Here are four partial descriptions of near-death experiences, taken from Pim van Lommel, Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience (New York: HarperCollins, 2010):
What I saw was too beautiful for words: I was looking at a magnificent landscape full of flowers and plants that I couldn’t actually name. It all looked hundreds of miles away. And yet I could see everything in detail — even without glasses, although in real life I have bad eyesight. It was both far away and close. Exceptionally beautiful. The best way to describe it would be: a heavenly sight.
I arrived in a royal realm, or at least that’s what it smelled like. The atmosphere, insofar as you could call it that, was divine, a flowery, sweet-smelling environment, which was completely three-dimensional and about a thousand times more beautiful than my favorite holiday destination in spring. (32)
During my NDE following a cardiac arrest, I saw both my dead grandmother and a man who looked at me lovingly but whom I didn’t know. Over ten years later my mother confided on her deathbed that I’d been born from an extramarital affair; my biological father was a Jewish man who’d been deported and killed in World War II. My mother showed me a photograph. The unfamiliar man I’d seen more than ten years earlier during my NDE turned out to be my biological father. (32-33)
At the age of sixteen I had a serious motorcycle accident. I was in a coma for nearly three weeks. During that coma I had an extremely powerful experience . . . and then I came to a kind of iron fence. Behind it stood Mr. Van der G., the father of my parents’ best friend. He told me that I couldn’t go any further. I had to go back because my time hadn’t come yet. . . . When I told my parents after waking up, they said to me that Mr. Van der G. had died and been buried during my coma. I couldn’t have known that he was dead. (33)
Suddenly I recognized all these relatives. They were all around thirty-five years old, including the little brother I’d never known, because he had died during the war when he was two years old, before I was born. He had grown a lot. My parents were there, too, and they smiled at me, just like the others. (33)
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