I am delighted to present the translated version of my thesis. Given its length, I have organized it into sections across different pages for easier navigation. I encourage you to read through all the pages to grasp the full narrative. However, if you find raw data and graphs less appealing, feel free to skip page 2.
Your feedback is highly valued, so please feel free to share your comments. Additionally, if you or someone you know has experienced a Near Death Experience (NDE), I would be keen to hear about it.
I hope that as you delve into this work, you garner positive insights. Please know that I am always here for further discussion or clarification.
In today’s fast-paced world of technological advancements, we often become engrossed in the transient and overlook profound existential questions that have intrigued humanity for eons. One such universal query is: what transpires after death? Whether you’ve pondered this enigma or it’s a thought yet to cross your mind, this study endeavors to illuminate this age-old mystery. Renowned author R. Moody, in his seminal book “Is there life after death?”, termed this phenomenon as the Near-Death Experience (NDE). Over four decades, Moody’s interviews with thousands have revealed astonishingly consistent narratives: a tunnel journey leading to a beckoning light, with an overwhelming sense of peace drawing nearer to it. Notably, between 4 to 15% of cardiac arrest survivors report post-death experiences. This research employs the Gray-scale questionnaire, comprising 23 targeted questions related to NDE. For an experience to be classified as an NDE, it necessitates at least seven affirmative responses. Our survey encompassed 31 participants, randomly chosen from a vast database of 4,500 individuals. Interestingly, a slight majority of our respondents were female, with 32% aged 47 or older. Additionally, we will juxtapose our findings with other research in this domain, a topic that has been at the forefront of both professional and public curiosity over the past half-century.
Is there life after life, one can ask this question and get a million different answers, I have been asking myself for quite a long time when I started my psychology studies in 2019 fairly early we were told to start thinking about our thesis, I was immediately sure what my thesis would be, probably one of the first to choose and stay with it for the next 3 years, I will continue my research probably for my entire life, but let’s begin shall we.
I am sure that we all are familiar with the pictures that I am showing, picture 1 shows what we all hope for and picture 2 shows something we don’t really hope for, but somewhere in between these two pictures there is a third picture (Picture 3.) that even the people that know about it or have experienced themselves rarely speak of it, as Raymond Moody nicely wrote long ago “When I started talking about this, I expected someone to lock me up in an asylum quickly.” (Moody, 2015)
Some facts about dying, every 8 seconds someone dies, that is about 11000 people daily, this is from natural causes only, most of us don’t like to think about death it’s a taboo subject, and even if we do think about it a little, we do so with fear.
What is an NDE? (Near Death Experience) “Intensely vivid experiences that occur under extreme physiological conditions such as trauma, cessation of brain activity, heart attacks, etc. Under which circumstances there should be no possible consciousness or sensory experiences.
Characteristics include the perception of seeing and hearing separate from the physical body, passing into or through a tunnel, encountering a mystical light, positive emotions, a review of part or all of the previous life experiences, meeting with deceased loved ones, and the choice to return to their earthly life.”
“By reviewing the history of the NDE phenomenon, we notice that many believe that Raymond Moody (an American philosopher, psychiatrist, doctor, and writer) coined this term. However, Raymond did not invent this phenomenon in 1975; he simply gave it the abbreviation that more and more people know today. In his book, he writes, “There will be many who will find the claims made in this book incredible, and their first reaction will be to dismiss them.” According to him, “the subject of death is taboo; we perhaps feel, even unconsciously, that if we come into contact with death in any way, even indirectly, it somehow confronts us with the prospect of our own death” (Moody, 2015). I think that at the time this book was written, this could have been expected; people are predictable. However, he couldn’t foresee that in the next 40-50 years, science would change, technology would achieve commendable results, and other scientists would join this research.”
“According to the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia, “near-death experiences (NDEs) are intensely vivid experiences that often change the lives of individuals, many of which occur under extreme physiological conditions such as trauma, cessation of brain activity, deep general anesthesia, heart attack, etc., under which circumstances there should be no possible consciousness or sensory experiences of any kind, according to prevailing views in neuroscience.” Although NDEs differ from person to person, they often include the following characteristics: A feeling of comfort and cessation of pain, a sensation of leaving the body and being able to see one’s body from a hovering position, faster and clearer mental functioning, an attraction to a tunnel and the light at the end of that tunnel, a feeling of peace, well-being, and unconditional absolute love, access to unlimited knowledge, a life review like a movie or the entire life passing like a film lasting one second, indescribably fast, but every moment and emotion are felt, encounters with deceased individuals or loved ones or other beings radiating love and understanding. According to Van Lommel (2001), “The special thing is that all patients with NDE have:
- Transformation; they change enormously, they no longer have a fear of death, and there’s a new insight into what’s important in life.
- Unconditional love and empathy, first and foremost for oneself, accepting even one’s negative aspects, and then for others, for nature, because you feel connected with everyone and with nature, with planet Earth.
- Enhanced intuitive sensitivity (you feel what others think and feel).
These three subsequent effects are also classic aspects of NDE.”
“Of those who have narrowly escaped death, 17% report experiencing an NDE. This phenomenon is recounted by individuals from all walks of life: children, adults, medical professionals, clergy, both the religious and the non-religious, spanning every continent, irrespective of their faith, ethnicity, or stance on belief in a deity. A consistent narrative emerges from their accounts about the other side. A poignant example from the Muslim community, especially among the Dervishes (Sufi Muslims), is their choice of words upon someone’s passing: instead of saying ‘Muhammad has died’, they express it as ‘Muhammad has changed the world.'”
I would now like to introduce you to Hieronymus Bosch and this amazing piece that he painted sometime between 1505-1515, it’s a part of 4 other works and it is kept in a museum in Venice, even though the fact that this was painted 500+ years ago we can see “The path through which many pass, and the tunnel that today symbolizes NDE, at the end of which there is a strong light and a being radiating light and unconditional love. There is no document indicating whether Bosch had an NDE, but most believe he did.”
I will write a little about the historical writing of this phenomenon that most people never heard about “I will briefly go through the history of this phenomenon. To start, I will mention the first cases that are mentioned in the literature. Plato wrote about it in 380 BC in his book “Republic”: “Er, the son of Armenius, died in battle. Ten days later, when the bodies of the dead were already decaying, his body was found intact and taken home for burial. On the twelfth day, as he lay on the funeral pyre, he came back to life and told them what he had seen in the other world.
In more recent times, I would mention Carl Jung and his event beautifully depicted in his book “MEMORIES, DREAMS, REFLECTIONS.” In early 1944, he broke his foot, and that accident was followed by a heart attack. In the unconscious state in which he found himself, he had visions and delirium while hovering on the brink of death.” He clearly left his body and floated in the air and kept floating to a great distance above the earth, later when he calculated the size of the earth to where he was it was about 5000 meters above the earth, this he did many years later, but another piece of information is that when he came back, the nurse that was taking care of him during the ordeal told him that the room was full of bright light which she often witnessed when someone was dying, what is being written here? Did you my dear reader hear of such things? Please let me know if you did, so I can better understand this. Here is his description which I find quite amazing “At that moment, I felt as if all the troubles, pain, and suffering had flown out of me, leaving only my essence. It seemed as if I now carried with me all the experiences I had lived through, everything that had happened around me. I can also say: that was with me, and I was that. I consisted of all that, so to speak, I was made up of my past, and with great certainty, I thought, this is who I am. I am what has been and what I have achieved.”
According to Jung, we actually don’t carry much with us when our time comes. Many try to be remembered for the number of churches or temples they built or the wealth they accumulated. I think Jung understood and knew that in reality, we don’t take anything with us, except what we did for the benefit of others.
A few more lines from his memories: “There was no longer anything I wanted or desired; I existed in an objective form. I was what I had been and lived. Soon I entered a lit room and there I met all the people I actually belong to.” (Jung, 1989)
As we delve into Jung’s case, I often find myself questioning if it was merely a dream or an illusion. For a significant period, I was convinced it was just a dream. Yet, Jung himself grappled with such thoughts, stating, ‘When one undergoes such experiences, they may align with reality, but then again, perhaps they don’t. However, the beliefs I’ve formed, influenced by the cues from the unconscious, have proven immensely valuable to me.'” (Jung, et al, 1989).
Lommel (2011) states, “Following the release of multiple prospective studies about near-death experiences (NDEs) in those who survived cardiac arrests, which consistently present analogous findings, it’s become evident that the NDE phenomenon demands scientific attention. Such experiences are genuine and can’t be merely dismissed as products of imagination, mortality fears, hallucinations, psychosis, drug effects, or oxygen shortages. Remarkably, individuals seem to undergo profound transformations from NDEs during cardiac arrests, even if they last mere minutes. It challenges the scientific community to propose and explore new theories that might account for the vivid consciousness — encompassing memories, self-awareness, thoughts, and feelings — experienced in what appears to be a comatose state. The prevailing materialistic perspective on the interplay between consciousness and the brain, as endorsed by a majority of medical professionals, philosophers, and psychologists, appears insufficient to fully grasp this phenomenon. It’s plausible to suggest that our conscious self-awareness doesn’t always align with our brain’s activity. Enhanced or non-local consciousness, maintaining a consistent self-identity, might be experienced separate from the physical body. Many firmly believe that the ‘self’ they encountered during their NDE represents reality, not mere illusion.”
Understanding the NDE Phenomenon from Different Perspectives
Literature and research reviews highlight certain viewpoints that contrast with the primary stance of this study. Historically, there was a belief among some scientific circles that NDEs were just hallucinations triggered by a lack of oxygen (anoxia) in the brain during cardiac arrest. However, Lommel’s 2011 study challenges this. Conducted in the Netherlands with 344 participants—all of whom had suffered a cardiac arrest and were clinically declared dead—the EEG readings (which measure brain electrical activity) showed zero activity. If CPR wasn’t administered within the critical window of five to ten minutes, the brain would undergo irreversible damage, resulting in the patient’s death. If the anoxia theory held weight, implying that NDEs arise from oxygen deprivation, then all participants should have reported an NDE. However, only 62 of them (18%) confirmed experiencing such an event.
Another prevailing theory equates NDEs to a deep-rooted psychological fear of dying. Yet, the study found that a mere fraction of patients expressed this fear. The rapid progression of events often left them with little time to comprehend their situation, rendering this theory less plausible. Of the 344 participants monitored in Lommel’s study, 62 (18%) retained some memory from their unconscious state, and 41 (12% or roughly one in eight) reported a profound NDE experience. A notable finding from this research was the clarity with which participants remembered their NDEs even after several years. This mirrors the account of respondent #31, who, even after a span of 28 years, could vividly recount specifics, down to the hue of his shirt and the manner in which emergency personnel had cut away his pants and belt. His brother corroborated these details upon requesting to inspect the said clothing items.
Case Study: Respondent #31
We will now mention respondent #31 who was fatally shot in 1995 but, by a twist of fate, survived and shared this story with us. “On February 10, 1995, while working in my print shop during an attempted robbery, I was shot four times in the chest area. It was a cold February, and that night some events would transpire that would change the life of a then 22-year-old. One day, I narrated to my brother what I believed to be a dream. I couldn’t remember how I reached the hospital or what transpired (dissociative amnesia), but I distinctly remember what happened in the operating room. I wondered aloud to my brother how someone could recall events from an operating room. However, my brother encouraged me to continue sharing, and I described how, while the doctors fought for my life, I felt like I was observing everything from a drone’s perspective (from the ceiling looking down), seeing my own body with no emotional attachment, as if it were just discarded clothing. Oddly enough, I felt no pain, even though the body below seemed like it should be in immense pain. At one point, the heart monitor started making alarming noises; I distinctly recall its rapid pace and seeing sadness in the eyes of the nurses. Then I heard a doctor exclaim, ‘We are losing him.’ As everything began to fade, I heard the prolonged beep of the machine. Everyone around was trying to revive me, but I wondered, ‘What’s wrong with them? I feel just fine.’ Then, all the light vanished, and I felt like I was submerged in a dense substance, akin to thick pudding. As Eben Alexander described, ‘Darkness, but a visible darkness – as if you’re immersed in mud but can still see through it. Or perhaps like murky jelly.’ This description captures the feeling well. It was transparent yet murky, claustrophobic, and stifling. I was conscious, yet without memories or identity, akin to a dream where you’re aware of surroundings but lack a genuine sense of self or purpose.” Then, in the distance, a tiny point of light appeared. I felt a rhythm or vibration within me, not that I heard it, but I felt it. Suddenly, I began moving towards the light, and the closer I got, the better I felt. The light, indescribable in words, was so intense but not blinding – as if it had the brightness of ten suns, yet it was pleasant. The closer it was, the better I felt. I noticed I was hearing voices, not with my ears, but with feelings. Eben Alexander aptly described this sensation in his book, saying it’s like “trying to write a book with half the alphabet” and “Too real to be real” (Eben, 2012). Then, it seemed I heard my voice speaking authoritatively with another voice that sounded like mine. At first, I didn’t understand, but then I began to grasp that they were discussing me in the third person. I was perplexed: why was I talking about myself in the third person? Soon, the light engulfed me, and I became the light. Suddenly, my entire life flashed before my eyes within a second, not every event but just the kind-hearted actions towards others: acts done without expecting anything in return, shared smiles, kind words, and humane gestures. And then, it all ceased, and I heard a voice saying, “You have much more to learn, go back.” Stunned, I wondered, “Learn? Go back? Where?” Surprised, the light faded, and I returned to the pain, to the people, to this world. I think I felt anger, but I questioned myself, “Why?” Later, while sitting in the hospital, I realized that my life had just begun and I indeed had so much more to do and learn.
While I was narrating this, my brother was listening. I wasn’t paying him much attention, but then I turned to get a better look at him. I don’t think I’d ever seen my brother so scared or shocked. He looked as pale as death and seemed to want to say something but was at a loss for words. I understand his reaction better now, but at that moment, I just laughed it off, saying, “What’s the matter? It was just a dream.” But to him, it didn’t sound like a dream. He didn’t know what to say and just left the room. As I pondered over my “dream,” my brother, in reality, went to inquire about who was on duty that night and what had transpired. He found a nurse who had been in the operating room and asked if anything unusual happened during the surgery. She responded, “Yes, we almost lost him; his heart stopped for 29 seconds, but we fought for him. I felt so sorry for him, such a handsome young man to die.” He asked where she was positioned and if she felt sad. She said, “Yes, I was deeply saddened. He looked like a wounded lion, so powerful and strong, even though he was all bloody. His hair was long and healthy, just like a lion’s. My eyes were filled with tears.” Of course, neither my brother nor I knew at that time what had really happened.
Another confirmation that something happened was the fact that the waiting room was filled with people. As my brother described, there were over a hundred people present, some in the waiting room and others outside the hospital. Meanwhile, inside the operating room, a battle for my life was underway, lasting 4.5 hours. I couldn’t possibly know where everyone was or where they stood, but I narrated everything to my brother: where each person sat, who they spoke to, and even the topics of their conversations, thinking it was all a dream. I even joked about how our aunt claimed to be my mother, considering my real mother was on another continent. This aunt had told another aunt that she had the chance to see me when I was being taken into the surgery room and mentioned I looked like a wounded lion. All of this seemed humorous to me, but it did happen. I indeed looked the part, with my long hair, tall stature, and athletic build, much like a warrior from movies. Furthermore, I precisely knew who was outside the hospital and who was inside, given the packed nature of the waiting room. A few days later, my brother brought me the book “The Truth in the Light” by Peter Fenwick. This surprised me greatly. The book documented over 300 cases (Fenwick, 1995) that were very similar to what I believed was just a dream. This is translated from the original text of respondent #31
“The subject of this paper is an attempt to determine that something exists beyond what we know and experience daily in cases when a person has a heart attack. My research and numerous other empirical studies have shown that something does exist and that our consciousness continues to exist even when our body is not functioning. As Eben Alexander said, “This body is like a suit we wear, which, when we’re done with it, we throw away and continue with a new suit.” (Alexander, 2012)”
The topic is intriguing, focusing on the idea that consciousness might persist independently of the physical body, especially during life-threatening events like heart attacks. Eben Alexander’s testimony, given his medical background, adds a unique perspective to near-death experiences.
Note; If you find raw data and graphs less appealing, feel free to skip page 2.