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FlyingOfficerKite
11th Sep 2008, 20:33
Over the years a number of people have described their belief that during the moments before you die the human brain experiences a sensation of a bright light extending down a 'tunnel' and a being (Jesus, God, an Angel) waiting to take you home.

I know one or two people who have survived 'near death experiences' who have described this phenomenon first hand.

My questions are:

Is this a common experience?

Does it prove/suggest the existence of a God? or,

Is it a 'programme', which the brain has evolved over millennia to enable us to face death in a calm and hopeful manner and take away the pain and distress of our dying?

FOK :)

Parapunter
11th Sep 2008, 20:53
Certainly a similar thing happened to my mum who's about as airy fairy as Margaret Thatch.

Mum nearly died post operaion & later described a period of looking down on herself being connected to herself by a silver chord, as the Doctors fussed around her. Gives me the heebie jeebies for some reason, that story.

maliyahsdad
11th Sep 2008, 21:45
it's probably just a eurostar freight wagon!

mocoman
11th Sep 2008, 21:46
Co-incidentally went to a lecture last night by an academic who is researching both Near-Death Experiences, as reported by your mum, and End-Of-Life Experiences.

It does not seem too uncommon, although healthcare professionals are reluctant to report for fear of ridicule.

Must admit I am intrigued; especially when you consider the number of folks who report that their loved ones appear to have been 'visited' by either close deceased relatives or friends in the days and hours prior to their death

dead_pan
11th Sep 2008, 22:01
Is it a 'programme', which the brain has evolved over millennia to enable us to face death in a calm and hopeful manner and take away the pain and distress of our dying?

The activities of the brain on death couldn't really be improved through natural selection unless it somehow gave us a last-gasp final opportunity to pass on our genes.

tony draper
11th Sep 2008, 22:03
Doesn't anoxia(sp? lack of oxygen to the brain) oft involve symptoms of tunneling of vision and extreme euphoria to the point of indifference to what is actually happening?
:uhoh:

goudie
11th Sep 2008, 22:19
Many people, near to death, are on morphine which probably induces all sorts of images.

tony draper
11th Sep 2008, 22:29
Only ever had morphine once, didn't have any visions, lay down closed me eyes sank into black oblivion awoke almost instantly opened me eyes and it were 16 hours later.
Oft fancied trying opium,but perhaps that is for the Dream thread.:)

v6g
11th Sep 2008, 22:56
Not quite the same but a similar experience ...

Many years ago I had the misfortune to discover a close friend who had just committed suicide. Quite a disturbing experience what with one thing and another but I dealt with it in my normal level-headed way and got over it. Life goes on.

A few months later, one evening I was at home studying when I saw this friend of mine sitting in the couch across the room - out of the corner of my eye. I turned around in surprise and he disappeared. Now, I'm not religious and certainly don't believe in ghosts - but my mind sure was playing a strange trick on me that evening. Still gives me the creeps thinking about it.

It was the clear image of my friend in a relaxed simply-himself smiling kind-of-way that I remember most from that moment. And a moment is as long as it lasted - less than a second and it seemed very real.

The subconscious mind is a powerful thing.

Paracab
12th Sep 2008, 00:29
My Mum nearly drowned when she 16 and on holiday. Described as panic initially, then after a while she felt very calm, warm, happy and was aware of staring up at the sky. Next thing she was on the beach throwing up; a pair of switched on chaps had pulled her out of the drink.

I heard of an anbulance crew who managed to resus a chap with a single shock after he suffered a cardiac arrest in the ambulance. He later told them what they did, he claimed he watched it all.

I personally think these experiences are fanstasies of the hypoxic brain, perhaps with some media suggestion thrown in on my second example. Don't suppose most of us will ever know.

corsair
12th Sep 2008, 01:17
I agree it's simply a hypoxic brain fantasy. Plus you often hear of people who have had a near death experience describe how the fear left them and they took a relaxed view of their impending demise. I think what you see does depend on your cultural expectations. It's a coping mechanism.

It might in some way be related to the way we dream (see the dream thread). The human brain is very complex and not so well understood.

The point being about near death experiences is that they are near death not death. You have to be alive to describe what it was like.

I don't believe in life after death. You just die. I had a similar experience to Tony Draper under general anaesthetic. One instant, I'm lying there feeling no pain and relaxed, then I'm awake, sick and in pain. Only it's hours later after the operation. No transition, no dream, no visions. Just an instant. That is how I see death, blink and you're gone. Only you don't wake up.

BlueWolf
12th Sep 2008, 01:18
Oft fancied trying opium,but perhaps that is for the Dream thread

"Just enough" is the trick with opium. Too much is unpleasant, as is not enough. If you don't throw up, pass out, or die, you'll probably enjoy it.

My mother was present when her father slipped this mortal coil, don't know if he was morphined out or not. Apparently he sat up, looked up, raised his hands, uttered "Up, up, and away", and then slumped back down with eyes closed, and that was it.

G-CPTN
12th Sep 2008, 02:14
I have had significant experience of morphine (under clinical circumstances, but self-administered 'on demand').
It was heaven . . .

Ascend Charlie
12th Sep 2008, 02:55
In "Reach for the Sky", Douglas Bader described his experiences of near-death. He described letting go of the pain, feeling relaxed and comfortable, until he heard a nurse say to people outside his room, "Be quiet, a man is dying in there." When he realised it was him they were talking about, he decided not to die, and the pain came back big-time.

More recently, media tycoon Kerry Packer was on his death-bed, having opted not to undergo any more operations for his diseased kidneys. He was apparently on his last sleep, with family gathered around, when he suddenly woke up, said," Am I still f***ing here?? How long is this gonna take??!!" and then drifted off to the end.:ooh:

Loose rivets
12th Sep 2008, 07:13
There was talk of putting numbered cards or some-such in ambulances so that medics could hold them up in a way that the dying patient couldn't see the face side. If they came back to life and got the number right...

That'd be reasonable science I suppose.:confused:

Larry thingie JR Ewing says he has had no fear of death since a startling experience. But then, if you'd worked in a house with that lot for long, you'd believe anything.

CATIII-NDB
12th Sep 2008, 09:35
I concur with all of the previous comments made regarding the sub concious and potential evolutionary processes to enable the person to face death without suffering. I have personally experenced the light tunnel phoneminon as a result of serious post operatve heamorrage - My blood pressure fell like a stone - Normal hypoxic symptons as well. greying of vision - field of vision sharply reduced etc. I believe that, what is being described here, is a physiological reaction of the structures of the brain that control our higher conciousness; to reduced oxygen tension in the blood stream. Hence the description of their own resusitation by patients - some faculties, eg hearing and concious memory remaining functional, even a a critical stage in the process of depriving oxygen reaching the brain.

CAT III

Effluent Man
12th Sep 2008, 09:45
In my twenties I developed a range of neurological symptoms the most worrying of which was that when going to switch on a light I missed by two or three inches.Tests found no cause and it was attributed to a virus.On three occasions during this time I was out in town and saw someone approaching who I thought I knew.On closer inspection it wasn't them but somebody who resembled them vaguely.I then went on to meet the person I thought it was within a few minutes.The first two occasions I put down to chance,the third time the person I thought it was I hadn't seen for at least a year and then I turned a corner and came face to face with them

dead_pan
12th Sep 2008, 09:56
There was talk of putting numbered cards or some-such in ambulances so that medics could hold them up in a way that the dying patient couldn't see the face side


I'm not sure a critically-ill casualty would be best pleased if a paramedic reached for a card deck the moment they flat-lined. Methinks their lawyers would also take a pretty dim view of such proceedings.

Howard Hughes
12th Sep 2008, 10:44
I'm not sure a critically-ill casualty would be best pleased if a paramedic reached for a card deck the moment they flat-lined.
Even worse if the first card out was the 'Ace of Spades'...:eek:

helimutt
12th Sep 2008, 10:47
Effluent man, fancy giving me the lottery numbers for tonight mate?:ok:

I had the unfortunate experience of being stabbed a number of years ago. I thought I was going to die. Remember fading away on the stretcher and all becoming peaceful. Not pleasant but can't remember having any visions, etc. I do remember coming around in the hospital with three nurses around me, two holding me down as the other catheterised me. Now that made me see bright lights.:eek: I did wish I was dead at that point.

goudie
12th Sep 2008, 10:52
I have had significant experience of morphine (under clinical circumstances, but self-administered 'on demand').
It was heaven

I envy you that G-CPTN, my experience of morphine after an op for cancer was horrendous. I thought I would enjoy wonderful fantasies (yacht, all girl crew etc). Instead I 'saw' the most dreadful scenes of death and destruction. They are still with me after 10 years.

Back on thread, I heard a story that one of the 3 survivors of HMS HOOD said that as the ship sank and he and his mates were trapped, dead and and dying, one of them said, 'this isn't your time, you're not coming with us', next thing he knew he'd been rescued.

FlyingOfficerKite
12th Sep 2008, 12:29
Following on from Goudie, I heard (or read) years ago that the comedian Michael Bentine was in the RAF during the War serving with Bomber Command in Intelligence.

Apparently he saw a 'death mask' (or skull) in the faces of aircrew before they flew - he always knew they would never return.

Anyone else heard this tale?

FOK :)

Dan D'air
12th Sep 2008, 12:41
Apparently he saw a 'death mask' (or skull) in the faces of aircrew before they flew - he always knew they would never return.

Anyone else heard this tale?



Yes, It's in his autobiography. He does profess to being psychic on a certain level.

gingernut
12th Sep 2008, 12:46
The sceptic scientist in me can rationalise the "near death" experiences with physiological explanations.

Having sat with many dying people, I have witnessed, first hand, many "pleasant deaths," (there is such a thing), which the patient accepts with amazing calm, due to some recent "visit" or "outer body" experience.

Quite incredible really.:bored:

Effluent Man
12th Sep 2008, 13:51
My other half reckons that she "sees" things.What I notice though is that her accuracy in predicting things is no more than one would expect from random chance.It's just that when she succeeds she shouts and makes a fuss about it,whereas failure sees her quietly letting the matter drop.