Neil deGrasse Tyson discusses life after death theory in 2017
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The jury is still out on whether life goes on after death but some people claim to have already caught a glimpse of the afterlife. In particular, people who had have intense and life-changing near-death experiences (NDE) are often left believing life after death is real. One such person is Natalia, who claims to have come dangerously close to dying as a child when she choked on some food in school.
Natalia told the Near-Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF) of the terrifying ordeal and how she found herself drifting off into a void.
And though the incident was not technically classified as clinical death, the woman is convinced she lost all awareness of time and her body.
She said: “I was in first grade and having lunch with my class in the cafeteria.
“Suddenly, I start to choke on my food and could not get any air. I got a little panicked.
“A teacher laid me over her lap and repeatedly hit my back, trying to dislodge the food.”
Natalia does not know how long this carried on for but it seems to her as though it took ages.
Eventually, she could no longer breathe and she felt her heartbeat get slower and slower.
She said: “My eyes closed and I was surrounded by dark nothingness.
“I wasn’t particularly stressed; rather, I was quite calm and at peace.
“I don’t remember clearly if I saw anything, but there might have been a type of purple energy standing across from me in the void.”
Besides the void, Natalia recalls thinking about her mother, which made her realise this was not her time to die.
Afterlife: Expert discusses 'feelings' in near-death experiences
She added: “I came back to my senses just as I coughed and started breathing again.
“I was really confused and felt as if I had just woken up from a sleep.
“I was happy about being able to breathe again.”
Describing the incident to NDERF, Natalia said it was both a pleasant and distressing experience.
More crucially, however, it left her believing an afterlife “probably exists”.
She said: “When I was floating in the void. I didn’t wonder about a lot of things.
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“It was just like I knew what it was and that it was linked to physically dying. Thus, why I felt I should not be there.”
Although the experience sounds profound, many medical experts would argue it was a perfectly natural response to the harrowing incident.
NDE studies show people on the verge of dying often have intense visions of an afterlife, their deceased loved ones or recall flying through a tunnel or dark void.
According to Dr Sam Parnia, director of critical care and resuscitation research at NYU Langone School of Medicine in New York City, these visions are often accompanied by positive feelings rather than panic.
He 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.”
Scientists have attempted to explain these NDEs as the result of chemical processes in the brain.
One theory, for instance, speculates NDEs are hallucinations triggered by inadequate oxygen supply to the brains.
Other researchers speculate such hallucinations can be caused by dying brain cells.
Whatever the case may be, there is no scientific evidence of the afterlife being real.
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