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The following post contains excerpts from a report written by David Sunfellow. The report is a summary of Jeffrey Long’s book, Evidence Of The Afterlife. David’s summary was written in March of 2010. To read the complete report, go here.
To download a three-page summary of the most important findings of Dr. Long’s research, click here (pdf).
Dr. Long’s organization, the Near-Death Experience Research Foundation, continues to collect NDEs from around the world. It currently includes 3,700 near-death experience accounts in over 23 languages.
EVIDENCE OF THE AFTERLIFE: THE SCIENCE OF NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES
By Dr. Jeffrey Long
QUOTES FROM EVIDENCE OF THE AFTERLIFE
“The core NDE experience is the same all over the world. Whether it’s a near-death experience of a Hindu in India, a Muslim in Egypt, or a Christian in the United States, the same core elements are present in all, including out-of-body experience, tunnel experience, feelings of peace, beings of light, a life review, reluctance to return, and transformation after the NDE. In short, the experience of dying appears similar among all humans, no matter where they live.”
“Preexisting cultural beliefs do not significantly influence the content of NDEs. Near-death experiences from around the world appear to have similar content regardless of the culture of the country that the NDErs live in.”
“The results of the Near Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF) study clearly indicate remarkable consistency among NDE case studies. This study finds that what people discovered during their near-death experience about God, love, afterlife, reason for our earthly existence, earthly hardships, forgiveness, and many other concepts is strikingly consistent across cultures, races, and creeds. Also, these discoveries are generally not what would have been expected from preexisting societal beliefs, religious teachings, or any other source of earthly knowledge.”
“By scientifically studying the more than 1,300 cases shared with NDERF, I believe that the nine lines of evidence presented in this book all converge on one central point: There is life after death.”
“I have studied thousands of near-death experiences. I have carefully considered the evidence NDEs present regarding the existence of an afterlife. I believe, without a shadow of a doubt that there is life after physical death.”
“Some research indicates that as much as 5 percent of the U.S. Population has had a near-death experience.”
“Generaly speaking, NDErs who have life reviews view themselves from a third-person perspective. They watch themselves interacting with the people in their lives. They see how they treated others and often step into the other person’s place so they know how that person felt when interacting with them.”
“A spiritual being sometimes accompanies the person who is having the life review. This being may serve as a kind of loving guide, assessing the life review from a higher spiritual plane as the NDEr watches, discussing the spiritual ramifications of the events of the NDEr’s life. The being’s comments may help the NDEr put his or her life into perspective. Near-death experiencers almost never describe feeling negatively judged by this spiritual being, no matter how unkind they were up to that point in their lives. Near-death experiencers who reviewed many of their own prior cruel actions often express great relief that they were not negatively judged during their NDEs.”
“Near-death experiencers generally noted that they were the ones who judged themselves. During the process they saw the good and bad, the cause and effect of their choices. Many reported that they had a review of feelings rather than a review of visual events.”
“Many NDErs say that the life review, of all the elements of the NDE, was by far the greatest catalyst for change. A life review allows NDErs to relive their own lives, mistakes and all. It also gives them a chance to evaluate themselves on their life performance. Many things that seemed insignificant at the time — a small kindness, for instance — turn out to be significant in their own or another person’s life. People realize they became angry over things that were not important or that they placed too much significance on unimportant things.”
“The life review helps the NDEr understand his or her purpose in life.”
“Knowledge and love are two elements that we take with us when we die. As a result, life reviews are often one of the most transformative elements of the NDE. Those who have powerful life reviews tend to revere both knowledge and love after their NDE.”
“The Kelly study found that 95 percent of the deceased individuals encountered were relatives, while only 5 percent were friends or acquaintances. Only 4 percent of the NDErs in the study met beings who were alive at the time of the NDE. Other studies have shown that in dreams or hallucinations, the beings encountered are much more likely to be people who are still living.”
“Encounters with the deceased loved ones are almost always joyous reunions.”
“Although many deceased loved ones prior to death were elderly and sometimes disfigured by arthritis or other chronic illnesses, the deceased in the near-death experience are virtually always the picture of perfect health and may appear younger — even decades younger — than they did at the time of death. Those who died as very young children may appear older. But even if the deceased appear to be a very different age than when they died, the NDEr still recognizes them.”
“People may encounter in their near-death experience a being who seems familiar but whose identity is unknown during the NDE… Most of the time… unfamiliar beings turn out to be family members from the past.”
THE TWELVE ELEMENTS OF NDEs:
According to Evidence of the Afterlife, no two near-death experiences are identical. When, however, many near-death experiences are studied, a common pattern of elements emerges, which usually occur in consistent order. Here is a list of the twelve main NDE elements that have been identified. Each element is followed by a number indicating what percentage of the 613 people included in the Evidence of the Afterlife study experienced the element in question. Significantly, only 33.8 percent reported passing into of through a tunnel, and only 22.2 percent said they experienced a life review.
1. Out-of-body experience (OBE): Separation of consciousness from the physical body – 75.4 percent
2. Heightened senses – 74.4 percent
3. Intense and generally positive emotions or feelings – 76.2 percent
4. Passing into or through a tunnel – 33.8 percent
5. Encountering a mystical or brilliant light – 64.6 percent
6. Encountering other beings, either mystical beings or deceased relatives or friends – 57.3 percent
7. A sense of alteration of time and space – 60.5 percent
8. Life review – 22.2 percent
9. Encountering unworldly (“heavenly”) realms – 40.6 percent
10. Encountering or learning special knowledge – 56 percent (31.5 percent answered that they felt they understood everything “about the universe”; 31.3 percent felt they understood everything “about myself and others”)
11. Encountering a boundary or barrier – 31 percent
12. Return to the body, either voluntary or involuntary – 58.5 percent
Based on the NDEs that Long studied, Long developed “nine lines of reasoning” that he believes PROVES the existence of life after death. Here are Long’s nine lines, with an additional category added by me:
LONG’S NINE LINES OF EVIDENCE
1. The level of consciousness and alertness during NDEs is usually greater than they experience during their everyday life even though NDEs generally occur while unconscious or clinically dead. The elements in NDEs generally follow a consistent and logical and order.
2. What NDErs see and hear in the out of body state during their NDEs is generally realistic, and often verified later by the NDErs or others as real.
3. Normal or super-normal vision occurs in NDEs among those with significantly impaired vision or even legal blindness. Several NDErs who were blind from birth have reported highly visual NDEs.
4. Typical NDEs occur under general anesthesia at a time when conscious experience should be impossible.
5. Life reviews in NDEs include real events that took place in the NDErs lives, even if the events had been forgotten.
6. When NDErs encounter beings they knew from their earthly life, they are virtually always deceased, and usually deceased relatives.
7. The NDEs of children, including very young children, are strikingly similar to the NDEs of older children and adults.
8. NDEs appear strikingly consistent around the world. Many NDEs from non-Western countries are very similar to typical Western NDEs.
9. Changes in the lives of NDErs after their experiences, the NDE aftereffects, are common. Aftereffects are often powerful, lasting, and the changes follow a consistent pattern.
– Decreased fear of death
– Increased belief in the afterlife
– A stronger sense of spirituality
– A sense of God’s presence
– An awareness of the meaning and purpose of life
– A belief in the sacredness of life
– A greater appreciation of life
– A reduced interest in material gain or status
– Seek out helping or healing professions
– 45 percent reported psychic, paranormal, or other special gifts
– People with very serious illnesses, both physical and mental, believe they were healed
– Increasingly loving and accepting of themselves
– More self confidence
– Increased awareness of the needs of others and a willingness to reach out to them
– May end negative and unloving relationships, and seek out positive and loving relationships
– Increasing capacities for love and compassion can result in stronger marriages and relationships
– Increased intelligence (at least in children)
According to Long, “you can’t fake the effects of a near-death experience.”
73.1 percent reported that their lives had changed significantly as the result of their NDE. Long also reports that “it takes as long as seven years or more for a person who has had a near-death experience to fully integrate into their life the changes that resulted from the experience.”
A line of evidence that I believe should have been included, but wasn’t:
10. Remarkably accurate, long-term memories of NDEs
Not included in the above nine lines of evidence mentioned above, is another peculiar feature of the near-death experience that I believe should have been included. And that is the curious fact that unlike normal human memories, which are distorted over time, near-death experiences are not “embellished or diminished.” This includes both children, who retell their near-death experiences as adults, as well as adults who retell their stories decades after the experience. Long cites several different studies, of both children and adults, that support this important conclusion. Writes Long, “the striking ability of near-death experiences to consistently recall in great detail their experiences, even decades later, is a testament to the power of the near-death experience. It is a unique and remarkable state of consciousness.”
TWO ESPECIALLY INTERESTING NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES
JONATHAN R’S NDE
Going into the operating room I had an unusual amount of peace. I was joking with the staff and doctors. I had no fear at all. I remember counting backwards from 10, but don’t remember what number I got to. It was several days later that I began to remember what happened during the operation. And only a few days ago I first shared it with my wife in fear of being considered a nut.
I remember standing about 10 feet up and 10 feet to the side of my body on the table. A person was standing next to me, but I didn’t look at him/her. I had no fear, or questions to ask, I just observed.
Around the table were at least a dozen nurses and doctors. But what was so emotional was the presence of white people that I can only describe as angels. Each angel was guiding the hands of the staff they were standing next to.
I heard no noise, no voices, no music. It was peacefully quiet.
I don’t remember details to specific, such as what tools were used, or the exact position of my body, but only because I was focused so much on the angels guiding the staff in everything they did, from walking, to the use of the tools within my chest cavity.
Even after the operation, I still had an unusual peace and no fear. The doctor said it was the best operation he had ever gone through, there were no problems at all, and he was impressed at my rate of recovery.
I was released from the hospital only 14 days after having my chest opened, deflated lungs, and patched esophagus.
ANITA M’S NDE
I had cancer (Hodgkin’s Lymphoma), and on this morning, I could not move. My husband rushed me to hospital, where, after doing scans, they diagnosed me with grade 4B lymphoma (the highest grade). The senior oncologist looked at my report and told my husband that it was too late, and that my organs were now shutting down. I only had 36 hours to live. However, the oncologist said he would do whatever he could but prepared my husband that I would most likely not make it, as my organs were no longer functioning. They started me on a chemotherapy drip as well as oxygen, and then they started to take tests, particularly on my organ functions, so that they could determine what drugs to use.
I was drifting in and out of consciousness during this time, and I could feel my spirit actually leaving my body. I saw and heard the conversations between my husband and the doctors taking place outside my room, about 40 feet away down a hallway. I was later able to verify this conversation to my shocked husband. Then I actually “crossed over” to another dimension, where I was engulfed in a total feeling of love. I also experienced extreme clarity of why I had the cancer, why I had come into this life in the first place, what role everyone in my family played in my life in the grand scheme of things, and generally how life works. The clarity and understanding I obtained in this state is almost indescribable. Words seem to limit the experience — I was at a place where I understood how much more there is than what we are able to conceive in our 3-dimensional world. I realized what a gift life was, and that I was surrounded by loving spiritual beings, who were always around me even when I did not know it.
The amount of love I felt was overwhelming, and from this perspective, I knew how powerful I am, and saw the amazing possibilities we as humans are capable of achieving during a physical life. I found out that my purpose now would be to live “heaven on earth” using this new understanding, and also to share this knowledge with other people. However I had the choice of whether to come back into life, or go towards death. I was made to understand that it was not my time, but I always had the choice, and if I chose death, I would not be experiencing a lot of the gifts that the rest of my life still held in store. One of the things I wanted to know was that if I chose life, would I have to come back to this sick body, because my body was very, very sick and the organs had stopped functioning. I was then made to understand that if I chose life, my body would heal very quickly. I would see a difference in not months or weeks, but days!
I was shown how illnesses start on an energetic level before they become physical. If I chose to go into life, the cancer would be gone from my energy, and my physical body would catch up very quickly. I then understood that when people have medical treatments for illnesses, it rids the illness only from their body but not from their energy so the illness returns. I realized if I went back, it would be with a very healthy energy. Then the physical body would catch up to the energetic conditions very quickly and permanently. I was given the understanding that this applies to anything, not only illnesses — physical conditions, psychological conditions, etc. I was “shown” that everything going on in our lives was dependant on this energy around us, created by us. Nothing was solid — we created our surroundings, our conditions, etc. depending where this “energy” was at. The clarity I received around how we get what we do was phenomenal! It’s all about where we are energetically. I was made to feel that I was going to see “proof” of this first hand if I returned back to my body.
I know I was drifting in and out between the two worlds, but every time I drifted into the “other side”, I was shown more and more scenes. There was one which showed how my life had touched all the people in it — it was sort of like a tapestry and showed how I affected everyone’s lives around me. There was another which showed my brother on a plane, having heard the news I was dying, coming to see me (this was verified to me as when I started to come round, my brother was there, having just got off a plane). I then saw a glimpse of my brother and me and somehow seemed to understand it was a previous life, where I was much older than him and was like a mother to him (in this life, he is older than me). I saw in that life I was very protective towards him. I suddenly became aware he was on the plane to come and see me, and felt “I can’t do this to him — can’t let him come and see me dead”. Then I also saw how my husband’s purpose was linked to mine, and how we had decided to come and experience this life together. If I went, he would probably follow soon after.
I was made to understand that, as tests had been taken for my organ functions (and the results were not out yet), that if I chose life, the results would show that my organs were functioning normally. If I chose death, the results would show organ failure as the cause of death, due to cancer. I was able to change the outcome of the tests by my choice!
I made my choice, and as I started to wake up (in a very confused state, as I could not at that time tell which side of the veil I was on), the doctors came rushing into the room with big smiles on their faces saying to my family “Good news — we got the results and her organs are functioning — we can’t believe it!! Her body really did seem like it had shut down!”
After that, I began to recover rapidly. The doctors had been waiting for me to become stable before doing a lymph node biopsy to track the type of cancer cells, and they could not even find a lymph node big enough to suggest cancer (upon entering the hospital my body was filled with swollen lymph nodes). They did a bone marrow biopsy, again to find the cancer activity so they could adjust the chemotherapy according to the disease, and there wasn’t any in the bone marrow. The doctors were very confused, but put it down to me suddenly responding to the chemo. Because they themselves were unable to understand what was going on, they made me undergo test after test, all of which I passed with flying colors, and clearing every test empowered me even more! I had a full body scan, and because they could not find anything, they made the radiologist repeat it again!!!!
Because of my experience, I am now sharing with everyone I know that miracles are possible in your life every day. After what I have seen, I realize that absolutely anything is possible, and that we did not come here to suffer. Life is supposed to be great, and we are very, very loved. The way I look at life has changed dramatically, and I am so glad to have been given a second chance to experience “heaven on earth”.
The Near Death Experience Research Foundation presently contains over 2000 full-text published NDE accounts, with more being added all the time. Current NDEs are located here. For other especially powerful NDEs, go here. And here. And here.