In The News… Teenager posts video on YouTube which describes his NDE three weeks before his death on Christmas Night

28 Dec

Yesterday The Mail Online reported the story of inspirational teenager Ben Breedlove’s death which happened a few days ago on Christmas night. 18 year old Ben had suffered with a life threatening heart condition for his whole life.

Ben posted a video describing his close brushes with death using flash cards. The video gives some insight into what it must be like to live with the constant threat of death.

A few weeks ago on December 6th Ben suffered a cardiac arrest. On December 18th Ben uploaded a video to youtube which described the NDE that he experienced while undergoing the cardiac arrest. Part of the NDE describes an encounter with his favourite rapper Kid Cudi. One of his last comments on the video was ‘I didn’t want to leave that place’.

What a truly inspirational young man. RIP.

To watch Ben’s video click the link below:

 To read the full newspaper report click the link below:



19 Responses to “In The News… Teenager posts video on YouTube which describes his NDE three weeks before his death on Christmas Night”

  1. Jake December 29, 2011 at 2:05 am #

    Thanks for sharing this story… Ben seems like an amazing person. The videos were sad, but I did like his attitude through the whole process.

    Although this is a very inspirational story, one part makes me less inclined to believe NDEs are spiritual events. Kid Cudi, who Ironically I was listening to when I was reading this, is of course alive today. All the NDE cases I’ve read have involved dead people.

    Penny (or anyone else), if NDEs are in fact spiritual events, what are your theories for an alive person making an appearance in a NDE? Like I said, I haven’t come across something like this, so I assume it’s rare.

    • Dr Penny Sartori December 29, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

      Thanks for your comment Jake. Yes, Ben seemed like a truly amazing person and the video was very sad. His presence before the camera and his lovely smile just totally reached out to me – what a great teacher.

      Your question is very valid. Most cases of NDEs involve being in the presence of dead people but some do have people who are still alive, especially in children’s NDEs. One of the cases in my research reported seeing both a dead relative and one who was still alive.

      I’m not sure why this happens but one suggestion is that during a NDE a consciousness which transcends our everyday waking consciousness is experienced. How each individual interprets that consciousness would depend on their mind set and cultural conditioning. It may be that what is really experienced during a NDE is a set of symbols and for example if I had a NDE I may interpret those symbols as meeting my dead grandfather whereas if my husband had a NDE he may interpret it as seeing his dead father.

      In different cultures people report seeing different images that roughly all correspond to the same sort of thing. For example in the West the life review is commonly reported whereas in India the life review is seldom reported – however in India there are reports of meeting a man called Chitragupta – ‘the man with the book’. This book contains a record of all of the person’s deeds, both good and bad. This seems to be analagous to the life review but is interpreted in a different way.

      So in Ben’s case, the way he made sense of this altered state of consciousness was to relate it to images that he was familiar with i.e. his favourite rap star Kid Cudi.

      That’s the easiest way for me to make sense of these experiences at the moment – my views change as I learn more. There is still so much to learn about NDEs and it’s cases like this and questioning everything that will, I hope, lead us to the answers.

      • Jake December 29, 2011 at 10:01 pm #

        If I understand correctly, you’re saying that the light is interpreted as a different person for the individual. Whoever is most comforting. For example, a Christian may see it as Jesus. That makes sense, and is a plausible theory, but could be more of an argument that NDEs are produced by the brain. For example, Jake seemed very confident the light was Kid Cudi, and he did not simply interpret it as Cudi. This was confirmed when he heard Cudi’s song. Does that mean the light actually was Cudi, or simply the light taking on the form of Cudi?

        I usually read NDEs on, and I only remember one instance where someone met someone still alive. I’m not sure how reliable the site is, however. While I don’t question the accuracy of the posted NDEs, I have no way of knowing how many of the submitted NDEs make the site. I have no reason to accuse the site administration of screening NDEs that best fit the mold, but at the same time it isn’t the most scientific analysis of NDEs.

        I definitely agree that more research is needed. I hate to beat a dead horse, but I’m getting tired of waiting for the AWARE results. I’m pretty shocked we’re at the end of 2011 and haven’t even heard a leak or news story by now, let alone preliminary results.

      • Dr Penny Sartori December 30, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

        Hi Jake, I’m not sure that the light was actually Cudi or that the light was taking on the form of Cudi but Ben interpreted that part of his experience as being in the presence of Cudi.

        Interestingly, I just read a quote by Anais Nin which says ‘We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.’

        The site was set up and is maintained by Dr Jeffery Long and his wife Jodi. I’ve met them both and their passion for NDEs is what motivates them to maintain the site which takes up a huge amount of their time so I don’t doubt their integrity at all. I wouldn’t think that they screen the NDEs to only present those that fit the mold because it is important to report all types of NDEs, that’s how we learn more about them.

        Maybe there will be some results of hte AWARE study published soon – we’ll have to wait to hear more from Dr Parnia. To get results from this study will take a long time due to the huge scale of it.

      • Jake December 30, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

        Good to hear, when I read the current NDEs on the site it becomes very, very difficult to debunk NDEs. The one problem with the site, however, is you are getting emailed NDEs from the most enthusiastic NDErs. These are people who were touched so much by their NDEs they were willing to go online and fill out a questionnaire for the rest of the world to see. That means you are likely getting the most profound NDEs reported there. That doesn’t discredit them, of course, but I would like to see other NDEs from people who aren’t as enthusiastic to share their NDEs. See how (or if) their experiences differed.

        In other words, it is a great resource for analytical data, but it isn’t the most scientific study out there.

      • Dr Penny Sartori December 31, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

        Hi Jake, good point – yes it’s mainly the enthusiastic NDErs who contribute to the majority of the anecdotal NDE research. I found with my hospital research that I didn’t get many elaborate reports like those in the literature. The majority of the patients did not understand what they had experienced and many reported only fragmentary bits of the NDE and did not attach any significance to the experience. This then would suggest a sub-set of NDEs that are not sufficient to motivate the person to share the experience as it is of little significance to them. This would then suggest that NDEs are far more common than we realise but it’s predominantly the profound ones that are reported.

    • tim December 29, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

      Penny (or anyone else), if NDEs are in fact spiritual events, what are your theories for an alive person making an appearance in a NDE? Like I said, I haven’t come across something like this, so I assume it’s rare.

      Hi, Jake. It is rare and definitely not significant statistically. Children and young adults do report more unusual visions such as white horses and friendly creatures such as honey bees …. but interacting with a still alive rapper is unusual. If one accepts that the ‘light’ is what I personally believe it is (and I know of course many people don’t) then with it’s often described wonderful sense of humour etc I don’t think it would be beyond reason that this light could present itself as a rapper.
      Sceptics will naturally say the opposite, that’s okay though. What is interesting is that he had any experience at all during his arrest.

      • Dr Penny Sartori December 29, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

        Thanks for your comments Tim, they are very helpful.

  2. Ken Ebert December 29, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    Thank you for posting this, Penny. I see also that it has gone viral. This is a very heartening event. For me the sadness is overridden by the joy in Ben’s eyes, in his whole expression. Having been there, I know well why he smiles.

    As for the issue of a live person appearing in an NDE, from my experience it is a case of ‘the path of least action’. Your explanation says it quite well. I attempted to describe this in my book, although I see it clearer now. The spiritual prompt, the commanding need for the spiritual energy to reach and connect with the individual, will take the path of least action, i.e. the easiest way in. The easiest way to Ben was Kid Cudi. For others, it could be Ghandi or Bugs Bunny. For me it was the goddess Brigid.

    I see the worldwide exposure to Ben’s story as an adjunct to Eban Alexander’s case in that the NDE phenomenon is edging itself into the mainstream of human social consciousness. My hope is that this fresh awareness of the strange yet profound nature of the NDE will alter the way we see the world.

    • Dr Penny Sartori December 29, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

      Thanks for your comment and your insights Ken, they are very helpful. I agree, the joy in Ben’s eyes speaks volumes.

  3. tim December 29, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    Thanks for posting this, Penny. Firstly, although it’s incredibly sad to read about his story, it’s also inspiring. What a fantastic young man he was, so brave with a great sense of humour.

    His near death experiences would fit very nicely into any of Melvin Morse’s books. Meeting the ‘still alive’ rapper is relatively unusual as the vast majority of people met during NDE are dead. However, he shouldn’t have been experiencing anything at all though during cardiac arrest or been able to remember anything so that once again is very significant.

    Thanks again, Penny

  4. Max_B December 29, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

    Very sad, but also very inspirational. He describes looking good, and interestingly just as good as his hero. Then feeling very proud of himself, and his achievements as he examines his life in the mirror during his NDE. Oddly enough whilst watching the video, that is exactly how I felt about him… very proud of him.

  5. Jake December 29, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

    Penny- do you have a link to the account of the person who reported seeing an alive relative? Would be interesting to read.

    Also, how many NDE accounts have you personally witnessed?

    • Dr Penny Sartori December 30, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

      I don’t have a link to the account in my research but it’s in my book The Near-Death Experiences of Hospitalized Intensive Care Patients: A Five Year Clinical Study, published by The Edwin Mellen Press in 2008.

      Basically a lady had a NDE during the time she was unconscious due to having a stroke. She recalled hearing her dead grandmother and also her nephew who was still alive. They were both singing what she called a ‘death song’.

      I have only actually been present during 1 NDE – the case of Patient 10 in my research. This in itself is rare as not many other researchers have actually been present while a NDE was occurring except for maybe Dr Michael Sabom, Dr Melvin Morse and Dr Maurice Rawlings. There may be others but I’m not sure. What was interesting about this case was that he reported my actions, the Dr’s actions and the physiotherapists actions very accurately despite being deeply unconscious at the time and his Glasgow Coma Score being the lowest it could possibly be. The fact that I was present and witnessed all of the events meant that I could corroborate what he reported, which to me was absolutely astonishing.

      There were 15 accounts from my hospital research (one of which I was present), where I personally interviewed each patient who had a NDE while they were on ITU but I wasn’t the nurse looking after them at the time. My colleagues who were looking after them at the time were also interviewed by myself to verify anything that the patient reported. I also have over 600 cases of NDEs in my files from people who have emailed me or written to me over the years.

      • tim December 30, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

        Hi, Penny,
        I have just returned from visiting a relative in hospital. I saw for myself the pink lollipop (oral sponge) that Patient 10 described. It is exactly like a small pink lollipop (childrens). If Mike was familiar with these then it would have made more sense to me if he had just said, ” I saw you cleaning my mouth with an oral sponge” etc. I never doubted the extraordinary observations in the case but to see the actual implement and immediately come up with the same thought…( that looks exactly like a pink lollipop),,it was an eye opener.

      • Dr Penny Sartori December 31, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

        Thanks for this comment Tim, very helpful.

      • Jake December 30, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

        Very, very interesting. I looked up the book on Amazon, and while I couldn’t find a new copy I did read a review and it sounds like a great book.

        Studies like this are the best way to get information on NDEs, I just wish more people would do them.

        I have a hard time believing NDEs are spiritual events, but at the same time all the personal accounts and studies like this make it even harder for me to debunk them.

      • Dr Penny Sartori December 31, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

        Yes, it would be great if more studies were done in the clinical area. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get funding for this type of research and the majority of previous research in this area has been done by researchers who have done it in their own time and were not paid for it.

        Understanding NDEs is very difficult within our current scientific framework that consciousness is a by-product of the brain – it simply does not fit in so it’s easier to explain NDEs away. However, research in the clinical area is showing that NDEs clearly occur and something is happening that we simply cannot explain within that framework and more importantly neither can NDEs be ignored or explained away anymore.

        I think it’s important to have an open mind and to me, exploring alternative ways to explain NDEs is the way forward.

        Rupert Sheldrake has just published a new book called The Science Delusion which I am very much looking forward to reading.

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