Authors: Richard Bullivant
10 Real Life Near-Death Experiences in the Press & Media: Global Evidence of the Near-Death (NDE) Phenomenon
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Copyright © 2013
‘I don't believe in afterlife, although I am bringing a change of underwear.’
- Woody Allen – ‘Getting Even’
Do you believe in life after death? There are a great many people in the world today who have had near-death experiences, which makes this subject particularly fascinating, and not just to those in the scientific and medical professions.
The question has to be: Are you a sceptic or a believer or are you, like so many people,
sitting on the fence
One thing is for sure, near-death experiences have held an enduring fascination for people throughout time, probably in the main because we yearn to
that we exist after the body has died. As the medical world has become more and more sophisticated in its resuscitation techniques, a greater number of us are surviving and being brought back ‘from death’s door’, and the incidents of near-death experiences are therefore rising.
According to the IANDS (International Association for Near-Death Studies) it defines a near-death experience as being:
‘A profound psychological event that may occur to a person close to death or who is not near death but in a situation of physical or emotional crisis. Being in a life-threatening situation does not, by itself, constitute a near-death experience. It is the pattern of perceptions, creating a recognizable overall event that has been called a near-death experience.’
Although every NDE (near-death experience) is unique to the experiencer, most include some or all of the following common features:
* Seeing one’s body from above (out-of-body experience or OBE or OOBE).
Going towards a light of great brightness from darkness.
Seeing those that have gone before.
A life review.
A sense of being in another realm, not of this world.
Great awareness and sharpness of mind.
A decision to go back to their physical form.
There are many possible explanations as to why a NDE might occur, but broadly:
* In an attempt to psychologically make themselves feel better, people who think they may be about to die think of something pleasant.
A chemical change in the brain happens as people ‘die’.
After bodily death occurs, the soul lives on.
For many people who have had a near-death experience the after effects can be psychologically profound and have a huge impact on the way they conduct their lives thereafter. Inspiring stories abound of how a life has been transformed by the experience of an NDE. Often the experiencer finds their priorities in life have changed, for example, they find they do not place such emphasis on acquiring worldly goods but do place more emphasis on their relationships with their friends, their families, their lovers.
Many studies have been, and continue to be, undertaken by dedicated doctors and scientists the world over to try to understand more about the near-death experience. Although there is no doubt that a lot of data has been, and is still being, acquired, to date a lot of the results being analysed only produce theoretical opinion.
One of the main uncertainties about life after death and the occurrence of the NDE is that it can be very difficult to prove that the event took place whilst the patient was actually clinically dead. It could be for example that an operation was of a two hour duration but the patient was only actually clinically dead for ten minutes. It is actually very difficult to prove that the NDE occurred within that ten minute timeframe.
It has often been said that of those who have reported NDEs the most interesting group is children. The sceptic might suggest that an adult could perhaps have imagined a near-death experience based on their own personal views. But children are often too young to have any beliefs regarding death and the afterlife. Many studies have been undertaken regarding children’s near-death experiences and it is generally felt that a child under five years old is too young to have had any real concept of death and the afterlife, and yet so often their experiences are similar to that of an adult. Food for thought!
Near-death experiences are one of those interesting topics that we see cropping up from time to time in news stories, both on the Internet and in newspapers. Whilst they may be of interest we often take the subject no further as the material provided is quite conflicting.
In this book we have collected together ten of some of the most noteworthy NDE stories which have appeared all around the world, be they in newspapers, journals, or on the Internet.
Whilst there will always be sceptics, these stories if nothing else serve to spark our interest and lead us to ponder a bit further.
‘Endings are not always bad. Most times they're just beginnings in disguise.’
- Kim Harrison -
Something Deadly This Way Comes
This is a fascinating case of a lady diagnosed with cancer in April 2002 and who had an incredibly moving near-death experience in February 2006 when she was admitted to the ICU with end stage cancer and her husband, Danny, was told that she probably had less than 36 hours to live.
Anita is of Indian descent and was born in Singapore. At the age of two she moved to Hong Kong where she has stayed for most of her life. During her time in Hong Kong she attended a private British school although she did then spend a little while studying in Manchester in the UK to further her education. She is multilingual.
Anita has spoken at great length in the media concerning what happened to her during her near-death experience and how it has changed her life (check out
with Lilou Mace for example). Anita published a book in March 2012 called
Dying To Be Me
about her experience which has recently made the New York Times Bestsellers List.
In April 2002 Anita was told that she had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. About a year previously Anita’s best friend, Soni, had died of cancer after having followed the chemotherapy route. Because it was felt by Soni’s family that it was in fact the treatment which had killed her at the end rather than the cancer itself, Anita was very wary of undertaking a similar regime. She also had to watch her friend suffer enormously with the treatment which she obviously found very distressing. She therefore decided against it.
Instead Anita opted to find out everything she could about holistic health and began to see several specialists in natural disciplines. Some of the treatments seemed to be working at first as Anita began to feel and look so much better but, unfortunately, over time, the disease began to progress and by 2005 it had begun to seriously interfere with her well-being as Anita had started to accumulate fluid in her chest area and her glands had become increasingly swollen.
It was in January 2006 that Anita’s health took a sudden turn for the worse. At this point she was very dependent on an oxygen tank as she found it hard to breathe, and was in a wheelchair because her muscles had deteriorated and she found it impossible to walk. She experienced problems lying down and needed to be propped up at all times to keep from drowning in her own fluids. Lesions had broken out all over her body, her digestive system had stopped absorbing nutrients and she had become malnourished. By this stage Anita had accepted that she was going to die.
On the morning of 2
February, as Anita could not open her eyes and was gasping for breath, Danny rushed her to a Hong Kong hospital where various procedures were undertaken, including MRI & CT scans. The results showed that the lymphoma had spread – in fact her major organs were compromised.
Forty feet away from Anita’s room in a hallway, her husband was told to prepare for the worst and that Anita would probably not make it beyond the next 36 hours. The doctor said that her organs appeared to have already shut down and that she had tumours the size of lemons throughout her lymphatic system from the base of her skull to below her abdomen. Her brain was filled with fluid, as were her lungs. The skin lesions were weeping with toxins and in actual fact he didn’t really expect Anita to make it through the night.
Nevertheless, in an attempt to save her life, it was decided to put Anita on a cocktail of drugs – she was in fact started on chemotherapy drugs in the hope that her body might respond positively. Frankly, she didn’t have anything to lose. Tests were undertaken to check her organ functions, although not much hope was held as all symptoms appeared to indicate failure. She had needles inserted, an oxygen machine attached, a food tube put in, a monitor for her heart, her pulse, blood pressure etc….
During this time Anita felt that she was drifting in and out of consciousness as she said she was aware of everything that was going on around her. However, the doctors and her family explained to her afterwards that this could not have been the case as she was definitely in a coma at this point.
What is truly amazing however is that after Anita had recovered from her ordeal, she repeated the conversation word for word which she said she heard and saw between her husband and the doctor which was taking place in a hallway forty feet away from where Anita was laying in a coma in a room. Danny was obviously very shocked to hear that Anita knew of what had occurred whilst she was in that state. Anita is sure that she had left her body at this point and therefore this was the reason she was aware of not only the conversations going on but also that she could see the number of needles she was being poked with at that time, as well as all the monitoring machines and tubes.
Anita then felt that her near-death experience went into another dimension where her main emotion was one of unconditional love. She also got clear answers to all sorts of questions that had plagued her mind, for example, the reason she had got the cancer in the first place – which in her particular case she has said was very much to do with fear;
fear of everything basically – fear of living, fear of dying.
In her book she has also spoken at length about why she was brought into this world in the first place and the parts her family played in her life. She realized that life was a gift and that she was always surrounded by loving spiritual beings, even if she was not aware of their presence.
She said she began to understand that her cancer started on an energetic level before the illness transposed to the physical. She believed during her near-death experience that if she decided to return to her body that the cancer would be gone from her energy and therefore that her physical form would soon be healed. Anita has said that she feels that sometimes when people have medical treatments for illnesses that these treatments often rid the illness from the body but not from the energy, so the condition may return.
Anita was also made aware that she had a choice as to whether she chose death or life. She understood that it was not her time but that it was still her decision. Initially she said she did not want to return to her physical body because it looked so sick but she also then immediately understood that if she chose life that her body would heal incredibly fast.
During her near-death experience Anita felt that she was going from one world to another, that is, the physical world and the ‘other side’. This went on throughout the night. She experienced many scenes on the ‘other side’ including seeing her brother, Anoop, taking a flight out of India to visit her. Anoop was living in Pune, India, when he suddenly felt a sense of urgency to visit his sister. He was already on the flight to Hong Kong when Danny phoned his home to warn him about his sister’s condition and heard from his sister-in-law that Anoop had already left for the airport. This was later verified by Anoop as he was by her bedside, having just got off a plane, when Anita started to resurface from her coma and she exclaimed in a matter of fact voice that she knew he was going to be at her side as she had ‘seen’ him on his flight.
Anita has said that she knew during her NDE that the test results which had been undertaken to assess her organ function had not yet been released and she also knew with absolute certainty that if she chose life then the results would show that her organs were functioning well. But if she chose death then the results would show that her organs had failed due to the cancer. So, even though the tests had been done the results were dependant on Anita’s decision as to whether to go back into an earthly life or not. It was her choice as to whether to heal her body or not!
She chose a physical life and at the point when she was slowly waking up, her doctor came into the room and imparted the good news that the test results indicated that her organs were starting to work again.
Anita’s recovery after this was rapid. After four days of the chemotherapy treatment her lymph nodes had reduced by around seventy percent! But how could this have happened so quickly when her organs had been failing?
Indeed, when the doctors undertook a lymph node biopsy to track the type of cancer cells, they could not even find a lymph node big enough to suggest cancer. We must remember that upon entering the hospital, Anita’s tests had revealed tumours the size of lemons throughout her lymphatic system from the base of her skull to below her abdomen! The speed of her medical recovery was nothing short of a miracle.
The doctors also then did a bone marrow biopsy as well as various scans to further try to assess any malignant activity but they couldn’t find any signs to indicate cancer anywhere.
The doctors were very confused but in the end, as they could find no other medical explanation, most of them put it down to an incredibly rapid response to the chemotherapy drugs. However some doctors have said that her condition was so severe when she was admitted to the hospital that the toxicity of the chemotherapy drugs might well have killed her anyway!
Anita’s medical records obviously list the series of medical procedures which were carried out at the time including a comment that her skin lesions would
need reconstructive surgery. In the end this proved not to be necessary as the wounds healed quickly and completely by themselves - as Anita expected them to - and needed no surgical intervention.
Anita was released from the hospital on 9 March 2006, five weeks after she was admitted, and was able to walk unaided. In the weeks that followed she went from strength to strength. Like so many others, she has since found that her NDE has changed her perspective on life considerably and because of this she has found a new and fearless path to tread.