In the last couple of weeks my mind has been on the topic of Near Death Experiences (NDEs) and Departing Visions (or Deathbed Visions). A Near Death Experience is where a person has a spectacular (in most cases) and very real, heavenly experience where they leave their body and all of their earthly pain and troubles. They often hover above their physical bodies (many times in a hospital or surgical setting). Most report a bright light or a tunnel of light, sometimes a bridge, and greeting a familiar face or family member on the other side. They’re told it’s not their time yet… and then they’re abruptly pulled back to their physical body, retaining the memory of the whole experience. A Departing Vision is often witnessed when a person is close to death (usually within hours). Perhaps they start speaking to a long dead relative, and perhaps they are annoyed that you can’t see them and don’t acknowledge the visit. Many statements uttered by people experiencing these visions lead witnesses to believe that these unseen visitors are there to comfort the dying or even to help them cross over. Both of these phenomena are often explained away by scientists or skeptics as a kind of hallucination caused by lack of oxygen to the “dying brain”.
I’ve been reading Heavenly Hugs: Comfort, Support, and Hope From the Afterlife by Carla Wills-Brandon, PhD. I have never experienced an NDE or a Departing Vision, but like many people, I’ve heard stories from family members who were present and saw or heard things when they were at the bedside of a dying loved one. I plan on sharing one of those stories soon, perhaps when I finish the book.
But what I wanted to share with you is something I saw just this last weekend. This is a clip from the most recent episode of Real Time with Bill Maher. I can’t pretend or cover up the fact that I’m a proud liberal and LOVE Bill Maher. However, I was disappointed and maybe thrown off a bit by how the topic of NDEs were laughed at and dismissed by most of the panel. Maybe I’m just such a paranerd that I am losing touch with the rest of the world. Is this really how the common person views it? And if so… what must they think of my blog?! 🙂