In the Paranormal field stories of near-death experiences are sure to get the para-enthusiast in you pumping.
The subject is so fascinating, and each individual tale gives us a tantalising glimpse into the next chapter we are all waiting to take.
Near death experiences came to the attention of the general population in the latter part of the 20th century with thanks to physicians and psychologists. None more influential than Raymond Moody who coined the term to describe these experiences. Raymond Moody wrote a book, the 1975 best seller ‘Life After Life’.
It is with great thanks to researchers such as Mr Moody who, after noticing correlations between each near-death experience – the subject went from a previously shunned subject, brushed off as mere hallucination or wishful thinking to a fascinating field of empirical study.
One of my favourite stories if a near death account takes place in Virginia – USA on November 10th, 2008.
Accomplished neurosurgeon Dr Eban Alexander is rushed into hospital suffering with severe headaches and back spasms.
Eban was admitted and Dr’s rallied to find the cause of such discomfort. Th doctors find that Ebans brain and spinal column were swollen with a thick puss-filled liquid. Eban had contracted a uniformly fatal case of Bacterial Meningitis and shortly after admittance he slipped into a coma as the aggressive infection attacked his brain – as a result, Ebans brain begins to shut down.
Dr Alexander reflects on the events and states that some of the fundamental brain stem reflexes were completely absent. His pupils were unresponsive he recalls as he goes on further to say that “people just don’t come back from that point”.
Family and friends are notified and called in to say their goodbyes as doctors felt there was very little chance of recovery. There was really no place in his brain for any kind of conscious experience as there was no activity – he was unresponsive.
After clinging to life in what seemed a hopeless fight, something miraculous happens – Eban begins to make a rapid recovery much to everyone’s surprise. However, his miracle recovery isn’t what was the most baffling to him – instead it was the inexplicable array of sensory experiences he encountered whilst in the coma.
“I was rescued by a slowly spinning white light that came packaged with its own perfect musical melody”
He also described being lifted out of space and time, travelling through a tunnel which suddenly opened into a rich valley. He dubbed this place “The Gateway Valley” and describes such incredible beauty.
Before his experience, Dr Alexander bought into the teachings of the scientific model that the physical world is all that exists.
This is why I love this story, Dr Alexander, a neurosurgeon that has incredible understanding of the human brain, a man of science – had such a profound experience that is changed his entire belief system.
35-year-old London based Paramedic, Adam Tapp was doing some woodwork in his shop in February 2018. Adam recalls he got a little cavalier with a wood etching machine which ended up electrocuting him. As a result, Adams heart stopped for eleven minutes and 30 seconds.
“It was like someone flipped a switch. All my senses were overwhelmed by 12,000 volts of DC electricity. It was one of the most excruciatingly painful things I’ve ever experienced. I remember forcing thoughts like, ‘I think I’m being electrocuted.’”
Luckily for Adam, he had a fried with him that day, who had just taken a high voltage safety course – Mark Wilson. Mr Wilson disconnected Adam and called for his wife Stephanie. Stephanie performed CPR while Mark called for an Ambulance.
The Paramedics drilled a hole into Adams shoulder bone for drug access. Adam was injected with epinephrine and defibrillated twice to bring him back. After being resuscitated, Adam slipped into to a coma for six hours. When he woke, he described having a profound experience whilst being clinically dead for 11 minutes.
“All of a sudden, I just woke up in a place that seemingly I’d always been. It was black and it kind of seemed like space. “I wasn’t Adam, I wasn’t a paramedic, I wasn’t anything. It was just like this raw form of consciousness where I was just existing very happily and pleasantly.”
Adam described feeling a “frequency” wash over him and saw colours that looked like petrol in water with geometric shapes and patterns. He felt something communicating with him through feeling, emotion and thought and described a warm, pleasant feeling like he was “fading into the fabric of the universe”.
When Adam woke up his sense of time was warped, he felt like he had been in that place for years. Adam also reported that he didn’t feel at home in his own body anymore;
“It actually took me a while to feel comfortable in my body again. Just breathing — I was so hyper-aware of having to take a breath, it took me a couple months — I just felt so foreign in my body.”
Historically, near death experiences have been reported since ancient times. In every culture, each religion, every person and interestingly enough Near-death experiences are no more prevalent in the devout as they are in the Atheist. They can and do happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time.
Sir Francis Beaufort, a British Admiral almost drowned in 1791. He recalls his Near-death event;
“A calm feeling of the most perfect tranquillity succeeded the most tumultuous sensation…. Nor was I in any bodily pain. On the contrary, my sensations were now of rather a pleasurable cast …. Though the senses were thus deadened, not so the mind; its activity seemed to be invigorated in a ratio which defies all description; for thought rose after thought with a rapidity of succession that is not only indescribable, but probably inconceivable, by anyone who has been himself in a similar situation. The course of these thoughts I can even now in a great measure retrace: the event that had just taken place …. Thus, traveling backwards, every incident of my past life seemed to me to glance across my recollection in retrograde procession … the whole period of my existence seemed to be placed before me in a kind of panoramic view.”
In the 1900’s a Scottish surgeon by the name of Alexander Ogston found him self suffering with Typhoid fever and describes his own near-death event;
“I lay, as it seemed, in a constant stupor which excluded the existence of any hopes or fears. Mind and body seemed to be dual, and to some extent separate. I was conscious of the body as an inert tumbled mass near a door; it belonged to me, but it was not I. I was conscious that my mental self used regularly to leave the body …. I was then drawn rapidly back to it, joined it with disgust, and it became I, and was fed, spoken to, and cared for …. And though I knew that death was hovering about, having no thought of religion nor dread of the end, and roamed on beneath the murky skies apathetic and contented until something again disturbed the body where it lay, when I was drawn back to it afresh.”
There are masses upon masses of accounts that describe these instances – a beautiful snapshot of live and death interwoven like a patchwork quilt.
However, there are some near death experiences that haven’t been so beautiful and left people fearing for their inevitable end after glimpsing what fate had in store for them.
We can’t talk about NDE’s and not talk about the other side of the spectrum, the negative events that some have had. If the people above encountered God, then the people below encountered the devil – or something like it.
One such case comes from Doctor Maurice Rawlings who witnessed his patients near death experience that changed everything he had ever believed.
In 1977, Dr Rawlings was monitoring his patient’s ECG while he carried out a stress test. At that moment the patient went into cardiac arrest and died on floor in front of him. Three nurses rushed in and carried out compressions whilst Doctor Rawlings externally massaged the patient’s heart – but the heart would not maintain its own beat. Doctor Rawlings inserted a pace-maker wire into the large vein when the patient began coming too, but whenever the doctor reached for n instrument or interrupted chest compressions the patient would lose consciousness, stop breathing and die again. The terrifying thing? – each time he came around and began respiration he would scream “I’m in Hell!!” …. Please help me .. I’m in Hell!!”.
The patient begged Doctor Rawlings not to quit and would repeat “How do I stay out of Hell .. help me please!! How do I stay out of Hell!.. pray for me!! Pray for me!!”. Trying frantically to save the mans life Dr Rawlings began to get frustrated with the patient though he was notably terrified. Dr Rawlings cast his mind back to his Sunday school lessons and would repeat a prayer asking for Jesus to save the patient and turn his life around. At that moment, the patients condition stabilised.
A couple of days later Dr Rawlings went to the patient and asked him to describe what he saw of Hell that day. The patient remembered nothing, as if his memory was wiped of such a negative experience. He did however remember everything after the prayer – he described seeing them work on his body, a pleasurable experience of brilliant light, a narrow valley with lush vegetation and meeting deceased family.
Seeing the absolute terror in his patient that day chilled Dr Rawlings to the bone and listening to the aftermath from his patient changed his personal / spiritual beliefs permanently.
Another case is that of Carol who vividly remembers her experience. At fifteen she was invited to a party with her friend and her friend’s boyfriend. When she got there the boyfriend handed her a glass of Bacardi and coke which she had never had before. Unbeknownst to Carol her drink was laced with a lethal mix of PCP and Cocaine. Carol ended up being rushed to the hospital. When she got there, she remembered feeling like a painful sensation in her chest like ‘something wanted to get out’, she found herself floating in the corner of the room watching the hospital scene from above. Carol recalls feeling fearful and just when she started feeling this she felt as if she was falling at a rapid speed. Carol felt herself fall through her body on the bed, but it didn’t stop there she kept falling and ended up in this place, she didn’t recognise it, but she just knew where she was. All she could hear is the cried of people, people screaming for help –
“cries that I will never forget, horrifying cries – people begging to get out. I felt like there were people embedded in the walls around me. Although I could not see them, I knew they were there.”
“As I continued to fall, I could hear this woman’s cry. The only way I could picture what really happened to this woman, her intense cry that to this day it shakes my core. Her cry was as if they had put her on a stretch bed and were tearing her apart.”
Another negative near-death experience comes in the shape of a young man named Joshua Deshun. Growing up, he wasn’t into the gang / street scene, but it was always around him in his community so that came on later in life. Joshua’s near-death experience starts when he takes a pill, just one pill. He describes not feeling well, but also recalls dreaming about this event prior and states that he used to have prophetic dreams as a youngster. Anyway, this pill Joshua had taken caused him to have seven seizures. He describes feeling his soul leave his body and he saw a bright light. Looking around, feeling scared he saw some gates close on him and at that moment he said he knew where he was going. He was in hell.
“I could see those people; I could actually see them crying and begging for mercy. It was too late!”
Joshua described seeing different sections, a section for adultery, a section for murder – a section for every sin.
“whatever sin you did on earth is what you were tormented with in Hell. It was devastating – I saw people hanging from tree’s, burning, their flesh was all gone but they still could feel every bit of it. It was scary, it still gets to me to this day”
Joshua goes on to say that ‘something’ jumped out at him and said “welcome home my son” – he described this being as beautiful,
“he looked, to me like an angel of light and sounded beautiful – He was acting like a nice guy, but he was laughing at the people being tormented in their sections and tried snatching me in.”
This event changed young Joshua’s life. He is practicing meditation, reading his bible and is now getting his life on track.
The physiological sequence of events that takes place during a near death experience is difficult to pinpoint due to the variety of ways in which the brain can be impacted upon death.
Clinical death occurs when the brain is starved both of blood flow and oxygen. The brain then systematically begins shutting down. The mind, whose substrate it is to reply on whichever neurons are most capable of functioning at that time does what it is meant to do, tell a story shaped by that person’s culture, memories and experiences.
Whether these experiences are caused by a spiritual or physiological event what is clear is that whether positive or negative these have such profound effects on those who encounter them. It changes their lives.
Amy Amelia Sirdifield