She went into a dark hole. A light appeared at the end of Raymond's tunnel. He, too, was at first afraid and resisted. The light was female, and she "communicated" with him. He surrendered to her. It was at that moment that the experience took place. Scientific research on people having NDEs is tough, because the exact instant that they occur is unknown, making them nearly impossible to observe, Laureys said. It would also be cruel to run brain scans on someone who was possibly facing the moment of death. So, Laureys and his team studied the near-death memories of people who survived -- in particular those of coma patients -- with the help of a psychological examination.
The Memory Characteristics Questionnaire tests for sensory and emotional details of recollections and how people relive them in space and time. In other words, it gauges how present, intense and real a memory is. They compared NDEs with other memories of intense real-life events like marriages and births, but also with memories of dreams and thoughts -- things that did not occur in physical reality.
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The researchers paralleled new memories with old ones. And they compared the patients who had NDEs with groups of others who didn't.
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Memories of important real-life events are more intense than those of dreams or thoughts, Laureys said. The memories of these experiences beat all other memories, hands down, for their vivid sense of reality. Even if the patient had the experience a long time ago, its memory was as rich "as though it was yesterday," Laureys said. The questionnaire asks people about their level of certainty that a remembered experience was a real event and not imagined or dreamed.
A simple Internet search reveals hundreds of accounts of near-death experiences -- some real, some perhaps invented. Many people are convinced they are proof positive that an afterlife exists outside of the physical realm -- and that it is wondrous. There are reports of religious images appearing at times in NDEs, but they are not limited to one single religion, and they don't always appear. Sometimes Buddha, Jesus or Mohammed appear, but usually they don't, Laureys said. Nevertheless, an NDE can make a convert of a skeptic. Eben Alexander is a well-known case of an agnostic scientist who became convinced of the existence of the spiritual.
He has often shared his story in television interviews with journalists and expressed his views in lectures and in books and video presentations, which he sells on his website. Alexander, a neurosurgeon, according to his autobiography, has described his experience in the same terms as the Belgian researchers: "hyper-reality," "too real to be real.
In the beginning, he tried to interpret his experience as a brain function, he wrote on his website, but he became increasingly spiritual. He has come to the conclusion that people are reincarnated. Alexander says his experience could not have been a hallucination, because the parts of the brain necessary to produce his experiences were basically dead when he had them. Laureys strongly disagrees. Lying in your hospital bed, you have become a true believer, and you are happier for it. But your brain never died, the doctor tells you. You were in a coma. Perhaps your heart stopped for a while; maybe it didn't.
But that's not even necessary to have an out-of-body experience.
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Mapping the brain, exploring its secrets. The American Psychological Association concurs. It defines near-death experiences as "profound psychological events with transcendental and mystical elements, typically occurring to individuals close to death or in situations of intense physical or emotional danger. In the case of coma patients, the brain producing the NDE may be functioning minimally, but it is still alive, Laureys hypothesized.
He said one can stimulate certain parts of the brain to produce single elements of the experience. It's a vivid hallucination, Laureys' report surmises. Though the results of his studies were marked and consistent, the Belgian research team has tested only a small number of patients so far.
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And it has not been able to scan brain images of patients having NDEs to get hard data on the hypothesis of the physiological nature of the experience. Laureys' research alone is not enough.
He wants to see more scientists get involved. As a doctor, he feels it's the compassionate thing for them to do. Too many people have the experience for serious researchers to ignore it, he said, and a lot of people are afraid that their consciousness will linger long after they pass away, making them witnesses to whatever happens to their bodies. There are more than enough spiritual models for NDEs, he said -- and superstitious ones. It's high time for more hard science, Laureys said.
A high percentage of his coma patients report having had NDEs, and he believes many of us go through these "afterlife" experiences when we die. Intending to debunk it all, Hare would, after extensive research, become a believer.
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When he asked an apparently advanced spirit what it was all about, he was told that it was "a deliberate effort, on the part of the inhabitants of the higher spheres, to break through the partition which has interfered with the attainment, by mortals, of a correct idea of their destiny after death. In The Afterlife Revealed , Michael Tymn sets forth some of the most credible messages from the spirits relative to the nature of their world.
Instead of a heaven-hell dichotomy, we are told that there are many levels, or as Jesus is quoted, "many mansions," and that we cross over to the "other side" based on what might be called a "moral specific gravity. We see how we are really souls occupying bodies rather than bodies housing souls and how our souls are progressing in finding their way back to Oneness with the Creator through the challenges, the adversities, the trials and tribulations offered us in a particular lifetime.
See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Overview At the very foundation of religious faith and hope is a belief that consciousness will survive death and that we will live on in another dimension of reality. Average Review. Write a Review. Related Searches. Beyond Human Personality. In this sequel to The Road to Immortality, Geraldine Cummins continues to relay messages from a deceased entity purporting to be the eminent psychologist and psychical researcher, F.
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