Jul 19, 2013

The Popularity of Sharing Near Death Experiences


I'm been reading a lot about NDE (Near Death Experiences) lately.  There's The Proof of Heaven book by Dr. Alexander, which has been making waves lately.  He was a skeptic until he was critically ill, practically dead, and then he miraculously made a comeback. 

He was a changed man and he shares the otherworldly experiences that changed his way of thinking.  I found some of the descriptions fascinating because they echoed ideas I had learned in Jewish sources.

I'm also reading Forever Ours: Real Stories of Immortality and Living from a Forensic Pathologist with odd, otherworldly stories. 

The Shavuos issue of Ami magazine had an article entitled, I Was Declared Dead about near-death and out-of-body experiences.  The article reminded me of an extraordinary account by someone who became a baal teshuva (picture above) because of his NDE.  You can watch it here.

What puzzles me is when the person who gets to see a vision of what seems to be the Next World, or who gets a visitation from a departed relative, is not Jewish.  Most of these stories have someone being reassured that the world beyond ours is a wonderful place.  I don't have reason to think that all the millions of gentiles who had these experiences are observers of the Noahide Laws.  I wonder what this is about.


  1. Although many people who report NDEs give details that they could not have "known" before, it is possible that these facts were stored in their brains somewhere and came out when the body was hovering between life and death. This might cause the stored info to be released. We take in everything we hear and only consciously store a small percentage of it. How many of us remember our 6th birthday? The details are stored in our brains, even if we can't find those facts. Pictures that we've seen and conversations that we've had are all there somewhere.
    Possibly, during those moments after the heart stops beating, these details are released by the brain and are now easily recalled when the heart is restarted.

  2. The kind of information that they couldn't know (that I've read about) includes things going on in the operating room, seeing things that they couldn't possibly see, not memories.

  3. If the heart stops during surgery, maybe the person can hear everything going on around him and imagines that he is seeing the OR situation. If the person was conscious when he went to the OR, he knows what the set-up and staff looks like.
    If these NDEs are actually out-of-body experiences and not brain reactions, it is plausible that a person's belief system governs the type of experience that he or she will have. An non-religious person possibly struggles with guilt due to the rejected religious belief and may "experience" gehinom during and NDE.