People Can Experience
Someone Else's Near-Death Experience
A phenomenon closely
related to DBVs and NDEs is shared-death experiences
(SDEs) as coined by
Dr. Raymond Moody.
In these experiences, bystanders who are
close to a dying person experience many
of the same elements of the NDE with
the dying person, including leaving their
bodies, meeting beings of light, and seeing
the life review of the dying person. These
bystanders are themselves healthy and not
dying yet seem to share these experiences.
This phenomenon casts doubt upon the materialistic
theory that NDEs are caused by hallucinations
of a dying brain. In his book,
Glimpses of Eternity:
An Investigation Into Shared Death Experiences,
Dr. Moody shares many eyewitness accounts
of those who have shared the experiences
of the dying. His book draws upon his lifetime's
research as well as recent findings.
These kind of NDEs attain a higher validity when
they occur with a significant physical distance
between the dying and the individuals sharing
the NDE. At no time are there any indications
the experiencers are themselves in any discernible
medical distress. Typically, the experience accompanies
an individual who is dying through sudden,
spontaneous, and unexpected
means; and includes the sense of rendering assistance
to an otherwise confused individual.
P.M.H. Atwater has this to say about SDEs:
"There are cases
in which several experiencers seem to share
in each other's episode; that is to say
they have the same or similar elements,
scenario type, or basic storyline. Usually
these are encountered when two or three
people are involved in the same accident
at the same time or are in the same general
section of the hospital at the same time.
Sometimes these states are experienced singly
(one individual is not aware of the other
during the episode, but later learns that
both apparently had the same scenario).
Sometimes the people involved are aware
of each other, and are able to confirm the
extent of that awareness after they are
able to compare their separate stories."
Table of Contents
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1. The Shared Death Experience of Johnny and His
In one example of a
shared death experience, Dr. Moody reports about
a woman who experienced a vivid shared life
review with her dying husband named Johnny and
included events she was completely unaware
"I was beside him the
whole time in the hospital and was holding onto
him when he died. When he did, he went right
through my body. It felt like an electric
sensation, like when you get your finger in the
electrical socket, only much more gentle.
"Anyway, when that
happened our whole life sprang up around us and
just kind of swallowed up the hospital room and
everything in it in an instant. There was light
all around: a bright, white light that I
immediately knew - and Johnny knew - was Christ.
"Everything we ever
did was there in that light. Plus I saw things
about Johnny... I saw him doing things before we
were married. You might think that some of it
might be embarrassing or personal, and it was.
But there was no need for privacy, as strange as
that might seem. These were things that Johnny
did before we were married. Still, I saw him
with girls when he was very young. Later I
searched for them in his high school yearbook
and was able to find them, just based on what I
saw during the life review during his death.
"In the middle of
this life review, I saw myself there holding
onto his dead body, which didn't make me feel
bad because he was also completely alive, right
beside me, viewing our life together.
"By the way, the life
review was like a 'wraparound.'
Note: This refers to 360 degree vision
often experienced in NDEs] I don't know
how else to describe it. It was a wraparound
scene of everything Johnny and I experienced
together or apart. There is no way I could even
put it into words other than to say that all of
this was in a flash, right there at the bedside
where my husband died.
"Then, right in the
middle of this review, the child that we lost to
a miscarriage when I was still a teenager
stepped forth and embraced us. She was not a
figure of a person exactly as you would see a
human being, but more the outline or sweet,
loving presence of a little girl. The upshot of
her being there any issues we ever had regarding
her loss were made whole and resolved. I was
reminded of the verse from the Bible about 'the
peace that passeth all understanding.' That's
how I felt when she was there.
"One of the funny
things about this wraparound view of our life
was that we had gone to Atlanta in the seventh
grade, to the state capital, where there was a
diorama. So at one point we were watching this
wraparound and watching ourselves in another
wraparound - a diorama - where we stood
side-by-side as kids. I burst out laughing and
Johnny laughed too, right there beside me.
"Another thing that
was strange about this wraparound was that in
certain parts of it were panels or dividers that
kept us from seeing all of it. I don't have the
words to this, but the screens or panels kept
particular parts of both of our lives invisible.
I don't know what was behind them but I do know
that these were thoughts from Christ, who said
that someday we would be able to see behind
those panels too."
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2. A Dying Mother and Her Daughter's Shared
In another example,
Dr. Moody documented the account of a woman in
her seventies who described a shared death
experience while tending to her dying mother.
As her mother died
the light in the room suddenly became much
brighter and she felt a rocking motion through
her whole body. [Webmaster
Note: Such rocking motions are an
indication of an out-of-body experience.]
She then found herself seeing the room from a
different angle, from above and to the left side
of the bed instead of from the right side.
"This rocking forward
motion was very comfortable, and not at all like
a shudder and especially not like when a car you
are riding in lurches to the side and you get
nauseous. I did not feel uncomfortable but in
fact the opposite; I felt far more comfortable
and peaceful than I ever felt in my life.
"I don't know whether
I was out of my body or not because all the
other things that were going on held my
attention. I was just glued to scenes from my
mother's life that were flashing throughout the
room or around the bed. I cannot even tell
whether the room was there any more or if it
was, there was a whole section of it I hadn't
noticed before. I would compare it to the
surprise you would have if you had lived in the
same house for many years, but one day you
opened up at it and found a big secret
compartment you didn't know about. This thing
seemed so strange and yet perfectly natural at
the same time.
"The scenes that were
flashing around in midair contained things that
had happened to my mother, some of which I
remembered and others that I didn't. I could see
her looking at the scenes too, and she sure
recognized all of them, as I could tell by her
expression as she watched. This all happened at
once so there is no way of telling it that
matches the situation.
"The scenes of my
mother's life reminded me of old-fashioned
flashbulbs going off. When they did, I saw
scenes of her life like in one of the 3-D movies
of the 1950s.
"By the time the
flashes of her life were going on, she was out
of her body. I saw my father, who passed seven
years before, standing there where the head of
the bed would have been. By this point the bed
was kind of irrelevant and my father was
coaching my mother out of the body. I looked
right into his face and a recognition of love
passed between us, but he went right back to
focusing on my mother. He looked like a young
man, although he was 79 when he died. There was
a glow about or all through him - very vibrant.
He was full of life.
"One of his favorite
expressions was 'Look alive!' and he sure did
look alive when he was coaching my mother out of
her body. A part of her that was transparent
just stood right up, going through her body, and
she and my father glided off into the light and
"The room sort of
rocked again, or my body did, but this time
backward in the opposite direction and then
everything went back to normal.
"I felt great
tenderness from my mother and father. This
entire event overflowed with love and kindness.
Since that day I wonder: 'Is the world we live
in just a figment of our imagination?'"
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Dr. Melvin Morse's Case of Shared Death Experience
The following experience
is described by
Dr. Melvin Morse in his excellent book entitled
Parting Visions. Morse described this experience
as "one of the most beautiful experiences of its
kind that he has ever read.":
was one of Germany's most noted poets. During
World War II, he had an NDE. He and his
best friend were huddled together in a foxhole
during an artillery bombardment. The shells
hit closer and closer until one finally
hit close to Skala's friend and killed him.
Karl felt his friend slump forward into
his arms and go limp with death. Then a
strange thing happened to Skala. He states
that he felt himself being drawn up with
his friend, above their bodies and then
above the battlefield. Skala could look
down and see himself holding his friend.
Then he looked up and saw a bright light
and felt himself going toward it with his
friend. Then he stopped and returned to
his body. He was uninjured except for a
hearing loss that resulted from the artillery
Melvin Morse, Parting Visions, page
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Sussanna Uballe's Shared Death Experience
In the Summer, 1996, edition
Journal of Possible Paradigms, Issue 4, an unusual
shared NDE is described by a woman named
Sussanna Uballe. Here she describes what happened:
"The experience of co-experiencing death
is, I feel, much like an NDE. I did not
have a near death experience, but did travel
part way up the tunnel with my husband as
he left this dimension.
"On Memorial day (observed), May 27, 1979,
I was five months pregnant with my son,
Christopher. My husband and I rode bicycles
and ran errands around town, and it was
a very hot day for Minneapolis. I lay down
after dinner and was so exhausted that I
could barely move. As my husband went to
the corner store about 8:00 to buy something
for his lunch the next day, I fell into
a very deep sleep.
"I dreamt that I was walking with my husband,
Herb, up a dark and shady forest path. It
was a heavily wooded path, which was enclosed
by a thick canopy of trees overhead. The
path was slightly inclined, and at the crest
of a hill I saw the sky, somewhat like the
light at the end of a tunnel. Herb and I
had been in deep conversation, about what
I could not tell, but I suppose we were
reminiscing about our relationship. I felt
our very closeness and felt totally in love.
"He began to tell me about what it was like
to die; at first filled with rage, pain,
and frustration, and upset that the clerk
didn't seem to understand his pleas to call
an ambulance, that he had been stabbed in
the heart and needed help. He said that
after a short while, which felt interminable
while he was experiencing it, he left his
body and floated above it and saw the body
below him, and felt detached from it, like
it was just a body. He was filled with peace
and love. And he felt no pain.
"After telling me this, he then said that
he had to go. His feet started to move very
fast, and he began to leave me behind on
the path. I told him that I could do that
too, and put some effort into "powering
up" my feet to make them go super fast.
I actually started to rev up and move along
the path quickly, and felt as if I was traveling
up a tunnel of forest toward the sunlight
at the top of the hill. As I began to keep
pace with him he said "NO!" in a very powerful
voice, and I woke up in my bed, feeling
hurt at being told no.
"I looked for him, to tell him about my
dream. He wasn't there, and his side of
the bed showed that he had not slept in
the bed that night. It was dawn. I began
to get irritated, thinking that he must
have gone off with some friends, and feeling
upset at how irresponsible he was behaving.
I went to where we kept our bicycles, to
see if his was there, and it wasn't. I was
so angry that I broke the bicycle lock and
chain off of my bicycle with my bare hands,
(he had taken both keys with him), and set
off down the street toward the corner store.
His bicycle was near the store, and a patrolman
was standing next to it. I asked him where
my husband was, and why his bicycle was
sitting there. He asked my name and address,
and refused to tell me anything more. He
suggested that I go back home, and that
someone would explain everything to me later.
In about fifteen minutes a police officer
and a clergyman came by and told me that
Herb had been killed the night before.
"The dream braced me for this news, and
although I was in shock, I felt assured
constantly that he was not in his body,
and a comforting presence was with me throughout
the next few days of viewing the body, the
funeral and other unpleasant business.
"Two days after the funeral, I was preparing
for bed and contemplating suicide to join
Herb, so that we could be together on the
other side or in our next phase of incarnation
or whatever. I consciously thought a question,
"Should I kill myself to join Herb, or stay
"I then went to bed. I was just falling
asleep when I felt a presence by my right
side, and looked to see Herb, naked and
glowing with a soft, beautiful white light.
He looked beautiful and I felt filled with
love and happiness to see him. He spoke
mentally to me, and said, "This is our son,"
indicating my womb, "Take good care of him."
I had no question then about my purpose,
and have tried to do the best possible job
taking care of my son ever since. It did
not at all seem strange that he used the
word "son", and, of course, although these
were the days before ultrasound, I did give
birth to a boy." (Sussanna
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An Anonymous Shared Death Experience
The following the shared
death experience of a person who wishes to remain
"Here is my story of an NDE I had on Thanksgiving
evening at my apartment. At that time (around
1991 and 1992), I had a friend who was diagnosed
as terminally ill from AIDS complications.
Six months before, the doctor told him he
had three months to live. So, basically
he was on borrowed time. In the early 90s,
there was no medication for advanced HIV
or AIDS. Once you got sick, you basically
"I was not planning on preparing a huge
Thanksgiving dinner that evening. But, for
some reason, I woke up and called all the
people in my address book. I left messages
on their phone machines and said that anyone
who had no place to go for Thanksgiving
could come to my apartment.
"I began cooking shortly after that. I cooked
all day and fed people as they strolled
in. Then, around 11 p.m. that night, Phillip
showed up. He was the guy who was terminally
ill. He told me he had nowhere to go that
evening and was thankful I had called him.
"All the guests for the day had gone, so
Phillip and I began to eat together. I had
not eaten all day because of the several
people that came over and my entertaining
them. So, I was quite hungry and tired.
"At this point, Phillip explained how six
months ago, he had three months to live.
He decided he would try to make it to Thanksgiving
and then finally let go.
"So there we were and we were laughing and
joking about how he would die after eating
dinner. He'd already lived three months
longer than he was supposed to and he was
quite accepting of the whole situation.
He was no longer afraid. He told me that
his liver was so weak, at that point, that
really he wouldn't be able to eat all the
rich salty and sugary foods on the table.
If he did, he probably would actually die.
But, that would be OK. At least he made
it to Thanksgiving and would die happy knowing
he had a place to go and a friend who cared
for him. So he decided he would eat the
dinner - everything - and if he died, then
it was God's will.
"Well, he began eating and the food made
both of us really high from the tryptophan
in the turkey. Especially because both of
us did not eat all day long and we were
making all these jokes about dying. Then
he actually started to fade away in front
of me. He turned pure white grayish and
slumped over. I thought, 'Oh my God! He
really is dying.'
"Then I saw this incredible white spinning
light appear on his left shoulder as he
was falling over toward me in his chair.
I thought, "My God! I can see his soul leaving
his body! Maybe it was an angel who had
come for him!"
"In any event, the light was so beautiful
and lovely, that I stood up without thinking
and thought, 'Take me! I'll go and he can
stay!' I so desperately wanted to go into
that light and be with it. Suddenly, I was
having an NDE with Phillip in a space that
I can only describe as heaven. It was simply
a pure whiteness of light just like in the
movies. No visuals at all. Just white light
"Then, I was back in my body. Phillip sat
straight up and was back in his body. He
was muttering that he guessed he just couldn't
"Then next day, when I awoke, I felt two
powerful presences. It was like four pairs
of hands on my shoulders: two on each side
holding me in my body. I felt two very powerful
angels or spirits behind me just resting
their 'hands' on my back and shoulders and
grounding me back into this reality. I cried,
even sobbed, that I had come back here.
I was actually depressed for some time.
I was thinking how wonderful death was and
how awful it was to come back.
"Phillip lived many years after this, I
might add. Then we lost touch, so I can't
say if he is still around or not."
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Dr. Joan Borysenko and Her Son's Shared Death Experience
of Her Dying Mother
account comes from
Dr. Joan Borysenko, a psychologist and author,
who had an interesting experience with her son when
her mother lay dying. She and her son had a shared
death experience with Dr. Borysenko's dying mother.
Their experience was profiled in
Eliot Jay Rosen's documentary entitled,
Conscious Dying: Preparing Now For A Healing Passage.
The following is the experience in Dr. Borysenko's
"It was about three in the morning at the
time of her passing and we said 'goodbye'
to each other for the last time at about
midnight and then she'd gone to sleep. And
my son, Justin, who was about twenty at
that time, and I, were sitting with her.
We were on opposite sides of her bed. I
was having a quiet time. I was just praying,
meditating, and my eyes were closed. All
of a sudden, I had a very vivid vision.
I opened my eyes after this vision and the
whole room seemed to be made out of light.
I know that might be hard to understand,
but it was like everything was made of particles
of light: my mother and the bed and the
ceiling. Everything was so beautiful. I
looked across the bed and I saw my son Justin.
And Justin was weeping. Tears were just
streaming down his face and he had this
wonderful, soft look, this look of awe on
"And he said to me, 'Mom, the room is filled
with light. Can you see it?'
"And, boy, I said, 'Yeah, I see it. I see
"And he said, 'It's Grandma. Grandma is
holding open the door to eternity for us,
so that we can catch a glimpse.'
"And then he went on, he looked at me with
so much love and he said, 'You know, Grandma
was a very great soul. She came to this
world and she took a role. She took a part
much smaller than the wisdom in her soul,
so that you can have something to push against;
you can have something to resist and become
fully who you are.'" (Dr.
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7. Links to Shared Death Experience Articles,
Videos and Books
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