Near death experiences

The term Near-Death Experience, short NDE, is quite known today. It describes a state of consciousness which countless people worldwide reported to have experienced during a situation of near-death, e. g. during a car accident with almost lethal consequence, during resuscitation or a temporary cardiovascular arrest.

There is a number of scientists who did research on this topic. The term itself was coined by Raymond Moody (*1944), an American psychiatrist and philosopher, who documented near-death reports of people who had survived clinical death. In his studies, he found that there were many common features to all of these reports. In his most famous book, "Life after Life", he published quite some of these experiences.

Other scientists who analysed this issue observed the same patterns for NDE’s. Among them were the Dutch cardiologist Pim van Lommel (*1943) and psychologist Ruud van Wees, who also collected and studied reports of people who had been reanimated after clinical death. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (1926 – 2004), a Swiss-American psychiatrist, was a pioneer in this research area. And Penny Sartori (*1971), a British medical researcher who worked as an intensive care nurse for many years, investigated the NDE reports of her patients. She is one of the most famous experts on NDE’s today. There are many others who deal with the topic, though.

Some of the common similarities of NDE’s are:

  • a feeling of being out of the body

  • a threshold symbol, often a tunnel with a bright light at the end

  • deceased relatives or friends appear to welcome the dying person

  • perception of a bright light, interpreted differently depending on the person’s religious/ cultural background

  • feelings of peace, unconditional love and acceptance

  • encountering "beings of light" or similar

  • life review

Some good examples of NDE’s can be found here:

International Association for Near Death Studies: sample NDE accounts

It is worthwhile doing further research on the internet or in the books published by NDE researchers; lots of reports can be found there.

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