The Truth About Near Death Experiences: Scientific Explanations of NDE and OBE

Updated on February 3, 2017
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Science, philosophy, politics, and religion are frequent topics for writer and public speaker, Catherine Giordano.

The Truth About NDE

Science can explain the near death experience and why people see a tunnel of light..
Science can explain the near death experience and why people see a tunnel of light.. | Source

What Is a Near-Death Experience (NDE)?

A near death experience is a report from a person who appeared to be dead (or was close to death) about what he (or she) experienced during the time when vital functions ceased or came very close to being gone. Obviously, the person was not actually dead because they lived to tell about the experience.

A person who experiences an NDE will report one or more (almost never all) of the following:

  • An awareness of being dead; feeling removed from the world
  • Positive emotions described as peacefulness, well-being, and lack of pain
  • An intense feeling of unconditional love and acceptance
  • A feeling of traveling through a “tunnel” or passageway
  • A feeling of moving toward, and/or being immersed in, a bright light
  • Meeting deceased loved ones (but sometimes still-living loved ones)
  • Encountering angels or “"Beings of Light”
  • Seeing the holy figures of one’s own religion (God, Jesus, Hindu deities, as the case may be)
  • Experiencing a life-review ("Seeing my life flash before my eyes")
  • Separating from the body, what is often called an out-of-body experience (OBE)—A feeling of floating and being able to see one’s body and surroundings from an outside position, usually from above
  • Feeling like one was called, or pulled, back to life among the living.

Approximately 3% o the U.S. population has reported having a NDE.

Beings-of-Light

Some people report seeing beings of light during their NDE experience.
Some people report seeing beings of light during their NDE experience. | Source

What Is the History of NDEs?

The earliest recorded NDE dates back to the 1740, published in a book written by a French military physician, Pierre-Jean du Monchaux, describing a report from his patient.

In 1968, Celia Green published a book, Out of the Body Experiences, providing the details of 400 first-hand accounts of out-of-body experiences.

The most well-known recounting of NDEs was the 1975 book by Raymond Moody, Life After Life, reporting the experiences of 100 people.

There are now hundreds of books on the subject—some are compilations of NDE experiences and some are first-hand accounts. Some are even written by doctors and scientists, for example the 2012 book, Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander.

It should be noted, however, that while the large majority of these books are most likely written by sincere people, some of these books are frauds. The most well-known fraud is The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven by Alex Malarky, co-written with his father. It purports to be the account of a six-year old boy. The boy recanted his story at age 16, admitting that he made it up “to get attention” and because his parents egged him on.

Not everyone who has an NDE reports positive experiences; sometimes the NDE is frightening and horrific. However, it appears that since the negative reports are not what people want to hear, no one is writing books about them.

Mortal Minds

Mortal Minds: The Biology Of Near Death Experiences
Mortal Minds: The Biology Of Near Death Experiences

Of all the books on the subject of NDE, I can only recommend one that provides scientific rigor. (The rest are full of what skeptics call "woo.") The author, Dr. Woerlee, is an anesthesiologist with more than 20 years of hospital experience. Dr. Woerlee's arguments are exhaustive and meticulous leading to a full understanding of the medical science that explains NDE.

 

Are NDEs Proof of God, Heaven, and the Existence of the Soul?

The short answer is “Absolutely not.” NDEs are “real” in as much as people have actually experienced these things. I can’t argue with their experience, but I do take issue with their interpretation of their experience.

From all reports, the experience of a NDE is very powerful. It is not surprising that people will insist that the events actually happened as they have remembered them. I have a friend who told me that she had an NDE. When I asked her to tell me about it, she refused. She knew I was a skeptic who would probably give her the scientific explanation. She said, the experience was too “important and meaningful” to her to allow me to “take it away” from her.

An OBE

During an OBE, a person has the feeling of floating above their body.
During an OBE, a person has the feeling of floating above their body. | Source

How Does Science Explain OBE?

I’m giving OBE its own section because it is such a major part of NDE lore.

An area of the brain called the temporoparietal junction is responsible for assembling the input from the body’s senses and organs to form our perception of our body. A disruption of the normal functioning of this area of the brain can lead to OBE experiences, even among healthy people. Scientists have been able to reproduce an OBE simply by electrically stimulating this area of the brain.

Another explanation of the OBE experience is a failure of anesthesia which allows for some awareness of surroundings. During an operation in a hospital, several different anesthetics are being administered throughout an operation, not just prior to the start of the operation. A patient may have some awareness of his surroundings if the drug that makes the patient unconscious is improperly administered while the drugs that immobilize the body and prevent pain function as intended.

Investigations into OBE usually shows that the details recalled came from knowledge which could have been acquired before or after the time under anesthesia. Also the NDE may occur not when one is totally anesthetized, but as one is regaining consciousness.

Further, accounts of OBE are not recorded in a scientific way. Often the people report them long after—sometimes years after—they occurred. Other problems with these accounts are interviewers who may have asked leading questions, other people filling in details when they hear the reports, etc.

Let’s take the famous case of “Maria and the Tennis Shoe.” Maria reported a NDE involving an OBE. She said that while she was out of her body, she saw a tennis shoe on a window ledge-- a shoe that was impossible to see from her hospital bed.

A researcher finally tested this case by putting a shoe on the window ledge. It was clearly visible from the hospital bed. Further, it was clearly visible from the street so Maria could have seen it when she entered the hospital or others may have seen it and she heard them talking about it.

Here’s the topper. There is no record of Maria being in that hospital.

Spikes in Brain Activity

An NDE may be caused by spikes in brain activity.
An NDE may be caused by spikes in brain activity. | Source

How Does Medical Science Explain NDE?

As one approaches death, it is not surprising to find that various bodily mechanisms are not working properly. Any of these malfunctions could induce some of the characteristics of a NDE.

Hormone Release: During times of stress, the body releases endorphin, the morphine-like “feel good” hormone. This accounts for the feelings of peace and love and the lack of fear or pain.

Hormonal Disruption: Many of the characteristics of the NDE resemble those seen with various diseases that disrupt the hormone system. For example, patients with Cotard’s disease (walking-corpse syndrome) hold the delusional belief that they are deceased. Also, patients with Parkinson’s are prone to seeing ghosts.

Excess Carbon Dioxide: Excess CO2 in the bloodstream can affect vision, and it could be why people report seeing a tunnel or bright light.

Lack of Oxygen: It is well known that oxygen deprivation can lead to hallucinations (like seeing one’s dead loved ones, angels, or other religious figures). Additionally, oxygen deprivation could be responsible for the feeling of euphoria associated with NDE.

Spikes in brain activity: There is a spike in brain activity just before death and this may be the cause of heightened sensory perceptions and the vividness of the NDE.

Reaction to anesthetics: For instance, the anesthetic ketamine can trigger out-of-body experiences and hallucinations.

Tricky Memeories

Memories are not like a movie that we can play back.
Memories are not like a movie that we can play back. | Source

How Does Psychology Explain NDE?

Personality Traits: Not everyone who enters a near-death state has a NDE to report.

Studies have revealed that people who have had an NDE differ in some ways from those who didn’t. The NDE people are more prone to hallucinations, fantasy, mystical experiences, and have a greater receptivity to hypnosis. They are also more prone to dissociation—losing track of time and self. (A common example of dissociation is when you are driving, but your mind is elsewhere, and suddenly you realize many miles have been traveled, but you are not aware of driving them.)

Memory tricks: Memories are not like a movie that exists in our brain that we can play back. Memories are fragmented, with bits stored in different areas of the brain. Sometimes when all the bits don’t fit together, we add in some “facts” so that the story will make sense.

Self-fulfilling prophecy: Certain aspects of an NDE—the tunnel, the white light, the life review, sensing God, etc.—are widely known. People know what is supposed to happen, so that is what happens. Or, perhaps they report these things even if it was not actually part of their own experience. They will “remember” them when they try to reconstruct their memory of their NDE.

Interestingly, some of the reports of the life-review are odd. They do not always include significant events; sometimes there are just random unimportant memories.

Fear: An NDE can be experienced by a person who is not physically at risk of dying. It is induced by the fear of dying—merely thinking that one is about to die.

Is NDE a Good Thing?

Bio-medical researchers, neuroscientists, and psychologists have adequately explained the occurrence of NDE. There is no need for a mystical explanation.

Nonetheless, I am happy that NDE exists. It suggests that our final experience in life, our death, can be a very peaceful and beautiful moment.

Please take this poll.

Have you ever had a NDE?

See results

Questions & Answers

  • How would you explain the SDE (shared death experiences)?

    This article explains how near-death experiences are caused by many normal and natural processes. If near death experiences are not real, then it follows that shared death experiences are not real either.

    In a shared death experience, a loved one, or a caregiver of the dying person experiences some of the same things as the person who is dying. They may hear heavenly music, they may see light and beings of light, they may feel transported, they may experience along with their loved one the life-flashing before-my-eyes experience, and their perception of their own body and the physical aspects of the room may be distorted.

    It arises from an abundance of empathy and emotion.

    Once when my young child fell down and skinned his knee, I said "ouch." He asked me why I was saying "ouch" when he, and not me, was the one who got hurt. I told him, "When you feel hurt, I feel hurt." That's empathy. If someone is dying, magnify that empathy a thousand times.

    Being at the bedside as a loved one dies, especially when there is a very strong emotional attachment, can put a person in a very heightened emotional state. Then, as with NDE, the person will experience what they expect and want to experience.

    If it makes people feel better to have an NDE or an SDE, that's fine. If they want to think their hallucination is real because it helps them cope with their loss and their grief, fine. But that doesn't make it real.

  • Are near-death experiences caused by science?

    Science doesn't cause things; science explains things. However, if the definition of a "cause" is expanded, you might say that science "causes" some things.

    ***Someone who gets an artificial heart could say that science saved his life because without science, artificial hearts would not be possible.

    ***If you like having a GPS, 400 channels on your TV, cell phones, computers, and so much more of the conveniences that we have today, you can thank science.

    ***Smallpox had been eradicated, and polio is nearly eradicated. That would not have been possible without science.

    ***I like getting warnings about an approaching hurricane days in advance so I can be prepared. Without science, there would not be any warnings about the weather. And there wouldn't be any TVs or radios to send out these warnings.

    Consistent with the above examples, it could be said that science causes some NDEs, for example, the ones caused by anesthesia. This was explained in the article.

    The article also explained that some NDEs happen for other reasons such as an altered state of consciousness that is brought on by other factors. One of these factors is the natural processes of impending death.

    The answer to your question is that the discoveries made by scientists are the "cause" of a great many things.

  • Can two people hallucinate the same thing at the same time?

    I don't think two people can have the same hallucination at the same time. "Mind Meld" is something that only happens in movies.

    That being said, it is possible for two people to REPORT having the same hallucination. They probably influence each other after the event as they discuss what they experienced. This can even happen to a whole crowd of people.

    Let's say there is a very close lightning strike which induces the hallucination(s). As I stated in the article about NDE's, people see what they expect to see, so the visions might be similar. For instance, both people might say that they saw heaven. Person A says, "Did you see angels? Person B then agrees that he saw angels, and adds to the story. Person A then agrees to these other details. These two people are not lying; they both believe they are telling the truth. People are very susceptible to suggestion. That is why scientific studies must be designed very carefully to eliminate any possibility of influence which researchers call bias.

    Of course, it is also possible that they are lying. Perhaps Person B agrees with Person A because he thinks that it is the polite thing to do. Perhaps Person A is a dominant person, and Person B is submissive. Or perhaps the two are concluding in a hoax.

© 2016 Catherine Giordano

I welcome your comments.

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    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      3 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      Lampros BaliosKas: Please reread this article. The reports of people seeing things during an OBE that they should not be able to see is very well explained. On double blind studies are done, the subjects always fail to be able to see the things they should be able to see if they were really out of their body.

    • profile image

      Lampros Baliouskas 

      4 weeks ago

      Dear Catherine,

      I really believe in science. I am a scientist too. I do not believe in paranormal thinks. In that case of NDE, I cannot understand one only thing. I have seen many videos in YouTube and did a lot of research in the internet about NDE. I cannot explain how people under an OBE mention things that really happened. Like what exactly the doctors did, who came in, who was there, seeing their relatives outside the room and hear what they say (relatives agree with them that what was really happened and saying), seeing doctors implements etc and then doctors in videos and especially in documentary’s saying that these things really happened and they cannot explain that. I thought OBE was illusions not the reality. I am from Greece. Sorry for my English.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      5 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      Reader: Please read the article. Your comment indicates that you did not. And then check the sources cited. There is plenty of empirical evidence for my claims about NDE/OBE.

    • profile image

      Reader 

      6 weeks ago

      This article is not backed up by empirical evidence either.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      2 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Lora Hollins: Thank you for your comment and your fair-minded approach. It is true that science can't explain everything, but that does not mean anything goes. I think that science collects evidence and then provides the most probable answer.

      For me, when someone posits a very radical position, they have to at least provide a possible hypothesis to explain how it might happen. How do some people get to be tourists in the afterlife? Why does it happen to some people and not to others? I'm not asking for actual proof, but just for an explanation of how it might be possible based on the laws of the universe.

      I agree that there is a lot still to be discovered, but that does not mean that every far-out (of the realm of science) position is true. There has to be some evidence to support the theory. I don't see any evidence or possible explanation for being transported to heaven. The anecdotal evidence doesn't withstand close scrutiny. These anecdotes are like "urban legends."

      Douglas Adams wrote a book in which dolphins are actually intelligent life from another planet. I know that is fiction, and there is lots of evidence to show that it is not true. You probably agree. But when it comes to religion and psychic experience, people seem very disinclined to look at it objectively.

      I think knowing that our time on Earth is finite and it is all that we will ever have is what makes life worth living. This fact reminds us to make the most of our time.

      As a child my son went through a phase in which he was afraid I was going to die. I told him I wasn't going to die until I was very old and he was all grown up and married with kids of his own. I also told him that I would not be in heaven, but I would be in his heart. Not literally, of course, but he would remember me and sometimes it would feel like I was still there.

    • Lora Hollings profile image

      Lora Hollings 

      2 months ago

      Hi Catherine,

      I think that you did a great job at researching this topic and there are scientific explanations for this very interesting phenomena! Science has explanations for almost everything. But, I do believe that there are things and experiences that science cannot totally explain and attribute to a certain biochemical state or an event. I've never had an NDE even though at one time I was very close to death when I had pulmonary embolisms and was definitely in an oxygen deprived state. I majored in science in college so I would classify myself more as a rational type person not given to fantasies. I also experienced an OBE just one time as an adolescent but I've never experienced one again. It is true that during this period, the brain goes through significant changes but it was an experience to this day that I remember very vividly. I feel that there are some aspects of ourselves and mystical experiences that can't always be explained away by science. Maybe this is what makes life so worthwhile! As human beings, who are so finite and limited in our capacities, we can't always explain everything through science especially since there is so much yet to be discovered about ourselves and the unknown universe.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      2 months ago from Orlando Florida

      TJHoliday: I never believed in NDE's and I never said I did. And I don't see what in the article made you think I was bitter. I am not bitter. I was curious so I researched both sides of this issue and found what I believe to be the truth of the matter. And, I and may others, believe that seeing the world honestly, free from myth, magic, and superstition, actually makes our lives better and happier. Many people who have given up their religious beliefs talk about how it feels like a weight has been removed and now they feel free.

      As I read your comment, I could only think of how angry you are when you encounter someone who disagrees with you and then backs up their position with facts. Additionally, it seems you are projecting your feelings onto me. You are bitter that your belief in magic is being eroded by science.

    • profile image

      TJHoliday 

      2 months ago

      The author of this article seems bitter. It's like the author once believed in NDE's, convinced themselves otherwise through interpretation of accessible ideas, and now is trying to spread their bitterness around. Its like "if I can't believe in NDE's, NO ONE is gonna believe in NDEs". What value does this mindset bring? Does someone live a better life if they don't believe in magic? I argue they don't. I feel science is being used as a bully stick to force others to be as miserable as they are. It's sad really.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      3 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Dave: I think the article refutes everyone of your points and offers a valid scientific explanation for all of your questions, so I won't repeat the facts presented in the article here. I'll just ask you to reread the article with an open mind.

      I carefully researched all the evidence both pro and con, so I stand by what I wrote.

    • profile image

      Dave 

      3 months ago

      After reading this article it is evident to me that you failed to take any of the facts surrounding NDEs seriously. The attempts to wash over and discredit the highly organized, hyper realistic phenomenon of NDEs we’re unfortunate. Yes, there is a correlation with consciousness and the physical brain, we know that, but correlation does not mean causality. When a brain is dying under the current scientific paradigm, we would expect to see a decreased consciousness not a heightened one. This article doesn’t even come close to addressing the breadth and depth of reported AND verified NDEs. I’m sorry, Catherine, but you can’t simply ignore facts that you find uncomfortable in order to retain your materialist worldview. That does nothing for science. Your attempt to connect experiences people had in their NDEs to various physiological phenomenon induced by chemicals in the brain or oxygen deprivation was extremely unsatisfactory. These claims have been refuted time and again, maybe check out Sam Parnia, Bruce Greyson or Pim VanLommel for alternate points of view if you don’t want to take a layman’s word for it.

      Just so we can understand your argument fully, I want to lay this out in the aggregate.

      You are making the claim that if someone has a traumatic event in which their heart stops and their brain ceases to function (at what we believe is the necessary level to produce awareness), and then reports seeing and hearing verified things outside of their body, and then meets a being, has a lucid and highly organized conversation with that said being, discusses topics from their past that are factual and complete, is then taken on a life review where they are taught lessons from their past, finally meeting relatives that have deceased all in a highly lucid, highly aware state with a reported increase (not decrease) in consciousness... That this is all the result of oxygen deprivation and ketamine spikes?

      Neither of which produce anything as lucid or connected as NDEs.

      No Catherine, I’m sorry but I believe you are wrong on this issue. In your article, you briefly mentioned a friend who had an NDE but did not want to tell you about it lest you destroy her experience and discredit what happened to her. This is sad and unfortunate and I’m not sure if in the future this is something you want to hang your hat on.. Especially when your own analysis of the facts has so many holes in it. You do realize that if you are wrong on this issue and if your theory of materilism is incorrect you stand to lose a great deal? And if God is using these experiences to reach out to His creation, how much worse will it be for you for telling people with such certainty that what they felt, heard, and saw was not real? What this article needs is some humility.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      4 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Queen Lulu: You are trying to be sarcastic, but you are merely sounding foolish while disproving your own point. Of course, there is no magic way of implanting knowledge into someone's brain, There is no way for a drug or an NDE to do that.

      There are 1000's of people reporting all kinds of things about NDE's but when these cases are studied objectively, the whole thing is disproved.

    • profile image

      Queen Lulu 

      4 months ago

      How do you explain the sudden knowledge of people with their dead relatives which were unknown to them before the experience but later verified by the family? Such is the case of Colton Burpo and Dr. Eben Alexander. Is there a magical drug or brain activity that can suddenly input facts to the brain? I would like to know that so I can take that drug and never study again. And also, how can you explain the miraculous healing or recovery of those who came back? Is there also a drug or brain activity that can trigger miraculous healing? Sign me up!

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      4 months ago from Orlando Florida

      ramin1360: The article does address the claim that many people see their hospital rooms and hear voices during a reported NDE. In case you missed that part, I'll repeat the answer:There have been no verified cases of this happening. Further, it has never happened in a double-blind setting with proper methodology. Additionally, the reasons people make these reports was also presented in the article. Please read the article for the details.

    • profile image

      ramin1360 

      4 months ago

      This explanation does not answer the fact that some NDErs report seeing their rooms in hospitals, they received voices of conversations between doctor and others that confirmed later.

      The number of these reports are not so limit that we can relate them to chance. So how you describe these phenomena by current science?

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      4 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Dan: Please see the "Questions and Answers" field just above to see the answer to your question. Thanks for asking it because it gave me the opportunity to clarify the issue.

    • profile image

      Dan 

      4 months ago

      Can two people hallucinate the same thing at the same time?

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      5 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Lee: I don't know how you did your research, but a simple google search will turn up plenty of evidence that supports the claims I made. Try this website for starters: http://infidels.org/library/modern/keith_augustine...

      I don't know how long it takes for the brain to shut down after the heat stops beating but researchers have said that brain function may continue for up to ten minutes. It is also irrelevant. The length of time during which an nde take place is very subjective. Last night I had a dream which took place over hours, but I'd be willing to bet that only a couple of minutes of real time elapsed.

      A period of continuing brain function after the blood circulation stops actually is evidence in favor of nde. If the brain is not functioning, where would the memory of the nde be stored? This is also irrelevant because an nde, if it occurs at all, is just an hallucination that most likely occurs either before the heart stops or after it is restarted.. .

    • profile image

      Lee 

      5 months ago

      After multiple hours of research I was unable to find much proof of the factors you have stated above. There have been nde’s that have lasted for a good ammount of time and to my understanding it has been stated that the brain shuts down 2-20 seconds after the heart stops beating.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      5 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Margarita: "Anecdotal evidence" is not not evidence. There are so many flaws in your story, that I can not even begin to get into it in a comment. Please do not tell me anymore of these silly stories.

      P.S. What is a buble?.

    • profile image

      Margarita 

      5 months ago

      Thank you, Catherine, yes, I do understand that you can't comment on each such story. There is even more shocking in the book - the case of "yellow bubles".

      Spouses made a following agreement - one of them who would pass away first, must send a sign to another , if the life after life existed.

      The "password" was "yellow bubles". So, the husband ceased first. And the wife had a sister. When sisters were talking on the phone, the one who had never been married began feeling drowsines and in that state saw yellow bubles and someone inside her head was repeating "Tell your sister these 2 words - Yellow bubles!"

      She opened her mouth and said these words to her widowed sister. Thus, both women received a "proof" of afterlife existency.

      Well, too an amazing story to be true. I tried to recall it even not for any comments, but rather to mere amuse you and others... Not very smart of me, I know.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      5 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Robert: Nice try, but you have not actually refuted any of the scientific explanations I have offered for NDE. Not every NDE is the same and there are multiple reasons to explain NDE. The reasons can vary from person to person. There has never been an experiment that proved that NDE's happen when the experiment is conducted in a valid double-blind way. There has never been an explanation of how an NDE can happen. The definition of dead is the cessation of brain function. Memories are stored in the brain. No brain function means no memory.

    • profile image

      Robert 

      5 months ago

      My problem with your explanations is that they seem to cause problems within themselves. The spike in brain activity would seem to necessitate an increase in oxygen supplied. Excess C02 and lack of oxygen cause confusion and muddled thoughts, most NDE's are described as clear vivid memories. NDE's have been described in many individuals who would not have been given anesthetics.

      Your psychological explanations are little more than conjecture, you don't know they were afraid, you don't know their beliefs, and you don't know their personality "a through study would be required to make any sort of claim about this with any level of accuracy". That leaves memory tricks. The problem with that is the uniformity of the experience being described across thousands of unconnected individuals makes it unlikely that everyone had the same recreated memory.

      I get that your trying to offer an explanation to an unknown and I applaud you for that. Unfortunately that explanation has no grounding in science for a number of reasons. In the future we may explain NDE's as nonreligious events or perhaps they are prof of an afterlife, I dont claim to know, and with our current knowledge neither can anyone else.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      5 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Margarita: I don't have specific information about Vikie. I do know that every time these stories have been investigated bt objective investigators, they are shown to be false. I can't debunk every single story here. I chose the "Maria and the shoe" story because it is one of the most often cited stories and an investigation showed that there was never even a Maria to begin with.

    • profile image

      Margarita 

      5 months ago

      Hello! Thank you for the article! Now I'm reading Jeffrey Long's book "Proof of life after life", and there is that "Marie and a shoe" case. But what about a totally blind Vikie who could "see" during her NDE? Long described many cases when congenitally blind people had the so-called "spiritual vision". They somehow percieve colors, faces, surroundings... How this can be explained?

      Thank you for your thoughts!

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      6 months ago from Orlando Florida

      sam: I can't argue with you about what you have experienced. I can only say that you most likely are interpreting your experiences incorrectly. I have provided alternate explanations for NDE's in the article. They make a lot more sense to me than the beleif that people can be tourists in the afterlife.

    • profile image

      sam 

      6 months ago

      I believe in the afterlife and NDE's only because since i was a toddler I've seen spirits. I also have what i call a past life memory. I've had this memory since i can remember. It's always been with me. I've asked my mom if this has happened to me and she reckons it absolutely hasn't. And on top of that i remember being in the dark and seeing an oval snapped bright light. I walked into it and here i am. Can't explain that. Instead of an NDE I've had an experience of walking into another life.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      6 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Preexisting: Thanks for sharing your experience. And thanks for understanding that it wa nar death, not actual death and return.

    • profile image

      pre-existing low bp + medication(s) caused 

      6 months ago

      Extreme lack of blood to brain. Experience very much like anesthesia.

      1. Started to happen slowly, a nauseous feeling suddenly crept up as blood pressure rapidly dropped and then tunnel vision, already dropped to knees, then..

      2. absolutely no experience, no sensory experience for at least several minutes when I presume to be found laying on ground.

      3. flashy lights and a detached from body dreamlike state which is the only part remembered while coming out of an empty void of unconsciousness deeper than any sleep, a feeling very disoriented as I regain vision not knowing why people are surrounding me as I woke up from what seems a very peaceful sleep (which I incorrectly assume was my bed at that very moment)

      What I learned:

      1. All one can say is that it is "near" and not actual death. As all such experiences are.

      2. Similar to anesthesia, a period of time gets completely annihilated from your life experience and memory.

      3. Too many idiots claiming they went to heaven/hell/nirvana/ Lilliputian land... and then trying to make a quick buck, I guess.

      4. It is profound, but NDE is not death, but I already said this.

      5. Mine obviously wasn't severe enough to achieve a completely disembodied state involving propioceptive detection of surroundings without use of the 5 senses.

      6. Not much can be inferred from the experience regarding religion or afterlife.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      8 months ago from Orlando Florida

      To Repeat Commentators: Once again I have to state my policy on comments. No more than two go-rounds per person. This is not the proper place for prolonged debate, especially when the points you make in your comments have already been addressed, and refuted, in the article. There are better places for extended debate: facebook or Reddit come to mind.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      8 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Tim: You are right. A non-functioning brain produces no thought or memories. As the articles explain, everything happens as the patient is being put under anesthesia or when the patient is coming out of anesthesia or if the anesthesia has not been properly administered.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      8 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Tim: I don't mean to be rude, but you can't seem to let go of your delusions and accept reality. It is apparent that you have an agenda and no facts will change your beliefs.. I stand my research and its conclusions.

    • profile image

      Tim 

      8 months ago

      Catherine said "Bio-medical researchers, neuroscientists, and psychologists have adequately explained the occurrence of NDE. There is no need for a mystical explanation."

      This comment, as well, is simply wrong. They have most certainly NOT explained NDE's, not even close. There are over twenty proposals currently, precisely because they're is no single satisfactory explanation that covers all the reported features.

      But the most bewildering one is how a severely compromised or totally non-functioning brain can produce lucid thought processes with memory formation when the structures of the brain that have been thought to account for such elements, are absent.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      11 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Borislav: You are right. The scientific method is not designed to prove or disprove "God" or any similar concepts. However, when scientific evidence has amassed enough evidence on a particular side of a thesis, it is safe to say that the thesis supported by all the known evidence is the correct one. The great thing about science is that it does not, as you say, "stubbornly stick" on previous discovered and proven facts. It constantly searches for new facts and new proofs. If new information disproves prior information, the new information replaces the prior information.

      I think your comments and my replies have become repetitive. Let's consider our discussion closed.

    • profile image

      Borislav 

      12 months ago

      Thank you for your answer, Catherine . But I might slightly disagree with you on the meaning "Science". The word is rooted in the Latin "Science", which simply means "knowledge, expertise (into something)". The modern term "Science" is based on the so called "Scientific method", which means a firm path of examination, including 3 steps: 1. Theory; 2.Collecting data (evidence); 3. Laboratory work based on data in purpose to confirm the theory;. I don't mind the scientific method, but I do mind when scientific method is used in purpose to impose ideological understandings. In fact, the scientific method is not the only way people collect "knowledge". There's no scientific method which can prove that combining two facts can lead to abstract formation of conclusions and "feelings". There's no direct evidence of the need of "love", for example, and there's no direct evidence that combining two (or more) hormones will necessarily mean that the person can feel long term love. There are suggestions on how the mechanism of forming abstract patterns of "mind" work, but a suggestion is not a scintifcly proven method. As far as I'm aware, the scientific method itself never aimed to prove (for example) the existence of God. I can't recall visiting a doctor, who says they will perform a medical check in purpose to prove that God doesn't exist. I can't recall when start my car a message on the screen to appear, that this car is clear prove for non existing God. By all this I mean something simple - the scientific method is an open for constant development method. If you take a scientific fact out if it's context, so to "prove" that the Science is already clear on something, that logic by itself has nothing to deal with the Scientific method. There's no scientist who'd say "we know it all on that field". There are plenty of protagonists on some certain ideologies, who might use facts out of their context in purpose to claim that "Science is already firm on some matter", but that has nothing to deal with the constant development of the Science (the knowledge). Lacking of evidence on something, doesn't mean that that something is already explained, it means that there's (still) not possible evidence. That's how a scientist thinks, not an ideological protagonist. A scientist is curious, and open minded, a scientist develops a constant research on evidences. I personally have difficult times when I need to explain what the Quantum Physics is, and usually people can't imagine that one and the same particle could be (at the same time) on multiple places, and (at the same time) to have multiple different properties. It's hard to imagine such thing, but yet it works pretty fine in reality, and there are multiple technologies based on Quantum Mechanics. Curiousity is what develops the Knowledge, not the stubborn sticking on facts, which are de-factualized in purpose to serve some understanding.

      Have a great day :)

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      12 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Borislav: Just because science can't explain everything about consciousness and mind does not mean that we should accept explanations that have no scientific evidence behind them at all. The experience of light may occur in most cases because our bodies respond in similar ways due to the fact that our bodies are similar. I'm glad that you love science and I hope will will examine the science that explains your experience.

    • profile image

      Borislav 

      12 months ago

      Apologize, my English is not perfect. I had NDE in 2006, and was followed by car crash. I find the scientific data you post very interesting, as I was always wondering what it is all about. I mean on physiological base. Yet, I'm not really sure this is the whole picture, because I don't find reasonable scientific explanation on "mind". Brain is clear, but what is "mind"? Couple of questions follow - why should in most of the cases happen the same image? In my NDE I didn't see tunnel, I didn't hover around, but I was "brought" directly to the "place" with light. That's not what I usually imagine as pleasure, and relax. I imagine sex as pleasure, and after sex as relax, I don't visualize places with soft grass and light as "relaxing". I don't understand why it's always about those places?... 7 years ago I have experienced "hovering" over my body and it was fun, but that was when I had surgery, and I was under strong anesthetic. I wasn't dead, nor nearly dead, I was just lead to deep sleep, and I knew that as I was in the hospital. But I can clearly distinguish both experiences (I mean the one I had at the time of the car crash, and the one in the hospital). They were really very different experiences. I understand that the biological body is a very complex organism, and that it works on many levels, and that there are multiple algorithms turned on in different situations. Yet, I absolutely don't understand how is that working (scientifically) on mass level, and why massively people experience the same? It will be logical to think that if every human body is unique, and every human experience is also unique, then it Shula be normal I guess everyone to experience different visualizations of comfort and relax. Why is the idea unified? I know personally 2 other people, and one of them is quite skeptical in general - both, just like me, describe the same experience (NDE), and it's even in details very much similar to what I have experienced. The only logical explanation I have is that there is a group subconscious, which somehow triggers the same image, while the same factors come together and the same way the body is near to death. But in that case the concept of "mind" brings me to the conclusion that someone (God) has designed that subconscious, because it can't be an Indian, an Asian and European to have somehow visualized the same. Don't get me wrong, pls, I love Science.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      12 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Sissi: People can have an experience, but interpret that experience incorrectly. People, since the very first religion began on this Earth, have known what to expect from the experience of coming near to death. They almost always "see" whatever gods they believe in. What I found most interesting as I researched this topic is that death can be a peaceful experience.

    • profile image

      Sissi 

      12 months ago

      First of all, thank you for your scientific approach on this. I apologize for my mistakes , English being not my mother tongue.

      You wrote "the tunnel, the white light, the life review, sensing God, etc.—are widely known. People know what is supposed to happen, so that is what happens. Or, perhaps they report these things even if it was not actually part of their own experience. They will “remember” them when they try to reconstruct their memory of their NDE."

      How do you think "this way of wieving life after death with the tunnel and God etc .."came to the ears of the experiencers in the first place? I guess you will answer that this belongs probably to their beliefs and when they had this NDE, the lack of oxygen mixed with the hormone released made them see those things and feel this " wellbeing " experience, right? But someone out there had to experience this the very first time to be able to communicate about his or her story and then according to your logic it was told to the others and then when they had their NDE experience they lived it the same way or if not remembered according to this popular belief...But where this belief comes from???

      I had an NDE myself and considered myself "being dead "or let's phrase it this way "gone from this world" and it didn't happen during surgery or coma but during a violent interaction with someone who left me for dead...and I was at that moment 20 years ago completely atheist, I come from a family with heavy religious beliefs and since I have studied philosophy (not as long as I wanted to but enough long to open my mind and rethink what I have been taught) I wasn't at all believing in religions or even in God and that moment, I had made my way through all this and believed that God was not even thought as being unique a long time ago that people were beieving in spirits, the spirit of the sun, the sea...etc...but still I saw the tunnel, saw the "light beings", and this feeling of unconditionnal love...and what I saw and felt kept me speechless about it for many years but I remember everything vividly and the chronology of the events and sensations as well, I am a good "drawer" and I could draw what I saw and it was very real.

      After that what happened next is that something just stroke me, something that was there from the very beginning maybe before I was born and through my life I was told and taught to think "it"wrongly, what stroke me is that this light at the end of the tunnel was what matters and I knew it before being even here, that I simply experienced a reconnection to it, I felt at home, where I belong, some would call it God and I will call it as well like this and I insist I am absolutely not religious but this experience reconnected me with what was there and in me from the very beginning...

      So I understand, being myself very critical and analytic about anything I hear or see that if I would have heard my own story told by someone else and I was the one who had never had an NDE , I would try like you did it very well by explaining by science and psychology etc..and I thank you for that but being myself a non believer who became a believer right after this experience, instincly...I can no longer say this...

      Since this episode many things happened spritually talking and I do now since 3 years have magnetism and feel the magnetism of any being around me..every each of us have magnetism, for some it comes earlier with experiences...

      In conclusion the most tragic experience of my life brought me to the most amazing experience of my life...everything happens for a reason...

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      13 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Ronnie McKay: I don't think your hub is appropriate because it is off topic. You try to make it sound like you are disputing the findings of the science in my article, but you are merely disputing the whole idea of using science to inform belief. You are doing no more than prosthletizing.

      There are plenty of hubs that praise religion and present the religious viewpoint. I never search them out, and if I do happen upon one, I usually don't bother to comment. So I don't understand why so many people are so insistent about commenting on my work. If they want to present their viewpoint, they should write their own hubs and not try to piggyback on mine.

      If you have a specific issue, such as a fact that you think is wrong, fine. But just to ramble on about how wrong I am because I don't share your religious belief--No more. Do not expect to see your comment accepted.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      13 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Jeemy Aub: You say there is proof of God, but you on't mention what it is. You say Hell is no more than religious dogma, but then you expect me to belieive that the rest of the religious dogma is true. You say I'm so sure that I know the truth, but you sound very confident that YOU know the truth. At least I back up my beliefs with facts and I'm willing to change my beliefs if I learn new facts that don't mesh with my current beliefs.. I don't worry that I am hurting people by sharing my research and conclusions; I wonder if you have ever thought about whether you are hurting people with your views about us all being surrounded by an evil entity of entities. Your comment is way off topic because this essay is only about explaining why people have a NDE and is not meant to be a deep dive into good vs. evil or other theological issues. I don't wish to change your beliefs; in fact, I recommend that you don't read anything I write. It appears to upset you.

    • profile image

      Jeremy Aub 

      13 months ago

      Honestly Catherine,

       It's ok if you refuse to let my post through. In the end my comment was precisely directed to you.

      I wanted to make this thoughtful woman question her stance on her belief at least a little bit.

      Because what I see here is a person seeing only one side of a coin and sticking to it. Whatever the reasons that led you to that choice I can tell you for sure it is a very dangerous road to go.

      You are not going to hell if you don't believe in God Catherine, don't worry. THAT is religious dogma.

      But, there is consequences to your line of thinking. You claim there is no proof of God when there actually is. You go with your life blinded to what most of reality is based on scientific assumptions. And I'm telling you, you are lying to yourself. And to others at the same time. Maybe you don't realize it yet, but some people come to your blog and strongly relate to it. They find logic in your statements and then it reinforces their view about reality and God. You have responsibility over what you provide to others.

      So when you claim so strongly that God is an illusion and that you are on the road of truth,  when in reality there is a very high probability that you are not, you have a huge impact on this world. This is called the butterfly effect.

      So come on, be wiser and realize that deep within yourself you have no freaking idea what this reality is. Stop pretending to know for certain something to be an illusion when you are just as lost as everyone else.

      I'll finish with this Catherine. It might sound crazy to you but hear me out. I have experienced true evil in my life. Proofs that something somehow is fighting against mankind to keep him in darkness and suffering.  People call it evil, demons, satan, baphomet, whatever but in the end we all have a role to play in this theatre of life. When you spit on the idea of an ultimate loving being which can be very substantial, if evil is real you are perpetuating it. This world needs truth more than ever and if you really mean it when you say you want to bring enlightenment, please REALLY consider the other side of the coin with your eyes and heart open.

      Good success in your endeavors.

      Farewell!

    • profile image

      Ronnie Mackey 

      13 months ago

      Catherine, you are making my point for me, that what you choose to believe in comes down to just that....belief. In the end you choose to believe in science to sum up all of reality. And yes, I think you are engaging in belief there because present day science has not yet lead us to the full truth about reality so it is far from being the only or even best way to discover all aspects of reality. You have to have faith that it does. It has proven a lot but what about what it can't and hasn't proven yet? You have to have faith that it can. You think scientific method is capable of observing all aspects of reality, but I am actually skeptical about whether science can ever measure what we call the spiritual aspects of reality that defy direct observation and quantification (which I think are all just aspects of the same reality with no separation involved). So I worry you will be doomed to only seeing part of reality. But my money is on science catching up because more and more today's theoretical physics is resembling metaphysics whether it wants to believe that or not. But until then I reserve the right to trust in my own instinct on there being "more" to reality that gives meaning to the entire shebang, and is what science is at present woefully ill equipped to observe. All great scientific discoveries start with instinct but you are not trusting basic instinct without proof. But there is no science without first trusting instinct. If you doubt instinct just because it can't fit into present day science, that's not necessarily the fault of your instinct, but it might be the fault of your science. You can't ignore the fact that the method itself might be limited - If it weren't we wouldn't be constantly coming up with new facts that render the old ones invalid or incomplete. So I until science can catch up with what I personally have experienced in my gut and heart, I will definitely doubt the ability of science to make sense out of it. I am far from being a person that leaves their brain at the door because of wishful thinking and I abhor people that put me in that camp, so please refrain from doing so. But I for one will not discount what my heart of hearts has intuited about the "more" to reality just because science can't appreciate it. I see more ideas in theoretical physics today that lend credence to my instincts every day so at some point my instincts and science will eventually converge if they haven't already done so and your POV will be horribly outdated. Just my opinion.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      13 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Ronnie Mackay: You are absolutely right--science hasn't has not discovered everything. However until science discovers something that shows that visits to the afterlife are plausible, I will sick with the explanation that has a 99.99% chance of being right. People have an experience, but they misinterpret that experience. It's as if I had a dream about going to France, and when I wake up, I think I really have gone to France.

    • profile image

      Ronnie Mackey 

      13 months ago

      Catherine, in your article you mention that someone holding a hammer starts to think everything looks like a nail. Don't you think scientific method leads scientists to see only what science as they are currently able to use it makes them able to see? Isn't it the height of arrogance to claim that just because present day methods and studies have only been able to capture the brain effects of near death experiences that there is nothing else to them but that?

      I am someone who studied the relationship between science and religion closely in my youth and so I am not without some knowledge here. I respect present day science insofar as it has lead to some amazing discoveries about our universe. I don't believe in "fables" or "fairy tales" but I don't believe for one minute that present day science has discovered or even CAN discover everything about reality, especially with regard to human experience. To me, that is the biggest fairy tale of all, but unfortunately it is the one most believed and proselytized, especially by scientists.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      14 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Deathseeker: Hallucinations are not random; people see what they expect to see.There is no reason to think that people are seeing post-death existence or a Supreme Being of Light. These are just fanciful interpretations of natural experiences. Most people who come near death do not have a near-death experience, And the experience differs from culture to culture. If it were real, wouldn't be the same the world over?

    • profile image

      Deathseeker 

      14 months ago

      Let's debunk this crap...

      Why are people seeing only dead relatives/ angels/ Being of Light etc. in NDE:s? This would account to majority of full blown experiences. If they're just hallucinations, shouldn't the patients see all kinds of random stuff?

      Ketamine: We might as well conclude ketamine simulates death, making our brains perceive reality behind material existence. Perhaps it's just similar what happens in death. Brains do not produce all existence, but filter information. Unless you believe somehow only human brain exists and all else is illusion...

      Same philosphy applies to hormonal changes etc.

      The white dot seen in oxygen deprival is in no way comparable to the Supreme Being of light seen in near death experiences.

      Done.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      14 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Russell: I would disagree with you completely . It is definitely possible to develop a moral code without religion. Please read my essay on secular humanism. http://hubpages.com/humanities/What-is-Secular-Hum... You might also like to read the essay I did about morality and ethics. https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Beliefs-V... I think these should answer you question very well.

    • profile image

      Russell 

      14 months ago

      I can agree with you on not accepting fairy tales and I am not advocating any particular religion. I would like to pose a question...

      How do you personally define morality? Every form of religion has its own personal code of conduct defining right and wrong. And just about every conceivable variation of what is considered right and wrong in this world can be found contained in the various religions of the world.

      In essence it's impossible to develop a moral code without somehow invoking one of these religions.

      How would you justify that?

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      14 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Russell: I love the poetry of your comment. I can only add that you are right-- I am a person of little or no faith. Mostly no faith. I prefer to stick with science. It is not always poetic, but it is more truthful. And for those colors you will never see and sounds you will never hear, science has an answer for that too. But I bet you already know that. The wonders of the universe are wonderful just a they are; I don't need fables superimposed on them.

    • profile image

      Russell 

      14 months ago

      Your article does a disservice to people. It is one-sided, incomplete and your facts are cherry picked to fit your narrative.

      There are biological processes associated with dying. That is not in dispute. But to say that is all it is, is to stab at the very core of meaning and hope. If your article is any indication you strike me as a person of little to no faith.

      You look at life logically, scientifically, and maybe even ethically. But here is the problem with that. Most people do and would agree that we have five senses. I say we have 6 senses. With the Sixth Sense simply being that of consciousness.

      That being said I understand that our five senses are limited. We can develop technologies that can sense things beyond the range of humans. Bats can detect frequencies no human could perceive and dogs can track scents no human can smell.

      I know there are colors I will never be able to see. I know there are sounds I will never be able to hear. I know there are tastes and smells I will never be able to experience and things I will never be able to touch.

      Similarly our consciousness is a sense and it has its limitations as well. There exist things that no amount of science can explain. I know that there are Concepts that exist that I will never be able to understand even with all of my intelligence and education.

      Beyond these limitations are truths waiting to be discovered.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      15 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Viorleas: I wanted to add something to my reply to you. It concerns your comment about endorphin and stress. I did not mean ordinary stress. I meant the kind of stress the body is under when it it pushed to its limits, as in when it is dying. Another example might be what is known as "runner's high." When a runner has pushed past exhaustion (which clearly stresses the body hard), the endophin kicks in.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      15 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Viorelas: I'm sorry you feel that way. My impression is that it is the NDEers who are guilty of wishful thinking. Who wouldn't wish for heaven? I would wish for it. But if I did, it would only be wishful thinking. The claims of NDE can not stand up to objective investigation. I mentioned a few cases--do some research for yourself. However, I have the feeling that no amount of research will convince you that the thing you so much want to believe does not exist.

    • profile image

      Viorelas 

      15 months ago

      What really worries me is that you, Catherine, try to explain the described experiences away. To me, the article is utterly unconvincing, because there are loads of verified NDE and OBE experiences. Your comment "The "verified" cases quickly become unverified when they are properly examined" shows that there are only sort of hallucinating experiences. Another observation: "During times of stress, the body releases endorphin, the morphine-like “feel good” hormone." Very interesting. I somehow didn't quite notice that despite the fact that I have been through loads of stress during my 49 years. So, to me, the article is just the load of wishful thinking. Phonomena are investigated, not squeezed into some naturalistic (there's nothing outside matter) word-view framework.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      15 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Actually, I am not guessing. I was unable to find any credible evidence for NDE, but I found a lot of evidence showing that no one got a peek into heaven and then returned to life. I'm confident further research will change the conclusion. The experience is real, but small percentage of people who who experience NDE are misinterpreting their experience.

    • profile image

      P alavos3 

      15 months ago

      Actually you are just guessing. Even Dr Parnia who has done massive research on the topic says more research needs to be done

    • profile image

      Y=f(x) 

      15 months ago

      Similar things, such as dream (natural process), and a lot of unnatural conditions such as delusion (as in schizophrenia), febrile delirium, drug-addiction, etc gives to such condition. There is no reason to think NDE as a supernatural evidence.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      16 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Mike, the things you say that can't be explained have been very well explained in the article. Did you read the article before you commented? If you didn't, please read it. If you did, please reread it.

    • profile image

      Mike 

      16 months ago

      It's funny how "scientific people" are trying to explain the NDE. They try everything they can to explain it but they fail. What you will never be able to explain is why people see things that you won't be able to see from the position you are at, e.g. seeing things on top of shelves or on top of the building, or even being able to know what your family or friends were talking about outside the room that you were in.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      17 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Ryan London: What are you talking about? I haven't written a book on NDE, just this one article.

      The problem with people who say that NDE proves life after death is that all the stories are anecdotal. None of them hold up under scrutiny. Some of the stories have even been recanted. I tried to give the basic flaws that researchers have found in these stories. Obviously, I can't refute every story one by one or else I would have to write a book--maybe two or three books. Experiments have also been done--carefully controlled experiments--and not one has shown any evidence the proves an OBE or NDE.

      Also adults and children do NOT have the same experience. Children are more likely to report seeing people who are still alive in their NDE. This is probably because children are much less likely to have known people who are dead at the time of the child's NDE. Some adults also report seeing people who are alive. It is strange that someone who is seeing people in heaven would see people who are still alive. It makes sense, however, if the whole experience is taking place in their mind.

      Finally, if something cannot be proven, it is essentially unproven. It is up to the person who makes a claim to prove the claim. A negative cannot be proven. All that can be said is that the probability is so low as to be essentially zero. I did careful research and I stand behind every claim I made. Everything I wrote is true to the best of my knowledge.

      P.S. I think I respond politely to every comment, even when the the person making the comment is rude and insulting, like yourself. You don't just say you disagree with my conclusions, you impugn motives. I find that rude and insulting.

    • Ryan London profile image

      Ryan London 

      17 months ago

      Of course a bulk of your book is about OBE's, it's scientifically possible to do and experiments have been done on it over and over again. You bring in the typical lack of blood or CO2 but you're way off on the overall experience of a NDE. I noticed that you didn't talk about the many NDE accounts of people blind from birth having sight even though their brain has zero ways to know what sight is. How about children having the same experiences as adults? On the flip side, how about when someone you love who's died showing themselves to be fine to their loved ones. How about the little boy who was the ww2 soldier who died in a plane and was able to give every detail to his parents, even his name and it was all confirmed, I know that's reincarnation but you're just flat out saying, that death is final. That's very closed minded and not scientific at all. In fact, there's almost nothing scientifically proven, but you want to sell books and don't care about the repercussions. It's fine to have your opinions and support them with evidence, but I've read every comment and you sure don't like being questioned, you act as if you know what you're saying is fact and you know it's not. Just another person trying to make money off of something that can't be proven or disproven.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      18 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Sparkster: I appreciate your comment, but I hardly know where to begin to refute it. I would have to write several more hubs to do so, and maybe I will, so thanks for the idea. As for now, all I will say is that all your claims are what people who actually understand science call "woo." It sounds like you believe everything you read in the "National Enquirer" and similar tabloids.

    • sparkster profile image

      Sparkster Publishing 

      18 months ago from United Kingdom

      Good article, I like the fact that you've provided some reasonable explanations, but there is plenty of very recent evidence which has come out lately which shows very real evidence of very real OBE's - yes, there are hoaxes and other explanations for some of them - but some of them are also now being proven to be very real.

      Due to the latest research in quantum mechanics we are now beginning to understand that consciousness is universal, it exists everywhere (biocentricity) and is not generated by the brain as previously believed - this ties in very much with what we know about aether/zero-point energy, dark matter and scalar waves. It is not an illusion. I myself, when younger, would often practice going out of body to turn my light switch off and it got to the point where I could do it at will very easily. Chronesthesia (mental time travel) has also been proven recently, as has sending photons into the past.

      Remote viewing is another one. In fact, there is an overwhelming amount of indisputable evidence about these phenomena right there in the declassified government/military documents for anyone who cares to take a look. I also happen to know that in approximately two years time, the first official academic scientific peer reviewed evidence of these phenomena is due to be published which will confirm them beyond the shadow of a doubt. The research is unequivocal and involves a very large group of quantum physicists, neuroscientists, etc from around the world.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      18 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Please see my replay to Yvonne just above

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      18 months ago from Orlando Florida

      It is possible your reactions are not seen in this page because there were too many grammatical and spelling mistakes. Once in a while, I find the comment to be unintelligible. (I'm saying yours was; I don't remember what you wrote before. HubPages has advised its writers not to approve comments like that. I suggest that you have someone who has better English-language skills than you do to help you with your comment before you post it.

    • profile image

      Yvonne, I.M.M. Weekers 

      18 months ago

      May I ask a question: Why can't I see my reactions (two) on this page. I have till two times react on the question. I will grantfully see what I have been written. Please: I'm transparant, why did my recations been hidden and for what reason. Can't you reveal my reactions. I hope I can see what my reactions are, if you make them clear (precisally what I have been written on this page)I mean by çlear: that it is show , what I have been written: that it is noticed on this page. I expect an answer from your side.

    • profile image

      Yvonne, I.M.M. Weekers 

      18 months ago

      I just can't read my reaction: Someone or something his delete my reaction. Can't someone recollect my reaction? I just wrote that I have my NDE in 1973. I finished my study logopedy as best student of the Netherlands.I find myself in your recommandations. Because you may not see God I got a collapse of my brain,that wished out all the rememberings of the Holiness, the United or the 'Being (a philosophical concept). Thereafter (after my NDE) I finished my studies: Philosophy of the social sciences and philosophy. I did my master degree in 1991. 'Now'times (there is not a nowetime), I study the deepening of the philoosophical presuppositions of the philosohical -pedagogical theories and the philosophical concepts that are integrated in the concept of 'being in the World'). Heidegger, Kant and Hegel and Fichte and Russell had written about this concept.The convcept of 'Being'has analyzed by Husserl and Kant. On the demarcation of the purely theoretical concept of 'science' and the pragmatic involvements of this concept Descartes trapped in his own philosophical caught : He made the demarcation of the purely idelealistic and the realistic worldvieuw and caugt in hius own trap. So did Heidgger: He trapped in his own methaphisical caugt: Therefore the Nazism could florish, because the involvements of the demartcation between the earthly and the supernatural involve different 'vooroordelen'. To study with wisdom (what philosphy does and means: to strive to Wisdom) means also to make clear the 'vooroordelen'of all the philosohical concepts (see Wittgenstein) and also of the philosophical educational theories(the axioma's of thge different educational theories)You may think that the religous concepts of other relgions as Islam etc. have not the experiences that I had have: I have a purely theoretical understanding of the 'Being'and that what means 'Being in the World', just like any aoother human person. To be a person(philosohical concept) means to act conform your own insights. If there are false beliefs and you act conform this false beliefs than there is 'war' and stright. It is perhaps possible to state that there are no universal thruths , but that doesn't mean that relativistic standpoints or axiom's is always a matter of dispute and ergo of stright: You can in a debate and by thinking about the 'knowledge' act conform freedom and following the unversal human rights. That is what I want to say about this matter. To come back to NDE and OBE I just can state that it is good to realise that there is more than only the earthly, but to demarcate this ''grens' (grenservaringen) involve too to be act conform your insights. Sorry if I look like as if I have the thruth: that is not the case (so as Wittgenstein says):Every human person has the right to act conform his or her own insights, but it is dangerous to act conform false beliefs. i hope this reaction will stay on this side.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      19 months ago from Orlando Florida

      holden: People see what they want and/or expect to see; some see nothing at all. People who report an NDE usually have a positive experience. I haven't found much reporting on negative experiences.

    • profile image

      holden ray eat 

      19 months ago

      im sorry for the late comment but awesome read for sure, why is it that some people may see the fire and brimestone type hell

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      19 months ago from Orlando Florida

      I don't have time to read everything. You have stated your case here and I did not find it to be something that merited further study. I made my case in the above article so I will consider this discussion closed.

    • Bryon Ehlmann profile image

      Bryon Ehlmann 

      19 months ago from Tallahassee, Florida

      "After the brain ceases to function, there can be no experience. Hence there can be no never-ending-experience." --Catherine Giordano

      This statement shows that you either did not the read the article I referenced, did not read it closely enough, or lack imagination. The theory of a natural afterlife assumes that consciousness ends with death since with death, as you state, "the brain ceases to function." So, the above statement is irrelevant in regards to the phenomenon of the natural afterlife.

      To understand the natural afterlife, you need to grasp its RELATIVE and TIMELESS aspects. The NEE is relative, i.e. ONLY IN THE MIND of the dying person. It is timeless--i.e., only a moment of time, like a snapshot--but the dying person does not know this. The experience, the last moment of the NDE, happens just BEFORE death (not AFTER), but since the dying person does not perceive their death, this moment becomes TO THEM their forever present moment. There is simply nothing, no next event or moment, to indicate to the dying person that their NDE is over. Thus the last moment of the NDE is essentially frozen IN THEIR MIND forever. Get it?

      I encourage you to take the time to reread the referenced article more carefully, ponder the analogies, and, if need be, read the more in-depth, scholarly paper that it references.

      Yes I meant OBE not ODE, sorry. Too bad I can't edit my comment.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      19 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Byron Ehlmann: Maria experienced just one NDE. This NDE included an OBE, as NDE's often do. Her experience was not documented (written down) until many years afterward. There was nothing miraculous about her seeing a tennis shoe on the window ledge. It was perfectly visible and she could have seen or heard about it while she was conscious.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      19 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Bryon Ehlmann: After the brain ceases to function, there can be no experience. Hence there can be no never-ending-experience. I don't know if we can experience our own death because once we die, we experience nothing. And no one has ever returned from the dead to tell us differently. (BTW, comments cannot be edited except for a few minutes after being posted. They have never-ending-existence.) Also when you say ODE, do you mean OBE?

    • profile image

      Bryon Ehlmann 

      19 months ago

      First, in closing you state that the NDE “suggests that our final experience in life, our death, can be a very peaceful and beautiful moment." Actually, I think one can go further and state that this “very peaceful and beautiful moment” may become everlasting, i.e., a never-ending experience (NEE).

      If you die while having an NDE (rather than recover to report it), you will never know that your NDE ended (others will, but YOU will not). This is because you will most likely never realize you’ve died (just like you never realize the moment when you’ve fallen asleep). Essentially then, your NDE becomes IN YOUR MIND an NEE and a timeless natural afterlife. It’s like never waking up from a dream. And it matters not at all whether the NDE is an illusion or how it was produced in your mind—whether by scientifically explained, physical processes and/or by a God.

      For more detail on the natural afterlife, read the Hub article "Your Natural Afterlife: the Non-Supernatural Alternative to Nothingness." For even more detail, read the scholarly, peer-reviewed paper that’s referenced in the article’s abstract.

      Second, your statement that “Approximately 3% of the U.S. population has reported having a NDE.” gives a false impression at how prevalent NDEs may be. What percentage of the U.S. population have ever been very near to death? Likely, very small. And, what percentage of U.S. citizens who have died have had an NDE just prior to death? Obviously unknown, but perhaps very large.

      Finally, I will point out some errors or problems in your article. (I will edit this paragraph out of my comment if they are addressed). First, your definition of the NDE is incorrect. To state that “A near death experience is a report …” is inconsistent with your use of the word throughout your article. An NDE is not a “report.” Many people have an NDE and never report it. They elect not to, or they die. Second, after reading the two paragraphs several times, I don’t see how the first paragraph describing the “case of Maria and the Tennis Shoe” relates to the next paragraph about a researcher who “finally tested this case.” The test came after Maria’s ODE, right? Was Maria involved in the test, claiming yet another ODE where she saw the tennis shoe? I don’t get it! Btw, “head” should be “heard” in the second paragraph.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      20 months ago from Orlando Florida

      DGriggs: Thanks for your comment. The anecdotal reports about the NDE contradict everything that is known by biologists. I don't think science is going to change on this one.

      The shared death experience is interesting. I expect it is just part of the emotional trauma of watching someone you love die. Extreme identification, confirmation bias, and the other psychological process described in the article. Reread the section about how psychology explains the NDE.

    • profile image

      DGriggs 

      20 months ago

      Very interesting article. I wonder if the scientific and supernatural (potentially) could coincide somehow? Just because we can largely explain the NDE/OBE phenomenon through scientific research does not mean the experiences are solely "hyper-real" illusions. And if there is science to prove an afterlife, it would cease to be supernatural, but now science. But as you rightly state, "With science, there is always the possibility that conclusions will change as new evidence is discovered.." So until then, it is only conjecture.

      Also, do you have thoughts on shared death experiences? There are some compelling stories in this subcategory.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      20 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Nikki: Your experience indicates that these types of experiences are perfectly natural. Meditation, like drugs and trauma, can produce an altered state of mind. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • profile image

      Nikki 

      20 months ago

      I have had experiences like these in deep meditation. The Buddhists call them Jhana states. They can involve an OBE plus the very pleasant feelings. I have had these two or three times, but it is not something that I seek in my practice.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      21 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Richard B. Evans: I have heard that mind-altering drugs can produce these kind of experiences. The drugs can affect the brain in a way that distorts spatial relationships.

    • Richard B Evans profile image

      Richard B Evans 

      21 months ago

      I have had out of body experiences while on LSD.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      21 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Sanxuary: Thanks for your comment and for sharing your experiences. . You have had some very interesting experiences. Both lucid dreaming and OBE can be done by some people with training. Dreams lucid or otherwise, can be very vivid. I think neuroscientists and cognitive scientists would say you never left your body; what you experienced was either dreams or hallucinations or illusions or all three. Since you have been having these kinds of experiences since you were a young child, you probably have a predisposition to this.

    • profile image

      Sanxuary 

      21 months ago

      Oddly I never thought about comparing the two. Now that you brought that to my attention I can tell you they are incredibly different. I taught myself to wake up when I was dreaming and I could do just about anything I wanted to do in my dreams. I chanced upon the idea of astral planing by mistake. Being dead is not a mistake and where I ended up was not something I could have imagined. Controlling your dreams you have some control, but this place I had none and no idea that I had even gone somewhere. I honestly forgot this place. In dreams people in them are zombie like. This place the people spoke to me like normal people. They were people devoid of any unhappiness and it felt like you were a young child playing with all your friends on a beutiful summer day. The only thing that made me quetion astral planing was a time I met a number beings that were not humans. It made me wonder when one of them told me to not touch them. I tried to visit a few times later but never repeated a visit. Dream control is fun sometimes but it can be hard if you want to sleep and not control your dreams. Oddly you control your dreams by your mental state. Upset and stressed is not what you want be awake for. I actually have not purposely pursued this in a long time. I had done it numerous times before I discovered that there were several people who wrote books on this. One describes that you hear bells when you cross in astral planing. After the fact I do here that. The other describes something connecting you to this World. I have never seen it. The first time this happened to me I was 4 years old and still remember floating around my home. I remember being scared and moving myself in the air back to my body and feeling the weight of myself returning to my body. They also describe levels. Worlds that our dark are the bottom levels and the higher you go you seem to meet others not quite human. I have had both and maybe my idea of finding proof is the fact i can not communicate. All of it is quite interesting and i have had people out of the no-where bring up these topics because it happened to them recently and they wodered if someone else had the same experience.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      21 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Many people who have a near-death experience , sometimes when they are fine and not near death, find it to be a life altering experience. I think it is wonderful that it affected you in that way.

      Nonetheless, the scientific explanation is that your experience was an illusion. But as you have reported, it was an illusion that had a profound effect on your approach to life.

      Out-of-Body experiences are also an illusion. As you have reported, it is no more than a dream or a trick of thre mind when the parts of the brain that control spatial relationships go a little kaflooey.

    • profile image

      Sanxuary 

      21 months ago

      I am a person who has no problem with death. I was in a hurry one day and in total peace and I decided to leave early. I could have been gone for a long time, only God would know. When I went to the other place it fit a lot of the discriptions you described above. I was in a beutiful place and all my bad emotions did not exist. I was convinced that I was in Heaven or some place much better then this World. When I woke up back here I was so angry to know I was back. For the first time I realized why I was here and why I have to do my time. I still think of the knowledge of knowing what the next place is like and I know that I am on the right path. Its not about this World but what you do in this World to get to the next place. Its worth throwiing all the evil in your life away to be happy now. Its a journey and we all have are own test. We judge ourselves and no one judges us. In other words do what is right regardless of consequence and you will mature spiritually. I have done so called astral travel, something you do in your sleep since I can remember. Its not the same and I remain unconvinced that its any different then a dream. I have tried to travel to places and ask people quetions or simply identify as area to go look at when I wake up. I have never found anything that convinces me that its anything but some strange dreams.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      21 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Say Yes to Life: Thank you for your thoughtful comment. There are a lot of stories about people getting some sort of message at the time a loved one passes. If you know someone is near death, especially a loved one, they are on your mind. So you might have some kind of hallucination about them. Once in a while this happens to me, only the person isn't dead or even sick. But I hear the voice as clearly as if they were right next to me. The incident is quickly forgotten. It's only if the person is dead that people give it importance and think of it as a message from "the other side."

    • Say Yes To Life profile image

      Yoleen Lucas 

      21 months ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      This subject fascinates me,. I've never been near death or had an NDE, but I've spoken to many people who have. Personally, I believe they're real. I've had virtually no mystical experiences; one other few I've had was one where I was on my way to the hospital to visit a client, and I heard his voice. When I arrived, his room was filled with his family. It turned out he had passed on 3 hours earlier. His brother told me when he's gotten the news, on his way to the hospital, he'd heard his voice; it was saying, "Tell mom I'm in a better place*,

      Regarding unpleasant NDEs - check out Pastor Howard Storm's story.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      21 months ago from Orlando Florida

      FlourishAmyway: Thank you for sharing the stories of your relatives.I haven't been present at the death of any one, so I was happy to learn that death can be a peaceful experience. Knowing the science behind a NDE doesn't take away the experience itself. You just learn that it is not proof of an afterlife.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      21 months ago from USA

      I like how you approached the topic. People who have had them are very protective of their experiences and I find it interesting how your friend didn't want you to take that away from her. I hope the end of life can be a peaceful transition. I do recall a number of dying relatives talking or calling out to their dead loved ones in the final hours before death. Oxygen deprivation.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      21 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Ms. Dora: Thanks for your comment. I'm glad you found my essay informative. I always try to provide evidence for any claims I make, scientific, historical, or other, as the case requires. You can google The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven story and read about how he recanted his claims.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      21 months ago from The Caribbean

      I am pleased that you back up your perspective with scientific evidence and as you suggest, there may be similar or different findings going forward. Thanks for the update on that boy back from heaven story. Good presentation!

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      21 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Jay c. O'Brien: Please don't send me more "case histories." I am not going to debunk them one by one. Every case that has been examined by objective researchers has been shown to be false. Please reread my essay and take a look at the book I recommended if you want specifics instead of generalizations.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 

      21 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      See: "National Geographic", The Science of Death, Coming Back from the Beyond, April 2016.

      A head-on collision landed Tricia Barker, then a college student, in an Austin, Texas hospital, bleeding profusely, her spine broken. She says she felt herself separate from her body during surgery, hovering near the ceiling as she watched her monitor flat-line. Moving through the hospital corridor, she says, she saw her stepfather, struggling with grief, buy a candy bar from a vending machine; it was this detail, a stress-induced indulgence he'd told no one about, that made Barker believe here movements really happened.

      Now there are two cases, one by Atwater cited above and one by National Geographic for you to explain. If you cannot explain them, what is the reader to think? Do not make sweeping generalizations.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      21 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Larry Rankin: Thanks for your comment.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      21 months ago from Oklahoma

      Interesting perspective.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      21 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Severian Justin: I couldn't have said it better myself. Death is final.

    • profile image

      Severian Jussaine 

      21 months ago

      billbuc: Since you can't know anything after you die, you never get to actually learn that death is real. :)

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      21 months ago from Orlando Florida

      billybuc: Thanks for the comment. With science, there is always the possibility that conclusions will change as new evidence is discovered.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Interesting perspective. I rule nothing out. How can I? There is no way of really knowing until one dies, is there? And I ain't dead yet!

      But then what do I really know? Not much!

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      21 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Nell Rose: Thank you for your comment. I'll take a look at what yo have written on the subject. An NDE seems to me something that can be a wonderful experience, but I don't think it is in any way supernatural.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      21 months ago from Orlando Florida

      annart: It is so nice to hear from you. It was so good of you to take the time to read my latest opus. I don't write very often lately so it is easy to stay current with my writing. It takes so much time for me to do all the research so it limits my productivity.

      I myself have never had an OBE as you did. I'm glad to hear you found the experience interesting. I hope that I have helped you understand it better. It happened when you weren't feeling well and that fits the pattern. It happens when the body is "out of whack."

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      21 months ago from Orlando Florida

      ChitrangadaSharan: Thanks for letting me know about your NDE. I'm glad I was able to help you better understand what happened. Even after the scientific understanding, it is still an amazing experience.

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