Life after death experiences or near death experiences (NDE) were often thought of as meaningless hallucinations by people who either had mental illnesses or who had been deprived of too much oxygen.
In recent decades, however, evidence of life after death has become the study of serious research beginning with the publication of a book about several NDE case studies and their remarkable similarities.
In 1975 Raymond A. Moody, Jr., M.D. published his book Life After Life and coined the term near-death experience or NDE. His book investigates over one hundred case studies of people who had clinically died for a short period of time and were subsequently revived.
Moody’s research reveals that there are striking similarities among people who have near death experiences. He categorizes 15 different elements that recur over and over again in NDEs. It’s important to note that Moody explains no two NDEs are exactly alike, and no one person has experienced all 15 elements, but most have experienced eight or more of the following:
INEFFABILITY. Most people who have a life after death experience state how difficult it is to describe what happened. They exclaim there are simply no words to adequately communicate a complete sketch of what happened to them.
HEARING THE NEWS. Many people have said they hear doctors or other spectators of their death pronounce them dead.
FEELINGS OF PEACE AND QUIET. Many report feeling extremely peaceful unlike any comfort they have ever felt before. They also experience solitude and quietness.
THE NOISE. Many people report hearing unusual sounds that may be pleasant or unpleasant such as buzzing or ringing. These noises typically occur during the beginning of their NDE.
THE DARK TUNNEL. People often experience being pulled quite rapidly through a dark tunnel.
OUT OF THE BODY. People have reported looking down on their body as if they were a spectator watching a movie of themselves.
MEETING OTHERS. Quite a few have reported at some point–usually early in the near death experience–another being or someone they knew meeting and helping them through their transition into death.
THE BEING OF LIGHT. Moody states the most incredible element and the one that has the most profound effect is an encounter with an extremely bright light. Usually the light starts out dim and becomes increasingly brighter until it “reaches an unearthly brillance.” It’s described as a personal being with a specific personality. It also emanates love and warmth beyond words and people are “ineluctably drawn to it.”
THE REVIEW. The being of light presents people with a quick view of their life to provoke reflection. The life review is not meant to be a reprimand. Sometimes the life review is instantaneous and sometimes it’s chronological. For many, the experience is educational and it stresses the importance of loving others and acquiring knowledge.
THE BORDER OR LIMIT. Some say they experienced what might be called a border. These borders or limits are usually described as a door, a fence, a body of water or a line.
COMING BACK. Of course all the people Moody studied returned to life at some point, but depending on the depth of their experience, many did not want to return to their body, especially those who experienced the “being of light.”
TELLING OTHERS. Some feel uncomfortable about sharing their experiences because they feel others may deem them emotionally unstable. Others have tried to tell other people, but decided to remain silent when their narratives were quickly dismissed. Then there are others who feel their life after death experience was too indescribable to repeat.
EFFECTS ON LIVES. Many feel their experience with death changed their lives by making them more aware, reflective, loving and concerned with philosophical issues. A few said they seemed to acquire some psychic abilities.
NEW VIEWS OF DEATH. Many reported not fearing death anymore even though it would likely be painful.
CORROBORATION. In many cases people who have died return to their body and describe things they could not possibly have known about such as specific conversations or descriptions of what others were doing during the time of their death.
Other Parallels Among Life After Death Experiences
Moody also states that many similarities from his research have parallels with other “ancient or highly esoteric writings” such as The Bible and The Tibetan Book of the Dead, as well as connections to the writings of the philosopher Plato and Emanuel Swedenborg in their statements about death.
Scientific Evidence of Life After Death
Towards the end of his book, Moody mentions that his study of near death experiences is not “scientific” because the people he choose to listen to were not from a random sample.
Moody, Raymond A., Jr. Life After Life. HarperCollins Publications. 2001.
Here is a list of more books about life after death experiences that may interest you: