Survival Update

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Strange Stories From Near-Death Experiencers

Do you know anyone who almost died but didn’t – and then shared extraordinary stories about what happened? Many who have survived NDEs – near-death experiences – have vivid memories of going through tunnels of white light, encountering glowing beings, and receiving spiritual messages.

Raymond Moody, MD, popularized the term “near-death experience” in his 1975 book, Life After Life. Some people near-death, likely or expected to die (such as a patient diagnosed with an aggressive cancer) or an individual pronounced clinically dead claim they had a subjective, paranormal episode.

These NDEs fall into one of two types: positive and negative.

I have met several people who survived impending physical death. One of them, a British man named Mark, “awakened” (his word) spiritually and became interested in paranormal topics for the first time in his life. He gravitated toward others with NDEs stories and built a social media site for paranormal experiencers of all kinds, including ghost hunters and UFO close encounters.

Other people who cheated the Grim Reaper share much less enlightening and uplifting memories, saying they felt terror, horror, anger, isolation, and/or guilt.

The International Association for Near Death Studies (IANDS) says that all near-death survivors said their experiences were “hyper-real — even more real than earthly life.”

The IANDS researchers have identified four phases for each type of NDE while explaining that each experience is unique and may not feature each phase.

Positive NDErs typically go through these four stages, not necessarily in this order:

  1. Disassociation. The person relaxes and feels completely at peace and detached from the physical body, seeing, hearing, and feeling nothing in particular. A sense of floating, freedom from pain, and complete wellbeing are sometimes reported in this phase.
  2. Naturalism. The person has an out-of-body experience and “sees” her or his body as separate from consciousness. The “natural” environment is perceived from a third-person perspective. Not only can a person in this state see walls but may be able to see through the wall. Some survivors say they could hear the unspoken thoughts of others.
  3. Supernaturalism. In this stage, a positive NDEr may meet deceased loved ones or out-of-body beings. Conversations are telepathic (mind to mind). A paradisical environment is often described where objects glow from an inner light source and beautiful, unearthly music is audible.

Many films have depicted the experience of traveling rapidly through an energy tunnel “or void toward a light, and then entered the light, only to discover that the light was actually a being. They say they felt completely known and completely loved by this being. They sometimes say they experienced a ‘life review:’ All at the same time, they re-viewed, reexperienced, and experienced being on the receiving end of, all their actions throughout life. Some pleasurable NDErs say they went beyond the light, seeing cities of light and knowledge.”

  1. Return. The NDEr returns to her or his physical body. About half claim they were given the choice to return or not. Of those, some returned due to a loving relationship with living people. The rest who didn’t elect to go back were forced to return and realized suddenly that they were still alive, conscious of having a physical body.

Stories told by NDErs are truly fascinating and lend support to the idea that there is something real behind some paranormal reports. Consider these two real-life NDE stories:

A woman named Maria was resuscitated in a hospital. She said she had “seen” a shoe on a window ledge, of all things, according to Melvin Morse and Kim Clark. The ledge in question was located next to a third-floor office. Granted, the shoe was visible from the room’s window but the woman’s description was so vivid and detailed that it suggested a close inspection: “the shoe had a worn little toe, and the shoelace was tucked beneath the heel.”

Kim Clark, the psychologist who interviewed the patient just had to crawl along the building ledge to see if the woman’s vision was real – and it was – the shoe was there, “precisely as the patient had described it.”

Clark was left with only one explanation – a paranormal one:

“The only way she [the patient] 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.”

Raymond Moody confirmed having heard stories from NDErs who journeyed through walls into the waiting room where relatives and friends have gathered:

“One patient reported seeing her young daughter wearing mismatched plaids, which was highly unusual.”

In another case, an eavesdropping NDEr told her brother-in-law about the “very derogatory manner” he used while conversing in the hospital waiting room with a business associate.

Regardless of the specifics surrounding a single NDE, the majority of people who have lived to tell the tale of their ongoing consciousness after body-death say the event changed their lives forever.