December 1, 2006 12:23am CST
throughout history, mysteries of the unknown have been heard, seen and spoken about. There are various theories and explanations to help us understand where we came from, why we're here, and what life is all about. However, there is one question that remains and has always remained unanswered: *what is it like to die? * A recent study conducted by a team of US scientists headed by Kevin Nelson found that people who had near-death experiences were more likely to have experienced “REM intrusion” – which includes experiences such as waking up and feeling unable to move, and hearing sounds just before and after sleep not heard by others. The individual may experience an unusual auditory sensation (described as a “buzzing sound”) as he or she leaves the physical body, and a sense of moving through a dark tunnel at great speed. As the individual passes through the tunnel, there may be an awareness of a bright light towards the end. While perceiving this light, individuals describe seeing ethereal forms. In the later part of the near-death experience, the individual may sense that he or she is rising rapidly towards the light into what he or she may consider heaven or another plane of consciousness - a place between two places or worlds. During this experience, the individual describes “meeting others”. The others that are met are usually dead relatives or dead friends. They may also describe encountering visible ‘‘spirits’’—what some have referred to as “guardian spirits” or “spirit-helpers”. In this encounter, individuals experiencing the NDE may become conscious of having a total panoramic review of their life pass before their eyes. Usually when people are asked to recount their experience, they realize that there are no words to describe ‘such things'. Could there really be some existence after death? There have been theories speculating that all these individuals may be hallucinating, while others suggest that there is enough evidence out there to confirm that there is a real capability to be conscious outside our physical bodies. Numerous people have related hearing or watching their doctors or other spectators pronounce them dead. Often they feel like they are another person in the room watching the whole thing like a spectator, but being unable to feel anything associated with their own body. They witness verifiably real events that take place in the physical world. People who have had a NDE say there is nothing hallucinatory or dream-like about the experience. It is an unconventional area for scientific exploration, but after patients described the mysterious experiences and feelings taking place during a close brush with death, researchers and scientists knew they wanted to learn more.