With no scientific evidence to prove life after death is real, researchers have to rely on the personal testimonies of so-called near-death experiences (NDEs). One such experience comes from a woman named Franciose who believes she caught a glimpse of the afterlife 17 years ago. According to Franciose’s account, she stood on the brink of death during a kayaking trip when her kayak tripped over.

Franciose claims she was trapped underwater for at least 20 minutes, during which she realised she was going to die.

She said: “I remember wriggling so hard that my helmet was banging on the overturned kayak. I fought frantically for a minute or so.

“Then it all went quiet. I stopped moving completely and felt total peace.

“I heard a small voice say that it was fine, that I would die and that is ok. I felt a lot better than ok.

“I felt an incredible joy and peace that filled me. I remember a beautiful void, like an underwater tunnel, that was around me and quickly filling with bright rays of light.”

In this “void”, Franciose remembers seeing flecks of golden dust floating around.

And despite the terrifying circumstances, the claims it was the happiest she has ever been.

Franciose then heard the voice again as it counted back from five.

She said: “Then I was flipped over, and I came back to my body.

“I think the guys were both surprised that I wasn’t angry or upset with them for leaving me alone for that long.

“I was deeply saddened to be back, so I walked away and said nothing.”

Following the harrowing experience, Franciose has lost all fear of dying.

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She said: “I never felt the need to question the afterlife, or to think on what that might be.”

However, most medical experts are not convinced NDEs like this are proof of the afterlife.

Instead, a number of theories have been put forward to try and explain them through non-supernatural theories.

A leading theory, for instance, suggests NDEs are hallucinations caused by brain cells dying during a moment of trauma.

A similar theory suggests NDEs are hallucinations caused by a lack of oxygen flowing to the brain.

What is true, however, is many NDE patients often recall similar experiences.

Dr Sam Parnia, director of critical care and resuscitation research at NYU Langone School of Medicine in New York City, said: “People describe a sensation of a bright, warm, welcoming light that draws people towards it.

“They describe a sensation of experiencing their deceased relatives, almost as if they have come to welcome them.

“They often say that they didn’t want to come back in many cases, it is so comfortable and it is like a magnet that draws them that they don’t want to come back.”

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