Near-Death & Out of Body Experiences

intaglio

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Near Death Experiences - Living proof or not?

There's a lot of text to this article but it and its sister report here make interesting reading. I'm supprised no-one has posted about it before.

Do NDE's really show us survival of awareness after death?

New Scientist quoted in Yahoo News 14/12/01

Medical explanations cannot account for near death experiences (NDEs), according to the results of the biggest prospective study to date of patients who were resuscitated after clinical death. However, patients who reported an NDE were more likely to die soon afterwards.
Pim Van Lommel and his team at Hospital Rijnstate in the Netherlands interviewed 344 patients who were resuscitated after heart failure at 10 hospitals across the country. The patients were questioned as soon as they were well enough.

Eighteen per cent reported an NDE - classed as a memory of "a special state of consciousness, including specific elements such as out-of-body experience, pleasant feelings and seeing a tunnel."

But the team found no link between NDEs and drugs used to treat the patients, the duration of cardiac arrest or unconsciousness, or the patients' reports of the degree to which they feared death before the incident.

"This was the surprising thing," van Lommel says. "It's always said that NDEs are just a phenomenon relating to the dying brain and the lack of oxygen to the brain cells. But that's not true. If there was a physiological cause, all the patients should have had an NDE."

Letting go

The patients were mostly elderly, with an average age of 62. Van Lommel found that those that reported an NDE were significantly more likely to die within 30 days.

"There is the idea that people can decide to some extent when they die," says van Lommel. "Perhaps when they had an NDE, their fear of death was over and they could let go."

The team did find that patients who were under 60 and female were more likely to report an NDE. But the causes of the experience remain a mystery, van Lommel says.

His team questioned surviving NDE patients again two years after their resuscitation, and then after eight years. Most of the patients recalled the event in striking detail. And most showed significant psychological changes, the team reports. The 23 NDE patients who were still alive eight years later "had become more emotionally vulnerable and empathic", they write.

Pushing the limit

Van Lommel's team report anecdotal stories of patients recalling events that happened around them during out of body experiences while they were clinically dead. These experiences "push at the limit of medical ideas about the range of human consciousness and the mind/brain relationship," Van Lommel says.

Christopher French, at the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths College, London, says the team's paper is "intriguing", though he notes that van Lommel's team failed to contact the patients for corroboration. He points out that NDEs are impossible to objectively verify - and that out of body experiences have not been proved to exist.

But, in a commentary on the research, he writes: "the out of body component of the NDE offers probably the best hope of launching any kind of attack on current concepts of the relationship between consciousness and brain function."

If researchers could prove that clinically dead patients, with no electrical activity in their cortex, can be aware of events around them and form memories, this would suggest that the brain does not generate consciousness, French and Van Lommel think.

Journal reference: The Lancet (vol 358, p 2039)
 

rynner2

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Yes, it's an interesting article. I did think of starting a thread with it, but merely made an oblique reference to it elsewhere.

If these results are corroborated, then there is a big question mark about the generally accepted reductionist viewpoint that the mind is an artefact of the brain. Another 'theory' sometimes touted is that the brain is a 'receiver' for the mind, much as a TV set is a receiver for programmes broadcast from elsewhere.

But it's getting too late on New Year's Eve to get into too much philosophy about this kind of thing!
 
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Anonymous

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So maybe the reason people get them with lack of oxygen is because they actually die a little.

But as I have said before, I don't think this is the way to find life after death. It will not really show anymore than that we haven't defined death properly.
 
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Anonymous

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near death experiences...in hell?

yo,
I was wondering if anyone knows of any case that has to do with near death experiences, but instead of the guy going to heaven, he goes to hell? You know how you always hear about guys people at the brink of death and wking up saying that they saw god or a light or something? Well, I was wondering if anyone ever reported going to hell instead of heaven...?
ZERO
 

whoisquilty

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There was an interview on a show about life after death in which the woman described going to hell. It was a fiery pit...people were being tortured and others were laying on the ground decaying (but still alive). She also said that there were heads impaled on posts.

Spreading cheer,

Quilty
 
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Anonymous

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It's true that people do have such unpleasant experiences, but they're generally not found in the kind of hopeful, positive-looking NDE books that sell.
There are cases on record, even featured on some paranormal programs. Sightings ran an interview a couple of years back with a guy who was a callous businessman who found himself in a not-very-nice place, where he was clutched at and attacked by hateful creatures in the dark. He 'came back', and his experience so changed him, he became a minister.

It can always be argued that the experience is wish-fulfillment, or a fulfillment of expectation, based on deep-seated conditioning. But the experience also befalls people who expected to find themselves in Heaven, as well as agonistics and atheists, and to persons raised outside of the dominantly Christian circles that might be said to have instilled such a dark vision.
But vision or no (the most persuasive tesimonies would be from those who haven't returned), the experience is real enough to those who go through it. And most react in a manner that they perceive will lessen their chance of returning to that place once they die for real!
Once feature of the NDE, for instance, in the case of would-be suicides - whether the experience is positive or negative - is that the person almost never re-attempts.
 

mejane

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The "going to hell" theme is mentioned in another thread

http://www.forteantimes.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=2150&highlight=drill*

(general fortena - drilling into hell), in case the Devil prevents the link from working :)

Personally, I think people see what they expect to see at the moment of death (or at least oxygen starvation to the brain).

Jane.

(probably have to edit this reply later... hard day + beer = incompreshensible)
:)
 
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Anonymous

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But NDE's are apparently much more culture specific than most would have you believe.
 

ogopogo3

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Hermes said:
It can always be argued that the experience is wish-fulfillment, or a fulfillment of expectation, based on deep-seated conditioning. But the experience also befalls people who expected to find themselves in Heaven, as well as agonistics and atheists, and to persons raised outside of the dominantly Christian circles that might be said to have instilled such a dark vision.
Maybe these dying visions are simply a biological reaction from a traumatized brain.

Why do so many NDE survivors see tunnels of light and so forth?

I can't say.

Why do so many alcoholics experiencing withdrawal see insects and spiders?

I can't say.

But I'm sure they are related somehow.
 
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Anonymous

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The light at the end of the tunnel should be something with oxygen depravation making some neurons responsible for sight firing. Jet pilots get the same.
 

beakboo1

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Most people with low blood pressure (well, me) get the tunnel effect before we sink gracelessly to the floor. Must be a normal physiological effect.
 

rynner2

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Xanatic said:
The light at the end of the tunnel should be something with oxygen depravation making some neurons responsible for sight firing. Jet pilots get the same.
I have read that pilots (who experience anoxia during their training, so as to be aware of the symptoms) who have experienced NDEs, report that the experiences are totally different - the NDE has a sense or reality and clarity about it that oxygen deficiency doesn't give.
 
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Anonymous

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I'm pretty sure that there are 'negative' NDE's, and that there is a 'conspiracy' to try overlook them in favour of ones that make people feel happier about their mortality.

I do know that a suprisingly large number of what we might call 'theophanies' - moments where the percipient feels linked to the Divine in some manifestation, are unpleasant, with people feeling they've encountered something balefully inimical, rather than loving. There appears to be no pattern of this being linked to any prior religious belief or absence of belief.
 
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Anonymous

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rynner said:
I have read that pilots (who experience anoxia during their training, so as to be aware of the symptoms) who have experienced NDEs, report that the experiences are totally different - the NDE has a sense or reality and clarity about it that oxygen deficiency doesn't give.
Quite right. I have on tape (can't recall the source, but could find it if anyone seriously wants to know - but it may take some time) the testimony of a pilot who has experienced both - and he remarked that they're quite different - just as rynner notes.

So many cases occur when the subject's brain is not oxygen-deprived or similarly 'traumatized' that I don't think this is an acceptable explanation at all for an obviously complex subject.
A dying brain - if the object of the hallucinatory set is to calm it into dying quietly and peacefully - is defeated by its own strategy if the experiences are sometimes negative as reported, or totally absent, or even bright and positive - the latter acting in direct opposition to the instinctive reaction to fight when a life-threat is encountered.
Instead it experiences a sharp, lucid, vivid sense of life and energy and saturation that we never achieve in 'real life'. There's nothing like saving the best 'til last, is there? If death is really the end to what may have been a tough life and painful process of dying, then the happy vision right at the end wouldn't be so much a happy cop-out as a cruel final twist, don't you think?
One feature I've noticed in all the NDE and near-death vision cases I've ever read is that they rarely feature living persons. Almost always the visiting loved-ones are the passed-on relatives or friends of the dying person. Again, my comments stand from above, and to point out that it would make more sense, surely, in many cases (although not in the elderly, admittedly) if these 'visions' and encounters involved the living and the familiar instead of oft-encountered 'heavenly' or 'hellish' realms?
 

rynner2

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Hermes said:
If death is really the end to what may have been a tough life and painful process of dying, then the happy vision right at the end wouldn't be so much a happy cop-out as a cruel final twist, don't you think?
Evolution doesn't 'care' about us once we are past our reproductive stage, which is why we get degenerative diseases in old age: our job is done, and we can rot!

So it is difficult to understand how natural selection could have come up with comforting NDEs right at the last gasp, when it didn't do anything about the perhaps chronic pain beforehand.

The reductionist viewpoint (which I don't hold myself) would have to be that the existence of bad NDEs as well shows that the process is random, just hallucinations of a dying brain.

Perhaps the reason some rationalists don't like to believe in an afterlife is that they would then feel pressured to accept the whole kit and caboodle of organised religion, which they have spent a lifetime disparaging!

Me, I believe in nothing, just possibilities.
 

intaglio

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Off htread briefly

People talk a lot about Organised Religion - Whats *Dis*organised religion ?
 
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Anonymous

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I'm not sure there's a technical definition

To me, Disorganised Religion would imply forms of worship which do not require a priesthood or any organised church, or demand anything of the believer other than that they do actually believe and demonstrate this in whatever fashion they feel is suitable. A good example would be the kind of solitary pagan whose religious beliefs are expressed solely through practices that they personally feel to be appropriate, not through any prescribed form of ritual.

Personally I'm all in favour of disorganised religion in this sense because it means, apart from anything else, that no man can claim to have a more direct line to your god than you do. It also means that you can't be asked for money in the name of God - not unless He personally is telling you to spend it on something specific, of course :)
 

NilesCalder

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Re: Off htread briefly

intaglio said:
People talk a lot about Organised Religion - Whats *Dis*organised religion ?
Discordianism :rolleyes:

Niles "Illustrious Reverend Ghost, KSC, KFC, ESoTOO, Miraculous, Pope." Calder
 

akaWiintermoon

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I too once saw a programme on 'Hellish NDEs', it was on This Morning I think! (The daytime tv prog, that is, when Richard and Judy were on it.) During the 'tunnel before the light' phase, one woman said, she saw many distorted faces that made up the tunnel. Scared the poop out of her, she said it was horrible.
There is also a book, called 'Ray of Light' I believe. I'm so sorry, I forget his/the authors name. However, it was turnned into a film (Shown on the cable channel Living of all places!), and also features Ramond Moody. He apparently comes across a woman who tried to commit suicide to escape from her bullying wife beating husband. She had an NDE and described Hellish dogs ripping at her flesh.
That was deffinatly in the film, but I don't think it featured in the book?
 

mikelegs

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beakboo said:
Most people with low blood pressure (well, me) get the tunnel effect before we sink gracelessly to the floor. Must be a normal physiological effect.
I can vouch for this personally. Interestingly, I sometimes manage to hang on to a small circle of vision at the center of my visual range. Also, the darkness overtaking my vision is the shifty kind you get from closing your eyes and pressing on them (gently!) for about ten seconds. Could someone interpret this as faces?

Whenever this happens my hearing goes all funny, too, and everything sounds to be very far away.
 
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Anonymous

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Wristwatches, NDEs and death.

Someone I know discovered a relative dead at home and touched their body. Since then, whenever they have worn a wristwatch it has stopped after 2 or 3 days of wearing it. When it's removed it starts again. I know that this is 'normal' for people who have experienced a NDE, but this is someone who hasn't.
Can we therefore assume that death generates some form of energy that affects the normal flow of electrical energy and that this can be captured and transfered.
 
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Anonymous

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Nope. Sounds to me like they're wearing cheap, maybe second-hand wristwatches that contain accumulated dust that stops or slows the watch - move it (like when you take it off and throw it down) and the dust shifts enough for it to start working again for a while. It's happened to me and I've never had an NDE.
 

ogopogo3

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Then there is the strange phenom of clocks stopping at the exact moment of someone's death. I wonder how far back these legends go? I remember reading that supposedly a famous French clock stopped at the exact moment of the death of Louis XVI, and has never worked since. Sound familiar to anyone?
 
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Anonymous

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Annasdottir said:
Nope. Sounds to me like they're wearing cheap, maybe second-hand wristwatches that contain accumulated dust that stops or slows the watch - move it (like when you take it off and throw it down) and the dust shifts enough for it to start working again for a while. It's happened to me and I've never had an NDE.
Nice theory, but it doesn't matter what watch they wear. No one can be that unlucky. They also seem to have become very prone to getting electric shocks off all kinds of objects that you wouldn't expect to get electric shocks from.
 
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Anonymous

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Red Dalek said:
Nice theory, but it doesn't matter what watch they wear. No one can be that unlucky. They also seem to have become very prone to getting electric shocks off all kinds of objects that you wouldn't expect to get electric shocks from.
Well, I have to say that that also happens to me sometimes! For instance, I was once shopping in Sainsbury's with my husband - going through the electric-goods department, I started getting shocks off the trolley and had to get hubby to push the trolley for me! That hasn't happened since (though I now try to keep clear of the electrical department!) but I regularly get shocks off our car. Last October, my six-month old computer suddenly suffered a total failure - first the hard drive went, then the motherboard; the symptoms indicated an electrical burn-out, but how that occurred, we couldn't explain. So far, this computer seems to be OK.
This electrical stuff only started happening to me a couple of years ago, and I can't think of an explanation. But it doesn't seem to be connected with death or NDEs.
 
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Anonymous

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I think everyone gets them from cars, I do anyway. I find the instance of the shopping trolleys interesting though. Certain clothes materials can build up a level of static that presumably the metal trolley would release. Could this be the case in your instance Annasdottir?
 
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Anonymous

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I've thought of that already. But I avoid nylon clothing/fabrics and we have mostly wooden flooring in our house. And in the Sainsburys incident, the shocks only came when I moved off a carpeted section of the floor (which has since been taken up and replace with plasticated flooring).
I'm willing to believe that the computer was a victim of a freak electrical surge, but no other electrical equipment in our house suffered - including a second computer in the same room, hooked up to the same power socket and generally kept switched on at the same time.
But my present wristwatch is working OK!
 
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Anonymous

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Yes, true. But the shocks came when I was well away from the carpet and on some wooden flooring, over a period of several minutes. I'm not sure about the mechanics of electricity - is this how a static discharge shock would work?
 

marion

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I always get shocks off the trolley when I'm shopping in Sainsbury's, quite painful ones . The floor is some sort of stone composite . Also lesser ones in Tesco's but rarely in Safeway's . I though it was to do with the plastic wheels keeping the build up of electric in the metal of the trolley which will occasionally discharge onto the pusher .
 
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