Many people who die (or almost die) and come
back to life have a memorable, tangible and
often life altering experience. The experiences
have many common elements. The following list
highlights some of the most common elements of
near death experiences.
1 Feeling that the "self" has left the body and
is hovering overhead. The person may later be
able to describe who was where and what
happened, sometimes in detail.
2 Moving through a dark space or tunnel.
3 Experiencing intensely powerful emotions,
ranging from bliss to extreme distress.
4 Encountering a light. It is usually described
as golden or white, and as being magnetic and
5 Receiving some variant of the message "It is
not yet your time."
6 Meeting others: may be deceased loved ones,
recognized from life or not; sacred beings;
unidentified entities and/or "beings of light"
sometimes symbols from one's own or other
7 A life review, seeing and re-experiencing
major and trivial events of one's life,
sometimes from the perspective of the other
people involved, and coming to some conclusion
about the adequacy of that life and what
changes are needed.
8 Having a sense of understanding everything,
of knowing how the universe works.
9 Reaching a boundary, a cliff, fence, water,
some kind of barrier that may not be crossed if
one is to return to life.
10 In some cases, entering a city or
11 Receiving previously unknown information
about one's life, e.g., adoption or hidden
parentage, deceased siblings,
12 Glimpses into future events.
13 Decision to return may be voluntary or
involuntary. If voluntary, usually associated
with unfinished service to loved ones.
14 Returning to the body.
Many see near death experiences as an
experience of the afterlife. This implies the
view that the neardeath experience can not be
explained by physiological or psychological
causes and that consciousness, in some
instances, might function independently of the
brain. Some near death -accounts include
elements which, according to some theorists,
are most simply explained by an out-of-body
For example, in one account, a woman accurately
described a surgical instrument she had not
seen previously, as well as a conversation that
occurred while she was understood to be
clinically dead. In another account, from a
proactive Dutch near death study, a nurse
removed the dentures of an unconscious heart
attack victim, and was asked by him after his
recovery to return them
Many people who experience a near death event
tend to see it as a verification of the
existence of an afterlife in particular they
tend to be convinced of the reality of the
experience as an intimation of the afterlife.
This includes those with agnostic/atheist
inclinations before the experience.
There exist reports about, what appears to be,
connections between deceased persons and
persons who have had an NDE. These
visualizations happen over a long period after
the near death experience. Ken Mullens , who
was clinically dead for more than 20 minutes,
reported spiritual encounters in his life after
his NDE. As he reported, deceased persons he
communicated with were often unknown to him,
but were connected to people he met at a later
point. While many such reports are criticized
and discredited by the scientific field they
remain a mystery. Since they have no apparent
medical or physical explanation they might be
said to belong the interpretative and
phenomenological dimension of the NDE, as
investigated by the field of Near-death