The phenomena of Near Death Experiences


updated Feb 27 2013




Cardiologists – not parapsychologists- have published some of the most widely read studies on near death experiences (NDEs) Dutch cardiologist Pim van Lommel published such a study, interviewing 344 cardiac arrest patients, in the Lancet in 2001. He marvels at the medical paradox of the cardiac arrest NDE: consciousness, perception, and memory appear to be functioning during a period when the patient has lost all functions of the cortex and brain stem. Oxygen deprivation, medications, fear, religious belief, gender, and educational level appear to not be factors in these experiences. Van Lommel suggests, in the Lancet, that the NDE is a “state of consciousness … in which identity, cognition, and emotion function independently from the body, but retain the possibility of non-sensory perception. P. 267.



London psychiatrist and ketamine (LSD) authority Karl Jansen, used to believe that since LSD can produce NDEs, this meant that surgical or cardiac arrest patient’s NDEs were similarly hallucinogenic. He has of late changed his mind. “The fact that NDEs can be artificially induced does not imply that the spontaneously occurring NDE is ‘unreal’ in some way.” Writes Jansen in his book Ketamine.  “it has been suggested that both may involve a ‘retuning’ of the brain”. So, it may be possible to preview death by taking ketamine, which is what both Timothy Leary and John Lilly did. P. 284.


So how do we know the NDE isn’t a hallmark of dying, not death? What if, several minutes down the line, the bright light dims and the euphoria fades, and your just dead?  We don’t know Bruce Greyson says.  Roach asks Greyson, Sabom and van Lommel what they really think. Greyson believes we may or may not survive death; Sabom and van Lommel are both convinced that consciousness is independent from the body. P. 289-290.


Greyson believes that NDEs are evidence of something we cannot explain with our current knowledge. P. 294



Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife

By Mary Roach





The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: Thirty Years of Investigation


There Is Life After Death: Compelling Reports from Those Who Have Glimpsed the Afterlife



What Happens When We Die?: A Groundbreaking Study into the Nature of Life and Death





International Association for Near Death Studies

Excellent links to text and videos


World's Largest-Ever Study Of Near-Death Experiences


2012 Results  of Major NDE Studies:

“For centuries, those brought back from death's door have claimed they had a glimpse of the afterlife.

They speak of seeing a tunnel, a light, dead relatives, or their own lives flashing before their eyes.

Some even recall floating out of their body and watching doctors struggling to revive them.

Medical and scientific experts have maintained these 'near-death experiences'

do not exist and are simply a normal reaction to intolerable stress.

Yet now university researchers claim to have produced compelling scientific evidence that they really do happen.

Others say this may show the mind continues to exist after death….

…The researchers say known medical explanations cannot account for these out-of-body sensations.”

Scientists Discover ‘near death’ evidence Oct 9, 2012


End Of Life Spikes In Brain Waves: Physiological Markers For The Often Reported Near Death Experience?



Journal of Palliative Medicine

Surges of Electroencephalogram Activity at the Time of Death: A Case Series




International Association for Near-Death Studies, Inc