For the multitude of near-death experiencers who know they have left their bodies and received a glimpse of an afterlife, there is no amount of clinical explanation that will ever convince them otherwise. The following are testimonials from experiencers themselves about their conviction that their near-death experience was an out-of-body journey of life after death.
“As the two beings approached us, I could also feel the love flowing from them toward us. The complete joy they showed at seeing the Christ was unmistakable. Seeing these beings and feeling the joy, peace and happiness which swelled up from them made me feel that here was the place of all places, the top realm of all realms. The beings who inhabited it were full of love. This, I was and am convinced, is heaven.” (Dr. George Ritchie)
“At 4:13 p.m., I was transported from the physical realm, the realm of the body, to a spiritual realm. I knew I was in another world – a world that is as real as this world is to anyone reading this.” (Dr. Gerard Landry)
“Well, I felt myself leave my body. I just floated out of my physical form and I saw them cart my body away to the hospital. I went with it … I wasn’t frightened or anything like that because I was fine; and it was my body that was in trouble.” (Peter Sellers)
“I had my first near-death experience when I was a child, perhaps at the age of two or three. This would be about 1953. It involved me drowning. My memories of it were of seeing my body below me.” (Brian Krebs)
“I felt as if I were coming loose from my body! While I believed that my body was me, I knew instinctively that if I separated from it, I’d be dead! My soul and body started separating again and continued to separate until I felt a short, sharp pain in my heart, which felt as if something had been torn loose. Then slowly and softly I rose out through the top of my head.” (Arthur Yensen)
“I was aware that I, me, was on a journey and had left my body.” (Harry Hone)
“I watched my spirit leave my body and release itself from this world of flesh. I could see myself traveling through a tunnel of light that was a freedom it is hard to describe in physical terms.” (Sherry Gideon)
“At the birth of my first child after 30 hours labor, complications occurred and the baby could not be born normally and at the height of the pain I left my body. I saw my body on the bed and tried to communicate to those tending to it but finally gave up and left out the roof of the hospital.” (Alise)
“My next memory was quite a scene in the hospital emergency room. It was the most unique experience of my earthly life. Unique, because I was observing my own body in the emergency room and all the activity going on, except that I was not in my body. I was above it all – looking down. I was feeling no pain.” (David Goines)
“A massive load of compressed cardboard Carter was loading slipped out of control, slamming him against a steel pole. He remembers a sharp pain, collapsing, being in a black void, then finding himself floating in a prone position twelve feet above his crumpled body. He saw and heard people running around, yelling for an ambulance and saying, “Don’t touch him, give him air.” His body went from white to blue; there was no breath. The sight filled him with awe. “I’m here, my body is there. How did this happen?” Not understanding how he could suddenly be airborne, Berkley Carter Mills attempted to reenter his body. (Berkley Carter Mills)
“The decision to leave this world hung suspended in an extended moment of absolute quiet. Passionless, I watched my spirit leave my body as a feeling of “otherness” engulfed me. I felt a strange detachment from my physical body and the life I had created. I was no longer connected to a pitiful, suffering mass of flesh.” (Linda Stewart)
“Immediately after the impact from falling forward onto the metal grating, I felt myself floating up, out of my body, and hovering above my body and all the people who were watching it, and who seemed paralyzed by shock and horror at what had happened. I think they pretty much assumed that I was dead.” (Dr. Liz Dale’s research)
“I remember looking down and seeing my body three-dimensionally for the first time. And it was such a shock, because we never see ourselves except in a one-dimensional mirror reflection, or a photograph.” (Dr. Liz Dale’s research)
“I was in a barn along with about 8 or 9 other people. It was starting to storm so we had a little tobacco we wanted to finish unloading. Before we got into the cars we had there, [the lightening bolt] came through a board in the side of the barn and got me. I felt myself falling but it didn’t hurt. Then I noticed I was above myself looking down at me. My body was actually smoking.” (Mr. Thermal)
“On the eighth day of this misery, I seemed to just float right up out of my body. So, I’m looking down at my body lying in the bed still as a corpse, and I said, “Oh, I’ve died!!” I was basically unnerved by this. But in the next second, I thought to myself, “Hey, if I’m dead, who is thinking these thoughts??” (Skip Church)
“Suddenly I was out of my body, hovering by the ceiling.” (Karen Brannon)
“Am I outside myself observing? I see my body and its pain. I look at my feet; they are pale and lifeless. My legs cannot move. My face is white and drawn.” (Josiane Antonette)
“I found myself floating on the ceiling over the bed looking down at my unconscious body. I barely had time to realize the glorious strangeness of the situation – that I was me but not in my body – when I was joined by a radiant being bathed in a shimmering white glow.” (Beverly Brodsky)
“I see myself as a tiny dot out of my physical body, which lies inert before me. I find myself oppressed by darkness and there is a feeling of terrific loneliness. Suddenly, I am conscious of a white beam of light, knowing that I must follow it or be lost.” (Edgar Cayce)
It is not just experiencers who believe that NDEs are veridical events that occur outside of the body, doctors who observe them do as well.
Dr. Michael Sabom, an Atlanta cardiologist, was one who eventually became convinced that experiencers are actual separating from their bodies. After talking to patients, who claimed they had an NDE, Sabom said:
“I came to the conclusion that these were occurring and they were rather frequent, but people usually didn’t talk about them unless they were approached in an open, understanding manner.” (Dr. Michael Sabom)
Dr. Karl Jansen, a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the world’s leading expert on ketamine, has studied ketamine at every level. Jansen not only felt that near-death experiences and ketamine induced visions were the same, but became convinced that BOTH induced real visions of a real god.
In 1977, Dr. Kenneth Ring was a brilliant young professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut who read Dr. Raymond Moody‘s book, Life After Life, and was inspired by it. However, he felt that a more scientifically structured study would strengthen Moody’s findings. He sought out 102 near-death survivors for his research. He concluded:
“Regardless of their prior attitudes – whether skeptical or deeply religious – and regardless of the many variations in religious beliefs and degrees of skepticism from tolerant disbelief to outspoken atheism – most of these people were convinced that they had been in the presence of some supreme and loving power and had a glimpse of a life yet to come.” (Dr. Kenneth Ring)
Despite the strides in explaining NDEs through clinical investigation, some researchers believe that the physiological approach is insufficient. Dr. Bruce Greyson agrees:
“These are just armchair speculations. Finding a chemical change in the brain does not necessarily prove that it causes NDEs.” (Dr. Bruce Greyson)
For Greyson and others who view NDEs as mystical experiences, the skeptics in the lab are only solving a small part of the puzzle.
Jody Long is a researcher with NDERF.org who had this to say about the out-of-body phase of NDEs:
“Vivid NDE examples, also noted in the landmark NDE Dutch study by Pim van Lommel, contain memories during physical death of events categorized as ‘veridical perception‘. Experiencers were accurately reporting events they witnessed while in the out-of-body state during the time they coded. They couldn’t possibly know what the doctors, staff, or relatives were saying in the same or another room. Nonetheless, NDErs were privy to conversations and events.” (Jody Long)
Dr. Diane Komp, a pediatric oncologist at Yale, was transformed by witnessing children’s NDEs, such as that of an 8-year-old with cancer envisioning a school bus driven by Jesus, a 7-year-old leukemia patient hearing a chorus of angels before passing away.
“I was an atheist, and it changed my view of spiritual matters,” recalls Komp. “Call it a conversion. I came away convinced that these are real spiritual experiences.” (Dr. Diane Komp)
Dr. Timothy Leary, the deceased psychologist and 60’s guru who experimented with LSD, once described ketamine as “experiments in voluntary death.”
Psychiatrist, Dr. Stanislav Grof, stated:
“If you have a full-blown experience of ketamine, you can never believe there is death or that death can possibly influence who you are.” Ketamine allows some patients to reason that “the strange, unexpected intensity and unfamiliar dimension of their experience means they must have died.” (Dr. Stanislav Grof)