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

Updated on February 3, 2017
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Catherine Giordano is a writer and public speaker who often writes and speaks on topics related to science, philosophy, and religion.

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

© 2016 Catherine Giordano

I welcome your comments.

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    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 4 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      This is a very good article. I like how you addressed OBEs separately. There is a website, "IANDS" covering NDEs and supposedly some OBEs have been verified. Please address this.

      The Monroe Institute studies OBEs. Please address.

      A related topic is Telepathy. I have had several verified telepathic experiences. Please address.

      Thanks

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 4 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Jay C. O'Brien: OBE does occur. People do have the feeling that they have left their bodies. However, they have not actually left their bodies. It's an illusion.

      Telepathy? I assume you mean stuff like mind reading or sending psychic messages. It's off topic. Perhaps I'll write about it at some other time. It is much too big a topic for a comment.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 4 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      Perhaps you did not understand. Some OBEs have been verified. “NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES the rest of the story” 2011 by P.M.H. Atwater. Atwater studied some 3,000 adult cases and about 300 child cases. Starting in chapter seven are cases which have been “Verified.” By “Verified” it means the person obtained information outside his normal five senses was later were corroborated by investigation.

      While clinically dead, George arose and went to the newborn section of the hospital near where his body lay. George noticed a baby with a broken hip. Upon reviving, George told the doctors about the baby’s broken hip and added, the hip is broken because the nurse dropped her. X-rays showed the break. When the nurse was confronted, she admitted to dropping the baby. At page 59.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 4 months ago from New Delhi, India

      A very well written hub and you tackled the subject quite convincingly.

      I can relate to this as I had the so called near death experience. It happened about 20 years ago as I had a prolonged illness and almost no medicine was helpful. But I remember that incident very clearly even now. I could see my own dead body and I was feeling so helpless that all my family were not able to revive me from my death. It was fearful sight.

      But I do believe in the scientific explanations you provide above.

      Thanks for sharing this wonderful hub!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 4 months ago from SW England

      Very interesting and clear explanation, Catherine. You're always good at making these things intriguing.

      I've never had an NDE but I have had an OBE, when I wasn't feeling very well and I went up to the corner of the ceiling and looked down on myself. It was a weird but not troubling experience. When I told my father about it, he said a similar thing had happened to him a few times and that his mother also had these experiences - does it run in the family I wonder?!

      It's so interesting the way the brain and our bodies can influence such things.

      I'm not very good at reading everything at the moment but trying to read at least one hub from those I follow, from time to time. Will get back to normal soon! Still renovating and it's taking longer than we expected!

      Hope all's well with you.

      Ann

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 months ago from England

      Fascinating read and something that totally interests me. I write similar subjects so really interested on your take on it. and yes science does explain it, I always look for scientific explanations too, but I do think there is more to it than that, great hub!

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 4 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Jay C. O'Brien: Thank you for your comment. As I stated in my essay on HDE and OBE there are hundreds of these stories. I gave the explanation for them--an illusion of the mind and tricks of memory. I can't explain each and every case individually. The "verified" cases quickly become unverified when they are properly examined. The case of "Maria and the Tennis Shoe," for instance, was completely disproved, but it is still cited as evidence for OBE.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 4 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.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 4 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 image
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      Catherine Giordano 4 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.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 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 image
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      Catherine Giordano 4 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.

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      Severian Jussaine 4 months ago

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

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 4 months ago from Orlando Florida

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

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 4 months ago from Oklahoma

      Interesting perspective.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 4 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Larry Rankin: Thanks for your comment.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 4 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 image
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      Catherine Giordano 4 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.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 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 image
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      Catherine Giordano 4 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.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 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 image
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      Catherine Giordano 4 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.

    • Say Yes To Life profile image

      Yoleen Lucas 4 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 image
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      Catherine Giordano 4 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."

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      Sanxuary 4 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 image
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      Catherine Giordano 4 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 4 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 image
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      Catherine Giordano 4 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.

    • Richard B Evans profile image

      Richard B Evans 4 months ago

      I have had out of body experiences while on LSD.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 4 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.

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      Nikki 3 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 image
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      Catherine Giordano 3 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.

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      DGriggs 3 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 image
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      Catherine Giordano 3 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.

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      Bryon Ehlmann 2 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 image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 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?

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 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.

    • Bryon Ehlmann profile image

      Bryon Ehlmann 2 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 image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 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.

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      holden ray eat 2 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 image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 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.

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      Yvonne, I.M.M. Weekers 8 weeks 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.

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      Yvonne, I.M.M. Weekers 8 weeks 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.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 8 weeks 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.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 8 weeks ago from Orlando Florida

      Please see my replay to Yvonne just above

    • sparkster profile image

      Marc Hubs 8 weeks 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 image
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      Catherine Giordano 8 weeks 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.

    • Ryan London profile image

      Ryan London 2 weeks 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 image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 weeks 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.

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