhaps this person was Robert Redford. It turned out to be Ronald Reagan. This demonstrates that experiencers can receive visions of the future, but they may not be able to interpret them.

b. In the area of the Middle East, anger and hatred will reach a boiling point. Religion will play a large role in these problems, as will the economy. Israel will become isolated from the rest of the world. Saudi Arabia will give money to countries, such as North Korea, and make deals and shake hands. (Dannion Brinkley)

The following clip from a newspaper article verifies that Brinkley’s NDE prophecy of the future has occurred.

c. In 1986, a nuclear explosion of a massive cement structure, near a river in Russia, will occur. Hundreds of people will die. This disaster has something to do with the word Wormwood.

The Russian word, Chernobyl, literally means Wormwood, a type of plant. The nuclear explosion Brinkley foresaw was the Chernobyl explosion of the nuclear reactor in Russia.

d. The Soviet Union will collapse because of economic problems. The Russian people will lose faith in communism. Great food shortages will happen. The Russian mafia will gain much power. Soviet-style communism will die. The Being of Light told Brinkley the following:

“Watch the Soviet Union. How the Russian people go, so goes the world. What happens to Russia is the basis for everything that will happen to the economy of the free world.”

The collapse of the Soviet Union occurred in 1989 due to economic problems which created great food shortages of food and a stronger influence of the Russian mafia.

e. In 1990, a great desert war will be fought. Armies will race toward one another and lightning-like explosions will occur.

The U.S. military operation called Desert Storm occurred in 1990 where the U.S. army squashed the Iraqi army for occupying Kuwait.

f. Missiles with chemical warheads will occupy the desert of the Middle East. There will be worldwide fear of the intentions of the Arab nations that have them.

It is common knowledge today that chemical weapons exist in Middle East. One point of great interest is the Being of Light’s warning given to Brinkley:

“If you follow what you have been taught and keep living the same way you have lived the last 30 years, all of this will surely be upon you. If you change, you can avoid the coming war. If you follow this dogma, the world by the year 2004 will not be the same one you now know. But it can still be changed and you can help change it.” – The Being of Light to Dannion Brinkley

g. A biological engineer from the Middle East will find a way to alter DNA and create a biological virus that will be used in the manufacture of computer chips.”

A technological breakthrough occurred in 1998 when two Israeli researchers at the Israel Institute of Technology discovered a process in which strands of DNA are incorporated into a working electronic component.

h. On September 1st, ten days before the New York terrorist attacks, Brinkley announced that the world is on the verge of a:

“spiritual awakening which calls for deep self-examination.”

Brinkley called for a global Day of Truth to occur on September 17, 2001, where people could:

“… take time before this date to personally examine our own lives and priorities as citizens of Earth in this time of transition. This is a wake-up call. For it is only as we are willing to see and to embrace all of our deeply human fragmented realities that the light of grace can shine upon us.”

Something certainly awoke Brinkley to make this announcement and it is reasonable to assume it was the September 11 terrorist attack. Brinkley isn’t the only experiencers who received a vision of this terrorist attack.

Another near-death experiencer, Ned Dougherty, received similar visions of the future during his NDE. One of Ned’s visions was published in his book, Fast Lane to Heaven, six months before September 11th which states:

“A major terrorist attack may befall New York City or Washington, DC, severely impacting the way we live in the United States.”

2. Dannion Brinkley’s Near-Death Experience

In 1975, Dannion Brinkley was talking on the phone during a thunderstorm. A bolt of lightning hit the phone line, sending thousands of volts of electricity into his head and down his body. His heart stopped, and he died, but in the process, he had an NDE. When Brinkley revived in the morgue after twenty-eight minutes of death, he had an incredible story to tell. The following is an except from his book Saved by the Light with Paul Perry.

The next sound I heard was like a freight train coming into my ear at the speed of light. Jolts of electricity coursed through my body, and every cell of my being felt as if it were bathed in battery acid. The nails of my shoes were welded to the nails in the floor so that when I was thrown into the air, my feet were pulled out of them. I saw the ceiling in front of my face, and for a moment I couldn’t imagine what power it was that could cause such searing pain and hold me in its grip, dangling over my own bed. What must have been a split second seemed like an hour.

From immense pain I found myself engulfed by peace and tranquility. It was a feeling I had never known before and have not had since. It was like bathing in a glorious calmness. I had no idea what had happened, but even in this moment of peacefulness I wanted to know where I was.

I began to look around, to roll over in midair. Below me was my own body, thrown across the bed. My shoes were smoking and the telephone was melted in my hand. I could see Sandy run into the room. She stood over the bed and looked at me with a dazed expression, the kind you might find on the parent of a child found floating facedown in a swimming pool.

Tommy showed up in less than ten minutes. He knew something was wrong because he had heard the explosion over the telephone. I watched as Tommy held me and cursed the slowness of the ambulance, which we could hear approaching in the distance. I hovered above the three of them – Sandy, Tommy, and myself – as the medical technicians loaded me onto the stretcher and wheeled me to the ambulance.

From where I hovered, about fifteen feet above everyone, I could see the pouring rain hitting my face and drenching the backs of the ambulance crew. The perspective I had was that of a television camera. Without passion or pain, I watched as the person on the stretcher began to twitch and jump. I looked toward the front of the ambulance to a spot over my dead body. A tunnel was forming, opening like the eye of a hurricane and coming toward me. I actually didn’t move at all; the tunnel came to me.

There was the sound of chimes as the tunnel spiraled toward and then around me. Soon there was nothing to be seen – no crying Sandy, no ambulance attendants trying to jump-start my dead body, no desperate chatter with the hospital over the radio – only a tunnel that engulfed me completely and the intensely beautiful sound of seven chimes ringing in rhythmic succession.

I looked ahead into the darkness. There was a light up there, and I began to move toward it as quickly as possible. I was moving without legs at a high rate of speed. Ahead the light became brighter and brighter until it overtook the darkness and left me standing in a paradise of brilliant light. This was the brightest light I had ever seen, but in spite of that, it didn’t hurt my eyes in the least. Unlike the pain one might feel when walking into sunlight from a dark room, this light was soothing to my eyes.

I looked to my right and could see a silver form appearing like a silhouette through mist. As it approached I began to feel a deep sense of love that encompassed all of the meanings of the word. It was as though I were seeing a lover, mother, and best friend, multiplied a thousand fold. As the Being of Light came closer, these feelings of love intensified until they became almost too pleasurable to withstand.

The Being of Light stood directly in front of me. As I gazed into its essence I could see prisms of color, as though it were composed of thousands of tiny diamonds, each emitting the colors of the rainbow.

I felt comfortable in his presence, a familiarity that made me believe he had felt every feeling I had ever had, from the time I took my first breath to the instant I was sizzled by lightning. Looking at this being I had the feeling that no one could love me better, no one could have more empathy, sympathy, encouragement, and nonjudgmental compassion for me than this being.

The Being of Light engulfed me, and as it did I began to experience my whole life, feeling and seeing everything that had ever happened to me. It was as though a dam had burst and every memory stored in my brain flowed out.

When I finished the life review, I arrived at a point of reflection in which I was able to look back on what I had just witnessed and come to a conclusion. I was ashamed. I realized I had led a very selfish life, rarely reaching out to help anyone. Almost never had I smiled as an act of brotherly love or just handed somebody a dollar because he was down and needed a boost. No, my life had been for me and me alone. I hadn’t given a damn about my fellow humans.

I looked at the Being of Light and felt a deep sense of sorrow and shame. I expected a rebuke, some kind of cosmic shaking of my soul. I had reviewed my life and what I had seen was a truly worthless person. What did I deserve if not a rebuke?

As I gazed at the Being of Light I felt as though he was touching me. From that contact I felt a love and joy that could only be compared to the nonjudgmental compassion that a grandfather has for a grandchild.

“Who you are is the difference that God makes,” said the Being. “And that difference is love.”

There were no actual words spoken, but this thought was communicated to me through some form of telepathy. To this day, I am not sure of the exact meaning of this cryptic phrase. That is what was said, however.

Again I was allowed a period of reflection. How much love had I given people? How much love had I taken from them? From the review I had just had, I could see that for every good event in my life, there were twenty bad ones to weigh against it. If guilt were fat, I would have weighed five hundred pounds.

As the Being of Light moved away, I felt the burden of this guilt being removed. I had felt the pain and anguish of reflection, but from that I had gained the knowledge that I could use to correct my life. I could hear the Being’s message in my head, again as if through telepathy:

“Humans are powerful spiritual beings meant to create good on the Earth. This good isn’t usually accomplished in bold actions, but in singular acts of kindness between people. It’s the little things that count, because they are more spontaneous and show who you truly are.”

I was elated. I now knew the simple secret to improving humanity. The amount of love and good feelings you have at the end of your life is equal to the love and good feelings you put out during your life. It was just that simple.

“My life will be better now that I have the secret,” I said to the Being of Light.

It was then that I realized that I wouldn’t be going back. I had no more life to live. I had been struck by lightning. I was dead.

Like wingless birds, we swept into a city of cathedrals. These cathedrals were made entirely of a crystalline substance that glowed with a light that shone powerfully from within. I was awestruck. This place had a power that seemed to pulsate through the air. I knew that I was in a place of learning. I wasn’t there to witness my life or to see what value it had had, I was there to be instructed.

When we entered the structure, the Being of Light was with me no more. I looked around for him and saw no one. Rows of benches were lined up across the room, and that radiant light made everything glow and feel like love. I sat on one of the benches and looked around the room for my spiritual guide.

In the next moment the space behind the podium was filled with Beings of Light. They faced the benches where I was sitting and radiated a glow that was both kindly and wise.

I sat back on the bench and waited. What happened next was the most amazing part of my spiritual journey.

I was able to count the beings as they stood behind the podium. There were thirteen of them, standing shoulder to shoulder and stretched across the stage. I was aware of other things about them, too, probably through some form of telepathy. Each one of them represented a different emotional and psychological characteristic that all humans have. For example, one of these beings was intense and passionate, while another was artistic and emotional. One was bold and energetic, yet another possessive and loyal. In human terms, it was as though each one represented a different sign of the zodiac. In spiritual terms, these beings went far beyond the signs of the zodiac. They emanated these emotions in such a way that I could feel them.

Now more than ever I knew that this was a place of learning. I would be steeped in knowledge, taught in a way that I had never been taught before. There would be no books and no memorization. In the presence of these Beings of Light, I would become knowledge and know everything that was important to know. I could ask any question and know the answer. It was like being a drop of water bathed in the knowledge of the ocean, or a beam of light knowing what all light knows.

The Beings came at me one at a time. As each one approached, a box the size of a videotape came from its chest and zoomed right at my face.

The first time this happened I flinched, thinking I was going to be hit. But a moment before impact, the box opened to reveal what appeared to be a tiny television picture of a world event that was yet to happen. As I watched, I felt myself drawn right into the picture, where I was able to live the event. This happened twelve times, and twelve times I stood in the midst of many events that would shake the world in the future.

At the time I didn’t know these were future events. All I knew was that I was seeing things of great significance and that they were coming to me as clearly as the nightly news, with one great difference: I was being pulled into the screen.

[Dannion Brinkley is then given prophetic visions, then returns to his body.]

Evidence Science

Scientific Discoveries Come From Near-Death Experiences

Skeptics may argue that nobody brings back anything useful from a near-death experience such as a scientific discovery. The skeptic’s argument might resemble something like this: If people are actually receiving unlimited knowledge during an NDE, then why don’t they bring back with them the cure for AIDS to help humanity? While it’s nice that they have discovered humanity’s purpose in this world is learning to love others, it would be infinitely more expressive of God’s love for humanity if someone would bring back the cure for AIDS.

These are very good skeptical arguments and researchers have answers for them. The following is a discussion of the scientific discoveries brought back by near-death experiencers as told by several near-death researchers. A complete list of scientific advances from NDEs is available on my Skepticism and NDEs page.

Near-death testimonies often include an encounter with a heavenly “Light.” But to my knowledge, no experiencer other than Lynnclaire Dennis ( has ever brought back a detailed scientific description of the Light’s complex geometric structure and movement. First presented in her 1997 book entitled The Pattern, Lynnclaire described in detail her amazing NDE and description of this Light. Many years have passed since I first learned of her profound NDE and it remains one of the most transcendental NDEs I have ever come across. Her NDE testimony has graced the “Exceptional NDEs” section of my website from its very beginning. We continued to stay in touch over the years and I continued to follow her work hoping what she brought back from her NDE would develop into the scientific discovery we now know it is — the very science of life and living. From the very beginning, despite her religious upbringing, Lynnclaire courageously refused to give this Pattern of Light the ambiguous label of “God“. She prefers to simply call it “The Pattern” and describes it as an all-connecting pattern of Light – a three-dimensional mandala representative of time and space, and the energy generating matter. Because she experienced The Pattern as pure Love, she has always maintained this to be the reason why Love is all that matters. In simple terms, The Pattern is a knot; but not just any knot. The Pattern is the simplest knot (a Trefoil Knot) and yet most profound knot – a never-before-discovered trefoil knot. The Pattern became of great interest to mathematicians, physicists, astrobiologists, and molecular geneticists who developed from it the “Mereon Matrix” – an algorithm representing the unification of knowledge which relies on whole systems both living and life-like. It is a scientific framework charting the sequential, emergent growth process of systems.

People do receive higher knowledge and information about cures for diseases such as cancer and AIDS while they are in the light of the NDE. Here are some descriptions:

“The farther forward a person is propelled through the tunnel, the more knowledge can be received. The mind can feel like a sponge, growing and expanding in size with each addition. This knowledge may come in single words and in whole idea blocks. Everything can be understood as it is being soaked up or absorbed. The mind expands and absorbs as each new piece of information comes in. It is receiving knowledge that was already known but forgotten or mislaid, as if it were waiting to be picked up on the way by.” (Virginia Rivers)

“The light gave me knowledge, though I heard no words. We did not communicate in English or in any other language. This was discourse clearer and easier than the clumsy medium of language. It was something like understanding math or music – nonverbal knowledge, but knowledge no less profound. I was learning the answers to the eternal questions of life – questions so old we laugh them off as clichés. “Why are we here?” To learn. “What’s the purpose of our life?” To love. I felt as if I was re-remembering things I had once known but somehow forgotten, and it seemed incredible that I had not figured out these things before now.” (Kimberly Clark Sharp)

The main problem preventing many people from bringing back some of this higher knowledge attained during an NDE is that it’s difficult to retain every memory of their NDE, assuming it can be remembered at all. This general inability of people being unable to retain every memory from an NDE is similar to our general inability to remember every memory of a dream we have after we wake up. However, this is not to say that higher knowledge and scientific discoveries are not attained during NDEs or dreams.

Some people have returned from an NDE and have been able to successfully diagnose and heal people – even bring back useful scientific information – due to the after-effects attributed to their NDEs.

One example of this is documented in Tom Harpur‘s documentary, Life After Death. Harpur interviews a doctor whose name is Dr. Yvonne Kason who was almost killed in a plane crash into a lake which resulted in an NDE. After she recovered, she began to have strange visions in her mind that she couldn’t explain. One of these visions concerned a friend of hers. When Dr. Kason thought of her friend, she would see a vision in her mind of a “brain covered with pus.” Dr. Kason knew that this was an excellent symbolic vision referring to the deadly disease meningitis. The problem was that her friend was perfectly healthy at the time, exhibited absolutely no signs of meningitis, and there was no reason to suspect she had it. Dr. Kason begged her friend to get tested for meningitis. After an amount of reluctance, her friend got tested. Surprisingly, the test was positive. As a result of Dr. Kason’s NDE, her friend was able to get treated for meningitis at its early stage before it had time to become deadly. Dr. Kason continues to have such visions. She now realizes that, as a result of her NDE, that is now psychic. Her story affirms that useful things are indeed brought back from NDEs.

Another interesting case is that of Edgar Cayce (pronounced “Kay-see”) (1877-1945), a devout Christian who had regular NDEs and brought back medical cures and information on future events that ultimately came true. In 1910, the New York Times carried two pages of headlines and pictures in which he was declared the “World’s Most Mysterious Man.” In 1954, the University of Chicago accepted a Ph.D. thesis based on a study of his life and work. Cayce is also considered to be the father of holistic medicine by JAMA, the prestigious medical journal. I have a complete list of the world events which Cayce successfully foretold before they occurred.

Cayce was a wonder to the medical community because of his ability to diagnose and specify a treatment for gravely ill people from hundreds of miles away while out of his body. It is also documented that while in his out-of-body state, Cayce successful predicted the 1929 stock-market crash more than six months before it occurred, the Great Depression, outbreak of the First and Second World Wars, Japan’s sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the rise and fall of Adolf Hitler, the independence of India, the creation of the State of Israel fifteen years before the event, the deaths of two American presidents, the existence of an unknown Jewish sect called the Essenes eleven years before the Dead Sea Scrolls were found (which was verified through archaeological excavations after his death.), invention of the laser in 1958, and his own death before his two sons returned home from overseas. For many decades now, the Edgar Cayce Foundation has been around to research the vast amount of information he received.

Edgar Cayce is much more than just an example of how one can bring back medical cures, historical facts, and even bring back information from the future while outside of their body.

Dr. PMH Atwater responds to the argument that experiencers do not bring back anything useful:

DR. PMH ATWATER:  Not true! A fellow in, I believe it was Sweden, went on to copyright over a hundred inventions that have made a significant difference in society. Mellen-Thomas Benedict invented a glasscutter that alleviates much hand fatigue in accordance to directions he received in his experience. In fact, Mellen-Thomas participated in a number of medical research projects, and because of the information he gave the researchers, they were able to advance their work significantly. He is now doing DNA research and working on instruments that can help physicians use certain frequencies of light in healing. These are just a few of many.

In my own case, I was told in my third NDE to do the research I do – my directions were specific and detailed. Look at what has resulted! Hardly trivial, I’d say. The reason you seldom hear of people like me and Mellen-Thomas and the fellow from Sweden is that we don’t make spectacles of ourselves. We just do our work.

Also, please refer to my last three books. All of them have a section devoted to historical figures who had an NDE and who went on to make a significant impact on the world – people like Abraham Lincoln, Mozart, Einstein, Winston Churchill, Queen Elisabeth the First, and Edward de Vere the 17th Earl of Oxford – who may well be the real Shakespeare. I would invite you to look beyond the so-called popular books on NDEs, and do some real digging. You may be surprised at what you find! Please just read my books. I am specific and give references. The answers to most of your questions are addressed.

Since you mentioned it, I have thought of a number of experiencers who went on to do great things afterward: Donna DeSoto and her Sav-Baby Organization, Dannion Brinkley and his Twilight Bridgade volunteer service for the dying, Carol Parrish-Harra and the Sparrow Hawk Village she built and the Sancta Sophia Seminary she founded, Nadia McCaffrey and the Natural Death Centers she is starting to construct and staff, George Ritchie and his Youth Corps, and so forth. The line is a long one, no one knows how long for most experiencers seldom seek the limelight.

Responding to the argument that experiencers do not bring back anything useful, Dr. Kenneth Ring replies:

DR. KENNETH RING:  This question made me laugh because the questioner clearly thinks that the light, or whatever the intelligence is that is behind the NDE, would truly be helpful to humanity if it gave us practical answers to the burning questions of our day. This is like saying, if you are psychic, then how about telling me the winning lottery number? In fact, the light gives us very practical answers – love, especially of the unconditional kind, is probably the thing that could make the world a far, far better place. It wouldn’t end suffering – there will always be suffering – but it would help us enormously to deal with the problems of living. We have brains to help us solve our practical problems – what we need and what we get from the light is something altogether different. It is dangerous, not to say presumptuous, to try to tell God (or the light or Whatever) what we humans could most use. I could probably write on this question for several pages, if I had time, but a close reading of the NDE literature will show what the real value of these experiences is, and it is not finding a cure to AIDS, etc. Nevertheless, it is clearly not even true that no experiencer ever brings back such answers. I give a few examples in my book, Lessons from the Light.

For example, the case of Ralph Duncan, who brought back a cure for a certain kind of cancer, and then there is the case of Mellen-Thomas Benedict who brought back a great deal of very practical information about biophotonics and other methods of light-based healing, and is currently marketing some of his devices, after millions of dollars have been invested in his company. So, practical answers that can definitely benefit humanity can sometimes be obtained during NDEs, but, to me, that misses the point.

[Webmaster’s Note: I looked up the reference that Dr. Ring gives from his book, Lessons from the Light. It does show some very interesting examples of how NDErs learn and even experience cures for diseases such as cancer.]

The following are examples, from Dr. Ring’s research, of NDErs bringing back scientific discoveries:

One quite remarkable instance was shared with me by Howard Mikel, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Wichita State University in Kansas, who investigated this case very thoroughly and can authenticate it. The story, in brief, involved a patient by the name of Ralph Duncan, who in the mid-1970s was dying of leukemia. He apparently was told he had only a short time to live and was prepared to die. But while hospitalized, he had an NDE, and during it, he encountered a luminous being, whom he took to be Jesus (though Ralph observed that it did not look anything like the traditional images of him), and whose eyes were “shooting fire.” In any event, there was then a telepathic communication from this being in the form of three shot phrases, which were: “That’s enough, it’s dead, it’s gone.” These words, Ralph said, were still ringing in his ears as he returned to his body.

Afterward, puzzling about all this, he was mystified about the significance of the phrase, “that’s enough.” But, he continues, “I do know what he meant when he said, “It’s dead.” To me it meant that the germ was dead. I no longer have leukemia.” To my mind, however, the entire set phrases coheres meaningfully in the context of this healing. For instance, when the being, his eyes “shooting fire,” says, “That’s enough,” it means in effect, “I’ve zapped you with enough voltage for this to cure you.” And then, “it’s dead, it’s gone.”

The last I heard about this case, in 1989, Ralph was still hale and living near Boulder, Colorado.

A somewhat similar case was described by Margot Grey. Five days after abdominal surgery, an English patient underwent complications and his wife as told her husband was dying. At that time, however, he was having an NDE, and during it he saw:

“…an entity clothed in a colored cloak [of] indescribably beautiful colors, and brightness most intense. This something stood at the right-hand side of my head, two hands were lightly placed on my body, slowly moved down to my feet, and up the left side, pausing at my head, and then was gone. I have no recollection of anything until [the] next day. From then I made a very rapid recovery and was soon back with my family.”

Again, we seem to have a healing performed within the general context of a light-filled scene.

Not long ago, some further cases of this kind were shared with me by my friend, Steve, who you might remember was himself the recipient of an apparently other-worldly stabilizing treatment rendered by a female light being when Steve experienced a respiratory arrest during surgery (see pp. 37-38 for the full account). Significantly, Steve recently told me that, as in the case of Ralph Duncan, this being had “intense blue eyes that shined like they were on fire.” And as he felt this energy radiating into him, she communicated telepathically to Steve with these thoughts:

“You’re not breathing regularly. There is some concern that your respiration might stop. I’m here to stabilize it, and make sure the problem doesn’t go any further. You are very valuable, and no one is willing to take any chances with your life.”

In some ways an even more dramatic case that Steve related to me involved a diabetic Mexican woman who speaks no English (Steve is fluent in Spanish) and who, Steve ascertained, was completely unfamiliar with NDEs before her own experience. Here is her story:

Prior to her experience, she had lost the ability to see. Diabetes had taken away her retina, and her heart wasn’t supplying enough circulation to her brain to allow her to speak. She was in very poor shape. They prepared her for surgery.

Open-heart surgery on a diabetic woman of sixty-seven is full of risk. The doctors went outside to discuss their strategy. While they were conferring, she saw the wall open up and a brilliant light pour out. A bearded man in white stepped up beside her. He was made of white light.

“You’re not ready to follow me yet … you’re not prepared. I’m going to give you back your eyesight. You’ll need it to finish your life. And I’m going to heal the heart valve, so you can speak again. You still have a few more things to do. Your grandchildren need you to teach them.”

According to the woman’s account, he placed his hand on her chest, and her eyesight returned. [Later] she sat in a wheel chair, serene, full of confidence, and smiling. Her legs were gone, but her eyes were clear, and she was happy in a calm way. Her cardiologist later told her:

“Something has happened to change you body. We don’t have an explanation for it. I personally ascribe it to be the will of God. You can go home now. We did nothing.” (Ring, 225-226)

Dr. Melvin Morse discusses the NDE of a man who developed over 100 patents in molecular chemistry based on the information he received from his NDE:

DR. MELVIN MORSE:  I recently discussed these issues with theoretical physicists at the National Institute of Discovery Science. This is a consciousness think tank of national renown scholars in their individual fields. They explained to me that science states that reality is made of tiny nuclear particles, so tiny that it is unclear if they are actually matter or simply patterns of energy. All of the fundamental particles in this universe have at least two counterparts which have been documented as being “real”.

These particles last for only a fraction of a second in this reality, yet they comprise the elemental building blocks of reality. In theory, there are at least three possible universes comprised of the three basic sets of subatomic particles.

Furthermore, again in theory, there is one possible universe which is called the Omega Point, in which there is no time or space, and all possible universes coexist. This is why physicists such as Niels Bohr said, “Anyone who has not been shocked by quantum physics has not understood it.

Olaf Swenson may have seen such a timeless spaceless Omega Point when he nearly died of a botched tonsillectomy at age 14. He states:

“Suddenly I rolled into a ball and smashed into another reality. The forces that brought me through the barrier were terrific. I was on the other side. I realized that the boundary between life and death is a strange creation of our own mind, very real (from the side of the living), and yet insignificant.”

Olaf felt he was floating in a universe with no boundaries.

“I had total comprehension of everything. I stood at the annihilation point, a bright orange light. As I felt my mind transported back to my body, I thought, please let me remember this new theory of relativity.”

Dr. Jeffrey Long of states:

DR. JEFFREY LONG:  Another concern of NDE skeptics is that experiencers do not return with information or ideas with immediate widespread use, such as a cure for cancer or verifiable new scientific understandings. There have been anecdotal reports suggesting the contrary, but in my experience, experiencers generally do not return with such information. Failure to receive a specific hoped for gift is not a valid criticism of NDEs. The gift experiencers do return with is generally varied and spiritual in nature, often including the concept of love and a lack of fear of death. The gift to experiencers of better understanding love and their purpose on Earth is a very important gift, suggesting these understandings are among the most important things we can accomplish.

NDE studies provide a tantalizing glimpse of what this other reality is, and provides some clues to humankind’s deepest questions of who we really are and our relationship with a greater reality. It is entirely reasonable to accept the NDE in the way the experiencers themselves almost uniformly perceive the experience: an encounter with another dimension of reality.

Science demands verifiable evidence which can be reproduced again and again under experimental situations. Dr. Jim Whinnery, of the Naval Warfare Center, thought he was simply studying the effects of G forces on fighter pilots. He had no idea he would revolutionize the field of consciousness studies by providing experimental proof that NDEs are real.

The pilots were placed in huge centrifuges and spun at tremendous speeds. After they lost consciousness, after they went into seizures, after they lost all muscle tone, when the blood stopped flowing in their brains, only then would they suddenly have a return to conscious awareness. They had “dreamlets” as Dr. Whinnery calls them. These dreamlets are similar to NDEs. They often involved a sense of separation from the physical body. A typical dreamlet involved a pilot leaving his physical body and traveling to a sandy beach, where he looked directly up at the sun. The pilot remarked that death is very pleasant.

In conclusion, experiencers are given gifts of healing abilities, knowledge that advances science, but even more important, information about universal love and life after death capable of transforming this planet into a peaceful and loving paradise.

Evidence Science

Quantum Theory Supports Near-Death Experiences

Scientific knowledge is always in a state of flux. New scientific discoveries come along and overthrow long-held hypotheses. A good example of this is the attempt by humanity to explain the phenomenon of light. Before the dawn of science, humanity relied on religious experience and philosophy to understand light and the cosmos. The Bible declares the universe began when God said, “Let there be light.” Ancient religious texts throughout history have associated light with divine consciousness – a consciousness from which everything, including all other consciousness, originated. The Bible declares, “God is light.” Eminent physicist, David Bohm, viewed all matter as “condensed” or “frozen light.” Physicist Stephen Hawking once stated ,”When you break subatomic particles down to their most elemental level, you are left with nothing but pure light.” Science discovered light was pervasive at the beginning of the universe. Scientists recently discovered the so-called “God Particle” – the particle which bestows mass upon all other particles. This particle is very crucial to physics because it is our final understanding of the structure of all matter. Albert Einstein‘s great equation E=mc2 (where E is for energy, m for mass and c is the speed of light) describes the awesome power and energy holding all atoms together. Surprisingly, the Bible supports Einstein’s equation when it declares: “God is the invisible power holding all things together.” This transcendent view of consciousness is the basis for major world religions. So it shouldn’t be surprising why top quantum physicists were influenced by religion. Erwin Schrodinger, for example, studied Hinduism; Werner Heisenberg looked into Plato’s theory of the ancient Greeks; Niels Bohr was drawn to the Tao; Wolfgang Pauli to the Kabbalah; and Max Plank to Christianity.

Table of Contents

  1. The holistic merger of science and spirituality
  2. Quantum physics and the NDE
  3. Quantum interconnectivity and the NDE
  4. The holographic universe and the NDE
  5. The holonomic brain and the NDE
  6. Quantum consciousness and the NDE
  7. Nonlocal consciousness and the God spot
  8. Quantum superposition and the NDE
  9. The many-worlds theory and the NDE
  10. The many-minds theory and the NDE
  11. The zero-point field and the NDE
  12. Black hole physics and the NDE
  13. Biocentrism and the NDE
  14. Subjective experiences and the NDE
  15. Scientific articles on NDEs and its relationship to physics

1. The holistic merger of science and spirituality

The scientific discovery of the nature of light is the cornerstone of modern physics and natural law. It is also the cornerstone of near-death studies and modern consciousness research. Over the centuries, science has yielded some very unusual, almost “god-like,” properties of light. The recently discovered “God particle” – the elusive particle which gives mass to every other particle – is one of the greatest discoveries in science. Light was pervasive at the time of the Big Bang. Light is the fastest thing in the universe and travels at 671 million miles per hour. It takes an infinite amount of energy to move an object to the speed of light. At the speed of light, the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously. If a person could travel at the speed of light, they would become immortal. There is also the quantum theory of superposition where matter can exist in more than one dimension at the same time – making anomalous phenomena such as NDEs and OBEs possible. Physicists have experimentally demonstrated how two particles can be separated, and no matter by how far apart they are (even a billion miles apart), a change in one particle instantly creates a simultaneous change in the other as if they were connected. This phenomenon called “quantum entanglement” which Einstein called “spooky actions from a distance” and is suggestive of an underlying reality which physicists have not yet been able to explain although there are many theories. Light also has a “dual personality” existing as both a particle and a wave. The reason we can see anything at all is because our mere observation of things converts light waves into light particles thereby making human consciousness the main factor when it comes to reality.

Carl Jung (1875-1961) the Swiss psychologist and near-death experiencer who founded analytical psychology, is best known for his psychological concepts including archetypes, the collective unconscious, dream analysis, and synchronicity. His interest in philosophy and metaphysics led many to view him as a mystic. Following discussions with both Albert Einstein and Wolfgang Pauli (two founding fathers of quantum physics) Jung believed there were parallels between synchronicity and the relativity of time and its connection to consciousness.

Scientists are discovering how objective reality is more of an illusion than a reality. At deeper levels, everything – atoms, cells, molecules, plants, animals, and people participate in a connected flowing web of information. At the quantum level, the observer becomes a part of the observed and the distinction between observer and object disappears. Space and time are concepts we bring with us to the quantum level but they do not seem to exist there. Time flows both forward and backward symmetrically according to relativity – a concept making time travel a possibility. And because all matter, including our brains and bodies, are mostly composed of empty space because of the structure of atoms held together by atomic energy, a metaphysical case can be made that we are mostly composed of non-physical “spirit.” At the quantum level, location becomes nonlocal and everything can be thought of as being in no particular place at no particular time. What we “see” out there has more to do with our own consciousness and subjective experience than anything “out there”. In light of these findings, we must conclude the notion of objective reality is in error. Physicists are discovering laws of physics are the laws of our own minds.

One of the most compelling theories is called the holographic principle which defines the universe as a single, gigantic hologram where everything is connected to everything else including our minds. The holographic principle is supported by one of the most significant theoretical physicists of the 20th century, David Bohm, who began the holomovement in physics. Neurophysiologist Karl Pribram synchronistically arrived at a holographic model of the mind and brain at the same time as David Bohm developed the holomovement in physics. Surprisingly, these holographic models may be the basis for all mystical experiences including the NDE. These holographic models are part of a new emerging paradigm called “holism” which is the opposite of reductionism. It is the paradigm where all natural systems – physical, biological, chemical, social, economic, etc. – and their properties, should be viewed as a whole and not the sum of its parts. A corresponding theory of quantum consciousness was developed by the joint work of theoretical physicist, Sir Roger Penrose, and anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff. Like David Bohm and Karl Pribram before them, Penrose and Hameroff developed their theories synchronistically. Penrose approached the problem of consciousness from the view point of mathematics, while Hameroff approached it from his career in anesthesia which gave him an interest in brain structures. Quantum consciousness is the theory of an underlying consciousness connecting everyone and everything and is based upon quantum fields being interpreted as extending infinitely in space.

Carl Jung referred to this connection between all life as the “collective unconscious” also known as the “collective subconscious.” Jung theorized how synchronicity serves a role similar to dreams, with the purpose of shifting a person’s egocentric conscious thinking to greater wholeness. Jung was transfixed by the idea of life not being a series of random events but rather an expression of a deeper order, which he and Wolfgang Pauli referred to as “one world” – a term referring to the concept of an underlying unified reality of the universe from which everything emerges and returns to. Jung believed this principle of an underlying “world” can express itself through synchronicity and is the basis for quantum mysticism. Quantum theories such as the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics and its corresponding many-minds theory supports this new paradigm. These quantum theories also supports the theory of quantum immortality which theoretically makes the immortality of a non-physical “soul” possible. If one views consciousness as a fundamental, non-physical, part of the universe, it becomes possible to conceive of consciousness continuing to exist after the death in a parallel universe. These quantum and holographic paradigms assume anomalous phenomena such as NDEs to certainly be within the realm of possibilities.

2. Quantum physics and the NDE

Just as surprising is how NDE encounters with an otherworldly light correspond with the new paradigm found in the principles of quantum physics. Classical mechanics involving observing, theorizing, and predicting doesn’t work very well when it comes to understanding light, consciousness, and subjective experiences – especially when it concerns the NDE. The old paradigm allowed materialists and skeptics to dismiss NDEs as being caused by brain anomalies – even though the cause of NDEs is not relevant to whether the experience is a real afterlife experience or not. Nevertheless, recent NDE studies have ruled out brain anomalies. Anyway, brain anomalies are side-effects of the near-death experience and not the cause of them. Skeptics must confront their unscientific logical fallacy of claiming NDEs are either hallucinations or are impossible since the brain is the origin of consciousness and a dead brain produces nothing. Even if one assumes NDEs to be merely a chemical reaction in the brain, there is no human experience of any description which cannot simply be reduced to a biological process, but this in no way offsets the meaning these experiences have for those who have them – whether it’s falling in love, or grieving, or having a baby, or coming close to death and having a transcendental experience.

3. Quantum interconnectivity and the NDE

Theoretical quantum physics supports the notion of our universe as being a conscious universe of which all other consciousness is a fractal. Many scientists no longer believe in a randomly generated universe from some sort of primal dust. Nobel prize winning molecular biologist Christian de Duve describes the universe as having a cosmic imperative to develop conscious life. The very structure of molecules composing living creatures dictates the evolution of conscious life. Astrophysicist Fred Hoyle agreed how the fundamental laws of the universe governing the creation of planets, suns and galaxies implies conscious life will be the end result of those universal laws. Evolutionary biologist Rupert Sheldrake goes even further, describing how “morphic forms” – patterns of energy which first exist in the universe – results in life. If these compelling theories are true, then it is possible to apply them to other dimensions of reality made up of other elementary subatomic particles. Anomalous phenomena such as NDEs then becomes less like “fantasy” and more like the perceptions of conscious beings in other realties which can be predicted by modern science. NDEs may simply be clinical applications of the experiments physicists have discovered in the lab.

For example, a European astrophysicist by the name of Metod Saniga used NDE research to develop a mathematical model of time which seems to offer solutions to problems vexing scholars since Einstein. In brief, Dr. Saniga takes seriously the testimony of NDErs when they describe experiences in a realm where “time stops” and where some of them “see the past, present, and future all at once.” Dr. Saniga describes this realm as “the Pure Present.” Dr. Saniga used these anomalous experiences to describe a single mathematical model which can account for both the conventional and the extraordinary ways humans experience time.

4. The holographic universe and the NDE

The father of the new paradigm, Albert Einstein, may have had the old paradigm in mind when he said, “All knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it.” The old paradigm denies a whole range of valid subjective experiences such as NDEs, OBEs, and mystical experiences. Severe cracks in the old paradigm began to appear when, in 1982, a research team led by physicist Alain Aspect performed what may turn out to be one of the most important experiments of the 20th century. They discovered subatomic particles were able to remain in contact with one another regardless of the distance separating them – even if the distance is billions of miles. Aspect’s findings seemed to violate the long-held theory of the impossibility of faster-than-light travel. These findings are suggestive of a deeper level of reality where all things in the universe are infinitely interconnected. Aspect’s findings influenced one of the most significant theoretical physicists of the 20th century, David Bohm, to develop a profound mathematical theory where all the apparent separateness in the universe to be an illusion. Bohm’s theory, ultimately known as the Holographic Principle, describes the universe to be a gigantic and splendidly detailed hologram.

An example of a hologram appears in the movie “Star Wars” when an illusionary holographic image of Princess Lea was projected by the robot R2D2. The notion of reality as illusionary goes back to ancient indigenous people who believed existence to be a dream or an illusion. Modern developments in science have led theoretical physicists to view reality in a similar manner – a reality composed of a matrix, grids, virtual reality, simulation and holograms.

A holographic universe explains the supersymmetry found in the universe and suggests how, at the quantum level, everything – atoms, cells, molecules, plants, animals, and people participate in a connected flowing web of information. For example, the electrons in a carbon atom in the human brain are connected to the subatomic particles comprising every other human brains – even with every star in the sky. All of nature can ultimately be viewed as one seamless web. In a holographic universe, time and space become an illusion. The past, present, and future all exist simultaneously suggesting the possibility of science to someday be able to reach into the holographic level of reality and extract scenes from the long-forgotten past – a phenomenon which has already been documented in NDE research from the life review.

Another aspect of a holographic universe is the mathematical proof of every part of a hologram contains all the information possessed by the whole. If we try to take apart something constructed holographically, we will not get the pieces of which it is made, we will only get smaller wholes. This “whole in every part” nature of a holographic universe may be the basis for mystical experiences such as the NDE. It also agrees with the view of eastern mysticism: all consciousness exists as a part of a single Whole and a single Whole within all consciousness. This holographic paradigm supports mathematical principles found in fractal geometry and the metaphysical concept of non-physical fractal souls existing in a fractal universe. A holographic universe could theoretically be viewed as a Matrix bringing into existence everything else in our universe: all matter and energy – from atoms, to solar systems, to galaxies, etc. Such a Matrix could be viewed as a kind of cosmic storehouse of “All That Is” or the metaphysical concept of an “akashic field.” Such a Matrix of “all information” could also be the basis for the NDE life review. David Bohm believed a holographic level of reality may be a “mere stage” beyond which lies “an infinity of further development.” According to physicist Fred Alan Wolf, NDEs can be explained using a holographic model where death is merely a shifting of a person’s consciousness from one dimension of the hologram to another. Craig Hogan, a physicist at Fermilab, generated even more interest in a holographic universe when he discovered proof of a holographic universe in the data of a gravitational wave detector.

Profound evidence supporting the fractal nature of consciousness within a fractal universe can be seen the image on the right. On March 16, 2006, the journal Nature published a report of the discovery of an unprecedented elongated double helix nebula (see the image on the right) near the center of our Milky Way galaxy using observations from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. According to Mark Morris, a UCLA professor of physics and astronomy, said, “Nobody has ever seen anything like that before in the cosmic realm. Most nebulae are either spiral galaxies full of stars or formless amorphous conglomerations of dust and gas – space weather. What we see indicates a high degree of order.” Notice how closely the DNA molecule looks like a fractal of this nebula.

Other evidence supporting the fractal nature of consciousness can be seen in the images on the left. Mark Miller, a doctoral student at Brandeis University, researched how particular types of neurons in the brain are connected to one another. By staining thin slices of a mouse’s brain, Miller could then identify the connections visually. The result can be seen in the image on the left labeled “The Brain Cell” (courtesy of Dr. Clifford Pickover) showing three neuron cells on the left (two red and one yellow) and their connections. By comparing The Brain Cell image with The Universe image, we can easily see how these objects have the same structure. This begs the questions, “Do we exist within a gigantic brain?” and “Is the law of physics merely the laws of our own minds?” Learn more about the fractal nature of reality in Dr. Pickover’s outstanding book The Physics Book: From the Big Bang to Quantum Resurrection. His other books, The Math Book and The Medical Book, are equally outstanding. Visit his main website and Twitter site.

The Universe image above was created by an international group of astrophysicists called The Virgo Consortium using a computer simulation to recreate how the universe grew and evolved. The image is a snapshot of the present universe featuring a large cluster of galaxies (bright yellow) surrounded by thousands of stars, galaxies and dark matter. There are several theories of the universe within particle physics called “brane cosmology” where “brane” is a reference to “membrane” in M-Theory. In theoretical physics, a “brane” is a mathematical concept where our four-dimensional universe is restricted to a “brane” inside a higher-dimensional space composed of eleven theoretical dimensions – the three dimensions we can see, plus the dimension of time, plus the seven extra dimensions we can’t see but M-theory theorizes are all around us. Surprisingly, the number of these dimensions agree with the number of “afterlife realms” described by NDEs and the major ancient religions of the world.

The Internet image on the left is a visualization of the Internet showing the various routes through a portion of the Internet. Notice how the structure of a brain cell is the same as the structure of the Internet and the universe. Is this merely a coincidence? Or do these images graphically demonstrate the ancient principle of “as above, so below.” The Internet image was generated by The Opte Project (pronounced op-tee which is Latin word for “optical”) started by Barrett Lyon whose goal was to make an accurate representation of the extent of the Internet using visual graphics. The project was started in October 2003 in an effort to provide a useful network mapping of the Internet for the purposes of helping students learn more about the Internet. This map can also be used to visualize sites of disasters in the world by citing the significant destruction of Internet capabilities after a disaster. It can also be used as a gauge for the growth of the Internet and the areas of growth. But it also shows how the structure of the Internet is developing along the same lines as the structures of the human brain and the universe. The Universe image is featured at the Boston Museum of Science, the Museum of Modern Art and the Louvre.

5. The holonomic brain and the NDE

This “holistic” view of reality (as opposed to reductionist theories) can also be applied to the human brain. The holographic principle was a catalyst towards a theory of quantum consciousness called the “holonomic brain theory” which explains how the brain encodes memories in a holographic manner. This theory originated from neurophysiologist Karl Pribram who synchronistically arrived at a holographic model of the mind at the same time David Bohm was developing a holographic model of the universe. Taken all together, this holographic model is part of a new emerging paradigm called “holism.” Holism is the principle of a whole system being more than just the sum of its parts. The best way to study the behavior of many complex systems is to treat it as a whole.

One of the most amazing things about the human thinking process is how every piece of information seems instantly cross-correlated with every other piece of information within the brain – another feature intrinsic to the hologram. Because every portion of a hologram is infinitely interconnected with every other portion, the human brain is perhaps nature’s supreme example of a cross-correlated, holistic system.

A holistic storage of memory in the brain becomes more understandable in light of Pribram’s holographic model of the brain. Another holistic property of the brain is how it is able to translate the avalanche of frequencies it receives via the senses (light frequencies, sound frequencies, etc.) into the concrete world of our perceptions. Consciousness and perception processes sources of light energy. Encoding and decoding light frequencies is precisely what a hologram does best. Just as a hologram functions as a lens which translates meaningless blurs of frequencies into a coherent image, Pribram theorizes the brain also comprises a lens (e.g., the eye) and uses holographic principles to mathematically convert frequencies received by the senses into the inner world of our perceptions. An impressive body of evidence suggests the brain uses holographic principles to perform its operations. Pribram’s theory, in fact, has gained increasing support among neurophysiologists.

6. Quantum consciousness and the NDE

A corresponding theory of quantum consciousness known as Orchestrated Objective Reduction (Orch-OR) was developed by the joint work of theoretical physicist, was developed by the joint work of theoretical physicist, Sir Roger Penrose, and anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff. Like David Bohm and Karl Pribram before them, Penrose and Hameroff developed their theories synchronistically. Penrose approached the problem of consciousness from the view point of mathematics, while Hameroff approached it from his career in anesthesia which gave him an interest in brain structures.

Mainstream theories assume consciousness emerged from the brain, so they focus particularly on complex computation at synapses allowing communication between neurons. Orch-OR assumes classical physics cannot fully explain consciousness. In the June 1994 issue of Discover Magazine, an article ran called “Quantum Consciousness” about how consciousness and quantum physics are intimately connected. This theory suggests consciousness can be found inside the microtubules of brain cells. At death, the information energy inside these microtubules – what some people refer to as the “soul” – doesn’t disappear; but instead, is retained in the universe. One of the fundamental laws in physics, the first law of thermodynamics, is energy cannot be created nor destroyed – it can only be converted. So if consciousness is indeed a form of energy, then according to the first law of thermodynamics, consciousness cannot be destroyed. Instead, it is converted into something else.

On September 6, 2011, National Geographic published the article, “9/11 and Global Consciousness” about how random number generators at Princeton University’s Global Consciousness Project detected a dramatic spike around the world before the time of the terrorist attack – an indication of global consciousness. The director of the project, Dr. Roger D. Nelson, describes in a YouTube video the details of this event. The media paid relatively little attention to this project until Nelson published his paper, “Coherent Consciousness and Reduced Randomness: Correlations on September 11, 2001.

These findings of a global consciousness are also supported NDE experiencers such as Ned Dougherty. During his NDE, Dougherty received visions of the future and were published six months before the September 11th terrorist attack. Here is what the prophecy stated as published in his book “Fast Lane to Heaven“:

“A major terrorist attack may befall New York City or Washington, DC, severely impacting the way we live in the United States.” (Ned Dougherty)

This prophecy given to Ned Dougherty is just one of the visions of the future he received during his NDE. Other near-death experiencers, such as Dannion Brinkley, were also visions of terrorist attack in New York and Washington. In fact, a great number of NDEs involve visions the future.

The old materialistic paradigm, prevalent mostly in the West, disregards the possibility of out-of-body dimensions; whereas, the new paradigm supports them. For this reason, open-minded scientists have acknowledged the time is now to abandon the old paradigm and focus on the new one. Disregarding the old paradigm became even more reasonable when, in December of 2001, The Lancet (the United Kingdom’s highly respected journal of medicine) published the results of a study by Dr. Pim van Lommel showing 18 percent of clinically dead patients having NDEs. Lommel’s study documented verified events observed by such patients from a perspective removed from their bodies – called “veridical perception” – suggesting the existence of a transcendent consciousness. Such studies beg the question of why the scientific community at large remains mostly silent about these facts. Perhaps this is the reason why.

Science may never be able to answer the question of whether or not consciousness survives bodily death; but current near-death studies, such as The AWARE Study (AWAreness during REsuscitation) is trying to find out. The director of this study, Dr. Sam Parnia M.D., is a critical care physician and director of resuscitation research at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine in New York. Dr. Parnia is recognized as an authority on the scientific study of death, the human mind–brain relationship, and near-death experience. Dr. Parnia is also the author of What Happens When We Die (2006) and Erasing Death: The Science That is Rewriting the Boundaries Between Life and Death (2013). In the late 90s, Dr. Parnia and Dr. Peter Fenwick he set up the first study of NDEs in the UK. Since then, they have published several articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals [1] [2] [3] in the field of near-death studies. Since Dr. Parnia has been part of the AWARE study, launched by The Human Consciousness Project, twenty-five participating hospitals across Europe and North America have been examining reports of patients after their clinical death, several of whom are expected to have an out-of-body experience with physical perceptions of their surroundings. A major objective of the AWARE study is to test whether the perceptions reported by these patients can be verified. One method involves a visual target being placed near the ceiling where it can only be seen by someone reading it from above; patients who report OBEs are then asked to describe it. Read about the latest update of this study.

7. Nonlocal consciousness and the God spot

Consciousness and the possibility of its survival after death is perhaps the final frontier of science. Although a large body of knowledge exists about the brain, “The brain has not explained the mind fully” according to renowned brain surgeon Wilder Penfield. Materialistic science has yet to produce a conclusive model of consciousness. This is mainly due to its inability to quantify first-person, subjective experiences. Materialism views only objective, observable experiments verifiable by third parties to be valid. The current scientific method relies only upon repeatable experiments to verify a hypothesis; but its limit is reached when quantifying consciousness. Mainstream materialistic scientists claim consciousness is produced entirely by the brain. This is analogous to claiming television sounds and images are produced entirely by television sets, despite the fact television sounds and images are produced by TV stations transmitting nonlocal radio waves. This analogy describes consciousness based not upon the brain, but the brain based upon consciousness. There are a multitude of anomalous phenomena including NDEs which cannot be explained using the scientific method. These anomalous phenomena provides a theoretical basis for a nonlocal model of consciousness while materialistic scientists are unable to explain how immaterial, conscious, subjective experiences can arises from a material brain.

Medical scientists have discovered areas within the brain collectively known as the “God Spot” which permits communication with cosmic information outside of material bodies. Theoretical physicists call this “quantum nonlocality.” Psychologists call it the “collective unconscious.” Hindus call it “Brahman.” Buddhists call it “Nirvana.” Jews call it “Shekhinah.” Christians call it the “Holy Spirit“; Christ and his disciples are called the “light of the world.” New age adherents call it the “Higher Consciousness.” According to Dr. Melvin Morse, the children he has resuscitated from death simply call it “God.”

8. Quantum superposition and the NDE

Atoms and sub-atomic particles can exist in two or more locations simultaneously as multiple coexisting possibilities known as quantum superposition. The reason why we do not see quantum superpositions on a large scale in everyday life is known as the “measurement problem” which has led to various interpretations of quantum mechanics. Early experiments by quantum pioneer Niels Bohr and others seemed to show how quantum superpositions, when measured by a machine, stayed as multiple possibilities until a conscious human observed the results. Bohr concluded “conscious observation collapses the probability wave function” and unobserved superpositions continue to exist until being observed, at which time they too are collapsed to particular random states. According to Bohr, this “consciousness causes the collapse” of quantum possibilities places consciousness within the realm of science. But materialistic science views consciousness strictly on classical physics rejecting the possibility of quantum nonlocality in consciousness and equates the mind with the brain. Perhaps this is the reason Bohr made his famous statement, “Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it.”

However, recent evidence linking biological functions to quantum processes supports the possibility of consciousness having nonlocal quantum functions in the brain. This suggests the nature of conscious experience requires a world view in which consciousness has irreducible components of reality. This interpretation defines superpositions becoming separations in reality with each possibility evolving its own distinct universe – giving a multitude of universes. The difference between this theory and Bohr’s interpretation is how the separations are randomly selected from among the superpositioned possibilities. The superposition of these locations can then viewed as separations in the very fabric of reality. This theory posits such conditions have evolved within the brain – inside brain neurons – where microtubules process quantum superpositions giving us our subjective reality. This quantum process within the brain may be the basis for consciousness transcending and surviving physical death as revealed in NDEs. In such altered states, the quantum process of superpositions may shift consciousness to different dimensions of higher frequencies. When NDEs occur, it is possible the quantum information of which consciousness is made of could shift to an existence outside the brain nonlocally. This supports the idea of the mind not being a material brain.

9. The many-worlds theory and the NDE

An important principle of quantum physics is how human observation cannot be predicted absolutely. Instead, there’s a range of possible observations to chose from in the form of probability waves each having a different probability and reality. With every thought, observation and action we make, we are constantly choosing just one of these possible probabilities of reality. One mainstream explanation for this is the “many-worlds interpretation” where each of these possible observations corresponds to a different universe within a “multiverse.” This theory describes the existence of an infinite number of universes – including our own – which comprises all reality. This theory includes possible universe(s) where death doesn’t exist, for example. The theory includes all possible universes existing at the same time despite what happens in any of them. Many-worlds theorizes our continuous choice of reality from possible probabilities does not collapse the universal wave function of all the other possible probabilities. Many-worlds implies all possible alternative histories and futures are real. Before the many-worlds interpretation, reality had always been viewed as a single unfolding history. Many-worlds, however, views reality as a many-branched tree, wherein every possible quantum outcome is realized. In many-worlds, every possible outcome of every event defines or exists in its own universe.

This many-worlds interpretation supports the NDE phenomenon called “flash-forward” where the experiencer is shown visions of possible futures should the experiencer decide to remain in the light or return to life. This phenomenon has been reported to occur to convince the experiencer to return their life because of an incomplete mission in life. One great example is found in the NDE testimony of Karen Schaeffer:

“I could feel myself becoming lighter each moment. In a fit of fear and panic I began crying. No, I couldn’t be dead. What would happen to my son? … In an embrace of love, they calmed me by showing me that my son, my entire family would be okay after my death. My mother could lean on my grandmother. It would take time, but she would heal. My husband, hurt, sad, and lonely would also heal and eventually find love once again … I was shown my funeral … But wait, my son. I couldn’t leave my son … I was told others would be a mother for me. First grandparents, and then they showed me Jake’s life … I saw a new mom for Jake when he was about 7 or 8 … I couldn’t let go of my human life … Finally, my hysteria was calmed by a higher spirit who seemed to envelop me in love. My guides were instructed to allow me to return.” (Karen Schaeffer)

Dr. Kenneth Ring described two kinds of precognitive visions in the NDE: (1) the personal “flash-forward” and the (2) “prophetic vision.” A third category, defined by NDE researcher Craig Lundahl is the “otherworld personal future revelation” (OPFR). The OPFR resembles the personal flash-forward in how it previews the experiencer’s personal future, but differs from the personal flash-forward in how it is delivered to the experiencer by another personage in the otherworld rather than appearing in the visual imagery of a life review. The OPFR differs from the prophetic vision in having a personal rather than planetary focus. Lundahl cites four historic accounts to illustrate major features of the OPFR: (1) entrance into the otherworld, (2) encounter with (3) others who foretell the experiencer’s future, and (4) later occurrence of the foretold events.

10. The many-minds theory and the NDE

The many-minds interpretation of quantum mechanics is an extension of the many-worlds interpretation by proposing distinctions between worlds should be made at the level of the mind of an individual observer. This is the principle supporting the theory of quantum immortality – an interpretation of quantum mechanics which theoretically makes it possible for a human observer to have a continuous infinity of minds in communicating parallel universes. These observer states may then be assumed to correspond to definite states of awareness (i.e., many minds) as in the classical description of observation. In order to make this theory work, the mind must be a property which can separate from the body as suggested in NDEs and OBEs.

11. The zero-point field and the NDE

In quantum theory, the “zero-point field” is a quantum vacuum state or “void” which generally contains nothing but electromagnetic waves and particles popping into and out of existence. A zero-point field of the universe is supportive of the holographic principle where consciousness and memories are not localized in the brain but are distributed throughout a holographic universe. Brains, acting as receivers, access certain frequencies of quantum information to process. This universal zero-point field describes the world and universe as a dynamic web where everything is connected, where consciousness influences matter and creates reality, and where all things are possible. According to Albert Einstein, “Space and time are modes in which we think, not conditions in which we live.”

Dr. Ervin Laszlo, twice nominated for the Nobel Prize, is an integral theorist and champion of this zero-point field as instrumental when understanding consciousness and the universe. Laszlo is generally recognized as the founder of systems philosophy who emphasizes the importance of establishing a holistic perspective on the world and man through quantum consciousness. Lazlo’s groundbreaking book, “Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything” makes a compelling case for the zero-point field to be the substance of the entire universe. It can theoretically be viewed as the source of all consciousness and matter in the universe. Using the Hindu concept of a “cosmic memory” called the “akashic records,” Laszlo theorizes the zero-point field to be the fundamental energy and information-carrying field of the universe, past and present, including all possible parallel universes. Laszlo describes how such an informational field explains why the universe appears to be fine-tuned as to form conscious life forms. Laszlo’s zero-point akashic field theory solves several problems in quantum physics from nonlocality to quantum entanglement.

Laszlo’s theory agrees with revelations from the Christian mystic Edgar Cayce. When Cayce was asked where he received his psychic information, he answered it was from “the intelligent infinity” as it is “brought into intelligent energy” as a gateway to view the present. Cayce acknowledged this “gateway” to be equivalent to the Hindu concept of the “akashic records” and the Christian concept of the “Book of Life.” Cayce revealed these otherworldly records are stored in a heavenly “Hall of Records” which corresponds to the so-called “Temple of Knowledge” or the “Temple of Wisdom” appearing in many NDE testimonials.

Dr. Laszlo’s theory is supported by important scientific research. For example, biologist Paul Pietsch experimented with salamanders to locate where memories are stored in the brain. He removed their brains, grinded them up, even shuffling their brains around, and then placed them back in their heads. The astonishing result was their memories where unaffected although their brains were demolished. Pietsch’s conclusion was memory was not a local phenomenon, but is linked to something outside their bodies. His findings were published in his book, Shufflebrain: The Quest for the Hologramic Mind.

Neuroanatomist Harold Burr conducted similar experiments with salamanders and discovered a field of light surrounding their unfertilized eggs in the shape of an adult salamander. Burr also noticed fields of light surrounding plant seeds taking the shape of mature plants. Burr’s research supports Pietsch’s findings of physical bodies being connected to a surrounding energy field. Burr’s findings where published in his book, The Fields of Life: Our Links with the Universe. This energy field may account for the salamander parts growing back when they are removed. This energy field may also explain why human amputees sometimes feel “phantom pain” from their amputated body part as described by NDE expert Robert Mays. This energy field also supports the phenomenon of people having undergone organ transplants taking on certain memories from the organ donor. The discovery of an “electromagnetic zero-point field” lends credibility to the possibility of having vast memory storage capabilities outside of the physical body. Phenomena such as these can be best understood if the zero point field can be “tapped” as a storage location for information and energy which can be accessed at any time.

This zero point field has parallels to “the void” and the “Omega Point” described in near-death research and championed by the near-death expert Dr. Kenneth Ring in his book, “Heading Toward Omega: The Search for the Meaning of Near-Death Experiences.” One example is the Omega Point is found in the NDE of Olaf Swenson who experienced a timeless spaceless realm when he nearly died of a botched tonsillectomy at age 14. He states:

“Suddenly I rolled into a ball and smashed into another reality. The forces that brought me through the barrier were terrific. I was on the other side. I realized that the boundary between life and death is a strange creation of our own mind, very real (from the side of the living), and yet insignificant.”

Swenson felt he was floating in a universe with no boundaries.

“I had total comprehension of everything. I stood at the annihilation point, a bright orange light. As I felt my mind transported back to my body, I thought, please let me remember this new theory of relativity.”

The information Swenson gained during his NDE inspired him to develop over 100 patents in molecular chemistry. (Dr. Kenneth Ring)

12. Black hole physics and the NDE

In the 1970s, Stephen Hawking put forward a theory of black holes which appeared to violate a major principle of physics – the law of the conservation of information – because it implied quantum information can permanently disappear within a black hole with the exception of “Hawking radiation.” Hawking’s inconsistent theory led to what was called the “Black Hole Information Paradox.” Physicist Leonard Susskind (pictured on the left) later solved this paradox with his development of M-theory using the holographic principle to show how information entering the edge of a black hole is not lost, but can entirely be contained on the surface of the horizon in a holographic manner. Susskind’s theory solved the paradox because the nature of a hologram’s two-dimensional information structure can be “painted” on the edge of the black hole thereby giving a three-dimensional black hole where quantum information is not lost. Susskind’s solution to the information paradox led to wide-spread acceptance of the holographic principle.

David Bohm was convinced all matter in the universe, including our physical body, is composed of light in a condensed “frozen” state. NDE experiencers have often described their spirit bodies as “bodies of light.” During an NDE the experiencer transitions from the material world which operates at speeds less than the speed of light to a dimension which operates at faster-than-light speed. The NDE experiencer may first observe the earth or the universe from space before this transition. In transitioning from the material to the spiritual dimension, the experiencer may first enter a “NDE tunnel” much in the same way a “body of light” might experience what astrophysicists call a “black hole.” As previously mentioned, Leonard Susskind’s theory of black holes allows for light particles to travel through a black hole without being destroyed. At faster-than-light speed, a “body of light” could enter into a time and spaceless dimension where this body of light can move forward and backward through space-time. This NDE tunnel, like a black hole, appears to be a “portal” to another dimension of reality.

In the late 1980’s, theoretical physicist Kip Thorne described how objects known as wormholes can exist in space which theoretically allows for time travel. Such wormholes could essentially be two connecting black holes whose mouths make up a tear in the fabric of space-time. NDE experiencers have observed such a tunnel described as “two huge tornadoes appear in the form of an immense hourglass” (P.M.H. Atwater, Beyond the Light.) The upper tornado spins clockwise and outward, while the lower tornado spins counter-clockwise and inward which is an excellent description of a wormhole. The Science Channel documentary “Through The Wormhole” has an excellent segment on NDEs. Rev. George Rodonaia‘s also has an excellent description of this NDE/Black Hole:

“I was so happy to be in the light. And I understood what the light meant. I learned that all the physical rules for human life were nothing when compared to this unitive reality. I also came to see that a black hole is only another part of that infinity which is light. I came to see that reality is everywhere. That it is not simply the earthly life but the infinite life. Everything is not only connected together, everything is also one. So I felt a wholeness with the light, a sense that all is right with me and the universe.” (Rev. George Rodonaia)

13. Biocentrism and the NDE

Dr. Robert Lanza is considered one of the leading scientists in the world. He is a medical researcher at the forefront of developments in cloning, organ transplantation, and stem-cell transplantation. His mentors described him as a “genius” and the “Bill Gates of Science.” As a young preteen, Lanza caught the attention of Harvard Medical School researchers when he successfully altered the genetics of chickens as a class project. Eventually, he was discovered and mentored by such scientific giants as psychologist B.F. Skinner, immunologist Jonas Salk, and heart transplant pioneer Christiaan Barnard. A Fulbright Scholar, Lanza was part of the team cloning the world’s first human embryo for the purpose of generating stem cells. Dr. Lanza’s work has been crucial to our understanding stem cell biology. A year after receiving his medical degree Lanza published a book on heart transplantation. In 2009, he published a book entitled, “Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe.” Reviews of his work include Nobel laureate E. Donnall Thomas who stated “Any short statement does not do justice to such a scholarly work. The work is a scholarly consideration of science and philosophy bringing biology into the central role in unifying the whole.”

Biocentrism‘s main tenet is biology being the most important science in understanding life and the universe. Other sciences require a more deeper understanding of biology – specifically life and consciousness – to make their theories of everything complete. The areas of biological research playing a central role in understanding life and consciousness must include neuroscience, brain anatomy, NDE and OBE consciousness studies, and even artificial intelligence – all of which will eventually force materialistic scientists to seriously confront the issues biocentricism raises. Robert Lanza also uses his theory of Biocentrism to explain the possibility of consciousness surviving death by such articles as: (1)What Is It Like After You Die?,” (2)Is Death the End? Experiments Suggest You Create Time,” (3)Does Death Exist?: Life Is Forever, Says Theory,” and (4)What Happens When You Die? Evidence Suggests Time Simply Reboots.”

Biocentrism also explains a major scientific paradox of how the laws of physics fits so precisely allowing for conscious life to exist. There are over 200 precise parameters in physics describing the universe which suggests the universe is fine-tuned for an environment which life and consciousness requires. There are four explanations for this paradox: (1) it is an astonishingly improbable coincidence, (2) God created it – an explanation which science cannot quantify even if it is true, (3) the “Anthropic Principle” which assumes a fine-tuned universe exists because this is just the way it is, and (4) Biocentrism’s theory of a biologically aware universe created by biologically aware life. Physician Deepak Chopra agrees with biocentrism being “consistent with the most ancient wisdom traditions of the world which says that consciousness conceives, governs, and becomes a physical world. It is the ground of our Being in which both subjective and objective reality come into existence.”

14. Subjective experiences and the NDE

Physicalism is a theory which posits only physical things exist. Materialism is a related theory which posits only matter and energy exist; and everything is composed of these materials; and all phenomena are the result of physical interactions. In other words, reality is limited to states of energy and matter. Applied to consciousness, it holds that all aspects of subjective experience is explainable purely by objective states within a physical brain. But the problem with materialism, as applied to the consciousness, is it does not distinguish between mind and brain. This explanation problem of materialism suggests there exists a metaphysical, non-physical component to subjective experiences philosophically known as “qualia“.

The person who has arguably done more to support the subjective nature of consciousness is Dr. David Chalmers, the distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Consciousness in Australia, who specializes in the area of philosophy of mind and philosophy of language. Chalmers has authored an amazing number of resources on topics related to consciousness and philosophy. He is the author of a directory of online philosophy papers, and co-directed the development of a wealth of online philosophy articles called PhilPapers. Chalmers is also the blogmaster of Fragments of Consciousness and the author of the book, “The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory.”

Chalmers defined this explanatory problem of materialism as the “hard problem of consciousness.” Chalmers illustrated this problem using the thought experiment of a “brain in a vat” (see the graphic on the left). If a person’s brain is suspended in a vat of life-sustaining liquid and its neurons connected to a supercomputer providing it with electrical impulses identical to those the brain normally receives, the computer could then simulate reality and the person with the “disembodied” brain could continue to have perfectly normal conscious experiences without being related to objects or events in the real world. In this case, because the experience of being in a vat and the experience of being in a skull would be identical, it would impossible to tell from the brain’s perspective of whether it is in a skull or a vat. Yet when the brain is in a skull and running on a beach, most of the brain’s beliefs may be true. But when the brain is in a vat, the brain’s beliefs are completely false. Therefore, because the brain cannot make such a distinction, there cannot be solid ground for the brain to believe anything it believes.

This Brain-in-a-Vat Argument is similar to the “Dream Argument” which suggests the brain’s ability to create simulated realities during REM sleep means there is a statistical likelihood of our own reality being simulated. Lucid dreams also supports this. There is also a long philosophical and scientific history to the underlying thesis of reality being an illusion which is centered on the assumption we do not experience the environment itself but rather a projection of it created by our own minds. A serious academic debate within the field of transhumanism centers around a related argument called the “Simulation Argument” which proposes reality to be a simulation and our current paradigm of reality to be an illusion. Physicists have even developed a scientific experiment to determine if our universe is a computer simulation. Also, as previously mentioned, several interpretations of quantum mechanics, such as the Holographic Principle, suggests our perception of reality to be holographically an illusion.

Near-death studies supports these arguments and goes even further. The life review process is often described by NDE experiencers in terms of viewing “television-like” screen(s) where they review every second of their life instantaneously – including the perceptions of everyone on earth they ever came into contact with throughout their life. Another aspect of NDEs supporting simulism is the out-of-body component to the NDE. Experiencers have described out-of-body conditions where they view their physical body from above in a different “body” – a phenomenon known as autoscopy. Sometimes these perceptions are verified later by third-parties – a phenomenon known as veridical perception. Veridical dreams have also been reported. See [1] [2] [3]. Veridical NDEs are reports of veridical perception during the out-of-body component of the NDE which are later confirmed to be accurate. See [4] [5] [6] [7]. Often, these perceptions are very detailed and specific. Some reports of veridical out-of-body perception involve detailed observation of events too distant for the physical body to perceive. See [8] [9] [10]. Also, while some NDE experiencers are having their out-of-body component, they may become aware of an even “higher” version of themselves (see Dr. Dianne Morrissey’s NDE for a good example). This also explains why some NDE experiencers have reported seeing “higher versions” of living people on earth. See Carl Jung’s NDE for the ultimate example where he sees the “avatar” of his friend during his NDE. While such evidence may not persuade the skeptics, the millions of individuals who have experienced an NDE are absolutely convinced of consciousness surviving bodily death.

Near-death studies contain multiple reports of veridical perception of events which were outside the range of the NDE experiencer’s sensory perception and, therefore, of brain mediation (See Sabom, 1998; Ring, 2006; Sharp, 2003; Ring & Cooper, 2008; and van Lommel, van Wees, Meyers, & Elfferich, 2001). In some cases, such perceptions occur while the NDE experiencer is experiencing the brain inactivity following within 10 seconds of cessation of heartbeat (van Lommel et al, 2001). Over 100 such cases are published on,, and More discussion of veridical perception is presented in a response to the article entitled, “Does the Arousal System Contribute to Near-Death Experience?: A Response” (PDF). in the Journal of Near-Death Studies. Taken altogether, the evidence strongly suggests the possibility of NDE and OBE perception occurring without the help of the physical senses or the brain. Therefore, for skeptics to refer to NDEs and OBEs in general as “illusions” or “delusions” is jumping the gun. Mainstream materialistic scientists have yet to fully quantify the mind; while near-death researchers provide veridical evidence reported in NDEs and OBEs as examples suggesting the mind can function independent of the physical brain. According to veridical NDE experts Jan Holden and Jeffrey Long:

“Even if future research convincingly demonstrated that electrical stimulation of a particular area of the brain consistently induced typical OBEs, this finding would not explain veridical perception associated with OBEs.” (Jan Holden and Jeffrey Long)

One particular NDE experiencer, a neurosurgeon by the name of Eben Alexander III, MD, FACS, (also has a profound understanding of the physiological aspects to the NDE he experienced. Dr. Alexander currently practices with a private neurosurgical group in Lynchburg, Va., and travels extensively, making presentations about revelations from his coma experience elucidating the nature of consciousness. According to Dr. Alexander:

“… the reductive materialist (physicalist) model, on which conventional science is based, is fundamentally flawed. At its core, it intentionally ignores what I believe is the fundament of all existence – the nature of consciousness … From their [Albert Einstein, Neils Bohr and Erwin Schrodinger] experiments one could infer that consciousness has a definite role in creating reality. And those experimental results have only become more bizarre in recent years. (Witness the “quantum eraser experiment” performed in 2000.) I believe that the core of that mystery is that consciousness itself is deeply rooted in quantum processes.

“Even the physicists and scientists who proselytize the materialistic model have been forced to the edge of the precipice. They must now admit to knowing just a little bit about 4% of the material universe they know exists, but must confess to being totally “in the dark” about the other 96 percent. And that doesn’t even begin to address the even grander component that is home to the “consciousness” that I believe to be the basis of it all.

“That we can know things beyond the ken of the “normal” channels is incontrovertible. An excellent resource for any scientist who still seeks proof of that reality is the rigorous 800-page analysis and review of all manner of extended consciousness, “Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century.” This magnum opus from the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia catalogues a wide variety of empirical phenomena that appear difficult or impossible to accommodate within the standard physicalist way of looking at things. Phenomena covered include, in particular, NDEs occurring under conditions such as deep general anesthesia and cardiac arrest that – like my coma – should prevent occurrence of any experience whatsoever, let alone the profound sorts of experiences that frequently do occur. Also noteworthy, the American Institute of Physics sponsored meetings in 2006 and 2011 covering the physical science of such extraordinary channels of knowledge.” (Dr. Eben Alexander III)

Such quantum eraser experiments mentioned by Dr. Alexander reveal an astonishing fact about how consciousness is the supreme factor in quantum physics. These experiments reveal how an experimenter is able to successfully chose and predict the random outcome of an event even after the outcome has already taken place. They prove how the outcome of such experiments – whether a photon of light is a wave or a particle – can be predicted after the fact by the experimenter making a random mental choice of the experiment’s outcome. In other words, the experimenter’s after the fact choice of the outcome actually determines the experiment’s outcome. These astonishing findings dramatically suggest the possibility of our choices made today may determine the outcome of the past.

For these reasons and more, consciousness cannot be explained entirely as objective events experienced the brain. Consciousness must also be explained in terms of the subjective events experienced in the brain. This leads to such questions as, “Why is there a personal, subjective component to experience?” and “Why aren’t we all philosophical zombies?” This “brain in a vat” argument shows how subjective experience cannot be reduced to the functional properties of physical processes in the brain. A complete definition of consciousness must include a component describing subjective, conscious experiences which have not been explained in materialistic terms. This brain in a vat argument is a contemporary version of the argument given in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.

The dream argument also applies to the subjective nature of NDEs and OBEs championed by Dr. Vernon Neppe, Director of the Pacific Neuropsychiatric Institute. In his paper, “Reality Begins with Consciousness: A Paradigm Shift that Works,” Neppe uses a hypothesis on the neurophysiological implications of parapsychology of:

“… a timeless, spaceless universe in which all things or events exist but in a more dormant sense, where drugs such as LSD may free the cerebral cortex from the ‘modulating effect of the brain stem reticular activating system,’ allowing the cortex to run free.'” (Dr. Vernon Neppe)

Neppe described the possibility where, under such circumstances, an individual exposed to a purely mental universe, independent of matter, containing all mental events, may experience overlap or be entangled with the physical universe. This is supported by similarities existing between elements of NDEs and the quantum field concept of subjectivity. They suggest all events are related and influence each other instantaneously and in reciprocity, and only subjectivity remains..

These arguments of subjectivity support the holistic paradigm of the illusionary “separation” between the subjective observer’s experience and the objective object being observed. Because the old materialistic paradigm is unable to explain conscious experiences, it leads many scientists to simply ignore it altogether as being a problem. This ignorance is demonstrated by pseudoskeptics (such as “old paradigm cops“) of anomalous conscious experiences and by materialistic critics of subjective experiences including NDEs and OBEs. Materialism cannot explain how consciousness arises from “goo” or how atoms in the brain comprises consciousness. The new holistic paradigm views reality to be in the eye and mind of the observer/beholder. Philosopher Thomas Nagel also makes a compelling case against materialism, in principle, developing an objective explanation of consciousness.

15. Scientific articles on NDEs and its relationship to quantum physics

Beck, TE & Colli, J.G. (2003). A Quantum Biomechanical Basis for Near-Death Life Reviews. Journal of Near-Death Studies.

Belaustegui, GD. (2010). Phenomenology of the Transcendence of Space-time Coordinates: Evidence from Death Announcements. Jung Journal: Culture & Psyche.

Brian, RA. (2003). What can Elementary Particles Tell Us About the World in Which We Live? NeuroQuantology..

Brumblay, RJ. (2003). Hyperdimensional Perspectives in Out-of-Body and Near-Death Experiences. Journal of Near-Death Studies.

Facco, E.& Agrillo, C. Near-Death Experiences Between Science and Prejudice. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Fracasso, C., Friedman, H. (2012). Electromagnetic Aftereffects of NDEs: A Preliminary Report on a Series of Studies Currently Under Way. Journal of Transpersonal Research.

Greene, FG. (2003). At the Edge of Eternity’s Shadows: Scaling the Fractal Continuum from Lower into Higher Space. Journal of Near-Death Studies.

Greyson, B. (2011). Cosmological Implications of Near-Death Experiences. Journal of Cosmology.

Hameroff, S., Chopra, D. (2012). The “Quantum Soul”: A Scientific Hypothesis. Exploring Frontiers of the Mind-Brain Relationship.

Jourdan, JP. (2011). Near-Death Experiences and the 5th Dimensional Spatio-Temporal Perspective. Journal of Cosmology.

Laws, E Perry. (2010). Near Death Experiences: A New Algorithmic Approach to Verifying Consciousness Outside the Brain. NeuroQuantology.

Lundahl, CR & Gibson, AS. (2000). Near-Death Studies and Modern Physics. Journal of Near-Death Studies.

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Mukherjee, K. (2012). Three Cases of NDE. Is it Physiology, Physics or Philosophy? Annals of Neurosciences.

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Evidence Science

People See Verified Events While Out-Of-Body

The scientific method requires all phenomena to be reproducible, provide veridical details (i.e., details which cannot be explained away, which are found to be true), and undergo rigorous tests to rule out all the known alternative explanations, for a theory to be proven as scientific fact. Using the scientific method, near-death experiences have been proven to be a real scientific phenomenon because they are reproducible. Near-death experiences were first shown to be reproducible during studies involving the subjection of fighter pilots to extreme gravitational forces in a giant centrifuge. But the question is not, “Are near-death experiences real?” Even skeptics now concede that it is a real phenomenon. The question to ask is, “Are near-death experiences a phenomenon of a person’s consciousness being outside of their body?” And if this can be proven true, then the next question is, “Can consciousness survive bodily death?” This last question likely cannot be proven true to the satisfaction of the skeptics using near-death research alone. This is because no matter how you define “death,” the only kind of definition that satisfies the skeptics is “irreversible” death. Just the very nature of the phrase “near-death” suggests that it is not true death – where nobody comes back. However, good scientific evidence for survival can be found in other realms of research such as psychic studies, quantum physics, consciousness studies, and remote viewing – not to mention the mountain of circumstantial evidence.

Table of Contents

  1. Veridical Perception in Near-Death Experiences
  2. Dr. Moody’s Exceptional NDE Testimony
  3. Further Evidence for Veridical Perception During NDEs
    a. Abstract
    b. Introduction
    c. Case One
    d. Case Two
    e. Case Three
    f. Discussion
  4. References

1. Veridical Perception in Near-Death Experiences

At this point in near-death studies, researchers are particularly interested in studying those NDEs that may provide an answer to the question of whether the mind can function outside the physical body. This is the first step in determining whether consciousness can survive bodily death. One way is to discover this is to examine those NDEs which are “veridical” (verifiable). Veridical NDEs occur when the experiencer acquires verifiable information which they could not have obtained by any normal means. Often, near-death experiencers report witnessing events that happen at some distant location away from their body, such as another room of the hospital. If the events witnessed by the experiencer at the distant location can be verified to have occurred, then veridical perception would be said to have taken place. It would provide very compelling evidence that NDEs are experiences outside of the physical body. Visit the NDE and Out-Of-Body research conclusions to read a large collection of veridical NDEs.

Besides his ground-breaking book, Life After Life (1975), Raymond Moody is the author of the excellent NDE books, Reflections (1985), The Light Beyond (1989), Reunions (1994), Coming Back (1995), The Last Laugh (1999), Life After Loss (2002), Paranormal (2013), and Making Sense of Nonsense (2020). In Life After Life, Moody documents a number of veridical near-death experiences which will be described here. This veridical evidence suggests the possibility that consciousness can exist away from the body. In light of such veridical evidence, other NDE theories fall by the wayside because they cannot account for these veridical details. And although the available veridical NDE evidence does not constitute scientific proof of consciousness surviving bodily death, it does qualify as very powerful circumstantial and anecdotal evidence, the kind of evidence that is upheld every day in courts of law all around the country.

Whether or not there will ever be scientific evidence for the survival of consciousness may depend upon science itself and how such phenomenon as NDEs can be quantified. Using the strict demands of science, we can only conclude as Dr. Raymond Moody does when he had this to say:

“I don’t have any idea whether there’s life after death or not. I’ve been a follower of science all of my life, but I also have a Ph.D. in philosophy, and it really seems to me that the question of life after death is not yet ripe for scientific inquiry because it’s not formulatable in a way that fits into the scientific method. I also think it’s the most important question. If you think of the big questions of existence, this is the biggie.”

The following are some examples of veridical NDEs documented by Moody:

Example 1:  An elderly woman had been blind since childhood. But, during her NDE, the woman had regained her sight and she was able to accurately describe the instruments and techniques used during the resuscitation her body. After the woman was revived, she reported the details to her doctor. She was able to tell her doctor who came in and out, what they said, what they wore, what they did, all of which was true. Her doctor then referred the woman to Moody who he knew was doing research at the time on NDEs.

Example 2:  In another instance a woman with a heart condition was dying at the same time that her sister was in a diabetic coma in another part of the same hospital. The subject reported having a conversation with her sister as both of them hovered near the ceiling watching the medical team work on her body below. When the woman awoke, she told the doctor that her sister had died while her own resuscitation was taking place. The doctor denied it, but when she insisted, he had a nurse check on it. The sister had, in fact, died during the time in question.

Example 3:  A dying girl left her body and into another room in the hospital where she found her older sister crying and saying:

“Oh, Kathy, please don’t die, please don’t die.”

The older sister was quite baffled when, later, Kathy told her exactly where she had been and what she had been saying during this time.

“After it was all over, the doctor told me that I had a really bad time, and I said, “Yeah, I know.”

He said, “Well, how do you know?”And I said, “I can tell you everything that happened.”

He didn’t believe me, so I told him the whole story, from the time I stopped breathing until the time I was kind of coming around. He was really shocked to know that I knew everything that had happened. He didn’t know quite what to say, but he came in several times to ask me different things about it.

When I woke up after the accident, my father was there, and I didn’t even want to know what sort of shape I was in, or how I was, or how the doctors thought I would be. All I wanted to talk about was the experience I had been through. I told my father who had dragged my body out of the building, and even what color clothes that person had on, and how they got me out, and even about all the conversation that had been going on in the area.

And my father said, “Well, yes, these things were true.”

Yet, my body was physically out this whole time, and there was no way I could have seen or heard these things without being outside of my body.

2. Dr. Moody’s Exceptional NDE Testimony

In his book, Life After Life, Moody documents what he calls “a rather exceptional account” which embodies many of the elements of the NDE that he describes and has an interesting veridical near-death experience. I think you will agree that it is rather exceptional:

Jack’s NDE: “At the time this happened I suffered, as I still do, a very severe case of bronchial asthma and emphysema. One day, I got into a coughing fit and apparently ruptured a disk in the lower part of my spine. For a couple of months, I consulted a number of doctors for the agonizing pain, and finally one of them referred me to a neurosurgeon, Dr. Wyatt. He saw me and told me that I needed to be admitted to the hospital immediately, so I went on in and they put me in traction right away.

“Dr. Wyatt knew that I had bad respiratory diseases so he called in a lung specialist, who said that the anesthesiologist, Dr. Coleman, should be consulted if I was going to be put to sleep. So the lung specialist worked on me for almost three weeks until he finally got me to a place where Dr. Coleman would put me under. He finally consented on a Monday, although he was very much worried about it. They scheduled the operation for the next Friday. Monday night, I went to sleep and had a restful sleep until sometime early Tuesday morning, when I woke up in severe pain. I turned over and tried to get in a more comfortable position, but just at that moment a light appeared in the corner of the room, just below the ceiling. It was just a ball of light, almost like a globe, and it was not very large, I would say no more than twelve to fifteen inches in diameter, and as this light appeared, a feeling came over me. I can’t say that it was an eerie feeling, because it was not. It was a feeling of complete peace and utter relaxation. I could see a hand reach down for me from the light, and the light said:

“Come with me. I want to show you something.”

“So immediately, without any hesitation whatsoever, I reached up with my hand and grabbed onto the hand I saw. As I did, I had the feeling of being drawn up and of leaving my body, and I looked back and saw it lying there on the bed while I was going up towards the ceiling of the room.

“Now, at this time, as soon as I left my body, I took on the same form as the light. I got the feeling, and I’ll have to use my own words for it, because I’ve never heard anyone talk about anything like this, that this form was definitely a spirit. It wasn’t a body, just a wisp of smoke or a vapor. It looked almost like the clouds of cigarette smoke you can see when they are illuminated as they drift around a lamp. The form I took had colors, though. There was orange, yellow, and a color that was very indistinct to me – I took it to be an indigo, a bluish color.

“This spiritual form didn’t have a shape like a body. It was more or less circular, but it had what I would call a hand. I know this because when the light reached down for me, I reached up for it with my hand. Yet, the arm and hand of my body just stayed put, because I could see them lying on the bed, down by the side of my body, as I rose up to the light. But when I wasn’t using this spiritual hand, the spirit went back to the circular pattern.

“So, I was drawn up to the same position the light was in, and we started moving through the ceiling and the wall of the hospital room, into the corridor, and through the corridor, down through the floors it seemed, on down to a lower floor in the hospital. We had no difficulty in passing through doors or walls. They would just fade away from us as we would approach them.

“During this period it seemed that we were traveling. I knew we were moving, yet there was no sensation of speed. And in a moment, almost instantaneously, really, I realized that we had reached the recovery room of the hospital. Now, I hadn’t even known where the recovery room was at this hospital, but we got there, and again, we were in the corner of the room near the ceiling, up above everything else. I saw the doctors and nurses walking around in their green suits and saw the beds that were placed around in there. This being then told me – he showed me:

“That’s where you’re going to be. When they bring you off the operating table they’re going to put you in that bed, but you will never awaken from that position. You’ll know nothing after you go to the operating room until I come back to get you sometime after this.”

“Now, I won’t say this was in words. It wasn’t like an audible voice, because if it had been I would have expected the others in the room to have heard the voice, and they didn’t. It was more of an impression that came to me. But it was in such a vivid form that there was no way for me to say I didn’t hear it or I didn’t feel it. It was definite to me.

“And what I was seeing – well, it was so much easier to recognize things while I was in this spiritual form. I was now wondering, like, “Now, what is that that he is trying to show me?” I knew immediately what it was, what he had in mind. There was no doubt. It was that bed – it was the bed on the right just as you come in from the corridor – is where I’m going to be and he’s brought me here for a purpose. And then he told me why. It came to me that the reason for this was that he didn’t want any fear when the time came that my spirit passed from my body, but that he wanted me to know what the sensation would be on passing that point. He wanted to assure me so that I wouldn’t be afraid, because he was telling me that he wouldn’t be there immediately, that I would go through other things first, but that he would be overshadowing everything that happened and would be there for me at the end.

“Now, immediately, when I had joined him to take the trip to the recovery room and had become a spirit myself, in a way we had been fused into one. We were two separate ones, too, of course. Yet, he had full control of everything that was going on as far as I was concerned. And even if we were traveling through the walls and ceilings and so forth, well, it just seemed that we were in such close communion that nothing whatsoever could have bothered me. Again, it was just a peacefulness, calmness, and a serenity that have never been found anywhere else.

“So, after he told me this, he took me back to my hospital room, and as I got back I saw my body again, still lying in the same position as when we left, and instantaneously I was back in my body. I would guess that I had been out of my body for five or ten minutes, but passage of time had nothing to do with this experience. In fact, I don’t remember if I had ever even thought of it as being any particular time.

“Now, this whole thing had just astounded me, took me completely by surprise. It was so vivid and real – more so than ordinary experience. And the next morning, I was not in the least afraid. When I shaved, I noticed that my hand didn’t shake like it had been doing for six or eight weeks before then. I knew that I would be dying, and there was no regret, no fear. There was no thought, “What can I do to keep this from happening?” I was ready.

“Now, on Thursday afternoon, the day before the operation the next morning, I was in my hospital room, and I was worried. My wife and I have a boy, an adopted nephew, and we were then having some trouble with him. So I decided to write a letter to my wife and one to my nephew, putting some of my worries into words, and to hide the letters where they wouldn’t be found until after the operation. After I had written about two pages on the letter to my wife, it was just as if the floodgates had opened. All at once, I broke out in tears, sobbing. I felt a presence, and at first I thought maybe that I had cried so loud that I had disturbed one of the nurses, and that they had come in to see what was the matter with me. But I hadn’t heard the door open. And again I felt this presence, but I didn’t see any light this time, and thoughts or words came to me, just as before, and he said:

“Jack, why are you crying? I thought you would be pleased to be with me.”I thought, “Yes, I am. I want to go very much.”

And the voice said, “Then why are you crying?”

I said, “We’ve had trouble with our nephew, you know, and I’m afraid my wife won’t know how to raise him. I’m trying to put into words how I feel, and what I want her to try to do for him. I’m concerned, too, because I feel that maybe my presence could have settled him down some.”

Then the thoughts came to me, from this presence, “Since you are not asking for someone else, and thinking of others, not Jack, I will grant what you want. You will live until you see your nephew become a man.”

“And just like that, it was gone. I stopped crying, and I destroyed the letter so my wife wouldn’t accidentally find it.

“That evening, Dr. Coleman came in and told me that he was expecting a lot of trouble with putting me to sleep, and for me not to be surprised to wake up and find a lot of wires and tubes and machines all around me. I didn’t tell him what I had experienced, so I just nodded and said I would cooperate.

“The next morning the operation took a long time but went fine, and as I was regaining my consciousness, Dr. Coleman was there with me, and I told him:

“I know exactly where I am.”

He asked, “What bed are you in?”

I said, “I’m in that first bed on the right just as you come in from the hall.”

“He just kind of laughed, and of course, he thought that I was just taking from the anesthetic.

“I wanted to tell him what had happened, but just in a moment Dr. Wyatt came in and said:

“He’s awake now. What do you want to do?”

And Dr. Coleman said, “There’s not a thing I can do. I’ve never been so amazed in my life. Here I am with all this equipment set up and he doesn’t need a thing.”

Dr. Wyatt said, “Miracles still happen, you know.”

“So, when I could get up in the bed and see around the room, I saw that I was in that same bed that the light had shown me several days before.

“Now, all this was three years ago, but it is still just as vivid as it was then. It was the most fantastic thing that has ever happened to me, and it has made a big difference. But I don’t talk about it. I have only told my wife, my brother, my minister, and now you. I don’t know how to say it, but this is so hard to explain. I’m not trying to make a big explosion in your life, and I’m not trying to brag. It’s just that after this, I don’t have any doubts anymore. I know there is life after death.”

3. Further Evidence for Veridical Perception During Near-Death Experiences

Kenneth Ring, Ph.D., ( is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut, and Madelaine Lawrence, R.N., Ph.D., is Director of Nursing Research at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut. This article was published in the Journal of Near-Death Studies, Volume 11, Number 4, Summer 1993.

a. Abstract

We briefly survey research designed to validate alleged out-of-body perceptions during near-death experiences. Most accounts of this kind that have surfaced since Michael Sabom’s work are unsubstantiated self-reports or, as in claims of visual perception of blind persons, completely undocumented or fictional, but there have been some reports that were corroborated by witnesses. We briefly present and discuss three new cases of this kind.

“What if you slept, and what if in your sleep you dreamed, and what if in your dream you went to heaven and there plucked a strange and beautiful flower, and what if when you awoke you had the flower in your hand? Ah, what then?” — Samuel Taylor Coleridge

b. Introduction

Despite repeated expressions for the need to verify out-of-body perceptions during near-death experiences (NDEs) (for example, Blackmore, 1984, 1985; Cook, 1984; Holden, 1988, 1989; Holden and Joesten, 1990; Kincaid, 1985; and Krishnan, 1985), the last decade has produced virtually nothing of substance on this vital issue. Michael Sabom’s pioneering work (Sabom, 1981, 1982) is now recognized as essentially the only evidence from systematic research in the field of near-death studies that suggests NDErs can sometimes report visual perceptions that are physically impossible and not otherwise explicable by conventional means. To be sure, Sabom’s data remain controversial, but the point is that they are still the only extensive body of evidence that bears on the question of veridical perception during near-death states.

Subsequent investigators, such as Janice Miner Holden and Leroy Joesten (1990), have attempted to follow Sabom’s lead, but their work has been inconclusive, a casualty of various bureaucratic and methodological complications. What has emerged instead in the aftermath of Sabom’s research is largely a miscellany of unsubstantiated self-reports as tantalizing as they are unverifiable. These reports dot the landscape of near-death studies like so many promising trails (for example, Grey, 1985, pp. 37-38; Moody and Perry, 1988, pp. 134-135; and Ring, 1984, pp. 42-44), but efforts to pursue their tracks to definite conclusions almost always prove disappointing. This is particularly true for precisely those cases that hold out the greatest hope for confounding the challenge of skeptics, namely those where blind persons are alleged to have seen accurately during their NDEs.

For example, more than a decade ago, one of us (K.R.) learned of three such elusive cases from Fred Schoonmaker, one of the first physicians to conduct an extensive investigation of NDEs. In a telephone conversation Schoonmaker mentioned that he had come across three blind persons who had furnished him with evidence of veridical visual perceptions while out-of-body, including one woman he said had been congenitally blind. On hearing the details of this last story, I (K.R.) became very excited and urged him to publish an article on these extraordinary NDEs. Regrettably, he never did.

Another example of a blind person purportedly having detailed visual perception during an NDE was described by Raymond Moody and Paul Perry (1988, pp. 134-135). Intrigued to learn more about this case, not long ago I (K.R.) asked Moody to share with me some further particulars about its evidentiality. Unfortunately, he could only tell me that he had learned of this story as a result of another physician’s playing a tape about it following one of Moody’s lectures. He didn’t remember the physician’s name and therefore could do no more than relate the brief account his book attested to (R. A. Moody, Jr., personal communication, February, 1991).

Perhaps the most disappointing outcome of this kind of search was in response to the astonishing case of a woman named Sarah, with which still another physician, Larry Dossey, began a recent book (Dossey, 1989). According to Dossey, Sarah had had a cardiac arrest during gall bladder surgery, but had been successfully resuscitated. Upon recovery she had “amazed the.., surgery team” by reporting

“a clear, detailed memory of … the OR layout; the scribbles on the surgery schedule board in the hall outside; the color of the sheets covering the operating table; the hairstyle of the head scrub nurse, and even the trivial fact that her anesthesiologist that day was wearing unmatched socks. All this she knew even though she had been fully anesthetized and unconscious during the surgery and the cardiac arrest. But what made Sarah’s vision even more momentous was the fact that, since birth, she had been blind.” (Dossey, 1989, p. 18)

This sounds like the ideal case of its kind; and that, in a sense, is exactly what it is, in a different sense. Kindly responding to an inquiry for more information about this case, Dossey confessed to me (K.R.) that he had “constructed” it on the basis of a composite description of the out-of-body testimony of NDErs such as that found in Sabom’s and Moody’s books. With this example we seem to have come full circle, to where the mere lore of NDE veridicality subtly shades into a dangerous self-confirming proposition-and to another dead end.

That skeptical conclusion is the impression left by this cursory review of the cases that have come to light since Sabom’s trailblazing efforts. However, there have been some subsequent reports that seem to represent evidence that Dossey’s fiction may in the end prove indeed to be substantiated NDE fact: the testimony of NDErs that has been supported by independent corroboration of witnesses.

Perhaps the most famous case of this kind is that of Maria, originally reported by her critical care social worker, Kimberly Clark (1984). Maria was a migrant worker who, while visiting friends in Seattle, had a severe heart attack. She was rushed to Harborview Hospital and placed in the coronary care unit. A few days later she had a cardiac arrest and an unusual out-of-body experience. At one point in this experience, she found herself outside the hospital and spotted a single tennis shoe sitting on the ledge of the north side of the third floor of the building. Maria not only was able to indicate the whereabouts of this oddly situated object, but was able to provide precise details concerning its appearance, such as that its little toe was worn and one of its laces was stuck underneath its heel.

Upon hearing Maria’s story, Clark, with some considerable degree of skepticism and metaphysical misgiving, went to the location described to see whether any such shoe could be found. Indeed it was, just where and precisely as Maria had described it, except that from the window through which Clark was able to see it, the details of its appearance that Maria had specified could not be discerned. Clark concluded:

The only way she could have had such a perspective was if she had been floating right outside and at very close range to the tennis shoe. I retrieved the shoe and brought it back to Maria; it was very concrete evidence for me. (Clark, 1984, p. 243)

Not everyone, of course, would concur with Clark’s interpretation, but assuming the authenticity of the account, which we have no reason to doubt, the facts of the case seem incontestable. Maria’s inexplicable detection of that inexplicable shoe is a strange and strangely beguiling sighting of the sort that has the power to arrest a skeptic’s argument in mid-sentence, if only by virtue of its indisputable improbability. And yet it is only one case and, however discomfitting to some it might temporarily be, it can perhaps be conveniently filed away as merely a puzzling anomaly, in the hope that some prosaic explanation might someday be found.

Such a response is understandable and seems rational. However, there are more cases like Maria’s, and we have found some. Since our search for conclusive cases of blind NDErs had thus far proven unavailing, we directed our efforts to tracking down instances of the “Maria’s shoe” variety, where improbable objects in unlikely locations were described by NDErs and where at least one witness could either confirm or disprove the allegation. So far we have found the following three such cases, two of which, oddly enough, involve shoes!

c. Case One

In 1985, Kathy Milne was working as a nurse at Hartford Hospital. Milne had already been interested in NDEs, and one day found herself talking to a woman who had been resuscitated and who had had an NDE. Following a telephone interview with me (K.R.) on August 24, 1992, she described the following account in a letter:

She told me how she floated up over her body, viewed the resuscitation effort for a short time and then felt herself being pulled up through several floors of the hospital. She then found herself above the roof and realized she was looking at the skyline of Hartford. She marvelled at how interesting this view was and out of the corner of her eye she saw a red object. It turned out to be a shoe … [S]he thought about the shoe…, and suddenly, she felt “sucked up” a blackened hole. The rest of her NDE was fairly typical, as I remember. I was relating this to a [skeptical] resident who in a mocking manner left. Apparently, he got a janitor to get him onto the roof. When I saw him later that day, he had a red shoe and became a believer, too. (K. Milne, personal communication, October 19, 1992)

One further comment about this second white crow, again in the form of a single, improbably situated shoe sighted in an external location Of a hospital: After my (K.R.) initial interview with Milne, I made a point of inquiring whether she had ever heard of the case of Maria’s shoe. Not only was she unfamiliar with it, but she was utterly amazed to hear of another story so similar to the one she had just recounted for me. It remains an unanswered question how these isolated shoes arrive at their unlikely perches for later viewing by astonished NDErs and their baffled investigators.

d. Case Two

In the summer of 1982, Joyce Harmon, a surgical intensive care unit (ICU) nurse at Hartford Hospital, returned to work after a vacation. On that vacation she had purchased a new pair of plaid shoelaces, which she happened to be wearing on her first day back at the hospital. That day, she was involved in resuscitating a patient, a woman she didn’t know, giving her medicine. The resuscitation was successful, and the next day, Harmon chanced to see the patient, whereupon they had a conversation, the gist of which (not necessarily a verbatim account) is as follows (J. Harmon, personal communication, August 28, 1992):

The patient, upon seeing Harmon, volunteered, “Oh, you’re the one with the plaid shoelaces!”

“What?” Harmon replied, astonished. She says she distinctly remembers feeling the hair on her neck rise.

“I saw them,” the woman continued. “I was watching what was happening yesterday when I died. I was up above.”

e. Case Three

In the late 1970s, Sue Saunders was working at Hartford Hospital as a respiratory therapist. One day, she was helping to resuscitate a 60ish man in the emergency room, whose electrocardiogram had gone flat. Medics were shocking him repeatedly with no results. Saunders was trying to give him oxygen. In the middle of the resuscitation, someone else took over for her and she left.

A couple of days later, she encountered this patient in the ICU. He spontaneously commented, “You looked so much better in your yellow top.”

She, like Harmon, was so shocked at this remark that she got goose-bumps, for she had been wearing a yellow smock the previous day.

“Yeah,” the man continued, “I saw you. You had something over your face and you were pushing air into me. And I saw your yellow smock.”

Saunders confirmed that she had had something over her face – a mask – and that she had worn the yellow smock while trying to give him oxygen, while he was unconscious and without a heartbeat (S. Saunders, personal communication, August 28, 1992).

f. Discussion

The three cases we have presented briefly attest to three important observations:

(1) Patients who claim to have out-of-body experiences while near death sometimes describe unusual objects that they could not have known about by normal means;

(2) These objects can later be shown to have existed in the form and location indicated by the patients’ testimony; and

(3) Hearing this testimony has a strong emotional and cognitive effect on the caregivers involved, either strengthening their pre-existing belief in the authenticity of NDEs or occasioning a kind of on-the-spot conversion.

We are not suggesting, of course, that the cases we have described here constitute proof of the authenticity of NDEs or even that they necessarily demonstrate that patients have been literally out of their bodies when they report what they do. We only submit that such cases add to the mounting evidence that veridical and conventionally inexplicable visual perceptions do occur during NDEs, and the fact of their existence needs to be reckoned with by near-death researchers and skeptics alike.

We hope that our small collection of cases will motivate other investigators to search for and document their own, so that this body of data will increase to the point where it becomes generally accepted, whatever its explanation may ultimately be. Until such time as more studies like those undertaken by Sabom and Holden are actually conducted by near-death researchers, or a genuine case of corroborated visual perception by a blind NDEr is reported, perhaps instances of the kind we have offered here will constitute the strongest argument that cases like Dossey’s Sarah are by no means as fictional as skeptics might think.

4. References

Blackmore, S. J. (1984). Are out-of-body experiences evidence for survival? Reply to Cook [Letter]. Anabiosis: The Journal of Near-Death Studies, 4, 169-171.

Blackmore, S. J. (1985). Are out-of-body experiences evidence for survival? Reply to Krishnan [Letter]. Anabiosis: The Journal of Near-Death Studies, 5(1), 79-82.

Clark, K. (1984). Clinical interventions with near-death experiencers. In B. Greyson and C. P. Flynn (Eds.), The near-death experience: Problems, prospects, perspectives (pp. 242-255). Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.

Cook, E. W. (1984). Are out-of-body experiences evidence for survival? [Letter]. Anabiosis: The Journal of Near-Death Studies, 4, 167-169.

Dossey, L. (1989). Recovering the soul: A scientific and spiritual search. New York, NY: Bantam.

Grey, M. (1985). Return from death: An exploration of the near-death experience. London, England: Arkana.

Holden, J. M. (1988). Visual perception during the naturalistic near-death out-of-body experience. Journal of Near-Death Studies, 7, 107-120.

Holden, J. M. (1989). Unexpected findings in a study of visual perception during the naturalistic near-death out-of-body experiences. Journal of Near-Death Studies, 7, 155-163.

Holden, J. M., and Joesten, L. (1990). Near-death veridicality research in the hospital setting: Problems and promise. Journal of Near-Death Studies, 9, 45-54.

Kincaid, W. M. (1985). Sabom’s study should be repeated [Letter]. Anabiosis: The Journal of Near-Death Studies, 5(2), 84-87.

Krishnan, V. (1985). Are out-of-body experiences evidence for survival? [Letter]. Anabiosis: The Journal of Near-Death Studies, 5(1), 76-79.

Moody, R. A., Jr. (1975). Life After Life, pages 101-107, New York, NY: Bantam.

Moody, R. A., Jr., and Perry, P. (1988). The light beyond. New York, NY: Bantam.

Ring, K., and Lawrence, M. (1993). Further evidence for veridical perception during near-death experiences. The Journal of Near-Death Studies, 11,(4), pages 223-229.

Ring, K. (1984). Heading toward omega: In search of the meaning of the near-death experience. New York, NY: William Morrow.

Sabom, M. B. (1981). The near-death experience: Myth or reality? A methodological approach. Anabiosis: The Journal of Near-Death Studies, 1, 44-56.

Sabom, M. B. (1982). Recollections of death: A medical investigation. New York, NY: Harper and Row

Evidence Science

People Have Near-Death Experiences While Brain Dead

Dr. Michael Sabom is a cardiologist whose book entitled Light and Death includes a detailed medical and scientific analysis of an amazing near-death experience (NDE) of a woman named Pam Reynolds (1956–2010). In 1991, at the age of 35, Reynolds underwent a rare operation to remove a giant basilar artery aneurysm in her brain that threatened her life. The size and location of the aneurysm, however, precluded its safe removal using the standard neuro-surgical techniques. She was referred to a neurosurgeon, Dr. Robert F. Spetzler, of the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, who had pioneered a daring surgical procedure known as deep hypothermic cardiac arrest. It allowed Pam’s aneurysm to be excised with a reasonable chance of success. This operation, nicknamed “standstill” by the doctors who perform it, required that Pam’s body temperature be lowered to 60 degrees, her heartbeat and breathing stopped, her brain waves flattened, and the blood drained from her head. In everyday terms, she was put to death. After removing the aneurysm, she was restored to life.

During the time that Pam was in standstill, she experienced an NDE. Her remarkably detailed veridical (i.e., verified) out-of-body observations during her surgery were later verified to be true. Her case is considered to be one of the strongest cases of veridical evidence in NDE research because of her ability to describe the unique surgical instruments, the surgical procedures used on her, and her ability to describe in detail these events while she was clinically brain dead. Pam Reynolds Lowery ultimately died from heart failure, on Saturday May 22, 2010, at the age 53.

Table of Contents

  1. Pam Reynolds’ Surgery and Near-Death Experience
  2. About the State of Pam Reynolds’ Brain Death
  3. The Pam Reynolds’ Debate in the Journal of Near-Death Studies
  4. More Links to Articles Related to the Veridical Perception Debate
  5. The Case Against Keith Augustine’s “Internet Infidels”
    a. Against Keith Augustine’s Naturalism
    b. Against Keith Augustine’s “Myth of an Afterlife”

1. Pam Reynolds’ Surgery and Near-Death Experience

When all of Pam’s vital signs were stopped, the doctor turned on a surgical saw and began to cut through Pam’s skull. While this was going on, Pam reported that she felt herself “pop” outside her body and hover above the operating table. Then she watched the doctors working on her lifeless body for awhile. From her out-of-body position, she observed the doctor sawing into her skull with what looked to her like an electric toothbrush. Pam heard and reported later what the nurses in the operating room had said and exactly what was happening during the operation. At this time, every monitor attached to Pam’s body registered “no life” whatsoever. At some point, Pam’s consciousness floated out of the operating room and traveled down a tunnel which had a light at the end of it where her deceased relatives and friends were waiting including her long-dead grandmother. Pam’s NDE ended when her deceased uncle led her back to her body for her to reentered it. Pam compared the feeling of reentering her dead body to “plunging into a pool of ice.” The following is Pam Reynolds’ account of her NDE in her own words.

Pam Reynolds’ NDE

The next thing I recall was the sound: It was a Natural “D.” As I listened to the sound, I felt it was pulling me out of the top of my head. The further out of my body I got, the more clear the tone became. I had the impression it was like a road, a frequency that you go on … I remember seeing several things in the operating room when I was looking down. It was the most aware that I think that I have ever been in my entire life …I was metaphorically sitting on [the doctor’s] shoulder. It was not like normal vision. It was brighter and more focused and clearer than normal vision … There was so much in the operating room that I didn’t recognize, and so many people.

I thought the way they had my head shaved was very peculiar. I expected them to take all of the hair, but they did not…

The saw-thing that I hated the sound of looked like an electric toothbrush and it had a dent in it, a groove at the top where the saw appeared to go into the handle, but it didn’t … And the saw had interchangeable blades, too, but these blades were in what looked like a socket wrench case … I heard the saw crank up. I didn’t see them use it on my head, but I think I heard it being used on something. It was humming at a relatively high pitch and then all of a sudden it went Brrrrrrrrr! like that.

Someone said something about my veins and arteries being very small. I believe it was a female voice and that it was Dr. Murray, but I’m not sure. She was the cardiologist. I remember thinking that I should have told her about that … I remember the heart-lung machine. I didn’t like the respirator … I remember a lot of tools and instruments that I did not readily recognize.

There was a sensation like being pulled, but not against your will. I was going on my own accord because I wanted to go. I have different metaphors to try to explain this. It was like the Wizard of Oz – being taken up in a tornado vortex, only you’re not spinning around like you’ve got vertigo. You’re very focused and you have a place to go. The feeling was like going up in an elevator real fast. And there was a sensation, but it wasn’t a bodily, physical sensation. It was like a tunnel but it wasn’t a tunnel.

At some point very early in the tunnel vortex I became aware of my grandmother calling me. But I didn’t hear her call me with my ears … It was a clearer hearing than with my ears. I trust that sense more than I trust my own ears.

The feeling was that she wanted me to come to her, so I continued with no fear down the shaft. It’s a dark shaft that I went through, and at the very end there was this very little tiny pinpoint of light that kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

The light was incredibly bright, like sitting in the middle of a light bulb. It was so bright that I put my hands in front of my face fully expecting to see them and I could not. But I knew they were there. Not from a sense of touch. Again, it’s terribly hard to explain, but I knew they were there …

I noticed that as I began to discern different figures in the light – and they were all covered with light, they were light, and had light permeating all around them – they began to form shapes I could recognize and understand. I could see that one of them was my grandmother. I don’t know if it was reality or a projection, but I would know my grandmother, the sound of her, anytime, anywhere.

Everyone I saw, looking back on it, fit perfectly into my understanding of what that person looked like at their best during their lives.

I recognized a lot of people. My uncle Gene was there. So was my great-great-Aunt Maggie, who was really a cousin. On Papa’s side of the family, my grandfather was there … They were specifically taking care of me, looking after me.

They would not permit me to go further … It was communicated to me – that’s the best way I know how to say it, because they didn’t speak like I’m speaking – that if I went all the way into the light something would happen to me physically. They would be unable to put this me back into the body me, like I had gone too far and they couldn’t reconnect. So they wouldn’t let me go anywhere or do anything.

I wanted to go into the light, but I also wanted to come back. I had children to be reared. It was like watching a movie on fast-forward on your VCR: You get the general idea, but the individual freeze-frames are not slow enough to get detail.

Then they [deceased relatives] were feeding me. They were not doing this through my mouth, like with food, but they were nourishing me with something. The only way I know how to put it is something sparkly. Sparkles is the image that I get. I definitely recall the sensation of being nurtured and being fed and being made strong. I know it sounds funny, because obviously it wasn’t a physical thing, but inside the experience I felt physically strong, ready for whatever.

My grandmother didn’t take me back through the tunnel, or even send me back or ask me to go. She just looked up at me. I expected to go with her, but it was communicated to me that she just didn’t think she would do that. My uncle said he would do it. He’s the one who took me back through the end of the tunnel. Everything was fine. I did want to go.

But then I got to the end of it and saw the thing, my body. I didn’t want to get into it … It looked terrible, like a train wreck. It looked like what it was: dead. I believe it was covered. It scared me and I didn’t want to look at it.

It was communicated to me that it was like jumping into a swimming pool. No problem, just jump right into the swimming pool. I didn’t want to, but I guess I was late or something because he [the uncle] pushed me. I felt a definite repelling and at the same time a pulling from the body. The body was pulling and the tunnel was pushing … It was like diving into a pool of ice water … It hurt!

When I came back, they were playing Hotel California and the line was “You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.” I mentioned [later] to Dr. Brown that that was incredibly insensitive and he told me that I needed to sleep more. [laughter] When I regained consciousness, I was still on the respirator.

2. About the State of Pam Reynolds’ Brain Death

For practical purposes outside the world of academic debate, three clinical tests commonly determine brain death. First, a standard electroencephalogram, or EEG, measures brain-wave activity. A “flat” EEG denotes non-function of the cerebral cortex – the outer shell of the cerebrum. Second, auditory evoked potentials, similar to those [clicks] elicited by the ear speakers in Pam’s surgery, measure brain-stem viability. Absence of these potentials indicates non-function of the brain stem. And third, documentation of no blood flow to the brain is a marker for a generalized absence of brain function.

But during “standstill”, Pam’s brain was found “dead” by all three clinical tests – her electroencephalogram was silent, her brain-stem response was absent, and no blood flowed through her brain. Interestingly, while in this state, she encountered the “deepest” NDE of all Atlanta Study participants.

Some scientists theorize that NDEs are produced by brain chemistry. But, Dr. Peter Fenwick, a neuropsychiatrist and the leading authority in Britain concerning NDEs, believes that these theories fall far short of the facts. In the documentary, “Into the Unknown: Strange But True,” Dr. Fenwick describes the state of the brain during an NDE:

“The brain isn’t functioning. It’s not there. It’s destroyed. It’s abnormal. But, yet, it can produce these very clear experiences … an unconscious state is when the brain ceases to function. For example, if you faint, you fall to the floor, you don’t know what’s happening and the brain isn’t working. The memory systems are particularly sensitive to unconsciousness. So, you won’t remember anything. But, yet, after one of these experiences [an NDE], you come out with clear, lucid memories … This is a real puzzle for science. I have not yet seen any good scientific explanation which can explain that fact.”

3. The Pam Reynolds’ Debate in the Journal of Near-Death Studies

Keith Augustine is a philosopher and executive editor of an organization and website promoting atheism called “Internet Infidels” — now renamed “The Secular Web” ( Beginning in the summer of 2007, Augustine submitted three skeptical papers related to the Pam Reynolds’s case to the scholarly, peer-reviewed journal on NDEs called the Journal of Near-Death Studies. Normally, only papers by physicians, scientists, medical professionals and academics are accepted; but, according to the Editor of the Journal, Bruce Greyson, M.D., Augustine’s papers were accepted because of the large collection of skeptical arguments presented and the opportunity it would give to have them peer-reviewed.

Following Augustine’s papers and the peer-reviewed commentaries on them, another skeptic’s papers are presented related to the Pam Reynolds’ case which were accepted to the Journal and peer-reviewed. Gerald Woerlee ( is a Dutch anesthesiologist and author of several books including the anti-religious book “The Unholy Legacy of Abraham” where he presents his skeptical theory about phenomena such as NDEs as being religious fantasies of the brain.

Altogether, these skeptical papers and critical commentaries give the NDE enthusiast with a library of information providing all sides of the issue concerning the materialist / agnostic / survivalist debate on NDEs.

Links to Papers from the Journal of Near-Death Studies on the Veridical Perception NDE Debate

A. Keith Augustine. “Does Paranormal Perception Occur in NDEs?” JNDS Vol. 25, No. 4 (Summer 2007) [PDF]
1. Bruce Greyson. “Comments on ‘Does Paranormal Perception Occur in NDEs?‘” (pp. 237-244). [PDF]
2. Kimberly Sharp. “Commentary on ‘Does Paranormal Perception Occur in NDEs?” (pp. 245-250). [PDF]
3. Charles Tart. “Commentary on ‘Does Paranormal Perception Occur in NDEs?‘” (pp. 251-256). [PDF]
4. Michael Sabom. “Commentary on ‘Does Paranormal Perception Occur in NDEs?’” (pp. 257-260). [PDF]
a. Keith Augustine. “‘Does Paranormal Perception Occur in NDEs?’ DEFENDED” (pp. 261-283). [PDF]

B. Keith Augustine. “NDEs with Hallucinatory Features” JNDS Vol. 26, No. 1 (Fall 2007) [PDF]
1. Janice Holden. “A Response to ‘NDEs with Hallucinatory Features‘” (pp. 33-42). [PDF]
2. Peter Fenwick. “Commentary on ‘NDEs with Hallucinatory Features‘” (pp. 43-49). [PDF]
3. William Serdahely. “Commentary on ‘NDEs with Hallucinatory Features” (pp. 51-53). [PDF]
4. Bruce Greyson. “Responses to ‘Does Paranormal Perception Occur in NDEs?‘ [Letter]” (pp. 67-70). [PDF]
5. Kenneth Ring. “Responses to ‘Does Paranormal Perception Occur in NDEs?‘ [Letter]” (pp. 70-76). [PDF]
6. Raymond Moody. “Responses to ‘Does Paranormal Perception Occur in NDEs?‘ [Letter]” (pp. 77-83). [PDF]
7. Steven Cooper. “Responses to ‘Does Paranormal Perception Occur in NDEs?‘ [Letter]” (pp. 83). [PDF]
8. Barbara Whitfield. “Responses to ‘Does Paranormal Perception Occur in NDEs?‘ [Letter]” (pp. 84-85). [PDF]
a. Keith Augustine. “‘NDEs with Hallucinatory Features’ DEFENDED” (pp. 55-65). [PDF]

C. Keith Augustine. “Psychophysiological and Cultural Correlates Undermining a Survivalist Interpretation of NDEs” JNDS Vol. 26, No. 2 (Winter 2007) [PDF]
1. Bruce Greyson. “Commentary on ‘Psychophysiological and Cultural Correlates…” (pp. 127-145). [PDF]
2. Allan Kellehear. “Comments on ‘Psychophysiological and Cultural Correlates…” (pp. 147-153). [PDF]
3. Mark Fox. “Comment on Keith Augustine’s Article” (pp. 155-157). [PDF]
4. Harvey Irwin. “Commentary on Keith Augustine’s Paper” (pp. 159-161). [PDF]
a. Keith Augustine. “‘Psychophysiological and Cultural Correlates… DEFENDED” (pp. 163-175). [PDF]

D. Journal of Near-Death Studies. Vol. 26, No. 3 (Spring 2008)
1. P.M.H. Atwater. “Embellishment of NDEs [Letter]” (pp. 219-223). [PDF]
2. Michael Sabom. “Study of Perception in Autoscopic NDEs [Letter]” (pp. 223-227). [PDF]
3. Neal Grossman. “Four Errors Commonly Made by Professional Debunkers [Letter]” (pp. 227-235). [PDF]
4. Keith Augustine. “Augustine Responds [Letter]” (pp. 235-243). [PDF]

E. Journal of Near-Death Studies. Vol. 26, No. 4 (Summer 2008)
1. Rudolf Smit. “Further Commentary on Pam Reynolds’ NDE [Letter]” (pp. 308-311). [PDF]

F. Gerald Woerlee. “Could Pam Reynolds Hear? A New Investigation into the Possibility of Hearing During this Famous NDE” JNDS, Vol. 30, No 1, (Fall 2011) [PDF]
1. Stuart Hameroff. “Response to ‘Could Pam Reynolds Hear?‘” (pp. 26-28). [PDF]
2. Chris Carter. “Response to ‘Could Pam Reynolds Hear?‘” (pp. 29-53). [PDF]
a. Gerald Woerlee. “Rejoinder to Responses to ‘Could Pam Reynolds Hear?‘” (pp. 54-61). [PDF]
I. Reply to Woerlee’s Rejoinder on the Pam Reynolds Case (2012) – by Chris Carter [PDF]
II. Interview with Titus Rivas about NDEs, survival of consciousness, the Pam Reynolds case etc. (2013). – by Jime Sayaka [PDF]

G. Journal for Near-Death Studies, Volume 30, Number 3, Spring 2012
1. Rudolf Smit. “Failed Test of the Possibility that Pam Reynolds Heard Normally During her NDE” [Letter} (pp. 188-192). [PDF]

H. Pim van Lommel et al. “NDE in Survivors of Cardiac Arrest: A Prospective Study in the Netherlands” (Dutch Study) The Lancet Vol. 358 (Dec. 2001) (pp. 2039-2045) [PDF]
1. Rudolf Smit. “Corroboration of the Dentures Anecdote Involving Veridical Perception in a NDE” JNDS Vol. 27, No. 1 (Fall 2008) (pp. 48-61) [PDF]
a. Gerald Woerlee. “Response to ‘Corroboration of the Dentures Anecdote Involving Veridical Perception in a NDE‘” JNDS Vol. 28, No. 4 (Summer 2010) (pp. 181-191) [PDF]
I. Rudolf Smit et al. “Rejoinder to ‘Corroboration of the Dentures Anecdote Involving Veridical Perception in a NDE‘” JNDS Vol. 28, No. 4 (Summer 2010) (193-205) [PDF]

4. More Links to Articles Related to the Veridical Perception Debate

Below are some Internet links related to the topic of the Pam Reynolds’ NDE debate and paranormal out-of-body veridical perception evidence for the survival of consciousness after death.

A. More Journal of Near-Death Studies Articles on Evidence From Veridical OBE Perception in NDEs
1. Kenneth Ring et al. “Further Evidence for Veridical Perception During NDEs” JNDS Vol. 11, No. 4 (1993) [PDF]
2. Titus Rivas et al. “A NDE with Veridical Perception Described by a Famous Heart Surgeon and Confirmed by his Assistant Surgeon” JNDS Vol. 31, No. 3 (2013) [PDF]
3. Penny Sartori et al. “A Prospectively Studied NDE with Corroborated OBE Perceptions and Unexplained Healing” JNDS Vol. 25, No. 2 (2006) [PDF]
4. Janice Holden. “Visual Perception During Naturalistic Near-Death OBEs” JNDS Vol. 7, No. 2 (1988) [PDF]
5. Janice Holden et al. “Near-Death Veridicality Research in the Hospital Setting: Problems and Promise” JNDS Vol. 9, No. 1 (1990) [PDF]
6. Michael Potts. “The Evidential Value of NDEs for Belief in Life After Death” JNDS Vol. 20, No. 4 (2002) [PDF]
7. Janice Holden et al. “Out-of-Body Experiences: All in the Brain?” JNDS Vol. 25, No. 2 (2006) [PDF]
8. Robert & Suzanne Mays. “The Phenomenology of the Self-Conscious Mind” JNDS Vol. 27, No. 1 (2008) [PDF]

B. Other Journal Articles on Evidence From Veridical OBE Perception in NDEs
1. David Rousseau. “The Implications of NDEs for Research into the Survival of Consciousness” JSE Vol. 26, No. 1 (pp. 43-80) (2012) [PDF]
2. Bruce Greyson. “Seeing Dead People Not Known to Have Died: ‘Peak in Darien’ Experiences” Anthropology and Humanism Vol. 25, No. 2 (2010) (pp. 159-171) [PDF]
3. Pim van Lommel. “NDE, Consciousness, and the Brain” World Futures Vol. 62 (2006) [PDF]
4. Michael Nahm et al. “Terminal Lucidity: A Review and a Case Collection” Arch. Gerontol. Geriarr. (2011) [PDF]
5. Enrico Facco et al. “NDEs Between Science and Prejudice” Frontiers in Human Neuroscience Vol. 6, No. 6 (2012) (pp. 1-7) [PDF]

C. Articles Refuting Keith Augustine’s and Gerald Woerlee’s Arguments
1. “Veridical OBE Perception in Near-Death Experiences” – by Kevin Williams (
2. “Rebutting Keith Augustine’s Objections to the Near-Death Experience” – by Leo MacDonald (
3. “NDEs / OBEs: An In-depth Examination of Veridical Evidence” – by Eteponge (
4. “NDEs: Brain Physiology or Transcendental Consciousness? Or Both?” – by Kevin Williams (
5. “NDEs and Their Enemies” – by Michael Prescott (
6. “Who Will Watch the Watchers” – by Michael Prescott (

D. Other Articles on Evidence From Veridical OBE Perception in NDEs
1. “NDEs as Evidence for Survival of Bodily Death” – by Bruce Greyson (
2. “A Critique of Susan Blackmore’s Dying Brain Hypothesis” – by Greg Stone (
3. “The Survivalist’s Interpretation of Recent Studies Into NDEs” – by Titus Rivas (
4. “About the Continuity of Our Consciousness” – by Pim Von Lommel (
5. “Medical Evidence for NDEs: A Reply to Shermer” – by Pim van Lommel (
6. “Dr. Charles Tart’s OBE Research” (Autoscopic Evidence) – by Charles Tart (
7. “Debunking PseudoSkeptical Arguments of Paranormal Debunkers” – by Winston Wu (

5. The Case Against Keith Augustine’s “Internet Infidels”

a. Against Keith Augustine’s Naturalism

Religious faith implies the possibility of doubt. Knowledge implies certainty due to scientific methods. This is why knowledge will always be greater than faith; and why scientific support for the existence of God is always stronger than faith in dogma. Kurt Godel, the foremost mathematical logician of the 20th century, offered a theorem and a proof that atheism is not logical. If you visit Keith Augustine’s website,, on the home page you will find the following statement:

Naturalism is ‘the hypothesis that the natural world is a closed system, which means that nothing that is not part of the natural world affects it.’ Thus, ‘naturalism implies that there are no supernatural entities’ – including God.” – Quote from Keith Augustine’s website

However, Kurt Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem shows that no consistent formal system can prove its own consistency. See this Wikipedia article for the mathematical logic. In plain language, it proves that all closed systems depend upon something outside the system. So according to Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem, the quote on the Infidels website cannot be correct. If the natural world is a closed, logical system, then it has an outside cause. Thus, according to Godel’s theorem, atheism violates the laws of reason and logic. Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem definitively proves that current scientific models can never fill its own gaps. We have no choice but to look outside of current scientific models for answers concerning illogical statements such as, “A God does not exist in the natural world.”.

The incompleteness of the universe’s own consistency regarding its existence isn’t proof that the God of any particular religion exists; but it is proof that in order to construct a rational, scientific model of the universe, a new scientific model that includes an outside, all-powerful Cause is not just 100% logical – it’s necessary. Kurt Godel also developed an Ontological Proof of God’s existence which has been proven by German computer scientists in 2013. However, Godel’s theorems and proof cannot be applied to prove the existence of Santa Claus, nor to prove the existence of a Flying Spaghetti Monster flatulating the universe into existence.

Dr. Juleon Schins, professor of Chemical Engineering at Delft University of Technology, declared that Godel’s theorem and Alan Turing’s thesis:

“…firmly establish the existence of something that is unlimited and absolute, fully rational and independent of human mind. What would be more convincing pointer to God?” — Dr. Juleon Schins

Dr. Antoine Suarez, of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies Center for Quantum Philosophy, in turn states that, because of Godel’s theorems, we are “scientifically” led to the conclusion that it is reasonable to reckon with God.

Then there is the logical argument from the Christian philosopher C.S. Lewis whose former belief in an unjust universe led him away from atheism to theism:

“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction against it? A man feels wet when he falls into water, because man is not a water animal: a fish would not feel wet. Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too – for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist – in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless – I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality – namely my idea of justice – was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 1952)

So Lewis concluded that if the universe is meaningless, we would never have discovered it to be meaningless. And because the burden of proof lies with those who illogically claim the world is meaningless, and not upon those who disprove the claim by giving it meaning, shows the claim of a meaningless universe is false. The same is true of a “Godless” universe.

Near-death experiences also support the existence of God. On Wikipedia, other logical arguments for the existence of God can be found.

b. Against Keith Augustine’s “Myth of an Afterlife”

Keith Augustine, along with the late Michael Martin, is the co-author of the 675-page book, “The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life After Death,” published by Rowman & Littlefield (2015). It also comes in a Kindle eBook Edition. From the description: the authors collected a series of contributions providing a “casebook” of the chief arguments against an afterlife. The authors brought together a variety of fields of research to make their case, including (1) philosophy of mind, (2) philosophy of religion, (3) moral philosophy, (4) personal identity, (5) psychical research, (6) anomalistic psychology, and (7) cognitive neuroscience. Divided into four separate sections, the book opens with a broad overview of the issues, as contributors consider the strongest evidence of whether or not we survive death — in particular the biological basis of all mental states and their grounding in brain activity that ceases to function at death. Next, contributors consider a host of conceptual and empirical difficulties that confront the various ways of “surviving” death — from bodiless minds to bodily resurrection to any form of posthumous survival. Then essayists turn to internal inconsistencies between traditional theological conceptions of an afterlife — heaven, hell, karmic rebirth — and widely held ethical principles central to the belief systems supporting those notions. In the final section, authors offer critical evaluations of the main types of evidence for an afterlife.

There are a couple of great critical book reviews on “The Myth of an Afterlife”: (1) by Robert McLuhan, “The Myth of an Afterlife” from The Society for Psychical Research; and, (2) by Julio C. S. Barros, “Requiem to a Stillborn 21st-Century Atheist-Materialist Grimoir” from the Amazon Reviews.

In my opinion, one of the most devastating failures of Keith Augustine’s book is that it doesn’t address the latest evidence from quantum mechanics (QM) as it relates to the survival of quantum consciousness. In fact, Augustine seems to favor mostly the opinion of philosophers than scholars of the “hard sciences.” QM does not rule out the possibility of an “afterlife” universe or “afterlife” dimension (a multiverse, a multidimensional universe) or the survival of brain function after death (quantum immortality). Through quantum decoherence and quantum superposition, the idea of parallel universes offers the possibility for the existence of a communicating parallel universe acting as a person’s afterlife universe when death occurs. As derived from the Many-WORLDS interpretation of QM, and its extending concept of Many-MINDS interpretation of QM, it is theoretically possible for a living person to exist in superposition in a parallel universe (including their mental states and electrical discharges occurring throughout their brain and nervous system). Many-Worlds views reality as a many-branched tree where every possible quantum outcome is realized including the possibility of branches to universes that doesn’t lead to a living person’s death. Theoretically, this makes it possible for a living person to continue living in a parallel universe when the person dies in this current universe. In fact, Augustine’s book doesn’t even mention the Many Worlds interpretation of QM although one of the authors of Augustine’s book is David Papineau, a prominent supporter of Many Worlds.

More support for the possibility of survival after death comes from the current string theory interpretation of the holographic principle of quantum physics. This principle defines our universe as existing as a hologram where all the quantum information perceived in three dimensions is stored. First proposed by the eminent physicist David Bohm (author of Bohmian mechanics and co-author of the holonomic brain theory along with Karl Pribram), a holographic universe can theoretically encode every quantized moment of our existence and experiences from the universe.

Rather than a constant flow of experience, mental states can be broken up in intervals or time-quanta of 0.042 seconds, each of which make up one moment of neural substrate. Each state consists of a certain amount of quantum information which can theoretically be stored on a hard drive for example; and there is much progress ongoing in this technology. This holographic model of reality allows for phenomena considered “paranormal” such as near-death experiences, other phenomena involving life after death, and mental telepathy for example. The universe as a single hologram also solves the mystery of quantum entanglement which Albert Einstein called “spooky actions from a distance.”

Also, the materialist model of conventional science is based on the old paradigm of Newtonian classical mechanics and is fundamentally flawed. Conventional materialist concepts of reality have been falsified such as: (1) locality, (2) causality, (3) continuity, (4) determinism, and (5) certainty in the last century by the modern science of quantum electrodynamics. At the core of materialism, the fundamental component of existence — the nature of consciousness — is intentionally ignored even though the pioneers of quantum mechanics demonstrated and believed consciousness has a definite role in creating reality. Mainstream materialist theories of consciousness use classical mechanics in assuming consciousness emerged and is produced from “goo”. So they focus particularly on complex computation at synapses in the brain allowing communication between neurons.

But because quantum vibrations have been discovered in microtubules in the brain, a theory known as Orchestrated Objective Reduction (Orch-OR), developed by the eminent physicist Sir Roger Penrose and anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff, M.D., allows for a person’s quantum mind to exist in the multiverse, has garnered significant support. At death, the quantum information processed inside these microtubules doesn’t disappear. Instead, it is retained in the fine structure of the universe and on the edge of the event horizon of the singularity from which our universe projected; thereby allowing the information to be retrieved after death.

There is also much evidence suggesting NDEs are actual afterlife experiences. Here is a list of some of the best evidence:

Some of the Best Evidence of NDEs as Actual Afterlife Experiences

  1. People have NDEs while they are brain dead. (This article)
  2. Out-of-body perception during NDEs has been verified by independent sources.
  3. People born blind can see for the first time in their lives during an NDE.
  4. NDEs cannot be explained by brain chemistry alone.
  5. Some people were dead for several days then revived.
  6. NDEs have produced visions of the future which later became true.
  7. People having NDEs have brought back scientific discoveries, some are scientific breakthroughs.
  8. The so-called “dying brain” theory of NDEs has major flaws and has been falsified.
  9. The vast majority of people having NDEs are convinced they saw an afterlife.
  10. People can experience other people’s NDEs.
  11. NDEs have been proven to be different from hallucinations.
  12. NDEs change people in ways that hallucinations and dreams cannot.
  13. Studies show that people’s memories of their NDEs are more real than normal memories.

Read the rest of the 40+ other evidence supporting NDEs and the afterlife on this web page.

In conclusion, there is a new scientific paradigm emerging in quantum physics and medical technology which is yielding new discoveries concerning consciousness and the possibility of its survival after death. Skeptics and materialists rely mostly on the old paradigm, Newtonian physics to explain consciousness and the old explanation is becoming obsolete. New medical technology is bringing people back from death and providing research to validate out-of-body perception in NDErs.

Will science ever prove conclusively that consciousness survives death? Unless research laboratories become open to the idea of voluntary “flatline” experiments on a large scale to study veridical perception and long-term survival after clinical or brain death, I don’t see it. Until then, I consider myself to be first in line to be on the list of volunteers.