The Tunnel and the Near-Death Experience

By Kevin Williams

 

One theory used to explain the near-death phenomenon has nothing to do with death at all. It states that NDEs are actually memories of birth. A baby being born leaves the womb to travel down a tunnel towards a light, and what waits for it in the light is usually a great deal of love and warmth. What happens at the point of death is only a stored memory of what happened when life began. Yet again there are a lot of points that don't match: a baby being born does not exactly float at high speed down a tunnel, but is buffeted along with difficulty by its mother's contractions. And how does this model explain the meeting with friends and relatives who have died? The Being of Light is supposed to be the midwife or the doctor who rules the delivery room - but many babies are born without a midwife or doctor present, or perhaps with many people present. On a purely practical level, a baby's nervous system is not sufficiently developed to allow it to assimilate and store memories of the birth process.

Those who argue this theory say that the feelings of peace and bliss are a memory of the peace of the womb when all physical needs were met by the mother and there were no stresses and strains. Why should this be any more likely than the feelings of peace and bliss are relief from the pain of illness and injury at the point of death? However, being born is often not a pleasant experience for babies which leaves them crying as if in agony. In contrast, NDEs are more often described as the most pleasurable experience a person can have. The birth process is not pleasant.

1. Insights Into the NDE Tunnel Experience

Multi-colored icon.   One of the nine elements that generally occur during NDEs is the tunnel experience. This involves being drawn into darkness through a tunnel, at an extremely high speed, until reaching a realm of radiant golden-white light. Also, although they sometimes report feeling scared, they do not sense that they were on the way to hell or that they fell into it. Instead of a tunnel, some people report rising suddenly into the heavens and seeing the Earth and the celestial sphere as they would be seen by astronauts in space. Once on the other side of the tunnel, or after they have risen into the heavens, the dying meet people who glow with an inner light. Often they find that friends and relatives who have already died are there to greet them. (Dr. Raymond Moody)

Multi-colored icon.   By analyzing a large number of NDE accounts on this website, a map of the various paths to heaven can be created. Here are the paths I have found:

(1) The journey from the Earth to the earthbound realm.

(2) The journey from the Earth to the void.

(3) The journey from the Earth to the void and then to heaven. (by means of a tunnel)

(4) The journey from the Earth to heaven. (by means of a tunnel)

(5) The journey from the Earth to the earthbound realm, then to the void, then to heaven.

(6) The journey from the Earth to the void, then through the tunnel to a heavenly receiving station in heaven. (Kevin Williams)

Multi-colored icon.   In his book, Life At Death, Dr. Ken Ring analyzed the near-death experiences of 24 people who attempted suicide. Among them, no one reported the tunnel phenomenon. (Dr. Ken Ring)

[Webmaster's Note: Many experiencers observe a gray or foggy area in the void where people who have committed suicide reside until they make an important decision. My analysis suggests that the main way out of the void is through the tunnel. And this fact from Dr. Ring supports my research conclusion that suicide experiencers have not gone through the tunnel because they have not yet made the decision that would take them through the tunnel and into higher spirit realms.]

Multi-colored icon.   "The way to escape the void is to choose love and light over the darkness. Once this happens, the light appears and the tunnel takes you toward the light and into heaven for further instruction." (Kevin Williams)

Multi-colored icon.   "The dark tunnel is described in many ways, such as being like a cave, a well, an enclosure, a funnel, a vacuum, a void, a sewer, a valley, or a cylinder." (Dr. Raymond Moody)

Multi-colored icon.   In 45 Hindu near-death accounts, Pasrich and Stevenson found no evidence of a tunnel experience which is frequently found in western accounts of the near-death experience. However, another near-death researcher, Susan Blackmore, has reported accounts of a tunnel experience in her research of 8 Hindu near-death experiencers. (Hindu NDEs)

Multi-colored icon.   "One fact about the differing perceptions that people have can be demonstrated when several witnesses observe the same event, such as an automobile accident, and the witnesses' testimonies are not the same. One particular NDE example I have read illustrates the differing perceptions that experiencers can have of the same event. This particular example involves the tunnel experience. Most people describe their experience of traveling through the tunnel as a very beautiful and pleasant experience. However, one particular person (I cannot remember the name or the source) went through the tunnel kicking, screaming, and trying to grab the edges of the tunnel to prevent from going through it. This particular person was completely horrified by the tunnel experience. This is also a good illustration of how one man's heaven can be another man's hell. And beauty is in the eye of the beholder." (Kevin Williams)

Multi-colored icon.   Dr. Ronald Siegel is the distinguished expert in psychopharmacolgy at UCLA. He is one of the leading experts in the field of hallucinogens and an ardent skeptic of the consciousness survives death theory. Dr. Siegel explains his theory of what causes the famous tunnel perspective in NDEs:

"This is probably due to the stimulation of the central nervous system that mimics the effects of light on the retina. It can also occur when the electrical activity in the brain is altered in such a way that the threshold for perception of phosphenes (electrical activity in the visual system) is lowered, and bright lights are seen in otherwise dark surroundings. This point can create a tunnel perspective." (Dr. Ronald Siegel)

Multi-colored icon.   "The tunnel experience after death may create the recollection of birth." (Elisabeth Kubler-Ross)

Multi-colored icon.   "Going from a waking state or semi-waking state into an amorphous state is usually the most dramatic kind of spiritual travel experience. In one type of amorphous transition, the traveler suddenly senses a powerful vibration or sound and is caught up in that energy. This is sometimes accompanied by a feeling of being drawn or propelled by this vibration at tremendous speed through a dark space. This experience seems very similar to the descriptions of the tunnel associated with near-death experience. Numerous people who came very close to death (no heartbeat or respiration) have near-death experiences where they have described different types of sounds or vibrations which propelled them at seemingly great speed through a dark tunnel or corridor." (Robert Monroe)

Multi-colored icon.   "It's not quite the same, because when you astral project, you don't have to go through the white light, or a tunnel. When you project, you usually go right where you would like to go, right away." (Jerry Gross)

Multi-colored icon.   "In the tunnel connecting this world with the next, humans as well as animals travel through the tunnel." (Sharon Wood)

Multi-colored icon.   "The tunnel in the NDE is the pathway to God." (Brian Krebs)

Multi-colored icon.   "The tunnel is a porthole to the place where all souls go if they choose." (David Oakford)

2. Brief Encounters With the NDE Tunnel

Multi-colored icon.   "As I looked up, there was a tunnel - a light - an opening. It was glowing. Around that opening were many people milling around." (Anne Horne)

Multi-colored icon.   While Warmack was in a coma in the hospital when he became aware of something "in the back of me, like a beam of light, brighter than the sun, brighter than any light I had ever seen." He traveled through a tunnel and felt that he was traveling back in time. (Warmack)

Multi-colored icon.   "Suddenly I was standing alone in a room with large, heavy doors leading into other rooms. Someone came to me. I didn't see him; I only heard his voice. He led me up through what seemed like a tunnel. I seemed to be walking, but my feet didn't touch a floor." (Clara)

Multi-colored icon.   "Upon death, most people go through a heavenly process before entering into heaven. Evil people, instead of experiencing the tunnel and bright light upon death, are sent through what Sylvia calls the left door and enter into an abyss of empty, joyless, nothingness for a brief period of time ... Most people, who go through the heavenly process, go through a tunnel and towards the light of God." (Sylvia Browne)

Multi-colored icon.   "I was spinning sideways somehow through this tunnel. At first it was very dark, then it seemed like there was these streaks. I was falling but I wasn't. I was traveling. That's maybe more the word. There was this big white light at the end of it. I kind of came out into this." (Paul Carr)

Multi-colored icon.   "For a while, I watched on as the nurses and doctors worked quickly to revive me. Then, I lost interest and my attention turned towards a long dark tunnel. At the end of the tunnel was a very bright light and I floated to the opening. Once inside, I moved with what seemed to be an extraordinary and effortless speed, and finally reached the light." (Nadia McCaffrey)

Multi-colored icon.   "I asked to see the rest of the universe; beyond our solar system, beyond all human illusion. The light then told me that I could go with the Stream. I did, and was carried through the light at the end of the tunnel. I felt and heard a series of very soft sonic booms. What a rush!" (Mellen-Thomas Benedict)

Multi-colored icon.   "I remember closing my eyes. I am in this long dark tunnel. It is so cold and so dark. I have never been in a place so cold as this tunnel. I was traveling at the speed of light. As I neared the end of the tunnel, I saw the most brilliant yellow light coming toward me. I was beginning to feel warm. The nearer the light got, the warmer I felt." (Beth Hammond)

Multi-colored icon.   "Then I began to float upwards and I realized I was having to make a decision. It was almost a physical two-way pull. There seemed to be no ceiling above me, just a black hole into which I was being compelled by a very strong force. It seemed as if I was to make a decision as to which way I would choose to go - up into the tunnel or back into my body." (Caroline Sharp)

Multi-colored icon. " I saw a pinpoint of light in the distance. The black mass around me began to take on more of the shape of a tunnel, and I felt myself traveling through it at an even greater speed, rushing toward the light. I was instinctively attracted to it, although again, I felt that others might not. As I approached it, I noticed the figure of a man standing in it, with the light radiating all around him". (Betty Eadie)

Multi-colored icon.   "I asked God how could I possibly return back down the tunnel and back into my hospital bed. He spoke and said, 'Son, tilt your head, now feel the liquid drain from your eye. Now open your eye and see.' And I was immediately back in my physical body." (Ian McCormack)

Multi-colored icon.   Right then, she said she felt herself being sucked away into a tunnel at a fast pace. Then she was flying so fast through this dark tunnel. She then stopped midstream in it and was in this dark tunnel. She never saw a light at all. She heard this voice say to her, "If I let you go back what will you do with your life?" She responded back to this voice, "I will dedicate my life to you." She knew this overpowering, loving presence was GOD himself asking her this question. She never saw him - only heard him. He then showed her pictures of her future helping others and other things like a movie screen showing her future. Then she felt this swoosh back through the tunnel and back into her body. (Lisa Marie)

Multi-colored icon.   In 1982, while a Fellow for the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Melvin Morse was working in a clinic in Pocatello, Idaho. He was called to revive a young girl who nearly died in a community swimming pool. She had had no heart beat for 19 minutes, yet completely recovered. She was able to recount many details of her own resuscitation, and then said that she was taken down a brick lined tunnel to a heavenly place. When Dr. Morse showed his obvious skepticism, she patted him shyly on the hand and said, "Don't worry, Dr. Morse, heaven is fun!." (Dr. Melvin Morse)

Multi-colored icon.   "Suddenly, I found myself in another dimension. A glowing golden tunnel appeared in front of me. Far, far into the tunnel, almost as if at its distant opening, stood a man dressed in a splendid golden robe ... The Master continued his invitation, but he was so far away. I wanted to fly to him. I knew that this was possible; it was simply a matter of making the decision ... Exiting my body would be an easy choice. I would float through this glorious tunnel and seek the answers the Master had to offer. Yet, just as I slipped into the tunnel something pulled me back. While I was surrendering to the marvelous force that had come to claim me, the hospital staff had worked to pull me out of my coma with massive doses of cortisone. I remember nothing after the tunnel experience until three days later." (Marilyn Gibson)

Multi-colored icon.   "Then I remember a very powerful force pulling me towards a serene, very beautiful realm, a higher realm. I traveled very slowly along a tunnel toward a bright light, and I could feel an overwhelming sense of warmth and peace and whiteness. I wanted to walk into the whiteness, which was so tranquil and happy. It was like stepping into a vacuum, there was nothing tangible, no scenery to look at, but a tremendous feeling of being somewhere, like nirvana. I felt okay, as though this was where I was meant to be, as if I had arrived home, and I was at ease with myself for the first time in a long time." (Helen)

Multi-colored icon.   "Then I found myself in what appeared to be a large tunnel with a small white light at the other end. I was moving toward this light pretty fast. I was surrounded by a feeling of absolute peace and what I can only describe as unconditional love. It felt wonderful to be there. As I moved towards the light, I was aware of two presences near to me. They were telling me by thought alone that it was not my time. I had to go back. We were communicating just by thoughts back and forth to each other. I knew these presences knew me, but I did not know them. I had never met them before. Then I was moving quickly back down through the tunnel and into my body." (Enigma)

Multi-colored icon.   "I started to move toward the light. The way I moved, the physics, was completely different than it is here on Earth. It was something I had never felt before and never felt since. It was a whole different sensation of motion. I obviously wasn't walking or skipping or crawling. I was not floating. I was flowing. I was flowing toward the light. I was accelerating and I knew I was accelerating, but then again, I didn't really feel the acceleration. I just knew I was accelerating toward the light. Again, the physics was different - the physics of motion of time, space, travel. It was completely different in that tunnel, than it is here on Earth. I came out into the light and when I came out into the light, I realized that I was in heaven." (Barbara Springer)

Multi-colored icon.   "I then remember traveling a long distance upward toward the light. I believe that I was moving very fast, but this entire realm seemed to be outside of time. Finally, I reached my destination. It was only when I emerged from the other end that I realized that I was no longer accompanied by the being who had brought me there. But I wasn't alone. There, before me, was the living presence of the light ... My mind was naked; in fact, I became pure mind. The ethereal body which I had traveled in through the tunnel seemed to be no more." (Beverly Brodsky)

Multi-colored icon.   "I then felt myself moving off very fast, exceedingly fast, into what seemed like outer space. I always felt that it was the fact of going so fast that gave me the sense of being in a tunnel. And I was going toward a very bright light. As I was traveling along I could see different-colored lights, and then I got stopped, just stopped before I got to the light." (Janet)

Multi-colored icon.   "As a massive field of energy began to form in the sky directly in front of me, I heard a loud, grinding mechanical noise as the mass of energy shaped itself into a cylinder funneling upwards. It seemed as if the darkness of the sky turned into liquid as the mass of energy curled like an ocean wave and formed a perfect tunnel that stretched into the heavens. As I stared into the large and imposing tunnel of energy, a shimmering, luminescent-blue field of energy began to float down the tunnel toward me. As it rapidly approached, I watched the luminescent-blue field mass into a form and begin to materialize into an image of a human being. As the image composed itself, I found myself face to face with an old friend." (Ned Dougherty)

Multi-colored icon.   "A dot of light appeared far off in front of me. It was just a pinpoint, a tiny speck in the distance, but its brilliance distinguished it from all other lights around me and I instinctively pressed towards it. Emanating from it was a love and hope and peace that my soul hungered for. I wanted, I needed this brilliant, radiant light. The black tube took the shape of a tunnel now, opening up as I neared its end. The light burst forth before me, filling everything with brightness, and I was coming upon it impossibly fast. 'Oh, my gosh,' I thought, 'It's brighter than the sun. It'll blind me! It'll kill me!'" (RaNelle Wallace)

Multi-colored icon.   "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." (Dannion Brinkley)

Multi-colored icon.   Randy approached a dark tunnel. When he held back and said that he was afraid to go into the darkness, the angel smiled and told them that this was the only way that they could get to their destination. "I could see a bright light at the far end of the tunnel, so I said, 'All right, as long as you don't let go of my hand!' She laughed and said, 'I told you that I would never leave your side. I have been with you ever since you were born. In fact, I was there at your mother's side when you were born. I am your guardian angel.'" Randy asked her what her name was. "We don't have names in the manner that you mean," she said, "but if it makes you feel better to call me something, you may call me, Areo (ah-ree-o)." The tunnel did not prove to be such a terrible ordeal after all. Randy and Areo seemed to whoosh through it quickly. (Randy Gehling)

Multi-colored icon.   "Suddenly, I had to move on, so I floated into the waiting room, where my parents were. My father had his head buried in my mother's lap. He was kneeling at her feet, his arms wrapped around her waist, and he was sobbing. My mother was stroking his head, whispering to him. This scene shocked me, as my father was not prone to showing emotions. Once I realize they would be fine, I felt myself pulled into a horizontal tunnel. The ride through the tunnel was like nothing else. I remember thinking, 'So this is death.' The tunnel was dark, and every once in a while something that looking like lightning would flash across my path. These flashes were brilliant in color and didn't scare me. At the end of the tunnel was a bright light. From the light came two dogs of mine. One was a collie named Mimi who had died three years previously from an infection, and the other was a box named Sam who had died two years before after being hit by a car." (Lynn)

3. Extraordinary NDE Tunnel Experiences

Multi-colored icon.   Thomas Sawyer's NDE Tunnel Experience: "In this capacity, though, I was looking at absolute nothingness or darkness but my eyes were not straining. I had the desire to look around inquisitively. What is this place? Where am I? Well, again instantaneously, this darkness took the shape of a tunnel. It was perfectly level, however slightly ambiguous in that it was straight before me and it was cloud-like. It was very vast, as opposed to small and confining, and was anywhere from a thousand feet to a thousand miles wide. That didn't matter to me but I want to give you some reference point. I was very comfortable and inquisitive. It was cylindrical. If you took a tornado and stretched it out straight, it would be similar to that, without the houses and the doors floating around inside. It absolutely extended to infinity. This measurement of infinity was the first empirical knowledge that I had within my near-death experience. Simultaneously with the awareness of this tunnel, I had a feeling of forward motion; it was very comfortable, it was very usual. Moving through this tunnel there was an acceleration. There was not any wind vibration, nor any noise. There was no motion sickness or anything like that. It was like floating within a vacuum. I saw that I was increasing speed, but there were no g-forces of the kind you would naturally experience in accelerating movement. I went faster and faster through the tunnel. The next empirical knowledge I had was that I had attained at least the speed of light or conceivably faster. Whisking through the tunnel at this speed, I had the depth perception, the visual perception of the tunnel whisking past me (or I through the tunnel). The next thing is that way, way off in the distance to infinity there appeared this little speck of light. That light was very special; it was the first identifiable object that I was able to focus on, to realize that it was nothing like what I'd seen before. It was extremely bright. This speck of light was brighter than something that would immediately blind you. It was brighter than a million billion carbon arcs, or welder's torches, anything you can possibly compare it to. It was the brightest thing I'd ever seen in my life. There was a tremendous eager anticipation because this was the first thing that wasn't blurry or ambiguous. The appearance of this light way off at the end of the tunnel brought me a sense of great love and a feeling of camaraderie. That was something extraordinary, greater than anything that I'd experienced during my thirty-three years of life. It was utter beauty.

 

"The light was way off in the distance and got larger as I got closer to it. I was eager to get closer to the light. I was still Thomas Sawyer, with all of my personality and characteristics, yet here I was, separate from the light by just a spatial measurement of visual connotation. Now being at the end of the tunnel and standing before the light, it seemed that it covered the entire vista before me. It was more beautiful than I've tried to describe, because I could use all the superlatives, and then I'd have to say: but it was more. I had never experienced anything that divine. It was white, possibly, blue-white, but certainly white. It was paradoxically absolutely everything. It included Thomas Sawyer. It included the tunnel that was behind me. It included the entire universe that I was ever aware of. It was absolutely, positively, everything. It was also absolutely the most beautiful thing that I've ever seen, that I've ever been near or experienced. The light I am describing is whatever most people would describe as God. That's the description. It meant the same to me as the word God. It was in fact the light of Jesus Christ. From the onset of this rather super-conscious state of the darkness of the tunnel, there was something that was totally missing, and that was what we call time. There's no such thing as time in heaven! The chronology of my accident is as I told you: there was the darkness, I was moving through the tunnel, and there was a light at the end of the tunnel. There was then a confrontation with the light at the end of the tunnel whatever more. That's the chronology in that order ... I know that I experienced a total life review, but I have never been able to fit it properly into any of that basic chronology. It had to have happened from the center of the tunnel or the movement within the tunnel, prior to what I call the confrontation with the light ... What happened when I went through the tunnel? Did I see the face of Jesus Christ? Yes, I did. But the most important thing that I have been able to say is probably the aspect of total knowledge ... At first it just seemed like a foggy grayness about me. As the speed of my upward and outward movement increased, the enclosing fog seemed to have a bright ending at the distance. I remember at the early moments of moving ahead through this enclosure a brightness to my left where I could see through the cloud-like tunnel. Beyond the walls of my tunnel was a shimmering, glowing light ...My tunnel structure thinned along the sides but the light ahead was beckoning me. I was intensely attracted to reaching the light. As the sides of the tunnel became clearer, the light ahead became brighter and closer as my speed increased." (Thomas Sawyer)

Multi-colored icon.   Rev. Howard Pittman's NDE Tunnel Experience: "Suddenly we came to a most beautiful place. I know that I've already reported how terrible that second heaven was, so you can imagine how surprising it was to find anything beautiful over there. God would not allow me to retain the memory of why this place was so beautiful. I do remember that it was the most beautiful place I'd ever seen. This place looked like a tunnel, a roadway, a valley or some sort of highway. It had a most brilliant light all its own and was completely surrounded with an invisible shield. I knew that the invisible shield was the protection of the Holy Spirit. Walking in this tunnel, or along that roadway, or valley, or whatever, was what appeared to be human beings. I asked my escort who they were. He told me, 'They are saints going home.' These were the departed spirits of Christians who had died on Earth and they were going home. Each of these saints was accompanied by at least one guardian angel and some had a whole host of angels with them. I wondered why some saints were accompanied by only one angel and others had many. I was watching as the saints passed through the way that all saints must take to go home. Here it was, the passageway from Earth to the third heaven. Instead of allowing me to enter, the angel stationed me before the gates, slightly to one side. He instructed me to stay there and watch as the saints were permitted to enter into heaven. As the saints were allowed into heaven, I noticed a strange thing. They were permitted to enter only one at a time. No two were permitted to enter those gates at the same time. I wondered about this but it was never explained to me. When the last of the fifty saints had entered into the third heaven, I started to enter but my escort stopped me. He told me that if I entered I could not come out and that I would have to stay there until the Father brought me back. The angels told me that all who enter the third heaven must remain there until brought back to this physical world by Christ himself. When the angel said I could not enter unless I stayed." (Rev. Howard Pittman)

Multi-colored icon.   Dr. Dianne Morrissey's NDE Tunnel Experience: "As soon as I saw that the silver cord was attached to my physical body, my spirit body was thrust into a dark tunnel. I moved through it with great speed, traveling faster than I could have imagined possible. Although the tunnel was filled with an all consuming darkness, I felt peaceful and unafraid ... When I came to the end of the darkness, I stepped into a new dimension. Here, I could sense the presence of a loving spirit, sent - I knew - to God to greet me. Then, I was back at the site of my physical body. Back and forth I traveled through the tunnel, several times in succession, moving from the Other Side to my electrocuted physical body and back again. Each time I emerged from the tunnel, I was met by a radiant angelic being who stood before me, smiling. The being had no wings, and I sense it was female. She was everything I'd ever dreamed an angel would be. As she moved toward me, I walked to meet her ... Suddenly, my spirit body was back in tunnel. Again, when I emerged from the tunnel, the angelic being was waiting for me ... I was suddenly thrust forward through the tunnel, and when I looked down, I was aghast to see my physical body below me ... What mattered to me was the light. I wanted the light. I was again thrust forward through the tunnel. The angelic being was still there, waiting for me to truly decide about my life, waiting for me to decide about death, waiting for me to decide about my future ... For some reason, however, the angelic being sent me into the tunnel again, back and forth through many tunnels. I wondered why. I still wanted to 'touch,' but I wanted the light - both desires tugging at my spirit ... I finally found myself back in my house ... Suddenly, I was rushing through the tunnel again. When I emerged, I was up near the ceiling in the den, looking down at my physical body below me. Then, without warning, I was thrust swiftly back into my body." (Dr. Dianne Morrissey)

Multi-colored icon.   Edgar Cayce's NDE Tunnel Experiences: "I see myself as a tiny dot out of my physical body, which lies inert before me. I find myself oppressed by darkness and there is a feeling of terrific loneliness. Suddenly, I am conscious of a white beam of light, knowing that I must follow it or be lost. As I move along this path of light I gradually become conscious of various levels upon which there is movement. Upon the first levels there are vague, horrible shapes, grotesque forms such as one sees in nightmares. Passing on, there begins to appear on either side misshapen forms of human beings with some part of the body magnified. Again there is change and I become conscious of gray-hooded forms moving downward. Gradually, these become lighter in color. Then the direction changes and these forms move upward and the color of the robes grows rapidly lighter. Next, there begins to appear on either side vague outlines of houses, walls, trees, etc., but everything is motionless. As I pass on, there is more light and movement in what appear to be normal cities and towns. With the growth of movement I become conscious of sounds, at first indistinct rumblings, then music, laughter, and singing of birds. There is more and more light, the colors become very beautiful, and there is the sound of wonderful music. The houses are left behind; ahead there is only a blending of sound and color. Quite suddenly I come upon a Hall of Records. It is a hall without walls, without ceiling, but I am conscious of seeing an old man who hands me a large book, a record of the individual for whom I seek information."

 

On another occasion, Cayce's tunnel experience was described this way: "Cayce felt himself to be a bubble traveling through water to arrive at the place where he always got the information."

 

On yet another occasion, Cayce's tunnel experience was described this way: "Cayce went up and up through a very large column, passing by all the horrible things without coming in contact personally with them, and came out where there was the house of records. Cayce stated that as he ascended the column, there would be beings on either side of him calling out to him for help or trying to get his attention. Cayce knew that any deviation from the column and the beam of light would mean he would not be able to return to his body. It, the column, wound around on a wheel like the Rotarians have. Cayce mentioned that he felt very secure traveling that way." (Edgar Cayce)

Multi-colored icon.   Kevin Williams' Analysis of Cayce's NDE Tunnel Experiences: "Edgar Cayce did not experience clinical or brain death, but he was able to control his mind to travel consciously through the identical process of the near-death state. This can be done by anyone, according to Cayce, if the proper attunement is made. Cayce also mentions that this is done by everyone when they fall asleep and enter the realm of dreams, only it is done subconsciously not consciously. The same is true for death. Cayce's experience reveals more aspects about the nature of the tunnel so often described in near-death experiences and more about the structure of the afterlife. One of the afterlife levels that Cayce observed while in the tunnel appears to be like our own except it is motionless. In my opinion, this motionless afterlife level is our physical universe. While Cayce journeys through the tunnel and the eternal now, time on Earth stands still. This principle can even be found in Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity. The afterlife level Cayce sees where human beings appear with some body part magnified has been described in the Tibetan Book of the Dead and other religious traditions as being hell. It is a place where a particular desire has been overemphasized while in physical life. The level where hooded monk-like beings appear has also been described by many other near-death experiencers such as Dr. George Ritchie and Betty Eadie. Cayce was able to describe very accurately some of the various levels of the afterlife that appear in near-death accounts." (Edgar Cayce)

Multi-colored icon.   Virginia Rivers' NDE Tunnel Experience: "Immediately the blackness began to erupt into a myriad of stars and I felt as if I were at the center of the universe with a complete panoramic view in all directions. The next instant I began to feel a forward surge of movement. The stars seemed to fly past me so rapidly that they formed a tunnel around me. I began to sense awareness, knowledge. The farther forward I was propelled the more knowledge I received. My mind felt like a sponge, growing and expanding in size with each addition. The knowledge came in single words and in whole idea blocks. I just seemed to be able to understand everything as it was being soaked up or absorbed. I could feel my mind expanding and absorbing and each new piece of information somehow seemed to belong. It was as if I had known already but forgotten or mislaid it, as if it were waiting here for me to pick it up on my way by. I kept growing with knowledge, evolving, expanding and thirsting for more. It was amazing, like being a child again and experiencing something brand new and beautiful, a wonderful new playground. As each second passed, there was more to learn, answers to questions, meanings and definitions, philosophies and reasons, histories, mysteries, and so much more, all pouring into my mind. I remember thinking, 'I knew that, I know I did. Where has it all been?' The stars began to change shapes before my eyes. They began to dance and deliberately draw themselves into intricate designs and colors which I had never seen before. They moved and swayed to a kind of rhythm or music with a quality and beauty I had never heard and yet ... remembered. A melody that humans could not possibly have composed, yet was so totally familiar and in complete harmony with the very core of my being. As if it were the rhythm of my existence, the reason for my being. The extravagance of imagery and coloration pulsed in splendid unison with the magnificent ensemble. I felt completely at peace, tranquilized by the vision and the melodic drone. I could have stayed in this place for eternity with this pulse of love and beauty beating throughout my soul. The love poured into me from all corners of the universe. I was still being propelled forward at what seemed great speed. Yet I was able to observe all that I passed as if I were standing still. Each passing second I was absorbing more and more knowledge. No one spoke to me, nor did I hear voices in my head. The knowledge just seemed to BE and with each new awareness came a familiarity. A tiny pin point of light appeared far in front of me at the other end of my kaleidoscopic tunnel. The light grew larger and larger as I was soaring closer and closer to it, until finally I had arrived at my destination." (Virginia Rivers)

Multi-colored icon.   Pam Reynold's NDE Tunnel Experience: "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 ... 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 ... 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!" (Pam Reynolds)

Multi-colored icon.   Plato's NDE Account of the Solder Named Er and His Tunnel Experience:  "When his soul went forth from his body he journeyed with a great company and that they came to a mysterious region where there were two openings side by side in the Earth, and above and over against them in the heaven two others, and that judges were sitting between these, and that after every judgment they bade the righteous journey to the right and upward through the heaven with tokens attached to them in front of the judgment passed upon them, and the unjust to take the road to the left and downward, they too wearing behind signs of all that had befallen them, and that when he himself drew near they told him that he must be the messenger to humanity to tell them of that other world, and they charged him to give ear and to observe everything in the place ... From the other tunnels came souls preparing for reincarnation on Earth. From above came souls happily reporting delights and visions of a beauty beyond words. From below came souls lamenting and wailing over a thousand years of dreadful sufferings, where people were repaid manifold for any earthly suffering they had caused." (Plato)

Multi-colored icon.   Diego Valencia's NDE Tunnel Experience:  "Suddenly, my mind was allowed to rest in a quiet place in order to further ascend through a translucent tunnel with a light that seemed rather a yellowish opacity. Then I saw many beings, some ascending, some descending. Two of them were known to me on the Earth realm and I had not seen them for more than 20 years. I also met people unknown to me then, whom I met many years later in their bodies on the Earth realm. I asked one of the two persons I did know, what he was doing there, and he told me he had had a very serious health problem, and almost died, but the health problem had already been solved by the doctors. This is the reason he was going back to his body. Nevertheless, another friend who was a friend of my family for many years, was leaving the Earth realm in a definite way, so was I told.Then came some guides to take the friend who had been ill, back to Earth through a tubular shape in descent. I also observed other tubular shapes through which other souls were ascending, and among them, the lady known to me and my family whose body had died. I inquired if the lady could go back but they said her time was over and that she had definitely left her body. I felt the energy of the lady perturbed, because she was confused since she did not know she was dead, but I avoided meeting her. In that moment my guides smiled. A different lap started in which the path was transparent, silent and compliant. I felt the pleasure of having my conscience in total calm, together with the tender but distant company of the guides and other entities which I could not see. Suddenly I saw another path where all the dead members of my family appeared, among them my father." (Diego Valencia)

Multi-colored icon.   Robert Coleman's NDE Tunnel Experience:  "I was being propelled across a vast distance. I dare not look straight ahead, but I remember looking at the wall flashing past me as I sped along some kind of tunnel. Then, at the other end of this journey, I felt a most beautifully reassuring sense of calm. I looked down at myself in my new form. I had taken on a golden glow. I did not need to walk. I floated. Everything about me was love, goodness and warmth. Suddenly, I felt as if I had been given access to the total knowledge of the universe. I stared at a huge dark wheel containing stars and other celestial bodies that slowly revolved. A deep voice spoke slowly, but I could not make out what it was saying. I was at some kind of entrance ... I had to promise solemnly not to try to return. I agreed. Once more, I stood in front of the great dark disk again. As the stars and shapes slowly revolved, a deep voice said slowly, 'Your time has not yet come.' I felt all the wisdom that I had suddenly gained was being forced out from me. I knew I could not take this knowledge back with me, but was concerned that I might lose what limited intelligence I already had before I died. Then, once again I was in the long tunnel, feeling the wind against my cheek as I looked away and saw the long wall rushing past me." (Robert Coleman)

[Webmaster's Note: The great dark disk may be the entrance to the tunnel. Other experiencers have seen the tunnel in the same kind of thing in their NDEs.]

Multi-colored icon.   Reinee Pasarow's NDE Tunnel Experience: "At this point I became aware that there was a light calling me from somewhere else and I entered what people speak of as the tunnel. I will speak of it as that although I did not quite perceive it as a tunnel. It was a transition place where I became aware of other beings who seemed to be rather disoriented, rather confused and lost and some of these beings were moving through to their home. I simply wanted to go home. I moved through this place and I became aware that I was not moving like we move physically. When we move physically we have an intent, we have a goal, and we move step by step to that goal. But what moved me through this place was love. It was the love of God and the love all things sacred and all things beautiful and all things just. I could go on and on and on but this was what propelled me on. It was my connection and my affection for God. As I came to the end of this place, I wondered if I would be alone, and just like that I was with my uncle ..." [After her life review, the Being of Light told her, "It was not time for her to enter that world." She then described returning to her physical body.] "I was catapulted back down what I perceived to be a tunnel. This time it was down a rainbow tunnel of light, sound and vibrational frequency of love. With a terribly hard crash, I became aware of the scene I had left earlier - the fire trucks, and now an ambulance. There were men who were picking up my body and loading it into the ambulance. I was in a state of complete grief. I felt that I had become Eve and was cast out of the garden of Eden. As I was descending down this tunnel, my heart was already attached to my home beyond. I was begging not to leave. I crashed down into this realm of existence and was suddenly confused by time and space ... I was being propelled across a vast distance. I dare not look straight ahead, but I remember looking at the wall flashing past me as I sped along some kind of tunnel. Then, at the other end of this journey, I felt a most beautifully reassuring sense of calm. (Reinee Pasarow -- Watch her video online: www.lightafterlife.com)

Multi-colored icon.   Lou Famoso's NDE Tunnel Experience:  "I entered what I thought looked like the Holland tunnel without the cars and traffic and the ability to see what looked like light at its end. It was dark but not black. The path was slightly illuminated from what I thought to be the sunlight shining from the other end. As I was being drawn toward the lighted end of the tunnel, I carefully looked around, even squinting to see into the darker recesses. I passed what I thought to be very religious men doing what they would do when praying to their GODS. They were all dressed in their finest garbs, robes, togas, head dresses, loin cloths and the like. Most of them were off to the sides of the tunnel, but one of them, that I seemed to float right over, looked oriental with a long grayish Fu Man Chu, sitting there in the middle of the tunnel with his hands clasped and his feet crossed ... When I floated past the monk just below me, I thought he could actually see me because it appeared like he began to smile a smile of passage. All the other religious men were mumbling sounds of prayer and were moving their arms about as if making gestures of a blessing. I wasn't sure if they were blessing me or the tunnel. I noticed none of them were actually standing or sitting in the tunnel but appeared to be levitated. I wanted to stop and speak with some of them, maybe ask a few questions like who they were and how long have they been here, but I was being whisked away toward the light. I saw wisps of smoke I believed to be incense. It came from all portions of the great tunnel from one end to the other. I could see and smell, but I had yet to have the sensation of touch since my feet were never touching the tunnels floor. I seemed to be traveling squarely in the center as I drifted toward the end. The closer I got to the end of the tunnel, the brighter things got, and as I neared the end, it was like coming face to face with a huge canvas that was just recently blazed in the brightest white of whites. An empty canvas, ready to be painted upon and I awaited that painting ... The being told me that should I ever have questions of the heart or mind, he will answer them if I only look within myself, for that is where he will dwell. From this time forward I need only think it to be so, and it will be so, for I would forever know the truth ... I asked how I would know and before I received an answer I was being whisked away through that darkened tunnel like a dust bunny in a vacuum, with about as much control as a runaway freight train. A loving voice was telling me I must go back today. (Lou Famoso)

Multi-colored icon.   Gilles Bedard's NDE Tunnel Experience:  "In the blink of an eye, my vision expanded and I went into a place like a cosmos where there were 12 people standing in a half-circle. They were all pure white lights and they had no faces. Beyond them was a tunnel. I wasn't afraid. I somehow knew these people although they weren't family or people I could recognize. It was as if they were waiting for me. I asked them what was happening, and they told me, 'You are not going to die. You are going back to Earth. You have something to do.' I asked them what it was, and as soon as I asked it was as if I knew the answer. They said I would know what I had to do when the time came. At that moment, I could sense the future and I realized I had the choice to do what I wanted to do. I felt pure peace. What I remembered most is the music I heard when I was out of my body. It was fascinating. It was hard to tell how long the experience lasted. It could have been five seconds or half an hour. When I came back into my body, it felt very small. But it was OK. I felt calm, very warm. When I came to, around 5 a.m., I felt ready for a party. It was as if nothing had happened to me. I didn't remember the experience at that time. But a month after I left the hospital, I had another one. During the night, I had a sensation of falling into a tunnel. Going into it, I knew I was about to die, but just before arriving at the end of the tunnel, I woke up. It was not a dream. It was real. And it was then that I remembered the earlier experience." (Gilles Bedard)

Multi-colored icon.   Don Brubaker's NDE Tunnel Experience:  "There was a sudden whoosh, and I saw a large glowing red ball approaching me, almost like the light on the front of a train. In that instant, as the red ball rushed toward me, I knew terror like never before. As it approached, I realized that it was really a large, eerie red eye. It stopped when it got close to me, and then began traveling alongside me through the tunnel. I could hardly stand to look at it, its gaze was so piercing. It felt like it was looking right into my mind, into my very soul. Still I was plunging into the depths of this horrible tunnel. I glanced at the walls of the tunnel, walls of deep black whirring past me like video footage on fast forward. Yes, I was still there, still falling millions of miles into some terrible pit. And yet, there I was, lying deathlike on a hospital bed. I could see myself there, and it panicked me all the more. The eye - suddenly I realized that I was seeing the hospital room through the red eye. It was absurd to me that I hadn't realized this before - and yet I could hardly process my thoughts. It was all too bizarre. Panic started building in my mind as it began to dawn on me where I was, suspended in this dank tube. As the red eye glowered at me, the thoughts began to arrange themselves, coalescing slowly. Suddenly, the idea was undeniable. I was in hell. The realization swept over me like an ocean wave, unstoppable though I tried desperately to dismiss it. Hell! I didn't even believe in hell! And here I was? This was it? I had only the briefest moment to react to the thought when a deep, comfortable voice echoed through the tunnel." (Don Brubaker)

Multi-colored icon.   Lynnclaire Dennis' NDE Tunnel Experience:  "It was then that I saw the tunnel and knew with absolute assurance that I was on my way home, certain that the home I had long yearned for was in the light at the other end of this passageway. As I was standing alone with my grandmother, she told me that I must make this part of the journey alone. Filled with peace, I knew I would see her again on the other side. I was ready, and without hesitation took my first step into the corridor that led toward the light, crossing an intersection that connected now with forever ... Once I was inside the tunnel it was as if someone at the other end was calling my name, drawing me forward. I knew that this passageway was taking me to the top of the mountain, leading me home into the light. I was overjoyed to be going to the summit, as all my life I had wanted to climb to the top of Mt. Rainier. I had never made the attempt, believing that I would try and fail, or that I would die trying. I moved effortless into the passage. Soon I knew I would be able to fly. Fly? The light was getting brighter and warmer as I moved through the tunnel. The MUSIC, the celestial symphony, continued to fill the air with a psalm of Oneness, played on unseen instruments of peace. I arrived at the pinnacle and, standing at the entrance to the light, took a single step, leaving my right footprint imbedded in Eternity. I entered a sacred space a place where I knew I had returned to my most essential nature, where I felt wholly and consciously united with all things and Source, where a soothing balm of peace was poured on my spirit by an unseen hand, an emollient so rich in love that to this day I cannot fully absorb or comprehend it." (Lynnclaire Dennis)

Multi-colored icon.   Susan Blackmore's OBE Tunnel ExperienceSusan Blackmore traveled down a tunnel of trees toward a light, floated on the ceiling and observed her body below, saw a silver cord connecting her floating astral body, floated out of a building in England and crossed the ocean to New York. After hovering around New York, Blackmore floated back to her room in England where she became very small and entered her body's toes. Then she grew very big, as big as a planet at first, and then she filled the solar system and finally she became as large as the universe. Despite her experience, Blackmore believes the tunnel is caused by oxygen starvation, which causes certain cells in the brain, inhibitory cells, to die first, the excitable ones taking longer. (Susan Blackmore)

Multi-colored icon.   Susan Blackmore discusses drugs including her own experience: Under conditions of extreme tiredness and smoking hashish I had a NDE-type experience complete with the tunnel and light, out-of-body travels, expansion and contraction of size, timelessness, a mystical experience and the decision to return ...

A critic's reply: Blackmore uses her drug-induced experiences as the basis for her conclusions. I shall argue that Blackmore's confusion on the subject of NDEs is the result of her own drug-induced confusion -- which is not an uncommon occurrence. Blackmore uses her drug-induced experiences as the basis for her conclusions. I shall argue that Blackmore's confusion on the subject of NDEs is the result of her own drug-induced confusion -- which is not an uncommon occurrence.

Susan Blackmore discusses the NDEr passing through a tunnel of mental energy: "There are many serious problems with such a theory. If the other worlds are a part of this world then they cannot really account for the afterlife."

A critic's reply: "Such a conclusion proves false when we consider the reports of NDErs. They not only see ethereal energy patterns, they see this world, the world of operating rooms and other mundane settings."

Blackmore continues:  "Something should be seen leaving the body and going into the tunnel. The tunnel itself would be present in physical space and we should be able to measure it or in some way detect its presence."

A critic's reply:  "Yes, and that's why those skilled at observing the subtle energy that surrounds the spirit are able to perceive such things."

Blackmore comments:  "Still we should not reject such theories out of hand just because they seem senseless. It is better to apply some criteria to them and see how they fare. Is this theory specific? No, not at all. The tunnels described are all different in precise form and this theory can say nothing about what forms they should or should not take."

A critic's reply:  "Blackmore again looks at content, not underlying phenomena. The structure of specific tunnels is not in question, as has been stated, they are mental constructs, mental or ethereal energy patterns. As such they take many malleable forms. Blackmore fails to understand such mental energy is NOT confined to a brain, but rather is patterned energy that makes up a mind, not a brain." (Critic's email)

 

"Death is nothing more than a doorway, something you walk through." - Dr. George Ritchie

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