The near-death experience—an occurrence that takes place after an individual’s heart stops beating, and is relayed to others once that person is resuscitated—happens all the time. Not only is this a frequent phenomena, it’s been experienced by humans for a very long time. NDEs have been documented in all parts of the world, and have been experienced by people of all religions.
There is even a research foundation, NDERF, that allows readers to document their own experience - on-line. NDERF weblink. There is no shortage of information, and opinion, about this phenomenon.
I once spoke with a man who had been electrocuted and was without a heartbeat for several minutes before being resuscitated. He told me he did not experience anything during the time his heart stopped beating. That non-experience is also not unusual.
Since my research for Passage began well before the advent of the internet, I have a number of book references in my notes cited by Dewey Decimal numbers. I have to laugh, because now I have more information than ever regarding NDE’s. However, despite this wealth of information, the experiences and opinions haven’t changed much in 30+ years.
Dr. Bill Lansing provides some general information regarding NDEs in an NDERF article. NDE General Information. He states that (according to P.M.H. Atwater, in Beyond the light) there are four different types of Near-Death Experiences. Atwater’s research corresponds with my own.
1) A non-experience or Initial experience. This type of experience is either cut short by resuscitation or precedes one of the other types. Atwater suggests that this type of experience is common with individuals who require the least amount of evidence or proof of survival after death.
2) Unpleasant or Hell-type experience. This has been described as an encounter with a threatening void or a hellish purgatory. Atwater suggests that individuals with repressed guilt, fears or anger may experience this type of NDE – expecting punishment after death.
3) Pleasant or Heaven-type experience. These include loving scenarios with family and/or religious figures, and sometimes even “beings of light.” Atwater believes these are experienced by those who require reassurance and self-validation—individuals who need to know they were loved.
4) Transcendent Experience. This type of experience is often difficult to explain. Individuals are exposed to otherworldly dimensions and visions beyond their own frame of reference. Usually, there is no personal content relating to the individual. Atwater suggests this experience is for those ready to embrace the next challenge.
The near-death experience changes people, in both positive and negative ways, regardless of which type of experience they encounter. You might expect the Hell-type experience to lead to guilt, anger and depression, but that isn’t always the case. This type of experience is sometimes viewed as a “wake up call” to change the type of life you lead. Likewise, the after effects of a pleasant experience can lead to broken relationships and difficulty relating to the world “as it is”, just as often as it brings ecstatic joy and fills the individual with the wonder of life.
People who disbelieve in the NDE phenomenon have sited drug use, psychological trauma, and physiological injury such as high endorphins or hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) as the root cause of this experience.
I found one article through NPR that was very interesting and deals with both the individual's experience and scientific study of the phenomena. NPR - Decoding the Mystery of NDEs.
Information on this phenomenon hasn’t changed much in 30 years. What has changed is the ability to connect with others who have had an NDE, and for people to share their
In Passage, Courtney Veau experiences an NDE after a car accident. When her heart stops beating, she encounters an other-worldly hallway with darkened doorways and a compelling light at the end of the hall. As she moves toward the light and familiar voices, one doorway brightens and begins to pulse with the beat of a human heart. She is drawn through that doorway and falls into her previous life. When she reawakens in a present-day hospital, she is heartbroken. Courtney Veau would give anything to return to her soul-mate, Merril Shilo, and the life she lived as Nichole Harris. If she could only find the passage back to her previous life.
Excerpt from Passage:
The long shadows faded into twilight. She'd found what she came for—proof this house existed. There was no longer a reason to stay; and yet, just the possibility she might hear his voice again kept her waiting one more day.
Outside the window, night took final possession of the day. A few porch lights came on down the block. Headlights swung around the corner as a car turned onto the street and illuminated the pavement. The headlights winked off and a car door slammed.
Behind her, the room took on a familiar chill. She turned from the window and pressed her back against the heavy drapes as the echo of boots pounded up the back stairs. She gasped when he raced into the room, vaguely luminescent in the darkness. He was dressed in denim trousers and cotton shirt, with a silk scarf tied loosely around his neck. Where's his hat? Had he lost it in the dash up the stairs? That wide-brimmed cowboy hat was such a part of him he seemed naked without it. His hair had come loose from its binding, and he shoved it out of his face with a familiar motion. She stood close enough to read the emotion play across his face, a mixture of fear and bewilderment. His breath was labored, and his anxiety tangible as he stopped and looked right at her. Her mouth fell open in surprise and her heart tightened in her chest. Does he see me?
He took a hesitant step toward her. “Nichole?” His voice filled with horror, he whispered her name from another life.
“Yes! Merril, it's me.” Courtney stepped toward the specter.
His head turned. His attention called away from her open arms. “Oh, sweet Jesus.” Merril fell to his knees and reached for something no longer there. “Nicki, please don't go. Stay with me.”
“Merril, I'm here.” Her heart ached for him and for herself, but her plea went unheard.
Sobs shook his wide shoulders.
Her heart clenched to witness his despair. She longed to comfort him, to assure him she was there, but could not. In defeat, she sank to her knees beside the grieving apparition.
“Nicki, don't leave me. Look at me—” His hushed voice, choked and broken.
“I'm right here, my love,” she whispered, but the room grew warm and Merril Shilo faded back into the past. Courtney hung her head in the darkness and fought back tears. One question was answered, at least for now.
PASSAGE - Available for Pre-Order March 5th on Amazon
Available for purchase March 12, 2015 on Amazon and B&N