Something of us survives death, a major study has concluded. Near-death experiences (NDEs) and out-of-body experiences (OBEs) are real and happen when the body has physically died.
Scientists have believed the brain can survive for no more than 30 seconds after the heart has stopped beating, but the new study reveals that people continued to have experiences some minutes after they had died.
After they were resuscitated, they spoke about seeing bright lights, or being beckoned by a guide, while others say they floated to the ceiling and continued to watch medical staff at work on their body.
One example, of a 57-year-old social worker who died on the operating table, recalled with vivid detail everything that was happening in the room, and the staff there confirmed afterwards that his description was accurate. He also recalled hearing two bleeps from a monitoring machine that makes a noise once every three minutes, so the researchers know he was 'dead' for between three and six minutes.
The study, by researchers at Southampton University, analysed 2,060 cases of cardiac arrest where the patient was declared dead for three minutes or longer. Of these, 46 per cent recalled experiences that continued after their death.
(Source: Resuscitation, 2014; doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2014.09.004)