People Can Experience Someone Else's Near-Death Experience

One of the strangest type of near-death experiences (NDEs) involve people who are not near-death at all. However, because they are in close proximity to a dying loved one, they often experience a portion of their NDE. Such experiences are called "shared death experiences" (SDEs). While this type of phenomenon does not provide solid scientific evidence for the reality of out-of-body existence, they do provide excellent circumstantial evidence - especially if more than two people are involved. The following information comes from some of the top near-death researchers on the subject of SDEs.


Dr. Raymond Moody's continuing research of NDEs, led him to a completely new phenomenon called the "shared death experience" which he documented in his book, Glimpses of Eternity: An Investigation Into Shared Death Experiences. This is a phenomenon where an NDE is actually shared by someone who is not dying, but who is emotionally connected or in close proximity to someone who is concurrently in the "life/death transition." These kind of NDEs attain a higher validity when it occurs where there is significant physical and/or social distance between the two individuals. At no time is there any indication that the experiencers is himself in any discernible medical distress. Typically, the experience accompanies an individual who is dying through sudden and unexpected means, the sense being that of rendering assistance to an otherwise confused individual. P.M.H. Atwater has this to say about shared:

"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." (P.M.H. Atwater

  Table of Contents
1. Dr. Melvin Morse's Case of Shared Death Experience
2. Sussanna Uballe's Shared Death Experience
3. An Anonymous Shared Death Experience
4. Dr. Joan Borysenko and Her Son's Shared Death Experience of Her Dying Mother
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 1. 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.":

"Karl Skala 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 blast." (Dr. Melvin Morse, Parting Visions, page 45-46)

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 2. Sussanna Uballe's Shared Death Experience

In the Summer, 1996, edition of the 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 here."


"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 Uballe)

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 3. An Anonymous Shared Death Experience

The following the shared death experience of a person who wishes to remain anonymous.

"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 died.


"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 everywhere.


"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 die.


"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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 4. Dr. Joan Borysenko and Her Son's Shared Death Experience of Her Dying Mother

The following 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 own words:

"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 his face.


"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 the light.'


"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. Joan Borysenko)

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"You'll not be in heaven if you're not leaning on the arm of someone you have helped." - Edgar Cayce

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