Near-Death Experiences (NDEs)

NDEs and End-of-Life experiences are currently one of my main interests.

The Danish term for NDEs is nærdødsoplevelser.

Jeff Olsen about his own NDE and Dr. Bruce Greyson about NDEs in general.


Cardiologist Pim van Lommel (2010, p. 7) defines the NDE as a: “…recollection of all the impressions gained during a special state of consciousness, which includes some specific elements such as witnessing a tunnel, a light, a panoramic life review, deceased persons, or one’s own resuscitation.” Which can occur “….during clinical death, but also in the course of serious illness.”

Professor Emeritus of psychiatry and neurobehavioural sciences Bruce Greyson (2000, p. 316) writes that NDEs are “…profound psychological events with transcendental and mystical elements, typically occurring to individuals close to death or in situations of intense physical or emotional danger.” He also highlights (1998): “These anomalous experiences are of interest to physicians not only because they may permanently and dramatically alter the experiencer’s attitudes, beliefs, and values, but because these profound changes may lead to significant psychosocial problems requiring intervention.”

More recently, Parnia et al. (2022) have argued that the traditional term NDE has lacked a precise definition and specific criteria. The vague definition has entailed that extant research refers to: “phenomenological different experiences described under different circumstances all under the label of a so-called near-death experience.”

Hence, Parnia et al. (2022) have coined the term RED (recalled experience of death), which is “defined as a specific cognitive and emotional experience that occurs during a period of LOC [loss of consciousness] in relation to a life threatening event, including cardiac arrest.”

Parnia et al. (2022) mention that several new themes and subthemes pertaining to the RED phenomenon have been identified since Moody’s seminal book “Life after Life” (1975). A few examples:

  • Separating from the body, paradoxical lucitity, connected by a “cord”
  • Heading to a destination
  • Reliving the recording of my life: all my thoughts, intentions, and actions matter
  • The indescribable: a compassionate, loving, “perfect”, and luminous being
  • Being in others’ shoes: experiencing the perspective of others
  • Human dignity: importance of living with morals and ethics
  • A higher purpose: I wish I had known
  • Returning home: a place I had known before
  • A hierarchy exists: layers of comprehension
  • Being assisted
  • Reaching a point of no return, I really want to stay, must return
  • Loss of fear of death
  • Long-term positive effects


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