The near-death experience “tunnel” (A)

The near-death experience “tunnel” (A) July 8, 2018


Bosch's "Ascent to the Empyrean"
Hieronymus Bosch (d. 1516), “Ascent of the Blest”     (Wikimedia Commons public domain)


From another of my partially completed manuscripts:


Among the most famous of his elements is Moody’s fifth.  Many of those he interviewed told of being drawn very rapidly through some kind of dark space – a cave, a passageway, an enclosure, a valley, or, very commonly, a tunnel.  Often, this appeared to be concurrent with their perception of the noise mentioned as the fourth element.[1]  A congenitally blind informant by the name of Brad Barrows, for instance,

was aware of being pulled at perhaps a 45-degree angle upward into a dark tunnel and at the same time hearing a noise that reminded him of the hum of an electric transformer, which at first he found somewhat irritating and even momentarily frightening.[2]

“Marsha,” herself almost totally blind since birth, found herself ascending through a very dark tunnel, at the end of which was a brilliant golden-white light in which she saw angels.[3]  Jeff van Geelan, an Australian who is totally blind in his right eye and possesses only limited vision in his left, was astonished to find himself in “a silver and light-blue cylinder . . . ‘traveling at an incredible pace through this tunnel at the end of which I saw a great white light.”  He saw it all, he says, through both eyes.[4]  “Human words are not adequate to describe the beauty,” says one witness.  “There was a lot of light, a brightness that went beyond just white—kind of a many-colored iridescence.  We don’t have the words in our language to describe the beauty.”[5]  Another speaks of “a brilliance of light and color impossible to describe.”[6]  “There was a light at the end of the tunnel,” says yet another.  “It wasn’t a blue light, but a warm golden light, very bright.”[7]  In an account published more than a decade before Raymond Moody’s first book, a Minnesota minister’s wife named Julia Phillips Ruopp told of finding herself suddenly looking down at her body on an operating table, and then of traveling for what seemed a considerable length of time down “a long, dark passageway,” thinking calmly to herself, “This must be what they call dying.”  Just when she was wondering how much longer the passageway would continue, she “emerged into an overwhelmingly wide space of light—a pulsing, living light which cannot be described in words.”  Eventually, she returned to her body by again moving through the “passageway.”[8]


[1]  $Moody, Life after Life, 30-34.  For representative examples beyond those quoted in the text, see $Nelson, Beyond the Veil, 1:67, 107; $Nelson, Beyond the Veil, 2:16, 26, 105, 107, 138-139;$Nelson, Beyond the Veil, 3:80, 92, 106; $Nelson and Nelson, Near Death Experiences, 4:36-37, 48, 113-114, 155 (where one interviewee compares the tunnel to a “culvert”); RaNelle Wallace, with Curtis Taylor, The Burning Within (Placerville, CA: Gold Leaf Press, 1994) [see original]; William J. Serdahely, “Pediatric Near-Death Experiences, Journal of Near-Death Studies 9/1 (Fall 1990): 34, 35; Ring, “Amazing Grace,” 15, 29.  $An exceptionally detailed account of the tunnel occurs at Nelson and Nelson, Near Death Experiences, 4:165-167.  J. Kenneth Arnette, “On the Mind/Body Problem: The Theory of Essence,” Journal of Near-Death Studies 11/1 (Fall 1992): 5-18, suggests that the NDE “tunnel” may be equivalent to the spacetime “wormhole” posited by many contemporary cosmological theorists.

[2] Ring and Cooper, Mindsight, 30.

[3] Ring and Cooper, Mindsight, 35-36.  Her story is told at Ring and Cooper, Mindsight, 34-38, 70-73.

[4] Ring and Cooper, Mindsight, 122-123.

[5] $Cited in Nelson, Beyond the Veil, 1:68.

[6]$As quoted in Nelson, Beyond the Veil, 1:78.

[7]$ Nelson, Beyond the Veil, 1:107.

[8] Myers, Voices from the Edge of Eternity, 221-222.  [Better:  Guideposts ca. 1963.]


Posted from Newport Beach, California



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