Near-death experiences: 30 years of research
Are NDEs hallucinations? How do you approve or disapprove of near-death experiences (NDEs) that are entirely from the spiritual realm?
While NDEs claim to have left their bodies, gone to heaven, seen dead people as well as celestial beings, and so on, some scientists still insist that these experiences are hallucinations, that they are the result of critical biological states like the lack of oxygen in the brain. However, there is another group of scientists who, after 30 years of research, have evidence to support NDEs reports.
In the first part of this series, we discussed shared death experiences, in which a person who is close to a dying person experience something similar to an NDE. Raymond Moody, MD, Ph.D., told The Epoch Times that NDEs often see the spirit of the person who dies leave the body, and see them meeting with people who have passed away, reminiscing about their lives, going to another realm, etc.
"All of the characteristics that I identified as early near-death experiences that I studied years ago are also present in people who have had these experiences in their beds, provided they were not sick or injured," said Moody, during his presentation at the International Association of Near Death Studies (IANDS) at the 2011 conference.
"There's nothing wrong with the circulation of oxygen in their brains, and yet they had the same experience I hear from people who have been close to death."
This, Moody thinks, goes beyond the conventional assumption of science that NDEs are hallucinations caused by critical states in the brain. However, this still does not provide concrete evidence that NDE reports are true.
However, there are other documented cases whose validity is difficult to refute using conventional scientific explanations. For example, there are cases where these people see deceased relatives that they didn't know had died, or they hadn't even met.
Neurosurgeon Eben Alexander, MD, had an experience during a coma caused by acute bacterial meningitis. During the IANDS conference, he shared that at certain times during his NDE he experienced being a speck on a butterfly's wings and being accompanied by a being he said was a guardian angel.
Being an orphan, Alexander did not know about his biological siblings until recent years, and when he came into contact with them, one of his sisters had already died. One day, after his NDE, he looked at a photograph that one of his brothers had given him, and discovered that the "guardian angel" was the sister who had died.
Another interesting case, described by Moody during an interview with the Epoch Times, involved a priest and a nun who were together in a car accident in South Africa. Both were resuscitated from cardiac arrest and described, in identical detail, a joint NDE. to leave their bodies and step into a light together.
Raymond Moody spoke about a priest and a nun who were in a car accident together and recounted identical near-death experiences
Verified NDE reports
There are also reports of NDEs that are directly verified. NDE researchers Robert and Suzanne Mays shared several stories both at the conference and during an interview with.
Robert and Susanna Mays were able to verify the details of George Ritchie's NDE
One case involved a man who was seriously injured in a car accident on a foggy night. He is reported to have left his body, flown into a house, and jumped up and down, screaming for help through a second story window. A man on the second floor heard him and called the police. After the police arrived, the man reported seeing a fog in the form of a man jumping out of the window.
Robert Mays also spoke of cases where these people reported entering the bodies of others. In one example, a man tried to commit suicide by hanging but regretted it during his NDE, so he entered his wife's body to communicate with her and ask for help. After he made contact with her, she said, "Oh my God", took a knife, went directly to where her husband was, and cut the rope saving him.
Another documented case involves George Rodonaia, MD and Ph.D. in neuropathology, who was pronounced dead for three days. While in this state, he experienced an NDE. During his NDE, he experienced going inside his wife's head and hearing her thoughts, believing he was already dead, about men he could date, and who her future husband could be. Later, his wife confirmed that she had these thoughts before he came back to life.
The case that left the greatest impression on Robert and Suzanne Mays was that of George Ritchie, MD, in 1943, when he was only 20 years old, a soldier about to enter medical school. Ritchie was pronounced dead the night he was to take the train from an army base in Texas to attend medical school in Virginia.
Ritchie said he left his body, but he didn't realize it at first. Knowing that he had missed the train, he decided to leave the hospital and travel on his own. After orienting himself from the North Star's location, Ritchie reported that he began to fly east.
As he was passing through a town on his route, he spotted a man about to enter a late-night cafe and went down to ask the man for directions, but was ignored by him. Then Ritchie tried to lean against the wire of a telephone pole, and his hand went through the wire. Thus, he realized that he had left his body and returned to the hospital, where a being that manifested itself as a light helped him to return to his body.
After the NDE, he drove to the village and recognized the night cafe, and thus learned that the city he flew to during the NDE was Vicksburg. The details that Ritchie recalled from the location before physically returning there were exactly the same as in reality.
Based on Ritchie's description of how he left the hospital, Robert and Suzanne Mays traced back the route Ritchie possibly took, and found that the door Ritchie likely exited from was at the same latitude as the Vicksburg Night Cafe.
Ritchie also mentioned seeing lights flashing in one of the cities he flew over. To confirm this, Robert and Suzanne Mays found a woman who lived in one of the towns along the route Ritchie took east after leaving the hospital. The woman told them that there were four flashing lights in the city in 1943, and it turned out that the path possibly taken by Ritchie was among the locations of the lights she indicated.
Dr George Ritchie NDE - Death Testimony
When we are faced with NDE accounts like these, it is difficult not to give them validity and explain such experiences as products of a biological process.
Dr Raymond Moody on Shared Death Experiences and Studying the Afterlife