Skeptics may argue that nobody brings back anything useful from a near-death experience such as a scientific discovery. The skeptic’s argument might resemble something like this: If people are actually receiving unlimited knowledge during an NDE, then why don’t they bring back with them the cure for AIDS to help humanity? While it’s nice that they have discovered humanity’s purpose in this world is learning to love others, it would be infinitely more expressive of God’s love for humanity if someone would bring back the cure for AIDS.
These are very good skeptical arguments and researchers have answers for them. The following is a discussion of the scientific discoveries brought back by near-death experiencers as told by several near-death researchers. A complete list of scientific advances from NDEs is available on my Skepticism and NDEs page.
Near-death testimonies often include an encounter with a heavenly “Light.” But to my knowledge, no experiencer other than Lynnclaire Dennis (www.mereon.org) has ever brought back a detailed scientific description of the Light’s complex geometric structure and movement. First presented in her 1997 book entitled The Pattern, Lynnclaire described in detail her amazing NDE and description of this Light. Many years have passed since I first learned of her profound NDE and it remains one of the most transcendental NDEs I have ever come across. Her NDE testimony has graced the “Exceptional NDEs” section of my website from its very beginning. We continued to stay in touch over the years and I continued to follow her work hoping what she brought back from her NDE would develop into the scientific discovery we now know it is — the very science of life and living. From the very beginning, despite her religious upbringing, Lynnclaire courageously refused to give this Pattern of Light the ambiguous label of “God“. She prefers to simply call it “The Pattern” and describes it as an all-connecting pattern of Light – a three-dimensional mandala representative of time and space, and the energy generating matter. Because she experienced The Pattern as pure Love, she has always maintained this to be the reason why Love is all that matters. In simple terms, The Pattern is a knot; but not just any knot. The Pattern is the simplest knot (a Trefoil Knot) and yet most profound knot – a never-before-discovered trefoil knot. The Pattern became of great interest to mathematicians, physicists, astrobiologists, and molecular geneticists who developed from it the “Mereon Matrix” – an algorithm representing the unification of knowledge which relies on whole systems both living and life-like. It is a scientific framework charting the sequential, emergent growth process of systems.
People do receive higher knowledge and information about cures for diseases such as cancer and AIDS while they are in the light of the NDE. Here are some descriptions:
“The farther forward a person is propelled through the tunnel, the more knowledge can be received. The mind can feel like a sponge, growing and expanding in size with each addition. This knowledge may come in single words and in whole idea blocks. Everything can be understood as it is being soaked up or absorbed. The mind expands and absorbs as each new piece of information comes in. It is receiving knowledge that was already known but forgotten or mislaid, as if it were waiting to be picked up on the way by.” (Virginia Rivers)
“The light gave me knowledge, though I heard no words. We did not communicate in English or in any other language. This was discourse clearer and easier than the clumsy medium of language. It was something like understanding math or music – nonverbal knowledge, but knowledge no less profound. I was learning the answers to the eternal questions of life – questions so old we laugh them off as clichés. “Why are we here?” To learn. “What’s the purpose of our life?” To love. I felt as if I was re-remembering things I had once known but somehow forgotten, and it seemed incredible that I had not figured out these things before now.” (Kimberly Clark Sharp)
The main problem preventing many people from bringing back some of this higher knowledge attained during an NDE is that it’s difficult to retain every memory of their NDE, assuming it can be remembered at all. This general inability of people being unable to retain every memory from an NDE is similar to our general inability to remember every memory of a dream we have after we wake up. However, this is not to say that higher knowledge and scientific discoveries are not attained during NDEs or dreams.
Some people have returned from an NDE and have been able to successfully diagnose and heal people – even bring back useful scientific information – due to the after-effects attributed to their NDEs.
One example of this is documented in Tom Harpur‘s documentary, Life After Death. Harpur interviews a doctor whose name is Dr. Yvonne Kason who was almost killed in a plane crash into a lake which resulted in an NDE. After she recovered, she began to have strange visions in her mind that she couldn’t explain. One of these visions concerned a friend of hers. When Dr. Kason thought of her friend, she would see a vision in her mind of a “brain covered with pus.” Dr. Kason knew that this was an excellent symbolic vision referring to the deadly disease meningitis. The problem was that her friend was perfectly healthy at the time, exhibited absolutely no signs of meningitis, and there was no reason to suspect she had it. Dr. Kason begged her friend to get tested for meningitis. After an amount of reluctance, her friend got tested. Surprisingly, the test was positive. As a result of Dr. Kason’s NDE, her friend was able to get treated for meningitis at its early stage before it had time to become deadly. Dr. Kason continues to have such visions. She now realizes that, as a result of her NDE, that is now psychic. Her story affirms that useful things are indeed brought back from NDEs.
Another interesting case is that of Edgar Cayce (pronounced “Kay-see”) (1877-1945), a devout Christian who had regular NDEs and brought back medical cures and information on future events that ultimately came true. In 1910, the New York Times carried two pages of headlines and pictures in which he was declared the “World’s Most Mysterious Man.” In 1954, the University of Chicago accepted a Ph.D. thesis based on a study of his life and work. Cayce is also considered to be the father of holistic medicine by JAMA, the prestigious medical journal. I have a complete list of the world events which Cayce successfully foretold before they occurred.
Cayce was a wonder to the medical community because of his ability to diagnose and specify a treatment for gravely ill people from hundreds of miles away while out of his body. It is also documented that while in his out-of-body state, Cayce successful predicted the 1929 stock-market crash more than six months before it occurred, the Great Depression, outbreak of the First and Second World Wars, Japan’s sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the rise and fall of Adolf Hitler, the independence of India, the creation of the State of Israel fifteen years before the event, the deaths of two American presidents, the existence of an unknown Jewish sect called the Essenes eleven years before the Dead Sea Scrolls were found (which was verified through archaeological excavations after his death.), invention of the laser in 1958, and his own death before his two sons returned home from overseas. For many decades now, the Edgar Cayce Foundation has been around to research the vast amount of information he received.
Edgar Cayce is much more than just an example of how one can bring back medical cures, historical facts, and even bring back information from the future while outside of their body.
Dr. PMH Atwater responds to the argument that experiencers do not bring back anything useful:
DR. PMH ATWATER: Not true! A fellow in, I believe it was Sweden, went on to copyright over a hundred inventions that have made a significant difference in society. Mellen-Thomas Benedict invented a glasscutter that alleviates much hand fatigue in accordance to directions he received in his experience. In fact, Mellen-Thomas participated in a number of medical research projects, and because of the information he gave the researchers, they were able to advance their work significantly. He is now doing DNA research and working on instruments that can help physicians use certain frequencies of light in healing. These are just a few of many.
In my own case, I was told in my third NDE to do the research I do – my directions were specific and detailed. Look at what has resulted! Hardly trivial, I’d say. The reason you seldom hear of people like me and Mellen-Thomas and the fellow from Sweden is that we don’t make spectacles of ourselves. We just do our work.
Also, please refer to my last three books. All of them have a section devoted to historical figures who had an NDE and who went on to make a significant impact on the world – people like Abraham Lincoln, Mozart, Einstein, Winston Churchill, Queen Elisabeth the First, and Edward de Vere the 17th Earl of Oxford – who may well be the real Shakespeare. I would invite you to look beyond the so-called popular books on NDEs, and do some real digging. You may be surprised at what you find! Please just read my books. I am specific and give references. The answers to most of your questions are addressed.
Since you mentioned it, I have thought of a number of experiencers who went on to do great things afterward: Donna DeSoto and her Sav-Baby Organization, Dannion Brinkley and his Twilight Bridgade volunteer service for the dying, Carol Parrish-Harra and the Sparrow Hawk Village she built and the Sancta Sophia Seminary she founded, Nadia McCaffrey and the Natural Death Centers she is starting to construct and staff, George Ritchie and his Youth Corps, and so forth. The line is a long one, no one knows how long for most experiencers seldom seek the limelight.
Responding to the argument that experiencers do not bring back anything useful, Dr. Kenneth Ring replies:
DR. KENNETH RING: This question made me laugh because the questioner clearly thinks that the light, or whatever the intelligence is that is behind the NDE, would truly be helpful to humanity if it gave us practical answers to the burning questions of our day. This is like saying, if you are psychic, then how about telling me the winning lottery number? In fact, the light gives us very practical answers – love, especially of the unconditional kind, is probably the thing that could make the world a far, far better place. It wouldn’t end suffering – there will always be suffering – but it would help us enormously to deal with the problems of living. We have brains to help us solve our practical problems – what we need and what we get from the light is something altogether different. It is dangerous, not to say presumptuous, to try to tell God (or the light or Whatever) what we humans could most use. I could probably write on this question for several pages, if I had time, but a close reading of the NDE literature will show what the real value of these experiences is, and it is not finding a cure to AIDS, etc. Nevertheless, it is clearly not even true that no experiencer ever brings back such answers. I give a few examples in my book, Lessons from the Light.
For example, the case of Ralph Duncan, who brought back a cure for a certain kind of cancer, and then there is the case of Mellen-Thomas Benedict who brought back a great deal of very practical information about biophotonics and other methods of light-based healing, and is currently marketing some of his devices, after millions of dollars have been invested in his company. So, practical answers that can definitely benefit humanity can sometimes be obtained during NDEs, but, to me, that misses the point.
[Webmaster’s Note: I looked up the reference that Dr. Ring gives from his book, Lessons from the Light. It does show some very interesting examples of how NDErs learn and even experience cures for diseases such as cancer.]
The following are examples, from Dr. Ring’s research, of NDErs bringing back scientific discoveries:
One quite remarkable instance was shared with me by Howard Mikel, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Wichita State University in Kansas, who investigated this case very thoroughly and can authenticate it. The story, in brief, involved a patient by the name of Ralph Duncan, who in the mid-1970s was dying of leukemia. He apparently was told he had only a short time to live and was prepared to die. But while hospitalized, he had an NDE, and during it, he encountered a luminous being, whom he took to be Jesus (though Ralph observed that it did not look anything like the traditional images of him), and whose eyes were “shooting fire.” In any event, there was then a telepathic communication from this being in the form of three shot phrases, which were: “That’s enough, it’s dead, it’s gone.” These words, Ralph said, were still ringing in his ears as he returned to his body.
Afterward, puzzling about all this, he was mystified about the significance of the phrase, “that’s enough.” But, he continues, “I do know what he meant when he said, “It’s dead.” To me it meant that the germ was dead. I no longer have leukemia.” To my mind, however, the entire set phrases coheres meaningfully in the context of this healing. For instance, when the being, his eyes “shooting fire,” says, “That’s enough,” it means in effect, “I’ve zapped you with enough voltage for this to cure you.” And then, “it’s dead, it’s gone.”
The last I heard about this case, in 1989, Ralph was still hale and living near Boulder, Colorado.
A somewhat similar case was described by Margot Grey. Five days after abdominal surgery, an English patient underwent complications and his wife as told her husband was dying. At that time, however, he was having an NDE, and during it he saw:
“…an entity clothed in a colored cloak [of] indescribably beautiful colors, and brightness most intense. This something stood at the right-hand side of my head, two hands were lightly placed on my body, slowly moved down to my feet, and up the left side, pausing at my head, and then was gone. I have no recollection of anything until [the] next day. From then I made a very rapid recovery and was soon back with my family.”
Again, we seem to have a healing performed within the general context of a light-filled scene.
Not long ago, some further cases of this kind were shared with me by my friend, Steve, who you might remember was himself the recipient of an apparently other-worldly stabilizing treatment rendered by a female light being when Steve experienced a respiratory arrest during surgery (see pp. 37-38 for the full account). Significantly, Steve recently told me that, as in the case of Ralph Duncan, this being had “intense blue eyes that shined like they were on fire.” And as he felt this energy radiating into him, she communicated telepathically to Steve with these thoughts:
“You’re not breathing regularly. There is some concern that your respiration might stop. I’m here to stabilize it, and make sure the problem doesn’t go any further. You are very valuable, and no one is willing to take any chances with your life.”
In some ways an even more dramatic case that Steve related to me involved a diabetic Mexican woman who speaks no English (Steve is fluent in Spanish) and who, Steve ascertained, was completely unfamiliar with NDEs before her own experience. Here is her story:
Prior to her experience, she had lost the ability to see. Diabetes had taken away her retina, and her heart wasn’t supplying enough circulation to her brain to allow her to speak. She was in very poor shape. They prepared her for surgery.
Open-heart surgery on a diabetic woman of sixty-seven is full of risk. The doctors went outside to discuss their strategy. While they were conferring, she saw the wall open up and a brilliant light pour out. A bearded man in white stepped up beside her. He was made of white light.
“You’re not ready to follow me yet … you’re not prepared. I’m going to give you back your eyesight. You’ll need it to finish your life. And I’m going to heal the heart valve, so you can speak again. You still have a few more things to do. Your grandchildren need you to teach them.”
According to the woman’s account, he placed his hand on her chest, and her eyesight returned. [Later] she sat in a wheel chair, serene, full of confidence, and smiling. Her legs were gone, but her eyes were clear, and she was happy in a calm way. Her cardiologist later told her:
“Something has happened to change you body. We don’t have an explanation for it. I personally ascribe it to be the will of God. You can go home now. We did nothing.” (Ring, 225-226)
Dr. Melvin Morse discusses the NDE of a man who developed over 100 patents in molecular chemistry based on the information he received from his NDE:
DR. MELVIN MORSE: I recently discussed these issues with theoretical physicists at the National Institute of Discovery Science. This is a consciousness think tank of national renown scholars in their individual fields. They explained to me that science states that reality is made of tiny nuclear particles, so tiny that it is unclear if they are actually matter or simply patterns of energy. All of the fundamental particles in this universe have at least two counterparts which have been documented as being “real”.
These particles last for only a fraction of a second in this reality, yet they comprise the elemental building blocks of reality. In theory, there are at least three possible universes comprised of the three basic sets of subatomic particles.
Furthermore, again in theory, there is one possible universe which is called the Omega Point, in which there is no time or space, and all possible universes coexist. This is why physicists such as Niels Bohr said, “Anyone who has not been shocked by quantum physics has not understood it.
Olaf Swenson may have seen such a timeless spaceless Omega Point when he nearly died of a botched tonsillectomy at age 14. He states:
“Suddenly I rolled into a ball and smashed into another reality. The forces that brought me through the barrier were terrific. I was on the other side. I realized that the boundary between life and death is a strange creation of our own mind, very real (from the side of the living), and yet insignificant.”
Olaf felt he was floating in a universe with no boundaries.
“I had total comprehension of everything. I stood at the annihilation point, a bright orange light. As I felt my mind transported back to my body, I thought, please let me remember this new theory of relativity.”
Dr. Jeffrey Long of NDERF.org states:
DR. JEFFREY LONG: Another concern of NDE skeptics is that experiencers do not return with information or ideas with immediate widespread use, such as a cure for cancer or verifiable new scientific understandings. There have been anecdotal reports suggesting the contrary, but in my experience, experiencers generally do not return with such information. Failure to receive a specific hoped for gift is not a valid criticism of NDEs. The gift experiencers do return with is generally varied and spiritual in nature, often including the concept of love and a lack of fear of death. The gift to experiencers of better understanding love and their purpose on Earth is a very important gift, suggesting these understandings are among the most important things we can accomplish.
NDE studies provide a tantalizing glimpse of what this other reality is, and provides some clues to humankind’s deepest questions of who we really are and our relationship with a greater reality. It is entirely reasonable to accept the NDE in the way the experiencers themselves almost uniformly perceive the experience: an encounter with another dimension of reality.
Science demands verifiable evidence which can be reproduced again and again under experimental situations. Dr. Jim Whinnery, of the Naval Warfare Center, thought he was simply studying the effects of G forces on fighter pilots. He had no idea he would revolutionize the field of consciousness studies by providing experimental proof that NDEs are real.
The pilots were placed in huge centrifuges and spun at tremendous speeds. After they lost consciousness, after they went into seizures, after they lost all muscle tone, when the blood stopped flowing in their brains, only then would they suddenly have a return to conscious awareness. They had “dreamlets” as Dr. Whinnery calls them. These dreamlets are similar to NDEs. They often involved a sense of separation from the physical body. A typical dreamlet involved a pilot leaving his physical body and traveling to a sandy beach, where he looked directly up at the sun. The pilot remarked that death is very pleasant.
In conclusion, experiencers are given gifts of healing abilities, knowledge that advances science, but even more important, information about universal love and life after death capable of transforming this planet into a peaceful and loving paradise.