OBE Veridicality Research

13 Aug

Having undertaken a five year prospective research project into NDEs I know how difficult it is to verify the OBE component. At the Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) where I conducted the research I put symbols on top of the cardiac monitor at each patient’s bedside. These monitors were mounted on the wall and were approx 7 feet off the ground. The symbols were also concealed behind ridges that sat on the top of the monitor. This ensured that the only way in which the symbols could be viewed was from an out of body perspective.

 Below are some of the factors that I had to take into account:

  •  Prior to undertaking the research I explained the forthcoming research to a random sample of 100 people (consisting of hospital staff and visitors). Then I asked them what symbol they would expect to see on top of the monitor. When deciding on what symbols to create I deliberately did not use anything that any of the random sample had said they expected to see.
  • Following the recommendation of previous research conducted by Professor Janice Holden in the 1980’s I made the symbols as attractive and visible as possible by mounting them on brightly coloured day-glow paper. I hoped that the bright colours would attract the attention of any patient who may be out of their body.
  • When I did a pilot study I realised that my colleagues were very curious about the symbols and in my absence many of them had climbed up on ladders to view them. This in itself could have invalidated the research especially if my colleagues had discussed the symbols within earshot of any patient – if a patient had reported an OBE, it could be a mind model constructed from what the patients heard the staff talking about. So I had to renew all of the symbols and spoke to each staff member and explained the importance of them not knowing what the symbols were. I showed them the previous symbols that I had to replace and their curiosity was satisfied and they no longer had the need to climb on ladders.
  • Every week I had to dust each symbol to make sure there was no dust to obscure the symbol and to adhere to infection control. This was done during a night shift to minimise attention. At this time I rotated the symbols to a different monitor – I covered each symbol with a piece of card so that I didn’t know which symbol was on which monitor therefore reducing the possibility that I could have telepathically transmitted the symbol to the patient if one claimed to have viewed it.

 In my research eight patients reported an out of body type experience but none of them reported the hidden symbol. The reasons for this were the varying qualities of the OBEs reported.

 Some patients floated to locations opposite to where the symbols were situated. Some did not rise high enough out of their body and some were simply more concerned with what was going on with their body.

 There were two patients who reported an OBE where they were high enough and in the correct location to view the symbols but they were not looking on the top of the monitor. One of those patients remarked that if he knew before his OBE that there was a hidden symbol there he would have looked at it and told me what it was.

 Obviously, if patients report OBEs then if the actions of the staff present were reported then this could be verified by interviewing the staff present.

 However, all that being said it is still worth persevering with this research because I have also come across people who reported an OBE anecdotally (not patients in my hospital research). Some were able to ‘float’ around the room at will – one lady was a nurse and she was looking at her cardiac monitor. There are also similar reports in the literature.

 So the most important point I realised having conducted this research was that OBEs are of varying qualities and quite rare. It was incredibly hard work to undertake the research project. In the five years of my research there were only two OBEs that were of sufficient quality to actually view the symbol. During those five years approximately 7000 patients were admitted to ITU. Hence to accumulate convincing results will take a very long time, many thousands of patients and a lot of patience from the researchers.

 So when the results are considered at surface value it may be wrongly assumed that the OBE veridicality research is producing negative results when in fact it is not – it is simply far too early to yield good quality OBEs in sufficient quantities. I predict it could take at least 20 years of continuous research to get any satisfying results. All results from the AWARE study will contribute greatly to our understanding of consciousness.

117 Responses to “OBE Veridicality Research”

  1. Max_b August 13, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    I’m less comfortable with ‘disembodied eyes’ floating around as an explanation for these experiences, than I am with an explanation of telepathy picked up by the patient from one (or more) broadcasters.

    I reckon if you put symbols at a height that the ITU staff could see them, as well as at a height that nobody could see them, you would get occasional OBE confirmations of the former, and absolutely none of the latter. Plus, you would be forced to explain why those who reported these experiences noticed one set of symbols, but not the other set.

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 15, 2011 at 9:40 am #

      HI Max,
      You have valid points.

      With regards to the ‘disembodied eyes’ – this is something that makes me think a lot. If someone is having an OBE and their body (and eyes) is on the bed how can they ‘see’ something from above? So, are they really seeing something or is it just a mind model constructed by their brain? There is no explanation for this within our current scientific framework. Thats where the problem lies, we have been so busy trying to explain these experiences away that we have not spent enough time ‘thinking outside the box’ for an alternative explanation.

      Having 21 years experience as a nurse and looking after thousands of unconscious patients it is apparent that NDEs and OBEs are very rare – especially good cases quality like the case of Patient 10 in my research. However, having been present while Patient 10 had his OBE then listening to his very accurate report has really made me sit up and listen. I realise that I have no alternative but to look for other explanations to explain these experiences. I think cases such as this strengthen the need for further research in this area.

      With regards to the symbols I hid on top of the monitors there is absolutely no way they could have been seen from the height that they were. One of my colleagues is almost 7 foot tall and he was my test for this – he tried to view each symbol from every angle imaginable and from varying distances. Further to this each symbol was surrounded by a ridge so effectively they were contained in a box. When I climbed up on a ladder these symbols were visible from above if someone did have an OBE. I agree that this method is not perfect but it is the most practical method we have to work with at the moment.

      In light of previous cases being reported of patients ‘floating’ outside the hospital and viewing the tennis shoe and the nurse who anecdotally reported to me ‘floating’ to the front of her cardiac monitor I think it is worth persevering with. The research will provide valuable information either way – if one or two patients correctly identify the symbols then this would be a huge breakthrough to how we view consciousness. Equally if hundred of patients report and OBE but none identify the symbol when it is apparent that they had a good quality OBE then this too would be valuable information.

  2. Tim August 15, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    Max’s point is valid but I believe that telepathy whether one accepts it or not, does not explain the rich visual detail of the reports in the vast majority of veridical cases. Patient 10 and Dr Michael Sabom’s six star cases are just far too detailed to be created by ‘telepathy’. The observation of a fixed and moving needle on a crash cart or arterial blood on a doctor’s patent leather white shoes or the depth of ruptured disc in a pateint’s spine…. doesn’t fit with a telepathic mind to mind exchange of information I think it’s fair to say.

  3. Max_B August 15, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    I think you’ve misunderstood me Penny… I just think you should put symbols at different heights. Those sysmbols which are hidden from everybody (as currently), and a new set of symbols at lower heights which are visible to the ITU staff.

    If you got OBE’s in which the patient identified the ‘lower’ symbols, but failed to identify the higher (hidden) symbols, you would have some interesting questions to ask about ‘who’ is doing the ‘seeing’.

    I think your current research is too restricted towards trying to confirm the ‘disembodied eyes’ idea. If you put symbols at different heights it might give a better clue as to where future research into such experiences should be targeted.

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 15, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

      Oh sorry Max, I see what you mean now.

      Yes, you have a very good point there as this would also give us very valuable information too. This is certainly something that should be considered for any future research that is carried out.

      The specific aim of my study was to see if anything that was not already in the memory of the patients (or staff for that matter) could have been acquired while out of the body. It is a bit restricting but the aim is to ascertain if consciousness can exist apart from the body and if this could in any way be confirmed.

      I will keep your comments in mind for future research.

    • Tim August 15, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

      Max, Hi,
      Would the purpose of the lower symbols be to rule out psi ? It wouldn’t rule out genuine OBE’s.

  4. Max_B August 15, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

    Tim, at this stage, I think the visual ‘quality’ of the experience provides little information about it’s cause.

    • Tim August 15, 2011 at 11:32 pm #

      Thanks for the reply , Max.
      I can’t tell from your response how much you know about this subject. Also, your response is carefully guarded. If you are hinting that Sue Blackmore’s ideas are still considered to be worthy of consideration, please have another look at the current up to date literature.

      I think the visual quality of the experience tells us a lot about the potential cause, at least. Comatose patients don’t or shouldn’t be able to see, period. If they can recall accurate visual (and auditorial to a much lesser degree) events which occured around them
      then that means that there is ‘something else’ going on. What one calls ‘it’ is up to one’s own interpretation. Regards, Tim

  5. Max_B August 16, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    I’m lucky enough to have had a single verified OBE (not due to an NDE), which was of extraordinary visual quality. I’ve had many years to study it, and it informs all my thinking on this subject. I currently tend towards the view that it was telepathy from a single unknown broadcaster, hence I don’t agree with your view. I suggest that a similar process might explain the verified OBE’s which are sometimes experienced during NDE type events.

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 16, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

      Hi Max,
      Thanks for sharing that. I’m very interested by what you say. Would you like to elaborate on your experience? (I understand if you prefer not to as often OBEs can be very personal).

  6. Tim August 16, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    Hi, again Max.
    I’ll just keep this short. I can’t work out any way that telepathy could be responsible for the observation of one fixed and one moving needle on a crash cart. It doesn’t make any sense to me but of course I respect your opinion and you are entitled to it. Best wishes.

  7. Max_B August 16, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    I don’t mind sharing my OBE at all Penny…

    My father had purchased a terraced house on the other side of town, with the intention of setting up an Accountancy practice, the council had refused planning permission for an office in that area, so the house had been left empty whilst he appealed.

    I would be aged around 12, and was going through puberty at the time. I woke up in the early hours of the morning in terror, after having what seemed like a nightmare, but the content of which had a noticeably different/unusual quality.

    I had dreamt I was on the street at night, at the back of this property, the green painted wooden paneled gate off the street was unfastened, opening and banging shut again, and again, in the wind. I approached the gate and the gate opens, the peeling paint and grain of the timber is shown in incredible detail. I can’t however see my hand, or any part of my body. As the gate swings open revealing a small back yard, I notice that the kitchen door has been pushed completely open, just leaving a dark rectangular hole in the wall. The top opening pane of the small kitchen window is broken, and partly open. As I move towards the dark door opening, fear starts to build in me, as I reach the threshold the fear becomes incredible, and as I cross the threshold I wake up in terror.

    The next morning I still recall the dream in detail, and I do something unusual – I act on the dream (I have never acted on a dream before or since this event). I immediately go downstairs and tell dad about the dream whilst he’s having his breakfast, I explain the dreams unusual quality, and make clear that I believe that something has happened to the property and also pester him to drive over to it immediately.

    Dad finishes breakfast, and together with myself and my two elder brothers, we drive over to the house. We pull up round the back, opposite the green gate, which is blowing open and shut in the wind, both my brothers turn to look at me in the car, and pull ‘spooky’ faces. We leave the car and enter the gate, to find the kitchen door wide open, and pushed right back against the kitchen units, and the top pane of the kitchen window broken and slightly open. We enter the house to find water gushing through the ceiling. And the beginnings of mould on the carpet, it’s clear the house was broken into some days before, and the thieves have been returning to remove fixtures and fitting and lead piping over a period of time.

    Whilst there I noticed a slight bump on the stair carpet, and put my hand underneath the carpet to find a hacksaw, which had presumably been hidden by the thieves. We secured the house and turned off the water. Dad refused to talk about the incident for many years although he does talk about it now. My two brothers found the whole affair creepy and unsettling and recall the incident to this day.

    I have thought deeply about the incident for the whole of my life, and drawn the best conclusions I can to explain the incident. I have never had any other unusual OBE event of this type happen in my life since. Neither can I accept that this vivid dream was simply a highly unusual co-incidence.

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 16, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

      Hi Max,

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience – I was fascinated to read about it. Clearly, what you experienced was far more than just a dream. The fact that you acted on it and when you visited the house your feelings that something had happened to the property were confirmed adds weight that something occurred which cannot be explained by our current science.

      I have several cases on file similar to yours. These cases vary a little to the ones that I have investigated in conjunction with a NDE. You mention that you did not see your hand or any part of your body whereas in OBEs that occur close to death the person very clearly viewed their body as well as other details in the vicinity.

      There are also cases and experiments where people have attempted to have an OBE at will – very often a silver cord may be seen to connect the ‘floating body’ to the physical body. (This has also been reported in some OBEs near death too). If I remember correctly there is a good summary of OBE research experiments in the very interesting and informative book called Irreducible Mind edited by Edward Kelly and Emily WIlliams Kelly et al.

      Again I think this highlights the variations in the types of OBEs that are experienced and reported. The ones I have been researching have been reported during very specific near death circumstances when what was reported can be pin-pointed to a specific time window of when the patient was unconscious and this can then be investigated to ascertain if what was reported really did occur. This can be done by interviewing the staff present independently of the patient etc.

      When OBEs occur spontaneously or during sleep as yours did, then they are far more difficult to investigate. However, your experience demonstrates that you in some way gained information about the house during this altered state of awareness which does not sit easily with our current scientific explanations about consciousness.

      I think this highlights our lack of understanding of consciousness in general. To me the scientific explanation that consciousness is created by the brain is not adequate to explain all of these types of experiences. I’m not saying the brain is not involved in the perceiving of these experiences but rather than creating the experience the research would suggest that it mediates the consciousness as opposed to creates it.

      To me, it makes more sense to consider the brain as a filter. It usually screens out things not necessary to our everyday living or we would be too overwhelmed. There are certain circumstances when that ‘filter action’ relaxes and is not as controlled as it usually would be. Circumstances such as those near death would cause the ‘filter’ to malfunction so rather than screen out this consciousness it is merely allowed to be experienced. Maybe that night you were in such a deep sleep that the ‘filter action’ in some way relaxed – coupled with you being around 12 years of age (not all neurons are fully myelinated until the age of 14 so maybe the ‘filter’ was not fully mature / functional). This is a very simplistic description but there are many similar suggestions in the literature (and studies) to support it – so its not a new idea its just something that has not been fully explored because our science has always gone along with the notion that consciousness is created by the brain.

      Anyway, thats just an idea of mine. I’m trying to stay as open minded to this as much as possible because there is so much that we don’t know about consciousness.

      Thank you for sharing your experience and your ideas based on your experience and your own investigations because it gives me another angle to consider.

    • Mike Burke February 4, 2012 at 7:38 am #

      Hello Max,

      I just want to personally thank you for sharing this.

      It doesn’t answer all my questions, but it does suggest an answer to the biggest question I’ve been asking myself for over a year now.

      “Is there more to this world then what we can see?”

      Your experience suggests that there is, and with that to start with, maybe I can find some faith, some hope, and some comfort.

      Thank you.

      • Max_B February 4, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

        Thank you Mike. I’ve always felt rather privilged to have had this experience. I guess it’s supposed to be shared, and it’s nice to know that it has an impact.

  8. Max_B August 17, 2011 at 1:00 am #

    “You mention that you did not see your hand or any part of your body whereas in OBEs that occur close to death the person very clearly viewed their body as well as other details in the vicinity.”

    Are you saying they get to view their own disembodied body at their current viewing position during the experience, as well as their own real fleshy body lying on the bed? (i.e. they see two of themselves). I wasn’t aware of any NDE OBE’s that had that experience and would be interested to read about them.

    The OBE’s I’ve read about, all seem to float around without ever seeing their own floating body.

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 17, 2011 at 9:01 am #

      No, sorry Max, I misunderstood again – I thought you meant that you weren’t able to see your body lying on the bed. Incidentally did you see your physical body at all?

      I do have case in my forthcoming book of a man who while in a disembodied state was able to see his fingers (which appeared grey) but when he looked at his feet they looked as though he was wearing grey socks.

      You are right – the majority of OBErs see only their physical body below and not the disembodied body.

  9. Max_B August 17, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    No, sorry Max, I misunderstood again

    In that case, I continue to suggest that a similar process to that which I experienced, might explain the verified OBE’s which are sometimes experienced during NDE type events.

    I do have case in my forthcoming book of a man who while in a disembodied state was able to see his fingers (which appeared grey) but when he looked at his feet they looked as though he was wearing grey socks.

    that is completely fascinating… was his physical body actually wearing grey socks? Did his fingers actually look like ‘his’ fingers – even if the colour was odd? Were they translucent or solid? Did he winess whether they interacted with anything? Were his feet on the floor or floating? Does he wear grey socks normally?

    Incidentally did you see your physical body at all?

    No I didn’t. The experience starts on the street at the rear of the property. Mind you I would not expected to have seen my physical body… as to my knowledge, there was no broadcaster available who was looking at me at the moment I became receptive (I was asleep in bed in the early hours of the morning).

    In any case, I tend to feel that a broadcaster can only successfully transmit information which has strong emotional content, and this content must also have some relevance to the receiver.

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 17, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

      The man in my forthcoming book had his OBE as part of a NDE which occurred secondary to an accident. Without giving too much away, he was propelled downwards and was kind of hovering and was afraid to move in case he fell further. When he looked at his fingers they were like his physical fingers only grey in colour. His physical feet would have had socks on – he was playing rugby at the time. However, he did not mention if he usually wore grey socks but from the context of how he described the experience it seemed as though this seemed unusual to him.

      It’s really interesting to hear your perspective on your experience in relation to other OBEs, it’s made me think a lot.

  10. Max_B August 17, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    It’s difficult for me to comment as I have no knowledge of the case… I will have to read your forthcoming book 🙂

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 18, 2011 at 9:00 am #

      Thanks Max, I will contact the man who had that experience and ask him more questions.

  11. Tim August 17, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

    I thought you might find this video interesting. Dr Lloyd Rudy recounts two experiences from his patients, one a classic NDE with OBE and accurate veridical observations.

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 18, 2011 at 9:02 am #

      Thanks Tim, I watched the video. It’s really interesting and I’m sure many people will be interested to watch it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

      • Fernando August 18, 2011 at 8:10 pm #

        Hi Penny. I have interest in deathbed visions. I read a lot of articules of that subject, but there old (like Sir william Book and others).
        I need to know if you have actual cases of deathbed visions, i bet that you see everyday terminally ill patients. I dont know if now are studying such experiences, i mean scientifically, and what are the conclusions or theories about that visions.


      • Dr Penny Sartori August 19, 2011 at 8:12 am #

        Hi Fernando,

        Yes, I do have some cases of death bed visions and I have witnessed many patients talking to someone no one else can see as they get closer to death. There are many examples in my forthcoming book. There was also the case of Patient 19 in my prospective study. During the night his condition deteriorated and we called his family into the hospital. After an hour his condition improved a little and the family returned home. He suddenly gained some strength and reached out his arms in gestures to someone we could not see. Myself and several of my colleagues observed this behaviour for approx 30 minutes. He looked so happy and had a big smile on his face. The next morning when his family came to visit he said that during the night his mum and gran had visited but also his sister. Unbeknown to him, his sister had actually died the week before but his family had not told him because they did not want to set back his recovery. He died peacefully a few days later.

        There has been a lot of research undertaken into death bed visions by Sue Brayne and Hilary Lovelace and they were supervised by Dr Peter Fenwick. There are a few published articles on this kind of research:

        Sartori, P. (2010). Understanding the subjective experiences and needs of patients as they approach death. Nursing Times, Vol. 106, No 37, pp. 14 – 16.

        Brayne S et al (2006) Deathbed phenomena and their effect on a palliative care team: a pilot study. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine; 23: 1, 17-24.

        Brayne S et al (2008) End-of-life experiences and the dying process in a Gloucestershire nursing home as reported by nurses and care assistants. American Journal of Palliative Care; 25: 3, 195-206.

        Brayne S, Fenwick P (2008) The case for training to deal with end of life experiences. European Journal of Palliative Care; 15: 3, 118-120.

        Brayne, S. (2010). The D Word. Continuum Publishing Corporation. London, New York.

        Fenwick, P and Fenwick, E. (2008). The Art of Dying. Continuum International Publishing Group. London, New York.

        Fenwick P et al (2009) Comfort for the dying: five year retrospective and one year prospective studies of end of life experiences. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics; 51: 2, 173-17.

        I hope this helps.

      • Mike Burke October 12, 2011 at 4:44 am #

        Is it unusual for a surgeon’s nurse to stick post it’s on a monitor in an OR?

        Dr. Rudy said they had to do with phone calls he’d have to make.

        Is it just me, or is it odd that some nurse in the OR would be taking his calls during an operation, and sticking post ups on a monitor?

        On the other hand, one thing that struck me about this interview is that he mentioned his associate, Dr. Cataneo by name.

        Has anyone interviewed him, the patient, the anesthesiologist, or the nurses?

      • Dr Penny Sartori October 12, 2011 at 10:42 am #

        Hi Mike,

        No it’s not unusual for a nurse to stick post it’s on a monitor. Very often while the surgeon is scrubbed (hands thoroughly washed and wearing sterile gloves, gown and mask etc) there will inevitably be people trying to contact him about patients elsewhere. He is unable to take these calls so a record of them is made and they are displayed in obvious places so that they are not forgotten. This is common to most operating rooms. Certainly from my experience of working as a nurse in intensive care, I have left several messages for surgeons, who were in the operating room, to contact me with regards to a patient etc.

        It is not unusual to refer to colleagues by name publicly. I have no idea if anybody has interviewed his colleague, the patient, the anaesthesiologist or the nurses. The case highlights that unusual experiences occur in such hospital settings. I think it’s unlikely that someone of such professional credentialsand with such a good reputation would make such a public statement were it not true. He is merely reporting a very interesting case.

  12. Fernando August 19, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    Yes Penny,

    Thanks for the info

  13. Tim August 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    Hi, Penny,
    I remember the case of patient 19 (I didn’t remember the number 19 it was just the exceptional circumstances) because of what occured. This was a ‘peak in darien’ case if I’m not mistaken which I found astounding. Can I ask you, Penny, what you made of this case. Was there any way that contamination could be seriously proposed by sceptics to explain the patient’s knowledge of his dead sister ? I note that this one was another case ignored by debunking sceptics…. (probably because there is no scientific explanation for it).

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 19, 2011 at 6:30 pm #

      Hi Tim,

      This was a very interesting case to me. The patient’s sister had died the week before and one day when his family visited they asked to speak to the nurses outside the ITU and not where the patient could see or hear them. They explained to the nurses that the patient’s sister had died but they did not want him to be informed of this because they did not want it to set back his recovery. This was agreed to and it was never again mentioned. The patient had no idea that his sister had died.

      It was quite remarkable to watch the patient during the time that he was having his vision. He really did look so peaceful, happy and content. He had the most wonderful smile on his face – I was not the only one to witness this, several of my colleagues witnessed it too. Every one of my colleagues remarked on how happy he looked. When he told his family that his sister had visited him during the night (along with his dead grandmother and mother) they were really shocked that he should mention her. However, they had got to hear about my research so they wanted to discuss this with me. I know it really did help them when I explained about my research. When he died shortly after his vision his family seemed reassured by what he had seen in his vision and it helped them with their grieving and their sad loss.

      I have tried to think of ways to explain how he could have found out about his sister. The best explanation I could come up with was that he somehow picked up on the body language of the nurses. However, that wasn’t a sufficient explanation as most of the nurses were totally unaware that his sister was even ill let alone had died and would have had no reason to even think about his sister. The ones who did know his sister had died were specifically told not to discuss it or mention it in front of him.

  14. Max_B August 19, 2011 at 9:43 pm #

    It is odd that those who experience these visions in the days before they pass away, overwhelmingly appear to see people, or pets who have already passed away, rather than the living.

    On the ‘people/pets’ issue, these visions display a interesting resemblance with so called ‘hypnopompic’ hallucinations, which are sometimes seen upon waking. Despite the ‘hallucination’ label they have been given, I’ve seen no particularly satisfying explanation as to why the fully formed, full colour, type hypnopompic experience, is also overwhelmingly of people or animals, and very rarely of inanimate everyday objects.

    I’m lucky enough to have had one of these ‘hypnopompic’ hallucinations too… About 5 years ago whilst living in a brand new 3rd floor flat, I awoke in the dark in the middle of the night to see a full colour, moving image of an unknown 40-50 y/o black male from the shoulders up. The image was in absolutely exquisite detail and incredible brilliant colour, as if the sun was shining on him (rather like an actor picked out by a spotlight on a darkened stage). The image lasted for more than a few seconds, and long enough for me to carry out a quick experiment, despite it’s disturbing nature (The moving imagery started with the back of the males head towards me, then slowly turned its head round towards me, and then stared at me).

    Moving my eyes left, away from the spot where the full colour ‘moving’ image had formed, I clearly retained a faded after-image on my retina, which was the same shape as the original image I had seen (similar to the after-image you see when you look away from a bright TV screen in a darkened room). What is strange, is that I could also see a similar ‘fixed’ faded image in my peripheral vision, this was in the position of the original full colour image, and did not move about, when I moved my eyes left.

    When I moved my focus back to the ‘fixed’ faded image, effectively overlapping both faded images, the original image jumped back into full colour. I was able to move my eyes left and right several times, to verify this effect, before the image finally faded away.

    I’ve done quite a bit of research on this experience, and remain open minded as to whether the experience was just a hallucination, or whether it might perhaps have been an apparition.

    If it was an apparition (and I’ve never experienced one of those before, or since), I tend to feel – at the moment – that such experiences may have a similar telepathic explanation to that which I believe may be responsible for verifiable OBE’s. That is, we are receiving information about what somebody else is seeing, but rather than the broadcast being across ‘space’, and in the same ‘time’ (telepathy), it would be taking place across ‘time’, but in the same ‘space’ (apparition). In essence I would say that both types of phenomena could be similar, but seem different to us, due to the broadcaster and receivers relative positions in time/space.

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 20, 2011 at 11:59 am #

      The fact that these people, as they approach death, see the dead and not the living seems quite significant to me. Even more interesting is that there are many documented cases where the dying saw relatives who they did not know to be dead at the time of their experience. There are images of the living all around them, in fact in hospital they are surrounded by living people so the fact that they report dead relatives could suggest that these visions of the dead are more ‘real’ to them than their experience of life at that time. As many NDErs describe their NDE as ‘realer than real’ so these visions could also be experienced in the same vivid way. As they approach death is would not be unreasonable to suggest that their state of consciousness is altering. This to me is the crux of the matter – the fact that we don’t have a full explanation of consciousness. Obviously the model that our current science holds that consciousness is created by the brain requires revision and updating.

      With regards to the hypnagogic and hypnopompic imagery these too are altered states of consciousness. Thomas Edison used to make use of the hypnagogic state to solve problems – he would catnap with steel balls in his hand and place metal dishes underneath. As he dropped off to sleep the balls would fall onto the dishes and the noise would wake him and he would recall the hypnagogic imagery. These states are also conducive to inducing OBEs as the work of Muldoon, Celia Green, and Monroe highlights. So the imagery that you experienced may be something that you picked up on from a different frequency??

      The experiences reported by those close to death differ because they are experienced in a different context.

  15. Tim August 20, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    Penny, It is so hard to reduce what you have written above to ‘ordinary’ explanations. Thanks for that.
    I don’t work in the medical profeesion but someone (a friend) told me this story six months ago.

    Her mother, an old lady suffering from a chest complaint was admitted into hospital for treatment (her condition wasn’t considered life threatening but she was rather depressed) . After about a week she deteriorated and her condition became more serious until she slipped into a coma. She came out of that after approx three days and her mood
    was elevated.
    Her daughter was with her (summoned by the nurses) and was surprised by the change in her mother. She was also upset by what her mother was about to tell her.
    She told her daughter that she had seen Harry (her deceased husband) and wanted to go. The daughter said to her…”Go where? You can’t leave us, you’re going to get better and go home!”
    She explained to her daughter what she had seen and was adamant that she wanted to go, reassuring her that …” You’re all alright now, you’re grown up, you don’t need me and you’ll be fine.”
    She died a couple of days later.
    The person (daughter) that told me this is entirely honest and it was confirmed by her husband that she said these things. Neither of them are religious. I can’t remember why she told me the story but those are the facts. It isn’t evidential in the way that your actual case study is of course… but I did think it was curious that someone would actually want to ‘die’ and leave their family like that. They are a very close knit family and her daughter and grandchildren had previously been everything to her.

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 20, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

      Thanks for sharing that case. These experiences are very common and I have had many patients report similar things to me over the years. In fact, my very first day on the ward as a student nurse I saw a man clearly talking and gesturing to someone who wasn’t there and a few hours later he died. The night nurse had predicted this when she was handing over and I thought they were trying to wind me up because it was my first day. I later realised that things like this are commonly accepted amongst nurses because they see it so often.

      It is interesting that you mention the lady was previously depressed but after the coma her mood had elevated – this too is common and research suggests that those who have these death bed visions have a very peaceful transition into death. I would agree with this in view of my nursing experience. Leaving go of loved ones is so hard at the end of life. I have come to realise that patients actually have more control over the time of their death than we realise. I talk about this in my forthcoming book. I have come across so many patients who have died when the family have briefly left the bedside much to the family’s dismay. Conversely I have also nursed patients who were close to death and unconcious for many days then appeared to wait for a certain event to pass before they died.

      These experiences are so overwhelming and wonderful for the people who experience them that its not that they don’t want to be with their family but what they have experienced is drawing them more and they transition peacefully into death. Its as if they have reviewed their situation, can see that their family will be fine (as your friend’s mum said) and then make that transition. This seems to reinforce the testimony of NDErs who come back with absolutely no fear of death – its not that they want to die but they know that when its their time they will not be afraid to die.

  16. Max_B August 20, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

    “…As they approach death is would not be unreasonable to suggest that their state of consciousness is altering…”

    Yeah, at present I feel the same way. Although I’m still left wanting to tie all these types of phenomena together as I don’t really accept that they are particularly different… whether it’s memory, dreams, telepathy, apparitions, OBE’s, emotions, etc… In my view they all seem to exhibit anomalies/characteristics of a temporal and/or spatial nature.

    If I stuck my neck out, I’d say at the end of a persons life, what were once temporal/spatial anomalies, probably coalese into some type of permanently increased temporal/spatial awareness, which allows us to comprehend a more complete view of the true nature of time and space.

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 21, 2011 at 11:45 am #

      It is possible that when these types of experiences occur each individual person is accessing the same state of consciousness but it is interpreted according to the set, setting and context in which it is experienced.

      So for example someone who takes hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD does so with the intention of inducing such a state, someone who has a spontaneous OBE when in a particularly relaxed state such as the hypnagogic state or someone who had a NDE – they are all accessing the same altered state of consciousness but the circumstances under which that state is attained influence how it is interpreted and experienced.

      During such circumstances brain physiology would also be altered – the mistake our current science makes is to attribute these states to creations of a dysfunctional brain. To me a better way of explaining this is to suggest that because the brain is dysfunctional this allows that altered state to be experienced.

  17. Fernando August 21, 2011 at 1:38 am #

    Hi again Penny,
    I wanna know if you have some news about the AWARE STUDY, i mean if someone could seen the target(the AWARE website dont put a lot of information this months). Another question is about the COOL STUDY by Mario Beauregard, the last update was in 2010, and if Im not wrong he said something about a prospective study (but again, this was in 2010).


    • Dr Penny Sartori August 21, 2011 at 11:56 am #

      Hi Fernando,
      I know Dr Sam Parnia is hoping to publish some results from the AWARE study soon. I am not aware that any patients have viewed the hidden targets as yet but I would suggest that to get more conclusive results that the study continues for the next 10 to 20 years. I have posted about OBE and veridicality research previously on the blog – this gives the reasons why I think it is important to continue this research for many years.

      Yes, Dr Mario Beauregards work is very interesting and fascinating. I have been lucky enough to have met Dr Beauregard and discuss his work as I am one of a group of researchers involved in investigating a greater understanding of consciousness. It was intended to use patients from the AWARE study and scan their brains after the experience to establish any obvious neurolophysiological changes.

      I watched a TV documentary a few months ago where Dr Beauregard was scanning the brains of people who had a NDE. He asked them to recall the NDE while the scan was being taken and it showed specific areas of the brain associated with the recall of the experience. It appears that the brains of people who have a NDE may be changed as a result of the experience.

      To my knowledge the results of the research have not yet been published.

  18. Fernando August 21, 2011 at 4:35 am #

    Hi Penny,another question stuck me, is about the cerebral death of a patient. I think that bring back to life a patient with these condition is actually imposible. I dont know if you have case of a patient who came back from cerebral death and report an NDE.
    Maybe soon, with the advances of technology, doctor would bring back to life patients from irreversible cerebral death (I think that cerebral death is different than hypotermia surgery like pam reynolds).

    Thanks for your time and research!

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 21, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

      HI Fernando,

      I have never come across a patient who recovered after being declared brain dead. However there was a recent documentary on TV in which a patient had been certified as brain dead. It was called SURVIVING DEATH on the Discovery Channel and the case of Zak Dunlop. He was certified as brain dead but recovered and later recalled hearing what was going on at his bedside but being unable to respond – he did not report a NDE.

      There are some very interesting cases that have also been shown on the TV documentary series I Survived… Death and Beyond on the BIO Channel. Some of these people have been without a heartbeat for many minutes – in some cases for longer than 30 minutes. These people have recovered and reported a NDE. Remarkably these people have not shown any signs of brain damage as would be expected if the heart had stopped for a prolonged period of time yet they reported a very clear, lucid NDE.

      I think this is highlighting that death is a process and that we are learning more about this process with the continuing research in this area.

      • Tim August 22, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

        I’m fairly certain that David Verdegaal was declared brain dead. I came across it first in ‘The Truth in the light’ but David published his own book. It’s a very simple book but it is truly remarkable that it got written at all. When he came out of his coma he was almost deaf and nearly blind and couldn’t remember who he was nor who any of his family were. He couldn’t understand how to perform even the simplest of tasks. The only thing he remembered was his NDE.

      • Dr Penny Sartori August 22, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

        Thank you for that Tim, I remember reading about his experience in Peter and Elizabeth Fenwick’s book ‘The Truth in the Light’.

        I’ll look up David’s book, I’m sure some of the followers of the blog would be interested to hear about it too.

  19. Tim August 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    Hi, Penny,
    Thanks for all your replies.

    Just a point about the Aware study. Do you know if Dr Parnia is going to actually publish any veridical NDE’s he discovers ? Obviously, it’s going to take some time to uncover a an actual bulls eye ‘hit’….but if the patient accurately describes what was going in the room when he was unconscious, will this not be taken into account ? Will it be inadmissable evidence, so to speak ?

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 22, 2011 at 8:10 am #

      Yes, I think Dr Parnia will publish any cases of OBEs that he has. I think it is important to take into account all OBEs, veridical or not because it will build up our knowledge in this area. Even if patients report an OBE but not the hidden target, it will still be valuable information to report.

  20. Fernando August 21, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

    Yes, more research is needed. I saw that case (Zak Dunlop case), but i think that in his situation he was not with cerebral death (its my opinion).

    Thanks for your responses Penny!

    I will still waiting for the AWARE results (cool study, brain study,etc..)

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 22, 2011 at 8:14 am #

      In the Zak Dunlop case what I found really interesting is that the documentary stated that he had been certified as brain dead (according to the strict criteria used in hospitals) and that the organ donation process had already began. I think the more cases like this we come across the more we are learning about the process of death.

      The AWARE results will be very interesting to read, I’m looking forward to them too.

  21. Tim August 22, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    I should add that David Verdegaal died a few years ago (peacefully and without fear I believe).I think his wife said this but I can’t be 100 % certain beacuse I’ve lost the book.

  22. Fernando August 24, 2011 at 2:18 am #

    I didnt know soo much about what David Verdegaal saw in his NDE.
    What kibd of visions he had?

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 24, 2011 at 9:19 am #

      David saw a bright light and was enveloped by it and felt safe and loved and knew that he was going to survive. He then found himself in an old fashioned typical English garden with lush green grass and brightly coloured and fragranced flowers. He walked past a trellis covered with honeysuckle and saw a gate leading out of the garden. While in a coma he was given glimpses of the future and told that he would write a book – this he actually did despite many physical disabilities.

      David’s NDE is written in full detail in Peter and Elizabeth Fenwick’s book The Truth in the Light and also in David’s own book Dead Sure.

  23. Fernando August 24, 2011 at 2:19 am #


    What kind of VISIONS he had?

  24. Michael Duggan September 5, 2011 at 3:53 am #

    Hi Penny.

    First of all, great blog you have here. Very informative and absorbing. Regarding Mario Beauregard, I believe he is investigating what happens during stand still surgery (when the brain is cooled), similar to what happened to Pam Reynolds. Apparently there was going to be an update from the cool study but I can only find a reference to preliminary questionaire type work. Do you know if they have started the prospective study and how that is going?

    • Dr Penny Sartori September 11, 2011 at 11:17 am #

      Hi Michael,

      Thank you for your comments – sorry for my delayed response, I’ve had very limited internet access over the past two weeks.

      Yes, I believe Mario Beauregard is investigating stand still surgery amongst other aspects of brain function during these kinds of experience. With regards to the prospective study – this has already begun but no results have been published as yet. I will try to contact Mario and find out the progress of his work and post an update on the blog.

  25. Fernando September 7, 2011 at 5:47 am #

    Hi penny.
    I wonder if you have reports of near death experiences (such the report of your study), were the patient saw a relative unknown (to that patient), and later by photos confirm that the figure or relative was a member of the family but the patient never saw the relative and the photo.
    Here in Argentina i read one case like that, and later your case.
    But i want to know if you have actual cases like these, i think that are consistent experiences.

    • Dr Penny Sartori September 11, 2011 at 11:26 am #

      Hi Fernando,

      Yes, I have read reports of patients who saw an unknown relative during their NDE then later identified them when they were shown a photo that they had not previously seen. This is unusual because the image that they saw was not previously in their memory which raises many interesting questions about consciousness.

      A good friend of mine descibed an interesting occurence that occurred when she was a young child. She woke up one night shouting to her parents that there was a man in her room – it was very real to her and not a dream but something that had actually happened. The following day my friend was insistent and described the man and the clothes he was wearing particularly the hat that he wore. Her parents then began to ask her questions about him because she was so insistent. Eventually they got out a photograph of a man that she was describing – she correctly identified the man as the one who had woken her up. The man was her grandfather who had died before she was born. There were no photographs of him displayed anywhere and her parents were mystified as to how she correctly described then identified him in the photo.

  26. tim September 7, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

    Hi again Penny,
    I have a technical question which I wonder if you can answer. In the Aware study I believe oximeters are being used (fitted over the brain) to detect the oxygen levels of cardiac arrest patients. So if a patient reported any kind of veridical corroborated observation and it was also determined that there was an insufficient amount of oxygen (ischemia) for consciousness at that time, wouldn’t that be the evidence that mind and brain are seperate ?
    Many thanks.

    • Dr Penny Sartori September 11, 2011 at 11:41 am #

      Hi Tim,

      Yes, oximeters are being used as part of the AWARE study. This is very interesting as it can give us all sorts of information on how oxygenation can effect the outcome of cardiac arrest as well as provide more information on consciousness.

      You ask a very interesting question. Measurement of oxygen levels during cardiac arrest must be treated cautiously for many reasons. I have discussed this in depth in my first book. Briefly, oxygen levels vary depending on where the blood was extracted from. Cerebral brain oxygenation is very different from peripheral blood extracted from an artery in the wrist for example. We must also take into consideration when in the resuscitation process the blood was extracted – was it after prolonged CPR, was it extracted at the begining?

      With regards to pulse oximetry – this is a good way to measure blood levels non-invasively (by not having to extract the blood). However, this too is dependent on many things such as there must be sufficient circulation to the peripheries to register on the pulse oximeter. Sometimes the pulse oximeter may move and the signal may not pick up. Pulse oximeters are very valuable in recording the oxygen levels of patients but are not always 100% accurate – this is from my 17 years experience of working in ITU. However, as our technology is advancing the oximeters may now be far more sensitive but I still think they can only act as a guide.

      So in answer to your question I think it is very important when analysing any data from the study that all extraneous variables are taken into consideration before drawing any firm conclusions.

      • Tony September 11, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

        Dr. Sartori – I remember reading about the fact that several patients who had OBE’s were able to correctly describe what was going on in their resuscitation while in a control group the descriptions were completely inaccurate. For those who were accurate in their descriptions, could what they have described be gather just from auditory clues (even if unconscious) or were some of their descriptions purely visual in content and could not be gathered in any other way then from the overhead visuals? I ask this because I am interested in the theory that in an unconscious state, it may be possible that the brain may be able to record memories simply because the sounds are entering the ears and some small amount of brain activity is going on – enough for the memories to be recalled.

      • Dr Penny Sartori September 11, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

        Hi Tony, thanks for your comment. This is a very interesting question.

        When I investigated the NDEs / OBEs reported in my study I also asked the nurses looking after them at the time what was going on. I was able to ascertain the nurses actions and what type of noises were occurring at the time that the NDE was reported. I cannot rule out that in some cases auditory cues may have influenced the NDE / OBE that was later reported. However, in the case of Patient 10, I knew exactly what was going on and what conversations and background noises were occurring as I was actually present and the nurse who was looking after Patient 10 at the time of his NDE / OBE. In the article I published in the Journal of Near-Death Studies I mention the possibility of auditory cues. In the article it discusses that Patient 10 reported seeing the consultant shining a torch in his eyes which was accurate. However, Patient 10 also reported hearing the consultant say after examining his eyes “There’s life in the eye” – this statement was not correct, the consultant said “Yes, they are reacting but unequal”. If the OBE was purely due to auditory stimuli then I would have expected his recollection of the statement made by the consultant to be accurate.

        So with regards to the control group – they too could have heard (and felt) what was going on around them yet they did not accurately report the procedures that were occurring at the time.

        From my experience as an Intensive Care nurse it is very apparent that patients do hear almost everything going on around them – even while unconscious. In my study I also documented cases of hallucinations and when I investigated these in depth I found that many of the hallucinations were due to auditory stimuli as the sedation was wearing off.

      • tim September 11, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

        Thanks for taking the time to answer that, Penny.
        Very interesting.

        Just one more thing. Have the interviews with the cardiac survivors actually been started yet ? As I understand, according to the Horizon Research page, they haven’t started talking to them yet, so it is not surprising that there have been no reports of anyone seeing the targets.

      • Dr Penny Sartori September 11, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

        As far as I am aware I think some patients have been interviewed. I think it is a very difficult task to follow up the patients at all of the different sites. A research co-ordinator nurse has now been appointed so there may be more updates on the progress of the AWARE study in the coming months. I found it extremely difficult when following up the patients for the AWARE study at the hospital where I worked because there was so little opportunity to go to the wards to follow up the patients while also working as a nurse in Intensive Care.

  27. Max_B September 11, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    I was in Italy last week and happened to visit the Etruscan tombs outside of Tarquinia, saw some nice wall paintings of the afterlife. One in particular was very NDE-like (those that had just died, apparently being greeted with open arms by their ancestors). It had my hairs standing on end, as it slowly sunk in that I was actually standing opposite an original wall painting which was painted by somebody 2500 years ago, yet the experience doesn’t seem to have changed very much.

    • Dr Penny Sartori September 11, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

      Thanks for mentioning that Max. I haven’t been to the Etruscan tombs and wasn’t aware of the wall paintings that you mentioned – I will certainly put this on my list of places to visit in the future.

      Yes, it is fascinating that the NDE has been recorded throughout history and that the same type of experience is depicted.

      One question that this raises is: Are NDEs so similar because our brains are similar? This could be considered in two ways – 1) is the NDE just due to the brain shutting down? or 2) is the fact that the brain is becoming dysfunctional merely allowing this state of consciousness to be experienced?

      • Max_B September 14, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

        It would be a titanic shift, if science moved to your 2nd ‘non-local’ explanation, yet this is exactly what quantum mechanics seems to tell us about our reality, that whatever it is, it’s not local, it’s non-local.

        On the subject of telepathy (which I’ve brought up before in connection with verified OBE’s), Do you follow Rupert Sheldrake’s work…? I thought his paper on the dog Jaytee – who seems to know when his owner is coming home – was interesting…

        Click to access dog_video.pdf

      • Dr Penny Sartori September 14, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

        HI Max, yes I agree it would be a titanic shift in our understanding of consciousness. Yes, quantum mechanics is opening up all sorts of interesting possibilities. The movie ‘What the Bleep’ is very good at explaining some of the concepts of quantum physics (but I still find quantum mechanics mind blowing).

        I think Rupert Sheldrake’s work is excellent (I was honoured to have him in the audience of one of my lectures a few years ago). He has some fascinating cases of telepathy. An additional case to the dog Jaytee was the parrot who had an amazing relationship with her owner. If my memory serves me correctly I remember watching a great video recording where the parrot correctly identified photographs concealed in an envelope before the envelope had been opened. Also Rupert Sheldrake’s concept of morphic resonance is a really forward thinking.

        I think it is really good that more and more people are ‘thinking outside the box’ and taking notice of these really plausible and interesting explanations to further our understanding of consciousness because to me it is clear that the current scientifc view that consciousness is created by the brain is severely limited.

  28. Tony September 14, 2011 at 4:17 am #

    Penny, thanks much for taking the time to answer. Its a terrific blog. In your study or in your capacity at work have you come across those that are blind and have had OBE’s? I’m reading a fascinating book by Kenneth Ring called “Mindsight” and it gets into OBE’s and how they are described by those who are blind – either from birth or those who became blind later in life. Regarding consciousness, I’ve been fascinated by the idea that it even exists, given that the brain itself through electrical or chemical reactions can explain how we behave or employ logic in our day to day activities. Its as if consciousness itself is a “nice to have” but not a necessity. And free will itself thus can be considered an illusion. Who knows, for free will to be truly free, it has to be outside the control or independent of these brain mechanisms.

    • Dr Penny Sartori September 14, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

      HI Tony, thanks for your comments.

      Kenneth Ring’s book Mindsight is fascinating. In my research one of the patients was blind (Patient 15). She recalled a NDE which did have a component where she described leaving her body. However, she described existing apart from her body but found the whole experience very difficult to describe. She heard the voice of her deceased grandmother and her nephew (who was alive) and she also described seeing the shapes of their bodies. She was unable to report any other features such as the layout of the room to corroborate her experience.

      With regards to consciousness, I find it a truly fascinating thing to try to understand. My views on consciousness have changed frequently since I first became interested in it. As a result of undertaking my research the most logical way for me to understand it is to consider it from a different perspective to what I have always been led to believe from my school lessons and my nurse training. Our current science believes consciousness to be created by the brain but what if that concept is incorrect? To me it makes more sense to consider consciousness as being primary and rather than the brain creating these wonderful experiences called NDEs. Maybe the brain acts like a filter and allows this state of consciousness to be experienced whereas under normal circumstances the brain would screen it out. It really is a fascinating subject to study and I think new concepts from quantum physics and consciousness studies are all pointing to a renewed world view. It’s a very interesting time to be doing research of this kind as we are learning new things all of the time.

      • Howard September 14, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

        Penny, you have a fascinating site. I am a Ph.D. Neuropharmacologist who has held a years long interest in these sorts of phenomenon. As someone who believes the brain intermediates experience, I try and understand the mechanism how people whom are essentially brain compromised and in trauma can have such rich experiences and most importantly, retain the memory content when recalling the experience. In order for someone to describe they had a ‘NDE’, they must not only actually have an NDE, but they must be able to cognitively recall it at a future date. Memory of these events in many of these cases is crystal clear. Perhaps your comment that NDEs are rare is not correct and it is much more common than you state, but the recall component is the issue due to the majand recall or trauma or oxygen deprivation that prevents the memory from being laid in the cortical regions of hte brain.I am not egotistical to believe that everything is determined by brain regulation down and that everything we experience is reduced to a mechanims of neurophysiology. The world and our bodies are too complex for anyone to state they know the answers.

      • Dr Penny Sartori September 14, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

        Hi Howard, thank you for your comment. I am very interested by what you said because it raises all sorts of possibilities for future research.

        Your point that recall of the NDE is the issue is an excellent one. In fact, I have a few cases on file where people who had a period of unconsciousness or severe trauma had no recollection of any events during the time they were unconscious but later recalled a NDE. One lady in particular had surgery at a later date to correct her broken nose (that was sustained during the original trauma) – sometime during anaesthesia she re-lived the original traumatic experience but also recalled a NDE.

        There are many cases in the literature (and in my research) where people have undergone cardiac arrest or life threatening trauma but had no recollection of anything. There are a few interesting cases documented in the literature where they were later hypnotically regressed and recalled a NDE. However, it is not recommended that people try hypnotic regression to explore this possibility as there are documented cases where people exhibited the same physiological distress that was experienced at the time of the original life threatening incident – so potentially hypnotic regression to the time of the NDE could induce another cardiac arrest.

        I totally agree with you that our bodies are far too complex for anyone to say they have all of the answers. I find it so exciting to be conducting this sort of research and I try to keep my mind as open as possible to finding explanations.

  29. Fernando September 17, 2011 at 1:55 am #

    Hi again Penny,

    I have a question regarding deathbed visions. Could be that such visions have a relationship with the Charles Bonnet Syndrome? I dont think so, but Im not familiar with these syndrome, I saw it in a blog.

    • Dr Penny Sartori September 20, 2011 at 11:28 am #

      HI Fernando, it’s interesting that you ask this question because when I first began my study one of my supervisors (Dr Peter Fenwick) told me to look up Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS) and try to see if there were any correlations with NDEs.

      What I found was that people who have CBS have lost their sight and hallucinate – usually they see small people or things that are much smaller than usual. These people know that they are hallucinating and the hallucinations occur while they are awake. CBS is more prevalent in older adults (but can occur at all ages).

      NDEs generally occur during unconsciousness and reports are of crystal clear quality and people are of their usual size not smaller. Following the NDE the person is usually adamant that they were not hallucinating but experienced something that was ‘realer than real’. NDEs are common in all age groups.

      I hope this helps answer your question.

  30. Tony September 21, 2011 at 12:41 am #

    Penny, I am too very fascinated with the Deep hypothermic cardiac arrest procedure (that involved in COOL). I understand that COOL is a retrospective study. I would be interested to know if you are involved in what is going on with COOL and your thoughts about something more prospective? Is it considered unethical in some way to schedule DHCA procedure in advance and to tell the patient to look for the target? It would seem more likely that a hit would be made in this case. Curious of your thoughts on this.

    • Dr Penny Sartori September 21, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

      Hi Tony, I am not involved in the COOL study and to be honest don’t know much about it so can’t elaborate a great deal sorry.

      You’ve got a good question. If patients are going in for a DHCA procedure then telling them in advance about the study and to look for a hidden target would, in theory, increase the chances of any hidden targets being viewed. I know in my study, when I interviewed two of the patients who had very significant NDEs with the OBE component – both said that if they had known there was a hidden target on top of their monitor then they would have looked at it and told me what it was. I think as long as the COOL study has ethical approval for this aspect to be included, it would be a good way of exploring this aspect further.

      However, we should also bear in mind that if patients having this procedure were made aware of hidden targets before hand then we are introducing the element of expectation which may (or may not) also affect the outcome. The more we refine our research the techniques the more we will learn, it’s a very excting time to be conducting any sort of research in this area. I hope this helps answer your question.

  31. Fernando September 21, 2011 at 4:35 am #

    Yes, thanks Penny

  32. Michael Duggan September 22, 2011 at 12:24 am #

    Hi Penny,

    Did you get to speak with Dr Bauregard? I think the Cool study has the potential to be more definitive than the AWARE study. It’s very exciting.

    • Dr Penny Sartori September 22, 2011 at 9:50 am #

      Hi Michael,
      I’m awaiting Dr Beauregard’s reply but I am eager to hear what he has to say about this fascinating study. As soon as I get a reply I will put the information in a new post. Watch this space.

  33. Tony October 1, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    Dr. Sartori, looking forward to hearing what Dr. Beauregard has to say. Can we expect any further interesting studies that you will partake in the future? Please let us know. Anything down the pipe line? I would love to be able to find out the timeline of these nde accounts. For example, could the experience be timed to a period of 0 brain activity? I ask this because some believe the NDE account may be occurring just prior to flat-line or just after it. This would be interesting to know.

    • Dr Penny Sartori October 2, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

      HI Tony,

      Yes, I’m looking forward to a full report from Dr Beauregard. Maybe there will be a full indication of the timeline in the report.

      WIth regards to the NDE occurring just prior to flat-line, some people have reported events that had not occurred just prior to flat-line so it is unlikely that the NDE can be attributed to this period of time. There are NDEs that occur during unconsciousness but when they have not flatlined and their heart is still beating. Also, from my experience of working as an Intensive Care nurse I have nursed thousands of unconscious patients and as people regain consciousness they are generally a bit disorientated and ‘spaced out’ and behave very differently to those who have reported a very clear and lucid NDE. It’s reasonable to suggest that as the brain is regaining consciousness they are somehow cognitively making sense of the NDE but there is something about a NDE that has a very big impact and it usually remains etched in the person’s mind for the rest of their life.

      With continuing research in this field I’m sure there will be more definite explanations and understandings regarding timing etc of the NDE which will further our understanding of these experiences and consciousness. I do have a brief involvement with the AWARE study at present. I am also looking into undertaking further research of my own at some point in the future. I’ll give updates about this on the blog.

      • Tony October 5, 2011 at 12:24 am #

        Thank you Penny for your response.

        I’ve meant to ask you. I’ve heard of another interesting case of a patient who experienced an OBE and at the same time experienced what was happening to his physical body – in this case the machine that was resuscitating him and the pain that it caused (a thumper machine). This is the story that Van Lommel described relating to the “crash car” that held the persons dentures. I’m curious if you are familiar with the case and have thought of the parallels that may exists with the patient you are familiar with – the patient who perceived the torch shown in his eyes. Just curious but it makes me wonder.

      • Dr Penny Sartori October 5, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

        Hi Tony, yes I’m familiar with the case reported Dr Pim van Lommel and it is a very interesting case. There are some parallels to the case of Patient 10 that I have reported. In both cases the patient’s were deeply unconscious (in the van Lommel case the patient’s heart had also stopped beating) and both correctly reported seeing things that were actually occuring at the time.

        I’ve tried to look at this from all angles and it is possible that the patients could feel what was being done to them and hear what was going on around them and therefore constructed a mind model of what was going on? However, in the case that I reported the patient clearly described watching the physio ‘hiding behind the screens looking very nervous’ – this was true, the physio was looking very nervous and kept peering around the screens to check on his condition. While she was doing this the patient was deeply unconscious (Glasgow Coma Score 3/15) and his eyes were closed. The physio was not speaking just quietly observing in the background yet the patient clearly saw her.

        Also, I had a control group of patients who were resuscitated but did not report an OBE. When I asked them to reconstruct their resuscitation to see if they had been able to construct a mind model from residual sight, noises around them and from tactile stimulation I found that the majority of the sample could not even guess what had been done, they had absolutely no idea. In total 5 of the control group tried to guess. I found that the guesses were not accurate and that there were misconceptions of the procedure carried out. They thought they had been shocked with the electric paddles when in fact only CPR had been performed and resuscitation drugs administered. In the cases where the patients were shocked with the electric paddles they pointed to the wrong parts of the body to where the paddles should have been placed.

        Anomalous well documented cases like this cannot be explained by current scientific explanations. These are very interesting times because the more clinical research that is undertaken is likely to reveal more of these cases and we are now begining to realise that we have to explore consciousness from other perspectives other than it being a mere by-product of neurological activity.

  34. tim October 9, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    Hi, Tony,

    Here is a link to the dentures case.


  35. Tony October 12, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    Thanks Tim for the info!

    Penny, I’ve come across the interesting case of the OBE and the mousetrap. I was not aware of it, and am surprised it is not as well known as other veridical experiences. Would you be able to shed some light on this story?

    Thanks much!

    • Dr Penny Sartori October 13, 2011 at 9:12 am #

      Hi Tony, a few years ago a lady wrote to me and told me of her NDE. This was the case with the mouse trap. It has been reported as an anecdotal case on page 107 of my book The Near-Death Experiences of Hospitalized Intensive Care Patients: A Five Year Clinical Study

      It occurred while she was in the A&E department. She had a cardiac arrest and reported an OBE where she felt herself looking down on her body and also could view the top of a cupboard in the room. On top of the cupboard was a mouse trap. She told the doctor who had treated her about the OBE and he was amazed.

      Six months later she was back in the same room of the A&E department being treated for something else. She told the nurse about her previous OBE. The nurse tried to look on top of the cupboard from all angles and couldn’t see anything. The patient was insistent that there was a mouse trap there even as the nurse was taking her to the ward.

      A few hours later, at the end of the nurses shift, the nurse went to see the patient on the ward. When she had returned to A&E she was so curious about what the patient had said that she asked a porter to get a ladder. She climbed up on the ladder and to her amazement on top of the cupboard at the very back was a mouse trap.

      This is a very interesting case but unfortunatley I was not able to investigate it or follow this up as it had occurred many years previously to be being reported. It highlights that there are cases where people have very good quality OBEs during cardiac arrest so with the advent of prospective hospital research there is a potential of verification of such cases by interviewing staff present as soon as the experience is reported etc.

      • MITIL November 6, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

        Hello Penny.

        Do you mean the doctor who had treated that lady (who saw a mouse trap) was so amazed because he definitely knew that the mouse trap really has been placed on the cupboard before? Sorry for the question, it looks not clear enough for me…but I think it’s quite important moment.

      • Dr Penny Sartori November 7, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

        Hi – the doctor who treated the lady was amazed because she had described his actions while she was unconscious and being treated by her. It is my understanding that he didn’t have any knowledge of the mouse trap. His amazement was purely because she had so accurately reported things that occurred when she was unconscious.

        From personal experience I know that to be told something like that is incredible at the time. I was present when Patient 10 in my study had his OBE and NDE, when he regained consciousness and described it with such accuracy it really was amazing because he was so clear about what he had experienced and I could verify this as I was also there and knew these things had happened while he was deeply unconscious and not responding to any external stimuli.

      • MITIL November 8, 2011 at 2:46 am #

        Thanks Penny, your diary is very interesting! BTW, I think you know about those famous “shoe cases”, reported by Kimberly C. Sharp, Seattle, and also by Cathy Milne from Hartford Hospital, both from the US. What do you think about them?

      • Dr Penny Sartori November 8, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

        I think these are very interesting cases. There were some very interesting articles written in the Summer 2007 Volume 25, No. 4 Journal of Near-Death Studies. Keith Augustine questioned if paranormal perception occurs in NDE in his article. This was responded to by Professor Bruce Greyson, Kimberly Clark Sharp, Professor Charles Tart and Dr Michael Sabom. Keith Augustine then responded to them all – it was a very interesting debate and I would encourage people to read each of the articles.

      • MITIL November 8, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

        Sorry Penny, I’ve not read those articles in JNDS, but I used to read some texts of Keith Augustine on his Infidels site.
        As for me, he’s interesting only as a typical hard nosed atheist/materialistic obscurant, furiously rejecting all arguments that don’t fit his worldview. I cannot regard him as an unbiased and competent polemicist on NDE field. Some of his conclusions look just ridiculous… Sorry for my sincerity, sure, I don’t want to abuse anyone.

        I also have another question – did any of your colleagues, working in other hospitals or not, share their experiences (of being in touch with NDEers) with you? And did they all know you were eagerly interested and searching for such cases? As I know many medicos prefer not to tell such stories to other people, even to their colleagues…or maybe especially to their colleagues..?

      • Dr Penny Sartori November 8, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

        I was very fortunate because once I began my research a lot of doctors I worked with and other colleagues from different departments within the hospital began telling me of unusual experiences that they had witnessed or could not explain. Unfortunately, many of them would never talk about these publicly and told me in confidence as they feared being labelled as weird or ‘unscientific’. So many cases are never reported, these are far more common than we realise its just that we never get to hear about them and of course these types of experience were never a part of my education. I literally had to learn about them as part of what I encountered with my job and then increased my knowledge and understanding through my research.

        I was contacted by a nurse from a ward who told me about a case that she and her colleagues had witnessed of a lady who apeared to be having a vision but was also able to talk them through it – it was a fascinating case and I was able to interview the other colleagues who had witnessed this. They were all convinced of what they had witnessed but could not explain it. The lady died a day or two after the vision and I think what they witnessed helped them have a greater understanding of how to care for other patients who are dying.

        I think my research caused a lot of intrigue amongst my colleagues in the intensive care unit where I worked. At first they used to joke about it (in a nice way) but as I progressed it really made them think. I was especially lucky to work with a really great team of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists etc. I remember one of the consultants stopping the ward round to talk to the medical students and new junior doctors about my work and gave them an article I had written so that they had a greater understanding. It is really encouraging that attitudes are changing and healthcare workers are more open to these experiences as ultimately greater understanding and knowledge in this area will benefit future patients.

        I am currently writing a module for the education of healthcare workers on these sorts of experiences.

      • MITIL November 11, 2011 at 11:21 am #

        Thank you, Penny. Somewhere here in comments you were discussing the new OBE case reported by Dr. Lloyd Rudy, the “post-it notes case” as it can be named. You say using post-it notes is very common in CPR staff. But as I get it, only the first of those post-its described by mr. Rudy has been sticked to the TV screen and the others have been sticked to each other so they looked maybe like one long “post-it” (my English is not good so maybe you’d re-watch that Youtube interview, the details are between 7:45 and 8:10) .
        Is such manner of using post-its common too? I mean, TV screens are usually not so small, so perhaps it is more convenient and easy to stick post-its separately, just under each other. Which manner is more popular?

        P.S. However, it is not 100% clear (at least for me) if such details were really reported by the patient himself, or Dr. Rudy was just describing all that in such a detail. It seems they were really reported but I’ll be eagerly waiting for the further interviews with mr. Rudy and, I hope, with other witnesses of this nice case 🙂

      • Dr Penny Sartori November 11, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

        I’m not completely sure as to exactly where the post it notes were stuck but in the Dr Rudy case as I’ve only listened to the youtube interview. In my experience it is common to stick post it notes to the side of the monitor so that it doesn’t obscure the actual screen itself. It may be that the notes were stuck to each other so it looked like one big note.

        I think Dr Rudy was only recounting what the patient told him about the experience. It would be a stronger case if the patient also spoke about his experience. However, I think the significant thing about this case is that it was spoken about publicly by someone of Dr Rudy’s experience and credentials. So often cases like this are ignored or dismissed by the treating physicians because they don’t fit in with what they have been taught. Therefore if they can’t explain the experience it is either ignored or dismissed as an hallucination. The fact that these cases are now being recognised is a sign that people are begining to realise that NDEs have a lot to teach us about consciousness.

        Another very interesting case was reported by Dr Eben Alexander III – there is a link to his radio interview on one of the blog posts this week.

  36. Mike Burke October 14, 2011 at 2:01 am #

    Thank you Dr. Santori,

    I was very impressed by Dr. Lloyd Rudy.

    His mentioning a colleague associated with this NDE by name lent extra credibility to his account, and the only thing I didn’t understand was the post it’s on the monitor.

    I apologize for asking such a stupid question, and I thank you for answering it.

    I lost my mother last August, and I want to believe there is something more than this material world we see.

    Thank you.

    • Dr Penny Sartori October 14, 2011 at 9:46 am #

      Hi Mike, I’m so sorry to hear about your mother. It is such a traumatic time to go through and my thoughts are with you. The first time I encountered the death of a close family member over 18 years ago, it took me a very long time to come to terms with and it hit me hard. It also started me thinking about death and then after I nursed a dying patient who had a huge impact on me I was really driven to try to understand death and embarked on my research.

      You don’t need to apopligize for asking a stupid question. Your question was very valid and unless you worked in a hospital it would seem very strange to put post it notes on a monitor. You are right to question everything you read and hear. Even after over 16 years of trying to make sense of these experiences and conducting my doctoral research I’ve questioned everything as much as possible and tried to explore all kinds of explanations and I still don’t have all of the answers. However, I have spoken to many people who have had a NDE and the cases that I investigated in my hospital research could not be explained by our current understanding of consciousness nor could they be explained away.

      I think it is a very exciting time to be conducting research like this because it seems that we are making new discoveries about consciousness and life as more of these cases are reported. The interesting thing about Dr Lloyd Rudy is that he actually reported this case in a very public way. Most surgeons or physicians will not report such cases especially not in a public way so many cases like this go unreported.

      Thank you for following and contributing to the blog.

  37. tim October 14, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    Hi, Penny, Tony.

    Here are a few links you might enjoy, apologies if you’ve already seen them. http://www.nderf.org/roseann_dbv.htm


    Here is collection of on line American TV shows about NDE’s.
    The Phil Donahue show is particularly good.


  38. tim October 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    That’s okay, Penny,

    I hope I’m not overdoing it though. BTW…

    ” However, I have spoken to many people who have had a NDE and the cases that I investigated in my hospital research could not be explained by our current understanding of consciousness nor could they be explained away.”

    I wish sceptics would listen to statements like this from researchers like yourself at the coal face so to speak. You are clearly not biased and I sincerely believe if you had reported zero veridical cases etc and nothing unexplainable then they would have been trumpeting the results from the rooftops.

  39. Tony November 8, 2011 at 6:41 am #

    Penny, regarding the filter theory of the NDE, I’ve heard others mention it. To me, it begs the question that if the brain mediates the experience, what is to happen when brain function ceases all together? Is the NDE experience thus dependent on a limited but functional brain at the very least? Or, is the brain limiting the experience by such a filtering effect? I understand this is all speculation, however assuming some filtering is going on, then its an important distinction. Where is the seat of consciousness thus? In the first case, one can argue then that consciousness may still be a product of the brain and thus the telepathy theory holds more weight. However, if the later is true, then perhaps that points to mind/brain duality.

    • Dr Penny Sartori November 8, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

      Hi Tony, that’s a very good question. I think the belief that the brain creates consciousness is so firmly embedded in our current worldview that it is very difficult to understand any other perspectives.

      How about I suggest that consciousness is primary and that the body somehow emerged from that consciousness i.e. the seat of consciousness is all around us and within us. This is a totally different perspective to what I have been brought up to believe but I think it is really important to explore all possibilities because it is increasingly apparent that the current worldview of consciousness being created by the brain requires updating.

      The brain may be limiting our everyday conscious experience by blocking out the heightened state of consciousness that is experienced during a NDE. The reason this heightened sense of consciousness is blocked enables us to have a human experience of being in the body. As we die the brain becomes dysfunctional and the filter action breaks down and allows the heightened state of consciousness to be experienced. However, if a NDE occurs it is because the brain has regained its functioning and the person subsequently revives. Thus, the NDE stops as the brain began to function again so it would seem from this perspective that the brain limits the NDE.

      I don’t have the answers to these questions but I do know that the data I collected in my study was explained much better by the filter theory than the current perspective that the brain creates consciousness. It is important that these theories are explored and also that more theories are considered. The thing that is most striking is that we are making significant discoveries about consciousness which is developing our understanding of consciousness. It is a fascinating field to be studying.

  40. Tony November 8, 2011 at 6:49 am #

    I would tend to believe more that the OBE is not a telepathic experience but more of a true mind/brain seperation event. I say this because the experience seems very personal. It is an experience that is driven by the experiencer, not some outside telepathic projector. The experiencer sees his or her grandparent. Or the experiencer just thinks of seeing a family member and immediately it happens. I say this not to shed doubt on the theory of telepathy, but to say that in most NDE accounts, the mind/brain seperation would make more sense.

    • Dr Penny Sartori November 8, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

      The NDE is very personal and each experience is unique. This is most apparent in the way that different cultures influence the experience. For example in India many people have reported seeing Yamdoots, messengers of Yama the God of Death as opposed to deaceased relatives, the life review appears to have been replaced by Chitragupta – the man with the book. The book contains a record of the person’s deeds both good and bad.

      It seems to me that during a NDE everyone accesses this same universal field of consciousness but interprets it in accordance to their own culture and persoanlity. Carl Jung has written extensively about Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious – maybe during a NDE each individual is accessing these archetypes in their own way.

  41. Tony November 18, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    Penny, are you aware of any studies done to determine how well is the ability for recall for people who have had an NDE? I don’t know if this is possible, however it has been suggested that the small percentage of people reporting an NDE may simply be because of the inability to recall the event, and that all people who survive death actually have an NDE. I am not sure how such a study could be done, since memory involves so many factors, but I would be interested in seeing if a relationship could be estabished between memory/recall and NDEs.

    • Dr Penny Sartori November 19, 2011 at 11:45 am #

      HI Tony, I don’t think any studies have been carried out to test the recall ability of people who have had a NDE. I’ve had emails from people who had a close brush with death but did not recall anything on regaining consciousness. However some time later they recalled an experience which resembled a NDE. In particular one lady had a general anaesthetic a few months after her brush with death and it was when she regained consciousness from the anaesthetic that she recalled a NDE that occurred during her brush with death a few months previously. I have mentioned in an earlier post about the possibility of hypnosis but this has risks involved as previous cases have reported the person having the same physiological symptoms that occurred during their close brush with death.

      Also another important thing to note is that the majority of research carried out in this field has always been done by a small group of dedicated researchers often individually, in their own time and with very little or no funding. To carry out any kind of NDE research is very time consuming and extremely hard work and ideally a moderate size group of people are needed. Other areas of research usually employ teams of people to carry out research and they are usually well funded. It would be great if we could get more funding to carry out very important research into NDEs like that you have suggested.

  42. Tony November 27, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    Hi Penny, I had a quick question I wish to ask. In your study with the patients who suffered cardiac arrest – were most of them already admitted before the CA or did they suffer the CA and came in as a result? I understand chances of survival are quite different depending on how quickly one can be resuscitated.

    • Dr Penny Sartori November 27, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

      Hi Tony, good question because the quicker the person is resuscitated the better the chance of survival. Cardiac arrests that occur outside of hospital have a reduced chance of recovery usually.

      From memory I think there were two patients in my study who had a cardiac arrest outside of hospital but they did not recall anything at all. The rest of the patients were already in hospital and suffered a cardiac arrest because their condition had deteriorated and they became much sicker than when they were first admitted to hospital. Some of the cardiac arrests occurred in the A&E dept, some on the wards and some in ITU.

  43. Sam December 7, 2011 at 1:02 am #

    Do the people that don’t have NDE’s suffer from memory loss around their being clinically dead?

    • Sam December 7, 2011 at 1:54 am #

      Clarification: Do people who have NDE’s and don’t have an OBE suffer from memory loss around their being clinically dead?

      • Dr Penny Sartori December 7, 2011 at 10:28 am #

        Hi Sam, I’m a little puzzled by your question – by NDEs do you mean people report components such as the tunnel and light, meeting deceased relatives, experiencing a life review etc or do you mean people who have a close brush with death but don’t report any components of the NDE?

        People report such components but without the OBE. The patients in my study who reported some NDE components but without the OBE had some recollection of the time leading up to unconsciousness then reported experiencing the components of the NDE then reviving and finding themselves back in ITU and wondering what had just happened.

        Some of the patients in my study who had a close brush with death (but no NDE / OBE) could recall some of the events leading up to unconsciousness but could not recall anything else.

      • Sam December 8, 2011 at 12:10 am #

        Clarification of my clarification: Do people who are clinically dead, but don’t experience a NDE or OBE suffer from memory loss around their being clinically dead (Like not remembering being brought back, forgetting stuff before their experience, and so on)?

      • Dr Penny Sartori December 8, 2011 at 11:04 am #

        Hi Sam, what I found in my research was that patients who had been clinically dead but did not report a NDE had no memory of the events during the time they were unconscious. Some of them recalled some events of what they were doing leading up to the time of their cardiac arrest but none of them had any memory of the time they were clinically dead. Some of them were unaware that they had undergone a cardiac arrest when I interviewed them. All they recalled was waking up in ITU wondering what had happened.

      • Sam December 9, 2011 at 1:50 am #

        Thanks for the info, this helps me out a lot.

  44. Vivek narain July 19, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

    You need not be methodical to verify the truth of obe.what you need is sincereity and self conviction,if you are doing it for glory it may never work not in 100 years.if you are convinced by whatever statements however meagre just publish your observation in the blog,no need to write a book and pursue the publishers.

    • Dr Penny Sartori July 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

      HI Vivek, I think it is very important to be methodical in investigating NDEs and OBEs. I’m not sure why you would think I am doing this for the glory. There is no glory in all of the sheer hard work it has taken to study NDEs to such depth and without any pay. I think NDEs are a very important phenomenon to study which can give us great insight into the dying process. I do publish comments on the blog to keep people informed and I’ve already published my findings in my first book and my second book will be coming out in February.

      • Snow December 31, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

        Vivek’s comment is rare.

        Should every scientist just publish his/her work in blogs/facebooks instead of books and journals?

        Does Vivek know the significance of books/journals?

  45. Vivek narain January 3, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

    Hi snow, much water has flown since july and i have shared many comments with dr sartori since in another blog,can’t say about journals but i know that book writing is a flair,be they fiction or non fiction.having read more than 500 books, specially by (jack london,lewis carroll,leslie charteris,jh chase) i know that its really a treat to read a favourite author,but at the same time not so stylish writers may feel inferior. In any case dr penny has no plans to become a prolific writer,non fiction writing is a work of hard labour and 2 books are a real effort and if they go unread its a tragedy,that was my whole point.

    • Dr Penny Sartori January 10, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

      Hi Vivek, it is a natural progression of my work to write about the findings of my research. I think it is very important to share what I have learned through my research so that others can be informed and further explore this area of research.

  46. Abigail February 5, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

    I’ve been reading up on these kind of things for a while. I used to actually believe that consciousness can live on after death. But scientists are always saying that it’s all in the head, and everything, but they don’t seem to be explaining the veridical parts of the nde/obes. I no longer believe what I used to, I don’t have any idea, actually. But I’m confused, because doesn’t it seem that there IS evidence that consciousness can exist separately from the body, because of this? Some people say that cases like Pam Reynolds, for an example, is a lie. I don’t know how they even know this. What would you say?

    • Dr Penny Sartori February 11, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

      Hi Abigail, thank you for your comment. There are many conflicting theories as to what these experiences are and I agree it can get very confusing. I would recommend keeping an open mind but to also question everything as much as possible. A lot more research is needed in this area of research. There are so many different unexplained aspects of NDEs that make it much harder to simply dismiss them and I think that the more research that is conducted will lead to a greater understanding.

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