The Mystery Of The “Near Death” Experience
By James Donahue
Death is perhaps the greatest mystery facing
the human race. It is part of life because it is something all living creatures must experience. Yet it is something that
we know very little about. Nobody has ever died and then returned to report what happens to them after they drop the body.
Or have they?
There is the Christian story of Jesus Christ,
who remained dead for three days and then rose again. From all Bible accounts, however, Jesus didn't gave up any secrets about
what it was like to either go through the death experience, or being dead. If it happened we can find no scientific help from
Something has happened since the days Jesus
walked the planet. Modern medical discoveries have made it possible for people to die in operating rooms and then be brought
back to life after several minutes. When it occurs, the patient that recovers often reports experiencing what doctors have
dubbed “near-death experiences.”
From where we sit, we wonder if these shouldn’t
be called “brief death” experiences, since it appears that the patient actually experiences death before being
revived. Doctors say the heart stops, the blood flow through the body stops, and the patient might even be declared brain
It is during this time that people who go
through this event report interesting experiences that appear to go beyond hallucinatory visions or dreams.
A paper in 1993 by Dr. Ken Ring in the Journal
of Near Death Experiences, reported people who, while out of their bodies, witnessed real events going on either in the room
or sometimes far away from where their body was located. Some patients accurately report conversations that went on between
doctors and nurses in the operating room. There have even been cases, Ring wrote, where the patient appears in spirit to a
friend or loved one while the near death experience was occurring.
One odd happening is that people who were
born blind have vision while going through an out of body, near death event, studies have shown.
Interviews with hundreds of patients who
have been revived after going through the near death experience map out a general pattern of events that occur at the time
they are “dying.” From this we can perhaps grasp a picture of what we all face if we go out with our boots off
and miss the unexpected trauma of instant death by calamity.
The patients say there is a chain of events:
1.) An unpleasant sound, followed by a sense of being
2.) This is followed by a calmness and serenity. It appears
that once the pain of dying is over, the experience is extremely pleasant.
3.) There is the sensation of floating above the body
and seeing the surrounding area.
4.) If not pulled back in quickly, the spirit floats up
into a dark tunnel with a strong, bright light at the end. Those that reach the light find themselves in a beautiful garden.
5.) Upon arrival in the garden, the individual is
met by a being of light, some say an angel, or perhaps the spirit of a long-dead friend or relative.
6.) While in the garden they meet deceased relatives.
7.) Some say they are given a review of their past life
8.) Suddenly the person reaches some kind of border or
boundary and understands they cannot stay in this place. It is not their time.
9.) This is followed by a feeling of getting pulled back
into the body. There is often a sense of reluctance about having to go back, especially when they return to great pain in
This writer has spoken with two interesting
men who went through near-death experiences in their youth, and they both reported very similar experiences to the list printed
My wife’s brother, Wayne, drowned in
his youth while swimming with his brother in a creek on the family property. Wayne remembered diving under a raft they had
made, and getting his swim trunks caught on a nail. He struggled for a while, then began breathing water. After that he said
he heard music as he floated through the dark tunnel and into the garden. He said it was such a beautiful and peaceful place
he wanted to stay there. He said he experienced a feeling of anger when he woke up to find his brother resuscitating him.
That experience had a profound impact on
Wayne’s life. He developed serious heart trouble in mid-life, but lived every day to the fullest because he said he
had no fear of death.. In fact, when he talked about his experience, it was easy to see that he was looking forward to returning
to that garden and whatever was waiting beyond.
When working as a news reporter in Michigan,
I met Dennis Hale, the sole survivor of the sinking of the freighter Daniel J. Morrell in November, 1966. Hale was sleeping
in his underclothes when the big ore carrier cracked apart in a Lake Huron storm. He grabbed a pea coat and life preserver,
and that was all he was wearing when the boat sank under his feet. He survived that winter storm for almost 40 hours before
a Coast Guard helicopter found him.
During the ordeal, Hale said he left his
body, floated through the dark tunnel and into the garden. There he met is deceased mother who directed him over a hill where
his dead friends from the Morrell were gathered. Hale said they were all happy to see him, but told him it was not his time,
and that he had to go back. Hale said he liked it there and had been suffering so much in the open raft that he was clearly
reluctant to return. But suddenly he was back in the raft. Within an hour after that experience Hale was rescued.
Doctors were amazed that Hale survived the
ordeal. He suffered frostbite to one foot, and had part of the foot removed. He has since written a book about his experience.
Is the garden these people see the entrance
to Heaven? Is it our final destination after this life or is there something beyond?
Studies by researchers at the Monroe Institute
in Faber, Virginia, who have found ways to help people leave the body on demand, by using special sound frequencies called
“Hemi-synch,” or synchronized sound designed to force both hemispheres of the brain to work collectively, have
delved into the death experience.
The findings by researchers at Monroe suggest
that humans collectively create spiritual places to go after death by participating in belief systems. For example, Christians
believe in Heaven and Hell. Because a lot of them believe in these places, and have preconceived notions of what they are
like, there actually are such places for their spirits to dwell once they drop their bodies.
Unfortunately, many people believe they are
going to be condemned to Hell and they actually find themselves suffering in such a place. And this is not necessary. There
also is a Heaven, although it does not have to be the final destination either.
Beyond the garden is the great light which
appears to be the core of all things, or the Creator. We are all part of this light, and our proper place seems to be to return
to it once our time on this planet is over.
But this, again, is part of the great mystery.
None of us will really know until we get there.