This one falls under the slightly eerie yet optimistically upbeat category.
We’ve all had to deal with death at one time or another, so we all know it isn’t exactly the funnest of the fun subjects to broach. Especially since everyone deals with it differently. But now there’s scientific proof that there could actually be a form of life after death, and that broadens the conversation considerably.
But let’s back up, shall we?
Scientists at the University of Southampton just spent four years studying cases where people were revived after being declared clinically dead from cardiac arrest. More than 2,000 people across 15 hospitals from the UK, U.S. and Austria were included. Of those, nearly 40 per cent of people who survived said that they were actually “aware” they were clinically dead. Why is that so relevant, you ask? Because when your heart stops, so does your brain.
Maybe Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo were actually onto something.
Some of the subjects interviewed were able to recall minute details from the time between death and resuscitation, such as what the nurses were doing, the sounds of the machines or actually being resuscitated. In one case a patient described two beeps of a machine that were set to a three-minute interval, giving the brain plenty of time to “shut off.” (That typically takes 20-to-30 seconds after the heart has stopped.)
An even larger sampling of people from the group weren’t able to recall exact memories, but revealed they had feelings of unusual peacefulness and slowed time.
It also turns out that there may be something to that image of a great white light. Some of the survivors recalled bright flashes or a shining sun. Others had considerably less pleasant experiences and described feelings of being dragged through deep water, drowning or just plain old fear.
Before you go declaring an afterlife to all your friends though, be warned that of the 2,060 patients studied, a mere 330 survived. Of those, 140 revealed a sense of awareness.
So what does that boil down to? Basically that the jury is still out, but we could be onto something. Some doctors believe there would be higher instances of these cases without the heavy medication these patients are typically on. Or that some folk just chalk it all up to a near-death hallucination and don’t actually come forward. Then of course there will always be the naysayers, but that’s where more research comes in handy.