Science and the Near-Death Experience

Out-of-body man

The Spiritual Development Blog describes the situation best. Ultimately, all materialistic explanations for NDEs must fail because they cannot explain the paranormal components of the phenomena, such as shared near-death experiences where multiple people share a near-death experience, and veridical near-death experiences where the experiencer remembers verifiable information that could not have been perceived with his normal senses even if he were conscious. The Spiritual Development Blog has discussed these types of cases and provided examples on their website and elsewhere on their blog. Even claims that veridical perceptions are due to ESP do not contradict the conclusion that near-death experiences represent out-of-the-body consciousness and evidence for the afterlife because ESP is not produced by the brain and ESP during near-death experiences is best explained as out-of-the-body consciousness. However it is interesting to see how weak the materialists hypotheses are on their own ground. It shows that these materialistic hypotheses are proposed by people who are incredibly ignorant of near-death experiences. It says something sad about the current state of the scientific profession that scientists would make such reckless proposals without investigating the subject they are discussing.

 
 Table of Contents
 
1. Scientific theories explaining NDEs
2. Near-death studies research conclusions
3. Events which can trigger an OBE or NDE
4. Scientific discoveries are coming from another dimension
5. Television-like technology exists in the afterlife
6. Computer-like technology exists in the afterlife
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 1. Scientific theories explaining NDEs
 a.  Dying brain theory
 

PRO Because NDEs have many common core elements, this shows they are not spiritual voyages outside of the body, but are a function of the dying brain. All brains die in the same way and this is why all NDEs have essential core elements which are the same. They are the result of neurotransmitters in the brain shutting down which creates lovely illusions. (Susan Blackmore)

 

CON:  Because NDEs have many common core elements, this suggests they are spiritual voyages outside of the body. Also, if the dying brain creates NDE illusions, what is the purpose for doing it? If our brains are only a high-tech computer-like lump of tissue which produces our mind and personality, why does it bother to create illusions at the time of death? If everything, including the mind and personality, are about to disintegrate, why would the brain produce a last wonderful Grand Finale vision? Even if NDE elements can be reduced to only a series of brain reactions, this does not negate the idea of NDEs being more than a brain thing. Read this article on the errors of the pseudo-skeptics of NDEs.

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 b.  Lack of oxygen theory
 

PRO:  Neurologist Ernst Rodin offers cerebral anoxia as a possible cause of NDEs of the dying brain. Such anoxia produces a confusing dream-like state of delusions and hallucinations. (Susan Blackmore)

 

CON:  According to cardiologist Dr. Michael Sabom, the NDE involves a clear awareness and a more mystical content, and NDEs have also occurred in people without anoxia. Pim van Lommel led a study concerning NDEs during cardiac arrest. In our study all patients had a cardiac arrest, they were clinically dead, unconsciousness that was caused by insufficient blood supply to the brain, and the EEG has become flat. In patients cardiac arrest (ventricular fibrillation) is sometimes induced for testing internal defibrillators. In these patients the EEG becomes usually flat within 10-15 seconds from the onset of syncope due to the (reversible) total loss of function of the brain. According to the physiologic theory, all patients in our study should have had NDE, but only 18% reported NDE.

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 c.  Right temporal lobe theory
 

PRO:  Neurologist Dr. Michael Persinger argues that instability and activity in the brain's right temporal lobe is responsible for religious experiences of deep meaningfulness, early memories, and out-of-body experiences (see this Temporal lobe theory page.)

 

CON:  Dr. Melvin Morse agrees with the right temporal lobe showing NDE-like activity, but he sees it as the mediating bridge for a spiritual experience, not reductionistically as nothing but brain activity (Morse, 1992). Also, the characteristic emotions resulting from temporal lobe stimulation are fear, sadness, and loneliness, not the calm and love of an NDE. While scientists may be discovering a mechanism associated with NDEs, this does not mean NDEs are strictly produced by this mechanism. A mechanical function associated with NDEs does not negate the idea of NDEs being more than a mechanical function.

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 d.  Cortical disinhibition theory
 

PRO:  Susan Blackmore interprets the tunnel and the light as an optical illusion created by the effects of anoxia and drugs, creating cortical disinhibition, with the effect of random light spots radiating from the center of a dark internal visual field.

 

CON:  Dr. Michael Sabom tested and rejected this brain-only argument. While brain neurology is obviously a part of NDEs, he says, it is not a sufficient explanation because of the verified or veridical aspects found in some NDEs. This aspect is suggestive of the possibility of consciousness existing outside of the body.

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 e.  Hallucination theory
 

PRO:  The psychiatrist Dr. Ronald Siegel interprets NDEs and similar imaginative visions of the afterlife as hallucinations, similar to the effects of psychedelic drugs or anesthesia(see this Hallucination Theory support page.)

 

CON:  Psychologist John Gibbs states, "NDE accounts from varied times and cultures were found to be more orderly, logical, defined and predictable than comparable accounts from drug or illness-induced hallucination. Impressive data from Tart, Moody and Carl Becker also argue for the objective elements of an NDE, including returning with knowledge later verified and third-party observations of odd death-bed phenomena (such as luminosity or apparitions). Peter Fenwick, a neuropsychiatrist, notes drug induced hallucinations taking place while the subject is conscious. During an NDE the subject is unconscious. While in the state of unconsciousness, the brain cannot create images. Even if they did, the subject would not be able to remember them. NDEs involve clear, lucid memories. Also, drug induced hallucinations distort reality while NDEs have been described as "hyper-reality."

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 f.  Depersonalization theory
 

PRO:  Noyes and Kletti theorizes a defense of the nervous system stalling off mental disorganization during the death crisis by presenting an altered passage of time, vivid and accelerated thoughts, a sense of detachment, unreality, automatic movements, and revival of memories (see this Depersonalization theory page)

 

CON:  Dr. Michael Sabom argues depersonalization fails to account for all the elements of NDEs. Some NDE elements do not fit into the depersonalization mode, such as the strong spiritual and mystical feelings, and the increased alertness and awareness. Also, the vast majority of experiencers reject the idea of their NDE being the result of depersonalization. To reduce what was a profound and transforming experience to nothing more than a set of neurotransmitters going on the blink is a bit like seeing Michelangelo's statue of David as nothing more than several tons of marble.

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 g.  Memory of birth theory
 

PRO:  Otto Rank proposed birth trauma being behind all neuroses, for all anxiety-producing experiences of separation reactivate the separation from the mother at birth (Brown, 52-53). This theory has been modified to explain the NDE. The cosmologist Carl Sagan proposed the tunnel and light are a reliving of the infant's descent down the birth canal (Sagan, 353-68) (also see this Memory of birth page.)

 

CON:  Carl Becker asserted that infants descending the birth canal have their eyes closed and brains too undeveloped to allow memories of birth (Becker, 1982). Similarly, Susan Blackmore proved that people born by caesarian section have the tunnel experience and OBEs in equal proportion to those born naturally (Blackmore, 1983). Birth is also often an unpleasant experience for babies. In contrast, NDEs are often described as extremely pleasurable.

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 h.  Endorphins theory
 

PRO:  The brain's naturally produced narcotics, such as the endorphins, have been offered by endocrinologist Daniel Carr to explain why, at the very moment when the body's death would be expected to bring incredible pain and terror, the NDE surprises us with pleasure, calm, and peace.

 

CON:  Dr. Melvin Morse responds that patients receiving prescribed narcotics similar to the endorphins experienced no NDEs (Morse, 1989).

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 i.  Denial of death theory
 

PRO:  The NDE is seen by some Freudians as a denial of death, a hallucinatory wish fulfillment defending the ego from its impending annihilation.

 

CON:  A large number of people who have NDEs are initially not even aware they have died. In these cases death is not even considered or denied (e.g., Dr. George Ritchie, Rev. Howard Storm).

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 j.  Fear of death theory
 

PRO:  Severe anxiety and stress at the time of death creates a dissociative state.

 

CON:  Pim van Lommel led a study concerning NDEs during cardiac arrest. Only a very small percentage of patients said they had been afraid the last seconds preceding the cardiac arrest. Also, the medication given to them made no difference.

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 k.  Darwin's theory of evolution
 

PRO:  This theory holds that NDE reports are a deliberate ploy of humans to help the human race to adapt better to the inevitable end of their lives. This is based on the survival of the fittest which means that every species has the primary urge to struggle to increase its hold on the planet and guarantee the survival of its descendants.

 

CON:  This theory does not explain why NDEs are erratic, or why we shunted down an evolutionary sidetrack for years by making NDEs something that people are reluctant to talk about.

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  l.  Too much carbon dioxide theory
 

PRO:  Near-death experiences are tricks of the mind triggered by an overload of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. During cardiac arrest and resuscitation, blood gases such as CO2 rise or fall because of the lack of circulation and breathing. Patients who experienced the phenomenon, blood carbon-dioxide levels were significantly higher than in those who did not. (Zalika Klemenc-Ketis of the University of Maribor in Slovenia)

 

CON:  According to neuropsychiatrist Peter Fenwick of the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College London, "The one difficulty in arguing that CO2 is the cause is that in cardiac arrests, everybody has high CO2 but only 10 percent have NDEs. What's more, in heart attack patients, there is no coherent cerebral activity which could support consciousness, let alone an experience with the clarity of an NDE."

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  m. Rapid eye movement (REM) intrusion theory
 

PRO:  Dr. Kevin Nelson of the University of Kentucky suggests near-death experiences are akin to dreaming and they use the same rapid eye movement (REM) mechanism associated with sleep. In other words, near-death experiences are a part of the dream mechanism and the person having the experience is in a REM state.

 

CON:  Dr. Jeffrey Long from the Near-Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF.org) disagrees with Nelson on a number of points. First of all, he states that Nelson's comparison group - the non-NDErs - is not typical and many were medical professionals and colleagues of Nelson. Secondly, Nelson's research questionnaire was poorly designed. Thirdly, Nelson failed to recognize dramatic differences between NDE and REM intrusion. Hallucinations stemming from REM intrusion - just before waking or while falling asleep - are often "bizarre and unrealistic" such as seeing objects appear through cracks in a wall or movement in a painting on the wall. By contrast, memories from an NDE are lucid and rooted in the real world. NDErs almost uniformly don't say, "Oh, that must have been a dream." About 75 percent say they were more alert, more conscious than normal. There's also a consistency of elements in NDEs which hallucinations don't have. Fourthly, 98 percent of NDErs encounter deceased relatives, as opposed to dreams where it's common to encounter living people. NDErs also encounter deceased relatives whom they didn't know at the time were dead. Fifthly, the totality of evidence shows there's something going on that's outside the medical evidence. NDEers almost always say that it wasn't a hallucination or dream; it was some different realm, some different aspect of their existence. And finally, REM intrusion - whether sleep paralysis or hallucinations - tends to be frightening or deeply unsettling. By contrast, most people who go through an NDE say the experience is almost supernaturally calm and peaceful, even joyful. Not only anecdotes, but real evidence does support this. In a 2001 study in the medical journal The Lancet, of 62 cardiac attest patients who reported an NDE, more than half said the main emotions they experienced were "positive." Long says these distinctive, positive emotions are powerful evidence that an NDE is not just REM intrusion in disguise.

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 n. Sharp increase of brain activity after heart stops theory
 

PRO:  Dr Jimo Borjigin of the University of Michigan suggests that the dying brain does not shut down as might be expected, but instead, becomes much more active during the dying process than even the waking state. He bases his findings on a study involving rats where it was discovered that in the 30-second period after the rodent's hearts stopped beating, there was a sharp increase in high-frequency brainwaves.

 

CON:  In a paper entitled, "Seeing Dead People Not Known to Have Died: Peak in Darien Experiences," Dr. Bruce Greyson from the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia argues that in his collection of 665 NDEs, 138 (21%) included a purported meeting with a deceased person. People on their deathbeds see, and often express surprise at meeting, a recently deceased person, of whose death neither they nor anyone around them had any knowledge. This excludes the possibility that the vision was a hallucination related to the experiencer's expectations. Such NDEs are termed "Peak in Darien" cases, after a book by that name published in 1882 by Frances Power Cobbe. The title is taken from a John Keats poem describing the shock of the Spaniards, who, after scaling a peak in Darien (in what is now Panama), expect to see a continent, but are confronted instead with another ocean. Bruce Greyson reports in his paper, published in the academic journal 'Anthropology and Humanism', many examples, including that of Physician K. M. Dale who related the case of 9-year-old Eddie Cuomo, whose fever finally broke after nearly 36 hours of anxious vigil on the part of his parents and hospital personnel. As soon as he opened his eyes, at 3:00 in the morning, Eddie related that he had been to heaven, where he saw his deceased Grandpa Cuomo, Auntie Rosa, and Uncle Lorenzo. Then Eddie added that he also saw his 19-year-old sister Teresa, who told him he had to go back. His father became agitated, because he had spoken with Teresa, who was attending college in Vermont, just two nights ago. Later that morning, Eddie's parents learned that Teresa had been killed in an automobile accident just after midnight, and that college officials had tried unsuccessfully to reach the Cuomos at their home. Bruce Greyson relates many other examples, including cases in which the deceased person seen was someone whom the experiencer had never known. For example, Greyson reports cardiologist Maurice Rawlings describing the case of a 48-year-old man who had a cardiac arrest. In an NDE he perceived a gorge full of beautiful colors, where he met both his stepmother and his biological mother, who had died when he was 15 months old. His father had remarried soon after his biological mother's death, and this person had never even seen a photo of her. A few weeks after this episode, his aunt, having heard about this vision, brought a picture of his mother with a number of other people. The man picked his mother out of the group, to the astonishment of his father.

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 o.  Consciousness survives bodily death theory
 

PRO:  There exists strong circumstantial evidence of consciousness surviving bodily death. While this evidence does not constitute conclusive scientific proof, it does make survival after bodily death a possibility which can be upheld in a court of law. The evidence for survival can be found in science, philosophy, history, metaphysics, religion, and anecdotal testimony. Quantum physics (see above) makes some scientific theories of the NDE outmoded while supporting elements of NDEs. Scientific studies support the possible validity of NDEs elements such as being out of the body, the retention of mental images during brain death, veridical experiences of autoscopic events, the ability to accurately foresee the future, receiving information that leads to new scientific discoveries, people born blind being able to see, groups of people sharing a single experience, unbiased children having similar experiences as adults, causing experiencers to be drastically changed and convinced of survival after death, the evidence supporting the objectivity of NDEs, and the affirmation of ancient religious concepts found around the world. Some of the skeptical arguments against the survival theory are often not valid and the burden of proof against survival has shifted to the skeptics. The following is a list of the evidence supporting NDEs as the survival of consciousness:

 
1.

Quantum physics makes some materialistic theories of the NDE outmoded:  New developments in quantum physics shows that we cannot know phenomena apart from the observer. Arlice Davenport challenges the hallucination theory of NDEs as outmoded because the field theories of physics now suggest new paradigm options available to explain NDEs. Mark Woodhouse argues that the traditional materialism/dualism battle over NDEs may be solved by Einstein. Since matter is now seen as a form of energy, an energy body alternative to the material body could explain the NDE. This is supported by Melvin Morse who describes how NDEs are able to realign the charges in the electromagnetic field of the human body so that somehow the brain's wiring is renewed. He reports on patients who have NDEs and who recover from such diseases as pneumonia, cardiac arrest, and cancer (1992, 153-54). Perhaps the brain is like a kind of receiver such as a television, radio, or cell phone. What is received (i.e., signals, music, voice) is not produced by the receiver, but exists separately as electromagnetic waves that are processed by the receiver to make them visible or audible to the senses.

   
2. 

Quantum physics support elements found in NDEs Similarities can be found between elements of NDEs and in quantum field concepts of non-locality, universal interconnectedness, a non-material dimension without our time-space relationship, and in the concept of subjectivity. All events are related and influence each other instantaneously and in reciprocity, and only subjectivity remains.

   
3. 

Scientific studies support the out-of-body aspect of NDEs Pim van Lommel led a study concerning the NDEs of research subjects who had cardiac arrest. The findings of the study suggests that research subjects can experience consciousness, with self-identity, cognitive function and memories, including the possibility of perception outside their body, during a flat EEG. Those research subjects who had NDEs report that their NDE was a bonafide preview of the afterlife.

   
4. 

Memories and images are produced and retained by standstill patients See Dr. Michael Sabom's groundbreaking Atlanta study.

   
5. 

People see and hear verifiable events far from their bodies during an NDE See (a)  Dr. Charles Tart's research subject, (b) Pam Reynolds, (c) Dr. George Rodonaia, (d) Dr. George Ritchie, and (e) various NDE experiencers.

   
6. 

Strange aspects to NDEs cannot be explained by brain chemistry alone: If NDEs are merely hallucinations, why do the vast majority of experiencers report being told an identical and unusual message? This unusual message is that they must return because their time for death hasn't come, or some variation of this. Assuming that NDEs are merely hallucinations, it is odd that people are having mass hallucinations of receiving similar unusual messages.

   
7.

People born blind are able to see during an NDE See Vicki Umipeg's NDE account.

   
8.

Groups of people can share the same NDE at the same time NDE research Arvin Gibson documented the account of a group of firefighters who succumbed to a forest fire. During their NDEs they saw each other outside of their bodies and had a most interesting experience. See thee Group NDE web page involving May Eulitt and Jake.

   
9.

People are able to successfully foresee future events during an NDE Some of these events were the Second World War, Desert Storm, and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. See the NDE and the Future web page.

   
10. 

People are declared dead and left for dead for several days during an NDE A Russian scientist was declared dead and put in the morgue for three days during which he had an NDE. See Dr. George Rodonaia's NDE account. Also, visit Emanuel Tuwagirairmana's NDE account.

   
11. 

Unbiased children have NDEs that are similar to adult NDEs See P.M.H. Atwater's research on childhood NDEs.

   
12. 

Scientific discoveries have been made from the direct result of NDEs See the list of scientific discoveries above.

   

13. 

NDEs can be viewed to be archetypal initiatory journeys Dr. Ken Ring stated that NDEs can be viewed psychologically as archetypal initiatory journeys involving a death of one's old ego and a rebirth of a new self. An adequate interpretation must incorporate the spiritual realm of kundalini experiences, the imaginal realm, and the mind at large. As Ring envisions in an essay in this book, this paradigm can deconstruct our traditional Western worldview. It may lead to a dramatic next step in the evolution of a more ecological and more compassionate consciousness.

   
14. 

People are dramatically changed as a result from having an NDE The philosophy of Positivism, founded by A. J. Ayer, is the philosophy that anything not verifiable by the senses is nonsense. And since NDEs mark the end of the senses, the survival of the senses after death is nonsense. But this philosophy is challenged by its founder A. J. Ayer himself. Later in life, Ayer had an NDE where he saw a red light. His NDE made him a changed man: "My recent experiences, have slightly weakened my conviction that my genuine death...will be the end of me, though I continue to hope that it will be." (Ayer, 1988 a, b).

   
15. 

People are absolutely convinced they were out of their body during an NDE See the Evidence of NDEs web page.

   
16. 

NDEs can be considered an objective experience: The philosopher Carl Becker examined four ways in which NDEs may be considered objective: examined four ways in which NDEs may be considered objective:

a.  Paranormal knowledge that is later verified.
b.  The similarity off deathbed events in different cultures. In different cultures.
c.  Differences between religious expectations and visionary experiences.
d.  Third-party observations of visionary figures, indicating that they were not merely subjective hallucinations (Becker, 1984).
 

17.

Other paranormal phenomena supports NDEs to be experiences of the survival of consciousness including:  (a) Deathbed visions, (b) Quantum physics, (c) Dream research, (d) Out-of-body research, (e) After-death communications research, (f ) Reincarnation research, (g) Hypnosis, (h) Synchronicity, (i ) Remote viewing, and (j ) Consciousness research.

   

18.

NDEs have been happening for thousands of years and are not a modern phenomenon: See the NDE accounts associated with (a) Plato, (b) the Apostle Paul, and (c) the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

   

19.

Skeptical arguments against the survival theory of NDEs are often not valid:  Sociologist Dr. Allan Kellehear states that some scientific theories are often presented as the most logical, factual, objective, credible, and progressive possibilities, as opposed to the allegedly subjective, superstitious, abnormal, or dysfunctional views of mystics. The rhetorical opinions of some NDE theories are presented as if they were scientific (Kellehear, 1996, 120). Many skeptical arguments against the survival theory are actually arguments from pseudo-skeptics who often think they have no burden of proof. Such arguments often based on scientism with assumptions that survival is impossible even though survival has not been ruled out. Faulty conclusions are often made such as, "Because NDEs have a brain chemical connection then survival is impossible." Pseudo-skeptical arguments are sometimes made that do not consider the entire body of circumstantial evidence supporting the possibility of survival or do not consider the possibility of new paradigms. Such pseudo-skeptical claims are often made without any scientific evidence.

   
20.

Memories of near-death experiences are more real than reality: Researchers at the Coma Science Group, directed by Steven Laureys, and the University of Liege's Cognitive Psychology Research, headed by Professor Serge Bredart and Hedwige Dehon, have demonstrated that the physiological mechanisms triggered during NDE lead to a more vivid perception not only of imagined events in the history of an individual but also of real events which have taken place in their lives! These surprising results - obtained using an original method which now requires further investigation - are published in PLOS ONE. The researchers looked into the memories of NDE with the hypothesis that if the memories of NDE were pure products of the imagination, their phenomenological characteristics (e.g., sensorial, self referential, emotional, etc. details) should be closer to those of imagined memories. Conversely, if the NDE are experienced in a way similar to that of reality, their characteristics would be closer to the memories of real events. Their results were surprising. From the perspective being studied, not only were the NDEs not similar to the memories of imagined events, but the phenomenological characteristics inherent to the memories of real events (e.g. memories of sensorial details) are even more numerous in the memories of NDE than in the memories of real events.

   

21.

The burden of proof has shifted to skeptics of the survival theory of NDEs:  All neurological theories that conclude NDEs to be only a brain-thing, must show how the core elements of the NDE occur subjectively because of specific neurological events triggered by the approach of death. These core elements include: the out-of-body state, paranormal knowledge, the tunnel, the golden light, the voice or presence, the appearance of deceased relatives, and beautiful vistas. Perhaps the final word should go to Nancy Evans Bush, a NDEr with the International Association for Near-Death Studies, who said: "There is no human experience of any description that can't simply be reduced to a biological process, but that in no way offsets the meaning those experiences have for us-whether it's falling in love, or grieving, or having a baby."

   
22. A significant amount of support suggestive of consciousness surviving bodily death exists. Although this has not been proven conclusively using the scientific method, the open-minded skeptic include this significant amount of evidence as well as taken into consideration the testimonies of millions of people who have had both objective and subjective NDEs and OBEs constituting very strong circumstantial evidence. Here are some Wikipedia articles dealing with this subject as well: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] and [21].

CON:  The survival of consciousness after death has never been proven conclusively using the scientific method.

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 2. Near-death studies research conclusions
 

Multi-colored icon.   Read current articles of NDE research supporting the survival of consciousness from the body.

Multi-colored icon.   Dr. Raymond Moody:  Common NDE aspects:

a. Strange sounds e. Traveling rapidly
b. Peace and and painlessness f. Seeing light beings
c. Out-of-body experience g. Life review
d. Tunnel h. Reluctance to return

Multi-colored icon.   Dr. Kenneth Ring:  Research findings:

a. Moody's findings Moody's findings are affirmed.
b. They happen to people of all races, genders, ages, education, marital status, and social class.
c. Religious orientation is not a factor.
d. People are convinced of the reality of their experience.
e. Drugs do not appear to be a factor.
f. NDEs are not hallucinations.
g. NDEs often involve unparalleled feelings.
h. People lose their fear of death and appreciate life more.
i. People's lives are transformed.

Multi-colored icon.   P.M.H. Atwater:  The content of the NDE involves an otherworldly awareness that can be brief and consist of only one or two elements, or can be more involved, even lengthy, and consist of multiple elements. Common elements include:

a. Greatly enhanced thoughts.
b. A darkness or light that is perceived as alive, intelligent and powerful.
c. A sensation of movement and/or presence.
d.. A sudden sudden overwhelming flood of emotion.
e. An encounter with an identified deceased person or animal, or an encounter with an apparently nonphysical entity.
f. A life review.

Multi-colored icon.   Dr. Melvin Morse: The brain's connection to a higher power can be validated by indisputable scientific facts such as:

a. Memories can can exist outside of the brain.
b. Scientific evidence supporting reincarnation.
c. Anecdotal evidence that people exist after death in some form of energy.
d. People often exhibit supernatural powers.
e. Right temporal lobe activity verifies the reality of them.
f. The mind/brain can be induced to have them.
g. Brain research is able to support the reality of an unseen power.
h. More conclusions can be found here.

Multi-colored icon.   Dr. Jeffrey and Jody Long: of 302 near-death experiences:

a. 29% saw the Being of Light as a familiar being.

Of the percentage who saw familiar beings:

 I. 25.9% saw blood relatives.
 II. 22.9% saw religious figures.
 III. 25.8% saw the Being of Light as an unfamiliar being.
b. Of the 166 people who saw beings:

I.  53% saw familiar beings.
II.  47% saw unfamiliar beings.

Multi-colored icon.   Dr. Jeffrey Long, in his book, "Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences," documented a study he conducted - the largest scientific study of NDEs ever - based on his research of over 1,300 NDEs shared with NDERF.org. Using his treasure trove of data, Dr. Long explains how NDEs cannot be explained by brain chemistry alone, how medical evidence fails to explain them away and why there is only one plausible explanation - that people have survived death and traveled to another dimension. Dr. Long makes his case using nine lines of evidence and they are:

a.

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

b.

Realistic Out-of-Body Experiences (OBEs): OBEs are one of the most common elements of NDEs. Events witnessed and heard by NDErs while in an out-of-body state are almost always realistic. When the NDEr or others later seek to verify what was witnessed or heard during the NDE, their OBE observations are almost always confirmed as completely accurate. Even if the OBE observations include events occurring far away from the physical body, and far from any possible sensory awareness of the NDEr, the OBE observations are still almost always confirmed as completely accurate. This fact alone rules out the possibility that NDEs are related to any known brain functioning or sensory awareness. This also refutes the possibility that NDEs are unrealistic fragments of memory from the brain.

c.

Heightened Senses. Heightened senses have been reported by most who have NDEs. Supernormal vision has occurred even in those with significantly impaired vision. This is medically unexplainable.

d.

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

e.

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

f.

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

g.

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

h.

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

i.

Aftereffects. It is common for people to experience major life changes after having NDEs. These aftereffects are often powerful, lasting, life-enhancing, and the changes generally follow a consistent pattern. NDErs themselves are practically universal in their belief that their experience of the afterlife was real.

Multi-colored icon.   Dr. Michael Sabom:  The Atlanta study concluded:

a.  NDEs provide evidence of veridical perception (i.e., verified out-of-body vision).
b.  What people see and hear while they are dead has a factual basis.
c.  Near-death experiencers accurately recall events that are happening around them when their brain isn't functioning.

Multi-colored icon.   Pim van Lommel The Dutch study on NDEs involved:

a. The replication of the veridical perception phenomenon reported by Dr. Michael Sabom.
b. Lommel described a patient who was able to describe verifiable events from a vantage point far away from his body.

Multi-colored icon.   Dr. Barbara Rommer:  Less-than-positive NDEs can be classified into four types:

a.  NDEs that are misinterpreted positive NDEs.
b.  NDEs involving a void which is very unpleasant.
c.  NDEs that involve visions of hell.
d.  NDEs that involve frightening life reviews.

Multi-colored icon.   Dr. Karl Jansen:  Ketamine research findings:

a.  NDEs and the drug ketamine produce identical visions.
b.  They both induce real visions of a real god.
c.  Ketamine affects parts of the brain such as the right temporal lobe, the hippocampus and associated structures in the brain.
d.  NDEs are an important phenomenon that can safely be reproduced by ketamine.

Multi-colored icon.   Dr. Peter Fenwick: On the difference between hallucinations and NDEs, Fenwick states in Tom Harpur's documentary Life After Death that drug-induced hallucinations are not the same as NDEs:

"The difficulty with those theories is that when you create these wonderful states by taking drugs, you're conscious. In the NDE, you are unconscious. One of the things we know about brain function in unconsciousness, is that you cannot create images and if you do, you cannot remember them ... [During an NDE] the brain isn't functioning. It's not there. It's destroyed. It's abnormal. But, yet, it can produce these very clear experiences ... An unconscious state is when the brain ceases to function. For example, if you faint, you fall to the floor, you don't know what's happening and the brain isn't working. The memory systems are particularly sensitive to unconsciousness. So, you won't remember anything. But, yet, after one of these [NDE] experiences, you come out with clear, lucid memories ... This is a real puzzle for science. I have not yet seen any good scientific explanation which can explain that fact." (Dr. Peter Fenwick)

Multi-colored icon.   Dr. Ian Stevenson: Stevenson's ground-breaking reincarnation research concluded that birthmarks and congenital deformities have one to five characteristics in common:

a.  The person expresses a wish to be reborn through a particular woman.
b.  A woman has an after-death visitation by an apparition who tells her that he/she are to be reborn through her.
c.  In some cultures where reincarnation is a dominant belief, newborn children are checked for recognizable birthmarks to determine their past-life identity.
d.  A child, usually between 2 and 4 years, talks about having memories of a past life.
e.  A child feels uncomfortable with its current family.

Multi-colored icon.   Kevin Williams, B.Sc.:  These are statistics of common elements found in 50 NDEs profiled on this website:

69%  Experienced overwhelming love 31%  Received forgotten knowledge
65%  Experienced mental telepathy 27%  Experienced fear
62%  Had a life review 21%  Had a homecoming with deceased loved ones
56%  Meet a Being of light 21%  Was shown their past lives
56%  Felt tremendous ecstasy 19%  Saw or experienced hell
46%  Learned unlimited knowledge 17%  Saw a heavenly city of light
46%  Visited numerous afterlife realms 13%  Visited a heavenly temple of knowledge
46%  Was told they were not ready to die 10%  Saw earthbound souls
44%  Was shown visions of the future   6%  Their NDE was the result of an attempted suicide
42%  Traveled through a tunnel   0%  Saw a devil
37%  Met Jesus Christ

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 3. Events which can trigger an OBE or NDE
 
a.  Death h.  After-death vision o.  Relaxation
b.  Dreams i.   Eye movement p.  Psychic powers
c.  Stress j.   Sexual orgasm q.  Astral projection
d.  Brain stimulation k.  Mental illness r..  Mirror gazing
e.  Deathbed l.   Drugs  
f.   Seizure m. Gravity   
g.  Falling down n.  Meditation  
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 4. Scientific discoveries are coming from another dimension
 
a.

"Many of our important inventions were first created in the spiritual universe by spirit prodigies. Then individuals on earth receive the inspiration to create these inventions here." (Betty Eadie)

b.

"Spirituality and science are one and the same." (Lynnclaire Dennis)

c.

"Science and technology are gifts from God bestowed through inspiration. People on earth have literally been led to these discoveries, many of which later became perverted by humanity to use for its own destruction." (Rev. Howard Storm)

d.

"The mushroom cloud of the atomic bomb is one of the holiest archetypes created by human beings. It, more than any religion or philosophy on earth, brought humanity together all of a sudden, to a new level of consciousness. The power behind the atom is the power of God - the Force that holds all things together." (Mellen-Thomas Benedict)

e.

Visit the Skeptic's Corner for specific discoveries learned from near-death experiences.

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 5. Television-like technology exists in the afterlife
 
a.

"Then I was instantly zapped to a domed room with square screens up and down the walls, on the ceiling - hundreds of television screens. On each screen was a home movie of one event in my life." (Jeanie Dicus)

b.

"In a sacred room, we see our lives flash before us on a "scanning machine." This device is a domed screen where our lives are placed out in three-dimensional holographic form." (Sylvia Browne)

c.

"It was a lot like looking at a hologram, but full color 3D with sound and scent." (Hal)

d.

"He is told it resembles a movie theater which allows souls to see themselves in the future, playing different roles in various settings." (Dr. Michael Newton)

e.

"In response they used a machine to show her a scene from earlier in her life." (Betty Andreason)

f.

"With that I saw frames appear like screens on a television set." (Lou Famoso)

g.

"The box opened to reveal what appeared to be a tiny television picture of a world event that was yet to happen." (Dannion Brinkley)

h.

"He told me what I had to do in life and had me go to the other side of the room and look down into something like a television set so I could see my future." (Clara)

i.

"Next we went to a place she called the lookout. It appeared to be only an overhang on a high cliff, but the view was intensely magnified. I could look into the world I had left behind as though peering into a monitor, if I chose to do so. No one spent a lot of time here, Maggi said, but some occasionally stopped by to check on what was going on in the earthly realm." (Jan Price)

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 6. Computer-like technology exists in the afterlife
 
a.

Albert Einstein was observed operating a Heavenly Computer: "Next we materialized in a computer room ... Some of [the people there] I knew by name, others by reputation; and all had time for me, to teach me if ever I need help understanding. One of them was Albert Einstein, whom I had always admired greatly but distantly, and this great man took time away from his duties to encourage me. He asked me if I would care to operate the computer, which was very complex and beautiful and designed to guide the path of destinies. I was flattered, but felt incompetent and unsure of myself in the presence of such greatness. I told him I would like to try, but I was afraid of making a mistake. He laughed greatly, and reassured me, saying that error was not possible in this place. Encouraged, I seemed instinctively to know how to operate this unusual machine, and waved my hand in a pattern over the large keyboard, rather like playing a piano without touching the keys. I knew instantly the task had been performed perfectly, and it had somehow been of great benefit to someone. I was suffused with the joy of a job well done. I would gladly spend eternity here at this rewarding work if only for the tremendous feeling of well-being I had experienced as a result. Through open doors I glimpsed enormous rooms filled with complex equipment. In several of the rooms hooded figures bent over intricate charts and diagrams, or sat at the controls of elaborate consoles flickering with lights ... Years later, when I picked up the December 1952 issue of Life magazine and saw some of the instruments in the second U.S. atomic submarine engine, I had the strange feeling of deja vu until I recalled seeing the very same instrument in one of these labs." (Dr. George Ritchie)

b.

Betty Eadie saw a large machine, similar to a computer, but much more elaborate and powerful. Betty realized that all important things on earth are first created in spirit. (Betty Eadie)

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"The unconscious psyche believes in life after death" - Carl Jung, M.D.

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Books on
Science and NDEs

The Mereon Matrix book cover.

The Mereon Matrix: Everything Connected Through (K)nothing
(Hardcover edition)

Also available in: eText edition

by Lynnclaire Dennis, Jytte McNair, and Louis Kauffman

The Mereon Matrix is a 900+ page academic textbook about a new mathematical discovery found in the NDE of Lynnclaire Dennis. This unique geometrical "Pattern" she saw in the Light led her begin an investigation to understand what she knew was an important scientific discovery given to her to help humanity solve some of its most critical problems. The importance of this discovery - a "Pattern of patterns" - is underscored by the fact that The Mereon Matrix was published by Elsevier, the world's leading provider of science and health information. Each chapter of this book is self-contained and explained relative to the Mereon Matrix's functional process and provides references to scientific findings congruent with or expanded by the Mereon Matrix. This book offers a new way of systems modeling which has been and can be applied across a multitude of sciences.

 

The Physics of Consciousness book cover.

The Physics of Consciousness: The Quantum Mind and the Meaning of Life

by Dr. Evan Harris Walker

The author outlines the basis for the new physics - one that recognizes consciousness as a fundamental part of reality and opens the door to paranormal phenomena and God as "Quantum Mind."

God At The Speed Of Light book cover.

God at the Speed of Light: The Melding of Science and Spirituality

by Dr. T. Lee Baumann

Could it be that light and God are one in the same? Physician Lee Baumann makes a case for exactly that. From many sources, Dr. Baumann has synthesized a compelling picture of what may be the true nature of our universe at all levels - physical, mental, and spiritual.

The Holographic Universe book cover.

The Holographic Universe

by Michael Talbot

Beginning with physicist David Bohm and neurophysiologist Karl Pribram, both of whom independently arrived at holographic theories explaining the nature of the universe, Talbot explains in clear terms this theory and applies it to both science and and the paranormal.

The Spiritual Universe book cover.

The Spiritual Universe: One Physicist's Vision of Spirit, Soul, Matter, and Self

by Dr. Fred Alan Wolf

Dr. Wolf proves the spiritual and scientific basis for the existence of the soul by using insights into the world of quantum physics.

The Self-Aware Universe book cover.

The Self-Aware Universe

by Dr. Amit Goswami, Maggie Goswami, Richard Reed

The scientific case for a self-aware universe. Consciousness, not matter, is the ground of all existence. Consciousness created the physical world. There is no objective reality independent of consciousness. The so-called mind-body schism is illusionary.

The Non-Local Universe book cover.

The Non-Local Universe: The New Physics and Matters of the Mind

by Dr. Robert Nadeau, Menas Kafatos

Classical physics rules out "spooky action at a distance" (i.e., a billiard ball cannot move unless something contacts it.). But the new physics permits "non-local" action (i.e., do certain things to a photon and another photon can be affected at faster than light speed). Hence, all of physical reality is a single quantum system and reality.

The Holotropic Mind book cover.

The Holotropic Mind: The Three Levels of Human Consciousness and How They Shape Our Lives

by Dr. Stanislav Grof, Hal Zina Bennett

Observations of "non-ordinary" states of consciousness support the theory that the mind is essentially "holotropic" (i.e., like a hologram wherein the whole can be reconstructed from a tiny part). Thus, our infinite transpersonal consciousness can transcend not only the time-space continuum but even visit other dimensions and parallel universes.

From Science To God book cover.

From Science to God: A Physicist's Journey into the Mystery of Consciousness

by Dr. Peter Russell

Russell, well known for his work on the physiology of meditation, describes his personal struggle to bring science and spirit together. By describing the more mysterious discoveries of contemporary physics as a source of spiritual inspiration, the scientific study of consciousness can yield an insight into consciousness that religions call "God".

The Conscious Mindbook cover.

The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory

by Dr. David J. Chalmers

What is consciousness? How do physical processes in the brain give rise to the self-aware mind and to feelings as profoundly varied as love or hate, aesthetic pleasure or spiritual yearning? Now, in The Conscious Mind, philosopher David J. Chalmers offers a cogent analysis of this heated debate as he unveils a major new theory of consciousness, one that rejects the prevailing reductionist trend of science, while offering provocative insights into the relationship between mind and brain.

Mindsight book cover.

Mindsight: Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind

by Dr. Kenneth Ring

This book investigates the astonishing claim that blind persons, including those blind from birth, can actually "see" during near-death or out-of-body episodes. The authors present their findings in scrupulous detail, investigating case histories of blind persons who have actually reported visual experiences under these conditions.

Irreducible Mind book cover.

Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century

by Drs. Edward Kelly, Emily Kelly, Bruce Greyson, et al

Current mainstream opinion in psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy of mind holds that all aspects of human mind and consciousness are generated by physical processes occurring in brains. Views of this sort have dominated recent scholarly publication. The present volume, however, demonstrates empirically that this reductive materialism is not only incomplete but false. The authors systematically marshal evidence for a variety of psychological phenomena that are extremely difficult, and in some cases clearly impossible, to account for in conventional physicalist terms.

Science and the Akashic Field book cover.

Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything

by Dr. Ervin Laszlo

In Science and the Akashic Field, philosopher and scientist Ervin Laszlo conveys the essential element of this information field in language that is accessible and clear. From the world of science he confirms our deepest intuitions of the oneness of creation in the Integral Theory of Everything. We discover that, as philosopher William James stated, "We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep."

Lessons from the Light book cover.

Lessons from the Light: What We Can Learn from the Near-death Experience

by Dr. Kenneth Ring and Evelyn Elsaesser Valarino

While providing many accounts of NDEs from men, women, and children of all ages and backgrounds, Lessons from the Light is much more than just an inspiring collection of NDEs. In Lessons near-death expert Kenneth Ring extracts the pure gold of the NDE and with a beautiful balance of sound research and human insight reveals the practical wisdom held within these experiences.

Biocentrism book cover.

Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe

by Dr. Robert Lanza and Bob Berman

Biocentrism takes the reader on a seemingly improbable but ultimately inescapable journey through a foreign universe - our own - from the viewpoints of an acclaimed biologist and a leading astronomer. Switching perspective from physics to biology unlocks the cages in which Western science has unwittingly managed to confine itself. Biocentrism will shatter the reader’s ideas of life - time and space, and even death. At the same time it will release us from the dull worldview of life being merely the activity of an admixture of carbon and a few other elements; it suggests the exhilarating possibility that life is fundamentally immortal.

The 4 Percent Universe book cover.

The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality

by Dr. Richard Panek

In recent years, a handful of scientists has been racing to explain a disturbing aspect of our universe: only 4 percent of it consists of the matter that makes up you, me, and every star and planet. The rest is completely unknown. Richard Panek tells the dramatic story of how scientists reached this cosmos-shattering conclusion. In vivid detail, he narrates the quest to find the “dark” matter and an even more bizarre substance called dark energy that make up 96 percent of the universe.

Quantum Physics, NDEs, Eternal Consciousness, Religion, and the Human Soul bookcover.

Quantum Physics, NDEs, Eternal Consciousness, Religion, and the Human Soul

by Dr. William Joseph Bray

Written by a physicist in neuroscience research who has experienced multiple NDEs, this book describes how and why reality, this universe, is interdependent with consciousness in order to exist, where the idea came from, and why.

Science and the Near-Death Experience book cover.

Science and the Near-Death Experience: How Consciousness Survives Death

by Chris Carter

The author is an Oxford scholar who uses evidence from scientific studies, quantum mechanics, and consciousness research, to reveal how consciousness does not depend on the brain. Examines ancient and modern NDEs providing evidence of the survival of consciousness after death while debunking the materialistic arguments raised by skeptics.

Experiences Near Death book cover.

Experiences Near Death: Beyond Medicine and Religion

by Dr. Allan Kellehear

Kellehear presents a revolutionary new approach to the field of near-death studies, one that examines these episodes as they relate to the specific cultures from which they arise, helping us to understand what these visions are as a cultural and psychological response and why they occur. Kellehear compares NDEs from all over the world - India, China, Guam, America, Australia, and New Zealand - revealing not only the similarities among them, but also the pertinent differences that can tell us much about the way people from different cultures view their world.

Light and Death book cover.

Light and Death: One Doctor's Fascinating Account of Near-Death Experiences

by Dr. Michael Sabom

Begun in 1994, The Atlanta Study is the first comprehensive investigation of its kind into NDEs. The study presents life-and-death dramas played out in operating rooms and hospital beds - and simultaneous events unseen by medical personnel but reported with astonishing clarity and conviction by nearly 50 individuals who returned from death's door. Now the founder of The Atlanta Study, Dr. Michael Sabom reveals their impact on the people who have experienced them.

The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences book cover.

The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: Thirty Years of Investigation

by Drs. Jan Holden, Bruce Greyson, Debbie James

Experts from around the world share the history and current state of NDE knowledge. They explore controversies in the field, offer stories from their research, and express their hopes for the future of investigation into this fascinating phenomenon.