Common Themes in Near-Death Experience Stories

Karen Frazier

Common Near-Death Experience Themes and Stories

Many people who die and then come back, commonly called a near-death experience, report several common themes in their stories. These common themes were first described by Dr. Raymond Moody, author of Life After Life and many other books on human consciousness surviving bodily death. Over 13 million Americans claim to have near-death experience stories. Most were clinically dead, but revived only to return with tales of dying and seeing a light at the end of a tunnel.

Floating Sensation

The common themes revealed by those having a near-death experience (NDE) begin with an awareness of floating from their bodies. This is called an out-of-body experience.

Some stories recount how people attempted to get the doctors' attention or how they grew impatient and left the operating room, moving through walls and doors as though they weren't there.

Looking Down From Above

Many near-death experiencers report looking down on their own bodies from above. They may see their bodies on a surgical table undergoing a medical procedure and hear what the doctors are saying, or they might experience looking down on their dead bodies following an accident. When this happens, they report feeling a sense of confusion or dispassion, as well as a feeling of peace.

Witness to Their Own Death

There are countless stories about people hovering over their lifeless bodies, watching as medical personnel attempted to revive them. Most are able to give details of the moments immediately following their deaths. They can accurately recount conversations between the medical workers and describe the various medical procedures performed on them. These are things they couldn't possibly know.

Many of the stories told have astounded those who were in attendance during the time of death. Even scientists can't explain this phenomenon with hallucination theories or the misfiring of neurons in the brain.

No One Is Able to See Them

Many recall wandering through the hospital and visiting with family members in the waiting room, although their presence was undetected. Later, they're able to recite what was said during that time and describe the various activities they witnessed.

Traveling a Tunnel of Light

Another common experience is traveling through a tunnel of bright light. During this travel, experiencers may feel pulled toward the light, or they might notice sounds of singing, humming, or bells ringing.

Feeling a Sense of Freedom

Many experiencers report a sense of freedom, joy, or lightness from no longer being bound by the human body. They also report noticing the absence of physical pain.

Greeted by Loved Ones

The majority of the NDErs report the presence of a deceased family member or angelic being standing by their deathbed who reassures them and calms their fears. In other stories, the "greeter" appears inside the tunnel or at the end of the tunnel when the person emerges into the brilliant white light. Still, some NDE stories retell how there were multitudes of people in the light who were also being greeted by loved ones or angelic beings.

Some Have Hellish Experiences in NDE

In a few of the NDE stories, the experience isn't so calm or pleasant. In fact, some NDErs claim they went to hell. These NDE stories are often traumatic to the person and to those who hear of their experience.

One man, upon being revived, screamed that he'd seen the devil and was petrified. He went on to describe horrific scenes of great suffering and masses of tangled bodies being burned alive.

Near-Death Experiences Are Impossible to Describe

Most of the stories tell about visiting with deceased loved ones and being able to touch them. NDErs claim the world they visited was more vibrant and real than their physical one.

Feelings of joy and happiness over being reunited with loved ones overwhelms NDErs. The profound universal love is more than they can bear; they become emotional when attempting to explain it. They find explaining the world they visited impossible to describe.

This Must Be Heaven!

The lush scenes that NDErs talk about sound like paradise. They tell about how alive and vibrant the world they visited was. Even the colors are more brilliant, and some are not like any colors found in the physical world.

Choral and instrumental music sometimes greets NDErs, yet unlike anything they've ever heard. Most NDErs say that the physical world pales in comparison to the one they visited. They anticipate their eventual return.

Returning to the Body Is the End of a NDE

Many of the NDE stories reveal that the return to their bodies was involuntary. Some claim they were given the choice to return to their physical bodies while others were simply told it wasn't their time and that they must return.

They speak of having a sense of traveling very rapidly through space. Many recall seeing the earth as though in a science-fiction movie and approaching the planet from outer space.

For most NDErs, there is a long-lasting sense of having journeyed a great distance from earth into a different dimension or realm of existence.

Near-Death Experiences Change Lives

Those who are involuntarily sent back usually express great sadness and remorse over not being able to stay, yet the majority do re-adjust once back in their bodies. Still, most NDErs talk about how they felt more alive in the other world. Stories abound with how lives are changed after a NDE.

One woman quit her job and returned to college to pursue a career in medicine, while a former drug addict recovered and went on to help other addicts. Several wrote books, while others discovered new talents or psychic abilities.

All agree that they no longer fear death.

Karen Frazier
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Common Themes in Near-Death Experience Stories