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Near Death Experiences

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Essay title: Near Death Experiences

It seems like lately every time you turn on your television you hear about someone having a near death experience. So what exactly is a near death experience? A near death experience can be defined as “an experience that is reported by people who clinically die, or come close to actual death and are revived. These events often include encounters with spirit guides, seeing dead relatives or friends, life review, out-of-body Experiences (OBE), or a moment of decision where they are able to decide or are told to turn back” (Glossary of Paranormal Terms). The earliest known description of a near-death experience was recounted by Plato in his "Myth of Er," found at the end of Book X of The Republic, which was written c. 420 B.C.

Many people have feelings of peace, accepting death, being physically and emotionally comforted. The patient sees a bright light filling the room. They interpret this is heaven or God. Some patients have an out of body experience, in which they will leave their body and float above it, to view what is happening to them. There are those who feel they have entered another dimension or realm, interpreting this state as heaven or hell. Individuals have seen entities of light, interpreting these as maybe deceased loved ones, or angels. Most people have experience going through a tunnel with a light at the end, encountering spirit beings as they pass through. There are those who did not have a feeling of peace, or even met with friendly spirits. Rather, they experienced terror as while being accosted by demons.

Even though most people associated NDEs with adults, there have been many cases in which children have been reported to have similar experiences. In a study of 270 children it was found that “76% reported a comforting "initial" experience. Such experiences involved up to three elements, things like a loving nothingness, a friendly voice, a visitation by a loving being, an out-of-body experience, and/or the peacefulness of either a safe light or safe dark place, 19% reported a pleasurable or heaven-like experience, 3% reported a distressing or hell-like experience, and 2% had a "transcendent" experience in which they felt they acquired special knowledge” (Building global understanding of near-death experiences).

There are many scientific explanations for the so called near death experience. Some may think it’s just a hallucination, others think it’s a lack of oxygen to the brain, and still others explain it as a reaction to certain prescription drugs. While many still claim that a NDE is just the result of one of these things, there has never been any proof that any of the three actually cause these experiences.

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