Near-Death & Out of Body Experiences

eburacum

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The out-of-body experiences are probably concocted by the brain after the event, during the recovery process. That would explain why they don't match with anoxia experiences, although the anoxia/tunnel vision thing (which is real, and quite commonplace) might be the inspiration for the hallucination.

I'm not particularly convinced by sneakers on the roof, either. An anecdote with little experimental rigour.

Some experimenters are placing images or messages on top of cupboards in the operating room; have any NDE witnesses succeeded in seeing these yet?
 

Pietro_Mercurios

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I have some very early memories of being conscious and aware that make me think that there is more to the consciousness malarky than scientists are willing to concede. Anecdotal, or not, it's in the nature of consciousness to be a tricksy and necessary factor in being aware.

It might be better to give some thought as to why, for some scientists, it is so important to prove that consciousness is nothing more than an illusion and that really we are all zombies, at the mercy of a series of interrelated autonomous subroutines.

Like I say, some scientists still seem to think that if they turn around fast enough they'll be able to catch a glimpse of the back of their necks in the mirror. :lol:
 
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I don’t buy into Alexander’s account but come on.

What Dr Alexander and his PR people claim is that his description of the afterlife is more authentic because he is a neurosurgeon
And the deep hypocrisy of this is Blakemore and the telegraph’s editor expecting his dismissal of Alexander’s experience to be more authentic because he is a famous scientist. A nuts-and-bolts neuroscientist as I would describe it, NOTE not a psychologist. Which leads me nicely on to...

But when there is no evidence except the word of the beholder, a scientist’s accounts are no more reliable than those of anyone else.
A bit like when you talk publicly about a subject you aren’t actually trained in, your opinions and interpretations are no more reliable than those of anyone else, regardless of your long list of glittering qualifications, or how big your mouth is, or if you are a luvvie at the Telegraph.

I’m wondering what Blakemore is up to here-perhaps he's setting himself up as a sort of Dickie Dawkins II. He’ll have to try harder than that dismal attempt anyway.
 

EnolaGaia

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eburacum said:
... Some experimenters are placing images or messages on top of cupboards in the operating room; have any NDE witnesses succeeded in seeing these yet?
Good point! I recall reading of such 'installed test materials' some years ago, but I don't recall hearing anything about them since ...
 

EnolaGaia

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Found one instance of the 'hidden test signs' ...

Penny Sartori (then a nurse in Wales) conducted a five-year study of NDE experiences in an intensive care unit. Among other things, she put a hidden symbol in the patient's room, situated so that it could only be seen from above.

The most striking NDE case arising during the study provided a number of interesting results, but they did not include a report of the hidden symbol. To the fair, the patient (once recovered / resuscitated) said he hadn't looked back in the direction of where the symbol had been place. The publication focusing on this case is available online at:

http://inicia.es/de/luisfountain/archiv ... ed-nde.pdf

Sartori (who's since earned her PhD for her NDE research) has a website:

http://www.drpennysartori.com
 

EnolaGaia

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Follow-up note ...

It appears that (in the broader context of the study; beyond the single case cited above) Sartori also placed playing cards in positions (e.g., atop cabinets) where they could only be seen from above.

Apparently none of the patients reporting OBE-style NDE's reported having seen the hidden cards.
 

eburacum

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drbastard said:
But when there is no evidence except the word of the beholder, a scientist’s accounts are no more reliable than those of anyone else.
A bit like when you talk publicly about a subject you aren’t actually trained in, your opinions and interpretations are no more reliable than those of anyone else, regardless of your long list of glittering qualifications, or how big your mouth is, or if you are a luvvie at the Telegraph.
Isn't Blakemore a neuroscientist then? Not that it makes much difference; even neuroscientists are quite a long way from understanding consciousness. But I think that consciousness will be understood in the long run - then we'll see some weird stuff- just wait till every damn appliance in your home is hooked up to some sort of conscious gadget.

One reason to doubt Dr Alexander's account is that he believes in it so strongly; this sort of inordinate belief seems to be a symptom of certain types of NDE, and this could be a neurological phenomenon in itself.
 

rynner2

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Let’s not be shy about the afterlife
Why are we so wary about investigating the premonitions and spiritual experiences that surround death?
By Jenny McCartney
7:00PM BST 13 Oct 2012

I’ve noticed that the first time small children get a whiff of the concept of death, they can’t stop talking about it. Suddenly they’re like junior barristers, and their questions are notably to the point. Does it hurt? Where do you go? Can you come back?

If you start, hesitantly, to reply – in what must seem a maddeningly vague way, given the whopping impact of your initial news – that after you die you carry on somewhere else (Dawkins, if you’re reading this, back off for a minute) the children are straight into the practicalities. What do you get to eat? Who’s there? Can the people here see you?

I can’t say I blame them, really. Revelations don’t come much bigger than the one saying that on some as yet unknown day each of us is going to depart this world, and no one will see us again in this life. I’ve had over 40 years to get used to it and it still shocks me. And yet, in contrast to the pleasingly direct, investigative approach taken by children towards the matter, most adults spend their time ignoring it and hushing it up.

Our modern Western culture is largely taken up with the prolongation of life and the avoidance of death. That’s a very reasonable notion to some extent, since most of us enjoy life and would like to have as much of it as possible. But a by-product is that the worried dance of denial about our own mortality makes the final stage of life much harder, bleaker and lonelier for dying people and their families.

We treat the deaths of others either as a piece of gross personal negligence or an outlandish case of bad luck. That is perhaps why I found the recent Newsweek essay by Dr Eben Alexander, a Harvard-educated neurosurgeon who does not seem noticeably wacky, to be rather cheering. Dr Alexander contracted a very rare form of bacterial meningitis, which put him in a coma for seven days and effectively shut down his brain. When he recovered he described an experience which had apparently convinced him that an afterlife existed. It was of the lavishly conventional kind, with fluffy clouds, shimmering beings, and a beautiful blue-eyed guide – which has come as a gift to those who are predisposed to mock Dr Alexander as some kind of nut. Presumably they would have respected his account more if his vision had been less baroque.

In any case, we can probably all agree that a professionally well-respected man, who was not normally delusional, somehow had – while at death’s door – an overwhelmingly positive experience which profoundly altered his view of the afterlife. Why that occurred, or what it might signify for anyone else, is of course open to heavy debate.

Yet if one listens to the lectures and discussions of Dr Peter Fenwick, it becomes apparent that Dr Alexander’s is not an isolated experience. Dr Fenwick is a leading neuropsychiatrist who is an authority on near-death experiences, and has written a book called The Art of Dying which advocates the importance of “a good death”. Studies led him to conclude that near-death experiences occurred in a percentage of patients who had undergone cardiac arrest and had no pulse rate, heart rate or brainstem reflexes prior to their resuscitation. He described the discovery “that people have mental states which are present in the absence of brain function” as of “astonishing” importance to science. It has, he says, opened up a discussion on the nature of consciousness and even “the potential for a continuation of life after death”.

I listened late at night to one of Dr Fenwick’s online interviews. He seemed eminently serious: scholarly, articulate and not prone to stating exaggerated conclusions. Dr Fenwick had expended much professional time and thought collecting data from the dying, and examining their experiences and those of their loved ones. He spoke with confidence about certain phenomena which quite commonly occurred around death, such as “premonitions” by an individual or someone close to them that their death is approaching, or a dying person reporting the vision of a dead relative or spouse coming to collect them. (Interestingly, the “guide” figure varies according to one’s culture.)

I have no idea why such phenomena might happen, or indeed whether they might have a physical or psychological explanation. The fact is, however, that many people are aware of them, but are almost embarrassed to discuss them in case they are dismissed as crazy: they speak of them privately, to friends. We are taught that such things belong to the slippery, shameful realm of unreason. Yet while superstition is a deep, dark bog, science has sometimes assumed a rather blinkered resistance to lines of inquiry that might conceivably collide with spirituality: Dr Fenwick is in a minority. We are still in the dark about death, and it’s the biggest thing that happens to us. Why, unlike our children, are we not brave enough to ask it many more questions?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/colu ... rlife.html
 

Spudrick68

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I suspect that there may be more people who, like me, find this interesting but who are not well read enough in quantum physics to be able to have an informed opinion.

I read that Hameroff and the other bloke claimed that something, at a quantum level, continues to exist after the death of the body. Is this his theory or does it have some basis in fact? Would such a thing be compatible with quantum theories?
 

Steveash5

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Their account sounds like a quite confused muddle of theories trying to explain an inexplicable empirical reality.

The Penrose Theory is a bit flakey, but the idea that the Mind is an algorthem in the brain is quite standard, not sure how its supposed to go back into the Universe though other than via the fact there doesnt appear there'e anywhere else for it to go.

Conciousness is certainly regarded as physically irreducible by most clued up philosophers of mind these days.
 

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A universe where people walk around on clouds in toga attire and meet their dead relatives?

Sounds too much like what people expect to find.
 

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SameOldVardoger said:
A universe where people walk around on clouds in toga attire and meet their dead relatives?

Sounds too much like what people expect to find.
I expect my relatives to have different taste in clothes, unless wearing togas is a family secret no one's told me about. :lol:
 

Vardoger

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kamalktk said:
SameOldVardoger said:
A universe where people walk around on clouds in toga attire and meet their dead relatives?

Sounds too much like what people expect to find.
I expect my relatives to have different taste in clothes, unless wearing togas is a family secret no one's told me about. :lol:
Guess togas has been used too much in american movies too be taken seriously (and no, I'm not talking about Animal House). :lol:

 

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Near death experiences could be surge in electrical activity

Near death experiences in which people report “seeing the light” could be explained by increases in electrical activity in the brain after the heart stops, scientists have found.

The first study to examine the neurophysiological state of the dying brain in animals has identified surges in activity, which suggest a level of consciousness after “clinical death” – when the heart stops beating and blood stops flowing to the brain.

Researchers analyzed the recordings of brain activity using electroencephalograms (EEGs) from nine anesthetized rats undergoing experimentally induced cardiac arrest.

Within the first 30 seconds after cardiac arrest, all of the rats displayed a widespread, transient surge of highly synchronized brain activity that had features associated with a highly aroused and conscious brain.

Almost identical patterns were found in the dying brains of rats undergoing asphyxiation, according to the research by the University of Michigan, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Whether and how the dying brain is capable of generating conscious activity has been vigorously debated.

Approximately 20 percent of cardiac arrest survivors report having had a near-death experience during clinical death.

The study found that after clinical death, the rats display brain activity patterns which were characteristic of conscious perception.

Lead study author Jimo Borjigin, Ph.D., associate professor of molecular and integrative physiology and associate professor of neurology at the University of Michigan Medical School, said: "We reasoned that if near-death experience stems from brain activity, neural correlates of consciousness should be identifiable in humans or animals even after the cessation of cerebral blood flow.”

She added: "This study tells us that reduction of oxygen or both oxygen and glucose during cardiac arrest can stimulate brain activity that is characteristic of conscious processing. It also provides the first scientific framework for the near-death experiences reported by many cardiac arrest survivors."

Researchers said the prediction that they would find some signs of conscious activity in the brain during cardiac arrest was confirmed, but they were surprised by the high levels of activity.

Senior author anaesthesiologist George Mashour, assistant professor of anesthesiology and neurosurgery at the University said: "In fact, at near-death, many known electrical signatures of consciousness exceeded levels found in the waking state, suggesting that the brain is capable of well-organized electrical activity during the early stage of clinical death."
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/scie ... ivity.html
 

rynner2

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sherbetbizarre said:
Near death experiences could be surge in electrical activity

Near death experiences in which people report “seeing the light” could be explained by increases in electrical activity in the brain after the heart stops, scientists have found.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/scie ... ivity.html
I've been thinking about this research.

I was always impressed by the consistency of NDE experiencers' reports, and crtical of some scientists who tried to debunk the whole idea with poor science.

But now, it seems, science has proved that something does go on in the brain after 'death'.

What's more,
Researchers said the prediction that they would find some signs of conscious activity in the brain during cardiac arrest was confirmed, but they were surprised by the high levels of activity.

Senior author anaesthesiologist George Mashour, assistant professor of anesthesiology and neurosurgery at the University said: "In fact, at near-death, many known electrical signatures of consciousness exceeded levels found in the waking state, suggesting that the brain is capable of well-organized electrical activity during the early stage of clinical death."
This is quite astounding! If you're dying, then this "well-organized electrical activity" would seem to have no purpose. In fact, looking at things from an evolutionary perspective, there seems no possible reason for this aroused state to arise. Natural selection is only interested in enhancing traits that lead to more succesful reproduction. What happens to you after your breeding years are over is mainly irrelevent to evolution, let alone what happens to you in your last few seconds of life.

So perhaps something else is happening. Perhaps your consciousness, personality, memories, etc, realise that this old carcass is done for, and it's time to move on elsewhere. In old-fashioned language, your soul uses the last of your brain's energy to move on to another 'place'. It 'launches the lifeboat', or 'activates the escape pod'.

This is of course speculation, but I have many decades experience of studying science, and reading science-fiction, so I'll extend my speculation even further. This is in fact an idea I've mentioned before: modern science believes that the universe exists in more than the 3 dimensions of space, and 1 of time that we normally experience. Maybe there are 11 dimensions, maybe 26, maybe eleventy one, who knows? But the point is that these other dimensions might provide room for some form of continued existence, but free of our mortal bodies.

The speculation could go further, but I'll leave it there for now, and just suggest that this extra brain activity at death is the soul preparing to jump into hyperspace. I like to think that H2G2's dolphins leaving Earth before it is destroyed by the Vogons is a little visualisation of this process! 8)

At my age, I may find out first-hand sooner rather than later what the truth is, but I make no promises about sending messages back from the other side! ;)
 

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I thought about this today and wondered if it was actually a survival tactic.

What do I mean?

It may be that the brain sends all stored memories and thoughts to all parts of the brain simultaneously. Kind of like a computer backup system.

This may have evolved because a person who is close to death may sustain some brain damage. If they live, some part of that person and their memories may still remain because the memories have been 'backed up' all over the brain.
 

rynner2

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Mythopoeika said:
It may be that the brain sends all stored memories and thoughts to all parts of the brain simultaneously. Kind of like a computer backup system.

This may have evolved because a person who is close to death may sustain some brain damage. If they live, some part of that person and their memories may still remain because the memories have been 'backed up' all over the brain.
I don't see much pressure from Natural Selection to favour this.

Of course, we don't know how many people do survive after an NDE, but it was probably very few before modern medicine and its resuscitation techniques came along. Natural Selection is not interested in minor details like whether you lose your memory or not - it's only interested in the bigger picture, ie whether your genes lead to prolific breeding.
 

rynner2

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Mythopoeika said:
rynner2 said:
I don't see much pressure from Natural Selection to favour this.
So how did your intradimensional soul-transfer process evolve? :D
No idea! Perhaps it was inherent in all life, or even all of the universe - after all, there are cosmological theories that reckon universes may evolve by natural selection to favour the growth of consciousness.

But my theory is mostly speculation, seeded by wide reading in evolution, cosmology, and other, more esoteric subjects. I'm just feeling my way to a best 'fit' of all this various stuff.

But it's good that we're getting more data on NDEs - the Truth is Out There (somewhere ;) )
 

Zilch5

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rynner2 said:
Afterlife exists says top brain surgeon
A prominent scientist who had previously dismissed the possibility of the afterlife says he has reconsidered his belief after experiencing an out of body experience which has convinced him that heaven exists.
By Mark Hughes, New York
7:52PM BST 09 Oct 2012

Dr Eben Alexander, a Harvard-educated neurosurgeon, fell into a coma for seven days in 2008 after contracting meningitis.
During his illness Dr Alexander says that the part of his brain which controls human thought and emotion "shut down" and that he then experienced "something so profound that it gave me a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after death." In an essay for American magazine Newsweek, which he wrote to promote his book Proof of Heaven, Dr Alexander says he was met by a beautiful blue-eyed woman in a "place of clouds, big fluffy pink-white ones" and "shimmering beings".


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... rgeon.html
Here's a pretty comprehensive debunk of Dr Alexander and his claims:

http://www.esquire.com/features/the-prophet
 

rynner2

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And here's a pile of anecdotal data: it's not all NDEs or OOBEs - at least one is a case of precognition. Far too much to copy and paste, so just the Intro and one random sample:

Our astonishing near-death stories... by some of the thousands of you touched by our thought-provoking series by an intensive care nurse
PUBLISHED: 23:00, 28 January 2014 | UPDATED: 15:41, 29 January 2014

This week the Mail has been serialising intensive care nurse Penny Sartori’s compelling research from her amazing new book The Wisdom Of Near-Death Experiences.

The response from our readers has been unprecedented, with thousands getting in touch to share their moving stories.
Here, we publish a selection of the most remarkable — with more to come tomorrow...

Childhood near miss that still haunts me

Anne Sanderson, 64, a retired medical secretary, of Larbert, in Falkirk, lives with her husband Derek, a landscape artist. They have two grown-up children.

She says: 'I had a near-death experience 62 years ago when I was just two. My twin sister, Lesley, and I had been put into our shared cot by our mother, Susan.

'I recall the sparse but sunny room clearly, with its linoleum on the floor. Lesley was standing in one corner of the cot and I was standing opposite her when she suddenly sneezed.
'I got such a start that I fell over the raised cot side and onto the floor. At the same time I had one of the strangest and most lasting memories I’ve ever experienced.

'It was a dream-like scene where I found myself floating high above Earth, looking down from outer space.
'The blackness was all around highlighting the colours I could see below me — all blues, greens and yellows marking out the countries and seas.
'I could see the entire globe so I must have been a long, long way away. There was also a slender, silver cord attached to my left hand side, reaching all the way back to Earth.

'I felt very tranquil as though it was the most natural thing to be happening, even though I had no idea what I was looking at.
'This happened in 1951. No colour photos of the world like that had yet been taken, let alone produced for a toddler to look at, and we didn’t even have a black-and-white television. How could I have known what the Earth looked like?

'Fortunately, it was not my time to go.
'I discovered much later that I’d cracked my collar bone. I regained consciousness in the hospital and have gone on living for six decades.'


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... nurse.html

It's a long time since I've heard a Silver Cord story.

Plus several more stories.
 

sherbetbizarre

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Canadian Grad Student ‘Can Leave Her Body at Will’

A psychology graduate student at the University of Ottawa sheds light on the strange brain activity involved in out-of-body experiences

  • Researchers at the University of Ottawa, Canada, studied the brain activity of a student who can drift outside her own body at will

    Scientists believe the left side of several areas of the brain associated with kinaesthetic imagery are responsible for extra-corporeal experiences

    They think the experiences could be more common than thought or that people only retain the ability to have them if they practice from childhood
People have long been fascinated by out-of-body experiences – are they just tricks of the mind or do they have some sort of spiritual significance?

Now new research has shed light on what it terms as ‘extra-corporeal experiences’ by studying the brain activity of a Canadian woman who claims she can drift outside her own body at will.

Scientists believe the left side of several areas of the brain associated with kinaesthetic imagery (the perception of the sensation of moving) are responsible for the sensation of being able to leave your body and float above it – and that more people might have similar experiences than thought.

Researchers at the University of Ottawa came across a psychology graduate who admitted she could have voluntary out-of-body experiences before she fell asleep.

The 24-year-old revealed she is able to see herself floating and rotating horizontally in the air above her body and can sometimes watch herself from above while remaining aware of her real body.

However, as she said she feels no emotions when she has the experiences, the scientists decided to classify her experiences as extra-corporeal experiences (ECE) as strong emotions such as shock, often accompany out-of-body experiences, Popular Science reported.

The Student’s Description of Her Extra Corporeal Experience:

  • ‘I feel myself moving, or, more accurately, can make myself feel as if I am moving,’ the student told the researchers, who documented her report in their study.

    ‘I know perfectly well that I am not actually moving. There is no duality of body and mind when this happens, not really.

    ‘In fact, I am hyper-sensitive to my body at that point, because I am concentrating so hard on the sensation of moving.

    ‘I am the one moving – me – my body. For example, if I “spin” for long enough, I get dizzy.

    ‘I do not see myself above my body. Rather, my whole body has moved up. I feel it as being above where I know it actually is.

    ‘I usually also picture myself as moving up in my mind’s eye, but the mind is not substantive. It does not move unless the body does,’ she said.
Andra Smith and Claude Messier used a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner to examine the student’s brain and believe she is the first person studied to have an ECE on demand without any brain abnormalities.
http://consciouslifenews.com/canadian-g ... /1171389/#
 

Pietro_Mercurios

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rynner2

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First hint of 'life after death' in biggest ever scientific study
Southampton University scientists have found evidence that awareness can continue for at least several minutes after clinical death which was previously thought impossible
By Sarah Knapton, Science Correspondent
12:00AM BST 07 Oct 2014

Death is a depressingly inevitable consequence of life, but now scientists believe they may have found some light at the end of the tunnel.
The largest ever medical study into near-death and out-of-body experiences has discovered that some awareness may continue even after the brain has shut down completely.

It is a controversial subject which has, until recently, been treated with widespread scepticism.
But scientists at the University of Southampton have spent four years examining more than 2,000 people who suffered cardiac arrests at 15 hospitals in the UK, US and Austria.
And they found that nearly 40 per cent of people who survived described some kind of ‘awareness’ during the time when they were clinically dead before their hearts were restarted.

One man even recalled leaving his body entirely and watching his resuscitation from the corner of the room.
Despite being unconscious and ‘dead’ for three minutes, the 57-year-old social worker from Southampton, recounted the actions of the nursing staff in detail and described the sound of the machines.

“We know the brain can’t function when the heart has stopped beating,” said Dr Sam Parnia, a former research fellow at Southampton University, now at the State University of New York, who led the study.
“But in this case, conscious awareness appears to have continued for up to three minutes into the period when the heart wasn’t beating, even though the brain typically shuts down within 20-30 seconds after the heart has stopped.
“The man described everything that had happened in the room, but importantly, he heard two bleeps from a machine that makes a noise at three minute intervals. So we could time how long the experienced lasted for.
“He seemed very credible and everything that he said had happened to him had actually happened.”

Of 2060 cardiac arrest patients studied, 330 survived and 140 said they had experienced some kind of awareness while being resuscitated.

etc...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/scie ... study.html

The stories aren't really new, but the scale of the research moves us away from a collection of a few stories towards a proper scientific database.
 

sherbetbizarre

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CATHOLIC PRIEST WHO DIED FOR 48 MINUTES CLAIMS THAT GOD IS A WOMAN

A Catholic priest from Massachussetts was officially dead for more than 48 minutes before medics were able to miraculously re-start his heart. During that time, Father John Micheal O’neal claims he went to heaven and met God, which he describes as a warm and comforting motherly figure.

The 71-year old cleric was rushed to the hospital on January 29 after a major heart attack, but was declared clinically dead soon after his arrival. With the aid of a high-tech machine called LUCAS 2, that kept the blood flowing to his brain, doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital managed to unblock vital arteries and return his heart to a normal rhythm.

The doctors were afraid he would have suffered some brain damage from the incident, but he woke up less than 48 hours later and seems to have perfectly recovered.
http://worldnewsdailyreport.com/catholic-priest-who-died-for-48-minutes-claims-that-god-is-a-woman/
 

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Other "breaking news" stories above that one on the page are "mysterious wales discovered 3800 metres above sea level" and "Archeologists in Syria find long lost cavern of Alibaba".
 

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Death is a depressingly inevitable consequence of life, but now scientists believe they may have found some light at the end of the tunnel.
Erm, only if the light at the end of the tunnel is a flamethrower.

So maybe people have some awareness for a few minutes after death, what are they going to do with it apart from lay there and think "Oh bugger, now I am dead". :eek:
 
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Woman has NDE, sees Peter Andre
Kerry MacKinnon was close to death when she contracted bacterial meningitis and fell into a coma at Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, Kent.

The 36-year-old catering assistant had a hallucination she was heading towards a bright light when she was stopped by the singer and reality TV star.

Kerry was quoted in The Sun, saying: "There was a bright light behind him when I approached. He told me it wasn't my time. After that, I woke up, terrified."
...
Peter, 42, said: "I'm glad to have helped this lady recover in some way
 
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